Friday, October 16, 2009

just thinking...

I overheard a woman in a health-feed store saying "But we're trying a gluten-free diet and it really seems to be working!" in relation to her autistic son. It got me thinking: there seem to be massive numbers of children with some condition or label. I'm sure this is a result of our increased ability to analyse, categorise, and define combinations of behaviour - and communicate globally so that trends or types of behaviour can be grouped and named - but is it related to what's going into our mouths?

Everyone is a little concerned about genetically modified food. We like to buy organic where possible, and are encouraged to think about food miles and processing. Should we instead (ok, ALSO) be considering the types of food that go into our mouth? Gluten (wheat) and casein (dairy) are not just obvious parts of our diets (think bread, pasta, cereal, milk, yoghurt, cheese, etc) but in more insidious and sneaky ways.

According to Carol Ann Brannon, a nutritionist who specializes in diets for children with autism, gluten is not only ubiquitous, but may also find its way into your child's system through the skin:

    "Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, and any derivatives of these grains, including, but not limited to malt grain-starches, malt wash, hydrolyzed vegetable/plant proteins, grain vinegar, soy sauce, and natural flavorings. Casein is found in milk and milk products from mammals....Gluten is in even in Play-Doh, adhesive on stamps and stickers, and many hygiene products. Soy, another common food allergen, is in many foods and hand lotions, make-up, etc."
    The theory is basically that gluten and casein act as opiates upon the autistic brain. But I feel worse after eating bread for breakfast (toast), lunch (sandwiches) and dinner (ok, more likely to be pasta, but I LOVE eating toasties for dinner), and I'm not autistic. Are our nutritional choices possibly creating or exacerbating these "autistic" behaviours to the point that they're labelled as autistic?
I know, I'm rambling. I just can't help wondering how many issues we like to point fingers at are actually created. (Much like life, really.) I feel that socially we say "This happened." or "This child has..." without questioning what sequence of choices and events got us to this moment or diagnosis. 

Not terribly entertaining, but I don't think I signed any papers saying I would only be funny, and I'm aware how much my own behaviour is influenced by food. 

(Nice case in point: getting reasonably drunk on sugar last night. About eight lollies {fruit tingles, milk bottles, raspberries} and I was high as a kite. Ridiculously silly, giggly, and slightly appalled at how quickly I got to a sugar high. Hmmm. This is going to take more mulling over. 

OOH! (gee, that was quick!) Interesting: blood sugar standards are remarkably different in European countries... so here in Australia we expect a higher blood sugar level than in Germany. I don't have enough time to research this properly, but it keeps striking me that we are not sensitive enough to what we ingest and the way it plays out. Someone out there must be able to sum this up for me intelligently... COME ON!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fricking huntsman spiders.

So I get home from work and go to check my email.
No internets.
Irrational panic.
Hubs left home this morning and will be gone eight days. EIGHT DAYS? I can't live without internet access for EIGHT DAYS!!!
I mean, what will I do if someone emails me and I have to give them my bank account details in the next thirty seconds or SOMEONE ELSE gets the thirty million loonies (canadian dollars)???
How will I check the weather and know what density jeans to wear? And if I should be wearing a singlet top underneath stuff (for brrrrr layering) or OVER stuff (because it'll warm up later and I am SO sick of myself wearing the boring of boringness)?

In desperation I turned my computer off and on again. Nothing. I mean it connected to the network and all, but the joys of wireless are such that when it works, it's great. Invisible internetty goodness within my house = happy days. Mysterious network-showing-up-but-no-action-in-my-browser = unhappiness. Sadness. Shouting at thin air no longer occupied by hubs (aka chief geek who can fix all computer problems known to man. And to me, who just has trouble plugging stuff in sometimes).

But then! Aha! Bright idea! I will go DOWNSTAIRS to the portal of internet (that would be the cupboard under the house that houses all our webby stuff) and stare at it, willing it back into invisible health, wellbeing, and the ability to scrape information off the internet and feed it to my screen.
There's a very large huntsman on the staircase.

The last time there was a huntsman in the house, suzukisinger and I inhaled more flyspray than it did. then,laughing hysterically, belted it randomly with a newspaper, mostly missing. I think it died from drowning in puddle o'spray rather than contact with any hard surface. I don't really like spiders.

Ok. Newspaper. Armed with cylinder, snuck up on spider. Realised that squashing spider was going to make one helluva mess. (I was planning on hitting it rather hard, yes. No-one ever wanders around chanting "Concuss....Concuss... It's exterminate or nothing.) THIS is the bizarre part. Put DOWN cylinder, trotted back upstairs, fetched large plastic container and lid, trapped spider and set it free.

Hubs, if you're reading this, I deserve a very special present (yes, another one) just for that humane act. Not sure what came over me... but there's ANOTHER miracle to report. No mom, I am not pregnant. Put that clucky-grandchildy-thing away already. I THEN proceeded to the Cupboard Where All Things Internet Happen, wrenched it open and stared wretchedly for a little while. Lights went blip and blink and were completely incomprehensible. Yargh.

Of course, things can't get any worse. I am already internetless, so whatevs. Detached a cord that was plugged into a socket that said POWER which may or may not have belonged to the modem, counted to five, plugged it back in and shut the cupboard. Stupid cupboard. Sulkily stomped back upstairs, flung self on bed, demonstratively because it's all-so-useless-and-futile poked refresh a few times and -



Of course, now I discover that no-one loves me. Sigh. Oh, the cruelty.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


For today I recovered my sparkly. Literally, not so much metaphorically. I am still sick, snuffling about in my slippers (I have VERY cute peter alexander slippers; black and red, pale pink with little silver Eiffel towers, lavender... I think that's it) and jeans and tops (oh,the boring! THE BORING!!!!) blowing the most INCREDIBLE amounts of crap out of my sinuses. See, you all wanted to know that, right?

Right now I can't decide whether I'm being assaulted by or enjoying the sounds of Ben Folds acapella (glee-club style). It's a fine, fine line between pleasure and pain. I think it's good. My current inability to cheerfully belt out random lyrics is probably hindering my enjoyment JUST a little. Everything sounds like I'm underwater (and I REALLY don't like swimming). My idea of swimming: lying in the water in such a way that I can still read. I have a small paddling pool in my backyard (well, currently out of commission) for just this purpose. In summer I get one half and the pug gets the other. It's comic.

Currently rereading Chuck Palahniuk's Invisible Monsters; a very thoughtful anniversary gift from Hubs. I don't read so much as devour, so my impressions of the book were more a continual "OHHH!" and so forth than clever thoughts about the relevance of themes/characters to our modern obsessions. Haven't read it? Get thee to Amazon or Fishpond or the bookdepository and buy a copy. Or come round to my house and ask very nicely. I may lend you mine. 

I now realise (of course!) I've been grappling with my own invisible monsters a little lately.

Worrying about running out of motivation tricks and ideas, worrying about running out of energy. The fatigue this term is stupid! I have a little malicious voice at the back of my skull who says See, this is the glandular coming back to bite you. The doctor said... and most of my mania comes from proving that little voice wrong. Damn wrong. For three years I panicked and clutched my glands every time I got a sore throat.

Worrying about a certain pale pink (AND shiny leotard) I'll be pouring myself into in just a couple of weeks. The last time I wore that leotard it scored me a "Now, you just need to be a bit more careful about what you're eating..." and pathetically, five years on I haven't forgotten. I think I presently weigh two kilos more than I did then, but my body seems to HATE me, no matter what I feed it.

What a whinge! I totally deserve stubbing-toes karma tomorrow. Then I'll be reminded to be grateful for all the things that ARE going my way. I haven't, for example, contracted leprosy, causing my fingers to fall off, which would be TOTALLY disastrous. Then my toes would doubtless bid me farewell and I'd be really, properly immobilised, which means I'd get INCREDIBLY fat from sitting about and blogging all day. Ah, nope. No fingers to type with. Damn. Ah! Voice-recognition software. Sweet. So as long as I was laryngitis-free and had minions to turn pages, cook meals, feed them to me, etc, it would all be fine.

If I just focus on my own monsters and quit fighting everyone else's I may stand a chance.  Yes.
Osteopath, naturopath, and a serious deep tissue massage. I have a week of husband-geekin'-out-in-good-ole-Texas to sort myself out and move forward. Sleeping now would be a good place to start. Sleep's the best defence against spontaneous flesh-eating leprosy, right?

Monday, October 12, 2009

I've been thinking...

[insert obligatory joke here]

But really, I have. Been stomping around the blogosphere and wondering why do we all do this crazy thing?

For some, it looks like venturing into their creative side. Writing should, coulda, woulda been their career. I am guilty of this, sure. For four years I wrote religiously. I wrote about the girl sitting opposite me on the train, the boy frothing milk for my latte, every imagined slight and glance and songline and outfit.

I have notebooks FULL of ridiculous minutiae that I cannot bring myself to throw away. Or burn. Or lose. I think I've decided that if I destroy the evidence, it never happened. Dangerous and a little strange, because that's not the way I live at all.

I enjoy the discipline that choosing to write every day imposes on me. As one who's practiced an instrument most days of my life, this structure appeals. I can run away from it, I can embrace it. Sometimes I can hide within it.

Today has been one of those days. Teaching and reading and teaching and practicing. I'm working on Bohm's Moto Perpetuo; a quick little piece in double semiquavers. The difficulty is not the piece per se, it's the variation of the same piece that I learned to play when I was eight. Relearning it now... but not exactly the same... is killing me. Were it an entirely different piece of music, fine. It's the nearly-but-not-quite that sets my teeth on edge and, maddeningly, has me making the same bunch of hardwired, careless errors.

It's the same with everything, really. Those situations that are nearly the same but they're not. Advice on how to break out?

Oh, and I'm still sick. Advice on THAT welcome too. 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cursed, I tell you!

Stringalong WAS today, happily for me, as I drove up and taught and led concert item and all that jazz.  Saw a teacher after a hiatus of...six years? He's a lovely guy who spent many hours showing me Sydney from the pillion of his motorcycle... that sounded a bit wrong, but it's very true!

Afterward thought I would just continue driving into Melbourne and surprise my darling hubs. Balmy evening, we could stroll along Southbank, maybe catch a show at the Arts Centre, just do whatever. I'd fee like I'd actually had a Sunday instead of having worked ALL weekend, I'd get to see him after he's played cards ALL weekend, everyone's a winner. Right? Uh, yeah. Of course.

In a delicious twist of irony, hubs leaves the tournament early, forfeiting the contention to some prize packs, and heads home on the train. So I'm standing in Federation Square when he FINALLY answers my twenty-eighth phone call (ok, ok, maybe my eighth phone call).
"Where are you?"
"I'm on my way home! I'm about halfway!" I can HEAR the grin in his voice. I, on the other hand, having
(a) driven forty minutes IN to the city,
(b) ferreted around for a parking spot,
(c) walked quite a reasonable distance WITH violin because leaving it in the car = risk not prepared to take,
(d) prepped a nice little scenario involving
      (i) me surprising hubs @ MCG,
      (ii) choosing somewhere to eat,
      (iii) walking around the pretty bits of our city hand-in-hand on a balmy springtime evening enjoying some weekend time...

WAS SHATTERED. I proceeded to swear VERY loudly and flail limbs about in the public space occupied by many Melburnians walking around hand-in-hand, discussing their evening plans with loved ones. Bastards, all. And then I walked all the way back to my car and drove all the way home. And in hours it's going to be Monday. Again. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY WEEKEND???

P.S. There are now fourteen SIGNED Magic cards in our house. I didn't bring them home. I am married to SUCH a geek.