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November 2012 Fourth Anniversary Issue
2008, St. Louis
Welcome to Planet Nilknar f!
Well, it's that time of year again already! Time to celebrate four years of drama and mayhem, trials and tribulations, survival, fun and adventure. At the moment it is hard to concentrate because it is so noisy downstairs as our landlord has resumed renovations in the basement and I am still recovering from my latest carousel convention. Don't get me wrong, I had a fabulous time but all the drama that unfolded on the last day has left me so drained and exhausted I'm seriously considering skipping next year's convention. Next year's convention will be in Kansas. Even though it is Wizard of Oz country and the home of the National Carousel Association's archives, I'm not as tempted as I would be if we were going to New York or Wisconsin. And I know it won't happen for awhile yet but I certainly wouldn't hesitate at a chance to go back to the Spokane Washington /Montana region. I want to see the Three Rivers and Butte Montana carousels up and running!! As you can see, across the top of this page, I've shared what has become a regular tradition with the Carousel Works Endangered Species carousels that I've visited in various zoos! The traditional “Elephant Trunk” photos. The NCA is visiting two zoos next year and several C.W Parker carousels. I am mostly interested in restoration projects and new community carousels like the one I am dreaming of building. I would definitely have to say that my absolute favorite carousel on this tour would have to be the Silver Beach carousel in St. Joseph. They were the ones who hosted this year's event and their facility looks so close to the manifestation of my own visualization that I felt so much like I belonged there. Their carousel and its surrounding amenities is about the closest thing to my fantasy come to life!! One thing that makes a carousel even more extra-special to me is when I get to actually ride an animal I've already embroidered on one of my quilts. Here I am in 2010 riding “Paint” in Missoula, Montana, right next to my embroidered likeness of him:
And now one of this year's highlights has been riding Tracey the Butterfly Horse:
Since I had no photo to refer to my colour scheme it is somewhat different though. The Silver Beach carousel will be featured in even greater depth in next month's issue as December's Carousel of the Month! Here's where else we visited: Crossroads Village in Flint, Michigan, 1912 C.W Parker:
Greenfield Village, Dearborn Michigan, 1913 Herschell-Spillman:
Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, a new Endangered Species carousel by the Carousel Works:
The magnificent Eden Palais carousel at the San Fillippo Estate:
The delightful 1928 Spillman carousel at the Henry Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Illinois:
The DeBoer Brothers 1908 children's carousel at Windmill Island:
And they decided to squeeze in this Herschell Half-and-Half in Eden Springs at the Closing Meeting:
This brings us to the next installment of....
Adventures of the Travelling Dolls Part Two:
Left: Brookfield Zoo, Right: Uncle Sam at San Fillipopo Estate.
Left Grand Rapids Museum, Right and the rest of this page: Meijer Gardens.
Above: Left: The model of the DaVinci horse for visually impaired tourists was the perfect size to ride! Right: DeBoer Brothers carousel at Windmill Island.
Annual “Fashion Parade”
Of course, no trip is complete without purchasing new fabric and spending the first week home creating new outfits in time for Janette's visit. The fabric for the red and blue pantsuits actually came from my mom's stuff. The green “Girl Scout Uniforms” came from Turkeyville, and they are actually made to fit “Groovy Girls” dolls. The rest are material I purchased at the convention.
There is plenty left so that I can look forward to making clothes for the inventory of future dolls
I plan to sell at the Symposium, Boyd Gallery and other events. Both the black and pink dresses have borders created from fabric entirely made of rows that can be used for skirts themselves or ruffled borders. Often dolls that I make, in addition to being sold are given as gifts to various toy drives at Christmastime, usually at the hospital and my husband's chiropractor's office and I also give a couple away in a gift basket at the carousel convention. Of course, these are our own dolls and they are looking forward to possibly wearing some of these new outfits on next year's Extra Special Niagara Trip!!! Which brings us to the next article: Janette's Most Recent Solo Journey to Niagara
September 6th and 7th
written by Janette Tansley Once again the “Niagara Bug” bit me! Niagara's plan to have daredevil attractions to encourage tourism worked again because I couldn't resist going in September. Jay Cochrane was walking a tightrope from July to September 24th from the Skylon to the Hilton Hotel every day (weather permitting, for about 80 crossings!!He had performed at Niagara before in 2002. Again I got the 8 am bus because I wanted to get to Niagara early. This time Maid of the Mist tempted me because it was such a hot day. Then after that, the shops and arcades were impossible to resist. I took a brief rest period back at my hotel room then I set out to walk to the Fallsview Casino. It was exciting to see the tightrope. The performance was to start at 7 so I got a place earlier to sit and watch. Triumphant music began to play over a sound system-- “Also Spake Zarathustra”. “Superman” - Wow, I got shivers of excitement. From where I sat Jay Cochrane was so tiny but there he was, gradually making his way from the Skylon, far, far above the streets and buildings! Inspiring music continued to play: “O Canada”, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, “The Impossible Dream” oh it was amazing! Early evening twilight made it beautiful to watch too. Fortunately I was able to take some pictures and record parts of the tightrope walk on my iPod! We even met Jay afterward! He signed posters and gave us CD's of his life. His cause for the walks were to raise money from donations to the “Make a Wish” children's foundation, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgwYUP6gQN8&feature=em-share_video_user
Living on the Spectrum
Coping with Holidays and Traditions By the time most of you have read this Canadian Thanksgiving will have come and gone, but for many of you American Thanksgiving will be just around the corner. I came across this interesting article that I'd like to share: http://30daysofautism.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/aaaack-are-we-thankful-autism-and-thefamily-dinner-party/ It made me think about family diners when I was a kid. I didn't even KNOW I was on the autism spectrum until I was almost 40 but I grew up with my share of issues at family dinners, especially when something OTHER than turkey was served. Nothing was a greater source of screaming matches at the table than meat with fat around the edges. Roast beef, roast pork. I couldn't have been more repulsed if there was a dead lizard on my plate! I've grown up since then and don't mind now that I can cut it off myself but back then no way! Since my parents had me relatively late in life most of my cousins were already older than me by nearly a generation so there weren't usually other kids at our family gatherings, except for a few times we had Della's family over for Christmas dinner and Della and I always got along great. Christmas never involved long journeys or the nightmare of airports as it seems to for so many families nowadays. We always stayed at home except for the time my mom and I were in Holland when I was five years old and maybe once we had Christmas in Sarnia with Aunt Jean and Uncle Alex. I like the idea of encouraging the child to create place cards or help with some of the cooking, like making the cranberry sauce. My mom never really encouraged me to help out and when I did she'd just get exasperated and say I was in the way. Everything had to be done her way and we ended up doing her an even greater favor by just staying out of the way. They mention the idea of the child having a quiet place to be alone when things get too hectic. When I was a kid, my Uncle Pat's Art Room was my Happy Place. While the grownups participated in their usual boring neurotypical chitchat, I'd be downstairs in my own world, turning a large sheet of Bristol board into a magical realm where colourful flowers bloomed, sheep grazed happily and KISS rode carousel horses come to life in search of some crazy adventure. Time to go home always seemed to come too soon. Even in my teen and college years I found enjoyment drawing and painting in my uncle's art room. Even nowadays as an adult I still need time to withdraw and be by myself during family gatherings. We don't usually ave more than about a dozen people gathered around the dinner table but even then it sometimes gets to be too much with people talking loudly and excitedly. I'm glad our extended family isn't much bigger than this. Go figure. I was an only child. More often than not Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner was just the three of us or at least a pair of aunts and uncles. At least once or twice cousin Peter came from Holland to spend Christmastime with us. The holidays were usually pretty quiet.
And summer vacations were usually pretty quiet compared to all the activity families go through nowadays. We didn't have DVD players, MP3's and all that. When we had the Mercedes we didn't even have a car radio. Mom held the portable radio in her lap while we traveled. We made our own fun on road trips. I can't help but feel nostalgic about all those long drives to the trailer and eventually to the cottage which eventually became our home once dad retired and I graduated high school. Life seemed so much quieter and more predictable in those days compared to what childhood must be like for kids nowadays. We didn't have all this fancy entertainment kids are begging for now. None of these resorts like Great Wolf Lodge. I've STILL yet to go to a Disney theme park! And since my dad passed away my mom actually got to hate the holiday season. It was no fun visiting her at Christmastime because she didn't enjoy preparing Christmas dinner anymore. She didn't even want to bake. I offered to help but you know how she is. I regret that we didn't spend our last few Christmases together because we always used to fight about everything! Last time I was there for Christmas, I didn't even have my coat off yet and we were already arguing. Now that both my parents are gone I feel like I wish I could just skip Christmas altogether and pretend it doesn't exist. Last year was such a crummy year I was even tempted to give 2011 the bum's rush by ignoring and sleeping through New Year's Eve. But somehow something won me over to ring in the New Year after all....
Carousel of Happiness Project
This came in my email on the Thanksgiving Weekend and I felt it was too important NOT to share!!!
a New Carousel of Happiness Project
Hippasus, a Greek philosopher who lived around 500 B.C., made an astonishing discovery, that within a dodecahedran, a 12-sided structure, could be found irrational numbers. No one at that time, including the famed mathematician Pythagoras, believed that this type of irrationality was possible, and for his efforts, one legend has it, Hippasus was drowned at sea by the gods. Not knowing this history of 12-sided structures, we designed the carousel house as a dodeconal prism, and sure enough, have also found
irrationality within. One section, an 11-foot-high, 14-foot-wide wall, may in fact be a kind of portal to somewhere else. So that is what we now call it: “Somewhere Else.”
We are creating animals that seem to be traveling to and from Somewhere Else. We do not know more about what is happening and will count on others, perhaps you, to explain it.
Here is what we know: Two long steps have been placed leading into the wall. Sitting on the steps is a large chimpanzee who seems to be pondering life. We call him The Chimpanzee of Our Troubles and invite folks to sit next to him and let him take their cares away.
Soon you will see . . . -a dog, a very special dog named Oberon, who once was the honored guest of the carousel and the subject of his own party, is on the top step. He has passed into Somewhere Else and then paused to look back as if to ask, “Coming?”
-a large polar bear, reaching high up, gives a bear cub to a grizzly bear who is on the other side and whose big arms and hands are reaching down to accept the happy young traveler. It has been recently discovered that polar bears and grizzlies can cross breed, so this offspring is known as a Prizzly (We may even call him Elvis.) Perhaps he shares time with a parent on each side.
-a small penguin is seen fleetingly as she disappears into the wall on her way somewhere. Above her a mallard flies calmly into the carousel house.
-a giraffe takes advantage of his long neck, keeping his feet firmly planted on the other
side, while he peers into the carousel house and then around to gaze at the folks who look in from outside the building.
We cannot tell you for certain what is happening here; truly we do not know. But we can invite you to join us as a part of this unique project. The large wall is covered with a drape during the year-long project, but we will share images and thoughts on the creation of each animal as they happen on Facebook.
We are inviting folks to become Keyholders of Somewhere Else by contributing to this new addition to the carousel building by donating a tax-deductible gift to the Carousel of Happiness. George Blevins, my friend and the carousel illustrator, and I are donating our time to put this together. 100% of your contributions will go towards making our $30,000 construction debt go away and to helping us keep the cost of a carousel ride to an accessible $1.
Suggested levels of giving for Keyholders: (Donors will also receive all the gifts included in previous levels.)
$25 and above: We will send you the password to our private Somewhere Else
Facebook page. Journey with us as the animals are carved and take their places on the wall. I will be sharing photos and stories as I carve each animal.
$100 and above: The Somewhere Else portal has a void inside, and you will be
invited to share something of importance to you or others: a writing, a picture, a poem to a loved one, whatever you wish, that will be placed into one of these spaces to be kept there forever and thus to become an integral part of the magic. In addition, your name will be included on a permanent plaque next to the steps leading into . . . well again, not sure. We
will also send you a signed 2013 Carousel of Happiness calendar.
$1,000 and above: You will receive a plaque with an antique key designating you as a supporter and Keyholder of Somewhere Else.
$5,000 and above: We will open up the carousel for you and a few friends at night
after our regular closing time, when the environment in the building is most surreal. I will personally operate the carousel to the music you bring for about an hour. That will be fun.
When the project is finished, we will have two openings, one for the public and one for the media. But first, we will host a private night for the Keyholders of Somewhere Else when the irrational, the magic of this place, will be celebrated with musicians, poets, fire dancers, and who knows what else. We will make sure it will be an enchanting night and one that you will absolutely never forget.
Want to help make this happen? Send us a check made out to The Carousel of Happiness, with the note “For Somewhere Else” to: The Carousel of Happiness PO Box 1811 Nederland CO 80466
I will send you a thank you letter and donation acknowledgement for tax purposes. George and I are extremely excited to help make this happen by spending the next year illustrating and carving the figures. Let’s do it together.
Magic is afoot,
Scott Harrison Creator of the Carousel of Happiness
Here is George's drawing of
The chimpanzee is being carved in a shed in Nederland, perhaps looking a little doubtful that he will ever get out of there, and if so, that all will turn out well for him. No matter what Scott says . . .
what Somewhere Else might look like. The wall has been extended to allow for you to put in something that is important to you or others. Once it is placed inside, that's it. It will be both somewhere else and always here. George and Scott are confused but carry on as if they know what to do next.
I will DEFINETELY be making a contribution to this cause, however how much depends on how much money I make at my upcoming events this season. The Carousel of Happiness is a very special place and perhaps my most favorite location that I visited during last year's National Carousel Association Convention. These are some of my favorite animals from the Carousel of Happiness:
It is also full of these delightful unexpected details, my favorite being “Eleana”, the little girl who twirls at the very top!
When they took her picture they knew they wanted an image that was “the epitome of that goofy exuberance!”
Four Years of “Goofy Exuberance”
What would an anniversary issue of Planet Nilknarf be without sharing some of my most iconic moments of these past four years. Planet Nilknarf started in November of 2008, shortly after my second Geneva Autism Symposium. I knew I wanted to do something special to promote my art and share my ideas, especially my dream of the Carousel of Friendship. When I first came up with the idea it was called The Autism Awareness Carousel. The idea was to educate the public abut my two most favorite subjects in a way that combines them into something useful for the community. I wanted people to understand what life is like for people on the autism spectrum and create something to improve the quality of our lives and share our creative talents. I also wanted to educate the public about the art and history of carousels and their cultural significance. How can a carousel reflect the spirit of our community? I don't quite remember when it happened but one way or another I eventually ended up changing the name of The Autism Awareness Carousel to the Carousel of Friendship because I knew I wanted something more inclusive. Although people on the autism spectrum have been the original driving force and inspiration behind this concept I wanted the public to know that you don't necessarily have to be autistic to volunteer or participate. Everyone is welcome regardless of age or ability. Besides, there are so many autism-related charities out there and some of them are the “wrong” kind, dedicated to “curing” and/or eliminating autism rather than trying to improve the quality of our lives, especially as we grow up. There is fear that the increased diagnosis of autistic spectrum conditions (I don't even like to use the word “disorders) is too vast for the infrastructure to keep up. Not enough help is available to guide children being diagnosed at the steadily rate. And not enough is being done for people like me who have been diagnosed late in life. Resources are inadequate. Priorities go to helping children while adults are left to flounder on our own based on the assumption that we're old enough to be self-sufficient. I never did learn to drive and I never really pursued a career. I went to college with no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Creative Arts Administration had nothing “creative” or “artsy” about it. At least I've done things they say most adults with autism cannot do! I've held down two full-time jobs for eight year increments and I've lived independently from my parents AND I've been happily married for just over ten years. Some adults on the autism spectrum even have children but I'm not one of them. I recognize my limitations and know what I can and cannot handle. I like to think it takes courage to admit your limitations in order to live an authentic life rather than burn oneself out trying to be something you're not. Since I've been married I haven't held down steady employment for as long as I did in my single days. Part of me wishes I'd been better educated and learned to drive. I'll be 50 in less than two years! WTF have I done with my life? How am I going to get my dreams off the ground?
I like to think that these new things coming up this fall and into the winter will open new doors for me and my Carousel Project. Especially the show at the Boyd Gallery in Bobcaygeon over the months of January and December. Besides my completed quilts I hope to have a partially -completed one on a table with several horse pictures for participants to decorate and return to the table. This picture from the Berkshire Carousel reminded me so much of what I want to do!
They had a colouring contest with winners in different age groups. There were pre-schoolers, elementary school students and teenagers. If I were going to have a colouring contest I'd invite adults too. As far as I'm concerned EVERYONE'S a winner! Everyone who participates ends up having their horses embroidered on one of my quilts sooner or later and from then on so far nature has taken its course. So far this has been as “real” as it's gotten:
Janette's “Gas Sign Horse” has gone from a sketch...to a quilt square....to THIS....
A papier-mache horse I bought in Toronto over 20 years ago was given a makeover to match Janette's original design, its hollow body filled with assorted “time capsule” items. Soon to follow suit were my Frog Prince...
And their papier-mache incarnations!
These will all be for sale at my show and these two also contain Time Capsule documents. The next logical step would be to have them all full-sized and hand-carved out of wood! But in the meantime I'd like to see them add a touch of whimsy to a restaurant or other such place. I can picture Janette's Gas Sign horse at an automotive museum standing near a gas pump and perhaps a “Route 66” road sign. Another one of her creations, the “Honeymoon Horse”, is being fruitful and multiplying in the form of my first annual “Collector's Edition” soft sculpture. Each horse is numbered and comes with its own Certificate of Authenticity!
So far 19 have been made. I own #1, Edna Scott owns #2 and Janette owns #3. 4, 5 and 6 have been given out as prizes at the convention and the rest are for sale at my upcoming events. When I sell these, Janette gets half the money because she designed them! Both her horses are featured on my First Quilt and both the Frog Prince and Sausage Dog are on my Fourth quilt:
I invite visitors to my exhibit to take their time and notice the details in all these creations. Even if the carousel doesn't actually get built in this lifetime, I would want for my idea to be something that bridges the gap between people on the autism spectrum and neurotypicals to work together harmoniously as a team. One of my biggest burdens, for lack of a better word, is the lack of support systems available for us adults. Sure there are plenty of resources available nowadays to help children so they don't turn out like us, but not everyone had the support that Temple Grandin did, nor were they fortunate enough to be diagnosed early in life. Autism doesn't just disappear as soon as you turn 18. We don't just mysteriously drop dead or vanish off the face of the earth either. In fact many of us need more help than ever! We don't want to be stuck in dead-end jobs where our talents are wasted. And there are many of us who depend on others for transportation because we never learned how to drive! Well, Janette used to drive but she was never comfortable behind the wheel. I never learned because I'm afraid I wouldn't trust myself. There are too many distractions. What we need are volunteers with time on our hands who can help each other out and build a society of compassion and empathy. I am faced with the fear of losing my family. I never had kids of my own and I never will and doing so wouldn't guarantee that they would always be there to help me. I admit I couldn't be there for my mom due to geographical situation. But she had an amazing network of supporters who helped her in her final days. Losing my parents makes me realize how fragile life really is and how I am faced with the idea that nobody lives forever. What if my in-laws become to old and feeble to help me anymore? What if my aunts really do pull up stakes and move to Owen Sound or back to Flesherton? Besides I can really only depend on them for half the year anyway because the rest of the time they go to Florida. And after Aunt Anne's angry outburst on our way to North Bay I continue to be afraid to ask her for any more favors! Other than that I am truly thankful for how helpful they have been to me and I do not take their help for granted! Besides encouraging people to help one another and work as a team, I want my Carousel Project to educate the public about carousels as a form of art and a part of our culture. I'd like to see carousel culture become more popular and more part of the mainstream in everyday conversation. Most people have something to say about celebrities. Most people have something to say
about sports. Just about EVERYONE has something to say about their families. And pretty much everyone has something to say about the weather. Not to mention TV and movies. Ask anybody about art and they can usually name at least two or three artists; Picasso, Rembrandt, VanGogh. But, of course if I mention names like Muller, Dentzel, Illions, etc. most people don't know what I'm talking about. I was even more surprised that the local volunteers at the St. Joseph carousel knew very little about the artists and carvers. At least they know the important stuff; how to make guests feel welcome and how to keep their ride running smoothly and safe, not to mention the rich history of their community and the park that existed in the past. I know all there is to know about the artists and carvers but not what it takes to get my own community to take an idea like this seriously and show them what a wonderful treasure they would have if they had a place like this. To most people it doesn't even matter whether it's Coney Island, Philadelphia or County Fair style. As long as it attracts visitors from near and far and gives the community something to be proud of. As the creator of Planet Nilknarf, these past four years have been a very busy and exciting time for me, sharing so many special and exciting moments. Each convention has had its share of iconic photos that have made my journeys worthwhile no matter how much unpleasant drama I may have also encountered. This year when I had my major meltdown at closing meeting and my humiliating business with wheelchairs at the airport I said to myself “NO MORE!” I decided I am actually going to PASS on next year's convention. I need a BREAK! I can't do this sort of thing anymore! It's taken at least two weeks to recover from this latest journey. I have felt absolutely exhausted! I am SO NOT doing this next year! Next year's convention is in Kansas. Besides being Wizard of Oz country, the home of the NCA archives and the home of both C.W. Parker's original factories, what is there to attract me to next year's convention? Well..not going would mean not seeing how these horses will be decorated unless someone sends me a picture..
And what would I write about if I didn't go? Well, Janette and I have been talking about going on an extra-special Niagara trip next year. But also if I don't go next year there would be no more “Carousel of the Month” unless yadyaadayada... Yes, the carousel bug is already starting to gnaw at me again although I have no idea how I'm going to afford it this time. My VISA bill is an appalling disgrace! I pray that these upcoming sales are successful and I MUST get the rest of Joey's mural done! Here's what I have so far!
I'm getting paid good money for this although so many other projects are screaming for my attention, especially the products, such as these puppets, I'm going to be selling at various upcoming events.
Right now the name of the game is to try to get out of debt before I start saving for the Next Big Thing or two. You can read about everything I experienced at the last convention right here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/108777550/2012-NCA-Convention Although all the drama on the last day made me think I NEVER want to do this again, or at least skip next year's convention, it's moments like THIS that make me want to change my mind! I would like to thank the Flint Journal for this picture and article!
Like I was trying to explain earlier, there's always at least one iconic photo that makes each tour worthwhile and that, my friends and readers, was THIS! Yep, that's me, right in the middle, purple hair and all. THIS was my favorite picture from last year's trip even if it had nothing to do with carousels:
And these were classic moments the year before on the Spokane,Washington/Montana tour:
I've GOT to go back someday when the Three Rivers carousel (left) is completed! And even though I'm not on a horse, this picture taken (right) in Helena, Montana, is one of my favorite because of its goofy exuberance. Of all the conventions I've been on so far that was my favorite because of all its delightful community projects. Missoula, Montana is one of the best carousels I have ever seen and I can hardly wait to return to see the Three Rivers carousel and the Spirit of Columbia Gardens carousel when they are finally completed, up and running. The Three Rivers carousel is the Carmel that used to be at Silver Beach and the Spirit of Columbia Gardens carousel in Butte, Montana, is a community effort in progress. I also want to go back to New York. I haven't been to Manhattan since 1993 and by now the Nunley's carousel has been up and running for quite some time. This is the iconic carousel featured in my logo. Three out of five of my special quilts have their iconic squares that make them extra-special!
I remember when I was finishing the first one I asked around for opinions to find out what people wanted on the last square so I incorporated all our ideas: a cross, jigsaw puzzle pieces, the Olympic logo, a Joshua tree, my logo featuring me riding the Nunley's horse and a white crayon to symbolize the need for teamwork. My friend Lisa designed the horse in the middle which is featured on Quilt #4. As it was nearing completion I was cleaning my room when I came across the envelope with her sketch
in the corner. It was just drawn in pen so I enlarged it and chose my own colours. The last square is from my most recent quilt. One of my Facebook friends sent me this carousel picture. Chances are if you search Google images you'll find the same drawing. Actually a few ladies at the convention had T-shirts with this same picture for “Carousel Dance Studio”. I had a lot of fun choosing and embroidering my own colours and the border around this square has a story of its own, so stay tuned!
Kerry's Place Autism Outcomes Celebration
On Wednesday, October 17th, Kerry's Place hosted a very special evening of arts and entertainment at Leo J. Austin C.S.S in Whitby. I am very thankful to my friend Cherry Abraham for being able to drive me there and back because I never would have been able to find my way there on my own even though the bus route explained to me wasn't as complicated as it sounded over the phone. Still, we are thankful for today's technology because Cherry had to phone her son to look up a map. Where would we be nowadays without cell phones and people who know how to use Google maps? I STILL don't have a cell phone and I suck at reading most maps, especially on Google! Dryden Boulevard comes to an abrupt stop at Thickson where there is a huge field and we had to go onto Dundas to find Anderson in order to get back onto Dryden where it continues from there! Just like the bus info told me. I could have taken the Dundas bus to Anderson and transferred to the corner of Anderson and Dryen, but for an Aspie with a humongous suitcase the idea sounded about as plausible as nailing Jello to a tree trunk!! Still it was a wonderful event. The room was decorated with beautiful silver and blue balloons and gorgeous bright blue cupcakes were served along with a variety of gluten-free cookies and squares (which I got to take home leftovers of at the end of the evening.) There were a variety of performers on stage, all people on the autism spectrum. There were two different acrobatic dance performances, singers and speakers including Jessica and Kerry. It was hard to hear the speakers because other people were talking during their presentation. There were also a few vendors including yours truly. I wish I'd taken a picture but because of this cold I've been battling my head was starting to feel a little funny toward the end of the evening and I totally forgot. I had a HUGE round table so I had lots of room to display my Tshirts, dolls, teddy bears, puppets and carousel horses. Of course I didn't have enough space for all my carousel horses. But I managed to utilize my space efficiently, actually making use of my suitcase and covering it over with a leopard-spotted blanket to display my dolls so they'd have something to lean against and a shelf to display my “Collector's Edition” horses. It was a good evening for me. I sold two T-shirts (One red “Ewetopia” sheep T-shirt and one carousel shirt in black with the words “Celebrate Neurodiversity), three buttons, three clown puppets, a set of “emotional” puppets and one “Collector's Edition” horse. These are based on the Honeymoon Horse by Janette Tansley and each one is numbered with a certificate of authenticity! So far there are 19 in existence. Janette, Edna Scott and I own the first three. The next three were donated as prizes for the raffles/auctions at this year's National Carousel Association and Lucky Number Seven was my first horse sold to a customer at a public event. The rest of these horses will be sold next Friday, October 26th, at the Geneva Autism Symposium at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto, and then at the Boyd Heritage Museum art gallery throughout the months of December and January if there's any left. If not, I hope to make a
few more because I have tails for another nine started!
Shocking Truths and Opinions
This Month: Sometimes it's actually OKAY to admit defeat! “If you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree the fish will grow up thinking he's stupid” Albert Einstein. Not everyone can be good at everything. We all have different purposes in life. The world would be a boring place if everybody were the same. Sometimes we do more harm than good when we try to change people and expect them to conform to a certain standard. We're not all made the same way. Take me for example. I ABSOLUTELY SUCK at Math!!! But I would need my Grade 11 math to qualify for a Graphic Arts course at the college. I tried to change my attitude. I did the best I could. I even used synaesthesia and decorated carousel horses to help me remember my multiplication tables. That was one thing. But even with the BEST TEACHER IN THE WORLD I STILL can't convert fractions, decimals and percentages back and forth from amongst each other. I started doing that last NOVEMBER!! I was in a class where we learn at our own pace and if things got too overwhelming for me I could take a break and draw cartoons or do puzzles on the computer. I discovered by March that I was spending more time drawing and doing puzzles than I was actually mastering my math after doing the same stuff for all those months and I ended up having one colossal meltdown! Sure I can use carousel horses to help me remember facts, terminology and multiplication tables. They not only helped me in Math but in Marketing and Photography. But there was NO WAY I could use them to help me with these kinds of problems. I was at my wits' end! So I QUIT!! No use torturing myself any further.
Sabrina felt bad. She didn't want to lose me as a student. And I've enjoyed having her as a teacher. Since we had exhausted all possibilities and surrendered to the fact that Math was SO NOT my thing, I took a month's leave of absence, which helped me prepare for my sale in April, and she arranged it for me to come back to her classroom to learn Photo-shop instead of math. And losing weight. Most people think a person is fat because they eat too much. Contrary to popular belief I do NOT sit around constantly stuffing my face. True, I know I'm not as active as I should be and I am going to be honest I FUCKING LOVE FOOD AND REFUSE TO BE MADE TO FEEL ASHAMED OF IT!! I've wasted too many years busting my ass trying to get down to a certain size only to realize I don't care anymore. Health is a luck of the draw. If
people don't like me the way I am then they don't have to be my friends! Part of the problem is that most medications these days also have weight gain as a side-effect. If they can put a man on the moon, why can't they make meds that cause weight LOSS as a side-effect. I guess they don't think it's important enough. When I was in high school I got myself down to 135 pounds for about five minutes. Of course to teenagers, anything about the “eleventies” still tends to be considered morbidly obese. To be honest the bullying still didn't stop. And I actually got tired of the compliments. Couldn't people talk about ANYTHING ELSE? And why couldn't they have been this nice to me when I was still fat? And because of my reputation for being kind of crazy having ridden the short bus and all (even if it was for only the first two years of school they never let you live that kind of thing down) guys still never asked me out on dates. I'm sure there were several perfectly nice guys who probably would have wanted to do so if not for the stigma of being seen with me. When I was going through my mom's estate I came across a picture of myself back in the 80's. “I'll never look like that again.” I sighed. “You can look ANY WAY YOU WANT.” said Jean, “It's a matter of making a decision.” Yeah riiight. I know from experience. A decision to say goodbye to my favorite foods forever. A decision to spend every waking moment exercising. A decision to not have time anymore for the activities I REALLY enjoy such as my artwork. Forget it. Going off my meds is not an option either. Even though I have my moments of unwanted drama (face it, is there any other kind?) I would rather be fat than crazy and miserable. My days of people trying to change me are OVER!! By refusing to waste time at things that are an exercise in futility, I can allow myself to focus on the things that I really AM good at, the things that really DO make me happy and bring fulfillment to my life. I'm NOT a total couch potato. I do get SOME exercise. Not as much as I SHOULD but “SHOULD” is a dirty word anyway. Most of the time if I have anywhere to go I prefer to walk whenever possible. Listening to music on my MP3 player. But all in all, I must say, admitting defeat at some things and letting go of them makes room for victory in other things. As long as I can still wear store-bought jeans and don't have to buy TWO seats on an airplane I'm okay.
Dear Mom and Dad
Monday, October, 22nd, 2012 Dear Mom and Dad How are things in heaven? We've had our share of struggles and drama around here but other than that we're okay. I have been battling a nasty cold for two weeks now. It started with a sore throat the day after Thanksgiving Monday. I was going to go to the Urgent Care clinic on Friday but when I got there the waiting room was PACKED!! It was so busy that at least half the people there had nowhere to sit! I took one look at that crowd and said “NO WAY!!!” I would have been waiting HORS, probably only to be told “It's just a virus. All you can do is let it run its course.” I may
not get sick as often as I used to but when I do it seems to take FOREVER to get rid of! I feel like I've forgotten what it's like to be well. And it's not like I haven't been taking care of myself. I can remember living in Lindsay and Toronto and getting worse because I had to drag myself to work when I was feeling much sicker than this!! I used to really push myself because I didn't want to miss anything! Or I felt guilty if I didn't get enough accomplished when I was working for Maggie. At least I was okay to do my sale last Wednesday night at Leo J. Austin, however my head felt a little strange toward the end of the evening. I've tried to take it easy as much as possible and not go anywhere unless I absolutely HAVE to. I'm not holding my breath about tomorrow's event in Newmarket. If it's not meant to be I'll understand. One more day to recover is probably more important between now and the Geneva Autism Symposium on Friday. My cough is always worst when I'm trying t sleep at night. Therefore I haven't slept much at night lately. Usually I'm no the computer until around 3 in the morning playing Scrabble until I'm good and exhausted and then I sleep until noon the next day. But last night I wasn't just playing Scrabble. I, and a few others, were doing our best to convince a good friend on Facebook not to end it all. Melissa has been going through a very bad time. She hates her neighbourhood. She's always being bullied. And these are GROWN MEN, local businessmen, who have been giving her a bad time all these years. And to make matters worse her latest caregiver has been a real BITHC. I can't say it any other way. I've felt so badly for Melissa. She needs somebody compassionate to look after her. Not someone who is always yelling at her while texting family members on the ob and blasting music from her iPod. So unprofessional. And last night Janette phoned really upset. I couldn't be there to answer the phone because Dave and I were at his dad and Marnie's for Dave's birthday diner so I got the recorded message! I could hardly understand a word she was saying because she was crying. All I know is her landlord's son had some drama. It sounded like she said he had to go to the hospital but the word got cut off. It was a bit of a shaky connection. Basically she was trying to tell me that she ended up having a major meltdown and couldn't stop screaming. The neighbours were pounding at the door and she'd talk to me tomorrow. Well, guess what, tomorrow's today and I still haven't heard from her. I know she isn't at work today because she was planning on taking Monday off but I tried phoning and there's no answer, just a recording telling me to try again later. I hope she hasn't done anything crazy. Poor Dave had a nasty fall on his way to the drugstore Friday night. He slipped and fell on some uneven pavement at the corner of King and Westmount just in front of the Rapid Reproductions shop. At least he didn't break any ribs but he's had to cancel his chiropractor's appointment and his dressing changes are going back to every other day rather than every third day because he broke some skin on his leg beneath his bandage. Both Dave and my friend Melissa I was just telling you about have lymphaedema in their legs. She has it really bad in both. And speaking of nasty falls, his Aunt Kathy couldn't come to last night's birthday dinner
because yesterday morning she fell outside her apartment on her way out to her car! She was supposed to be using her cane but didn't! At least we did enjoy a lovely supper though. We had crispy, golden roast pork with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, turnips, green beans and crescent rolls and for dessert we had a delicious fruit flan with kiwi, peaches and strawberries. I filmed video footage of Dave blowing out his candle but I haven't loaderized it yet. They gave him a gift card that can be used at any store in the Oshawa Centre. I haven't bought him a birthday present yet but I'm probably going to order this book he wants on Amazon.com. Which brings me to the next subject. I am very happy for Dave because the other night he got to meet one of is hockey heroes, Derek Sanderson. You know how he collects books written by hockey players. Well, Derek has just released a new book, and Dave also has one that he wrote 40 years ago. Dave actually has over 70 books written by hockey players now. If I didn't have this horrible cold I would have gone with him to take a picture, but I'm still very happy for him. It sounds like he had a great time and Derek Sanderson is a really nice guy. He was at Chapters book store at the Oshawa Center and he autographed both books and a hockey card for Dave. There weren't many people there so Derek had plenty of time to answer questions. And they weren't simple “yes” or “no” answers. This guy genuinely enjoys sharing stories about his career! :) I'm really glad Dave got to see him. The other night I had a dream that the you two and I went on a vacation together and we were at some Wild West village type place. I took out my camera to take a picture of these really weird colourful statues but then they started moving. They really weren't statues at all but costume characters, so I pushed my little red button and captured them on video. We then went to this place where we were going to take a boat cruise. It was a three hour tour! (Yes, I did start singing the Gilligan's Island theme!!) Anyway, Dad, you dropped us off so you could park the car but you didn't get back in time. Mom and I got on the boat and had to leave without you. As soon as we were on the boat we went off exploring in opposite directions and I found a theatre where they were going to show a movie. There was also a place that was serving free ice cream so I left my purse at my seat, which is really stupid because A.who just leaves a purse at their seat on a boat among strangers and B. I NEVER carry a purse. You know me, I always have that ratty old backpack! But in this dream I had a white purse just like yours. Anyway, I went back into the movie theatre with my ice cream and the place was PACKED, mostly little old ladies, and my seat was TAKEN. I woke up shouting “WHERE'S MY PURSE?” Strange, eh? Anyway, I think I'm going to go back to bed for awhile. Bye for now, Love, Margaret
Next Month: Carousel of the Month: Silver Beach, St. Joseph, Michigan. I would like to thank Diane Radewald for sending me a disc of NEVER BEFORE SEEN pictures from this year's convention! STAY TUNED!!! See You Next Month!
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