Happy Mother's Day

Planet Nilknarf May 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Me and my mom at the 2004 “Canada Blooms” flower show in hat's I've decorated and T-shirts I've embroidered.

Message from the Editor
Well, it's that time of year again. Time to show our appreciation to our mothers and let them know how special they really are. But what if you're not a mother? What if you have no intention of procreating? That's when days like Mother's Day can make you feel like a pork chop at a kosher wedding. I, personally have no material instinct. In fact, my idea of a cure for colic is a nice hot bath, throw in some carrots and onions. Sometimes I think I might have kids if I could adopt or marry into a family where they're at least six years old, but at the risk of sounding like an evil person, babies are not my thing. And I know I'm not the only one who feels that way. We shouldn't be made to feel like bad people if we don't want to have kids. Nobody can be good at everything. Okay, so I'm spoiled, selfish, lazy and set in my ways. Want to make something of it? Rather than bring more kids into an already overly-populated world, I try to do what I can to make the world a bit of a better place for some of the kids who are already here. Usually it means giving away many of my extra dolls and puppets that I have left over at Christmastime. And now it also means building the carousel and creating an autism-friendly environment surrounding it. I also like to think of my readers as my “kids” because I feel it is my duty to provide encouragement to others out there and let them know they are not alone. Not everyone is skilled in everything. Nobody is perfect and we don't all have to be the same. Making my dolls is my way of “being fruitful and multiplying.” I like my privacy. My home is my sanctuary and I treasure my “alone” time. In fact I couldn't function without it. When my husband is at work and I've got the house to myself, I am NEVER bored! I always have a million projects to work on, whether it's working on my newsletters, working on the latest craft project, or drawing my cartoons. Speaking of cartoons, stay tuned for the June issue for a very special edition of “Ewetopia”!! Join the fun and excitement as Olive, Gladys and Edna enjoy their holiday at Niagara Falls!! Meanwhile, I hope you will enjoy reading a bit about the history of my wild and woolly brainchildren..

History of the “Ewetopia” Sheep
Gladys and Edna made their debut, along with two winged hippos, (“Hippo Birdies, Two Ewes”)on April 4th, 2005, on an MS Paint birthday card fro my friend Sharon. The “Hippo Birdies” quickly faded into obscurity but suddenly the Two Ewes were everywhere, invading my LiveJournal and affiliated communities every chance they got, sometimes ad nauseum!

It was on August 17th of that year a third mischief-maker, Olive was added into the mix. She arrived on the scene in response to a meme about olives! At the time Gladys and Edna were using the World's Largest Olive in Lindsay California as their clubhouse and as an initiation quest, sent Olive to bring them back a shrubbery. Olive returned, not only with the required plant, but with chocolate! And only days later the three of them met their soul mates, Pat, Mike and Lester at a Japanese toilet-themed restaurant...!!

A series of weddings followed with various themes, the first one being Olive and Lester's at


Like myself, the three Ewetopia ewes also have Asperger's Syndrome and over the years several of my comic strips about them have expressed my own feelings, personal situations and sensory issues. Even things like medication and side effects....

Unfortunately, when I'm upset, so are they and my feelings got me into big trouble in September of 2006 when my husband spent the entire month in the hospital. The Ewetopia sheep went on a wild rampage! A teapot smashed on Edna's head and she got her nose stuck in the spout. Pluto was disgruntled about losing his status as a planet and took it out on Gladys. Last but not least, an ill-fated furry talk show led to their demise on LiveJournal once and for all. It's an ugly story. I'll spare you the gory details. Fortunately, Olive, Gladys and Edna managed to survive and make new homes for themselves in the hearts of audiences elsewhere by regularly appearing in the Kerry's Place “Living With Autism” newsletters, my Facebook group and now here in “Planet Nilknarf” every month. They are also available on hand-embroidered T-shirts for $25 each in any colour you want. Sales of my “Ewetopia T-shirts have been quite successful since their issue. I wear mine quite often. Olive, Gladys and Edna have a variety of interests and they love to travel! Stay tuned! They are planning an extra special trip to Niagara Falls in June! And now it's time for Planet Nilknarf's Top 10 List..Actually it's 13 this time but who's counting?

13 Famous Living People I'd Like to Invite to Dinner
1. Joyce Meyer 2. Gene Simmons 3. Boy George 4. Stephen Hawking 5. SARK 6. Julia Cameron 7. DooDoo the Clown 8. Augusten Burroughs 9. John Elder Robison 10. Temple Grandin 11. Tony Attwood 12. America Ferarra 13. Craig McNair Wilson And if I did have such a dinner it would be very interesting to see what they'd bring if it were pot luck!!!

Memes, Synaesthesia and Logodaedeli
I first became aware of the term “meme” back in the days when I had my LiveJournal account. There, a meme often took the forms of various quizzes, questionnaires or games. For example, there was one site called “Blogthings” with little quizzes such as if you typed in what colour underwear you were wearing it would tell you what rejected crayon colour you are. You could then copy-and-paste the URL into your journal to share your answer with other readers. Other topics might include “What flavour of ice cream are you?” or “What Mythical Creature?” The list goes on. I used to find these things highly addictive. Other memes took the form of a series of questions to answer about yourself or some kind f

game. One of my favorite memes was the “Batgirl” meme. It was open to all cartoonists who had female characters and we would all draw pictures of them dressed as Batgirl.

One I started myself was the “Vogon Poetry Generator”. The rules are quite simple. Randomly type out a bunch of gibberish and let Spellcheck help you choose the best words to translate them. Here goes a short example... “Foil meioses felon Glen po Goering gung pig blog rogue forwent bejewel FM PJ grip un Oy or purge Aga Olie Powers opossum weeper Peoria meme owe weeny Pez jaw vey Oy view pew PJ's newfound fjord Efrem fop woeful po elf pre opera Fu paw dum oh quad Fu POW PJ pox opaqued wood qwerty Jdavie iPod quip qwerty Oy Doo pique wrap do Ishtar.” Ugh, that had to be one of my worst! And to top it off, there were some words where Spellcheck didn't offer any alternatives so I either had to cut them in half or delete them. That's okay too. But the real meaning of the word “meme” is basically any words, phrases, ideas or behaviours passed down from person to person. The word “meme was coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins, Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, in his book “The Selfish Gene” Some memes are passed down through generations. Some are regional. Some are cultural. Many memes are spread through the media, and in recent years on the Internet. Some are more esoteric and take the form of inside jokes where only a few selected friends or family members would know what you're talking about. For Janette's family reacted with puzzlement for a moment on her brother's 13th birthday when she remarked “Michael's off the clock now!” I knew what she meant when she was telling me this story and couldn't help but think that if it's your 25th birthday, then you would be off the clock in Military time. I first became of the word “logodaedlus” when I was listening to a talking book CD about creative thinking. The word comes from “logo” for “word” and “Daedalus” from the character in mythology, who along with his son, Icarus, constructed wings out of wax and feathers so that they might learn to fly, but their wings melted when they flew too close to the sun. I wonder why that particular analogy was selected for the term.

Shakespeare was a prime example of a logodaedlus. It is because of him we have the expressions “in a pickle” and “fell swoop”, as well as several others in our modern day vocabularies, And growing up with several friends of British backgrounds I know that a “lift” is what they call an elevator, a “flannel” is a washcloth, “crisps” are potato chips and a roundabout is their word for my favorite thing, a carousel or merry-go-round. It took a moment or two for me to figure out, however, that a “settee” was their word for sofa or couch. I grew up with it being called a “Chesterfield”. I remember our Sunday school teacher, who is American, telling our class the story about being invited to somebody's house here in Canada to see their new chesterfield. In the States, a”Chesterfield” is a brand of cigarettes. And when the hostess said to her “Let me get you a serviette.” our teacher thought it might be some kind of cake when it turned out to be a napkin. I also remember my landlady in Peterborough telling me about a friend whose German pen pal stopped writing to her. It turned out that she had told her pen pal that she played her guitar when she was feeling blue. Here in North American culture we're familiar with “blue” meaning sad or melancholy, but in Germany, when you're blue it mens you're drunk! In fact it is interesting to think about how many words in our culture alone are used for drunk: tipsy, inebriated, intoxicated, bombed, sloshed verschnicket, slazozzled...the list goes on Another one of my favorite examples of cultural differences in communication is the story of the Sawe tribe in New Guinea. A missionary at church told us this amusing story about how every time he pointed at something they kept telling him their word for “finger.” Here we take it for granted that the finger is used for pointing at everything. The Sawe tribe, however, use their lips to point at everything, usually accompanied with a “pwuh!” sound. “Where's the post office?” “Over there—pwuh!” “Which way to the market place?” “That way—pwuh!” “I'd like to speak to your manager.” “That's him—pwuh!” You can just imagine! And there must be 99 words for boobs as YouTube video mentions. Unfortunately I can't access this video because I don't have my own account. My friends and I have been logodaedeli for years without knowing there was such a word for what we do. We've been making up our own words since we were kids and my former boss and I have even made up our own words on the job when we were actually getting along and having a good time. Many words in our vocabulary have been coined by mispronunciations. A prime example would be how in my stories about our trips to Niagara Falls I am always calling the People Mover the “Poople Mever.” Janette called it that by accident one day and it just stuck. My mom's neighbour Erna was Hungarian and English was not her first language. She used to call the screen door the “scream door”, poison ivy “poison ivory”, cancer “cancel” and instead of damage, both her and her husband would say “damwidge!” “He damwidged the scream door trying to avoid the poison ivory because he was afraid it would give him cancel.” When I used to live in Lindsay I noticed a lot of people said “Saiirday” instead of “Saturday.” It was like they slurred the first two syllables together. They'd also say “warsh” instead of wash

and “pillacases” instead of pillowcases. “I warshed the pillacases on Saiirday!” I still tend to say “warsh” much to my husband's annoyance. “There's no such word as warsh!” he always says to me. It gets better. My friend Jan says that in Orillia, not only do they use those words, but vegetables are called “vengetables.” Now back to the words and expressions my friends and I have used amongst ourselves. When Janette was a kid, and even now, she called these things “don't-likes.”

It's not that she didn't like them, in fact she was and still is quite fascinated by the. It's just that their downward, triangular shape reminded her of the way her brother used to say “don't like.” She also had a teacher named Mrs. Attyo and the name made her think of the shape of one of these things. We'd love to hear from any of your readers out there to find out what these things are REALLY called and what they actually do. The closest we can figure is “funnel filters.” Back in 1994 when Janette and I were in Denver, we got a major case of the giggles because we were seeing them everywhere and she got thinking “A don't-like here, a don't-like there!..” It's a synaesthesia thing, go figure. We also call potholes “thinking-what-I'm-doings.” When I mentioned this to my ex, he said “Does that mean a bump in the road would be called a “doing-what-I'm-thinking?”” And checkerboards are want-a-tins. Maybe when Janette was a kid, she wanted a checkered tin. At the risk of TMI, now that I am approaching my mid-40's I have been already experiencing the “change of life” for the past couple years and have what I call “want-a-tin” months where I am spotting every other day for nearly the entire month rather than having a normal period. I picture the calendar as being a red-and-white checkerboard. There must be hundreds of words out there for menstruation but that's another story too. I wish I could find that link about it. Another one of our favorite expressions is “boomphs.” A boomph is what we call one of those street lamps with the circular globe. Janette coined the term when she was about nine years old. There were several boomphs near her school. There are also several boomphs near the Oshawa Centre in the area where the buses come. I often see seagulls balancing on top of them. Back when we were both living in Toronto, we were in the bargain basement shop at the Dufferin Mall when I spotted a round object and picked it up. “Oh, it's just a clock with a

boomph on top!” I casually exclaimed. Two little old ladies who didn't speak much English looked at each other and said “A BOAMPH?” We thought we were going to roll on the floor laughing. And I will always think of Handel's Firework's music as “The Toilet Paper Song” because Janette told me that when she was a kid it made her think of toilet paper coming off the roll. She was explaining this to me at something like two in the morning and at the time didn't know the name of the piece and couldn't stop laughing when she tried to hum it for me. Nowadays, whenever I hear it, I imagine rolls of toilet paper flying through the air and unfurling!

Then there's also “dam-could-a-could-coulds.” Those are made from tying two pieces of string together and just twirling it and watching the knot with its two ends sticking out spin back and forth. Definitely Aspie behaviour as we like to watch things that spin! And then there was that time back in 1998 when Cherry Coke came back on the market. It had these labels that I found irresistible to peel. Shortly after I'd removed my label, this Italian guy, seeing me walk down the street with my unmarked bottle said “You gonna get-a drunk!” That made me laugh so much I wouldn't be surprised if people thought I WAS drunk and from then on whenever my friends and I drink Cherry Coke we always say that to each other. And now I wouldn't be surprised if my readers who have read this article start doing that too. For awhile there after seeing the movie “Madeline” we also used to call chicken “Fred”. If you've seen the movie then, of course you'll remember the part where they're having a welcome home supper for her after she returns from the hospital and she bursts into tears and says “I can't eat this! It's Fred!!” We had barbecued Fred when we rang in the New Millennium! Then there's also the concept of “yucca-boo”!! The term yucca-boo was originally coined to refer to a pair of scissors, but soon grew to apply to any annoying object that's always in your

face when you don't need it and nowhere to be found when you really do! I remember my first trip to the Roseneath carousel. I just HAD to have my camera but I could NOT find it ANYWHERE! I must have looked for that yucca-boo camera in the same bag countless number of times! How could I miss it? It was florescent orange!!! So I went out and bought a new camera, a purple one! Sure enough, when I came home from Roseneath, my orange camera was right there all along in the same bag I'd kept looking in! And it was Doug who told me that the Ojibwa Indian word for “dirty underwear” is “weegiggish pagoshkagin.” That term has stuck with me for years, however since I don't know the word for “clean” we've often used the word “un-weegiggish.” My former boss couldn't remember that word so she came up with the word “ingoogamies.” That has since then been one of my favorite words for underwear. And we must not forget linnendars! I use “linnendar” as one of my screen names and it's one of our words for “spider web!” Janette is terrified of linnendars. Once during a church scavenger hunt she gave a blood-curdling scream because I nearly walked into a HUGE one! And if you're a guy in a locker room, you'd probably hate to have a “dear nook fuff!” 'Dear nook” is our word for small. Janette's brother used to have an imaginary friend named Dear Nook who was so small you couldn't see him. I also like to “spook in speanerisms and wix up my murds.” but lately I usually just do so when I want a coff of cuppee or want to catch the poople mever. Until we read about the concept of synaesthesia, Janette and I took for granted that basically everyone thought like this, associating words and sounds with colours and shapes. I tend to see the days of the week as follows: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and numbers as follows: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Actually 10 is more of a pinkish-burgundy shade but it wasn't on the chart. Burps are usually big and round unless they sound like they've twisted around a corner and then we've referred to them as “triangular burps.” To me, most burps are deep blue in colour. Farts generally tend to be greenish yellow. Then, of course, there's “Coil borborygmy.”!!! Borborygmy is the scientific term for stomach growling. It's the perfect word for it because that's exactly how it sounds! You may or may not have heard George Carlin's routine about the subject. Ever get the kind that sounds like something spinning around? “Coi-oi-oi-oi-oi-oil!” Janette and I used to get the giggles about this a lot during our time of poverty. Different genres of music and different musical instruments also have their own colours, shapes and textures. We often experience boring music as “beige and gray” and some of these slow 50's ballads as “pastel”. I experience flutes as soft blues and silver, horns as shiny gold and electric guitars as bright orange. The intro to Annie Lennox's sparkles in blues and greens that make me think of a waterfall. Most electronic music tends to sound “nocturnal” to me, bright colours against a dark background. Annoying rap music tends to make me think of

broken glass and barbed wire and I feel like I become entangled in barbed wire when I try to escape from it. A loud bass beat hits me like hammers on my head. “Colourful” music is what we like best. I could do a whole other article about sensory issues and certain noises I found downright painful. I enjoy the music of Mighty Mighty Bosstones, but I find when I listen to too much of it my throat gets sore! The lead singer has such a rough voice that for some strange reason my own throat hurts. And years of watching KIDEO reruns have caused me to often use the expressions “If you please” and “You could say that, but I wish you hadn't”. In fact, years of watching certain TV shows often cause a lot of people to incorporate certain words and phrases into their vocabularies. Not a day goes by without me exclaiming “D'OH!” at least once. In fact, “D'oh” has actually made it into the dictionary in recent years. Well, I must go now. I have a ton of dishes to warsh!

Design Your Own Carousel Horse

Welcome to this month's edition of “Design Your Own Carousel Horse”. Each month I will be presenting a line drawing of a classic carousel horse stripped of its trappings in order that you, the reader can design and decorate the horse of your dreams! If you are having so much fun that you would like to decorate more horses, copies of my colouring book are available from me at my website: http://margaretfranklin.netfirms.com These books make great gifts, alone or as part of a Creative Care Package along with stickers, glitter glue and various art supplies to encourage talent and creativity among your friends, children or students. Remember that I'm always looking for submissions for

the Autism Awareness Carousel Project. And speaking of submissions, here's another project! First of all I'd like to thank Carousel Works of Mansfield, Ohio for supplying me with pictures of some of their products, including the blank, ready-to-paint rounding board. I thought we could have a bit of fun here with this:

To provide you with a little inspiration, I thought I'd show you what I've done, just using the photo with MS Paint:

Gotta love those colours, eh? Now I just can't wait to get my hands on the REAL thing and some Japan oils, or whatever they use to paint rounding boards. A three-row machine usually takes something like 36 of these!

Upcoming Events:
NCA Technical Conference, Sandusky, Ohio, May8-10. I look forward to sharing the details of this adventure in a future issue of Planet Nilknarf! Information here: http://www.nca-usa.org/2009tech.html Autism Awareness Carousel Craft Sale: 384 Elmgrove Avenue, Oshawa, Ontario, 9 am to 5pm. T-shirts, dolls, puppets, stuffed toys, carousel horse tree ornaments and more!!! THREE EXCITING DAYS Friday, May 15th, Sunday May 18th and Saturday May 23rd!!! “Adopt” a palm-sized carousel pony to show your support! $4 each or 3 for $10

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