Planet Nilknarf

March 2010

March Birthdays

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Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Top O' the morning! Here's a picture of me wearing something green for the occasion. I call this my “Olive” hat because it's basically just like the one Olive the sheep wears in my “Ewetopia” comic strips. Go figure, as soon as I've already published the February issue I start working on the March one! And in my previous issue I jokingly said that I just sit here and throw a bunch of crap together on the computer. Really, it's a lot more complicated than that. Nearly every waking moment I spend thinking about what various assorted treats, treasures words of wisdom and nonsense I want to share with my readers. You are all very special to me and I want to make sure that you are well entertained and informed and that my monthly publication brings smiles, laughter and warm fuzzies to all who read it. Know that whomever you are, wherever you are, I am always praying for my loyal readers, that you may prosper and find joy and blessing in all you do. I pray for healing protection over your health, that you will never have to face the kind of ordeal I went through last year and that your needs will always be met, one way or another. I basically pray for my readers the very things that I would want for myself, along with the strength and wisdom to be happy for any of you folks out there if you get it and I don't. At the time that I am writing this, since the New Year began I am only $10 and 3 cents richer than I was last year, but hopefully that will change by the time this issue comes to print. I think about all the adventures I had last year and wonder HOW THE HECK DID I DO IT ALL?!!!!! 2009 was an UNBLIEVABLE year!!! I made it to not just one but TWO carousel conventions, shook hands with Gene Simmons at Canadian music week AND saw KISS at the GM Centre. All this DESPITE the tribulation I suffered throughout the summer! It was a year of wishfulfillment against the odds!! And speaking of wish fulfillment, how many of you have caught the story of Susan Boyle? Recently there was a fascinating TV program about her rise to stardom! She's 48 years old and not the conventional idea of beauty but what a voice! Over three million albums sold!! (My mom and I each have a copy) I am so happy for her to now that she's made the most record sales in HISTORY!! She's outsold the Beatles, she's outsold KISS, all in less than a year, as well as had a worldwide tour. And her videos have probably had more hits on YouTube than anyone else! Keep up the good work, Susan! You go, girl! You really deserve the success you've earned! One of the reasons Susan Boyle is successful is that she gives all of us hope that dreams really do come true. It's never too late!

Even before watching this program, something recently got me thinking...what makes a pop culture icon? In this age of technology, information spreads fast. Celebrities come and go. And the Internet is so full of stuff that sometimes trying to find what you need is like looking for the proverbial needle in the proverbial haystack. God knows how many times I've googled my own name, not to mention “Planet Nilknarf” to find out what others are saying about me. I may not exactly be famous yet, but I have a small and steady group of people who believe in me whom I am grateful for. When I attended my first and only meeting of the Oshawa Arts council, they wanted people to write articles for their next newsletter about the importance of technology and how it's helped them to promote their work. I raised my hand as they were handing out forms to fill out, but the lady handing out the forms totally ignored me. Well, who needs the Arts Council anyway. They were too neurotypical for me. I felt like I might as well be invisible. If I want to write an article about how technology has helped me, I'll jolly well do it in HERE!!! Not only has today's technology helped me to promote my art and ideas, it has been useful with everyday tasks. For example, when it's my turn to clean the bathroom, my husband mo longer needs to complain that I forget to put things back in their proper place. Thanks to my digital camera, I was able to take a picture of the bathroom counter before I cleaned it so I could look at it and see where everything belongs:

It's so nice not having to wait to use up film and have to go to the mall to get it developed. I hate getting pictures developed at our mall because Black's is right next to the Food Court and it's always so noisy there!! X-# It's nice to just take whatever pictures I shoot, plug it in and loaderize them at my convenience. Anyone can be a journalist in this day and age. Anyone can publish a 'blog or put together their own magazine, just as I'm doing here. What I normally would have previously spent on film has more than paid for itself. I'm sure I must have pumped off the equivalent of a dozen rolls of film when I was at my last NCA convention! Yet, I also have the convenience of carrying my camera anywhere with me because I never know what I'll see. I wish I had it with me the time I was just walking downtown on my way to my job at the hospital when Darth Vader and one of his Imperial Stormtroopers were standing outside greeting people at the World's Collide comic book store.

Things That Make You Go “Hmmmm...”
Recently on an episode of the Bonnie Hunt Show, Carl Reiner showed a clip from “This is Your Life” where the contestant actually did NOT want to be on the show!!! When they first announced the news to him, he passed out. So they revived him. However, when he regained consciousness, he fought them off as they chased him through the studio, grabbing at him. Most people thought this was hilariously funny but I really felt sorry for the poor guy!! It made me wonder, what kind of life must he have had that he doesn't want to share it with the TV

world? Having all those guys chase and grab at him like that must have been very traumatizing. I know it would be for me. What if this fellow were also an Aspie? This brings me to the next story....

Eleven-Year Old Autistic Boy Charged with Felony, and How NOT to treat someone with an ASD
By now, if you've been following the news in the autism community, you've probably heard this story several times and even been asked to contribute money to help with this situation. The story has been all over the place in Facebook and YouTube and if you still haven't heard it, here's the basic gist of the tale. It happened to an eleven-year old boy named Zakh, who has autism. It started when one of his classmates erased something he had written on the chalkboard that he wasn't finished with yet. He started to get upset. So the teacher kept nagging him to come up to the front of the classroom. The situation escalated until she and the principal had him backed into a corner and they were infringing on his personal space. Out of panic and instinct, he kicked the principal in the shin. The principal has pressed charges and won't drop them. He wants Zahk institutionalized. There are more details than I can fully comprehend, but I agree with most people who say that Zahk was innocent and shouldn't be punished. He was only doing what any traumatized and overwhelmed child with autism would have done, acting on his instincts, and by not giving him his personal space when he was upset, they were only causing the situation to escalate causing him to have a full-blown meltdown. I should should know because even as an adult I've been in similar, humiliating situations. I'm just thankful that the law was never involved. When these things happened to me, I didn't even know that I had an ASD. One such incident occurred when I was living in Toronto and I hadn't slept all night because I had a very sore arm and nothing to take for it. I'd also had an argument with Lynda about taking part in a parade that was getting really complicated and she was dissing Janette for dropping out. NOBODY DISSES MY BEST FRIEND! SO THERE! Anyway, there I was at around five in the morning and I forget whether it was on my way to or from the 24-hour drugstore at Dufferin and Lawrence and the bus was COMPLETELY PACKED. There was NOWHERE to sit down and my arm hurt too much to raise to hold onto the bar so I couldn't stand so I just plopped myself down on the floor. Anyway, this stupid idiot comes along and TRIES TO PICK ME UP!!! HELLOOOOOO????!!!! DUDE??!! WTF WERE YOU THINKING?!! IT CAN'T BE DONE!!! Folks, you've seen pictures of me!! I'm built like a BRICK SHITHOUSE!!! Always have been and probably always will be. It's just one of those sad facts I've humbly had to accept, so please refrain from any further unsolicited advice because chances are I've probably heard it all before and the medication I'm on only further exacerbates this condition. You need a FRIGGIN FORKLIFT!! And to make matters worse, we were going through a hot summer heatwave so I was wearing a thin sun-dress with no bra. And of course when Einstein here tried to lift me, you can imagine where his hands went. “GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY BOOBS!” I screamed, and he quickly backed off. I forget what happened next. At least I don't think anyone bothered me for the rest of the journey. A similar tale of horror happened in the summer of 2001 when my former boss recommended that I make an appointment with her psychiatrist. She told me where his office was. Unfortunately, nobody told me that since she last saw him, his office had MOVED!!!! The

place where his office was supposed to be was empty and gutted. Right next door was a senior citizen's home. I asked if I could use the phone so I could call his office to find out where it was. I was already late and starting to feel quite distraught as a result and I was led to a common room where several residents were sitting and watching TV, etc. and as soon as I got on the phone they started talking to each other quite loudly. I asked them to keep it down but they just ignored me or were downright rude. They were like “This is OUR place and we can talk as loud as we want!” I literally ran out of that place screaming. To make matters worse, as I hightailed it down the street there was this lady who kept grabbing my arm and asking me who I was, telling me I upset the residents. I upset the residents? They upset ME!! I yelled at her to leave me alone. “What difference does it make anyway?!” I said “I have no intention of ever setting foot anywhere near that place again!” Of course the next day my boss had to ask how my appointment went. “It didn't. It was a complete fiasco.” And of course she wanted to know everything and she was totally disgusted with me for wasting her time instead of being sympathetic about any misunderstanding. If there's one thing Maggie never had in most situations it was sympathy!

Book Review:
The Yadayada Prayer Group and The Yadayada Prayer Group Gets Down Neta Jackson

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Isaiah 52:7 (NIV) I recently discovered this delightful series of books in my church library. It had been at least a year since anybody had read them. Nevertheless I was captivated by their colourful covers depicting all these colourful pairs of socks, as it tied in with a previous article I had posted in my “Planet Nilknarf” newsletter where I mentioned socks and shoes and needed to come up with the above Scripture verse. The Yadayada Prayer Group follows the adventures of Jodi Baxter, a middle-aged school teacher and her family, and the new friends she met at a Christian women's conference, from all over Chicago and a variety of ethnicities. She is brought there by her boss, Avis, who is

also her school's principal. On the first night of the conference, Dolores has to leave because her son, Jose, is shot in the playground by a gang member. A couple other women also leave the meeting to drive and accompany her to the hospital. This is the beginning of a unique and wonderful friendship amidst the twelve women who meet in this group and from then on pledge to remain friends forever, keep in touch and gather together at least every other Sunday. They pray for Florida, a former drug addict who had her children taken away by Children's Aid, to finally be reunited with her daughter, Carla. There is some friction when Ruth is doubtful that it might not be in Carla's best interest to be removed from her foster family. Toward the end of the first book, Jodi has a terrible car accident where she kills a young boy. In The Yadayada Prayer Group Gets Down, Jodi goes on trial over the accident. Her labour day meeting of the Yadayada prayer group is also violated by a woman who robs them all at knife point and injures Hoshi's mother who is visiting Japan and struggling with her daughter's faith as a Christian. Instead of remaining angry and hating Becky Wallace, the woman who robbed them, the group decided to pray for her and be her friend, visiting her in jail. They do so because Florida and Yoyo were once in Becky's situation. Trouble also reigns at Adele's Hair & Nails shop where her elderly mother, MaDear, goes wild and starts attacking Jodi's husband, because she has a flashback and mistakes him for a man who shot her brother. And more drama takes place in the classroom when she wants to give extra help to her student, Hakim, and discovers that his mother is the mother of the boy she killed in the car accident. Hakim's mother has a major fit and desperately wants him removed from Jodi's class. The Yadayada Prayer Group series of books is so addictive! I can hardly wait to dive into the rest of the series and find out what happens next!

Food For Thought
This month's recipe: Broccoli Salad I find it ironic that this moth's recipe ties in with a product I love but am currently boycotting because I can't stand that horrible commercial with the screaming octuplets! Nevertheless, it is something green for St. Patrick's Day, and something I've brought to many a potcluck over the years. You will need: 2-3 bunches of broccoli florets, depending on the size 1 can mandarin oranges approximately 1 cup of raisins approximately 1 cup of bacon bits approximately 1 cup of sunflower seeds Ranch dressing.

Chop up broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces, drain orange slices and toss all ingredients into a large bowl or container and mix throughly with Ranch dressing. Makes about a dozen servings. (variations: pineapple instead of or in addition to orange slices, dried cranberries instead or or in addition to raisins, cauliflower)

Autism Awareness Carousel Update
Lately I haven't been talking much about this issue because I seem to have reached a plateau where nothing has been happening. At least I've still been working on the quilt. Here's what I've done since last time, along with the originals that I copied them from.

Neon crayon colours don't show up very well on my scanner!!!!

For line drawings that you can download, print and decorate, go HERE: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=176431&id=540799198&l=32686bbbad

Adventures in Doll Making
For a couple weeks I've taken a bit of a break from the Quilt to make some dolls!! It's been awhile since I'd made any new ones and I know I'll need more for my upcoming sales this spring and summer, not to mention the Geneva Symposium. I'd like to thank the ladies in my Quilting Bee for saving extra bits of leftover quilt batting for stuffing, as well as extra fabric scraps for clothing. I've also been glad of all the carousel horse fabric I've been able to order from Sally in the States! However it has been a rough couple weeks. I have had so much trouble with my sewing machine. Go figure. I must be the only one who can turn doll making into an EXTREME SPORT!! My needle broke THREE TIMES within less than two days and I'm still recovering from the major meltdown I had as a result! The broken needle was the last straw, if not at least the penultimate. I've been so accident prone these days! I guess klutziness and irritability is my substitute for birthing pains. Making dolls is my way of being fruitful and multiplying!

Dollar stores have been a real blessing for those synthetic hair hair scrunchies! They're almost like the real thing! All I have to do is remove the elastic and stitch them to the dolls' scalps. The puffier, more bouffant scrunchies actually each contain enough to cover TWO heads of hair! And yard sales have been a real blessing too. Last summer I bought a ton of yarn from the lady around the corner, who also happened to have an unfinished afghan that

just happened to be all natural hair colours: gray, auburn, blond and brown. The dolls in the lower right corner all have hair from that unraveled afghan. Unraveled knitting projects make excellent curly hair. With the exception of the bright orange, I haven't found any really outlandish colours lately.

Upcoming Events:

THE AUTISTS
Koerner Hall at the Royal Conservatory Telus Centre 273 Bloor West

Attention All Artists with an ASD:
Geneva Centre for Autism is contacting all artists with an ASD to invite them to submit jpegs of their works in order to qualify for an exclusive upcoming gala fundraiser called THE AUTISTS (See ad below). THE AUTISTS will take place on Sunday, May 2nd at Koerner Hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Telus Centre. It will feature a gourmet reception, a live and silent art auction and gala concert starring Chaka Khan singing jazz. Opening for Chaka will be internationally renowned Jazz savant Matt Savage (Matt also has an ASD). The live and silent art auctions will offer works by top international and Canadian artists (see e-tag below) along with a select number of works by artists with an ASD. We would like to invite you to submit a jpeg of your works by Monday, March 1, 2010 so that our curator has time to examine them to see which works we can accept for this year’s gala. What we need from you in order to qualify are the following:  A jpeg of the work you would submit  The title of the work  The medium (eg. Oil on canvass, watercolour on paper etc.)  The Dimensions of the work (in inches)  The price  The minimum bid Please note: Should your work be accepted, 40% of the money raised from the art will go back to the artist. 60% will go to benefit programs and services at Geneva Centre for Autism. *Please note: Submissions are by invitation only. All works will be professionally and independently curated. Geneva Centre for Autism will not be making any decisions as to whose works will be accepted for either the live or silent auction. If you have any questions regarding this event please feel free to contact me at cbarton@autism.net or

(416) 322-7877 ext. 303. Thank you,

Courtney Barton
HR/Foundation Assistant Geneva Centre for Autism 112 Merton St. Toronto, ON M4S 2Z8 (416)322-7877 ext. 303 CBarton@autism.net www.autism.net

Final Musings...
February sure has been one interesting month with more than its fair share of ups and downs, between a great deal of unwanted drama with both my cantankerous and unruly sewing machine and my cantankerous and unruly computer. Yet I have also experienced the triumph of my Quilt nearing completion. You will see the last two horses in next month's issue! I am debating as to whether to share the last square of the quilt when there are a thousand members in my Autism Awareness Carousel Project group on Facebook or when my Autism Awareness Carousel is completed. Nevertheless, I appreciate your feedback, all those of yu who have watched this project grow and take place and have offered your feedback. All I have to do now is add an outermost border to the Quilt, get some batting, sandwich it between the front of the quilt and a sheet used for backing, mount it on a frame, yadayaydayada. We hope to have the finished product done by June and then I can sell raffle tickets. In the meantime, my latest meeting with Tiffany was successful. We're ALMOST finished the paperwork. I still need to find references and we still need to register as a business and nonfor-profit charity and I need to set up a special bank account for all the money we make through the sales of tickets for the quilt raffle and other fund-raising events. There are a lot of catch-22's involved and unfortunately, we will not reach the March deadline so we have to work toward the July one. I hope we'll be ready for sure by then. I also don't know what's happened to my website. I'm afraid it's probably been deleted because it hasn't been maintained since October of 2006. I would have revised it myself, but I don't know how. In fact I actually attended a class through the library at the John Howard Society recently but it was a complete fiasco. Just because a dozen computer desks can fit in a classroom, doesn't mean a dozen students can. The atmosphere was SO NOT Aspiefriendly and the two women next to me wouldn't stop talking and I couldn't hear the teacher. I ended up walking out when the class had barely started. It was a room not much bigger than this kitchen. If someone could teach me one-on-one, free of charge, now that would be totally fabarooney!! At least I've made many beautiful dolls and the most important part of the quilt is finished. I asked my members of the group to vote for red or navy trim or other, but I think I'm just going to use more of that carousel print fabric. Red along the top and bottom and cream down the

sides. I'll still have enough cream for doll dresses. And this way I won't have to go out or spend any money. As I write this we are having a snow storm. We've been spoiled this winter. Most of the time the weather has been quite mild. But I booed loudly when yesterday's weather forecast called for the f-word (and I don't mean F***). To me the two nastiest words in the English language are either “Freezing Rain” or “Not Responding”. The latter seems to be my computer's favorite expression these days. I can almost hear him laughing mischievously as I bend down to unplug him and plug him back in again! Today, while I'm trying to get the finishing touches done on this latest issue, my computer is also taking great delight in wreaking havoc with my horse pictures!!! Speaking of pictures being ornerey, here one of the pictures I was trying to publish last month and they decided to hide:

This is my friend Richard and I on the aluminum Alan Hershell carousel at Menlo Park in Perkasie, PA I guess my carousel horses are getting to be just as impatient as I have. The penultimate horse I embroidered went missing for awhile, inspiring me to write kind of a cute little fiction story which I will share in next month's issue. I guess my horses are so impatient to exist and be ridden they have been trying to jump of the pages as I've been typing here! Sigh! At least the most recent meeting of the Asperger's Syndrome support group went well. It has been changed since the previous meeting. The first meeting was mostly mothers of kids with AS. I was the only AS individual. I enjoyed it and thought we were having a great discussion

but they thought it would be better to have separate groups for the parents and AS individuals. So far there are only two of us in the new group. If anyone else is interested in joining they can call Kerry's Place at 905-579-2720 and leave a message with Ashley. Our next meeting is March 11th.

Ewetopia

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