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Welcome to Our Second Anniversary Issue!
Greetings friends and kindred spirits! Hard to believe we've been getting together here every month for TWO YEARS already! So much has happened in all this time! Above is a picture of my display at this year's Kerry's Place General Annual Meeting. All I soled was one teddy bear (the golden-brown one) and I didn't stay for the actual meeting itself. I was SO BLOODY TIRED!!! It's been a real challenge after returning from this year's National Carousel Association convention out in Spokane, Washington, adjusting to both jet lag (It's three hours earlier there than it is here!) and Culture Shock!!! It was so peaceful “out west” and everything has been so loud and jarring back here! Boom car stereos, barking dogs, having to share the sidewalk once again with cyclists who don't believe in bells or horns, people who take four hours to mow a 10 by 10 foot yard..I even had some minor drama on my way home from the clubhouse, just walking down the street past Tim Hortons. This guy was talking to somebody and he couldn't keep still, kept pacing back and forth and I had to pass him. “Excuse me.” I said and he was like “Holy F***! Panic city! Holy F***! Only two inches of sidewalk! Holy F***! yangyangyangyang...!” he just kept going on and on as I walked away. “Enough already!” I muttered and when I was a safe distance away I gnashed my teeth and gave a bit of an angry roar!! I STILL haven't had my Good Hard Cry yet. “Oh no! You don't want to be doing that!” some people would explain in horror. But sometimes you just NEED to cry! It releases built up toxins. It floods the “cobwebs” out of the brain. As I walked home from the clubhouse I thought to myself; “When was the LAST time I had a Really Good Hard Cry?” I thought it might be almost a month ago when I saw that picture on Facebook of the really sick child! Of course we see pictures of sick children all the time in the media. We are no strangers to scenes of poverty and malnutrition, especially in places like Africa. I was actually a Foster Parent a couple times, sponsoring two different children in Africa. Back when I lived in Lindsay, I sponsored a little girl named Kadiatu Bangura in Sierra Leone, and shortly before I was married I sponsored a young lad in Cote D'Ivoire named Kpalagan Zakari. Unfortunately both times I quit my jobs and had to stop sponsoring them. Perhaps the worst thing I've seen when it comes to children starving in Africa was this video on YouTube that showed two or three children who were so sickly and undernourished they couldn't even move! They just lay on the ground dying., while two or three CHICKENS were wandering around without a care in the world. HELLO???! Why couldn't the children eat those chickens???? But the thing that really made me cry recently was something that actually happened in our
civilized western culture as a result of our own technology! A four-month old infant boy was dying as a result of an allergic reaction to a vaccination! When Janette was a baby, she actually went into a state of shock as a result of an allergic reaction to vaccine. Vaccines have recently been linked with autism and worse! This poor little boy's body was bloated, swollen and covered with blotches, his face was purple and his hands were absolutely BLACK!! When I read that he passed away only hours after that picture was taken, deep heartfelt sobs overtook me. From what you know of me before you might thin that I was some kind of “Evil Baby Hater”, but when I saw this I felt guilty about every Dead Baby joke I'd ever told, every nasty, cannibalistic remark I'd ever made, no matter how-tongue-in-cheek. I sincerely grieved with the parents of this poor child and could feel his pain and suffering deeply. But that was not the last time I cried. Last time I cried was two days after my gynecologist's appointment. I was still recovering from my biopsy. I could have the nicest doctor in the world who tried to be as gentle as possible and gave me adequate preparation and prescribed all the right pills, but all in all there is still something intrinsically violating about having chunks of your private parts ripped out, no matter how small. There is nothing to make it 100% completely painless and nothing to block flashbacks of similar, even worse experiences. I still don't think I've told her my Dr. Jackson joke. I swear he used a BRANDING IRON for my first Pap test, so ever since then I've usually asked subsequent doctors if they see any pentagrams or swastikas in there! No doubt, a combination of hormones and the Lorazapam probably made me kind of groggy and weepy for the next few days so I basically had to pace myself during the days leading up to the convention. Usually during the convention I've cried at least once. You'd think I'd cry when I was told I had to share the plane with SEVEN babies!! (EIGHT counting myself! I'm the biggest baby of all!) Last year I cried because I was having trouble trying to get onto the horse on the carousel at Soupy Island. They were all so high and the operator expected me to step up onto his leg. I was scared I'd BREAK it!! And the year before that I cried when I realized I didn't have anymore film for my camera! It was all left at the other hotel in Memphis and here I was in St. Louis. Thanks to digital cameras, gift shops don't sell 35mm film anymore and this place didn't even have disposable cameras. Fortunately, the manager of the carousel was nice and went to Walgreen's for me and this other lady who also needed film. Thanks to my digital camera I don't need film anymore, BUT for a moment I thought I was up shit creek because at Silverwood theme park my MEMORY CARD was full!! At least they had disposable cameras for sale. I've yet to see how those pictures turn out.
Carousel of the Month
This year I've decided to do things a little differently. In order to share with you all the wonders I've seen at the latest National Carousel Association Convention I've created a new column to give every carousel I've visited the coverage and recognition it deserves. Our first carousel will be the Three Rivers carousel created by Charles Carmel, who was born in Russia in 1865 and moved to the United States with his young bride in 1883. They lived close to Prospect Park in Brooklyn where he took his inspiration from the horses at the local riding stable and carved carousel horses from 1905 to 1920, selling his work to many manufacturers including Dolle, Borelli, Murphy and Mangels.
Borelli, by the way, was notorious for decorating his noble steeds and chariots with as many jewels as possible. Sometimes he used so many it looked more like he'd randomly emptied his grandma's button box! In 1911, Charles invested most of his money in a new carousel he intended to operate on Coney Island. Unfortunately, a fire devastated the park, including the new carousel, the day before opening day. He also suffered deteriorating health due to diabetes and arthritis and closed his factory, working from home, until he died of cancer in 1933. The Three Rivers carousel was originally located in Silver Beach Amusement Park in 1910, by the Fred Dolle company of North Bergen, New Jersey, with 3 rows of horses and 3 chariots . It operated for 63 years at Silver Beach until it was sold to Marianne Stevens of Roswell, New Mexico where it resided until Three Rivers discovered it! The carousel was originally ordered with no “jumpers” on board in the 1920's, the outside row of 16 horses was sent back to the factory and replaced with 16 jumpers. The original “standers” were returned with the new horses and stored away until 1948 when they were piled up and burned! What an appalling waste! Jewels were added to the horses by Borelli in 1924. Here are some of the pictures I took of some of the horses that have been restored so far:
Adventures of the Travelling Dolls
Above: Left: Three Rivers carousel, Right:top and bottom: Country Mercantile
Above, left to right: Riverfront Park Looff carousel, Spokane, Washington
Carousel of the month, Continued
The Three Rivers Carousel Design committee has completed their mechanical parts, which are being integrated into the overall building design, however, the Fund Raising Committee is still in the process of raising two million dollars to refurbish the carousel and construct the 13,000 sq foot building in Columbia Park, including two menagerie animals: a Cougar and a Husky, (WSU and U of W mascots). If you are interested in volunteering or require further information please contact email@example.com This is the basic floor plan of their facility:
Here's other ways to help: Sponsor and name Large (outside) horse: $25,000.00 Sponsor and name medium (middle) horse $10,000.00 Sponsor and name small (inside) horse $7,500.00 Hand painted Carousel Panels $4,000.00 Personally Engraved Building Tile: Corporate/Executive: $500.00 Family: $250.00
Individual: $50.00 Commemorative Brass Coin: $25.00 Genuine Brass Ring: $5.00 Donations may be made to the Three Rivers Carousel Foundation P.O Box 3655 Tri-Cities, WA 99302, U.S.A www.threeriverscarousel.org I long for the day when I can post this kind of information asking for funds on our own carousel!
Carousels of Discovery Document Finally Completed
Good news! I FINALLY got my story finished about my trip to Spokane for this most recent convention! You can read all about it right HERE: http://www.scribd.com/doc/38664586/Carousels-of-Discovery-The-2010-NCA-Convention You wouldn't BELIEVE the drama I've had with my computer trying to get this thing typed out! I'd be rich if I had a nickel for every time my computer has frozen up on me. I am just sitting here waiting for the other shoe to drop!! Go figure, Wayne's on his way back here and the computer seems to be working just fine now. As soon as he leaves, it'll probably fuck up again! And I have been trying to prevent my friend Alan from knowing about Wayne coming to fix the thing. I don't doubt Alan's abilities. He is good with computers. But he gets too frustrated with mine. My computer experiences enough negative energy with just ME getting frustrated over it!!!! I would rather PAY someone who DOES NOT get frustrated working with my computer than have someone try to fix it for free who DOES! Good news. I found out why my documents have been giving me so much grief lately! I need to RESIZE all my pictures. It's a time-consuming job, but once it's done, hopefully everything will run a lot more smoothly!
End of an Epoch
I just found out I'm about to lose my 'blog. Well, not exactly lose it, but the service provided by MSN Live Spaces will soon be coming to an end. I could transfer all my contents over to another system, but it sounds too complicated. I think I would rather let my public random thoughts and musings from October of 2006 to October of 2010 quietly die with dignity. It was getting redundant anyway. I don't really 'blog as much as I used to. Most days are relatively the same unless there's major drama in my life that I'm better off just forgetting. At least I know I am losing my 'blog due to changes being made on the Internet, and not due to my own misbehaviour and foolishness, as with the LiveJournal fiasco. LiveJournal lasted me from around August of 2004 until around late September, early-October of 2006. I don't remember the exact day. All I remember is that my husband was in the hospital and I was distraught and probably having a mini manic episode as the Ewetopia sheep went on a mad rampage and
made a nuisance of themselves everywhere. Pluto was no longer a planet, and one of the sheep had an unfortunate accident with a teapot and could not get the spout off her nose so she was begging everyone for advice! The furry talk show where we invited other cartoon characters to participate was our ultimate demise. The less said about “Toonspeak” the better. And shortly after I started the new 'blog on Windows Live, that was when I actually did have a full-blown manic episode and actually DID end up in the hospital. It's a good thing I wasn't still on LiveJournal back then or they would have had a field day! That's the trouble with LiveJournal. It's FULL of trolls, merciless cyber-bullies who often had it in for me. They would have really gloated and rubbed it in if they'd known I spent two weeks in the funny farm! Even so, when I returned from the hospital, I was extra-careful for the longest time not to reveal where I'd been on this newer 'blog that isn't read by as many people, where nobody has hurt me (yet!) In recent years I've acquired two more 'blogs; one at a website called “We Are Autism”, and one on my Deviant Art account. Neither were 'blogs I updated as regularly and I was quite surprised to discover that the “We Are Autism” site was BLOCKED! It was said to be an “Attack Site”. In other words, a scam to find out personal information about people that can be used against them. I supposed I blogged often enough but at least not as often or as openly as I did in my Windows MSN Live Spaces account. I'm just glad I never bothered with that “Health Check” program they had. I refuse to share that kind of information with the public in the first place As for my Deviant Art account, I'm lucky if I update that once a month. It's mostly for displaying my artwork. From now on, if I want to share my random thoughts and musings with the world, this is the place. And if I want to write long, rambling tales about the exciting journeys that I take they can also be found on my Scribd account. Most of my games and socializing can be found in my Facebook. Twitter, on the other hand, is a different story. I'm afraid my gronky old computer is just too old and slow to “tweet” properly. And I'm not into texting either. I don't even HAVE a cell phone, nor do I even WANT one. I get interrupted on the phone often enough in the privacy of my own home. My cellphone days ended when I kicked Butthead out of my life. You wouldn't believe the astronomical bill that asshole stuck me with. I can't navigate my way around MySpace either.
Mom's Most Terrifying Moment
It happened when I was about seven years old, back when my childhood friend, Richard Livesey and his family lived at Wasaga Beach, or at least had a summer cottage there. I don't really remember for sure. Aunt Thurza told us that there was an amusement park, two miles away, just up the beach. We begged and pleaded with our parents but no one would take us there. So Richard and I decided to take matters into our own hand and sneak off to look for the place on our own. We must have walked along the boardwalk for what seemed like forever. Surely we'd gone two miles by now! But all we could find was this pathetic, gronky old rusty coin-operated carousel with two badly-weathered metal horses, most of their paint chipped away by the elements. Of course, neither of us had any money, so we sat on those horses, hoping that some kind-hearted stranger might be able to provide us with change so
we could ride this carousel, which probably might not have even worked anyway. Meanwhile, our parents were practically sick with worry over our abrupt disappearance. My mom was instructed to stay at Michael and Jennifer's house to hold fort. They are Richard's parents. She and my dad waited while Jennifer hopped onto her bicycle and drove up the beach to look for us. My mom could not stand waiting so she went out to look. Just up the road from their place they heard the sound of a child crying from a nearby house. “NO! NO! NO! STOP IT! PLEASE!” The child's voice sounded disturbingly like mine. Mom knocked on the door. A surly-looking drunk answered the door. “Whaddaya want?” he snorted irritably. “Have you seen my daughter?” my mom demanded. “She ain't here!” he barked, slamming the door in her face. There was nothing left for mom to do but go back to the house and have a good, stiff drink while she waited. Meanwhile, when Richard and I were discovered, it was our punishment to have to run to keep up with his mother on her bike as we made our way back to their cottage.
Will Computers Ever Replace Books?
With today's technology and concern about the environment, many offices are trying hard to become “paper-free”, saving as much of their information as possible on-line and on their computers. Recently books have become available on microchips and on-line to download on your PC's, laptops, iPads, smart phones, not to mention small hand-held devices just for reading books. In theory they seem like a good idea because they don't take up as much space. But don't you need batteries to keep them running? The first electronic book I'd ever seen was an electronic Bible. My friend Sharon won it in a contest. Or actually her friend Kathy did and gave it to her. She'd seen one somewhere and wanted it really badly and so she prayed about it, and, of course, this is how God answered her prayer. I suppose it's quite nice, but I still prefer turning good old-fashioned pages. With the electronic bible, all you had to do was push various buttons. Wouldn't that take the challenge out of a “sword drill”? Anyone who's ever gone to Sunday school probably knows what a Sword Drill is. The teacher calls out a scripture reference, let's randomly say Matthew 6:22, and everybody grabs their Bibles and tries to be the first person to flip it open to the suggested passage. It shows how well each student knows their Bible. I know mine pretty well, except when I have to look for a more obscure reference like “Nahum” or “Habbakuk.” In my old red Bible that Jan gave me, the pages are so worn out that what I call the “Go Eat Popcorn” gospels (Galatians Ephesians, Philippians, Collossians) are literally held together by scotch tape, each and every page in those sections. Mark calls it the “Galatians Eat Pork Chops” sections. When I first started learning about Asperger's Syndrome, I pretty near wore out my printer trying to print out as much information as I could because I couldn't picture myself sitting in front of the computer trying to read so much information! No! I had to take it all and read it while reclining on my bed. My favorite position for reading. All my papers went into my Red Folder. I don't know where my Red Folder is now, but wherever it is, it sure didn't take long for it to become chock-a-block! And I feel that since then I've pretty much learned everything there is to know about autism and Asperger's Syndrome. Or have I?
Sure, we can read books on line. People go to Scribd all the time where they can download stuff and read it on their lap-tops. But for me, nothing could ever completely replace books. Even though they take up a lot of space, nothing can beat the feel and smell of pages and seeing printed word on paper. Piles of books are scattered at my bedside. They surround me like friends. Sometimes they like to frustrate me by hiding. Sure, a lot of trees had to die so we could enjoy reading, but what about recycling? How many books nowadays are printed on recycled paper? Most of them should be by now. And what about the paper my computer printer uses?
The Autism Awareness Carousel of Friendship
Guess what, folks! The Autism Awareness Carousel is in the process of a name change. Not exactly a total name change, but more of an alternative title. I just thought this title would be a clever segue from one name to the next. The main reason for the change of name is to show the community that EVERYONE is welcome to be part of the big dream, regardless of age or ability. Autism or Asperger's Syndrome may be an asset but not an absolute requirement. We still need plenty of volunteers and helpers. At least this way we don't have people hesitating saying “But I'm not autistic!” Anyway, the quilt is nearing completion. Only three more squares need to be embroidered. Here's what we have this month:
Special thanks to Lydia and Mendhi. I hope to have the last three horses finished for the December issue. In fact it would be nice to have the whole quilt done. This will be my SECOND Autism Awareness Carousel Quilt. Each quilt has ended up having its own theme and title. The first one ended up being known as my “Victory Quilt” and this one is the “Peace Quilt” the next one I work on will be called the “True Blue” quilt. You will see why soon enough. Good news, I found a pair of vintage bedsheets and I'm going to use one of them for the back of the Peace Quilt. These sheets date way back to my childhood and actually have PEACE SIGNS on them, as well as slogans such as “Sock it to Me”! I've got one in red & blue and the other in green & blue. I think the red & blue one will be on the back of this quilt. In a matter of time I hope to have these quilts on display in a place where everyone can see them. In the meantime, I was impressed by the number of community-built carousels I've seen on my trip out west this year: Missoula, Montana, the Great Northern Carousel of Helena, Montana, the wonderful 1950's aluminum carousel in Boulder, Montana, and an amazing work in progress, The Spirit of Columbia Gardens Carousel in Butte, Montana. I plan to bring monthly coverage of each project and someday I hope to share in this column things other than drawings and quilt blocks! “Pennies for Ponies” bottles can be found out in the community in the following locations in Oshawa : Rapid Reproductions print shop at the corner of King and Westmount Santa Fe hair dressing salon on Selina street just around the corner from the New Globe Chinese restaurant New Horizon's, fourth floor at the CMHA building on 60 Bond Street. As more locations become available I will keep you posted. Any artwork, questions, etc. may be submitted to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Getting Stuck” Stories
The following idea is not a new one. It came to me years ago when I used to enjoy listening to Richardson's Round-Up on CBC Radio. One day, one of their phone-in topics was stories about getting stuck!! I could think of at least two off the top of my head as they had recently happened at the time. Both stories involved my workplace at the time. The first one took place when I was helping my boss at a trade show at the Royal York. She asked me if I would go and get us a cup of coffee. Not only did we need coffee, but I needed to use the restroom. I figured I'd do that on my way. Imagine my horror when I was ready to leave but the door was jammed shut. Somehow it had gotten misaligned with its hinges. I had to ask somebody else to go get help and one of the hotel staff literally had to remove the door from its hinges. The hotel staff felt
really badly about what had happened so they asked if there was anything they could do to make it up to me. “Well, my boss did send me out to get us some coffee.” I replied. When I returned, my boss was angry, (as usual!) because I had taken so long. I told her what had happened. She seems to think that these things happen to me on purpose! Lo and behold, along came the hotel staff with a cart containing an elaborate spread! Not only did they give us a humongous urn full of coffee, but a tray full of all kinds of salubrious injittiments! Pastries, croissants, you name it! There were even tiny jars of jam! That same summer, we also had an order of dolls to be completed for a customer and for some reason my boss needed me to bring them from the store to her house. I had them in a flimsy plastic dry-cleaning bag and my hair was quite long at the time. Lo and behold, as I walked through the park, my hair and the dry cleaning bag became one! We were impossibly twisted together! At least I knew I had a pair of scissors in my backpack and I was able to flag down a couple of teenage girls to get my scissors out of my bag and cut me loose. They tried to be as careful as possible not to cut off too much of my hair as they freed me from the twisty bag! Ironically, the first thing I did when I got home that evening was take the scissors to my hair and chop it all to around jaw-level! Then there was the time way back in high school when my friends Sharon, Kristin and I went to some event at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds. It was either the Home Show or the Sportsman Show. I forget which. However, there was this nice area where we could sit and enjoy a pot of tea and a plate of cookies. We were sitting in these fancy wrought iron chairs and when I got up one of the fancy curlicues on the chair I was sitting in got caught in my back pocket and I nearly walked away with the chair attached to my butt!! I realize I may have told this story before because it was the inspiration for one of the incidents that happened to Miles Molecule in my “Miles the Shutterbug” story in my “Life With Louella” series. There was also the time I was around nine or ten years old and I was sleeping in our family trailer. My parents figured they'd leave me there alone and let me sleep while they went into town to go shopping. Our trailer slept a total of six people altogether, provided that two of them were kids in the top bunk, which I had to myself at the time. The couch at the end folded out to become the bed in which my parents slept and yet another bed could be popped put from the kitchen table. Anyway, to make a long story short, there was a plank of wood that ran along side the bed to keep me from falling out. Usually my parents removed it for me when it was time to get up in the morning. But since there was nobody else around, I had to try to do it myself. Unfortunately, it became wedged diagonally across me and I could not get out. I must have screamed for help for at least half an hour but nobody came to my rescue. Ironically, my cousins were outside playing baseball the whole time. When I asked why they didn't help me they said they thought I was laughing and having fun. I was so mad! Hello? You'd think anyone would know the difference between distressed cries for help and the sound of fun and laughter!! This episode haunted me on a regular basis back in 2006 when I was being restrained during my manic episode!!
Geneva Autism Symposium Metro Toronto Convention Centre, November 3rd, 4th and 5th http://www.autism.net/welcome-symposium-2010.html There will be a free showing of the Temple Grandin movie starting at 6:30 until 8:30. Admission is pay-what-you-can. I have been dying to see this film! Temple is played by actress Clair Danes. The preview was awesome! She's got her voice down to a “T'!! Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Exhibition Place, November 5th to 14th. My good friend, Doo-Doo the clown will be performing twice daily Mondays to Fridays at 12:15 and 2:30 See the Superdogs and more! More info here: http://royalfair.org/home
The Drama Continues
So far I've tried to do the best I can not to further burden my readers about my situation. You know the one. I'll try to spare you the gory details. But at least SOMETHING is finally being done!! I had my long-awaited appointment on August 19th, followed by an ultrasound on August 26th, followed by a biopsy on September 13th. That was the worst part. To make a long story short, I go for my pre-op consultation on November 9th at 9:00 am. My surgery is tentatively scheduled for November 16th, but nothing has been officially confirmed yet. I still have the Symposium to get through. I've been given an idea of what to expect. At least I know it's not a hysterectomy. These days that's a last resort. They're not exactly handing them out like lollipops anymore! Last week when I told one of the ladies in my church group that I couldn't wait to get “scooped out.” she said “That's a SICK way to talk about your womb! I LOVE mine! It gave me THREE BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN!!” Oy vey! Mine has given me nothing but grief and frustration since I was 12! For most of my menstruating life it could be basically GUARANTEED that I'd miss at LEAST a day of work or school thanks to Mother Nature's abundant gifts! Why do I tell you these things? Because I KNOW I'm not alone. I REFUSE to let things get me down this time. I just have to trust and believe that God REALLY DOES have EVERYTHING under control, even if the Cyclokapron pills I am on to help keep me reasonably dry in the meantime have been starting to lose their effectiveness. I know other women who have been in similar situations and survived. Sometimes all they needed was the right medication. But some of us, myself included, definitely need surgery. My poor cousin in Holland recently had a hysterectomy and she's been having nothing but horrendous complications. I think my procedure will probably the one that involves having a hot water balloon inside me to scorch everything out. Hopefully after a “dusting and cleaning” I'll be right as rain. I've got so much crap inside me that it's possible I'm hiding a fibroid or two, not to mention Jimmy Hoffa and/or Elvis!!! The important thing to remember is that I WILL SURVIVE this ordeal! It WILL END!!! I just want it to be over so badly that it has just felt like there's been too much October between the
now and the not yet!!!