Kids

Friday, June 27, 2008

Jay: Epic Fail

Holmes window fan that’s reversible… by physically removing and turning it around.

Ironically, my excellent window fan that is switchable to exhaust is also Holmes brand.

The first one also isn’t as good otherwise.  Because we use it in a window in the kid’s room, at the top of the window, whenever someone burns and stinks up the place, I have to remove it, reverse it, fight to get it back in so it doesn’t rattle or vibrate, and turn it back on so there’s airflow and white noise, but it’s keeping out further smoke and removing what had come in.

The other one is in an office window, also high, and if I need to reverse it I only have to turn it off and change the setting on each of the separately controlled pair of fans.  The other one is all in one.  I only have to remove it for the rare times I operate the AC, which has only been run on a couple of days so far.  We got blasted so badly up front that, say, 85 and humid feels reasonable.

I must have paid less for the bad version, but I don’t remember it being that noticeably inexpensive.  I just can’t imagine what led to a design decision to promote a fan as reversible and making that a physical rather than electronic feature.


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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jay: June 3rd Kid Pictures



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Jay: No Birthdays

For the last time this month, it’s a day with no birthdays to post.  I could have sworn I had one for the 25th, but it’s not in my calendar, so none it is.

This is the first day of what will be Deb’s “permanent” schedule, until next time it changes.  At least from my perspective, since I think Monday through Sunday, while the employer’s week is Saturday through Friday.  Where last week it was Tuesday and Wednesday off, this week and presumably beyond it will be Monday and Tuesday.  Which makes them my prime work days, and days when leaving the house is easiest.  Obviously with a running car the kids fit in, I can go places with all of them, or can get someone to sit while I am able to go if needed.  Part of the reasoning behind two weekdays off instead of at least one weekend day off is that we only have three days to cover during the traditional business week, if I am engaged fully during that at any point, even for short bursts.

Since it’s the first day she goes back after two off, that means it stands to be more… interesting, as the kids have to adjust again.  On the other hand, with hours the same each day, it all works more smoothly than it did with alternating shifts.

Perhaps I can even do something useful today… perhaps even remunerative.  What a concept!


11:29 AM | BirthdaysBusinessKidsMoneyTotally Random • (0) CommentsPermalink

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jay: Addendum

When I did the aspie post I meant to include ABC by The Pipettes.

I’d never heard of the group before, but the video came up along with kid ABC videos on YouTube, Sadie played it, they ended up liking it, and I was intrigued that someone did a song about a classic aspie/geek guy whose romantic attention is hard to get.  The part that drives it from sounding geeky and obtuse to sounding aspie is the part about not being in “any of his categories.”


01:04 PM | KidsMedicalMusicTotally Random • (0) CommentsPermalink

Monday, June 23, 2008

Jay: Collected Aspie Posts

Once upon a time, I learned that a thing called Asperger’s Syndrome exists.  Even though it and most such labels do nothing more than put names on shades of normal - no different from being labeled geeky or athletic or musical - it still provides fascinating insight.  It even makes autism seem less odd, since it adds fuzzy shading to the borderlands between “us” and “them.”

Over time, I have posted on that and related topics, and this is an attempt to collect and revisit that, most notably by reposting the hard to find first post, less than two months into my blogging career, on my rapidly abandoned first blog.  Some of the links are dead, notably those to Dandelion Wine, but are included for the sake of exactness.

This is that first post, which actually post-dates the beginning of my interest, but brought it online:

Saturday, April 19, 2003

Asperger’s Syndrome

A while back, Wired, to which I subscribe, had an issue with an article on ”The Geek Syndrome.” It was a fascinating look at Asperger’s syndrome, which is a form of autism, on the autism spectrum of disorders; sometimes also called high functioning autism. People with it tend to lead a reasonably normal life, and tend to be disproportionately computer/programming/engineering oriented. Thus the article was looking at the idea that a high rate of autism in Silicon Valley and the Route 128 region might be a genetic result of the large number of geek, and therefore possibly Asperger, parents in those areas.

I was reminded of all this by a post on the topic at Dandelion Wine

The Wired article had a sidebar of an “Autism Quotient” test, which purports to measure where you fall on the spectrum. From what I have seen, many people don’t think it’s a particularly viable test. Nonetheless, I found it interesting and so I link to it here:
AQ Test

My score was 30. They say at the top of the test page that “Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher.” Looks like I push the envelope a little.

Related to this, Dandelion Wine also points us to a brain quiz, ostensibly ”how male or female is your brain.”

I took the interactive EQ test and then, clicking from those results, the interactive SQ test. Both require Flash. There’s an option for manual tests as well. From the test pages you can then go to this final page to work out what type of brain you have, using a grid to plot the results of EQ and SQ and see which shaded area you fall into.

For what it’s worth, my scores were:
EQ of 41
SQ of 53
Overall brain type “Extreme Type S”

Fascinating.

The original Wired article and AQ test led me to actually buy books on Asperger’s and to read all about it online, because I seem to approach but not quite cross over to it myself, and I suspected my nephew was so afflicted. That and it was inherently intriguing, as I find anything to do with brain function to be, given my own history. That has always applied to IQ testing as well.

- Jay Solo, 2:25 AM

The next relevant posts I located offhand were at Accidental Verbosity, in the form of:
Autism As Extreme Male Brain
Asperger’s Schizophrenic Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder

That second one points to a related discussion, starting from adult ADHD and going into more in the comments.  It predates Caltechgirl having a blog, rather than being an avid commenter.  Her comments on the set of topics are especially cool.

Again with over- and mis-diagnosis, the attention deficit stuff is as much as anything an excuse for drugging kids into being uniformly submissive, passive bots who can bear not to have recess and won’t have normal traits some people find inconvenient or hard to understand.

These Quizzy Things are only marginally relevant, but I remarked about the Aspie relationship to the perfectionist quiz especially, but even the other two are about being a certain way or collecting certain facts.

In You May Just Be An Aspie... I linked to and quoted extensively the best of this You Might Be An Aspie If page of collected behavioral anecdotes.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Aspieness had me linking a slicker AQ test, on which I scored 32.  These always seem to vary depending on mood and change in thinking over time.  Having written that, I took it again, going on a year later, and scored 36.  Oops.

Most recently, last October 29, in How Aspie Are You? I linked another quiz, which interestingly I just retook and scored 138 and 58, versus 161 and 54 last time, an improvement.  I must have gone less wishy-washy last time.  Basically it’s no/never, or kinda yes/sometimes, or really yes, all the time, with a 4th option for not sure/don’t know.  I saved the PDF, but didn’t bother with a screenshot.

I probably wrote about this elsewhere and didn’t find them all, but basically that’s what I had out there.  Besides any instances where I mentioned autism and slammed the idiots who won’t let go of the vaccine preservative autism nonsense people grasp at like so many straws.  But that’s an entirely different topic, though obviously these posts touch on it because of the clear genetic connection.  Geeks beget geeks.  Sometimes the curve goes too far and we call it autism.

It’s hardly shocking for two high IQ people with geek tendencies (remember, Deb went part of the way toward an engineering degree before resorting to expedience to graduate sooner) to have had Sadie, Valerie - who increasingly seems to make Sadie look normal and ordinary - and even, it appears, Henry.  You never know, after all.  I started out as charismatically sunny, amused and communicative and physically quick as he is.  He doesn’t merely look like I did.  He’s already getting into the “taking things apart” or “seeing how things work” kind of trouble I’d have thought would take longer.  None of which means aspieness, but it’ll be interesting to watch.  And again, nothing wrong with that.  Someone has to fall on that part of the range of human, and it’s not like you can’t function.  Well, kind of.  Mostly.  Sometimes.


12:30 PM | BloggingGeekeryKidsControversiesMedicalNewsQuiz or Meme • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: No Birthdays

Another day with no birthdays to mention, and so it gets a placeholder post.  Don’t you feel special?

This is a full working day for me, whatever that may entail, as it’s an off day for Deb.  In effect, we both “work” seven days a week, and let it never be said that taking care of the kids - or house, to the degree the kids allow it - is either “not work” or “woman’s work.” I’d like to think we’re a bit more enlightened than that in 2008.  It is 2008, right?  Yeah.

Some of these posts, and the birthdays, have been pre-posted in a batch, dated for the appropriate time, so I don’t have to get up every single morning and post any birthdays there may be, or feel obligated to post something to keep the blog looking lively.  Presumably there’s been some stuff between the batch posts, but if not, well, it’s something anyway.


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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Jay: No Birthdays

Another day of no birthdays so soon?  Well, it’s only the 4th of 6 during June.  Seven, if you count as none the one where there was a birthday of an obscure relative, of unknown mortality, I barely saw fit to mention.

Presumably this is the longest day of the year, all 24 and a fraction hours of it.  It’s all downhill from here, but I guess we can take solstice in it taking six months.

Actually, looks like the solstice was technically the 20th, but at a minute before midnight, so yeah.

This is a work day for Deb, so for me it’s a day being nibbled to death by ducks, in the form of a slew of kids, while trying to get something, anything done.  As I get into a groove of more work that pays or generates money indirectly, I will definitely need cheap babysitting part of the time I am here alone with the gang of three.  The great thing is even that will have flexibility.  Even a day of it, in the absence of scheduled out of house work, would be helpful, and it shouldn’t matter which day, so if I have my mother come down, it needn’t interfere with the bit of sitting she still does for my brother.


11:02 AM | BirthdaysBloggingBusinessGeekeryKidsMoneyNewsWeatherTotally Random • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Forgot to mention

Henry was 10 months old yesterday.  You’d never know it!  You’d think he was about 2 years old, based on size.  Except he looks too babyish, stands expertly but doesn’t take steps, and has limited words.  He’s also a twerp, waking thoroughly before Deb leaves, then falling asleep on my lap once it’s too late for me to get more sleep, leaving me sleepwalking my way through the day.

That also means I have 2 months to raise at least $3000 to stabilize things further, as well as increasing revenue on an ongoing basis so we can afford luxuries like gas and electric subsequently.


10:51 AM | KidsMoney • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Speaking of Cheese…

Valerie has decided she loves blue cheese dressing the way some people love ketchup, and must have some every night with supper.  Apparently giving her some with salad recently created a monster.


01:24 AM | Food & CookingKids • (0) CommentsPermalink

Friday, June 20, 2008

Jay: Say, Cheese?

I’d meant to note that Henry ate cheese that Valerie helpfully gave him the other day, colby jack, with no apparent problem.  That followed a couple instances when he’d sucked on but apparently not injected anything from dried slivers of the same.  It’s the all-around cheese we buy for the sake of having some cheese in the house, sometimes.

That would fit the histamine theory regarding the cheddar.

It’s also of interest in relation to the milk he apparently had issues with being flavored, and there always being a chance it was that, as well as the possibility cheese would be processed enough to be fine, apart from the histamine thing.

He’s fine so far with everything wheat, and he seems fine with beans.  He seemed to react to something in orange Kool-Aid.  Not clear about the lemon Kool-Aid.  He’s been fine with both Country Time and generic lemonades that already contain sugar, but not with the same basic stuff in punch flavor.  I’m still not completely convinced he isn’t bothered mildly by something in Club crackers.  His skin’s been variable but overall better than ever since eliminating sweet potatoes.  The variability could be spices or stuff that’s moderate keeping it active to varying degrees.

Anyway, just meant to mention the cheese thing, which is intriguing.  It’s a good thing he doesn’t have a peanut allergy, as the girls are very helpful at keeping him from avoiding foods completely.


04:54 PM | Food & CookingKidsMedical • (1) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Only 64?

My uncle, David Bryant Ellis, would have been 64 today.  Assuming my year of birth data is accurate, anyway.  That means he was but ten years older than my oldest brother, the same gulf between me and my youngest brother.  Talk about generational blurring.

He has been gone now for many years, and even though I knew he was markedly younger than my father, he was very “old” by the time he died.  It was unsurprising almost the way it would be for an octogenarian.

David was amazingly talented at drawing.  I see Sadie’s distinctive drawing and think of him.  He loved science fiction and comics, but mainly of the darker variety.  The glum SF for which the sixties were known was just his thing.  I remember him when I read something he might have enjoyed, or wonder what he’d have thought of something in the genre.

Funny how you can miss someone with whom you had such limited contact.


12:48 PM | ArtBirthdaysBooksGeekeryKidsTotally Random • (1) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Deb: Speaking of the Boy

He’s sleeping so much better!  I think he’s finally sleeping through more than he’s not, though if he goes to bed too early he’ll be up with the sun.  Or earlier.  But the lack of wake-ups between bedtime and morning are a new and very welcome development.  Yay!


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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Jay: Feeding Henry

After a few days for his skin to clear and heal, Henry is looking and acting as good as he ever has, following the clear reaction to sweet potato.  He has shown no signs of trouble with wheat, period, and is thrilled.  Tonight he had pasta.  Plain, but pasta, which he thought was cool.  He has also had:
Club crackers
A couple tastes of French bread (after seeing it was made with no milk products)
Flour tortilla, as noted
Generic oat O cereal, plain and with rice milk

He went crazy for the cereal today, in a bowl with rice milk, just like the girls had.

He has been found sucking on dry shreds of cheese twice in the past few days, where one of the girls had dropped it, with no ill effects.

In recent days he had lentils for the first time.  I cooked some of them in chicken broth, spooned some out for him, and threw the rest into soup.  Having never tasted lentils other than in soup, I didn’t realize they were so strongly flavored.  I was reminded more of some of the stronger green vegetables than of beans.

He tasted those, made a face, then apparently decided he loved them.  They were one of the things he ate for a couple days.  He tends to get a good mix.  For instance, tonight he had a bunch of ziti, chicken I’d cooked for him last night, pinto beans partially seasoned (oregano, onion powder, garlic salt, but I added stuff like pepper after I scooped out some for him), and corn.  He could have had rice, had there not been pasta.

Both of those are great additions (as are the beans, of which we are almost out), because wheat adds variety and is low cost, and lentils are low cost and nutritious and keep.

This means we ought to be able in the next day to try him with peeled golden delicious apple.  That’s negligible for salicylates and should be fine, where most apples aren’t as good.  Though I think the biggest problem might be apple juice.

He doesn’t seem to react to anything spiced since the possible reaction to black pepper one time.  I sort of half try to keep him away or modify what I use, and half just go with it.  Like the chicken, it had a ton of spice, but his was a big piece that didn’t get as doused or crisped.  He’s clearly fine with onion and garlic, which are both safe, but not without precedent as a sensitivity among relatives.  He’s also had stuff spiced with at least a dozen herbs and spices, most of which are high or really high, but as spices they aren’t consumed in quantity.  Low level?  That we can live with.

We’re low on provisions, and I need to get carrots and maybe butternut for him, and restock some meat, on which he gets priority.  I’d like to try him with summer squash, and he’ll probably like fresh green beans if I can get some.

It’s nice that it seems to be kind of in check.


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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Jay: Wheat

Henry can eat things with wheat!  The house is pretty empty of food, but damn, that opens up so many options.  He is eating a cracker as I type this!  If it has no milk products, he can eat bread.  It totally makes up for what is going to have to be a near prohibition on sweet potato.  And again, it fits with salicylates being the problem, in which wheat is safe unless there are multiple food issues (as apparently with dairy).

Speaking of wheat, I have the urge to bake bread today.  It’s 56 out currently.  Not sure I have enough sugar.  Kids want more flour tortillas.  My first batch ever came out excellent.  That was Henry’s intro to wheat.  Reintroduction, actually.  And see, we aren’t as worried as we might be because of all the stuff he ate without having overt allergies, just eczema like crazy, which was of course the lower level sensitivities.

Anyway, kids call…


01:27 PM | Food & CookingKidsMedical • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Yardsale

Well, the yard sale was kind of a bust, except the kids had a blast, it was fun, and including what we left on the side of the road, we got rid of a few large items.  The big sale was the old vacuum cleaner from the office, which went for $5 to an eager buyer, the 2nd to express an interest.

What next?  Maybe another try in our yard.  Maybe at my grandmother’s, which would be better for the kids having fun and location would be good enough, with some promotion.  Maybe some attempts to sell some of the same items in other ways.

The take was $13.75, where I was expecting at least $50.  Oh well.


12:41 PM | BusinessKidsMoney • (0) CommentsPermalink
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