Monday, December 31, 2012

Here comes a new year!

You may have surmised by my frequent silences here that the past year has been a strange and difficult one for me.  I've found it hard to write blog entries -- talking about what has been going on in my life has felt too personal and too revealing and, at times, just too hard, and trying to talk about other things has felt, well, superficial and sort of phony.  The good part is that I've done a lot of inner work, and I've looked at some hard things, and I've realized a lot about myself.  So I think I can call this past year a Year of Discovery and move on.  (Not that I plan to stop reflecting and discovering. But I'm ready for FUN discoveries.)

But you know, 2012 had a lot of wonderful things.  And although I'm looking forward to 2013 with a sense of eagerness I've never felt for a new year before, I don't want to ignore the great things that I've experienced in 2012.

* I have the BEST friends.  I won't name names -- they know who they are.  But gosh, what a wonderful thing it is to feel the love and support of dear friends, new and old.

* Our Twelve by Twelve project continued with a year of new challenges -- 12x20 in size, with some very challenging themes -- and even while we all found ourselves and our project evolving, I continued to appreciate and treasure the amazing bond we've formed through 5 years of sharing our art quilts.   And even while I wasn't bursting with art quilty creative inspiration for much of this past year, I did appreciate the 12x12 deadline and commitment, to take me back to fabric and my sewing machine.

*  I think I held my breath through the month of October -- but what a relief the outcome of the November election was. 

*  Singing with the Healdsburg chorus has continued to be a delight and never fails to cheer me.  I've made some lovely friends and opened up a whole new world of learning.  I still marvel that I ventured into chorus because I thought my husband would like it and it'd be something we could do together, and while he didn't have any interest, I've ended up loving it.  I'm already looking forward getting back to a new batch of music in a few weeks.

*  Homeschooling Miss C has continued to be an adventure.  I find surprising enjoyment in the process of finding material and ways to present information to Miss C so it will resonate and maybe even be enjoyable.  Seeing her devour a book of Edgar Allen Poe stories, laugh at Mark Twain's "The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" were real pleasures for me.

* My explorations in drawing and watercolor painting have continued to provide me with a lot of pleasure.  And through the wonder of online classes, I've been able to learn new things and I've met some delightful and talented artists.  I'm looking forward to more drawing and painting and learning.

* Most importantly, I'm so glad that my family is healthy and I'm so grateful for their love and support.  

Through the wonders of Smilebox (free) slideshow maker, here are a few more photos from the last year. 

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's Not about the Autism

In the wake of the horrific events in Connecticut, so many of us are wondering how such a thing could happen.  News media have begun to speculate about the involvement of mental illness -- how could anyone NOT, with what has happened -- and there have been mentions of the possible connection of Aspergers and/or Autism.

 For those of us who have family members on the spectrum in our lives, this is frightening on a totally different level.  We know it's natural to want to find a simple explanation, or something to blame.  But understanding what autism spectrum disorders are, and what they are NOT, is important, in this situation, and for all of the people who live with it. 

Jill, a mom of a child on the spectrum and fellow blogger, expressed it beautifully and has given permission for her words to be shared.  Her original post is here:   Here is what she said:


Dear Community:

There has been much discussion online and in the news about the connection between the Connecticut school shooting and the fact that the shooter may have been diagnosed with autism. As our families and our community discusses this issue and tries to find a reason for this heartbreaking tragedy, I feel that it is very important to remember the following: There is no connection between planned, violent behavior and an autism spectrum diagnosis of any kind.

Autism is not a mental illness; it is a developmental disability. Many autistic people may have emotional regulation problems, which are impulsive expressions of frustration and anger, that are immediate and disorganized. They may lash out with threatening statements or behaviors, but these behaviors are impulsive reactions, they are not deliberate or organized plans. Once the situation has been diffused, the behaviors will stop. What happened in Connecticut required methodical planning of a deliberate and tremendously violent act; this is not typical behavior of an autistic person.

Right now we are all struggling to find a reason why this kind of atrocity would happen, and we can speculate about the mental state of the shooter; about gun control laws; about the current state of our country’s mental health system, or about whatever else that might help us make some sense out of this. Please know, and please tell your children, that even if the shooter was autistic, autism is not the explanation for this tragedy.

If anybody has any questions about autism, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you very much for your time,


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's a Sweet Day!

Today we are revealing our responses to the theme "Sweet" over on the 12x12 blog.  Here's my response, which I call "Millefiori."  I was inspired by the very sweet -- in terms of flavor AND appearance -- candies. 

Be sure to head over and see what the other Twelves have done. As always, the interpretations are fun and strikingly different!