Sunday, September 04, 2022

Oh no she didn't.

Oh, yes. Yes, she did.

No point in burying the lede here. I’ve started a YouTube channel: Deviated Spectrum. 

I’m autistic, I’m queer, and I’m an addict in recovery with a lively variety of mental diagnoses.  Lots of spectrums there, and they tend to intersect in weird ways. Hence, Deviated Spectrum. 

What’s it about? Adventures in late-diagnosis autism! Laughing at myself while I get reacquainted with my brain. Very basic adulting tutorials, hacks, and some product reviews. But I’m not limiting myself to autism. Addiction recovery and LGBTQ+ issues will definitely be in the mix.

Here's a teaser:

So what on earth possessed me to start a YouTube channel at age 65? You know, other than the fact that there aren't enough old people on YouTube talking about this stuff?

Just before the pandemic hit, I had this weird urge to do photography. And make videos. And write. And act. And I missed making music. And maybe I could start a podcast. Or a YouTube channel! I wrote about it here.

It’s like my head exploded and rainbows spewed out in all directions and I wanted to chase after every single one. And that's exactly what I did. I pursued every one of them. And this particular rainbow led to Deviated Spectrum.

You can find my channel right here:

It's my hope that you'll find my channel positive, helpful, and entertaining. Please check it out, subscribe if you'd like, and feel free to give me your comments and suggestions.

Thank you!

Saturday, January 23, 2021

All I need now is a mom with a refrigerator.

 I've been busy: I just finished an intensive course in Photoshop and Illustrator. Three credits, a 14-week semester squished into six weeks. It's the hardest class I've taken since law school. But more fun, and I'm determined NOT to be that old lady who can't find the mute button. Besides, remember that creative urge thing I had going? Well, I've been indulging. And more is coming!

Anyway, here is some of the stuff I did in the class. 

(With apologies to Joni Mitchell.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving, and I'm not okay.

Confession time: I don't really like the typical Thanksgiving celebration.To most other people, it's a time for gathering the whole family, cooking a wonderful feast, lots of laughter and happy noise. 

That is not my experience. For me, Thanksgiving is chaos and strangers and football and extreme cooking anxiety. It's an event to be endured and survived. A typical Thanksgiving is this autistic introvert's nightmare. 

My idea of the perfect Thanksgiving? No more than four or five people. We eat out so nobody has to work very hard (and we tip extremely well), and then maybe we go to a movie. Quiet and intimate. Calm. Ordered.

Other than the eating out part, that was pretty much the plan this year. Fly to Atlanta to see my kid and her dad and her fiancee and spend Thanksgiving with them. Pretty perfect.

But Covid.

So I'm alone this year. We'll zoom tomorrow, and I'm sure that will be wonderful, albeit weird. And I'll talk to my brother too. It'll be fine.

But tonight I just feel hollow, dark, and restless. And afraid, because some scary medical stuff is happening to Fina  - I may need to get her to the emergency vet tomorrow.

I miss my mom. I could use a cigarette. And a nice buzz sounds pretty good, too. A stinger, maybe, or some 151 rum. Something that'll burn a little going down.

(Which is why I went to a meeting this evening, okay?)

It's Thanksgiving and I'm not okay. But what I am is sober, and I'm in bed and getting sleepy, so I have accomplished the only essential thing I really needed to do today. Tomorrow may feel better, or maybe not, but I'll wake up with no regrets.

That alone gives me plenty to be thankful for. So I'm hanging on to that.

Have a safe Thanksgiving and enjoy it in a way that works for you. I love you all.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

That time RBG came to Santa Fe and got me in trouble with my boss

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was coming to Santa Fe! I was working at the New Mexico Supreme Court at the time. She was speaking at a school or something, and then she was coming to the Court!! 

RBG was scheduled for two events at the Court: First, a luncheon with the state supreme court justices. Second, a Q&A for some women lawyer's symposium (I keep thinking ladies' auxiliary but of course that's not what it was). 

Now, a good boss would have made sure her staff got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see RBG speak, even if it was remotely from another room. But that day, we were personae non gratae -- to the extent that the New Mexico chief justice acknowledged our existence at all.

My office was right across the hall from the courtroom, so it was hard to miss the hubbub. The lucky attendees filed into the courtroom and, after some settling, the doors closed. 

You could see inside if you put your face right up to the gap between the double doors. I sidled up to the security guard and glued my face to that gap like a beggar looking in the windows of a Waffle House. The guard -- an ally -- said, "why don't you go on in?"

"Uh, I'm pretty sure that's not allowed."

"But," he said, "There are empty seats in there. At least you could ask for permission."

Well, I was wearing appropriate court attire, and there were empty seats, and I was the court-appointed State Law Librarian. So I tagged the woman who had the invitation list and I asked. She said it was probably okay but she wanted to check with somebody else. She disappeared, and after about five minutes, she returned and told me I could go in. 

Score! I took a seat in the back. 

Now, I don't remember what RBG talked about, except that she was wonderful. I was just thrilled to be in her presence, albeit a little uneasy. I confess I was also a little contemptuous of the privileged women surrounding me who had managed to get into this gig legitimately. 

The chief justice glanced my way while she was introducing Justice Ginsburg. She didn't glare, but she didn't smile, either, which made me even more uneasy. Still, I drank in RBG's wisdom and kindness, and when she was done, I eased out the door (I correctly calculated that I shouldn't stay for the group picture). 

I don't know who told the invitation lady that I could go in. I do know, however, that it wasn't the chief justice. She came to my office a couple of days later -- the only time during my tenure that she did so. 

She was furious. 

I explained that I had gotten permission, and I explained that the lady who gave me permission had gotten permission. She wanted names, which of course I didn't have. 

In any event, she didn't particularly care how I had gotten in, just that I had. So I apologized. And I apologized some more. And then I sent an email apologizing deeply and sincerely. I pretty much prostrated myself while genuflecting. It didn't make any difference. I lost an important ally that day. 

But given the chance for a do-over? 

Yeah, you guessed right. I didn't regret it then, and I don't regret it now. 

Rest in power, RBG.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

There is hope for us yet.

 I spent my seventeenth year getting high and drunk. Songbird, on the other hand, is doing some pretty spectacular political parodies.

If she is our future, I think we're gonna be okay. 

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Black Lives Matter: I thought I got it. I didn't.

I'm the lucky daughter of anti-racist parents so I've never doubted the existence of institutional racism. For years, I've comforted myself by acknowledging and bemoaning my white privilege. I naturally supported -- or thought I was supporting -- the Black Lives Matter movement from the beginning. I thought this made me, you know, one of the good ones.

In the past few weeks I've discovered I was actually clueless.

I've known I can't fully understand what it's like to drive while Black, work while Black, breathe while Black, exist while Black. What I did know turned out to be wrong. I thought racism existed in pockets. It was in certain cities or certain regions or neighborhoods or social circles, or certain times of day or night. Basically, everywhere I wasn't, because it didn't seem to be affecting people I hold dear. It wasn't until I watched their frustrated videos that I realized I have it wrong. The effects of racism are everywhere and always. I didn't understand this. Or maybe I just didn't want to know.

I'm grateful for those videos, grateful for the education. But it's not the job of Black people to educate me, or to reassure me that I'm not a racist, or to make me feel comfortable. It's not their job to motivate me.

It's on me to take the initiative to get educated, and to identify and fight racism, especially in myself.

Acknowledging my white privilege isn't enough. I am called to weaponize it.

So, what now? Now I do what it takes to learn. I listen to people who want to talk, and then I listen some more. I contact appropriate organizations and ask how I can help. And when I screw it up and get it wrong -- which I'm bound to do -- it's my job to be teachable.

I have a lot of work to do. I have a lot to learn.

It's on me.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Congratulations to My Fabulous Disease!

My best friend Mark King just won the 2020 GLAAD award for outstanding blog! Check it out if you haven't:  My Fabulous Disease. It was the blog's fifth consecutive nomination, and well deserved. 

He was also recently named the 2020 LGBTQ Journalist of the Year by the Association of LGBTQ Journalists.

He's even got a Wikipedia page now. Jesus Christ.  

Congratulations, Mark. You inspire me every day for all kinds of reasons.