Monthly Archives: February 2010


Throughout my life I’ve been deemed shy, backward, awkward, clumsy, incompetent, lazy, unfocused, nonconforming, kiddish, stubborn, careless…and yet I never felt there was anything wrong with me. I will admit, I have felt frustrated by the disconnect.

I have wondered…if mental health had been more of a priority when I was a child…would I have been diagnosed as having Asperger’s?

Surfing around, I’ve discovered a controversial and unproven theory of autism. Not all of it fits but a lot of it resonates with me.

Some believe that homo sapiens interbred with neanderthal humans and there are people living nowadays who carry the genes that give them a different way of communicating and learning. These individuals are not dysfunctional. They are the way they are meant to be.

Now, we don’t know for sure if there ever were neanderthal/modern human hybrids. Maybe some day we will know. My Jehovah’s Witness friends would dismiss this theory on the basis that they believe humans appeared six thousand years ago. However, this theory doesn’t really require a belief in human evolution, except for the time line.

I don’t think I have Aspbergers or whatever they are calling it these days. But if I do, I’m in better company than most of the people who sit around talking about their aching feet. Think Einstein, Jane Austen, Isaac Newton….



The lighting of a votive candle symbolizes the offering of a prayer. Or it can be a visual reminder of a solemn vow. Votive candles can be any size or shape but the most recognizable are 1.5″ in diameter and 2″ tall, and are set in small glass holders. Their comforting glow lights homes and churches. The votive candle
is often seen in Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran and Methodist churches, and at the ceremonies of other spiritualities that need visual reminders of life’s experiences.

The use of votive candles is not limited to churches and temples and houses of worship. Many homes are decorated with votive candles, in groupings or as part of a larger floral display. The votives are reasonably safe in their glass containers and they burn down without too much leftover residue. Sometimes the candles are color-coordinated with the home’s furnishings, or sometimes holiday colors and scents are used. Christmas votive candles might be red, green and white, and those that appear at Halloween are often black, orange and purple. Spring festivities might be celebrated with candles in pastel Easter egg shades, but there are no rules. Whether traditional white, ivory, or beeswax, or fashion shades that change from year to year, votive candles are an expression of artistry and spirituality.

February Lament

In an attempt to avoid catching stomach flu, I used the bathroom in the other house, which meant a fifty foot trek across glare ice each way. One of the cats threw up in my recliner. Somebody called me and wanted to sell me rocks. That might not seem so bad but I do know what I need, want and can afford, and taking in consignment in February does not appeal to me. I did tell the person that my shop isn’t heated. I hope I didn’t sound rude and crabby. Having given up on accomplishing much of anything, I decided to celebrate Shrove Tuesday (Carnaval, Pancake Day, Butter Day, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras) via my avatar in the virtual world called SecondLife. A virtual world is a pixelated fantasy that some people take far too seriously. In all fairness, it must be recognized that SecondLife is a fully realized world. My avatar has shopped, socialized, established businesses, attended classes, plays, church services, concerts, poetry readings and lectures, participated in sports, examined museums and galleries, shared coffee, conversation and music with like-minded residents, all these activities were positive. Tonight I/she looked for a Mardi Gras party, and stumbled into a club called Tops and Bottoms. There, a female avatar dressed in feathers was doing an exotic dance for tips from the gentlemen. One thing to remember about SecondLife is that some of the women are men, but most of the men are men, but not always. He/she invited me to sit and watch the dance, or to dance myself if I chose. (I, too, was wearing feathers). When I finally realized what kind of place I was in, I teleported to another area. I did manage to dance a samba and get a photo. Correction. My avatar danced. I sat at a computer.

family history

I’ve said this many times. I love history, especially when I can see where I fit in.

Around the time of Pearl Harbor, long before I was born, a local American Legion post held a meeting. A few days later, an anonymous letter arrived at my maternal grandfather’s house. The letter said that he, my grandfather, was using his position on local boards to promote his anti-American, socialist philosophies. His actions were being examined in light of the fact that he had avoided the first world war draft by relocating to Canada. Unless he changed his ways, the author intimated, he would be reported to the authorities.

This letter loomed large in family folklore. It was said the writer composed it when he was drunk. Nevertheless, he did succeed in striking a chord of intimidation and fear in the family.

Years later, I was sorting through papers in my grandfather’s attic and I found the letter. It was crudely and boldly written in pencil, and was still in its envelope with a three cent postage stamp. I felt a chill and a thrill as I read the words which heretofore had been related in a paraphrased fashion. History! My grandfather had been told he should go live in Sweden if he didn’t like it here. The author stopped short of telling him to go live in Russia. It was the original “love it or leave” letter.

In the same trunk I found my uncle’s draft notice. My mother had always wondered if allowing his son to be sacrificed for his country had been a sort of vindication for my grandfather in the community.

More years passed and my grandfather lived to be 96, outliving his nemesis by several decades. I told my mother I wanted to research the archives of the local American Legion posts to see if there had actually been a discussion about my grandfather’s patriotism. She said, “Oh, you’d better not look into it. We could get into trouble”. I replied, “But, these events happened more than fifty years ago. This is history. All the people involved are dead”.

After my mother died, I looked for that letter again but I never could find it. I have to wonder if she destroyed it.