This blog is dedicated to the three most special people in my life:
my beautiful, big-hearted baby sister and her valiant, generous hubby, and my most loyal and supportive friend YS – thank you for helping me eat better, look beyond my feet, reach out, live my dreams and keep on keeping on, knowing always that I am loved!
A sensorially surreal morning. Breakfast was strangely green hued, not sure why, it just felt the right colour today. I made avocado and anchovy paste, then added mozarella slices and olives, folded the wraps into little parcels and lightly baked them. Extremely filling! We walked to the post office – it was warm and sunny, with temperatures above 20C, it just didn’t feel like winter. I decided to get a takeaway lunch at my favourite Southern Wok cafe. I didn’t feel up to doing any cooking today. My senses still feel raw and frayed from the sorties we made yesterday and the day before. I chose the steamed chicken with ginger and spring onion soy sauce . Delicious, but I am not so sure it was the right choice after all. I do feel a little too stuffed and heavy laden. However, the food did give me some energy and I vacuumed the floor and wiped the bathroom. The dishes are still lying forlornly in the sink. I shall attempt them later.
Many people have asked me, “What does sensory meltdown or overload actually feel like?” I am hard put to describe it accurately, though it is a project I am duty bound to confront and contend with. Today is not a meltdown day, but the senses are shaken, stirred and somewhat swirling around still in a sort of aftermath-shock. Grey specks swirling around in murky churning vomit-yellow liquid, low visibility, sharply acidic and a droning groan in shades of dirty green.
And dinner too… accompanied by sago pudding and homemade salsa.
Here is a photologue of my attempt at Sweet and Sour Pork. I don’t like the idea of deep frying, as it’s not only super greasy, makes the air stink of stale sizzle, and leaves a thin film of tackiness all over, but it is also a waste of oil, especially since I am cooking for just one. So, instead of deep frying, I pan fried the pork cubes, which were first marinaded in soy sauce, then coated with beaten egg and tossed in corn flour. I added the gravy and pineapple chunks when the cubes were cooked and after draining away excess oil. I was quite pleased with the result, though it isn’t something I will repeat too often, as it involved a bit more preparation than usual.
For many autistic detail-focused minds, the process is itself the goal, wherein we find immense satisfaction. Life can be a fascinating learning journey, ending only when our own life force dissolves into nothingness. However, when we are prevented from pursuing our passions, the burning interests that fire our imaginations, then our journey becomes arduous, frustrating and even excruciating.
“Relaxation” thus takes on a very different meaning and complexion in our dimension. Continue reading →
Here is a fantastic initiative by OzHarvest and Virgin. Every time you tag a photograph of food with #mealforameal, Virgin Mobile will make a donation to OzHarvest, who in turn will donate a meal to those who cannot afford to feed themselves decently. Read more about it in this link.
So, here goes then. This is my latest pork roast. The crackle was crackly until I put it in the fridge, of course, but what could I do, it just isn’t possible to eat the entire lot in one sitting, even for a greedy Foodie Bunny!
(P.S. I experimented with saving some energy by melting the palm sugar – gula melaka – in a pot on top of the ovenette. Quite satisfactory results, I daresay, since heating it directly will cause the sugar to burn, and double boiling is a slow process. This was quite a good alternative!)
We went to the imaging centre again this morning. It was the same centre where I had had a number of Xrays not so long ago. The staff on duty at the time were very friendly, and Lucy was welcomed as an essential part of my presence, just as a wheelchair user and her wheelchair, or a blind person with his guide dog. This morning, however, we were met with a disapproving scowl from the radiologist, and I was told I wasn’t allowed to bring my dog in. She then turned her back to me, and walked on ahead towards the door leading to the imaging rooms. I followed behind, and explained (speaking to her back) that Lucy is my service dog, but she cut me short, and rambled on like an annoyed school teacher that this was a “sterile environment” etc. At that point, I just stopped in my tracks and said, “Well… if it is a problem…” as calmly and clearly as I could, even though my head had begun to pound and my heart felt like it was falling into a greasy pit of cheap cheddar cheese. Continue reading →
Here was my week in visual snapshots. The images speak better than words, in some respects, but here are my words anyway.
This post by Alex on Married, With Asperger’s made me smile. I am happy when good things happen to good people. I had a great week too. At last. A truly, fully, fruitful and rich week. No, not pain free, though I long for a life without this high level of pain, I have learned to focus on other things that bring joy and pleasure, and find grace within these. When I say it was a good week, I mean that I have achieved the measure of calm, tranquility, productivity, creativity, intellectual stirring, and even social satisfaction that adds to my Beingness. Continue reading →
I speak with a researcher who says, “we need to hear the pain and needs of the parents of individuals affected by the disorder.” She goes on to say, “Nobody else can know better what the needs of the affected person are.” “Oh,” I say, “how about speaking with Autistic people?” Surely they know better than any what it’s like to have once been a child. The researcher tells me this is not their focus. I try to understand what I’m missing, what is the focus then? I ask more questions. I listen. As I listen I am aware of my heart. It feels louder, is that possible I find myself wondering. Can one’s heart actually beat harder? I decide this cannot be true. I’m upset. I know I become more aware of my heart when I’m upset. I try to listen to her words, but I’m not able…
Today is the first day in a week that I feel myself climbing out of the abyss of mental frustration and physical pain. Well, the pain is still there, though the screams have softened into mere staccato expletives while in the act of eating and drinking. I had a relatively clement luncheon of roast pork and tomato salsa with rice, and I finished the last two lemon cupcakes. That is an achievement indeed. I am also in the midst of writing up the proposal for my upcoming exhibition. This, to me, is really good news indeed, some work at last!
My thought for the morning was a poignant quote from this post in Emma’s Hope Book:
The things that are being said, all those recommended check lists and the questions asked by all those autism organizations and experts are encouraging us to teach our children that they are the problem. We are raising a population of children who are internalizing the awful message given to them… Our children, who will grow up to be Autistic adults, are getting this message from almost everyone they come into contact with from the moment they are given the diagnosis. It is a message that is hurting our children and hurts all Autistic people. Our children, whatever their neurology hear it,and those who have internalized it may go on to deliver it too. It is up to us to change the message.
Ask a parent what they want most for their children and most will say, “Happiness.” Yet so much of what we are told about autism and our Autistic children is ensuring the opposite outcome.
Chicken and corn soup, salsa with roast pork, and lemon cupcake
Asparagus and spinach soup, bread and brie
A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.
There is a delicious (but horribly sinful) snack in Singapore, “bakwa,” which is basically meat jerky (in Singapore, pork is the preferred meat, but in other parts of Asia, they also use beef). The Bee Cheng Hiang company is one of the largest there, with branches in many other countries. My favourite are the bacon strips! Horrors of horrors, oui? Yes, I know, I do horrify myself at times, but ah well. Anyhow, I’ve experimented on DIY versions, nothing has ever come close, of course, but my own experiments have turned out pretty delicious nevertheless. Continue reading →
Ever the avid Foodie Aspie Bunny on a budget, I’ve been experimenting with microwave potato crisps for a long time now. I’ve never managed to get it quite right – they were either too soft, or overcooked and hard – until this last try. At last, just the right crunch and snap!
The trick, I think, is to microwave on high in 2 or 3 minute stages, checking on the progress each time. The potato slices need to be flipped over too. Preparation is simple, just slice, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. You can add paprika too, but if you want cheese, remember to add it at the end or the cheese will be overcooked. Continue reading →