savouring pulchritude

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Spending time with Lucy, just us both, nobody else, is both precious and renewing. What she gives me is more than I deserve, really. How can I not place her right up high on top, in my list of priorities? My life is so busy with this and that, but I am all she has. The inequality between Canine Angel and Mere Human is absurd. So much Beauty in the hands of a weak, confused, distracted and faltering human.

It was hot and steamy – not the kind of weather we like for walking – but we both love the Botanical Gardens. There is always something new to discover, yet so much that is comfortable and familiar.

No rain for awhile, and the grass was losing its deep green colour. There wasn’t any cooling breeze this time, I felt my body cutting through the thick moisture in the air, and I could literally sense the droplets cooking in the heat, my skin tingling with the subtle minuscule movements.

I was once told by a forestry expert that there were some really old tropical hard wood trees in the gardens. What I do know is that this place is very well cared for, the rangers, cleaners etc are very kind and friendly, and dogs are welcome here, though they must be on leash. It makes sense to have dogs on leash here, because there is vulnerable wildlife, and to keep the dogs safe from snakes. Yes, we have cobras here in Singapore.

We were too hot – I was drenched in perspiration and Lucy was panting heavily – and so we headed to the cafe for respite. I had a coffee, which I mixed with my iced milo in the bottle I brought with me. I settled Lucy on her mat with her water bowl and a huge length of Chewy Roo from our favourite Loyalty Pet Treats, which we order direct from Australia. The owners are wonderful folk, and we’ve become friends through the years. We’re lucky to have good friends, though I think it is Lucy who attracts the good people to us. I have her to thank for this.

The Princess was remarkably calm and collected, even when the chickens came to check her out! And there I was, feeling nervous about them chooks coming too close. Silly me.

We spent just over two hours at the gardens. It wasn’t a big day out, only a slice of the morning, but these little moments means so much to me, and I hope to Lucy too.

not alone

Not alone, never lonely – when I am with Lucy. I have never liked to ‘share’ my mental, emotional and physical space when I am deep inside my creating, building, making realm. Yet, sharing this sacred space with Lucy is so comfortable, seamless, and even joyful. And she has taught me how to (sometimes) tolerate other humans inside this interstice of clemency too.

I’ve been finding renewal and restoration for frayed nerves and burnout inside this space lately. Coincidentally, renewing and restoring some of my old clothes – accompanied by Lucy. The above photos show my latest execution: modified a pair of very old Roberto Cavalli jeans and transformed it into a long skirt. Lucy approves, methinks? ❤

sensory expedition

 

Lucy seemed restless this morning. She was lying in bed, watching me work at my desk, and suddenly did a little bounce and let out a mini yelp in my direction. I turned to look at her and she held my gaze, nodding her head, bounced again and made that same yelping sound. Lucy does that when she wants to communicate – she doesn’t bark at all in any other ‘normal doggy’ circumstances. When I first heard her bark, it was two months after she came to live with me, and out of the blue, one afternoon, she did that bounce + yelp thing, asking me to play with her. I’ve learned to recognise that. Continue reading

stew

Festive seasons are to me like stew. I love food. I love eating. But I am wary of stew. Things get thrown willy nilly into a large pot, stirred, cooked and cooked, and then poured out in a chunky, goopy, mass. The sound it makes when a scoop of the stuff hits the plate or bowl? Quite nauseating, like a soft belching blended and layered with thick, dull, stretched out staccato. I do not much like stew. And I do not much like festivities.

Regardless, it was a goodly Christmas and New Year over here for this Autistic Foodie Bunny, and I am beginning to learn how to actually enjoy these things.  Continue reading

sensescape

After the foggy, damp start, the sun broke through with a forceful brilliance. A great day for washing, washing, and washing! A mission it was, after all, to breathe and touch cleanliness once more. So here, today, the full languid process unfurls.

How glorious is a gentle, warm shower, twice shampoo-ed hair, conditioned,  soaped and scrubbed down all over, turning slowly, touching cool smooth tiles, toes wriggling, and twirling carefully inside happy space. An old bathroom, just like the other one, but scrubbed and maintained. No cloying stink of rancid human embedded in threads of unkempt soggy towels, no dust or grime smeared across floor tiles, and no running out of water mid-way through. A little luxury too much taken for granted – basic, unhindered access to hygienic practice. Ah, the wonderment of squeaky clean hair! Continue reading

sticky notes

A grey, damp morning for Day 4 of our little retreat.

Some ‘sticky notes’ to remind me of life, and little clemencies…

Someone to watch over me. Lucy by my side.

Muesli. Yes. The ability to eat this crunchy, texturally eclectic and considerably challenging concoction is testament to being alive.

The view of green by my temporary workspace. It is not spectacular, unlike the “million-dollar-view” of the bay and the water, but it represents respite to me.

And Lucy. Always. Lucy.

voicing the voice

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Off to face the world!

It began foggy, damp and cold. We lay in bed, unwilling to emerge from under our warm cocoon. Angel alarm has not been working for some time now. Is it her age? No matter, mumma’s turn to take over the waking up process.

All quiet, apart from the whirring of traffic and birdsong – absolute bliss. No anxious listening out for grating vocalisations and cling-clang-slam of doors etc, planning the morning dash to kitchen and bathroom to avoid having our morning peace cruelly interrupted. Or destroyed. Continue reading

hide inside

Too much to process. Assaulted on all sides at multiple dimensions. Sensory attacks from the environment. Confusing shenanigans from certain quarters that even my non-autistic, neurotypical friends shake their heads at. Discombobulation. Distress. Chaos. Disorganisation. Changes, one following another, tripping over in clumsy stretto. Fever. Smarting eyes. Ringing ears. Inflammation everywhere. Tired, tired, exhaustion. Continue reading

my love

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Till a’ the seas gang dry…

Collected my baby girl from the emergency vet this morning. Back home, fed a bland diet of cooked turkey mince. She is now sleeping in bed. We are waiting for her regular vet to come and pick us up, because Lucy is too weak to jump in and out of a taxi. Dr. Ivor is a wonderful vet, and he has been ever so kind to us. It seems like a long road ahead for us both, but I owe it to Lucy to do all I can for her wellbeing. Right now, our immediate goal is to stabilize her, before we head on towards a plethora of tests and explorations. Not a good time at all, I am in the throes of completing my Ph.D dissertation, and have (as it is) blown apart two whole months running around doing all kinds of things – moving house, packing & unpacking, dealing with Lucy’s accidents, battling my own monsters of meltdown and physical pain, fighting the bullying of the Evil Twins (real estate agents) etc blah – just about everything but proper work. Not much time left, and I face an impossibility. But we have come this far, we now have no other choice but to rely on the great cosmic clemency that has carried us through, to propel us forward. And thusly we shall go!

A Robert Burns poem that I like to sing to her… as we wait… I am trying not to overwhelm her with my anxiety and singing helps us both at times like these.

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie, 
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ ’twere ten thousand mile!

Robert Burns

voiceless

Dogs are wonderful creatures. In terms of comfortable, clement interactivity, they rank higher than humans for me. Well, animals in general, but in my case, specifically, it’s dogs. And more distinctly, Greyhounds. Umm, ok, narrow that down to one Greyhound: Lucy.

I grew up with a healthy respect for dogs. Dad believed in rescue and adoption, he despised the practice of buying a dog. Some of the rescued dogs were quite feral when they first arrived. I’ve been bitten by a few, our own and the free roaming dogs that lived in the nearby village (our family home was a large brick semi-detached in a modern residential estate, perched at the edge of a traditional Chinese kampong).

Long before the new science of canine behaviour emerged, in the relatively ‘ignorant’ days, there were nevertheless fundamental tenets of respect embedded in our mindscapes about living with dogs.

Simple Wisdom from dad: dogs have different ways of showing affection, different comfort thresholds and different communicative styles from humans. Do not taunt a dog. Do not rush head/face first at a dog. Do not touch the tail, pull ears, pinch, smack etc. Do not surprise the dog. Do not disturb the dog when he/she is eating. If the dog nips you, it is probably your fault. The dog cannot speak in words.

Simple Wisdom from dogs: dogs tolerate a whole lot from humans. Dogs try very hard to communicate with humans. Dogs tolerate a lot of rubbish behaviour from humans. Dogs are wonderful creatures that ought to be respected and treasured, because they can teach you much about how to be a better human.

Lucy has opened up amazing trajectories and dimensions to me, and inspired not only the desire and determination to love and care for her, but also much of my research and practice. To me, she is my non-verbal parallel embodied companion, a living sentience of my own theory and praxis.

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wordless repartee

Verbality is not superior to non-verbality. Affection and love has many systemic structures and are evinced in myriad configurations. Just because an autistic child/adult does not enjoy hugging or kissing you, or looking in your eyes, does not mean the autist feels no elemental empathic resonance for and with you. Learn to speak our language, especially the silent one, since we are making great effort to learn to speak your verbal one.