improperlyhuman: Burgendy text on black background: "Promoting Commodified Sex Positive Is Not Sex Positive" (pic#8372521)
This is a new laptop. Not new as in "never used before" but new as in "newly owned by me." I got it for sixty-two dollars plus tax at the State Surplus Auction two days ago. It was probably employed for state business; they wiped the HD, so it came with no operating system. After fiddling with the C prompt for days, I finally got Lubuntu installed about an hour ago, just half an hour before the UC Davis library closed. I had to come here to get Linux installation CD-ROMs because I couldn't burn an installation USB because the public library computers don't have burning software! My regular laptop is a gigantic desktop replacement, too big and heavy to lug around now that I'm homeless.

Homeless :( I got back from Oregon at 6 AM, six days ago, and went to the local veteran's resource center as soon as I stepped off of the train. I'm impressed with these vet services; they had me in a shelter that same afternoon. I had to head over to the VA hospital to get checked for TB before I could be admitted to a shelter (why do shelters always require TB clearance? does anyone in the developed world still get TB??), and the vet resource person sent a cab for me to make sure that I got to the shelter in time for intake.

So I'm in a shelter in a big city and being catcalled by men on a daily basis while I'm looking for an apartment. I just got a 120-day extension on my housing voucher today. The shelter requires this horrible 3-hour kitchen duty for the first three days (and now and then thereafter) that, along with dorm meetings, vet meetings, and two intake processes, prevented me from accomplishing much of anything my first half-week back in California. I couldn't even leave the shelter my first day there because they didn't have a badge for me to use to get back in. It's almost like prison. There is a family of cats in the womyn's lounge area: 3 kittens the first day, then 4, now I see 7 of them (plus mom). They've multiplied or something! The deadbeat dad cat finally showed up several days later.

Oregon was cold and rainy for at least half the time I was there. And when the sun came and went—my goodness, I've never seen weather change so fast. I was putting my ski cap on and then taking it back off in a matter of seconds. The sky went from slate grey to blinding, sunlit orange in the same amount of time. I didn't sleep much, and when I did sleep, I didn't sleep deeply (the same is happening in the shelter). I finally biked in the town four or five days after my arrival. The road has no shoulder, and the last mile or so was scary and dangerous: a two-lane affair sandwiched between a hill too steep to climb and a little gulch or something too steep to descend, with cars zooming by right next to me.

Everything was ok in town. I didn't notice anyone looking at me weird. No one said anything to me except the cashier at the grocery store I stopped at.

Getting back up the hill was a pain: too steep to ride. I walked up the narrow dirt way between the road and the valley. I got caught in the rain. More than once. I waited it out under some trees. Lots of big, gorgeous trees up that way. I started out again, shivering, when the rain was just a drizzle, but it started out heavy again and there was no place else to hide so I just had to keep going.

No phone reception up there, but there was a giant fabric vulva one of the residents had put together for the festival that had just ended before I arrived. 

I think the highlight of the whole two weeks was when the caretaker called me "sister" in gratitude for my helping her with her truck :) A few womyn came and went while I was there: a crazy lady who showed us the scar from her hip replacement, friends of the caretaker, a new resident who was preparing to move in. There are a bunch of cabins on the land. Cabins in the loose sense of the term. Just a bunch of diverse individual dwellings.

I helped move fire wood. I ate greens from the garden. I ate them kind of raw and had gas for a while. I helped one of the residents clean her chimney. It was great. All except the cold and talking. I felt pressured to talk :( But of course I had to talk; half the point of being there was for them to get to know me. But two of the residents were not there at the time! They decided that I could stay until those womyn returned, but I was afraid that my housing voucher would expire. Stupidly, I hadn't looked into the details of porting the voucher to Oregon or the housing authority in charge of the area or anything, so I wasn't prepared to many any decisions. I said that maybe I'd come back in the winter to see if I could hack the cold.

I rediscovered my ability to concentrate on the written word! I read and read and read. They had wonderful books on feminism from the seventies, old lesbian romance novels (I jotted down the names to look them up someday), a lesbian magazine that I didn't even know existed. I read a book about feminism from bell hooks. She wrote that separatism was bourgeois white feminist stuff. Here I am bell, poor non-white separatist! More about books later.

I was uncomfortable with leaving because I didn't want to be around men again. I sure did miss the California warmth, though!

I don't think I can make it there. The cold is one thing, trying to get into town in a rainy area with nothing but a bike on a dangerous road is another. If I have it in me, I'm thinking of trying a place in Arizona, possibly one in New Mexico (it gets cold there too). The social aspect is a bit much for me. It was easier to deal with than I feared, but it was still difficult.

The bus arrives soon, so I'm out.

Peace Out!

Aug. 28th, 2016 07:47 pm
improperlyhuman: (dyke)
Finally, all of the preparations are done.

I can loosen the handlebars and remove my basket and pedals. I spent some time outside in my sleeping bag last night to make sure that I'll be warm enough. I have the tent and sleeping bag liner if I need to be warmer. The reports from weather.gov have been warm. Did my laundry so that I don't have to show up with dirty clothes. I spent my last seven dollars' worth of this month's food stamps on some extra food—protein bars.

My two weeks' worth of groceries is heavier than I'd like, but meh. I loaded everything up and went for a ride around the block to make sure that I, the bike, and all my stuff are maneuverable. I like my new bike, but it sure isn't the workhorse that my old bike (which I donated yesterday) was. Kinda unstable when loaded up, and falls over easily (falls over to the lighter side, oddly). It'll be a slowish, cautious trip to the train station. The area will be quiet with little traffic, though.

I'll be getting picked up, so I won't have to worry about biking onto unfamiliar land in the evening with all my luggage. Isn't it nice to be able to agree to a ride from a complete stranger to the middle of nowhere without having to worry about rape and/or murder? Such are the joys of womyn's community.

I can't wait to set up camp! It'll be my first time sleeping out in the open with no worries. Paradise! The trip is rather long, so I'll probably be ready for sleep, too.

I'm also looking forward to seeing the countryside.

Oh damn, I just checked the weather report again. What happened to the great weather? :( Possible showers for over half of next week. Oh well.

I need to change into some warmer clothes.

Maybe I should bring my tarp.

It's not even late and I'm already tired.
improperlyhuman: (not queer)
I just figured out that the dreamwidth logo looks like the Debian logo. That's what's been confusing me when I have one website or the other (or both) open in a tab.

Today was a great day. A day for getting my head on straight. A day to stop torturing myself.

I didn't, however, get any work done, so tomorrow won't be such a great day.

The new property management company is blowing our money on unnecessary bullshit. They raised the rent by one hundred dollars as a cover for towing poor people's cars, paving over a third of the front lawn, redoing the parking structure, and constructing a fence and a gate. This is a small, quiet town; we do not need to be protected from outsiders.

Yesterday, I noticed that the mailbox had suddenly gone missing. To accommodate the construction, the residential manager has been giving us only one days' notice to park elsewhere and threatening to tow without notice.

A bunch of people with dogs (including the residential manager, apparently) have moved in and the yard I use for sunbathing is filling up with piles of dogshit.

Of course, they'll still be getting that extra one hundred dollars per household per month after all that crap is paid for.

I don't want to live here so much anymore.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Finally. FINALLY. The skin of my face is moisturized. It not only feels moisturized, it looks moisturized. In the one and only local drugstore, I found a little plastic bottle of glycerin. Why had no one told me of this wonder before?!

No matter how scaly and flaky my skin got, I refused, refused for years, to use lotion on it because of the shady ingredients, especially petrolatum. I stuck to natural products, but natural products didn't work well enough, apparently. I stopped using soap on my face, and still it was dry and scaly.

Now, maybe my skin can finally heal. Maybe. I have a looooong way to go to blemishlessness, assuming that's even possible for me.

As of today, I've read sixty-six pages of Needful Things. I haven't read that much fiction in at least a year and a half. It's nice to be able to enjoy a novel again. I'm not sure what's changed. I guess I just forced myself to keep going beyond those first few pages, and then inertia took over. The cover blurb says the book is fast-paced; maybe that's it. Not enough of a chance to get distracted.

The work on my quality control gig dried up this afternoon. I'm hoping that someone uploads some more projects come Monday; if not, I will have made less than five hundred dollars, which doesn't quite pale but maybe blanches in comparison to the more than three thousand I made last time.

The backs of my thighs are always sore. Not really sore; I only notice the soreness when I bend over. I don't think this is supposed to be this way.

Nearly busted a gasket when my neighbor spoke to me and brought my bike upstairs for me. I banged my head against the wall for a bit and then played one of my favorite computer games to calm myself down. Just leave me alone! I don't want to be helped, and I can barely speak Spanish. He would not be doing these kinds of favors for me if I were a guy. This crap just started up a few days ago.

Within the last few days, it has occurred to me that I don't like it when people chat at  me because listening requires alertness, and my alertness is wasted on "hello, how are you, te gusta carne seca?" I don't wanna put forth the effort to listen to unimportant crap.

improperlyhuman: (Default)
My paratransit ADA assessment was held this morning. For some reason, I'd been envisioning a panel of stern evaluators, but only one person conduced the assessment. It seemed thorough in some ways (he took my pulse at four or five times during the assessment), and surprisingly unthorough in others (my medical records were not required at all). I applied with migraines and auditory sensitivity.

The guy asked me a bunch of questions and typed my answers on a laptop. We went outside and walked around, during which he took my pulse twice. Thanks to the echoing phone conversation to which I was treated in the waiting area and the various other noises in the building, my pulse was probably elevated for at least one third of the assessment.

I'm supposed to receive a decision in two or three weeks. I have no idea what the outcome will be. The ADA paperwork specifies that paratransit services will only be provided to people who have "functional inability." Well, I can walk to the stop and maneuver myself onto the buses, and I've the cognitive capacity to count out correct change (I was tested on that, as well), so it seems like I wouldn't qualify.

Tried to squat 65 lbs. yesterday. It was too much. Deadlifted 70. I haven't made any gainz with overhead press. Fixed my squat form, and I'm looking forward to an end to the wrist discomfort I've been experiencing.

I made the mistake of treating myself to tortilla chips for lunch. I've been feeling heavy and out of it since then. I'll have to remind myself to stay away from junk, including occasional treats. What am I gonna eat on grocery day?

I spent some time trying to figure out how to expand my freelancing business to private clients. Making sure that I get paid would be the greatest difficulty. Something like a simple web page with a Paypal link could be a satisfactory or at least temporary solution, but I'd need to take the time to figure out how to set one up or pay someone else to do it.

I'm going to need another computer to run Windows software. Emulating shit on Wine isn't cutting it. I'm editing in an unlicensed copy of Word 2010 that starts up with an unknown error every time I launch it. I can't get Adobe Acrobat or M$s new visualization software, Tableau, to run at all. There are some refurb systems at a shop a few towns away, but I'd have to suffer through a day of public transportation to get there. Think I'll wait for my paratransit decision instead.

I hate Windows OS'.

My days seem to pass very quickly now. Before I know it, it's bedtime again. Besides my delicious breakfast and the glorious sunshine, the only things I have to get up for are work and work-related activities. I love getting books in the mail. It's isn't difficult to get up, however. I don't really feel bad. My life just seems kind of pointless when examined in certain lights. I eat, sleep, work a tiny bit, exercise, study, mess around online, update this blog. It's all just...I don't know, a series of unimportant events.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
The first draft, anyhow. The audiologist had misinterpreted the conversation during our phone consultation and thought that I had been diagnosed with Asperger's.

The tests comprised the Multiple Auditory Processing Assessment. There were three areas tested: Monaural, Temporal, and Binaural. I scored within normal range on the first two and abnormal (outside 1 SD) on both subtests of the latter (full name Binaural Integration/Binaural Separation). These subtests were Dichotic Digits (a set of three numbers presented to each ear, simultaneously), and Competing Sentences (one sentence presented to each ear simultaneously). Curious. I thought that I'd performed well on these tests. Both


"rely on binaural integration, attention, and auditory memory."


I'd already known that my auditory memory and attention were poor, but the binaural integration is new. I don't think I've even heard of that before, despite having researched APD a bit.

I think I may have accidentally scored lower than my ability on the latter. There were two runs, one for repeating the left ear stimulus followed by that presented to the right, and vice versa for the other. On the first trial, I gave my answers out of order (and eventually noticed it) and the report indicates that such an error is marked incorrect, even if the sentences are repeated correctly. Oh well. Maybe mixing up verbal directions is part of the test. I've always had trouble keeping left and right straight. I found out that this actually has a name: left-right confusion.


I also scored abnormal (4dB instead of +14dB) on something called the Masking Level Difference Test, which consists of a stimulus presented to both ears (I can't remember which) with a masking noise, first in phase with the stimulus, then 180 degrees out of phase.

I apparently misinterpreted our post-evaluation discussion. The draft indicated that she diagnosed acquired auditory processing deficit, not misophonia. I asked her about that (like, where/how the hell did I acquire it?) and she said that she used that ICD code because she couldn't verify that I'd been born with the condition. And it seems to have worsened with age anyhow, so maybe I did acquire it (somehow? with no injury or illness I can remember...). It doesn't matter anyways, though, because she remembered that she needs to use ICD 10 rather than 9, so the diagnosis will be changed to abnormal auditory perception, unspecified ear, which seems kind of inappropriate because my specific problem is with BOTH ears according to the evaluation. No, not my ears, but the part of the brain that handles hearing. My ears are healthy. Stupid classifications.

So I corrected the mistakes and things I wanted changed, and now she is going to be working on the final draft. She said that she'd left out the misophonia part because she hadn't evaluated for it, but I thought it was based on that questionnaire she gave me (she has observation as proof as well)? She said that she would mention my self-described symptoms in the report. I never would have said a word about misophonia if she hadn't brought it up. Whatever.

AND she is trying to get me into an online treatment program that is part of a research study! I'm excited. I hope I still have Internet when it finally works out, because she's been working on this for months now. If I don't have Internet or am on the verge of losing it, then maybe I could use this diagnosis and the recommended treatment as a way to convince someone to pay for it. Schemes you dream up when you are poor...

I'm was so happy to finally get this information, I could barely sit still. But thinking about it all has me visualizing the day of the evaluation, and the visualizing is giving me a hankering for the falafel I had that day. YUMMM. The summer sunshine on my skin would be nice, too. I wonder how much I've improved my Vitamin D levels. Probably not enough to last me through the winter. Will have falafel next time I'm in San Francisco. If ever...
improperlyhuman: screenshot of Apocalypse from X-Men: The Animated Series (apocalypse)
I went to San Francisco for my central auditory processing testing today! My bike's in the shop getting a brake job, so I had to walk to the bus station :(

I always case out vegan eats when I have an upcoming trip deep into the bay area. I arrived two hours early and had lunch, a beet and seitan burger with squash-cashew cheese and sauerkraut (which I didn't know came in purple!) and a side salad from the HellaVeganEats truck that was parked at the farmer's market. At first I was disappointed that the meal hadn't come with fries, then I found that it  was satisfying enough on its own. Wish I had gotten the full serving of sauerkraut and cheese instead of light. It was kind of expensive, but I wanted to support a vegan establishment.

I thought about getting the burrito instead, but there were no beans in it?! That's a damned wrap, not a burrito. And what's with everyone putting sweet potatoes in every thing now? It's like there's always some "it" food that people find a way to integrate into a million different dishes (or treat like the ultimate health food), up until the next one comes out. Chia is "in" right now; before that it was acai. Then they take the "it" food and mess up perfectly good traditional dishes with it, even going so far as to remove fundamental ingredients. Like a "burrito" with roasted sweet potato, but no beans.

After that, I wandered up and down the street for a bit, trying to figure out which way to go and sweating from the extra walking. I found the university and was half an hour early for my appointment. I was surprised to find a security desk just inside the door (the clinics had their own entrance, separate the school, apparently) and that I needed a visitor's badge. The school was very bright and new-looking; first school I've ever been in that had escalators.

The receptionist was out to lunch, so my arriving early did me no good. When she finally arrived a few minutes before my appointment time, I found out that I only had to fill out basic info and a one-page questionnaire about how much sounds bothered me. The doctor came out for me shortly, and we went back into the testing room. She looked into my ears and told me that I had a ball of wax that would begin pressing against my ear drum soon, and that I needed to use drops to soften it. My first thought was, "oh no, will that make sounds louder?" I actually thought about not removing the wax for a second. The incompetent nincompoops at my primary clinic apparently hadn't faxed my records, so she then stuck some foam earbug-like things in my ears and administered a hearing test. Immediately after that, we went straight through the CAPD testing. She offered me breaks, but I declined.

These are the tests I took, roughly in order:

The audiologist played successively louder tones and told me to indicate when the volume became overwhelming.  She repeated this in each ear, with several different tones. Only the first one ever became overwhelming. I think there was a miscommunication on that test.

A recording played words in each ear, one by one, and I simply had to repeat them.

A series of static-like sounds played for a bit , and I had to press a button if I heard beeping in the background.

There was a series of tapping noises, and I had to say how many taps I'd heard.

A series of groups of four notes were played one-by-one, and I had to identify whether each of the four was the high tone or the low tone.

A series of unidentifiable sounds played, some single some in VERY closely-spaced pairs (they could have been mistaken for a single sound). I had to say whether I'd heard one sound or two.

Then there was one long set of tests (15 - 20 min.) that got much more difficult. I barreled through it:

One voice seemed to be giving a lecture. I had to ignore this voice, tune in to the other (which played simultaneously) and say the words the second voice directed me to say. Same with the opposite ear.

Another series of quad-note groups. This time, I had to identify the pattern in terms of the notes' durations (long or short).

Then the testing got insane. I heard two different sets of numbers simultaneously, one set per ear. Six numbers total, three spoken one-by-one in each ear, and not slowly, either. I had to recite all six, starting with the three I'd heard in the right ear first, in the order in which they'd been played. I messed up and started with the left ear, not recognizing my error until I had to do the same thing, right ear first. Not sure the doc noticed.

Then two sentences simultaneously, one per ear, which I had to recite, again, beginning with the sentence that I'd heard in the right ear first. And so forth, the other ear.

Those two tests were the most difficult. Of course, I had a migraine building by that time. I can't even remember what the hell we did after that. The audiologist told me that the test was designed to exhaust the testee in order to reveal a breakdown in performance. I think they hit their mark.

She scored the tests while I waited! Then called me into a back room. She said that I'd been tested on speech-in-noise, temporal processing (dunno what that means), and something else I can't remember. I was breaking down at that point. The sounds from the street were beginning to get to me, and the glass in the large window was making distracting noises as well. She said that all of my tests results were in the normal range, although one was low (can't remember which). In fact, I somehow scored 100% on one of them?! The bar for a perfect score must be damned low, 'cause I certainly didn't get them all correct. We'll see when I get the report. I actually get to give feedback on the report before she creates a final draft and mails it to me! Wonderful.

I was surprised at how long she talked with me. She recognized that I might still have processing problems despite my scores, and informed me that there are some available treatment options, mainly software-based, but that they were expensive, and that she wouldn't recommend them given the combination of the price and her inability to guarantee that I would benefit from them based on my current skills. Based on my questionnaire and test scores, she said that I seemed to have misophonia. She said that she could make some recommendations if I began working with VocRehab again, and asked me about my future employment plans and my SSI case. She filled out, signed, and faxed the form I needed to get a captioned phone.

I was quite displeased to hear that the treatment for misophonia is desensitization. She asked me about how hearing sounds made me feel, and which situations moved me to don my ear defenders. She said that it was good that I didn't wear them all of the time, and very, very carefully and sensitively suggested that I begin to try to desensitize myself by removing my ear defenders thirty seconds before I get off the bus, slowly increasing this amount of time as my comfort level increased. She also suggested volunteer work in a quiet environment.

At some point, a truck that was louder than the others rumbled by and I covered my ears and started crying. She left the room and returned with a box of tissues. I can't remember what the hell else she said. The whole appointment lasted two hours and a quarter and I needed to be out of there. She gave me a copy of my cap phone application, I went back down the elevator, returned my badge, and then I had to wait for the security guard to open the metal bar thingee so that I could get out (what?!).

It was getting close to time for me to be worried about missing the last bus home, so I wasted no time walking back the way I came to hit up vegan falafel place before I left. Within minutes of arriving, the guy said something to me that I couldn't make out while standing less than six feet away, and after getting those test results, I was like, 'to hell with everything. I still can't understand people.' Just a tad pricey, especially the little square of baklava I got for two bucks. But hearing the guy who came in asking for flesh told that the restaurant was a 100% vegan establishment? PRICELESS. Tables turned for once.

I don't think the testing is terribly representative of my abilities because it was administered directly into my ears, which makes sounds easier to make out than they are otherwise.

I got down to the BART platform and was surprised to see the southbound side empty, and everyone lined up for the eastbound trains. I've never seen people line up for BART; they usually swarm inwards from every angle, some all but pivoting around the entrance frame to come in at ninety degrees. I figured it was a rush-hour-people thing and got in a line. When the train arrived, some people got on, but others just stood there, blocking the damned door. I asked why people were just standing there and no one said anything to me, although one person looked at me. I was so confused, I hesitated and missed my train. The hell? I finally figured out that they were waiting for other train lines, but why line up and block the path onto the trains? None of the subsequent trains that stopped were anywhere near close to being full, so it wasn't like a first-come, first-served arrangement was in order. I left the line. I felt stupid for letting their moronic ritual delay my trip home.
improperlyhuman: Burgendy text on black background: "Promoting Commodified Sex Positive Is Not Sex Positive" (pic#8372521)
I just finished watching the movie Ex Machina. I found it creepy because men creating (or rather, re-creating) womyn in their own image is not fiction. Corsets and FGM, these crude shaping tools are inferior to the most successful and efficient of all: femininity. The mold that holds. A prison for the mind.

I had my first acupuncture session this afternoon. I hadn't expected to be asked so many questions. Going through my records, the technician did a better job than my PCP getting me to understand the severity of my Vitamin D deficiency. He turned off the overhead lights because of my photosensitivity. I lay on the small cot that was set up against the back wall of the office. He started swabbing spots on my body, including my face, and I asked if he was going to put needles in my head. He answered in the affirmative. Last night, while performing some quick research, I came across an article in which the author claimed to not use needles in the head area for treating migraines,  as this would make them worse. I mentioned this to the doctor. He laughed, but I didn't get any needles in my forehead.

I got stuck eleven times. The first, on the outside of my left leg, just below the knee, hurt way more than I'd expected. I jumped and the doctor did as well. Some spots are more sensitive than others, he told me. OK. Since the placement of all of the other needles besides this one were mirrored on the other side of my body, I assume he didn't want to take a chance with the corresponding spot on my right leg.

Most of the rest were not painful. I got needles on the front of my legs, a couple of inches below the knees. I got needles on the inner part of my legs, an inch or so above the ankles. I got needles in my hands, a centimeter or so directly behind the webbing between thumb and forefinger.

He asked me if I had kids.
I said "no."
He said, "not yet."
I said, "never."

Finally, he placed three needles in each ear. He talked to me about botox injections as a migraine treatment. Botox. Doctors are batshit crazy. I would have to have migraines 24/7 before I would even begin to consider considering that. I didn't ask for it or say that I wanted it, but he left and came back with a brochure for me. I didn't find out until afterwards, but the needles were supposed to stay in for fifteen to thirty minutes. He sat down and began working on the computer, and I lay there, bored and wondering if anything else was going to happen.

The VA has recently unveiled a healthcare program for those of us who live over forty miles away from the nearest VA medical facility and/or have long waits in between appointments. We can get treated in civilian establishments. The doctor told me that I qualify for this program because of how far I'd come to see him (acupuncture is not offered at the VA facility that is nearest to me), and because the number of patients he sees guarantees that the time between my appointments would be at least a month. I don't how helpful this is for me because I don't know if I'll be able to get transportation assistance to local acupuncture clinics.

I left his office after he removed the needles and went over to the secretary's desk to make my next appointment, which I apparently need as proof that my appointment wait time is excessive. I left the botox brochure on the desk.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
I messed up my schedule today by missing one of my busses again due to misjudging the passage of time, as usual. I made it to my appointment on time, but I had to have lunch afterwards instead of before. I got some extra shopping time while waiting for the next bus. I finally got myself a Rubix Cube.

I got two diagnoses: Schizoid PD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I was scared for a bit because the examiner accidentally said Schizotypal PD at first. She didn't realize that she was mixing them up until I expressed concern about being sort of diagnosed with pre-schizophrenia, which prompted her to pull out the DSM to assuage my fears.

My full scale IQ was 136, but the Verbal Index was the only one on which I scored that high; apparently, verbal IQ counts for the bulk of IQ score due to weighting or something. I hadn't expected my verbal index score to be the highest. The examiner said that high verbal IQ suggests not-Asperger's. Ok. That's not what I've heard.

I earned my lowest raw score, 12, one two different subtests, one of which was Visual Pictures. Ironic because I was sitting there with the Rubix Cube in my hand with no idea how to solve it as I listened to the examiner explain that the score meant that visual reasoning was a relative weakness of mine.

I scored average on the social skills tests that required me to visually identify emotions, high average on at least one of them. The examiner said that this partially ruled out Asperger's. Shockingly, I scored moderately to severely impaired on the two that required the identification of emotions via audio recordings. That's APD, I guess.

I somehow scored low on like the simplest test: the one that required me to recite the forty or fifty words out loud. How did I foul that up??? I forgot to ask. In fact, my examiner said that, aside from the spelling test, my language test scores were low compared to what one would predict based on my IQ. I even scored average on that ridiculously easy math test. I don't get it.

Based on my ability to find the best solutions, I scored highly on the Tower of London test (a test of executive function). Based on the time I took to find those solutions, I scored at the 53rd percentile. Sloooooowwww. The examiner said that she thought this was due to distractions. Meh, some of it.

So then there was the emotional functioning part. Most of it was accurate except for the part about my having low self-esteem, low self-confidence, and having negative thoughts about myself. I expressed my complete rejection of those results. That stuff doesn't even seem to fit in with SPD; seems more like AvPD to me. I've no idea how those traits were inferred.

I got recommendations for individual psychotherapy and consultation with a psychiatrist about anti-anxiety meds. One guess as to how I reacted to the latter.

The part that made my angry and frustrated was that the examiner recognized that I am "eccentric" and have a "complex" perspective (from the Rorschach I guess?), yet she seems to think that the misunderstandings I have had with other people will disappear if I socialize more. How? And the cherry on top was when she mentioned one of those misunderstandings I had talked about...and apparently misunderstood why I was upset about it, in the exact way that I'd predicted. And what's with all that crap about low self-esteem? Completely outta left field. I'm not confident that her prescription would work, to say the least.

I guess SPD is accurate, but the reasoning behind that diagnosis seems off-the-mark. I don't think she gets the depth or extent of the problem when I say that I'm having problems with being misunderstood. It's not just words; I have to watch my body language or that will be misinterpreted as well. But I guess this is the reality of psychology being an inexact science.

This sort of stuff and that abysmal score on prosody recognition has me thinking. The only way to learn prosody is from other people. If I've been mis-processing it for my whole life, maybe my prosody is messed up, and that's why people don't understand what I say. No, that explanation doesn't work, because it happens on the Internet as well.

So I requested the records be faxed to the audiologist, my primary care doctor, and the autism specialist, but we agreed that she wouldn't send out those copies until I received my copy and could verify which portions of the report I wanted each of them to receive. Doing it this way was a good suggestion because I don't want or need all three parties knowing about those diagnoses or the various other details that are in the report.

Van's Gone

May. 1st, 2015 09:55 pm
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Another long day on public transportation, another migraine with low blood sugar. As of this morning, I am finally vehicle-less! I donated my van to the breast cancer charity, and it was towed out of storage today, along with all the trash I left in it. I'd been afraid they wouldn't take it with all the crap that's in the back. The tow truck driver saw the little metal tab that I'd left in the passenger-side door keyhole back when I was locked out and trying to jimmy it. He assumed that someone had tried to break in, so when he saw all the trash in the back, he assumed that "they" trashed the van as well. Great, whatever.

I'd planned to sneak out, but the storage facility manager happened by while apparently serving another customer. When I trudged guiltily into the office to see her, she said that I'd been expected to give fourteen days notice of vacation. I'd known nothing about this rule. I owed sixty-four bucks and paid the twenty I'd planned to spend on clothes. I just felt bad walking out of there without paying anything.

Then I had to walk a couple of miles back downtown due to awful public transportation coverage of that area of town. I caught a bus to the huge and wonderful thrift store in town (perhaps not so wonderful as they used to be, as their prices seem to have crept up a bit more every time I visit) and purchased nearly forty bucks worth of clothes. I definitely hadn't wanted to spend so much, but they had such nice things, and I live three towns away and don't often have the opportunity to shop there. I got some gorgeous winter clothes, including some comfy flannel shirts and a badass black jacket. I also got a bunch of shorts for exercising. Now all I need is to actually start working out. I paid three dollars for a working lamp for my bedroom.

I look fatter in their mirrors than I do in my mirror. I still cannot fit into pants properly, so I definitely need to lose more weight. I think 110 lbs. is a good goal.

My head still feels a bit troubled by the lingering effects of my migraine, but, other than that, I feel at peace this evening.

What I really wanted to post about will have to wait until tomorrow, because I'm falling asleep in my lounge chair.

Hey! I think I just figured out the mystery. I'm sitting here rubbing my head and thinking about how soft my hair is, and how dry it will feel tomorrow morning, as it has been feeling lately, despite the fact that I only wash it about once a month and rub coconut oil and shea butter into it about every other day. It just occurred to me that my pillowcase is the culprit. I've never had a flannel pillowcase before; perhaps it absorbs more moisture...no, that doesn't make sense, because my reusable toilet paper is made of flannel, and it isn't very absorbent at all. No it isn't, it's made of fleece! Girl, am I sleepy. Both words start with "f." I've got to get a new pillowcase. It is getting a bit warm for flannel.

Success!

Apr. 8th, 2015 11:26 pm
improperlyhuman: (Default)
My stuff is home! At least, I think so. Water had gotten into my van through the broken window, and there was a layer of moldy wet paper making a second carpet that I'm slightly afraid I didn't dig into enough to find everything. I'm fairly confident that I got everything though. My Hello Kitty and Hello Kitty Jr. (both immortal lesbians) should be sleeping in the bed with me tonight, but I'm too sleepy to go get them out of their box.

I had a bad migraine today, but, VERY strangely, it dissipated while I was unloading my stuff earlier this evening. Usually, physical exertion makes my migraines worse. Afterwards, I felt like I do after a good workout (when I'm in shape).

I needn't have been worried about driving; seems I haven't lost the instinct. It was much less stressful than I'd anticipated, and even a bit pleasant. Instead of waiting until late at night (for an empty freeway) to drive home, I headed out of the grocery store parking lot (where I'd had a very late lunch) at seven p.m. I waited two hours so that I wouldn't be caught in rush hour traffic.

Every thing went perfectly, except I didn't clean the van up (I took all my stuff and left the trash), and I forgot to leave the van keys. I'm planning on donating the vehicle to a breast cancer charity, and I don't want to have to be there to facilitate it being towed. I also didn't buy any new clothes (at the cheaper stores in the town where my storage is located) because the cost of the truck rental at all of my money.

I stopped at the Philipin@ grocery store. Apparently, they don't sell seaweed anymore (or maybe the employees simply didn't understand what I was asking for)! Now there's nowhere to get cheap seaweed. A two-ounce package of nori sheets costs four or five dollars. That's outrageous.

I got an e-mail from the audiologist's receptionist yesterday. I have a phone consultation with the audiologist scheduled for a week and a half from now. Wonder what we will talk about.

I stopped at my old clinic and ordered my medical (including psychiatric) records sent to me. If they arrive in time, I'm going to offer them up for my neuropsychological assessment. I'm worried that my results won't be accurate because they spent so little time observing me, and under limited circumstances.

Counting today, I now have nineteen entries in my migraine diary. That's nineteen days of migraine pain (mostly at a mild intensity) since January 28 (71 days). A few days were omitted because I was too lazy to write about them in a timely fashion, then forgot.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Finally! I'm done and only need to go back to Berkeley once more for my results, in about month.

Today wasn't as cool as I'd thought it would be because we repeated a lot of tests that I'd already done, and pretty much all of the ones I'd disliked. I don't understand how this new test data will be fully accurate, seeing as how I was familiar with the test material, especially in the case of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (which I blazed through this time vs. having had hardly any idea of what was going on the first time).

First, we re-did the Social-something test (I didn't get a look at the name on the booklet cover before she closed it). There were photos of the same six people on each page, each person with a different facial expression, and I had to say or point to the name of the corresponding emotion (I had a laminated list of six or seven emotion words). I wanted to point because I was a bit tired for talking, but the test materials weren't arranged comfortably and I was just too tired to ask. Then we re-did the test in which I listened to a snippet of speech (one sentence, only played once), and had to choose the photo corresponding to the emotion expressed by the tone of voice and determine whether or not the tone of voice matched the meaning of the words. Both of these were easy except for the last two or three items in each test.

Then I had to finish my MMPI RF. HATE that questionnaire.

Then we re-did the faces test (no idea what it's called). There was a cardboard grid that came with twenty cards that fit into it, and the cards had photos of faces on them. For a few seconds, she showed me a picture in which ten of the cards were distributed throughout the grid, then I had to re-create that arrangement from memory, with the correct faces, of course. I had to re-create that same pattern four times.

Then shit got weird. She gave me a fifteen minute math test of about fifteen items of increasing difficulty. This was the only timed task I was given. The first question was literally 1+1 =. The last was a simple algebraic factoring problem. Weird.

Then she gave me a sheet of 15-20 lines of words (I was told to skip the first line, which was composed of single letters). I had to read each word of every line slowly and clearly. They also increased in difficulty, and I'd never before encountered the last word, terpsichorean.

She gave me about 10-15 sentences with missing words/phrases. I had to fill in the blanks.

Then she gave me a spelling test! Also of increasing difficulty (from "on" to "pusillanimous"), it consisted of about thirty words, each of which she first spoke by itself, then repeated in a sentence. The test was easy except for about four or five items. I decided to be a badass and write my answers in pen rather than pencil, only had to cross out a letter once. There was one word I couldn't recognize by sound. I gave up and wrote "malfeasance," but, on the subway later, it hit me that it had probably been "maleficence." My auditory processing thing again; I have difficulty recognizing by sound words I have rarely or never seen written or printed. My clue to "maleficence" was its root, which put me in the mind of "malefactor," one of my vocabulary.com word list items. Once I could visualize "male-" (as I'd struggled to do during the test), I was able to figure out the rest of the word.

I think we took a short break at that point. She left but I stayed in the room and ate a cherry pie Larabar at one of the windows (we were on the third floor). The hot babe who'd been up on the roof of the adjacent building during the testing had apparently gone, so no eye candy. When she returned, we had to change rooms. I know that rooms have to be booked in advance, but I don't know how that would cause us to have to switch.

Next came what I assume to have been a dyslexia-related task. There were fifteen pages of b's, d's, p's, and figures that resembled these letters but differed with respect to the angle at which they were printed, the length of their stems, and the direction they faced. Some also resembled combinations of these letters. I was instructed to circle all of the figures that (I really must learn the difference between "which" and "that") looked exactly like the one that was printed on the first page/cover (which was b). The figures printed on each page beyond the first were smaller than those on the preceeding page. 

Then I did filled out a moderately short questionnaire. The questions were mainly about the emotions I'd experienced in the past six months. The questionnaire seemed well-chosen because there were a lot of items concerning specific things I'd discussed previously: anger, brooding, and worrying.

The last test, "Tower of London," was the most interesting. The examiner and I each had small, identical wooden planks from which protruded three evenly-spaced wooden pegs of different heights. Each trial began with the examiner arranging a set of three differently-colored, hollowed-out balls on my pegs in the same fashion. Then, she arranged an identical set of balls on her pegs in some other fashion, and I had to move my balls amongst my pegs, one at a time and with the fewest moves possible, so that they matched the arrangement of her balls on her pegs. The ticking of the clock began to drive me insane after we'd completed two or three (easy) trials, so I donned my ear defenders.

Then, horror of horrors! We re-did the Rorschach. She told me that my previous Rorschach had been incomplete. Must have been incompletely scored; as far as I could tell, we did the same things that I remember from the last time I took it, although it didn't seem quite so infernally long and boring this time.

Then she asked me some more personal questions and typed notes on her laptop. She asked me what sort of military discharge I'd been given (honorable), whether or not I'd graduated from UCSC, and some other stuff I can't remember.

Then I signed some confidentiality documents, including one that granted permission to release the results to me.

Near the end, I remembered the additional details I hadn't been able to think up before, retrieved the list from my wallet, and we proceeded to go back over her notes again, filling in the information. Most of what I added pertained to unusual sensory experiences. These details motivated a bit more questioning on her part. Then we were done! I was surprised that we'd been there for four hours.

She told me that she would analyze my results over the next four weeks or so, and that she'd call to schedule a feedback session within the next 2-3 weeks.

I didn't feel so well because, besides my Larabar, I'd consumed nothing but a few gulps of orange juice and half of a banana smeared with peanut butter in the past eight hours. I stopped and bought my customary vegan burger, fries, and juice combo. The noise in the place was defeaning. Then I walked a couple of blocks and found a bench in a tiny church courtyard on which to sit and eat. It was good and I overate. I wasn't in a rush/panic this time because we'd finished with plenty of time to spare for me to catch the last bus home, but I'd forgotten that I'd planned to use this extra time to do some grocery shopping. So I missed the bus I needed to catch for that and ended up spending over an hour with nothing to do.

I went into the department store across the street from the bus depot, but they didn't have anything I wanted, at least, not at a reasonable price. When did undies become so expensive? Average of thirteen bucks for a pack of men's boxer briefs. I used to be able to get that for ten dollars or less.

When I arrived home this evening (I was gone from 8 a.m. until about 7:30 p.m.), an e-mail response from the UoP audiologist awaited me. She had her receptionist or assistant or something contact me to schedule a phone consultation. Besides the free assessment waitlist, I have the option to pay for the assessment on a sliding scale basis. I doubt that their scale slides far enough to accommodate my financial situation, but I'm more than willing to consider the option if it will obviate a minimum two-month wait. I still want to see the private audiologist who specializes in CAPD, however, because she told me that she provides a detailed report, which seems like it would be greatly beneficial to my SSI case, among other uses.

As usual, I have a dissipating migraine from the day's busyness.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
I missed the bus by about two minutes yesterday morning and it threw off the whole day. I KNOW that I tend to misjudge how long it takes to do things, but, stupidly or perhaps lazily, I still follow my broken sense of time and end up late.

The next bus wasn't due for SIX HOURS, so I rode my bike some eight or ten miles over to the next town. I made decent time and felt much better after the morning's disappointment. I'd been afraid that I would become ill or possibly not even make it to the end of the bike route because I'd had nothing but potato chips and a draught of orange juice for breakfast, but I actually felt better the further I rode and wasn't very hungry for long afterwards.

My good mood was flattened when I arrived at the bus stop and saw that I'd missed the bus by just ten minutes. If I hadn't stopped to eat some banana that I hadn't even wanted, if I hadn't cycled at such a leisurely pace, I would have been able to make it there on-time. My spirit dropped as I looked through the schedules for the other busses and saw that there was no way that I'd be able to get to the appointment on-time. One of the busses that goes to BART has a TWO HOUR break in the middle of the day, precisely during the time period for which I needed it. 

I was desperate to make it to my appointment. I knew that I'd go insane if the assessment got dragged out any longer. I considered not paying my Internet bill in full this month so that I could afford a cab. I considered trying to hitch a ride. I called my sister and asked her for our mom's number so that I could ask for a ride. She said ok and hung up, but she didn't text me the number. I let her know that it was urgent in a text message; still, she didn't respond. Finally, I called her again and left a message. I finally got the phone number about thirty to forty minutes after I asked for it. I called my mom but had to leave a message.

I got on another bus, knowing that I'd be an hour late. My mom called me less than ten seconds after I was aboard. She was in the same city and could have picked me up, but it was too late to disembark because the bus was in motion, the next stop wasn't for miles, and my mom was somehow unfamiliar with that area despite having lived around here for years.

If I'd been able to call my mom sooner, she could have helped me. I was pissed that my sister had ruined my last chance to be on time, and I let her know via text message because it's not good to bottle up anger.

So, with my hopes deflated yet again, I gave up and left a message with the secretary about being late, hoping that I wouldn't be told to simply reschedule. I was determined to get SOMETHING done that day.

I arrived an hour late. My new assessor L turned off the lights and shut the blinds on one of the windows for me because of my photosensitivity. She asked me some more interview questions, more in-depth questions. She asked me more about my dysfunctional family life and my social experiences. She asked me about weird sensory experiences. She asked me for specific examples, and prodded me when I only gave one, which is great, I think. The interview lasted about an hour.

There are certain kinds of questions people ask me that don't quite make sense, but I'm not able to put my finger on what is wrong with them. L asked me one of these confusing questions. After I told her that I wanted a girlfriend, she asked me if that was because I wanted sex and emotional intimacy. After she clarified the meaning of "emotional intimacy," I told her that I didn't like talking about my emotions much. So she asked me if I just wanted sex, and I was sitting thinking, "what...?" I didn't understand how she'd concluded that I only wanted sex out of a relationship.

Later, I recognized the problem: she had started the conversation down the wrong path by arbitrarily restricting the benefits of a relationship to two options: sex and emotional intimacy. After I'd eliminated one of those options, she, stuck in her own deficient framing, had defaulted to the other. In fact, there are several other benefits: sharing ideas (which I added for her), non-sexual physical intimacy, and companionship when going out.

After the interview, she gave me another MMPI! I said that I'd already taken it, but she told me that I'd taken version 2, and that she was giving me version 2 RF! I hate that damned questionnaire. What the hell are they going to do with two closely related versions of the same assessment tool?? I found out why the questions seem so simplistic: the items are meant to be suitable for someone who reads at a fifth grade level. So I spent an hour filling in bubbles. My wrist began to hurt. I was happy to have her interrupt me to clarify some of her predecessor's notes. We found a couple of major errors. I feel much better about this new person now than I did before because she mentioned that my assessment would be more accurate because of the additional people reviewing it. She's right!

As I'd arrived so late, we had to schedule one more appointment. Then I finally get my results! I'll have to scrounge together the money for two more trips to Berkeley.

After I left, I finally got a meal, a vegan burger combo that I'd been dreaming of ever since the last time I'd had it, but I ordered the garlic fries instead of the regular fries I usually get. They were limp and not tasty, and I didn't have a chance to eat it until I returned home. I nearly missed the last bus, and the driver couldn't call the bus dispatch to hold it for me because of some idiotic rule that only the latest-running bus on the calling route can make such requests, despite the fact that the bus I needed stops running long before the last bus of the route I was on.

Blue Eyes

Feb. 11th, 2015 07:30 pm
improperlyhuman: icon says: Radical Feminism: Females First. Always. (females first)
Something wonderful happened yesterday. I was waiting for the bus out of town, and there was another womon waiting there as well. She came over and asked me about the schedule because she thought it was late. So we got to talking, which I am usually uncomfortable with. I wasn't totally comfortable this time, either, but I liked her. It felt good to talk to her. She had easy-goingness vibing off of her. And such nice blue eyes! I looked her in the eyes; I wanted to look her in the eyes. I liked having a reason to look her in the eyes.

We didn't talk about much, just about the town and where we were from. She was born in Texas but grew up one town over from where I grew up. I wanted her to sit next to me one the bus, but I couldn't think fast enough to figure out a way to make that known to her while I was embarking and paying and finding a suitable seat (away from loudmouths). I tried to signal her from the back of the bus after I'd sat down, but she just smiled at me and sat up front. I think. Maybe she didn't even see me.

So I just sat back there in awe of what this felt like and how I almost never experience it.
It was more natural and easy, not rough and unpleasant the way it usually is to talk to strangers. Thoughts zoomed through my mind, what to do if I wanted to be friends, how it was awkward to ask for or offer a phone number or even a name while I was trying to get off the bus. It hit me that some people probably have this experience rather often. Wow. Life must look so differently to them. And in the back of my mind I was thinking this was just a fluke, some people are just personable when you first meet them but are still boring assholes. And I was thinking that maybe the town was small enough that there was a good chance I'd run into her again. Or that maybe she'd get off at the same stop (this was an intercity bus without many stops) and I could start up a chat. And maybe she didn't want to have anything to do with me because she was at least ten years older than me, or maybe she only looked it due to being a smoker + plus hard life, hard life because she did stuff with her mouth that made it seem like she was missing teeth plus she had a white trash thing about her. I like white trash, they are the most sincere and uplifting and relaxing people I can remember talking to in all my life. Not that I go around calling or thinking of people as white trash, just trying to be descriptive.

Nothing that I could think of doing felt right. That part hadn't changed.

In the end, I just touched her shoulder on my way off the bus and said that I'd see her around. Whatever. Good enough.

So I was in a good mood that day, up until migraine and bus full of talkative schoolchildren, and I almost missed the last bus home later that evening. I was running through the field next to the transportation center with my purchases, sweaty and tripping on the uneven ground, when the bus pulled up.

I'd espied an upscale grocery store on the bus ride in, and my endless cravings for vegan pizza lead me there after I'd finished my planned errand at the bank. I was surprised that they had no ready-made vegan pizza, and ended up with some frozen crusts and the fixings to make my own pizza. As usual, I took forever to finish shopping, then caught the bus on the wrong side of the street and ended up being driven all over town, so that I got back to the area of the transportation center late. Stopped at Wal-Mart to get a dough roller and had to walk back; that's how I almost missed my bus.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
After eight months of waiting, I finally had my neurology appointment three days ago. I thought my appointment was with the Autism Clinic, but, apparently, it was just a generic neurology appointment.

The paperwork they sent me is still in storage, so I decided to show up early to fill it out again. I had to get on the bus at six thirty in the morning. That's not long after the time I usually go to bed. I hadn't slept all night, and the alarm went off as I was finally dozing off. I was unhappy to find the bus half full of commuters. During the ride, I began to develop a migraine. This surprised me because the sun hadn't risen and I hadn't done much yet.

I got off in downtown Sacramento and rode my bicycle the two miles to the clinic. After locking up the bike, I walked a couple blocks to a grocery store to round up some kind of second breakfast. I had a bunch of granola/energy bars, which I knew was a bad idea because of all the sugar, especially now that I've had almost no processed sugar in the past month. It ended up having an effect on me as if it were a mild dose of caffeine. I was restless, but the migraine eventually killed that. I arrived at the office an hour early.

I saw three people before the doctor came in. First, the assistant took my vitals and medical history and gave me an autism questionnaire to fill out. Then came the social worker. She asked me about my neurological symptoms, my living situation, my financial situation, and my support network (I don't have one). I told her that I wasn't close to anyone in my family, and she assumed that I'd had a difficult childhood. I have, but my relatives and I just aren't compatible, I think. I told her that I was mainly there to be assessed for Asperger's Syndrome, and then she asked me about my education and those symptoms. An intermittent noise that reminded me of the CAT scan machine had started up while I'd been out in the waiting room, and, by this time, I was having pseudo-seizures because of it. Good. Finally, someone sees them.

The social worker asked me if I needed anything. I told her about my inability to afford eyeglasses, and she said that she'd look into it. After a bit, a nurse came in and gave me some brief cognitive tests. There were some bubbles connected in a pattern, and I had to complete the pattern. She showed (shewed?) me a picture of a three-dimensional shape and asked me to draw it. I had to name the three animals beneath that. At some point, she gave me a list of five items and asked me to remember them for later. She gave me a short list of numbers and asked me to repeat them back to her, backwards and forwards. She read me a list of letters and I had to slap the edge of the examination table each time I heard the letter "A". Then I had a few minutes to think of as many words as possible beginning with the letter "F," proper nouns excepted. Weird tests. Finally, I had to recite the five words I'd remembered, which I accomplished by creating a visual to represent them. Thanks to that visual, I remember them even
now: church, face, velvet, red...oh, I've forgotten the fifth.

An hour after my appointment time, the doctor came in. He didn't act the way I'd expected him to act. After I had that thought, I wondered why I'd expected him to act any particular way at all. I decided that it was the waiting: having waited so long for this appointment, I'd built it up in my mind to some extent. Imagined it too much. Well, the doctor was much more sedate than I'd imagined, his hair was shinier than I'd imagined, and so he looked better than his picture on the website. And his right shoelace was untied for the entirety of the time we spent together.

He asked me several of the same questions the social worker had asked me, which I found mildly frustrating. He asked me to describe my autistic symptoms. I got out two and stopped talking. He asked me if I was ok. I said that it was difficult think with the CAT scan noise going on. Why hadn't I brought my list of symptoms, to this of all appointments??? We talked about my migraines and he offered me some drugs to take for prevention. I declined. He said that he wanted me to have an MRI, then decided that he wanted to see my CAT scan results first because the CAT scan had been so thorough. He gave me a physical exam like the VA neurologist gave me, but a bit longer and some different tests. He put something under my nose and asked me what it smelled like. My brain was conking out a little bit, and I had to redo the part in which I touch my nose then bring the finger over to touch the tip of his finger because I'd missed his finger the first time. I didn't like when he rubbed something metal across the bottoms
of my bare feet.

He asked me if I'd had narrow interests as a child and I couldn't figure out how to answer so I said that I didn't know. He asked me several times if I was depressed. I said no. Then, I thought that my answer wasn't exactly true. I don't feel clinically depressed, but I've been having my moments of blueness. But I panicked and thought that he would try to dismiss my suspicions of ASD as depression. Well, whatever. He said that he would refer me to the neuropsychologist. I was confused because I thought that he was involved with the assessments himself. Why had I waited eight months for this? The social worker had said that the neuropsychologist had a long wait list. So I'm expecting that, in addition to the eight months I had to wait for this appointment, I'll have to wait another x months to get the actual ASD assessment. What in the hell.

So I'm waiting for that and I'm waiting for my audiology appointment and I'm waiting to get the results of my psychological assessment in Berkeley. In the meantime, I'm to get some blood work done for the neurologist, with whom I have another appointment in June. I'll be getting a "comprehensive metabolic panel," "thyroid stimulating hormone," and some other stuff I can't figure out the nature of.

After my appointment, I wandered around on my bike, trying and failing to remember where the library was. Bittersweet memories to be in Sacramento again. There were comic books on sale at the entrance to the library. I got about eight editions of the X-Men for two dollars. Then I went upstairs and selected some math books and fiction to check out. I got some Lovecraft, "Best Lesbian Romance 2012," "Best Lesbian Erotica 2011," and a random science fiction novel that I expect to dislike.

Back at home, I took a four-hour nap, then I went to WalMart and bought some notebooks, including a small one for the migraine diary the doctor asked me to keep. Didn't paper used to be cheaper at WalMart? Back at home, I read one of the stories from the lesbian romance volume. It was ok. I tried another but didn't finish it because it was about a baker and sugar and eroticizing dairy (rape cream). I started one more but didn't get past the second page because the lesbians had kids and drama from men they used to be with. Blah. I flipped through the book and saw a number of words that put me off: bitch, hoes, corset, Super fem, eyeliner, mascara, prom. Bunch of hetero bullshite. I wished that I had gotten another volume to try. I don't really want to start in on the lesbian erotica because I don't want to read about sex.

Well

Dec. 27th, 2014 01:39 pm
improperlyhuman: (Default)
I went to the property management company to sign my lease and pick up the keys, and was held up for a while because the employee who is handling my application didn't leave word that I should be allowed to move in without paying my deposit first. I was damn near having a nervous breakdown in the waiting area while they called her and got the ok. This and the irateness I was met with when I asked the housing coordinator if she had the agreement needed to process the deposit cast a nasty mood over the day, but, in the end, I was able to move in on Monday the twenty-second.

The next challenge was food. I moved in with about a fifth of a jar of almond butter, two-thirds of a package of rye crispbread, one can of spicy chili, and four microwaveable cups of brown rice. I also had about twenty-four dollars of food stamps + cash benefits, (I thought) twenty-nine dollars in the bank, and a couple of dollars worth of quarters.

I didn't get to the apartment until late in the afternoon. I was starving and didn't quite know my way around town, but I noticed a Little Caesar's pizza restaurant as the social worker drove me to the complex. She congratulated me and hugged me and it didn't bother me. My bike had been disassembled to fit into the trunk of the tiny government car, so I walked it in the dark after she'd left and I'd showered. No shower or bath in five months; I scrubbed myself until my skin was red and my arms hurt. It wasn't as epic as I'd expected it to be; I didn't feel as refreshed as I'd expected to.

The pizza (the crust of which is vegan) cost about twice as much as I'd anticipated, but I was starving and had nothing to cook with and I'd been wanting pizza since forever, so I paid the sixteen bucks. I surprised myself by finishing the whole pie in one sitting (minus one slice I indulged myself on the walk home).

Oddly, the electricity was still on in the apartment, but the rooms (I have a 2-bedroom apt.) are still dark because I don't have a lamp. The heat vent of the bedroom in which I'd chosen to sleep didn't seem to work, so I set up shop in the other. I sleep in the closet.

The next day, with no dishes and no microwave, I resorted to heating the chili, still in its can, in the oven. I sat it on half of the pizza box and dumped the rice onto said box as well.

After running some errands, I couldn't put off grocery shopping any longer. I headed for Wal-Mart, which I thought that I used to pass on my courier route last year, but I ended up heading in the opposite direction and biking around the edge of town (which was not far because the down is apparently far smaller than I'd thought). I ended up with a huge hole in my tire. I got directions from a postal worker and set off on foot.

I hurt my back carrying tons of groceries and a stock pot back to my apartment from Wal-Mart and the Dollar Store. I'd depleted all of my funds and had had an irritating and embarrassing time at the self-checkout as I'd tried to balance my payments between my different accounts. $4.66 of food stamps, twenty bucks of cash benefits, and goddess-knows-what in my bank account, as it was declined.

The next day, I went to my appointment at a local church food pantry. The guy gave me some good stuff, much of which was wholesome and even vegan: sugar-free shredded wheat, two bags of whole wheat pasta, and even a jar of sugar-free peanut butter, among other things.

Annoying neighbor keeps talking to me about nothing.

Case manager showed up yesterday (hours late, as usual) with a bunch of non-vegan food that I refused except for a bag of apples and a can of pears. She also gave me some Christmas-themed pajamas, a blanket, sheets, a towel, a pair of socks, some ugly scarves knitted by a donor (and one nice one), which I wish I had not taken, but I suppose I'll just re-donate them along with the non-vegan food I got from the food pantry.

She also messed up my transportation situation, refusing to load money onto my transportation card (which is accepted by several different local area transit agencies) and instead buying a bus pass that's only good in the county. I was pissed. I have an autism assessment in Sacramento that I'll now have to pay for myself; I won't be able to go to the CBT for my insomnia, and I'll have to get myself to Berkeley as well. I don't know why she didn't get what I asked her for. I'm finally going to ask for another case manager. I'm tired of her b.s. Something is wrong with her.

I finished Desert of The Heart. It was not endearing at all. I disliked all of the characters, their stupid hang-ups, their absurdly poetic conversations, and the author's pretentious attempt to wring symbolism out of every boring detail of her overall uneventful story. On a positive note, sitting here in the public library (which seems to have an excellent Internet), the movie has finally finished downloading (along with the last Hobbit movie and a low-budget thriller/horror film). I hope that I can forget the book.

My days have been rather boring. No Internet access. I started some in-depth studying of TeX, a typesetting system I use in my freelance technical writing, hoping to start up earning some extra money, especially now that I know that I've a one hundred and fifty dollar deposit to pay for my electric service.

Hooray!

Nov. 12th, 2014 06:55 pm
improperlyhuman: Burgendy text on black background: "Promoting Commodified Sex Positive Is Not Sex Positive" (pic#8372521)
I got my last assessment appointment this afternoon, so I'll finally get the results of my testing. I wonder what they will say??? They — the student who conducted my assessment and the psychologist who supervises her — are writing up a report for me. Having a set date is better than nothing, but it's three weeks away, so this doesn't afford me a huge improvement in terms of anticipation. However, I have something else to occupy me in the meantime: Moving into my new apartment next Friday! After three years — to the day, almost — of homelessness. I marvel. My new campsite has it's own beauty, now that I'm over the other one, but there's construction going on there too, ruining it. Construction every-damned-where. Trucks constantly going by on the road right up the hill.

This comes none too soon. Apparently, I'm not the only person who's experienced random assholism around these parts. I was back in my hometown for a dental appointment yesterday when one of the local bus drivers recognized me and asked me how I'd been. I told him where I'd been staying and mentioned the way I'd been treated when he asked me how I liked it here. He said that he'd been waiting for that sort of response. He started telling me about some guy from Africa who'd been beaten to death in front of a crowd around here, but my bus came and he didn't finish the story. WTF.

I'm ready. To hell with this place. I made the mistake of asking about the locals on the city-data forums, and was, unsurprisingly, more or less dismissed, cause racism is EVERYWHERE, and "grow a thick skin," and the topic has been "beaten to death."  

Oh Yeah

Sep. 16th, 2014 08:45 pm
improperlyhuman: truck tipping over on the highway (tipping truck)
I forgot: Last night, I got word from my sister that my youngest half-brother killed himself.

Can't say that I blame him. His life was shitty. He was only six or seven when our dad died; his mom abandoned him and he bounced from relative to relative until his alleged violent behavior landed him in mental institutions.

I visited him only once. That means that I only saw him one time since he was about seven — that's a bit after I'd left my dad's house to live with my sister, right before I shipped out to basic training. He expressed the difficulty he had getting out of the institution. He wanted me to be his conservator — someone to promise the court to look after him if they released him, I think, because he was under 21. I sure as hell didn't want that responsibility, and I was living in my van at the time and had no where for him to stay anyhow. I thought about trying to help him, but I didn't. And apparently, no one else did, either.

I think that he saw no way out of his situation. I assume that he was still institutionalized at the time of death — but then, how did he come by the means to commit suicide? I didn't get the details. My sister hung up or the call dropped or something.

I kind of feel culpable, just a little bit, not really because he was my responsibility, but because others in my family take so little care of their responsibilities to one another that I tend to default to thinking of everything as my responsibility. Mostly, I have the same attitude I had when my sister died: vaguely frustrated at the senselessness of the death. But I don't know what really happened. He was probably gay and maybe struggling with that as well.
improperlyhuman: screenshot of Apocalypse from X-Men: The Animated Series (apocalypse)
There was an earthquake very early yesterday morning!

I woke up in the middle of the night to violent shaking and lights flashing. I didn't know what was happening and was freaked the hell out. I grabbed my knife and a tear of fear rolled out of my eye. I thought my little woodlet was being bulldozed or something because I could hear machinery roaring more loudly than normal. Later that morning, I wondered if I had dreamed part of the episode because there aren't any lights nearby like the ones I saw.

I looked it up yesterday afternoon. I looked up storms because I thought the lights I had seen may have been lightening. I don't know why an earthquake had never occurred to me. This is California!

The epicenter was very close to my little woodlet! That's why I'd felt it so intensely. I was at the epicenter of an earthquake! So cool. But wait. The earthquakes we get around here are usually centered in San Francisco. Curious.

After much research and consideration, I decided to learn Japanese. I started off with the hiragana. I've been learning five per day. That was going quite well until yesterday. I think I've fried my brain! I can't force anymore symbols into it. On the positive side, the intensive memorization has significantly eased the difficulty of learning the vocabulary for the other languages I study, particularly Arabic.

I now know one Japanese word: つくえ. I still have 11 hiragana to go, and haven't learned any katakana or kanji, but I decided to start Rosetta Stone Japanese today because the number of hiragana is piling up to the extent that I cannot remember them all without reading, which solidifies the knowledge by connecting the symbols to ideas.
improperlyhuman: (dark Mulder)
I just got a call from my mom. My sister is in the hospital with severe pain and inability to eat, and the doctors think that it is colon cancer.

Since the fire at their apartment, my sister has been staying with some asshole who's been hitting her, and refusing to leave due to fears of losing her job and not wanting to stay in a shelter (one of the few things we have in common, it seems). So at least this stay in the hospital gets her out of there. But where is her son going to stay, I wonder?

Me being the problem-solving type, I was almost immediately planning to swoop down on this with recommendations for a vegan diet and to avoid chemo at all costs. If it is colon cancer, I think/hope she can't be too far gone because she's young (about twenty-four I think, but I can never remember my siblings ages; there's too damn many of them) and was working in manual labor until recently. So I expect that there is some chance of a reversal of the condition with minimal medical intervention. I would live with her. I would feed her, prepare all of her meals. In fact, I was planning to ask her to come live with me if this veteran's subsidized housing voucher comes through at the end of next month like I've been told.

I'm going to be royally pissed if my sister dies. This is totally unnecessary. But she wouldn't listen to me before...who's to say she'll listen this time. I'm no doctor. If only I can get her to try it. I'm thinking maybe the doctors are already recommending she not have meat. Do they do that in these situations? That would be helpful.
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