Saturday, October 31, 2009

I just called out Dr. Parikh!

I just read 's article The Ugliness of the Anti-Vaccine Movement and, of course, I had to send him an email.

Dear Dr. Parikh,

I just read your article and while I do not doubt that Amy Wallace was called inappropriate and vicious names, I find your position disingenuous. I assure you that people in the "anti-vaccine movement" have been called by vicious names as well. The ugliness that you refer to attaches to almost everyone -- governmental agencies, doctors, journalists and parents. Most people I've talked to and read who have concerns about vaccines take pains to state that they are not anti-vaccine but pro-safe vaccines. But I understand. If we are labeled "vaccine rejectionists" who believe in "junk science" and use "fear-mongering rhetoric" it's easier to marginalize, mock and ignore us.

I had two boys become autistic two weeks after routine vaccinations -- one at 13 months, the younger at 17 months. The same professional who told me Jacob was on the spectrum said that I didn't need to worry about William, he was fine. This was less than two months before he regressed into autism. Since that time I've spent thousand of hours reading studies, abstracts, and basically anything I can get my hands on about vaccines. And I am not unique!

We know too much about this topic to be patted on the head and sent away. It's frustrating to read articles written by journalists who clearly know little about their topic, and then they call us fools and parasites. It's unbelievable to read that Paul Offit is considered an expert on the causation of autism. These things are asserted in print as gospel truth and unassailable. And those of us who have delved into the subject call out ... but we are marginalized and mocked.

Are you elevating the discussion?


I was surprised to find myself listed as an "anti-vaccine writer" on a website with a link to this entry. So, I addressed that here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I Probably Wasn't As Cool As I Thought I Was

I’m reading a book that someone recommended to me years ago, Queen Bees and Wannabees. I’m trying to figure out where I fit in, in adolescence. I told Brianne that I was pretty odd in high school, and then I added that it was clearly genetic. She replied, that she thought she had a genetic susceptibility to oddness. I laughed, especially when she asked me what her environmental trigger was!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

So Fragile

My friend’s husband is in the hospital in a drug induced coma trying to fight off an infection. I was at their house less than two weeks ago and he was fine. Now, he’s not. I feel helpless. She sends out daily updates and I wait anxiously for them and I know that many other do too. They ask me if I’ve heard anything else. I haven’t.

I talked Marcy about them this morning and she said that when people talk about how hard it must be with Pete she responds that she knows what autism is not. Things like this make me remember how fragile life is.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Without Vaccine, Australia Shrugs Off Swine Flu.

I read a article in the Age of Autism about Australia. Here's the first part of the article. Finish it here.

"With no vaccine available for H1N1 flu, Australia recently ended its 2009 "Flu Season" (their Winter in our Summer), with 186 flu-associated fatalities of 36,991 Aussies confirmed having H1N1.

The Australia 2009 stats for regular 'seasonal flu' are not final yet, but their Health Dept literature cites annual flu-associated mortality historically has been between 2,500 and 3,000 in spite of universal vaccination programs for regular flu long being established."


Well, if only 186 people died from swine flu and over 2,500 people usually die from a regular flu strain. Does that mean that swine flu, so far, is a mild strain of flu? No, of course not! I must be wrong, after all government agencies all over the world have created mass hysteria and a special vaccine. They surely wouldn't have done that without a good reason!

Would they?

Kitchen Mishap

No, I'm not talking about the one on Saturday courtesy of Will. Saturday I was minding my own business frantically painting while he poured out the soy milk, and mixed it with sour cream, squash and a couple of things I wasn’t sure of and then couldn’t decide whether he was cooking it on the stove, in the oven or if we should just eat it off the floor.

Yesterday’s mishap was all mine. I thought I had my pressure cooker all figured out; well, no, no, I don’t. I wish I had the instruction book (even if it’s written in German). However, I do have a recommendation for other people out there – Don’t use a pressure cooker to make split pea soup! Bad things can happen!

I was minding my own business, secure in the knowledge that I’d made dinner when I heard a sound like an air compressor. Jake asked what it was. I reassured him that his father was just nailing something with his air gun – but he wasn’t. (He was on the roof, with the leaf blower, blowing pine needles off the roof.) When I walked into the kitchen I saw split pea liquid had sprayed out of the pan onto the counter and microwave. I thought that sort of stuff wasn’t suppose to happen with a pressure cooker!

Maybe they have a how to cook with a pressure cooker class though an adult continuing education class. And perhaps I shouldn’t use it again until I take that class.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bedroom Update

Saturday, I was frantically sewing up Bri’s Halloween costume when my husband and Jake returned from a scout campout – do I even need to mention that it rained on them? No, I didn’t think so. My husband looked at our bedroom and said, “You painted it an old woman’s color.”

Really? An old woman’s color! Naturally I said, “Why don’t I repaint it next weekend.”

Friday, October 23, 2009

Eventually Finally Made It

When I moved into this house over a year ago I was enthusiastic about painting and removing the wallpaper but that didn't last. The wallpaper proved stubborn and multilayered; and I curse the name of the person who put up the wall paper in this house.

Thus, I’ve been sleeping on mattress on the floor because while the wallpaper was mostly stripped in my room, it wasn’t entirely and it wasn’t painted. And I didn’t want to set up our bed because that would just get in the way of “working” on the room. (And there’s a slight chance that I didn’t want to admit that I’d given up on finishing the room.) And after a while, I didn’t even notice the half pink wall anymore.

I recently started shopping for bedroom sets but I had a difficult time finding one that fit nicely in the room because it isn’t that large. So, I put off that as well, until Thursday. I found a bedroom set that I thought would be ok, although it’s not my dream set.

At this point I have a deadline so I decided the time had come to finish the room. I cleared everything out; and puttied the first wallpaper crease. I then realized that my self-imposed deadline would be moved back and remembered why I’d put off this task for over a year. That’s right, this sucks!

So, I went to lunch with Marcy, then fortified with sushi I began the laborious process of puttying, sanding, priming and painting the trim. And that’s where I am at 11:22pm on Friday night. Tomorrow I’m sure there won’t be any flaws that show up in daylight and I can move right into the painting phase after which I’ll finish sewing Brianne’s Halloween costume for a costume party Saturday night.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

H1N1 Is Everywhere! A Collection of Statistics

I can't get away from this topic! It was a discussion on a school's yahoo group. I received an email today from a parent at Will's school. I heard that someone who's kids have already recovered from the school is going to vaccinate them anyway. (Not everyone understands that having an disease and recovering means that your body has already produced the antibodies necessary to fight off the same disease.)

I'll start off by saying that no one knows how dangerous the swine flu will be this season. (I'll be able to say how bad it was around next April with a lot of accuracy -- but that doesn't help now.)

A pandemic, while a very scary word, merely means worldwide. Thus I say with accuracy, chicken pox is a pandemic.

Here is preliminary data from the CDC 2009-2010 Influenza Season Week 40 ending October 10, 2009.

*There were: Eleven influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported. Ten of these deaths were associated with 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus infection and one was associated with an influenza A virus, for which subtype is undetermined.

*Cumulatively since August 30th there have been 43 pediatric deaths nationwide.

*From August 30 – October 10, 2009, 4,958 laboratory-confirmed influenza associated hospitalizations, 292 laboratory-confirmed influenza associated deaths, 15,696 pneumonia and influenza syndrome-based hospitalizations, and 2,029 pneumonia and influenza syndrome-based deaths, were reported to CDC. (This includes all influenza strains not just H1N1.)

2009 H1N1 Flu: Situation Update

*Since April 2009, there have been 86 confirmed pediatric 2009 H1N1 deaths; 39 of these have been reported to CDC since August 30, 2009.

*Almost all of the influenza viruses identified so far are 2009 H1N1 influenza A viruses. These viruses remain similar to the virus chosen for the 2009 H1N1 vaccine ...

World Health Organization Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 - update 70 Other Updates
*As of 11 October 2009, worldwide there have been more than 399232 laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009 and over 4735 deaths reported to WHO. As many countries have stopped counting individual cases, particularly of milder illness, the case count is significantly lower than the actually number of cases that have occurred. WHO is actively monitoring the progress of the pandemic through frequent consultations with the WHO Regional Offices and member states and through monitoring of multiple sources of data.

* U S population over 304,059,724 (July 2008)

* World Population
6,706,993,152 (estimated July 2008)

*World Health Organizations
Weekly Epidemiological Record on Pandemic H1N1 2009

US Census Bureau: The total number of children under age 5 was 21 million in 2008, or 6.9 percent of the total population, compared with 19.2 million and 6.8 percent in 2000.

86 pediatric deaths from H1N1 in the US out of a population of 21,000,000.

4735 reported deaths worldwide out a population of over 6,700,000,000.

Now, Let's all take a relieved deep breath! While recognizing that it's early in the flu season, H1N1 looks to be a mild influenza strain. I hope it doesn't mutate into a deadly strain, but if it does the vaccine would be useless anyway. (Many people who had the earlier strain of the Spanish flu caught the mutated strain and died even though they had antibodies for the first strain. Read the book, if you have a few hours.)

I'm not getting the vaccine.

But just to play with your mind -- here's a report that the CDC overestimated Swine Flu cases.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Flu Season and the Dreaded N1H1

Update: Statistics for week 43

New statistics for week 42 (October 18-24, 2009) U.S. and Worldwide statistics


If you're interested in statistics both worldwide and in the US I spent some time and gathered some from the CDC and WHO. I was interested that CBS reported that the CDC was significantly over estimating people who had swine flu. On one hand, I'm glad it's milder than reported. On the other hand, that's ridiculous! Isn't it the CDC's job to gather statistics? But definitely check out the article in the Atlantic Monthly regarding flu vaccinations and statistics Does the Vaccine Matter?

Australia's flu season is over. N1H1 sounded pretty mild.


Last Saturday night I went to Marcy's synagogue to hear a lecture on Buddhism. The speaker was a little dry and my mind wandered but on the positive side I now have intelligent questions to ask Sean.

After it ended we talked to one of Marcy's friends. There was joy and happiness around while we talked politics even religion, mine and theirs. Then she brought up vaccines. She said (since we seemed so reasonable), "You don't believe vaccines cause autism," as a prefix to her next topic. And my head started nodding up and down like a bobble-head doll. She went on to say that people who didn't get flu shots or other vaccines were basically ridiculous. She was actually pretty well informed of the party line. And she mentioned that her husband worked with vaccines and epidemiology at which point I said, of course, you are correct and I bow to your superior knowledge. (Do I even need to say that was a joke? Didn't think so.)

When I mentioned I had two sons who became autistic two weeks after routine vaccinations she countered with a "wasn't that around 2 years" statement. Which I countered with a 13 and 17 months and the same person who told me my oldest was ASD said "you don't have to worry about William, he's fine;" less than two months before he became autistic. Oh. She had nothing to say to that and moved on to her next attack.

She said studies have proven thimerosal doesn't cause autism. I said no those studies haven't been done yet. I brought up a specific study and mentioned serious flaws. She said she hadn't read the study (I knew that). She mentioned a vaccinated vs, unvaccinated study had been done. I said no. That's the study we want done! The CDC and NIH refuse to do that study!

She went on to talk about how dangerous N1H1 is. I said that the last statistics I read said that 400 people have died from it world wide. During the same time 13,000 people have died from a regular flu strain. She tried to bring up statistics but Marcy crushed her by bringing up the US population and applying it to her statistics making it a wash.

I'm sure she left angry and frustrated, knowing we were wrong but unable to prove it! And probably distressed that we knew more than she did but, of course, safe in the knowledge naturally we knew less than her husband.

Today I found a really interesting article in the Atlantic, Does the Vaccine Matter?

It asks the question, "But what if everything we think we know about fighting influenza is wrong? What if flu vaccines do not protect people from dying—particularly the elderly, who account for 90 percent of deaths from seasonal flu? And what if the expensive antiviral drugs that the government has stockpiled over the past few years also have little, if any, power to reduce the number of people who die or are hospitalized?"

After "comb[ing] through eight years of medical data on more than 72,000 people 65 and older. . . . . Jackson’s findings showed that outside of flu season, the baseline risk of death among people who did not get vaccinated was approximately 60 percent higher than among those who did, lending support to the hypothesis that on average, healthy people chose to get the vaccine, while the “frail elderly” didn’t or couldn’t. In fact, the healthy-user effect explained the entire benefit that other researchers were attributing to flu vaccine, suggesting that the vaccine itself might not reduce mortality at all."

"The history of flu vaccination suggests other reasons to doubt claims that it dramatically reduces mortality. In 2004, for example, vaccine production fell behind, causing a 40 percent drop in immunization rates. Yet mortality did not rise. In addition, vaccine “mismatches” occurred in 1968 and 1997: in both years, the vaccine that had been produced in the summer protected against one set of viruses, but come winter, a different set was circulating. In effect, nobody was vaccinated. Yet death rates from all causes, including flu and the various illnesses it can exacerbate, did not budge. Sumit Majumdar, a physician and researcher at the University of Alberta, in Canada, offers another historical observation: rising rates of vaccination of the elderly over the past two decades have not coincided with a lower overall mortality rate. In 1989, only 15 percent of people over age 65 in the U.S. and Canada were vaccinated against flu. Today, more than 65 percent are immunized. Yet death rates among the elderly during flu season have increased rather than decreased."

It a very good article and poses interesting questions, please read the whole article rather than relying on my excerpts. Also, check out the Atlantic's Facts about Swine Flu page.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mid-Life Crisis

Well, I’m not actually having mine yet – next year, but mine will involve chocolate, movies, books and maybe the Bahamas — my husband is the one who is actually experiencing the mid-life crisis. He turned 40 and realized that his life was seriously half over and decided to grow a beard. I really wish he’d gone for the sports car. But I don’t always get what I want. I think he’s probably too sensible to buy a new car and if he did, I’d probably have to worry about him trading me in for a sleek younger model as well. (I write that last sentence tongue-in-cheek because I married a nice, smart man and that is one of the best combinations in the world! I tell Bri to marry someone like that all the time. Now, if that sentence doesn’t make me sound like a mother nothing will!)

So, back to my husband’s mid-life crisis; I’m not sure how long it will last, hopefully not 40 years. I can’t remember how long my dad’s beard lasted. I thought of using that as a gauge, but can’t. I probably brought this on myself by giggling about him being old. I don’t expect him to return the favor next year when I turn 40 because he’s nicer than I am.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Wild Thing

I decided to take Will to a sensory friendly showing of Where the Wild Things Are Saturday morning. William hates going to movies. When he was younger we’d keep him quiet by buying the largest tub of popcorn and planting that on his lap. But once he became gluten and casein free we couldn’t buy popcorn at the movies anymore and, since he hated to go anyway, he stopped going. About three years ago, I tried taking him to an autism Alliance sponsored showing of Meet the Robinsons. That ended in failure. Will and I spent everything but the first fifteen minutes out in the hallway while everyone else watched the movie.

But since I am insane I decided to try again. I popped two bags of popcorn, filled up a bottle with water and tried to prepare William. “Hey, Will guess what? You get to go to the movies!” He ignored me. I tried again. “Will, I’m taking you to see Where the Wild Things Are.” He turned into my wild thing! He started screaming and pinching and kicking! He threw himself on the floor in a furious rage at my colossal nerve; horrified at the punishment he knew was coming! If there had been a boat available to sail away on he would have left. (Unfortunately for him, I keep the front door locked now.) He was so upset he gave himself a bloody nose. At which point I turned into a wild thing only I forced Will onto my boat and drove to the theatre.

Stuffing himself with two bags of casein free popcorn Will was appeased for a time. And once he realized that I wouldn’t let him out of his seat to run around he distracted himself from the torture of the movie by sitting on my lap, reciting the ABCs with accompanying word, turning around in the seat to talk in the direction of the people behind us and ….

I don’t think he has any idea about what happened in the movie and that’s probably just the way he wants it!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New York City

Apparently Marcy had a good enough time in NYC with me that she decided to head back this weekend. I don’t blame her.

We got there Friday afternoon after stopping in Connecticut for lunch in her old home town. We had to triple park in front of the hotel and after we entered we saw an entourage of men waiting for someone. We took that as a sign that we’d picked a good hotel.

Because we’d purposely left our children behind in Massachusetts we were able to cram our weekend full of art. We went to the of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim. It was wonderful! I feel the need to say that again. IT WAS WONDERFUL!!!

I love modern art and I saw some lovely Monets and Mondrians. I saw so many artists I love and wonderful paintings and sculpture. I love to see the brush strokes and to see the painting from different angles and distances. It makes me happy just thinking about it. (And, seriously, after I die I am going to track down some artists and beg them to paint something for me!) Art is good.

Because we are connected – well, Marcy’s friend’s brother knows someone who invested in the traveling show Wicked – we were able to score producer house seats for Wicked; which was fabulous! I really liked it and recommend that you see it and spurge for good seats! The next night we saw Shrek. Shrek … hum, well I still regret that we didn’t see Hair instead.

The only thing we didn’t do in NY that we wanted was walk through Central Park Sunday morning because it was raining. This was especially sad because it was Marcy’s only request and because our hotel was directly across from it.

But we went to the Carnegie Deli and had the full tourist experience minus the celebrity sighting. I tried an egg cream but I didn’t like it. I apologist to purists everywhere for this comment in advance but I thought it was the equivalent of mixing Hershey Syrup with milk.

Naturally, we both left things in the hotel room after we checked out, that we had to retrieve and we both brought far too many clothes and shoes but it was a great trip! The only thing that would have made our NYC trip perfect would be an early showing of SNL, a piece of chocolate cake and dinner with Jon Stewart.

Friday, October 16, 2009

William is Adorable

Will's therapist Joan told me the other day that he was singing, "Shoo fly don't bother me." But what come out was "Shoo fly lobotomy."

Enough said.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I asked my husband if I suffered from PMS and he said, “Your first hint should be that last night Jacob yelled, ‘What the heck is wrong with you?’”

Question: asked and answered.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Good Sports

At MyGym Will decided he wanted me to lay down by him on a mat. “Mom, bed sit.” He requested. That’s his way of asking “will you please sit by me?” I didn’t lie down in the right position so he pulled on my head to scoot me up closer to him. Once I was situated. He said, “Marcy, bed sit please.” Then Dav joined us on the mat and then Peter and Tom. We laid there giggling and squashed together on the mat. After we all got up Will asked me to lie down on another mat. He then added Amanda, Monir, and Estie to the pile up.

Unfortunately, I know Tom has blackmail pictures.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Scout Camp

My husband took Jacob on a scout camp out Friday night. It rained, of course. Some of the scouts were having a difficult time lighting the propane stove. Jacob exclaimed in disgust, “You’re going to melt the polar ice caps!”

Once my husband told me this story, Saturday night made more sense. I took Will downstairs to watch TV before he fell asleep. Jacob was watching a show on Scientific America on Alaska’s warming environment. He was very excited it. He said that he’d only seen part of it before and wanted to watch the rest. I had planned on watching something highbrow like Survivor but changed my mind when I realized how interested Jake was in the show. It ended up sucking me in too.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How Do People With Actual Paying Jobs Do It?

Yesterday Bri asked if her friend could sleep over since today was a professional day. I said yes. My husband informed me that he was heading to Connecticut. I told Bri I was going to the school board meeting that night so she had to baby sit.

School board meeting …. Sigh …. Long and boring and we pissed of the new superintendent. So, it all worked out pretty much the way we expected.

This morning I sent Will off to school then headed to the Y to teach my preschool enrichment class (Bri babysitting again). On the way home I got a message from a college roommate that she was in state but “carless.” I offered to pick her up and drive her back to where she was staying. So, I left the parent meeting at Will’s school early, drove almost 40 minutes away to Acton to pick up my friend and returned home before Will therapy was scheduled to start. So, although Bri’s friend slept over I only was home for part of it and most of that time was spent cooking for them.

Ronit and I spent five and a half hours talking and only skimmed the surface of the last twelve years.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Stream of Consciousness

This morning I found part of a tomato in my shoe. Since the tomato was upstairs and the shoes were found downstairs this indicates some level of planning…. But one question remains …. why? And while I’m on the subject of unanswerable questions; what is William trying to cook? Which leads me to the thought that no one should ever, ever teach him how to turn on the oven! I can only imagine the trauma that would ensue, considering that he has already started a couple of fires and is responsible for the burned toaster oven. And I had a really disturbing dream last night that made me think that perhaps it’s for the best that I only have four children because in my dream I had a baby and toddler. The toddler was playing down the hill at a playground surrounded with other kids and parents. A mechanical dinosaur that was larger then the little boy scared him. Apparently I thought that was fine and continued to watch from my car. After a while I decided to go check on him. I was trying to slide my way out of the car. I was planning on leaving my baby in the car while I checked on the other child. Someone I knew climbed in. I asked her about my toddler. She replied that no one knew where his parents were so he was taken into police custody. Warning: the disturbing part of my dream coming up, I thought great I’m going to get another lecture from the police about wandering children. Yeah, that’s what I was concerned about -- I guess it’s a good thing the dream children didn’t exist. But at that point I woke up.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Toxins, Pesticides and Me, Oh My!

I went to a conference Friday on the Specific Carbohydrates Diet SCD and heard Martha Herbert's lecture again. On the way home I called my sister Eileen and we talked about hormones, pesticides, organic foods, toxins, resetting your body and the American diet, as one of the lecturers called it, which was full of non-foods. She said that anything processed that was shelf stable for two years wasn't food.

Our food supply, all the toxins in our environment, the effects of diet on a person, epigenetics, processed foods, pesticides, the changes in our DNA -- all this things are floating around in my brain as I try to make sense of this all and my family's health. What am I feeding my kids? I see it especially with William. Before starting him on the gluten and casein free diet he was unhealthy, too skinny, in a cognitive haze and completely unreachable. Now he is reachable but unable to moderate his own food intake.

How badly have we damaged our earth, our children and ourselves? I read Lerner's essay on the environmental health movement. While I don't agree with everything he wrote I do believe that the human story is connected to the story of the birds, frogs and fish; and that children have to right to grow up in an healthy environment.

The Age of Extinction and The Emerging Environmental Health Movement by Michael Lerner.

How stable is our world? I haven't finished looking at this website but here is a UN Report: Milliennium Ecosystem Assessment

Our children start out being poisoned. Read Body Burden — The Pollution in Newborns: A benchmark investigation of industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides in umbilical cord blood.

What does all this environmental damage, pollution, and toxins mean to me? Well, I think everything is combining together to create a perfect storm of health problems. And those of us more genetically susceptible are going down in a sea of autism, asthma, learning disabilities, ADD, lupus, allergies .... One of my children has already figuratively "drowned," I'd prefer that my grandchildren be spared.

Friday, October 2, 2009


My dad called me the other day. He asked me if I knew why he was calling. I didn’t. “Because it’s your husband’s birthday,” he told me.

I remembered this year, I informed him. I even made him a cake that contained 24 ounces of chocolate. My dad was worried because I forgot two years ago and my husband got a s’more for his birthday cake.

Now if he'd only call and remind me when it's my siblings' birthdays ... Dad, program that in!

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