Archive for the ‘Aspergers & autism’ Category

Dear friends and readers,

Yvette has made another YouTube of herself singing, this time Comes and Goes in Waves.

A Greg Laswell song, here are the first two stanzas of the lyrics:

This one’s for the lonely
The one’s that seek and find
Only to be let down
Time after time

This one’s for the torn down
The experts at the fall
Come on friends get up now
You’re not alone at all.

The last year and one half has changed me, even some fundamental conceptions, what I see. Or maybe it’s that what I see I used to apprehend intellectually. Now I experience the nature of people’s non-experience and experience of, non-relationship and relationship with one another feelingly..



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The world the bookmobile brings its treasures to

From Audrey Niffenegger’s Night Bookmobile: endpaper

Dear friends and readers,

Kerry Kennedy would not have walked nearly 45 minutes in the truly freezing cold trying to find where is a bus-stop for a bus that runs in the middle of the day only on weekends. She would not have been driven to this because the apps on her iphone don’t work and so she can’t call the expensive but reliable Uber people to take her home.

I assume my reader has read the story of Kerry Kennedy — yesterday; here’s another installment. My ex-grief support person, Cheryl, a friend on line sent me the story, and on facebook I saw people referring to it.

I’ve had people refer to this immurement as a slap on the wrist (how metaphors erase realities); for what I’d like to know? Or say it doesn’t matter much. Well, here’s a woman with an army of chauffeurs, relatives and friends galore probably who would help her get where she wants to go, and she goes to trial, risking a jail sentence rather than take a plea bargain where she’d have her license suspended for 6 months. And as I read the story through a number of the central particulars differ importantly in the report of what happened, I see a similar indifferent cruelty: her lawyer did say it was depressing that such a case should be brought to trial as if she had committed a major crime. Says Cheryl it’s liberty of movement. It’s freedom. It’s empowerment — and in Northern Virginia often necessary. That is what has given rise to Uber cabs.

Here’s my take of what lies beneath these reports: she took a sleeping pill (or pills) very late in the morning and didn’t get to sleep enough on them, or she took one before leaving to calm herself, and then had to leave to make her appointment so she jumped into her car to drive; she did not realize how powerful the stuff was (it’s a brand new drug I can see, the sort rich people get access to — Kaiser offers drugs well out of copyright). So she goes into some kind of automatic drowse and plows into a truck. Then knowing what I didn’t, that this act will be regarded as enough to try to punish her as far as the system is able, she flees the scene in her car. The police pursue her. They catch her — they don’t shoot her down the way they do black people be it noted. Then when the police came over — I’ll be she was indignant and “uppity.” Don’t they realize who she is and what happened? how it was reasonable. I’ll bet she refused a drug test then. The grains showed up in a test hours later. So the police got mad and threw the book at her: “driving with impaired judgement.” That is a criminal charge and later she refuses to plea bargain. So a DA saw a chance to make a splash.

A few contrasts: I did not drive off (run away); I had not injested anything for hours, including food. I hadn’t slept that is true; I was driven by stress from driving my daughters with no break, and getting lost at least once during the day. I was exhausted from grief, not from when I was 8 but from the last 14 weeks. I got out of my car and sat on the ground and cried. The police officers were courtesy itself to me because I was courteous to them and the charge was the least they could come up with: “failure to pay full attention.” They thought it was a hit-and-run (by a mythical white car) until the video of the second part of the accident showed no other car. They still cannot account for the car being smashed on both ends though.

End of Kerry Kennedy’s story: She hires world-class lawyers who work to free political prisoners and is acquitted because when she was 8 she lost her famous photogenic father. It’s a story exhibiting the behavior and resources of privileged people: I don’t have an Abbie Hoffman to defend me nor a famous father for others to grieve over. Only my unknown powerless husband who couldn’t even get the HMO (or any other doctor we saw) to treat him with kindness or courtesy, much less try to help him once his cancer metatasized into his liver.

(I remember how the surgeon who did what I now realize is a criminal operation would complain to us about people who complained. He really disliked that you see. he fee was $8000 to the surgeon alone. It did nothing not an iota to affect that cancer. Yes he took out the growth, but it could have been removed with chemotherapy and the other doctors were surprised he did not immediately take that route. I know why now. The liver was a threat right then. But he wanted to do that operation; he told me he enjoyed them, and then he’d get is fee and the patient would not “leak” because his tissues were “fresh.” So he utterly destroyed Jim’s digestive system. Before the liver went bad, Jim was seeing he had maimed himself for life, how little he could eat for life, how few were the foods he could tolerate. How easily he became nauseous. So there’s an operation that was said to be successful but what it did was terrible and it had no effect on his condition whatsoever.Then it made the liver mets much worse. The stomach was tiny, right by his throat and he continually was washed by the poisons the cancer threw up into his face. The surgeon admitted the cancer would not be worse. Jim starved to death.

Sometimes I can scarcely believe it all happened. Like some nightmare. I can’t believe he’s dead only that he’s not here with me any more.)

Authorities in this country: all powerful, acting with impunity, and punitive. A story about an over-drugged stressed society with a mean streak of punish, punish, shame. When Princess Grace had a stroke while driving in 1982, her car went over a mountain — no one bothered to have strong fences at the edges of these in middle Europe. For years afterwards her daughter then in the car with her, luckily surviving, was therefore blamed. It must have been her driving. Alas, no proof so they couldn’t put her on trial, in jail or take away her license to drive. Since it was Princess Grace, the dream icon of 1950s middle Americans, the whole thing left alone.

Mine story is still on-going: Maybe I do have a poor or inadequate lawyer too; I was told on the phone yesterday he did not charge me for the consultation. Generous — but maybe he was not impressed with me or my story. A paralegal is handling my case and I was told she’s in court, so cannot return my call until at least next Thursday. What matters a few days?

I want to ask two questions: why did the DMV reject my papers when I gave them all they wanted, including a sheaf of reports showing I have no epilepsy and am normal? If they rejected them, why should they accept another round in May? what’s to stop them from keeping this kind of response up? They are earning their salaries this way.

I am afraid my car is rotting. I go out each day and run it for 15 minutes, I put it in gear and go backwards and forwards. I listen to David Case reading aloud Tolstoy’s War and Peace for half an hour. When the car has warmed up fully, I shut it off and go back inside. If they don’t let me drive again (policed, imprisoned) I fear I’ll lose much of my $17,000. How does one re-sell a car? I’ve no idea. I am paying insurance all this while too.

As to my feelings, the continual basic experience of being alive just gets worse. Yesterday I saw someone on Facebook commenting on an opera, a kind of happy remark about how the opera comically does not at all relate to its source. Once upon a time I could give a few seconds of a morning to such a thought, write it somewhere and move on. I can no longer have such unqualified cheer. Everything I experience comes interwoven with anxiety or a kind of bleak loneliness whether it be about bills or something I signed to get a credit card (which I now won’t activate and hope the whole thing will go away), or how brutally cold it is outside so that I don’t know where a bus stop is precludes trying to get somewhere by bus — or what’s in today’s snail mail (which I’ve learned to dislike the sight of).

I face what my life will be from here on in. Alone, without meaning over the day. Much anguish and anxiety with no one to help me counter this. Missing him, remembering, thinking about my past life, his. Daily getting these harassing unscrupulous notices telling me I must have this warranty or do that. The admiral would pitch them without telling me of them.

I am more sad, more desolate, as time goes on though I seem to fill my days with activities insofar I can — now being isolated from some any activities not close to a bus or as metro route allows. I am distracted less –I don’t invent trips to shop when I really don’t have to any more. Can’t get to the gym. So that I disliked the look of the place, the weird unsocial feel, the gross TVs, the dank place for a pool doesn’t matter. More reliant on Netflix. Now watching Breaking Bad, disk 2 (I must be mad).

But I can’t reach Cheryl anymore. Must give it up. We talked of phoning but that’s not what I need. Towards the end she became perfunctory and that made me sad. I fear I won’t be able to reach the Haven on Saturday afternoons — 6 have been set up for me and others to join a group of people recently widowed to talk about it together. I will try for it though.

Those who block all expansion of public transportation are the criminals. They cause the excess deaths. Isolate people and keep them powerless (down south the strategy against poor African-American and white people too). My story is also about the lack of public transportation. Boy is it.

Maybe I spend less daily (just a little, nothing to make up for loss of car and insurance): I don’t order a stationary bike as then I’d be faced with the problem of putting it together (assembling it). One of the things from snail mail is from JASNA -DC –all along the problem has been the woman running it are businesswomen types (really) from Maryland so I am not surprised that I will not be able to get to next JASNA meeting. So I won’t look at it until tomorrow.

A shelf in the Night Bookmobile

So what have I been doing? I try for pleasant things or not unpleasant and sometimes satisfying because I’m in the world of a beloved or good book or interesting movie. Or it would be more if I were not doing this because Jim died. Or reading a friend’s letter or writing to a friend.

I’ve been three times to Northwest Washington now, the Temple Baptist Church right off the main campus of AU, and the last time despite the 3 degrees temperature I walked across the main campus to the library. Maybe that was the best moment in some ways: I had not been there since 1992 and renewed my library card, can access the catalogue from home from my computer, can take books out, put them on reserve for my students, and when there use all databases. I was shown how to use their digital system, something the students and staff at GMU will not do. They are instructed not to help! or so some have said to me.

I can manage AU as once I get to the Metro public transportation is fine. It’s hard to time: I got there half-an-hour early and had to sit outside on a park bench waiting for the first official person to arrive to open the building. It went well yesterday at AU all three times: I did my teaching stint well; the day of the open house was pleasant. Mr Oscher is a very rich man who has no heirs and conceived of these programs to give older people an enriched last 30 years. They are low key, only the key people are paid, no credit for the courses. So almost everyone doing it for the love of it. No pressure.

I’m getting different messages from the different sessions about how to conduct these classes — am I first among equals and must not expect too much in the way of reading? or is it a regular class except everyone there voluntarily, and partly out of a desire for companionship, to explore something meanginful with others — something not mentioned in these sessions.

I’ll see. In the meantime I’m really spending my days reading Austen and about her — Sense and Sensibility stood up to an upteenth reading. A strong book. I noticed how tight it is, how rarely Austen does comment and not at length. It calls to mind Richardson, so if her views are obsolete or different from what you infer from her ironies, we don’t know it. I took out Paula Byrne’s The Real Jane Austen and Janine Barchas’s Matter of Fact. Byrne is the best she’s written thus far: I liked how fixing on objects allows her to get to particulars; I have already seen sleights of hand (which show you must not believe her assertions altogether – but check) but it’s an addition to Austen studies — something in the new mode of moving away from chronology and telling of biography in new ways She does not lend herself imaginatively in the way of Rebecca Mead’s My Life in Middlemarch (or Gorra on James’s Portrait of a Lady and life) but she has power with her publisher and is given room to give full particulars of each incident surrounding the object and then attaches these to Austen’s fictions. It’s insightful. The Barchas is good in the way of Jocelyn Harris — strong on facts – even if all these historical objects and structures and contemporary texts are not alluded to specifically in Austen’s texts, you learn a lot about the full context of the text.

My Net friends — letters and postings off-list and off-blog and on list too — are what keep me going. On Trollope19thCStudies a member told us about and sent URL for wonderful podcast of a lecture by one Professor Gifford on Scott (the man is also the librarian at Abbotsford), complete with film of the places Scott lived and those redolent of his books. My life on the Net is what helps sustain me.

And daughters. Caroline helped with tax, drove me to Trader’s Joe, to buy a new handbag to replace my broken one. Yvette and I today we have a good HD- opera, Prince Igor. We are debating whether to wear boots because we have to walk under and through tunnel not meant for people to walk in and sometimes it is flooded for a couple of inches high … Back again at 5 or 6, and home for spaghetti dinner, me with wine, Yvette orange juice as we used to do when the Admiral was live.

I was originally prompted to write this blog by the message I saw on face-book about the opera. I also this week on a list-serv for Aspergers Adults in DC participated in a thread about driving and navigation meltdown. Nowhere else have I before this met anyone — really — anyone at all who had these problems of getting lost, of having to be sure and study the google map, of practicing to go to a place before it’s time really to go, of being puzzled by the GPS and not being able to operate it (!), and now there they all are. I feel not so alone. Today it brought home to me how little those who haven’t a real disability understand of what life is for those who have one.

Attributed to Carson Ellis (a pseudonym?), in imitation of Edward Gorey


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One of hundreds of Edward Gorey cats

The Admiral was very fond of Gorey: we have all 3 books; when Yvette tried out for some mid-western college, she wrote about Gorey for an essay she was asked to do on art and she was accepted with an $18,000 scholarship! Gorey-like she didn’t go.

Clarycat has been sticking close to me these last few days; where I am, she is.

Dear friends and readers,

From about the age of 17 or so I understood that there was such a thing as an unconscious area of the mind outside our control — quite apart from beyond whatever the mind does when it is sleeping.

I learned then as I am experiencing again now that some things are not under our conscious control: I do not will myself not to sleep. I want to sleep. But I have returned to sleep patterns I have not had since age 17 to 19. I find I sleep 2 hours or so, and then wake up no matter what I do. I am up for 4-5 hours: I can read and write. Then if lucky sleep again for 2 hours. I do not will this. I really hate headaches from not sleeping. You see I don’t always get that second 2 hours.

I certainly do not will my body not to react to the sleep medication I was using before the phone call from the DMV telling me I am not permitted to drive a car. Before the phone call the medication helped. I slept. Now I can’t. This has gone deeply into my psyche somewhere, disquieted me deeply. I can’t reach it so can’t talk about what it is. I am frightened very frightened.

I have asked the doctor to give me more of the powerful sleep medication I have that did work the other night, but again I am up against power. If he chooses not to write a prescription, I can’t have it. Is it amusing to think his excuse will be it’s addictive?

Power. How did people in the US end up ceding so much important power away?

Given the state of public transportation in Virginia (not uncommon across the US), some things I cannot reach — the Uber cab is really scarily expensive. (This is deliberately engineered; in one of the southern and one of the western states the legislation killed a bill to build some railway which the federal gov’t was prepared to help pay for in a big way.) $70 for one ride. So no dentist, no hairdresser, no Whole Foods, no stationary bike. Next week I can probably get to get to AU by bus train bus on the way there and back — I did it on rare occasions during the time I was teaching there from 1987 to 1992/93. The generous organizer (I am doing it for free) changed the time of the class in order to situate it in a place genuinely gettable to by public transportation and not crazily expensive if I use a cab (it was put in a church in Maryland I would have had a hard time finding even), now if the students only stay I’ll have it. The following week I’ll go back to paying the price for a cab there once a week maybe but going and coming back by bus, train, bus the rest of the time.

Until the lawyer calls me to tell me what’s happening (and one has to wait for somethings to happen) I will not know if I have any recourse ever. Each day I get a little older and closer to death. I am not so foolish to say closer to Jim as after all per his orders I had his poor corpse burnt up. He doesn’t exist any more. I am now in the world of this US of A without him and the result is before me.

So, besides what it’s like in a country where there is no decent public transportation and a central organization can forbid someone to drive without explanation, what’s it like in a country where each stroke of what’s done medically is calculated on a profit basis:

A friend sent me an article about how the French treat cancer patients. It will be no surprise to learn they act with real consideration. In comparison if Jim needed a blood count, he had to get to the doctor’s office, and then he had to wait sitting in pain usually in a not-so-comfortable chair (the wheelchair provided was awful); whatever his pain he had to wait sometimes hours for tests they demanded he take and we had to pay out of pocket for. The faces of all the attendants were blank, pretending that this is was fine behavior. He did leave sometimes without the supposedly necessary test — but by then he had had to come, sit in a car, and then had to sit (it was very painful for him all bumps) to get back. I wonder what would have happened if I had had my license taken away then. I am persuaded he would have said, well, I’ll just die quicker, it’ll cost you less,

I admit I understood his feelings and his choices. I am feeling a version of this as I anticipate what I should have to endure with no reassurance or sense it will come to an end. If I manage it. Each day I do get a little older and a little closer to death.

N was a Notice that caused him Dismay (another Gorey alphabet) Note: Gorey does not tell you which organization sent this … why? … what was the dismay …

The simple truth is I am intensely sad now. Maybe the DMV found out about my lifelong depression so even though for 34 years it did not interfere with driving, they have decided to stop me driving. They will kill me if they keep this up.


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B is for Basil assaulted by Bears (an Edward Gorey alphabet)

Dear friends and readers,

I cannot speak of this as I would to Jim – it’s not allowed in public, it’s dangerous probably. So here is my more usual stance, to friends and friendly readers. If there are sheer voyeurs who come here or anyone who reads this blog hostilely or with sneers of contempt, shame on you; even if no one can out you, minimal decency should make you: go away. Rmember what happened to Gorey’s big black bug who jumped up and down and made personal remarks …

I saw a good lawyer, recommended to me by a friend whose sister was a successful lawyer in the Fairfax area for many years. From a practical standpoint the news is not good. Bad. John Carroll is a strong good man, intelligent, decent. He saw nothing wrong with my statement — I wrote a 3 page statement explaining precisely what happened that day and that my blanking out was the result of weeks of stress and deep grief from Jim’s death, a long day’s driving with no time to eat or sleep, having been pressured to bring a doll to a place I couldn’t find so very bad stress, after weeks of not sleeping enough. I said I never realized I could do such a thing and explained all the measures I was taking to prevent it ever happening again. I included a sheaf of medical reports which showed I have no medical condition (nothing indicating any epilepsy for example), three providers’ reports one of whom wrote it was “extremely unlikely” this would ever happen again. He and I talked for half an hour, and then he said he will try for me; he begins by writing a letter to a commissioner saying “what gives?”. I fulfilled all the conditions the DMV asked for twice, and yet a medical review board meets and votes to carry on the suspension. Why?

And why is the news bad? What he said was I ought to have “due process of law.” That means in the constitution you have the right to challenge a decision; it may be when you go to court, your challenge is denied, but you should have the right to make it. However, said he, “The DMV is not known for its adherence to constitutional rights.” If we don’t have due process, we are not in a good position to lift this suspension, and I am at their mercy. I fear I threw $17,000 out on a car. He was puzzled (as am I now) that the sale and the license and registration was allowed to go through. He said it should not have been were I suspended on that day (but didn’t know this). He will try to look into that. Will I ever get to use that car again? Will it rot sitting there? should I pay for a garage? how do I find a garage to put it in? I’ve no idea what to do when it comes to such things. It seems to me without Jim I am ever coming up against practical things in the world I have no idea how to deal with. When I said this, he said he thought they would lift it eventually. Maybe they are waiting to see if I am epileptic — but I won’t show it in such short time. It didn’t quite make sense. A friend on a list-serv said the date of May 17th was liking pulling a rabbit out of a hat, no rationale.

I told him I had phoned the DMV medical office a second time on Monday because astonishingly to me no letter had yet arrived. I had asked why to be told it was my business to request a letter (“we didn’t know you wanted that” was the dry hard sarcasm); she tried to imply I wanted May 17th, but I replied I got that date from the DMV; she tried to imply it was my responsibility to ask for a letter and medical forms but that cannot be true. She deliberately (I now realize) both times wanted to get me to hang up so she would not have to send any thing, so they would not have to give me any explanation. He then said it would not be useful to call her again. “Don’t phone them again.” (Nonetheless if a letter comes send it to him by scanning it into my computer. I told him I don’t know how to fax anything.)

The lawyer did say if an emergency comes up, and I have no one to turn to (which I will not) and I must use the car, well … go ahead it was implied. Yvette cannot drive. It’s a misdemeanor and yes you could be put in jail, probably for a night, but who knows (in the present atmosphere). The problem nowadays is computers enable cops to type in tag numbers and it will come up that my license is suspended as a flash. As a principle and for my safety I should not drive while we are trying to resolve this. A good friend told me to go out into my car every few days and just run the engine to keep it warm.

Uber cabs are super-expensive. They do show up and usually quickly. Foreign nationals for drivers, men in their thirties in these large black cars that are meant to resemble limousines (they are vans mostly). Very comfortable, the man super-polite. He holds the door open for you to get in and out. There’s bottled water; they make polite talk. Twice now the yellow cab or red top didn’t come, or it was over 30 minutes and none had, so I tapped that Uber app on my iphone and voila ten minutes later there it was. But it’s $60 a ride to and from AU and the same thing to and from this lawyer’s office to my house. I can’t afford that. On Tuesday when I return to AU for the third training session (I had to skip the second because it conflicted with this lawyer’s appointment — it was scheduled ahead because of the snow and I am not the only one of the teachers who will not be able to show up) I will take public transportation — bring a book to read for an hour and a half the way I used to in my twenties when I traveled to Brooklyn College (remote) from my apartment at the top of Manhattan (Washington Heights) about as far as you can get across NYC.

The one bright thing was I have not (not as yet) lost the job to teach Jane Austen. I was able to ask one of the chief organizers about the place I am supposed to teach at. A church on River Road in Bethesda Maryland! If I had a car it’s a drive but nothing onerous (45 minutes) and parking easy but without it I was anticipating a 2 hour Metro plus half hour walk. I wanted someone who was a friend to test drive the way with me; first find the church (what did it look like?) and then what was the walk from the Metro to the church. I feared getting lost in a half hour walk in a totally strange place. Well, he said “Forget it., it’s way too far to walk.” I had no one to take me this coming Sunday anyway. I was so worried I’d lose out in this teaching too, but yesterday morning he moved the course to the one place I can reach by cab, the same building we were in, right next to the AU campus. There’s a shuttle bus to the Metro and the Metro will take me to within 20 minutes of my home where I can walk or take a bus. I offered to make a top of 25 (instead of 15) and he did so. It is the middle of registration and I must hope all my class stays put — I suggested we put the top up to 25 in the hope more will come.

I can’t sleep again. The trazadone (mild prescriptive sedative, anti-anxiety) gives me 4 hours at most; the melantonin (non-prescription) 2 hours. To sleep 6 hours as I did last night I took a restoril. They are so strong I am shaking I slept. I know from long experience I must not take more than 1 a week. I have a bottle full that my good Dr Villafuerte gave me years ago now. My health is deteriorating again. I could not eat any snacks the last two days and am back to losing weight. This is bad for my mental health, to immobilize me so I can’t be with other people. My wonderful grief support person has now volunteered to come to Old Towne (which I can get to by bus) and we’ll meet weekly at Misha’s (Patrick Street coffeehouse.) She deplored this for the sake of my mental and social well-being.

I feel I am being treated as a potential criminal or in fact a criminal. To put someone in jail with no recourse on a charge that is not explained is taking us back to the ancien regime.

What did I do to deserve this kind of harsh punitive treatment? For 34 years I drove and never had an accident; twice I had a tickets for an illegal turn. That’s there in the record. Counts for nothing it seems. I feel like I am a character in Les Miserables and wish there was song for me too or I had a Jean Valjean to be with like Anna Hathaway:


When I left the first training session at AU and it was freezing (18 degrees) so I decided to try the Uber cab for a second time. The woman at the AU running the training session had moved the second one up so I tried to see if I could by cab get home in time to go out to the lawyer, but I couldn’t securely enough to know I’d make the lawyer. To tell the truth I found the first session had little to tell me: I am a trained teacher; the use was (as ever) to meet people and get useful information people just don’t think to put on websites. Like how many classes are in OLLI: 91! or the average top: 25. I had said 15 and realize now that ideal number is not appropriate here. I did meet two people who said how glad they were to meet me at last and one woman who was the speaker so friendly: she reads my blogs and is a long time member of the Victoria list-serv. All this was what I wanted — making friends of people like myself. There will be lectures every Tuesday afternoon. The program sounds delightful: intelligent older people coming back to college (or going for the first time) and study group leaders (=teachers) who are trained in a discipline. One man was a journalist of many years — in Puerto Rico — he grew up in the west Bronx and came over because he recognized my accent immediately.

But when I got out onto the street, my heart began to hurt very bad. I had intense pain in my chest. I was thinking, what am I doing here without Jim? I would not be here were he alive. I began to cry. I sat down on the curb. The world around me was one I didn’t want to be in. Why am I here I asked myself. What am I doing here? Since that DMV phone call this past Thursday I have returned to these 2 hour intervals where I sit and think about death and wonder I am alive and why, and wish my heart would just stop the way poor Jim’s did. I sat with my arms around his chest and watched his chest go still and then the nurse said his heart had stopped. Of course great harrowing suffering had gone on for 3 days (under this super-heavy sedation they were giving him, with pillows everywhere, constant changing of sheets) so it’s not so easy for a heart to stop. I wish it were. He now doesn’t know anything. He doesn’t exist any more. I sit and keen sometimes. I lay on his side of the bed because were I to lay on mine it would be so obvious he’s not there. I wait sometimes ever so quietly to see if my heart will stop too but it doesn’t.

2014 is turning out as hard a year as 2013. I had wanted to go to this 18th century conference in Williamsburg; they are having a masquerade ball. But now I feel after all it would be inappropriate for me. It’s a relief not to have to manage any more than I do now. Which is very little. I just don’t know how to be in the world, how to manage it without him, I continually make mistakes of all sorts, and the world seems to me a place that not for widows like me. I am spending so much money, far too much these past two months. Scary to think about it. Elizanne says I need not have a wider perspective.


I wish there were a grave I could visit. I’d walk there on fine days and sit and read near him again.


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From an Edward Gorey alphabet

Dear Friends,

I am become a comical character, except to think about this 18th century parodic title brings home that such stories are not funny.

Someone mentioned to me that the threat of a jail sentence (and actually putting people in jail) to stop those whose licenses have been suspended from driving are centrally part of police state tactics. It’s a cross-over, said she, of what’s done to undocumented immigrants. I hadn’t thought of that. For the first time I begin to have a glimpse of what life must be like for undocumented immigrants. It’s not that bad with me: I need only be terrified of police if I’m driving a car. They have to be terrified all the time.

It’s a state (the US) which bullies and intimidates all with ludicrously fierce over-exaggerated disproportionate prison sentences so I guess if someone can go to jail for 40 years for possessing a small amount of marijuana then someone can go to jail for 12 months for driving on a suspended license.

This morning I realize that the “medical review board” which is said to have decided to continue this suspension despite all the papers from doctors must have some hired complicit doctor (or doctors) on it who do what the DMV wants. So I’m done in by doctors too again.

Of course it’s people who make this harder on top of what the state can do that hurts most of all. Lillian Hellman’s books are about that. I’m remembering Aaron Swartz.

What I cannot do is live without love.

Tellingly I’ve had no document. Only a brief phone call. The authorities here don’t do me the courtesy of explaining what they did since there’s no excuse for it. I do hope I make it to a lawyer tomorrow.


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A basil plant during frost

Dear friends,

In Middlemarch, George Eliot writes of Rosamund Vincy that she is Lydgate’s basil plant because “basil was a plant which had flourished wonderfully on a murdered man’s brains.” Since the phone call (and as yet no clear document) telling me my license was suspended until May 17th now, I have not slept more than 2 hours a night. My health is again deteriorating. Yesterday I just could not eat my soup for lunch. I felt I would just barf it up. I am shaking today since last night I resorted to Restoril (a very strong sleeping pill): it did the trick for 6 hours. But one pays for taking such pills. I have not liked taking a melantonin or trazadone (said to be a mild sedative, but a prescription one) regularly (one should as a rule take no prescription daily except if really needed, proven effective for specific need, and with no bad side effects or contraindications) but if they stop working, what am I to do?

Widows. A species to kicked about, erased.

I also cancelled my registration to go the Williamsburg, ASECS (18th century society meeting) that Jim dreamed of going to with me; rescinded my reservation and will try to see if an exchange can be made on my train tickets. No one can regret this more than me. It means more than this single loss or incident. I read in Widows’ Handbook how so many widows end up reclusive — or seeming so.

I am feeling this new raw deal — not that the DMV was ever much different. A friend both came up with the same phrase for the behavior of the DMV to me: “unnecessary cruelty,” and I tried to see my case in the larger perspective of the enforcement of punitive measures we see everywhere in this mean & vindictive set of regions (each state area differing) – which are then used to exploit and make money. So Zero tolerance enables a judge to send 1000s of students away to two privatized jails in return for kickbacks. The new Jim Crow is horrendous prison sentences (like something out of Les Miserables or 18th century England) for possessing small bits of marijuana part of imprisoning, including torturing (decades of solitary confinement) huge numbers of black men. Talk about unnecessary cruelty. In the last 5 months I’ve come across several cases where white people just killed black people and got no prison sentence — this is after the Zimmerman case including the one recently in DC where a young black woman in DC was shot to death when she tried to escape having rammed her car into one of these cement things everywhere in DC (to protect those in a building it’s said against terrorists).

None more so than the US medical establishment (we are 35th in rank for helping people for real when ill), especially preying on people with cancer or other dangerous and/or fatal conditions. Making oodles of money off you, clipping you are every juncture (talk about nickel and dimed), then behaving on the edge of decency, with stony indifference as they collect their money.

There is a move to pass a law which includes a provision where your driver’s license must show if you are autistic. I know that would be bad. It would not help. No one asked Aspergers or Autistic people.

It seems to me all the publicity surrounding Autistic people had made things worse not better. At each juncture as people are more aware of autistic people, they decide against them. I’ve learned from reading the list-serv, reading ,seeing what has happened to Izzy (three encounters with police officers, all bad) that having a diagnosis instead of helping could cause prejudice. I sometimes think I’m at a disadvantage because I’ve never been diagnosed as having a disability and I know I do — one of the areas it comes out in is driving to strange places, being where it’s unfamiliar: I experience a lot of stress. But experience shows me I’d be worse off. Being an adjunct all the years I taught is directly connected to my Aspergers traits. I can think of countless incidents where the Admiral helped me crucially – coming with me in travel especially, but also writing email letters for me, practicing with me to drive somewhere. He driving or sitting next to me driving.

Medical establishment out to support itself and its funders.

Our military all over the world prosecuting wars, destruction, ending all social movements where they can. Read about the Koch Bros and other billionaire donors; their institions not hounded by the FBI; Americans for Prosperity as a name is straight out of Orwell. End all unemployments benefits, cut food stamps so more people can come near starving.

I couldn’t carry on with PBS reports last night. A case of police men just retiring denied their health care benefits: now they pay $700 a month when they worked all their lives on the supposition they would have free health care. It’s not a gift. The union did not ask for a higher wage; it was in lieu of a higher wage. No one mentions this on PBS — and now unions are destroyed mostly no one will.

New changes in laws now allow Afghanistan men to beat their wives, daughters, sisters with impunity. People on line get upset when they see a video showing someone just shooting cats. The video goes viral. Not the news about Afghan women, or statistics on domestic violence towards women in the US.

Basil plants, they are like basil plants.


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Yvette has been helping me use itunes this morning, downloading Vaughn William’s fantasia on Greensleeves, and trying to find where the play list of songs from my iphone is — on this Macbook Pro. We have been defeated in the sense that we cannot find the old non-purchased playlist the Admiral made nor the few new ones I purchased us so I will just listen on the iphone to those and the very recently purchased stuff (as of yesterday) have on this Macbook Pro.

We also decided it’s a good thing I have a box filled with CDs of favorite music from years back until quite recently (country western, musicals, favorite classical, individual artists) and I can play those too in the traditional way.


I am now happily listening to the sound track of the 1995 Sense and Sensibility movie by Thompson and Lee, one of my favorites, on the iPhone.


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