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Tuesday, August 20, 2013


"Some times I feel like a motherless child"

I had never heard of this song until today. Turns out its an old "negro spiritual" as wikipedia so puts it. I felt an instant feeling when I heard it. It was a gentle pointing and a "that's it!, That's how I feel". A eureka moment.

I've struggled to explain my relationship (or lack thereof) with my mother, both to others and in my own head. I've long tried to find a simple statement to sum up my experience, that neither exaggerates or downplays it. Because the truth is, no one wants to sit through a bunch of stories with me coming off as trying to make my case as the heroine and she the villain. I'm not trying to do that.

The hardest part is, for me at least. Is my sister seems to both have had a very different experience than I did, and the parts we share, she doesn't seem as sensitive to. I've had her say "so?" when I describe something my mother did that stabbed me to the core. I truly believe she perceives things differently, and I do not fault her or feel she is insensitive. Perhaps I'm over sensitive and that's the root of the whole damn issue. At the same time I wish for once she could understand why I'm so traumatized.

Very few people witnessed the things that occurred (or didn't to be more exact). My sister, whos perceptions don't match mine. My Father, who, when he did catch glimpses of the crap that was going on, reacted quite strongly to the situation. And lastly, my Best friend growing up, Andrea and to a lesser extent, her mother. Whom, while mostly dealt with the situation second hand, made it very clear to me that she understood something abnormal was going on.

Andrea was great for witnessing my experiences and confirming their deviance from norm. I think part of my issue as an adult is not having her anymore to validate what happened. Its basically my word against my mothers.

 For a long time I actually made peace with what had happened. I understood she was a product of a messed up upbringing and she was mentally ill. Its not her fault.  But something still nagged at me. The fact of the matter is that she would hide her real behavior from every person who was around.  This is the main reason I am so upset, even as an adult. To me, you only do this sort of thing if you know that you are doing something you shouldn't be.

Whether that's just another manifestation of her mental illness, or just crappy judgement, or demons from the past, or shitty upbringing, or trauma I don't know. No matter what its from, its sad on so many levels. I think though, what makes me sad about it, is the inability she has to own it. Which also can be a delusion caused by mental illness.

According to her, she was a stellar parent, anything I remember is fabricated.

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows I hate hate hate liars. I'm certainly not one of them. I am honest to a fault, the blunt kind of honest that makes people hate you in droves. Its part of the aspergers. Honesty takes on a clinical diagnosic feel for me. It's defining.  As I type this I can't help but wonder if my mother is the reason why I am so deeply affected when I meet a new liar. It could be baggage from childhood I suppose....

 Her delusions, nonsensical "logic", and lack of patterns pretty much make her function like an unintentional liar. She was random and unpredictable, and I as an aspy thrive on routine and logic. No matter how much I tried to placate her, nothing seemed to work. She'd change the rules constantly and be mad when you didn't read her mind. It felt like I was being fucked with. If you want privilage A you have to do chore B. Then next week that no longer applied and when you asked for an explanation none was given. I was punished constantly for things that didn't make any sense. It wasn't the punishment, but the delusional reasoning behind things. I would be told I couldn't go somewhere because a car was going to veer off the road and kill me. Then an hour later she told me I could go anyway (wtf???).  You were told you couldn't do this or that because god or a spirit had told her something bad was going to happen if you did. I remember being confused by this logic as I didn't feel she loved me. Thus why do you care if something bad happens to me? It felt more like a way to control and micromanage me, and in all honesty, It might have been.

Nothing was ever without a criticism and encouragement was non existent. When she wasn't being negative, nonsensical, or critical she ignored me as much as possible. I remember asking her on several distinct occasions, as a young child why she had children if she didn't want them. Take a second and let that sink in. A young child voicing that they feel unwanted and the following reaction...

Her reply would always be "I did want kids"  matter of factly. As if she was answering a math question. She'd answer without breaking eye contact with the Tv.  At which point she'd wave me away and continue watching television. When I would be even more direct, asking why she didn't want to talk to us or play with us, her reply would be "I do that all the time" with another tv induced wave away. The answer always baffled me because It would take weeks or months of being ignored to get up the courage to ask the question to begin with. As an adult I don't see how the child asking that to begin with wasn't heartbreaking and a ginormous red flag that something was wrong. Let alone something that could be blown off so you don't miss Oprah.

The disinterest began about 7 years old and was pretty sudden. I was like a discarded toy that had lost its novelty. It only grew as time went on. As did the paranoia and negativity. I have zero memories of being comforted when I was upset, and was either ignored or told to knock off the crying. I cried alot as a child, I had so many things to be upset about and no anchor to ground me. The emotional absence left everything cold.

I'll only indulge in one story, but I think Its worth sharing. We were at my Aunts house and my mother was telling my aunt about something her sister had done or not done to/for her. I forget what it was exactly but I remember thinking she was being awful nasty about it considering what the  transgression was. At some point my mother burst into tears (something I had never seen before) and began sobbing something along the lines of "I just want my sister to love me".  My aunt, also probably shocked at seeing whats normally a stone cold statue cry, just sat there. I felt compelled to do something to make her feel better, even though I couldn't really empathize with what she was experiencing. I went over and stood next to her. She ignored me. I put my hand on her arm. She ignored me. I tried to hug her (which I must have learned on tv) and I realized a few seconds in that It was indeed, like hugging a statue. There was no reciprocation. Then suddenly... She then threw me off her roughly and  loudly screamed "get off me!". I stood there for a moment, watching her continue to sob, doing the child version of shaking my head in disbelief, and then I went back to my toys in the living room. The look on my aunts face was total shock.

That story pretty much sums up my relationship with my mother. Negative and easily pissed off over trivial things and rejecting anything resembling closeness or love from their child. All peppered with lots and lots of ignoring and disinterest. The only thing that makes that story different than the norm was she showed her behavior in front of another adult. Which rarely occurred. Part of me is angry that these adults didn't do anything, but at the same time, as an outsider I probably wouldn't have felt one incident was intervention worthy either

I suppose it teaches us all to pay better attention, and to question things when we see them.

Its late, and thats all I can transcribe for now. Goodnight.

Monday, August 19, 2013

"In case of squirrel, break glass"

 "Whoever says that dependable compliance from this or that dog is not possible to achieve without punishment, isn't saying anything in particular about the dog, but rather is ascribing this to his own level of competence."

I never really had strong feelings about pinch collars until recently.

Well, If you are referring them to "in theory"  I hated them. In the online world I'd condemn them, generally because they were used to train everything including simple behaviors, with punishment. Which I found amateur and lazy.. I was pretty nasty to trainers who promoted them, admittedly. Now I simply know they aren't bad people, they just don't understand a better way to train. One thing meeting trainers has taught me, is that there are a TON of unskilled people taking peoples money, and kinda just winging it. All the while thinking they are masters of their craft. Its kinda scary, to be honest.

  But anyway....In real life with real people and real dogs they didn't seem too evil, benign even. I'd generally ask if they have to correct the dog on it, and if they'd say no, I'd move on and leave it alone. The dogs were still smiley and happy to see you. If an owner is happy with their dog they aren't going to change the tool. Since the owners I would meet using them were not correcting/ yanking their dogs with them, I didn't really see much harm. They were more of a "power steering" tool for small handlers with big/strong dogs. They were a "in case of squirrel, break glass" sort of tool.

Then my secondary opinion of them began edge toward my original, gut feeling about them.

I began to see reactive dogs in private settings more often. In classes, you don't have much time to dive into deep discussion about all the little details like you get do in a private session. In a class you're worried about keeping the reactive dog functional and making the other owners feel safe. Not interview them at length.  The facility doesn't allow "training collars" so unless you directly ask the owner, you wont know if they even own one. Private lessons are different however.

 I'd say 75% of the reactive dogs that come see me in a private setting are being walked on pinch collars. Private setting means either they were kicked out of group class, or where deemed too reactive to even attempt being in one.

 About 20% are being handled on flat collars and the last 5% on head collars or harnesses (the head collars usually means they've seen another trainer who was over their head and used it as a band aid. I find clients don't really find that tool on their own)  If the reactivity is described as "appearing suddenly" that percentage using pinch collars hovers in the 95% range. With the issues generally appearing shortly after the collar is introduced. In fact, while discussing it, I've had numerous owners admit they wondered if the two were connected.

I'm not saying that a high percentage of dogs on pinch collars will develop reactivity. Though I admit I wouldn't be surprised if the number was substantial. What I'm saying is in my experience most of the created/learned reactivity in adult dogs (vs present from a young age/inborn) seems to be associated with the use pinch collars and just neck collars in general.

First thing I do before any training is put the dog in a harness. I use harnesses over head collars because they are lock and load. You can just put them on and use them, no countercondtioning necessary.  If the dog is stronger than the owner, we use a no pull type harness. If the owner is still uncomfortable, we discuss and occasionally use a head collar.

  The point being that  I have witnessed large numbers of dogs calm down substantially and pretty much instantly just by being put in a piece of equipment that's not on their neck.

So simple, yet so different.

Sadly, the training to go with it is neither intuitive or fast. Its a shame so many people unintentionally ruin their dogs view of the world, so early on in the dogs life.

Well, I guess that's what I'm here for. :)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mid Baja Babies

I was lucky enough last night to witness a Mid Baja Rosy Boa giving birth. Most boas give birth in the middle of the night, and quickly so its very easy to miss. I've been lucky this year to see a couple mamas in actual snakey labor. 
 She had 9 total, which is a big litter for a Rosy, esp when you consider the last litter a few days ago from another female only had 4 total. Nine babies and two slugs (infertile ova) makes for a big litter.
They aren't born in any obvious sac like red tail boas are, so the mess is pretty much non existent. Some came out head first, some tail first. However the great majority came out folded in half with a loop emerging first.
I crawlz outz
Baby being born "loop first".
 They'd hit the ground and then take 1-3 huge breaths, something the red tails also did not do. On top of that, they immediately began cruising around the cage. RTB babies sit there, very still, not even bothering to leave their sacs most of the time. These little dudes were booking it around their cage. Some of them making laps like little race cars.
The entire litter
The colors varied tremendously. Mom and dad are blue and red yet a few hypo looking, bright orange guys were in the litter. We'll have to grow them up and see if its just variation or a bonafide hypo gene.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Rosies are here!

First litter of the year

Pants on fire

"i have one major problem with the internet. Its full of liars"

As usual, my rants usually consist of contempt for liars and this is no exception.

I always say what I think, with little sugar on it, if any. I don't speak about things I don't know about. Thus even if I can't remember my exact words. I can guess them quite acurately.

I may be blunt. Rude even. But at least I'm true to one thing. The truth.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Too bad they taste like tomatoes

I have a love/hate with tomatoes

Love the grow em' hate to eat em. Wont eat them to be exact. I think raw tomatoes taste horrible and I have consumed absolutely ZERO of the hundreds of lbs I've grown over the years. Yes I know its wierd, but I am ok with that. I like to grow shit.

Living off the land is a long held hippie-like dream of mine but being raised on red meat and potatoes seems to have wired my brain in antithesis of that ideal...

I've pulled literally hundreds of tomatoes off this plant. Thats alot of happy rats and torti

Heres one harvest and my female betta watching from her spacious 5 gallons of "fish prison"..