All posts by admin

My God-given worth

Intristic Worth does prolong lives, especially mine.

There is this article that talked about the short life expectancy of Autistic people, written by Sarah Kurchak who just turned 36. 36 is the average life expectancy of Autistic people, according to a study published by the American Journal of Public Health.

I am 39.

What makes Kurchak’s article so wrenching was this quote:

“I do value the social and career gains that I made while I had more energy and inclination to blend into society, but I’m less enthralled with the exponentially increasing bit of chronic anxiety that appears to have come along with them. I repeatedly have to explain to people that I’m not a math savant. There is, however, one calculation that I’m always doing in my head: whether my contributions to my family, friends, and the world is at least equal to all that I feel like I’m taking from it. No matter how I try to add it up, I always feel like I’m at a deficit.”

I too feel that pain, and damn it, I am doing my best to bridge that gap between “leech” and “productive.” I was aware of that when I was a Conservative teen. I did not want to take SSI as an adult because I would have to be permanently dependent on it. I do not want to be a leech, I want to prove society wrong. So I thought I will do this with my own power and go to college and get married and get a job.

That changed on 9 May 2005. Exile.

Thoughts of worthlessness. I was unemployed.

Thanks to an Obama-era programme* offered by Easter Seals, I got job skills and I became open about my autism. I was underemployed, but at least I had some job. But I was still wondering when I will ever bridge that gap between “leech” and “productive”.

It was the horse racing industry that changed all of that. The work I did during the 2016 Triple Crown season helped me immensely because my managers saw my worth as a productive human being. They presumed my competence.

Being productive is one thing. Good and salutary. But being recognised for my intrinsic worth is another thing. The people in the Church only offered me pity and lip service about me being made in the Imago Dei. They are too busy fighting culture wars via politics to take the time to serve the “least of these.” They would rather read the latest salvo from The Federalist than to actually take interest in individuals and *serve* their neighbor. It is as if I have to prove that I am worthy by behavior and production to receive worth and service.

I believe in intrinsic worth no matter what society thinks of me. It is from God, not by humans. It cannot be earned. It is imbued in every human being, no matter one’s race, creed, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability, independent of production. We get too utilitarian when we measure worth by success or production. As a result, autists who work hard to achieve some degree of competence (“passing”) are frustrated and prone to negative effects in mental health.

Intrinsic worth can also be recognised by humans or even animals of a reasonable sentience. In my case, there is something special about Thoroughbred horses that I like and that is the interaction between human and horse. As long each entity respects each other, there is a connection. It depends on the horse’s disposition and my own. I have told you about Silver Charm and Exaggerator. And I have told you about Gun Runner after Breeders’ Cup. They can sense my unspoken intention and respond in kind. Let me tell you a story about American Pharoah. Yup, THAT horse. A few weeks ago, I came by his stud farm and took pictures with him. After that, he was led back to his stall. His head stuck out. I was going to take a picture of him, when I noticed that he was reaching out to kiss me. I can sense his disposition. I know he is not a bitey jerk like War Emblem or Sarava. So I stepped forward and I received his kiss. His stubble brushed my lips. And I realised that the only living Triple Crown champion saw me as someone to be kissed. He honored my presence**, I felt humbled knowing that this horse of a very high caliber thought I was a safe and decent being. He reminded me that I had worth, both as a productive member of society and as a creature of God.

I had dinner last night and discussed that article with my friend and coworker. I told her that I recognise my God-given worth, but I need a way to address that challenge of living a long happy life. The article shows that I will have to assert my worth regularly and find a way to achieve my goals of economic stability and good mental health. So we both talked about ways to achieve that point in life. It has to be built upon that intrinsic worth or I will fail.

We claim our worth by creating spaces where we recognise each other and support each other. We create our own opportunities and choose to affirm each other and affiliate with those who believe in our worth. I believe that the Church has failed us. I think that we must assert our God-given worth ourselves instead. This is not a matter of giving ourselves ego strokes. It is a matter of survival.

* Without irony, “Thanks, Obama.”
** “Derby trumps Yale.” Let the reader understand.

The Clue in the KD Future Pool 2

(Nota Bene: This post will update for Pool 2 info this week.)

Humans are very hung up on patterns. We tend to organise things into something that make sense to us. Autistic people are especially are aware of patterns. I am no different.

The need to make patterns out of data spills over into the Kentucky Derby and other races. Horseplayers are really itchin’ for an early clue that signal an upcoming Derby winner. In fact, one website was promoting a booklet on spotting the next Derby winner before anyone else does. Somehow, some guy would be like “lol, so going to win obsceeeeeene loads of cash!”

In between lulls, I would visit the horse racing news websites and catch up on the news. Our work is preparing for the second Kentucky Derby Future Pool this weekend. So, I figure…maybe the upcoming pool might hold a clue as to who will appear and who will win the Derby.

So I compared past Pool 2 records of the last 6 years and compared them to the final roster of the Kentucky Derby field for each year. There were 138 horses named in these future pools, not counting the six “All Others” entries. Of the 138 horses named as Pool 2 entries, 49 of these horses later went on to run the Derby. So 35.5 percent of these Pool 2 horses became Derby horses.

The second thing I noticed that 5 out the last 6 Future Pool 2 lists contain the winner of each year’s Kentucky Derby:

In 2012, I’ll Have Another appeared in Pool 2.
In 2013, Orb appeared in Pool 2.
In 2014, California Chrome appeared in Pool 2.
In 2015, American Pharoah appeared in Pool 2.
In 2016, Nyquist appeared in Pool 2.
In 2017, Always Dreaming DID NOT appear in Pool 2. He fell into the “All Others” category.

Now the “Lutheran Question”: What Does It Mean? My interpretation is that I have a decent chance in spotting a Derby horse from Pool 2. The challenge is which horse has a sporting chance (ha!). This is where more useful data is much welcomed.

Pool 2 horses:

1) may win in the Florida Derby. (Nyquist, Orb) Always Dreaming did win that race, but he was “All Others”. Maybe we’ll see a Pool 2 horse win that this year.
2) may be in the money at Arkansas Derby.
a) By the way, horses participating in Arkansas Derby races are likely also to be in the money at Triple Crown races (Classic Empire 2nd at Preakness, Creator won the Belmont, American Pharoah won TC)
3) may win the Santa Anita Derby. (Gormley, Exaggerator, Dortmund, California Chrome, Goldencents, I’ll Have Another) Use that data for that race.

I am still staring at the KD records. O’Neill won twice in the past years. Gutierrez and Espinoza were the jockeys for four of the five winners that appeared in Pool 2.

As soon I have this year’s pool, I will post them up and see where the chips will fall.

Your Family Altar: A WNM Addendum

(This can be a stand-alone article in many aspects– it can be read as a small window into Autistic spirituality, or as a guide for orthodox Lutherans on setting up holy space at home. However, this is meant to be a supplement to the Weep No More self-help guide.)

In my guide, I suggested setting up a physical Family Altar (or holy space) for daily devotional life. The purpose is to maintain and re-establish your connection with God. For those who were affected adversely, this is a good way to hold on to your unity with Christ while you seek healing. You will NOT find complete healing outside of Christ.

As an Autistic woman, sometimes I take things literally and building holy space allows me to focus upon God in concrete ways. Some people would interpret building an Altar as a metaphor and set time for devotions and hymns. I understood holy space as physical as well. I can understand things if I can hold the object in my hands or see it visually. There is also the kinetic aspect as well, like kneeling or crossing oneself or lighting a candle.

Setting up physical holy space is flexible. It can be a small closet…or a console table on a wall…or even a corner in your bedroom. It can be as portable as a linen cloth over a end table with a small cross and a candle or a more permanent structure.
One person I knew made his home altar using a bookcase. In my case, it is a small corner in my bedroom.

(Image Description: An home altar at a corner of a room. On a wall, there is a crucifix and two shelves. On the top shelf there is a small incense burner. The bottom shelf has a candle and prayer beads. In front of the home altar is a kneeling chair. Next to the kneeling chair is a basket holding devotional books. To the right of the home altar is a window with the Kentucky state flag over it.)

As you see, my altar is simple, just two shelves and a crucifix. I added the kneeling chair as I have a bum knee from playing Kinect on XBox years ago.

1) Determine if you need a physical holy space, and if so, what size. I live in a small apartment. I think more concretely. A small physical space to remind me to pray would help me.
2) Make sure the whole household can gather around the space. Since I live alone, I have no issues with privacy, so I can set up a space in my bedroom instead of a small closet. I find small closets constricting and since I have lots of work clothes, space is at a premium.
3) Find an area that you feel comfortable in. For me, my living room is not an optimal place as it is full of horse racing stuff, and I do not want to be distracted by Gunnevera and Songbird. I also saw the living room as “general access” space in which I entertain guests and do common things. The bedroom is more “inner sanctum”, and I do not want my guests to be disturbed or unsettled by my expression of personal devotion.
4) Throw away your “Romaphobia”, recognise that the Early Church and beyond used art and icons for their physical devotion. I have seen stuff in Hobby Lobby, like plaques of Bible verses and word quotes like “#Blessed” on pillows and the like. The Calvinist roots of American Protestantism shifted the devotional art from iconic portrayals to printed words. You know that you are not ascribing power in an idol, so do not panic.
5) Take advantage of the Internet and procure your art and supplies. Confessional Lutheranism has artists and creatives who sells religious art and goods. Ad Crucem has very nice items for your altar.
6) Get a small basket and fill it with doctrinally sound materials. You will NOT find these at the local Christian bookstore. Ask around in your Confessional group for good suggestions. For starters, you need a Bible and Luther’s Small Catechism.
7) Set time to pray in the morning and/or the evening. Make it a habit. Follow the form in the Small Catechism and then pray for your needs.

As a widow, it is much easier to set this up without someone questioning your spirituality. Those who are without spouses can pull this off the best, in my opinion. It is like you are given a blank check to express your piety. I really hope that those in families would be encouraged to set holy space up. And if it have to be metaphorical due to family dynamics, there is no shame. God knows your faith and He will sustain you.

Two feet on dry Wittenberg ground

My best friend and I were talking on the phone about a week ago. I ran out of my Rexulti and it was available for pickup the next day. So I felt very off. I told her that I was leaving the Lutheran Church for Orthodoxy.

“You have been a voice for the Lutheran faith for years. Why?”

“I was sick of the BS I went through during exile and I wanted a clean break in my new life. However, it was not as easy as it sounds.”

I told her about Free Will and the veneration of the saints. I told her about how I felt uneasy when I heard of the unofficial “Toll House” allegory/theory/speculation. I mean, you throw yourself at the mercy of God, and ask Jesus to be with you as He is our advocate. Why we are still judged for things that we already repented and were forgiven on the Cross?

She said, “You are in Kentucky– you already have a clean break. And although you suffered, I would have not met you if this did not happen. You would have not found your life-work with horse racing. Unanswered prayers are just as important as answered prayer.”

“I would have not met Silver Charm and the Derby horses. I would not be working at Churchill Downs. And I would have been burnt out just like my husband and my classmates. I told you about those who got hurt by congregations and District bureaucracy.”

“Stay where you are. Don’t leave because of one professor. Being Lutheran is who you are. Tomorrow, get your medicine and enjoy your work.”

And so, I end my formal inquiry and remain Confessional. I will have to use Uber to the small church near the Outer Loop monthly. I will mail back a book I borrowed from the Orthodox church library, a book by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware.

On a Floating Raft, Leading to Nowhere?

The fecal matter hit the oscillating blade. Soon after my post on FB, I got notes and messages from both Confessionals and Orthodox converts from Lutheranism.

I first have to ask myself: what are the various things going on in the Missouri Synod that made me uneasy? After that, what are the various things going on in Orthodoxy that makes me uneasy?

The first thing I was uneasy about was the lack of consistency of liturgical praxis. I can visit several LCMS parishes and none would be the same. If I want a concert, I’d attend a real concert at the Yum! Center, not that hippy-dippy CoWo shit I hear in the sanctuary. If there is fluffy music in a service, I walk out. I refuse to take the Sacrament from those bozos. Along with inconsistent liturgy is inconsistent theology. I take altar fellowship further than the Synod prescribes. There are several LCMS parishes that I will not step into for Communion. We disagree. That means no go.

The second thing is that I am still healing out from what happened to me 11 years ago. Why would I want to stand with a church body that not only rejected me but also several Confessional pastors? And to excuse spiritual abuse with “well, the Church is full of sinners” does NOT fly.

Where do I go? Not to the ELCA. Not to WELS or ELS– no church in my area or in a 20 mile radius.

I cannot stay where I do not belong.

So I figure I should go where some of my classmates went.

But, Orthodoxy too is a strange land. When I die, what would happen to my soul? Will God recognise me as His own? On what grounds would He let me in Paradise? Is the onus of salvation ultimately on me? I know the saints pray for me. But is kissing an icon a bit too much?

I cannot be the Lone Ranger when it comes to the Church. It is nonsense to say I can meet God at a golf course or in the woods or Churchill Downs but not at the Church. But I feel I cannot return to the Synod.

I give myself one year whether to move into Orthodoxy or return back to Lutheranism. I hope for a resolution.

Swimming the Bosporus

From Facebook:

Gentle people. I have an important announcement. I realise that I am burnt out totally from the Lutheran faith. I have learned various things the past several weeks. My time away from the spectre of Fort Wayne has been invigorating. I realise why I am in Kentucky. Not just to work for Churchill Downs, but also to begin a formal inquiry into the Orthodox faith.
I have various reasons why I am swimming the Bosphorus. The Anselm paradigm I found wanting. My mind during the wilderness years was taxed totally as I have an ontological problem. I felt that the Missouri Synod had rejected me totally. And I found the concept of a merciful Father as present in the Orthodox liturgy healing. Imagine the news that God make me able to grow and heal and have the continual support of him as I repent daily, regardless of how my brain is wired.
The Liturgy puts me at ease, smells, bells, and all. I felt uneasy during my visits to local Lutheran churches in Louisville. Even when I was in Rudisill I felt empty, desiring to go to watch Belmont simulcasts rather than feeling the divorce of mind and soul.
Please be merciful to me. I desire prayers that God will lead me to the right path. I love you all. —c.r.

The Value of Routines

There is a Sports Illustrated article about Autistic people enjoying sports and how sports benefited them. One of the featured people is a hockey player. He mentioned the time when his teammates would go out on New Year’s Eve, but opted to stick to his routine and go to bed as usual.

That reminded me of a Christmas party I attended one year at Hoosier Park in Anderson. My work paid for the hotel rooms we stayed overnight, for the weather was too crappy for a 90-min drive back to Fort Wayne at night.

I get to eat prime rib and met the president of Hoosier Park whilst dancing. After the party, we were given slot vouchers and we could go to the casino. Well…I was unable as my gaming license barred me from playing the slots, so I watched my coworkers play the slots. It was “Meh.” I said to the co-workers: “You guys get to play, I will get to bed and will wait for you so we can play Cards Against Humanity. Text me when you arrive at the hotel. Good Night.” I took the shuttle to the hotel and slept.

I woke up at 1am, thinking they will be at the lobby. Well…they were at the pool, drunk as a bunch of skunks, acting stupid. I will not describe much, but it did involve swimming in one’s skivvies and somebody crying in the corner. NOPE. I turned around and went to bed.

I woke up fabulous and I managed to eat White Castle on the way home.

I bet the hockey player who went to bed had a rockstar morning while his teammates felt like they got ran over.

Maybe you feel like you are missing out on other things because you prefer to go your own pace. The question we can ask is: Are the things we miss out are worth skipping? Going your own pace, doing your routine does have merit in a world of people trapped in “FOMO” (fear of missing out). You get to enjoy things on YOUR OWN TERMS. The day after the party I went home to Fort Wayne without a hangover.

I have been to racetracks outside Louisville that sucked away many a “spoon.” Huge crowds, loud noises, no place to sit unless you want to pay a premium on a dining table at their quieter areas. Next year, I am skipping out on the Pegasus World Cup, despite Gun Runner and Gunnevera and West Coast being there. I have to work. I could disrupt my routine and subject myself to the crowds and sensory intrusions and the bite of the budget. (In fact, last year’s inaugural race was very energy-sucking. Gulfstream is too small for such an event. I was quiet and read the programme whilst my friends got drunk. Later, we got thrown out of the hotel due to their antics. Never again.) Instead, I visited Three Chimmeys Farm to see Gun Runner during its open house and fed him a tasty mint. Later I will watch him run at the Pegasus from the comfort of my office. I enjoyed meeting Gun Runner in person. I would not be able to do that at Gulfstream.

(Image description: Champion horse Gun Runner is being fed a mint by Carol. Gun Runner is behind a barred stall. Carol’s right hand holds a green-striped mint.)

The neurotypicals would think that routines are a sign that one is missing out on excitement and that you are Boring. Not necessarily. It just means you know what you want, how you work, and what is best for your mind and body. The hockey player knew he functioned best with his sleep schedule. I am sure that he made room in other aspects of his life to allow for his enjoyable endeavors outside his vocation.

When I go somewhere to visit, I make sure the events do not affect my routines that I get run down or be not at ease mentally. Here is an example: Next year, Keeneland will have its opening meet in early April. I plan for this weekend several months in advance. I book a hotel room nearby. I will save up for a dining seat at the Phoenix Room section, as I knew the host and wait staff. They will accommodate my needs, like setting aside a quiet place to sit. I will dress comfortably yet stylish. If the crowds are overwhelming, I can visit the gift shop or I can relax at the Sales Pavilion. I know that I can leave early if I have enough. I will sleep at the best time.

When you respect your routines, you are respecting yourself, knowing you are taking good care of yourself.

Breeders’ Spoon

It was a hectic few weeks with the moving and work and the Breeders’ Cup. I am quite subdued and my mood is a bit bummed.

Visited Churchill Downs racetrack yesterday for the racing club and left early after Rare Form’s race. Went directly home and slept after that. I tend to get very tired after visiting the racetrack. You would be surprised how many spoons a visit to a racetrack would cost.

I want to welcome my fellow Autistic bloggers to my blog. Thank you for reading my post.

I need to get back on a good routine that would help me cope and feel good in my mind. I am starting to establish this routine and it involves time organisation. Sunday is my day off so I have time for church, online bill pay, and grocery shopping. Did visit the LCMS congregation nearest me, just a half mile away. Not High Church. At least they used the common cup. Paid my rent and utilities.

And after my lunch, it is time to go grocery shopping. I also do need to buy boots for the weather. Damp feet sucks.

Of Acceptance and Kisses from Silver Charm

(This post is for Autistics Speaking Day 2017. Content warning: Ableism by religious authorities, suicidal ideation, self-harm. In memory of Irap, 2017 winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.)

“Now with the help of God I shall become myself.”
-Søren Kierkegaard

Since my end of my wilderness years, I felt that I have been reconciled to God and found acceptance as an useful contributing member of society. And I have the horse racing industry to thank.

When I was a hostess at the off track betting facility, I would welcome patrons to their seats and offered them water. After their meals, I bussed the tables. My Lutheran faith tradition informed me that the work I did is honorable and a service to God and neighbor. For a while, I was painfully aware that I was underemployed.

Then I looked at Facebook and read what my neurotypical Sem classmates went through since they got ordained. Some left the ministry after the abuse of their congregations and the indifference of their respective districts. Reduced wages and benefits. And to think I wanted to be a deaconess. One “Sister Of Blue” told me that she rather be back at her old secular job, but she felt compelled to remain. “Kid, you got a better path,” she said. I rather deal with dirty dishes whilst watching Santa Anita than to go what my classmates went through.

I feel at ease when I sit down at the bar, ordering Diet Coke and reading the Daily Racing Forms. I can speak and explain to patrons and friends better with the Racing Form in hand. Teaching people how to play the ponies became second nature over the months, and my bosses noticed that.

View post on

(Photo description: a display sign at a bar. The sign promoted “Carol’s Contest”, with a caricature of Carol with a cartoon horse.)

My bosses saw something in me that says I am an asset, not a liability. During the 2016 Kentucky Derby, I did many assignments and duties, making sure patrons were happy and served at the busiest time of the year. They were impressed and I knew from that point on, I actually have a future— a real career, independent living for a very long time, and people taking me seriously as part of their team. It was two days after Nyquist won the 2016 Kentucky Derby and 11 years to the day of exile that I came to that point where I knew I found acceptance. That I can be proudly Autistic. There is only one place I must visit on 9 May.

Churchill Downs.

In front of Barbaro’s statue, I looked at my wrists. Intact, no scars. Never had the guts to do that. No welts on my body from whipping myself with a plastic hanger. Above me was the cloudy sky. No ceiling fans inviting me to hang myself. It was there that the need to harm or to kill myself disappeared. I was no longer angry with God.

I returned from Kentucky that night, eager to live and with a bright future burning in my heart.

Another moment in which I found acceptance, that my life was valid was during Preakness week. I credit these four horses for securing my job promotion: Exaggerator, Cherry Wine, Nyquist, and Stradivari. The bosses hung on every word I said about these horses. Especially Cherry Wine and his muddy victories. It was no longer my talents in spite of autism, but because of autism. The grad school viewed “in spite”, Hoosier Park viewed “because.”

It was because of this acceptance that going to church was no longer a burden but a place of joy. I took the Sacrament knowing I am restored.

One day, I saw a beloved professor, and he saw that my face and soul have changed.  That he sensed that I am truly myself and very happy.  “Since you worked at the OTB, I noticed that you have so much more joy.  I’m proud of you.”

Visiting the horse farms and meeting the champion horses have a healing aspect. One February morning I met Silver Charm. He won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in 1997. I was in awe that I got to meet an actual champion racehorse.

He kissed my forehead.


So that was what unconditional acceptance felt like.

He saw my soul and he did not see a theology reject. In his equine nature, his affection declared “All is well and all manner of things shall be well.”

View post on

(Photo description: Kentucky Derby winning horse Silver Charm with Carol Rutz. Silver Charm is behind a fence, his head outside the fence, about to kiss Carol. Carol is smiling with her eyes closed.)

Emboldened by such radical acceptance, I decided to move to Kentucky and start anew, away from the shadow of the Seminary. I found a Confessional Lutheran Church that wanted me to do Bible Studies in the future, subject to work schedule. I wrote and revised the Weep No More self help guide for those who were affected by spiritual trauma. It is acceptance that lead me to the blooming of my soul. The weird[?] thing I noticed since settling in Kentucky is that I no longer have the energy to “pass” (i.e. adopting a neurotypical persona). My theory is that my entire being knew I am no longer under any obligation to attain acceptance via passing. Preggie’s death and adjusting to my new life adds to the stress, therefore I must conserve mind-energy. So I am accepting myself, Carol is Carol, and gave up the resistance.

The guys at Churchill Downs knew that I am Autistic, and I would explain what and why I would do a certain action. I passed along links to the “splines” and “spoon” theory. They want to see me succeed. They know that I want to conserve my energy so I can use it at my work. The bosses knew that I will never fit within a neurotypical persona. The Seminary expected me to pass, to act like their image of a woman assisting in church work, but they barred me from church work despite my academic prowess and high character. Just because I am Autistic. In contrast, my bosses past and present knew that I get the job done and they praised me for the qualities that are part of my nature.

Since then I would visit the Lexington area once in a while and see Silver Charm and Exaggerator, the guy who won the 2016 Preakness Stakes. I would give them a blessing and kiss them, as I felt that their presence had helped me in my life journey. In the case of Exaggerator, I received a huge promotion due to his effort on the muddy track. The least I could do for him is to visit him. After my husband’s death, I told him that I am now a widow and felt lonesome. He offered me his nose to kiss. (If you must confide to someone about your grief, you can’t go wrong with a Preakness winner.) I felt better when I visit the best of God’s creatures.

View post on

(Photo description: Carol kissing Preakness Stakes winning horse Exaggerator. Exaggerator is in a stall with a metal gate. His nose sticks out through the bars. Carol, with her back toward the camera, kisses his nose.)

Belonging in the horse racing culture helped restore my expression of spirituality. At the OTB, I do a variety of tasks, I felt very useful. It is about making patrons feel at ease. It is about meeting their needs. Horseplayers seek not just the thrill of the race, they also seek social interaction. How often on my off days I would visit my workplace! Patrons and the occasional coworker would ask for an ear to listen or even a prayer.

When the horse Weep No More raced in the Kentucky Oaks, I saw her name as a sign of divine comfort and promise. People will only remember her for winning the Central Bank Ashland Stakes in 2016. For me, she performed a much more noble deed: She heralded the end of exile. I got a tattoo with her name in honor. One night, I dreamt that I was back at the Seminary and the director of Deaconess studies told me I was unsuitable. I touched my arm where my tattoo is at, looked him in the eye, and told him, “F*** off, Professor. I have a future.” I woke up, victorious.

I am planning to visit Barbaro’s statue on the Day of the Dead tomorrow with my prayer beads and remember my husband and those who passed on. I sense the hand of God in my life, and although I am puzzled why it took me so damned long to be where I am, I am very thankful for the blessings during exile and today in Kentucky.

I made a promise to myself to never hide who I am. After all, Silver Charm would still detect my inner being and remind me of the acceptance I received.

On my two feet: Giving up driving for inner serenity

My mind energy is leeching and the past week my ability to cope with stress is greatly impaired. In short, I spent many spoons and splines coping with a car accident in Lexington.

My best friend mentioned she felt uneasy when I am behind the wheel. I do not want to deal with high insurance rates. After much thought and studying the logistics, I decided to give up driving.

I was assigned a cheap rental car; it’s still on the parking lot. Even if I would like to drive, I can’t; my brain is off and I can only process so much. So I take the public transit at daytime and Uber at night. The inner noise and confusion is loud and I get easily distracted. I cannot bet on the ponies– not allowed whilst working, and I cannot process well enough to handicap. In fact, I am skipping the Breeder’s Cup. No betting for a while, no driving indefinitely.

Disabled people are aware of this triad of adult independence: job, car, and relationship. These three things defined life goals. For a while I had the triad. But who dictates how we define a successful adulthood? I am glad I have a job. But keeping a relationship was hard, especially during Wayne’s last months. And driving a car while fun and convenient, was energy-sucking. And there was homeownership and people’s expectations of how a pastor’s wife should interact.

Now I have fulfilled my duties to Preggie and no longer have a car, I want to focus on keeping my job at United Tote and address my basic needs.

Here is my written plan:

Get check from totaled car, deposit in savings account.

Visit apartments near Churchill Downs corporate.* Get prices, look at inside.

Procure medical note from doctor regarding disability and inability to drive. Give to leasing office so I can avoid breaking lease penalty.

Purchase very warm protective jacket with non slip shoes.

Purchase a hand cart to carry groceries.

Pack crap together, store in boxes.

After moving in apartment, keep visible budget and manage surplus. Most likely, 401(k). And joining a horse ownership syndicate.

Tomorrow, I will Uber and get ready for a more manageable life.

* I suggested to the boss above my boss that I should move into one of their spare rooms and be the resident worker. No dice. Can you imagine the hilarity of living at Churchill Downs corporate?

Lost in Whole Foods

As an Autistic, grocery stores suck. So many choices, you wonder what to get and make when you get home. Now imagine being a widow in a supermarket, shopping for one. Before Preggie was unwell, I would shop at the Meijer or Kroger’s and grabbed low carbby stuff. Fatty bacon and heavy cream and cheese and meeeeeeeat. With Diet Coke. Later, I would buy microwave meals and ice cream. Preggie would shop by himself and he would bring home the ice cream and pie and other things I won’t purchase. Today, all around me are people at various stages in their lives…and I am alone surrounded by a crowd. Makes me give up and eat McDonalds every day.

I did not want to spend 23 bux on lunch per day at the Cheesecake Factory. I would order their Skinnylicious chicken pasta with a Diet Coke. It’s about 15 Weight Watchers points, so I have that twice weekly for brunch. I thought that there must be a better way to eat before I go to work. Maybe Whole Paycheck has what I need.

Armed with two Weight Watchers cookbooks, I visited Whole Foods. Wandered around, looked at the nice fruit. I thought I could ask for meat patties, individually wrapped. And the butcher delivered.

Got various things and felt ready to cook a patty with cheese and have a few potato chips on the side. I think having Weight Watchers material helped me as I am able to say: This food is proper for me to eat.

Meeting the Black Rabbit

The Watership Down cartoon has been known to disturb children. But it is also the type of cartoon when watched, teaches important concepts that all humans must learn.

After Hazel brought his warren to a safe place, after so many dangers, he grew old. He fulfilled his purpose. And that is when the Black Rabbit appeared to him, offered him a place in his Owsla and assured Hazel of the warren’s safety. Hazel then died a good death.

A “good death” involves a fulfilled life of virtue. The circumstances of how a particular death happened matters very little, but what does matter is the soul’s unity with God.

I wonder whether Preggie was told upon his death by our Lord whether he would like to leave. Did he tell Him that he must say goodbye to me? If so, I hope God told him that there is no need to worry about me. That I will be OK with my new life in Kentucky.

Better Mourning Through Chemistry

It is a rough period of time I am in. Paperwork, and in a few hours, I will be in Wisconsin to bury Preggie. I am glad to have a supply of crazy meds that work to carry me through these days. I wished I had these medicines earlier in my wilderness years. But that is a hypothetical that cannot be answered.

Since late January 2016, I am taking Rexulti, bupropion, and since Travers Day 2016, generic Prozac. It makes the batch of brain chemicals balanced and I am able to face challenges more easily. I had a few crying jags recently, the latest when I read a story of the late Holy Bull, who I met earlier this year. Thankfully, it was brief. I am happy to say that I got my long-term insurance and I will be back to getting my regular supply at a low cost in September.

My coworkers at United Tote have been very good, and they gave me some time off for funeral arrangements. I am also ramping up the self care. I follow the Weight Watchers plan and eat on a regular schedule. I made sure I sleep plenty. And I am filling my free time with activities that help me cope. A day after Preggie’s death, I went to Old Friends in Georgetown so I can see Silver Charm. I think he sensed my pain and sadness, for he gave me a huge sloppy kiss on my face and nuzzled me. I needed that affection. I figured that a kind and gentle horse would gladden my heart. Last week, I went to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Kentucky Theatre in Lexington and stayed at the 21c Museum Hotel downtown. They have Malin + Goetz bath products, one of which was this rum-scented shower gel. The scent was very clean and soothing. I had dinner at the Lockbox and the steak hit the spot. After I bury my Preggie, I am planning to visit WinStar Farms and I promised to Exaggerator that I would have a mint for him when I visit.

Now, I must sleep as I have a busy day. I will dress comfortably and will sleep more when I arrive in Milwaukee.