So I haven't posted in forever. Sorry 'bout that...if any of y'all out there are actually still reading this. I've been working on the soon to be launched Mandys website, as well as keeping busy with both Barnes and Noble and MarthaGrace.

It's Halloween,and I'm sick. It sucks. I put all of this effort into making this beautiful princess costume. I decided that I wanted to be pretty this year. Chris and I put together a bunch of material and a vintage dress and came up with a fabu outfit with lots of beading and layers of tule. V. flowy, v. princessy. Even had a big long train. Everyone loved it. Alas, did not get to wear it out. Only to BN. *sigh*

Went out with a Russian boy last Monday. Was v. nice...v. gentlemanly and sweet. He called tonight and Mom said he sounded super disappointed. It's really cute and I def.wanna give him a shot, I'm just not sure it has potential. I have this thing for the typical strong american male type. It's that damsel in distress part of me or some b.s. like that. I wanna cowboy with a poet's soul. But he's gotta be tough and macho when I want him to be. Is that so hard? Hmmm...maybe I should date twins. One could be strong and macho and masculine and one could be intellectual and sensitive and cultured...I could go back and forth. That sounds good to me.

I recently read a book that made me revisit the passion vs. comfiness issue in love/relationships. It's definitely got me thinking about some relationships of mine that I didn't give much of a chance to go anywhere. This is another reason I'm not sure about Russian boy. I'm trying not to limit myself, but I'm so tired of trying to deal with things that I just don't want to put forth any effort anymore. Maybe I'll swear off dating. That sounds like a good idea. I'll just make friends and one day it will be perfect and my best friend will suddenly turn into THAT guy. If only things could be so easy. :)

off to bed for me...need this danged cold to go away. Work in the a.m. I'll try to keep up with this blog a bit better from now on. We'll see if that actually happens. Good night all :)


I haven't been updating much lately, and I apologize to those of you who actually read this thing, but tonight probably won't be much better. I'm putting in a lot of time to the Mandys website, which is going very very well. Other than that, i suppose I'm spending a lot of time with things that don't really translate to blogdom. I had a conversation with someone recently about how much we reveal to others about ourselves. I admitted that I reveal more than most immediately, almost as a defense mechanism. I'm not sure, however, that I ever realized it was to keep people from asking about other things. I decided it would be better for me to limit how much I share with others, and now I'm being put to the ultimate test. In finding parts of myself I'm actually not willing to share with others, though, I've begun feeling more alone that I believe I ever have. At least before I could share my bullshit and have someone else understand and tell me they've dealt with it or cry with me or laugh at me or whatever. Now I'm just stuck. Sometimes, it's hard to even share things with God. What's up with that? Argh.

Okay, me making light of something not so light, but how else to deal with it all? I'm just not sure right now. Be patient with me if I don't blog for awhile, or if they're short.



This is by far the most personal post I've ever made on this blog. I'm usually rather hesitant about bearing my soul to any joe schmoe who might come along, but this is necessary. Some things are driven by something stronger than reason.

If you choose to read this post, I ask that you withhold judgment of my intentions or emotional state. I am going to write about God. I am not out to preach. I am also not in some overly emotional insincere repentant state. Quite honestly, I don't care what you get from this. It is entirely selfish. I need to admit my struggles to anyone willing to listen.

A little over a year ago a wonderful friend embraced me as I walked through her door. She told me I was my beautiful and laughed a little, knowing that all was a passing state, at my tears of despair. A little over a year ago I discovered the impossibility of receiving unconditional love from my god. I had just returned from a road trip that I had taken under the pretense of a search for self and God, when really I had been running from both. I had fallen desperately in love and chose to turn my questions and fears to a man who could answer them certainly and immediately, rather than to wait for answers that did not come in my time.

It is an unfortunate event when one yields to the reception of unconditional love with man before understanding it from God. It is much easier to believe that man will fail you and have man fail you than it is to believe that God will love you unconditionally and never quite know for sure. I was never lucky enough, or smart enough, to trust God before man.

This is not some big metaphor. I did not just find salvation, or rededicate my life, or have any real turning point in my relationship with God. In fact, I was lucky enough to know of God all my life. My story is rather typical and boring. I accepted Jesus as my Lord in the 9th grade during an emotional sermon that pushed every guilt button in the room. I happily lived my life with God as my focus, but eventually felt hurt and betrayed because I felt I had been tricked into it. I began to associate God with that church experience and rejected Him on many levels, though never outright. I set out on this road trip to find God through intellect and philosophy, rather than emotion. I eventually did, but not as I had expected.

I instead found someone who provided me with the answers. When I was scared, he comforted me. When I fought myself, he fought for me. When I doubted, he reassured me. This man took the place of God in my life, though I never realized it at the time. In fact, looking back, most have taken the place of God in my life. I expect them to love me unconditionally. I expect them to rescue me from my awful tragic existence. I expect them to convince me to trust them. They do, to some superficial extent that consumes my conscious mind, and I expect them to never fail because I have now been proven worthy of unconditional love. Men fail. But there are many men, and I've always been able to move on to the next one with relative ease.
This one got me, though. This one was timed rather nicely with my actual sincere quest for God. So much so that my faith in this man was never shaken, even when he made it very clear that it should be.

My friend who smiled at my tears helped me through many a night during that sorrowful time for me. Each time we spoke she reccomended a book she had read called Redeeming Love. It was a retelling of the book of Hosea and she thought I would identify with it. I was interested, but never found it in a bookstore so forgot about it. I found God through intellect and philosophy, to the extent that is possible, and committed myself to Him in all the ways I understood.

In the year since then, I've encountered more heartbreak than ever I could have imagined. I finally let go of that god, but as I have realized just tonight, only moved onto more. When one man fails you, there are always other men. There's always someone else to tell you that you're worthy of love. They always fail when it comes to the part about it all being unconditional, but then, that just keeps you from ever really having to admit you are worthy of that love. Even though I've walked with God by my side and in my heart this past year, I still haven't accepted that part. Had you told me that yesterday, I would have laughed at you.

A month ago I was shelving books at B&N in the Christian romance section. Who knew? I came across the book my friend had asked me to read, but it was out of my budget. I put it on my mental list of books to buy and left it alone. As I left work the next day, after having been paid, I felt drawn to the Christianity section again. I hungered for something from God. I knew it would come in the form of a book, not the Bible, and I searched through the devotionals. I picked up a couple and took them home, only to never open them. That evening, I received an email from my beautiful wonderful friend asking me about God and reitering how important it was for me to read that book. I'd experienced enough impossible coincidences involving God and this friend to get the point. I went to the library the next day and found the book.

That was two weeks ago. The book has been sitting in my room unopened all this time. I read constantly, which means I often read in public. This was a romance book. Not just a romance book, but a Christian romance. I mean, c'mon. Last night, though, I'd finished my other books and decided to open it. I read all through the night until I had to leave for work. I finished the few pages I had left a few minutes ago.

Over the past year, and especially the last few months, I've been too heartbroken to think of anything other than healing the immediate pain. Recently, things have calmed down quite a bit. When you stop expecting a man to fill the role of God, it's easier to accept his fallibility and just be friends. Things are better now. I can finally think about God. And then I read this book.

The lessons are many, but they are not the focus of this post. Although, I suppose I'm not exactly sure what is. The most important of these lessons is that I can't expect a man to rescue me, fight for me (even if that means fighting me), be trustworthy, and love me unconditionally until I know God does those things. I can't sit here waiting for someone to ride up on a white horse and save me from my own destructive self until I'm willing to believe that God has already done that. I never really believed those men loved me. I never really believed I was worthy. I put on quite the show, but one has to in this world just to get by with a scrap of your heart left in the end. If I "believed" I could trust them fully, and they failed, it was really my fault. It was all in my control. And isn't that the point? The problem with trusting God is that you actually have to give up control when you finally let yourself believe.

Like hell if i'm gonna do that. I want to. Oh how I want to. That will take quite a bit more work.

So see, this isn't some big preachy testimony about how I got saved from myself. I'm struggling. I want to believe God could love me UNCONDITIONALLY. I have to believe it I ever want to believe that a man is a capable of something even close to that. But it's something of a catch 22, because really, if a lowly human won't do it, why would an amazing and all powerful God? But I'll get there. I have faith now. And I will never again let myself make the mistake of forcing man to be God. I owe sincere apologies to all of those wonderful men. I grew to resent them because they didn't fulfill my expectations of my god. I'm not exactly at a point where I'm going to admit fault yet, :) but I recognize that I owe it to them. And now I owe it to myself to at least give God a chance. If I write all this here, I can't pretend I never realized any of this and blow it off. Now I have to chip away at it. Slowly. Maybe it can wait until tomorrow.

Thank you, Linzers, for letting God work through you. I love you :)


So someone sent me this wonderful link to a study shown on CNN.com. It looks like CNN. But, alas, it's just an NC State website made by some very clever college kids. Damn. And I thought I was doing something healthy in my life.

CNN.com - Study: New study shows that fellatio may reduce the risk of breast cancer.

I really will update soon. For now, I'm recovering from an amazing weekend with the Mandys, working on the upcoming Mandys website (very slowly because my computer and connection suck), going through all of the certifications for my new job, and trying to get my bills in order. I've also got some pretty heavy stuff going on in the way of deep thoughts and such. Actually, that might lead me to distract myself with updating sooner. :) We'll see.


I'm home. I'm tired. I LOVE YOU MANDYS!!!!!!!!!! Too tired to write more, but will do so later. Work early. G'night.


Come over to Millbrook 1-107!!!!!!

Lotsa beer
Lotsa good loud music
Lotsa hot girls
Lotsa fun

I expect to see all Louians there, dammit!


Someone also pointed out to me that the vaccination cause is easy to grab at because so many parents feel guilt over their child's disorder. In fact, up until just a decade or so ago, most people still felt that autism was caused by mothers who didn't love their children enough. It was called the cold mother disease or something.

Autism and Vaccinations

A recent article in The New York Times Magazine brought into the light of popular media the controversy over whether or not vaccinations are linked to neurological disorders such as autism. The article presented the director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Neal Halsey's concerns over the affects of mercury in vaccinations (Allen, Arthur. "The Not-So-Crackpot Autism Theory." The New York Times Magazine. 11-10-2002). For many years, a preservative called Thimerosal has been used in several vaccines and has recently been blamed for symptoms in children that are very similar to those of autism spectrum disorders. A review of the incredibly sparse academic literature on thimerosal's role in autism leads to the need for more information, most of which must be obtained from government-issued press releases and the popular media. An examination of these materials reveals that most government-regulated organizations maintain that there is not enough evidence to show that vaccinations are responsible for causing autism. However, smaller organizations that are focused specifically on autism research offer reason to suggest that the vaccination theory should not be disregarded and that further research is necessary to make any conclusive judgments.

The concern about vaccinations is due to the fact that many of them require the use of a preservative that contains mercury. Thimerosal has been used as a preservative for many vaccines since the 1930s--even before the Food and Drug Administration required the use of preservatives (IVS). Preservatives are needed in immunizations to prevent bacterial or fungal contamination in multiple dose vials. This need was noted specifically in cases like one in Australia in 1928. Twenty-one children were given a vaccine, and eleven of those children died because of an injection of living staphylococci. The FDA mandated the use of preservatives in immunizations in 1968 after several such incidents.

The problem with this requirement is that thimerosal, the most widely used and most safely effective preservative, is 50% mercury by weight. Although the concentration of mercury within thimerosal is just a trace quantity at .01%, it amounts to 25 micrograms in one .5mL dose of a vaccine. This is within the safe levels of mercury designated by the FDA, however children are receiving more vaccines during infancy now than when those designations were made. Also, while many studies have been done on the effects of methylmercury on children's health, little research has been done on ethylmercury, the compound in thimerosal.

Methylmercury is a neurotoxin and has been shown to be responsible for cognitive deficits involving attention, language, motor, and sensory developmental delays. Because of these risks, the Environmental Protection Agency calculated safe levels of methylmercury to be 0.1 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day. A series of studies of children conducted by Philippe Grandjean in the Faroe and Seychelle islands are still being conducted in order to determine whether or not the safe level needs to be changed. Pregnant women who ate whale meat containing methyl mercury in these studies consumed four times the safe dosage. This resulted in minor neurological deficits in the children of these women when they were tested seven years later.

Because of the lack of data defining the differences in risks between ethyl- and methylmercury, the FDA considers them equivalent when deciding safe levels within food and vaccinations. There are few studies of thimerosal specifically, and those that do exist offer little conclusive evidence. In 1931, Powell and Jamieson issued up to 26 mg/kg (micrograms per kilogram of body weight) to subjects with no reported toxic effects. The reports of mercury poisoning that the FDA was able to find resulted from a range of 3mg/kg to several hundred mg/kg of ethylmercury. The toxic effects in these cases were local necrosis, acute hemolysis, acute renal tubular necrosis, and central nervous system injury resulting in coma or death. An EPA study by Mendola, et. al., showed that high levels of exposure to methylmercury produced mental retardation, cerebral palsy and visual and auditory deficits in children (Mendola P, Selevan SG, Gutter S, Rice D. "Environmental factors associated with a spectrum of neurodevelopmental deficits." Mental Retardation And Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews Vol. 8, No. 3, 2002. 188.). It is important to note that these are not symptoms that closely resemble those of autism spectrum disorders. A 1985 study by Magos compared methylmercury and ethylmercury directly. Magos concluded that ethylmercury was less neurotoxic, although no quantitative comparisons were provided. Additional concerns that infants may not be able to eliminate ethylmercury from their systems as adults do were addressed in studies by the National Vaccine Advisory Committee that showed infants excreted mercury into their stools as well as adults.

The recent concern about thimerosal in vaccines arises from several different factors. The number of vaccinations infants receive in the first two years of life has gone from 8 to up to 20 since the early 1990's (Allen, 2002). Coinciding with the rise in the number of vaccinations is the number of cases of autism. A University of California, Davis study recently confirmed this rise and could offer no explanation as to its cause. From 1987 to 1998, the rate of autism has increased 273 percent, and the UC Davis study showed that it could not be attributed to misclassification or changing diagnostic criteria. Studies including the rest of the world have found that before 1985 the prevalence of autism was 4-6 per 10,000 children. Between 1985 and 1995 studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a prevalence of 11.8 per 10,000 children, and up to 1 in 500 were affected by some form of an autism spectrum disorder. The CDC also notes that during the time the increase in California was measured, other developmental disorders increased less than fifty percent. These factors, combined with a few well-publicized testimonials from parents who noticed their children's autistic symptoms shortly after immunizations, have led to suspicions of a link between vaccinations and autism spectrum disorders (Shattock and Savery, 1997).

These suspicions are certainly not unfounded, but have resulted in no evidence that a causal relationship exists between vaccinations and autism. The known symptoms of mercury poisoning and those of autism, while similar, are certainly not the same. The CDC states the symptoms of autism and other pervasive developmental disorders as follows:

Social skills: Children with ASDs do not interact with other people the way most children do, or they may not be interested in other people at all. Children with ASDs may not make eye contact and may just want to be alone. They may have trouble understanding other people's feelings or talking about their own feelings. A child with an ASD may not like to be held or cuddled and may not form the usual attachments or bonds to other people.

Speech, language, and communication: About 40% of children with ASDs do not talk at all. Other children have echolalia, which is when they repeat back something that was said to them. The repeated words might be said right away or at a later time. For example, if you ask the child, "Do you want some juice?" the child repeats "Do you want some juice?" instead of answering your question. Or a child may repeat a television ad he heard sometime in the past. Children with ASDs may not understand gestures such as waving goodbye. They may say "I" when they mean "you" or vice versa. Their voices may sound flat and it may seem like they cannot control how loudly or softly they talk. Children with ASDs may stand too close to the people they are talking to, or may stick with one topic of conversation for too long.

Repeated behaviors and routines: Children with ASDs may repeat actions over and over again. Children may want to have routines where things stay the same so they know what to expect. They may have trouble if family routines change. For example, if a child is used to washing his face before he gets into his pajamas, he may become very upset if he is asked to change the order and put on his pajamas first and then wash his face.

Some symptoms of mercury poisoning, such as developmental delays in language and attention, are similar to those of autism. However, the unusual symptoms that distinguish autism spectrum disorders from other developmental disorders, such as the social and sensory aspects of the disease, are not accounted for by what we know about mercury poisoning.

In fact, the main support for the link between vaccinations and autism seems to be the large number of case studies of children who were diagnosed with autism after receiving vaccinations. Safe Minds, or Sensible Action For Ending Mercury-Induced Neurological Disorders, presents myriad accounts of parents claiming that vaccines are responsible for their children's autism. Most of these case studies are similar to the following one published in NurseWeek and posted at www.safeminds.org:

After giving birth to her son, Lyn Redwood, MSN,FNP, of Tyrone, Ga., and her physician-husband tracked his development up to 15 months. After a series of vaccines, the boy started to regress, so Redwood had him tested. The diagnosis: severe developmental delay.

Redwood began to investigate the vaccines that preceded the diagnosis and found that all contained thimerosal, a preservative containing 49.6 percent ethylmercury by weight. By examining her son's records, she found that he had received 237.5 micrograms of ethylmercury in the first 18 months of life.

"I sent a piece of my son's baby hair for mercury testing and it came back with a report stating it contained 4.8 parts of mercury per million," Redwood said. "That's five times the allowable level for mercury. Research studies of children in the Faroe Islands whose mothers were eating mercury-contaminated seafood during pregnancy reported blood levels of 15 to 30 micrograms at birth, resulting in developmental delay. So I started looking at all the diagnostic markers for autism and found all those diagnostic markers to mercury. Looking back at it now, my son's symptoms for mercury poisoning were classic. My husband's a physician and he didn't see it, and I'm a nurse practitioner, but I had never seen a child with mercury poisoning."

Thimerosal - scientifically associated with a number of neurological disorders including autism, attention deficit disorder, speech delays and tics - was originally determined to be dangerous and was recommended to be withdrawn from nonprescription products by FDA experts in 1982, Redwood said.

Although case studies such as this are rather compelling, several things need to be taken into account. First of all, there is no conclusive evidence that thimerosal, ethyl-, or even methylmercury is associated, "scientifically" or in any way other than circumstantially, with autism, ADHD, or many of the other problems these case studies mention. In a 1999 study by F. Edward Yazbak, 25 out 240 women who received the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine postpartum reported problems in their children ranging from autistic symptoms to gastrointestinal problems to future miscarriages.

Also, many of these case studies offer quantitative measures of the mercury both in the vaccines to which the children were exposed and in hair samples. However, they don't offer measures from children who weren't diagnosed with autism after their vaccinations. Given that most children receive the same immunizations, and that the FDA guidelines for safe levels of ethylmercury are based on its supposed equivalency to methylmercury rather than actual knowledge of its effects, these quantities are meaningless.

This works in the other direction as well. A recent study at the University of Rochester Medical Center concluded that the mercury in vaccines is at safe levels. This is reassuring, but does not take into account the fact that the FDA is currently reexamining exactly what those safe levels should be. However, it does provide even more evidence that the mercury from immunizations is eliminated from the blood quickly, even in infants.

There is certainly cause to investigate the effects of thimerosal on children due to knowledge of the effects of methylmercury, growing knowledge of the effects of ethylmercury, and the increased amounts of ethylmercury received by infants in the 1990s. However, there is certainly no conclusive evidence to suggest that vaccines are directly responsible for the increased rates of autism. The Immunization Safety Review Committee at the Institute of Medicine states that although the hypothesis is biologically plausible, the evidence is inadequate and neither proves nor disproves the theory. Even the aforementioned Dr. Halsey himself denied that he believes in that vaccinations cause autism, saying that The New York Times Magazine misrepresented his position.

Regardless of whether or not vaccines cause autism, the questionable levels of safety are enough cause to find ways to preserve vaccines without the use of mercury. The rise in autism cases is certainly cause for more research in this area. For now however, the certain risk of getting a disease that could cause death is more urgent than the unknown risk of developing autism, so getting a child immunized is still most likely the best option for parents.