Exodus Calendar Notes


1 Nissan - first month - see Exodus 12:2
15 Nissan - Passover and Exodus - see Exodus 12-13

       ...50 days from 15 Nissan to 6 Sivan...
       (Counting of the Omer - Leviticus 23:15-17)


       (travel to Mount Sinai)


1 Sivan - Israel arrives at Mount Sinai - see Exodus 19
6 Sivan - God appears at Mount Sinai and gives the Torah (Shavuot) - see Exodus 20

       ...40 days from 6 Sivan to 16 Tammuz...
       (see Exodus 24:18)


       (Golden calf destroyed, see Exodus 32)


       (Moses prepares new tablets, see Exodus 34:1-9)


1 Elul - Moses ascends Mount Sinai - see Exodus 34

       ...40 days from 1 Elul to 10 Tishrei...
       (see Exodus 34:28)


1 Tishrei - Rosh HaShanah - see Leviticus 23:23-25
10 Tishrei - Yom Kippur - see Leviticus 16 and Leviticus 23:26-32
15 Tishrei - Sukkot - see Leviticus 23:33-43

Remaining months of the year: Cheshvan, Kislev, Tevet, Shevat, Adar
harbor seal

Sense of Touch

This article on Scholarpedia is a really neat overview of different types of touch receptors in living organisms. Did you know that the antenna of crustaceans, seal whiskers, the lateral line in sharks, and the mole's nose are some ways that animals sense touch? Also, animals use their sense of touch to pick up tactile, vibrational, electric, magnetic, and other types of sensations. Wow!

"The World of Touch", Tony J. Prescott and Volker Dürr (2015), Scholarpedia, 10(4):32688.

Sense of Touch and ASD Research

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are often more or less sensitive to sensory stimuli than the general population. This can include the sense of touch. In my case, I am hypersensitive to touch.

I was curious if a certain mechanoreceptor in the skin may be involved in this sensitivity. And indeed, there has been some research done on this question. From what I've seen, researchers are linking hyper/hypo-sensitivity to touch in ASD to the Lamellar corpuscles. These are the mechanoreceptors that detect vibrations in the 250 Hz range.

Here are the sources that I found which discuss it. Collapse )
A Balance

Sense of Touch - Our Skin's Mechanoreceptors

I've been reading about the human sense of touch and the receptors in our skin that detect touch, vibration, and pressure. There are actually four types of mechanoreceptors in human skin. Here's a summary of them with some quotes from Wikipedia:

Lamellar corpuscles (Pacinian corpuscles) - vibration

These are capsule-like structures that are composed of layers. The layers are "separated by gelatinous material" and so these structures are mostly water. There is a nerve running in a line down the center. From what I understand, vibrations cause the layers to compress and this causes a signal to be transmitted to the nervous system. They detect varying vibrations rather than steady vibrations. "Their optimal sensitivity is 250 Hz" and they "have a large receptive field on the skin's surface with an especially sensitive center."

Tactile corpuscles (Meissner's corpuscles) - light touch

Like Lamellar corpuscles, these are capsule-like structures. However, in Tactile corpuscles, there are horizonal layers of cells and the nerve endings wind among them. In Lamellar corpuscles, the layers are in arc-shapes, like an onion, and the nerve runs in a straight line.

Tactile corpuscles sense touch and are located in the outer region of the dermis. "They have their highest sensitivity...when sensing vibrations between 10 and 50 Hz."

Bulbous corpuscles (Ruffini corpuscle) - stretch

These are disc-shaped capsules containing a branching structure of nerve endings. It doesn't seem to have layers the way that Lamellar or Tactile corpuscles do. They detect the stretching of the skin and help facilitate "kinesthetic sense of and control of finger position and movement."

Merkel nerve endings - pressure

These are nerve endings, rather than corpuscles. They "provide information on mechanical pressure, position, and deep static touch features, such as shapes and edges... Merkel nerve endings are the most sensitive of the four main types of mechanoreceptors to vibrations at low frequencies, around 5 to 15 Hz."

There's also an article on Pallesthesia, which is the ability to detect vibration through our skin. It's a concept used to identify conditions where this sense is reduced or not functioning properly.
A Balance

The value of things

I tend to be possessive/protective of my things. They are important to me.

Littlest Pet Shops, stuffed animals, books, pens, hats, stones, cards, clay figurines, oils, tea supplies, animal figurines, artifact jewelry (Fate of Atlantis, Star Wars, etc), Alaska necklace, seal fur headband, feathers, trinkets, Sniper Wolf, R2-D2, tea mugs, hoodies, slippers, rings, ephemera, tickets, package seals, glass, beads, pins, badges, art supplies, legos, manga sets, video game guides, solar glasses ...

It really irks me when writers or directors tell a story where "things" exist only to serve as a reflection of their love for another person or some other meaning. It's as if the object itself has no value. What? Are these items merely symbols with no essence of their own? They can serve as symbols sometimes, but I believe that they have a qualitative essence of their own. I treasure them for that in addition to the nostalgia associated with them. But I don't have to "change" them, assign messages, or over-impress myself upon the items in order for them to be valuable. They are beautiful in and of themselves. This is their intrinsic value.

Can't we allow them to be what they are?

NC Memorial


I noticed a theme in some of my posts and wanted to note them.

9/18/2017 - "the idea of passing through the world and encountering these things, bumping into them like geometric shapes on a mathematical plane - that's how life can feel to me oftentimes. Even if the people and things are not physically touching me, I still feel jostled, pushed, and squashed by them in a very real way. In that way, my anxiety isn't just a made up feeling - it's a tangible experience from the sessuru of actual things in my life. Not so much from fearing possibilities, but from the actual encounters that they have with me, when their borders brush up against mine. I'm glad to have a word that expresses that experience, even if it is a word in another language."

2/10/2016 - "just trying to keep the world from smashing, crashing in

That's what it feels like. It's like the world is a constant pressure, often overwhelming with unpleasantness (noise, random ugly things, stress, pain, etc). I just want to bury my head in the sand and make it all go away. So I do a 180 and paint other pictures. Amass other things. Craft my own beautiful little space, even if it's only in my mind.

3/23/2015 - "Of all the Star Trek characters I've met so far, the one to whom I feel that I can relate most is Miranda Jones. She was born a telepath and is buffeted by the thoughts and emotions of others. She is also jealous and jealousy loyal.

I'm by no means a telepath, but when I'm in the presence of others, I can feel like I'm being surrounded by their emotions. It's as if they all leap upon me and wash through me and crush against me. Whoever I am is so dim that it's hardly even audible anymore. Sometimes I feel like my mind is trying to run away, trying to relocate itself; but it has nowhere to go to escape the onslaught, so it starts to spin in a panic within itself. Usually, it just gives up and endures the foreign atmosphere until it has the space to seek itself again. On the outside, I wonder what's wrong. Nothing is happening to me. Maybe no one is even speaking to me or engaging my presence. But the space is not my own and I've been overrun by the presences of others. It happens so naturally that I can hardly recognize it."

My experience of sensory sensitivity

From what I understand, those with Aspergers often experience atypical sensory sensitivity. Their sensory experience may be heightened (hypersensitive) or lessened (hyposensitivity) compared to others. Hypersensitivity means that sensory input feels more than what it really is. Noises sound louder, touches have more impact. Hyposensitivity means that they don't feel as much from the same input. Sometimes, they may engage in dangerous behaviors in order to feel something.

In my case, I experience hypersensitivity. Noises are LOUD and tactile feelings are BIG. When one's physical body is receiving input constantly and at such a strong level, it can quickly become uncomfortable and then overwhelming. The body may go into a state of warning. Sensory information has exceeded perceived safe levels. The body thinks it's in danger and decides to either escape the threat or overcome it.

The tricky thing is, while I may be experiencing this, others may be talking, interacting, and working as normal. Their bodies may think that things are comfortable and safe, while mine is entering a panic-state. I want to behave like a responsible adult, and I know there isn't really any danger, so I try to deny my body's input. I push down its feelings and warnings. But this usually doesn't last long. My body *knows* its in danger and if I won't run or fight, it will do that for me to help me. It short-circuits my attempts to maintain balance and pulls me into overwhelm, where basically my system says - YOU ARE OVERWHELMED! DISENGAGE! At this point, my emotions get pulled in and I feel INTENSE anger and fear. I feel like I'm being buried alive in my own body. And it feels so miserable that I have to stop talking, stop making eye contact, and leave the situation (or disengage if I feel like I can't physically leave). It may take hours of quiet time and space for my body to recover from its panic, cool its intensity, and feel safe and content again.

This experience is emotionally difficult and sometimes is actually physically painful. For example, if I'm in a warm, loud room long enough, my ear feels like someone is stabbing it. My skin also reacts at times, breaking out in rash, itching, or some other uncomfortable sensation. Usually, though, the feelings are low-level and more like an undercurrent. That can make it hard to recognize them until they reach an intense level, especially because I spend so much unconscious time pushing the feelings down, out of the way. It's as if I'm telling my body, "Hey, you're distracting me. I'm fine. Leave me alone." But my body is only trying to warn me :( When I ignore its warnings, I usually regret it.

Over the past few years, I've been trying to better recognize my body's sensations and reactions. If I can pay attention to how I feel in a situation, I can better predict how it's going to react and better adjust to it. I don't want to be a slave of my body, but I do want to treat it with respect. I can do that by paying attention to how it feels, acknowledging those signals, and then deciding how to respond. I'm still learning, but the awareness has been an important step in the journey.
jehoshabeath (old Hebrew)

My color associations in dreams

Recently, I reviewed my dream notes from this past year. I referenced specific colors quite often. These were the emotions or situations that accompanied the different colors:

Black - murder, evil, blood
Grey - trapped, powerless
White - concern, potential, ways to safety
Brown - resistance, animals, courage
Purple - ability
Blue - hiding, embarrassment
Green - disappointment, kitchens, security
Yellow - violation
Orange - sacrifice, exchange, troubled
Orangish-pink - physical-emotional recovery, healing
Pink - delightful
Cream - sorrowful
Red - intensity, fighting, disaster
Union County, middle school mural

Aromatherapy Course Progress

It's been 3 months since I started my Aromatherapy program and today I finished module 3. I'm a quarter of the way through the course material for AT 101! So far, we've covered the basics of what are essential oils and aromatherapy, history, processing methods, safety, and a few essential oil profiles.

I've assembled a binder with the review questions to make it easier to find and study them. There are about 50 questions in the review section for each module. I'm also keeping a notebook to store aggregated notes - a list of the oils and their primary chemical constituents and a list of the therapeutic actions of each of the main constituents. I'm also keeping track of some usage notes from my essential oil applications. Here's a sample of the chemical constituents notes:


Next week, I'm planning to attend an orientation for modules 4-5. We're going to study chemistry, botany, and begin preparations for conducting case studies. I still feel like a beginner, but I'm starting to grow familiar with the terminology and have begun watching the monthly webinar lectures. I've also been tinkering in Lab Aroma. I entered a few of the themed-blends that I've made and am exploring their components and chemical details :)

The course has been challenging so far, but also exciting. It feels great to be able to apply myself to this area of study. I love exploring different essential oils, plants, and applications. I hope that someday I'll be able to make aromatherapy blends to help others, too. One step at a time, but it's coming along!

Peaceful Music

I can imagine laying on the grass, watching dusk fall. The first stars come to peek past wispy clouds. The breath of the breeze catching the hickory leaves. An ant crawling over clover. Rabbit coming out to survey for safety. Groundhog making his evening rounds. Skunks rustling from their sleep. And my eyes close and the day fades into a dream.