Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Look At This

I don't have much time to blog today because I am in the midst of a project I am trying to get ready in time for Thanksgiving... but in the spirit of NaBloPoMo, here is a video of Lily playing with her tennis ball in the snow! It was a whole new experience for her... she was running around and kicking it and shaking it! At one point (not in the video) the snow on the ball made it stick like Velcro to her paw (her fur tends to collect snowballs) and she was shaking her arm until the ball flew off... and then she chased it happily! She also discovered that if she buried the ball, she could not smell it in the snow, which meant she had the added challenge of trying to find it! At least someone enjoys winter!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Somebody Get Me This For Christmas!

For some reason, one of the all-time most popular posts on this blog is this one, on which I posted about some of the items I remember having in childhood. One of the things I talked about was my Colecovision, the pre-Nintendo game console that my brother and I used to play video games on.

So, I was shopping with my mom yesterday, and look what I saw in the store! (And by the way, this is not a sponsored post. I wish it was, so they would send me one of these!)
They are apparently selling all sorts of consoles that we children of the 80's remember fondly. They have Sega (actually that came along a little later than the others), Intellivision, and Atari.

My aunt and uncle are 8 and 6 years older than me, and they are the ones that taught my brother and I to play video games. I can't remember what they had at their house... my mom says it was Atari, but I seem to think it was Intellivision. Anyways I have really great memories of the four of us sitting on the floor in the family room at my grandparents' house taking turns with the controller With both Coleco and the other console, a lot of the games came with a little card that you slid into the controller, so you could see which buttons to push... for instance a baseball game would have buttons for different kinds of swings and throws. I loved the feeling of pushing the buttons. For some reason it was really stimmy to me.

And at my grandparents' house my favorite game was this racehorse game, because all of the horses were a different color and the buttons on the controller card were different colors. I'm not sure I even understood how to play the game, but I just loved watching those colored horses! This is what it looked like. Awesome graphics, right?

We also used to play Pepper II (it was like Pacman), Smurfs, Centipede, Carnival, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Junior, and I seem to remember some sort of educational alphabet game of some sort.

I am so getting one of these, somehow or another! Somebody notify Santa Claus!

Well, I am not great at ending posts, so... I will just back away slowly.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Finding My Style

I have posted before about Vinted (it is where I got my wicked cool Converse high tops with the heart pattern!) I have been getting a little addicted to it lately! I've never been particularly interested in fashion. I tend to want to wear things based on their colors (I like bright and bold colors) and texture (preferably soft and stretchy!) The embarrassing thing is that, even though I am an adult, my mom still chooses a lot of my clothes at the store. When I am with her, I can at least give my input... but a lot of the time if I see something I like, my mom vetoes it because she thinks it is too expensive, she thinks it will make me look fat, she thinks dog hair will cling to the fabric, etc. I also get a lot of my clothes for Christmas, which means I tend to wear a lot of sweaters in the winter. Another problem is that a lot of the time if I am wearing an outfit I put together and like, my mom will say it is inappropriate for some reason or another and send me back to change. For proof of that, read this blog entry, in which my mom had a fit because I wore jeans (actually they were corduroys but she kept saying they were the same as jeans, which still puzzles me to this day.) We have had similar arguments because she often wants me to wear black dress pants, which I find horribly tight and uncomfortable and itchy. I remember one particular time when my brother was visiting and we were all going somewhere, and my mom was insisting that I needed to wear black dress pants. I had already seen my brother wearing jeans, but when I pointed this out, she said, "Well, you are older, so you need to look more grown-up." Which didn't make sense to me because at the time I was about 25 and my brother 23, so it wasn't like he was a teenager or something. Or she will say, "Because you are a girl." But I would rather wear a skirt or dress than those dreadful dress pants! Bleh! But anyways...

What I started out to say is that I have very little experience choosing clothes that I really like... not just clothes that my mom and I can agree are acceptable. On Vinted I can look at a lot of different used clothes and think about things I like and don't like. I can "favorite" things I do like, and sometimes I can even buy something, since it is used clothing and some of it is pretty inexpensive.

For instance, you remember my very cool shoes, right?

I also recently bought these boots. I love to wear Ugg-style boots in the winter and fall (the ones I've been wearing were about $100 cheaper than actual Uggs, but you know what I mean, boots that are really soft inside) but my mom kept telling me that my boots from last year were too worn out and that I needed to buy new ones. So I found these on Vinted for about $6.00. They are brand new and still have the tags on them!

Also, when I first joined Vinted, they gave me a $10 credit to get whatever I wanted from the site. I searched the site over and found a really cool skirt, for only $7.00. The picture has already been deleted from Vinted or I'd show it to you, but maybe another day. It has all different colors.

Here are some of the things I've favorited, and might buy whenever I have an extra few dollars. A lot of times when you favorite something, the person selling it will actually drop the price right away in hopes that you will buy it, which is how I got my Converses for a dollar.

I like patchwork stuff. I love this sweatshirt because of all the different colors and little pictures on it. Its only $9.50 so I may get it when I get a paycheck someday.

I like this dress because of the colors. I am not sure I like the material and I don't like that it is see-through, but I would probably wear a shirt underneath and then it would be okay.

I like this because of the colors and pattern. It is called a tunic.

I like both of these skirts because I like skirts with a lot of colors and that are flowy, not tight, and not too short.

I could look at Vinted all day long! 

I actually have to go walk my dogs now, so I don't have a very good ending for this post. Maybe you can make something up! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

An Inspirational Person I've Never Thought Of Before Now

Have you ever seen the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding? You probably have. I have not. I don't know why. I have a tendency to not watch movies. But now I totally want to see it.

Next question. Was there ever a celebrity you really looked up to and thought of as a role model? I haven't. (Well, maybe when I was a little kid... I wanted to meet Soleil Moon-Frye. But I didn't really understand the actress part of it. I thought she really was Punky Brewster! But, as always, I digress...) I don't really pay that much attention to celebrities. I mean, I can name all four Beatles... but other than that, even if I love a movie or a song, the celebrities involved fly under my radar. Until now.

I have this free trial of Scribd, which allows you to read as many books as you want to for a monthly fee. And if you are me, that means, probably about 20 to 30 books per month... so I can really get my money's worth from this! As I was going through adding books to my "library," I came across one that was a memoir by a mother who had adopted a toddler from the foster care system. It interested me because I used to work with kids in foster care and I have always planned to some day adopt a child (or children) from foster care. Of course, the author's name meant nothing to me because I had never heard of the person. The book was called Instant Mom.

As I started reading it, it turned out that the author, Nia Vardalos, played the main character, Toula, in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But I still wasn't all that excited, having never seen the movie or anything.

As I read on, though, I learned so many things about Nia Vardalos, that by the time I reached the end of the book, she had become one of the people I admire the most! For instance, I was really inspired by the story of how My Big Fat Greek Wedding came to exist. Did you know that Nia actually wrote the movie, which was based on her family and the story of her wedding?

She wrote it because she dreamed of starring in a movie, but she was having trouble getting anything but minor television roles. In her book, she writes how her being Greek and having dark features, as well as not being a skinny-mini, kept agents from taking her seriously. One agent even told her to change her last name to Vardalez and pretend to be Hispanic, because there were more parts available for a Hispanic woman than for a Greek woman.

Nia was used to rejection and had always just found another way to do something, when one way didn't work out. So, she decided she would just write a movie with a Greek woman as the star. So she wrote it. And when it didn't immediately get picked up by a film producer, she just decided to start performing it on her own. She actually rented a place to perform, invited people to come be in the audience, and performed it as a one-woman comedy show. And eventually (I won't tell you how because I don't want to reproduce the whole book here, since I think you should read it yourself) it was turned into a movie, with Nia playing the part of the bride!

The main point of the book was actually about her journey to become a mother. She really wanted to be a mother, but her body just wasn't allowing it to happen. She started looking into adoption, but that didn't seem to work out either. She almost gave up. But then she decided to try adopting a child from the foster care system. And (again, not telling you the whole story) she met her beautiful daughter! And now she tries to spread the word about adopting from foster care, encouraging other people to do it.

The moral of this story is that if you want something really badly and it doesn't seem to be happening, you should just make it happen. It sounds super corny, but Nia doesn't try to claim that this is an easy thing to do... just that, if it is something you really dream of and feel that it is meant to be part of your life, it will be worth all of the hard work. And it might even take a really long time, but it will be worth the wait.

I really admire Nia Vardalos after reading this book. I felt like she was just a regular person, because she writes about feeling really anxious about certain things, being uncertain and embarrassed and all of the things I feel on a regular basis. Sometimes she felt so nervous about doing something, but she just "jumped in" and did it. I think I need to do more of that, instead of letting my anxiety and my disability stand in the way between me and my dreams.

If you want to read Instant Mom, you can find it on Amazon, here. Oh yeah, and apparently she donates all proceeds to charity. So, go read it. This is not a sponsored post. This is just me telling you to go read this book.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Watch This Video While I Take A Nap!

Hi! I am too tired to blog today, but in keeping with NaBloPoMo I need to post something. So, here is my very favorite baby goat video, which I can (and do) watch about a zillion times in a row! I want a baby goat!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Analogy or a Metaphor Or Something

This is not my dad... and my dad
isn't this old... but he does do this a lot when he's
not wearing his hearing aid! 
Last night I told my dad about my upcoming evaluation with Dr. Tania Marshall. I wasn't even going to tell my parents. But I realized that, since the time zone difference between Australia and the US is pretty big, I will be doing my appointment on Skype for two hours between 9 and 11 pm one night, and 10 pm and 12 midnight the next. They might be wondering why. Plus, since my computer is sort of slow, I might need to borrow my mom's laptop. 

My dad, unfortunately, was not happy about the idea. He thought it would be a huge waste of money, especially when I told him that a friend of mine has offered to pay for it. He thought I should decline her offer. He kept asking, "So, if they confirm you have Aspergers, then what? They cure you? Is there some sort of shot or something?"

Um, no, that is not how it works! 

The whole thing seemed futile to him. Furthermore, he pointed out, he thought that having an official diagnosis would allow me to use Aspergers as an excuse. He said, "You're still going to have to do stuff. You can't just not put the peanut butter away and then say you have Aspergers."

Which was kind of a stupid example for him to use. Sometimes I do forget to put things away, but usually small things like a fork. Not a jar of peanut butter. And I've gotten much better in recent years at cleaning up after myself in the kitchen. I've always tried, but might overlook some crumbs on the counter or a streak of grease on the stove, which my mother's eyes zero in on as soon as she walks in the door. I swear, she walks in and immediately scans the area for anything she can gripe at me about. 

But I digress...

I was starting to say something else to my dad. I don't even remember what. But he misheard me. He thought I said, "I am Lincoln." Which makes little or no sense. I rolled my eyes and repeated myself loudly, and he said, "Sorry, I'm hard of hearing, you know." Which he totally is. He is supposed to wear hearing aids but he never does.

Suddenly I realized what a great analogy that was. "Right. So you are hard of hearing. How would you feel if I told you that you just had to try harder to hear people talking? What if I told you that if you stopped focusing on being hard of hearing, and concentrated on acting like you could hear as well as anyone else, you would be able to hear fine? Or that you just want people to think you're hard of hearing, so that you can use it as an excuse to not listen to what people are saying?" 

He sort of laughed but didn't argue, so I went on, "See, you went to the doctor and found out you were hard of hearing, so you know what you're dealing with. You can wear hearing aids to help you hear. I want to have an evaluation to find out what I'm dealing with, and so I can learn ways of helping me do better."

"Yeah, but I don't like wearing my hearing aids. I'm not even wearing them right now," said my dad.

"So what is dumber? Someone who wants to see a doctor to find out more about their disability so they can learn how to do more in life? Or someone who wants to just ignore their disability and walk around not hearing what anyone is saying?"

Then my dad said, "I'm tired. I'm going to bed."

He either realized I was right, or got tired of arguing with me. Either way, I think it is a good analogy for any neurological or mental conditions. I think it makes more sense to find out what is going on and what you can do about it, rather than to pretend nothing is going on and just try to compensate on your own. 

Still haven't told my mom though! That is a battle for another day! 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why Am I Lazy

In my house people think I am lazy.

Lately I guess they are right. Here is why. 

Lately when I wake up in the morning I have to have a long talk with myself to get myself out of bed. Sometimes I will tell myself I can "sleep just one more time," which means I will go back to sleep and as soon as I wake up again I will get out of bed. Except I might not wake up until noon. 

To get myself out of bed I have to bargain with myself. I have to think of all the things I am supposed to do that day, and then negotiate. I'll be like, "Just get up and get dressed, and you don't have to take a shower today. Just get up. Just take that shirt and pants off the top of the clean laundry pile and put it on and put your sweatshirt on and you'll be all ready. Okay, you can run errands tomorrow. Today, just get up."

I have to think of something I actually want to do and promise that to myself. "If you get up, you can check your email, and maybe someone commented on your blog! If you get up, you can check if there is a new SVU recorded on the TV!"

And of course there is tiny little Lily. Although she would be happy to snuggle in bed with me all day, she needs to go outside, she needs to eat dog food, and she needs some time to run around and play with her little tennis ball! 

Sometimes I have to bribe myself even to make lunch. "Make a sandwich and you can have a Dr. Pepper!" 

So when my mom gets home, she sees that I have basically just stayed downstairs all day and used the computer and watched TV, while my room remains messy. She tells me I am so lazy. 

I don't know how to explain that this isn't the real me. When I was student teaching, and when I was teaching summer school, I would come home from work and immediately get to work on planning and getting things ready for the next day. If you added up all the hours I worked on planning and preparation in addition to actually being at work, I easily worked 12 hours a day... enthusiastically! When I was a nanny, I would get up each morning, get the older kids ready for school, take them to school, come home, get the little one ready, take her out on some fun outing, come home, make her lunch, spend the afternoon doing games and projects and other activities, go pick up the big kids from school, supervise homework time, and clean the house, all before five o'clock rolled around. If I got a break... I usually let the little kid watch TV for a while after lunch to wind down, in lieu of a nap because she refused to take them anymore... I would spend it planning and preparing for future activities. Even when I first worked as a teacher's assistant, I would stay after work for an extra two or three hours each day, working on things I thought would help the little boy I worked with. 

But I have to have something I'm passionate about. I have to have something to drive me. 

I am definitely not passionate about cleaning my room. I am not passionate about subbing... it is okay, but it does nothing to get me out of my rut. I am passionate about writing in my blog, working on genealogy, arts and crafts, etc... but spending time doing those things counts, in my mother's many people's book, as laziness. 

So on days when I don't have to sub (which is a lot lately) I will avoid doing things I enjoy because I don't want my mom to see that I've been wasting time on frivolous things... but I can't make myself do the few things she'd find as useful... so I end up just doing nothing, which means i am lazy.

So, yeah. 

It won't always be this way! Someday I will have a teaching job again, and I will have a real reason to get up every day, and I will feel deserving of doing the things I enjoy in my free time. But right now I just have nothing. And my parents just look at me with disdain for that. Disdain, I tell you! Did you ever have anyone think of you as a waste of space and oxygen? 

Why am I even writing all this now? This is a sad post. But it is how I feel right now.