Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter!

Hi everyone! Happy Easter, if you celebrate it! 

Last night I made some cool tie-dye Easter eggs. My mom wouldn't let me make them at first. That sounds ridiculous for a grown-up to say they can't dye eggs because their mother won't let them, but since it is her house she gets to put her iron fist down about stupid things like that. Finally I talked her into letting me dye just three eggs. (And then I dyed four, just to be a punk.)

I forgot to take pictures while I was doing it, but if you are interested in making tie-dye Easter eggs next year (or today, if you're bored) I can give you a quick tutorial for how I did this. 

Step one. Boil the eggs. Obviously. I will not tell you how to do this, because I am not even sure my way is the best way... some people boil them for longer or shorter times, or add stuff to the water. Just do whatever you do. 

Step two... Prepare your supplies. I lined a cookie sheet with tin foil. I filled a bowl with a mixture of vinegar and water. I got out some paper towels, and some plastic wrap. I found some food coloring. You should also use something like rubberbands to tie the plastic closed. (You'll see what I mean in a minute.) 

Step three...Soak one paper towel in the vinegar/water. Lay it out on the cookie sheet. Take your food colors and drop little drops of color all over the paper towel. Because it is wet, the drops will start to spread out like fireworks!

Step four... Dry off one egg. Put the egg in the center of the colorful paper towel. Wrap the egg up in the paper towel. 

Step five. Put the packaged egg in the middle of a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap the egg up in the plastic wrap. Secure the top with the rubberband or whatever else you used. (I used clothes pins, actually.) 

Step five... Let them sit like this for at least an hour.The longer you leave them, the better the colors will end up. (Uh... you should leave them in the fridge I think... unlike some people I used to know who would leave their eggs in a basket on the table for a week, and all week long pick out eggs from the basket, peel them, and eat them.)

Step six... When you've waited long enough, unwrap your eggs, and you'll see something like this!

I am always fascinated by the variety of people's holiday traditions. When I was a kid, the Easter Bunny would leave a trail of jelly beans leading from mine and my brother's rooms, out into the living room. We would find our empty Easter baskets on the coffee table, and we would start hunting around the house. The things that were hidden would be malt ball eggs, chocolate wrapped eggs, and jelly beans. Sometimes we would also get chocolate bunnies. Later we would go to my grandparents' house, where we would go on a similar Easter egg hunt for more malt ball eggs, chocolate eggs, and jelly beans. 

In elementary school I started learning that other kids had different Easter-morning traditions. For some kids, the bunny left an already-put-together Easter basket, filled with candy and toys, for the kids to find. Some bunnies hide the very same eggs that the children dyed the night before. Some kids have their Easter egg hunts outside, some indoors like my family did. 

If your family celebrated Easter when you were little, and/or celebrates it now, tell me about your traditions! 

In the mean time, here are some Easter beagles for you to look at.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Favorite Color Swap

I am back to swapping again with Chaotic Goddess Swaps! This will be my third swap with them. I did the Christmas one,  the book one, and the mug one, before. This latest swap will involve sending someone a package of items that are their favorite color! You can send anything in you want in the package (at least 5 items) as long as you think they are things your swap partner would enjoy, and they include the color your swap partner said was their favorite.

It isn't too late to join! You have until this Monday to sign up. If you do, you will be assigned a partner by April 23!

I have had some great partners in the past, and it has given me the chance to get to know some very cool bloggers. My favorite part is always finding out who my partner is, reading their blog, and the challenge of putting together a surprise package for them!

What is your favorite color? Can you guess mine?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blog The Change For Animals!

Blog the Change Hi again everyone! This is a triple-post kind of day! I had a sponsored post, plus the final Twisted Mixtape, but I certainly couldn't skip out on this particular one, a topic so special to me... animals!  On Blog The Change For Animals day, bloggers commit to writing a blog post about animal-related issues, and how to make the world better for our furry, feathery and/or scaley friends.

I volunteer with a pet rescue organization, which most of you already know because I blog about it frequently. We get our animals from various places. One way we often get them is when strays are picked up on the street. Another way is when an animal hoarder is forced to give up some of their pets, and gives them to us. We take in puppy mill dogs who are no longer wanted. We also go to high-kill shelters and bust out the pets who are on the list to be euthanized... we put them in foster homes and promise to find them a forever home, giving them a new lease on life. We also occasionally get owner give ups, where the owner chooses to surrender their pet directly to us instead of to an animal shelter.

Of all of the ways pets end up with us, many of them... the shelter dogs, the owner give ups, and the strays... started out as family pets, but lost their home when their owners didn't want to (or felt they couldn't) take care of them anymore.

So I decided to post some of the reasons that people give up their pets. It is easy to judge people who do this, but many are people who got a pet thinking it would be a simple and fun, and that every family needs a pet. They may not have thought about how complicated a pet can make things. When deciding to get a pet, it is a good idea to think about these reasons that other people have parted ways with their pets, and decide what you would do in this situation. If you have a plan, you will be better prepared to keep your pet forever, which is the future everyone really hopes for when it comes to any animals.

1. They're moving. (Can you commit to bringing your pet with you, if you ever move in the future? Even if you don't plan on moving now, you never know what will happen. If you rent, are you willing to search longer or pay extra for your pet to live with you in a new home?)

2. Their landlord doesn't allow pets. (Before you get a pet, have you checked your lease to make sure that pets are allowed? Even if you've seen other people in your complex or building with pets, you need to make 100% sure that your new pet will be allowed to be there. Some places only allow certain types of pets, or pets under a certain weight limit. Some actually limit the breeds of dogs you can own.)

3. Too many animals in the household already. (How many animals do you currently have? Who currently takes care of your animals? Do the animals all get along with each other, and are they generally relaxed around other animals? Does the idea of one more pet overwhelm you?)

4. Cost of pet maintenance. (Are you able to securely support yourself and your family members, and save up money? Or are you living paycheck to paycheck? Research the type and breed of pet you're getting. Remember that larger animals will need more food. Animals with certain kinds of fur will need regular grooming.  Some particular dogs will need more training and toys to keep them busy. All pets will need regular vet visits. If your pet gets sick or injured, can you afford to pay for his treatment?)

5. Owner having personal problems. (In many cases, a pet can be comforting when you're having personal problems... but is this the case for you? If you're getting a pet for your children, but the pet is just going to cause more stress for you if things get difficult, you might want to hold off on the decision to add an animal to your life.)

6. Inadequate facilities. (Some dogs need, need, need, a yard with a tall fence. If you are going to be leavin your dog outside alone for any amount of time, you'll want to make sure you have a secure fence that will keep the dog safe. If a dog sees something interesting happening on the other side of the fence, and he's able to jump over or crawl under, he can easily lose track of where he is and get lost, or run out in front of a car while he's chasing a squirrel. If you live in an apartment, can you take your dog for regular walks (multiple times per day) or to a dog park? An older or less-energetic dog may be fine just going for short walks to relieve themselves, and cats don't need to go outside at all, so these might be better choices for someone without a yard.)

7. No homes available for litter mates. (Please spay or neuter your pets! Please, please, pretty please? There are already so many homeless dogs and cats in the world for every single human being in the USA to have one or two. The best way to prevent puppies and kittens from dying in a kill shelter is to make sure your pets are spayed and neutered. Please do this! I beg of you!)

8. Not having enough time for a pet. (If you are not home much, it may not make sense to have a pet sitting around waiting for you all the time. Cats may be more independent than dogs, but they still like human company. Even smaller pets like guinea pigs need companionship! On a regular basis, your dog or cat shouldn't be home alone more than 8 hours, preferably less, partly because they can't really hold their pee much longer than that! Some people choose to leave their dog in doggy day care, or hire a dog walker. But your pet's first choice would be to have as much time as possible with you.)

9. Biting. (Pets can be trained not to bite. It is best to start this training as early as possible with a puppy or kitten. If you have a pet who bites, you should consult with a professional trainer who can work with you. If you are adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue, the people there will be able to tell you about the pet's temperament. Adults and teenagers may be willing to work with and train a pet who occasionally bites due to trauma in his past. But if you have children, or young relatives who visit often, you'll want to make sure you get a pet who isn't prone to biting. Also, remember that any animal can bite when they are frightened or in pain! This is their only defense! Even with the most gentle dog, teach your children to be respectful around animals. They should not corner a pet or force a pet to be picked up. Teach them that if a pet growls, that means the pet is saying, "Please stop that. Please leave me alone." Do not punish a pet for growling, because that is their warning signal!)

10. House soiling. (For dogs, this can be eliminated with a lot of training. Dogs who were from puppy mills or hoarding situations may have never been taught to go to the bathroom outside. In these scenarios, they are often left to pee and poop in their cages, which is very unnatural to an animal. Housetraining a dog will require a lot of patience. Are you up for it? For dogs that are particularly hard to housetrain, you can use belly bands, which are like cloth diapers that wrap around a dog's waist. This will stop them from peeing in the house, but it won't really stop them from pooping. For a cat, it may be a matter of finding the right litter box and litter. An already-trained pet who suddenly starts peeing in the house may have a physical illness. If you get a pet, are you willing to work through issues such as these?)

11. Incompatability with other pets. (Most rescue organizations will insist on doing an introduction between a household pet and a potential new pet, to make sure they are compatible. This is important. Remember, to the pets who were there first, the house is their territory, and they may not want to share it. Research the best way to introduce a new animal to the house. One safe way to do it can be to keep both animals in separate areas of the house, where they can get used to the smells and sounds of each other without actually encountering each other. Then you can begin slowly putting them together, in closely supervised situations. Even if you know your dog or cat is usually fine with new animals, it is still a good idea to do an introduction to make sure. Some rescue organizations will let you bring your dog to the rescue, to interact with multiple pets and see which one he seems to choose!)

12. Owner gets too old or gets ill. (Pets can be great for senior citizens or people with illnesses or disabilities! The relationship can be therapeutic and beneficial in so many ways! However, the best idea is for senior citizens or medically fragile people to arrange a backup person who will care for your pets if anything happens to you. Often rescues will ask you to find a person who will commit to this arrangement with their signature. When choosing a pet, make sure it is a pet you can physically handle. A large or extremely energetic dog may not be right for a person whose disability causes them a lot of pain, or a person who is frequently tired and cannot run around a lot. Seniors should make sure their family members know who they want to take care of their animals, should something happen to them. Also, many assisted living facilities and nursing homes will now let residents bring their pets along with them.)

13. Allergies. (This is something people should be aware of before they start looking for a pet. You may want to get allergy testing done for members of your family. If someone is allergic, would they, and you, be willing to try things such as taking allergy medications, doing extra vacuuming and dusting, and grooming the pet more frequently? Also, note that some people are allergic to certain types of dogs or cats and not others. Some dogs shed much less than others, and some dogs produce less dander than others. If allergies are an issue, do some research ahead of time to decide how you will handle adding a pet to your home.)

14. New spouse or significant other does not like the pet. (Uh... no offense, but, I would never get into a serious relationship with someone who didn't like my pet! IMHO, if someone truly loves another person, they will find a way to get along with the person's pet, just as they would find a way to get along with a person's children or other family members. If you are single and are looking for a relationship, consider where your pet will fall in your list of priorities. If you think you'd be willing to give up your pet for Mr. or Mrs. Right, you might want to hold off on getting a pet until you do find that special person. Then, the two of you can choose a pet together.)

15. Divorce or splitting up. (This is like the opposite of number 14. The two people who chose the pet together split up, and now neither person wants the pet! This is seriously something to think about before getting a pet. Even if you're in a happy marriage, just humor yourself with the "what if" game. IF you were to split up for some reason, would you be willing and able to keep your pet? Would you be emotionally able to care for a pet that reminded you of your ex-significant-other? If the answer is "no," you should reconsider getting a pet.)

Pets are awesome, and they are a lot of fun. But they are also a big responsibility. If you're thinking of getting a pet, please really think about it and decide whether or not you are ready. There is no shame in deciding that this isn't the right time in your life for a pet. There are other ways to spend time with animals, such as volunteering with a pet rescue like I do, or offering to babysit your friends' or neighbors' pets.

Thanks for reading, everyone! If this post keeps one pet from losing his family, I will be the happiest person in the world!

Frankie is a 3-year-old pitbull in the San Bernardino, CA City Animal Shelter. His caretakers report that he came in as a friendly, frisky, happy dog, but is now acting sad and dejected and refusing to eat. He needs love! Read more about him here, and spread the word!

Goodbye, Twisted Mixtape!

A few weeks ago, Jen, who created and runs the Twisted Mixtape Link Up, announced that she was going on hiatus for a while. The weekly link up is coming to an end... but with any luck, a new, less frequent and more manageable version will be returning this fall.

Seeing as how this is the end of the world Twisted Mixtape as we know it, I knew I had to show up for this one, so I started working on it on Monday evening to make sure I wouldn't flake. At first I had no idea what songs to post, but soon they started popping into my head.

Let's see. Where do I start? How about a kind of silly one? It's the end of the world as we know it... and I feel fine!

While we're on the topic of the end of the world, here is an older, sadder song with the same title. I love this one... it is kind of haunting, isn't it?

What about this next one! It is the classic graduation song because it seems to send the message that we're saying goodbye to great memories, and moving onto a great future. There're are actually several stories about why Billie Joe, of Green Day, wrote this song... from a breakup with his girlfriend, to an arguement with other band members, to suicidal feelings. One of the stories that seems to be the most accepted as truth is that it is a goodbye and "screw you" song to the bar in Berkley, CA, where the band started out playing live music when punk was not very popular yet. They had a small but loyal group of punk rock fans. When they got a contract with a record company and went mainstream, many of their old fans grew angry at them and turned their backs on them. This song, which sounds noticeably different from most of Green Day's other songs, was Billie Joe's way of expressing his anger and disappointment with his old fans and friends. The song is often known as "Time Of Your Life," but its real title is "Good Riddance." Just a little song trivia for you! Whatever the original meaning behind it, to me it is the perfect song for saying goodbye to good friends and good times, knowing we'll never forget them.

I had to work hard to find this next one, because I don't think it is actually a song anyone has ever performed... it is an old summer camp song! I never went to summer camp myself as a kid, but for a few years I volunteered at a summer camp for siblings who were living in separate foster homes. Because this week-long camp was the only time the kids there got to spend with their brothers and sisters in a normal setting (not in a visiting room at the social service office) the end of the week was always especially bittersweet. I picked this one because, even though the visual is a little blurry, these girls do a great job of singing it! It is also a little more upbeat than some of the other versions I found online.

Finally, because I know that Jen loves the Grateful Dead as much as I do, I had to include this one.

So that's it, everyone! I'm going to miss posting these... even though half the time, I completely forget to do it when Tuesday comes around! I think the monthly one will be easier for me to keep track of. I hope.

Bye, all you Twisted Mixtape fans! I hope you come back and visit my blog even without the music!

Sponsored Post: ListGIANT

The people at ListGIANT asked me to help spread the word about their service. I thought this might be of interest to any of you who run your own businesses, organizations or websites!

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If this service interests you, you can visit their website and get a free trial!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Here's A Picture Of Me And Brownie

I had equine therapy today, as I do most Sundays. Right before I left to go there, I was sort of in a tizzy because my mom kept yelling at me for things and it was like she was watching me closely and looking for something to snap at me for. I had made a sandwich and was wiping off the counter, and she was watching me so I was really careful to wipe everywhere and not knock any crumbs on the ground. I shook off the washrag and hung it on the faucet carefully so it wasn't folded up or crumpled anywhere. And she yelled at me for not rinsing out the washrag before I hung it back up. And stuff like that. I was feeling glum. My dad said she was just mad at him and taking it out on me. I deducted that it had something to do with my dad having been drinking the night before. 

So anyways as I was driving to equine therapy I was thinking about it, and when I got there I ended up talking about it with Julie. It sort of brought up a lot of my old memories of when I was a kid.

The whole time I was talking with Julie, I was petting Brownie, and she kept coming over and leaning her head down by me, like she was giving me a horse hug!

Brownie was looking out the window of her stable to see if the grain cart was coming. I had just started telling Julie about something particularly unfortunate. Just then, Brownie turned her head towards me and gave me a horse hug. Then she put her head right in front of my face and seemed to be looking into my eyes,. which is difficult for a horse to do since their eyes are on opposite sides of their head. And then guess what! She gave me a kiss! I never realized horses could kiss people! She put her lips on my forehead and tickled me with them lightly.

I really feel like she sensed I was feeling kind of bad, and she was trying to show me some love. 

Every time I think about it I start smiling and feeling happy! 

When I first got there and went in Brownie's stall, Julie took two pictures of me and Brownie. I wanted to post the alienized versions here so you can see me with my horse friend! 

I love animals so much. If I could be around animals every minute of my life, I'd be happy. Some people tell me I should have been a vet. But I actually don't think I would like that, because a lot of animals don't like going to the vet, and I would have to give them shots and even put some of them to sleep, and that would be really upsetting to me. But I wish I could live on a farm

Maybe next time I will take a picture of the burritos who live in the barn! If you have never petted a burrito's nose, you should definitely put that on your bucket list. 

Okay, I have to disappear now. POOF! ::cloud of smoke::

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Can An Alien Cook An Egg?

Remember how I've been doing a little cooking lately? One thing I've never been able to do is anything that involves flipping something in a pan... french toast, pancakes, grilled cheese, fried eggs, etc. Whatever I try to make gets all scrambled up and discombobulated. I just don't have the hand-eye coordination to do it! In fact when I used to care for my friend's kids full time, she bought nonstick pans just for me, saying, "If Angel is going to be cooking, we'll need nonstick pans!" But even those pans didn't help me to do a good job flipping things. So I usually tried to veer away from that type of cooking. 

However, recently the Ozeri company offered me a free 8 inch Green Earth frying pan to try out and review. I wondered if maybe this pan, that boasts a textured surface that provides superior nonstick performance, might be the solution for me. 

I was also interested in the Green Earth pan because, like its name suggests, it is earth friendly. It has a natural ceramic coating and 100% PTFE and PFOA. (I had to Google this to find out that PTFE stands for Polytetrafluoroethylene, a florine and carbon compound. When used to coat pots and pans, such as Teflon, it can put out dangerous fumes if it gets too hot. It may also be responsible for the deaths of pet birds. PFOA stands for perfluorooctanoic acid, which is used to make PTFE and is thought by the Environmental Protection Agency to be carcinogenic. So. We probably should try to avoid those things.) 

I thought it would be fun to not only tell you, but show you, me using the Green Earth frying pan to fry an egg. That way, if it didn't work, you'd get to see the honest results! Check out this short video and see for yourself. 

As you can see, I was finally able to fry an egg! It was easier than I could have imagined. I can't wait to start trying it with other things!

I hope you enjoyed this review. I really like trying out new things for this blog!