Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How It Went

This is the game we played in my group.

You may remember that I mentioned I was joining an Adult Lifeskills group that takes place at a counseling center and is run by a therapist. You may also remember that the therapist mentioned that most of the people in the group were younger than me, and I was wondering exactly how much younger.

Well, apparently, they take the group's "18 and over" policy very literally. As in, the group members seem to have just turned 18, like, yesterday. Some are even still in high school! 

So now I have another decision. Do I stay in the group, or not? 

The group is meant for adults of all ages, not specifically very young adults. It just happens that the people who seem to find out about the group are those who were part of the center's group for teenagers... they "graduate" to this group when they turn 18. 

I know I'm overly sensitive about the age part, because I look very young and seem to act very young sometimes too. It doesn't bother me horribly to be mistaken for a teenager. What bothers me is when I'm forced to say how old I am, and people go, "WHAT? You're how old? Are you serious? Oh my God! Oh, wow! I had no idea!" It is embarrassing, hurts my feelings, and makes me feel like a freak. I'm also very sensitive about being treated like a child a lot, because of my disability.

But the truth is, I am in the same boat as many of these  18-year-olds. I need help with life skills, overcoming my shyness, and moving forward in my life. 

I try to think of it like this: If I signed up for a college class, and saw that most of the other students were about 18, would I drop the class? Or would I stay in order to get the same knowledge and experience that they are getting?

Yesterday we played Apples To Apples, as an ice-breaker since there were also several other new people in the group that week. Apples To Apples! I love that game! But I rarely have anyone to play it with. 

In other news, today was my first day at my long-term subbing job. I was supposed to be going on a field trip with them to a karate class, so I dressed in loose pants and a long-sleeved T-shirt. But at the last minute they switched me to a different class, because they felt that the sub that came for that class wouldn't be able to deal with the kids with special needs. I was disappointed at first, but I actually had a really good time in the class I was sent to! It was a first grade special ed class with only about six students in it. One of them was a little girl with autism who is almost completely nonverbal (she can sort of say a few words like "hi," "Bye," "Yes," "No," etc) and often has a difficult time... she starts crying loudly a lot in class and is unable to say why. I've met her a few times when I've helped out in that class for just an hour at a time, on my "floater" rotations. Last time I was there, she randomly came and stood in front of me, and I swung her gently back and forth. A lot of kids with autism love that because of the deep pressure and rocking feeling. This time, she seemed to remember me, and kept coming to hold my hand or to give me hugs, all day long. She was very sweet. I kind of wish I could be in that room again. 

Anyways, we'll see what happens, with the group, with subbing, and with everything. Right? Right. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mug-O-Comfort Swap

I joined another swap! Swapping has been a lot of fun, and gives me something to look forward to in the mail. So I am excited for the chance to be a part of the latest swap over at Chaotic Goddess Swaps. This one is the Mug o' Comfort Swap!

The idea is to send your swap partner a mug filled with goodies, including something you could drink from the mug. Sounds fun, right?

If you'd like to sign up and be a part of this, just click here and fill out the sign up form. You have to wait to get accepted, but I'm pretty sure the only people who don't get accepted are those who have participated before and didn't send their swap items, or people who are really spammy. So go ahead and join in! Maybe we'll be partners!

Twisted Mixtape Tuesday: Guilty Pleasures!

I've been missing from the Twisted Mixtape scene for a few weeks. Sometimes Mondays and Tuesdays are just too stressful to try to find time to blog! I am not working today so I actually have some time... this is my first "lazy" day before I start a long term subbing position tomorrow! Trying to enjoy it!

Anyways, this week's Mixtape is all about guilty pleasures, the songs that you love even though you hate to admit it. The songs your friends would mock you for if they saw them on your iPod. I have plenty to choose from, being a dork at heart! Let's see what I have for today...

Ooh, here's an embarrassing one! Who remembers this boy band that appeared in 1996? I spent many afterschool hours watching VH-1 (not MTV like normal kids) and this video would often be on. It is upbeat, and the video is fun. But who would admit that they like it?

How about this one? I first heard this song as a teenager. I was working in a daycare center with toddlers and would often put on music for the kids while they played. The classroom I worked in only had a few (all cassette tapes of course) and Raffi was one of them, so I played this frequently. Being an animal lover, how could I not love this sweet song about a baby whale and his mama?

Here's another children's song that has found it's way onto my iPod. I grew up watching this show, and the theme song is cheerful and inspiring. You have to admit it. "Dance your cares away, worries for another day." That's good advice for people of all ages, isn't it?

Moving to the other end of the musical spectrum... this is the first Eminem song I ever heard. I thought it was catchy and funny, so I bought the album, and loved all of the songs. They were just goofy. I remember my friend Stephie and I worked together at a daycare center (a different one from where I heard the Baby Beluga song) and we discovered we both loved Eminem. We waited in eager anticipation for his next album to come out. I had posters of Eminem on my walls, and I even wrote him letters! ::Gulp:: I'll always have a spot in my heart for Eminem. Warning, although this is the "clean" version, you probably still don't want your kids to watch it!

Let's wrap this up with a simple hymn. As my family did not go to church when I was a kid, the first time I heard this song was on an episode of "Just The Ten Of Us." I liked it because it reminded me of the background music to the Smurfs game we used to have on Coleco vision! I've always enjoyed it, and yes, it now lives on my iPod.(This version actually does seem to be from a children's album, but it is the closest version I can find to the one I have... most artists who sing it do their own versions that just aren't the same as the most, well, simple version.)

So that is that! My guilty pleasures! This was a fun theme, and I can't wait to go see what everyone else's guilty pleasures are... although my stupid Shockwave keeps on crashing, so it may take a while.

See you next week!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Having Fun No Matter What

Hi everyone! Trying to keep this blog updated, although half the problem is that I run out of things to post about. How many times can I possibly write about going to work, coming home, watching TV and going to bed? 

This weekend was supposed to be a little different because I was planning to go snow tubing with a Meetup group. There is actually a ski resort with a snow tubing hill, weirdly located in the mountainless Chicago suburbs. I've never been there, but I signed up to go with the Meetup group, and I was really excited about it. There were ten people signed up to go.

But, as tends to happen with Meetup groups, by Friday night eight of the ten people, including the person who had organized the outing, had cancelled their RSVPs. That left just me and one other person, a woman named "Hilary." She commented on the group page that she was still interested in going. 

This left me with a conundrum. Although I get nervous in large groups, I also get nervous when meeting and having to interact with just one new person. If there were even two new people besides me, I could rely on the two of them to make most of the small talk. With just me and one other person, it seemed like a lot of pressure! I had two choices. One, go and take a chance. Two, cancel, stay home, and feel safe but bored. 

I remembered the day that I went sledding with my family... how I had felt tired and been worried about being too cold, but how I had gone anyways and had a great time. I remembered my promise to myself to look for more chances to go out and do stuff. So I kept my RSVP active.

I was nervous all day about going. My mom tried to give me some last minute advice. "Just act normal. And don't do that thing with your eyes, because she'll think you're crazy. But be yourself!" 

Uh... thanks. (And I don't really know what "thing with my eyes" she was talking about, although my dad claims that I shift my eyes a lot when I talk.) 

I wish I could say it went swimmingly. But a few things went wrong. First of all, we hadn't known that there would be a waiting list, so from the time we got there, we had to wait in the cafe for our number to come up. It was about a forty-five minute wait, which we had to fill with small talk. I am so not good at small talk! I never know what to say, and I often end up telling weird stories that others find "inappropriate." (Ugh, I hate that word!) 

Then, after we'd gone down the hill exactly twice, Hilary decided to go home. I had come prepared for the weather and was wearing Cuddle Dud pants and sweat pants under my jeans, a Cuddle Dud shirt, a regular shirt, a regular sweatshirt, and a thermal sweatshirt under my jacket, and two pairs of socks, and a hat and scarf. Hilary was just wearing her normal clothes, plus a jacket, hat and gloves. She was too cold. So she went home. 

I decided to stay. I hadn't paid $17 so I could go down the hill twice! We were allowed two hours of tubing, and I stayed almost until the end. 

It was fun, but also a little lonely. I mean, I loved the feeling of flying down the hill on a tube... but when I got to the bottom, I had nobody to talk and laugh with about it. I just had to calmly get off my tube and trudge back to the line. 

So, mixed results. I did not bond with and make a lifelong friend with Hilary. And the fact that I stayed may illustrate another difference between me and normal humans.  Hilary was interested in tubing but gave up on it after just half an hour. A normal person probably would have said something like, "Well, okay, do you want to go get a couple of drinks or something instead?" But I was more attached to the idea of tubing than to the idea of hanging out with someone I had just met, so that thought didn't even occur to me. The thought in my head was, "I came here to go tubing, I was looking forward to tubing, and I am going tubing for the full two hours!"

I did have as much fun as I could, tubing solo, and I would like to do it again someday. 
This is not me. It would have been hard for me to take a picture of myself
snow tubing. So I just found a picture of a random person instead. But you
get the just of it, right?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Joining A Group

Is this what my therapy group will look like?
Many moons months ago I mentioned that, instead of going back on my meds, I was looking into different kinds of therapy. Well, I did end up getting back on my meds. But I am still also looking into different types of therapy. For one thing, I am going to start going to equine therapy. I don't know when or how often... I've been emailing with the psychologist who does it. 

Also, I found this Life Skills group offered by a behavioral health center. This is what the description of the group says on the flier: 
This group provides education and support to adults dealing with a myriad of daily life stressors. Topics include: setting short and long-term goals, increasing motivation, maintaining organization at home, work, and school, as well as applying social problem solving skills. This group is ideal for adults dealing with life transitions, social challenges, developmental delays (e.g., Autism Spectrum Disorders), and those simply wishing to lead a more enriched life. Through self-reflection and interactive discussion, participants learn to identify and break unhealthy behavior patterns, successfully navigate social challenges, and gain the courage necessary to lead more productive lives.
Doesn't that sound like it would be perfect for me? 

So I went to the evaluation today and talked to the doctor who runs the group, and right away she said she thought I would be a great fit for the group. But she also mentioned that the other members of the group are younger than me. I don't know how much younger... 18 or 28? There is a big difference! Even though I am young for my age (oxymoron, I know!) it might be hard to relate to some just-out-of-highschoolers. 

I don't know how to explain this, but I also got the feeling that they might not be as "high functioning" as me. 

A few years ago, I used to go to this drop-in group for people with mental health issues. I liked it a lot because we got to go on outings and do activities and arts and crafts and stuff. I eat that stuff up. But a lot of the people there had way more severe mental health issues than I did... to the point where they were living in group homes and stuff. When I first started going there I thought they had intellectual disabilities, but one of the people who ran that group said most were of average or above intelligence. I really loved that group, and I met some nice people and had some fun times. If I lived closer I would still be going there every week. But I don't think being there helped me move forward. It was a really fun and relaxing place and I loved it. But I was one of the very few who lived independently, had a job, drove a car, etc. I don't know how to explain this without feeling like I'm insulting some people, but what I mean is, it wasn't great practice for being out in the real world. The social skills they were trying to teach us there were more like, "Joe told you he likes spaghetti. Now you could tell him your favorite food!" 

So I'm not sure if this new group will be like that. I guess I will have to wait to find out. It starts next week! 

Thanks for the get well soon wishes, by the way. My nose is still pretty stuffy, but I did work today. I was scheduled to work tomorrow as a Special Ed Resource sub, but that got cancelled and the person who scheduled subs independently and without warning scheduled me to sub for a first grade bilingual class. Not sure I would have taken that job if given the choice. But I wasn't given the choice... so I guess I'm up for the challenge! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Here I Am!

Wow, it has been a while since I posted! The good news is that I've been working a lot. The bad news is, I've also been sick a lot, which is why I haven't been up to blogging in my spare time! A few weeks ago I had that sinus infection, which went away fairly quickly. But then last week I wasn't feeling too great all week. On Wednesday I didn't have to work, so I was going to take advantage of the day and run some errands. I woke up feeling completely normal. I ate breakfast (a bowl of cereal and some Greek yogurt) and still felt fine. Then all of the sudden I got a wicked stomachache. Sometimes I do get stomachaches in the morning, so I decided to ignore it and just proceed with my day. Bad idea! I got into my car to go run errands, but the motion of the car seemed to irritate my stomach more. I thought I'd turn around and go back home and lay down until I felt better. Too late! Suddenly I felt really hot and dizzy. I pulled over, opened my car door, and  BLEEEEEHHHHH! 

It is annoying being sick while living with my parents, because they tend to think of sickness as some sort of sign of weakness and laziness, as if ralphing in the street is a real luxury that they would never allow themselves. 

Anyway, I still don't know if that was some sort of virus, or the yogurt I ate was bad, or what. I did throw up one more time as soon as I got home, and then I just had a queasy stomach for the rest of the day and the next day, but no fever or anything, and I was able to go to work the next day. I just tried not to eat much. But then, suddenly, I started feeling myself getting another sinus infection, as well as the heaviness in my chest that usually means bronchitis. Yesterday I went to my volunteer job, and then came home and took a nap for about four hours. When I woke up, my voice was gone! Yep, it is laryngitis as well.

I feel like an old person! When I was a little kid, and even as a young adult, I used to get sick a whole lot. Having severe allergies also makes you sensitive to getting respiratory infections and ear infections. Especially when I hung out with people who smoked, I was sick a lot. But for the past few years, I've barely been sick at all! Especially since I've been taking multivitamins and iron pills! This winter I have gotten sick so much. I guess it is a combination of the cold, dry air outside, and the nasty, mildewy air inside my house. This winter needs to finish up. I need some Vitamin D therapy!

So anyways... going to my volunteer job was the only highlight of the week for me. I got to be with Dr. Dozer, who is one of the favorite dogs around the pet rescue organization I volunteer with. I have no idea why he hasn't been adopted yet... he's been with us for about a year I think! He's a rottweiler mix, 7 years okl, and has hip dysplasia... but he's the sweetest boy ever! I spent almost the entire four hours rubbing his belly, because any time you stop petting him he lifts up his giant head and gives you a look, or he takes his paws and grabs your arm to make you keep petting him. He's a mellow dude. Once there was this small dog who was really nervous and hated being at the adoption shows. The small dog decided Dr. Dozer was a great protector, and she'd always cuddle up next to him, practically trying to get underneath him for safety! 

If you live in the Chicago area and you feel like you want a giant, gentle, loving rottweiler mix in your life, you should email for information. His foster mom says the ideal home would be a home with no other dogs, and children over the age of 12... not because he isn't good with children, but mainly because he is an older dude with hip dysplasia and she doesn't want him subjected to smaller children who might try to climb on him or play rough with him. And he is okay with other dogs... as the small dog I mentioned before discovered... but he's really happiest if he doesn't have to compete with other dogs for attention and affection. 

Okay. So. Other than that, not much going on for me. Maybe next week will be more exciting! 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Let It Snow... I Guess

This week I worked every single day as a substitute, which I suppose is a good thing. The hard thing was that I was working as a "floater," which can mean anything from having one job in the morning and one in the afternoon, to "floating" through different classrooms each day. One of the days, I floated through three classrooms in the morning before ending up subbing as a special ed aide for the rest of the day. One day, I worked in the same classroom (the same special ed room I subbed in twice last week, actually) all day long. The other three days, I sort of went frantically from one room to the next. This meant getting a list and going into a classroom where the teacher was scheduled to be at a meeting, and pretty much literally stepping in in the middle of a lesson. I had to do thing such as teach a lesson on fractions to a group of fifth graders in a special ed class, whom I had no idea whether they could even talk, let alone whether they were comprehending a thing I was saying. At the end of every day, I was exhausted. It seemed like the week dragged on forever and ever and ever! When Friday finally came, I was practically screaming, "TGIF!"

It has also been so cold out that I've barely gone outside at all, except to get to and from my car, and to take the dogs for short little walks that usually end with me carrying one of them home because their feet get too cold and they sit down and stare accusingly at me until I give them a lift.

I knew my family was having a birthday party for two of my little cousins, one who was turning 12 and one who was turning 8, today. But when I heard that the birthday party was going to involve us taking the kids sledding at the park adjacent to the house where the party was taking place, I wasn't so happy. I just didn't want to be outside in the cold! I imagined standing around freezing my proverbial balls off while watching the kids sled.

I was so tired for most of the party, which was actually pretty small for one of our family gatherings... just my four little cousins, their four collective parents, my parents, and my grandparents, were there. All I could think about was curling up on the couch and taking a short nap! After we ate dinner and dessert, and the two birthday kids had opened their presents, it was time to go sledding. I quickly realized that not everyone was going. The kids were excited to go, of course, but my grandparents, my dad, and the parents of two of my cousins, were staying at the house. So it would have been pretty easy for me to just stay back. But I decided to go.
Here's me grouchily getting ready to go sledding.  You can
actually kind of see how tired and puffy my eyes are... although
they are mostly hidden by my hat!
And it ended up being so much fun! The sled hill was the perfect size because it was big enough to be fun, but small enough that my cousins could actually walk back up the hill themselves (although I did tow up the four-year-old a few times.) The two older kids go sledding all the time at that hill with their parents, so they are pros. The two younger ones' parents are not very active, and so I am not sure they had ever gone sledding at all, but they loved it! And I got to sled too! For two hours I flew down the little hill on sleds, tubes and saucers, and watched my little cousins have fun as well. My mom and my aunt and uncle sledded too.

I was sad when it was time to leave! As we were walking back, I noticed that I wasn't cold at all, despite having rolled off my sled once to avoid crashing into my mom and having experienced snow going up my backside. And my mood was so much better, too! I was energetic and happy! Too bad we didn't go sledding before the rest of the party!

I think this day taught me a lesson... I need to force myself to go out and get fresh air and be active, even when I feel exhausted. Because the fresh air and activity can actually be the anecdote to the exhaustion and gloominess! I know there is a theory that fresh air and exercise can actually cure depression, anxiety and ADHD. I don't believe that completely. However, I think it can definitely help ease the symptoms, or at least bring some short-term relief!

I got my tax refund back today (I filed early... pretty impressive for an ADHDer, huh!) and I am going to use some of it to pay for a monthly gym membership (nothing fancy, just the little hole-in-the-wall place near my house) and get some exercise at least two or three times a week. When it gets warm out, maybe I will start running again. And I am going to look for more chances to get out and do stuff, instead of convincing myself that I am too tired or listless to do them!

OK. That is all for today.

I also climbed a snow mountain in front of my grandparents' house.
I was feeling pretty energetic at that point. But then I fell asleep in the
car on the way home! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Swap Reveal

I posted a few weeks ago that I was signing up for another swap through Chaotic Goddess Swaps. I signed up for the Book Swap, in which another blogger and I sent each other three books. The rules were to send the other person one book from their book wish list that they provided, one book that you've read and loved, and one book that you've never read but would like to.

I was paired up with She from She Became A Butterfly. The other day, I got my books in the mail! Swaps are so much fun, because you get to look forward to a fun package. Here is what She sent me.

The book from my wish list is The Death Of Bees, by Lisa O'Donnell. I think I heard about this one from another blogger, and that is why I added it to my wish list. The story is about two young girls who have to survive on their own... with some help from a neighbor... when their parents mysteriously "disappear.:"

The book that She has already read and enjoyed is Regina's Book, by Regina Stokke. This one promises to be a tear jerkers! Regina was a teenager who began blogging when she was diagnosed with leukemia. She ultimately did not survive, but she left behind her blog and other writings, which were published in this book. I know I'm going to be sad when I finish this one!
Finally, the book that neither She nor I have read yet is Love You More, by Lisa Gardner. In an act of self defense, a female state trooper shoots her abusive husband and kills him. Somehow in the process, their six-year-old daughter goes missing. The book is about a detective's search for the little girl. 

I can't wait to start reading! I haven't had a lot of time lately because I've been working so much (which I guess is a good thing... I subbed every day this week) but maybe over the weekend and next week I'll have some time. 

She also sent me a pencil bag, a pair of earrings, and some sparkly nail polish. Thanks, She! 

If you want to see all the other swap participants' reveal posts, click here. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Internal Monologue

It is no secret to this blog that I struggle with depression and anxiety. Some days are worse than others, of course. As of late I have been feeling a lot of anxiety over my decision to move out west in the near future. It is like a constant tug-of-war in my brain, with one tugger telling me how great it will be, and one tugger telling me how scary it will be. 

It is so strange that when I was younger I used to be so fearless. I lived on the streets as a teenager and was never homesick. I was fiercely independent. I made a lot of friends, soon good and some who turned out to be assholes, but I was primarily on my own through all of it. Months and months would go by without my seeing or speaking to my parents, even though I was usually in the same metropolitan area as them. This was mostly before cell phones... at least, before cell phones were accessible to everyone... so the only way my parents had to get in touch with me was to page me, and wait for me to go to a payphone and call them back. Except half the time I had lost my pager somewhere! So it is weird that, as of late, the thought of leaving "home" is so scary and sad to me. 

I've mentioned before that I've moved in and out of here multiple times. The last time I lived on my own was a few years ago, when I lived with some people I vaguely refer to as my roommates now. Someday I will have to tell you that complicated story. The short version is, my best friend at the time asked me to babysit her kids several days a week, as a job. It worked out well because I could watch them on the days that I wasn't in school. They would often ask me to stay for dinner and then later ask me to watch their kids for the evening so they could go out, so I would frequently spend the night, more and more often as they grew to expect me to stay and watch the kids. To help me earn a little more money, the dad arranged for me to also babysit the child of one of his friends, and since that was going to be every single day, I ended up living there full time, at one point even having my own bedroom for a while. The family was having trouble making ends meet and were no longer able to pay me, but I was still living there full time while watching the children during the week and also frequently on weekends. At the time I considered them to be like a family to me, but now looking back it seems like I was more of some sort of indentured nanny. But I digress...

Anyways during that three years or so, I rarely saw my parents or other family members at all... I was too busy caring for three young children! I even spent some of the holidays with their family instead of mine. As things got harder in the house I was living at, I started coming home to my parents' house every few weekends, for a break. And eventually I moved back in completely, as things got complicated at the other house and I just couldn't stand to be there anymore. At the time, I was about to start student teaching, and it seemed like I was going to need a quieter and more stable place to stay so I could focus. 

I went through a brief period of time where I got really nervous and sad when my parents went out of town... I'd have panic attacks and everything. But then I got back on my meds, and that disappeared. 

Still, in a way it is like I stopped living when I moved away from my friends' house. For the three years that I lived there, those kids were my life! I used to spend the majority of my free time planning activities and outings for them. We used to go somewhere just about every single day... to the nature center, the library, museums, parks, wherever. I was able to sniff out every free or cheap activity available to kids, especially in the summer. They got to see magic shows and bubble shows, have animal encounters, take free classes at the library, etc. We'd do art projects and science experiments at home. 

Since moving back here to my parents' house, it is like being a different person. I used to almost be a parental figure. Now I'm just a lump. My whole life consists of the Internet, and watching TV with my parents in the evenings. If I go to Wal-Mart with my mom on a Saturday, it is the highlight of my weekend! It was better during student teaching and at my summer teaching job, because I had a lot of things to plan for and think about. But subbing doesn't carry much responsibility outside of the school day. And I know that is no way to live. But for someone with anxiety, it is a very safe way to live. 

So on one hand I am desperate to move forward with my life. I want to get my own place, make friends, and eventually become an actual parent instead of just a cheap imitation. Moving to Oregon would help me to do all that. And I'd be able to see Auntie M and Uncle J on a regular basis, and be within driving distance to see Bro, Sunny and Squeak. 

But on the other hand, when I try to picture life without my parents at least being near by... I start feeling panicky. What would I do if I could not see them every day? If my mom and I couldn't go on spontaneous trips to Mariano's, or if my dad and I couldn't watch Family Guy and go to Denny's? 

The tricky thing is, even if I were to stay here in Illinois forever and always, I would not want to live in the same house with them forever. I do want to be back on my own with my own things. I want to get a cat, and I can't get one here. And if I lived near by, but not in the same house with, my parents, we probably wouldn't do that spontaneous stuff anyways. 

I tell myself I would be able to come back and visit frequently. Maybe even every six weeks or so! I know airline tickets are expensive, but I've started racking up frequent flier miles on a survey taking site, and I could keep my eyes open for low airfare prices, and save up my money. 

I really don't know what I'm scared of. I like the idea of living in my own place, but I hate the idea of coming home every day and being alone. 

And then there is Trixie... she will stay with my parents when Lily and I go to Oregon. Leaving Trixie will be the hardest part of all. Because I can't email or Skype with her. I mean I guess I could, but she'd have difficulty understanding it. She already gets really bad separation anxiety. Every time my parents go out of town, she skulks around like she's been whipped. Even after Bro and Sunny and Squeak were here for a week and left, Trixie acted like half of her family had been ripped out of her arms... which was weird because she's never actually lived with them, yet she just sensed that they belong to her. And it will be hard to take Trixie and Lily away from each other. Lily has never been an only dog before. I don't know what she'd do if she had to stay home alone in a new place without Trixie to babysit her!

It is so hard because I want to go to Oregon so bad... I know things will be better for me there... but at the same time, I don't actually want to leave home! 

I wish I was as brave and tough as I was when I was a teenager.