Adaptations

(If you are wondering how my home renovation is going, I will admit it’s stalled. For just a moment. Not because I lack the energy, even thought that is true. It’s because every time I fix something, it reveals another problem. We’re pausing so that our budget can rebuild before I rebuild our walls. But I know this house like a colonoscopy now. So there’s that, anyway, that’s not why I am here.)

No, I wanted to talk about adaptation.

Because I love adaptation.

This is actually a revolutionary thing for me to say. Because every time I wrote an adaptation for the stage, which I have done a lot in the last dozen years or so… I have loved it. Every minute of it. Taking something and transforming it for the stage, or for children, for a completely different audience than it was originally intended for– whatever. It creates a layered kind of art, a collage that is built upon other references and interpretations. I freaking love it.

But I haven’t been out about that love. Because every time that I write an adaptation, some well meaning person says, “Why don’t you write something original?”

And I get crushed. Just a little bit. Because what I heard is, “Why aren’t you original?” Which if you know what it’s like to be autistic, what it is to mirror, you are sensitive to the ideas of honesty and originality. Wanting to both fit in and pathologically trying to not “copy” anyone else.

I had a dear friend who would go through phases of her favorite colors. And so I would make sure NOT to wear those colors when she was going through those phases. I went to buy a plum colored couch with another one of our friends and I paused, horrified that this was the only color available.

My other friend asked, “I thought you liked this color. What’s the problem?”

And I whispered, “That’s her color. I can’t have it.”

My other friend looked at me and rightly called it. She said, “That’s fucked up.”

It wasn’t that my dear friend would have denied me a plum colored IKEA couch, I just had retained such a fear of revealing my mirroring habits that I had developed a kind of shorthand. Don’t take what isn’t yours, my mind said.

It was fucked up. Because plum is beautiful. And purple belongs to everyone. It was both ridiculous and harrowing for me.

But the truth is… I love to share. I love fangirling and finding others to fan out with. I love the collective conscious of a culture that can make connections through references and shared history.

My husband and I are so deep into reference humor that we use cadence as a form of reference. We change the words, but by the cadence we know exactly what the other is referring to. It might be a little more complicated than the usual kind of communication, but we understand each other. (Yes, we are that one Star Trek episode that is basically about echolalia and the evolution of language.)

What is bringing this up? I am writing a steamy erotic romance adaptation of Little Women. Yes, the most precious of all female coming of age stories. I’m making sure they get laid, and laid well. With wild themes like mental illness, queer sensibilities, and lots of kinky sex. People are gonna want to burn me. But I am loving it. Because as Julie Andrews said, “Does Mary Poppins have orgasms? You bet she does.”

Neurodivergent peoples are forced to adapt to a typical society everyday. I might as well enjoy the adaptations that make me happy.

Oh, and Beth lives.

Take that.

Ambition + Disability

I once told my mother that I just didn’t have her ambitions. It was an explanation of why I kept failing and then running away. Sometimes just avoiding things entirely. The reality is that I have absurd ambitions, they usually get me in to trouble. If I was satisfied with things that are simply good enough, I could be more respectably successful.

Sometimes, it reminds me of Charles Baxter’s, Saul and Patsy. An author recommended by my favorite Uncle, who is also a writer and deals with physical disabilities that I will never understand. Anyway, Saul is constantly jealous of a seemingly ignorant couple that “don’t know” that they aren’t successful and seem so happy anyway. I don’t remember enough of the rest, I need to re-read it, it’s a great book. That part stuck with me though. That and the fact that Patsy created a dance that was beautiful because of its lack of movement. That dichotomy of stillness that is actually full of energy-

That’s me.

That’s why it stuck with me.

Jealous of people that are happy with good enough. Still, because my disabilities make it so difficult to act, but the madness within is an unbearable storm of energy, that sees so much, and wants, wants, wants, so much.

Not greed. Accomplishment. Creativity. Longing.

Maybe respectability too.

Everyone wants to be accepted. And if you cannot be accepted because you are an “other” like so many of us that deal with the symptoms of mental health or physical issues, or are perhaps, just different, you have to do it through accomplishment.

You have to do something incredible to be respected as a handicapped person. It’s so wrong, but that is how it is. Autistic people are only admired when they have a “special talent.” (Same with people of color, I am not borrowing trouble.) And though that is the more obviously autistic that I am referring to, I can tell you that I am pretty obvious when I burn out, talking to myself and rocking back and forth, lashing out. Which seems to be more and more lately.

And I guarantee you my apraxic son will be seen as “obviously” autistic, no matter how smart he is. And he is. He is so smart. Even at four. His therapists used to call him a “bamboozler” because he would quickly work the system to get what he wanted, even if it wasn’t the “right” thing. Like a trapped octopus, breaking out of his cage because he refuses to stay put. Not when there are things that he wants.

Society, which could be read as “expectation”, “normal”, and “respectability” caged me long ago, that and my crippling anxiety of rejection. So, I’ve gone back and forth between stillness and mind-numbing mania- creating, creating, creating.

And none of it up to my ambitious, high standards, just a compulsion to release that energy. That need.

Do you know that feeling? I know that you must, some of you. There is too much out there that echoes that feeling, empathizing, showing that we know. We know what’s that like. Songs, books, plays, art, it all knows, it shows that madness. Non-stop, Never Enough. Written, sung, created by people like me, who pushed past their crippling anxiety long enough to let what they created out into the world. To be loved, to be hated, to be ignored- knowing that you would feel each negative sting like a phantom limb, and the positive would never, never be enough.

How? How did they do it? Is it just that one part gets stronger than the other. Or can you transfer that numbness to your response to the world?

I wish I was an octopus.

Racing While Stuck

How is it possible to have both a racing mind and be completely shutdown at the same time?

I have so much going on that I am starting to trip over my own thoughts and it’s taking over my ability to function.

I am physically tired from all the work that will never cease. So much water damage. So much muscle pain. So much perfectionism and failure to execute to my own standards and knowledge. Great design, poor execution.

Not enough time or attention.

I am losing another person. Right now. I can’t go see him. He’s in organ failure in a hospital on the other side of the country. Quarantined with Covid-19. I stopped visiting him years ago because he was mad at me for never finishing the painting that I promised him. And because he was just so far away. There was no need to run because the distance was already so great. How wide was my comfort zone? The size of Texas, apparently. But he’s alone.

When I think about it I hear the alzheimer’s patient down the hall from my hospital room, constantly calling out, Hello? Hello? Is anyone there? Hello?

I remember when he told me what it was like to be chloroformed. It was when he was a child for a medical procedure. He said it was terrifying. He said he felt everything. He is a redhead turned blonde by the sun. From years of working outdoors. Redheads do have trouble with anesthesia. Maybe it was just a lie. A joke. A prank.

He made lots of jokes.

He had this husky laugh that always made me want to be near him. He was so funny. Funny to a child at least. Adventurous and wild. I don’t know if he laughs anymore. I don’t even know if he was even funny. I just remember wanting him to like me. Because of that hissing, husky laugh.

Of course the truth is I lost him long ago. When I stopped visiting. When I couldn’t talk. Now I can’t go. I can’t go say goodbye. No one can.

The world is racing and frozen all at the same time. Like a deer blinded by the headlights of a car. It’s just its nature, the deer. It’s not stupid or frightened. It just can’t see. There is too much light. It feels too much. And so it does not save itself. Because it is drowning in that light.

I am not drowning. I’m not even at risk of drowning. I have too much to live for, too many projects to finish. I’m just stuck. Struck by how much I feel, how loud it is. There’s too much. Too much. Too much.

I can hear it. The conflict. It’s the buzz of anger and cicadas mixed together in the confusion of so much fear and hate. What can you do in the face of so much hate?

A man in the hardware store called me a bitch for “butting in” after he cursed at a cashier. He tried to use the ADA against her. Not very well. And honestly, it was just my own disability giving me the compulsion to correct him, to protect her.

He looked at me with so much anger, there were tears in his eyes. He was watery-eyed with hate and just brimming with violence. I thought he was going to hurt me. I could see the want to hurt me. He wanted to hurt me for speaking, for knowing something that he didn’t. For daring to speak against such virulent behavior. It made me so sad that I cried as I bagged my supplies.

I didn’t need a handkerchief. I was wearing a mask. I told him he should be ashamed of himself. But there is no shame anymore. For good, and for bad. There is no truth, so there is no shame. Just so much shouting, hissing, and spitting. And it travels so much farther than 6 feet’s worth of distance.

Sometimes I put perfume in my masks so I can completely block my senses. Like they did in the first plague, a pocket full of posies. I wear my dark glasses, I put on headphones, smell the citrus scent, and pretend that I can’t feel it.

But I do.

Medication helps.

But this latest. This loss that is happening, that already happened, that will keep happening. The fear I have for his fear.

I just don’t want him to be alone.

How can so many people die alone and yet we still continue to be so petty and vicious?

The man in the store reminded me of him.

Under Construction

Beautiful internet, I’m going to disappear for a bit… but in the interest of stability and reassurance I will explain.

Last week, some hidden water damage in my house… made me fall through my bedroom wall.

I am not kidding. I was inside my wall.

So, the chaos of the world has officially invaded my home. Not just a little bit. Not some snakebite vibe. Nope. The wall has been breached, literally.

And in true neurodiverse fashion, I’m no longer fretful. Because in a real emergency, we do what we must. Or at least, that’s my experience.

Anyway, it’s given me the push to knock down what’s in my way, metaphorically and literally, to finish all these projects and make safe the city.

Ahem, I mean my house. Make my house safe and comfortable.

It will be my oasis again. And once I’m done, I’ll be back.

With pictures.

The List goes on

Do you remember when you were a school child and the teacher would say, find a place to stop, then put your pencils down…

I really want to put my pencil down. I want to stop. But my most recent episode had me starting so many projects…. (My son also stole my pencil. Not my metaphorical pencil. The literal pencil I was just using to try and prioritize my projects with… yet… another list.)

And that visual clutter stress that I always have is just getting worse and worse because of the unfinished projects. And my son’s obsession with threaded metal textures aka screws and tools, well, it’s another added stress. (The pencil- it had metal attaching the eraser to the wood… You can bet the texture on that was lovely… I hope it was. I hope I find it again… It was a good pencil.)

He is a bit of a crow when it comes to collecting textures and shiny things. So, tools and screws, keep getting absconded with, sometimes in the middle of a project. Hence the rampant distractions. And my frustration.

Not at him. He got his crow’s attention for distraction from me. I’m really frustrated at the inability to move on from this episode…. Frustrated from this madness…

Historically, this will probably be a time of madness for a lot of people. I’m alive. My family is alive, so I am not claiming my madness over the grief of others. The financial burdens and pain that many others are just trying to survive at this time.

And there is good happening too… a painful, but necessary good. After all, the civil rights era was a time of madness, but without it… well, this isn’t the place to talk about that good though, in my To Do list, as a side note to my privileged life …

I want to stop and move on to other things.

But I can’t leave all these projects undone. It’s like my mind is still unraveling because I have not completed them. I cannot rest because I have not been able to create any kind of normal.

Because normal stopped months ago.

So I tried to tear abnormal apart and make something new, literally tore my house apart in places. But now, it’s hard to put it all back together again.

I’ve had a few injuries and illnesses as well, nothing too serious. Nothing like my unverified brush with the coronavirus. (Which has been cropping back up in the form of coughs and skin rashes for weeks now. Leaving me to wonder if this is something new or will I never really heal?)

My son also hit me in the head with his swing during the middle of a speech therapy tele-health session, while I was discussing programming his talker with his therapist- BAM right in the forehead. I’d like to think that it was an accident. But he gets very jealous of my attention. It wouldn’t be beyond him to literally kamikaze into the conversation.

This is the swing, you recall. Right in the forehead- BAM.

Despite this injury, I still managed to put up his new swing outside:

This one is a bit bigger for tandem swinging and lazy days.

I have hope. I have accomplished a lot, even with my little crow companion. I’ve struck many projects off this list. Some halfway, some almost done, very few complete.

Even with the chain of disaster to disaster, or just the feeling of uncontrollable chaos, I do think that we will come out of this ok. I hope that we will. I don’t want to tempt fate. So many people are so careless with their person, no mask, touching their faces, touching everything.

And I spend so much time in stores, waiting to pick up my son from his half day. No time for acting on my list, only waiting. Waiting with people who think this is over. Who think their opinion is more important than the lives of others. Who, so easily, easily go on about their lives.

And so, for me, the list goes on. As the abnormal becomes the new normal, and we all wait for “old normal” to return.

Either way, I still have a hole in my ceiling. But I’m working on it.

How Do You Talk to The Mob?

I’ve been watching Douglas, no not watching, studying Douglas by Hannah Gadsby.

If you’ve read this blog you know that I am a fan of the comedian Hannah Gadsby.

Fan is not even a really good word. She is totally my hero, and my face of representation in media. Seriously, add long hair, a bit more femininity, some pansexual man loving, and that is me. Autistic, writer, woman, advocate; lover of puns, meta jokes, and art history.

The one thing I don’t really have of Hannah’s is her courage.

She’s so damn brave.

Because she takes all of that Autistic writer, advocate, and lover of puns, meta jokes, and art history, and performs. Performs globally. And opens herself up to the mob. How does she do it? How does she talk so directly to the mob?

Not like “the Sopranos” mob, or mafia, but like, the literal, mob- in its most classic definition. The majority. Or you know… people…. Today they are most represented by the angry internet bees and trolls that release their rage through keyboard mania and vitriol, screaming into what they see as the void, but in actuality, is a lot of impressionable people. And I’m not just talking about the people that disagree with me. There are people that agree with me, with my exact opinions and politics, that I don’t like to listen to either, because they give me conflict anxiety with their passion fueled, tone deaf, tirades.

I don’t like conflict. I also don’t like letting people be wrong. I’ve talked about this before.

So, anyway, when I was on Youtube a while back, and I was watching an old Hannah Gadsby routine, and I commented, “She’s my hero.”

Cause you know it’s true. And in case she ever watches her old youtube videos, I wanted her to know. I want everyone who also sees her as a hero to know that I am with them. That they are not alone.

And then, like months later, some man was like, “You’re gonna have to get a new hero. She’s not funny.”

And I had a puffer fish moment. If you’ve seen Douglas or have any autistic or sensitive qualities you will understand that. It was impotent rage.

I wasted a full day trying to draft a response. Finally, I just went with the truth and said, “That’s a really weird comment. She’s my hero. Why do you have a say in my hero, stranger?”

And you wonder why I took a full day for that? Because I will bend over backwards trying to understand the perspective of the other person in a conflict. And I was trying to think of what she had done that I shouldn’t admire her for. And then I remembered. That is just some dude on the internet who is smarting from being the butt of a joke. Yeah, no one likes being the butt of a joke, and I can understand that. But Hannah never makes a joke without some truth in it. So, like she says, she’s punching up. Some people just won’t invest their hurt feeling into growth…

So they just point and yell, “Not funny!”

(Yes, that was a reference to John Mulaney, another funny fucker.)

But of course, bending over backwards to understand that man, pointing at Hannah Gadsby, and because of my comment, also pointing at me by association, and triggering my conflict anxiety— I tried to put myself in his shoes and see if there was any comedy or comedian that smarted my feelings but maybe had some truth in it?

The only one I could think of… might be Dave Chapelle? Because he has offended me before. I’ve frowned at a Netflix special and muttered, “I don’t like that.” But he has never stopped being both funny and smart as hell. I can grow from that. I can take myself less seriously.

Like his bit on the the “Alphabet People” which of course meant, LGBT. On the face of it, it was offensive to be called an alphabet person. But the bit was insightful and hilarious.

I’ve digressed a bit, but my original question is, how do you deal with the mob? So quick to “cancel,” to “puffer fish,” if you will. So full of impotent rage? How do you perform for that without having a nervous breakdown? Because I want to do something on youtube or maybe write another play… I want to do something important and thought provoking, but I don’t want to deal with… all… that…

Dave Chapelle technically did have a nervous breakdown. Do you remember that? At the height of his fame, he quit, went to Africa, and smoked a lot more weed. Pretty sure he is smoking weed in most of his specials lately. Which I think… is actually fucking brilliant. I used to use benzos for this purpose (klonopin or xanax)… But after this most recent bipolar episode, I might have to add something less mood altering. Amaretto sours? Maybe weed? Some gaba-inducing supplement? There is always a line at our local weed dispensary and lines/unknown protocol gives me anxiety. So I, ironically, have been too anxious to visit this location to get weed for my anxiety. I think that means that only one of those Dave Chapelle breakdown options will work for me. And what country of origin would I be able to disappear to… because Germany isn’t really known for its warmth?… Joke. I’m sure modern day Germany is absolutely warm and fuzzy, despite its Nazi past. America can’t judge anyone on its Nazi population anyway.

Hannah Gadsby says she inoculates herself by snacking on the hate. And while that is funny, I am not sure that will work for me. But then again… it might be another way that I am like my hero, Hannah. Because the first conflict about an issue that I am apprehensive about it always the worst, I have a meltdown and I deal. And then the next, is not so bad. So maybe that is just a bad vaccine reaction that I have to deal with.

I think, I just have to be brave.

But maybe I’ll brave the line at the dispensary first.

Too Sensitive

I don’t mean emotionally, or even sensory-wise… I am also very sensitive to medications.

Because of the additional stresses the past few weeks I had been adding a benzodiazepine to my daily meds. I mentioned it a few posts ago. But like an SSRI that I had been on before, the mood altering medication tipped just one bit too far, and triggered a Bipolar episode.

I’m dealing with it now. Weaning myself off the benzos, and will only use them in case of emergency panic attacks again (which to be fair, had been daily.)

I’m embarrassed to have this happen again. To look around at the unfinished projects, the literal hole in the ceiling and know that it wasn’t just ADHD, that I had another big episode, which I hadn’t had in months. That the skin crawling fear and irritability that had accompanied my productivity wasn’t just environmental.

That I had spent too much money again. Something that gives my husband so much stress. I managed to take back a lot of those items. And I can feel some semblance of order being restored to my mind as I become aware.

But it makes you raw, that awareness. Knowing that you lost control even for a little bit.

And as I said to my mother, no one was hurt. I didn’t lose my temper with my son or husband. I didn’t do anything truly reckless other than buy a pressure washer and rip all the siding off my porch. I didn’t knock down a wall, or drive my car into one.

But still, I feel foolish. There are things you can’t help when you are mentally ill. But then others can’t help but find you unreliable, nonetheless. It does damage to your credit. (Sometimes literally, especially with shopping.)

That’s why there is a stigma. Because no one wants to be seen as anything but in control.

So I don’t know if I am ruining my reputation by being honest, or breaking down the stigma…

I hope the latter.

The List

If you haven’t noticed from the tone of the last few posts the To Do List has gotten out of control. Which is ironic because I started all these DIY projects to regain some control in this out of control world. Mostly, I’ve just got sore bones and aching joints. (And some pretty good plumbing and electrical experience, on the positive side.)

So, as my witnesses, I am gonna post the rest of my To Do List, here, and now. Every step, well almost every step. Some things can be assumed. And with my ADHD in check, I’m gonna try and stick to this list. Just, this, list.

As always, no particular order, other than my wild, wild brain.

  • Organize books and art on living room/office book shelves.
  • Figure out lighting situation on bookshelves, either a task light that I mount on the wall and find a way to do something interesting with the cord, either fish it through the wall or artfully attach it to the shelving bracing… Or battery operated puck lights that I originally bought for this purpose but could also be useful for light-tweaking in photography? I have the materials for both, so it’s technically just a matter of playing with it and deciding which I like better, which is usually the case with lighting.
  • Hang hidden rod for light diffusing curtain, for filming my face. (I’m 35, but I think my health issues have prematurely aged me, just a bit, so I need soft lights.) The curtain itself is on separate rod that I will keep somewhere else, but the rod attached to the wall swings outward when I need it. Normally, it will be hidden in my regular living room curtains.
  • Mount LED flood lights for filming on wall above monitor. Same thing as above with the cords. I saw some cool things with cord wrapping once, maybe I’ll look that up again?
I know how to do this, but the time? So much time.
  • Hang bulletin board, and possibly, new letter board? I was romanced by a pretty green colored letter board at Target. I technically already have a little letter board. I shouldn’t have bought it. So, I will probably take it back… Maybe this should be return letter board. They’re a little passe’ now, anyway, right? Right.
Like this only sap green. The sentiment is also true. I have a smaller one that is black velvet that still says “Merry X-Mas” It’s ironic now, until November when it’s seasonal.
  • Look into how to properly press green screen and storage solutions, will probably store in the same place I store the diffuser curtain, which means I need to reorganize the front closet? Also, need to dig out the large plastic wrap for keeping it clean that I used in the move two years ago? Not sure… but you can see how one thing leads to another.
  • Finish organizing and securing tools and DIY materials. My son keeps stealing my nails and screws. Tools too. He permanently has taken over a pair of rusty channel lock pliers, rusty because he hid them in his paddling pool for days.

Time out. He is literally destroying a set of plastic drawers with painters tape over his mouth. Right now, as I type this. He put the painter’s tape there. Not me. He likes the feel of the adhesive pulling off his lips. Also, he wanted to make sure the drawers were the same size and shape and then dumped them separate from the frame. So, that’s something else I need to clean up. Child. Is. Killing me. But, oh, so, cute. It really protects him from my OCD wrath. That, and his interesting little mind that has the make sure the drawers are the same size. I love that about him. I don’t want to stifle it just so I have one less thing to do.

  • Organize cords for computer, lighting, and charging, batteries, Ipad, phone, and AAC device for my bubba.
  • Organize canvas and art supplies again, for filming and for protections from cutie pie. He’s been stealing my art markers, over, and over again.
  • Find new spot for NSA listening device, I mean, Alexa. Maybe up with task light on the book shelf, so I can cover all the cords together? Then cover the cord cover with the same wallpaper I have on the wall. That sounded like a tongue twister but I think that’s the answer. So, that means, remove cord cover from television where it is less needed- eventually I will replace that cord cover with screen track I am using on the porch, because it is relatively the same thing. Or use the screen track for the shelves instead? Remove a step? Or maybe do something cool and design like? Talk about time.
Something like this? But that’s in the “eventual” to-do list.
  • Remove empty shelf bracing system in the garage and office and move them to the laundry room to replace old falling apart shelving system. (Yes, I could buy a new shelving system, but that wouldn’t be very thoughtful to my husbands money anxiety. More work, less money. I might need to buy new shelves though?) Maybe this goes in the “eventual” to do list too. Oh, and replace it with pegboard.
  • Finish superficial renovation of the full bathroom, meaning put up ikea shelves and some other wood details. I was actually inspired by this brand of organic bath soaps, Raw Sugar. Nothing too fancy, another Target buy, it’s a little bougie actually, but I like the design.
  • Finish light in the kitchen, including cutting out drywall piece to fix old and new junction boxes, paint 2’x2′ piece of plywood that I’m using as a base to new light fixture, cut moulding to go around ply, which is actually harder than it looks if you are used to cutting frames for art and theatre projects. Cut out hole in plywood for electrical. Fix plywood to the ceiling, and then finally mount light fixture. Oh and yeah, fix drywall. That could have been its own list.
  • Re-organize kitchen for kid-proofing and more efficiency.
  • Put away wedding china that I found in garage. As well as vases and other breakables.
  • Put broken Christmas tree that was technically a hand me down but sentimental and so I don’t want to get rid of it, into attic. This may require hoisting and grunting of some kind.
  • Replace internal workings in half bath toilet. It’s not flushing with any kind of certitude at the moment.
  • Finish electrical.
  • Finish chandelier planter project.
  • Finish insulated garden hose mount.
  • Find, aluminum cutters to finish kitchen lighting project. Suspect the boy.
  • Finish the screens.
  • Finish canvas curtains for porch.
  • Finish corrugated metal and plastic wall on porch.
  • Finish bedroom light project with diffuser fabric and wood trim.
  • Find a way to temporarily mount table top easel on desk that can come off easily. I might just make a mini sandbag like I would use in the theatre?
  • Redesign Bubba’s bedroom to make it more swing and sensory friendly. More rugs on walls for texture and protection.
He loves his swing. The swing is not such a big fan of the walls. Or his curtains.
  • On my eventual list, is replacing the kitchen floor, finishing the screen painting projects, and re-doing my own bedroom to fit a king size bed to deal with our growing boy and his love of sleeping horizontally in his parents bed. Oh, and this cool trick I saw for tufting with washers and screws, that my kid will LOVE. Sensory dream.

You may have noticed that a lot of these start with the word “finish.” That’s the problem with ADHD and bipolar. There is a lot of starting, and then jumping to the next thing before the last one is over. BUT I have still accomplished a lot. In trying to remain positive, here is the list of the things I have FINISHED:

  • Assembled boom arms on my desk for filming VLOG, including shock mount and camera stand modification.
  • replaced pipes and drain on bathroom sink
  • replaced and modified cool new handles on cabinets under sink.
  • spray painted frame on old mirror.
  • As you know from the last post, I finished switching over the dining room light.
  • Put away clean laundry. There was a lot of it.
  • Cleaned some more laundry, there is still a lot of it.
  • Fixed kitchen plumbing, garbage disposal, and internal frost proof garden silcock. (That sounds dirty.)

And then of course, the one thing that never ends. Basic clean up.

So, uh, now that I’ve rest my weary bones to write this. I got to get to work. Wish me luck.

Attic Ladders, Distraction, and Obsession

Today has been a trying day. I had some kind of health episode in Target this morning. I think it might have been low blood sugar or dehydration. I got a bottle of water, some popcorn chips and then acted like the choosiest person in the patio department ever. Earnestly, it made me want to get this awesome chair for my porch. But I think it might make John lose his mind if I brought home a piece of furniture.

(My son is back at school, in this strange new isolation-half-day coronavirus-protocol way. It involves his teachers in full PPE and avoiding all his classmates. The point is I spend a lot of time in Target and other stores while waiting for his half day to be done because I don’t have enough time to go home. We live about three towns away from his school.)

And then when we got home. I decided that I was going to go up into the attic to fix the electrical work. Only… I’ve never been up in our attic. It scares the bejeebus out of me. It didn’t help that when I peaked in, there was enough rat poison to take out the entire cast of Ratatouille.

It was also about six thousand degrees.

And then there was blown insulation everywhere so I couldn’t even figure out where to step if I wanted to…

So I went back down the original 1960’s ladder, when a size 10 was like a modern day size 4, which creaked very rudely. Like an accusation of some kind. Like it knows about the M&M’s I’ve been getting at Target. Whatever ladder. Stop judging me.

And now, I am thinking I am gonna have to enlarge the escape hatch in my kitchen to fix the electric from underneath so that I don’t kill myself falling through the ceiling. Which means an even larger project.

UHHHHgggggg…..

These projects with all their experience and obstacles, can be a form of madness from time to time. And it really points out the difference, at least for me, in ADHD distraction vs. Autism obsession.

Autism obsession is more about passion, and engrossing yourself.

Distraction is a heightened kind madness that causes you to jump from project to project.

Both can be really wonderful and exhausting at the same time. Both can cause you problems as well as accomplishments.

Today, after weeks of heightened distraction due to stress, I feel like that creaky attic ladder…

barely hanging on.

One down, 93 to go

Ok, I don’t know if it’s actually 93 projects left to go, but that’s what it feels like in my ADHD brain. Granted, it always feels like I have that many ideas or plans at the same time. It’s more or less, give or take… I don’t know, it’s a lot.

BUT one project is done.

I replaced my dining room light fixture and even though the replacement looks maybe too simple, it’s actually perfect. It’s energy efficient, with daylight tone, and cost effective. I’m pretty thrilled. I’ve always wanted to have solar tube lighting, which is basically a porthole from your roof. This is the closest I can get.

Here’s a Before and After- Cool and geometric but too dim to bright and simple. I think it makes for sense for a dining room that is also an art studio and a toy room.

Now like I said there are about 93 to go. I’m setting up my living room/office for my studio, mounting new lighting, organizing toys and clean laundry. I’ve done little bits of every project, including some outside projects because my buddy wanted to go outside… despite the heat and pollen.

How badass are those adorable hot pink shoes?

I’m working on my kitchen light as well. Which after I managed to wrestle first the ugliest fluorescent light, then the most enormous 1970’s recessed light box, I now have an escape hatch into my attic from my kitchen.

Yep, that’s the attic.

Why didn’t I finish the light project right away, you ask? Because our AC broke! So that derailed THAT project. But tomorrow, I will be going up into the attic to replace the junction box and repair the ceiling, then I will be FINALLY replacing the light.

Until then, the escape hatch is pretty cool, right?

List of Projects

Last post I told you that I had too many projects that it was making my head buzz…

But today, it’s giving me more joy than pain. Which is good! But it’s STILL a ton of projects!

Here’s what I got going on this weekend:

-Organizing office and studio equipment

BEFORE- Living Room/ My “office”

-Mount bookcase lighting

-Set up for screen painting project. This is an exciting porch project that I decided to do inspired by the Baltimore window screens. This great folk art tradition in Maryland. But I think I will actually paint something a little more Georgia O’Keefe and a little less Bob Ross. (No matter how much I love him. I love her too.)

Baltimore Window screens

-put away the clean laundry that has been piling up

-organize electronics and DVD’s so that they are out of my bubba’s reach- he has destroyed so, so many blue rays

-organize toys again, still working on the right system where he can find what he wants independently but also can communicate his needs with us at the same time. It’s a trial and error kind of thing.

-set up at-home therapy/school cabinet. My buddy will be going back to school more regularly soon. But, if anything, this pandemic has taught me that I can’t rely on school alone for my son’s education.

-Change lighting fixtures in both dining room and kitchen, including finding a replacement for kitchen light for under ten dollars. My husband’s challenge.

BEFORE Dining Room Light

The Dining Room light flickers in a way that makes me nervous given our recent wiring mishaps on the porch. Also I want a something with daylight equivalent for night painting. There is no before picture of the kitchen light because it was an ugly industrial fluorescent light that I have hated for years. Not picture worthy.

-Finish the porch project- but uhg! It’s so hot and itchy!

Then, really, just basic clean up. There are crumbs everywhere. And Amazon boxes. Not as many boxes as there are crumbs. But that’s still a lot of boxes.

Most of these projects are just me trying to regain some control in an out of control world. But either way. I’m feeling good about it.

Too Many Bees

I have too many thoughts/projects going on at the moment. It’s making my mind feel like an angry bee hive. Or a bee hive under attack by murder hornets. The murder hornets being the very real danger/evil prevalent in this metaphor.

I’m also having a lot of trauma responses to the images that I have been seeing. I am deeply effected by images, I always have been. It’s probably what so often draws me to art and film.

I also have big triggers when it comes to fairness, or more importantly, injustice. I have no delusions that the world was ever fair, but those that benefit from its uneven playing field and call it a square deal. That makes me insane.

Then, to top it off, a far relation, just posted an image of the youngest man to be electrocuted by the state.

It was a 14 year old black boy by the name of George Stinney Jr. I don’t mean that pejoratively. He was a little boy. I’ve since learned he is the subject of a film called “83 days” That’s how long from his arrest, where they permanently separated him from him family, tried him, and then executed him. He was innocent.

This was the sting that did me in for the day. I’m going to try to accomplish some minor things this evening. Laundry maybe. Some dishes. But I feel so minuscule compared to such evil.

No matter what projects I do to my home… no matter what I paint… that evil is out there.


I wanted to post the image that I saw… but I couldn’t do it. If you are curious I am sure George Stinney Jr. execution will get you to images of that murder. I just can’t be apart of it.