Autism and Affection

There is a social media post going around, that I technically don’t want to share because, hopefully, it was written in a bad place. Something a caregiver would like to forget that they had said and done on a very public forum.

Essentially, he or she was musing on the lack of connection and “innate self centered-ness” of autistic people, and that their child would never love them and it was all about “yellow lights, fairy princesses, silly repetitive cartoons, and chewelry.”

Now I understand being tired, but yellow lights, fairy princesses, and silly repetitive cartoons still sounds pretty damn great.

And my beautiful boy is the most affectionate little guy I’ve ever known autistic or not. He finds all the non-verbal ways to show affection and love. He kisses my cheek about fifty times a day. Pets my arm or holds my face to show he misses me or loves me.

I wish I could hear his voice. I wish it everyday. But connection and affection is more than just language. Listen harder, my friend.

I can’t… But I will

I’m having an “I can’t” mental health day which is inconvenient because I have a lot to do. Is it strange to be embarrassed by how much bad luck we’ve been experiencing personally, when there is so much worse going on globally?

Like every tele-therapy session I have for my son, when they ask how things have been going I have to explain-

“I had an allergic reaction that made my hands virtually melt.” Or “There was a small fire in my DIY renovation.” Or “A pipe burst when I was trying to change the garden tap.”

Little did I know when I took this before picture that this tap would blow up my life. And would lead to several other issues.

Or “two of the four appliances in my kitchen are broken and I have to fix them with grit and youtube alone.”


“I’ve been electrocuted twice despite turning off the appropriate breakers. Can’t find my voltage detector, obvs”

That looks safe, right?
I didn’t think so either. Fire in 3…2…1

“Carpenter bees keep attacking my porch, despite the fact that I bought them their own little bee home. I punted one out of the air with my boot and I swear I heard it curse at me in bee language.”

“I keep telling my son that he has to have shoes on in the construction zone, but he keeps ‘losing’ them. Which means he hides them. But I am legit scared that he could get blood poisoning from the dirty sharp nails and jagged discarded siding.”

“I just confiscated a bunch of magnets he was trying to eat. Bubba is inconsolable.”

This was taken before the magnet-gate but I’m pretty sure he was annoyed at me for something else.

“My husband has pronounced a fatwa on the renovation, and has forbidden me from talking about it to protect his own sanity. Understandable, it really is. But also embarrassing. It makes me feel like our This Old House issues are somehow my issues because I want to fix them, not ignore them.”

“I can’t feel my feet. And my joints are so angry at me. And my allergies keep making my lips swell up and sting.”

It’s embarrassing. And embarrassing means something else entirely for me. It means, I get overwhelmed and raw and vulnerable, when all I want to do is a have a safe place for my son to play on our screened in porch- because we don’t have a fence, and he’s been starting to elope into busy streets on our walks. So suddenly, a safe entertaining play area becomes a matter of life and death because I can’t sprint as fast as my four year old.

Serious moment. This could have been the last picture of my son and I. I took it by accident when he was ripping his hand out of mine to run into the street.

I know that it’s gonna be ok. I can already feel my meds kicking in, and taking the edge off that vulnerability. And my small porch fire that I was able to stamp out with my gloves is nothing compared to the fact that Minneapolis is blazing.

It’s gonna be ok. Just for right now… I can’t.

But I will.

This Old House is Killing ME

So, during one of my son’s telehealth speech therapy sessions, we found that he was a lot happier outside in our screened in porch. Of course, I decided to turn it into an outdoor classroom IMMEDIATELY. Because my biggest special interest is my son, like you might imagine.

But our sweet little screened in porch was being held together by vines, hole ridden netting, and rust. So honestly, I’ve been working non-stop for the last four days, and the following things have happened.

In no particular order, because my brain won’t function in any particular order.

-I bought a bee house to pull the carpenter bees away from my porch

-The carpenter bees decided that my paltry little house was insufficient and continued to eat my big one.

-I punted one bee coming at me with my boot. It felt like an angry little shuttlecock.

-While changing the old exposed outlet covers to proper outdoor outlets covers, discovered a wiring problem that resulted in a small fire. Immediately shut off the power.

-No, first screamed obscenities while stamping out said fire with my glove. Then shut off the power. First, then.

-Murdered a garden hose trying to remove it from my old tap.

-Murdered a second garden hose when I neglected to clean off the sediment from the old tap.

-Cleaned off the sediment, and attached my favorite, most fancy hose yet. Turned on the tap to have water gush out of the aluminum siding in several places.

-Removed aluminum siding to fix trillion year old tap and discovered that my house used to be pink (YAY!)

-Decided to remove all the siding in just the screened in porch. Found what was holding it together was spiders, mold, and a wretched smell.

-Cut my hand on a sharp aluminum edge. Used my son’s mickey bandaids, which has caused him to try and steal them from my hand every time he sees my wound.

-Made watercolor style drop cloth curtains to save some money and return some of the lattice I planned to use for privacy. (The new tap and tools for dealing with the siding were busting my budget. It’s apparently a very fancy tap. Also, I’ve bought like three cans of liquid wrench to deal with all the rusted bolts and screws.)

-Fixed storm door that kept crashing open at the slightest breeze and causing my sensory issues to flare.

-Re-listened to the Raven Boys series read by Will Patton. His voice is delicious.

-Digged a drainage ditch in the hardest clay I’ve seen since I lived in Georgia, all to stop wood rot. So not even pretty.

-Hauled rocks from the garage to the porch, for said drainage ditch, thinking of greek mythology characters.

-Bent my machete on a bunch of vines, but felt like a total badass for like two seconds. Used my much less badass pruning knife to take out the rest.

-Dug up old rocks and bricks in my backyard to use in the drainage ditch, hoping I wouldn’t unearth a dead pet or anything. There were some really pretty rocks, I would have considered them tombstone worthy. There was no pet cemetery though.

-Spray painted an old chandelier for a planter.

-Had a waterballoon fight with my son to make him happy.

And now I am currently waiting for the liquid wrench to dissolve the corrosion around a pipe that is stuck, with my water off, trying not to loose my mind.

Instagram, Family, and Special Interest Paintings

I have been staying up WAY too late these nights. Mostly because of my darling son, but also because of my new social media love- instagram. Oh man, is it addicting! But honestly, one of the biggest things that I am really grateful for when it comes to instagram, has very little to do with pretty pictures. Ok, well actually it has a little something to do with it and I will get back to that.

Mostly, I am grateful that it has allowed me to reconnect with my aunt.

This is my Aunt Mary Anne…

Mary Anne or Mae West?

She did this Mae West Tribute show for a long time, and then did some vintage music shows for assisted living facilities where they would appreciate it the most. Which means that she was caring about these older people before they were in danger. Which to me, shows that she was ahead of an all different curve, you know basic humanity and compassion.

She is my father’s sister and the very same aunt I told you about at the beginning of quarantine when I was worried about who I was gonna lose to this sickness. In that post, I also told you about the grandmother that I did lose, shortly after I wrote that, actually. Which meant that when I saw my aunt posting her work outs on instagram it was like I had to see her. I didn’t want to miss my chance with her, like I did with my grandmother. In fact, there is this strange connection that whenever I see her picture, I think “grandma.” Not because she is old enough to be my grandmother, no. It’s just this impetus. It’s like the word “grandma” has become “don’t wait.” Don’t lose her too.

Now, I am not saying my Aunt is going anywhere. She’s incredibly healthy. She does these stair climbing marathons and is doing a virtual one to raise money for Leukemia, her team is called Stair Down Cancer. (Love a good pun.) I just really don’t want to waste anymore time with her.

And seeing her virtually is good enough during this crisis, like I said, despite being ridiculously healthy, she is older than my father. And my uncle, the writer, has MS, and is a quadriplegic. He also has a great blog about their adventures in a handicap accessible RV from a wheelchair perspective, called Wheelie Out There. I think that pun alone shows you how great he is. (Seriously, love a good pun.) But it also shows you that I want them to be safe in this uncertain time.

Picture courtesy of his blog, Wheelie Out There.

Sidenote- When I first met my Uncle John I believe he had a cane. Then a walker. Then a motorized scooter, and now a wheelchair. The interesting thing about that, is that none of my memories of his mobility aides are bad ones. Sure, I didn’t want that for him. But his presence has never been a sad or tragic one. When it was the walker, I remember him showing me the “grassy knoll” in Dallas as we looked over the fence where a “second shooter” might have been. When it was the motorized scooter, I remember him nearly plowing into a hissing goose outside his apartment, a war whoop of glee on the air. What I am saying is, despite his difficulties, which are enough to destroy most people, he has a tremendous spirit. He also skydives. So there’s that.

We’ve made plans to get together once they swing through my little town. And I’m pretty happy about it. Honestly, I’m just hoping I won’t burst into tears when I see them. Undiagnosed autism and other mental health issues can be so isolating. The best thing about getting diagnosed (and the proper medicine) has honestly been “coming out.” It allows you to get over yourself a bit and go after what matters to you. My family will always matter most to me. So it’s like a starting pistol has gone off, and I want to go see everyone. Too bad it happened during a quarantine. Nonetheless, I’m pretty pumped.

I’m also pumped about an idea my aunt gave me over instagram. I was posting some of my old paintings which included this teacup painting I did for an antique shop.

And she suggested that I create painting of rare teacups for collectors. And while I am not sure that I want to necessarily go the teacup route, because rare teacups are usually quite intricate, and would not really be my.. ahem…cup of tea, per se, I really loved the idea of painting a piece that a person might collect. Because you will often find that autistic people are collectors. This also made me think of the other unique special interests that people on the spectrum have. I think sometime in the future I would like to do a series based on such an idea, highlighting those special interests and elevating them into art.

Do you have a special interest that you would like a painting of?

But maybe, more than that, do you want to see your family more? It’s hard living with mental health issues, like I said before. And hopefully, once all this is done, and it’s safe to be with each other once again, maybe it doesn’t have to be so isolating.

Maybe it’s not too late.


The painting is by Salvador Dali. It’s inspired by Mae West, the real life actress my Aunt has made a career out of impersonating.

Canon Boom!

Oh, my friends. It’s been so long since I have worked with a real camera. Again, that was a bit snoots there. Phone cameras are getting so good that I think they are still very artistic tools, don’t get me wrong. Especially the iphone camera, I think that will be my next phone once my old faithful Samsung Android finally dies… which might be never. Like I said, faithful.

BUT, I finally unboxed my beauty Canon EOS M50. And after some brushing up on my manual skills, like, did they change how to attach a lens? I feel like they changed it. I started playing with it.

I also had this really weird revelation that some part of having beautiful family and personal photos is a kind of a socioeconomic privilege? Why? Because even, with my puffy, sweaty from chores, after midnight face, I looked pretty amazing in the viewfinder. All it took was a bit of knowledge and a $500 camera. Maybe that is coming to an end with amazing phone cameras like Google and Apple? That’s a much nicer thought.

Anyway, even though I did not keep the after midnight puffy face photos. I did take her, Dame Canon, on my daily walk with my son. And the pictures were beautiful. (Like I said, I was a bit rusty. But I managed, in between making sure my son didn’t run into the street. I also accidentally bopped him with it when I ran to catch him. So, he is not a fan of my new lady.)

And then today, I was thinking about that snooty-ness that I have been radiating about real cameras and brought my phone on a morning walk with the bubba. I turned on the pro-mode which I am slightly embarrassed to say, I usually don’t because my literal focus is on my son. Ok, I shouldn’t be embarrassed by that. These walks are really about him. Not my hobby.

Anyway, I am putting a few of these gems up side by side. And I can tell you, both make great shots.

canon camera
canon camera
canon camera
canon camera
cannon camera
canon camera
canon camera
canon camera
samsung phone
samsung phone
samsung phone
samsung phone
samsung phone
samsung phone

Loosing his pants there in that last one… Those are actually his Daddy’s pants from the 80’s. But like most white men, the bubba just doesn’t have a butt to hold up his pants. I need to get him a belt.

Now as my dad just told me, no matter what rules have changed in the 30 years since he was shooting professionally, you have to practice, practice, practice.

I think it’s something like a thousand pictures before you even start intentional projects.

So, practice, practice, practice. Although, my son is starting to get a little mad at the constant camera in his face…

Tough cookies, kid.

Ok, I’ll get you some cookies. You earned them.

Finding Kyle and My influences

I have discovered another contemporary artist that I am just in love with. I am slightly embarrassed to say that it was while I was watching decorating shows on hulu at midnight. The show “Good Bones” reminds me so much of my mother and I as a team. Now, my mother and I did theatrical productions, not renovate houses, but it’s the same kind of energy.

Anyway, Kyle Ragsdale made an appearance when the mother-daughter duo were looking for some original art and came to visit his studio, and uh- I reversed the video THREE TIMES trying to catch not only his full name, but all the art in his studio. I wanted to see IT ALL.

But all they said was “Kyle” and I was like, do I just plug into Google “Kyle + Beautiful Art + Indianapolis”? But apparently, yeah, that was all I had to do, because I found him.

Folks. I am loving his work. But I also really enjoyed this moment on his website, where he listed his influences. This long list, with no explanation. And, sure, he listed artists like Gustav Klimt, Gary Hume, and Fiona Raye- but then he also added, golf, Scrabble, The Royal Tennenbaums, and Bjork. I LOVE that. Especially as an autistic person, who often relates and communicates to the rest of the world through references from movies and popular culture. (Think Abed from Community.)

So, I wanted to introduce you to Kyle, yes, but I also wanted to make a similar influences list, with no explanation either. Influences to my art, my writing, my life in general. So take it as you will… again, no particular order, other than my ADHD inattentive brain.

My Influences

  • Harry Potter
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Texture
  • John Singer Sargent
  • Tricia French
  • Lizzo
  • Zooey Deschanel
  • 1960’s pop art and fashion
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Paul McCartney
  • Georgia O’Keefe
  • Edward Hopper
  • Gustav Klimt
  • Pattern
  • Hannah Gadsby
  • Radiolab
  • Ira Glass
  • Justice/Responsibility
  • David Bowie
  • Penelope
  • Lady Gaga
  • Neurodiversity
  • Westerns
  • Star Trek
  • Puns
  • Compassion
  • Zombie/apocalyptic novels
  • Disney films
  • Carl Jung
  • Ironic covers of popular songs
  • Mary Blair
  • Margaret Atwood
  • My family
  • Ted Kooser
  • Mary Oliver
  • William Carlos Willams
  • Dolly Parton
  • Christopher Moore
  • Marvel Comics
  • Adam Driver
  • Sandy Powell
  • Emily McDowell
  • Dylan Thomas
  • Nolan Brothers
  • Franz Marc
  • Andrew Wyeth
  • Wassily Kandinsky
  • Jess Franks
  • Michael Carson
  • Anna Bond
  • Typography
  • Hurst Castle
  • Queer Eye
  • Inclusivity
  • Laughter
  • Warmth

And maybe… you? The people that I want to help. Always. You probably influence me the most.

Sensory Issues = Short Temper

I was perusing facebook and I found a gem of an infographic from @mombrain.therapist. So of course I hopped on to instagram, followed her immediately, and found a bunch of other great infographic gems, one on pandemic parenting, another on comparing yourself to other moms, all cute and cartoony with really great information. You should go look. But this particular pic was it for me. It helped me so much.

Visual clutter, bad smells, and bright lights are my biggest hotpoints.

Now technically, I knew a lot of this information already as an autistic person. But for some reason I had not connected it to my patience as a parent (or as a wife really.)

I just knew it was why I was feeling so wrong and why I needed to hide in hyperfocus tv bingeing or some other kind of distraction. Which always makes me even more irritable because there is no progress or problem solving when you’re hiding out in hyperfocus mode. It’s like running in place.

I hate running in place. Treadmills? Don’t get me started. Like, I think Dickensian orphans would be horrified that people use treadmills for exercise now. What’s next? Voluntary debtor’s prison? … There might be a university and student loan comparison, there…. but offtopic.

So, how do I deal with this? I’ve tried the usual fixes. I did the candles, I did the audio book, I upped the ante to some of my favorite music, but with the inability to have my cleaning time without my family… not to mention all the walks that my buddy has me going on (And that whole gluten rash debacle) I’m just stuck. And I was really pissed about it.

Was… that’s the key word. Why am I no longer angry? Was it meditation? Therapy? Good old fashioned gratitude?

No!

I took a Klonopin!

I am not making fun of meditation, therapy, or good old fashioned gratitude, those are definitely a part of my bag of tricks. But the reality is, this isn’t just a foul mood. It’s not a lack of perspective. It’s a sensory reaction. It’s physical. And sometimes physical problems needs physical answers. So I took a klonopin with my daily cocktail. And it helped a lot.

Truly, if I could add klonopin to my daily meds, I would. But I don’t want to develop any kind of resistance to it, because it can be a lifesaver when you are dealing with something just that much extra. Like a global pandemic, near house fire (oh yeah, that happened. I’ll tell you more later) and so much visual clutter that I’m tripping over it.

This is a sidenote, but to explain just how insane my environment is right now… My son… has decided to collect all the floor vents in one place, leaving these rabbit-warren-like holes in my hardwood floor, that I’m pretty sure he’s thrown some toys down. I definitely stepped in one. And for some reason… he pushed my chair into one so that it looked like a sinkhole had developed in my dining room? I am not kidding. I almost wish I had taken a picture but it was just too much.

And in a wonderland like twist, last night while we were sleeping, he woke up and found my cache of slinkies that I bought for him. So there are dozens of slinkies hidden amongst the laundry and clutter. And every once in a while, one will just spring out at you.

I also had started a few projects that I didn’t finish, my fault there, so there are bins of my books and storage and one of my statue models from art school just hanging out in the living room. But really… my kid has been loving that, so I’m not as angry on that one.

I won’t mention how he keeps fondling the butt on this statue. I think it’s the texture… yeah… we will go with that.
The infamous wedding typewriter. Bubba has been loving that too.

So, yeah.

Uh… Now, I just found a melted green crayon in my fresh load of whites.

What was I saying about meditation again?

Diagnosing My Parents

I’ve spoken often of both my parents in this blog. I spoke about my mom in a tribute to her on Mother’s Day and in my coming out story. My father I have spoken about many times, about his photography lessons, and his own health and diet issues in my ode to fat, which was also an ode to my dad. (That’s not a comment on his physique, he’s very slender now. Mostly because of his high fat diet. It’s a whole thing, just trust me.)

What I’d like to talk about now, is a bit tricky. You see, my relationships with my parents are two of the best and most complicated things in my life.

They are good relationships, let me say that first. I love my parents very much. I know that they did their best in raising me (which was a damn good job, in my opinion. Any trauma that comes from my childhood was always because of societal pressure, not them personally.) I am obnoxiously close to my mother, and still very close to my father as well.

Honestly, I am a complete and total mash up of the two of them. Some kids might have a few traits of each of their parents, and others really favor one or the other. I look and act, exactly like BOTH OF MY PARENTS.

I have a few pictures from their youth that I think really show this off, like the one above, I’m pretty sure that if you morphed their faces together, it would be me. Like one of those facebook future child picture generators. Seriously, just remove the mustache. And then of course, this more informal black and white gem below.

Personally, I think my Dad is rocking those shorts, and my mom very typically has paint on her jeans. She was constantly painting our house when I was a baby. My first memory of her is with paint specs on her glasses. But those crinkly hooded eyes on my Dad- I have those. That pale freckled coloring on my Mom? I have the sunburns to prove it.

Like I said, I am a complete mash up of the two of them. Which begs the question…

If I am autistic, OCD, ADHD, and Bipolar… what are they?

It’s a tough thing to discuss because it is so intensely personal. And what I know is only what I have researched myself. Neither of my parents are formally diagnosed but I think they have come to terms with some of their more neurodiverse traits, or at least copped to them, for me. I do know that whenever I bring it up, each of them gets a bit tense.

That stigma is hard to break. And the self-loathing ableism and shame cycle is the worst of all. I think of this especially when I think of my father. (Mom too, but I will get to her in a second.)

With my father- his mother, my grandmother, was like me, I think. But in a time when mental health was not only misunderstood but often criminalized and institutionalized… well, she obviously wasn’t going to explore that side of herself. But I’ve concluded, from family stories, and her behavior that I recall from my childhood, that she had trouble connecting with people, even my father.

I honestly don’t know enough to say one way or the other. I prefer to think that she was more like me, than say, she just didn’t like us, my family. We are delightful. So it couldn’t be that.

At the start of this year, I was in a pretty terrible fight with my father. I mentioned it in my coming out story. We have since come to understand each other better, in a way because that fight was so much about clashing similarities. Or our inabilities to properly communicate.

A sign of autism.

I am not going to say that my father is autistic. Not officially. He has MANY of the hallmarks of autism, and I know he holds a lot of trauma from living in a society that expects you to communicate in only one way, but calling out someone as autistic, like Babe Ruth pointing out a shot, is not helpful to the person who is coming to terms with their identity. And I don’t know that he will ever really see it until he starts looking for it. But they are definitely there. I see him.

In fact, this is probably what I was most angry about. His inability to see himself, was somehow, a rejection of me. And all the times that his self-loathing showed through by being hard on me about being “overly- sensitive,” or communicating properly, or any of the other traits we shared- that made my blood boil.

In fact, the first breakthrough in our argument was when he admitted to sharing these traits with me. With just that connection, I was able to let go and forgive everything else. And in fairness to my father, I was dealing with a lot of trauma, fixation, and Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria during this phase of our relationship. I would not put him “at blame.” Just like me, he was doing his best.

Now, my mother. My mother, because we are so close, I have very rudely told her “You are so ADHD” about a million times. And it wasn’t like some insult. I was letting her know like I might tell her that her shoe was untied. She’s still on the fence, I think.

Why? She’s a special education teacher. More than that, she’s a tenacious person. And somehow, I feel like she thinks that you can’t have ADHD and be tenacious. She once said to me, after I called her out, “I have multiple degrees, you know.” To which of course, I was like, “Grandpa built multiple houses, Walt Disney built multiple worlds. ADHD does not stop you from being successful.”

By the way, my grandfather was definitely ADHD. I will call that one with surety. (Especially because he passed away almost twenty years ago, so I don’t think I will be hurting his feelings or causing any internal struggle.) Anyway, he always had multiple projects going, had a bit of short fuse, and was constantly thinking. He and Walt would have been good friends. Especially, with Walt’s obsession with trains. My grandfather worked for a railway company as an engineer for many years.

Off topic. I know.

My mother has the same kind of tenacity as my grandfather, and Disney too. She never stops. She’s always thinking, always moving forward. And for the most part, this is a super power of hers. BUT she also has time blindness. Hyperfocus can sometimes effect her health when she stays up until all hours of the night to finish a project. And she has trouble with sequencing.

All trademarks of ADHD.

I’ve come to terms with their refusal to see some of these issues within themselves. It’s understandable. But an interesting thing happened on Mother’s Day.

I was chatting with my mom on the phone and some ADHD things came up and she apologized for not having done anything to help in my youth, and I said, “Don’t worry about it too much. They were so focused on boys with ADHD that they probably wouldn’t have even tested me.”

There was a bit of a pause. Then she told me that many of my teachers asked for me to be tested for ADHD. But she thought that I just wasn’t doing things like my homework because I had no interest in them. And I wondered, did she think all the other traits of ADHD I was showing were normal, because she also has ADHD?

I forgave her immediately because that is my nature. And also because I am very close with my mother, and for any wrongs that she did me, she also supported me through a lot of hardships…

But it’s there still. In my mind. That lost time… What would I have done with it? Maybe I would have finished college? Maybe I could have done better in high school instead of regularly flunking out of classes that I daydreamed through? I would at least know that I wasn’t broken.

It certainly explains why, when I started to question my neurotype, in particular, about possibly being autistic, she kept saying, I think you are more ADHD than autistic. Not because ADHD was more socially acceptable than autism, like I thought, it was because people had been telling her I had ADHD for years.

Nonetheless, my path was my path. I know who I am, my identity is secure, and like I said, for every wrong that they did to me, they also supported me and taught me what is truly important.

If you are considering the traits of your own parents, I suggest that you try to forgive them for the wrong calls that they made for you and for themselves. Sure, you can try and help them come to their own realizations with information or subtle suggestions. But you can’t really go further than that, you can’t diagnose them.

As for me? My diagnoses for my parents is that they are human. They have made mistakes, there is no doubt. But they also did their best.

And that best, was still pretty great.

Some Labels are Good for you

This might be more of PSA than a blog post. But…

Read The Labels on Your Food, Folks!

Some of you may know that I have been experiencing some difficulties recently due to food sensitivities. When I say difficulties, I mean horrible GI issues, swelling, stabbing joint pain, and blisters all over my hands.

This is due to gluten. Now. I know gluten is a triggering words for some people. It might as well say, “This is due to being fancy.” Or “This is because I’m special.” But it’s legitimately due to gluten. Honestly, if I actually had weight loss at the same time, I would consider getting myself tested for celiac. But in the end I think it’s just due to food sensitivities and autoimmune disorders like my dermatographia and other allergies.

So the reason I mention labels is because I have been unintentionally poisoning myself FOR WEEKS. I knew that I was having a gluten reaction but I thought it had to be from the occasional slip up or the hidden gluten in some processed food items. BUT, it was a different kind of hidden. It was hidden in my own stupid assumptions and unfortunate circumstance.

For anyone who has been to the grocery store lately, you can attest to the run on “emergency like” foods, for example, canned goods, potted meat, and rice. Now I eat a fair amount of rice, because it’s literally one of the few grains I can tolerate. And when you are dealing with GI issues from food sensitivities, rice is one of the few mild items I can eat. (It’s the R, in the BRAT diet for GI problems- Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast.) So when almost ALL the rice was gone at the grocery store, I had to resort to these pre-packaged “rice sides” from Knorr’s brand.

This is a product image from Amazon. The real package is actually much more clearly marked. I was just a dummie.

Now being called “Rice sides” I assumed they were made of Rice. Nu-uh. It was made of rice AND pasta. AND PASTA? Who does that?

So anyway, that is why I have been MIA for a couple of days. Because my fat sausage hands were not too good for typing, and my joints were screaming to be excised from my body entirely.

Now those are just a few of my Gluten Sensitivity symptoms. Here is the whole list. Check it against your issues to see if you have gluten issue too.

  1. Blisters and rash around my joints especially my fingers, wrists, and ankles. It also happens on my chest sometimes.
  2. Joint pain that will literally wake you out of a dead sleep.
  3. Worsening mental health issues. So things like my sensory issues or my OCD or my anxiety all sky rocket when I am having a bad reaction.
  4. This is TMI obviously, but I get horrible GI issues, which means… well, everything that you take pepto bismol for.
  5. Fatigue. I get super, super tired.
  6. Headaches. Uhg.
  7. Mood issues. Which could really be #3. But it’s bad enough that I think I have to mention it on its own.

Like I said, the only one I am missing from being celiac is the weight loss. The one I probably wouldn’t mind to be totally honest. Figures.

What’s my point? Read the labels on your food! And wherever possible, just make it yourself.

And don’t put pasta in rice. That’s just messed up. Degenerates. I bet they put glass in halloween candy too.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day in quarantine came with some interesting wants. Instead of breakfast in bed or anything like that, my husband took my son on a walk while I vacuumed and it was wonderful!!!

I haven’t been able to properly vacuum in weeks because my buddy has painful sensory aversion to it. So even just the sight of the vacuum freaks him out. And yeah, I could put him in his headphones and sequester him to one part of the house, but it just unsettles him too much. And in a time where everything is so unsettled, we’re doing our best just to survive.

So whatever you need to do to survive on this Mother’s Day, I hope that it has some sweet thing that you are needing, whether that’s a phone call to a loved one, some alone time, or a vacuumed rug.

The Resident… Is Hot

To be fair I have been a fan of Matt Czuchry since his “Gilmore Girl” days when he played Logan Huntzberger.

So now that I can’t do anything that I had planned to do today (like I told Instagram, I’m having some bad allergies today. Which for some might just mean watery eyes, for me it means the skin around my joints gets horrible hives and my hands become very swollen and angry. I can only type right now because I took a double dose of Benedryl.)

Anyway, I’ve been in love with Matt Czurchy for more than a decade. First it was “Gilmore Girls,” then it was “The Good Wife,” and now “The Resident.”

I’ve been binge watching “The Resident” all day, and I have come to several conclusions. One, Matt Czuchry really understands the female gaze. He’s warm and confident. He’s got that “I’m here now and everything will be ok” look down pat.

Second, romance and sexuality are such interesting bedfellows. Technically, I would put my sexuality as Pansexual (I’ve been known to call it bisexual as well, but I get tired of the negativity around being bisexual. Probably why I often resort to the umbrella term “queer.”) I am also heteromantic. Which means that I am sexually attracted to all genders but I’m romantically attracted to the opposite gender. And for a lot of people in the LGBT community, this makes me an inauthentic queer. To that, I’d say the dogeared nude of Marilyn Monroe from my teen years strongly disagrees. That, and my internet history, but we won’t go into that right now. (Maybe later.)

I have considered myself heteromantic for a long time because all my favorite fictional love interests have been men, I also married a man, obviously. BUT I’ve been starting to question that… (the heteromantic part, not my husband. I love him more than anything.) I doubt the heteromantic part mostly because of the lack of strong female love stories out there. When there is a lesbian love story, it is often coupled with the pain of being an outcast or having to hide that love. Kind of puts a damper on happily ever after, don’t you think? And I could never really get into “the L Word” because there was so little loyalty on the show. I do not like betrayal. And “The L Word” was full of betrayal.

But this isn’t about that. It’s about “The Resident”. I totally suggest you start watching it. Not only does it have the wonderful Matt Czuchry, it also has great diversity. And when I say great diversity I mean that it’s not just tokenism diversity, there are legitimately well rounded characters from all backgrounds. Yes I know, the main character is blonde and blue eyed (and dreamy) but it still warms my heart to see more than just that demographic filled out.

And then one last thing that I think is so interesting. They have this unique first person kind of shooting style, where you are temporarily in the point of view of the patient. It’s very interesting, especially if you dig ASMR. And speaking of ASMR, they are also extremely attuned to the senses in their sound design as well. At one point, there was a scene where they were telling the family that a patient had died and all sound dropped out except the familiar tone of flatlined heart monitor. It was super effective and very well done. And surprisingly subtle?

Anyway, I’m watching it on Hulu, now. You should too.

TO DO LIST/FLOW CHART

I am stuck again today. True, I’ve thrown some laundry into the washer and thrown out the trash, but that is it. It all feels too much today… again. And some days, I just let that be and know that I am not going to be productive. I’m not up to it. But other days, I know that if I don’t do something soon to help my surroundings, it will only get worse. So what do I do?

Like a lot of people with ADHD, sequencing can really cause me issues. Like I know what I need to do, but I also know that there are several pre-requisite tasks that I need to accomplish first, which will then cause me to freeze up. So simple “To Do” lists just don’t work for me. I have to make a flow chart.

And if that isn’t confusing enough, for my flow chart, I start with a simple “To Do” List.

For example, here is my list for right now, in no particular order, not yet anyway:

  • clean out garage
  • put away recycled art materials bin, it’s blocking the hallway closet
  • order wallpaper for bookshelf project
  • put away disassembled shelving units
  • redo library shelves
  • vacuum
  • sweep and mop hardwood floors
  • sweep and mop disgusting vinyl kitchen floor (that I hate)
  • put away clean laundry, there are no more available laundry baskets
  • organize clean laundry by person
  • continue with dirty laundry
  • finish ceiling shade project, there is an ugly hole in your ceiling with a bare bulb protruding from it
  • Buy printer that connects to the computer with a cable, your last two wireless printers were so annoying that you went office space on them (destroyed them with a bat.)
  • order 8″x11″ laminator sheets
  • Make Picture Exchange Sheets for Bubba, he keeps shuffling his cards instead of using them
  • put away toys
  • dishes
  • Update blog
  • research editing software needs
  • put away clean dishes
  • clean kitchen
  • charge phone to listen to audiobook
  • make inspiration wall
  • clean and organize studio/toy/dining room
  • continue sunflower Hannah Gadsby painting
  • Practice with new camera and equipment for Vlog Plans
  • Start filming for Vlog and ASMR channel

So I write out this list, in no particular order, on a sheet of sketch paper. And then I start to sequence. This means arrows. It also means that I find things that need to be done in a certain order.

Take a look:

Obviously, this is not the best image, and I had to crop out the fact that I wasn’t wearing pants, but you get the idea. Oh, and I technically bought all my ASMR/Vlog equipment after I wrote this. I got too excited.

For an example, I needed to clean out the garage, before I moved the recycled art materials bin, and the disassembled shelving units, because I don’t have any room in the house for the bin or the piles of MDF that I don’t want to throw away.

Then before I can start filming my Vlog, I need to practice with the camera I want, assemble microphone and boom arm, equipment, research editing software, etc.

You get the idea. It may seem simple, but it helps me a lot to find those necessary beginning steps and the rest just falls into place.