Girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. As you learned in my previous blog, my baby is, in fact, a girl. My whole life I have dreamed of having a daughter to call my own. From 6 weeks gestation, I had her name picked out. You see, I love the holiday season and would totally want to be a complete cheese ball and give her a holiday inspired name. I threw the name “Natalie” and the name Noelle” out in the open while we were driving to see some family in Midland. Mike did not like either of them and we continued on with other conversation topics. Then, along highway 110, I looked over at him in the driver’s seat and said “Holly.” To my shock, he liked it. So she has been my Holly Christine ever since. I just love typing her name, Holly Christine Seidl.
Mike and I somewhat differ on our level of “cheesiness” when I comes to gender reveals. While we both agreed, we wanted to know the gender of our bundle of joy we slightly disagreed on how we wanted to tell the world. Fortunately, the second trimester ultrasound ended up being scheduled on my sister’s birthday. So we agreed to have our families to our house for hot dogs in our back yard. We had my sister open a present with either a pink or blue set of onesie/converse tennis shoes in it. The cheers rang loudly when the onesie/converse color was pink!
Now that I know what I am having, being pregnant is so much fun. I love going to Carters and Osh Kosh or the baby sections of the department stores to look at all the cute little dresses and all things purple and pink. I love being able to put things on my registry for her and pick out the color for the nursery: Lilac. It feels so good to have a name for her and to be able to call her by her name. For me, finding out that Holly was a girl made my pregnancy became all the more real to me. There is a little girl inside me who depends on me for everything, and I will do whatever it takes to make sure she gets it and is well taken care of. It is my job, and it is my favorite job I have ever had!
What got super aggravating was people advising me that I did not want to know the sex of the baby we were having. I understand that there are couples, like my cousin and his wife, who wanted to keep it a secret. Good for them. That, however, is not me! I do not have an ounce of patience in my body. I also like the idea of being prepared and knowing what I need. It was by far the happiest moment of my life hearing the words “it’s a girl” come from the technician’s mouth. It was so hard to contain myself at the Coney Island afterward. I wanted to tell the world. And we did tell the world after the party! An adorable picture featuring a pair of gray, red, and PINK converse with our years of birth beneath them was posted on our social media pages. Everyone is so excited for us. So as you can see, all the back handed comments from other people about how they “wish she would wait till birth” really got on my last nerve!
Here is my first piece of advice. When it comes to your baby, you do what you feel is best. People are going to drive you bat shit crazy. People are going to tell you to wait to find out, or you won’t have time to make your own baby food or to pick a “gender neutral” wall color. But it is not their choice or their baby. It is yours. You and your partner are the ones who make all the decisions regarding your child. Do not let other people’s decisions stress you out. Listen to your gut and do what you feel is best for you and your child. Man, do I need to listen to myself more.
My second and final piece of advice is to ignore all of those stupid theories and old wives tales about gender. You know the ones that say if you’re carrying low and craving salty things then you’re having a boy. Carrying high and wanting sweets is a girl. Or the Ramzi theory which says that where the egg implants in the mothers uterus determines what the sex of the baby is. It is all BS. Ramzi told me boy, and my cravings told me boy. Plus, everyone thought Miss Holly was a boy and I wanted a girl so badly that I was flat out convinced I was having a boy and was prepared to be disappointed. Turns out I was wrong as was everyone else. Miss Holly is definitely a lovely little girl and I am literally tickled “pink.”
I can’t wait to share more updates on my pregnancy with you as well as other aspects of my life and what it’s like to enter the wonderful world of motherhood.
If you read my previous blog in this series, you know that I experienced a miscarriage in December, 2017. I have wonderful news! I am now, in fact, 21 weeks pregnant again with a baby girl due this December, 2018.
OK, how do I begin this story? I am sure that by now, everyone knows how babies are made so I don't have to give a sex education lesson. Thank goodness too because I am so not qualified to do that. Basically, after having the procedure to end the last pregnancy, I was told to allow my body to heal and let it go through one full cycle before trying to conceive again. I did just that, and my body came full cycle on Valentine’s Day. It was not the way I wanted to spend my first married Valentine’s Day, crying of course. Mike made it all better with two beautiful bouquets of flowers.
March arrived and the time of my next cycle came and went until I was almost 2 weeks late. This is not normal for me at all. But, I couldn't be pregnant again, right? I mean, my doctor did a blood test and everything! All of my at-home tests came back negative! That is until the morning of March 27th when I took one before work. It was positive! The pregnancy was confirmed that Saturday after two blood draws to check for the pregnancy hormone and make sure it was doubling. It was!
Once again, all of my dreams are coming true. So now for the typical question, “How are you feeling?” Well, my sides hurt from stretching, my moods and hormones are all out of whack, and all I want to eat is salami sandwiches, eggplant Parmesan, toaster waffles and raspberry lemonade. My mid-section is rapidly expanding. Other than that, I feel fantastic. What is growing inside of my body is truly a miracle, and I am so happy to do it.
This was the hardest secret of my life to keep. It is best to keep your pregnancy under wraps for the first 12 weeks, and since the last pregnancy did not go as planned, we decided to wait until the perfect moment to tell everyone our news. So Mike and I told only our family and closest friends until my 30th birthday when all of our friends were gathered to celebrate what they thought was only a milestone birthday. In fact, however, it was also the celebration of two people who were finally going to become the parents they had always wanted to be. So we bought a big baby shaped balloon and wrapped it up in a box for me to open. Everyone was so thrilled for us and now cannot wait to meet my most precious gift of all, a baby girl to love and spoil.
Here is the problem. My anxiety is at an all-time high due to what happened the last time around. I thought that conceiving again would really help me to heal by proving to myself that I was capable of carrying a child. Turns out, it literally made things worse. I live in constant fear that my baby girl will be tragically taken from me just like last time. This fear has gotten so bad that I was seeing my doctor once weekly to do a heart check and sonogram so I could see her moving in me and her heart beating. It has gotten so bad that after the first trimester was over, I was put back on the lowest dose of my old anxiety medication since at this point, she is fully formed and there is no risk of birth defects. It is better for me to take medicine than to be so anxious that I could cause more harm to her. I fought it like crazy like always but in the end I just couldn't take it anymore. I felt like I was also fighting a losing battle with my physical health being overweight and having an autoimmune disease that limits what I can eat on some days. I felt like there was no end in sight!
Luckily, I found an excellent therapist in Joanne who set me up with an appointment with Maternal Fetal Medicine that specializes in high risk pregnancies and has a dietitian on staff. Everyone works together along with my regular OBGYN and a psychiatrist who specializes in pregnant women. Everyone works together to keep me and my daughter healthy. My daughter is my number one priority, so the fact that I have a whole team of professionals working with me makes me feel so good and safe that we are in good hands.
Another tool that has really helped me is a home fetal Doppler. It is a device that I can use at home to hear my baby's heartbeat. I was fortunate enough to be able to borrow one from an old friend of mine. If I hadn't, this particular device could have cost us up to $100+ depending on the quality. It is so cool to be able to hear her whenever I want to. My nephew also got a kick out of it and brought me the Doppler and asked if he could hear the baby's heartbeat. As I previously mentioned, I was also put back on a low dose of my old anxiety medication and given an incident depending prescription for Xanax which can stop a panic attack quickly. Celexa, and medications like it, take time to build up in your system where as medications like Xanax can work quickly without any prior usage. Xanax is literally used for when I cannot come out of a panic attack on my own or “in case of emergency, break glass” scenario. I will point out again that these medications do pose some risk to my daughter, but they are most likely to occur in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. However, anxiety and stress can also cause harm to her and mine was so high and severe that I was not able to function on some days. I could not go without medications. In the end I had to make a very hard decision to medicate myself. But I needed to think about what is best for my daughter and that is for me to remain as calm and relaxed as I can. Medication is not always the right answer. What works best for me, may not work for you, so please don't just assume that because I had to be medicated that you should be. Always discuss any potential medication and its risks with a medical professional prior.
On the other hand, this pregnancy has made for some pretty entertaining stories. See, it turns out I have become the stereotypical hormonal pregnant woman who literally cries at the stupidest things ever. Here are some of the best ones. I have cried because the cheese on my eggs wasn't melted, because he told me he loved me, because I knocked over his beer, etc. Have you ever tried dipping your pickles in ice cream? Sounds gross right? Not when you're pregnant! When you are pregnant, expect the unexpected because one thing I have learned to be true is that no pregnancy is the same. Also all of the gender theories are total BS. But more about that in my next blog where we discover my reactions to finding out that not only was my dream of motherhood becoming a reality, but that I was in fact getting the daughter I had always wanted.
I would like to begin this blog entry by sincerely apologizing for my absence over the past 10 months or so. I have been dealing with some very intense and emotional trauma that has caused me to be absent from many aspects of my life, including this blog. I am now, however, doing much better and ready to conquer the blogging world by storm!
As you may recall, last October, I got married to my husband, Mike. He is wonderful to this day and we are still as happy and in love as the day we first laid eyes on each other three years ago. But, with every marriage and relationship there are ups and downs. Unfortunately, our biggest tragedy was the discovery that I had miscarried our first child right around Christmas time, 2017. For those of you readers who do not know what that is, let me explain. A miscarriage is when an unborn child dies inside the mother’s uterus before 24 weeks gestation. Most of them occur very early on in the first trimester and are caused by a chromosomal abnormality. What caused mine is what is known as a blighted ovum, where the egg implants into the wall of the mothers uterus, but dissolves and never develops. What should have been a joyful celebration and happy time in our marriage ended up being tragic and traumatic.
I had suspected I was pregnant around Thanksgiving when I was having a lot of stretching pain that did not feel like a normal menstrual cramping due to the location. I also had sudden cravings for 100 Grand chocolate bars. I took an at-home test and thought it was negative until I read the instructions and yelled, “Holy shit, honey, this is positive!” I took five more tests in the next few days to be sure.
The next three weeks I felt the happiest I had ever been in my life. I had everything I could have wanted in my life. I had a good job, a wonderful husband, a great circle of friends, etc. The universe and I were finally in perfect harmony. Then the morning of December 14th came. I woke up with awful nausea. I assumed it was just morning sickness. But it did not stop. I was vomiting and having diarrhea to the point where my muscles were so relaxed and I had an accident on my living room chair. I was on the phone with my mother and she had reminded me that my Gastroenterologist (GI) who handles my colitis told me that if I should have diarrhea 5 times in a day, I need to go to the hospital. She was aware of my pregnancy and gave me these instructions when I saw her a few days before. So off we went to the ER at Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital. I was admitted and given an ultrasound by a technician who was very cold and wouldn't tell me a damn thing or allow my husband to be in the room with me. Very frightening! So we called my mother to come up and be with us and then they whisked me away. I fell asleep on the gurney since I had gotten no sleep the night before. It took them FOUR HOURS to bring back my results, and my husband had to go to work. So my mother stayed with me for the longest four hours of my life. When they came in they told us that I was measuring a week behind where I should be and that there was a chance that I may be miscarrying. I cried my eyes out. But they wouldn't be able to give me a diagnosis until my first appointment with my OBGYN on December 19th.
December 19th, 2017 came and my husband drove me to the doctor’s office where they did another ultrasound which showed that there was, in fact, no growth since the hospital visit. When we were told this devastating news, I told my doctor that I didn't want to wait and that I just wanted to end the pregnancy. My doctor at the time did not listen to me or respect our wishes at all and insisted that I wait to be sure it was gone because there was a 2% chance of survival. So over the next few days, the phlebotomist had to draw my blood repeatedly to see if the pregnancy hormone in my blood was doubling. It was not. So on January 4th, 2018, it was confirmed that my baby, who I wanted more than life itself, was, in fact, gone. The following morning, I was admitted again to the hospital for a minor surgery where the doctor removed the tissue and basically cleaned out my body. Dr. Moore, who is now my Gynecologist, told my husband that the procedure was the right choice because my body was not going to be able to pass the tissue it needed on its own. It was an outpatient procedure, so I was able to go home that day. I was just uncomfortable as far as pain was concerned for a couple of days. As far as physical recovery was concerned, I was back to normal in about two weeks.
As for my mental recovery, that is a process that is still going on. Since I had to ween myself off of all my anxiety medications for the pregnancy in the first place, I was dealing with tragedy and emotions full on, which I had never done before. I ended up having Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. There were days where I would get flash backs of being on the operating table and start freaking out to the point where I was hitting myself because I didn't know how to handle all of these emotions. I just wanted to have the pain go away. I couldn't be left alone for long and it got really bad at night where I would purposely find things to do when my husband was at work so I wouldn't be alone. There were times where thoughts of suicide raced through my head. Mike had to leave work a couple times to be with me. I didn't want to see my friends or do any of the things that I normally enjoyed. I am surprised I even sang in the choir this season. I needed serious help!
Then, despite all my stubborn attempts to beat this on my own, I made the decision to seek professional help and called my OBGYN. She recommended that I begin to see a therapist out of her home in Birmingham. Her name was Joanne, and she specializes in grief after a miscarriage. I began seeing her around the end of January and still continue to see her bi-weekly. I found that just having a person to talk to that was not a part of my personal day-to-day life really did help me. We don't just talk about the loss. Now we talk about my life and all aspects of it. Sometimes my husband will even go with me to my sessions to help me through a rough week. He has been so supportive of my needs through this whole grieving process. He is always there for me and is supportive of me on good days and bad. I know for a fact that if it were not for his strength, love and support, I have no clue as to how I would have gotten through this.
One important thing to remember about a pregnancy loss - it is not just a loss for the mother, but for the father as well. Mike had to grieve for his loss yet remained strong for me as well. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to be suffering the pain of a loss of a child and mask his pain from his wife who could mentally not keep herself together. Everyone suffering tragic loss needs time to grieve in their own way and we all must do our best to respect their process.
OK, so let’s wrap this blog up. But, before I do, I need to say this. If you find yourself feeling depressed or suicidal due to a loss or other difficult life tragedy, please know that you are not alone. There are so many people available to help you, whether it be a friend, spouse, teacher, therapist, etc. Do not remain silent. It is not healthy for you. I am also here to lend an ear and be a friend to you. Grief and loss is hard to deal with and you do not have to deal with it alone. It took a while, but eventually I had to learn to turn my stubbornness off and accept help when I needed it most in the world.
Hello fellow readers. This year I got to explore two of my loves, books and theater, with one wonderful story called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. The story was originally a novel published in 2003 by Mark Haddon and became a straight play (non musical) in 2013 with a script by Simon Stephens. Back in the fall, I was ushering for the musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder with an old friend and fellow theater lover. He expressed interest in seeing the show. I had no desire to see it since a) it was not a musical, b) I had never even heard of it before, and c) it seemed odd due to the title. I had forgotten about it until I started seeing commercials for it on TV and then saw the book at Dr. Friedrich's house one afternoon. Then my brain connected all the dots and I realized that this story had something to do with autism. Eventually, we decided that we needed to do a blog about the novel/play. So I took the book home and read it in about 2 weeks, and then one blustery Sunday afternoon in May, Dr. Friedrich and I ventured to the Fisher Theater in Detroit to see the show. For once I didn't have to usher to get into the show which made me happy (even though I so was not feeling well that day).
The story is about a young British man named Christopher John Francis Boone who lives with his father in Swindon Wiltshire, England. It is made clear from the beginning that Christopher has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, most likely Asperger Syndrome. He is incredibly gifted in maths and knows all prime numbers up to a certain point (in fact that's how the chapters are numbered), he doesn't like his food touching and he gets fixated on a topic quite easily and has a hard time breaking from them. One of the things our protagonist enjoys is taking long walks at night when the streets are abandoned and it is nice and quiet. One night, as he is taking a usual stroll, he notices something terribly disturbing. His neighbor’s dog, Wellington, has been tragically murdered. Stabbed to death with a garden pitch fork. Christopher is so upset that he throws himself to the ground and begins humming hysterically when the cops are called. Since Christopher is unable to comply with their questions and commands, he is taken into custody. Christopher is released with some sort of warning after his father, Ed, comes and pitches an absolute fit. From this point on, Christopher becomes obsessed with this canine murder and solving the mystery of “who done it.” Ed is displeased with his son’s latest fixation and forbids Christopher from attempting to solve this mystery, Not only does he wish to protect his son from further trouble with the law, but to protect him from secrets of the past.
Later in the novel, we discover that Christopher's mother (who we believed to be dead), is living in London, after having an affair with one of their old neighbors and fleeing Christopher and Ed. Christopher discovers this after disobeying his father and searching for clues to Wellington’s murder. He discovers a box of letters addressed to him from his mother, Judy. When Ed finds Christopher with the letters, he confesses to killing Wellington to seek revenge for the pain his wife and neighbor caused. Christopher is so upset by this that he decides to take his pet rat, Toby, and make the journey to London to be with his mother. In the end, they are reunited and Christopher decides to return home to take his O-level math exam, which he was obsessed with in the beginning of the novel, and he passes with flying colors. Ed buys him a puppy and Christopher decides to build his trust slowly back with his father.
Personally, I felt the book was well written. As an individual living with a form of ASD, I tend to find portrayal of ASD to be way off, or over dramatized. Like when they cast one character on the show Glee who said something along the lines of “I have Asperger Syndrome, so I can pretty much say whatever I want and get away with it.” It made me mad and I almost wrote the show to stage my cause for complaint. With this novel, I did not feel that way. I feel as if Haddon really knew his facts and used them to create a character that readers, atypical and neurotypical alike, could really fall in love with. With that being said, I feel like the fact that the author doesn't wish, or at least had no intent of this novel being used to teach people about ASD very disappointing. It is such a rare treat to find a decent media source with an accurate portrayal of the disorder, that I feel it is a shame to deny it. I have yet to find anything so accurate since Claire Danes' astonishing portrayal of Temple Grandin in the self titled film autobiography a few years back.
Another thing I really enjoyed about it was the pace of the novel. It didn't drag on or spend too many pages talking about one small part of the story (like The Hobbit). The chapters were short and concise, like how Dan Brown wrote The Davinci Code and Angels & Demons (two excellent books I highly recommend). I feel with a mind wired like mind, that goes in about 20 different directions at once, it’s nice to keep the chapters short. The novel is also just an all-around good story that I could really dive in and relate to. I liked it so much that at one point, I was reading it aloud to my fiance while on a road trip and yet keeping a book mark in the original spot so I could continue on at my own pace. Basically, I was reading the same story two times. I think it helped me to catch all of the fine details. It’s almost like when I watch my favorite TV show. No matter how many times I watch it, I still pick up new stuff and laugh.
So now that I have spoken highly of Mark Haddon's novel, let me move on to talking about the Tony Award winning play by Simon Stephens. The play also has seven Oliver Awards, which are the British theater awards named after actor Lawrence Oliver. The show ran in the US on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theater from October 2014- September 2015. It holds the Tony for “best new play” for that season. The show finally began touring as part of the 2016-2017 season. It made a stop in Detroit in May of 2017 at Detroit's own Fisher Theater where Dr. Friedrich and I were entertained by a phenomenal performance with excellent and unique scenery, an outstanding cast, and special effects used in a way unlike any other in order to make Christopher's world come to life so that we, the audience, can get a glimpse of his unique mind.
The set and lights were set up more like a grid with the use of lighting to distinguish different locations/ rooms in the story. The play also uses minimal props during the performance. All of the cast members aid in scene changes and cubes are used in place of furniture. I think this is all because Christopher's mind is wired to be very scientific and analytical as well as simple. The lights and sound effects are used to indicate the sensory overload Christopher can experience to the audience. Oddly enough, it made my sensory issues come into play. I remember one part of the performance where they used the whole set, even the walls, to show Christopher being frightened and overwhelmed while in London. The cast picked him up and held him sideways so he could be walking on the walls. As for the acting itself, I really can only focus on the performance of Adam Langdon who portrayed his character so well that the audience could easily believe that he himself could have some form of ASD.
Now how did I enjoy the show? I felt that it was a wonderful edition to the list of plays I have seen. And due to the fact that I am a theater lover and an avid audience member, the list is quite extensive and continuously growing with each passing season. It was, however, my first professional straight play (or non-musical) that wasn't Shakespeare. I didn't notice any differences between the play and the novel other than the fact that the play is presented as a play within another play written by Christopher himself and narrated by another significant character, Siobhan, who is Christopher's mentor and paraprofessional in the novel and play. All of the events and characters are the same and portrayed very well. The portrayal of a young man with ASD was not over dramatized but spot on and accurate. I guess it shows how much the world and its view of individuals on the spectrum has changed. People seem to be far more tolerant and accepting of individuals like me and Christopher and are far more willing to accommodate us and our needs. However, the world still has a long way to go and it can only get better with each passing day. It is our job to help us get it there.
Whether you are an avid reader or a patron of the dramatic arts and frequent theater goer, this is a story for you. It is catchy, fast paced and filled with relatable characters to fall in love with. It is a story worth hearing and or reading. If you are looking to learn about ASD, this is a great story to experience in any form. So enjoy and happy reading/theater going! You can pick up a copy of the novel at your local bookstore or library and find clips of the play on youtube.com.
Hello fellow readers,
So I did something recently. It is something I have always wanted to do for myself. I got a tattoo. I didn't really tell many people I was going to do it because I really didn't care what people thought about me getting one. I didn't need a thousand different people giving me their opinions because, frankly, it was none of their business. Really, the only person whose opinion mattered was mine. It was going on my body. I didn't even tell my fiance until the day I was going.
First of all, I want to be clear, do NOT get a tattoo unless you know what you want. It could be personal, have some sort of meaning behind it. Tattooing a cheeseburger on your ass because you love McDonald's is questionable. This leads me to my second thing. Remember that this is a form of body modification. A tattoo is permanent. Now you can get them removed, but it is expensive and involves lasers. So when I say, permanent, I mean it doesn't wash off like the temporary ones you get at the store, or fade away in a few weeks like henna. Also, the third thing to consider is money. Tattoos are expensive. The minimum cost that I have found is $50 and that's for something small like a music note or a smiley face. So if you are going to do it then make sure that you can afford it and know what you are getting.
I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to get. Right away I knew that I wanted to get something that had to do with Autism. Autism is a big part of my life. There are several members of my family who have some sort of Autism Spectrum Disorder. I also have friends on the spectrum and now my career is focused on bettering the lives of adults on the spectrum. I also wanted to say that while Autism is a big part of my life, it is only one part of me. I am not just someone who is Autistic. I am a woman, a fiance, a performer, a college grad, a writer; I am me! All of these pieces make up me. I believe that everyone is one giant puzzle made up of several different pieces that make them the unique individual that they really are. I also enjoy and have a knack for puzzles. I can complete a thousand-piece one in a matter of a couple days. Sometimes I can look at a piece and know right where it goes. It completely baffles my mother.
Therefore, I came to the conclusion that I was going to get a puzzle piece and it was going to be purple. Not only is purple one of my favorite colors but it is the color for LJFC and the YOU fit center. So I talked to several people including a friend of mine who has done tattoos before. I drew up several designs with some wording around it and met with my artist. What started out to be a teeny purple puzzle piece on the back of my neck ended up as a big puzzle piece with a bunch of smaller pieces inside and one colored purple with the words “one small piece” below it.
The process took about an hour. It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would, really it was more of an annoying feeling. I think it helped to have my best friend (who had a couple done already) go with me. It also helped that there was this weird show called “Narcos” playing in the background where they would randomly talk in Spanish which for some reason made us giggle. The artist was also extremely thorough with me about how to properly care for it and what to use which made me feel more relaxed.
For me, it was extremely important to do it in the month of April, not only because I was going to get my tax refund, but because April is Autism Awareness Month. I figured what better way to show my pride than to get the tattoo that I had been desiring for so long.
What I am trying to say about this whole experience is simple, think it through. Consider all of your options. Think really hard about what you want on your body because it is permanent. Research your artists and parlors, you can probably find it all online. Afterwards, listen to your artist and follow proper care for it or it could get all gross and infected which is not what you want. Basically, use unscented soap on the area and apply some healing cream like Aquafor 3 times a day. Also let it breathe. Wear loose fitting clothing around it for a while so it can have air.
And thats all she wrote, folks! If you decide to get a tattoo, congratulations! And if not, congratulations too. YOU need to be the one to decide what goes on your body. Be careful and be safe and be smart.
Good afternoon, fellow readers. So it still feels like the middle of winter here in Michigan. That means it is absolutely miserable and cold. Nobody wants to go out there right now, so all of our warm weather pastimes must be cast aside until May when it finally begins to thaw. So what do we do?
Luckily, for me, most of my hobbies are done indoors where I can stay nice and warm and the thing outside known as “nature” can stay as far away from me as humanly possible. Don't get me wrong here, I do like going outside and walking in the woods and smelling the wild flowers or seeing all those cute little woodland critters roaming about. However, I am also a total klutz, mosquitoes find my blood delicious, and I burn easy. Therefore, inside is best.
So what do I do inside? Lately, I work on my newest hobby. I knit. Yes, one more thing to make me seem more like an old lady. But I do not care. I enjoy making soft things for me to wear. This year I knitted 7 of my Christmas gifts and I plan on knitting part of my bridesmaids gifts. Currently, I am working on a hat, scarf and mitten set for myself in cream and burgundy.
I learned how to knit about a year ago from a woman I babysit for who has become a very good friend. She taught me how to “cast on” my stitches, and to do my basic “garter stitch.” Since then, I have yet to be able to stop knitting and my bedroom is filled with skeins of year in many different colors and many different size needles in both straight and circular forms. Right now, I can do easy patterned scarves, flat knit hats, fingerless mittens, and dishcloths, as well as decorative little pumpkins I did for my Mom’s birthday. I will work on my first blanket soon which will be a Christmas star blanket. I can also read patterns, and anything I do not know or understand, I have found that YouTube is my new best friend. Every time I pick up my needles, I am strengthening my skill and learning something new. Last time it was how to transfer works in progress onto a holder so I can start a different project. There is always something to learn, and I love it.
I wanted to learn how to knit for two reasons, one because I try to learn something new every holiday season whether it be a new recipe for a tasty treat, or a craft to make homemade gifts. And also because I was super tired of being totally dependent on my phone for entertainment and to keep my ADD brain from going insane. I hate sitting still, I have to be doing something. So this a productive thing to do. So when crocheting didn't work at all, I switched to knitting. Now, I always have a project with me wherever I go and Joann Fabrics is my new favorite store. I get a daily pattern emailed to me and I joined a knitting group on Facebook. So much fun and so much to learn. Recently, I sold two sets of dishcloths to someone over the holidays to give as gifts and I hope to do craft shows. I cannot wait to make my first stocking for Christmas or a baby blanket for my children one day. There is so much to do with this hobby. I have a long way to go though and I look forward to it. Maybe one day I can even sell my stuff on Etsy. Only time will tell.
So that's all for now, readers, I am off to work on my scarf, as it is a rare day off for me. Or, maybe I will take a nap. I haven't decided yet. Stay warm!
Good evening, fellow readers. I have the most wonderful news. Something amazing and glorious has happened to me. I am ENGAGED!!!! EEEEEEEK!! It is almost as if a real life fairy tale is coming true. Think about it for just a minute. Here we have this sweet little nerdy girl with a slight case of ASD swimming in an endless sea of people filled with your typical run of the mill brain dead shallow morons. She wonders if there is any hope for romantic and traditional souls like herself. Then out of nowhere, at a local Cheesecake Factory in Novi, a nerdy Prince Charming catches your eye. You have dinner and excellent conversation, share in the perfect first kiss. 7 dates later, you make it official, and the rest is history. 17 months have now passed and the couple, who never thought they would ever find on another, are engaged to be married.
So how did my Prince do it? Well, it was Christmas morning and my beautiful ring was my present. It was the last present I was to open. I opened this little box and inside was a decoy gift. A cheap $5 Walmart snowflake necklace and earring set. I almost began to cry! I know that the dollar amount you spend on a person does not actually matter, and that is the thought that counts. However, I spend at least $100 dollars on him, making sure he had the perfect Christmas with my family in Lexington. Not to mention the effort in selecting the gifts and wrapping them and transporting them, and making him a delicious Christmas breakfast. So when I opened this effortless and ugly gift, I wanted to cry. I remained calm and said thank you. Then, out of nowhere, he slid off the couch and got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife in the presence of my family. It was perfect and magical. So simple and yet detailed. I guess you can say that he was automatically forgiven.
We have been engaged for just over two months now, and it has been amazing and so much fun. I have been having the time of my life getting to go through all of the pretty bridal magazines, and see halls, looking at different photographers, booking my date with the church. Last week I even said “yes to the dress!!!!” Randy would be so proud of me. It is true, you will know your dress when you put it on. So far, everything has been going extremely smooth and I have literally gotten all that I wanted for my wedding.
It has also been stressful, money is always an issue as weddings are crazy expensive. Also, everyone will have an opinion for you and ask you millions of questions and try to be “helpful” by offering you subtle suggestions and advice. So what do you do? You smile and graciously thank them for their help. Remember, that some of these people have been through the craziness of planning a wedding and they do mean well. The most important thing to do is remember that this is your day. It is what you want, and not what everyone else wants.
Above all, try to enjoy this time with your fiance and lean on him/her for their support. This is about the two of you becoming a family and vowing to spend eternity with one another. If you are engaged, congratulations! If not, good luck in your search for your special person. I promise they are out there.
Good evening fellow readers.
Happy holidays (Happy Holidays) Happy Holidays (Happy Holidays)! While the merry bells keep ringing, happy holidays to you! Deck the halls with bows of holly fa la la la la la la la la! Ah yes! It is Christmas time here in Metro-Detroit. Everywhere you go, more and more people are decorating their houses with lights all a glow, the music is playing in our stores, Santa is adorning our malls with his festive little helpers and there is a certain magic in the air. Yes, it is literally beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere I go. And I could not be happier!
As much of an old soul I am, I am also secretly not so secretly 5 at heat and this has to be my absolute favorite time of year. Yes, I am one of those people who turn on the Christmas music on Nov. 1 and I start my shopping in September so I don't get behind. My tree goes up right after Thanksgiving and I am the person telling Mom what is missing in the house decorating process. Heck, my Mom calls me “fa la la la Lauryn.” I love Christmas. People have told me over the years how I will begin to like it less and less as I get older and have children of my own or have other things to do and get caught up in the rush and the stress of it all. And I just do not know or understand what they are talking about. I am 28 years old and I am still in love with Christmas. Last year, my boyfriend bought me an ugly Christmas sweater and I wore it with pride along with my snow man earrings and Santa socks.
Now, I do know that there are others in this world, like my boyfriend, who really do not like the holidays. Or it just is not a huge deal to them. They go about their lives like it is just an ordinary day. And that is fine. Maybe you are like them. Maybe all of the lights and the music sends your sensory issues through the roof, or the thought of all those people at the many holiday gatherings makes you extremely uncomfortable, for crowds make you nervous. Maybe the feel of the wrapping paper bothers you or you are gluten free and cannot have all of the delicious treats that come with this time of year and that depresses you. Or maybe, you are of the Jewish or Islamic faiths and don't even celebrate Christmas and the fact that your holidays get sort of pushed to the side makes you kind of sad (although, Target does pretty good with having decorations for both Hanukkah and Christmas and I really want the sign that says “Oy to the world”).
However you feel, whether it be “YIPPIE I LOVE CHRISTMAS YAHOO” or “Oh no not Christmas again, all my sensory issues are gonna go insane” or “Eh, its just another day” or “I am not Christian and do not celebrate Christmas,” use this time of year as an excuse to at least be kind to one another. Right now, our country is facing a major crisis with the result of our new President elect. People are terrified for their rights and fearful that the life they once knew is gone. People need kindness now more than ever. We need to remember the reason for the two main holidays in Michigan, Christmas and Hanukkah, which is love and kindness. It is a time for miracles. Both the birth of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and the miracle of the oil burning for 8 nights in the Temple instead of only one. Both stories remind us that anything is possible and that miracles do in fact happen. Even the small extending of a “Merry Christmas” “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy Holidays” can be enough to brighten a person’s day. Why today, two perfect strangers said “Merry Christmas” to me at Aldi while shopping for dinner and it left a smile on my face.
This is a time for family and tradition so go ahead and hang your stocking and decorate your tree. Light the menorah and spin the dreidel. Or, if you must, hide in your room under the covers praying it will end. Whichever you choose, I hope that it is wonderful. As for me, I will sport my ugly sweater, sing carols at the top of my lungs, wrap my presents, watch cheesy and predictable holiday movies, and stuff my face with as many candy canes and Starbucks peppermint mochas as I can. Heck, tis the season!
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
Good evening, fellow readers! Hows it goin? How about them Lions?
OK, OK, OK, I will get right to the point. It's election time! I know, I know! Everyone and their mother is super sick of hearing about it. And this year, we elect a new person to lead our country. So who do you pick? Well, I am not going to tell you. Why? Because, frankly it is not my job to tell you who to vote for, that is your choice. And that is what I want to talk about.
I have personally seen it in my life, where people think that because the person has a disability, they should be told who to vote for, and then the individuals goes along with it. NO! That is like so wrong on so many levels. They think that said individuals cannot make that choice on their own. And some cannot. But for the most part they can. As a citizen of this great nation, it is your right and privilege to vote for the candidate you feel is right for the job.
So how in the world do you make such an important decision? I will tell you. You listen. Listen to EVERYTHING. People say that we shouldn't listen to mainstream media because they only dig up the bad and make each candidate look like the ring leader of a circus with all this continuous mudslinging and other garbage. But, here's the thing, there is truth behind everything. Stereotypes by definition are opinions based on fact. Rumors start with some truth behind them. So even though every rumor may or may not be true, it’s there for a reason and you need to listen to it. Not to mention that the memes and edited video clips are slightly funny. I mean come on, did you see Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of Donald Trump on SNL last week? HILARIOUS!
Another thing you can do is talk to different people. Talk to your parents, friends, grandparents, teachers, neighbors. Gather different opinions on the topic and if you do not under an issue, ask. Then ask yourself how you personally feel about their opinions.
Research. PEOPLE, YOU HAVE THE INTERNET! USE IT! Look up the candidates running and read up on their stances on certain issues. Remember, the Democrat and Republican parties are the two main parties but there are third party candidates as well who are running. You do not need to vote for a mainstream candidate. There are also plenty of detailed quizzes that can help you decide which candidate you should choose. The quiz shouldn't be your main deciding factor, but it can at least give you some sort of an idea as to where to start your research.
Watch. Watch the news, and the debates. That is where you will get a lot of your information on the main two candidates. It will also show you how they carry themselves in the public eye. If you think about it, the President is a highly public job. You must conduct yourself with poise style and class. Find out if they are a decent public speaker, or if they have a good public game face. How a leader conducts themselves in society is a big part of the job. But it is not everything.
Lastly, register. Get out there and register to vote. It is so important. My first election was back in 2008 when President Obama was first elected. It was an important election and this one is too. You could see the first woman President. You could also see a non politician business man become our leader.
Get out there on November 8th and vote! Whatever people are telling you, your vote does matter! And when you do vote, wear your “I voted today” sticker with pride, because you did it! You did your civic duty to your country. That is the best thing you can do, vote! Good luck and God bless America!
Good evening, everyone! I am going to cut right to this topic: work life. I will be honest with you, working as an adult on the spectrum is anything but easy. I have lost count of how many jobs I have. It is almost the same scenario, either I said something totally stupid and inappropriate or was not fast enough to perform the work in a timely manner. There have also been times where I have had to quit jobs for personal reasons.
I guess my best advice that I can give you all, my readers, is to keep trying. No matter how many times you get knocked down, you have to get back up. Eventually, you will find the right job for you in the right field. Right now I am currently a behavioral technician doing Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy (ABA) witch children on the spectrum. This type of therapy focuses on changing behaviors and is all about reinforcers and getting the best outcome possible. I love my job, and I am pretty sure it is the right field for me. I feel like being an adult on the spectrum has given me a whole new perspective on the job and helps me to understand what these children are going through.
Now, how did I get where I am? First off, I went to college. If you are capable of going to college, do it. It was where I grew up most as a person and made the best friends I have ever had in my life. But, before you go, make sure you know what you want to do. College is expensive, too expensive! So don't do what I did and switch your major several times and take over a decade and wind up with a degree you don't even want in the first place and has almost nothing to do with your current career. Regardless, I am proud of myself. I have a degree and that, right there, sets me higher on the job market. College is necessary to get anywhere in life. It is almost impossible to have a career without it.
The next piece of advice I can offer you is to create a CV or a resume. Make sure it pertains to your field. Even if you have never had a job before in your life, the CV/resume can list your job related skills, your experience working in the field (even if it wasn't gained via employment), volunteer experience, education, any certifications you have, etc. Mine, for example, is for care giving/babysitting/special needs care. It lists all of my certificates in CPR/First Aide, Blood born pathogens, recipient rights, my education, all of my volunteering and experiences. It also has a bit of my personal hobbies and skills to give my perspective employers an idea of who I am as a person.
If you already have a CV/resume created, be sure to keep it current and updated. I recently opened the one I had created back in Sep of last year and found it did not have my most recent place of employment or my new phone number. You want to make yourself as marketable and desirable as possible. You also want to walk into an interview as prepared and professional as possible and it would not look good to go in with no resume or one that is out of date. If you are horrid and ghastly at spelling and punctuation, have someone check it over so it is all prim and polished.
It is also a good idea to have two separate email addresses. One for business and another for personal emails. You can hook both accounts to your smart phone. This way, you have easy to access to your email 24/7. This way all of your emails are also sorted and well organized so you may easily find them. Your email addresses need to be simple and give away as little information as possible. It needs to sound professional and adult. It should not be “email@example.com”. My first professional email was my first and middle name and my birth year at gmail.com. It was simple and concise.
Next, remember that appearance is everything. So dress your best for the interview. I tend to wear black leggings or slacks, flats and a nice top. I do not wear jeans to an interview. It just looks unprofessional. There is an appropriate attire for every situation. You wouldn't wear flannel jammie pants and fuzzy bunny slippers to an interview, to church, or the theater. Nor would you wear stilettos and a mini skirt to play basketball. If you are really unsure of what to wear, ask a friend or a parent even to help you. A second opinion is always good, even if it is not one you like. Same goes with your makeup, ladies, make it look tasteful. Blush and lipstick maybe some eye shadow and mascara. Make yourself look like you without trying too hard. Keep your hair neat and tidy. Men, make sure you shave or trim, keep your facial hair groomed.
Try to get to your interview on time. Early is even better! If, by chance, you are late, make sure you have the number of the place you have applied. This way, you could call ahead and give notice. It is just polite to not leave your potential employer waiting for you to arrive. Punctuality, professionalism, and politeness are key!
With these tips and suggestions I guarantee you will find a job. It may not be the job you want but it will be a job. And that, my friends, is the first step in a successful career. Remember, and I have a hard time with this too, that it may not be the job that you want but we all have to start somewhere in life and work our way to the top in order to be a success. Good luck and happy job searching!
|Autism in My Eyes||