August 9, 2013

I'm ADHD and...Squirrel!

I can relate to this little sideways goat. 

I was recently diagnosed with Adult ADHD. What does it feel like? See that little goat with his head turned sideways? My thoughts have raced around at a frantic pace since I was a kid, making me feel as if I was viewing everything at a slight tilt. No neat little rows of easily accessible information for me. It's been like having the messiest filing cabinet in the world in my mind, with everything simply shoved inside in random order.

Over the years I learned tricks to help me function. I made lists at work like a mad woman, and carried a notebook with me everywhere. If I didn't write it down, it was lost forever. When I needed to remember to do something, I often left an item out so I could see it as a reminder. Getting up during boring meetings and trainings wasn't appropriate business protocol, but taking the cap off of a pen over and over and over and over was OK. So was slipping my shoes off and on, off and on, off and on under the table where no one could see. And the Internet with its online banking and automatic payments became my best friend ever. I no longer had to remember to pay any of my bills. 

I have my new husband to thank for helping me seek the help I've needed for so long. I wish I had been diagnosed so much sooner, but I've never been the typical bouncing-off-the-walls ADHD person that most people envision. I'm a daydreamer, unfocused, forgetful, fidgety, a little impulsive, hard to have a conversation with, can't follow directions, leave things partially done, and until recently was fairly good at masking and minimizing my symptoms so they didn't add up to something being "wrong" with me.

What I've come to realize is that there is nothing wrong with me, I'm just wired differently. My brain needs to be stimulated so I don't have all those symptoms that add up to ADHD. I started taking Concerta a couple of days ago and I can already feel a difference. I feel calmer, able to access information in my head easier and more quickly.

Of course, this is just the beginning of my journey. I still need to learn tools to help me live a more normal life. We'll have to figure out the right dosage of medication and I'll have to stay committed to taking it daily. But I'm looking forward to these things. I'm looking forward to never again feeling like I'm looking at the world sideways like that little goat. 

July 24, 2013


I turned on the news yesterday morning and found that it was just as it was when I went to bed the night before. All royal baby news, all the time. I'm happy for William and Kate, just as I'm happy for the woman I saw in the grocery store last week with her newborn. But I don't care about every detail of their lives. And do we really have to rehash Diana's history?

What's really unnerving about all the hoopla is the more I see it on my television, computer, tablet, and phone, the more I begin to think - maybe I should care. The media is insisting that this is an "Event!" So shouldn't I want to read about it, obsess about it, think about it, talk about it? It's insidious.

Of course this isn't the only case of "created news" or "created hype" recently. If one were to have watched the news during the Casey Anthony trial, one would have thought that Caylee Anthony was the only child to have gone missing and finally be found dead - ever. More than 700,000 children go missing each year (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children). Where were the news reports and concern about all of them?

I can't help but wonder how and why certain stories blow up and become more about entertainment for people who like to slow down at accidents on the highway than they are about actual news. Who decides that we need to hear about the death of one celebrity non-stop for a month, but only hear a small announcement about another? Who chooses to elevate the disappearance and death of one woman over those of thousands of others? Who makes celebrities out of people who do nothing more than appear on reality TV? The better question is, why do mind-numbed people sit in front of their televisions eating it up each day?

Truthfully, I don't care about the royal baby, Casey Anthony, manufactured celebrities, etc. I don't care what their sixth cousin removed has to say, or what the neighbor who lived down the street and grew up with them ten years ago might think. What I do care about is real news.

What would a week with only reports about actual news be like? And what would it be like if those reports only showed up during the morning and evening news, or in newspapers (print and online)? Even better, what if they only updated us when something newsworthy happened in the story? And what if they never, ever speculated about what might be or could be or should be?

Life without the constant barrage of useless noise and speculation, only real news and relevant updates. I could live with that.

April 29, 2013

No $$$, No Voice, No Difference

I have a multiple choice question for you, and I'd like you to choose the answer that makes the most sense from a human standpoint.

Funding to most programs in the United States has been cut by 5-8% from 2013 until 2021. You can choose to add money to one of them to ease the pain of those who use the program. Which do you choose?
  • Head Start - providing early childhood education for infants/toddlers/preschoolers/children with disabilities, nutrition, and parenting skills to low income families.
  • Meal on Wheels - providing hot meals to senior citizens who can't afford and often can't physically make meals of their own regularly.
  • Work Study for College Students - providing students with a way to gain practical work experience while paying part of their tuition and avoiding student loan debt.
  • Energy Assistance for Low Income and Elderly - providing assistance with energy bills during times of extreme heat and cold when many can't afford the higher bills. 
  • Federal Aviation Administration - providing air traffic controllers who keep airplanes moving. 
Which would you honestly choose?

Last week I was appalled at the response the FAA furloughs received, simply because people who can afford to fly in airplanes have been inconvenienced by the austerity package, better known as sequestration, imposed upon us by our government. This idiotic plan called for across the board cuts to most federal programs in March 2013. What has sickened me is that as people with money and the voice to speak up have realized the cuts will affect them, federal dollars have magically appeared to exempt programs deemed critical - FAA, TSA, meat inspectors, border patrol agents. 

Meanwhile, those who have no money and no voice, those who rely on all the other programs, are continuing to suffer the devastating cuts. Food banks are losing funding, unemployment benefits are being cut, programs for low income housing are squeezed, school meal programs are being slashed, and more. 

And don't think it all ends September 2013. It doesn't. The poor are expected to suck it up and make due until at least 2021. That's right. If you hear that sequestration ends this September, don't believe it. We're in this for another 8 to 10 years unless our government takes action. What are temporary furloughs this year will become permanent layoffs next year, meaning not only services lost, but also jobs lost and more people added to the already long unemployment rolls.

If you currently have a job, house, car, plenty of food on the table, new clothes, shoes, and can go to the movies whenever you want, good for you! You're probably thrilled the FAA is no longer experiencing furloughs. But what if all of that went away tomorrow? What if you were faced with a crisis so large that it all disappeared? Think it can't happen? Many people are a job loss or medical emergency away from becoming low income or homeless. Ask the millions of people who are now low income if they honestly thought they would be where they are today. I'll guarantee you they don't want to be there.

So if that disaster hit you and you had nowhere to turn, wouldn't you hope there would be organizations and people in the community who could help you? Without the assistance of the programs that are being cut today, you would be in serious trouble. Those of us who have voices need to speak up. We have to make phone calls and write letters to Washington to let them know that children, seniors, and poor are just as important as people who can afford to buy a plane ticket. 

March 25, 2013

The Bad Guys Are Right Here

John Boehner,
U.S. Speaker of the House
and Leader of Evil
Steven and I recently watched the remake of Red Dawn. I'm not giving anything away by telling you the country that invades the United States this time is North Korea. One of the movies on our "Movies To See" list is Olympus Has Fallen. I've read reviews and surprise, North Korea is once again the villain invading us. Are they our new foreign "go to" baddie? If so, it doesn't work for me. I have news for Hollywood. I'm not as afraid of North Korea, or any country with evil intent, as I am of our own leaders. You read that correctly.

From my perspective as a middle class American, the people I had no choice but to vote into office (both Republicans and Democrats) are more of a threat to my way of life at the moment than any leader in another country. They seem bent on dismantling my world, piece-by-piece, starting with my job. The recent sequestration cuts have hit me directly. I'm facing the loss of a paycheck, which will affect how I budget my money and live my life. I'll feel fortunate if I come out of this in a few years with my job still in place. I wouldn't be surprised to see the program at which I work go away altogether, even though it successfully serves thousands of children and families across the United States, and makes a positive difference in their lives.

The bad guys aren't nameless people from a foreign land who don't speak English well. The bad guys were born and raised in America, and they were elected by us. The bad guys are men and women who are so far removed from every day American life that they have no idea what it's like to live paycheck-to-paycheck or have only enough savings to get them by for one or two months. They are people are have no financial stake in the outcome of the decisions they're making. They are people who no longer care about serving the middle and lower class citizens who elected them, but only care about furthering their own agendas based on beliefs that no longer fit a 2013 society.

The sick and sad thing is that we have built a political system in which we have no real choices. We can't elect individuals who would truly represent us anymore. The system is twisted so that only the wealthy or connected can run for office. Sure, a "middle class" person slips through now and then, but look closely and you'll see the strings attached to his or her arms and legs as wealthy backers manipulate them into doing their bidding.

It's hard to take Hollywood movies seriously when they have North Korea invade Washington D.C. and have a super cool good guy come to the rescue. No, I don't want North Korea to win, but at the same time, I'd like to see all the John Boehners and others be pushed out a few windows. I'm tired of them making my life miserable. I'm ready to see them pay, even if it's only a fictionalized version of them. I don't give a rip about seeing North Korea pay. That's what makes blow-em-up action movies fun. We want to see the bad guys that threaten our daily lives pay. So come on Hollywood. Make me a movie about the Senate and House taking a major hit and the U.S. having to start completely over with new rules. Maybe a nice political uprising with the working poor and middle class taking over for a change. We're smart. We know what needs to happen. I'd like to see that movie. Heck, I'd like to live that life.

February 28, 2013

Book a Flight for Me...Anywhere

I need a vacation. Not a load up in my car and drive across the mountains to see my family or fiancé kind. No, I need a real vacation. The kind where I get to fly someplace I've never been, stay in a hotel, order room service, sleep late, follow no schedule, visit a spa, take fun photos, relax like I haven't in years, and pretend I don't actually work for a living. I need a real vacation. Did I mention that?

It doesn't have to be anyplace super fancy or amazingly cool. And I don't want to go alone, I want my fiancĂ© with me. I simply need a break from the routine of life, preferably someplace pretty. I need to recharge my soul; the little red warning light is flashing. It's been 12 years since my last real vacation.

Today the temptation to pull up Travelocity, pick a random city, and book a hotel/flight/car package for two was almost overwhelming. They make it so easy. Sadly, all my vacation time has been consumed or promised to others. I have none left for my spontaneous flight of fancy. Just knowing this makes me tired, and makes me realize how much I need a real vacation (I'm also too responsible to leave on a whim).

And I know I'm not alone.

In two days I've talked to two people who have shared my lack of vacation relaxation. They told their tales of out-of-town family who believe that every free day off should be spent traveling to and visiting with them. The three of us wondered, who is more selfish? Is it us for wanting to reclaim the time we've worked so hard to earn and use it as we please? Or is it them for expecting us to drive or fly to different states for a family visit every time we take a few days off?

I don't know the answer, and today I don't care. Today, I just want a real vacation.

January 22, 2013

Bring On The New Year!

It's a new year, and I have a feeling it's going to be a good one!