How I’ve Been Doing

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything! The reason for that is that nothing has really been new. I’ve been continuing to work from home for my position as a Behavior Management Coordinator, and at the houses for my relief positions. Other than that, things have been same old, same old.

While I have been getting out to take walks and such, life has pretty much been the same every day: wake up, check emails, do my work for the day, sign off, and then either take a walk which is typically followed by dinner, or work another shift. Then I’ll relax for a while, maybe watch a show on Netflix, and go to bed, only to start over the next day.

One thing that has been nice is the weather. We broke a record at 94 degrees on Tuesday! I’ve been getting plenty of sun, and sitting outside on the swing on my deck. I love the fact that summer is almost here. It’s my favorite season!

I’m really looking forward to everything opening back up. My best friend and I can’t wait to get back to the mall and restaurants! It’ll be nice to go to the movies again, too. The trend has been that the curve is flattening, so it looks like we’ll see that happen someday in the near future.

Aside from all the humdrum, I do have exciting news: my brother is getting married on June 14th! The wedding is going to take place at a farmhouse in the Finger Lakes, where things will be opening by that time! We’re all going to stay there from Saturday through Thursday, and the my brother and his fiancee will be married at a gazebo. It’s going to be a blast! I’m excited to be able to be there for them, as well as to make a getaway.

I haven’t heard anything about when I’ll be heading back to the office yet, but I’m thinking that since it’s now been proven it can be done, working from home at least part of the week may be an option. In the meantime, I’m taking life as I always do: one day at a time!

Being Autistic During Social Distancing

Many people associate being autistic with being an introvert. There is a lot of truth to this notion, as I know many autistics for whom the concept of social distancing is relatively easy. They have no difficulty with keeping to themselves and staying in. However, I’m living proof that social autistics DO exist.

I, personally, am going stircrazy. I’m working from home for my full-time job right now, which, in itself, is going well. I’m still able to email, call, and text my coworkers, as well as the staff at the houses I’m in charge of the behavioral side of things for. That said, it’s just not the same getting out and having somewhere to GO every day. I miss just being able to chat with others in the room, and being out and about, going to Life Plan meetings and such.

My mom is also working from home, so we are glad to have each other around. One thing we’ve been doing is going for a walk in the park each day we can after our work is done (while keeping our distance from others, of course!). This is helping me to at least get some exercise, fresh air, and just some time out of the house. We go for drives as well. It definitely breaks up the day somewhat.

Mentally and emotionally, I’d say I’m hanging in there. It’s worth mentioning I do live with mental health diagnoses (anxiety and OCD) in addition to being autistic. My medications help me VERY much. At the same time, with my days having changed so much, and the fact I can see my friends, go to the mall or out to eat, or to the movies, which are some of my favorite activities, it is taking a toll on my mental health. I find my moods shifting between anxious for no apparent reason, to feeling down, where I’m dwelling on sad thoughts. Today, I’m at an equilibrium, and am feeling pretty good since the sun is shining 🌞 Let’s hope this lasts!

Another thing that has helped is that I’m still working relief for my two other jobs during all of this, as residential staff are essential employees. I got a call from one of the agencies about one of their houses which has an abundance of open shifts. I picked up 13 for April! This will help me to get out of the house, and I’ll have people to interact with. It gives my life meaning to help others, as always. I worked my first shift there last night, and the residents are really cool! πŸ™‚

It’s important during these times to know what your “style” is, and what works for you. While many of my friends find this time not to be much of a challenge, remember that some autistics thrive on socialization. While I can’t go out and hang out with my friends and family as I’d like to, there are ways I can still break up my day and take care of my mental health. Wishing everyone healthy days ahead! Stay safe!

It’s My Birthday! 😊

Well, I’ve completed another orbit around the sun. Happy 37th birthday to me, even if I don’t feel a day older than 20 πŸ˜‰

So far, my quarantine birthday has been going well, all things considered. While my mom and I won’t be going to Erie, PA as we had planned, we are going to make the most of this day! While I’ve been working at home, I still took PTO for today, so I can spend it doing whatever it is I would like to do…I have keto brownie mix and keto ice cream ready, and my mom and I are going to take a drive later, followed by takeout from LongHorn Steakhouse. I’m also going to play some Switch, of course, because what birthday would be complete without some video game time?

I ordered myself a couple presents from Amazon. They were supposed to arrive today, but…surprise! They arrived at my doorstep yesterday. I gifted myself a Pusheen Dragonsheen plush that flaps her wings when you squeeze her tail, and a set of 4 tins of Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty, which I’m an avid collector of.

While different from what I had expected, I’m still going to seize the day, and make it MY day! πŸ™‚ I hope you all have a great day as well!

Reframing My Thinking

I know the coronavirus has turned the world on its head. You’ve heard stories of toilet paper flying off the shelves. Businesses going into shutdown mode. More importantly, communities coming together to help each other stay safe.

Over the weekend, I was really caught up in my feelings. I was already experiencing a sleep deficit due to the fact I had a lot going on with work and my brother’s fiancee’s wedding shower, which was fantastic! Aside from the good of those couple of days, a lot of minor annoyances had been occurring, and yesterday it all came to a head. I needed to vent.

As the day went on, I couldn’t help but to feel disappointed about what the crisis meant for me. My birthday is coming up in two weeks. Now, it may not seem like much of a big deal, but I live for traditions. I view my birthday as my day to call the shots, and I celebrate it by doing the things I enjoy most. Missing this tradition is hard for me, especially as an autistic, because it’s a change from what I’m used to. Birthdays only come once a year, and I look forward to them very much and count on the events I have planned. My mom and I had been set to go to Erie, PA, as we have on many past birthdays, to shop and go out for dinner.

At the same time, I also felt selfish for feeling this way. In the greater scope of things, my birthday plans mean NOTHING compared to what the rest of the world is dealing with. I had refrained from posting about it on Facebook up until yesterday because of the fact I DIDN’T want to come off as self-absorbed. I did break and needed a quick vent session, but once I let my feelings out, I was able to process them.

After a good night’s sleep, I found myself in a much better frame of mind this morning. I now realize that I had made a mountain out of a molehill. I can always put my plans on hold until after the things that take precedence blow over. More pressing is the safety of others around us. I’d much rather see people getting help who need it, than worry about my own agenda. We need to stick together. Stay safe, everyone!

My Ten Seconds of Fame!

I made the news on Wednesday! I helped organize and run Sensory Night at Lumagination, with Autism Services.

For those of you who’ve never heard of Lumagination, it’s a really cool exhibit that travels to various locations, this one being the Erie County Botanical Gardens. The gardens are lit up with lasers, color-changing bulbs, and sculptures. Some of the sculptures this year were made by UB students. This year’s theme was “Earth.”

A statue of Mother Earth

For Sensory Night, some of my fellow staff from Autism Services and I set up a table of sensory items, an iPad playing the Autism Acceptance video put on by the students last year, and pamphlets illustrating the services we offer. We also provided sensory toys which were up for grabs for anyone interested!

Our table!

We had a great turnout! There was a little girl, about preschool-age, who really loved the sensory rice bin and came back to it about five times! She was so cute πŸ™‚ I saw some of the kiddos I used to work with in after school, too! It was so nice to see them and their parents. There was a boy who noticed the scented putty that we had on the table, and I showed him the glob I had been manipulating throughout the event. He said, “this reminds me of Sticky Tack. Did you know that I have Sticky Tack?” He was a very friendly, animated kid.

Towards the end of the night, I was interviewed by WIVB and Spectrum News! I talked about the event, and answered questions regarding the benefits of sensory environments, and what people can do both be sensitive to the sensory needs of others, and to help them cope. After that was all said and done, they only decided to air a short clip where I had talked about how I’m a sensory seeker, and how I’m not sensitive to lights and sounds, but rather smells, tastes, and textures, but it was still nice to be in the spotlight πŸ™‚ All in all, it was a lot of fun, and I think everyone who came to check it out would say the same!

A giant geode sculpture
A crystal sculpture

A Sunny Morning

Well, Christmas was a relaxing and fun day.

After presents and the beach, we went to see Little Women, which was a really enjoyable movie! I highly recommend it. We then went to dinner at JD’s Restaurant and Lounge. Funk Circle sounded excellent, from what we could hear, as they were playing on the deck and we were inside. I had a steak and asparagus dinner, which was delicious, and my mom had snapper, which she let me try a taste of. I actually liked it! I’m learning that I like different kinds of fish more than I had thought.

Then, we drove around the neighborhood to look at lights and listen to Christmas music. The temperature was in the low 70s, and felt perfect. I slept like a baby a little while after we got back to the condo.

The beach is where we’re headed again in a little while, and then it’s off to make another attempt to visit the DalΓ­ Museum. With no rain in the forecast, parking shouldn’t be an issue this time around! Hope everyone has a Happy Thursday πŸ™‚

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all! πŸ™‚ I’m having a great one so far!

Santa came to visit around 7:45am…I woke up and cleverly got my presents for my mom ready, hiding them around the condo kitchen, complete with notes telling her where to find the next one as she opened them. She loved it! My mom gave me some cute kitty pens and Sonic socks, plus some spending cash!

We ate breakfast on the patio, as it was finally starting to warm up. After relaxing by the ocean breeze, we set out for the beach! While it decided to turn cloudy after only about 20 minutes, we relished in what sunlight we could get! I then went for a swim, and we went back to the condo for a quick lunch.

This evening, we’re going to see Little Women at the Studio Movie Grill, followed by dinner at a restaurant called JD’s Restaurant and Lounge. There will be a band, Funk Circle, who I’m sure I’ll really enjoy! It’s one of my favorite music genres πŸ™‚

Hope everyone else has a very Merry Christmas! πŸ˜€

Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve and the sun is BACK! It decided to rain for the better part of yesterday, and it was only in the 60s and VERY windy. The wind is still blowing, but the sun is shining brightly and hopefully today will be a beach day!

Yesterday, my mom and I went to St. Petersburg. I wanted to stop at a store called The Looking Glass to look at some more crystals and essential oils. It was a nice little spot, and the people working there were super nice. I found some heart chakra oil, an aquamarine beaded bracelet, and a really cool amethyst point pendant that has what’s called a “poison box” at the top: the part connected to the loop where the chain goes through opens up! It’s not unlike a poison ring, if you’re familiar with them. I’m fascinated by jewelry that has little compartments in it!

We were also going to go to the DalΓ­ Museum, however parking was very limited, and we didn’t want to chance parking as far away as we would have had to, given the rain. We drove around St. Petersburg and enjoyed the scenery. Back in Indian Shores, we relaxed and had dinner right at the condo. A little later, we watched a Christmas movie on Lifetime called A Very Vintage Christmas, which was an entertaining and happy story.

Today is going to be fun! Hopefully we’ll catch some rays, and then it’s off to Mass at 6, followed by a surf and turf dinner at Aqua Prime Seafood and Steaks! After dinner, my mom and I are going to drive around and look at some of the lights in the neighborhood. Hope everyone enjoys their Christmas Eve! 😊

The Annual Christmas Eve Eve Post!

A photo came up in Google photos that reminded me of something… it’s already another “Merry Christmas Eve Eve!” I’m relaxing at the condo after another good night’s sleep. It’s supposed to rain today, but I’m still hoping to catch some pool time!

Yesterday, my mom and I went to a few shops, and then to dinner at a neat place called Frenchy’s Outpost. I had a delicious skewer of coconut lime shrimp. We then drove around and admired the Christmas lights in the neighborhood. Once back at the condo, we sat on the patio and enjoyed the fresh air, even if it was pouring!

Today, we’re just going to play it by ear. If it decides not to rain, we’re going to head down to the beach! Tomorrow we have lots of fun lined up! 😊

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since we went to St. Pete Beach! Reflecting on the past year, I’d say that it’s been a decent one. While we are still missing Dad and Grandma, and think about them every day, this year did bring some good things, the highlight being my new job. Here’s to a happy 2020! I can see it clearly…see what I did there? πŸ˜‰

Hello from Indian Shores!

My mom and I landed in Tampa around 7 last night! We are staying in a BEAUTIFUL condo in Indian Shores.

We ate dinner at an awesome restaurant called Miller’s Ale House. I noshed on filet mignon and then we stopped to pick up some food items for our stay. Once back at the condo, we basked in the salty air for a little while, and then it was time to hit the hay.

I slept in till about 9:30, and then played New Super Lucky’s Tale on Switch. My mom made us scrambled eggs for breakfast, and now we’re sitting on the patio and gazing at the ocean! I’m so happy to be in paradise πŸ™‚