My Pet Project – Diary of a Space Bum

Last year, I joined a site called WritScrib with the hopes that it would really just take off. I donated $5 for a beta key to get early access to the site as it was still being built. It did not disappoint… with the sole exception that it didn’t succeed and closed down. But it did present a unique opportunity for me. You see, the proposed format of the site was perfect for a project I wanted to do where I did creative writing every day for a year. The particular type of audience on the site were a grab-bag mix of creative types. Everything from traditional art to digital. Painters, writers, hell even throat singers and basket weavers. It was a microcosm of only content creators rather than the general public. A perfect place to shape what I wanted this project to be, and what I wanted it all to encompass. It also provided a perfect place for critique, ideas, collaboration, and resources.

Unfortunately it ultimately failed. Despite this, my desire to continue my writing project persisted. I just had to decide the right… place to put it. And so I really gave it thought. I examined places I already had accounts. The ability to make sub-domains, alternate blogs, etc.

While one would THINK Tumblr would be ideal, given it’s flexibility and endless customization…. It’s also a very polarizing and divisive webspace. One where a person can get locked out of their account and lose years worth of content just because one person didn’t like a cat picture you posted and got everyone they knew to harass and report you for it. Seriously, this kind of thing happens there all the time. So, while Tumblr would be perfect – I wouldn’t trust its reliability with a hardboiled egg let alone my pet project.

Ultimately I decided to do it here on WordPress. The reason being I have the app on my phone and on my other laptop so there’s literally no excuse not to do my daily posts. I have some of the originals from WritScrib which I’ve posted already. You can read them here, on Diary of a Space Bum.

I hope you enjoy it.

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Peanut Butter, Apple Jelly, I like bread.

I’ve written before, ages ago now, that my son is autistic. We played hell getting him his disability as well as various services and programs he needs. Well, I’m happy to say that next year he will no longer be receiving PT services at school! What little he needed help with, the PT specialist is confident he’s got down and mastered. So, milestone hit!

He’s speaking more, and finally – FINALLY – is saying what he actually wants! Usually. Half his spoken vocabulary is still hard to understand. But this last weekend I think I might have hit a solution. Unfortunately for those around me who can’t appreciate my off-key and tone-deaf singing, it’s going to be quite painful to listen to all the time.

My son loves music. Like any child his age, he loves to dance and move around to music. He likes to try and sing along with songs.

But he also responds to it faster and easier than the spoken word. I made this discovery last Friday evening while making him dinner. He’s a very picky eater, and has never had apple jelly before. He specifically requested apple jelly on his sandwich (unfortunately we didn’t have any. All we had was grape, and my husband’s strawberry preserves). I was goofing off and sing-songing everything, as I do when the Lego Movie is on because honestly, I’m not ashamed to say that “Everything is Awesome” is one of my favorite songs and is actually on most of my playlists on my other laptop. It’s a really great song and my son, of course, LOVES IT.

So, I was singing at him during a commercial break the words “peanut butter jelly bread peaches”. He responded with “apple jelly”. Now, he loves apples. He can clearly say the word apple. And banana. And sometimes pear. When he is requesting a specific food, it is nearly always last in what he is saying. I say nearly because in the last month he’s taken to saying “please” after the object or snack he wants. So, at first I thought he meant he wanted an apple with his peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of peaches. So I asked him “Do you want an apple?” of course that time I didn’t sing it at him. When I realized he wasn’t going to respond, I thought “what the hell why not?” and sang the question at him. His response? A very firm and very no-nonsense “Apple Jelly”. This went on for a few more minutes until I said “We don’t have apple jelly. We have purple jelly.” And he pouted and said “purple jelly.”

Yesterday, I went to the store to get a few things for the house and while I was there decided to grab a jar of apple jelly. When it was dinner time and it was time to make his sandwich I looked at him and I sang “I bought apple jelly. Do you want apple jelly?” And he very enthusiastically shouted back at me “Apple jelly!”

You know when kids take apart an Oreo or other similar cookie to get the cream out of the center and eat it first? Well that’s exactly what happened with the apple jelly on this kid’s sandwich. He pulled it apart like an Oreo and started licking the crap out of that apple jelly. I have never seen him attack a food so enthusiastically before. Not even a McDonald’s french fry, which are his absolute favorite of all the fast foods out there.

So of course after making this monumental discovery of the singing rather than speaking to him and the apple jelly, I immediately messaged his special ed Pre-K teacher and told her about it. (There’s an app called Seesaw that the teachers encourage parents to download and use so we can see pictures of our kids doing fun stuff at school, or the teachers can message us directly if there’s a problem or concern. It’s so freaking helpful.)

So that’s been my weekend so far. Pretty good, considering school is closed today and tomorrow for some ungodly reason. Winter Break, they call it. I call it any excuse to get more time off from classes.

Two posts in the same month and within days of one another?

By the gods, it’s a mid-winter miracle!

Actually, not really. I’m just feeling very…. contemplative I guess. Then again that always happens when I listen to Nate Ruess on repeat in my Youtube playlist. I find myself staring at folder upon folder on my laptop and wondering when I gathered so many unfinished writing projects and stories.

And then I find myself drawn back to Space Bum. Or rather, my writing project that I had developed for Writscrib. It has promise, it really does. But I just need to get myself on a strict “I do this every day” schedule. I get distracted easily which is a rather big problem.

Anyway, so I find myself reading through all these old unfinished fanfics and stories with nothing to show for them. Until now. I started a “series” or somesuch on Archive of our Own where I’m going to be putting all my utter crack stories and unfinished stories. This gets them off my laptops and my portable drives, but also allows me to see if there is any interest in a particular idea that I might want to develop if I see people actually respond well to it.

Anyway, that’s pretty much all that’s on my mind at the moment.

It’s a post!

Hark! I have returned to make a post!

Not like many care, but those of you who do, then I thank you.

These days I’ve been in a slump. Not exactly a writer’s block, not exactly a depression, and not exactly a health related issue either. Though all three are certainly components of my lack of posting and interacting these days. Those who’ve known me in my offline life know I’m prone to going long periods of being incommunicado. It’s not that I don’t see messages, emails, texts, calls, etc. It’s just that for some reason I can’t work up the personal motivation to respond or reach out. Sometimes I’m literally just too busy. Other times I just… don’t. I’ve always been this way and will likely always be this way.

That said, I’ve been rather active on Tumblr more and more recently. It’s mainly due to the failure of Writscrib, which I adored. It was a nice alternative to Tumblr but due to poor money management or whatever, it spiraled straight down the drain. That’s alright, I was only out $5 I donated to the kickstarter so I’m not too terribly upset about that. It was months and months ago that it flopped anyway.

I’m likely to change over my Tumblr URL soon actually, just to preserve the one I use most. See, there’s this problem – Tumblr for some ungodly reason (Apple kicking it from the App store) has decided to go off on the deep end and start banning all NSFW stuff. Now, while I appreciate the sentiment as it gets rid of a very big problem involving porn bot blogs randomly messaging me and following me to entice me to open myself up for hacks and viruses with their erotic goodies and pictures of big round titties, it does pose a serious issue with what exactly constitutes NSFW.

For example, I had exactly ONE post flagged. It was a post that contained one single image, and was tagged with “artist resource”. It was a blank body model. No nipples. No overly detailed genitals. As a matter of fact, it was a featureless, faceless, genderless white generic figure in a generic super hero pose. Not even a sexy super hero pose. Rather than appeal it, I deleted it altogether. No big deal. Right?

Wrong.

See, even if I had appealed the flagging of the post, the mere fact that the single post was flagged at all immediately marked my Tumblr blog as “explicit”. I mean, I’m no saint. I’ve got lots of other stuff on that particular blog that could very well fall under the new NSFW policy guidelines. But with over 15,000 posts and reblogs to my name I’m not going to sit there and go through each individual post to make sure my blog meets the SFW criteria before appealing to get the explicit label removed.

So instead, I’m going to back-up all my blogs (since it’s the main blog, the primary, that is in hot water at the moment) and shuffle URLs around to my back-up account. That way my URL doesn’t get permanently removed and unusable. Unfortunately this means I have to update some other stuff on my backup account, which is annoying. And copy all of my code for my main blog theme. But it’s totally worth it to not lose my URL. The posts I can deal with, but the URL is basically my “brand” so to speak.

Anyway, things are generally good and my back hurts like a bitch. But that’s life.

Not dead (well, not yet anyway)

So….. Wow. Not a single post since April! Bet people forgot I’m even bloody here. But that’s alright! I write here mostly for myself anyway.

So the goings on in my life are thusly – medically I’m still in the same boat so no updates there other than “hey, pain! all i know is pain!” so that’s nothing new. My son’s doing quite well with school and has been saying A LOT of things now! Still barely recognizable as actual words, but he’s now trying to establish a base for communication with repetitive words and actions and that’s taken AGES.

Mom’s doing alright. Her health has gotten worse, but that’s expected with her age and different conditions.

Husband found out he’s got a slip disk. His L5 on his S1. And it’s been causing him issues for a long time but no one’s been able to catch it till now.

It’s his birthday. He’s 45 years old today.

Dealing With Myelf

I’ve been rediscovering my love of Power Rangers these last few weeks and trying to decide if my body is fighting with me or not. Some days are better than others, and I can do a bit more than usual. Other days, I have to drag myself out of bed because if I don’t I’d spend all day in it.

My pain these days has made me quicker to anger than usual, in some cases to an extreme that frightens me. I haven’t harmed anyone – but with my particular set of anger issues it can be a possibility. Unfortunately I take after my dad in that respect. Part of why I’m in therapy, and will likely stay in therapy till the day I die. Unlike my dad, I do have a brief few moments before I fly into the Rage where I’m still aware, lucid, and can redirect or leave the room before I cause true harm. The fact that I am this way scares the shit out of me, and I don’t have episodes often but when they happen… holy crap.

Part of good coping skills is changing your “self-talk”. That’s what I’ve been doing the last few weeks, and my therapist has been really helpful and supportive in helping me figure out a good language for me to use for talking myself down and referring to my “episodes”. Part of my problem is that certain terminology I’ve used my whole life is also negatively associated with my dad – specifically our very similar anger and rage issues. Thinks like “seeing red” I’ve switched to “seeing green”. Instead of “raging” I’m “Hulking out”. This removes the mental association I have with my dad which makes me feel even worse than I normally would after an episode. It also reminds me that I’m not, and never will be my father. By using terminology reminiscent of The Hulk, it tells me that there are times when I can’t control my anger, but that I am not always like this. Whereas my dad WAS always like this. He chose not to do anything about his problems, but I choose to work on them and improve them. It’s slow going, but I haven’t had a full Hulking Out since right before I met my husband. So about five years. I had an episode a few weeks ago, and I’ve been dealing with that and developing more coping skills as a result.

Which brings me back to Power Rangers, surprisingly enough. See, as I said before my pain levels have been causing me to be quicker to anger. I’ve got a shorter fuse than normal while I learn to re-adjust around the increased chronic pain and the shifting stresses in my life. So I’ve been re-watching Power Rangers, all the way from the very first ever episode, as part of my cool-down/wind-down time. It’s soothing to me and comforting because it’s something I associate fondly with from my otherwise turbulent childhood. Plus it’s so poorly made, and ridiculous that when I’ve had a harder than normal day, or had an angrier than normal day, it helps pull me out of myself while I ridicule specific plots or monsters in the series. Such as the lead up infamous Peace Conference from MMPR season 2 where they got rid of the original Red, Yellow, and Black Rangers. The body doubles were ridiculous but nowhere near as horrid as the voice double for the Red Ranger. My gods that was… painful to hear.

Anyway, that’s been it. Just me dealing with myself the last few weeks.

“Life, don’t talk to me about life.”

Ah. One of my favorite quotes from my favorite manically depressed robots, Marvin. Douglass Adams truly knew what he was doing when he created him. Truly Marvin is the most relatable of fictional robots.

It’s been just over a month since I’ve posted. It’s a combination of lack of blogging inspiration, lack of motivation, seasonal depression, regular depression, medical issues, financial issues, scheduling issues, family drama, and working on a writing project.

January 14th is the anniversary of my brother’s death in 2014. Throughout the holiday season, and onward through January and February, my mom goes through severe depression. She’s lost a lot of family members in January over the years, and despite my birthday being in the same month, she just can’t find the joy in life this time of year. Not that I’m complaining, because I love my mom. I’d do anything for her, have done. She’s one of the hills I’d gladly die on, because I know she’d do the same for me no matter the reason or cause. That’s just how we are. But January runs me ragged. I’m on egg shells, and dealing with my own thoughts and feelings towards things this time of year as well and this year… I just couldn’t keep up.

And then I got a notification in the mail that my husband’s disability case is under review. We had to fill out functionality reports. The last time I had to do that for someone was my niece (husband’s side of the family) and it didn’t turn out that well. Once they got the paperwork in, and I was able to relax a bit, we get ANOTHER notice in the mail. On date night. Now he’s got to go in tomorrow morning in Rome for a mental evaluation for additional shit to do with the review. And I’m just so fucking stressed.

This last week, my birthday week, has been especially trying. I had to deal with paperwork related to the appointment tomorrow morning. Reschedule everything I possibly could because someone at my mom’s job quit suddenly and she had to pick up almost all the shifts left open, which meant her hours changed, and I had to reschedule everything. Only there was an appointment on my birthday that I couldn’t reschedule because it was my son’s IEP meeting to set things up for the next school year. Monday, mom suddenly had to go to a meeting at work at the most inconvenient of times which meant I couldn’t take the car in to get worked on. Up to this point it had been stalling out on us pretty frequently but we didn’t have the time or money to get it fixed. My birthday – Tuesday – IEP meeting. I was then going to go take the car to the mechanic. But lo and behold mom’s hours got fucked up AGAIN and she had to be into work earlier than she originally did. Finally Wednesday, I can take the car to get worked on. Only to find out that part of what’s wrong with it will cost between $1200-$1500 to get fixed (and that’s if we get a used/rebuilt transmission instead of new). But my mechanic’s an honest guy, and he fixed everything he could fix for me. Car runs better but it’s only a matter of time now before the transmission finally goes. So I tell mom what happened and the situation. That we’ve got to save every penny. No more candy bars at the grocery store unless we really REALLY budget it in. And I mean every single penny. Mind you, I’m now operating on the hope that my husband’s disability case isn’t closed out, but on the assumption that it’s a possibility. So I’m working with a budget 2/3 what I normally work with. Just in case. Did I mention that since we were doing so well before all of this that I decided there was enough in the budget to treat my family with bumping our Comcast bill from just internet (which was costing us nearly $100 a month anyway) to a bundle with TV for $120 a month? Well… guess what I’m locked into for 2 years unless I want to pay a $250 contract cancellation fee? – This is the entire reason I kept off the contract plan for 3 years. Just in case situations like the one we are in now came up and I had to start dumping luxury bills. So what day are we up to now? Wednesday right? Okay. Well that was Wednesday. Thursday I could FINALLY get to doing laundry! Hurrah! Only half a week late. So I managed to get that done. But wait! In order to get it done, I had to take mom to work that evening because guess what I spent all morning doing! Grocery shopping and paying bills. Friday morning, mom got off at 7AM. So, I rolled out of bed when my son got up for school, got dressed and left right as his bus was pulling up. Didn’t even have my coffee yet. Managed to have a few minutes to spare so I could roll up to the RaceTrac and get mom coffee and some sausage biscuits. Got myself some croissants and realized I’d promised my husband I’d get him a coffee, too. Problem: we only have 2 cup holders in the car. So I got him and mom their coffees. I got myself a bottle of water. Told myself no big deal, I needed more water anyway. Mom had to roll back into work at 3pm. Husband went and paid rent since I didn’t get to it the day before (which is fine, it was only the 2nd. It’s due on the 5th.) He calls me not long after he gets there and tells me that the landlord sold the house. While we’re still living here. Knowing we needed time to get our credit in order because we wanted to do rent to own. We made this known right up front before moving in, told him it might be a few years because my husband had NO credit and mine was screwed from medical stuff. He said that was fine. Now we’ve got a new homeowner – same landlord company (as far as we know) and the person bought the place sight unseen. The last time I’ve been in this position the new owners knocked on my door and said we had 2 weeks to get out. My friend Crystal actually helped me move a lot of the boxes from our old place in Debary to our new place in Deltona between classes for a few days so it would be less that my mom and dad had to deal with. So I’ve been in full metal panic paranoia mode since Friday.

On top of all of this I am still dealing with my chronic pain in my back and now in both knees as the tendons and ligaments are literally deteriorating and my kneecaps are sliding out of place little by little as time goes by while my L5 is also disintegrating. The cluster headaches are getting worse but I’ve literally had no time to get to the doctor’s to get my meds refilled let alone adjusted.

So pretty much my entire world right now is being held together by rage, spite, and duct tape and I’m barely holding it together because if I crumble, literally everyone else will, too. I just hate having to be the strong foundation all of the time for everyone.

However! I’ve got a plan! It’s not a cunning plan, but a plan nonetheless! I’m still seeing my therapist every 2 weeks, and that’s been my lifeline. The main reason I’ve been holding it together as well as I have for so long like this. But I can’t rely on that alone.

I’ve been taking at least one afternoon a week, for a minimum of 3 hours, during a weekday. And for that time I am sitting in a quiet, quasi-dark corner of the library with my old clunky laptop. And I’ve got headphones. And I’m writing. Or I’m photoshopping, or both. The important thing is I put my phone on vibrate, pull out my laptop, and I have uninterrupted (save for emergencies) me time. I know that I certainly wouldn’t have been able to survive these last 2 weeks if not for my library time.

So, I’m going to keep it up no matter what life is throwing at me because it’s pretty much the only free thing I can do where I can get there regardless of if I have the car or not (we live a few blocks away and if I take my pain meds approximately 45 minutes before leaving the house I’m able to walk there if I have to. Take my anti-inflammatory about half an hour before I leave the library and I can make it back.

Anyway, I have a bit of writing to do tonight before bed.