Monday, September 17, 2018

Positive Changes

I've decided that I need to make some changes to my health habits, if I want to feel better, have energy again, and maintain my health. I currently weigh 335lbs, which is a far cry from the 200 I'd like to be. Here's a little of what I'm doing to get started!

Today, I made an unwritten oath to myself to change my eating habits (well, I suppose now that I've said it here, it IS written, after all, lol!). I'm basically going to try to swear off fast food, aside from as an occasional treat. I started the day with two pieces or cinnamon swirl toast with a serving of Nutella, which is much healthier than my usual trip to Tim Hortons.

I then went to Target and picked up a Blender Bottle for my Shakeology shakes...I'm going to be doing a Beach Body 21 day challenge. My brother and his girlfriend have been encouraging me to do it along with them, and have been HUGE supports! I also picked up bananas, vitamins, and more sugar-free drink mix (the kind you squirt into your water bottle). I had a shake and a banana after I got home. For an early afternoon snack, I had carrots with a serving of ranch dressing. My plan is to sort of graze rather than having 3 full meals. This way, I can keep my metabolism moving.

Then came my walk. Albeit rather short compared to how I used to walk, it was still a good workout. I walked for 18 minutes, and .8 of a mile. Not too bad of a start, to get back into the swing of things! I just walked down a development right in my neighborhood, and of course, jammed to some tunes! Easy peasy :)

I'm using a FitBit app to track my progress, at the recommendation of one of my long-time Facebook friends. It's really comprehensive, as you can just search a food, log it, and log your activity as well. I'm liking it so far!

I'd also like to thank everyone who has given me support and kind words thus far. It really means a lot, and is very encouraging! :)

Monday, July 2, 2018

Summer is Here!

It's my favorite time of year: summertime! A year doesn't go by where I'm counting down the days until that 21st day of June :) Well, here it is, the week of the 4th of July!

I'm on a nice, long staycation, as of this past Saturday morning. I was SO excited to go to my brother's to relax and prepare to test drive cars! I tested a Toyota Camry and a Mazda 6, and they were both really nice! I decided which one I want to get once my current lease is up in two months, but more on that, later ;) Saturday was also the Rochester Jazz Fest, which my brother and I decided to go to on a whim. As I always say, the best plans are those made spur-of-the-moment: nothing can put the kabash on them, and they always end up being the best times! Yesterday we both relaxed in the coolness of my brother's central air, and went to Tony's for a dinner of pizza and chicken fingers. Following that, we went to Frosty's for ice cream. It was the perfect weekend.

Today, I woke up around 4:45am, which is quite early for me on a morning I'm off. I had gotten a lot of sleep the day before, so I was ready to get up and grab a snack. I then went to the Lancaster recreation office to get my pool ID, only to discover they only accepted cash (I never carry cash). I went to the bank, and headed back to the office. I'm now good to go for the next two years! I'm going to hit the pool this afternoon :D

So, it's only Monday and I won't be going back to work for an entire week! I'm definitely going to enjoy the time with friends and family, and catch up on my rest. Of course, I'm also going to try and make this week as fun-filled as possible! Hope everyone has a happy 4th!

Monday, May 28, 2018

My Trip to the Antique Store

It's a gorgeous day here in Buffalo, NY! It's also rather hot, so I figured I'd get out and do something. I decided to stop by the Eastern Hills Mall, where they have this neat little antique store called "What's in Your Attic?"

As you enter the store, you are flooded with thousands of vintage items of all types. On one shelf sits rings. Another, toys from the 90s. Browsing further, one can see plush characters from the 80s, such as Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake.

While I browsed, many things caught my eye. I saw some rings I really liked, as well as a little plush Pikachu. There were a couple poseable Care Bears figures from the 80s, complete with that little tuft of hair (to those who were around in the 80s, remember?) Finally, as I was almost finished, there, at the top of a row of shelves, was a little rack of necklaces. I spotted one with one of those Chinese chime balls at the end! I just had to get it.

If you're ever in the Buffalo area and want to check out an awesome store with unique items, "What's in Your Attic?" is your spot! :)

Sunday, April 8, 2018

An Autism Talk

I had an amazing experience today. I gave an Autism talk at an autism awareness event!

I traveled to Randolph, NY with a dear friend who invited me to give the talk. She's the Superintendent of the school I was working for last year. I received a call from her last month, saying that someone had asked her if she knew of an autistic adult and advocate, who would be willing to speak at an event. She said that she thought of me right away!  So we met halfway, as Randolph is a good almost 2 hours from me in Lancaster. Once we met up, she drove the test of the way to a beautiful church, where the event was to be held.

Once there, I was introduced to the facilitator of the event, who has an autistic son. She was very welcoming! I was introduced to the pastor of the church, as well as a couple of members of the school board. We ate a delicious lunch of pulled pork, egg salad, fruit salad, ambrosia, chips, and a dessert bake (not sure what it was called, lol). The Superintendent had made most of the food, which we all enjoyed!

The first speaker was a therapist who works with the facilitator of the event's son. She talked about the therapy, as well as the traits of autism. Then, the facilitator and her husband talked about the story of their son and his diagnosis. More parents spoke and shared their stories, which were different from each other, but stories that showed how much getting a diagnosis helped make things better for their child. Next, the Superintendent and I were asked to come up. She talked a little bit about her sons who are autistic, and how the identity has been a positive one for them. She went into how support is very important for an autistic person. Then came my turn.

I started by talking about how I had always been a little different. How I did pretty much whatever I wanted to do in preschool, while the rest of the class was doing as they were told. I talked about how school went relatively well and I graduated with a Bachelor's in Social Work. I stated that it wasn't until I was 26 and had already been working in the field that I discovered I may be autistic. I mentioned the blog that started it all, as well as research, and finally, my diagnosis. I wrapped it up by describing my special interests, and the importance of identity-first language.

My speech was well-received! It was completely off the cuff, and came from the heart. I was approached by parents who told me my story gave them hope. People told me that they thought it was awesome that I came to share my story. It was truly an honor to be invited, and I thanked everyone for having me. I met some amazing people with whom I will be keeping in touch! I must say, in the words of Ice Cube, it was a good day :)

Monday, April 2, 2018

World Autism Acceptance Month Day 2

Happy World Autism Acceptance Day! :D

For the second day of Autism Acceptance month, I'd like to talk about some of the things I love about being autistic.

My favorite aspect is my unwavering sense of youth, paired with my childlike sense of wonder. I've always felt younger than my age, and at 35, am just a big kid! :P I cherish things I find fun in. I notice and appreciate the little things that many people gloss over. It doesn't take much to fascinate me.

I also enjoy the fact that I am passionate about the things I love. Take Sonic the Hedgehog and the Android OS, for example. If you know me, these are two topics you probably associate with me very well, lol ;) When I truly enjoy something, I'm all in. Such is why I've become very proficient in working with electronics. I love the problem-solving aspect of it, too. There's just something about that feeling you get when you realize you've fixed something!

Autistics are also a very genuine group of people. I am who I am, and there's no faking it. I wouldn't know how to be someone else if I tried. It's rewarding when you find others who are the same way; there's no guesswork involved. The world needs more people who are true to themselves, and are exactly who they claim to be! It would make for a much more peaceful society.

These are just a few of the traits which I've elaborated on, and that I like about myself. Since autism shapes who I am as an individual, these traits are also character traits of mine! I wouldn't be me if I had been created any other way, and I'll take it! :)

Monday, March 19, 2018

A Very Happy Aspieversary

Yesterday was my Aspieversary, so naturally I wanted to do something special to celebrate! What better than a trip to Rochester, NY with my best friend?

We decided to hit the road at 3pm, so that we'd be ready and hungry for a delicious dinner at The Distillery. This restaurant has about 4 locations in Rochester, and I decided we'd go to the same location I had taken my mom to for her birthday, as I was familiar with that location. Our dinner was spectacular, as I knew it would be. My best friend had chicken fingers, complete with their savory bleu cheese. I opted for chicken parmesan, which is what I had last time, and I knew I couldn't go wrong with (notice the autistic pattern of sticking with what I'm familiar with? 😉) For dessert, I had an incredible chocolate lava cake!

Once we were stuffed, we headed to this neat little shop a couple miles away called Archimage. They are known for New Age type things like crystals and jewelry, as well as gifts and vintage toys. I found a poison ring, which has a little compartment that opens up. These fascinate me, and I have a few of them. This one was amethyst, and I couldn't resist it. I also stumbled upon a silver frog charm, one of those tubes with water and sparkles in it that trickle downwards when you flip it over, and a structure made of metal rings that you can flex into various shapes. My best friend really enjoyed the store as well. We both plan to go back there soon!

Next was the regular trip to the Marketplace Mall. We looked around at a few stores, and decided we had made our day complete. We headed back home, and stopped at Five Below on the way back to my best friend's house. That's one fun store! We had a blast looking at all the interesting trinkets and gadgets.

One exciting thing that happened was a phone call I received during our little excursion. I was invited to speak at an autism event!  It will be taking place in a few weeks, and I can't wait :) I will be talking about my experience as an autistic adult and advocate: something I really love to do!

I must say, this was an Aspieversary for the books. My best friend and I enjoyed ourselves, and made the day just as special as I'd hoped for!

Monday, March 12, 2018

My 4th Aspieversary is Almost Here!

Wow...does time ever fly! I can't believe that in less than a week will mark FOUR YEARS since my autism diagnosis! Life in general has had its ups and downs since then, but as of right now, it's going pretty well.

Over these past four years, I've learned a lot about who I am, as well as how to be a better version of myself. While I've discovered which parts of myself I choose to embrace, there have also been a few segments in which I saw a need for improvement, and have thus made changes. For example, my grammar police tendencies. While grammatical errors still stick out like a sore thumb to me, I've learned not to be as blunt about them. I've stumbled across Facebook posts from years back and in hindsight, I realize I could be a real jerk! I now recognize that even though it pains me to see the English language being butchered, it also does more harm than good to hurt someone's feelings over it. I don't know everyone's story; perhaps they have a learning disability which makes it difficult for them to spell or put sentences together. I wouldn't want people to judge me for my disabilities, so why would I want to do the same? Perhaps they didn't receive a quality education. The list goes on. All I know is that if I bite my tongue and just treat the other person with kindness, I feel a lot better!

While this is something I feel I've been getting better at for many years now, I feel I'm continuing to be more open-minded. In the past, I used to be rather cynical and rigid in my thoughts. I had a really hard time seeing things from another person's point of view. Working in human services has helped me to change that a great deal, as I've met many different people from all walks of life, and in a position such as mine, you can't exactly make judgements or give your opinions on how people choose to live. You have to take an objective point of view. It's more helpful. These days, I have friends from all different backgrounds, and who all have various beliefs. In the past, some things were hard for me to wrap my head around, but today, I'm just able to let them go and am willing to accept and respect people for who they are. After all, we can't ALL be exactly the same! I want people to accept me for my unique self, so I must do so in return.

One thing that continues to be a work in progress is the fact that I tend to state my opinions where I know they'll stir the pot. For example: autism parent groups. I'll see something I disagree with, such as a parent talking about wanting a cure, and I immediately get up on my soapbox and start proclaiming why they're wrong. I know where I stand, however I need to learn to express my opinions without coming across so harshly. This only starts arguments, and leads to anger and frustration of both parties. There are ways to word things so that they are productive, and I need to learn to think before I type and use more effective methods of getting my point across. If I want to teach others about autism acceptance, I need to use kindness and educate, rather than throw my thoughts at them!

I'm always working on learning new things and being my best self. Autism shapes who I am, and has given me many meaningful connections over the past several years. In order to be an advocate, I need to be someone who others can learn from...and why not spread kindness at the same time? As I continue to travel the journey called life, I hope to make an impact and leave the world a little bit better where my footprints lie :)