Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Field Trip Nightmares

I don't recall the exact moment I began to hate field trips.  As far back as I can remember, they were a source of anxiety for me.  I did not know how to act around my fellow students without the structure and oversight of a classroom environment.  The last fieldtrip I remember going on was in 1st or 2nd grade, to a small theme park in Southern California.  I don't even remember what it was like.  Then there was the nightmarish "6th Grade Camping trip".  I made a cool little leather something-or-other, stamped with a bull.  Everything else sucked.  I would get this pent up energy and have no idea what to do with it.  Being the new kid (I had just moved to IL from California at the begining of that school year) it was already difficult to fit in, and being a goofball on top of that... well, that camping trip put the fear of fieldtrips in me for good. 


my first photo edit attempt is almost as sad as the face I'm making LOL

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"Can" Doesn't Mean "Should"

Pet Peave # 165: calling a service provider from your car.

OK people, I understand that it is legal to talk on your cell phone if you are hands free and yada yada yada.  Got it.  This does not make your vehicle your home office.  When something is wrong with your internet, your utility bill, car note, etc, you will need a few things that are hard to come by while driving.  Your policy #.  A pen and paper.  The ability to focus on the conversation instead of trying not to rear end the car in front of you...  The drive home is a time to focus on driving.  If you have to call someone to feel productive, call a friend.  Don't call someone you need to have an important conversation with, especially if you have an account manager, case worker, claim adjuster, etc., who's information you will need to write down.  Don't make a call that would require you to have a policy, contract, or bill in front of you.  Not only are you being completely counter productive, the person who takes your call will take you for a moron.  plain and simple.

So you call your insurance company, for example, regarding the roof damage and subsequent interior water damage from last week's storms.  This is important stuff, right?  but you call while you're in the car.  So your claim# isn't handy.  You are calling with questions regarding your claim (which sounds stupid to say, since you have a claim, and you're calling your insurance company's claim dept, but it's exactly what you're going to say when I answer...)

Hi Andrew, I have a question regarding my claim.  (I hope so, since that's about all I can help you with).  I don't have any of my information with me, and I'm driving.  What do you need in order to help me?

The Illness that Can't be Seen

The Semantics and criticism involved in AD(H)D amaze me.  So many choose to nitpick over so much.  It's an illness/disease.  It's a disorder.  It's a Spectrum.  It exists.  It doesn't exist.  For those of us who are diagnosed with either ADD and/or ADHD, this one thing is constant: It's real.

I will save the Illness/disorder/spectrum discussion for another post, and probably another blogger LOL.  But here's a story about what's real.

I was diagnosed with ADD at the age of 5.  My grandmother, being the old school rockstar she was, denied the existence of ADD and believed I just needed rigid discipline.  Lots of people with ADD see positive results with devout religious structure, joining a convent or other religious order (monks etc).  Others see great results in the military.  Discipline and a rigid schedule can go a long way.  I, however, was 5 years old.  Grandma had her work cut out for her. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Forget about nesting in the tree of normalcy and soar with the clouds.

What's it like to be free;
     To perch in the tree
Of normalcy with the flock?
     To not be mocked?

I sit here, locked in a cage.
     Enclosed in cast-iron rage.
On a stage I'm acting cool
     Trying to follow the rules.

The spirit inside wants to be free
But the key is unknown to me.
My ADD is nothing wrong


My cage's key
Was inside of me
All along.

This is what it's like to go from not fitting in, and the pretense of normalcy, to realize there is nothing wrong with being an oddball.  That realization is the key to living a free life. Once you stop trying so hard to stop being yourself  and start focusing on just doing the best you can, you realize what you are capable of and start living a satisfying life. The only acceptance you need is your own.

We all have it in ourselves to be free.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My road to a Healthier life

Before I get into the meat of the topic, let me summarize the back story.  At the end of April, I went in for my yearly check up, and my blood work came back with some less than desireable results.  I have been trying to motivate myself to live a healthier lifestyle, and this was the kick in the nuts I needed.  My Dr. told me I have a fatty liver, and my cholesteral has skyrocketed.  Now, my Dr. is a pretty laid back guy.  I am used to his usual speech: "you're still young, and while you're a bit over weight, it's not terrible." He'd give me some suggestions to change my health for the better, and say that whether I do them is my business.  This time, not so much.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Do you ever look back and think about all the mistakes (especially the more "life altering" ones) you've made and wonder what the "you" of the past would think of what you became, and how you live your life now?  I used to love to write poetry.  It all sounded fairly corny or dramatic (I was a teenager, it's to be expected).  I recently came across my writing from way back when.  Reading it, I sort of re-entered the mindframe of the young Andrew who wrote this and that.  What I was thinking then, and how silly I now find the emotions I had then.  Interestingly, thinking about how I dealt with things in the past; how much importance I placed on things that, today I realize, didn't really matter that much, I wonder how the me in another 15-20 years will look at my life now.  Then I realized, I don't really write much these days (I'm really just getting into it, this blog is only about 7 months old).  I have pictures from my teenage years, but none really from my late teens-early tweens.  So I began playing with my pictures, coming up with new images like this one:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Music and Motivation. with a side of bacon.

I've mentioned before that I find motivation in Music.  I listen to various genres, but mostly classic rock and metal.  I recently came across a perfect song for my running playlist: My Curse, by Killswitch Engage. 


now, I'm normally picky about my preferred music, and one hard to bypass guideline is I need to understand the words.  So listen to the song (link above) while you read on.

  Imagine you are running.  Determined.  Angry. Amped.  This song comes on in your headphones.  You've been mad at yourself for letting poor health get the best of you.  All this pent up energy, waiting to explode.  You fall into the beat.  The guitar guides you through your thoughts.  You don't even realize you are running faster, breathing harder.  The more the song picks up, the less focused you are on the lyrics, letting the sounds just wash over you.  You fight the urge to stomp you feet into the ground with the line "THIS IS MY CURSE" and as the song goes on you can feel it.  You don't feel tired.  You only know the energy of the music, and the rhythm of your breathing.  By the end of the song, you've run almost a mile.  Before the song came on, you were thinking of stopping.

This is what a song can do for me.  It's like self-medicating (another popular topic in the ADD/HD sector).  Just enough distraction to maintain focus on the task at hand, but at the same time full of the same anger and energy that I am.  Whatever soreness I was feeling recedes to the back of my mind, overpowered by the auditory stimulation.  I can only process so many things, and my body's movement and the sound of music are the easiest to focus on. 

Now take another song.

Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon


The song takes over a minute to fully pick up.  At which point, it's ultra soothing.  Now if you're hiking in the woods, or going for a light jog, and are completely happy or immensely high, this song is great.  I cannot run and listen to this song.  At. All.  But, I can relax.  oh yeah.  I can sit in a chair, close my eyes, and experience all the different components of this song.  Not afraid to care, just like the 2nd line says.  I can imagine the rabbit running, I can imagine the end of work, only to find there's more work to be had.  I can essentially reflect on life, and the continuous cycles it contains.  This song motivates me... to do absolutely nothing.  And the type of auditory stimulation emulates complete relaxation.  It's like I'm being programmed to chill out.

Some people might be reading this and think "yeah, that's pretty much what listening to music is like for anyone".  I disagree.  When I was medicated, music, food, even cigarettes and alcohol, really did nothing for me.  Sure I liked listening to music, but didn't need to to run.  As I came off Medication, I found the ONLY way I could complete my homework was to have something to snack on or music to listen to.  The music fills an empty part of my being, allowing me to focus on what I need to.  Depending on the type of music, it can also provide the extra adrenaline or excitement to get things done more quickly or more aggressively.  It literally becomes a part of me.

  I don't just hear it with my ears, I feel it. 

I can't think of an effective way to end this, so:

The bacon song:


support: empathy vs advice; its a matter of perception

Please keep in mind while reading this, it is meant as my observation only, and with the utmost respect for the groups I am a part of, both in the world of Google+ and Facebook (does Myspace even exist anymore???)

I have heard that Men generally are inclined to give advice, and want advice, whereas women tend to prefer empathy, to give and receive.  I have to say this must be changing.  I have recently noticed that when women share their concerns in a group of supportive friends, the female responders are really split down the middle.  Some provide words of encouragement, while others provide advice.  As this progresses, I noticed, there is sometimes blow back to these responses.  Sometimes the initial post was to seek understanding and empathy, and the advice is considered, more or less, to be cold or bossy (I don't come here to be told what to do).  Sometimes, the poster says something about how much they Appreciate the advice (Thanks, I never would have thought of that!).

I just used women as an example, the results are pretty much the same for men.  Some guys tend to respond with an "I feel your pain" response, while others tend to respond with a more "try this and you'll get results" approach.  I will say the only real difference I noticed between genders is that men tend to be more direct with their response, either empathetic or advisory.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Blog of inappropriate proportions (adult content)

What is appropriate?  It has been confirmed by many that I have a faulty filter.  Yet, I might argue that my filter is better than most peoples'.  Think of this: My mind thinks of more inappropriate things than most peoples.  I'll agree to that.  Yet of those inapporpriate ideas, I share very little.  A select view will know I'm all about "What she said", toilet humor, and adult nonsense.  Here's an examply of what I don't share:

I mean, that's funny, but I wouldn't want my parents to see it.  (well, too late, now that it's here).  The point is, there are times when I'm not considerred the most professional individual out there.  Some people embrace my sense of humor, and thus I have an outlet. 

Maybe you can relate?  Maybe you've had those times (probably several if you have ADD) when you were caught up in the moment with a group of friends and just spouted off the first funny thing that came to mind, and not one person found it funny.  It's like if I were talking to a few churchy people, who were engaged in the drama of the local congregation, when I put my 2 cents in:

Monday, May 5, 2014

An Interesting Conversation With my Shirt

carrying on the trend of trying to create for myself a healthy lifestyle, I had an interesting conversation this morning.  With my running shirt.

My wife woke me up this morning with a nudge, to tell me my alarm is going off.  This, of course, is why I have an alarm.  so she knows when to wake me up.  I hit snooze on the alarm, and she wakes me a gain 5 minutes later.  I turn the alarm off and begin the daily surrender to sleep. I roll to the side, and I'm staring at my clothes (in one of various piles of clean laundry neatly stacked against the wall waiting to finish the journey to my drawers).  There's my running shirt.  It's staring right back at me.  "dude, WTF happened to you?"it asks.


Before I can respond I am bombarded with tirade and reverie.