Sunday, October 23, 2016


Another week passed and I did stitch...but only twice. I left off here:
and made it here:
It was pretty nice to see Scrump start to appear, but I did come to a realization...I've always stitched to relax or to get over a bad day and now that I take medicine for that, it almost makes stitching seem like work instead of therapy. I've got to find a way to get back to "normal" stitching self and I've got to find a way to do it on meds. Ugh.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


Yep, you read that right, I actually stitched today! Granted, it wasn't much, but at least it was a start. I left off on Lilo and Stitch Otherwise back on July 30th (I can't believe it's been that long!):
And I made it here today:
I just had to do something other than stare at the "lost house". They warned me that the Ritalin would make my OCD worse, but since I've never seen OCD as crutch, I couldn't imagine how. Now I know.

I'm trying really hard to let it go (don't sing it)...all I've been able to do is look at other houses that I could never ever afford and make myself sick trying to figure out a way to get one. The therapist told me I didn't need to come back unless I felt the need, and as much as I hate to admit it, I need. Guess I'll have to make a phone call come Monday morning.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Stark reminder of that cardinal sin I committed in the womb...

I'd like to say I stitched this week, but I didn't. Despite being on anti-depressants again, certain things can happen to cause me to shrink back into my shell and shut down completely. This week, I received the biggest kick in the teeth I've had so far this year.

Last Wednesday was just a regular sucky work day and I decided to stop at the store on my way home. I ended up making a couple more stops and came home a way I rarely ever do. I passed a realty office that had one of those digital displays and, while I was stuck at a red light, I was watching the screen when something amazing happened...a house, on a street directly behind my parents, popped up for $80,000. Houses in that neighborhood usually go for about $150. Keep in mind, we live in Arkansas, so the cost of living is really low and $150,000 is a LOT of house.

I got super-excited and called my Mother immediately. She, of course, knew nothing about it, so I decided to check the web the instant I got home and, despite checking all the local realty sites (including the office with the sign), I could not find that house to save my life. Well, I figured it wasn't meant to be because, with all my credit card debt and what I still owe on my trailer (and my meager salary), I couldn't even afford an $80,000 house. Besides, I vowed when I was a kid that I would never move back to that town again and, even though the town I live in now has gotten worse and worse, maybe it was a good thing. At least I was trying to justify it in my mind.

The next morning, on the way to work, I had an epiphany and decided to check Zillow. They are usually either way behind on the listings or way ahead, and I was hoping it might be there. Sure enough, it took me all of 2 seconds to find the house. It was perfect! It needed work (apparently the previous owner liked to punch holes in the wall), but it was literally adjacently located behind my parents house! It was a repossessed house (hence the price point) and had only been on the market for a few days. I started making phone calls immediately. Of course, everyone I tried to call was out, but I left messages everywhere and spent the entire morning staring at my possible future "real" house!

Being that close to my parents means free lawn care, free pup-sitting and, most of all, free dinners whenever I wanted them! I would be in a MUCH safer area than I'm in now and, despite the longer commute to work (and the extra wear and tear on my vehicle), it would still be worth it. The house was a little over 1800 square feet, so plenty of room for ALL the Disney stuff to be in ONE room instead of spread out everywhere! But, the creme de la creme was the fact that it had a DOGGY DOOR! Seriously folks, Bam would have his own little door that would lead to his own yard!

I wrangled figures left and right...added up all my credit card debt as well as the balance on my trailer (which would have to be added to the figures), I added in money for repairs and new things I would need, and even went a bit above (just in case) and decided that I would need a 30-year mortgage for $140 to cover everything, but I could still swing the payments if I had no trailer payment, lot rent, and credit card bills.

My Brother-In-Law, who just happened to be in a bank president meeting at the time (what are the odds and I knew at that point it must be fate), promised he'd call me as soon as his meeting was over with and, considering he would be my best hope for getting the house in the first place, his was the call I was waiting on the most. But my Sister called me first, and as I was relaying my excitement, she dropped a bomb on me...Matt's brother may have just bought my house. I tried not to let it get me down, I mean seriously, what are the odds that the absolute PERFECT house for me would be bought my my Brother-In-Law's brother? But I still had hope and I wasted the better part of the morning browsing for new furniture online.

By the time Matt called me back, he confirmed my worst fears, his brother had just signed the papers on the house...the brother with the extremely checkered past who, up until about two years ago, they had to keep constant restraining orders on every time he got out of jail. This man had MY house!

I cried like I haven't cried in years. I was literally handed the perfect house on a silver platter only to have it jerked away from me almost instantly. Of course, my Sister and Brother-In-Law being the amazing people that they are vowed to help me find something else, but I was given yet another reminder of my horrible luck (because apparently I can't remember all the other times I've been slapped in the face by fate). There was no way another house within that close of a vicinity of my parents and at that price point would ever come available again (the house right beside them is currently being sold for $154 and that would be WAY out of my budget).

I'd like to say, after a couple of days I've been able to let it go (because honestly, there is nothing I can do about it now), but my OCD won't let that happen, if anything, I've only been obsessing about it more. Even though the listing has now been pulled from Zillow, I saved the pictures and have been looking at them constantly. I would have never seen that sign in the first place had a series of random events not led me down that road. Then, to find out the house's location, to find out my Brother-In-Law was at the bank at the time I needed to talk to him, I mean, COME ON! I HATE MY LIFE! Who could stitch at a time like this?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I'm back!

In my entire life, there is always certain facts that I can count on...nothing can make me as happy as a Disney trip and nothing can cause me to crash like Post-Disney Depression. Walking into work this morning was one of the hardest things I've had to do in a very long time.

I'm trying to remember all the bucket-list items I checked off this year:
-- Four parks in one day!
-- Staying at the Beach Club
-- Not having any Asper breakdowns (only litle episodes)
-- Seeing the Main Street Electrical Parade for the final time
-- FINALLY stopping at a Florida Citrus Center

But there were also important things I didn't get to do:
-- See Animal Kingdom at night
-- Not get rained on
-- Get a hot dog at Casey's
-- Walk around without my feet swelling to epic proportions

I really didn't notice that the meds affected the trip much and that was what I was most worried about. I also had a really great time with my Brother-In-Law, something I was a bit worried about and my Sister and I got along as or two small instances of blow-ups on the last couple of days, but nothing major and nothing that wasn't forgotten in like two minutes. Funny that...I hold grudges forever against others for the slightest of offences, but I can't stay mad at Amber for very long.

I still haven't dealt with the massive pile of pins I bought yet, but all the other new stuff is put away in their new homes and, despite the half-dozen bags I brought home, there wasn't nearly as much once it all got put away.

I have NO idea when I'll get around to pictures, but considering I have lots of restaurants and the Beach Club to review, I'll have to get around to it eventually.

I think my stitching mojo is back though...I haven't started back yet, but it's on the agenda for tonight (unless either the shrink or the therapist pisses me off again and I just want to go home and brood).

Monday, September 12, 2016


The dreaded "therapist modification" process has started. Last week, I got the complete lecture on why I should be on meds forever and why the "zombie effect" is a "normal" human function and I should embrace it instead of fighting it.

I was miserable as a kid because I was trying so hard to be "normal" and fight who I was and it took me YEARS as an adult to get myself into a place where I was comfortable with myself and I realized that I'm not normal and nor will I ever be. I like who I am now (even if I'm going through a rough time brought on by external sources) and I don't feel the need to be "normal" just to please others. I wasted too many years of my life faking "normal".

But, as per usual, the therapist thinks she can "fix me" and make me "normal" by talking to me about it. It's not a chemical imbalance that can be permanently fixed with meds, it's not behavior issues that can be brain is wired differently from everyone else's. I was born this way and I'll die this way, therapy be damned...I am an Asper, here me roar!

Good thing Disney is getting closer and I don't have a therapist appointment again until AFTER Disney. You'd think, as much hassle as I give her, she wouldn't want to see me anymore anyway, but it's like a contest with see which one of us breaks first. All she has to do is read my past files to know that I NEVER break first...ever. Thank goodness the shrink is better at not lecturing me!

Look out Disney I come!

Monday, September 5, 2016


Still counting down the days until Disney. There are SOOO many trip preparations that are still to be made because I'm spending more time at work than home these days. I have to get my oil changed, I need new wiper blades all the way around, and I've still got to get grocery supplies for both me on the road and Mother who will be pup-sitting. Don't even get me started on the map and little planning book printing...I'm not even close to being ready to do that!

On the med front, I went back to the shrink for my monthly check-in. She doubled the dose of Trintellix (which I was expecting). Surprisingly, my fear of the itching getting worse with a double dose was unfounded...the itching has almost stopped completely after only a few days (although I still have moments, especially in stressful situations).

She also added another drug to the mix...Ritalin. At first, I was kind of put out that she would even mention Ritalin, but after the first dose, I knew it was a wise choice. It is a very low dose and it only lasts four hours (meaning I take one twice per day to get through work), but I can focus better and my speech has slowed down considerably (at least to the point where I don't have to keep repeating myself because I'm talking too fast and no one can understand me). It's not a blood-level drug, so I don't have to take it on the weekends if I don't want to. There aren't really any side effects from the Ritalin either, so I guess it's a win-win situation all the way 'round. What are the odds that we would get the meds right the very first time? It's a first for me, that's for sure!

I started another diamond painting, but have barely touched it this weekend, so nothing really to show. It's this one:
I had to wait until I was out of the "bad frame of mind" before I could start this one though...not the best design for someone in a depressive state, but it is small, so it will get me through until Disney.

I'm also starting to want to stitch again, I'm just not there yet. Probably by the time I get back from Disney, I won't be able to do anything BUT stitch!

Hopefully, I will have time this week to respond to emails...I know I've been horrible about it, but I've been travelling so much for work and, by the time I get home, I can do nothing but crash and a computer is the LAST thing I want to look at. Thanks again for all your support (and understanding) throughout these past couple of months. I have my five-year blogoversary coming up soon and I haven't decided how I'm going to celebrate it this year (or if I'm going to at all). I do have a TON of spare Disney pins I could give away...we'll see how things go between now and then.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Finished wall

I know I tend to be a broken record, but work still sucks, but there is a brief glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. My massive work project is almost finished and it's also almost Disney-time, so meds or not, life is looking up. But knowing my luck, I'm not going to get too optimistic.

I finally got all my April A to Z cross stitch projects framed and put them on a wall where there is room to grow:
And here they are in order:

I still haven't done any stitching, but I have FINALLY finished a massive diamond painting:
Granted, it's not the Aaron's Crazy Thinking Putty that the therapist wanted me to do, but at least I managed to keep my hands and my mind occupied in my "down time" instead of focusing on the negative. Don't get me wrong, I still have a head full of negative, but at least I'm managing it better.

I really need to say thank you to all my blog friends who encouraged me to make it through. Normally, I'm not big on human interaction during these episodes, but you guys really did help me along. Hopefully, things will get back to normal soon and I can go back to supporting you guys!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Things are FINALLY getting better, at least somewhat. Work is suckier than ever and my attention span is still that of a fly, but at least I feel better. The meds seem to be working even though people keep telling me that I'm speaking like a rabbit on brain works faster than my mouth, so I speak fast to keep up and I always have, so I'm not sure what the difference is. I guess because I don't do it depressively anymore, I'm a perky rabbit now and that's weird to everyone.

They put me on something called Trentillex which has about a million side effects but I only seem to have one...constant itching. When I go back to the shrink at the end of the month, I'm pretty sure she's gonna up the dose, so I'm not sure how much worse the itching will get. I'm already covered in sores from scratching and no amount of baby oil baths or Benadryl seems to be helping. I'm still not entirely sure that it's the right drug because it only seems to be helping the depression and not the ADD or OCD.

On the therapy front, I still think it is incredibly stupid and I'm fighting her all the way (but that's just what I do). She seriously wants me to buy something called Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty and play with it constantly because it will "calm my mind". Ain't gonna happen and not just because it's expensive, but because it's the stupidest idea I've ever heard of. I'm also supposed to learn to use a "new" word and mean it...NO. Yeah, that's probably not going to happen either. I'm not built that way. Seriously, therapy is SO stupid! How in the world do people go constantly and benefit from it?

I haven't started stitching again (and probably won't until Disney is over with), but I have started working on a new diamond painting/cross stitch, so at least my hands are busy when I'm at home. I've also been watching all the seasons of Once Upon A Time again and, for some weird reason, that seems to be helping too. Probably because it's such a hope-pushing show. I'm trying to keep up with Disney planning, but I'm also doing a horrible job with that as well. I seriously can't focus on anything for longer than 30 minutes at a time, which, most of the time, functions well at work, but not so much for everything else.

I'm going to try to start reading blogs again, maybe by the weekend. I miss seeing everyone else's stitching progress even if I don't feel like doing it least not yet. I've also just taken my last April A to Z cross stitch project to Hobby Lobby for framing and, once I decide where I'm going to put them all, I'll post a picture of all of them hanging together (or at least that's the plan...I'm not good with follow-through right now).

But anyway, I'm already getting bored, but I thought I'd better update a bit so that you guys that are worried about me can hopefully feel better. I've really got to break down and respond to emails too, but I've got to go do something else for a while.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Sorry about the lack of a stitching post this past weekend...frankly, I didn't stitch a single lick last week (nor have I this week either).

It's still very early in the first med trial, but they put me on Trentillex (a fairly new drug, but definitely new to me). Granted, it hasn't quite been a week yet, but I seem to be less depressed although my anxiety and ADD has gone through the roof and the least little thing sets me off. We are definitely going to have to have a conversation about it. I think she's focused on the wrong bad symptoms...sure, the depression is a worry, but the fact that I can't function properly at work is a bigger problem for me. Trentillex has some pretty nasty side effects too, but so far, mine have been minimal to non-existent (another bad sign it's probably not working right or not strong enough).

I just thought I'd give an update so those that are worried about me can feel better. If anyone has any experience with this drug (previously known as Brintellix), let me know. There really isn't much online about it other than its side effects and I'm barely having any of those.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Just One July - Week 5

This is almost embarrassing, but I haven't been able to focus on anything lately. Here is where I left off last week:
And I STILL haven't finished the first page of row 3:
At least Just One July is over with now because I think my stitching mojo has died down for a while.

I've been even worse at responding to emails and reading everyone's blogs. Maybe this upcoming week will be better (I wonder how long I can keep saying that and still believe it?). I go to the shrink on Wednesday, so things HAVE to get better after that, right?

At least, for the past couple of days anyway, I have been able to focus enough to deal with prep work for our upcoming Disney trip. I've started working on our mini books with all our trip information. You'd think, since I've been making them since 2004, I would remember how LONG the entire process takes, but every single year I'm always surprised when I spend days editing old pages with new information. I still haven't decided if I'm going to do two separate books or just modify my Sister and Brother-In-Law's book. With them flying, staying in a different resort and Matt leaving mid trip, their information will be quite different from mine.

I also spent quite a bit of time working on my driving map book. Even though I have GPS in my vehicle, I wouldn't trust it as far as I could throw it. I have (and will for this trip too) made my own POI's, but again, it's still restricted to what the GPS can handle (which isn't much). I guess I'm old school and prefer actual paper maps. I've "driven" every main route using Google Maps Street View already, taken screenshots of important intersections, and put them into groups. I still need to do alternate routes, but then they will be ready to print up and bind.

I still have about 20lbs to loose so that my vacation clothes fit and I'm having a very hard time sticking to any diet. I've never been what one would call a "depressive eater", but you wouldn't know it by the way I've been scarfing down food lately. Just another way I've been self-sabotaging lately I guess.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Just One July - Week 4

Left off here last week:
FINALLY finished the row:
And barely got started on row three:
Considering the week I had, I'm surprised I got any stitching done because my focus is now completely gone. I just want to sit and zone out right now. My shrink appointment isn't until the 3rd and that seems like a lifetime away and then I'll have to wait however long it takes for whichever meds I end up with to work. At least there are five weeks in July, but I still don't think it's going to help me much to even sort-of reach my challenge goals on Lilo and Stitch. Great, looks like I'm a failure all the way across the board now.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Zombie Town or not?

So I had my EAP appointment today with the therapist. I was as typically combative as an Asper usually is, but I have to say, I didn't hate her (a possible first, but it is still early). She agrees with the OCD and Asperger's (although that's still not an official diagnosis, but most Asper's are self-diagnosed anyway...the only purpose for getting an "official" diagnosis is if I wanted to draw disability and since it costs an outrageous fortune (more than a car), I don't see the need). The kicker was that she thinks that I'm probably more General Anxiety Disorder vs Social Anxiety Disorder and the more she explained it, the more I think I can see her point.

She asked me why I wanted too long to come in (even she knew I screwed up on that front) and I told her how I felt about Zombie Town. That's when things got interesting. She did chide me for not being on long-term meds (as they always do) to which I responded that I will NEVER do that, but she thinks that rather than suppress the OCD and Asperger's (since I deal pretty well), maybe it would be better to suppress the anxiety itself and that is a whole other class of drugs separate from the SSRI's.

Granted, the med decision is up to the shrink (which I don't have an appointment for until August 3rd...something else to worry about between now and then), but now I do have a bit of hope that maybe Zombie Town isn't my destination after all, but rather Mellow Town is. Somehow I have real trouble imagining me in Mellow Town. It certainly won't help with my current lack of attention issues. I don't figure it will make me a more productive employee (although it might make me a nicer one) and I can't imagine how bad my stitching will suffer. Guess we might have to have a discussion about that as well. Ugh, I HATE therapy!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Just One July-Week 3 and Zombie-Town travel plans

I tried hard to slow down with my stitching this week...more on that in a moment. I left off here last week:
And I stopped here Sunday night:

I also got my castles back from Hobby Lobby. I wish the picture did them justice...the purple and silver mats really make the sparkles in the fabric pop, you just can't tell it here.

Now for the boring stuff. Between the Asperger's, OCD and Social Anxiety Disorder, I should be a walking prescription bottle but I've always prided myself on the fact that I'm really good at dealing with my issues on my own, without medical intervention (if only I could do the same with my headaches). There have been times when I just can't do it alone though and I to head to Zombie Town before things fall apart completely. I'm pretty good at recognizing the signs now after a lifetime of dealing with this...when it gets bad enough that I WANT to live in Zombie Town, it's time to pack my bags. I have an appointment with a shrink next week to book "travel" plans, but I'm afraid I may have waited too late this time.

There are various stages of disintegration. Like most Aspers, I live in my head. It's a happy place filled with Disney and Duran Duran and cross stitching. I'm able to function in the "real" world by stepping out of my head long enough to get tasks accomplished, and then back in I go. 95% of the time, I'm able to keep the "real" world out of "my" world (although I'm HORRIBLE at keeping "my" world out of the "real" world, obviously). But sometimes the "real" world gets so bad that I end up dragging it into my world and it eats things like a plague. Sometimes I'm able to stop it before it gets bad, sometimes I can't.

Then the overcompensation begins...more stitching, more Duran, more Disney until it gets hard to function in the "real" world because I don't have my happy escape place, but rather a very Epic Mickey-like world where I'm running around like crazy trying to keep things in order, only to have everything melting away before my eyes. "Real" world functioning becomes non-existent which is a problem since I have to keep a roof over my head and food in Bam's stomach. Eventually, my head becomes complete mush and everything goes black although certainly not quiet. You'd think that since my happy place is being destroyed, I would just zombify on my own and become a functioning member of society, but it doesn't work that way. Since my head never shuts off, the sound is something akin to constant, 24/7 screaming, in utter blackness. Try working that way. Yea me.

Med-time usually comes before the blackness and screaming, but since I didn't hear the "Danger Will Robinson" chant like I normally do, I've spent most of the past week wishing I could shove a hot poker in one ear and have it come out the other to shut my head up. And trust me, I'm totally kicking myself over it. The fact that I haven't had a strong headache in months should have been my first clue. My headaches are stress-related and since my stress levels have gone through the roof, I should be a walking migraine, but I've barely had a twinge of one. Obviously, real world processing has already stopped and I didn't even notice. Must be a sign of old age.

Once I do finally get all zombied up, the screaming will stop, but I just have an empty quiet head...which is nice for a time, but I don't want to live there. Plus, it takes a LONG time just to get to that point. SSRI's are blood-level drugs meaning it takes a while to build them into your system and you sometimes have to go through two or three (or twelve) different meds before you find the one that works properly. There are horrible mood swings involved, extra sleeping hours (or lack thereof), general bitchiness, severe depression and numerous other side effects that normally I don't even know I'm going through (but the people around me do) which means constant doctor involvement to monitor my progress. Just because a particular drug worked in the past, doesn't mean it will still work, so it's not like I can jump on a particular zombie train from the get-go and enjoy the journey. It's a long, drawn-out process and how I survive it is beyond me...I figure one day I just won't.

Eventually, the silence gets deafening and I'm ready to start weaning off the drugs (although I have to fight to do so, doctors sure do like zombie people). Then the rebuilding of my world can start again and I have a nice, fresh happy place to call home again. Granted, the new place looks a LOT like the old one, but with fresh paint and maybe a garbage can or two in a different locale, so it feels new. I do typically have trouble moving from my world to the real one for a time, but it's only because I'm taking extra precautions to prevent cross-contamination.

On top of the doctor fighting, I also have to fight the people around me because they like me better as a zombie. Thankfully, Asper's are selfish enough that it really doesn't matter how good of an employee, friend, or family member I am as a zombie, what matters is how cool my head space is, so I can generally brush it all away and let my freak-flag fly high.

Long story short (I know, WAY too late), I'm not sure how my blogging will be affected by this. I can probably guarantee plenty of stitch progress (because I can focus more clearly on projects), but everything else, including my mood and temperament, may change significantly (and probably many different times). I'm really scared about my fall Disney trip now...I've never been to Disney World in zombie mode before. It could very well ruin my happy place completely and the rebuild might end up looking like Universal with U2 playing, and a constant desire to scrapbook...god forbid to all three. Part of me wonders if I won't chicken out before Wednesday and cancel my appointment, but right now, I have no desire to fight for anything other than making the screaming stop and there is only one way to do that. Zombie Town, here I come!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Just One July-Week 2 & TUSAL

The worse work gets, the more I stitch and, considering I surprised myself with this week's progress, I guess it's not hard to figure out what a HORRIBLE work week I had, even in just four days. I left off on Lilo and Stitch Otherwise here last week:
And I made it to here this week, passing the hundred hour mark for a total of 115.38 hrs:
I will admit one thing though, she sure is pretty! I think the best thing about this project is that every single row has something to look forward to, unlike most projects which have one or two (or five) sucky rows. But it's not all good...the final two pages of this row are gonna suck. Once I get back into that bloody curtain, it's confetti-dithering hell again and I'll slow down quite a bit. At least I have Stitch himself to look forward to in the next row and the biggest surprise of all in the final row (although it still freaks me out a bit and I can't figure out why it's there).

On the Ort jar front, how about my cast-off's get a little motivation courtesy of my second-favorite princess:
If only I could go live my dream...guess I need to figure out what my dream is first (or at least one remotely resembling something realistic). Asper's aren't known for making life goals, let alone reaching them so I might be better off dreaming about the lottery and moving to Disney World than trying to figure out a life path. Oh well, it's time to start preparing for my destined week of misery and stress. Yea me. Oh well, on a positive note, at least I'll get a ton of stitching done!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Just One July - Week 1

Technically, this hasn't been a full week, but it kind of feels like it thanks to the Holiday and having a full extra stitch day even though today was a horrible day to focus on stitching. Between the Juno Mission arriving at Jupiter and Disney airing their 4th of July Fireworks live, my day as been pretty much full.

The good news is that Juno arrived safely (as you will all probably know once you read your morning news) and, rather than doing their random "live from" Disney World events, for the month of July The Disney Parks Blog will be doing an event every single Monday!

Next up on Monday the 11th, the new forecourt stage show at the Magic Kingdom (which is just starting, so we've not seen it yet), then the new Star Wars Fireworks at Disney's Hollywood Studios on the 18th, and then the last Monday (the 25th) will be a live showing of the Paint The Night Parade from Disneyland. So if anyone wants to see a Disney show live, stay-tuned to The Disney Parks Blog for info or the official Disney Parks You Tube page. I know, sometimes I sound like a commercial for Disney, but hey, you could end up with this song stuck in your head forever:

But back to the stitching, I started this challenge here:
I finished the row on Saturday:
Here's a close up:
And I managed a bit more on Sunday and Monday (although not nearly as far as I wanted - rather than finishing the first page of the second row, I got about two-thirds done with page 1 and a third into page 2...the dangers of cross-country stitching). At least I got all that horrible white finished:

But I didn't just stitch and watch NASA TV all weekend...the hippie got his summer 'do. He went from:
He honestly doesn't look that scraggy...he was still wet from his bath.

Now if the heathens in my trailer park would quit with the fireworks, maybe we can go to bed sometime before midnight (although as close as I already am and they are still going strong, I doubt it).

Overcoming Fears-The Asper Way

For our upcoming Disney trip, things are screwier than they have ever been...I'm driving, my Sister and Brother-In-Law are flying; I'm there for almost nine days, my Sister for eight and my BIL for four; Am and Matt are staying at the Yacht Club for their four days together and then, once he leaves, she's moving to the Beach Club with me; Amber will be riding back with me instead of flying home. Basically, this is the hardest trip I have EVER planned and don't get me started on the argument's we've had over the road trip home already...she wants to get home as quickly as possible, I want to do the same, but with a more comfortable (and scenic route) with maybe a stop or two along the way (places I couldn't stop if I was by myself).

Although me driving might sound more complicated, it actually works out way better in the end. I could fly with them, but I would rather spend 15+ hours in a car versus 2 hours on a plane simply because I can't deal with the TSA. I get too freaked out. Granted when driving I have trouble even stopping for gas, but it's still better for my sanity than flying (and don't get me started on bathroom breaks...those only happen with the gas stops no matter the yellow content of my eyeballs). Driving means I can pack as much as I want (and carry Amber's extra luggage so she doesn't have to pay extra baggage fees), bring snacks and sodas to avoid the expensive grocery stop, and I can drive our purchases home safely instead of relying on shipping them via UPS and having them play "truck football" with the boxes so that they look as though they have been through a war zone.

Technically, Disney World is 13 hours away from here if I go the "straight" way. I HATE the "straight" way. It's long, boring, sometimes scary due to the surroundings...I prefer to go "my own way" (Duran Duran reference!) and have nice views along the way of locations that I'm comfortable with. I like to either go through Chattanooga and down I-75 or go down through Gulfport/Biloxi and across the I-10 to I-75. Whichever way I go down, I go the opposite way back so that I can vary things up. but either way adds a couple of extra hours (hence the 15+ time quote). But, no matter which way I go, stopping for the night along the way is typically not an option for me...I want to get there, THEN stop.

This trip, I decided to go down through Biloxi, simply because I miss it (I think I must have some past-life ties to Biloxi or something, I feel SOOO comfortable there). I won't get to Orlando until 7-8 pm (and that's only if I leave at like 3-4 am). Normally, once I get there, I stay at a Hampton Inn just outside of Ocala (which is about 45 minutes from Disney World) and then drive in the next morning (Am and Matt should get there about 11am). But my usual Hampton Inn had outrageous prices for my night, and I just couldn't justify the expense. I tried various other stops along the way, some closer, some farther out, but I am a creature of habit and it's hard for me to stay in different places, especially when I'm by myself and I've never been there before (which is why I like Hampton Inn's because they are ALL the same).

I guess I should also mention that technically, I don't need to stay an extra night anywhere. Matt is paying for this trip (heaven bless him) and I have a full stay at the Beach Club already paid for. But, because Beach Club is a deluxe (and one of the most expensive), even though it's not my money, I can't justify paying that much just to sleep there for a night. In my mind (whether this is logical or not I can't say), I see it as spending $$$ for a 24 hour experience, even if I'm only in the room for 8 hours. Arriving late at night means I've wasted two-thirds of the day and therefore wasted a huge chunk of change (even if it's not mine). Does that make sense? Besides, arriving late means that they have almost a whole day there without me and my jealous bug can't handle that either. It's just best to find a place to stay for the night, then drive on in the next morning so that we all arrive together (well, if I happen to get there before them, I'm totally cool with that).

I think I've made my feelings clear in the past on how I feel about Value Resorts...I hate them. Going back and re-reading my Art of Animation Resort review and it was a bit more than harsh (and made me sound like an incredible snob). But there is a bit more to the story that I left out. In 2004 (the infamous family trip of 2004), we used a Disney's All-Star Sports Resort bus to get from one park to another (it's not always easy to get from park to park, so you have to use round-abouts sometimes). I had a massive panic attack due to the sensory overload of that resort. There were screaming kids EVERYWHERE, there were huge sports things EVERYWHERE, there were loud colors EVERYWHERE...basically, an Asper's worse nightmare and I've been terrified of value resorts ever since.

The more I considered my options, it all suddenly became clear as to where I needed to stay for the night, and not for the reason you'd think. I started looking at Disney Value Resorts again, despite my fears of them, for the most Asper of reasons...besting my Sister on our resort stay count. Stupid, right? I know, but Asperger's and logic rarely ever go hand-in-hand. It's a very strange way to defeat a fear, but that's how an Asper-brain do something you're scared of, find a reason that's more important (even if that reason defies all sense of rationale and sanity).

She and I don't always go to Disney World together, so we've managed to amass a resort-stay count different from one another. I've always been one-up on her...I've stayed in The Yacht Club, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Port Orleans Riverside without her, whereas she's stayed in The Grand Floridian (or The Indian Burial Ground Resort as I like to call it) and The Boardwalk Inn without me. Granted, we also have different similar counts...I've stayed in Wilderness Lodge 5 times to her 3, she's stayed in Port Orleans French Quarter a couple more times than I have, etc. But this trip is going to even us out with them staying at the Yacht Club, and I hate to admit it, but it's been eating away at me ever since.

So, since my Ocala Hampton Inn was out of the question for financial reasons, this gave me the perfect opportunity to even the playing field (or I guess I should say sway it more in my favor). I started debating all the values, nixing All-Star Sports as an option from the get go (not even my Asper-jealously can overpower my Asper-chicken). Art of Animation was booked, so it got thrown out too (and it wouldn't fix my count issues since we've both already stayed there), leaving All-Star Movies, All-Star Music and Pop Century.

For a brief time, I debated Saratoga Springs, which is a Disney DVC or Disney Vacation Club (Disney's answer to a time share), but since Saratoga is on a deluxe level, the room rate was higher (although not by much with the passholder discount) and I can't justify the extra expense (every dime spent on hotels is a dime less to spend in the parks). Besides, after studying the map and the layout of Saratoga Springs, I wasn't comfortable driving around it like I could be at the simple layout of the values.

Although All-Star Music was a tad bit cheaper, I decided I was still a bit scared of its decor as well. Pop Century was the most terrifying on the outside, but they are famous for a tie-dyed cheesecake and that gave me pause for a while (although I eventually came to my senses and decided the stress wasn't worth a piece of cheesecake). which means that all that was left was All-Star Movies. The more I looked at pictures online (thank goodness for Flickr), I felt it was close enough to Art of Animation that I could handle the decor and the fact that only Preferred Rooms were left, means I will be centrally located close to the main building and don't have too far to wander on my own (even though they did cost a bit extra).

As much as I hate to admit it, my fear of staying at an All-Star Resort is no match to the trill that my resort count total is now swayed back into my favor since I just booked my extra night. Ah, the joys of Asper-dom! Besides, it means that I'll have not one, but two new resort reviews come fall! Now I just have to go through all the mental preparedness steps to psych myself into staying at this very non-Asper friendly resort...happy thoughts!

And, since I mentioned it (and since Duran Duran is tied with Disney in keeping my thoughts happy):

Don't they look like such babies!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Just One July

As sucky as work has been lately, I decided that maybe I just need a good challenge, so I think I'm going to join in with Justine's Just One July SAL. I haven't found an official signup list, but I know that my friend Tiffany is also joining in (and she's doing a giveaway as well). Of course, it's not too difficult to figure out which project I will be stitching on, Lilo and Stitch Otherwise by Neni Designs:
Lilo and Stitch otherwise
I am ending the month here, at almost the first row finish:
And I'm not sure where the month is going to take me, but I'm hoping to finish, or get close to finishing, the first three rows. It's a huge goal but maybe a lofty goal is just what I need right now (or it could just kill my stitching mojo altogether, guess we'll see!).

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Disney Reviews Restaurant Edition #24-Pecos Bill's Revisited

I think I've probably mentioned once or twice (or ten times) how much I loved Pecos Bill's Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, located in Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom. If you missed it, the best place is my last review from 2013 located HERE or my first review from 2012 HERE. If there was one thing I could always count on, it was a taco salad from Pecos. I wonder if I had a premonition in 2014 that all was about to change because I had three of them in one trip:
When I heard that they were changing the menu back in 2015, I was kind of glad we were going to California that year because I just couldn't deal with not having my beloved taco salad. By this year though, I was ready to face the inevitable and give their new menu items a try. First of all, the interior or the ordering system didn't change at all, just the menu. They went with more of an overall Mexican theme instead of just the one item.

Amber went with the Chicken Taco Salad because they were out of steak and beef for salads (although we were there mid-afternoon):
with bite-sized Churros for dessert:

I went with the steak fajitas (don't ask me why you could get fajita steak and not salad steak, for places like this, the meat is the same):
and I also got the side of Churros, but since they are coated in cinnamon, they were gifted to my Sister (the other dessert options were horrible and I knew she would eat them):

As I've mentioned in the past, the main draw to Pecos is not particularly the food itself, but the fixin's bar. Now, both of our orders were practically running over the plates already (and the plates were quite small considering the elevated prices of the new items), so adding anything to the dish was very hard (the picture of Amber's dish was post-fixin's, mine was pre). Luckily, they weren't paying attention and gave Amber an extra bowl and I used that for my toppings, but once I put them on the plate, it seemed like for every bite I took, another bite-sized chunk would end up on the tray. It was messy, hard to eat and, since Amber really didn't get what she wanted anyway, we both walked away very dissatisfied and somewhat pissed off.

Now that a bit of time has passed though, I'd be willing to give it another shot come fall, but I think it will be something I will have to do on my own, I think Amber's done. The memory of my beloved taco salad will have to live on in my heart though, because I doubt they will ever bring it back. RIP Taco will forever be missed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Disney Reviews Special Edition #9 - F&G Festival Night Topiaries

Sorry I got off track with the numbers. I think I wrote post #7 first, but somehow managed to schedule it after #8. Oh well, caught up now!

I'm not going to rehash all my previous topiary pics in night form, but I did want to share a couple of the highlights because they are really completely different in darkness. Just remember, these are all hand-held with no tripod, so please forgive!
On this one, you can see the reflections of the weird lighting effects they do to make them look so pretty:
I find it odd that they can do all the detail for the Beast's face, but not Belle's:
I have to admit, as much as I dislike Frozen, this was one of my favorites:
And my absolute favorite:

Monday, June 27, 2016

Disney Reviews Special Edition #7 - F&G Festival Food

The food pictures should be easier (and lighter) than the topiary posts simply because I'm the primary food picture-taker, so I don't have to scour through two separate albums this time!

If there is one thing I love to do, it's hit the food booths at the Food and Wine Festival and I was hoping that the Flower and Garden Festival food booths would be just as good (if not better). Having just gotten back from Disneyland in California last October and being slightly disgruntled at the food there, my hopes might have been higher than usual for Disney World.

Although the F&G food booths were good, none were as outstanding as the F&W booths typically are, but that could be because of the quantity of choices. Whereas the F&W Festival has an average of 40 or so booths, the F&G Festival only had 13, so there isn't as many options and we all know what a picky eater I am. For a complete listing of this year's booths, check out The Disney Food Blog, one of my favorite Disney sites for food info.

Like the F&W Festival, the F&G Festival hands out free little "passports" that you can get stamped at every food and garden visit. It's the best way to keep up with what you ate where. These pictures are going to go in order of my stamps rather than in order of how we ate them. And this was also over a 6-day period, so no need to worry about the quantity!

I had the Vegetable and White Bean "Naanwich" with Arugula Pesto and Oven-dried Tomatoes featuring Seeds of Change Quinoa, Brown and Red Rice:
and the Avive Natural Peach Sparkling Wine
Amber had the Seared Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Ragout, Spring Vegetables and Marbled Potatoes

Am had the Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade

I had the Jerk-spice Chicken with Mango Salsa, Chayote and Green Papaya Slaw with Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette
Am had the Jamaican-braised Beef with Pigeon Pea Rice and Micro Cilantro

I had the Tacos de Camaron with Tempura Shrimp served with Hibiscus Flower, Caramelized Onions and Habanero Sauce, but I'm not sure if Amber had the same since I have no second picture

Am and I both had the Mezze Lune Primavera with Egg Pasta stuffed with Ricotta and Spinach in a Creamy Sauce with Spring Vegetables and Pecorino Cheese (and I'm leaving off Am's's the same thing)
And I also had the Cremoso al Pistachhio which had Pistachio Cream, Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream

I had the Pulled Pig Slider with Crispy Onions and Coleslaw, but I forgot to take a picture. There was a massive snafu during ordering because the booth was closing and they didn't have enough food to sell to those already in line (myself included) so we had to wait till more came and then the fireworks started and I just forgot.

I skipped this both, but Am had a glass of Watermelon Juice (non-alcoholic), which was nothing but squeezed watermelon juice (I'm not a watermelon I am a card-carrying Southern Belle?)

I had the Macaron Chocolat Framboise (basically a Raspberry Macaron with Chocolate Fudge and Raspberry Jam)
And the Ice Pop Grand Marnier Peach Cocktail
Which caused a lot of laughs because Amber thought I was eating it else are you eat a push-up pop when you have sensitive teeth and can't bite directly into it?
Am had the La Vie en Rose Frozen Slush (Grey Groose Vodka Orange, St. Germain Liquor, White and Red Cranberry Juice)

I'm a little sketchy on which cider Amber had, It was either the Black Cherry Hard Cider or the Mad Man Blueberry Hard Cider (I think), but I'm just not sure. Either way, it was pretty gross
Overall, I think the macaron and pork sliders were my favorite, but there wasn't one item I had to throw away (unlike the F&W Festival), so I guess it's safe to conclude that the F&G booths were a success! I still prefer the Food & Wine Festival food-wise simply because there is a wider range of choices, but combined with the topiaries and the lack of drunks at the Flower & Garden, I would say that the Flower & Garden Festival is now my favorite time of year to visit Disney...well, it would be if it was also Halloween time that is, but alas, I doubt I could get Disney, let alone the rest of the world, to celebrate Halloween in March-May!