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!