Showing posts from August, 2012

Local Fairs and Memories

Wednesday, my wife and I went to the opening day of the Canfield Fair in Ohio. It is a regional fair, drawing from several Ohio and Pennsylvania counties. Since we moved from California, I would rate this as the best fair we've attended. It reminded me a bit of the Big Fresno Fair, with more animals than the Minnesota State Fair. The Canfield Fair had the best collection of antique farm equipment we've seen, and definitely the most food trucks and booths. In California, there are county fairs. I've been to the Kern, Tulare, Kings, Los Angeles, and Fresno County fairs. The Tulare County fair is a nice little event, usually with some good entertainment. The Fresno County fair (The Big Fresno Fair) is great. I love the entertainment, the craft displays, and the animals. I can still remember the basic layout of the fairgrounds, especially the location of the rabbits, sheep, and horses. Fresno's grandstands are still used for horse racing. The Minnesota State Fair, hel

Back to School Stress

As we head back to school, I find the anxiety overwhelming. The start of each year is like starting a new job, with new colleagues (students) and new routines. Time to learn new people, new schedules, new classrooms, and even a new office. I'm now in my third office, in a third building and I haven't yet reached a year as an instructor at the university. The change is constant, as the institution is trying to redefine itself in two different (and sometimes contradictory) ways. That's not really a topic for this blog post, but turmoil and confusion in higher education also make each year more of an adventure than I would like. When I was young, the new year seemed like part of the routine. I'm from a small Central California community; the school was the center of the small community where we lived until I was in high school. Even after moving into the "city" we remained in the same school junior high (now "middle school") and high school distri

So Much for Normal… or This Is Normal?

I met my wife at the airport just before midnight, Tuesday, and thought things were back to normal again. She was home, the cats would be happy, and routine would be restored. Then, while driving home I realized I ached all over. Headache, joint pain, and sneezing… lots and lots of sneezing. I thought the sneezing was a result of wind and pollen. Over the weekend, I had taken to the slope behind our house with a Weed Eater (one of the best lawn care tools ever invented). I wore jeans and safety goggles, but my face still ended up with marks from the weeds and grass. I looked like a red raccoon after the mowing and weed removal. Alas, it wasn't mere allergies. I spent much of Wednesday sneezing and wheezing. I was running a fever by late in the day. Thursday was spent in bed, with chills. Not as much sneezing, but still too much sneezing. My lips and nose are chapped, from too much Kleenex use. Time to get some Puffs with lotion. My wife said this is normal for us — I get sic

Return to Normalcy (sort of)

In two hours, I'll be leaving to the airport to retrieve my wife. I missed her for the last week while she's been visiting family in California. I also miss California, so while missing her I was remembering the places back home — Los Angeles, Monterey, Sequoia, and so many more. Then there were the memories of food. Yes, food. Mexican food isn't the same in Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Minnesota. (Though, parts of Ohio look promising.) The cats have been clingy while I'm alone. It wasn't quite as bad as when we first moved, but pretty close. Then again, Alex and Mutt are clingy most of the time now. Old age stinks. I believe they miss the rest of the pack — especially Mimi and Jordan. With the return to a routine, maybe the cats won't cry so much. Even sitting with them, it was obvious they wanted Mama, not Papa. Misty Kitty has taken to sitting on a little folding "TV tray" stand next to my chair in the living room. It's adorable. I hope to be

Long, Exhausting Night

Cats, I am told, are like two-year-old children. Last night was one of those long nights with one sick and one demanding kid, then. My wife is visiting family in California and I am ill-equipped at the moment to deal with extra stress. I believe it is because the start of this school year is reminding me of last year — so I am already anxious. I did okay last summer because I was focused on the new job and things hadn't yet started to spiral out of control. Then, J.C. Kitty passed away, the house flooded, and my workplace became more complex than I could anticipate. Add to that a string of health issues and my ability to manage alone withered away under stress. A few months into the school year and I needed extra help managing the household. Last night, about 11 p.m., Mutt was sick. Very sick. He needed a bath, the bed comforter had to be changed… and then he was sick again. Another bath. At the same time, his brother Alex was demanding food, but finding none of the cho

Pursuit of Perfection

Perfectionism can be debilitating. We know that extreme pursuit of "perfection" is associated with body image issues, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression. Whether it is associated with ADHD, autistic traits, or something else, I have an impulse towards perfectionism. Parents and educators know that autistic children often insist on perfect order. There is a desire to have a perfect schedule. There are also forms of perfectionism among autistics. I've met autistic adults unable to tolerate the slightest factual errors relating to their special interests. There is a desire for accuracy, clarity, and completeness. Anything less causes emotional, and physical, anxiety. I dislike factual errors intensely. Being a perfectionist and being a teacher can conflict. Grading papers can descend into a "sand trap" where I want to correct every error. Students would never read or recall all the comments I would make on papers given sufficient time. Yet, that is

Burnout, via Karla's Page

I saw this graphic on Facebook yesterday, and wanted to share it. I have included similar information on this blog and in my other writings. Trying to socialize is exhausting. Visit Karla's ASD Page While it might be more difficult for someone with a variation of autism to socialize, I have written that I believe others feel the same exhaustion from our society's insistence on being charming and at ease in groups. Workplaces are socially trying for many individuals, but significantly more trying for many autistics. My wife is an introvert, and so am I. We both work from home most of the time, which is ideal for us. I do try to be more social because I realize that's how our society works. We have friends who are extroverts and they do navigate workplaces (and life in general) with greater ease.  I'm conflicted by this. I want to be left alone, but I want to have success in whatever field I am pursuing. As a writer, social skills are necessary to promote