Archive for February, 2012

Though this has little to do with ADD, it has much to do with the life of others.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

That being said, I tragically lost an aunt one year ago today. Her death was highly unexpected and very, very upsetting.

I thought about her today as I looked at the roses. Having kept a red rose from her funeral, I remember her every time I see one. I did not remember the date, but I remember roses.

Isn’t it ironic? A symbol of love, trust, and romance turned into one of death, parting, and sadness?

As I walked into Walmart with a friend to finish shopping for a gift for my husband the scent and site of roses took me back…

They took me to a time when she took me out when I was about twelve. That was the first time I got my nails done. I remember glancing at her and smiling. She had thought me, her step-niece, worthy of taking out and being spoiled.

My mind jumped to another time when she confided a secret with me. A secret that made me uncomfortable and ultimately had a hand in her death.

She had invited me to the mall with some of her girlfriends, or so I thought. What she actually had done was take me on a double date.

Her choice in men was anything but what it should be. Although she brought her dates nephew to hang out with me, she wanted someone to be guilty with her. Her man was messed up… I did not know he was on illegal drugs, but I did see that he had some real problems as his mouth was sagging and his eyes weren’t right.

Who was I to judge who she dated? And what was I to say or do about it?
If I had said something, would it have changed her demise?

I don’t think so.

I don’t believe that anyone can influence the true choices of another, unless they ask for it. My aunt wanted someone to accept her so very bad that she resorted to taking a 19 year old girl with her on a double date that no one else would have approved of.

I didn’t approve either, but the little chicken that I am wouldn’t have said anything. Her life. Her choice. It may be selfish, but I think it would have done nothing but alienate her even more had I spoken up.

Of course I’ll never know, because I didn’t speak up.

Perhaps, in a way I feel sorry for her. I feel heartbroken for her.

In another way, I’m angry. Not like I was at first, but angry none-the-less. There was so much goodness in her. How dare she die!

My sister has even more memories of her. Good ones. At a mere 14 years old she resembles our aunt. Blonde hair and giant blue eyes show their similarities. And my aunt loved her very, very much.

K, my sister, reminded me today of how Aunt L. did Valentines day. Every year she would sneak in and leave a gift; stuffed animals, candy, and a sweet card. K says she still has every one. I don’t have any of mine anymore, but I do remember.

Last year, I was with K on Valentine’s Day. My mom called and told me what happened and I had just so happened to be the only one home with K. My eyes full of tears K could see the fear and upset in my eyes and made me tell her what happened.

“It’s bad,” I said.

“I want to know,” she said.

She knew, I think, before I said anything.

She turned her face and cried while I held her. We cried together.

Today, it’s her reminding me that it’s been a year. My turn to feel the loss, her turn to be the big kid. She’s always been too big for her britches anyway.

I had a good Valentine’s Day, despite the roses and the memories. But I hope we remember that the choices we make in life have power over those that care about us. Valentine’s Day is about putting forth our love, so let’s remember those we care about and treat them with the love they deserve.

That’s all.

I have been so good these last two weeks working with coach Dana Rayburn . I’m quite proud of my accomplishments.

1. My bathroom is still tidy and clean.
2. This blogging thing is going well.
3. My kitchen has stayed tidy (an overflow of that “be mature” and “just do it” mantra).
4. My laundry, perhaps from keeping my bathroom tidy, is almost all done.

So today I took on another task. Since I’m off all week this week, I decided I wasn’t going anywhere or doing anything for at least part of the week.

My goal was to use part of this week to get my house clean before school (work) starts again next Monday.

The “just do it” mantra took over today and I’m afraid I may have overdone it a bit.

Here’s what happened:

We have no space in our house. It’s say, 125 years old. We’re lucky that the previous renters put in closets, even if they are only 4 square feet…

Anyway, so there is no “master” in this house. It’s built in a square, two bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room, and a kitchen. There is no space for things like a dining table, and cabinet space is severely limited. All this is packed into a 900 sq foot home.

Well, lack of space for clothing is probably 1/4 of my issues with organizing, washing, and folding laundry. Truth be told, there is nowhere to put most of it as the hubs and I have been sharing a tiny dresser and the two tiny closets. So when his mother asked if we wanted another, much bigger dresser, we jumped on the opportunity.

But let’s talk about what a new dresser means! It means space for clothes, but it also means a rearranging of furniture in our tiny bedroom. Do-able, right?

Wrong. I haven’t rearranged furniture in nearly a year. The husband HATES when I rearrange furniture. He literally can’t stand the idea of changing his routine to function in a new space. So I’ve been compliment and left things “as are” for quite some times (no, seriously, moving things around has caused some of the most ridiculous fights ever).

When I came in and noticed the new dresser I was ecstatic, “you’re gonna have to help me move the dressers around.” I told him.

Nope, he wasn’t gonna help me do nothin’! So, today, I “just did it”.

Oh.

My.

God.

How long has it been since I cleaned this room? A decade? No wonder my allergies were taking over my life! It was horrendous! What turned out being a simple rearranging of furniture fell into full-fledged spring cleaning of our room. I mean, I washed windows, walls, curtains, fan blades, vacuumed enough to empty the filter three times, and scrubbed down the new and old dresser to make them shine. I also threw out an entire bag of trash…

And I’m not done yet.

Sure, the room is clean, but now I have to replace things like photographs, a jewelry box, go through my drawers to put clothes in the new dresser, organize those clothes, go through the old bedside tables that no longer fit in the room and move them to the back bedroom.

Oh crap! That will require me to move that room around too.

*sigh*

I have a feeling I overdid it today…

Thanks for allowing me a break.

*walks off mumbling*

“Be mature. Just do it. Be mature. Just do it. Be mature. Just do it. Be mature. Just do it.”

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In dog training, one thing I work on religiously is threshold training.

Essentially it works like this: I place them in a stressful situation during training, and we work at “threshold.” A threshold is the point where they are uncomfortable, but not totally stressed and overwhelmed. The point in this training is to get the dogs comfortable with an uncomfortable situation before it overwhelms them. Then the trainer click/treats even the smallest steps toward progress until they are ready to move on.

Let me give an example.

Ask yourself: can your dog be in a down-stay, off lead, while someone drops a piece of steak on the ground and a squirrel simultaneously decides to race within catching distance of your dog? No?

Well, here is how to teach that.

1. Train a sit in the house.
2. Train a down in the house.
3. Train a sit-stay in the house.
4. Train a down-stay in the house.
5. Train a down-stay and “leave-it” in the house.
6. Work on duration of “stay” in the house until dog can stay for up to 5 minutes.
7. Move to a secured yard, on lead.
8. Work on sit-stay outside.
9. Create instances where dog has to ignore food and/or other animals.
10. Work on duration, on lead, in yard with distractions.
11. Remove lead.
12. Work on duration, off-lead, in yard.
13. Work on duration, off-lead, in yard with distractions.
14. Replace lead, take dog to a new “spot” like a park.
15. Repeat steps 8-13, changing location until dog can behave in a predictable way, every time.

Obviously, this process takes time. Months to years for some dogs, days for others. But this is how champions are made. All those dogs you watch that balance on tight ropes and bring a ball to their master while howling the happy birthday tune and wagging their tail like its fun worked at threshold to learn every step of that training process.

This highly scientific method of training is very, very successful.

Why? Because it takes place step by step, bit by bit. It satiates the dogs internal fear of a situation by slowly praising them for every, single positive outcome.

If trainers step out of that realm of workable threshold something crazy happens. The dog refuses to work. He gets upset, begins barking, shows visible signs of being overwhelmed, and paces. There will be no “sit” out of Fido even though he can do it EVERY time in your kitchen. Why? Because he is overwhelmed. He has not been taught what to do when that steak falls or a squirrel races by. To not try desperately to grasp those things is quite likely against his instincts.

Why then do we not use these same methods on students, or those we supervise? Would it not be a more reliable form of teaching and training?

Too often I hear that we will punish people for their faults, every little thing they do wrong. Place them in a tough spot. Change or be changed! That’s the law around here! That is how humanity works, after all, right?

Imagine if instead of using fear and punishment to teach, we used positive reinforcement. What if instead of fear mongering we won respect and taught in a fun, steady way, working at threshold and on a one-on-one basis. How would people respond?

I bet our world would change in 1,000 ways.

A Thank You!

Posted: February 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

A great big THANK YOU to Expatlogue For noticing me and sending a shout out!

I’m learning this blogging thing bit by bit and being called “worthy” my first week into this thing made my day!!!

So now I’ll try and pay it forward!

1. Butterfly Confessions I keep coming back to this colorful Mom’s page over and over for a bit of joy.

2. dogdaz for some super cute photos and a daily dose of pets!

Forgive me for clumsy posts as I am trying to learn to do this… All on an iPhone too!

Thanks again for the shout out!

The Funny Things :D

Posted: February 12, 2012 in Humor, Mental Health
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If you don’t laugh about it, you’d cry. Right?

I feel that way all the time.

So I figured I’d write a post about some of the funniest things I’ve done that were caused by ADD.

My favorite story involves me taking my keys out if my purse to go to the bank. Then I had to drive the twenty miles back to work (where I placed my purse back in its little cubby hole before tromping to my car) to get my purse, an item I’m never without. Then I drive back to the bank, 40 miles round trip…

Another time I got all the way dressed and forgot to put on foundation before the usual eyeshadow, mascara, and blush. It took me nearly ten minutes to figure out why on earth my face was so pale.

Or how about how I forget to grab a towel every time I shower? You’d think I’d learn by now. My wonderfully, awesome, amazing, wonderful, super, great husband actually is so used to this lapse in judgement that he puts towels out for me every time I hop in the tub.

How has he learned and I haven’t?

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That wonderful man! Thank God for people who know. What on earth would I do without him?

Drip dry?

Growing Up

Posted: February 11, 2012 in Mental Health, pets
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Some of my best friends are my dogs. Paisley, above, is my most challenging furry child.

I honestly think she has the doggie version of ADD.

Most would never guess that Paisley here has been in basic training, beginners agility, sequencing agility, and rally obedience courses totaling more than 32 weeks of professional training!

While that training no doubt saved her life, there is still little to show for it. Though she has a perfect sit, a nice heal, and a calm demeanor, she STILL finds creative things to destroy in the house sometimes.

But one thing is really working, maturity. The older Paisley gets, the more calm and relaxed she becomes. She has settled down into a wonderful home companion. She will never make a Rally or Agility champion, but she may make a glorious therapy dog within the next couple of years.

Naturally, I won’t be stopping her training anytime soon, because she always has new skills to learn.

The moral of the story is simple. Though learning and training are always necessary, sometimes the greatest solution to a problem is simply growing up and being mature about it.

Thank you, Dana, for those words of wisdom!

Misunderstanding

Posted: February 11, 2012 in Mental Health
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It’s so frustrating to have ADD. To be the one who is disorganized amongst a sea of perfectionists.

I can handle my mess, but it became apparent today that it can (and will) be used against me in the court of people who think I’m a bum.

ADD is tough. People who learn my faults rarely take time to know the person behind them. Due to this, it is assumed that I am just being lazy, when honestly, I’m working harder than they can imagine!

Everyday I have to battle the inability to focus, then I have to fight just to keep that focus. It’s the equivalent of mental exhaustion, except all the time. Every now and then, I’ll be able to think clear and tackle all the little problems I can. But within a couple of hours that clarity fades and I’m left with fuzzy brain. Usually, I wake up with a fuzzy brain.

Anyway, on thing I need to learn to do is find a way to make known that I am continually working on myself and battling ADD, without making excuses for myself. In fact, I rarely tell those above me because saying, “Listen, I have ADD, please work with me,” seems to put me at a liability while I make excuses for myself.

So I don’t say anything. Then, when things are out of control nobody knows. It’s been a secret so I seem like a lazy, normal person.

This is a real problem. I don’t see a resolve for it. Definitely something to chat with my coach about, and perhaps until there is more awareness and less abuse of ADD or ADHD, then it won’t change.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Dayna