I was really struggling with what to write for this month’s #PepperDay post. I wrote a post in a group on Facebook a couple of days ago that has gotten far more attention than I ever expected it to get. It’s part of my autistic advocacy work, so luckily the vast majority of responses has been positive, but it has me completely out of my comfort zone.
I did not fully think through how much reach it would have when I wrote it, and since it was approved I’ve spent a good amount of time trying to keep on top of notifications about reactions to the post and reading and responding to comments.
So, for today’s #PepperDay post I thought I’d do something a little fun.
First, though, some housekeeping from last month’s post. My garden gnome arrived and I absolutely love him. Here are some pictures of him and what our walkway looks like with all our solar powered decorations all lit up.
Okay, now to explain the title of this post and have some fun. Lately FB has well and truly figured out my personality and has demonstrated that by the shirts that it is suggesting that I buy. (And to be clear, I am in no way being sarcastic, these suggestions are absolutely directly in line with my personality.)
Here’s what Facebook has suggested, so far I have only been able to purchase the first suggestion.
There’s a lot that I could write about this #PepperDay. April is Autism Acceptance Month and I have joined groups that are autistic led and have learned so, so much about myself. But it’s also been a frustrating month because there are still so many people who refuse to listen to #ActuallyAutistic voices. People will come into a space that has been set up for autistic people to answer their questions, we will take the time and energy to educate them, and they will either decide that we are wrong (about our own lived experiences) because it’s not the answer they were looking for, or they will continuously misinterpret things no matter how plainly and clearly its explained to them and will talk down to us and be patronizing and condescending. It’s exhausting and I am so grateful to the people who actually listen to us and change their way of looking at the world.
But, enough talk of frustrating things!
#PepperDay🌶 and Earth Day🌎 are the same day this month, and Ra from over at Rarasaur.com asked for happy pictures if we could provide them, so I’m going to share some photos of our garden, garden decorations and a garden decoration that I am anxiously awaiting the delivery of. I would go outside and take current pictures of my garden since the daffodils have bloomed much more since I last took a picture of them, but this Earth Day happens to be chilly and windy here in my part of New England…
Here is a screenshot of the amazing garden gnome that I am waiting for.
He’s solar powered and his hat lights up! I’m so excited!
It is unclear what my neighbors in my condo association think of my decorations… even before my amazing garden gnome gets added to the collection. I’m on the condo association board though, so that might help my case. 😂 I probably will try to only add very small things from now on… although some pink flamingos are tempting!😉😁🤣
Earlier this month my Dad alerted me to a desk that he had seen on the side of the road with a “FREE” sign on it. Curtis still works in the area that my parents live in, so he went and checked it out during a break in his work day. He decided it was in good enough condition, though the desktop was in rough shape, and it fit in our SUV so he brought it home.
There was some question once he got it through the door as to whether it would fit in the space we were hoping to turn into an office, but once we moved some things around, it did end up fitting. So we purchased some desk mats to cover the desktop and an office chair, and that weird little room now has a purpose.
We also got outside and did some spring cleanup for our garden area out in front of our condo on the first day of Spring. There are stones on the steps leading up to our door that get shoveled into the garden and grass area during the winter, so we gathered those up and put them back where they belong. We also moved a couple of butterfly decorations left behind by the previous owners out of hiding and moved our flower pinwheel to a more prominent location.
The several feet of snow that we have is being slowly melted away.
A few days ago was the 2 year anniversary of my Grandma’s death.
My maternal uncle’s mother died yesterday.
February is now a very bad month for my cousins.
I went to bed earlier than I have been lately hoping to get up earlier… it didn’t work.
As I was willing myself to get out of bed I received a group text.
At first I thought that my abusive sister somehow got ahold of my new number and somehow got around the fact that I have her blocked because the names are listed in alphabetical order, but it was from my Dad.
My Dad sent a group text to me, my sister, my mom’s sister, and his mother.
He was letting us know that my Mom was currently in the ER with a suspected gall bladder infection.
She is alone because of Covid restrictions.
I cannot go and be with my Dad and brother because I am isolating as much as possible while I wait my turn for my vaccine.
I yelled the F word several times after reading the text, texted my Dad privately to be certain it wasn’t visible to my sister and then forced myself to get out of bed.
It was time for my afternoon meds. I grabbed two wrong medication organizers before finally grabbing the correct one and getting my meds in me.
I got my teeth brushed, pulled on a hoodie, got my glasses on and called my husband at work to inform him of the death in the family and that my Mom was in the ER.
I worried over the phone to my husband about the fact that my sister might now have my new number because she was part of the group text.
I needed breakfast.
I opened the wrong cabinet and tried to put my juice glass on my Keurig instead of my mug.
I eventually managed to get my juice in my juice glass, my coffee and creamer in my mug, and my milk and cereal in my bowl.
I ate breakfast and took care of some of my normal daily routines on my phone while eating.
I posted to Facebook about what is going on with my family.
I got another group text from my Dad letting us know that a cat scan ruled out a gall bladder infection. Mom has really bad reflux, still unsure why, but she should be coming home from the ER soon. He’ll update us when he knows more.
I texted my husband with the updated information. I told him that I am still worried about why her reflux is so bad all the time, but that right now the fact that the anniversary of her mother’s death is only a few days ago and the fact that there was just another death in the family might have something to do with it.
I wrote a comment on my Facebook post giving everyone updated information. (Minus my hypothesis as to what’s causing her current reflux issues.)
Now I’m sitting here writing this post because it’s #PepperDay and I didn’t know what else to write about.
I’m sitting here trying to find the motivation to get up and take the shower that I still need to take today.
I’m sorry that my posts have been such downers two months in a row now.
Long time readers of this blog will remember that this used to be a place where I would come to talk about big and challenging things that were happening in my life, or big and challenging things that had happened in my past.
And then I changed things up a bit, deleted some old posts due to some changes in life circumstances, hoping that they would no longer be relevant.
And then I stopped blogging altogether for a while, although I still considered myself a blogger.
Fair warning: This post is going to be a bit heavier than the sort of stuff I’ve written about for a while, but I’m hoping to keep it to a fairly short summary of my last 4 years (give or take).
4 years and 2 months ago in November the US election happened, and, although I am a fairly privileged white woman, I was terrified.
4 years and 1 month ago, 2 days after Christmas, my parents house burned down. An electric blanket that my Dad was asleep under caught on fire. My Dad was lucky to escape with only minor injuries.
4 years ago when the fire happened I still lived across the country from my parents. I spent all my time afterwards organizing things online to get them the help they needed, including creating a fundraiser.
4 years ago at the end of April my mother was finally given permission to let me know that my sister not only was pregnant, but had actually had the baby about 4 months earlier on Christmas day, 2 days before the fire. I had not been in contact with my sister for several years because she is abusive, but during the time that she was pregnant I had been trying to reestablish contact and give her another chance. I did not know that she was pregnant when I was reaching out to her. She never responded to my attempts to contact her. She could have told me she was pregnant, but instead I was the last person in our family to find out when my niece was already 4 months old.
4 years ago at the end of April I tentatively reestablish contact with my sister.
4 years ago in May my Grandfather suffered a major heart attack, had quadruple bypass surgery and was fitted with a pacemaker. He was then readmitted to the hospital later in the month because of an infection and has been in and out of the hospital over the last few years because his heart condition causes him breathing issues.
4 years ago in July my parents and my brother were able to move into their rebuilt house.
4 years ago in July my husband, Curtis, found out that the project that he’d been working with for almost 10 years was going to be moving to a different company and everyone would be losing their jobs by October. We had a choice for him to try to find another job within the company or take the severance package and try to find another job in Utah or move back to Connecticut. We ultimately decide to try to stay with the same company.
4 years ago in September Curtis started a work from home position within the same company.
4 years ago shortly before Christmas Curtis finds out that his new position is going away. This time there won’t even be a severance package. We have no choice but to move across the country to live with family. We set up a fundraiser to help us do that.
3 years ago in January we leave Utah and drive a U-Haul truck filled with all our belongings across the country to Connecticut. Along the way we spend one night with my sister and we meet her child for the first time.
3 years ago in January, 2 days after meeting my sister’s child for the first time we are driving through a blizzard in Ohio when I get a text from my sister. She informs me that she will be moving into the room at my parent’s house that was promised to us and tells us that we need to find somewhere else to stay. She is only supposed to stay a month.
3 years ago in January we arrive at my parent’s rebuilt house. We stay a week before having to move in with my in-law’s in a different part of the state.
3 years ago in February we realize that my sister is refusing to leave. We cannot stay long-term with my in-law’s because they rent an apartment. We move in with my Grandparent’s next door to my parents.
3 years ago in March Curtis finally found a job in Connecticut. He is working second shift.
3 years ago in June my sister finally moves out of my parents house. She had been abusive to everyone the entire time she was there. She moved in in January, was supposed to be gone by February but stayed for 6 months even though my parents wanted her to leave. She had a house that she could have moved back to at anytime while Curtis and I were homeless and staying with family who never planned on having us living with them.
3 years ago in June Curtis and I are finally able to move into the room that we were supposed to be living in since our move from Utah. My sister throws a fit when she finds out that we moved in.
2 years ago in February my Grandmother on my Mom’s side dies. She had been sick for a while and eventually slipped into a coma. My family had to make the decision to let her go because it’s what she would have wanted. My sister was around constantly and was abusive towards my mother who was losing her mother. I was unable to truly grieve of be a part of my grandmother’s funeral as I might have wanted to be because all my time was spent trying to deal with the trauma of my abusive sister making everything about her. I was overwhelmed.
2 years ago in February and March my sister finally leaves again and I help my Mom and Aunt clean out my Grandmother’s apartment.
2 years ago in April Curtis starts a new job. We go from going to bed at 5:30am to getting up at 5:30am.
2 years ago in September I self diagnosed myself as being autistic. My brother, who was living in the room right next to ours, had finally gotten his autism diagnosis in his mid 20s. He and I are polar opposites, he needs constant noise and is loud where I need quiet and am quiet myself, but when I realized that autism presents differently in everyone, everything finally made sense. I finally understood why living in such a loud house since we were able to move in was so traumatic for me, among other things.
1 year ago in January I finally start to get help for my extreme anxiety. I go on medication. I go through a few different people before finding the right fit. (Mainly someone who actually believes autism is a thing…) I am unable to continue talk therapy because it is too expensive, I am only able to continue to see the person who prescribes my meds.
1 year ago at the end of January my mother slips into a deep depression when the grief of losing her mother catches up with her. I am left to pick up the slack around the house. She seeks help, gets back on medications (this isn’t her first bout with depression) and is finally starting to feel like herself again when…
10 months ago in March the Pandemic hits. Life changes for everyone. My mom must wait longer before returning to work.
4 months ago in September my husband and I magically buy ourselves a condo during the middle of a pandemic. We become first time homeowners.
4 months ago in September I am no longer living at my parents house and can now officially cut my narcissistic abusive sister out of my life again.
2 months ago the election happens. There is much stress until the election is finally called.
1 month ago around Christmas my body and brain decide that now that we have our own place again I can start to process all the trauma of the last 4 years, starting with the house fire. I have been living in trauma for the last 4 years nonstop.
Just a couple of weeks ago there was domestic terrorism in Washington DC and I seriously began to doubt my brain’s sense of timing.
So, that is an abbreviated (believe it or not) rundown of all the serious things that happened over the last 4 years (give or take) and all of the trauma that I am trying to work through now.
I felt that you all deserved to know what was happening while I had disappeared from my blog. Hopefully my next #PepperDay🌶 post will be more lighthearted.
Yesterday was Pepper Day. I had every intention of writing a post. I was even reminded that it was Pepper Day on Facebook. And then… life happened.
There were other notifications on Facebook to tend to and people to engage with, and the notification about Pepper Day slipped to the back of my mind.
I listened to the latest podcast that Ra from over at Rarasaur.com got interviewed in over lunch and my brain was occupied with processing that.
Later in the day I got a phone call from my Mom letting me know that the birthday card that she had been trying to send me since last month (my birthday was on November 30th) got returned to her again and she asked if Curtis could could stop by and just pick it up along with our Christmas gift on his way home from work.
And then, of course, my Mom and I got to talking for a bit.
It’s really ironic that my birthday card finally made its way to me yesterday, because apparently yesterday my blog turned 8 years old.
On Pepper Day.
But I missed it.
So… happy belated Pepper Day! And also a happy belated 8th birthday to my blog!
With one more day in #NanoPoblano2020 after today, I decided to do a post featuring all the other outside decorations that we have so far. The above dragonfly decoration lives under one of our rose bushes.
The mercury glass mason jar and lady bugs solar lights ultimately got moved to the opposite side of the path to our door where they get slightly better light.
Last mercury glass mason jar light over by our door. We originally intended the welcome mat to be inside, but the floor is uneven and the door wouldn’t fit over it. So now it sits outside and is mostly useless other than as a decoration.
We live in what used to be row houses for the workers that worked at the mill/factory down the road. The row houses were built in the 1860s and then converted to condos of various sizes in the 1980s. I believe our condo has the honor of being the smallest one in the association. (The mill/factory down the street has also been converted into apartments and condos, they are part of a different condo association.) As you can see in the picture above, there used to be two doors right next to each other, but one has since been filled in. The windows above where to door used to be remain though, leaving a rather unique look to the outside of our portion of the building.
There is a corner shelving unit in our non-bedroom and this is one of the shelves. It is home to what I had room to keep of my snowman collection. Because our condo is all of 624 sqft, this collection will be on display all year round because there is no space to store seasonal decorations.
All of the things on this shelf (including the shelving unit itself) was inherited from my Grandma. Today was the first day that I was able to put batteries in the snowman lamp and see what it looked like.
This was not what I was expecting. That blue light? It flashes at various random speeds. I only expected the top bulb to light up like a normal lamp.
Our condo has a built-in bookcase, which we very quickly made use of and filled up. It also has this built-in set of shelves over to the left of our bed, Murphy.
This set of shelves is shorter and narrower than the built-in bookcase. Technically you could use them as a bookcase as well, if you moved the little shelves around just right, but then you’d be left with a bunch of leftover shelves and really not that much space for books anyway.
So we used these shelves to display stuff. Including the very top of the set of shelves, there are 12 shelves of varying heights, all displaying different things. While the stuff on each shelf brings me joy, this shelf in particular is my favorite.
Such a random collection of stuff, and yet it all works so well together.