“The heat pump blew all the fuses.”

house on top of building

I’m preparing to embark on a project with M, soon.  We’re going to design and build a miniature version of our dream house.  We’re still negotiating the materials.  (You know I want to use 3D printers. 😉)  M insists the final design must be as detailed and tactile as possible without spending a small fortune.  My inner hippie jumped forward and suggested (out loud) we use recycled Amazon boxes as a sole source of materials.

Isn’t it weird when your gut reaction is so spot on, it has layers of rightness that slowly and steadily reveal themselves?  And you think to yourself; maybe I’m more complicated than I realize.  🤔  (Then something shiny happens, and you laugh and forget all about it?)  Heh.  I should probably stop believing we’re still in negotiations over which materials to use.  (No-dee-duh.)

colorful painted houses

We’re in the thinking about it stage.  I’ve been watching lots of house shows on Netflix and noting features I appreciate.  I’ve also had a few glue-gun fiasco flashbacks from when I made my custom RGB LED lights.  And that time I cut off the tip of my finger when making my last quilt.  (As far as I can tell, it grew back.  Yay.)  I’m confident I won’t have these issues now that being deliberately present is a habit.  💪🏽

I think it’s cool that I learned it from studying Stevie Nicks interviews on YouTube as the first domino in a series of life lessons from various sources.  From take your time and exist at your natural pace, to full-on hippie status on my journey to enlightenment.  I’m dead chuffed.  (Shup.  Been waiting for ages to use that phrase.) 😂  I didn’t even know music was an epic teaching tool a decade ago.

The Army already taught me novels could only get you so far, but when paired with music, it’s a surprising distance.  I feel like I’m just getting warmed up in my exploration of music that moves me.  I’m embarking on a study of Dolly Parton, now.  No introduction or explanation is necessary;  she’s fabulous.  I strongly suspect she has lots to teach me.  Yay.  (Old school triple-threat; where the third threat is a topic that can easily lead to violence, especially if alcohol is involved.) 🤭

grado headphones

I can listen to Jolene on repeat for hours.  I love that song.  I’m also looking forward to watching Nine to Five, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Straight Talk, Steel Magnolias, and Joyful Noise, again.  I’m not really into country music, but some of it jumps out and says, yes you are, at times.  Some artists pull fans from all genre preferences, and Dolly Parton is one of them.  I’m off to watch my shows.  ✌🏽💜

“I saw someone on the street eating M&M’s with a spoon.”

The Fleetwood Mac concert was last night.  I still have a massive grin on my face.  I’m floating on a cloud of joy, today.  Since I attended alone, I took a Lyft ride there and back.  Aside from struggling to locate my Lyft driver among so many others after the show, it proved ideal.  Instead of waiting in lines, the crowd smoothly flowed through security to our seats.  It was like being gently guided.

twitterish meme
joke credit: VisualVox

I was seated among lovely people who reminded me why I love Sioux Falls so much.  A woman seated with her partner in front of me turned around and gave me a high-five when the band took the stage.  I was between a group of young women and two men around my age.  We spontaneously swayed arm-in-arm to the music several times while singing along.  😮😍😆🙃

It startled me at first, but I played it off and joined in.  Then I internally celebrated my happy amazement over bonding with local strangers without the slightest bit of panic.  I had floor seats, so we stood from the moment the music began until the band took a bow at the end.  I wore cargo pants with a leg pocket for my phone, which was perfect.  I didn’t lose anything while mesmerized by the performance.  Yay.

happy doof

After a few songs, I realized I was standing there on tiptoes with my hands clutched in fists just below my chin, shoulders hunched, eyes open as wide as they go, and presumably a super goofy expression around my grin.  (Part of me is secretly hoping the band couldn’t see us well from beneath the lighting.)  I couldn’t help it.  (Even though I’ve seen photos of people doing this, and thought they looked like doofs.)  Heh.

I had a fantastic time.  I did see one other black person, but I think he worked there.  😂  (I didn’t look around at the audience once the band started playing.)  Mick Fleetwood’s drumming blew my mind.  His kit is gold with penguins on the kick drum.  After stunning us with his skills, he got up and casually tossed his sticks while exiting the stage.  (So cool.)  He did all the faces, too.  I love him.  😆

The magical vibe that only Fleetwood Mac can create remains wrapped around me like a hug.  Watching Stevie Nicks in her element with my own eyes was a bucket list moment.  She rocked.  I love her.  (I’m making that face again.)  Christine McVie came out from behind the keyboards to sing beside Stevie Nicks, too.  (I may have involuntarily squeed.)  I loved seeing Sharon Celani and Lori Nicks singing backup, as well.  The band sounded fabulous.  The percussion and bass were felt as well as heard, (which is how it should be.)

The new lineup is tight and smooth together.  I think they’re even better now.  (Yep.  I said it.)  The tribute to Tom Petty was brilliant.  I’m off to continue being a happy doof while I practice drumming.  ✌🏾💜

p.s. Here’s the photo I took (just before I forgot my phone could do that.)

Fleetwood Mac concert Sioux Falls

“Is he still mad at you for crashing his Thanksgiving party?”

love listening

I’m having a productive day.  My weekly chores are nearly complete, pending a laundry load in the dryer.  I finished reading, Becoming, by Michelle Obama recently.  Reading it was like spending time getting to know her.  She was candid, personable, and unapologetically human.  I love her and am grateful to know her on her terms.  It’s an ideal manner of connection, in my belief.  She’s instilled a deep sense of hope within me.

I’m presently devoted to four weekly podcasts.  (Gettin’ Grown, The Friend Zone, The Read, and Jade and XD.)   The people who create them are part of a tightknit group of friends, which adds to my listening pleasure.  I was listening to Jade and X.D.’s latest episode (with my headphones) while working a jigsaw puzzle last night.  At one point, I burst out laughing, startling Amelia Bedelia, Talulah, and M.  I noticed their reaction in my peripheral vision and turned to see their alarm.

Amelia Bedelia quickly exited the room, fleeing to her safe place atop her climbing tower.  Talulah barked once as if scolding me for making her jump.  M, who was playing a video game, played it off and asked me what was so funny.  All I could do was laugh even harder.  I paused the podcast and got up to attend to Amelia Bedelia, but couldn’t stop giggling.  I’m typically fairly silent, but it occurred to me these favorite podcasts are practically the only exception.  (I usually listen when alone.)

jumping for joy

While the podcasts cover different topics, they’re all often hilarious.  M decided he’s going to play them while he runs.  Jade recommended the show, The Good Place, which is currently on Netflix.  I binged two seasons of it last weekend, and highly recommend it.  I rarely watch anything other than nature documentaries, but I love this show.  It’s hysterically funny but also provokes a lot of thought.  Kristen Bell shines brightly in the lead role.  I can’t wait to view season 3.

I started a new novel, titled, 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami.  The story enthralls me so much; I don’t want to do anything but continue reading.  It’s my first book by this author, but won’t be my last.  It includes topics that usually trigger me, but it’s not the case here.  (I’ll ponder why when I finish as this intrigues me.)  In the back of my mind, I’m quietly and excitedly anticipating the upcoming Fleetwood Mac concert.  Each time I think of it, I smile.

Rhiannon still plays in my mind like a lullaby before I go to sleep.  I have three versions in my heart, now:  the original release, the more recent adaptation, and the live video footage from the ’70s — only the original functions as a lullaby.  The live versions are far edgier and provoke mental images of Stevie Nicks in her element.  It still amazes me how this song has been part of the soundtrack of my life since I was a small child, growing in significance as I mature.

I hope those who celebrate had delicious holiday meals.  I’m off to continue reading.  ✌🏽💜

“Did you ever notice how happy people are when they finally get a table?”

I’m not typically one to rave about the sports, but this is amazing!  I didn’t even know this sport existed before viewing this footage.  I’m an instant fan.  I also want to experience it for myself, (preferably with no audience.)  I’m reasonably sure I’d spend a good deal of my float time bashing into the walls while screaming; not that it would dissuade me from trying repeatedly.  Kyra Poh makes it look easy, though.  I think this is the type of footage we should broadcast to aliens.

Nine days until the Fleetwood Mac concert.  Part of me wants to camp out in the parking lot until it’s time for the show.  I already have my ticket and have practiced driving there twice.  I’m excited!  I’ve made a few contingency plans on the off chance my car breaks down, or the garage door refuses to let me out of the parking garage.  Nothing I can control will prevent me from seeing this concert.  Nothing!  Muahahaha!

I’ve been trying to write this post all day, but I’ve taken many breaks to dance, jump up and down, sing, and generally fail at containing my anticipatory joy.  I’m going to be in the same space with Stevie Nicks!  Words cannot express how happy I am about this.  I love her and am so glad she exists.  She’s taught me much by what she’s shared through her music and interviews, and it’s provided me with comfort and strength.  Music is powerful, and I don’t think I’d survive without it.

handful of joy

I’m on the brink of a new project with four other autistic women.  I don’t have much to share at this point, but it’s where I’ll be dedicating my (hyper) focus for the next five years, at least.  It’ll be my fourth career, in a way.  First I was a soldier in the Army, then a full-time student, a software engineer, and now this new project.  I’m probably not a multitasker.  I do best when I give all to a single endeavor.  It works for me.  When I feel pulled in multiple directions, I tend to shut down altogether, so I’m glad I know this about myself.

Also, I think people who can juggle several things at once while still giving their best to all are incredible.  I tend to stare at them in awe, despite getting busted for it often.  If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been caught staring, I’d be hella rich. I’ve consciously tried to stop doing it, but with no success. I suck at remembering if I can see people, they can see me too. If I were a decent photographer, I would take a damn picture, don’t you know. 😂

happy people

Next week is going to be busy. I have an appointment with an eye doctor, dentist, and the concert. I’ll also be meeting with the director of my local VA hospital and a Mental Health Professional before the dental appointment, to discuss my recent complaint of abusive treatment there. I’m low-level stressing about all three, but my excitement over the concert has all worries in an illegal sleeper hold. Yay. (I should probably knock out a few more difficult things while in this nothing-can-bring-me-down state of mind.)

On top of everything, I got an email from a dear friend I met on Twitter (before I recognized I’m social media impaired, SMI.) 😂 It’s a good thing Amy Lee already taught me I couldn’t die from being too happy. I have to say, though, if I get to choose, I want to die from overwhelming joy. I’m off to beat my drums while smiling like the doof I am. ✌🏽💜

“Leo, I don’t care for your demeanor.”

children learning

I mentioned in comments recently how Sheryl Crow is teaching me how to communicate with people from a more productive place.  Her song, Halfway There on her Be Myself album is my anthem for the lesson.  (It’s also a great song.)  Music is the most effective way to teach me something.  I feel like I’ve already made good progress.  Now, when communicating, instead of only thinking about presenting my viewpoint, I also think about how those who might not agree will hear it.

The reasoning behind the lesson is the fact there’s little point in expressing my opinion in a manner that will cause the listener to tune me out.  I have a cat for that.  Heh.  I know whenever I speak to her, she’s listening for keywords, (such as, treat.)  She’s interested in my tone of voice.  Anything beyond is noise.  If I want people to consider my opinions as worthy of thinking about, I have to work on how I present them.  Just like with Amelia Bedelia, my tone of voice, and the words I choose will make or break the conversation.

I didn’t realize how horrible I am at this until recently.  I tend to come off like a drill Sgt.  In my defense, I did virtually grow up in the Army.  I’ve been out long enough to recognize it’s an entirely different world than that of a civilian.  It took a long time for me to adapt.  The hardest part was accepting civilian attitudes.  It’s incredibly frustrating to work with (or even be around) people who aren’t giving their best by default.  Of course, not all civilians are like this, but I seem to find the ones who are regularly.  😂

child weeping

Fortunately, I no longer lecture people on the merits of doing their best, (like a drill Sgt.)  I even try to keep my face in check, but I’m never sure I manage.  I’m a thought telegrapher.  (You can probably imagine how much fun this added to my training. /sarcasm)  Worse, my expressions aren’t necessarily the NT (neurotypical) version.  Aside from about-to-laugh or about-to-cry, I’ve been told I look angry when I’m thinking or processing.  Damn eyebrows.

Body language is something I’ve decided not to stress over any longer.  I don’t get it, I probably never will, so no more beating myself up over it.  As for my own, I’m working on not walking away like I’m trying to escape whenever I talk to people.  (Even though, half the time, I am.)  My entire lifestyle centers around not having to speak (out loud) to strangers much.  I suspect many who have or had a speech impediment share this habit.  I also used to put my foot in my mouth virtually every time I opened it.  (Thank goodness, Stevie Nicks already taught me the importance of thinking before saying.  Love her!)  Now I’m ready to take it further.  Baby steps, yo.  🙃

The battle for access to abuse-free health care continues.  Jade and Keia of Gettin’ Grown talked about the fact African American women frequently die prematurely due to racism in the medical field on this week’s podcast.  I felt validated after listening.  I’m not the only one who has had to deal with doctors or dentists who don’t think black people feel pain.  Or who automatically disbelieve anything we say.  I’m glad I decided I’m not going to die prematurely due to the crudeness and cruelty of some alleged professionals.

I’m proud of myself for refusing to see the evil dentist who mistreated me again.  I looked right at her (probably with angry eyebrows) and said, “No.  I specifically stated I would not be seen by her again when I made the appointment.”  The receptionist acted confused, but I saw a different dentist that day.  It was the first time I stood up for myself, but not the last.  I’m grateful the Patient Care Representative at the VA is a (more than) decent human being.  She’s already helped put in motion an eye exam, and I’ll be seeing a non-evil dentist later this month.

cute cat on the floor

I wrote her a note identifying some examples of the abuse I’ve endured in the Mental Health clinic and ward.  I didn’t share much, and only mentioned one person by name, but it was an overwhelming exercise.  I also shared how I was dealing with my ex-husband turning into Ramsay Bolton at the time, which is what drove me to seek assistance in the first place.  It brought back all the shit I’ve had to put up with since I got out of the military.  Plus, the Kavanaugh Travesty triggered me and stapled me to the floor as a result.  It was like standing in the midst of a trauma avalanche.  Good times.

I’m doing better now, (finally stopped weeping.)  I look and feel like I talked shit about Mike Tyson’s mom in his earshot, but at least I’m not silently wishing slow deaths on everyone who ever hurt me any longer, (then feeling guilty about it.)  I finally slept, which helped.  I also listened to lots of music and watched a Will and Grace marathon while pacing.  I might take the saying, walk it off, too literally, but whatever works.  I paid enough attention to recognize how insensitive (and probably offensive) we were in the 90’s.  I didn’t notice back then.  (+100 to the millennials for helping us see how unkind we were without realizing it.)  ✌🏽

p.s.  Here is a fabulous, healing, and hopeful video.  #SISTERHOOD