Late last year, I had an idea for an ADD-related T shirt. I had a few of the made and wore one to my “Who Am I Living With?!?!” performance in Taylor, Mich. I decided I would make a few of them to bring to the conference.

I like the shirt and the slogan “ADD/ADHD: because life isn’t complicated enough already”. It can be read a few different ways and I like that. Yes, it’s difficult having ADD/ADHD, but another way to read it is “do we have to have 2 different names for the same thing? Isn’t it hard enough just having it?”

(And, again, yes I KNOW that the DSM has retired the term “ADD”, but I [along with some therapists whose sites I visited] don’t like the new term “ADHD, primarily inattentive type”. – how is adding 24 letters to an acronym for people with attention problems an improvement?)

I was in contact with Linda Roggli about the upcoming ADHD Conference in Orlando. Linda has a great line of shirts, hats and other items, so I asked her if I could bring some of the T-shirts. She graciously said “yes”, so I had a batch printed up.

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I also decided they needed a tag, on the chance that someone might want to buy another one for themselves or a friend. So, I printed up a batch of tags and am attaching them to the shirts tonight, in time for the conference to start tomorrow.

I hope I’m not the only one who gets the joke!

Phew! (Do we say that more than neurotypical people?)

This is my last day to prepare for the trip to Orlando. My mom and I are driving down, leaving tomorrow (Sunday) morning. We’re going to visit with her cousin, then I’ll drive back up to Orlando for the conference.

I’m looking forward to the conference in a big way. I get to work with Kirsten from playDHD (I attended her session last year and immediately loved her style!), I’m bringing some printed t-shirts to sell (my first foray into free-market capitalism), and I am going to try to get the group singing along with a tune I wrote just for the conference. Lots to do.

So, this week was prep week. Except that it wasn’t. It got away from me.

We added computer shopping, printer shopping, software installation, swapping 2 old bass guitars for a new one (my “heavy metal” Ibanez and a little-played Yamaha fretless for a burgundy-red Fender Precision bass), some help at Art Fair, and a passel of other tasks to the list.

I have my day mapped out and – if I can accomplish each of the tasks in the allotted time – I will be ready to go before 10p.m. tonight.

That is…IF I can resist the urge to spent 4 hours wandering around at Art Fair…

About 2 weeks ago, Lisa said “hey, let’s go to the store and get some poster board and do some word pictures”. I said, “sure”. So, off we went to Michael’s (or some such) and bought 2 sheets of 24″X36″ heavy white drawing paper. We got back home, spread the papers out on both ends of the dining room table, gathered up our drawing and coloring tools, and got started.

Now, we hadn’t said anything at all to each other about what the phrase “word pictures” meant. To Lisa, it meant the kind of mind maps you might do when working on a new story or project. I took it to mean something completely different.

About an hour or so into it, Lisa was finished. I had laid out only about a third of what I wanted to do. We compared what we were doing and got a good laugh out of it.

I was tempted to toss what I’d done. We’d had a good time and besides, I had a lot more work to do if I was going to finish my drawing.

But, then I thought: hey, why don’t I keep going? Then, I can post it on the blog and tell people “this is a peek into what it  looks like inside an ADD mind!”

So, I finished and am posting them below. I designed it so any edge could be the top. I liked the landscape versions better, so I posted those 2 only.

If there’s a lesson here anywhere, it’s probably something like “if you have an ADHD dad, be very clear when you ask about an art project.”

The first one is Lisa’s. This is what she meant:

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Then, you have mine…version 1 based on “STAGE”…

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and version 2, based on “SIGNAL”…

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I wonder if this is a sign of getting better or backsliding?

I planned a picnic at Gallup Park for the ADHD group, date: Sunday June 13, time: 11:30 a.m. I made flyers and announced it on the meetup site. Then today, I added it to my calendar. Date: Saturday June 12, time: 11:30 a.m. Caught it right away and fixed it in my calendar.

So, does the fact that I put it in wrong mean I am not on top of things? Or does the fact that I caught it and fixed it mean that I am?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

One of the things I read about and hear from other ADD people is that we often get paralyzed by choice. Or we overthink things. This is hard for me to handle because with a background in philosophy and theology, I take for granted that very few questions ever get settled “once and for all” and that many signs and symbols are “overloaded with meaning”, so I am used to thinking about everything from a dozen different angles.

Which didn’t make this sign any easier for me to understand:

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I went to the post office to mail a stack of comic books to a buyer on eBay. My package looked like this:

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Is this a “box” or a “letter”? I asked 3 different people and they all said, “it’s fine, put it in the chute”. Makes no sense to me. Let me be more specific – it makes sense that it’s OK to mail the package there, but it doesn’t make sense that it seemed so obvious to them. Am I overthinking it or are they not thinking about it enough?

What I mean is this: I can read the Post Office sign to either mean “we only want boxes in this chute because of the way we handle them behind the scenes, anything without 6 sides and stiff edges in in danger of getting damaged” or “please don’t put your first class mail in this chute”. 

I ended up putting the package in the chute, but I left with another one of those “why is this so obvious to everyone else?” kind of feelings.

“Let’s Go Fly a Kite”

Posted: June 3, 2014 in Uncategorized
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For some reason, getting a kite into the air has been on my mind for the last few weeks. Nostalgia? Too much free time? Avoiding working on my ADHD performance? Who knows?

Anyhow, I went shopping. They are not as easy to find as they used to be. I knew I wouldn’t find the old paper-and-balsa kites, but I didn’t expect them to all be $7.99 character ads. (How did I not expect this…?) 

Anyway, I found two of them on sale for $2.99 and bought them. Michelangelo and Sponge Bob.

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The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles kite bit the dust yesterday when my over-ambitious brain told me I could both play fetch with the dog and get a kite into the air at the same time. Don’t try it. It won’t work.

Today, I took the other kite out and launched it. After several cycles of gust-and-calm, I finally got it into the air.

Here’s where it gets even more interesting. (I use that word a lot.)

The kite comes with about 3 feet of string. Well, maybe 100 or so, but clearly not enough. And, nobody in town seems to have kite string. K-mart and Toys R’Us sell kits but don’t have string. (What’s that all about?”

So I got the idea that I’d use some of my beading thread to extend it. A spool is good for a few hundred feet and it’s lightweight. What could go wrong?

Here’s a hint: 

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The kite took off and sailed skyward in all its glory (as they say). I:spooled out the string (wearing leather gloves, I remembered those string burns) and let it climb and climb. And then, the inevitable. A simple turn, a swoop, and it buzzed the treeline. I tugged the string and watched it climb, clearing the treeline.

That worked the first three times. The fourth time was different. The wind shifted and the kite went into a nosedive. I started reeling it in, but it was too high and moving too fast. I wound as much of the thread in as I could and finally had to just close my eyes and snap what was left.

All in all, it was probably up for ten or fifteen minutes. That’s plenty. Besides, if it hadn’t crashed, I’d probably still be standing there, thinking “where else can I find more string?”

I’ll check the tree the next few days to see if it frees itself and I can give it a decent burial.

 

Stuck After a Backslide

Posted: May 8, 2014 in Uncategorized
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The last few days have been rough. I had three “bumps” that feel pretty significant, so I want to document them so I can look back at them later and see if they were really as big as I thought.

The first was missing the May 1 deadline for…well it doesn’t matter for what. The point is I missed it. And I know exactly why. I had the 
May 1 date in my calendar since March. In March, it was a long way off. And so it was in early April. But, as late as April 27, I was seeing 
“May” as a distant word on the horizon. That was a common occurrence in the past and has been less common recently. So, when it happens, it feels like a huge event. One of those moments when I question all the progress I’ve made over the last 3 years.

I talked to a couple of people about this and, oddly enough, it seems that this might not be unique to me. It might not even be a uniquely ADD problem. I was told by 2 people that the month boundary gives regular people trouble too. So maybe this one isn’t as big as I think it is.

The second was a scheduling conflict. Again, those used to be a regular part of my life, but not so much lately. Until last weekend. I’d made a tentative commitment to be at church Saturday evening to help out with a skit. Then, on Wednesday, Lisa suggested a road trip to Indianapolis to visit a friend. I love traveling with her, so I jumped on it without noticing the conflict. Everything turned out OK, we crossed emails and they had something else in line, so there was no significant impact. Other than my feeling like “here we go again”.

After those two, I did some talking with friends and decided that my approach to time management has a hole in it. Since so much of my life and ambition is based around projects, not dates, I am often date-blind. So I bought a planner and started the process of trying to integrate my task-based (SCRUM-based) approach with a more traditional calendar-based scheme. Time will tell how that goes.

The third bump was different. It wasn’t about time management, it was about my vision for these ADHD events. I talked with someone at Eastern about what I’ve been doing and whether it seemed like something I should pursue. My model of “do a performance that initiates audience discussion”. What floored me was this: she asked if I knew of other places they were using this model and I said “not really”. Then, she went on to tell me about a program that is already in place on our own campus. Something called “CloseUp”. Evidently, it’s geared for new students or for other topics they want to present and discuss.

I’ve seen the word once or twice, and I know there is something similar going on at the U, but I didn’t know it was going on right at my own school. So, naturally it raised a million questions about how I could be right there, 2 or 3 years into a program, and not know that. I am so unplugged.

So, right now, I am a little lost in the wake of these events and feeling very stuck. Luckily, the weather is changing, I have a garden to get working on, and we have a gig this Saturday. Plenty of things to take my mind off of my Big Project. But for how long?