Organizing 2021

First published in ConversationsAboutAutism.com

Conversations About Autism

It’s a new year. Time for a new bullet journal.

When you read about bullet journals, the idea is that you grab a new blank notebook and begin fresh each year. That’s not the way I roll but it just happened to work out this year.

When I began bullet journaling, I grabbed a cheap skinny notebook that I had in my collection, set it up in the recommended way, and started my index. Four or five months later, the journal was full, so, I found another little notebook in my stash and began again.

In the second book, I eliminated the pages I found redundant or unused. To my way of thinking, the future logs were a lifesaver. The weekly spreads made sense and worked for me. The monthly spreads felt like a waste of time, energy, and paper.

My calendar is on my phone. At one point, for…

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MY 2020 Blessings

Conversations About Autism

Many of us take time on the last day of the year to reflect on our lives the previous year.

Some people make resolutions for the year to come.

Do we believe that at the stroke of midnight on January 31 a magic curtain opens and we walk into – a different life? A changed world? A better world?

If that’s the case, it would have been nice if, as the year turned over to 2020, we could have pulled that curtain shut. “Wait! I don’t want door number two! I want door number one!” We might have turned tail and run straight back to 2019, even if that year didn’t seem so great on December 31.

January First does not work that way. Life does not work that way. We can’t go back. We can’t wish the past away.

I refuse to feel like ten months of my life…

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Christmas Making

Conversations About Autism

2019 gnomes

I have been off the grid for months. I’ve been on a merry-go-round of turning out projects, mostly for Christmas gifts.

Crocheting is something I learned as a child. Amigurumi, or the creation of stuffed yarn items, is something I learned a few years ago before the birth ofmy first grandchild.

In the last few months I have learned a little about two new hobbies – water color and slow stitching. I love learning new things.

Let the show-and-tell begin. Since I don’t get out much nowadays, you can be my audience. Lucky you.

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Sometimes I discover a new craft or project then find myself jumping in and committing myself to completing multiples of that project. Sometimes I make that commitment to someone else and sometimes just to myself.

A current example of this is my crocheted Christmas gnomes.

Last Christmas I discovered a pattern

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My New Reality – Again

Conversations About Autism

COVID-19 brought everything I was doing, everything I had planned, to a halt. In March, I believed life would restart again in August.

Apparently, I was wrong.

In 2014, I retired from teaching and began planning a new life. My motto was built around a sign and miscellaneous items I found in the dollar bins at a local craft store. The sign said “Unlock your Dreams and explore your new Reality.”  That became the catch phrase for my retirement.

I explored several “new realities” in the ensuing years. My life was busy with tasks that meant something to me or that felt important. I took art classes and writing classes at the community college, Tai Chi and dance classes through my local school district’s community ed program, Mahjongg through the library and local parks department. As an adjunct instructor I taught math education classes for a state university. I volunteered…

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My Bullet Journal – My Life

Conversations About Autism

I have this beautiful leather book, soft and flexible. The cover is decorated with orange leaves in various shades. An orange leather strap wraps around the book and holds everything important in it, not letting the indexed words escape. Washi tape in various shades marks the edge of many of the pages. There are no loose papers in the book.

I laugh when I call it my “Life Book.”

My husband will ask, “Is that the correct new price for our TV service?”

“Let me check my Life Book” is my reply. It’s all there.

People in the know would call it a bullet journal, although my bullet journal is definitely not as precise and fancy as those you see if you google the term. No, mine is definitely my life journal – or it was prior to March.

Somewhere in my past, I became a collector of notebooks. On…

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School and COVID-19

Conversations About Autism

School will be starting soon, in some form. I am glad that I do not need to face the decisions that are currently being made by parents, students, and educators. As a retired educator, however, I find myself reading and listening to many sources about just what a teacher or parent can do to make this year as successful as possible. I want to share just a few I found particularly informative.

This week the school districts in my area unfolded their plans for the fall of the 2020-2021 school year. Many of the local superintendents communicated with each other in trying to determine what is right for their own districts and for the metropolitan area.

Each school district has put its own twist on how to begin the 2020-2021 school year. Some seem to include options that include a choice between remote learning or some form of hybrid learning…

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The Power of Story

Conversations About Autism

Have you ever been with a group of people that you thought might have many of the same feelings as you, only to find the conversation drift off in a different direction than you had anticipated?

Maybe it didn’t event drift. Maybe it sprinted down a dangerous, negative slope and left you shaking your head and wondering how this happened. How did we get here? How can these people feel this way?

Let me back up here. Recently, in writing about my discovery of the enneagram, I confessed that “I’m usually not judgmental unless you hit certain key topics about which I have taken time to form a definite strong opinion.” Otherwise, I usually listen to people’s opinions with an open mind.

As an elementary teacher for twenty years, education of children with diverse backgrounds, abilities, and experiences is a topic about which I feel strongly.

I taught children from…

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The Enneagram and Me

Conversations About Autism

For a long time, I have realized that I don’t see most things as black or white. Either everything in life is gray or I am a wishy-washy person.

That’s me. If someone presents a good argument on why the sky is green, I will nod my head and think yeh, that makes sense. To them, my nodding head might indicate agreement, to me it just means I could see where people can think that.

A few weeks ago, when I was talking with my Texas daughter, whom I haven’t seen since February, our conversation trailed down an unusual path. Conversations between people in the COVID world of staying home and having little to do can get pretty unusual, I have found.

My daughter is one of the people who got me interested in listening to podcasts, so I asked her what she is listening to currently. She wanted to…

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Author, Writer, or Listener?

Conversations About Autism

What am I? And, maybe more importantly. where am I headed? I frequently ask myself these questions.

It’s been almost a year since my book was published, so I guess that mean’s I’m an author. When I meet someone who asks me about myself, I still don’t find it easy to say, “I’m an author.” I’m not sure why that is.

Book marketing is an impossible, uncomfortable, self-promoting beast to me. I probably could think of a few more adjectives to convey my strong emotions on the subject. But an author doesn’t sell books without promoting those books.

Then there’s the word writer. As a published author, I’m certainly a writer.

One has to write in order to publish, right? That makes one a writer. Or maybe it doesn’t.

I can and will say I’m a listener. Now, don’t get me wrong. In the right circumstances I can talk someone’s…

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Seating Charts for Video Conferences Please

Conversations About Autism

Video conferencing is not like meeting in person, is it?

Since March, I use conferencing apps for four regularly scheduled appointments. Early on during the pandemic, I did family meetings, played chess with my son, and engaged in a few other virtual social events. Now, it’s pretty much just four.

My WW (formerly Weight Watchers) group meets weekly. I use my phone because I can’t see all of the forty or more people on my computer screen anyway. With my phone, I can sit outside enjoying my morning cuppa if the weather is nice. Or turn off my video and harvest a few snow peas.

For my monthly publisher’s association meeting, the fiftyish participants all turn off our video and audio as the presenter takes over the screen.  No problem with these for me.

It’s the other two meetings that seem to have caused me a senior moment.

Here’s a…

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