Global Accessibility Awareness Day – May 21, 2020

This one snuck up on me. Normally I am on top of these things, but this one, I admit, snuck up on me. An important day, too. There is, though a need to make my site more accessible. So, I’ve decided to go online and get the accessibility guidelines in order to, from this point on, make my site more accessible. (I already see gaps in the fact that I need short captions for the pictures. It’s a start.) Give me some time, in order to make this blog a better place for all, to get things working.  

Also, I want to go back and retrofit the articles for accessibility. It gives me something to do for those spaces I have writer’s block.  

In case this snuck up on you, too, let me explain: Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD for short) is to celebrate accessibility on the web for those with disabilities. And, if we make it better for the disabled to get on the web and communicate like the not so disabled, would it not be a better place for all?

QUICK UPDATE: I have tried to find a way to caption my images here, which would give a great deal to accessibility, but I can’t. There’s also seemingly no way to contact the WordPress Administrators about this issue.

Autism Acceptance Month Day 30: A Little Empathy for the Isolated

Well, there is not a lot to say now. This Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month has been dominated by Coronavirus. There was a little talk about autism at the beginning, but it’s been mostly about the pandemic. Granted, there were some puzzle pieces here and there, and the tone-deaf White House did the “Light it Up Blue” thing, among other places, but Covid-19 took out most of the ableism.

Isn’t it funny how it took a global pandemic to finally get the “able” bodied and minded to feel what isolated disabled people have been feeling all their lives? We have been isolated, lonely, dejected, and rejected. Why do you think we have chips on our shoulders?

An update about my family: no one has called or receive calls from my mother’s side of the family except one aunt. In my nuclear family, the only one to call or receive calls is my younger brother. On my father’s side, at least my last living aunt calls every once in a while. I give more credence to my aunt on my father’s side because she actually calls. Mark my words: if I ever get rich or successful, they will be the only ones I acknowledge as family or get a red cent of my money.

Autism Acceptance Month Day 29: The C-Word Incident

CONTENT WARNING: Swearing, Autism Speaks, Discrimination

A site runner for Autism Speaks just called an advocate speaking against them a c*nt. I was kind of expecting that from the site runners, considering who they’re working for. As far as I know, Autism Speaks (I believe not saying the name increases the name’s power) is a cure-focused group that focuses on the feelings of caretakers, preying on them even, instead of the autistic loved ones who are actually suffering from autism discrimination. You can web search any of the fellow autistic-run blogs or search engines for the source material for the above claims.

Autism Speaks has a long history of being cure-focused, discriminatory and dismissive towards autistic voices, even blocking them on the site message boards if they disagree with their agenda, and calling one of the advocacy voices a c*nt.

Now, there are apology letters from the other site runners, but I and many others feel this is too little, too late. We have long registered Autism Speaks as ignorant, dismissive and hateful. It was only this year they even decided to acknowledge the existence of autistic women (and other non-males) by adding colors to their blue puzzle piece logo. Many of us in the autistic community take offense to the puzzle piece logo, because as per Autism Speaks, a puzzle indicates that the person is “missing pieces.” That belief is saying something like “a vagina makes an incomplete person because it is not a penis.” We know better than that!

As this is admittedly a short an angry fire-off, there is little source claiming. What did you expect, an MLA paper?

Autism Acceptance Month Day 2: The Big, Bad Blue Day Changeover.

Now, I know Autism “Speaks” pretty much still has this day walled up, but I can see the walls are cracking. There have been places that “Light it Up Gold” or red instead of blue, for example. Also, I, among others, are wearing alternative colors, like red for me and gold or taupe. Keep working at it, guys. We’ve still got a ways to go, but we’re beginning to get there.  

I do apologize for calling it Autism “Bewareness” Month. I forgot for a day that we’re beginning to turn it around.  

I’ll keep you posted on the day’s events, everyone. My mind may change throughout the day – multiple times, even.

Issues with Quarantine

For many of us, we are now entering week two of our social shutdown. For many more, this has been longer. I am sure of your boredom and stir craziness. I’ve been through it. Here are a few issues that might crop up during your stay at home, if you are somehow forced to: 

1 – Pacing Yourself 

This is a common theme throughout a period of inaccessibility. I get it. You’re bored. But imagine that boredom stretched out over years and years. You learn a lot of things the hard way: don’t overindulge too quickly. Pace yourself. Spread activities and pleasures out among the hours. Yesterday, I cleaned the bathroom (because I had no energy from yesterday), and also completed a small cycle of laundry. That was plenty for your average day at home. I rested on Wednesday, dusted on Tuesday, and cleaned the kitchen on Monday. As for this week in review, it helps a person like me to have a routine spaced out over the week. 

2 – Time 

You’re going to have a lot of time to contemplate things. Youre going to have a lot of time to catastrophize. STOP THAT. There are plenty of now-essential hobbies to take up and choose from. My mother, she does crosswords. I crochet. Currently I am waiting on the color of yarn to start my next blanket. Anyway, there’s sudoku, crosswords, needlepoint, learning how to do alterations, knitting…I clould go on and on. Besides, those of you with children, teach them how to do some hobbies as well. You might be surprised how well you can teach. 

3 – Weird Sleep Schedules 

This is a big one for me. I don’t know if you know this, but it is currently 2:18 a.m. as I type. I am dealing with a weird sleep schedule, as I have been for years. I often get up between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m., but tonight I went to bed early, so I woke up early. I decided to write about this in particular as part of an article on issues people are facing in lockdown. I haven’t found the solution to this yet.  

4 – Keeping Routine 

As for routine, it is now essential you keep one. Most people have their jobs and schools to keep this routine for them, but with lockdown (that’s the word I’m using from now on), the schedule is all on you. Get up at the same time, go to bed at the same time. Eat meals at the same time. Create school for your kids. Learning is not about the building. Love and life are about making do where you are. There needs to be some form of stability. Otherwise, you get stuff like weird sleep schedules. 

5 – Working With Social Distancing 

Yesterday, a man came up to me just to pet my dog. With the guideline of keeping a distance of six feet, and a dog leash of only five, this I found creepy. I could possibly be infected with Covid-19 right now due to that guy’s stir craziness. How do I tell my mom?  

That failure aside, I am witnessing successes dealing with social distancing. Two women in my neighborhood held a conversation at least eight feet apart, for one. I really never held a lot of conversations before lockdown; I am holding less now. My dog is keeping me company, and so is my mother. If anyone wants to talk, feel free to use the internet or social media to contact me.  

6 – Fresh Air 

Fresh air. Open a window or a door if you can. I have a small dog, which I have a baby gate I use for. I also have screens on my windows if I ever want to open them. There is a lot of pain about fresh air, and the air inside your house.  

7 – Loneliness 

I am almost to the point of posting my cell phone number with area code on this blog because I am so lonely. I mean, my mother has heard all my stories and fun facts already at this point. There is little I can talk to her about that is new. I don’t gossip, because I have seen the damage gossip can do to a church. It’s not pretty, and causes the church to fall into dictatorship to control everything. But no one really calls me, except scammers. If it were not for scammers, my mother and I would not use a phone. Should I post my number on here?  

I am an old hat with staying home. I thought I might have a few tips to help.  

Social Distancing and Your Own Company

Now, I must confess: my mother and I broke our own creed to stay home today. We went to the grocery store to grab a few items to last us a couple weeks. We really did not need too much, just a couple cans of soup, a loaf of bread, and some mashed potato mix. (Unfortunately, there were no potatoes; good thing we had some from the beginning of the month for Tuesday.) There were a bunch of emptied shelves of things like cleaning products and toilet paper (so what else is new?), but we ourselves felt no need to panic. After all, we have plenty of food here at home. I think my mom had a Filet o Fish craving. That’s why we went out. So we got our Filet o Fish lunch – through the drive thru like everyone else – and came home to eat and hopefully self social distance properly. 

About social distancing: you can’t do social distancing properly if you don’t enjoy your own company. I think I have an advantage in this instance. Being autistic, I learned to enjoy my own company realt fast, because it seemed no one else did. I still marvel at the fact that people are my Facebook friends, by their own choice – that’s how lonely I was through childhood. I have another advantage to talk about. In case you did not know, I was born in 1977. I am a member of Generation X. Most of us were latchkey kids, who also learned to enjoy their own company. Another advantage of Generation X? We are the ones sandwiched between the young and the old, caring for both. I, for example, have a physically disabled mother. She uses a walker and leans on furniture in the house, and uses a cart out of the house. We are not going anywhere anytime soon. We are hunkering down (I hope), and I enjoy my own company. In my case, I had no choice. 

I have a few tips concerning your own company:  

1 –  Schedule Some Moving Around. This is easy for me, because I have a weekly schedule of household chores to do. As I said before, my mother is disabled, so I am alone in doing these. I might even do early spring cleaning and organizing if I get too bored. You’re going to get restless anyway, so why not plan for it? 

2 – Get a Hobby. Example: I crochet, and have offered a blanket to a new baby coming into the world. All I need to know is what color yarn to go get (or get delivered), and I will start – hopefully soon. 

3 – Entertainment. Find some music to play, or get some background noise to put on. Find some radio or make some playlists. I have recently  reacquainted myself with Van Halen (all forms of the band), and am hopefully going to expand my band repertoire, because I’m sure most metal music scares my mother. (Van Halen doesn’t, I hope.) Of course, let’s not forget all those DVR recorded shows you can catch up or binge on. I have a few on retainer. If those bore you, take a cue from the Waltons and gather around the TV or radio and chill.  

4 – Meditation and Spiritual Things. Obviously, when you are denied something, it creates stress. Spirituality and religion are actually helpful in this case. Solace and meditation are a part of the spiritual diet. Judaism and Christianity are no exception. (You can meditate on the things of God, for example if you follow either of those faiths.) I am going no further in mentioning faiths, but all of them have this in common. 

5 – Just Chill Out. This may be the California in me talking, but in case you haven’t noticed, the world has no chill. Our lives have been way too busy and drama filled lately. Maybe we all need this mandatory staycation to just chill out and embrace the simple things in life, like rest. And chilling out. Maybe you need to be bored for a little while in order to appreciate the spice in life.  

6 – Face Time / Skype. There is such a thing as video chat. In case you haven’t noticed, the original Blade Runner movie takes place last year. They had video chat in there. If you’re feeling extra lonely and need human contact, just use it. 

7 – Humor. I have recently changed my phone alert sound to Babu Frik saying “Hey Heyyyyy!” for laughs. Sometimes it’s annoying, but more often than not, it gives me a little laugh when I need it. It helps to have a sense of humor about these things. I knew a stranger would be my kind of person when I saw, in the parking lot at one of my grocery stores, a Volkswagen New Beetle with what looks like a giant toy key on top. I also somehow got close enough to see that it had a dinosaur eating a stick figure family. My point is, humor is there to help in tough times. Get that funny picture as your desktop background. Go visit the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards site. (Better than Facebook, I say.) Pass those silly jokes around on Twitter. Just a hint: Make sure it’s at the expense of someone who EARNS their expense. Not things they can’t control, like skin color.

Maybe I’m imitating Ace Ventura in my talking here, but some of these things need to be said. You may even learn to enjoy your own company at this time.  

More on Coronavirus: No Time To Panic

Well, here we are. Things are getting canceled, people are told to stay away from each other. And now a Walmart in the state is out of toilet paper. It’s not near me, but I suspect nearer ones are facing the same thing. Good thing my mom decided to get the ONE extra package to stock up. Not five extra packages of toilet paper, ONE. Besides, we don’t even use a full package in a month. We’re only two people and a small dog, and the dog goes outside. We are fine. We don’t need to panic. 

I mean, we could worry and stock up on t.p. and bottled water like doomsday preppers, but we live in a small apartment.Where would we put it? Our coffers are overstuffed already. Besides, we usually stock up on these things on payday, since we use them regularly. I understand stocking up on toilet paper, but how is water going to be disrupted? Are we all living in Flint, Michigan now? We can boil it and let it cool. Besides, how is the water faucet supposed to be upset by a virus? How does it stop the water from flowing? Explain that to me.  

We’ve got the stay home thing down pat. There’s not a lot of money in the account, so we are not going out much these days. If we want a pizza, we can order it and pay with a card. Same with Chinese, I think. I don’t think it’s the same with Mexican food, something we enjoy as well. But we’re not really sick, just allergic. I’ve now got a neti pot to take care of that, plus I keep hydrated to minimize drip and the subsequent coughing. I have no breathing problems, and no fever. My mother also has neither of the above.  

What I can’t get over is how peaceful I am during all this coronavirus talk. I used to worry. I used to worry about such things, but this time, I’m okay. I feel we’ll get through it just fine. But if we are supposed to die from coronavirus, it’s not a big deal. I mean, how much can we even control?