Over 50 and job hunting, good luck

Job hunting in no fun. Okay, maybe if it is fun if you have wonderfully marketable skills and experience and the trolling job finder Head-hunters are knocking at your door eager to present you with the high-paying job of your dreams. It can  happen and has happened to many of today’s worker, but not for the average worker and especially not for the worker who has been a stay-at-home mom whose “chicks” are now out of the nest and she is prepared to go back into the workplace. Certainly, the skills she had prior to children (PTC) were remarkable, but now that this particular woman, lets call her Beth, is 55 years young and looking for a family wage job.

First of all I tell her, good luck as it seems today’s job market is centered on the youth of today. However, according to the Huston Chronicle, women over 50 can find jobs in sales (?), office jobs (receptionist), tax preparer, and  healthcare (this is a very hot job market.) Sounds, good, but kinda boring. However, a job with an income, with a good income is a job worth looking into.

Now for those with much too much imagination or ego, there is the entrepreneurial bend in the proverbial job road to financial success.  There are books from experts telling us what to do to achieve this lofty financial success goal; such as: the 4 1/2 star rated kindle book entitled, “The Road to Financial Freedom – Earn Your First Million in Seven years.” Then he qualifies this magnanimous statement with the key to his book which is a list attached to his title, “The Road to Financial Freedom – Earn your First Million in Seven years: What Rich People Do and Poor People Do.” Sorry, but this title does not inspire confidence in me, as an over 50 yr. old woman, to purchase his kindle book and find financial freedom. Figure those halcyon wage/money earning days of endless possibilities are gone. So for myself, I will pass on this particle Kindle info book.

Then we have the book by money/life guru Tony Robbins (is he still around?) Anyway, his book (another 4 1/2 star rated book) entitled, “MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom;” however, he is promoting a life-long business plan and his book is chock full of interviews, word pictures and positiveness. Do I sound a bit cynical, well I am. However, there are those who swear by Tony Robbin’s advice and are doing quite well, so who am I to say that it is wrong. It may not be wrong, but for a job hunting, income hunting worker, I am thinking his advice might not be really relevant.

I am thinking that for myself, I will go on the path to financial freedom the entrepreneurial way. And you know, there is a book for that as well. (Not that I am endorsing it, but just saying.) The book is entitled, “The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future.” Now this intrigues me. After all, it doesn’t guarantee that you will make a financial killing and makes loads of money. Hey, everything could go crashing and burning if you follow the advice from this book, but who knows it could work. So, being a person willing to take a chance of making a fool of herself once again, I will go the library, check out this book and see what advice it gives. And if it is interesting enough, I will post my findings and honest observations about following the advice from this book. What the heck, I might just learn something. And if enough people find this interesting, the next book I will review online here in The Aspie Mom Blog will be Tony Robbins, “….Money Master” book.

Stay will me on this, I believe this will be alot of fun and I would love to hear your input on what has worked for you in finding work and maybe even financial freedom.

Posted in ASPERGERS, book review, Humor, job hunting | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Yes or No?

stressful homework

Being the free associating Aspie Mom that I am, I was wondering the www aka World-Wide-Web looking up neuro-science (don’t ask) and came upon the theory that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is very helpful for those of us special folks with Autism.  I mean, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). (Unless you live in a small town and the only place, let’s call it “Happy Thinking, now on your way”, informs you when you call and ask if they are taking new patients with Aspergers and are told that CBT is not for those folks with Autism.

“Happy Thinking…” is wrong, of course, but everyone is entitled to their opinion; and frankly, if they are not familiar with ASD, then I sure wouldn’t to be their first. But, I digress.)

For those of you who don’t know what CBT is and if it indeed does help those with ASD, let’s hear what the Mayo Clinic has to say, “Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common type of talk therapy (psychotherapy). You work with a mental health counselor (psychotherapist or therapist) in a structured way, attending a limited number of sessions. CBT helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way.”

In other words, CBT can help people “reframe” as it were, inaccurate or negative thinking so that when presented with a challenging situation which might usually scare or confuse them.  CBT is also used, according to the NAMI website: “…CBT have shown it to be an effective treatment for a wide variety of mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and schizophrenia. Individuals who undergo CBT show changes in brain activity, suggesting that this therapy actually improves your brain functioning as well.

Posted in ASPERGERS, Autism, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, the Human Brain | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just be yourself

Just be You!

I remember as a young child my mother telling me, “Just be yourself and you’ll make friends.” Easy to say, but not so easy for a child with undiagnosed Aspergers in the 1960s. At that time science was still baffled by children with Autism and Aspergers, some experts saying the Autism was a part of Schizophrenia.  However, where I lived if a child was quiet and awkward you thought of a “cute” by parents and encouraged to “talk more” (which is difficult when  you are afraid of saying something stupid or just not knowing that to talk about) and made fun of by many of your peers. Life can be cruel, especially the life of a school-age child who is just “different.”

However, the Aspies and those with more severe Autism are in a sense fighting back against what is considered normal into days world.  There are those who know Bill Gates and Paul Allen and say they have Aspergers aka Autism Spectrum Disorder as it is now called. Others with Aspergers or suspected as having Aspergers are: Dan Aykroyd, James Taylor and even….Vladimir Putin.

All in all, it is good to know that there are others like us who have done great things. It is okay to be different. Remember what Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

Just be you!

Just be you!


Posted in ASPERGERS, Autism | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A New Beginning…

Going my way?

“Who do you think made the first stone spears? The Asperger guy. If you were to get rid of all the autism genetics, there would be no more Silicon Valley.” —  Temple Grandin

This is the first of what I hope will be many writings about – The Adventures of Aspie Mom!

At the age of 55 yrs, I was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder aka High Functioning Aspergers and ADHD. Wonderful, I thought to myself. Wonderful in that my awkwardness in social situations, trouble with finding and maintaining friendships and my hyper-focus on things that interest me such as dogs, Cave Art and folk music (none of which is a popular item of discussion with the average person) is due to a genetic variation that makes it difficult to do so. Yay me!

Actually, it has taken me awhile to fully appreciate my “being different;” and my slightly annoying laser like focus on discovering the “why” of things. For example, in pre-calc, (I’ve gone back to college, but that is a whole other story that perhaps I will write about later) what is with the i symbol, which for some unknown reason, denotes a imaginary negative numbers. Imaginary?

Can I defend what the professor has deemed a wrong answer by telling him that my answer was not wrong, but that I used the used my own imaginary alphabetic letter (let’s say q) and that my answer is correct because I have decided it is so? Probably not.

However, regarding the officially recognized imaginary “numbers,” I am guessing that there was once a party of drunken mathematicians who decided, “Let’s screw with people’s minds and create imaginary numbers. Heh, heh, heh.”

Okay, back to my returning to college. Well, besides the joy of learning and expanding my horizon aka brain, it can be kinda depressing going back to college when you are older, much older than the majority of the students. It is even more depressing when you realize:

  1. That your instructor is the same age as your daughter.
  2. The fashion of the 60’s has never really gone. Modified peasant blouses and tight jeans. Please…..been there and done that ages ago. (However, I pray that the infamous Nehru shirt never makes a comeback.)
  3. I will never ever wear a skin tight tube-ish with ruffles top. (I have my pride, but not the figure I had in my 20s.)
  4. Finding friendships in college for oldies, at least for me, is rare. If you are older and try to be friendly to a younger man, they think you are being a cougar. Now there is nothing wrong with older women and younger men. Matter-a-fact, a 23 year old veteran liked the freedom of “being” with an older woman. No expectations other than sex. Sigghhhh…
  5. Female friends are very rare.  Be friendly to the young-uns and you come across as a mom (at least I do as I am a mom) or worse, a “person of non-interest.”
  6. Most textbooks are heavy…. really really heavy, which is great if you want to build up your shoulder and back muscles. But, if you hurt your back or have bad knees or just not strong enough, you purchase the backpack on wheels which makes a really horrific rolling noise as you walk to class (Okay, I did use that wheeled pack one quarter, and did appreciate the ease.)

That is all for now.
Take care, watch yourself and always use a napkin when eating.

Posted in ADHD, ASPERGERS, Humor | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aspergers Warrior

I am a collector of positive thinking quotes. It is what I do to battle my depression.  As I have been blessed/cursed with Aspergers (aka High Functioning Autism) , and it seems that depression is part of my life. Does everyone with Aspergers suffer with depression? Probably not, but it seems that the majority do.

Perhaps it has something to do with the sadness and frustration of not quite fitting into the “regular” world, missing social cues, that are so important in communicating with other people and in my actions or words being misunderstood. Whatever the case, I read somewhere that it is good to collect positive sayings to make one feel better. So, I have done so and  have posted a few around the house. Below is one of my favorites. believe-in-yourself

It is hard to be yourself when yourself is so different from the rest; however, I take comfort in knowing that there are a lot of others with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other non-typical brain connections who equally have trouble with their emotions and reading people. So, I think, for myself it is best to think of it as a battle. A battle of which each victory is silently measured by  how far I have stepped away from fear and actually accomplished my objective. I am a warrior, and will always fight to be who I am, to enjoy life and those around me with similar interests, and laugh with delight each of my personal victories.

Believe in yourself

© S. Rees 2016

Posted in ASPERGERS, DEPRESSION, Goal Setting, Humor, the Human Brain | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Health Food for the Brain?

Health food

No man’s brain is so dull, and no man’s eye so blind, that they cannot catch food for dreams.  — Donald G. Mitchell

I have heard the term “Brain Food” over and over again on the internet with some website writer promoting their “perfect food” or telling us how to eat to be healthy, successful, and wise? (I am certain that caffeine must figure heavily into this as most of us, in Washington State cannot truly function well without our morning java. There is a reason why Starbucks has done so well here. Who wants to get out of bed when the sky is grey and it is once again raining,  as it seems to be doing 355 days in a year in the Evergreen State. Caffeine is our drug…food (?) of choice up here which is needed to stimulate our brain and get us out of bed. )

But I digress, what today’s blog is really about is food. Not just any food, but what has been promoted online as, “Brain Food.” Right now my brain is working pretty well on coffee, scrambled eggs and toast. (Okay, I admit it, I am a traditionalist when it comes to breakfast.) But, there is more to diet than what we eat or don’t eat  for breakfast.

Curious, I looked up online to see how many websites are telling us about “Brain Food.” Apparently, over 19,100,000 websites are concerned about feeding our brain. It is nice to see that so many people care. But what exactly is Brain Food?

Some say Brain Food aka “Food for the Brain,” means mental stimulation. Reading blogs and online posts can be mental stimulation, but so can reading…dare I say it, books.

Others, those more schooled in the teachings of nutrition post online their recommendations on what they feel is Brain Food. Here are three that seem to make sense and agree on a certain basic concepts –

  1. Webmed.com – regarding foods that help you concentrate for those with ADD/ADHD http://wb.md/1tqK05j promotes, among other suggestions: caffeine, breakfast and chocolate (YES!)
  2.  bbc.goodfood.com – (the British know about good food right :-?) Anyway, the bbc recommends   http://bit.ly/18jeDpi :  whole grains, oily fish, blueberries, etc.
  3. And good ol’ reliable  psychologytoday.com gives us a much more studious approach to brain food, http://bit.ly/1TlB6Yq – suggesting that eatting fatty fish, eggs and vitamin B are the answer.

Basically, if you really are concerned about eating the rights foods for health and mental vitality, it is best not to get your information from the web, but consulate a licensed nutritionist. But this is a free country so you choose what works best for you. (As for me, I go with the chocolate!)

© S. Rees 2016


Posted in ADHD, Humor, Nutrition, the Human Brain | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Change is good, right?

I believe that almost anything is possible, if one believes it can be done. However, as much as I would love it if thinking positively makes changes happen, but my chagrin I have discovered change of a bad habit, such as procrastination is not easy.

I have two very long coated medium-sized dogs and they shed alot, I mean ALOT, of hair. Unfortunately, I have ADHD (my excuse) and so  even though I know the dogs need weekly, if not daily brushing, I think about doing so…and then get distracted by a stray thought and do something else. Not a good, not good at all. Fortunately, I take the dogs to a groomer who takes care of my beasties and I happily pick them up afters, clean, mat-free and looking about 5lbs thinner.

However, I recently decided to save money and so am endeavoring to do this on my own.  Discovering my rather slap-dash chase, then brush routine is not working and so I am devising a system.  Okay, it is not really a fully functioning system, but it will go something like- Brush Teddy the Goldie for 5-10 minutes on Monday, and then Ben the Newfie on Tuesday for the same amount of time. Then Wednesday back to Teddy, Thursday, Ben and so on. I figure eventually both dogs will have gleaming snag-free coats and I will have enough dog hair to felt a blanket a queen-size bed. As to how to felt dog hair, that is another story.

© S. Rees 2016

Posted in ADHD, Dogs, Humor | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Depression – Just get over it?



I don’t know if any of you are familiar with Douglas Adam’s The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s  Guide to the Galaxy books or have seen the movie or series from these books, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy but one of the great characters in this series is a very depressed android, Marvin Paranoid Android. His brain and knowledge are the size of a planet and yet, his human associates have him do the most menial of tasks, and so he is understandably and continually depressed and paranoid (his brain has to do something, so it focuses on the negative.)

Do you find yourself focusing on the negative in life as well?  Well, if you live in the Pacific Northwest, where the sky is grey what seems like 360 days a year, it could be a vitamin D deficiency. Also, living up here can trigger weight gain do to vitamin D deficiency as well.   So, what to do? Start buying all the Vit. D supplements you can and downing them by the fistful? No, bad idea…really, really bad idea. First, of all, according to Debra Lundin’s article, Low Vitamin D Levels, Fatigue and Weigh Gain, “Treating true vitamin D deficiency should be done under the supervision of a physician. You should begin by having your 25 hydroxyvitamin D blood level taken and evaluated. If the results show that you are deficient, your physician will start you on a course of treatment to bring your blood level into the optimal range.”

So, if you are feeling depressed, it could just be a vitamin deficiency and it couldn’t hurt to go to your physician and check it out. It could just make your life a little happier.

© S. Rees 2016

Posted in the Human Brain | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Aspergers and the Psychiatric Service Dog

My 17 year-old daughter, Ella who has Aspergers suffers from an anxiety/depression and panic attacks. A counselor she was seeing suggested the possibility that  Ella might benefit with having a Psychiatric Service dog (PSD)as it would help her calm down before she reached the level of a full-blown panic attack.  Being a total dog-nerd, I was excited by the idea. I visualized a majestic Golden Retriever leaning against Ella’s leg, gazing at her with soulful brown eyes silently communicating that Ella was not alone, that she was loved unconditionally and the Goldie was there for her.

Yes! I told myself getting Ella a PSD would be the perfect solution for my daughter’s anxiety. Perhaps this would have been so if I used a bit of common sense in my approach of discovering the “right” way of doing so; but, I made a few mistakes.

Mistake No. 1: Ignoring the fact that we already had two other rather large and raucous dogs at home, I instead focused on the adventure of helping my daughter find the perfect dog for her.  (Did I mention that I have Aspergers as well and have a tendency to focus on “the rabbit holes and not on the rabbit?”

Focus on the possiblities

“…have a tendency to focus on “the rabbit hole …

Be focused!

“…and not on the rabbit[.]”








Mistake No. 2: Do NOT under any circumstances blithely purchase any dog you find in the intent of turning it into a Psychiatric Service Dog (PDS).

One day Ella and I went to the feed store down the road (we live in the country) to purchase dog food. We ended up purchasing two bags of dog-food and one very small blond Chihuahua/Dachshund puppy.

Service Dog

It seems that seeing the small potato-shaped pup with liquid brown eyes touched Ella’s heart, or motherly instincts. Ella insisted that this was the perfect dog PSD for her and she loved it already. The pup who later we found out was officially called a Chi/Weenie looked like a small alien creature with a round blond head and slender potato-like body. I was hesitant as there was no way that this pup remotely resembled a majestic Goldie, but Ella insisted that this was the dog for her.

Mistake No. 3: I purchased the puppy.

Flights of fancy came down in a large crash of puppy-poop and puppy piddle all over the living room floor. (Did I mentions that wee puppies seem to have an especially wee bladder and seemingly need to be taken outside to “urinate and such” every half hour or so?) We named the pup Loki, from the Avenger’s movies, and the name fit him perfectly as he was a little trickster and loved to play with all toys, socks or anything that he could fit into his sharply toothed mouth.

During the weeks and months that followed I learned that:
a) Chi’s are very hyper and high-strung.
b) Ella is very hyper and high-strung.
c) Ella really does not like having a dog around her at all times. (It did not help that the first night I brought him into Ella’s bedroom, Loki immediate trotted to the middle of her room and lifted his leg claiming it as his own.)

So……randomly choosing a pup to become PSD or as they are also called, Emotional Support Dogs was NOT the smartest thing I ever did.

However, as I discovered later, if one is truly looking for a PSD, according to iaadp.org it is best to define in your own mind what you would like or need the dog to do for their person. (Click the following link  iaadp.org  for a list of possible  Service Dog Tasks that would benefit your child…or yourself.)

Once you know what you want or need the dog to do, I would contact Canine Companions for Independence (CDI) for further information and possible for a referral to a dog trainer in your community who can help you find and train a suitable dog for your daughter, son or yourself.

Believe me, I wish I had done this right the first time, but it all worked out in the end. Little Loki makes us laugh with his antics and he actually does alert me whenever is in need of assistance.


Posted in the Human Brain | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Human Brain – A Dark Secret?

– 55E19DACC8C652B42536F0A7619EC0D8

Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle in "Frankenstien."ung_frank

Many of us remember the famous line from the movie Frankenstein .: “Now I know what it’s like to BE God!” uttered by Dr. Frankenstein after bring his creation to life. His monster could move, talk (kinda), walk, but keep portions of his undead brain were not functioning.  So, what exactly is so great about the human brain and what is it all about?
The human brain is not one long string, but a system of muscles and tissue about the size of two of your fists? Did you know that there are eight parts to the brain?

The parts of the brain are:
Frontal Lobes
Located at the front of the brain. (Unfortunately, the frontal lobes are prone to injury as they are they are prone to injury because they of their location. (see articles on football players and concussion injuries.))
It is in the Frontal Lobes where our ability to plan, organize, problem solve, remember (memory), impulse control, decision-making, selective attention, control behavior and emotions. (However, it is in our left Front Lobe in which speech and language play an important role.)
Parietal Lobes
Are located behind the Frontal lobes (see photo). The Parietal Lobes  processes our sensory information (touch, hot/cold, pain); tells us which way is up; and (which to me is interesting as I tend to not pay attention and bump into things) stops us  from bumping into things when we walk.  (Okay, so I am “special.” :o)
Temporal Lobes
Are located beneath the Frontal and Parietal Lobe. It is helps us recognize and process sound, understand speech, and various aspects of memory.
Occipital Lobes
Are located at the lower back of the brain. The Occipital Lobes are where we receive and process visual information, as well as helping us perceive shape and colors.
Is located beneath the Occipital Lobes and partially beneath the Parietal Lobes. The Cerebellum controls our balance, movement and coordination.
(Part II of the Human Brain – A Dark Secret? Will be the next post.)Yes, I know this whole blog might be rather boring to some, but in order for the reader to understand the subsequent blogs regarding the brain  and what happens when brain-things go wrong or incredibly right,  you/he/she need to understand the basics of the various parts of the brain.


Posted in the Human Brain | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment