Sunday, November 5, 2017

ADD - hyperfocus

With attention deficit disorder comes hyperfocus. At least for me. When engaged properly this can be a powerful tool for productivity.

Fairly recently I realized that it is also a way for my overactive mind to let out some of that extra mental energy. Which in turn helps my mood. This isn't only a productivity asset but a necessary outlet for me. Writing is a hyperfocus activity for me, and I'm feeling the positive impact on my mood since writing daily for national novel writing month.  

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Mental illness and community

I recently wrote about my mental health and disability for my professional newsletter. The article is linked below. This is a short summary of my Cyclothymia and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in my professional career. I also included how campus resources have helped me start to move from the medical model of disability to the social model 1. This means seeing myself as differently abled instead of broken. My article also included the Institutional Research community. Sharing stories can help grow community connections.

This sense of community connection is important. For at least the past several months when my depressive episodes hit I have been struggling with my sense of belonging where I am in my campus community. I know depression lies. But it can be hard to keep sight of that when in the worst moods.

This has gotten me thinking more about what an inclusive community looks like. Campus resources have been helpful, and I do have some wonderful colleagues, both on and off campus. In those times when I feel like I don’t belong I have thought about if I could feel a stronger sense of belonging elsewhere. In thinking further, I realized that I can help with the community I’m currently in. Part of it is managing my own mental health, being intentional in spending time with others helps there. I can also help build support for others as well. I chair the assessment subcommittee of our campus Diversity Committee. I’m also leading our newly formed faculty and staff with disabilities interest group. Both of these together can help grow connections between colleagues along with assessing our progress. System change doesn’t happen with one person, this is a collaborative effort of people working together. I’m not just building my own support network, but also helping our community.

There is still stigma around mental illness. In sharing my story, I’m doing my part to help break the stigma. In thinking about disability as a social construct, versus an impairment 2, I was wondering if the stigma around mental health could be seen as contributing towards a disabling environment. Like how a building with stairs can be harder to navigate then one with ramps for someone with a physical impairment. A social environment where one feels less worthy because of their mental illness could make one feel more disabled.  

My ask eAIR article:

1 “Disability and Ableism in Higher Education,” Jennifer Ashton, Ph.D. and Milo Obourn, Ph.D.

2 “Disability as an Intersectional Social Identity,” Milo Obourn, Ph.D. and Jennifer Ashton, Ph.D.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Building Bridges

As an artist I like symbolism. How something can be face value and also something more.

Take bridges for example. They span physical spaces to make connections and facilitate transportation.

Symbol wise we can focus on the idea of connection. Beyond the physical space I like to also think about bridges as connecting people. Allowing ideas to cross spaces. Perhaps these spaces are organizational. Or identity.

We have two covered bridges on campus. Both of which converge at the administration building & library plaza. One bridge crosses a main campus road to our special event and recreation spaces. The other bridge crosses railroad tracks and connects to an academic building.

Our campus is walking distance to a village of the same name, Brockport. Some mornings I drive through the village instead of using our main campus entrance. Turning from Main Street to Adams, while still in the village, the one bridge is visible in the distance.

While working on a cross departmental project this past semester the term building bridges came up. I still think of that conversation when looking at our campus bridge from the village.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A To Z: story a week

So I signed up for a story a week challenge. This one follows the alphabet so each week is the next letter. We started this month, and I wrote a Drabble for A.
Today is the first day for week B. Today I was at a work retreat at the lake. So I'm going with "Beach" for a theme. Going to ponder a story idea a bit before diving in.

Saturday, April 2, 2016


Dawn drifts across the hills
Light becomes stronger
Pushing through the mini blind slats
Groggy state of sleep receding
Eyes opening, arms stretching
Another day starting.

My unofficial A to Z blog challenge posts. I didn't sign up because I'm not sure how much time I'll have. I'm going to try a quick poem each day (well Monday - Saturday) for the month of April.

I feel a little rusty with not having written in awhile. Time to flex my creativity.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Baby days

I really need to update my blog more often. I know I've said that before. I did end up buying a tablet to see if that would make things easier. The tablet is nice, but the on screen keyboard on my phone is better. For longer writing I need to buy a Bluetooth keyboard for the tablet.

Especially now with baby 2 here, I'll have to figure what works best. Baby boy is 2 weeks old, and I find myself doing lots of one handed writing. I'm sure he'll be easier to set down for longer periods of time as he gets a little older. I suspect we are in the two week growth spurt.

At some point I'd like to write his birth story. At least a not too medical summary of the highlights. With my older kid I had a scheduled C section. I decided not to do a repeat C with this baby and worked up until it was time. Which resulted in a cross county drive when my water broke.

I'd forgotten how demanding the newborn days are. I mostly remember daughter falling asleep on me during her maternity leave and lots of reading while she napped. This baby is fussy all afternoon, we've been going on walks to settle him.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Tablet help

I'm looking at tablets and figured I'd ask for advice from readers here. I have an old netbook that doesn't work so well anymore, and with wanting a tablet I figured that will be my new mobile device.

I'm looking at something fairly easy to take places, can work on my writing, and possibly do some digital art as well. (Nothing fancy, but would like to use an S pen for random sketching). I'm fine with buying a Bluetooth keyboard for the more involved writing sessions, though being able to write a blog post without the keyboard would be handy. I use both WordPress and Blogger. Can do the apps for my own blogs, but not others. Web WordPress is a pain on my phone. (Galaxy 4)

I've been primarily looking at Samsung tablets. I'm debating if I'd want a 8 inch or 10. I'm also debating S or pro v basic galaxy tab 4.

So what sizes work well for others and why? Does an 8 inch have a decent amount of screen space for writing and sketching? Is a 10 inch tab a pain to carry around?

We've got a basic 7 inch mostly for daughter, and it is a fair amount of space. I'm just stuck trying to figure another inch bigger than that v 3 inches bigger.

This would be easier to figure if I was mostly doing random games and Facebook.

Friday, January 2, 2015


I posted previously about trying to decide on my word for 2015. I ended up choosing balance.

I was tempted by focus, and awesome as related to focus. Our social media manager at work had said something along the lines of not doing all the social networks, but choosing some to be awesome at. So I was applying that line of thought to my doing too many things, and wanting to make sure I'm doing well with what I'm working on. Personal and professional.

But I took a step back from that. I realized what I really need to do is get things in balance. If I take something esle on, I have to look at what I can let go. It also means making sure that I balance all the must do things with things I enjoy.

And it also means I don't have to be all the things to all the people. I really need to get time for myself. It doesn't have to be hours a day, but more than just my lunch break during the week.

Which leads to an action plan to get myself started. This month I'll take the time to research a tablet, so I can be more mobile with my writing and other art. I'll also check prices on shelter rentals for a possible writing retreat that I'd tossed out in a writing group.

Then once I get a better balance over 2015, I can look at focus or awesome for 2016. Maybe even do a complete novel edit pass. Or complete rewrite.