An Open Letter to The Mars Company

sharing size

Dear Mars Company,

The other day while traveling to the grocery store with my mom, I came across a 3.7oz package of M&Ms. Splashed atop the upper right corner of the package was a bold proclamation. You have taken it upon yourselves to declare this 3.7oz package a “sharing” size. Now, I understand that you, a faceless corporation driven by numbers, may think that 3.7oz is perfect for sharing but I am here to tell you that you are wrong. Who am I sharing with? An infant? The only entity I am likely to share 3.7oz of chocolate with is me. A more appropriate size to slap with that label would be 12oz or more. Your consideration for my caloric intake is unnecessary and frankly, unwanted. You’re not the boss of me. I will eat however many M&Ms as I see fit and no, I am not sharing.

Love and smiles,

Alexis

Imagine People Complexly

Alexis collage

I was watching a Vlogbrothers video on YouTube (for those who don’t know, the Vlogbrothers channel is run by John and Hank Green wherein they cover many humorous and insightful topics such as Baby On The Road and The Five Worst Places To Vomit) when John Green spoke of imagining others complexly. It was then that I realized that the reason I started this blog was because of the general failure of others to imagine me, a disabled person, complexly. This isn’t an uncommon problem, and it doesn’t just happen to people like me. Rather, it is part of the human condition.

Today, May 1st, marks the beginning of ALS Awareness Month 2K15. This month I want to challenge you to look beyond first impressions and think of what other people are feeling. Go beyond your human-ness. Consider that other human lives are also filled with deadlines, and communications, responsibilities, circumstances, relationships, stressors, cravings, needs, loves, joys, happenings and so on. Complexities. Imagine others complexly. Especially when it is hard to do so. You may find that in imagining others complexly, you let go of judgements. Not only of others but of yourself.

Love and smiles,

Alexis

P.S. If you are interested, you can get “Imagine Me Complexly” button.

Dirty Jobs & Happy Lives {guest post by Chriseda}

Our family enjoyed watching the show, Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. We love the show and the man. Not only does the show hi-lite some very interesting jobs out there, it also, and more importantly in my opinion, supports the belief that happiness is a choice. The people featured on the show who have the dirty jobs, go about their work with respect of their positions and for themselves while wearing smiles. They seem to be quite happy. Happy even though they are performing tasks that most of us would rather not think about let alone do ourselves.  Included here is a letter that a man wrote to Mike Rowe asking for advice. Mr. Rowe’s response is inspired.  Thanks, Mike!

Mike Rowe

Hey Mike! I’ve spent this last year trying to figure out the right career for myself and I still can’t figure out what to do. I have always been a hands on kind of guy and a go-getter. I could never be an office worker. I need change, excitement, and adventure in my life, but where the pay is steady. I grew up in construction and my first job was a restoration project. I love everything outdoors. I play music for extra money. I like trying pretty much everything, but get bored very easily. I want a career that will always keep me happy, but can allow me to have a family and get some time to travel. I figure if anyone knows jobs its you so I was wondering your thoughts on this if you ever get the time! Thank you!

– Parker Hall

 

MIKE’S RESPONSE:

Hi Parker,

My first thought is that you should learn to weld and move to North Dakota. The opportunities are enormous, and as a “hands-on go-getter,” you’re qualified for the work. But after reading your post a second time, it occurs to me that your qualifications are not the reason you can’t find the career you want.

I had drinks last night with a woman I know. Let’s call her Claire. Claire just turned 42. She’s cute, smart, and successful. She’s frustrated though, because she can’t find a man. I listened all evening about how difficult her search has been. About how all the “good ones” were taken. About how her other friends had found their soul-mates, and how it wasn’t fair that she had not.

“Look at me,” she said. “I take care of myself. I’ve put myself out there. Why is this so hard?”

“How about that guy at the end of the bar,” I said. “He keeps looking at you.”

“Not my type.”

“Really? How do you know?”

“I just know.”

“Have you tried a dating site?” I asked.

“Are you kidding? I would never date someone I met online!”

“Alright. How about a change of scene? Your company has offices all over – maybe try living in another city?”

“What? Leave San Francisco? Never!”

“How about the other side of town? You know, mix it up a little. Visit different places. New museums, new bars, new theaters…?”

She looked at me like I had two heads. “Why the hell would I do that?”

Here’s the thing, Parker. Claire doesn’t really want a man. She wants the “right” man. She wants a soul-mate. Specifically, a soul-mate from her zip code. She assembled this guy in her mind years ago, and now, dammit, she’s tired of waiting!!

I didn’t tell her this, because Claire has the capacity for sudden violence. But it’s true. She complains about being alone, even though her rules have more or less guaranteed she’ll stay that way. She has built a wall between herself and her goal. A wall made of conditions and expectations. Is it possible that you’ve built a similar wall?

Consider your own words. You don’t want a career – you want the “right” career. You need “excitement” and “adventure,” but not at the expense of stability. You want lots of “change” and the “freedom to travel,” but you need the certainty of “steady pay.” You talk about being “easily bored” as though boredom is out of your control. It isn’t. Boredom is a choice. Like tardiness. Or interrupting. It’s one thing to “love the outdoors,” but you take it a step further. You vow to “never” take an office job. You talk about the needs of your family, even though that family doesn’t exist. And finally, you say the career you describe must “always” make you “happy.”

These are my thoughts. You may choose to ignore them and I wouldn’t blame you – especially after being compared to a 42 year old woman who can’t find love. But since you asked…

Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.
Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.

Good luck –
Mike

P.S. I’m serious about welding and North Dakota. Those guys are writing their own ticket.

P.P.S. Think I should forward this to Claire?

source

An Open Letter to Dictation Software

Dear Dictation Software,

What? Over the past few months I have come to rely on you seeing as my fingers are no longer able to press buttons just one time. Rather, these pesky digits insist on including four of each letter because to them more is always merrier. Seeing as I disagree very strongly with this ill drawn conclusion, I turn to you. It took me a pain staking three and half hours to install and train you, Software. And for the most part this work has paid off. However, there are times where I cannot help but wonder what are you even doing???  I understand that it is hard to understand me when I am giggling, which is why I am patient with you and do not resent having to repeat myself in times of immense amusement. But for the love of all things literary, I cannot understand how the word, “cuddling” translates to “documentation”! What do these words even have in common? This is not your only grievance, Software! You very frequently scatter “the”s and “and”s throughout my entries like unwanted seasonings. Like it is possible to have too much salt, it is possible to have too many articles. I have also noticed that you have a particular resentment for names. I cannot remember how many times I have removed the name “Kate” from your list of recognized words. Yet still you suggest it every time I try to say my friend’s name (spelled “Kait”).

I understand that you prefer to be addressed and spoken to like a people. You do not like it when I excitedly raise my voice or speak to you as though you are stupid. I mean, I say “druid” often enough that you should know what I mean when I say it. Although, that apparently is not the case. Whenever I speak to you as though I am speaking to a person, you respond so much better. I try to remember this. I do. But whenever you cannot tell the difference between words I cannot help but be frustrated. Software, you are a lesson in the art of synonyms. I have had to delve repeatedly into my extensive vocabulary to portray something as simple as “hugging” because apparently the term “hug” does not compute. I have also noticed, Software, that you are quite prissy, prim and proper, replacing my swears with what you deem to be more “acceptable” even after I have repeatedly removed these replacements from your recognized vocabulary. This pretentious behavior on your behalf is in fact unacceptable, as I like to say exactly what I mean. I don’t need any guff from you, Software. That is not your place.

Additionally, it takes you what feels like years to adjust to my dog’s barking. Every time Kip barks you feel the need to translate this into people speak. This is how I learned that dog’s do not say “woof” rather they say “I” and “all” and most frequently, “will”. Apparently Kip will do a great many things, although he never does complete his thought. The implication that he will do something should be enough. For every bark – every single bark – you stop all of my computer processes to record every threat of his. Leaving me with a succession of “will will will will will will will will will will…” in my dictation box. You find Kip’s words so important that you will not let me cancel or switch windows to do anything at all until you are finished. This can take several minutes. I have to silence my microphone so that you can’t hear any more. It doesn’t seem to matter where Kip is in the house. You have a honing beacon on his voice.  I love the dog, but dang, Software, calm down. It’s an empty threat, I promise.

In conclusion, while you are quite frustrating, I have little choice but to depend upon you. I will try harder to speak to you like a people and in return I expect that you will try and do better to understand me. Or there will be consequences which will ultimately end in my frustration but consequences nonetheless.

 

I am a gay essay getting and give this day,

Alexis

Acts of Kindness

It’s fun to leave random notes anywhere and everywhere (other ideas).

Happy Post Its

Left this compliments poster on the window of a local fitness club.

Compliments poster

These were for the furry friends at the local shelter

doggie treats

Left these rocks at Texas Neurology for anyone in need of a little inspiration.

random rocks

Picked up a few bouquets, divided them into mini bundles in our van, and then left them with a note on random vehicles in the parking lot.
The note read, “Science shows that a single smile has the equivalent hormonal value of a bar of dark chocolate. So, share a smile and create a daisy chain of cheer.”

random flowers

Put a dollar bill in your movie rental and return it for someone else to find.

redbox

W.O.W. {1} “Meme”

Because I have this wealth of otherwise useless knowledge, I am going to begin sharing my vocabulary with you, word by word, week by week in these Word Of the Week (WOW) on Mondays.  Maybe I’ll branch out and share other factoids on different days of the week.  Who knows? 

A few weeks ago, my mom asked me what “meme” means (as in internet meme, which, by the way, is pronounced “meem” ).  At the time, I really didn’t know, but I gave my logically concocted guess, then resolved to look it up later.  Well, I forgot.  However, I came across the answer by chance the next day in a TEDTalks video (you already know that I love TEDTalks). This time, it was Diane Benscoter and her Talk How Cults Rewire The Brain.  She mentioned the word “memetic,” and later its noun form, “meme”. 

An easy definition for meme is “an idea that replicates and spreads from brain to brain like a virus, often through imitation”.  It can be very easy to be sucked into such an idea because it can create a sense of belonging.  In many ways, this can be humorous
lost doge  

or very dangerous.  

While I could write a paper on memetics and cults, I don’t feel like this is the place.  I am also going to refrain from posting the actual video at the bottom due to some of the graphic imagery used.  This blog is a happy place with smiles and cake and sunshine.

 Next week, you’re definitely going to get a better word.  Until then, enjoy this choice doge meme and have a smile on me.

 doge mem

~Alexis

Sometimes

ALS is a pretty rough disease that is very grounding.  I can’t leave the house by myself, I can’t drive, and I can’t do things that I really used to love to do, so most of my time is spent on the computer or in a book.  That doesn’t mean my life sucks, though.  I don’t think it sucks at all.  It just really helps me slow down and look forward to the “sometimes” parts of life.  The “Sometimes” are little highlights that I don’t really get too often, even though they’re some of my favorite things.  A good example would be my friends.  Most of them go to school and work, so I hardly ever get to see them.  Right now, my BFF Sydney is in town, so she is a definite “Sometime” I get to look forward to.

Some of my favorite Sometimes are:

  • Going to games in Greenville. I love going to these games.  They’re on Sundays, and all of my dude friends are there, including my man’s dad, whom I love.
  • Chilling with my girl friends. One goes to school in Louisiana, the other lives nearby but she has college and work, so I don’t get to see her very often.
  • Maple Cream Cookies, my favorite.  Bless you, Canada.
  • Food Trucks.  Oh my goodness.  Ruthie’s Rolling Café has grilled cheeses and something called slob sauce that is just… I really love food, okay?

Ruthie'sRollingCafe

  • My Man, who is currently working very hard to put himself through school in Tulsa.  We’ve been together for four years, and he is very sweet, very caring and very ornery. The last time I saw him was in August, and I miss his face.
  • Letting my dog, Kip, lick peanut butter off the spoon. I cannot accurately express how much joy this gives me.  If you have a dog and have not let him lick peanut butter from a spoon, you should.  It is the best.  10 out of 10 dogs would recommend it. Dogs love it and so will you.  Dogs and peanut butter do a happy Alexis make.

There are more, these are just a few that come to mind.  I also really love going outside and going to the art museum and will write separately about those activities as there is much to say about each.

Of course, I could write sonnets about food, but that would be a dirty rotten tease, wouldn’t it?

I’d like to know some of your favorite “Sometimes” if you’d like to share!  Just leave a comment below!

As always, have a smile on me!

~Alexis