More ADHD Road Trip

Do you want to know one of the reasons I love talking about this road trip?

The last day, A and I are headed home and we’re listening to music, talking and laughing and she says, “I love how we can spend an entire week together, 24/7 and not be tired of each other. I love how we don’t argue or get on each other’s nerves.” And that is the best thing of all we did. The fact that we could get away, run all over the state almost, laughing and talking the whole way. No teen-aged eye rolls. No arguments. Enjoying one another’s company, having nonsensical conversations and serious conversations both. It’s an amazing feeling to be a mother to such a special human being. I’m blessed indeed.

So what did we do next, you ask? Day six of our trip found us at Moundville Archaeological Park. I found this spot very intriguing. I loved it.

Moundville is a large settlement of Mississippian culture on the Black Warrior River. It was occupied from around A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1450. At the height of the settlement, the community was a three hundred acre village built on a bluff overlooking the river. The town was roughly square, and protected on three sides by a bastioned wooden palisade.ย  There was a central plaza, with twenty six earthen mounds surrounding it. The tallest mound mound rises 58 feet. Steps lead you to the top where you have an amazing view of the surrounding area.

Also located here is the Jones Archaeological Museum. This University of Alabama Museum is simply beautiful. Inside you will find artifacts that have been found at the site, as well as life size figures displaying clothes and jewelry of Mississippian culture, hand sewn and made by Native American artists. They also have a lovely gift shop.

This was well worth the stop. It was hot, yes, but we enjoyed the time we spent here very much.

We left there and went to nearby Greensboro AL for two things. Magnolia Grove and pie.

Magnolia Grove is a wonderful example of Greek Revival architecture that was so popular in the South. The house dates to 1840 and still has one of the two slave cabins as well as the cook house and cook’s quarters.

We were allowed to just roam the rooms by ourselves – the ladies were lovely and informative if we had questions, and readily gave the history of the home and its occupants.

Heavy rains had very recently done quite a bit of damage which was sad to see.

At one point we went to the outer buildings where we were shown the kitchen and cook’s quarters. Some of the furniture from inside the home had been moved into the space because of the rain and leaking roofs, but you could still get a good idea. Also the slave cabin, a one room tiny space that would have housed up to seven people, was also serving as a temporary spot for some of the furnishings.

Interestingly, in the cabin there was a copy of the census of the house. A record of the births as well as purchases of slaves. While the woman was telling us about this, the air around us came to life with a man’s voice yelling, calling, vocalizing in a strange rhythm. We all startled – myself, the woman showing us the cabin, as well as two young ladies who were present. Wide eyed we turned to one another quizzically while my daughter, standing there, looking quite confused, and yet somehow guilty was red faced and looking like she wanted to sink through the floor.

There was a white box beside her with several black buttons. Apparently she had leaned and pressed one of said buttons with her elbow. The ensuing sound was an example of a foreman calling slaves to the field. (or from) The woman tried to talk over the call, but it went on and on and on. Forever it seemed. Rising, falling, changing…on and on. The two young ladies started to giggle quietly. A looked more and more panicked. The lady finally waved a dismissive hand and said, “Oh, it’ll stop in a minute.” Seeing A’s face she had to laugh and tell her she didn’t do anything “wrong.” A whispered, “I didn’t mean to, I promise.” Thankfully the call finally died out and we slunk away from the house before we could do any more damage.

Upon leaving we were each given a copy of a little cookbook, the collected recipes of the lady of the house – who, ironically, had probably never cooked anything in her life.

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And yes, you heard me correctly – the other wonderful thing you will find in the town of Greensboro is pie. If you are ever in the area run, don’t walk to a place called Pie Lab. You won’t be sorry.

We were late in the day and they close at four so our choices were limited, but we considered ourselves lucky that they had anything left! A got a piece of lemon ice box and I got the very last piece of key lime coconut chess.

Oh my. The pie was worth the trip. Absolutely. The space is fabulous too with original ceilings and plaster removed from the walls to reveal the the original brick. Very nice. The vibe here is a wonderful community oriented institution where people just seemed happy to be there and glowing when they left. But who isn’t happy after eating pie??!!

Our adventure continued on day seven with Old Cahaba Archaeological Park.

This was the original capital of Alabama and once you got past the swarms of man eating mosquitos it was a purely magical place. Some ruins are left, and while nature has reclaimed much of the old streets, you can see how it all was laid out and the park is being preserved and the sites are made easily accessible.

What really strikes you here is the the utter quiet and tranquility of the place.

The Cahaba River provides a beautiful backdrop and with the draping Spanish moss you can almost hear the old walls and columns speak.

We spent the better part of the morning there, wandering the ruins and the old cemeteries.

We left Old Cahaba (Or Cahawba originally) and ended up in Wetumpka where we stopped at Jasmine Hill Gardens.

This place is magnificent, people.

The family loved Greek architecture and set out, in the 1930’s, to reproduce a feeling of Greece at their hillside home. They made around twenty trips to Greece to study and plan and the resulting gardens and sculpture shows their meticulous attention to detail.

I’d been there before many years ago, and today we made it most of the way through before the humidity of the day finally caught up with A and her asthma.

We had to call it a day pretty quickly and find a place to stay for the night where she could get cooled off and rest. The next day we would have one last hurrah before heading back home and to the kitties we’d been missing like crazy!!

We did get quite a few great photos before A’s asthma attack, but one little gem stood out above all the rest. A loves taking photos. She usually does all the honors, allowing me the privilege of taking a stray photo here and there. When we got home and I was scrolling through the hundreds she (we) had taken, I found the one that I knew she had snuck in, imagining my face when I saw it.

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This is what happens when you trust your fifteen year old with the camera, unsupervised.

Now that we have that out of the way, here are a few of the more (less??) um, scenic shots from the day.

I think I’m going to save the last day for one last post to wrap up or ADHD vacation.

til next time…

Crazy ADHD Road Trip – Part 7??!!

Guess you thought I’d abandoned my post and was going to leave you in the dark about the REST of our trip! No such luck!

After a day of rest, some car trouble, and time spent working on articles with looming deadlines, I’m back! (Bet you missed me. You can admit it.)

Now where were we? Ahhh… I remember. The sketchy motel. (let me clarify… motel really was okay, it was just some sketchy PEOPLE who happened to be staying there. Not even together in the same party, just ewwww, several people with questionable characters.)

Okay, this day DID start out in a rather hilarious kind of way.

We got ready to go and went down to check out, and A figured we should have some breakfast first. This little girl, just turned five, hopped up on the stool beside A to start a conversation. She was wearing blue unicorn pants and what she called a “flowy shirt” which she appeared to hold in much disdain. She told A that she needed her black shirts because black was best. Went even further to say that what she really needed was her ACDC shirt with her unicorn pants. She asked A if she thought the shirt would go with the unicorn pants, to which A replied that she was absolutely certain she could pull off that look, no problem. The child grinned and said, and I quote, “Good! Because metal music is my LIFE!!” This was punctuated with some silent head banging, blonde hair flying, hands curled in a rock and roll sign. After a couple of minutes, the girl’s grandmother called her over. The girl did not want to leave her current post but her grandmother told her she needed to take her medicine. The child hopped down, flashed A a look and said, “Don’t worry. My medicine just helps me to sloooowwww dowwwnnnn.” She bent her little knees and made a wave motion with her arms before trotting away.

I just love how our tribe always manages to find each other without even trying.

Of course, A went straight back to the room before we could check out, took off her own “flowy” shirt that she had chosen for the day, replacing it with an Iron Maiden T-shirt. (black of course.) She grinned all the while, saying that encounter had just set the mood for a great day. ๐Ÿ™‚

Our first stop on Friday morning was not an odd place, or a hidden place or a little known place. It was a tourist place, an unplanned stop, but when A asked if we could go I figured that’s what road trips were all about – changing your mind and having a good time. So off to Birmingham Zoo we went. (I’m on the fence about zoos, but that’s another story and not the point of this post.)

So we did the zoo in a couple hours. It was hot. It was sweaty. Okay, most everything we did was hot and sweaty on this trip, but maybe I just wasn’t in the zoo mood. Nothing really exciting happened while we were there anyway. Oh – but this was kind of funny. Upon entering, we headed to the African area – elephants, lions, tigers, ect. So we are walking along and this zoo employee smiles and wishes us good morning. He tells us that they are about to start giraffe feedings if we want to see that. We thanked him and then he says, “Oh, but they should be feeding the lions and hyenas soon too. If you are in this area and start hearing the hyenas go wild, they’re being fed, so if you’re close by, go watch.” Okay, thanks. So we are strolling along looking and A actually is a fan of hyenas but we made the circle and never saw any. We never heard a ruckus. So she asks someone where the hyenas were located. The lady looks at her very strangely for a minute and says, “Honey, we don’t have hyenas in this zoo.”

Not real sure what that man is hearing every morning, but maybe he’s imagining things. ๐Ÿ™‚

Zoo out of her system, it was time to see the Vulcan.

A had never seen it, and hey, if you’ve never seen an iron man’s tush it’s a must. I realize you may not be familiar with the Vulcan in Birmingham Alabama. So, here’s a bit of history for you.

As you may know, Vulcan is the Roman God of fire and forge. Birmingham wanted to advertise it’s industrial abilities for the St. Louis World’s fair in 1904. City leaders commissioned the giant iron statue. He stands 56 feet tall, and now sits on a 124 foot pedestal and weighs 101,200 pounds. He sits at Red Mountain and is the largest cast iron statue in the world and the largest metal statue ever made in the United States.

Vulcan has a pretty interesting history from his debut at the World’s Fair, to the the thirty years he spent at the Alabama State Fairgrounds, put back together wrong, where he did time advertising products such as pickles, ice cream, and at one point he even wore a gigantic pair of overalls. But he eventually was brought to Red Mountain where he sat regally on his hilltop overlooking the city, only coming down in 1999 when he needed repairs. Repairs completed, he was brought back to his original glory, put atop his brand new pedestal with a new observation deck,ย  and there was the addition of a rather nice museum and lovely grounds

Now – there was a rainstorm coming and it was thundering when we arrived at Vulcan park. I bought our tickets and the man in the gift shop said to just keep watch. They weren’t letting anyone up just then, but depending on the weather it shouldn’t be long. A saw some people going up, so we went over to take our turn going to the observation deck. Okay, this place has changed entirely since I was there as a kid. Used to, you could climb the stairsย  located inside his pedestal and then there was an enclosed observation area at the top. Now, you can still climb the stairs if you want, or there is a handy elevator and the observation deck? No longer enclosed.

I am okay with admitting this, but as we gave the lady our tickets, and she looked at the sky and said, “Just watch the weather and if there is any thunder or you see lightning come down,” I looked up at the tower, looked at that deck, and I chickened out. The NEW observation deck goes all the way around the tower, just below the Vulcan’s naked derriere. But this deck is steel grate. Grate? As in see through??!! And wide open??!! This girl wasn’t having it, so I smiled sweetly, waved, and pushed A to the elevator.

I watched from way below as she haltingly made her way out of the elevator. Clinging for dear life at the handrails. She gingerly worked her way around and I don’t think she stopped to even see the view, much less enjoy it – before rushing back inside that elevator and getting to the ground.

“It creaks and groans when you walk on it!” She yelled when she got close to me. “It moves! There were like five people standing in one spot and I swear that grate bent!”

Nah, didn’t bend, I told her. “Well you go up there and find out!” No thanks, I’ll stay on the ground and enjoy the museum. Little museum there was nice and informational. She told the man in the gift shop that she just didn’t think that thing was safe. He laughed and told her that the week before the entire Alabama football team was up there at one time. She insisted it wasn’t safe. ๐Ÿ™‚

We watched the rain come, and planned our next move.

When I was a kid whenever my mom and I went anywhere, I begged to go to caverns if we could. I loved them. Since we’d visited Rickwood the other day, and since A enjoys the caverns too, we went to DeSoto. I haven’t been there in years, but I remembered how pretty it was. It was vastly different than when I was a kid.

Now, DeSoto Caverns has this one big cave room that is absolutely breathtaking with all the formations. It’s worth seeing for sure – BUT – they charge $25 per person for about an hour tour that only consists of this one room. We went in, and they sat us down, and there was a laser light show. Okay, that’s cool, but really? Then we pretty much wandered to several areas of this one space where they used props to tell the history of the cave. I remembered getting to actually tour the caverns and see more than this one space. Yes, the space is the most impressive area for sure, but I definitely felt cheated here. It was NOT worth the $50 we spent. Honestly, when she gave me the current price I started to say never mind, but I was the one who had driven out there without first checking prices. (We’d paid $17 each for Rickwood and spent an hour walking through the cavern and enjoying it much more.) Anyway…

So, this concludes this segment – good news – there should only be one more installment left in our adventure!

 

 

Crazy ADHD Road Trip – Part 5

If our road trip route makes little or no sense, remember, after all, we ARE ADHD. I think zig zagging around is just in our nature! I tried for weeks to plan the best course of action before I threw the map in the air and figured, whatever!

Metal music once again blaring, interrupted briefly by some Journey, maybe some Phil Collins here and there, a stray show tune or two and of course, you have to throw The Coasters in the mix (A is partial to the songs Little Egypt and Soul Pad. haha) we were once again on the road. Today’s first stop was Cullman, Alabama and a place called the Ave Maria grotto.

I was at the grotto in 1977. Yikes, that was a long time ago!

It seemed strange to see this place listed among “odd” sights. I guess I never thought of it that way. When I stop to think about it though, it IS pretty odd. I remembered bits and pieces about it, and how, as a kid, it was the most magical thing I’d ever seen. It’s still pretty magical, it’s just aged a bit since then.

What is this place you ask?

The Ave Maria Grotto is the life work of Brother Joseph Zoettl, a Benedictine monk of St. Bernard Abbey. Throughout the world, the grotto is known as “Jerusalem in miniature.” Brother Joseph spent fifty years making miniature reproductions of some of the most historic buildings of all time. There are also a few whimsical touches, such as a scene depicting Hansel and Gretel, complete with fire breathing dragon, and a tower (not sure what else to call it) that he called the Statue of Liberty that he created when he became a U.S. citizen. I don’t think that he foresaw what his “hobby” would turn into when he first started creating his miniatures to break the tedium of his long workdays.

Ave Maria Grotto is a landscaped, four acre park located at St. Bernard Abbey showcasing the amazing works Brother Joseph created. The main thing that makes these works so unique is that Brother Joseph had to use whatever materials he could get his hands on, or that was donated to him to build them. He used cement, of course, but the rest is created with marbles, rocks, bits of glass, bottle caps, seashells, cold cream jars, tile – anything and everything. And the result is truly remarkable.

The effect is both whimsical, chaotic, and awe inspiring. A kept saying she would have lovedย  to have been able to meet and talk to Brother Joe because he would have been such an interesting person. I think she was probably right.

You could easily see the Grotto in forty five minutes, but we spent two hours in the quiet hillside solitude enjoying the handiwork of one very imaginative and creative monk.

And what is even better than that? Two loaves of the delicious raisin bread baked by the monks at St. Bernard. Yes, one loaf was opened as soon as we got to the car where it was unceremoniously torn into hunks. No knife. No shame. Quite unladylike, but there you have it.

On a side note, it was a bit sad to me to see so much debris in and around the pieces. I know repair work is underway (pieces date back to the 1930’s) but although the grounds are immaculate many of the pieces just look sad with dead, decaying leaves and twigs in and around them as well as cobwebs. Just cleaning out in and around them and maybe some light scrubbing would do wonders – or would have done wonders all along if done periodically. It didn’t really take away from it all, I just kept wondering why they weren’t kept up more. Lack of volunteers I suppose.

Other than that, to see how much my artistic teen admired the whimsy and creativity of it all was fun to see. And monk bread. Monk bread is good.

Next we stopped at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception located in Hanceville. Before a few months ago, I was unaware that this shrine existed, – or at least existed as it is. I knew there was an order of Poor Clare nuns in northern Alabama somewhere near Cullman. I just didn’t know what they had built.

I knew about Mother Angelica (the founder) but only as the founder of a religious television network, but this place is truly a beautiful place to reflect and pray. And if my memory serves me correctly (and it may not – this is just what I think I remember reading somewhere,) when Mother Angelica first felt she was given the task to create a shrine to the Blessed Sacrament – a place for people from all over to come and find a place of prayer and worship – she was tasked with figuring out how, of course, to pay for the massive church she wanted to build. I believe I read, but can’t find it right now, that one family came forward and funded her dream. I think that is rather remarkable. The church was built faster than she ever imagined, and as far as I can tell, her wish has come true as people from all over, and from all faiths, visit.

Oh, one more thing I learned today? According to A- chipmunks must be Catholic because she has seen them at every monastery she’s visited. Now I know. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I was going to snap a few photos of the outside of the church, or at least the gift shop/cafeteria (that was built to resemble a Spanish fortress) but I had left my camera in the car when we went in and I left without getting it.

Leaving the Shrine we were driving down a winding country road when on the side of the road was a collection of portable toilets. A snaps a photo saying well, yesterday she’d seen the world’s largest chair, today it was a port-o-potty graveyard. She quickly sent the picture to her aunt, saying excitedly, LOOK! Yesterday I saw a chair! Today I saw Port-o-potties!! I think my sister was seriously wondering what kind of vacation we were on.

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Your day is now complete. You’re welcome!

We changed our plan slightly here and ended up at Rickwood Caverns in time for the last cave tour of the day. A and I were the only two people on the tour so we really had a great time as we were able to go slowly and look at everything that interested her and ask questions.

I’ve always loved visiting caverns and A really enjoys it, so I’m glad we got to incorporate a visit. It was also an excellent way to get out of the sweltering Alabama heat for a few minutes since caverns typically stay nice and cool.

I was exhausted, but in a good way, as we sat in our motel room, but I was glad to get out of there the following morning. Things didn’t look so bad from the exit where we decided to stop, but the place ended up seeming a bit sketchy. A figured they were hosting a perv convention as several different men made inappropriate comments to her when she went to get something out of the car.

Onward we went…but that will have to wait.

 

More Crazy ADHD Road Trip!

Yesterday I believe I promised you the scoop on Hitler’s tea service.

Our first stop in Anniston, after driving from Mt. Cheaha with air conditioning and metal music blaring, was the Berman Museum of Natural History. This little gem is located in Lagarde Park in Anniston Alabama next to the Anniston Museum of Natural History. As I said, we put this place on our must visit list because of Hitler’s tea service, yes, but also because it promised a collection of cool spy gadgets, such as a flute that had been modified to shoot a .22 caliber bullet when a certain note was played. What can I say, A thinks anything that shoots is cool. No, we do not own any guns. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I live in Alabama and I never would have heard of this museum had I not seen it on the Roadtrip America website when we were looking for unusual sites to see.

It was listed as an odd place because of the tea service. I have to admit this was intriguing. Hitler’s tea service in Alabama? Really? What? But let me tell you, the place was much more than we imagined. And yes, although it did contain the advertised tea service, which, for some reason was highly amusing to see in Anniston, but the museum contained a collection of art and artifacts collected by Colonel Farely Berman and his wife, Germaine. And quite the collection it is!

Colonel Berman was stationed in North Africa during WWII, and it was there that he met his wife, Germaine. She was a French National and a member of French Intelligence. They were married and returned to Anniston to live for the remainder of their lives.

The Berman’s shared a passion for collecting things. They spent four decades traveling the world together. He stated that he collected rare weapons and she collected works of fine art. Although the Berman’s shared their collection with those that were interested, in 1992, they bequeathed their collection to their hometown. The Berman Museum opened in 1996 in Lagarde Park with a portion of the Berman’s collection, and in 1999, Colonel Berman passed away, leaving the remaining objects to the foundation.

All right, there’s the history lesson portion taken from various things I read about the Berman’s and their collection.

We arrived at the museum and bought the combo ticket for both the Berman and the museum of natural history next door – we believed we had plenty of time, as I’d read you could spend an hour at the Berman Museum. We ended up spending a little over two hours at the Berman, and then having to run through the museum of natural history just to see it before it closed. And I had to practically drag A away from it.

This collection is AMAZING to say the least.

Mostly weapons, yes, but the military history in this building is informative and interesting. Every type of gun imaginable, plus military artifacts. A particularly touching piece, to me, was the handwritten diary of a soldier, along with the Nazi banner that he had captured. There is spy gear too – a pen that shot vials of poisonous gas, the altered flute I mentioned earlier, and guns disguised in belt buckles, throat lozenge tins, and match boxes.

Aside from Hitler’s tea service, there is a vanity set that belonged to Napoleon. There are dinner napkins from Mussolini’s palace, along with photos of his parents. There is a jewel encrusted Royal Persian scimitar as well as the coronation set of Czech kings – the crown was made in 1346. And those aren’t the only jewel encrusted items in this museum! There is also quite a collection of Remington bronze sculptures.

Lucky for us the Berman’s chose to leave their collection to Anniston, rather than donate to one of the bigger museums that definitely wanted it.

Photos you ask? I happen to have some!

We just loved this museum. Hopefully we will get to visit again some day.

We had just enough time to tour the Museum of Natural History. It was actually a very nice museum. To me, though, when you’ve seen one small town natural history museum you’ve kind of seen them all – and if you’ve been fortunate enough to visit the Smithsonian, well, what’s left? Okay, I’ll admit it – as much as I love museums and history and learning new things, natural history museums aren’t my favorite. I said it. There.

They did have a lovely garden outside.

natural history museum
Pretty huh?

And if you are in Anniston Alabama there is just one more site you have to take in. Or at least there was for us. Looking for the odd and unusual? You don’t have to look any further than Noble Street where you will find the world’s largest chair, per the 1982 Guinness Book of World Records.

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There it is, folks. The second reason Anniston was on our list of places to visit. Who can resist giant sized furniture??

I’m just not sure how one can top a a gigantic chair, but onward we traveled to Cullman, Alabama where more sites awaited.

to be continued…

Our Crazy ADHD Road Trip Continues!

As you all know by now, A and I set off for adventure last week – looking for anything that struck our fancy.

Okay, we had a list of things we wanted to see and we set out to find out just how many of them we could cram into our week. I can honestly say I was glad to be leaving Atlanta on Wednesday morning and heading to greener pastures. Or greener mountains. Leaving Georgia we were excited to find the Talladega National Byway – and along this byway, Alabama’s highest point, Mount Cheaha (2,407 feet above sea level.)

Our first stop in Alabama, however, turned out to be a welcome center where we met a lovely woman named Shirley Jean. I tell ya, I would have packed that lady up in the car with us because I guarantee you, she would have been a hoot.

A and I pulled into the welcome center and went inside to grab a few travel brochures. The place had a nice little back porch with crepe myrtle trees blooming pink, so we walked outside. That’s when we met Shirley Jean. She approached me and asked if I wanted her to take our picture. She said folks just loved getting their pictures taken with the Sweet Home Alabama sign. A and I didn’t want to tell her we were FROM Alabama, and before we knew it, we were taking pictures in front of crepe myrtle trees, alongside a lovely rock wall, and of course, underneath the infamous Sweet Home Alabama sign.

She told us how sweet we were, and how precious A was. Turns out she had lost her own daughter to leukemia years ago when the girl was just thirteen. She said it never goes away, the loss, but she knew where her baby girl was and that made her happy. She talked about road trips, best friends, her husband that worried about her when she got too far away from home, and all the wonderful people she’d gotten to meet working at the welcome center. She talked especially fondly of a family of five generations that she got to talk to out on that back porch and she was quite proud of the fact that she’d taken their photo and gotten a hug from each and every one of them, from the oldest to the smallest.

Our road trip truly began that morning, there at the Alabama welcome center with Ms. Shirley Jean, who hated her name, but figured if her mama had cursed her with the most boring name ever given, that she would be bound and determined to make sure her personality at least was unique to make up for it. I think she did a fine job. She was one of the most genuine and delightful people I’ve ever met. As we were leaving, she was bent there at the sidewalk pulling stray weeds, but she gave us a wave and wished us a safe trip.

Soon we were on the Talladega scenic byway. This lovely stretch of road is 26 miles long along State Route 281 stretching from just west of Heflin, Alabama to the intersection of two unpaved roads in the Talladega National Forest.ย  And of course, at the road’s highest point, you are on Cheaha Mountain.

I’m telling you, I don’t need the Rockies, although I know they are beautiful. I am just as content with the green of the Applachian mountains. Just getting near them gets me feeling all happy inside.

Talladega National Forest
Now we’re getting somewhere!

A took gobs of pictures as we wound our way toward Mt. Cheaha, and we pulled over at each and every scenic overlook, jumping out of the car and giggling like schoolgirls. At some point, I even think I was sporting a wildflower crown. ๐Ÿ™‚

The drive was just gorgeous, and I’d only been to Cheaha once, long ago, so it was kind of fun to be there again. There had been an observation tower you could climb, and I was kind of surprised to see it still there.

My knees were a bit stiff afterward, (okay, it wasn’t THAT high up, but still, my bum knee was not impressed.) The stairwell itself was dark, musty, and just plain smelly. The observation deck was hot, but it’s a nice view.

The outside of the little building was pretty darned cute though.

Cheaha observation tower
Cute on the outside. Musty on the inside. Worth it? Of course.

After the tower we found our way to Bald Mountain. Here is where you can really look out and see the mountains. Hawks make slow, lazy circles in the air below you (yes, below) and you can just soak up all the scenic awesomeness. You can choose a trail through the forest to get there, or there is a wonderful accessible walkway that takes you to the lookout.

Going in, we met an elderly gentleman coming out. He stopped to say good morning and he was just a delightful fellow, with his jaunty little sun hat and smiling eyes. He told us that he lived fifty four miles away and came here twice a month. He said he appreciated the gifts nature had given us and was determined to enjoy them. But what he seemed to REALLY enjoy that morning was the fact that the lady at the gate recognized him from his many visits and only charged him $2 that morning instead of the customary $5 park entrance fee. I don’t think she will ever know just how much that made his day.

Now do you want to hear a story about these mountains? Of course you do. Who doesn’t love a little mountain lore?

The legend goes that many years before white man infiltrated the forests of Alabama, there was a tribe of Native Americans living in the central portion that is now the county of Talladega. The chief was named Choccolocco; a great and mighty chief. His only daughter, Princess Talladega, was the fairest maiden in all the realm, and Choccolocco treasured her above all his possessions. He began to search for a suitable partner for his beloved daughter. Chiefs old and young, powerful and rich, from far and near all set out to make offers to Choccolocco for his daughter’s hand. But Talladega asked her father for time. She wanted a love to come along that she could treasure.

Time passed and one morning, while fetching water, Talladega met a handsome young warrior. The two started meeting in secret, their love for one another growing stronger every day. One morning, Talladega approached her father’s cabin and heard voices. Her father was bargaining with Cheaha, an old chief from a neighboring tribe, for her hand. Talladega was dismayed when her father told her that Cheaha was his chosen suitor for her, and that soon she would be leaving to follow Cheaha to his home.

The next morning, Talladega snuck off to see her warrior, Coosa. He possessed no property and was helpless to win Talladega in the eyes of her father. Coosa was so overcome with sorrow at the thought of losing his love, that he plunged into the surrounding wilderness, wandering up and down the banks of the stream for days. His thoughts were solely on Talladega, and he could see her reflected in all that was around him.

He came out of the forest determined to win Talladega. He went to Choccolocco and stated his case. While he had no property or anything of value, he knew where valuable minerals were, and could direct Choccolocco to them, and Choccolocco would then be richer and more powerful than any other chief. Choccolocco agreed to give Coosa a chance to show him these riches. Unfortunately for Coosa, Cheaha overheard his plan, and knew he had to put a stop to it. Cheaha sent for two people. A warrior to follow Coosa, and his medicine man.

Cheaha’s medicine man had something very powerful. He had discovered an herb that could put anyone immediately to sleep; not to waken until the antidote was given, and he alone knew what the antidote was. That night, while Coosa slept, Cheaha and his medicine man crept upon him, the medicine man administering his herb. When Cheaha was certain that the desired effect had in fact been reached, he turned on his medicine man and killed him, so that no one would ever know how to wake Coosa.

Choccolocco, waiting for Coosa, became annoyed when the warrior did not appear, so he ordered preparations for the wedding of Talladegea to Cheaha to commence.

Talladega had discovered her sleeping warrior, and had made secret visits to him while he slept as the wedding preparations were being made. She became so unhappy as the wedding day approached, that Cheaha told her that Coosa could never be awakened.

When the day of the wedding came, Talladega was nowhere to be found. The area was searched, and finally she was found, lying dead on the breast of her sleeping love.

The drug, while powerful enough to keep Coosa always asleep, also had the power to make him grow. While lying there sleeping, he has grown through the centuries until he has become a great giant, a mountain many miles long. Mother Nature has blanketed him with earth, and given him trees, shrubs, and wildflowers to protect him. He lies there, dreaming of his beloved maiden.

It’s a great story – and forgive me if I did not get it exactly right. I’ve heard different versions, and this is what I remember.

Now you know I have to include some more photos from Cheaha, right? You’re welcome.

We ate lunch at the restaurant there, and the food, while mediocre, was made much better by the view. At lunch it’s a buffet, so A got a piece of cake. She sat there, trying to eat it, and I kid you not, this cake was so dry, when she put her fork to it it crumbled. She didn’t say anything, just kept playing with it, then finally said, “This cake tastes like forty year old Oompa Loompa poop.”

Now that, folks, if you don’t know, is some seriously bad cake! I told her to shift her chair facing the windows and see if the view improved it. She did so and said that yes, as a matter of fact it did, but she didn’t think it was safe to eat any more of it. Honestly, the food wasn’t THAT bad..although I steered clear of dessert. I had some grapes. They were delicious. The staff was friendly, like I said, the view was heavenly, and who knows? Maybe the food is better at night.

I would have stayed all day. Okay, all week, but it was soon time to move on. Leaving Cheaha I wound (and I do mean wound!) my way through the national forest on the way to our next stop in Anniston.

Funny thing about Anniston. We’d put it on our list because we read that there was a museum there that held Hitler’s silver tea service. Um, huh? I don’t know why, but this amused us to no end. Hitler’s dishes in Anniston Alabama? How? Why? It is listed on several websites as one of those odd places to visit, so we couldn’t wait to get there!

This post is getting longer than I intended, so guess what? You’ll have to wait until next installment for all the info on Hitler’s tea service. I know you’re sad.

Til tomorrow!

 

 

Our Crazy ADHD Road Trip – Part Two!

Day Three – More coasters

Day Three of our Road Trip was the final day of theme park madness. I have to say I reached my limit for this kind of fun fairly early in the day. Being a Tuesday though, there really weren’t any lines so A started the day with the biggest coaster in the park (that she hadn’t gotten to ride the day before) and she rode it five times without getting off. After the fifth go round she got off, got me, and I rode it with her for number six. We went one more time to make her total on the Goliath seven times. We pretty much continued like that for most of the morning. There weren’t any lines, so A was able to ride multiple times every time. A summer thunderstorm shut us down for a while, and after that, and a few more rides, I was beyond grateful when around 5:00 A said she’d had enough. The heat, humidity, stench of B.O., crying children, and grumpy parents were all finally enough. Thank goodness. The park closed at nine that night and I don’t think I could have held on that long. Did I mention it was hot??

We went to eat that night and witnessed something that had A in tears as we tried to put it in perspective and see the good in it.

Sitting right by us was a very elderly couple. They didn’t talk much as they ate, and when he reached over to put butter on her bread she yelled at him. He cursed under his breath and went back to his dinner. We kind of smiled at this, thinking nothing more of it than they had probably been together many years and were picking at one another. However, when they went to leave, he, who was very unsteady himself, was trying to help her up and get her situated on her walker. I knew he was telling her something, but his voice was low. As he talked she started getting louder, insisting she had won a prize and they told her she could take it with her. He was in front of her, trying to explain to her that it was not a prize, no one told her to take it, and if she did she would be stealing. His voice was quiet and calm, and we saw that what she was clinging to was the restaurant’s dessert menu.

She became increasingly agitated, her voice growing very loud as he continued to try to reason with her. A was trying not to cry as she realized what was truly happening. Then the lady screamed at the top of her lungs at the man, and told him they told her to take it – and she slapped him. Hard. He was silent a moment before he said, “Please, honey, you just can’t take things.” She insisted they told her it was hers. He sighed and tried to help her to her feet and they shuffled off, her clinging desperately to her prize. He’d left his cane, so A ran after them. When she got back she sat down, looked at her food and said she thought she was done.

I told her to think of it this way – true love was seeing your spouse through the worst of times and loving her even though she wasn’t really her anymore – and being gentle even when she was violent. Maybe they’d had a lot of good years and a whole lifetime of memories – but this was part of it too. This was life.

She thought a moment and said she doubted she would ever find that kind of love; someone who would love her like that. I told her to strive instead to BE that kind of love.

Watching her later that night playing in the pool at the motel with some kids, I already know what kind of person she is. I already know she IS that kind of love. No doubt.

I’m going to end this one right here. Tomorrow I will write about our adventures in the Talladega National Forest, as well as a pretty cool museum full of weapons and spy gear. And a few interesting surprises.ย  The really great stories are coming up – so stay tuned!

 

Road Tripping ADHD Style-Part One

Last week A and I had the chance to hit the open road on vacation.

We’ve done a lot of things in the past, so this time we decided to stick relatively close to home – or well, we decided to road trip through our home state of Alabama. When we first started to envision this trip, we decided we were going to visit as many oddball or just plain hokey sites that we could. That trip of course would have taken several weeks to complete, so we left home with a general idea of the direction we wanted to take and decided to play it by ear. All I can say is after this vacation I pretty much need a full body massage and a couple weeks to sleep and recuperate!

A couple weeks before our trip A was talking about roller coasters. she loves them, but last time we were in an amusement park although there were some she could ride, there were many that she could not. I decided, at pretty much the last minute, to include roller coasters on this trip because I don’t know when we might get another chance. So – I chopped off the beginning portion of our trip (We were were going to begin in Hunstsville and wind our way downward) decided to begin in Atlanta at Six Flags, do the whole roller coaster thing for two days, then shoot back into Alabama at the Talladega Scenic Byway and be on our way.

So the big day finally arrived.

A and I hopped in the car in search of thrill rides, back road curiosities, and inner peace.

I have to say, I LOVE vacationing with my ADHD girl. We have the best time, and even getting there is awesome when you do it singing metal music at the top of your lungs and having extremely interesting car conversations.

Day One – Getting There

I was a bit nervous here because A spent the weekend at a retreat and I’d decided to leave as soon as I picked her up and head on to Atlanta where we could be there and ready for Six Flags Monday morning. I really wasn’t certain if it was the best idea ever to pick a teenaged ADHD’er up from a weekend spent with no sleep and put her in a car for 5 1/2 hours. I figured she’d sleep the whole way, so I didn’t worry about the scenic route for this first portion of our jaunt. I grabbed my kid and hit the interstate.

She looked amazing when I picked her up. She was positively glowing. She had that “retreat high.” She’d had an awesome weekend and was excited to share it with me. For the first hour and a half of our trip she told me all about her weekend and the impact it had on her. She called the retreat “life changing.” She was able to hear talks from adults as well as teens, spent time talking with others, sharing their lives, their faith and their struggles, and praying together. She talked about how inspiring it had all been, and how much the kindness of her peers, some she’d never even met, touched her. After that, she fell asleep but she was awake two hours later and we finished the drive singing – until she thought about something else from the weekend she wanted to tell me. We talked and laughed, finally arriving at our motel she was exhausted and took a shower and some melatonin and feel into a deep sleep – dreaming of roller coasters, no doubt!

Day 2 – Let the fun begin!

I can honestly say I don’t remember ever being as exhausted as I was when we got back to our hotel Monday night.

I used to love roller coasters, but maybe I’m getting old, because all I could think as we pulled into the parking lot at Six Flags ( A $25 parking spot, I may add, so I was kind of disappointed that the space did not come with a car wash, or something that would have made it worth twenty five bucks on top of the already pricey park ticket) was that it was a thousand billion degrees out and I must be losing my mind.

I did ride a couple rides this first day, but even though I’ve checked out okay, some health concerns this year had me questioning whether or not I should get on some of the wilder rides. So, sadly, A rode most of the rides alone this first day. Also, unfortunately, most of the roller coasters were only running on and off all day. There ended up being only one she didn’t get to ride but we knew we’d get to do it all over again the next day and hopefully they wouldn’t have to keep closing rides down.

I would have liked to have been more excited about it all on Monday, and maybe it was the heat, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

One of the other things I really wasn’t feeling, was the way some people dress!

Okay – it says clearly in the park, and also on my ticket, if I’m not mistaken, that if you are wearing a shirt that says something inappropriate that you will be asked to leave…it says you must be wearing a shirt. So why is it, please tell me, that some woman can walk around in a man’s white sleeveless undershirt – shirt drenched and soaking wet and SHE’S NOT WEARING A BRA! I see her boobies sagging and swaying and through the thin, wet material I can even see the bumps around her nipples! EWWWWWW!ย  Now WHY can no one ask HER to leave? I might not want to read vulgar t- shirt slogans but I sure as hell didn’t want to see THAT either!! Then of course there are the little girls that you wonder what’s going to become of them when they grow up. There’s this kid running around, looks all of twelve. She’s wearing cut off shorts, and yeah, you can guess how short they are, cowboy boots (really? in this heat?) and a man’s white t-shirt (at least it was dry – or it was when I saw her) but she’s cut just the tops of sleeves out, like in jagged circles (you know, like some version of the cute tops that girls are wearing with the cut outs?) But I’m looking at this little girl and I don’t know, the whole look, or maybe it was the way she was carrying herself just kind of looked like she was going for the cowgirl hooker look. I often wonder if some girls have parents. I saw one girl walking around with her father and the the girls butt cheeks were hanging out of the bottom of her shorts. I cannot imagine walking around with my father with my backside showing. No way. And my mother would have beat me with a 2×4 if I had tried to leave the house like that. I do NOT want to look at little girl’s fannies. Gross.

I’m going to close off this segment with a quick (or not so quick, knowing me) word to the woman whose baby I picked up and carried up the stairs back at our motel. Now, I don’t know this woman, and it’s too much to hope she’d ever see this – BUT –

Thank you for not punching me or kicking me down the stairs when I picked up your little boy. He was trying to navigate those stairs as best he could with his short little toddler legs and one shoe – but he stumbled and fell. You were already halfway up, so I tried to set him upright again when he turned his crying face to me and held up his little arms. All I could do was pick him up. I tried to ask you if it was okay, I mean, I understand that there are people up to no good in this world, but you had your back to us and were ahead, so I guess you didn’t hear me.

Yes, I was starting to silently judge you right about then, I’ll admit it. So I picked him up and he was so wet it had soaked through his pants, but I gathered him and his shoe and carried him up with his arms wrapped tightly around my neck. We get to the top and you are opening the door to your room. I felt the need to say something, so I just told you that he was holding his arms out to me and I hoped it was okay that I went ahead and picked him up. You said, “It’s fine.” Nothing more. I tried to stand him up on his feet, but he wrapped his legs around me as much as he could and wouldn’t let go. It was a bit awkward, really. Finally I got him to let go and you said, “It’s his first time in a motel.” I said I hoped you had a good night.

But I noticed something then. I noticed the exhausted look in your eyes. Or was it defeat? I stopped judging and tried to think deeper.

Maybe you were just tired from your journey, but maybe there was more to it than that. Maybe you are going through a rough time right now. When I got back to my room, I thought about you and your little boy and I said a little prayer for you – for safe travels, for strength, and for happiness in your life. Take care of yourself and that precious baby. Good luck to you.

Tomorrow I get to do the theme park thing again, but then we get to have a more relaxing time. BUT – seeing A’s face and her grin when she gets off a ride made it all worth it. This was something she really wanted to do, but didn’t want to ask me, so I was glad to be able to do it for her.

Stay tuned for the rest of our crazy ADHD Road Trip – things get pretty interesting! ๐Ÿ™‚

Summertime!

Howdy, folks! Yep, I’m still here, haven’t faded into the elusive mist or gotten lost on some lonely country road.

It’s summertime! Woohoo! I love it when A- is out of school. My biggest complaint is that it just whooshes by so fast we scarcely get to really enjoy it. Or so it seems.

Things have been crazy quiet, actually. There haven’t really been any super exciting ADHD mishaps or catastrophes. We are pretty much just hanging out and laying low. A- has been pretty busy actually, helping out at church and spending time with friends, which I will not begrudge her as this is the first summer of her existence that she has really had friends to hang out with. Like regularly. She should enjoy that. The teen years are fleeting at best and she deserves some good memories.

Other than that, I’m just trying to enjoy our time before school is back in session. There are some major changes coming our way, and I don’t really know where we will be next summer or how much time we will have to just hang out. If we are lucky we will get in a road trip before summer’s end. THAT should be fun!!

So what’s new? Let’s see…we’ve welcomed a second feline into our little group and now our Maggie has a big brother to play with. Our boy Alex is a cuddler, and he works wonders for A-s anxiety and depression. And at night when the bad dreams come? He stirs himself and crawls right up under her chin and nuzzles her head to let her know he’s there for her. He’s a sweet one, and little Maggie took to him a whole lot quicker than I expected her fiery self would.

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I’m working on a couple of manuscripts or should I say trying desperately to just concentrate on one of them but thoughts for the other keep popping into my head? That’s okay. One is nearly complete and the other is just begun.

I’ll probably also be on the hunt for a used car soon – which should be as much fun as a root canal. And speaking of root canals I think I need one of those too.

A’s been working on her summer assignments for school and also working on her art. She’s been drawing some pretty awesome mandala designs. That’s sort of new for her, as for the past few years she has concentrated primarily on monsters and eerily macabre doodlings. (Last school year I got a phone call asking if there should be any concern over her drawing of an eyeball with a knife sticking in it on the back of an English exam. Nope. No concern. Just A- doing her thing. lol) She also draws quite a bit on herself. I don’t even try anymore to dissuade her. I’m sure my mother thinks she is going to die of ink poisoning, but pick your battles, right? This week’s artwork was a tribal design that went from her upper thigh down to her ankle. People on the street kept stopping us to ask her if they could look at it and if it was real. Heehee.

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I don’t have a good photo of the leg design, but I’ll make sure to get one next time she gets artsy on herself!

I guess that about wraps things up for now. Not much to get excited about I guess, but that’s just how it is sometimes. Me? I’m just practicing being in the moment, enjoying my girl, hanging with the kitties, writing my heart out and doing my best to be a decent person and to learn something new every day. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

NewLifeOutlook is Introducing a new Browser Extension and I got to Test it out!

First off guys, let me say that if you know anything at all about me, you know that I don’t know much about tech stuff. I can use my computer. End of story. I don’t tinker with it, add to it, or take away from it. I don’t tweak it or meddle around with things I know nothing about.

So when New Life Outlook told me they were going to introduce a new browser extension for Chrome – and asked if I’d like to sample it and write a review about it, I was, quite honestly, a little afraid.

I had no idea what a browser extension did. Yes, I’m serious, so stop laughing.

First off, I had a heck of a time even getting the extension installed, but when I did, I knew it was purely from my lack of knowledge than anything faulty with the downloading or actual installation of the extension. It was, as a matter of fact, quite easy to do.

The only other problem I had was that after I installed the extension and used it, the next time I turned on my computer, Chrome had disabled the extension because it didn’t come from the Chrome Web Store. I spoke with someone who told me the only way I could get it re-enabled was to have the developer add the extension to the Web Store.

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Too bad they disabled my extension!

Now, the New Life Outlook extension is due to be released May 30, so it won’t be in the web store until then, so although I was able to use the extension and test it out, I didn’t get to spend as much time with it as I would have liked before giving it a review.

Luckily, I spent quite a bit of time with it when I first installed it. What follows is my personal opinion of the New Life Outlook browser extension for Chrome. I look forward to being able to enable it once it’s out.

Again – May 30 – so coming soon!!

Let me apologize in advance for the poor quality of my photos. I was hoping to get better ones, but that was before I knew Chrome was going to ever so politely disable my extension. So crappy photos it has to be. Sorry guys.

Okay, now on to what this browser extension does and what I thought of it!

Once the browser extension was enabled, a little NLO icon appeared in the top right of my toolbar. Clicking on it opened a new tab with NewLifeOutlook features.

The first thing it asked was my name. Once that was put in it gave me a menu to choose conditions I was interested in. I chose ADHD, Anxiety, Asthma, and Depression.ย  Oh – just a side note here when I entered my name there was nothing to click to make it do anything. I hit the enter key and that didn’t work. I couldn’t submit the name I’d just typed. Until I zoomed out a little. My screen was at 100% – I had to change that and back off to about 75% before the “submit” button came into view under the line for my name. Just a heads up on that one.

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There is a long list of conditions you can choose from to get articles that are tailored to your interests.

It then asked me which news feeds I wanted to subscribe to. For general news I chose The Mighty, Healthy Living Today, and Health.com. For health news related to the conditions I had chosen, I picked Science Daily – ADHD news, Medical News Today – ADHD information, Psych Central – ADHD news, Healthline – mental health news, and Science Daily- depression news.

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You can choose several different news feeds, up to a maximum of sixteen, so you can keep up with all the most recent health news!

This was all pretty simple to do, as the screen prompted me with each step. Once I’d made my choices, there was my home screen, with a search bar and a link to a recommended article from New Life Outlook.

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All of your settings are a click away in a box on the left hand side of your screen. From there you can manage your conditions and your news feed,ย  create a to-do list (I immediately put in my daughter’s next doctor and counseling appointments,) and you can also choose from a few different background images and colors. (notice I started with the default cup coffee and coffee beans in the background then opted for a nice waterfall.)

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Settings are in a column on the left side of the screen. All you have to do to access it is to click the handy settings icon on the bottom of the list.
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I love the to-do list feature!

Next to that is a button for nlo – click that and you are given a listing of articles you can choose to read from New Life Outlook on the conditions that interest you, and there is also a little heart. Each of those articles have a heart in the top right corner and if you click it, that article is added to your favorites so you can always come back to it. Pretty helpful, I thought!

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you can scroll through articles here and click on the ones you want to read
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Just click that red heart and it puts this article in your favorites for quick access!
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Your favorites is a handy list of articles you’ve saved.

I never spend a lot of time on the “home screen” for my browser. I know I can set it up so that it shows news feeds, and any other information I’d like to keep handy – but I don’t use it. Never have.

What I liked about this browser extension was that it’s something I would use. The news is relevant to me. It’s information I want to have, and the to-do list is an awesome feature! It gives me the opportunity to see articles and news I might otherwise miss, about topics that are near and dear to my heart. I love that it gives me the chance to save articles I want to come back to in my favorites.

This extension was very easy to use. The flow was nice and it seemed natural to use. It didn’t take a long time to figure out how to use it or to find its features. Everything was self explanatory and easily accessible.

It was uncluttered and uncomplicated which is a huge plus for this ADHD girl. I don’t have time or patience to figure out hard to use features. I’m easily frustrated, and that didn’t happen while I was exploring this extension.

I turn to New Life Outlook for fantastic articles on the health conditions that concern me, as well as their vibrant online communities. Now I can also turn to them for a browser extension that has features I will actually use.

I’m looking forward to the release and I highly recommend you guys check it out and try it for yourselves!

What it is: NewLifeOutlook’s browser extension for Chrome

When it is available: May 30, 2017

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Mental Health Awareness. What my Anxiety Feels Like

I’m much more comfortable talking about my ADHD than my Anxiety. I’m much more comfortable talking about A’s mental health struggles than my own. I view hers as much more important than mine. She also deals with so much more than I do, and does it with a bravery that I admire.

I’ve mentioned my Anxiety here and there, but I’d rather talk about anything else.

In light of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I’ve decided to share a little about my experience with anxiety.

I usually see things long after everyone else does, but I recently came across the #insideoutchallenge. I was intrigued by it, and spent some time looking at posts from those who chose to share what their mental illness looked like.

The challenge, begun by mental health advocate and beauty blogger Yasaman Gheidi, challenges people to use makeup art to show others what your mental illness looks and feels like to you, or to support others through participating. I was absolutely blown away by so many of the raw, honest depictions that people had posted.

Images were sad, haunting, inspirational, and deeply meaningful all at once. I started wondering what my makeup would look like if I were to participate. Since my skills at makeup art are zero, and I’d probably just make more of a mess of myself than anything else, (although maybe that look could well define my ADHD!) I decided to forgo the actual makeup, but I know what it would be.

My mental health image would be a cage. Thick iron bars that hold me back and hold me in. I can’t escape my prison, there is no way out. Questions and accusations crowd all around me, pushing at the bars. “Why did you say that?” “How did it sound?” “What do they think of me now?” “Did I say the wrong thing?” “I looked like an idiot.” “Why can’t you just be normal?” “Why can’t you just be like everyone else?” “Why aren’t you like all the other moms?” “I can’t go in there.” “I can’t do this.”

That is how my anxiety makes me feel.

Yes, some days are better than others, but I’m never free. I can’t go to social engagements that aren’t for family. I don’t go out. I don’t meet new people. I could never begin a relationship because first of all I’m too awkward and uncomfortable to talk to someone I don’t know, but if by some miracle someone got to know me, well, they would have friends, they would have family, and I’d never be able to go out with his friends or even manage a coherent meeting.

People have asked me why I’m still single so long after my divorce, and that’s the honest answer. I’ve met a couple of very nice people, (people who for some reason just kept talking to me no matter what I said) but I talked myself out of it because I didn’t feel it was fair to put anyone through what being with me would entail. I was scared.

I second guess every single word I say every single day. Someone can ask me how I am and I answer “Fine,” and yet I still worry all day that I said the wrong thing or appeared stupid.

I’m locked in my own head in a prison of my mind’s making.

I desperately want to be free. I want to be able to talk to people and do things, but I always stop myself. I’m always afraid.

It’s exhausting. The noise of the day gets to me and by the time afternoon rolls around my senses are overloaded.

Add my ADHD to my Anxiety and even I am never quite sure what is going to happen. I forget more when I’m anxious. My short term memory is bad enough due to ADHD, but during times of high anxiety, I can’t remember anything at all. People can ask me a question and I’ve forgotten what it was before I can answer. I zone out more, then look like even more of an idiot, then worry about how much of an idiot I look like, and end up having a panic attack.

That is the truth about living with Anxiety and ADHD.

Doesn’t mean I’m not happy. Doesn’t mean there aren’t things I’m good at. Doesn’t mean I’m not a kick ass mom. (At least my daughter tells me I am, anyway!) It just means I struggle more inside my own head during a day than I struggle outside of it.

It means that when I’m out in public, or at a function, I’m doing the best I can. I appear anti social – I’m not. I appear angry – I’m not. I appear to be snobbish – I’m not. I appear bored – I’m not. When I appear to be crying and having trouble breathing – well then I just need to leave. If I can’t leave I’ll try to disappear for a few moments to collect myself before trying again. I’m trying to paste on a smile. I’m trying to think of one solitary thing to say. I really am. I WANT to talk to others. I WANT to join in. I WANT to be engaged in what is going on around me.

Don’t assume I isolate myself because I want to or because I’m selfish.

PTA meetings, church social gatherings, school banquets, small talk, even meeting my daughter’s friends all have the power to render me a useless puddle. Walking into any situation where I am unsure of exactly what is going to happen when I get there has my heart hammering and my hands trembling.

I work on it every single day. I’d give my right arm to make it go away.

It isn’t going anywhere. It’s part of me. I’ve gotten used to that fact. I just have never figured out a way to make it better. I can’t figure out how to be someone else. I can’t figure out how to do anything with abandon.

Sometimes I think it would be so amazing to just be able to forget for one second the anxiety and fear. I’d love to be able to walk into a room with my head up, not searching for a corner to melt into or a chair in the very last row.

I’ve come a long way in accepting myself for who I am. But just because I accept it doesn’t make it easy. My head is in constant turmoil. There is always noise. There is always a million racing thoughts.

It would be nice to turn it off once in a while.