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2023 January Miller Update

John made this amazing light box from leftover wood!

Will be up for sale on our handmade page soon

(or message us if you want it and can't wait!).

This month has gone by quickly and as usual, we are almost keeping up. But I think better a little bit this January in comparison to previous years. A lot of ups and downs but we are trudging through. There is quite a bit to cover this month though I won't make it too wordy this time. I'm trying to not overwrite too much so we shall see how this goes!

We have been working more on our business and website. It has been years that we have been wanting to do this so last year, we decided we were going to try and make money online for some passive income. We don't need much but would like a way to make ends meet.

Oh, and the government canceled my husband's disability payments. Even though he has 7 life-long conditions, many don't have any medication or therapy for them. Every medical professional we have been able to see him at least 2 times, fully supports that he is classified as 'disabled' both in legal means and in the reality of the amount of struggles. It's not like we are making anything up or exaggerating. And they had APPROVED his benefits for 3 years already. There was no end date because of his multiple diagnoses as well as the severity.

So we are fretting about this loss of income while we physically STILL cannot fully work. We would have to work very strange and odd hours due to our health, and society with its structure of 'work' cannot work for us. If you lose about half your jobs because you have to see the doctor ASAP or have to go to the ER/Urgent care...then you have to pay attention carefully to what you can physically/mentally do. More on that later, perhaps in a different blog post.

But we are determined to not be pawns when the government decides they suddenly don't want to pay for what they promised. We want to move into a house so we can start building a sustaining life off the grid. We don't like being reliant on gov't, but for this time, we need it to get ourselves stable enough to MAKE our own jobs that work for us.

If you are able to offer a very flexible job that is willing to work with two Autistics, we would be very grateful. We have very specialized expertise and skills that require a tailored position. Such as we have issues working with people. It's extremely draining and will physically hurt us. We also need a job that we can adapt to our health, as we don't know how our health is going to be until the morning. With PTSD, insomnia, and chronic pain, the night is what determines whether we can function and work the next day or not. I have had days where I am wide awake to suddenly work for four 2 am in the morning. I have some mornings where I literally cannot lift myself out of bed. John has to give me back massages for half an hour just so I can drag my arms under my body to prop myself up. Those days I struggle to bend to brush my teeth or sit down to go to the bathroom.

Speaking of that, my next ablation appointment is on Feb 1st. That'll be fun. But I'll get to numb more of my nerve endings so I can function without constant pain. Looking forward to the relief! Not necessarily the procedure. For those who don't know, Ablations are where they stick a needle in your spine and burn off the nerves going out into the body so that it can control the constant zinging of pain. Epidurals didn't work, physical therapy kinda works, and pain meds/patches barely make it manageable. I had 8 rounds of epidurals and the most benefit it gave me was a full 24 hours. Once out of eight. Sad.

Back to a more upbeat topic: We are working on our Autistic weaknesses! That is: Executive Functioning and Social Interaction! We are trying to plan things out better this year as much as we can. Trying to plan better and organize ourselves. We set up a yearly calendar on a huge whiteboard to help with this. Though the pattern to create is to LOOK at the board and PROCESS what it says. ADHD makes it difficult to really focus on things as we are taking in a LOT of stimuli at once. So we tend to 'blur' out aspects around us to save our sanity and energy. Then the problem of staying connected to time is due to our default coping mechanism of disassociation. Because of years of trauma, this is a lifelong issue we will have to focus on slowly.

Social interaction! We have been working with our Occupational Therapist on how to handle situations when dealing with people. We can only mask so much to interact in a socially acceptable manner. Such as eye contact, continuing the conversation let alone being able to focus on what is being said, small talk, focus on the other person...all are great struggles. I pushed myself to talk to 15 people during my ATC Monthly event!

Now our first event actually went well! Ok but also not so well. Let me explain: how we frame it will show how successful we were or unsuccessful we were. Depending if you are looking at it from a neurotypical view or a neurodiverse view. For our first event, it was just me, my husband, and our friend who managed to show up this time! So it was us three, laughing and drawing for two hours. Though we were all nervous about having to talk to people and interact...we had fun being able to hang out again after months. The other person who said she really wanted to show had another scheduled overlap and it was for her daughter so we couldn't get mad about that. It happens.

(She has amazing art! You'll want to trade with her for at least one card next event!)

As an Autistic who struggles with planning, execution, completing a project, socializing, interacting with the public (like reserving rooms with the library or asking for art supplies from the neighborhood), organizing the event, planning the event, and more...this first event was great! I accomplished just that! Because there weren't outside people that would critically judge without knowing us or our backgrounds...we were able to focus on how we wanted the rest of our events to play out each month. I don't mean to criticize us in a negative way, but evaluate us as we were in terms of what THEY knew and now what we knew or who we were. We got to do a great run-through of how well we set everything up, and what would be needed for next time (I panic easily so realizing we were missing something in front of strangers really bothers me). All in all, this next month we will work on advertising more and hopefully warmer weather will bring more people. It's the beginning of the year and a cold month, we didn't expect many if any to come anyway.

It still worked out. All three of us were pleased! Plus we have a designated day every month to hang out and make art now!

With that, I managed to hand out 15 more of our little ATC mascots from the Top Hat Gang. The last number we have given out was number 67! I need to do better at handing these out.

If you want to see all the other various designs already handed out, go here to see them!

Each is unique! Can you believe I already have up to 140 made? And about 30 almost complete? I need to get handing these out! If you or someone you know wants one, find us and ask us for one! We would love to share this happy guy with you! I'm trying to be more social and remember to hand these out...I hope to hand them out faster than I can make them this year!

I worked on creating some new Valentine's products for next month! Take a look!

I even created ads for them too! It took me almost two days but I completed them! (Oh and when I say 'them', I made 4 versions with different markets in mind.). Now my biggest next step is advertising enough before valentine's. With our disconnect from time, we are usually very far behind when it comes to 'being ahead of the holiday for sales'.

What do you think? I'm quite pleased and have to say that Canva is amazing. Had a lot of fun with the simple and easy-to-use program. Took me ONE day to get a handle on basically everything it has to offer for free! If you want to look more at those products you can see them here.

I'll be making some downloadables to purchase and print this year too! With hopefully a freebie every so often for our website. Lots of plans are in store for! I want us to be a little more known as we have a lot of stories and experiences but are very bad at communicating them. So in the month of April, I wanted us to go over more of our lives, our stories, and our goals in life.

I have had thoughts about having an Autism talk at the library. Those who are Autistic, think they may be Autistic, those who know someone who is, or someone who just wants to learn more about it. It would be a well-informed talk covering everything we have researched and personal experiences from us both. Bringing resources for those looking for help or information. We are NOT speaking as if we are medical professionals, just those who live this life and our views/lifestyle that others may not know about. (We have to make a lot of adjustments due to Autism that doesn't fit in our current societal structure). I'll probably be forming that class in Feb and finessing it in March in time for April! (Yes! This is me doing the executive function and planning! Now for the memory part and keeping with time/focus...)

I'm not sure how well that may be welcomed by the community, but it's important to me and I would love to help those struggling. It wasn't worth it to struggle as much as we did for as long as we did unless we can help others avoid what we did or lessen the amount of suffering that we went through. But more on that later.

Quick photos of our adorable baby Sherlock who is very happy spending tons of time with us every day. She even shows that she really misses us when we come home. You may think 'she's warming up to you'. No. She has been a pretty aloof cat since we got her. Very cautious and careful all the time. Also...if you know the term. She is definitely a "Tsundere". We adore her so much.

Gorgeous isn't she? She knows it too.

She has picked up a lot of traits and behaviors of Applesauce and we LOVE IT. She will get up to follow me to the bathroom in the morning and then follow me to the kitchen after to get food. I typically bring the food back to a section in our bedroom where she can eat with us nearby (she doesn't like to eat on her own). Since it's about 5am when I feed her...I'm usually exhausted and want to try and go back to sleep. She'll go to the bathroom after and then find a comfy spot with us to sleep. So far this past week, twice she came over to snuggle under the covers in my arms for the night. This picture above is after she shuffled around for a bit, getting comfy again.

When we are home and going from room to room, she will wait to see if we come back to certain rooms. If we take about 15mins and don't show us, she will find us. If we close the door, she will be over in about 5mins to yell at the door to open and let her in. She's also tricky...she may paw at the door but not EVERY type means she wants in. She has figured out 'ding-dong-dash' where she will paw incessantly at the door. If you open it she runs down the hallway into the kitchen. If she MEOWS while pawing, then she wants to be with us.

She is so precious. We love her so much and have so much joy spending time with her and learning about her. Best. Cat. Ever.

To end this monthly update, I want to show off these two adorable dogs we got to work with. They tried to go home with us and were adorably hilarious!

We opened our car door to put stuff away and Moose (black doggo) hopped in excited to get going! We ran around the car trying to get her out and she would just hop to a different seat. Her brother, Cooper (golden doggo), thought it was time to go for a ride too so then HE jumped in. All three of us, John, myself, and their owner, kept running around the car trying to get them out so we could go home. They are so much fun and we adore these babies! Can't wait to see them again. <3

We are quite happy that animals love us. They make us happy too!

That's all for now! See you in the next monthly update!

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