S3 E1 - 3:19:21, 1.34 PM
6:52PM Mar 23, 2021
Lee Skallerup Bessette
Good. Sound good? Yeah. All right. So Hello, everyone, welcome back to season three of all the things ADHD that actually cut in and out was really interesting. It didn't work very well. I can never win with that. I know. We'll get it someday. It's fine. So we're back a year into the pandemic. I'm here with a check in. I'm Lee Skallerup Bessette. And I'm here with my co host.
I'm Amy Morrison.
Amy and I actually haven't seen each other in a long time because pandemic in a month turned into six months, which turned into eight months was turned into white. How are we already at March again?
Oh, you know, I just said to my sister the other day, she was asking me about some math tutoring I was doing with my kid. And I said, Oh, it's okay. It's just functions. We were just doing this in the spring. And she said, last year,
I was like, Oh, God,
that will see or go. Right. Yeah, I think that's how it's going.
Yeah, I saw something on Twitter that said, like when I say last year, I mean, 2019.
Right. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, God.
So So how have you been holding up all this time? How have you been doing?
It's been open down, I'm not gonna lie to you. We I know our listeners will remember I was on a mental health leave after my mom died. And that mental health leave came to an end right about the start of the lockdown. So I, you know, haven't really been in public in a regular normal way since January of 2020. And I've had a year of losses of people that I love continuing to die. Across the year has been some challenges in my family, some shifts. There's been some transition to remote work and then to entirely online teaching with all of the sort of repressing and distance and tripping over the loss of my ADHD coping skills. My daughter has been in school for a while and then out of school with the lockdowns and then in school and then a bunch of snow days. So. So I would say this year has presented to me some challenges that I've had some difficulty in dealing with. How about you? How's it been going for you?
I think you're putting it mildly. I'm not gonna lie. I think you're really underselling it. You're a
plus shitty year in terms of external things that happened to me.
Yeah, I actually. So I am doing pretty well, actually. And we've been to I know, I mean, it's all graded on a curve. But like, when I take stock, no, that's why I say I'm like, how are you doing? And they're like, Okay, I guess I'm like, Look, we're grading this on a curve right now. Like, this is the it's the COVID curve, right? Like any other time, it would be horrible. But on the COVID curve, we're like, you know, I, I'm really grateful because, you know, the work that I do, can fairly easily be transitioned to remote. I'm fairly lucky that I have a decent workspace and supportive colleagues for what it is that I do. It's been hectic, but like that's, you know, that's sort of I don't want to call it chaos. But that but you know, that adrenaline, right? Like, yeah, gotta go, we gotta we gotta get it. It's exhausting. But like, that's where I shine. I'm just like, Yes, I got workshops at the last minute, girl. That's where I, that's where I can do.
Yeah, check in with you about that. Because we had been talking in our pandemic episodes in our special series, like at the beginning of this nonsense last year, about how you were responding to crises. And I was like, so impressed. And it was praising you so much for like, getting all this work done. And I was like, that's so great. Because now you get to lean into your hyper focus. And like, you sort of checked me on that. And you were quite right. You said like, Yeah, but Amy, like, that's not sustainable. Right. And I've been thinking about that, like, honestly, all year, right about how I sort of like fell into that hole of thinking, like how great for people who can hyper focus and rise to the occasion, because you're just rising and rising and rising to the occasion. And, and I wanted to think a little bit more seriously about, about what it means to be the person who can do that all the time, because you can't do that all the time. Where?
Yeah, and I think, I mean, the crisis mode that we were in right at the beginning of the pandemic, and it sort of it of course, it subsided. Right. And I worked with faculty who, who all had to move to remote and to support them. And we ran trainings all summer and there was a predictability to it because it wasn't sustainable for anybody who is working in our unit. hyperfocus or no, right. It just wasn't sustainable for any of us. So there had to be some predictability. And so we managed to get some predictability. It was intensive work. It's always intensive work when you work with faculty. But we
of course design Institute take that personally. Always intensive with my husband says that too. He works. As a staff member who works with faculty. He's like, faculty. I get it.
Yeah, no, it's, well, it well, if you think about it, like it's, you're asking, particularly in this moment, so there's all of this insecurity, there's all of this uncertainty all around them, right? There's the pandemic, they're their own kids, their own family, the you know, uncertainty is like, is this two weeks this is two months, like, particularly, I'm saying at the beginning. And then you're like, Alright, now let's go and examine one of the most intimate things that you do, which is teach. And let's have a really difficult conversation around pedagogy. And crack open your teaching, because this is what we have to do in order to help you make that transition to remote learning. Like, that's not easy, right?
I mean, I really struggled with that, too. Like I was panicking in August, I turned out at my institution, for reasons that I fully support, we had no synchronous component to our online courses, we have a lot of international students, but a lot of people always were not coming to campus. and Canada is a fairly big country with many time zones in it. And you know, people are in different living arrangements and part time job arrangements in the pandemic, it was not reasonable to expect people to be able to show up at a given time, right, even if that place was just the internet. And so we went completely asynchronous. And I panicked. Because I don't know how to teach when I don't have students, right. And like, as you know, as, as listeners of this podcast, know, if you have sent us an email, Lee has responded to it. Right. Lee has forwarded it to me, I have not answered Lee in response to your email, although I've read it out loud to my family,
right. And I was like, Oh my god, I'm just gonna have all these students on email, I don't know how to cope with that. I'm not going to get what I need in order to be productive, they're not going to get what they need. And I'm like, I'm pretty sure this is gonna turn into another email hole full of things that I ignore. And I get to be a terrible teacher. And I really, really struggled with that in September when I went back because people like, oh, you're really good at the Internet. Oh, yeah. But I'm good at the Internet where there's people there.
Right? Right. I'm good at twitter. There's
always people there. Yeah. In fact, like, I was like going full blazes on Twitter in the fall with like, a bunch actually, viral threads about online pedagogy at the same time that it was really struggling to attend my own non synchronous courses. Yeah.
Yeah. And so that that's the kind of thing where, you know, and, and to be open about that struggle, right, though, that's also a thing like, you and I are used to this because we do this podcast, and we are who we are. But most faculty, most people, you don't talk about what you're struggling with, right? You're supposed to be like, everything is fine. Everything is good, right? I have to. And, and it's important to and faculty feel like it's important to display that for the students, right? Like, I need to look like I'm in control in front of the students. Right. One of the things that we found out is that we don't necessarily have to, and we can be empathetic and like, share and like the struggles, not too much. But you know, like, there's a balance, we can let we can let them in a little bit. Right. But that's also something that that faculty were struggling with, as well is that there is this level of intimacy. Because we did synchronous, we had to do synchronous, at least one synchronous, and there's a level of intimacy on zoom in your home, that just doesn't exist when you're in the classroom space.
Right. Yeah, there's a level of intimacy that your students are experiencing, but there's also a level of intimacy that you're experiencing, right? Like, suddenly your home life, especially for women faculty, where we're told so much, you've got to keep all of that stuff out. Right? Don't bring anything into the classroom or anything in your job that will let that that might distract from being a researcher and an educator and a professor, right. Like, the advice to shake off your wedding ring when you go for your faculty job interview, because like, you might have kids, and that's not a good idea. And you know,
all intellectuals don't procreate.
Yeah. Basically, because we are too busy thinking the thinking thoughts as Hannah Gatsby said.
I mean, I guess that, I guess that's one of the things that I mean, there are boundary issues there range that that neurotypical people were struggling with in the same way often that neurodivergent people have struggled with right like, and so I film in the same corner of my house all the time, and it's a space that I've designed for my own comfort in my family is not allowed in here. Like it doesn't have a door. Right? But they're not allowed in here because it's the only space in the house that does not have Their clutter all over it, right. And here's It is literally in the top corner of the house. So nobody has any reason to walk past me at all. And I have sort of control over what this looks like. But like we are three people in a fairly large ish house and I can command this space to my own. And it's a space that's dedicated. It's an office with a piano in it, right. And I do yoga in here. But what you see when you look through is just like a mirror that reflects back a bookshelf and my piano and some windows, the end, right? So it's it's not intimate in the way many other people's spaces have necessarily been intimate because of their living arrangements and their sort of lack of a dedicated office space. And they've sort of really struggled about how to I think women actually that a lot of role conflict about how can I be in the home space when my children are in another room? Doing remote learning, but now I need to put my professor mask on like, I think it's been very difficult. I mean, all of us could switch in those ways, right? All of us change roles, depending on the locations that we're in, like Saturday morning, Lee, I'm sure is different from you know, giving a keynote to strangers. Lee right. But when you have to give a keynote to strangers, on Saturday morning, while here, family is like on the couch, three feet away from you. Some of us experience a lot of difficulty now knowing what tone of voice that we're allowed to use, because we don't speak that way around our families. And I think even though people sometimes are not able to articulate to themselves that that's the problem, they have difficulty inhabiting the role that for them is associated with a certain place, an audience, but all of our contexts have just collapsed into everything takes place in my dwelling among my family, and I don't know how to act.
Yeah. So like, I have Sesame Street, old school, pre gentrification. Sesame Street is my zoom background. You know, I got big bird creeping out over my over my shoulder. I've got the stoop I've got Mr. Hooper store like this is this is classic Sesame Street class. But the reason why as soon as I could put up a virtual background why I did is because my background is my unmade bed. Yes. And my messy dresser,
and we save those for your Instagram. Lee.
Yeah. No. How
do you ever want to be looking at your unmade bed and your message dresser is on your Yeah.
Well, yeah. When I take a picture of myself in the new things I've sewed in my stand up here. Yeah, but I mean, but this space, like the space that I'm in, and because we are, we are a family of four in a not so large space is that the only free space in the house is basically the the the latter half of our bedroom, which is where I have my office, but it's also now where I've set up my sewing nook. And it's also where I'll do yoga and we have a rower you I'm pointing at nothing in my arms disappearing by my virtual background. But like, we also have a water rower that stands up that we can there's enough room to put it down if if and when we ever decide to work out again. You know, so that like, I've, we've turned half of the bedroom into a multipurpose space. But what's frustrating for my husband is becoming more and more my multipurpose space,
right? You know, he's
like, I can't like, and I'm like, where else am I going to do this, like, you got to go back to the office because no one else went back to the office. So you were alone there, which makes sense, because there's nowhere else for you to work here.
I think this is like a common experience that I think a lot of grownups are turning back into teenagers, right? Like, when you're growing up, like depending on like your household composition, many of us have had the experience of the space in the home that is ours is our bedroom. Right. So like when you are a teenager, you have a desk in your bedroom, usually right. And that is where you like keep your personal stereo back when we used to like project music out of things like and all of your, your clothes are in there all of your like posters that you like are up on your walls, but it's also where you do your homework and like anything that like truly belongs to you, is in that space. And when you close the door, you'll have like some sort of expectation of privacy and agency in that space. Like you know, and when you're a teenager, especially if you're a teenager with 18
you have a teenager, don't you because this sounds really familiar. It sounds like my teenager. Yeah, yeah. But
like all teenagers are like this. Like Yeah, if you are if you have ever been or are, or have currently a teenager with ADHD, like you will know, the constant mom refrain is like, I want you to find all of your belongings that are in the common areas of the house, and I want you to remove them and put them in your bedroom, right? Like so. So this feeling like you can have all the stuff that you want, but it has to stay in your bedroom because other people control the common areas right and and like one of the things that you get told as an adult is like and even when you're a college student is like do not study in your bedroom do not work in your bedroom, because then the space becomes kind of infected with the anxieties of the workday or it becomes associated with a certain set of practices, right. And I think for a lot of people and for neurodivergent people, particularly right our activities and our moods and like our mnemonics for how to get things done are triggered by locations right? When I get to this place, I do this thing, right and when I am in this place, I Have these feelings for when I am in this place, I am allowed to relax, right. But when all of our places are the same place, and especially in homes with children in them currently, that place now that you do everything in tends to be your bedroom. Yep. Right? Yep. And it can really, I think trigger insomnia for people. And if you're like, if you are in a couple that you share a bedroom with your loved one, you don't even have the private space. Right? It belongs to both of you. And they can be like, I know you're on a zoom call, but I am going to the gym and I need to change my underwear to my sports underwear. Right? Like, but I'm working.
Yeah, but I think you know, we have it. We basically have a discussion the night before, what time is your first meeting at? Yeah, right. And then Okay, so I have to tie my getting dressed in the morning around your first zoom meeting. But sadly, yeah,
I hate that. I hate that so much. Because you know what, I'm not good at schedule planning,
I'm not good at planning. And then the other thing that I'm not good at is remembering. And then the third thing that I'm not good at is adapting to changes to my routine, right? And so, like, my husband will be like, what, what time's your first meeting tomorrow? I'll ask me at seven o'clock at night. And I'm like the workdays. I'm like,
I don't know. Like,
what does the meeting leave me about? Like, how dare you? Right? He's like, I'm just asking. Because, right, the Cable Guy is coming. And I can book them for the morning or the afternoon or like, I don't want to think about this right now. Right? Yeah. Or, you know, then the Cable Guy will come when we're not expecting. Like, I am not, I'm not being gracious about because like, every little thing needs to be negotiated when you work at home, right? It's just like, I have this eight hour unbroken block where my kid is not at home, my husband is not at home, I am in the house by myself with the two paths and I can disperse those eight hours, whichever way I want. And I don't have that kind of control right now. And I don't have the kind of predictability even sort of like hour to hour of what is going to disrupt me or not. And I'm finding that a real struggle.
Yeah. I mean, what I was saying in terms of being lucky is that the kids didn't go back to school, it was remote schooling, and my kids are old enough that they can do it on their own. Right, more or less, I have to help my son, but like helping my son, it's no more than I would have to help him with homework. Right? Right. Like, it's just sort of like, a lot of the times it's just listening to him complain about what he has to do. And then being like, Yes, honey, I know. You don't like it. And it does come down to silly, but it's like that anyway, workers. Yeah, you do that your co workers to exactly. And, you know, it's there. There was a we got into a schedule that was predictable. Right. And it was, you know, my daughter is very self motivated. And so that wasn't a problem. My son is like me, I would say about calendaring. I put everything in the calendar, and I just go where the calendar tells me, right, right like this, I have to be in this Zoom Room. I'll be in that Zoom Room. I need to be in this and I'll be in that Zoom Room. What am I talking about? And my son if his phone tells him to do something, he'll do it. So I have, you know, at the very beginning of this, I set up, you know, a schedule for him on his phone where it was like, Okay, now eat breakfast. All right, now take the dog out. Well, because he wouldn't he'd forget, he would just forget to eat breakfast. Yeah. And so it was okay, here, go eat breakfast. Okay, now go walk the dog. Okay, now go I literally had to put in after like trial and error I've literally had to put in, go upstairs and go to the bathroom and then go to class. Right? So it used to be like, I'd send him up 10 minutes before class and we'd come running out like 15 minutes in the class going through. Yeah. So I was like, Okay, well, we're gonna give you an extra five minutes and actually put in the reminder that you should go to the bathroom.
Yeah. Because if you just say like, go upstairs, like, it's not gonna be you're gonna be sit on the edge of the bed and play a game on my phone until
No, no, he's really good. He knows the rules, right? He knows the rules. Were and it was all negotiated, right? So the negotiation was is that you don't have your devices with you when you go up to your room. And we had to oh my gosh, so like, and I he's matured so much. And I'm sure he would have anyways because he's, you know, he just turned 12 right. So he's at that point where it would have happened anyways, but you know, he advocated for what he wanted when it was remote schooling in the spring and not that you know, we made him go but we didn't make him do anything. He was he was sitting on his bed and the laptop was on this little card table. And he's like if I have to go to school because there wasn't room in his room. There just wasn't space because it's so small to put a desk and so he said can I have a loft bed and then have a desk under the loft bed so I can I can work and I'm like, Yeah, okay, like you know, we are in a financial position to be able to do that. So you know, ordered from IKEA got a loft bed, put it together, got a desk and so now he's got he actually has a workspace now. That works for him. My daughter didn't want to das or my daughter got a folding desk, because she doesn't really have a desk in there either. So she has a folding desk and still sits on her bed, which is fine for her because she's, she has her laptop on the folding desk. And then like her iPad on one side of her with her friends on discord on it. And then her phone playing.
We had to ban our kid from her bedroom, because she'd been doing remote schooling in the spring in her bedroom with the lap desk and the laptop and the iPad and the phone. But she would just like I would go check on her and she would sort of be sliding right further into the mattress as it went. And it was not good for morale or her anxiety levels. And so she got banished down to the dining room table. And again, like we have, you know, a separate dining room that's in the center of the main floor. And her father is in the front room, the living room, and he has a full desk and stuff set up in there. And so he can hear for in the dining room to sort of just sort of keep her honest, because in the middle of the house there she was sort of less likely to mess around. And then we could sometimes hear what was going on in class. And that was okay. And that worked out better for her. But like, again, it's this sort of spaciality, right, the kind of mechanics of how can we, you know, set ourselves reminders on the phone where there would be natural reminders, like in the environment, right, like so. Like, I think what we're making up for here is the environmental supports that we don't have anymore. Like, like I had said on Twitter, like, like you say, Lee Oh, it's in my calendar, and it'll go, dang, I know I have to be at that meeting. And I will have things in my calendar and then sort of not see them. But when I used to be at the office on Fridays, if I saw a bunch of faculty members in the hallway, I'd be like, That's weird. People aren't normally here. Oh, yeah, there's a meeting today. Right? I get but but the reminders were in the environment. They were passive social reminders for me, right? Or when everybody would like, get up and go like for lunch? And like, I guess it's lunchtime now. Right? And so nobody was, was reminding me like, I was not anybody's pet where they'd be like, Amy, you know, you gotta come to a meeting now. But I would see them go past my dog like, oh, gosh, yeah, we have a meeting today. That's why I'm here. I forgot, right. And so now we have to build these systems are like, I don't tell anybody internet. But last night, under cover of darkness, I snuck onto campus, broke into the building using a key broke into my own office using a key using a key and stole two books that are my books, right to bring them home because like, again, like for me, I've really struggled this year to produce syllabuses for my classes, because I often find the readings by dragging my fingers along the spines of the books that are in my office, right? Because if I don't see it doesn't exist, just the way I like to print things out and spread them out on the floor. So that I can see because my working memory is shit, right? And I just that's not how it works. I swing from tree to tree I need to associate right. And so like, not, I would say like, I'm dumber, because I don't have access to my campus office where I didn't really work, like more than one or two days a week. But when I was like, I need a syllabus, I need to do a syllabus, I would go there. So I could drag my fingers along the spine. And then I could move into the classroom that's directly across the hall for me that has like an entire wall. That's a floor to ceiling whiteboard. And I would map out my courses there, right. And so those were supports that were built into my environment that I didn't realize, were enabling me to get my work done. Right. And so like you I think now like I'm building these things, like putting these little timers on my phone or asking my husband to remind me about stuff because I fell apart from these like access technologies, and social and environmental supports that I didn't realize we're doing 90% of the hard stuff. Yeah, for me, and now they're not. And I was like I struggled so hard in the fall semester trying to figure out what was I missing? That I couldn't, couldn't get stuff done, right? Yeah.
No, what's what's been interesting, though, is that and this is also the kind of flip side of it is that my kids and I are actually thriving in this work from home environments. I wrote about this, but like, we are all able to now do our work or school in a way that makes sense to our ADHD brains. Right, right.
Tell me more about this.
Okay, so like, my daughter, it's the end. This is not surprising. She's also a 13 year old girl. I remember. She has a back channel, right back channels during classes, right loudly. I'm so loud.
And you know where she gets it from me.
I know. I've no idea. But, but that's her. That's her stretch. Right, like, you know, the teacher is repeating something for the 75th time and she already understands that, you know, she's gonna chat with her friends and backchannel or vent with them or do whatever, right. Leo, he, um, he now sits like, at first I was like, okay, we're gonna have a chair, right? We're gonna have a chair that you sit in. And it just he squirmy right. He's roomy, it's not comfortable. So it's like fine, sit in the polling. And he sits in the polling, and he can bounce and rock and he's got pillows, you can have a stuffy with them. And he's got like 1000 fidgets like things that shouldn't be fidgets are also fidgets. And so he can, and he can have his camera off. So he doesn't have to. And this is because this was always his thing is that he cannot pretend to pay attention. Right? He's either paying attention or not. And it is so clear from his body language, and the look on his face. And all that kind of stuff is still remember, probably told the story already. But it's first grade teacher calling us and saying Leo is great, you know, wonderful, but he can he can appear a little disrespectful at times and husband and I were like, disrespectful. Oh, no. What is he saying? It's like, Oh, no, he doesn't say anything. It's his face and his body language. So they'd be doing little share outs. And oh, yeah. And so he would enthusiastically share out, start listening to what his classmates cross his arms and turn his back.
Oh, my God, that's amazing.
And, and so like, he does not, and I'm finding this too, for myself is that he doesn't have to pretend. So he doesn't have to expend a lot of all that energy masking. And like, I need to look like I'm paying attention even though I'm not paying attention. Yes, me like I'm gonna sit and rock my polling and play with my baby lion or we
just get like a what, what for the polling chair though? IKEA's gift to graduate students and modernist want to be Swedish families. Yeah, because that chair is cheap, like dirt. Yeah, it is like every year gets less expensive. I don't understand how that happens. And it is like this bent wood frame. Everybody is like if you close your eyes and think IKEA chair, this is the chair, you're picturing the bent wood frame that was largely made of air, right and has this kind of curved seat with a lumbar curve in it, you're leaned a little bit back, and you'd like can't buy it without the autobahn because you need absolutely the Ottoman with it, which allows you to sort of lounge out and the chair does have a sort of gentle bounce to it, right? Because it's the bent wood frame. So there aren't four feet that touch the ground. Like there's just two sled sliders on the bottom that touch the ground. So it's got this little sponge boiling to it. And I rock in my poyang chair all the time was my grad school chair. And when I got a real grown up job, I did not replace it with a more expensive chair. I got the leather cushion. Yeah. I upgraded Yeah, from like the beige Canvas, like $169 post to like, new cushions for $200 that were like the same color beige, but leather. I have arrived. But like I think that's, that's great, like so I'm with Leo here because like I have discovered rediscovered my love of knitting during the pandemic, and but I can't just knit because knitting while not doing anything else is boring. So I also like you, we have talked about this before, I don't really watch TV, because it's too boring, right? But I can knit and watch TV at the same time. Right? Yep. And I have also found anyone who follows me on twitter knows how much I hate video meetings like and how much I have struggled with the sort of cognitive overload and sensory overload for me that comes from video meetings, which is also like a function of my deep, deep, deep boredom and stress in these meetings. And it turns out, if I knit, I can get through a lot more Microsoft Teams meetings, and Cisco WebEx meetings and zoom meetings without completely losing my mind. And I can knit and people don't even really notice and one meeting, I ironed out a bunch of ironing to do, which I hate to do. And so I just turned my camera off, I was listening. I mean, I was paying better attention than I would have been paying in in real space. Because in real space, I would have had my laptop in front of me and I probably would have been going through my emails, right? Or I would have been texting to my friends who were in the meeting with me in a desperate bid to stay awake. But like I I found that that working from home now I'm able to do these kind of like low level chores or a handcraft that just keeps my fingers but not my brain busy like anything that keeps my hands busy. But not my brain just frees up those cycles for me to pay attention to something that otherwise would require so much effort for me not to fall asleep or to do your signature move Lee play Candy Crush under the table, right? Yeah, so like I'm so overstimulated by the video meeting but so under stimulated by the video meeting at the same time, but it's astonishing to me how like Leo with his polling chair and his baby lion if I just can do something with my body. My coping skills improve
quickly, and then I found that too, like I the amount of effort it takes me and I realized this afterwards, like having done this the amount of effort it takes me in meetings to portray professionalism. Right. Yeah. And particularly as a staff member. Now that's really important, right? Like you have to portray protect professionalism, which is, on the one hand are totally understand, particularly if you're meeting with external stakeholders, but like, internally, you still have to maintain that professionalism. And so it's like, I, you know, paint, like you said, like, all of these things that I have to do to like, look like I'm paying attention,
that you can't pay attention, like you're so busy trying not to look bored. Yeah. And you're so busy fighting off the urge to open up your phone to just get a tiny little dopamine hit, so that you don't actually die of boredom. We're gone out loud. Like, once the yawning starts, it just continues. Like, for me, it's this desperate bid to get more oxygen into my brain. So I don't literally die of water, because that's what it feels like. It feels like a crisis. It feels like I cannot stay in this room for one more minute,
right? And then and then for me, because I'm the and this has nothing to the ADHD and everything to do with just, you know, me. I'm also conflict averse, of course. And so then if like, heated discussions, breakout in the meeting, then I really get like, like, it's like, there's there's the there's the fight or flight right now. And now I want a flight. And I'm bored. And so, you know, when I'm when I'm here at home, exactly. Same thing, like I can be doing other things. Like for me, it's organizing my sewing patterns.
so I organize my sewing patterns. And like, rope, and I'm not, I'm not typically an organization person. Like, I don't like the things that's just not me. But for whatever reason, organizing my sewing patterns now, and my fabrics and all of that and like perfecting this air table spreadsheet worksheet thing that I had a template for, but now I'm refining it and like finding ways to improve it is just like, I'm like, Who am I? But that's what I'll do during meetings. I'll be like, okay, on the call.
I mean, the reason I like to do it normally is because it's too boring. Right? Right. So this is way, I think that's pretty amazing that we can combine two boards boring activities to produce one effectively stimulating doubly beneficial interactions. Yeah, right. Like, because I like there was a time This is embarrassing. When Olin was was quite young. She's got two or so and I brought a whole bag of clothes, like to the goodwill to give away. And they were nice clothes. And I liked them. But what it was was a bag of clothes that had been my to iron pile before we moved into this house, so it moved from one house to another house in the bay. Right, which was things that I already needed to iron and it stayed in that bag for two years. And I did not iron anything in two years. And I thought I should iron that. And I thought you know, Amy, you're never going out here in that like you need to get those clothes away. And so like for years and years and years, I never bought anything that that needed ironing, ironing. Yep. You know, and somehow in like midlife, I decided I was going to be a different person. I think I have a few things now that require ironing. But again, they were piling up, too, because who wants to iron like and I'm bad at it, which I don't enjoy.
I'm not good at it. Either. My husband iron his irons, his own shirts. Thank God. Yeah,
yeah, my husband does too. He's much better at it. But like now I'm like, Oh, I have to do online therapy. I'm going to get my ironing, right, because like online therapy is also grueling to sit there for an hour and just like feel bad about yourself. But like if I can iron at the same time, like my clothes are pressed. And also I'm better able to cope with the difficult thing that I'm trying to do. And I hope that's an insight that we can bring with us into the after times.
Yeah. There's I was always struck by this story. And so she was good. She is now Well, I don't know if she still is the president of Harvey Mudd College. She was like the Dean of Engineering at one of the ivy League's I think, and she was a you have a Graduate University of Alberta graduate. And the year I was Graduate Student Association president, she was given an honorary doctorate as being like a, you know, a fairly successful alumni. And that was great. And the story was, and is that in meetings, she would paint? What she had a little easel on her little canvas and a little thing of paints boss move. And and she would, she would paint during the meetings, and everybody learned that she paid and she said advisable. She was like I can't focus on the meeting if I'm not doing something else, right. And if you think I'm not paying attention, I'm paying more and that just stuck with me. Like this was what that would have been on 15 years ago, 1516 years ago, and that story stuck with me the whole time because I was like, Yes. Librarians are also big on letting you knit during librarians often on any library in front. I know. And it's during their meetings on digital. They got that figured out as well. Librarians, we got to look to them for everything and how to make life better. But that story about about her as like dean of engineering, right? And now, yeah, and she would just she figured it out that it was painting and she has all of these and they're, they're, they're quite good, right? Like, because of course they would show pictures of the like tribute to her. You know, even if they were cramped doesn't matter. Like,
beating and I'm like the dean, I'm painting. It's like something out of Goya or maybe like, or that's what I'm like, it's gonna be scenes of devastation. And yeah. And violence, but like, probably not wild flowers.
Yeah. And just, yeah, yeah. And I mean, I was just like, again, as I said, it just, it's stuck with me this whole time. And I'm like, I wish I could paint during meetings. Right? Like, I'd like you. Well, yeah, that too. But like, I mean, I think we've talked about this before, but again, ADHD, so I will repeat the story, because that's how we roll. But like, I remember when I was in, like graduate school, you know, I would write poetry. lectures, because, yeah, it is something that
my kids been drawing all over her homework, like in your class, and it's like in her IEP now that she's allowed to doodle because like any teacher will be like, well, when what are we talking about? And then she'll say, was this, right? She just is looking down at her own hands like and drawing because it allows her to focus and like, you know, how we are diagnosed as adults and people like, Oh, we never do that about you when you were a kid. And I was like I was tell the story. And I may have told it here because ADHD, but when I was in grade four, I knit in class, right. So I used to have knitting as my stem. In elementary school. I was knitting sweaters because I was disruptive because I had no work to do and I was extravagantly bored. So like, Leo, it was visible on my face. Sometimes I used to lift up, you know, it was like old elementary school desks that have like the cavity under though Yes,
yes. Yes. Yes. been lifted
up. Right. So I would lift it up and then put my head inside the desk, and then close the lid on top of myself. There was like, we never knew you were autistic or a child who like tried to, I don't know, decapitate yourself with a guillotine made out of your
because you were forced sort of bored. Yeah. So they let me like knit in class. And like, here I am. 48 years old, right? a tenured professor knitting in class still, because even when it's my own class, I'm too bored. Right. Yeah. To continue.
Let's say, Oh, no.
All the one of the things that I do is I'll, I won't so during meetings, because the sewing machine is too loud. Sure,
I will assemble patterns. So what if people who don't so you know, you used to get those tissue ones in the envelopes, that's what you typically think of sewing. But now, with the internet, it's fabulous. You can hit a nice dopamine hit when you download that pattern is immediately a PDF in your inbox that you can download, and then you print it, and it prints some pages. And then you assemble the pages like the easiest puzzle you've ever done in your life. Right? Right. Because like you still sort of have to align because printers still have one job and still suck at them. Oh, so. So like the shorter line, but it doesn't, because like the page was slightly off when it went through. So it's not quite straight. So you sit there and you tape them together, and you tape all the pieces together. And then you you cut it, you cut them all out and the pieces. And the there's a lot of controversy in the sewing community about whether or not people actually like doing that some people absolutely despise it. I love it. I will be in a meeting sitting on my floor, assembling patterns.
I think we have to all agree what's the right way though? Like I love it. So there's two kinds of people in this world like and half of them are wrong. Like I think that's something we can learn from the pandemic is like that everyone is coping in different ways, like everybody at home is like flying their freak flag because there ain't nobody around to watch you. And so people are creating their own. Like for some people, it's like the best of the worst possible situation that they're able to cobble something together. But other people are like, yeah, you know what, this is way better than what I used to do. Right? And what they're discovering is like, it's not that they're not able to do their work. It's not like the environment did not suit them. Right. And so their work habits change, or like they change their sleep phase or like they change the number of hours that they they work to get stuff done. And like I think it's a sort of tyranny of the bell curve and the norm, right is that, that we go through these phases as a culture where we think like we're just going to find the one best way
Yeah. forever. Yeah,
right. But but there was never a one best way there was like a one mostly okay way for both people that it was just cheaper to implement it in one way rather than allowing people to have the choice, right. So like, maybe some people want those old fashioned tissue paper patterns back that they don't have to tape together, you still had to cut them.
Right? Yeah. So what you can do is, is what they do is a lot of times when you buy the pattern, you get them as tiled. Or you can get it and send it off to get it printed on just one large sheet of paper. Right. So you still,
but you're not organized. No, like, No, I'm just printing it myself. End of story. Right? I don't care how much tape it's going to take me to fix it later. But if I have to send it out as a print job to like, staples, or something, I'm never gonna pick it up. Yeah, and right. Yeah. Well, and,
and, and in my head, like, if you know, like, it's cheaper. I already have the printer in the ink and the paper and the tape and the scissors. Right? Not factoring in the fact that I paid for
a printer that's,
like, $10 to print this. No, I'll just do it myself. It's
like $100 printer and a $90 ink cartridge. And I'm gonna get like fancy scissors and also the good tape and also my time. Right, yeah, but
if it's during meetings.
Right, right. Yeah, I get it. Right. Let's talk about printers for a second to that was one of the accommodations I found, I really needed like I was trying to teach virtually, and everything was on the computer. And what I was finding was that my Facebook is on my computer, and my Twitter is on my computer. My book that I'm writing is on my computer, my online class is on my computer, my digital photos are like everything is there. And it's just one screen. And I was staring at it all the time. And I was getting confused. And since my LMS, which I also complained about on the internet so much Oh my god, that list. Oh my god, I'm here to learn. I am flagged, I am on through list of accounts that they follow. And then they send me emails about like, oh, wow, what an interesting concern you have, please tell us more. And I'm like, please Fuck off. I'm not on the payroll like this Not my part time job is to fix your usability problems. Read my Twitter thread. Leave me alone. was talking about pretty? Oh, yeah. So this semester, I was like, last semester did not go super well. I mean, I got through it. I did. Okay, my students did, okay. Some of the teaching was really innovative. I was really available to my students in a lot of ways. But I burnt out and it was not sustainable. And it was not resilient to like more people in my life dying, which continued to happen through the fall was very disruptive. Yeah, but then, also for me, is this semester, I was like, yeah, you know, I need to print stuff. Like lots of stuff. And I also bought like a fountain pen so I could handwrite things, but slower. And since I started printing things that I made print folders for my lesson plans and my assigned readings and like, even the I would do these, like Google Doc free writing exercises for my students. But then I would print out the Google Doc so that I could have a piece of paper in front of me when I was teaching, right? I really need to print things. And my husband was like, we are going through alarming amounts of printer paper. And I'm like, Well, I print on everything twice, right? Because some things I have in front of me for the meeting, and then I don't need them anymore. So I either turn them over. And now that scratch paper that I write my lesson plans on by hand or my to do lists or whatever, or I put them back in the printer and I print on the other on the other side. Yeah, but like I feel badly for the trees. But I also was feeling badly for anyone who needed anything from me, because when I don't print things, I just it just doesn't work as well. Right? So yeah, I had to go out and buy a new printer because my other printer was 15 years old. I no longer reliable, and too slow. And, and it's kind of amazing. Since I allowed myself to access the technology I needed to support my work. My work is easier.
Yeah, I know. Right? Like, it's, it's really amazing how that happens with the tools like and how we don't allow ourselves like that. If I just had this, my work would be easier. And again, we're in a privileged position where we can afford to do this right, like where I mean, my son advocating for himself and saying, If I had an actual desk, and you know, it's kind of good. He's like, Look, if we're going back to school, if we're not going back to school, I'm not going to be able to work like this. Right? And saying, What I need is a desk and the only way we can fit a desk in my room is if I get a loft bed, so like, Can I have a loft bed and a desk, please? And it's like Yeah, all right. And he does he works. It works. It's worked really really well. He's
you know, doing great for kids with ADHD, who's but you know, this, oh, God knows what he needs, right? Yeah,
in the grand scheme of things. It's like, cheaper to buy like, what $200 loft bed frame. Right or like whatever.
Well, he has a queen. He has a No he doesn't have the Queen but he has a Cuz those loft beds are the narrow beds. Yeah, he does. He has like a double, right? Not the twin the twins, the smaller one. And then there's the IKEA narrow. And then there's the twin. And then the Yeah, so he had a full and there's only like, one full mattress loft that you can get. Right? Right. And he was like, I'm not going back to a bed that small and I'm like, that's fine. You're growing. It's It's cool. We're we can afford it. Let's go.
Yeah. So like, just in terms of relative affordability. It's cheaper than like repeating grade, whatever.
Yeah, like ultimately, right? And cheaper than having to deal with the mental strain of like, begging him to go to class and begging him to get his work done and answering emails from the teacher. And, and of course, that all falls on me. Um, you know, in terms of my time and my effort level, and all of that, to be able to sort of get him, you know, to get him to a place where he's actually learning something. So that was part one of our third season first episode of all the things ADHD. You know, find Amy and I on Twitter. Amy is did you want and I am ready writing. You can also visit our website, all the things adhd.com or email us at all the things email@example.com if you have emailed us, you know that I answer the emails. If you're interested in being a guest on our show, please email us and we can figure out how to make that happen, given that everyone is terrible at scheduling because we all have ADHD. And we hope that you enjoy our third season. We're really excited to be back. We're really happy with everyone who emailed us and messaged us about asking us when season three we'll be back and now we're back and we're so thrilled to be here. So try to stay calm, stay organized, stay healthy. Stay well. And we'll see you back next week. with part two of our first episode. It'll be Episode Two, but it's part two of Amy and I's talk together.