The Letter Game: A Coping Mechanism

22 Sep

Start with a word, sentence, or phrase.

“Membership Promotional Offers”

  • Step One: Count all the repeat letters, starting at the beginning of the sentence.
    • One point for each.
      • Three Ms – 3 pts
      • Three Es – 3 pts
      • Three Rs – 3 pts
      • Two Ss – 2 pts
      • Two Is – 2 pts
      • Two Ps – 2 pts
      • Three Os – 3 pts
    • Subtotal: 18 pts


  • Step Two: Count all the vowels in alphabetical order.
    • One point for each.
      • A, E, I, O – 4 pts
  • Running total: 22 pts


  • Step Three: Vowel Bonuses
    • If all vowels but one are represented (including Y), one additional point.
    • If all vowels are represented, two additional points.
    • N/A – Subtotal 22 pts
  • Running total: 22 pts


  • Step Four: Count all runs of two or more consecutive letters, alphabetically.
    • One point for each letter.
      • AB – 2 pts
      • EF – 2 pts
      • HI – 2 pts
      • LMNOP – 5 pts
      • RST – 3 pts
    • Subtotal: 14 pts
  • Running total: 36 pts


  • Step Five: Completion.
    • If all letters in the phrase have been used in at least one of preceding ways, add two points. +2 pts
    • If all but one have been used, add one point.
  • Running total: 38 pts

Step Six: Count the number of letters in the original phrase. Subtract this number from the running total of points.

  • (If the total points is not higher than the number of letters, trash the whole thing)
  • The following may be done in any applicable order to maximize points:
    • If the difference is more than 6, add two points.
    • If the difference is more than double, add two points.
    • Add the difference to the running total.
      • 38-27 = 11
      • more than 6: + 2 = 40
      • 27*x2= 48
      • 40 + 11 = 51
      • 51 > 48; 51+2 = 53


Step Seven: Since I dislike odd numbers, typically I would futz with the phrase to make the total even.

How Much ADHD Cost Me

18 Sep

I can’t stop thinking about how much this condition has cost me, so I thought I’d sit down and make a list.

Just the things that cost actual money, I mean.

Not just (just) shame or anxiety or frustration (or or or)

  • That fifth year of college, after my scholarships had run out and it was just student loans
  • At least twenty locksmith visits to retrieve my car keys, and one time a new battery because I locked my keys in the car while the keys were in the ignition
  • Tens of thousands (?) of dollars in impulse purchases (mostly but not entirely food)
  • A zillion dollars in caffeinated beverages as I tried to self-medicate a condition I didn’t know I had
  • Testing and diagnosis was about $200 with insurance
  • That medication that cost $180 and didn’t work, plus the medication visits were around $400 total (all of this with insurance)
  • So many late fees: the library, Blockbuster, bills, rent, dozens of parking tickets, three years my car registration, one year my taxes, and don’t get me started on the bounced checks and ISF fees
  • Two tires on my mom’s car (she did not make me pay for it) (I was 16)
  • Five or six cell phones (mostly lost or broken, but also through the wash)
  • Two digital cameras (broken) (neither of them were mine)
  • Probably a hundred pairs of purple sunglasses
  • That time I got a $280 speeding ticket in Bumblefuck, West Texas
  • All those scholarships and better jobs and awards I didn’t apply for in time
  • Interest on that fifth year of student loans

I don’t know if getting diagnosed earlier would have prevented any of this, or how I would be different if I didn’t have it, or what I would miss out on if my brain was wired differently, but if I get a next life, I might like to try being neurotypical. Just to see.



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When the Medication Wears Off (Patreon Post)

10 Sep

I compare it to a headache. Pain is not a desirable state. As a society we pay lip service to the idea that it shouldn’t be the default setting, unless you’re poor, chronically ill, female-bodied, elderly…ya know, this metaphor doesn’t work, let me start again.

I compare it to a cold. Being sick isn’t a good thing, even a relatively minor illness. We don’t expect people to forgo care for physical illness–nope, that doesn’t work either.


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“My Broken House Behind Me and Good Things Ahead”: I’m Still Here

8 Sep

In the last nine months I’ve gone to therapy regularly; got diagnosed with ADHD; gone on medication for ADHD, depression, and anxiety; sold my first short story; dug deep and sorted out a lot of trauma and realized I’m bisexual; finished drafts of two different novels; organized fundraisers; recorded two more albums (coming soon!). My marriage and friendships are stronger than they’ve ever been. I feel more hopeful, more like myself than I have in almost a decade.

I also lost my 15 year old Facebook account, got some terrible news about my dad’s health, watched my husband get laid off (again), and took our cat, Lamby-toes in for surgery to remove the cancer that has come back already. I’ve started planning her last day.

Also I started a Patreon, so, ya know, if you like what I do about here, feel free to subscribe.

This year has been A Lot Of Year, and it is only September (also it is already September, what the hell?). This has been a year of trying to be brave, trying to be vulnerable, trying to heal, trying to create, trying to help, trying to leave things better than I found them. Trying to move forward.

Last year I listened to “This Year” by The Mountain Goats a lot, and let me tell you: I made it. I’m still here. Considering where I was a year ago, that’s a pretty big thing.

I hope you’re still here too.

The “Is It Anxiety Making Me Want To Crawl Out of My Skin, Or Something Else?” Checklist

20 Aug
  • Am I overheated?
  • Am I thirsty?
  • Do I have to pee?
  • When was the last time I ate something?
  • Did I take my asthma medication this morning?
  • Am I just overtired?
  • Are you sure it’s not just the heat?
  • Is my period starting soon?
  • Did I remember my magnesium supplement?
  • How’s my heart rate?
  • Is my Adderall wearing off right about now?
  • Seriously, do I have to pee?

Back to School Lessons When You’re Never Going To School Again

20 Aug

Here are some things I have learned about ADHD medication:

  • Generic Ritalin (the first medication we tried) exacerbates my anxiety
  • Generic Concerta (the second medication we tried) makes me want to peel my skin off, and also cost almost $200 with insurance
  • Generic Adderall (the current medication) is treating me pretty well and costs about $3
  • “Appetite suppression” doesn’t mean that I don’t suffer the physical and emotional effects of not eating enough
  • “Appetite suppression” means that nothing sounds good, I have to yell at myself to eat, and I wind up super hungry right around bedtime
  • Clearing up the white noise in my head makes it easier to sort big things out
  • It works
  • Except during my period, when nothing works

Here are some things I have learned about starting a new Facebook profile after 15 years because your old one was mysteriously deleted and purged by the Facebook powers that be:

  • A lot of people have it set that you can’t send them a friends request without having mutual friends
  • You have to say “I swear I am not a hacker bot” over and over again, which is a problem because the hacker bots are getting smarter every day
  • It is hard to find people you’ve been friends with for decades if you can’t remember their real name because every time you see their name you think “Oh, that’s my dear friend [insert old-school internet nickname/handle]”
  • All your upcoming events go away, even if someone else was a co-host
  • There is no way to talk to a person about what happened to your account
  • There appears to be no way to retrieve access to the band page of which you were the sole admin
  • You spend less time on it
  • Even after growing up online, it feels very silly to grieve an electronic profile

Exhausted By the Weight of Joy

25 Jun

They say “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” which is dumb AF. Do what you love and if you’re lucky you’ll work all the time, because your work and your play will blend seamlessly into a bizarre, exhilarating tornado until you collapse, exhausted by the weight of joy.

I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this, except this. Vulnerability is terrifying, and I avoid it. But there are four times I can’t hide, when I can’t help but reveal my deepest insecurities: when I’m writing a story; when I’m very drunk; when I’m laying in Chris’ arms; when I’m standing on a stage.

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