On Easter Monday, I went to Village Cinemas Fountain Gate to see a special screening of Peter Rabbit to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. As part of the screening, they showed a short film called Spectrospective: Stories of Autism 2018 which features a collection of individuals who are living with Autism. It was really touching hearing about all their experiences particularly at school and all the difficulties and challenges they’ve had to deal with. Personally, I feel proud to be Autistic. https://youtu.be/EG7NdA2dA_M

The session was also a “sensory friendly film” which means that the cinema lights are left on when the movie is playing and the volume is softer during the movie. https://villagecinemas.com.au/events/sensory-friendly-films

Peter Rabbit is based upon the characters and tales in Beatrix Potter’s classic 1902 novel “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”. Obviously over its 100+ year lifespan, Potter’s story has been adapted to death but here is the first time they’ve mixed live action with CGI animation and setting the story in a more modern setting. The film begins with the first of many hilarious singing bird sequences which always ends up with an abruptly hilarious interruption.

After the old Mr. McGregor has an unfortunate heart attack, Peter Rabbit (James Corden) and his three sisters Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki) and Cotton-Tail (Daisy Ridley) successfully reclaim the vegetable garden that they’ve made their home for many years. That is until Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) ends up inheriting the property from his late Great Uncle and leaves behind Harrod’s Department Store where he works.

Through some lovely nods to the illustration work of Potter’s original story, we learn of how Peter Rabbit’s parents met their demise and the also feature as artworks in Bea’s (Rose Bryne) art studio. Bea is the friendly next-door neighbour to the McGregors and has always been very protective and nurturing towards Peter Rabbit, his family and friends. But when Thomas McGregor arrives on the property, he is determined to woo her over and get rid of Peter Rabbit by any means necessary.

And so begins the endless war between the rabbits and Mr. McGregor as he desperately tries to protect his vegetable garden (and mostly fails). The style is very reminiscent of the classic Looney Tunes like Road Runner and Bugs Bunny vs. Elmer Fudd with lots of gags and physical slapstick comedy used. A lot of the dialogue is very rude at times but it does have a certain charm. It’s balanced well with a few emotional scenes and shows that Peter Rabbit does have a softer, more kindhearted side behind the tough, rebellious exterior.

Directed by Will Gluck, this adaptation could have potentially been a trainwreck as it is very bold, adventurous and wild but there is plenty of fun to be had here if you don’t take it too seriously. Plus the references to Beatrix Potter’s original novel and illustrations makes it worth watching. 8/10 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5117670/?ref_=nv_sr_1

On Tuesday night, I had my yardSTRONG session at The Yard Strength & Fitness in Pakenham. I was still very much in recovery mode after my busy Easter weekend but I did spend the afternoon trying to nap and relax at home to make up for lack of sleep. I’ve also had to quickly adjust to daylight savings ending with the darkness falling around 7pm. Tonight we worked on mostly sled pulling and pushing by gradually adding more and more weight plates. This movement works on the feet, lower legs, quads, hamstrings, glutes, arms and core. https://drjohnrusin.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-prowler-sled-training/

To warm up, we did 5 rounds of the following exercises: ring rows/pull ups, push ups and get ups. I still find get ups to be the most challenging for me as it’s difficult remembering the sequence and I end up tying myself in knots but it’s still fun. Next we worked on the sled pulls and pushes as mentioned above. We started at 50kg (sled plus 15kg plate) and did a TABATA styled rally of 1 minute work, 1 minute rest. Every 2 minutes, we added more weight. It didn’t take long for me to feel the burn in my hammys and glutes (Great way to burn off those Easter eggs and hot cross buns!).

Tonight’s workout involved doing a 20 minute EMOTM (Every Minute On The Minute) consisting of: A 15m sled push (maximum weight) and 5 burpees. Rodney and I alternated every minute and it didn’t take long for me to start fatiguing and getting sweaty. Though I was impressed how quickly I was getting the work done. Most rounds I was finishing it in under 30 seconds and therefore getting 30 seconds or more to rest. Our maximum weight on the sled was approximately 80kg which is pretty heavy for me.

On Thursday morning, I had my Employ Your Mind appointment with Ally at WISE Employment in Cranbourne. It’s the third week of Phase 1 and today we discussed the next couple of assessments which would look at my memory, concentration and problem solving skills. I had to complete ARCS (Audio recorded Cognitive Screen) which was a half hour long audio recording and assessment where I had to do tasks like memorising word lists, completing sequences of letters, identifying objects etc.

I also decided to talk about the recent progress with my VCAT case. After a month long wait, I’d finally received my tribunal order via email for Melise and Tony to pay me back the $575.00 that they owed me. However, now I have to decide whether it’s worth taking this higher to the Magistrates Court in Dandenong as a tribunal order doesn’t have much enforcement. And to do that, I’ll need some assistance as the case becomes more complicated and filled with legal jargon that I don’t understand. But still it’s a significant milestone for me.

On Thursday afternoon, I had my counselling appointment with Ruth at Piece Together Counselling in Narre Warren. I spent half the session recapping on the last few weeks such as my birthday celebrations, the Aspergers meeting and social night, work and the VCAT case. Then things took an unexpected turn when the topic of conversation went to my Dad. It’s something I rarely open up to anybody about as it’s a sensitive subject for me.

He’s left a large gaping black void in my life for over 30 years now so there’s a lot of healing and unpacking of issues that needs to be done. My relationship with Dad has been rocky to say the least. We have very minimal contact, only the odd text message now and then. But I actually did appreciate the birthday and Easter cards that he sent me last week. It shows that there must be some part of him that still cares about me.

But it’s still tough because he’s not physically present in my life. I’ve been searching for mostly male figures to fill in that void, to be able to fill in emotional needs and understanding. But it never really works. He’s said things to me in the past which have deeply hurt me and it really sucks because it’s made me question how much he really loves me as a son. There’s a lot of old baggage that needs to be sorted through but I’m really glad that I made a start on it with Ruth today. https://www.piecetogethercousellingnarrewarren.org/

On Friday morning, Mum and I spent some time visiting the coastal Gippsland town of Tooradin. We visited a couple of shops along the main street including the Pelican Cafe, the Discount Book Store, the Opp Shop and a Wig store. I managed to find an original set of Beatrix Potter novels with her “The Tales of” series plus a Colour Me Happy adult colouring book. Compared to where I live in Narre Warren South, the pace and lifestyle down at Tooradin is much more relaxed and casual. People are out near the lake walking their dogs and everyone is nice and friendly to you which is always a good thing. https://www.travelvictoria.com.au/tooradin/

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