Monday, January 31, 2011
That's Tabby, my garden shadow, playing on the wisteria vines, with sweet Lily looking on.
Over the years we've found ourselves sold out time and time again either by former adoption workers in Texas, or by the children's former foster parents, nearly every birth family has found us, once they were given our last name. Now with Facebook, I've given up any pretense to myself that it won't happen, 'cause it will.
If the kids are over 18, there's obviously nothing I can do.
But if I could do something, would I?
I doubt it.
It happened just the other night, one of my grown kids let me know, immediately shocked by the discovery, she told me she didn't know what to do. Naturally and normally I want to shield her from any possible further pain, the kids were removed for varying reasons years ago, I don't know if there's any drug or alcohol use happening in that family nowadays, it's simply none of my business.
I think there's a monstrously large element of natural curiosity anyway. "I just want to get some answers," she told me, and I completely understand.
I'm not sure there are any answers, but I comprehend the very deep need to know.
Much to all our shock, this birth mother went on to have two more children, therefore there are now half-siblings in the mix.
My one birth daughter, Sarah, now 37, has three half-siblings also, making her one of 42 in her family. I can't even do the math when I think about all my other children.
I'm praying that this newest encounter with a birth mother, any resulting new knowledge will only be beneficial to those that are now involved.
Another 71 degree day, enticing me with thoughts of spring, today the high will only be in the 50s, which is way more normal for us, rain on the way, which will germinate the Swiss Chard I'd planted yesterday, and I'm looking ahead on my handy dandy Google calendar to several significant meetings and events.
Playing baseball yesterday in the meadow, Sabrina was hit with a slung bat, her ankle was bruised, and if it isn't better this morning, I'll run her to the doctor's office, otherwise the day is all mine for the many undone major chores in the house, since I'd spent every single moment outdoors yesterday after church.
A beautiful young lady I've known since she was born came by with an equally gorgeous friend of hers to take photos for a college class. An agricultural emphasis, but nothing is in production hardly this time of year, a few scraggly greens, some rosemary, but the daffodils are up, and other plants are showing their imminent return.
What struck me though was her friend's interest in food production, reminding me of myself in my early 20s, after reading some life changing books by Adele Davis and Frances Moore Lappe. One of my minimalist blog subscriptions referenced the Nearings which totally had swayed me many, many decades ago.
Sometimes I'm blown away my own self at the massive amount of hard physical work required in my gardens, even subscribing to Ruth Stout's theory of heavy mulches, yet the reward is so great, and nothing soothes my soul as much as playing in the dirt. I subscribe to a bunch of garden blogs also, found a new one I like today, via another one I was reading.
My back and shoulders ached last night, but to me, it's such a good feeling, knowing I'd been outside in the sun, further wrinkling my skin, but heavy on the Vitamin D. Whatever, the incredible freedom of being a happy ole bat in her mid to late 50s is phenomenal.
My last sibling group adoption, six years ago, was of four children who are right smart, more than normal, but also very, very interested in my gardens and the hen house. Only one of the four was deemed problematic, but in comparison to the other issues we've endured, he's a piece of cake.
I got a funny phone call last night from a friend who'd gotten a yucky Facebook message from one of our computers. She'd asked, "Is Mr. P on the computer?" A state worker and family friend, she's privy to the goings on around here. My children have several appropriate adult Facebook friends, besides my adult children, who help me keep an eye on monitoring their online activities.
I went into the family room to investigate and discovered, via all the other kids who sure wouldn't normally stand up for him, that, "We need Chuck, this one computer has a virus and sends out garbage to everyone on the chat list."
"Well duh y'all," I logically suggested, "keep the chat part offline on that particular computer," something I do regularly on my laptop, not having time for fun chats, but the very thought of that perceived isolation sent my kids bonkers.
So I should just apologize in advance.
Also I'm praying in advance for Sharon's husband, Bob, who is undergoing open heart surgery sometime today.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
This is so gonna morph completely within the next few years to a farmimg/gardening/subsistence blog. Hey, I do it for me, if I lose readers, then so be it, it'd be the natural progression of where I'm going in life. A 'Dear Diary' online. I'll ease back to where I once started, talking to myself.
71 degrees in January, tell me that wouldn't make someone giddy? I went blissfully nutso, yanking at the quack grass, spreading wood chips, and forking over several beds.
45 degrees at nine in the morning, "Hey, that's warm enough for me," I hollered, bolting outside to work, only to crawl back in at five that evening, happy and dirty.
Mr P, AKA Mr Jekyll and Dr. Hyde, totally changed his stripes, bringing me a sandwich outside around 2, probably I should've had a bomb dog check it first, but I was, by then, hungry enough to eat a rock. He also dillydallied out there with me in the Big Back Garden, sweeping pathways and emptying my weed buckets. Go figure.
My older boys and Jonathan finished Grandma's garden beds, no easy feat, they wheelbarrowed a ton of wood chips to cover the manure, and Chuy helped her trim back some bushes. Martin spent the entire day working on a field goal of sorts in the meadow, while Tabby and Nando spent most of their time with the hens, running inside the hen moat and gathering eggs, all of us literally delighting in the warmth of the air. Chuy grabbed up the ax again, working on keeping nature at bay somewhat.
It's days like this when I'll plant arugula, mesclun, spinach and other cole crops, sometimes I lose them later, but more often than not, they thrive. Honestly I've lost more seeds when hesitating than when jumping the gun. These babies can grow even if we get more snow.
"Is winter over," they all asked me, "Can we open the pool?"
The girls came back from their overnight church retreat, happy and needing sleep. Gina'd taken Lily and Jack with her to the dog park and Vanessa came by for a spell.
An absolutely delightful day. I crave more of these with every fiber of my being. We have two more days in the five day forecast of warm weather, followed by rain, which makes me equally as happy. The roses are budding already, new leaves swelling.
I thought about Sharon all day long yesterday, many of you read her Mega Family Blog. Her husband has suffered a massive heart attack and her family greatly needs our prayers, especially for Bob to heal.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
It did get to 60 degrees yesterday. "May I chop down that tree right at the front of the meadow? We keep crashing into it when we're playing soccer," Chuy reasonably started the conversation. "Plus I feel the need to chop something down."
I had a large tea olive that died in my Big Back Garden, possibly due to several drought years, so I set him to work on that one for me first. Darling, let's channel this aggressive energy.
I'd not had much garden time yesterday. I took Yolie to the Emergency Room, as her migraines were stabbing her in her head in spite of a previous doctor visit and medication, spiking her genetically high blood pressure too much. She was nauseated beyond belief, and now needs to see a neurologist. She could use some prayers for healing, she was in terrible pain yesterday.
Daniel and I had planned to meet at a sports store in town for The Braves Caravan where we'd get the chance to meet Brian McCann, but it turned out that Memaw (Sabrina) and Mayra needed to be at the church at that exact time for the Revolve retreat, then within minutes I had Dr. Mandy at the house for Mr. P, and Lord knows we sure needed that scheduled encounter.
Today it's supposed to be 65 degrees. Hog Heaven for me. I'd love to finish the manure hauling, but Mayra's not here to babysit, I don't want to burden Grandma with that on a beautiful Saturday, and I'm fine with it all, as I have tons of work to do here anyway outside. However the 12 kids at home last night, only Memaw and Mayra gone, went through the last three gallons of milk, and now we're out. Brother.
Finally my seedlings have begun to germinate, I was fearing contaminated soil or something, so long has this taken.
How will Dr. Mandy address Mr P's behaviors? First she'll try and determine a cause. "Do you think he's depressed," she asked me.
I was stumped there for a minute until she reformulated the question, asking "Well he's friendless, under-developed for his age, antagonistic, has some obvious physical defects (CP related)," she paused to allow me to think, "maybe he's none too happy about so many things," again putting it all into perspective for me...as she always does.
He initially refused to talk to her, but she's beautiful, charming and not-the-mama, which is infinitely appealing to him, so he caved. What'd they talk about? I have no idea, nor do I need to know, as this is my children's' safe haven, she'd only tell me if there were a safety issue involved, and I, of course, totally respect her judgement.
At any rate, we had a very uneventful evening, other than a phone call from jail, as one was arrested for the third time in hardly as many weeks for the same crime, offering me all sorts of excuses, while I calmly explained, "Well Honey, I don't drink because I don't want to be arrested," which super simplified a complicated matter and went right over his uncomprehending head. Oh Dear Lord, please help this son of mine learn to connect the dots.
I get dismayed, knowing he's gonna be very overwhelmed with court dates, court costs, more probation, maybe more jail time, fees, fines, and charges that'll mount up and make him feel trapped and depressed. I'm stumped because I've been unable to get the theory across to him to abide by the laws that he doesn't seem to like very much. "But son, "I've often beseeched, "You have to do so."
Another call later from the psychiatric facility informing me, as required, that Paloma had been physically restrained for her, and their, safety yesterday. I'm just glad that it didn't fall on us to have to do this restraint. BTDT. It is not pleasant.
A third weirder call from a school administrator, informing me per policy that one of my children had been on a 'hit list' found on another student. I was infinitely relieved that my kid was not the originator of the list, that they were one of the intended victim is disturbing, but the provocation that can come from this kid nearly made it understandable, and no, it was not Mr. P. I reassured the principal that I was not unduly alarmed, and I was not so, due to a gut feeling alone. Due to confidentiality, I was not privy to all the details, yet I do trust this one who'd called me.
Seriously I may need to quit answering the phone.
I'd gone to Verizon to see if the tech could restore the contact information that I'd lost, but he informed me I'd done a great job of losing it all. Too bad, too sad. "You're eligible for an upgrade," he also told me.
I'd been thinking of an Iphone since Verizon's gonna get them in a week or so, but Daniel'd pooh-poohed it for me, I need to ask him his reasons, but he's a logical man who knows me very well, knows my clumsiness and too fast over-reactions that result in spilt coffee and dropped phones. The Verizon man suggested a Droid, and Dr. Mandy later confirmed it, as she's crazy in love with her Droid.
I don't make snap decisions, and I'd told the man I'd return later to decide. I was a little bummed when he'd told me to bring Dad's death certificate in to shut off Dad's cell line. Talking with my baby brother, Jimbo, who turned 52 yesterday, reassuring him he didn't need to come when Grandma has surgery, made me miss Dad even more, as Jim sounds so much like my dad. I know my dad's having a grand ole time with my sister, Ellen, and all who've gone on before. I'm likely jealous.
Friday, January 28, 2011
It's like the anti-Atkins diet.
Resistant starch foods will make you thin, says Health magazine. These foods help people "eat less, burn more calories, feel more energized and less stressed, and lower cholesterol," according to the International Business Times.
So what are resistant starch foods?
Bread, cereal, potatoes, bananas, black beans, oats, barley, bulgur, brown rice, corn flakes, and granola are just a few foods that are a part of what's become known as "The Skinny Carb Diet," according to the IB Times.
These foods, according to About.com, actually spur digestion as they provide fuel for bacteria in the colon that aid the process.
Since I've totally lost interest in the adoption process, and half the reader folks are bored with my garden explanations and descriptions, tell me food isn't an issue women are obsessed with on every level?
Us mothers are responsible for every meal, every grocery item and jaunt, and every final result in the food process, right? We all eat.
I've long hated a high-protein diet - feeling certain that all that meat and fat can't be good for you, and I've often wondered how I can eat so much and stay relatively slim. Lately I've been totally pigging out, but that'll change with the upcoming warm weather.
When I'd read this article this morning there was a visible light bulb blinking over my knotty head. I don't eat corn flakes however.
I'd venture to say that nearly all us women turn to food as comfort, especially as older adults, after the world didn't turn out the way the media would have portrayed such an impossible Cinderella possibility of existence. Instead we have drudgery, routines, maybe a lackluster Prince Charming, maybe several - and while this might not be just a woman thang, I'm not gonna speak for the men - as I've long been certain I'll never understand them.
I sat on my big ole butt eating popcorn in my room again, just like a late night slug watching HGTV's Selling New York, which this back road bumpkin is fascinated over, it's visually appealing, and supremely interesting subject matter of which I know nothing about, and found myself surprisingly yearning to visit there in the big city.
Like others, I turn to food for consolation sometimes, not necessarily an emotional eater, I generally don't over eat, but I sure eat plenty enough. A lot actually.
My high levels of frustration, hurt feelings, sadness, shock, and numerous other negative stress-heavy resulting emotions are pretty darn high, this hasn't been an easy life, not even a life I'd encourage others to seek out. Not until there's way more understanding, emotional support for us gullible idiots that dared to even try to help, not ever dreaming we'd be slapped down constantly for our puppy-like overeagerness to help.
Y'all's comments and emails tell me the same story. You're sinking in my boat too, full of resentment and defeatist thoughts. Honey, I understand.
So I googled this theory of resistant starch and found it linked to high energy, diabetes control, weight management, and other benefits. I personally amp it up with brown rice, wheat bread, and other whole grains which keep me full longer and have the wheat germ benefits. The white stuff is too fluffy and tasteless for me.
I find this to be validation of something I've unconsciously done for most of my life.
If you're hungry two hours after a meal, you're eating the wrong foods." says Susan B. Roberts, Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University.
I so agree. I eat big meals, guzzle water, and it's as if I've tanked up for hours, allowing me to work outside happily, or go to my Sunday School class full of oats (literally) and not be tempted to eat the Publix donuts. If there's Krispy Kreme however...
I'm so full after meals that I can take my mongo amounts of supplements and not barf. A win-win situation.
So if I've just bored everyone with what fascinates me, what can I say? I'm ecstatic to have learned this today, and thought I'd share.
I again got my two hours of bliss outside, hauling the wood chips and pulling the amazingly tenacious crab grass rhizomes, listening to my Ipod, and enjoying my alone time.
My 15 year old, Mr Provocateur, again severely provoked a 13 year old into anger, Mr P amping it up, hitting the younger, bigger one who immediately hit back. Mayra and I pulled them apart, while Mr P irrationally screamed at me to punish the younger one he'd provoked, or else.
I was immediately enraged, I sent the younger one to his room where he was headed anyway, "Do it please, there's no reasoning with this one," knowing that Mr. P would stand in my face and gutterly scream for hours until he got his way. I've been down this road before many many times, and the younger one, with his own set of issues, had the blessed maturity to comprehend my intent. Indeed I later quietly rewarded him for helping me avoid a situation. Thank you, JoJo.
I've spent more than 12 fruitless years with Mr. P, and watched him in action, therapy has changed nothing, this is who he is.
My other kids were just as irked as I was, they also have him in their faces constantly.
"Does anyone here like him at all?" a therapist asked me. "Does he have any friends at school?"
With these behaviors, are you kidding me?
There's no logic here at all, furthering fueling my frustration and my personal inability to change genetic history.
It is what it is.
Where's my oatmeal?
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Jack has always hated for me to bust out laughing when old men fell down on America's Funniest Videos. For ten years he admonished me, "That could be Grandpa, Mom," as if my insensitivity was just too outrageous.
Last night he became absolutely unglued, sobbing over how much he missed Grandpa, leaving me feeling so helpless to console him, to be unable to fix this for him. He's such a great kid, one who's been nurtured since birth, living here happily and securely, until his world was rocked by the death of his best friend, Grandpa.
He can remember a 76 year old man jumping on the trampoline with him, and then that pulmonary fibrosis swooped in and rapidly sucked the life out of a guy who'd go on long walks and garden, spending countless hours with Jack, reading to him and patiently answering his 1000 questions each day.
I know that grieving takes time, but I hate to see children suffer like this.
Jack's wearing a shirt in this picture that had arrived in a box from the one we call our Angel, an anonymous up north benefactor, that has long supplied us with some extremely nice clothing, and has helped in many, many other ways. CW'd claimed the Polo sleep pants happily from the box, I believe he'd even worn them last night to Youth Group at church.
Jonathan's pulling out of his fortunately short-lived slump. Other than informing me I ws a 'fu&^ing retarded old mismatched idiot,' he's straightening up slowly.
And regarding his rude outburst? Mismatched? I don't think so. All shades of black go together, right?
If dreams came through, I'd be here. Marquis Grissom? Javy Lopez? Otis Nixon? Steve Avery? Yeah boy, let's bring back the 90s.
No, let's don't. I've already survived those very difficult years.
Bringing Dr. Mandy up to date, back to speed recently, happily able to report a fairly decent set of behaviors - well for us anyway - certainly feels good. If I had to choose challenging years for older adopted children, I'd have to pick the early adolescence, when their hormones kick in, as does their profoundly inner confusion about who they are, feeling their oats yet being dependent upon adults, produces some scary feelings, especially in children like mine.
Again around age 17, right before their perceived independence from a parent's dumb and boring rules can also be a very rocky time, some kids just simply leave, others unable to fathom their life without borders, the acting out often escalates, the 'I'm leaving you before you leave me' mentality that is common in adopted children. Their perceptions are out of whack, and the lack of maturity combines with that to produce some ridiculous behaviors.
I'm glad that over the years I've learned to take it less personally.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
It's likely too early to comment positively, but Jonathan appears to be on a more even keel. Maybe that's my still unscathed inner idiotic optimism squeaking from within, but why not? I miss my old Pollyanna self.
We're back in the CRCT Tutoring After-School pickups at 4, a high schooler and a middle schooler are in FFA, I have the work study tutoring teens to pick up, so I feel as if I'm driving the van nonstop between 4-5:30 - prime dinner cooking time - while also managing our hosting of in-home therapy from Dr. Mandy and Miss Sarah of Pathways. The good news is that all three schools are within two miles of my house, as is our church. That's a blessing.
One of Grandma's sweet friends had a mongo food donation to give to us, so Chuy, CW, Sabrina and I ran to her house in between my other pickups, plus in very rainy weather like yesterday, I pick the kids up from the bus stop up by the mailbox, to eliminate their very muddy walk home.
Hey - I'd so much rather be accomplishing these mundane tasks instead of hollering for deputies because someone's in danger.
I'd wanted to go to Macon today to visit Paloma and participate in her therapy, except they again changed therapists, to which I hollered with dismay, really liking this last one. "Hey, we're therapists," she joked, "We hate change more than anyone," illustrating why I liked her a lot, but sad knowing Paloma would hate it, feeling abandoned again. Yolie wondered aloud if the therapist had become fed up with Paloma's behaviors.
I'm awaiting a return phone call from the new therapist, trying to get placed on their schedule.
Dr. Mandy had remarked on how happy and light-hearted I'd appeared to her, we'd gone a spell without seeing each other while she set up her own counseling business plus the holidays descended upon us. I am way less pressured now, than this time a year ago, when I was fighting the uphill battle to maintain Paloma's very dangerous behaviors. In comparison with the routine, regular stuff nowadays with only 14 kids left at home, I'm merely swatting flies by comparison to other years ago.
Shadow was none the worse after gulping yesterday's Abilify, matter of fact, I saw no change at all in this headstrong silly dog's behavior. She was snuggled in Jack's arms, wagging her tail when I'd awakened the kid's this morning. I adore this annoying dog.
Two more illustrations of my backwardness. One should put one's Amaryllis bulb into dormancy by early October if one wants blooms by December. Already behind by a month or so, I'm just now pulling them out of storage, repotting, adding a tablespoon of bone meal, and won't see blooms for another month or so. Deep sigh. I'm doing what I can.
Having lost the software twice now on my Blackberry, all contacts and scheduling, yeah I could learn to back it up on the computer, but that's not gonna happen. I finally discovered Google calendar which has sat obviously in front of my face for years.
I still have very few contacts again in my phone, Sarah, Yolie, Gina and Emily, I don't even recognize my grown children's cell numbers. Who memorizes numbers anymore?
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I can say with certainty that my adoption caseworker, Emily, never ever gave me a single piece of bad advice, at times she'd be as stumped as I was, but usually she had a darn good suggestion, and believe you me, I listened.
One in particular was to never draw a line in the sand. Never give an ultimatum that I wasn't prepared to follow through on.
What seemed illogical was crucial.
In real parenting time, if I'd told a young Sarah, "If you touch those cookies before dinner, you won't get any for the rest of the week.
She logically would not touch them. A good example of a high emotional quotient.
If I said that here nowadays, I have kids who'd stare blankly at me, defiantly touch them, and wait for the fallout.
I can NOT say, "If you smear poop on my walls, you'll have to go back to foster care. I can NOT threaten the placement. I get that, I understand the need for stability.
But I've also learned I can't tell a kid, "If you lie to me, I won't let you attend the dance.
They'll lie to me...just because. Just to get a reaction, negative or positive, doesn't matter to them. They'll defy just to be oppositional and defiant.
I warned Paloma over and over that her negative behaviors would send her away, that DJJ would charge her with assault, it'd cost her years of her childhood, slowly explaining cause and effect theories, consequences, actions and reactions.
"I don't CARE!" she'd roar and slug someone else.
Later, after it happened, after she was sent away by DJJ, she told us all, "I didn't think you meant it."
Same today with Jonathan who's emotionally in a bad place right now, as is the nature of a bipolar condition. He wouldn't get out of bed, wouldn't get dressed, wouldn't take his meds, and refused to go to school.
I can't get him to understand that it is those behaviors, the truancies that can cost him his freedom. If I threaten to call the deputies, he'll balk until I do so. He'll sneer, "You said you'd call 'em, go call 'em" He's not afraid of the law.
I turned on my heel, loaded up the kids, picked up CJ, waited for the bus for the middle school kids, it was raining so I'd driven them up the hill, went back home and suggested to Jonathan that he get up, he refused, I dropped his Abilify, Shadow quickly found it and gulped it down, I drove the elementary kids, returned home, and again ignored Jonathan who oppositionally got up and asked to go to school as if I'd been the real problem all along.
I drove him, showed no reaction either way, "Have a nice day," I suggested as he slammed the van door in my face, muttering about the level of my ignorance.
Sticks and stones, Dude.
I went over to Sarah's house to take a few deep breaths, to watch bonded, nurtured children get up and snuggle happily, and start their day normally.
Today Jonathan's Pathways therapist comes at four, she, too, is calm and does not react.
I've been very conscientious, over the years, to work on building my children's self-esteem, of course, knowing that their own self-confidence will be exactly what's necessary in order to help them be functioning adults.
But, I've learned about its shocking backfiring ability, here in the land where things are not as they would seem to be.
Miss Kim of DJJ is out on maternity leave for another month, her supervisor, Mr. G, is taking all of her cases, he didn't even have an office assistant yesterday, leaving me to fret over budget cuts on their behalf. I complimented Jonathan for his really good month, he'd been obedient, participating in therapy, there was nothing for me to point out to his Probation Officer that was amiss.
Shouldn't I know better by now?
Before the later home visit, Jonathan nutted up over absolutely nothing, leaving me again dumbfounded with my mouth hanging open in surprise.
So I googgled it, always searching strategies, answers, solutions, and attempts at making this a better life for us all.
Some children with bipolar are sensitive to rejection and easily misinterpret verbal or visual cues, hearing a neutral tone as negative, for example. Conversely, one of teacher Mary Helen Schulte’s students at the Kradwell School in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, which serves students who don’t function well in a traditional environment, reacts poorly to praise. So she handles all of his feedback in a matter-of-fact, business-like tone.
I'd come across an article for educators, reading it with fascination, the rapt attention that might only come to a mother with several bipolar children.
Hearing a neutral tone as negative. Bingo! Both Paloma and Jonathan accuse everyone - teachers, police, me - of yelling at them, often when I'm speaking very quietly to diffuse a situation.
Reacting poorly to praise? Oh my goodness, this is a regular occurrence.
Yet, if I praise another child for something, these two difficult darlings will predictably yell, "What about me?"
If a child does have a rapport with you, they may lash out at you when they’re upset, says Schulte. If they feel safe enough to be upset and “have a moment” in front of you, don’t take it personally—instead help them work through it.
Have a moment?
Has the author ever experienced a knife-waving, window-breaking, full-blown, screaming, shrieking, all-out murderous rage?
In conversations lately, with different therapists and social workers, I'm seeing a very big trend towards adoption disruption, as parents become fed up with these terrible, blind rages. I totally understand their frustration, because truly I'm not positive that my sticking it out has accomplished anything, leaving me at a usual and total loss for solutions.
Paloma's sibling group has five children in it, now ages 17, 16, 15, 14 and almost 13. The middle one, Chuy, will likely be quite a success, but the other four have nearly destroyed us over the years, serious assaults, viciously attacking, verbally threatening to kill us all. I've been before judges, social workers, I've been with therapists, counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists, we've been involved with the Youth Detention Center, residential psychiatric facilities, and therapeutic camps. And for what?
It's been nine tough, rough, challenging, frustrating, often dangerous years.
One calls to profess his love for us, one will likely never ever be in touch with us again, one I'm afraid I'll lose to the streets at age 18, and one will seriously need long term psychiatric intervention. One out of five will do very well.
I'm a little discouraged, yet I must constantly remind myself that it isn't about me. I'm doing the best that I can, given the circumstances. Dr. Mandy was here yesterday, reminding me about the big picture, helping to redirect and refocus my attention on those still at home.
Jonathan calmed down for awhile, but nutted up before bedtime, yelling I was a "Fu*&ing retarded mother." Chuy'd surprisingly snapped at him, "Shut up, Jonathan. She's my mother too, straighten up."
This is the scarily unpredictable nature of bipolar child. Maybe I just need to dig a little deeper within myself and come up with a better level of sympathy for a kid who cannot help how he acts sometimes. He didn't choose this affliction.
I need to balance sympathy with extreme safety precautions.
Between DJJ visits I had a delightful time digging and tussling with the crab grass rhizomes, hauling wood chips, and readying my gardens for Springtime, with a warm afternoon sun lifting my spirits, strengthening me for the next onslaught of behavioral issues.
"I guess you just shouldn't praise him in public," the DJJ officer suggested, and I'm guessing he's correct. From now on, I'll email a three line response and just kinda sit and grunt in the office. I know Miss Kim gets it too, this isn't their first rodeo. Nor mine.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Librarians, later in last century, became referred to, with a sniff, as Media Specialists, but stubbornly we still retained our massive love of books, no matter what gadget or technological advance came down the pike, and we were ridiculously expected, somehow, to know how it worked, and to run into classrooms every other minute in order to repair each item. Those of us who'd been schooled in the 1970s, quickly became very overwhelmed, and waves of us retired right around the turn of the century, packing up our unabashed love of books, and trotting back home to curl up with each one.
The Autobiography of Mark Twain is over 700 pages long, I couldn't stop hugging it yesterday, much to Gina's delight, who also became a book loving nerd her ownself. This is only Volume 1, overly thrilling for me, I gotta say.
Obsessed still with book reviews, the NY Times had written, "Wry and cranky, droll and cantankerous — that’s the Mark Twain we think we know, thanks to reading “Huck Finn” and “Tom Sawyer” in high school. But in his unexpurgated autobiography, whose first volume is about to be published a century after his death, a very different Twain emerges, more pointedly political and willing to play the role of the angry prophet."
My children looked on with alarm. Who reads that many words? Mama's a freak.
Dismissed, as usual, by know-it-alls, who've nonetheless watched these Beyond Scared Straight shows over and over with wide-eyed shock, I'm happily looking forward to Twain's nutty wittiness. Yep, I paid deep attention in my American Lit classes, dismissing British Lit as way too Shakespearean.
This generation of my children, and likely a bunch of younger readers here as well, do not know Jack Lalanne, who just passed away at age 96, always having quipped, "I can't die, it'd ruin my reputation." Dismissed as a nut back in the 50s and 60s, his healthy body carried him beautifully through many decades of good living. I want to live that long, Mae and Hazel would then be in their mid-40s.
Yesterday Mae was delighted to see Gina's Scion parked outside. "Yeah!" she hollered to Yolie, "Hazel's already here," confusing the boxy appearance of the Scion with Sarah's Honda Element, visibly disappointed to see an adult instead of another three year old in my family room.
The Bubbas drug 15 wheelbarrow loads of wood chips to Grandma's gardens, barely making a dent in what she needs, do the math, five Bubbas/15 loads = three apiece, big whoop-de-doo, boys.
Another mother came by to pick up Allen for the afternoon, and how cool was that, I already knew her, which again shocked Allen, who chortled, "Do you know everyone?"
A lady who'd grown up here in the original footprint of my house dropped by yesterday, wanting to reminisce, she'd graduated from high school with Sarah, again demonstrating the tiny population of this small county. "Bring your kids and swim with us this summer," I offered, knowing her dad who'd originally built the first 2200 square feet of this house had passed away at a young age, maybe ten years after selling me this place, and he was then only about my age.
A kinda splendid day, no fights, little fussing, more than on time to church, I also got to attend Sunday School, sitting there happily with about 50 other ladies, it's a great class, a calm afternoon and evening, soon I'll wake 'em all up, get 'em all off to school, put the house back together, get Jonathan over to DJJ for his monthly check-in, haul more wood chips, and get Hazel and Ray this afternoon.
What's not to like about today - other than it feels like the 98th day of the longest dern month of the year. A high of 55 degrees though puts an immediate smile on my face.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
"Well I'm pissed off on their behalf," I bellowed at JoJo, not knowing CW was taping the various incidents happening in the room. He'd gotten a very funny video clip of Martin falling down, and I'd tried to post it, but blogger was slow yesterday. JoJo'd been prank calling his friends via a web page and I was irritably responding to that situation.
He should've videotaped me trying to respond to the yoga instructions I'd DVRd. Good golly, I've never seen a more uncoordinated yo-yo as me, maybe this isn't gonna be my thing. I'd rather hike, run, jump and carry on. All this breathing, contortions, and slow motion movements stressed me out, so contrary to my hyperactive self.
"Watch me bench press Nando," Allen bragged, while Tony and Scotty scuffled in the family room. It'd be called a fight if it were any two other kids, but their bulk and slowness begs for someone to break it up for them. It's posturing at best. Tony's 15, Scotty's 12, but much larger and more coordinated, both of them acting like toddlers.
Again, this is the loooooooongest winter month, nearly making me lose my mind from being stuck inside, finally the sun warmed the earth enough that Martin organized a game in the meadow for the older boys to blow off steam.
I found my copy of Living the Good Life: How To Live Sanely and Simply in a Troubled World. Written in 1954, these two back-to-the-land heroes, Helen and Scott Nearing, reacted to what the Great Depression had done to society, and conversely, skillfully pioneered an old way of life.
I didn't discover this book until The Mother Earth News brought it to my attention in the early 1970s, and I generally re-read it every couple of years or so. The entire Foxfire series started in the 1970s and fascinated me as well, but folks of my generation do have strong memories of our grandparents, and most of our parents, passing down the canning methods they'd long used.
I truly remember the 1950s as a time when everyone wanted to be considered modern, turning their backs on these backwoods labor intensive practices, but my own mother did keep on making pickles and putting up tomatoes. Yesterday she figured she'd maintained a compost pile for most of her life, we sat and tried to imagine the tons of brown gold she must've participated in producing over all those years. Two old batty nerds trying to pass the time until cold weather was over.
My seed flats have not germinated the first seedling yet and I'm royally impatient.
Tabby's creativity always leads her to leave scraps of paper, scissors and glue, and other detritus all over the place. She's only eight years old and I don't wanna crush her creative spirit, so I allow the messes to grow, reminding her at some point to recycle what she can. She'd worked on a comical, illustrated family tree yesterday, mimicking Sabrina's homework assignment, the one that all adopted kids dread, but Sabrina's inner sunshine propelled her along as she only included the grown kids she liked, and was closest to, eliminating those with criminal propensities.
Gina's bringing me Mark Twain's autobiography today, it's gonna be in the upper 40s, heralding another wintry mix of weather that's on its way, spurring me to wanna get the Bubbas to help me cover Grandma's vast garden beds with wood chips.
Pepe, 16, called me last night, as he often does, even though he's been deemed too dangerous to live with us, still racking up some assault charges wherever he lands, professing his love for us verbally, a little taken aback when I'd told him about his younger birth brother, Chuy, driving the van yesterday, but proud nonetheless. I'd allowed the 15 year old to drive to the church and back last night when I'd gone over there to pick up CW and Mayra.
You know if you put aside some dollars every month, just subtract them from the checkbook at the start of the month, hide it from oneself in a savings account, patiently wait, there's some beach money for you. I'd searched the web carefully yesterday, realizing that before Memorial Day most vacation rentals are half price. Bingo. The kids are out of school by May 20th
I eliminate the word luxury from my criteria, I'm drawn to the ocean, not a plush sofa. I need a kitchen, so I can cook, and a bunch of beds. That's all. Rentals by owners allows for some price negotiations, this is doable. I got all excited.
Time to go get 'em all up for church, hopefully I can even attend my Sunday School class...
Saturday, January 22, 2011
This blog is obviously not one devoted to photography, as my pictures are usually grainy and of surprisingly poor quality. I blame that on the fact that my scratched up, dropped, and banged around Blackberry, which is usually in my pocket, is what I reach for in sudden moments of silliness, but the predetermined subjects of each photo often bolt in alarm, leaving me with a blurred rendition of the occurrence I'd tried to capture on film.
Why Jonathan and JoJo were both lounging on the sofa in the living room is unknown. I know there was a TV movie involved, but this is a very unusual display of cooperation and sharing. I suppose their respective evening medications had already taken effect? Their aggression levels have dropped quite a bit over the years, so much so that we're in the process of reducing levels of everything, hoping for no meds at some point in time.
I'm simply glad for the greatly reduced level of volatility nowadays, there's peace more often than not, if it makes for a more subdued blog, who cares? This blog is neither for the purposes of money-making, nor readership quantity, it's sole selfish function is to help me cope, for me to process the events, and if any of y'all also feel relieved, or commiserated with, as we go along, then so be it.
I do get offers of help, from out of the blue, and I turn them down, as I'm not looking for help per se, but more so am looking for solutions. It helps me inwardly if I can convince someone, or influence someone to grow some vegetables, to change over from the bleached dioxin-tainted white coffee filters towards the unbleached brown ones, or even to adopt an older child from the system and try to hang in there...that's enough for me, to feel inwardly as if I've helped someone or some theory along.
I sincerely do not care about financial rewards, I don't respond to producers who want to talk about a reality show, or any such exploitation. My inner minimalism comes from deep within, I'm happy exactly with what I have, any more might taint my profound reliance upon God, and I truly, deeply and solidly feel very strong about this aspect of my life.
I don't want a home makeover, new appliances, new furniture, nothing at all at the moment. I do not feel any sense of lack, nor entitlement, no "well, I deserve rewards" for having chosen this life. In my bleak or dark moments, an acknowledgment only from my children, a nod at least towards an understanding of the personal sacrifices might be nice, a happy grunt of appreciation, but I do not expect it any more. I just wanna pull through successfully, and my singular definition of success hinges only upon survival. Duh.
The five day forecast has me super frustrated, the end of January usually has me dramatically gasping for warmth and sunshine, craving outdoor chores that I'm too much of a cold-weather sissy to endure right now.
Rather I should just be glad that two months I dread the most, December and January, have passed uneventfully, that I can move forward emotionally, knowing Springtime is closer than ever, bringing me unlimited outdoor fun, and relaxing wind-down Braves baseball on TV.
The book I spoke of yesterday, The Blueberry Years, is so beautifully well-written that I feel as if I'm in their western Virginia farm environment, learning as they go forward with their 1000 blueberry bushes. I'd gone to college a hundred years ago in Virginia, and allowed myself to daydream momentarily a what if thought.
What if I'd followed my friend Dottie to VPI and majored in horticulture, instead of education at ODU? What if I'd stayed in Virginia with either my then husband, or subsequent Italian/Cherokee/Jewish boyfriend that I have always regretted dumping? We stayed together for years, sometimes in different states, me apologizing eventually before he passed away too young.
What if I'd farmed, not adopted? What if Sarah'd grown up there, and not here in Georgia where I'd been born? Then I have to dissolve all those thoughts as I can't imagine life without Ray or Hazel. Or Yolie and Daniel? Gina and Jesse? Marcela and her sisters, and all the others? The other many darling grandchildren?
I know I'm exactly where I am, where I should be, by the crystal clear to me design of God's unseen hands that have moved me, placed me, whittled me, shaped, and tried to mold me into who I am now and where I am, but knowing God's got a fulltime job still on His hands with a rambunctious slow-learning monkey like me.
If He can deal with this bigmouth, hardheaded fool, surely I can deal with my challenging children, right?
I hope to finish this book today, pass it on to Sarah, then Emily, both of whom share my interest in these memoirs. I don't want to be a pick-your-own farmer, I want to provide for our needs only, but I love reading about others doing what I might have once have wanted to accomplish.
It feels good for me, to know exactly what I want, to be where I want, doing what I wanna do overall, the challenge of finishing out my years as a mother of a large family, as it winds down way more peacefully than when I'd started, this is soothing enough at the moment.
But right now I'm so addled by the dreary cold outside, that I find myself desperately missing fire ants and mosquitoes, the sweltering heat and endless weeding chores.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Besides my bad habit of butt-dialing, due to incredible un-coordination added to more speed than good sense, I somehow clumsily hit a button to accidentally update my Blackberry, which also promptly lost all of my contacts and my calendar.
I'd go fret about it, except I'd rather poot around this morning, becoming super impressed about gleaning, which I'd first learned of long ago due to a progressive organization called Second Harvest.
NPR has a wonderful story here, which I find very inspiring, also feeling like maybe I missed this calling, or maybe it's my second calling, when I finish this first doozy of a wild ride.
Thank you, Lisa A, for the superbly inspirational photo.
Jack and Lily, 10 and 13, two bonded, nurtured siblings have become very interested in a show, Modern Marvels, but have set conditions pretty much, wanting me to sit between them with a very large stainless steel bowl of stove-popped popcorn, popped in olive oil, and doused with sea salt, nutritional yeast, and Spike.
Click to this list of fascinating topics. I always shake my head in amazement, so dang informative and interesting. The one on coffee knocked my socks off.
I used to grow, and dry, curly parsley, adding it to popcorn as well, but I'm out of it right now.
And nutritional yeast? Oh, Honey, you haven't lived if you've not acquired this addiction. I put it on just about anything that I'd also salt, especially on mashed potatoes, and I don't think there's a single kid in this house that'd turn their nose up at this delicious supplement.
I've been eating it for 40 years now, and I gotta think there's a correlation between my good eating habits and my high-octane energy level, right? I also have a theory that not eating animal fats, via meat eating, equals no abdominal fat. You don't see chunky vegetarians, unless they, like me, have a weakness for cheesecake. I could never be a vegan. I love cheese, but don't have belly chubbiness.
It's cold outside, supper dishes done, their homework completed, the other kids are all doing their thing, sometimes they join us, and last night's taped show was on Peppers and Spices, and I was utterly fascinated.
I didn't know that mustard was primarily just ground up mustard seeds, vinegar and turmeric. Nor was I aware of the backstory on Tabasco sauce, nor was I privy to the name of the hottest pepper on earth, the Bhut Jolokia. This link is from Serious Eats, something I'd learned about from Sarah who is willowy, rail-thin, but also obsessed with food. How cool to be both, right?
I was immediately inspired now to grow horseradish, not ever having done so before, but I clearly remember my Grandpa on my Dad's side, growing it and shaving it at the table each dinner meal, garnishing his food, telling us routinely, "That'll put some hair on your chest!" I was always vaguely frightened at that thought. Flat belly and a hairy chest? No, thank you.
But I want to grow something different this year, and horseradish it'll be.
Notice lately I'm blogging about TV shows? I'm so sick of not being able to go outside after supper, this no soccer, no gardening is getting old, but I did notice it's perceptibly lighter each evening as we gain another precious minute of sunlight.
And on the adoption parenting front - it remains calm around here, and I'm ecstatic about that.
Phone calls from grown kids, different issues that need to be resolved, a looming major issue that's been greatly distressing me, but I've had to draw way back emotionally, knowing I can neither control nor fix, I can't make them choose correctly, therefore the consequences will have to be theirs, and theirs alone.
I spent as much time as I was given, when they were young and lived at home, trying to teach actions and consequences, good choices and life skills, only to be summarily rejected too often as a boring know-nothing, uncool old fart.
OK, tell me how that works out for you.
Do not expect me to fix it, to enable you to continue down this poorly planned road.
I've had to remind some older kids to quit "helping" others not succeed, let them take their resulting lumps, it's the only way they'll ever learn, don't cushion their falls when they choose so badly.
Some grown kids are sucking the life out of some other grown kids. Those who have jobs are magnets for those that don't. Suckers would be a more precise description.
It just simply stresses me out, think I'll just bury my nose in a book, sip coffee and enjoy the very quiet morning. I'm reading, and greatly enjoying, The Blueberry Years: A Memoir of Farm and Family by Jim Minick.
Breakfast will be my winter usual bowl of oats, wheat bran, flax seed meal, fresh cranberries and walnuts in rice milk. A very big bowl that'll fill me up and allow me to work through lunch, as I feel a haul wood chips moment coming over me, I'm busting to get outside.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
"Don't eat them mom!" Lily immediately shouted a warning, seeing me fixing to toss a handful of what I thought was Mexican hot candy into my mouth. I love the traditional mixture of peppers and sweet tastes, but the homemade Mexican firecrackers that Lily'd just showed me, given to her by a friend returning back to Georgia from Mexico, were just that, fireworks, not sugary delectables.
I shoulda been sufficiently alarmed, just at the bright colors, poisonous red dye #2 that the federal government once ignorantly thought was OK to put into food.
"Didn't the fuse give it away," she reasonably asked me. Like I need another one.
But here in winter, I've found myself absolutely eating everything in sight, colors be derned. I probably won't be able to even fit between the rows of my garden beds, if I keep this voracious appetite up, the pathways are only a foot wide, going along with my theory of why waste valuable, fertile growing space?
Allen abruptly quit his desperately needed tutoring program, enraging me, but I stomped off to blow sky high in private. This self-sabotage? Was he born with it? I remember my caseworker slowly explaining this specific behavior to me many years ago, I just couldn't grasp it, it made no sense at all to me. Who does that? Who wants to ruin their own chances on purpose? Hand-in hand with little to no self-esteem, a trauma survivor lives warily with few expectations of success.
Quitting his much-needed tutoring means no summer job opportunity via this program that I'd considered to be such a blessing.
He shut down on me, wouldn't listen to my later quiet and logical explanation of these benefits.
This entire sibling group of seven children are the most genetically lazy bunch I've ever come across in my entire life. I don't get it. Miriam does have a job right now, Mayra is striving forward at the moment, but the other five? Oh. My. Word.
I simply cannot comprehend anyone's desire to be listless, slothful or immobile. BO-RING.
It's not like lazy folks sit around and, at least, read. They do nothing. They sit. They stare. Look at all the street corners in cities, full of chronically unemployed grown men standing and staring, one foot up behind them on a building, as if that's their purpose - to hold up that particular edifice.
I do not enable this behavior. I do not help out with groceries or with rent money. They need to grow hungry enough to do something about it, to go get a job and buy groceries. I do not consider myself too good to work at a fast food joint, if that's what it took, that's exactly what I'd do.
As I was cleaning, I came across a favorite mug of mine, back in the boy's room, in pathetic shape. Good thing I'm not particularly attached to things. This 1995 winning season has proved ever elusive for my dear Atlanta Braves.
This is just again so illustrative of an inability to take care of what little one does own, the entitlement mentality that might be part and parcel of where they once came from, from a welfare thought process, where nothing is very valued, such a cavalier mindset that contributes to an unexamined life.
I'm finding myself at a loss, unable to get these particular concepts across to those who choose to rebel against my boring, middle class morals. But these same staid, plodding steps are the ones that have led me into early retirement and an ability to be independent. Is it that concept alone that's so frightening? Depending on oneself?
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Hello, my name is Cindy, and I'm a plant hoarder. I used to be a book hoarder, but in the interest of downsizing, I've been slowly eliminating the titles that I'm sure I won't ever read again.
As the years go on however, my plant obsession can only increase. These pictures are from up in my room where I wander about watering and pruning.
If I never stepped foot off this property again, I'd still have plenty to do horticulturally, feeding us with what I grow, and tending to it all.
I got this obsession from my mama, who got it from her parents, who got it from their folks who had to raise their food or starve, just a few generations back, all food was raised at home, except maybe coffee, salt and spices.
The vascular surgeon reassured Grandma today, "I'll have you back on your feet, as good as new, hardly any down time at all," and then he grossed me out with the medical explanation and details. Dude, don't tell me how you're gonna cut into my mother's neck and not expect me to barf in response.
It's overall a good news day. Surgery is February 7th, just about the time we're planting peas, onions, taters and other cole crops. This is very doable and Grandma is relieved already.
A lady had recently introduced herself to me, or rather reminded me that she knew me, back when she was one in a very long and helpful chain of professionals who'd worked with us during my daughter, Alex's, incredibly challenging adolescence. It was so many years ago, and I've had so many others in these past few years, via Medicaid's right generous financial help when one is seeking mental health resources, but I was glad to be reminded of this woman, by this woman, and I did then remember her.
I was even more glad to be able to give a pretty decent report now on Alex and her incrementally successful progress.
We'd had an uneventful return to school yesterday, after all these days at home, the teenagers glad to go back and hang with their friends, my three elementary school kids would likely prefer to have stayed home with Mama. Tabby's been unusually fussy today, whining about everything.
I'm taking Grandma to the doctor first thing this morning, not that she can't drive herself, but I want to have all the information firsthand regarding her carotid artery blockage situation. I want to be able to ask questions and be sure we make the best decision as how to proceed. If they don't want to do any corrective procedure, they best give me a comforting explanation.
That I'm so daily amused by my dogs, illustrates the frustration over my children that don't respond to behavior redirection, that don't learn as they go. I have one very rambunctious, so full of herself dog, Shadow, that's young and boisterous, yet after learning of this one habit, this going to bed in Jack's room at 8 each night, when Jack calls her, she automatically responds. No matter what mischief Shadow is getting into, when beckoned at 8, she happily and obediently trots off after Jack.
We've had the same plodding, mundane routines all these years, the same minimal expectations, the same seats at the dinner table, the same schedule overall for decades, and every single day of the year I get oppositional behavior from some predictable recalcitrant, whose brain mass has to be ten times that of Shadow's pea brain.
These dogs learn from experience, I fear that many of my children might not ever do so.
The dogs obediently go outside first thing in the morning, returning when they're ready, scratching at the door, and patiently waiting for a response, for a human to obey...and we always do so, having learned this skill by repetition, by reward and response, we're rewarded by their happy response.
I've awakened all the kids every school day at 6:30 without fail since 1976 when Sarah started Montessori School. I don't oversleep, I don't remain in bed, and expect them to all get themselves up. This is set in stone, this is what we do. My teenagers all have to be out the door by 7:25, and literally I give 5 minute warning increments, every five minutes after 7.
Even my hens respond positively when they hear my voice greeting them each morning, they've learned to put two and two together and get four. Why can't my children add better? Because grief and trauma have combined to short circuit their thinking patterns. Duh, Cindy.
I suppose I should just take some pleasure in knowing I don't have to dress anyone anymore, I just holler out the reminders. I'm perched here, typing and looking down the long hallway, turning my head ever so slightly I can see into the kitchen, dining room and part of the family room, like a lifeguard, alert and answering tons of repetitive questions in which they don't truly listen to the answers.
But this is way better than the years of folks refusing to attend school, or getting kicked out for fighting. Overall it's beyond peaceful in comparison to some other years and I'm grateful to the bone.
Maybe today I'll even have time for toting some more wheelbarrow loads of wood chips to cover the manure on various garden beds. Honestly, that's how I define bliss.
And true to form, I write of Alex, yet picture Jack's photo, describe Shadow's behaviors while putting Princess the Prom Queen's photo up, she of such delicate nature, prancing around here in pink outfits, a sweet natured cuddly Yorkie that we've been blessed to own, a thank-you Elizabeth moment.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
In spite of all my whining and carrying on here about mental health, injuries and attacks on folks, there's truly nothing I'd rather do than bust out laughing. Last night's channel flipping sent me to a show I'm embarrased to tell you that I watched, it's crass and demeaning to women, but I happened upon a fart scene that left me falling down laughing, this after my son, Jesse's, smart-aleck Facebook response to a theft Chuck had suffered, "That's a ballsy crackhead," Jeese had remarked because some idiotic fool had stolen the catalytic converter out from under Chuck's truck, while he was at work in a usually very decent crime-free area.
Chuck's certainly not laughing, but to his credit, he's calm and unruffled, he never blows up, never, ever - and it's a trait I both admire and envy, as I'm loud, often obnoxious and volatile.
By late summer each year, one finds oneself so harried and frazzled by the canning, freezing, drying of produce, the harvesting, and the weeding, the digging and the mulching, that time can blast by, and here in Georgia we've lost the window of opportunity to plant greens for the fall.
I hardly have ten collard plants, that's shameful. I've also not re-painted anything all winter, and I get short with myself about it, still not comprehending that I only have 24 hours a day, and I'm right good about setting aside eight of them for sleeping.
The decluttering continues in a major way and I'm super happy 'bout that. I've saved some cash for a roof repair that's been put off too long, and I'm more than satisfied over my nearly ceaseless winter preparation for next season's gardens.
The kids head back to school after last week's snow vacation, they're glad as well. Ten days at home what with the snow, weekends and MLK Day.
I dearly want to read this book, but the review alone on Green L.A. Girl's blog set my nerves afire, both with shame over us Americans, and helplessness thinking about the large scale issue.
I've long felt this way, this wastefulness is past appalling, and environmentally hand-in-hand with other concerns I have overall.
I've put some 150 pepper seeds in flats this week, more than that including my beloved jalapenos, but I'm also planting for Grandma, Yolie and Sarah's gardens as well. My goal, for the rest of my life, is to do that for as many of my grown children as I possibly can, it's simply second nature to me, and I have the greenhouses for my backup. They're busy raising young children, this is my way of contributing to their efforts and dedication.
But check out this beautiful hand built set-up I came across on another blog I read. It is beautiful, or what? I have a plan in my head for more of these as well.
In Georgia, the weeding never ceases, I wish I'd taken the time in the last 40 years to learn the weeds by names, this one is an example of the many that thrive during our usually fairly mild winters.
Wow, who wanders around taking pictures of weeds? Who has two buckets by her side, one for the nasty quackgrass rhizomes that ain't even fit to be composted, the other as fodder for chicken and/or the mulch bed pile?
Even in the kitchen, we have a scrap bucket that all vegetable matter lands in, or nearby, thereby making more work for me, but out of the landfill, relegated to the compost pile, and this typing dork sorts and picks out that which the hens relish, trotting happily outside, "Hey Girls!" I always holler, and they set up a responding ruckus, "Look what I have for you."
Such a contrast to cooking dinner every night for those who'd complain just to fuss about something to indicate their internal dissatisfaction at not being raised by their birth parents.
Nando's head is gonna be cold today, he'd had Chuy carefully shave it last night in the kitchen, "Here Mom, you can sweep it up and throw outside for the birds to build a nest," which is, of course, a sweet idea, which illustrates Nando's loving nature.
I'd already trimmed Tabby's hair a good two inches last night, she has thick beautiful, yet often unmanageable tresses, she'd been nagging me for a week, asking me to cut it...the last two babies of mine who'll settle for a homemade hair salon
Monday, January 17, 2011
A week of snow on the ground, this is the top of the dirt driveway leading down into the woods where little has melted and it's been a week already.
But it's not very cold. CW and Martin helped me haul more loads of manure, they dumped it for me while I cleared the pathways again, as the leaves fall, blow and obscure them just about every day in winter.
We'd successfully manured what I'd wanted to accomplish today right before it started raining which utterly thrills me, knowing the manure will absorb and hold the moisture, making for some ecstatic earthworms who'll reward me with their rich castings. I quickly smothered the garden beds with wood chips, happy and excited for the upcoming spring.
Tabby, in her pjs and boots, was feeding the chickens and following me around, as she's often doing, questioning me over and over about the blackberry harvesting timetable.
No one squabbled, complained, fussed, or disobeyed all day. Well it's only 5 in the evening...
With all the talk in the media of mental illness, regarding the Tuscon shootings, I've been shaking my head, almost at a loss for words, knowing how challenging it is for a parent to find the mental health help when it is needed.
This article, Suspected Tucson shooter 'slowly spiraled into madness,' of course, made me uneasy, as they all do, in that I know from long, sad, bitter experience how elusive this help can be, even when it has been eventually secured.
It's just the nature of the experience nowadays, no one wanting to replicate the snake pit of the 1950s, nowadays releasing folks when they appear to be stabilized, even though now finally grasping that they'll soon explode once again with often disastrous results, sending injured witnesses screaming into the night, "Why wasn't his person in a mental institute?"
I'd recently seen a Dateline, or some such TV show, of parents begging a judge for help, but had been refused, had been treated as if they were the root of the problem, and their 11 year old son killed another child within days of his release from a facility. I read stories like this all too often, no wonder lately I've been running away from my computer so much, releasing my frustration via working like a triple-shift hotel maid.
The sad, ugly truth is that there's basically no cure, no good solution, no safety net available. Parents, you're on your own. Good luck with that scenario.
Even a few short years ago, before the mandate that resulted in a simplistic useless concept of wraparound services, folks were telling me, "Well, just call 911 if there's problem," as if that'd be all we'd need.
My first experience with that concept was when I ended up with crime photos of my injury, and somehow that afternoon, when Mayra'd hollered into the phone in her 911 call, a man not in uniform had magically appeared in my hallway, wearing a purple hat, protecting us. I still never got to the bottom of that, never knew who he was, or how he got there so fast. We live very isolated.
Maybe these lofty high-minded legislators need to spend a week, or a month, with a bipolar raging person, a child even, and let them scramble, struggle and weep through the night trying to keep everyone safe. Let them see their family members attacked and personally know firsthand how this feels? Ya think that's a viable option?
Usually, the hard-working, dedicated folks in these institutions, the counselors, therapists, and others who do know, will commiserate with me, knowing these particular candidates do not need to be out of a supervised lock down facility, but they, too, are left helpless and hapless, victims of policies dictated by budget constraints and cuts, their professional knowledge curtly dismissed.
I've had two phone calls in three days that Paloma is cutting herself there, where ideally there'd be no implements with which to do so, yet she's so very cunning. If soon to be released, how does one think I could possibly keep her safe from herself? How could others be kept safe in the school system from her, since apparently my family's safety isn't folk's first prioritized consideration?
Grandpa'd wished aloud that he would have lived long enough to have seen my family in a safer situation. He grieved constantly over the way I was treated by mentally ill children, by officials when I'd desperately sought help, and by those who clearly should've known better than to have blamed the victims.
He'd spent the last nine and a half years living here with us, watching with astonishment, shock, and fright, begging me, encouraging me to keep on seeking help, he himself felt so helpless, unable to protect his daughter, even physically, from the ensuing Hell at times. He, too, had been robbed and disrespected here, while continually pouring out his love to my often hateful children.
He'd mustered up the strength to attend Isaiah's first birthday party last spring, a long walk over to my side of the house for his very feeble body, he'd gotten to Daniel's commissioning also, events that brought him so much pride, and I'm thankful he'd been there for those times. He was so proud of Jesse and Daniel.
That it is now so much safer and better around here is simply due to the fact that the severely mentally ill ones are older now, chronologically grown up, and pretty much banned from entering back upon my property, even though in several cases I do maintain contact with them.
That I recently have a $2659 bill on some tests run on my heart, I sit here looking at the gibberish results, knowing I don't properly understand medical jargon, but I know I must now work unceasingly hard on maintaining a lower stress load, so my over-taxed heart, the same heart that's been unusually well protected by my wonderfully healthy diet for life, by the exercise I get through hard work, by the supplements I take - but now is at risk from literally exploding from within.
I sure wouldn't mind just going on to Heaven, but I do still have a lot of work to do here first.
The good news is that the same health insurance I'd just fussed about increasing their premiums, has paid a whopping 80% of this bill already. That thought alone brought down my blood pressure - the same blood pressure that's always been so low as to provoke a medical personnel into asking if I'm a jogger. I always preen initially at the perceived compliment, but I can't take credit for that discipline. I wish I were a runner, but I'm not. I'm a plodder. One who gets it done through persistence and perseverance, not admirable speed nor agility.
My sons were being buttheads yesterday, in frustration I went outside and hauled my own wood chips to my Big Back Garden, Allen eventually joining me, but only because he wanted something. He hauled six wheelbarrow loads for me and I drove him over to his friend's house, the dad there is a detective, a guy who'd gone to high school with Chuck and Yolie, but it's the grandparents I've known for so long.
I warily allowed Sabrina to drive back home down the still snowy dirt road, she's gotta get the experience.
My inmate son chumped some dumb girl into bailing him out of jail. Miriam took JoJo out to eat, and Yolie and Chuck came by later.
I'd been puttering around, thinking this was probably the first time in my entire life that I'd hauled wood chips, or that I'd even gardened, when the entire back half of my garden still had six inches of ice-encased snow left sitting on it. It went to 55 degrees, sweatshirt weather, no way I could stay inside, the sun felt wonderful on my back, and I know that gardening is the very best thing I can do to repair my broken, worn-out, busted, abused, and banged up heart.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Yolie'd theorized if I'd just kept my irrepressible, big, fat mouth shut, that first week the kids went back to school after the Christmas Holidays, if I'd just not said that I actually missed them, then I might not have jinxed the entire north Georgia weather into a paralyzing snowstorm. Dee, I apologize for crapping up Atlanta.
Apparently never learning, I bragged here yesterday that they'd all done so well while cooped up... and then no less than three fights broke out.
Mr. Provocateur changed the channel on a show Mr. Basement Digger was watching.
"Change it back," Mr. DB warned.
"No," ignorantly growled the one who's well on his way to eventual-destruction-by-others-provoked-by-him.
Mr. DB pushed him, Mr P dumbly pushed back, and it was on, with me just three feet away, warning Mr. P to stop, then having to dive between them and break them up, the older boys rapidly running to respond to the commotion. Martin slinging his birth brother across the room, knowing instinctively that he'd been the instigator. Duh.
I'd been just three feet away because Mr. P had already been pushing an older sister, who was fixing to fly off the handle, this after he'd pushed Scotty's buttons mercilessly, until Scotty punched him, and it was on, Sabrina dragging them apart. I ain't about to jump over the kitchen counter into the living room like I'm Jackie Chan or something, I have precious seed flats incubating there now.
Mr. P spent the rest of the day in his room, but this is exactly what I've been fretting about, wondering if there's any medication to make one not want to provoke someone into punching you in the face? Hello? What words can I use with Dr. C, the psychiatrist, to properly explain this anomaly? Another reason for a valid psych eval, as Dr. Mandy can articulate, document and explain so much better these ridiculous behaviors.
Knocked into a bookcase during the affray, I was furious and tired of being the one that gets knocked around like a rag doll, as everyone around here is outweighing me, no easy feat for them, as I've been cold-weather ravenous lately, eating a ton each day, my clothes snug on me nowadays.
Cleaning the trashed kitchen, I was thinking, as I'm prone to do, that possibly with this kid's deeply flawed genetic history of some severe mental illnesses historically in their birth family, maybe, just maybe, I'm starting to see the adult onset seriousness of something very off-kilter. This is just not normal behavior, and he does have a very long history of disruptive behaviors, they've just not been this difficult to manage, especially when compared to a very mentally ill, imprisoned birth brother and a sociopathic sister of his. But, lately, the escalation has been tremendously obvious.
I don't understand the concept of a fist fight. It proves nothing. Someone's gonna get hurt. Why would anyone wanna do that? As children, my brothers, my sister and I argued, debated, yelled, and carried on, but we never hit each other. Who does that? Is it only nerdy dorks like us that don't? We'd make flow charts and get encyclopedias out to prove our point. We'd peddle furiously to the public library for back-up information, if need be.
I never physically fought with guys I'd dated or married either, I just left. Bye-bye. After my second marriage, and then a few half-hearted dates, I just was dog-tired of relationship drama. I took a dive, I ain't dating, I'm out. Now, many years later, I'm very glad that I did so, it sure wouldn't ever have worked when I had 26 kids still living at home.
Mr. P, thankfully, doesn't pick on folks younger than him, instead, and against all reasonable odds, he provokes those who are bigger, and way less able to reign in their temper. Honestly it feels like a death wish.
He'd hit me yesterday, "No, I shoved you," he argued back, "You shouldn't have got in the way." He'd have been dead if I hadn't intervened, and my blood pressure was pounding in my ears. Knowing how to properly redirect my own frustration and resulting rage, I scrubbed the tarnation out of the dishes, multiplying in my head, 1087 days until he's 18, and I will then legally not have to monitor this death wish of his, this provocation. And he sure as heck then won't be living here in this house with those issues.
JoJo'd been the one pulling the Basement Digger away, "Don't do it, dude, it's not worth it."
"I'm gonna tell people that you let him hurt me, " the Provoker yelled at me. What the crap? I got hurt when I intervened. I was the only one standing there with tears of pain in my eyes, worried over my brittle bones and over-taxed heart. See? I ain't fit to date.
"Go right ahead," another kid shouted furiously, "Mom has witnesses to what happened."
I stormed off into the kitchen, so furious my own chest hurt, wonder if I'll go out with a heart attack? Using italics is a stress reducer, I talk in italics too, all Southerners do so.
I'd just bellyached about a $15 increase in my land line bill in December, due to a series of collect calls from jail, only to be awakened this morning at 4:50 by another such one. Seriously? Same kid, same charge, different county jail.
Maybe his tenth arrest in the past few years? How does one not learn from these experiences? This guy is not mentally ill, troubled yes, violent as all get out, mean, lazy, thuggish, chronically unemployed, and unteachable apparently.
I DVR different HGTV shows with pretty pictures to calm me back down after these blood pressure inducing events, but then I get irrationally irked all over again because these young'uns of mine have torn my house up so badly, and HGTV just seems to rub the lack of everything in to my scrunched-up face that's wrinkling up fast.
Deep, deeeeeep breaths, count in, count out.
Here on January 15th, we already spent 71% of our grocery budget...it's probably my fault, I can't get filled up.
Still on my 'touch everything and decide immediately on its usefulness' I'd tackled my small upstairs clothes closet, taking every single item out, vacuuming every single inch of the floor and both now empty shelves, and then putting back only what I've used lately, which sure ain't much.
I'd had brown high heels from Yolie's wedding nearly 8 years ago. Like an inch and a half, but I'd squalled like a stuck piglet the entire time I'd worn them that one time, kicking them off immediately after the service, why the heck were they still sucking up space in my closet? Off to Goodwill, along with a crap load more. I don't use it, why do I have it? I don't even like brown shoes.
I have a majority of empty bureau drawers in my room, the kids have stolen and/or destroyed everything over the past 25 years, I don't bother to replace it, vacant bureaus being relegated only as plant stands anymore.
It went to 49 degrees yesterday, sweet CW and I got my truck down the hill, stuck only once, and I was busting from within to haul wood chips, or rather to beg CW to help me, only to find us and the wheelbarrow ridiculously stuck in ice after just one load. "This suuuuuuuuucks," I wailed like a two year old, CW benevolently consoling his idiotic mother, who's deeply craving garden time in January.
I'm fretting already over Grandma's garden beds, wanting them perfectly ready to plant, fearing she'll need surgery, and I'll have to get her gardens planted for her also. We'll know something this Wednesday. I'd rather be prepared and not need it, then the other way around, to again jinx it. Y'all know I'm just kidding 'bout that. Us Church of God folks don't believe in luck. Who wants luck when there's blessings to be had?
Oh Dear Lord, I know I'm so full of it.
OK, deep breathing again, I gotta get everyone ready for church, since last Sunday several kids made us late. I had to sit uncomfortably closer to the front with the Bubbas behind me, not a stance I like, best to get there on time, and grab the back rows, me with my eye on everyone, less stressed.
Lord have mercy I need some calm-down church time, re-charge my faltering batteries, I need to remember that God'll see me through.
And I will date again someday, if only to have a human being be nice to me for once. I'll tell him I'm 70, when I'm 60, so he'll think I look good for my age...this stress is completely fogging up my brain.