Please Just Don't Pee on my Pants

The trials, tribulations and successes of a teacher on her own journey towads independence.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 5ish - Everyone Just Settle Down Ranch

Day 5 – Everybody Just Settle Down Ranch
Wednesday, September 8, 2010. The kids woke up early, way early. They were so excited! From 6:30 until 8:10 all I heard was “Mom is it time to go?” I should be happy they wanted to go to their new school with such enthusiasm but they were actually driving me NUTS.
When I returned to the house I actually had to find a way to get through the gate to the house without Bucky escaping. Eventually when he was on the other side of the house I got brave and made a run for it. Safely in the yard without an escaping dog… YES!
My first day completely alone on the “Ranch”… I decided to be homey and make zucchini bread, found a recipe had most of the ingredients… didn’t know that until I was well into the mess. Somehow we had no vanilla so I substituted almond flavoring. It seems to have worked; but maybe that is just because I haven’t had zucchini bread since I was a teenager living in Wisconsin and at that time – anything with vegetables and a sever lack of grease didn’t count as food.
I must say Greg has been very attentive today. He has made me feel much loved. He does on most days; but today for some reason is more special – not sure why – just is.
So I get to smell the baking of bread and type… that is when I really decided to make this a bit of a series… my journey into a new world… into the soul of what really matters in earth. So now off I go, with just slightly less than a quarter tank of gas and 20 cents to my name – off to collect the kids from school. What next? Time will tell.
Well time told of course… this evening I had a huge, huge break down. My children that I love with all my heart I couldn’t take care of. This is the first time since they were born that I felt that way. Eliza and Lorenzo both needed allergy medicine. I had lost what we had, knew where it was when we moved so it must have vanished into thin air (hey, parents can use that as excuse too you know). So in my room I laid down and cried. I cried and cried and cried because I didn’t have $1.10 to go across the stupid street and get them each an allergy pill. I felt so useless and so helpless; such a horrible mother who can’t even take care of her own kids.
Eliza and Lorenzo eventually raided their piggy bank and came up with enough money to purchase the medicine. So with a crying face, jamies and socked feet I went to the quick store across the street. Put all their money on the counter and asked for Benadryl. Then I walked out sobbing without waiting for the change. I was distraught, I was in pain, I wanted someone to hold me and tell me I was doing the right thing. I wanted to take care of my kids rather than have them take care of me.
I couldn’t even talk to Terri or Greg… that night I CRIED!

Day 4ish - Everyone Settle Down Ranch

Day 4 – Everybody Just Settle Down RanchDay 4, Tuesday, September 7, 2010… my mom’s birthday – how she is on my mind today and how much I miss the laughter we used to share together. The kids and I begin the exciting search for their new school. We eventually find it after I call and admit that the nice lady gave wonderful directions; it was just that I wasn’t being a very good listener. Those of you who know me know I can only really focus on one thing at a time if anything is to be done correctly. I can multitask but it is always at the expense of something. We get to the school, get them all registered – Eliza needs to get two shots which she is not happy about… ugh. School doesn’t start until 8:45 – I’m thinking hmmmm this should be an interesting twist to our world. What in the heck are we going to do in the morning to keep everyone safe and alive for that extra hour and a half before school.The kid’s allergies have been very bad since we got here. I did go across the street and spend three of our ten dollars on some visine, so at least they wouldn’t rub their eyes until they were puffy and closed. I did bring along the allergy medicine, but somehow I have misplaced it. Now we need both allergy medicine and gas… on seven dollars. I manage to scrape enough change together for three doses of Benadryl and fill the tank up to a quarter of a tank of gas… plus I have 20 cents left over in pennies in my wallet. Life is never dull around me; one never quite knows what will happen… heck most of the time I don’t even know.The dogs have decided to call a truce and become friends. The cat is still pissed off at the world and hiding under the bed… her choice I suppose. Of course we unpack most of the day. Franz does some weed whacking then decides it is time to teach his seven year old brother how to do it so that when Franz isn’t around his mom will still have help. Again I almost cry – my baby is growing up. With the support of my boyfriend, Greg, Franz is becoming a bit of a man and less of a boy. He is learning how to take care of his mom a little bit.The kids are a totally ton tired of our moving meals of cup a noodle soup, sandwiches, or you are on your own for whatever you want menu. So I start the morning off with the goal of the day being to have the kitchen clean enough and organized enough to actually cook a homemade meal. Took some effort and concentration on my part so I didn’t wander around doing 10 things and finishing none – but I got there. We (the kids) decided on fried fish for dinner with veggies and rice. My experience with frying fish left something to be desired so I decided to make up a new, one of a kind, my very own recipe and it turned out fabulous! I could hardly believe it. I also made tartar sauce for the very first time in my life – and that was actually good too. We all sat around the table in the living room on the floor to eat, since we don’t have enough kitchen chairs to sit at the kitchen table (someday we will). But I actually enjoyed our little meal in the living room. Lorenzo had decided to direct the conversation over dinner to the topic of “how does one make friends?” The kids had interesting outlooks on the topic and I’m not too sure we helped Lorenzo, but we laughed a lot and it felt good to be sitting together and having family time… no TV, no music… just us and conversation. I knew I had to get outside and “water” after I did the dishes and by the time I got out there… Franz announced that it was already done… taking care of mom again… I almost cried AGAIN. Kids showered to get ready for school in the morning. We sat together and watched Hope Floats one of my favorite movies… although I must admit our family Tigger also known as Lorenzo was bouncing around as usual – so most of us watched the move… well Eliza followed Lorenzo so I guess to be honest I have to say that Franz and I watched the movie. The other two just kind of took small tastes. Excited for school the next day – everyone wandered off to bed. Bucky even got to sleep in the house which made me nervous… but he joined me in bed sometime around midnight. Not my sweet boyfriend, but it worked for me at least for that night.

Day 3 - Everyone Just Settle Down Ranch

Day 3 – Everybody Just Settle Down Ranch
Now we find ourselves on day 3, September 6, 2010 out on our little piece of dirt. Labor Day – the internet and TV people (yuck on the TV part – but with kids – I’ve decided with limited use it is something I can live with) are suppose to come today… eventually I found out they couldn’t find the house… a price to pay for living in nowhere. Now they have directions and promise they will find me next week – then I will be able to post this little adventure.
The day is spent with Eliza and Franz both working on unpacking along with myself – but we work at a much slower pace… because really what is the hurry the boxes are not going to go anywhere in the next year. We sort boxes, we unpack… the kids take breaks with their Play Station and working outside. The day is fun and enjoyable – no arguing, no bickering, no fighting. Just maybe we will all settle down out here after all. That is part of my plan – learning to live together like a family not like separate people living different lives in the same home. The world has changed so much since the times when I grew up.
We meet Lorenzo, my ex and Bucky, my Doberman who has been residing with my ex until I found a place that would allow his large, uncoordinated body to celebrate itself. On the way home… Imagine one person in the front seat, two in the back with a 100 pound dog. I’m surprised we actually made it home all safe and sound but we did.
Lorenzo was sooooo excited to spend his first night in his very own room; but then decided he needed his mom in order to be able to do it. So we snuggled up close together and he made it through his first night as a big boy in his very own room – which he is very particular about.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Everyone Just Settle Down Ranch - Day One

Day 2 – Everyone Just Settle Down Ranch
Ah, Sunday, September 5, 2010. I was hearing a calling from God to be sure to get to church on this day. I tried of course to explain the situation – I had no appropriate clothing, couldn’t find the shampoo and conditioner and let’s not even mention my tooth brush and tooth paste plus my bible. I had many reasons not to go that day including the 30 minute drive it would take to get to the church I was interested in going to… and I couldn’t talk my 13 year old son into going with me all though I tried many times. The service was at 9:00 didn’t make that one… the next one was at 11:00. It is interesting how the Lord works because by 9:30 I had appropriate clothing, along with shampoo and conditioner. So with $10 and a half of a tank of gas I headed off to church – oh yes and my 7 year old son’s bible – because I couldn’t find mine.
I prayed and prayed that I get there on time and actually was only 2 minutes late and the music was just beginning. The people who greeted me were warm and friendly. I felt like I was in a safe place that would nurture not only my soul but also my walk with Jesus as I continued that journey. I was amazed, absolutely amazed by the music coming forth from the stage. I can’t really find the words to describe it except that it was absolutely moving and pulling me into the group. I felt as if I had found a home; a safe haven in the crazy world in which so many of us have to reside.
As Pastor Pat shared the bible with us I found that I felt like he was speaking directly to me. He had a lot of people in that chapel but he and I took a study through passages in the Bible and I finally understood those passages at my level. He didn’t speak down to me like so many Pastors in my past tended to do; and he wasn’t 95 years old. How would I describe him… he was nicely dressed (not in a stiff suit – thank goodness) casual but appropriate for where we were. He taught the passages of the Bible a bit like my vision of an educated Hippy would share. He used real words like cool, awesome… he challenged us to walk up to someone this week and just say, “Hey, Jesus loves me and you know what he loves you too”. Now how cool is that. There were agape boxes around the building where people could leave offerings rather than being put on the spot as the plate was passed – which always embarrassed me… as I seldom have money. I felt it was okay this time to keep my $10 because God knew I needed it.
It was also announced that the Bible Study with Beth Moore was coming up (which I knew from visiting the information center earlier in the week). I desperately wanted to grow with this study and for those of you who are not familiar with Beth Moore I would love to introduce you to her work. I went the information center and explained that I could pay for the study on the 15th but at the moment I could not. The angel behind the desk just told me to fill out an envelope and show up for the class when it started. I don’t know if she paid for me to go or if the chapel figures into the budget that some people just can’t do what they need and want to do because of finances – on the 15th I will be happy to pay not only for myself; but for someone else who wouldn’t be able to go because of finances and not having the belief in the Lord that He will provide if we only ask. I left loved and blessed and with a desire to go back over the passages we had talked about and write how I felt about each passage or what that particular passage made me think about.
I returned to the ranch to find that my boy, remember he is 13, didn’t just sit and chill while I was gone… he had started unpacking and setting up his room, he had figured out the weed whacker (way beyond what I am capable of doing) and chopped tons of grass. He had worked without me telling him to do so, or begging him to do so, or my demanding and yelling for him to do so. He did it because he wanted to do it. As I walked in the first thing he asked was “How was the music?” I almost cried. Again I was so blessed by our Lord. Now he is excited to go with me his next weekend with me.
The two of us worked together for several hours to unpack and unpack and unpack. Then my dad came over with two new shower heads that have the cord thingy and taught Franz how to change that out. It was fun to listen to as Grandpa gave his Grandson directions instead of just doing it himself. It was nice that my son wanted to learn and Grandpa wanted to show him. I love the way that looks and sounds in my own little world.
After Grandpa had said he needed to give us instructions on how to water the plants… he was very specific about the ritual he had developed. We sat outside, the three generations of us watering, waiting and watering again. Then Richard showed up my Eliza and it was so good to see her even though she had her 11 year old, queen of the world attitude with her. She and I spent our first night sharing a room together. This is bound to be an interesting adventure.
Toward evening this day becomes “Nervous/Anxiety break down day”… my boyfriend is a bit upset with me because he doesn’t get the hundred texts he is used to getting… reception in my new area on my cell phone – well, let me just say it is a challenge. I also decide that at 43 for some reason moving becomes more challenging then it was at 23. I think about all the moves I’ve had… Libya – the company came and packed up all our belongings and off we went. Coming home from Libya Dad had to leave all our belongings in the middle of the street so there wasn’t much work on that one either – I consider that our first trip around the world. We moved 3 times in Wisconsin but I was a teenager wrapped up in my own little world so I didn’t do anything to help with that either. I do remember the winter we turned one of the bathrooms into a kitchen so we could remodel the kitchen. I also know I wasn’t very pleasant that winter… take away a teenage girl’s bathroom and then sit back and just watch what happens. Eventually Mom and Dad moved to Yap… I stayed in Wisconsin until after the first summer… when Mom and I; ok I’ll admit it… when Mom sold everything we had, we loaded up the car with a bicycle on the back and the racing canoe on the front and headed to California where we had family. That trip and moving was actually a lot of fun. Even in her 40’s Mom was willing to go down the Colorado River white water rafting for a day. Isn’t interesting the things we remember. I moved around a lot in Los Angeles while I was there… from Mission Hills to North Hollywood. When I finally decided to grow up and finish college… Mom told me to sell my car and buy an airline ticket to Guam. Hmmm that move wasn’t so hard either – heck all I had were my clothes and a ticket. My point is that really in actuality most of moves were fairly easy – this time I was moving myself, my three kids and everything we owned into a fully furnished house and kitchen… so that night I did cry, several times. Thank goodness my loving boyfriend, Greg was kind and caring enough to let me go on and on and on. Sleep came and with it a better attitude in the morning.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Building Forts

I'm wandering through a new book today. The directions said to pick a number between 1 and 47 as there are that many chapters. I picked chapter 16 which takes an adult (or at least someone over 10) through a trip of fort building. It made me think of all the forts I built when I was young. Some with my big brother that we would share and play board games in, color in, listen to music in and just talk. He was always fun to play with and has always been a hero of mine. Except for when he wasn't then the fort would be plastered with a sign that said "Boys Go Away and Stay Out!)

Then it made me think of present day reality and the huge complicated forts my children make in one of the bed rooms upstairs. It just about drives me totally nuts because of the total chaos that they leave up for a week at a time in the summer. I hear them playing and laughing. Mostly I just let them be... simply because I can't find the intricate way they have created to get into their fun world of escape from reality.

I am sitting here and thinking - geee you know what... maybe I should turn the couches around for a day, get some sheets and blankets and make a fort for all of us. We could watch movies, color, eat junk food and just be plain old silly. For me do nothing that needs doing for the day except sitting in a fort and playing with my kids. What a wonderful escape that would be from the world. I think I'm going to give that a go this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes... but I'm looking forward to the surprise on their face and the fun in the fort.


Monday, August 16, 2010

The End of Day One

The End of Day One

Yes, we really are only at the end of day one. We were in a fairly crummy hotel probably not in the safest part of town; but we were able to afford a suite. The idea, or at least the adult thinking, was that the kids could crash in the “living room” part of the suite while Terri and Gretchen got to sleep in the “bedroom” part of the suite. Of course, this proved to be interesting.
After 7 showers, wet swim suits, wet towels, wet floor and wet clothes that all had to be hung up on the rail outside the hotel; it was time for dinner. You got it PBJ. For that is what we planned to live on for the four days we were on the road. We fixed the sandwiches, this time without the added sand – more or less anyway. For some reason when one goes to the beach in a van the whole van becomes engulfed in some kind of sand storm.
Everyone fed and clean it was time for a movie and to settle down. All the kids were stretched out on the floor with tons of pillows and blankets; the movie was started along with mass amounts of construction. For those of you who have never traveled with 7 children be warned; fort building becomes a huge construction project and can take hours. Then the arguing starts over who gets to sleep in what fort. Obviously they didn’t need the movie or the tv, the kids had plenty to do on their own.
We checked on them several times knowing that trying to put an end to the fort building would cause us more grief then it was worth; so the kids finally settled down way after 10:00. I don’t really know what time the drifting began, but slowly the “bedroom” space was invaded. First it was Jacob – he couldn’t sleep, so now there were three of us in the bed. Then was Lorenzo – he had a bad dream and could only be put to sleep by my singing “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer” which I kept falling asleep in the middle of singing and he kept waking me up. Of course, the words I sang were in the wrong order. Eventually he gave up and went to sleep. Now there were four of us attempting to sleep in the bed; Jacob and Lorenzo very comfortably I might add. The third to join was Eliza. She is just a mama’s girl and couldn’t stand to be that far away from her mom and still be expected to sleep; never mind it was less than 10 feet and on the other side of the wall. So she joined the bed sleeping across the foot of the bed. I do believe Terri slept through the night. I on the other hand went and joined the rest of the kids in one of the forts. Day one and night one were done and we had all survived somehow.


Car Insurance Incident

Car Insurance Incident

On the way to San Diego at some point water had spilled onto Gretchen’s cell phone. Being newly divorced she knew her John, her ex (now referred to as JBJ or JMFBJ) depending on the level of assholeness he is currently showing to the world. Upon arriving at the hotel after leaving Death Cove Beach Gretchen knew she needed to provide access to her children for JBJ so off she went in search of a cell phone.

She did find a cell phone shop, probably one she already had a contract with since she doesn’t remember signing any new paper work. But this is when she discovered the van borrowed from FF had no insurance. You see as she was pulling into a parking spot the gentleman in the next car swung his car door wide open so Gretchen hit it with the van. Of course there was no damage to the van – his door still closed though. Looking through the glove box it was discovered that no insurance card existed, or at least it wasn’t in the glove box. I did find an outdated registration. At that point I decided I would be better off with the honey technique then the pissed off mom technique. So I got out of the van full of apologies. Gave the man my driver’s license number and the outdated registration so he could get the address off of that (never mind no one lived there any longer) assured him that the vehicle was registered but I couldn’t find proof of that at the moment. He thank goodness decided that was enough, pulled out more than slightly pissed off as I ran into the phone store to solve my own unique problems.

Upon returning to the hotel I explained to Terri that FF had no insurance on the van. Great! The kids just wanted to go swimming even though they had just survived a brush with death and Death Cove Beach… so off to the swimming pool the nine of us went.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Death Cove Beach

Death Cove Beach

So yes, the two families did eventually arrive in San Diego, CA. Before even checking into their hotel they decided to go down to the beach. Upon arriving the loaf of bread they had planned on using for PBJ that day fell on the ground into sand… 10 second rule applied… sand sandwiches were interesting. They had a certain grainy texture.
After feeding the children a half way decent but interesting meal the crew went on search for the beach that Terri thought she remembered. After climbing rocks along the coast for about a mile she decided the beach had been moved. Not that we were in the wrong area, but that specifically someone had moved the beach of her childhood. The two happy families did finally stumble onto a Cove type beach and the kids were excited, climbed and jumped down from the rocks and into the water before we knew what was even going on. By the time we got down to the sand it was obvious that Joe was in dangerous waters, close to rocks and big waves. The three little boys were being sucked out by the current. Franz grabbed one of the younger boys and threw him out of the water while I went after the other 2 younger boys and Terri went after Joe. With the two little boys clinging to my legs I was struggling myself when Terri grabbed on to me for her own safety. Somehow she had reached Joe and had his hand… and there I was like a train ready to drown. We all escaped death that day – Lord only knows how. Upon getting back on the sand Joe, being autistic, immediately took all his clothes off because he couldn’t stand the sensory input and puked. Yep threw up right there in the sand in front of all those big strong surfers who didn’t help us a bit, didn’t offer a hand, nothing. Assholes.

Now that I look back on the complete situation I realize that there were no surfers in the water. They knew darn well that water wasn’t safe, but gave us no warning it. Now it feels like they were thinking “This is gonna be good; let’s just watch and see how this goes down.” I have no respect for those surfers who stood around and watched as two fully capable but struggling women tried to save their seven kids. Not one of them offered a hand, not one of them went near the water to pull someone out. How can they honestly live with themselves?

After walking/hiking the mile back to the car with 7 terrified children, one naked; we loaded up the van and decided that we had experienced enough of Death Cove Beach and were heading to the hotel where at least the water was a bit less threatening.

All just part of the flow of life.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

When does life really begin has always been a question of great discussion. There are those that believe life begins at birth, others that life begins at conception, and others that life begins with cognitive thought. Then there is me. I think life really begins once one turns 43. Why 43 you may ask, what is so special about that number? Well life changes at 43. In my case I have been divorced, lived high on the hog and in the mud under the hog. I’ve had three children, have the stretch marks and c-section scars to prove it (as well as the three children). I was raised by a mother who self medicated herself with alcohol, then prescription medications for pain. Then she finally overdosed on her pain meds because they didn’t work and she had forgotten if she had taken them that day. I grew up with a dad completely addicted to soccer. That was his way to escape from whatever reality was throwing at him. I remember when I was three and he didn’t come home from work as he had been in a bad accident on the LA freeway. I didn’t know what happened or where he was; but when he did come home he looked like a robotic monster all wired together. My superhero was taken away from me. I’ve been to Libya where we had to fight for survival and food; Yap where at times we had to shower out of the rain water bin because there would be no water on the island (yes surrounded by water) for three months of the year. I have been to court to fight for the right to live my life in my way; without abuse and constant degrading. I won that fight, then lost that fight and had to re-battle before finally declaring victory over the war. Judges aren’t really as smart as they like to pretend they are. Most of the time they don’t even hear what is going on since their mind is consumed with their crap from their own lives. I have read tons of self help books that I have torn up and thrown away; all of them trying to improve on who I am by making me someone I am not. I have been diagnosed with bipolar co-morbid with high anxiety disorder. Been to ER three times for my own safety and admitted to a psych ward once. I have been deceived by those I love greatly and brought back by those I hardly know. I now, after 43 years have the ability to look back at all of that and say “life is a journey, it is what it is.” And so begins the story…
Many people say I have lived a hard road. I don’t see it as any harder than anyone else’s road; just a different trail, a different path through a different part of the woods or on a different sandy beach. We all have hard times when we have to pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and say suck it up sister and get your ass moving – that is just life. Sometimes easier than others. What you have in your hands is a collection of thoughts through my life and my eyes when the flow of life has challenged my inner being.


Constipation stops up the world with all kinds of shit. There is work shit, kid shit, divorce shit, money shit… and it all gets stuck deep in the bowels of your own living hell, until you end up in the hospital. Then the doctor does x-rays, examinations, tests and more tests and comes back and says, “All you need is a good shit.” No kidding…That is what this writing is about – cleaning out all the shit and moving on with life. Recovery and celebration… getting the flow re-established.

Gretchen and Terri didn’t even know that they were drowning in their own bile when they set off for San Diego with their combined 7 kids, an ex-husband’s van which they didn’t know had no insurance or current registration, heading for the one hotel room they thought they could afford… thank the money shit gods for credit cards, or at least back at that time… now the credit card gods have fallen so far below hell they will never recover – lesson learned.

The morning they were loading up the van to get on the road it was noticed that the spare tire had metal thread showing through; of course the ex-husband currently and forever more named FF had forgotten to mention that. The ladies sat and discussed the pros and cons of leaving the spare and taking it with them. The room was needed for the peanut butter and jelly that they planned on living off of for the next 4 days so the spare tired was left behind – lesson learned, if you don’t have it; you will absolutely need it.

The kids loaded up and they headed down the road only a short 3 hours behind schedule. The ladies actually thought they were doing pretty good.
It became quite obvious about an hour into the trip that the kids needed something to do in order to not kill each other, so to protect our sanity we stopped at Wal-mart and picked up not one; but two portable DVD players that could be hooked together so there would be not arguing over who could see and who couldn’t, and several movies. Of course there was arguing over the movies so one of us became the instant movie control freak. Not an easy task by any means – lesson learned, no solution is as easy as it appears to be.

We were once again on our way only a short 6 hour drive from putting our feet in the sand and salt water of the Pacific Ocean. How hard could this be, we are two grown women, independent and brave… we could do this. We in fact could do anything we put our mind to and yes, we did eventually all arrive in San Diego, CA.

My Rant About Cable TV

When I grew up we had a tv in the living room and every Saturday morning my brother and I would see who could be the first to wake up in order to control the three channels we had.... the news, the cartoons, or the home interior/exterior rebuilding channel. Of course we were fighting over the one and only cartoon channel, but we had to have something to fight over... and back then tv was free and there were no remote controls You actually had to get up to change the channel or turn the volume up or down. Then came six channels - 2 cartoon channels so now it was really important to be the first one up because we also had the remote to fight over... nevermind the other one would just get up and change the channel - we would scream and yell at each other until our very wise mother told us to get the hell out of the house and go play in the street or throw quarters at cars. (I said she was wise, never claimed her suggestions were safe)

Up until 3 days ago we had three tvs in the house... now we have one. I pay 65$ in order to even watch the local 3 channels that were free when I was 6. What else do I get for my 65$... I get the same cartoon channel on 4 different channels all in English, then I get two of the same cartoon show in Spanish. Then there are the 45 info mercials trying to sell me shit (yes shit) that not I nor anyone else needs. In order to lose weight - you eat fewer calories then you burn, throw in some exercise for good measure and off you go... but that takes determination and work and we want the remote control to remove our bellies since the remote control put our bellies there in the first place.

There is one channel that actually plays soccer games with English comentators that I can almost understand. Two channels that play soccer games in Spanish. The home make over shows that play on two channels and one in Spanish... and I get all this for the very (un) reasonable price of $65 a month... I'm thinking today I'm pulling the plug on that horse shit - there are better things to do with $65 a month, like playing a board game with my kids, actually having a conversation with them about their day and their homework, taking them to the park, or taking them on an actual hike, picnic adventure when it isn't 105 degrees outside.

Which means - yes another change for my family to adjust to, but let's be real and clean out the bullshit... as far as music and radio - that is a whole nother rant... we don't have radio either, but I do have a collection of cd's that are acceptable to me for the developmental level of my children... sometimes their friends think I totally suck, sometimes, most times my kids are happy for the structure and limitations.

So stand up, change something, anything, but don't let the rest of the world dictate to you and your family what you need, don't need... or how to grow your family in their best interest.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer Almost Over

So tomorrow is the last day of summer for the year. Can I possibly say YEAH! loud enough. I am happy the kids will be going back to school; but I will also greatly miss the sound of their laughter, the sound of their poking sticks at each oth er just to drive me crazy... I know that wasn't the reason they were poking sticks at each other; but it was effective. I will miss the late nights snuggling and way too much Disney TV - yes it is driving me crazy. I do wish I had the money to take the kids on a vacation; they deserve it and have earned it... situation money... which they have also graciously accepted and understood - they have taken the idea of no money much better than I have. We did do some things that cost no money... park time, skate time, bike time, playing in the rain until we were filthy. We got a puppy to keep us company and everyone is pitching in to take care of the dog - potty training is a challenge... but we may actually be making progress. Are there times that I am overcome by the children and their stuff - absolutely. Sometimes their "joking" was more then I was willing to tollerate and it has taken me until the next to the last day of summer to decide it is white noise like one hears constantly and needs to be turned out unless loud shrieking is contained - even then it is questionable... the basic guidline I have learned at 43 is if it isn't bleeding, broken or now one is barfing life is probably just fine. They are just kids being kids and they are more then ready for Thursday to get here so they can see their friends. Of course, not so they can learn, but for social reasons... kids will be kids.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Working with Bi Polar

This week I was given the amazing opportunity to work with a fabulous and talented group of staff and teachers at Visions Unlimited Academy. I quit working there last year when I was diagnosed because I needed time to get used to the life I now knew I was going to be living. As August came I really, really desired to be back in the classroom working with kids and hoping to change at least one life in some little way this year. Of course the doc said "no way" and the boss said "no way"... and after two days of training teachers I was frustrated to admit they were right. I may be on the road to recovery - but I'm still on the road. I worked the week with the staff and teachers and had a fantastic time, but at a high cost to my wellbeing; and the patience of my children. Now the training is over, and I will be dropping in to coach when these wonderful teachers need some assistence... that I can do and do well... full time - no way. Bi Polar changes your life in more ways then one expects and even when one is feeling well the pain of bi polar is just around the corner and takes just about nothing to kick into place. Painful but so true.


Real Love in a Real World

Most of the wonderful people who know me know how much I love Greg with all my heart. He is a very kind, loving and amazing man. Being in a long distance relationship with anyone would be a challenge, but speaking with him and hearing his voice and being able to laugh with him makes it just a little bit easier. What do I miss about being able to be physically in the same house as Greg? The easy things, the things that so many people take for advantage. The ability to just see him walk across the room, or standing in the kitchen doorway, waxing the car or mowing the lawn... just being with him doing regular life stuff. Watching tv together, having his head in my lap at night when we watch tv together and loving each other.

I'm so lucky to have such an amazing man in my life and I hope that so many of you don't take what I have to work for so hard - easily and discount all the moments you have - when the moments are fewer and farther between perhaps they mean more - but in real life they shouldn't... Love while you get to love, appreciate each other for all the small stuff as well as the other stuff. Love just because we have the ability to love.

Peace and Love,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Home oh Home

A bit back I wrote about how I felt home was where I came from as a child. That childhood house where I grew up before our family started our travels. I have since learned that each and every place I have lived has been "home" because people made it that way. When I went back to Wisconsin this past week I did not expect to feel that homey feeling. I thought I would feel like I was just visiting another place, but that was not the fact. I got to see places where I lived. Places that made me the person I am today. Just as the apartments in Libya have added to whom I am now as has the tin shack and termites in Guam. All of those places have lead me to the place I am now and the home I create for my children and me on a daily basis. So this is not just another house... all those places were not just other houses... what makes a home is what happens within the walls of that house. The love, the laughter, the silliness, the tears... if only the walls could talk and tell the stories of the homes they have been.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Libya and Ladybugs

I think it is interesting how memories come back to us that were lost in the mountains of our minds. Just yesterday as I was hanging clothes up outside - which I haven't done in years since we don't do that in AZ... I had a flash back to days in Libya and when we lived in an appartment and would have to walk the steps to the roof to hang the laundry. I never minded the hike up the stairs and being only 11ish probably enjoyed spending the time with mom as I don't remember my brother helping with such chores; although he may have. I never even disliked the hanging up of the clothes... but the taking down was something that frightened me completely to my bones. You see in Libya the ladybugs would cling to the laundry and the laundry clips by the thousands... yes the thousands. I hated when those you could get to fly away flew away because it was like a swarm. Since there were so many at one time on the roof and on the clothes they never all flew away - many stayed. What I hated most was opening and closing the clothes pins... because the squishing sound of the ladybug that had just been sacrificed so that we could have semi-clean sheets. God how I used to be so fearful of that chore. Thank goodness that is over with.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Live in America - Too Fast

What has happened to the block parties that I grew up with? Where did the weekend parties that happened in someone's garage go with the kids running perhaps a bit wild in the street? When I grew up I could tell you what family lived in every house on our block. I could tell you what houses were "safe" houses and which ones were a bit "weird" even though we all got together from time to time. Now as an adult - I don't even know who my neightbors are and I live in an apartment building. For help I have to call someone who lives 30 minutes away and she has to bring her 4 kids with her. God bless her for being in my life and mine in hers, but is that what we really want in America... to live next to strangers? To really have one person to call in case of an emergency. Used to be my parents could leave us at just about any house on the block at any time if something happened to someone. Now taking 3 kids with me to the ER has become common place. How sad is that for a country to have lost the love for each other. No more dancing in garages, no more banging of pots and pans on new years eve, no more bonfires at the beach with skin tight from a day of swimming and jackets and sweats on because the beach has cooled down and now we have a fire. Where have te celebrations of our lives gone? Our are worlds really that much better? Have they become that full that people don't take the time to send a card or letter just because they can... show care to people who need care just because it will make them feel good. Spending time down at the local pub just to talk wiht the older generations before all of those stories are gone. That is where the history of our country, the history of our being is... in the stories of the forgotten people. I ask you - when was the last time you really listened to a story with your heart instead of your ears... when was the last time you really processed a story of someone 80 years old and let that story change the path of the life you were living?

US Soccer

the US produces some fine soccer players, but I think they will never really have a world class team even though they have made it to the quarter finals in the world cup before. You see these other men start playing ball with a rolled up t shirt tied with string almost before they can walk... and they play on a rocky dirt patch, bare foot... soccer is born and bread into their blood. Does that mean US players have less heart? No just means we aren't raised with the attitude of play or die when it comes to soccer as we are in other sports of our country. Most of our players do play in for Eurpean teams throughout the season - but what about playing in our own country. I remember as a child going to professional soccer games with my mom and dad - now I don't even know where to find a professional soccer game in our country. Are the bars filled with spectators arguing about calls made by the ref? Nope? Basically no one truly has the heart to even watch a game and to put a heart in the game. If you go to Mexico, Argintina, England or Germany I guarantee you the bars were full, people were yelling - perhaps even arguing during the game - then sitting down and having a cold beer together for watching a fight well fought despite who wins are loses. It is about the game, the ballet played the tackles made - gthe beauty of the sport... the love of the battle. This country has that in football, perhaps baseball... but soccer - they just don't get it. The love of sport... the love coming from the heart and the battle goes on.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Home or House - Views of a Traveler

I was born and mostly raised in Huntington Beach, CA that will always be my home. That is the place where I remember the most about growing up, the place where I feel most connected to. From there we moved to Libya - that certainly wasn't a home, it was barely a house; it was survival and a hope for safety. From there we moved on to Wisconsin where we were for 7 years and moved 3 times. None of those houses even had a chance to become a home. At least under my definition of home. A home being where one is accepted with faults and strengths and unconditional love even when you completely screw things up; because lets face it we all do from time to time; but it shouldn't be the end of something it should be an opportunity to spur growth on - to make what people had just a bit better; a bit stronger. As an adult the longest I've lived in a general facility was in Guam; 9 years - 4 houses. The closest I ever came to a second "home" was with my mom and dad and I was 22. The first time I felt close to any one since being about 9. Then moving to Arizona we moved 4 times in 10 or so years... are there roots here to call home? No there are houses we have lived in; non of which have been full with unconditional love and support. Most filled with verbal and mental abuse. So now in search of a real home... a place where we can all screw up and life goes on; brings the family closer rather then throwing up walls. Doesn't really matter where a home is because it is a feeling not a place. So my chance at having a home again may for the moment be lost and gone. I can only hope that someday that feeling of home will come around again. In the mean time there is sadness, hurt, pain and canatonic lostness.

Standing True

So I've been reading a book about the fact that no one can steal your dignity or security unless you let them. Sounds easy enough in a book... but in real life it is much more challenging.

For example the other day I was approached by one of my ex's current or past girls friends (or screws - yes that was a dig) and she completely verbally attacked me. She accussed me of being a horrible person and a person not worthy of being a mother. I stood there and took it... I have her my dignity and security. So as I think back on the situation I try to analyze it and find the best way I could have handled the problem... this is what I have come up with 1) I could have punched her in the face and told her to mind her own fucking business (probably not the best option but atleast a reaction; 2) I could have told her how I raise my kids was my business and not hers (probably a better reaction; 3) I could have just gotten in my car and not spoken to her at all (probably the best option keeping the most amout of my dignity in tact.

Instead I took the beating which no one should have to stand for. That was 3 days ago, and reminds me how my ex-husband treated me. I wonder - have I really not grown at all? was I just caught that off guard? did I just not see it coming? or am I just that non-confrontational that I will avoid conflict at any cost to myself. Today is day three - I'm still recovering. For someone like me it may take two weeks to recover from an attack like that.

I need to remember my training and the things I learned and stand up for me - because I'm really the only one who has the ability to do so.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Dark Recess of the Mind and BiPolar Disorder

Usually my goal is to make light of my mental disability called Bi Polar 3, but today is a day to take a look at the dark side of the disorder. Yes, I am mentally ill. Yes, it has made it so at least for the time being I can no longer do the work I love so much. Yes, it has put me in the hospital three times in the last year - one stay for four days the others for ER sucidial watch. It means regular visits to the psychiatrist. It means trying different medications and trying to find a combination that works best to control the highs and lows of the disorder.

The lows look like me curled up on the floor in the fetal position crying for hours. There is no consouling me during these times, often my mind is unreachable as I'm no longer in control of my thinking processes. Is there an emergency plan in place in my house so when this happens we are all taken care of? Yes, it is called -get on the phone with my one and only best friend and get her ass down here as fast as possible; in the mean time my 11 year old daughter gives me my anti-anxiety medication to slow down my mind and allow myself to breath although I still stay on the floor crying.

Other times the lows are more dangerous and I have to stay in my room. I cannot go into the kitchen because I can't trust myself around knives. Or I can't even drive myself to the doctor because I know I won't get there or get home. These types of days hardly ever happen when my children are around as I know they can't see me in that type of situation or be involved in that kind of situation. So far I have been able to control those feelings. Is there an emergency plan in place for these days... yes it is to get on the phone with my one and only best friend and give me the phone until she can talk me back down. Sometimes that takes an hour other times it takes half a day.

Do all people with Bi-Polar disorder suffer in the same way that I do. NO! But there is a specgtrum we all fall on and we all suffer in different ways. It is a disabling disorder that I'm still struggling to accept into my life. I fight it every day... some days I win, some days I lose. Mostly I wish it didn't have to be a part of who I have become. It is always triggered by a tragic moment in one's life although there is a biological predisposition. I have chosen to treat my disability with medication... my brother chooses to treat his disability with alcohol - luckily for him it has not interfered with his ability to work. My mom, bless her, chose to self-medicate with alcohol as well, costing her several jobs that were close to her heart.

Ways I also deal with the down days - I want to shop, I want to spend money and it doesn't matter what on. It is a hard battle to try not to meet my emotional need in this way as it really screws up bills, rent and daily living. Then there is moving, bi-polar people move much more often then people with out bi-polar in the hopes to get away from the hauntings of the mind and it works briefly; but they always return.

I try my best to be kind and loving and helpful to all people, but there are days I cannot even get out of bed. There were days I watched my mother crawl to the bathroom. There are days, even with my three beautiful children, that I wish my life would end.


Friday, June 4, 2010

To Thine Own Self Be True

To thine own self be true - who first said that? Sounds like something Shakesphere (even though I can't spell his name) would say in his easy flowing yet challenging to understand language. Yet it is so true. So many of us sell out who we really are deep within our soul for the person the rest of the world wants to see - and that can be many masks to wear while still denying the truth that lies deep inside our souls.

Now that I'm 43, yes it took me 43 years to figure this out, I have learned that people in the world either have to accept me the way I am, with my faults and my brilliant moments and love me for me. If they need something else, or someone else, well then don't let the door hit you on the ass as you leave. That doesn't mean I'm not sympathetic to others or that I won't help others... I will go out of my way to do what I can for anyone, but don't expect me to do it with a mask on that only you approve of. I have finally begun the journey of learning exactly who I am and what I stand for, what mountains I'm will to fight to the death for. In the past I was told who I was, what I was suppose to do, and to not voice my opinions even politely as to not scare the public off from our school. The real thing is this - the school had so many different faces as a corporation it no longer knew what it originally set out to do - it is no wonder I was confused.

So I set fourth on my journey with few people in my boat that are willing to understand when the boat takes on more water than it should, or when I hook someone in the ear when I'm fishing, or to help me look out for rocks so we don't crash... the few people who accept me for the person I am - and not the person they wish I was.

On with the adventure, peace,

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day - thoughts

Memorial Day has always been a special holiday for me; perhaps because everyone in my family except me has served in the armed forces; perhaps because I'm close to families and see the sacrifices they make for our freedom when the "dad" has to go and the "mom" is left to raise the family on her own for years at a time... I appreciate my freedom and the sacrifices of all who have made it so that I can live in freedom.

My favorite memory of Memorial Day however was in Guam. My mom had discovered a "war dog cemetary"... where the dogs from the war had been burried, had tombstones, and a bronze dog statue. Being the animal lover that we both were we bought enough roses that day to put one on each of those dog's graves. I cried, of course, but I always cry... maybe we should have put milk bones down instead after all what the heck would a dog want with a rose? That was a special time for my mom and I. I remember that neither of us said a word the whole time we were there... we read about the dogs, cried... spent probably close to two hours there and never saw a single other person.

I agree human lives are most important, but those soldiers had dogs that did some of the grunt work before the humans went in and I feel it is important to remember them as well - they also lost their lives for our freedom. Soldiers also have families that make huge sacrifices for us every day as they deal with life without their partner and raise their children on their own so the other person can be off protecting what our country stands for.

If you see a soldier today - thank them for all they have given up for you.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Picking Your Mountains

As I have raised my children to this point in their life; I have learned which battles to fight, which ones are worth the know down drag out fight and which ones you just let go... and I did say let go... you let them have it their way because the relationship and understanding and respect is more important than what you may be fighting over. An example:

Yes, my kids, all three have cell phones. They have cell phones because the one time they went to Las Vegas with their dad they were 9 hours late coming home and there was no phone call... count them 9 hours. That was long enough to fly to Hawaii and be part way to the islands where they would disappear. So they have phones.

Are there phone guidelines - yes. The guidelines are simple 1) mom gets to read your texts anytime she asks - no arguing or phone goes away. 2) stop phone use at a reasonable hour - during school this means if you are cranky when you wake up in the morning - mom starts getting the phone at 8 pm until she feels you can manage a social life and getting up for school; also passing grades are required. That's it. The teenagers need their phones because it is how they socialize in current society. When I was a teenager I could care less about the phone; even now I could really care less except for safety matters and of course talking to Greg.

Now when it comes to laundry - that is a hill to have a small battle over. If the laundry isn't down here to be washed, I can't wash it. The consequence is that you don't come to me the night before you want to wear something and ask me to wash it; but you are free to wash it yourself if you can somewhere come up with a full load of laundry. Not worth dieing over, but worth setting limits over.

I actually can't think of a mountain worth dieing over - compromise for a win-win is always where I go first. What can I live with and what is reasonable... I'm a smart woman when I use my head.

So parents know that you will have battles - just pick the ones that are worth dieing over and if they aren't worth dieing over - let it go.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Graduation - moments

I know that graduation from high school is a time for celebration for the students, their families, and their teachers and friends; but for me this year it was particularly hard, being where I am...

There was Emily who wouldn't come to school each morning when she was in fourth grade because she was afraid to leave her mom and every morning we dealt with that and got her to school, even if she didn't say a word the whole day long. Last night though she spoke loud and clear in front of a stadium of people as the senior class president. I know I touched her life in some way, even if I don't know exactly how.

Then there were the three girls from fourth grade, Sammy and Chelsea which I always called by the other's name and Alicia. The three of them were inseperable and chatted and chatted and chatted none stop. Last night Chelsea achieved many awards and addressed the audience as Salutatorian of her class. She was poised and dignified; a perfect lady. There was Sammy who also addressed the audience as a class representative. Her words brought tears to my eyes even though I was so proud of her. And Alicia who is going to school to become a nutritionist - the one job I know for sure will suit her well and something that she loved even back in fourth grade. I know I touched the lives of these girls in some way, even if I don't know exactly how.

Then there is Christoper. Teachers flat out lie if they say they don't have a favorite student. They try not to but there are always certain students who pull on your heart strings a little more than others. I had Sammy Jo his sister in fourth grade. She had broken both of her legs and we dumped her out of her wheel chair going down the hill to the classroom. That was also the year her parents got divorced. Chris and Sammy Jo both had a hard time in middle school... gee wonder why, and then they came to me at Visions - they needed to get promoted even though they didn't have the grades. I knew they had the ability and knowledge and put them in their proper grade that year. I have never regretted that decision to help them graduate with their age appropriate peers. But Christoper has always been a favorite of mine, he new it and he played that card often. He could joke around more than other students and get away with it because of his unforgetable smile and his at the moment sincere apology. He worked hard in seventh and eighth grade and brough many, many happy moments to my life. Last night he walked across that stage and is going off to join the Boarder Control. They better take care of my Christopher; his mom may have given birth to him and raised him, but he stopped work at Wendy's to come sit in my lap and say hello just because it was important to him. Did I in some small way change the course of these kids lives? I know I did, but I don't know how.

Then there was Cody who I had in fourth grade - who literally is responsible for at least half the grey hair on my head. He wouldn't do a darn thing in school. He was smart and capable... it was just that no one was going to tell him what to do. I don't care if I had stood on the table and jumped up and down - nothing would have moved him. I have worried over Cody the last 8 years... but last night he walked across that stage. I don't know if anything I did helped that young man along his journey to independence but I sure hope it did.

Then there was Alix. I taught her for three years, sixth, seventh and eighth grade. She never did any but her absolute best. She graduated eighth grade as our Validictorian. I remember I gave her a dozen yellow roses because that is what my mom whould have done. She achieved high academic success in high school and will go on to college to be an Accountant. I know that I touched her in some way, even if I don't know how.

Then there is Michael. I had him in fourth grade and never heard another word about him. I remember when his younger brother died in a quad accident. I remember teaching the day of that funeral and knowing I needed to be somewhere else. He walked across that stage last night no longer to small boy I remember; but as a young man, tall and strong. I know I touched him in some way, I just don't know how.

Then there was Marcos. I waited three years to teach him. He was supposed to be in my class in fourth grade, but his parents moved him to Visions that year. I always teased him in sixth, seventh and eighth grade that I had to change my whole career path in order to move to that school and be his teacher. The thing is I would do it all over again. Marcos was always quiet and respectful; it was in his up bringing. But when he spoke you listened because what he said was always worth hearing. He walked across that stage last night and will attend of year of college before heading out on his mission. Did I touch his life - yes. Do I know how exactly - a teacher never does.

It was a shining moment for me though when both Christopher and Marcos had a bottle of sparkling cidar which they open and shook about... that is what we did when they left eighth grade and moved on to high school.

So although it was a celebration for their successes and futures. It hurt me deep down inside because at least for now there are children I don't get to work with, I don't get to teach. I miss that part of my life desperately and last night although they wre all happy I cried myself to sleep. Today, I cried and slept and cried and slept... not so much for them, but for what I no longer am.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

FAS - as it is often referred to is a debilitating brain disability caused by the consumption of alcohol by the mother while the child is in the womb. This is a disability that is totally avoidable if the mother has much of any information and prenatal care at all. Unfortunately children with this disability are still being born today and the school systems are poorly prepared to meet the needs of these unique individuals. I don't know anything about a ton of topics, but this is just one topic that I know quite a bit about; via research, teaching, and playing second mommy to an FAS child.

Children with FAS often have uncontrollable impulses that those who are care givers must understand the child or individual has no control over them - thus they are impulses. Even if the child can articulate that something is wrong and what the consequences may be - the child will follow the impulse rather than the logic we try so hard to instill in them. Spankings don't work with these children as most of them feel NO pain; an in NONE AT ALL. Lectures don't work because they know the right answers but can't control the impulse when it arises.

So one of the most effective ways to manage the impulses they exhibit is to remove the stimulus they have in the environment. For instance if you have a FAS kid who is very much draw to fire (as they all are) - you would remove any fire making materials from their environment. That would mean hiding or not having available any matches, lighters, gas stove etc... If you have a child with FAS who is very sexually inquisitive, which they are all, you would make sure that any computers at home have password protection and/or child filters on them - you wouldn't wake up surprised at what your 10 year old was looking at when it was 4 in the morning.

My point with this little piece of writing is that so much of what the child does is not his/her fault - it is brain disability... they need medication, constant care, understanding parents and teachers... and teachers who are willing to step out of the box - so to Jacob's teachers - I say quit being lazy, implement some or many of the suggestions I have made to you and I will guarantee you that you will see a huge change in his behavior for the positive. These kids are worth the extra effort and they matter too.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sorry Mama

This is probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but it needs to be done in order to heal my wounds and move on. You know Mom I didn't understand so much about you until you passed away, and I'm even learning now 10 years later. I'm so sorry that I judged you for so many years and stayed away just because I didn't want to go on a beer run for you. I was afraid of being judged as I sat there and judged you. How ashamed I am for that behavior. I remember the week before you passed away I was in town at K-mart and I thought geee I should go see Mom, but then I didn't. I didn't because I told myself I was too busy, I didn't because I didn't want to see the beer cans, I didn't because I didn't want to go buy beer yet again... so many reasons why I didn't - but I should have.

All that time I was judging you for who you weren't while I should have been celebrating who you were. I understand that now. I also understand that the beer was a way to self medicate yourself when the doctors wouldn't help or didn't understand. I know you tricked a ton of doctors but I do wish that you hadn't done that because there was other ways to get help. I know you had Lupus and that is a horrible disease, but I also know that you were bi-polar. You never admited it, you never wanted help - but I understand. I understand why we moved, because you had to move on to somewhere else. Not because anything was wrong, you just had to move, see new things, feel new feelings. I understand your angry days when you just couldn't take our bullshit anymore. I understand why the coffee cup was thrown, I understand why plates were broken. I so wish I understood back then.

I was lucky also you know - you were at everyone of my sporting events, supporting me and shouting at the ref no matter what the sport. You always had meals cooked for us even when they had to be cooked in the bathroom because we were remodeling. You were always there for me when I needed a safe place to escape from my world to. You were there when we drove from WI to CA on our road trip; even though I was still angry. You were amazing and went white water rafting with me when we got to the Colorado River; just because we both needed a break and neither of us had ever done anything like that.

I was angry for years after you moved to Yap right after I graduated from high school because I felt abandoned (spell that word) when you left. I was angry when you left Guam before I could leave because I felt abandoned. I was angry when you decided to pass over because once again it was about me and how I felt. I never really stopped to think about you and how you felt. I saw you crawl down the hall in so much pain just to get to the couch... and I didn't understand.

How I wish I could take back all those judgements and ask for your forgiveness. Today I have to forgive myself and I can only hope that you would understand that it has taken me a real, real long time to grow up... but maybe, just maybe I'm a bit closer than I was 10 years ago.

I remember our last Fourth of July together and what fun that was. It has always been both of our favorite holiday. I remember not understanding when you couldn't make it to the bathroom just one more time... and me thinking - Gosh what a drunk... it was really never about the drinking - it was about you trying your hardest to control the pain, both physical and emotional - I get it now mama.

I love you can't even begin to express the feelings I have for you and what you have meant to me... and I wish you could see now how much you have molded me into the person I am. For that I say thank you...hopefully now with peace.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Terri is so Smart

I have always regarded my sister, Terri, as the most brilliant person on earth, besides me of course. She is a problem solver extroidanair and speaks her mind well and clearly... not rambly as I tend to get. It is like she has everything she needs to say all planned out in her head way before she needs to say it. There are times when she doesn't - when it comes to challenges that she faces in her own world, but when it comes to the challenges that I face she always seems to know the right thing to say... yesterday it was that I needed to forgive... I asked forgive who? myself? and she said that is exactly right. Sometimes we are most hard on ourselves and try to hold ourselves to a different standard than others. Sometimes, or so I'm learning, one has to take a deep breath and let things go and ask yourself to forgive all the mistakes you have made, be they real mistakes or perceived mistakes -forgive yourself today so the journey can continue tomorrow.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Just a Wednesday Morning

Characters: two sisters, stay at home moms, totally tired of laundry and cleaning, as well as looking at the walls of their respective homes. Both usually up for adventure.

Setting: Warm spring day in the spring, one van, one cooler and a 12 pack of beer at Saguaro National Monument

Purpose: Avoid life and take pictures.

It started with a conversation of how borning life was without work. Tired of cleaning and hanging out at the house. How they could possibly watch one more stupid show on tv or do one more work out video. Tired of the current life they decided on an adventure. There were two helpful culprits on this adventure although they may not know the impact they had so let me explain... grandpa had left his cooler, and Greg had been talking about driving around drinking... put those two ideas together with two women wanting to escape the world and one has an adventure, full of fun, laughter, beer, pictures and a few thorns from several cactus and the occassional bad word as rock climbing sober isn't easy - add a few beers and the challenge, well becomes ten fold.

So one mom stops at the store and purchases 2 6 packs of beer and a bag of ice... and is off to pick up her sister... the drive to the national monument isn't far and the drinking begins. They stop in the middle of the road several times to take pictures of "cool" flowers and stuff, just because they can. They stop at picnic places to drink a beer and take more pictures. They stop to climb rocks and take more pictures which lead to several encounters with bushes that had some very small stickers - that required tweezers and showing the desert world parts of our bodies that it really didn't need to see.

Then one of the girls has this crazy idea to take her shirt and bra off, get her picture taken with her phone to forward to her boyfriend... sister more than willing to participate in said scheme.

The complete trip took about 2 hours and was followed up by very greasy food from Carl's Jr... which turned out to be good since the school called as one of the boys was in trouble for running and refusing to do work. Hmmm... autism specialist, FAS specialist + pissed off mom means - Yep you guessed it another road trip. Although probaby still slightly intoxicated they pull themselves together and thank the Lord they decided to eat disgusting food for lunch.

So together they decide to face the school and their idiotic idea of education. The son that is being complained about has FAS and MIMR - and gee he runs away from class, pretends his stomach hurts to escape and refuses to do his work. So I talk with the child - the work is at a fourth grade level he is at a first grade level - he knows he can't do the work... so he leaves. When they do give him math he is so embarrassed to be below his peers that gee... he runs away again, or calls his neighbor a not so nice name - ya think. While being in the classroom it is easy to see that no modifcations have been made for this child. There are no visual reminders on his desk to help him out when he gets stuck. There are no red and green cards available for him to signal that he is getting frustrated. His work, although some of it is brought down to his level (the math I saw) there were still 25 problems on a page - there should not have been more then ten. The staff complained that he ran away even during recess... really I said... has anyone really observed his interaction with his classmates. Most likely they avoid him because they know he is different, which makes him want to escape - hell who wouldn't.

As far as even thinking in the antecedent-behavior-consequence (consequence usually being teacher related) they quickly and easily blame the child for being non-compliant... of course the kid is non-compliant he suffers from Fetal Alcohol Syndrom and has since birth when he was adopted. The end result of all of this is a request by me to have a meeting with the principal since obviously her head is so far up her ass she can't find her way out... I will be professional, I will have an agenda - but there will be some changes and some of the laws being broken, may just need to be brought up to the school board. Don't piss me off when it comes to kids in need - I'll simply have to kick your ass.

So yes the total day was enjoyable, every moment... thanks to a fabulous sister for a very much needed day off from my reality.


Monday, April 26, 2010

My Little Soap Box and My Big Mouth

Most of you know that in the past I have been a teacher and a special educator for students who have autism. I know I have written of some of these adventures in the past, but today's adventure is to a new level of absolute stupidicy.

There are two young men (8 and 12) that I have been working with since they were very young. I know both boys well and have done extensive research into their behaviors both with previous schools, family members, and other specialists. Their mother went to their current school today to find out if the boys have been receiving their regular sensory input. One is a sensory seeker and needs calming sensory; while the other is a sensory avoider and needs wake up kind of sensory needs. Last week the school called CPS on this mother because one of her other boys rode his bike to school too early in the morning. So there is an outstanding CPS report and case that will remain open.

Taking these things into account... the mother politely approached the school today to find out what type of sensory the boys were getting and why her oldest son had not been provided with a computer for writing as stated in his IEP. She was immediately shut down and turned away as the school stated "they were uncomfortable discussing the children." After recovering from the shock and regaining my thinking mind which first went into fight or flight and I was more then willing to drive down there and give them a piece of mind... I did a bit of research. What I found out is that after a case has been called into CPS - for whatever reason and regardless of how the investigation is going - the school's involvement stops there. It was and is against the law for them to refuse to discuss the education of students with their parents.

What we know is that the school is not doing what the school agreed to do in the IEP. What we know is that the school is looking for ways to get to this family because of the fact that there are four high needs students in the family and the school doesn't have the will or the time to do the research and learning necessary to work with these types of students.

Well, you know times have changed. When I grew up these types of students went to "special schools"; the law now gives them the right to be in regular classrooms and have their needs met. For many years I disagreed with this philosophy, but since I began working with high needs kids 7 years ago and have seen the difference it makes in their lives as well as in the lives of their "neuro-typical" peers - the administration of most schools needs to get their act together and figure out how to service children with autism. The birth rate of children with autism is currently 1 in 99. More and more students are being identified with this disorder and I feel it is the school's responsibility to educate their adminstration and teaching staff on ways to help these and all students down the road toward independence... regardless of the challenges that the child faces.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kicking Tires, Changing Oil

Kicking Tires, Changing Oil - at least that is how my doctor puts it. He doesn't like going 9 months without seeing me, but I figure if there is nothing wrong why go? Well, one goes because if one doesn't go - the doctor says "Ok, smartie, then I won't refill your medicine." So eventually, you go... yesterday I went, and after being told and a severe scolding I had my blood drawn today like a good girl. I then went to my other doctor today - so now my tires have been kicked - in May my oil will get changed... been 6 or 7 years since that has happened... so finally I give up and will do what I'm told. I'll even do it with sort of a smile on my face. So I guess, the moral of this story is to go to your doctor when you he/she tells you to do it - it is just way easier.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Behavior Health Services - Arizona

I have been living and working in Arizona for the past 13 years. Something has come to irritate me to the point that I just have to get on my soap box for a bit and let the world have my thinking - so pardon the soap box... but here I go anyway

At the behavior health services building once a child is processed to see a psychiatrist for a dianosis it is via video. The problem here is that although it is two way video often the child is disengaged, hiding under a table or having a bloody melt down because how can the person on the other side of the screen really see them anyway since it is just a tv. The total time to process and analyze this child is about 15 minutes, a few questions are posed to the parent in the room, a label is applied to the child and medicine ordered. "NEXT"

That is how the process works... for them. They ask for no input from other care providers, no input from counselors, teachers, principals or services providers at school, or special education directors. They do not come and observe the child at all in their regular setting at home or in the classroom. That 15 minutes is all they need to change the course of the life of a child forever. I think that is a bunch of bull shit. As an autism specialist I know there are tools to use to help figure out these kids - there are questionnaires for all family members, teachers and aides. As the specialist I spend numerous hours observing the child in their school setting and home, analyzing behavior, making scatter plots, doing ABC charts and FBA in order to get a complete picture of the child. Then we do sensory profiling and that takes even another few days. Based on all this information I can then state what characteristics of autism I see in the child or don't see. If there are characteristics in three or more categories we move into the next phase of analysis using the Ziggurat and CAPS models of behavior. At no time are meds distributed. I may recommend that they take the information to a private provider for a specific review and diagnosis and I often attend those meetings so that I can explain the results. Often what happens is that the child has been misdiagnosed by our wonderful Behavior Health System and actually given medications that can be deadly combinations. I have seen the look in private providers eye's and heard their statements although not specific enough to file a complaint enough for a parent to know something is fucked up.

Then of course the Behavior Health System assigns a "Case Manager" and a "Worker" to the case to monitor progress based on their 15 minute diagnosis. Most of these people have never attended a day of college or a single training session on any of the disorders they are treating or providing feed back on. They do no further analysis because they have no knowledge of what to do. They do little to no research on the different issues that face these kids because they have too many kids.

Yet, they have the guts to call CPS because a child with fetal alcohol syndrome decided to ride his bike to school one morning. Heck I'm happy he found the school, we were able to find him and take his bike away for awhile. The principal of said school however flips out and calls CPS accusing the parent even though the parent is the one who ran in the office explaining what had happened and that she had to make sure her child was on campus and ok (10 minutes after she noticed he left the house)... Really, I have to wonder who is neglectful here. I have worked in schools where kids come to school daily for weeks on end without meals. I've talked to their parents and the parents have no money for food - what good would my calling CPS do for them? Instead I choose to buy the necessary things to make sure those kids have a healthy lunch so they get a good meal each day. I make sure that someone from our school delivers a full thanksgiving dinner to them. I make sure that there is a rotating dinner delivery for them. Just turning them into a system that doesn't work anyway doesn't do anyone any good.

Is any of that done for a gold star behind my name or the school's name. Absolutely not! It is done because it is what is right and what Jesus would expect us to do. So stand up for what is right. Take a look at how your tax money is being spent in this area. Raise your voice for change, but be prepared to be blackballed at the same time, labeled a trouble maker, stepping into bounds that have nothing to do with you and what you do - in short know that the system is strong no matter how weak all the links of it appear to be.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Penning the Future

Until yesterday I thought life was really just one long story being told by someone else who had control of most things. Sure we made choices and we reacted to our choices, but the situations we found ourselves in were created by some other author -some figure unknown to us who enjoyed messing with our minds and watching us try to figure shit out.

It is really, only now, at the beginning of the third book of my life that I have learned I'm the author of what happens and I get to pen the future the way I want it to go. I may not know some of the specifics; or even some of the main events; but I do have control over me, who I am, what I think, and how I choose to react to the rest of the world when they decide to rock my boat so hard it throws me into the water.

See until today I considered it vicious enemies throwing granades at me as I try to pick up the shards that were left of my heart and hold all the pieces bleeding and dismantled... wondering how on earth I was ever going to get anything right and put back together in my life. And that was how I allowed the world to pen my life. That is how I lived in a basic survival mode - things happened I responded, usually in some logical way that I thought would put the pieces back together.

Now, today I have someone holding my heart and helping me put it back together - and boy is it an amazing feeling to have someone care enough to help... pulling pieces of glass out, rearranging the mess... but at the same time remembering that you know - when my brother used to tip over that damn fishing boat in the middle of the lake - it was never a granade because I knew how to swim.

So I'm not saying that there isn't work to be done in my life at the beginning of this book, but I am saying what a nice, amazing feeling to finally close the cover of the old books and put them behind me... how nice it is to have someone holding my hand in the corner and telling me it will all be ok... step out just a little, breathe, and don't forget to swim. I am so thankful that person held out his hand, listened and let me know - time to move on... open a new book.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sometimes You Just Have to Stop the World

As I have spent time thinking about what profound thinking I have or at least what thinking I could share that just may change someone else's life today - well, I got nothing - then I thought about my day and my last few weeks actually and decided to write about that and if you get something out of it you do... if you don't know that I did.

So, since spring break (3 or 4 weeks ago - who really knows)one or the other or the other of the kids has been sick. So my schdule hasn't returned to normal yet; nor has theirs for that matter. It has been full of doctor appointments that seems constant although they aren't. First Lorenzo had strep throat... med three times a day... sent him to his dad's house geeee meds weren't given - just found that out yesterday - when I had to take him back to the doctor and get him on new meds and today he missed his field trip. somewhere in there Eliza got sick and I had to take her to the doctor. Of course the timing of these appointments is critical but I've had to take all the kids to all the appointments. She thankfully is back on the mend as I believe Lorenzo is as well as he has gone all day without a fever.

This morning was one of those mornings when I just couldn't go anymore. I had a doctor appointment for myself and knew I couldn't go, physically and emotionally I was done. My head heart, my heart hurt, my brain hurt I was just done. My sister called in the middle of all of this as I was trying to figure out how to get myself to the doctor, curled up crying on the floor. And she said "Don't Go". That of course never entered my mind. One has an appointment one goes, and goes, and goes. But not today... I called ane canceled my appointment, laid down on the floor and cried until my sister got here to take care of me. Sometimes you just need to stop before the crash. I usually go through the crash first and ride through the fire. So between my sister holding me and making me get up exercise things began to get better in my world. Follow the exercise by a beer (yep they negate each other, but who cares)... so we watched a movie and laughed. She made me stop. Stop my day, stop my life, stop everything for the day and just be...just be her and I... no doctors, no appointements no anything... but silliness. Sometimes life just has to stop... hopefully before it stops you.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

It's the Small Things That Count the Most

You know in the world it is the small things that count; taking a moment to thank a soldier for standing up for our freedom, baby sitting so a mom can have a night off, a little phone call from your boyfriend just to let you know that plan have changed just a touch. Not left wondering what in the world is going on. So I know I have told my boyfriend thank you for the call; and I know he thinks it is no bill deal, but the rest of you need to know how much picking up a phone and just making a quick phone call can change anything.

I remember for many years my ex going out with "the boys" for hours on end, sometimes not even coming home until the next night leaving me with no idea where he is or what he was up to. I remember him coming home from Las Vegas with our three kids without even the slightest phone call to let me know he got lost and would be late coming home. I remember calling the police more than once to make sure he wasn't dead on the pavement somewhere...

So pick up the phone, make the phone call - it will mean the world to someone.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

On the Lighter Side of Life

My brother called today - usually I listen to him about his life; but today it was my turn. He asked how I was and I said "Alive." He takes that about as well as the psychiatrits do... people really do need to lighten up just a little bit. So picture this... I'm using my new vaccuum and it quits working - so I do some inspecting and find that the hose is clogged up... I try cleaning it out with the broom handle... doesn't work... I put another stick in so that makes the broom handle longer - should be able to push out the junk in the hose... that doesn't work... all the while talking at my brother; who I am sure called because things in his life are just a little more fucked up than in my life and I usually make him laugh. He suggests flooding the vacuum cleaner hose with water... hmmm how to do that since we can't use hoses here - another stupid rule. So here I am with my cell phone in one hand kind of propped up to my ear, the shower on full blast, flooding the stupid clog out of the hose and it actually works... imagine that. Then my brother informs me that where he lives he can't even buy beer on Easter Sunday because it is a religious holiday and we both end up laughing hysterically - me soaking wet on the bathroom floor with the stupid hose and him throwing his bills away because he can't pay them anyway... what is one suppose to do but laugh. And I know I can't spell the word vacuum/vaccumm/vaccum to save my own life - but does any of it really matter. What matters is the laughter, the stupidness and having a bowl of cereal for Easter Dinner. Life doesn't get much better than that... at least I had milk and didn't have to pour beer on my cereal.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Easters Gone By

I remember being a little girl, probably 7 or 8, and standing on my bed to look out my window to see if the Easter Bunny had come yet. I was always so excited when I could see something he left from my bedroom window or down that side of the house. That of course would trigger me running and jumping onto my brother's bed to wake him up (geeeez always the sleepy head) so that we could go egg hunting. Mom and Dad, of course were already awake with coffee in hand, they would take us outside in our jammies so that our hunt could begin.

Some things were easy to find, eggs on the grass or on the bench that surrounded our patio. Things always got more complicated the more we looked. We would find those eggs hidden in planters, hanging plants and even stuck between tree branches. We were never much of a church going family but we always had a good time and it was just accepted that no matter where we were God was there with us.

I remember Easter mornings all the way until we went overseas to Libya. I'll have to ask dad if we still celebrated Easter after that. I don't remember.

I do remember celebrating Easter with my children and their Grandfather. Dad has always been in charge of the eggs and making sure we got them colored in time and rubbed with bacon fat to make them shiny. He has also been in charge of making sure that we knew how many eggs he and I hid so none would get lost; I'm assuming that is one of those hidden life lessons that just gets passed down without ever saying anything.

Even though I'm a fairly early riser it has always been a challenge to get the Easter Bunny organized before the kids were organized for the kids. Sometimes Grandpa would take them on an Easter Bunny hunt with the salt shaker so that I could set things up. What was the salt shaker for? Well to this day Dad has the kids convinced that if you put salt on the Easter Bunny's tail then you get to keep him. Eliza doesn't think that would be very nice since then there wouldn't be Easter anymore. Then it runs through my head... how did we get from the rising of Christ to the Easter Bunny...? Some of our traditions still surprise me. And now even as an adult, somehow the Easter Bunny always leaves something for me to find.

There is of course less candy now for my kids... they would rather have money to go to the mall and buy clothes (at least two of them) so that always makes them happy, but they also still love looking for those eggs and the baskets. What fun. I wonder this year what they will be doing. I have always insisted on having the kids for Easter Sunday, but this year I have agreed to let them go to their dad's... so I wonder what the Easter Bunny is suppose to do from my point of the world? Does he still come but not with eggs, with something else... time for a new tradition, a new something to be passed down through the next generations. Maybe a scavenger hunt around the house following clues with some money in an envelope at the end of the Bunny's trail. That could be fun... would take some creative thinking, but that hasn't ever been a challenge for me... sounds like a good tradition to me.

Somewhere along the line Dad started the tradition of yellow roses on Good Friday. I don't know when or how that really got started. But I know this morning the first thing I did was go to the store and get a dozen yellow roses for the middle of the table and a bottle of wine. Somethings just are and are meant to be... traditions passed down and through generations and woven through lives like red threads that slowly develop and get stronger as one gets older - or at least they mean more as we get older... get older I hate that phrase, how about this... as we get wiser... at least that gives me the dignity of thinking I'm getting smarter.


The Tin Shack

While reading this one must remember that I grew up in the average american middle class house hold. Even in our travels we had decent housing, power, water etc... the simple things in life that I always took for granted. Then I got married and life changed.

Upon returning to Guam from the US after getting married my husband announced that he had found the perfect place for us to have a family and raise kids. I admit the setting was something from the movies; rather deep in the lush green jungle, yet close enough to the rest of the world that it was easy to get around. Palm trees, coconut nut trees, canapy trees - absolutely breath taking. It had two bed rooms, a living room, both an inside and an outside kitchen. Of course I fell in love with the setting... the house itself hmmm had a tin roof and I loved the sound of rain on a tin roof.

Shortly upon moving in I discovered that he had no intention of us purchasing a bed within which we could both comfortably sleep; but rather we would be sleeping on the floor... hmmm I thought, this could be an adventure I hadn't anticipated. Then his bed ridden father and his mother moved into the second room. Fred, his father, spent most if not all of his time strapped to his bed because other wise he would pull out his catheter and i-v's and bite and spit at anyone he pleased. hmmm I thought.

What else that was interesting was the fact that there was enough power to run the refrigerator but nothing else at the same time. There was water, but only cold water. I tried hard to adjust to this new way of life. The shack was open air with chickens and goats just wandering through at their convenience. Remember I moved here from the mid-west where we had doors, and farm animals although around had their own houses outside. One didn't need to check where they were going to sit in order to be safe from cracking an egg. Surely life had changed. Was I happy? Absolutely not, but I was determined to make the best of things.

Shortly thereafter I found out I was expecting my first child. I was excited because afterall that is why I got married - I wanted kids and I knew his island skin would make beautiful children with my white skin... besides I was afraid of being alone - truly alone for the first time in my life.

Things progressed as normally as one could expect considering the living conditions and being a new teacher. I had gotten used to the geckos jumping off the ceiling and walls even though that still grossed me out, I no longer screamed like a little girl - just shivered and thought - Dad? What was I thinking? I must have been out of my mind. Then one warm, balmy evening I was sleeping on my nice, uncomfortable, hard as a rock floor; probably about 4 months pregnant when a cockroach decided to climb upon me. Now in order to get the full effect here - I am deathly afraid of cockroaches of any type but 3 inch cockroaches was much more than I was willing to sleep with - so of course I got up like any normal 4 month old pregnant woman would and screamed and ran through the house. My husband of course slept through all of it, my mother in law just laughed and said it was a cock roach for crying out loud - relax... Relax I did ... in the car with my pillow and blanket for the at least the next three weeks.

I begged to move, I begged for a bed, I begged for warm water and the ability to use a microwave and an oven - things that were nornmal in life. Then one night I was leaning up against the wall while sitting on the floor making lesson plans and was like "Hey, what is that sound? It seems to be coming from the walls." "Oh, I was told, that is just the termites." Five months pregnant by now it took all I had not to throw up right there on my school books. I eventually accepted the sound as I had all the other adjustments in my life. I was trying to be a good sport - when a few days later the termites swarmed the house. It was like being in a black blizzard. These bugs everywhere and the sound defening... I once again found refuge in the car - where else was one to go for crying out loud. They were in my hair, my ears, my nose... I was hysterical. My mother in law cleaned up all the dead termites because of course after they swarm they die... disgusting... picking them out of her bed ridden sick husband... I stayed in the car. The next morning I walked the two miles to school - or most of it anyway before one of my student's family picked me up and let me ride in their truck to school. I was mad as hell to put life mildly especially when my husband drove right by me and didn't even stop to offer me a ride.

Eventually before Franz was born we moved in with his sister - I was due anyday... and came home from the hospital to an almost normal setting although still sleeping on the floor - those days I remember so clearly - as if they were yesterday rather than 13 years ago. Oh the places I have been and the roads God has led me down to get where I am today - the lessons learned.

I remember my girlfriend asking me sometime early in my marriage after we moved to the tin shack if I wanted to go camping with her and her dad and go diving off Rota. I said "Hell no, a five star hotel maybe, but I camp eveery dam day of my life."

The other memory I really have of that time is when my dog slightly broke the neck of a small kitten. Asking my husband to take care of it since the vet wouldn't be able to take care of it; he just looked at me. I remember saying "Just pick it up and twist it's head - put it out of its misery." He was shocked that I would say such a thing... obviously not growing up around animals in the mid west... having no gun I set out to the garden with the kitten and a shovel. Dug a hole and chopped of it's head with the shovel. I can only thank God I was a good aim... and it didn't even freak me out... he on the other hand wondered how he could have married such a savage... hmmm life is interesting.

So those, my friends, are my memories of living in a tin shack in a very beautiful jungle setting in Guam. Days gone by but not ever to be forgotten,


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

hmmm writing and pictures

So this is what I know... I know my dad bought me this computer so I would work on my writing. Like me, he could care less about graduate school, and cares much more about what makes me who I am and brings me peace. He knows the medium that helps me achieve that used to be art but over the years has changed to words. He knows that I don't much pay attention to punctuation or "proper" sentence structure and more to the words and how they sound and flow together - just part of who I am or who I am becoming I suppose. Tonight I had to help my son with dependent and independent clauses - and I thought really what is the point. I did briefly think that if I paid more attention in high school knowing that type of thing would probably make me a better, more consise writer - not sure how important that is in the world today.

Franz, of course just announced that instead of journaling tonight he should begin a blog and how gay being 13 is... really I swear those were his words.

So back to writing... there are many possibilities I suppose; from the serious to the more rediculous and everything in between... snippets of life or something longer of more substance... free writing, just being me and not worrying about the rules of the world or the opinions of others. I try hard not to worry about what others think and for the most part I'm successful at that.

What was interesting to me today was that I spoke with my room mate back when I was 20. She said she actually still had the book of poetry I wrote all those years ago. I couldn't believe it, that someone would keep something like that, even though I had given it to her for Christmas; I was certainly surprised that she still had it and at times even read from it. Maybe there is hope for my writing after all. My aunt and uncle had it too and just returned it to me this time of year last year - obviously read and thought about, but they figured with all my travels and moving around that I had surely lost my copy - how right they were. How interesting it is to go back and see where my thinking was all of those years ago. Then understanding how differently I think now. How much I tought I knew then compared to how much I'm willing to admit I don't know now. Interesting of course how the world changes and moves us about so we can learn and grow as we are meant to learn and grow.

So where does this leave me today? With a voice; a voice for those who cannot speak, those who choose not to speak and those who do speak but don't have a clue as to what they are saying. Perhaps it is time to start on that book "Please Just Don't Pee on My Pants"... a new adventure a new career path... a new way to keep the freedom and peace I have become so accustomed to... Thank you Denise, Uncle Ade, Tanta Anita, Terri,Dad and Greg - for bringing me back from the pit I was jumping into this morning when I woke up.

God Bless You All.