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Pedal The Bike

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lately I've been feeling like a pretty uncompassionate bipolarized person. On my Facebook fan page I've subscribed to quite a few bipolar support pages. Some of the posts I've read lately are really beginning to bother me.

One thing I've always tried to do is to take control of my disorder and not let it control me. I know I've not always been able to do that, especially after first being diagnosed five years ago, but I've tried, and for the most part I have succeeded. I'm not kidding myself, it was a long, hard fight, and there were many times I slipped, there were many times I may not have made it to the next day without the help of a few close friends and inner most family. But I never said "screw it, there's nothing I can do." Before I was diagnosed I didn't know what was happening or how to fight it, but since then it's been a different story.

I've made sure I stay on top of my medications, I keep all of my doctor appointments, I worked hard to recognize the warning signs that alert me that an up or a down may be coming and I try my best to take appropriate action.  I stay actively involved in my treatment and I continually try to find ways to better cope with the hiccups that come my way, although I've been pretty stable for quite some time now.

I realize I have a pretty mild case of the disorder, and I realize that there are others that have a much more dark reality, but I can't believe how many people on those support pages seem to wallow in the disorder itself and let it define them. I don't deny there are days I shut down, stay in my room and keep the door shut. And there are days benzos are the way I make it through, although those days are far and few between.

Yes, it took me awhile to find the correct medication and it was chaos while I was on the search. I understand how frustrating that path can be and I have no problem with people that are actively trying to find a solution. They're making progress, they're taking control, they're trying. I also know that a spiral can seemingly come out of no where and once it starts you just have to ride it out. Sometimes you can reach out for help and other times you just can't.

It's the others that bother me, the ones that go on and off their meds, skip their doctor appointments, and are continually whining about what they're dealing with, but do nothing to help get themselves under control. Or the ones that purposely stay off their medications to try to get on disability knowing full well what comes with staying off the meds.

It seems lately the support boards have been filled with people that want to use their disorder as an excuse to do nothing to better themselves. They let bipolar define who they are, it consumes them, it wags them by the tail and they're perfectly happy to let it have total control.

I have very little patience for that. I've worked hard to get where I am, and I will continue to do so. I'm in no way dissing people that have a legitimate need for disability, or who are dealing with a major form of the disorder, it can be hard to manage at the other end of the spectrum. I just have a problem with the ones that continue to add to the stigma, the ones that refuse to better themselves, the ones that can, but won't.

If you're not going to pedal the bike, and you're able to, you're not going to go anywhere.



 

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The Void

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jane Currin Jewelry, NW 23rd, Portland
It's just not happening, and hasn't for quite some time. Shopping, you see, for me was an addiction, a symptom, they say, of bipolar disorder. It's been under control now for several years, but that doesn't take the overwhelming urge away.

It didn't used to matter, if I had the money or not, I'd shop all the time. I couldn't wait for UPS to show up at the door, or for an underpaid cashier to run my credit card at Nordstrom, at Louis Vuitton or even at some little boutique shop on NW 23rd. Shopping was kind of like a full time job, as my closet attests. Which reminds me, now that we're one bedroom free of a child, the bedroom that connects to my closet, it may be the perfect time to tear down that connecting wall and greatly enlarge my closet! Or is that a form of shopping? Maybe I should have the sledge hammer hidden.

I've stopped one of my medications recently and I can feel the urge to shop returning, although my Lamictal, a mood stabilizer, is reining me in, maybe years of therapy has helped some as well. So I'm looking all around the internet, just not clicking "purchase." I can even fill my virtual shopping cart to the brim then just exit the site. Which is a damn good thing since economically things haven't been the best for the past four years. The business seems to be picking up but between Jeff's neck surgery and a client that is failing to return emails, phone calls or texts (his bill is over due) things are tight, extremely tight. Thank goodness for returning clients and excellent client referrals!

So for now I will vow to stay out of the stores and to not click "purchase" online.

Biting my lip, 


 

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New Adventure!

Friday, January 18, 2013

I'm embarking on a brand new adventure and with that comes stepping out of my comfort zone. I have a twelve year old partner and a ton of stuff to learn.

 A couple of weeks ago one of my friends was telling me of this new business she was in and before I knew it Jakob, my grand son, was online and signing up! Well since he's 12 he couldn't sign up alone, so Nana stepped up and signed up with him. Oy Vey.

It's a direct marketing business and it really is kind of cool. It's called "Origami Owl." Basically it's customized lockets. Turns out, they're beautiful and so much fun! I made one for each of my girls for Christmas and I got one as well. Then I made another for myself honoring my mom and dad and my Texan roots.

The company's idea is to "tell your story" buy choosing a locket, charms, and a chain that "tells your story," or the story of someone you love.

Jake and I spent today going through our first big order for our launch party and I'm really getting excited. I think it will be fun.

Our website is http://jakobandteri.origamiowl.com You should take a peek and maybe you'll find something you love!





This is the necklace I made to honor mom and dad. It's a silver locket with crystals, a silver back plate that says "believe," a cowboy boot (of course), a jet (my dad was a pilot), a crystal heart for my mom, and a tiara for me. Then I added the dangles you see. When I got it all put together I completely loved it!

I placed an order for more stock tonight and ended up buying things for another necklace for myself. This could be dangerous! Jakob is already dreaming of paying for medical school with his part of the income, and me? I'll just be content to watch it grow.

Here's our facebook page, stop by and give us a like!
http://www.facebook.com/jakobandteri?ref=hl




 

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Taboo

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's no secret that I have tattoos, especially my 3/4 back piece. I've always chosen places that could be easily covered, you know, being shy like I am. Ok, so maybe I'm not shy, but I do have a little conservatism left in me. If I didn't want people to see the art work I wanted to be able to cover it.

I've coveted a white tattoo for quite some time now. I wanted it on the inside of my forearm. I only wanted it noticed if you really looked for it. When I talked to one of my tattoo guys he informed me that the best a white tattoo will look is the day you get it. Well I certainly didn't want that. After all, what's the point of having a tattoo that you can't see?

A few weeks ago I went in for a consult and gave Joe, an amazing artist, an idea of what I wanted. I wanted something delicate, and since it was going to be on my forearm I didn't want it too prominent. I left him with some pictures, he took a tracing of my arm and went to work designing a piece just for me.

As time passed I decided I wanted it a little more noticeable, but not too much. Finally Tuesday night was appointment time. I arrived early and Joe was just finishing up the design. When he showed me the concept I loved it. It was bigger than I had wanted and was a little more bold than I had originally thought it would be, but I totally loved it, so I said ok and we went for it.

I downed a couple of Vicodin, a Benadryl and some Advil and Joe went to work.I know it must sound strange, but I love the feeling of being tattooed, mostly. I sat well and watched the progress, listened to hilarious stories, laughed and watched Joe's design come to life. About four hours later it was complete.

Now I have my first tattoo that will be seen unless I'm in long sleeves and at first I was a little unsure of the boldness of the design. I know some people will hate it, some people will love it and my daughters will say, "Mom I thought you said you'd NEVER have an arm tattoo!" But bottom line is that I'm 50, I thought it out, it's my arm and it's really no one's business what I have inked on my body.

There's a saying that the difference between people with tattoos and people without tattoos is that people that are tattooed don't care if you're not tattooed. So here I am, continuing the black sheep label in my family and proudly displaying a new arm piece.

Like it or not, it doesn't change who I am, what I believe, my character or anything else. If anything it gives a glimpse of my inner rebel. Attention seeking? No. Self satisfying? Yes.

So like it or not, here it is.

The stencil



A little while into it. 


The finished piece. It's not too noticeable do you think?




 

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Dirty Little Secret

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Yes, a little secret. I wrote this a few days ago, hit publish, then removed it from my feed. I wasn't so sure I was ready to let it out for the world to read. I'm sure some of you already have read this since it was originally published before being pulled, but I'm finally publishing it to be read by all, mainly because you never know what can happen.

I'm going to let you all in on a little secret, a secret that I know for a fact other families would never share. It's scary, infuriating, and embarrassing. Most of you will ask yourselves, "why did she share this?" Well the answer to that is simple, who knows who may have been in a similar situation and needs encouragement? Or maybe because it's just me and I'm pretty transparent, maybe I'm nervous or could be just plain stupid. Life is life and sometimes life is ugly.

New Year's Eve there was a knock at my door. My fourteen year old answered it and found two ladies standing on the porch. One asked, "Are you Jeremiah?" (cue red flag) He answered yes, then she handed him a card, a card from Child Protective Services.

My son's not an idiot. He knows what Child Protective Services is and what they do, after all he was placed in my home after being taken by Child Protective Services. He was scared, really scared.

When I got home he handed me the card and told me what they said. I was furious! How dare they ask for him by name? That only made him realize that he was the target of their visit.

I called the number on the card and was sent to voice mail. I left a message asking for a return phone call. There was  none. I then called the head honcho of the place and explained to her what had gone down and how scared my son was. Asking for him by name was not a cool thing to do, especially when they have my phone number.....HELLO.....I was a foster parent for years with the State of Oregon, I'm in their system. My number was also on the police report that I was sure had triggered their visit. Remember our little incident with the sheriff's office? (Full disclosure here, or maybe I'm just feeling generous. I did not write about everything that happened that day).

I reassured Jeremiah if the sheriff had believed him to be in danger they would have had him removed from our home that day when all hell broke loose. He was still worried, as was I. Remember, I worked with the State for years and I know how things can go.

After numerous days and phone calls I finally made contact with the social worker. She wanted to do a home visit. I was still confused as to what part of the incident led to the report of suspected child abuse. I'm not really sure why I never asked her why she came out here. I guess I was in shock?

She came out to the house, we talked about what happened, she interviewed everyone present and interviewed Jeremiah alone. As far as I was concerned she could have interviewed us all separately, we have nothing to hide.

She then asked if she could check out our house? WTF? Ok, whatever. She checked out the house, EVERY ROOM AND CLOSET, then looked to see f we had food in the house, again, WTF? Still I was unclear as to why she was even here.

We cooperated fully answering all of her questions and allowing her to speak to anyone in the house she wanted to speak with, we allowed her full access to our house, and our food. Unfortunately since Joshua is now an adult I couldn't sign a consent form for her to verify his continual treatment and everything we had tried with him. (The reason for the incident December, 30)

The "interview" went well I thought, after all what in the world did we have to hide? Still had no clue as to why a report was triggered. Still didn't ask. I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that a suspected child abuse report had been filed.

Today I spoke with her supervisor. The supervisor remembered me and said had the worker known I had been a foster parent, things would have been handled differently. Still no explanation, but she did tell me there had been a call to the worker from a psychologist that worked for the sheriff's office, that he knew us, and had been to our house. Although his name sounded familiar, I had no idea who he was so I gave him a ring.

It turned out that he had been out to my house a year ago after the police had been here for a similar situation. He had worked with us on how to handle our autistic son and gave us numerous resources that we could utilize. He also suggested we formulate a contract for the family to sign, including Joshua, that had requirements for Joshua to follow to continue to live in our home as well as how we, as a family, would handle situations with Joshua, dangerous ones, aggressive ones or iffy ones. After my conversation with him I still had no idea why the social worker had been here.

I then called a friend of mine that works for Child Protective Services and had placed several children with us. I told her the entire story, every last detail,  and asked her what would have caused a suspected child abuse report to be filed, I presumed by one of the deputies that had been to my house. Immediately she said, "It's because of Joshua and the aggression he showed that day. It's because he was around Jeremiah."

Then I remembered what one of the deputies had asked me. He asked why we continued to allow Joshua to live in the house when his aggressive behavior was escalating. He didn't know, when he asked,  that I had been, for weeks, looking for alternative housing for Joshua for that very reason. In Oregon there is a tenant law that basically says if you allow someone to stay in your house for a certain period of time you have to go to court and have them evicted. He told us we couldn't make Joshua leave if he didn't want to go. Well that's a no win situation.

 So let me get this right, the deputies know the Oregon Tenant law, they know I couldn't make Joshua leave, I told them I was actively looking for alternative housing and they couldn't make him leave against his will. I was stuck. What in the hell could I have done? I guess I could have rented an ENTIRE hotel for the rest of the family to stay safely in during the eviction process.

As it turned out we were able to remove Joshua from the home the same day as the incident so the threat of violence had been stopped in it's tracks. Everyone was safe, Jeremiah was safe, the family was safe and the house was peaceful.

I was reassured but still nervous. The worker that had visited informed me that she had 30 days to make a decision as to what her conclusion would be. It could be "founded," "unable to determine, " or "unfounded."

Although I'm certain my son is in no danger, the "threat" of a thirty day window has me nervous, after all this is the State that once told me to take three little girls to the dentist and "make" him say there was evidence of neglect when there was none. That worker was determined to keep the kids in the custody of the State. It's also the State that I had to fight with to get them to remove an extremely violent foster child from my house after he had tried to choke to death one of my children, my son only lived because my oldest son walked into the room, saw the situation and pried hands from the neck of Michael. By the time Cole got the child off of Michael, Michael's face was blue and his neck bruised.  See my concern? That particular  worker at the time actually asked me what she was supposed to do when she had so many other cases. I told her, rather forcibly, that in no uncertain terms she would either have him removed or I would be dropping him off on her desk that afternoon. I called her supervisor and learned upon a foster parents request a foster child must be removed within 24 hours of the request.

Don't get me wrong, there are amazing social workers that work for the State, but there are some that need to move on.

I do have to say that the worker that came out was polite, friendly, professional and over all I was impressed by her demeanor. I was impressed with the notes she took as we spoke, I was impressed with how she listened to our dilemma with Joshua and I was impressed with how she kept her cool as she was, not so kindly,  informed that she pulled a not so cool move by asking for our son by name on her first visit and scaring the Holy Hell out of him. Was venting done? Yes, venting was done.

And now? Now I wait. I know the conclusion will be "unfounded," but it is a scary place to be in, and the thought of a thirty day window has me totally stressed out. I'm impatient like that.

Time for a valium and a peace out,

NOTE January 15, 2013: I spoke with the caseworker that visited our home and she informed me that she found the report "unfounded," and that we had a great family.  Finally, we all caught our breath and can now get on with our lives. 




 

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You're How Old?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I was scrolling through Facebook tonight and it seemed everywhere I looked there was a picture, or post, that was age related, like OLD age related, and it really started to freak me out.

I've been 50 for seven months now and I kinda thought I was used to the idea. After tonight I realize I'M NOT!

One of the pictures I saw said something that related being old and having to scroll for your birth year. I freaking HATE that. I mean, why do they have to start with the 80's? It only makes 1962 that much farther away. ( I totally had to just google "further" and "farther" to see which to use in that sentence. I still don't know what the hell is the correct one!)

1962 used to be right there. I may have had to scroll a couple of times, but it was there. Now I seem to freaking scroll forever.

You know what else make me feel old? Those statistical questions that group us into age ranges. Having to skip up to the next range gives me shivers.

But what REALLY made me feel old tonight was a comment I made on a picture I posted about not remembering my twenties and I wrote the caption, "why stop in my twenties? I need the entire five decades!" Now THAT made me feel old!

That's it! Tomorrow will be making appointments for botox, hair color and micro-dermabrasion!


 

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Encourage The Words of a Child

You want to do something good and encourage a child, a child that has gone through severe trauma, trauma of the worst kind? Consider reading and subscribing, either through email or Google Friend Connect, to Jakob's blog and leave him a comment from time to time.

He's my 12 year old grand son and is showing great strength to have survived all he's gone through. Maybe you've read about some of his trauma in my blog, but being severely abused by an ex-man (pedophile) in his life, watching his baby brother's agonizing death, and wondering if his other brother and sister would die, as well as his mom, my daughter, has all left his small heart guarded and scarred. He also wrote about the death of his brother, Isaiah, and of his confusion between death and sleep.

He's an insightful young man and very passionate about his feelings. He doesn't post often but his posts are truly from his heart. He could use the encouragement and he loves comments. He's formed a very special bond to one of my readers, and friend, Middle Child from Living in Pleasantville. She's been a wonderful encouragement to him and really lifts his spirits.

One of his latest posts was about the memories he has of my late mother, his Nanny. He brought her back to me and had me in tears.

He loves the medical field and wants to be a pediatric surgeon. He has a great thirst for knowledge and is always trying to cook up some ancient Chinese home remedy when he's at my house. I even bought him an arm, a life sized arm, from a medical student supply so he could practice his suturing skills. The kid amazes me. He once told me, "Nana if you ever need it, don't worry, I could intubate you." I told him, "Uh, I'm good. Just call 911."

His blog is called "House Of Monkies."

Please consider visiting him and maybe help raise his readership. You would be helping to heal the scars of the past and give him a renewed sense of self esteem.

I would greatly appreciate it. Love Diva.






 

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The Advantage of Alcohol

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One very bad Mojito, and a Cosmo after, made for a very relaxing evening.

The Cosmos could have kept coming, after all I had a driver, but for some reason I decided remaining a tad bit sober would be best, especially since I was the only one of the four of us drinking. It was just one of those nights I needed to get my drink on. I could have stayed all night.

I don't drink often and usually when I do I only have one or two, but tonight, tonight I could have imbibed the night away.

Dinner with friends, laughter, good food and alcohol can take your mind off of the most tragic of situations. It did and it felt damn good.

I saw my therapist this afternoon and told him the entire, sordid story....yes, I left some parts out of my last two posts for various reasons. He asked what I did to get through the turmoil of the past few days and I told him I wrote, I cried and I relied on Valium to take the edge off. He seemed pleased.

He did, however, give me one sound bit of advice this afternoon. I told him there are people I thought were close to me that have made no phone calls, no texts, no semblance of caring and that it hurt, but the hurt was good. It made me realize just where our relationships stand. I've craved their acceptance for quite sometime now and it has come increasingly clear to me that it just won't happen.

His exact words to me, "Screw them." I think those two words alone were worth the price of the co-pay and something I need to consider.

The hour today flew by. I think mostly it was filled with my venting and outrage at the situations that have occurred in the last 72 hours (and some that haven't), and my realizing my lack of control over something I very much want to control.

I have to give it up and realize that the choices that were made were the best ones for the majority, and that I was not the one that forced my hand, that drew a line in the sand, and that was responsible for the makings of a very unpeaceful and dangerous situation.

The pain remains, but I'm more peaceful with it all. But that peace comes with the high price tag of guilt. Guilt will do no good and will only obscure my clarity, which is very much needed at this time.

Yes, clarity is needed, and clarity I shall seek.


 

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The Day After

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

It was an unusual day today, this first day of the new year. I experienced, I felt, I lived, emotions that I have kept buried. Fear, anguish and sadness were accompanied by tears, tears that have been locked away for years.

The thought of my son walking the cold streets of Portland by day and sleeping in a shelter at night left me a raw bundle of uncontainable emotion.

I called him this morning, he didn't answer his phone. I left a message marred by sniffles and sobs, one that I'm not so sure he would be able to decipher.

I tried to think of other things, busy  myself with distractions, but without notice tears would once again flow freely.

In between thoughts of my son there were times of levity. I thought of how I was dressed when the police arrived at my house. Green sweat pants, a purple Harley shirt and pink fuzzy socks were my attire of the day.  I hadn't blown dry my hair and it was a mess of frizzy curls. I hadn't put in my contacts, opting for glasses instead. Not my usual pulled together self.

I had to laugh, it seems each time the police have been called to my house, due to my son's actions, I've been dressed as if I was being featured on an episode of COPS, Sunday was no exception. As a matter of fact, it probably topped the list. Why is it when an emergency arises I'm always dressed as a bum?

I was able to visit with a neighbor and have a few laughs as well as a few tears, but it was good. She always knows what to say and how to make me feel better.

Then I cooked the southern New Year's Day tradition, black eyed peas and cornbread, did some house cleaning on the files of my computer and prepared for an evening with my daughter, Karli, and her family.

The day seemed to be looking up until my grandson asked me where Joshua was. I didn't know what to say. He asked again and I had to tell him that his uncle didn't live here any more but that he would still be able to see him. Josiah seemed satisfied with that answer, but it tore at my heart once again.

We got through dinner and were watching a bit of TV when my cell phone rang. It was Joshua. I steeled my emotions before I answered. He sounded like his happy self. He told me he had made friends, which scares the hell out of me, and that he was safe, eating and doing ok.

I told him that if he agreed to take his medication, go to counseling and work with the family we could talk about him coming home.

His answer was unexpected, but strangely relieving, he said that it would probably be two to three months before he considered coming home, that he wanted to use this time as a learning experience. I warned him to be careful of who he associated with, I cautioned him about drugs and I assured him that we would always be his family and be here for him.

I told him I would continue to try to find housing opportunities for him and a safe place he could call his own. He was appreciative but I'm not so sure he totally understood what I was saying. He seemed to be intrigued by living on the streets.

Although my heart is still broken and the tears are close at hand, I felt better hearing his voice and hearing that he agreed to stay in touch and call if he needed something.

I still know it's the only decision that could have been made for the safety of everyone involved, but it still hurts deeply. It's hard enough to let your children go off to college, just imagine how hard it is to have them live on the streets. 




 

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