Friday, March 07, 2014

All that Ails

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

My first experience with Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) happened in my cognitive processes class. I remember when I took the personalities class that I was upset when one of the theorists said that happy people are people who remember their childhood as happy. I was mad because my childhood was my childhood. I couldn't change that.

So, when I finally got that when they talked about remembering and forgetting, they were talking about what a person chooses to focus on. Yes, I was at the receiving end of a lot of abuse, but, there were good things in my childhood too. I could focus on the people who loved me unconditionally (whether I acknowledged that at the time or not), and focus on the things I did well, and focus on my strengths, and in doing that, I could change my own attitude about who I am and where I came from. I doesn't change the abuse, but it recognizes my strengths. It honors who I AM!

CBT is actually a pretty simple concept. It is probably the most empirically supported of all psychological therapies!  Albert Ellis pulled together the exploration of thoughts in psychoanalysis and the scientifically supported methods in behavior analysis. Thoughts cannot be observed by scientists to be studied, but they are definitely a behavior, can be observed by the person thinking them, and respond to behavior modification.

CBT tells us that it is our thoughts that create our emotions:
  • An event happens:  it doesn't care how we feel about it. It is neutral.
  • Our thoughts give the event a meaning. We allow our glasses of perception to skew our experience in the event.
  • Our thoughts lead to an emotion.
  • That emotion prompts our behavior.
  • Our behavior affects the event,
  • And it goes on and on and on.
  • We can stop the cycle at thought.
The ABCDE Model teaches how to change our thoughts by challenging our perception of the event.
  • A: The Activating experience (event) happens
  • B: What are we thinking? What are our Beliefs?  
  • C: What is the emotional Consequence of our thinking? How strong are our emotions about this event?
  • D: Dispute the thoughts and Beliefs. Are they fact? Are they opinion?  (if someone could argue a different perspective, your thought is probably opinion). This is also a good place to look at the possible thinking errors you may be engaging in and how they are feeding your emotions.
  • E: New Effective thoughts and beliefs. If your thoughts are opinions, how can they be re-stated to reduce the emotional impact? 
It takes a lot of work to make real changes through CBT. You have to practice it often. The reason it works is because it changes the weight of the pathways in our brains. Our brains are incredible organisms that are designed to do all the thinking for us that they possibly can. This mechanism works well when you are running from lions and tigers, but, in our society, it can get in the way. If we never become aware of our thoughts and how our perceptions could be tricking us, we don't grow. We can challenge our perception which will weight new pathways, and we can be calmer, happier people.

So, being Mindful, and challenging our beliefs makes us more effective in our own lives.

I like to think that CBT is a lot like Buddhism. Buddha says that want is the cause of all suffering. Well, that is the "official" translation, and I think it is a little off the mark. I say the our expectations are the cause of all suffering. When our expectations become too rigid, and we never challenge them, we find ourselves experiencing frustration, anger, hurt, and incredible sadness. When our expectations are less rigid, and are challenged frequently, we might experience disappointments and annoyances, but we never get too emotional about what is happening around us. We can't control most of what happens around us, but we can always influence those events by controlling our responses - and that means challenging our thoughts. 

Weak Boundaries 

I finally know What makes him so special! It was never him. It did have something to do with my mother, but, really, it was all about me. And my boundaries.

I love my What I learned part II post in which I thought I figured it out. I figured out a little part, maybe the explanation of how I came to be the "Lost Child" of the family. Yes, my family was dysfunctional. Very dysfunctional. Kim was the scapegoat, I was the lost child. I guess in the end Jay must have felt like a lost child to. But what I failed to really acknowledge was my very strong propensity to co-dependency.

My mother taught us to be codependent. There was never a time when I was allowed to think for myself, or make decisions for myself, or have a good opinion of myself. It is absolutely true that for the first 30 years of my life, I let my mother dictate my direction. And then I didn't. And it felt good. It felt so very good. It fed right into my divorce. I knew I wasn't going to let others dictate my life anymore, and I've done a pretty good job at honoring that promise to myself. But, I didn't finish the work!

That was apparent when my sister called me me  a few years ago and set my codependency on fire. I stirred the beehive of doubt and uncertainty that was still hanging in that big black cloud over my head that told me I just wasn't good enough. Even though I knew I was the one who had abandoned me, I still didn't get why I would do that. I didn't get why I didn't feel like someone else wouldn't like "me" and it pissed me off that one adult could treat another so badly. Why should I have to teach someone how to treat me?  A decent person would know, right?  :)   I moved on from that, at least in my head.

CBT can help a person to understand how terribly irrational the thoughts associated with co-dependency are. I have challenged those irrational thoughts a lot over the years. I have written gratitude logs and did some stuff with Self Matters. I can re-frame just about any event and see the good in it. That isn't to say I ignore the bad, because you have to work on that, but you should definitely work to see how you will be stronger for it.

But CBT doesn't really teach you how to prevent yourself from getting into co-dependent relationships over and over. For that, you need to develop healthy boundaries! You really need to click on this link. It is an awesome run through on how to create healthy boundaries, what unhealthy boundaries look like, and how to enforce your boundaries. I am recommending that you read the article! Go there now and read it.

So, apparently there is a difference between teaching someone how to treat you, and expecting people to treat you with respect. There is a huge relationship between being ok with who you are and expecting those around to be ok with you too. And it IS ok to expect others to respect you, and if they don't, then there are consequences. And, sometimes those consequences are difficult to enforce. And sometimes they mean saying goodbye. But they definitely mean telling someone how you feel and telling them what you expect from them. Because they can't read your mind. So, that "if he really loved me he would know...." is crap. No, he doesn't know unless you tell him. No, your kids don't know if you don't teach them. No, your friends don't know they are stepping on your toes if you don't say ouch!

First, CBT. Learn to focus your attention with intention. Learn to be ok with who you are and be mindful.
Second, learn to develop healthy boundaries. Enforce those boundaries. Be brave!

Then, take two aspirin but don't call me in the morning.  unless you want to go for a run!  or breakfast.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Last Refuge of Failure is Myth: The REAL Ronald Reagan | Addicting Info

I remember how things were at the end of the Reagan era. I remember the working class had nothing. I remember that if Reaganomics continued unchecked it would lead to a working class revolution. I remember that I voted to re-elect bush sr. just to help make sure that happened. The Clinlton presidency put enough salve on the wound to post-pone this working class revolution for a decade or so. ...But, the writing is on the wall. The working class is being reduced to a slave class - and they can't see it. Yet. The Occupy movements are groups of people testing the waters, finding out where the power is and who the armies of the rich are. It's coming folks, a working class revolution. I wonder if humanity will survive it? This article is a super good read that reminds us what Reaganomics were really about. The conservatives would like us to think that they are continuing the work of Reagan, but, those who remember know better. Well, except that the economy is sliding downhill so fast that there may be no real recovery from the past policies. Pay close attention to the graphs. They tell the story.

Friday, December 30, 2011

FB Status

As I left my last client of my last day as a Preferred employee, I was treated to the most perfect and beautiful rainbow. I hope this isn't a promise not to flood my life with people who love what I do and think I'm awsome ever again! :) Once I get my billings and notes finished I will officially be unemployed - for 3 whole days! Should I apply for unemployment benefits? :)

Ayn Rand and the Sociopathic Society or ‘How I Learned to Stop Loving My Neighbor and Despise Them Instead.’ | Addicting Info

An article about how conservatives show signs of sociopathy. I liked it, so I'm sharing it. "These people are sociopaths, pure and simple. As long as they get what they “deserve”, it doesn’t matter what happens to anyone else. Homeless families are not their problem. Malnourished children are not their problem. Uninsured sick people are not their problem. The elderly reduced to abject poverty (as they were before the advent of Social Security) are not their problem."

Ayn Rand and the Sociopathic Society or ‘How I Learned to Stop Loving My Neighbor and Despise Them Instead.’ | Addicting Info

'Mental illness' not an explanation for violence

This article is quite late, but the message needs to be repeated as often as necessary to undo the stigma of mental illness in the public consciousness.'Mental illness' not an explanation for violence

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I am grateful

November is thanks-giving month -- post one thing every day until Thanksgiving.

November 4: I started on this day because I didn't know about it until then. Otherwise I would have posted starting November 1 - Duh! :)

I am grateful to have an awesome family and beautiful children!

November 5: I had a new client who told me I was irritating and annoying. Other clients have told me this, and I always make it through. I wasn't even taking this client because I was in need of more hours either - but because the client needed a psr. So, I chose to go for a brisk walk. It worked! The next time I saw this client we were suddenly best buds! I love my job!

I am grateful for the ability to walk off my frustrations.

November 6: There really isn't anything more fun than coming off of difficult weeks and having the luxury of just hanging out in bed or on the couch all Saturday just doing nothing.

I am grateful for lazy Saturday mornings that last all day long!

November 7: Today was daylight savings day.

I am grateful for that extra hour of sleep this morning.

November 8: I love my job. But that doesn't mean I don't really appreciate the very occasional cancellations that allow me to sleep in on Monday! It is like having a 4 day holiday. Even though I had to work on the Friday before and Monday after. I love my sleep.

I am grateful for four days in a row to sleep in.

November 9: Another client I work with has found herself in a new, very age-appropriate relationship. She smiled for 2 1/2 hours straight. It was a difficult morning, and it was so nice to see the smiles. She made me smile - and everything was all better!

I am grateful for big, bright, happy smiles!

November 10: Have I told you? I LOVE my job!

I am grateful for getting paid to do something I LOVE to do!

November 11: Today was Veterans Day! I really do feel very lucky that there are people who are willing to step up where I have not. I appreciate people who put themselves in the line of fire so that I might enjoy what freedoms I do have.

I am grateful for all of the men and women who have fought to keep the young dream of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people alive! Happy Veterans Day!

November 12: I sometimes get too comfy in my own life. Not that that is a bad thing, but sometimes it is good to stretch a little and grow. I am sure I am happy without a man in my life. I'm positive I don't need one. There is no way I want to make the time and the room to fit one in. I think.

I am grateful for the winds of change that howl through the valley of my complacency.

November 13: Megan and Ellie came to stay with me this weekend! It was sooooo much fun to have them down. I just love them both sooooo much. I miss my Megan more than anyone can really know. She is such an amazing person, the perfect daughter and an incredibly wonderful mother. And Ellie just gets cuter and cuter every time I see her. At the birthday party she laughed and laughed at a mylar balloon we were playing with. Good times!

I am grateful for the baby kisses coming my way today!!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 14: Two babies I love very much turned 1 year old on the 11th. Today they had their first birthday party. Babies don't like birthday parties as much as the people who care about them, but that's ok. It was a fun party. Then, my adopted dad says he really wants to do something to let Zach know that he has a family here that cares about him. We couldn't figure out how to get him introduced, then I remembered! Saturday is Zach's Birthday. Aunt Bitsy has offered to let us use her house so that we can throw Zach a surprise party! Well, this is going to be more fun than you know. I guess you'll see on the post about that.

I am grateful for birthdays.

November 15: I have a lot of people around me who encourage me and pat me on the back. I just do what I think is right, and I know that in most cases I do make a difference in the positive direction. Still, it never hurts to hear it!

I am grateful for AWESOME pep talks.

November 16: Not everyone survives abuse and makes their life work as well as I have made mine work. My life is not perfect by any means. I should have gone to college out of high school where I would have become a big experimental psych professor studying something very cool. I should have picked a better husband for me, and father for my children. I should never have drifted away from the family that loved and cared so much for me. I wasn't a perfect mother. I've made mistakes that made no sense. But I chose not to let the abuse define who I was as a person. And I never will. I also know that I must do what ever I can to make sure no other child has to suffer what I suffered alone. I may not be able to stop the abuse, but I can definitely teach children the skills they will need to survive it themselves. I give it all I have. It's the least I can do.

I am grateful that the past CANNOT continue to hurt me without my permission. I am grateful that I have put it behind be where it belongs, and did not allow it to mess up the entirety of my life or my kids' lives. I am grateful I had the strength to grow and learn from the abuse I received as a child instead of crumbling and succumbing to it. I am who I am today NOT BECAUSE I was abused, but IN SPITE of it!

November 17: When I started working full time, nearly all of my hours came from clients who live in the Burley/Rupert area. I am required to turn my progress notes in By Wednesday so that the book keeper can enter the information by the deadline set by Medicaid. I was told that I could place my progress notes in the box that gets taken to and from Burley, so I did. Then a whole week's worth of progress notes came up missing. No one know what has happened to them - something that should be of concern to everyone. This lost week's worth of notes wouldn't get paid until the following pay day - which I was unhappy about. It meant that I would be taxed as if I was making a lot more money. I spoke with my boss about it, and he made sure that all the problems were taken care of. He told me that he really appreciates what I do for the organization, and that he wants to keep me happy. They fixed everything too! I got my washer and dryer! It is nice to be appreciated like that.

I am grateful that I have an employer who appreciates me enough to keep me happy, and that he feels that way because he is getting positive feedback from other agencies that we work with! :) Happy day.

November 18: No matter how well I plan to work on specific tasks with my clients, there are days when it just doesn't work. This was one of those days when nothing I thought was going to happen actually happened. It was a noisy day - they changed the radio station in my car several times, talking talking talking non-stop. I didn't even realize how noisy the day had been until I got to bed and it was quiet. I really appreciate that quiet!

I am grateful busy noisy days that take paths of their own - followed by restful quiet nights I can empty the bustle and noise into.

November 19: There are things in our lives that we take for granted. Like toilets.

I am grateful for toilets! November 19 is World Toilet Day! According to the British Medical Journal, sanitation has saved more lives than anything else in history - more than antibiotics, vaccines, and anaesthesia. Help spread the word by making this your Facebook status and learn more here:

November 20:  I finally got a washer and dryer!  Huge sale at Home Depot.  $500 for the pair!  Everywhere else was asking $700 to $800 for the pair!  Happy day!

i am grateful for great sales on cheap washers and dryers.

This is when the snows started.  Nasty, deep, cold snow.  If you know me, you know how I feel about snow in the valley!
November 21:  Zach was in Boise for his birthday.  I took him to Red Lobster for dinner.  Pretty boring compared to what his dad got him for his birthday.  But I got him home the next morning under the guise that I needed him to help me help someone.  I guess he thought he was going to help me help one of my clients.  He was actually kind of happy about it.  But not as happy as the surprise party I was really taking him to.  Grandpa Lyle told Aunt Bitsy that he was renting her house for a party, and she was all for it ;).  There were lots of people there that Zach hadn't met yet.  He was so happy, he just kept smiling.  He got lots of cool stuff for his birthday too.  It was so neat.
I am grateful for happy surprises that turn out even better than planned! Zach has been completely accepted into the folds of the family that was once lost but now found. I've never seen him smile so much. His dad might have seen him smile that much last night though :)

November 22:  Back to work.  In the snow.  It wasn't as bad getting to Burley as getting home.  The roads were treacherous, and I was someone nervous on the drive home.  But I made it - I always do.  Unfortunately, not everyone did.  There were several slide offs along the way.
I am grateful that I can distract myself from fear by using big words; ie. I query the acumen of transporting myself on a frozen public infrastructure covered by bellowing drifts of snow at the height of an early winter storm. Anyway, I'm home now - alive and well. No accidents for me. Can't say the same for everyone else out there!

November 23:  I turned around the next morning and planned to drive back to Burley.  I got on the freeway where people were driving 35 mph, and the snow in the passing lane was deep.  My car doesn't do deep snow.  I ended up turning around at the Valley exit - it just wasn't worth it.  I did have one disappointed client, but I guess she managed ok without me.
I am grateful for a snow-day that allowed me to catch up on some things that needed to be done.

November 24:  I did make it to work on Wednesday.  We went through the McDonalds drive thru that wasn't completely cleared of ice and snow.  When I pulled up to the window there was some ice that almost held me back, so I put on the parking break - and promptly forgot that I had done so.  When the food came out, I hit the gas and the car just wouldn't go.  I got out of the car to kick away the obstruction, but found non.  As I was getting back into the care, I remembered the brake.  It was too late not to be embarrassed, however.
I am grateful that I didn't call a tow truck before I realized that I was stuck because I left the parking brake on!

November 25:  I typically get ready for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday because Megan and Steven come for Thanksgiving dinner on Friday.  This thanksgiving, however, Zach and I were invited to have Thanksgiving dinner at aunt Bitsy's - and it was so much fun.  The food was great, and we had a really good time.  I really do have a lot to be thankful for this year.
I am grateful for my children - they are the reason I am still here. I am grateful for all of my family - they are amazing no matter what happens. I am grateful for my friends - even the ones I haven't seen in a while. I am grateful for my work - it's nice to know I can make a difference in the lives of others.

I am grateful for my house - even though it's not finished yet. I am grateful for my art - paintng, photography and piano. I am grateful for my computer - even when the keys do weird things. I am grateful for the thanksgiving dinner I had today - and the one I will have tomorrow.
I am grateful for NOVA, Nature, and Masterpiece Classic. I am grateful for not having to go to the laundromat any more - I might have an I'm not going to come here anymore party at the laundromat though.
I am grateful for this moment. Right here, right now, I am safe, warm and content.
November 26:  Megan, Steve and Ellie came for dinner.  Megan helped me cook, and we had a lot of fun.  The turkey took a really long time to bake, I'm not used to the time it takes to cook a really big turkey - I'll have to keep that in mind for future reference.
I am grateful for Steven, Megan and Ellie. They came for Thanksgiving dinner today, and even though the Turkey took so long to cook (maybe because I bought the biggest one I could find), it still all tuned out good. Megan made the best mashed potatoes, bread, and cranberry sauce! Ellie made the cutest giggle! :)


November 27:  My washer and dryer were delivered.
I am grateful to be doing my laundry - - - AT HOME!!!!!

November 28:  Sundays can be rather tense at times.  The are great times for calm, but I know that the coming week could be difficult. 
I am grateful for the calms before (and after) the storms!

November 29:  And Monday was definitely a storm.  I actually did get stuck - high centered because my car is so low to the ground.  I have roadside assistance and used it.
I am grateful for roadside assistance - it comes in handy when you really are stuck; I am grateful that I did not have an accident on the way home from Burley, When I got home I realized my seat-belt wasn't buckled; I am grateful that this wretched day has come to an end.

November 30:  Then today started out bad.  I was late, the roads were still bad, and I was sure I wanted to stay home.  I didn't, though, and things turned around ok.
I am grateful that today was only bluffing when it threatened to be Monday all over again!

And that was my month.  When I started this I thought it would be kind of fun, and it was.  What I didn't expect was how hard it would be to come up with something in every day that I could be grateful for.  It was a great exercise, and I have decided to continue this to see where it takes me.  Find one thing in every day that I can be grateful for.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Just saying hi.

I'm just sitting in a little coffee shop - just ate some lunch and have a post started that will sum up November for me. The wind is blowing so hard today. The car shakes with each big gust. The trees bounce and sway. The clouds stream past in a long succesion of animals and cartoon characters. They're in a hurry to get somewhere, but theydon't know where. Like me. Most of the leaves have become separated from their beloved tree and lie scattered in big piles where they are protected from the wind. Some have not yet found that protection and hop and skip through the streets. The colors of summer are long past now, and everything is brown and gray. At least the sun is shining. The sky is blue - and I'm feeling it too. The chill of autumn has seized my heart several times in the past week. It sends shivers down my spine. Right now what I really want to do is wrap up in my coat, but I can't because it smells like dog urine and feces because I helped out at an animal shelter this morning. Live and learn. In another 6 hours I will be home, where I can wrap up in my blankets and feel warm and safe.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy to be home

Tonight I was watching desperate housewives.  I had finished dinner, and was almost done with my progress notes.  I got up to get some apple crisp for desert and an unpleasant feeling washed over me.  Last year at this time I would have been getting ready to go back to Pocatello for the week.  I can't even begin to tell you how much I hated living in that apartment.  I went to school with a bunch of kids whom I had nothing in common with, and they never invited me to do anything anyway because I was as old as their parents.  Most of the things they liked to do I don't do much anyway. 

The apartment I lived in was the worst place I have EVER lived!  My neighbors were generally druggies, and drug dealers, and the manager was a lying scheming worthless piece of work.  I rarely had a good internet signal when I was there.  I could hear one neighbor having intimate relations, another liked to play his guitar at all hours of the night, and the neighbor next door fought a lot with his wife.  It stunk, it was run down, and there was nothing about it that said home.

I spent the entire week working on homework, on teaching assistant stuff, going to classes and working in the lab.  When I got to do PSR work I got excited!  It was the only part of my life where I felt important.  I had some classes I loved!  Sensation and Perception was a total mind blower for me.  I could spend my whole life learning about that stuff.  I also looked forward to Physiological Psychology and Fetal development.  I read lots of research and debated with classmates about the implications of the findings.  It was a blast.  But when I think about all the hours I spent in the my office because I couldn't stand to go back to the apartment and feel so utterly alone, I just want to cry.

I don't regret my decision to not go back this year.  I am happy working as a PSR.  I have a lot of hours.  I can handle this much for now, but I'm sure I will eventually want to cut back some.  Maybe.  Maybe I'll get used to all of this time working and decide that's what I want to do from here on!  I need the money for now.  I did find out, however, that 32 hours/week looks an awful lot like 38 hours a week on my take home pay.  Taxes get the rest!

I'm not complaining about paying taxes!  I feel like I am contributing to my cause now!  I am donating my money to agencies that feed the poor, house those who would be otherwise homeless, support the disabled, build the roads I love to drive on, etc. etc. etc!  It makes me feel good to know I am giving back now.  I got the Earned income tax credit for a lot of years because I didn't make enough money to support my own kids.  Now I get to help another woman somewhere who is struggling like I did.  I only wish I could make more so I could pay more! 

Well, I might have gotten a little carried away there.  But I do feel good about paying my share now.

And I'm really glad I am not just now pulling up to a stinking rat-hole of an apartment right now.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Last weekend I went to Meridian to see Megan and Ellie.  I also took Zach because he was participating in the City of Trees Marathon this year - the half marathon.  He did pretty well, especially considering he was suffering from bronchitus!  And since a picture is worth a thousand words, I feel no need to write further! ;)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Happy Anniversary Dear Universe - 5 years and counting!

Wow!  Five years I have been charting me in this blog.  I don't have any other diaries that are as well kept as this blog.  Sad, because of late I have not been keeping up with this blog.  It has been two months since I last posted.

The grad school thing didn't work out.  I managed to flunk a statistics class - I still don't know how, it was strange - and that meant losing my assistance ship, so no money to finish.  It didn't matter really, the research project I wanted to do so bad blew up in my face this summer.  When I was researching possible avenues of research, I read a Kane and Engle paper that actually IS what I wanted to do.  The thing is, when I was reading it in the beginning, I really didn't understand what it was about.  It wasn't until the hypothesis was suggested and I researched it through other avenues that I came to understand the paradigm.  I had my proposal all but completed and thought out and was going back through papers to make sure I included all relevant information.  It was then that I looked again at the paper and realized that it was the study I wanted to do.  Maybe if I were young and had lots of time to get through grad school, I could have picked myself up by the bootstraps and made may way through, but I'm old and I really needed to have something going by the time school started this semester.  It sucked.  Such is life.

Then, all summer I had to muck through with only 12 hours a week of work.  It's hard to have any money that way, but all that free time was cool.  I did get to go to Boise more often then.  All of a sudden when school started, my case load tripled.  Now I am working nearly 40 hours a week, driving 8 hours a week and writing progress notes another 3 hours a week.  It is fun work, sometimes very frustrating and exhausting, but I can see myself doing this for a long time.  It is different now than it was last summer.  I work with people who want a better life.  Imagine that!

The last time I made a post about my blog was on the 100th post.  I still like the same things that I liked then, and a few more!

Probably the most amazing and wonderful thing to happen this year is Ellie!  She is perfection in a very small package.  Megan all over again!  I haven't done the best job posting pictures of her here on this blog, but I have been posting them on my facebook photos and there are plenty of cute ones here, here, here, here, and here.  The baby keeps growing, and I try to go see her at least once a month, but sometimes nasty life can get in the way.  I'd be there to see her every day if I could.  She is starting to coo now, and when I heard her on the phone last week I thought she sounded exactly like her mom! 

Ellie is very amazing - but another amazing thing happened on the family front this year.  I was found by my Adopted Dad's family!  It has been a wonderful experience to say the least.  They are free to love me the way they want without interference from my mother.  The sibling thing is still weird.  My sister is not dating/living with Dale anymore, but instead has taken up with some other guy that she really doesn't know.  I had my brother Jay in my life for a minute - he made me a beautiful piece of art to put on my wall, and now will be gone again for a long time.  My other brother - well - I guess I'm just a huge disappointment to him.  I guess.  He never came to see Ellie when she was here - any of the times - and he pretty much pretends not to see me when I know he does.  Oh well.

I haven't don't a whole lot with art lately.  I have my camera and have been taking pictures, of Ellie, of course, but not of anything too artsy.  A whole summer blown.  Maybe I'll find time soon.  I have been working on my grapes painting (still) and it will end up just being a study because I have really messed things up.  But I did learn how to make my grapes look translucent.  I'll show you when I have time to paint one that can be hung! Instead of posting my favorites individually, I am choosing to point you to art label.  There are a few pages to scroll through, but some of my favorite pictures are there and all of my best drawings and paintings (and some that aren't so good) are there. My job has been keeping me as busy as school did.  What is up with that?

I haven't written any real prose in a long time.  I wrote on my facebook status a few lines once. 

I’d like to dance with the wind, shout with the thunder, strike like the lightening, and cry with the rain.
I’d like to know why the answer is no, then yes, then no again.
It cannot be sane to cry in pain, and live in vain.
I’d like to dance with the wind, shout with the thunder, strike like the lightening, and cry with the rain.

It isn't really that great.  I've done better.  My Favorite is Hide and Seek.  When I read posts like January, I remember how depressed I used to get every Winter.  I haven't done that in years!  I have changed my thought patterns!  It really is that easy - and that hard!  It can be done, however.  Every time I find myself thinking the thoughts that typically lead to depression, I stop them with thought stoppers, and refocus on positive thoughts.  It is a lot of work at first.  It is constant and unrelenting.  Eventually new thought patterns strengthen (new neural pathways become weighted) and the old weaken.  I really do feel like a different person now!  Unfortunately, I don't have the pain to write prose about anymore, and everyone knows all good prose comes from pain! ;)  I'm sure that isn't true - but I don't spend nearly as much time  contemplating such things now.

I haven't posted any more on my Acquisition label, not because I haven't explored more of where I have come, but because when I continue to write about it, I need to take the time to write it well.  I am quite proud of these posts.  I was definitely inspired when I wrote them.  In the future I plan to write about how not living my life trying to figure out what my "purpose" is has led to a freedom that has definitely aided in my freedom from depression.  Before, I looked for signs to help guide me to where I hoped some greater entity was steering me to, now I guide myself.  If I start down one path and come to find it is a dead end, there is no emotional angst, just a prompt to move on to something else.  I'm not lost any more, because I make my own way - I blaze my own trails.  That way I am happy to take responsibility for all of the consequences, good and bad.

I've been letting facebook chart my life lately.  That doesn't really work, however, because facebook doesn't allow specific searches, and going back for a few months is a serious pain in the neck.  What that means is that I might actually have to post what I have written on facebook here too.  Even if it is just a couple of lines.  At least that way there is a record of my life.  A place to write about my life and remember it, because the brain just isn't a very good place to keep track.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Scrutator: Picture this

You'll have to picture this yourself this week, because I have not included any pictures for this post. It looks rather boring, but the content is...well...lively. I've decided that between Facebook and mymsn page, this is going pretty well so far. Let me say that I don't include EVERYTHING I find interesting. I am showing some restraint - believe it or not. So, here is this weeks picture less scrutator:

Wolves are not responsible for declining elk populations in Idaho since their reintroduction according to a study.  The article has a quote that isn't entirely accurate, however.  “No predator has ever eliminated its food,” Creel said. “Change is always the most dramatic at the beginning, then population numbers settle.”  I would have to say that the human predator is responsible for eliminating many natural food sources.  Well, maybe that's a stretch - we can make our own food, so what he is saying is that wolves will not kill themselves out of future dinners.  I will be keeping track of the comments section here.  Of course, there is already a comment from a wolf-hater who believes that wolves are killing off all of the elk.  Dude, just because you can't find an elk to shoot when you're hunting doesn't mean they are all gone.  It just means you might actually have to get out of your pick-up truck and HUNT instead of playing target practice with elk standing in the middle of an open field!

Orangutans are more efficient than humans.  Scientists have studied these apes and have found that they consume less food pound for pound than humans while still enjoying a very active lifestyle.  The probable cause for this difference is that they have a very slow resting metabolic rate that has evolved in response to a constantly changing food source and availability.  The article doesn't say exactly how much more efficient the orangutans are than humans, nor have they studied the possible differences in human lineages.  It would be interesting to know if a person's ancestry plays a role in resting metabolic rate.  I for one am certain I have a lower metabolic rate that average.  If I eat 1500 calories a day, I will be fat.  If I want to lose weight, I have to restrict to under 1000 calories a day.  This is anecdotal evidence to be sure, and has not bearing on true scientific knowledge, but scientific studies have to start somewhere.  This study on orangutans and the possibility that humans face weight problems that could be tied to lineage are great places to begin a new study.  I won't be doing that study, though I'm sure I'll be reading it someday!

Here's a good short story with no real meat - or nose. A Boise man is arrested for felony mayhem. He bit off the nose of his room mate. Officers couldn't find the nose, so it probably won't get sewn back on. It seems in really poor taste to make the pun here - you know - he won't be poking his nose where it doesn't belong anymore. Yes, very poor taste.

In Idaho, medicaid payments are not all being paid.  Health and Welfare has switched computer services.  Molina was the low bidder.  Why did the government chose to make the switch without a good test of the system or a plan B?  Could this be more design than malfunction?  Imagine how much money the State is making off of the payments they are supposed to be making to providers as the money sits in banks for moths.  Some providers are going out of business.  Care is suffering.  Already, the candidate running against the incumbent governor has jumped all over this.  He is speaking with providers to pin-point the problems and taking suggestions as to how to fix them.  So far, I am really lucky to work someplace that has enough money so far to make payroll.  That could change, of course.  I guess that's what happens when private sector businesses mess with government.

Here is capitalism at work in the pharmaceutical field.  The big pharma companies are pulling out of research for medications that treat psychiatric disorders - not because they have developed highly effective medicines with minimal side effects - but because they won't make enough money for them.  I am linking to a psych blogger on this because the original article requires a subscription, which I cannot afford.  This is highly disturbing (the new - not the subscription - although I think news should be fee free), and evidence that healthcare will never be safe in the hands of capitalism.  This is the very definition of rationed health care, isn't it?  Only those who can pay get the best treatment.

This Wednesday is just packed with good news!  My clients were ok - just lost texting on their phone - I am getting new clients and will soon be making good money again, and a judge just overturned the California gay marriage ban!  Don't worry, it isn't the end of the family.  The family is an ever-changing entity that conforms to the needs of the society that forms them.  Children still need parents/guardians/teachers, and adults still need networks of people that they can count on.  Family will never die - hopefully bigotry will.

And there it is. Now I can turn in my progress notes and head out for a fun weekend trip! It may be my last for a while, because I might actually really start working again. I know I can do it, I just have to get up off know.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Scrutator: It's back!

October of 2008 was the last time I put together a scruator post. My life got really busy and I just didn't have time to keep it up. Today, I pull out the old Scrutator publisher and breath a little life back into something I once had a lot of fun with and was kind of proud of.  For those of you who don't know what this is, it is a compilation of news articles that I have read during the week that caught my attention and drew my commentary.  I have no idea if I am really going to be able to do this weekly, but I do hope to bring this back into my life.

California is getting serious about legalizing marijuana.  Apparently, they are pulling out all of the stops.  A company wants to grow and sell marijuana on a very large scale basis.  The cities want to tax the sales to replace some of the revenues they have lost under poor leadership.  Replacing tax revenue isn't their only argument for legalizing the substance.  Other arguments include breaking the Mexican drug cartel and reducing the number of illegal immigrants that come here with pot.  They also argue the ending this prohibition will give society the ability to address addiction problems that people face because the problem with legal punishment will no longer be relevant, which also means that the prisons won't be filled up with people who were busted for possession.  One group doesn't plan to stop at marijuana, however.  They intend to push until all prohibitions are eliminated!

One can see how legalizing marijuana would carry a lot of positives.  I wonder how the feds would deal with this.  I doubt it will go quite like they plan, but it might be interesting.  I keep telling people who smoke pot because they don't think it should be illegal that their philosophical outlook will not save them from punishment, and that if they are serious about it, they should do something to legalize it.  If you don't like the law change it - don't break it!  Here are some people blazing a trail for you.  Will you help them?

Scientists have developed the technology that can help to diagnose autism at an earlier age.  This is great news because the one thing we know for sure is that the earlier you start treating the symptoms, the better chance the child will have at an independent life.  Of course, good news must be tempered by a bad comment.  Joyce Schulte is sad to learn that there is another autistic boy in the world and that autism should be prevented.  A lot of things should be prevented, like flotsam spewing forth from the mouths of hateful, obtuse people.  She doesn't say she is the parent of an autistic child, and I hope she isn't, I certainly wouldn't want to be that poor hated child. is a new web site that explains how health care will change and what you can expect when (if) the changes are made in 2014.

When health care reform was being created, I was really hoping for a public option. I really think health care needs to change, because too many people, including myself, can't afford insurance premiums. It never fails that I have no money to see a doctor when I get sick, however, I never have health care bills that even compare to what insurance premiums are. The last time I had insurance was when I worked at the school district and they paid the premiums. My premiums were more than $300 per month, and the last year I had the insurance, my health care bill for the entire year was only about $30 or $40 more than a one month premium. That bill, by the way, was for routine preventative care, not illness. The last time I got sick, the doctor visit was $70 and lab costs were about that. It was for a stupid UTI!

The media likes to remind us as often as possible that polls show Americans are not happy with health care reform. I would like to point out that those numbers are high not because of what the republicans say - that it will be too expensive for our country - but instead isn't popular because it didn't include the public option. Now I will be forced to give money to insurance companies who will charge far more than what my health care bill will ever be. A public option would have been the only way to ensure that staying healthy is a great way to not have high health care bills. I would actually much rather see all health care run by the government.

I think the argument that doctors and services would be worse if we had socialized medicine. I have worked at jobs where there were lots of people riding the coat-tails of those who work, and I really don't think things would be that different if someone was making sure that everyone got a fair shake. I also have worked in places where pay wasn't based on job performance. There were still people who rode the coat-tails of those who worked. Even more amazingly, there were people who worked hard to get things done because they were dedicated to what they were doing. Most of the jobs I've had don't pay a living wage, and yet, when I went to work I worked hard to make a difference. That's what people need more of. Capitalism doesn't give people that drive any more than socialism takes it away. It either exists in a person or it doesn't. My guess is that if everyone made enough to live on no matter the job, more jobs would be filled by people who actually want to be there - but that's just me. A person who goes to work because of a paycheck is not the person I want taking care of my health, or my education, or my city streets, or anything else! I also do believe that ALL people have a right to health care. Aren't Americans supposed to have the right to LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? It is hard to have LIFE if you get sick and die, isn't it? I really hope this reform works. I hope it changes the way health insurers operate. I won't hold my breath - and not just because I don't have the health insurance that would be necessary to cover the disability care I would have to have because of the brain damaged caused by oxygen deprivation.

Jennifer Keeton
Picture taken fromFox News at link
 provided in text
Two separate cases regarding students in counseling programs have hit the news.  Jennifer Keeton is suing Augusta State University because they have demanded she complete a remediation plan because she has expressed her beliefs regarding sexual orientation.  She believes, as do many religious people, that homosexuality is a lifestyle that should be stopped.  She wants to be a school counselor.  I wonder how many young people who are confused about their sexuality would end up being terribly hurt by her proselityzations? 

Julea Ward
Picture taken from Fox New at
link provided in text
The other case is extremely similar, but here Julea Ward was expelled because she refused to counsel homosexuals.  Once again, she feels that homosexuality is morally wrong. 

Fox news, of course, is upset because they see these cases as dangerous presidents being set that will allow christian students all over America to be expelled because of their beliefs.  I think it's easy.  If you want to be a religious counselor, go to a bible college.  If you want to get real counseling credentials from Universities, learn about the diversity in humanity and accept that you will have a significant number of clients who have beliefs that are not congruent with your own.  If you can't do that, you really shouldn't be a counselor, which I believe is what these universities were trying to say, and what the courts agreed with.

The Arizona immigration law has been stopped for now. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton decided that there were portions of the law that trump state law. She feels that the government has a very strong case in many parts of the law, including requiring people to show papers, which will very likely create problems for American citizens of Mexican ancestry. Fox News of course, has a slightly different slant on the issue.  Sen. John McCain complains that it is disappointing that the power to control the border is given to the federal government, but the federal government won't do anything to address the problem.  They just aren't doing what they need to do to protect us.  Wait a minute!  Isn't John McCain a senator?  Doesn't that make him part of the federal government?  Doesn't that make him one of them?

Now that we are embroiled in a recession people are pointing their nasty little fingers of blame. Remember, the recession was caused by rich American white men. i can't figure out why they are getting a free pass. The American president is trying to pass legislation that would regulate these companies so that they can't cause such devastation to us poor people, but can't because us poor people apparently would rather blame the hard working Mexican farm workers. If we want to get rid of the drug smugglers, it can happen. Just refer above to the end of all prohibition.  An maybe, for once, someone should please figure out that WE are the government.  We NEED a strong government that can protect US against the greedy business practices of our big corporate bosses that refuse to pay their laborers enough to live on.  When that happens, we'll be glad once again to have so many kind Mexicans willing to come here and do our grunt work again - for a pittance.

And there it is! My soapbox interpretation of some of the news that caught my attention this week. I don't know if you agree, if not, I hope we can agree to disagree! And I will start to work on next weeks edition of Scrutator.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Jay's art

My brother gave me something to hang on my wall.  I think it is absolutely beautiful!  It changes all day long - depending on how the light hits it.  He says he sells them for about $20.  They are definitely worth it!

Auger Falls burned this week. I almost missed it completely.  I was watching tv, and it was not interesting enough to keep me awake.  Thanks Dr. Phil.  So I drove along both sides of the canyon to see if it was possible to get close enough to the edge of the canyon to take good photos.  It wasn't.  Sad thing was, the best vantage point was the easiest to get to - the Perrine Bridge.

 I can't help but feel it is a direct result of our city leaders needing to turn everything into a tamed back-yard type park.  It was started by a cigarette butt.  That figures, doesn't it?  Smokers will all say that they don't exhibit the kind of behaviors that lead to such things as thousand-acre wildfires, so who is responsible for all the cigarette butts littered everywhere?  Some still smoldering.  Some homes were threatened, but you know, if you have to build your house right next to the canyon rim there are risks you just have to assume.  I  know I sound snotty about this.  I'm glad Auger Falls was set aside for a park and not sold off to housing contractors to build at will and sell to the elite.

It is a mess isn't it?

So after figuring out that the best vantage point for photographing the fire was actually from the bridge, I decided to walk along the trail on the rim to follow the trail next to the river. I ended up at a lookout where vultures were flying. I think these birds get a bad rap. They might not look tough like an eagle, but they are interesting and valuable none-the-less. When they are riding the thermals they are just as graceful and look just as free. And it only takes them seconds the span the width of the canyon, which is more than a quarter of a mile. While they were close, I decided to take pictures - practice for when I make it to the old jump site to photograph the red tailed hawk that lives there. I definitely need more practice ;).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sonatina Deja Vu

The youtube videos below are the sonatina I learned to play by the end of the summer last year. Sadly, I was forced by circumstance to leave the piano at my old house during the winter, with no heat. When it got cold, the keys stopped working and I was no longer able to practice my newly learned skill. I was terrified that the piano was forever ruined, but when the weather got nice, the piano started working again. I stood at the piano and tried to remember how to play - with no success for quite some time. I was devastated.

Not being one to give up easily, I continued to try. I found a chair to sit in and took out the music with the intent of learning from scratch. I fumbled through for about an hour, trying hard to play it once again. Then something strange happened. I was tripping through the melody when all of a sudden my fingers played a measure - without me! It felt a lot like deja vu, except that I was re-experience something I knew I had played before.

In physio II we spent a significant time on spinal learning. This is an example of that at work. In the second movement at the end, I had read the notes incorrectly in the re-learn, but as I was playing it, my body moved into it and played the correct notes - correctly. This happened several times over this past week while I relearned the songs. It is the most amazing thing. I encourage everyone to learn some kind of move, or song on an instrument, then put it away for 9 months before going back to it. See if you experience the same thing I did? Spinal memory - in conjunction with auditory memory - is fun.

So, I wanted to post these youtube videos because when I first started learning the song I used these videos to help me figure out the melodies and some of the fingering. It really helped. I, of course, add a little bit of me into the songs when I play them so they don't sound exactly like this (and I have never had formal piano lessons - so I undoubtedly don't play as well), but I can play them again, and that makes me happy.

Now I just have to get the piano to my new house. I can play some songs so I shouldn't drive my roommate too crazy, and I now have a way to get it to my house (fingers crossed) due to some new reconnections that have taken place this summer.

I don't know why it makes me so happy to play the piano - especially given how awkward I am at it - but it does.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dear universe: You forgot to let me win the lottery!

20  21  23  38  42       6
30  49  51  54  58      33

As  you can see, none of these numbers match.  What I am taking from this experience is that I am good at bbquing chicken, but not so good at buying lottery tickets, and that the universe probably doesn't care whether my chicken is cooked or whether I go on my vacations. 

So, I'll continue to bbq chicken, and I'll continue to buy lottery tickets.  Because, hey, that's just how I am!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dear Universe, please let my bbq'd chicken be cooked...

the coals are dying and I don't want to start anymore

Guess who came to stay with me over the 4th?  Only the cutest mom in the whole world and her precious little baby!  I tried to have a really big "come see the baby" party, and I did get some people to stop by.  My brother Jay and our dad Lyle came.  My sister didn't come.  She said she was coming and then at the very last minute texted me that the engine light came on in her car and the engine was about to blow!  My brother Robert was supposed to come, I still don't know why he didn't.
Megan, Ellie and I stopped by to see aunt Bitsy.  I watched her while she  held Ellie.  I learned something too.  Babies like to have their bellies rubbed!  I didn't know that - not after two kids of my own!  When I was little my mother wouldn't let me hold babies or handle them in any way.  I was clueless when I had Megan - I really had no idea what I was doing!  I couldn't help but think that if my aunts had been around back then I would have been a much better mom.  Megan my not have had that month of colic!  I would have been calmer and more stable, I'll bet.  But, that's the past.
Ellie has the most amazing smile.  Megan has the prettiest smile in the world, but Ellie might give her some competition.  Today I went to Fred Meyer to buy some food, and I saw a smile that reminded me of Megan.  When I looked closer, the girl didn't look anything like Megan, but I still got on the "I miss my baby" track.  I'll be ok though.  maybe.
On Saturday (July 3) Zach and I met Megan and Steve and his sister Emily in Buhl for the annual sagebrush fun run and walk.  This is our second year as a family competing in this. (competing lol).  Last year Megan and I started out slow, then at about 1 mile we picked up the pace and passed boatloads of people.  This year, we were 3 minutes late for the start!  We still ended up passing a lot of people, and that was with Megan still not being in shape for the race (hey - she just had a baby).  But at the end of the race, they give out door prizes, and Megan got the best one ($5 worth of coupons at arctic circle) and I got the worst (an ugly shirt).  I really wanted the beans!  or the compost!  but I got a dumb ugly shirt. 
Zach and Steve were competing against ISU cross country runners this year, so neither got first place in their age group! Maybe next year.

I took a couple of pictures of Ellie.

Blogger is not a happy place for me. I tried to down load pictures all weekend and I have only finally got enough here to post. So, if you want to see the rest, you have to look at my facebook album. I know! what a chore, huh?


A while back - before the family reunion, I worried that something might not go quite right.  Then I went and re-united with so many wonderful people and decided that it was all just fuss.  My dad Lyle has been calling and getting together with me and my kids and things have been really good!  Except for that nagging something. 

People have been telling me that they feel so bad about not being able to protect my sister and I from our mother.  My dad actually stayed married to her for a long time to protect us, but there wasn't much anyone could do.  I have come to terms with that.  I understand exactly why no one could separate us from her.  Those were different times and the law looked unfavorably on separating children from their mothers.  Abuse was also defined differently in those days (sad things is that things haven't come as far as one would hope).  I am at peace with that.

What I didn't realize, is that even though I have come to terms with it, I spent a great many years venting to anyone that would listen, over and over, and I felt plenty sorry for myself.  I really thought I was all past that too!  However, I found myself falling back into bad relationship patterns.  The only reason I realized what was happening is because I am working with a new client and we went over the red flags that warn us we are betraying ourselves.  I was falling back into the blaming and victim mindset.  Hearing all those people say they felt sorry for me re-activated those bad neural pathways!  It is a never ending fight - isn't it?  It's sad when one realizes things about oneself that are frightening!  I caught it - and before it cause any damage!! 

My sister isn't me.  She lives in victim hood - blaming everyone else for her problems (especially, but not exclusively our mother).  She did break up with Dale - but has now decided to marry someone else.  She knew him when she was in junior high.  I don't remember him at all - and I really have to doubt that they were really that close then.  But she insists that this marriage is 30 years too late.  My question is that if they were really so good together and "fated" to be together, why haven't they been?  She looks really bad.  The alcohol (and many suspect meth) are taking their toll on her.  I can't help but wonder why a man would marry a woman who is so lost?  Does he believe he can save her?  Does she?  Her reason for not coming to meet Ellie and see Megan after all these years was strange.  So many red flags, so little growth.  I wonder what her triggers are.  What keeps her down.  I wonder if she will ever be ok.

Well, I guess that's all for her to figure out.  I just better keep a close watch on me.

I painted a little yesterday!  I bought some grapes today, and now I can figure out how to make my grapes painting better.

I have been getting an awful lot of traffic my my Did You Know Kimberly Ann Payton post.  Problem is, it wasn't good traffic. I had dedicated that post to her family as a kind of memorial where people all over could write about a fond memory, post pictures and links, etc.  Last week, a visitor - who uses a computer from landview fertilizer under the name of Brian Davis - has been using the comments section to question the validity of the police investigation against Nathan Jacobson.  He even got a little rude about it and hurt someone who loved Kim.  I put a stop to it.  Now I have enabled comment moderation for any posts older than 14 days.  So if you comment on an older post you will get the message that the post will be read by the blog administrator before being posted.  I think it's sad I had to do that.

Well, the chicken was perfectly cooked!  You don't think....I mean, really....I couldn't....
Well, why not?

Dear universe, please let me with the powerball jackpot tomorrow!  I'm old, and tired, and running out of time to vacation in all of those great places I've always wanted to see.