Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Beautiful but costly

We have been having a winter storm, (I guess most of the mid-west and now the east coast as well) and besides about 9 inches of snow we got several layers of ice.  The last application covered the trees and power lines with about an inch of ice.  So down came the tree limbs, sometimes whole trees and out went the power for many.  The temperature is dropping again and over 100,000 homes are without electricity, not to mention some of the hospitals, fire houses, police stations and the usual Red Cross Shelter.  

We have been very lucky, although a number of trees shed limbs our power has remained on.  We had a few flickers very early this AM but since then we have had heat and light.  We had to move the cars from beneath a menacing tree and our backyard is littered with branches which crashed down.  First there is a slight grinding noise, then an audible pop and then watch out as the limb rockets to earth shedding daggers of ice as it goes.  It hits with a crunch as it punches through the layers of ice and snow and finally shatters and scatters across the icy yard.

So we have been having snow days for two days now and the school system is closed until further notice since 54 of the schools do not have power and the electric company is saying it may be 7-10 days until power is restored.  We have been playing board games, a little Wii and facebooking (flair can eat up a lot of time).  I am trying to get started on a fabric project but may just have to finish some other stalled ones as I do not have a crucial piece of what I need and given we are in a state of emergency and no one is allowed to be on the roads I can't go shopping at the fabric store. 

I went to work yesterday, the only one in my whole department but I got a ton done.  No driving today, snow was fine, 3 inches of glaze ice is quite another matter.  I am hoping we can get out tomorrow.  I have terrible cabin fever, I need to go talk to other people and work on other projects.

Aside from my whining we are really doing great, we have enough staples and even milk, we just refilled meds on Monday and as I said we have power and water.  More snow tonight and through tomorrow but only in slight snow showers.  

I am having trouble remembering to be truly thankful.  Wish I had a book.

Dear Annie

dear Annie,
I wish you could understand how much we love you and worry about you.  Are you warm?  Are you safe?  

I know you think you don't have many choices so you run to what looks like freedom.  But if you have nothing, not even hope, you are not really free.  We want to see you gain the skills to be able to take care of yourself, you are not going to learn job skills and financial management and good mental health out on the street.  

You are so much danger, without your meds you will have seizures and no one will take you for medical care.  Without your meds you will begin to experience increasing periods of psychosis and your tentative grip on reality will become even more stretched.  The folks around you will not have the patience, expertise, or even empathy to help you.  Also, the choices of mixing drugs and alcohol with your medical issues is so scary.

I wish you would let us help you.  Since you won't, know that I am praying for you and think of you often.  You can always come back.

With so much love, Mom

Saturday, January 24, 2009

AWOL and maybe really gone this time

Well Annie is AWOL again and this time the rehabilitation center will not take her back if she comes back.  She took no meds (has a seizure disorder not to mention major mental health issues) and has basically ditched the long term waiver we worked so hard to get for her.  She didn't finish her SSI application and she has no health insurance.  The 36 year old man she left with, apparently she has had a 2 year relationship with him, is indigent and also brain damaged.  But because she is still her own guardian the police will do nothing.  

We worry, we wait to hear and we struggle with feelings of rage, inadequacy, and helplessness.  Although she is 19 she only functions at about an 8 year old age in terms of her understanding of reality, her ability to handle money or make important decisions.  We were in the process of trying to get emergency guardianship but this has also thrown that all out of whack.

I don't know what to say.  I can't even cry or scream.  I am numb.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Texting with Douglas

Douglas went to Texas to work on a ranch and it turns out he is in the Four corners area.  It is very peaceful he says.  He seems to be enjoying himself quite a bit.  He says he is learning how to drive, something he strongly resisted.  The buildings on the ranch are all smaller than 20 feet to a side to avoid taxes so it is an interesting little compound, one building for the kitchen and dining, one building for the living room, various buildings for bedrooms.  Sounds quaint and rustic.

I am still not really clear on what he is doing down there.  He was blathering on about hoping to see wolves.  I think he is helping to clear brush etc.  He claims he is very chilled out and he really likes how quiet and calm it is.  I do think he is a nature kind of guy, this city living we have is pretty stressful for him.  Maybe he is finding a career path! 

More Catch Up

Dancing Baby Girl is at that wonderful age where she can begin to do real projects with multiple steps.  Above she is working on one of our gingerbread creations.  She stayed engaged all the way through and was able to wait for icing to dry and whatnot.  She was so thrilled with her creation she didn't even want to eat it right away!

We are getting the pre-reading questions, "what does that sign say?" and "how do you spell....?"  In addition she is displaying quite the humor.  She got fascinated by the new T*co B*ll commercial about Black tacos and was cracking joke after joke about it.  We would be out driving and she would start in on saying the commercial but since she didn't know it verbatim she would throw in other things, like black road, black hair, black sky (it was at night).  She is a screech.

We are still getting some worrisome behaviors from her, they seem to be very balanced out by her wonderful caring side, but boy I get nervous when she starts her manipulative, selfish, self-centered, mean stuff.  Our new behavior policy of not tolerating the nasty talk backs and sending her to her room has seemed to help.  I just need to stop feeding into it all and take that emotional step back.  She is often doing these behaviors when I am at my worst, think she knows that?

Things with Lani, DBG's mother seem to be going well, or at least better.  She weathered the Christmas visit from DBG's Dad and did not waver in her determination to hold him to sobriety before he can come back into their lives.  Imiki's heart surgery (catheterizing to fix a hole) went very well and Lani did great with that also.  Lani's dad, Pawpaw, who had heart and kidney trouble before Christmas is back home and seems to be coming to terms with his disability.  And the good news, CPS closed the protective case on DBG and Lani is just feeling on top of the world with getting that last worry off her back.  It was good for her to have that oversight, especially to keep her strong in her decision to kick out druggie dad, but she seems to have internalized a lot of what she needs to do as a Mom and she is doing a good enough job of it.

People seem to have a hard time understanding Lani's and my relationship, they assume that there must be jealousy and repressed resentment.  But there is not.  We have worked past a lot of stuff and now we trust one another to love and raise our precious DBG.  It works well for Lani to have a break every two to three weeks and we love to have DBG visit.  We also have Lani visit, she was with us Christmas morning and stayed for Christmas dinner.  Sometimes she hangs out when she drops DBG off.  The best way I can describe it is, it's like she is my daughter-in-law and I think that is kind of how she might feel about the relationship.  She calls me her second mother.  All in all we have stepped through the minefield of reunification and come out the other side an extended family.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Catching Up

Oh, I have been a bad blogger.  So sorry.  Work has been absolutely crazy, a lot of stress and tension over budgets and thus over whether we have jobs.  Plus I have a new class of prospective foster and adoptive parents beginning their journey, so that has been and will be intense.  We have an awesome class, 15 families are starting out, I am hoping that about 12 will finish and become certified homes.  That would be great, being able to place 12 kids in the first quarter of the year!!

At home things continue apace.  Doug went down to court with Brooke and full guardianship was granted to the state.  We will petition to take over guardianship, at least of the personal not financial aspects, in 6 months.  It has been a long road with her but things are looking a lot brighter.

Annie, on the other hand is a hot mess.  Doug and I traveled to see her over the New Year's weekend and she is not doing well.  Her seizures have increased.  Her weight is ballooning, she gained 11 pounds in a one week period, and it is all from overeating and not moving around.  Her placement is in total jeopardy, her Medicaid was cut off on Dec. 31 and no placement in at all interested in taking her on the long-term Acquired Brain Injury Waiver that we were so es tactic about receiving.  The main reason for their reluctance is how much of a flight risk she is.  So we go around and around, calling this state agency and that ombudsman office and never do the right hands know what the left hands are doing. Frustration, fear, anger, hopelessness, determination and exhaustion would about describe my feelings about all this.

I had one adult son get to experience jail time for his poor choices about what to do before one drives.  I am hoping it was an educational experience and may serve as a wake-up call.  Some folks are terribly hard-headed.

Douglass is off to Texas to see his girlfriend again.  That relationship really worries Doug and myself as the girlfriend is extremely manipulative and uses a lot of emotional blackmail.  Douglass does not really have the capability to handle that well at all.  We also are concerned about how immature and self-centered she is.  But he is what passes for an adult these days so we try to remain supportive and carefully point out issues in ways that hopefully will not alienate him.

More on Kendra and Dancing Baby Girl and anything else interesting later as I must get Kendra off to a dance competition.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Reading Marathon

Sorry I have been gone so long but I am on a "Twilight" reading marathon and nothing else is getting done. I only have the last book to go so I'll be back soon. I have to finish before my daughter wants them back, see it is finals week and she can't do anything except dance and study, so they have been mine, mine, mine for the last little while. Good books, very good writer, would have preferred different subject matter, but hey.

Friday, January 2, 2009

What I Worked On Between Thanksgiving and Christmas

I made these four T-shirt quilts for the young adult children of my very good friend Diane.  Even though they were all T-shirt quilts I made each of them a little differently.  It was quite a bit of work.  They turned out pretty big as you can see from my DH's head just barely peeking above the one he is holding and he is 6'4".

I really tried to capture each person a little with their quilts.  The one above is done with delicate sashing and is done on point.  The one below is for the guy and I incorporated his college colors as well as making his bold and very rectangular.

The one below was done for the younger sister and I did a crazy quilt idea with each block being totally different and a little well "crazy"

This final one is my favorite and I made it for my favorite one of the four.  This is for Judy, she is severely mentally retarded and autistic but she is the sweetest, most loving person and I adore her.  I made this one a combination of a T-shirt quilt and tied fleece blanket.  The sashing is fleece and the backing and border are fleece and are tied together with fringe.  I chose this style specifically for Judy as she likes to feel a variety of textures and it helps to soothe her.  You can't really see, but the theme of the sashing is fish which she loves only second to bugs.  I couldn't find any bug fleece this time of year :-(  

Anyway I had a blast making these, loved the challenge of the crazy quilt and the effort of personalizing each of them to the person's personality.  It was a lot right before Christmas and I think I will start earlier if I do this again.