Tuesday, August 30, 2011


It's impossible to believe it's been 24 years.

24 years to the day when I had to tell my sons,
then 4 and 10,
that their father was dead, at the age of 39,
from a heart attack.

There were days I wasn't sure the boys would survive 24 minutes
living with that reality;
we'd be lucky to get through the next 24 hours...

and now it's been years.

Losing a parent at that age
is a life changer.

We're not the same people we were then.

Tom, we might have gotten some things wrong,
but the boys
are the best things we ever did.

You would love,
and be proud of,
the men they've become.

We miss you.

Death ends a life;
not a relationship.

Ah, when to the heart of man
was it ever less than a treason
to go with the drift of things,
to yield with a grace to reason,
and bow and accept the end
of a love or a season.

Robert Frost

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I aim to please...

Be back at the end of the month after the Fair!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to Rosebud

Because the Creator of all this beauty
– around us, within us –
did not intend it to be ignored.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cheap Therapy

Take the same time frame for a therapy session - 50 minutes -

add $1.50 pack of colored straws...

and a camera and lens that cost a bit more than that...

and have a wonderful time!!

No pressure to see things clearly,

no questioning why things are the way they are.

Just enjoy the reality
that there's beauty in every shot

and remind yourself to do this more often!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

That's OK; we still have 15 months left.

I have a few questions about the economy... and I'm not hearing anyone address them.
Maybe I'm not listening to the right talking heads - and we all know math isn't my strong suit - but this isn't a matter solely of numbers and spread sheets.

What comes after a consumer economy?
Ask any of the families I work with... you can't spend your way out of poverty; going into debt doesn't make you wealthy.

For decades, our economy has been fueled by purchasing 'stuff' we don't need - and can't afford - to fill created inadequacies and needs that don't exist.

Other than guaranteeing unlimited episodes of 'Hoarders' and jobs for professional 'home organizers' and the psychologists who work with them, what do we have to show for it?

(Oh yeah, I forgot; there's also the builders and managers of storage units because the accumulation of the crap that was once so necessary to our existence has forced us out of our homes, and we're compelled to spend more money we don't have to store it somewhere we don't even have regular access to which guarantees it will never get used again!)

This is our society's 'superior' culture?

What would it look like if we actually spent money on education, healthcare, roads, bridges, healthy drinking water, clean air... all those things that truly are essential for the common good and quality of life?

At the risk of sounding like John Lennon "Just imagine".

My second question comes as a result of all the dire predictions that America is on the brink of losing its unchallenged position as the number ONE economy in the world.

To which I heretically respond - - SO WHAT?

Friends and I have traveled to some really gorgeous countries that offer a wonderful way of life for their citizens.

Why are we so preoccupied with being #1?
That seems so testosterone driven - and completely out of touch with current realities.

In what will, no doubt, feel like an endless year of campaigning and rhetoric, I'm just hoping to hear someone address these questions.

I suspect I shouldn't hold my breath.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

We might as well have his record flagged 'cause I KNOW, sure as I'm sitting here downing this daiquiri writing, that we'll see him and his mom again!

Last month, he was brought to the ER after being found by police 'streaking necked down a main street at midnight' when mom thought he'd be safely locked in the apartment behind the 3 deadbolts on the front door.
It took 4 hours for her to realize he was gone, call police and be directed to come to the ER to identify him.

Today, she called the police and an ambulance (because why drive your own car when you can make a more dramatic entrance - for free?) to have him seen "because he was viciously assaulted at school by those animals who are supposed to educate him".
Thank God, the camera had a zoom lens or we'd never have found the scratch that was 'proof positive' of his "terrible ordeal".

I get that he's autistic.
I get that he's 13, bigger than you and you're terrified you're not going to be able to handle him any longer - assuming you ever could.
I get that you've been dealing with this for years and are getting tired.

But, trust me on this, getting high while he's in school - or supposedly asleep - so you're rendered unconscious (or incoherent) and, when you have to show up in the ER, are rambling about him 'being controlled by robots' and not being able to leave him with anyone else 'because they might be witches and into mind control', only makes YOU look like an idiot - and an unfit parent!

It also doesn't help to bring your other kids along and do NOTHING while your 2 yr old empties juice boxes on our shoes and the floor, climbs and jumps off of every piece of furniture in the room and growls like he's possessed as you babble on incoherently and seemingly unaware.
Although, in truth, it was kind of fun to see one of our 'finest in blue' mutter under her breath as we left the room, "I will not tase toddlers, I will not tase toddlers, I will not..."
Y'all can trust me on this... a cab slip was a small price to pay for getting them out of our ER - especially on a Friday night!

ps...dear Press Ganey,
I'll believe there's some validity to hospitals being 'graded' on the responses of parents whose children have been seen in our ER when WE get to 'grade' the parents we deal with on a daily basis too! Until then, you suck.
I'd give you 1 hour to work with our clients and you'd go screaming like a banshee out the nearest exit!
Oh wait, that was me!
To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell. Thomas Merton
Not to put too fine a point on it, but Tom would have made a lousy blogger!

Why even have a blog if it isn't to explore and share what you love, how different issues and events affect you and generally how the world appears to you.

I don't think there's anything wrong with that focus either- as long as there's recognition that the purpose of any kind of introspection should lead back to a greater awareness of how you operate in community; it should lead to a deeper understanding of where you stand in a world full of other 'selves' ...

and an appreciation that we're all making it up as we go along.

Friday, August 19, 2011

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment".
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I haven't fallen into the trap in a long time - although it's harder than it would seem to avoid it.
I try SO hard to stay in the moment; to accept who I am and where I am in my life.
No regrets; no energy spent wishing I was someone, or somewhere, else.

Does anybody else find this as tricky as I do?

All forms of media can serve as triggers when my insecurities are intent on informing me that other people are having more fun, making more money, leading more exciting lives or making more of a difference; that some folks out there have clearly found all those elusive secrets for being funnier, thinner, more popular and, therefore more significant than me!

That is, after all, the basis of our consumer society... advertisers hoping that in order to fill the 'holes', the self perceived inadequacies we all feel within ourselves, we'll believe their fantasies that there's a particular product - some car, shoe, clothes, makeup, piece of furniture etc - that will finally make us feel complete!

Yet, as much as I know that's all nonsense, there are still nights, even now with my advanced age and level of book learnin', when I feel 'less than'... when I'm sure my single state, or a momentary state of unhappiness - based on a myriad of reasons - is because I'm simply not good enough to deserve what everyone else has.

So imagine my surprise to hear from someone I've known for over 30 yrs that, to her, I'm livin' the dream!

From her standpoint - one of being married for decades, acquiescing her needs, tastes and wishes to being part of a couple, within a family of five - my freedoms - to live as I choose, in a house I picked, to decorate and furnish however I want, having the freedom to make plans, take trips and spend my time in the manner I choose - is her idea of heaven.

That's when it hit me; the trouble with comparisons is they're not based at all on reality.
It's all surface.

And I know that; it's a lesson I've learned before.

Clearly part of who I am is a remedial learner!

I tried not to let that depress me even more.

“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What!! Another road trip?


Headed back to South Dakota in less than a week - to see friends, attend a fair and soak in beauty!

Does that make me happy?

You betcha!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Scar tissue

When the heart grieves over what it has lost,

the spirit rejoices over what it has left."
Sufi epigram

Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Where have all the adults gone - and why did they take their common sense with them??

What in the name of all that's holy let's a mom convince herself that it's OK to leave her child with a man she's known for less than a week?

Sister, I don't care how 'sensitive' he seems to be, or how good he is in bed, NO man wants to be with a child that's not his while you go to work for 12+ hours. A child who's unfamiliar with him, missing you, is tired of being bounced around from one person to the next and is a toddler on top of it all.

It's the perfect storm for abuse...

as you both painfully found out!

Unfortunately, her more than you!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rivers know this: there is no hurry.

We shall get there some day.

AA Milne

Sunday, August 14, 2011

At various times this weekend I found myself wondering how in the world we've managed to take something so quintessentially Midwestern, Middle America - the Iowa State Fair - and turned it into nothing more than a political circus.

Who's idea was it for political hacks and their talking heads to take precedence over shiny, glittery, death-is-just-one-rusty-bolt-away rides, artery clogging fried foods on a stick, Auntie Em's jelly preserves, Little Susie's goat, nursed back to life in the dead of winter for a 4-H project, and gotta love 'em tractor pulls?

And the effrontery is you still have to pay money to get in to the Fair.... WTH?

If Iowans wanted to deal with that much bullshit, most of them could have stayed home and done it for free!

just sayin'.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I expect to be lied to on a daily basis.
It goes with the territory.

People who have done impulsive, hurtful things to children are going to flip into 'self protective mode' to justify to themselves, and anyone questioning them, how things unfolded and present it in a far different way than how it actually happened.

That being said, it infuriates me when other 'professionals' lie to me too!
Come on...our jobs are hard enough as they are - can't we , at least, level with each other?

Don't tell me you're going to court to take some kid into Protective custody when you have no intention of doing that.
And then, to cover that up, don't lie and tell me court refused the petition - 'cause I WILL document what you said...and, when it reaches court ( you didn't really think we'd let those kids stay in the home at risk if there was something we could do to stop it, did you?) -- don't lie - on the stand - and say 'the hospital SW wouldn't give you an affidavit' and that's why you couldn't do your job.

That's not only infuriating, it's perjury - - and, since court already had the affidavits which I sent over that day - they knew it too.

Sorry, toots.
I don't wish anyone on to a breadline, but you deserve to lose your job.

Look on the bright side, you were always bitching about how much you hated fighting the bridge traffic...now you won't have to!