Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Senility prayer

How about something silly--

Grant me the senility to forget the people
I never liked anyway,
The good fortune to run into the ones I do, and
The eyesight to tell the difference.

I like it.  It's like my short term memory when people come into parent group.  Sometimes I think they'renew people and they say "No Sandy, you did my orientation and I was with you in small group last week."


BTW I'm taking the challenge to go to the Everett rather than the Seattle group.  I dunno.  I got a lot of good buddies in Seattle.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Parenting by intimidation

I met briefly with my other writing group.  We used to call ourselves the inner circle but now I refer to us as the poker group.  We don't play poker but ....well ... it's in honor of April's late partner who always thought we were coming over to play poker.

I really was rushing because the furnace guy was coming.  And the furnace guy actually came!  Unfortunately for us, this kind of gas furnace usually only lasts 15 years.  We've been running ours for 20.  He points out that the heat exchanger is cracked, blah blah blah, new furnace.

During my short time, I went over the 'situation' that I used in the first chapter I wrote "We Change Ourselves" which contrasts a parent who just goes ballistic when she finds $10 missing from her wallet and a parent who Thinks Plans Acts, gets support from other members, comes up with a plan to lock up her wallet.

One parent (4 daughters) said she didn't have much defiance.  She said she would sit down with whoever wanted to fight, "OK, you want to have it out, let's do it!"  She recognizes that she was bluffing because none of her daughters would face her down.

Occurs to me this is parenting my intimidation.

Risky and a big downside.

But, whatever works.  This is a certain style of parenting.  Not everybody would like it.  Other things can work.

Monday, September 15, 2014


This post is really about the Changes picnic.  Despite the picture and the title.  It seems that when I grew up, the job of digging ditches was put up as what would happen if you didn't go to school.  My parents would threaten me that if I didn't do well in school, I would end up digging ditches.  A disgrace.  A really bad outcome.  I suppose as a 'girl child' (as my father put it), I wouldn't dig ditches.  Probably only men dug ditches.  But something else bad would happen.

Yesterday, I was talking to a couple who've been with the group for several years and have taken some leadership positions.  They looked pleased as punch and told me that their son had an ACTUAL JOB that had a legal paycheck associated with it.  A huge step.  Not only that, he was sharing an apartment with some other young people.  I asked what kind of job and the dad told me that he wasn't sure but it involved digging ditches.  They both looked SO proud, huge smiles on their faces.

I totally get it.  I've quipped that I should form a subgroup of parents who wanted their kids to get jobs too much.  I know of several families (often with highly educated professional parents) who would be thrilled THRILLED to find that their young adult child had a job digging ditches.  Something legal,  They believe (there's some truth in this) that having a job will encourage their adult child, giving them some self esteem.

God bless them.

I also received the Volunteer of the Year award.  I felt very honored.  As is often the case, I've received more than I've given.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Parent Group Teams

Parent Group teams stand at the core of our group.  We encourage parents, when they have decided to work the program to ask 4-5 other members to serve on their team.  They meet separately about that particular family's situation.  Can be immensely powerful.  Risky too.

However, serving on another person's team can be even more rewarding.  You find yourself giving advice and having insights when considering other situations that you know you found very difficult to do yourself.  So many people (including myself) have said to themselves "Time I took my own advice!"

This past week I did court support for a family involving lsd use, possible burglary charges and a psychotic break.  The parents let the 17 year old resume using the car after his release.

Another parent on the team questioned the parent's decision to let the son drive the car suggesting that having a car might make it easier to relapse.

My thoughts exactly.

But this parent faced the very same challenges herself and many times she denied that that her young adult son was drinking (later she would find out that he was) and insisted that allowing him to drive one of the family cars benefited him.  Until he got a big time DUI.

But going through the exercise yourself of looking at another family and formulating some advice can strengthen your own resolve to take the very same action..

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Digging in the sand

My daughter Susanna, ALWAYS loved digging in the sand at the beach.  Actually mud anywhere always attracted her.  Here, she can dig in the sand and come up with clams.  I think this must be up on Whidby Island near Megan's family.

Always fun!

Today recused the Greater Gellermans as they worked on their garage sale for tomorrow.  Took them to La Raza for mexican food.  They looked better for having done it.  Saw their new place and Dennis helped put up the signs for the garage sale.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Harold on the staircase

I found this picture in a possessed pile of stuff; the kind of thing that gathers in a guest room which, though well populated over the summer, I had not looked at for awhile.  Right next to the bookcase holding the 60 photograph albums I have inherited from both sides of my family that I don't know what to do with.  I'm sure these items appear spontaneously.

No label on the back.

Clearly my paternal grandfather, Harold Joseph Ginsburgh going down a staircase.  Somewhere. It's so hard to date as his hairline receded early and he ALWAYS wore the same thing.  Suit and tie.  He looks youngish here, maybe in his 30s or 40s?  Usually if it's my grandfather and he's somewhere, it's Harvard, the dominant institution in his life.  He was a Harvard man (Class of 1920) more than anything else.  A Fine Arts building, nothing seems to match.  A portrait on the wall, book  shelf at the top of the landing.  Can't make out what's through the double door on the right.  Interesting light fixtures.

He's got a thoughtful look on his face.  Don't know why or how this photo came to exist.  But it's an black and white 8x10 print.  It's possible my aunt might know, I'll ask her.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Another Erynn Allen photo

Ilana's friend Erynn takes beautiful photos; some of which she posts on her facebook page.  She and her young husband Darin love the outdoors and do a lot of camping and hiking.  I think this photo might be from near Mount Rainier over the Labor Day weekend.  She has a flair for the dramatic yet not overplaying her hand.  A great eye for the glory of the outdoors.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September Sunbathing

I haven't had a picture of the lovey pair for awhile.  Today, I was working on stuff looked up and there they were.  Teddy the dog and Starbaby the cat on the deck doing some sunbathing.  Together.  Of course.  They like it.  Starbaby organizes it and Teddy cuddles up, cleans her ears, etc.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


I went to a team meeting this morning; a long time member with an adult son.  She knows what she had to do, setting boundaries with her nearly 50 year old son.  It often revolves around not giving him money.  Or providing him with services that cost money.   It's just so hard to do.  But, as a mom, she still worries so much about him.  He also helps her with her house; he's great with carpentry and maintenance.  So many conflicting things.

Alcoholism and substance abuse also involved.  So much intertwined needs.  She knows she's codependent.  But extricating yourself?  So tough.

Often, at parent group team meeting, something comes out of it that nobody could envision beforehand.  There's a stand; something you want to change about your own behavior.  She had developed a stand several years ago, when her son was still living with her.

I will embrace the concept that my son can live independently.

As the layers of codependence unfolded at the meeting; a new stand came to me; I turned her previous stand on its head; the inverse:

I will embrace the concept that I can live independently from my son

It was one of those moments when the room goes silent and everyone says softly "oooooooh"

She's going to try that.