Monday, July 28, 2014

There's hope

A picture from Facebook.  My friend and her daughter during some kind of organized run.  From the shirts, must be SeaFair related.

They's resting or maybe the race is over or just beginning.  Doesn't matter.  The key is they're doing something together and enjoying it.

Do not take this picture for granted.  I don't.  Five years ago, I don't think the mom could have believed that such a wondrous picture could ever happen.  She might have hoped for it, prayed for it but the future (like all futures) seemed dim and obscure.  This mother feared for her daughter's life.

Would she ever be able to enjoy such a fun activity with her daughter?

Many things helped.  Parent Group was one.  Some residential treatment, yes.  Strength of spirit.

She's writing her story....

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Meet Albert

Meet Albert, the new member of the family.  Naomi wasted no time (aided by her sister) to add to her new household in Phoenix.  Albert, a year or so old black and white cat, came from the Humane Society and actually looks pleased as punch to now be living in Naomi's apartment.  He was 'on sale' at the shelter and his prospects were probably not too good if he didn't get placed soon.

Of course, I advised caution, it's expensive, you're gone a lot, give yourself some time.  But all of my kids have done this' added a pet at the first opportunity.  It's not like we're not attached to our pets.

Danny and Jessica have Maddie - a yorkie poodle mix
Susanna and Megan have Hammie - a hound terriier independent minded guy from Mississippi
Ilana and Matt have Mortie (Voldemort) - a black cat
and now Naomi has Albert.

He is pretty cute.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Naomi's classroom!

The doorway, anyway.  Naomi and Ilana were able to go to the school yesterday and see her classroom and meet a lot of the people at the school.  They brought over all of her bookcases.  There are 3 other 4th grade teachers.  If I was her, I would copy them like crazy.

So now she's got the space, now what to do with it.  Pretty darn exciting.  This is a 'low report card' school with Title 1 funding.  99% free lunch.  So everybody gets lunch and, apparently all of the supplies are paid for.  She's had experience with similar populations. School starts August 11 in this district.  New teacher training starts on Monday.

Why not?  Go for it Naomi!

Friday, July 25, 2014

The time has come

To write my Changes book.  I've thought about it and since I have some time along with the empty nest.  Plus on the program committee.

And in a writing group who can work with me (as I would work with them and do).

Like the yellow book that the Canadian therapist has written.

Time to write down this tribal knowledge in an organized way.

Not sure of the audience, I'll have to work with the program committee and the Board.

Looking around on the internet, there's so much there I disagree with.  I know that I've been radicalized working with parent group.

But how about this reply from Dr. Laura about dealing with a verbally and physically abusive son (not sure how old) who has been diagnosed with ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and bipolar.  This is excerpted from her reply

. You don't say how old your son is, but he is clearly suffering. I realize he's been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but his abusive behavior is indicative of deep wounds beyond bipolar disorder. 

The other part of my emails that I hope you'll put to use is my focus on connection and on emotional intelligence skills. Your son is so difficult partly because he is in pain and feels disconnected. If he can reconnect with you by having you tolerate and "hold" the fear, pain, and sadness under his anger without exploding back at him, I think you'll find that a lot of his anger will melt away. 
Yikes.  The parent should hold onto and enable conitnued abuse hoping that his anger will 'melt away'.

If there was any other reason to write this book.....

Snoopy in honor of my mother.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Death Without Weeping"

This surprising, maybe shocking for us white folks, article was assigned in my Anthropology class about Death.  The article describes a poorly fed society in Brazil with high infant mortality.  How the infant deaths are often accepted with joy or relief; or seemingly low affect.  The infants, often victims of malnutrition before and after birth are dressed up and laid in specially decorated coffins.  The children take the coffin to the graveyard for burial in common areas.  Parents aren't usually involved, mothers don't weep.  Openly expressed sorrow is said to make it more difficult for these young children to make their way on their journey.

Schepper-Hughes (the author) argues that this treatment and behavior should not be measured against the western-trained anthropologist's view of 'appropriate' models of grief and loss.  It doesn't apply here.

A number of quarters ago, I took an upper level archaeology class that included talking about cultural, processual and post-processual approaches.  Processual involved scientific analysis and measurement; the movement that followed rejected using science or quantitative western measures.  Like this.  Personally, I'm drawn to these post-processual works.  But, as my friend says, if you can't analyze, compare or classify things, how can there be any connections or principles.

Maybe there aren't. 

I think this photo might be from Nancy Schepper-Hughes.  I'm assuming the children taking an infant who died to the cemetery.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bratty little brothers

Ilana posted this picture of her friends going to the Wolf Park in Lafayette.  One of the few tourist
attractions; we've been there!

Also, I realized that I know all the people in the picture.  Ilana and her husband (how's that?) Matt in the front row.  Center and right in the back row are Adrianna and Emily, her roomates from graduate school.  And left in the back row is Neil, Adriana's boyfriend (Ilana did work on some matchmaking).  Adriana is a librarian in Fort Wayne and Emily has been a librarian in Bangla Desh and is on her way to China soon.  The three met each other hanging out between sessions at the new student orientation.  Um, I need a roomate, hey me too.  So they didn't know each other but they were great roommates for two years.  Neil and Adriana actually made a road trip to come to the wedding and stayed with us.

Dennis and I went to the Wolf Park when we went to Lafayette, a year ago last spring.  You get to watch some wolf packs.  I remember the half grown bratty little brothers.  Everybody in the small pack had their place in the hierarchy but those two bratty wolf brothers were always just so annoying.  Never where they were supposed to be.  Never doing what they were supposed to be doing.  Always rolling in the dirt and wrestling and knocking other people over.  The mama wolf would snap at them but they didn't care, just kept roughhousing.  Just being so bratty.

So funny.,

I heard that eventually they were separated out to start their own pack.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dog's life

Teddy taking it easy on a summer afternoon.  Among the flower pots.  So where's Starbaby, the cat?  She usually joins him in these activities.  Though she prefers the lower deck.  He looks pretty comfortable.  He's offically declared a mutt, a 'heinz 57' by the vet.  He's a great companion and kind of a service dog.  He helps me up from the floor or the fitness ball and he brings in the groceries.  He likes to work.  And somebody must have been a retriever because he LOVES to fetch.

Our poor backyard, most of it has been reduced to packed dirt and roots in dry shade.  Not even the dandelions or moss grow there.  James, our contractor, took a look at it and marveled how the maple tree had taken over the whole place.  Healthy maple tree however.  Look, he marveled, this is where I dug that artesian drain those years ago.  Now the tree rates have grown over this and the whole yard.

It's a tough case.

Naomi's taking care of things in Phoenix.  Ilana will be there to visit soon.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Animal Whisperer

My daughter's friends Jackie and Will recently married.  I have met Will several times.  His wife calls him an animal whisperer.  He really is.  He should really pursue a career with animals.

When he came over the first time, my dog fussed over him and wanted to get so close to him.  OK, my dog Teddy loves everybody, but he wanted to get really right next to Will and stay there.  Even our old cat George who really doesn't like anybody except Dennis came up to Will and wanted to get right next to him.

Will and Jackie are on their honeymoon in Europe.  I think this picture was taken in Rome.  Will doing his thing with a (likely feral) cat in Rome.  Will connects with animals all over the world.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dairy is good for you!

My daughter is assistant leader for a brownie troop.  During a recent meeting she decided to bring some snack.  String cheese and granola bars.  She said it was the best meeting, the girls really participated without conflict.

I think the snckc helped.  She was pretty careful with what she chose.  No sugary junk food stuff.  Sure they like it.  We ALL like it.

So they talked about the foods.  When she held up the string cheese, almost in unison, they called out "Dairy is good for you!"

Wow, where did they hear that?

The Dairy Boards must really be doing their job.

I can remember, as a child, being taught in school and everywhere else that children should drink a quart of milk a day.  Milk was served at every meal.  You were supposed to drink your milk without question.

There's a lot worse habits.  But I did pause when somebody quipped that really milk was the best food ... for young cows.