Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bell Stone, Professional Grandmother

In my line of work more than one grandparent has given me a line of questioning:

1) Are you married? A) No.
2) Do you have children? A) They are all grown.
3) Do you want my child? B) Um……

The truth is if I had my foster care license I would collect children the way I collect cats. It’s a no-can-do for me. At the heart of the issue is the fact that I do great with these children on my case load when I spend an hour or two with them two to three days a week, but if I had to spend twenty-four/seven with them they’d probably drive me nuts. In a way that makes me a professional grandma. When I babysit either of my grandchildren I get to spend a few hours with them, spoil them, have them believe I’m the most wonderful person in the world—and then I give them back to mom and dad to terrorize.

And, that is in alignment with my blog title: The Mind of No Mind and Pursuing Impulse Control in the Collecting of: Really Cool, Antiquated, Ancient, American Made Relics -- Is there really anything else worthy of my devotion? Obviously the children aren’t relics, though they are all American made. Most of these children are adorable, yet unique. They all have unique problems. The usual crux of their problems are rooted in the parents’ parenting skills, or rather a lack thereof. I think I work with the parents more than I actually work with the children. Of course, my heart breaks, my gut wrenches, and I am devastated when our program comes to a painful end and I can no longer visit these children and their parents, grandparents, guardians. I know that twelve to sixteen weeks is not going to fix the problems plaguing these children. My program is nothing more than a stabilizing band aid for the moment providing nothing truly lasting for the rest of their lives.

I get a referral; spend a month visiting and evaluating the children, the home environment, the family; I create a case management plan; spend a month implementing the case management plan; then spend a month wrapping things up for the transition from intensive in-home intervention to long term case management and out patient therapy. I have to remind myself each and every day this is a stabilizing program, something intended to keep the child in the home avoiding placement in a foster home or institution. Sometimes I truly think outside placement would be best for everyone, especially the children. However, that would be inconsistent and in conflict with the goal of the program. So, I do what I can, which usually isn’t enough and often seems a poor substitute for what’s right.

I could get a foster care license, a part of me wants to. I visualize these wonderful little souls in my home; smiling faces, bear hugs, fresh baked cookies, dinner at the table, group activities. And then, I realize I would end up with twenty little terrors setting fires, torturing small animals, on-going instances of incontinence and encopresis, uncomfortable meetings with principles, teachers, probation officers and judges; at least one visit per child per month to the therapist, one visit per child at least every three months to the psychiatrist, and depending on the psychotropic drugs involved there could be one visit a week or one visit a month per child to the nurse for medication monitoring; endless soccer practices, dance lessons, piano recitals, and karate lessons; me laying in a hospital bed after having a massive coronary, or me painting watercolor pictures in the psych ward with an endless lace of drool spilling out of the corner of my mouth and pooling in my lap for the rest of my life. And, with my luck, it would be a long life indeed!

Practicing impulse control in the collecting of….American made, troubled children.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Place For My Feet

Ah, a soft, comfy place for my feets! I found this today at for a whopping $10. I Love It!

Correspondence from Annalese

This is the first correspondence I've received thus far. I'm very excited because I got something VERY special in this one. Following is the correspondence itself:
The postcard front is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
And it all arrived inside of the case with typewriter, the Smith-Corona Super Sterling on the right. Thank you Annalese! The typewriter is significant because I had a portable Smith-Corona as a child and Annalese wanted to replace that long-lost item from my former life. The postcard is significant because both of my sons served in Iraq. The eldest served from 2004-2005 in the Army in Baghdad. My youngest served from 2006-2007 in the Marines in Fallujah. My youngest was wounded when a carbomb blew up in his face. He is doing REALLY GREAT though. Now I have a typecast blog under PuperBundler at hope to see you there! Bell

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Chalk Cartridge

The posting of this blog with a chalk board is tedious. I must write the blog, take a pic with my Samsung flip phone; upload image to Verzion site; save from Verzion site to my computer; make appropriate fixes; upload to blog. Challenges include: Keeping the cats, fat cat in particular off of the slate while I'm trying to photograph; keeping the darn phone steady as I'm leaning over the board; not blocking the light while taking the photo; and getting the whole board in the shot.

This here is one of my primary challenges, the fat cat, Mason. He wants to lay on anything I'm focused on that he can actually get to. Since he's so fat he cannot get to my desk, but he can get to the bed and the floor where I usually photograph the board. Have a fantastic day!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Quotes of Wisdom

I would like to think I'm wise, after all, I have gray hair, I'm a grandmother and even a great-grandmother (technically speaking), I have a degree in Psychology and work in the mental health industry. My approach to dealing with crisis is humor. Now that I think about it humor is one of those meta strengths of mine and I use it when dealing with most negatives in life, which can sometimes get me in trouble because some people, well most people, don't get it--or they just don't get me.

One of my younger sisters just finished up a grueling fight with cervical cancer. Treatment involved external and internal radiation and chemo. Though she hasn't lost her scalp hair, she has lost significant weight. She now weighs in at a whopping 80 pounds! Not good. Last week they found a lesion on her liver. She doesn't want to fight it anymore, or rather she doesn't want to experience all the nasty negatives that accompany radiation and chemo, and she most assuredly doesn't want a long, huge needle jabbed into her back and liver. She is VERY needle phobic. Yesterday in a conversation with my sister she said, "I'm going to die." Me, in my infinite wisdom replies, "Nah, you're going to live to be an old lady." She says, "It's unreasonable to believe everyone will live to be an old lady." I said, "I think everyone should live to be an old lady. That way even men can be the crazy old cat lady." Doesn't sound so funny here, but it's one of those things where you have to be present in the conversation and situation to get the impact of the exchange. My sister went from dismal and despairing to laughing hysterically. And that folks was my mission in that moment. SUCCESS! Our family motto is: look at life the way a comedian would. This allows us to poke fun at ourselves, each other, and to stick the birdie finger right in the perpetual eye of the universe. Take that life!

As previously mentioned I have a degree in Psychology. It's just a Bachelor's Degree so it's not getting me very far in that all consuming race of American life(styles). I have pretty much accepted the lifestyle of a minimalist. This begrudging adoption of the Buddhist philosophy is workable, though not necessarily likeable. It's a means to an end, the end being a measure of peace in the present circumstances in which I find myself. The mistake of epic proportions that brought me to higher education and this seemingly worthless degree is also what brought me to my current situation--four years of trying to get back on my feet without ANY success whatsoever. Anyway, the topic of psychology and my second quote of wisdom--

My eldest adult child is 30, my middle is 26, and my youngest is 23. When they were children my parenting style was a bit unique. Well, my eldest used to say, "My mom is eccentric." Which pretty much sums up my parenting style as well--ECCENTRIC X100. I allowed my children to speak their minds without censorship, something that drove my significant other crazy. My personal philosophy was: children are people with smaller bodies and less experience; they won't learn unless 1) they are shown/trained, and 2) they are given the opportunity to gain experience--even while making mistakes and failing. G.W.'s Parenting 101 Tip #1: Children will not learn lessons from YOUR mistakes=children must make their own mistakes (experiencing the making of mistakes and feeling the discomfort of the natural consequences is usually more profound and effective).


Once again, in my infinite wisdom, I literally stumbled upon a universal truth: There is simply nothing more powerful than a booger; or perhaps I should say the disgust and accompanying fear of said booger…the all powerful booger. Parents, if you want to raise responsible, self-sufficient children who lack the expectation of entitlement, engage G.W.’s Parenting 101 Tip #2: Employ the booger. The rewards are many:

1) You won’t have to expend unnecessary energy spanking your children.

2) You’re children won’t make a visit to the school counselor to turn traitor, exposing your uncontrolled fits of rage evidenced by spanking your children.

3) You won’t have to explain to the cops sitting in your living room why you have abused your children, evidenced once again by spanking your children.

4) You won’t have to weigh the cost/benefit and fanciful (and more often than not unpleasant) outcome of getting into a physical altercation with a teenager who now towers over and looks down at you with obvious irritation and obvious ill intention.

5) Even adult children respond appropriately to the booger.

6) If you employ the booger rule and get a degree in Psychology and become a therapist you can experience some gains and financial rewards from being your adult child’s therapist. And believe me; your adult child will have enough issues to be your return client for years to come!

In the end G.W.’s Parenting 101 Tip #2 makes perfect sense. As my eldest has told me time and again: Work smarter, not harder. It may not be pretty, but that booger represents smart gains with minimal effort. With that I remind all of you to poke fun at yourself, family and friends (even when they are ill) and I further encourage parents everywhere to dig in and not only find, but to utilize their own mother lode.



Monday, September 3, 2012

Brain Fart For The Day

My brain fart for today is using my vintage chalkboard for my blog post. On the left slate are short-term goals and on the right slate are long-term goals. Perhaps for the foreseeable future my blog posts can be about the goals I meet.

I have four items I can wear for work. Three of those items are skirts. All three have started fraying at the seams and need to be mended A.S.A.P. I'm looking for a new job and need to revamp my resume, possibly making several different ones for different jobs. My daughter-in-law's birthday is this month and I want to make her a Rosary for a gift. I have $40,000 in student loans I cannot pay. If you default on your student loans the government now garnishes your Social Security. After redoing my resume I need to look for job prospects. I need to get in bed at a reasonable hour so I don't suffer from sleep deprivation. I had two emotional meltdowns this week and I believe it was because I was sleep deprived. In my line of work I cannot afford emotional meltdowns on the job. Luckily for me they took place once after work and once this weekend.

Long-term goals: I spend $1096.44 each month of fuel for work. As gas prices go up, so do my gasoline expenditures--and my earned wage decreases. After buying fuel I earn a whopping $3.19 an hour. I need some relaxation time, something that includes entertainment to break up the monotony. I've lived here for four years and the only people I know are people I've worked with. I really want to have a social life. I have a series of books I've been working on since 1998 and I want to start wrapping that project up. I have three cats and a dog who really miss me; they are all being neglected emotionally. I've set these goals and for my own emotional stability I want to make sure I meet them all.

I haven't decided exactly how I'm going to do these posts. Perhaps as I cross items off I'll blog about them, or as I work on them I'll blog about them. I may decide to just post a pic of the board. If you have suggestions let me know. No matter what, wish me well!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Old School

It’s business as usual to commute 1 ½ hours one way to work in California. However, in the state of Alabama it’s an uncommon occurrence. I am one of the few who accepts the grueling, time wasting task of doing so. Last week I arrived fifty minutes early because my son’s truck was in the shop and I had to drive out of my way to drop him off at the local college. With that kind of time on my hands I decided to visit Hidden Treasures, an antique/second hand store that was going out of business. The owner piped, “No price will be refused,” as I walked through the door.

I was on a mission. I’ve been gathering supplies to make my daughter-in-law a rosary for her birthday and the last two items needed were the centerpiece juncture and crucifix. I had already obtained my Cloisonne beads in yellow (53) and green (6), the chain, and other findings needed. Because I was using delicate beads that are rather pretty I wanted a very special Madonna and Child juncture and crucifix instead of the usual cheap metal ones I’ve been finding online. I was hoping to find something carved from ivory or stone.

Well, long story short they had nothing of the sort, no jewelry whatsoever. But, who can walk into a store, especially one going out of business and not consider buying something? I did find something, several in fact. Two items I cannot describe here because they were picked up as gifts for relatives who sometimes read this blog. After Christmas I will share about those items. However, I can share with you one item I purchased just for me.

Sitting back on the corner of a table, tucked behind an assortment of glassware and under the edge of a shelf that had other odd and assorted items spilling off of it, I found a vintage hinged/folding black slate chalkboard. The wooden frame is solid wood, I’m guessing oak. The board has been handled enough that the oils from human hands have darkened the edges. The slate is beautiful—not a single scratch on them! The owner was asking $22.50 for it.

When I picked the board up the owner said, “Could you imagine kids today having to use those in school?” We both laughed and commented on ten year olds who have smart phones, iPads, laptops, MP3 players and so on. This led to a discussion about old rotary phones and party lines. I remember party lines; today’s kids would have a hard time grasping that concept.

In the end I walked out of there with about $40 worth of items for $12. I’m happy. The first image is the chalkboard I purchased. The second image is one I found on ebay, which is obviously older than mine.