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Archive for August, 2006

How Do I Look?

My latest masterpiece for the S. project:

I cannot believe she nominated me for this dumb television show. What is wrong with the way I dress anyway? Okay, let’s see, vintage dress, trustworthy Keds, my hair’s in place. . . “So, how do I look?”

They’re looking at me like I just crawled out of the sewer. That super perky host is telling them to say what they think about the way I dress, and I have to stand here and take it.

“I do not look like a moron! Look, just because you don’t—” Oh. Okay. I can’t say anything right now. I have to listen to them put me down. Stupid sister, can’t tell the difference between vintage chic and Goodwill trash. And look at her! She looks like every other tarted up 16-year-old in her high school.

What did he just say? Oh no, I’m gonna cry. Damnit all anyway!
What? Oh, great. Now they’re going to show me my clothes that they don’t like, and throw them away right in front of me.

“No, you can’t do that! I love my Keds—put those back! Don’t you dare throw those away! What? The ones I’m wearing? Hell no! Forget it. I’m not doing this—no, you can’t take that bracelet either. Give that back to me! No. No. This is over. I’m not doing this show, I’m not giving you my beautiful vintage clothes so you can throw them away.”

They love me. They really do! They want me to be happy. “Yes, I know you think you love me. But if you really loved me, you wouldn’t be trying to change everything about me. And if you truly want me to be happy, you’d leave me alone.”

They honestly think they’re doing this for my sake. They may be good at fooling themselves, but I’m not buying. “Look at yourselves! If you went into a mall, or to a club, or to any of the places you freaks hang out at, you’d find a whole bunch of people who look just like yourselves. If blending in with the crowd is what you want to do, then fine. Blend away. But I’m not like that. The people I hang out with are just as “freaky” as you say I am, and we are just fine with that. So, buh-bye now! Get out of my home!”

It took a little persuading, but they left me alone, left me my clothes and my Keds and my bracelet. My sister acted like a total snot—“Have a nice life,” she said, as she huffed out the door. My mother played the “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” card she’s been dealing out all her life. The others from the show were a lot nicer, but I was still damn glad to see their backs as they exited.

Now, where did I put that vintage Pucci mini?

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I Am A: Neutral Good GnomeBard Ranger

Alignment:
Neutral Good characters believe in the power of good above all else. They will work to make the world a better place, and will do whatever is necessary to bring that about, whether it goes for or against whatever is considered ‘normal’.

Race:
Gnomes are also short, like dwarves, but much skinnier. They have no beards, and are very inclined towards technology, although they have been known to dabble in magic, too. They tend to be fun-loving and fond of jokes and humor. Some gnomes live underground, and some live in cities and villages. They are very tolerant of other races, and are generally well-liked, though occasionally considered frivolous.

Primary Class:
Bards are the entertainers. They sing, dance, and play instruments to make other people happy, and, frequently, make money. They also tend to dabble in magic a bit.

Secondary Class:
Rangers are the defenders of nature and the elements. They are in tune with the Earth, and work to keep it safe and healthy.

Deity:
Oghma is the Neutral Good god of knowledge and invention. He is also known as the Binder of What is Known, and is the Patron of Bards. His followers believe that knowledge reigns supreme, and is the basis for everything else that is done. They wear white shirts and pants, with a black and gold braided vest, and a small, box-like hat. All priests of Oghma are known as Loremasters. Oghma’s symbol is a scroll.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy ofNeppyMan (e-mail)

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19071. What book or books were special to you in your childhood?

The Anne books, by L.M. Montgomery; Adopted Jane; Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys; Eight Cousins; An Old-Fashioned Girl; The Peterkin Papers . . . are we seeing a pattern here? I read old books.

2. What was particularly special or memorable about those books?

I loved the strong families and the good values in the books. I don’t know if I’d have identified it in those words then, but that was definitely what appealed to me. Things felt safe in those books, and I didn’t feel particularly safe in my world.

3. Have you re-read any of them as an adult?

All of them, repeatedly.

4. If so, were the books as good as you remembered them?

Absolutely. I recognize Louisa May Alcott’s moralizing now, when I didn’t then, but then again, it makes sense to me now. I love all of those books as much as I did when I first found them.

5. What do you think about movies being made out of children’s classics (like the Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of The Rings, etc.)?

I like it, if they are reasonably true to the spirit and intent of the book. I bought the DVDs of the LOTR movies and Narnia. Take the Anne books, for example. The PBS miniseries starring Megan Fellows was good. It didn’t exactly follow the books, but it was true to the heart of the stories, and I loved it. There was a movie made of another of L.M. Montgomery’s books, Jane of Lantern Hill, and it was absolutely atrocious!! The only thing it had in common with the book was perhaps the names of the characters. I loathed it. Not because changes were made; I realize that in the process of translating a book to a movie, things have to be changed. No, I loathed it because I felt they made the movie and put nothing of the characters that I loved so well into it.

Looking at some of the other books I’ve listed, I would dearly love to see movies made from them. They could be entertaining and enjoyable. The movies would never replace the books, but would be a good companion to them. Of course, I highly doubt that anyone would ever make movies of any of those books, but I can dream, can’t I?

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Fun With Drugs

Not that kind, silly! No, the legitimate, prescribed-by-a-doctor, supposed to be good for what ails you kind of drugs.

The MRI results show activity in the part of the brain associated with diabetes and migraines. I’m not diabetic. And I do have a history of migraines. So my doctor thinks the constant headaches are some sort of wonky migraine mutant headache thing (my words, not his). He referred me to a neurologist, and gave me a prescription for a new migraine medicine, and some pain medicine that won’t make me itch.

After getting the prescriptions filled, I took the migraine medicine. I didn’t take a pain pill because the pain wasn’t too bad. Exactly one hour after I took the migraine medicine, I started itching. And itching. And itching itching itching over every square inch of my body. I got this ugly pimply rash all over my arms. It was agonizing and painful. I took a pain pill and some Benadryl. Then I took some more benadryl. Then I took some more Benadryl. It finally let up enough so I could catch a few hours of sleep.

I woke up 15 minutes before I had to leave for work, so I hastily threw on some clothes and raced out the door, scratching the whole time. I did my early morning reports. Check. I pulled all the credit bureau reports. Check. I did all the work that was sitting on my desk. Check. I then told my boss that I had to go back home because of a severe allergic reaction to the new medicine. I went home, stopping at the store along the way to get some liquid Benadryl, and spent the rest of the day either sleeping or scratching.

It’s better today. I still have some itching going on, so I am still taking the liquid Benadryl. But I’m at work, and I’m decently clad, and don’t look too awful. The rash has mostly gone away.

The headache, on the other hand, hasn’t budged. No, it still is there, pulsing and pounding first on one side of my head before gradually making its way across the top of my skull and over to the other side of my head.

May I cry now?

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My doctor kindly called in a prescription for some pain medication yesterday, so last night I took it the moment I got home. I had about 2 hours with no pain–yay!–before the headache started back up again. I also began to itch everywhere. I forgot that ultracet makes me itch. Not fun.

Anyway, as I lay in bed, unable to sleep and scratching every few seconds or so, my mind began going back to my sojourn with CPS. It’s been almost a year since I left that job, and I still have nightmares about it. It haunts me whether I’m awake or asleep, and last night it was haunting me with a vengeance. I thought about all the different people I met and interviewed, the children I tried to help, those I was powerless to help, and those who didn’t need my help.

It’s such an ugly thing. There are divorce attorneys here–and, I’m sure, throughout the country–who as a matter of course in a divorce suggest their client call CPS on the other parent. Most of the time, at least in the ones I investigated, there were no issues whatsoever regarding the safety of the children. It became natural for me to see the identity of the reporter, and realize immediately that it was a divorce case. But I had to take those just as seriously as I did the other cases, because I never knew what I was going to find once I started investigating. One case the mother called in a report on the father, and I learned that it was actually the mother who was harming the child. Another time a mother called in a report on the father, and I was able to rule it out; however, in the meantime the mother had taken possession of the child and relapsed from sobriety. The father then called in a report on her, and took possession of the child before I had much opportunity to investigate. That poor child was being dragged back and forth from parent to parent, hearing each parent talk about what a horrible person the other parent was, and had no stability or safety.

When I was there, the policy was that if a worker had investigated a case on a certain family, and another report came in on that same family, the case was automatically assigned to the same worker. I suppose in theory it makes a certain amount of sense; the caseworker is already familiar with the family and the situation, has built a certain amount of rapport, and it would seem to make the investigation easier. However, when a client is outright hostile to a caseworker, it would seem to make more sense to try a different caseworker. I had one case where a beautiful young woman was allegedly using drugs and neglecting her infant. She would never go take a drug test, thus having it viewed by CPS as a positive drug test. But because she was living with her mother and stepfather, who were looking for her child, I couldn’t do anything. Even though her mother didn’t want her living there, and didn’t want to take care of her child, I was powerless to take any action. Later on, she moved out into her own apartment, and a report was immediately called in on her. And I got it again. This time she was much more hostile, much less cooperative. We ended up having to do a removal and called the police on her. I was worried about going to court the next day, because the removal was a little iffy legally, even though it was a good one as afar as the child’s safety was concerned. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. She showed up at court totally strung out, and the judge allowed the removal.

I’ve seen parents work harder at getting other people to provide for their families than they would have needed to work in providing for themselves. I recall one man proudly telling me that he had spent 4 hours calling around until he found a charity who would pay for his daughter’s prescriptions. His daughter was under the age of 13 and had been admitted to an inpatient psychiatric hospital for suicide threats and hallucinations. Their case history was three inches thick. They had received all kinds of assistance and intensive family preservation. That child needed desperately to get out of that house. But guess what–legal wouldn’t touch it. Family preservation wouldn’t take it. It came down to the fact that I couldn’t leave that child there, but I couldn’t remove her; I couldn’t leave their family without assistance, but couldn’t get assistance. If that child lives to the age of 18 without either killing herself or her father, I will be astounded. And if she does live to grow up, I shudder to think of what she will do to her own children.

And then there is the other end of the spectrum. There are the parents who are working their tails off, doing everything possible to provide for their children, but don’t have the skills or the support they need. They just need a little extra help. Too bad they fall outside the cutoff financial levels to receive any assistance from any of the charities I know about. And family preservation won’t take their case, because there are no problems about child safety. And I can’t get childcare assistance for the mother because she should be able to get help through the Victims Fund–her ex-husband, the father of the children, raped her in the sight of their oldest child, and is now in prison. But she can’t get help through the Victim’s Fund without letting him know where she lives, and she refuses to do that. I don’t blame her. I had to rule out the allegations of abuse and neglect, and turn and walk away, leaving that family without any kind of a safety net.

I can see the faces of all these children. I see the faces of their parents, the parents who care and the parents who hurt. I remember children lying to protect their parents and parents lying out of fear. I remember the woman who swore to me that she had never used drugs in her life, of course she’d take a drug test, and it came back the dirtiest test I’d ever seen. And I had believed her. I remember the faces of the parents who used their children as weapons in divorce battles. I remember the face of the little girl who asked me if she was going to jail because she made up a story about her father. I told her that she wasn’t in trouble at all, and later found out that her mother was abusing her, not her father. I remember the little girl who cried when she told me that her mother didn’t love her and was going to send her away to another state to live with her father. She I was able to comfort, and the last time I saw her, after I had a long visit with her mother, she was confident and secure in her mother’s love. I remember the boy who didn’t believe that I truly liked Harry Potter until he asked me a series of questions about the books.

I don’t think I’ll ever be truly free of that job. It changed me, in ways that I don’t like. I feel like there’s a deep wound inside of me, something that the skin has grown over so well that you can scarcely see a scar, but inside it’s festering with poison and rot.

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Update re MRI

The MRI results are in, and I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow to discuss them. The nurse did say there are no lesions and my sinuses are clear, and I’m assuming there’s no tumor, as I doubt the doctor would make me wait until tomorrow if there were. So now what?

I honestly think the headaches are a side effect of the Effexor. If my doctor concurs, I may start getting weaned off the Effexor. If so, things are going to get a whole lot worse before they start getting better.

Sucks sometimes.

Oh yeah–I also talked to Clover. Chase is out of danger, but he does have to stay in the hospital for another 2 to 2 1/2 weeks for his pulmonary tune-up. If you read the last entry Clover posted in her blog, about how tired she is, just imagine how much worse it is with a kid in the hospital for several weeks. Yikes!

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Prayers

My best friend Clover has 5 kids. Her middle son, Chase, has cystic fibrosis. He’s in the hospital right now, after having to have surgery this past Saturday to stop some hemorhaging. He is a very dear young man, and everyone who knows him is eager to keep him as healthy as possible, and on earth for as long as possible. If you believe in prayer, please remember him and his family in your prayers; if you don’t believe in prayer, please send some positive thoughts their way. They need them. If you’d like to leave a note for Clover, her blog can be found here.

I haven’t heard anything about the MRI yet. I anticipate that my doctor should have the results today or tomorrow. Yesterday I was in so much pain that I could hardly lift my head off the pillow. I managed to throw a turkey breast into the crockpot so we’d have something to eat, but otherwise I spent the day in bed. I am at work today, but wish I were back at home. My head’s hurting horribly, and the air conditioning is inoperative here. I called and left a message for my doctor’s nurse begging for even a two-day supply of something to give me some relief from the head pain while they’re awaiting the MRI results.

And speaking of the MRI, that was all kinds of not fun. I managed to get through it by praying the whole time I was in that plastic tube. I felt that if I stopped praying, I’d start screaming for them to get me out of there. And there’s nothing like being inside a claustrophobic plastic tube that sounds like there’s a jackhammer going off just outside it to make a bad headache worse. If I ever have to get an MRI done again, I’m going to request a valium first.

Other than that, not much news to report. I was down another .6 pound at Saturday’s weigh-in, for a total of 9.6 pounds gone. I have some clothes that I get to take out of my closet and put in storage, because they’re too big (hooray), and need to get some clothes out of storage because they’ll be fitting soon. That’s a good feeling. I really want to be getting more exercise, but the head pain is so bad that I don’t feel like it. Yet another reason to hope for some relief from some avenue.

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