Rainey Daze and Crazy Nights

Poetry, Paintings, and Ponderings: Through My Eyes

Pure Rage February 5, 2013

J is at therapy right now. She has bounced so much lately between mania and depression, I am afraid he will change her meds again.  The mania can sometimes be aggressive anger in the form of a sharp tongue and aggressive mannerism that she usually does not show. A few times in the last week her mania has been rage. There is no other word for it. Pure, on the edge, rage. And it really scares me.

I’m scared for her, not for me. I’ve never had her hurt me or even try to. I’m more worried that she will turn it on some total stranger or someone at work. Not that I think she is a danger; not at all. J has always swallowed her anger, or turned it inward. But the rage she feels now comes out of nowhere and is usually very out of proportion to what it should be. For example, she stopped at the store to buy chap-stick.  She couldn’t find her favorite kind, so she asked the clerk. When the clerk told her they were out, she was filled with rage and had to turn and walk out of the store. She couldn’t even speak she was so enraged. Now that the anger is coming out more, I hope the therapist works with her on how to express anger in a healthy way.

 

 

An Interesting Day February 4, 2013

Today was…interesting. I watched a child, age 7, place a rather large hair barrette in her mouth. As I was saying, “Don’t put that in your mouth! You might swal….” she did. She swallowed it.

Now, this was no little bitty barrette. It was two inches long when closed and puffed out to look like a bow. It had a clip in the back, but I’m not sure if the clip was open or closed when it took the trip down her throat. Either way, it was scary and dangerous. The child looked at me in shock and said, “It’s gone! I swallowed it! That kinda hurt!”

I did the logical thing. As soon as I saw that it went down WITHOUT CHOKING HER TO DEATH, I went to the office to have them call her mother. The office called, and, after several attempts, finally got up with her. This was at 9:30 this morning. Mom arrived….at 2:05. After speaking with her child (quietly, off in the corner) she came back and told the office staff, “That lady was mistaken. I counted her barrettes this morning. She’s not missing any. That lady was mistaken.” She then took the child and went home.

THE LADY WAS MISTAKEN? THE LADY WAS MISTAKEN???? What the hell? That barrette was large enough to do possible damage on the way through her little digestive system. I was shaking, I was so mad. SHE COUNTED THE BARRETTES THIS MORNING? Really? Because I know that is what I did when I put barrettes in my child’s hair. I counted. Yep. Every time.

I know that kids will be kids. Children do not have the ability to think through their actions (neither do we as adults sometimes!) at this age. Children always have, and always will, do stupid things. That’s why they are supposed to have parents with some sense.

When I was four years old, there was a large bush that grew in my yard. The bush was covered with beautiful, bright red berries. My mom cautioned me to never, ever put the berries in my mouth because they could make me very sick. As I was an obedient child, I listened to my mother. Not once did I eat the berries. But she never said I shouldn’t shove them up my nose.

After shoving three or four of those big-ass berries up my tiny nostril, I couldn’t breath very well. My nose started snotting up and I cried. When mom came running, I told her what I did with the berries. After several torturous minutes of her rooting around in my nose without success, she called a friend to take us to the doctor. Just as we pulled into the parking lot of the doctor’s office, nature took over and I let out a nose-clearing sneeze that solved the problem without any further assistance.

Child nose

Child nose (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The point is, I did something stupid, like kids do. And my mom did what good parents do: she handled it. This little girl who is currently digesting a huge chunk of plastic, deserves to have a parent who will handle it. Not pretend it didn’t happen.

 

 

What I Do February 3, 2013

I’m enjoying a quiet weekend. There is much work to be done, but, as usual here lately, I am content to do just enough to get by. I hope my energy and motivation returns again one day. Until then, I will do what I feel able to do.

Maybe it’s because I am such a go-getter at work that I have nothing left when I get home. My job is very demanding and the hours are usually long. The funny thing is, I have no problems keeping up with the demands I have at work. I have decided to share what I do. For years, I was a teacher. Then last year I took on a new role in the education system. let me explain what I do at work.

I work in an elementary school. I oversee and support 26 teachers. My job is hard to explain because I do so many things. I train teachers in any and all new teaching concepts. I oversee a huge testing program and make sure it is completed on time and correctly. I often test the students myself. When the county or state decides to drop by for a site visit,I must walk with them through each class and listen as they point out all that is right or (more often) wrong.  The principal and I must answer for anything that is not done correctly in the classrooms. I am the “go-to” person for any and all needed materials used for teaching. I am also the “go-to” when teachers need to vent or have difficulty of some sort. I run after school tutoring for selected students. I go into classrooms and teach demo-lessons or co-teach lessons with the classroom teacher. I evaluate teachers and give them feedback on how to improve. I also provide support by assisting with students who have discipline problems.

I work in a school that has major discipline problems. We have some kids in the upper grades in gangs. Lower grades often deal with students who throw chairs, scream, kick, and swear at the top of their lungs. The hell these kids live in would produce nightmares in you for years.

Here is a typical day for me:

7:00 I arrive at school, click on my laptop, and quickly gather needed books for 1st grade. I clip on my walkie-talkie and deliver the books.

7:10 Time to report for morning duty: meet and greet. It is important to greet students when they enter: for some, it is the first “nice” they hear in the mornings.

7:30 Go to my office and check email and text messages. This is how teachers let me know if they need supplies or help. While there, 3 different teachers stop by. One needs supplies. The other two need my advice.

7:40 Deliver needed materials to 4th grade. Stop in to see Bob, one of several students with which I seem to have a special bond. He is doing fine, so I move on. I check on Delia next, a first grader who is often thrown out of class for being disruptive. She is screaming and hitting the assistant, who is trying to remove her from the room. I squat beside Delia and talk in a soft but firm voice. She has to get quiet to hear me. Delia knows I will not put my hands on her; I repeatedly ask her to calm down, take my hand and go to my office with me. She puts on a show for another minute before she takes my hand and walks with me. We sit in my office and discuss whatever set her off, and how she needs to make better choices. Delia has anger issues; but so would I if my dad had been shot and killed 4 months ago and I was taken from my mom because she was too coked out to care for me. I walk Delia back to class just as I get called to a 3rd grade class.

8:45 Go to the 3rd grade class. We have a long-term sub in this room because the teacher resigned at Christmas. When I arrive, she is in tears and yelling at the kids because they will not follow directions. I spend much time in this class because of the sub, and because these kids need me. I take over teaching and get the students back on track. The assistant comes in to help me and we get the kids rolling again. The kids in this room love me because I give them structure, I listen to them, and I don’t abandon them. They feel abandoned by the teacher who quit. Many have been abandoned by their own parents, so it is a big issue for them. I make sure to spend time with them daily.

10:30 The 3rd grade goes to art, so I go back to my office. I have two students I need to test; one in kindergarten and the other in second grade. I test each of them. While testing, Michael stops by to see me. He is a first grader who saw his dad stick his sister’s legs in boiling water because he was angry with her. Michael stops to see me 4-5 times a day, every day. I hug him and he is on his way back to class. Then Brandon is brought to me. Brandon is in kindergarten and has thrown a chair at his teacher. He sits with me to cool down. We talk. The teacher has called mom, and she says she is on the way. She never comes. I send Brandon back to class after he calms down and apologizes for his behavior.

11:30 I meet with the principal.  She is someone I truly respect and admire. She has her hands full at this school, so we often meet as a team to see what needs to be done to accomplish needed goals. We discuss problem areas and possible solutions. She has several items for me to take care of, so off I go. I see Angel, a girl who was suspended for swinging at her teacher, sitting in the office. Her parent sent her to school anyway because she had to go to work. As I am leaving, I get two text messages. One is from my daughter, J, letting me know she is having a good day. (Sigh of relief). The other is from a 5th grade teacher who needs to see me after school. I reply okay.

12:30 I stop in and co-teach a 4th grade math lesson. We have a first year teacher in this room who needs much support. The kids are often off task, so I give them plenty of chances to talk and move during the lesson on comparing fractions. Bob is in this room, so I make sure he is engaged. I have given him a small piece of putty to hold in his pocket. He has trouble focusing and needs to “fidget”, so playing with this in his pocket helps to keep him out of trouble. It seems to be working today.

1:30 As I leave that class, another 4th grade teacher stops me. They team is having trouble and need to meet with me after school. I make arrangements. Then my walkie-talkie calls my name. It is the office, letting me know a delivery of supplies is in. I tell them to send it to my office and I will deal with it later. I don’t even know what it is. Back in my office, I grab my lunch and eat while checking email. I have 10 emails, 5 of which require a response from me. I take care of these while eating.

1:40 Rashad comes in for a quick hug. He is in 1st grade and has much trouble with behavior. He informs me that he has been good today. We have an arrangement that he gets a treat if he can be good all day. I tell him to keep it up.

1:45 I have stacks of books and supplies that need to be organized, so I take time to work on that. While working, 5 staff members come by for various reasons.I talk and continue organizing.

2:15 Time for afternoon dismissal. Rashad earned his treat, so he stops by. Afterwards, I help load children into the appropriate bus or car, and chaos becomes quiet.

2:20 Time for the staff meeting. The principal opens the meeting. When she completes her part, I step in. My teachers are having trouble teaching math, so I show them some ways to do it correctly. Most are grateful for my advice. Some seem beaten down and unresponsive. We are still working on staff moral.

3:30 The meeting is over, but I am still talking with a core group of teachers who have questions and need more time with me.

3:50 I meet with the 5th grade teachers. They are having trouble with a lesson in reading. so I discuss it with them and we find a solution.

4:45 I walk back to my office. Many teachers are gone, but some are still in the building. A 4th grade teacher is waiting for me. She is upset with her team and needs my advice. Just as we are finishing up, a 3rd grade teacher comes by needing my help. Soon after, a 1st grade teacher comes in. Before long, my office is filled and we just have a much-needed gab session to relieve the tensions of the day. Sometimes we cry, but more often we laugh.

5:30 I pack my laptop and needed papers. I am usually worn out by this time.

So, you see, I often don’t have much left to give when I get home. So if I choose to let a few things go right now, I’m alright with that. There’s always tomorrow.

 

Just Right January 31, 2013

Yesterday was tough, but J made it through. I lay in bed and snuggled with her at the end of the day. Sometimes I just hold her, because I have nothing more to offer. I feel so incompetent. I’m the mother, you know? The one who can leap tall buildings, wipe the tears, kiss the boo-boo, and make everything better; all while cooking dinner and folding a load of clothes, of course. But this- this is something I cannot fix. So I hold her, murmur soft, meaningless words, and WILL her to feel better.

She finally fell asleep. This morning, she was still shaky, but decided to go to work. She sent me a text two hours later saying that she was feeling better.

Just like that: crisis diverted. Or delayed. Because it will happen; it will be back. But for now, I will enjoy this moment. She is smiling, not too much, not too little, but just right.

051love

 

I Knew, the Way a Mother Knows January 30, 2013

It’s back. Out of the blue, for no reason, it’s back. What is “it”?, you ask? The bipolar demon my daughter fights every day.

We had a good run. It has been a nice couple of weeks. J attempted suicide right before Christmas and struggled her way through the holidays. She began intensive therapy in January, and that seemed to help some. From the second week of January until about a week ago, things were as even and normal as we have around here. I began to notice some mania last week…nothing over the top, but clear indicators.  We talked about it, she agreed and saw the signs. She even began making really good choice to counteract the mania, such as going to bed on time, eating better, exercising, and of course, taking her meds. None of it was enough.

When I found out J got her nose pierced after telling me she was going out for coffee, I knew. Deep in my heart, the way a mother knows, I knew.

She refilled the Xanax prescription, but gave it to me.  I keep the bottle hidden but give them to her when she needs help with her high levels of anxiety. She started having panic attacks yesterday. No reason, you know, that’s how those sneaky little devils are…they come out of nowhere and bite you in the ass. Today was even worse; she was at work and had multiple panic attacks,  a severe migraine, a crying jag that she couldn’t shake, and an inability to maintain. I called hubs and had him bring her some Xanax to get her through the day. Coming home was not an option for her today, so she stuck it out.

She is now asleep. I’m pretty sure that bitch Depression has her in its nasty grip. We are back on the roller coaster ride again.

 

Truth is, I Resent Being the Impulse Police January 27, 2013

Nose piercing

Nose piercing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, time for a little soul-searching. My daughter, J, told me she was going for coffee, then went out and got her nose pierced. What was my reaction? I was pissed. Let me explain.

J, age 25, lives with me because she cannot live on her own. She cannot handle her money, her actions, etc. due to her bipolar, eating disorder, and other assorted problems. She’s tried, many times, but she just is not ready. Money is still an issue even though she lives with me. We’ve tried all different ways, from me holding her money to her getting an allowance, but money is an issue for both of us and it causes great conflict between us. So when she runs off and spends money she doesn’t really have, it pisses me off.

It’s not the piercing. And before that, it wasn’t the tattoo(s). I have nothing against either one. I just get so damn angry when she does impulsive things, especially if it costs much money. She doesn’t think things through, she just does it.

Why am I so mad? I’m trying to be totally honest here. I think I am mad because….I see me. I see me doing impulsive things that I regret. I want more than that for her. I know that other people in my life have prevented me from doing some things I impulsively wanted to do; I try so hard to be that buffer for her. Someone has to be the voice of reason, the sanity that keeps her from doing some things. ( I once gave away most of my belongings because I wanted to hitchhike across the country. I even bought a sleeping bag. I still dream of that trip…)

I am also tired of being that voice of reason for her. I can barely be the voice of reason in my own head, and it is draining to constantly do it for her. I resent it. I resent being the “Impulse Police”. I can normally let the little things, like piercings, roll off of me. After all, what’s a little hole in her nose compared to, say, taking 1/2 bottle of pills? But sometimes, I find it hard to turn off the “Impulse Police”. And when I do, sometimes the results can be devastating.

Also, I think I am a little jealous. She is at an age where she can get away with doing a few impulsive, sometimes even reckless things. Me? I’m supposed to know better, so when I behave recklessly I just feel…stupid.

I actually like tats and piercings. So why do I react like some 90 year-old stuck-in-the-past grandmother when she gets them done? I don’t like that side of me because it is not reflective of how I really feel about it. That is something I need to work on.

 

Simple, Sweet, Pure and Clean January 15, 2013

Once…

life was simple, sweet,

pure and clean.

seemingly infinite days of summer brought

sun-burnt noses, pony-tailed hair,

skinned knees and rosy freckles

sprinkled on tan faces.

Friendships

born and cementedMoonlight

over grilled cheese sandwiches,

soda pop on back steps,

energetic backyard baseball,

and rainy day marathons

of Monopoly and Clue.

Glowing flashes of yellow fireflies,

streetlights illuminating the dusk,

and hide-n-go-seek

brought the golden days to an end

when

life was simple, sweet,

pure and clean.

 

 

Betty Sue and the Explosion of Colors: A Bipolar Fairy Tale January 13, 2013

Once upon a time there lived a little girl named Betty Sue. Betty Sue lived in a small village in the Kingdom of Nomia with her mother and father. Her parents ran a small shop on the corner of King Street and Prince Way. There they made an honest and decent living selling milk, hand-woven cloth, peacock feathers, and other necessities of life.

Betty Sue was a lucky girl. Her parents loved her and gave her all the things a young girl desired. She had her own bedroom decorated in black and white zebra stripes with accents of pink and green. She wore the latest fashionable clothing. Betty Sue even had her very own unicorn with a sparkly pink horn! Betty Sue’s parents doted on her and made sure she had all she would ever need.

Betty Sue was incredibly happy and energetic.  She excelled in her studies (she did very well in Dragons 101), she dominated in jousting, sang like an angel, delighted in eating a hearty meal, and glided through life with seemingly little effort. Most importantly, when Betty Sue looked at the world with her big green eyes, she saw the world in an exciting and vivid explosion of color that no one else seemed to see. It was amazing, exciting and beautiful!

Those times were the happiest of her life, but for some unknown reason, she suddenly changed. Betty Sue felt dull inside. The beautiful, colorful world around her suddenly turned to gray. The delight she usually felt in her accomplishments sputtered until -POOF- it was gone. She lost her appetite. All she wanted to do was sleep and let the dull, gray world go by without her.

Her parents were naturally concerned. They took Betty Sue to the family doctor. He checked her temperature and looked at her tonsils. After much muttering about, he declared she was fine. The doctor was a good man, but thought Betty Sue was just being a dramatic little girl to get attention. He informed her parents that she needed more of their time and she would be back to normal.

Betty Sue went home with her parents that day and nothing changed. Her parents gave her even more attention than before, but Betty Sue did not care. Her dad bought her a rainbow, but all Betty Sue could see were dull shades of gray. Her mom created a fairy garden for her, where they could work side by side and grow toadstool houses for all kinds of fairies and pixies, but Betty Sue would not even come out to see it.

After a few more days, Betty Sue started feeling better. The colors came back into the world, just as bright and vivid as before. She came out of her dungeon for the first time in days. Betty Sue joined her parents at the dining hall table and enjoyed eating mush again. Back to school she went, showing delight in all that she did, just as before. Her parents were happy to see the doctor was correct and all she needed was a little more attention.

However, it wasn’t long before it happened again. Everyone who knew Betty Sue became puzzled by her bizarre behavior. This girl had it all; why did she seem so sad all of a sudden? Her parents were even more concerned than before. This time, they took her to the Wise Woman.

The Wise Woman lived on the outskirts of the Kingdom. She was considered a witch of sorts, but not a bad one. Still, she was a little scary to the people in the village, so they left her alone unless they needed her. She lived in a little cottage surrounded by a strange garden. Most people in the Kingdom had gardens, but none like the Wise Woman’s. Her garden consisted of unknown trees, bushes, and herbs. Some glowed with an eerie blue or yellow glow; others looked as if they watched and followed your movements as you passed by. It was said that she used these strange plants in her magical potions. These potions could cure the ills that all others could not. For that reason, Betty Sue’s parents took her there one afternoon.

The Wise Woman took one look into Betty Sue’s dull, flat eyes and knew she could help, but also knew it came with a price. She explained to Betty Sue’s parents that she could help, but what it would cost. They did not care as long as Betty Sue could be normal again. Muttering and shuffling her feet, she motioned for Betty Sue to follow her into the cottage. Inside, she pulled various jars from a shelf and dumped the contents into a large boiling cauldron. She stirred it exactly three times, then scooped a spoonful out and poured it into a wooden bowl.

“Drink!” she whispered. Betty Sue gazed with uncaring eyes and did as she was told. The liquid seemed to disappear on her tongue and tasted faintly of silver. Betty Sue looked down at the floor. As usual, everything around her was gray. Suddenly, she felt a tingling in her toes. She lifted up her skirt to see what was happening and she watched, with amazement, as her toes filled with color. She could see the sparkle of her toe polish. Betty Sue watched as the color began to slowly fill in all around her. It was like watching a child color the world. She danced and clapped her hands together with delight as her world became colorful once again.

Her parents cried with relief. They paid the Wise Woman and went merrily on their way. All the way home, Betty Sue marveled at the beauty of the Kingdom.

Betty Sue never saw gray again. But, just as the Wise Woman had explained, she never saw the explosion of colors she once saw. She saw the ordinary colors that everyone else saw. Betty Sue never again sang like an angel; she just sang like any ordinary girl. She enjoyed eating, but did not find the pleasure she once knew. Betty Sue lost the gray, but she lost the brightest colors, too.

One afternoon after her studies, Betty Sue ventured to the edge of the Kingdom. She saw the cottage in the distance and hastened her footsteps. As she approached the gate leading into the curious garden, Betty Sue saw the Wise Woman standing on the porch watching her. The Wise Woman whispered, “I knew you’d be back.” Then she turned and shuffled inside. Betty Sue quickly raced up the path and followed her. Without saying a word, the Wise Woman held out a cup filled with an oily liquid. Betty Sue gulped it down. This time it tasted sweet and sticky like a summer day. Her eyes thanked the Wise Woman and she left without a word.

Betty Sue was delighted to see explosions of colors in the Kingdom again. But she also knew that with the colors came the gray. Betty Sue decided, on that very day, that she would rather be herself, both colorful and gray. She knew the gray days would make the colorful days even better. She walked back toward the village and lived (mostly) happily ever after.

Color your World

Color your World (Photo credit: Michelle Brea)

 

Having Fun December 30, 2012

It is cold today. This is a great day to curl up with a good book or watch a movie on the tube. My preference, of course, is to curl up with my computer and edit my photos.  I love going back through old ones and discovering a different beauty that I hadn’t noticed before.

Photography has become my newest way to express myself. I am very much an amateur, but I am okay with that. I know what I like, so I take pictures of it. All I have is my little digital Nikon and a free online editing program, but it suits me for now. I don’t have the drive to make jewelry or complete paintings at this point in time; I hope I feel those creative urges again. As long as I can write and produce some visual type of work, I am a happy soul.

Most of my posts are on my other website. I don’t write anything, except the titles, because I want my followers to have their own sense of the photograph. Many of my photos I take because I felt some feeling or mood in the frame, but I don’t know if that comes across to others or not. So, no words, just photos so it can evoke an emotion in you. I save my words for this blog!

Here are a few for you to (hopefully) enjoy.

Leaping Ladies

photo2

Ocean Focus

Through the Window

Simplicity

silo

Save Me

 

 

Mostly Sunny, With a Chance of Tears December 28, 2012

Do you ever wake up knowing that if you don’t get out and do something, anything, for yourself that you will simply go mad? Yeah; that was me today. I never heard my daughter, J, come home last night. I went to bed around midnight. I did finally hear from her around 10:00 pm when she sent a text saying she was fine, and hanging out with friends. I asked her about therapy and she said it was “okay”. I didn’t push; whatever happens in therapy stays in therapy, right?

So I woke up feeling antsy and hyped. I told hubs I needed to get out and wanted to go somewhere to snap some pictures with my lost-and-now-found camera. We jumped in the car and cruised to a small town about an hour away. We walked the streets and enjoyed the crisp air as I snapped to my heart’s content. I love seeing the world through the lens of my camera. I see and notice things that are easily overlooked with the naked eye.

exploring on a cold december day

I also love old abandoned houses. I was able to get some great shots of a few we passed along the way. (If interested, you can check out some on my photo blog, Rainey’s View. A good abandoned house shot is this one.) I always wonder about the lives that were lived in these houses; who lived and loved there? Why did they leave it behind? My imagination sometimes gets carried away…

Afterward, we stopped in a revitalized downtown area for a late lunch. I sat in the booth by the window and watched couples stroll by. Again, my imagination runs wild as I invent stories of love and hate around the unsuspecting people within my view. I’m sure most would be amused by the fantastic sagas I create for them.

Now, 151 camera shots later, my adventure is over and I am back home. J has not left her bed except to eat. She appears down again, but not wanting to talk. All I can do is offer to listen when she needs it and I am able to handle it. (When I am in a dark mood, sometimes I cannot be there for her and it gives me deep pain in my heart.) I had a lovely sunny day, but now I fear there is a great chance of tears in the forecast.