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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Oh my gosh ... coming into the holidays, so much to plan!





Wednesday, October 17, 2012 @ 8:18 AM

Good morning,

We’re feeling pretty good this morning … It’s just after 8 am, so we still have morning left, AND we have gotten through a few harder things this morning. We first wanted to mention though the picture above.  This is the new heading at our Twitter account.  I LOVE IT!  The background picture with the word BLOG and the doctor comes from a photo we found on line and have posted on our NEWS blog.  It reminds me of Dr. Marvin, the blogging we do AND us of course.  We also love the way we’ve set-up our description of ourselves.  It is really accurate and includes writing, school, blogger and curator, quilter AND being a multiple.  The other picture is of the bigger background to the account, which is a promotional for our book AND gives us the security of seeing not only it, but also Dog J  that’s my boy!



Pretty good, hmm?  It REALLY speaks for me in very little space/effort so we’re like loving in to pieces!  I like that about being stable online, is that if you have one space or another, you have time to build on it and perfect it.  That be like a GOOD thing!  I like too that the saying with the dog/book which is really more subliminal, but it asks, “It is Happy Multiple Personality Day today.  Have you hugged one or more?”  I think that it is a very affirming statement to oneself in reminding us as a multiple that we need some hugs and it is reassuring as a member of the multiple community in saying that if people look for us we should be receiving good feelings from and for you.  Maybe I’m reading into it a little, but we’re keeping our doors open J

Good good … moving on?

So far this morning … it took us about a half an hour to fully wake up.  We spent the time daydreaming while petting the cat on our lap and drinking coffee.  We might have said a few words to Rich, but he was up earlier and was already into business.  We woke up at 6 am.  He says he’s getting up about 5:15 AM.  I have no idea what our normal waking time is anymore … I guess just depends on the day.  We can’t even consistently say that it is Rich OR us who wakes up first.  I guess we’ll count that as a nice thing. 

Yesterday was a Dr. Marvin day.  But, going to the end first … we got home about the right time and Rich was working on dinner … we settled in and then went to the kitchen and watched as he finished working.  Last night he made pork roast, noodles, gravy, and asparagus, but we skipped the asparagus.  It was a great dinner!  It had been cooking in the slow cooker all day so the suspense had been building up.  I think we ate and watched one show, but I’m not sure what … I think it was a short sitcom and then I remember that we were talking and then after that we watched one more sitcom.  We like Mike and Molly.  Oh, I remember the other one … it was called, Partners.  It was something that Rich had seen and had wanted to watch.  I think it was ok, but we already had distaste for the girl that was taking away the key from the best friend.  It seemed the show was supposed to be more him then her, and when he got his feelings hurt, then we hurt too.  The girl was a couple with the hurt guy’s best friend.  The hurt guy was also gay … so that hurts more because I think people who are gay might sometimes be more sensitive … maybe just more receptive to things along the line of human nature.  I suppose that would be a stereotype like any other, but we have an affinity to people who can be smart AND talk with their heart.

Hmm, Rich just let me know he needs a shirt steamed, that I’d told him we’d do five outfits steamed a day, and that even though I washed two loads of clothes this week, he is now down on t-shirts.  ARGH.  Is there anything special about THAT kind of communication?  I dunno.  I suppose I should count that he said it nicely.  Just we have now started to write … Oh.  I’ve been told we’re writing during Domestic Goddess time.  DRAT!  I hate that when it happens.  Maybe just a little bit. 

Ok, that’s been started.  I brought the white load down and I steamed five shirts.  The rest of the picking up will have to be later, because our arms feel like spaghetti.  Rich is just zipping up his briefcase now … so we’ll say good-bye to him.  There … good work!  We got our smooch and shooed him out.  He shouldn’t be home until about 5 pm.  That’s a good amount of time to be gone.  He’s rushing with the day and says that most of it will be taking care of problems at one of his workshops, and then he’ll stop at another to check on it too.  Wish he wasn’t so rushed, but I guess he held out on going until the very end … It’s now about 9:15 AM.  After he gets up to take his shower, the rest of the time goes pretty fast.

AHA!  We just checked our email and we must have read something on Twitter, SO then we from there called our State Farm Insurance person.  We’d seen an Infograph on working from home and they were saying the cost of gas and insurance were less.  So, we checked and we can go down from $94 to $72, but I think we pay $10 in renter’s insurance so that means we would be saving $12 a month OR a yearly total of $144.  WOOHOO!!!  That might be a couple quilt backings!  We’ll make SURE to tell Rich this J  We’re doing a good Ann.  He’ll be happy.  He works so hard to get down the bills.  AND, he is thinking that we’ve got medical handled enough so that we can talk to the dentist about fixing our couple of teeth.

Hmm, we’re being productive … We FNALLY called the dentist.  She said that we qualified for about $4800 on a CareCredit Program … even though my income is just $1421 a month from disability.  She says that it is 0% interest for the first year, but after that it is 24.9%.  She had run our needs down before to be costing about $4751 which would include general care of our teeth – whatever they do there, and then two root canals, two build-ups, and two crowns.  Somehow she said thought that we could try to put off the crowns so the expense for this year would be about half and then next year it would be half so that we would only need to pay a couple hundred a month to get our account to zero at the end of the year … It would also mean we’d be committed to paying for a year of dental next year too, but I don’t know if there are any options. 

We already have a partial, and if the two teeth were pulled it would mean there would be nothing for our partial to hold onto and we wouldn’t have any chewing capacity on the right side of our mouth.  I know this is probably way more personal than anyone needs, but alas blogging is the history of our life and now this part might be part of that.  There was an option to be billed directly through the Dentist’s office, but they charge 1.5% interest on the balance each month, which at $2400 would be an additional $36 and then that would go down about $3 each month after over the course of one year.  The total expenditure out would be about $234 extra …  We’d have to ask Rich about that because there’s a big problem with the other credit in that if we don’t pay regularly and end-up with a balance, it would cost that basically 25%. 

One way or another care credit approved us OR we could switch to the monthly 1.5% soooo, we scheduled a dentist appointment.  The dentist is only in on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and we’re booked for next week with the quilting, so we’ll get together on Halloween Wed., the 31st at 1 PM.  Very good.  She did caution us that we would have to be even MORE careful with the temporary build-ups until the crowns go on, but there is time to figure out all the why’s and wherefores of that down the line.  Right now we just have to think carefully about what we’re eating. 

The nicest thing about calling was that the lady remembered us and our situation and she didn’t get mean, grumpy, or anything as to the problem not getting the free service because we own phones and cars so she thought we weren’t poor enough, even though our income coming in is very low.  We are just going to need figuring it out. 

This was part of a two-part Ann being responsible thing this morning.  I had gotten from Medicaid and we’d gotten from Dr. Marvin’s office, so we had all the papers in hand so we could try explaining to Rich again.  Basically, Medicaid approved us for July, August, and September because we had over $421 worth of medical bills.  It’s not hard to do because Dr. Marvin charges $290 for each appointment.  Ok, we’re not even going there.  Unfortunately, seeing him is a life or death thing, so it is what it has to be.  It is also one of the most fulfilling things we do.  I’m satisfied that we have a REAL Dr. for an hour of time each session.  You can’t get any more wonderful than that.  It’s not like seeing our other medical doctor where she charges at 10 minute increments, PLUS the tests.  So then, meeting with Dr. Marvin, he stated that their billing guy had seen the Medicaid approval for those three months, but stated they did not catch the June bills.  So we have to resubmit them.  They also haven’t approved yet October, but at this rate I can feel comfortable they will as soon as UIC gives us the bills for this month.  I think it works out so that you have to have at least a $421 turnaround each month, so if we didn’t have $421 then we would have to pay it.  It seems backward, but that is the way that Dr. Marvin is explaining it and he’s gotten the billing guy to explain it to him so the resource is trustworthy.

Rich said that if we weren’t paying an additional $200 toward medical that we have enough to go to dentil instead.  One way or another … we’re not getting “fun money,” but we are taking care of ourselves and that goes to real strong benefits too!  AND we’re being responsible.  This has been a problem in the past because we got overwhelmed with having all this information in our head.  Eventually, we had started dissociating with it so we couldn’t look at bills for 3 months at a time.  It was pretty terrible.  Now because Rich helps with the bills – it becomes doable just to keep track of these kinds of parts AND not spending extra then what is being spent.  Rich has started a savings for me so I can do something at Christmas for the kids, and then after that the only expense we have is the quilting, which we’re trying to work out with Rich.  I know he’s compensating some for me and that part is hard for us because for so long we’ve done it on our own.  But, this is the situation and we have to deal with it one thing at a time.  It will be another matter when we have to start thinking seriously about school again.  We have til January on our leave, and then have the option of four more months before we would run-out our good graces.  AND THEN, if we weren’t in school, we’d have to start paying for school loans.  We’re still paying for 1997-99 when we got our BA degree, and then added to that is Master’s work.  It’s a LOT!

AHA!  That’s pretty nice too.  Maury has called a few times this morning and we’re setting up to meet him for lunch WITH Nikki!  Yay!  That barely ever happens!  Think we better jump in the shower … it’s 10:30 am, and we’re supposed to meet him around noon.  It is always a bit up in the air because he works in peoples’ houses as a cable technician so those kinds of jobs don’t always work out perfectly ON the hour.  Maury does have an hour for lunch so that part is very nice.

Hmm, seems that we’re in a good place to stop one thing and go to another.  We’re not done writing yet, because we haven’t talked about Dr. Marvin, but it seems the results are that we are doing pretty good this morning, Billing gets thrown in with Domestic Goddess, AND we’ve got a half-hour more before the whites get done J

There!  Good!  Showers are ALWAYS nice!

18 more minutes to folding whites.  This is a real good deal for Rich that I can do something and in this case SOMETHINGS productive that he doesn’t have to do.  If we’re being productive then we take down his workload, because when we get really stuck he has to be our back-up.  We like not to put him in that situation so keep trying to work forward.

AHA!  That reminded us that we had to start the dishwasher … wow responsible flowing out all the gills!

I think we’re done for the next 12 minutes.  Hmm, don’t know what to do with all this free time! 

Ok, that took up some… We folded the clothes and finished picking up the living room.  Good so far!  Anything else?  Hmm, we need to remember to take money with us AND we need to take a picture of the odometer for the insurance people.  We printed out a copy of the Huffington Post so that we’d have a date … That works for me!  I think tomorrow the Domestic Goddess has another load of dark clothes to wash, AND we have to look at opening the mail/bills.  We just give them to Rich, but that part of the job is ours.  Mostly it is a matter of … if I want my drafting table cleared off … we have to take care of the paper pile.  We’re good though on the older stuff because not too long ago we’d sorted all the bills in the carrying container with dividers.  Shouldn’t be too hard then, right?  And THEN, we will be able to send the UIC Dr bill to Medicaid – IF there are any other medical bills that should go with it. 

Now though we’ve only got 15 minutes before we leave to see Maury and Nikki for lunch AND we have to get dressed too.  I need a break from folding clothes though.

This might be then one of the quickest exchanges we had in trying to understand Dr. Marvin last night.  I think for the most part adult parts were out.  I’m thinking that we took some time to do business with the bills, and then we told him about being out with Laura and Joe and Cari since we’d last seen him.  AND, I think someone talked about Rich, but for that … it has to go toward the part that he brought Marshmallow ghosts in the house and he’s not sharing them very good.  We were given one ghost because we’d had such a bad time trying to sew the other day, but then he said the others are for Halloween, but that’s not fair because it is still TWO weeks AWAY!  It’s obvious that there would be a problem there.

I think we told him too about our sewing adventures.  There’s been some advance in the sewing area too because we were able to tell Dr. Marvin we finished cutting the Southwest Chevron quilt and we’d actually started sewing it.  We had problems with the sewing machine foot, because CS left the ruffle one on, and then we had problem with the bottom tension.  We eventually though figured out how to do that.  We were really happy too because it gave us Anderson Cooper time.  That’s important! AND, it gives us something happy to talk about to Linda. YAY! 

Hmm, not getting far here … I think we’re going to need to talk about Dr. Marvin AFTER lunch.  Int’s already 11:36 and we wanted to leave in 4-6 minutes.  We like getting there earlier than later, and it’s about 10 minutes away.  We did get dressed though so we are ready to head outdoors.  Hmm, maybe we’ll go down now so we can get the picture of the odometer.  That be good right?

BBS

We’re back again, but it is now Thursday morning so we’re about 24 hours into things.  We thought about starting a new entry, but this one seems so incomplete.  We left off with only some of the night before, but we have to give ourselves credit for being so much in the present that things were getting accomplished.  I have to think hard now … what happened at Dr. Marvin’s … are we going to remember any of it seriously?  Seems so far we’ve just discussed the first 15 minutes stuff that’s routine as to letting him know where we are in general.  Already I have a sense of panic though because at the tip of my tongue we’re not remembering ANYTHING.  AARGH This is SOOO frustrating.

Let’s focus here real hard, girls, K? 

What do we remember … ok, first was the part about catching up.  We remember him saying that we had more regressed past life experiences happening over the last several Tuesdays, so that maybe this session was … something…  I’m thinking here it was a time for the adult parts to catch-up and regroup.  I might have said this already though nothing new yet. 

I think we mentioned the book, because I remember saying something about the biological parts.  I think we asked him to catch up on Chapter 8 of Dell’s book.  I told him we might have a couple of weeks leniency though because we wanted to go back copy out a lot of the words – especially brain terms that we weren’t understanding, and then look them up and try to understand, and then AFTER that point, we’d like to meet with Dr. Marvin about it to see if he can help us fill in the gaps.  But, it seemed a waste of our time with him, to be so clueless with little structure to take in the new information he could be giving us.  A little homework, will allow us to ask better questions.

I’m not figuring out what took the majority of time … I’m thinking though that the older parts were remembering something… AHH, I know something … we went over the uncomfortable feelings we had had with our oldest best friend who we’d been with from 7-12th grade.  Her name was Becky and the lat time we talked to her in 2003, it was a very uncomfortable situation.  But, then too, we got into talking about our friend Kendra who was becoming our best friend toward 11-12th grade.  We were still with Becky as to sharing a locker and interests in Concert Band, but we were spending more time with our sports friends.  Kendra came into the picture during 11th grade.  We were both in volleyball.  She was better – more assertive than we were.  I think I did very well in the back row and serving, but I couldn’t do the front and my though that Kendra was playing varsity before me. 

Kendra is who are thoughts have been most focused on recently.  We would really like to get to know her again.  We’re Facebook acquaintances, but there is little conversation that goes back and forth.  I think we each read each other’s’ pages periodically.  I very much respect what she’s done with her life – much more than anyone else I knew growing-up.  Becky does presentations – especially in the beauty field, but she didn’t continue her music.  Kendra continued schooling, earned her doctorate degree and did work in women’s studies and religion, but now has started her own company … we’re thinking 10-12 employees where she does something with providing algorithms to private contractors and the Department of Defense – primarily through the Navy in devising an understanding of enemy patterns in behavior to better predict and protect our country.  I hope I’m not doing her a real disservice.

We had a very bad case of running ourselves down because we are nowhere near Kendra’s obvious intelligence and motivational level.  It is true she didn’t go through the abuse history we did – so no matter how intelligent we may or may not be … we had some disadvantages.  Because Kendra worked with understand women, we think she might understand some of that.  BUT, we have no right with her kind of responsibilities to occupy her time.  I know she has a very busy life and does a lot of traveling as well as nurturing a very strong set of supportive people in her life. 

I feel really proud of what she’s accomplished, but I miss deeply having someone to talk to at a more intellectual level.  With Kendra it’s probably overkill, but the fact of the matter is that we seemed to understand each other at the time.  I think we were both competitive and there was some mess-up where I think we were taking time she could have been having with her mom by being around and usurping some of that.  I don’t really remember it much except to say when we had opportunities after we started to drive, our preference was to be around Kendra.  I don’t remember much of what we talked about, but just the part that we could.  I would never understand her orientation toward math, science, chemistry, etc. but I liked her a lot as a person, and if there were one thing about the past I would change – it would have been to maintain a better relationship to her.

But, enough of that … probably should get off our sad side of having regrets.  Again, we talked about this to Dr. Marvin, and we talked a bit about Becky before that, but we understood in our mind that mental illness and being with a mother who was really off the mark with Becky, she had emotional problems that were too great for us.  Most likely how it would be with Kendra for me.  Becky had treated us very meanly in conveying that we were too negative to like, although we had been in town for both the funeral of my father and his ex-wife along with just finding out we had diabetes.  I don’t recall being particularly negative, just it hurt a lot in that she snapped at us, then kept yelling until we were in tears not knowing where to go because we were out of town and staying with her, and then she had us play one of her presentations where she talked about it having been a waste of time to have only one friend growing up – as if I had burdened her.  I didn’t know what to do with that.  I guess I feel in a relationship both parties have to be committed or one or the other can just leave.  There was nothing holding her back from making other strong relationships, but she did not.  Somehow I had thought we both cared the same kind of deep feelings for each other so when she became angry at me for what I had thought was overusing her life with us, then we felt totally rejected and haven’t had too much contact since over the last 9 years.  We had been out of touch for so long the harsh treatment was really threatening.  I thought she behaved very much like her isolated mother … Just really no concept about relationships.

Kendra though feels real different.  I can tell that she is warmly received by others around her.  She seems to put out good strong vibes.  Just we’re someone of the past and we miss that connection.  It was for me one of my more sound relationships growing-up and we also connected in that I brought her into scouting about the time I needed to leave.  But, we have some favorite people from that connection.  She seemed very able to adapt to that world which was one of my safeties.  I’m pretty sure though that for Kendra … we’re one of the most messed-up people she’s ever known.  There is not too much I can do with taking away my background or current diagnosis … but, we will continue keeping her in mind as to setting a bar.

Ok, girls … have to move on here right?  We just went down and switched Rich’s clothes to the dryer.  We are making some progress Hehehe.

Thinking we still have to steam some clothes AND do some paper shuffling with the bills to feel real comfortable in having had a successful day.  Just not quite yet.

I don’t know if we really talked much more about anything else to Dr. Marvin … I’m thinking that was the bulk of it.  He had remembered me talking about Kendra in the past, but he didn’t recall the relationship I had with her.  I’m trying to figure out why now this is coming again so strongly to mind.  I think as far as Dr. Marvin was concerned, we just needed some more intellectual stimulation.  I don’t think we are really getting that yet from the multiple community.  I think there are about a dozen women who we’d like to get to know better as to being intellectually available and relatively mentally sane.  I think at this point we’re judging it by the ability to see past oneself in consideration of others, AND not be really over involved in therapeutic relationships where they are still feeling down and out.  I have a lot of self-security built up in having known and trusted Dr. Marvin for so long.  I think we are pretty good and not being around too much of the crazy stuff like boundary issues and self-aggressive attacks.  I think emotions are hard for multiples because we can figure things out for ourselves, but then it seems there are always other parts unloading their emotions so there remains a constant tension of strong feelings to be sifting through and placing in positions not to be overwhelming. 

I think we’ve come a long way since leaving St. Rose Center.  Back at that time I felt that we were trapped and unable to find safe people who weren’t emotionally discharging on others.  It was a very blatant attack on people that got to be overwhelming, especially since I was so targeted.  I really believe that Sr. Theresa took us as a threat and was doing anything she could to disengage me from any positions of power through my abilities that I could muster.  The strong I got … the stronger she seemed to feel she should hold me back or pull the carpet from underneath me.  Things like having the staff report to her of things we did wrong after the staff meetings or having annual meetings and only discussing them afterward with the staff and not me … just there was so much sabotage.  I don’t know how anyone could have come out of that without damage.  It really put me far behind as to trust of others and authority figures.  It also took a toll in adding to my distrust of spiritual people.  First, there was my own growing up with people who weren’t helpful, then there was BJ, and then there was sister.  I can’t believe anything in the world would allow me to seek out someone just for the church/spiritual connection.

I don’t think we can take away from our feelings that there is a God, just for now we’re holding to a private relationship and doing most things without asking for the help of a God.  I find no reason to curry favor.  I just absolutely hate religion – organized religion.  This would include my brother who was also in our thoughts this week because it was his birthday on Sunday.  He’s an ordained Lutheran minister.  Nope nope nope … Never again.

People are just too much at fault for not taking responsibility over themselves.

Hmm, I’m sounding pretty negative right now … I’m NOT going to believe Becky was right … it’s just that sometimes being involved in your past doesn’t always bring good memories or feelings or thoughts.  I’m going to try holding it here though in curiosity of which direction things are going to go with Dr. Marvin today.  I don’t feel like there is much control, but DO feel confident that whoever within our system needs him the most is there.

I think though some of the work we’re doing with Dell’s book, is pointing us to directions though not well thought out, but toward reasons why we might think of ourselves in parts as to the brains networking.  When I get more figured out I will say something obviously, but just for now … we’re keeping our eye on it.  It has us more concerned with the more autistic, out-of-control feelings of Crystal and toward the more chronic physical restraint of Gracie.  It seems that part of what happens to kids who are abused is that they will fight more like Crystal and when the situation becomes absolutely terminable or toward annihilation then the child becomes very deathlike in body systems shutting down and having given up to a submission behavior – more vacant than anything else.  In our minds … Crystal began at 8 months old and Gracie came in at 1 ½ years.  We don’t recall at this time how this information was decided or how long we’ve held that interpretation.

We do know that when the author talks about these kinds of things happening to infants and toddlers that it reaffirms our beliefs that dire things were happening to us.  Some of the work/problem is that there was no sound attachment made and instead it was very disorganized.  Again we’re back to the part where children are in a situation they absolutely must trust the caregiver while carrying a bilateral relationship where the caregiver is the most destructive dangerous being in the infant’s life.   It is a strong feeling of helpless or hopelessness and the book is conveying that some of these ways that the brain operates makes it not possible to change even as we grow older.  I might always need somebody like Dr. Marvin to counterbalance my life.  I think as much as a caregiver can be internalized he has, and that will just get stronger, but still he can’t erase the original problem.  I guess I had been thinking that one day we’d get over or be able to function more soundly, but now we are thinking there are things that are important in our life that were broken and can’t be fixed even by the good Dr. Marvin.

One of those problems was that we believe that there was enough eruptive trauma that brain cells in the gray matter areas of the outer brain were killed.  I think we talked about this before and our desire for Dr. Marvin to order some MRI tests to see if there really are abnormalities in our brain.  I think though that it is also chemical in that our systems had overages that permanently altered some of the chemical balances so there were needs of some and not enough of others.  I think adrenaline now is added to some of the things that go wrong.  I know that we have tendencies like other multiples to be hyper reactive and things like that are because we weren’t built with systems due to the abuse AND neglect to calm ourselves.  There is a very strong point in the connection to Annemarie especially, who goes into suicidal mode – or shutdown – or lifelessness when over-constricted with anxiety.  Just in general our levels of anxiety are different from most people.  So that is much more quickly aroused and we have less system ability to deal with it.

There was also conversation as to the actual dissociation.  I can’t begin to run through that series of brain abnormalities that causes that situation to occur, I just know that we talked to Dr. Marvin about trying to learn what is happening in the brains of multiples to cause certain reactions, and that already we knew we had to have a version that was translatable so that we could hold it and be able to understand it through more of a simplified version.  We also know that we want to know it well enough so that we wouldn’t have trouble explaining it to others as those opportunities arise.  I believe there are a lot of multiples who take their fault to blame personally on themselves.  I think there is a lot more that is happening chemically or through building of distrustful relationships that can better explain the disturbances.  I think it is fair we each learn how to better enable ourselves so that we can hold a sense of validity.

Ok, we’re just taking a bit of a break.  It’s now about 11:40 AM and we just finished lunch.  We had the leftover noodles from dinner the last two nights.  I can faithfully say … we nipped that meal in the bud!

We just stopped over and left a note for Linda, we had missed her earlier on.  She had gone out to breakfast with her sweetie, and then she was going to go back to one of her sewing projects.  Maybe we can touch base around 2 pm.  We should then think of getting finished and taking a shower by about 1:30 PM.  I guess we can make that a goal.  Today is Thursday, so we’ll be leaving at 3:30 pm.  It’s been sounding real windy out there today and its been kind of overcast.  It’s only 53 degrees and the wind is at 21 mph AND it is SUGGESTING that we’re going to have thunderstorms – should be happening around mid-afternoon and it is at about 55% probability.  Hope we stay dry going to Dr. Marvin’s.  Definitely a good day to wear a jacket.

Hmm, thinking we’re fading in and out a little … just trying to get our bearings. 

One of the things that got us distracted for a while between last writing and lunch was that we were doing a little reading on high functioning autism and Asperger’s.  We are finding ourselves thinking of the meeting with our Grandson and we are so excited that we are going to meet him.  We’ve had some interaction with Autism, but it was with people who were low-functioning and it was a secondary to intellectual disability.  Laura says that in school Austin tests out at the first or second highest scores in the school.  I don’t know things yet though whether he has to handle for example hyper- or hypo sensitivity levels and we don’t know things like how changes in his environment like having him come over to our apartment will be for him.  We don’t know if he has regular routines that are more demanding than not, and we don’t know things like his boundaries.  We really want to develop a regular routine of being able to see him.  I know I have to be fair to not overextending myself, so we’re allowing a month or two between visits, but I’d really like to do more like once a month.  I don’t think we can ever make-up for the time lost in his early childhood, but we’d really like to make the most of things now. 

There’s just so much to appreciate.  I’ve never gotten over the fact that I’ve had five grandchildren.  Well, some of that is new from the last couple of years, but I really feel like I have five of the most super people in the world in my family and I’m just starting the adventure of knowing the oldest.  I’ve waited so long and I thought I’d have to wait a whole lot longer.  But it’s less than two weeks away now.  I just have such an incredible feeling of love for this person … and he’s so brand new its amazing that things like this happen.  I’m writing up most of it to problems with communication and our own fear that we were not good enough due to our mental illness to have a regular relationship with Austin.  It was the same feeling at the time that we were having with Lauren and Maury.  We’ve still never seen his children on our own.  Hmm, maybe … I think when Ame was 4-5 years old we took care of her for one overnight.  But, about the time Maury was thinking we might babysit – in about 2005, we were starting school and the opportunities to spend time with her lessoned.  I think it was fairly well drawn that I wasn’t to be trusted with my Grandchildren.  Even now Ame and Isa who’ve been around for 5-11 years … we don’t have a close relationship like where they would be spending time with me and we would have chances to talk.  Most the time we are with them … Maury and Nikki are there too and the conversations turn either more adult … or with either Jade or Jasmine who are more upfront in conversing.  I don’t want to take away time from anyone, but there isn’t enough to go around when the whole family is together. 

Maybe one of the outcomes of this change in communicating and re-acquainting with Laura is that we realize how important it is to develop better relationships with Grandchildren.  I think we’re going to have trouble with money to be doing it regularly, but I’d REALLY like a better one-on-one chance to be knowing each of the four girls along with Austin.  Idealistically, we would find a restaurant near the kids places, and I’d be allowed to drive that short distance with the kids in the car.  And, then one per week, we’d take turns in getting the grandchildren out.  Maybe with a five week cycle.  Then the kids could have alone time – which would be limited to a meal, but alone time to talk to me about whatever they would like.  The part that worries me is that I don’t want the parents thinking that I’m getting overly involved in their families if they need to remain more succinct. 

I don’t know how long it’s been since we’ve had these kinds of thoughts, but I’m thinking that it would be worth everything in the world to get to know them each as their own person.  I think we’ll talk to Dr. Marvin and Rich about this.  Dr. Marvin would have good ideas as to whether this would be a good idea, and Rich would tell me if it were possible with a really overstretched budget.  We could narrow it down to not spending any more than $20.  But, the part that is not so good is that it would mean adding a thousand dollars a year on the budget.  I don’t know where that money would come from.  Maybe realistically, we should think of not getting anything electronic over Christmas and instead put the money that my mother gives us toward meal money with the kids.  Maybe too … that could be their present.  I could give them a certificate saying that they will get to go out with me alone – 10 times during 2013.  Again, we’d have to find something small line a diner, so the cost would not get to be too much.  I don’t know also if the girls are interested in it, but it really makes sense attention-wise.

That’s something that we haven’t talked about yet.  We got a chance to go out yesterday as noted earlier with Maury and Nikki.  Maury stayed the hour for his lunch, and then Nikki and I stayed another 1 ½ hours and just talked our hearts out.  It was wonderful like getting to talk to Laura.  We talked more about things like vacation when Maury was there, but afterward we got to talk to Nikki about things that were more like relationships.  I learned more about her and the girls and I absolutely loved it.  I really don’t want to be invasive, but maybe they would like some support with the girls.  Basically, what we would be providing Maury and Nikki with is 80 hours of good listening/talking time with their kids over the course of a year.  It doesn’t really seem like a lot, but since it is not being done now at all it seems like a LOT.  I think all Grandchildren are old enough now that they could handle being at a restaurant with me and because we’d see them one at a time we wouldn’t get overwhelmed.  I would have to arrange with Ame and Isa to see them on the weeks that they were with Maury and Nikki.  That might take some arranging. 

Maybe what we would have to do … is sit down with each AND a calendar.  We could arrange to talk to Nikki and Maury about times the girls were available and not doing things like extracurricular or family vacations.  So it would have to be worked through month to month and adjustable for changes.  We would do the same with Laura.  That way it doesn’t have to fall on just one a week, but more so we could say once a month and you all help me pick out the dates.  That would be then extra cool in that even though some weeks we might have two meals, it would mean that I would see each grandchild 12 times a year instead of 10.  It might help each of them too if we picked out days like the 2nd Friday of the month.  I could make myself available during weeknights OR weekends.  Oh man this would just be so much fun.  I have no doubt that it would be hard work too and I’d really have to build a repoire so that it wasn’t a drag to go out with me.

Hmm, have to think about that … maybe if someone wasn’t interested it would be a matter of saying – I’m keeping a day open for you this month and you can change your mind at any time.  I want to be there more importantly because they want me to be there.  There would have to be some rules too.  Like how much can be said about one of the others.  Like perhaps you have to say good things showing interest in building a relationship, and if you said something negative, you would also have to say something positive to make the wrong right.  I don’t want to limit them in that they can’t choose to talk about a sibling, but I don’t want them to abuse the situation either where they go back and say, well Gramma said – such and such about you.  I would really have to focus on listening and asking questions more than in telling them what was on my mind.  It has to be about them. 

First thing first talk to Dr. Marvin, talk to Rich, and then talk to Maury.  We’ll ask Laura to think about it and that as long as she and Austin would like to meet me together then that is what we would do, but the aim would be to meet one on one very near their homes.  Obviously too some days like Tuesday and Thursdays, we would not be available and first Saturday’s or other days arranged for quilting, but in actuality those are the only real days, I’m unavailable.  We’ll see … we’ll see.  For now though its time to think of something different so I don’t obsess with this.  I also think its time for Popcorn!

AHA!  That’s been done.  It is now about 12:45 PM.  I’ve been thinking about being with the Grandchildren … and I’m thinking that I have to give them the option of spending time with them at their place too if they are uncomfortable going out with me.  We’re hoping that we are fun enough so that they would look forward to their time, but I’m thinking of the day Maury was going to have me babysit Jasmine and it became too much for her.  The other thing I was thinking is that I think I really have to give permission for the grandchildren to ask a friend to come with.  My preference is that I see them alone, but I have to admit that when I was younger, I would have wanted a friend to come with to normalize the experience.  But, the problem comes to be money, so I’m thinking that whoever wanted to invite a friend would have to between the friend and most likely “her” come up with a total of $10 to be added to the $20 I give.  Just I can’t afford to be paying more than we already are.  We are also thinking that we might just give the girls $20 each this Christmas and then saying that the once a month for the next year we will give them $20 toward a dinner with just the two of us.  As mentioned earlier I think my mother will give us $500 again for Christmas, so I will work with Rich so that that money goes in an envelope just for meals with the grandchildren, and if there is any extra money for Christmas it would go toward that fund, but I’m thinking probably not too much. 

Thinking of Christmas now … we’re thinking for SURE finish some quilts, but as well maybe we could arrange to give each of our sons and DIL+Laura $50 each and then $100/5 = $20 to each of the Grandchildren.  That would then be $450 out to the family, plus Rich.  I would also like to get the bird quilt made for our mother to say thanks …  Rich said that he’s putting money aside for us to be using at Christmas, but we’re not sure.  We would just have to have the $450.  Hmm, thinking here.  I would like to do one more relationship.  I would like to give Duyen’s sister a gift too.  Maybe we’re thinking that we could give both Duyen’s sister and Natty each a $25 credit card.  That would make me feel real good and it would even things out to $500.  I like the thought of that a lot.  It’s a nice round number.  Nobody would be getting a lot of money, but they would each get some to remember us by.  If the worst case scenario and we wouldn’t get to take out the grandchildren, then my mother’s money would cover the whole of our family’s gifts.  I like again that feeling of evening out.

Rich said that we have some extra money in the account, but it is more for if there is some kind of emergency so we have to get used to the thought that that money isn’t there.  I would love to give Jillian and Chris each $50 too, but I’m thinking Rich is going to really fight me on that and say it’s too much.  But like with extended family of Nattie and Duyen’s sister … I’d like to give something as well to Jillian and Chris.  I don’t feel the same obligation toward Rich’s two sons.  I don’t think they’ve excepted me as part of their family.  I do feel that Jillian has gone out of her way to see me as half the relationship between me and her Dad.  Her Dad is always going to be more important, but we want to say thank-you too for allowing me to be a part.

Ok, I think we’re done for a while.  The only other person we haven’t considered yet is Dr. Marvin, but that one has to be more secret for now.  J

I THINK that would be enough.  There is still my sister, but that might have to be something on the creative side.  I would like to have her come down for a couple of days … that would be the best, but I’m not sure whether she will be able to travel.  It would depend on her staying in the sewing room over night.  How did we do that before?  I think she stayed overnight?  You know when we were doing the sewing for St. Rose?  Hmm, maybe that is a possibility and the same … we could offer the other girls the same too.  One free night at the place of Rich and Ann Hehehe – Ok, Linda if you’re reading this … pretend your not.  Linda knows she’s had a standing invitation, but she’s not felt it the right time to do so yet.  It’s about all we can offer with the exception, that Rich would help bring suitcase and sewing machine up to the third floor.  Oh man oh man wouldn’t it be a great time if the girls came down!

OHHH, there is one MORE thing to Christmas.  Rich is saying that he would like to have a couple of events.  First he would like to invite friends over – meaning Jack and Eileen, Bob and Linda, and Doug and Melanie.  I can see his point, but I’m not sure that we’d be able to fit 8 adults in our living room.  We would have to think that through.  3 on couch, 1 on Rich’s chair, 1 on my chair, we would bring in the 1 sewing chair, that’s only … I guess then there are still four kitchen chairs AND Rich’s office chair so actually we would have 11 chairs … we could then leave the 3 kitchen chairs in there for a second group of people, and then we would just need to bring in 1 kitchen, Rich’s office and my sewing chairs.  So where would we fit them.  We’d have to leave an opening at the balcony for any smokers, which might be just Linda and Bob.  We could move the piano out and leave that space for the sewing chair, and then my office chair would go by the drafting table, which would leave a space in front of the computer for Rich’s office chair, leaving … hmm, to fit one more chair in without blocking the main artery, we would have to leave a chair close to the TV between it and Rich’s chair.  I suppose that won’t be so bad.  I think Rich is thinking of having people over on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  That would be November 22nd, for Thanksgiving making the party on the 18th, so that would be the third Thursday of November … we are at retreat November 7-11th so obviously the party would fall one week after we get back. 

I think it would actually work.  I know that Rich was excited to think of throwing a party, although we’ve never done it before.  We’d really have to help him work out the kinks.  I have no doubt that he can prepare a meal big enough though I’d want to suggest some of it come in like chicken wings from the grocery store to take some of the cooking pressure off.  What is the sense in inviting 6 or more people if you can’t talk to your guest?  I think this has to be talked through with Rich, but it seems he may have already started spreading the rumor because he said something about asking Bob not to fill in that date with anything else.  I think Rich initially intended open house so the families could be here to, but there just isn’t enough space for that.

And, so then that would be the next hurdle.  Rich wanted to have family over too.  I’m not sure if Jillian is coming home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but if she were to come over, along with Jon and most likely Natty and Chris … well pretty much that is already a group.  If we took in one more, I would think it would be Joe and Cari.  I would much prefer due to age and interest that it be Maury and Nikki, but having the girls as well would be too much.  I would like to have one more family event though and have Maury and Nikki, Joe and Cari, Laura and the five grandchildren.  It would have to be on Saturday the 15th or the 22nd which is one or two Saturdays before Christmas so that Maury would be here.  ALSO there is a possibility that Thom and Duyen would come in for the holiday.  So maximum would be 12 people in our house?  PLUS, Rich and me would make 14 people.  That is REALLY impossible.  The variables in consideration especially would be having Laura and Duyen together.  I feel strongly though about setting up a situation where the Grandchildren could meet.  Maybe we would have to do it after Thom got back, or maybe to have Laura and Austin and Rich and me get together with just Maury, Nikki and the four girls.  That way … there would be 10 people which is doable, though crowded.  We need to figure too there might be a Christmas tree. 

So, maybe then we’re up to FOUR meetings!??

Ok, good good … there’s been some progress.  Maury called before our shower and getting dressed and asked us for a couple of addresses, SO in the meantime he let us talk to Nikki about Christmas dates which was the nature of his call too.  We went over the schedule with Nikki and have marked Saturday, December 22, to be the day that whatever happens we’ve got space planned for Maury and his family.  It’s a Saturday for Maury and the Girls will be in that week and we’re really looking forward!  Now we’ll have to figure if Joe and Cari are available and then tonight we’ll try to call Thom.  Joe and Cari for the time being have already landed in California for their series of meetings with Herbalife.  I’m really proud of their outreach into that community.  It really sounds like it is working out for them.  Thom’s call when returned will help out a lot with the planning.  I think we have a few moments to regroup

I forgot about Thanksgiving and more than likely Rich will want to spend it with his mother, but I would also like a chance to do something with Maury’s family and Joe’s if he’s available.  WOOHOO  cooking on all cylinders!  Maury said yes to Saturday, November 24th, and I think he still wants to do Sunday the 18th for his friends.  We made sure that Maury was open to Jillian and Jon if they were to come over the same day, but this way we’ve saved Thursday Thanksgiving day at Rich’s mothers and he has the option of Friday with his kids with or without me.  Plus, if he wants he can arrange possibly Chris on Sunday the 25th, or either Tuesday before or after Thanksgiving, since we’re thinking that is his day off.    

I think we’re including everyone, but we’re running out of time … both Linda and Rich got here about the same time and there is only 16 minutes before we leave.  We wanted to leave a general note though that we did talk to CS in figuring out where she would be around Christmas and she says that they have to move out by the end of December, BUT she’s having a lot of medical problems too so somewhere in there she’s most likely got to get all the furniture out of the house and packed and ready to come home.  Her SIL is still entertaining she can do the house, but she is only working 2 days a week at $8.65 an hour.  That’s her only income.  She is thinking she can sell her house, but CS thinks she refinanced and doesn’t have any equity left, it will just get rid of debt, she still doesn’t have income.  She was trying to force CS and Mark to pay her $600 income, but the lawyer and trustee said, no she can’t do that.  Good for CS to get them out of that whole mess with sister. 

Well, we’re running pretty short on time … we figure we better get going.  We want to post before we leave EVEN though we haven’t figured out all of the visitor space.  There’s not enough time to talk to Rich right now about it.  He may or may not go to a fishy meeting tonight AND everything would be better understood after talking to Thom.  I really hope he’s coming home for Christmas J

But, ONE way or another … we’re really pleased with plans made … just now gotta keep talking to people AND get the paperwork done ok, that and steam the clothes *sigh*  Oh yeah remember for later too, Rich asked us to figure out which quilts have to be paid for and what has to happen to them.  That might take a day in itself to figure out!

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