Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Weekend update


On Friday I had the trip with my dad to the place where I grew up. We ended up taking Little Tyke with us, so around noon the three of us began the hour and half drive. Dad and I got some good conversations in. He answered all of my million questions, and I tried so hard to remember all of his answers. I feel like I am a sponge trying to soak up as much of what he tells me-I am afraid of forgetting. We went to our old house, my granny's old house, my other grandmother's house, and a few other places. The next to last stop was to the cemetery where my dad's mom, dad, and grandparents were buried. Little Tyke thought it was all a playground and dad got mad at him as he was climbing all over the gravestones. Before that though, I watched as my dad had a solemn moment. He was a good son and took good care of his mother until she died in our home after being sick.

We went and saw my brother's new home and enjoyed a nice dinner with them before heading home. On the way home, in the comfort of the dark night I had the courage to ask him some questions I had been meaning to ask. When did you start drinking, why did you drink, what do you regret, what made it all so hard . . .In that moment I saw a new side of my dad. The side that recognized that he had hurt people-and most of all that he was not available to us as children. Just when it was too much to bear, he would change the topic. Using my social work skills, I tried to bring him back around. It was all very good for me to begin these conversations with my father-helps to fill in some really big gaps. We also talked really openly about my other brother and what will become of him when my parents pass away or unable to care for him anymore.

Saturday we all headed out in the rain to a craft festival. I really, REALLY like pottery. I like going anywhere there is pottery. We took my other brother out to do some of his Christmas shopping while we were there. Maybe this year people will get interesting gifts from him, and not the standard "mom and dad" chosen gifts. It was good to spend some time with my brother.

When we arrived home on Saturday evening, it looked like a war zone in our area. I guess it had stormed the night before and our area was hit pretty hard. In our complex alone there were trees uprooted, branches everywhere-all I could think was "What the HELL happened." We walked in our apartment and it just got worse. We had left several windows open-including the sliding glass doors-you can imagine the clean up we had. The cat had also gotten stuck in the bedroom. When we came in and she did not greet us, of course I thought she was dead somewhere. Then we heard this ferocious meowing coming from the bedroom. We don't know how long she was in there. I think maybe the storm caused a breeze and the door must have blown shut. That is what I am telling myself anyway to alleviate some of the guilt. We did not find any poop/pee yet, and hopefully we won't!

Sunday we did laundry and shopping. What fun! DP is preparing for her new students and is excited about her new job. She went to the school today and will begin to get settled there before the kids come next week.

Other than that there is not much else going on. I am at work and of course-I have a lot of time on my hands . . .Most people are back though from their summer break, so at least now there are more people to talk to. Also more people to monitor what I am or am NOT doing. Things are picking up ever so slightly--I guess that is good.

That's all folks. I need to do a therapy update, but I will save that for later. Check out this website it is called Perpetual Kid and they have some great stuff.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Riding in the car with dad

Howdy! Life here has been fairly uneventful. Have continued to go to the gym to voluntarily have my ass kicked into shape-literally. I am proud of how well we have been doing with the new gym routine and really making efforts to go and make better choices. I can't say I have seen any great weight loss, but I know I feel better--except the days after I meet with Christian and I am so sore I can hardly move--

DP has started orientation for her new job and she seems so happy at this new opportunity. I am thankful she has finally gotten her chance to get out of the "Happy Home" we both worked in. I knew she wasn't happy for a long time-but she stayed so I could have health benefits while I finished school. I just love that girl.

We went to a gathering if lesbians in the area and while we were by far the youngest couple there, we had a great time eating, chatting, and playing games. We struggle to find people like us who we can get together with since we are not much into the drinking/bar scene.

Now, for the topic at hand. Tomorrow I will go to my dad's house and he and I will drive to the town/state where I lived for the first 11 years of my life. I don't remember much about the area and we have talked for years about him taking me there to show me around. It is not like we are going to a nice suburban area-no, we are going to the hood. In fact, that is why we moved to wooded, quiet, suburban location they chose. There were no gun toting drug dealers for neighbors in the new town/state. In any case, I am welcoming the opportunity to spend time with my father, as well as being able to see the place I lived and where I spent time at my grandmothers and granny and pop pop's house.

Dad always has lots of stories, and I feel like I was one of those bratty kids who thought their parent's stories were dumb and they should just shut-up. On the contrary now I am looking for ways in which I can get my dad/mom to tell more stories about their life and growing up. I found these journals called "Between you and me" and they can be for a daughter/son to give mom/dad, or wife to husband-you get the point. They ask questions like what were your favorite memories of your mother/father, what did you want to be when you grew up, what was it like when I was born, what are you most proud of, what do you regret. I got one for mom and dad. I am excited to see what they will have to say.

They also have the grandkid this week, and he will come along with us while we drive around. Little Tyke is so damn cute-though he needs some socialization with other kids. They have the mother in law watching him and he has no clue how to play nice with other kids, and he is getting to the age where doing things like spitting out your food and hitting is not so cute. I know he is only 2 1/2, but still, he needs to learn that other people live in his world and he needs to be nice to them. Of course, I am simply glad most of the time that he seems to be developing as he should.

Working in the world of autism, you start to think after a while that everyone is autistic. Then you spend some time with a typically developing kid and you realize that the things autistic children and their family face are so challenging at times--I can hardly stand my job sometimes--having to tell people their kids are autistic. Here you go, take this life changing diagnosis and have a great day. We have a set of twins coming in a few weeks, and from the look for their paperwork we may be giving this family a double dose of crappy news.

And why did I want to be a social worker again??

Oh well, enough of my ramblings for the day.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Yesterday after therapy I had a meeting with the personal trainer. He noted I was quiet and I told him I'd just come from therapy and was winding down. He asked what I wanted to do, and I said "I don't know-kick or punch the crap out of something" He looked and me and told me he would be right back.

He came back with pads and brought me up to the boxing area and we did cardio stuff up there which consisted of kicking-ALOT!! He told me I had the best balance he thinks he'd ever seen, and I thought "Duh, I did gymnastics for many years" It felt good to kick-though at first I was really intimidated. I always looked at doing intense physical things to let off steam as not something I would do. I worried too much about how it looked to others. I know when I was in some of the hospitals I was at, they tried to get you to use bats with mats to get angry. I don't get outwardly angry-but that is a whole other post. I always turned my anger inward . . .

Well, there I was-sweating my ass off and kicking the crap out of this little guy. I was all smiles when I left and I didn't give a crap about what other people thought.
(ok, maybe I thought a little about it, but I didn't obsess over it)

Today I was tired when I woke up and scheduled a meeting off campus-you know, scheduled a meeting that would last until 10:30am. The boss and the boss's boss are not in and I did not care. I will leave early, too so I can go to the gym before my group tonight. This has got to pick up soon, or I will lose my mind.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Daddy's little girl (this could be long)

There is no doubt that I am a daddy's little girl. I always have been, and I fear I always will be. My dad was the hero that brightened up each and every day. He was the one who loved me unconditionally, carefully covered all of my school books with paper bags, he and I had our special outings, and he was the one to wipe away the tears when the world was cruel . . .


Then the story comes to a halt. My dad, while I love and adore him, had so many faults, yet I am blinded to them-in a way that has alienated me for years from my mother, and recently has made it hard for me to hold my father accountable for his actions-or lack of actions which I will get into in a minute. (how was that for a run on sentence!)

My father was a hard working man-worked day and night to keep us all fed and clothed-and to support his drinking habit. He was not the kind of drunk that stumbled in and made a scene, but he was just not there. I am grateful that he was not the kind of man that was angry and mean when he was drunk, but I am sure it made my mother's life crazy, and she ended up being the disciplinarian of three kids, one of whom had special needs. Mom would set limits and dad would come home like a knight in shining armor. I hated her, and I told her so-ALOT.

When we moved at age 11, my father was told he could stop drinking and come with us, or he could find another place to live. He never drank again. To this day he won't really even try wine if we bring something fun home or ask him to try something. I always thought the world of my dad to be able to stop cold-turkey in order to be with his family. Whether he stopped for real on that very day was not important, but none of us ever saw him drink/drunk again.

He commuted three hours daily to work after we moved, and provided monetarily for us. In the meantime I was experiencing things at home that parents just should not let happen. Mom was out of control, brother was out of control, other brother and I were stuck having to deal with it all. I tried to protect one brother, while other brother and mother were raging out of control. Chaos reigned until 4:30pm when dad would walk in, and under strict instructions we behaved and spent time with our father until he went to bed at 7:30pm. During that time mom was also well behaved and there was no yelling or hitting.

I am not sure how much my dad knew about what had been going on. As I went through school-he came to my sporting/music events, he was the one who did not chastise me for getting an A-, but rather encouraged me to do better. Mom would yell at me for not being good enough-nothing was good enough. Though in the face of her rants (the ones he actually saw), he never once stood up for me. When it was time to go to college, I was told I would go to X school if I wanted any help from them. Dad was the one who brought me to the college nights and filled out all the paperwork for me to go to another college-one further away-one that would allow me to escape them all- Yet, he never encouraged me or stood up for me in front of my mother when she would warn that if I left and went to the other school they would not help me. I went anyway, and they did not help me.

In recent years, I have had the courage to tell my father about some of the things that were going on during those years he was working. He has apologized and blamed it all on his poor parenting/drinking/not being there-though I refused to take the bait and say "oh no daddy, it wasn't your fault". Though, in that moment, I had envisioned his reaction to be much different. After all, , how would you react if you found out your daughter had been abused and later raped. He told me it was in the past and I should move on. This was not what I thought he would do all along, I always thought he would be the one to make it all ok. Yet, no matter how much I may believe he had a large part in the mess my life has seen/been, I would never tell him that.

He has been on disability at home for several years now, and he is a changed man.

I have made fun of him for the last few years because he had these dorky old man glasses-I mean really dorky. I would ask him take them off for pictures because he looked so much more handsome without them. He blamed me for being ashamed of him. I remember that when I was younger, maybe 7-8 ish, someone made fun of my dad because of a bump he has on his nose and I was crushed. He picked me up from the activity and I dissolved in tears. How could someone make fun of him?? How?? He got new glasses a few weeks back, and didn't tell me so he could surprise me when I saw him this weekend. He looked so nice-he looked happy when I told him how handsome he looked.

My father is changing. He is not well physically (diabetes, partial blindness) and he is depressed. It is so hard for me to see him in a world where nothing really makes him happy, and his behavior is very erratic. Once minute he is happy and fine, and the next he is yelling and banging things around-all without a clear reason. He and my mother do not appear to get along anymore-they co-exist-and at times will engage in a kind interaction. My mother will tell me one thing about him, then he will tell me about her. This has played out too many times to count over my life, but recently I think my mom is speaking the truth. I think my dad maybe experiencing early signs of dementia, and I worry about him.

I worry each time I see him that it will be the last. I worry that I will never have the relationship I wanted with my father, or that I thought I had with my father. I worry I will have wasted so many years only being mad at my mother when really I should have equally been mad and angry at both of them. I worry about not having him in my life.

I have always said I would not be able to handle the death of one of my brothers, and my father. I have been trying to prepare myself for years for the time when I hear that one or both of them has died. Recently it has been dad I wonder about losing. I wonder what I would have said if I could, what I might have done differently, how one single act could change my family forever. How it could change me forever.

Last night DP and I were discussing my relationship with my father, and even though I want to be mad at him for not helping us this summer while we have cleaned their cluttered, crazy house, I can't. We have given five long weekends now this summer to clean-and I mean clean/scrub/declutter their house. Most times I will give him small duties to do, and he does them grudgingly. But he does nothing more. I asked him to do something for my mother the other day, and after he left, my mother said "see he really does love me". Though he would not have done it if I hadn't asked.

He is so sad and seemingly just waiting to die-and it hurts to watch.

I tried so hard last night not to cry. I closed my eyes tight and willed myself to just go to sleep last night. I didn't have the energy to cry. As the tears found their way out anyway, and the sniffles started, DP was there for me. In the most perfect way-just sat with me, near me, reminding me to breathe. Still, I wished I never had to be thinking about losing my dad-whether physically or mentally.

I wished I didn't have to be such a daddy's girl . . .because then maybe this all wouldn't hurt so much.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

"Back" home . . .

I am home from my conference and all went well. I am so glad to be home and back with my own things and my own bed--and of course my DP whom I missed dearly.

I realized on my journey that I am not a conference going kind of gal. I don't enjoy all the people all the time, I did not enjoy the accommodations (though they could have been much worse), and the food is just too much to manage since I eat the same things pretty much daily with minor variations. And what is with the CONSTANT barrage of carbohydrates--nothing but death on a plate all week.

Then I wake up on Saturday and my back, which was only slightly ache all week, was now completely out of whack. I have two pretty significant herniations in my lower back which cause great pain when they want to be wonky. I have been reminded by my lovely DP that incidences of back pain used to last for much longer and happen much more frequently in the past. I know this, yet it still sucks to be in this much pain. We were supposed to go kayaking again today, but clearly that didn't happen since I could barely walk upright. The docs say they can't do anything until I lose weight, yet they fail to see that is not an easy task. So I find myself in a catch-22 situation.

We did join a gym this weekend though, so I am hoping that will help. I am definitely a "motivated by other people" kind of exerciser. Plus I like going into the gym and showing people that larger people are not lazy fat asses that sit around and do nothing . . .My own battle for the cause. (that reminds me, I must post later about the search for a bra sufficient enough to keep the girls in line while working out-grr :) I did not do much except the bike and the cross trainer, but since my back hurt that was all I could manage. We have some sessions with a personal trainer as well, so I am looking forward to seeing what he can come up with. Although I have been told I am being put with the trainer in charge since I am an orthopedic nightmare when it comes to what things I have broken, dislocated, had surgery on, and am in pain from. He is supposed to be qualified enough to handle me . . .

Then, for some more fun, last night after seeing a movie (Barnyard--very funny!!) and going out to a GOD AWFUL restaurant, I end up becoming very nauseous on the way home and barely made it to the toilet to throw up. I am not sure if it was the awful food, or all the pain meds, or maybe all of that. But I went t bed shortly after that and slept most of today away.

Back to work tomorrow. I am hoping that being away for a week has afforded me lots to catch up on. I WAS able to make some great connections while at the conference with some folks who work at the same place and maybe something new and exciting will be on the horizon. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Challenging a thought #1

I am on a business trip and I notice a woman yesterday who I think to myself is obviously anorexic. (clearly anyone I see who is that small HAS to be anorexic, right? isn't that what we think?) She is extremely thin and has a halter top on-bones sticking out and everything. They sit in front of me, and after being angry that they would choose THAT spot over the 3000 other spots . . .I think, wow, see that is why I should remain eating disordered . . .becasue I am not doing my ED well enough-look at her, she is doing it the right way . . .then . .

STOP!! STOP!!! STOP!! No, ok, does that look healthy, does she look healthy, does she even really look happy with anything happening around her-no! She looks really sick . . .like she should be somewhere with someone helping her-

Besides, I AM HAPPY right now. Sure, I have some hang ups, but that doesn't mean that in a weak moment I have to give into the the urges, right? I don't have to be defined by these impossible images of what others think is beautiful, right?

I am proud of the way I ate yesterday and today so far, so I have nothing to worry about.

I am proud of me, damn it. And I won't let someone else's disorder take that away from me. Not anymore . . .