Grown up Christmas

I live in Maine, today is Christmas day.

I have a special needs young adult daughter, who I love dearly, and a very sweet friend who lives with us.  His name is Jim.

I have grown increasingly  unexcited about Christmas for many years.  No, not the part about Jesus birthday.  The constant consuming mentality, and my daughter, who isn’t really bad about expecting tons of stuff, still thinks it should be magic, I think.

She gets pretty much anything she wants year round; so she understands why this year  we are going low key.   In October, after years of procrastination, I cleaned out her room.  She is sometimes like a 3 to a 5 year old; she needs supervision, and getting her to clear out or clean it just doesn’t happen.  The cleaning out took 3 pickup truck loads, at least, of ‘stuff’.  Don’t worry!  There is still plenty of ‘stuff’ left to sort through, when we are finished with our project. Our project has been to scrape the stickers off of her walls, repair the drywall damage (from her hands) cover the hideously colored walls that her older sister had painted them years ago.  We took two coats of primer on the walls, then bought 2 more cans of paint, of a color chosen by this daughter.  It’s a very pretty, pale aqua color.

I then  contracted with a big box store to come and replace the horrible awful worn out carpet.  It will happen soon; was supposed to happen before Christmas.  It didn’t,  but oh well, next week, I think.

This christmas for me, was low key and unenthusiastic.  Kiddo, my youngest was happy, and seems to understand that we can’t  turn her room into another trash heap of plastic toys, crap, and other consumables.

I am glad to be with 2 people I love.   I am grateful for everything around me.

I  disconnected from my mother a few years ago; I think I was 55. It isn’t that I hate her, or am angry at her.  A good deal of my life was spent trying to figure out why I was such a piece of shit, a worthless twisted, bad, awful woman.   This, according to

my mother.    She is pretty normal for periods of time, but there are times when a switch is flipped in her head, and she becomes a victim, begins saying crazy stuff, when I was a kid, it always floored me, and made me feel bad.  When you are 8 years old, and your mom tells you what a piece of crap you are, you believe it.

This continued all through my life; she always finding things to become offended by, when I adopted my youngest, (nigger this, nigger that,  who did I think I was?   I just thought I was better than everyone else, didn’t I? etc etc)  When I discovered my youngest had special needs–I already knew  that the birth mother was a drug and alcohol addict- there was constant harping about how I should put her in an institution, and how much happier I’d be if I did.  This from a woman who never ever met her, was never interested in her, constantly forgot her birthday, Christmas presents, while remembering my other daughter’s birthday, Christmas, etc.  I sometimes would contact her to see how she was faring.  I love my mother, just don’t want to be around her.  Every few years, I would take a break from her, and not have any contact, then, felt guilty, and re established contact, thus opening the door for her nasty behavior.   I finally got tired of it enough to just quit for good.   Others have told me ‘you should keep contact, in case she dies, you will feel awful’…..I don’t think this is a good or valid reason to re establish contact with someone who makes me feel very bad, physically and emotionally.   My dad died when I was 28 and she was 50.  Her 2nd husband also died (she didn’t marry for quite a few years) of cancer, so she is alone.  My brother and sister live within driving distance of her; even they don’t see her everyday or week.  I think that since I stopped contact, she dumps on them more.

Anyway, the point of this long ramble is that I saw a photo posted by my sister; each year she, my brother and my mom (plus my siblings boyfriend and girlfriend) show photos of all of them together.   I miss my brother and sister; I’d love to see them, but I cannot right now.  We all have our own lives.  If I went down there, I know my sister would bring my mother to the gathering, and I am done with that.  Not bitter, not angry, I love her, just don’t want to open any more doors.  I wish my mom well, but would love to see my siblings.  They are 49, and 51, I am 59.

That’s all!  Just wanted to vent.

Merry Christmas!


less than 2 weeks—-SCHOOL!!!!

this is basically a rant or whine. Nothing to see here.

Kiddo and I are sick of summer. We haven’t had a bad one; matter of fact, this summer has been the best one of the last 17 years. Pretty sure I’m not exaggerating.

She still has her ‘off’ days, some of that whiney voiced 3 year old kind of behavior, a type of over the top, yelling nonstop, and if told to tone it down (hell, if told ‘shutup for a few minutes’) she’ll keep saying ‘OKAY!’ at the top of her lungs for at least 40 minutes. That is the last straw of distracting her, politely reminding her about behavior, etc.
One of the other tiresome, anxiety producing (for me) behaviors is the constant reliance on me for every fucking single thing in the day. When I am left alone is when she is busy lifting shit from my room, stealing money off the table, destroying her own clothing (the kid shreds her clothing like a pro; at the speed of light) and many other behaviors that I normally haven’t seen in a while. All are based on extreme boredom,(she’s a kid who is easily bored) which breeds anxiety for her (and then me). Please dont give me advice, you dont know how it is here—this is just a goddamn rant.
I take her for walks daily; it is the only reprieve I get from these behaviors. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, why not just take her for a walk, then, all of the time? Well, the answer is, that she complains loudly, constantly, whining, yelling, objecting, nonstop loud talking, in a babbling sing song kind of voice, when she discovers it is time to go walking. It is if she hasn’t had the same experience every other day that she is with me this summer; some kind of unpleasant surprise, no, no no, no walk today, no, I dont walk today, is it long? Will it be looong? All this in a high pitched, quavering, whiney teenage/3 year old voice. Non fucking stop. She is non verbal, but not non vocal.

When we actually are walking, it is divine. She is engaged in her own imagination, she enjoys the actual walking, berry picking, exploring, discussions of the sky, the trees (well, a bit repetive sometimes, kind of hair pulling, after hearing ‘trees?LOOK!TREESTREESTREES! Trees!’ over and over and over. We usually walk in a certain wooded area, and sometimes will drive to another city to walk somewhere different (parks, or other wooded areas)
There are 2 weeks left til school. My own anxieties are beginning to grow. Have been practicing counted breath, and other forms of meditation early mornings, so I can control the anxieties. Some days are too busy, or I forget to do it early on, then get distracted by constant demands of the same old fucking shit, tie shoes, wipe ass, entertain me, no dont entertain me,I want this, I want that, I want it NOW; or me saying, what did you do with that ________ (fill in the blank, money, book, device, etc etc) her demands==I cant find X, Y or Z….No I cant find it for you – your room is a mess, why would I bother looking?
How can I escape this shit?
These are the days I would gladly let her live elsewhere. This is a kid I love. Counting down the days.


Yesterday, my youngest and I went to the Hancock county courthouse to attend the last ‘guardianship’ meeting. The first one was for ‘temporary’ after she just turned 18.
Kiddo isn’t capable of being on her own yet, or perhaps ever, at least not without some other responsible person around.
That responsible person for the next while, how ever long, is me– …
We got the first, temporary guardianship in case there was someone around who wanted to influence her wrongly, to benefit from her inability to run her own life. (yes, there are folks around like that who prey on people….I know some.)

Got awarded the temporary; and an ‘advocate’ came to interview my kid, to make sure she wasn’t being held captive, that this was what she agreed to. (kiddo is non verbal, so I guess the visitor went away satisfied)
Yesterday, the same judge was presiding; it was good. He seems to be a guy who is paying attention. I was called to the witness stand, and (almost like Perry Mason!) spoke with the judge who asked me what my plan was. Huh? Plan? How can I plan? I mean, I have an idea or two, and hopes and dreams for kiddo. I truly think she is capable of many things, but am trying to learn how to bring them to fruition. I struggled with what to say to him, and thought about my late husband, and how we’d talked about our special girl and her future.
While in the witness chair, next to the judge, I struggled to explain simply, what her future might be. I knew she wasn’t ready to go out in the world alone. I knew she isn’t ready for a special group home. (no, not that, not yet, maybe never, but who knows? There are some good ones) I knew I couldn’t possibly send her to a special college 3 hours drive away, where she might be unattended at night. I tried to not to think of my husband/and those minutes that I tried to express her essence and skill, and what I would do, were the hardest things I’ve done for a while… Never have I missed my late husband so much, so longingly, to be with me and explain how we as a team were deciding. I tried to be concise, but how can you be concise about 18 years of working on a kid, who really was formless for so many years? I knew there was ‘stuff’ inside of her, but others didn’t know. I struggled to speak, almost came to tears, and reassured him she’d always have a place to live and I would work for the best for her, and not hold her back when the time was right. Only, it wasn’t right yet. I appreciated that he saw my sincerity, and remarked on it. (oh yeah, also told him I didn’t want to do the mommy thing when I was 80)
Inspite of how well it turned out, and he complimented me on my earnestness –I felt exhausted, and lonely for Joe. I wished he was there to counsel, support, encourage me that day. Never have I felt so alone, so tired.
The judge said ‘I am awarding you the same excellent job you’ve been doing for 18 years.’ I am glad he understood the struggle.

Two weeks ago, took a walk on a cool sunny June day. Kiddo came along, and we wended our way through trees, across small streams, waving summer grasses and flowers. I wore a yellow/orange LLBean anorak of my daughter’s, most would call the color ‘school bus yellow’, but I think its color was described as ‘alpine flower’ or something like that by LLBean marketing.
I describe the color, because I like it, but also because it seemed to attract butterflies. Maybe I looked like a giant flower to them, and they came towards me to unfurl their proboscis and drink deeply. Most would notice immediately that I wasn’t a flower and skitter away quickly. One yellow tigerstripe swallowtail butterfly didn’t notice immediately. She landed on my shoulder (so pretty!) and then, startled, flew up and away. She ascended towards the tree tops and I called out ‘thank you! You’re beautiful!’ Kept walking, and I’ll be darned if that same butterfly, after flying up towards the trees, didn’t flutter back down to the top of my head! She fluttered around the very top of my head 3 times! How cool was that?
I felt like I’d been crowned or blessed or connected with something special. Just for a second, but it lifted my spirits and I saw her flutter along for a bit more, and disappear. Nature is magical.

walking the parrot

It’s been a while since I’ve posted; life gets in the way….Plus, what energy I have usually gets used up on all of the other ‘deal with it now’ things.
The other day my youngest daughter and I went for a walk through a very pretty wooded area, with gravel paths. It is maintained by the parks and recreation department, though I hesitate to call it a ‘park’–The public schools are built very nearby-hunters use the area (not the ‘park’ area, but designated private property that borders the park) and of course, we get to enjoy all of the wildlife that wander around both public and private land. During hunting season, I always wear a ‘hunter orange’pullover jacket. It’s warm, fleece with a hood and lets others know that hey! I’m not a deer!
This is one of the places I’ve seen bear (and bear tracks, large areas of flattened grass, eaten berries, etc) fox, herons, woodchucks, deer etc. It is beautiful, and I love it.
Sometimes I bring my parrot, Arlo to the walk. Jim, my friend has made a ‘walking’ cage out of old wire dog crate, golf bag carrier, and zip ties. It gets the job done, cost just a few bucks (the wheeled carrier from Salvation Army) and probably cements people’s opinions of me as more than eccentric. Usually Arlo will make remarks as we slowly amble along, like ‘hurry up kiddo!’ (speaking to my daughter who loves to daydream & dawdle in the woods) or ‘ok, I want to come out now.’ or ‘that’s enough! I want that!’
Yesterday, as we walked, he saw some really large crows. A month or two ago, he flew off Jim’s hand during a very windy day, and was gone for 2nights. He came back again, which is a story I’ll tell another time.
The crows were focused on something, imperious, seemingly ordering one or another around.

Arlo said ‘ oh! you handsome crows! hello crows! You’re so fine! I wanna come out now! Crows, hi!’
I remembered how missed he was during his absence in the woods around our house. Also remembered how hungry he was, and the food he asked for first.
Sorry, Arlo didn’t come out of his walking cage.

a nice day in Maine (Lima puke and bobbity)

today was beautiful! Sunny, ‘warm’ – the wind blew, but it was not icy; the temperature was 49 when I woke up; soon got to the 60s. I walked/trained the dogs, took Arlo to the greenhouse, brought the ‘almost old enough chicks’ outside in an old wire dog crate–soon, they’ll take their smelly selves to the henhouse. The younger chicks (about 2 & half weeks) are still in their plastic storage container, contentedly sleeping on/off all day long, under the reptile heat lamp… Geneva and I walked after she got home from school, went over the bridge to Verona Island, saw the osprey pair, on their nest. They took turns flying out over the penobscot looking for food. They were low enough that we could see their feet. Guessing they have chicks now, since they so diligently flew out and back, out and back. We also saw a cormorant fly over, and some ducks. The great blue herons are here, too, near where my house is. I’ve spotted them other years, during wet springs, just before they took off from my woods…they make a ‘graaaak’ kind of noise, before they take off (at least that day they did) This morning, Arlo was anxious to go outside, he has been talking about the ‘pretty flowers’ and saying ‘thank you’ to the outside birds when they fly to the feeders….I wonder if he is referring to the goldfinches when he remarks about the ‘pretty flowers’? Especially, when he says ‘thank you’. Anyway, he saw that we were leaving the house without taking him/he became agitated and started demanding stuff….’I want some Lima Puke’ was one of his demands….was sad to tell him I didn’t have any, but I did have some ‘bobbity’ (his name for grain/veggie/fruit mush I make him…

this will be brief zero to hero Add a widget

This morning I spent one and half hours on my ‘zero to hero’ thing.  I’m behind, so I dont remember what day it was, something about adding widgets.   I quit, after 90 minutes, leaving it worse off than when I started.


Imagine baking a cake or trying to.

You have no clue what ounces, pounds,  mili liters or decimals or whatever system you use to cook with is about.

You are surrounded by an abundance of ingredients.

Try to figure out what those lines are on the measuring cups; not even sure what cups to use….

In the end, you push something into the oven, and then remember to turn it on…  flour, sugar, salt  etc, is everywhere, dusting the kitchen with whiteness. 

Computering is tricky for some of us.