Friday, October 24, 2008

The Motor Primitives


The Motor Primitives & The Friday Evening Nudes

I'm not sure whose work this is. Anyone? Is it Schiele?

Amedeo Modigliani


The Motor Primitives
CD Inner-Sleeve Art

Who are The Motor Primitives, you ask? They hail from Madison, Wisconsin, our very own Ed of Enriched Geranium is their bassit and they rock! I don't know where the track will end up in all of this but it should be here somewhere on the blog. It's called Classified and the delay in posting about the CD I just bought comes from not having wanted to take it out of my car player. Yes, it's that good. If you don't believe me, check it out for yourselves!

Complex Family Situation

Be warned. This is a long and boring post about a complex family situation that I just have to get off my chest.

I know most of us have crazy family members. I know I have my share. In my family there is depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. I'll take depression, which is what I urrr...manage with...over the others any day. WP, my partner of five years and future husband is a lovable nut. I'm not quite sure that he's certifiably mad but he is eccentric and and a sort of mad scientist sort with a very high IQ and little interpersonal skills to speak of. I think that's why he decided to keep me. Because I have such a high emotional IQ. Ha! That may very well be true about figuring people out but another thing altogether actually dealing with people who are off their rockers. In the case I'm going to write about: his family. Namely his mother and sister.

I love WP's mother A. She's 87 years old. She's gone downhill a bit since she experienced heart problems for the first time a couple of years ago. Previous to that, she was proud to tell anyone who would listen that the only medication she took everyday was a baby aspirin. The nurses at the local hospital got a run for their paycheck while she was there. Even though she's gracious and well-spoken as can be: watch out. When I first met her five years ago, she was hiking and cross-country skiing with her "girlfriends" who are all between ten and fifteen years her junior. She reads voraciously. She does difficult crossword puzzles in pen. She is independent, outspoken and a very dear person. Except when she spends too much time with WP's sister AA. Which would tax anyone.

AA is 60 years old and has currently been on medical leave from her job at a pharmacy. She has been divorced for many, many years and lives alone. She's a certified nurse and holds certifications in pharmacy work. I'm not familiar with that type of work so I can't tell you about it. Like WP, she has a very high IQ but where WP has maturity, common sense and good judgement, AA has the mental age of, as WP puts it, a twelve year-0ld. She is also totally mad. I used to doubt this until a couple of years ago when the patterns that WP had told me about began to be evident.

The constant accidents, first of all. Several times throughout the five years I've been a part of this family, AA has broken ribs and a foot, fallen down the stairs and bruised her body from shoulder to ankle. She claims to have been attacked twice by strangers who ran off without being identified and has claimed to feel threatened by people who have tried to help her when she has experienced these accidents. She has scalded her hand. Had a bracelet get caught on something at her apartment and had to have firemen come to cut if off her wrist. She is a regular visitor to the local ER, obviously. When she discusses her many accidents, she does so under the pretense that these incidents are a normal part of everyday life and can happen to anyone. She is short on details. On one hand she dismisses it when we've shown concern. On the other, she's always touching on these things in conversation, leaving all of us unsure about how to react.

I didn't mention yet that in 2005, AA's 25 year-old daughter killed herself. I didn't know her daughter; had only met her once. She was apparently estranged from her mother but had some contact with her father and stepmother. It was a tragedy beyond any I've ever gone through with anyone in my life. This incident has, naturally, done an even bigger number on AA. She doesn't deny this and yet she doesn't present it, so to speak, as the event that's triggered all of her many problems. We don't believe it's at the core of her problems either. We have so little to go on, though. We know she sees a shrink (psychiatrist) and a therapist and that she takes medication. But we see her getting worse.

AA is on medical leave officially for physical problems. She's been undergoing every test known to modern medicine and all the doctors have come up with is some indecipherable term for a pinched nerve in the neck; supposedly from a fall. And this folks is what she's hanging on to for dear life as the explanation for why she can't return to work. Her medical leave is about to run out at the end of this month and AA has nothing in place for herself other than to leave her apartment and move in with WP's mother A. Which will be disastrous!

WP's mother doesn't want her to move in because they don't live well together. There is a history of AA moving in with her mother before and it failed miserably, putting a strain on their relationship and causing AA to move into an apartment she couldn't afford just to get away from her living situation. Now AA wants to repeat this scenario, except now her mother is 87 years old and having problems with her heart. Basically, A is a total wreck over her daughter AA's situation.

While AA says to her mother "I'll take care of you, Mom", we hear A telling us about how AA sleeps until 2 or 3 p.m. and doesn't do a thing to help around the house. AA can't even take care of herself, how will she be of any use to her very elderly mother? Yet A can't say no to her daughter about moving in with her.

I've tried to talk to AA about her difficulties. Before she passed away, WP's wife, who was a clinical social worker, tried to help AA and her daughter who killed herself. To no avail. WP's wife threw up her hands finally and said that AA is unwilling or unable to help herself or to benefit from the help of others.

WP is beside himself. He's angry at his sister for being, as he puts it, "useless" and he's had enough experience with AA to know that she is beyond help.

I had a discussion with AA a few weeks back about considering applying for disability. She avoided the topic of disability benefits but did latch on to a conversation about receiving food stamps, for which she is eligible currently. Her conclusion is that someone else might need it more than she does. This to me is maddening. She doesn't want food stamps but is willing to tax the limited resources of her elderly mother. Ugh. I'm seeing evidence of what WP's told me about his sister all along. And what about health insurance? How will she get health coverage without a job or disability benefits in place?

AA has declared bankruptcy twice. According to what WP and his mother A have told me, going bankrupt was a result of very poor financial choices and taking on pets that she couldn't afford to pay the vet bills for.

As you can see, we have our hands full with this situation. WP and I are strapped from putting our kids through college. And I won't be done paying off loans for many years to come. We aren't in a position of being able to help AA in any sort of significant way financially. We can help her short term and we would never let her starve or be out on the street but we can't subsidize her life. Talking with AA, one gets the feeling that she thinks rescue will come to her somehow on its own.

WP and I have seriously discussed talking to AA openly and honestly about the concerns I've just outlined. We're both afraid that she'll do herself in, truthfully. Recently, WP's mother told AA that she should "grow up and face reality" and AA's response to that was to say that A exacerbated her PTSD and that she would now have nightmares for the rest of her life. She apparently huffed off.

I took the day off from work today because I felt like crap this morning. I'm feeling a bit better and I'm planning on going over to WP's mother's house to talk to her and give her some support. I honestly don't know what to do about WP's sister or even how to counsel him as to how to proceed.

Feedback, anyone?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Brazilian Restaurant

Connect to Wordless Wednesday for hundreds of great photos from all over the world!

Blog Awards Galore

No matter what you all say, I still believe I'm unworthy. That doesn't stop me from enjoying being the recipient of blog awards. It's nice to know that people come here and derive enjoyment and information from my posts. Isn't that what it's all about? FromDiva Jood of Journeys With Jood comes a two for the price of one.

Thank you, Diva, for thinking of The Pagan Sphinx among so many wonderful blogs you follow.

I'd like to present these awards to the following bloggers for their dedication, sincerity, humanity and commitment to their causes and/or passions:

Bobbie of Almost There

Kelly of America As Seen By Kelly


The Teach at Work of the Poet - I don't know The Teach very well, but I have to give her the awards simply because she hosts Ruby Tuesday, which brings me so much satisfaction weekly! You rock, Teach!

Lin of Sandpiper's Place - I know Lin that you're very busy with your ill mom right now and I want you to know that there is no obligation for you to do anything with the awards; actually that goes for anyone)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

Thanks once again to The Teach for making it possible for red fans all over the globe to showcase their photos featuring a little or a lot of ruby red.

Modesto Bimey selling his handmade African baskets at the Newfane, Vermont Heritage Festival
He and his wife and daughter immigrated to Massachusetts from Ghana and earn a living selling their beautiful wears.

This is the one I chose. It was the last one available, in this, the perfect size to hold CDs in my car
African Basket Culture and Craft Designs Pittsfield, Massachusetts Modesto & Tina Bimey 413-443-0079

One-Word Meme

Beth at Cup of Coffey tagged me with this light as a feather meme. It is a One Word Meme. I'm just going to be stream of consciousness about it and it could be a one word response to the word or a long-winded stream of nonsense that you really don't want to read about anyway. Hopefully, it will be brief.

Clothes: Right now turleneck, warm sweater, pj pants and fuzzy socks.

Furniture: Having combined one and one-half households, I have too much furniture I want to get rid of. The bane of my existence is an antique sofa with these broken straps that hold the forest green , velvet upholstered cushions. An uglier and more useless piece of furniture is hard to imagine. No one in the family wants it. No one outside the family will want get the picture.

Sweet: I only get them once a year or so but they're the most incredible chocolates from Switzerland that W.P. brings back on his trips there. It is the nirvana of chocolate. If you want a peek, look under Guilty Pleasures on my sidebar.

City: London

Drink: white wine

Music: lots

T.V. Series: Used to be Six Feet Under and I haven't found a suitable substitute since. Nip/Tuck was once a guilty pleasure but started to suck when Christian and Shawn moved from Miami to LA. Stupid, offensive, awful show with some surprisingly funny dark humor thrown in.

Workout: to be avoided at all costs

Pastries: not to be avoided at all costs but a once-a-month thing for sure. Cheese danish from the local bakery downtown. The baker is an adorable woman who looks like a Botero painting.

Coffee: always black and always hot. I don't care at all for iced coffee and milk makes me ill even to think about. Shudder.

I'm not going to tag anyone else, but do play along if you want to and let me know!

Blog Blast for Peace

There is a very interesting blog called Mimi Writes that is sponsoring a world-wide effort called Blog Blast for Peace. There doesn't appear to be a direct connection to the Iraq War but to all wars around the planet. Any effort for world peace is worth participating in, so I've joined and I hope you do too.
I'm having difficulty figuring out how to add my blog to the list of participants. If you know, please let me know.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What's Goin' On

Life is mostly peaceful and boring; just the way I like it. Our autumn has been spectacular with some seasonal rain but otherwise lots of sunny, warmish, blue-sky days. I've been taking a lot of pictures and otherwise enjoying my surroundings and the company I keep.

Last night we unearthed the flannel blanket, down comforter and fuzzy socks. When I awoke late this morning, warm and smugly under the blankets, I could feel the chilly morning air on my face. Something about fall that makes me happy, is this. We are determined not to use the heat until it's absolutely, truly cold. It's good that this early 1950's house is tight and well-insulated. And there is something to be said for conservation by dressing warmly instead of going straight to the thermostat.

SG1 decided some weeks ago that she would be taking a one year break before applying to graduate school; a move I whole-heatedly support. Her Beloved is currently applying to several graduate programs in California, with an almost sure shot at San Francisco State University. She's really hoping UCLA and if she is chosen, she will likely go there.

Oh, my.

My daughter going to Los Angeles? Yikes. She grew up in rural Western Massachusetts. She attends college in bucolic surroundings. Yet, I know she is well-suited to city life and will adapt. Access to public transportation will certainly free her, as she does not care to drive - at all. As in, never obtained a driver's license. Going everywhere on trains and buses will broaden he world. She will occasionally venture off to another campus for an event but otherwise is fairly well cloistered at Mount Holyoke. Well, cloistered physically but broadened intellectually to an extent that I never was in college. It's what she wants and adores. I'm happy she's realizing her dreams but also taking care of her mental health (bipolar disorder). She's ruled out law school completely and will apply to combined masters/ph.d programs in gender studies. She'll likely end up teaching at a college or university and living a faculty life.

SG2 is laboring on at Boston University and alternates between complaining she's sick of school when she's stressed or awaiting the results of an exam or paper, in which case she's always worried she's messed up somehow. But then when she's surprised that she did better than she thought (which almost always), she feels okay again about moving forward with college until graduation. She has a job which pays for sundry things, which really helps her dad and me out. Actually both girls have work-study jobs to help out.

It gets a little freaky thinking about likely more than doubling my current loans for the last three semesters of SG2's college education. Yikes.

Another installment in the Chronicles of the Empty Nest. :-)


A few little notes to blog friends:

Ed at Enriched Geranium: I've decided to wait until Friday to post about his band The Motor Primitives. I'm going to combine the post with The Friday Evening Nudes. Hehehehe. ;-) You'll see.

Jood at Journeys With Jood: I haven't forgotten about the cool awards you've so generously given me and that I will post about that in the next day or two.

Beth at Cup of Coffey: Ditto an your meme.


Here are a few photos I took today


Corn Stalks at One End of The Green River Bridge

The Green River Timber Bin Dam

Corn Stalks Green River, Vermont

Corn Stalk Silhouette

A Sign Along The Way

You shall know the truth
And the truth shall
Make you odd.

Flannery O'Connor

Have a great week, everyone!

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