brain dump, end of August

29 08 2010

Most of my reading lately has been done in the car while picking up the kids. It’s hard to escape from a stinker of a novel when that’s all I’ve brought with me. Bad books have an upside, though.  They bring out my inner Michael Kors.

Play Dirty by Sandra Brown: “ripped from the headlines” takes on new idiocy.  It’s about a pro football player in a major southern area who goes to jail for illegal gambling who gets caught up with a millionaire who bought a major airline that was financially fucked.  Sound familiar?  Everyone who lives in or around Atlanta is fucking tired of this story.

Intervention by Robin Cook: Dan Brown fanfiction written by a stoned 6th grader.  The beginning has absolutely nothing to do with the end.  It’s like two NaNoWriMo novels glued together.  Flagrant exclamation point abuse.

Running Scared by Lisa Jackson:  good enough.  I’ll probably reread it in a couple of years.  The author has some sort of hang up about adoption.

Shadow Zone by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen: a good story in a good series.  I normally hate co-authored stories but this one is seamless.

Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs: a fun, fast moving story with an interesting ending.  It had an interesting medical twist that I haven’t seen in other books before.

Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner:  another good story with great insight into the minds of special  needs children.  The hospital scene was eerily like the one in Terry Goodkind’s The Law of Nines.  That made it a little disconcerting.

The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen:  This is the 3rd time I’ve read this book so it obviously doesn’t suck.  This is the kind of novel that got her characters a TV show.  I hope the quality of her books returns to what it was before.

The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre: reading British styled books messes up the accent in my head for a couple of days.  Other than that weirdness, it’s a great story.

Water Bound by Christine Feehan: looks to be the start of another series sort of related to the Drake sister series.  It was a little disconcerting to get used to the new “magic” but will be interesting once more of the books are published.  Sucked to realize that two things I love the symbols of (fire and water) are the things that threaten books the most.

Fatal Burn by Lisa Jackson: I need to boycott books written by Lisas and Lindas.  They all get confused in my head.  Not memorable.

Rules of Vengeance by Christopher Reich: very good story and plot.  It’s nice to have a hero that I didn’t ever really like or feel sympathy for.

like a tap on the shoulder

30 07 2010

When I first started the change from Effexor to Savella, I bought several books – one of them being The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner.  There was also a David Baldacci book in that stack and he gets top billing EVERY time so it wasn’t until I was well into withdrawal – whoops – discontinuation syndrome that I picked up The Neighbor.

I started reading the first chapter and it scared me so badly I sat it back down.

Then, all this drama of the past few weeks happened.  Me and the meds.  LJ and the recurrence of the PTSD.  Trying my best to help with my sister’s wedding next week.  Chickpea and PTSD.  E being a 5 yo boy with too much energy and not enough people to torture.

Two days ago I had nothing to read in the bath (and I desperately needed a bath) except for the book that scared me.  I thought I could handle it and I put on my brave face.


Then I started reading and I found in Jason Jones the man I’m worried LJ will grow up to be.  Scared.  Scarred.  Able to love, but not able to connect sexually with the woman he loves.   Driven with need to pull back the privacy and pain he lost as a child.

I also found part of myself in Jason.  The hours online, needing to make things right.  The research.  Reading hand written notes from court cases.

See, this is how I found LJ.  A&E were separated from him around foster home #4 or 5 and he went to a group home (read: orphanage) and they went to an agency foster home.  Years passed.  Files were misplaced.  Siblings who remembered someone else being with them weren’t documented any longer.

A&E came to our home 3 days after we found out that the placement we were hoping for (we were adoptive parents with a foster care license) wasn’t going to work out.  They weren’t available for adoption – yet – but they’d been in care for so long that in case they did become available the agency wanted them to not have to move again.

Shaun and I said yes without meeting them and only seeing a file.  That Friday, they walked in to the agency, and their foster mom gave me the most precious gift she could have: her records from their time in care.  The file we had wasn’t correct in a lot of ways – their ages were wrong, names were missing, and it didn’t mention siblings.

Turns out there are 7 children that the state knows about.  The 3 oldest are with a biological father, then a middle child from another father, then A&E, then a baby who went to another home.  What happened to the missing middle child?  He would be about 7 years old from my estimation.

It took weeks for me to find his name handwritten on an old case file.  About a month to find out where he was.  Several months to convince our agency and DFCS that bringing him back to his siblings was a good idea.  I wrote a letter to the governor.  I testified in court.  I spelled my full name in front of the bio parents at the TPR hearing.

We found experienced therapists and got a new psychiatric evaluation done.  He had been classified as mentally handicapped, PDD-NOS, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and some other bullshit.  (His IQ is in the 120s and since he’s been with us he no longer qualifies as a delayed/disabled child at his school.  The current diagnosis is PTSD due to severe neglect and abuse and ODD with delays in social skills.)

I used every trick I knew to get information and I used it all.

It was because once I started looking I found I couldn’t stop.

I just finished The Neighbor and I like to read acknowledgement pages.

God tapped me on the shoulder.

I stared in shock.

Ms. Gardner had interviewed and thanked two people from the very county we adopted from.  The county where that group home is.  Two names I haven’t seen before.

I haven’t yet been able to bring justice to their doors for what happened to MY son but now I have a few more places to look and a few more emails to send.  If nothing else, maybe I can find some more files that will help with his therapy.

Tonight, I’ve left a comment on Lisa Gardner’s facebook page.

Tomorrow, I’ll start following the leads that dropped into my lap.

This is what I do.

Goodwill Day

27 02 2010

On a side note before I write this post, why is it that when I need a notepad I can’t ever find one?  All I need is to jot down the file name of this picture! Now if I’m trying to do something that doesn’t require paper, I’m overwhelmed with all different types of sticky notes and notebooks and crap.  The  missing sock fairy is fucking with me!

Yesterday Shaun and I declared today “Goodwill Day.”  Isn’t that such a nice warm, fuzzy name?  I mean it really motivates you to give stuff away as you imagine homeless people shopping for sweaters and shoes for thrift store prices.  We have 3 Goodwill stores within a 30 mile radius and 2 homeless people.  One of those people has a home, he’s just the community crazy person who walks up and down the road all day.

In our little suburban American home, it really means “we’ve collected too much shit and some of it has to GO before you can get more shit.”  For us, that means clothing.  Kids grow taller and we grow a little wider and a little saggier.  I’m looking at a stack of shirts of Shaun’s that were in the Goodwill stack that I salvaged because I love the fabric.  I know that most likely, it will be a while before I use it but damn – fabric is expensive and men’s shirts at Goodwill are like $2.40!  If you get a 2X that’ll make more than a nice throw pillow!

While I’m only half sarcastic about giving stuff to Goodwill – I am totally 100% ecstatic about Goodwill Day because I get to go to the store!  Why?  Books!  Racks and racks of books that are so much more random than browsing at Barnes & Nobles.  I can buy EVERYTHING that looks interesting and spend $30.  If I go to B&N, I get to pick out either 3 paperbacks or one hardback for $30.  (Normally, I spend upwards of $200 if I’m let anywhere close to a traditional book store.  I have no willpower.)

Those Animorphs books up there?  That was my last Goodwill Day score for LJ because he reads like I do.  75 cents a piece, bitches.  75 cents!  That’s where I pick up the Scholastic books that are pimped at school book fairs too.  I love Scholastic books but I hate those damn book fairs. (This is the part of the show where I channel Katt Williams.)

Now, baby, I know your school has been sending home those flyers every day for a month and I know that’s all your teachers are talking about.  I know.  Now let’s look at this paper.  It’s saying this awesome book is 25 pages long and the pictures are really awesome.  It also says that book is $15.  You’ll be done reading that book the day you get it.  After that, it’ll sit on a shelf and maybe sometime later you’ll read it again.  Because it won’t take you long to finish it, you’ll want two or three of these awesome books and baby, I just don’t have that kind of money because you also like video games, toys, and movies.

Let’s think for a second, baby.  All those other kids at your school – all 2,000 of them – are getting this same paper sent home and most of them can’t read well.  So their mama is going to look at this and think “if I spend $15, maybe he’ll practice” or something.  Thing is, that book will come in and that kid isn’t ever going to look at it.  Odds are pretty good that those brand new books are going to end up at one of the 3 community Goodwills for 75 cents a piece.  THEN, because you waited, I can buy you EVERY SINGLE BOOK in that flyer and still only spend $15.

So, happy Goodwill Day!  I’ll be in my closet if you need me.

3 weeks

23 02 2010

3 weeks is how long it’s been since I’ve posted.

That’s because the past 21 days have been FUCKED. UP.

So instead of posting, I’ve been escaping into books.  Christine Feehan, Alex somebody or other, Kay Hooper, Richard North Patterson have all been on my  reading list lately.  Now most of them are in the bathroom floor because I normally read in the tub.

My bathroom looks like this: dirty laundry, dirty laundry, basket of soaps, stack of books, stool (the kind you stand on), stack of books, basket of bubble baths, books… It’s a really tiny bathroom too, so most of the floor is taken up by a big bamboo rug so it’s not like the books are TOUCHING the floor.  They’re just sort of near it.

It’s not gay unless balls are touching, right?

Reading is my drug basically because if you need to escape from life, no one will yell at you for reading.  People are SUPPOSED to read!  It makes brain cells instead of destroying them.  Right?

On the reasons for needing an escape, it’s pretty much because life has sucked balls for a little bit.  It’s all working out now and it’s all ending up to be for the best but as all of us parents of special-needs children know – everyone wants a say in how you parent your kids.

I’m trying to decide how much to share. While I firmly believe that my life experiences could help someone who needs to know they aren’t alone, I also need to make sure the family is safe and doesn’t feel embarrassment or shame.

3 weeks ago Chickpea went through a panic stage.  We know what the trigger was – there’s a teacher who she got abnormally attached to who went to have surgery.  Suddenly, that security blanket she had at school was gone and she started having a series of panic attacks and she self-harms.  Then things got blown out of proportion by the school and we ended up having to be scrutinized by DFCS again… just like when we were foster parents.  I may as well just keep writing the reports that we used back then so that when they want to call on us I already have all the paperwork ready. *rolls eyes*  Here I thought we were regaining some privacy.

The past 3 weeks have been spent in therapy dealing with these things – what was just  series of flashbacks in one of the kids has now turned into a totally new trauma for all 3 that threatens our “forever family.”  (Like my kids believe in forever… yeah, right.) Thank God for the kids’ treatment center because they were able to give us advice and make sure the damage to the kids’ was minimized.

It still causes all these… emotions… in me that the kids had to go through this AGAIN.  Fear, panic, shock, anger, more fear, stress, grief,  more fear, and then whole lots of fear.  I just feel so unsettled like maybe I’m the crazy one in this equation.  Then when other things that have nothing to do with these events happen, it just turns into the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Migraine?  *SOBS* Problems with my parents and siblings? *SOBS* Shaun had a rough day at work? *SOBS* It’s going to snow? *SOBS*

Everything now really is looking up.  The mail-order pharmacy finally got figured out and mailed me a 90 day supply of my medication.  I visited Best Buy to pick up some stuff and ended up leaving without being mad at the employees and with the stuff we needed to get. I got my Levenger order and I’m setting up daily diaries for the kids.  I have plans with my mom to go to a ballet with Chickpea and everyone is very excited.

And I’m ready for the next Kay Hooper book in this series.  Sanity is good so I’m going to try and hold on to it.  Bibliophilia saves another brain!

Playing outside

29 06 2009

… remember folks, always wear your sunscreen.

We had a nice weekend, I’d have to say.  Shaun went out and cut the grass and I chilled in the hammock with a beer, watching the kids play and reading the new Catherine Coulter book Knock Out.

I could only stay out about an hour before I felt myself roasting through the SPF 60 sunscreen.  With my skin, I’m one of three colors:  goth white, lobster red, or speckled brown.  I’m hoping this year I may get to a tan color somewhat resembling my mom’s.

The kids think my skin is so weird.  Seriously, A&E are the whitest kids ever.  EVAR.  Well, blonde children may be lighter but some of them are at least tannable.  They have like three freckles and two moles between them.  LJ has a pretty (ok, handsome) tan all over.  I’m thinking he’s either half-hispanic or half-Asian with his black hair, brown eyes, and skin tone.  No one really knows.  That just means he’ll look like MY side of the family.  Whose racial heritage no one… really knows.  (I mean, seriously people, how wide can you spread your genetic pool?  Sooner or later you have to run out of people to make babies with.) They’ll all fit right in!

Check out how cool and coordinated I am!  I mean, even my earbuds match my hat and bikini.  The iPod is silver though, so it kinda throws off the whole groove.  At first, I was all the way in the shade, but then the sun moved on me!  It’s a good thing that the whole geeks dissolving in sunlight thing is only a myth.

cyndi in the hammock

kids in the sandbox

It's hard to smile when you're being roasted!

It's hard to smile when you're being roasted!

When to throw it away

15 10 2008

Nothing pains me more than having to throw a book away.  Nothing.  It’s like admitting your 93 year old grandfather just can’t be kept on life support any longer – that it’s time to move on to something new.

This is a very apt metaphor.  Books, if recycled can move on to a kind of “book heaven” where they can become other things.  If coke bottles can become blankets, books can be ground down and the paper re-used for new books! (Or toilet paper, or packing material, or whatnot.)

Here are 5 times you should not feel guilty about sending a book to the wild paper-product yonder:

1.  In case of severe water damage and mold.  The black plague cannot be cured when it takes hold of books.  You either have to cut out the cancer or send it on its way.  If the water damage is so severe that you cannot seperate the pages, it’s time to let it go as well.

2.  Obsolete computer books.  Seriously, why do they print these things anymore?  This is what the internet is for.  Have that old “How to Design a Webpage” from 1998 still sitting around?  I promise you, you will never use it.  The only person who can find value in these is my dad who uses obsolete computer parts to fix new computer bugs… and I doubt he’s ever used a book for that.

3.  Mass market paperbacks that are falling apart.  It’s normally cheaper to replace these than have them fixed.  Unless the book is out of print or you have sentimental value placed in that one copy, just replace it.  I do have a sentimental MMP that’s falling apart – it’s the first romance novel I ever read.  I was a teenager and I sat in the floor of the library reading it until my mom found me (thank God I’m a fast reader) and then I had to repeat the exercise until I finished the book.  Years later, I couldn’t find it in print, so I went back to that library and it was in the same place on the same shelf, having never been touched again.  I checked it out and never took it back… the late fees were well worth it.  When it came back into print, I bought a new copy for reading, but that first copy will always be loved.

4.  Books that have met the fate of canine kind.  I left a copy of The Invisible War in the bathroom floor and my Great Dane found it.  There was nothing left to do but hold a funeral.

5.  The book the Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons left hanging on your mailbox because you pretended you weren’t home.  I have about 40 of them…  Unless you are particularly interested (I kept one that said “Caucasian Version”) condemn them to the fiery pits of recyclers, please.

You may feel guilty, but trust me – the fate of your library is better off with this kind of weeding.  Hopefully the book you lost can be reincarnated into a book you love.  (However, if it’s not on the list, you’d be better off mailing it to me than throwing it out.  When I die, I am going to haunt people who throw away books needlessly – and I’m a giant bitch.)