Life, Love, Long Hair, Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth, and other mysteries

All this and more, from a semi-Serbian, slightly sane, former editor for physicians and surgeons, who is the mother of seven kids.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Encouragement For Writing

The following is a comment written to me by my friend Chad in response to one of my blog posts (this one: Giving Up On Writing) . I found it so encouraging that I decided to put it in a document, highlighting a few points in Amazinga font, with the rest in Adobe Garamond Pro font, and to print it out and put it on my desk, so I can refer to it until it becomes ingrained. I also wanted to share it with others who might happen to find my blog. May it bless you as it has me.

"I felt like encouraging you to write at your leisure, and don’t let anybody dictate rules about that – not even you.

I’d suggest sitting down to write as often as you get the time, but notice that all I said was sit down to write I didn’t say actually write necessarily, nor create an obligation to write and then feel lousy if nothing happens.

I’ve received that same advice (with more detail) and it’s the closest thing I’ve done to being something enjoyable and productive. Notice again, that I didn’t say it was enjoyable and productive – just the closest thing to it that I’ve tried.

It’s enjoyable more often than not, though.

It’s also enjoyable more often than it’s productive, and that’s an important piece to ponder, should you desire to do so.

One hint I can give you is that when I sit down at my desk, I’m not creating a law to follow; about accomplishment of any kind. I’ve learned that that never is a positive experience and rarely if ever produces anything, positive or not.

But what I do, instead, is first, enjoy a tiny little pocket of orderor quiet, as it’s commonly known. It usually takes a while for my brain to reach a state that I can call quiet. But when it does I just give myself license to enjoy it.

With God.

Praying and writing are not things I separate very often.

Then I just decide that I’ll write or I won’t.

I ask God, but I don’t strain.

I just enjoy a moment with Him, and I let it go where it goes, and if I happen upon some part of that time that maybe could be written down, then I start.

Without expectations.

That’s the important part.

Peace is vital to the process, therefore laws and expectations are antithetical to it.

Since you do have a specific project in mind, maybe you can still just write whatever comes to you, and stay loose, and maybe you wander into your project, or maybe what you write spontaneously turns out to form an unexpected element of the main project? Or maybe it jars a memory loose that’s relevant to it, or maybe it inspires something unexpected… who knows? Not us, so why form expectations? It ruins the enjoyment, and it stifles creativity. It may never have anything to do with the book you’ve planned, but it may stand on its own as something you and others value for decades to come, and yet more, it may form the basis of a main project that you hadn’t previously even considered. But there’s only one way to find out what it’s going to be….

Prayer for me is a great way to enter the writing process, and writing is a great way to enjoy God. So I combine them, and I trust Him to lead the proceedings. And when I approach it that way, it’s much more peaceful and much more enjoyable, and more often fruitful – and in more than just one way. And if something is not enjoyable, and there’s no gun to your head, it’s not worth doing in large part because the fruit (product) won’t be as good as it will be if it were an immersive, transporting experience for you, to create it.

Well, that’s my opinion, anyway.

Maybe you’re already doing this but lack the time to engage in such pronounced dissociation, or maybe you’re a different enough personality type that it’s not your thing (although I highly doubt that, from knowing you to whatever extent I do!).

Maybe, however, there’s some use you can make of something or other I’ve said – that’s what I hope, anyway – but either way, I pray you find time, inspiration, and most of all, enjoyment, in the desire and effort to produce, and in the process itself.
Can’t go wrong if ya pray for someone, no matter the quality of your advice! ☺

PS I apologize for the disjointedness and rambling, but I didn’t prepare and I didn’t edit. I rarely do in contexts like this – though folks may occasionally wish I had done! ?"

Biggest takeaway for me is this:

"Peace is vital to the process".

Amen, so much amen, and aaaaaaaaamen! Yo!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

My First Apple Roses

This is not a recipe, so relax. If you want the recipe, here's the video: Apple Roses

This is my experience with making apple roses for the first time. The video I saw made it look so easy. It failed to warn that Grannysmith apples don't work well for this, though.

My 18-year-old daughter helped me. Here is her first attempt at rolling one:

In the background, you're seeing the strips of Tenderflake puff pastry dough we rolled out, with E.D. Smith's apricot/peach/passion fruit jam thinned with water spread on it. Right behind that failed apple rose is my first rose waiting to be rolled up.

There's my daughter's first attempt. The one to the right of it is MY first attempt, so I can't laugh too hard. Then there's my second attempt, on the front left. Beauty, eh!

And now, here is that beauty when it's cooked.

There is no point suffering through using stiff Grannysmith apples, as the end result isn't as pretty as when one uses apples with red skin, such as the Red Delicious recommended in the recipe.

So, we next sliced up a red apple, and it worked much better. The apples went properly tender when microwaving them in lemon and water, so they were able to curve easily when being rolled up in the strip of pastry dough.

Now, that's more rose-like. Next time, I will use Red Delicious and see how the petals look.

I was in exceedingly vocal awe when I took them out of the oven and saw how they turned out. Not bad for a first attempt.
"Oh, Mama! Let me get in on the pictures!" saith my youngest daughter.

I looked up a recipe on how to make puff pastry, but for the amount of work involved, and the cost of ingredients, I deem it worthwhile to buy Tenderflake again. And I do plan on making these puppies again, perhaps as a Christmas treat.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, they were drop-dead delicious, with the amazing texture of puff pastry layers almost melting in the mouth, the slightly gooey fruit paste, and the tartness of the apples.

If you want to make them yourself, again, here is the video recipe, or for a printable version, do a search online for "apple roses": Apple Roses video tutorial

Thursday, 17 September 2015

A Facebook Convo With A Smart Friend

It has been a long while since I have posted anything in my blog, and even more of a while since I posted some banter sessions. Sometimes I just want to share the banters because I think they should be seen beyond the original audience, which is limited to those on the friend list of whoever it was who hosted the discussion on their Facebook wall.

Here is one that might interest those who like to read more than a paragraph or two of writing, between a Smart Friend (not to be confused with Smart Cars or Smart Phones, and not to diminish the smartness of any of my other friends who are not being quoted here, for I do have a lot of smart friends, but I needed to give this one a pseudonym) and me. I have known this Smart Person for several years and we have had enough interesting conversations to form a book, but this one will do for today. And I do have his permission to publish this here.

My Smart Friend's Facebook status said this:

I love science. I love research articles. I don't believe half of what I see claimed and headlined in popular articles -- especially on the Internet.

For good reason: Less than half of it is verifiable.

Try expressing such skepticism on Facebook. You will get passionate, even hostile, responses from those who have no idea how the research was conducted, and have read no more than a headline.

Yeah. People are that shallow in their impassioned beliefs -- that easily misled. I don't want to be. 

I am, therefore, thrilled to see yet another article taking on popular scientific notions in a non-political way. Of course, this applies to politically-charged science headlines as well.
Case in point -- near to my heart...

A few years ago, I was attending a multi-week seminar on a personality disorder which I was studying because someone I loved suffered from it. There was not even a diagnosis for it back when I studied psychology.

The seminar was run by psychologists who specialized in that disorder; yet, THERE WAS NO TREATMENT -- NO CURE. So, they relied on traditional "talk-therapy" to assist their patients in minimizing their symptoms, mostly by helping the patients become more aware of them. 

The results had only short-term results, and these professionals knew it. I admired them. They looked on the suffering and specialized in simply "being there" for their (often hostile) patients they knew could not be cured. 

To my surprise, they "hot-boxed" me after class one night. Asked me to consider going back to college for a semester or two and adding to my own professional degree to specialize in their work with them -- because of my significant experience in dealing with persons so suffering.

I said, "No" -- because I did not think I could last in a field when not even *I* had hope for a patient.

A few months ago, I saw a journal article indicating that that disorder now had a treatment -- with dramatic positive results! I was overjoyed! 

I was looking through local college catalogs for classes in that technique -- useful in treating many disorders, not just the one I had studied; and considering my budget for tuition.
It turns out, the headline and article had no, (zero, zilch, nada) substance. That was an expensive career move I was contemplating -- and for reasons which engaged all my passions. It turns out that the research was entirely subjective, and of such duration that no claims for "cure" could possibly be reasonable.

But you have to know how research is done, and know the subject well enough to even know when to be skeptical. I was, so I kept digging -- even though I hated the answer I ended up having to admit.

Still, just in writing this... I realize my passions remain stirred, and even if I cannot cure, maybe...

Anyway, a central point from the article:

"But the point is that a single finding should never be taken as evidence, full-stop, of a given phenomenon — especially findings that make us smile or nod. 

"Everyone is falling into that trap too often. There are reasons other than scientific worthwhileness that some studies find their way into our Facebook feeds, while others languish in obscurity or are never published at all. "

My response:


Just kidding.

I read it. Good to see so many paragraphs on something about which you are passionate, even if you don't name the condition.

(I said "chirp" because we have this joke about writing things and not getting much, if any, response, other than crickets chirping.)

His next comment:

And you lead to an important point!

If I have a friend who believes (as a made-up example) that giving up drinking coffee and instead drinking a quart of mango juice every morning will cure his cancer -- then I am not crying "Bunk!"

They need the hope, and it is not for me to take it away.

Besides, placebo effect is useful -- just thinking something will work can have some (limited) benefit-- but it won't cure cancer.

Yet, when I see that friend cancel radiation and/or chemotherapy treatments and throw out their coffee pot to make counter-space for the case of cranberry juice-- I get upset.


For those reasons, I won't mention the disorder, but the treatment -- which HAS shown effective for MANY other disorders -- may still be valid. First it was CBT, then it was DBT, but neither is showing any lasting value to the patient.

Frankly, the lack of lasting results makes sense to me, but I did hope it would be otherwise.

For another too-common disorder, I have been reading and hearing about EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) -- but it just smacks of charlatan-ism to me -- yet some swear by it. I have read no compelling evidence.

Then there is LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin as potential *cures* for a common disorder -- when used clinically; yet studies are all but prohibited because of public fears of recreational uses.

The list of headlined promises based upon doubtful research is almost endless, (and that includes horses -- Yes, just being around horses). Pah-lease!

I am not sure if it is merely a desire to get noticed, and maybe to receive funding, or if it is the combined desperation of the therapists and patients to do SOMETHING.

But, for goodness sake, let's stick to the facts.

Because, leeches. ;)

He added this next:

And with that said, I am off to another round of Physical Therapy where a blonde lady of about a hundred pounds will pounce on my shoulders to help heal my back.


I feel like the only lab rat in a study.

(Back story: In a previous day's post, he told of an unconventional physiotherapy treatment he was receiving. Actually, just a sec... I'll post that conversation at the end of this one.) 


My next comment:

Indeed! What works for some, or even one, doesn't necessarily work for others.

Because, Pfizer.

His next comment:

That was the PERFECT response! 


I then went on to have another comment that ended with a short paragraph that said: 

"Because, black momba."

But I won't print that here on my blog because I don't want to offend the person to whom I was covertly referring, who my Smart Friend knows via my stories, and about whom we have had some stress-relieving laughs behind the scenes. However, if you are curious about it, please email me and I may or may not fill you in.


OK, as promised, here is not only the back story (no pun intended - you'll see what I mean) on the unconventional physiotherapy my Smart Friend is receiving, but also you get to find out a bit on the subject of crickets chirping.

An unusual afternoon. I just had my first Physical Therapy session for my sprained back this afternoon.

The kind, young, physical therapist could not have weighed even 100 lbs. Since I keep re-injuring it, I am a bit protective of my back, and not keen on being touched; but her slight size was hardly intimidating.

So, near the end, as I am beginning to trust her, she had me lie down, hold a position with my arms crossed and my tightly holding my own shoulders, and then asked me to close my eyes.

Close my eyes? Hmm.

The reason was so that I would not know (and therefore, not brace for it) that she was going to have to propel herself, in a standing leap, up over the table so that her entire mass could drop on me and force my back to do as she intended. 

It worked. A relaxing crackling sound cascaded from between my shoulder blades and down my spine. We both laughed at the sound-- and my surprise.

Very different, but I was reminded of a less intensive massage...

A joke shared between us back when I was married-- the one receiving a back and shoulder massage, at some point, would drowsily say, "I'll give you twenty minutes to stop that. Thirty minutes, tops." That joke just never got old. :) 

I don't think I would have enjoyed twenty minutes of what I got today. But I would pay money to have someone bear-hug me from behind, as she did, and lift my torso slightly from under my arms.

That was the best thirty seconds of my day.

A muscle relaxer, chased down with a beer, while chatting with a friend at a pub afterwards wasn't too shabby, either.

Next challenge: Since I always sleep flat on my back, I am under orders to sleep with a pillow under my knees to relieve the natural curve. I bet that pillow is kicked to the floor within five minutes of falling asleep. But, I'll give it a try.

Does anybody on the planet sleep that way? Sigh. 

I never understood how people sleep on their sides-- or for that matter, find sitting in chairs more comfortable than sitting cross-legged on the floor.

You Earthlings are weird.


He then went on to do what he often does in his Facebook posts - he included an unrelated image, designed to draw people in to read, since it seems that photos get more attention on Facebook than prose.

I forgot to add an unrelated image. Here you go.

(Here, he posted a black and white photo of some big old ship.)


I responded with this:

I respond with another unrelated image. I call him BeeFish.

Thank you for sharing yet another story to cause me to smile. I wish I could post stories about random daily events, but I hold back because I dread the crickets chirping.

(Here, I posted a picture of a toy plush fish that is yellow and black striped.)


His response was this:

They do chirp! My images get about five or six times the likes and comments as my writing.

When someone posts an hour-long YouTube I am interested in, I often look for a transcript-- because it is faster for me to digest than watching a video.

I prefer reading-- and prefer paragraphs at a minimum. Call me weird, but I find complete thoughts to be engaging.

That is just more evidence that I am from another planet. :)

I would have called it BumbleFish, but BeeFish looks well used and well loved.

Thanks for tuning in, my friend.


A comment of mine:

"I prefer reading-- and prefer paragraphs at a minimum. Call me weird, but I find complete thoughts to be engaging."

I totally relate. We might be from the same planet.


In case you are eager to read more from my Smart Friend, here is one last bit with which I will leave you:

In a recent Facebook status, he posted a link for this article:

And his comment beneath the article was this:

It is important for both patients and therapists.

Weekly, I read of a new therapy being heralded as the way to health.

I minored in statistics, my post-grad is in a field of psychology, I'm a Carl Jung fan, and I have continued my professional studies for twenty-five years -- so this hits the spot.

I am dubious of some therapies considered "Evidence Based." I am seeing them on Facebook as well as Psychology forums I read.

I believe my words concerning one such (very popular) claim last week was "On what planet and in what reality?" because I find the premise to be absurd.

A psycho-therapy based on acupuncture? Really? Or how you move your eyes while recalling an extreme trauma?

I'm seeing the VA approving stuff like this for PTSD patients -- and it looks like desperation -- science be damned.

Sugar-pills are cheaper -- and easier for the patient to dismiss as ineffective -- so that they continue the hard work that really does help.

Again and again, when I dig into one, I keep finding that the fad-of the-week has zero benefit without talk-based therapy and suspect they add nothing to that more common therapy beyond placebo.

So here is a man asking and answering some of the very questions I am asking --and anyone who stresses "footnotes" in analyzing research is someone who understands how it is done.

This is especially important in media reporting, when we know (or ought to know) that the reporter has no formal background in the subject -- and does not really care.

Or worse, YouTube videos and self-help books.

I want to help people. Charlatans want to make money pretending to help people. If I give advice, it is my job to know whether it is sound advice.

In a perfect world, someone in need of treatment ought to have access to data regarding effectiveness so they participate in the choice of a therapy that really can help.

This article is a primer in how to research a treatment or therapy.


My comment:

As for this:

"A psycho-therapy based on acupuncture? Really? Or how you move your eyes while recalling an extreme trauma?"

Well, I just want to say that although EMDR - (I'm guessing this is the therapy of which you speak that involves eye movement while recalling trauma?) - helped me deal with some of my most painful trauma memories, I am not sure that my understanding of why it worked for me would be scientific: What struck me while I was in EMDR therapy sessions was that while focusing on the traumas, I actually came up with some of my own solutions, some of them seemingly simple, as in "Why did I not think of that before?" kinds of things.

But, of course, EMDR may or may not help others. (Refer back to my "Because, Pfizer" comment in our earlier conversation!)


I will close with the sound of crickets (not to be confused with Buddy Holly and the Crickets, nor with the British game of Cricket), for all the people who are not reading this blog entry.

Monday, 28 April 2014

My Views on "Doing Church"

I love Jesus. I really do, ever since I came to believe on Him when I was 20 years old. I am ever grateful for what He did for me at Calvary. So don’t get me wrong when I say this: sitting “in church” and listening to someone speak a monologue is verrrry hard for me. I tune out, I lose track, I get distracted, I get tired, I get frustrated, I write random notes that have nothing to do with what the speaker is saying, and I long to share my thoughts and to ask questions as one would do in dialogue.

It has bothered me for years that the way of modern “church” is to have one person stand up and give their speech for often upwards of an hour. From my own reading of the Bible, that doesn’t sit right with me. But I “go to church” sometimes anyway, to see some of the people I love.

Yesterday, I went to church. And I got to thinking, as I often do, about the way modern day church is “done”. I wondered if anyone else has these thoughts, and so I googled. And I found this article, which says a lot about how I feel, and also provided some points of which I’d not thought, and into which I want to look further.

More I could say, but I will share the link, in case anyone would like to read it. I hope there are others who feel this way.

Where Did The Christian Sermon Come From?

And here is another link along the same line:

Problems and Limitations of the Traditional “Sermon” Concept

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

My Blog Had A Stalker and So It Had To Change

Just a quick blog entry to apologize to those who have been inconvenienced by my changes to the blog.

There was someone who had been stalking someone close to me, and now they had turned their attention to stalking me, too.  It was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt who the stalker was, and now, in an attempt to protect myself, I have set this blog to be viewable by only those who have an invite.

My apologies for any inconvenience this has caused.

I hope to do more writing in here someday, for those who enjoy reading it, and for my own sanity.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Proper Use Of Personal Pronoun "I"

I think there are a lot of people afraid of me.

I mean, the word "me" - not me personally.

It is okay to use the word "me", folks.

I cringe when I see misuse of the personal pronoun "I".

I often see examples of what NOT to do in captions under photos on Facebook, such as:

"Sally and I at Disneyland"

"Mom and Dad at John and I's Wedding"

"Baby Boy with Daddy and I"

"Hilda gave these flowers to Suzy and I"

Perhaps as a child, when you said, "Doug and me are going to the store," you were corrected by some well-meaning person, "You mean, 'Doug and I are going to the store," so you assumed that every time you say "me" you should replace it with "I", regardless of where it falls in the sentence.

An easy test to see if you're using your words properly is to ask yourself, "Does this sentence still make sense if I remove the other person?"

This even works in phrases that are not actual sentences, such as photo captions.  Watch this:

"Sally and I at Disneyland".

Remove Sally from the picture and see if it still makes sense.

"I at Disneyland".

Um, no.  Sounds dumb.

The phrase "Me at Disneyland" sounds better, albeit a little Captain Caveman-ish, but it's just a caption and not an actual sentence so you can get away with it that way.

"Mom and Dad at John and I's Wedding".

That is not the easiest thing to caption, but I would do it like this:

"Mom and Dad at John's and my wedding."

In short:

1.  Ask yourself if the sentence or phrase still makes sense without mention of the other person.

2.  When dealing with more than one person and yourself, mention the other(s) first.

3.  Never end a sentence with "I". 

Captain Caveman.

Dig my writing?  More can be found in the right hand sidebar.  Here are a few quick picks:

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

What Have They DONE To Gmail Chat???

Today I noticed that Gmail Chat has changed horribly.  I can no longer look up a specific chat and see the conversation with one transmit after the other.  It shows every comment in an individual "document" or whatever, so I can't read it without having to click on the next post.

Does anyone have any idea how to fix this?  It is horrible and useless as far as keeping a record this way.  I am going to have to start using Yahoo Messenger until a solution is found.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

A Beautiful Mind

I had the most amazing dream last night.  Well, it was amazing to ME.

I dreamed that I was in a place of business on Tyee Road in Point Roberts, Washington.  It was a small building in which I had never been before and which probably doesn't exist outside the dream.  In retrospect, it might have been a small art gallery.

On the wall above a table were large posters like horizontal navigation maps.  They had symbols on them that seemed to make no sense.

I announced to the people around me, "Hey, I can see the patterns in those posters just like the guy in the movie A Beautiful Mind!"

Some people tried to see what I was seeing.  Others just kinda looked at me sideways like "Uh...okaaay...whatever."

If I looked at the poster as a whole, I couldn't see the pattern.  When I looked with my eyes narrowed and my head tilted back a bit, the shapes in the patterns showed themselves in 3D whereas the rest of the images remained 2D.

There might be some meaning in this, or it might just be random disconnected thoughts.

If there is a meaning, I'm going to venture a guess that it is to say if you haven't been there, you really have no idea how or why the person who experienced what they lived has impacted them.  Furthermore, looking at what you see in total cannot be understood until you see each fine detail, and see them in their proper order.

(I originally published this in facebook Notes on February 11, 2011.)

More of my writing can be found in the archives in the right hand column of this blog.  Here are a few random picks:

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

When My Son Went Missing

Photo:  My front yard, 8:30 a.m., January 30, 2013

At 7:45 a.m., I woke up and realized my boys were abnormally quiet, so I went to check on them.

My eight-year-old son was fast asleep, but my five-year-old was not in his bed.

I climbed the ladder to the loft in their room and looked for him there.  I did not find him.

I checked the girls' room. I did not find him.

I checked all over the middle floor. I did not find him.

I checked everywhere I could see in the basement.  I did not find him.

I was still half asleep, barely standing upright, stumbling around the house, searching in every room, closet, and cupboard, lifting up blankets, looking behind and beneath furniture, gently calling my son's name so as to not awaken my other kids, but panic was starting to set in and I raised my voice a little.

I felt a mixture of anger and fear, but strangely I was mostly calm.

That might have been shock.

After combing the entire house twice, I called the neighbours.  He had wandered over to their place a couple times before in the summer, but the snow this time of year is well over his boots so I doubted he'd go through the field.  Still, I left them a message just in case.

I tried to reach my husband at the mill where he works, but it is a noisy environment and he doesn't keep the cell phone on him.

I called the mill's office and they tried to reach a foreman, but nobody answered.

While I continued to re-search my house, I called 911.

Within minutes, a police officer was at my door.

Soon, another officer showed up.

Then a third, and a fourth, and I'm not sure if there were more in that blur of blue uniforms.

There were two RCMP cruisers and an RCMP pickup truck parked in my yard.  A third cruiser was out on the street in front of my property.

One officer informed me that a police dog was being brought down from a town an hour away.

Cops were all over my house, my yard, and my quiet semi-rural street, searching for my son.

I called my husband's work again, letting them know it's urgent and that our son was missing.

A few minutes later, my husband phoned me.

"I can't find J anywhere," I told him.  "When did you last see him?"

"He came into the kitchen around 5:00 this morning," he said.  "I told him to go back to bed, and he headed up the stairs, but I didn't follow him, as I was leaving."

We exchanged words of horror, shock, fear, and prayer.

"Well, I guess I'll just finish the shift," he said, but I could hear the worry in his voice.

"Yeah, there's no point coming home.  There's probably nothing you can do, either," I told him. "But as soon as he shows up, if he shows up, I will call you."

My eight-year-old son and my three-year-old daughter were now awake and involved in the hunt for their brother.

"Check the deep freeze," I told my son.  "I haven't looked there yet."

My 18-year-old daughter heard us and also joined the search.

Tromping through the snow in my yard, I called and called for my son.

I alternated between uttering whispered cuss-words through my teeth and softly begging God to please keep my little boy safe, that we may find him.

I went back inside and up to the middle floor, where I suddenly heard the cheerful voice of my three-year-old daughter shouting in the basement, "I found him!"

Not sure if she was just playing around, I ran to her, my heart racing, and demanded, "WHERE?  Where is J?  Show me!  SHOW ME!"

She led me to a closet, where I'd checked a few times already.

She had to have been kidding.

She reached into the bottom of the closet and pulled back a pile of egg-carton bed foam.

She sang out, "He's right here, Mama!"

And yes, there he was, peering out with a mischievous grin.

It was 8:30 a.m.  I had been hunting for him for 45 minutes.

I was relieved, but I was also angry.

"J!  You must NEVER hide on Mama again.  DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?"

"I was just playing hide-and-seek," he said, trying to act innocent.

My boy didn't seem to have any idea how serious this was.

"You stay right there," I told him as I ran outside to talk to the cops.

"We found him," I said.  "But you guys can take him, I'm so mad at him."

They wanted to see where he'd been, so I showed them.  One officer said he had looked in there with his flashlight and did not see him.

All the cops looked sternly down at my son.  There were no smiles on their faces.  Two of them gave him a short but serious talk.

My son stood there with his arms crossed, trying to look tough, putting on a fake scowl.

I thanked the police and they went on their way.

I was about to call my husband to let him know all was well, but he called me first.

I called and left a message with the neighbours, and then I called the Child & Youth Mental Health clinician to leave a message for her to call me.

Then I called my son's Behavior Consultant (he has a diagnosis in the autism spectrum, high functioning, with symptoms of ADHD, so we have government funding to cover her costs).

The BC told me she would contact a colleague of hers who might have some other ideas, but that until we hear back from her, I should have my son sit in a chair right beside my desk while I work so he cannot be out of my sight. 

If he has to go to the bathroom, I would have to go with him.

He can eat his meals right beside me, and he will be watched with the video monitor when in his room for a nap.

His Behavior Interventionist, who works with him two hours a day, three days a week, came over, and he was allowed to work with her, but when he was done, he was in the chair.

Any time my son tried to talk, I said in an even voice, "No talking.  You are sitting there because what you did this morning was very bad, and you must never hide from Mama again."

As I write this, he is having a nap, but when he gets up, he will return to the chair until bedtime.  Our only discussion will involve reminding him how important it is that he stay in bed, except for toileting, until he is told by his dad or me to get up.

Before the cops had left, I had taken a picture of the three police vehicles in my yard.  I posted it on my facebook wall, and then went to make breakfast.

My 15-year-old daughter saw the picture and called from her dad's house nearby, asking what's up.

When I told her about J having to sit in "the trouble chair", she said, "That should be 'a thing'.  We should call it 'The Trouble Chair'."

She also suggested that we decorate the chair by drawing teeth on it, and that we should paint it black, or red, to make it look scary.

I said, 'Yeah, and we can write words on it, like, "HA HA."

She said, "And draw arrows on it, like they're pointing at whoever is sitting in it."

She also added, "We can put Velcro on it, and make a pair of Velcro pants for the person to wear when they sit in it."

I said, "Yes!  So it makes it harder for them to get up.  I like it!"

We had some fun with it, but realistically, for now, The Trouble Chair just has a name.

I hope we won't have to use The Trouble Chair very often, preferably never again, but knowing my kids, I'm not sure that's likely.

My J and me.

(This story is also published on my other Holy Sheepdip! blog at WordPress.)

More of my writing can be found in the archives in the right hand column.  Here are a few quick picks: