beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)

So, my family is all pretty sure (like 99% sure) that my aunt has been depressed for a couple of decades (there’s probably an unhealthy dose of anxiety in the mix, too).  She does not believe that, however.  I’ve suggested talking to her doctor about it, and she says that she’s fat and lazy and useless and no therapist can help with that, and doesn’t listen when I say yeah, but the therapist might be able to help you realize you aren’t lazy and useless, and feel better about the fact that you’re fat.

She has health problems that are very real, but at the very least the depression is making them more difficult to deal with.  (Being so mentally fried she can’t cook and goes out to eat instead does not help with the diabetes, for example.)  She was depressed but fairly stable for a long time, but Grandma was her main emotional and physical support through that time--they lived on the same piece of property, and Grandma would cook for the both of them and do yardwork and such while Aunt was at work, which allowed her to save up her spoons.  But Grandma died a year ago, and I’m not sure if Aunt’s getting worse or if it’s just that she’s overwhelmed by trying to do EVERYTHING.  I live half a continent away and I do what I can when I’m home, and talk to her regularly on the phone when I’m not.  My parents live in the next town over and visit at least once a week, doing odd jobs and whatnot to help her, but it’s not sustainable for them or her.

Anybody got any brilliant (or, even just vaguely competent, that would work too) ideas for what to say and do to help her at least ask her doctor about it and get an evaluation?  I’ve talked to her a couple of times over the years about it, and she’s never listened, but then again, she’s never been this bad before.  I sent her the pics about “what depression actually feels like” vs. “what people think depression feels like.”  I want her to be happy and to realize that most of the things she thinks are character flaws are symptoms of her illness.

Help!
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
I had been looking forward to [livejournal.com profile] rarewomen (and signups are open so you should all go check it out and sign up).

Not happening this year.  My grandma has stage 4 cancer and the doctor is saying months (don't know how many) and if you're going to visit, sooner would be better than later.  And March and April are two of the three busiest months in my profession so taking time off in March or April would be not possible except for dire emergencies, so I'm looking to go home next week if I can make it work (and praying that it will).

Even if I she's miraculously cured in the next two weeks ... nope.  There's just no way I can write.

beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
... here are a few pics of his ship, the USS Abraham Lincoln, on its current deployment.

Anchors Aweigh, my boys ... )

beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Mourning)
I'm flying home tomorrow morning.

Mom's blog

Apr. 21st, 2008 03:19 pm
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
My parents have a blog for their studio. On the latest entry, Mom talked about Grandpa. I got teary just reading it.

http://haugensgalleri.com/
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
My Grandfather is ill. They're not sure he's going to make it, which is pretty scary considering that two years ago when he was so sick his weight was down to 120lbs (for a man of 6'4), they never said anything that pessimistic.
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
So, remember a few weeks before Christmas when I posted about the icons I wanted, and how they were all images that just needed to be cropped and resized but my graphics skills weren't up to the task?

My parents are professional photographers, and their studio Haugen's Galleri has been completely digital for over five years now. So they've got these incredible cameras and computers and graphics programs, and it took Mom like two seconds per image to make them into icons. She threw in an image from my High School senior portraits, too. (Yeah, I know it's been eight years since they were taken, but I haven't changed that much and it's not like you can see my face anyway.) It's my new default icon. Isn't it pretty?

Anyway, here they are:
My Senior Portrait

1633 by Eric Flint

Batman Begins and

Brother Cadfael

Honor Harrington and and
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Stupid)
My brother's in the Navy, and he just turned 21. He's been regaling us about the two (2!) separate occasions his crewmates took him out to celebrate. (Yeah. He was puking and oblivious before they got to the bar, apparently.)

He said he didn't mind blacking out, because it made the night pass more quickly.
beatrice_otter: Aim high--you may still miss the target, but at least you won't shoot your foot off. (Aim High)
...it's just been getting other people to recognize it that's the problem. He's autistic, and most people (even some professionals) figure autistic=stupid. Which isn't the case, even remotely; autistic means they don't process information the same way most people do, and hence can have great problems learning to deal with the world around them. There's no medical treatment for it--no drugs, diet, etc. that is proven to have any effect on it. What does work, however, is lots of therapy aimed at figuring out how to help them make whatever connections they need to allow them to figure out how to deal with the world around them. It's not a question of intelligence, it's a question of figuring out how to use that intelligence. It doesn't necessarily require a professional therapist, either; I worked with him whenever I was home from college, and since he's gotten old enough for school they've hired high school students to come in and work with him on his schoolwork and teach him to play games and sports and things. All it needs is dedication, lots of patience, and an ability to figure out new things to try if something's not working.

Anyway, I just got word from my parents that not only is my brother now reading at a fifth-grade level (and he's only in fourth grade), but the only subject he needs special help in is math--and not even all the time then. Which is really cool!

And when he was three, a specialist tried to tell us he was severely retarded as well as autistic. Idiot. Gee, he didn't do well on the normal intelligence-evaluation tools/games they use for children his age. Really? I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you! A kid who doesn't process information the same way as other kids do had problems with the standard evaluation tools? Who woulda thunk it? He'd been strategizing for a year by that point, we knew he wasn't stupid. For example, when I was trying to keep him corraled in coffee hour after church, he'd pick up a pillow from the couch, get between me and the door, throw the pillow in the opposite direction, and make a mad dash for the door, knowing I'd have to stop to pick up the pillow before I could go after him. A kid who can figure that out by age two? Is not stupid.
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Take Ourselves Seriously)
I may have mentioned taking my brother out shopping along with his fiance and her family for new civvies. If not, it was a fun adventure in which a good time was had by all (except possibly my brother), despite the trouble we had making sure that he bought at least a few shirts that weren't checked.

Anyway, I was taking a study break and went back to Everybody's Crazy 'bout a Sharp Dressed Man, [livejournal.com profile] niamaea's hilarious look at Jacksonian Fashion Through the Years, and I realized that my brother's fashion sense is actually a lot like Daniel Jackson's.
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Grey)
So, I haven't been giving regular updates on my life as I usually do. I'm sorry, I kept meaning to, but CPE was (as it is designed to be) highly stressful, and when I got home I wasn't really in the mood for writing about it--I just wanted to relax and forget as much about it as possible until the next day. As you may recall, I did my CPE at Oregon State Hospital, the mental facility where they filmed One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

I don't remember what I've said before, but the point of Clinical Pastoral Education is to find any issues you might have that interfere with your ability to act pastorally/counsel people. And help you deal with them, or at least figure out how to not let them interfere with the counseling. Needless to say, dealing with one's issues can be quite emotionally stressful. My supervisor was very experienced, and very, very good at his job--which I had mixed feelings about, since it would have been much easier for me if he'd been not quite so good, y'know? One of those experiences that one is glad for afterwards because it was valuable, but never never never wants to have again.

Highlights from this summer )
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
... to my Grandpa, who is now 87.

And boy, do I wish I was there for it. Besides almost everyone I've been missing since coming back to school being there, they had a home-cooked ham dinner with home-made cake afterwards. Sigh.
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (omg)
Well, the bad news is that my grandparents have to move to a retirement home. While we would obviously prefer that they stayed in good health and continued to live out at the farm, that's just not possible anymore. And, being the responsible people that they are, they're cleaning out their house now and divvying up posessions they can't take with them so that we don't have a huge problem once they're dead, and are just delighted to see things go out the door because it means one less thing they have to deal with themselves. Last night we went down to pick up a load. Now, the thing you have to know about our family is that we are all, every single one of us, huge bookworms. Huge. Voracious readers, we devour books. My first sentence, at 18 months old, was "I go read." At one point last night, Mom, Grandma and I just opened up and started reciting a poem together for fun. Anyway, one of my uncles had been there the night before to pick up a load of furniture and other items that were going to him a few days ago, but when we arrived yesterday, we were the first people to get there since Grandma and Granddad finished going through their books and picking out which ones to take with them. And the books were not specifically divided up to go to anyone. We got first pick! Bwahahaha. Excellent. Picture much glee on our part, as we sorted through them. Oh, yeah. We came home with several boxes full, but don't worry, we left plenty for the rest of the family (there are a lot to go around).

Also got some nice china, some table linens, and an antique rocker, and several other items either valuable or with emotional resonance were left because we didn't have the space to bring them home yesterday (because, you know, boxes of books! Cool books!). And, really, the china and rocker are gorgeous, and it's great that we have them in our family. But they're mom and dad's, now, and will be for quite some time. The books? A significant portion of them are mine, mine, mine! (My brother, Nels, wasn't there to pick out any because he's away in the Navy, but he rates lowest on the bookivore scale in the family anyway, although that's not saying much in our family. But he got Grandad's collection of WWII stuff, so he has no room to complain.)
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
Holy Sonnet: 14
Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

-John Donne, 1633


Real Life Woes )
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (omg)
I'm from Oregon, on the west coast of the US. Being a Lutheran, I decided to go to a Lutheran college, and as most Lutherans live in the Midwest, I ended up going to college in Iowa. My parents were terrified that I'd meet some nice Lutheran boy there, get married, settle down, and they'd only get to see their (hypothetical) grandchildren once or twice a year. (I think their fears might have been influenced, just a tad, by the fact that they met at college and never left town.) Didn't happen. Came back to Oregon after graduation, got a job, and now I'm heading even further back East to go to seminary.

However. We are leaving today on a trip to Minneapolis-Saint Paul Minnesota to attend the wedding of one of my cousins. He's from Mom's side of the family, who are not only not heathens, they're almost all completely agnostic (including the cousin now getting married, last I heard). He, too, went to college in the Midwest. Who is he marrying?

A nice Lutheran girl.
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
I presided over my first funeral today. I know, I know, I haven't even started seminary yet, but my mom's family is about as agnostic as you can get, except for my Mom and the great aunt who recently died. They had a funeral in the aunt's home town on the other side of the state, but she was interred today in the family plot. And her family wanted someone to say a few prayers because it's what she would have wanted, but as the branch of the family that lives here is, with the exception of my immediate family, non-churchgoers, I was the closest anyone knew to a pastor.

It was a very short service, as they'd already had a funeral. And it went well, and the immediate family liked it, which was the most important thing.
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
Well, I learned how to feed someone using a feeding tube today. This is important, because my grandfather just got one put in, and having someone else who knows how to do it means that Grandma can actually get out of the house once in a while. (The way his feedings are scheduled, there's not really time to go do anything in between them.) Hopefully, by the time I leave for Gettysburg, he won't need the feeding tube any more, because I'm the only one in the family who has a part-time job and so can come over during the daytime to help out. By the way, for those of you who don't know, feeding tubes don't go through your throat or anything--they are attached to the stomach and come directly out your side. Ick.

On a completely unrelated subject, check out [livejournal.com profile] used2bvader's Star Wars vids. The Padme one, in particular, is really good. And for team Stargate: SG-1 vids, check out Sierra Phoenix's vid Somebody Help Me, about times when Our Heroes aren't quite themselves; it's one of my favorites.

And the third subject that's been bugging me is the West Wing. It's almost over, as a series. Finito. Kaput. I just started watching it, like, about two months ago. I got hooked. And now it's ending. Why do I do this to myself? It's not the first time. Farscape, Babylon 5, Buffy, etc., all were either over or in their last season when I got hooked. All I can say is, thank heaven for DVDs.

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