Monday, December 8, 2008

Dear Santa

Please please give us a Wii. Even if Daddy or Mommy eat the cookies.

Love Kamden

P.S. Please give us lots of Wii games.

P.S.S. Are you real? Circle yes or no at the bottom. Here use the pen.

Yes No

Look on back

P.S.S.S. Don't give me the girl stuff.

* The hand written version is way funnier :-)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Suburban Kids in the City

Today Marcus and I took the boys and traveled to downtown Dallas for the annual Neiman Marcus Adolphus Children's Christmas Parade. The train on the way there was crowded but the boys loved being able to stand up while traveling. Once we got to Akard Station we followed all the other parents and children in search of a good place to watch the festivities.

Granted this our first year to make it the Dallas parade. (Typically I take the boys to Plano's which is always on the same day as Dallas'.) So I was not prepared for Myles when he started to whine that he needed to go to the bathroom. Of course where we were there was nothing! We sacrificed our spot and went in search of a public restroom (yuck!) I guess all the stores down there anticipated the crowds and many had signs posted "No Public Restroom." The best we could do was a string of port-a-potties (gross). After that little nightmare we lucked into an even better spot to watch everything right next to where the news people broadcast during the parade.

We got to see the whole thing from start to finish! We met some really nice folks that took turns with us taking pictures of our families and we got to see our first ever televised parade in person, YAY! It really was neat with all the characters and giant balloons. Kamden had the best seat in the house on Marcus' shoulders so he would yell out everything before we ever saw it coming. On our way back to the train the boys gasped in awe at the buildings towering over them (walking around between them is way different than driving around them). The boys had trouble paying attention to where they were going and we had to keep reminding them to watch out as we walked in front of parking garage entrances and exits. My kids know to look out for driveways and alleys not parking garages, lol.

We got to play around waiting for the train home and lucked out on getting a completely empty train. So that meant we could goof off on that too :-) The boys seemed so energetic and excited about the Holidays it inspired something in me. Kind of like magic I guess.

It was such an awesome day. We rounded everything out by spending the afternoon in Commerce with our family. My mother-in-law was very surprised to see us and I think she thought we may not come after all. I know how much she loves to see the boys and since her birthday is on Monday I know it meant alot to her that we came. I seriously have the best in-laws. Tomorrow is Allen's Christmas parade and while it probably won't compare to today's our town has such a cozy fun feeling that I know we will enjoy it none the less. For the first time in years I am super excited about this Holiday Season!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Raising Kamden

There are days it seems where I feel like I am completely failing my children. Today was one of those. This week started off on a weird note to begin with. I was just telling Kim earlier how tickled I was at Kamden freaking out over his very first ever "B" on a test. He missed one question on a reading test and thus his 88. I looked at it and knew that he had rushed and we had the talk about taking our time and checking our work. Secretly I was thankful that my son cares enough about his grades to be bothered by a "B" but I also worry. I don't think perfectionism is all bad but I don't want him to start having panic attacks and freaking out either.

Anyway, tonight is the night in which Kamden prepares his homework folder to be turned in tomorrow. Typically his homework for the week is sent home on Monday nights and he has until Friday to complete it and turn it all in along with a reading log in which he is supposed to read about 20-30 minutes EVERY night. Being a reader I don't think this is asking alot.

Anyway, Kamden usually finishes the worksheets in about 15 minutes once he gets home on Mondays. Then he would read, write it down and turn everything in on Tuesday. After our parent/teacher meeting the assignments became a little more involved (not much cause he still finishes in about 20 minutes) but we keep the folder all week and document his reading as well.

Tonight I sit down and look at the folder. There is only one entry on the reading log and it is from November 20th. I was furious (granted he missed the last two days of school before Thanksgiving and had that whole week off but still). I look over his sheets and discover that he did everything in pen and I can hardly decipher it and his work. I know I have been busy wrapping things up with school and then working like a maniac before my vacation last week but I had no idea that I was completely oblivious. I took responsibility for my absence and then I laid down the law. Kamden is a good kid. Both my boys are but laziness and slacking off are absolutely not allowed. Maybe I was a little harsh but I feel responsible for his future and a commitment to ensure he (and his brother) get the best and the most out of his education. That is after all one reason we chose to live where we do.

I took all the video games away until after Christmas. I forbid him to do his homework in pen ever and then I told him before he touched a snack, a tv or a toy he was to do all his homework and reading everyday as soon as he walks in the door. No more soccer or basketball if things don't improve and I even threatened to tell Santa to not bring us a Wii. Since Marcus goes back to work next week and I will now be picking him up I can personally enforce these rules.

He got upset and I felt a twinge of guilt. I told him that as an intelligent gifted child I would be unfair to just let him be a couch potato and waste his gifts on nothing. I don't understand the lack of desire to read. I don't understand the lack of enthusiasm for school. He likes school but I loved school. I love it so much I have two degrees and plan on getting a third. Kamden is so much like me and I try not to say that out loud. He needs to be his own person, but he is so smart and wonderful I just don't know what to do with him sometimes.

I offered him an arrangement just before he went to bed. For every 20 minutes of reading he could earn 15 min of video games a day with a max of 30 min. He just looked at me. I told him either way he was reading so think about it. At least he didn't go to bed mad.

I kind of thought having a degree in counseling I could decipher my kids and know exactly what to do. Instead I find it easier to help other people with their children while I sit here scratching my head about my own.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tired of Turkey?

Tired of Turkey? I cooked a 22lb turkey this year and thankfully due to a full house and my insistence that family take at least half of the left overs I did not end up with a ton of leftover turkey or ham :-)

But none the less I had just enough for this super easy recipe for those of you who are done with turkey sandwiches or just plain ol' reheated turkey. Anyone up for some turkey pot pie?

3 small to medium potatoes (peeled, chopped and boiled)
1-1 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen peas and carrots (carrots sliced or chopped)
1 can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
two pie crusts (I make mine from scratch but you can cheat and buy the rolled dough ones)
Of course left over turkey (or chicken)

*I generally don't cook from a recipes so the above are estimations and can be adjusted to suit your taste.

In a bowl combine the soup, potatoes (already cooked), peas, carrots and turkey. Season the mixture to taste. I personally prefer some kosher salt and ground black pepper but on occasion I will experiment so have fun with it :-)
Lay one pie crust in the bottom of a pie pan. Pour in your pie filling and then cover with second crust. Don't forget to cut slits for venting. Bake at 425 for 30-45 minutes depending on your oven and crusts. I find that I have to cook mine longer due the the homemade crust.

Anyway, it's like a meal all in one and even my kids eat this! Not to mention they like to roll out the dough and mix stuff so you can get everyone involved in this one simple dish :-)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

That Ship Has Sailed

Election 2008 has come and gone thank goodness! I have watched more CNN in the past month than Desperate Housewives over the past four years! Now that things are settling down (I use that loosely) I find myself blown away at the number of people who completely missed the boat regarding the enormity of what took place on November 4, 2008.

I am trying very hard to keep an open mind and understand everyone's views but honestly I am just not getting it. I can't stifle my laughter when I read things like "The country is going to Hell in a hand basket" or "We are really in for it now." I want to ask the people who say and write this "Where have you been for the past eight years?!?" Idiots. I am not even into politics but we are on the brink of economic collapse, our military is depleted leaving us vulnerable to attack, unemployment is on the rise and people are just now worried! Good grief.

Quite frankly I don't care about the groans and gripes anymore. I realized that those people are officially in the minority and whether they like it or not, change is here. I am grateful. I loved telling my boys that yes, they can in fact be and do whatever they want to do. I loved that this election once again showed me the truth about where I come from and while I accept my fate as the black sheep of my family, it is a fate that I openly and proudly embrace as I am thankful that I am nothing like my paternal family. I love the renewed motivation to continue helping people and making a difference in my country. I find my faith stronger and a realization that despite our current struggles I and my family are truly blessed.

It has been a wonderful and exciting week and while some people choose to sit around and complain, I am joining the rest of our country and sailing on the winds of change. It looks to be an incredible journey!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Jesus' Wife

Forget the Da Vinci Code. Today I met Jesus' wife in the flesh. I was a little taken aback when she tried to throw her shoes at my head. But of course I would later understand as she explained that she and Jesus don't wear shoes. What was I thinking? I also learned that having sex with Jesus is close to heaven although his wife's exact words were "having sex with him is Heavenly." Yeah that was another one that I should have seen coming.

I heard all about how she likes steak with a little fat on it and wants to eat eat eat although I thought gluttony was one of the seven deadly sins? She likes to lick it, suck and F*@! it (do I really need to explain it here?), although I can't help but wonder how Jesus feels about this. And I was also informed that I am a druggie. (I have been called many things in my life but this is a first.)

While waiting for our intake at the mental hospital Jesus wife proceeded to kiss another mental patient in handcuffs and a hospital gown on the way to our intake and thank him for his penis (she must have had a better view than me I guess). Upon reaching the small room she had to go to the bathroom despite one tech's effort and this woman's bladder she would not respond to anything but Jesus' wife. ( I couldn't help but think really? I thought you had to pee? Does your name really matter right now?)

Anyway, while I provided her name. social and birthday I hear screaming. I immediately jump up and the next thing I know the tech runs out locking me in the little padded room. I looked around thinking, what is wrong with this picture? After answering all the tech's questions I was finally able to leave and as I walked to the big purple van three thoughts came to my head.

1) I cannot wait to tell my coworkers about this.
2) Why am I always by myself when this stuff happens (I mean come on this was seriously funny)!
3) This is why I love my job. Everyday is like opening a new present or maybe like a box of chocolates. I just never know what I am going to get.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Life is My Choice

I was informed last night in what was meant to be a derogatory manner that my life is a consequence of the choices that I have made. This got me to thinking about my life and here is what I came up with:

I married a great man who is a loving, supportive husband and wonderful father.
I chose to have two beautiful, highly intelligent and gifted children.
I chose to get a bachelor's and a master's degree and have made the choice to obtain my PhD as well.
I have chosen to surround myself with the best friends and married into the almost perfect family that I have always wanted.
I have a job that I enjoy and that I can be proud of.
I have a really great life!!

After reviewing this I would say these are some damn good consequences!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Racism A-Okay!

Now that racial, ethnic and religious stereotyping have been deemed appropriate I thought we should go ahead and label all people so the idiots calling Obama a Muslim Terrorist wouldn't be left out. So here is what I have come up with (just a few mind you):


Don't like what I have done? Then quit spreading ignorant garbage. Anyone who has sent me emails or that actually sends this crap around and supports it is ignorant and an embarrassment to this country. Our country was founded on equality and we are supposed to be proud of our mixed heritage. Quite frankly I am ashamed and once again find my faith in the American people dwindling as the ugly truth rears it's head: White is right. If you don't agree with white is right then think before you promote garbage like the 25 reasons why ALL Muslims are terrorists. If we don't stick together and fight for EVERYONE we are only perpetuating the cycle of ignorance and racism. If voting in this presidential election is about a candidate's color and not their platform then we are as silly as the people voting for Palin because she is female.

Why is it so hard for this country to stand together? It is a sad day when here we are in the 21st century and we are no better off than we were a hundred years ago. We have no shame and no longer hide our ignorance. Now we can wear it on our shoulders and proudly let the world know that we are nothing but a bunch of ignorant, hypocritical idiots.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Let me be clear...

Perhaps my view of Palin would be different if McCain had run a more upfront campaign. Instead he has chosen the "whatever is going to get me elected" path. It is so obvious as to why he chose Palin that he didn't think about what she actually is capable of. I'm sorry, she is not the first great political woman. She's not great at all. If she were Ann Richards or Hilary Clinton or any other intelligent serious political candidate regardless of her party I would vote for her.

I am scared for our country's future right now. I am scared for my children's future right now. My husband lost his job five weeks ago and is still unemployed. I am personally offended by Palin's nonchalant attitude and winks and smiles. This is not one of those times where the Republicans can just smile in my face and screw me up the ass. I want action not bull shit and as far as I am concerned McCain and Palin are full of it.

We have had eight years of ignorance. I am ready for four years of intelligence.-KimBeck

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thrown Away...

Those are the exact words of my client as we sat in anger management on Wednesday. He feels thrown away, by his family, by everyone around him. He recounted the story of his child hood: alcoholic mother, fed up father which led to divorce. Mom eventually remarried and later died from her addiction. Client grows up and finds himself in the throes of addiction. Filled with disgust, his father disowned him. Making sure to tell the client, his son, that he hoped he [the client] would die first. And if he didn't then he would get nothing but a penny because that is all his life is worth. Since spouting this poison he has since bought the client's sister a new home and my client now wonders the streets waiting for a space in our housing program.

Newly sober the tears welled in his eyes as he let a room full of people into his soul. I'm sure if time had allowed a much bigger picture would have presented but this story touched me none the less. I asked the client his age, though this information served no therapeutic purpose, and his answer stung me. He is fifty five. This man is middle aged and though I don't know how long ago this took place he still carries this pain with him. He is so sweet and his case worker told me later, very hard working.

I drive pass him every morning on my way to work and before that session he was just another client. This particular Wednesday a connection was made as I could all too easily relate to being thrown away. I tried to uplift the group, to inspire each of them so that despite the pain they would come back and keep trying to get better.

My point was that sometimes not belonging can be the best thing in the world. I think instinctively we all turn to our families to fit in and find our niche but sometimes their rejection can be the best thing in the world. Sometimes our families are poison and negative to the point that we suffer from trying to fit in. Being different, being the black sheep can lead us to greener pastures with a healthier more supportive flock. Even if obstacles get in the way, the end result can be better than where we started from.

I asked the man how he felt now that he had been in services. He replied, different. He couldn't pinpoint how but as I watched him walk from the group I saw him talk with his caseworker and move on to a small group outside smoking. He had friends. He has support and since coming he has been sober. His journey is long and far from over but if I had to guess I bet he will be a lot happier from here on out.

Ladies Please!

It's a scary thing for me right now as I struggle with faith in the American people. I am hearing about how great it is that McCain chose a woman for his VP. Here is my concern. How great was it that a Texan represented us for the past 8 years. Oh wait, not so great. Palin may be a woman but that does not make her THE woman to represent the rest of us for the next four years. I am begging everyone out there to think carefully before voting for someone based on their genitalia. The state of our nation is far to critical to vote sole on breasts or skin color. I am all about women's lib but I want to know that I am being represented by a competent strong woman. All I've seen Palin do is flaunt her feminine charisma, exploit herself as a mother and use silly language. Palin is not Hillary and that is something to keep in mind in the next 5 weeks.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Riding the rollercoaster...

What a week and as is life this one has certainly had its ups and downs.

I requested a change at my current job from children to adults. I had many reasons for this but my primary concern was my desire to work "normal" hours. (Normal being 8-5, Monday through Friday.) I spent the majority of my clinical work with adults so I figured case management should be piece of cake. Anyway, this week marked the second week in my "new" position and while I am fairly comfortable in my capabilities I was not fully prepared to work with a caseload that is mostly homeless. This fact I was not prepared for at all.

I know that most people think the homeless are a drain on society or faking or an eye sore. Some ignorantly think that they are lazy or brought the situation on themselves. Sometimes I myself had similar fleeting thoughts but listening day in and day out and reading charts I realized that most of my clients are far too complicated to even fit into one of the above generalizations. To I laugh myself silly and put up my wall, Tuesday it all came down. I found myself preparing dinner trying to have a conversation with my husband when it hit me like a ton of bricks. Through sobs and tears I uttered "I don't think I can do this job." Seven days in and I am falling a part.

The overwhelming reality of my job situation was unsettling, mixed with exhaustion and worry about my own life I reached my emotional capacity and thus everything spilled over as Marcus held me. I listen to people's deepest, darkest secrets, their heart breaks and disappointments, the loss of family, jobs, home and dreams. I hear sadness and depression, frustration and anger and anything good although this is usually few and far between. I see people, or at least a side of them that anyone else outside my office walls may never see or even come close to guessing. The scariest thing of all is the realization that the only thing that separates me from my clients is an education, a paycheck, private insurance and a close and reliable support network of family and friends.

I cannot change what it is. I can't even fix it. All I can do is offer support, link to external agencies and refer when possible. Basically, I am sitting in a chair with my hands tied behind my back. In order for this to get better, for my clients to really change like they want to, it would take an act of God and our entire society realizing just how serious the mental health crisis is. My clients are more than just homeless people sleeping under a bridge. They are mothers, fathers, grandparents, sisters, brothers, skilled workers, hard laborers. They are not always the best looking or fabulously smelling and not all of them want to get better. But, most of them do. Most of them want to work, to live, to regain what was tragically and uncontrollably (in some instances) taken away. Sadly, regardless of my efforts they are trapped in a cycle that does not lead to success. The mental health system as it currently stands encourages client dependence on mental health agencies so that we can bill and collect and keep our doors open. The truth is my clients will never be more than what they are now unless we, society, recognize and change what we are doing wrong.

Pretty big realization for a Tuesday. I slept for ten hours that night. Ten hours to put myself back together and prepare for the last three days of the week. So, as I have done for the previous week and a half, I resumed my incessant email checking waiting for the email that would in some way change my life. And it came, on Thursday no less. I got a text from a friend telling me to check my email. I was of course already in the car and the one day that I needed someone to be by a computer, nobody answered their phones!! Finally reaching Kenneth (one of my brothers) I begged him to please please please check my email. And he did, and he told me I failed. My heart dropped, and I felt my hands start to shake and again the tears were coming. Just then he told me, "just kidding, you passed." I wanted to kill him. Instead I laughed and cried and got made fun of and tried the rest of the way home to call anyone and everyone that I thought would care to tell them I passed. I am walking on December 13, 2008 and my life can now move forward. And what did I get? NOBODY answered their dang phones!!!! Thank God for text messaging!

I was high Thursday and Friday. I mean giddy, smiling, not a care in the world high! While the excitement is still there, life as I know it must resume and I can't float through the rest of this year. I still have to buckle down and resume studying for my licensing exam. In the mean time, I am on a mission to reach out and try to make even the smallest change in the world around me.

A client told me last week that his diagnosis changed his life and took away things that "normal" people could do, he felt cheated. He must remain heavily medicated for schizophrenia lest he spend the rest of his life in a state hospital. He has never had a relationship, never dated or kissed or been in love. He lives on a fixed income, below poverty level with a heavily sedated roommate and he admits that that is how will live out his life. This client has inspired me. God knows I am not in the match making business but I am in the business of giving hope. A little hope goes a long way and I myself will hold on to that too as I need it to get me through each day. Not just so I can do this job, but so that I can live life and raise my kids. All on the hope that things will get better, even on a small scale, they just have to.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Measuring Up

I hold myself to very high standards which, being a perfectionist, is not uncommon. Today was a monumental day for me. Five hours and 200 questions were to determine my fate as to whether or not I would be graduating in December. My 3.89 GPA means nothing, my papers and tapes and hours mean nothing. If I can't pass this exam it's over, at least until January.

Now I can admit that I could have studied more; I could have studied harder. Being me I know I can always do better. But it would seem that no matter what I did today was not meant to be my day. I started having panic attacks this week. I couldn't sleep last night which means as of right now I have been up for about 36 hours. I didn't care about the SAT or the GRE. Those were just gate keepers, tests meant to weed out low performing individuals from undergraduate and graduate coursework. But this test is my CPCE, administered by the National Board of Counselor Certification. This test is the most important academic challenge I have faced to date.

I bombed it. Most of us that took it today feel confident that we failed. Nothing I studied was right. The wording was off and hard to navigate. My specialty section actually included diagnoses from the DSM IV that I chose not to memorize because I constantly use my DSM IV as a reference. What was the point in spending fifty dollars on a book just to leave it on a shelf. What kind of test actually expects one to memorize hundreds of pages of diagnoses and symptoms?!?

I let myself down. I know that I am in the right career field and that I am meant to do this. I know I am competent and capable. I am finally feeling confident in my abilities and skills and then BAM! I let myself down. I quite possibly let down my family as I may have to wait yet another semester to finally walk across that stupid stage and get the diploma that I have earned. Stupid test. At this point I am holding on to little hope that based on the entire group's performance our mean scores will be computed and as long as my score falls within +/- 1.25 standard deviation I still have a chance. Maybe not a big chance but at this point I will actually settle for less than the best and take what I can get.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Back to School Blues

It's that time of year again. The hustle and bustle has picked up as parents rush to purchase school clothes and supplies and teachers make a mad dash to get classrooms ready. The excitement is high as a new year begins.

The first day has come and gone and now has the first week. Traffic is in full force and the honeymoon is over. Kids are no longer putting on happy faces and teachers are seemingly frustrated as behaviors are on the rise. I have already been to three schools this week, one ARD meeting and talked to two different counselors. None of these in regards to my own children of course.

In my rose colored world all children are doing what they need to do to learn and everyone everywhere is getting a quality, well rounded education. In my world all children have the same opportunities regardless of where they come from, how much their parents make and where they live. In my world children learn and are taught useful information and not just how to pass a test. My world if full of hope and encouragement, nurturing and structure. In my world all children are equal.

My world is not reality. Children are the victims of funding, economic status, and government officials who don't know the first thing about being a teacher. As the school year gets a running start it isn't so hard for me to understand why a time that was once full of excitement and new beginnings is nothing more than a drudgery.

It's impossible to expect kids to do what they are supposed to do when we continue to fail them as a society. Why should they be passionate and motivated about learning when we have sucked the life out of our teachers and taken away the right to actually teach our kids. Instead lets pump them full of pills, dump them in school and raise hell when they aren't transformed into little perfect packages.

It seems to me like we have made things the way they are and if we ourselves did not have a direct hand in it we certainly didn't stand up and fight when these decisions were being made. Now what? Where do we go from here and who and how are we going to clean up this mess?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Joining the masses...

So I had this random thought today that since so many of my peeps are blogging I should get on this action. While getting my hair done my "idea" for a blog popped into my head and thus katfucious says is born. I should probably gives props to my girl Laura cause without her my nickname wouldn't even exist to serve as my inspiration! So, here goes as I attempt to inspire (or maybe just annoy) the rest of the world with my own little pearls of wisdom :-)