Monthly Archives: January 2017


An Inspirational Tale for Parents of Children Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder / The Good Journey

A picture of Liane

self portrait – charcoal

There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

         –  Edith Wharton

 

The day after my daughter was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I went into her bedroom to see if she was awake yet. I sat down on her bed and she sleepily said, “Is everything okay? You look like someone has died.”

My daughter didn’t understand the impact of her diagnosis. And evidently, neither did I.

It is difficult for me to imagine, the pure hell my daughter was going through living with un-diagnosed and untreated bipolar disorder. I will leave that part of the story for her to tell. I could never tell it correctly.

However, I can help by telling my experiences as the mother of a child diagnosed with having bipolar disorder. Parents of newly-diagnosed children need to hear encouraging words. I sure wish I had.

Downsizing: Let The Apartment Renter Beware – The Bad Rental Agent

picture of nuclear cooling towere steam above trees

Now you don’t see it…

When I was a young kid growing up in New York, my family and I went on an outing to tour a recently-opened nuclear power plant. I believe it was the Indian Point Energy Center, but I’m not sure. In short, I was not brought up to fear nuclear energy.

Flash forward to this past summer, 2016.

Bob and I were spending days at a time scouring the Philadelphia suburbs to find an apartment to move to. Our daughter, who is here in grad school, said it would be nice to have us nearby. We were downsizing, and thought it would be lovely to take her up on her invitation.

We made several extended visits to our daughter so we could find the best apartment for us and our two dogs. We found one enticing listing located about 45 minutes away – if taking the back roads. We thought it was probably further away than we wanted, but we put it on our list of “apartments to visit” anyway.

All Risk, No Reward: A Vietnam Soldier’s Burden / The Good Tomorrows

Just taking risks for risk’s sake, that doesn’t do it for me. I’m willing to take risks that I think are worth it, and I’ve worked so hard to make sure that I survive.

Chris Hadfield

War is an incredible risk for countries, their populations and the world and the men and women who fight them. If it is all risk and no reward, as some people are making out the Vietnam war to be, the no reward falls squarely on the shoulders of vocal people “back home.” When you “go home” the welcome has to be a recognition of the risk and the rewards. Vietnam had no “going home.”

The Early Adventures of Mama Bear / The Bad Group Question

Mama bear and baby bear

The original mama bear.   – Mama Bear

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.

   – Tenneva Jordan

Our daughter is now 27.  Only over recent years she has begun to refer to me as “Mama Bear.” I take this as quite the compliment. Unlike a “Helicopter Mom” who unnecessarily hovers over her child, a Mama Bear is a fierce protector. Liane calling me this now is more a mature recognition of how I was a strong advocate for her early on, when she first struggled with Bipolar Disorder, and even now, at times – but only when my help is requested.

I have always believed that a parent needs to be the strongest advocate for his or her child. After all, if you are not, who will be? Every child needs a fierce advocate, and it is particularly true if your child is struggling with a mental illness.

12 Tips on How To Pack for Your Downsizing Move … and Maintain Your Sanity. / The Good Way To Pack

Empty storage containers

Watch for a storage container sale!

“When in doubt, throw out!”

– My Mom

We had been living in our nine-room house for 16 years, when we were faced with downsizing to a two-bedroom apartment. Initially, we just had three questions about packing. They were:

  • 1. Where the heck do we begin?
  • 2. Will this ever get done?
  • 3. How are we ever going to sort through all this stuff?

Aside from that, everything seemed quite under control.

It is difficult to say exactly how long packing actually took us; until the last two weeks, packing was more sporadic and included lots of sorting. But here are some tips that we discovered along the way.

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Downsizing? 9 Easy Steps To Get You Moving! – The good journey

Polar bear mom and cub with paper list

Starting that long journey and a list to help

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

   – Lao Tzu
Downsizing? 9 Easy Steps To Get You Moving! – The good journey.

Some people choose to downsize because they want to have a simpler or less stressful lifestyle. Others need to downsize because they have no choice but to cut back on expenses. Whether you are downsizing out of choice or necessity, it is a tricky and emotional ride.

The key to downsizing is to take it one step at a time. Make your immediate tasks small so that they can be completed and you will feel a sense of accomplishment. Be precise in your tasks, such as, “write a list of possible new locations.”

Skippy: The Dog We Hate To Love / The Furry

A schnauzer suspect picture

Skippy sort of looks like this guy

The dogs with the loudest bark are the ones that are most afraid.

– Norman Reedus

 

Bob and I are learning that part of apartment living is getting to know your neighbors … well sort of. We have been here for several months and know some people by sight, and have learned a name or two along the way. But we have met several dogs.

One of them is Skippy.

Downsizing: Not Just for celebrities anymore. / The Good Move

Winter patio and grounds view from apartment

Patio view from apartment

“Anything that costs you more hours of effort or worry that it brings you hours of enjoyment is a candidate for downsizing.”

– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

 

Many years ago, I was watching Barbra Streisand on TV. She was talking about selling personal items, as well as her exquisite home, all in the name of downsizing to simplify and clear her life.

But now, downsizing isn’t just for celebrities any more. Hey … we did it! Well, actually we had no choice.

Many things in our lives had changed since Bob was forced into early retirement. It sure would have been helpful to have some warning, so we could have made more fitting financial decisions. But when you expect to work until age 70, and are unexpectedly forced to retire at age 58, financial plans are sure to go awry. Had we had some warning, we would have made different financial decisions all along, but this was not the case.

Unbelievable! Why He Didn’t Diagnose Our Daughter With Bipolar Disorder / The Bad Therapist

st john's wort flowers

St. John’s Wort; not for everyone.

” ‘Cause there’s no use running
When you’re on the wrong road.”

– Don Williams

 

In my recent post, “Thank You Carrie Fisher and Maurice Benard,” I talked about the day our daughter was diagnosed as having Bipolar Disorder. I had found this diagnosis so difficult to accept, in part because she had already been seeing a therapist for two years, and the only diagnosis was anxiety.

This therapist had been highly recommended to me by counselors at Liane’s Middle School. However, true to this therapist’s arrogant nature, he began to talk to my daughter about herbal treatment, without consulting me. At the time Liane was 12. He convinced her that a natural remedy would help her feel better. So of course she wanted to try it.

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