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Today Maisie is 4- and earlier this week my dad was 76- What we’ve been working on for her bday (Instagram)

 

It’s a busy birthday week at my house- today Maisie turns 4! I don’t have any pics of her yet this morning, but wanted to update everyone on our projects (and my dad’s bday) this week.

Pic of Papa wearing Maisie’s hat 🙂 –

Maisie on my dad’s bday- she dressed as a ‘cowgirl ballerina’:

We build ultra realistic log cabin dollhouses for fun. I love doing miniature things. Maisie complained that her dollhouse cabins had no bathrooms- so my dad made an outhouse out of poplar, barn wood, and cedar shingles- he even made the handle for the door out of copper wire he hammered and aged!

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New #dollhouse #outhouse collaboration for Maisie's 4th birthday with my dad! We have to get this completed by tomorrow- her actual #birthday. She was complaining that her dollhouse dolls had no place to potty, so Papa made the outhouse like one would do a real one- he framed it with #poplar, I believe, added #barnwood sides, #cedarshingles… it is a 2 holer. I did the poo and gross things under out of #polymerclay- it even has a #snake in there, but you can't see it without a flashlight. My dad and I stained and tore teeny bits of printed 'newspaper' and added that to the septic system lol. I purchased replica 1:12 1918 and 1897 mini #searscatalogs from #eBay and they're actually READABLE. R made the rotating base and painted it with milk paint. I am currently doing the #landscaping. #miniatures #dollhouses #outhouses #momlife #surprise #present #birthdaypresent #grandfathers #replicas #tinythings #blogger #toddlerlife #childhood #diy #handmade #incredible #dolls #dollhouseminiatures #dollhousefurniture

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I did the ‘poop’ and a snake to go in the 2-holer, out of polymer clay- and we have teeny antique (readable) Sears catalogs in there!

R made the base, it revolves- and painted it with milk paint.

R put the static grass down, but I did the rest of the landscaping and painting and stone crafting out of egg cartons- and I made ‘weeds’… it is a marvelous collaboration! I can’t wait til we surprise her with it later this afternoon!

She’s also getting an ant farm, which she asked for 🙂

Will update more later! xo

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Court or No Court? Consent or No Consent? Panic Attack or No Panic Attack? PLUS UPDATE and VLOG

Trying not to have a panic attack right now… woke up to a call from the social worker at the psych ward my mother is currently in. Apparently, she can’t tell me much, due to some confusion as to whether or not my mother has given consent to release information.

HIPAA law is an asshole, in my opinion, at this very moment.

I am her POA (Power of Attorney). I’ve been having her ‘flag down’ a nurse every time I talk to her to give VERBAL CONSENT on the telephone since she’s been in this facility.

We did not have this type of runaround at Pine Rest, so it is very frustrating.

Things my mom’s current social worker DID/was able to tell me:

1. No, my parents aren’t compelled to divorce as per the group home owner’s questioning.

2. She is compiling a list of ‘safer’ homes that would be (in their mind) a better fit. AFC homes aren’t locked facilities. The doctor recommends a locked facility right now, as she is not stable on meds.

3. When I asked about the paper I received last night re: the mental health court hearing on the 6th, I was told that I should contact the court house- specifically a person in the probate court that the hospital itself deals with.

Apparently, there may not even BE a court hearing that day, as she was given 3 options and one was to waive the hearing- which would mean she would be agreeing to treatment.

UPDATE:

Left a message with the guy the social worker directed me to and received a call back. He confirmed that my mother had indeed met with her court-appointed lawyer the other day and signed a waiver agreeing to comply with medical treatment… when I asked if this means I should still pursue the guardianship or not, I was told to absolutely do so.

Now I have to go to visitation tonight and have her sign a written consent form to allow these people to talk to me.

I am really anxious about this, all of it.

Pursuing guardianship is a lot of work and a lot of responsibility. I do already make almost all of the health decisions and do the legwork for my parents, but not in any official sort of capacity. My sisters don’t want the responsibility- they live far away and are very ill themselves.

Leaving guardianship up to a stranger would be unhumane and irresponsible, in my opinion.

I am going to vlog the rest. This is too much too type for me this early in the morning.

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Guilt and Waking Up at 3 am

Tonight I didn’t answer the phone when my mother called repeatedly from the psych ward at Lakeland.
 
I wanted to have one night this week where we could pretend life was ‘normal’ and not falling down around our heads- so that we could all enjoy Halloween and not spend it crying.
 
She left a ton of messages on my voicemail, each wondering if I knew she was in the hospital.
 
I woke up abruptly from sleep,with this huge sense of dread and guilt weighing heavily upon me. I wouldn’t even call it guilt- it was remorse. Stomach churning, benign neglect of another human being. I have been doing this a lot lately- just to try to save my own sanity- and it makes me ill inside.
 
I could tell that she didn’t remember her previous calls and it scared me. I could clearly hear the panic and confusion in her voice, the not remembering part… and it was heartbreaking.
 
What a difference it was from our visit with R’s 93 year old grandmother tonight! She lives alone and is only a bit forgetful, but otherwise sharp as a tack. It almost served as a painful foil, a bittersweet contrast.
 
My mother is 20 years younger than Nana. This monster that has consumed her entire life, seems to be now eating away at her brain, like pac man.
 
It is hard to distinguish the bipolar, the mental illness, from the dementia- she is so clever and sad and angry and anxious and lonely. She is still HER inside of her core and it is going away bit by bit.
 
Tomorrow, I finally head to the courthouse to apply for guardianship. We had been ill (and I’ve been depressed) since the previous week, so it hasn’t been done yet.
 
If you ask me how I feel, I’d say so sad. I feel as if this is my lot to bear, not because I truly love or respect or even feel like she was or is my parent- but because she is my parent, I have to do this. I don’t know if this makes any sense to anyone else.
 
I would never want my children to feel the same apathy that I do about my parents. All of this, including Maisie being born so recently, has given me a second chance to re-examine my relationships with my family, myself, and those around me.
 
Unfortunately, I come up lacking in so many regards, but I know I can fix ME. I can’t fix her or my dad or my siblings.
 
I wish I could make them love me or me them, really.
 
I wish I had a magic wand to fix this for everyone.
 
My only solace is giving my 2 youngest kids the magical childhood- as much as I can- and love that I wish I would have had myself.
 
I thought I felt better today… and I do… but I am kind of upset to have woken up crying at 3 am, sad all over again and typing.
 
The people who know me in real life know that I am not prone to being this weepy mess- so it is really bothering me to feel this raw and exposed.
 
So, like any brave Aquarian would- I’m going to go with it and try to learn to love me and be authentic.
 
If anyone else is going through similar, I want you to know you’re not alone.
 
xo
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Maisie’s 1st Birthday in VIDEO CLIPS :)

From my Instagram:

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PANIC ATTACK: So, I get a call from my family wanting to go out like nothing happened…

So, I just get a call from my parents and the sister who yelled at me for ‘not sticking up for myself’ with my mom a minute ago. They wanted to meet me at some restaurant like nothing happened.

I instantly went into a panic attack. I can’t do this. I won’t do this. I don’t want to see them.

I was just finally recovering from this lupus flare, had stopped crying for the first time in days.

I need to be left alone. My memory isn’t as faulty as theirs. I cannot breathe when I think of this shit.

Their stance will be ‘oh, don’t make such a BIG DEAL ABOUT IT’.

They don’t understand that my body needs rest. I am not a mindless machine. I am burned out.

$5 dollars says they show up on my porch today, anyway.

Jeff says they were here earlier this morning before I woke up, but went to an antiques market.

I don’t want to cook, entertain, serve coffee, sit on the porch listening to my mother alternately berate me and praise the baby. I KNOW that she is ill. I know that she likely may or may not remember what happened 2 days ago.

FUCK that.

I need to decompress.

I am laying in bed with the baby, trying to get her down for a nap. R has gone to work, the rest are out shopping- and the house had been blissfully quiet (except for the sounds of BabyFirstTV blaring in the background for Maisie).

To top that all off, my back went into spasms again. Valium time. I hate medication.

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Pics pics pics pics pics! Not many words, just photos…

yeah, selfie

yeah, selfie

Today was my Connor’s 17th birthday… all the kids were home for the first time in eons.

C is my youngest boy.

Here are selfies and pics of the day. Too tired to write much more…

this kid turned 17 today!

this kid turned 17 today!

 

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My four kids #love #moment #momlife

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Maisie & Mommy

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#mom and Sam #moments #family #momlife

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#today #happy #mom #momlife

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#mommy #momlife #mom #happy

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Maisie (and ME) Photo Updates

I have been SO Busy this week, but am posting some highlights from my Instagram here…

We had a funeral today. A friend of my parents’ passed away suddenly.

These were from the bathroom at the funeral home. It was a sad reason to dress up…

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Maisie & Mommy

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At Ken's funeral

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Maisie and Mommy

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#mirror #reflection

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She was such a good girl at the visitation! She actually took SOME OF HER FIRST STEPS at the funeral home!
By the time we got back home, she (and I) was SO tired.

I found a tee shirt from when we were in Orkney, Scotland over 15 years ago- this was her brother’s shirt when he was a toddler. I have been transitioning her from her bottle to a cup these last two days and it seems to be doing really well. I bought a fantastic training cup with a soft spout from NUK that she LOVES. She hasn’t had a bottle all day today and hasn’t missed them at all.

My mother dropped off a bunch of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians stuffed doggies a couple of days ago. They used to belong to her oldest brother, Sam, when he was a baby. Sam is now 26, if that gives you any idea how old these are. She’s not let them go since they arrived and grabbed TWO of the puppies to sleep with last night! They get more hugs and kisses than I do. I am a little jealous 🙂

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Nice #photobomb, daddy #cute #cutestkidz #cutekidsclub #sweet

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I had my hair done yesterday and we wore these cute little Mexican traditional shirt/dresses.

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#love

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#baby #fridakahlo #love #cute #cutebaby #sweetbaby

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My niece who lives in Wisconsin came for a visit last night. She has 4 kids under 5! It was a great visit- here is Maisie with my 2 grandnieces, Lainie and Karmia- Maisie wasn’t too happy here:

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#Cousins #love Maisie and my grandnieces

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Her hair is curling up:

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Happy #dimples #cute #cutebaby #love #sweetbaby #sweet

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Last, but not least, the dumpster went bye-bye. I will attempt to update the Dumpster Diaries this week- been working my tail off in that back room!

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There goes my dumpster… #dumpsterdiaries

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Sam’s Crazy 26th Birthday Surprise

Maisie's 'card' to her oldest brother on his 26th bday- she's the Birthday Axe Fairy

Maisie’s ‘card’ to her oldest brother on his 26th bday- she’s the Birthday Axe Fairy

My oldest son, Sam, turned 26 today. He does a show online and broadcasted from last night to early this morning for 12 hours.

Sam after the first part of the surprise.

Sam after the first part of the surprise.

At the stroke of midnight on the 9th, we surprised him with cake, glitter, and a card- and Maisie dressed up as the birthday axe fairy with a glowing plastic ax and birthday tiara. I used 2 full cups of glitter confetti, which I later attempted to vacuum up with a shop vac and a Dyson.

We STILL have glitter EVERYWHERE.

It was pretty raunchy- poor guy.

He has viewers who chat with him during his streams online- and they were secretly sending msgs to ME to do things… Sam ended up getting hit in the head with a (faux) wet diaper- and another asked for me to fill one later with HP (brown) Sauce to simulate poo and get him with THAT.

it was only HP Sauce

it was only HP Sauce

Of course, I complied. Here are the highlights (I am just posting part I- the rest are on my youtube channel):

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In Search of Chess Pie… has anyone heard of or eaten it?

this looks very similar to my grandfather's pie- except his filling was almost translucent

this looks very similar to my grandfather’s pie- except his filling was almost translucent

My grandpa has been gone for nearly 20 yrs now. I was the first grandchild (at least, the first ‘official’ one) and raised primarily in my grandparents’ home until my grandmother passed away. I always associate food, Hee Haw, and those Barrel of Monkeys games with him.

Photo of baby me and my grandpa, a lifetime ago

Photo of baby me and my grandpa, a lifetime ago- I looked very much like Maisie does now.

The food part is easy- he was who fed me as a baby. He was proud of the fact that my pudgy baby self could “eat as much as grandpaw”- which was back when being a ‘good eater’ was something to be proud of.

The Barrel of Monkeys thing was from the little plastic monkeys my aunts had that I would drop down the sides of his recliner so that he would make them ‘talk’ for me.

Hee Haw was a country music television show my grandparents ALWAYS watched.

I realized tonight, while talking to my cousin, that we all have such different memories (and some of my cousins have no memories at all of him) of our grandfather. To my cousin Josh, he meant Okinawan WW2 stories and exciting things. To me it was food… and chess pie.

When I was about 12, more or less, he divorced one of his ex-wives that he married after my grandmother passed (I don’t recall which one) and moved into a rental next door to our farm for a while. He used to bake these delicious pies that I LOVED and begged him to teach me how. They were like a less sweet version of the insides a pecan pie or a tarte au sucre… butter, almost custard-y, and SO simple to make.

I have never heard of anyone else eating or making chess pies- before or since- and I only thought of this memory tonight, after having stored it away for decades.

According to Wikepedia:

“History

According to James Beard’s American Cookery (1972), chess pie was brought from England originally and was found in New England as well as Virginia. The origin of the name chess pie may have come from the term “pie chest”, another name for a pie safe.[1]

Composition

Recipes vary, but are generally similar in that they call for the preparation of a single crust and a filling composed of eggs,butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. What sets chess pie apart from many other custard pies is the addition of cornmeal. Some recipes also call for corn syrup, which tends to create a more gelatinous consistency. The pie is then baked. The finished product is often consumed with coffee.[citation needed]

Similar pies

Chess pie is closely related to vinegar pie, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. Vinegar pie generally adds somewhere between a teaspoonful andtablespoonful of vinegar to the above ingredients to reduce the sweetness. Some variations are called Jeff Davis or Jefferson Davis Pie, and Kentucky pie. Buttermilk pie is similar to both of these, using buttermilk for souring instead of vinegar, but without cornmeal.

Although preparation of a pecan pie is similar (with the obvious addition of pecans), pecan pies usually contain corn syrup.

Lemon chess pie is a form of chess pie made with lemon juice that is popular in the Southern United States.”

I don’t recall my grandfather’s version having much more than oil/butter, sugar, and eggs in it.

What’s Cooking America  includes 2 recipes from the 18th and 19th centuries:

Mid 1700s – From the cookbook Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery, transcribed by Karen Hess:

To make very good cheesecakes without] cheese curd
Take a quart of cream, & when it boyles take 14 eggs; If they be very yallow take out 2 or 3 of the youlks; put them into [the] cream when it boyles & keep it with continuall stirring till it be thick like curd. [Then] put into it sugar & currans, of each halfe a pound; ye currans must first be plumpt in faire water; then take a pound of butter & put into the curd a quarter of [that] butter; [then] take a quart of fine flowre, & put [the] resto of [the] butter to it in little bits, with 4 or 5 spoonsfulls of faire water, make [the] paste of it & when it is well mingled beat it on a table & soe roule it out.. Then put [the] curd into [the] paste, first putting therein 2 nutmeggs slyced, a little salt, & a little rosewater; [the] eggs must be well beaten before you put them in; & for [your] paste you may make them up into what fashion you please…”


1877
– Estelle Woods Wilcox’s 1877 cookbook called Buckeye Cookery, she includes a recipe for Chess Pie:

Chess Pie
Three eggs, two-thirds cup sugar, half cup butter (half cup milk may be added if not wanted so rich); beat butter to a cream, than add yolks and sugar beaten to a froth with the flavoring; stir all together rapidly, and bake in a nice crust. When done, spread with the beaten whites, and three table-spoons sugar and a little flavoring. Return to oven and brown slightly. this makes one pie, which should be served immediately.
– Miss J. Carson, Glendale.

The 1877 recipe is VERY similar to what I remember my grandfather baking- except I think he used cooking oil and omitted the meringue topping.

At some point I will ask around to see if anyone still has his recipe for it. I haven’t made this dessert since I was a teenager, but now I am very curious.

Have any of you heard of Chess Pie?