Thursday, September 30, 2010

On pins and needles, folks.

Well, tomorrow is the big day. My friend at work would call this "a come to Jesus meeting." I meet with Kayla's principal, her teacher and the school's D.A.R.E. officer and Kayla. At 11:55. (BTW- DARE. in this region, is a program for 5th graders and up wherein they pledge to and learn how to stay away from drugs and illegal substances.)
I called this wonderful man who runs my children's school on a program he calls "capturing their hearts". Hugs are allowed at this school, dis-respect is not. I explained the situation and asked for the meeting and the presence of the a police officer and without hesitation he agreed.
Its been a tiring week, I've run from the minute I am forced from my bed to the minute I give up trying to relax and I've made myself sick- well, ok, maybe it was my sniffly students that made me sick but it always happens in the busy weeks- right? Tomorrow I meet with my Navigator Artisans group for a girls night where-in I will demonstrate the little I know about encaustic painting. They are scrapbooking and I do not but will enjoy hanging with them. I sure hope someone brings some wine. (Yes, Kristi, I am counting on YOU to do this- because you are so amazingly efficient!)
Anyhow, I'm hoping my boss will take off early tomorrow afternoon and I can update you all on how the meeting went. I appreciate all the comments, especially the last few, as they help me gain perspective on a subject I may be just to close to see clearly. Good night, all- wish me luck opening a little girls eyes to a different perspective on her life.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Its been buggin' me....

Does she strike you as an Edith?

Or an Estelle?

Perhaps Iris or Fern?

If her passenger were named "Emmaline"....

What would be a good name for this creature?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Here's a bit 'o fun!

Art Doll Quarterly is having a miniature doll challenge. Fascinated by the tiny dolls I have been seeing as accessories to the larger art dolls I decided to challenge myself.

This creature and her Friend have a name of Thumbelina's legacy. You know she was a tiny creature who loved the outdoors and after many adventures married a prince? It only makes sense that her children and children's children would have some small magic. Like her great grandmother, this little lady loves nature and counts all creatures amongst her friends.

The bug will have wings, glittery, silverish wings. Little miss will be wrapped in a leaf, I think, I've tried everything only to find her cute little belly and bumm way too hidden- do I dare send her in naked as she is so cute just as she is? Hmm, I think not- wouldn't want some weirdo pinning the porn label on her! And hair? Just a wisp of yarn or wool? I'm leaning that way. Oh well, you'll see for yourself as she comes along!

Have a great day and by the way... have you looked up ART PRIZE yet on the web? They are saying on the news that this year it has gone international and was also featured in a New York publication as quite the event in the last place to be expected. A back handed compliment to be sure but still- New York! Check it out!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hi Folks

Just wanted to say thank you to those folks that replied to my last post and e-mailed me. It is re-assuring to hear that I'm not going insane and that its human to react and sometimes over react. I considered taking that post down because I feel a little 'exposed' and don't really like putting myself out there for possible judgement or mis interpertation. In the end I will just have to pull myself up by my bootstraps and give it another go. When I ask myself the guestion- when do I call it quits the answer still comes back 'You don't. You don't quit on a kid.' So until that answer comes back differently I'm still in. As far as Brooke- well, if she didn't have Kayla around she'd be an only child. Coping skills, right? She'll eventually learn how to assert herself, maintain her own identity and deal with annoying personality types, err, I mean find the best in people even if she has to dig for it. So... hang in there with me, I'll be fun again soon, I promise.

Monday, September 20, 2010

No sympathy, please, just solutions.

So I have this problem. I wouldn't typically share this type of information. But here I am with no easy solution. Perhaps its time to throw it out to the universe and see what the universe serves back. I am beyond disappointment and feeling pretty hopeless.

We are raising my niece. My sister was ill prepared to care for herself when she found out she was pregnant- let alone raise a child. There were plans in place for us to adopt her but a well meaning (but criminally stupid) friend of hers told her she'd be able to get assistance from the state and that she would just love the baby so much that she'd (turn into someone else, I suppose) be able to mother this child. So when the child was three my sister asked that we take her. Of course we knew this would happen eventually and this was when we came to have Kayla as ours, that very day. We didn't know what we were in for.

Kayla is super smart. She threw screaming fits for months but at three you can deal with that. She has ADHD which makes her so intense that she has a hard time forming and maintaining friendships. She wears on our daughter Brooke. She was diagnosed in kindergarten and we had high hopes that the medication would help everything. It did not. It did stop the incessant noise making and make it easier for her to concentrate on homework. Still, I begged the doctor- we still have so many behavioural issues- the kid would argue with me if I made eye contact with her. She way over reacted to everything. Stealing began to surface as a problem.

I have been convinced that either she needed a different medication or the addition of a medication to the current one. Finally, after jumping through all sorts of hoops, seeking counseling which I was happy to do, putting her in Karate (at a cost of $130 a month, mind you, plus uniforms and equipment) finally, the dr. gave us a prescription that would help with her aggressive behavior. Apparently arguing and the over-reacting is a form of aggressive behavior.

It was like magic,that medicine. Make no mistake, she should have been on that two years ago, maybe we wouldn't be where we are today. If I sound angry its because I am. I put my trust in professionals to know more than me and I asked for help. I get the part where they probably hear my story from parents all the time so they have a process they follow. But I asked for help every time I was at that office and the whole time one little piece of paper would have made my life and her life a lot better day in and day out. She and I deserve better than that.

I had high hopes for her for third grade. It was my best year. I loved it and hoped she would too. Especially with this new medication. But the stealing which I thought we'd addressed between her teacher, the principal, the counselor, and ourselves has not abated. She's gotten better at hiding it and better at lying about it when I do find an object that I know is not ours.

In the last two weeks three, now four incidences show me that not only has the stealing never stopped- it is now constant. Last Wednesday was my husband's second day on the job after nine months out of work. He was given a camera to keep in his truck at all times in case of an accident (Yes, that's right, get out the big plaid shirt- I'm now a truck drivers wife- ye gods and yee ha, that's a whole other reason to be anxiety ridden but that's another post, just be glad we're back to work on all fronts) In the short time from the house to the end of the driveway the camera disappeared. My husband was beyond angry. Its a good thing she was gone. You don't start a job after nine months and only two interviews and go in and tell your boss you already lost the camera he gave you on day one. Its that important that things go well. Jobs are non existent in Michigan. The ones that are around pay easily 5$ less than they would have 5 years ago.

Then I found the candy that came from a store. I had already taken back some small items to a business before the camera incident. Today- after being so despondent all weekend that I flat out tell her "I can not talk to you, I am so upset and I don't know what to do with you, this can't keep on like this." - I found some small electronic gaming thing in her dresser drawer. Of course 'a friend gave it to her to help her with her math'. 'Just tell me the truth' finally gets me an "ok, I stole it".

So here I am. We've already told her that there was a police report filed and that an officer would be coming to question her. We're trying to rustle one up through a friend. I've yelled, I've screamed, I've spanked. We've counseled, the teacher's tried, the principal has tried. We have tried implementing positive re-enforcement of good behaviour. Her mother has talked to her. We've driven her past jails. It all scares her. Sometimes she had stopped until the danger of consequence has passed. She really does hate getting in trouble for it but has separated that out from the crime itself and just tried to get better at hiding and covering up. She's good. I'm not stupid, I know I have a relatively short amount of time to turn this girl around but nothing seems to make a dent.

I'm frustrated and worn out. The other little girl has her own little issues. Perfectly normal small, inconsequential issues. Obviously Kayla has a need she's trying to fill. I know she wants more attention from me. But honestly the more she argue with me the more I want to get away from her. Now that the arguing isn't so prevalent we just have this one last huge insurmountable mountain to cross, right? Except that I am about all Kayla'd out. Four years, folks, of constant battling will do that. I'm tired of having my household disrupted to this extent. This morning I apologized to Brooke. "I'm sorry Baby, you shouldn't have to see Momma like this, she doesn't want you to see her like this. I'm sorry I've been so upset for so long." So add in the guilt of having Brooke's child hood altered from what it could be and not so suddenly I am less and less willing to fight the battle of Kayla. I'm at the point where I really don't see a solution that I can believe in. I'm not rallying, I'm tired. I'm despondent and not only do I want to give up I'd really just like it to be over.

So if you have a suggestion or a way out of this feeling- I'm open. I'm listening.

Friday, September 17, 2010

What could be cuter?

What could be cuter than a toothless grin and a milkstache? Not much, in my opinion!

Couldn't, wouldn't even think of, couldn't bear to give that tooth the one big yank, not even for a dollar, not for two dollars, not for five dollars which is half a webkin- thank goodness for Mother Nature- the tooth came out all its own- overnight! Thank goodness because I could hardly stand to see it flapping in the breeze and I just wanted to reach out (ok I tried to several times but she's fast) and rip it out. Have to get back to the ole' job! Good Day everyone!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Where have I been?

Well- I think the question is where haven't I been lately? School is in session for the girls and myself. Hubby is starting a new job. I've worked and worried myself into an upset stomach attack that lasted 2-weeks- there's no way to say gall bladder delicately but I'm trying! Chinamommy knows my issues with words that are well- less than delicate! So to put it bluntly- blogging fell way down the list of important things to do. You know what- I'm just going to re-name that organ. From now on it will be called.....hmmm, I'll take suggestions....
But what are these pictures you ask?

Well, thank you for asking. For quite some time I have been withholding (I do that, I'm a Scorpio and we withhold) secret information on an exciting project. Friends Barb and Kristi and I are starting up Navigator ARTisans.
Navigator ARTisans is a learning studio/art gallery. The idea is that we will create a local community of artists who will share their knowledge with others wanting to learn an art form or technique. (We have a website in progress and are on FB)

Beyond art classes we want to hold "art activity nights" where a group of people can get together, have fun and do art. We have our first one scheduled for Oct. 10th.

As our opening event we decided to host a craft supply surplus sale at Navigator (also a drivers training academy- hence the images of roads on the wall)last Saturday.

I don't have a lot of art supplies that I care to part with so I volunteered to do a demo of what someone might see in an art class. Kristi and I must have moved this litte lady in and out of this room six times as we decided if we had room after a rainstorm forced us to be inside. Now I have to tell you, it can be nervewracking to attempt such a feat as an organized sale- let alone starting up a learning studio. This project has been in the works for 9 months or so with a few false starts. It wasn't until I introduced Kristi into the mix that things started to click, and click along they did.

Kristi is the one with the black berry and burgundy hair. She has a blog- CheekyGreenDesigns- go visit it and leave comments about how she needs to update it more often, say with pictures of her recent trip to Ireland to work with a needle-felting artist. Yeah, that's a hard life!

I'd like to say it was a raging success (we prepared ourselves with a bottle of wine in the fridge in case it was a horrible failure) but sales wise it was a little slow. What was amazing was the laughter we heard coming out of that room- all day long. Not being tied to a table I did little show and tells of art work we had in the gallery. We met new people and to give an indication of the level of fun one lady made the statement "I think I just found a new group to hang out with!" We started packing up a little early and Kristi started to make a general apology that things had been slow but one lady interrupted her "What are you talking about? I'd do this again in a heart beat!" And the other ladies piped up and said the same. So next time we'll have a better idea of how to handle it, how much room we need and what to expect. The reward of this event was knowing that all those ladies had a good time! And much interest in art classes- teaching and partaking!

You may recognize this character as Chinamommy. She popped in to partake of the activities. Some people noticed a slight resemblance to my sculpture. Height and parts were of similar sizing! It was good to see her for the minute that I had to share with her. We also made a new friend, Michelle Embs, who is a local artist participating in ART PRIZE, in Grand Rapids, MI this year. She had a 5' mosaic sculpture of our planet in last years competition. I can't wait to see her work this year-it is a mixed media piece. Check out Art Prize on the web- it is quite an event. I am toying with the idea of entering Big Little Lady if she turns out well enough. There are categories and monetary prizes and I like both prizes and money....hmmm.
Now, I have to ask for patience from you all. I am so busy at the start of the semester that I won't be able to post much. I will try for once a week but honest I feel like I am on a hamsters exercise wheel that was put into warp speed. I have so much to tell you- like the when the 'lady' in the parking lot criticized my parking abilities, or the overly long laborious conversation that I started and couldn't end with my Chinese student (Thanks, Kristi) and speaking of Chinese, how I started a fire today at work by absentmindedly putting a container of Chinese take out in the micro or even my daughter who can't get up the nerve to pull that, hanging by a thread, tooth out not even for the five spot plus the dollar she gets from the tooth fairy- that's half a webkin, by George! So please hang in there with me. I'll be back the very next time I get all het up and with all this lack of sleep, I get "het up" a lot!

Monday, September 6, 2010

I'm Ornery.

I am not PMS'ing either. I even bought myself a present, a nice crafty present to put together to satisfy my- artsy craving complicated by a not really able to accomplish anything because I don't really feel like starting anything because I'm ornery- kinda mood.

Have you seen the new jewelry line offered at Michaels and featured in Cloth Paper Scissors? The artist is Susan Lenart Kazmer. Its all these weird industrial gidgets and gadgets that she puts together and calls jewelry. Odd, strange little bits that I want to pick up and hold up to the light to see them better. They make me think of my dad's basement. He had everything. Every tool, especially for small things. He had pliers that would hold a tiny spring at a 38 degree angle if that's what you needed. And it was all dirty. He kept things like gears, nuts and bolts, springs, pieces of old tools and old toys, cords. Now-a-days we'd call him an OCD hoarder.

But when I pick up Susan Lenart Kazmer jewelry I get that same feeling as when I'd poke around in his tool boxes. Intrigued, I am. What do these things do? What did they used to be a part of? What year were they made? Did some man in overalls punch these little pieces out on an assembly line in the sixties or even the forties?

So today I told myself I would sneak off and buy the enameled flower-ish things I saw in her line- industrial CHIC- its called. I wanted the blue orange and yellow and thought I would just stick with those. I realized pretty quickly I would need spacer beads to get the look I wanted. I didn't want quite all the grouping she shows mixed and mingled together. (I have a small head (KIM) and wear glasses so too much jewelry gets to be -well just too much jewelry up around my small head. I have pictures from the nineties that prove it.) Unfortunately in effort to get something that went with Susan's flowers I picked up some cool industrial looking beads that as I just discovered do not fit on Susan's 14" collar necklace. Should have stayed in the product line!!!!

That's just one of the many reasons I'm so ornery today. My naughty kittens have lost their mittens, rather shoes. Two pair, one kid each, brand new, for school, picked out with minutes of my life that I will never get back, searched for with an hour of my life that I will never get back. Now, when they come near me I squint my eyes and say two words-"found 'em?" only to watch their shoulder slump as they turn and walk away.

My computer apparently needs work- when I shut it down it takes about an hour to load up fully and if you try to cut in while its busy doing that it will freeze up, forcing you to start the process again. My dial up is increasingly slow so I've given up trying to load pics on facebook. I just emailed them to someone else and asked them to post the pics, tag me so I can copy them onto my page. How bad is that?

I would end with 'my dog got ran over and my truck broke down' but I think I can top that with a 'I think my husband just got in the fridge to eat that last piece of chocolate cream pie' the one that I was planning to use to stave off the suicide jump. Oh, don't freak out. I'm not the suicide type- I think we all know that....but damn, sure wish those spacer beads would fit on my industrial chic- I already ironed a shirt to go with and now I can't wear- necklace!