My Past Archive

It All Comes At A (High) Cost

Posted October 29, 2011 By kmarrs

I would argue that cost is gas money, while some might argue it’s my soul.

Buddhism keeps popping up in my life.  I’ll read something and go, “Wow!  I could belive in and/or follow that!” I’ll take a silly quiz and it will tell me it’s the best suited religion.  The first highly noted incident of “WOWZERS!” was in reading Siddhārtha by Herman Hesse. It just sounded so simply obvious.  So over the years I kept meaning to do some research.  But it never happened.

Well a week ago, I decided it was time.  I wanted to at least see what my temple options were in my area so I could go and learn more in person.  Which led me to a problem.  What sect?  It hadn’t really dawned on me that like Christianity there would be different paths.

So, I did some reading.  My first thoughts where that I wanted to follow the path of Gautama Buddha which is a lot easier than I hoped. To put it so it’s easier understood, it’s like saying you want to follow a Christian sect that follows Jesus.  Sort of.  The point: big figure.  There are many Buddahs through history, but he was an important one.  So that still left me open with many options.  After viewing a chart (that is no longer online), I decided Theravada was the one that felt most right.  I liked that “Theravada means “The Way of the Elders” in Pali, reflecting the Theravadins’ belief that they most closely follow the original beliefs and practices of the Buddha and the early monastic Elders.” It was after all the original practices that peeked my interest.  Should I do some soul searching there and it not hit me as right, I’ll try Zen or another Mahayana subdivision next.

Ok, so realistically, will I become Buddhist?  I’m not sure.  It’s always peeked my interest as the possible answer to things.  It would also be a healthy means of achieving the calm I’ve always searched for.  But at the same time, I’m not one for organization and rules when it comes to spirituality so I might continue to have a problem with that.  Either way, I could at least see the teachings being used as everyday life skills not unlike that of DBT.  Basic meditation is healthy for everyone no matter the walk of life an belief system.  And well, I’ve never been able to properly meditate because I always panic I’m doing it wrong.  I end more stressed than I was when I began, even when guided through it.  Really, it kind of defeats the purpose.  So, even if I don’t end this quest with a belief system that guides me through life, maybe I’ll end it with the ability to at least meditate with out the need of an Ativan.  That would be something at least.

Oh, and as for my soul?  I can’t seem to be bothered to worry about it.  If the peaceful ways of the Buddhist monks and followers lead to damnation, then maybe that what I want anyway.  Sorry, but that’s how I see it!

Now I just need to find a temple near enough that follows the sect I’m after.  And a group that meets in the basement of a local church doesn’t cut it.

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She’s Coming Home

Posted October 25, 2011 By kmarrs

When I was 2, my daytime babysitter had another little girl, younger than me, that she also watched (plus a few others) named Samantha.  At the age of 2, I decided that was the perfect name, latched on, and never gave it up.

At 4 and a half, my parents made me a big sister.  When they brought Rachel home from the hospital, they brought me my own baby.  She of course became Samantha, Sammy, and no other name was considered.

Through the years, there were a few more Sammy dolls in my life.  No other name held any real meaning to me.

As I grew into a woman, and my future family was considered, I knew it wasn’t just about finding a man I loved who wanted to create a family with me, it was about finding someone who would be willing to give me my real life Sammy.  Pat considered no other name once he knew.

In the past 9 years, we’ve gone from home to home.  Sometimes we were only a step or two above couch hoping.  And our belongings have scattered.  At some point, when we were living with his Grandmother and co, Sammy, in a box full of her belongings, came to live with us.  But in our rush to move out when drama hit, some things got left behind where we thought they were safe.  Sammy, was one of those things.

As years passed, I somehow forgot she was even moved there to begin with and I grew to assume that Sammy was safe and sound packed away in my mom’s garage or attic or some place equally safe.  I never gave it a second thought.

Meanwhile, as family members moved in and out of that condo we vacated in a rush, our belongings weren’t treated the way they should have been by people either too young or too uncaring to give respect to other people’s property.

We came to terms with it.  We accepted our share of the blame for leaving stuff to begin with.  And there was some honest flooding anyway that destroyed stuff that was no one’s fault.  Between what was lost, it was hard to say who did what and it no longer matters.  It simply doesn’t matter.

And then my daughter was born.  After 25 years, I finally had my Samantha, living, breathing, and loving, in my arms.  And my world became complete.  The only thing missing was the original Samantha who was to be passed on to her name sake.  For while the doll came first, she was indeed named after my future daughter.

So, first I searched my basement.  I had moved most of my boxes, if not all, out of my mom’s garage and stacked them in my utility room.  Never really had the drive or time to search through them.  Never had a reason.  I needed that doll though to complete the circle, so I searched.  I didn’t just open boxes, I pulled everything out, and put it all in bins.  Nothing was missed.

Nothing.

But no Samantha.

So I sent my mom on the hunt on her end of things.  So she searched.  Then when she came up empty handed, I searched.  The thing was, there were only so many boxes left at her place.  And only so many places to put them.  So it was official without a doubt that Sammy was not with me or my mom.

So that left…

Tonight, my husband and his brother, went to that condo.  Abandoned.  Trashed.  No electricity.  And looked the only place she could be.  Not even knowing for sure she was there.  Not knowing if she was intact even if she was.

And I’ve sat here for a couple hours now hoping.  I couldn’t get my hopes up.  I wouldn’t get my hopes up.  I shouldn’t get my hopes up.  But how could I not.

Then I received a photo text.  “Is this her?”

And the tears came.  There was no stopping them.

It was her

And she was more beautiful than I could have hoped, though not as beautiful as the living breathing name sake snoring beside me.

And while I have not yet lay hands on her, she is coming home in what my husband describes as “good shape for her age”.

And that is more than I could have ever hoped for.  That doll is 24 years old, grew up with me, lived through total chaos in that condo, and she is coming home.

But this time Sammy is coming home to her true mommy.  She is coming home to my Samantha.

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Midlife Crisis At 27

Posted October 15, 2011 By kmarrs

The Plan

The big question:
I’ve had various “plans” for school and life starting with computers right out of high school and now psychology. Why would I follow through with this, and none of the rest?

Computers was me not knowing at all what I wanted to be based on interests, but knowing the computer field made money, so it made sense. 9 years later, knowing myself like I do, I know I would not be able to pass those classes and I know I don’t have the interest or skill. Could I maybe learn the skill? Possibly. But it would be a struggle. The programming and networking classes I had in high school show me I’m pretty hopeless there. So this wasn’t me getting bored and moving on. This was me getting older and wiser and then moving on.

Next was small business management and photography. Yes, I have officially given up on this. Not because I got bored with it, but because I put in the hours at the camera store to know that professional photographers are struggling. There are too many professional photographers fighting for the attention of the moms with digital cameras who think they can do it themselves. Photography would be a great way to pick up some extra cash here and there, but I won’t be able to support my family with it. I won’t get my family off welfare with it. And I’m not going to spend years and money on school for a degree that will help my hobby, not my career. Yes, the small business management degree would be useful, but that’s not going to lead to a known career goal. It could pay off, it might not. It’s a risky investment.

Mathematics was one I toyed with. I would love that degree, sure. I’d be good at it, yes. But that’s with no known career goal in mind. Yes, it would help me in banking, but that’s assuming I like banking. We don’t know I will. There are many possible jobs, I’m sure, that a degree in maths could lead me to. But this takes us back to the small business management degree. It’s a risky investment that may or may not pay off.

This degree in psychology would be with a known career in mind: therapist. There are still some risks, ok. Am I too tactless to be a therapist? Maybe. But there are ways around that. There are therapists who deal with patients over the internet, in fact. Full paycheck and all, it’s just a chat room instead of an office. I can link to sites, and in fact plan to soon, of where you can find these therapists and where these therapists can find patients. Or, there are thousands of other professions that would put that degree to use. Yes, that allows the element of unknown back in, but that’s an element that will never be fully gone when college is involved.

There is also the, will I get through a few classes and go, “oh shit, I can’t do this!” factor. We are talking roughly 120K in student loans, that is an, “oh shit” we can’t afford! Well, the first few courses will have to be paid for out of pocket no matter what. 3 of those 4 classes are psyche course work. It will give me an idea of what I’m up against before a loan has been applied and signed for.

The Money Goal

The first 4 classes will hopefully be paid for by mom. I’m hoping to get them done in 2 chunks of 2 classes, but I can go ahead and do one class at a time if that’s what is needed to secure the financing. After those classes are done and passed, my GPA should be what it needs to be for me to get my aid back. As it stands, even with the dropped classes, my GPA is recorded at a 2.8 which isn’t that bad. It’s just not high enough for my aid. And I think the ratio of classes finished to classes dropped is working against me too. These 4 passes classes should solve both aspects of this.

After my aid is secured, I will look first into federal and then private if needed, student loans to take care of bills and living expenses while I focus on school full time. These loans will total roughly 120K. The goal will be to get my degrees as quickly as possible and not draw it out for a few decades. Ideally, this will be completed in 7 years, with me taking each summer semester off. I will agree to take a class during the semester though, if needed, to catch up if I’m behind. The loans will help make this possible, and dedication to getting school done quickly, should help reduce the cost of the loans.
While I’m actively in school, I’ll keep on track of looking into grants and scholarships I can add to the federal aid, to cut back on the loans needed. But there is no point in apply now, for something I won’t be able to use until a year from now. But as it stands, I’m already a recipient of most of the standard government grants, that’s what my aid is.

Up front I know my aid won’t 100% pay for my classes and books, if I follow the schedule CSCC has set up for me and I imagine OSU as well. I will probably have to go an extra semester here and there. The problem lies in a semester being set up at 21 credit hours at the most (for CSCC anyway), and that being too much when books are factored in, for the set pre-loan, aid amount. But, I only need to take 12 credit hours at a time to get my full aid. So I can go 7 or 8 semesters with it broken down some, instead of the 6 that they have pre-structured. Or if my loan goes through, and finances allow, I can cover the left over with my own pocket here and there.



School and Class Goals

First I will get the 2 year mental health degree that CSCC provides.
After that I will transfer to OSU and complete their 4 year Psychology degree.
After that, I’ll settle on a school, well long before that really, where I’ll go ahead and get my masters.

My first 2 semesters at CSCC that mom is paying for will look like this:

ENGL 101 @ 3 credit hours @ 237$
PSY 100 @ 5 credit hours @ 395$
For a total of 632$ plus books

MHAD 111 @ 4 credit hours @ 316$
MHAD 112 @ 3 credit hours @ 237$
For a total of 553$ plus books

These can be broken down to 3 or 4 semesters if needed. I will be working at the same time, so it might even be to my benefit. But if I am only working 20 hours a week, I would like to try and get these classes out of the way as quickly as possible so that I can get my aid secured and flip into full-time school mode.

What I don’t know is how much of the 2 year degree at CSCC will be able to be put towards OSU’s 4 year. I know some of it overlaps, I don’t know how much. It isn’t a matter of the classes not being taught well enough, it’s more whether or not they are the same classes in general. Infact, a lot of OSU students will take the basic classes, like math, at CSCC knowing that MATH xxx for them is MATH 103 at CSCC. I will sit down with someone and discuss this before I start anything. If they are the correct classes what I take at CSCC will transfer as long as my grades are high enough. My grades WILL be high enough.

Answers Before You Ask The Questions

120K?
9K a year income + 8K a year tax return, bpth fully gone times 7 years is 119K.  I rounded, but yes.

Can I work part time while I school full-time? I mean most college students do!
Yes, but most college students aren’t also balancing 3 kids and a husband.  If I try to balance all 3. 1 will suffer.  Which can I afford to have suffer?

So I’d be going to school full-time, at least 3 semesters a year for at least 7 years.  The government aid would cover classes, but I’d need to cover bills, and basic life necessities.  That’s what the loans would be for.

I’ve discussed this with both mom and Pat indepth.  There are still a lot of fears and what ifs.  But if things work right, I’m set.

So, I don’t know.  What am I missing?  Not thinking about?  I can’t afford to be blindsided.

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Old Pics

Posted August 22, 2011 By kmarrs

Luke and I were looking at some old photos and we came across some photos of me at 15. He doesn’t believe they were me:

With this being all he’s ever known, I can’t blame him:

(That’s long hair for me, these days. But my natural color. Oh, and that’s also an old photo but not as old as the first one.)

Then we were looking at some pictures of my baby cousins, who are now teenagers *gulp* from back when they were actually, you know, little and told him that’s what little sisters look like. He studies the photos for awhile silently. Then looks up at me and as serious as a 3yo is capable of inform me. “Little sisters look silly.” I was like, “Dude, you have no idea!”

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Ok so a little background here. My husband is autistic, only he’s not. See the thing is, they think they have found a new form of autism in my husband. He is too social and trusting to be autistic (because he has a wife and two best friends), but in every other way he meets the criteria. Add in a dash of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a few other “issues”, not all of which have been diagnosed, and you have psychological mess.

So we’ve tried therapy.

The problem with your average therapist is that they are a councilor and not a psychologist. The education is different. So while they are great to talk to, they aren’t really equipped to diagnose someone like my husband. Trust me, he’s been to a quite a few. His favorite spent more time talking than actually listening. And by favorite I mean not so much favorite, more despised.

Our local facility that takes our insurance has you start with the therapist before you can get to a psychiatrist. So there is little to no chance of a diagnosis if you can’t sit through the therapy.

So in an effort to save our marriage, one night, I asked him what it would take to get him professional help. His answer: A PhD that wanted to get published. Great. Did I mention we are on the state’s insurance? Yep. No easy task. Now I couldn’t guarantee the wanting to get published part, but I found him the psychologist that took our insurance. I even made him the appointment. Then we both discovered the one big catch. My husband had seen this gentleman prior. He was in fact the gentleman my husband was sent to in the process of getting disability. My husband spent the next 3 months ranting about how much he hated this gentleman. Needless to say, that appointment got canceled promptly. The best part? I was planning to ask him for a referral to someone else if he didn’t take our insurance. I can’t ask him for that referral now.

So we are back to square one. So the question is, where do we go from here? No, really…

Now let’s take a step back. Let’s look at you finding one.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say you are probably not like my husband and are textbook something. I don’t care how complex that something is (trust me I know BPD is complex) but you are textbook something. Ok I admit, you have your quirks, I have mine. No mental illness is strictly by the book. But chances are you aren’t something brand new they haven’t seen before.

What am I getting at now that my foot is in my mouth? Well basically, this: You don’t have to be as picky as my husband. Oh trust me, I know you are still going to be picky. I mean your relationship with your therapist is going to be one of the most meaningful relationships in your life. But still, you aren’t limited to a PhD who wants to be published. Add in a personality match and my husband is screwed in try to find one. Admit it, I’m right. You have more options.

But how do you find the right one?

The answer is simple. You pick up the book of providers for your insurance, you find one close to you, you set up an appointment and you go. Talk to them for at least an hour. Maybe several hours spread between a few sessions. You’ll know when you are ready to decide. Decide what? Well if they are the one. It’s like true love. You don’t settle on your spouse, you don’t settle on your therapist either.

I remember the one for me. Her name was Amy. She had a therapy dog name Ollie. Now, Ollie wasn’t the whole package, but he sealed the deal. Amy got me. Right off the bat she got me. I was a teenager at the time. A confused, depressed, lonely, angry teenager. So truly getting me was no easy task. But she did. And she spoke to me in a way that made me really listen. She knew what to say, she knew how to say it. She was magic. Our therapist, client relationship was magic. It was like true love at first sight.

I don’t know what happened to Amy. Something medical that lead to her having to quit her job. I never fully recovered from that blow. To be honest I wouldn’t be surprised to learn she had cancer and passed away. I know it was something serious like that. But whatever it was, she is no longer in practice and I miss her deeply.

And now? Well next there was Joe. Joe was me desperate needing something. I didn’t like Joe but he was the best I could do at the time. Amy at least thought I was bipolar. Joe thought I was just depressed. Next came Julie. Julie was almost as magic as Amy. She was the one who figured I has BPD. Life changer, that Julie. With Julie I reached a point in my life when I no longer needed therapy so I took a break. When I came back to it Julie had been promoted and was no longer seeing patience. I understood this and started seeing Cindy. Cindy had been the DBT leader so I knew her, liked her and knew she understood BPD. I’m at a point in my life where I need the BPD knowledge more than I need the magic connection. I’m not saying Cindy isn’t magic. I like her very much and it’s a great fit. I’m just saying she’s no Amy. Maybe if she had an Ollie dog. Maybe.

I think it’s time for my point. Pick a random therapist. Try them on like a pair of jeans. If they don’t fit, move on to the next pair. Keep trying on therapists until you find the one that fits you the best. This could take awhile. Believe me, I understand. It took me years and many misdiagnosis to get to the team of help I have now. But don’t get discouraged, keep trying. The right therapist is out there. And believe me, they are worth waiting and digging for.

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Grandparents

Posted November 10, 2009 By kmarrs

My cousin David wrote a very moving piece about his Grandparents on his blog. You can find the post here. We, of course being cousins, share a set of Grandparents.

I direct you to this post for two reasons. One, it’s well written and I think it should be read. It’s enough to make you remember back to your own grandparents and miss them in turn. But I also want you to read the comment I left. I’ll go ahead and copy and paste it up here, so you don’t have to dig for it. But don’t go thinking this gets you out of reading David’s post. It doesn’t. Read it. It’s good and sad.

Any way, my comment.

I really miss Grandma Yeast. I miss Grandpa too of course, but not as much as Grandma. Grandpa Yeast we too far gone by the time I knew him. All I had left was the shell of a grandparent and stories.

Grandma was a different story though. I didn’t have the time with her that you did, because I lived so far away. But I did the best I could with the time I did have. She and I were pen pals for awhile and we shared the two halves of a “best friend” necklace. They were simple gestures from my 8-year-old self. But I never doubted that she knew how important she was to me.

I remember Grandma’s bird. I remember Grandma’s bird singing along to Grandma’s keyboarding. Dear god how Grandma could play her keyboard. She loved it as much as she loved any of us and it really made her happy.

I remember asking her to make my doll a blanket. She was expecting this huge task and all I wanted was a little thing. 3 squares by 3 squares. Just big enough to cover the doll.

I don’t remember but my mom does, the time I asked her point blank if I could have a certain blanket she had made because I wanted something from her before she died. My exact words. Grandma nearly had a heart attack on the spot, but she gladly gave me the blanket I wanted. I don’t think she realized how special I’d consider such a gift. I was only 7 or so. To this day I have that blanket and my boys aren’t allowed near it. It’s the only blanket, besides the doll one, that I have from Grandma and I’d bust into a million pieces if anything ever happened to it.

Then there are the what ifs. What if she had lived long enough to see me as a teenager? Would she understand the whole Goth thing? No one else really did but I think she would. She’d at least do her best to try to. And now, with my blog… I think it would break her heart to read how much I hurt inside, but I know in my heart she’d read every word. On second thought, maybe it’s better she didn’t live to meet the adult me. I don’t think I could deal with knowing how much my inner hurt would hurt her. I know my mom can hardly handle it. And I think my mom is tougher than Grandma. She’s had to deal with more heart break. Maybe not though. Hard to tell comparing child memories to adult memories.

I remember the Grandma who took care of Grandpa. I remember asking her once if she loved Grandpa. I don’t remember her answer but I know it wasn’t an easy one. She couldn’t put that much work into caring for someone she didn’t love. But I do know she was held back for years by Grandpa and his needs.

I do remember and have heard stories about how she really seemed to come alive and live life after Grandpa passed. She was finally free and she took life by the horns.

I regret that my Grandma will never meet my boys. She’s love them and they’d love her. It just doesn’t seem fair.

As far as my kids and their grandparents… I think that’s one reason I don’t feel bad that my mom has the boys every weekend. If she ever needs a weekend off she takes it. But otherwise she has this great opportunity to really know her grandbabies and they will know her for all the rest of her life. Can you imagine the memories you’d have if you lived with Grandma Yeast 2/7th of your life? My mom was there to bare witness the first time my boys said Grandma. She’d seen first steps, heard first words. She’ll be there for all the sports events or school plays or band concerts. She’s kissed skin knees, caught leaps into the deep side of the pool, and taken the training wheels off of first bikes. She is in their life to the best of her abilities and my boys will grow up being close to her like I only wish I was able to be close to Grandma.

I’ll admit I’m a little jealous.

Alright so now that my comment is as long as your post, I’ll go ahead and end this. But anytime you are feeling nostalgic and went to talk about Grandparents, let me know. You’ll have my interest.

Mom, go read David’s post. His grandparents are your parents, after all.

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