Category Archives: Parenting

Bipolar: It Is Very Difficult to Know

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A lot of the time I hesitate to post because I don’t know what you, my reader, expects to read. I struggle with this every day. I could tell you about my day, but that’s so boring – dull! I could stick to only write about myself and what I’ve learned about Bipolar, but I really feel strongly that this kind of important thing deserves a website of its own so that people in pain or who are looking for answers can go to that site and find answers and acceptance right away. So, I’m developing a website to do just that.

I have Bipolar Disorder Type 1 with mixed states. I also entertain much of the rest of the alphabet. I could drone on and on and try to… well, I think you know where that was going.

Basically I’m a normal 55 year single mom of three who is interesting and has a good sense of humor. I have some compelling stuff following me around that makes me complicated, but who doesn’t? Surely everyone has experienced the strange things accompanying Bipolar, anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD, FM, OA, etc.

I have a Japanese Fighting fish like all your neighbors do and speaking of neighbors, also just like you, I politely file noise complaints regarding one nice household whenever my TV starts to loudly rattle. Seriously.

I’m so normal I could bore you silly. Although… did I mention my eldest daughter will be moving in with me in a few months? (Honestly, it’s for the best. I need the support and we can both use help with housing expenses.)

In fact things are sooo boring that I’m going to need to graduate from college with another bachelors degree and I’m going to have two sons and a daughter instead of what has been the standard at my house with two daughters and a son.

See? Boring.

I am first and foremost a woman who deals with an incurable illness and will continue to do so until I die. Well, and perhaps afterward too. I mean, who really knows?

If you don’t mind too much, I’m going to write about all of these things. I might even add in the bits where one of my family members believes that God has them on this earth for only one reason and that is to save his children and to draw them back to Him because they are lost.

Maybe I’ll recount some of my experiences growing upon a ranch as a teen who presented with Bipolar at a very young age and how well that went over with my undiagnosed Bipolar father. Maybe I’ll include fun times at the church I was attending that was into casting out demons. Yeah. Fun times.

Have I mentioned I went to Bible College searching for God? I wanted so desperately for Him to take away the pain I felt that was crushing me from within every day. No? Bipolar, prayer, and demonic possession… seems like there’s a story in there, somewhere.

What’s on your mind? Should I throw caution to the wind and open up a bit more? It all, and I do mean all, ties directly back into this sickness, this life long illness I struggle with. It is all infused with, you know it, Bipolar.

I don’t believe it is a disorder. I believe it’s a disease, an illness and should be treated with the respect it deserves… that we deserve.

Talk to me my Readers. Tell me what you think. Do you have questions? I can’t guarantee I’ll answer, but I’ll read all of them. 🤔

Be well.

Robin

Bipolar – Preparing to End a Life

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Siberia

I’ve been preparing for a while to put my eldest cat to sleep. She has cancer in some huge areas of her body. She’s probably been sick for a long time and I didn’t realize it. She’s very terminal.

I think I’ve been keeping her more comfortable because she’s stopped vomiting every day. I’ve been giving her a shot of steroids every other day to reduce the swelling in her intestines. I had diabetes for a while so I’ve got some experience with giving shots, but not generally to moving targets. I have to pull up that skin between her front legs on her back and make a spot there to give it to her. Sometimes she decides I’ve taken too long and walks off. Frustrating.

Good news – I’ve managed not to stab myself.

I’ve had everyone who cares about her come over and have time with her, Siberia, before her day comes (tomorrow). I wanted everyone to be able to say good-bye and have closure. Honestly, I think it’s giving me more closure than it is anyone else.

My eldest won’t be home from the Air Force till late August and I don’t think I should wait that long just so she can hold her for a few minutes. She understands my decision.

Last week I finally made the decision to do it this week and I scheduled the appointment. They wanted to know if I’ll be sitting with her when they do it.

Let’s talk about stress. Losing a pet due to an unexpected accident is sudden and you have no choice of when or how it happens. This is not like that. Not only is it slow, it’s happening on my schedule and I control the whole situation. It freaks me out. After fighting with Blank the other day and stirring up intense emotional energy there, I’m going to say good-bye to my cat. Then I start moving Friday. Three major stressors in one week… that’s enough thank you.

I don’t think there’s any good way to prepare for death, even if it is of an animal. I’ve tried. We went through it last year with my dad. I’ve tried to give everyone a chance to say good-bye. She looks sick.

As for me, I have to go home afterwards with an empty cat carrier.

I told the girl on the phone that I hadn’t yet decided if I was going to be with her at the time or not. I feel like the right thing to do would be to hold her, but I don’t know if I’m strong enough on my own. If I let them take her away and do it away from me, well, I’m already feeling guilty just thinking about that.

My Mom knows about my indecision. She’s pulled through again and surprised me. She’s offered to meet me here at my house and then go to the vet with us. Then, we can sit with Siberia together. That’s a really nice thing for her to do. She understands because she’s had to put to sleep several of her own family pets. This will be my first time with me taking the animal in myself and being totally responsible for it.

That’s tomorrow. I’ve been preparing by letting her sit with me on the sofa (Siberia, not my Mom), which normally annoys me. She gets all close and licks me and always has to stick out a foot and hook me with one single claw. She’s making it harder because she’s wanting to sit closer and closer every day. And she purrs no matter how she’s feeling. I can give her the shot and she never stops purring.

So to protect myself emotionally as much as I can I have prolonged the issue by letting everyone say their good-byes. I’ve spent extra time sitting with her and talking to her. I’ve taken lots of pictures of her. I’ve waited as long as I could. Tomorrow has to be the day. I’m starting moving all my stuff to the new house this Friday.

Stress.

I could change my mind again, but as of now I’ve decided to hold Siberia tomorrow. My Mom will be there with me helping me be strong. She’s done few things that mean as much as this does to me.

So it will be the vet, Siberia, Mom, me and a chill pill.

I’m Learning to ACT Rather Than REACT

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{Please be patient. This is a little long. I hope you’ll stick with the whole thing.}

One of my favorite things to do is to respond to things from habit, rather than thoughtfulness, especially when talking with my mother. I REACT rather than ACT with thoughtfulness. The difference between the two is that:

REACTING is when she says something that I think is stupid (I start by judging her) I respond to her habitually with my emotions and treat her like she actually is stupid and I’m disrespectful as well. There is no consideration of her feelings or how what I say might impact her.

ACTING is when I have taking a moment to consider the situation and respond from thoughtfulness rather than just emotion. It is a response in a reasonable manner.

Ideally I should respond to her with my intellect managing my emotions. If I disagree with her I can say that I disagree with her instead of talking to her like she’s a moron.

For example we’re house hunting right now. We’re working together to choose a house for her to buy as an investment and me to live in. This would be a bad time for us to start fighting. Meaning, it would be a bad time for me to start acting primarily from my emotions and be a bitch.

One of the first houses we saw was well below her top price and so it was attractive to her for that reason. I walked into the kitchen and immediately announced it had to be completely gutted. It was an older obviously had never been updated and had no counter space. In her mind she probably saw that it was a kitchen that I could cook in. I saw that it needed good counter tops, new flooring and cabinets. She thought a coat of paint would work to fix it up. I struggled. If I became argumentative now it was going to be difficult to continue looking at houses without stress overtaking me.

Fortunately, our broker spoke up then and agreed with me about completely gutting the kitchen. I heard my mom take a small breath. I think reality was starting to catch up to her.

By the third house she seemed to start to understand that the less we spent, the more renovation would be needed. There was no way we were going to get a house in this area for the price she wanted to pay. I knew that. So far I’d managed to keep my mouth shut about it. I hadn’t informed her from my vastly superior intellect that there was no way we could find a habitable house in the area for her target price.

So far we haven’t done so well finding houses that might be suitable for me, my two cats, and my dog even though she raised the amount she was willing to pay. The housing market in this area is very tight. I have basically till September to find a house. After that I’m going back to school or getting a job and I won’t have time to just run off to look at houses. It will be more difficult to have time to view houses and move.

It’s hard for me to be patient with the whole process. My tendency is to ask mom everyday if she’s heard from Rhett (the broker). I know that’s not going to be helpful and might make her stress about it. I’m shooting for asking her every other day. I talk to her every day since my father passed last year so I’ll have to remember which days I bug her about it.

We just told Rhett that we wanted to narrow the search area to areas where crime wasn’t so high which meant areas that weren’t crammed together and really low income. She and I actually agree on the areas where we want him to look. If I hadn’t controlled my mouth, which can really be hard, I probably wouldn’t have been able to agree on looking in the more expensive areas. I don’t want to live in the Eastside and most of the places he was showing us were in the Eastside.

Since I started this adventure out on a good foot by controlling my tongue and my tone of voice I’ve given us a chance to actually enjoy each other’s company. I’m even tolerating her dog coming along with us better as we go on. I don’t care for her dog. Her dog is mean to my dog. I don’t like that at all. Oh well. It’s good for me to learn to be more tolerant. Isn’t it?

Every time I’m going to spend time with mom looking for houses or even just talking about them I try to prepare myself and get my emotions under control beforehand. I’m having a lot of anxiety. It would be so easy to take my negative feelings out on her, but they have nothing to do with her. It’s all about controlling my negative emotions and shutting my mouth unless I have something helpful to say. (How many of us have said that exact line?)

My therapist (the one that’s leaving) taught me that I can be the one to “drive the bus” as she put it. I could control my behavior or I could sit in the back of the bus and go where my emotions take me. And believe me, they take me a lot of bad places by habit even when I’m not totally depressed. It just feels natural.

Between working with my therapist and spending my own time reading and thinking about myself and my behavior, my emotions, and my thoughts I’ve gotten to the point that while I’m having trouble with anxiety (My son moved out a little over a week ago so I live alone now.) and even anger over not finding a house right away I’ve been able to treat my mom with some measure of respect and patience. So far. I give myself credit for that. It’s important to remember to give myself credit when I do well. It’s so easy to only recall the times when I explode in violent anger or crushing depressing.

Even though I’ve been doing well so far there is no telling when I might swing and become really depressed or manic. I’ve got to be careful to control my anxiety with my chill pills and take my handful of regular pills every morning and night. And, I have to watch out for my triggers. I take time for myself and think about the person I want to be. I really try to focus on that for longer than just a second or too. I really try to almost meditate on the specific person I want to be. It helps. And I take time to play with my dog. We walk and play. She’s my emotional support.

I can’t control when we find a house, but I can try to control my responses to that the search. That’s my goal. I’m going to control my behavior towards my mom, whom I love a lot, no matter what my feelings are about house hunting. I’ve committed myself to that. My mom deserves that. I deserve that too.

I Pissed Myself Off Again!

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My Mom and her dog.

I asked my mom to come over to my house with her dog so they could hang out with my dog and I and we could have some positive bonding time together. Things didn’t go so well. Let’s put it this way, when I’m upset Bailey, my dog, sits basically on my feet till I calm down. After I was done yelling at my mom for secretly triggering all my triggers, I realized Bailey was leaning against my leg.

I knew I should have taken a chill pill before she came over.

I shouldn’t have to take a chill pill before I see my mother.

It wasn’t her fault. She triggered all her triggers and I responded in the time honored tradition of a bitchy and disrespectful daughter. Maybe over all I was right and she had no business being a blockhead. Maybe she’s 73 and I should have kept my mouth shut when she first crossed the initial line and complained about my wanting to rent a movie on TV for $16. How can I spend so much money?!

I’m sad.

I made my mom cry. I asked her why she was crying and she said she just still does sometimes. My dad passed just over a year ago. She didn’t blame me or the old family photos I was sharing with her.

Personally, I think it was because her adult daughter is sick and will never be normal. I think she feels like she’s always going to have to take care of me. Maybe it breaks her heart. I know it would break mine.

So yeah, I pissed myself off again by missing every single point when I could have chosen to stop and back pedal. All that was left afterwards was to apologize and try to figure out how to not rise to the occasion next time because there will be a next time.

I’ll see her in the morning. I hope I can be respectful and keep my damn mouth shut.

I shall try.

Parenting As a Trigger

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I’ve written about triggers and how important it is to find them and avoid them so we can avoid the next looming episode. I just had my daughter and her fiancée over for dinner and to give them a few directions on training their puppy. I thought they were open to listening to what I had to say, that maybe they respected the way I’d trained my dog (with a trainer for $!000, real training) and were ready to listen since their puppy is pretty out of control. I was excited all day that they were coming over and that they wanted to know what I could teach them.

I shouldn’t have made that assumption. It was trigger city.

The first thing that went wrong was that Sydney (daughter) didn’t tell Toni that her lipstick wasn’t surviving dinner well. Toni got mad and stalked off to the bathroom.

Then we talked about training their puppy that they have labeled as a “service animal” and that they’ll need a “choke” chain to train her. Toni got on her self-righteous soap box and informed me she wouldn’t ever choke her dog. Using their harness and flat collar was going to be fine. Maybe. But that’s not what the experts taught me. With puppies this age (4 months) treats are the preferred method, but she’s going to get bigger very fast.

Also I don’t appreciate her lack of thanks or respect. Sydney already disrespects me like while she came in the kitchen and busted open cheddar cheese crackers I bought for her brother and started eating them by the handful even though dinner was nearly done and I had told her they were for her brother. It amuses her to make her brother’s life more difficult. The problem is I paid for that food. Not her brother.

They’re gone now. The puppy pooped on my carpet. I’ve loaned them my training book and dvd. They didn’t say thanks for either one. I suggested they buy their own and they said they probably couldn’t afford it. I know they can. They just got their financial aid from school. I’m not going this quarter so I don’t have any new income.

Now I’m sad. I took a chill pill before they got here and I’m glad I did. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I hadn’t.

I was going to try to keep my post short tonight, but I’m not feeling super fabulous.

It makes me wonder what kind of mother I really was. I’m going to stop myself from ruminating over this tonight. That will just make things worse.

Maybe it was minor. Maybe I’m over reacting. It’s what I do. I’m sad and feel unloved.

I done been triggered.

Bipolar – Catastrophizing

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Catastrophizing is something I’m very good at. It paralyzes me painfully and damages my daily life. I’m aware of the problem and some of how it affects me. I’m not yet good at reversing it or ignoring it or even of not doing it in the first place.

Catastrophizing is the habit of automatically assuming that everything is going to go to hell and acting accordingly. It is assuming that problems will always end badly. Assumptions and conclusions are magnified well beyond what is reasonable.

We catastrophize when we predict that everything will have a negative outcome; it is jumping to the conclusion where a negative outcome is always inevitable. When I catastrophize I lock myself into helplessness. I ruminate over my imagined trouble and I become hopeless. I catastrophize, and then immediately magnify everything.

Ruminate – Helpless – Magnify

My youngest daughter is going to be 18 June 23rd. She and her best friend have decided to move into a room in a duplex now instead of waiting until fall when school starts. I’ve been catastrophizing nearly nonstop. Over what? Mostly over their not being able to afford it. I can’t help them if they run out of money.

Ok, let’s say they can afford rent, what about food and other costs of living? Neither girl is working full-time. The friend is working part-time, but my daughter isn’t even working 15 hours a week. I’m in a panic over the whole thing. My daughter assures me that her average of 2 hours Tuesday thru Friday is going to increase. As a matter of fact, she says, she’s being trained every day to work in the lab. (She works in a dental office.) My opinion is that you should not count on money you don’t already have. I think they should wait until they know how much she will be making… for real.

I imagine that the girls believe they won’t run across a deal like this again, and maybe they wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean they can afford it. I see a eating a lot of noodles in the future. (This also worries me because my daughter is skinny and can’t afford to lose any weight. This has been a problem for years.)

Money for school in the fall will be disbursed at the end of September for student housing. That’s a long time to wait to have more money for housing.

Am I catastrophizing  ? Or am I being cautious? And… how is my Bipolar affecting my thoughts and feelings?

Bipolar – Mom of Almost All Post-Teens

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I’ve been, acted, had Bipolar Disorder as long as I can remember. I always knew something terrible was just… off with myself. You remember the classic symptoms everyone takes on the on-line tests to see if they’re bipolar? Let me share a few:
http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/bipolarquiz.htm

http://www2.organizedwisdom.com/quiz/take/3/Am_I_Bipolar

There are dozens and dozens more but I’d rather share this with you…(I’ll get back to the kids in a minute)

What does a doctor need to know to diagnose bipolar disorder?

A bipolar disorder diagnosis is made only by taking careful note of symptoms, including their severity, length, and frequency. “Mood swings” from day to day or moment to moment do not necessarily indicate a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.  Rather, the diagnosis hinges on having periods of unusual elevation or irritability in mood that are coupled with increases in energy, sleeplessness, and fast thinking or speech. The patient’s symptoms are fully assessed using specific criteria from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-IV.

In making the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, the psychiatrist or other mental health expert will ask you questions about your personal and family history of mental illness and bipolar disorder. Because bipolar disorder sometimes has a genetic component, family history can be helpful in making a diagnosis. Most people with bipolar disorder, though, do not have a family history of bipolar disorder.

Also, the doctor will ask detailed questions about your bipolar symptoms. Other questions may focus on reasoning, memory, ability to express yourself, and ability to maintain relationships.
(http://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/bipolar-disorder-diagnosis)
 
Jessica, who is 22 and is in the Air Force, Kyle who is 19 and attends UW at T (or UWT), and Sydney who is 17 and is a senior in an advanced high school, runs much of the internship program for the high schools in her district and works part-time all grew up with me. All of me.
 
All of me GREW to be very over weight for my height, very lonely and very much in the grip of my disorder. Even so I chose the email address “supermomforever….” That’s what I think, what I thought when they were young, about myself. I would protect and grow up my babies the best that I could and they would grow up to be amazing and individual people regardless of what happened to me. I knew If I was hospitalized once my chances for going back increased and it didn’t seem to me that people really got better after hospital stays, they stabilized. Our disorder is a disorder. It doesn’t ever “go away”. 
 
In my “semi-controlled full on manic” state that lasted for what seemed like years (I think it was) I founded a company, learned from the ground up how to run all the complicated software that was necessary, blah, blah…. I was an ultra over achiever. Let’s leave it at that okay? Then I blew the whole thing up and had my Explorer repossessed. Then we were evicted. (This is where I’m supposed to say “things couldn’t get worse” right? Forget about it.)
 
The last 7 years or so have been very depressing. I’ve had my right knee replaced twice… yes the same knee… because the first one didn’t work. Figure that out. Now that will help you lose weight. I have chronic pain to the extent that I now go to a pain management clinic. 
 
Yesterday I submitted an application to UWT. I’m very excited to go back to school. I hope I’m accepted. It will be good for my brain and get me out of this bloody house. I’ll meet real people! 
 
Today I took major steps to reinvent parts of my old company (the one I imploded) with the help of my son’s desk top computer (from a school grant), some art work I was missing (a lot) and tonight – the software I needed!!!! 
 
Not to put a damper on things, but I haven’t eaten all week accept for today. I’m depressed. My father is dying and that could happen soon. And yet…
 
…. I’m still being that supermomforever…. I’m making sure the kids spend time with him as we can and that Jessica stays in the loop so she can fly home when the time comes. We’re a pretty tight-nit family. We stay in contact throughout each of our own days and the hours we keep are definitely not the same. 
 
I talked about the bipolar tests. I just wanted to remind you of some of our symptoms and introduce you to WebMD. They’ve gotten it righter recently than wrong. 
 
Supermomforever…. my kids will always remember losing the truck and being evicted. It changed us all. They will always remember my physical difficulties and my disorders many that they may be. 
 
The one single thing I want them to remember is this: family will always be there for you. At the end of the day when the dust settles you call home and talk. When I have a bad few hours I call a kid or text one of them. We are family. 
 
My ex-mother-in-law always said I’m good at creating and making good memories. We couldn’t afford to go places or buy things so instead I got creative and made memories and I hope drew us together for all of our lives. 
 
This was way longer than I intended. “Shh…” I tell myself, “It’s ok”. 
 
My kids are all nearly post-teens. Somedays I worry I’ve wrecked them for life. Left marks on their souls that will never fade. But no, they have grown to be this age and do these things because I somehow did it right. Through all my pain and insanity I got enough of parenting right to have great adult children. 
 
Now, I’m afraid to be alone. But that’s for another day. 
 
Good night friends.

Bipolar – Parenting During Times of Loss

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My father is still with us and for this I am thankful. I dread his passing for where it/he will leave the family… grieving.

Most of my life my father and I fought. Some people somehow missed all that, but it was real we fought all the time. Well, if you can call violence in the air (verbal abuse I guess) as fighting.

Since his diagnosis just a few months ago as having stage 4 cancer that had spread at an alarming rate we have been having weekly and sometimes twice weekly family meals. We meet to celebrate what we have and finally who we are to each other.

Who we are… My brother is seeing me more often now and is noticing I change from week to week. I almost feel like I understand my father’s dementia.

Three months we’ve been fighting insurance to get any of the ADHD medications approved. I’m foggy. I’m distracted. I’m not driving safely. I’m spacy. I need help.

My counselor is taking up the fight for me to find out what is going wrong and how to fix it. She said that I have enough to worry over with my dad being as he is without having something like this complicating and stressing things more. I hope she makes progress.

Bipolar parents during times of grief and loss…. I’m still waiting. It’s getting harder for all of us each day. My mother,  my brother and I and I my three kids. The pain of watching (dad) grandpa go further each week is so hard. But he fights to stay lucid and in good humor and I think he does it for us.

And so as a Bipolar parent beginning to deal with loss and grief all I can tell you is this: at the end of the day, all we have left is family. Make your peace while you can. You never know when that kid or parent or spouse you didn’t tell you love them before they went out to drive someplace never to return to you.

Everything, every trip, every word spoken in spite or anger, every moment of love and kindness, every second before the passing of a Bipolar mom’s father… is stressing me much more than normal. Much. It pierces my brain. How can I help my kids through this and my mother and brother if I cannot think because an insurance keeps denying my medication? It’s very very hard.

Being a mom during the wait for loss is hard. My mouth might say the wrong thing in front of the kids that they aren’t ready to hear. We’re very open about it. We talk about possible ways we think we might react. I think that’s a subconscious effort to prepare us for the future.

For now, we’re working with Hospice and waiting. He can’t be left alone. I think that is the hardest on my son. He doesn’t know what to talk about when he stays with him. I didn’t realize until it was too late how hard it was. He never complained. Unless its about a sister.

May the Schwartz be with you.

Your friend, Robin

Bipolar – Mother and Daughter, I Am Both

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My father has stage four terminal cancer.

He is also an ass.

We’ve been getting along. Mostly because we don’t talk… especially me.

We went to dinner tonight my brother and his partner, the kids and myself, and mom and dad. Dinner was good. Conversation light.

I explained to my mother a few days ago that I wanted to know that my father somehow was proud of me in some way, that he approved of me. She said my kids are terrific, they’re great.

Not what I meant. Me. Myself. I.

I shared at dinner something I thought he might be proud of me about. I found a dog trainer that might help me turn Bailey into more than a pet. That’s always been the plan. I’ve saved up for a trainer to help Bailey and I learn. He thought it was a stupid idea and I can teach her to sit by myself. Then my brother’s partner piped up and offered to give me a book and learn from that. No one wanted to know I was being serious or what I was talking about.

I mentioned she was to be trained more than a pet because she’s a service dog (in training). He laid into me about that too. I was going to do it illegally and I didn’t know what I was doing. I was going to get into trouble.

I tried to explain, calmly I thought, that I know about licensing service dogs in this state and there is no regulation or anything in this state. You can register your service dog, but it isn’t a law. It’s really just cool right?

I might be a little old to want my father’s approval before he leaves us for good… but I don’t think so. It’s always been this way with he and I. He always expects and thinks that I make bad decisions. I don’t know why I open my big mouth and give him the opportunity to emotionally smack me around again.

I was giving up on trying to explain things to him when he piped up and said, “We just have to stop talking now or we’re going to fight.”

Ass hole.

Sorry my friends, but that’s what I think and how I feel. I reach out from time to time. He smacks me back. It’s about time I stopped giving him the opportunity. He’s not even impressed that I have a patent pending. Wow right?

On that note let me sign off by saying I am the inventor of the:

Ice Glove, the only glove that ices your whole hand.  (Patent Pending)

Robin Paterson…. That would be me. ;0)

Bipolar – Good Pride

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A few hours ago my eldest daughter became a certified air traffic controller!
I’m so proud.  I wish I could afford to go see her.  She’s in Florida and I’m in Washington State.

This is one happy mom!

Check out her new thingie.

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