Tuesday, March 29, 2011

All Good Things

I love the Greater Cleveland area. I've lived here for most of my forty-something years on earth. I wanted to live here for the rest of my earthly years. But as my readers in this country probably know, the state of Ohio is on the downturn, and the city of Cleveland is trying hard to be the next Detroit. Here's the latest on our race to the bottom: enormous water fee hikes. And why? Because of "falling revenues and declining consumption." That's right; there is less water usage so you get to pay more. Not only that, but most of the increase will be "a fixed fee charged to all customers regardless of how much water they use." So you won't be able to save money out of the new enormous fees even by cutting back on what water you do use.

I also see that the water company is a billion dollars in debt. How does a company that provides a service get that far into debt? In the real world, a business that was losing that much money would go under or cut drastically. From both first hand and anecdotal knowledge, the water company is terrible at both billing and customer service already. But is the problem not enough workers, or incompetent workers? If you've ever dealt with bureaucracy before, I bet you have an answer for that.

So I'm starting to think about our options once our daughters are out of the local school district. It would hurt me for the rest of my life to have to leave this area, but you know what happens to all good things....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Then and Now

The Musician just asked me today if I thought that clinical depression has always been as prevalent as it seems to be now. Of course we can't be sure, but I opined that it has probably always been there at a level at least something close to modern levels. Famous people throughout history are now being diagnosed as having been clinically depressed based on their writings and actions. Abraham Lincoln, for example, showed signs of severe depression, even as a young man. In 1835, according to a biographer, he was so depressed after a death of someone close that he had people with him most of the time to make sure he did not harm or kill himself. But it was probably seen as more of a personality trait than a chemical issue at that time. I'm also thinking of people like the fictional "Mrs. Brewster," with whom Laura Ingalls Wilder boarded as a young teacher. She was definitely heavily depressed at the very least, very likely assisted by gloomy winter days and isolation.

In Julia P. Gelardi's book, Born to Rule, she writes about the behavior of Princess Beatrice, youngest daughter of Queen Victoria, after the death of Beatrice's husband. She would be "crying one moment, raging at a picture of her dead husband the next. After this, the despondent young widow went out to ride her bicycle in heavy mourning. Then she read a book on piety or talked for hours about the small economies being made on all the candles in her homes." Sounds very like bipolar mood swings, or some other mental disturbance.

Then today I also started re-reading Agatha Christie's The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side. And there is a description of famous fictional movie star Marina Gregg: "It's more that her ups and downs are so violent. You know - far too happy one moment, far too pleased with everything and delighted with everything and how wonderful she feels. Then of course some little thing happens and down she goes to the opposite extreme." In 1962, when the book came out, this was put down to "temperament." Today abnormal highs and lows are bipolar.

John Fixmer asserts in his online article that today Lincoln would very likely not be elected President due to a stigma of mental illness. I'll have to think about this for a while. My moods may fluctuate, but I am still as smart as I have ever been. I read about politics and economics, as well as history and light reading like Agatha Christie. My daughters are turning out to be decent people, based on compliments by others and not just by my biased maternal self. :) Still, stress can severely affect my mood, more than is normal, I think, and I try to avoid it as much as I can. I might want to avoid a press conference or meeting with a foreign leader if I was in a raging manic state. On the other hand, now that I am aware that I do have a chemical imbalance, and the world is not a horrible stinking rotten place even if I feel that it is, I have managed to be in public and not show what is churning inside. Maybe if I felt that leading a country was important enough, and I wanted to do it, being bipolar might not be an issue. I certainly try to control it to be a wife and mother, which I feel are far more important than being a national leader.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Last Stage Is Acceptance

Many of the political-type writers online that I think make the most sense are saying that a financial collapse is coming for this country. I find their arguments, and the facts they use to make those arguments, persuasive. For one thing, there are several countries in Europe that are well ahead of us on the race to bankruptcy, and we're doing the same things they did. Meanwhile, we're piling up debt in our own country like a soon-to-be divorced woman using her husband's credit cards. What I'm coming to accept is that a lot of people in this country will refuse to see this until we are completely out of money. I don't know why I am surprised. People were making fun of Noah until those raindrops started falling. People were probably making fun of those who predicted bad things at the turn of last century (or so) when we started our slide towards socialism.

There are two things that bother me. One, is that we are very likely going to have to take this ride all the way to the bottom. There are just too many people who don't see impending disaster, who think we just have to "tax the rich" or raise taxes to make things all better. That bothers me because it will not only affect people my age, but my children, grandchildren, and possibly my great-grandchildren. I don't want that for them.

The other thing is, even if my little family manages to prepare adequately (and in this economy and with other difficulties we've had, it's questionable) it's going to be hard watching other people suffer. It's going to be a big shock and there's going to be a lot of unpleasant things to deal with. At least I have an idea that bad times are coming. Some people won't know until those first raindrops start falling.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

She's Got Personality

It is fascinating to me to see, now that my two girls are approaching maturity, how much of their characters they have retained even from babyhood. I won't give too many details, to protect the innocent (grin), but here's a few examples.

The Musician has always been extremely laid back. I like to think my good parenting helped with this, but she was an extremely easy baby to care for. The only times I ever remember her getting upset as a baby was making her do something that she didn't want to do. By this I mainly mean things like when I held her down while a dentist corrected her frenulum (she was tongue tied like her mommy.) Let her hang out and play with her toys, and she was fine. She also decided around the age of two, that she was not a girly-girl, and she still isn't.

The Dancer, on the other hand, has always been rather active. That's why I started her in gymnastics in the first place, to positively channel her energy. You might remember that her first nickname on my blog was Wild Child, and she has always deserved it. When she got a little older, she chose ballet for herself, and now she is taking three dance classes per week and assisting with another dance class, and loves it. She spends a lot of her time bouncing and dancing around the house.

I also love seeing bits of myself and Mr. BTEG in some of the things they do, things that seem more inherent to their natures rather than learned. I tried, for example, not to let my picky eating create bad food attitudes for the girls, and fortunately neither of them learned food dislikes from me. Sometimes I wonder if the nurture part of the whole nature/nurture balance consists mainly of teaching them polite manners and things like respect for others. Other than that, they really seem to have chosen their own courses. Of course, Mr. BTEG and I decided before they were born that we wanted to give them free reign, up to a certain point, to develop and express themselves. I know that sadly a child's personal growth can be messed up by such things as an overly strict or overly lenient parent.

Lastly, about the tongue-tied thing. I always thought, because it passed through my maternal grandfather all the way down to my daughter, that it had a strong genetic component. I only know of meeting one other person who was tongue-tied. I find that interesting. I did discover recently that Jeremy Brett, mainly of Sherlock Holmes fame here in the States, also reported himself as tongue-tied, although different sources seem to describe it differently. He was also bipolar and left-handed (they used a "hand double" during scenes where Sherlock was writing although he is shown during one episode boxing left-handed.) I would have loved to meet another tongue-tied, left-handed, bipolar person!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Unrest in Ohio?

Honestly, I haven't been following Ohio's S.B.5 as I should have been. Of course, I don't trust Cleveland's local rag to tell anything but the far-left side of the story, so I avoid them as a source of news. I'm thinking I should get on some sort of news feed to get stories in which I have an interest.

I was glad that S.B.5 passed, but I'm wondering about this story from The Other McCain, in which a lawyer representing the Ohio FOP tells a Ohio Senator who voted for the bill, "Funny thing about cops, they hold grudges." Fortunately, the guy was dumb enough to do it on Facebook, where it was screencapped for posterity. Does this sound like a threat to you? Should Senator LaRose be looking out for a horse head on his bed next??

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Sins of the Parents

I'm so tired of seeing the effects of divorce and parental neglect in the lives of too many of the kids that go to high school with the Musician. They're desperate for love and attention, but they don't know how to have real, meaningful relationships, either the dating kind or the friendship kind. I want so badly to mother these kids but I can't fix everything. All I can hope is that I have the right words if God wills me to say something.