Wednesday, November 26, 2014

One more on Ferguson, MO - Day Before Thanksgiving - My Christmas Decorations so far

On Facebook, I posted about the dreadful events in Ferguson, MO, and have received a slew of comments, with everyone expressing their own opinion, mostly based on whether you're black or white or a Republican or Democrat.

Image result for fdr  You know, they still hate him, even though he pulled our nation out of The Great Depression.

Scott works at SEPTA. Like me, he thinks the Grand Jury that found Officer Wilson not guilty on all accounts - including manslaughter - was a foregone conclusion.

At SEPTA, he said, the black workers think the decision was a terrible injustice, but not the white workers.

As far as the burning and looting, here's what I would do if I were the mother of the deceased Michael Brown, whose dead body lay for four and a half hours in the middle of the street.

I would become a leader, a regular Coretta Scott King.

And I would speak to my people, perhaps with the help of my minister, who would stand by side, and I would urge my people to remain calm and obey the laws.

We will take action, I would say, so this racial horror story would not happen again.

Oh, we know it will take time.

But we must stand strong and we must make a start.


Was trying to figure out if it's raining or snowing outside now. When I took out the compost, it was raining, but it shore do look like snow now.

And it is!

Snow on the pansies on the front porch.

Altho you can't see it, my car is pebbled with icy snow pellets.

BTW, when I went to the dentist last week for a painful deep cleaning, I said to Jennifer, Keep talking to distract me from what you're doing. Turns out her husband owns a used car lot on County Line Road where in 2009 I drove a Jaguar.

This lovely colorful wreath I bot at Produce Junction in Hatboro, which was mobbed. I stuck on the fruit, which I bot at Primex in Glenside, where I bot the pansies.


Spoke to my friend Helene who lives at Rydal Park, an old age home. The word 'park' makes it sound like a fun place. She hates it.

She thanked me for my post card from my 10-day trip to NOLA.

I told her I was reading in bed before getting up

This is Boo's first novel and the winner of a Pulitzer and just about everything else you can think of. Gotta finish it by next Thursday for my Reading Group.

Helene told me to listen to Fresh Air, the story Redeployment. I told her I'd do it this morning. We talked as I was eating my delicious Garlic Omelet - Hah! - and then I walked next door to the Compost Heap in Scott's backyard.

Deposited an entire box of frozen Turkey Bubba Burgers, which are not individually packed, so they're all stuck together in a huge frozen meat Popsicle. 

On FB, I posted why I'll never buy anudder frozen turkey Bubba Burger.... A, they're not very good, and B, they're not individually wrapped.

Whatever were they thinking?

Told Helene I'm sending out a donation today to Wikipedia, which I check one hundred times a day. I emailed the Wik to ask em their mailing address. Don't wanna type in my cumbersome credit card info.

Also sent in a donation to NRDC - the great Frances Beinecke - to help save African elephants from poachers. I'd wrin a short story about this called "The Obit Writer" which has been rejected by many, but not all.
You know me and my luv of sending postcards, right!

Sent one this morning to Ada's mom at her Dresher, PA, old age home.

I wrote a lil poem, which I'll try and reconstruct here

Happy 100 Thanksgivings

I'll have the drumstick, thank you,
and the slice of pumpkin pie,
next year make it pecan
with whipped cream
Lots! 105 squirts.

Yes, her mother is that old.

Gotta go upstairs now and meditate, in the Quiet Room. During meditation, I get all these great ideas.
Peace Love Gratitude.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Ferguson MO Grand Jury rules - Officer Wilson not guilty on all counts - Poem: Twenty Drops of Urine

Read the Times article here.

Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, was shot and killed in August, by police officer Darren Wilson, 28, who shot him six times.

He lay uncovered in the street for four hours, with the excuse that this was a crime scene and the body could not be moved. 

Brown, 18 years old, and a friend, had stolen Cigarillos in a convenience store in Ferguson, Missouri. The shop manager called the police.

The jury deliberated for two days - 6 whites and 3 blacks - and were unanimous in acquitting Wilson on all counts.

The town is in an uproar now, late at night, with the mother of Michael Brown calling for calm, but also for further measures that police should take to prevent horrible police violence like this.

This is how change comes about.

We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.
While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.
Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.
Since I'm watching Blue Bloods on Netflix, I wonder how Tom Selleck would respond.  I know how he would respond. He's the conscience of the police brotherhood.

Police Commissioner Frank Reagan is outraged. He and his family are discussing it right now at the dinner table.

Please pass the spaghetti.

This morning I had an appt at Quest Diagnostics in Jenkintown for lab tests necessary bc of my kidney transplant in 2011.

I have been having symptoms of a UTI - urinary tract infection - but rathan all symptoms, I only have one:  pressure to pee.

No fever, no chills, nothing. I don't feel sick.

When the phlebotomist, Jane, used the term "20 drops of urine," I knew that was the title of my next poem.


The clear pee-cup awaits
we must check to see if my
UTI has come back
Monday is my test day at Quest
but I have called Nurse Sue to ask
if I could forge the doctor’s tests he
wants me to take, all because of that
‘pressure to pee,’ when only two drops
tinkle out on the upstairs pink toilet.

Yes, she says. Be sure to make the
checkmark like his – the balding man from
Lebanon, with the rolling stool and shiny
tasseled loafers.
After the check, you must circle
‘Routine Urinalysis,’ then “Culture”
no mistakes or they’ll know. 

The entire being of this aging freckled woman
goes into action. I must pee on demand at Quest.
Immediately I down two
huge cups of Peppermint tea
a glass of water to wash my thirst
from my two-omelet garlic eggs
then back into my parking spot
at Quest.

The place is empty. Like my
bladder soon will be.
Stiff-haired Jane does the
rudiments quickly
my Prograf level – which
keeps my kidney pulsing like
a little pocketbook within my
lower right belly – here
kidney kidney kidney –
she’s good and I don’t feel a
thing as I see her “God is Good”
sign by her desk.

I tell her my fear about peeing.
First, I must choose whether to use
the little kid’s word or the adult
multi-syllabic term that indicates
‘you are no longer young – the best years
of your life are over’ – pushing blond-haired
Sarah to the zoo in Austin where she’d lean
from her pram and wave at the chimps –
I don’t let on my fear, but say simply,
“Sure hope I can do it, Jane.”

It's like pleasing teacher.
Twenty drops is all I need, she says.
Twenty drops.
I sit in the waiting room. Read my book
for half an hour. ‘How are you doing down
there?’ I wonder about the clever elimination
system that is revving up for the splashes of
my mighty Niagara. 

Sure enough, my cup runneth over.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dr Suzanne Robison speaks about DBT

The very knowledgeable Suzanne Robison, PsyD - see her impressive website here - has a practice in Lansdale, PA. We learned about her since she spoke at one of the NAMI meetings.

Psychiatry/psychology loves acronyms she said. DBT stands for dialectical behavior therapy, invented by Marsha Linehan. It's an effective treatment for borderline personality disorder - BPD - a term invented by Freud.

First, she defined symptoms of BPD. You must have 5 out of 9 in order to earn this most stigmatized condition. 

Here are a couple off the top of my head:

-Fear of abandonment
-Unstable relationships
-Self-harm, such as cutting
-Identity problems

I hadn't known about 'inappropriate expression of anger.' Read about it here. 

We had a good turnout. Many came in late. One woman, who asked many questions, found out about us from the Intelligencer. They need three weeks' notice and I always forget to do it, but obviously remembered. is always useless, but I'm always in a panic and post it on there anyway.

We've had several people in New Directions with BPD. Just looked up one individual, who would tell me over the phone she was dying, but she is still living with her husband in Staten Island.

Reminded me of a case Suzanne mentioned. The woman had BPD and the man had dependency issues. He controlled her and she allowed it. Suzanne is working with him to loosen the bonds and for her to become more independent.

Suzanne teaches her adolescent clients the meaning of BPD, but that's not going to change their behavior.

They work both in groups or in solo sessions.

The person with borderline feels absolutely horrible inside. To them, the world is a scary place with little safety. They are acting out on others what they feel inside. Their behavior, they think, makes them feel good, but it only exacerbates the situation, which has been described as living a soap opera, with crises every single day.

Life is frustrating for the people who love a person with borderline. And they rarely know how to talk to their loved one, thus upsetting them more.

"I didn't want to upset her b/c I was afraid she'd cut herself more."

The goal is to live a life worth living.

Dialectical means 'opposite.' Dialetical statements have opposing view points such as "I think you're a kind person, but sometimes you push people too far."

A statement like this can provoke the client. They can end up in the hospital from cutting. But then they must pay the consequences with Suzanne.

She was first a drug and alcohol counselor, and then received training in DBT.

Suzanne describes herself as direct and confrontational.

25 percent of her clientele have borderline.

DBT makes use of cognitive behavior therapy - CBT - which is probly the only psychotherapy whose results have been studied and found effective.

Mindfulness meditation is one component of dialectical behavior therapy. Stay in the present moment.

B/c the client's emotions are so sensitive, she must be taught 'distress tolerance.' Whereas a regular person might get angry and feel it for a few minutes, not so the borderline person. She or he might not cool off for hours or even days.

Interpersonal skills are also worked on. How do we relate to other human beings?

It's believed that MM had BPD.

There are dialectical dilemmas suffered by the borderline person, which shows their black and white thinking - all or nothing - no shades of gray

Active vs. passive

Unrelenting crisis vs inhibited grieving

Idealism vs invalidation

Is the disorder learned or innate?

It's believed there's a genetic component that is brought out by the environment, the way the child is raised. Usually there has been serious trauma or invalidation by parental figures.

Suzanne teaches parents how to validate their children. You learn how to talk. Avoid phrases like "Your thinking is ridiculous!"

Say, instead, "I can understand how you feel that way.

Also avoid speaking in absolutes and using words such as - everyone, always, never - these imply that the world is an orderly predictable place. Be openminded to being wrong b/c we're not always right.

We can change things or we can accept them. We may not like them, but we can accept them. This is Eastern philosophy, Buddhist, Zen.

Acceptance. These concepts are also used by Alcoholics Anonymous.


Look the person in the eye.

Keep facial expressions neutral, no rolling of the eyes or huffing while the client/loved one talks.


Staying up all night with the loved one to help calm their nerves or make sure they don't cut. You might say, "How about if I give you a hug?"

These are enmeshed relationships. Controlling relationships. Defending the individual if they do wrong. Dependent on one another, thinking about each other more frequently than the average person would think of family members. Bad boundaries. (I'm thinking now of Lee Harvey Oswald and his mother Marguerite.)

Taking things personally.

Enabling by allowing use of drugs in the home.

Instead of cutting, do something pleasant for your body, such as Take a warm bath or light scented candles or talk to someone.


A slow process. Before DBT, no good treatments. Patients had chronic suicidality. They had gotten progressively worse. Wrong behavior was reinforced. Meds are not very helpful.

Suzanne tells her clients she is very bad with email, so don't email her.

Suzanne, dressed for the cold weather, left with our gifts

Further reading: 

I Hate You, Don't Leave Me by Kreisman and Straus

Stop Walking on Eggshells by Mason and Kreger.