Archive for March, 2008

racing a dying battery

greetings constant reader. Just on an organizational note i edited “going crazy part 4” and am going to plunge on with that narrative by request. Thank you for the positive feedback, although it would be cooler to see it in the comment section. I am also thinking of some more childhood truckdriving stories, maybe John can help me out with some ideas. I went house hunting today, there are an overwhelming number in my price range. I saw one stucco “arts & crafts” bungalow i really liked and i am going to schedule an appointment with a realtor tomorrow. I am feeling very grown up and i almost had a panic attack when i thought i won’t just be able to tell work to shove it up their ass and take off hitchhiking anymore. On the plus side i talked to The Popster and he is sounding excited about coming to live with me so i suspect it’ll be worth it. I was on facebook confirming i was friends with phoebe and stacey and a pretty girl i did not know pinged me. i pinged her back, is that the right thing to do? i also made bean soup with my ham bone from easter, it came out a little greasy. I will try to scoop it off the top when it congeals, my apologies to the vegetarians. I have been thinking more and more that veganism is more akin to an eating disorder than social statement. Like anyone cares what the fat guy thinks about eating disorders. Well i’d better publish this before my battery dies. All of the plugs were taken.

Categories: Uncategorized

End of March Blues

March 30, 2008 1 comment

I didn’t give my coat to the homeless guy today, its kind of new and I like it and as I discovered this afternoon, a free or cheap one can’t be had this time of year, for a big guy. He was disappointed we drove out to Wal-Mart and didn’t buy anything. But we don’t really have a budget for “consumables” and we run a lean mean operation. Couldn’t get his diabetes meds either, only heard he needed them this morning, his Medicaid is lapsed and he doesn’t have a script. Best I could do on a Friday is make sure he knows the signs of high and low blood sugar and point out the closest emergency room to the homeless shelter. “And watch your diet too”. Dude didn’t even know who I was at the salvation army, started talking to a clerk thinking he was me, while I was looking at books. It’s a hard old world. He’d just done a 6 month stretch for probation violation for being ornery at the group home and was discharged to the local psych unit for a 2 day stay who apparently discharged him without meds. He’s not accepted at the homeless shelter because they don’t take people straight out of Mid-Mo so he’s there on whats called a “cold cot”. Anyone can stay a night if its shitty outside, but April 1 is on Tuesday and the April Fools joke around here is their ain’t no more “cold cots” till November. Got turned down from the ½ empty long-term dual diagnosis homeless dude program because he’s been clean too long. Damn. Should have smuggled him some crack 2 months ago when he was at the county jail. Now I know for next time. I’d added him onto my schedule for dumping him on my co-worker, but she’s great. Got his psych-meds, cheap. Working on getting his psych records to get him into the homeless shelter program by Monday. She rocks, so I had to put in a little extra effort and work late without getting caught up, and still didn’t score him a jacket. Every appointment went long with a steady flow of calls. It makes my head spin. But it was exciting too. Wrestling with issues of sobriety, being real with really interesting and dynamic personalities but struggling. Good to see big turn arounds, someone excited about recovery and get to pay him back with a passionate presentation at the Medicaid review hearing. Had to slam our programs psych to do it. Point out she’d seen him 9 times and he had 9 diagnoses. Said although I had a lowly masters and was no psychiatrist I’d spent 10 or 20 times longer and new the story and had seen the scene. It was sweet, I hope we win. Had to give up a months worth of food stamps to go for the appeal. I feel totally fried though, all week was like today. Bam its starting out at 8:00 am unless the calls don’t come first and its just jamming every day. 5-6-7 appointments every day, driving to most of them and training 2 new workers and overseeing a third taking crisis calls from most of the case load. Squeezed out a 20 minute lunch today only the 2nd one this week, but I also have 4 days of casenotes to write. Its scaring me to think I got approved for a mortgage this week and am buying a house. For the first time in my life I’ll need to have a job. I won’t be able to just walkaway when it gets too much. Its going to be interesting. I expect I’ll get a lot better at striking a balance. That or my head’ll explode.

Categories: work

presentations on domestic violence and batterer intervention

I have recently given 2 presentations on domestic violence and batterers intervention at classes at University of Missouri. I have been having students email me their notes and thought it might be interesting to post one of them. The one I posted here I did with Elise, the Shelter counselor, which went pretty well. I did  a better one last night with Nancy, my batterer group co-facilitator but the notes weren’t as good.


·        They all think that they are pretty good guys.

·        How can that be?

o       Obfuscation

§         They don’t see it clearly; it is not seen clearly by anyone.

§         EX – domestic violence survivors that love their abusers

o       Minimize

§         It wasn’t a big deal. The “Halo Effect” – it is easier to remember the good times than the bad times.

o       Deny

§         Lying – it happened but you can’t admit it.

§         Lying to self – it didn’t happen and I don’t have to do anything.

o       Blame

§         Blaming the victim – she made me do it. All of society does this. Or, I was drunk, I was high; I am not like this.

ú         EX – why does she stay? Instead, we should ask – why does he do it?

1 out of 3 marriages will experience domestic violence in the first year. 2 out of 3 will experience it at some point. The point is that it is extremely common.

Alcohol increases the level of violence but does not cause violence in itself.

Men referred by the courts; in general, jail is better at getting results than groups. Try not to offer it as a deferment for jail terms.

The peer influence is what makes the groups work. They need to be held accountable.

The men’s group at FCC is not just for those who have committed a violent act; it is also for those who are controlling in their relationships. It is a 27 week program. This group is about changing attitudes and beliefs. The 27 weeks is just the tip of the iceberg, it is only the beginning of change.

Honor the fact that what survivors have done has saved their lives up to this point. Don’t tell them what they need to do. Just offer support.

The heart of domestic violence is not hitting; it is all about power and control (emotional and mental abuse). As bad as the physical abuse was, it was not as bad as when he called me names and isolated me.


·        No matter how women use their voice – it is still a social problem.

·        All the isms come to play when we talk about domestic violence and sexual assault.

o       Domestic violence happens at the same rate in the queer community as in the straight community.

·        Stalking is something that generally happens at the tail end of the relationship. Many women don’t even realize that they are being abused or stalked until they have the opportunity to seek out help.

·        Issue of marital rape – very difficult to address because we have a hard time talking about sex in the first place.

Categories: domestic violence

life in como

Hi faithful readers. Sorry i have not posted anything personal and substantive and i’m sorry for again opening with an apology. I’ve added a link to my friend Lisa’s blog, travels with trevor, which is allegedly about their exploits in zambia as peace corps volunteers. Apparently it is hard to get internet access in zambia and their blog is looking worse than mine. Nonetheless i wish them well and hope to visit them this winter or next. Tarot has me locked down in my job indefinitely so it will be a while before i can get away to go adventuring. It has long been a dream of mine to spend the winter in the southern hemisphere, spring-summer-fall-summer-spring-summer-fall-summer it has such a magic ring to it. if not this year then next for sure. the good part, or one of the good parts, about tarot making me a responsible person is the bank account is climbing nicely and when i do go i’ll have the money to travel abroad, something i’ve never been able to do in the past. Work goes well but is becoming increasingly demanding. i have had back to back appointments all day every day for 4 weeks in a row, which is bad enough before you consider paperwork, 10-40 phone calls a day, plus incidentals. its dragging me down. We have hired 2 new members for the team and my supervisory role is finally here. Of course it takes more time to teach someone to do something than to do it yourself but i can see the payoff. I like my new co-workers very much, one is very young and very smart and she is already taking some of the organizational responsibilities off of my weary shoulders. The other is very earthy and real ablbeit a bit funky, but who isn’t. i think she is going to be fine and she knows her way around como better than anyone. We are moving our daily meeting to first thing in the morning and I hope to make case assignments then and get out of the running around doing errands and focus more on the counseling type things, the difficult cases (i get all the potentially dangerous psychopaths), and administrative crap. My boss and i have been having a mutual admiration party, we both revealed we each were the only reason we stayed at this fucked up agency (its getting better, really). On a personal front Dave Smith blew through town. I had promised him that if he ever wanted to get into recovery i would get him into a program. He called me after getting out of Flower Hosp. psych unit and getting refused acceptance at the Cherry Street Mission recovery was looking kind of good. I told him it was hard and he would really have to change and that i wasn’t taking him in if he washed out and he decided to come. I got him an assessment, he called me from the treatment center and i saw him there a couple of times where he struggled with the rules and playing nice with the other kids. After 2 weeks he called me from Mid-Mo (our local paragon of inpatient psychiatric care-this is sarcasm if it didn’t translate). They cut his meds (you know your on a lot of meds when a psych unit takes them away). He was pissed, they cut his stimulant in half, took away his ambien, and wouldn’t give him Xanax for the transition. Apparently, Mid-Mo thought some greyhound therapy would be best (God bless Midmo) and they shipped him off for Reno NV. Dave picked there because he heard it was a good place to be homeless. All in all i feel like i got off lightly. A lot of calls and whiny requests for assistance, most of which i refused. At first i was disapointed with my company. We are a substance abuse agency allegedly trying to provide integrated substance abuse-mental health counseling or be co-occurring competent, and i thought Dave was a fair test of seeing where we were at and i thought we had failed, because Dave did try, bless his heart. But when i saw my substance abuse agency did quite a bit better than the psychiatric unit i had to admit we are doing OK on this front. The sad part is my program probably could have helped him and i wouldn’t let dave in because we were friends and i didn’t want to work with him. What is it about me that i spend my life helping strangers in a way that i won’t help someone close to me (alright he is incredibly annoying so i’m not beating myself up, i still talk to him which is better than most of the people who know him will do). I thought about ethical considerations of posting here but then i thought i only know dave through personal contacts and i only revealed stuff he told me personally and not anything i learned as a worker so i’m probably safe here. The final straw to publish this was when he tried to hit me up for my Dad’s phone #. My dad is struggling enough without having Dave trying to manipulate him into assisting him. i told him my dad lived in an undisclosed location and i couldn’t give him the #. I did give him $6.00 to start his new life. Dave’s a survivor, so i suspect he will be OK, but the world is getting to be a harder place. On other fronts, I spoke at a Sociology and Gender class on domestic violence. I’ll try to post the notes next week. It was fun and went well. Next week i speak to a social work class on batterer intervention. I also continue to be a former smoker, 18 days and counting.

Categories: Uncategorized


Active or Reflective Listening is a relationship building tool that helps the listener provide support and validation to the speaker. Active Listening allows the speaker to clarify their understanding of their own thoughts, feelings, and attitudes and to arrive at their own solutions. Individuals who come to their own solutions are more invested in them as each individual is the biggest expert on their own life. For the listener active listening is how empathy is developed.




1.     Listen with total attention

2.     Maintain good eye contact

3.     Keep an open posture

4.     Keep them talking (uhuh, yeah, ok, you were saying, and then what happened)

5.     Ask clarifying questions

6.     Withhold judgment

7.     Reflect back to the speaker both the content and the emotions you are hearing




1.     Advice giving

2.     Problem solving

3.     Swapping war stories or toppers


An example from literature:


“For Byers paid close attention, helping him on by little nods and eye narrowings and pursing of lips and voiced brief agreements and comments…”       – Fritz Lieber

Categories: feelings, health


The difference between successful people and people who struggle is the successful individual can picture where they want their life to be and break down the steps towards getting their into achievable pieces. People who struggle simply respond to the daily crisis or the daily grind if their a bit more stable. Heres the common wisdom on setting goals. 

1.    Significant – A goal should be about something that is important.

2.    Achievable – A goal should be something that is possible.

3.    Positively Stated – It is easier to do something positive then stop something negative.

4.    Measurable – You have to know whether it happened or not to achieve goals.

5.    Time Limited – Deadlines make things happen.

6.    Sets Up the Next Goal – Living a successful life is a never ending process of setting and achieving goals.

Categories: philosophy

quitting smoking

I am sorry i haven’t posted, i didn’t realize its been 3 weeks, and this isn’t going to be much of a post. There have been 2 big reasons why i haven’t posted. Reason #1, I quit smoking, its been 8 days and i feel really good about this time. I am taking the chantex which certainly helps but is not eliminating the withdrawal symptoms as well as it did when i took it this summer. Nonetheless i have been mentally strong and that has helped a lot more. When i quit this summer i still had this secret fantasy that i could abstain for a time, break the back of the addiction, and then smoke once in a while. Now i know this isn’t true. Like a lot of addicts i can’t have one, ever, without tremendous risk of falling back into the habit. I have picked up a tremendous fascination for these tea tree oil flavored toothpicks out of Australia. (cinnamon is the best) My dreams haven’t been as rocking as i expected either. They have increased in frequency but have been pretty humdrum and not worth reporting. I did read yesterday that in dreams all of the characters are you. That has been a new angle on dream interpretation that i am looking forward to examining. On another front i have my training on friday for all the case managers in the agency. Since i am procrastinating working on it it has pre-empted all of my other projects, even though i’m not working on it. go figure.

Categories: health