December 31, 2010


There's an idea brewing in my head. As I look over the journal that is my blog, I find a recurring theme of frustration and burnout. What has not been mentioned is the boredom that David is experiencing. What I have been doing with my school is not working any better than the public school that David left. Not only have I not lit a fire, I have not even been filling the bucket! (see my mission statement) I have been very busy these last few days devising a new plan. In the past our plan has been mapped out in a planner with a task list for each day. The new plan includes time frames, in half hour increments, for each subject matter. This is my plan to get the work done. Oh my... really??

December 15, 2010

Burnout Blues

Is it really true that only eight short weeks ago that I was filled with zeal and optimism for our home school year? Sheesh... All I can say now is that the bucket is empty and the fire is cold. A great curriculum is dead in the water with the exception of anything that doesn't involve me. I've gained more weight and David is still only halfway through the math course that we started last year. I'm tired, intensely irritable and ready to chase down the school bus.

I'm burned out...

October 9, 2010

Grand Rapids Got Talent!

Art Prize 2010 has been one of the best things to happen to Western Michigan in a long time. It was good news and good times in the midst of a state that has held the dubious honor of being at the top of the list for unemployment in the United States. Grand Rapids is the second largest city in the state and I have the pleasure of living a mere 20 minutes from its heart.

In the midst of paintings, drawings, sculptures and creativity in an array to astonish and captivate the mind, "Play Me, I'm Yours" street pianos popped up all over town. Yes, pianos. Seventeen of them scattered around the city. Brightly painted, they were there for anyone to play. My son and I spent an afternoon in the city and we determined that we would play every one that we saw. We had rehearsed a little duet called "Boogie on Broadway" - only slightly rehearsed, mind you - and we would play the pianos until we found the one that wasn't broken. In other words, the one on which we finally got our little duet right. Here are five of the six pianos that we played.

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As varied as the art work itself were the people playing the pianos. Mamas holding their babies as they helped them plunk a few notes with one finger while papa took a picture. Little kids plunking with all ten fingers. Older kids playing Chopsticks. Young people like my son who has taken a couple of years of lessons and makes a good showing. There was the guy who got arrested. The guy picks the piano in front of the police station and plays a single note over and over, to the great annoyance of the cops. He has a warrant on him for felony burglary. One of the annoyed cops recognizes that the guy has "paper" on him, checks it out and arrests the dude. There are 17 pianos to choose from and he picks the one in front of the police station and he can't even play Chopsticks!? Give the dude the "DUH" Award and some piano lessons while he's in jail. And, then, there was this man.

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David and I stopped to listen to three of his songs but did not ask him his name. He was masterfully accomplished at jazz and classical alike. These were the people we were looking for, the people who knew what they were doing with 88 keys.

While strolling down Monroe in search of ice cream, we heard another great performance happening on the piano in front of the infamous police station. Not only was he playing but there were a couple of ladies standing very close to him, heads bent low. I knew they were listening to words, as well. We crossed the street and, indeed, the gentleman was singing. It was a beautifully melodic song with the hook "since you been gone." The lyrics were poetic and well crafted (and, yes, I'm a lyrical snob). By the end of the song, I was moved to tears.

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I spoke with Michael Matthews and, as I suspected, the song was his own composition. He was not interested in producing and marketing the song. He spoke of keeping his life simple to remain available for the Lord's work. We agreed that simplicity is tough in this complicated world. Pursuing a music career does not a simple life make. At least that's what Mr. Matthews and I both thought.

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Without a mic to elevate his voice over the piano accompaniment, I don't know if Michael Matthews could actually sing his own song and get past Piers Morgan. It would not be for me to say. Mr. Matthews' vote was for Keith Urban to sing his song. I don't know about that either. I do know is that there are a lot of people out there that know how to play the piano, one that we met has composed a really good song and Grand Rapids showed her talent on the street pianos on some beautiful days during Art Prize.

Oh, and by the way, the two pianos on the left in the collage at the top of the post are the ones that weren't "broken"... Took us all afternoon to finally find them...

October 5, 2010

Mother Knows Best

They are the professionals but you are the expert...

About eight months ago, I posted on David's medication changing again. This is an update to that post. At that time we were switching David to Methylin ER, a generic six-hour medication that was to deliver a level, longer acting effect and reduce the occurrence of rebound. It did, in fact, deliver a level, longer acting effect and reduced the occurrence of rebound. It was cheap and always in stock. It also produced a deleterious side effect that quickly escalated to alarming.

September 28, 2010

We're Baaack!!!

It has been six months since the last post. In the very first post of this blog, I spoke of the blog becoming another unfinished pile in my ADD life of piles. And, yep... But, that's the beauty of a blog. Who is it for anyway? Why, the blog is for the blogger (that would be me). If the blogger gets bloggees (rhymes with devotees and groupies), that's super! Hey, I have a bloggee (that would be my husband), so it's all good, eh?

March 1, 2010

PS to Monday's Post

David expressed his profound and sincere gratitude more than several times for the way we handled the medication mix-up. He went to bed early and is now getting a good night's sleep :)

February 28, 2010

Medication Mix-up

Don't make a bad situation worse.

It's Monday morning. David is in bed and will most likely be there for a while. We had a big mix up last night. We are certain that he took a dose of methylin (a long acting stimulant medication for ADHD) when he should have taken trazodone (sleep and anxiety medication). He was already in bed when he became very disoriented and confused. While the methylin doesn't have this sort of effect on him during the day, I witnessed a wild-eyed agitation that could not be the result of trazodone.

February 27, 2010

Hyperfocus Strikes Again

Old house on Quincy Street

Just playing with my new used digital SLR. Learning curves that excite me tend to consume me so I have to beware lest the boy stay a sixth grader for the rest of his life...

ADHD Banana Bread

I know people who possess amazing prowess in the kitchen. My appreciative comment to them is that if they cook, I'll do the the dishes.

February 21, 2010

Cabin Fever

I can't believe it's only been seven days since my perky little post about today's gonna be a good day hooha...

No inspiration. No motivation. Not one thought to string to another. Oh man! it's February. My father always said that February is the longest month of the year. Amen...and can I just go back under my blanket and watch another movie now? I'm busting my brains trying to motivate David and it becomes very clear that I can't even motivate myself. It's not him. It's not me. It's not an uninspired curriculum. My curriculum is exceptionally inspired, thank you very much. It's not ADD. It's not the economy, global warming or my 20 pound weight gain crashing head on into middle age (UGH). IT'S FEBRUARY. Living in the Winter Wonder Why I'm Here Land gets terminally tedious about this time of year. Sometimes there's not one thing to do but to just hang on and wait until it's over. Don't second guess the plan. Don't force the plan. Don't blame anything and, especially, don't blame anyone. It's February. February is loooooooong. Just hang on...this, too, shall pass...(going back under my blanket now............mmmm, nice and me when it's me when the Black Eyed Peas get to town........and, uh, if you're looking for Otis?...he's with me...purring an 18 going on 20 pound purr...

February 15, 2010

Today's Gonna Be a Good Day

It's Monday. I like Mondays. TGIM, right? Weekends can be kind of dicey around here as all of the disorders come together and rub each other the wrong way. Dad is disordered, son is disordered and I'm the monkey in the middle. Even the cat is disordered. He's over grooming himself. He's yanking the fur out of his big belly with his teeth! The vet says he either has a flea allergy or he's stressed. It's not fleas. The cat needs xanax. Maybe that's where my little stash has gone to, eh? So, when we get back to the routine of the week, ahem...the possibility of the routine for the week, I'm relieved. I'm hopeful. The possibilities are, well, possible!

February 12, 2010

Otis, the Witful One...

It's time for a few formal introductions. I shall begin with our Otis. He is the family menagerie and the love of our lives. He looks like a cat, acts like a dog and eats like a pig!

February 10, 2010

Medication Changes

It was several years ago when we decided to consider medication for David's ADHD. Most parents don't want their child on medication and we were no exception. However, something that his first grade teacher said during one of our conversations about his probable ADHD hit a nerve. She made reference to medication giving David relief. That comment brought it home that this was not about the frustration with the constant disruption that the disorder brings to the family and the classroom. It was about David. The word relief crystallized the realization that the disorder caused the most frustration and disruption to the life of the disordered person and all others were secondary. Dad and I relinquished our position and moved forward with medication. There is victory in surrender.

January 14, 2010

Passwords, Keys and Phone Numbers

Applying the 80/20 rule to familiar frustration.

It has been nine days since I created this blog and published my one and only post. I had an idea for a new post and with words and concepts swirling in my head I eagerly approached my computer. I pulled up the blog, clicked the sign in button and realized that I could not remember my user ID or password. Neither had I written them down. I write down user IDs and passwords, security question answers, little picture thingys and everything else that goes along with the online life. Except this time. Oh, the familiar frustration. All the more frustrating in it's familiarity.

January 4, 2010

What's In a Name?

It took some work to find an appropriate name for the blog. I wanted to strike a balance between truth and humor, reality and hope. The Sane Asylum, Finding Level Ground, School and Home, and The Absurd Life were all taken. Futility Defeated, Sidestepping Sanity, Launching Logic and Sisyphus Redeemed (more on Sisyphus later) were all possibilities but lacked, hmmm, some sort of necessary inanity. Truth is, if there's no humor, there's no hope.

The New World Dictionary defines wit as mental faculties with respect to their state of balance, esp. in their normal condition of sanity. Huh? As a newly determined ADD woman who is working to home school her ADHD son, balance and sanity are always in view and always out of reach. I know what balance looks like. I don't know what it feels like and I certainly don't know how to choreograph it. Does sanity exist without balance? Not in my experience. The dictionary goes on to articulate 'at one's wits' end' - a point where one's mental resources are exhausted; at a loss as to what to do. Then there's 'to keep one's wits about one' which is to remain mentally alert. Okay, doing well on both of them simultaneously. I'm entirely alert to the fact that I am at a loss as to what to do. I am an ADD woman who is trying to help her ADHD son cope with his disorder. It is, in fact, a case of the blind leading the blind.

Therefore, Beyond Wits' End is a most appropriate name for this blog. The purpose of the blog is to have one place to keep account of our successes and failures, our goals and challenges of living, loving and learning within the confines of our disorders. The blog will replace the notebooks and bookmarks I've accumulated in my quest for knowledge about our disorders and centrally locate the sources of my research. I can construct the concepts into concrete collections of words that will help to define and direct my efforts into something useful.... Did I really say that? In other words, maybe I can gather my wits and make some sense of it all. If all else fails, it is a creative venture that I can call my own. And, it won't leave a pile of materials sitting in a corner if it becomes another undone project in my long list of undones. I'm chock full of ideas but out of words so I will close on this note: there is life beyond wits' end... Good night!


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