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2005-03-14 - 9:23 a.m.

I talked with Katerina and her father as well as Soren this morning.

Soren seems to be excited to have gotten letters about the little girls here. He loves and misses his sisters. He however seems to be glad to have the time with his Daddy. He was excited they went to The Buffalo Zoo yesterday and watched Star Wars on Sat.

These are all good things for him.

Katerina is thriving at the School she is at. She however isn't really practicing violin much. She isn't yet playing with the school Orchestra as she isn't good enough yet by the teacher's assessment. (See what happens when one doesn't practice)
She just isn't a self motivated person, and never has been. (Interesting since she was in a Middle school orchestra here in the fourth grade and seemed to like it! She was proud of herself then!)

I've been reading FAMILY FIRST by Dr.Phil and ironically she is the kind of kid who THRIVES with the authoritarian parent that Westley is! It's so ironic to me that he is just what Dr. Phil Recommends for her personality. p>

Katerina however also is the type of person who being passive herself (just like her Dad!) is not a good fit with the NATURAL parenting style of her Daddy. HE is ALSO passive and According to Dr. Phil that match of styles end up "Sitting watching the drapes together."

To her Father's credit though, he has been making great effort to GET THINGS FOLLOWED UP ON when I express interest in something for the kids! I am pleased that after the inital frustration and disappointment of him being unwilling to consider City Honors for Katerina, that he acknowledged it was because that was where HE first became a pot user. I then understood his issues with that. (Of course projecting one's own fears and assuming that your child is just like you isn't always good- but since Katerina IS a little like him I could see his fear. She however has had VERY different parenting to date than HE so I don't think she'd be as overwealmed by the "stress" as he saw the City Honors program!)
And although it makes no sense to me that after his fear of stress of City Honors he then is willing to consider ths Gifter Math program at UB , I'm not going to try to figure it out (or point out this would be as academically challenging) as I am SO THRILLED that he is indeed following up and went to the parent meeting and confirmed that Katerina is indeed scheduled for testing for this on March 19th! YAH!!!

My fear is however that he is following up and doing well with some things FOR THE CUSTODY CASE and that should he win custody and then NOT be under scrutiny of the law guardian that his burst of motivation will end.

Katerina also told me some weeks back that the PSAT book I ordered and sent arrived and was brand new. She was thrilled and impressed (Although honestly seemed less impressed when I told her I got it for only $3.00 on! She was touched thinking I spent alot on it-- I was excited by the bargain! So much for materialism not really mattering... oh well....)
But in any case, she was excited and motivated by the idea of the program. She however seemed to think she might not get in as she got only 9 of 30 correct at her first practice math section of the PSAT. I encouraged her that she would be compared to other 6th graders and that might be good enough. I told her of Westley's engineering class story where he got a 25% on a test at RIT and went to see the Professor to see what he could do- get tutoring etc... to improve. The guy said "Don't worry. You had the highest score in the class. Your carrying an A now."

I also told her that getting 9 of 30 for a test designed for kids in the 9th grade is pretty impressive for a sixth grader!

So I explained not to stress and just do her best as she has no idea how the other kids will do and its all looked at in comparison to the whole pool of applicants. I explained the bell curve and she got it. So she seemed motivated to work on the problems in the book, reading the correct answers and trying to see what she can learn between now and the test. (THat was a few weeks back when I talked to her about it.)

There is also a battery of other tests of IQ and math ability- so who knows- she might get in! She might not as its designed for the top 1% of students and while I know she has always been at the top of her class we don't know if she'll be that gifted in math.

Katerina however is really excited at the possibility, and I am so thrilled that her Dad also seems to be. (Well- he doesn't seem EXCITED, but said "Since you wanted me to do this I am taking her for the testing.")

That's good enough for me.
And I am sure it didn't get by him that it would look good for him in the custody case! (Obviously)

That being true- I don't care what his motive is. If she really gets into the program it would alone be enough of a reason, along with him actually demonstrating support and encouragement of what SHE wants, that I would think that maybe being there with her Dad WOULD have some benefits for her! (As long as he REALLY IS CLEAN and is REALLY going to continue to be there for her.)

I guess I also see that even from afar I can continue to parent and nag in the good way as needed. Although its not what is most optimal, I feel like I can still be somewhat effective!

Although I think she STILL hasn't gotten those thank you cards in the mail! (Nor has he facilitated that!) I literally COACHED her through finally writing them one night on the phone:

"Hello Katerina!"
"Hi MOM!"
"Do you have some time now? Are you busy or is this a good time to talk"
"No , I was just going to watch TV"

"Ok- Did you write those thank you notes yet?"

"before we talk go find the addresses and your stationary and sit down to write those thank you notes. I'll talk to Soren naw until your done and then I'll talk to you."

So I talked to Soren and only intermittently to her (as she had gone to get a glass of orange juice, then somthing else... so I re-directed her back on task a few times)
Finally I ended talking to Soren to find she couldn't talk as she had homework to do for the next day her Dad then told her to do! It was about 7:30pm.

She did however tell me over the next few conversations that she finished the notes and they are addressed on her Daddy's desk. I asked if she needs stamps and she said no. I think I should mail her some this week anyway!

Last week the parenting project was encouraging her to ask GRANDMOM to take her to the POST office on the way to her Dad's to see if there are packages for her! A few arrived- like books from Amazon a friend sent her. But there are a few OTHER packages sent via the US POST office that were never picked up by her Father! I hope they are still at the actual post office.

Also, gifts sent via UPS were never picked up by her DAD either and they were returned. My parents send stuff, as did the Philadelphia grandparents (HEr Dad's Father and his wife)
Those were never recieved.
I know that UPS sends cards and I explained to her father you have to call them in a timely fashion to tell them when you can be home to accept a package! Otherwise they hold them and that's what happened. He never made it to the UPS place to pick them up. (Of course the fact he doesn't have a car makes that hard)

So I instructed Katerina to find her ID of the Library card (I got her one YEARS AGO and she still has it in a purse at Grandmom's for the Buffalo Public Library). I told her the three packages missing were addressed TO HER and might be sitting at the post office. I said ASK GRANDMOM to bring you in- and with Gramdmom and her ID maybe she can pick them up. She takes the bus to grandmom's after school every day.

So I'll continue to coach her to get help in getting to the post office.

My mom sent her a handmade doll (that was my mother's) that Katerina carried around with her when she went on Vacation to FL to my parent's last summer. Mom is heartbroken that she hasn't received it.

Her father asked all packages to be sent to his mother's from now on.

I have a problem with that. Yes it might be silly and stubborn- but damn it, if he wants to be a parent he should be able to get mail and receive packages for his kids. How hard can it be to responsibly call or fill out those post office cards? How hard can it be to answer the door?
It makes me worry about whether there is still a substance abuse problem and he has all he can do to get to work and the AA meetings nightly and is not yet fully functional.

I don't really feel like sending packages to grandmom's. I'll just hand deliver everything from now on and I told my friends and family to mail stuff TO ME and from now on I'll bring it when I travel! (Like their VA Aunt and Uncle's gifts that they got!)

I also told my family "FEEL FREE to mail anything to Grandmom and call there if you want! You can have whatever relationship with her you choose to. I for one REFUSE "

That's that! As far as I am concerned this whole custody case is HERS and she had it in cue for years.
I in fact think my manipulated neighbors feel a little silly and actually may have figured that out by now.... but that's another story. They have returned to acting normal, and actually a bit penitent toward me over the past few years. I also think that they (as the parent's of Katerina's best friend) truly must MISS her!

Interestingly, the mom actually STARTED a SUZUKI program right at Lincoln Elementary THIS YEAR! Isn't that something.

She undoubtedly must have been impressed by what she saw that do for Katerina. (I used to send her with her violin there as she was welcome to go over there after school but still had to practice daily so I let her practice there and they loved listening!) I remember the mom saying in second grade that she never met a child with as good of a self esteem and as much pride and confidence as Katerina.

Katerina is in touch with her best friend still, so I think they get a sense of what her family life in the tiny apartment must be like in comparison to here. I also think that when the custody case came forth they HAD to then have a clue that maybe everything they heard from GRANDMOM wasn't necessarily true... and they must see they were being used! I however am not going to even venture into a conversation with them about these matters. What's done is done- and I think people eventually realize when they've been had!

Interestingly, Daniel's best friend is also playing the violin in the new suzuki program! I think its really incredible to see how the two of my kids have positively influenced their peers to want to be like them!

Soren's friend's mom was so thrilled to tell me all about the new program!Funny..... And Soren isn't playing an instrument now (although the social worker during the custody case told me his Dad claims he is... whatever...he is really a master of lies. Playing an instrument for a 1/2 hour the one day its discovered in a closet where its sat for years doesn't constitute STUDY of the instrument!)

Last of my fears to list for today regarding the older kids:

I FEAR about substance abuse and worry that the really nice 1729 Stradiurius (YES THAT's how the German's spelled it wrong!) that Katerina has to play will disappear some day....

I worry about the report that Dad went throgh clothes of Katerina and Soren to "take to good will"

Did he need a tax write off? LACK of space for them? Or did he SELL Them as an addict would do? or is he just an idiot considering the one pair of Cords that no longer fit KAterina don't fit as she now has hips suddenly and they were a boy's cut- and **newsflash** Even too big they'd be MUCH better on Soren than the TOO SMALL floods I noted him wearing when I picked him up last! (I had no time to make a scene and get him to change.. NOTE MADE TO SELF to actually BRING nice clothes WITH ME next time I pick them up so I can take them to CHANGE to my standard of NON EMBARASSING ATTIRE.... YES THE CONTOLLING PARENT!! I WON"T LET KIDS PICK CLOTHES THAT DON"T FIT

OR is he just downright inconsiderate and selfish to not think about the fact MY HUSBAND the so alleged evil one HAD PROVIDED ALMOST ALL THOSE CLOTHES... and that the kids HAVE SIBLINGS that they should be passed onto!!!

ALSO IF he is so selfish and an idiot to get rid of them-- would he even KNOW The value of some of the higher end clothing that he wouldn't have ever been able to afford to buy?

Hmmm.... I just HOPE that there were no O'Lily items that got sent to GOOD WILL... I mean.... we do have other girls. Katerina's Step FATHER DID take her shopping and splurged on her a few times.

Its horrible to have to be in the situation where I am literally AFRAID to send some of those expensive - supposed to be special clothes to Katerina for fear her DAD will encourage her to get rid of them.

That's just sad and not fair to her.

Fortunately most of those were really outgrown by her and here in the bins for the other girls to grow into anyway... but still, if there are any O'Lily things still in her wardrobe that got "sent to Good Will" by her Dad it would make me VERY SUSPICIOUS.

And I really worry about that violin which I WORKED for in order to be able to afford to buy with help of Westely who agreed to re-furbish it. I make very little money myself at this point!

It makes me worry all the more when Katerina is NOT practicing as that would make it easier for it to just disappear without it being noticed right away.

OH well-- now those fears are vented I am going to get some productive things done today then take the girls for a drive WEST to see the mountains as the girls look out at the Blue Ridge Mountains and constantly ask to go there! They want to walk on them! They won't quite understand that we are in them when we get there. I envision now them saying "Where are they?"

But we'll venture out for a hike later on.
First I have to pack up and get to the Post Office as I E-BAYED my old Wedding and Engagement Rings. The custody case gave me incentive and motivation to get it done. (WAS thinking of saving the .24 Caret diamond for KAterina for a pendant- but I do have a lawyer to pay)

And I have a few clothing items I sold! Ironically the one I thought would never sell did- and the lovely Larua Ashley dress I wasn't sure I should list did not sell! I'm happy to save it for one of the girls and may just now wear it for EAster myself.

Looking for what sources of income I can come up with so I can pay my attorney.

People really should think of what good it does kids before they start custody battles!
In this case this battle is all because my EX wants to be privy to how my spouse is handling his issues. Ironically even after this whole thing is done my hubby won't have disclosed his personal business to my EX- as he has a legal right to privacy he'll protect. I am a firm believer in letting each individual be responsible for their own issues- so even I as Westley's spouse don't feel the need to know how WESTELY himself is dealing with his stuff.... I just need to deal with ME, and the RELATIONSHIPS I have- both with Westley and with my children. And as for my relationship with WESTLEY, I can respect that he is willing to talk to a marriage counselor so we can have valuable advice and help- but beyond the counselor-- I don't feel the NEED to discuss my relationship with anyone else- and CERTAINLY not my EX!! So when Westley vows to keep his personal issues private I'm supportive of that, ESPECIALLY as I know that my spouse is not REALLY what this whole custody thing is about in the end anyway. Any issues of mine and Westley's are just being used as an excuse to get the case brought forth. In some ways I think - ITS ABOUT TIME- LETS GET THIS OVER WITH ....
although in many ways we are happy to have KAterina and Soren's DAD being responsible and think he will be AS LONG AS THE CASE IS IN THE COURT so in some ways I think... DRAG IT OUT AS LONG AS POSSIBLE

I think of it this way: ITS WORTH Every penny I send to an attorney to have their DAD involved in their lives! Some things can't be bought- like love of a parent, but then some things CAN BE FACILITATED by having money... like a custody battle... which indirectly is a GREAT MOTIVATOR for their formerly non involved parent to not only ATTEMPT to PARENT for the first time in years, but gives him incentive to DO SOME THING RIGHT! (LIKE THEY WERE BROUGHT TO THE OPEN HOUSE AT THE CATHOLIC SCHOOL HE IS CONSIDERING FOR SOREN! YAH! AND THE KIDS WERE BROUGHT TO MASS ON ASH WED... and WILL ON EASTER... I guess raising ASHES AND PALMS CATHOLICS and having their DAD in their lives is still better than raising devote CAtholics who REALLY practice the faith but NOT HAVING Their DAD involved? RIGHT? I hope.....)

Regarding the CAtholic School- GRANDMOM is apparently encouraging it for Soren too... SEE although she is evil in wishing to be their mother, she is still good hearted in some ways as she has always hoped to support what is good for them! (AND I realize those words apply to her: "God forgive them they know not what they do...") I do think that once this custody case is resolved that if the court is so dumn to grant custody to the kids father that his mother would almost immediately resume being the one caring for them over 90% of the time. Now their Dad is more involved than ever before! It also occurred to me that if I should lose custody that it seems THE NEXT LOGICAL STEP in the process I see unfolding is that my EX would then be slammed with ANOTHER custody battle! I would bet that GRANDMOM would petition for the kids over him! It wouldn't necessarilly happen right away-- but if he is the so called custodial parent I think that inevitable!

She doesn't MEAN to be truly manipulative and a bitch (As an old bitty burst out calling her here in VA when I told her of the kids being in a custody case but REALLY GRANDMOM being the one wanting them there! THAT WAS SO FUNNY.... OLD PEOPLE GET TO A POINT OF NOT CARING WHAT PEOPLE THING AND THEY ARE BLUNT! IT was at Thanksgiving at our friends and neighbor's house) And I hadn't even said a bad word about GRANDMOM! THe old bitty continued "THERE IS ONLY ONE WORD FOR ANY GRANDMOTHER THAT WOULD TRY TO TAKE CHILDREN AWAY FROM THEIR MOTHER! SHE"S A BITCH!"


The old lady by the way was a retired CHEMIST who became quite wealthy YEARS AGO creating her own line of purfumes! She had a now deceased husband who was a Georgetown University Philosophy professor and she was a blast! WE had such fun meeting her! I wished KAterina could have met her.

OK- kids have been playing all morning and now the house is a wreck of toys.... Off to clean up the mess surrounding us all , then lunch and errands and off to the Blue Ridge to explore.

ADDENDUM: Didn't leave yet! Came on line for directions but got distracted thinking about ALCOHOLISM and my Dad's wine drinking and health issues etc.... DIARYLAND Gave me that overload message.... but I found the short cut of EDITING this old passage so I can write now! I was reading about dry alcoholics and came across the phrase detatchment - which I never heard in relation to living w/ an addict before! I was interested as I MOST CERTAINLY acted somewhat detatched from my EXs addictive behaviour- in the sense I told his mom and some friends I AM GOING TO WORK, I AM GOING TO LAW SCHOOL, and I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL and HE NEEDS PROFESSIONAL HELP! At the time they only judged me! I feel somewhat vindicated because it appears I actually did all the RIGHT things by not being pulled into his addiction! (HE really realized that and later thanked me!) Anyway, now I read this and was doing so in relation to my CURRENT BELOVED WESTLEY who although not an addict of either alcohol or drugs, and in fact never a user of ANY drugs and only a moderate social drinker.... HE ACTS like a dry alcoholic! That's a fact I identified LONG AGO. SO I was reading about DRY ALCOHOLICS... something I never really read about before. GREAT ARTICLE ON GEORGE BUSH... WAIT I'll find that one too: But first another cool site for dealing with anger addiction. If interested in a Christian perspective on how to deal w/ all sorts of things one can go to the for their homepage. Here's the anger link: And here's the interesting article about BUSH WHEN I HAVE TIME I'll look up the referred to article that is analyzed. Anyway.... I also looked up the effects of alcohol on heart disease and strokes and am relieved that MODERATE daily intake of two glasses of wine a day is likely GOOD for my DAD! HE also, although a regular wine drinker has not exhibited the traits of an alcoholic to my knowledge. (Except maybe that one time in his seminary experience.... so maybe that was a hint to him and he had a problem when young that he handled?) Its just interesting as I know some people could hide regular alcohol use and STILL function though addicted! However, it appears clinically that unless they are affected adversely regular use of alcohol is not considered a problem! I guess the real hallmark of an alcoholic is one who CANNOT limit themself and STOP drinking as the physical crave is too strong.... Hmmmm.... I can relate to that regarding my chocolate intake! If its here I will eat it! I manage that by not buying chocolate as I KNOW I am an addict! ANd I curb the crave to buy it.... but it takes will power! Westely too now loves chocolate... and I now love coffee which is his addiction! What happened to the GOOD things about each other being picked up? In any case, maybe someday Westley will recognize his anger addiction. But then again maybe not-- Either way, the only thing for me to do is to know ITS HIS PROBLEM, not mine. My problem is only WHAT BEHAVIOUR I WILL ACCEPT and I am proud of myself on that account! I could use improvement in the area of staying focused and independent on MY GOALS. I work on that! The article on detatchment was helpful. I look more into reading about that when I have time. I sent flowers to DAD this morning and had a nice chat. I sent him an arrangement in a big yellow smiley face mug. It looks cheerful. He'll be in the hospital at least through tommorrow as they are waiting for test results. He feels good and is convinced there is nothing wrong with himself! So maybe my intuition was wrong! That would be a relief actually- although I have Never felt so sure of something as I did yesterday! IN any case, he seems to feel well and was in a good mood. Now REALLY off to the post office then park. The girls watched MARY POPPINS today as I web surfed and the baby slept. Now its nap time so I am going to drive while they sleep. (They are playing outside right now running around) I hope to catch the sunset at this point. That should be pretty!

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