Having an RJ day. Feeling it. “Come on guys, pull it together.”
Little man asked me for Rj’s hoodie. It was saved. Gave it back. I said thank you for remembering him. Jon found a tshirt and asked me who it belonged to, RJ. Found another one too. Wearing it.
Brainstorm. New series already know who I’m giving the paintings to. What a perfect way to burn him into my memory. Encaustic series of RJ practicing his snowboarding flips on his skateboard while on his trampoline.
Thank you. Just back from a very nice and long overdue lunch date with my dearest friend in the world. Rolling my sleeves up. We’re gonna make some awesome art. Will have the outdoor space set up as quickly as possible. My husband found me a metal table for my blow torch. Kicked a dozen ideas around. Settled on mandalas. I love the creative process. By the time the art is made I’m totally through with it, whatever the project is. Won’t want to lay eyes on it again. Till then it’s all about what it will say. It floors me to be so consumed about something. Then meh, so what.
David was here. I swear to god. He held me while I was crying. He left after I fell I asleep. Yes I had been drinking red wine to help me fall asleep. I promised him I would call. I called him when I woke he didn’t answer.
I woke up alone in the dark. I couldn’t find the light switch. I don’t know how long I was struggling like that.
When I finally got the light on I woke everyone up. Jon didn’t see or hear anything. My youngest didn’t hear me screaming. They were awake in the other room. I don’t know how long it went on. When I got the light on I ran screaming for my husband. He didn’t see David. My daughter slept through it. Then I went to see my oldest son. He was out and had just come home and missed it. Everyone is awake and sober and have checked it out. There’s nothing to see.
All I can say is that if felt real. I was terrified.
My husband says Go back to bed, it’s just stress. It will be ok, get some rest. Fine, but I have to leave the stereo and lights on.
It was sleepwalking. It has been a long time. Kinda half in and out. My husband has been holding me for a long time. Calm down, it’s ok. The kids are ok. It’s not the first time. It only happens when I’m really stressed. He’s been living with it for 13 years. Gosh this is like coming out of the closet or something. I have to own it. I remember the first time, I was four. Standing in my paternal grandparents kitchen in my underwear holding a piece of toast and telling everyone, no butter. They were laughing at me.
It happened at art school. I was dreaming of walking across the San Francisco Bay Bridge. My room mate thankfully was someone I knew in my childhood. She was sleeping on the couch. In my dream my sister was telling me to turn back I had gone too far. When I woke, it was to my room mate asking me where I thought I was going. I snapped out fully alert and answered her, “back to bed.” I had my hand on the door knob about to walk outsidel blanket wrapped around my shoulders and I was dragging my cat on the blanket behind me.
Before that it happened living with room mates. I walked out of my bedroom into the living room where they were watching tv. In my dream there was a parrot on my arm. It was inching up my arm towards my face. So I was spinning around trying to shake it off. Pulled my shirt off to wrap it around the parrots head without hurting it. Screaming get it off me, get it off me…
Had to ask him to let me go. He said you’ll be up listening to music and you’ll wake everyone up. I have to smoke a cigarette wake up and gather my wits about me, sorry. Asked him to leave and he did. I need space.
A year ago I spent the night with Sid after sailing, what a fun day. Crashed at his house. All I remember is that in the middle of the night sleeping beside me like my brother, he said, “WOW.” I still don’t know what I said or did to make him say that. (holy shit what do i do?) When I heard him say that, I got up and left for home.
I feel all messed up. The crash made things much worse. It’s been several years. Had a post traumatic seizure in the aid car, even they didn’t know what it was. All they were concerned about was the medical marijuana they found in my jacket. All they have ever wanted is to prosecute me. Like it’s an license. “Mental Health!”
All it means is that we live in a world that justifies abusing sick people. At the end of the day we need lawyers more than we need shrinks. It’s a dark art, psychiatry. Please try and understand that lawyers knew that from the start. They were writing the Magna Carta while doctors were leaching thier patients.
It’s no wonder I’ve been afraid. I have been shamed and blamed since I was four. I totally recall my mother going through something very similiar. You know what? It’s wasn’t then and It’s still not her fault. My father stayed with her all through it, for them it’s been a 50 year marriage. I can even go back to my mother’s mother. She went to med school to become a chiropractor. Imagine the hate she faced back then. So intelligent yet bullied by idiots. Of course her life became a disaster. It’s no wonder she became a bitchy alcoholic and died early because of it.
Facing down hate can become its own occupation. Today I’m like you know what? If we can’t handle our haters we can’t handle our success. The minute we become whole or healed someone will want to kill us for it. Let’s face it. We hate it when our friends become successful.
omg. I know. It’s late, the kids are sleeping. We’re ok. Jon’s here. I know, yes, yes, ok. Yes. I promise I’m going straight to bed. I promise I will take care of myself. I promise I will. You’re my anchor girl.
Yes, I promise to call if I need anything. I promise I will. Yes I know Carolyn. It’s horrible. I know. I know.
That’s not how we treat the ones we love son. Rj would be so angry right now. Listen you’re wearing his hoodie for a reason. Because he loved you very much. He wasn’t about this shit you’re into right now. He was all about non violence and taking care of little sisters. If he was here he would take you by the scruff of your skinny little neck and tell you, No, It’s not fucking cool little bro and make you apologize to those girls. I know it’s heavy right now. Remember you are loved. Be excellent to eachother. That’s the message sewed into his hoodie.
Evan’s issues have been going on for like 8 years before Rj died. Now it’s almost two years since Rj’s death. Evan’s still angry and it’s still untreated depression. He was tossed from Vashon Island schools way back. Left the district, came back. I don’t think his mom ever missed a day from work for him when he’s sick. I don’t know what he does all day. Work on his substance abuse issues? Wait for the rest of the kids to come home from school so he can abuse them?
This is what’s wrong with the school not giving IEP’s in elementary school for students with childhood depression. It comes back to haunt everyone. Having a safety net right off in elementary school with wrap around care and proper treatment is essential for students and their families. Kids with ADHD are a challenge for anyone. Working with depressed kids with ADHD is above most pay grades.
In the weeks after Rj died, Evan was very sick with a fever at my house and missed school. Evan wouldn’t speak to me about her, I had to call the school to ask them to call her and pick him up after she got off work. She picked him up. I was fair when I confronted her. I told her he needed serious professional help. What she did was retaliate. Calling CPS with lies, temporarily deflecting her responsibility for her sons health and education.
The local social workers know all about Evan. He’s become a major community concern. People want to help but his mother has made it impossible. She’s so angry. Now he’s a young adult with no education. His mother is mean and she looks like a well used punching bag. She’s angry, fat, verbally abusive-especially cruel when drunk. She’s defensive and that makes her bitterly difficult. I doubt that she will take what happened last night very seriously. My two cents.
Quite a showdown in Dockton last night. BRAVO Mr. Danny Rock, principal of Vashon Island High School. Bravo to the sheriff deputies and medical services for bringing the aid car. Well done. Thank You.
Thank You to Vashon Youth and Family services for the telephone call this morning letting us know that Evan is back on island in our community. We’re ok. We hope Evan is stabilized and now that he is on everyone’s radar we hope he will finally get the help he needs.
As I understand it Mr. Rock and my daughter are friends on social media. As I would have it. She also has a friend in our beloved local sheriff. Writing in tears of gratitude, thank you, good looking out.
My husband gently informed this morning. He said there were three different groups of high school students at the park at three separate bonfires. My daughter said that just as my husband left, the police and aid car arrived. Then Mr. Rock got out of his vehicle, found my daughter and spoke to her. After he spoke to her he gave her a big hug. My husband and I obviously didn’t know what Evan had been posting in the hours leading up to that point.
That’s all I’m going to say right now. Other than RJ’s death has left many unhinged and it plays out in different ways. It’s about time our community makes a stand regarding childhood depression. Last night’s response was entirely appropriate and long overdue. Several of these kids still need help. The last time I saw Evan he was wearing Rj’s hoodie. I commented on it. The hoodie has been making its rounds. Offered to mend it. He said no.
Asked my daughter if she’s good for school Monday and she smiled brightly and said Yes.
(photo left to right: Luke, Quinn, Emmett, *Sarah, *Cedar, *Evan, Thorin, Rj Ontiveros- Rest In Peace. photo 2013. Rj shot himself in October of 2014.)
And why is it stuck under your door? Thought it was a cable to his laptop, but no. He said it’s for cleaning sink traps. Picked it up and I stared for a minute at him. What are you doing with this? He shrugged. Fell off my dresser and its been slowly making its way under the door. You know the upstairs sink has been clogged for a week. I’ve been brushing my teeth over the bathtub. So go fix the sink he says. Um. I dunno. He grinned and said well you can try. Ah. Yes. Ok.
And it worked. Went back to him and said well thank you. His dad has been busy, didn’t want to nag him. He’s been very busy with the violin, another concert. His smile got bigger and bigger. He loved it. That’s the kind of thing that makes the tribe happy. They need to see me trying. That smile made my night.
He’s my little dare devil. Since he was tiny. When they had all the scafolding up working on the roof? Looked out the window and even though he was still in diapers he was way up there. Ran out and asked him to come back down. Startled him and he clung to the bar. Made his way down without falling. Walked up to me pointed his finger at me and said, You Settle Down Right Now.
Makes his own toys, takes things apart and invents stuff. Spends many hours online self studying. Says the planets surface is going to get very cold… that our species may survive if someone figures out how to utilize the heat in the earth’s core in time. He says it’s hotter than the sun.
He beat GTA 5 when he was 8. Shocking everyone when we looked up at his bank account. I was like oh shit. They sent us a complementary pyschological profile. Congratulations Sneaky Bastard, We’ve compiled some information for you from how you played the game. Incredible focus and concentration, probably anti-social and a bit suicidal. He says no way, he was just testing how long he could hang out over a military base in a stolen jet. After a certain time period you get shot down.
They don’t tell me anything. It was a complete surprise. Just like last Christmas! He’s been here all summer. Moved in with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend. Built them a nice fence for their new puppy. Didn’t stop to say hi till several weeks later. It’s awesome. Everyone is healing up. Things were dark for so long, I forgot what this was like. He made the trip to the rock after Vegas.
Guess he’s staying here at the ranch after all, to the delight of little man. Traveling to finish up some job sites but yeah, it’s great. Set up all his gaming stuff and shares with his siblings. They packed out. All going to work or school. They are taking fencing lessons together as in dodge and parry. They went for little man’s fishing license, took him fishing several times before the salmon season ended. One of the first things he noticed about little man is all the cammo and his interest in paint ball and his ghillie suit. Yeah we’re thinking he may be interested in the military. He looked at me and said that’s fine. As long as he knows who and what he’s fighting for. He thought about it when he was younger, recruiters out to the house and all that. He finally said No thanks. Sorry. I won’t fight for McDonald’s. Made me smile. Maybe he can work on that with little man.
My parents dropped off all his hunting gear. Now they are off for archery licenses, black tailed deer. I’m finally getting some sleep. He’s been driving his sister to school in the morning and everything. They crash at a reasonable hour and are out the door by 7:30 am. All goes well and we’ll be snowboarding again together this winter. What a breath of fresh air. A huge blessing. So precious to have this time together. It’s nice to be smiling again.
This is the son that bought me an ax for Christmas. Fiskars with a carbon fiber handle. It’s Still our best ax. Thanks for the tip kid. His birthday was last week. We sang to him off key, little man was all, LA LA LA! Gave him the red epiphone & an amp. He plays it beautifully, better than I ever will.
Puhleeeeeeeeeaaaaassseeeee! Look I said yes already. She said she would have her brother build the hutch. Outdoor and raccoon proof, I’m very serious about that and it has to be inside Buddy’s wifi fence. Well what happened?
Yeah Yeah, ok, I get it. It may take too long to build something from scratch. Ask him to look at this design. We have two big dressers we can convert, like a duplex. She’s way too cute to sleep outside. Oooo let me hold her. You know what? Bet you can train her with a kitty box.
The next step. Have to do it. Soon will be working with encaustics and a blow torch. There has to be proper ventilation. Should be able to run electricity from the garage. Giving myself two weeks to prep it out. Need fireproof boards and surfaces like that to work on. Don’t want to start my canvas on fire. Have you ever seen people working with encaustics and blow torches? It’s difficult to watch.
Way back we laid a 1200 square foot partial foundation. Still a dirt floor, brambles over growing in it. It was supposed to be a barn and we abandoned the project. So what we have left is this big square out of cinder block about two feet high. It’s perfect. If there was a fire on a dirt floor, big deal, it can’t spread pass the walls. We can set up rain barrels for 911 water and we have a hose, right?
We have these old sails that we keep repurposing. They are huge. They make great tarps. We even used one for a tee pee. Another for yoga bags. Rain roof would look so pretty, like a big kite. I just love it. It could totally double as a place to practice fire dancing.
Almost there, photos soon. For several weekends we have been clearing a space. Nothing as fancy like in that video, but that’s very nice. It rains so much that would never fly here, leaving furniture out. What if we rigged an old sail? Like the temp tents at Carolyn’s wedding? Bamboo poles? Pull down walls to break wind? Forget it, it doesn’t need walls. Just a tarp roof would make me happy.
This all started with long power outages during winter storms. Got sick of cooking food on the wood stove and carrying everything back and forth from the kitchen to the living room. Everything was taking too long. So we set up an old wood stove outside. Fell in love. This year we are setting up another one next to it to warm water to wash our dishes. And to clean fish. I love what he said about that in the little film.
This is an old house. One hundred years plus. The kitchen has a big hole in the wall over the new stove, from the old stove that was actually an old school cooking wood stove. Elbow pipes from one room to another to heat more space. Took all that out. Our new stove is circa 1930. The kitchen is hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter and there are no cabinets. We are not friends. My biggest issue is that I can’t look out a window when I’m washing dishes. It’s way too old to update. The going rate for rebuilds are $300.00 a square foot, conservatively. Forget it.
They travel, but I can tell when they are near in two ways. Solo little fawns in the yard and I can hear them barking in my backyard. They talk to my black lab, Buddy. As a service dog he’s not supposed to go off like that so it’s alarming. When they respond in their big boy pack barking, that’s a clue.
It goes something like this. Buddy said, Get the Fuck off the property. The alpha said, Dude we don’t want you, we just want the deer. Well and the goats across the street. Buddy said, NFW. Then the alpha said fine, we’ll just go around. Buddy said, That’s ok, I know that guy, he’ll shoot you. The pack retreated, pist off.
First of all, domestic dogs don’t travel in packs down here on the south end. Nobody lives behind us. It’s a King County Park. We have a serious deer trail and that’s what the coyotes are looking for. So for the first time ever, we’re granting permission for bow hunters to hunt the deer on our property.
It took time to reach that decision. It weighed heavy on us. Had this sweet little garden spot and it was decimated by the deer. They got my roses down to every leaf. Just when the rose bush recovered, noticed this morning that it had been stripped again. Saw two fawns darting around on on the way back from the grocery. Here we go again.
It started in the early summer. So many deer. Saw this very pregnant doe like 30 feet from the house, between our house and the neighbor. I knew she was going to have her babies there. So close to both houses and all the dogs that run back and forth. (our two and the neighbor’s one. just three, just these houses, so our dogs are not a pack running around or anything, we have a wifi fence. this deer nested just past the wifi perimeter.) She had two little fawns. Then there was just the one. Now these other fawns, I don’t know where they came from. I doubt they will last long. Looking forward to open season. Shouldn’t be too difficult. Don’t even have to leave the porch. And I will totally have a bbq. In fact I commissioned something from blacksmith for an open fire. The deer eat better than I do.
It is such a wooded area that I’ve seen bald eagles dancing through the front yard in low flight as easily as butterflies. In the spring they gather to find mates. They do this amazing thing. The start down on the ground and lock talons lifting their wings and spinning eachother all they way up until you can’t see them. On the way up they delicately tip up eachothers wing tips slightly balancing eachother, making it look like it’s difficult, but every touch gentle and graceful and powerful, purposeful, deliberate, intentional and fun. Other times they meet high in the air lock talons and spin eachother with force and let go, flinging the other away. We’ve got several species of owls that come and go. Lately we’ve seen ravens. Not so many crows. The only time I ever see or hear them is when the eagles are soaring higher above. It really freaks them out.
We can tell when the orca are near because the sea lions beach and complain. We can hear them plain as day from the back porch. We tried once. We’ll never go back there. Can’t let Buddy swim out there, he’ll get eaten.
The young men are on it. My oldest son says this year Tasho is using Rj’s bow. They have already been shopping for arrows and sorting it all out. Dragging that old mattress out again for target practice. They have their work cut out for them. Something to keep them busy. I love it. Study up boys. Have to call and confirm this, but I think if deer are decimating our gardens and creating problems in our yard, it might be possible to hunt them all year. Archery Only. Have to fact check that to be sure. Other than that, get licensed and go for it.
Nobody really knows if the mountain lions left the island or not.So much for running. That’s like being living bait. Mace? No. (this morning, neighbors said still here, just one on Maury Island, South End.) Sometimes I reflect on my decision to get a black lab vs malamute. There’s this place in Chehalis and this woman who trains malamutes for runners. That may be my next step. Time for a running partner? Hubby says NFW, not another dog. So much for that. Today I take another look at this, afraid of how stupid it looks. My husband and I actually went to marriage counseling over it, three years ago. We went to our pastor for that at Vashon Lutheran. Pastor took my husband’s side and shut me down. Part of it is the main roads are dangerous. So I picked backroads between ferry traffic and the woods. Then my neighbor strongly cautioned me that there ARE coyotes on my favorite running route, Pohl Road. I must be the only person in the world who won’t carry a cell phone. I just think it’s bad chi. They just don’t want me out there. It’s not reallly about the dog. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am about it. My lab pups out after an hour, everytime. His vet is concerned about his paw pads, says staff off asphalt. He gets hot in the sun. When he’s tired he walks and I can’t drag him can I? He gets thirsty and there isn’t water in the middle of nowhere. It really is a bummer.
Where was I with Yoga? When I quit. Burned out with all the Bikram. After Bikram, yoga is meh. I like barre yoga, hard to find a yoga/pilates teacher.
Also, have this new beautiful mahogany harmonium. Made in and shipped from India. So beautiful but the block is over music theory. Also quit studying Hindi, which one kind of needs to proceed. There is an instructor in the city. When I sign up, I feel like I have to be there. But that doesn’t always line up with the tribe. Will be kicking this around all night. Leaving the island is this whole long heavy trip and why not schedule both classes one day. Thinking about it.
Finding my happy place as I distract myself and exit the family conversation regarding my daughter’s drivers education class. We have a volvo for her. I’m staying out if it, too much anxiety.
Tonight was the first class in the new session. Missed it! Have to work it all into the schedule. Seriously one night out a week. She is so fun and I’ve been meaning to go back for some time. Have been home, home schooling little man for two years. Two years of counseling and he went back last week. His next IEP meeting is just around the corner and it looks like all systems go. Wondering what I’m going to do all day. Have art projects lined up that’s fine. Really miss running. Really miss my meditation practice, who knows when I’ll go back.
Oh and that’s a YES on fencing lessons for the young men. All three of them. As long as I don’t have to drive.
I said to my husband, it was difficult watching everyone around her. One woman attempted to hold her and then let her drop. A man walked up but it didn’t look like he was paying attention. What does that say about the people who are supposed to be taking care of her? That’s like 3 times or 4? It was like watching my family trying to get grandma in the minivan. What’s this about losing her shoe under the vehicle? What if she had hit her head on the curb? They almost let it happen.
My husband cringed. He asked- AND where was her husband?
(that’s called a soft protective safety helmet for adults with special needs.)
(jon has so much respect her, she has nothing to be concerned about. she still has his vote. we’re hanging our hopes upon her. it takes love. love always wins. for the record i wanted him to vote for her in the first place. heart and soul i was inspired by her a long time ago. she was giving an interview and a stage light fell down. her instant and spontaneous reflex? she said, Jesus Mary Joseph. that’s all it took for me. i believe in women of faith. i’ve been as frustrated as anyone else.)
Preparing myself for some intimate studio work. Meeting with my art therapist later in the week. The concussion sent my work spinning. Lost my grip with respect to studio discipline. Lost my patience also. Used to love drawing faces and hands, but I seem to have lost that perspective. Now it’s all very geometric abstraction and particles and patterns. Very frustrating. However I did notice that back in the spring of this year, when coloring mandalas I started to get better and speed up my thought process. Art is all about problem solving.
It’s very Alice in the looking glass. Sometimes I call it backwards and upside down. Reverse imaging. It’s complicated, there is a thread of reflection throughout the process. Who knows? Maybe I can create a new brain map.
As part of the creative process, saving the work to another page titled Drawing Board. Sometimes I make clothing with my designs. Sometimes coffee cups, window decals, groovy temp tattoos. Have a separate webite for that artwork @ www.reclaimedseconds.com Really it just helps me keep track of stuff I create before it leaves the studio. By the time it’s posted, the work is long gone. It also helps me retain ideas for new projects.
My studio is full of art supplies. They are patiently waiting for me. Last winter I began some work with encaustics. Then my mind was blown in a brain storm that went on for a while and I had to change the channel. I can very easily go back like a tape recorder, but it feels like my puzzle isn’t totally sorted. Have a huge canvas. Have a pile of this transfer paper waiting for images. Got the transfer paper for the encaustic surface. When heat is applied the image melts into the work leaving no trace of the transfer paper. Have over a hundred pen tips, india ink. Have metal papers in lots of colors & a table top vinyl cutter for perfect matisse like patterns. There is even a projector to help me paint murals. I got stuck thinking I could use digital photography and trick out the images in photoshop. Today I’m like, look at that, he’s using chalk and a sidewalk. Is that a hubcap?
It’s affecting my entire family. We all suffered a horrible tragedy when we lost RJ Ontiveros due to suicide. He was our nanny of several years. He was like a son to me, an older brother to my kids. Depression still seeps in and overwhelms us. It’s like a stranger creeping up when we aren’t looking. The triggers are like the surprise of a jack in the box.
It requires constant situational awareness. Today I’m processing my sons depression. His loss, his grief, his signs and symptoms. The behavioral manifestastions. How this plays out for him as returns to school.
When RJ died, my son didn’t speak for 8 months. One of the last things he said was, “I’m quitting school because I don’t feel safe there.” Truly the school wasn’t prepared for this kind of community crisis. None of the schools were prepared to take any responsibilty for providing emergency crisis counselors on the campuses during the days and weeks after RJ’s shocking death. Now there were emergency counselors there when the 8th grade teacher shot himself. Not when the kids were dying.
RJ’s suicide was one of many youth suicides here on Vashon Island. There are alot of depressed children and families. We know we are not alone. When we tried to get my son help at Seattle Children’s Hospital, there was and still is a long wait list for these families.
As parents, we have faced systemic ignorance, denial, prejudice, discrimination, open hostility, contempt and pure hatred as we have advocated for our son at the elementary school. There is no excuse for the way our son has been treated at his elementary school. What a terrible setback.
This year we have an IEP in play. The good news is that there is both a new principal and vice principal. But the problems with the special needs department at the school are deeply rooted into a much bigger issue. It’s no secret our district is in the beginning of a very ugly lawsuit over alleged abuse throughout the district. The problems begin at the superintendents office and trickle down to each principal’s office, to the nurses offices. Huge problems, even in the cafeterias and at the playgrounds during recess. What a mess.
Well and there is another even uglier lawsuit at the only counseling center on island over other very nasty alleged abuses. It is truly an understatment when I say that our community was un prepared for a youth suicide epidemic. But hey, property values are up. Welcome to fantasy island. During the height of the youth suicides, there were three in one month, one every week for three weeks. It wasn’t just the kids, it was adults also, it was across the board like a flu. It went on for three years like a secret.
Oh and then the little medical clinic closed its doors. We are in a serious holding pattern and the island community scrambles to raise funds to re open it. I don’t know how other people are coping. It’s a living nightmare.
The new vocabularies needed to open a dialog with eachother. It’s a new language. Are you having any suidical ideations? Have you taken your meds? You wouldn’t keep it from me, right? If you’re struggling. Please tell me if you feel like hurting yourself…