Saturday, March 31, 2012


Bugg & Sweet Tee

I am so happy I have found this site.  I have had a blast so far.  I look forward to reading more of other peoples blogs tomorrow and write a bit more about my life in Alabama.:)

Bipolar & Mental Challenges: A Valentine's Day Massacre

For sixteen years, my older brother Billy has lived with my family and I. To say it has 'always' been a pleasure, would be a downright lie on my part. People that have a person that they love with a mental illness knows, it 'will' get frustrating at times.


Even though Billy and I usually get along and he rarely gets angry at me, it does happen.  I understand that it must be hard on Billy, as he is my 'older' brother and here, his 'younger' sister is his boss. It just can not be very easy.

Lately Billy has been ignoring the chores he is suppose to do around the house. The very work his counselors have told him he must do. Billy is refusing to do it and it has been a source of tension between him and I.  

Billy has started to make the couch his home and a idle mind with a person with a mental disorder such as psychotic manic depressive, is not a good thing.  When Billy is sitting around, ignoring my request to get up ad do his work, then Billy is on a low swing of his illness.   I must get him out of this funk.

I have my own physical issues to contend with and Billy is making it so my pain level is off the charts. Stress is not a friend to someone whom lives with a muscle disease. I was at my wits ends, I had run out of ideas and then, the blank Valentine's Day cards came. 

What Mama wrote on the back of the photograph: Denise is mad, Billy did not wipe his feet before he entered her pool. I made her hold his hand ha ha

                                                         Help Arrives!

Billy came home last Friday with some construction paper, they were for him to make Valentine's Day cards for his friends at school. Yes they were just plain pieces of paper, folded over to make a card. Just blank canvases and nothing more. Billy had them tucked in his back pocket and they were for the most part, wrinkled and no good. 

Billy walked into my room and showed them to me, he never asked me for any help, it was just a matter of fact, 'I have these cards for Valentine's day'. To be honest, at first I thought, he can just write 'From Billy' inside of the card and then I would decorate them, as I usually do but, not this time. 

I think Billy can participate a bit more in this project, Maybe it can help to get Billy out of this down swing he has been on for weeks. When Billy goes on a down swing of his illness, he will get depressed and just will not get up and do what he knows he must. Plus, I have been having to do his chores and I think he should help me.

Sometimes when you have a person in your life that has been diagnosed as being psychotic, manic depressive (bipolar), and they are on a down swing. They would rather just lay around and not even put up a fight against the illness they live with. When this happens, it is up to you, as the caregiver/warden to make sure you put a halt to it.

                      Be By Their Side
Will it always be easy, well let me just say this, hell no! You are only human and you can only take so much. You see them taking the wrong road and you try everything thing you can think of to change it, only for them to thumb their noses at you and withdrawing more. 

Yes Billy and I have had arguments, Yes I have yelled, yes Billy has yelled but, it usually last for a minute at the most, then we are both apologizing to each other. We are siblings and it happens.

The last thing I want to do is sit by this person that has done nothing but, do all he can to make me mad, just because he is hurting himself. Even though I want to just run away at times, I must be there for Billy, I can not fault him for his illness. 

So we are going to make some darn good Valentine's Day cards and maybe Billy it will help Billy break through this down mood and make him want to fight once again.

                     Make it easy, enough

Make things easy for them but, also make them have to challenge themselves a bit. We are not only trying to get Billy out of his low, we are trying to help build his confidence, so he will have the "I can do it" Attitude, so he is able to bring himself out of this funk.

I say this because, even with the help from the counselors, psychiatrist, the medication and my family and I, Billy will not come out of his mania unless he wants to. Billy must do the work, we are only there for moral support and to give him as much guidance, as he wants us to give him.

I will still have to do most of the work but, as long as Billy pulls his weight, enjoys himself and maybe gets out of the low he is feeling. I have no problems doing it. He makes me mad at times but, I love him.

Billy informed me, the guy cards are not to be lovey, dovey. So I decided on a baseball theme card for the guys. Billy will colour in the bats (I will cut them out) and I will draw the baseballs and Billy will cut out them out.

I will write what needs to be put on the outside of the cards: I hope you... Knock it out of the Park.

I will print out what I want Billy to write in the inside of the cards: With your Valentine! Billy.

We will both glue the bats and baseballs to the front of the cards. If I make this part of our activity something we do together, in a assembly line, then Billy does not notice I am doing more and maybe this will help give him some confidence. When Billy is in a low he has no confidence, he is so unsure of every move.

I will do the same with the girls cards, as in, make them simple for Billy to do but, also make him work a little for the final product. I want to reinforce the fact to Billy, he can do things, even get out of his down swing. 

Billy said that I could make these pretty but, I must remember, they are just friends. I had to laugh at that. So I thought we came up with a pretty card for the ladies.  That will make them smile but, not too much. 

I wrote on the outside of the card: I picked...these flowers.

I wrote out for Billy to put in the inside of the card: Just for you. Happy Valentines Day! Billy.

I had drawn the flowers and stems. Billy coloured them and we both glued the flowers to the front. I have to keep Billy's mental challenges in mind when doing a project. At times it can be like walking on a tightrope. 

Now Billy can honestly say we both made these cards. I know he is excited about bringing his cards to their Valentine Day party at school. Maybe it is a start.
                       Love is in the Air

At times I must seem like a warden to my brother, do this, take that, go there. There is nothing but love behind it and on occasion a bit of frustration. No, there will be no massacre come Valentine's Day, Billy and I love each other.

Billy and I have 7 more cards to make tomorrow, they are for the wonderful staff at the school he attends 5 days a week. I don't want to overload Billy, getting him up is good but, we must not over excite him or he will go on a up swing and that is a whole different monster, for another day. I also want us to make them a plate of the peanut butter cookies they all love.

The pink card was handed to me last Friday, from my brother Billy. I will just say, he called me a super star and top banana in the inside so, I think we will be just fine. Will this one session halt Billy's down swing, I hope so but, only time will tell. 

All I know is, if I don't try it, how will I ever know if it will work and how will Billy ever get back from his low, if I do not try.

A few more 'easy' Valentine projects

All photographs are the property of Denise O.  Do not use unless you get 'my' written permission. All written material is owned by Denise O, it will not be 'used' (sharing my article is different, it is acceptable and appreciated) without 'my' written permission.  Just keeping it real folks.:)

Dogs do have Allergies: Even in Bugg's world

Bugg has allergies and it seems to be the very thing I am allergic to, any thing that grows outside. This has been a very trying time for Bugg.  Bugg is in his usual mood of, I want to play outside but, after a few minutes outside.  Bugg's eyes start to tear up, his eyes start to swell and he actually starts to sneeze. So I must curve his play time outside.

Bugg is a little over a year old and he is full of energy. It is hard keeping Bugg inside for most of the day but, this is one thing as a responsible mom, I must do.

Bugg is allowed to have all of the access he wants to go outside on our front porch, especially during this time of the year. 

The porch is on the second story so, Bugg has less of a chance of breathing in too much pollen.  

We also keep the porch washed off, daily.  Wash the porch off every morning before you let your dog outside.

This would be a great fix but, we do not live in a perfect world and eventually Bugg needs to venture outside, in the great outdoors.

To Drug or Not to Drug

I do not take any drugs for my allergies, I just limit my time outside during the spring season and keep the air conditioner on.  I find doing the same for your family pet is the best option. 

Do not get me wrong though, I have had to purchase allergy pills for our dog Max, whom also suffered from pollen allergies.  

Max's allergies had gotten to the point that he was having a hard time breathing and I could not see him having to suffer like this, so our veterinarian prescribed him some allergy medication.  It worked great that spring and with no side effects. 

Next spring Max had very little problems, nothing bad enough that I could not combat his woes with a bit more inside time.

Do not self medicate your dog:  If your dog has allergies, please consult your veterinarian.

                                                  Mommy, My Eyes Hurt!

My first instinct as it is with most people is to wipe the discharge from Bugg's eyes with my fingers. 

Do not use your hands to get the discharge out of their eyes!  If you do this, you could cause a infection in your dogs eyes.  Human hands can be dirty. 

So, please use a cool & wet wash cloth.

Every time your pet comes inside the house from playing outside, take a cool wet wash cloth and clean out their eyes. 

Periodically rinse out the wash cloth with some cold water and then, wash their face and the rest of their body.  

If you have a dog with a big tail like Bugg, also wash their tails.  

When Bugg sleeps, he curls up and his tail wraps around his face.  If he has any pollen on his tail, then it will also get into his eyes

Bugg, Why?!?!

Bugg is a dog whom just loves to roll in the grass and while doing so he seems to collect a lot of what he is allergic to, pollen. 

I know Bugg will suffer a bit but, with these tips I am sharing with you I am sure he will be just fine. 

I see no problem in letting him do what he enjoys, as long as I wash him off when we get back inside. 

I have to admit, I love to be around the things I am allergic to also but, unlike a dog, I know when to come out of the pollen.  When your dog's allergies are acting up, please limit this fun activity.

Rub A Dub

During spring (allergy season) my husband bathes Bugg once a week. Dan will use a 'very' (very little shampoo) mild shampoo on Bugg, since we are bathing him more than we usually do throughout the year.  You want to make sure you do not dry out their skin.

I also feed Bugg my own homemade dog biscuits. Since I use olive oil in my recipe, this will help to keep his skin healthy.

Bugg gets brushed out daily, this will also help the natural oils to be able to come out and condition his hair and skin. 

Brush them outside:  We do it on our front porch, so the pollen is not released into our home and further irritates Bugg and I. 

Keep it Clean

I wash Bugg's bed clothes once a week. If the pollen count is extremely high, as it usually is in our area during March, April and May, then I will do his bed clothes twice a week.

We also have a dog bed in the study, I will tumble the dog bed for a full drying cycle, this will help get out some of the pollen.

Keep them Hydrated

Since you can not keep your animal inside at all times, please make sure they have plenty of water or ice outside. 

If you have ever experienced allergies, you will know that you tend to have a dry mouth when your allergies are at their peak. 

The pollen will effect your dog in the same way, keep ice or water handy for them at all times.

Bugg's 'new' Toy

If dog toys are taken outside, please wash them every time they are brought in. 

At this time Bugg's favorite toy is Sweet Tee and as you can tell, Bugg's play toy loves to be up in his face. 

So yes, Tee also gets washed off with a wet wash cloth, every time he comes inside.

We also vacuum every other day, at least. If the pollen count is high, then we vacuum twice a day.

They Are Worth it All!

If you do all these tips, I am sure both you and your family pet will get through this spring with very little discomfort. I only write about what I know and that would be dogs but, I see no reason why these tips can not help any of your pets whom are also suffering from allergies.

More Bugg...

Bugg Wants Food!

Yellow Labrador Retriever's:  They 'are' A Mouthful

All photographs are the property of Denise O.  Do not use unless you get 'my' written permission. All written material is owned by Denise O, it will not be 'used' (sharing my article is different, it is acceptable and appreciated) without 'my' written permission.  Just keeping it real folks.:)

Peanut Butter Cookies: No Flour & Easy

I wish I knew whom to give credit to for this cookie recipe.  My mother used it as well as my brownie troop leader, it was the first cookie I ever baked.  The fact these cookies have no flour is a plus for me, I try and stay on a high protein, less carb diet and these cookies are an equal balance of both.


You can double, triple or quadruple this recipe, it wont change a thing.

1 cup of peanut butter

1 cup of sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla (real) extract

Put all these ingredients in a mixing bowl. 

Mix with a hand mixer until combined.

I use a one inch ice cream scoop. 

I get a generous scoop and place it on my sheet.

Roll each scoop of cookie mixture into a ball and put back on the cookie sheet.

Take a fork and press the peanut butter balls down one way.

Then press them with the fork the opposite way, to make a criss cross.

Bake 350 for 8 to 10 minutes.

Cool on rack.

                              Make them even Better

They're good just as they are but, I also like to take half the batch and make peanut butter chocolate cookies. 

You will need a container of store bought milk chocolate frosting.  Put a few heaping tablespoons in a microwave proof (small) bowl.  Melt at 5 second intervals, stirring after each time. Until it has melted and it has the consistency of chocolate syrup. 

It usually only takes about 10 seconds for mine to melt.

Take a fork and drizzle the icing on your cookies.  Allow the cookies to stay put until the icing has set.

Then either enjoy them yourself or pack some up and share some of these delicious cookies with a friend.  I make them for the family and also I put them in packages I love to give as gifts.

Valentine's day Gifts

All photographs are the property of Denise O.  Do not use unless you get 'my' written permission. All writing material is owned by Denise O, it will not be shared without 'my' written permission.  Just keeping it real.:)

Alabama Living: Mama's Way!

Well, I have done it, I have finally decided to branch out and create my own blog.  I will be a liar if I say it was an easy choice, as it was not.  As with most folks that write online, I too was comfortable just writing for another site but, even though it did help me with improving my writing skills, I have gotten nothing out of it money wise so, why not take this leap.  I figure, I do not have a thing to lose.

My Employees, Dan & Billy.  Hard at <eyeroll> work.

                          My kind Of Guys!

I will be writing about my two dogs, Bugg and Sweet Tee.  I have had dogs for well over 3 decades and I have run into most problems dog owners are going through, I plan on sharing my expertise on this subject.

I will also be sharing some delicious recipes from southern cooking to vegetarian dishes and everything in between.  I believe in cooking and eating is: Everything in moderation and heck at times, a little indulgences does not hurt a thing.  I have also traveled around a bit so I have a lot of diversity in my cooking.

                            I can be Serious

I also am the caregiver to my older brother Billy, whom has been mentally challenged since birth.  Later on in life he was diagnosed as being psychotic manic depressive/bipolar.  Life is not easy for my brother and to be quite honest, it is not easy for me at times either.  I will be writing on the successes I have had with working with him and also the failures, so you can learn from my knowledge and my mistakes.

                                            Domestic Abuse
I wish I could say to y'all that I had a great life, white picket fence and all those 'leave it to beaver' moments in my life but, that is not so.  My dad has been an alcoholic since I can remember and yes, some will say he has an illness, I say he has the lack of character to even care if he is a drunken sot or not.  He has always cared about himself more than anyone else.

Each blow he has struck has brought one too many people down.  He does not have that hold on me though and he has not, since I first moved out of 'his' house, at the age of 13, one month before I turned 14.  I wish I could one day get him out of my life for good but no, he keeps getting into my life.  Only because, my brother Billy, whom I take care of, keeps bringing him into our lives.  Each time Billy runs back to Dad, in the hopes that his father will love him, so I end up having to deal with the drunken sot.

Each time though, the guy we must call Dad, disappoints Billy and I have to pick up the pieces.  I wish I could get my brother to just let him go but because, he is not only psychotic manic depressive, my brother is also mentally challenged and has been from birth and because of that.  Billy will always have a child's mindset and he will always crave that love, a child does for their parent.

Spasms Galore
I have been living with 'chronic myofascial pain' for 23 years.  I say living because, I have a hold of my disease (most of the time) and it does 'not' have me.  Yes I have a few tricks up my sleeve that I want to share and maybe you can share yours with me.  Just remember, us folks living with muscle diseases must stick together because, not one person that 'does not' have a muscle disease understands you, we do!      

                   When all else Fails, Duct It!

I live in Alabama, so I will also be writing about all things southern, in my area and across the deep south. Will it include duct tape, well, I did say I was from Alabama so, yes!

                                              The Love of My Life!

I am a Grandmother (Gammy) for the first time to a wonderful grandson whom is 22 months old.  I will be adding kid friendly ideas for you to be able to do with your children/grandchildren.

                                                             Here I Am!

Please do not get me wrong, I have met a lot of good folks on the site I have written on for the last 2 (in June) years.  I am sure they too will understand why I had to make this move.  I mean, we all have to spread our wings and go out in the real world and take a chance.  So, here I am.

I just hope, this is a start of a great friendship.:)

 All photographs are the property of Denise O.  Do not use unless you get 'my' written permission. All writing material is owned by Denise O, it will not be shared without 'my' written permission.  Just keeping it real.:)