Pulverulence

ADJECTIVE:    POWDERY, pulverulent, granular, mealy, floury, farinaceous, branny, furfuraceous, flocculent, dusty, sandy, sabulous, psammous; detrital, arenaceous, arenose, arenarious, gritty; efflorescent, impalpable; lentiginous, lepidote, sabuline; sporaceous, sporous.

"Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all."

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I’m assuming you all take most of what I write with a grain of salt. For example, when I write about my professional life it is almost always tongue in cheek. You can safely assume that I don’t listen to people whine for three years and you can also safely assume that, in general, I don’t think of the pain that people express as "whining." I know they are a lot like me in terms of suffering the  human condition. I don’t make demands on the people I see; rather I try to help them figure out why they repeat patterns, why they are stuck and perhaps offer them a different way to frame things. I encourage them to be good consumers and even though they are coming under duress I suggest they take our work together for a test drive to see if it feels like a good fit. I refer them for further evaluation if it seems relevant. I offer a sliding fee scale and commit 25% of my work load to pro bono work which often includes home visits to young single moms on welfare who have no other access to therapy or mental health support. I love my work and do it well and respectfully and with both intelligence and common sense. (Okay, so I lack a certain humility.) So if it seems to you I’m being silly or flip, follow your instincts. If it seems I’m being sincere, consider that I probably am. You figure it out.

Chapter Two: You Don’t Need A Professional to Get Rid of the Gremlins in the Closet

I finished graduate school early and looked very young to boot. I wasn’t married and I didn’t have children. Understandably, my initial credibility wasn’t sky high when I first met someone referred to me for psychotherapy. I know I would have been skeptical if the tables were turned and rightly so.

So, after I had been in practice for about six months a pediatrician referred a mother and her four year old daughter to me because the child was refusing to go to bed at night because she was afraid of the "gremlins" under her bed and in the closet. The child had been seen by another therapist who had worked with her for six months in play therapy but without results. I tentatively (I was still tentative about everything) asked the mother what approach she had taken with Sarah at bedtime thus far. She said that they had a snack, a story, a cuddle and then she would tuck Sarah in and give her a kiss. Then the mom would get on her hands and knees and look under the bed and say in a stern voice," Gremlins! Get out from under Sarah’s bed!" and she would look in the closet and say, "Gremlins! Get out of Sarah’s closet!"

I was still a little slow on the uptake but I thought about this a long minute or two and then asked her why was she doing that? You all are smarter than I was back then so you know the moral to this story.

Since that time, decades ago, when I asked the mother if she thought there were gremlins under the bed and in the closet I’ve used that lesson in an awful lot of psychotherapy. The bottom line is, short of you being psychotic, you do not need a psychotherapist to exorcise demons that don’t exist.
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Moving right along (I like that expression this week) the One with Her Finger up Her Nose is making ready to leave. We were sitting on the floor of her bedroom and packing up more of her childhood, sort of dividing things into stuff she wants to take, stuff she wants to save for her future and stuff that can just be dumped to Kiwanis. She’s taking her Leica microscope she insisted she needed when she was 12 and has put to good use ever since. This was a used professional scope a physician friend helped us obtain and it has an oil immersion lens.  She and I took an adult ed class together last year called "Stalking the Wild Microscopic" or some such thing and we learned how to really use a microscope and looked at a million different things. Feathers. Bodily fluids. I really got into algae- these guys are like nature’s kaleidoscopes.Rr_ph271_pbr She’s taking her blanket I knit her but packing away her "gramma baby quilt" for a child of her own. All the scuba gear is going including her wet suit which I always think makes her look incredibly beautiful. It is black with blue and gold racing stripes on it so she looks sort of like a tropical fish.402tropicalfish

Her favorite books from very early childhood are being packed away: On the Day You Were Born, Patchwork Cat, Where the Wild Things Are, Noisy Nora and Good Dog, Carl. We found her Dr. Seuss book, All About Me. At six years of age she filled out every single space, including how many buttons were on all her clothes (367), how many windows in her house (56), how many steps from her door to the store (1291) and the color of her eyes. She wrote "grellow" and then colored them using green, yellow, brown and gold crayons. All precisely correct.

She’s pitching every Backstreet Boys CD she had, most of her clothes and Candy Land (yes!) but keeping her many chess, soccer, lacrosse, basketball and Academic Games trophies.(Let me brag a moment: This alien child took- you ready?- 1st place in the nation in Linquistics, the Academic Game that focuses on word structure and grammer).  She found a beer bottle with mold in it in the back of her closet and nonchalantly handed it to me, saying, "this goes in the recycle bin."  We found a picture of her when she was two sitting in the back of the neighbor’s bedroom closet with a whole litter of week old kittens in her lap and another picture of her, same age, standing on top of the park bench eating and holding a bag of stale popcorn as high as possible while about 60 ducks peck at the tips of her shoes. She has a look that says, "let them find their own popcorn."

We’re laughing a lot this week and then she’ll scoot out to shoot pool with friends or go running and I go fling myself on my bed and sob. The poor cat has been covered with snot for all of August.

Why am I packing up her room you ask? Why not just leave it be so when she comes home it’s all in place?  Because I’m getting out my floor loom after 26 years, turning it into a weaving space and changing the locks to the house.

*it’s 330am. FG is  away and I just woke up to let the cat in and thought: someone is going to think you’re changing the locks so T.D. can’t come home again. Alternate ending: Since she has waited a year to start and is going straight into an apartment she wants her familiar bookshelf and dresser with her. I will use the extra space to put up my floor loom again after 26 years. There will, of course, always be room for T.D. and, maybe someday, even more family in our home. You figure it out.*
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What’s that word-pulverulence- got to do with anything? Not much. A grain of salt. How I feel in the greater scheme of things. How much it matters what anyone thinks of what I think right now, given my mood. Algae. Oh! And I thought a lot of the words used to define it were pretty cool, too.

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21 responses to “Pulverulence

  1. 1. As I learn more about you, Ms.Vicki, it doesn’t surprise me at all that you give away so much of your professional time to people who can’t afford mental health care. The lack of services to people living in poverty and struggling with depression, stress, anxiety,etc is a real problem. Good for you for doing what you can to help.

    2. Sigh. Packing up her childhood.(Excuse me while I weep for a few minutes.)

    I loved this part of your post because as I read it, I got such a clear picture of TD growing up. She really is an incredible child/young woman. I can’t wait to hear about her adventures in college.

  2. 1. As I learn more about you, Ms.Vicki, it doesn’t surprise me at all that you give away so much of your professional time to people who can’t afford mental health care. The lack of services to people living in poverty and struggling with depression, stress, anxiety,etc is a real problem. Good for you for doing what you can to help.

    2. Sigh. Packing up her childhood.(Excuse me while I weep for a few minutes.)

    I loved this part of your post because as I read it, I got such a clear picture of TD growing up. She really is an incredible child/young woman. I can’t wait to hear about her adventures in college.

  3. AAAAH! That was an accident! I am a stupid-head!

  4. I saw you had three comments and thought, “Wow, there are lots of people up early with insomnia like me!” Now I’m laughing with Mary… (not AT). 🙂

    And I get the feeling that some readers have completely forgotten about the notion of tongue in cheek? Thus the alternate ending and explanations as you go… *sigh*

    People have to get over themselves. When did they all get so serious?

    As for you dear, sending you gentle hugs. Glad you have a kitty to absorb the snot and tears. Wish we were closer to share all of this in person (and a few beers).

  5. I loved both Mistress Mary’s comments, and, especially, dear Keri’s. How I wish you were both close enough for a hug and a beer.

  6. “Flocculent.” That oughta be somebody’s favorite word. I can just hear it: Motherflocculent.

    Did the idea for a kaleidoscope come from microscope shots of algae?

    Did Vicki know she’s cracking up? Where’s that therapy support group now that you so desperately need it?

    Am I being serious? You figure it out….

  7. LOL! Yes, Hoss, she knows. But since she doesn’t believe in psychotherapy, it’s a lost cause. Pass the Glenfiddich. Where’s the cat?
    I would give YOU a hug for that comment if you were closer (I assume I’m on your list of hotties…)

    Thank you, Mary, Jen and Keri- I always know you guys have my back.

  8. Cum grano salis, indeed!

    Is it the old version of Candyland? Don’t throw it out! I’ll buy it from you, Vicki! I so appreciate the original artwork and I’m an avid player. Why am I suddenly reduced to tears?

    Skip the scotch and embrace your inner yogini! Physician, heal thyself!

    *removing tongue from cheek*

  9. I love microscopes too; I didn’t like them when I had to look in one 8 hours a day, searching for cancer, but I always liked to look at anything else I could get under there.

    There’s another thing we have in common: weaving. I took a class years ago and liked it a lot, but I had a “lap” loom, not a big one. Post some photos of it and anything you weave, okay?

  10. Just stay away from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, cut 6

  11. Wow Vicki, you keep coming up with better and better ideas! I will defintely be following your “Why Waste Your Money?” book, because I’ve had some exposure to therapy (through my 12yo and per the school’s requests) and I still don’t understand what it is and how it is supposed to work. I’d tell you more about it, but I will probably end up whining! LOL

    I feel for you about the empty nest. I admit, it’s difficult for me to understand at this point… but it must feel horrible!

  12. Ohhh, one of my favorite words is efflorescence…

    Main Entry: ef·flo·res·cence
    Pronunciation: -‘re-s&n(t)s
    Function: noun
    1 a : the action or process of developing and unfolding as if coming into flower : BLOSSOMING

    *Sigh*… Vicki, you never fail to turn me on.

    I was just talking to “someone” last night and declaring that if I had to choose just one person from my crushroll who I feel is consistently at the top of their game, the one blog that I visit daily and have never clicked away thinking, “well, gee, that was a waste of my time”… without a doubt, it would be you. I am forever grateful to “someone” for introducing me to you.

    gush, gush, gush…xoxo

  13. I would LOVE to be nocturnal IM buddies with you!

    Gimmee your info and we’re on.

    When my daughter moved out I took over her room before the dust had cleared from the driveway. She told me years later that her feelings were hurt that I didn’t keep it as a shrine.

    It’s the guest room now, except for the closet which is where I keep all the Christmas stuff. Guests are welcome but they have to hang their clothes from the doorsill.

    It was only a month or so ago that I removed her dolls from the tops of the bookshelves, though. Sigh. And some of her pictures are still on the walls.

    When she visits now she’d rather sleep on the sofa anyway.

    Yahoo? Msn? Aim? What is your chat of preference?

  14. Jim- that song ALWAYS made me sad, even before this one was born.

    Lu- you are too kind. Undeserved praise, but thank you. I like you, too. 🙂

    Bonnie- You may have it. Free. Just don’t cry. And I’m trying! I did register for yoga- starts Sept. 11 so you can look for a full report.

    Judy- I have two beautiful floor looms- one was made by a friend and one is a 6 foot cherry Norwood loom. The last thing I wove was a papoose bag for Daniel, with a lot of Navajo influence. Then Abby used it as well and now it’s packed away for future use. I’m looking forward to getting my loom out again as well as taking a spinning class this Fall and I will post pictures.

  15. Jane- you’re on. info forthcoming.

  16. “Packing up childhood” yes we have been through that. Last year I went through everything for six months before she graduated and we packed away until the garage was loaded to the ceiling. Then we moved it all to a storage unit. I told her the other day when she was lamenting not being able to find some books, that when we get another house and get the grandparents moved in and get her mom a job then it will be absolutely wonderful. Like Christmas. We can open boxes and be amazed at the things we forgot we had and all the memories they bring up. We must have a tape recorder handy then to get all those memories down. Nyssa helped me with the packing last year like you and TD are doing. This year I’m kinda backing off. It will be amazing how one year 12 or more hours away from her parents will change her, how she will grow. The child you thought was quite mature to start with will absolutely astound you. At first it’s a little sad, but ever so gratifying to know “Hey, I did ok with this one, I’m pretty good at this mom thing afterall”.

    So, cry your eyes out. It’s ok to do that. I’m sure that Friday afternoon I will shed a tear or two on my way back to Virginia Beach. But you’ll be ok and she will flourish.

  17. A Question For The Mother’s Therapy Goup

    All the hustle and bustle of the week and the impending deadline to be ready to go has kept me up late. When I can’t sleep I think and questions come up.

  18. I’m remembering when I “packed up my childhood” and at the time, I was on the adventurous-starting-out-my-life-kid-on-her-own side of things. Now, I see it from the parent perspective. Thanks for sharing…and at least you didn’t wait til she left and then told her on the phone “We’re putting a pool table in your room.” ;0)

  19. I’m remembering when I “packed up my childhood” and at the time, I was on the adventurous-starting-out-my-life-kid-on-her-own side of things. Now, I see it from the parent perspective. Thanks for sharing…and at least you didn’t wait til she left and then told her on the phone “We’re putting a pool table in your room.” ;0)

  20. God, I really need to get out of the habit of writing my umich email on here…*sigh*.
    I’m starting to realize that packing up childhood thing. My bedroom for the most part has been kept the way it was when I was in high school, except it became dad’s office. But with my parents thinking of building a new house, we’re actually discussing packing up my room and getting rid of my old childhood furniture (Sigh). Although I’m avoiding it, I know one of these days all the clothes, toys and what nots of my childhood need to be packed away. Although I’m not giving up Bear dammnit. No one can make me. Ah anyways…the point of my comment was just like T.D. I have an all about me book. Mine’s fairly funny. I wrote it when I was 3-4 years old and it makes no sense, but I think it made sense to me. My friends wondered how I had more steps getting to the mailbox than school. I realized as a child I was literal about this. You DRIVE to school, and therefore the steps taken are not very many, whereas you actually walk to the mailbox. Leave it to my brilliant mind to think that one up. lol.

  21. I cant even say half the words that describe what pulverulence means. No more big words, K Vic?

    We have also used our microscope to look at body fluids. And now I know that if we ever have problems getting pregnant, it wont be because his boys arent active enough. My word!

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