Friday, May 31, 2013

Apheloria virginiensis

Happy dog and I were roaming through the woods today.  It had rained last night again and the ground was muddy to the point of mush.  I was looking for animal tracks and listening to bird songs and a woodpecker drumming when I happened to see this:

a millipede found in the wet woods
Apheloria virginiensis  

It was moving rather fast and I made my sneakers into a v-shape in order to interrupt it so I could get out the camera and snap this picture.  There are clearer pictures on the internet of course.  I held the camera a bit too close in my haste to get its' photo.  At any rate, in this one, you can see the shiny body, the yellow stripes and the reddish sides.  The legs undulated and there looked to be three groups of them.  When gently prodded with a stick, to my surprise this particular millipede did not curl up.  When allowing the millipede to go on its' way, it rapidly disappeared into the leaf litter.

Happy dog did not notice my adventures with Apheloria virginiensis.  She continued on her merry way examining various scents along the woods path.

One of the grand things about living in this area is that there are bits of woods and fields all within walking distance.  The town foolishly tried to sell off one section of the woods but was met with stubborn resistance by the regulars who use it.  The folks who wanted to buy the woods realized very quickly that they were not welcome here and withdrew their offer.  [Alternate scenario:  Or perhaps the bank loan or mortgage thing fell through and they blamed the locals for not being friendly and welcoming].  At any rate, the invaders quickly beat feet and left.

Unlike in some other places, the paint-ballers, four-wheelers, and walkers all get along.  The paint-ballers and the four-wheelers all help to maintain the woods by clearing away blowdown and cutting away the invasive grass.  [Lawns are an ecological wasteland and should properly be banned-- but I digress].  We walkers snap away random branches that threaten to close off the paths.  There is a small subset of teens who use the woods around here to kick back and relax.  We all get along with them too.  Most of us have had a few beers or a few joints in the woods in our own youths.  These particular teens do not leave bottles or cans laying around.  There is a garbage can on the way out.

Once back home, dog and I sat out in the backyard.  The morning crew of birds drifted in.  The immature male red-wing blackbird was back at the platform feeder.  A few chickadees were out and about.  Chickadees are rather clever.  This morning I watched as one used a tree branch to help crack open a sunflower seed.  I've watched them do that sort of thing before with tree branches and with the branches of bushes both.  A house sparrow [actually English finches] couple were at the tube feeders.  They did not fight with the house wrens this morning.  I was glad of that.

sapphoq and friends

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pablo's Onions

Pablo's Onions by sapphoq; digital art from a photograph I took on Memorial Day 2013

I love onions.  I love all onions, especially if they are fried, broiled, or barbecued.  These were large red onions which were cooked on a barbecue grill on Memorial Day.  They were delicious.

I took a picture of the onions and then selected a close-up.  I wanted to make something reminiscent of a Picasso painting of a woman bathing in a blue bedroom, pictured at:  about halfway down the page.  It is a small print on the right hand side.  And so yeah, this was my result.

I wonder if Pablo Picasso liked fried onions at all, or nearly as much as I do.

sapphoq n friends  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Robin Fell Out

I heard a loud noise.  I looked around and found this baby robin out of a nest.  I thought at first that he [or she?] was going to die.  His [or her?] eyes were open.  So I waited.    

   baby robin on its' side after falling out of the nest

I could hear and see both mom and assumed dad robin flying around back and forth about 30 feet away and screaming. 
The baby robin righted itself and 
   baby robin righted itself
I was relieved. 

I hesitated.  After a moment, I put the little robin back in the nest.  Mom was feeding it later so all was well.

I walked away so that mom and assumed dad robin would calm down.                               

   baby bird back in nest

Friend told me later she had found him on the driveway earlier in the morning and she had also tucked him back into the nest.  Since then, he has gotten out of the nest again and is walking around on the porch floor.
 I took the pictures.  You can right-click and save to your computer to use them as is or to add a tag if you wish to. 

sapphoq n friends                                                

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ring-Necked Pheasant

Got bits of rain and thunder tonight, and a tiny bit of lightening.  It was hot this morning, and sunny.  On my way to visit Dad, I saw a male ring-necked pheasant walking briskly in the grass next to the road.  He was quite striking with especially vibrant colors and his tail held jauntily at an angle.  I was startled to see him.  We have plenty of birds and other wildlife here.  There are all kinds of visitors to the bird feeders, parks, woods, lakes and rivers.  Once I even saw a female bufflehead in the Mohawk-- definitely an incidental.  I've seen gray and red foxes, woodchuck, possum, raccoons, deer all within the city limits.  But the ring-neck was unexpected.  And quite a delight!

sapphoq n friends

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Two Turkey Vultures and Not-a-Cat

While walking with the dog in the morning recently, I came upon two turkey vultures on a fence.  One at a time, they flew farther away to another fence.  They were so close, I was able to see their underwings.  Something about them informed the happy dog that she should not chase this particular couple.  She let them be [so I did not have to call her back to my side].  

The two turkey vultures, with their backs turned towards the sun, spread their wings out in a common early morning turkey vulture pose.  At night, they lower their core body temperature by several degrees in order to conserve energy.  In the morning, they raise it again.  Turkey vultures also urinate on their legs-- this is a practice that actually helps them not to be infected by standing in offal-- but since I've never witnessed that, you have been spared from further description of that particular practice.

This afternoon, I saw a "lump" under a parked car.  I went to investigate because I was curious about the "color of the kitty."  The "cat" turned out to be definitely not a feline.  What I saw was a longish light gray face, black eyes, and a big [but not pointed] black nose.  We made eye contact.  I left quickly.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

If I Was to Design an Addictions Treatment Program

I reviewed the book Clean by David Sheff over at sapphoq reviews .  I have been thinking:  Since so much of addictions treatment is a sort of cloning of the Twelve Steps what would I do in a perfect world.  In other words, if I was to design a treatment program what would it look like?

Before admission to any component of the treatment program, a customer will have a complete physical with follow-up testing if indicated, a dental evaluation, a vision check and a hearing test, and a mental health evaluation.  Ideally, all health issues will be identified before acceptance into any part of the treatment program.  All health issues should be addressed and treated while the customer is in any part of the treatment program.

The treatment program offers the following services: medical detox, crisis center, sobering up, emergency shelter, in-patient rehab, out-patient rehab, supervised and supportive apartment programs [including off-site, that is a customer can stay in their current home or apartment with staff supervision or support], halfway house, three quarter way house.  A customer may enter the treatment program at any level of care as needed.

Medical Detox is for those who need it.  A customer will be evaluated and admitted to detox if medically indicated.  Those in detox will be given the proper medications in order to avoid the misery of cold turkey withdrawal.  Any customers who are candidates for disulfirm [generic Antabuse] or an opioid replacement protocol [methadone] will be identified.  Customers who agree to the recommendation will be started on disulfirm or opioid replacement before discharge.

The In-Patient Rehab Schedule
Breakfast:  8 a.m. through 10 a.m.
Lunch:  12 noon through 2 p.m.
Dinner:  5 p.m. through 7 p.m.     

Customers who want to eat will make themselves a nutritious meal in the kitchenette.  They will also be responsible for cleaning up after themselves.  

10:15 a.m. through 10:45 a.m. 
10:45 a.m. through 11:15 a.m. 
11:15 a.m. through 11:45 a.m.
2:15 p.m. through 2:45 p.m.
2:45 p.m. through 3:15 p.m.
3:15 p.m. through 3:45 p.m. 
3:45 p.m. through 4:15 p.m.
4:15 p.m. through 4:45 p.m. 
7:15 p.m. through 8:00 p.m.
8:15 p.m. through 9:00 p.m.   
Customers will have a choice of participating in a topic group or activity centered around F.-S.P.I.E.S.
Financial:  a topic group that teaches budgeting for food, clothing, household goods, rent or mortgage, education, savings.
Social:  a topic group that teaches social skills; or a voluntary committee that plans for social events for the rehab e.g. a dance, movie night, a tea, a birthday or other celebration, an open mic event etc.  If a customer chooses, participation in a self-help group* in-house can also be made available.  
Physical:  use of a pool, trails in the woods, a park, weight room, in-house gym, bicycle-riding, birding, gardening, or other recreation involving fitness or movement alone or with others of one's choosing in-house, on the grounds, or nearby. 
Intellectual:  a topic group that teaches S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting or cognitive thinking skills; or pursuit of intellectual activities alone or with others of one's choosing.  Intellectual activities might include research in the library or on the internet, writing, reading, artwork using a variety of mediums of one's choosing, logic puzzles, work in a language lab on a language of one's choosing, etc.  If a customer chooses, an individual session can also be held.
Emotional:  a topic group that is centered on topics related to the regulation of emotions, education on medications and behavioral health/neurological conditions, relationships within the family or intimate partner or friends or outside community, trauma recovery, etc.  
Sexual:  a topic group that addresses sex, sexual expression, sexual orientation, gender orientation, and similar concerns. 

*self-help or mutual aid groups:
Alcoholics Anonymous
Narcotics Anonymous
Gamblers Anonymous
Smokers Anonymous
Overeaters Anonymous
Overcomers Anonymous
Adult Children of Alcoholics
Co-dependents Anonymous
Weight Watchers
Secular Organization for Sobriety [Save OurSelves]
Women for Sobriety

Random Notes for the in-patient rehab
Community Resources:  Customers who are stable can access the outside community for events however they must arrange to use public transportation, a taxi, a ride, or they can walk.  There is no van available to pile people into in order to get them to go places.
Rec and other activities should focus on things that are not within the realm of "sight-seeing."  Acting like a tourist usually involves gas and admission fees.  Customers may not have access to either one after leaving treatment.  Therefore, the focus will be on the practical and the frugal.  Any customer who is not yet able to function in a group will be redirected to choose non-group activities.
Religious practice:  Customers who wish to engage in religious practices will be permitted to do so.  Those who are stable can access the outside community in order to attend religious services and other activities conducted by a religious group of their choosing.
Downtime:  Customers who have neurological or physical conditions or diseases may need more down time or recovery time after group or rec activity.  Those who need to may elect to rest quietly in their rooms on an as needed basis.
Individual Counseling and Group Work: will focus on F.-S.P.I.E.S.  The inpatient rehab will not address the twelve steps in any individual or group session.  Introduction to the twelve steps will be left entirely to those outside twelve step groups who come into the facility to conduct meetings. 
Aftercare Planning: The customer, staff, and any involved individuals of the customer's choosing will develop an aftercare plan.  If the customer refuses an aftercare recommendation of staff, then more planning must be done until a plan is developed that is acceptable to the customer.
Homework or written assignments: will not be given.  There is to be no assignments given by staff to the customers to complete, period.
Journals: If a customer elects to keep a journal, its' privacy is to be respected.  
Mail:  Customers who receive mail will be asked to open it in front of staff and to shake out each letter or card.  This will be done in order to minimize any attempts to be sent drugs.  Staff will not confiscate any mail.  Any drugs or suspicious items sent to the customer will be turned over to the local police.  
Phone calls:  Customers may receive phone calls.  If the customer is not available, the caller will be directed to call during the next scheduled meal hours.
Complaints:  Customers will have access to a private telephone on demand in order to call the State and overseeing agencies.  Names and numbers will be posted and available in the customer manual.
Staff:  All staff must be Masters' level or PhD level clinicians.  Additionally, addictions medical specialists, psysiatrists, psychologists, and psychologists are available in-house at all times. 
Visitors:  Visitors are permitted during mealtimes.  Visitors are encouraged to eat and socialize with the customers that they are visiting.  A private area for visitation will be provided if asked.  Visitors may come at other times upon request.
Therapeutic Discharges:  There will be no therapeutic discharges.  If a customer is not responding to treatment, then the treatment plan has to be changed in order to better reflect the needs and strengths of the customer.  If a customer uses during in-patient treatment, the customer will address the issue during individual sessions and/or topic groups.  Motivational interviewing is utilized in order to demonstrate that abstinence is achievable.  If the treatment program is unable to assist the customer, the customer may be given the option of a non-punitive transfer to another facility.  A few customers may elect to transfer to out-patient with or without residing in a halfway house, three quarter way house, supervised or supportive apartment programs before official completion of the in-patient program or scheduled termination date.
Illegal Activities:  If a customer engages in illegal activities e.g. bringing illegal drugs onto the premises or assaulting another customer or a staff, the local police will be notified. 

The Out-Patient Rehab is for those customers who are residing in the community in a halfway house, three quarter way house, supervised and supportive living programs, or independently.  Customers will attend out-patient for one, two, or three hours a day.  Topic groups will focus on maintaining a lifestyle consistent with freedom from active addiction.  Again, F.-S.P.I.E.S. will be the basis of discussion.  Rec and other activities will be made available to those who cannot focus in topic groups.  A customer may attend one-on-one counseling sessions in lieu of topic groups if he or she so chooses.  While the topic groups for out-patient will be separate from those offered to in-patients, rec and other activities may take place individually or with a few others of one's choosing from both the in-patient and the out-patient population.  It is expected that those who wish to attend self-help groups while in out-patient will do so on their own time.

Random Notes for the Out-Patient Rehab:
There will be:
no van to cart people around,
no homework or written assignments,
no inspection of journals or private writings,
no therapeutic discharges,
no visitors,
no distribution of mail.
There will be:
use of a private telephone and privacy for complaints,
use of a telephone made available for calls to social service
     and other agencies,
help to identify and access community resources,
help to identify and access natural supports, 
employment and educational counseling if desired. 
Illegal Activities:  If a customer engages in illegal activities e.g. bringing illegal drugs onto the premises or assaulting another customer or a staff, the local police will be notified.     

The halfway house, three quarter way house, and supervised and supportive apartment programs will not address clinical issues.  The focus of the residential piece will be entirely on activities of daily living.  A.D.L.s include standard household chores and responsibilities.  Obtaining and maintaining employment will be addressed individually as needed.  Staff will hold at least a bachelor's degree and be licensed as addictions professionals.  There is to be no topic groups in the residential piece of the rehabilitation program.  

In conclusionIn my opinion, addictions treatment programs have by and large focused on twelve step recovery combined with pop psychology.  Although there are a few addictions counselors who do not employ such measures, the addictions field is woefully full of professionals who are advocates of things like The Secret, affirmations, and other New Age crap.

sapphoq and friends maintain thatThe twelve steps are best left to those groups who practice a twelve step recovery.  Pop psychology, affirmations, and woo-woo may produce a temporary "feel good."  People seeking treatment in order to cease a self-destructive lifestyle of active addiction deserve better.  In my opinion, that "better" involves focusing on F.-S.P.I.E.S.