Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Mottos to parent by...

We were discussing difficult parenting situations at work and how we reacted poorly or in funny ways. The nurse said, "My motto was always, 'I won't let him get the best of me.'" The secretary said, "I always tell my kids that I will never be afraid of them, but I would rather they are afraid of me" implying that if it takes fear to get them to live good lives she would rather they not love her, but fear her to accomplish that end result. I think my unrealistic parenting motto has something to do with "You will show respect for others, be honest, and responsible at all times, or receive consequences for it."

What motto do you parent by?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

More photos...They upload faster when I get the thumbnails from Ebay

These are some of my favorite photos from my Ebay Store Photo For You

I thought this one would sell a lot, but apparently no one likes Watermelon like I thought...

An Old water truck from Barstow

Old-school tire swing...

Serenity Prayer and Lightning storm...

Vintage Sinclair Station

Three sailboats foggy morning

Red rock on granite

This is one of my favorite photos, but no one ever buys it...I love the colors and the contrast of the black and whites...

Poor little sheep in a rainstorm

Purple Rose

Purple flower glowing in flash

Plott Hound...Hi Boston!

MLK the Man...

It took a lot of perseverance to get this shot... I love this iris...
Inspiration is a lovely thing...
My first attempt at infrared photography

Green Toxic Waste Barrels, but they are pretty!!!

Canadian Geese on Vacation in California Sun has been a LONG time since gas was this cheap

I love the antique postcard feel to this photo

Channel Mixer is fun...

I love liquor stores...they are really beautiful in a strange way..maybe I should put together a coffee table book full of liquor store photos...any publishers interested? :)

Catholic church

Calla lily

California Poppy

California Market and Virgin Mary (Rezai por nos)

Black and white tree/cloud/grass

Cool billiards sign

Bearded Dragon Photo...It gets more hits than any other photo I have in stock...

Artistic Shot of the Alley Cat Bar
Click here to enter store

New Photos...

The evils of alcholism are embodied in this print...Denial! :)

Are California cows really happier?

I liked this was a welder's shop in Barstow, CA and he had a million old signs there. I selected the reds and yellows and made everything else black and white. I think it makes it look interesting. You can buy any of these photos at
Click Here to Enter Store

Mormo-phobic Seminar...

I went to a training yesterday on how therapists can better work with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, Questioning clients (these are the terms the presenter used, because there is a small minority of homosexuals that refer to themselves as queer). I thought the training was helpful, informative, and very useful, except for one thing. The presenter continuously bashed the Mormon church throughout the discussion. She singled it out and made blanket statements about how horrible the LDS church is, and how it is made up of gay-haters and homophobes...I realize that there are members in the church that are homophobic, and probably even members that hate homesexuals (although I don't know any personally), but just because a religion believes that an act is immoral does not mean they hate the people engaged in the act. For example, the LDS/Mormon Church teaches that premarital and extramarital sex are sins. We don't hate those that have affairs (unless it is our own spouse :)), but neither do we condone the act. We don't hate those that have sex out of wedlock, although we don't condone that act. The vast, vast majority of Mormons also do not hate gays, although they do believe that homosexual acts are against the commandments of God. I think this is one of those issues like immigration reform. Back in the 1990s, it was very difficult, and still is, to say that you wanted immigration reform without looking like a racist. I think it is a fine line that needs to be walked carefully to make sure your intentions are good and you are not degrading certain races of people. The LDS church's opposition to gay marriage is based on the idea that homosexual behavior is against the commandments of God. They have also stood up to influences in the past wanting to legalize gambling in Utah, soften liquor laws, etc. They believe they have a moral obligation to speak out on moral issues when the legislation will give government endorsement of behaviors viewed as against the commandments of God. Now, if gay rights activists are successful in legalizing gay marriage/partnerships, and it appears that they will be successful in obtaining equal protection/rights under the consitution, LDS people will not form mobs to lynch gays who have married, or riot in the streets, or burn down gay partner's homes. They will respect the law of the land, still try to teach their children to not engage in homosexual acts, and still learn to cope with the event that their child does come out of the closet and announce that he/she is gay/lesbian. I think I am in the middle ground on this subject. I respect gays and lesbians and their chosen lifestyle. I have many clients who are gay or lesbian, and I would never engage in a discussion on the morality of their chosen lifestyle. However, I personally think it would be very difficult to accept if my child announced to me that he or she was homosexual...I would especially have a difficult time if they announced this as a teenager because I would feel they were not old enough to consider all of the ramifications that coming out would have on their life. I know that the LDS church has openly stated that it does not agree with homesexual acts and it views such as sin; however, it has also come out against gay-bashing, homophobia, violence, or vituperative attacks on gays/lesbians. The prophet of the church, Gordon B. Hinckley, has stated,

"Nevertheless, and I emphasize this, I wish to say that our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group. As I said from this pulpit one year ago, our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the Church. It is expected, however, that they follow the same God-given rules of conduct that apply to everyone else, whether single or married."

I guess what I am trying to say, is that just because someone does not agree with the lifestyle another has chosen, it does not automatically equate that this person hates the other.

The last point I wanted to make is that recent debates about what is right and what is wrong are based on philosophies of "relative morality:" that what is right always depends on the individual's situation or the times, and a belief that God does not have eternal laws. However, if you look at things from the perspective that some things might be eternal laws, and that certain behaviors really might be wrong in the eyes of God, then it changes the perspective.

The lady made mention that Mormons hate gays and teach that they will "burn in Hell." That, too, is not an accurate portrayal. All but the Sons of Perdition (those who have a perfect knowledge of the Godhead and deny them) will be saved in a heavenly degree of glory, whether the Telestial, Terrestial, or Celestial Kingdom....and they will "ENJOY that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received" (D&C 88:32). I don't think that practicing homosexuals are going to be condemned to an eternity of misery and wretchedness. They will be resurrected to a degree of glory and enjoy the degree of glory that they received.

I was also bothered that before she showed a film about a girl (lesbian) in Salt Lake City, Utah who formed an after school club to promote understanding between gay/straight/lesbian students, she mentioned how horrible the Mormons were, but failed to mention how wonderful this girl's Mormon family fully accepted her after they were finally able to accept that their daughter was a lesbian. She did mention that it was remarkable that this family was able to accept her so quickly (the movie was shot two years after she came out of the closet), but did not attribute any of this acceptance to their LDS/Mormon/Christian beliefs that we should love one another as children of God, and love our children even if they do not choose the path we would like them to follow.

Well, I still don't know how to really reconcile in the minds of others that if an organization speaks out on behaviors that it views as immoral, it does not make it a gay-hating organization. I think that anyone that says that it is, is engaging in black and white thinking, and not seeing the issue from the worldview of the other. I know I haven' t done this justice, but again, it bothered me that the LDS church was attacked in such a negative way, and in such a public forum.

Oh, and if "the Crow" (bhl) reads this, let your sister CL know that there is a movie out with her kids from East High in it talking about the formation of the Gay Straight Lesbian Alliance...The film was called either "Out of the Past," or "Making History," I'm not sure which. She may already know about it, but I thought she might want to watch it.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

7:1 ratio of Car to Beach

Well, it was Easter Sunday today, and we spent the day driving our daughter's friend down to the airport in LA...We left about 11AM and drove three and a half hours to Newport Beach where the kids got to swim in the surf for about an hour...their friend had never swam in the ocean before so we wanted her to have that opportunity. Then we drove an hour and fifteen minutes to the airport in Ontario, and back home which took another two-and-a-half to three hours...Is that a good ratio of drive time to beach time? I didn't think so either. :)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Take time to smell the roses...

Roses at a Buck Owen's Memorial
A Black and White Rose in a Rainstorm...Great detail of raindrops and "veins" in petals (I can't think of the name for plant veins... :( )
These photos take to long to upload...I am done for the night.
See more at

Thursday, April 13, 2006

$736 in sales last month...$500 profit... :)

I had my best month yet...double that of previous months. I think I am going to figure out how to attain power-seller status if I am able to keep this up...

Funny Mad Dad Blog

This blog is funny...

Describe the smell of a moldy hamper...professionally!

One of the most difficult parts in writing psychological assessments is to describe client's physical appearance in a way that it does not appear that you are making fun of, or derogating the client. I read the following report from someone who is pretty descriptive, but I'm not sure how PC the description is. It made me laugh out loud when I saw it because it sounds so awkward and I am sure if the client read it he would feel it was unprofessional...

"The client reported to the interview on time. His grooming was marginal. His clothing smelled as if it came out of the hamper. He had some sort of crust around where his nose met his cheeks..."

This particular therapist usually writes good reports, but this one struck me as funny and there is something about it that sounds too colloquial and unprofessional...

Think of someone who had extremely poor hygiene, and try to write a brief, professional sounding description of that person's lack of hygiene. It can sometimes be harder than it sounds. :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Piling symptoms upon symptoms...

Well, I had to do another competency evaluation at the jail today. This prisoner kept saying, "Are you from the military? Am I waiting to go to military training" over and over. It got to be ridiculous how obvious it was that he was trying to draw attention to the fact that he is "delusional." He stayed in character the entire forty minutes that we spoke. Because I was skeptical of his story, as the truly mentally ill behave differently than he was behaving (they deny their symptoms and try to draw attention away from them, whereas malingerers will "pile symptom upon symptom"), I asked the guard what he knew about the guy. The guard said that he functions very well in jail, that he used to be in the kitchen work crew, and that he seems to be a"happy-go-lucky" guy most of the time. I think it is really sad that so many psychiatrists and psychologists go to these competency interviews/test sessions, and take everything at face value. Have they ever heard of malingering? Do they know that one of the main red flags for malingering is Antisocial Personality Disorder which the majority of repeat offenders have? Do they realize that people facing 25 years to life in prison would much rather fake crazy so they can go to the state hospital for 3 years and go to programs the rest of their lives? I think my profession is incredibly naive...especially those that visit with the inmate for 10 minutes, buy all of the symptoms at face value, and never gather collateral information from others that know the inmate. Anyhow, I am not sure I have enough information that I can say the guy is competent to stand trial, but I do know that he is malingering and that will be in my report. When he goes to Patton State Hospital for competency restoration, they will read my report and keep their eyes out for whether or not he is faking symptoms.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Redneck vs. White Trash

What is the difference between White Trash and Rednecks?

(Insert punchline, or serious answers...I am wondering if most people think these are the same term or not)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Manti Temple Photo

A lady named Kathye emailed me some photos of the Manti Temple and is allowing me to sell personalized versions of them on the internet...I made it into a sepia print, fixed the exposure, and sharpened it up a bit, but I think it looks good. Thanks Kathye...Hope you enjoyed your free enlargement. :) If you know anyone with 5megapixel or larger photos of LDS temples, if they will email them to me and allow me to use them I will give them a free personalized enlargement up to 12x18 of the photo...

Suicide as a coping skill

One of my clients who had terminated therapy approximately 5 weeks ago to go see her developmentally disabled son's therapist committed suicide...When I first heard, I was in shock because she had been doing relatively well the last month of therapy...I even thought that maybe her restraining-order-violating ex-husband or stalker ex-boyfriend might have killed her (the first stage of a grief reaction is denial), but apparently she waited until her children were with her ex for the weekend and ended her life. It caused me a lot of introspection regarding how well I do therapy and even whether I should consider focusing mainly on psychological assessments, but I have finally come to terms with it. Also, it is sad to say, her life was so chaotic, stressful, lacking in social support, full of hateful exes, and full of social programs that did something, but just not enough, that from her perspective her suicide made sense. I guess that is why it is beneficial to have a therapist, friend or family member who can commiserate but also inspire a vision of something more than the present. Her life would have likely continued to be the living hell it was for at least 5-6 more years, but one or two small changes might have relieved the pressure just enough that she could have stuck it out. I realize there are things that she could have done differently to cope, but in her mind I am sure that she viewed the suicide as the ultimate coping mechanism. I was saddened though because even though she was fragile in some ways, she seemed to be an extremely patient and resilient woman in other ways.

I had to do her discharge summary today, and there is something hollow about discharging someone from therapy who is no longer living. It is sobering to see the "Reason for Discharge" as "Died." I have spoken with others re: her passing and realize that the best I can do is to try and learn a lesson from this experience. Examine if there is anything I could have done differently as a therapist. And realize that ultimately it was her choice to end her life. I just hope she is in a better place, and that she will eventually find the peace she so desperately sought after during her temporal existence.

Super Stud???

Two summers ago, when we were driving back to Utah from our camping trip on an unnamed California Beach, I saw one of the funniest license plates I have ever seen...I struggled to get my camera out in time, but he got off an exit and it was too late...I am sure he had other interpretations racing through his narcissistic mind, but my interpretation made me laugh out loud...

The license plate number???



Shoplifting maniacs...

Today I was stopping by a gas station to get a soda before work...there were about 6 middle school students there loading up on Red Bull and Energy drinks...some were paying for the drinks and the others were wandering around the store. I watched as one blonde haired kid slipped a pack of gum in his pocket. The owner walked in right then, so I took him aside and told him "the kid in the brown shirt just shoplifted some gum. He went over to confront them, and of course the kids lied, pulled out another half empty pack of gum out of his pocket and acted dumb like he didn't know what the man was talking about. Of course the owner didn't make him empty all of his pockets or he would have found the gum, but those kids sure left in a hurry. I get tired of dishonest people in this world who take away from those who are working hard to make ends meet...Even though the kid didn't get "caught" per se, I hope he will at least think twice before shoplifting again. And at least the owner will know to keep a better eye on those kids if they dare enter his store again.

Negative Blogs...

I was reading through some comments left by old friends on my past blogs...One particular comment got me thinking, so I reviewed all of my blogs. I realized that I usually blog about something I am upset about, so my blog has become a mirror of my negative/angry self. I am living in California as a single dad (my wife is still working back home) with 6 kids and it can get stressful and overwhelming a lot. I don't have friends out here to vent to, being on Pacific Standard/Daylight Time makes it hard to call friends/family after 9PM (free minutes), and I usually get irritated/resentful when discussing these particular things with my, I blog... I should probably have an anonymous blog where I post my problems and keep this one more entertaining for family and friends to peruse...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Witness to an Accident...

As I mentioned on someone else's blog (nativeminnow) I witnessed an accident last Saturday. It happened right in front of me, and then the light turned red so I had to sit there in the far left lane. I wasn't able to get over to the right when the light turned green, so I drove about a block, got over, and drove around the block to pull in behind the people who wrecked. The man and woman were exchanging insurance information. I said to the man, "Are you just going to let the insurance companies handle it?" because I wanted to know if I should stay around to make a statement to the police. He nodded yes, so I went and sat in my car. Because the man was the one who caused the accident, I waited until he left and the woman came up to me and I gave her my information so the insurance companies could call me. I talked to her insurance company and gave a statement. I had another message on my home phone, which I thought was her insurance company too, so I deleted it. Apparently, one party has State Farm, and the other has Farmer's Insurance. Now the woman called and said that they are trying to say that she was equally at fault for the accident and that she has to pay $1600 to repair her car. This is unfair because all she was doing was driving and this man turned his vehicle right into her. She asked me to write down the details of the accident in case she needs to go to court. I thought I would write them here.

I was driving to my office on Mount Vernon Avenue and was heading East on Highway 178. I was in the far left lane and about 200 yards behind an SUV. Two vehicles were in the left turn lane, turning into a dead-end road (Oak Street). The first vehicle had apparently realized it was a dead-end street and had his blinker on to merge back into the far left lane of 178 at the intersection of 178 and Oak. This woman was driving in the far left lane, and he started to merge over. I immediately slowed down because I knew he was going to hit her. He hit the back driver's side of her car behind the back wheel well with the front right corner of his SUV. Right after he hit her, the light turned yellow and I was unable to go through the light. When the light turned green, I had to drive about a block to merge to the right and go around the block to the scene of the accident. I figured I would fill out a police report on what I had seen and who was at fault for the accident. I got there, and the man and woman were sharing insurance information, and I had the aforementioned conversation with the man. There was also a woman sitting in his SUV on the passenger side with dark hair.

I guess the man is saying that the woman driver was changing lanes at the same time he was, and that she was going through a yellow light, and that there were no witnesses. None of these statements are true. Too bad more witnesses didn't pull over. I think whenever you witness an accident, you should pull over, give your information, and help sort out the blame so innocent victims don't have to pay extra on their deductible and insurance premiums. I know I would appreciate that gesture if I was in an accident. To the man's credit, he may have perceived she was switching lanes because he obviously didn't see her in his blind spot, he may have thought the light was yellow because it turned yellow right after the accident, and he may have thought there were no witnesses because it took me about 3-4 minutes to merge right, drive around the block, and get back to the scene of the accident. Still, I think he is being dishonest in trying to share the blame with this poor woman who was driving and doing nothing wrong.