Friday, December 21, 2007

Bad Dog, Good Dog

A couple of nights ago, I went outside late to smoke. When I opened the back door, our cat SHOT in from the porch. After a few moments I heard this low growl, and thought maybe Mr. Snugglebutt (so named by my eldest son - I TOLD him the other neighborhood kitties would laugh) had had a gentleman's disagreement with the Dobie pup across the road. Anyway, after a while, the growling stopped.

The next night, there was a repeat of the smoking, streaking cat and low growl ... except it was nearly constant and lasted quite a bit longer. I started taking stock of what I could use as a defensive weapon should the pup run up on the porch.

My bedroom window is about 15-20 feet from the back porch. What significance is that? Well, I had apparently blamed the poor pup from across the road for something he hadn't done. The guilty, growling party was none other than my husband - snoring.

Bad, BAD doggie!

One of my co-workers asked the other day if we wanted a puppy - you know, for Christmas for the kids, she said. Apparently her 14 year old grand-daughter had come across a l'il cutie. Upon her requesting permission from grandma to bring the little'un home, my co-worker asked if it was a Chihuahua. She could only bring the puppy home if it was a Chihuahua. When the girl enquired the owner, he assured her it was a "full-blooded Chihuahua".

Upon return home, it was definitely NOT a full-blood, or in my co-worker's words..."I have more Chihuahua than that puppy!" I asked DH about it and he asked about getting a look and the pup. My co-worker took some pics of the pup with her digital camera ... even going so far as to pose the puppy. She is, of course, ADORABLE.

So, we are about to get a new family member.


Friday, November 23, 2007


I haven't quite worked out the Friday Friends bit yet, so I've changed it to Friday Friends and Freebies. Why? Because so many of my blogmama friends have wonderful giveaways and contests on their blogs right now, that I want to let y'all know about as many of them as I can!

First off today:

If you like surprises as much as do, head on over to Mom in the Know. She's giving away prizes from past vendors, but which ones and how many contests are a mystery! :)


Meanwhile, Blessed Nest would like to help you decorate YOUR digs for the holidays with a little help from the Sterling Pear!

There will probably be more later, but I'm on a borrowed computer as we are out of town for Thanksgiving, so y'all check back!:)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

How did I end up here?

See The Other Mother Blog for an explanation of the following:

Responsibilities: feeding children, bathing children, clothing children, teaching children, working, taking care of my residents, transporting the residents, feeding the residents, clothing the residents, putting residents to bed, protecting the residents, protecting my family, taking husband to the doctor/hospital when needed, driving on family trips, calling my mother, calling my brother, being available for intimacy ... every once in a while, talking to in-laws, calling friends, paying bills, keeping myself clean, laundry, grocery shopping, budgeting, locking the doors at night, making sure we have insurance, making sure we have gas, paying back money I have borrowed, smiling at people, loaning when asked if I can, going to church, tithing, writing in my blogs, wishing people online a happy birthday, doing meme after meme....:)

This is a good topic for me this week. I'm going back to work tomorrow after 3 days off from the doctor due to stress. My blood pressure was 170/110 on Wednesday. I went to the doctor on Friday, where it was like 130/90 (better), but I was having headache and pressure in my chest. So the doctor gave me some different blood pressure medication (lisinopril) and some headache pills. We got the med same day and on Friday I took my blood pressure at WalMart and it was 113/78. I do not remember the last time it was that low. I don't think it's EVER been that low ... except after the epidural when I was in delivery with Brian (my oldest). My bp then had been 180/160 and after the epidural I saw it at 70/40. DH said it went down to 40/30. But I'm still here, almost 11 years later.

But I digress.

So, what would happen if I just checked out ... took off, and left all the pressures in my life behind. Where's my angel, Clarence? (See "It's a Wonderful Life".) At least I hope it would be like that, and that people wouldn't be better off with someone else or at least without me in their lives. (See, I told you it's been a tough one. Normally, I wouldn't think like that.)

Well, work at least has had a mini-taste of what it would be like without me there this weekend. It must have SUCKED for S & J (two of my co-workers). The employees are organized into "teams" to facilitate the scheduling process. It was "B" team's weekend off. Of the 6 employees on my side in my home, 3 are on B team. That leaves just 3 of us on their days off, which is hard enough. Unless they got some good overtime staff, they are probably cursing up a storm, partially at me and partially at the admins who let 3 people be on one team, two on C team and just me on A team.

Last week the federal inspectors were in: DOJ (Department of Justice). We have been doing a LOT of extra things in order to impress them. After all, they hold the future of the facility in their hands. If they think things are going badly enough, they could shut the place down and ship the residents elsewhere.

Tuesday of the week before last, there was a "scent and feel" party at the on facility salon. While I agree that it is nice for the residents (many of whom I consider more friends and family than "residents"), to get out, we were told that EVERY SINGLE ONE of our ladies were going and the home manager handed me individual envelopes with $25 per resident to spend.

Sounds good, right?

The flip side: Out of 7 ladies, 5 are in wheel chairs. We cannot transport a wheelchair and one of the two remaining ladies who do walk (but are unstable) at the same's not safe. We had four staff. One was at dinner. Two were needed to help feed some of the ladies who have a more difficult time with that. So I took one lady up to the salon. This woman has PICA - where people eat or attempt to eat things that are not meant to be eaten. Mostly she goes for strings and such, but in the shower, when you wash her hair she will repeatedly put her hand up into the suds on her head and then stuff them into her mouth. And most of the items they had at this party were lotions. There were a few body sprays (which would have worked) but they were in sets with other things. We wound up getting her a pair of slip on house shoes and two pair of socks. Turns out she can't wear the house shoes because she fell out of them ... as have several other of the ladies.

So what would happen if I weren't there? I like to think that I am a good employee because I actually care about the residents. Of course, the management wants to keep them alive, because once they're more money. I'd like to think it's not as cold and hard as that, but the farther away the administration gets from actual regular contact with the "individuals" (which is the current 'preferred' term for the residents), the less they seem to treat the residents like numbers or units to be managed than living breathing people.

Like this whole "you have to take them out tonight" business, which actually happened two days in a row. And all to show the feds how good we were providing for the residents. IMHO it did the residents more harm than good. If staff from the salon had not come down to help us transport, not all of our ladies would have gotten to go. One lady was supposed to be restricted to the home because of her O2 sats, but the home manager got the doctor to write an order allowing her to go to the salon. This woman had just been in the hospital the week before after a series of seizures (one lasting 20:45 and the other 30 minutes).

Because of that and because the bath on the men's side of the house is broken (we have a fancy-schmancy lift tub because our people cannot get in and out of regular tubs), we are bathing 8-9 people a night in the same tub. After each bath, we had to spay the tub and lift with one disinfectant, let is sit 10 minutes, rinse it off, spray it with another disinfectant, let it sit 3 minutes, and rinse it off. That made each bath (plus sanitization) take about 30 minutes. Thirty x 8 baths = 4 hours. The night at the salon, I didn't get my last bath done until 10:45 pm, 15 minutes before the end of the shift. The lady whom I was bathing normally is in bed by 9:30 at the very latest.

The following day they (some administrators) came in at 6:10 pm and said that we were taking ALL of the ladies to the gym for a gospel quartet concert. One who was quite high up sat and spoon fed a resident, who can feed herself, going faster than that she could go. This was the same woman who has to be on O2 24/7 ... even when she's on the toilet. They built her hopes up about going to the concert. The nurse had to check her out and give an ok before C was actually able to go ... and C's O2 was not high enough, so they told her she could not go. C was crushed. I was angry. The other ladies were still eating dinner and would not even be finished by 6:35, let alone ready to go out in the cold night to a concert.

Two of them had toileting accidents, and needed baths right away, so they did not go (as the night air was too cold). But I approached the home manager and asked to "mention a concern". (Actually I wanted to tell them to pull their heads out of their a$$es and start thinking about the lives, liberty and happiness of the residents, rather than their own jobs ... but I didn't think that would be taken very well.) I explained the deal with the bathing the previous night and my feeling that 10:45 was too late to be bathing people with serious medical and developmental issues. They agreed, but mumbled something about the tub on the men's side not being able to be fixed because a part had to be ordered ... and it could take as long as 3-4 WEEKS!

While I was bathing one of the aforementioned ladies, the home manager came in and told me, that if I had to miss my lunch, to fill out a time slip for it and it would be added into my hours on my check. My feeling was then that if I didn't get a lunch, relatively at the time I was supposed to get it, they would be calling in the Hazmat team to scrape me off the walls, ceiling and floor with a spoon - because I WAS GOING TO EXPLODE!

Well, thanks to a supervisor from another area ... who went above and beyond the call by coming to cover in our home, I was able to go to lunch at the right time. (Side note: I smoked 8 cigarettes in 45 minutes - a dubious "record" for me .... THAT'S how aggravated I was.)

I know I've strayed far from the topic given, but I guess it boils down to this. Did the residents survive before I got there? Yes. Will they survive after I go? Yes. But I hope since I've been there, and for as long as I am there, that their quality of life is a little better than before. (And if I'm REALLY lucky, I'll set a good example for someone who stays longer than I do.)


Oh, and I wrote actually for 28 minutes. Once the lock opened, it didn't want to shut again. ;)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Scribblings - Left & Right

When I'm driving down the road, sometimes the concept of "left and right" blurs. Most of the roads on which I drive are little country roads and there is not much traffic. Kentucky also has some of the twistiest, windiest roads known to humans. So, as long as I am being a safe driver, and nothing is coming at me head-on, why should I speed up or slow down just to stay on the "right" side of the road?

I was never one for coloring inside the lines either.


For other great entries on the subject "Left & Right", see Issue #84 of Sunday Scribblings!

3/365 - Brother

My brother is 22 months older than me. He is very intelligent and musically gifted. If he called at work and told me I needed to be there now, I'd be on my way before the next heartbeat. I would trust him with my life.

2/365 - Dad

Dad died while I was doing a play with the theme "there is no death". I was 17. I felt his presence strongly in the delivery room when DS2 was born. He came to see me in Job's Daughters even though he didn't like "secret societies".


If this entry seems strange to you and you're wondering what the heck 2/365 means, check out the X365 website!

Friday, November 9, 2007

1/365 - Mom

I've started a new meme! WOOHOO!

Quoting from the site:

This started with one guy who wanted to mark turning 40 in a cool and meaningful way, now people all over the world are making a list of 365 people they've met during the course of their lives - people who left an impression and whose name they remember - then they're randomly writing a set number of words about someone on their list. They're doing this once a day - for a year.
A lot of people are using their age as a limit on the number of words for each post, but as far as I can tell there really are no restrictions...just an exercise in working with the same guidelines for each entry.

(Except for this one obviously, because I had to do all the explanation stuff. *LOL*)


My mother was born in Switzerland. We don't always agree, but it was the way she raised me that kept me from getting into more trouble than I did while growing up! Now that I'm a mom, too, I love her more than ever!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Meme Twisted - Thursday 13 Random Things About Me

This is my usual (well, as usual as I get) day for a Thursday Thirteen list. But I just got tagged by my buddy Rose to follow a meme: 7 Random Things About Me. So I'm gonna write 13 things about me.

1. DS2 and DD are using me as base in a game of tag ... while I am trying to type this. :)

2. I gave myself a Colles' Fracture (not my x-ray) of my left wrist when I left the apartment one day about 10 years ago after arguing with DH. I went to a local park, walked down a grassy hill in flip flops (instead of taking the nice cement steps about 20 feet farther down the road) and slipped at the bottom, catching myself on my hands. I had barely enough presence of mind to ask directions to the nearest hospital, and enough stubbornness to drive myself there ... with my right hand, of course. I must have looked pretty pitiful because they didn't even do the "take a number" routine at the desk. Note to self: call husband BEFORE they give pain meds, should there ever be a next time.

3. The best acting performance I ever gave was as Winnie in Happy Days by Samuel Beckett. In the first act, I was buried up to my waist in a marvelously constructed imitation sand hill. (They had originally considered actually using sand and I thought, "What if I have to go to the bathroom during intermission?" The idea was discarded when it was reasoned that as Winnie is up to her neck in sand in the second act, this might make it difficult for me to breathe. There was one other character in the play, and I think he had 40 some odd words to say. The rest was me talking for about 1.5 hours. Oy!

4. My mother was born in Switzerland and my father was born in West Virginia. (Every time I say that I think of the line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: "Your father was a hamster and your mother smelled of elderberries!" *LOL*)

5. DH and I met online in a role-playing game back in 1992.

6. The only US states I haven't visited are: Alaska, Oregon, Washington, North Dakota, South Dakota, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut.

7. Geez, if I'd've been thinking, I would have used each state from #6 as a separate thing! :p

8. DH just came home from fixing a satellite box and was standing in back of me rubbing my shoulders helping me with my list of states (I had left out Alaska and Connecticut). My right shoulder is now officially in pain.

9. I had my hair cut recently from backside length to chin length. This is what's known in my life as "getting a wild hair" about something.

10. I like ginger ale with so much ginger in it that it just about burns my throat while swallowing.

11. When I was 18 I wanted to get my hair corn-rowed. My mother called the department store where I had an appointment and told them not to do it. (It cost $100 and she didn't think this was a worthy use for my money.) I went home with my hair corn-rowed (about 94 braids, I think) and she didn't talk to me for days.

12. I met my first husband online as well and married him about 4 hours after we met in person for the first time.

I know, but I was younger and stupider then.

13. I am spiritual, but not particularly religious.


Okay, now on to the tagging business. I think I'm supposed to tag 7 people. Here goes in no particular order:

1. Kate at sweet | salty for her indomitable spirit!

2. Mir at Cornered Office, which is the current location of her blog "Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda", due to hosting snafus!

3. Charlene at Crazed Parent, especially for her decorated deck of cards series!

4. Mace of MaceinSpace cause she is a totally cool person from "down under"!

5. CC on her journal at Maya's Mom, cause she is totally addicted to memes like me!

6. Joss on her journal at Maya's Mom, because she tells it like it is!

7. Jada at Scrappin' My Three, because that's the kind of memory-keeping mama I wish I was.

BTW, it's Thursday Thirteen's 118th Edition today!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - 13 Halloween Memories

1. I had to work on Halloween last year.

2. I didn't have to work on Halloween this year.

3. Luckily I also did not have to work the day before Halloween this year, as that's when trick-or-treating was done around here. (I think it has to do with Wednesday being a big church night, but I'm not sure.)

4. The kids had store-bought costumes for the 2nd time this year. Before we had pieced together whatever we could find.

5. DD was a "butterfly princess", and looked really cute walking around in her brother's parka with the wings attached to the outside.

6. DS1 and DS2 were ninjas ... and if people thought they looked like twins BEFORE...!

7. When we were young, our bags were turned over at the end of the night to our parents, and we would get like 2 or 3 pieces of candy each day after that for the duration.

8. When parents did not have to "inspect" the treat bags for razor blades, tainted candies, etc etc etc.

9. When the time changed the Sunday before Halloween. It was so weird starting trick-or-treating in SUNLIGHT!

10. Going trick-or-treating one time in jr high school and being met at the door by one of my classmates and being really embarrassed! (Now I see like high school kids walking around in droves. *sigh*)

11. Having out of town relatives not understanding what we were doing home when we called them on Halloween night this year. (See #3 above.)

12. When we first moved to Kentucky, DD was 2 years old and was a "UK cheerleader" that time. Man, did she SCORE with the townspeople (and with her Papaw). *LOL*

13. The last two years we lived in Ft Worth, we went to Halloween parties at different churches i/o around the neighborhood. We lived in apartments, and there just wasn't a lot of ... participation.


Check out other great Halloween 13's by clicking on the logo to the right!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday Trips - Cumberland Falls

Cumberland Falls State Park is about an hour south of us. We visited once when it was just us and the boys and once with T-girl. "Great Lakes Waterfalls and Beyond" says:
Cumberland Falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the South, and is definitely one to see.
The Kentucky State Parks site has a great page on Cumberland Falls, including accommodations, restaurants, camping and things to do in the area.

I know we have some pictures of the kids by the falls, but DH just redid the computer again and it'll take me a while to find them. Maybe next week....*sigh*.

Cumberland Falls is the only place in the US where you can see a "moonbow", which is a rainbow created by the mist from the falls and moonlight. We've been here more than two years, and I've yet to see one. Of course, the last time we went there, DS2 got sick on the way home, so that maybe has put a little damper on things.

I'd like to go back next summer and explore some more of the trails with the kids.

There is a little snack bar/gift shop area before you get to the main trails. The tables are round and made of stone. Last time we were there, T was about 2-3 years old and wanted to dance on the tables, so we let her! I've never thought I'd say this, but some table dancers are just pretty darned cute! :p

Cumberland Falls is one destination that always makes the "to do list" when out-of-town friends and family come to visit.

Monday Movies - The Abyss

OK, y'all, on of my top ten favorite movies is "The Abyss".

A US sumbarine encounters an underwater alien life form (dubbed NTI's or non-terrestrial intelligence by the rig crew) which wreaks havoc with their electronics and causes it to crash. Russian subs are honing in on it, hoping to steal the secrets. The US Navy would rather not have that happen and are looking for quick ways to beat the Russians to the sub.

Bud and his buddies run an underwater oil platform. The oil company is informed that they WILL co-operate with the US Navy. (Is it just being a mom that makes me hear, "And you WILL NOT watch tv until your room is cleaned?") Descending with the Navy SEALS is Lindsey, Bud's estranged wife.

Oh, goody. *LOL*

Being so far underwater, with all the surrounding pressure, can make people jittery under the best of times, but the commander of the SEALS is apparently more than usually susceptible to the "High Pressure Nervous Syndrome" and gets ultra paranoid. The SEALS and the crew go to the downed sub and retrieve several things that the US would like to keep out of enemy hands, and a nuclear missile.

At one point, the NTI, which is able to mold water, comes up through the rig's moon pool to explore, presumably because they've seen these two-legged upright creatures running around their back yard pool (ok, just kidding) and wonder who let the kids out. It makes the hosts somewhat nervous, except for Lindsey, who thinks they're kind of cute.

She sticks her finger into the dinosaur-neck style configuration of water and tastes it. Sea water. Then she smiles ... and the water makes a clear copy of her face, that smiles back! It's not as hokey as it sounds ... my words are failing me in description of the scene.

Remember the newly unbalanced SEAL commander? He decides the water NTI is up to no good and shuts the door on it ... literally, causing the Linsdey-reflection and the rest of the water on that side of the door to fall to the ground. The rest of the water beats a hasty retreat through the moon pool to blend in with the rest of the sea.

The SEAL commander decides this NTI must be destroyed and takes the nuclear weapon in a submersible down into the trench to destroy the aliens. Bud and Lindsey go out after him. While the commander's submersible is pushed over the edge and is crushed by the water pressure, the estranged husband and wife get caught on the edge of the trench, unable to move, and taking on water ... fast.

The only hope of survival for them is to swim back to the rig, but there is only one suit. One suit to keep them warm in the sea water and one source of oxygen. So Lindsey tells Bud, the stronger swimmer to wear the suit let her drown, drag her back and with bodily functions slowed by hypothermia, resuscitate her once they get back to the rig. Crazy ... maybe. Did it work? Yes.

But the nuke is still at the bottom of the trench. They decide someone has to go down and disarm the thing, and Bud, of course, volunteers. But since the SEAL commander was crushed by water pressure when he was in a machine ... how can Bud survive? Apparently there is a liquid that he could breathe (a nice little toy the Navy brought along) that would allow his lungs not to collapse.

Once he gets to the bottom, Bud is supposed to disarm the missile. But the light sticks he has makes it impossible to figure out which wire is which color. And the pressure, while not lethal, is certainly not doing anything good for his central nervous system. It's been a while, but I think he guesses...correctly, of course.

Well, there is not enough oxygen in the tank to get him back up to the rig, so he types in his armband keyboard that he knew it was a one-way trip and (talking to Lindsey) said, "Love you wife".

But remember, he wasn't alone down there. A couple NTI's come around to see who Bud is and what he's up to. As Bud loses consciousness, he is whisked through the NTI's territory until he comes to an area where the water is "pulled back" (think like the parting of the Red Sea in the Ten Commandments), and he is able to take off his helmet, spew the liquid out of his lungs and breathe normally. He looks at the aliens, smiles, gives a little tentative wave, and says, "Hi."

The NTI's show like a movie of man's destruction of himself, each other, and the planet, mostly via wars and nuclear means. Bud asks, "Then why did you save me?" The movie changes to a shot of his armband keyboard and the words "Love you, wife" showing up.

Switch back to the rig, where Lindsey and the crew are in mourning for Bud. All of a sudden, there is his message, coming back at them. Bud's typing has improved (since coming into contact with the NTI's) and he tells his wife and friends, "Hang on. You're gonna love this."

The alien "ship" (for lack of a better word, and if you've seen the movie you know what I mean) rises up underneath the rig, lifting it to the surface. It also lifts up the ship that was hovering on top of the ocean over the rig, making it look like a little Matchbox bus. The crew of the rig are able to drop out of it, onto the surface of the "ship" and walk around ... without suffering any ill effects from not decompressing properly.

Lindsey and Bud are reunited.

The movie basically ends there. I've always wondered what happened afterwards. Did the Navy debrief everyone about the NTI craft and the "contact". Would they have believed them? Or would they have reserved an all-expense vacation for life for the whole lot of oil company employees and SEALS at the padded-wall Hilton?


The underwater scenes were absolutely stunning, which is a credit to the movie's makers because most of the scenes were filmed in a 7 million gallon tank at a nuclear power plant near South Carolina. The story appealed to me, and I watch it nearly every time it comes on satellite, even though I've seen it many, MANY times before.


Like a good readm? Check out this giveaway for "The Other Mother - Our Hidden Thoughts" on the "Not Just a Working Mom" blog!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tuesday Trips - Salt Lake City, Utah

Last year, we went to San Francisco at Christmastime to visit my MIL and her husband.

This year, we will be going to Salt Lake City, to visit my mother and brother. My family moved to Salt Lake City in 1972. My classmates at my old school (in Maryland) wrote stories for me about the adventures I would have in the "Wild West"...which was a good thing, because I don't think I had ever HEARD about Utah at that point!

What most people know about SLC is that it is the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). In Salt Lake, there are Mormons and non-Mormons (I guess that is about like Jews and Gentiles in Jerusalem). In Salt Lake, non-Mormon usually means anti-Mormon, which is really too bad. Many people have heard of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The other thing people know about Utah is the skiing, and the fact that the 2002 Winter Olympics were held there. I had always wanted to be able to attend an Olympic Games, but bemoaned the fact that they were always so far away. Then, my family (hubby and son and I) moved to Texas about 5 years before the SLC Olympic Games. Figures, doesn't it? *lol*

One thing that frustrates most visitors about Salt Lake City is the street-numbering system. It's actually quite logical, but takes some getting used to. Each 'block' consists of 100 numbers. It doesn't mean there are 100 addresses between each block, though. But what really confuses people is that "7th East" aka "700 East" means it is 7 blocks east of the center of town ... but the street actually runs north to south.

The Great Salt Lake is a nice place to visit. The salt content of the Lake is so concentrated (2nd only to the Dead Sea) that you CANNOT sink. I know this from experience. But you have to shower off REALLY WELL after a dunk, or you'll wind up with a white crust on your body before you leave the beach.

A lot of people like to see the Bingham Copper Pit too. It's a large open-pit copper mine (one of the largest in the US, if not the world). On the way up to the observation area, you pass by a tire that is used on one of the mining vehicles. It is so big that people can stand inside it ... which happens a lot when cameras are out!

The street my mother's house is on used to be THE BEST place to watch the summer fireworks (occurring on both July 4th and July 24th - which is Utah's statehood day). Then they built two ugly office buildings in the field in front of her house and now you have to be up in the living room to see anything.

So - what will my family be seeing and doing when we visit there in December? Well ... I hope to contact some of my old theatre friends. For the 5-6 years previous to my oldest son being born, I participated in about 5-6 plays a year ... sometimes acting, sometimes doing tech work, etc.

I'd like to take my kids to the Hogle Zoo, where I used to volunteer in the Children's Petting Zoo. I can't wait to see my boys' eyes when I tell them I used to handle a 6 ft long Burmese Python!

I'd like my family to see Park City, where I have many fond theatre memories. I did four plays there (acted in all) in roughly the span of a year: "Run for Your Wife", "Deadwood Dick", "Bell, Book and Candle", and "No Sex, Please, We're British!".

There is a lot of good hiking to be had in the area surrounding Salt Lake City. I consider mountains my "home", so living in Texas for 8 years was tough on me. Kentucky is a little less tamed than Texas, and although the hills are not on the scale of the Rockies and Oquirrhs (pronouced like the color 'ochre'), they are a pleasant and comfortable reminder of home.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday Movies - LOCAL HERO

Imagine the scene: a remote ocean village in northern Scotland.

A Texas billionaire (Happer) wants to buy up all the land of the village so that his corporation can build an oil refinery complex. He sends "Mac", an employee with a last name that sounds Scottish, to negotiate the various purchases from the townspeople. On the way to the village, he and his driver have to stop in the middle of the road because the fog is impenetrable. They also hit a rabbit along the way (don't worry, it's only injured) and carry it along with them on the rest of their trip to the village.

The small hotel where they stay is run by "Urquhart" (ur-cut), who is to negotiate with the townspeople. "Mac" would prefer a package deal, which would be cheaper for his employer, while the townspeople would rather have many small purchases, to increase their bottom line.

Then Urquhart discovers a problem. One of the most important pieces of real estate in the deal is the local beach, which is owned by Ben, and old-timer who lives in something that is a cross between a shack and a lean-to ... by his choice. He's not interested in selling, nor in the fortune he could make. He's happy with his life. Mac and Urquhart begin to worry for Ben's safety, because without the beach, the deal is basically off ... and the town is more than a little irritated with Ben because he is standing in the way of their millions.

There is a very funny scene where has been to a town celebration and has indulged in the local liquor supply. He goes out to the phone booth - apparently one of the few telephones in the village - to call his employer. The townsfolk have made the rounds to get him enough coins so he can make the call. (I love small towns!) His employer Happer is also an avid astronomer and that for north in Scotland, the Northern Lights are visible. Mac is trying to describe them to his boss and says, "The colors are AMAZING - red, green, white ... no, that's the phone booth!"

Happer ends up coming to the village and decides still to purchase the land ... but for a sea wildlife sanctuary, not an oil refinery. The townspeople still get their money, the environment is protected and Ben doesn't have to sell up.

In the last scene, you see Mac back in his Texas condo, looking at all this things and then he sees something that reminds him of the village that "took him in" (as in into their hearts). The last shot is of the village at night ... and the phone in the booth is ringing.

I hope he makes it back.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Scribblings - First Job, Worst Job, Dream Job

My first job was as a housekeeper at a condo hotel at the Snowbird Ski Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon, which is near Salt Lake City, Utah. My first day was December 27th (although the year escapes me now *lol*). Minimum wage back then was $2.65. My first day, I helped clean the timeshare condo of the hotel CEO (or whatever his title was). Four days later, on New Year's Eve, it snowed so much that they closed the canyon and wouldn't let anyone in or out. So they had to put us up for the night and gave us $10 in food coupons (which back then was enough for a steak dinner).

My worst job? That's a toughie. They all have had their less than stellar moments. There was the time when I was delivering pizzas in a blizzard with 30 degree below windchill, with no gloves and only tennis shoes on my feet. Near frostbite sucked. The worst thing about the job I have right now is that your co-workers talk sweet and friendly and "teamwork" to your face and cut you down behind your back to anyone who will listen. I noticed that the day I walked in there (before I had been there long enough to become a target).

My dream job? Producer of live theatre plays on a full-time basis. Plain and simple.


To share in other Scribblers' troubles and triumps, check out the Sunday Scribblings blog, where you get a different writing prompt every week! It's great! Stop, read and write if you would like!

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Many of you know, I frequent Maya's Mom. Ok, ok, I live there. A recent photo challenge was to post a picture of a dog in costume. We had LOADS of fun with that, so I thought I might post a few more silly dogs in sillier costumes for your amusement:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I call this one "Count Dogula"

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

These are just a couple of hot dogs...:p

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

It's SUPER DOG to the rescue!


And just for "fun", my friend at "Blessed Nest" has teamed up with "The Spoon Sisters" to host a really great giveaway contest for some pink-type items in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Check it out here!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

13 Things That are NOT Going to Bother Me Today

1. The gripes from my co-workers about physical complaints and reasons why they can't do much.

2. That DH says he is driving to Texas next week to pick up some furniture from his mom and I'll be alone with the kids all weekend ... wondering.

3. That my mother is 84 and I haven't seen her in over 2 years.

4. That my mother is 84 and I haven't sent her pictures of the kids (ages 10, 9 and 4) in quite a while.

5. That the pay check is disappearing faster than the pay period ... AGAIN.

6. That my index finger first knuckles are getting little knobby-thingies on them and I'm worried about getting arthritis.

7. That it's getting colder and the gas company won't do less than a 200 gallon fill on the tank (about $400-$500).

8. That it's four days until my next day off.

9. That my 2 day headache is running into day 3.

10. That I'm only one year younger than my father was when he died.

11. That my gray hairs are showing more now that I got my hair cut from waist-length to chin-length.

12. That stores are putting out Christmas decorations and I don't even have a list of what to give whom!

13. That I've only given myself permission NOT TO WORRY about stuff for ONE day.

See other great lists of 13 at:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I did not know until just a few moments ago that there was an entire website dedicated to Bigfoot sightings in Kentucky! I got a little shock of my own the 2nd time I looked at the little Kentucky outline on the homepage ... and am almost positive I didn't see what was there the first time around. Of course, I could just be tired and unobservant as well.

The colors and graphics lend well to the spooky theme and the link hovers are really ... well, just cute! :) When I visited, there had been 35,410 hits since January of 2006, and more than 20 reported sightings since the end of February 2007.

Even my husband and FIL claim to have seen "something" in the creek bottom area on FIL's land. Considering FIL doesn't even go down there during the day without a gun, I imagine it would be quite eerie at night. (That and the facts that there are wild animals that roam about back there and some folks from the area have been known to cross the fenceline and plant a little patch of marijuana on FIL's property and don't like visitors, KWIM?)

The way my husband tells it, they were walking down opposite sides of the clearing when something ran between them. There was not a lot of light that evening, so it was hard to see. It's funny really, when the moon is full, you can drive out in the country here without headlights and have no problem. Last night the power went off in our neighborhood, and I stepped out onto the back porch and could not see 5 feet in front of my nose!

Having never seen a creature like this myself, it is hard to express belief OR disbelief. But I know that there are "more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in my philosophy" (from Hamlet-by W. Shakespeare).

So, do you have an encounter story? A ghost story? Do you think it's all delusions and hooey? Let me know in a comment! :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tuesday Trips - Scotland

One place I've always wanted to go but have not yet been able to is Scotland. Why? I can't really explain. I know as much about Scotland as the average Jane ... Loch Ness, bagpipes, haggis, and the like.

Many of my favorite movies are set in Scotland or have Scottish themes: Braveheart, Rob Roy, Local Hero, So I Married an Axe Murderer.

In my first go-round at college, I chose a scene from Mary of Scotland by Maxwell Anderson. I went to the Scottish doodads store and got 'props'. I still can recite some of the dialog from memory ... and this has been nearly 30 years ago.

I've been doubled over laughing at the "Scottish" skits that Mike Myers did on Saturday Night Live. Here's my favorite quote from the three that I saw: "Scotch is a drink. Scots are a people. But we're BOTH quite tasty!" The 3rd sketch had Patrick Stewart in it and while I don't remember the specific item he was talking about anymore, I can tell you that the sequence is repeated at least 3-4 times a week in my house: "There are three sizes of (whatever): Wee, not-so-wee, and FRICKING HUGE!"

Travelocity has a flight plus 13 nights hotel package for $2168. CheapTickets has a package from $2237. from $2514. Expedia from $2327 ... and that's for one person. Do I have my work cut out for me or what?

Other destinations I would like to visit: Greece, Russia, Rio de Janeiro, Hawaii (island of Kauai especially).

Anyway, I'll try to review a different destination each week. Got any places you'd like me to look up for you? List them in a comment!

Monday Movies - Dead Again

Dead Again is on my top ten favorite movies list.

I'm sad to see there is no site for the movie itself, but considering it was made back in the days when the internet was not such a spiffy place to be, maybe that is not too surprising after all. Maybe I'll have to do a fan site for it. Yeah! Like I have time for that!


Detective Mike Church (Kenneth Brannagh) is called by the administrator of the orphanage where he grew up for a "favor". A woman (Emma Thompson) has shown up with no memory and no voice and the padre wants Church to find out who she is. The detective really doesn't want to do this; his idea is to drop her off at the county hospital ... but it is *ahem* crazy there, and he winds up not leaving her there.

After putting her photo in the newspaper, Church is contacted by an antiques dealer (Sir Derek Jacobi) who says he can hypnotize the woman and help figure out what is wrong. So they go and under hypnosis, the woman describes the life of a woman who lived some 40 odd years before and was believed to have been murdered by her husband. She bears a striking resemblance to this woman. The house where the murder took place? *drum roll please* The orphanage.

Robin Williams does a funny (in a serious kind of way) turn as a psychiatrist turned grocery stockboy who provides the couple (Brannagh and Thompson's characters) some psychological insight.

Grace (Thompson) , after several sessions of hypnosis comes to believe that she was the wife (Margaret Strauss) and Mike was the murdering husband (Roman).

And those are not the only parallels to the past. It turns out the antiques dealer was the son of the Strauss's years before.

There is a GREAT twist at the end, but I won't tell you about it here. If you haven't rented this movie or seen it in the theatre, I would highly recommend it!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sunday Scribblings - SORRY

46 Things That I Regret

Why 46? That's how old I am, and it's a LOT less than 100.

1. ...that I didn't answer my mother's concern about me entering a kiddie beauty show, voiced by a "if you can't win, don't enter" sentiment, with "If I don't enter, I can't win" response.

2. ...that I took off the day my father passed away, once a friend of my mother's came over to the house to be with her.

3. ...that I didn't sock the classmate that pinched my right nipple on the way home from 5th grade one day in his right eye.

4. ...that it took so dang long for me to stick up for myself.

5. ...that I haven't always been consistent with my anti-depressant meds. (I do much better now.)

6. ...that I need anti-depressant meds at all.

7. ...that I ever started smoking.

8. ...that I don't always speak up and bottle up my feelings sometimes.

9. ...that I didn't start having children sooner.

10. ...that the older I get, the less patience I seem to have.

11. ...that I EVER wound that big wad of gum around my neck when I was little.

12. ...that I didn't take better care of my teeth when I was younger.

13. ...that I can't seem to warm up to the family dog.

14. ...that I didn't take the steps down that hill at the park the day I broke my arm.

15. ...that I am not more sympathetic at times to my husband's myriad physical ailments.

16. ...that I have so many regrets.

17. ...that I didn't start blogging sooner.

18. ...that I lost touch with the stage acting world after my children were born.

19. ...that I haven't sent my mother pictures of my kids more regularly.

20. ...that I let a few people's opinions of my abilities change my college major from musical theatre to business.

21. ...that it took 10 years for me to start proving them WRONG!

22. ...that I got my tubes tied (even though having another child would probably kill me).

23. ...that I waste so much time on electronic, hand-held Yahtzee and Solitaire games.

24. ...that I didn't get this list done in one sitting (#24-46 are actually done on a different day.)

25. ...that my boy children are still awake at midnight.

27. ...that my front tooth hurts.

28. ...that I keep "forgetting" to eat the cheeseburgers my hubby made for me.

29. ...that I think the family dog got hit by a train, but I don't really want to go closer to see if it's her. *sigh*

30. ...that I sometimes dread calling my mother each week.

31. ...that I missed having a "tea party" with my daughter before I left for work today.

32. ... that I didn't bring home something to drink from work (can ya tell I'm reaching now?).

33. ...that I keep switching to another tab (Firefox) from here (ONLY) when my husband comes up behind me tonight. (He can tell I'm bummed.)

34. ...that each of my children don't have their own room.

35. ...that I don't enjoy cooking more.

36. ...that I'm not a better friend.

37. ...that I'm not a better house-keeper.

38. ...that my children ever have seen me depressed.

39. ...that I keep picking at this scabby bit on my arm.

40. ...that having my tubes tied did not result in cessation of menses.

41. ...that I procrastinate.

42. ...that I sometimes get halfway to a goal and then ... stop.

43. ...that I've tried to fit in too much in my life.

44. ...that I think more about the past than the future (or the present).

45. ...that I intend to go to church WAY more than I actually go.

46. ...that I thought, "Is that all" when I opened the birthday card from my mother and brother.

Well, now I'm thoroughly depressed. I'm going out on the porch to observe something nice ... like stars, and try to change my attitude.

This post was kind of inspired by an entry at the Sunday Scribblings blog.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Saturday Silliness (of the cute variety)

Before I was a Mom

I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom -
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom

I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom

I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put him down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom -

I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom -

I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache,
the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was a Mom.

(The picture and writing was sent to me without photographer/write info. If anyone knows who took the picture or wrote the mama-ode, I'll be happy to add that info.)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Monday Movies - MISS POTTER

The first time I saw this movie was at work. Someone had brought in the DVD and we watched it with the ladies who live in the home. I fell in love with it. We watched it a total of two times there, and due to breaks and dinners and bathing, etc, I still didn't get to see the whole thing, so when I found in on satellite tv at home, I was THRILLED!

I'm sure most of you haven't seen this movie, so let me 'splain:

Renee Zellweger plays Beatrix Potter, the author of the Peter Rabbit books. Ewan McGregor plays her publisher turned fiance. Maybe because I like period movies, maybe because I like it when pretty actresses go out of their way to portray people who are not necessarily pretty, and maybe because McGregor was just so darned cute in this movie, it's making my Top 20 list of favorite movies...maybe even my top 10.

Beatrix is a 30 something unmarried woman living at home in late-Victorian England. Her parents "trotted out countless suitable suitors", all of which she turned down. She paints wonderful watercolors of rabbits and other little animals doing things like you and I would do, and writes stories to go along with it.

After being turned away by many publishing houses, she finally finds a family firm who agrees to take her, not so much, as it turns out for the worth of her stories, but to "fob off" on a younger brother (McGregor) who wants to work with them. I guess the older brothers think that the book(s) will fail miserably and then see that he does not need to bother them in the family business any more.

Well, surprise, surprise, the books are a huge success. Norman (McGregor) takes Beatrix to see the printing of the book, which for Victorian England , to have a woman visit a place like that was almost unheard of ... but she goes, elderly female chaperone in tow.

So the two fall in love. He proposes at her parents' Christmas party. When the parents learn about it, they oppose the union because Norman is a 'tradesman'. Shouting and arguments ensue. The parents come up with a deal. Beatrix may accept Norman's proposal but she cannot tell anyone yet - not even his family. The parents will take her to summer in the Lake District, and if they still are so "in love" at the end of the summer, the parents will give them their blessing.

Personally, I would rate their kiss on the train platform in the top 10 movie kisses of all time. There is a poignancy and yearning that goes so far beyond any lusty kiss you see these days.

I'll stop there in case you now want to see the movie so you can find out what happens there.

Some source material for the above was taken from the site, The Hollywood Reporter.


Now, a friend of mine is having a movie giveaway!

Remember the movie, "The Jungle Book"? Well, there is a 40th Anniversary Platinum Edition going, so be sure to check out her blog here!

Thanks to a soundtrack album (I know, that dates me) of Disney movie songs, I think I can still sing most of "The Bare Necessities" by heart!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday Scribblings - Powerful

The most powerful I've ever felt, bar none, hands down (and any other superlative of which you can think) is the day I walked out of a lawyer's office. Let me explain:

It was about 6 or 7 years ago. It was just me, my husband, and our two sons, who were 4 and 3 at the time. We had been living in a house that belonged to my MIL. We moved (at the time we thought temporarily) into a motel, in part because the Texas weather had knocked down an old tree, clipping part of the roof by the kitchen. (If I remember correctly, my husband did not tell his mother about that ... and she found out the hard way.)

But she did find out and was (understandably) "not happy" about it. She was living in South San Francisco at the time, but her sisters and some of her husband's family lived in the same city we did. Word got back to her and she did not react "well".

We were informed (via her husband's sister) that they were peparing a "contract" for us to sign, designed with steps they believed would get our lives back on track. If we signed and followed their terms to the letter, all would be well and good. If we did not sign, or did not follow the contract, they would begin proceedings to get custody of our sons.

Now it was my turn to be "not happy". My life was not where I wanted it to be at that time, but I sure did not need big sister looking over my shoulder like a babysitter.

Anyway, about a week later, there was a knock at the door one evening. It was a process server with papers stating that MIL was suing for custody. Come to find out that the sister that was supposed to monitor us worked for a lawyer...the one representing MIL and her husband. She brought in a nice $5,000 fee for her boss for getting them to sue early.

On top of that, the papers requested for shared custody between MIL and my husband ... no mention of me except as biological mother of the boys and requesting a psychological examination. So now I was left with ... was my husband in on it and was this a way to get the boys away from me?

(A few days later, after DH had spoken to his mom, I got my own set of papers ... for custody between MIL and "us", while I was working nights at the local police department.)

Now I have suffered from depression since I was a teen. But I was the one working, bringing in money, keeping the family in a place with food, electricity, cooking facilities and a phone. We kept the boys safe and supervised. Living in a motel was not where we wanted to be ... especially with children, but it was clean, safe and better than some of the alternatives. And there was never any question about me harming the boys - physically or otherwise.

I was going at the time to the local Women's Center for job counseling (etc) and brought up my problem to them. They suggested I contact a lawyer and set up an appointment for me. It was hard not to mention it to my husband, but again at the time I didn't know which side of the field he was on. I went to the lawyer's office, and he looked at the paperwork. He said he would take the case, but it would cost $600 up front to start, and could go up from there. I thanked him for his time and left, as I wouldn't have had $600 total to give him, let alone to start.

Then I called West Texas Legal Aid. I had to call in on a Monday or Tuesday, to get an appointment for later in the week. Once they fill up their slots for the week (which usually happens on Monday) you have to wait until the next week. So I went in, filled out the screening paperwork - family and financial information, etc, and was told it would be looked at and if they could take the case, they would give me a call.

Well, I got a call that they accepted the case. So I had another appointment to go in and speak with a lawyer. He was somewhat gruff. But I guess if all you hear are people's troubles all day long, it can get to wear on you. He looked over the paperwork we had gotten from MIL's lawyer, and asked a few questions. He then went to one of his law books and copied out a page.

It turns out that MIL did not even have standing to bring the case. According to Texas law at the time, she would have had to have had the boys living with her for at least 6 months, to have ended not more than 90 days prior to bringing the case. She had had the oldest son for 4 months two years previously ... and that's another can of worms for another time.

In addition, I had people working with me at the police department who volunteered to be character witnesses for me, and we had pictures of our living conditions that showed the boys were not in danger.

When I left the office that day, I WAS WALKING ON AIR! I had gone in scared; if someone wanted to hurt me, there is nothing worse that they could do than hurt one of my children. When I walked out, I was buffer than Wonder Woman ... there wasn't anything that I couldn't do that day.

If you could bottle that feeling and distribute it, the FDA would probably rule it to be a controlled substance, it was THAT STRONG!

Oh, and MIL wound up dropping the case.


To see other great entries about powerful people, check out the main Sunday Scribblings page!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday Silliness

This is a joke a friend sent me in the email:

The teacher gave her fifth grade class an assignment: Get their parents to tell them a story with a moral at the end of it.

The next day the kids came back and one-by-one began to tell their stories.

"Johnny, do you have a story to share?", the teacher asked. "Yes ma'am," Johnny replied.

"My daddy told me a story about my Aunt Nancy. She was a pilot in Desert Storm and her plane got hit. "She had to bail out over enemy territory and all she had was a small flask of whiskey, a pistol, and a survival knife.

"She drank the whiskey on the way down so it wouldn't break, and then her parachute landed right in the middle of 20 enemy troops. She shot 15 of them with the gun until she ran out of bullets, killed 4 more with the knife till the blade broke, and then she killed the last soldier with her bare hands."

"Good heavens," cried the horrified teacher. "What kind of moral did your daddy give you from this horrible story?"

"Stay the hell away from Aunt Nancy when she's drinking."

If you want to post your own Saturday Silliness, feel free to do so and post the link in your comment. We all could use a good laugh!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

North America vs. the Rainforest in My Backyard

I was just out on my back porch and noticed a distinct difference from a couple of nights ago. Then, it was overcast and misty and in the morning. You could smell the water in the air. It was a like a rainforest. The trees in our back yard are tall and create a canopy that doesn't allow light in, so if I REALLY s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d my imagination, I could believe it was a rainforest and that the crickets and tree frogs were monkeys. (OK, I did say stretch.)

Just now it was different. It is cool and crisp, a true autumn early morning (before the sun is up). So the yard is more like a North American forest. But the moon is full, or nearly so. You can drive down our little country road on nights like tonight without headlights and have no trouble. I can't even see any stars because the moon is so bright. It was so quiet ... not even a train going by across the street.


Monday was a day of noise - the 'noise' of work running through my head from the night before, the noise of the children going through the grocery store ("Can we get, can I have, look at this great deal Mom!"), the noise of the car on our too-long trip, so a little time alone on the back porch ... just me, nature and our quiet cat was pretty close to Heaven to me.

In a few hours the noise starts again, so for now I will revel in stillness.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Second Bad Day

Sunday at work was bad.

Monday was not much better. We did have four staff that day, but one is pregnant, and the other two are always complaining about aches and pains. Granted, working there can wear a body down fast, but still.

I got two residents to take care of. I would say two of the harder ones, due to lack of physical ability on their part. The one had 5 seizures in about 3 hours and we were one away from having to take her to the hospital. She got both Dilantin (?) and Ativan. After that she was one on one supervision. So my other resident should have gone to someone else. But, and I believe it was in large part due to the other people working that day, they had me do the other bath as well. I was shaking so much by the time I got out of work, it wasn't funny.

Oh, one bright-ish spot: we met the new home manager yesterday. I had been hearing just horrible things about her kitchiness and was really not looking forward. Perhaps it was just the day, but she did not seem bad at all.

And then the alternator has slipped again, and I needed to get a jump to get the car started. I probably took a little perverse glee in the fact that he is young, handsome and built and most of the female staff in my home would be pea-green with envy when they saw his car driving after me on the way down to mine. *small, evil laugh*

I had to drive with brights on, because on regular, no light showed. The car kept shaking and chugging on the way home and I was praying hard that I would get there, and at the same time resigning myself that walking part of the way wouldn't be so bad ... who am I kidding, it would've been anywhere up to 15 miles and it was after midnight along a road that has major construction. It would have sucked. But by shifting between gears about every 50 yards, I was able to keep it going.

But the car and I hobbled and limped into the driveway and I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief.

I don't know if I've written on here about my adventures at Maya's Mom. It is a website for parents and an incredibly wonderful online community of moms (and even a few dads). I've come across some great people and blogs there.

One friend has a blog called "Crunchy Domestic Goddess" (don't you just LOVE the name). She is running a contest for re-usable lunch bags. How cool is THAT? Economical and environmental all in one! Check it out here!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Why are People the Way They Are?

I've been having a lot of trouble with my co-workers of late. There are three that are on the same "team" - which means they have the same days off, etc. At least two of them take their breaks and lunches together, whether or not it's convenient or practical for the rest of the staff or the residents.

For instance, in the afternoon at around 4, one of the residents gets "enteral nourishment" (which is the current p.c. term for "g-tube feeding"). She is supposed to have one-on-one supervision during this time, and we need two staff to take care of the rest of the residents during this time. As we only have four staff total per shift, this leaves us "out of compliance". But the staff don't seem to care.

I've started "pushing back", so I'm not exactly flavor of the month there right now. I guess people don't like it when you point out their hypocrisies.

I've tried going straight to the source, but they are like "what's the problem?" I've tried going to the senior staffperson, but she is one of the three in question. I've tried going to the shift supervisor in our home, but as the regular lady is on vacation, we have subs and they either don't want to deal with it, or have their a$$es regularly kissed by "the trio". Our home manager just left to take a job with the state, and our new one has not bothered to show up in the home on 2nd shift yet.

So I have been looking at other shifts or other homes. There are precious few other jobs in town that have the pay and benefits that I do now.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Clouds, Stars and Sky

About an hour ago I was on my back porch, having my last "commune with nature" for the day - by which I mean that period of the day before I sleep. And "commune with nature" is my husband's euphemism for me sneaking out to the back porch to smoke.

I've noticed a disturbing trend of me taking an electronic game (Yahtzee or Solitaire) out with me, but then I concentrate on the game, and don't do much observing. So for my last peach cigarette of the "day", I forced myself to put down the Solitaire game and look at the sky.

The temperature reached 107 F here today, but there were some nice clouds in the sky.

Tonight, I looked up and could not tell if there were a few wispy white clouds in an otherwise clear sky, or a sky full of clouds only broken up by the light of the waxing gibbous moon showing through the thin spots. Then I saw a patch of darker sky with no clouds, as shown by the dozen or so stars twinkling. I came to the conclusion that it was a little of all of my possibilities.

There were no trains or cars that went by, so it was relatively quiet - except, of course, for the chorus of "dueling crickets and tree frogs" with shows every night.

I love small towns.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Monday Madness

DH was late getting home from his morning errands. Late as in 2:00 pm. I usually leave for work around 1 pm ... I only start work at 2:45, but if I don't get there by about 1:30, I might as well park at Walmart and walk (not a good idea in the heat and humidity) or call a cab (financially unfeasible). He got caught behind an accident on Hwy 70, and didn't even get the shopping done. So we piled the whole family (we homeschool) in the car and they dropped me off at work at about 2:30. I even put on make-up today just to keep from looking at the clock so much.

About work? I think I need to start another whole blog for that one, called something like "CMA" for (Cover My A$$). I work at a residential/teaching facility for adults with MR/DD (mental retardation/developmental disabilities), in one of the homes with the lower functioning, less healthy "individuals". The people used to be called "residents", then "clients"; "individuals" is the latest in a long line of pc terms for the "individuals" who reside at the facility.

Today was frustrating because I forgot to take my Effexor (an anti-depressant). Why is someone with chronic depression working at a facility such as I do? Well, my depression is caused by a chemical imbalance and handles quite nicely with medication, thank you. And I guess we were too busy for me to have much time to think about not having taken my med earlier in the day. Then there was the arriving much later than usual thing.

Thirdly, in the past couple of weeks, when the certain set of staff that was there today was working, one certain co-worker, who has the same rank as the rest of us that have been there, has 'taken over' the paperwork. Why is this a problem? We have 7 residents in our 'cottage' and four staff. She has always assigned herself one and everyone else had two. Two is quite doable, but one is a breeze.

At mealtime, there is quite a lot of preparation of the food trays that are sent up from the kitchen. Most of the ladies require thickened liquids and food that is chopped, ground or pureed. The food comes up prepared (unless the kitchen has made a mistake), but we handle the drinks. On a good day, we have pre-thickened drinks which is cause for mild celebration. But it gives a lot of extra work, so in the past several months, it has been the custom for the person who had the 'kitchen' to have only one individual to bathe and assist. But this woman has given herself one individual whether or not she had kitchen. And she doesn't do a whole lot in the miscellaneous cleaning department either.

Why not bring this up to our senior staff? Well, our senior staff, this co-worker of which I am writing and one other staff are thick as thieves and will shortly all have the same days off. When I brought it up to the senior last week, along the lines of having kitchen and one individual, she said, "I (or was it the royal 'we') think that's not going to work anymore." I'm going to try one more time tomorrow, and if nothing happens, then I will go over the senior's head to the supervisor. *sigh* I hate conflict, but I'm not willing to be walked all over anymore.

Not that this has anything to do with anything, but my 'senior' is pregnant, so she won't be able to do any lifting for nine months or so. While I am happy for her, if you can't lift in our cottage, you don't belong there. This is important because most of our individuals are in wheelchairs and require either a platform lift or sling lift and pedestal bathtub for bathing. Some are unsteady on their feet and require two people to transport.

There are a total of 7 staff members in my cottage, or more correctly, my side of the cottage. OK, one is pregnant-that makes 6 who can do all the work. But wait, two are mid to late 50's and often have complaints of stomach or joint problems - that makes 4 who can do all the work. But wait (and you don't get Ginsu steak knives with this offer), one has talked constantly for at least a month of a needed operation and how she doesn't have insurance and how she never eats - so take it down to three. But wait, one of our staff is an instructor for the crisis management system under investigation for use at the facility, so she is hardly ever there - make that two staffers left. That would be me and a younger woman who has been there for about 2 weeks. It takes at least a month to feel comfortable with the work required.

There has got to be a better way.

Since my family had to come and pick me up from work, it was really nice to have my 9 and 10 year old sons get out of the car and come up to hug me. My 4 year old daughter was asleep in back of the car. It was 11:00 pm after all. The alternative was to work until 7am and all the kids to wake up earlier than to which they are used (I'm too tired to worry about correct grammar, but I still hope that is right). But my "individual", so named because I have been assigned to her care nearly every day since I started work in that cottage has an ILP (Individual Life Plan) annual meeting tomorrow and I plan to be there, to make suggestions as to her future year's plan. She is like a sister to me almost - about 5 years older than me, about my size and height and a LOT more capable than most people give her credit for. She doesn't have much family to speak of, at least not that are allowed to visit - as she was placed in the facility by court order due to verified family abuse.

Anyway, DH pointed out that it is "very late" and as I have a full day of homeschooling and working tomorrow (and the next 3 days after that), I better toddle off to bed.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dear Diary ...

Dear Diary,

I'm feeling guilty. My husband seems to have one medical issue after another, and I'm feeling caregiver's burnout.

A couple of months ago, he needed his gallbladder out. His dad took him to the hospital while I stayed home with the kids. They left at 7 am and were supposed to be out around noon. The afternoon wore on and I heard nothing. Finally they came in the driveway and DH handed me a bag and said to go put it in the garbage, that he had thrown up on the way home.

As it turned out, the hospital did a few things they weren't supposed to, didn't do a few things they should have, and hubby's throat closed up, his breathing and heart stopped. They got him back, stabilized him and SENT HIM HOME, gallbladder and hiatal hernia intact. We have a lawsuit on them and apparently now their lawyers are talking settlement.

We wound up taking him to Lexington a couple weeks later, where he did have his gallbladder out. Some of the sludge or a stone had apparently already gotten loose and made its way into the bile duct leading to the pancreas. He developed pancreatitis, which necessitated a second trip to the hospital. He stayed the weekend, and the kids and I stayed in a motel instead of driving back and forth every day.

So we get home and things go well for a couple of weeks.

This last Friday, he developed a bad earache. I had volunteered to work over in my home at the MR/DD facility where I work, but it turned out they didn't need me, so I went home at the regular time. Saturday morning, DH went to the ER (his 5th trip in 3 months). They told him he had a spider on his eardrum, which had bitten it. The doctor said it wasn't a black widow, but they were not sure what kind of spider it was. They're sending it somewhere and we'll find out in a couple of days. In the meantime, he has some ear drops.

I want to be a more loving, caring wife and mother. I do. But I'm tired. I work outside the home and he watches the kids. DH could have a well-paying job (he is a wizard with computers), but his bipolar disorder is not under control and he always manages to lose a job after a week or two. We also homeschool our 3 children, and I have wound up doing the majority of that. When I'm home from work, he wants a break from the kids ... I understand that. About the only time I get to myself is driving to and from work. Sometimes I have considered taking the scenic route there or back.

When payday comes, the family piles in the car and we head to the bank and someplace that has groceries (usually WalMart). Then the kids want a toy, and DH usually 'needs' something for the computer. I felt guilty buying some mascara for the exorbitant prince of $1.99 last time.

I don't think my Effexor is working anymore ... at least not like it used to.

Somehow this will all work out.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

My Little Mad Scientist in the Making

My oldest's kindergarten teacher first suggested he had ADD. He's been on several different meds at several different times. He's had classroom modifications to help him focus and learn - some of these have helped and some have made things worse.

But it must have worked somehow. In the 5 year old class at Head Start, they took each child aside and showed them a picture of an aquarium with about 20 different types of sea animals. Then a helper asked the child to describe the picture and wrote down everything the student said on the back of one of the pictures. My son was the only one in the class that knew the word "aquarium" and correctly identified each of the animals!

Ok, ok, so he did call the "electric eel" a "shock fish". :)


This post was inspired by the "Sunday Scribblings" blog topic "Phenomenon". Find other great entries here!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Wicked

*** Note: This is the first post of my new blog. The blog title is a combination of "back porch" and "observations", because my back porch is my space to just be ... and you never know WHAT will go through my mind when that happens. :P ***

"Wicked is like a box of chocolates ... you never know WHAT you're going to get!" There are different types of wicked, like wicked-good, wicked-shiver and wicked-evil.

Wicked-good expresses appreciation, as in "your car's paint job is wicked"! Similar to what "bad" was a few years back, say if you got all decked out to go to a club and are looking fine and your friends tell you "You look BAD!"

Wicked-shiver can either be like the movies "Underworld", "Exorcist", or that last millisecond before the rollercoaster goes down for the first time. Wicked-shiver can also take on a sexual tone, especially if it's wrapped up in a push-up bra, fishnets and stiletto heels.

And then there is wicked-evil. Here are some of my nominees for that "Hall of Shame": pedophiles, rapists, torture ... anything that gets you somewhere between that squirrely feeling and a desire to turn vigilante. For instance, a former coworker is just plain wicked-evil. She started on the ladies' side of the cottage in my home, where I work. She could not get along with people ... telling those who had been there a lot longer than her, or her superiors how to do their jobs. So she got transferred to the men's side of the cottage. She started following people around trying to get pictures of them with her cell phone committing some perceived wrong, so she could turn them in to the administration. She got other worker's cell phones and copied personal numbers out of them, so she could talk to spouses and accuse her co-workers of having affairs at work. She tried to follow several of the cottage staff home. So she was transferred to another home - all female residents, high-functioning and prone to "maladaptive behaviors". She was sent, not by choice. When she found out about the transfer and stormed out of the cottage, she turned as she went out the door and said, "I'll get every one of you." Since then, she has accused staff of abuse/neglect (all proven false - but after the accusation, the damage is really done), supervisory staff of turning a blind eye and not reporting accusations she claims she made months earlier. The gentlemen friend of one of my co-workers (who is an outstanding staff for the most violent residents) quit because he is scared this wicked-evil person's accusations will get back to his wife and ruin his marriage. There is no telling what this woman will do - she is wicked-EVIL ... but I would H-A-T-E to be in her shoes when the Karma Kart comes rolling around, KWIM?