Saturday, December 13, 2008

5 Years

Here is an entry I did for a contest over at Scrawlers:

Five years ago, the infant puddled in the bottom of the car seat did not yet weigh 4 lbs. The drive home from the hospital, a 20 minute ride, took one and a half hours, due to one of the worst ice storms in Fort Worth's history.

Tonight, the wind howls through the blue grass, and the temperature chills the bone. But my gangly young daughter lies face down across the arms of the recliner next to the computer. She is warm, sated and comfortable, drawing her feet beneath her Cars fleece cover.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Must Have Been Rotten in My Former Life...

... to deserve a day like today. Granted it was my "Friday" at work, as I have Wednesday and Thursday off. I work in a residential/training facility for adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities.

Every once in a while we get pulled out of our regular homes to work in another home that is short staff for whatever reason on a shift. Therein lies a big part of the problem. "They" have been saying that we don't need as many staff to run the facility. (I'm not quite sure who "they" are at this point, but suffice it to say that "they" have all of the dollars and none of the cents/sense - yes, a play on words - at the facility.

Add to that a large number of both residents and staff going to a Christmas season dinner at a convention center across the street from our "front door", and leaving me (unfamiliar staff) and a woman who had been working there since September (but not always in the same house) with two residents. Now, obviously I cannot use names here, but perhaps I can give you an idea of what we were up against.

Both women residents are non-verbal. The one my co-worker was watching engages in SIB (self-injurious behavior), such as banging her head against things, aggression and digging for and/or slinging and/or eating her own waste. (Sorry for the TMI if you've just eaten.) My resident likes to change her clothes, come out of her room naked and go into other residents' bedrooms to take all of their clothes out of their closets. Both of them would just LOVE to get into the kitchen and gorge themselves.

When I got back from my lunch break, the resident I had was not in her bedroom (where she was asleep when I left). She had actually gotten up to eat her supper (which is unusual, so the regular staff says). I looked in every open doorway and could not see her. So I went and asked the staff and most of them couldn't tell me where she was either. (As it turns out, she was perched on a toilet in someone else's bathroom.

Not 10 minutes after most of the other residents and staff left, she began trying to exit her room into the common living areas without any clothes on. I attempted (and finally succeeded) in getting her to don a minimum of clothing. Then she began to try to get into the kitchen. As she had just finished her supper less than 1/2 hour before, I tried to "redirect" her to getting her snack with the nurse did the med pass. *WRONG* In the ensuing 30 minutes, she slapped the you-know-what out of my forearms, raising a welt with discoloration on my right arm. I'd have to look at the tape to know, but would estimate between 30-50 hits. (It is a little embarrassing to reveal that she is 5-foot-NOTHING, but in defense of my ego, she has large "man-hands" and they have apparently started giving her steroids ... but I'm not medical staff, so I have no idea why and do not care to guess as to why "they" say she needs them - you remember "they", right?)

At one point, the resident kept licking her fingers/hand before each slap. I guess she thought (or had been taught) that that would make the hurt worse. I also suspect that this is how she was treated at some point in her past.

I called for a supervisor to come assist. To do this, I had to call the front desk and have her paged. When she called back, I could not take the call because I was in the dining area fighting WWII (no disrespect meant to my country's soldiers by pretending that my experience in any way compares to what they went through or what they are going through now in armed combat). My co-worker took the call, and relayed the information that the supervisor had been "pulled to the floor" (which can happen in extreme cases when there is not other floor staff available). So, in my mind, that meant that I probably wasn't going to get any help.

They do have an option available for situations that really get out of hand, which is termed "calling a code green". But I was like, I can't do that for one person, and a petite resident at that. And, seeing that she is not in complete possession of her mental faculties, I could not defend myself, but only attempt to block her blows and redirect her behavior. I understand that it would not be right to assault someone like that; having worked with the county's MR population for over 2.5 years now, the way people with MR get treated and taken advantage of ranks right up there for me with child or animal abuse. And NO, I'm not comparing the three in any way. I know these are adults and individuals and worth of respect.

But the beating I took tonight ... and that is the only appropriate term for it, would have landed a perpetrator without MR in the local jail. It took place in 4-6 episodes over a period of about two hours. After the first episode, I did get her an Ensure pudding out of the kitchen. There was nothing in the log about how much she had eaten. She ate all of it, although I did set it aside once or twice, after she hit my arm again. Once that was gone, I opened up some pureed chicken and bread crumbs (aka chicken sandwich if your food consistency for intake is "normal") and she tasted it once and then went back to her room. (For a mind-visual of pureed chicken, think Stage 1 Baby Food. Yeah, not exactly appetizing.)

A few minutes after, she got up out of bed and another round took place.

When the supervisor came in to give us breaks, it got even worse. Not the resident's behavior, but my feeling of being kicked when I was down. She seemed more concerned that I was reporting 2.5 hours after the onset of the "incident" (their word...mine remains "assault" ... "beating" works for me too). She said something to the effect "doesn't matter", although I cannot recall now exactly what it was that didn't matter, but I was not having a good evening, so my eyes flared up and I said, "Oh, so it doesn't matter like I felt I would NOT be getting any assistance?"

I have actually worked with this supervisor before, when she was "just" floor staff like I am now, and have not had problems with her in the past ... and it took a little time, but the misunderstanding was eventually hammered out.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, my husband called. Until payday, we're working with Skype as our phone service, which is great for making calls out from home, but you can't call in...or at least I don't know how. On any other day, his question of "how are you" would have brought an "eh" or "ok" from me. I started bawling on the phone. I know when they review the tapes from the time frame ... some of "their" ears are going to be BURNING!!!

So, obviously, I am at home now. The "incident report" was filled out, the IA1 (on the job injury report) was filled out and I've had to tell my children that I couldn't pick them up to hug them because Mommy's arms were hurt at work.

I'm tired; I'm signing off. Is it any wonder I started smoking after 6 months at this job? *sigh* And everything in the last two paragraphs may appear in BOLD, but t is not meant to be so. *more sighs*

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Elvis is going bald - and other porchervations

I spent some time with my daughter on the back porch today. Unfortunately, she has inherited her father's sense of style...she was wearing a pink, white and black plaid skirt and a long-flowy sleeved leopard print blouse. (I may be a tee shirt and jeans gal myself, but I know there is something wrong with that! *lol*)

Anyway, DD was flying a paper airplane off the back porch. The first model (pointy-nosed) did not work very well and she was getting a little frustrated. So I suggested she go in and have her father make her up a new one. She came back out a few minutes later with a snub-nosed model which caught the breezes a lot better. She's still carrying it around, even now that we're inside.

Now, what about Elvis and how do I know he's going bald? Didn't he pass some years ago, or, if you believe MIB, he just went home. *lol*

During the summer of 2007, I named several of the trees in our back yard. There is "Tootsie Pop", so named because a small clump of trees looks like one of those bouquets of Tootsie Pops banded together at the store. And then there is Elvis. He is made up of two trees. Due to their shape and placement relative to each other, they make that Elvis pompadour with the leaves. And right now, the leaves are falling. Hence, Elvis is going bald.

I'm kind of dreading going to work today. Apparently some "you know what" took place over the weekend, while I had the weekend off. (Thank goodness for small favors!) The "Senior Residential Associate" in my home (by title, not by age or length of service) reported another staff for abuse of a resident. Said resident was in the kitchen area (where he is not supposed to be w/o supervision) and was getting a little...rowdy. A male staff (from that side of the home) 'escorted' the resident back out of the kitchen. The SRA said she saw him holding the resident in a 'half-chicken-wing', and the staff was pulled off the floor.

If that were the case, I would agree that he needed to be pulled off the floor. However, the SRA has interviewed for Shift Supervisor in the home. Some people that were there are of the feeling that the allegations are false and/or that she submitted a falsified witness statement, which would be reprehensible. I don't see the accused staff abusing a client...but then I can't see the SRA making false statements either.

Word is that the decision on who gets the Shift Supervisor job is delayed now until the investigation is over. Could she have made the accusation to show that she would not be hesitant to turn someone in for wrong-doing? I suppose it's possible, although I really do not want to believe that.

I swear, sometimes they could make a soap opera out of the goings-on down there! :/

Oh, and I'm starting a meme next week on my "meme blog", Bluegrassgal, called "Music Mondays". Be sure to check back then!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 08: POVERTY

One of's definitions of "poverty" is:

1. the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor; indigence.

For those who have never been there, it is hard to imagine. A lot of attention goes to developing nations (as is only fair) as they have not had the opportunities available to those peoples in "First World" countries. It is my belief that it is an important responsibility of the "haves" to assist the "have nots"...whether you call it blessing others as you have been blessed, karma, keeping the juice flowing around the universe, or whatever.

What about the "have nots" in developed countries? What about those on welfare, receiving Food Stamps? Have they squandered their opportunities in selfish pursuits? Maybe some have, but I would say the majority have not. Lack of equal opportunity abounds, no matter where you are.

For those who live in poverty, it's hard to imagine anything else. And, speaking from personal experience, that sucks.

So, how do we level the playing field? While looking around at what information there was on the internet about "poverty" most of it tied the condition of poverty to education and employment. And for a long-term solution to the poverty problem, improving a person's, region's, country's education and employment levels is essential. These are the bigger problems that belong on governmental desks.

What can one neighborood do? What good is the work of one family towards ending poverty? Surely the efforts of one person won't make a dent in this epidemic.


I can speak something to poverty in Kentucky. Feel free to translate this call to action into your own locality-ese. :)

According to a report released by The Working Poor Family Project:

Percentage of working families that are low-income — 30 percent in Kentucky. A low-income working family is defined as a family earning less than 200 percent of the poverty income threshold in 2006, which was $41,228 for a family of four.

Gee, my family fits into that category. Go figure. We're actually closer to the poverty level than we are to the "low-income" benchmark. I say that not to elicit pity, but just throwing it into the mix as an example.

Statistics from, dated 2007, rank Kentucky in the top fifth for highest poverty rates for the general population and children. Sadly, when looking at our elderly citizens, Kentucky ranks highest in the US for percentage of this demographic in poverty.

Later today, or possibly tomorrow, I will make a Thursday Thirteen list on my meme blog, BluegrassGal's Weblog, of actions individuals can take to lessen or eradicate poverty-related hunger in their area. (You see, I share a computer, and I am going to work later on, from 3-11 pm EST, taking care of adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. ) I hope to see you in the bluegrass by tomorrow. *lol*

Thursday, October 9, 2008

OMCH - Oh My Celtic Heavan!

OK. So I hadn't planned on doing another blog post again so soon. But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, right? As I was going through the Thursday Thirteen meme posts, I found one on This Eclectic Life that I thought was cool, not only for the link to a contest for tickets to a Celtic Thunder concert, but for the link love she provided to other bloggers. Go see it and read it!

Now, for more on the contest.

I LOVE this quote from their fan site: "As the members of Celtic Thunder will tell you, Celtic Thunder is not a "boy band" - it is made up five soloists, Paul Byrom, George Donaldson, Keith Harkin, Ryan Kelly and Damian McGinty, each with different backgrounds and different styles of music.... " To call them simply a "boy band" is almost blasphemy! If you want more information about the individual soloists, check out this page on their official site!

I checked out You Tube and found many amazing videos by the group and the invididual soloists, but this one gave me CHILLS!

There are four pairs of tickets to be had to a Celtic Thunder concert. Here's the post on the contest! Dates and locations are available here!

Seven Plus Eleven Minus Two

Last Friday, while we were out spending what little paycheck came in, our electricity was turned off. Being as it "could not" get turned back on until Tuesday, we stayed 4 nights at a Red Roof Inn in the town where I work. Even though DH and I could have survived w/o much hardship, we couldn't ask the kids (11, 10 and 5) to endure night-time temps that got as low as 10 degrees (Fahrenheit).

The kids loved it, of course, especially the little hot chocolate/coffee/mocha machine in the lobby. They also loved watching Cartoon Network, as all we have at home for the moment is Canadian satellite. (Nothing against, Canada, of course, but their channels are just not what we are used to.) I loved that my commute was whittled from 30 minutes down to 3 minutes. WOOHOO!

We made several trips back to the house during that time, of course, to check on our dog, Sheeva, who was VERY preggers at the time.

When we arrived home on Tuesday morning, the dog came bounding up to the car, like usual, and DH noticed that she was considerably thinner than the day before. So, The Great Puppy Hunt began!

We found six under our back porch. Sadly, one did not make it. *sigh* This is not a very accessible area for us, and as the lower temperatures at night continued, and the pups were lying in dirt, we proceeded to detach the nailed in crosshatched wood in order to get them out. DH took "Angel" (my name for the pup that didn't make it) to a wooded area behind the house while the kids looked at the remains of a big tree stump that had been smoldering in our driveway for the weekend.

About 15 minutes later, the son of our across-the-street neighbor came up and asked if our dog had recently had puppies. Sheeva, naturally, went protective at the "stranger". Anyway, he went on to say that there were some puppies on his dad's porch. DD and I went with him, while DH held onto Sheeva's collar.

There was one puppy that had wiggled/crawled off the porch and become tangled in a vine. (The last two times Mamaw's cats had kittens I've had to rescue one of them from a vine, too. What's up with that?) The neighbor pulled four more out from a tarp that was on the porch.


Unfortunately, one was a runt and did not survive the day. Hence the title of this post "Seven Plus Eleven Minus Two". The "seven" refers to me, my husband, our three children, our dog and our cat; "eleven" is for the puppies that our dog had, and "two" for the two angel pups.

I had yesterday off work, and I have today off as well. DS2 has been bothered by a toothache for a couple of days now. Were it not for the fact that our dental insurance sucks (no pun intended), and those pesky dentists want cash up front, the tooth would be gone already. I've heard that UK (in this case, the University of Kentucky) Dental School has a program where you can go to the school and have students (under direction from licensed dentists) do whatever needs doing to your teeth for $100. I have a feeling more than one of us will be looking into that.

Well, that gets y'all up to speed on our back porch. I'm drinking cold black coffee and reading blogs, doing the Thursday Thirteen thing on Bluegrassgal's Weblog and Entrecard. C U around. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

OK. First of all, I know it's not New Year's Eve. :) My birthday is tomorrow and I have been doing a lot of reflecting on my life and my future. So I thought this would be a good day to fire up the Mapsco of my mind and chart a direction for my new year's journey. To that end, here are my resolutions:

1. I will live life with more juice and less fear.
I have been trying to pinpoint where fear began to rule my life. Apparently I used to be h-e-double-toothpicks on wheels; my mother used to tell me when I was a baby, my brother (22 months older) would climb into the playpen to get away from me. *lol* Maybe it was my tricycle going out of control down a hill and crashing into a neighbors yard, maybe it was falling down the wooden steps to the concrete floor of my childhood home basement, maybe it was that dream of getting pulled into the wall by a Star Trek alien, maybe it was moving to "the big city" when I was 9 and having to find new friends ... the list could go on for HOURS.

The "juice" reference, of course, is from Sark. To me, this means living life like you were opening a just-right ripe orange. You dig your fingers into the rind and peel it back, and a wonderful aroma fills the immediate area. You peel off those last little bits of rind and flick them into the compost with the rest of the peel. (Of course, you can make an "orange crown" from the rind and let your kids run around with it on their heads for a while first. *lol-LOVE that childhood memory*) . You stick your thumb into one end of the orange and begin to separate the slices and in doing so, some sweet juice squirts out on your fingers...and it's "no biggie" because you can lick it off. And then you stick the slices into your mouth, bite into them and savor the flavor!

2. I will be healthier in mind and body...and finances.
By this time tomorrow, I will be 47 years old. Thirty years ago, my father had a stroke when he was 47 and passed away a week later. He hated his job, but he did it because he was good at it and it paid the bills. Although I didn't smoke in young adulthood, as he did, job-wise I find myself in an eerily similar situation. I am a patient aide to adults with MR/DD (mental retardation and developmental disabilities). The work is physically and mentally challenging, but can be very rewarding as well. The troubles come from teams of "experts" making up programs for our people, when these experts do not take the time to get to know them as individuals.

For example, we used to buy "puff corn" as a snack for some of the ladies in my home. It was recently the target of a blanket ban, with the experts saying it was not in the ladies' dining plans, either by consistency or calories count. We asked, what about "C", who bought it every time we went to the coffee shop? The "expert" told us that she would be unable to express her desire for puff corn ... because she couldn't talk! (Neither could we when we heard this, because our jaws had collectively dropped to the floor.) We're really stuck between a rock and a hard place. Again, I could go on for hours on end, but that is fodder for another post at another time.

As a result of the job stress, I took up smoking. Not healthy, I KNOW, but preferable to drinking or putting my fist through a wall. I am not a violent person. I would rather run from a conflict than come to blows. But there comes a time when we must turn and fight ... the "why" is different for each person.

In addition to the stress, I struggle with depression...and have for nearly three decades. Right now, I take Cymbalta. Over the years, I have found there is a LOT of prejudice against people with mental illness issues, and I used to hesitate to mention my depression in public - on- or offline. Now, even though I'd rather NOT be having to take medication for depression at all, I do it because without it, I am like a diabetic without insulin.

So, I resolve to find other ways to deal with stress and depression - like walks in the park, maybe a nice massage or two ... you get the idea. *BIG SMILE*

As far as the finances go ... well, I'm just tired of living paycheck to paycheck. I'm tired of my family doing without ... and I THANK GOD FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS who have helped us out from time to time.

I don't want this post to be about commercialism. But to the point of padding the family paycheck, I have begun selling Mia Bella soy/vegetable candles. I'd love to give you more information if you would like. And, with a nod to Forrest Gump, "that's all I'm going to say about that" ... for now.

Thanks for reading. :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook - My Week 2

A while ago, I created another blog specifically for meme-type entries, Bluegrassgal's Weblog. (I know, original, isn't it? *lol*)

Anyway, my SW Daybook entry for the week can be found at this address:

Monday, September 22, 2008

My 2nd Prairie Dream of the Day

OK. For the 2nd time today, I have "found" something at the Prairie Dream blog that I just "had to have": The Simple Woman's Daybook, from the Simple Woman blog.


Outside my Window...a sultry-warm afternoon, and freedom from the noises of the house.

I am head hurts, and when do I go back to work? (Today is my day off.)

From the learning rooms...DD (5) giving herself a manicure with the toenail clippers.

I am thankful for...a husband that knows just about anything that needs to be known about computers.

From the brewing in our new pot, bought after 3 of us broke the old coffee pot.

I am wearing...brick red w/fake gray lining tee-shirt, blue jeans one size too big (how often does THAT happen? - add that to the thankful bit), and lightish pink crocks

I am reading...blogs on the internet

I am hoping...a day of rest

I am creating...a home business that will hopefully allow me to transition to being a WAHM (i/o a WOHM). Every day I go to work, DD says, "...but I thought you loved me." *OUCH*

I am 3 kids' raging case of the galloping grumpy gimmies

Around the very pregnant (w/8 pups) Border Collie.

One of my favorite things...turtle cheesecake

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...making it through my four shifts of work before the weekend (which I have off).

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

This is my DD about 3 years ago, when we first moved to Kentucky.

Cool Book for Kids (of All Ages)

I've been doing various things to expand my blog lately, one of which is using Scoutle, where a little virtual stick-figure me runs around telling other peoples' blogs that I am a hillbilly, not a redneck.

One blog that I found through the Scoutle service that think I'm going to like is "My Semblance of Sanity". Right now, this Mama is running a contest for a picture book where folks are anticipating the circus coming to town, called, "Sidewalk Circus", by Paul Fleischman and Kevin Hawkes. Picture books are great for all ages, because they allow our imaginations to fly. And, if you have kindergarten-age children (or thereabouts), you can make up stories about the pictures when they ask, "What is that?" or "Why is that baby crying?"

Go check it out. You won't be disappointed.

Gonna Be a Long Day...

OK. So I wake up this morning and decide to to the Entrecard Credit Generator from The Early. For those not in the know, this is a way to find new blogs, learn something, and (hopefully) get some visits to your blog or site in return. I've found enough things that I want to do a little bit more with that I'm blogging about my experiences today.

So, in no particular order...

On the Prairie Dreams blog, I came across a badge for the "350 Challenge" hosted by Brighter Planet, a sort of "webroots" movement for personal action on the environment. So, I'm adding the 350 Challenge badge to my sidebar. Brighter Planet has teamed with in order to spread the word about the need for reducing our carbon/CO2 emissions. The 350 site has a very good call to action for larger scale events and movements. I would like to find something that also stresses the contributions invidivduals can make to their own CO2-offset efforts, like using public transportation where available, etc. If you know of a good place for this, please let me know in a comment.

So, what am I going to do about it?

1. There is a woman who works in the same home I do at the same facility. I've gotten rides from her when I'm low on gas and she's gotten rides from me when her DH worked over at his job. I'm going to suggest we ride together more often - for both of us to save money and to help reduce our environmental impact. Sure I'm only one woman ... but every single step plays an important part in getting you where you're going

2. Start a ride-share program at work. There are about 1200-1300 people who work at the residential/training facility for adults with MR/DD along with me, spread over 3 shifts.

3. Once I accomplish these two objectives, I'll come up with more ideas. Anyone want to join me? :)

Monday, September 15, 2008


I work at an ICF (intermediate care facility) for adults with MR/DD (mental retardation and developmental disabilities). This week the folks that oversee Medicaid funding are on grounds as part of the certification process, determining if they will provide Medicaid funds for the residents who live there. One of the things they most like to see is what they call "active treatment". Active treatment is defined as "involvement and engagement in all activities of daily living".

This means that after the residents come home from their classes during the day, they don't just sit in the living room or lie down in their beds. There are various programs they need to run ... learning daily living skills or engaging in activities that they enjoy.

The ladies in my home are age 40 and up (the oldest is 73). They all have mild to profound mental retardation. Five of the seven are in wheelchairs. Three of the seven have g-tubes (where they are fed with a tube leading directly into their stomachs).

One of our ladies has a program to "engage" with a mop-like duster. We model the desired behavior and then (ideally) she takes the duster and dusts a bookshelf.

One likes stringing beads to make necklaces and bracelets.

One makes a choice of three beverages to have with her meals. The three drinks are set on an "assisted communication device" that has three corresponding buttons. When she pushes the buttons, a recorded voice states what is on the pad. By pushing the button, she indicates her choice. (Really, she just picks the tallest drink - but that's beside the point).

There are other leisure activities such as puzzles, drawing with crayons, balls, sensory equipment, etc. etc. etc.

We are supposed to have the ladies "actively engaged" on our shift from the time they get home from classes until meal time, then again after meal time until they get their baths ... then again from bath time until the time they retire for the evening.

I'm tired of the same old, same old and am looking for other ideas of things we can do with our ladies. Mobility is obviously an issue, but not necessarily a barrier. Our ladies have cognitive ages of up to 5 years old.

So, I'm asking for y'all's help in coming up with some new ideas for activities! Thanks very much in advance! Y'ALL ROCK!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

One for the Girls

You see rows and rows of them by the registers in WalMart. Trading cards for kids ... a la Pokemon and the like. My boys can count battle statistics, weapon strength and the likelihood of so-and-so putting the hurt on the other guy. Now I am all for a well-trained imagination, and believe that children need play time as much as they need chores and education, but I worry about them giving more worth to a fantasy world than to building their own skills for the real world.

So, I was delighted to find a notification in my inbox today (it was actually sent a couple of days ago, I think, but my inbox is out-of-control!) from Kailani over at An Island Life introducing me to The Chatter Chix!

The target market is girls 5-12 years old. There is one card/chix per state and they show having good values (respect, responsibility, etc) in a positive light. There is also the website where girls can leave messages for each other and learn about girls in other states as well as info about the states themselves. Now how cool is that?

In my book, Chatter Chix and An Island Life are both definitely worth your time! I know they were and continue to be worth mine.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Passing Along "Wisdom" to the Next Generation

My daughter, "T" (age 5), is a frequent visitor to my back porch. She is hungry for knowledge and rarely even slows the rate of her questioning the how's and why's of ... just about everything. Here are some things she has learned recently:

1. That pink umbrellas keep things off your head, like sunshine, rain, snow, leaves, bird poop, etc.

2. That trains heading south are going to Somerset and those going north are going to Stanford and that they most likely are doing that because they have to bring "stuff" to Walmart.

3. That they painted our car red to distinguish it from all the other Ford Escorts in the world.

4. That bubbles are classified by size ("wee, not-so-wee and frickin' HUGE") and shape - "snowmen" are two bubbles of different size stuck together.

5. That babies (herself included) are gifts from God.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Smoking it Over....

I don't really feel like posting right I'm going to go out and smoke it over a cup of coffee.

OK. I went, I smoked, I drank Cinnamon Hazelnut Coffee with Vanilla Chai Spice creamer. DD and I discussed the why's and wherefore's of her new Dora umbrella and all the things umbrellas can keep off your head. DH even joined in the conversation when he told her that it could keep an elephant off her head. (Yeah, I know...but he's a man, and you know how they are.) T's response? "That's CRAZY talk!" Smart girl.

We're mulling over a move to Utah. My mother and brother live there. That's where we met (in person) for the first time. We had DS1 there and got married there. (I bet he's one of the few 5-month olds to have caught the garter at his parents' wedding! *LOL*) The jobs would be better-paying, but then the cost of living is higher too. My maternal uncle has said that if we moved back to SLC, though, that he would put aside money for each of the kids to go to college. And homeschooling law is at least as liberal there as it is here in Kentucky.

As this is my weekend off, we're heading over to DH's Mamaw's house later on for a visit. She only lives about 1/2 hour away. She's 85 (only one year older than my mother) ... and would be the most affected (of the in-laws who live here) if we move away.

Anyway, that's what's on my mind this morning.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hiding Under My Porch

OK, so it's been like ... two months since I posted last. I thought about my Back Porch a lot, tripping over my guilty thoughts like the vines that twine around the wooden steps leading down to the driveway. I can't really say what has brought me to actually put fingers to keyboard tonight ... but here I am.

I got my last haircut the same way. Having had waistlength hair for years, I thought about cutting it in some more than "just a trim way" for many months. Then one day, I just called, made an appointment and came home to my bug-eyed family (who had been warned of my intentions) swinging my now-detached ponytail and war-whooping. My hair disappeared up to my chin and for weeks I would still flip my head over to mousse it up and wonder why I was nearly falling over (because the rest of the hair-weight wasn't there).

Work has been stressful, more so than usual of late. One of my co-workers had a baby about 3 months ago. Another one just found out she is going to have a little girl a few months down the road. I got tied after having my 3rd child at the age of 41, but still think about having more. So every time someone with whom I work becomes pregnant, I have 'sympathy pains' right along with them. The last month has been pure h-e-double toothpicks: nausea, lower back pain, migraines, sciatica, soaring blood pressure. I've felt on the verge of really losing it on more than one occasion.

Of course, it didn't help that my family (husband and three children) went to Texas to see my MIL and her husband for a week, and I was stuck here in Kentucky because of my job. I don't even ask for time off anymore, because the last two times I've done so, and been approved ... it's been reneged after the paycheck paperwork gets turned in and I'm stuck trying to feed 5 people on $300 less rent, utilities and gas for two weeks. Doesn't work.

The more stressed, bombarded and attacked I feel, the more I withdraw, so that's probably why I haven't been around much of late.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Mama Mondays: Begin

In 46 years, you can rack up a LOT of beginnings.

There's the grandmama of them all...being born, of course. Then comes first smile, first step, first word, first day of school all those childhood milestones.

One first I remember is the first time I saw my first child. My blood pressure had skyrocketed during delivery and they gave me an epidural. My bp reading then tanked; the lowest I saw was 70/40, and hubby says it went even lower. After the delivery, I looked like the Michelin man...but I digress. :) Let's just say I was "out of it", and DS had to be taken to the nursery and put on oxygen for a short while.

As I had been induced, I was not allowed out of bed for 24 hours. I was planning my escape - sneaking out of my room, dragging the IV pole along with me. They must've sensed my frustration and put me in a room near the nurses' station. Drat! Too close to the warden's office to make a break for it.

DH brought me a Polaroid picture of our son. I was worried. He looked tiny, bruised (they had used forceps), and had all sorts of wires and tubes hooked up to his little 5 pound 9 ounce frame. And he had a pronounced conehead. I was desperate to hold him in my arms.

The next day, they wheeled his bassinet into my room (as I still had not been released to get out of bed). I was like...this is so COOL! But then, something happened that scared me. The nurse LEFT THE ROOM!!! And left me alone with this tiny little alien that had inhabited my body for a little over 8 months!

I had read the books and articles, and gathered dozens of opinions (some sought, some not) from friends and relatives), but at that precise moment, I could not remember a shred of it to save my live.

Gingerly, I put my feet on the floor and walked over to the bassinet. Little by little, more of my son appeared. He looked a little better than the day before - less bruised, more rosy. Still had that conehead, though. And I wondered .....


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fit Friday - from "It's My Life"

So my friend writes about small victories at her blog "It's my life...". She's rockin' and rollin' in terms of getting more fit.

My choices have been somewhat bound by needs/limitations, as in if someone offerred me a sinfully delicious chocolate chip cookie, I ate it, because we're broke until payday and I've been saving the food at home for the family. But even in the midst of that chaos, it is still possible to make good choices. I say this not to blow my own horn, but to maybe give hope to someone who is feeling that small steps don't make a difference.

As you know, I work in a residential/teaching facility for adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. The ladies in my home are less mobile than most and get bathed in a pedestal bathtub (that raises and lowers), while sitting on a lift. They have 'self-care' boxes containing their shampoo, soap, etc. When we have enough staff we bring all the boxes and night clothes to the bathing room in the afternoon to save some time later on. (Yes, I'm getting to the point now...*lol*) I could've carried the boxes in a group of 2 and 3, but I chose to carry them one at a time to get in extra steps.

We took two of the ladies on a shopping trip to Walmart on Friday. One is a ward of the state and gets very little, so it was absolutely thrilling to see that she got $20 to spend on whatever she wanted. I planned our route through the store in order to get more walking in. This was also beneficial to her, as we passed more items and could talk about them.

A couple times this last week I made a conscious choice to forgo a couple of cigarettes.

That's all I really can remember right now, but that's ok ... usually I can hardly remember yesterday! *lol*

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Posh Mama on the Back Porch

My back porch has changed recently. The porch light used to be orange (from Halloweens past) and I looked forward to seeing that as I rounded the corner on my way home from work at 11:00 pm. Seriously, I would smile every time I saw it. Well, it finally gave up the ghost (Halloween pun) and now there is a regular yellow-white light.

Secondly, my husband had them install a security light in our back yard. It used to be pitch black back there, especially as there is a large wooded area behind our house. But instead of being able to hide on the back porch and just be, I feel now like I am on stage. So it's a little less of a 'retreat' than it used to be.

So, I've had to find other places to renew.

One such place is a website called "Posh Mama". Posh Mama is made up of women from all around the world from all walks of life. Members range in age from 20 years old to 80 years old! Posh Mamas are CEO's, Students, SAHM's, Artists, Designers, WAHM's, Models, Authors, Mompreneurs, etc. Posh Mama Online Magazine and Social Network is a positive and upbeat community. You will feel immediately welcomed as it is the sweetest spot on the 'net.

Ok, confession time...I haven't written on my blog here in over a month. Life, you KWIM (know what I mean)? Thanks to PM for giving me that push that I needed to get writing again. Go see the site. There is something for everyone!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My Daughter the Hooker!

A few days ago my 5 year old daughter wanted to wear her Halloween dress. You see, she was a "butterfly princess" for Halloween - with a dress and little wings that went around her shoulders. The wings are long gone but the dress is still in good shape. It's cornflower blue with lots of flouncy white stuff.

Anyway, the dress was laying over the back of the couch when my girl asked my husband for help. He told her to go pick up the dress and bring it to him. She complied and came back with the dress draped across her front and proudly exclaimed, "DADDY, I'M A HOOKER!" (Yup. Hubby had the SAME reaction!). "Excuse me," he asked.

T reiterated, "Look, Daddy, I'm a hooker!" "What do you mean, Pumpkin?" T was holding her finger in the shape of a hook and said, "I picked up the dress with my hook. I'm a hooker!" DH didn't know whether to laugh or faint!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

My purses

A year ago Christmas, my gift-buddy at work got me a purple suede purse. She had asked me what I wanted and I said that I guess I could I could use a purse (I had been using those plastic grocery store bags to carry my stuff in) and that I liked the color purple.

I carried that purse EVERYWHERE for at least a year. The stitching on the handle was beginning to unravel. The puppy did the rest. So I'm back to my fine plastic carry-alls. I usually add another to the outside when the one underneath begins to get holes...until there are so many bags that the handles go every which way. Then I weed out my stuff (think going through your purse) and get back to one bag...and the process begins again.

Today I came upon this great blog entry from my friend at An Island Life, featuring a purse giveaway sponsored by Pink Lemonade Boutique Bags. I fell in love with the Mint Chocolate one on the first page I saw. I suppose I can make my way through the pages. After all, a woman can never have TOO MANY purses, can she? :)


Oh, and my daughter (age 5) says "Hi." She would also like to share the following with you:
(The first work she typed herself and the rest of the gobbledygook is one of her favorite cartoons that she asked me how to spell.)

Y'all have a good day!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mag My Pic

Create Fake Magazine Covers with your own picture at

I wasn't tagged, but I snatched this from the "An Island Life" blog, and you can go there to read by whome she got tagged. I chose this picture because it's gotten a lot of "was he a model" comments ... this is my DH as a boy. I chose the PC Gamer Magazine because he is into PC games. :)

Anyhow, it was kind of fun to do. If you snatch the idea from me, leave a comment with your link so I can come see, k? Happy Sunday, y'all!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Hillbilly Culture

I'm from Kentucky, so I can poke fun at my in-laws, er, hillbillies. :p

Thar be the revenuers messin' with our free trade.

Thar be the family from the ree-union last summer.

Thar's my new vee-hicle. Ain't she a beaut?

And here's mah brother-in-law. (Not really, but I swear, DH has the same belly!)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My Sunshine

These are my children. They are also my sunshine. This picture was taken on the California Coast, about midway between San Jose and San Francisco in December 2006.

Of course, the ocean is a source of 'sunshine' for me as well. I feel very connected to the infinite (read into that what you will) there. The waves come in, wash away the pain in my soul and carry it back out to sea ... where it can dissolve and be recycled into something more productive.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

It's Getting Easier

My problem right now is not so much a lack of subject matter to blog...but time to do it.

I go to work today, leaving the house at about 1pm. I say that because it's 12:56 now and I don't think I'll be out the door in 4 minutes. I work at a residential/teaching facility for adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. (There are other medical and psychological diagnoses involved, but the first two is what gets them into "our place".)

In my cottage, we have 7 ladies on one side, 8 gentlemen on the other, and share a kitchen and laundry facilities. There are 17 other "cottages" on the facility. They also have a Coffee Shop, Beauty Salon, a gym with swimming pool and various classrooms where the residents can learn everything from making furniture from wood to craft items to independent living skills (setting a table, cooking, etc.) On the whole, it's a great idea.

My trouble comes on days like today. It's like low 20's. I bundle up and go to work. It's my job. Not the most ideal weather to go traipsing about, but I do it. Will it affect my health? Most likely not in the long run. Our residents (or clients, a current "preferred" term) are not so lucky.

One lady has trouble keeping her body temperature up. Her average temp is 95. They have her in several layers of clothing and have a special heater in her room that keeps the room at a minimum of 80 degrees. If her temperature falls under 92, she goes to the hospital. But 9 times out of 10, they will send her out to class in weather like this! While I'm not sure how much she actually gets out of classes and activities, I have to hope that it reaches some part of her. It's certainly better than being in her wheelchair in the living room or in bed all day. Some days, it just seems like the administration is more interested in showing the regulatory agencies that all the residents are out engaged in "meaningful activity", over what is actually good for the resident as a whole.

I better stop there. I can feel my soapbox getting taller and taller.

Happy blogging, y'all!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Need a Heater for the Porch

I needed a heater or like greenhouse enclosure for the back porch. It was so freakin' cold out there today that I could hardly stand to be out there long enough for Shiva to "take care of business"! I read from a friend that the temp was like 15 with a wind chill of -5. I nearly got frostbite about 15 years ago delivering pizza during a blizzard and my fingers do NOT react well to cold.

I'm at the end of two glorious days off from work. My resolutions are going "above average" - but then I purposely made them vague enough so that if I didn't do something every day it wouldn't be a disaster, either.

It's hard to think with a 4-year old perched on your left leg, hanging onto your left arm at 11:39 pm. (She had a nap earlier and is raring to go now. UGH.)

Are any of you familiar with the "Chocolatier" and "Chocolatier 2: Secret Ingredients" games? They are probably my current game addiction. For some reason my version of "2" gets stuck in the Sahara (if you have it, that'll make sense). I've still got half the world to discover on there.

DH is in the background in the kitchen eating a sandwich. Didn't ask if anyone else wanted one. Grrr....

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Here We Go

So I signed up for this Blog 365 thing, for those of us who didn't get enough torture in NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo.

It's been too cold out to spend a lot of time on the back porch of late. But I have a furry new little companion, Shiva, our new puppy. A lady at work is raising her grand-daughter, who wanted to bring home a puppy. My friend said ok, what kind of dog is it? She only wanted it if it was a chihuahua. She heard a male voice on the other end of the phone (the man w/the dog) say it was a full blood. So ok. When her DGD brought home the dog, it was obviously NOT a chihuahua, or as my friend put it, "I HAVE MORE CHIHUAHUA IN ME!" *lol* We're thinking it is at least partly a border collie. She's the cutest little ball of fuzz.

So most of the time she comes out on the back porch with me ... which is good on one point, because then she doesn't have accidents in my house. But it kind of doesn't make for good meditation or thinking time when there's a little ankle-biter running circles around you!

Work has been off the charts stress-wise of late. There will be PLENTY of blog material on that this year, I'm sure.

I actually made some resolutions this year. I may post those tomorrow. So far so good on day 1.