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 Dictionary.com'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 FeedingAmerica.org, 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. :)