Monday, February 28, 2005

Here is the picture from when we met the Mayor of Dudley on January 20. From clokwise left to right is myself, Lisa McClenaghan HR Manager (one of the three that interviewed me in Chicago), Mayor Malcolm Knowles, Council Member Peter Mill (Cabinet Leader of Social Services, Conservative), Teri (other American), Council Leader David Caunt (Conservative), and Stacy (other American). I realized the two council members were Conservatives... after expressing my distaste for Mr. Bush. Oh well, I suppose it doesn't matter when the Prime Minister is Labour Party and he's W's buddy! I actually really liked David Caunt; he had a lovely dry sense of humor. Mayor Malcolm Knowles is an absolute sweetheart! I even got official pens!
Posted by Hello

Saturday, February 26, 2005

This is a picture I found on the Web. King Williams is the Street perpindicular to my street.
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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Sometimes the cop is your friend

I had an interesting home visit today with a family who is all to familiar with the social services system. A widowed father of three, raised in the system himself, refused to let me into his home today, I think out of protection for his sons that the same thing might happen to them. It is a pretty scary thing to have a finger (with lit cigarette in hand) pointed in your face and have all the faults of the social service system placed on your shoulders. Fortunately, I had a cop by my side to take over and I went to sit in the car. At the end of it all, the gentleman's body language completely soften from someone who looked like he was ready to attack me to someone who is humbled by his own remorse and he approached me to apologize. I let him know that he was right, sometimes the system is crap, and I am only doing my job the best I know how. I guess there's not always a whole lot of differences in the systems when it comes down to it, is there?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A pleasant new bus route; what a surprise!

I took a new route today returning to the office from a home visit. Nothing exceptional to note, but the area along the route was filled with lovely homes and shops. Just a little reminder to myself to continue to appreciate that I am in another country and I have barely scratched the surface of all there is to see.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Sometimes you have to move away to appreciate what you have.

I wrote that title on the 19th for a blog entry but just a few days later I do not know what exactly I intended to write. I'm sure it relates to my homesickness that comes and goes. I have reflected so often lately on the amazing people I have in my life and how fortunate I am to know I can call on them if I needed them and they would be there in a second. Aside from the emotional connections I miss, I sometimes miss the simple ease of familiarity. Running down to the grocery to get some sushi from the sushi chef that remembered me everytime, salad from the salad bar and a cheap bottle of white wine....Meeting the usual Saturday night crew at the Monkey's Tail to kick off a night of debauchery...Knowing where to go when I needed something as simple as a hammer, a surge protetor, knowing what brands are best. But it is part of the adventure that I sometimes have to remind myself of.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Ask and you shall receive!

On Monday, I had one case that I was co-working with Lesley. I had been getting very ancy (another word I was made fun of for) to start doing some actual work and was over the induction crap. So, I mentioned to my supervisor that I was ready to take on some more actual work. I should have kept my mouth shut! As of today, I now have five cases all of the sudden, two being child protection inquiries. Nothing I can't handle, really, I've handled more. But, I am a little nervous that I am now truly learning as I go and have to make sure I am covering myself in terms of all the procedures....
At least soon I can start providing a bit more of an assessment of this system I've landed myself in for the next two years.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A few excerpts

Hopefully I don't get sued for posting this, but I finished Tracks, by Robyn Davidson and I loved it! I highly reccomend it to anyone who enjoys travel essays or who has a thirst for exploration of any kind. It struck me as I was reading it and I wanted to post a couple excerpts, in addition to the quote at the top of the blog....

  • "The world is a dangerous place for little girls. Besides, little girls are more fragile, more delicate, more brittle than little boys. 'Watch out, be careful, watch.' 'Don't climb trees, don't dirty your dress, don't accept lifts from strange men. Listen but don't learn, you won't need it.' And so the snail's antennae grow, watching for this, looking for that, the underneath of things. The threat. And so she wastes so much of her energy, seeking to break those circuits, to push up the millions of tiny thumbs that have tried to quelch energy and creativity and strength and self-confidence; that have so effectively caused her to build her fences against possibility, daring; that have so effectively kept her imprisoned inside her notions of self-worthlessness. And now a myth was being created where I would appear different, exceptional. Because society needed it to be so...."
  • "As I look back on the trip now, as I try to sort out fact from fiction, try to remember how I felt at that particular time, or during that particular incident, try to relive those memories that have been buried so deep, and distorted so ruthlessly, there is one clear fact that emerges from the quagmire. The trip was easy. It was no more dangerous than crossing the street, or driving to the beach, or eating peanuts. The two important things I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavor is taking the first step, making the first decision."

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Reason #27 to get a car:Stourbridge Bus Station

I have been doing most of my shopping in Stourbridge Town Centre because it is convienently located, on only one bus route, and has essentially everything I need. However, I am recently becoming more agitated by the experience of riding the bus to get where I need to be. First off, the buses, as you may expect are not always on top of their timetables. I often can end up standing in the cold for 20-30 minutes (sometimes longer) for a bus to go somewhere that would take five minutes to drive. I get on the bus and try to find a seat where I won't have to sit next to anyone and where there is not a unidentifiable stain on the seat. I arrive at Stourbridge and head down the stairs to the "Subway," a small set of tunnels that connect the High Street to the bus station. Walking through this tunnel is like walking through an elongated men's bathroom at the Alley Cat. I complete my shopping and head back through the tunnel of piss to wait again for the bus, lugging my heavy bags the whole time. Well, my legs and arms are definitely buffing up, I'm sure. Still, I can go to the gym for that; I'd much rather have a car!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

A weekend out two whole nights in a row!

Since my arrival, I have been spending much more time at home than I am used to. I am constantly reminded how much I have taken for granted having so many wonderful friends nearby I can call up to go out for a drink!

Now that I have had a bit more time, though, I have started to build a few friendships with some of my team members. Friday night, I went to Wing Wah, a popular Chinese restaurant with a couple gals from work, Sam and Vicki. Sam is on a different team so I hadn't spent as much time with her before but I may have found a new drinking buddy in her. Vicki is on my team and is a true delight. She one of those people that is just simply liked by all, with a great sense of humor and energy. We had a fun time and ended the night at some pub where there had just been quite a rowl. The victim of the fight continued to drink his pint, blood splattered on his clothes, black eye, bloody nose and all...
Saturday night I went out with Lesley, another co-worker, and her family to a house birthday party for one of their friends. Lesley was the first person on the team I met (she's the Assistant Team Manager) and someone who I quickly felt comfortable with because it seems we have a good deal in common. She also has this peaceful demeanor about her that makes things seem so calm, in a good way. Defintely a good lady to have around when I get flustered as I sometimes tend to do...I had met some of their friends last weekend at a pub and I suppose they thought I was okay because they invited me to join them this weekend for the party. It was a great time with lots of talkative people; it reminded me of a party the Mastrianna's might have-people of all ages, intermingling and having a good time. And, I actually got a little drunk for the first time since I have been in England!