Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dogs and Cats, living together in sin

We brought a new addition into our home on February 14 (not meant to be cliche, it just worked out that way). We adopted a little gray kitten, still recovering from being spayed so appearing slightly mellow and subdued. The MOD was allowed to name her since he wasn't around to participate in Nia's naming. He named her Nermal, after the cute gray kitten that irked Garfield. While I am adjusting to the name, the cat does not seem to be adjusting to us. We gave her the time to have her "sanctuary" in our guest room and all the sites we looked at said give it at least a week. We tried our best to give her her space, with the MOD occasionally getting frustrated and seeking her out from under the bed. Kittens are meant for cuddling, right? Not staying by themselves under the bed!

In the past twelve days she has appeared gradually more comfortable with the house and is exploring more, but still only under the conditions that there is no sudden movements or attempts by us to engage her. In contrast, she has started seeking out Nia. Nia licks her head like an affectionate and concerned mother, and Nermal chews on Nia's floppy ears and bats at her tail. All very endearing, but annoying none the less. The MOD and I have become childish in our wishes and jealously of Nia. When is she going to play with and cuddle with us? We wait as long as we can, but usually toward the end of the seek her out and attempt forcible petting and love (probably not the best way to win her heart). It appears that Nermal has even taking to napping alongside Nia at night and perhaps during the day while we are out. Perhaps there is something to be said for the secret language among these domesticated mammals. So long as they are not plotting against us while we are away at work/school each day. And so long as Nermal eventually releases she's missing out on some quality TLC from the MOD and the QOE.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

RAD, not so rad

I am currently in a three day training on Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). This training is not only teaching me more in depth about the concepts behind RAD and best practice methods to treat the diagnosis, but also qualifying me to provide the training to others. Bonus for the resume building! I have been familiar with attachment theories and needs since the beginning of my education and career, but this is a topic that becomes more and more prevalent to my daily work life. My one fear now is that I become trigger happy with the diagnosis, like some are with ADHD or diagnosing Bipolar in children, but hopefully just being aware of that concern will prevent misdiagnosis.

Attachment, in my mind, is becoming the cornerstone of what is a healthy child, healthy individual. It is frightening to think how crucial the first years of life truly are in forming how that individual is going to respond to the world around him for the rest of his life. What a fragile state children truly are in. It becomes a little disheartening to think about the importance of these factors, when there are so many factors that become a barrier to children being able to form healthy attachment at an early age. It is something I have to be very aware of recently, the potential loss of hope at seeing children every day who live in a community that is unsafe, dangerous. Who have families whose parents have their own attachment and emotional needs, struggle to meet the basic needs of the family and therefore those needs often take priority over emotional ones. To look at this way, it could be disheartening to think of just how many children have attachment and emotional deficits.

But, I have also obtained some hope from what I am learning in this training. To know that to acknowledge these needs and address them, there is hope to repair a child's attachment to important individuals in his life. There is hope that to promote a better understanding of these needs means addressing them in a way that promotes best practice and improved interventions. That's what draws you back in as a social worker. Learning there is new hope.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Are you selling me a car or a spatula?

I went to yet another cooking show this evening. When did the tupperware parties of the 50s and 60s get replaced by cooking show and candle parties? Was it a sudden shift or was it a gradual change to this paradigm of hostess at home shopping in the new millennium? Can I still call the millennium new? The home hostess is one of my closest friends, so I go because A) She's hilarious and I love being around her, B) We have mutual friends who will be there and I also love being around and C) She supported me when I actually considered being part of one of these ventures to increase my financial stability.

Yet, every time I go to any of these parties- be it candles or a cook books- I feel like someone is trying to sell me a car. You know, that feeling when you are looking for a car and that salesman is trying to convince you that the car you are looking is the best car IN THE WORLD. Meanwhile, I am sitting there thinking, "I could get that bowl for 5 bucks cheaper at Target, and it would work just as well." I do concede that I was pulled in to being one of these salesman, selling candles. But frankly, those candles rock and I was seeking some way to make my mortgage payments with more ease while still (at the time) single and fending for myself. The reason I didn't follow through is because I am not a car salesman, or seller of any other goods. I have little capacity to be able to convince someone, "This plastic spatula is the best you ever had, it is the best anywhere." Frankly, I think in the commercial world, there are too many options for me to be convinced that I should spend 10 dollars on a small piece of plastic. I have steak knives I bought at the dollar store right out of college, 9 years ago. They still hold up ok. I did succumb to buying a cook book, but if I do the whole bridal shower thing, it will involve more alcohol and less sales pressure from the stranger cooking in the kitchen.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Status updates

In the past few days of initially being without Facebook, my mind is still working in the realm of "status messages." That was one of the sad truths of FB that helped my decision to break away from the networking frenzy. My days began to revolve around statuses. Ooh, this will be my new status message when I get home from work today! How sad. But, as closure, I thought I would share a few status messages that came to mind this weekend. Gradually, I hope to resolve my need for status messages and superficial engagement of others. But, until then:

The QOE . . .
misses Fish Wrangler.
is excited Nermal is now sleeping on the bed, not just under it.
is foolish to think KFC would be a good dinner plan.
has a fried chicken hangover.
actually likes spinning.
is getting anxious about the (LCSW) exam, yet not studying enough.
is reciting the Social Work Code of Ethics.
is excited to see my Gay Boyfriend, with his partner and other lovely friends.
forgot how much hangovers suck.
is stoked to have my very own (free) personal makeup artist available on my wedding day.
is getting distracted by all the things I want to do after the exam (making lists, surprise, surprise), rather than actually focusing on the exam.
is thankful to the MOD for pushing me to get out of the house for a wog.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Brown is so hot and yellow so. . . not sure?

The two typical first questions I get when people here I am getting married (in about 6 months- YOWSER!) are "What are your colors?" and "How big is your bridal party?" Well, we're not having a bridal party. When the idea of marriage started swimming in my head, I had planned to have my two closest gal pals up there with me, but we decided against the whole "party" thing to keep it simple. I hear too many stories about people getting upset about who is involved and how, what's the use of all that suffering? Isn't a wedding about the bride and groom, not about the people standing up there next to them? Sure it's a position (being a bridal party member) held by those we love most and who have supported us, but won't those people do those things for us whether or not they have to buy an outfit they will never wear again? I think mine will. At least I hope so.

I have also gathered that your "colors" are specified because it clarifies what everyone needs to wear. I almost feel like colors should be capitalized when talking about it in this context. Like, to some, they are the focus of how your wedding should look and whether or not the decor will be aesthetically pleasing. I've always been a blue girl. As I've grown older, I have become more and more fond of shades of green and purple. But, when I look at wedding blogs and sites, I love just about everything. All colors to me have a sense of vibrance and beauty, in their own special way. Perhaps that's just the "let's love everyone and everything social worker in me." I even like the red stuff, which is not one of my preferred palates. Lately I am thinking. . . late summer, some yellow perhaps? Although I still love the idea of throwing some pots of lavender on the tables and letting the guests take them home to their kitchens. My mother says lavender smells nice but isn't pretty enough. Hmph . . . .

We also have the issue of trying to coordinate with attire. Or do we? I really want to wear blue shoes to have the ol' "something blue" and just for some funky fun with my somewhat traditional dress. Does that mean I have to have blue elsewhere? I think the MOD (the dude I am marrying- to be referred to as the MOD) could look very handsome in a sharp brown suit, but neither mother agrees. He's open to the idea of exploring color options. Perhaps what I am telling myself is that even though my parents are aiding and abetting the cost of this wedding, what the colors, our garb and decorations and such boil down to is it is our wedding, our taste, wherever the taste chips may fall. Right?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Trying to be more elusive. . . .It ain't easy.

I have this evening, deleted my Myspace and Facebook accounts. No more mass internet networking sites for me. I am intent on becoming more proactive with this blog, but I am hoping to do so with some sense of anonymity. I know that the recent scare with Facebook's terms are somewhat trivial. I mean, really, what do they want with my photos of hugging my drunk friends at someone's birthday party or wedding? It's not like I really believe I will see that image plastered on a poster while waiting to catch the El in Chicago.

But, it's more the futility of it . . . and to be quite honest, the drama. I don't need to catch up or virtually "friend" that person in high school I barely spoke to then and will never see in person now. The people I enjoyed networking with are the people that are already a constant in my life. People that are important to me I can just as easily communicate with in a normal email or a phone call, as opposed to soliciting attention via my status messages. As for the drama there are those that I would rather not contact me, and quite frankly, my future husband. We're pretty set on the people we want in our lives. The new friends and folks that continue to enter my life are through personal interactions, not through web searches. I welcome those interactions with open arms.

So, now instead of procrastinating with networking sites by updating my status messages and playing silly games, I will procrastinate with internet time spent reading all the blogs I have recently subscribed to and catching up on the what's happening in the world via my news feeds. Hopefully I will also begin using this blog more as a tool for writing and sharing thoughts- somewhat anonymously.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Blue, Blue, Blue Suede Shoes

It's way too early for these details. I have a little under seven months to go until our wedding. But, in one of many attempts to procrastinate this weekend on studying for the exam (I did so good for like- a whole two weeks or so), I began searching for my wedding shoes. I had hoped to find a tea length dress. Check out Weddingbee for some cute ones. But, the dress I have chosen is full length. I am not sure people will even be able to see my feet. But I want my shoes to be funky and blue. I would prefer satin or something cute and girlie, but most of all they have to be flat. My fella and I are the same height and I think we would both prefer to stay that way for the photos. Do you know how hard it is to find a funky, cute, girlie, flat, comfortable blue pair of shoes? Ones that don't cost an arm, a leg and a maybe a few extra fingers? If anybody reads this and knows some good finds of this nature, send them my way please. Also, a matching blue purse would be awesome.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My latest hobby

Wedding planning. Unfortunately for me, all the big stuff is pretty much done, which means I don't have as good an excuse now when Luke asks me why I am looking at wedding stuff again (or wedding porn, as I affectionately call it). I still am looking for ideas though . . . we've got the photographer, we've got the DJ, the cake, I found my dress and picked our florist. But, there is still the details of decoration, writing the ceremony (the most important part!), Luke's suit, ties for all the fellas- Luke, dads and bro, and all the little things to be done when we get closer. Having a year to plan is more than enough time. With as organized as I am (with the things I actually care about), I could have pulled it all off just as well with only a few months to plan. So, for those of you just getting started, I thought I would share some blogs I subscribe to for ideas and thoughts.

First and foremost, Offbeat Bride. This was one of the first I subscribed to. I love the unique and diverse weddings. We are somewhat traditional in our day-to-day lives, but both big believers in expressing our individuality at times that it is significant for us. Our wedding obviously, will be one of those times. There is also Offbeat Tribe, which has loads of brides (and some grooms) to be sharing ideas.

Then, there is $2,000 Budget Wedding. We are very lucky we have my parents offering to support and help us with the wedding, which will allow us to have it in a venue we love but could not have afforded on our own. This couple did it all on their own, for under $2,000 and I think it looks like one of the most lovely weddings I have seen in a long time. Lots of advice, ideas, etc that are worthwhile.

While the others deserve numerous accolades, I am going to just list a few other of my favorites for now. I am sure I will be mentioning them more in future. Google Reader is my new found procrastination hobby.
Weddingbee- multiple people contribute to this site, lots of good ideas and advice from various perspectives
Earth Friendly Weddings- You get the idea. . .
10,000 Dollar wedding- This blogger makes me giggle, AND gives me good ideas
A Practical Wedding- Practical advice and pretty ideas.

There are a few others that are part of my nasty wedding blog habit, but these are my faves.

The latest in tangential venting

I’m no apprentice of Jungian Dream Analysis, but I like to think as a social worker and reasonably insightful human being that I can interpret the basic gist of my dreams. Lately they have been more frequent, vivid, and disturbing. Perhaps that’s why I am feeling so tired lately. Or perhaps it’s the combination of those dreams with what’s been happening in my waking life.

Things have been stressful in my occupational life and the world of finances. The two things that we have to deal with most often and the two things that most often suck. Fortunately, I have a wonderful home life with a great partner a dog and now cat (who in his first 24 hours in his new home, refuses to come out from hiding). I have a wonderful close network of family and friends to help me feel supported and needed. That’s what I have to keep leaning on lately, to survive those other two whoppers- dealing with the kiddos and dealing with the bills. The bills are what they are. We’ll get through that and we do. I just can’t go out three to four times a week like I used to. Which is for the best, because my brain and liver can’t handle that very well any more either. Plus, being a newly non smoker, I am coming to despise the smell of smoke amidst a crowded bar mostly filled with people searching for what I’ve already got waiting for me at home.

Work, however, is becoming quite the drain. Back to the dreams- last night I had a dream about a little girl I have been working with all school year. She is a fairly disturbed little girl, for lack of a more supportive term. She is perhaps, I think definitely, the most complicated and difficult individual I have ever worked with or encountered. She is 7. This little girl will send chills to your core with her screams when she has been pushed to that point (which takes very litte). Last night I dreamt I was trying to get her to a safe place, but she kept eluding me. I was struggling to find her in a crowded school. Then she was on a street and I couldn’t get her into the car I was in; then the car drove away from her.

I dream about my work multiple times a week. Does it mean I am commited to the job I am doing, or am I on a path to being committed (in an institution)? I work in a public school, but over the past year it has begun to feel more like an intensive residential psychiatric unit. I have a hard time actually seeing kids for therapy, what I am meant to do, because I am constantly putting out fires or babysitting kids that have been kicked out of their class. There are other components to the consistent crises in the environment. We are approaching spring. . . Spring Break, then summer. This is the time when teachers start to stress. To add to their stress, many of them are wondering if they will have a stable job next year. Our school is closing at the end of this year due to ever increasing community changes and budget cuts.

I keep telling myself that I will just make it through the end of the year. That next year will be better. I will be at a new school with air conditioning and no mice crawling on my desk! I already work at that school one day a week and know there are some good teachers there. But, there are the what if changes. What if there is a new principal and I have some of the issues I have had this year or worse? What if the Medicaid changes looming restrict me to just doing therapy and not being able to be in the class with kids, engage and work with teachers, etc. I am not an outpatient therapist. Never have been, never will be. I have learned some skills and lessons in the last two years of my current job and for many reasons I am not ready to leave it any time soon. But perhaps I should consider it for my sanity. Perhaps I should get back to studying the LCSW exam so I can pass and move on to a higher level and/or better job (with better pay) . . . .