Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I showed some of these to my florist for our wedding:

This was the early vision:

That has now evolved to this:

And this was what he came up with on the proposal for my bouquet:

"Elegant hand tied bouquet of antique hydrangea, agapanthus bloom, green cymbidium orchid, Kermit mums embellished with grape vine wrapped stems."

Oooh, I'm more excited about flowers more than I thought I would be!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Masters Degrees. What are they good for?

I finished camp with the kiddos slightly earlier than planned today so had ample time to get out this afternoon and apply for some part time jobs. You would think a person with a masters degree, a clinical license and a stable job would not need a second job. But I am a social worker. And my mortgage went up about $300 a month, recently. And I am still paying off credit debt and loans from my schooling and England days. Definitely could use a second job.

I only made one personal, possibly viable connection with a restaurant manager. The rest seemed utterly pointless. I don't think I'm going to have much luck. My increasing apathy about it isn't helping. I didn't even get a call back at the doggie day care place. Masters Degree- maybe it's my downfall in the retail/restaurant/dog spa world. I am by no means tooting my horn or trying to be pretentious, but I am getting the "overqualified" vibe.

Maybe the MOD is right. Maybe I should apply to places and minimize the educational/professional background. Me and dishonesty just don't fit together, even if it's reasonably harmless and for the good of our household income.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Bliss

Now that my test taking days are over for some time, I love having Sundays back to do as I wish. Mainly: waking up leisurely at 8ish instead of 5 or 6; laying in bed drinking coffee and watching Sunday Morning with the MOD and the children, I mean, pets; going to yoga and stretching out my sore legs and back from the afternoon of Saturday gardening and Friday's most successful run yet; getting the house cleaned up and actually folding the laundry instead of leaving it in baskets; getting and feeling prepared for Spring Break camp with the kiddos this week; and fawning over our new plants, hoping the frost tonight does not kill them.

That's a good Sunday. Oh yeah, and I did my taxes. Just glad to get that over with (with the help of a secret smart friend).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wheat Grass

I believe both my mother and the MOD rolled their eyes when I suggested incorporating wheat grass into our wedding flair. I don't care what they think. There's a simple beauty to wheat grass. I might start growing some at home, I just need to keep it away from the cat. (photo via Cup and Table)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The notion of promoting peace

Let's hear it for social workers in Congress! If you support peaceful interventions and mediation to resolve conflict, be sure to let your congress representative know.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Child Protective Services?

I am reluctant to detail my frustration today for confidentiality purposes. But let me just ask, what happened to the incentive planning to have more DCS workers (Department of Children's Services, child protection workers) get their MSW? To at least have a Bachelors in social sciences perhaps. To actually care about the welfare of children and ensure that what is ethically sound and legally required is done to protect children at significant risk.

Just another day, another dollar? I don't think so. We may not be doctors holding beating hearts in our hands, but any of us that work in the social services realm have a duty to protect the people we serve and to assist and empower them to the best of our ability. That is why I need therapy myself (sort of) right now. Because I care. If you don't care and you don't need therapy to cope with the horrific things people go through, if you do not ensure their safety when they are at real risk of being dangerously injured or killed, LEAVE THE JOB.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This makes me miss my home across the pond

There's not so much of an excuse to buy a cute pair of Wellies here.

Why can't I be cool?

I have an unusual (or is it) fascination and enamored feeling for any beautiful girl with a sense of class but also a sense of individuality (often involving some sort of tattoo and/or piercings). What does that say about me? Maybe I am a little self conscious about being down to earth and "normal" or "average," despite how much I appreciate those qualities within myself.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Visiting relatives


Love it when they come to visit.

Love the fun while visiting.

Love when they leave.

Love our space. Love getting our bed back and getting off the air mattress on the floor.

Loan forgiveness? . . . Yeah, right

This stimulus package had me and the MOD so excited. Maybe there is some help for us? A veteran who still has to take out loans to pay school tuition, despite the GI bill and a social worker with a masters degree and a license looking for a second job to pay the mortgage. Of course there is help for us! Wait. . . no. While perusing the NASW website- thinking I actually need to become a member now that I am licensed- I found that there is loan forgiveness for social workers in linkage to the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007.

So, I call the number provided. The feds. The first man I spoke to was immediately rude (and I know how to kill them with kindness on the phone- I was raised by a telemarketer). He wouldn't assist me to at least point me in the right direction. He was not interested in any way to hear that the National Association of Social Workers gave me that number to make an inquiry. He actually hung up on me. I called back. I expressed my distaste for how I was treated; and my confusion. The second person (a female, but perhaps that wasn't the differing factor), was very helpful but ultimately pointed me toward my loan holder.

I contacted Sallie Mae and spoke to a lovely woman, but who was hard to understand. I believe she may have been somewhere distant due to the connection and time delay. Can you say outsourcing? Apparently, being a hard working, low paid social worker doesn't qualify me for any sort of loan forgiveness at this time. I either need to become a teacher and do that for five years or become severely disabled. I am not interested in either. NASW got my hopes up.

I also looked into home loan programs. I don't really qualify for that either and there are no interesting details to that story. I hate being the middle man. Middle class gets the shaft.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A few brief thoughts

I haven't posted much, but as per my usual have been "writing" in my head. Since passing my exam, I have been trying to get caught up with the other things that were neglected for the start of the year- the house upkeep and improvements, getting ready for both sets of parents and my grandmother arriving, trying to visit a few friends I missed while attempting to hide in my AATBS books. I am also looking at trying to acquire a part time job, but I am not too optimistic there will be many options.

I do intend to utilize and post on the blog again regularly, but just give me another week or so, k? I am a little overwhelmed by all my feeds in google reader, so many questionable and/or thought provoking things happening in politics and culture, I just don't even know where to begin at this point. I started "starring" things on my reader that I thought needed more attention or personal interest tid bits, but now that is even becoming overwhelming.

So for now, let me say. . . Congratulations to another lovely family this month bringing another lovely child in the world. This time one of my favorite people locally who is often thought of as the sister I never had (among my extended family as well). I can't wait to meet your fella!

Stay tuned for future thoughts on my confusions about feminism, anger about recent policies and politics, vents about my crazy job and wedding and relationship follies. . . .

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Feeling a little unsure these days

I think my need for change so quickly is starting to come to a halt. I am starting to feel like it is all just happening to fast. We just started this relationship less than two months ago. I am talking about my relationship with our new president, of course.

I have been in reasonably strong support of a lot of the significant changes and proposals thus far, but I am not so sure how I feel about his proposals for educational change today. Increasing charter schools by reducing the limits on these school and their quantity? Paying teachers for their "excellence?" What about No Child Left Behind? When do we address the mess that has made of our educational system? And who decides a teacher's excellence? Irrational test scores? A biased principal?

I have not had time to do extensive research on where he is going with these things and why he thinks they are good ideas, I will do that after I eat a bunch of (hopefully) awesome food tonight. So, please, do comment on here to me about any aspect of history or facts to make these proposals okay. I am merely at this point sharing an opinion, an initial reaction, not stating fact.

I work in schools. Everyday. Right now I work in a school that is about to be closed because many kids have moved to the charter schools in the surrounding communities. This is not the only reason, and I am aware of that. In general, the community that I serve is changing. It has becoming increasingly poor, unsupported by external resources and violent. Families are also moving to townships and out of the "inner city" because the economic spread of the city is sprawling. But, my problem with charter schools is not that families are leaving for those schools, it is that from what I have learned and observed, if a child does one small thing wrong they are out. Without any real support or intervention. Some may want this for particular types of children and families, but as a social worker and as a human being who believes all children deserve education and whatever support they need to get it, I have a real problem with this. Aren't these kids being kicked out the kids that really need us?

I am however, obviously, in strong support of Obama's advocacy for early education programming. It is clear from research and from first hand experience that early intervention and prevention is key in most if not all aspects of life to reduce risks and increase success and resilience. This I can stand behind, but I am very concerned that the teachers and educational administrators who work with our children day in and day out are not being heard. I am very concerned that if we continue to focus on blaming educational systems completely and not also looking at and building better communities around these schools, we will continue to fail children regardless of how many charter schools you open.

No cooking for me tonight

We get to sample food tonight at our wedding venue to decide what we'd like to serve (and hopefully actually eat) at our wedding reception.  I don't really care too much what we serve- as longs as there is something for the veg heads and some other thing for the omnivores.  But, I plan to take full advantage of this free food opportunity this evening!

Saturday, March 07, 2009


I had a conversation with the MOD during our lunch celebration yesterday about religion, and how it is a societal control that is unlikely to change much or go away any time soon. I expressed my anger about the word marriage. He confirmed, being from a background that he is more knowledgeable on these topics, that marriage is considered a sacrament of the catholic church. He agreed with my point of questioning, if it is all about the semantics and the history behind that word, does that mean we can't get "married?"

So, I am thinking of proposing to my friend who is doing our wedding invitations that we change the wording to something like this:
The QOE's parents
Invite you to participate in the celebration
of the legal recognition of the commitment
between their daughter

Does this sound too dry and too much like a business merger? I want it to reflect the joy of the day, but if the word marriage keeps others from being legally united, I want no part of that word. Besides, we are already committed to each other- I've already got a ring on my finger and I'm getting a temporary one for the MOD today. This is just the celebration of that already standing commitment and making it legal so the MOD can get health benefits. Well, and other lovely reasons, too.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Now on to the next task(s)

I took my ASWB clinical licensure exam this morning. I passed. Whew (huge sigh of relief and big grin).

As soon as I saw the screen pop up- You Passed - and experienced my initial elation and sharing of the good news with the MOD, parents and my bro, it started to feel . . . I don't know. . . . surreal? Anticlimactic? None of these are the right words. I can't describe it. A loss? A grieving process at the now absence of anxiety and pressure to spend all my free time studying?

Don't get me wrong, I am stoked. I do have a list hanging up at my desk with all/some of the things I want to start doing once I had passed the exam (and I passed it on the first try, biznatches [sorry- had to be done]). First off, I am already signed up with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful to help out with some planting of trees, community beautification and such and have a meeting with the group next week. I also have my eye on a second job at a doggie day care. Wouldn't that be a fun way to help save money for the wedding and pay off credit card bills?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Another bundle of joy enters the world

Just a little congratulations to my very dear friend who had her second child today. Her and her hubby now have the lovely balance of a little gal and new baby boy. She is one of the most lovely, fun people I know. A recent quote in one of our last phone conversations (to her daughter), "Hands are hugging, not for hitting." How can you not love a gal like that? Congrats to the whole family!

Now we'll definitely need a crafty/kid table at the wedding. We need some fun stuff for all these kiddos (and all the crafty adults).

Aw, I miss facebook and all it's useless antics

I need to use my coping skills and punch a pillow (like I would tell my kids to)

You are F***ing idiot, that's what you are. Sorry, I just can't believe people like this actually become social workers. They are speaking against our values, our Code of Ethics. The MOD is Atheist and I am pretty damn close. Does that mean we cannot marry because the "word" marriage is "originally defined in religious belief systems?" Is that even true? Grrrrr! You are a f***ing homophobe, bitch. Sorry. . . It just makes me so angry I want to scream. Do these idiots not see they are just as bad as those who protested racial civil rights mid twentieth century? And don't even get me started on the idiotic comparison to beastiality.

Taken from Help Starts Here Social Worker Blog:

"I’m a Christian, a Republican and a Social Worker. I also have a number of friends who happen to be in lesbian or gay relationships. I love them all. We’ve had discussions about same-sex marriage and the rights deserved by all people. If civil unions can lead to next-of-kin status for life partners–great! However, “marriage” is a term originally defined in religious belief systems and, while this language is included in modern day law, should not apply to any other than 1 man-1 woman relationships.

Additionally, changing the definition of “marriage” to go beyond 1 man-1 woman, will open doors to legalize polygamy and beastiality–both proven to emotionally, spiritually and sexually harm vulnerable persons (and animals).

In short, opposition to same-sex marriage does not make me a homophobe, but an advocate for a variety of lifestyles and vulnerable persons."

Before I hit the books

I had promised myself to avoid blog and other procrastinatory activities until after the test tomorrow, but I would just like to quickly make note and ask that we all remain aware today as the California Supreme Court hears arguments regarding Prop 8 .

I am not going to go into a huge diatribe. I just want to point out that marriage, civil unions, whatever you want to call them (it's all semantics), is about civil rights. Not privilege. This is not about any one's religion. This is about rights. This is about human beings being able to live their lives, loving each other happily and legally binding that love, as any human being has the right to do. See previous post on happiness.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The secret to happiness is . . .

Like we didn't already know what makes people happy. I am a little surprised this article reveals what the happiest people do to keep themselves that way like it is a new revelation. I suppose it's the ongoing movement in strengths-based practice to now research the good stuff instead of all the depressing and crazy stuff.

Work hard, play hard. Surround yourself with the people that love and respect you. Love yourself and don't give a hoot how others judge you (that one's always easier said than done, eh?). Laugh a lot. Be silly sometimes.

It is okay for us to be a little goofy at times and not intellectualize everything in the world around us. That shit's just stressful.

Wish me luck!

I am taking my LCSW exam Friday. I've studied a lot and studied hard, but at times I am not sure it was hard enough. My kiddos at school have been in one crisis mode after another, making it difficult to motivate myself once I get home to study about the meaning behind their temper tantrums. I've got a great partner though who, come to find out, is also an awesome cheerleader. As well as very supportive friends and colleagues. Hopefully by Friday afternoon the MOD and I will be celebrating and I won't feel so guilty about my blogging time (reading and writing). I am ready to have the LCSW piece of paper to validate what I already know and do . . .

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Highlight of the weekend

Being convinced by the MOD to go to Fresh Market for cake in my polar bear fleece pajama pants and knitted slipper socks after studying DSM diagnoses all weekend. Of course, he had to tease me that I was initially somewhat hiding behind him in embarrassment of the polar bears.

A little note about acronyms

I have been making some attempts to make this slightly more anonymous. I am not too worried about it, because it is mostly viewed by people that already know me. Plus, as the MOD pointed out this morning, currently it is pretty easily located via a couple clicks of a Google search. But in order to move toward anonymity, I will be using acronyms to refer to myself and the male of the house (because he is the only male in the house).

So, just for a little clarification, my partner, my fella, the dude I'm marrying, or other terms I may use will be frequently referred to as the MOD. This acronym stands for Master of the Domain, but don't let it fool you into thinking I allow him to dominate the household or we have fallen into heavy gendered roles (although we kind of do, just naturally, and I am ok with that). We are very egalitarian household, which is why I am known as the QOE- Queen of Everything. To know us, is to know the satire behind these nicknames.

You may also see references to NIA, which would be Nia our dog. This is her actually name and we are working on refining a proper acronym to meet these letters. Any suggestions? Right now we have Nearly Intelligent Animal, but I think she deserves something a little more strengths based. Also, Nermal, our cat is sometimes referred to as the POW, Pile of Worthlessness. Not because we are not fond of her, but because she continues to do her own thing since we brought her home three weeks ago and we selfishly would like more attention and cuddliness from her.

There you have it. . . in case you were wondering.