Thursday, April 30, 2009

A clarification

And maybe a little bit of an apology . . . I apologize for perhaps not being clear and seeming a little passive aggressive, reactionary and anti-feminist.

I am not anti-feminist. By all accounts I am feminist because I believe in the core values of feminism. I, of course, believe in advocating for equal opportunities for women, just as much as any other category of human beings. I would be a strange social worker to not. I was just trying to vent some of the pressures I feel. I hate to label it as guilt, but after a long discussion with my partner, that is what it appears to be (to others, per his perspective after reading my blog). I do not think I feel guilty, but I do get reactive at times about others who I think are trying to make me feel guilty for the personal choices I make. . . okay, so yes, I feel guilty. Perhaps my last entry was a passive aggressive response to that guilt.

Part of it, specifically when it comes to the question of a name change, is that I struggle myself with the decision. Yes, I know the idea of a woman changing her last name at marriage is ingrained historically in patriarchal views of ownership. The things I have read about the history of changing a woman's surname at marriage is actually quite disturbing- for "protection" of family and wealth and "acknowledgement of God's endorsement in the marriage." Yikes. We live in a fairly egalitarian, non religious household so those do not fit us at all.

For me though, the idea of possibly changing my name is not about the scary patriarchal ownership of a woman and her possessions and children. It clearly isn't about God. It's about joining in a partnership with the person I am going to spend the rest of my life with. I like the idea of sharing the same name as symbol of that partnership, not of ownership. Luke knows in a million years he could never "own" me. I think we need to remember that history is the past, things evolve. Traditions may remain throughout culture and time, but they change and evolve into new meanings. People as individuals attribute their own meanings to traditions, to make it of import to them.

So, I guess, without veering off on another passive aggressive train wreck, I just want to say that I support all feminists. I support all people that promote change and equality for any individual. You know that with my stance on gay marriage, my philosophies as a social worker, and other ways in which I try to live life as an advocate for women, as well as other genders, races, backgrounds. I wholeheartedly believe in the core values of these philosophies and will speak against any one that denies individual rights. I just don't want to be made to feel guilty because I may make a personal decision to do something that has patriarchal roots.

There it is again . . . guilt. Luke was right.

He says I should stop over thinking it. I should just flip a coin. I've got three more months to decide . . .

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reflections on the pressures of how to have a wedding

I am home sick today, so I am taking some of my down time to clean out my starred items in G-Reader. I subscribe to way too many blogs and at times I star things because I want to save them for later (like the beau coup recipes I have loaded on there), don't have time to read them but want to, or I want to reflect and comment on them. Many of these involve thoughts about weddings, the wedding industry, and feminism in regards to weddings/getting married.

I have never identified myself as a feminist, personally or to others. I believe in the essential principals of those who announce themselves as feminists believe, but I have always felt partly by societal views of feminism and partly by how far some women take it, it gets a little too extreme for my taste. I also often feel judged, by friends and strangers alike, because perhaps I am not feminist enough. Or, it is not okay that I am considering taking Luke's last name as my own when we get married. Or, that I am totally cool with our gendered roles in the household. Because, dude, Luke cannot cook.

I was pretty pleased with how I defined what feminism is to me at a recent ladies night one of my gal pals hosted. I said that it shouldn't be about asserting yourself to show you can fill a typical male role just as well as a man, but that you should be comfortable and confident to do what you want and be who you are, whatever that means to you. When feminism begins to make women feel bad because they like their engagement ring, they want to have the same name, and they wouldn't mind so much if it was financially feasible to stay at home and devote attention to the kids, that's when I get irritated and I think the purpose of feminism is defeated.

Aren't we just making life harder on each other by criticizing personal choices? I understand labeling the whole name change thing as patriarchal, but what's wrong with just liking the idea of having the same last name as my partner. Luke has left that decision totally up to me. I think he even would like me to keep my name, just because it's so damn cool, but I am undecided on that one. I actually wish he had an opinion, that might make it a little easier for me. I am trying to convince him we should both take my name- because it is so much cooler- but I think he's worried that would rock the paternal boat a little too much.

Then there is the dress issue. Apparently even a somewhat traditional dress is wrong even if its ivory, not white. I am stoked about my dress. It's not too puffy, it flatters my big ass and suits my quirky style of classic/offbeat/vintage. Plus I will have funky blue shoes if I can find some, does that count? And as for my engagement ring- when we first started talking engagement, I suggested a simple ring with a sapphire. Cheaper, blue (our favorite color) and his birthstone. But he went and surprised me with something a bit more sparkly. How could I refuse that?

I realize I am being a little melodramatic, but being a few months away from getting married and subscribing to perhaps too many blogs (wedding and non wedding related), I feel inundated by opinions that if you are not offbeat enough or non traditional enough, you are not okay. It's actually these feminist and non traditional folks at times that have made me feel more uncomfortable about our wedding decisions than the traditional wedding industry. Because, as Luke would say, "We do what we likes and we likes what we do." We won't include anything just because some one tells us we have to. That's why I have tried to consolidate the blog roll and keep it to writers I appreciate and respect, such as Sara at 2000 Dollar Budget Wedding, Meg at A Practical Wedding, and Ariel at Offbeat Bride, among a few others. That although some may feel things like favors are ridiculous, for others there is a practicality or special meaning and value behind them. As Meg says in this post, "If instead, we strive to create a wedding that reflects who we are and what we value, we will, without trying, create details that will form an indelible impression in our guests minds, details that will be a gift."

I really did not think I would ever meet someone I was compatible with enough to marry and think I could commit to spending the rest of my life with him. I found in Luke a partner who understands, appreciates and supports me better than anyone I have ever known. I am lucky to have the legal opportunity to bind our commitment in marriage. I know that my friends who are homosexual would not want me to abstain from celebrating that opportunity because they can't yet. I definitely have had some moments of getting caught up in the wedding industry. In fact, if I had it to do over again I may have tried to find us a simpler outdoor venue than the one we have. (It's hard being atheists and trying to find a place to have a whole wedding event outside, harder than one might think.)

But, in the end, we will have a wedding outside, we will hopefully have many people that love us there to celebrate with us, the details of our ceremony and reception will speak to who we are, we will have fans that some might consider favors (but, damn it, it will be hot out there!), and you know my side of the family. . . we value a kick ass party. So it should hopefully be a good time had by all.

I think what all pending brides, those who may judge us for being too traditional or not traditional enough need to keep in mind are these mantras:
(from 2000 Dollar Budget Bride)
  1. No matter what happens, we'll still be married in the end.
  2. Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter.
  3. A wedding is about community, connection, commitment, and fun--not ________ [insert any number of trivial and inconsequential items that the Wedding Industrial Complex claims are absolutely essential].
  4. Our relationship/marriage is more important than our wedding.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I am so exhausted. Just let me whine for a minute. . . I am not sure if it is allergies, a cold, the slight sunburn from my volunteering outside yesterday, work burn out, or if I am still recovering from the (too much) fun we had at the Stutz Gallery Open House Friday night, but I am exhausted.

I think I could go to bed right now.

Maybe it's the swine flu. Kidding.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I can empathise with the apathy surrounding a traditional bridal shower. Given we have no bridal party, we also have no expectations about showers, bachelor or bachelorette parties. I have had a few friends ask and I am not quite sure how to respond to any of them. I definitely don't want anything traditional in the way of girls sitting around while I open a bunch of gifts. Boring. I also don't want themed parties that involve home sales such as cooking gear, candles or tupperware. Annoying and boring. I wouldn't mind just having a party to celebrate, but isn't that what are reception will be? Just not sure we need to be in on the whole shower thing. Maybe I'll host a green bottle party this summer. . . I need green bottles for my recycled vase project.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Child actor safety and welfare

It looks like the makers of Slumdog Millonaire were a bit wiser and empathetic, or perhaps just learned from the mistakes of the Kite Runner makers.

Cute table numbers

We've debated about including Nia in the wedding. I think in the end it would be more of a hassle than it is worth. But, I am digging these table numbers. Maybe mix it up a little more, but what a cute way to include her and make some very visible and eclectic table signs.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My social work life

I have had lots of moments in the past few weeks again where I am writing all sorts of commentary in my head about my work life- things I would like to post. Such as the fact that the Medicaid cuts are now affecting hospitalizations of kids seriously at risk and threatening to kill others, the fact that I had to watch a kid with RAD who was really just reacting to her triggers get arrested last week, or the fact that I am working with a mom who was doubling up on medication prescribed to her child (and I wonder if maybe taking some for herself). But I just can't write at length about any of these things. They are weighing me down enough. I am seriously getting burnt out at my lack of progress with so many kids and families.

But, today was different. Today was a day that I was reminded why I do what I do and that eventually, things can improve. That was essentially the same pep talk I got from an older, wiser, more experienced colleague a few weeks ago. A person I respect very much. I think she is aware I am feeling like I have hit a wall. My school is closing. I work with ten year olds being initiated into gangs. I have chronic families whose kids do not improve because their parents cannot make changes for themselves. I have school staff pointing fingers and wondering why my magic wand is not working.

But today I got a little of what my colleague was talking about in her pep talk. It may take time and you may feel like you are repeating yourself, but in time you see a positive change for these children. It can be any combination of things- the parents change how they manage the situation, a bad influence exits the stage, the medication prescribed seems to work in the way it supposed to to manage symptoms, what we say actually resonates with the child. . . that spark is created that motivates real change. The case manager I supervise has provided most of the interventions for a child we work with. I child I see so much intelligence and heart in, but a child who became increasingly frustrating because it felt like nothing reached him. In the past week, he has gotten positive notes at almost every end of the day from his teacher, he is coming to me to talk about concerns he has for his sister (also a client of mine) and her peer difficulties, he is open and seeks support and "breaks" when he feels his trap doors being opened. I am not sure what has sparked or changed. I am afraid to ask him for fear of jinxing it or something. This is the kid I thought was headed for the gang Murder Squad 13. But he is coming into his own as the insightful, thoughtful individual I have always known him to be but feared was slipping away. I like to think the work we have done has finally helped him get here. Mainly, the work my CM at the school has done with him. I hope it lasts.

Little birdies

I was pretty anti-cake topper. We've got a yummy lemon cake planned. And that's all that matters right, the taste. Well, maybe a little bit is presentation. I even labored over the strawberry lemon cake I made just for me and Luke the other day (it turned out lopsided, but I still made sure the strawberry slices looked pretty). I have always hated traditional cake toppers and the ones I had seen were silly cliches of the man and wife, wife dragging groom to be married, all ridiculous. But I thought these guys were pretty cute, so now we'll have a cake topper.

Now I am into the bird thing. Trying to keep it outdoorsy, natural, and DIY as much decor as I can, I am thinking about making birds with all my new clay tools. Maybe place card holders- ceramic birds. . . a 150 of them? That probably won't happen. But I might experiment a little with some simple forms like these:

Mmm, fresh rosemary

I've got a random chicken concoction baking in the oven right now with loads of fresh rosemary. I bought it at the grocery, but the gorgeous smell has me so tempted to get that garden started this weekend. I need to be growing my own fresh herbs and some of the veggies we use so often. They are too expensive in the stores and it would be so wonderful to say it came from our yard. I am thinking I may pick a few plants up at Locally Grown this weekend.

Em, you ready?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The cat

I mentioned the cat when we got her in February. After hiding out in her "sanctuary" for a couple weeks, she came out of seculsion, but only really to socialize with Nia. They are like two little love birds. Well, actually, I think Nermal loves Nia. Nia just puts up with it. Poor Nia. We have been using her to get the cat near us. If Nia is sitting with us, the cat will usually join. Nermal has gradually let us pet her more, but she still remains aloof. I've never had a cat that exerts such stereotypical independence. Nia is still the favored pet, even though she has recently again taken to chewing on unlawful items (such as raw steak and our Farkle game).

Nermal at about 9 weeks

Nia and Nermal recently, cuddling up together

Let the masterpieces be created . . .

My wheel and kiln arrived last night. I'm stoked, but I think Luke is already worried he wasted his money. It took some time to get it all set up and organized and then I attempted to throw for a while. I only have a small hunk of clay and after a few failed attempts it was too wet to do anything with.

It's harder than I remember. I hope to pick up some more clay and spend some time with it this weekend. We've already agreed by the time I successfully make and fire my first pot it has to go on display in the "china" cabinet.

My work area.  And no, the cooler is not filled with beer.  It's got clay in it.  Yay!

National Geographic Picture of the Day

I get the POD on my iGoogle. I love this photograph. So peaceful.

Working from home

I am working from home today to await the cable guy (we're adding another internet outlet so we can watch Hulu on our new TV. YAY!) and get some admin stuff done. Being in the school, people walk into my room without knocking, there is often a kid that needs support and redirection, and with all the interruptions I can rarely get required trainings and chart updates done. Fortunately I can log into our electronic records from home. After our morning run and making breakfast, I was able to immediately get started. I managed to get one training and one treatment plan done before I got distracted and started planning wedding music . . . time to get back on task.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Yes, there is not sufficient services, yet our Medicaid dollars keep getting cut. If the Feds have their way, I may be seeking a new job by summer 2010. One that doesn't involve extreme shifts to Targeted Case Management for individuals with mental illness and significantly limiting MRO.

By these changes, I mean some of the ones I am already seeing other Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) make in their ways of working. Many of the school providers are now implementing a TCM system in which one worker does all the assessment and linkage (to resources/services), one worker does the MRO interventions such as ADLs (activities of daily living), and a third worker does all the clinic (someone like me, who would only do individual, group and family therapy). This means there are three workers for one client. That sounds like a waste of money rather than being fiscally efficient, if you ask me.

On top of the monetary irregularities in this plan, it goes against social work philosophy. Many of the kids I work with are so transient, moving from home to home, they are lucky to stay with one clinician for the duration of treatment (which for me can mean years- these kids and families have chronic needs). Or, in the case of my current school, all my kids will lose me as their therapist after the summer because the school is closing. Now, with these proposed regulations (TCM expected to go in effect possibly after they move beyond the Moratorium and MRO changes that are slated for July 2010) kids will not only be subject to the constant changes in their day to day lives, but will have at least three workers serving their needs. Of course, I am speaking about my kids, in the communities I work in. For some populations and traditional outpatient offices this may work. But for me, this would mean I am not allowed to have a conversation with the teacher about how they are doing, assist them in the classroom or advocate for their needs at an IEP case conference- because I can't bill for it.

I can only take so much more of my job being all about billing. I know it keeps us going, but these are human lives we are talking about. It's about quality of care and appropriate therapeutic services to the individualized need.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter breakfast

Instead of the scones, I got all the ingredients to make this savory cheesecake in the morning. It looks tasty, I hope it turns out well. The MOD ended up spending the day with me running errands, so no easter basket surprises for him. But spending the day together was much better that easter candy and trinket gifts. Usually on Saturdays he is studying and I am cleaning or getting other obligations taken care of that I didn't get done in the week.

My new hobby

The MOD just ordered me this, along with a small kiln.

I think he is hoping I will get into the hobby I have always wanted to, and get off the computer and blog a bit more. He'll probably get his wish.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Breakfast goodies

I am considering making these scones for breakfast Sunday morning. I love 101 Cookbooks. There are lots of great recipes on there. I have a tendency to star anything on my G-Reader that I don't have time to read then and there or that I may want to use later. I think I have starred almost every recipe posted since I subscribed to the feed.

Our Sunday morning routine almost always involves watching CBS Sunday morning and drinking coffee before we get started with errands, chores and studying (for the MOD). Since it is Easter, I am thinking some special breakfast treats are in order as well. I think I made the MOD nervous when talking about what I wanted to do for Easter, but he was appeased when I explained, "If we have an excuse to eat candy and make special foods, why not use it."

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Yoga is supposed to be meditative and relaxing. If I tried to do this stuff with Nia, she'd just jump on me and lick my face.

Check the photo of the chihuahua on the woman's belly. I couldn't load it on here.

Crafts galore

True, but I still want the Encyclopedia of Crafts! Granted, I have yet to get all that crafty. But my DIY candle holders made out of wine bottles may be calling my name this weekend.

The Teen Veg Head

I found this amusing. My first round of vegetarianism started around 15/16 after reading Diet for a New America. I lost a lot of weight. Many were worried I had some sort of eating disorder. Truth is, I just didn't know how to be a good vegetarian. Being a good vegetarian takes work. I didn't have time for that while I was hanging out with my friends at the coffeehouse, drinking as much coffee as possible and trying to be deep.

I think what this research suggests is silly. Kids just need support and education if they want to be a vegetarian, so they do it in a healthy way. Not living on Denny's fries and lunch room bagels everyday.

What lies beneath

I consistently have to remind myself lately to keep an open mind and wait until I hear the full story. I have always believed that you have to hear someone's full story before you can know where they coming from. I don't think you ever "walk in someone's shoes." Each person's journey is individualized not just by what they experience, but how they perceive these experiences. You can do your best to understand and empathize, but never completely feel what that person is feeling or know exactly what they are thinking. But, I have had to remind myself of these beliefs a little more often in the past year because I have had some very difficult children and families come into my working life. Change is not easy in the community I work in, so I have to be careful as the change agent to not get too burnt out or jaded.

I was reminded and reflecting on these beliefs a lot this afternoon. I did an assessment on a new client. He is a kindergartner, cute as can be. I have interacted with him a little already because I already work with a few other kids in his class. One of my first interactions, I was helping the teacher manage him and the class while we had a speaker visiting the entire student body. His adorable big eyes immediately had me, but then I became quickly annoyed by the thumb sucking. I don't know why it bothers me so much, but I am determined to break that habit. If you are in school, you shouldn't be sucking your thumb. Of course, I also realized not knowing the child well this could be some regression for whatever may have occurred in his life. He was also very clingy to me at our first meeting, which was another big red flag for his needs.

This child is the same child I was concerned about in an earlier post relating to my frustrations with CPS. Before I met mom, I felt prepared to be a little more confrontational than usual, try to get the bottom of the child's injuries a few weeks ago. Then mom came in and started talking. She shared with me in detail some of her own history and emotional neglect as a child, due to her mother's alcoholism, her experiences with the child's father of domestic violence and the child's abuse by the father. She shared her goals and it was clear she was working hard, by going to school, working and raising her only child, to create a better life for her child. She seemed so open and honest, I didn't even go there with the questions about the injuries. At that point I think it would have come across as an attack and I could have lost the rapport I seemed to have quickly developed with her. I liked her. Maybe I had the wool pulled over my eyes, but I believe in my insight. I've always been good at reading people and have gotten better through the years as a social worker. I believe this woman does the best she can with the cards she's been dealt.

Here's hoping I am right.

I think I can, I think I can

I have been trying to become a runner for about 6-7 months now. At first, I was doing what I like to call wogging. I would take Nia (our dog) with me and would speed walk, with a bit of jogging thrown in. Once the MOD heard I was trying to jog, he joined me and has been trying to turn me into a runner ever since. In the bitter 27below winter period, we moved inside to the treadmills at the gym. I did well and was running half hour stints, approximately 3 miles.

Then we went back outside. I hit a wall. My legs killed and I could barely run ten minutes. I am hearing from my long time running fans that this can happen when you run on a treadmill for too long. Happy to have that consolation. But, I was worried I couldn't make it over the hump again. Then I found the Couch to 5K Plan. I giggle every time I say what it is called, probably out of slight insecurity and embarrassment. It's help me rebuild my base and I am feeling stronger than I have before. This week I ran 23minutes, 40 seconds Tuesday and 21minutes today. It's not 30, but it's a few more minutes than I was able to run last week and before that I was running in intervals with periods of walking.

I was a little wimpy today- I think the bug floating around the school among all my kiddos is trying to get me. But, I still did 21 minutes, that's better than none. I just have to get past these insecurities that continue to weigh me down and I'll be at my goal. The little ghosts of middle school past haunt me at times when I am trying to be athletic. Fortunately, the MOD is supportive and patient. Lately, when I try to "get in the zone" and basically shut out the discomfort, I've been trying to think on this classic image:
This is a pretty good image to keep in mind for most things in life, really.

For the love of tofu

So, it's ok to have vanity plates proclaiming your stand against abortion, but it is not okay to announce your love of tofu. Right, that makes sense.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

G-Reader and Benadryl don't mix

I didn't have any time for a GMail and G-Reader break today, so I came home to 455 things on my reader. Due to our ongoing poison ivy in this household, I have also taken three benadryl to help me sleep. On top of that the MOD is done studying and ready to hang out. Not a good mix. So much to read, so little time.

Crafty madness

I tried to do something "eastery" with the girls in my girls' group this week. The plan was to make easter baskets, but make them with yarn. We made a glue mixture that we soaked the yarn in and then wrapped around a balloon to form the basket. I figured it would be a good exercise in coping skills, but that in the end we would have awesome little baskets that I would fill with treats once they were dry. They were supposed to look like this:

They are still on their balloons and drying in my classroom at the moment, but I have a feeling they won't look quite that nice. I remembered doing this before and it seemed much easier. I have my arty girl who is very talented but by being so, made this task a little to complicated. She tried to braid the yarn first, and then wrap the braided yarn around the balloon. It didn't stick too well. My one lovely gal who came in after being sick the day before and all morning, gave up quickly. I let get away with it today, she was sick after all. I must have said, "Make sure you you wrap it around the bottom," and "Remember, this is supposed to be a basket, you need a bottom so I can put treats in it for you tomorrow," five or ten times. In fact, I even let them know at one point I had said that five or ten times. Active listening skills, girls, active listening.

We'll see how they turned out in the morning. I've acquired premade back-up easter baskets, just in case.

More venting on CPS

Since when did it become okay to go with what a suspicious parent says over a child's consistent explanations of incidence that put them at risk? I know some kids may say or do things that make their parents suspect, without realizing the repercussions. But, what if the child does know? What if the child tells me that he had access and took a gun from his home? What if three other children confirm seeing this gun and another parent confirms that their children were questioned about this gun? Do you think that would warrant further investigation by CPS?

You'd like to think so, but no.

National Organization for Marriage and other ridiculousness

These folks are truly sad.

I had to stop at the store on my way back to school today from a meeting. I needed yarn for my girls' group. I ended up sitting in the parking lot in front of the store for thirty minutes listening to Diane Rehm Show. The panelist discussion was on Iowa and Vermont's recent passing of human civil rights for all couples to marry. As usual, the intelligent people who were able to cite history and empirical research that supports all families, not just families fostered by heterosexual couples I was cheering along with, while the individual (it sounded like there was only one) who was against passing legislation that ensures these basic rights kept going on about the "debate" and "people think." Who are these people? That small group of evangelicals in that stupid commercial and scattered lightly about the country? These are the people who should make decisions about every one's civil rights?

Again, the discussion boiled down to semantics. One panelist noted that when people are polled about civil rights and civil unions, most of the population tends to support it. But, when you throw in the word marriage, people freak out. Get over yourselves. Beyond being your "sacrament," historically marriage has also been a secular event. It is not for Christians or other significant religions to say what marriage should be.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

YAY! Let's keep rolling 'em out

Here's to yet another state giving individuals their much owed civil rights!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Paternity and Maternity leave

Regardless of the gendered pitfalls, which are in process of improvement, I am still impressed with the leave time given to families for new children or other family needs. One of the many benefits I observed while living in the UK.

Simple but thoughtful

This bothers me a little that it comes from Tiffany& Co, because it means they are probably using to get someone to buy someone else some bling. But I love the sentiment, regardless. (Found among a blog search on All Stripes.)

We should understand this by now

Wow, drinking water could help maintain weight or reduce weight gain for youth? What a shocker! How long will it take for educational providers to understand what seems to me should be common sense? "Maybe if we get rid of the vending machines and encourage drinking water from (clean) water fountains, these kids will be healthier. . . "

Clean is the key. I fill my water bottle from the bathroom sinks at my school. I shudder to think about what's been put in or spit on to our water fountains.

I'm so tired of quantifying education

Good Luck. How about we start looking at fostering positive communities and healthy families that will encourage learning and the importance of education? How about Dr. White takes another look at the raises provided to general admin staff while closing six schools, consolidating classrooms to larger sizes and laying off young and energetic teachers? Just a few of many things that need to be resolved if you want your quantified statistics raised. Which doesn't really mean that these children are receiving a well rounded education that will foster future success, it just means that they've learned how to recite what is expected to be on the ISTEP.

Let's here it for Iowa!

At brunch this morning, we were all discussing if it would nice to move to Iowa, or just how transferable the marriages would be of those I love who are not allowed to marry in many other states. I don't think any of us are moving any time soon- it was just the fruity half priced champagne cocktails talking- but I am glad to see another step in the right direction within this country. Especially after the Prop 8 mess.

Home AND Community makeovers

Extreme Home Makeover came to our town this past week. They came very close to home. A family in the Martindale-Brightwood community on the near North East side. Not too far from the school I currently work at one day a week and plan to be at full time next year. I am so pleased because not only did they give the family a new house, but they also provided beautification to the neighborhood by paving alleys (believe me, they are bad) and planting trees, as well as providing wireless internet to many in the circumference area of the chosen family's home.

I also read that they are planning to use School 37's building, a school that has closed and a school that we used to provide services at, as a facility to develop a community center. This is my dream. Working in these neighborhoods, I see the history and can envision how these areas used to be thriving communities. But, over the years, the homes have become dilapidated, often abandoned, and there has been an increasing level of crime and violence among the streets and homes. Shops and services have begun to abandon these areas because there is a decreasing economic stability for most businesses. The kids in these neighborhoods need a safe place they can go to have fun and feel supported. The parents need services to assist them with basic needs, educational and job linkage. I hope that this community center comes through and provides these needs to families.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A hunt for Easter ideas

The MOD, Nia and Nermal (the pets) are all getting Easter baskets next Sunday. We may not believe in the christian beliefs that initiate a holiday such as Easter, but I definitely believe in painting eggs, eating chocolate and having a bit of a reason to make a big Sunday dinner. My family wasn't the church going kind. I didn't even know what easter was supposed to be about, I think until my teens. But, I always looked forward to the big dinners, hiding and hunting for eggs, and my mom's awesome easter baskets she made each year. I am so spoiled. I was still getting baskets in my early 20s.

The pets are easy. Treats, little toys, maybe a new scratch pad for Nermal. The MOD on the other hand was difficult at first to come up with some creative ideas. I did some google searching and this is the kind of crap I found:

Really, the extreme stereotyped and gendered gift ideas out there for men irritate me maybe even more than some of the women's. The MOD, albeit this is a biased account, is too dynamic for such generalized interest gifts and "manly" stuff. After spending too much time searching, I've managed to come up with some of my own ideas based on the facts that he is an academic, a thinker, a runner, a gamer, a lover of laughter, a man with a beard, and an aspiring landscaping and home improvement guru. I'm thinking he'll be pleased.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The MOD has a new game

Yes, he still only has a Nintendo 64. Yes, he is dying for a play station. I've even added it to our registry, but more so as a joke. We don't expect anyone to get it for us/him. I don't expect any gifts, really. Just a good time. . .

But anyways, he has a new Zelda game. Majora's mask, or something. I love it because it gives me time to catch up on my G-Reader. I am getting a little blog crazy. Not just wedding blogs, mind you, but an ever increasing number of news, opinion blogs, as well as lots of great blogs with crafty and great home and food ideas. I just wish I had the time to experiment more with all the creative ideas I am finding!

And this is wedding related, but I found a great program/CD idea from It's Heavenly via Elizabeth Anne Designs. I hate hearts used as decor, especially related to weddings (way to predictable, girly and cutesy for me). But otherwise I love the layout and the holder contraption for this. I think the MOD vetoed CDs (favors in general, really), but I may try to talk him into it.

First song

I like this tradition for weddings. It is one we are keeping (we are nixing many others). We had a song that I like to consider "our song" very early on. It was a bit of a pop song, but not well known at the time. Well, now, it is so well known it was nominated for a Grammy and we heard it used in a commercial a couple nights ago. The MOD put the final veto on it when we saw that commercial. But now, what is a good first song? I am working on a list for him to peruse and see what he likes. Our tastes do not always match when it comes to music.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April Fools

I'm no good at it. I tried to convince my mom we were canceling the wedding and tried to convince the MOD I am done with running. I think I scared the MOD for a split second, but neither of them fell for my stories. I am a terrible lier. I consider that a strength.