Saturday, February 28, 2015

feeling well

I am finally feeling well enough to work in the kitchen so I am making Kalamata olive bread.

Retail Therapy

I got both my huge tax refund and my paycheck a couple days apart.  I did great with bills!  I also did a shopping trip.  I went to the Verizon store and asked for a new phone.  My iphone 4S had absolutely nothing on it- no aps, no pics, no music- and was still telling me that storage was full.  It would not let me take pics or download aps or songs.
The Verizon salesman said that I was eligible for an Android.  It's a complicated switch! I also was eligible for a free tablet.  Actually the tablet adds $10 a month to my bill, and I was like, "That's not free" but it's still a good deal.
I also got a new day planner that is not dated.
I got two pairs of new shoes.
I went to my favorite thrift store Value Village and got an awesome pinstripe suit and multi colored toe socks for my daughter.
I also replaced a part on my car.
I go back to work Monday.  I am a little nervous, but ready to take it on.
Oh and I like this song.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

pediatrician appointment

I often hear parents talk with pride about how their child has never been to a doctor.  They see that as a personal accomplishment whereas I don't know what I'd do without Annalise's pediatrician.  I met him when I was pregnant and working at the children's museum.  He was volunteering there and we struck up a conversation.  I was uninsured and this was before Obamacare so I was looking at at least a few well baby checks out of pocket.  Some more experienced moms told me well baby checks were $1000.  When I mentioned that to him he was startled.  "Who do these doctors work for?"  He asked.  He assured me how little the visits cost and I jumped on him (not literally) and thought I have to have him as my baby's doctor- I'll save thousands!  (I'm being sarcastic.  Well baby checks don't cost $1000.  Moms like to play with first time moms' heads.  But I still believed he was THE ONLY ONE that was so cheap.)
Ever since then and Annalise's birth he's been there.  Even now- Anna has a bad cough with wheezing and he gave her something for it.  I am so glad.  My robitussin wasn't doing it.  This worked after the first time.  I couldn't have gotten this stuff on my own. 
Annalise also got a flu shot.  She was so brave!  With the recent outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases in children I'm not letting her go without any shot. 

My babyz is sick

The nurse called yesterday for me to come and get Annalise because she threw up and was coughing a lot.  Her cough was not bad the day before but now she has to see the pediatrician because she is wheezing.  Nonetheless she is still in good spirits.  She knows she gets more screen time when she's sick.  I keep asking her "How did your teacher run up to you when you were throwing up?"  She imitates this crazy running with arms in the air.  It's hilarious.  Anna's appointment is at 2:30 today.  She is wearing her favorite sweatpants and t shirt.  So much better than school clothes. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Yesterday I was Clever

I'm not sure who Rumi was- all I know is that he was some kind of religious figure.  But  this quote by him reminds me of myself.  "Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world".  When I was younger I was very much an idealist with rose colored glasses.  "Today I am wise so I am changing myself."  Now I am 36 years old and a mom with a job in child protective services.  I've lost a lot of my idealism.  I have not lost all of it.  Maybe the part that I did lose was just part of the maturing process. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Back to Work Monday

I went into the office to submit the paperwork to go back to work after medical leave.  My boss was happy to see me!  From checking my email and voicemail it also seems like no one has been working on my cases!  I got caught up quickly on emails and voicemails and went home feeling relieved.  I have accomplished a lot of goals.  I finished school and have now been working as a CPS caseworker for some 7 or 8 months.  I think I "got" this child welfare career thing down.  You think? 

I also went to the doctor.  He gave me 7 Ativan pills for panic attacks and told me to come back in two weeks.  The good thing is that I don't even have to tell my job about my appointment on March 10th.  It's during lunch hour and I can sneak in between visits. 

Monday, February 23, 2015


Thought I would update my blog on how things are.  My sleeping patterns are all whack.  I sleep only a little at night and mostly when Annalise is at school.  I had a counseling appointment with my old therapist Hannah.  I have another appointment on Thursday with her.  I also have a follow up appointment tomorrow with the doc I saw in the hospital. 
I got my neighbor to agree to be a back up babysitter for me if I have to ever work late and my parents and ex are unavailable. 
I've lost my apatite. 
It's really cold outside!  Come on!  It's almost March. 
I perked up when I did my taxes.  I am getting over $5K back. 
I went back to my apartment yesterday. 
Hannah and I talked about being a perfectionist this morning.  We talked about black and white thinking.  Then after I picked up Annalise she broke my phone charger and started crying profusely.  I had to really tell her it was no big deal and that we'd buy another one.  I hope she is not a perfectionist too. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Food Not Lawns

In my list of top 10 books that have changed my life is Food Not Lawns.  It was written by my facebook friend Heather Flores who also blogs.  Food Not Lawns was not just about gardening but about how to change the world as just one single person.  It teaches about permaculture, better farming practices for a brighter future.  One of the most useful lessons I learned from this book was how to make a seed ball.  You basically take 5 parts of clay, 3 parts of compost, and one part of seed mixture.  Wet it until it becomes like dough and roll it into a ball.  Bury it and get miraculous results.  In the past, I've gotten squash, peas, beans, sunflowers, herbs, radishes, and even a pumpkin from a seed ball.  Here are some pictures from gardens in the past of the results of seed balls.
Food Not Lawns has a way of making you think of how much wasted space there is in the world, even on farms.  I have done many road trips, mostly through either corn, cows, or nothing.  This was even before I read my friend Heather's book.  I used to get angry that there weren't more resources being produced with what we've been given.  This book not only gets you convicted about it, but gives you tools on little ways to change it.  
It also gets you thinking about how much you spend on something that gives you nothing in return: Your lawn.  When I go for walks in my parents' sub division, I notice the lawns.  I think food gardens would be cheaper and more helpful.  We can never underestimate what we can do with what we have.  Here are some more past garden pictures.  

Second Story Submitted

I just submitted a second story for Chicken Soup for the Soul!  The word limit is only 1200, so this is easy.  It's a story about when I was volunteering at the children's hospital three days or so before Christmas and took a group caroling around the hospital.  We sang "Away in a Manger" to a boy who had just passed.

Dad writes about segregation

My dad asked me to clean up the computer files, delete "crap", and put all pictures of Annalise on a removable drive.  While going through documents, I found something my dad wrote about experiencing prejudice in the 1960's.  I'm going to copy paste it here.  If my dad says anything politically incorrect, please know it's unintentional as my dad is 72 years old.

Copy paste:

1962 -1963
This is not a story about humor in uniform. Although some of you may think it's funny, I don't. These are true stories of the experiences I had with southern prejudice in the south, before the civil rights bill was passed. Being from Chicago, I never experienced events like this. I just got out of boot camp and was ordered to Millington Tn, for training

June 1961: I arrived in Memphis Tenn via Greyhound bus. There was a young black woman sitting on the other side of me with her little girl next to her. Sitting next to me was her little boy. He was sleeping so I covered him with my Navy Pea-coat. When we arrived in Memphis, she had a hard time getting her kids off the bus. I told her I would carry the boy so she could manage with the little girl. As we got off the bus, Some red neck son of a bitch spit on me and called me a Nigra lover. I can still remember her words. " You betta let me have him befo sumpn happens". By the time I turned around to find the mother fucker that spit on me, he vanished.

On my first liberty . I went to Memphis with a few buddies of mine. One of my buddies was black although you could hardly tell. We saw white and black bathrooms. (we used the black ones). We rode in the back of the bus. I guess we were just looking for a fight. However, when we went into a restaurant. Our black buddy did not come in. I said " where's John"? " he's outside'. the other sailors said. I went outside and told John to come on in. He said that he could not go in there, He wasn't allowed. I went back in and some other red necked son of a bitch was sitting with my buddies. I said" what the fuck are you doing sitting here when my black buddy has to wait outside"? He got up and ran out. We got out of that restaurant and never came back.

I took a 15 day leave and went to Chicago. This time I took the train. The Illinois Central went right through Millington. While I was waiting for the train a black engineer was waiting for it too. I guess he was the shift change for the train engineer. Of course there were two red neck son of a bitches sitting on a wood box making fun of this engineer. Don't even ask me what they were saying to the poor guy. I walked up slowly to the engineer and asked him if he was all right. He nodded yes. Then as I walked slowly toward the red necked sons of bitches, They took off running. The train came and we got on. I got on the passenger car and the engineer got on the front. It's a good thing I was nice to the black guy. The entire car was all black passengers. But they could really party. They were playing a banjo. cribbage drinking and dancing. However, everything stopped when I came in the passenger car. I then saw the conductor at the front end of the car point to me and whisper something to another passenger. By the time the rumor got to me, the party started. I was handed a bottle and took a sip. I fell asleep and woke up in Champagne, Il.

I don't know if the red neck son of a bitches were running away or running to get more of there red neck buddies. According to the Civil War, probably the latter.


Savanna TN. 1962:  Because I was in the Drum and Bugle Corp in boot camp, I joined the Navy Memphis Marching Band when I got to Millington.  This was a volunteer band with 100 marching players and a crack drill team.  We were invited to march in the Savannah Tennesee  Beauty contest , Catfish Derby and parade.  I played the bass drum.  But , we had a black trombonist in the front rank.  The crowd was yelling obscenities,  One of which was " you ain't marching in our parade with that nigra". None of us moved as we were at attention.  Rocks were thrown at the band.  One hit the bass drum.  We had a tough first class in charge of the band who yelled out two numbers.  We opened with Dixie, Marched through the parade and closed with Anchors Awiegh.   We got on the bus and headed back to the base..
What would make these people act like this just because of the color of a mans skin?  Why didn't they throw rocks at a band that was playing Dixie?  Did these people change overnight just because the Government passed he Civil Rights Bill?  I doubt it.

Small town in Missippi

New Orleans.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Guess what I just did!

I submitted a short story to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.  They are coming back, and my writer's group announced the job.  One lady in the comments said she got published.  They pay $200 and you also get 15 books.  Even if  I don't get selected, I am glad I did this.  

Waking early

First of all click here for a beautiful song and video that I like.  Secondly- I was up at 3:30 this morning.  I am staying with my parents right now because I just got out of the hospital.  My mom knew I got up and is worried that something is wrong with me again.  The truth is that sometimes I do that.  I wake up super early.  It's a way to get things done for me.  It just happens once in a while and not a lot.  I went to bed at 8 with Annalise so I am fine. 
Thirdly- my dad and I are going to sell at the flea market tomorrow.  This is something I like to do.  My dad is a flea market nut and I think he has some depression too.  It will be good for both of us. My mom has to work.  Annalise with her father. 

Old Family Pictures

I got the idea to post this pic for Throw Back Thursday.  (Thanks, Dianna).  The couple in the picture are my mom's parents.  This picture was taken in 1934, and my mom was born in 1945.  My grandparents had a total of 9 kids, and only 5 girls are pictured here.  In the back is my aunt Mary, who died when my daughter Annalise was only 19 days old.  (Aunt Mary also had a very premature grandson that died at 19 days old- lots of irony).  In the front from left to right is my Aunt Fran who is still living; Aunt Diane who passed in 2012; Aunt Kay and Aunt Goldie who are both still living.  

In the comments from this picture, I received another picture.  It's of my dad's father's parents.  I have never seen a picture of them, nor have I known much about them.  This pic was taken about 1890.  
The cousin who sent me these lives in Greece and his paternal grandfather and my paternal grandfather were brothers making this couple our mutual great-grandparents and giving us the same last name.  My great grandmother looks very fashionable and aristocratic.  She's come to me in dreams a couple times in my life.  My great-grandfather is making the same face my dad makes when my mom tells him something that makes him mad and he doesn't want to say anything back.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Last hospital friend post

I decided to make my last post about people I met during my hospital stay the best one of all.  Nurse Pedro.  OMG was Nurse Pedro good looking!  I flirted with him and he flirted back.  Oh yes I did.  I loved when it was his turn to dish out meds and do vital signs.  He was easy to talk to and easy to look at.  The day before I left, I asked him if he'd be working the next day.  He said "No, I'm off.  But I'll be here the next day if you want to come and hang out."  Uhm- what?  I really think Pedro didn't realize how stupid what he said was until after he said it.  Later when I got my phone back, I texted my cousin the shrink about him.  I said what a horrible story we would have to tell future children about how we met.  "Well, honey.  Your mother was..."  My cousin texted back that the story would also include him getting fired.  This is true.  I'm 36 years old, and I am so used to all the different ways relationships are unacceptable.  Imagine the horror if I'd gone to "hang out" the day after being discharged.  Pedro either had that problem with saying dumb things around women or he'd never heard the relationship rules I have.
Pedro also told me that I had a big heart and needed to care of myself before I cared about others.  I had raised concern to him about a few of the others not getting what they needed.  I love that he told me that.

Hospital Friend #3

My roommate in the hospital was Jessica.  She was 100% catatonic.  I asked her a few times if she wanted the door closed/open or the curtain closed/open, and she would answer with a very robotic yes or no.  In group therapy, she was very uncomfortable when they were trying to get her to talk.  She stared into space and tears would well up but not spill over.  I asked if she had kids, and she did not answer.  I asked her if she wanted to read a book, and she did not answer.  I asked her how old she was, and she said 32.  She was a lost soul.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hospital Friend #2

Friend #2 is from Poland and really needed an interpreter.  During group therapy, when it was her turn, all she'd say was some variation of  "I have deep depression.  I want to commit to kill myself."  When asked what she does in crisis situations, she would say, "Call my friends from Poland.  They take me to hospital."  There were no other questions she could answer concretely or more in depth.  I'll say it again.  She needed an interpreter!  Houston is a city of over 90 languages and several interpretation services that include medical services.  Why did she not have an interpreter, especially if she was a repeat patient?

I had an uncle from Poland once.  He was my mom's sister's husband.  When my aunt was dying, she was on life support.  He did not understand the difference between ending life support and actively killing.  They brought in a Polish interpreter for him to understand.

I told this to my friend in the hospital, and I spoke slowly not knowing how much of the story she got.  I said, "Do you know what an interpreter is?"  She leaned her head closer to me as if to say, 'what?'  I said, "Interpreter".  She nodded and said, "Translation."  I told her in a simple way to tell the nurse, "I need translation."  I hope she did.

Hospital friend #1

In the hospital, we had group therapy 4 times a day.  One of the women was Yvonne.  She is 41- five years older than me.  She broke down in group and said that this is a cycle for her.  She repeatedly comes to the hospital and cannot seem to handle real life.  "I know all of the tools", she said.  "I just don't use them.  Yvonne said she uses drugs and drinks alcohol and does not fill her medications from the psychiatrist.  I think in group therapy, she realized that just because that has been her past, it does not have to be her future.   It doesn't necessarily mean she's going to leave the hospital without filling this time around, and it doesn't mean she's going to drink and/or use this time around, either.  You could see the aha moment in her face when the therapist helped her realized that.  What we've done is different than who we are.  We can change our actions unlike our identity.  From that point forward for a few days I had Linkin Park's song "What I've Done" stuck in my head.  The good lyrics don't start until 40 seconds into the song.  It's a beautiful song.  I can relate to the lyrics too.  I find it hard to forgive myself for even the teeniest little things.  

The hospitalized caseworker

Two weeks ago, I called my doctor to give me another medication for my long standing problem with panic attacks.  He called in a new script, and I started taking it immediately.  Almost immediately, I started having suicidal idealations.  I ignored and pushed through trying to tell myself it was better than having panic attacks.  But it wasn't.  On Wednesday the 11th, at 5 pm, I checked myself into the same hospital where I had my daughter.  I made arrangements with my parents, ex husband, and boss for work and family responsibilities.  I came home today, and I will be on medical leave until March 2.  I'll blog more about the hospital later, but while there, I was in the common area and a movie was playing about a casino in Vegas.  It was a terrible movie.  They tried to make Vegas high rollers look and act like Chicago gangsters from the 1930's.  They said one character took his first shot at age 15- he won big and has been winning big ever since.  Never a bad stroke of luck in his life of gambling.  What a horribly inaccurate picture of what the life of a person is or ever could be.  Who in this world constantly strikes it big with every move they make in life?  King Midas did, but even he wanted that gift gone.  I gave up on the movie and went to bed.  I knew at that point that I wouldn't try to be King Midas or any other kind of perfectionist.  
Today I am at home with my daughter, mother, and father.  I heard this song for the first time today, and feel like the song and the video are a gift.  I feel stable.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Too Much Tuesday

Look at that picture I posted.  Will it ever feel like that?  Like I did so much good that my teammates are carrying me on their shoulders and celebrating?  It didn't yesterday.  First of all, my runaway came back.  She turned herself in to the cops, because she could no longer handle life on the streets.  My supervisor and I had to stay late to deal with the child placing unit.  It was going to be a while, and I said that I needed to pick up my daughter at 6:30.  My supervisor deals with infertility and took her anger out on me that I had to pick up a child and she had to stay and wait for the call from CPU.  Then I got stuck in traffic.  By the time I got there, I had racked up late fees.  I asked to please take my late fees out of my credit, and the answer was no.  I had to go to the atm and by the time I got back from the atm, I had racked up another $25 in late fees.  I am so mad.  They know me, I always pay early, and I am never late picking her up.  She's been going there for three years.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Charity with Mom

Lately I have been considering joining the Philoptochos Society.  This is a charitable organization soely for women in my parent's denomination.  My mom joined and then unjoined for no particular reason.  I told her my interest in joining and she said if I join then she will join too.  I feel like my knowledge of children's charities and causes will contribute a great deal.  But with any new thing you join you start out by being quiet and listening.  I'll make my decision by Easter. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Good Gardening resources

I'll be adding many new things to my garden this year, including a compost bin and a rain barrel.  A good website I'll be utilizing is Eat the Weeds.  Weeds are not all bad.  I'm also growing Green Harmony . I'm going to do a 7 layer permaculture food forest.  I'm using Uncle Jim's worm farm for the compost bin.  I'm also planting violets so I can make these.


My seed order arrived! 
I'm so excited about this seed package I got from Amazon for cheap. Golden Acre cabbage- spinach bloomsdale-crookneck squash- carrots- broccoli-yellow bantam corn- California peppers- Mammoth sunflower- bluelake bush bean-turnips- jalapeno- watermelon! lima beans- Detroit beets- pumpkins! cayenne pepper- cherry bell radish- buttercrunch lettuce- collard greens- cucumbers- cantaloupe- beefsteak tomatoes- and kidney beans. I also have black plum heirloom tomatoes and lettuce mix.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A New Home

If you were praying or rooting for the little girl on my caseload with the wicked witchy witch foster mom then thanks!  I got the call today that they found someone for her.  I convinced my supervisor to be in favor of moving her when I transferred the attorney to her extension.  She told me later "You could have handled that call" but she was just mad that she was the only one who didn't want the little girl moved.  Right now I am working on a several page long form for the new foster mom that basically tells the girl's life story.  Here's to new beginnings. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Taking work home with me

The foster mother of one of the kids on my caseload does not want the child anymore.  She is a very strange and harsh woman that says she is fed up with her.  She keeps hinting at wanting to strike this child and not being allowed to.  I sat down with my supervisor to go through potential placements for this girl but to my dismay my boss does not want to move her from this terrible home!  The girl is going to be reunified with her real mom in March.  I don't think it can wait till March!  I want to go pick her up and get her out of there now!  Imagine living in a foster home that doesn't like you.  What is this doing to her self-esteem?  This weekend is tough for me.  I keep wondering what is going on in that home right this minute.  I'm trying my convincing skills on my supervisor to no avail.  I used to believe I was good at convincing people.  I guess I am not!  Please say a prayer for this little girl whom I am very worried about.