Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Resolved and Pending and Stars

Human services recently (in April) sent me a letter telling me that my cousin was not qualified for extra psych group therapy (three days a week) because she collects too much social security. She collects that much social security because she has said psychological issues.

April and May were spent trying to resolve this through various government, independently contracted and county human service agencies. In fact, with all of the "answers" I got, this is the part of the story that could turn into a novel rather than a blog post. The final option and the way we stood before vacation was to completely start the reapplication process from the top and hope to get a waiver.

Until that point, the county offered emergency funding so that she could continue services. While on vacation I received an email from the director of the program asking to meet today.

Though not intentional, my resting bitch face was hard at work. I had dealt with so many beauraucrats giving me so many different and conflicting answers that I couldn't see how meeting at 10:00 am on a Wednesday morning would improve things.

Once in the meeting, the situation was again explained to me and the possibility of a waiver was ruled out based on the limited funds of the state and the high demand for requests.

As soon as that was established there was a "BUT..." She does qualify for "social group" as opposed to "psych group." Social group being a much more activity oriented group which is perfect and was the service I had hoped for originally.

I just have to wonder why oh why did it take four months and a face to face meeting for them to share this alternative with me? Every week she would ask me about it. In the meantime, the people who were supposed to be supporting her were telling her that she might not be able to come any more and also not offering up the possibility of the other group.

That is the conclusion of the resolved story.

The Pending part is all about the sweet Liza Jane. She is not putting any weight on her back right paw. Maybe it's sympathy pains. She figures if she walks like me I'll take her for a walk.

We have pain meds for a week and if it persists we will have to sedate her and/or put her under general anesthesia so that the vet can get an X-ray. The dogs who are ambivalent to the world have garnered a new respect from me.

This summer will be looked upon as the summer of reading. There was a conversation at knit night about a goal of reading a book a month. I've definitely hit that this year and am much happier for doing so. There are about three others that I'm partially through.

My star system-

1 star: I don't give one star. I put the book down if it's that bad. Life is too short to read boring books

2 stars: I finished it but it was a struggle.

3 stars: I finished it and might recommend it if the topic interests you to begin with.

4 stars: Time with this book was well-spent.

5 stars: Hurry! Quick! Go read this book and then we can talk about it!





Must. Read. All. The. Books.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Baby steps

As I mentioned earlier, the little room in the basement has some issues. At least three years of end of the year detritus.   It's very hot here and that room has no ventilation so any attending to it need be done in small bits.  In an effort to take baby steps, I grabbed a stack of papers and found some recipes to share.

When first beginning to clear out Aunts house- before realizing it required professional grade cleaner outers, I headed for the recipe counter.  She had many many cut out and saved recipes that I discarded but I saved the hand written, well-worn ones.  The main one I was looking for was this one-

Lemon Squares

1 c flour
½ c butter
¼ c sugar
bake 15 minutes at 350

2 eggs
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 c sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

sift powdered sugar when cool

bake at 350 20-25 minutes

recipe usually doubled for 9x13 pan

The entire list of saved recipes are in a dropbox file here.  They include:

Pumpkin Roll with frosting, Neiman Marcus' $250 cookies (I think I gave her that one), Nut rolls, Chocolate chocolate chip cookies, Quick lemon cookies. Zucchini Soup, Roll out butter cookies, Cake frosting, Large cake, Coffee cake, Strawberry Dessert. Strawberry Cream Pie, Chocolate Dream Square, World's Best baked apples, Brownies, Strudel, Pecan Pie bars, and cheesecake cookies.

The ones I remember clearly as absolutely delicious are the lemon squares, brownies, and strawberry pie.

Now they are on the interweb for eternity.  Or until drop box goes under. Also typing out recipes adds fewer calories than making and eating them, so there's that accomplishment today as well

Monday, July 25, 2016

What do you really want to do?

This summer I have finished 10 books. That wasn't on my list of goals but it's what I enjoy doing.

I also did some major de-cluttering. While cleaning was on the list, 23 bags of garbage was not.

Things on the list that I prepared before school was out that I have not done-

Spin Poi

Learn calligraphy

Make a fruit pizza

Play the ukulele and the guitar

Read Love in the time of cholera

Get Rosetta Stone and learn Spanish

Get stickers of myself giving a thumbs up to give to kids

Go to the zoo

Eat a giant ice cream at Sarris' candy

Creatively plant chicks and hens

Complete an ItunesU or Coursera class

Make waffles with banana pudding and strawberries

Update ios on all devices

I did make a visit to the courthouse and go to Zumba.

So, what's my dealio I wonder. Do I channel Chris Farley's man living in a van down by the river in May with "another one of those things I'm never going to do." Maybe I just need the list so that the thought of transitioning from school to summer isn't so overwhelming. Maybe I just like the idea of doing those things rather than actually doing them.

There are three weeks left. Plenty of time to do/try something new. I wonder if I will.


I also did not include laying in the air conditioned room with the dog under the blanket but I've done plenty of that!


Friday, July 22, 2016

An update on the topsy turvy

So after a visit to Medexpress, a short emotional meltdown tended to by the kind nurses there, and some resting time to lower my blood pressure from 168/110 my foot was x-rayed and not broken. I got some muscle relaxers and a great excuse to take it easy.

I spoke to Aunt this morning. They are still testing. People her age, and conditions such as this suggest another night of observation and evaluation so I'm going to let the phone take care of my taking care of her.

This morning husband bob fielded a call from the cousin. She fell and pulled a muscle in the back of her leg. Wants to go to have it looked at. I mentioned it while I was being checked they said there wasn't much they could do for her. We are sending over ibuprofen, a cane and dinner in an effort to avoid yet another visit to a medical establishment.

So after some muscle relaxer, some crying and some TLC I'm feeling ok again. The only looming worry was the job situation for next year.

It's like this. There is a school that serves mostly the children of university professionals. The building is seventy five years old and smells like that wax they used to use on wood floors back in the day. There is no place or space for teachers such as myself. I once got yelled at for parking my car. They are building a new bulding but have another nine months to completion. Normal people love this school. Smart kids-neighborhood school feeling. I hate it because it wreaks of entitlement, white privilege and disregard for what the arts can offer given the right atmosphere. (Wow- I've never really articulated the "whys" of my loathing for that place- seeing it in writing makes me feel less guilty.)

One summer I came home from vacation to find I was assigned there again after a ten year respite. I was sure that was what the most recent phone call was about. Instead, I came home to a letter from the assistant Superintndent that said I was assigned to Juvie Elementary school on Friday mornings! I love the teachers there, I love the kids there and honestly it won't be much different than some of the things I faced this year only help will already be in the room.

So maybe in a day or two it will finally feel like vacation with healthy relatives, a clean house and knowledge of stability in my job.

Thanks for bearing witness.

Of course

In the category of you never get more than you can handle...

Today was spent in the ER with Aunt.  Low oxygen-labored breathing.  Tests to follow.

Around 5:00 pm after being there for eight hours I suggested to the attending aides and nurse that part of her grumbliness might be due to the fact that she had not eaten for 24 hours.  Their response-"we all get angry sometimes." She had already singed some bridges before it got to that point.  I made sure to tell them it was for their benefit that I shared this information.

Before returning tomorrow I'll stop at Medexpress and have the 5th metatarsal x-rayed. It occurred to me to ask them to do it while I was waiting with her but didn't want to complicate things.

Dear husband took me to out to dinner in spite of the fact that he had two options that he had planned on cooking instead.  I just needed to be "away."

And at 1:09 am, I am still clearly operating on west coast time.

Le sigh.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

And so reality returns

One of the biggest problems I was avoiding while on vacation was telling the aunt the news of her house. Mainly that everything in it has been removed and that there is a buyer for it. One reason this was a challenge is that in her mind, everything there is still exactly as it was before she left. She often refers to one thing or another and says "I know right where it is."

With that stressor weighing on my mind upon our return, another was added via an answering machine message from the assistant superintendent saying something to the effect "we appreciate your work at your current position, I need to talk to you about a change in your schedule." Having returned the call, I am waiting to hear back. In the meantime this has replaced the prior major stressor. Calls like this are generally never good news and while I have 30 years invested in the system,(20 at the current school) they can move me from school to school at their whim.

After dinner with my lovely cousin (and a double Don Patron tequila on the rocks) I made the call to the aunt. Turns out while I was gone, she and some galpals got the living center people to get them a bus to Christopher Banks where she made up for an entire two years of not going shopping. I told her about the house and its contents and she said "it's for the best and by the way...", proceeding then to tell me about the shopping trip.

Sometimes the world just works in your favor.

As for the other, I have spent the last five years in a significant leadership role in my current position. It has cost me more time and more stress than its been worth but I've mostly enjoyed the challenge. If, in fact, those circumstances change, it will be an opportunity to relinquish the being in charge of x, y and z as well as being a part of the team responding to "kids in crisis." (Formerly known as CPI training.) With thirty years in, I can find a way to teach music in any situation (remember that time I taught at juvieschool with kids climbing the furniture - maybe I left that part out) without carrying any drama home. So, while I'm not looking forward to what may come, fuck it. I've got this- it takes more than career upheaval to send me over the edge. At least today.

Sunday, July 17, 2016


Nothing going on here. Unless of course you are looking for a photo analysis and the way I make annoying things funny sometimes.

What you see- two thumbs wrestling

What you don't see- they're in a restaurant, they're nearly horizontal (is that laying or lying?) on the bench, and they are covered with black spots made by sharpie markers because apparently when you do that and then place your phone camera directly on top of said mark, and snap a photo, you get the effect of one of those electric dog collars set on about 4.

What you see- empty plastic travel cup once containing Pepsi.

What you don't see- the other three large glasses ordered and consumed-leading to a frenzy of near epic proportions in which, in other circumstances, I would call for assistance. There was intervention after the first two hours but by then there was no relaxing for anyone.

What you see- that peach colored blob to the left of the fork is silly putty. Perhaps it was a keep the kids busy item from the restaurant.

What you didn't see- is that the silly putty was throughout the house throughout the week. Most notably stuck on the bathroom wall. It could also be spotted being tossed against the wall over tourist's heads across a busy sidewalk. If it came from a restaurant, it was long past its expiration date.

What you see-

An innocuous rest room at the site of a 9/11 memorial.
What you don't see-

Look a little closer...

Are the two missing from the group photo because they were on the roof of the innocuous restroom.
As parents might say "kids these days..."
As I say "WHAT THE WHAT????"

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The boat

Then we were on a boat.


And a tube.



And they have something fun to remember.