End of summer news

My last post was work related and so is this one. Yesterday I accepted the position I had applied for. This moves me to a new floor, with new attorneys, and a massive amount of work in front of me. If you’re curious about the work, search “juvenile life without parole” and read about the Supreme court decisions that came out in January. Some people are already being released from prison. My job will be to assist attorneys in identifying the mitigation needs and adequately offering that information to parole boards and judges to get new sentences or parole. In a 6 person unit, I’m the only non attorney. The other person they hired to be a mitigation specialist is an attorney. I’m feeling some kind of incompetent because I’m no legal mind. I’m sure I’ll be fine, though, because I catch on fast. 

I’m really excited to be doing such unique work. Also, a huge pay raise (tens of thousands) helps me relax about the significant amount of work required. Lots of work should equal more money, right? There will be travel across the state and that will mean we need a second car. I’m not rushing on that though because they told me that travel will be months away from now. I start Sep 6th as long as I get my current case load under control for someone to take over. 

My current unit does have a new Chief who started a few weeks ago. He is very charismatic and people are drawn to him. We had a nice chat 2 days ago and the next day I get the offer. He’s sad to see me go and I am sad to see what he’ll make of the unit. I’m also sad to move away from my office mate. He’s really been my support and we are each others “person” at work. I hope we’ll be able to have lunch sometimes. 

Our travel bug continues. We are off to Washington D.C. for a day trip on Saturday. Labor day weekend we’ll be in Cleveland visiting our best couple friends and meeting their kids first the first time. We are so, so excited about this! At the end of September we are going to Minnesota for a week for two weddings. That’ll be fabulous and I’m so happy for my friends! 

We celebrated 6 years of marriage last weekend. Hard to believe we have been together so long but I can’t imagine it any other way. 


Hopefully I won’t wait 2 months to post again.

Let’s catch up

Things are strange at my office. Several department heads were demoted, fired, or motivated to retire. There are so many managerial job postings right now! My director was demoted after 30+ years leading the department. She’s 70 and very hurt by the change but will continue on with the office in a lesser capacity. For now, we have no leader. That’s strange. 

I applied for a position in a new unit, one I’ve been following and training for. It’s a 3 year grant position which is fine with me but there is heavy competition. Attorneys are applying for the same jobs that social workers are! Only 2 positions are available in the first year and then 2 will be added in the second and third year. I feel nervous after hearing what a micro-manager the department heads are. I barely survived that type of manager when I first started here. Hopefully I’ll get an interview and will have a decent chance at one of the positions.

Last year I went to several grad school open houses to figure out if I wanted to get a higher degree. I need change either in the form of a new position or a new career path altogether. If I don’t get this new position, I’m applying to grad school. I’ve set my heart on doing something rather than being stagnant. In the coming months we’ll know what I’m actually going to be doing with my life. 

I went to a hot air balloon festival last week!

Buried my MIL with her parents in Burlington, MA on June 18th.

Ocean City,NJ         I got so sunburnt. A month later and I’m still peeling skin!

Wearing down

I have been mentally drained lately. It started with me picking up a book I had put down last month, Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. This is a phenomenal book about caring for the aging, the struggles and triumphs of the medical professions and the emerging hospice/assisted living movement. It’s a real look at people who either don’t want a say in how they die, they just want all the treatment possible, and the people who want to know what’s next and plan for their care. So many things come up in this book that remind me of my MIL and leave me hurting and thinking. One part that really hit me on Saturday was a personal story of a woman who was in assisted living and was in extreme pain, spitting up blood, etc but didn’t tell anyone. She suffered silently and didn’t get help until she was having a heart attack – and died. I wonder if that was J my MIL. She had been so run down and weak for months on end and it seemed worse the week prior to her death. Was she really struggling and not telling us? We talked about that sometimes, if she was more uncomfortable than we realized. She didn’t complain much- except about why she wasn’t dead yet. It hurts me to think that she might have been hiding her true difficulty from us so that she could speed up her death on her own terms. I hope that wasn’t really the case and I’m trying not to kick myself for not noticing that something might have been going on.

We are going to Burlington/Boston, Massachusettes this weekend to bury C’s parents. They share an urn and will be laid to rest with his grandparents in a designated cemetary plot. There has been a lot of back and forth about if there is really a headstone there that needs to be written on or if there isn’t one at all. The granite guy and cemetary people don’t seem to be on the same page about what exists so we’ll find out on Saturday! C’s brother and brother-in-law will be there for the burial and then we’ll have some kind of lunch afterward. I think C’s brother won’t really feel the sting of her death until we are there without her. I know he’s been struggling and it doesn’t seem like his mom is dead. But she really is, as hard as it is for all of us.

If you are watching the news, you are flooded with the shooting of Pulse in Orlando, Florida, USA. This attack on the gay community has terrified me and hurt me in ways that are so hard to even talk about. I can’t talk about it without weeping, without thinking of how we are set back by this. I am struggling to make sense of it and to still be “proud” and “out.” I am not very “out” in general life because of these kind of fears of violence and disproval. Now that something has happened on a large scale it makes me want to go back into the closet, be even more stealth, and separate myself. I’ve never said this but today I told C “I’m glad we don’t go to gay places” because I don’t want to face this reality. I haven’t felt fear for my safety since I was first coming out 15 years ago. Now it seems so real and that it could happen anywhere. Bars and clubs are home for so many gays. I used to be at the gay bars every weekend because that’s where my people were, my safe place to be a lesbian and meet others, to not worry about being judged. These places aren’t just a hang out, they are a community center for the LGBTQ community. No one should be afraid to go anywhere but the truth is, we have the potential to be scared to go everywhere. I want to know I can gather with my gay friends and not worry about a hater throwing shit at me, being rude, or shooting me. My brain is on repeat that “this is not a national setback” and “I could be next.” I don’t want civil rights to get stalled and I don’t want to let my fear and anxiety change me into someone else. I also don’t want to weep when I think about all those beautiful souls who died for nothing. There was no cause or choice on their end. They were dancing and having a great time with friends and they were murdered. MURDERED! Nothing will take away the pain and suffering of the loved ones of the deceased and injured. This will forever be a mark on our country and on the LGBT community. I hope I live to see a day when none of us are murdered for being our true selves.

Boston anyone?

If you have 6 hours near Boston how would you spend it? We’ve spent zero time there but will be going in a few weeks to bury C’s mom’s ashes and want to do something fun afterward.
All suggestions welcome!

Sorrow

My mother-in-law passed away this morning. I felt it last night and didn’t want to go to bed. I even told my friend staying with us “tonight feels different, I just don’t think she’ll make it.” I decided to be on morphine duty every 2 hours so I could keep an eye on her. At her 4:30am dose she was agitated and not as she has been. I woke my husband up and we sat with her until she passed away an hour later. Our dogs were with us, one laying on her legs. Her hospice team came out quickly and the funeral home was soon to follow. We’ve taken care of the arrangements for cremation and will pick her up in a few days.
It’s surreal and heart breaking. Our house feels so quiet now that her oxygen machine isn’t here. It’s strange thinking of all the things we didn’t do, like her mother’s day dinner or special projects we had planned. My husband is devastated, they were very close. His mom was so proud of him and so grateful for us doing so much for her. I’m glad we were able to offer her comfort in her last years and give her great experiences.

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Prayers needed

My mother-in-law, whom lives with us, is terminally ill and her time will come soon. We are at the hospital now waiting on hospice but they say her life is coming to an end very soon. She went downhill very fast and though she’s been ready for death for a few years, it’s still hard on us.
I don’t know what the days ahead will bring. I hope she goes peacefully.

Stuffed French Toast

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Tonight’s amazing concoction: stuffed French Toast. Recipe stolen from Food Network.
One loaf challah bread or similar braided bread. Cut pockets in one side
Filling: 6oz softened cream cheese, almonds and raspberries (mix all together: I used food processor to chop my nuts and berries and then mixed it into the cream cheese.
Custard: 2 eggs, 3/4 cup half and half, 1tbsp sugar, 1tsp vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Once you have your filling mixed, put in a piping bag or create your own using a baggie. Just cut a corner out for easy squeezing. Then pipe filling into the bread. Skillet should be warm. I added butter to this to start with. Cook as you would normal French Toast, until both sides are golden. Remove from pan and enjoy!

Career meanderings

Would you rather have a steady job at a stationary location or a free lance type position with changing work and lots of travel involved?

I’m thinking very long term here and what I might want to do with my life after a few years experience. I have limited opportunities working where I am. If I want to continue this work I’ll need to leave my agency because there is no movement, advancement, or raises. We don’t have enrichment training or refresher sessions, we work independently with zero accountability to supervisors. I want to know I’m doing my best work but, with no oversight, how do I know what needs improvement? I’d like to get proper supervision and improve my performance.

I’m thinking of eventually gaining enough skills to be a private contractor. Has anyone here struck out on their own with a marketable skill set? But doing so would involve traveling wherever the cases are and setting all relevant people. Perhaps it’s all a dream.

Life is busy

I’ve had a lot going on, friends! My social calendar has been overflowing and work has been intense also.

In September we hired a new Chief so the honeymoon seems to be over and we keep hearing about changes. Slowly some things are changing but she, the chief, promises big changes and a new direction for the office. Attorneys and support staff are all on edge. No one knows what’s next. I’ve had a run of cases that have been work-intensive. It’s nice and I don’t mind being busy.

Every weekend has been full of friend time and activities. When did we become so social?! I haven’t even been to church since December! This weekend we went to PostSecret Show and it was amazing. If you haven’t found the website before now, you have to check it out. It was so moving and overwhelming to experience that with hundreds of other people. I’d definitely go again and recommend it to others.

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Solo to Cali

Last weekend I took a little girls trip to San Diego, California to meet some online friends/penpals. I would definitely spend more time there. The weather was fabulous, the ocean soothed my soul, and it generally felt like a relaxing place to be. One day I’ll go back and take my love with me.
Here are a few photos of my travel.

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La Jolla Cove. No shoes in February!

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Seals sunning themselves = the highlight of this trip

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Me at the cove, no friends to get selfies with. Lol.

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San Diego zoo koala

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Aggressive tortoise was sexing the other, younger ones.

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Nothing Bundt Cake =such delicious cake!

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Balboa park

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Oh, guess what. It snowed when I got home! 60° difference from 2 days before.

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