Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Book Chatter

Remember THIS POST in which I confessed to having a crush on a fictional teenage boy character in Kristen Simmons' Article 5? Well today I am on a mission to enter as many giveaways for a free Advanced Reader Copy of book two, Breaking Point. If, somehow, you win and I don't, you should at least pass along your copy to me after!

In other book news, I am currently reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Many people had recommended it and now I see why. It's a little different fare; not dystopian so much. It has a feel of Renaissance but there are also special powers involved. And of course a love interest with some expected twists-separation, caring for others, etc. The author has two other books out that, if what I have read is correct, are not so much sequels as companions. They focus on different characters but pull old friends back into the mix. So you can read each separately but would be enriched by reading them all. So I will do that.

Also, Reached by Allie Conde comes out in less than two weeks. I didn't looooove Matched and Crossed but I liked them and am certainly invested in the storyline. She did all the right things to follow the typical dystopian love triangle thing and as much as that can be listed as a downfall, let's be real, it's also what works and I like it so I have to be fair. I am excited to see how the finale of the trilogy plays out with reunited lovers and twists I can't even guess at yet. I went so far as to pre-order it through Amazon so it will show up on my door on Tuesday November 13th, just in case I don't get to the bookstore.

And while it's not YA or dystopian, I have R.L.Stine's Red Rain on hold for me at the library. How fitting that I pick it up on Halloween? I credit R.L.Stine with getting me interested in reading as a pre-teen and I am excited for his cliff hanger writing style to be translated to a more adult version of horror writing. I hear there are creepy twins. I'm in!

So what are you reading?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mt. Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts and part of the Appalachian Trail

I just received some pictures from my big hike last weekend (post to come soon). Then I started reading articles posted to Facebook and they were all so horrible and discouraging that I just needed to escape. I found these pictures of a hike last Spring I took to the summit of Mt. Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts and part of the illustrious Appalachian Trail. If I can't be outside enjoying the amazing fall foliage that cheered me throughout my commute to work today, I can at least savor these photos and the memories of a nice, moderate hike with some good friends. I recommend this hike to anyone in the New England area. You don't need to train to complete it; it's no Mt. Washington. It can easily be completed in a few hours and there's a lovely lodge at the top that serves amazing dinner and has dorm bunk style accommodations so you can  extend your visit.
Starting the ascent

I <3 transcendentalism

Sitting in the clouds

Everyone loves a waterfall

The Appalachian Trail is well known to hikers.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Goodbye to Theme Thursday...already (sigh)

Since for the last few weeks I have been hyping up Theme Thursdays, I feel I at least owe an explanation as to why I am not hyping it up this week. I quit. I really never quit things so I feel half guilty and half liberated saying that, calling it that.

My friend Jenn at Something Clever 2.0 came up with the fabulous idea of a bunch of bloggers all getting together to write their own versions on the same topic. I still love this idea, truly. Even when it was a topic that I felt out of place writing about like playgrounds, it was an interesting personal exercise to ask myself what I really thought about something that I might not ordinarily give a lot of thought to. I'd still like to jump in on some of their topics for the fun of it but probably won't out of respect for the process.

What brought me to the decision to jump ship was multi-fold. For starters, I couldn't give it the time and attention it required. Bloggers are verbal processors, clearly, and there was a lot of great energy backing this idea, which resulted in a lot of emails to filter through and increasingly tech savvy suggestions on how to better organize the whole shebang. I just don't always have (or want, for that matter) computer access or updates on my phone. I consider myself a bit of a tech minimalist; I have only had a smart phone for a year and a half and am still avoiding fancy things like iphones, skype, and "facetime" or whatever that is. And I am either on the computer at work for hours, resulting in not wanting to be on the computer more when I get home, or I am running around outside of the office all day and not available to respond to emails. Either way, I learned that lots of communication related to my blog overwhelms me. I need some email time to talk about last night's tv shows with my bestie.

Also, the promotion necessary to really get your blog out there is a lot of work! The bloggers I was teamed up with were amazing in with Facebook fan pages, Twitter accounts, Pinterest and the like. I made myself a Facebook page (and you should come "like" it!) but I am not sure I have something I want to post every day. I have a Twitter that I only partially understand. And Pinterest is sacred; it's for me and not to be shared with my blog. While I want my friends to know about my blog and welcome interested visitors that are not yet friends, I want to limit the amount of personal information that gets out so that it doesn't get into the wrong hands (see every other reference I have ever made to my work as an excuse). So I found that I was just not that good at or interested in making the effort to hype up my blog.

Even more insight I gained was that I don't strive to be blog famous! I guess a lot of bloggers write just as a means to tell stories to friends and family and I am not quite in that category. And then there are a ton of bloggers who write so that thousands of people will read what they say and they can make money through ads and stuff. I like to read a lot of those kinds of bloggers and am grateful that they have put the time into developing to the point that they were big enough for me to find out about them. For a while, I dreamed of writing about my travels and having companies reach out to sponsor me and help me create a life where I could essentially get paid to travel. That still sounds nice. But unless it happened instantly, I don't have a strong enough desire to MAKE it happen. So I kind of learned that I like blogging because I like doing it. Not for any other ultimate goal. Not to be read by thousands or acquire fans. Just because I have a lot to say. If you like to hear it, great. If 2 people read each post, that's actually fine, too. I had the privilege of putting it out there and creating it and that part is fun for me.

Finally, the straw that broke the camel's back is a bit more personal but I will go there. I was listening to a talk from a church leader on my ipod. In my church, there are 2 meetings a year known as General Conference where a bunch of church leaders talk about all sorts of things, including everyday life topics. One talk, and I honestly don't even know who it was by or what the rest of it was about, touched on priorities and focus. Basically, we can busy ourselves with the wrong things and that takes time and focus away from the really important things, such as the people we love or the things that restore us. For some people, all the work on the blog is like a job and it is a good focus, rejuvenating, and positive. For me, though, it was a distraction and when I heard that talk, I was able to identify that, for me, the emails and the promoting was taking time away from other things that would be better prioritized in my life.

To all my blogging peeps, I want to reiterate that this is just my experience. I am glad there are bloggers who can do all of this stuff because you all entertain me! I'm sure some of this has to do with the other jobs, hobbies and choices I make in my life and the amount of time I need just for myself and my tv watching for self-care. But, for now, I am going to blog because I like it. When I want to. And not when I don't. The rest of the time, I am going to use any free time I can eek out to develop myself into the kind of person I want to be in other areas. Maybe I just need more time to do that than others because I need more work:)

SOOOOooooo, I hope you all will continue to read the blogs I linked to in the other Theme Thursday posts and enjoy the different takes on topics. I will be cheering them all on from the sidelines.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

If your Cat were someone famous, who would they be?

My husband is infamous for coming up with random games. When we go to brunch, he makes me compete with the jelly containers to see how many times out of 5 I can get it to land right side up. He makes goalposts for straw wrappers. And he comes up with great 'what if' questions.

The other day he came upstairs and requested that I pause the Twilight movie I was watching in bed to ask me "if our cats were people, who would they be?". Before I tell you some of the celebs in the running, let me fill you in on the kits. (That's a kid/kitten combo that aptly describes my emotional attachment/cat lady tendencies).

This is Pants. He is about 2.5. He is both really crazy in terms of high energy, running around, chasing moths, and the other cat and also really cuddly as he routinely in the morning almost knocks you over trying to get his head pet and at night likes to curl up and watch tv with me.

And this is Stella. She turns 11 this month and is a sweet, gentle Himalayan Persian. She is like a loyal dog, following your every step just to be near you.

So what well known people could personify each of these guys?
For Pants, after toying with Usher, we settled on Busta Rhymes. Youngish (at least he was when we were younger, which is where my brain still lives), feisty-they both kind of get those crazy eyes occasionally and racially and gender appropriate.

Stella was tougher. I tossed out the late, beloved Jessica Tandy. My husband didn't like comparing her to someone who was in the iconic film, Cocoon, because it aged her. He proposed Sigourney Weaver. I almost lost my mind. Apparently, I have a thing against Sigourney Weaver that I have never acknowledged because I was outraged. He tried to calm me down by referencing her Jane Goodall role as opposed to her Ghostbusters alter-ego. I think we left undecided.

So I am both open to suggestions and curious who your pets would be. Go!

Monday, October 15, 2012

This really happened. Otherwise known as "People are Odd Ducks"

So some of you might remember from a recent post that I am currently wearing a wrist brace. It's just for tendonitis and I'm really making out on the whole deal because every time I go in for my "certified hand therapy" I get a paraffin treatment to relax my muscles. Having never broken a bone, I had no idea how much attention braces/splints/casts get you.

In addition to my "real" job, I work a second job (the same one I worked when I was 16, thank you very much) and am a cashier/phone girl. Yes, he really calls the title Phone Girl and no, a man can't do it. I'm only there 1 or 2 nights a week, depending on the week and it's actually kind of relaxing because no one ever cries or puts their life in my hands; they just want their chicken parm. The other night I was ringing a guy up and when I handed him his change he asked about my wrist injury. It went a little something like this:

HIM: "So did you hurt your wrist cheerleading? Doing a handspring or something?"

ME: (a little caught off guard by the weirdness of this) "Ah, no".

HIM: "So did you hurt it playing softball?"

ME: (really perplexed by my options and what they imply) "Nope, not sure how I hurt it."

He eventually faded away and began to chew his food, leaving me stumped behind the register.
Is looking like a cheerleader a good thing? Is this a shout out to my youthful visage? Or should I feel bad that I am an adult doing a job that a high schooler could (and my high school version once did) do? And why is playing softball the default if I didn't get hurt at cheer practice? Is he questioning my sexual orientation? Is this his version of flirting? He was totally serious, by the way. It certainly didn't seem like flirting or joking or anything other than sincere guesses, even though they were the two most random guesses anyone so far has come up with.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Theme Thursday: My Dream Job

This week for Theme Thursday I had to think about what my dream job would be. Oddly enough, this isn't a topic I have given much thought to as I have been at my real life job for 7 years now. It's good work and though it's exhausting, I enjoy it. There's also a big part of me who wants to bounce this back to the stay at home moms (and a dad) who are blogging about this topic alongside me and tell them that their jobs are awesome because they don't have to wear bras if they don't want to and they don't have to pencil in trips to Target. Also, I assume they love their kids so that helps.

So when I started brainstorming my dream job, I really entered a land of fantasy in which prior training and experience are not at all considerations. You are judged solely on enthusiasm in the job interview, in which case I would ace my way into all of them.

First pick: Reality TV show casting director.
No humility here. I would be AMAZING at this. Having watched ever y episode of Flavor of Love, I love New York, Rock of Love, I love Money (need I go on....) and email critiqued them all afterwards with my bestie, I know who makes good tv. My psych experience will only help to inform the best combinations of people to create volatile and entertaining interactions. Not a dating competition show? No problem. I am also loyal to Survivor and catch The Amazing Race from time to time. I know how to tone it down if we are on a non-cable network, don't worry. And if the casting is already complete when I show up for my interview, I could always step in as an editor. I could help to omit just the right portion of the conversations to make the bad guy look worse and the good guy look better. And I would never miss a shot that would be totally humiliating to the average person, upping the shows odds of being featured on Tosh.O.
I would be VERY proud of this work.

Second Pick: If the world of reality tv crashes like the written word jobs of the characters in Gone Girl that lead them to their eventual demise (if you haven't read this book yet, run out and get it. You can refresh this page upon your return and keep reading), my backup plan will already be in place. Admittedly, it will have to be put on hold until my treatment for serious depression in response to said crash is completed. Assuming travel information shows don't count as reality tv, I want to replace Samantha Brown. She has the life! She gets to visit fun places, continent at a time, picking through the major cities. She sums each city up in a half hour segment including descriptions of the swank hotel she stayed at, the delicious food she ate, and the unique cultural experience she had. I can do that! In fact, I could one up Samantha. She is a little weak sauce for my taste most trips so I would throw in some scandalous interaction with a local like the time I went on a drug deal in Central America inadvertently or the time I decided it would be a good idea to have a Rastafarian pen pal or the time I crashed a prom and another time, a stag party. Does Samantha do that? Nope, that's the flavor I bring. If, somehow, travel shows are deemed part of the reality tv crash, I will be a travel blogger. I will write some brilliant post and hit it big instantly, with companies just throwing money and offers at me to promote them. The bottom line is that I am going to be traveling and making money doing it. 
(YouTube was on strike from me or I would have a nice, mundane clip of Samantha in her hotel room in Rome right here)

If all else fails: I am applying at Barnes and Noble and Bed, Bath and Beyond. On my hardest days, I have an image of myself folding towels in the corner of a linens department. And I like to read a lot and give my opinions so I could be put to use in the young adult section of the bookstore, reviewing trilogies and series with Armageddon scenarios and pictures of girls in ruffly dresses to the young minds of America.

So I guess the moral of the story is that I should never have invested in graduate school since all of my favorite things include watching tv, going where I want, reading and relaxing, and hopefully only putting on a bra or mascara when I feel like it. 

If you want to read what some other bloggers have to say about their dream jobs check out the following:
Something Clever 2.0
Cloudy With a Chance of Wine
I like beer and babies.
A calibama state of mind
Shit I Don't Tell Most People
Mom With Her Running Shoes On
The Insomniac's Dream

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Worst

I realized that I could write a whole blog-not just a post- about the anecdotes that occur commuting to work. Not coincidentally, it's also the place I do some of my best thinking and lots of post ideas bud behind the wheel. That could have something to do with the often snarky tone I put forth here.

Lots of bloggers do weekly happy posts, about the highlights of that week or the things for which they are grateful. I feel like my least kind self when I am in my car, which is where I was yesterday when I started making a mental list of the things that are just the worst this week.

  • When a cop car pulls behind you and all of a sudden you feel like you are 16 and just got your permit again.
  • The new Bruno Mars song. (I think this is actually what launched a line of negative thinking)
  • When you fill up with gas and then find it for a cheaper price a mile down the road.
  • When you cry at non-celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
  • When you leave a Taylor Swift song on with the specific purpose of singing along. And you know the words well enough to do a flawless karaoke performance.
  • Rich ladies in SUVs. I know they are rich because of the town I am in and their patented fleece/scarf combo I can see as they pull behind me and honk when I am the one who is 3/4 of the way done backing out of my parking spot.
  • When you go someplace you used to love and realize you have outgrown it. Sorry, Dave Matthews concerts.
  • When you nobly bring a change of clothes for the gym only to realize you forgot an essential item like a sports bra.
So what has been the worst for YOU this week?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Travel Posts-Need Your Input!

Happy Columbus Day Kids! I spent the day working but it was blissfully quiet and I vacuumed my office, among other things. This is noteworthy if only for the fact that I have only done it a handful of other times in the past 7 years. And, no, a cleaning service doesn't come in and supplement my inactivity.

Anyway, I don't have any great blog inspirations today-all motivation of all kinds went into the organizing of a gazillion binders and folders. But I did think about how to catch up on all the travel posts I want to write. I didn't go to all sorts of fun places just to post pictures on Facebook, you know? So while I don't expect an outpouring of comments, I certainly would appreciate them!

Would it be better to post a bunch of pictures with little commentary?
Or do shorter posts on specific sites or experiences?
Cover all of one city at a time or jump around for fun?
Travel Tuesdays?

Ok, as a reward for all your hard thought about this, let me share a little secret (that was probably only a secret to me) that I just stumbled upon. Youtube videos of your favorite artists recording/performing your favorite songs. Michael Franti at Folsome Prison was the backdrop for my cleaning spree this afternoon but here's another of my faves.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Goodbye to Baked Goods

I'm publicly declaring that I am going on strike from baked goods for a week. I started yesterday and it was just for the day but when I realized how hard it felt, I recognized the need to extend my strike.

I have frequently bragged that I don't love pastries (chocolate croissants to indulge my Francophile moods aside) because I grew up in a house with a constant supply of them. That's why I am one of those people who believes that banning kids from eating certain foods is not the way to go. Don't "they" get that the more you withhold something the more it is desired? Why does that logic somehow not apply to children? Based on my previous bragging, I was really shocked to assess my intake of baked goods Sunday through Tuesday. It could be argued that pastries and baked goods are not specifically one and the same but they are, at the very least, very close cousins who like to have sleepovers and make fun of their grandparents together. So when I realized I had eaten multiple apple cider donuts, a cupcake, banana bread, a muffin and a bagel within such a short span of time, some major alarms started sounding in my head.

Now I can blame it on lots of things, sure. Excuse #1: I went to a big fair on Sunday and part of the tradition is to buy apple cider donuts; they are delicious and a native food in the land of New England apple picking. Excuse #2: I haven't grocery shopped in a week and half so I have to eat whatever food is made available to me at work. The first Monday of each month is staff breakfast at work and we are gifted with both free bagels and a free hour of work time to sit, socialize and eat. That happened this week and even though I was at a doctor's appointment, I don't look a free bagel gift horse in the mouth so I asked my friend to hide one for me for when I came in later. That's called planning ahead, folks. Excuse #3: As I wrote about here, Tuesdays can be nuts at work, often referred to as Trauma Tuesdays, so when some treats were there to soothe my raw emotions, it just made sense.

Work can be the worst/best as there are always baked goods. When I went to the kitchen recently there were three bags of cookies-chocolate chip, peanut butter chip, and brownie cookies. Next to those there was a bag of mystery flavored white cookies that appeared to be home made. A little ways down in another plastic bag were some brownies. And all the leftover bagels are in the freezer, calling my name since I didn't have time to pack food for my 12 hour work day today and wouldn't have had much to draw from anyway since I haven't shopped.

So even though there are still some cider donuts in a bag in my office, I am sadly going to watch them age without enjoying them. It feels sad to even write that. But I need to prove to myself that baked goods don't control me. What can't you resist??

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Theme Thursday: Playground Etiquette

Hooray for the first weekly edition of Theme Thursdays, in which I will be blogging about a selected topic as part of a larger blogging group. My good friend Jenn came up with this fun experiment that will consist of a number of bloggers writing about the same topic, each offering our personal take on it. It was going to be Topic Tuesday but we negotiated into Themed Thursdays so feel free to take all of your earlier excitement for Tuesdays and schedule it to resurface on Thursdays, thanks. Links are at the bottom of this post so you can keep on reading and hear many different voices about one concept. Hello sociology!

I think all of the other bloggers in the group at the moment are mothers. I'm not sure how many are stay at home moms but I know that all of them know their way around a playground. Our first topic, therefore, was selected as playgrounds or playground etiquette.

I would like to think I can offer a unique perspective on some parenting issues as someone who is not yet a parent but had a couple parents, works with parents and knows a lot of them. To be honest, though, writing about playgrounds and playground etiquette kind of had me stumped. Let me review my experience with playgrounds up to this point:
  • As a kid I played on them. It was always a big treat when my mom would stop at one of those wooden playgrounds (they must have been new and exciting in the 80s). Of note, my mom was a bit of a self proclaimed gypsy and really enjoyed road tripping for the day. We once drove to Canada just to say we did and often went to New Hampshire or Rhode Island-from Massachusetts-for lunch. So I have vivid memories of driving to Cape Cod for the day and my reward for tolerating hours in the car was to stop at a wooden playground in Wareham. 
  • I also had my first kiss at a playground. It was right by my parent's house and it was a glorious summer day. I still feel like that park and I share a secret camaraderie when I drive by the section where it took place.
  • As a young adult, playgrounds were places to go after all the kiddos went to bed. I am sure I don't have to elaborate on the kinds of activities that were on the table at that stage. And who am I kidding? I am still kind of in this stage. 
  • By day, currently, my office overlooks a playground. It's a little chilly but there are 4 adults, 4 kids and a dog out there at the moment I am writing this. My voyeurism is my greatest connection to playgrounds at this point and I think this is where I might have something to add to the conversation.... 
Goings on that I shouldn't see at the Playground when I look out my office window
  1. Puppies being tossed down slides. Yes, that happened one day for an extended period of time. The kids were having a blast, they actually did have parental supervision and the little dog was at their mercy. I don't know if the dog was as up in arms (paws?) as I was but I went around the office trying to get back up to go out and have a confrontation. 
  2. Men without kids. It's just creepy. Especially when they are shirtless. Exception: if they are playing basketball. Worst scenario: they are sitting on a bench just leering. I do always kind of enjoy the gender switch on Friday afternoons, though, when a lot of dads take their kids to the playground. In my mind, I know all of their stories. They are all on their weekend visitation with kids they don't see all week long and they don't really know what else to do with them. 
  3. The metal detector guy. This guy is not necessarily a creep but is definitely odd. What amazing treasure do you expect to find under a plastic swingset? Pokeman cards? (are those even a things, still? ). If a parent lost something like a ring, it's just wood chips-it could be easily relocated and not left behind for a metal detector. And I'm not looking out the window onto an amazingly wealthy neighborhood so I think if I were in search of goodies, I would find a different park.
  4. Kids assaulting one another. This is the most common sight and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I would miss it if it stopped. Before you judge that comment, let me preface that these are not teens brutally beating one another but rather preschool aged kids, usually, pushing each other. It's really interesting to see how it all shakes out. Most often, they have some kind of showdown and moments later run away with each other as if it's already resolved. No intervention. No long talks. Just simple instincts. How great would it be if you could be irritated by someone, act accordingly and then all is well between the two of you? My dream come true. Instead, we have to learn all these feelings words and how to delicately communicate (says the person with a license to practice therapy). 
  5. Children who appear to be lifeless. I know this is a weird one but the park I get to gaze out at has this plastic suspension type bridge. On more than one occasion,  I have seen children laying on this, seemingly injured. I stare at them the way you check if someone is still breathing, waiting for a sign of movement or life. Sometimes, I am amazed how long this kids can  play possum. Or this playing opossum like the car insurance commercial that I love? Either way, they all eventually move before I feel the need to call in first responders; it must just be a really relaxing spot.
    So that's all the insight I can muster into playground etiquette since I haven't used a playground for something that I couldn't potentially be arrested for being caught doing in about 20 years. Want to hear some more first hand accounts? Check out the amazing ladies below and make sure to check back next Thursday for the next theme!
The other participants of Theme Thursday:
I like beer and babies
Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom
A Calibama State of Mind 
The Next Step 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Vote No on Politics on Facebook

This Thanksgiving when I sit with my family and we go around in a circle to list the things we are most grateful for this year, at the top of my list will be the fact that the election is over.

Fear not, I am not going to tell you who to vote for. Nor am I going to tell you who I plan to vote for. I would like to encourage you to vote because I think it's a privilege, because I think a lot of people who are affected by the legislation don't use their right to vote, because you really don't get to complain if you didn't do something to try to make a change, and because Michael Franti looks very handsome in the picture he posted online encouraging people to vote.

We are all entitled to our opinions, no matter how much they may vary. We all make our decisions based on the people and experiences to which we have been exposed. I am all for trying to cast a new light on certain issues and help people think about them in a more informed way, trust me. I think it's truly reckless how many people are outspoken about decisions that impact whole groups of people with whom the opinionated person has little experience with or exposure to. But I am super over the political conversations on Facebook.

I admit that I love Facebook. During my work day, I often need a little distraction to lighten my mood. Or sitting at an appointment, killing time waiting to be seen, it's easy to flip through. And I love people using their figurative voices. But there have to be other things you want to say other than who to vote for or who not to vote for, day in and day out. How many people do you think you are really convincing to change their minds? And the spirit of contention that it creates makes many people shy away from the conversation altogether. I think I have fallen into that group a lot this political season. It's been extra scary for me because of Romney's Mormon factor and feeling like people are sometimes misrepresenting ideologies I was raised on, independent of Romney's platform, which I am refraining from commenting on.

So when I go on Facebook, I want to see a picture of the cake that you just baked. I like hearing about the silly thing your kid said. I enjoy the way you define yourself online. But I don't want to feel defensive. And I don't want to like you less because of your political ideals. I want to look at your pictures, reminisce about shared good times and enjoy the person you have grown into, controversial topics aside.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Any Given Tuesday

As I have muddled through the first half of my Tuesday, a couple of noteworthy things have already happened. In addition to that, my Tuesdays are generally the most full in terms of the number of different environments I need to be in. My favorite email buddy knows that I am less available on Tuesdays and she frequently writes it off to me being in court with survivors so I thought it might be fun to walk through my day thus far to give a snapshot of any given Tuesday in my life. For this purpose, today I would define it as a day in the life of a cat owner/commuter/advocate/clinician.

Ok, so it starts out with my sick kitty. My older cat, who I love like I gave birth to her, was diagnosed with kidney failure last week. It was pretty tragic for me but I am doing all that I can to keep her life as normal and natural as possible and to ensure that she has good quality of life for as long as she can. One of the things this involves is a diet switch but food is no joking matter in our house. We have a 2 year old cat that is a heifer. And then this older one is like 5 lbs. So it's actually a really strategic process to split the food in half, mash it up, and put it on two sides of a plate and make sure each cat gets his or her designated side. The little one will only eat if she is on the left. Odd but true.

Then I get in my car to begin my commute that usually takes about 45 minutes but it's about 15 miles so that number can vary widely depending on the time of day, the road I take, etc. I prefer back roads over the highway, usually.  And back roads are especially scenic in New England at this time of year. So I was on a lovely road near a body of water and had just passed an elementary school when I saw a mother and three small children kneeling by the curb on my left. In front of them was an animal in the road the size of a medium dog with brown fur. At first my heart wrenched as I feared a family pet had just been injured. I worried about the trauma these children would remember for the rest of their lives. I drove a few more feet and realized it wasn't a dog but a giant beaver. Giant. And there was blood splatter abounding like it was a CSI episode. While it was still sad and certainly interesting, I became a little alarmed now that the mother was showing this off to her little ones. Being near the school and just after 9 am, I'm pretty sure they were running late for classes so they could get this life lesson. This wasn't just pointing it out; it was getting down to street level within a foot of a very bloody dead animal and these were really little kids. Again, I worried about the traumatic impact. I certainly would expect nightmares at that house tonight.

I'm making pretty good time and feeling pretty good about that because last Tuesday this same commute made me a little late for my work day because the road was under construction in about 46 places. I actually saw a woman I used to babysit for out on her morning run and was kind of racing her as I had to keep stopping at lights. As she passed me for the fourth time, something shifted in the traffic pattern. I was stopped and probably five solid minutes passed before I realized it wasn't just stop and go, slow and inching. It was put your car in park and do your makeup stopped. First a cop car came by. Then a fire truck. Then 2 more cop cars. Then an undercover cop car. Cars behind me started turning around but I was stuck between a Peter Pan bus and a tractor trailer. I got out of my car to see what was happening and I could see that it was right in front of me but the action shot was being blocked by the bus. I could see a photographer and some construction equipment in the middle of the road. Fifteen minutes had passed. Curious but impatient, I did a multi-point turn to unwedge myself and turned down a road I had never been on but somehow it delivered me to a main route and I was on my way again!

Twenty minutes late for a group I had all the supplies for that I was co-leading with my boss, I arrived at a residential facility for mothers in early substance abuse recovery. We had a discussion about a topic related to domestic violence, substance use and transactional sex and then moved on to craft time. We used Mod Podge to collage hat boxes as a means of "defining your own reality" and a good time was had by all.

After an hour, I left to head to the local trauma clinic where, each week, I sit on a team that talks about families they are working with who are experiencing domestic violence. Often, they are also families I am working with so we pow wow about how we can collaborate. I know it sounds wacky but it's actually really fun. It's nice to be in it with other like-minded people. I grabbed some baked goods off of the table before heading into my office for the first time today. Filled up from the goodies, I could take less time eating my actual lunch and could sneak in a quick blog post. Voila!

And that was only by 1 pm....I still have a few more hours to go and then head to my part time job tonight!