Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

May your day be truely merry and bright!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Santa apparently gives Chat Now Cell Phones as gifts. Or so Grandma has informed me.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


I'm jealous of a myth.

AV still wholeheartedly believes in Santa. Thus mommy needs to produce a Santa present. But what does Santa give her?

I've bought clothes and books but I'm thinkin' those are not Santa presents. She's getting an mp3 player (Sandisk M240) but *I* want credit for that!

So I'm at a complete loss to figure out what "Santa" gives a 9-year old that I'm ok with not getting mommy credit for! =-)

Friday, November 17, 2006


I'm feeling rejected. I write a little column on organization for our local monthly entertainment newspaper. The newspaper was just bought by the weekly newspaper that's trying to provide an "alternative to the daily paper. Got that?

So, anyway, the new editor emailed everyone, threatened to not publish if articles were submitted electronically by the 16th of the month. Oh, and include all your contact info and an invoice because apparently the previous owners neglected little details like phone numbers and reimbursement rates.

Well, that wasn't too hard for moi since I do this for free in exchange for a business tag line at the end of the article. So I emailed in my submission electronically (I'm guessing all the other writers submitted their stories written on the back of diner napkins), only to receive this reply:

Thanks for the submission. Your piece has a nice holiday tie-in so we will be able to use it. However, we are trying to focus on entertainment related topic. Thus, future submissions should have some kind of entertainment tie-in.

Tell me what you think of this either by email reply or by calling.

So tell me dear readers, exactly how entertaining do you find organization?

Perhaps I could write an article along the lines of : "The local Nutcracker production was really great and the progam was organized very well."

Or maybe: "This weeks movie can't be enjoyed without a trip to the concession stand where you'll notice the great organization of the candy display."

Hmmm. So I'm thinkin' I'm out of a free gig. Darn!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Since I've been personally emailed twice in the last 48 hours by my faithful blog readers, I am starting to get the hint that I need to actually post!

So how are things going? AV and I are doing great. The social worker came about two weeks ago and talked to AV about guardianship, what that meant and that I would be her guardian. After some explanation, AV was just like "ok" and went about her business.

Since then though, the change has been amazing. She used to always make it a point to tell others I was her foster mom. Now she had created a little call and response. She says (most emphatically) "You're MY mom!" and I am to respond (most emphatically) "You're MY daughter!"

So that part is going really well. Academically she is doing great. Sociall - ehhh, not so great. Wonderful survival skills in a dysfunctional family do not translate well into socially acceptable behavior. But we're working on it.

And lying! Whewee but that child can lie! And so stubbornly defend her lies even when confronted with hard evidence! So we're also working on that.

The nightmares are tons better. Funny enough she had 5 nights of nightmares in a row right after we discussed the guardianship. Those nightmares though were pretty mom focused so even my thick dream-interpretation brain could figure that out.

One of the ways I explained guardianship vs. adoption was that she was gaining me as a mom. She wasn't losing her parents - they're still mom and dad. But they can't take care of her so she gets to add a mom to her life. Now, so long as she doesn't announce to people that she has two mommies, I think we'll be ok! =-)

Work is going well. I did get the mongo raise I asked for!!! So thank you everyone for the encouragement! 18%!! It took forever because the company fiscal year starts in Sept but the budget wasn't approved until mid-October.

My business is doing ok. I'm finding it very difficult to balance parenthood and promoting my business. I do have a new opportunity to push my services more into the business sector so I'm really hoping that pans out.

I think that's enough for now - don't want to overwhelm you all!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I think there is no more of a heinous crime than to shatter the innocence of a child.

AV was put on a "behavior plan" at her after-school care place. She's been talking sex with the other kids and a few parents complained. I don't blame them - I'd be furious if my 8-9 year old was learning about sex from some other kid.

But this is a big issue for AV. She was forced into her knowledge way too early and that dormant period of childhood is lost, never to be regained. She has all this knowledge and no idea of social mores. We've had to establish the rule "sex is for grown-up and talking about sex is only to be done with a trusted grown-up".

I am so mad on her behalf that she would ever have been harmed in this way.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Good News

I would just like to inform my internet audience that I bought a new pair of pants for work this weekend...

... 2 sizes smaller than everything in my closet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Checking in!

Hi there dear internet! I've been a bit busy with this whole mommy thing so I have neglected my postings. Then I got a very sweet email from my former MIL who encouraged me to keep blogging. Nice!

Anyway, AV and I are doing great. They have asked me to be her legal guardian. Legal guardianship is just one step down from adoption. They do not believe AV will become available fo adoption because they don't think they can terminate the father's parental rights. Apparently there are seven legal tests that must be met before rights can be terminated and the State does not feel they can prevail on all 7 tests. So she can't go home but she can't be adopted either.

Turns out this may be the best plan for AV anyway. She HATES the idea of adoption. Seems her father has told her that if she is adopted, she'll never see her family again. Not true with open adoption but she believes it. So guardianship will give her a permanent plan without the trauma (in her mind) of adoption. So I'm ok with it.

I am now a cliche - a soccer mom! AV is on a soccer team and just loves it. She's really good too. The coach calls her a natural goalie. It's great to watch her get out there and play. So now our schedule includes twice weekly practices and weekly games. I had thought to start her in piano but I think I'm going to hold off on that until after soccer!

I just got back from a week in VA visiting my SIL and neices. I finally got to meet Cadee! The girls are just so cute! Cadee is 17 months and Rori is just shy of her third birthday. I had so much fun with them and enjoyed playing "auntie". I was glad to give Nikki a break too. My brother Guy is in the Navy and is on a 6 month deployment. He is due home in 6 weeks. So it's been a long stretch of being a single mom to two preschoolers!

Nikki also got me into scrapbooking. I brought a bunch of AV photos and Nikki gave me a ton of stuff she no longer wanted. So during naps and evenings I created scrapbooks for AV from 1st and 2nd grade. It was so sad to realize, she has no tangible memories of life before foster care. All the pictures and such that she has all start from when she came into care.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Pictures of AV...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Camp Aftermath

"So mom, this is what you're going to do. I'm going to cry and then you're going to call and cancel the day camp for next week and take me back summer camp instead. OK?"

(She loved camp! Can you tell? =-) )

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I miss my kid. Silly, unrealistic or whatever, the fact is I miss her.

I don't like going home to an empty, silent house... at least on this third night. Night one was wonderful - pizza and beer and silence all to myself! Night two was ok - worked late, did lots of chores at home, another beer... etc.

Today though, yep, ready for her to come home. Though I'm very sure she is having the time of her life and is very much NOT ready to come home! =-)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Summer Camp

AV is going to summer camp tomorrow. It somehow seems wrong for a two-month old parent to be so excited about a week's reprieve. =-)

I've already created this huge list of all the business and personal things I plan to do while she's away. But I have a sneaking suspicion that what I'll really do is watch TV, read and drink the occasional beer without guilt or worry (she's from an alcoholic family so any sign of alcohol completely flips her out - so no alcohol in my house at all).

These past couple months have been wonderful but also very taxing. The constant need for attention, the clingy-ness, the nightmares, the fears, the drama. So I'm looking forward to the next week and I think that must make me a normal parent! =-)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Avatar Traffic Jam

I recently received this email after a talk I gave at a local church ladies meeting. I don't think I've ever seen so many smileys....

Hi , Hi

Thank you for such an inspiring and encouraging teaching on organizing our lives. Shelby said so many ladies said they enjoyed it and were glad they came. Awesome You were wonderful. Hope you get some business from these Jump For Joy hyped-up ladies. You got them thinking and picturing their ideas, now they just have to take some Action action. As soon as I can, I'll make an apointment Reminder for you to help me get my House house in order, THEN my garage. I know you answered my Answer The Question question before your session, but thought someonelse would like to know since "I" would clean out the garage, then stash all my Trashcan "junque". I know! I know! Keep, toss, donate, whatever box to stop the Popcorn popcorn antics. Thanks Again you made it fun to understand how this helps us in our life.. Ain't Life Grand
Cinnamon T

Friday, July 28, 2006

First Time

I just asked for my first raise. I've never had to ask for a raise before. I've always been paid well and considered it fair for the job. In this position, I know I'm getting paid lower than my peers and I'm doing an excellent job so I decided to take the plunge.

I asked for an 18% increase. !!

My boss said he agreed I was doing an excellent job and would cogitate on the request.

Here's hoping!!

Monday, July 24, 2006

AV Update

So I'm sitting here at work realizing how much I miss AV. Funny thing is, I really look forward to work because she is such a busy/demanding child. Just a month together and I miss her when we're not together. (All together now - Awwww).

I haven't written much because I have been so busy. I've got her schedule written out but I'm still trying to re-configure mine. Last week I think I left something at home almost every day - my breakfast, my cell phone, my brain, etc. I think Mommy needs to post a check list!

I also haven't written much because it's been such an emotional upheaval regarding whether or not AV will be with me long term. At first the social worker (SW) said she would be staying long term at my house and would I consider the possibility of adoption? Then the SW received an email from a previous foster family AV had been with for a year. The last the SW heard from them was they thought AV was great but they were not interested in adoption. Now the former foster mother is saying they would like her back. And the SW is inclined to move AV because AV has a stronger connection with this other family.

Here's the kicker though. AV left the family because the mother left for civilian contractor job in Iraq. She's not coming back until April 07. But she is returning home for a 2 week vacation in September so the SW will talk to the family more then. But AV left because the dad works rotating shifts and they couldn't provide supervision for AV. But now this former foster mom is indicating she wants to find a way to bring AV back.

And here's another caveat - things were not all honkey-dorey in this home. I'm in contact with another foster mom who has a child that was in this other foster home. And I know this former foster mom is under investigation. But my SW seems to just dismiss this fact. Grrrr! Even if AV does not stay with me, I will fight to keep her out of a home she does love but also fears.

This is really hard because she is my first placement. But honestly, I think I would feel less torn if AV had been a temporary placement. But now that she is long-term and then potentially adoptable, I feel like someone is threatening my child.

And, in the manner of many foster children, she is becoming more and more attached to me. We have lots of discussions on trust and will I be there for her and will I love her if she does _X__. And she's growing comfortable enough to tell me her secrets and to get mad at me. She got in semi-serious trouble for the first time this weekend and lost swimming privledges for a day. She didn't like that but her real issue was whether I would still love her and if the rest of the day would be miserable.

And last week she pitched a sulky fit as we were doing "Brain Power" (summer studies since she missed being enrolled in summer school) and lost her "good attitude" mark for the first time. After about 30 minutes she came to me and asked if I would love her even if she had "anger issues". I had to swallow a smile at her terminology as I solemnly promised to love her even when not pleased with the behavior.

So we are bonding and doing well. I just feel this black cloud looming overhead...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Donna was here!

For those of you who know her she says hi and hopes to spend a month in AK in August.

For those who don't know her, Donna is a college friend currently in the States on furlough from her life as a mission teacher in Papua New Guinea. She is a part of the Wycliff team translating the Bible into the native language. She teaches Jr. High missionary kids who board at the school while their parents are in the villages working on the translation.

She is currently in the states traveling all over visiting family, friends, and supporters. I'm so glad I was part of her itinerary! We had a great visit. She really lights up when she talks about teaching the kids.

Here's Donna with AV.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Conversations I Never Expected to Have with an 8 Year Old

2. You do not need to wear underwear with your swimming suit.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

First Illness

102.8. Damn that's hot!

Guess that kids tend to get temps but this new mommy was concerned. Everytime I took that kid's temp yesterday it was up another 1/2 a degree.

If I had known her longer I probably would have just kept her home, but since she's new I took her to Immediate Care (three hours later I was definately thinking they should change their name!!!). The NP thought it was a virus and possibly migraines.

So by 9pm last night her fever was down to 98.6 and she was normal this morning. This evening she was back up to 101.3 and complaining of a hoarse throat.

Of course this is all complicated by the fact she's in respite for 4 days because I have a business booth at a 4 day trade show over the weekend. She didn't want to go to respite (even though she knew the kids from another foster home). Poor baby, I know she was worried and a bit freaked she was moving again even though I reassured her she wasn't. I think it began to sink in when I said she was just VISITING this family and still LIVING with me.

So I made her go to care even with a sore throat. After all, we know she is a bit of a drama queen. And this trade show is really important to me to generate some much needed business.

I feel I'm walking such a fine line here. On the one hand, I know she can be manipulative and she blows any little boo-boo way out of proportion in an attention seeking bid. On the other hand, she has really good reason to be insecure and 1 week is hardly enough time to know the Mommy is trustworthy and really will come back and get you. I am her 4th placement after all.

Anyway, the respite giver and I talked several times today trying to help AV feel secure but also stay at the respite home. At 7:30 the caregiver called me and said her temp was up to 101. That was it. I closed my booth (the show was dead, dead, dead anyhow) and went and picked up my child. Faking a sore throat is one thing but how could she fake a fever? We cuddled on the couch while she drank gatorade and watched TV.

Maybe I'm indulging my heart too much. How do you balance a foster child's emotional needs with appropriate behaviors?

I still have no idea what I'm going to do tomorrow. If she's sick she can't go to care. If she's not sick... I'm tempted just to bring her to the trade show for a few hours. She'll see what I'm doing and get really bored and hopefully want to go back to the respite care home.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Just talking

Conversations I Never Expected to Have with an 8 Year Old
(or with anyone for that matter)

1. The prevention of skid marks and proper toileting hygiene

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

First Impressions

Thur - AV comes to stay with me

Fri - AV watches me do my makeup and hair in the morning. "You wear makeup?" "Yup."

Sat - We get ready to go camping that weekend. "Mommy, why aren't you wearing your makeup?" "Because we're going camping and I'm not out to impress anybody!"

Mon - AV watches me do my makeup and hair in the morning. "So who are you trying to impress today Mommy?"

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Fake Out

I fixed stir fry veggies for dinner tonight. Chinese peas, zucchini, asparagus - all from the local Farmer's Market. Yum!

So AV eats everything but the asparagus and starts complaining. "Do I have to?" "They're nasty! "I don't like these!"

And so and so on. Typical kid stuff. So I tell her she has to eat three pieces. She gets one, nibbles, makes a nasty face, forces herself to swallow, chases it with huge gulps of milk. "Do I have to eat more? You eat it for me! I don't like it!"

I cheerfully tell her only two more and studiously ignore her - trying to prevent a contest of wills.

She manages, with much vocal protest, to get the other two pieces down. Yeah AV! Good job. Very proud of you!

I'm sitting there, mentally congratulating myself on managing this parental crises, when I look over and see this child gleefully chewing while enthusiastically spearing as much asparagus as her fork will hold. For a moment, a very brief, shining and delusional moment, I wonder if I've wrought some sort of food preference miracle.

She bursts into giggles and laughter. "I love these! These are so good!"

What?!?! Why you little stinker! And I burst into my own laughter. Such drama - not over the asparagus but at tricking me! So no aversion to asparagus, just an evil flare for drama. Hysterical! =-)

Miniature Bombs of Nastiness

Something to laugh at… I unpacked AV’s winter coat and tossed it toward the door to be taken to the front hall closet. She gives a shout and runs over to the coat. I’m wondering why this coat is so important…she starts emptying out the pockets. Good for AV!

Until she says “Yup, they’re still there”. Chicken eggs… raw, now cracked, half baked from the sun chicken eggs. Why the coat pocket was a good place for chicken eggs, I wouldn’t know.

So I leave the coat there for a moment while we finish unpacking the box only to see movement out of the corner of my eye – my dog is eating the stinky, rotten chicken egg! Yell at the dog, move the coat to the bathroom to be dealt with later. Return to what I was doing only to see movement out of the corner again… now Seby has pulled the coat down from the counter and is going for the eggs! Yell at the dog – move the coat again and return to the bathroom to now clean up thick nasty yellow yolk on my rug, the counter, the sink…

Yup, being a mom is going great!

Friday, June 23, 2006

I'm a Mommy!

I got my first placement last night!

AV is a sweet 8 1/2 year old girl. She's been in foster care about a year and a half. I'm her 3rd placement. Her first placement was a year long and had to end because the foster mom got a job out of the country. The second placement was 6 weeks long and ended because the foster mom asked that AV be moved. The reason I was given for this move is that the foster mom is a sweet person but not touchy-feely. AV is very much a cuddle bug - lots of hugs and kisses. The foster mom was uncomfortable so AV had to move.

AV is definately a touch kind of person. Within an hour she was giving me hugs, blow kisses, holding hands, signing "I love you"... And since I have no problem with hugs this is all fine by me. (There may be some boundary issues to deal with in the future but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

She finished 2nd grade and is working at grade level though she is weak in her math and reading skills. So we'll work on that through the summer. She loooooves to sing. She sang to almost every song on the radio and then switched to Sunday School songs during the commercials.

DCFS arranged for her to be in the YMCA day camp while I'm at work and with clients. The social worker gave all the Y info to me and AV needed to bring a lunch, water bottle, sun screen, swim wear all in a backpack. And I didn't have any bread, meat, juice, water bottle, lunch sack, sun screen or backpack in my house! So a quick trip to Fred's and $50 latter (!), the child is outfitted for the day.

This morning she woke me at 5:30am. She said she had been up reading and coloring "for a long time!" So I'm really hoping the early morning is all about the excitement and a new place and not a regular thing! I put her to be about 8:30 last night so maybe I need to push bed time back a bit.

Oh, and I didn't tell you that AV's long term permanancy plan is adoption. Not that I'm ready to adopt less than 24 hours after meeting her! But, AV will not be returning home (baring the unforeseen) and the social worker is moving to terminate parental rights in September. So the social worker is looking for a long term placement that could possible become an adoptive placement. And adoption is part of my long-term dreams...

The frustrating part is that we don't know if I'll be the long term placement. This all happened so fast... The social worker called me directly but the Placement Coordinator (a different person) had another foster family in mind for AV. Who's to say if that will make a difference. As you can tell, I'm pretty enthusiastic and practically falling in love already. I am trying to hold back a bit and work on a reality check. The future is very uncertain.

AV is very aware that she is not going back home and knows that the social worker is trying to find a permanent placement. I feel for her - tough place to be for an 8 year old kid.

I guess that's it for the moment. Now that I've gotten all this out of my system I hope I can focus on work!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Her X-Powers

KC and I went and saw X-Men III this weekend. Very good movie!

So at the end of the movie the credits start to play and we follow the crowd and begin to file out. Three rows below us, a pretty 20-something turns around an tells the stranger behind her "TV said there was something to see after the credits!"

She was lounder than she intended. The entire theater paused their exit strategy, turned, applauded her and then sat back down! It was amazing!

But even better was the following 5-10 minutes. The credits kept going and going and going... I was sure someone was going to get disgusted with themselves for listening to a stranger and delaying their own rush to relieve overly-full bladders.

But nope - everyone stayed put. This girl had the entire theater in her thrall!

Finally, the credits cleared and a very important little scene did play!

I saw her exiting with her friend and she remarked she has been getting very nervous as the credits continued to drag on. I told her she must have her own mutant power to be able to hold a room full of strangers at her command!


The weekend with KC was good. A very nice kid. Incredibly energetic but very polite. He voluntarily took out the trash and made his bed! Cool!

He also believes himself completely invincible. This was very weird for me as I have always been more cautious and never break the rules. KC , on the other hand, was bragging about diving over a 4 ft tall hedge and seriously wounding his elbow, showing off scars and bulging torn tendons...

He loves Mt. Dew and told me about some guy who burned a hole in his stomach from drinking too much Mt. Dew. True or not the guy was KC's hero! Gack!

I'm not sure how I would deal with this. I'm not sure if it's a young male thing, a unhealthy symptom of stress being in the system or some sort of combo.

At the end of the weekend, I asked KC what he thought about staying with me. He told me he really wanted to stay with another foster dad but this other foster home hadn't renewed their license. The other home is near to where KC currently lives and many of his friends, so it's understandable.

Don't know what will happen from here. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Foster kid

So I have a 16 year old boy this weekend for respite care. His current guardians (a more permanent status than foster parent) are moving out of state and KC wanted to remain in the area so he could continue to visit his mom.

So we're doing a trial weekend. If it works out, KC will come live with me.

I got to say a 16 year old boy is a far cry from the 7-10 year old girls I thought I'd get! =-)

BTW - so far he seems very nice and likeable. We share an interest in TV, movies and books. He even likes some of the same fantasy authors I do!

Will keep you posted!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Stop Now and Save Yourself

"If we get a deadly strain of bird flu it may in fact kill all those who
attend church. The larger the Church you go to the more risk of death of all of
your family. Also small churches may kill off all their people."

Article here.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


I was feeling super restless this weekend. My clients have all dropped away and I'm finding myself with way too much time on my hands.

So Friday night I realize I will go completely nuts if I just sit home all weekend with nothing to do. So I decide I need to go to the beach.

I've always thought it sad to live in a place but never know it. And I always day dream about weekend trips and seeing what there is to see. I've even talked with a couple friends and made definate someday plans.

But I never go anywhere.

So I decided I had a free weekend and I was going somewhere, damn it! Well, after making lots of grandious plans, I kindof chickened out of a 6 hour drive to the coast as a spur of the moment trip. Especially since I don't want to spend money on a hotel room. I thought I would camp and I found some great parks but I don't yet own a sleeping bag, tent, lantern, folding chair, etc. You see the issue.

So I woke up late Saturday and thought, Duh! there's got to be something around the area I can go see!

Enter Palouse Falls. I gathered a neighbor child and her friend and the two dogs and the five of us drove just past Washtucna, WA to the Palouse Falls state park.

What a great place! You follow this super twisty, curvey country road, turn off to a dirt road and travel between hay fields wondering WTF?!?!?! And then, as you pull into the parking lot, you can hear a low rumble. Down a short path, and the ground drops away from sheer cliffs and you see this huge waterfall tumbling down into a massive round cut into the ground.

It was very odd... You drive to this place going over gentle hills, and you kind of wonder where a waterfall could be. The land all feels at the same relative level. Then you realize you are standing at the top of a sheer cliff, looking down into a massive, round rent in the earth. The height of it was dizzying.

I didn't actually take the picture of this little guy. This is a Hoary Marmot at Palouse Falls. We saw three of them but all my pictures came out blurry and far away. And he's too cute not to be seen.

Next weekend is Father's Day. After that, I'm going to the coast!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The real perspective

My brother is in the Navy and is on a 6 month tour of duty - on a ship, away from his wife and two daughters.

Last week the ship was in Israel and he wrote several very enthusastic emails about how great that stop was. Loved the tours, the country, the history, the architechture - the whole 9 yards.

I told him I was glad he had such a great stop but it seemed kindof sad that the highlight of this tour might have come in the first month!

His reply?

"As far as it being the highlight, I will have to wait and see about the rest of the time and places we go. And there is always one better highlight... returning home, nothing will beat that. Period."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

First Foster Care follow up

He was a nice 11-year old boy just at my home for respite (regular foster parents get 2 days of respite a month) so his foster mom and dad could go off for an anniversary weekend. He spent most of his time on the computer surfing the Lego Star Wars figures and outside fighting the neighbors with his lightsabers. He is seriously into Star Wars.

I did get really upset at one thing though... When I talked to the foster mom, she mentioned she knew it was my first time. (A bit of background - the social worker called me last month to take two sisters long term. We worked on it for over a week and then I decided not to take the girls. It was a tough decision. And then the social worker gave me new info and I felt I might have made the wrong decision. Arrrrgh. Anyway, I think the social worker thought I was feeling a bit gun shy about jumping into the foster parenting thing.)

Back to the story... I didn't mind the social worker telling the foster mom so much BUT the foster mom then told the boy that he had to be really good at my house because he was the first child I had. AND if he wasn't good and I didn't have a good experience, I wouldn't do foster care.

OMG!!! What a load to lay on a poor kid!!! I was sooo mad. I did talk to the boy and several times through the weekend told him he was doing good, my decision didn't hang on him... etc. I think he got it by the end of the weekend but still! I did tell the social worker who thanked me for the feed back. Hopefully this won't happen again.

The joys of working in a government system...

Stretching the lunch hour

For all of us who've always wanted a bit more lunch hour...

The Lunch Clock

Saturday, June 03, 2006

First Child

Well, I have my first foster child. I'm doing weekend respite care for a 11-yr-old boy. This weekend is his foster parents' anniversary so all 5 (!) of the foster kids are in respite care. His foster father dropped him off Friday just before dinner and will pick him up on Sunday night.

So fare it seems to be going well. I've made the first parental sacrifice - no sleeping in on the weekends! The foster parents requested I keep him on his schedule - 8pm bed and then he wakes up on his own at 6:30-7. Fortunately he slept in as well so I didn't have to get up until 8am.

So a happy weekend to all of us!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Spell T - H - I - S

This article in USA Today talks about the growing media popularity of the National Spelling Bee.

The article also includes a 6 word spelling test.

I got 1 out of 6. Which is just pitiful.

And I only knew the definition of one of the words (which was not the one word I spelled correctly). Seriously pitiful.

So, how'd you do?

Monday, May 22, 2006


Ever have one of those days when you just can't wake up?

I'm sitting at my desk swimming in my tiredness.

The scary thing is I had to drive to another town 1.5 hours away this morning. Thank God for good audio books, Diet Coke, Red Bull and pretzels.

Friday, May 19, 2006

And he huffed, and he puffed...

So this is what a wind storm can do... (Note the now-slopeing fence line and the chimney from the apartment the tree rests on)

Very thankfully, this was not my apartment, just the complex where I live (which is close enough!)

Angry sky but very pretty...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hot, hot, hot!

OMG - 99 degrees today. It's only May people!!!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Work Vent

I don't get it. In this day and age why would anyone not understand that having bikini clad women on calendars or posters in your locker is a clear violation of sexual harassment policy! OMG - I'm getting push back and resistance from a supervisor and manager!! People who are supposed to know better!

Why would anyone not want to work towards a workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination for everyone? What you do at home is your business but the work place should be a place with standards set that are respectful to every employee, client, customer, etc. So have the nude calendar in your home shop but not at work! Sexual innuendo and foul language in the lunch room is not acceptable!

I am preparing a training session on harassment and discrimination for the end of the month. A one hour mandatory session for everyone in the company. I had thought it would be a light-hearted review since there's been training in the past. Now I'm realizing I'm going to encounter a lot of resistance.

I hate being the heavy - the police force. Part of my problem is that I want to be liked. That is a very bad quality to have in an HR manager. My job often involves policy and discipline which does not equate with being a beloved co-worker. I'm not a co-worker really to anyone in the sense of being able to gripe, bitch or just decompress after a tough day. HR touches everyone and everything is confidential so I have to be circumspect with everyone.

I do like my job so I shouldn't complain. I just need to find other friends and confidants outside of work - something I really struggle with. It's tough to find a good friend who will just let you vent.

So thanks for being a friend dear Internet!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!

Dad and I bought my mom car wash gift certificates and flowers. And this morning Dad made taco omelets for breakfast. Yummy! My brother called from somewhere in the Mediterranean which was a complete and wonderful suprise for my mom.

As far as my own motherhood status... I have received my foster care license. I had two call last week. The first child ended up being placed with a relative and the second child was also never placed I think because of the after-school, summer care help I would need.

So for the moment the spare bedroom is still spare.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day!

Wine Tour

I went on my first wine tour! The Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington is quickly becoming a very popular wine tour destination. There are lots of wineries all over the valley.

I have never been into wine but since I live close to this area and everybody seems to know something about wine, I thought I should do a little self-education.

The singles group I'm a part of was invited by another singles group do join them on a Spring Barrel Wine Tasting bus tour. So I talked a friend into joining me and off we went!

First note of amusement - there were three singles groups represented on the bus. My group is a general singles group - no age or activity focus but the membership does tend toward the older crowd. The other two groups were over 50 singles groups. So my friend and I, at a ripe old 35 each, were the youngest on the bus! =-) That was very funny.

Second amusement - 10 minutes from our first destination the bus broke down. To pass the time we had an improptu comedy show with several jokes and many grumbles that we didn't yet have any wine to pass around!

We stopped first at the Port of Prosser where we visited the storefront for Alexandria Nicole, Cowan Vineyards, Hogue Cellars, Kestrel Vineyards and Thurston Wolfe.

Third amusement - Spring Barrel wine does not taste good! As part of my education I learned that spring wine is still in the barrel and is a couple weeks to a couple months from being bottled. And then the bottles age for a period before going on sale. So spring barrel wine is much sharper than any finished product. I really admire the wine makers who can taste the spring wine and know how long to leave it in the barrel, and how long to leave in the bottle before sale.

From Prosser we moved to Sunnyside and visited two wineries there including Tucker Cellars.

Fourth amusement -I am, apparently, a complete lightweight when it comes to wines. After our second stop I was starting to get a headache the bloomed into a 5-alarm nightmare as the day wore on. I don't even remember the names of the wineries in between the first and the last stop. I was hurting so bad. I quit sampling wine - I had no idea that little sips would kill me like that!

Which was very sad because I was really getting a kick out of seeing new country and learning new things. I usually go for white wines and on this trip I discovered Viognier - which is very good. I even tasted a merlot that I really liked and I'm usually not a fan of red wines! So the middle of the tour is a bit of a blur. Which was sad for another reason...the best and most beautiful winery we visited was the last one on the tour - Terra Blanca.

Terra Blanca was by far the most beautiful place we visited. Many of the wineries are in a seperate location from the vineyards. But at Terra Blance you pass through the vineyards on the way to the winery. The drive remined me of several scenes from A Walk in the Clouds. I really wish I had been feeling better so I could have appreciated it more.

Anyway, with the exception of feeling completely ill at the end, I really enjoyed my first wine tour. I learned bunches and now I know what to send for Christmas presents! =-) Here's a few picts you might like....

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Desert Bloom

There are a couple weeks each spring when the desert blooms with lovely clusters of purple/lavendar/white flowers. Then these tall yellow flower come out wash the desert with a pale yellow that bends in the breeze. And now the dark purple flowers that replace the lavender clumps can be seen in the low folds of the hills. It's a very pretty time.

And lest anyone think I don't live in the desert - check out the tumbleweed!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Random ruminations

Why is it that I feel I was closer to my core self at 18 than 35? What is it that moves us away from the person we are to be something we’re not?

I have had the opportunity in the last year and a half to re-examine and re-choose who I want to be – my attitudes, behaviors, views, opinions – everything. And what I find myself moving towards feels very familiar – like a distant memory. There are times when I can emotionally jump from now back to senior year of high school/first year of college and see a person I really like. But what happened to those in between years?

Yes, I’m divorced and that was very hard but I’m not bitter. We had many really good years together and I have a lot of really great memories. But what is it about those marriage years that pulled me away from the person I was?

I’ve actually heard from several other women lately that they have felt similarly. That somehow through the marriage and mothering process they lost their own personality. Some of these women are divorced, some are still married.

It makes me think – if I was ever to venture into the dating/marriage arena again, how would I manage the compromise of relationship while holding on to the core of me? What about this new foster parent adventure I’m about to go on?

I like this person I am becoming – much more than the person I was 2-5-10 years ago. How does one hold onto that and continue to grow?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Easter Sunday

Since you guys seemed to like the spring photos from around the apartment complex, I thought I'd share these. I took a walk in the local park on Easter Sunday...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

1st Birthday

My sister-in-law just sent me pictures from my nieces 1st birthday. Looks like she's haveing a great time, doesn't it?! =-)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Great Granola Plot

I've gotten into doing yoga. I've always loved stretching and toning more than cardio type exercise so yoga is perfect.

After doing this new yoga routine for a few weeks, I realize that many of the moves are familiar...from gym time in elementary school.

I went to elementary school in the mid-70's . Our town was very small, very quaint and had a decidedly "artistic" (read tree-hugging, granola-eating, sandal-wearing, shower-eschewing) bent.

My parents were not part of this group. They were very much white-collar professionals who scoffed at all things hippie.

So I wonder how disturbed they would be to know that my first exposure to that eastern evil of yoga was as a sweet, young, impressionable elementary school kid just going to gym class?

The Big Brother Excuse

Hi there - long time no speak!

My excuse is big brother. See, work installed a new tracking feature that now tracks each person's internet use (addresses and time spent at the address). So I decided I should be very good (being the HR person and all) and not do anything not related to work.

Which meant I never blogged because I'm too busy/tired when I get home.

But the powers-that-be discussed the company use of the computers policy and we decided personal use that did not interfere with business demands was acceptable. And since I wrote the policy, I'm now sure that taking a few minutes from my break to blog is a-ok!

Lucky you! =-)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Pictures of Summer

T and I walked around the apartment complex today taking photos of "summer". Here are her top three:

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Anger Management

I got angry today. Some stupid situation that didn't work out like I planned.

So I ended up at home for a few hours...and I did the most amazing thing.

Usually I deal with anger by eating, watching TV, being still - any number of passive, unhealthy ways.

Today I actually decided to exercise - and I did! In spite of being dressed for the office and being off schedule yada yada yada, I changed clothes, rolled out my yoga mat and worked out for 45 minutes.

I'm so proud of myself! =-)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Foster Care

So I'm through with all the home inspections. Now she writes up the report, forwards it to her boss and then I get licensed. Turns out her boss is currently out of town so we're looking at least two more weeks of processing before I get the first call.

Thank you all for your encouraging comments. I am completely doubting myself right now. On the one hand I look at my schedule (yesterday I didn't get home until 7pm and then did two more hours on the computer). On the other hand I know I want this (as evidenced by my purchases this weekend which included a really cute red and natural wood chair to match the built in desk!)

So I don't need to worry about my crazy schedule and kids for at least two more weeks. Then I can worry... =-)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Just an update

Not a lot of new stuff going on. My business is booked for the next three weeks!

All the business is great but I'm kindof worried about starting foster care now. I don't get home until after 5:30 or so and then I always have a couple hours of work to do on the computer. How am I going to give the time needed to a foster child?

Or maybe I'm just having cold feet.

My final home check is on Tuesday.

Monday, March 20, 2006


So this is what my office looked like Sunday morning:

My office is the open doorway. The men's room is to the left. Apparently the men's urinal water supply was running all weekend. Someone discovered the flood on Sunday. There was about an inch of water upstairs.

The real problem was the 4+ inches of water downstairs that leaked through the ceiling ruining much ceiling tile and a brand new, high tech copier.

Needless to say, it's a very interesting Monday.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy Day!

Happy Birthday to me! I'm 35 and lovin' it!

Out of Season

I talked with the vet the other day to give a Seby update. He is doing much better. We've now had two nights in a row with no screaming fits! yeah! And he's trying to jump more which is great because he feels better but bad because he's still supposed to stay quiet for another week.

Anyway, the pain meds seem to have messed with his gut a bit and poor puppy is suffering from constipation. So what does the vet recommend to unplug a puppy? Canned pumpkin!

I think that's funny and I love that it's a natural remedy.

So after a long day, I go to Fred Meyer's at 9pm to find March (as opposed to November when it's handily located on the end of the aisle!). I look in the canned fruit... no luck. Baking aisle? No such luck.

I track down two young guys stocking the Mexican aisle. I'm not very hopeful they'll be able to help but...

"Can you tell me where to find canned pumpkin?"

With absolutely no hesitation he replies, "Aisle 7, left side, below the Jell-O".

Dude! That's knowing your job! I was completely impressed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Drop the Junk

Here's my next article for the paper. And Heidi - I haven't forgotton your "what's next?" question. I'll get to it!


As a Professional Organizer, one of the most common areas I deal with is paper clutter. So here are a few tips I share with clients to make dealing with the paper in your life easier.

1. Keep yourself off advertising lists

How did you get on these types of consumer advertising lists? Buy a mail order product, enter a public transaction such as a home purchase, birth, or buy a car. If you are listed in the white pages of the telephone book, file a change of address form at the post office, make a charitable and non-profit contribution, register for a sweepstake or a prize, submit a registration card or consumer survey, your name may be gleaned for future solicitations. To protect yourself, always check the Opt Out box or state “Do Not Contact”.

2. Get off the unwanted mail lists

Write or email the Direct Marketing Association to get off most advertising lists. You’ll see a drastic reduction in the amount of mail you receive in about three months. This is a general opt-out list; you cannot specify certain mailers. To get off specific lists, contact each advertiser directly.

Mail Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
PO Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512

3. Eliminate unwanted credit card offers

The three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and Trans Union established the National Opt-Out Center. Call 888-5OPT-OUT to remove your name from pre-screening or other marketing purposes.

4. Reduce “Current Resident” mailings

Locate the name of the distribution company near your mailing address. Contact the company in writing or by telephone and request that your address be taken off the distribution list. Include the mailing label with your letter.

5. Trash, Shred and Sort

Toss and shred as you open mail and sort the remaining important items into a Family Transition Center with mail slots for kids, parents and bills.

6. Contain and Limit

Choose a specific container for your catalogs, magazines, newspapers or other periodicals. Each time a new issue arrives, place it in the back of the container. When the container is full, toss the front (and oldest) issue.

Still here!

I have not forgotten all of you!

I've been been really busy - two weeks completely booked! Yeah!

Seby seems to be on the mend but part of the reason I've not been blogging is I'm soooo tired. He's waking me up 3-4 times a night and I'm just dead on my feet. I'm a terrible mommy but he's getting some Benedryl tonight. I've got to get some rest!

BTW - I had my first interview with the foster care licensor. We just talked for about 90 minutes - my life story basically. She liked me. We'll do the walk through next Monday and then I'll be licensed! My dad's pretty sure I'll have a kid by Tuesday. Ack! =-)

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Yipee! I'm not a criminal...and now Foster Care agrees!

I finally heard from the licensor today. Apparently there was a backlog...trying to get caught up, etc. So now I'm scheduled for my interview on Monday and the home inspection the next Monday.

OMG - this is really, finally happening! I'm stoked!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Seby update

So we think the pain episodes are being caused by a slipped disk/vertabrae problem/pinched nerve or some such problem probably in his front shoulder area.

Treatment - keep my super energetic dog from running, jumping or climbing for at least two weeks. Right-o. I'm going to try but I'm not sure how well I'll succeed.

Unfortunately the vet also found blood in his urine and thinks that he has a calcification in his bladder wall. This is the same spot that caused the surgery three years ago. But with his enlarged heart, anethstesia is an issue. So she wants to do an echocardiogram first.

But here's the dilemma - no money. All of the above is terribly expensive. I'm really attached to my dog but I'm really attached to the idea of not filing for bankrupcy too! Sigh...

So a couple Seby stories... The heartbreaking one first...

Last night I had been asleep for about an hour. Seby cries out but this time he doesn't stop after the initial yelp. He screams his high pitched, agonizing puppy wail for at least half a minute or longer.

It felt like an eternity. I tried to pick him up but I couldn't figure out how to pick him up and not hurt him more 'cause I still don't know what causes the pain! I finally got him against my chest, spine straight, fully supporting his weight and his cries ebbed to whimpers.

We went into the living room and I tried setting him down. His front legs collapsed under him. He tried to sit up but his legs wouldn't hold his weight. He finally just laid down. A bit later he was up and moving again but my poor mother's heart...

And a funny story...
My puppy, like most dogs, does not like baths. Over the years he's learned to tolerate it but they're definately not a voluntary activity.

Lately, Seby has been at my heels following me everywhere when I'm home. It's been rather annoying since I'm paranoid about stepping on him and causing pain but I also need to be able to walk.

Anyway, so I go to take a shower. One second after I get in, thunk!, there's Seby. OK - that's just too funny! My dog is soooo in need of cuddles that he braves the dreaded bathtub! So I talk sweetly and put him out of the tub.

Thunk! Two seconds later, he's back! So I put him out again and sternly order "Stay!". After all, getting wet and cold can't be a good thing for a hurting puppy!

So I finally lean back to get my hair wet and I feel something the back of my calves. Let me just say that jumping in suprise in a wet bathtub is not a good scenario. (no mishaps though, fortunately) Yep, it was Seby. He worked his way to the front of the tub and jumped in again - technically still obeying the mom's stay command issued at the far side of the tub.

At this point I have to work very hard to keep the amusement out of my voice and order him to stay out of the tub. He did stay out and we cuddled on the couch for hours after. The things a mom will do...

Friday, March 03, 2006

Just another day

"After heating the item in the microwave, the clerk discovered what he thought was a severed penis. " The story...

Ya know, I think I would call this a mental health workers comp event.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Not good news...

I took Seby back to the vet today. He's still in pain.

We took x-rays. They show a possible kidney stone, arthritis in his lower spine and a very enlarged heart.

They drew blood and urine for testing and gave him some pain pills. I'm dropping him off tomorrow for a whole day of observation. The vet wants to see if they can observe what is hurting him.

I will not panic, I will not panic, I will not panic...

Business Slogan

So I'm a Professional Organizer. One thing that I've noticed is that people do not get what I do. They seem to think I come and give advise or make a plan.

What I actually do is the work. Have piles of papers in your office? I'll come create a filing system and file all those papers leaving you with a clean and organized office. Stuff falling out of the closet everytime you open the door? I'll come sort through all your stuff and replace what belongs in the closet in an organized manner. I'll even take the stuff you don't want to Goodwill!

Ever see Mission:Organization or Clean Sweep? I do that. (Just not in 30 minutes and with a crew of 50 helpers).

So in my part of the country, people seem to have no idea that there is someone out there who will clean and organize their mess. So I have to educate on what I do in addition to selling myself as the best person to do it.

So I think I need a new slogan/introduction that more clearly educates and intrigues the public. I used to use "I help get homes and businesses organized." or some such variation. Here's some new options:

1. I do the work!
2. I do the work of getting people, homes and businesses organized.
3. I de-clutter and organize all the spaces of your home.

Any of these help clarrify what I do? Intrigue you enough to ask me more questions? Make you want to hire me?

Vote now! Your opinions are appreciated!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Seby's Heart

I really hope this isn't a big thing...

I took Seby, my 10-year-old male Shih Tzu to the vet yesterday. He's been yelping for seemingly no reason. So she (the vet) said he seemed a bit consitpated and expressed the glands and noted that he has developed a touch of arthritis in the backbone by his tail. So I'll watch him for the next day and see if he starts feeling better.

But while she was doing the exam she discovered a heart murmer. Rated it a 3 on a scale of 1-6. In half the cases it won't ever bother the dog. In the other half it leads to heart failure.

He can't be in the other half...

Mom surgery

My mom is having surgery on Friday. She tore something in her knee and has some sort of blood filled cyst (she is sooo reluctant to give me details!). With the amazing technology today, it will be out-patient surgery and then she'll be off her feet for two weeks.

So all thoughts, prayers and good wishes are welcomed. She's really nervous. My dad is going out of town Saturday so I get to go "babysit". I'm so glad I'm here to help.

What a B*#@!

I just talked to the apartment complex manager. I haven't really talked to her in months - winter hibernation and all.

Anyway... she told me the most interesting story. Apparently my former roommate went to see the manager the day after I gave the roommate her eviction notice. "Did you know KK is evicting me? Without notice? And that she's going to put kids in that room? Foster kids!"

What a bitch! Trying to get me into trouble because she had to move! And such lies!

Fortunately my manager is great and told the former roommate the eviction was between her and I and that I had mentioned taking foster kids and she thought it was great (I hadn't mentioned it but she covered for me - so nice!)

Did I tell you yet that I'm really glad that roommate is gone?

Home Show Report

What a great weekend! Only one confirmed booking but lots and lots of exposure and creating good "buzz" about my business!

I gave three one-hour presentations and had the best turn-out of any presentor! I had 35 people on Sunday for my Organizing Your Closets and Garage workshop.

Being an enthusiastic presentor, I rarely use a mic because my voice carries quite easily. Weeeellll, after three presentations and 27 hours in the booth, my voice is shot. Guess I should use the mic!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Home Show

This weekend I'm at the Home Show again and I'm presenting three workshops! This is a great opportunity...if it results in paying clients! I'm off to try and finish my PowerPoint on Organizing Your Closets and Garage.

It's great to meet people but the weekend is sooo long. Tomorrow I'm at my booth from 9am - 8pm. Gack!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


So Staples wants to know what you think of their new commercial "The Wall". There's also a great time wasting game to pitch the Chinese emporer in the commercial over the Great Wall. $1,000 Staples card to the highest score.

Thoughts for Damn Smart, Amazing, Good Looking Women!

Today is International Very Good Looking, Damn Smart Woman's Day (probably not but it sounds good!). If you are reading this, assume you are a Very Good Looking, Damn Smart woman.

A man's got to do what a man's got to do. A woman must do what he can't.
-Rhonda Hansome-

The phrase "working mother" is redundant.
-Jane Sellman-

Every time I close the door on reality, it comes in through the windows.
-Jennifer Unlimited-

Whatever women must do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.
-Charlotte Whitton-

Thirty-five is when you finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart.
-Caryn Leschen-

I try to take one day at a time -- but sometimes several days attack me at once.
-Jennifer Unlimited-

If you can't be a good example -- then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.

If high heels were so wonderful, men would still be wearing them.
-Sue Grafton-

When women are depressed they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country.
-Elayne Boosler-

Behind every successful man is a surprised woman.
-Maryon Pearson-

In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.
-Margaret Thatcher-

I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.
-Gloria Steinem-

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.
-Eleanor Roosevelt-

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Free Autograph to all Critics

Here's my (almost) final draft of the organizing article. All that remains is honest feedback from my closest web buddies!

Getting Organized

How do you get organized? First do a bit of mental organizing to get yourself ready. Pick a specific area to start organizing. Organizing the whole house is too overwhelming. Instead focus on one shelf or closet or room.

Next, picture the area in your mind and then picture the area as you want it to be – organized and clutter free. Lock that finished picture in your mind and draw your inspiration from it!

There’s no magic to choosing where you start. Pick a smaller, easier job to build your confidence and keep focused on that one job until you’re finished. Then move on to the next area.

Sort items into similar categories – similar sized clothing, hardware, computer accessories, etc. As you sort through your items ask yourself if you really need to keep it. Do you like that picture frame from your aunt? Do you love how you look in that dress? Do you really need 25 empty milk jugs?

Items that you don’t need to keep can be trashed, boxed and saved for a yard sale, or donated to charity. There are many organizations that appreciate quality used items but go ahead and sort out the broken, stained, ripped and torn items and donate the best.

Choose where each category of items are to be stored. All holiday items in the garage? All the light bulbs in the pantry? All the books in the bookshelf? As you sort through each area, keep Like with Like and store similar items all in one place.

Often items need some sort of container to keep them together. A small jar for thumbtacks. An under bed rolling storage unit for wrapping paper and supplies. A basket for electronic remotes. Hooks for purses, coats and backpacks. There are lots of fun options available to containerize every area of your home.

Remember your mental picture? How did you do? Follow these steps for each area of your home to enjoy the peace and comfort of living in your own organized space.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Great Opportunity!

The local monthly entertainment magazine has asked me to write a monthly column on organization! Isn't that sooooo cool!??!

So, if you were to read a short article on how to get organized, what would you want to know? Newbie writer want to make a good impression and needs your help ASAP! Article is due the 14th!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Chemical Trail

Has anyone out there ever actually used up a 4lb box of baking soda? Did you even know you could buy that big of a box of baking soda?

Well, it seems as if I have finally conquered the evil moth ball odor - 4lbs of baking soda and 1gal of white vinegar later! Fortunately, baking soda and white vinegar are very cheap. (or it would have been cheaper to buy new blankets JD!)

The blankets passed a sniff test by my 10 and 9 year old friends who I trust not to hold back their true feelings on the subject. They were the ones who told me my house smelled "weird" when I first brought the blankets in.

I have failed to remove the oder from the waterproof mattress pad though. That thing still stinks to high heaven. I'll leave it to air out for another week and maybe it'll be better. If not, I'm returning it to my mom (who gave me all this stuff for free in the first place.)

Guess What?!?!

I just did something so completely out of character... I went to a singles gathering! Strangers!- I went to a new restaurant, unannounced, not knowing anybody!

I'm so proud of myself! I guess it sometimes pays to not think too much!

There were 7 people gathered for dinner. Another guy was also new. Mostly older folks. But a very nice chat and I think I might attend the Sunday morning breakfast.

It seems to be a really active group - meeting 3-4 times a week. They said between 12-30 people show up for each event. The email notices get sent to 350 people.

Such an interesting thing for me to do! Maybe I'll make some new friends!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

How To

How to remove mothball odor from vellux blankets:

1. Wash in hot water with double soap and Clorox II.
2. Repeat.
3. Dry with Bounce sheet.
4. Test smell the blanket. Gag.
5. Double bag the blankets in black garbage bags and toss onto patio.
6. Ignore the bags for a week.
7. Add activated charcoal and a Bounce sheet to the bags.
8. Ignore the bags through wind, rain and storm for a few more weeks.
9. Kick your roommate out.
10. Test smell the blankets. Gag.
11. Air out the blankets on the patio fence and improvised clothes line for two days.
12. Wash in double soap, double Clorox II, 1 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup baking soda. Let soak for at least two hours.
13. TSTB. G.
14. Fill the washer again increasing the vinegar and baking soda. Let soak overnight.
15. Wash as normal.
16. TSTB. Possible improvement.
17. Dry with two sheets of Bounce.
18. TSTB. Wrinkle nose quizically at the faint mothball-strong Bounce odor.
19. Air out the blankets for another couple days.
20. TBD (will report later)

Monday, February 06, 2006


They stand in line in front of the golden door. No one talks. The golden door opens silently and the line proceeds forward. The door closes. Those left in front of the door wait. The door opens again to reveal the now empty chamber. Once again the line presses forward.

Inside the chamber, the people crowd together yet never touch. The golden door closes. Machinery sounds...

And someone to the side snickers...and the entire elevator of prospective jurors starts laughing as we all realize we felt strangely caught up in the same B-movie, scifi plot.

To Remember

Things not to do at a client's house:

1 - test spray a small can of an unknown substance with a worn lable only to more closely peer at the lable and read "Attack Dog Spray".

2 - smile and say you're fine while coughing, wheezing and sniffling.

Monday, January 30, 2006


I met a new acquaintance this weekend - possibly a new friend.

After 15 minutes we found we had the following in common:

Both into kids (she's adopted two from Brazil which is a place I always wanted to adopt from)
Both work in HR
Both moved to the area about 18 months ago
Both divorced from gay ex-husbands

I thought that was a lot of major points in common.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


My roomie asked for her cleaning/damage deposit back.

I said no.

We had a staring contest.

I won.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Foster Care update

I don't have TB (I know you were worried). I might be a criminal - FBI is still checking my prints. I need to buy activated charcoal 'cause syrup of ipecac is out of style. And I need to get a fire extinquisher in case I have a pyro child.

FBI should get back to DCFS 1st week in March. Then I can schedule my home study. Then I'll be open for business!

Tech literate

My mother bought a computer.

That my mom bought an expensive computer is not a shock. That she bought a computer is a complete shock.

My mom has alway avoided technology. When she got her DVR it took me 20 minutes in person and several follow up calls to explain using the remote. She does not shop online, do email, write letters or otherwise use computers.

Mom is a talented bookkeeper and she actually knows her stuff since she's always done the books on paper. She got a new job as a bookkeeper at a doctor's office and they use QuickBooks. She's learning and is now enrolled in an on-line class.

So, since she has an online class she goes out a buys a super-douper laptop and spends a ton of money.

I think I'm really blogging about this because Mom buying an expensive computer she can't afford because she "deserves" it and "needs" it has brought some of my own patterns of spending into sharp relief.

Remember my motto for the new year? Every thing counts. Every dollar I spend has to be paid. And I realize I've had a deficit spending mentality demonstrated for me. That somehow if I "need" or "deserve" something it doesn't count. Well that's certaintly not true! =-) No excuses or blame - just some self-discovery so I can correct my bad habits.

And only under-spending can correct over-spending. Very painful.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Look what I found on Craig's List! Bunk beds - with storage - and a desk! Mattresses included!

I hope this will work well! I have to drive 4 hours to pick them up next weekend. What was I saying about looking forward to having my weekends back???


All done with foster training! Yeah! Lots of good stuff but I'm ready to not spend my weekends in a classroom!

My roommate found another apartment and is moving out at the end of the month! Yeah!! She's moving to a senior complex (everyone is 55 or older) and she's very happy to be around people her own age. I'm very happy too! Now that I know she's moving I'm even more annoyed about things like the stupid cat getting cat hair on my ironing board. 9 days and then I'm on my own!

So now I'm looking in earnest for all the stuff I need for kids and finishing up my requirement. First Aid training in Feb, need to do a TB test, need to get a fire extinguisher, need to get locking containers for all the medicine, need beds, etc, etc.

Thank you everyone for the comments and encouragements.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Blowing Steam

I saw my home town on CNN! Turns out the local volcano, Mt. Augustine, is going through a series of erruptions. The volcano is an island in Kachemak Bay and I used to be able to see it from my bedroom window - it was quite a view.

The volcano last errupted 20 years ago. I remember because we had horses and I had to keep emptying their water trough because so much ash fell.

Monday, January 16, 2006


So I told my roommate that I'm terminating our rent agreement because I will be using the bedroom for foster care.

She was shocked. We talked a bit more. Her wide eyes started going back to normal. Then she switched tactics.

She proceeded to basically try and discourage me and talk me out of my decision to do foster care for the next 15 minutes.

Now I realize she doesn't like change and this was probably her way of trying to get me to change my mind. "It will be really difficult. Do you realize this is a 24-7 job? You'll have to put locks on all the doors. What are you going to do if this doesn't work out? Are you still going to work? What about your business? This isn't going to be the good thing you think it is."

Grrrr. I basically told her that I want to try, I may fail and I may fail spectacularly but I must try! And I'm not planning to fail (so no, don't think I'll ask you back to be my roommate again). I plan on succeeding.

Some general whining here - I have heard over and over how hard these kids are, how difficult this will be etc. I know I'm probably a naive, but I'm not stupid. I'm preparing as best I can. How does any parent prepare for the impact a child will have on their lives?

And yes, I'm starting as a parent with really difficult kids. But who else is going to give a traumatized child a place of shelter? These kids have been damaged but I have the opportunity to try and help them. I appreciate people wanting to make sure I'm ready and prepared and that my naivete does not further damage the child, but why not also say "thanks for taking one of our communities children" or "I'm glad you'll be there for the child" or just "good luck" or better still "good luck and call me if you need to talk or need advise"?!?

Sorry - just had to get that out of my system! =-)

Thursday, January 12, 2006


So I'm going to a 1-day training seminar tomorrow.

The topic? Document Retention and Destruction in the Age of Electronic Documents (How document retention impacts litigation and business in the computer age).

So am I the only one who would find such a seminar interesting?

I'm actually really looking forward to it! How weird am I? =-)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Cupid Next to Me

So I go to the foster care training and take a seat at a table. Another lady sits next to me. Turns out she's a former social worker. She and her husband have a daughter and are interested in doing respite/foster care. She's taking the training while hubby is at home. Nice gal - I like her.

So class starts and everyone (twelve others), introduce themselves. Everyone is married except myself and another guy. He is looking to do foster care for teens.

My classmate leans over and starts talking about getting him and me together. WTF?!??!?? She doesn't know me, doesn't know him but is playing match-maker. Whoa.

So my classmate, me and another gal go to lunch. Nice conversation. My turn to "reveal". I give my standard 5 line story, (married, divorced, not looking) and my classmate does the "ohhh" thing and the "so you're not ready thing". I'm relieved.

Until we get back to the class room where she informs me her goal is to find out this guy's age, occupation and sexual orientation before training ends.

Geesh! I can only shake my head in amusement.


So I started my 30 hour foster care training class this weekend so I'm sure the next few weeks will be full of my musings around the foster care system. I won't take offense if your eyes glaze over. =-)

Did you know that the first legal action (and beginnings of Child Protective Services) for child abuse was given to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals because it was determined that the lady treated her dogs better that she did her foster daughter? Ugh! Things aren't perfect but they've come a long way!

Many ideas of foster care include children revolving through 10-20-30 different placements, basically growing up in foster care, continued abuse etc. Since the passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, there are new timelines and "thinking" that have changed all that.

As a foster parent I can expect a home visit from the social worker every 30 days. The court hearing for a child to be placed in foster care must be within 72 hours of the child being removed from the home and the "fact finding" hearing must be withing 75 days. Then there's a hearing at 6 months and a Permancy Planning Hearing at 12 months with another court hearing every 6 months until the child is permanently placed (reunification, kinship care, adoption, guardianship, long-term foster care).

There is much more emphasis on "permanancy" and finding the right long-term, stable, nurturing situation for the child. This is even extending to adoption services to make sure the adoption "sticks".

Have you ever heard of a disrupted adoption? (I'm talking state adoptions here, not private adoption.) The foster child becomes legally free to be adopted. The child is placed with an adoptive family. 6 months later the adoption is final. Now the new family has 18 months to send the child back if they want...and if they do that is a disrupted adoption. Can you imagine being the kid in that situation?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

New Year

Two mantra's for the new year -

It all counts -
- every minute
- every dollar
- every calorie

The benefit is worth the struggle.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Coming Up Roses

Talked to the lawyer again today. Looks like everything is going to be ok!

There is some little known section of the law that allows us to do exactly what we're doing. And we may have some unknown agreements in place that further reinforce the companies position.

This is apparently a really unknown section of the law if three lawyers didn't know about it! And I really think there should be a binder in HR with these "unknown" agreements in it so the HR Manager knows how to manage!

The final verdict is still to come but it looks like things are going to be ok and I'm not going to be in the dog house! Yeah!

Thank you everyone for your concern. I really appreciated the support! I'm very glad this was a short-lived crisis!

Blond Joke

Since I'm a blond, I couldn't resist this blond joke...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Roommate

(Left on the message board at home)

I had to be to work at noon. I last let the dogs out at 11:30am. They all had a BM. See you around 5:30.

My Commentary

I had to be to work at noon. (ok - nice to know but not necessary. Ever since she said I was like a daughter we've been working on the I'm-not-responsible-to-report-to-you and You're-not-responsible-to-report-to-me thing.)

I last let the dogs out at 11:30am. (Sort of a given but ok)

They all had a BM. (Why? Why do I need to know this? I do not keep a diary of my dog's pooping schedule so why would it be so important to tell me this??)

See you around 5:30. (This is good to know. But also proves my point. The most the dogs would have been kenneled is 5.5 hours. That's it. I did not need to know about the potty time. I always let them out when I get home just like she always lets them out when she gets home.)

The Bitchy Version

Kate - got called in to my *)$# job. Dogs all took a good shit before I left. I'll be home after the casino run (if I feel like it). Hugs and kisses, The Roommate

Monday, January 02, 2006

A Good Day

Some of you will just shake your head at this but... I actually awoke in a great mood today and I think the reason is because I get to go back to work tomorrow.

Weird, I know. Don't get me wrong. Days off are very nice. But I have found that I do much better with a schedule and things to do. Without the structure of the office day, I find it way too easy to get morose and blue.

Since I have my own business, there are always things to do. But I seem to just lanquish without any sort of structure to my day. Yes, I could create structure but no, I've definately not been too successful with that self-discipline stuff.

So I'm up and moving today, feeling good and looking forward to my job and my clients the rest of the week.

'Course I may feel differently when I hear my alarm at 5:45am...

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Ever since Valette posted about the Mayfly Project, I've taken to the concept. So here's my attempt to summarize 2005 in 24 words.

New Job! Breathe easier!
New business lacks business.
Summer of love - with kids.
Life coaching - refocus.
Foster parent prepare.
First business anniversary - doing better!