Some Days....

Some days my body aches so much that when I first wake up that I have to mentally force myself to get up and get moving. It helps that one of the cats is a total pest until I turn the bathroom faucet on for him to drink from.

Some days (most days) I don't want to take my medication - because I know it will leave me achy, and even though I know it's what I need to do to keep my heart healthy for now, I feel like it's not making my body healthy overall.

Some days I feel like I am ridiculously productive and I wish I could show someone how much I got done because they would never believe how productive I can be.

Some days I wish I lived in Mexico on a little farm where I raised my own food and lived off the land and had no access to chocolate, ice cream or cherry coke (which almost sounds like a nightmare).

Some days I don't feel valued or appreciated and staying positive is trying on my every being. Smiling becomes a secretive sarcastic way of dealing with people around me.

Some days I feel like I should be doing more in the world. Am I making a difference? Is there a purpose to life if I'm not?

Some days I don't want to check my bank balance. And my mailbox across the street seems to have only one  purpose- collecting bills to taunt me each week (honestly-the hospital sends me something EVERY WEEK).

Some days I think it is tragic that we are all going to die and leave behind heartache and sorrow.

Some days I think I should adopt a baby kitten and name it Bunny.

Some days I think I am Superwoman.

Some days I think I am Jabba the Hut.

Some days are all we have...

Your Turn, Dear Reader: What are your Some Days?

Random Picture Day Tuesday

My cats never really notice the television, but for some reason, Whiskers was enthralled with the first ten minutes of War Horse. Whiskers is a bit of an ADD-type cat, he doesn't typically dedicate ten minutes to any one thing. Very strange.
I REALLY want to do this with my fence! I don't quite know how these are attached, but I am going to find the planters this week and work on it. Stay tuned...
This fuzzball came to visit me at work the other day. His name is Reggie and he's the only dog I have loved in the last 25 years.
We put a bandana on his head and called him Babushka. I'm no dog whisperer, but I don't think he enjoyed it.
Since everyone else made it on the blog - here's a shot of my Ginger, expressing her unhappiness at going for a car ride a couple months ago. I love that she's just sitting all chill in the middle of the backseat.

I got dualies at work!!! I finally joined the double monitor club. LOVE it.

Last weekend I planted flowers in one of my homemade garden beds. Every person that walked by at the garden club asked about these purple flowers. They are gorgeous!

This is a coveted parking spot in the parking garage at work (actually all the spots are). There are about nine spots in the covered parking garage that are for carpool, this is one of them.  I have yet to see anyone at work carpool on this moped. .

Foster Parenting Adventure - The Cat Whisperer Visits

Another productive and busy weekend as a respite foster parent! This weekend was my first chance to foster a girl. With the therapeutic foster parenting, gender doesn't seem to be too much of a factor, not for the last two kids I had anyway.
The twelve year old girl I had staying with me this weekend had the same types of issues as the 8 year old boy I had last weekend - can't sleep without lots of reassurances that I'm very near by, does not respond well to the word "no", has some noise that they make when starting to get unhappy, needing to be reminded to make good choices and take deep breaths, and they both know EVERYTHING.

Although, to be fair, the girl I had this weekend did know almost everything about flowers. We went for a walk on Friday evening and she knew every single flower we passed. And if you could eat it. Or collect water from it. If it is in a certain flower family. If they bloom more than once a year. EVERYTHING. At first I thought she was just making things kids do. But then we went to a garden center on Saturday and she did the same thing - and she was correct!!! I was verifying things on tags that she would just point at from down the aisle and say, "oh, look at those snake lilies, I love those, did you know that they are part of the Brodiaea family, just like the firecracker flower?" She was like an encyclopedia of all things flowers. Amazing amount of knowledge about some things...and then totally clueless about other things.

Like, for instance, what to pack for a weekend away. Her wardrobe for the weekend was a wool sweater and skirt, a pair of corduroy pants that are the wrong size,which she cut into "shorts"-one leg was just below the knee, one was at shin length, and a PROM DRESS. Saturday morning we woke up, brushed our teeth and then went to our separate bedrooms and shut our doors to get dressed. I opened my door a short bit later and I'm not sure I was able to hide my shock when I saw her standing in her spaghetti-strap dark purple prom attire.

Regardless - it was a pretty good weekend. My normally skittish cats both took to her right away, which was amazing and wonderful, as she was VERY interested in meeting them. Even more amazing was that we were going to set a trap to catch the stray cat in my backyard, so I had her stand in the doorway and hold the food plate while I get the trap set up, and the next thing I know, the backyard cat who has skittered away at the very sight of me for the last seven weeks, was walking directly towards us. And gave a little meow and then rubbed up against me. MIRACLE. Seven weeks I have been trying to get this little kitty to even just stay in sight when I make eye contact, and this little girl shows up and suddenly, backyard cat is super-eager to be best friends. So I petted her sweet little kitty head and then let her rub against me a few times before letting the cat-whispering-foster girl give it a little scritch. And, I'm not kidding, that cat rolled over and gave a sweet meow and acted like this was all totally normal.

At which point, I scooped her up (taking a step back to get away from the child-that-I-am-legally-responsible-to-protect-from-all-harm) and checked out little kitty's reaction. She started we went to plan B - which involved me saying, quick, grab that towel on the chair behind you, wrapping the kitty up and then teaching the foster child in two seconds how to take a picture with my phone:

Top priority - get a photo!!! Understandable, right? I've been feeding this beast for seven weeks. I deserve a picture, agreed?
Next step - get her in the garage and block off all exits and hazards. We set up a bed with the towel in a box, set up a cat box, brought out some food and water, and gave her lots of kitty love. And she was ALL about the kitty love.
So sweet!
Whatchu doin? Nothin, just chillin in my garage box.
SEVEN WEEKS, people!!!! That's a LONG time to feed a cat and get no response from it ever.
I'm grateful to my little cat-whispering foster child for helping me capture this lovely kittycat, which we then relocated to our local shelter (after a rough morning which involved me accidently shutting her tail partially in the car door and then tossing her away after she FREAKED OUT when I tried to put her in the kennel, and then I had to trap her in a corner and toss a blanket over her and drag her out of that corner to get her back on track with our morning plan), where they agreed that such a cute cat with such a great personality would have no trouble getting adopted.

I'm also grateful that my foster child made a broken down appliance noise each time she was unhappy, as it gave me the opportunity to use my collaborative problem solving skills a try, but with a warning before I needed to use them.

I'm also grateful for my local Goodwill store, where we purchased some shorts and a shirt for her to wear to the park instead of the afore-mentioned prom dress. (her family shops at Goodwill, when I suggested we buy her some shorts, she said that they always shop there so I felt it might be less obtrusive for me to reclothe her with items from there).

I'm also grateful for my friend and her wonderful puppy who met us at the dog park and helped occupy some of the day. And doubly grateful for the 25 other people who were at the dog park that were very tolerant of my foster girl accosting them as they came in, and responding kindly to her rapid-fire questions about their dog. And not responding when the small girl screamed out "DAMMIT, I mean dangit, REGGIE, COME ON, WE'RE LEAVING!"

And I'm grateful that I'm not going to have a foster child next weekend, as children are EXHAUSTING.

Are you Flighty? Feel Free to Humor Me and Say Yes!

I have held a number of jobs in my life, changing careers like a gazelle changing direction...everything kind of flowed quick and easy.

I haven't really been unemployed very long in my life. Once when I first moved to college, I was unemployed for a few months. When I first graduated from college, the job I had lined up fell through and I was unemployed for 3 months (though I had temp jobs during that time). When I first returned from Korea, I was unemployed for a couple months, and again when I moved to my current city - two months. So my entire adult life, I have been unemployed for about one year total my entire life, though even during that time frame, I held a number of short-term temp jobs.
I feel like it is ridiculously lucky that I can say that. I have a couple friends who have been unemployed for AGES and are having such trouble finding permanent work. It really makes you grateful to have a good job!

The jobs I have had average less than five years each. Here's a breakdown for you:
  • Small Town Police Dept #1: Records position - 2 years
  • Small Town Police Dept #2: (was asked to interview by hiring officer) -18 months
  • Community Action Center: I went there for services as a poor, single mom and somehow convinced someone to hire me - I worked there for 3 yrs throughout college.
  • College Police Dept - 18 months during college
  • Portland Non-Profit: Training team - 2 years (left to go to Korea)
  • Small Private English School in Korea - 12 month contract
  • Tacoma (WA) Non-Profit - 8 months (moved out of the area)
  • Portland Hospital: Admin work, left to work in other department - 3 years
  • Portland Hospital: Scheduling/Admin work in other department, offered job in current industry - 18 months
  • PR Firm: HR for 1 year, HRIS team for 2.5 yrs
Look at the time frames there!! I have not been in any one job for over 3 years, EVER.
I'm 38 years old, how is that possible??
One of the aunts I was in Vegas with still works at the same law firm she has worked for her ENTIRE life. My parents worked in the same career for as long as I can remember. One of my closest work friends has been in her job for 19 years!

So all this is proof of one key thing: I am flighty.

I found a statistic to make me feel a little better about my flightiness. It appears I'm not alone:

Foster Parenting Weekend- 8 Year Olds Are Exhausting

This weekend was my second time as a respite foster parent for the weekend.  Last time I had a teenager - which was actually surprisingly wonderful. This weekend I had an 8-year old. And what a HUGE difference it was!
Oddly enough, my second foster child had the same name as my first - that made it easy for me to remember who I had with me!

The 8 year old here with me this weekend suffers from PTSD. I'll let that sink in a second....he's EIGHT. And has PTSD. Most people think of PTSD as somethign that happens with soldiers coming back from war. But this boy has it - at age eight. You can imagine the horrifying life that he's had thus far that would cause someone so young to suffer this disease.

As a result of his traumatic life, he's got some issues he's working through. Like how he doen't like other human children. At all. And he doesn't respond well anytime you try to suggest he needs to do something that he does not want to do. Like sit at a particular table at McDonald's. Or stop playing for some reason. Or go to bed.

Working as a therapeutic foster parent means that I don't get to be grumpy because I'm tired after a long day. It means I don't get to display my true emotions and just snap and say: You're going to bed now and that's that-good night! and walk away. It means you can't just walk away from the child when they are being a typical sleepy kid, throwing out excuses why he shouldn't go to sleep.

It means I have to always have patience. And always be kind, no matter what.
These might seem like things that all parents should always have...but speaking as a parent, and having talked to other parents - the reality is that most parents don't always maintain their patience and kindness. SOMETIMES you snap. Sometimes you just shut the light off and walk away and know that the child will be fine, even if they cry themselves to sleep. This sounds harsh, but I can't imagine there are parents who haven't had one of those days...

With therapeutic foster don't shut the light off and you don't walk away. Ever.

So last night, I listened to this boy cry about how he's starving. And then he was so thirsty he couldn't stand it. And then he was trying to convince me that this was not his bedtime and I was putting him to bed way too early. And then he wanted to call his mom (I offered to let him). And then he just WAS NOT TIRED. And then it was too hot. And then it was too cold. And then the blanket was scratching him. And then it was too dark. And he didn't want to read. And he didn't want to lay there. And he didn't want ANYTHING.

He was really afraid to sleep alone and insisted that I stay closeby. Which meant I was captive in my bedroom (five feet from his door) until he went to sleep. Which took over an hour last night. And it wasn't a quiet hour. It was a lot of "Kay, are you sure it's my bedtime?" and "Kay, are you still in your room?" and "Kay, when are you going to sleep? How many minutes from now is that?"

It's exhausting being nice all the time. I guess this comes naturally to some people?

The Latest Wood Project: Garden Beds Galore

Remember the spectacular worm bin I built last year? 
Well I have tried my hand at wood-working again! Move over, Gepetto...I am really good at this!!! (other than the uneven corners and occasional redesigns mid-project)

This was a very basic project, just 3 garden beds, 3ft by 4ft. I had a little redesign on the last bed and ended up with one bed being this odd 3.5ft x 3.5ft, but whatever - I can adjust. And I have one screw that sticks out a tiny bit too far (safety hazard for sure). And one corner of one of the beds totally doesn't line up perfectly...but WHATEVER. They turned out pretty good overall. Handyman Billy comes tomorrow to help get them in the ground (and by help-I mean totally do it) and then hopefully I will get to do some planting this weekend.
Wood Cutting Help

Wood in my living room!

My assistants

Completed project!

Vegas Trip With the Elders

Last week was the Vegas trip with the family. 

From Washington State:
Mom & Dad
Sister Jenny
Aunt Frankie & Uncle Tim
From Iowa State:
Aunt Jean

Aunt Cora
From Oregon State:
Yours Truly
It was a 3-day adventure of playing every slot machine possible and trying to avoid super-expensive meals. And laughing. Lots of laughing.

Dad, Cora, Jenny, Jean

One of my longtime loves, Bon Jovi, as featured at the Fremont Street light show.

Jenny and Cora. Maybe catching up on life. Maybe discussing  this particular slot machine.

Jenny looking beautiful.

I made this pose in most photos taken from age 3-age 7 , after one of my first tv friends, The Fonz.

This limo cost as much as two taxi's would have, so we got to ride in style!!

It was a first-time limo ride for most of us. Unfortunately, there was no sunroof to hang out of.

No trip to Vegas is complete without a walk to the M&M store.


Older Siblings!

My lovely parents.

Frankie & Tim
Dad & Mom

My mom got pulled on stage during the Mike Hammer show - I highly recommend going. And if you think it's fake, have on of your party get pulled on is NOT. He's awesome!

She's adorable.

Walking the strip. I love all the stripes in this photo.

Weekend Update - Parents and Popcorn Edition

I have two weekends "off" from foster parenting (not because I need a break yet). This weekend my parents came to town. They are going on a gambling road-trip. First stop was my house.

We went to play bingo at my local place (where I happened to go the night before with my work friends-hello, gamble much, Kaylen?). My mom won a bingo early on -which is great, but she had to share it with six people  and so she only actually won $12, however, that paid for her entire bingo expenses AND she got to yell bingo, so it's a total win.

They stayed the night at my house and then they hit the road at some ungodly hour, something like 5:30am, and are headed to Reno. They are staying one night in Reno and then heading to Vegas - where we are having a mini family reunion Tuesday-Thursday, and then they are driving back through Reno and stopping again at my house. This is the life of a retiree...just drive and drive and do your own thing. It sounds like a good life.

Today I am (finally) going to see Hunger Games and even though I have been forewarned on some issues that were missed from the book, I am sure it's going to be wonderful anyway. I'm also looking forward to the movie popcorn-which I only have twice a year and LOVE. The theater we are going to has a kids pack, which is the perfect amount of popcorn and a mini-soda. Yum.

And I have just Monday at work and then I fly out at some ungodly hour on Tuesday am. I have The Moth podcasts ready and the anxiety pills to help me step onto a plane which may or may not plummet to the ground at any time. I suppose I should figure out what clothes I'm going to take as well.

Update - the backyard cat has thwarted my plans of relocation and she persists in living under my deck. Frustrating. I do like the idea of having a cat in the backyard to hang out with me while I garden, but I don't really WANT another cat right now. And she seems miserable in the rain - and it rains EVERY day (love you Oregon!).

Hopefully my next update will be later this week with some exciting news of all the jackpots I have won.


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