The Next Stage of my Career Begins Soon!

I wrote last month about my job history and how slightly nomadic I have been in my adult life.I feel like most of the career choices I have made have really just happened naturally and it wasn't typical that I would actually be out *looking* for a job, a new one just came's been great. I haven't yet regretted any of the career choices I've made.

And hopefully I will be able to continue to say that.

Last Monday, I gave notice at my current employer, where I have been since September of 2008. In the 3.5 yrs I've been at this company, I have held three positions, transferred to a new team once, been promoted once, and met a ton of wonderful people. It's a really great company, I have just a couple reasons to leave but I have a ton more reasons why I would stay. But alas, I got an email alert from with a job opportunity that I just couldn't pass up. And it's really great to feel valued and wanted by someone else. During one of my interviews, the woman said to me (not about me taking a new job)-it's not that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, it's just a different shade of green. And you might not love that green best when you get there, but sometimes it's just really nice to go experience that new shade. Life is short...

It looks to be a good, solid company that's been around for 100 years. It's worldwide, with over 15,000 employees. The job itself will give me more opportunity for development than is available in my current role, and more importantly, it will give me the chance to travel. It was a VERY hard decision, and one that I wasn't really 100% sold on, but the 95% I was feeling good about was really enticing.

And now I have just four days left. I'm excited, but nervous. I'm happy, but sad. Change is hard.

I think it will be a great experience for me though and I am looking onward and upward to great things happening in my career.

Foster Parent Adventures - The One Where I Was Under Attack

Last weekend I had the same six-year old foster boy I had the week prior, just for one night.

At the end of the first day, after I tucked this darling little boy into bed, I thought-wow, he's just a super-sweet boy!! Why do other respite workers have such a hard time with him??? And I assumed that he's just different with me because we have a connection and I have a good style that fits his needs. Clearly, some adults fit better with some children, simple as that.

And then Sunday morning happened.

Sunday morning involved hearing that sweet little boy repeatedly scream: Knock it off, bitch.
Sunday morning involved throwing toys.
Sunday morning involved kicking and hitting.
Sunday morning involved tears, lots of tears (his, not mine).
Sunday morning involved spitting.
Sunday morning involved restraining an angry, furious little boy, struggling to hold his arms and legs at his sides while not losing my temper in the process.
Sunday morning involved a NIGHTMARE - for both of us.

I don't know what set him off. It was nothing I did - I had simply asked him to come swallow his medication, something I have asked about six other times in our short time together over the two weekends. Something just didn't connect in his little brain and he lost it. Totally and completely lost it.

And then it was over and he was crying and telling me that he doesn't know what is wrong, or why he was upset, and he's just tired and can we sit and watch a movie. And then we moved on. And four hours later, I was thinking to myself - wow, he's just a super-sweet little boy!!

Andrew, Andrew, Where Have You Been??

Andrew has been a busy bee!!! Here's some of the things he has done this year:

  • Started as a freshman at the University of Southern California
  • Joined a frat
  • Learned how to manage his time between classes, living on his own (with three roommates), figuring out a new city, buying a bike to get around
  • Left the frat
  • Went to parties
  • Rejoined the frat
  • Stressed about time management
  • Learned that high school was EASY and college is HARD
  • Left the frat
  • Prepared for an international trip
  • Flew home for a weekend to visit ME
  • Went to India for 10 days (pictures are coming soon)
  • Got a hickey at a party and didn't know who gave it to him
  • Tried different methods of dealing with the messiest roommate in the world
  • Got sick
  • After weeks of me nagging, took his immunization paperwork to the health clinic for their files - and passed out in the lobby 
  • Got diagnosed with strep throat, went home to bed
  • Got diagnosed with mono, stayed in bed for weeks
  • Got behind in classes
  • Felt miserable
  • Finished most of his finals
  • Went to some parties
  • Packed his apartment
  • Went to San Francisco to visit his Nana
  • CAME HOME!!!!!!!!!

Weekend Wrap-up - Mothers Day 2012

What a beautiful weekend!! And what a REALLY busy weekend.

I had a little foster boy for one night on Friday, just six years old!! He has a really troubled history, some serious trauma was done to him in his short lifetime and he is known as a "challenging" child. He lives with his biological mother, but is in respite weekend care twice a month. I didn't have a lot of trouble with him, however, I heard from other respite workers (at a dinner tonight) that he threw a laptop across the room at one house and at another, he bit the foster mom multiple times, one time was so hard that he broke the skin and she actually went to the emergency room she was so injured by him. However, we got on well and aside from some really long transition periods and an incident where he demanded that I "knock it off!" (I was asking him to stay in my yard to play), there wasn't anything horrible. I might actually roll the dice on him again and have him over for another weekend in the future.

Saturday, the little guy left at lunchtime and I drove up to visit my parents. My parents live 3 hrs north of me, where they have lived for a couple decades now. They are both retired and feel like it's time for them to move back to the midwest - Iowa to be exact. Sad, sad news. I guess I'll be making some trips to Iowa in the future. We have less than six weeks before they leave the pacific northwest. Sad.

In the meantime - my sister, niece my mom and I went out for a beautiful dinner down by the water on Saturday night. Sunday, my mom, a family friend and I went to a nice lunch on a different waterfront. After lunch, we went for a scenic drive out to a little spot that I had fond memories of from high school. 
Unfortunately, the memories did not include any directions on how to get to that spot, so we took a bit of a tour through some back roads, where we saw some incredible houses and made up stories about the rich people who live in them, like Buffy Buffington, and some random dirty, run-down trailer where a shirtless bearded man named Bubba probably lives.

Eventually, we came across the right spot that I was looking for - just where I thought it was, of course!

And it was well worth the drive! The view is breath-taking. They will have nothing like this in Iowa:

I drove home mid-afternoon Monday and arrived just in time for a foster parent recognition dinner, which was lovely. It's a bit of a support group - the people there are all foster parents and a lot of us respite parents know the same kids and it's good to have someone to talk to about their real life experience with the same kids I'm seeing.
AND even better about this dinner - everyone got a door prize, things like a 4-pack of movies passes, zoo tickets, gift cards. Mine was a big score - two tickets to the symphony! I think Andrew will really love them.

Speaking of Andrew.....stay tuned for an update - cause he is COMING HOME TOMORROW!!!!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

You Might Be a Shoe Whore If....

Does this look like your shoe collection?

This is 45 pairs of tennis shoes. For an adult male over 50. This is only PART of his shoe collection.
I'm not certain I've had 45 tennis shoes in the last two decades.

Foster Parenting Weekend - It's A Hard-Knock Life

This weekend I had another foster child. This has only been my fourth visitor, but it feels like I've been doing this much longer. It's heavy on the soul.

This latest boy is 17 years old. He's in a new foster home as of five weeks ago. He had a different foster home late last year. I don't know how many he has had total in the seven years he has been in foster care, but moving homes is not a new thing for him. The most tragic part is that he is so close to legal age and he will age out of the foster care system, without ever having a "real" home.
This just hurts my heart.

He will probably have assistance of some kind for the rest of his life. Thanks to a mom who drank while she was pregnant, this innocent child is not developmentally where he should be. I don't know his story beyond the fetal alcohol syndrome and frequent foster homes, but I can see his future...

It's one where he has no "home" to go home to.
And one where if he is broken-hearted over something, he doesn't have a mom to call to talk him through it.
And there's no family recipes for him to make on holidays.
And no one to call him and see that he is doing well and let him know he cares.

And just as a reminder, kids who are in therapeutic foster care (in my state anyway), are not allowed to be spontaneously hugged by foster parents. To give a hug, you have to ask the child directly - can I give you a side hug? And then if you get a confirmed yes, then you hug from the side only. So these foster kids don't get the affection that they probably need more than anyone.

There's just so much sadness in the world.

Living Large in the World

Long ago, I used to be fairly against Microsoft. I felt like they had an unfair monopoly going on (seems like I wasn't the only one thinking that). But now I'm more mature and I realize - it's a company making money, isn't that what they are supposed to do? They may have jumped in and not really given other companies a chance to do what they did, but why wouldn't they try to do that to be a successful company?
More importantly...
Bill Gates, and his wife, are doing A-M-AZ-ING things with the money that they have, thanks to their very successful company. They've just done so much....I have strong doubts that if other companies would have been in on this computer software stuff that they would have given up so much of their profits to help the rest of the ENTIRE WORLD, the way that Bill Gates has done. It's just phenomenol when you look at the numbers...and know that I am no expert on the life and times of the Gates family-but these are some facts that will blow your little eyebrows up a notch:
  • Donations of over $290 million to AIDS research-spread across research groups with the stipulations that they will share their findings with one another (genuis).
  • $280 million to TB vaccines
  • $30 million towards education of global health
  • $1.2 million over three years to find new, sustainable ways to make water, sanitation and hygiene services safer and more affordable via the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development US.
  • Total grant donations of US$3 million to various charities to help with the aid effort for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
  • more than $250 million in grants to create new small schools, reduce student-to-teacher ratios, and to divide up large high schools through the schools-within-a-school model
  • $122 million initiative to send hundreds of the District of Columbia's poorest students to college.
Just staggering, eh? Those numbers are not really comprehendable to this single mom and her teeny little bank account. I am ever so grateful to people like Bill Gates - he built up this company and made more money than he will ever be able to spend in his lifetime, or his descendents lifetime, and instead of just living in the life of luxury and chillin like a villian, the man (and wife) are making an incredible difference in the world.

I just donated a tiny bit to the American Cancer Society. And as I plotted how much I could give without it setting me back for the month, I wished I could give more. I wish I could create a successful company to make a gazillion dollars over 30 years and then donate most of my gazillion dollars to worthy causes.

Bill Gates = Livin the Good Life.

To be fair - I recognize that his wife, Melinda, is pretty effing amazing herself - but he did build that company and all his buckets of gold before she even came along.
*disclaimer - but not really - I do work for a company that is connected to a major company of Bill Gates. However - nothing I have said here is meant to come from someone that is working for a company that is connected to a company of Bill Gates. Solely my thoughts and opinions. And if I were to get any compensation from this post-which I most certainly will not ever - I would absolutely donate it to the communtiy. Cause that's what Bill would want.


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