Sunday, November 02, 2014

It's That Time of Year!

Hooray!  Today the other half of my clocks are right.  Okay, somewhat right.  Close to right.  Standard time.  So many people are happy they can sleep in an hour.  They must not have dogs.  Dogs have an innate sense of time.  Mine let me know it was getting late and they needed to go out.  That was at 6:30 am.  Thanks, girls!

I have been studying for my licensure exam.  The dogs don't agree with this.  If I am sitting on the couch reading a book, they may tolerate it after sitting on the book for awhile.  Same for the computer.  Ask Dad.  When we are Skyping, Ziva usually has to traipse over the keys making error sounds and shrinking the Skype screen as she goes.  My sitting at the dining room table studying, though, is simply intolerable!  How dare I!  There is no room for them to glue themselves to me there.

After listening to their whining yesterday as I attempted to study, I gave up and decided to get rid of their excess whining energy.  I took them for a walk.  We took the Paul Bunyan Trail.  This is so super exciting for a dog!  Oh, the smells!  All the wonderful smells!  They ran and smelled and smelled what the other smelled and sprung forward to smell the next smell.  They crunched loudly through the leaves and put their heads in the grasses and sometimes just stood and let the wind blow in their faces.  It was doggone wonderful!  I was the best doggy mom ever!

Brainerd had good intentions when they built the trail.   Unfortunately, they did not realize their townspeople would need training on such a curiosity.  The Brainerdians see a paved strip and automatically feel it is for them to drive on!  ATVs see a path through the forest and are certain it is for them!  Trucks hauling boats enjoy this shortcut that was surely for their use.  Thus, walkers and bicyclists have to leave the path to make room for the vehicles.  A truck full of duck hunters came within inches of me when I refused to move.  I tried to tell them it was a walking path and the idiot just stared ahead and put on the gas.  Unbelievable.  Is nothing sacred?

At the end of the walk, close to our house, we came upon a cadaver dog, its handler and a police officer.  Apparently a cognitively impaired man was last seen around that area a week ago and they were searching for him.  He was probably run over by an ATV, some duck hunters or boaters.

Anyway, I did finally get some studying in and the dogs were utterly exhausted - but not enough to get them to sleep in this morning!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

"Update your blog"

Okay, Dad!

This week has been busy and good.  I have not had time to do things I want to do, much less stuff I have to do.

Last week, Kim and I went through more stuff and placed them in the garage.  Bob has helped with his contributions of doors and sawhorses, tables and signs.  Bob is a neighbor who likes to shop - so much so that he cannot walk in his house or garage or other house or garage, or storage sheds.  He is a peculiar person and a hoarder.  He and another neighbor have an ongoing feud.  She calls him a queer and he calls her a fucking bitch.  Bob is nearly seventy.  He owned a beauty shop and was a nurse.  He gets along well with older ladies, except Brenda.  He lives with Jim, his partner of twenty years.  I knew neither his orientation nor the fact Jim was his partner until I accused him them of bickering "like an old married couple."  Jim is supposed to be retired but does construction work around town.  He is not your stereotypical gay man and Bob is.

We planned to have the sale on Wednesday and Thursday until work finally called and said they needed me to come in on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I need the money and could never earn that at a garage sale, so I agreed.  That left us with a dilemma, as we could not have the sale on Friday, because we were attending an alumni luncheon in Duluth.  So, we did the unexpected and had it Thursday and Saturday.

Monday, I was getting ready for my interview.  I also called the Board of Social Work and asked them to give me the status of my application so I could update them at my interview.  She said if I just submitted it it would be awhile.  When I told her I submitted it in August, she was stammering and then said it was being processed.  (I was visualizing her finding it, getting that "oh, shit" look on her face and rushing it over to the person who should have processed it weeks ago.)  I was mad, but not surprised.   As I have been struggling with anxiety lately, Monday was pretty much awash.  Kim and I worked, but my mind was foggy.  I was up late, studying for the interview.

Tuesday, was the day of the interview.  I was trying to focus on my breathing.  Anna said she was going to be there.  I don't know what to expect with interviews.  Some talk about preferred therapy models, some talk about what they are looking for.  I know they were waiting for my licensure status and was prepared for that.  I tried to give them a timeline as best I knew, and found that not only do they have to wait for my licensure, but credentialing as well.  Because they cannot back-bill for when I was not credentialed.  I'm certain my shoulders dropped, as I know they have been short-staffed for months now.  It is not likely I will get this job and they don't open often...

After the interview, I went into work.  Lorna and Amanda were there and tried to catch me up on things.  Amanda left early and so did Lorna.

Wednesday was a nightmare at work.  Nursing is short-staffed.  We have a biter, who requires 3 or 4 people to toilet.  Our psychiatrist stated there are some things we cannot change in people and stated he could return to his home on Thursday or Friday.  I had to make preparations.  When Lorna returned later, she stated our nurse manager was supposed to talk to the doctor Tuesday and let her know he cannot be a danger to others when he returns.  I had already called the nursing home and told them they were getting him back.  Through the day on Wednesday, this man was vocalizing constantly.  At times the unit is more like an asylum than others.  Wednesday was more like an asylum.  I was tired when I went home and had to get ready for the sale.

Thursday I was up by 5 am and putting more things out.  Kim and Bob came at seven.  It was cold and walking on the concrete hurt my feet, ankles, knees, hips and back.  The garage doors opened and as we put tables out, people began arriving.  It wasn't supposed to start until 9 am.  

The thing about garage sales, is that there are different types of shoppers.  The first wave is usually the professionals.  These are people that have their own shops or sales and collect underpriced items or offer you small amounts of money for your already underpriced stuff.  I think they are governed by their own rule to never pay full price.  One man approached my $20 carpet cleaner/vacuum and wanted to know if I would take $15.  I suppose I should have jumped at it and he would have been happy.  I did not.  He asked me to meet him half way and I did better and said $17.  He would not meet me half way.  After plugging it in (it worked well) and trying it twice he walked away.  "Meeting him halfway" in his eyes was giving him his price.  It was apparent by the condition of this item that it was never used.  I am not so emotionally attached to this that I cannot part with it, but unused carpet cleaners are quite expensive and he wanted a steal.

In the afternoon, Bob was gone and it was Kim and I.  We had a couple of drugged up couples who stopped by and stayed too long.  Kim and I both felt they had alternative motives.  I think one couple was waiting for the crowds to die down so they could rob us.  Kim agreed.  The crowds did not die down and they left.  The other couple may have been trying to take something and who knows, they may have taken something.  If they needed to do that, then they have to live with themselves.  I'm not losing sleep over it.  Kim and I were both concerned about my safe being out there.  It is too heavy to lift without either a Minnesota Viking who is not busy beating his kids, or a world class weightlifter so it is stuck in the garage.  It houses only my journals yet people may believe it contains money.  She was concerned for my safety and felt we should cover it better, but I decided to put a "sold" sign on it and call it good.

Friday we left for Duluth.  We had a nice drive, looking at the colorful leaves against the backdrop of the evergreens.  We had both driven the Brainerd-Duluth route many times and agreed the moisture over the past year had changed the landscape.  A truck in front of us was making the drive interesting by dropping black bags sporadically on the highway.  During my childhood, there must have been a story in the news about a baby - or babies - found in a garbage bag by the side of the road.  Ever since then, whenever I see a garbage bag by the side of the road, I think of dead babies.  I had told Kim about this and she now has the same thoughts (and thanks me very much!).  So, we weaved around the dead babies dropping off the truck onto the highway until we turned.

A sense of calm dropped over us as we got to the top of the hill and saw Lake Superior.  It has a way of doing that for some people.  Kim talks about how she used to look forward to the "Mesaba" sign that indicated the road to my apartment.  Our friendship started in Duluth and we both miss those times when she stayed with me at my apartment.  We always got our work done but had time to talk.  She credits me for her degree.  For making her stay in school instead of dropping out like she wanted.  For talking her through overwhelming tasks by making her eat elephants - one bite at a time, of course and stop trying to swallow it whole!

When we got to Grandma's (the restaurant where we met for the alumni gathering) we were both in danger of wetting ourselves.  We joined the others afterwards, signing in and socializing our way through to the food.  Bobbie Jo was full of smiles and hugs.  We did not get along well during our time at school.  She started the second year and was arrogant and immature.  My heart went out to her later that year when a child she had a CHIPS case on died.  She grew up a lot then and was less arrogant and more serious.  She has her own issues now as I see on Facebook, but seems to have a new respect for me as well.

Next we saw Sig.  Sig got up from the table and hugged us both.  Sig was a nice guy who never got involved in the drama of the younger students - Kim and I did not either.  He was already working in the field and is involved in the Duluth community as well.  He is quiet and unassuming.  We surprised him once going through the line to pay for parking and paid for his as well.  He later repaid the favor. Kim wanted to set me up with him but neither of us could figure out if he was gay or straight.  He did not speak much of himself.  He was quite involved with domestic abuse issues after his aunt experienced them.  He works with kids at one of the group homes in Duluth.  He lives on Park Point. Park Point is a long island on the canal.  Mostly the wealthy live there and it would be a great place to  experience Duluth.  Later Sig gave us his card and asked us to look him up when we are back.  He is going to Russia to meet some Russian social workers who have come to Duluth to learn the Duluth Model.  We will!  Sig is good people.  The kind you feel better for having known.

We sat at the two remaining seats in the room with social workers who graduated in the '70s.  One is now working at a research place with cadavers and is no longer a practicing social worker.  Another just retired.  The retired woman's eyeliner stated she was either mentally ill, drunk or messed up on drugs.  Kim and I both thought to ourselves and spoke to each other about it, hoping that is not what we have to look forward to.  Kim won a t-shirt and I won a lunch box, both sporting the UMD logo.  The cadaver guy won a nice black sweatshirt.

I was done with people by the time it ended.  On my way out I spoke with Ann.  Ann was a teacher who did not like me for some reason.  My first paper in her class was returned to me straightened after having obviously been crumpled and haphazardly stapled closed to hide the red ink decorating the meat of my writing.  The text book in her class was dry and most people in the class did not even open it after the first reading assignment.  I openly criticized the book, stating that social work is interesting and this book was certain to change people's opinion of it.  I should have looked to see if she in any way authored the text.  It sucked.  It is the only book Kim and I vowed to have a ceremonial burning of after school ended.

Ann is interested in pursuing gerontology in social work.  Finally we had something to talk about!  I told her about my job at a gerontologic inpatient unit and how I had learned a great deal there.  She was excited and this felt like a discussion that would continue at some point.

Kim and I were ready to go.  We were grateful lunch was free and we had more to spend on shopping, though we had little time.  Our first stop was the Electric Fetus.  It is a head shop smelling of incense with nice clothing, jewelry, scarves and some snarky intellectual items.  I'm still confused about how head shops and intellectual items converge, but I will figure it out some day.  I bought a mug adorned with famous first lines from literary classics and a couple of scarves.  Kim thought I should splurge more because of the previous day's sales, but I was okay with smaller items.  She got a nice sweater.  We walked along Superior St. and discovered many shops were closed, despite their signs welcoming social workers.  (Gotta love Duluth!)  Finally we found a shop that was open on the third floor.  Lady Ocalat's Emprorium.  The name alone had us curious.  After embarking the stairs in the beautiful old building, we found that Lady O's was a witchcraft shop.  Since Kim had recently found she has an ancestor who was hanged in Salem Massachusetts for witchcraft, this was of particular interest.  Rather than purchasing items to cast bad spells, I thought I would encourage some positive energy with a bar of soap and some candles.  I'm a good witch, through and through.  Kim purchased some tarot cards and I will expect a reading soon.  Our next stop was Starbucks.  We were both terribly thirsty and ready for a sweet to cap the Duluth experience.  There were three spots open in front of Starbucks.  They were for Pay Ahead parking.  Hmm...  Kim parked anyway and I was somewhat stressed about the fact she may get a ticket.  We agreed we each get anxious about different things.  I am a rule follower and she is something of a rebel with some social anxiety.

The way back was good for processing the experience.  She agreed she would visit me if I moved to Duluth.  I love Duluth and would not mind moving there, except it is farther away from my family.  It is a small Minneapolis with a very academic atmosphere.  There is a strong community there that is concerned with social justice.  It is on the edge of what could be an ocean for all the eye can see and borders the wilderness of forest that is Northern Minnesota.  The lake and nearby Canadian border give it an international connection.  My kind of place.

I returned to my neurotic dogs wondering where in the hell I had gone!  They missed me terribly.  Unfortunately, my mailbox had bad news.  The board had rejected my application again.  They said I did not complete the required paperwork so it could not be processed.  I had talked to Cheryl about my interim supervisor and she stated I did not need to send the additional paperwork they now said I did.  I will place a call Monday morning straightaway and offer to hand deliver the shit!  I had actually made myself a promise to screw clinical social work and pursue macro if I was rejected again.  As soon as I recover from this week I will do so.  I was upset and went to Kim's to show her the letter.  Everyone we know who has had to experience the fucking board bullies feels abused.  Kim has gone through this with me and I with her.  They have too much power.  I will speak with my state representative.

Liz, a.k.a. Liz-The-Best was having her going away party that night.  Kim thought we should go, as did I.  If you ever needed anything done at Northern Pines, Liz was the key.  She would get it done.  Liz is a nice person with heavy eyeliner who was completely indispensable.  She found a job in St. Cloud, closer to her aging parents and was moving to help out on the farm.  She has a great sense of humor, some rough edges, questionable office furniture construction skills, but is a wonderful person who tells it like it is!  We will miss her.  The party was at Last Turn.  This is an old hotel believed to be haunted.  It has the original fixtures and woodwork and is the social worker hang-out in Brainerd.
Although Kim and I agreed to only have a couple, we stayed too late for waking early for the garage sale.

Four a.m. came early and I was running down to the basement to find things for the sale.  I had promised more items would be out on Saturday and so they were.  Kim was over slightly after seven, with sleep lingering in her voice.  She wanted to drink some coffee before we started so we did.  I kept losing my coffee, setting it in unusual places.  I should seriously sit still with my coffee in the morning until I have had enough to navigate through such complex tasks as scratching my head and asking questions.  Only when Bob rang the doorbell did we get up and get to work.

The sale was busy again, but this time Jen and her daughter Ahnika came over in the afternoon and played guitar and sang.  What a gimmick!  We had live music at our garage sale.  That was a first for me.  We gave Ahnika a large bowl and she was able to earn some money.  Neighbors came over and sat in the midcentury modern chair selling for $40 and the wicker chair selling for $10 and listened.  They both have excellent voices and made the day quite interesting.

So, Dad, apart from the board meeting I have not yet talked about and the other activities throughout the week, this is why I have not had time to update my blog!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Captains Log:
Sunday August 10, 2014.

I purchased an elliptical from Amazon this week and though the box is open, I am trying to find an opportunity to assemble it.  I feel I need the exercise to handle the stress of all that is happening.  However, my mind is a jumble.  Thoughts are careening out of control.  I need to clean the clutter in my house to clean the clutter in my mind.  I also need to clean the gutters but don't have a ladder.  Should I borrow or buy one?  I just need it done.  Perhaps I will just hire someone.  Then I don't have to ask anyone for favors and I am afraid of heights anyway.  But who knows if I will need that money or not if I don't get a full-time job soon.  It would be nice to stay here to get my student loans paid off.  $60,000 in 4 years.  But can I stand 4 more years?  I have dog toy debris all over the floor, dishes to put in the dishwasher, dishes to hand wash.  I started two loads of laundry, one is in the washer and one is in the dryer.  This does present a problem because I have no place to put them once they are clean.  So that leads me to clearing space in my closet.  Since my weight has been bouncing around so much lately, this is a difficult task.  I have put the bulkiest of clothing in the closet in the spare bedroom (which is a mess from urgently looking for things that have been packed).  I have sorted the garage items for the garage sale and have more to go through in the house.  I need to get ahold of Josie and see if she is still interested in having a garage sale.  I need to get ready for the week ahead and find an outfit for Friday.  I need to collect all my paperwork for my application for licensure.  I need to study for the test and there is a friend in Duluth that has study materials she can loan me.  If I am moving, I need to get the house ready to show.  I wonder if I need to paint my living room walls a more neutral color.  I wish I could run and run and run physically.  Maybe this would clear my mind as well.  I should complete the cover letter for the job opening at Lakewood.  Do I want to stay with all the commotion right now.  It may get better in September but perhaps not.  We have no permanent psychiatrist right now.  No one wants to move this far North.  I think for the extremely wealthy it is a nice place to live.  I believe our former psychiatrists sold there homes for some number in the 7 digit category.  Dryer stopped need to get the clothes out before they wrinkle.  But I blogged today and can remove that from my hard drive now.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

A little decorum, please...

I have been having difficulty sleeping.  It is hard to sleep with my arm in pain by the end of the day.  The pain shoots up the inside of my right arm.  It needs to be warm - the cold intensifies the pain.  It needs to be straight out to feel okay.  By the end of the day, it just hurts.

To top that off, my insomnia has kicked off.  Not only is it difficult to get to sleep, but also difficult to stay asleep.  Melatonin worked for awhile, now it seems to have stopped.  Benedryl, the additive to over the counter analgesics, keeps me awake.  I try to read, and that makes my eyes sleepy, but that's all.

Anyway, the point is, my anxiety level has been high lately.  It is difficult to leave the house and I sense some agoraphobia.  I don't want neighbors to see me.  I don't want to see them.  Across the street, a house that has been empty for many years now has a rummage sale.  I cannot go outside without seeing not only my neighbors, but also the local rummagers.

Wednesday I took Ziva in to the Staples Vet Clinic for shots, check up and spaying.  I did not sleep well the night before because of my anxiety.  Looking deeper, I realize that my last couple of visits to the vet have resulted in me coming home sans a family member.  Maybe therein lie that anxiety.  Plus, my fear of driving and it was rainy and Ziva is scared of car rides at this point.  So, we both trembled all the way to Staples to the vet.

We have veterinarians in Brainerd, but I was told how good Staples was and how inexpensive.  When I pulled up to the building I could see why it was inexpensive: it looked like it was about to fall down!  The tiles in the building were cracked with pieces missing.  The front desk was dark and crowded with various people both behind and standing in front of the desk.  A lady rushed by me with a tissue clutched tightly in her hand held up to her red face.  My heart went out to her.

I gave Ziva's information to the girl at the front, and after what seemed like a very long time, she had me take Ziva to the back.  I dropped Ziva off in a kennel like they show on the ASPCA commercials. I hugged her and tried to walk calmly out.  In the middle of the hallway between offices, there was a dead Rottweiller in a wheelbarrow.  Apparently this is what the lady was crying about.  I was a bit shaken, since it had not been long since I held a lifeless dog in my arms.  As the wheelbarrow moved, the dog stilled jiggled.  It was not stiff yet.  My mounting anxiety directed me through the wrong doorway before I was corrected and pointed in the right direction.

I got in my car and put on my seatbelt in enough time to see the wheelbarrow with its uncovered load coming out the back door of the building and heading for another small building on the lot.  I pulled around in enough time to see the guy dump the body into the metal cylinder it would be burned in.  I did not notice the chimney coming out of the building before now.  I continued home, not really following the speed limit until I noticed later and just wanted to go get Ziva back.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

They Will Figure It Out

Last night my dreams were upsetting.  In one dream, I was staying somewhere out of town and the place I was staying landed in rubble.  I barely escaped.  They were able to get my iPhone.  Also in this dream were the destruction of two large metropolitan structures.  Somehow in this dream, no one believed me that all of this had happened, despite the change in the skyline.

When I awoke, I figured it all out.  I am not making correlations to the dream, because I cannot see how they relate, but I found myself objectively seeing what is happening with my friends.  I feel like during the worst part of my employment crisis, my friends were suddenly missing.  My "BFF" was gone.  I know she has been struggling herself with the job and her general busy-ness.  But, there were definite blocks that were not there before.  Almost all at once, my friends were not there for me.

During a recent spat, one "friend" I discovered had lied to the others about me.  This eroded my credibility and my friendship with my BFF.  Since then, there have been so many get-togethers set up and cancelled.  I took it all at face value, because I know with my depression, I tend to erroneously fill in the blanks.  But Saturday was it.  I am in a good place now emotionally and mentally, so realize I am not allowing my depression to fill in the blanks.  I took out my iPhone and scribed a message to my BFF, letting her know that I love her and miss her, but the ball is in her court for getting together with me.  I told her I felt like I had not been taking the hint and no longer wished to pester her.  She has not replied, which hurt, but I realize if the other badmouthing "friend" is doing what I think she is, my fighting back only plays into her game.  I had this happen once before, years ago.  Back then, I could say anything and it was as if no one believed me.  When I stopped fighting back and backed off, the antagonist found another victim and everyone could see what was the antagonist was doing.

So, now I know all I need to do is back off and let it all play out or find new friends.  Meanwhile, I contacted the other victim of the antagonist from years ago and she completely gets it.  She understands how you can feel inherently flawed when one person seemingly turns the world against you.  She is so supportive and understanding and is one person in this world who knows things like this happen.  Why do such friends live so far away?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cleaning the Sunshine Off My Shoe!

Okay, Lefty, I will tell you about my place of work.

I work at a specialized geriatric acute psychiatric hospital.  Basically, when geriatric clients have mental problems, we are where they are put on a 72-hour hold.  They come from many places: home, the hospital, children's homes or the nursing home.  For a 72-hour hold (or more) with us, they need to be suicidal or potentially dangerous to themselves or others or are suddenly delusional.

The lady at Mom's nursing home that was intrusive and affecting other patients probably went somewhere like us for diagnostics.  We had one lady who accidentally took too much prescribed medication that had personality difficulties with other patients at the assisted living facility where she was living.  Another client was in the hospital for an amputation, and was constantly out of his bed and taking off his bandages.  We have some clients that are violent.  They hit other people, bite or spit.  We had one suicidal one this week.  She was discharged the next day.

Unfortunately, some that come to us have physical problems that manifest psychologically.  They can see people in the room if they have a urinary tract infection.  Some of them are in more dire physical health.  I have asked about reporting some of this, as we get some in bad shape from nursing home that should have detected a problem sooner.

We have a staff of experts in geriatrics.  We meet each morning, sometimes until noon to discuss our patients' statuses.  There are often obvious medical issues that do not affect the clients' mental health and we address it.  One woman was tested for PCOS that is obvious should have been caught years ago.  Some people have not been to a doctor.  One lady we admitted was yelling in pain.  After all kinds of diagnostics, the fact was her body was shutting down.  She needed to go to hospice close to her family where they could manage her pain.  She was only eating 10% of her food.  They are surprised her vitals are as good as they are.

I do nine groups Monday through Wednesday.  My clients are mostly geriatric with a couple younger ones.  There is a man in group who uses his humor to avoid emotional topics.  His wife is in the memory care wing of the senior campus.  She has Alzheimer's and he could no longer care for her.  He holds a special spot in my heart. There are so many older adults with undiagnosed mental illness.  This is likely due to that generation hiding mental illness and not seeking help.

We do all sorts of assessments to determine if it is dementia, stroke, medical conditions or unaddressed mental health issues.  One lady was diagnosed for the first time in her life with bipolar disorder.  I am not sure I am on board with that diagnosis.  Maybe a personality disorder, but I am not seeing bipolar.  She has lived with a mean abusive husband all her life.  Many older adults lose their filter as they age.  I think she has a case of that as well.  I enjoy talking to her.

People in this hospital are only supposed to stay 7 to 10 days.  Sometimes we have no place for them to go.  If they came from a nursing home, the home may not want them back.  Then they are "stuck" until we or their family find a place for them.  Nursing homes have cliques, too.  Sometimes the "in" group doesn't want the person back because they don't fit in.  So, even if they do get batter...

By the way, I got an award today.  I haven't even been there a month!

Stepping into a Pile of Sunshine

I began my new job on December 23, 2013.  Since then I hit the ground running.  Unusual circumstances have led to my working full-time (for now) conducting structured outpatient groups.  I am still considered "casual time", but that is likely to change soon.

Yesterday I sat in on a meeting my supervisor would have gone to.  Friday, I attend another one.  I am leery of blogging about the circumstances that have taken place to bring me to that point.  What I can say is that my supervisor is gone indefinitely.  That is basically all I do know.

I have learned so much since I started.  I did not know that a urinary tract infection can lead to symptoms of dementia, hallucinations, and psychosis.  I did not know that general anesthetic can greatly speed up the process of dementia.  I have been taking notes and absorbing so much!

I have also learned that it is so important to have a health agent whom you can trust to make decisions for you as opposed to power of attorney.  Power of attorney is fine for financial matters, but the health agent trumps the POA in health matters.

I laugh at work, and sometimes I should not.  The male nurse leered at me when I laughed about a patient calling him a "son-of-a-bitch."  When the current (supervisor) of our department found out from the rest of us that my supervisor was off indefinitely, I also laughed.  Not that I wasn't concerned, it was just another change the department is surfing.  In my old age I see that change happens fast and you need to "surf" change, knowing you will pull through somehow.

I've got to run.  I have a new adventure to prepare for.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Well, I start my new job on Monday.  There will be 2 "solid" weeks of training before I will be basically on call in this new "casual time" position.  The pay is good.  I would be able to overcome a huge barrier to my finding employment and obtain my LICSW.

Unemployment informed me if I want to stay on unemployment, I will have to basically take any job.  McDonalds?

Meanwhile, I have an interview today for the director position in a small agency.  The pay is low, but the rewards intangible.  It would be up to me to increase my salary.  I don't know if I feel comfortable with that.  That, and I would not be able to be independently licensed through my work there, unless I figure out how to do therapy at this advocacy agency.

I also received an e-mail from a Duluth hospital, hiring a psychotherapist, that they will be calling me soon, likely after the holidays.  It sounds like they will be informing me of the details of the position and then interviewing.

As I sit here on one of my last days off before working, I wonder what I should do.  I have taken the casual time job, but what if I am offered one of the other positions?  Especially the director one?

My decisions are so difficult right now.  I have difficulty deciding if I should shower from one day to the next.  It sometimes takes me all day to get in the shower.  Now I am faced with big life-changing decisions like this?  What on earth do I do?  Help.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Final Straw

Stella and Ziva were playing too rough after they ate their supper.  Ziva ended up pooping on the floor - a rare accident these days and usually inspired by overactivity.  Stella is a hyperactive dog that sees her puppy as a playmate.  I needed a timeout and so did they.  I was putting Stella in her kennel so I could clean up the mess.  Ziva ran in after her.  Fine with me.  I cleaned up the poop and went outside to put it in the trash and shovel a bit.  Over the sounds of the shovel, I heard Ziva shrieking and yelping.  I came in to find Ziva standing on her hind legs in the back corner of the kennel facing out.  I called for her and she did not move.  She continued to whimper.  I had to poke her from the outside of the kennel to get her down and picked her up.  She was covered in poop.  I don't know if additional poop was a result of the attack by Stella or the reason for Stella's attacking her, but no dog rolls in its own poop, so Stella must have attacked her on it.  I left Stella in the kennel while I bathed the apparently traumatized Ziva.

Leaving Stella in the kennel, I cuddled with Ziva until she finally went to sleep.  I let Stella out for her last outing of the night and when she came back in, found Ziva and began growling and biting at her.  I put Stella back in the kennel.  She stayed there through the night until the next morning and then was playing aggressively again.  Kim stopped over and Stella continued to be aggressive towards Ziva, so back in the kennel she went.

I love dogs and think I could have made it work with Stella if she was the only one.  I regret having gotten her when I did, and then came the babies and I was stuck with all of them for 8 weeks longer.  Ziva was the last remaining pup.  I was looking for a home for her until Stella attacked her.

There was other behavior, too.  Stella had no qualms about jumping on the coffee table and knocking things off, onto the floor.  Then she and Ziva would play tug of war with my bills, my documentation for the Minnesota Board of Social Work, magazines, books, etc.  I found part of my Ped Egg the other day.  She would also knock my drinks over onto the floor.  Milk, coffee, was all fair game to her.  If I would lay on the couch, watching tv, she would get on the top the couch and jump on my stomach.  She liked to put her head above mine.  That is dog language for, "I am in charge of you."

Despite all of this poor behavior, I realize that I was not likely in a good place to train a dog that challenging.  That is a risk you take with dogs, and honestly, I did not see it coming.  Regardless, I found a new home for her where she will be an only child.  Her new owner's dog was run over after a neighbor let the dog out.  The lady was so happy and Stella jumped right in the lady's car without a second look at me.  The lady hugged me and wished me a "Merry Christmas!", stating I had just made her Christmas.  I think since Stella will be an only child, she will be given the attention she demands.

Sage cried.  Ziva seems relaxed and slept through the night without a sound.  I feel guilty, but the thoughts going through my head after the attack had a much harsher end to Stella's presence here.  It is for the better.

Monday, December 09, 2013

WHO says

The Black Dog.

It is awful knowing what you need and not being able to afford it.