Friday, April 01, 2011

I'm oriented already!

Have completed week 1 of my 3 week orientation for the new job. And then I get to have MORE orientation when I get to my unit. I think I will really like this job. Will be working with kids and that's a nice change from working with (criminal) adults. I can't complain too much about the orientation because I'm lucky enough to be in a group of really nice and fun people. That makes long days much easier to handle. The kids are liking their new daycare and that makes it easier on all of us. Getting back into a new routine after months of being unemployed takes a bit of getting used to - for all of us.

On another note, my old cat (Drake) is seriously ill and needs to be euthanized. I found out a few weeks ago that he has end-stage liver disease and there is nothing that can be done for him. He is almost 13 years old and I know he has lived a full life but it is still very hard to let him go. I've been postponing taking him back in because I keep rationalizing that maybe he's not so bad. But I know that he is having even more trouble eating and keeping food down. I can look in his eyes and know he's feeling bad. So tomorrow (while the kids are somewhere else) I'm going to take him in for euthanization. It will be hard to say good-bye to such an old friend. He was my daughter's cat. Since she's passed away, he's been one of the few last connections with her. I think that's another reason it's so hard for me. When he's gone, I will still have my daughter's dog and my other (much younger ) cat. A more manageable pet population. I know my daughter will welcome Drake into heaven. He'll be with her tomorrow. Still...

Friday, March 11, 2011

New Job, Old Employer

Gosh, it's been a while since I've blogged. Been busy with work, raising my son and grandson, and just not very introspective lately, I guess.

I'm going back to work for an old employer soon. It's a new job title, new location, and definitely new salary. I worked for them right out of grad school and was willing to work for peanuts then. Thank goodness we both have higher standards now. I guess it helps that I'm now licensed. I'm eager to begin work and glad to finally be out of jails and prisons (working there, that is).

My son is 4-1/2 now and growing into this wonderful little boy. I realize how fortunate I am to know him and have him in my life. So many friends told me that I was too old and had too many problems to be adopting him way back when. Some also told me that he would have too many problems as a result of what he went through prenatally and that it was too much for a single woman to do alone. I'll admit that it has been a challenge raising him to date. But also an incredible joy and I wouldn't trade a minute of it. I think we're a blessing to one another.

Raising the grandson for the last few years while guiding my son through his early problems has also been quite a challenge. He lost his mother a few years ago and he's never been quite the same. (Of course, I lost her, too, my daughter, and I know my life will never be the same.) But he is also a remarkable boy and I have hopes that he, too, will overcome his early trauma to live a full happy life.

In the mix as well is my granddaughter who is 10 now. Hard to believe she will soon be a teenager. She's as bright as she is pretty and I see her growing into this lovely young lady.

I've been so busy with the children and work and doing all of this single-handedly that I've unfortunately lost touch with some of my old friends. I have to remember that not all friends are supposed to be life-long friends. But it is still sad. On the plus side, I have do have a few close friends who have stayed by me through thick and thin. They've understood when I haven't had time to hang out with them as much as I would have liked. They know the power of phone and email to maintain close friendships. Thank you God for them.

Here's to a new chapter in my life and blog.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


day in the morning! Get to work today and one of my first patients is one of those child molesters I counseled last week. Yep, that's my job. I was working with him on forgiving himself. That.was.hard. (borrowing cjh's style)

I have to provide unconditional positive regard. Remember Rogers? I can't pick and choose which inmates I want to help. So that includes a lot of people that I would never, ever, ever, want to help if it were not my job.

Does helping a child rapist forgive himself lead to him raping more or less when he is finally released?

What about the killer who killed his wife and father-in-law in a sudden fight. Ugly death. He regrets killing the guy because he would like to be able to talk to him. No remorse at all over the wife. Okey-dokey.

A colleague and I had a brief discussion about this question today: Can empathy be taught to adults?

Friday, March 27, 2009


I was talking to my 6-yr-old the other day, telling him a story about lunch at work. I don't usually relate too many prison stories to the kids so I had to explain a bit more about where I work. He asked questions about prison. "Oh, so that's where they keep the bad people." Yeah, basically. Or the bad people who happen to get caught. Or those of us who do bad things and are labeled bad and/or get caught. But I digress here (I didn't with him).

And he asked me why? Why do you work there? I said it is because even people who do bad things, need people like me to help them feel better. And then he asked, "well, if they're bad, why do you want to help them feel better? Mean people are just mean."

I know, I know. If I hadn't already been questioning some aspects of my job, his questions wouldn't have meant anything to me then or now.

Do people who do bad things, have always done bad things, and will probably always do bad things, deserve to feel good about themselves?

And since the Axis II folks are quite likely to continue the same life despite any therapeutic confrontation, are we wasting our time?

These are questions I ask not because I am not liking my job or have any plans to change. Just things I think about and have to pass through. Sometimes, just to prove that I can.

public speaking

A few months ago, I volunteered to do be a presenter at the continuing education for the district monthly meeting. This wasn't my first time and everything went very well my first, so I should have expected things to go well today. Except that I wasn't very interested in the material. And hadn't prepared any notes or handouts. It's ethics. Gotta have it. Don't have to love it. You know?

But then why should I be surprised when I get so many people tell me what a great job I did? The district manager said I'm such a natural! The attendees clap for me. For what? Anyway, I got to thinking about it on the way home. And remembered the old adage that most people list their greatest fear as that of public speaking (second to death, remember?). And I realized, in a duh! moment, that to most people, anyone who has guts enough to get up and speak in front of a crowd, is GREAT! And the fact that I appear so comfortable doing so must make me somewhat famous for it. Big fish in small ponds.

I thought more about this. I could tell everyone that the reason I LOOK so comfortable is that I AM! Gosh, how many years of public speaking do I have under my belt??? Then I thought, if I don't say anything, I may be getting more brownie points. Discretion is the better part of valor.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

hey there!

Alright, it's been more than 6 months since I last posted. But in that time, I've had numerous appointments and court dates related to my little boy. He has more therapists than I can keep track of - speech, occupational therapy, counseling therapist, nutritional therapist - you get the idea. Plus I've moved about an hour away from where I was before. Love the area. Feels like I'm living in Mayberry but with all the conveniences of the 21st century! Nice people. I was working alone at my prison for about 6 months since my last case manager transferred (I forgive you, LC!) but finally got a new person who started 2 weeks ago. I'm happy as a clam. Why are clams happy? Does anyone know?

The 6-yr-old grandson has been living with me since January and will until school is out. Lemme tell ya, it's scary when you realize you're outnumbered!

I hope to start posting again at least semi-regularly. So many good stories I don't get to share here!

For instance, the other day, I had two murderers and a serial rapist in my office. All within 1 hour. One of the murderers was describing how he really doesn't like it when cellies look at him in the wrong way. He thinks they may be getting the idea to rape him. Just to be on the safe side, he strangles them to death. Two down so far. And they keep denying his request for a single cell. Takes everything I have not to find that cellie and tell him to do anything to get a transfer!

One of my delusional patients (I've had so many lately) is convinced that big brother is watching him through hidden cameras and controlling him through electrodes and satellites that go through his eyes and into his brain. When asked if he hears voices, he says, "no but of course I hear the ones that are PUT into my brain by all of you." He finally agreed to take meds but only because he thinks that will make big brother happy enough to leave him alone for a while. Not responsive yet but I'm still hoping.

Another delusional patient (I had to ship to inpatient) is convinced that everyone - security, me, medical staff - is trying to keep him from making his court date in April. He's suing all of us and he's convinced he'll get to go to court next month and have all of us pay for mistreating him. He has a typewriter in his cell and writes grievances and legal pleas every day all day. When he stopped eating because he thought we were poisoning him, I had to ship him. Now, of course, he thinks I shipped him so he couldn't make that court date.

What fun! Seriously though. My colleagues and I talk about this stuff and wonder how we could ever go back to work in the private sector. How boring would that be? You're here because your marriage isn't doing so well? Have you killed anyone? Raped? Hear voices? Believe the TV talks to you? If not, get outta here!

I'm very grateful to have my job. Particularly when we lost so many of our colleagues in Galveston to lay offs. I like what I do. I work with great people (not counting the inmates). I'm never bored. And I'm working toward my LPC. I'm blessed.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Okay, Sept 1 was a tough day. Good thing I was off of work anyway. Thanks to you friends who wrote kind comments to my previous posting. And a special thank you to the friend who doesn't read blogs but nonetheless had circled that date on her calendar, knowing I would need a phone call about midafternoon. She lost a husband a few years ago and remembers the early years of grieving only too well. She's also the person who has explained so many inexplicable physical and emotional pains to me over the last year.

I am blessed to know all of you.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


I've argued with myself about this post. Sept 1 is the 1st anniversary of Rachel's death. I would say it is a difficult time but since every day without her seems so challenging, it doesn't quite seem appropriate.

It does bring to mind some things, though. There are things I told myself I would do or be able to do after more time had missed since her death. Things like getting out her craft supplies to make things with the kids. Things like writing in the book that I bought especially for writing to her. And baking? She and I used to bake all the time. Even when we didn't live together, I loved surprising her with a new treat when she visited. Now I may buy items for baking but they tend to go bad because I never use them. I planned to have gone through some more of her things and "weeded out" things I could part with. Guess what? I think I've parted with everything I'm willing to.

Last night, I was trying to remember what the world felt like when Rachel was still here. How I felt. I know I was a more optimistic person. The glass is half full, everything happens for a reason, things will always work out, you get the picture. All of that ended for me one year ago. Things don't always work out. Sometimes, life just up and f*%ks you for no good reason. I got that from Rachel's my space page. Hurts me to think she ever felt the way I feel now. I remember how I used to look forward to our phone conversations every evening. We'd share things about our day and no matter how awful they had been, we always found a way to laugh about it. Hearing her voice always grounded me. For weeks after her death, I still picked up my cell phone on the way home from work and started to call her. Even when I realized she wouldn't be there anymore, I pretended to talk to her until I cried uncontrollably. The drive home from work has always been the best cry time for me. I can't openly grieve around Luke because it upsets him too much. And the hour it takes to drive home gives me time to finish up the crying and get my face looking okay. The worst part? Sometimes I can't even cry because I just feel so empty.

I don't usually share this with anyone because like Luke, it seems to upset people too much. People mean to be there for you when you're grieving, but after the funeral they go on with their lives and I think they don't want to be reminded. I truly can't blame anyone. I've done the same thing to others. I would tell myself that asking them about their loved one/grief might bring up too much. Might disturb them. And surely, some other friend of theirs is there for them, right? And I'm not writing this for someone to feel guilty. Just venting. Just being honest with myself and I guess the blog.

I miss Rachel. Her son just tested out of kindergarten and is now in first grade. He lost his first tooth and the tooth fairy came and it wasn't Rachel. An entire year has passed and she hasn't been in the world with us. If this is a nightmare, I wish I would wake up already.