My Sweet Angel

My Sweet Angel
Playing Peek-a-Boo

Monday, December 20, 2010

Thank goodness Barb reminded of the blog - I missed the assignment!

What advice would you now give to someone writing his/her first scientific paper?
I would advise someone taking this class to start thinking and free/pre-writing just as soon as possible. My topic kept changing, and I know that happened for others as well. That's nothing to be worried about; in fact, it helps you become very focused on the topic you DO eventually choose.

• What areas do you feel you strengthened in the past 10 weeks?
I feel I overcame a good bit of anxiety in the past ten weeks, and also that I learned how to write a research paper. I feel I now know 'the Rules', so I can write in APA format.

• What areas do you feel still need improvement in regards to writing?
Well, I still do get writer's block. For example, it was emotionally difficult for me to stay with my topic. In another class, I just could NOT grasp what the professor wanted at all (I felt topic needed at least 10 pages, and though I was told to write AT LEAST 3-5 pages, turns out I was restricted to those 3-5 pages). So, I learned I like to write in depth, which I see as a good thing. But I'm being taught that it's not usually a good thing, as people want to get right to the point (understandable).

• Any final thoughts or statements to make before we wrap up?

I'm going to miss Barb and ALL my classmates - this was a wonderful class. I hope we all got A's! Merry, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

Monday, November 29, 2010

To adopt or not to adopt? That is the question!

Just a side note: Angel (my precious boy who is playing peek-a-boo at the top of my blog) has sired babies, and I just learned that his adoptive mother has been saving a girl for me that she claims looks just like him. I have to REALLY be chilled out on adopting a thousand rats (which makes me VERY happy), but if I can't have Angel back, should I adopt his daughter? It's clear to me that I want to shift back to all boys as my girls pass away (and Edie, who's age I'm unclear about, as I adopted her as an older rat, is turning all white, indicating advanced age; and Remy could be a great-great-great grandma by now), as they just more highly interactive.
Oh, what to do, what to do?

Happy Thanksgiving and yummy leftovers!

Hello all -

God, I hate to complain, but I've got to get the following out of the way: I'm SO tired of being so sick and tired! I have been in constant pain for over a decade now, and am having a nasty flare-up of fibro (due, I'm sure, to loss of job and to dealing with the person who calls herself my mother - Lord, I really would love to be done dealing with narcissists!). On top of that, I've had a #*$!& of a 'virus' (what the doctor is calling it; and cannot treat it; still, I've heard of others who have been dealing with it) that has me feeling weak, in great all-over pain; a sometimes unbearable sore throat that comes and goes, painful sinus and headache. I just want to sleep, which probably would be good for me; but I was raised in New England, and severely get 'the guilts' when I'm not doing something! So, I'm a continent divided against itself, which I also know doesn't help.
Okay, now that that's out of the way, is there anything fun to say? Let's start with my darling rats. Remy (a very large, VERY 'zoftig' black satin female) has been cuddling a bit more when I take her out of my dresser drawer where she lives. But she nips when she cuddles - ouch! She also is a 'french-kisser', who gets a little too into it (I don't know WHY rats do this, but they LOVE to lick your teeth and lips, and some get so into it they would climb down your throat if you let them; I've seen this on 'Petstar' enough to know it's not just my babies. No, it's not gross (although people can be grossed out), as rats are even cleaner than cats), and so I have to make her stop. My 'blonde bombshell', Edie, is the most affectionate of all my girls at present (she and Erzuli take turns, it seems), but she is loving sleeping in the drawer with Remy even more. 'Zuli is quite aloof as of late, just like her archetype (she's named after an African form of the goddess, Venus) can be. She is so petite, you just want to eat her up.
So, my 'contraband' boy (I'm only supposed to keep one sex, but I could no longer stand being without a boy, as they are more cuddly and funny), Darwin, headlines this week. He is the best behaved rat I've ever had. It's as if he went to rattie finishing school. I have to swap out the girls and the boy (when he sleeps with me, the girls are in their giant 5 star hotel of a cage; then he gets the cage when the girls get the bedroom) so there's no litters. The girls love their cage, but after two days, get antsy; so they need to come out. But Darwin adores his cage; he especially loves the ceramic 'chinchilla bathhouse' (shaped like a little chinchilla), and could spend the rest of his life in there. He tears at the newspaper and builds himself a 'fort', so that it's quite difficult to find him, even though he fills the bathhouse! He is SO GOOD, that I can leave the cage door open so that he has the option of coming and going as he will; this rat NEVER runs off and hides. He won't come out on his own yet, but when I take him out, he cuddles with me and Dionysios (the cat shown with Oz) for awhile, and when he's done, he just clambers back in. He also loves being in my bedroom, and just stays in one spot under my covers the whole time. When I'm falling asleep and turn from my back to my side, he snuggles up along my spine, so that we are 'spine-to-spine'. He just discovered 'french-kissing', too; so now he's really 'my' rat, as we've undergone the 'bonding-by-spit' routine. I just adore him! Thank god for him; I was missing my other boys so much I was trying to take at least one back!
So, if anyone is reading this, does anyone have any brilliant insights as to where I (being disabled and only able to do limited work, about 20 hours a week, preferably from home) can find work? I tell you; it's MUCH more work being unemployed that it is being employed. I have been looking for a 'work-at-home' call-center/customer support job, as I think I'd be quite good at it. Thus far, no luck. I've been looking at every sort of job I can think of. I'm open to suggestions! Of course, I continue to do my intuitive readings for clients, but at present, that is extremely slow.
So, what is happening with all of you?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Work on the College Comp. II paper

This continues to be a difficult paper for me thus far, because I'm hurt and sad about losing my job because of an overbearing and unreasonable bully. I miss the children.
The more I explore all the ways these children are hindered and how they might be helped, the more I want to change the focus of the topic.
I cannot help but feel that we are seeing an increase in autism because our society is becoming increasingly overstimulated. I know that I, myself, often want to retreat into my own world because I simply cannot take in anymore. I watch people of all kinds utilize a vast array of defenses against the 'outside world'. I think this topic would provide extremely valuable information for ASD people and actually, for all people. However, I cannot find research on the subject; therefore, it would have to be 'ground-breaking' and research studies would have to be devised. Perhaps down the road we'll be asked to do something like that.
What do you all think of this theory?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Trying to fulfill College Comp. II requirements for this week...... writing style is, well, fairly stream of consciousness. Or, informal, as our text would say. I utilize this most certainly in this blog, especially as it is my first, and as it is a venue for me to have a voice in a world where such is otherwise denied me. However, even when I am writing informally, it is important to me to be accurate in spelling and punctuation, and fairly grammatically correct (unless I'm using 'lingo' that is intentionally incorrect).
I find I do enjoy writing more academically as well, though I hate the whole long process of it (well, actually, I hate facing the whole long process of it; but once I face the demon, it's really not so bad).
My process? Am I supposed to know that as some sort of organized system? If that is the case, then I fail that one. The best I can do is this: I'm passionate about a lot of things; usually things that are happening in life to myself, my animals, my neighborhood, my friends, my world, my cosmos. When I can't 'take' (or really, 'take in') anymore, I usually find a place to let it all out on paper. I don't mean to give the impression that I write effortlessly whenever something strikes me as needing to be addressed; there usually needs to be an outside impetus that calls forth my writing. E.g., an introduction to a book; a story for a creative writing class; an academic assignment; and so forth. From there, however, I really tend to be a 'first draft' writer. I have rarely edited my work, so I am an infant when it comes to the sorts of things we do at Kaplan. Poor Matthew (C.C.I Professor) had one heck of a time trying to get the concept of 'stripping down and simplifying' through to me. God Bless him; he really stuck it out. I don't mean to be stupid or stubborn, it's just that my brain doesn't work in neat little boxes.
See? Here's a great example right here. I snarled at this assignment all day, then figured I could write a couple of sentences. Yeah, right. As usual, I am writing a tome. So, I'll stop here on this part.
Okay, so am I really to wait for folks to comment here?

• If there was one thing about your academic challenges, what would it be?
Aside from really grasping the structured writing concepts (as mentioned above), I would say it is dealing with illness and exhaustion all the time. So, it's not the work; it's my health.

• How is school influencing your life at or up to this point?
School is a Godsend. It has been over two years since I've received any sort of acknowledgment for anything. What I have received has been endless put-downs. It's been extremely challenging to not only lack support, but to also have to find a way to trust myself when people around me are just wanting to 'take me down'. I know this is a test to strengthen me, as I've always been extremely sensitive (or 'hyper-vigilant' as they call it in the biz); to give me yet another chance to not take things personally (something that is very difficult for me) and to stand by my own principles and convictions. Anyways, I had forgotten how well I always did in school, and how good that made me feel about myself. It's pitting myself against myself, and not others, which works for me, as I am a non-confrontational person (were there too many commas in that sentence?) It gives me a neutral and fair place to strive for excellence, and grades then are the reward (or the devastation, depending on how I've done!) It is the best thing happening in my life; the thing (besides my own brand of faith) that is giving my life the most meaning. I am so very grateful to be here.

What's this world coming to?

Thank goodness I have this blog, for at present, it seems the only place I can 'speak' without having to explain or defend myself. As for my job as an on-bus aide, I never stood a chance. The meeting was a total farce. I was never once permitted to finish a sentence, as the driver and monitor (the monitor, Sandy, is also supposed to be a union rep for me!) spewed out the most vehement hatred of me, along with ridiculous and fraudulent charges. (And I'm speaking of false charges that can be proven to be such, but most likely, that won't be looked into, even if I get a chance to ask). Though at this moment I am still 'officially' with the company, I have been forbidden to board 'their' bus again; something that is totally illegal. The driver and monitor have no say in this. The meeting became nothing but a constant attack on my person (NOT about anything I might have done wrong, for I am always the first to admit to anything like that, wanting all to be safe and well), with enormous (she's beautiful but huge, like a volcano) Lisa yelling over me and everyone else. I'm a diplomat, always wanting everyone to win. I guess that isn't possible in this day and age. At any rate, it became so unbearable and stunning that I finally just walked out, unable to bear another moment of it.
What shocked me so horribly that I STILL cannot think straight (this only happened yesterday, however) is that I really, truly thought my 'kill them with kindness' approach was working. I was absolutely consistent, never varying from warm greetings and thanking them at the end of the day. The driver, Lisa, I could have expected SOME nonsense from; for she was like Mount Pele finally having a field-day destroying her island. But the monitor, Sandy; now, that was the biggest shock, as I truly thought we had a good working relationship. She always seemed very sweet and neutral. She was just as hateful as Lisa! I learned that I can be blinded by optimism, which is to me a very, very sad thing.
The most ridiculous part of all this is that it has NOTHING to do with any errors I've made (and I HAVE made errors, as I received no training at all in how to handle ASD children). From the very first moment Lisa and I were introduced, I said to her, 'I've heard nothing but good things about you'; and her skewed face just shot me daggers of hatred. I've explained this to my supervisor, but it keeps being ignored. There obviously is just something about me that she decided she despised from that first moment, and that was that. Since then, she's been out to destroy me; it has been evident every day. So, it won't be a loss to be on their bus, except I'm concerned about the children, especially 'my' child. They don't do well with change, and I know nothing will be explained to them, even though they are very intelligent.
I have tried to just 'air out' the situation (NOT looking for solutions; just needing to vent and be heard, as no one would listen to a word I said in the meeting), and even THEY are behaving as if I want to 'fix' the situation with these two women (I even have submitted in writing that I desire nor expect such a thing; how can one change a person?), and so I end up being lectured to about how I cannot do that, when I know it better than anyone. My oldest, dearest, bestest friend; who had me reserve this weekend to go see 'Hereafter' with her, lectured me and then blew the weekend off! I've had several other opportunities to see this film with others, but told them it was reserved for her. It'll be gone before she's ready to see me; it seems she gets personally upset whenever something isn't right in my life, no matter how calmly or sanely I put it to her.
It's not that I cannot handle things on my own, for I can; but the stress has been so enormous it would be nice to just have someone to rant with, y'know?
So, anyone feel up to a rant? How are you all doing?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What to do, what to do?

Well, I'm wondering if I should keep my current job or not, given the current economy. Feedback is invited and most welcome. I have a part-time job as an aide to an ASD child on a school bus. I ADORE working with the kids, but the bus driver (in particular, who we'll call 'Linda') just HATES me, and I don't know why. I've been working this route with her since the beginning of September, and have been using the 'kill her with kindness' technique. The monitor (the one who oversees the other, less violent, children) we'll call Sherri. Sherri is also a union rep, who is supposed to be working on my account.
There was a silly misunderstanding about a week in that is so dumb it's not even worth going into. Linda's style is to win at all costs, and she attempts to do so through screaming and threatening. I was told that if I didn't agree with her 100% (which would have caused me to perjure myself) that I was not allowed on 'her' bus. Now, my supervisor and another union rep have told me repeatedly it is 'OUR' (Linda, Sherri's and my)bus, but that does not play out in daily life.
I deal both physical and 'mental' disabilities (ie, clinical depression; but I've said for years that I'm the 'happiest depressed person on the planet')such as degenerative disk disease, fibro, depression and anxiety disorder. Yet, I have remained absolutely even-keeled, friendly, respectful and cheerful no matter what. When kids have gotten violent, I always make sure I take the blows (I'm VERY protective of other people).
I could give you a long, long list of things I've been falsely accused of and written up for (all of which are eroding my position and leading towards termination), but here are just a couple: on sick days, even though I give them the required lead time, I am written up. I have been written up for doctor's appointments that I've told them about 3-4 weeks in advance! (And I have to submit a slip, so they have it; plus I remind them all along the way).
Last Thursday a largish child got very, very violent. Neither Linda (a large, strong woman) nor Sherri (a smallish, older woman in her 60's) were handling him. He was trying to kill the quietest, gentlest child we have on the bus (for some reason he hates that child - is there a reflection going on here?) 'Though I am to stay ONLY with 'my' child, I had to intercede, and did so, by insinuating my body between that of the violent (let's call him 'J') child and Sherri. I got him in a bear hug with his arms pinned, and got him into his seatbelt. He learned quickly I wouldn't let go unless he settled down, so after a bit he did so. I intuited it was a ruse, so still held him, but more gently. Sure enough, he went completely wild again and again - screaming how he hates all of us, trying to bite us, kick us, punch us, etc. He figured out how to hurt me by head-butting me. I pulled his hood up to soften the blow and that seemed to work. We were there, parked, for over an hour; the entire time I was handling 'J'. Even the cops came (who did nothing - they were SUPPOSED to take him off the bus!).
Anyways, Linda FINALLY decided to send 'J' and his brother, 'H' ('my' child) back into the school for the staff there to deal with the situation, as the other, well-behaved children were getting rightfully upset that we weren't moving towards home. As usual, once things were back to normal, I asked Linda and Sherri and the children if they were alright. They were. NO ONE asked me if I was alright, and I was (as always) the one who took the physical beating. (Please know - I do NOT do this out of a sense of 'heroism'; let's just say my upbringing made me very, very protective of innocent people, even those who are cruel to me).
We finally got on our way, and as usual, I began using levity to try to lighten up the situation and help all have a better day (people in seminar know I'm a bit of a 'cut-up'). I always do this, especially when there's been a great deal of tension. It's my way. I talk to anyone, especially strangers who look like they are having a bad day, and get them laughing. I love it. This has never been a problem, and Lisa and Sherri join in and laugh and joke.
But on this particular day, because we were delayed for so long, it was well past time for me to take my Excedrin and Neurontin. I asked Sherri to hand me my purse (so I didn't have to leave my child), and then I hunched down in the seat so the kids wouldn't see me take my medicine (all prescribed and okayed by the company doctor, mind you). But on the next day, Friday, I was called into the office (a hardship, as I have no way to get back from there as there are no buses that go out that far). I was CHASTISED and told that Sherri said I had 'acted giddy' after taking the medicine! (Neither of these medications makes me 'high' or changes me). Since that Thursday, I have been accused daily of my 'mood changing due to medication'. Funny how it was never a problem until Sherri saw me take some tablets.
Now, I LOVE working with the kids, as I've said. I've tolerated having to sit as an outcast at the back of the bus so as to avoid pissing Linda off every day. I have handled every turn of events with equanimity. But when I learned I was being accused of 'being giddy' due to medication (and I understand that Sherri needs to put the needs and safety of the children first, so that is not an issue), I spoke with Sherri about it. She said 'After you took your medicine, your mood changed'. When I asked how, she again said I'd become giddy. I told her this is medicine I've been taking for a couple of years, and it is in my system around the clock, so there really cannot be a 'mood change'. She countered by saying that I'd been on it so long I didn't realize what it did to me. Now, I was speaking to her in a serious and somewhat dour manner; an affect I can assume but only as needed. When I reiterated that the medicine did nothing to my mood, she said, "THIS (my dour, serious, heavy state) is your REAL self; the other happens when you take medicine', I 'uh-huhed', nodded, and went back to my seat at the rear of the bus. This was the final straw for me. ANYONE who knows me (and I am having them write testimonials for the Friday meeting) knows the so-called 'giddy' me is the REAL me, and what Sherri called the real me is more a tool used as necessity than anything else. So, I was being told that, in addition to having to put up with the endless harassment of these women and this company, I was NOW to be all sour and serious all the time! I may be ABLE to handle that, but I don't want to. So, I told my supervisor that I'm taking a leave of absence; and that is the main reason for the upcoming meeting on Friday. What is said will determine my choice.
So, I would LOVE your input, responses, advice, PLEASE! Thank you!