Sunday, September 16, 2012

Short and Sweet

I know I promised a lengthy update, but I have RA and I woke up in the night with a flare. I am in bad shape right now, pain really bad. My hands are killing me, but I want to let you know what's going on.

First last weekend, I got bit/stung by this huge black bee. 3 weeks ago I had a run in with a nest of bald faced wasps...and a few weeks before that I was stung/bit by a yellow jacket. I tell ya, I must look like something bees don't like. But each time my reaction has worsened. With this last one, my whole arm swelled up from the wrist to past the elbow (I was stung midway between). It hurt and itched and was real red and hot. Then about 4 days later it turned a lovely shade of purple. It's all cleared up now, but I hope I can make it the rest of the year without getting stung again.

As for my job, it's fabulous, but we have a dress code and evidently I'm having a difficult time following least according to a woman that works there. I even went home one day and changed. She is relentless. Friday I got called to the Principal's office and finally got the low down. I guess this woman used to be in charge a few years back and she is having trouble giving up control. So with me being the new girl, she feels inclined to pick on me. Her emails are real passive aggressive. I told my principal that I'm not going through this again and he is behind me 150%. He said the next email I get, I am to forward it to him. Then he will go tell her a thing or two and also to leave me alone. Finally, someone on my side. He said he has seen me everyday and I am dressing fine, better then some of the others that have been there for years.

Also, apparently the honeymoon is over with my students. I have a few that are acting up and testing the boundaries. I didn't want to be a bad guy because that is what they deal with all day long. But I think with a few, that's all they understand, so last week when one had pushed to far, I went and got the guard and had him escorted out of my class. The rest of them then saw that I mean business and won't tolerate being disrespected like that or having someone distract the class and inhibit their learning. Their behavior did a 180. The one student that was involved in the gang mob years ago gave me a smile and thumbs up. He also stayed after class and said that I'm doing a good job, that he likes the way I treat them and that the guy I tossed is a jerk. He then went on to tell me that it was his birthday and that he was going to be giving his mom a gift. He had made a beautiful cutting board for her. I went over and had the teacher show me his and it was amazing. I went back and told him that I was impressed. That those kinds of boards sell for a small fortune in upscale kitchen supply stores. You could see the pride all over his face. He was smiling like the Cheshire Cat. He said he didn't know he could do something like that having never had the chance before. I told him he could get into wood working when he got out and make a pretty good living at it. He said he'd like that. 

Now about the challenge. I worked out 3 of the 5 days last week. I got that awful headache that prevented me from doing one of the days. I haven't "worked out" this weekend, but I worked for 5 hours in my garden/yard yesterday (maybe that's why I hurt so much) and don't feel like doing much today. But I still managed to lose 3 pounds! I'm eating veggies out of my garden. It is doing so good, I haven't had a year like this in a very long time. My husband went fishing last week and we had fresh trout one night. I will continue to do what I'm doing and hopefully the pain will slack off in a few days and I can get back to working out.

I also plan to go to an endocrinologist soon to have all my levels checked. I had a growth on my thyroid removed back in 95 and I also had to quit taking my hormones because it's been 5 years and now my hot flashes are back with a vengeance. This doctor was recommended by a friend and helped her a lot. He uses all natural stuff and has a compound pharmacy right there, so I hope to get in soon.

And that's about all I can typr right now. I will post again when I feel better.
Have a good week everybody!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Just a note...PPC part II

Just a note to say, I'll be writing this weekend...please check back. Just wanted to be able to post this week before Pish closes the link. Been a busy week, another bee encounter, migraine headache, unruly students (guess the honeymoon is over) I'll be needing some advice from you on that subject and so on and so forth. So, I'll see you all soon.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Yep...I'm going to prison folks!

Yep, like everyday. 7am-4:30pm, 5 x a week.

I started the new job the middle of August and it's fantastic. No more dragon lady. No more BS. Where my previous job had 4 pages of duties, this job has one page of duties. My commute is twice as far. I make less money, but by golly folks I don't care because I love this job. Yes I'm working in a maximum security prison with youths that have committed some pretty awful crimes (more on that later), but I love it.

When I first got into education 23 years ago, I did it because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help kids. And I was doing that until about 7 years ago when I "moved up" and became an executive assistant to the athletic director and then moved to the registrar's position. I no longer was having contact with students. The first couple of years were okay. Frankly I was getting a little burned out working with troubled youth, but then I started to miss it. Then this last year, the universe forced my hand via some very mean people and I made the change.

So here I am. Everyday, I have to check in, stow all personal gear in our locker, no cell phones, money, keys anything can be brought in from the "outs". Then you go through to locked doors, via camera security to get to the inside. You go to "control" which is the guards central location. They view all the cameras, they control all the locks, they can see all over the facility. You check in with them, get your keys, ID badge and you are on your way. My office is above the gym. One of the only places there isn't cameras and the bathrooms. You are on camera everywhere you go. It only took a day for me to get used to that. I don't even think about it anymore.

There are 4 units. Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta. Alpha houses youth that have done violent person on person crimes. Bravo are all the sex offenders. Charlie is all the non violent offenders and Delta is where the older offenders are. We have 128 youths ranging in age from 13-24. I am working in the "school" within the prison. I was hired to be a sort of girl Friday. Our state is now mandating that all graduates show proficiency in reading, writing and math. There are 2 different tests that need to be given to every youth working towards their diploma twice in the fall and then again in the spring. So I am in charge of all the testing, record keeping and state reporting. I also am the librarian and assist in classrooms. There are other things I do, but those are the main ones.

Two weeks ago, one of our teacher's husband was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. So I have been subbing for her government class. I have 2 classes a day. Each unit has a contained classroom. And has 2 guards. One sits in the room and one sits outside in the day room. There are also cameras everywhere and a huge red panic button right behind my desk "just in case". It has been great. I have been talking to these kids about the importance of respect and responsibility and how they need to get their diploma to have any chance at all of a decent future on the outs. All of the boys have been great. I mean of course you have your ones that want to talk and there is the class clown, just like on the outs. But I grew up with 3 brothers, I have 2 sons, so I know boy behavior. They are all polite and I actually feel safer then in the public school system. And these boys are very well behaved. They have to be or there will be consequences.

Last week I connected with a couple of them. They treat me with respect. They ask how I'm doing. There was one day when one of the other aides came in and she was making a big fuss over how I wasn't paying close enough attention to what they were doing one their computers (we have visionware, so I can see what each of them is doing on their computers from my computer at my desk). Anyway, the next day, one of the boys ask if I got in any trouble over it. He wanted to know if she told my boss. He said that he liked the way I treated them like human beings and not animals. He said that what the others don't understand is, when they yell at them and treat them badly it just makes them more angry and less motivated to do what is being ask. He said he likes the way I treat them like they matter and that I really care. I thanked him for saying that and he told me to have a nice weekend. I later found out that he is one of the 2 kids in for murder. He was 14 (now 18) when he got tangled up in a gang fight with his brothers and uncle and he stabbed a guy and later the guy died.

The other boy that I have made a connection with is very quiet and just works away. The day when I was talking about respect and how they demand it from others, but first they need to respect themselves by doing what is right and working hard on their education while they are in here, so that when they get out they have a chance at a different life. I got his attention, he turned around and was listening and made a few comments. After class he came up to me and we talked about what that all means etc. I later found out he is one of the major gang leaders in this state and he has also killed someone.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, even though these boys are criminals, they are just boys deep down. And I am finding it's like I thought all along. Kids are a product of their environment. Almost every one of these kids has had the shittiest home life possible. Or they connected with a male figure (because their father wasn't in the picture) and that person was in a gang, so the kid joins so that he feels he belongs somewhere and has a group of people that care about him.

I am going to write more stories about these boys and what my new life is like as time goes on, but for now I will leave you with this one...

Last week when I was covering the class, they ask if I could play music. So I put Pandora on my computer. Some different hip hop and rap songs played and then Adele's song "Rolling in the Deep" comes on. I was just waiting to hear them start talking smack, but a funny thing happened. A couple of them started quietly started singing along. Then I noticed some were tapping their foot or fingers. Then I heard one ask "Who is this?" and another says "She's that one that won all the awards on the Grammy's" then a couple of others said "Her name is Adele". Then another asks me "I heard she's pregnant, is that true?" So here are all these "tough" guys and they know Adele...I had to smile. They are just boys.

Oh by the way, what pushed me to start writing again is that Pish is starting a new challenge, YAY Pish! So even though it's too late for me to paste my squirrel on her page, I'm in! And I promise I'll write every couple of days about my job, life and her challenge. My summer was crazy busy with my recovering from the heart attack, my son getting married, me making the wedding gown, my garden, oh and then there is the story of me being attacked by a nest of bald faced hornets, and my beagle diagnosed with cancer, but she's hanging in there...these are things I'll write about in the future. But for now I'll just say I'm sorry I've been out of touch for so long. Take care and we'll talk soon.


Thursday, June 21, 2012


It has been a rough couple of weeks people. The job was sucking worse the closer I was getting to the end. The 2 bitches were doing everything in their power to make me miserable and it was working as hard as I tried to not let it get to me. I couldn't understand it, I was leaving, just leave me the hell alone and let me finish out what I had to do. I had to say goodbye to some of my favorite students and teachers, telling them I wouldn't be back next year. I had one week to go.

Anyway, I subscribe to this thing that sends me messages from the universe everyday. The morning of the day this happened I got this message:

For every setback, disappointment and heartbreak, ask yourself, "What does this create the opportunity for?"

And therein you will find its gift.

Everything has a reason,
The Universe

That night it began at 2am. I was ignoring the pain, assuming it was a pinched nerve or something else. It felt a little less intense sitting on the couch, so I just sat out there and ended up falling back asleep. (now the day before had been extra horrible from the bitches and I had been told I needed a degree for the new job. So when I went to bed I thought I was going to have to stay at my old school and was a little very upset about that).

Anyway, about 4:30am the pain woke me up again. I was sweaty, my chest was really hurting and now it was in my shoulder and neck and knifing through to my back. I looked up symptoms on my Ipad and some fit but some didn't. About this time my husband realized I wasn't in bed and came to see what was going on. He said we are going to the hospital and I said no, I'll be okay. This back and forth went on for almost an hour. Then I went to the bathroom and when I stood up I felt this fear wash over me and something said "Go to the hospital NOW!" I got some clothes on walked out to the living room and my husband said can we go now? and I said yes.

So we drove across town to the hospital (35 minutes) and no one was in the ER. It was completely quiet. They took me right in and went to work. It wasn't 5 minutes later and all hell broke loose. The nurses said they'd never seen it this busy, that I'd started something.
My first nurse was wearing purple scrubs with butterflies, her name was Angela. (I read it as Angel) My mom's favorite color was purple and she had a thing for butterflies. My doctor's name was Albright. (I read it as Alright).They began hooking me up to all these machines, putting needles in me etc. Pumping me full of stuff, having me take nitro etc.

I was so scared. Terrified in fact. I was thinking "This is it, I'm going to die". I was bawling and my husband kept saying it's going to be okay, but I could tell he was scared too. He just kept staring at the monitor. I started telling him how stupid I've been staying at a job that I hated and had my priorities all screwed up. How much I loved him and the kids, to please tell the kids. I told him I want to "LIVE" my life! I want to have fun again. I love the ocean. We are about an hour away and used to go all the time. It's been over a year since I last went. I told him I want to go. I want to go camping and hiking and do things I've always wanted to do but put off. I told him if I make it, I am going to change the way I live. I'm going to start having fun again and trying new things and doing the things I used to do, but never made time for. I want to read the stack of books collecting dust. I want to figure out a way to go visit my daughter that lives in Scotland. I'm tired of just going through the motions, that's not what life is supposed to be.

At that moment they decided I needed a CT scan. They feared because of my AFib I may have thrown a clot into my lungs. When they wheeled me into the CT room, there was a big "Believe" stenciled on the wall (That's my mantra. I have it all over the place). Then I looked on the ceiling and there was this stained glass panel over the lights that was all these butterflies. I immediately felt and knew my mom was with me. I felt this warmth and calm wash over me. I just knew I was going to be okay. I relaxed and giggled. The tech asked if I was okay and I said yeah I feel really happy and he said must be the drugs, but I knew otherwise.
When they took me to my room it was number #321. The number 3 and 4 kept popping up too. I have a book that interprets number messages from angels. These are special numbers.

My new nurse's last name was Rodger. (That's my dad's name). There was a wipe board in the room that they wrote info on. They used a purple pen. There was also a picture on the wall of a butterfly.
Between times when people were in my room, I flipped on the TV and was surfing and stopped on a Will and Grace. It was an episode about his dad being a workaholic and not accepting him for who he was. They got in a big fight and he left. The next day his mom called to say his dad had had a heart attack and when Will asked where they were, she said he didn't make it.

That night after everyone left, I couldn't sleep, so I again turned on the TV and was surfing and came to the movie "Signs". It was at the exact part where he is asking Marrel if he believes in signs...

The next day, I was laying in bed and was staring out the window and thinking about everything that had happened and how I could have died and how I was not living my life the way I wanted to, my priorities were screwed up etc. And I was thinking of asking the nurse if they had a pastor or someone in the building like that I could talk to. At that second, there was a knock on the door and in walks the hospital pastor! After we talked for a few minutes and I told him what I had just thought. He said he doesn't visit every patient. Before he starts his day, he prays and he asks God to guide him to the people that need him.

After he left, a few minutes later in walks my pastor's wife. She is a dietitian at the hospital. She had seen my name on the board and stopped by to check on me. We had a long talk about life and God and signs too.
When I got home, I was checking my email and here was the message from the universe:

Rainbows and butterflies, cattails and dandelions, waterfalls and rainforests, puppy dogs and dragonflies, sea foam and orcas, sunshine and comets, snowflakes and icicles, wildflowers and you...

Did I think of everything, or what? And now you can think of whatever you want, no pressure.

And then this was the one for the next day:

The best way to forgive, is not to blame.
Besides, we have forever and ever to look forward to.

And then here is today's:

It's not the steps that matter, but the path. And the path will take care of itself, when you keep focused on your destination.

I'm sure some of you don't believe in all this, but I do and it got me through. I don't believe in coincidence. Everything happens for a reason and there is a plan. This whole experience reaffirmed that for me. Right up until that day I was still questioning my decision to change jobs. But not now. I got the message loud and clear.

And by the way, all the people I worked with for nearly 9 years, that I cared so much about that I didn't want to put any strain on by changing jobs and them having to train someone new...never got me a gift, flowers, even a card that they all signed saying good bye! I also never heard boo from any of them while I was in the hospital. All that makes it easier to walk away too.

I had to go back to work yesterday to wrap up loose ends and turn in my keys. As I was driving down the driveway looking at the school in my rear view mirror I felt calm, happy, a weight lifting off my shoulders. There weren't any tears or sadness, just relief. I know I am doing the right thing.

So now it's on to the next chapter of my life. I was lucky. It was a mild heart attack, no long term damage. It was a wake up call. I just need to take it easy a few weeks and then be able to resume normal activities.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Too much for my body to take...

Sorry it's been so long and this is going to be short.
The past few weeks have been so damn stressful, emotional etc. that my body said enough. I got out of the hospital yesterday after being in for a couple days after a mild heart attack. I have some stories to tell, but for now just wanted to let you all know why I've been absent. Doctor wants me to rest and take it easy for a few days. But I'll write a full update in a couple of days. Just wanted to let you all know I'm okay and boy did nearly dying change my whole perspective about life. It had to be one of the scariest things I've ever been through. I'm a little loopy right now, but to you dad's happy fahrer's day and to everyone else, happy life.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Random stuff

The person at HR that is to make the final decision was out all day yesterday. I am hoping she is in today. I want to know that I got the job for sure and when I can start.

On another note, I had told my kids I was going for this job at the prison, so last Friday on my way to the interview and tour, I texted them "On my way to the prison, wish me luck"! To which my son replies "There's a sentence I never thought I'd hear my mom say".

Then yesterday he texted to ask if I'd heard anything and I texted back "No, the lady at HR is out, but the guy from the prison really wants me." to which he replies "Second sentence I never thought I'd hear my mom say".

I subscribe to this service that sends an email with a message everyday from the universe. I opened my email this morning and found this:

 "Life's magic is a lot like a swift flowing river, Cindy. No matter how long you've overlooked it or unwittingly swam against it, the instant you stop struggling you're back in the flow, hat down low, coolest cat on the block."

I got goosebumps. It's like the universe is really paying attention. It's sounds like the post I did a few days ago.

That's it for now. I'll let you know anything when I know. Everyone cross your fingers and toes.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Kreativ Blogger Award

Ken over at ken-inatractor bestowed this award on me over the weekend. Thank you very much Ken. I'm smiling from ear to ear and feeling warm and fuzzy inside. I just wish I could figure out how to put this on my page. I got a different award a few weeks back and I'd really like to display them proudly.

So anyway, here's how this goes:

1. Thank and link back to the awarding blog.
2. Answer seven questions.
3. Provide 10 random factoids about yourself.
4. Hand the award on to 7 deserving others.

#1. What is your favorite song?

That depends entirely on my mood. I love all music. I mean I listen to country, classical, rock, jazz, rap, pop, you name it I listen to it. If you saw the selection in my IPod, you'd think it had to be from several different people. But lately I love the song by Kelly Clarkson "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" because of what I've been going through lately and it always seems to play right when I need to hear it.

#2 What is your favorite dessert?

Anything with caramel. I love that stuff. I can just eat caramel sauce with a spoon and be in heaven.

#3 What do you do when you are upset?

Depends on what kind of upset. For instance when my mom suddenly died, or my son went to Iraq, or I had to put my dog to sleep, I bawled for days. I can't eat or think. I just sort of sit and stare and cry. I also sleep. I think it's an escape for me.
But if you mean upset as in angry, I usually shut down and hold it in. If I'm being confronted, I cry, which makes me even more angry. Then after a bit of processing, I pull myself up by the boot straps and start being proactive instead of reactive and try to do something about whatever happened to make me angry in the first place.

#4 Which is your favorite pet?

I'm a cat person. I've had cats since I was 6 months old. But I also love dogs. Currently I have a 20 lb Maine Coon named Ducati, that is the bestest cat ever. He has an amazing personality and I just love him to pieces. But I also have a beagle named Biscotti. She is gentle and loving and as sweet as can be.

#5 Which do you prefer, white or wheat?

Definitely, wheat, in fact the more grains and seeds the better.

#6 What is your biggest fear?

I used to say heights, but it's actually the possibility of falling from someplace high, so I guess it's falling, which I guess actually translates to pain...yeah, pain. I'm afraid of pain.

#7 What is your attitude mostly?

This question I had to think about. It's asking for my attitude, not my mood. I'd have to say my attitude is to do the right thing, help others, be a good wife, mother, friend and generally good person. You know, follow the golder rule. If I am able to do those things, I will feel good about myself and be happy. 

Now the fun part, 10 random facts about me:

 I have 4 kids. I am from a family of 4 kids. My mom was from a family of 4 kids as was my grandmother.

I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. I was a Navy brat. My dad was stationed there at the time. My first swim was in the Pacific Ocean when I was 6 weeks old.

I met my husband on a blind date set up by mutual friends. We just celebrated our 30th anniversary.

I have been in 2 horrible roll over car accidents and walked away from both with just scratches.

I once flew under the Golden Gate Bridge with my husband in his airplane...shhhh!

I met Nicholas Cage and Sean Penn when they were filming "Racing With The Moon" in front of the store where I worked.

I had 5 surgeries in 4 years. 3 were cancer related.

I quit smoking 9 years ago because my son asked me to. I tossed the pack in the garbage right then and never looked back.

I almost choked to death 4 months ago on a piece of popcorn. I was blacking out when my husband did the Heimlich and saved my life.

There were over 1000 entries in a Lego naming contest for the astrobots edition when NASA was going to Mars. The names I entered and won with were Biff Starling and Sandy Moondust. I won the Lego set featuring them and a rocket. My son was very pleased.

Now the hard part...picking out 7 people to give this lovely award to.

The Little Big Blog @ Little Big
Good Girl Gone Redneck @ Good Girl
I Like Beer and Babies @ I like Beer
Creative Devolution @ Creative Devolution
Dooce @ dooce
Telling Dad @ Telling Dad
A Little Bit of Sanity and a lot of Chaos @ sanityandchaos

I hope you all continue to write and make the world happy!