Please Forgive Me. I Am A Grad Student.

April 18, 2013 at 8:24 pm (A Little Fun, back to school, Studies, Time Off Together) (, , , , , )

Not that I really have anything interesting to post in the first place, but life has pretty much been put on hold for the last 2 semesters.  I have been totally immersed in my studies.  A master’s in statistics does not come easy, especially when your background is in Theology and social services.

Hopefully I will have something interesting to post soon.  It is going to be a busy summer, but hopefully a little pleasure will be mixed with business.  I have finally agreed to go backpacking with Josh.  He has been asking for quite some time and I finally took pity on him.  So a few weeks ago he plopped this ball of plastic down on in front of me and said,

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“This is our tent”

Ummm….

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De Dos Dias

August 27, 2012 at 9:00 am (A Little Fun, Fun Photos, Time Off Together) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

We first set out for wine country.  We just wanted some wine for the apartment so we just wanted to pop in and out of a couple of places.  One red for Josh, one white for me.  We also ended up with a really excellent Port which we brought back with us.

When Stacey got off work she took us to her favorite Indian place which happened to be in San Rafael.  They have a delicious all you can eat buffet for lunch.  I particularly loved the naan and tikka masala.  I wanted to eat more but I had no room left!

When we were done eating we headed out to the city.  I had wanted to take a picture similar to one we had done on our previous trip to San Francisco.   So we went to the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square.

Do you see any difference?

Maybe just a little.

It was a beautifully sunny 83 degrees when we left San Rafael, which is a mere 15 minutes from the bridge.  As we approached SF we watched (and felt!) the temperature drop.  On the bridge it was 56!.  Cold and blustery in SF!

Josh let Stacey use his ultra light backpacking jacket.  She needed four hands to fight the wind!

We could have flown her like a kite!

Josh looks like he is enjoying a warm summery day.

Josh needed help getting his jacket back on.  Like  a kite I tell you.

What a stud!

A gratuitous VW van shot for Andy.  There were PLENTY of these around!

Stacey took us to this lovely park that was plopped right down in the middle of the city.  In Buena Vista you almost forget you are in a city as you climb the steep hills, pick wild blackberries, and gaze up at the eucalyptus trees (not pictured, I know).  There is such a variety of flora in this park.

This is one of the lookout points in the park.  They say there is this big bridge and an ocean out there, but honestly I’m not sure they know what they are talking about.

The one place I REALLY wanted to try in the city was Humphry Slocombe.  Just a little before our trip I happened to pick up an ice cream recipe book from the library and guess where the shop was ?!  They had some really off the wall flavors that I wanted to try.

I could not make up my mind because what tasted best to me was just the ordinary strawberry ancho chili chocolate.  I really wanted something different so I chose pluot cardamom something or other.

Josh and Stacey both got the secret breakfast, which apparently is one of their best sellers.  It involves corn flakes and whiskey.  It really was tasty!

The Mission District reminds me a little of Pilsen, but a bit more hard core or edgy.

I really wish I would have taken pictures of some of the murals.  This was one of those places I really didn’t want to stick out like a tourist.  The picture above was taken at my hip.  😀

Once we were thoroughly chilled with our ice cream (did I mention it was 56 degrees?!) we, at least Stacey and I had to get our coffee fix at Philz.

I love this picture!  It seems like it should be in a newspaper article about Philz.  🙂

They brew your coffee up for you right there!  Fresh!  And you can mix beans, too.  Since it was evening but I knew we would be having a very late dinner and a late return I mixed decaf Ethiopian with the regular Silken Splendor.  It was quite good!  And a fun place to hang out, too.

It was finally time for dinner so Stacey took us to the place she volunteers.  Old Skool Cafe is a not for profit that gets at risk kids off the streets and trains them for jobs.  The cafe is not only a place to train the kids, but it is where they can be employed which offers them a legitimate place of employment and good reference for their resume.  I encourage you to click the link to their website and read about them.  And it is not your typical not for profit that just does what they do and expects pity and hand outs.  They really do what they do well.  The food is excellent and they offer live entertainment.  Yelp is proof that the general public really enjoys the food.

The jazzy/clubby music was superb.

And there was salsa dancing when the musicians cleared out.

We were the last customers out.

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Arrival

August 22, 2012 at 8:49 pm (A Little Fun, Time Off Together) (, , , , )

Up bright and early at 3:30am.  We actually got to the airport later than we had hoped so Josh dropped me off so I could drop off our luggage and he could park in remote parking (later to find it was the wrong lot, $129 later.  ouch!).  We were already checked in so we just had to hope in the line to get through security.

Even though they asked who was flying Virgin to SF and they said we would be ok where we were in line, we were still almost late for our flight.  The lady at the desk said, “You didn’t hear my page?”.  I’m thinking, first of all how can you expect to understand ANY of these pages.  Secondly we were going through security and there is still 10 minutes to departure.  Why is the door already closed?

On the plane someone was sitting in one of our seats.  When we claimed the seat she looked a little upset and said, “Well, do you want to sit there?” and pointed to two seats across the isle.  Being a little frazzled I said fine.  When I sat I realized I had just given up my window seat.  😦  During the flight I couldn’t not help looking over at the girls who sat with the empty seat between them yacking it up, buying movies, ordering food, and thinking that these girls are spoiled.

All in all we made it to SFO and had time to kill before Stacey picked us up after work.

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Little did we know that we would somehow bring fog with us that would not rise until just after our flight left for Chicago.  Our only view of the GGB was on our arrival.

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Stacey took us to her stomping grounds and we got to see where she lives, view and all!

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She took us to pick up our car (Josh’s mustang!) and we picked up some lunch at the Bay Cafe.  Cute place but nothing fancy.

Our home for the week was an apartment in a house in San Rafael.  It was a really beautiful apartment.  The owner’s had thought of every little detail, right down to the home baked cookies and little package of Peet’s coffee.  Mmm!  It was very much our style.

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After we got a little settled Stacey took us to one of her spots off Muir Beach.  We had to walk through Slide Ranch to get there.  Such a beautiful place and probably one of my favorite views on the coast.

The drive was on what I think MUST be the most wind-y, curvy part of HWY 1.  The map says it will take 11 minutes to get there, but that is a lie.  It is more like one hour!

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I LOVED the eucalyptus!!!!

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Unfortunately we had to rush back because the parking lot was going to close at 6pm so we could only spend about 3 minutes looking for starfish.

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There was a lookout point at the parking lot.

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WINDY!!

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Railcats

August 9, 2012 at 12:21 am (A Little Fun, Fun Photos, Time Off Together) (, , , , , )

Summer is nearing an end and we have been wanting to take Stevie to a Railcats game.  So we did.

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It’s always something

October 17, 2010 at 12:37 am (Healthcare, Time Off Together)

Josh and I were able to have a one-and-a-half-week vacation together.  We didn’t plan lots.  We just wanted really, really needed time off together.  The biggest excitement was camping with friends.  They plan a big camping do twice yearly and we try to go whenever our location and time off status allows.  It was great fun and we had fabulous weather.  Josh and I arrived a day early and stayed a day late so we were able to gear up for and wind down from all of the commotion.  We enjoy camping alone together as well as with friends.

On our last weekend together, well, we weren’t together.  I went to a northern suburb of Chicago to babysit the girls I nannied through college and beyond.  I first started when the oldest was 15 months and the middle was soon to be born.  Now they are 13 and 11 and the youngest is 6.  I just can’t believe where time goes.  When we moved to Scotland I had been with them 7 years and I felt as though I had raised my own beautiful girls.  I hadn’t seen them in 2 years and they were all shy when I arrived, but we quickly got comfortable and had a blast.  I brought one of my rabbits, Tattie, and they were enamored with her.  The youngest girl held on to my leg as I talked with their mom when I was about to leave.  When I gave hugs she wouldn’t let go.  It was great to see their personalities mature into what I had envisioned them to be before I left for Scotland.  *sigh*

I arrived home from that weekend late at night to find my husband sitting on the sofa nursing a wound to his abdomen.  He had been working on something for our kitchen on the table saw.  As he cut his last board the saw grabbed the edge of it and spun it back at him with such force that he fell to his knees.  At first I felt pity for him and began to play nurse getting him ice and such.  Then he brought up a concern about internal bleeding.  He thought the force of the blow could have been THAT hard.  His wound look nasty, but it wasn’t swelling or anything.  We don’t have insurance and did not want to go to the ER if it was nothing, yet we didn’t want to assume it was nothing.  When we dropped our insurance we became members of an urgent care facility but they are only open 12 hours during the day (why do these things ALWAYS happen late into the night?!)  I got online and began to look up symptoms of internal bleeding.  Weakness, nausea, vomiting, drop in blood pressure.  Josh normally has an elevated blood pressure and I thought this would be easy to monitor.  We took his BP and it was normal for him.  After much deliberation we decided that we would sleep, but set an alarm every hour to monitor his BP.  Throughout the night it was normal, but at 7am his BP plummeted to low for any person and he felt nauseous and weak.  I remembered that nausea and weakness was very typical for me when I was working midnights so I figured that could just be fatigue, but my BP never dropped, but always spiked.  I told Josh to get ready because we were going to urgent care.

On the drive over I began to think of how horrible it would be if we thought we were doing what we should and it went all wrong.  I regretted not getting ice for Josh on that last hour that was so difficult for us both to wake up for.  I was sure that if he did have some bleeding that the ice had slowed it down.

The LPN took one quick look at Josh’s wound and said, “You’re fine, but if you want some peace of mind we can price an x-ray for you.”  We she went to find out the price I told Josh that even though he is fine, if the x-ray cost a couple hundred that we should get it anyways.  So we did and the x-ray showed no bleeding.

It was also coming time for my once-yearly doctors appointment that I really dread.  Before I made the appointment with the doctor I had been to last year I asked for some prices for self-pay.  I was told it would be $75 for the office visit and the lab work would be anywhere from $100 to $300.  When it came time to check out and pay, I was given a $130 price.  When I questioned it she said, “Oh, that’s just for the regular office visit.  You had an annual.”  Huh?  Then after I paid that she said, “Oh, I forgot!  Since you don’t have insurance there is an additional $75 charge.”  Yes, my mind exploded.  And I said, “This is all on top of the lab work?”  Yes.   It stinks not to be able to afford insurance.  I told her that.  She shuffled some papers around and didn’t look me in the eye again.  Told me to have a nice day.  Hmph!

It stinks, but even with these medical bills, it would have cost us more money to have insurance.  And I don’t mean just the premiums.  If Josh had gone to the ER we would have been set back much, much further with the copays.

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And the Job Search Goes On…

May 25, 2010 at 7:37 pm (A New Career, Employment, Finances, Job Satisfaction, Time Off Together, working midnights) (, , )

It has been a roller coaster ride.  When I talk about a job search I am asked, “What are you looking for?”  Well…almost anything right now.  Its sort of complicated.  I really want more responsibility.  I REALLY want to have normal hours.  I want to have a weekend again.  I want evenings off.  Time with my husband.  I want something that pays a livable wage.

It started last August when one of our group homes was in dire need of staff.  I went over there for three weeks to help out.  It was the most difficult as almost all of the clients require total care.  I was dreading it.  My first day was long and, just long.  At that point I was told I would only be there for one week.  On the first day I was told I would be there another week.  I cried the whole way home.

 Managers at the other group homes tease that they will send staff there as punishment.  That is how difficult it is.

But then I had a revelation.  This group home was in need.  They guys were great, despite having to feed them, change their undergarments, etc.  I COULD BE THE MANAGER!!!  I was so ready to take on the job and turn that house around.  There was a revolving door when it came to staff so there was absolutely no consistancy.  I was sure no one else within the agency would apply for that position.  It wasn’t even posted yet so I thought I had an advantage.  I typed up a VERY GOOD cover letter and turned in my letter of interest to HR.  Everyone that heard I was applying said I would be good in that position.  One week, Two weeks, Three weeks passed and I didn’t hear a word.  I sent out an email to the director.  He said, “Oh, thanks for your interest, but we are going to let another one of our managers run this house.”

Later I applied for a med assistant position.  Running appointments.  Not exactly what I had my heart set on, but it had different responsibilities and the hours were regular.  (After I applied for the manager position I was suddenly switched to midnights and it was making me physically and emotionally ill.)  I came in a close second.  It went to someone who knew a few more of the clients in the department than me.  But I was encouraged to apply for QMRP or staff supervisor if it became available.  The person who got the med assistant position?  She lasted one month and wanted to be transfered back to her old position.

Then a QMRP position because available.  Yay!  I interviewed.  Close second, AGAIN.   It went to someone the interviewee already worked with.  She was a staff supervisor.

I interviewed for the staff supervisor position.  Sounded like I was going to get it since she said, “I am looking for such-and-such qualities and you sound like that person.”  It went to someone who had worked at our agency previously.

THEN, Program Specialist became available.  This was the position I had been hopeing would become available for the last 6 months!  It was day hours, no on call, decent increase in pay.  Advocating for clients, setting and working on goals, training staff to work with clients.  Just what I wanted.  Again I was told I had great credentials and was encouraged to keep applying for positions.  This time I actually requested feedback on the interview.  I was absolutely gobsmacked by what she said.  She didn’t think I could be assertive when needed.  She didn’t think I could work with a diverse population.  She didn’t think I could handle difficult situations.  These are the things I had to do and deal with EVERY SINGLE DAY as a case manager for homeless clients.  I had the clients trying to come on to me.  I had clients trying to bully me for things they wanted.  I had to beg landlords not to kick my client whom I JUST got housed out.  I had to remain calm while I client was opening up to me as maggots were dropping onto the table from the ceiling and rats waddled by.  I worked with drug addicts, mentally ill, abused, young, old, black, white, former attorneys, you name it! 

I was rather upset that the things she mentioned were not things she asked about, but it was good feedback nonetheless.  I somehow have been coming across and timid and weak I guess.  That will have to change.

I am so tired of the interviewing though.  I am tired of getting paid little above minimum wage.  I am tired of  having to work overtime every week to get bills paid.  I am tired of working in an entry-level position and no one can see that I can do a darned good job with so much more responsibility.  I am tired of searching for jobs only to see ‘2 years experience required’ for things like front desk jobs and such (I can get paid 50% more as a clerk/secretary at Purdue and it would work out well for me as I am taking classes there now).

I came across an entry level position for a company in Chicago that does consulting for non-profits.  They preferred someone with experience in direct services.  I thought this would be an awesome job and it could possibly grow into something else as I get math and statistics classes under my belt.  I have not heard from them.  I am sure they are swamped with newly graduated applicants.  *sigh*

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Yesterday

April 27, 2010 at 3:22 pm (A Little Fun, Fun Videos, Time Off Together) (, , )

I had such a lovely day yesterday.  It was my day off and I am normally pretty stressed on my days off.

The sun was shining.

I went to an interview and when I got home I got in comfy clothes, set up the bunny pen, got my homework, and sat out in my garden studying for my exam and watching the bunns have a wee run about the grass.  Mostly watching the bunns and looking at my garden.  I usually keep to my homework without a problem, but I guess there were too many distractions.

I have TONS of garlic coming up which was planted last fall.  I have some carrot and parsnip stragglers coming up that I planted to late last fall.  I’m not sure how they will do, but I will give them a chance.  Rhubarb, onions, strawberries, blueberries, cherry tree, raspberries, snow peas.  These are all my distractions right now.  And now I have a plum and pear tree and my mom got an espaliered apple tree with 6 different kinds of apples on it!

Late in the afternoon Josh called to set up an impromptu date.  He comes home for lunch whenever he can.  It’s not often, though, and many times it is late, like yesterday.  At 3:30 he came to pick me up to fetch some Subway in the neighboring town.  We laughed as we got back in the car with our subs that we have a wee bit of Kentucky in our backyard.  It felt like it took an hour just to get our subs.  We drove over to the wildlife preserve and backed the car in so we could have a lovely view of the fields in front of us.  Yes, our date consisted of Subway eaten in the car.  But it was lovely.  It was impromptu.  It was time to catch up together.  I had to get back to my studying and he to his work.  But I enjoyed the time we did have.

I just HAVE to share this video I found on a friend’s blog.  Blogger has not been letting me post comments of my friend’s blogs.  Erin, if you see this tell Eric I have watched this over and over and laughed so hard!

Alright, I can’t embed the video and I don’t have time to mess with it any longer.  Go to Eric’s blog and scroll down to the Japanese binocular soccer.

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Good Weekend

January 19, 2010 at 1:06 am (Fun Photos, Time Off Together) (, , )

It is so rare that Josh and I can have a day off together, let alone a weekend!

It has been so long since we have gotten to go out to eat together.  Dining out is something that I really enjoy, but we have never really had the budget to do it often.  As the budget is especially tight now it is really not even an option.  It is so hard to pass up an impromptu stop to pick up a sandwich for lunch or pizza for dinner.

So when we got gift cards from Josh’s staff we were really thrilled.  Josh loves seafood.  I don’t.  When I actually had more time I would try to make salmon for him once in a while.  When we go out to eat he likes to order it since he doesn’t get it much at home.  So he really likes Red Lobster for some affordable, half-way decent tasting seafood.  Fortunately for me they have exactly one non-seafood dish.  And even more fortunately, I really like it!  And they have great biscuits (and an amazing margarita, but we were there for lunch and didn’t really want to spend extra).  So we really enjoyed using his Red Lobster gift card on Saturday.  And the bill (not including tip) came out to just pennies away from the gift card amount.

I had a free drink from Starbucks leftover from my birthday, so I enjoyed a Venti no whip raspberry mocha.  MMM!!

We went to lighthouse place and used a Master Card gift card we received from a friend to purchase clothing items we have had on our list for a while at Lighthouse Place.  It was painful to pass up so many awesome deals right now!  I have never really been a Gap girl, but if you need some things head over to the outlet.  Josh got jeans for $8 (he never finds jeans he likes!) and I got a hoodie to wear on my midnights for $5.  We still have money left on the gift card!  We might have to stick with using it for necessities rather than splurges.

Saturdays are usually Josh and Stevie’s ‘bro time’ but I wanted to hang out with them this time, too.  We took Stevie out to get ice cream when he got back from work and we enjoyed playing his Wii together and having popcorn.

Sunday we thought it was such a nice day.  The sun was actually shining and the temps rose to just above freezing!  So we drove up to the beach for a romantic walk on the snow.  🙂  Sadly there was a heavy fog on the shore so it was not as scenic and quit a bit cooler, but it was still enjoyable.  There were actually a few other couples there with the same idea!

It was really hard to capture the shelf ice with my camera phone.  It looks deceptively safe, but there was about 50 feet of shelf ice.  Usually in the winter the water pushes the ice against the shore making some really beautiful ice burg-like formations along the beach, which is what we were hoping for.

We were wondering what sort of death might actually be safe…

Sadly, our beach water is not always the best for swimming in.  During the summer one can often find dark red water spewing from this tunnel into the lake.

We had a pizza in the freezer so when we got home we heated that up and watched a library moving until I had to go in for my midnight.

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