Confession:  I'm still trying to figure out what in the heck I'm doing at my internship. 

It's the 5th week of the term.  I've read buckets full of articles on aging.  Alzheimer's.  Continuing Care Communities.  Person Centered Models.  Mental Wellness & Aging.  Falls.  Incontinence.  Frailty. 

I make so many "friendly visits" during the two days I'm there that I begin to lose track of who I've seen.   (But this is where my obsessive need to write these things down actually appears somewhat functional ...).

These guys?  They continually surprise me.  Wisdom, insight,vulnerability, stubbornness, all of it.

Cheekiness.  Oh, Lord.  The cheekiness.  I've been told, "You're just my type"; "I use my dog to meet women - is it working?"; (to my field supervisor):  "That's some girl you sent me the other day.  You gonna do that every time?".  Who knew that sexuality would be such a major theme in aging?  Shame on me for being so close minded. Lesson duly learned.

Yesterday I had a spontaneous hallway social chat with one of the residents, who asked me about my previous work experience.  Fair enough.  If I had a (relatively) young intern sitting in front of me at his age, I'd want to know too.  So we chatted about the kids in detention, about my foster kids, about working at the women's shelter.  He quietly peered up at me and said, "That's quite an assortment."

Yes, I thought.  It is.  I could see him processing something and then he asked, "Why would you want to do something like that?"

I laughed. 

Whos' counseling whom?

{post script:  i take the confidentiality of my clients extremely seriously and will never post anything that's mentioned in session with them [individual or group].  as i did with the juveniles, i often change identifying information and post mainly about themes or how i've been affected by my interactions with clients.  some postings are composite postings that join together several conversations.   all posts involving my professional work are meant to:  illustrate the unity of people; highlight the vulnerability in all of us; bridge the differences between us; relay how social work changes me as an individual; never to shame any person.}
I spent quite a bit of time reading through the old blog and got lost in old stories.  Just like some of the elderly people I work with, I got completely tangential in my reminiscing. 

The old blog?  It's been moved to WordPress. (But I will not post there anymore - I will always post here).   Edited a little - I removed some pictures of myself and Former Husband out of respect for Shoes.  But still there.  (Because I'm still here.)  Because I'm still the person that wanted the MTE and thought I was moving overseas to teach English.  Still the person that wasn't sure I wanted to stay in social work forever.  Still the person that loves (beyond belief) kids.  In the end, it seemed better to be gentle with myself over the decision and not over think things.

Strange to think, but it was featured on MSN's "What's Your Story?"  Good grief.  As if I have any idea what my story is.

Old blog lives here now.

It's good, this being gentle with myself.

I might try it more often.
What to do?

This blog didn't always use to be this blog.  This blog started on MSN Spaces four years ago.  Life was quite a bit different then.  Four years ago I was living in the Vineyard Town, working in juvenile detention, married to former husband and on a different life track.  I had been accepted to a Masters of Teaching Education Program.  Former Husband and I were planning to move overseas and teach English as a second language.  We were trying to have a baby.  Life was different.  I was different. 

And then ... and then life happened and everything that I knew (melodramatic, yes, and also, no exaggeration) changed. Two very real, very different truths were apparent:

1)  I didn't feel like blogging on the old blog anymore.  Too weird.  I tried for a few months but it just wasn't the same.  For better or worse, I wasn't the same person.  Hence the move to blogspot.
2)  I didn't want to take it down, either.  Because, as weird and awkward as it was, it happened. Why deny that reality?

Now MSN Live Spaces is going away and would like to know if I'd like to move the old blog to Word Press or disable it altogether.

Good question.

I waffle.

Part of me would like to move it and keep it because it did happen.  And it didn't just happen for me.  It was a blog, for heaven's sake, which meant that it part of it happened for other people, too.  And trust me, I met some amazing people through that blog.

The other part of me doesn't care if I keep it around. Not that I actively don't want to ... but a small part of me doesn't care either way.  I'm happy now and it's taken me a long time to get here.  Well.  It's felt like it's taken a long time.

And then.  There's former husband to think about.   (Oh, trust me.  It has been quite a journey for me to be able to come to the point to describe this part.)  He knew about the blog.  Didn't actively read it.  But maybe he wouldn't want it up anymore.  (I won't be contacting him to find out, though.)

I know you have better things to worry about. Global warming.  Starving children.  Homeless veterans.  Blood diamonds.  You know. The important stuff.

But.  If it were you, what would you find yourself doing?

I'm curious.
Oh, last week.

Last week just refused to click together.  

A little background:  Now that school has started, I work at the Very Large Hospital 16 hours a week, am in classes for 7 hours a week, spend 16 hours a week at my internship and the rest of my time reading approximately 300 pages a week and spending however long it takes on the weekly writing assignments.

But last week was super special.  I still have that guardian ad litem case from the Vineyard Town, so the week started with a 3 hour home visit and the case notes and e correspondence that accompany it. 

Last week started with a co worker enjoying a well needed vacation, and me filling in as best as I could -- adding an extra 4 hours onto my schedule there.  Only, as  a student worker, I have no voicemail.  So while I'm answering each and every phone call that comes in, I'm also trying my best to finish sending out overdue billings and financial reports and receive walk ins.  And just when I felt as though I were truly melting down, enter mandatory fun employee appreciation event that took even more time.  (The ladies who organized it did a super job and it was a lot of work for them.  But the time, the time. Who's got the time?  Ironically, by being required to go, I did not feel appreciated as a worker.)

And a paper due for school.

And a conversation with my field supervisor in which she indicated that she wasn't comfortable with me logging the hours I spent off site working on a group I'm about to lead on my time sheet.  Her reasoning?  You don't get credit for all the time you spend working on a job in any job that you have.

Right.  I've done that - the lots of extra un-logged time.  For termination trials.  But generally, I try to leave work at work.  And.  This is not my first professional experience.  And this group has taken a massive amount of prep.  Also, I think this is field specific. The field that gets the shaft the most on this?  Teachers.

Not a teacher.

And I've had to be quite responsible and have greatly limited my socializing.  Unfortunately, this means even turning down a visit from one of my best friends who was passing through town with her daughter (I have not seen her daughter in a year.)

But here's the icing on the cake:

I managed to drop my phone in the toilet Monday night after class.  In a school restroom.  I told Shoes this, and, after a pause, he said, "So how exactly does one manage to do that?" 

By having it in the pocket of your hoodie, love.  By having it in the pocket of your hoodie. (Due to busy schedules, I have not seen Shoes for 3 weeks.)

I've disinfected in so many times and it is still disgusting when I have to use it or hold it near my head.

So here's to this week:  To dropping back down to 16 hours at the hospital.  To not having extra GAL duties.  To meeting with my SSW liaison to discuss the hours issue.  To Shoes' visit next week.

To keeping my phone safely in my bag, and not in my pocket.
First things first, baby girl who had heart surgery is finally on her way home tonight.  Of course, she and parents have turned onto Recovery Highway, and it looks a little long, but they've packed snacks and plan on taking it as it comes.

Second, my social calendar has officially closed for the year.  And by year, I mean school year.  As in, I plan to re emerge in June (but the posting will continue).  As in, my head is swimming I'm so tired.   Something is going to have to change, and it probably (definitely) isn't going to be school.

Now I will end this mostly pointless post (void baby girl news) on an equally pointless note:

Pointless note.
and i'm asking you to join me.

shoes and i have friends who are standing by (that phrase seems all at once wholly inadequate) as their infant daughter recovers from heart surgery.  she is so young.  and precious.  and perfect.  her parents are precious and perfect as well.  and while the heart surgery went well .... well, there is a baby recovering from heart surgery.

two, or three, or 10, or 15, or 30 (or more if you join us) gather together in His name. 

can we please rock this prayer? (or positive thoughts or healing energy?)
See that banner?  That beautiful, soft, more approachable banner?  So different than the text {only} that *ordered* you to have Understanding and Heart?  {Trust me, it is not in my heart to order you to do anything.}

That was made by one of my oldest, dearest friends, Jenna Hart.  She has always been artistically gifted.  And now, she is using those gifts in web design.  Jenna and I have been friends since 1993.  We were freshman.  That is all I will say.  There is a lifetime of secrets there.

We are grown up now (I am just pretending to be) and Jenna has her own web design business.  Visit her:

More construction {albeit slight} to come.
What social work grad students read ...

Mental Wellness in Aging
Doing Anti Oppressive Practice
Interviewing Skills with Individuals, Families and Groups
Interviewing in Action in a Multicultural World
Ethical Standards in Social Work
Social Work Macro Practice
{the list goes on and on and on ....  I have deposited a tidy sum of $570 for textbooks this term, which does not include the articles assigned through the electronic library ...}

When social work grad students sleep ...


What this social work grad student has heard so far ...
{please remember I'm interning in a counseling unit with the elderly ....}

"My!  You're an *attractive* woman!" {right.  to me.}

"When did that painting show up??" {between residents}
"It's always been there. You can't even remember that?  Good night!"

"No, no.  I don't want to visit with you today."  {right.  to me, again.}

"Can I go out on a limb here?"  {between someone who is not me and client}
"Sure.  Who's got the saw?"

What this social work grad student feels:

happy.  grateful.  hopeful.  energized.  but sometimes exhausted.   purposeful.   humbled.  overwhelmed. 

did i mention happy?