Thursday, February 26, 2009

Some updates

So I realized I am supposed to be chronicling the progress on goals and ideas referenced in previous entries. So, here it goes...

No hobby yet. I did bake a cake (from a box) for my husband's birthday several weeks ago. I think if I want to learn to bake "fancy" things I might have to look for a class. However, I seriously think as it gets warmer I will be planting a garden. The question now is flowers or veggies?

Regarding working out more, last week I went to they gym once, same the week before. In my defense, I planned to work out last Thursday but ended up going to the doctor (only to find out there's nothing wrong with me), and I also planned to go again on Saturday but I woke up feeling kind of dizzy and lightheaded (still not sure why). I thought working out would either make this significantly worse or possibly better, so I ended up taking the lazy way out and snuggled up with the hubby til I felt better. And Sunday I was on-call, though I had no calls until later in the evening, so I had all morning when I could have gone, but I always fear that if I actually went to the gym that the second I get on the treadmill my pager will go off. Rationalization? This week I went to the gym Tuesday and got pretty sweaty, and I plan to eat breakfast and go here soon.

Did I mention that doctor's scales always add an additional 5 pounds? They have to. Last week when I went I was apalled by the number I saw come up. Do my clothes and shoes weigh that much? Either way, I am still hoping to lose 5-7 pounds. So you can see my motivation for making my Lenten resolution to cut out fast food. I will keep you posted on that one!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Tuesday

Today is Fat Tuesday, meaning for Catholics like me that tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, the time of fasting before Easter. Typically a person chooses to give up something that would be considered a "sacrifice", and then to do things that encourage a closer relationship with God, such as praying more, going to church more, or donating money to charities. And then there's the whole no eating meat on Fridays (except fish), to which I adhere, even though I have read conflicting stories about the meaning and origin of this tradition. The idea I grew up with was that we were to give up eating red meat as a sacrifice, that fish was a poor person's food back in Jesus' time. But I also heard a pope made a deal with the fishing industry). Either way, mostly out of tradition, I still do it. There are many "Catholic" things I do just because I have been taught to do it and over the years I do it over and over and over. Mindless? Maybe...I was baptised Catholic at the ripe age of one month, I went to Catholic school, I have been fed Catholic doctrine for years, but I figure I am an adult now and if I choose to continue then it's my choice.

So, the million dollar question is, what am I giving up this year? In the past it's been caffeine, chocolate, soda. This year I think it's going to be fast food. I am pretty guilty of running through the drive thru during my work week, so I hope this will force me to start planning ahead, start getting ready earlier and packing a lunch. Hopefully this will help the pocketbook and the waistline. And I am going to try praying once in the morning and once in the evening.

That being said, I will keep a log on here how I am doing with my Lenten plans.

So now the big question now is how to celebrate Fat Tuesday?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Thoughts about the job

Another long week of work is over. And before I know it another one will begin. It's the never-ending cycle of waiting for the weekend, and then it's gone and it's Monday again. (Cue "Manic Monday" by the Bangles in the backgroud).

I am always complaining about some aspect of my job. My boss. The hours. Being on-call. Nasty parents. But a few thoughts occurred to me this week. One being in this economy, when people everywhere are being laid off, I should just be thankful to still have a job. Even if it's not the dream job, the career job, it pays me twice a month and supplies my insurance and helps me keep the roof over my head, so I do have that to be thankful for.

The other thought occurred to me one day as I looked at my desk and realized that a fourth of it was covered in Lego creations, several "works in progress" made by clients while coming in to see me. And I realized that many days I get paid to play, color, and create things with kids, and how great is that?! Unfortunately this is only a section of my caseload, the kids between the ages 4 and about 11.

For the pre-teens and teenagers it's usually a different ballgame. They are usually the kids coming in with higher risk behaviors and issues. For some of these kids I feel like I can really talk to them heart to heart about the tough issues at the core of whatever is going on with them. I feel like I am really doing therapy. And for others it's like pulling teeth. Suddenly I am the dentist.

Other days I am the referee. The other night, during my last session of the evening the mom and daughter were screaming at each other and crying in my office. When they finally calmed down and were able to leave, I wondered if anything done in that session was actually helpful. But the following night, another mom and daughter were in my office having an emotional discussion, tears started flowing, (no screaming, thank God) and I felt it was extremely helpful because they brought up and discussed some really important things.

Being a therapist is such a strange job. We try to make it sound like a science by developing fancy sounding theories and techniques and doing research to say what is or is not effective, but the more I do it, the more I realize that therapy is an art. Somedays I paint along with my kids, some days I watch them paint. And what is created is up for interpretation.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's--it's just another day--

Well another Valentine's day has come and gone. What I am pretty sure at one time was actually a Catholic saint's feast day is yet another overrated, commercially driven holiday, complete with high expectations and inevitable disappointment. I don't know why I let myself get drawn into all the hype. In sessions this week talking to my teenage girl clients regarding V-day that "it's just another day, you can do special things for the people you love any day, or say 'I love you' any day." And of course "don't worry about not having a boyfriend for Valentine's day." I always remember as a young kid, a pre-teen, a teenager, and young adult often having that fear of not having anyone on this supposed special day. And for most of my 29 years I would venture to say that I didn't...and even the years I did, I feel I have some kind of Valentine's day curse where plans don't work out and things don't go well and it turns into a day of disappointment. But not every year has been that way.

This year my husband and I had made plans to go out to eat. We had been giving a gift card to Bucca di Beppo, which if you haven't been there, it's awesome Italian food and I highly recommend you try it! Needless to say, I was really looking forward to this, as we talked about it for a few weeks. We have been together for 5 V-days now and this might have been our first forage into "going out" for Valentine's, other years we opted to stay in and order food or go out an alternate night as we didn't want to face crowds and long wait times. So the plan was go to early, around 4:30pm, to beat the dinner rush. Of course we didn't leave on time, so we got there around 5:15pm, only to hear it was an hour wait. My husband tells me to make the call, but at the same time has this look of "I really don't want to wait an hour" on his face, so we ponder what to do for about 5-10 minutes what to do, during which he starts actually complaining about the idea of waiting an hour and I am like "let's just go" as I didn't want to wait and eat dinner with Crabby Husband. (I have yet to figure out the trick to deal with my husband once he starts getting crabby. Generally nothing I say cheers him up and then I start getting crabby too.) Anyway, we tried two other places with even longer wait times before stopping at the grocery store to get one of those $1 movies (of all the ones to pick we got "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay"--romantic!!!). I had some false hope while in the grocery store my husband would grab some flowers for me, but this hope did not materialize. (I don't think I have gotten flowers from my husband in about a year now, so it would have been nice. It's very interesting how when we first started dating I got flowers quite often, but over time it certainly did decrease, almost exponentially after we got engaged and even more after we got married. It's more the thought that counts of course. And this year I didn't end up getting or making him anything anyway.)

Anyway, so we went home and heated up some leftovers and watched movies on t.v. Nice, relaxing, a pretty typical night for us. But I couldn't help but to be disappointed. I guess if we hadn't made plans to go out I wouldn't have had any reason to be disappointed. But once you have gotten a little dressed up and have the idea that I don't have to cook tonight! in your head, it's hard to go home hungry. But, as my husband said on the way home, and as I told my teenage girl clients, it's just another day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

totally random thoughts--be gone!

So here's a barrage of totally random thoughts that have been plaguing me lately but don't have enough substance to write an entire blog entry about...

*I was pleasantly surprised that I got no pages when I was on-call Monday night (which I think is a first for a Monday), even though I am pretty sure it was a full-moon and supposedly ERs are busy on those nights. It was a good thing too because I really wasn't in the mood.

*In most recent work-related experiences dealing with lawyers, I have found that female lawyers are great to work with, whereas male lawyers are a little, not as pleasant. This is based on a pretty small sample.

*I ate some fresh raspberries yesterday for the first time in a very long time and forgot that they are delicious! I think I don't buy them much because they are rather expensive.

*If you like chips and salsa and would like to try a very unique and flavorful combination, try Tostitos hint of lime chips with peach pineapple salsa (if you like sweeter salsa). In my opinion, YUM!

*Luckily I haven't heard the new Kelly Clarkson song "My Life Would Suck Without You" lately. When I first heard it ALWAYS got stuck in my head and I was going around all day singing "my life would suck..." and remember even thinking it one day in a meeting with my supervisor!

*So Valentine's day is this Saturday. My husband prefers less expensive but more thoughtful gifts (he's hard to gift!) and all I can think of is to bake him something or make him a card. I baked him a cake for his b-day and I made him a card a few years ago...any ideas???

P.S. I wonder how many times I have eaten in my car? I think this has exponentially increased since I have been working full-time. "Exponentially" is my word of the week.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Can I just start off by saying that posting blogs is becoming addicting? (I think it's the false sense of self-importance it creates. Oh well, it's been a good way to get random thoughts off my mind).

Tonight I am "on-call" for work. Right now I am killing time, just waiting for the pager to go off. Can I just say that I HATE waiting for the pager to go off. It makes me anxious and on-edge, the whole not knowing when or if it will go off. I like to act like I can predict the patterns of calls, when I will get several, when I will get none. More often than not on a Monday night I will get at least one call, if not 2 or 3. Tonight so far it's quiet. (When I say that, I feel like I am jinxing myself). My debate is do I try to go to bed now and get some sleep in case I get a call at 2 or 3 am? Do I just stay up and wait?

Being on-call means different things for different professions. Most commonly, you probably have seen medical doctors on-call on shows like ER or Scrubs. (However, I have never been exactly sure what this logistically entails. I should consult my pediatrician friend who lives in California to find out more.) I have even heard of IT guys being on-call and in the middle of the night having to fix important complicated computer-related problematic stuff.

That being said, in my profession as a child/adolescent counselor, I am "on-call" a few days a month to provide "crisis intervention and pre-hospitalization screenings." As my brother-in-law jokes, my job is "talking people off of bridges or buildings." But in reality, I have never talked anyone down from a ledge, a bridge, told anyone to put down a gun or a knife, or anything else within the realm of high-intense drama (which, by all accounts, is a good thing! I am not sure how I would handle it, or how it would affect me). In fact, 95% of the time when the pager goes off, I am going to an emergency room where a kid has ended up after the dramatic precipitating event (such as a threat or gesture of suicide or homicide, extreme aggression, running away, actual psychotic behavior--not to be confused with people mislabeling irrational behaviors as 'psychotic'--), usually after the police or an ambulance brought them there and after they have been waiting in the ER (which I should say that going to an ER feels much safer than going to a suicidal or homicidally raging kid's house in the middle of the night!) Typically, by the time I get to the ER, the doc or social worker there have already decided the kid's fate, that the kid needs to be transferred to a psychiatric unit, and the vast majority of my time is not so much crisis intervention as time spent contacting hospitals and finding an available bed. Oh, and completing an insane amount of paperwork and signature gathering. (Trust me, kids usually refuse to sign papers recommending they go to a psychiatric hospital, and sometimes parents sometimes don't either).

Now, don't get me wrong, very often the kid I see at the ER is one who does need immediate help, who is crying out for help by their words, their actions, their choices. And hopefully I am helping them in some way, but often I leave and drive home feeling exhausted, drained, and not sure how I feel about the outcome. Probably because I don't usually get a "thank you for your help" or any other kind of warm fuzzy response. Usually the kid and their parent are angry and upset with me that they are being transferred to a psych unit (however, only once did a kid yell and curse at me and he did it when I was out of his room and down the hall). In a few cases, I did leave feeling like I really made a difference, usually those atypical ones when I go to a kid's home, maybe because I have felt more in charge of the situation.

Maybe my focus is wrong, because it shouldn't be about how I feel at all.

Meanwhile, I just wait for the damn pager to go off...

Let freedom ring?

I am not sure if this happens across the country, but here in Chicagoland you can definitely tell that it's income tax season because on every other street corner you can see people dressed in patriotic costumes waving to drivers (most commonly like the Statue of Liberty one you see on the right here, but also I have seen Uncle Sam on occasion). These costumed individuals are found outside of various tax preparation firms, waving and often swaying, as if to invite busied and hurried drivers to perhaps be a patriotic American and stop in and get your taxes done (??). Now, maybe I am wrong, but I am not sure that I get the point of this. In no way does seeing a waving Statue of Liberty entice me to have my taxes done at that place of business. Perhaps even the opposite. Now, around Halloween you might see a similar situation, a waving person wearing a Halloween costume outside of the Halloween store. However, given that wearing costumes is directly related to Halloween, I would argue that this connection makes more sense. Either way, I tend to feel bad for the person in the costume.

Friday, February 6, 2009

No longer "special"

So I shortened the name of this blog to "Home of the Blue Light" as I kept thinking the term "Blue Light Special" had some kind of sexual connotation. I also like the visual image I get now, I think of myself going about daily life and all of the sudden, a la cartoon world, a blue light pops on above my head and I think "I must blog about this random thought, occurrence, or whatever!"

All I can say now is it is Friday, I have had so many clients cancel this week it's not even funny, and I am so ready for the weekend.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


"She's like a baby, I'm like a cat, When we are happy, we both get fat"
-from "Life in a Nutshell" by Barenaked Ladies

Most mornings I like to watch the "Today" show while getting ready. Today I saw a segment that particularly interested me. It was about how both men and women typically gain weight after getting married. They cited several reasons: picking up each other's bad habits (like eating infront of the t.v.), eating out more or having more time centered around food (making dinner, shopping for food), and of course, just getting comfortable and letting go a bit. I think I am guilty of all of these, which maybe explains why in the past year or so I have put on 7-8 pounds. And though I am sure he wouldn't like me to share this, since we started dating (even before we got married) my husband has put on some weight (I will be discreet and not say how much).

When I got married, I was at the smallest weight I had been in a long time, not quite my high school weight, but the closest I had been in awhile. I didn't really have the pre-wedding stress-induced massive weight loss, rather over the year or so before that I just seemed to lose a few pounds here and there. I hadn't drastically changed my diet, but I was working out 2-3 times a week (probably more like 2) and also just seemed to be a little more active overall. Since getting married, those warm and fuzzy feelings of safety and comfort have set in, which on one hand is nice, but as a result I am probably getting too lax about watching what and how much I eat. A few years ago there was a period of time I seemed to be able to eat whatever and I maintained a lower weight. I am guessing that my metabolism was higher then, and it seems to have slowed down in the past year, but then again so have I. And of course it doesn't help that 3 days of the week I work late and don't get home until between 8:30-9:30pm, typically working without a dinner break, meaning I am eating at like 9 or 10pm and then going to bed shortly after that. On top of it all, as I approach the big 3-0, it seems inevitable that my body will start playing evil tricks on me. So far my clothes all still fit, but some are noticeably tighter and don't seem to look as good.

So what should I do? Well, it's all pretty common sense. Currently, I am only working out 1-2 times a week, which obviously needs to increase. I should also probably try to push myself a little more when I am working out, to stay on the tread mill a little longer, to do a few more reps. And then in my free time, both my husband and I need to work on being less couch potatoes/bears in hibernation, although these will be easier if it ever gets warmer again! And of course watching what I eat. Not just what, but how much. So we'll see how it goes.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dream interpretation

So those of you who know me have heard me complain more than once (probably too much) about my current job, and probably more specifically about my boss. That being said, last night I had such a weird dream. I was at the office (which seemed alot like my childhood home) and I watched as two rocketships, carrying my boss and some unknown fictional co-workers, crashed and exploded, creating a giant mushroom cloud. I remember in the dream feeling some relief that my boss was gone, then some guilt. (Then after that yet another ship went up with some fictional co-workers and again crashed, you would have thought they would have gotten the idea after the first one). I woke up feeling guilty for having such a dream, and first thought that I would never wish that my boss or anyone would die, no matter how hard she is to deal with. But then I remembered having thoughts of major relief and on the days she's unexpectedly been out sick and maybe even wishing she would stay sick for awhile! Eek! That realization screams bad karma! So subconsciously I clearly don't want to have to deal with my boss anymore, that's my take. Any other ideas??

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Me Want Cookie!!

In other dessert related news, these clips from Family Guy had me laughing out loud! Sometimes I find this show hilarious, other times it's a little too far out there. Watch them in order.

Disclaimer: The author in no way finds substance abuse by living human beings to be a laughing matter.

Let them have cake...

So this was the masterpiece I created for my husband. Just cake from a box and icing from a can, but I was pretty happy with how it turned out. Apparently it tastes good too!