Sunday, May 31, 2009

Time ain't on my side.

It recently occurred to me that as I have gotten older that time has seemed to progress in fast forward.

For instance, I cannot believe that last weekend was just Memorial Day, the unofficial (or official?) start of summer. Summer? Wasn't it just Christmas? Where the heck did Spring go? Easter was a complete blur. Where did it all that time go?

When I was a kid, time seemed to go s-o s-l-o-w. It seemed to take forever for Christmas, birthdays, and summer to arrive. Now it seems that days turn into weeks and quickly add up to months, then years. Almost 30 now, to be exact!

I look at the subtitle to my blog, "working for the weekend" it says. That is probably the biggest culprit of time robbery there. I work at a job where most days I like what I do, but I work for a boss who is best described by all who know her as "difficult" and for an agency that is forever changing in reaction to whatever the head hauchos at the State of Illinois Department of Human Services have to say.

I have been at my job for two years now, which is about a year and a half longer than I had hoped. Since I started, everything that originally was appealing about the job has been cut--our summer camp program, day long outings with the kids, family nights--in place of the typical therapy mill, back to back appointments day in and day out. So everyday I go to work and can't wait to go home, and every Monday through Friday I get up and do it all over again. Oh yes, and then there's being on-call at least three days a month. When I am on-call, I just pray for those days and hours to go by uneventful. Lately it hasn't been. For example, I was on-call last Monday for my last shift of May and of course at 2am do-da-DOO-da-do. (Damn pager!) I got another one at 3am, luckily at the hospital just down the street! (Oh, and I realize that the Pink song I quoted in an earlier blog actually says "I don't want to be that call at 4 o'clock in the morning", but you get the idea!)

So I realize I am wishing away alot of my time. So I want this week over with and BAM! it is, and the next one, and the next one...I realized at the end of last year that I was wishing away so many hours and days and made a New Year's resolution to be better about it, and to try to appreciate my job more; especially now, in this economy, I should just be thankful to have a job. I am trying to put in the best effort and most energy possible, but day in and day out it's hard.

Post college and graduate school, the idyllic world of science and theory fades and the "real world" bites you in the face; eventually you realize that work is just work, and few truly love what they do, most people muddle through and hopefully do the best they can, but so much of our true life is what you do when you aren't working.

So I try to do the best I can during my 40 hours a week. Mostly I am trying to make the most out of all the rest of that time. It's still going way too fast.

Monday, May 25, 2009


That's my new term for myself,
Domestic Goddess in Training.

Here's the proof:

Exhibit A-

Turtle cheesecake I made for Easter. I made it the night before, and by the next day it looked a little runny, but apparently still tasted good, according to my husband.

Exhibit B-

Last weekend I dug up the grass along this part of the back of our house and planted several different kinds of flowers (from seeds and bulbs). I have been watering it religously, but so far haven't seen anything pop through yet. I will keep everyone posted!

Exhibit C-

Cookies! I was inspired by having WAY too many eggs in the fridge (which unless I am baking or in the mood for French toast, we otherwise don't eat). They seemed to be a hit, there are only a few left.

Exhibit D-

Flowers I potted today.

Hopefully in the next week or two I will have the vegetable garden planted. I was getting the plants from my husband's grandmother (a.k.a. Nonna) but the roots apparently are too small to be planted yet. His family wouldn't hear of me buying such plants from a nursery or Wal-Mart when they are growing then in their backyard. Stay tuned for more domestic adventures in suburbia!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Man, I am tired.

For the third shift in a row, I got a crisis call at 3 in the morning (and that line in that Pink song keeps playing in my head, "I don't want to be that call at three o'clock in the morning"). This one came after an earlier call where I started at the teenager's home, ended up at the local police station after she took off out the front door.

Somedays I just can't help but to feel like I am fighting a losing battle. Me, the counselor, the therapist, the one educated in psychology, the so-called science of individual human behavior, battling against the overwhelming forces of the sciences of evolution, sociology, economics and politics. After all, the economy and politics drive our health care system and client's availablity to services like psychological counseling. And of course society, social mores, and social expectations hugely impact the behavior of even the most independently minded individuals. It can't not...unless you live in a cave or in Antarctica. And of course the forces of evolution. No matter how highly we humans may think of ourselves, while we are created in God's image, part of us is still very animal-like and full of the impulses to be angry, aggressive, to fight, to flee...

Who can fight this?

But then one day last week I unexpectedly ran into one of my clients, a little 6 year old girl and her 5 year old sister, in the lobby of my office and both ran up and gave me a hug. Little kid hugs are the best. Days when I see a child show and receive love, well, then I know maybe it's not all in vain.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A weighty issue...

I was avoiding it for days, no, more like weeks. I thought about it, then decided no, I will do it tomorrow, for I knew my fate. I knew I would see something I didn't like. Then, finally, last week, I did it.

The scale. I finally stepped on it.

My fears were confirmed.

Now, I know I have whined before about how over the past year or so I have put on a few pounds, which now is up to about 10 pounds. It's an annoying 10 pounds. Annoying first of all because it's just enough where I can still fit into all the same clothes (which is good, of course) but everything is tighter and doesn't look as flattering as before (where now I am developing a mini-muffin top). I hate clothes looking and feeling tight, so part of me wants to go out and buy new pants that are a size up, but these would probably be too big and thus be baggy and ill-fitting and not look good either (why don't they make half sizes for pants like they do shoes??). And annoying secondly, the ten pounds is annoying because when I initially think them, about how it got to be this way, I first think, "why have I put on weight? I am still working out a few times a week, same as before. I am still eating mostly the same foods, what gives?" But, on second thought, I recall the mornings that I skipped the gym to to grocery shop (hmmm, obvious??) or to sit on the computer and mindlessly surf myspace and facebook. And I recall the nights coming home from work late and being starving and then chowing on way too much food. I remember the drive thru runs, the days I would stop at Walgreen's to buy a candy bar, and lots of indulging during holiday/family gatherings.

In fact, recently I realized that every time I am planning to get back "on track" by eating healthier foods and better portions, I end up somehow coming home with leftovers...leftovers from restaurants or from family dinners, which are usually evil chunks of lasagna, piles of pasta, or hunks of cake.

I have no will power, that is one problem. I am constantly sabotaging my efforts by giving into cravings for fast food and sweets. Even after getting on the scale and realizing my current weight, the next day I still went through the McDonald's drive thru, first because I really wanted to try an iced mocha (I am SUCH a SUCKER for adverstisements! I really am!) and then a quarter pounder and fries sounded really good (I hadn't had one in at least two months, if not more).

The other problem is that since moving near my husband's Big Fat Italian Family my perceptions of reasonable portion sizes have been greatly skewed. My mother-in-law, father-in-law, my husband's aunts and uncles are always, "mange! mange!" Unfortunately I love Italian food.

And there's stress too. I do tend to soothe myself with food when stressed. So, work doesn't help. Although, lately it's been better. However, after two long crisis calls earlier this week, I was guilty of going through the drive thru after each one.

I think the more I think about my weight, about food, the harder it is. When I lost weight a few years ago it seemed I really wasn't trying to, I didn't focus on it, I just went and worked out a few times a week and eventually it started coming off. I don't want to become one of those weight obsessed people, but obviously I don't want to blow up to be 200 pounds either! I need to find a nice balance of eating better, eating less, and just being healthier!

Friends. Neighbors. Bro-Mance.

My husband has a boyfriend, and I am thrilled!

OK, so you are wondering what the heck am I talking about, or what kind of marriage arrangement do we really have? Let me back up and explain.

I have known my husband for about 5 years now. It is fair to say he doesn't have many close male friends. His best friend is a female (named Bambi, no less! And no, she's not a blonde stripper, and no they never dated or got physically intimate. She was married, went through a divorce, and remarried, she's a country girl and Michael has assured me many times he's never been attracted to her. I am totally cool with it now, but as all insecure girlfriends do, I had a period of time when I wasn't so cool, no matter what Michael said or did. With time I realized he was being truthful and got over it). Anyway, besides Bambi (which, again, I would kill my mom if she named me that!!!), when we worked together there were several women who were his friends, and apparently he had several female friends in college (but only two real girlfriends). He has a core group of guys he hung out with in elementary and high school, but it seems as he's gotten older he talks to them and sees them less. Currently, as far as guys, he mainly only hangs out with his brothers and a few of his first cousins. But even that is a little sporadic. Since relocating from Bloomington-Normal to Tinley Park I think we both have been disappointed with how inconsistently we hang out with his siblings and cousins.

Side note: All of my closest friends have always been girls. Though I do agree in some ways that it might be easier to get along with males because there is less cattiness and back stabbing and all of that drama. But I could never get over the initial question of "are we just friends? does he like me that way?" The whole "When Harry Met Sally" dilemma.

I digress. Back to my original point.

Enter Scott. Scott lives two houses over from us. We met him last summer after we moved in. Most of this past winter we didn't see any of our neighbors much. It was like we were all hibernating. But, as spring sprung, people were out more, and he and my husband were neighborly talking from yard to yard, which evolved to going over to each other's places to help fix things, then going/coming over to watch sporting events. His wife works late shifts at two hospitals so often he was alone in the evening and I would guess lonely. Sometimes I have tagged along, other times I wouldn't go and joke they were having a "man date", to which they thought was hilarious. We had recently seen the movie "I Love You, Man", about a man finding a good guy friend, having some "bro-mance", so the description seemed fitting.

I am just happy my husband is making a new friend. And not just a friendly acquaintance, a true buddy with whom he has a close bond. They have several things in common and it just feels good to see my husband happy and having an alternative to hanging out with boring old me all the time. Actually, one night me and Michael hung out with Scott and his wife and we all had a really good time, very relaxed and casual. They are really genuinely nice people who I could see us becoming very good friends with in the years to come.

Now, if only all of my closest girlfriends didn't live out of state!