Sunday, February 26, 2006

I blame my friend's blogs!

Well... I did it. I broke down and took one of those blogthingy quizzes.

Here's the result. :)

eating people

what's YOUR deepest secret?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Work Rant No. n: Last one for that job :p

The letter n is representitive of a real integer that follows the sequence 1+1, 1+2, 1+3, ... which just happens to indicate that I have forgotten what number I would be at in said sequence.

Oh.. did I mention that I was a science geek? :p And now... on with the rant.

Well, this was my last week at the daycare and it was hellish. I say it with utter honesty and no repentance for the mild vulgarity. To express my true feelings may perhaps require additional vulgarity as a mode of expunging the rather intense repulsion for the people I worked with and the bitter resentment I feel for their poor behavior. In my "exit interview" I noted as much. I felt like I wrote a small novel. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The week in a nutshell:
Monday: I ran around like a maniac trying to control the poor behavior of several school age children. Frequently, I was on my own in the matter because the boss kept calling my comrade in arms away to deal with crisises that required his efforts. And then the sent the kid in... the 17 yr old who just serves to wind up the children in the room and leaves it in more chaos then when she arrived.

Tuesday: Well, the morning was ok... except for having to eat lunch at 11:30 am. And breaking up 2 fights. Then we went to the pool. It was... amazing. The kids didn't get into fights and generally behaved themselves. Tuesday was the best day of the week. We didn't lose any children or property. And I got that wonderful phone call about the new job. I even resisted the temptation to just walk out the door.

Wendsday: The day opened with the boss chastising us for being late to the bus on leaving Tuesday. Mind you we were trying to get the children all ready to go and to behave well enough that we were confident they would make it there and back. The boss even had to come out into the hall way when the kids were lined up to get them to quiet down. Oh yeah, the boss also gave us grief for being late to the bus on leaving. Never mind that there were 11 boys in that locker room all trying to get changed and only one adult (the poor, poor man) trying to keep them from playing. And we also got flack for a missing lesson plan. That was the tone for the whole day.

Thursday: Bad behavior by the children. Alot of kids were generally crushed when I broke the news about my leaving the center. For some reason, that made them act up especially badly. Boss continued to give my co-worker and I grief over the missing lesson plan. We were forced to ban a popular card game played by the kids for the rest of the week. And then start confiscating cards as children snuck them in to the room. That was pretty rough... It only got worse as I had my less competent co-workers (I was working with one of the 4 competent people in the place aside from myself.) start giving my grief about problems they had and couldn't resolve. And then they sent my reinforcement home at the middle of the day and left me to deal with the small army on my own. Me vs. 11 school age kids... good thing I was used to worse odds. Me vs. 19 school age kids. :p

Friday: More aggrivation about the miserable lesson plan. More kids viewing my leaving as an excuse for causing trouble. The co-workers that regularly gave me the "please save me from me incompetance" pitch 90 % of the time decided that this was a great day to complain about how I wouldn't be there to clean up their messes. I was a good person and restrained the urge to tell these schmucks exactly what I thought of them. I had the pain of saying good bye to these children that I found I had bonded to despite my best efforts. There was the headache of the boss giving me grief about how the floor needed to be mopped to the best of my ability and the entire room spotless before I left. And the annoyance of the boss asking for the 3rd time (since I informed her on Tuesday that I was leaving) if I was going to come in on Monday to help them deal with the kids.

When I got home Friday night, I didn't have the heart to clean up the dishes and make dinner. Hubby took me out to eat, but I started crying before we got to the restaraunt. I still can't believe that I won't see those kids again. Sure, I could go visit, but that wouldn't be good for the kids. I need to make a clean break with them. But it pains me because I realize that a part of me came to view those little monsters as my little monsters. And what do you say when a child that is in the foster parent program says to you "I'm going to miss you. I hope that I get a Mom just like you when I get adopted." Or when the 1 1/2 yr old cries when he realizes that you're not going to be there. And don't let any body fool you, toddlers and infants understand when some one is going away for good.

Yeah... I'm a little crushed. It was a horrid week. And hubby has been making me sit and relax today. I'm torn between feeling useless and depressed. Oh well, life happens.

Happy News: New Job! Woot!

<Insert happy dance here.>

Well, as I was suffering through another Tuesday at the day-care, I had a little prayer answered. I had applied almost 2 months ago for a job with a school district close to where I live. That job was no longer needed due to staffing changes. So, I gave up on it.

Then, last month, I got a phone call from the Human Resources department (is it me or does that official term sound like a polite description of a flop house?) stating that another position had opened up. (And I move from innuendo to innuendo unintentionaly. Oops.) So... I said, sure I'd be happy to be considered for it. The requirements were the same, essentially as the last position I had applied for. Then there was massive schedualling and communication failures between the school and myself. Primarially it was on their part because the people I needed to speak to were caught up in the hell of CSE season.

For the unintiated, CSE season is the time of year that educators review IEPs and strive to improve their efforts on the behalf of children with learning disabilities. It's a very busy time of year in any school district. It just happens to be the time that I needed to set up interviews and meet with teachers. I was able to swing an interview at the beginning of the season, back when I applied. And after that it had been phone tag... alot of it initiated on my part.

Here is where sheer persistance, a little bit of luck, and a prayer landed me the job. They decided to hire me, skipping several of the regular steps of the process. Partly due to the lack of time they have before I am needed and partly because I had some excellent references. I will be sending letters of gratitude to the ladies who were my references, though those letters pale compared to what I feel.

It was the hilight of my week. :) Which turned out to be miserable... but I'll complain about it in another post. Right now, I'm just going to sit here and be happy. :) I start on Tuesday... I wonder what I'm going to wear? I'm no longer required to hold with a "uniform" and I can actually wear skirts to work again. I need to pick something out and I'm at a loss for which item to pick. Good thing I have a few days! :)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

And the spring fashions are ...

Well, spring is coming. I wanted to give myself jump start on a little computer spring cleaning. :)

I hope that all of you enjoy the changes. I think this thing might just be easier to read now.

I'm trying to figure out how to do the whole putting pictures into the blog.

I think that the jester will show up but I'm not sure.

I collect jesters, so I figured this is a good choice for a picture to add. :)

Long post about correponding with a tortured soul

I've been corresponding with a young man that was a friend of mine when I was younger. I suppose you could say it was like he got adopted as another younger brother when I was in junior-high and high school. His sister was my best-friend while I was at high school and continues to be a very dear friend of mine.

He's in prison for comitting statutory rape. His parents asked me to write him about the middle of last year. He's been in prison for a few years now. I figured that his parents wouldn't be asking me to write unless they were deeply concerned for his well being and the need for more positive influences to counter-balance the effect his peers at the prison would have on him. I agreed to it, despite my husband's uncertianty.

It's been an interesting and sorrowful experience. Mainly, my letters have been encouragement to look forward to the future and strive to use the time he is there to improve himself. He has responded somewhat favorably to the general tone of mentoring and hope that I've brought to him through my letters. I've done my best to be non-judgemental, even going so far as to telling him that I didn't feel it necessary for him to tell me what happened from his perspective.

His letters to me have been almost like confessional recitations. It was uncomfortable at first. Now I've come to accept that he feels safe writing me about the minor evils that he's dealing with at the prison. Things like laughing with the crowd at people when they get injured right infront of him... while at the same time feeling deep guilt and shame for engaging in that behavior for the sake of saving face. He has written me about the fact that he's struggling with a failing health. He's scared that he has cancer. After the first biopsy back last June, I figured that it was resolved. He said that they took the entire growth out of his leg and that he was ok.

His health continues to fail him. He's been experiencing pain through out his body and he will be getting another biopsy on the other leg soon. I'm the only person aside from himself and the people helping him with this at the prison to know about this. I suspect that he is probably suffering some form of cancer, given that his mother is currently recovering from simmilar problems due to cancer and there are others in his family on the mother's side with cancer. I am faced with a moral dilemma here because he's asked me not to let his family know. Thus far I have respected his wishes. As I read his letters describing his decline in health, however, I question if I should continue to hold silent.

He writes to me about the angst of being in prison. He describes to me what it is like to be left with your thoughts, fears and memories of your life before prison. It's a rather... harrowing thing to read his letters at times. I'm stricken by the deep anguish and terror he feels for his life while he is in prison and the hopelessness he feels for his life after prison. It is very hard to present a candle of hope to this tortured man. He desires desperately to change his life and to become a decent and productive member of society. He fears his companions in incarceration. He mourns his freedom and his innocence of youth. And he laments and repents his past actions that brought him to this place in his life.

It troubles me. I strive to help him come forward on his efforts to change his life. I try to bring him some sense of his past life in my letters, keeping the tone like I would with my brother in the military. Treating it like he is doing some unplesant duty for the greater good, at times. And at other times I have a tone that is... well... it's like the letter writes itself sometimes and I'm instructing him on how to persevere in faith despite the darkness around him. He was raised Catholic and briefly considered converting to Wicca. I explained some of the responciblities that came with witchcraft, he changed his mind.

I work very hard to be compassionate and help him to reconcile the past and present. I try to help him plan for his future and make continual forward progress in improving his life. It's very challenging to me to exhort himself to be compassionate and understanding with himself. It's some times very hard for me to be compassionate towards him, as I am a rape survivor myself. When he sent me a letter a little over a month ago where he described what happened and the trial to me, I was left uncertian how to reply. I'm left at a loss here for what to say to this young man.

He describes to me a scene where the young woman claimed she was older then she was and they engaged in concentual sex. He expresses a mixture of remorse and a desire to blame the young woman. He also explained in that letter that the fiancee he had, the one that he had cheated on in a moment of lust with this young woman, was pregnant. She had lost the babies due to late term complications during the trial. He said that he gave up hope and in a fit of self-desructiveness moved through the trial doing the minimal effort required of him by his attorney.

As I sit here and I look at all of this, I am... saddened. I don't feel anger anymore. The initial anger happened when I heard that he was in trouble with the law for his actions. I wanted to go and beat him up for it. Then, when the news reached me that he went to jail for it, I said that we needed to let the law handle it. I thought little more of it until his parents spoke to me about writing him. Until recently, I've strived not to think about how I feel about this whole mess.

I feel conflicted. On one hand, I am moved almost to tears by the troubling situation that this young man is in. My heart says to me that this guy is like my little brother and he shouldn't be in this kind of pain. At the same time, it says that he has done vile things and needs to have the tendiancy to do so purged from him. I haven't written him in 2 months. I don't know what to say.

His last letter shows him spirling downward in depression again. He's beginning to get to a point where he's thinking about harming himself. I'm not sure what to do here. Do I write him and try to help him keep his broken soul out of the mess that surrounds him? Do I stop writing him and hide from the misery he is in and the conflict that this mess brings to me? Do I write him and frankly discuss how all of this is affecting me?

I don't know. But I know that I need to make a decision today. I'm leaning towards writing him, I feel guilty for failing to write as I promiced. I just don't know how to write that letter.