Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Welcome to the 4th World

Monday reminded us that we were in the midst of the summer season. More specifically, the boyfriend and I were shaken out of our AC dreams into a power outage.

Our building is pretty old, perhaps built in the 1920's. The wiring is old, the plumbing is old, even the elevator has accordion style doors.

So, as everyone who was home was blasting their AC on Monday, our 1 block lost power. At first, the boyfriend and I thought that perhaps we had too many appliances on, as we can't cook rice and microwave at the same time or have the AC on with any appliance being used in the kitchen. But as he opened the door to go to the basement (where the fuse boxes are), he realized it was at least building-wide if all the hallway and stairway lights were out.

At that point, the only logical thing to do was to sit outside, hoping for a slight breeze. And we weren't the only ones to think about doing so.
Gorgeous skies
In the approximately 1 hour that it took for the electric company to show up, we were able to watch several neighbors decide to walk around, brave the darkness of the stairway, and sit on our stoop with us.  It was perhaps the most amount of conversation I've had with my neighbors, which I think is a damn shame.

Perhaps this will inspire me to organize a BBQ and Meet and Greet with the neighbors before this summer's end.  Of course, that might require me to find BBQ supplies first, such as, oh, I don't know..a grill, perhaps?

As the sun continued to set, we chatted about how we were somewhat concerned about the fact that it was only our block that was affected, which included several apartment buildings and several business, including a laundromat and a restaurant/bar.   Interestingly, the block across the way seemed to be fine, and the electric company was working on the wiring across the way.
I applauded when they arrived
We also chatted about our concern that the traffic lights at the intersection were also out, and while at least 2 cop cars have driven past there were no cops making sure that accidents wouldn't happen.
No accidents, luckily
So, after about 2 hours of sitting outside, the power finally came on shortly after 9pm.  I know I walked away appreciating our electricity and access to resources.  But I was also reminded to appreciate the beauty of the summer evening and the others that share our space beneath it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

City Sights - Pleasant Eating Experiences

These are places I frequent, partially for some comforting food items and partially because of fond memories.

June 16, 2010Le's Pho RestaurantAllston, MA
I want to learn how to do that!
What a pleasant way to receive a jasmine limeade!

March 11, 2010
Twin Donuts

Allston, MA
Some days at work were really difficult.
But at the cafe across the street has this amazingly uplifting little napkin dispenser.
Who doesn't love googley eyes?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Moving On and Farewells

On the 23rd, I experienced my second 8th grade graduation.  This year, I had little involvement, whereas I helped to organize last year's graduation.

At last year's graduation, I realized how little appreciation was sent my way after all the help I gave.  Only the retiring Principal took the time to recognize my program's involvement in the 8th graders lives.  I couldn't hold back my, "Hells ya!" to my boss.

This year, as we saw that this other program that worked with the 8th grade was sitting on the stage along with the teachers, my boss and I rolled our eyes.  I joked that they were up there because they had certificates and prizes to give.  Considering that that program was talking about "what characteristics make a leader" with 8th graders, when I've been talking about that for 3 years with them already since the 6th grade, well...I have some feelings about that.
Moving On Ceremony

After the diplomas were given out, one of the students went to the podium to give out gifts to the teachers.  As they read out the names of the teachers, another student would give a potted plant to the teacher.  Suddenly, I hear, "Miss Cecilia" through the mic, and soon after they called my boss' name.  I was completely shocked that we were included in this list of people who they wanted to recognize.  I nearly started crying at the gift.

It's silly and petty, I know.  But I was starting to feel like all the work we've done there would go unrecognized.  It was truly a pleasant surprise.

With the 8th graders moved on, I felt ready to move on myself.  I knew that I had a couple of last things to finish up in the next two days, and I knew that I just had to buckle down and get it done before I closed the office door for the last time.

On the 24th, I jumped right into our process evaluation.  I was so close to being done that I just wanted to push it out before the half-day on Friday.  Suddenly, I realized that I had one last project to finish off!  I almost forgot that our door was wide open, as I started to say things that were not so appropriate for the elementary school kids.  I promised one class an ice cream party, and I didn't have a single clue about what kind of ice cream they wanted nor had I planned what time to have the party.  Luckily, another teacher of theirs was planning a party at the end of the day, so I planned to join in.

As I ran back down to the office and got back on the computer, my boss and another clinician for another organization (and great friend of mine) were planning to meet about transferring clients.  The other clinician told me how exhausted he was, and if I wanted to grab some coffee with him really quick.  I just had coffee, so I told him that maybe we could just grab lunch.

Looking back, it didn't even occur to me how random it was that he wanted me to get coffee at the same minute that he was going to discuss clients with my boss.  But then he said that he'd really value my opinion, and I told him that I just wanted to keep working on my report.  He insisted that he would love to hear my opinion, so I said that I'd join in a second.  Again, I thought about how strange that was, but nothing even occurred to me.

Suddenly, my boss comes in asking if we have knives.  Now, being that we had so many family and kid events that featured food, we literally had a gallon bag of plastic knives.  I pointed to them, and she asked for my help really quick in a conference room.  At this point, I was getting a bit frustrated and thoroughly confused.  I joked with them, "What exactly are you guys going to do?  Get all stabby??"

Then I walked into the room, and there was a cake and a little finger food spread.  On the cake it said, "From the *school name (spelled wrong! Ha!)* Thank You Cecilia for Everything!"

I was speechless.  Then the tears came.  Then a memory book full of pictures, some of my first printed work, and quotes from kids and teachers was handed to me, and the tears came even more.  I couldn't believe what they managed to pull off!  Later, my boss tells me that it was so difficult to get messages from the kids as I was always around.  I congratulated her on managing to pull it off without me even remotely suspecting a thing.
Love that kids pick up on so much more than we think.
The messages were extremely heartfelt and sweet.  Some of them cracked me up.
Seeing that we talked about anti-violence, this just made me laugh.
And then there are the ones that just made me cry more.
Apparently, my boss told me, the majority of kids told her, "Just tell her that we love her."  I mean, really, what more can you ask for from kids.

Several teachers and kids stopped by and wished me well, and soon I was able to finally compose myself and play hostess.  But really, I felt so overwhelmed with emotion...and still realizing that I needed to have that ice cream party.  Luckily, my boss helped to take care of that for me.

At the end of the day, I was full of cake and love, and I was still able to finish my report by staying a little bit later than usual.

On the 25th, the focus of the day was to pack up and clean up.  I broke away for a bit to take pictures with and of some of the kids.  But for the most part, we were organizing and packing boxes.

The day really flew by.  We managed to put some things in storage, bring back some of my things (including the green office chair) to my apartment, have lunch, and load up my bosses car with the rest of the boxes (files, books, games, toys, office supplies).

I had already cried a bit on Thursday, so I tried to keep it together all day.  I also think we were so focused on our tasks that it was difficult to think of anything else.

As the boxes were packed completely into my bosses car, we did one last check of the room.  The coat hooks were removed, posters thrown away (except for a very special PRIDE poster still on the wall...mainly because we couldn't reach it...), file cabinet empty, keys returned, and door decorations gone.  The room was empty except for the furniture.

Before I closed the door, I turned back one last time to look at the office that I've known for the past 5 years.  I thought of all the kids I didn't see in the last couple of days, probably already on their vacations.  I thought of all the experiences of being in that office.

My boss drove me to my apartment, her last course of action as my boss.  She talked about all the times she's driven me home, after events, family groups, lugging heavy items.  She told me how much I've grown from being a social work intern.  I told her that I plan to keep in touch, joking that it's not very easy to get rid of me.

We chatted a bit longer, as I was consulting about tarot cards.  We hugged, and I tried so hard to keep it together.  "I'm going to miss you," she said right before hopping back into her car.  I nodded, saying how much I will miss working with her.  As I turned away, and walked up to hill to my apartment, I couldn't hold the tears in any more.  I sobbed all the way to my apartment.

She will forever be my first supervisor right out of grad school, and I don't know if I'll ever feel as connected with my future bosses as I did with her.  Aside from actual work, I talked with her about tarot cards, astrology, our families, alternative medicine, and paranormal activities.  We laughed about so many ridiculous things, and we cried (in our separate offices last summer) during the memorial for Michael Jackson (R.I.P.).  Our ideas bounced off each other, sometimes leading us into trouble as we would sometimes make more work for ourselves than necessary.  She can be extremely frustrating, don't get me wrong.  But at the end of the day, she was more than a boss to me.

I have been blessed.  She helped me understand that passion is something to never compromise on, because it will just lead me to struggles and possible failure.  It might be the end of an era, and I'm honestly still processing this all, but I will forever be thankful for these past 5 years.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Moral Lessons Outside My Office Door

Being that our office at work is somewhat centrally located, we get a lot of strange experiences.

We also have a window that overlooks the gym, and that often leads to random people entering our office - usually without asking - just to look in the window.  "I'm just checking to see if my kids are there."  "I'm just looking for this one teacher."  But never, "Excuse me, is it alright if I look through the window really quick?"

The other day, I was placing something in a mailbox, and I made the mistake of leaving our office door open.  As I turned around, a teacher peeks to see if someone's in the office and walks right in.

"Umm..excuse me??" I asked to no avail.  The teacher looks into the window and say, "I'm just making sure my kids are all there."  Then he walked out.  I don't even talk to this man.  He's not even a teacher in the school we're part of, but of the school we share the building with.

If I were to do that in that man's office, I'd be yelled at.

Then, there are the random things you'll hear in the hallway.

In previous years, one of my coworkers overheard the principal telling kids that she was sent there by god to be the principal.  I mean, don't get me wrong.  I understand the whole "I have a calling" thing, I really do.  But how appropriate is it, really, to tell kids that in a public school system?

Sometimes, it's teachers yelling at little kids about ridiculous things.  Yes, there's yelling.  People don't want to believe that their kids are getting yelled at even though they're in the 1st grade.  But it happens.  And usually about stupid things like staying in a straight line, or fidgeting, or crying about something.

I forget that we're training the kids to be soldiers.  Wait...we're not?  Well, YOU tell the teachers that.  I don't want to get yelled at.

Sometimes, it's teachers sharing their bit of wisdom to little perplexed kids.  I just overheard a teacher asking their Kindergartener what they would do if they saw money on the ground.  The kid first said they would leave it alone, but then they realized that they would pick it up.  After being asked why, the kid said that they would be able to buy stuff with it.  But the teacher decided that the moral lesson of the day was that they should give it to any adult who's nearby, because it might be theirs.

Personally, while I think it would be good to look around and to see if someone nearby might have dropped some money or even to ask a cashier if it's near the register, there's something to be said about not feeling guilty for finding and keeping something someone lost.  Really, that child would probably give the money to their parent anyway, seeing that he probably won't be going on random mall trips by himself.

If a child approached you and asked if that dollar bill (of whatever amount) was yours, what would you do?  If that child was yours and they picked up a dollar bill (of whatever amount), would you want to find it's rightful owner?
Tempting, eh?

Now, let me tell you a little story.

When I was younger, my parents taught me never to pick up anything off the ground.  Nothing.  It's dirty, who knows where it came from, blah blah blah.  Then one day, after walking out of church, I was with my uncle and there was a $20 bill on the ground.  Now, I was told not to pick up anything off the ground.  So I didn't.  But when my uncle caught sight of it, some other adult reached for it and claimed it as their own.  I was reprimanded for not picking it up. 

So, if I'm going to take away any lesson from being part of an outside agency in a public school setting, it's that you should make sure to check your morals before going around and sharing them with other people's children.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Turon - Filipino Banana Roll

Summer is upon us!  It's time to have fresh fruits and veggies, plug in the AC, and perhaps have a nice sangria to help keep you feeling refreshed.

With the heat and humidity that's part of the Boston summer, the boyfriend and I constantly have an issue with ingesting all the bananas before they start getting too ripe.  They go in our cereal or as a snack during the day.  But for some reason, there's always a couple of them left near the end that are just about to hit the point of no return.

While you can definitely make some really good banana bread, I wanted to share a Filipino recipe.

Turon is basically like an egg roll, but filled simply with banana or plantain and jackfruit, dipped in brown sugar.

What is jackfruit, you ask?  Well, aside from being the national fruit of Bangladesh, it's a sweet fruit that grows mainly in South and Southeast Asia.  It looks like this:
Jackfruit on the Tree
In the Philippines, the jackfruit is called langka.  The meat of the fruit is yellow and wraps around it's seeds.  It's probably not something you'd ever think of trying right off the bat.  And it's name sounds like you could use it as an insult.  But I cannot stress enough how the jackfruit DOES NOT taste or smell like durian.

So, onto the recipe!

Ingredients for 20 rolls:
  • Jackfruit (can be bought in Asian markets, such as Super 88 here in Boston, in a jar)
  • 5 Bananas (sliced in quarters)
  • 20 Spring Roll Wrappers (can be bought in any Asian market.  If you find ones that are specifically for lumpia you're doing pretty well!  You can use the square shaped ones or the circular ones, but I prefer the circular ones)
  •  1/2 cup of Brown Sugar or more as needed

I recommend taking the spring roll wrappers out of the freezer (where they belong) about a half our before you start to prep.  This will prevent them from getting too stuck to each other.  I also recommend using them within a couple of weeks of buying them, only because they seem to get a bit more brittle as time goes on.

After cutting the bananas lengthwise, you can roll them in some brown sugar, though this is not necessary.

Place banana piece and small piece of jackfruit into folded out spring roll wrapper, about 1/4 from the bottom.  You can take a piece of jackfruit out of the jar and rip pieces of the fruit off, especially since a little goes a long way.  It gets a little messy, but it's delicious messy.
Nummy num nums
Start rolling, folding sides into the middle (if you've ever watched someone make a wrap or a burrito, it's similar to that).  To secure roll, use jackfruit juice or water.  You can then also roll the roll in the brown sugar, or you can sprinkle some on prior to frying.  If you don't want it to be too sweet, I would opt for either dipping the banana or the completed roll, but not both.  I will personally recommend dipping the completed roll, only because it gets caramelized in the process.
Waiting to be fried
Grab your wok or a frying pan with higher sides, and fill it with enough canola oil to have the rolls floating somewhat.  Fry away!
Fry, my pretties!
I usually spin them in the oil so that all of it is coated, but then I let it fry on one side for a couple of minutes.  Make sure you're able to keep watch over them, because you don't want them to get too fried.  When you start to see the bottom side browning, flip it over.  Be careful, and watch for oil splattering!  It's not a fun thing to learn about.

When they're done, prop them up in a bowl lined with a paper towel to absorb excess oil.  Let them cool for about a half hour.  Then enjoy, perhaps with a scoop of ice cream after you've enjoyed one on its own.
Yay! Turon!

Nutrition Facts:

Amount per Serving of 20 people
Calories from Fat 9

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Simple Pleasures - Wiring

Boston's MBTA Map
There's something about riding on the T that makes me feel so grown up.  Maybe it's just the feel of living on the East Coast, maybe it's just me.

I remember when I was in college, and exploring Santa Cruz with friends.  As we drove around in their cars, there was just this thrill.  It was the thrill of freedom.

How exciting to be doing things on my own.

That's the same feeling I get sometimes while riding the T.

And though there are times when I really dislike riding the T, like getting on there without my MP3 player/personal soundtrack to block out other people's extremely personal conversations, there are moments where I am just extremely happy.

In particular, when the T has stopped and the doors are open to let passengers enter and exit, there's a clicking you can hear when you're sitting in the front or far back of the train.  That clicking coincides with the blink of the yellow lights that signal that the trolley waiting, similar to the hazard lights of a car.

There's something about hearing the click and watching the light turn on and off that I really enjoy noticing.  I wish I could be more articulate in explaining it. 

But I think it's just interesting to find that connection between the clicking sound and its ultimate purpose of turning those yellow lights on and off.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Summertime Activities Calendar

Blue = US Holidays
Mustard Yellow = Boston Events Calendar (from the CityofBoston.gov website)
Orange Red = My compilation of events from various websites, which is why there are repeated events

Thursday, June 17, 2010

8Things - Celebrate the Sun

I'm super excited about this 8Things list.  My favorite season is coming up, and there's so much to look forward to amidst all the sadness in my professional life.

This Spring, I've really felt somewhat like how Spring might feel - in between.  There are wonderful, beautiful days, then come the violent, stormy days.  In Boston, it almost feels like Winter tries to hold on as long as it can, while Summer is sneaking in occasionally to kiss you goodnight.

But I'm so ready for Summer to stay for a while.

Last Summer, I celebrated the Solstice in a somewhat rainy Coney Island with my best friend at the Mermaid Parade.  A lot has happened in this past year.

I want to be aware of all that's happened in the past year this Solstice.  I want to be aware that this is my last week at my job.  I want to be aware that an exciting adventure is on the horizon.  I want to be aware of new doors that will open. 

Here's how I plan to celebrate the longest day of the year.

1. Open up my day with The Beatles Good Day Sunshine and Here Comes the Sun.
Griffith Park, 2008

2. Welcome the Sun with a set of  Sun Salutations.
California, 2009

3.  Dress in the colors of the sun and summer - oranges, yellows, whites, and I have to throw in some green.
Los Angeles, 2002

4.  When I can, hold hands with the boyfriend.
Venice Beach, 2009
5.  Step outside my workplace.  Watch the clouds and smell the flowers, just to remind myself to slow down even though things might be going crazy.
Napa Valley, 2009

6.  Eat vegetarian for the day.
Oahu, HI, 2007

7.  Dance.
Sunrise and Sunset, 2008
 8.  Spend some extra time in the shower with some salt scrubs, and exfoliate away the Spring.
Hawaii, 2007

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gripping the Grass Roots - Macro Termination (Part 2 with the Students)


This was some of the most touching and most difficult interactions I've had.  As someone who feels more connected to the kids than some of the adults, it's been such a wonderful time working with some of the most amazing students.

Though we've historically been at a high school and K-8 school, I've had much more of a connection with the middle school kids.  If you asked me maybe 5 years ago if I would enjoy working with middle school kids, I would have laughed and said, "Those little brats?  They're monsters!"

Now I would say, "Those little bratty monsters?  I love them!"

Raise your hand if you hated middle school.  *Raises hand*

Okay, I didn't hate middle school.  In fact, I don't want to forget about my middle school experience or pretend it didn't happen.  But, goodness, I know it was not my favorite time growing up.  High school was a much better experience for me, personally.

But working with these kids for the past 5 years has really opened my eyes.  Adolescence is a rough age. The least I could do is make it slightly less painful for a couple of kids.  It's really a pity that there are very few middle school-focused programs and no funding to back it up, but it's clearly an under-served population.

So, when I distributed the newsletter, I knew that there were some students that I would need to personally speak with.  Mainly, I knew that the majority of 7th and 8th graders wouldn't even see the newsletter.

My boss had already started telling students she was seeing individually, and one in particular was having a very difficult time dealing with it.  This particular student, who was already fairly attached to the people in the program, proceeded to start throwing things around the office - not really maliciously, but more just for the sake of throwing things.  I'm sure he'll be acting out til the very end.  And in the very end, we'll be worried about whether he'll be able to make it without someone really advocating for him.

Another student that was seen individually by our interns seemed to take the news in stride.  He had read the newsletter, and almost anticipated my coming to check in with him.  I reassured him that he would do great as an 8th grader, especially considering that he knew how to look for help (though sometimes that will look more like acting out).

One student that I knew I had to speak with was the leader of this krumping group.  They had performed at our show, and we have really stepped up to continue supporting them.  Originally, this group was formed as a response to a leadership project.  The original leader wanted to raise money for gym and art supplies, and the one way he knew how to raise money was by doing shows.  Thus, the school's krumping group was born (I wish I could tell you what their name was....it's hilarious!  But, if anyone Googled it, they'd be lead to my blog...not good).

The current leader of the group is an absolute sweetheart, though he gets frustrated at the immaturity of the other team members.  But it's clear that he just wants they to do well, but that he's heard too much negativity from others around him.

When I pulled him out of his class to speak to him, I seriously felt like I was about to break up with the kid!  So inappropriate, I know!  But here's how the conversation went:
Me:  Hey *student*, so did you see our newsletter?
Student:  No.
Me:  Well, your homeroom teacher probably has it, so you should ask for it if you get the chance.  It has some news on it that we announced to the whole school.
Student:  Oh, okay.  I'll ask him for one later.
Me:  So, even though it's on the newsletter, I wanted to talk to you about it personally.
Student:  Oh.  What's going on?
Me:  Well...umm...so.....next year, *organization* isn't going to be here at the *school*.
Student:  (Whole affect changes, eyes seeming to glaze a bit) Oh...Why??
Me:  Well, do you know how the Boston Public Schools are all losing money?  Well, that's basically the same thing.  It's budget stuff.
Student:  Oh...that's so discouraging. (This is a 7th grader, by the way.  Discouraging?? Oy....)
Me:  But you know, even though we're not going to be here, I don't want you guys to give up.  I mean, you've all come a really long way, and I'm sure there will be other adults in the school who are willing to give you guys a chance.  But you have to show them the awesomeness that we see all the time.  They only see a little part of you guys.  Show them what we see.
Student:  Alright.
Me:  So, will you tell the other guys?  And I'm serious! You guys are going to be fine next year!
Student:  Okay, Cecilia.  Thank you.
*tear* I love that kid.

Later that day, I was looking for one of the adults to speak with her about our leaving.  As I peeked into the cafeteria, a couple of 4th graders shouted to me, "Are you leaving??"  I honestly have no idea who those kids are.  I've seen them before, and I might have stepped into their classes in previous years to deliver newsletters or to talk about student council stuff or they've seen me do stuff for the talent show.  But I have no idea really who they are.

After two of them proceeded to hug me and say they'll miss me (I mean...how cute is that?), one of them follows me out of the cafeteria and asks me:
4th grader:  What are you going to do now?
Me:  Well, I'm going to look for another job that I like to do.
4th grader:  Well...what did you want to be when you grew up?
Me:  Hmm...well, I wanted to help people.
4th grader:  Oh...you're doing that now!
Me:  (trying to hold back the tears) Ya...well, I hope I get to do some more of this stuff somewhere else.
I then turned the conversation back on what she wanted to be when she grows up.  But man, can you believe that?  It's honestly mind-blowing how amazing these kids can be.  If only we took the time to actually sit there and listen to them or give them an opportunity to shine.
I wish I could show you in more detail how awesome these kids are.

I sincerely hope that the middle school will have some sort of support services available to them.  They need all the help they can get.  I also hope that we've been able to give the students the tools to be able to look for help when they need it.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Gripping the Grass Roots - Macro Termination (Part 1 With Adults)

Let me start by saying that this was late in happening.  The process has definitely been interesting to say the least.

In the beginning of June, we finally announced to the school community that our program was not returning to the school in the next school year due to budgeting constraints.

Here is our farewell in our newsletter (obviously with names and locations omitted):
With a heavy heart, we regret to announce to the *school* Community that, due to budget constraints, the *organization's* program at the *school* will not be returning in the 2010-2011 school year.
In the past 12 years, we have worked throughout the school, with classrooms and with parents, and have built a dynamic leadership program for the middle school.  But we could not have done it with out the support of the *school* community.
It has been an absolute pleasure working with the *school* Faculty, Administration, Staff, and Parents, as well as interacting daily with *neighboring school* and *community center* Staff.  We have been blessed all these years to be part of such a talented, dedicated, and ever-inspiring community.
Though we will surely miss working with you all, we are certain that the school will continue to grow and strengthen  because of the community you all have created for yourselves.
Thank you for everything.
My boss and me.
Truth be told, that was one of the most difficult letters I've had to write.  It was all heart-felt, but putting it down made it so very real.  But, we knew it was coming for a while.  We had hidden the news from our Interns, which pained us, because we didn't want them to worry or stress out about us.  So, for any Interns reading this now, I'm sorry.  But doesn't it explain why I got so tearful when you all left?

Though we usually distribute our newsletter to each classroom, I knew that I needed to personally deliver the newsletter to several people.  This became more clear when I arrived at work the next day.

I had distributed the newsletters to the classrooms at the end of the day on Monday, and when I arrived Tuesday morning, the previous principal who retired at the end of last year was in the Main Office.  She was mainly responsible for our existence in the school this year, and for that I'm eternally grateful.  I knew I had to give her a copy of the newsletter, if only for old times sake.

It took a lot of maneuvering!  I felt like I was lurking (for old times sake) just to get her attention and to have a moment with her.

Let me backtrack.  This principal is a force to be reckoned with.  She was downright frightening to people.  People would shiver with fear at needed to speak with her, and I've seen many people cry after receiving harsh words from her.  But really, she just wanted you to be direct and not bs her.  Luckily, she considered my boss her personal consultant, and checked in with her frequently.  Lucky for me, she liked me.

So much so, that one day, after a really stressful conversation with a parent about her child performing in the Talent Show, I proceeded to start sobbing in her office.  IN HER OFFICE!!!  Weeks ago, another teacher teared up in her office, and she sent her home to "seek help."  Yipes!  I thought, "Crap..I'm so dead.  I'm so fired!  I cried in her office, on her desk!"  But after the problem was solved, she looked at me at the end of the day and said, "It's nothing to cry over! I'll deal with that parent."

Two years later, as she reads over the newsletter I hand to her, she sits herself down and repeats, "But what's going to happen to *organization*?  What's going to happen?" 

But it was clear that she wanted to reconnect with us when she comes to visit again in a week.

There were 3 other adults in the school that I knew I needed to connect with because they didn't necessarily get the newsletter in their hand right away.

One was a "lunch mother," as they're called.  There's no other way to say this, but she's somewhat emotionally fragile.  I'm not really sure why she latched on to me, but she did.  She seemed extremely sensitive to whatever seemed to be going on with me, so I really needed to make sure that my facial emotions were in check.  While she was well-intentioned, she definitely needed to understand the idea of boundaries.

I tried to catch her that Tuesday, but of course I kept missing her.  The next day she says when she sees me, "When were you going to tell me?"  Reassuring her that my leaving is not a personal affront to her (but not in those words), I told her that I was trying to get to her the other day, but she disappeared when I returned to hand her a newsletter.  So, every day this past week, she's come to check in with me, making sure that I'm okay.  She is also wanting to make sure that we will keep in touch.  I've given her my work email, but I know that building anything more than that will just cause more of a boundary issue.

The other two were paraprofessionals that I connected with when I first began as an Intern.  One is like a mother to me.  We would connect about America's Next Top Model, weight loss, and just life in general.  The other is like a hilarious older cousin with a dirty dirty mouth.  She's so inappropriate, I kind of try to balance her out, but there are days when she's a decent human being.

These are two people that I would want to keep in touch with even after I leave.  In the world of social work, this is generally a big no-no.  Giving out emails or phone numbers is something you definitely don't want to do with clients.  But, as I'm not a clinician and our program has really become part of the community, some of the rules have to be bent with our discretion.

So this is just my conversation with the adults.  I'm going to miss a lot of them, and some of them I will definitely not miss.  But they've all really taught me a lot and have really helped me built my experiences in the 5 years at this job right out of grad school.
Having too much fun while working.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

8Things - Passion, You're Soaking In It

In the midst of all that is happening right now (some of which you know about, i.e. Greece, and some of which you don't know about but will learn of soon in an upcoming post), I'm trying to figure out and hold on to the things I feel passionate about.

This week's 8Things Thursday is about just that:  passion.  Where do you find it?  Is it cultivated from childhood?  Does it change with age or experience?  Is there such a thing as too much of it?

I know what I am passionate about, and I will list it below.  In my search for love, I've always felt that I would want my partner to feel passionate about something as well, something outside of themselves.

Being a social worker/community organizer, I've thought about whether I would be able to date someone who has the same level of passion for a cause.  If our causes matched, then I could imagine myself being very happy, but also tiring of it since I wouldn't be able to rest my passions even for a moment.  If our passions were different, I think it would be exciting, but I also wonder about whether we would end up having time for each other outside of our separate passions.

Nonetheless, I do know that I would want my partner to feel passionate about something.  Whether that be politics or music, I want their eyes to shine and  their speech excite at something other than me and the relationship.

These are the things that make my eyes shine.

1.  Working with kids.  An upcoming post will explain more soon.  But to say the least, it is amazing to see the young folks do things better than the adults would do.

2.  The ocean.  Swimming in it, being around it, sitting and watching the sunset (on the West Coast, of course).

3.  Yoni and Mencken.  Never did I think that I would be a proud mama to two kitties.  I feel that my life is so much better with them in my life, and I would probably go crazy on anyone who tries to hurt them.
Afternoon nappies
4.  Music, music, music.  I would rather cut off my pinky toes and pinky fingers instead of not being able to listen to music.  I also know that playing music would probably require a pinky finger.  But I will work my way around it, and still be able to play my instruments.

5.  Dance, dance, dance.  So, this is cheating, as it is an extension of music.  Being able to choreograph or perform for others helps me feel so energized.  I am proud to be able to use my body in such a wonderful way.

6.  My camera.  I love to be able to capture the strangest or most beautiful things at a moments notice.  Sharing is caring after all.
7.  Learning.  My brain is so full of bits and pieces of information, some of which I'm not even aware of.  I'm not necessarily book smart, nor do I test well.  But, I revel in little factoids.

8.  Being a tiny speck.  Though I'm not in any way religious, I know that I am just a tiny speck in the scheme of things.  There are people, ideas, unknown things outside me that I will never know about.  But the least I can do is leave my little area a little better than when I found it.
I'm one of those people!

Monday, June 7, 2010

F*** Boston *and* LA

I'm not really enjoying all that is happening in the NBA currently.

Back in 2008, the Lakers played the Celtics once again in the NBA Finals.  Truth be told, I rooted for the Celtics during the season.  And when I learned they were playing the Lakers, I decided that I would be impartial and just enjoy the games.

But when that first game started, I just couldn't help but feel like I wanted the Lakers to win.  Don't get me wrong.  I flippin' dislike Kobe Bryant.  If he were one of my students, I would have told him to check his ego.  Alas, he's a jerk and still part of the game.

Then, the "F*** LA" and "Beat LA" signs started showing up.  And when the Celtics won, the chanting of "F*** LA" was non-stop.

I'm not so naive to believe that there weren't any "F*** the Celtics" or "F*** Boston" shouting going on.  But I do know that there weren't any "Beat Boston" t-shirts that came from L.A.
This is from the Orlando Magic's store.

I went to the Celtics' online store and the Lakers online store, and these are the respective first pages.

The part of the window with the shirts actually flashes through different items.
What you don't see is that any shirt that references the Celtics has a picture of Paul Pierce facing Kobe Bryant.
These are screen shots of the official stores.

See, Lakers fans are more happy that their team made it to the top.  Lakers fans just like to show their pride for their team.  In fact, I can extend this to Dodgers fans.  Okay, so the majority of L.A. sports fans just love their teams.  That's it.  Sure, they understand the importance of rivalries.  But at the end of the day, Angeleno's are content to just deck out their cars with Lakers flags.
Personally, I think they're quite tacky.
This might get me kicked out of Boston via torches and pitchforks, but Boston sports fans are sometimes so obnoxious.  While Lakers fans are tacky with the flags, Boston fans are loud and shouty.  It's just such a turn off.  Don't get me started with the sports fans on the T.

So, here we are again.  The Lakers vs. the Celtics in the NBA Finals.  Folks here in Boston are sporting their "Beat LA" shirts once again, and my family members are sporting their Lakers jerseys.  Well, except that my parents are so anti-Kobe that they're rooting for the Celtics.

I'm still rooting for the Lakers, mainly because they didn't win the last Finals they played with the Celtics.  But at the end of the day, I could give a flying f*** about the lot of them.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Toesies of the Month - June 2010

June is going to be an intense month.

School year is ending, needing to find some direction in my life, social engagements, belly dance classes.  I feel like June has already come and gone.  Yet, somehow, I've managed to sneak in some time to get a well-deserved pedicure.

So, back in October, I wrote about the decor of nail salons, and mainly about the interesting stock photographs they have featuring a variety of nails holding objects.  More specifically, I laughed about the randomness of one particular photo that featured a pair of nicely manicured hands holding a tiny bicycle.

I now present to you that photo.
Tiny bicycle!
I mean...what?  I still don't get it!  I mean, I understand the idea of holding something to display the nails, but why a small bicycle?  Why?

Even funnier is the fact that this is a completely different nail salon altogether.  This photo is apparently an up and coming image that everyone needs to see.

In other news, I actually did get a pedicure.
Designed by Tym at Golden Finger Nail Salon, Brookline, MA
Color:  Sinful Colors - Show Me The Way
Occasion:  Because I wanted and needed it
June 2010
It's such a crazy color!  I love it!  Seriously, it matches a lot of my clothes and accessories.  Also, I specifically asked for a design that didn't have flowers, though I rarely direct the nail technicians.  But, I figured, I should enjoy my toes this month.

I've talked a lot about being stressed, and how getting my monthly pedicure is a reminder to myself to stay grounded.  What better way to do so than with my power color.

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