The Job…

I realized that I have said NOTHING about this job that I just got, so I will give you all an update as to what I’m doing.

I currently work for a non-profit organization that assists individuals with mental illness and chemical dependency to learn to live their lives as independently as their diagnosis allows. My title is Embedded Case Aide, which means that I work with a specific team at a state human service center. I am a case aide to 4 case managers and my job is take care of daily living tasks with which clients requite assistance. I do such things as delivering medication, transporting clients to appointments, the grocery store, or laundromat, assist with cleaning tasks in their home, teach socialization behaviors and more. It’s a busy little position, but I’m enjoying it so far. I’m definitely interested in seeing where things go and what turns life takes.

The best part of my job is working with my team. They are a group of really great people despite some misgivings I may have had in the beginning. They are a group of people who really care about their clients and want their clients to live as healthy lives as possible, free from stigma and other negative things that come with being severely mentally ill and/or chemically dependent.

The most challenging part of my job is learning how to properly communicate with clients. There is a fair amount of dancing around subjects and I have to learn how to do that. I have to learn the appropriate ways to say ‘no’ and to redirect or correct clients in a respectful manner. It’s a completely new way of speaking for me, but I think that it will be a very valuable learning experience.

So here’s to the job and seeing what turns life takes next.

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Notting Hill…

I just watched Notting Hill for the first time in my entire life (stop judging me…) and the only thing I could think of for at least HALF the movie is that I read a blogger who LOVES this movie and for the LIFE of me, I cannot remember who it was.

I remember there was a reference to the movie in a blog post that used THIS line: “This is one of those key moments in life when it’s possible you can be really genuinely cool and I’m going to fail just a hundred percent.” What a fantastic line.

I have to admit, I REALLY liked it. Enough that I’d probably even buy it. It was cute, it was hilarious, it was even a little sappy and romantic. But more to the point, I feel like it was kinda real life. People weren’t perfect and situations didn’t escalate to bizarre as movies normally do. It was just a really cute, feel good movie.

So whoever you are, my mystery blog friend, I just want to say THANK YOU for blogging about Notting Hill and getting me to FINALLY take the dive and watch it. It was amazing.

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On a completely unrelated note, I hacked all my hair off. Behold, the before and after pics:

I liked the long hair thing, but I decided that it was just time to go short again. I haven’t regretted it in the least, either. It’s WAY easier to manage and maintain, I use less product, and it looks just as cute as really long hair. I’m sure I’ll grow the hair out again someday, but for now, short is in.

character…

Character is demonstrated not by what you do when others are looking, but instead, by what you do when NO ONE is looking.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. I just started my new job and it has been a LOT of shadowing other people and following them because I’m not licensed to drive state vehicles yet. I was chatting with my team lead and we got to talking about driving the state vehicles and speeding and I was VERY quick to inform him that I don’t speed. 98% of the time, I take great care to ensure that I am not speeding. The other 2% of the time, I’m what I like to call human.

This conversation that we had, while not profound in any way, really got me to thinking. In the training that I have been doing, I’ve noticed that people tend to have 2 different sides: the side that interacts with clients and the side that interacts with the rest of the world. While I know that their basic character is the same, they act like healthier, more well-balanced adults around clients. They don’t smoke, swear, say negative things, complain, etc. However, when clients aren’t around, certain individuals change quite a bit. They swear a lot more, they smoke, they may even speak poorly about the client or other workers.

I know I’ve been there and done that too, but I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to be the person who is one way with someone and another way with someone else. I want my character to be the same no matter who is near me or interacting with me. I want to be the best worker I can be, partly in order to move up the chain faster, but also because these people deserve the best of me during my working hours. They deserve my attention and respect and they certainly do not deserve to be judged by someone who, in all rights, is no better than they are. I feel some trepidation about chatting with some coworkers because I don’t know the kind of person they are. I have a gut feeling, though, and it’s not all good.

I don’t want to enter into a cycle of judgment and gossip, finding humor in someone else’s misfortune or disability. The thing I realized, however, is that I can’t be that person just around coworkers. Eventually, the ruse will be found out and the gig will be up. I can’t simply ACT non-judgmental, but I actually have to BE non-judgmental. I have to figure out what characteristics I want to have and then I have to work hard to get them to the level I want them to be and work hard to maintain that level.

I know that mental health is NOT an easy field, it’s an incredibly challenging work environment. I do care about my clients and I care about the quality of services they receive. I care about doing my best when people are or are not watching. I care about being responsible and obey the law – even those ‘pesky’ speed limits. I know that even though people may not be watching me, Someone is and THOSE are the eyes that REALLY matter.

Do your work willingly, as though you were serving the Lord himself, and not just your earthly master. In fact, the Lord Christ is the one you are really serving, and you know that he will reward you. Colossians 3:23-24

random thoughts…

  • I’m trying to get up the motivation to go for a run this morning before it gets too darn hot outside, but I am just really tired. It seems both mentally and physically. I think it may have something to do with my dreams.
  • I had a dream that several people I know got pregnant. The Ex’s sister was one. Another was a bloggy friend. A third was an IRL friend. All by boyfriends. I think I had this dream for one of three reasons: 1) I’m pregnant; 2) I’ve got baby on the brain really bad; or 3) I spent a good portion of last night before bed perusing baby shower items for a baby shower I’m going to in a couple weeks. I’m going with option 3 as the explanation.
  • I also had a dream about a really weird bus trip to a track meet. There were LOTS of people on that bus and many of them were nonrunners. It was really strange. I have some really weird dreams sometimes. Even the running dream didn’t really put me in the mood to run, at least not after I woke up.
  • We got these new black-out curtains and I’m not really sure how I feel about them. At night, they’re great, but in the morning, they mess with my mind a lot – my brain thinks it’s a lot earlier than it really is and therefore, doesn’t wake up well. That’s probably the reason I’m feeling a little zombie-ish right now. I forced myself to get up because I knew I didn’t want to just sleep the day away. Also, I wanted to get my run in before it got too hot.
  • We have the air conditioning on for DAYS now and I am just about at the end of my rope with it. It’s so darn dry in this apartment and it doesn’t distribute the air very well so it’s freezing in the living room, but pretty warm in the bedroom and in the computer room. I decided that I needed a little fresh air today, so I opened up the windows and turned off the air. It’s supposed to be pretty hot and humid today, so I’m sure I’m going to have to shut everything up and turn it back on, but not for a while. I like fresh air.
  • I repotted the plant I got for my wedding. It’s in a nice big pot now. I’ve babied that plant since I made it sit through a windy day here and it pretty much lost every leaf. It looks pretty good now, but I do feel like a neglectful owner leaving it outside. I know it needs the heat and humidity, so that’s why it’s out there, but I’m still afraid of it losing all its leaves again. Hopefully the nice big pot will help it to grow big and strong so then I don’t have to worry so much about it.
  • Also, if I worry this much about plants, does it mean I’m going to drive myself bonkers worrying about my kids?
  • I was googling/youtubing yoga stuff for my yoga on the off days item on the list and ended up finding some chick who’s really obsessive about working out. I mean, she is BUFF and does a LOT of stuff with no extra equipment. I like that and I like her exercises, but she definitely makes me feel like a chub. That I don’t like. I know that she works out every day and probably follows some special diet and all this other stuff I’m not willing to do, but still. I really dislike girls who make me feel like that. I’m still going to try some of her stuff whenever I get the motivation for that.
  • Maybe I should just crawl back in bed and take a nap already to try to get rid of this morning zombieness. I don’t like it very much.
  • I still need to register for the 10k I’m running in Bismarck in August. And I’m running a 5k this weekend. It should be fun. I think this 5k will mark a year of serious training and getting back into running. I’m totally okay with that, too.
  • Sometimes I’m temped to do that laser hair removal on my legs just so I don’t have to deal with shaving. I’m far too lazy to keep up smooth legs. And the thought of waxing absolutely terrifies me.
  • I’ve been creeping lots of facebook pictures lately and for the most part, we were all chubby once. It makes me feel good that I wasn’t the only one who went through that stage.
  • Also, what is it in us humans that makes us think that we’re the “only one” who has ever gone through something? There are BILLIONS of people on the planet. Chances are pretty good that someone else is going through what we’re going through or HAS been through what we’re going through. Sometimes, we can be so ridiculous.

what are you thinking about today?

4th of July…

Anyone who has been around for a while knows that I generally don’t do holiday/themed/whatever posts. However, today is different.

How many of us went safely to church or some other place of worship yesterday? We drove there safely and I’d be willing to bet that none of us once questioned whether we would make it out of there alive or not. I bet none of us worried about the doors being broken down and being hauled off to jail. Or worried about being tortured in order to give up names of fellow believers. Or worried about the same happening to our families.

How many of us didn’t go to church or some other place of worship yesterday? How many of us sat at home, feeling the same feelings of safety? Knowing that no one would break down your door because you weren’t at church? And how many of us, despite not going to church, are still welcomed into society without a second thought?

These are the things I was thinking about yesterday. We all go about our daily lives and I’d imagine for the most part, we don’t really think about freedom. We don’t REALLY think about the concept and what it enables us to do and who it enables us to be. We get annoyed by people who don’t share our opinion instead of being thankful that we have the option to disagree with each other AND the government and not be afraid for our lives.

We can wear lipstick.

My life is safe. The most worried I EVER am about my safety is running at 8 am and thinking about all the rushed drivers who may not see me. I often forget, though, to think about (and thank) those who are responsible for my freedom. I forget that many men and women gave their lives, both in dying and in living, for me to have the rights that I have. How many men and women have died finding, securing, and protecting our land? How many men and women fought for years for me to now have the right to go to school and to vote? For the right to be outside alone and not accompanied by a man?

I know I risk sounding exactly like thousands of other blog posts going up today, but maybe that’s what we need in order to REALLY remember, if only for a day, what July 4th is about. We have to remember that freedom ISN’T free, but that it comes at the highest of cost. A cost that most Americans aren’t willing to take. I am one of them. I’m not in any military unit, volunteering my life to defend this country. I actually know very few people who ARE in the military. Most people I know have chosen the same route as me, some for the same reasons and some for different reasons. Does it really matter, though?

I think the thing that matters is that we don’t take what we have for granted. I think it’s important to celebrate the fact that we are allowed, BY LAW, to be different. To have our own opinions. To be a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent or a Tea Partier. To be for or against abortion and gay marriage. To have or not have firearms in our home. We are allowed to disagree and it’s expected. I think that the best way that we could celebrate this year’s 4th of July is by being thankful that we can have different opinions instead of tearing down the person who has the opposite opinion. We can respect each other, despite disagreements. We can honor those who have given their lives by being a people and a country worth dying for. Freedom, and having it, IS worth dying for. I believe that. But I also believe that it’s my responsibility as a citizen to help create a society where freedom is exercised through respect for other people.

Freedom isn’t free. What am I doing to make the cost worth it?

The Job…

So I got a job. It’s full-time. It’s Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm. With benefits. Yep. I work for a non-profit organization that helps individuals with chemical dependency and mental illness to achieve as independent living as possible for them and their specific situation. That means that I could be helping them to clean or grocery shop or socialize or exercise. Lots of things. Lots of situations. I’m excited.

So that takes care of #1 on my 26 before 26 list.

I’m also starting on #23, which is try a new recipe every month. I don’t know if this entirely counts, but we have had pork chops in the freezer for entirely TOO LONG. So I decided since today is a menu ‘whatever we have to eat’ day, I thought I would google a good pork chop marinade. I don’t know if the marinade is going to be good, I really have no idea. However, it was the only one that I actually already had all the ingredients. It’s veg. oil, soy cause, ketchup, vinegar, and pepper. Let it marinade for a few hours (which it is doing in the fridge as we speak) and then I’ll bake it in tin foil with some of the leftover marinade and see if it’s edible. I feel like pork chops can get REALLY dry, so I’m hoping that the marinade will help them to NOT be so dry. Like I said, we’ll see.

I’m working sort of diligently on #15 (finish reading the Red Wings book). I was going to punch it out yesterday, but I ended up reading training manuals and stuff instead. Probably a good idea. I’ll keep working on it though.

I also have an unintentional start on #26, get to know more people at church because we just joined a music appreciation life group and I barely know ANYBODY in that group. This is a group that gets together and talks about a song – the lyrics, what it might mean, what can we take away from it, what does the Bible say about the themes we’ve discovered – and it’s a really cool group. We went for the first time last night and while it wasn’t entirely what I expected, it was really cool. I’m excited to use some of my musicky skills again.