Monday, March 18, 2013

Counseling and uncooked pasta

Last week I brought some uncooked lasagna noodles to my high school counseling group. The lesson was about being flexible in your thinking and in your attitude, so the activity called for using a rubber band to demonstrate flexibility, and an uncooked noodle (which snaps when bent) to demonstrate inflexibility. They enjoyed playing with the rubber band's flexibility, and amazingly didn't even shoot it at each other. But when I brought out the uncooked pasta, they became excited. I took one of the noodles out, dutifully snapping it to show the perils of inflexibility. And then they promptly began eating it. Yes -- eating the uncooked pasta. I said, "Um...I don't know if that's such a good idea...."
"It's good!" one of the boys said.
"Yeah. It tastes like crackers!" said the other boy, chomping away. "You want some?"
"No. No, thanks," I said. I'm no foodie, but generally I do prefer my pasta to be cooked.
Ah, school psychology. Never a dull moment!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Man adopted at age 32

Many people don't know that adults can be adopted, so it's wonderful that this story, about a 32-year-old man who was finally adopted by Lisa Godbold, his former foster mother, is drawing so much attention. This man, Maurice Griffin, lived as a foster child with Ms. Godbold, her husband and their two biological sons for four years, from age 9 to 13, when he was suddenly moved out of their home right before they were going to adopt him. Now Mr. Griffin's dream of becoming his foster mother's real, legal son has finally come true. I'm so happy for him. You're never too old to need and want a family!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Roommate from hell

When I went off to my first year of college, a 7 hour drive away from home, I had the bad luck of getting the roommate from hell. I actually had two roommates. One was nice. The other one, Monica, was nice...for about 5 minutes. She turned out to be a horrible evil bully who decided she hated me and stopped speaking to me, for no reason I could ever discern. I do remember that when my parents helped me move in, Monica, her parents, and her sister were all there, and her sister stared at me. Out and out STARED, as if I had a facial disfigurement. My dad said later he got the feeling the family had money, so maybe she was just a snob. But hello, we were all there at a state college! What the heck did she have to be snobby about!?  She finally drove me out of the room. The stress gave me shingles. Yes, shingles -- at age 18! At least I ended up in a room with a nicer bunch of people. But I was still shy, now with my confidence totally shaken, and I never recovered. I was so lonely, I ended up transferring to a different college after my freshman year. I really enjoyed the school I ended up graduating from...but I'm still angry about the whole thing.

And every few years or so, I go on a tear where I try to find her. I did that today, and I think I found her. She lives in New York City, which annoys me (that's MY city), and is a "lead technology recruiter" at "one of the fastest growing, privately-held business and technology firms in the United States" (barf). She must be earning a good salary, because she seems to have a not-often-updated Twitter account for work where she posted critically about how President Obama allegedly "doesn't think the wealthy are responsible for their own success." Of course a wealthy snob like her would write something like that.

BUT -- she does not seem to be married. Even on sites like WhitePages, which tells you other people who may be related to her, it's all females with her last name, and one male with her last name. I guess it's possible she did convince someone to marry her and made him change HIS name to hers. Or maybe she's a lesbian. Or perhaps she just never wanted to be in a relationship or get married. Nevertheless, I feel great schadenfreude at the possibility that even though she has a lucrative career, she may be very lonely. She certainly made me feel depressed and lonely at an extremely vulnerable time in my life.

Of course, the fact that I dwell on this every few years is not something I'm proud of. I'm certainly not hurting her...only myself. So I end up getting angry at myself for obsessing about this, and then I put it out of my mind for the next few years.

I'll tell you one thing, though. If something like that happened to me today, I'D be the one driving HER out of the room. I don't take sh*t like that anymore. It took me a while, but I did finally learn that I have to stand up for myself. We all do. Because if we don't, who will?

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Snow day yesterday! It actually started out as a delayed opening. When I got back up to start getting ready for school at 8:30, I thought, “It looks snowier out than it did two hours ago, and it’s still snowing -- I wish they’d just make it a full snow day.” Then I checked my phone and had a text that school was now closed for the day. They read my mind.  :)
Last night as the sun was setting I went out to clear off my car. It was 40 degrees outside, so I decided to go for a walk. I was never that good at building snowmen, but this was good packing snow, so I picked some up as I walked and made a snowball.  It was so smooth and cold, it felt like marble. I tossed it up and down in my hand like a tennis ball as I walked, thinking about playing in the snow as a kid. I thought about my dad, who died three years ago today. What was going on in the world then…it was a couple of months after the earthquake in Haiti, a month before the big BP oil spill. In some ways it feels longer ago; in other ways it doesn’t seem like it’s been three years ago. I read an article in a women’s magazine in the gym a few days ago about a woman who had a massive stroke at the age of 41. Amazingly, she survived and got better with only a few minor ill effects. But for months she had to move back in with her parents. I paused on the exercise bike, wondering uneasily what I would do if that happened to me? When we were little, on Valentine’s Day my sister and I would wake up to piles of gifts and Whitman’s chocolates covering the dining room table – from the “Valentine frog,” my parents always said with a wink. Santa and the Easter Bunny had us fooled for a long time, but we always knew the Valentine Frog was my dad. One time my sister spilled her entire box of Whitman’s all over the floor, and my dad drove to four different stores until he finally found one that had a box left for her.
Wherever he and Mom were, that was home.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"What's his drag name?"

Today at my internship at the high school, I returned to my desk in time to hear one of the other interns and the practicum student, P., discussing Saturday night. “What are you doing Saturday night?” the administrative assistant, A., asked.
“Oh, my friend is performing in a drag show at this club in Albany,” P. said.
The other intern and I started laughing, but A.’s eyes lit up. “Oh, my daughter (who’s 26) LOVES drag shows!” she said. “I’ll tell her about it.”
When school ended, A. said good-bye to all of us and headed out. Five minutes later, the phone on the other intern’s desk rang. “It’s for you. It’s A,” she said, handing the phone to P.
P. took the phone and had the following conversation: “Hi, A...What’s his drag name? 'Penny Larceny'….Okay…we’ll look for her.” She hung up and said sheepishly, “Well, that was a weird conversation to have while sitting in a high school.” She grinned. “But A.’s daughter is coming.”
Then P. asked me if I wanted to go, and…I kind of DO! I’ve never been to a drag show before. What do I wear?? Here at the end of winter, it’s been so long since I’ve worn a dress (brrr!) that if I wear one on Saturday, *I’ll* feel like a drag queen.  ;O

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Our first gay President?

Did you know many historians think President James Buchanan (1857-1861), our only lifelong-bachelor President, was gay!? I never knew this! Apparently he was not far into the closet, either. See The love of his life is thought to be former Vice Preident and Senator William Rufus King, whom he lived with. Very interesting.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The patience of Job

Today I did an observation of a student who was extremely difficult to deal with -- and he's only in kindergarten (!). When I walked in to the kindergarten classroom, he was standing in the back of the room wailing, taking off his shoes and socks, throwing them at the teacher aide and yelling, "YOU'RE STUPID!" And that was pretty much his M.O. for the rest of the hour. Yes, HOUR. It's a good thing the aides and the kindergarten teacher have the patience of saints. I don't know how they do it. It got me thinking about the crazy charter school where I taught three years ago, how we had students who acted like that but didn't have the staffing, programs or resources to deal with them, so they ended up corralled in the principal's or vice principal's office and were handled punitively. (Not that punishing them really worked.) This kid has pretty serious speech/language issues -- he's almost seven and still mixes up his pronouns, etc. Children with speech/language issues often have behavioral problems because they get so frustrated trying to understand what others are saying and trying to express themselves. My supervisor said, "I wonder if his saying 'no!' so often is a way he's learned to buy time to process what adults are saying to him."

Here is a depressing article on how the sequestration (budget cuts) will affect people receiving unemployment benefits: The article states: "According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, about 3.8 million long-term unemployed workers with federally funded benefits will see about an 11% cut in those weekly benefits."  :(  I'm counting my blessings that I was able to get unemployment as long as I did, unaffected by budget cuts. It was a huge help when I was on it, but it was not enough to live on -- an 11% cut would've made it even worse.

Friday, March 1, 2013


How is it March already!? I'm still accidentally writing "2012" on my checks ;O Heard on the radio that today is a palindrome date: 3/1/13 is the same forwards and backwards. I like palindromes.

I took my very first class ever at the gym. It's called "Chisel," and it involves strength and flexibility training. I picked it because the blurb described it as "perfect for soon-to-be moms," and I thought, if it's gentle enough for pregnant women, that's definitely my speed! I texted that to my sister, and she wrote back, "Ha ha ha! Well, you ARE planning on adopting." Which is true -- once I find a job this fall and get settled, I hope to start the process of adopting an older child from the foster care system. So I am, in fact, a soon-to-be mom. :)