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Well Received and Then Some

My letter to the county was well received by my son’s case manager.  She thanked me for sending it to her supervisor.  It so happens that they are meeting today.  We’ll see if anything comes of it.  More waiting. Hopefully, not for long.

I’m going to make a huge leap in topics now.  With last weeks tragedy in Florida and yesterdays threats at Orono, a school too close to home, I’d like to make some observations and comments.  I’m not going to get into a political debate on guns.  I think anyone that knows me knows where I stand on that.

I work in a school that has K-12.  I’m on the secondary side.  I will confess, I was scared to death to work on a secondary side.  I was always very intimidated by teens and felt much more comfortable with “little people.”  Who can resist their hugs, smiles and hand holding?

Part of my daily duties now is to monitor the hall for 15 minutes prior to the first bell ringing.   It gives me a brief glimpse into the teens lives other than in a more restricted classroom.  I silently observe them as they arrive for the day.  I can honestly tell you that most of them come in with smiles and seem truly happy to be in the building.  Some are wearing their headphones or ear buds, while others are wrapping up some texting on their cell phones.  I see many hugs between students.  I don’t mean all male to female hugs either.  Kids are different now. I see boys hugging boys and girls hugging girls. They are dedicated to to their friends and aren’t afraid to show it. There’s a huge group of girls that form a heart with their fingers and tell each other “I love you!”  They gather in small, sometimes large groups and talk with excitement about the night before or the day ahead.  I always feel so fortunate when I am greeted with a good morning and a smile from any number of them.  I have a few running jokes with several of them.  I find humor is a great tool to forge the age gap.

You all know I love working with “my” special needs kids.  But there is more to my job than that.  I interact with most of the students at one time or another.  I may be in a main stream class with one of “my” kids, in the halls during passing time, called on to help someone once in a while, or just hanging out around them at a pep rally.

I’ve been asked if I am ever afraid to go to school due to the recent events.  I will tell you that as I watch the news, the fear creeps in but only briefly. I see many students that suffer from depression and/or anxiety.  That troubles me.  It’s not my job to fix them but I always try to greet them with a warm smile.  I want them to know I see them and that they matter!  I’m always ready to begin a new day with expectations of not knowing what to expect!  My job is very much the same everyday and yet very different every day.  We never know what can happen during but I can honestly say, most everyday offers a sweet, unexpected surprise.  It’s why I do what I do.

The “kids” keep me young.  They keep me more current on topics and electronics than I would be without them.  They keep me hopeful about the future.  It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of their youth as they plan for their futures.  They allow me to be silly.  They give me permission to act like a kid again.

Some people have told me they think I’m special for doing what I do.  I’m not.  In fact, I feel very selfish. I am on the receiving end of so much joy and love my heart becomes overwhelmed.  The kids will never know how deeply they affect me or how much I care but I do.  And it makes me grateful.  Every. Single. Day.

Shine On!

Jill

A Brief Report

The fighter is back.

I’ve just sent a letter to someone a little higher up in the county, begging them to stop calling meeting after meeting and to start the process of actually helping the boy.  I’ve asked them to step up to the plate and do what they are supposed to do, protect my boy.

I reminded them that I am not fighting for guardianship any longer, but that I will always be his mother.

I informed them that I am knowledgeable in the laws protecting those with special needs.  Good old 245D.

I also asked them to kindly explain to me what their end goal is.  I’d really like the answer to this question.

I asked them how they lost site of my son and instead, seem to be appeasing the very group home that county employees have visited and reported they have observed emotional abuse and brainwashing being inflicted on my boy.

I let me know I am aware that CPS would not allow me to treat my children this way.

I’ve offered up a very doable solution for them to enforce.  This whole mess is due to ONE employee at the group home.  I’ve asked why she hasn’t been moved to a different location under the umbrella of the same company.  Just getting my son away from her influence is a step in the right direction.

Now, I will, once again, wait for a reply.  My hope is that it won’t take a month of meetings to respond to me.

Forgive me for my disregard for proper grammar when I say “It ain’t over til it’s over.” And it ‘ain’t’ over…not by a long shot.

Shine On!

Jill

The Other Shoe

I had it all figured out, or so I thought and then, like usual, the other shoe dropped.

I’ve mentioned many times that having special needs kids requires a lot of appointments.  It’s one of the reasons I began working in schools. I decided if they didn’t understand the time off required for appointments, who else would?  It’s worked well for me, especially at my current school because we get many Fridays off. I try diligently to make appointments for Fridays.  Many times, it doesn’t work though as a lot of medical people take Friday’s off!

You pretty much all know I’m not a city driver so obviously, I try to keep all appointments OUT of the metro area. It hasn’t been a problem.  Until now.

The girl had an appointment regarding her lip-edema today.  The doctor wants to run a couple of tests on her.  Apparently, there’s only one place that offers one of the tests.  Yes, you guessed it, it’s in Minneapolis.  I’m not happy about it but I will figure out a way to get there (Uber, perhaps).

The other half of the problem has me stumped right now.  I need to take the girl to therapy two to three times a week.  That seemed doable until I was told the therapists leave at 2:30 p.m. everyday.  The girl and I both get home from our jobs around 3:15 p.m.  I did the math.  I’d have to take a half a day off of work, drive about 25 minutes to pick the girl up from her job then another 20 minutes or so to her appointment, two to three times a week!  I’m going to have to get very creative here as I am out of PTO and can’t leave “my” kids at school for that long.  My boss and work are very understanding but this would put a strain on my pocketbook and on my fellow co-workers, and I just can’t do that.

Parenting takes a lot of creativity.  It takes a lot of ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ mentality.  I’ve managed to do both over the last several years.  I’m not sure how I’m going to swing this one but I’ll have to come up with something.

I had to assure the girl this isn’t her fault and that I am not angry at her when a few tears trickled down my cheek.  I had to try to make her understand what stress is.  Something she shouldnot have to worry about.

My goal?  To figure this out and to teach the girl that there is always a solution!  Sometimes, we just have to look a little harder to find it.

I know you all have problems too.  Hopefully, your solutions will be many and easy!

Shine On!

Jill

The Unexpected

I’ve never been one that is full of confidence.  In high school, I was painfully shy.  One day, I broke out of my shell and did a well received dance in the school talent show. After all of these years, I still can’t believe I did it. All I can say is that the song spoke to me and I spread my wings.  It helped me gain a little confidence.  Little, being the operative word.

During my marriage, I didn’t have much confidence.  Actually, I probably presented otherwise but inside, I was flailing, miserably. My ex certainly didn’t help me gain any confidence either.  Multiple affairs will do that do a girl.  I was pretty successful in my career but being fed negative input at home made it difficult to believe in myself.

I’ve mentioned before that, as a single mom, of two special needs children, I learned early on that I had better present a self confidence aura in order to establish myself as a a viable advocate for my children.  I’ve  been pretty successful at it.  Even with everything that is currently going on, I still try to present myself that way.

But underneath the bravado, is a girl that is constantly questioning herself.  I should say, a woman, that is constantly questioning herself.  I always wonder if compliments I receive are sincere. Not because I doubt the person, rather I doubt that I am truly worthy of the compliments.  I tend to presume that people are just being kind.

Putting myself out in the dating world was very uncharacteristic for me.  I was sure I would be laughed at and would never have anyone sincerely interested in me. But, I’ve been very lucky to have made a few good friends.  Some that are willing to put themselves on the line, for me.  It’s a very foreign idea to me.  I’ll do what I can for others but I do not like to ask for help or expect others to help me.

I am the same way when I am working.  I am there to do my job and I do not expect people to like me.  I don’t expect to make friends.  I’m a bit (or maybe a lot) set in my ways.  I always hope people will like me, but I don’t expect it.

That’s why this weekend was so special for me!  I reconnected with a friend I thought I had lost and is very important to me.  I reconnected with my longest and dearest friend. I had a couple of girls call me and asked to come over to visit last night.  We talked and laughed and even shed a few tears.

Even at my ripe old age, I still feel like a teenager, at heart.  I’m just a girl trying to make it through this world in a positive way.  I’m no one special.  But, I do love and I love big and I love deep.  To receive any love back is a true blessing.  To those of you that give of yourself so freely, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.   I am so grateful for your friendship and love.  Without you, I wouldn’t  be here. So thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you so much. I love you all.

Shine On!

Jill

 

 

 

Two Ingredient Bagels

IMG_20180216_074512_234Have you heard about these?  They are all over the internet and Facebook.  I had to try them.  They sounded to good and to easy to be true. But guess what?  They were!  I wish I had taken pictures as I went but I really wasn’t expecting good results.  I thought I’d share the recipe with all of you, in case you haven’t seen it.

1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt ( I used Fage)

1 cup self rising flour

Pinch of salt

I egg white, beaten for the egg wash

Any seasonings of your choice.

In a large bowl, add the yogurt and salt.  Next, add the flour.  Use a rubber spatula to mix together.  It will be crumbly at first.

Flour your hands and work surface and begin kneading.  Knead for 20 to 30 times until it easily forms a ball.  Cut the dough into fourths.  Roll each section into a long rope, about 1/2″ to 3/4″ in diameter.  Bring the two ends together to form a circle and pinch the ends together to make a bagel shape.

Place bagels on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Baste with the egg wash, add seasonings. For this batch, I just sprinkled on some sesame seeds.  Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  If you like them crispy, turn the oven up to 500 degrees and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer.

**Note: There is the option of  boiling them for 1 to 2 minutes before baking.  I chose to just bake them and I loved them.

You can be very creative with your seasonings and flavorings.

An added bonus:  You can use this to make pizza crust!  I’ve even heard of people making calzones with it.  It seems the possibilities are endless!  Have fun creating the perfect bagel for you!

Shine on!

Jill

An Interesting Development

Sometimes, I think I’ve got a sixth sense.  I tossed and turned and turned and tossed last night. Then my neck hurt and then my back hurt.  I was a mess.  I got up and went outside a couple of times and enjoyed viewing the star filled sky and the quiet of the night. I know a few potty schedules for new puppies in the ‘hood’ too.

I wasn’t stressed about anything yesterday.  In fact, some really nice things happened.  It was a fairly productive day with some catching up with friends tossed in.  The girl came home all excited and proud over her award from work.  I went to bed happy.

I pretty much knew I was in for something today and I was right.  The boy gets Social Security benefits.  The amount is based on his income.  Or I should say it used to be based on his income.  Since before I “let go” of things, he had a nice job and made a fair amount of money, for him.  At the dismay of his employers and his parents, he quit.  We tried endlessly to get him to return but he refused.  In viewing his bank statements, I found income of $18.00.  Today, I got a letter from Social Security wanting to help him work.  If I am understanding things correctly, if he doesn’t work, he’s at risk of losing some, if not all, of his benefits.  As it is, his benefits are not even covering his rent payment each month. I’ve been instructed to pay what he has and add a note informing the corporate office of the group home, to bill the boy.  My fear now is that he’s going to run out of money to pay the rent.  I have no idea what will happen at that point.  Another worry.  However, I’m trying diligently not to make it my worry as I didn’t cause this mess.  I’m getting pretty good at lying…to myself.

I sent an email to the county everyday last week.  They avoid all of the important questions.  I will continue to email them everyday, next week too.

I have found a benefit to tossing and turning.  I am thrilled that I have broken through my 60 pound weight loss, where I usually freeze!  I confessed my stress eating so it had to have been due to the night of endless movement!  ha!

It may be hard to find sometimes but there is always, ALWAYS a bright side to things.  If you can’t find it on your own, talk to a friend. Let them help shine the light on the good things in life.  After all, they are one of those bright spots  and they love you.

Rock your weekend and as always,

Shine On!

Jill

Messiness

This post is going to be messy.  My life is messy.  I know.  I could do this over a period of days but the topics are not worthy of an entire post.  So here goes.

First.  I had great news this morning!  My girl leaves the house for work at 6:50 a.m.  She called me at 8:15 a.m.  Usually a call from her while she is at work is not good news.  But today, it was wonderful!  For the second time in three years, she was selected as Employee of the Month!  WooHoo!  I am so proud of her!  She’s been going through a lot of growing up as her mom is making changes to our lives and the estrangement with her brother.  This tells me, more than anything, that she is adjusting very well to new people in our lives.  I am going to say it again, I am one PROUD MOMMA!

I mentioned last time that I had paperwork to fill out on behalf of the girl.  I’m going to modify paperwork to packets as one group is 10 pages (completed) and the other is 20 pages.  Both sets are medical in nature and to me, they are the worst!  She’s going to see a new psychiatrist.  She’s had many over the years.   I’m praying this is a good one.  We really need a good one.  The interesting note on this appointment is that it will be done over a television screen.  I’m not too sure how I feel about that but I’m keeping an open mind.

I wish I had good news about the boy but I do not.  I’ve written the county everyday with questions.  About 1 % have been answered.  I don’t understand the lack of caring from the county.  They were so supportive when we discovered the way my son is living and the brainwashing that is going on.  They have supported me for the last 29 years.  This is the first time they have let me down.  And it’s a biggie.  I’m trying to do all I can but, unfortunately, my hands are tied.

It was a good week at work.  It usually is.  I am so grateful for a job I love and students I adore.  I missed a lot of sleep this week but I managed to stay awake and I think alert!  Every now and then, I can’t turn my brain off and that’s what’s happening now.

I have a four day weekend.  I’ve had a lot of company on the weekends over the last few months but the house will be quiet this weekend.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  Too much time to think.  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get some projects done around here.  I’m also going to use this time to kick sugar (AGAIN).  I need to refocus on my weight loss. I feel so much better when I do.  I’ve settled at that darn sixty pound loss again and have slipped up with some emotional eating.  I’ve kept it in a 3 pound range but it feels like 50.  I’ll do it.  If you see me with sugar, I again, give you permission to slap it out of my hand!

Find something just for you this week-end.  You made it through another week.  Be good to yourself.

Shine On!

Jill