Wednesday, December 23, 2009
We had our first home visit yesterday with the folks from DCF. It went very well. The woman had a few suggestions for us as far as home safety was concerned, but nothing that we wouldn't have done on our own anyway. Stuff like keeping medicine and cleansers out of reach, putting up gates, etc...etc... Mostly common sense stuff. However, I'm sure there are families out there that need to be told that stuff.
All in all, it went very well and she was very nice.
I'm going to go now because I've got shopping, wrapping and laundry to do.
Before I go, I want to quickly acknowledge the fact that yesterday was the 24th anniversary of my mom's passing.
I can't believe how quickly time has flown. I'm glad that I had yesterday off though, so I was able to stop by the cemetery and pay a 'visit'. Even stranger are the number of friends and neighbors who are now in the cemetery along with my mom.
It was a sad visit, but I'm glad I went.
For those of you who are new to my blog, here's the post from last year's anniversary.
It's a nice little remembrance for my mom....which I'm sure she'd appreciate. :-)
Have a great day folks....and if I don't find myself back online before Friday - have a VERY merry Christmas. xoxo
Monday, December 21, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Prashanth - Ice Cream
Muthu - Veg Biriyani
Raja - Mango Lassi (Mango flavored yogurt drink)
Suresh - Tamarind Rice
Bhaskar - Cut Fruits
Ravi – Sprite
So. Very. Excited.
Well that's all folks...I'm going to raid the office fridge and see if there's any leftover Fatata and Chana Masala (which, by the way, I totally thought was someones name when I first read it. Nice.)
Have a GREAT weekend and I'll be back on Monday.....xoxo
Here are some more pictures of the house. The outside shots are a bit blurry, but you get the idea. They were taken last year, but it pretty much looks the exact same this year, so I figured it was OK to post them. :-)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The 2009 Christmas Village!!!!
Scooter and the Christmas tree
Waiting for Santa...
Ready for the Christmas card photo shoot...
He is clearly done with us.
Monday, December 14, 2009
At this point we only have to throw one more coat of paint on a little area, take down all the painter's tape, get all the 'equipment' (drop cloths, brushes, etc.) out of there, clean up the floors, and then we can finally get a real idea of how it all came out.
Everyone that has stopped by to see it really likes what we've done - so I'm looking forward to sharing the photos with ya'll.
This weekend was a WHIRLWIND of activity. Shocking, I know.
Friday night Jim and I went to the Grille for dinner and then stayed for a few drinks with Jim's folks who arrived just as we were finishing up. We then headed home and made some adjustments to the tree so that we could finally get it into the house and let it 'fall'.
Note to self: In hindsight, using a chainsaw after a 'few' drinks at the Grille may not have been the smartest thing we've ever done, but whatever...it all worked out just fine. :-)
It was a huge relief to have it up and inside the house - as opposed to sitting outside on the screened in porch.
Saturday morning we got up early and began painting right away. By the time my friend Kerry (who was visiting from NH) got to our house we were almost finished. While Kerry and I were out running some errands, Jim finished up. Kerry and I finished what we had to do and then the three of us went out to lunch. After lunch, we came home and we all decorated the tree....it was nice to have Kerry there with us helping out. Not only was it fun - but it made things go a lot faster. We've got SO many ornaments that when Jim and I do it, it takes a LONG time. While we were working on the tree, Jim's mother stopped by to see the house so we stopped and visited for a bit with her. Once the tree was completely decorated, (YAHOO!!) Kerry helped us out further by taking our Christmas card photo. That was a HUGE help.
I'm not going to go into specifics as to what the card looks like at the moment, but I'll post it eventually. Kerry had to get back to NH, so she headed home once the 'photo shoot' was completed.
Jim and I then showered and got ready for a Christmas party we were going to in Boston with our friend Charles.
As it turned out, the party wasn't as fun as we'd hoped. It was hosted by a former co-worker of Jim's, and while it was great to see her, the crowd was a VERY odd mix of people and all the food they had there had been out since the party began (around 4-ish) so we wanted nothing to do with that. We stayed for a while, but then we ended up leaving and going out for Thai food, followed by a quick trip to Fritz, where we ran into a couple of my softball teammates and finished up the night there. FUN!!!
On Sunday we both got up early and while I whisked Scooter off to doggie day care for the day, Jim began getting things ready for the annual 'cookie baking day' with his sister and niece, Katie. By the time I got back home, things were in full swing - so I got the hell out of the way.
At 10, Jim and I headed to church. It was a very fun service. The youth group did a 'dramatic presentation' that was quite entertaining. In fact, it was a hell of a lot more entertaining than some of the shows that the local community theatres have been churning out these days.
Anyway - it was fun and the 'kids' did a great job.
After church, Jim and I rushed home so that he could get back to baking. We had a quick lunch, Jim's parents arrived for a visit, and after about an hour or so, they left. Once they left, I went grocery shopping, ran to the store to pick up our Christmas cards (gotta love Walgreens and their SUPER FAST Christmas card making process), came home and then went to go pick up Scooter at daycare. As I pulled into the driveway, Jim's sister and niece were just leaving so I walked in the house to see Jim in full cleaning mode.
Once the kitchen/house was back to 'normal' - we both started getting to go to the TWO holiday parties that we had on the schedule for last night.
The two of us looked like we had been beaten up, but we were trying our best to stay awake and get ready. :-)
At this point, it was about 6pm, pouring out, yet it felt like it was about 11pm.
We managed to get to the first party (which was about 5 minutes down the road) but we never made it to the second one.
We were at my friends house, sitting on the couch and trying our best to stay awake, so I think we made the right call. The second party was about 30-40 minutes away and most of the people that were there are people that we're going to be seeing tonight or at some other point within then next couple of weeks.
Hopefully it will all work out and we'll see everyone before (or close to) Christmas. :-)
I'm going to end this incredibly detailed diatribe and get to work. I hope you all had a great weekend and a fantastic week.
And no - I still haven't started Christmas shopping yet.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Let me also say that I, personally wasn’t ‘contacted’ by anyone - which is OK. Initially I was a bit disappointed because out of the 5 of us that went together I was the only one who didn’t have anyone ‘speak’ to them, so I felt a little bit excluded. However, in thinking about it now, I’d much rather have no information given to me than try and force information out of the medium so that I felt ‘included’. Besides, I’m sure that all the people I know on the ‘other side’ were probably spending the night at some bar or at a party, having a few cocktails. :-)
Anyway – it was really quite interesting. Jim was ‘contacted’ by his friend Brian who passed away while they were in college. The medium had a LOT to say about him and really described Brian’s personality perfectly. He had a lot to say to Jim and there were some VERY specific things that she brought up that related to Jim and Brian. I can’t really get into all the details here, because it just won’t come across ‘right’ in reading it, but a couple of specific examples were that Brian was commenting on the fact that Jim was in the process of painting (which he spent the entire day doing) and that in general that Jim has been ‘neglecting’ his creative side. She said that we had no framed pictures of Brian anywhere and that he wanted Jim to take one of the two pictures Jim has of him tucked away somewhere, enlarge it, and frame it.
One of the craziest things was that during the chat with Brian, out of the blue, the medium asked if we had a dog.
Jim answered yes and then she said “Well, Brian says the dog likes him – and always knows when he is there.”
One of our friends then asked her if the odd things that have been happening at our house can be attributed to Brian, and his response was “I’m not doing everything!”
It was cool.
Some of the other people there had some really specific things mentioned about their family members and loved ones that have passed on (names, places, events).
When the medium was ‘talking’ to one of the women’s husband who had recently passed, she told the woman that her husband kept talking about flowers and kept saying that she should go out and buy them for herself because he wasn’t there to do it. Well, as it turns out – up until he died, the woman’s husband used to bring home flowers for her every Friday night on his way home from work. She also asked the same woman if she kept a picture of him on her nightstand (which she did) and if so, he liked it being there and it should be kept there.
Were there things that were mentioned that were totally generic and applicable to the average person?? Absolutely.
But there were SO many specific things mentioned as well, that it REALLY made you think twice.
One last thing….when Jim got up this morning, the water fountain in our Christmas Village was turned on. It definitely wasn’t on when I went to bed or when Jim got up to use the bathroom at 2am (I always make sure all the lights in the house are off before going upstairs). When he noticed it was on, he went to go shut it off and the switch was in the ‘OFF’ position. As soon as he looked at touched it, it went off.
I know from past experience that it’s a super sensitive switch, but even so, the timing of everything was quite spooky.
Have a great, great, day!!!!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
As in someone who regularly has contact with the spirit world.
Our friends have heard good things about her and saw that she had an event coming up, so they bought us tickets. It should be interesting because it's being held in a little antique store in the center of town and the event is limited to 15 people. Now, there's no guarantee that she'll have something to say to all of us, but since there are 5 of us in our group, I'm hoping that at least one of us gets some 'information'.
I've never been to a medium or anything similar before. The closest I've come to anything like that was getting my cards read at the Regina Russell Tea Room back in the city where I grew up - and that was fairly generic and not all that exciting. But the idea of a medium totally intrigues me.
Maybe she'll have a message from our 'house ghost'? Or maybe from a family member that has 'passed on'?
Either way, I'm a little nervous, but also very excited...
I'm pretty sure that several readers will really be into this, so please - if you have any advice or personal experiences with mediums, feel free to share.
I know that you're supposed to go in there with an open mind - so I've got that part covered, but I'll take any more advice that you may have to offer!!!
In other news, it's snowing like crazy here but it's supposed to turn to rain in a few hours. Surprisingly, my commute was totally fine this morning. Apparently the snow kept all the lunatic drivers in check. :-)
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
There are 18 shopping days left until Christmas, and I've bought one gift. YAY!!!
Actually, I'm not at all worried. I'm totally one of those people who will go out with a well-organized plan and get everything done in a day or two. No biggie. :-)
We had a VERY busy weekend, and unfortunately never made it to TWO different 'events' that we were hoping to attend. Darn it.
That being said, we had a fun weekend.
Friday night while Jim was getting his hair cut, I headed off to our church craft fair. It was exactly what I expected (lots of tables set up, filled with all sorts of crafts, baked goods, raffle items, etc.) and was full of all sorts of excited folks in the holiday spirit. It was quite nice. There wasn't anything there that I was particularly interested in buying, so I just bought a few raffle tickets and a cookie - and was on my way! I met up with Jim and Charles (Charles was cutting Jim's hair at his salon) and then we headed out to dinner, followed by 'Bear Night' at the local (and only) gay bar. that's right - from the church fair to 'Bear Night'!!
Dinner was very good, but when we arrived at the bar, we found out that it wasn't 'Bear Night' as scheduled but 'Tata Night'. Apparently there was a change that no one told us about!!
Ummm - really?!?!?
Instead of bears, we got boobs. Talk about a disappointment. (no offense to my female readers, of course.)
As it turns out, we had a really good time anyway. Charles knew a few guys there so he introduced them to us and we all hung out together, so it ended up being fun.
Saturday morning we got up, showered and immediately headed up to NH to meet with my friends Kerry and Guy. We met at their house and then were joined by our friends Leah and John. From NH we then drove (actually, John drove) to Deerfield, MA to go shopping at the Yankee Candle flagship store. We've been going for a number of years now, and we ALWAYS have so much fun. Jim and I don't usually buy a ton of candles - every year we buy one 'Medium Jar, Christmas Wreath scent' and then a few votives and some tarts. We tend to buy lots of ornaments and some fun and festive holiday/winter decorations for around the house. This year we behaved and didn't spend a ton of money. We all had coupons for 30% off our entire purchase which was HUGE. Jim and I saved about $65!!! We have lunch at the restaurant there every year (part of the tradition) as well - if you're ever there and are hungry, I HIGHLY suggest the clam chowder. We all get a bowl of it...that's right...a bowl...don't judge...and it's amazing. So good.
This year while we were shopping, it was snowing like crazy, so by the time we packed up and left there was an inch or two of snow on the ground. It was very pretty - but it made the ride home a bit longer than we'd planned.
This is what the car looked like when we left:
(Jim and I haven't loaded our pictures onto the computer yet, so I don't have ours, but Kerry sent me that one.)
We got to Kerry and Guy's house and as we do every year, we showed Kerry's mom and dad all the fun and fantastic things we got. It's one of my favorite parts because Kerry's mom gets SO excited about everything, and we get to see what each of us bought. Things get a little hectic at the store, so you don't always catch what the other couples are doing...so it's nice to 're-cap' the shopping trip at the end of the day.
Here are a couple of things we got....one is a votive holder (gingerbread people) and the other is a tea light holder (snowmen)
Both are CUTE!!!
P.S. - Jim just sent me this picture and I kind of like it, so here it is. :-)
Friday, December 4, 2009
That was our exciting event for yesterday!!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
PS - YAHOO for Meredith Baxter (Birney) for coming out the other day.
You go, Mrs. Keaton!!!!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Grab your coffee and settle in.
Last night's class began with a re-cap of our previous class, which as you may recall, dealt with the grief/loss that the kids will experience when coming into an adoptive home. Since we're part of the pilot program, our class leaders realized that in following the new format, some things weren't covered as thoroughly as they were in the 'old' format. As a result, Noreen and Krystal (not their real names) wanted to talk a bit more about grief/loss. That discussion tied in nicely to one of this week's major topics, which was trauma and the traumatic events that the kids in the system may have faced before coming into a foster/adoptive home.
We broke up into groups of three people (a total of four groups) and were each assigned a scenario. Each group read the scenario and then had to describe the 'traumatic events' of the scenario, who was affected by the trauma, what the response to the trauma might be, and how the 'caregivers' in the scenario should deal with the traumatized children.
Our scenario dealt with a father who got drunk on Christmas, verbally and physically abused his wife in front of the children, and as a result, one of the children called the police. The father was then arrested, the mom was taken to the hospital, and the children were sent to stay with the father's parents. According to Noreen, this is a very typical scenario and something that happens way too often. Not only the abuse itself, but the fact that all the children (there were three siblings in this case) witnessed everything. Yikes.
One of the points that came out of this discussion (something I never considered) was that often times, children in the system are very much aware of their trauma anniversaries and tend to 'act out' at these times. For example, using the scenario above - assuming these children were placed in a foster or adoptive home - there is a possibility that these kids would become anxious and/or concerned as Christmas approached. Because to them, Christmas is automatically associated with violence. On a similar level, Noreen brought up an excellent point about alcohol consumption in front of certain kids.
Currently, I would think absolutely NOTHING about sitting around on a Saturday night watching TV and drinking a few beers. However, for a child raised in a home where dad downed a 30-pack and proceeded to beat him and his siblings senseless, my 'casual drinking' could have that child sitting in terror, waiting for the violence to begin. Again - something I never even thought about.
Since Jim and I are hoping to adopt an infant, this may not even be an issue for us, but I'm adding it to the list of stuff that I would never have thought of before taking these classes. :-)
The second half of the class focused on how to handle being placed with a child who had been sexually abused. Again, this is hopefully something that Jim and I won't have to deal with, but it was certainly a very interesting/educational topic of discussion.
The discussion thankfully didn't focus on specific cases, but instead, focused on how to set up 'The Healthy Home', as well as how to 'nurture' and show a child you care, without relying on any kind of physical contact with them. Noreen brought up a great example of how when she was first starting out as a social worker, it was her natural instinct when meeting a child for the first time, to approach the child and give them a hug. Well, it didn't take her long to realize that not all children were receptive to that.
That's just a high level example of something that a lot of people may not even think of.
As far as 'The Healthy Home' exercise, we all had to come up with either three 'rules' of the home that focused on making everyone feel safe and secure; or come up with an activity that encouraged family nurturing, without focusing on physical contact. We had to write our three rules/activities on Post-It notes and place them in the 'room' that the rule/activity would apply to. (There was a floor plan of a house drawn on a flip chart for us to use.)
There were some really great suggestions made, but I have to say that both Noreen and Krystal (ntrn) were fans of both mine and Jim's suggestions....without knowing that we wrote them. For example, I suggested a 'Family Walk' as one of the nurturing, yet non-intrusive behaviors and that was apparently the first time in their experience that anyone has chosen an activity outside of the home. They were also a big fan of Jim's suggestion of saying prayers/reflecting on the day before bedtime with the kids.
Hopefully, our suggestions got us some 'extra points' :-)
Side note: Can I just say that some of the stuff that people say out loud in class really surprises me.?!?!? Clearly they want you to be honest, but typically in a public situation, surrounded by people you don't know all that well, you would think that folks would be a little bit reserved in how they voice their opinions on certain subjects. For example, last night when Noreen started the discussion about sexual abuse, one of the men in the class blurted out - "I think they should all be shot! No question."
Even if you do feel that way - which I'm sure lots of people do - would you really just throw that out there for everyone to hear?? Especially in front of the people who are going to be deciding if you're fit to be a parent or not? I don't know...maybe it's just me.
Well my peeps....this had gone on long enough.
I'm going to grab some coffee and get to work!
Have a GREAT day. :-)