Sunday, December 14, 2008



Have you heard anything yet? I really think you have a good chance of getting the job as Program Director at NODC. I’m attaching my curriculum guide for you and I’m sending it to Betsy, also, to share with the folks at Holland since they are mentioned (not by name) in it. It’s a chronicle of my year helping to supervise “change” at Holland Road and a record of our successes.

Sorry I haven’t called. I got back to Toledo December 2, and I’ve been swamped with work and projects. I just created programs for an arts initiative, a volunteer effort, and certification in adult transition habilitation for young adults, all with accompanying curricula. Plus I’m the ghost writer for a fictionalized version of the story of a man who spent nineteen years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

I’m also trying to finish a novel about vampires (yes, vampires!) before February so I can enter it in a writing contest, shopping around for producers and drama publications for my FINALLY re-written play, and marketing my curriculum guide. And I still have a business to get off the ground on top of all that. We got the Medicare waiver, but it’s going to take about a year to get certified.

I knew I was busy last night when I sat at the desk in my hotel room eating my dinner while I created an ad for the program for this year’s Kwanzaa celebration. Don’t forget – December 26-January 1 is Kwanzaa! I’ll be teaching a behavior class ten hours a day during the holiday for three of those days and observing a quiet, reflective observance of Jesus’ coming into this world Christmas week somewhere other than my house – probably at my favorite retreat: the Secor Comfort Inn.

I’m in “retreat” now, typing 35 pages of email addresses so I can send out promotional materials to all of the day hab programs in the state. I finished 17 pages yesterday and have another 18 to go. There are about 12 listings on each page, so I’m inputting over 400 entries! Hey, it’s cheaper and actually less time consuming than sending out printed pages through snail mail. I’m also offering those who want to order the book the opportunity to have it emailed for a discounted price to save money on printing copies.

I’m missing all my favorite holiday events, like a concert I’d love to go today, but I still have all that typing to do and while I’m here, I’m also reading a stack of material about the incarceration and ultimate release of Danny Brown, the gentleman I’m assisting with writing his story. I’m making a timeline of the events as they occurred to keep everything in perspective. His story is a very compelling one and I’m honored to be involved with helping him to tell it.

I was at Holland Road with our young adult group Thursday for their holiday celebration. We went to Golden Corral first and ran into half of the Lott Industries Hill Plant – the community employees and staff. Our young adults had a great time and want to go back to the Holland plant again. Julie (my former hab tech) and I are going to start a pen pal program between the employees at Holland and our young adults and arrange to have participants socialize at both sites next year.

I saw Mary Katherine and was told by some of my staff that she’s “a white Geneva,” meaning they like her! I knew she was the right person to take my place. She wants the three of us to get together. Of course, everybody told me how much they miss me. I got to see almost everybody, except for Kathy who was at a meeting. Betty offered me money to come back and even jokingly attempted to solicit donations. I told them there’s not enough money in the world to get me back at the county board.

I’m working harder now than I did when I worked seven days a week because I have so many projects, but I don’t have any of the stress of working for the county board or the expense for working for the paper, trying to get to and from assignments and get to the office to get them typed with only fifty dollars to pay for it all. I never made any money, even though I loved the work. I just can’t afford it any more.

I’m going on a very strict budget next year while we get the home health business off the ground and my New Year's resolution is to save ten percent of my salary (Susie Orman's recommendation). I'm paying off all of my credit cards and accounts by the end of the year. That will make it a lot easier to stay within my budget. However, my budget will have to include a monthly visit to my “retreat.” Some things I just can’t do without!

By the way, Lee was at Holland, too, and so was Rick. I heard Gary was there before I got there. Everyone was glad to see so many of their former supervisors show up to visit. It was like a “management reunion.” Lee had two more stories for me to read and they were very good. I told her she should compile her short stories into a book. (That’s another of my projects- writing a book of short stories about the rural community where I grow up, along with compiling a book of autobiographical one act plays).

Oh, I saw products from Holland’s art studio while I was there Thursday and was duly impressed. You’d love the art program we started last week at the young adult center. We actually started our “arts program” last summer with music therapy, having my friend Kewape come in and play African drums to teach the concept of rhythm, connecting percussion sounds with movement and vocalization. Now, I’m teaching art history/appreciation using a hands-on method.

I found these “adult” coloring books at that have black and white versions of classical artworks. Individuals are given a chart showing slides of the originals and choose which one they’d like to duplicate using their own coloring ideas. Then while they color with color pencils and markers, I tell them about each of the paintings, the artist, and the art form and medium. This is an introduction to art that I hope will include learning to actually create original works when we get the money to hire real artists to work with them.

You’ll also love the volunteer program we’re developing. It’s to provide assistance for seniors and others on fixed incomes who have pets. We’re soliciting donations of pet food to distribute to those who can’t afford to buy it. I came up with the idea of starting a pet food pantry when my neighbors told me they had to feed half their Thanksgiving dinner to their two dogs and cat because they didn’t have money to buy food for them.

I talked to the young adults to see if this is something they’d like to do and almost all of them said yes. I’ve written the curriculum and made up flyers for donations and distribution. We'll be opening the pantry next year when, according to the economists, things are going to get a whole lot worse. Many people may have a hard time buying food for themselves, so I'm sure buying pet food will be a real burden.

I also want to do some improvisational drama, eventually, and I plan to start teaching a writing program using journaling and other fun kinds of writing to assess writing skills and then focus in on those that need honing. I found some “anti-coloring” books that are meant for kids, but are great vehicles for allowing self-expression either through art or writing. I only work at the center fifteen to twenty hours a week, depending on what needs to be done, but I’ve been spending more of my time interacting with the young adults.

Of course, I love teaching, so I’m in my element. My goal, however, is to get the staff to take over some of the therapeutic activities I’ve started. They’re really good and I know once they have the training, they’ll be able to do all of it themselves. They already do great things. However, with such a diverse and highly functioning group, we have to provide a wide variety of choices to keep them engaged.

I did take two hours off last night after typing and reading all day to watch Will Smith in “I Am Legend.” It was worth it. The movie is really good – scary, but very good! I went to one movie while I was in Columbus with my brother James and my brother Joseph’s significant other Leslie. James made us a gourmet dinner at his house, then we went to see “Happy Go Lucky,” a British comedy.

I love British movies. They are usually so well scripted and lack the pretentiousness of American films. My only other outings in Columbus were to James’ church and lunch afterwards, and shopping at the J.C. Penny outlet with my mother and sister. But I don't go "home" to do anything except hang out with my mom and any other family members who happen to come by. Mostly, that's my niece and nephew, Kiki and Joe. They are really growing up; every time I see them, they're two inches taller!

Oh, I fell in love while I was in Columbus. He’s blonde, muscular, and has brown, soulful eyes. He was hostile to me at first, but he was soon licking my face (and feet) and biting my knuckles playfully. His name is “Bear” and he’s a Chow-Golden Retriever mix. He’s only eight months old, but he’s already huge. Bear is Mom’s companion and “grand-dog.” My sister Debbie is his owner. That dog barked at me for three whole days until he decided I wasn’t going to leave.

When I told Mom on the phone that I was going to say I fell in love with a blonde named “Bear” who licked my face and bit my knuckles, she said, “Some guy is going to show up at your door saying he loves women who like being licked!” I also met a couple of toddlers whose mother is my mom’s home health care aide. They are one and a half and two and a half. I wanted to kidnap the two and a half year old and bring him back to Toledo! His mother thought I was kidding. Well, I was, but he is just the cutest child.

I had a great time with my family. I really do love them. I spent a lot of time with my mom and Debbie and some quality time with James and Joseph, as well as Leslie and Joseph’s ex-wife Valerie and their two children. They are all avid Obama supporters and they know I’m not. However, there was never any attempt to ambush me or “gang up” on me, even though they’ve read my columns criticizing him and calling him a narcissist and a megalomaniac. (By the way, Illionis governor Rod Blagojevish is the perfect example of a narcissistic megalomaniac:
I've attached a detailed definition of narcissism from the Mayo Clinic.)

Not that I didn’t have a few heated debates with family members about our opposing views, but there was no concerted effort to “check me” or “straighten” out my opinions about The Chose One. I did get some Obama-themed Christmas gifts, but not the lectures or “interventions” I might have gotten had a spent time during the holidays with Obama supporters other than my own beloveds. My real friends have also been very kind, considering I don’t share their love of Obama.

Some other folks are waiting for the opportunity to “beat up” on me for my dissenting views. I suspect one or two folks of plotting to lure me into settings where I can be “set straight” about my political views. Of course, I won’t be falling for such an obvious trap. Anyone who attempts this really doesn't want to "corner" me; they may think they do, but they really don't. It would be kind of like cornering a wild animal. Have you ever seen anyone corner a raccoon?

They usually come out fighting, clawing and biting! Believe me, no one really wants to see that side of me. Not even me! That's why I resigned rather than "fighting" to keep my job. I hate my evil side and I try to keep it at bay. I have been very successful at not "going off" for quite a while now and I know had I stayed at Holland, even without having to "fight," the stress would have made me show the side of me I've only shown at work once - when I was at Larc Lane School years ago and a teacher (we won't name names) took out her frustrations on me.

I lost it and it took a psychologist, another behavior specialist, and three hours for me to calm down. Afterwards, half the staff was scared of me and the other half left me alone. A gym teacher and a communication specialist I had been having lunch with every day until then started avoiding me, and one of the secretary's who is a friend told me I was completely out of control. I know I was. That's why I don't like losing control because when I do, I lose it completely. It runs in the family.

My mother cannot allow herself to worry or grieve because when she did after her father died, she had a breakdown and has been taking antedepressants for the past fifty years. The reason I know so much about psychological disorders is because I've witnessed them in my own family. By the way, my schizophrenic sister contacted all of us during the holidays, asking for money. She hit pay dirt finally when she called Mom and got money from her and Joseph and Debbie.

She left messages for me on my home phone, but I just had her number blocked because she still hasn't apologized for sending everyone on my email list one of her maniacal rants last year. She's living in a shelter in San Francisco now and she did send a thank-you card to Mom, Joseph, and Debbie and ten dollars for Mom. However, a week later, she was back to ranting and raving. Every time she's lucid, my mother hopes she'll stay that way this time. I used to be on that merry-go-round, too, until I realized she's never going to change.

I understand her psychological condition, but handling it is another matter altogether. That's why when I see symptoms of psychological problems in public officials, I tend to react. People have no idea how dangerous it is to give a psychologically impaired person unlimited power, particularly one who lusts for power and feels superior to everyone and that he's "chosen." I fear our President-Elect may have some issues that really need to be addressed and monitored. I hope his "handlers" can keep him from stepping over the line.

I do wish the next administration well trying to bail us out of this economic crisis, however, (and hope it doesn’t end up a “fail-out” like the efforts to help the auto industry) and I applaud the selection of so many women to fill cabinet positions. I don’t dislike Obama (like I used to dislike George Bush- I don’t even dislike him any more); I just don’t worship at the altar of Barack and I probably never will, even if he turns out to be a great President. I wasn’t a fan of Bill Clinton either as well liked as he was. I always admired his wife; him, not so much.

By the way, I think Hillary’s chances of running for President have been circumvented by Caroline Kennedy’s interest in politics. I’m sure if Caroline takes Hillary’s Senate seat, she will follow in Obama’s footsteps and in two years we’ll see her mounting a Presidential campaign, which, of course, he will endorse, returning the favor she did him; and she will be nominated and elected as America’s first female President. I may live to see a female President of this country after all, in eight years!

The only way it will be Hillary is if Obama melts down (as I fear he will – that’s what narcissists do!) and Biden becomes President, then chooses Hillary as his vice. I doubt that Biden would run in 2012, but Hillary might if she’s the vice. Just musings, not wishful thinking, believe it or not. I’m not really invested in who runs or wins any more. I stopped caring after the Democratic Convention when women were looked over for the Democratic ticket. Now it’s all theatre to me. I just watch the drama and pray we don’t elect an idiot who’ll start a nuclear war.

Enough about politics. I’m just rambling because I don’t have time to write my column or do my blogs because I’M SO BUSY! I’ll call when I have a minute to breathe. I haven’t been returning calls or seeing anyone I don’t work with or see in the course of working since I got back. I mostly communicate with people through email because I really don’t have time to talk on the telephone. I spend all my time at home writing (I’ve got less than two months to write that novel and type it) and away from home, I’m always working on something.

Let me know when you hear about the job!


No comments: