Sunday, August 14, 2011

Another list...

Things I like about me: (I can't put a number to this one)
1. My smile - it's crooked and goofy, I have one tooth that's a lot shorter than the tooth next to it, but the point is, it's my smile and therefore a wonderful part of who I am.
2. My eyes - I've been told by some that they can see into people's souls. I just like their color. :)
3. Sarcasm - I can't help it, even when I'm trying not to be sarcastic, it still comes out! All 3 of my children were fluent in the ways of sarcasm by the time they were 2. As for the kids I work with, they all know me to be sarcastic too. Ask them what happens to my eyebrow when I say, "Really?" Sometimes they'll get me to say it just so I'll raise my eyebrow at them.
4. Resilience - something that I've not always had, but have claimed more recently.
5. Open mind - I won't always agree with what you're saying, but I try to at least be open to what you're saying to me. Even if you're obviously wrong! j/k

Things I don't like about me:
1. Being emotional - I cry when I'm happy or sad or angry or frustrated or alive or tired or basically existing. Most of the time lately it's usually related to my finances or lack thereof and worrying about being able to provide for my children.
2. Lack of motivation - in the department of exercise and/or staying physically fit. If I've had any sort of thought about exercising after work, it's the first thing I'll give up if it's been a long day or if I'm tired or if the world is rotating... notice a pattern? It's not my top priority. I don't want to be a body builder or a size zero or anything crazy like that. I would just like for my clothes to fit right, ya know?
3. Stubbornness - Is that a word? I suppose that's not important. I know that sometimes this part of me has served me well and I've been able to hold out against things, but there are times that it has definitely bit me in the ass... and hard. Thank you, Grandpa, I carry on the long line of stubborn Carlsons. I'm relatively certain my children have inherited this fine gene as well. :)

Hmmmmmm, that's all I can think of for now. Maybe it's better that I can only think of 3 for things I don't like about me. Since Cheryl (a coworker) commented on my link to my last list, I thought perhaps I should post another publicly. I hope anyone who's read this and/or my last post has taken time to make a list for themselves. Personal traits, foods, vacation destinations, things you're grateful for... they're all things you can list out and even share here, if you feel so inclined.

amor y paz,

Monday, August 8, 2011

A couple of lists...

10 things I hate (in no particular order):
1. crickets - they're loud, 'nuff said;
2. blisters on the bottom of my feet - or anywhere for that matter, but on the bottom of my feet it's particularly annoying since I have to walk on them and all;
3. Mondays - they've been particularly Monday-ish the last couple of weeks, I'm ready for that to stop happening;
4. mushrooms - they're squishy AND they taste gross, quite possibly the world's most disgusting food;
5. squishy foods - as long as we're talking about them, they're gross and they make my face go (o^o) - not at all an accurate portrayal, but if you know me at all, you know the position my face takes when I've eaten something squishy, it's not pretty!;
6. most country music - like the music that you can play backwards and get all of your stuff back, e.g. your truck/girlfriend/dog/double-wide trailer, etc;
7. stupid people - no there is some room for lack of knowledge in certain areas, but stupid people... the ones that you look at or talk to and think, surely it's not possible for one person to be that dense... yeah them, I have no tolerance for those people;
8. humidity - I don't mind heat for the most part, but humidity makes me really, really grumpy, like I want to punch anyone who crosses my path, not that I would, but it's tempting;
9. feeling out of control - I'm kind of a control freak and when I feel like various parts of my life are beyond my control, it makes me very uncomfortable. It's hard to let things go and trust that they will be done to my satisfaction... or at all. I'm working at it and have improved, but I still hate it;
10. I can't think of a tenth one right now, perhaps that's a good thing. :)

10 things I love (in no particular order):
1. my children - they keep me young and challenge me daily to be a better parent and all around good person. They are amazing little people and I love watching who they are becoming and their personalities as they are developing;
2. Samuel Yoder - he loves me for who I am, the good, the bad and the ugly. I haven't scared him off with my craziness. He lets me be me and loves who that person is. He helps me see the good things I am when I am unable to recall them for myself;
3. singing - I'm good at it, I miss doing it;
4. my life - despite the bumps I have experienced, everything that has happened has shaped who I am today. I wouldn't change any of it, even the parts I'm not proud of;
5. family - they are loud, crazy and maybe even overbearing at times, but they're fantastic, and I'm lucky to have them;
6. simplicity - I really am not looking for grand experiences or things in life. I want to enjoy who I am, where I am with the people I love in my life;
7. photography - taking pictures of nature in particular, or catching my children unawares, so that they are being themselves. I'm not particularly savvy in the ways of super quality photography, but taking pictures makes me happy, and often is what I do when I'm feeling particularly down or upset about something;
8. movies - good ones, bad ones, I like watching a variety of film and talking about it with people that have seen the movies as well;
9. crafty stuff - I like making things: crocheting, painting, baking, cooking... I'm not good at all of them, but I enjoy them all and they bring peace to my soul;
10. my job - though it stresses me out, days like today particularly, I truly love my work. When a resident discharges and you can see where they have come from and how much they have grown, it's truly satisfying and fantastic to know that you had a part in that.

I thought I would end with the 10 things I love so that this entry would end on a happy note. Today was an incredibly stressful day. I got off work, ran errands at Target, came home and wanted to ignore the world. It's been good to type this all out. I needed to think about what in my life is important to me, it was therapeutic. I encourage the resident's I work with, especially the ones that struggle with self-harming tendencies, to make a list of the things worth living for, what goals do they have for life, not just to think about them, but actually write them down so that in the dark times, when it's hard to remember what's out there for them, they can read their list and see that they have good things in their lives.

I think this is a good strategy for everyone really. We all have times that are hard, when we can't remember that life is good. So make your list, refer to it often. Write down two things a day to start, if you have trouble thinking of those things that are good. Before you know it, it'll come super easy. I'll step down off of my soap box now.

amor y paz como siempre,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Somtimes you feel like a nut...

sometimes you just feel like an ass. I have been in a weird mood all day, not necessarily bad or grumpy, this day has just felt off. I'll just call it uber-Monday and blame it on that. :)

In all seriousness though, this evening has turned into one of reflection and introspection. While at the grocery store with my kids after supper, I ran into my best friend's younger brother. I thought how he has a lot of facial hair now, and he's not the scrawny kid I remember. :) It's been a long time... he mentioned how big my kids have gotten and that his sister, my best friend, was in town over the weekend. Well she once was my best friend, and I would still consider her to be that, but I in many ways trounced on that relationship. She offered me respite and a place of contemplation during a time in my life I was struggling to figure out who I was and what the hell I wanted out of life. It was a dark and pretty miserable time for me. She helped me realize that I could and should go to school before my kids were all in school. That it was a doable option and I was a capable student. And I was, to put it lightly, a shitty house guest.

I try to live my life without regret, to learn from experiences I've had, both the good and the bad, I'm quite certain I've talked about it on this very blog. This is one experience I wish I could go back and fix. To have been more gracious, appreciative, respectful of their space and offer. I will be forever grateful for that time and all she helped me with. My hope at this point is that I can pay it forward to a friend in the future and maybe eventually repair the rift. I hope that I can move forward in life being a positive influence on those around me. I hope I can help someone else figure out what direction to take when all seems lost in their life. It's the least I can do.

amor y paz,

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I don't really have a title...

Tonight as I talked to Sam to say goodnight, an early one for me because I'm recovering from the stomach flu, he said he'd really wished I'd been there this afternoon. It's the time of year he misses Pa (his Grandpa Yoder) the most. Spring is a big time of year for him and so much of what I hear about farming from Sam involves Pa.

Then as I went to bed I began to think about my grandma, both of them really. Amazing, beautiful, strong women, who have always accepted me for who I am, even when I've felt like a complete fuck up (Grandma Garber would be unhappy with my word choice there, Grandma Carlson would probably laugh). I guess in those terms I most often think of Grandma Garber. She was a devout, God-fearing woman, but never did I feel judged or unloved by her. Never did she say, "Elise, don't you think you should pass up your seventh molasses cookies, you've put a few pounds on!"

She was one of two people who continued to use my childhood nickname, Lisi, into my adulthood, the other being my close family friend, Matt. When I was in my early 20's it kind of annoyed me. Especially after my third child was born. Whenever she called me Lisi, I would think, "Geez, Grandma, I'm a grown woman with three children now, can't I just be Elise." Funny how now the name I prefer to be called as an aunt is Tía Lisi.

She has this sixth sense about her for people who needed a pick me up. I can't count the number of times I was having a particularly rough week and I'd get a call, that familiar voice saying, "Elise I was thinking about you and I made something for you, would it be ok if I brought it over?" And then carrot jello or molasses cookies or tapioca or whatever she'd whipped up recently would arrive at my door with a smile, a hug and an I love you.

Aidan had his choir competition on Saturday and as I sat listening to his choir, being impressed by the incredible strides they've made in two years, I thought, this time last year, Grandma was sitting here beside me, cooing in her Grandma kind of way, exclaiming over how great they sounded. I have to admit that times like that make me feel a little bitter. I get that she was 82 and that she lived a great life. I know that she is now with my grandpa, in a place she longed to be her entire life. But that doesn't mean that sometimes I'm not a little angry that she left when and how she did. And really, that's all I can say about that right now.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

ummmmm ouch

Today is December 9, 2010. Today marks two months since my grandmother passed away. Part of me still expects that when I am at my parents' house and the phone rings on a Sunday afternoon, it will be Grandma calling, wondering if we are there and if she could stop by because she hasn't seen us for a little while. It's weird how I still expect that.

People that know me, know that I have had an ongoing struggle with trying to make a pecan pie successfully. Over the years, they've mostly come out soupy in the middle. Great for serving on ice cream, very good flavor, but not how a pecan pie should turn out. Grandma even tried to teach me, bless her heart. That pie came out perfectly, but I'll be darned if I could get one to turn out right without her. As I was deciding what to contribute for the family meal to celebrate Thanksgiving, I decided I would again try to make a pecan pie. She was always the one bringing pecan pie, because hers was the best and always exactly right. I tried to figure out which of the many recipes in my grandmother's collection is the one she used, but I wasn't sure. So I searched online. Who knew you could get choked up looking for pie recipes.

I found a recipe and made the pie. Besides calling unnecessarily for a deep dish crust, the pie turned out great! The center set and it tasted pretty good, not like Grandma's of course, but still very tasty.

As I look forward to Christmas and the time for more celebration with family, I'm keenly aware of her absence. I miss her prayers (despite my constant questioning), I miss her oh so distinct laugh, I miss her attentiveness, her compassion, her deep love for all she encountered. I am very much looking forward to a good time with my brother and niece, especially since we've not had time with them in so long. I'm looking forward to going to Ohio to celebrate Christmas with my family there. Despite all of that, this holiday season also comes with sadness this year. I hope all of my friends and family know how incredibly important they are to me and that they are well loved and thought of. Celebrate the people you love, always, because as cliche as it sounds, you just never know when that time with them will be gone.

God bless,
amor y paz,

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Whoa intimidating!

I had supervision with my boss today, something I do pretty much every week. I've officially been a Unit Coordinator for a year past my 90-trial. Things are good, he's happy with my work, has nothing but good things to say about what I do and how I do it. I get recognition from the vice president that is his boss, and it quite frankly feels really good.

He asked me when I think about the next year, what are my goals. And I honestly didn't know. I've been very focused on the here and now, figuring a lot of things out. I'm in a long distance relationship, I want to finish my degree, lots of things. There's been a lot of grey area between my personal life and my work life in terms of attempting to move forward and what does that mean.

There are a lot of changes and restructuring going on at work right now. Oaklawn has recently acquired 200+ employees as part of taking over a portion of Madison Center. There are still a lot of kinks being worked out, decisions being made, teams being established. I'm not entirely sure what that means for my job or Oaklawn as a whole. Good things, I'm sure. I have no concern about losing my job in all of this. What I'm feeling now is my lack of degree. The position I currently have at Oaklawn is pretty much as far as I can go sans official college degree. I have continually appreciated the recognition that I have already received for the work that I do and those kinds of things, but it is painfully obvious to me that the lack of degree is seriously effecting (affecting? I can never keep those two straight) any potential upward movement in the company.

I struggle with how I want to go about completing my degree. Do I do a degree completion progam, at Goshen College for instance? It means 18 months of very intense classes going full-time to get a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, while working full-time, parenting children as a single mom, and still maintaining my relationship, all of these things very important to me. Do I look at going part-time to finish my B.A? I have 78 credit hours at this point. I'm essentially a science class and a writing class away from the credits I would need for an Associate's Degree from IUSB. And that would be an Associate's in Spanish. I don't think that allows for any advancement yet, so it's not a long term solution for what I'm wanting in terms of career. If I go part-time, which would mean no more than 9 credits per semester, if I need 130 credits to graduate, that's about 6 more semesters or three years, or some combination of summer classes and regular semesters, probably at least 2 years no matter which way it's broken down.

Or if I decide I want to switch my major from Spanish to Social Work or Psychology, how much more undergrad work would that require? So many questions with little in the way of answers. I never blog in search of answers or comments. I blog because I need to process through things in my brain and what is currently going on in my life. Here though, this time, I'm looking for thoughts and opinions. Sharing of experiences and things learned from them. I'm feeling at an impasse in many parts of my life and need some wisdom imparted from the people in my life, be you close by and talked to often, or far away and not kept in touch with enough. :)

Also, could potentially looking for alternative housing in the next 6 months, as I can't be a full-time student and live where I do. Needs to be affordable (duh), and at least 2 bedrooms, preferably 3.

Blah for blunt blogging, it's so much less pretty!

amor y paz,

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thank God it's almost October!

I love my job, I really do. And I'm damn good at it, too. That said, this has to have been one of the most stressful months of my life. The past two years have been filled with major life changes and they seem mild to the stress I have felt this month. It's a sad state of affairs when my last thoughts before sleep are of Oaklawn and worrying about what I'm going to come into in the morning. Six months ago things were hard on my all boys unit. Acuity was high and all day, everyday was code after code dealing with unsafe behaviors, aggression and general insanity. Even that didn't feel as stressful.

People don't work in mental health for the money. It's a passion, you often feel like you give and you give with no return, but it's one of the most rewarding experiences. I need to remember that after weeks and months like these past few. There are the kids that you have such high hopes for, that are likable and if they could just see their own potential and the support that they have could do so many amazing things, but then they make that one super stupid decision that if you could find them, you'd want to smack them upside the head and ask them what the hell were they thinking. Those are the ones that discourage and make you question your sanity.

The kids I need to think about at times like this are the ones that I've watched grow and learn those things about themselves. Two weeks from tomorrow one of these kids will be moving to a group home, something that 6 months ago seemed like one of the worst ideas ever. I have truly been with this resident from the very beginning as I went with one other staff to pick the resident up from court and to bring to Oaklawn. When I first met this young person my first thoughts were: immature for the age, looked incredibly young and was very focused on bunnies, lol. Almost the entire drive back from court I heard about lop-eared bunnies and I swore if I heard the words lop and eared again I was going to go insane. Lop-eared bunnies are still a favorite, as are pretty much all animals, but there has been amazing growth too. I'm so proud of the accomplishments that have been made and that as a whole Oaklawn has been part of the growth for this person.

This needs to be my focus, the successes... but in the midst of the stress and disappointment, it's the most difficult to see.

amor y paz,