Location: Oregon, United States

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Funky thoughts. News Flash

My friend Cindy Pearson was here last week. She has family nearby and spent the night with us "on the way to the airport". I cried with her again. Not the whole time she was here, but once or twice. She seemed slightly amazed when I said I really don't cry much. Last time I saw her was nearly a year ago, in China, working alongside her, and I cried every day. Something about it just got to me - I love it there. I love the smell, the outdoor markets, the street food, the sardine-packed buses. Paul and I had hoped to work in China at one point not so long ago, but things beyond our control closed that door for now. So I cried.

This time when I saw Cindy, she had just had a very refreshing and much needed time of what I call "cocooning". We talked about real things, like how are you doing? Suddenly, I realised that no one real - no one face to face, no one I was safe to really tell - has asked me that question in a while and taken the time to listen. And I realised that I've had to be strong and put a good face on things a bit lately. So it was good to have her here, even if it was only overnight. Refreshing in a cleansing and introspective kind of way.

Now, for those of you out there who are experiencing a guilt complex because you haven't called or emailed me to see how I'm doing lately, just chill out. You are all doing just fine. It was the combination of in person, long term friendship and listening ear that got me. So relax.

On another sober note: We've changed William's medication in order to get better control over his Crohn's. We've been backing him down off of prednisone gradually, but he couldn't get past a certain dosage without experiencing symptoms. This just means the prednisone has been masking the fact that he's really still very sick. And that is unsettling at best. The new medication is a very effective drug IF he isn't in the 1% of the population that has trouble with certain side effects. Like liver and bone marrow functioning. We had to make a special appointment to talk to the doctor about this drug because it is such a heavy hitter. Then, when I went to pick it up at the Pharmacy, they had to give me a spiel as well. So start praying NOW that William will be in the 99% that do not experience nasty side effects, because if this drug doesn't work he has to go in for weekly IVs. Yuck.

On a lighter note: We have a joke about the trees here. Paul keeps saying, "The trees! They grow so straight and tall!" The people who have been here for a while (yes, Jeff, that's you) think we're kind of funny about it. But the trees ARE amazing. While Paul is amazed at how straight and tall they are, I am wowed by the variety, especially among the pine/conifer/fir/spruce types. There is a very large one that is silvery greenish grey. It's needles grow in star shaped clusters and it's branches reach out like long, narrow fingers. And another that looks like a rustic Christmas tree, maybe 8 ft. tall and it's leaves (leaves? is that right?) grow in fan-shaped groups along branches that stick straight out from the trunk. And one that looks like a pear on a stick with chartreuse (that would be yellow) highlights where there is new growth. And tall narrow ones whose branches drape down in a gentle "J" shape with strings of needles hanging off them like - I don't know, homemade pasta hanging to dry? Fringe?. And fuzzy looking ones! And, yes, tall and straight ones - we have a mini Sequoia woods nearby. Every time I go out to walk the dog, I notice a new tree, or a new thing about one. It keeps me busy.

Today, in addition to the trees, I noticed a boat next to someone's house. They seemed to have it moored to the deck, with a bright yellow rope tying it there. I thought, "Why would they do that? Especially here, especially now - we haven't had enough rain to even keep the grass alive. And they have it tied to the house as if it were going to flood tomorrow." And then, BAM! It hits me. Man, if you think THAT boat looks stupid tied to the house just because it hasn't rained all summer, think about how the one in Noah's front 40 must have looked to his neighbors. At least this one was on a trailer, so if they wanted to go somewhere besides the driveway they could. Old Noah wasn't going anywhere in that thing until the floods came. And who knows? It could very well flood here in February, I don't know! Maybe the guy's not so crazy after all...

News flash: The job search is OVER! I interviewed Monday and it went well (obviously, duh). As I mentioned in the last post, it is a Homeless Outreach Assistant position. I will be working with a seasoned outreach worker (who is also an MSW), going out to where the homeless here in Washington County camp out, assessing their needs, building trust and relationship with the hope of engaging them in services such as shelter, addressing mental health issues, etc. They were very up front about the fact that this particular job is not funded at the MSW level but they plan to split the seasoned worker's job into two twenty hour positions and add two MSW level case managers in the near future and they would love to have me transition into one of those roles. They even raised the salary a dollar an hour as a token of their good will. Funny. I am truly fine with this. It is a great way to get to know the agency, begin building relationships within the homeless community and familiarizing myself with the services available to them.

One of the questions they asked me before they offered me the job was, "How will it be for you to work with adults vs. youth?" I had fortunately given this some thought - is it homelessness that is my passion or youth? Working with severe and persistent mental illness or just plain having a job in the social service field? I could only say I don't really know but I'm willing to find out. Again, they were very cool about this and said that usually people either love it or hate it. If I love it, I can transition into the Outreach Worker or Case Manager role in a few months. If I hate it, there will be a youth shelter opening up next door to the adult shelter with mental health positions as well. And I would be free to go. If not, I am encouraged because I got two more calls for interviews within the last couple of days. Feast or famine, I guess. I finally figured out that the way they do it out here is to collect resumes for about a month and then sift through them. So there's at least a four week lag time before you hear from anyone. Nerve wracking.

But I have that overwhelming sense of peace about this job so I'm thinking I will love it. The minute I was called to come in for an interview I knew that this was IT. It is exactly what I asked for: near where I live, working with homeless people, part-time, utilizing my degree. I wasn't even nervous for the interview, which says a lot since I was on the verge of throwing up for my first one.

A totally random thing that I love about this job already is the drive in to the office. They are located in a nearby town called Tigard. When I Mapquested for directions, it said I should take the T.V. Highway, which I HATE. It is full of stop lights, cars, pedestrian crossings, signage, signage, signage, junky buildings and Harvey the 25 foot rabbit. Estimated time 25 minutes. This is bogus. It will take AT LEAST 45 minutes in rush hour, stop and go traffic. So I tried again with the "no highway" option and it showed me a back route on country roads. Estimated time 25 minutes. I decided to try it, plan on a 45 minute drive in case everyone else takes that road too, and see what happened. It was GORGEOUS! I passed two llama farms, a large apple orchard, vineyards, a Victorian home on 16 acres that I want to buy, rolling hills, misty vales, harvests in progress. And it took 25 minutes with virtually no traffic. Just WAIT till I get that Mini Cooper! Zip! Zip!


Blogger ~kelemira of gondor said...

you'll never guess who came to my school today to talk about studying abroad! it was Talley! isn't that just a really odd coinkydink? anyway, when i put my name down for my info she was like "are you britta?" i'm "i'm bethany- who are you?" "I'm lydia's sister" "No way! Talley? cool!" so yeah. that was my interesting surprise today. i think studying abroad would be cool.
ps. do you even read these comments?

2:20 PM  
Blogger ~kelemira of gondor said...

guess what! cindy's at our house right now! we havn't seen her in a long time.
~bethany (powell)

2:40 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home