Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Curiosity has me googling

In actuality, we were discussing at work why they are called pink slips. Here is what wikipedia says:
"Pink slip refers to the American practice, by a personnel department, of including a discharge notice in an employee's pay envelope to notify the worker of his or her termination of employment or layoff.[1] Receiving a "pink slip" has become a metaphor for the termination of employment in general. According to an article in The New York Times, the editors of the Random House Dictionary have dated the term to at least as early as 1910.[1] The origin of the phrase is undetermined, and there is no evidence that termination notices were ever traditionally printed on pink-colored paper.[2] In the UK and Ireland the equivalent of a pink slip is a P45, in Belgium the equivalent is known as a C4."

So, now we sort of have an answer. It may never have been pink at all!

Pink can still be a good color

Apparently pink slips aren't pink at all. That has been my focus as I received my pink slip this morning a day early. It was actually a little disappointing (the fact that it wasn't pink). It was white. Written just like any other memo I would receive in my box about a variety of things. You may think I'm in denial, focusing on the wrong things, etc. Just know that I have learned in the last two weeks that you have to laugh at things when you think they're funny. Even when you shouldn't and they aren't.

I actually had a dream about receiving my pink slip last night. Oddly enough, in my dream, it was like the pink part of a carbon copy (you know, where you receive the pink or yellow part and the white is what they keep). And in my dream they put it in my mailbox. At least the real thing was hand delivered to me.

I am still fairly optimistic that I could get my job back. We were actually told this afternoon that because of some lawsuits that have come up, counseling contracts will be reinstated. I won't believe that until I am told more than just by word of mouth. All of this to say, it's not over yet, and I have no more answers. Continue to pray. Continue to help me remain optimistic. I'll keep you posted on what comes next.

Monday, June 29, 2009

T Minus 6 Days and Counting...

Today is my last Monday in my 20s.

Someone told me that once I'm in my 30s, it will be a good excuse to go to bed early because I'll be "old."

Today was terrific weather! I was able to go rollerblading since it was so cool. After a certain temperature, I don't do any physical activity outside! And I've heard tomorrow is supposed to be even cooler. Emily and I turned the air off and I am hoping to get the temperature down in my room so that I can sleep really well tonight.

No official news on the job front yet. However, one of my coworkers was talking to a DCFS caseworker and she is under the impression that DCFS is no longer going to cut counseling contracts which would mean I would still have a job. However, I am not expecting the state budget to pass by tomorrow, which will mean a pink slip on Wednesday with the possibility of rehire when the state finally gets their act together. While on a rampage this morning we were discussing why we allow this to happen. How can we elect and pay state officials to not do their jobs? Basically they took their summer vacation before getting the main part of their job done! Could you imagine going into work tomorrow and saying to your boss, "I know I have about 3 weeks worth of paperwork that I need to catch up on, and that proposal you asked for is due but I haven't finished it, and I never did get around to making those phone calls you asked me to make, but it's time for me to take my vacation, so I'll see you in a couple weeks!" NO, none of our bosses would allow that, but we have allowed the elected officials to do that for at least the past two years, and I think it has been more years than that! Sorry, off my soap box now. Sometimes it hits me at unexpected times :).

Still praying for a good solution to the budget crisis and that God will allow me to keep my job.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Last Sunday

Today is officially my last Sunday in my 20s. Sigh.

Heehee. From previous comments, I do feel like I should clarify that I could really care less that my next birthday is my 30th birthday. It's just a more extreme number to count down to. Which, in actuality, makes it more fun for me! :) So, have no fear, I am not sinking into a deep depression or anything like that. Here are reasons to look forward to 30:

*It won't be quite as pathetic that I have gray hair. Lots of people in their 30s have gray hair.

*It will really be funny when I get asked if I'm a student when I go to see movies (maybe I'll stop being angry that I'm asked!). And yes, as a 29 year old, I did get asked that question several times!

*If I start my 30s off as unemployed, it can only get better from there!

*I can tell people in their 20s that they are young and immature with authority and wisdom in my voice, of course!

*As Emily has already learned, I will change categories on my car insurance from 25-29 to 30-64. Which basically makes me the same as a 64 year old. And don't I look good for 64!

Well, that's all I can think of right now, but as I think of them, I will post throughout the week!

Friday, June 26, 2009

T Minus 9

There's only single digits remaining of my 20s. Starting Sunday I can say, "this is my last Sunday as a person in my 20s." Followed by "This is my last Monday as a person in my 20s."... you get the drift! What a fun week it will be for everyone! Then I'll have to edit my profile, too! :)

I survived the week!

It was my first full week of work in a REALLY long time :). But I survived. Even with the turmoil of losing my job and coming back from vacation. Today I saw my seven year old client. She likes to talk. A lot. Basically nonstop. You never know what she's going to talk about. Here is the conversation we had today. Well, really what she said to me because I didn't have to respond at all. "I wasn't feeling good yesterday. I had a stomach ache. And my mouth was really watery but I didn't throw up. I had diarrhea. But I'm not going to tell you what color it was!" As if I asked!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Prayer Support Needed

I received a phone call from my boss Sunday night "welcoming" me back to Illinois. It soon led to some very bad news. With the current proposed state budget, the social services field will received cuts ranging from 50-75%. As it stands right now, I am expected to get a pink slip on July 1. Children's Home is being gracious and allowing us to work the whole month of July to try to do closings with our clients and get our paperwork completed. These cuts would equal 100,000-200,000 lost jobs in the social services field in the state of Illinois, which means jobs in my field will be slim pickings. God is in control and I am dealing with the news a lot better today than I was on Sunday night, but please continue to pray that the state officials will make wise decisions. Obviously, I want to keep my job, but more than that, if the budget goes into effect, the clients I serve will pretty much be without any support because there will be no one left to refer them to. In the long run, this could lead to more broken homes due to kids being removed because of abuse/neglect issues, more kids growing up in homes where one or both parents are sent to prison, and ultimately kids growing up to repeat the same patterns they grew up in. Doesn't that look lovely?! I have alternated between shock/denial/acceptance/optimism/ pessimism, etc. I barely slept Sunday night and have woken up with a knot in my stomach each morning. Telling the families we serve has been difficult because we don't have any firm answers and it seems ridiculous to tell them "I could be closing your case as of July 1 or it could be open for another 6 months. I don't really know." Much harder than having my facts straight and knowing an answer for sure. Anyway, now I'm rambling. Just pray for me and for the families I serve and for friends/coworkers. The estimate is that 50% of employees at work would lose their jobs.

Oops :(

I forgot to finish my vacation posts. I was so glad to get all the pictures loaded that I forgot to outline the last half of my week at Danell's. The obvious: I got to play with the babies. The one thing I didn't have to do a lot of, which I wasn't expecting: change diapers. I managed to only change 1 while I was there. Sorry Danell and Ken! The girls go to bed around 6ish, so I was able to hang out with Danell and Ken in the evenings (and Ken was gracious and/or escaping and would give us some girl time, too). We stayed up a little too late each night, but I think Danell would say it was worth it. Every morning Danell, Clare, Lucy, and I would go for a walk around Aquilla. During the evenings we did what came natural to us: we played games. I learned a new game: Cleopatra. But other than that, we just played some tried and true games: Speed Scrabble, Nerts (practically the same as Dutch Blitz, with regular cards, and few extra rules), and Settlers. It was so much fun to play Speed Scrabble and Nerts. Danell and I are pretty evenly matched, so we have fun. It was also fun to reminisce about all the people who hated playing with us because we were "too good." Tuesday night we went to Hillsboro, which is about 20 minutes away and shopped at the outlet mall for an outfit for the girls to wear for their pictures. We also went out to eat. Then Wednesday afternoon, we went to get the girls' pictures taken. What an event that was! But we survived and so did Clare and Lucy. And the pictures turned out really cute! On a sadder/slightly gross note: it is pathetic that two women going to get pictures taken would have to announce that they are best friends so they wouldn't be asked if they want a picture with the two adults and the babies! Then Thursday we played with babies in the morning and left for the airport. The best part: arriving home to no power after the storms and hot weather that I thought I was leaving behind in Texas!

Friday, June 19, 2009

All About the Twins

Here is Lucy in all her glory! Blue eyes, beautiful grin, and those edible arms and thighs!

Profile of Clare. She is much more serious and much harder to get to smile. But she is super cuddly and loves to be held.
Clare and I were playing with my camera. This is the picture she took of her mom! She is definitely a photographer in the making! :)

Playing with the camera cord. This game lasted a good half hour before she got bored! Which was fine until my arm started getting tired :)
Oooh...a button!
Daddy and Clare. So adorable.
A mommy of twins sometimes gets creative!
So close to crawling. She can get up on her hands and knees but can't quite move in the right direction (she likes to go backward).
Clare's favorite pose. Upside-down. This is actually how she crawls--she arches her back and crawls on her head and feet!
"Daddy, can I listen to the radio?"
Clare loves to examine her hands when she is drinking her bottle. Each time it is like she has never seen her hand before. So cute.
There is that contemplative face again!
I love how she reads books with her feet too! :)
I love my Mommy! Here is a smile and laugh!
And of course...feet pictures. These are Lucy's.
And Clare's toes!

On the Road Again

I already posted about the actual day I travelled to Aquilla, but here are some random pictures. I'm really bummed because I didn't get a picture of the Texas longhorns. I realized after the fact that I am pretty sure I never saw one when I lived in Texas. It would have been a documentable event had I known. But we were also 5 minutes from seeing Danell, Ken, Clare, and Lucy and I decided that the longhorns could wait! Here's the temperature at 3:30 in the afternoon!
Clare looking pretty on the way to church. Yummy keys!
Danell informed me that the population of 136 does not include Clare and Lucy!
Lucy on her way to church. I got to sit between them. I don't think they are used to having strangers sit in the backseat of the car, so they stared at me the whole time. :)

Twinkle Toes

Day 3 started leisurely, just as Day 2 had. Lisa took me on a nature walk around Euless, where she lives. It is amazing how many nature trails there are right in the middle of a busy metroplex town! We walked along a small river and ended at a pond that had tons of turtles in it! And there were cranes, ducks, lizards, birds, bugs, and even "bear lookout" signs! Lisa lives in an area called Bear Creek, so there weren't really bears, but there were signs! I didn't take as many pictures from Day 3 activities, although I think Lisa might have a few I can supplement later. This is Lisa's new car Sunny. She helped us out a lot with AC, plush seats, and cool tunes.
She even says Hello when you first get in!
After the walk and showers, we headed to Chick-fil-a for lunch. Yummy! Then we went on an adventure to the Nail Spa for pedicures. Aren't we stylin'! Lisa nicknamed me "twinkle toes" after this!
We then went back to Lisa's apartment for more relaxation and Gilmore Girl watching so that we would be very rested to see the Sneak Preview of The Proposal! It was fun. We felt special because there was even an usher at the door checking tickets to make sure we were legit! The movie was really good, one that I would actually see again!
After the movie, we went to Diana and Andrew's to hang out and play more games. Taboo was VERY entertaining late at night. I also got to tell Diana and Andrew about the dream I had had a couple weeks ago where they were raising wild hamsters in their backyard with lots of piping throughout the trees!
Here is a picture of the dashboard at 11:47pm. Check out the nice, cool temperatures!
Thus ends Day 3!

Day 2 in Dallas

Well, after arriving on Day 1, Lisa and I ran some errands at Target and then went to her apartment to veg. We started season 4 of Gilmore Girls. We may or may not have gotten through half the season between all of our exciting excursions...okay, so I think we did get through 8-12 episodes, not that we were counting!

Lisa took Friday off of work, so we had lots of fun stuff on the itinerary. First up was a trip to the Dallas World Aquarium. It was just as good as I remembered it. Here are just a few picture highlights: The major difference between the Dallas Aquarium and the Atlanta Aquarium is that there are more than water exhibits in Dallas. It is very open air with birds flying around and lots of lush foliage. The waterfall behind us is one of my favorite parts.
We found Nemo in his anemone!
For some reason, I really enjoyed the flamingos this time around. God sure created an interesting bird in them!
Lisa made a new friend!
After the aquarium, we went to lunch in downtown Grapevine. A very quaint city with a fun downtown. We did a lot of browsing through gift shops after lunch. Lisa bought me a souvenir magnet that says "HOWDY" on a Texas license plate! It was interesting because I really felt like I was on vacation in a place I had never been! After the heat of the afternoon, we went back to Lisa's apartment and vegged some more. That evening friends from seminary came over and hung out/played games. Besides Lisa, I hadn't seen any of my Texas friends since Diana and Andrew's wedding two years ago!
We celebrated everyone's birthday with cake, cupcakes, and party favors! Bruce (the shark) even came out of hiding to party with us!
We played Rummikub. This is how many tiles I had before I was able to lay down! I don't think it has ever taken me that long before!
Oddly enough, the game that entertained us the most was "keep the balloon in the air." Celeste and Andrew were really getting into it and finally had to stand up! We worked ourselves up to 3 balloons. The two blue ones might have hit the ground this round because I was falling down on my job and taking pictures! Much fun and fellowship was had by all!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Commence Phase Two

Lisa brought me to Aquilla yesterday afternoon and we were able to play with the babies until it was time for evening church, where I was able to see Ken in the pulpit (well, sort of, since Sunday evening is more relaxed and he wasn't in the pulpit) for the first time.

This morning I got a tour of Aquilla when I went on a walk with Danell, Clare, and Lucy. I forgot to take my camera, but there were cows and horses and dogs and buildings. Fun stuff. Did I mention she lives in the middle of no where? Well she does! Today we're playing with babies and I got to help Danell with step one of making her own baby wipes (not as difficult as you might think). She's making baby food now while I relax on the couch! Clare just got up from her nap. I'll have lots of photos to share when I get home!

Friday, June 12, 2009

I'm Here!

I am safely ensconced in Lisa's apartment. Truth be told, we weren't sure if I was going to make it. Texas had really bad storms yesterday and a lot of flights were cancelled. I was supposed to leave Peoria at 2:55. The flight from Dallas to Peoria didn't make it to Peoria until 5:30! So, they made record boarding time and we were on the plane by 5:45. So, I arrived in Texas, not at 4:55 as planned, but at 7:45. But I made it, and that's all that counts. We are off to the Dallas Aquarium this morning and then some friends from seminary are coming over tonight. Hooray for friends!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Okay, now I'm procrastinating packing. But I really did need to check the weather out for packing purposes. Here is what I discovered: 96, 98, 99, 96, 96, 97, 96, 95. Hmmm...maybe I should just pack my bathing suit and be done with it! Did I mention that Peoria will be filled with scattered storms all next week and Texas says sunny, sunny, partly sunny, etc. for the whole week? Did I mention that I am SO glad that Lisa bought a new car that has working air conditioning in it? Did I mention that I don't really like hot temperatures? How did I survive 3 summers in Texas. "I think I can! I think I can!"


10:10 and I am done with paperwork!!!! And that's even with a 15 minute conversation with Kari in between! So, the last three notes took a little less time than I thought. Now on to figuring out some semblance of a packing list...

Procrastination or a Break

Depends on which way you spin it. One of the other things I put off last night was working on work notes. Tonight I was kind of glad I didn't have to devote two nights to getting it done, but that also meant devoting more time tonight (I have to turn them in before I leave tomorrow). So, here has been my schedule for the evening.
4:30--off work and shopping at Target for some last minute stuff and some not-needed-at-all stuff (I think I found some birthday clothes, Mom)
5:30--successfully wasted an hour at Target, got home and did getting home stuff (not sure what it was, but it lasted for almost an hour), checked email and blogs
8:10-8:30--break, I think I played online again
9:00-present (9:30ish)--sooo tired of doing paperwork. Thumb is hurting from writing. Only 3 more notes to go, but I can't motivate myself to get them done (it will probably take 45 minutes because they are three difficult sessions)

Did I mention that I was also supposed to:
--clean the bathroom :)
--do the dishes
--get down to the business of figuring out what I am going to wear in Texas and putting it into my suitcase
--watch a tape for Bible study

Woe is me with all the paperwork! Maybe I should just start saying, "I think I can! I think I can!" and see how that works for me. Okay, seriously, I need to get this finished so I can at least start packing...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Random evening activities

One reason I love being single: I only have to do laundry every 2 weeks and it takes forever to use a thing of detergent!

One reason I hate being single: I have to clean the bathroom every time. No taking turns.

Guess what I did this evening and what I decided not to do this evening. :)

2 1/2 more days!

Texas is beginning to call my name. Can anyone else here it? I am spending Thursday through Sunday afternoon with Lisa and then Sunday evening through Thursday afternoon with Danell and Ken. Lisa sent me a tentative itinerary for my time with her. It includes things such as watching Gilmore Girls together, eating at Chick-fil-a, a trip to the Dallas Aquarium, a nature walk in Euless, lunch in Grapevine, church, hanging out at the pool, going to the sneak peek of The Proposal, and I think we're going to sleep (although it wasn't in the itinerary!). When I asked Danell what we were doing, she said, "Playing with babies!" This cracked me up because it is so a picture of Danell and Lisa's different personalities! Danell did mention taking the girls to get their 6 month pictures taken, lunch at Chipotle, and walks in the morning.

As excited as I am, I recently discovered that it is supposed to be in the mid-90s the whole time I am there! I have to admit, I would much rather stay in the mid-70s weather that Peoria is having! But I will brave the hot Texas sun for a chance to spend time with friends!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Wonderful Time Was Had By All

At least I think so! :) This weekend was the Career Impact trip to Cedar Point in Ohio. We started out Friday night on our 4 hour drive to Peter's house. His family was nice enough to host him and about 20 of his closest friends for the weekend! They were amazing to have us crash at their house and eat their food and use their showers/toilets! We even had fresh towels each morning! We then woke super early Saturday morning for the 4 hour ride to Cedar Point. It was a beautiful day filled with LOTS of fellowship and roller coaster riding and walking! The temp was about 75 and sunny! Surprisingly the park was not very busy at all. The longest we had to wait for a coaster was 1 hour, but most rides were only a 1/2 hour wait or less. Here is the group before we rode our first roller coaster: The ride behind us is the Raptor, which is very similar to the Batman at Six Flags. Peter would argue with me that it is completely different because Cedar Point is independently owned and has no affiliation with Six Flags, but I call them like I see them. Dangling legs with the track above you=almost the same as the Batman.
Emily and I survived the 120mph take-off on the Top-thrill Dragster. The guys behind us and in front of us spent their time in line discussing which color dragster we were going to get to ride in. They thought (by much calculation and discussing) that it was going to be the gold car. They were wrong...it was the purple car. Sorry guys!
Here is a view from the space needle in the park. It turns out the park is surrounded by Lake Erie. From the tops of some of the hills on the roller coasters you could get an excellent view before plummeting to your death...I mean the bottom of the hill. :) The roller coaster on the left, the Millennium Force, was the first roller coaster we rode. It was quite the ride! The second tall coaster was the Power Tower...see more about that below. The third tall coaster was the Dragster mentioned above...again, 120 mph up one way and down the other.
This is a close-up of the Power Tower. This ride is fascinating because it combined the Superman in St. Louis and the Superman in Texas. There were four towers. As you were going through the line, you chose whether you wanted to go up fast and down slow, or up slow and down fast. I chose to go up slow and down fast. Some people did both because the line wasn't very long, but I was satisfied with one ride.
Other stories from the day: I got pooped on by a bird. Yes, you read that correctly. And when I say pooped on I mean slaughtered. Arm, right thigh, left leg almost the length of my capris. YUCKY! I was just thankful that it didn't hit my hair!
I opted out of the fun for the evening and instead took a nap in the van. I was sad because there were a couple of rides I still wanted to ride, but I was starting to not feel well. One of the rides I wanted to ride again was the Maverick. Some of my friends rode it last and got stuck in the middle of the ride inside a dark tunnel. They finally had to climb down a ladder out of the ride. Honestly, I'm sad that I missed that excitement.
We left the park around 8pm and drove the 4 hours home. Sunday morning we got up at a semi-leisurely pace. We had brunch, hung out in the barn on the rope swing, and took a tour of Peter's parents' and grandparents' farms.
These are the calves (duh!). Peter let me "play" with them. That involved coaxing them out of their houses to pet them. One of them even sucked on my hand. They were so cute! Peter told me that they wouldn't remember me, but I think he's wrong!
One of the things that I learned we could do too late was climb the silos. I would have totally gone up, but one of our vans had to leave early and I was riding in that van. Bummer! Maybe next time. If you look carefully, there's someone half-way up the ladder. Peter's mom said that they sometimes climb up the silo to watch fireworks because you can see them in a lot of different directions.
Peter also lives in Amish country, so in the morning while I was sitting on the front porch swing I saw several horse and buggies pass by. The clip clop of the hooves was an enchanting sound.
Then it was four hours home. We pulled into the church parking lot around 2:45, the choir people changed, and we rode over to Living Hope (a sister church of Bethany) for their dedication. I went with them to provide child care for the church so that the members could all attend the service. Then I was able to go home and SLEEP! Up bright and early this morning for work. And luckily I only have a 3 day work week because Thursday I leave for TEXAS. HOORAY!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Circus Pictures, Take 3

Success!! Be forewarned....25 pictures and captions follow this paragraph. Apparently, the power of digital cameras allows you to take a whopping 90 pictures. I narrowed it down to 25 of my favorites and/or things that you expect to see at a circus! Some of the pictures are pretty dark. The lighting wasn't the best, but I was so excited about our seats. Lower bowl kind of off center, which actually worked better than center tickets would have! Hooray for good seats! CLOWNS! This is the only good picture I could get of the clowns.
Guy on stilts.
Twisty things. All the rings had girls on them that moved up and down like a slithering snake. The two guys in the center on the fabric were really cool. They would twist the fabric and sometimes fall from top to bottom. CRAZY!
Stunt men on horses. I don't know if you can tell, but there are two guys sideways on this horse. I think they went all the way under, around, and over.
Motorcycles in a steel cage. 7 motorcycles to be exact. Can anyone (besides Kari) name the movie that discusses the creation of the steel cage?
The circus-goers minus me. With our $19.00 worth of snacks.
Enjoying the $12.00 cotton candy. I couldn't possibly go to the circus without getting cotton candy, even after I almost fell out of my seat when I heard the price. But it came with a high-quality plastic circus hat....
...that doubled as Josh's bowl for his popcorn. The boy's a genius I tell ya!
The clowns did a skit as penguins. It was sort of amusing :). At this point all the filler stuff between the big acts was getting long. And they were setting up for the tigers which kept distracting me!
TIGERS! They are so pretty! Although I was a little disappointed in the atual show part of the tigers. But cool nonetheless.
Tigers showing off.
Cool stunt people. I was amazed by this. There were also two guys doing pretzel-like tricks, but the lighting wouldn't allow me to get any good pictures. Sadness.
More cool bendy tricks.
Even more cool stunts.
This might have been one of my favoritist things, simply because I wasn't expecting it. This guy is HIGH up in the air (as high as anyone got) and he is walking across a monkey-bar type thing with his feet, not attached to anything! REALLY CRAZY!
Flying Trapeeze!

Double Flying Trapeeze!
And of course the elephants! Round and....
...round and....
....round they go!
Elephants laying down in a row.
Elephants sitting up in a row.
We were sitting close enough to get sprayed with confetti during the finale!
The yellow tire things were cool bouncy things that they did tricks on and turned upside down and bounced from one to the other. Very cool.
And that was our circus experience! Wish you could have been there!