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Archive for February, 2011

Cleaning off the phone day.

I was feeling off all day yesterday. Was really tired and borderline cranky. If I was rude to anyone, I’m sorry. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m not fond of days like that. Feeling much better today!

We went out to dinner last night at Sebastiano’s. It’s a little local Italian restaurant. It’s owned by a husband and wife who met in Italy.  He is from there and moved here when they got married. Or some such thing. She is vegetarian so everyone knows what food is vegetarian. I accidentally uploaded the pictures in opposite order so desert first!

Tiramisu, the BEST I have eaten. I know it looks a little messy, but it was good. It’s also the only dessert they make in house, so the only one I’ll get.  Livestrong is now telling me for my size I should only eat 770 calories a day. I think that might be half of my dessert. (Don’t worry I’m not listening to livestrong)

 

Sorry the pictures are so bad, it’s not a very bright restaurant. This was a Farfalle with tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms, parsley, black olives and alfredo sauce. Very nice!

Salad before dinner, nothing exceptional. Though I do really like the raspberry vinaigrette.

We go to dinner early, and here it is a necessity or make reservations. They mark reserved tables by placing silverware on them.

Dinner Guy. Please note all of the tables already filled with silverware.

Left over ice damage pics. These bushes used to be 15 feet ball.

 

I was trying to get a shot of all of the branches broken off the top.

 

Can’t really see anything on this one can you! I uploaded it, so you can bloody well look at the damn thing!

 

BYE!

 

Just Food stuff – Now with added PUPPY!

You know how I always like to gush about new foods I’ve tried and loved?  Well today is a great one and a disappointment.

 

I tried this yogurt and really loved it!  It does not cost twice as much as other yogurts which is also a nice plus.  Green Apple pie was very tasty.  Today I’ll try Cherry Vanilla.

 

I also tried this soup.  I have to admit I mostly wanted to try it because the box is so pretty.

I did not like this soup at all.  It had no flavor when you ate it until you got to the after-taste at which point it was all sage.  Ick.

 

 

EDIT –

My daughter just stopped by the office to show me her new puppy!  Absolutely adorable.  He is six months old.

boo

I am oddly happy that Rahm Emanuel has won in his bid for Mayor of Chicago.I tried to figure out why I cared at all and it suddenly occurred to me it is because I think he is hot and I want him to have anything he wants.

(more…)

pure snarky’ness

Please tell me there is a store or restaurant at which these are the required uniforms.

Little Mary Sunshine I am not

Yesterday I fell down the stairs at work. (A move that is now known as an ERIN after my sister did it twice in two weeks) It was only a few stairs and I didn’t really get hurt. A tiny bruise on the front of my ankle, one knee, and the side hip, but oh I felt kinda stupid! The only thing that really hurts is my ankle becuase I really dropped a lot of weight on the wrong side of it, but even that only hurts if I bend my foot up.

 

I wonder what would happen if I started putting up glittery flashing gif’s on every post loudly proclaiming my heathenicity.

 

Would I get the same reaction as the people who post their beliefs?  I’ve often found that those who believe in personal responsibility rather than divine concept seem to have a lot more tolerance. Maybe that’s just my experience.

 

I was thinking about extremes this morning and it brought up a memory from when I was very young.  I had stayed home from school sick and the memory starts with me sitting in my bedroom and my step-father at the time (mom’s 2nd husband) was standing in the doorway of my bedroom yelling at me, and then he tipped over the front of my dresser (the red one) and dumped all of my clothes out.  I cried so hard that I threw up and he said something like, “well I guess you’re really sick now, aren’t you?”  I think I couldn’t have been more than five our six.  It aggravates me that the only memories I have from childhood are bad.  Why don’t the good ones have the same power?

Well I am a cheerful one today aren’t I! I blame it on interupted sleep with unpleasant dreams and a sore foot. And a currently non-functioning firewall.

Tomorrow I am going to yoga in the morning then to Trader Joes to buy up all of their Bento Box lunches.

 

 

Getting your priorities in order.

Today my sister Erin was sworn in as a CASA volunteer.  I have always thought this organization was amazing and wished I had the strength to be a part of it.  I am very proud of her.

If you don’t know what CASA is, I have included an article about the director of our Local CASA.  Really it’s a shame there is a need for it, but so very important.

 

 

 

RAYS OF HOPE
Rescuing children: CASA director finds adults who will speak for kids in need

Photo

Carol Martin is director of the Court Appointed Special Advocate department of Lucas County Jevenile Court.
( THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT )


This is another in a series of profiles of people who have quietly made significant contributions to our community. If you know of such a person, please contact Ann Weber at aweber@theblade.com or 419-724-6126.

They don’t wear action-hero tights or angel wings, but both would fit nicely on the volunteers who serve as voices for some of Lucas County’s saddest children.

These are the kids who are victims of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse and neglect. And when their cases come to Lucas County Juvenile Court, one of the volunteers flies in to try to help.

“These kids ended up here through no fault of their own,” declares Carol Martin — who is chief action hero/angel in her job as director of the Court Appointed Special Advocate department of the court. “Can we make it right?”

 

By “right,” she means a home with “someone who loves you, someone who sets limits, someone who is there for you. I want these kids to have a chance to have that,” she says.

CASA, the program she has directed since 1992, offers that chance by matching each child’s case with an adult whose job it is to be their advocate — speaking for them alone, making sure they don’t get lost in the system, investigating the circumstances that brought them to court, and making recommendations to a judge or magistrate about services and placement. With the goal being a safe, permanent, and loving home for the child, in most cases there are three options: returning to parents or guardians, living with relatives or foster parents, or being freed for adoption.

A fourth option applies to teens who do not want to be adopted and for whom the court approves what is called a “planned permanent living arrangement.” That means they remain in their foster home until they reach the age of 18.

“Our focus is always the best interest of the child,” Ms. Martin declares.

Last year Lucas County Children Services referred 554 cases of abuse and neglect to juvenile court. CASA volunteers — who are called CASAs — handled 48 percent of them, logging more than 10,800 hours of service; the rest of the cases were assigned to attorneys (their services paid for by taxpayers, Ms. Martin notes), who are called guardians ad litem or GALs.

A mother of two and grandmother of four, Ms. Martin, 62, of West Toledo was not trained in social work, “but I think I probably have always had a little social worker in me.”

That interest was awakened while she was working as a freelance writer after earning a degree in English from the University of Findlay. In 1989 the now-defunct Toledo Metropolitan Magazine assigned her to do a story on CASA — a program she had never heard of — and she spent about a week tagging along with three volunteers.

“I saw this incredible level of caring and skill and energy that these people gave to their CASA kids and to the families, trying to help children heal, trying to help these families heal. … It was really just a level of commitment that I hadn’t seen before,” she recalls. “They just advocated so hard to make good things happen for kids who’d been dealt a really lousy hand.”

She began to think about becoming a CASA herself.

“I thought about it for about two years before I volunteered. It just sort of kept lurking, hanging around my brain. I couldn’t get rid of it. I thought, I’m spending so much time thinking about this that I really should do it.”

In 1991, a year after moving from Findlay to Toledo, Ms. Martin went through CASA training and started taking cases. She handled five in her first year.

She remembers thinking she didn’t know if she’d be good at it.

“Did I read some things when I first started that I couldn’t believe? Absolutely. Even today, just when you think you’ve heard it all, a complaint will come across my desk and I’ll [think] ‘I can’t believe it.’ Everything that [people] have heard happen in New York City or Chicago or San Francisco or L.A. also has happened in Toledo, Ohio. It’s no different. We have the same heinous things happening to children that happen elsewhere in the United States,” Ms. Martin says.

The 40-hour CASA training program prepared her for some of what she would encounter. Experience taught her the rest.

“I learned to trust my gut. To observe, not just listen,” Ms. Martin says. “To look at the whole picture. To use common sense.”

She learned to suspend her middle-class values and to respect the bond that can exist even between a child and a drug-addicted, neglectful parent.

“There was a language I was unaware of. I had a lot of learning to do if I was going to be effective,” she admits.

“It opened up an entirely new world to me that I never knew was there and it challenged me to be stronger than I ever thought I could be — but not for me, for the children.”

One of the skills CASAs develop is to understand — rather than to despise — an adult who has hurt a child.

That doesn’t mean excusing the behavior, Ms. Martin stresses.

“The CASA gathers so much information. They understand where these parents come from, they understand the whole dynamic of the family because they’ve interviewed all these people, and in 18 years I don’t think I’ve ever had a CASA who said ‘I just don’t get it.’ … They may not like it, they may think this person should never parent their children again, and they might make that recommendation to the court, but they’re going to understand how that parent got to that point,” Ms. Martin says.

Results come from facts, not feelings, she points out.

“Knowledge is power. If you go into court and know the facts of the case those facts are all that matter in the legal system, not emotion, wishes, desires.”

Ms. Martin says her early experiences with CASA also taught her “that collaboration goes a lot further than head-butting. I think I was a head-butter at first.”

After just a year as a volunteer, Ms. Martin was asked to apply for the director’s job when it opened up.

“When I took the job as director, I felt like that’s where I was supposed to be,” she says.

Dan Pompa, juvenile court administrator, says the program has flourished under her leadership.

“It’s gotten larger. It’s gotten better,” Mr. Pompa says. “Years ago most CASAs were female and Caucasian, and a lot of our children come from the central city and are children of color. She has brought in a lot more men and a lot more minority CASAs. She has done an extraordinary job.”

In 1992, there were about 40 CASA volunteers. Today there are 220.

Ms. Martin says she brings good organizational skills to her job along with creativity and a love of children. “I’m especially passionate about kids who have less than they deserve,” she adds.

Ms. Martin says that she and her staff aren’t daunted by setbacks or overwhelmed by a problem that never goes away. “We can’t heal every child but we can heal some of them,” she reflects.

So she proceeds one child at a time, knowing she can make a difference, “and that’s enough for me. I don’t need to save the whole world.”

If you’re interested in becoming a CASA volunteer, you can find more information or apply online at casakids.net.

Contact Ann Weber at:
aweber@theblade.com
or 419-724-6126.

My to-do list

I would like to learn how to solder so I can take old wire hangers and make miniature trellis’s for people who make miniature gardens and sell them at a ridiculously high price.

Then after a bit of practice I would move on to benches and such.

 

I would also like to buy a sewing machine and make myself a yoga skirt that looks similar to this, but with less see-through’ness, and perhaps more velcro.

 

I would like to wear the skirt, not sell them.  I like the thought of being able to wear the little capri’s to yoga while having my jiggly pieces covered by the skirt while walking around. 

I may have to buy the sewing machine & the soldering Iron just to get this out of my system.  I am becoming obsessed.  You didn’t know I was crafty did you?

 

Do you want to be my friend?  http://www.google.com/hotpot#  I am t.helpme@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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