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I'm convinced that political ad writers think the general populace is stupid. I've seen a number of ads online which say "Don't let Sarah Palin win. Vote on Tuesday!" Ummm.... She's not even running! Seriously people. The use of scare tactics and negative advertising is so rampant in this election it makes me sick. Yes I'm voting, but fuck all of you politicians for telling me how terrible/immoral/stupid etc your opponent is, rather than what you're going to do better/different than him or her.

We have 3 solid gubernatorial candidates in Mass right now. And the other two are attacking Deval Patrick for raising taxes and having the highest unemployment rate in decades. Newsflash: We're in a Recession! These things happen! And they would have happened no matter who was in office! It's not a Democrat/Republican/Independent/Green party thing, it's a socio-economic thing that's affected all states across the country. Negative advertising is the quickest way to get me to be reluctant to vote. It's why I almost didn't in the special Senate elections, because Coakley was being such a dick about her ads. Brown won, and I think it was party because voters were so sick of how negative Coakley's ads were. She's running for AG again this year. She'll probably get my vote because she's a good AG, as senator I'd probably be less happy with her.

Loaded imagery: during our local NBC affiliate's coverage of something involving the proposed new Islamic community center in lower Manhattan, they showed a map of the are and the proximity of the center to the construction site. And then they decided to show a clip of the towers burning. Was that necessary? Did they think that we had somehow forgotten what used to stand in that site? It was fear mongering at it's most base, and unfair. I'm so tired of people using emotionally laden imagery to promote their agendas, specifically when that agenda is one full of fear.
I have a job interview in Albany next Friday. The job is for a substance abuse counselor position with adults. Substance abuse is one of the few things that I haven't had any experience with so far. And Jon's stepmom knows someone high up in the organization so I got my in-person interview way sooner than I thought I would. Yay!

I've been reading a lot of Single Dad Laughing I love the blog, but I'm realizing yet again why I don't often comment on blogs or anything else on the net. The arguments and "someone is wrong on the internet" mentality just bother me. So I read but don't comment mostly. I get enough arguments at work.

I have a cold. I was supposed to work out today. That's not happening. I feel like blech and have no energy. So I'm hanging out, watching TV, drinking tea and being a lump. Yay days off.
So remember how I slipped and slid down half a flight of stairs on Saturday? My back is still kind of bruised from that. And then tonight...

I got out of work at 6:30, got home at 8pm, changed and hopped on my bike to head to martial arts. Ride usually takes me about 10 minutes. It's raining and dark by this time. It's been raining all day. I'm wearing clogs, my black gi pants, NEON YELLOW cycling jacket, helmet and backpack. Helmet has a blinking LED white light on it. Unfortunately, it's only 1 LED, not like 10, because the ones with 10 are way more expensive than my $7 tiny Knog light. Usually this is ok, because I live in suburbia, there are street lights every 50 feet or so. I can see pretty well. Usually people can see me. Apparently not tonight. I was cruising down the road, about 3/4 of the way to class when this white Lexus SUV decides to try to make a left turn from the road on my right when I'm a whopping 20 feet away. I scream loudly, yelling "HEY!" which usually gets people's attention and makes them stop. He keeps going. I slam on my brakes, skid on wet pavement and before I know it I'm going ass over elbow onto the pavement. He finally fucking stops right before my head bonks into his bumper. I stop moving for a second, nothing's broken. Get up, gather my bike, and fucker walks over to me and puts his hand on my shoulder. "Don't touch me, I'm not seriously hurt" I tell him. "Apparently bright yellow and a light aren't enough, watch where you're going" I seriously consider hitting him, but that wouldn't do anything. I get back on my bike and ride the final 1/4 mile to class on a cooked bike seat, with my legs shaking so badly I can barely pedal. Once inside I check the damage: bruised knee, little skin off it but it's ok, some road rash on my elbow and a bruise that's going to swell up and turn all sorts of pretty colors in about 2 days. I can't put weight on the elbow. My wrist and shoulder on my left side are also tight as hell. And that's my bad shoulder. I was wearing 2 layers on top, and bike gloves, which saved my hands. Needless to say I'm still a bit shaken. It's going to hurt like a mofo tomorrow when all of my muscles tighten up.

After yesterday's emotionally roller coaster and then today's physical one, I'm ready to go to NY and get a good long massage. Ow.
Where to start? I'll just sum up.

- Sent in my LMHC application for Massachusetts yesterday! Yay! Hopefully I'll get my license by the end of October. I send in my NY application in the next few weeks. I'm dragging on it 'cause it's expensive.

- I slipped on my hardwood stairs and slid halfway down the flight of stairs. Ow. Good thing I have a landing halfway down. Socks plus polished hardwood equals bonk. Owie. I'm all bruised up and down my back.

-I'm likely PMSing. I'm thirsty and all I want is chocolate. Grrr. Rather annoying.

- Convincing hiring managers to even look past my non-social-work degree and just look at my job qualifications is going to be a trick. I just applied to more jobs. Cross your fingers for me.

-Yesterday was my mom's birthday. Evan and I went and hung out with her for the evening. We had dinner at Wagamama (noodles!) We watched the area premier of Oliver Stone's South of the Border and then watched a bit of the panel discussion. The film talks about how many people misrepresent South American leaders who are more leftist/socialist than the US likes. The film follows Hugo Chavez, and also interviews other presidents in the area. I thought it presented a side that we don't see very often, but was conspicuously one-sided, and it smacked of condescension/imperialism even as it was supposed to be fighting against it. It was more of the "white anthropologist/filmmaker makes a movie about brown people" than I wanted. Interesting to watch though.
I passed my LMHC exam! The National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE) last Friday! This means I'm one step closer to getting my license! I have all the hours I need, but I need to get my old boss's supervisor to sign off on them because she has a license and he doesn't. If she signs off then I can apply for my license! Yay!

In the meantime I'm broke as hell. It is very frustrating. Anyone want to help me out? I've got new stuff up on etsy. Beaded chokers, earrings and printed cards.

Also: I am on vacation as of now! I'm off until the 22nd of August! Yay! LeeAnn is up for a visit, and then I'm going to Maine for a while to hang out with my family at the cottage for a week. Huzzah. I need a break.
It has become painfully obvious to me that I am an introvert. I haven't had a weekend by myself in 2 weeks, and in between those times work has been so overly stressful that I haven't had any time to destress during the week. I'm not working out. I'm not eating right, because of money issues, and I've generally not been taking care of myself. I love my boyfriend more than anything, but 2 weekends full of people is just too much for me.

Last weekend was Americade, which was awesome, and was mostly he and I spending time just the two of us. It rained all weekend. And then it was back to work with 10 kids and 3 days of work. 2 weeks ago was also 10 kids in 3 days of work. I haven't left work on time in 3 weeks. My caseload went from 6 to 10 in a matter of 2 days, and no less than 3 of my girls are absolutely out of control. I've had 3 restraints in the last week. Work right now is HARD. I'm a total stress case.

I came home from work on Thursday to Jon and our friends John and Audrey waiting for me. They were all here for American Craft Beer Fest. Also on Thursday night was game 7 of the NBA Finals. My roommate had friends over, and both my roommate and her friends are LOUD. So shouty loud people after a week of shouty loud crazy girls at work and I had sensory overload. I ended up coming upstairs and vegging out in my room with the lights off. Friday was wandering around in Harvard Square and then Craft Beer Fest, which was also amazing, but still lots of people. Saturday was hanging out at Spy Pond and picnicking, and then my own version of a beer fest last night. In short: too many people with not enough alone time.

Suffice to say I had a meltdown Friday night. And then again this morning. To the point where I decided that going to work today was a bad idea. I can't really think about being stressed out without starting to cry. My stomach is in knots and I'm still a wreck 6 hours after getting up. I felt guilty for bailing on work but I knew that if I went to work I'd be useless and may cause damage. I need time to myself in order to recharge and not be a mess tomorrow. I'm also going to do some work on my DBT training if my computer cooperates. So hopefully the day won't be a complete bust.
I stayed up way too late last night watching 'Dirty Money' an overly scandalous expose on high-end escorts. Why? because I finally have more than 6 channels again.

I fixed my bicycle! I had a flat from a broken presta valve that I replaced, and then I couldn't get the brakes to adjust correctly once I put the wheels back on. I just figured out that I had to loosen the connections while my bike was on its wheels so that it would seat properly. Problem solved. Now I can ride my bike to the train and wherever else. Huzzah.

I managed to overdraft my account a ridiculous amount of money partly due to overdraft fees. I called TD Bank this morning and got them to give me some of the money back, which means I can pay my bills and eat this pay period.

The Boy is coming to meet my extended family at our Memorial Day work weekend next weekend. Dad's bringing his girlfriend too, so this may get interesting. There's a "curse" on bringing SOs who aren't married to the cottage. Apparently every relationship so far has ended after a visit up there. Jon and I are hoping to beat the curse.We figure if we can do a year of long-distance, we can handle just about anything.

(edited because I should really make sure I haven't posted about something before posting about it.)
It's amazing what you take for granted these days. Like clean, drinkable water. Most of greater Boston is under a boil water order because a massive water tunnel from the reservoir broke and was pouring 800,000 gallons a minute into the Charles River. There is no bottled water in the city or surrounding towns. People are driving to NH to get water. It's insane. My household is just boiling massive pots of water on a regular basis. We're dealing. I don't quite understand why everyone else is going "omg can't boil my water" And to top it off it's 90* out.

I'm tired of AT&T stealing cultural icons for their ads. There's one that clearly references the artist Christo, and another one that has a song from the original WIllie Wonka movie. I am not impressed.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about race, class, and how I fit into the world. In case it's not painfully obvious: I'm a white middle class 20 something from rural NH. There were 6 black kids in my entire high school, and we had a thousand kids. NH is really, really white. My parents had no friends of color. None. My uncle is black, but we only see him about twice a year, and he's married to my dad's sister, who looks a lot like me.

So there is a lot I don't know about African-American, and Island culture. Or really any other culture, but I'm focusing on what is an issue *now* I work at a Place That Shall Not Be Named, but it's teen girls who may or may not have done bad things and now can't leave until the court says so. About 90% of my girls are Black or Latina. (interestingly, the software I use to type my LJ entries at home didn't know that "Latina" is an actual word. Racism at work.) I took a class in grad school called Power Privilege and Oppression, which focused on the disparities between the white majority culture and just about every other culture, and the importance of being culturally sensitive. I was in my shouty lesbian phase and was quite upset that they didn't spend as much time on sexuality and gender identity as they did on race and other cultural markers. There was a lot of defensiveness in that class, because we were pointed out and forced to face some really hard truths. Notably that most of the counseling profession is white, middle class, well educated women, and the vast majority of our clients are not.

I've learned a lot in the last 5 years. Sometimes the hard way, and with unfortunate and embarrassing race!fail moments.( usually having to do with my complete cluelessness related to black hair and it's relationship with water.) And what I've come away with is that I will never be able to understand a lot of what goes on in cultures that are not mine, and that I just need to be ok with that. That does not mean to say that I should not try to understand what is happening in the lives of my clients, and how their culture has affected them and influences how they interact with each other and with me and with the world. It just means that there is a set of things that are easily understood by my Black and Latina colleagues that I just don't get. They are beyond explanation.

Which brings me to my pondering. I am one of 2 Caucasian staff on my unit. I am also the youngest person on the clinical/administrative staff. I am the only one that grew up middle class and rural as far as I know. My culture is not their culture. I do not have the same cultural touchstones as they do. There are entire conversations that go on that I have no way of relating to. And that leaves me feeling very left out sometimes. My office mate, who identifies as black can get away with saying some incredible things to our kids that I would never in a million years dream of saying. The most memorable one was when she snapped at one of the kids who has been constantly plaguing her for attention while we were discussing something saying "grown folk are talking" and the girl just slunk away. I boggled at her after that one.

The other tricky thing is that since most therapists are white, many of my girls have an innate distrust in me to begin with, because they've had many negative experiences with helping professionals. The fact that I'm barely older than some of their siblings helps a little bit. But I'm yet another white helping professional in a situation over which they have no control. It gets really tricky when race issues come up between the girls. I had an insanely racist girl on the unit a few months back who was awful both to the kids and to our staff. I had the opportunity to model for her that people can get along nicely, and got to tell her honestly that I like working with most of my coworkers. Because I'm white I become the contact for the few caucasian girls who end up on the unit* who feel intimidated and/or outright uncomfortable being surrounded by women of color for the first time in their lives. And when the black girls begin to gang up on the white girls all hell breaks loose. I had one girl afraid for her safety after two others began making threats towards her and actually rushed her at one point, partly just because she's white and they're black. Oy.

* our count right now is 18, with 3 caucasian girls. That's a high percentage for us actually. Racism at work again: the white girls get way more chances through the courts than anyone else.

I'm stuck figuring out if I need to make more of an effort to understand and participate in Black or Latina culture, or if I should simply accept that there are going to be imponderables. Does accepting the existence of imponderables mean I'm not trying or am not culturally sensitive? Or does it mean that I am noting and respecting differences and maintaining professional relationships/friendships regardless? Does trying to understand and asking about things upset/offend people? I ask so that I can know, so that I can be helpful, or at least not clueless the next time a similar situation comes along. I also understand that by simply asking these questions I am inviting backlash, and that I am asking these questions from a position of privilege.
Johnny Weir wishes he was a pretty pretty princess... His costume for the short program involves black, pink, flesh tone mesh and pink ribbing lacing in sort of corsetry up the back...See?

There has been a lot of talk about skating costumes. There are just way too many sparkles and sheer mesh for my taste.

And then there's the guy skating in plaid and overalls... I dunno...