I heart Jon Stewart.
While I usually find plenty of humor in watching the Daily Show, tonight was extra special. Jon Stewart just showed footage of these guys at an anti-war rally in Washington with a sign saying somthing to the effect of "Central Illinois is Anti-War." He then made a spectacular joke about Central Illinois...more specifically, Effingham, IL. Nice, Mr. Stewart, nice.


It's a good thing.
For about the past week I've been in a really great mood. I think that I'm finally getting adjusted to my "new life." Work is going quite well; the three day weekend was a huge boost in my morale. I'm also really enjoying this lovely weather. This morning I stepped out the door to walk to my 8am class and thought, "This is the perfect day." Today's high was probably about 74 and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. At 8am the air was a little crisp and you can start to see a bit of change in the leaves. From what everyone is saying, it's going to be a beautiful fall and I can't wait. I also had my Simmons College orientation today and for the first time I finally felt like I'm doing the right thing. It may just be that they are good at selling the program, but I'm really glad that I'm working and going to grad school at the same time. I think the experience that I'm getting now is really going to pay off in the long run.

What an uneventful post. Really the gist of this is...for a while I was doubting my decision to move out here and now I'm at a point where I can say definitively that everything feels right.


Miss Independent.
Yesterday I had the day off and decided it would be the perfect day to explore Boston on my own. I've been to the city several times with people, but I've never gone on my own. When I moved here I had this picture in my head of me venturing into the city and looking like I belonged. I didn't want it to seem like I was simply one of the million tourists that roam around the city every day. I have no idea if I actually lived out my vision, but I took several measures to assure myself that I didn't look too touristy. First, I refused to look at a map in public. I took along with me the Lets Go Boston book that Ekey left me, but I only looked at it once...while I was eating my bagel on a park bench. I made sure to keep the book down so that it looked like I could just be reading any old book. I also made sure I knew where I was going as far as the T goes. I've been on the subway enough to have a general idea where I'm going and which color train I need to take to get there. I refused to stop and read any of the massive T maps placed all over the stations.

Overall, my day of independence was fairly successful. Towards the end of the day I decided to call Claire and Nabilah to see if they wanted to get something for dinner. Claire ended up shopping in the same area I was in so we T'ed it up to Cambridge together and met up with Nabilah. We ended up eating at an incredibly delicious Indian bistro. I felt very metropolitan, which when it comes down to it, that was my only real goal of the day. The khaki pants I bought were just an added bonus.

Whenever I go into the city I have a really bad habit of people watching, especially on the T. There are so many different people to look at...tourists, families, students, upperclass Bostonians, the working class...the list goes on and on. Usually I focus on one particular person or a couple of people in a general area and then I try and decide what their lives are like. Sometimes I come up with very elaborate stories in my head. One day I would like to just ride the T for a day and write about the people that I observe. However, I don't think I'm sly enough to pull this off, and once the T's get really crowded I tend to get slightly claustrophobic.

More on this weekend, but I will save it for another day.


Highs and Lows
I feel like my job is making me bi-polar. There are some days when I ask myself hourly, "What have I gotten myself into?" (yesterday) and then there are other days that I have no doubt in my mind that I'm doing the right thing (today). Today was a awesome day. I successfully de-escalated a kid and got him back on track before any huge behavior issues arose. Tonight was also my first night as shift manager. This was also a success. No one was hurt, we didn't catch the house on fire and I'm pretty sure I did all of the appropriate paperwork before I left. I also found out today that I'M COMING HOME in 2 and a half weeks. My first vacation starts on October 9th and I couldn't be more excited. I will get to see my family and friends in Springfield and I will also be able to make it to Mizzou for Homecoming. My plane ticket was a little pricey, but I'm willing to back the extra buck to go home for 9 days!!! Even more great news...2 more days of work and then I have a 3 day weekend. What's a girl to do with 3 whole days of not working? I'm sure I will keep myself entertained.


A refelction on hats
Do you remember in grade school when you would have some special week (DARE Week or Red Ribbon Week) and there would be a different themed day for every day you were at school? Do you remember how awesome that was? Pajama day, twin day, school spirit day and of course, hat day. It was the one day that you could break a rule at school and get away with it. Some people would go for the crazy hat...the Dr. Seuss style hat or the huge floppy hat. Others, much like myself, went for the trusty baseball cap.

Fast forward about 15 years and now I'm almost being forced to wear a hat to work every day and it doesn't seem nearly as cool as it was back in the day. My hair is too short and really, I think I just look like a boy. However, after the events of last week I think I have no other choice. At my job a hat is considered protective equipment. Last Thursday I was riding in the van next to one of my students and suddenly found myself in one nasty hair pull. My co-worker sitting behind me got me out out it with little damage done to my head, but it still hurt like hell. Then on Saturday I was trying to help someone escort the same student up to his room when he decided to have a repeat performance of Thursday in the van. This time it was worse, two fists pulling at my hair. It all happened so fast, but according to observers I was also head butted under my right eye and then bit in the back of my head. Whatever happened, I now I was red mark under my eye and a huge knot on the back side of my head (and a huge headache).

Today I went out and bought a hat with the hopes that this will prevent further damage to my head. I think it has had enough abuse for the time being.


Generic Update
I feel as though it's time for just a general update so that if I want to look back on my life in 10 years I will know exactly what I was doing in September 2005.

Work is well under way. During training I heard horror story after horror story about the different behaviors one will encounter working with children with autism. So far I have witnessed very few of them. Working on a team with 9 boys ranging in ages 14-19 offers its fair share of interesting days, but there has been nothing yet that has made me want to pack my bags and move home. My shifts are almost ideal. I generally work the mid-afternoon to evening shift which I like because I can sleep in and then run any errands that I need to run. I also really like the people that I work with. Everyone is very understanding and extremely helpful when it comes to dealing with the kids.

I have also started my first master's level course. I think I've decided education in the path for me. It's a little unfortunate that I spent 4 years at Mizzou as a Psych major. I should have probably just started out in education. However, I'm hoping that my Psych degree paired with the master's in education will be a nice combination when entering the real work force in less than 3 years. Perhaps I can teach for awhile and then move on to some administrative position, or a specialist of some sort. Who knows what the future holds, and I guess I don't really have to worry about it for a few more years. Right now I'm just going to enjoy my class because it seems to be one of the few parts of my life that has remained the same since graduation. It's so strange not operating by a school calendar. At least by taking one class I have a small reminder of what it's like to still be a student.

I'm also waiting to hear about my vacation schedule and I'm very much hoping that I will be able to come home in about a month. (Wow, that's the first time I've put a time frame on it...now I'm really excited.) I'm really hoping I will know by the end of this week so that I can book my flight. Tentatively I will be home (in Springpatch) from Oct. 9th-13th, and then I'll head to Mizzou for Homecoming. That's the plan; cross your fingers for me and hope that it actually happens.


You never know who you will meet

Coming home from the beach today on the commuter rail a man sitting across the aisle from us asks me where I'm from. I respond politely and we are quickly engaged in a pleasant enough conversation about the Midwest. Then, somewhere in the middle of it all things turned sour. The man went off on several tangents, one of which was about how 50% of people in the world live on less than $2 a day. He then began cursing while he was telling me this and said that it was not funny and that there's no way I would be able to survive on $2 a day. "No fucking way" was the exact quote. At this time Claire and Lynlea give me this look saying, "This man is nuts." There was a guy in front of us, probably in his late 20's who turned around to make sure everything is okay. My new friend is now going off about how everyone needs to travel the world and then there was something about his billion dollar cousin who he was on the way to see (ironically enough in Lynn, MA). He finally ended with a sermon about religion. He said I don't need to go to church, but I need to read the "fucking Bible." (I'm almost certain anyone dropping the f-bomb before the word Bible is extremely religious.) He then apoligized for preaching to me, shook my hand and said, "You just met Dan the Man. He finally moved to another seat and we were all left sitting in awe. What went wrong? The conversation started out just fine, but then something just set this guy off.

Next time someone else can sit in the aisle.


Possible Oversharing
I'm not really sure what I did yesterday, but today I woke up and could hardly sit without it hurting. It's definitely tailbone pain. You know that horrible pain you feel the day after sleding when it hurts to sit on anything but a pillow? Yeah, that's how I feel right now. I think I have an idea as to what happened. Yesterday at work we had to learn some protective holds (e.i. ways to protect yourself when the kids go crazy). There was one move inparticular that was called a forward assist to the floor. I think it was somewhere in the middle of practicing on the hard tile floor when I must have fallen on my ass.

So yes, this is my biggest problem at the moment. Hopefully I'll wake up tomorrow and all will be well.


(I can't think of a good title)
I like my job because there's always something new and I never know what's going to happen next. For example, last night around med time Billy* (names have been changed to protect the privacy of the wonderful gentlemen (students) on my team) decided it would be a nice time to have a tantrum. I didn't witness the beginnings of said tantrum, but I was called down from upstairs to see if I could try and de-escalate the behavior. When I entered the room I was greeted with a "f*&% you" and then I was flipped off. Two minutes later I go back and he looks at me and smiles. It looked like a friendly smile, so I started talking to Billy. 1 minute later he had his shoe off and was ready to throw it at me. I managed to dodge the shoe as I ran into the kitchen. The night progressed from there. There were struggles and more swearing. Eventually he calmed down and took his meds, but that was after I left. All and all it was a really horrible night.

Fast forward to tonight. I have to pretend like nothing happened and be very positive with him at all times because that's how it's suppose to go throughout the day. I look on the schedule and I'm with the kid for 2 straight hours tonight. I'm dreading it all night long because I think we are going to have a repeat of the night before. Turns out, Billy decided to be my best friend and even asked if he could spend more time with me as I did the nightly chores. Then my supervisor said I did a great job with him and asked if I would mind hanging out with in during the med hours that I'm on shift. Go figure. I guess you just can't take anything personally with this job.

Totally off the subject, but...
My mom starts teaching her first class tomorrow at Quincy College. I'm sure she will be a lovely professor, but I'm having a very hard time picturing her teaching a college level class. It's something she's always wanted to do and apparently they have already asked her to teach another class in the Spring. I guess I just really wanted to wish her the best. I worry about her not having enough to do...hopefully this will be something she enjoys.


I was trying to think of what I wanted to say about all that is going on in the world right now and really just one word came to mind. Maybe more to come later.