Thursday, February 17, 2011

Things just got a little more real

So today was the day I told my clients I was leaving. I'm not leaving my job until March 25, but wanted to give my client enough time to process this with me. I told them all individually, not giving them full details just that I had accepted a job in Africa. I explained the transition process and what I was doing to ensure that they would continue to receive the services they need. I discussed how I would work with them to process any concerns, emotions and anxiety. I got a whole level of responses. A few were upset, one cried, but were happy. One stated she did not want a man to replace me. I got a blank stare from another. Another one seemed excited for me. The responses were all appropriate and were in step with how I knew each would handle it.

It was hard to do this, I almost felt like I was abandoning some of them. Trying to explain that they would have to work with someone else kind of felt like I was breaking up with them. I worry that my replacement will not have the patience, the knowledge or the empathy. I worry that my clients won't connect with the new person (some will probably rejoice though). Now this is not to say I am some bleeding heard social worker, I'm pretty straight forward on rules, boundaries and bullshit. But a lot of my clients I have worked with since I first started 4 1/2 years ago, some I am the only worker they have known since moving in.

I have to keep in mind I have done this before. I moved away to NYC leaving clients to work with someone else. The world will not end. It will not take long for them to make the transition (though I am sure the replacement will get what I got, mainly clients stating "That's not how ::insert name (me in this case):: did it). I have to keep reminding myself that I am not the gold standard and that the person replacing me will probably be at least as awesome as me (probably more so. I am still working on my organizational skills, but the HAVE improved).

In conclusion, I think telling my clients has really made this whole Peace Corps thing real. I left work tonight in kind of a freak out. I only have like 5 weeks left in NYC. Only 5. Freakin'. Weeks!!! So in the next couple of days I will be making an NYC bucket list. This will not include sitting in my apartment listening to my neighbors fight. No matter how entertaining. As one of my clients said "You are moving to Africa! Oh my God, that is exciting! You are going to have quite an adventure. You have to be scared and happy at the same time. My spiritual lady (her audio hallucination) is pleased with your decision and says"enjoy life and drink everything in."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Yummy stuff

I just made chili. After debating between white chili and "normal" chili I decided on "normal." I started the process of making it yesterday after a trip to Trader Joe's, with the intention of making white chili. But the shelves were empty. LIterally there were no onions, fruits and very few veggies. Plus the only chicken they had was thigh meat. To top that off, the line wrapped around 2 times. People were waiting for an hour to check out. I looked around and walked out. So today I went to my neighborhood grocery store and stocked up on all things chili. I had decided to marry to different recipes, one from Food Network and the other from the Joy of Cooking.

As follows:

1 lb beef chuck
1 lb ground beef
2 cans kidney beans
2 onions
1 green pepper
4 cloves of garlic
2 1/2 T of chili powder
1 cup of Burgandy wine (cheap is what I used)
dash of cumin, paprika, salt and pepper
5 jalapenos
Cayenne pepper
48 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 tsp cocoa powder

Dice beef chuck and place in ziplock baggie with salt and pepper, a couple of shakes of chili powder, a bit of olive oil and the wine. Let marinate for however long you want. I went for 4 hours.

Cook (not pouring the wine mix in the pan, but some of it will come out. this is good) b. chuck until just done. Remove from pan and cook ground beef. I used a slow cooker because I bought it 3 years ago and have never used it, but can be made in a normal pot. Transfer meats to your choice of cooking thingy. Add tomatoes and beans. Add spices (not garlic).

Next dice and saute the onions, garlic, green pepper and 3 of the jalapenos. Add to meat mix. Cut up last 2 jalapenos and add to pot. If using a slow cooker place on low for about 6 hours. If using normal pot, medium low for one hour. Season to taste. Top with monterrey jack cheese, more jalapenos, and crackers.

Let me say, it turned out great! I would probably marinate longer next time. But I was anxious to make this.

So there we have it, my recipe for the day. And you thought you were getting some exciting story.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Addicted to the drama

No, not me. I prefer to be an audience member in all things crazy and manic (hmm...maybe this is why I chose social work?). I hate to love the Jersey Shore, Real Housewives, etc. They are pretty worthless shows, but I just can not turn away. My new favorite show? The girl that lives across the hall from me. I don't know her name, we're friendly enough to say hi to each other but that is about it. I shall refer to her as LGAH (loud girl across hall). She is dating VSN (very similar name). There have been a couple of guests spots, but no return characters.

LGAH and VSN first started providing me entertainment the first week after Christmas. I was sitting in my kitchen/computer room (best wi-fi connection) when I hear someone yell my name. I got really confused. While I greet my fellow apartment dwellers if we run into each other, with the exception of the guy below me who let me borrow his ladder, I don't know them by name. Plus my downstairs buddy (DB), would A) not be screaming my name and B) works nights as an EMT. No it was my introduction to my, previously, quiet neighbor. I could hear every word, and boy has it been entertaining.

LGAH and VSN have a relationship that is based on mistrust and jealousy. Constant fighting about the other one flirting with others/not being romantic enough/not defending the other one/being stupid. Literally all the arguments, and this happens at least 4 times a week, center on at least one of these issues. Now I"m not sitting there with my ear pressed to the door to listen, they are that loud that I can hear them. I don't try to, but I don't walk away. Well I have somewhat participated I guess. Usually at least three times in the argument VSN will start yelling "Maybe I should just leave." I have on occasion stated in a loud voice "Yes you should." They didn't hear me.

Does this make me a bad person?

OH my God, they just started.

Well back to the real, non-Borderline world. GO PACK GO!!! I know I'm a little late, but I was busy. I was, and am, thrilled that the Pack won the Superbowl!!!! I know my grandfather was over the moon!

We are starting the interview process next week for my position. It's only like 5 weeks till I move back home! Acccck! My piles of stuff that I want to give away keeps growing. Today I cleaned out my fridge. Lots of "wonderful" presents in there. Still trying to talk my boss into letting me take the non-working shredder out back, playing the Office Space theme, and smashing it to bits.

Also, the line at Trader Joe's was an hour long. I pretty much said screw this, I'm going home. Tomorrow I will attempt it again. I really want to make the white chili.