Sunday, September 17, 2006

Clarifications and Corrections

For the clarification and the edification of all four folks who read this blog on a regular basis, Hun pointed out some items in previous posts that might be misconstrued.

First, Hun--as I call him--is short for Honey, and should not be mistaken for a fellow tribesman of the Asia Minor conqueror, Attila. His personality resembles that of honey, rather than a ruthless warlord. Hun is very sweet and he doesn't ride bareback to class, brandishing a blood-stained sword and clad in animal skins. I also have faith that Hun showers regularly--however, I have no first-nose knowledge since our temporary separation.

Second, I chose Hun over Hon for phonetic reasons. Hun sounds more like hun-ee, and Hon sounds more like Han Solo. Although, I don't think I would be writing such a lengthy clarification if people mistook the nickname as a reference to the space cowboy in the original Star Wars trilogy. He would think it was cool.

Also, Hun decided not to attend the stoplight party. First, he thought the whole red-yellow-green dress code was creating a meat-market tone to the whole affair (no pun intended). Second, he would go crazy, too, if he knew I was at some petting party, slightly veiled as a school-sanctioned gathering.

Hun thought my jealous ravings were sweet. However, he envisioned himself exchanging body shots with Neve Campbell, rather than Naomi Campbell.


It's all the same soup to me.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Yellow Light

I'm sitting alone tonight. My parents are out of town, I cancelled on some friends to see Little Miss Sunshine and eat dinner, and I even turned down one of my closest friends for the company of myself. Of course, now that I'm keeping my own blessed company, I'm driving myself nuts.

"Why?" you may ask.

Hun is going to a stoplight party, sponsored by his graduate school's social committee. The gimmick is to wear green for "single and desperate" or "Mr. Right for right now"; yellow for "single and picky" or "dating and commitment phobic"; and red for "my girlfriend has a knife and knows how to use it" or "my girlfriend is committed, but is very understanding". The whole thing is very frat mixer.

Hun assures me he will wear red. I have been encouraging him to go to this party all week so he can make some friends and network. But my primitive brain is currently shouting to knock out Hun with a club and drag him back to the cave. My mind is flashing on images of Hun enthralling a sea of super models clad in green. A couple of screwdrivers later, he's exchanging body shots with Naomi Campbell.

Why am I so psycho?

Not that this spit-exchange--wait, stoplight--party is any reason to worry on my end. He has to contend with a weekend wedding filled with several cocktail hours and single, horny guys hitting on the bridesmaids. (I'm the only one over 13 in the wedding party without a date. Hun has a test the Monday after the wedding.)

Unfortunately, Hun doesn't have a jealous bone in his body. He's only had to contend with a lone waiter eyeing me for a bigger tip, while I've had to fight off legions of athletic-artist teachers groping his knee after too many drinks. ("How did you get so lucky?" and "Where do you find the good ones?" they ask me.)

One of my friends had to suffer her husband being deployed to Iraq. She had to deal with taking care of their place, mailing care packages, and not talking to him months on end. She was less concerned about him fooling around and more concerned with getting him back alive.

I am such a pansy.

Any advice to help keep my sanity?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Winding Down of Slurpee Season

Leaves hint gold along the edges, sweaters slowly creep out of storage, and cats snuggle more on their human heaters. As much as I enjoy the crisp air and hot cocoa of fall and eagerly anticipate kids running around in Halloween costumes, extorting candy from strangers, I feel a slight melancholy as mid-afternoon Slurpee runs dwindling down to a trickle.

A 7-11 is a quick jaunt away from my office. On the rare days I'm sitting at my desk, returning phone calls and catching up on paperwork, I get an urge to be anywhere other than where I am around 3 pm. I notice smudges on my computer screen, my feet start dancing on their own volition under my desk, and I even consider--horrors of horrors--shifting my heaps of paper into orderly skyscrapers to avoid writing one more word. Then, a flash of hope crosses my mind: this is a great time to walk down and get a Slurpee.

Inspired by the Hope of the Slurpee, I trudge on through even a couple of reports or a few more notes, poll the office for any cohorts and take orders to bring back. My therapist friend and I grab our refill cups and we scoot out the door, feeling a little more free. We hold a quick bitch session, and we swelter in the summer heat walking through nondescript parking lots, under a highway overpass, and across the street. No matter the heat, we always walk. . .

As we enter the air-conditioned oasis that is the 7-11, we glance over the flavor options and test the spouts for consistency. (There's pina colada, but it spits mostly water. The cherry seems to have the best icy smoothness. The "diet" is always out of order.) We then spend another five minute pounding the air out of our cups and filling them again to the top. The Slurpee keeps me going the rest of the day until I go on a late home visit, or just go home.

Now fall is in creeping around the corner and summer is slipping away, folks are more inclined to coffee and driving than Slurpees and walking. I'm also the third staff member to leave in a couple of months. My replacement has already headed for the hills before she even walked in the corral.

Most importantly, I don't think any of them could ever truly understand and appreciate the art of the Slurpee. But my time is limited, and I am ready to hit the trail.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New Toys and Old Songs

Like all spoiled children the day after Christmas, I love playing with new toys. The idea of pumping out my home-spun wisdom (mostly snap judgements, but it's my blog, I can lie if I want to) out to the cyberverse makes my narcissistic toes tingle.

All in all, a typical day. I got to work early this morning to to turn out some much overdue paperwork--discussing the life, times, sexual proclivities, and the latest parental disappointments of the kiddos on my caseload--before being confronted by my new supervisor about my files being out of date. I smile sheepishly during supervision, yes, I know, getting my files in order is top priority, especially since I have only three weeks to complete them and to train my successor about the intricacies of being a professional hard-ass. (I received a sincere compliment of a group-home foster parent, known throughout the state for taking girls everyone else has given up on, that I was the biggest bitch she had the pleasure of working with.)

I catch up with my therapist friend about a heart-pouring meeting between a set of foster parents at their wits end, a director, and myself. We discuss, analyze, and gossip about office politics--human services aren't immune for the cruciality of successful employees being "in the know." My family-centered agency also has its dysfunctions bordering on incestuous and flat-out unprofessional. But hey, who's more neurotic than a room full of therapists and social workers? The desire to know thyself has to come from somewhere . . .

I talk with a veteran case manager about supervision with my new boss. We talk about her new position she accepted at a county agency as a caseworker. (Like many human service agencies--both county and government--turnover is rampant. It's a field expectation for 50 percent of new hires to quit after six months.) She talks about how she will miss all her families and her worries of starting over. I reassure her she will be fantabulous, and berate her for ruining my exit gusto by leaving a week before I do.

Lunch is over in a flash, I throw down more case notes before hitting the trail. I hit my group home and hold two staffings, when caseworkers contact the kids and are debriefed and debrief, plans are set and I race to my uninvited meeting with my wits-end foster family. Stuff is said, everyone cries, everyone hugs, and I stop back at work to complete some more notes. The optimist in me gets teary-eyed thinking about my latest meeting, and the cynic in me believes all the love and communion will be forgotten by the weekend. By the by, the whole situation is like an old Hank Williams song.

I return the Call of the Hun (my fiance) and whine about my day and he bolsters my spirit. He discusses the joys of class and the benefits of publication. He, in turn, whines about the final edits of his master's thesis. I tell him I look forward to getting a new job, where the possibilities are endless, and he tells me he looks forward to me arriving in New York. My toes curl and I yurn. Over the past couple of years, Hun is where my heart is, no matter how fancy Paris seems. The whole situation is like an old Patsy Cline song.

So, three weeks and counting until I end my job. Four weeks and counting until I start my new life with Hun.

All in all, a typical day.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Earl Grey and Camp Horror

I'm sipping Earl Grey tea, watching the original House on Haunted Hill, and looking up every obscure name from my past. I Google cameo, walk-on, and supporting roles from my past--from my best friend in second grade, to a loathed ex-boyfriend who acted like a second grader--to discover glimpsed of their present. Being the narcissistic sort, I Google myself, and discover a university basketball star, a biology student, and a 12-year-old girl with a penchant for bunny poetry share my name.

A couple of my friends suggested I start a blog to keep up on my doings when I move away from my Colorado comforts to move in with my fiancé in Sleepy Hollow country, Albany, New York. I didn't like the idea of my aforementioned ex checking on the progress of my life, but I was mortified at the thought of my friends thinking I resorted to rabbit ramblings to pass the lonely hours. Thus, Cowgirl Betty is born. (Was it Miranda Richardson, or was it Miss Piggy, who said, "Anonymity is like a warm blanket"?)

If you've read this posting through an e-mail link I sent you, I consider you a dear friend and this is the best way I can think of keeping touch. As most of you know, my correspondence consists of one-line e-mails and good-luck spam. I figure I could spend as much time updating my blog with more care and detail that tossing out Tibetan life-affirming glurge to let my friends know I still think of them.

To those of you who've wandered onto my little blog, welcome. I've got a kettle of tea over the fire and Castle movie on the tube. Kick off your boots and rest for a spell.