Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Big Surprise!

So, Monday night, Pops worked late. He was almost home and he called me from down the street and said he had come up on a bad accident that had just happened. A single truck and hit a tree and the girl had been pulled out into the street by a neighbor. Pops called 911 and he said it was taking forever for them to get there. I told him I would call from the house since there is trouble sometimes with cell phones and 911 service.

I picked up the phone and dialed 911. Right when it rang, I heard the sirens down the street, so I quickly hung up. I ran outside to get my police scanner out of my car. I could not stand not to know what was going on. I turned it on and started hearing the police/fire communication.

Then I heard, "911 hang up call at **** R**********." My first thought was, "Oh *#$%." I turned off my scanner and waited because I knew they would be at my front door soon. They always check out hangups because they are concerned that there is domestic violence going on the the fighting people are preventing each other from calling for help.

I sat there for about 10 minutes thinking that they were coming and then I hear the knock. Two police officers were there. I totally got distracted from the officers when I saw two big boxes on my porch. They must have been delivered by UPS while I was gone. While I was explaining what had happened, I tried to quickly move the boxes from the porch and I couldn't because they were extremely heavy.

That is when I knew what they were. I have gotten this surprise before and oh what a treat it is. One of our great friends has done this before and I am assuming that he has done it again.

2 cases of Dublin Dr. Pepper. That is the old fashioned Dr. Pepper made with real cane sugar and not corn syrup. It comes in the little bottles that get soooo cold. For me, those are better than any "fine" wine you can buy. (I am over exaggerating a little bit because I hate wine.) I savor these things. I will usually only drink one a day, just before I go to bed, and savor ever little sip. I savor it so much, that I won't drink the last one. I still have one left in the refrigerator from over a year ago.

So glad the police came to the door. I wouldn't have discovered the great surprise on my front porch if they hadn't. Can't wait to dig into the stash. THANK YOU Billy B!

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Volunteer Opportunity

Fifteen years ago, I started a volunteer "job" that was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had in my life. It was also very rewarding for my entire family. For eight years we were a Transitional Care Family for The Gladney Center. We took care of newborns until their legal work was complete for adoption. We had 60 babies during our eight years, and we all loved it so much. Many nights of interrupted sleep finally took its toll on me. I also knew that I would be having grandchildren soon and didn't want to be "burned out", so I resigned. I still think about returning, but I know that it would be hard to do now at this stage of my life.

I have been looking for a volunteer opportunity for quite a while now. The problem is that I could not find anything that was the perfect fit. I volunteered at a couple of places where I was in a back room doing "busy work."

My last volunteer job was brutal. I would arrive on time and the person I was working for would not be there yet. When she arrived, she would always say, "Oh my goodness, I didn't realize it was Wednesday. Come back here and let me see if I can find you something to do." It would be something that would keep me busy for three hours, only to be shoved aside until the next time she couldn't find anything for me to do. It was just busy work and didn't make a difference. After 6 weeks, I decided that sitting at home and watching TV would be better than that. Rather than my work helping out and making a difference for them, they were trying to find something to keep me busy.

I was watching TV recently, and I heard that they needed CASA volunteers. When I read the description of what is involved, I knew it would be perfect for me.

A CASA is a court-appointed special advocate for children who have been removed from their home because of abuse and neglect. In these cases, CPS removes the child from their home. There is the CPS caseworker, the attorney for the parents, and ad-litem attorney for the child and possibly other professionals involved in the case. These professionals all have a huge case load and to them the child is a "case" and not a delicate human being.

As a CASA, I will be assigned to a child as his/her personal advocate. I will visit the child, go to parent visitations for observation, go to his/her foster home, talk with Dr.'s and teachers and most importantly the child and find out what is in the best interest of the child for a forever family. I will also "investigate" to see if there are other possible family members that would be willing to care for and provide a loving environment for the child. From there, I will attend court hearings and make recommendations to the Judge, along with the professionals.

I am SO excited. Besides the fact that it will make a difference in the children's lives, I will be doing all of the things that I enjoy; investigation, legal, court and talking to lots of people. I can't wait to get started.

I have passed the application, recommendation, interview and preliminary background process. (I was clear on my last criminal check for grand jury in the fall and I don't think I have committed a felony since then, so I will probably pass). The next step is 30 hours of training that starts mid July, and then 2 times of court observation. Then I will get my first case.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

I Am Just a "Little Bit" Jealous of Janelle

Back a few months ago when ticket to the George Strait concert went on sale, I almost bought them. I have seen all of my favorite people, except George. I got online to buy tickets, but when I saw that the parking pass was $38, it made me mad and I said, "Just forget that! That is ridiculous." I also started thinking about how hot it would be on a June afternoon.

When I would hear all about the stadium being completed and the first bit event coming up, I was sorry I didn't buy the tickets. Friday Janelle called me and asked if I wanted to go, she could get some tickets. Unfortunately, we had a work party that we could not miss.

She called yesterday afternoon and said she was going. Not only did she get to go, she went in a limo and watched it from a fancy floor level air conditioned suite.

Yes, I am very jealous!!! One of these days, I will see George, but probably in the cheap general admission seats.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How Did We Miss This??

Last weekend, we decided to make a road trip to Austin. It is pretty close, yet you feel like you are getting away. We stayed at the Marriott Renaissance which was in the Arboretum area.

Before we went, we mapped out a couple of places that we wanted to eat. First we chose Manuel's in downtown Austin. It has been around for a while and is a legend. TERRIBLE. and I mean TERRIBLE. The chips were TERRIBLE, the hot sauce was TERRIBLE and it went down hill from there. We even tried an appetizer and dessert to try to find something redeeming and there wasn't. TERRIBLE. Probably the worst meal I have had in a very long time. Do you get the idea; it was TERRIBLE.

One really fun thing we did afterward, was we went to see a show on 6th Street, Esther's Follies. It has been around for 30 years and we finally got around to going. It was hysterical. In the future, when I go to Austin, that will be a part of our trip.

Sunday night, we decided to go to The Salt Lick BBQ. It is another place we had heard about for years, but just never went. We always went to County Line BBQ.

Wow! We have missed out. Not only was the drive neat (about 15 miles out of Austin in the Hill Country, it was a neat place with great food. Everything we ate was delicious. When they brought out the bowl of BBQ sauce, I was a little worried because it was a strange color. It almost looked like BBQ sauce mixed with sour cream. It was some of the best I have ever had. And did I mention the homemade bread?

It was a really great meal with a great atmosphere. We arrived at 4:15 p.m. and had a 30 minute wait.

If you go to Austin, don't miss out on Salt Lick or Ester's Follies like we have for all of these years.

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