Thursday, January 21, 2010

By now many people have head about the closing of adult mental health services at Central State Hospital. At this time I am not affected by this. But many people Iknow and care about will be, in addition to the community in which I live.

I worked in the Powell building when I first came to CSH in 2001. I worked there until three years ago when I moved from adult mental health services to forensic services. When I worked there, we would often look around at our full units and our multitude of mentally ill patients and discuss the fact that there was job security. People will always need mental health services and we would hae to be there to provide them. It looks like that has changed. I'm not going to go in to why I think this happened, how it happened or any of the decisions made. But what I will say is that this could be devastating to many people I know as well as this community. 200 jobs. That's 200 people who will be moved to another job either at CSH or another hospital. How many of those who are moved to other hospitals will be able to afford to relocate? How many will want to? Our community has already seen the closures of prisons, the YDC and industries. Can we handle another major employer closing? The crime rate has seemed to rise as more and more people lose their jobs. This community is shutting down. Jobs are lost, money is lost, businesses close down. It's all related.

For me, at the time I have what may be a false sense of security. The state has spent a lot of man hours and money trying to fix our forensics facility. We are going to be the pilot for a new behavior support program. We have people calling every day trying to send us more patients. We're still here. The only thing we can realistically do is just keep on doing our jobs and pray that the hammer won't fall again.

Some times I wish I had maybe gone to a for profit to work. Somewhere that has the funds to do more than what we have been able to do. But then I realize that I work somewhere where I am needed and I'm working with those whom other's have found it more comfortable to forget that they exist. I truly enjoy seeing our patients discharge back into the community to start their new lives.

Several years ago, I heard this quote from Mother Theresa that I've always found to describe what we do...

"We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything, with nothing."


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Makin baby food!!

When I was pregnant with Jay, I made the decision that I thought it would be nice to make all my own baby food. I started researching it and looking up information and really liked what I found. It sounded easy and had quite a few benefits. It's supposed to help your child be a less picky eater, it has more flavor than the jarred stuff, and they get used to your cooking and seasoning. Also, when I looked at a jar of baby food, I noticed that absorbic acid is added to baby food. It's some kind of preservative? Why do I want to feed my child a preservative if I don't have to? So I set out to make his food. I ordered a book from Amazon called "Blender Baby Food" that I love, love, love!! I love the fact that it takes you through month by month and what you should introduce each month. The book is easy and the more complex baby foods tatste great!

Right now, Nell is eating fruits and vegetables. They're really easy. Just clean and cut up the veggies. Steam or boil them. Throw them in a food processor. We've done broccoli, squash, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and apples so far. She doesn't care much for the butternut squash, but loves sweet potatoes!

Jay really loved his applesauce. I was peeling an cutting apples for months! It was so time consuming. Just about every other weekend I was doing this. So I finally invested in this...
It makes making applesauce so much fun!

I feel very domestic when I do this!
I wish I could find a use for this stuff, but it's so pretty!
If you want to make your own applesauce, peel, core and chop up your apples. Throw them in a pot and cover with water. Boil until they soften up, then throw into a food processor. Jay loves a sprinkle of cinnamon in his and likes it warmed! Nell likes hers straight or mixed with her cereal for breakfast.

More baby food recipes to come so stay tuned!!

My Besties

I'm so lucky to have these girls in my life! My besties and I may not talk every day, and we may only get to see each other every month or so, but they're mine! Kim (center) andI met at Wells Hall in 1993. We were dorm mates and became room mates after that. We've seen each other through times of great joy and times of great sorrow. Courtney and I met when I was working at Applebee's after I finished college. I don't think I would have ever pegged her then as someone I would become so close with, but I'm so glad to have her. She makes me laugh when I'm with her and keeps me silly when I try to take myself too seriously. All she has to do to bring a smile to my face is call me! And I mean that seriously. Her ring tone on my phone makes me crack up whenever I hear it! I love my hectic life, but it does keep me from my besties. We're a little spread apart these days so it's harder to keep up like I know we should, but we do keep up. We talk and see each other whenever we can. Years ago, Kim and Jack and I made a promise to each other that we would always spend New Year's together. No matter where we were or what was going on in our lives, we would promise to be together one night out of the year. That was I believe in 1998. And we've kept that promise. Eleven years now we've celebrated New Year's. From the years that we would party and stay up until dawn to now when we get together New Year's day for the traditional black eyed peas and collard greens! I wouldn't trade these girls for anything!

And who would have thunk it that we'd all have kids within a year of each other! Jay was our first born in August, Kyle was Kim's third born in November and Franki is Courtney's only born in May. I love seeing the three of them together and they have a good time playing with one another. I can seriously see these two getting in lots of trouble one day!Every couple of weeks Jay will ask about seeing Franki.So always love your besties and keep your relationships strong. They will come in handy one day!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

No, I'm not late. How many of you actually know that the Russian Christmas is tomorrow? I had no idea. Tonight I was invited to have a traditional Russian Christmas dinner. It consists of twelve courses of Russian food, made without meat or dairy products, vegetable dishes, breads, desserts. It was wonderful. I was a little worried that I would be able to eat anything since I'm generally an all-american meat and potatoes eater. I was worried that I wouldn't like the dishes that were served, but they were wonderful! Homemade bread dipped in honey and garlic. Three Machinkas (I just love saying that word). Pierogies, prunes. It was really delicious. I was definitely full. One part of this traditional dinner is that you set a dish for Christ at the table and as the dishes are passed around, Christ's plate is served as well and at the end of the meal, the plate is taken outside to feed the animals. Another tradition is that noone leaves the table. If someone leaves the table, that person may leave the family that year. So we had to be prepared to stay at the table the entire meal. Another tradition is that you take a shot of honey and vodka between each course. Thankfully we didn't observ e that part of the dinner or I'd be asleep somewhere under that table!

A couple of things that I thought about were that this tradition is celebrating the real meaning of Christmas. They aren't hung up on presents and what everyone is going to get. It's about spending time together and celebrating Christ's birth. One other thing was that in our culture we are so Christmas centered. I actually thought about the fact that other people don't celebrate Christmas and don't celebrate it in the way we do. But here we spend at least a month preparing for Christmas and a couple of weeks recovering! It was nice to see the way that other people celebrate. When I was growing up I always loved going to the Festival of Trees at the useum and learning about the way other cultures celebrated Christmas.

So I guess that Christmas can really be over now. We can return to our normal lives...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Yes, he did make fun of me...

but I did it anyways!

When we got the call around 4:00 that Nell had been throwing up I was so glad that I had made this yesterday and put it in the fridge to pop in the oven tonight! I found this recipe in a magazine as part of a Campbell's advertisement. I love lasagna and I love anything with cream of mushroom soup so I figured it could be tasty.

Beef and Mushroom Lasagna

1 can cream of mushroom soup (of course they recommend Campbell's, but I used store brand)
1/4 cup milk
1 lb ground beef (of course you could substitute any other ground meat)
2 cups spaghetti sauce (they recommended Prego, I did use that because it was on sale, meat flavored in my case, oh, and I just used the whole jar, it was close enough)
9 cooked lasagna noodles
1 cup shredded italian or mozarella cheese (I used a couple of handfuls, love my cheese)

Heat oven to 400. Stir milk and soup in a bowl until smooth.
Brown ground beef in a skillet, drain, add the spaghetti sauce.
Layer 1/2 beef mixture, 3 noodles (they overlapped, but I think it made it better to have thicker layers of noodles) and 1 cup of soup mixture in a 2 qt baking dish
Top with 3 more noodles, the rest of the beef mixture, remaining noodles and remaining soup mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and cover.
Bake 30 minutes or until hot. Uncover baking dish.
Heat broiler (I used the low setting). Broil 4" from heat until cheese is golden brown (I just watched it constantly until the cheese was a little brown, but the noodles were getting cooked so I took it out).

Since I made it yesterday, I actually cooked it for about 30 minutes at 300, then another 30 at 350 before broiling it.

It was very yummy and creamy lasagna and Jay even made a happy plate!

Saturday, January 2, 2010


For what it's worth, I'm resolving to update this blog more this year. I have great ideas for blog posts, but they don't always make it here. I also want to do more food blogging, so that means I will have to endure Jack making fun of me for taking pictures of food just so I can post them here! LOL I will also post more pictures. I have a bunch that need to be dumped from the camera this very minute. I'm resolving to spend more time with friends and family. I have reconnected with so many people this year and have others I keep in contact with that I need to physically see. Of course, like most other people, I will resolve to lose weight, but first I have to stop bringing all this junk in my house! I heard a newscaster yesterday mention that this year more people are resolving to be fiscally responsible. We're just going to try to stay afloat. With the state of Georgia giving Jack twelve furlough days from February through June, we're just going to try to cover the basics!

So resolutions. I have mine, what are yours?