Monthly Archives: June 2012

Back to Work!

The wheels of the state have finally turned, and I am officially licensed!  I very happily went back to work  on Monday.  On that first day, I noticed that I was a little bit slow – it just took me a little longer than it should have to do various things, but as the week has progressed and I’ve settled in, I’m getting back to where I need to be.

It struck me this week that my job satisfies a need in me that I never knew I had.  It’s really an amazing feeling to meet a perfect stranger and forge a connection with them.  It’s because hearing loss is such a personal thing – it affects your life in ways that are very profound – and talking about it with someone automatically brings you close.  This happens with almost every patient – parents, little old ladies, middle-aged truck drivers, even grumpy old men.

If you had told me four years ago that I would be able to talk to this wide variety of people, mostly ELDERLY (shudder!) people, and enjoy the time I spend with them, I would have thought you were nuts.  And yet, here I am – looking forward to work every day.  I feel so fortunate to have stumbled upon this career!


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Graduation Season

As of today, we are finally done with all of our graduations this year.  For those you counting at home, my graduation last month, plus Jake’s graduation from 5th grade yesterday, and Aaron’s graduation from preschool this morning makes THREE graduations.  I teared up at all three, of course.

Jake has been at his school for six years, and is moving on the the middle school next year.  We are cautiously optimistic, having not heard anything bad about it – only good things.  Of course, it’s middle school, so even in the best of circumstances it’s going to suck, but there’s not much we can do about that aspect of it.  His class sang a song, and then the principal read a little blurb about each student that was prepared by his or her classmates.  It was very sweet.  Here is our graduate:

And then there was the preschool graduation this morning.  As a family, we have been at this preschool for six years.  It’s a cooperative preschool, so we’ve really felt involved – an integral part of a community of parents, which is nice.  We’ve gotten to know different families, made friendships, cleaned classrooms, shoveled snow from walkways, done the grocery shopping.  It’s going to feel very different next year without it.  I’m thinking I’m going to have to throw some of that energy into the elementary school.  Here is our future kindergartner:

The kids sang their good morning song, then demonstrated their yoga skills (which were impressive for the five year old set!), and then they were presented with their portfolios, which contained all their progress reports and samples of their artwork over the years.  It was also an art show – each student selected one piece of artwork to be framed and displayed.  As Nate and I were walking around looking at the artwork, we couldn’t figure out which one was Aaron’s.  There were some that were beautiful flowers, and some rainbows – a couple of these kids seem destined for art school.  There was one picture that was  a bunch of angry looking black and brown scribbles.  I thought, “Well, whoever that is is destined for therapy.”  Guess whose it was?  That’s right – it’s Aaron’s masterpiece!

Did Van Gough look this cheerful when he was five?


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Father’s Day Adventure

What better way to celebrate Father’s Day than with a nice bike ride and a picnic lunch at the Quabbin?  We decided to investigate Gate 40, which we had never been to.  Looking at the Quabbin maps, it appeared to lead straight into the center of what was once the town of Dana.  Nate’s great grandfather grew up in North Dana, and had to move when the Quabbin reservoir was born in the 1930s.

Having never been to Gate 40, which is on the eastern edge of the reservoir, we had no idea what to expect.  What we found was one of the most historically interesting bike rides in the Quabbin.  All along the old road, there are still stone walls, and cleared areas that were obviously where homes once stood.

We were looking for a nice spot for a picnic lunch, which is always tricky when you’re somewhere unfamiliar, but we found the perfect spot.  It was once the Dana Town Common, and it is clearly still maintained nicely, with mowed grass, and a marker commemorating the site:

The marker reads:

Site of Dana Common
To All Those Who
Sacrificed Their
Homes And Way
Of Life
Erected By
Dana Reunion 1996

Apparently, Dana is the only town center of the four Qaubbin towns that remained above the water line after the reservoir was filled, so there is still ample evidence of the school, town hall, town cemetery, and hotel that once stood here.  There is still a big retaining wall visible that was part of the Vaughn family’s property (so Google tells me, anyway!).  Coming across that made us all feel like archeologists stumbling upon a new site.

We spent quite a bit of time picnicking and exploring, and then carried on with our ride, determined to make it to the end of the road – the shores of the reservoir.  However, we ran into a little problem about three miles in.  Lydia’s brake seized up, so much so that the handle part was immovable, and the brake itself was seized around her rear wheel.  In short, the back wheel was locked.  So now we had to figure out what to do.  Leave the bike and hike out?  Carry the bike and hike out?  We ended up putting both Lydia and Aaron in the trailer, and then standing Lydia’s bike up in front of them for them to hold in place while Nate and I took turns pulling 150+ pounds the three miles back to the car.

You can tell they thought the whole thing was a blast!  That little trailer can sure hold quite a load – worth every penny!  So we ended up having quite the adventure, and have vowed to go back and make it to the water.  Now that we’ve done a little research, we’ll have some more exploring to do, as well.

I’ll leave you with happy children on a happy, happy Father’s Day Adventure!


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Limbo Land

I wish Limbo Land were a tropical island where I could do the limbo while wearing a Hawaiian shirt and holding an umbrella drink in my hand.  The Limbo Land I am in is not as pleasant as that.

Today marks three weeks that I have been waiting for the state to grant my Audiology License.  They finally called on Tuesday, having just gotten to my application, to inform me that my graduate institution had sent them an incomplete transcript, and that they were missing my undergraduate transcript, which I didn’t even know they needed.  Why do they need an undergraduate transcript?  I have no earthly idea.  It’s probably just to verify when and from where I got my B.A.  With some good luck on my side, I actually got official copies of both transcripts that same day and was able to overnight them to the Licensing Board.  Now I’m back to just waiting.

So how am I filling my time?  I’m lucky, actually, to be available for my kids at this time of year.  While I will admit that I would prefer it if they were out of school (we’d be out of town before you could say boo!), there are so many special activities going on at school that I would have had to miss had I been at work.  Jacob’s class has been working very hard over the last month on their Biome Fair.  Each 5th grade class was given a biome (Jake’s class got the arctic tundra, another class got the desert, and another class got the jungle).  Each kid researched and made a tri-board presentation of a particular animal, and they all worked really hard to decorate their classroom in biome-appropriate colors, with life-sized paintings of animals hung all around the room.  They even had the northern lights displayed on the ceiling, with an explanation of what causes them.  I was very impressed, and Jake was really happy that I wasn’t back at work yet and was able to come.  Here he is displaying his project on the ermine.  If you have questions about the ermine, please direct them toward Jacob.

Tomorrow, Lydia’s class is holding their last “publishing party.”  They have been working so hard all year on their writing, and have had three or four publishing parties, none of which I’ve been able to attend.  So Lydia is thrilled that I will be able to go to the last one and hear her poem about ants dancing on a sand dollar.  Don’t ask – I haven’t heard the whole thing yet.

Add to those things the close of the baseball season, various pot lucks, two graduations coming up next week (Jake from Elementary School and Aaron from pre-school), and you see that my trip to Limbo Land has been very busy.  And as much as I can’t wait to get back to work (will I even remember any audiology?!), I have to say that I have enjoyed my time here.



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My Own Personal Shopper

Yesterday, I went shopping with my friend and neighbor.  She has a fabulous style blog that I read regularly.  It’s about being fashionable in ways that fit with who you are, and not being embarrassed to care about what you look like, even in a place such as our hometown, which is decidedly not fashion-conscious.  Since I cleared out my closet, I now have plenty of room to fill it with things that I like, and that fit the body I have rather than the body I want.  I cannot remember the last time I had the time and the lack of children to fill a changing room with anything and everything that caught my eye.  We had a blast, and I ended up putting together a great, basic wardrobe – all interchangeable, and all gorgeous.

It was so helpful to have someone with me with an eye for fashion.  I have no fashion sense at all.  There are people who are close to me (my mother-in-law in particular), who have an eye for that sort of thing.  I’m sure you know these people – they are the people that can put on a potato sack, and add a jaunty cap and some chunky jewelry and the perfect platform shoe, and suddenly they look like a million dollars.  That’s not me.  I’ve never really paid attention to clothing.

Case in point.  When I first started working, lo these many years ago, I got to work one morning, and the secretary looked at me as I walked in and said, “Who are you supposed to be, Jane Goodall?”  I had no idea what she was talking about, clearly not getting the joke.  She pointed at my pants.  I looked down at the khakis I had thrown on that morning, and suddenly realized that they were very wrinkled.  That’s kind of an understatement.  It was as if I had taken them out of the washing machine, balled them into a tight little ball, let them completely dry, put them on, and then went to work.  They were that wrinkled.  And I hadn’t even noticed.  At all.  Until people were making fun of me about them.  Granted, I’ve come a long way since then, but I still consider myself a work in progress.

So here I am, back in the working world, trying to avoid another pants incident.  Thanks to my lovely neighbor, I am well on my way!  Thank you, kind friend!


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So I am trying to keep myself busy during this forced hiatus from work.  I have all kinds of projects that I am moving forward with.  One of which is preparing for a block-long tag sale next weekend.  This is perfect timing, because one of my other tasks is “spring” cleaning.  Even though it’s basically summer.  Anyway, I’ve been going through things.  I emptied my closet this morning.  I’ve had to face up to the fact that I am not a size 8 anymore, and I never will be again.  So I took a realistic look at my clothes, and pared them down by about half.  In the process, I rediscovered a lot of clothes that have been crammed in there for years that I couldn’t see through all the depressing things I will never fit into again.  I’m feeling pretty good about something that I was dreading, so that’s good.

When I got way back to the very back, I found an old leather chest.  It’s kind of like an ottoman that opens as a chest.  It was my Aunt Nicki’s, and used to be sitting in a corner of her garage.  It’s filled with old magazines and newspapers.  When we cleaned out her house, I decided to take it.  I didn’t really want to look through it, or use it as furniture.  I just felt like I couldn’t bear to throw it out, so I shoved it to the back of my closet, and it’s been there for about 8 years.  So I opened it today, and just took the quickest look at the things on the very top.

Opening that trunk is like opening a real live history book.  It’s opening a door to the past.  Aunt Nicki had a very strong sense of history and the past, and she was a saver.  Her house was full of mementos and antiques.  She took care of her things and expected them to last for generations.  She was in her teens when she saved these papers – I can’t imagine myself as a teenager having the forethought to understand that I was seeing and experiencing something that will one day be history, and that I should save it for my descendants to learn from and experience in a different way.  I think about her often, and will be happy to pass on this gift box to my own children, in the hopes they will one day share it with their children.

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