(not the teenage kind)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone

I have started watching "American Idol" for the first time since the show has been on the air. A week ago I even picked up the phone and tried to vote for my personal favorite, Jordin Sparks. But I couldn't figure out how. Whatever.

This past Tuesday night Jordin sang "You'll Never Walk Alone." That song is from the musical, Carousel, and it is also the song that the sixth grade graduating class at my elementary school would sing at the end of the graduation ceremony. I have always felt a strong emotional attachment to that song and, you know, I really don't hear it all that often.

The summer after my sixth grade graduation our graduating class was asked to reprise the singing of "You'll Never Walk Alone" for the Paul Mazursky film, Alex in Wonderland. And the big bummer was that my family had chosen this particular summer to take a road trip across the country. To make this trip happen my dad had to miss my graduation. He would drive to Milwaukee in four days with my cousin Joe and then my mom, sister, and I would fly to Milwaukee after the graduation. We would attend our cousin Michael's bar mitzvah and then take several weeks to drive back to Los Angeles.

As you might imagine, the whole scenario was the worse possible tragedy that could happen in my whole pre-teen life. My dad was missing my graduation and I was missing being in a movie with all my friends in order to be stuck in a car with my family which included my sister and which was going to be FOREVER. Obviously my parents should have been reported for child abuse. Except that on the day of my graduation I received a telegram from my father which I still have and which I read so many times that I memorized.

Isn't it funny to look back as an adult and be able to see the big picture and know how things turn out? Because it is possible I wouldn't have been quite so mad and upset if I had known that (a) I would not even recall which family members attended my elementary school graduation but I would cherish the telegram from the one who was not there and (b) at cousin Michael's bar mitzvah my dad would meet a young girl from Chicago and invite her to come to Los Angeles and stay with us and she would accept his invitation and end up marrying into the family and having two children and those four people would be amongst my very favorite people in the world and (c) Alex in Wonderland would totally bomb.

So, after Jordin finished singing You'll Never Walk Alone, even Simon Cowell talked about how old that song is and how Jordin was so amazing that she could record that song and it could be a huge hit. I knew I had to figure out this voting thing because she chose that song and then she sang it even better than my sixth grade graduating class (and you can verify that by renting the Alex in Wonderland DVD although it won't be exactly the same because I'M NOT IN IT.) And that is the long winded story about how and why I voted for an American Idol for the first time ever.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I Have Joined A Cult

Happily it is a cult that pretty much every I know has already joined. I am the extremely happy and excited owner of a brand new, shiny and silver, MacBook Pro. The ceremony to throw my Dell PC out the window will be happening very soon. That laptop was just a bit over two years old and it was falling apart. Two keys were falling off. But, worse, it was so slow that in the morning when I started it up I would brush my teeth, wash my face, take a shower, eat breakfast and only after that would I be able to sit down and work. The Mac is all booted up and ready to go after one stroke of the toothbrush.

The transfer was relatively painless. My documents and pictures were an easy transfer by disc. After finding instructions on the internet, my Quicken file transfer was a piece of cake. don dokken thought this transfer might be difficult or not work at all so when it was done I ran into the front room where he was watching TV and screamed about the rock star that is me. The only glitch was my music. There was too much to transfer by disc so I transferred directly from my iPod and for whatever reason not all the songs went over, there was a copyright message I believe. That's okay because the next step is to upgrade from the Nano so a whole revamp of the music is in order.

The best, though, is that my brother-in-law sent instructions on how to use the video iChat so I conversed in person-like with my niece and nephew four times yesterday. I saw my nephew's new haircut and tried to make them do tricks like pointing to their nose and clapping and saying my name. We are going to do this everyday and so they are going to grow up remembering me on the TV screen that is their computer every day. Until kruthless and I get bored with it. And with our attention spans that could be by next week.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Color Car

The street I grew up on was a one block street which saw a lot of traffic because it was a quick way to cut through from one major street to another. My sister and I used to look out the living room window and play a game called "color car" while waiting for my dad to get home from work. We also played this game on road trips. We would each pick a car color and when a car of that color drove down the street or drove by on the highway the picker of that color got to scream "Color car. Color car." As I recall, it wasn't a contest where the person who picked the color that drove by the most won. The reward was the shear joy of being able to scream "Color car. Color car." Picking the color white was forbidden.

Today I got home and I just had a feeling that the toilet pipes were getting ready to back up and it was time to have the clean-out thingy snaked. So I called the plumber and then waited. It was a grey and rainy day and I sat on the couch, peering out of the living room window and for some reason (well, I think the reason was that I was bored and restless and looking out of the living room window) decided that I needed to play color car and that my color should be red since that was the color of the plumber's truck.

Three red cars came by before the plumber arrived and all three times I yelled "Color car. Color car" and all three times Rudy came running so it was like I was really playing color car with someone. Okay, I know it sounds a little wacky and maybe I need to get out more but it was good clean fun on a rainy day and anyway here's a picture of Rudy playing color car:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Tomorrow would have been my dad's 78th birthday. So it was ironic and coincidental that the condo that he lived in for thirty years and which was a big part of his life, our lives, and his death was going to have their annual homeowner's association meeting on that day. I thought it would be the perfect way for me to "celebrate" his birthday - attend the homeowner's meeting and then don dokken and I were going to go to one of my dad's nearby old haunts and have a meal in his memory.

But the meeting has been postponed because another person in the building has died.

Ed got up last Thursday morning, got his newspaper, poured a glass of orange juice and had a massive stroke. A concerned co-worker showed up at the building hours later and he and one of the building's residents went inside Ed's unit and found him slumped over in his chair with the open newspaper and the glass of orange juice. He was not officially dead but brain dead or whatever when the paramedics arrived (and from the moment he had the stroke) and he died in the hospital on Easter Sunday. His parents are both dead. He was an only child. He had no children. He had two cats although he had to put one to sleep a few weeks before he died. We won't talk about the other cat. Ed was 54 years old.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Dependency Justice

I usually need to go to court for my CASA cases every six months or so for an RPP (Review of Permanent Plan) hearing. However, the case I have been on for the last year has been going poorly and the Judge has been ordering every other week progress hearings. During these hearings, she spends about a half an hour berating the social worker and the social worker's boss and the social worker's boss' boss off the record and, when she is done, she then proceeds to berate them for an additional hour on the record. By the way, social workers usually don't come to court, they just submit a report, but the Judge has been ordering the social worker and her boss and her boss' boss and probably soon the boss' boss' boss to appear because she is clearly very, very angry.

The issue is that the social workers seem hellbent on not allowing this child to be placed with her grandmother. The child is 10 years old and she is highly unadoptable. But a year ago this grandmother, who had lost touch with her granddaughter, found where she was and came forward as a person who wants to adopt her. The grandmother is not perfect. She has had inconsistencies and allegations about her in the past. Along with that, the sticking point for the social workers seems to be that her house is not big enough and that their rules and regulations say that they can not place a child in a house where they will be sharing a room with an adult. And we all just need to ignore the reality that there are lots of really large famillies living in really small spaces in this county. The Grandmother can not afford to move to a 3 bedroom house (she is now renting two bedrooms and has two of her grandsons living in one of them) and the Judge says week after week after week that the social workers need to either figure out a way to get Grandmother into a situation where she can afford a 3 bedroom house or get some kind of waiver on the bedroom sharing thing.

I learned early on with this Judge to not speak unless spoken to so I sit in the proceedings and just kind of nod at her because she really gets the case and most everything that comes out of her mouth is exactly the same as the thought going through my head. She understands that it would be detrimental to move this child to anywhere but her grandmother's house. And she understands that if the grandmother does not adopt this child, she will never be adopted, she will be institutionalized the rest of her life and then set out when she turns 18 with probably nothing and no one.

We go to court again next week and I have a feeling that there will be two hours of yelling off the record and three hours of yelling on the record because the social workers just don't get it and arrived at the place where my CASA kid lives without telling her therapist or her attorney or me or anyone and brought along a potential foster parent and introduced the child to this foster parent, telling her that her grandmother is just not ready to have her come live there.

When I visited my CASA kid a few weeks ago before the last progress hearing we were reminiscing about how she used to go AWOL from the place where she lives but she doesn't anymore and she told me that she owes that all to her Grandmother who taught her about the consequences of her actions. She also told me to tell the Judge that she wants to live with her Grandmother. After the visit from the social worker and the foster parent, her therapist told me that her behavior has regressed - that she is having tantrums and refusing to do her homework because, what the heck, she doesn't have to follow their rules, she's going to be leaving to go live with the foster parent lady.

I went to see her yesterday and expected to see an emotionally traumatized kid. The first thing she said to me, though, was "Guess what? My social worker came the other day with a really, really nice lady who's going to be my foster mother and guess what? She has a pool!" I asked her if she was sure she wanted to leave the place where she is currently living and she said "Yeah, I've been here a long time." I said, "So you want me to tell the Judge that you want to live with this lady." She said, "Oh yeah, she said I'm going to have my own room." And she did say to tell the Judge that when her grandmother is ready she would like to go live with her.

The thing is that the place where she is living now has it all. They have an on-site school that caters to her special needs. They have nurses who make sure she takes her meds. They have a psychiatrist who comes every month and monitors those meds. She has an on-site therapist who she talks to several times a week and they have also provided her grandmother with a family therapist who is teaching grandmother all the parenting skills she needs to work with this child. The people at this place have known this child for a long time and are invested in her future. Their hope was that the child would move in with grandmother in the summer but continue to attend their summer school (to which they would provide the transportation) to make the transition less abrupt. All this effort of coordination and single service provider will be lost if the child is moved to a foster home.

I have to go write my report for next week's progress hearing now.

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com