Sunday, February 24, 2008

An Up and Down Week

I normally don't get too pessimistic after a work week has concluded. I generally try to calmly understand that a lot of what impacts my life is really outside my ability to control, even if I have contributed to some of it.

Nonetheless, this week has been tough. All of this is not that big a deal to me, as I know that I am alive, reasonably healthy, and loved. I know that I need to be strong for my boy and for myself, with compassion and caring for others who are close to me. Still, there's been some tough stuff among a few nuggets of good this week:


Michaela is back home, after surgery to explore the tumor in her chest resulted in the removal of the tumor. Pathology reports show it to be another neuroblastoma. It's likely that chemotherapy will start in the next couple of weeks.

Leslie is holding up well, but there are financial pressures that are beginning to take their toll. She had a contract to begin a job at an existing veterinary practice, but that is all on hold until Michaela is through chemo, which will likely inhibit her ability to attend school regularly, or attend a day care center.

I'm helping out in whatever way I can, save for being there, which I feel would likely be the best thing I could do. I have my own child who has seen more than his share of bad times, and being there for him is just as important, if not more so. I appreciate those who have read about this in the past and have offered support and prayer for all concerned. I will update Michaela's story as I can.


Work is tough. It's a tough job to begin with, but as someone very wise once said, if you love what you do it's not really work. Jan's illness and passing have helped to show me that there is more to life than I would otherwise let myself see.

Lately I've felt inadequate to the tasks at hand, and my work has suffered as a result. In recognizing this I've tried to find something a little less stressful, and without the shift work component. No luck so far, but I remain optimistic that something that meets these criteria and still presents a challenge (and, of course, pays the bills) will come my way. When that day comes, it will be bittersweet.


Many local bloggers took time to comment on the most recent criminal lapse in judgment by an employee of School District 51. It's an unfortunate situation for all involved, particularly with the amount of media attention these incidents receive.

To be sure, this is a clear case of an alleged abuse of the public trust and of the relationship between teacher and student. While a measure of media coverage is certainly warranted, I would caution the local media about the dangers of over-exposure or over-commitment of resources. There is a line between informing the public and sensationalism, and that demarcation is being encroached upon ever more closely with each occurrence.

One commenter on the above story stated that this is a much more commonplace occurrence than you would think, and offered some evidence to that effect. It's indeed a shame, but perhaps future media coverage could focus on the reasons, and perhaps give parents some tools to help stay involved in what their child is doing, and recognize the signs of potential trouble. So far the reporting has been fair and informative, with the Free Press going so far as to let the Sheriff's Office arrest affidavit tell most of the story.

I continue to have difficulty understanding the district's public "information" strategy, which was eloquently summarized by Gene Kinsey as;
The fact is, there is no downside for stonewalling. What can happen? Will any supervisor get fired? Will voters remember or care come election time? Will people take their money and their business elsewhere? (Whoops - that's not an option.)
For me, the stonewalling is getting old, and I don't forget. I've attended church with both the Superintendent and Public Information Officer, and they are both honorable men with their hearts in the right place. That being said, the lack of candor and comprehensiveness in the district's public information releases continues to be a matter of concern.

As a GJHS parent, I'm still waiting for a more detailed accounting of the circumstances surrounding the valve failure and subsequent flood that closed the school for two weeks last Thanksgiving, and what corrective measures have been taken to make sure that any future failures of a similar nature will not go undetected for such a lengthy time period. The technology to support that has been in the marketplace for a long time.

Let's hope that the spirit of openness and effective dialogue become more prevalent in our school administration.


My economic stimulus check, if/when it shows up, will go to help pay for the plumber who will be installing a sump pump and some new piping in my basement next week. This will hopefully resolve the backups when I run my washer or drain one of the bathtubs. This is part of the challenge of living in an old house, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I might have to deal with (ugh) covenants. I like living Downtown.


Speaking of Downtown, there were some good things about this week too. I participated in one of the two workshops held jointly by the city and the DDA to try and secure community input about what kinds of land uses would be appropriate for the Downtown of the future, and where those uses should be placed or concentrated.

The exercise was interesting and informative, and the planners involved seemed genuinely interested in what citizens had to say about what kind of development should occur, and where it is most appropriate to happen. I'll have more about this later.


Last but certainly not least, it seems that Powderhorn now has cell phone service to most of the mountain and resort buildings. It's about time.


I'll start the coming week with church, and with continued prayers for patience, healing, perseverance, and love. God willing it will be a bit better for all concerned.

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