November 4, 2012

Life As Of Late

Hello!  It's been a little while!  Truth be told when I left the ADC I had to give back the laptop which I used to blog and since I am not yet in the market for a new laptop (the iPad fulfills all my computing needs sans updating my iPod shuffle and blogging) my blogging has been on delay.  BUT a lot has been happening!

I started my new job at Policy Research Associates two weeks ago and so far so (very) good!  For the first time in about four years I feel challenged!  My previous positions were case management related and case management was never particularly challenging to me, but now I am working on the system level, working with states and I need to be innovative to figure out the best way to implement the SOAR (SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access & Recovery) model nationwide.  My position is 'Senior Project Associate' and there are five of us!  We split the country up, each of us have 10 states which we are responsible for (even though right now I only have 9 states).  These states are our babies and we are responsible for providing technical assistance, guidance, trainings and in person assistance to the state's team lead and agencies implementing the SOAR model.  My states are - New York, Connecticut, Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri.  Hello mid-west (and a few others)!  Something that I'm definitely looking forward to in the upcoming year - all my states will need an in-person visit!  We do a lot of teleconferencing, conference calls and database training to reduce travel costs but often nothing can replace an in person visit and actually engaging the local communities.  New York and Connecticut will be easy to travel to but I am very much looking forward to traveling to Montana, South Dakota and Arkansas!

Aside from my states I am liking the work - I am problem solving, researching states and their local communities and familiarizing myself with training models (I am very much looking forward to facilitating trainings).  I have also already been traveling!  My second day I headed to New York City for a three day training and stayed in an awesome hotel overlooking Time Square!  Last week I would have traveled to Austin, TX for a meeting, however Hurricane Sandy foiled those plans; and a week from Monday I will be heading to Denver, CO for a week to participate in a SOAR Train the Trainer (TTT) forum.  After that it will be off to Morgantown, WV in mid-December to observe a training and then after the first of the year I will work to schedule visits to all of my states.

In other news - leaving the Albany Damien Center appears to be a never ending and very saddening process.  It has been two and a half weeks since my tenure ended and since then I have received no less than five communications from former coworkers to let me know that my former supervisor has been trashing my name both around the center and within the greater FFL community.  Ordinarily I would not pay much attention to such claims but the whole situation is upsetting and not at all surprising.  My supervisor was awful and he is without question driving the center into the ground - but luckily I am not the only one who saw the writing on the wall and before I left I made sure the Board of Director was aware or his unfair treatment of staff and his unethical management of grants.  Unfortunately due to my advocacy and my filing of various grievances it is without a doubt that my supervisor sees my actions as a catalyst to his impending downfall - he therefore obviously feels the need to trash me around town and try to discredit my work, but luckily for me most people in the community have his number, they realize he is full of BS and will not take him seriously.  But nonetheless the whole situation saddens me.

Okay, enough about that - moving on and moving up!  In other news we have been doing a lot of fun fall activities - baking cookies, cooking delicious meals, craving pumpkins, watching football and leaf peeping!  Here is 'life as of late' in pictures!

View of Time Square from my hotel room on my business trip to NYC!
Time Square of the 18th floor of the Millennium Broadway Hotel!
The lonely and cold Hudson, NY Amtrak station - waiting to be picked up.
Delicious and pretty sushi!
Awesome fall meal!  Pesto and parmesan stuffed chicken with bow-tie pasta covered in a pesto cream sauce with asparagus and broccoli!
Cookie creations!  Chocolate peanut butter stuffed cookies!
Pumpkin carving!
Ooooh!  Illuminated!
Fall at Thacher Park!
Thacher Park!
Pretty view!
So that is what has been happening lately!  Really enjoying my new job, traveling and getting ready to travel even more, enjoying fall and gearing up for Thanksgiving and winter!

Remember to VOTE on Tuesday and have a GREAT week!

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