Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Fragments - Late for Work Edition

Friday Fragment time. It’s the place to release your random thoughts so that they my fly free like a butterfly. If they come back to you…run! Mrs. 4444 started this whole thing, and keeps track of us all over at Half Past Kissin’ Time. Come join the party.

* I started my new job on Monday, and the good news is that I think I’m going to be very happy there. The people are just terrific, and the work seems both interesting and challenging. I actually think I might have found the right position after a year of looking.

* Even though I’m liking the new job, actually working for a living is going to take some getting used to…

* My commute is about an hour (give or take 10 minutes) each way, and traffic is proving to be a daily thorn in my side. It’s a good thing I have books on my Ipod to keep me company, because sitting still – on a road where cars should be moving at 40 miles an hour – is not my idea of fun. I’m getting a lot of books read – well, read to me – and it helps keep me calm, as well as makes me feel better, since I don’t have much time to read books with pages right now.

* I need to get my stamina up. Being home, working on the computer in my pajamas, taking a break whenever I felt like it – is a lot different that leaving your house at 6:50 AM and returning home at 6:30 PM. I’m so tired – mentally and physically – that I can hardly talk by the time I get home. By the time I’ve done dishes, laundry, and gotten my clothes ready for the next day, I’m exhausted. Hopefully I’ll get back in the swing soon.

* I wonder what the record is for highest number of individual blisters on one foot? I never would have guessed this, but the issue of what shoes to wear has become the biggest challenge of all. I’ve been wearing flip-flops or those stretchy clogs for a year. I pulled out my dressier shoes, but they don’t fit my left foot anymore (if you missed the earlier post, I injured my foot last winter, and somehow ended up with a left foot that is significantly wider than my right). I bought a couple of pairs of new shoes, and they probably would have been fine, except that this job has a lot of walking in it (something I would NEVER have guessed). I must have walked 5 miles or more at least two separate days this week. I have blisters everywhere – yesterday I had 7 band-aids on one foot and 5 on the other. When I got out of my car at home last night, I was saying “Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow” every time I took a step.

* I have had no blog-reading time. None. I haven't even checked my email. I can't stand it - I'm wondering how everyone is. I hope I can catch up this weekend.

* As a bonus to my new job, I have also discovered the true nature of love (and I’m willing to share the secret with you!) Love is…

Standing in a cold, dark, nearly-deserted parking lot at 9:30 at night, even though you are bone-tired, alternately pretending to be the curb or a vehicle, so that your child can practice parallel parking for his driving test. It still counts as love, even if you are praying “don’t hit me…don’t hit me…” the whole time.

* By the way – Alex passed his driving test! Congrats, honey. I knew you could do it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Fragments - Random is my middle name

Time again for Friday Fragments – although I’m so late today, I bet nobody reads it! For fragment perfection, one has to get up pretty early in the morning! FF is the place to dump all your random thought globules so as to keep them from coagulating and clogging your more productive brain activity. The big brain behind this whole thing is Mrs. 4444 over at Half Past Kissin’ Time, who keeps track of everyone’s randomness, so check her, and all the other FF-ers, out!

* I went down to the university yesterday to fill out some paperwork and get processed (wait, that sounds like I’m a salami) so that I can start work on Monday. I’m starting to believe it now, and I’m excited (and nervous) beyond words. The biggest issue continues to be my wardrobe, but I’m just going to have to make it work somehow. Maybe if I start wearing the same things twice in the same week, they’ll give me a clothing allowance.

* It’s funny that working actually COSTS money, and until I start actually getting paid, this is a bit of a dilemma. I need clothes and shoes, gas for the hour commute, money for a parking permit, and probably other things I haven’t even thought of yet. I did find out that I’ll get paid bi-weekly, which is not my favorite thing, but the benefits are very good. I’m just so grateful to have a job, I doubt I’ll be complaining about anything.

* I just read somewhere that it’s healthier to breathe through your nose. Evidently, a lot of people breathe through their mouths, which causes them to take shallow breaths. Shallow breaths signal the brain that you’re anxious, so it puts out stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. When you breathe through your nose, your stress levels measurably drop, and you get more oxygen in your blood, which gives you more energy and makes everything in your body work better. I’m going to work on this by trying to keep my mouth shut more. Anybody who knows me knows what a challenge this is going to be.

* I am being overrun by these things, which I call Chinese Lanterns, but I have no idea if that’s their actual name. They grow all up inside my rose bushes, and sometimes up the side of my house. I think they’re a weed, but one of my friends loves them, and is always wanting to dig them up and transplant them to her house. I have to admit that they’re colorful, and they do appear – appropriately – in the early fall. Still, I’d like them better if they were a little more well-mannered in where they choose to grow. Here’s a picture of them (try to imagine zillions of them, all tangled up in roses and such)

* My current card-making obsession:

This card has a cool removable bookmark in it, so you can keep the pretty part of the card instead of throwing it away. The bookmark has magnetic strips on it, so it grips either side of the page securely, and looks good at the same time. I mean, who can't use a nice bookmark? Here’s a blurry picture of the bookmark:

* I’m going to get a bunch of them done – in different designs – this weekend while I’m still inspired. Of course, that requires me to finish the 101 chores I’ve also got on my list. I guess I better get started. Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Weave Me the Sunshine

We've lost another talented performer. Mary Travers, of Peter, Paul and Mary passed away yesterday after a long battle with leukemia.

I don't often comment on the passing of well-known personalities, but this time it feels like a personal loss. I grew up on the music of Peter, Paul and Mary. Their songs are so entangled with my youth, it's almost like a soundtrack to my memories. We sang their songs around the campfire - Lemon Tree, 500 miles, If I Had a Hammer, Puff the Magic Dragon.

We often speculated on the true meaning of Puff - did it refer to marijuana smoke, perhaps? - but I was lucky enough to meet Noel "Paul" Stookey when I was in college, and got the chance to ask him. He said that it was simply a song about the bittersweet experience of growing up, and wondered why we all had become so cynical. We are proud to include Stookey as a Maine resident. He and his wife live in Blue Hill, Maine and operate a recording studio out of their converted chicken coop.

My favorite Peter, Paul and Mary song is one of my go-to songs when I need a mood adjustment: Weave Me the Sunshine. It is on my Ipod, and my kids and I sing along with great abandon whenever we hear it.

Weave, weave, weave me the sunshine out of the fallin' rain!
Weave me the hope of a new tomorrow and fill my cup again!

I loved Peter, Paul and Mary for their thoughtful lyrics and expressed convictions, which they performed with such beautiful harmony. Stookey told me that the most important ingredient in their success was their deep love and respect for each other. It showed.

Rest in peace, Mary. And thank you.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Worst Blogger Ever

I can't seem to get my act together. I've been trying to get a job for so long, I almost don't quite know what to do.

Looking for a job in this day and age has meant being on the computer for hours every day, researching, scouring websites, revamping resumes and writing carefully-worded cover letters. I've been doing that for about a year now, and I'd gotten into a routine: Get up, make coffee (decaf, of course), check email, check the job-search sites, read some blogs, write a blog, do some more job searching, check a few more blogs. I'd basically repeat this pattern all day, with breaks for household chores or errands or my daily walk.

I was in the rhythm of it. It worked for me - all except the not having enough money to pay my bills. That part sucked.

Anyway, now that I know I'm starting work next Monday, I'm all of sudden in panic mode. Here's what it sounds like in my head:

What am I going to wear? Do I have 5 suitable outfits to get me through the first week? What about shoes? Should I clean out and wash my car? What if the president of the university parks next to me? The inside of my car looks like a giant purse. Speaking of purses, what purse should I carry? I have only one nice purse, but it's getting old. Maybe I should clean it with that leather stuff. Where is that leather stuff, anyway?

I need to clean the house. Why the heck didn't I get more stuff done while I've been unemployed? I was going to rip up this miserable carpet, and repair the screens and paint the kitchen. I should make some extra meals and get them into the freezer so it won't be too hard to get dinner on at a decent hour. I wonder what time I'll get home every day?

I should get a lot of walking in this week before I can't do it anymore. I'm going to miss being able to be outside as much as I have been. The weather has finally been beautiful for the last few weeks, and I'm going to be inside a building all day. I wonder if I'll feel like walking after work? Maybe I can walk at lunch time. I wonder what time I'll get lunch? Oh, geez, I'll have to pack a lunch. What do we have that I will be able to pack a lunch with? I wonder if there's a refrigerator. What about water? I can't stand drinking city water. I wonder if they have a bubbler or if they drink tap water? Will it seem weird if I carry my own drinking water? Oh, and what about coffee? I can't drink regular coffee. I hope it's not a coffee machine. I hate coffee machine coffee.

Anyway, you get the idea. I'm feeling completely scattered and nervous and excited, and I can't seem to sit down at the computer for more than a couple of minutes at a time. I'm going to try to get around to visit everyone this week - I want to know how you are all doing and what's up in your lives. And I'm sure you're dying to hear what I have to say about whatever you've said. Right?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Only time for a quick post - but it's good news. Possibly the best news I've gotten in a long, long time: I got the job. I just got the call about 15 minutes ago, and I still can't quite believe it.

I will be among the employed again, and not a moment too soon, let me tell you. My sanity was quite literally on the line.

I have about a week and a half to get my life (and my wardrobe) in order, so bear with me as I rush around. And don't even bother to ask why I haven't gotten everything in order over the last year of unemployment, because I have no idea.

Thank you all for the prayers, good wishes and positive thoughts you sent my way. I know having so many wonderful people on my side is what put me over the top. You're the best.

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's Friday Fragments Time

It's Friday already and time for Friday Fragments, which is where I get rid of all those random thoughts that are tickling the inside of my head. Anybody can fragment, thanks to our lovely and talented hostess, Mrs. 4444 from Half Past Kissin' Time. She keeps track of all the FF-ers over at her site, and you should stop by and check it out. Actually, if you're not reading her regularly, why aren't you? She's funny AND nice - a perfect combo!

* Thanks for all the positive energy around my second interview on Wednesday. I think it went well, and I did find out that they called my references yesterday, which I hope is a good sign. I very much liked everything about this place, especially the people, and hope to have some really good news to share with you soon. I’m trying not to get too excited. I’m afraid if I don’t get it, I’ll be incredibly disappointed. Oh well, nothing to do but wait.

* Did you ever lose something that it is impossible to lose? Like something that it so big that it couldn’t be hiding anywhere? Or something you use every day, that only ever gets put in the same place, and has never left the bathroom? Doesn’t that drive you crazy? I was walking across the living room floor, holding an empty bowl and two chopsticks in one hand, when I stopped to pick something up off the floor. When I straightened up, I had only one chopstick. Could I find the other one? Nope. I looked everywhere, on my hands and knees, for half an hour. It literally couldn’t be anyplace else, and I still can’t find it. The biggest bummer is that it was one of the cool, shiny bamboo chopsticks, of which I only have four. I mean, three. I think my mother was wrong. Things really do sprout legs and walk away. If you ever see a shiny bamboo chopstick with legs, it’s mine.

* Having Alex back in the household is wonderful, but it sure has required me to adjust my grocery list. He is a snacker. We all snack, of course, but Alex has raised the idea to an art form. He would rather graze all day on snacks, and never have to sit down for an actual meal. Unlike Brandon, who loves to create elaborate meals using every single pot and pan that I own, Alex has no patience for food prep. He wants to grab and go. That box of granola bars that was lasting a week this summer is now empty in two days. The omelet breakfast does not work for Alex – cross off eggs and jot down bagels. Get more snack-size baggies (he’ll eat healthy food if it is in grab-able bags!) and serving-size pudding and yogurt. I’d love to hear your favorite grab-and-go snacks – what can you recommend?

* I think that if you drink decaffeinated coffee, it’s really important to get the good stuff. In my opinion, good decaf – which means spending more than $5 - for the 13 ounce bag that used to be a pound of coffee, but don’t get me started on shrinking packages and rising prices – is almost as good as real coffee. This week I’ve been drinking some store-brand swill that I bought in a moment of stupidity (or poverty). I can’t afford to throw it out, so I’m drinking it, but I’m pissed off about it. Ironically, because it sucks, it’s lasting longer than my usual brand.

* Do you know what high school kids can wear for gym class up here? ANYTHING THEY WANT. Yup. They can wear anything they want, as long as it is not the clothes they came to school in. They are required to change, but it doesn’t matter into what. You can wear jeans and a t-shirt to school, and change into another pair of jeans and a different t-shirt, and it’s totally allowed. Alex usually brings long basketball shorts and a t-shirt. Boy, things have changed since I was in high school. We used to have to wear these horrible stretch knit shorts and a horizontally striped, polyester polo shirt. Life is so unfair. Maybe this is one of the reasons I hated gym class, and only took the minimum amount I needed to graduate, and Alex signs up for it as an elective every year.

* When I was housesitting recently, I noticed that they had an air freshener in their bathroom that was called Moroccan Bazaar. I think Febreeze makes it - very elegant packaging, too. When I was growing up, we had two choices for freshening the air: Lysol and FLORAL. And neither of them was refreshing. Lysol makes me gag to this very day, and we all know what those bathroom smells are like when you add floral scent. Hallie, I know you have smell issues at work. Maybe you should try spritzing a little Moroccan Bazaar and humming “As Time Goes By” from Casablanca. Let me know how it works out.

I hope you all have a wonderful long weekend (if you’re in another country that doesn’t have Labor Day, I hope you have a wonderful regular weekend!) and I’ll be by to visit your blogs!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hurry Up

Hey - I am here! I want to thank you all for the wonderfully kind words and all the thoughts and prayers sent my way last Friday. I had a good interview - which is to say, I really liked them and I hope they liked me. I think it is exactly the kind of job I've been looking for, working for some great people in a nearly ideal setting. I did get a call back for a second interview (this afternoon, in fact) so feel free to keep those positive thoughts coming!

I've been experiencing a bout of extreme energy, and it seems to be causing an unnerving amount of activity on my part. I've been tackling long-overdue projects at an alarming rate and I can't seem to sit still for more than a couple of minutes at a time, even at the computer. I may not know much, but one thing I've figured out is that it is useless to fight these odd moods. It's better to just go with it and see what happens. I'm sure it will pass in a day or two. In the meantime, if you stop by, be sure and ask to see my junk drawer. You'll be amazed.

I'll be back tomorrow with an update, and on Friday - because what would Friday be without Fragments?? Hope you're all well and happy.