St Patrick’s Day Horror

Yesterday was St Patrick’s Day!     WOO HOO!!

In honor of the day, Lauren & I cooked a mostly traditional Irish meal of Corned Beef and cabbage.  Kinda.  The recipe called for a can of Guinness.  Now, neither of us are beer drinkers but we were willing to give it a try and in the spirit of the day got a few cans for the corned beef and also for some beer bread Lauren was going to make.  st-pats-5

So we open the can of beer and when we are measuring the beer for the bread Lauren hears something in rattling around in the can of beer.   (insert very scary music)     Of course our imagination runs away with us as we wonder if we really want to know WHAT THE HECK IS IN THIS CAN or just throw away all of our food and try not to think about the mouse in our can of beerst-pats-7

Or the severed finger in our can of beer st-pats-6

or the TEENSY WEENSY SPIDER in our can of beer

st-pats-9Or even THIS

st-pats-8

But, before we freaked out completely the more sensible person in the room, Lauren, Googles this and we discover that GINNESS puts a PING PONG ball in the can so the foam comes out in the best possible way

st-pats-4-copy

So we settled ourselves down and finished cooking and ended up with a lovely corned beef and some potatoes and balsamic roasted brussel sprouts (aka tiny little cabbages) and green bread.

st-pats-1

And she even made Thin Mint Brownies for dessert.  But I didn’t take a picture of that because only self obsessed people post pictures of their food.

I’mmmm Baaaaack

Hello Peoples!

I know it has been a very long time since my last post and I will certainly bring you all up to date on everything that has been going on in my life.

But first I am going to need something from all of you!

Connection

Feedback

Input

Involvement

Can you do that for me?

In return I will try to bring you the funny. The weird. Cat pictures. Et Cetera Et Cetera

I will promise to be real with you: This is not the best time in my life and I am not going to even try to pretend like it is. But  I miss writing  And I miss YOU!

So here is your part: I need you to comment on my posts here and there. The more the better but every once in awhile because that helps motivate me more than anything. You can comment on the blog or you can comment on the Facebook page. Or you can just do a Thumbs Up!

But please do comment! Please sign up for notifications. If you already are signed up, please let me know.

(Climbing back into the saddle….. again…..)

  

5 Things I Love About Being Unemployed

I was going to write a post about how I am doing with my job search but I depressed myself.  So, instead, here is my list of 5 Things I Love About Being Unemployed:

#5       Gotten all those pesky errands run.  (Which includes moving my sad little 401k into another financial institution because nothing feels better than realizing you should have gotten a job with a 401k 20 years ago)

#4      Get to sleep in. In theory. So far the latest I have slept was 7:45.              

#3      Re-organized most of my house. At least once, sometimes twice. Tried to organize my cats. First by age (Layla, Figaro, Josie, Thor, Luna, Salem) Then by Size (Layla, Figaro, Thor, Salem, Josie, Luna).  I tried to sort by color but they are all different (Layla: Tortie, Figaro: Tuxedo, Thor: Ginger, Josie: Calico, Luna: Gray, Salem: Black) Then by eye color…..

#2       Finally got caught up on all those TV shows I never knew I wanted to watch. This includes the live feed of Big Brother (FYI right now Victor is working out, James is in the shower, and everyone else is in the bathroom yawning.)

#1       Get to take a nap every day. That is the best.  

SOMEONE PLEASE HIRE ME!  I NEED TO WORK!! 

Having Skin In The Game

“Skin In The Game” is a term coined by investor Warren Buffet referring to a situation in which high-ranking investors use their own money to buy stock in the company they are running (Investopia) Today this idiom also refers to having a personal investment in something or being connected to someone who embodies a type or a concept.

I often see what seems to be a disconnect between ideologies expressed on social media (well, everywhere really) between the abstract concept and the living, breathing person who that concept represents. This is hitting me hard today because I have become one of those living, breathing people recently. Now it is personal. I am a freeloader. Yep. I am receiving government assistance (well I hope to anyhow. It has been a month already and I have yet to see a check). I am sucking the teat of the American Taxpayers. And I am not proud of this to be sure. I only say this now so everyone can put a face to that term. I want you to put Skin in the Game. Like all of my co-freeloaders there is a story behind how I got here. My story is probably more socially acceptable than most and so maybe you don’t catagorize me that way.   I don’t look like one of  ‘those’ people.  Not yet anyhow.  I believe that we are all able to get through our every day lives because we are able to look past how much our lives teeter on the edge of disaster. We just don’t think about it. How could we go about our days if we really embranced the possiblility of a car crash every time we drove or thought about what disease is growing in our bodies. Could we deal with being a stay-at-home parent if we realized that our income earning spouse could leave us high and dry tomorrow? Could we enjoy a dinner out if we realized that we could lose our job tomorrow and not be able to find a new one? Is it just too scary to have empathy for those FreeLoaders because we can’t face the thought that we could become one?

I was continuously employed for 36 years. And in an instant I was transported to the Land of The Unemployed. I was married for 15 years and instantly transformed into a Single Parent and the spouse of a gay man. I am blessed that my family would never allow me to end up on a freeway off ramp begging. I am blessed that my upbringing taught me about having a strong work ethic and taking care of myself and my own. I am blessed that my brain is healthy so I can think clearly. I am blessed that my addiction to food doesn’t cause me to hurt anyone but myself. I was blessed to have a mom who could babysit my kids for free so I could work without paying childcare. But I didn’t really earn these blessings. I was blessed with them. I could just as easily be raised in an environment where I did not learn that I had any value. I could have found myself with those two little children and no way of earning an income and no family to fill in the gap. What if I could only find a job that didn’t pay enough to cover child care– would I have stayed home to raise my children even when that meant using food stamps?

And about those illegal immigrants. Someone explain to me how people can recognize that living in a cardboard shack on the edge of a Tijuana dump is such a horrible living situation that they are willing to go build houses there but that same person is not willing to understand why those same Tijuanans are willing to do whatever it takes to care for their families? Even if that means breaking the law. I have worked with many hard working men who were not legal and wanted more than anything to become legal but could not navigate the system which is not set up to help them do the right thing. By the way, those men paid into the tax system and the social security system but the will never be able to reap those benefits. If you had Skin in the Game would you see them as criminals or people fighting to give their families a home that is safe and clean and has food on the table? Would you do anything less for your children?

I am part of a very large network of Christian moms who have LGBT children. I am proud of this group. We struggle to incorporate our Church community that tells us we cannot accept our children for who they are and still retain our faith. We are allowed to love the sinner, but we must reject the person. Some of us feel forsaken by the Church because we love our children and we love other people’s children who love our children. See, we have Skin In The Game. I know that, on first glance this may be seen as just accepting a sinful lifestyle because we feel forced to in order to have a relationship with our kids. But that isn’t it. It is because when our kids came out to us the LGBT community ceased to be merely a faceless concept and became real, living, breathing people. All of them. Not just our kids. They became our family. Our kids and our friends’ kids became connected to us.

I know that being funny is my usual spiel and I am really going out on a limb here to deviate into the serious and possibly offensive— but I feel passionate about this so it is worth the risk that some people will find my words just too corrosive.  It is worth it to me, right now, to take this little stand in order that some people will spend a little time re-thinking their point of view. If you know me, you KNOW me.  You know what I am like. Now you might know some things I feel strongly about that you didn’t know before.   More than anything now you Have Skin In The Game.  And you will always have my face attached to those words and concepts.   And I count that as a pretty good thing.

 

Cocoa Puff Musings….

Being fired “Let Go” feels a lot like being dumped by your spouse. It does for me anyhow. It starts out with a man looking at you and explaining that while there isn’t anything really WRONG with you, there isn’t anything really RIGHT about you either. And he is going to go a different direction. This is confusing to say the least. Coincidently the break up of my marriage and the break up of my employment both happened on the Friday before Memorial Day. I am always a little sensitive on this day anyhow and I have a feeling this isn’t going to help any.  

And every morning so far I have dreamed about my job in various ways: I am still working there but someone else is in my office.  A few days ago I had a dream where I was still going into the office and working all day- every day- but on my own stuff.  And finally someone came over and said “You don’t work here anymore you need to stop coming in here”.  Ala Office Space Red Stapler guy.

 

 

I keep waking up at 5:00am because my brain hasn’t gotten the message that we can sleep in now. As soon as my eyes open the brain starts buzzing about what I need to do and so I get up and get dressed etc and walk the dog wearing my new shoes and then start my job hunt for the day.

Job hunting in the year 2016 is not like it was the last time I was looking for work, which was actually BEFORE THE INTERNET WAS INVENTED in 1980. Now most of the kind of jobs I look for are applied for online via various employment search engines like Monster or Careerbuilder or Indeed (my favorite). And even the ones on Craigslist don’t tell you what company is seeking an employee- they just want your resume sent.  It is a LOT of pressure for this short, but concise, document. I had a longer, less concise document but Monster’s Free Resume Critique service said “OH MY GOSH YOUR RESUME IS WAAAAY TOO LONG NO ONE IS GOING TO READ ALL THAT!”

There are a lot of similarities to online dating, which I admit I tried many moons ago before I decided I really didn’t need to invite strangers to reject me on an ongoing basis. First you put together your profile (resume) which paints a glowing picture of how amazing you are. It stops just short of a perfection. This is necessary because everyone is doing this and so your prospective love interest (employer) has to have room to allow for hyperbole and adjust accordingly.   Here is a handy visual representation aka an Infographic.

 

So every morning I get up and make the virtual rounds of all the places that might have a new job posting. And I send out my resumes. And I send out a nice cover letter that lets them know that I really really want to work for them and here are some little tidbits that show that I have looked into their company (if I know who it is) and at least have a small clue of what they do there (stalking). For example I applied at a company that does training for Upset Recovery and discovered that this means that they teach pilots what to do if the poop hits the fan. Who Knew? You learn something new every day, as my Mother used to say.

Every fiber of my being wants to shout “ME!! ME!! PICK ME!! LOVE ME!!! I will do anything you want.  Hey, I will keep a candy jar filled on my desk for you!!  I will do your laundry.  Walk your dog. Paint a mural on your kids’ bedroom wall” Wait, that last one was something I pathetically actually did for a the last guy I dated.  In 1999.  Yeah.

Anyhow…… 

And then for whatever reason the prospective love interest (employer) makes a decision to pursue you or not. For me, in the case of the online dating, it was almost always not. So far, in the case of the online job hunting, it has also almost always been not. This is very frustrating. I didn’t post a picture (which I imagine is usually what killed the online dating) so I don’t know why they are not interested. Of course I have an Excel Spreadsheet of the particulars so that I know when about 5 days has passed to send out a little virtual note reminding them that I am still here! Hello prospective employer? Remember me? Experienced? Trustworthy? Cool person to have in the office? Candy?  Mural?  And there is, of course, a column in my Job Search Spreadsheet to report to the EDD just in case they ever decide to send me an unemployment check. Dear EDD: Here is a list of all the companies who rejected me this week. May I have more porridge, please?

I have found a wonderful new place to work on my job hunt.   This is necessary because, while I have a great home office, I also have this:

 

 

So I have been heading over to my sister’s house which feels like an amazing oasis of calm and productivity because it is toddler free so it is quiet and clean. She also has a very nice coffee service area set up (I swear this is really how her counter looks every day)

 And amazing snacks

 

 

 

 

 

(I ate all her Cocoa Puffs….. shhhhhhh) 

 

Utah Haiku

 Hello Friends:

Here is a quick update on my life:  Still unemployed.  Blah  Let’s talk about that later.

Meanwhile, it IS Tuesday which means a Haiku is in order.   Yesterday I returned from Utah.  Hence my topic.    Let us begin.

Family Wedding

We All Travel To Utah

To Cedar City

 

Utah Streets Are Weird

The Addresses Have No Name

Just Two Compass Points

 

Google Maps Says “NO”

Find Street That Does Not Exist

For Destination

 

And So I Get Lost

But I Get To See More Sites

And Cows, Sheep, Horses

 

 

Then We Have This Mess

A Scary Intersection

They Want Me To Die

 

There Is A Lighthouse

In The Middle Of The Town

Near Intersection

 

Why Is That Thing There?

I Ask Many Utah Peeps

No One Seems To Know

Have They Not Seen This?

And Wondered Why It Is There?

Hello?  Utah Peeps?? 

 

Wedding: Beautiful

Blessings To The Bride & Groom

(More On That Later)

 

Another Wedding

We Will Be Back In THREE WEEKS!

A New Bride & Groom! 

 

Cedar Is Pretty

And The People Are Friendly

The Birds- Not So Much! 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Unemployment Trip

When we last left our intrepid “Set Free” hero she was about to embark on a spontaneous adventure the likes of which she had never experienced.  

Early Saturday morning I was picked up by my driver (aka my Daughter In Law) and whisked away to Las Vegas.  Accompaning us were my son and sister. Along the way we listened to a mix tape they had put together that started out with “Take This Job And Shove It” and went downhill from there. It was loads of fun to sing along. We all had a lot of steam to let off: My daughter in law is also unemployed and there is a lot of stress to both my son and sisters jobs. We were all ready to be bawdy and silly and goof off. Which is exactly what we did.

In addition to the mix tape Jericho had also bought bright feather boas (which shed feathers all over the place), minion eyeglasses for herself and for me a button that said “Happy $&*%^ It Weekend” and a Grumpy Cat Hat. By coincidence I had worn a shirt they had gotten me for mothers day that featured a cat calling down lighting from the skies. So I looked a tad bit odd.

Here is proof:

 

(I am not angry, selfies take alot of concetration)  There may have been an excessive amount of alcohol consumption that night. I am not a drinker so for me this meant a sum total of two drinks: A champagne cocktail and some sort of rum drink with pineapple in it. We toasted our various current and former employers ala the song “I Pray For You” (CLICK HERE FOR LYRICS)

Saturday morning we got off to a great start when I put $5.00 in a nickel slot machine and hit a $817.50 jackpot. I didn’t even realize how much it was until Brandon came over and wondered why I wasn’t more excited. It was a Wheel of Fortune type and from the angle I was looking at it I thought it was 150 coins when it was actually 15,000 coins. That was really awesome and I came home with most of it less one celebratory dinner and a pair of good walking shoes.

Here is proof

In all the excitement I had almost forgotten that I had to submit a story I had written to an online Writer Competition.  I have never done that before.  It involved letting a bunch of anonymous people critize your work and make suggestions.  It was a really cool experience. It was good to see what other people ‘got’ from what I had written.  I don’t figure on winning and that is perfectly fine.  It is a learning experience for me.  I will let you know how that ends up.  The judges critique and all the stories are published online.  Anyhow I remembered at the last minute but luckily my favorite IT Yoda Master was with me and he helped me get it from my phone to my tablet. I am a bit of a techno geek having a desktop, 2 laptops, a tablet and a kindle fire. And I am just learning how to use Drive and Evernote so I can access everything from anywhere. Anyhow…..

 

After walking several hundred miles up and down The Strip in 10000 degree heat I realized that I am horribly out of shape. I pretty much knew that but after wandering around the M & M Store and hunching down on a display so I wouldn’t pass out I was positive that now that I have some “Set Free” time it is a good time to get some exercise in. So I made sure we stopped at the outlet mall outside of Vegas and got some good shoes. My dog is thrilled!

It took 6 solid hours of drive time to get home because there were a lot of people who, apparently, didn’t realize we didn’t want to spend the day in bumper to bumper traffic but we had our mix tape and lots of snacks and Brandon’s Pandora (lots of Redneck humor) we survived. 

I feel really so very grateful for my wonderful family and all the support I have gotten over this past week.

  

Being Let Go

 So, Constant Readers Whomever You Are….

I have been “Let Go”    What a marvelous euphemism for being fired or sacked or relieved of your professional position etc…

After 19 years in the same company, my services are no longer desired.

He says “We are letting you go because the company is going in a new direction and I do not trust that you will do the things I tell you to do” Which I interpret means “I am putting together a new fresh company and you don’t fit in.  You don’t do all the crazy things I ask of you without questioning me”  Which is true because there is a lot of crazy.  And the stories I could tell if I wouldn’t get sued somehow…… (but if you want to know I just message me in private

19 years.  I was 34 years old and married in 1997 when I started working there.  I was with that company longer than my marriage lasted. Most of my adult life.   I haven’t been on a job interview since 1979 because my jobs always came to me via word of mouth.  I have never been laid off, let alone fired. There isn’t even one write up in my personell file.

I am thrust into unknown territory here.   And I am more than a little terrified.

The good news for you guys is now I will have more time to write and a whole new vista of new material.

I wrestled between keeping this my deep dark shameful secret (because it really feels like that) and just “Coming Out” so.….

Here it is.  My blue bird has been set free.  She has been let go to find a better place.  

My wonderful family is taking me away to celebrate this new phase in my life because they totally rock and I am going to try to have a good time and start the job hunt in a few days.

Thoughts, prayers, good chi and flying fruits and vegetables all accepted gratefully.

Loves to you all! 

My Breakfast With Ray Charles

I know, I know…. I write a post about not posting and then there are posts two days in a row but I gotta tell you guys about this.

This weekend I went away overnight to spend some quality time with myself. I do this every so often just to clear my head. This weekend my goals where mostly twofold: #1) Think about my career (If you are someone I work with— why are you reading this?? No one I work with knows I write so go away. If you are not I may be thinking about getting more education and what that would look like or whether or not I am doing what is best for me.  See this?  |   |   Those are two lines.  Read between them) #2) Polishing up a piece I am writing for a Writers Contest.

In between that  I am doing some TV binge watching and coloring in my color book. By the way… I was coloring before it became a Thing. Just sayin

I arrive in my favorite getaway spot, Ventura, and head over to the local Barnes & Noble to drink coffee and use their WIFI for a few hours. Then I go over to the beach to watch the surfers (sadly no buffed out guys changing out of their wet suits in the parking lot this time. Is it weird that I set up a chair in the parking lot behind the VW Vans?) Soon it was time to eat. Since I am currently in a bad place with my diet I was looking for something tasty instead of something good for me. Sadly the entire universe is in town for the Strawberry festival so theire are big lines everywhere. I decide to go get Chipotle and take back to my hotel. 

After leaving Chipotle I start feeling the initial symptoms of low blood sugar. Now I gots da diabeeetes doncha know and mine does these ups and downs like crazy so when I start to feel it I know I gotta eat something to bring it up or I might possibly faint, go into a coma and die. So I stop at AMPM for some protein and my brain just up and stops working. So I am standing in AMPM in not so great a part of town trying to think- which is getting harder and harder. I know there is stuff all around I can get to help but I can’t figure out how to do it. So I am sure I look like I am drunk or drugged out or just an escaped dementia patient. Finally I grab a bottle of orange juice because I keep thinking of Steel Magnolias when they gave Shelby orange juice which is weird because I am not a super fan of that movie. Plus if I were go for something from that movie I would have looked in the Armadillo Cake Section. Since I could not find Armadillo cake but I could find orange juice I buy that and I get to my car and chill out for awhile until I stop shaking and my brain clears. And I am thinking I AM NOT SAFE TO BE ALONE! 

And maybe my brain was shutting down before I realized it because I get back to my room and realize I have no eating utensils whatsover. So I am looking around my room to see what I can use to eat with and find nothing. Well I did try using two pens as chop sticks. Now I am going to confess a few things here that are ridiculous. I realize they are stupid but I and you are going to be shaking your head, but I am going to tell you anyhow because I know you love me in spite of myself. I order a small salad from room service. There I said it. I ordered room service so I could get a fork because I ALREADY WAS DRESSED FOR BED DAMMIT and I was not going to leave my room. So that happened. And I ate my dinner and it was good. 

I woke up in the morning at 6:00am and could not go back to sleep. UNBELIEVABLE!! And my brain started working which sucked. So I laid there trying to schedule my day which was was not actually relaxing at all. Finally I got up and got dressed and decided to go grab something to eat in the hotel restaurant and get back to writing because I knew that today is the last day I can post a revision to my contest story and someone last night posted a really constructive criticism and I realized I really had to re-write the whole story. (And NO! I would NEVER use a run on sentence like that!) So I go to the restaurant and I am the only person there. Literally the only person in the whole place. And it is as quiet as a tomb would be if a tomb had Ray Charles music being piped into it. I was honestly kinda impressed with myself that I even knew who was singing cuz I am not a music person. There was one man working the restaurant and he just kinda floated in and out of the room occasionally which is exactly what you would expect if you were eating breakfast in a tomb with the ghost of Ray Charles. A Ghost Waiter. After about 10 minutes I couldn’t take it anymore. It was freaking me out so bad so I had him box it up and went back to my room. 

Let me descibe this room. This is at the Pierpont which is very old, historical Craftsman Style. It is not a cheap hotel (but again all those lousy Strawberry tourists are in town so my choices were limited) but very charming and has a lot of character. Their decorative style is a little hit and miss. Some of it looks very original and some is more modern. Like they just can’t quite figure out which way to go. My room has a fireplace which is kinda cool. The work desk, however , is horrible. In their defense they probably didn’t realize that I wasn’t here to go to the Festival so they may not have realized I needed a good desk. Because I AM A WRITER and I came here to WRITE! The desk is situated right outside the bathroom facing a brick wall. Yes, a real brick wall. It is painted of course, but still. I small desk facing a brick wall with no natural light and tiny small light fixtures is hardly encouraging creativity. So I have moved the desk so that it faces the sliding door which faces out toward the pool. So this is nice. And the fire place is off to my right and I have it running (gas) and I have the door open so I can hear the sounds of the freeway that runs about 300 feet away but I can also see a sliver of ocean so that is okay.  Because I am A WRITER and I have a GREAT IMAGINATION so I can convince myself that I am actually hearing the OCEAN!

I finish off the day by visiting the squirrels in front of the Crowne Plaza and I am pleased to see they are fat and sassy because last time I was there they looked emaciated and I worry about such things.

And I get in my car and drive home, stopping in Santa Clarita for my usual nap in the car because I can’t drive more than an hour without getting super sleepy.

The End 

Some Whine (Not Wine Dammit)

Gotta share what is on my mind tonight.    I have been going through some stuff.  You know what I mean… that crappy life stuff that just drags you down.  Nothing feels like what you want it to.  Work is… well, it is not fun anymore.  Home is….. messy and just… meh.  Everything is Meh.

Thinking it all over and trying so hard to figure out HOW TO FIX THIS CRAP is making me nuttier than usual and I am not coming up with a whole lot of answers.  But I am trying to get a grip.

Writing is one of the things I am trying to figure out.  I wish there was a way to spin my writing blogs or stories or whatever into something altruistic.  Or noble or something other than what I suspect is just a whole lot of attention whoring on my part. I mean unless you are writing about something that is actually going to help someone live healthier or happier– what other reason is there?   I want you to want me.  I need you to read me.  I want to have feed back or compliments or even irritated responses.  And when that doesn’t happen it makes me want to pick up my toys and go home.  I know there are a few of you who read.  At least maybe 15 people I am pretty sure follow what I do and I have decided to try really really hard to be content with entertaining you. 

This may sound anti-climatic to you but that is only because you do not realize the fantasy I have to give up to admit that this is it.  This is as far as this thing is going to go.  I am not going to have scads of people who follow me.  I am not going to be nominated for any blog awards.  I am not going to go viral.  I am not going to make an impact.  I am not going to be able to make money with my blog.  

Giving up– if I can do it– means letting go of a lot of things that pressure me.    Every writing course or advice book says you need to write constantly and consistently.  Well, I just can’t find enough to write about since my Resting Face changed from Resting Optimistic Face to Resting Bitch Face.  I cannot find the funny like I used to.  I can’t see the interesting like I used to.  My cats are still the same cats but why don’t I find them funny anymore??  And I let this stress me out to the point that none of it was fun anymore.  I have spent a lot of money on this blog trying to make it interesting and marketable and I need to stop that.  It is never going to start paying off. 

I need to stop obsessively looking up “Blog Tips” “How To Get More Twitter Followers”  “How To Get More Readers” “What are The Best Days and Times To Publish Posts” “How To Make Money With Your Blog”  on Pinterest and just stick with 10000 ways to cook with Cauliflower.  Because that, at least, has SOME FREAKING VALUE!

I wish I could say I wasn’t fishing for compliments here but that would be big stinking load of crap.  I am feeling sorry for myself.  I am trying to cut the cord on a dream and it really sucks, but trying to force something that just isn’t happening sucks too. 

So this is a BIG SHOUT OUT to those of you— my peeps, my crew, my homies– who I know read me and I am going to cater to YOU from now on.  It won’t be consistent so you will never know when there might be something from Geeez but hopefully it will be worth reading when it pops up.

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