Sunday, July 31, 2005


Just blew back into town after a quick trip to see the family. I was barely gone 24 hours, and eight hours of that was spent on the road, driving. Add another eight hours for sleeping and well, like I said, it was a quick trip.

But I needed to put in appearance at my future brother-in-law's surprise birthday party, and I knew that Mom and Dad really wanted to see me before I left for the west coast. They will worry about me while I'm gone.

Had a little excitement as I was walking the dog around the yard this morning. I saw a snake. It didn't move, so I thought/hoped it was dead, but my mom sprayed it with the hose (from a very safe distance of 40 feet or so) and it moved, so she called my dad out to kill it. I said to just let it be - it wasn't that big, and as long as it wasn't a rattlesnake, I wasn't worried. But I'm not the one who goes out there and hangs clothes on the line, sometimes barefoot, so Mom prevailed.

I haven't seen a snake in a long, long time. And I'm not sure I could have killed it myself. Dad pinned it down with the hoe, but he didn't quite finish it off until I brought him the shovel and he was able to thoroughly squash it between the metal blades. I did my part by carrying the shovel across the road and laying it on the shoulder to rot in the blazing sun.

I probably wouldn't have lasted long on the prarie.

I'm getting excited about my trip, although I am feeling angst about all the stuff I haven't done for these stupid fund raisers I agreed to help with. Why didn't I just say no? I think it was because I thought if I wasn't working, I needed to have something to do to keep me busy, and certainly these are the types of things I know how to do.

The only thing I forgot is that I hate doing fund raising.

Screw it. I'm going to do what I can in the next 48 hours and then everyone be damned. I'll be on a plane headed west and I won't be back for nearly two weeks. But don't worry - the laptop is coming with me, as is the digital camera and the cell phone. Oh yes, you're coming with me! It's gonna be great.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Unemployment: Day Twenty

Things are going well. Maybe too well.

Had a call from an acquaintance yesterday who is aware of my employment status. Turns out he has a job available, but it's not really one I want. He's doing a search but is afraid he may not be able to fill it, at least not as quickly as he would like. He asked if I might be interested in doing some consulting/contractual work. I might. We'll talk when I get back from the west coast.

Then I sent in my resume to a local bank. I'm probably overqualified for the job I applied for, but maybe they have something else available.

Went to the Chamber of Commerce mixer last night and saw a guy who has offered to let me edit his organization's newsletter. I've told him yes, but not until September. Just have too many things going on. Ran into a mortgage loan consultant who seemed to think that I could be a good mortgage broker.

What to do ... which direction to turn? It's great knowing that I have so many options. And today I choose to go see an early afternoon matinee of "Must Love Dogs" with my faithful sidekick, Susan. Have a great weekend, all.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Unemployment: Day Eighteen

Now I've seen it all.

Seriously, I love a gimmick. Now, I'm not going to run out to Target and buy their fall line, but I enjoyed the stunt.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Unemployment: Day Sixteen

Okay, so I'm feeling a bit better today.

Had an early meeting and came home and promptly knocked off the four follow-up items on my list. Did a few other things and then went to the gym and worked out for an hour. Am procrastinating for a few minutes here before I try to finally finish the last lingering details related to my position as treasurer for a statewide organization.

I almost don't want to mention it, because I try to keep the really personal details of my life in the infamous other blog, but part of the reason I'm feeling better is because after creating that whiney post yesterday, I spent the afternoon with this man. I've been seeing Rich for about a month now, and I think he likes me, he really likes me. Who knows what will come of it, but for now I'm just going to go with the "it's so great knowing that there is someone who enjoys being with me and who is excited to see me" feeling.

Kinda like having a dog. Except he feeds me and I don't have to take him for a walk or let him out to pee in the middle of the night.

2:14 p.m. NEWSFLASH!

My sister is getting married. Finally. Her significant other actually proposed in February, but she hadn't told anyone about it, and they hadn't made any plans. I guess my brother-in-law to be had had enough, because when they went to Cleveland over the weekend to see the Indians play, he proposed in a big way.

The mascot came with a dozen roses and there was a camera crew there to post it on the jumbotron. He gave her a ring and everything and my brother and sister-in-law were with them to capture the moment. How incredibly romantic.

It should be. He's only had 20 years to plan this.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


I have a bad case of the couldashouldawoulda's.

There are so many things I could be doing. Things I should be doing. Things I would be doing if only I were motivated.

I can't even loaf properly.

I need to do laundry. I should be weeding the garden. I should be writing some overdue thank you notes. I could go to the gym and get in a proper workout. I'd like to copy more of my CD's into my laptop so I can upload to my iPod. I want to upload some flickr photos and update my birthday blog. I was up late last night and I got very little sleep - I really should get some rest.

But there is no rest for the weary. For some reason I'm unable to push all this aside and escape into blissful sleep. Too many thoughts. Too much clutter and confusion. I could be doing some work for the fund raiser I agreed to chair. Or the other fund raiser that I agreed to help with - especially since I have an 8:00 a.m. committee meeting tomorrow. But I can't justify spending the mental energy on that now. Am I already asleep? Is that why this post is coming out all garbled?

Why am I suddenly unable to prioritize? I feel so inadequate. I am unemployed and I have all the time in the world. So why can't I get anything done? Okay, this is just the way it is at this moment. There. I got that off my chest.

But I really hate this feeling, and I hate the way it has come out on my keyboard.

Don't be surprised if this post disappears.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Holy Smoke

I just set off the smoke detector.

All I was doing was toasting a multigrain muffin. It didn't even burn, but because the house is so shut up, the little bit of heat smoke from the toaster oven set off the detector. Nothing like the shrill shriek of a smoke detector to wake you up.

Still enjoying the loafing ... I think. I've had a headache off and on for the last few days. Combination of the heat and humidity and going in and out of air conditioning, I think. Combined with lack of sleep and lack of exercise (haven't been to the gym for a workout in over a week) and my body is just rebeling.

I am trying to take care of myself. I even went to the doctor yesterday and had my blood pressure checked. When I was in South Carolina last week with my parents, we were talking about all our aches and pains as older people are wont to do, and somewhere along the way the blood pressure monitor came out. And I blew 140/100 several times.

But yesterday the doc said it was 116/84 so I'm not going to sweat it. Many of the home units aren't calibrated properly, I'm told. I just don't want to have to go on medication, especially now that I don't have any health coverage.

I've been out to dinner every night since Wednesday. Susan and I had a great meal at a locally renowned restaurant, and I have photos from that evening that I threatened to post, but I think I'll keep them to myself. Then on Thursday it was dinner with some girlfriends from my women's group. One of them just bought a new high priced condo in town, and it was lovely. I can't imagine ever spending that kind of money on a condo, but if you have it and that's how you want to spend it, more power to you. And last night it was dinner with Rich followed by an unplanned boat ride with his friends. Nothing like a clear crisp summer night on the lake to make you think "life is good."

Yes, life is good.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Unemployment: Day Fourteen

Whoops - really lost track of the days there. Forgot that I'm not counting the weekends in my unemployment count. Also didn't count July 4 as that was a holiday. So, I've been unemployed for two weeks now.

I've received my last paycheck, so the panic should set in sometime soon. Especially since I haven't curbed my spending habits. Plane tickets and hotel rooms don't come cheap, but I'm not going to deny myself - I am going to travel this summer. And the travel continues into the fall - Susan and I are taking a cruise after Thanksgiving.

But lest you think I'm developing bad habits, I'll have you know that I just spent the last two hours preparing a cover letter and resume. The good folks at the unemployment office are going to be asking me what I've done to find a new job, and I can now tell them that I have applied for this position. There is another job that I'm going to apply for tomorrow - but for now, to the pool.

It's just too glorious a day to spend inside.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Unemployment: Day Fifteen Thirteen

I'm too busy to blog.

Catching up on chores - just mowed the lawn and spread some miracle grow. Need to to some other cleaning and then it's off to have dinner with Susan. Just wanted to check in and tell you all that I made it safely home from South Carolina. Everyone is safe and intact although I thought Mom and Dad might come to blows somewhere around Harrisburg PA.

Gotta run - will check in again tomorrow or Friday.


Monday, July 18, 2005

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Unemployment: Day Eight

Finished packing and drove four hours to the old homestead. The thermometer on the bank said it was 100 degrees - and that's without the humidity! Hopped in the pool as soon as I got here, but it felt like bath water. Brother # 1 and his wife and son were here for dinner; Brother # 2 and his wife and dog came by later for a swim. Sister called in her greetings. We leave at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow for South Carolina.

Probably won't be posting, at least not daily. I may write posts and then post them when I get back early next week. Or I could do an audio post or two, hmm? See you when I see you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Unemployment: Day Seven

Got a lot done yesterday.

Busy day today - up at 6:00 a.m. to do my weeding and I'm headed to my pilates class at 9:00 a.m. Then, lunch at noon to help plan a fund raising event in the fall. Followed by errands - a stop at the travel agency, the flower store, and probably Wal-Mart. I need furnace filters.

I'm getting ready for that big trip to South Carolina with my parents. Have already started packing the car with things I want to be sure not to forget. There are a couple of jobs I saw in the Sunday paper (I knew I shouldn't have looked!) that I should apply for before I head out of town. If for no other reason than to tell the folks at the unemployment office that I applied.

Updated some of my plans for the west coast trip yesterday. My friend Martha is SO excited that I'm going to visit. Man - I'm tired. Feels like I put in a full day already. Later.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

My Dad's Old Sweater

As I'm cleaning my closets and sorting out my life, I've come across a number of articles about which I've needed to make some hard decisions. One of those items is my dad's old sweater.

I co-opted it sometime in high school. I'm not sure if it really was a letterman's sweater or not, and I'm pretty sure my dad was never much of an athlete and he certainly didn't have any letters to hang on it, but I always thought of it as a such, and I liked wearing it around.

Of course it was too big for me, but back then, oversized was cool. I took the sweater with me to college and would pull it on in the dorm when it was chilly. The sweater graduated from college with me, minus at least one button. It stayed with me as I got my first job and after I got married. Somewhere along the way I purchased a newer, more appropriate sweater, but I still kept this one.

I kept it through my job change in 1999 and my separation in 2000. The sweater made its way into my office where it hung on the back of my door, and sometimes I would pull it on in the winter rather than turn on the heat.

All of the buttons are gone now. The sweater is pilled and bedraggled. It was one of the last things I took from my office before I left for good on June 30. And now, as I clean my closets and try to make sense of the disorder in my life, I have to decide the fate of my father's sweater.

I want to keep it. It's like a security blanket now, and just looking at it reminds me of the many years we spent together. I don't know how I can just throw it in the garbage. And if I don't keep it, that is what I must do - throw it in the garbage. It's not something I can donate or give away. It's not just old, tired, dirty and worn - it's mine and it's filled with memories that I don't want to share with anyone else.

I just came back from a visit with my parents. Even though he just turned 61, my father is getting older now, and in some ways I fear that the end may be near. His father died in his early sixties and his uncle died at 54. I know it sounds fatalistic, but my father may not have too many years left. So how can I throw out his sweater?

When I left my parents the other day, I hugged my dad and told him I'd be back next week. I can still feel the tight bear hug he gave me, and the scratch of his beard on my cheek. And I will be back next week, and I'm going to be driving with my parents to South Carolina to visit my father's cousins - cousins he never really knew. I am going to be spending some good old fashioned quality time with mom and dad.

And the memory of that will last longer than the sweater.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Unemployment: Day Four

Spent most of yesterday on the road. Came home by way of the outlets and bought myself the cutest little skirt for $12.50. Got suckered into a matching cami which I thought was only $10 but that was only if I bought two for $20. Paid $16 for it which was too much, but it totally goes with the skirt and is an awesome color so ...

Got some unemployment paperwork in the mail today. Because I worked for an educational institution, there may be some delay while they assure themselves that I won't be returning to work in September. Trust me, I won't. At least not there. Promptly filled out the questionnaire and sent it back.

Have been doing a whole lotta nothing today - I've actually been busy and on the go since 8:00 a.m. but I'm not sure I have much to show for it. It's been overcast and gloomy all day, so it's a good day to be inside cleaning closets which is what I was doing before I took a break to write this post.

I just suddenly realized that I'm hungry - I never had lunch. Those four strawberry margarita bon-bons don't count. Okay - back to the cleaning and organizing. Hope you're having a great day too!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Unemployment: Day Two

All hell is gonna break loose.

It is 7:21 a.m. and my mother is asleep on the swing out by the pool. Her deaf puppy is tearing up a potted plant. Boy, is she gonna yell when she sees that.

I don't know where my father is - his truck is gone. He's upset because someone (me) left the pool gate open last night and the cat escaped.

I think I'm in trouble.

3:22 p.m. All's Well That Ends Well

The cat came home and Mom never made a peep about the dirt strewn across the pool deck. She's getting soft in her old age. Or as I like to kid her, she loves the pets more than she loves me.

Have been making travel plans today. I'm going to the west coast in August to visit some friends (old and new) and to see places I've never seen. When I told my sister where I was going, she asked who I knew out there and when I told her no one, she was incredulous. I'm not worried - I don't have any problems being with myself.

Just came back from a walk. It was raining this morning and even though it's hot and sticky out there, I wanted to stretch my legs. It's interesting being in the house where I grew up. I remember when we first moved here, we were the second house on the right side of the road. Now there are half a dozen homes before you round the curve and see the old homestead.

I remember riding my bike up and down the road, and in the summer when it got hot, the tar on the road would bubble up and we'd pop it with our bare feet. And the house at the end of the road where I used to babysit for $5/day with the weeping willow tree in the back yard - the weeping willow is no more.

It's a very rural area, so there are no sidewalks, and not really even much of a shoulder to walk on. Dogs would bark and half heartedly get up to chase me, but then they would sit back down and pant quietly. The corn is waist high, and I caught a big whiff of cow manure as I walked past one of the few functioning farms left on the road. I passed by the barn where once upon a time there had been a milk vending machine. I remember occasionally riding my bike to get a half gallon of milk from that machine.

I wonder how people make a living around here. Somehow, they manage. I noted the changes, but mostly I marveled at how much things have remained the same.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Out of Whack

My whole system is out of whack.

Blame it on the alcohol.

Ever since that wicked hangover in February, my tolerance for alcohol has been unpredictable. I can't drink nearly as much as I used to, and now when I overindulge I get the biggest goddamn hangovers. Yeah, I know. You gotta stop drinking.

But how could I not have a drink or two yesterday? I got up early, walked downtown for breakfast, went to the post office and the farmer's market, took care of a few things in the yard, and then went to the lake with Rich. Where we sat in the sun and drank for about six hours. By the time dinner was served, I wasn't hungry but I managed to eat some salmon, pork, sausage, pasta and bread. What a feast!

Then we went out on the boat to watch the fireworks from the water, and the headache started to set in. Rich was great - we just snuggled into our corner and kept each other warm. When we got back on shore, I made the mistake (?) of taking some ibuprofen, and sure enough, half an hour later, just a mile and a half from home, I had to ask Rich to pull over.

There's absolutely nothing sexy about puking on the side of the road.

But Rich was a trooper. Actually, I think he was just glad that I didn't puke in the car. Apparently he had a date do that to him about a year ago. He brought me home, literally tucked me into bed, and then he went home.

I may have to keep this one around for a while.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Unemployment: Day One

It's official. I am now unemployed.

Tried signing up for the dole this morning, but if I apply today, my claim is retroactive to June 27. I have to wait until Independence Day to file my claim. How poetic.

Haven't posted the last two days because I was kidnapped Wednesday afternoon. I had planned on having dinner with Susan after getting my hair done, but she had to cancel so I ended up stopping by to see my occasional love interest, George. We drank some wine and then went out to dinner. And then he tied me up and kept me captive Wednesday night. I tried to escape yesterday, but he wouldn't let me go. He forced me to run errands with him and then he served me more wine and took me out to dinner. And then he tied me up again and kept me for another night.

He let me go this morning, but only after I helped him Swiffer up the sawdust in his house.