Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Thursday, June 30, 2011

End Of An Era

Last day of work today, guys.  I jumped on the day early at 7:30am, as I was worried I wouldn't have enough time to finish everything I wanted to.  No extra chances for anything after today - my email and phone line would be shut down right after closing time.  I had so much work to do in the first place, (getting PO's collected to earn my bonus!) but I really wanted to have the time to talk to the special friends I wanted to, and to be able to thoughtfully compose and send a goodbye and "thanks for the fun" email to my team.  It was hectic, and it literally took me right up to 5pm.  I didn't shower or get dressed until the end of my work day (I'm such a pig) but I did have time to finish everything up right.  It was a good feeling, albeit bittersweet.  I'm going to miss these people, as maddening as they could be.  A couple of them - recent hires - who I hadn't gotten to know all that well called and said some really sweet, supportive things, and then I felt bad that I wouldn't have the opportunity to know them better.  And my favorites? - I could barely talk to them without getting teary.
Life keeps moving on, doesn't it?  It's a good thing it does, so we don't have too much time to wallow in melancholy and memories.  I could have rolled around in this for days, but I'm trying hard to just move on. It was tempting to keep my office set up as is, laptop connected, printer plugged in.  But when L and I came home from dinner and I could see that my phone line had been shut down and rerouted to the "replacement" by the company, I figured I wouldn't waste any time dismantling everything.
And it looks so nice and clean!  I've cleaned out the file cabinet and everything that's not being sent back is in the trash.  Love it.  And sad at the same time.  *sigh*  It'll take a few days to get used to it.
I believe I do have a job in the works.  Very hopeful.  I was able to discuss the possibility of it today, and it looks promising.  I'll keep you posted on that one.  If it works out, it will be a good thing for me.

My little Mia had her "real" birthday yesterday.  (The party she had in Mesa, AZ was way early so she could have her cousins and everyone over before they moved.)  I called her in the morning and she was so excited that it was her special day (again).  She told me that her cousin Santana told her that birthdays are not lucky or special days, and I told her that Santana was crazy.  That should settle it.
Mia's mom has a very clever friend that can crochet miracles.  Just look at the darling birthday headband she made for Mia's Special Day!

I don't know how she figured out how to crochet a cupcake (with sprinkles!) complete with flowers and a butterfly, but she did.  She has a shop on Etsy called Tanyas Tangles - you really should check it out.  Very clever and cute stuff.
Another pic of the birthday girl strutting her stuff:

She got to have lunch at McDonald's and play in the kidspace area as long as she wanted.  Her cousins Lexi and Matthew sent her birthday presents.  It was a good day for a very happy birthday girl.  You'll notice in both pictures Mia is also wearing a cute necklace.  Her mom makes those - MiaMoo Designs.  If you visit the website (or her Facebook page!)  you can see and buy her latest creations (this one is from the Lollipop Collection) and they're such fun to wear!  Katie's friend created her this little sign:


Tomorrow I'm going to spend the day with my friend Judy.  She lives in Huntington Beach and we're going to walk the pier, and just have a nice relaxing day.  It will feel good to decompress and unwind from this crazy last week of work.  Time enough next week to figure out my next move and work out details.  Stay tuned - I'm not dead yet.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Adorable In Denver

Nothing in particular has happened lately.  I'm still in my holding pattern, but nearing the end of the runway (this Thursday is The End).  I'm trying to not think about it too much - just carry on as usual and then quietly wave bye-bye.  The next two months will hopefully bring to light my next adventure, and I'm looking forward to discovering what it will be.
I think I did mention that it was Matthew's third birthday this past week.  And then I went and posted a few year old pictures of him.  I got lucky this week - his mother sent me a whole group of pictures they'd taken on an outing to a local lake.  They were scouting some spots to weekend camp and found this lovely lake about an hour and a half from their home.  What a great spot!  The kids were gathering dandelions and she shot some cute pictures of them.  I had some time tonight to retouch a few of them, and so here are some more current pictures of Matthew and big sister Lexi.

Proof that a bouquet of dandelions and wildflowers can be one of the most beautiful armful of flowers ever picked by small hands.  Who doesn't remember making a wish before blowing a poof of dandelion seeds to the wind?  These are memories inspired by fancy mixed with a bit of magic.  Looking at these images I'm seized by an overwhelming desire to hop a plane to Denver.  Tonight.
But I've saved my favorite picture for last.  Here is Matthew on his birthday - one excited little three year old boy.  Birthday cards tucked under his arm and so full of life and enthusiasm for everything a three year old's life includes.  I'm quite sure the possibilities are endless.

I think I'm in love.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Life & All It's Randomness

These weeks are flying by - sometimes a little too fast I think.  Maybe it seems too fast because I have no concrete plan for my future.  It feels like I'm flying so fast towards....what??  I have several resumes floating around "out there" but so far nothing concrete has happened.  And the weird part?  I'm not really concerned about it.  I don't really know why, but I'm not.   Once in awhile I'll get a little twinge in my stomach when I think about giving up my hair appointments or something else equally silly, but still a source of enjoyment.  But my overlying mood is not one of concern.  Maybe I'm an oblivious fool, but I prefer to think there's a plan out there somewhere, and I'll recognize it when I see it.
Most operations at work have been thrown into a bit of chaos because of our demise and other serious changes.  The collection of purchase orders from our customers has taken a hit - it's just been too hard to navigate around all of the crazy program changes.  And then I start to think about the fact that I've only got a week and a half left, and it's really hard to care about it at all.  But yesterday an offer was thrown out that got my attention.  Each district we've supported (I've had two) was given a bottom line amount that they'd like to see pending list shrink to or shrink below.  If we're successful in doing this by June 30th (our last day) we can earn ourselves a $250 bonus for each district - that's $500 for me, folks!  And - if the region as a whole reaches their goal, there's an additional $250 for us.  So potentially we have the ability to earn between $250-$750 as a parting bonus.
I was all over it today.  I sent emails to purchasing contacts.  I called them on the phone.  I worked really really hard all day long.  And it felt really good to have something to do again and feel useful.  For the last two months it's felt more like we were dying a long, slow death, and the people we'd spent years working with were, for the most part, feeling awkward and avoiding us.  You know how people are - they don't know what to say, so they avoid saying anything.  It's been hard.  But today, I felt like I'd gotten my Mojo back.
In the afternoon I got a nice surprise.  I was in the thick of PO chaos - still sending out emails, and trying to input received ones at the same time.  I was up to my eyeballs when a new email popped up asking me if I would be interested in a new position that had just become available within my company.  I don't know what it all entails - by the time I received the inquiry, everyone in Minneapolis had gone home, so I'll have to wait for tomorrow.  All I know is that is is an hourly position, and that, at least at first, it will be just part time - but it was hinted that it could work into full time within a short amount of time.  It is officially called a Project Coordinator - translate that to handling registrations for education programs.  Menial work, yes - but maybe I can just do it from home?  That would be awesome, as I've lost my desire to get up and dress all Corporate every day - although for the right price I could get enthusiastic, I suppose...
So now you know as much as I do.  First thing tomorrow you'd better believe I'll be on the phone to find out more about this possibility.  It might be a good thing, it might not.  But it was a delicious way to end a day that was one of the most satisfying I've had in a few months.  Doing your best work in a day just feels good, and a nice surprise at the end of it just adds to the pleasant anticipation of it all.


I want to give a shout out to my little grandson Matthew, who turned 3 this week.  I don't get to see him often enough, but whenever I think about him, I think of asking him a yes/no question and then hearing his soft little voice answer "Yep."  He's a darling little boy - a little blue eyed pirate among 3 princesses in our family.  He will have a new brother or sister in about 2 months, but for now he is still our only boy and we love him so, soooo much.  Happy Birthday Matthew!!  

Finally (this is a really random post) I wanted to share this U-Tube video.  L and I have been laughing over this one for weeks.  I can't seem to get tired of it, and it always makes me laugh.  I hope it does the same thing for you.  Enjoy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

That Dance Called '"Life"

Today was one of those days that begin and end in absolute perfection.  The sun was shining, the temperature was warm but not hot.  I had no unpleasant errands or tasks.  L got up a little bit before me and headed out to get his Saturday donut holes and tub of Diet Coke.  He brought me back a chocolate donut.  I had a 1:15 pedicure appointment, but there was plenty of time to get up and go for a walk together.
And it was gorgeous out.  Light cool breeze blowing, sun shining, lots of locals out walking the trail with us.  Absolutely glorious morning.
When we got home I had more than enough time to shower and get ready for my pedi appointment.  I chose a red polish that, when it's on your nails, looks exactly like ripe red cherries.  It's positively juicy looking, and I'll love looking at it for the next 2 weeks.  I love red, and this particular shade makes me want a cherry popsicle.  Yummy.
Home again, and L decided we should go to a movie and out to dinner.  We wanted to see "Super 8" so off we went to the 4:20 show.  L very kindly forgot that I am now a senior and paid an extra dollar for me to see the movie - even though I don't mind being a senior to save some money.  He winked and said he thought I was only 54.  He's a very nice man.   But back to "Super 8" - 2 thumbs up, or 4 thumbs up if you're counting both of us.  There are some glaring holes in the storyline details, but holy cow - it was so much fun to watch we just didn't even care.  And if you love 12-13 year old boys that are goofy and all over the place, you will love the characters.  The special effects were amazing, I truly loved all of the kids in the movie, and I even liked the ET deja vu at the end.  A really good summer movie.  Not too heavy on the conscience - just light summer fun.  Go see it.
And after the movie?  Dinner at The Crab Cooker.  I haven't eaten there in probably 8 years.  And their potatoes (ice cream scoops of cheesy twice baked mashed potatoes) are just as scrumptious as I remembered.  I had a combo skewer of fish, shrimp, and scallops and a cup of clam chowder.  So seafood fishy good.   A good way to end a good day with L.  It doesn't seem like I get a lot of these Saturdays with nothing in particular to do, so I relish the free choice of how to spend the day.  It feels luxurious and free.
Tomorrow is Sunday, and so it's back to duty.  A good duty, but an obligation all the same.  (And in my case, it's probably good for me to feel that obligation to stop and ponder about spiritual things, or who knows what mischief I'd be in?)  Sundays are going to church and then preparing for the week ahead.  I've been doing some serious thinking about what I want to do when my job ends in two weeks.  I've had some unusual ideas that I keep coming back to.  A completely new direction for me so I'm still thinking about it.  Collecting information and kicking the tires, as it were.  It would be easier to go back to what I've known, and I still may.  It mostly depends on what does (or doesn't) get offered.  But these newer ideas do have my interest piqued, and so I haven't completely decided what to do yet.
This summer will be an interesting time - not only for me with the decisions I need to make, but for my whole family.  Each individual or family group has something potentially life changing coming up:

1. Rex/Ronna & family - countdown to the new baby (sex unknown!) due September 2nd

2. Katie,/Zach & girls - have arrived and are loving Worcester, MA.  (Pronounced "Wussta" by the locals).  They've already made a trip to Cape Cod, eaten lobster, and signed Mia up for school.  Mia gets up every day to look out the window for snow.  It'll be awhile longer, sweetie...

3. Tim & Autumn - planning, planning, planning for that October wedding!

4. Scott & Ashley - Scott was laid off last week and is (like me) reevaluating what he wants to do in his career.  What started out as a bad day is turning into Opportunity knocking.  And their first wedding anniversary is tomorrow, June 19th!  Congratulations on their first year together!  They are a treasure...

5. Andrew - planning on taking more school this summer, and will start soon.  Each little step forward helps him gain strength and insight into his disease.  Each setback has been hard, but we keep learning from them.
Yep, families keep us busy.  But they also keep us balanced.  I can't get too mired down in my own worries when there is so much going on and so much to look forward to.  I just try to keep my feet moving forward as I perform this little dance we call Life.

Scott & Grandma "wheelchair dancing"  on his wedding day June 19, 2010
Grandma had Life's dance down...

I'm trying to learn my own particular steps, but they're different for everyone it seems.  
I think the trick is not to perform perfectly, but to perform them with great joy.
Thanks for the dancing lessons Grandma...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Good Luck Butterflies

I feel I've fallen down on my posting.  It's not as though nothing is going on - I'm just not sure it's fit for reading.  Lately my life consists of learning experiences, and you all know how I love those.  I just begin to recover from one when I'm hit with another.  I'm trying not to be tired, but I'm slowing.  Maybe that's a good thing as it forces me to be reflective and thus more careful in my reactions.  I simply don't have the energy to reach out and punch someone, which is what I really want to do.
It started on Friday with some rather traumatic news from a family member.  Nothing deadly or impossible to overcome but a definite setback.  I went into Mom Mode - and I wanted to hit someone, protect my chick.  But this chick is a gallant soul with a great heart and he will be fine.  (I still want to hit someone. It goes along with the Motherhood Territory.)
Friday night I couldn't sleep to save my life.  So I wound up on Facebook catching up on everyone's assorted lives.  I felt like a stalker so I switched over to a local hospital website, searching their job board.  There were some promising offers so I filled out an online application.  Ever hopeful.  Taking some action seemed to do the trick, and I slept.
Saturday was the ward picnic.  If you know me at all, you know how I hate ward activities. Hate. Them.  This one wasn't really well attended, but there we were with our dinner to BBQ and a Texas sheet cake as our dessert contribution.  It was okay.  I just don't ever feel totally comfortable at ward things.  It's a little disability of mine.  Large groups of Mo's together = me feeling antcy.  Possibly because in the 17 years I've lived here I've never really made any real friends. No real reason and no one's fault, except maybe my own.  When I moved in I was a working single mom.  Hard to make that demographic fit in anywhere, and it made me defensive and no-care.  I'm not a real joiner under the best of circumstances so I tend to get swept by the wayside.  My saving grace is L.  He is not a joiner either, but he IS my best friend, and I am his.  We're content in our splendid isolation from group activities - until we have to go to one.  Then we make the best of it.  And I guess we grow.  Hopefully we do.
Katie and the girls blasted off to Boston on Saturday morning.  They already had an invitation for dinner at another resident's apartment on Sunday, and members of their ward at church had made them feel welcome.  One resident's wife from Utah told Katie she'd been there only 10 days and absolutely loved it.  I have high hopes.  Although Katie woke up Sunday morning with some kind of fierce stomach virus, and wasn't able to even get out of bed all day, she is out and about today getting their lives settled. Worcester has opened their arms to them, and I'm grateful.  I can stop worrying (temporarily) about that little family.
I woke up myself Sunday with a headache.  At first I blamed it on the ward picnic, but then I remembered I'd been called to be an assistant librarian at church.  Kick me now.  You couldn't have picked a room in the building that gags me more than that dusty nasty room.  My mood darkened.  I cried in the shower.  Not so much about the librarian gig as just aboutt life in general right now.  But definitely partially about the librarian gig - let's be honest.  I just never seem to land callings that are interesting.  I get pianist calls.  And now an Asst Librarian call.  I know we're not supposed to aspire to this or that calling but I would dearly love to do something that's at least interesting.   BUT - as usual after I throw a little tantrum - I began to have little thoughts.  Quiet thoughts.  Thoughts that said, "Just do it for a month. Four times.  How hard is that?  And then you can see how you feel."  And I calmed down.  I could feel myself relax a little.  And I marched to the library, and it's still an icky room, but it wasn't as bad as I thought.  So we'll see how it goes.
I was able to go over and see my aunt for a little bit on Sunday evening.  She's having a hard time since my grandmother's death.  She's grieving hard.  She not only lost her mother, she lost a best friend and companion.  She lost what she considered her life's work and her reason to live.  She is having a hard time trying to find out who she is now and what she wants to do with herself.  She is difficult to be around, but I love her so much.  I gave her my old office chair.  The $700 one.  I like to think it gave her a teensy reason to live.  That chair would give anyone a reason to live - it's that comfortable.  I am so happy to help her and do what I can do, but at times I get tired of the burden of feeling responsible for her well being.  When we have a good visit, it's all worth it, but for the next little while I know it will be up and down, back and forth on the sanity scale.  I'm thinking grief counseling would be a good idea.  Anyone know if that could be useful?  Even if it is, I'd have to talk her into it and that won't be easy.  It's very hard to talk her into doing anything good for herself.  Stubborn old woman.  It's probably how I'll be at her age.  Scares the crap out of me.  I can only hope I'll be as selfless and giving.
I went outside at lunchtime and sat in the sun.  It's the first real sun we've had in almost a week, and it felt so good!  I watched two Yellow Swallowtail butterflies skittering through the air.  I remember when I was a child we would see Monarch butterflies all day long (now a rarity) but Swallowtails were so special to see.  I rarely see them anymore and today there were TWO.  A good luck sign?  I'll take it as such.  And welcome.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Have Some Cheese With That Whine?

Today was the day I had to meet my "successor" and my boss to hand over all of my cosmic information about key accounts and my contacts in each one, and any other information that will help her be successful.  Grrrrrr...  I struggled mightily with it.  When I was first asked to do it, I hung up the phone and cried.  Not that I expected the world to stop or anything, but a little less business as usual would have been nice.  I toyed with the idea of giving her some information, but leaving out key details.  How delicious.  A recipe for disaster.  That would show them.  *heavy sigh*  In the end, my better self won out and I sang like a canary.  I just couldn't walk away knowing I'd not done my best.  But oh... I wish you could have seen my Academy Award winning performance.  I was kind.  I was gracious.  You wouldn't have ever guessed how truly resentful I was feeling.  At one point I could feel my boss  watching me - probably looking for some kind of sign that I was ticked off.  After nine years he knows me pretty well. I just never met his eye, and I'm sure he knew it was on purpose.  At the end of the meeting, when there was nothing left to say, I got up to leave, I was thanked, I lied and said it was my pleasure, and I walked down the hall to the office of my old coworker Teresa so we could go to lunch.  
What a relief it was to get outta there!  Teresa is British and has such a wicked sense of humor that only the  British seem to have.  She had me laughing in no time.  She was good medicine for me today and I'm truly grateful for her friendship.  We laughed and noshed and gossiped at Prego's over big bowls of pasta, and it was like no time had passed since we'd all moved out of our old office.  I was so lucky to have worked with such great girls for the nine years I was there.  So. Lucky.
So now what?  I'm just going through the motions every day.  Some days I'm busy all day, and other days I have plenty of time to do the wash, play Scrabble games on my i-Phone, or read a book.  I'm sure my last day of work will come all too quickly.  I tell myself I'm looking forward to getting all of the work crap and paraphernalia out of my office (the phone, the extra files, the laptop), but it's going to be a hard day all the same, and reality will set in.  Teresa says she will plan an extravaganza for my last day so we have some laughs.  I'll need them.  I really will.  She has the knack of making me feel sassy and important, rather than deflated and depressed.
What I'm trying most not to do is to let desperation set in.  I don't want to feel inadequate or like a big loser.  I've gone through a couple of days like that already and it wasn't pretty.  I'm trying to keep up the belief that there really is something better in store for me, for us.  I'm trying not to be scared - scared that I won't find another job, scared that I'll disappoint my husband, scared that I won't be able to afford to get my hair done and get pedicures anymore.  ( I KNOW - that's a very petty fear, but I've grown comfortable with those luxuries and I really really like them...) I also love to buy my grandkids things and having a job allowed me to do lots of spoiling.  With them all so far away, it's been something that's helped me feel more connected to them.  
So there will be changes.  Perhaps they'll be temporary.  Perhaps not.  I hate change, as do most people.  It's unsettling, it gives me a headache.  But I'm convinced it makes us grow.  I'm trying really hard to do the right thing - to be proactive, to be brave, to be (ugh) thrifty.  I hate thrifty.  I hate limits.  But I do like to be comfortable and not scared, so that's one thing I need to discipline myself to be.  I need to stretch like Gumby and do things that aren't comfortable or familiar so I can reach my goals.  Sometimes life is just not fun.  I'm just praying that my "personal growth" won't involve forcing me to let the gray in my hair grow in.  Am I vain?  Yep - you bet I am.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Going Bohemian & All Chef-Like

Today is a funky day.  I have a hair appointment in 3 days (thank goodness).  My hair, I feel, is tired of being blown dry, grown weary of being tortured each morning by flat irons or curling irons.  And I'm bored, quite frankly, of messing with it every day.  (See what working from home does to you?)  I'm giving the hairs on my head a little gift today.  They are baby fine, and alternate between loose corkscrews in the back and sides, to mild waves on top, and today - maybe today only - I am letting them freely frizz, curl, what have you.  Bounce, and curl, and be out of control to their delight and freedom.  They deserve a rest from product and heat.  And I deserve a rest from 30 minute styling sessions.  (I have a lot of hair.)  Let the frizz and volume disguise the gray today.  Today I am bohemian and free from styling woes.
We watched the movie "The Devil Wears Prada" the other night.  I remember the first time I watched it I thought that Anne Hathaway looked sooo much better after she was styled up, her hair smooth and coifed. This time I wasn't so sure.  She's hard to wreck, but I sort of loved her free, no fuss look.  Maybe it's just where I'm at these days.  I see no one each day except the gardeners and the random runner when I go out to walk.  I'm in a different mode from when I had to get up at 5:30am to slather, smooth, straighten and primp myself into a corporate image.  I'm sort of happy with the casual look I see in the mirror these days.  I'm rested, the RA is taking a mini hiatus, and I don't feel the need to look perfectly put together every day.  Before you start feeling sorry for L, just know I'm a lot more fun this way.  And I'm more punctual, which is big with L.
And I've been cooking.  Oh my goodness, have I been cooking!  I fiddle around in my office during the day, alternating between what little for work there is to do (when you're being phased out, all of a sudden there's not that much to do), and doing little chores around the house or out on the patio.  I have time to read in the sun a little bit every day.  And I have time to think about, and prepare dinner.  So far, I've mostly been drawing from The Pioneer Woman recipes.  They're glorious.  And easy.
One night we had a chicken salad.  But before you start yawning, here's what it had in it: diced red onion, diced celery, fresh sweet corn (you heard me: as in NOT COOKED), sliced grilled chicken breast.  The dressing was a light, fresh creamy dill dressing consisting of sour cream, half and half, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, the juice of one lemon, and dill.  Hmmm... maybe not so light, but it TASTED light.  And you barely put enough on to just coat everything.  Then you tossed in some fresh blueberries. Yep - it added a light touch of sweetness besides the corn.  The final touch was a tossing of feta cheese on top.  It was YUM.  We decided that maybe next time we'd BBQ the chicken with just a little bit of raspberry chipotle sauce to give the whole thing a little sweet, spicey kick.
Last night we grilled ribeye steaks in 2 Tablespoons of butter.  While that was going we sauteed and carmelized slices of yellow onion.  When they were carmelized, in went a cup of heavy cream.  (heaven help me)  When that reduced down to about half, in went 1/2 c of blue cheese.  When that was melted you put a scoop on each plate and placed your steak on top.  I can't even tell you how divine, how DECADENT that was.  It was a Heart Attack Steak.  I had to put in extra duty walking last night but I am unrepentant.  I would make that again in a second.
Tonight: grilled chicken and pineapple quesadillas, and some leftover fajitas.
So my hair might be frizzy and crazy, I may not wear much makeup, and I definitely don't fuss much with wardrobe *combined sad sigh for L*  BUT -
There's an amazing dinner prepared every night by moi, and I'm happy, healthy and relaxed.  *fist pump for L*  And I haven't had to fill my car up with gas in 5 weeks.  I think that makes the bohemian wife with the crazy hair more worth it to him.

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