Monday, December 31, 2012

Until We Meet Again - Those We Lost in 2012

♪♫ "Oh, i could hide 'neath the wings of the bluebird as she sings...." ♫♪

Ah, those eyes! That smile! Images of a teen heartthrob that will always stay with me.

♪♫ "...And for once in my life I'm alone,
and I've got to let her know just in time before I go."  ♫♪

That voice! That sweet grin! I can still remember the words to those iconic songs even in my sleep.

Gone too soon. All of them. I  believe they all still had so much more to contribute to this world. But for some unknown reason, God chose to take them home. I have to satisfy myself with feeling blessed that I had them in my life as long as I did and that their legacy lives on in the lyrics, the recordings, the films, the tapes, the stories, the sports and news archives.

Ladies and Gentlemen, my list:

10 Iconic Individuals We Lost In 2012

10.   Whitney Houston
9.     Johnny Pesky
8.     Andy Griffith
7.     Jack Klugman
6.     Phyllis Diller
5.     Neil Armstrong
4.     Davy Jones
3.     Kitty Wells
2.     Dick Clark
1.     Robin Gibb

Honorable Mention: Sally Ride

Did you lose someone special in 2012? Was there a notable individual who impacted your life who passed away?

Jesus is waiting for you.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

TOP 10 SONGS OF 2012 - IMO

Like everyone else around the world (i.e. those who use the internationally accepted Gregorian calendar), it's time to look back at 2012 and get all misty eyed as we take a stroll down memory lane and reminisce of what was. Get the tissues out.

We're about to be inundated with the media's and everybody else's top 10, 12, 47, whatever lists. There's going to be lists like:

** Top 10 Celebrity Breakups (or makeups, divorces, stork visits, etc.) **

** Top 10 Headlines ("Mayans: World To End!" "US Falls Off Cliff! "iPhone 100...Geeks Rejoice!") **

** Top 10 Baby Names (If its in a movie, it's on a million birth certificates...can you say "Bella"?) **

I think you get my drift. So ok. I don't want to be left behind. I'll jump on this bandwagon. How's this?

TOP 10 SONGS OF 2012 - (in my opinion)

10.  Back in Time - Pitbull
9.    Brokenhearted - Karmin
8.    Legendary Child - Aerosmith
7.    Keep Your Eyes Open - Need to Breathe
6.    Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5
5.    Back to the Start - Anthony Gomes
4.    Sweetest Sin - Saints of Valory
3.    Pontoon - Little Big Town
2.    Everybody Knows She's Mine - Blackberry Smoke
1.    Already Yours - Amy Gerhartz

    ME -><- AMY

Mind you, this is not a scientific analysis or based on the Billboard charts. These are just the songs that I found myself humming along to a LOT during the past year.

And there you have it. My first stab at joining the masses.

How about you? Got a top 10 list for 2012? C'mon give it a try. Movies? Trends? Sports moments? What ya got?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Quiz of the Day: Job or Career or Both?

If it's Friday, it must be payday!

Is that you? Does your job consist of 40 hours and a paycheck? Or do you think of the time you spend devoted to employment as a step in your career and your wages as a welcome benefit? Does it have anything to do with loving what you do?

In other words, do you have a JOB or a CAREER? Is there a difference?

Photo Credit - o5com (Flickr)
Pathways to new employment

Saturday, December 22, 2012

All Good Things Must Come to an End - And That Includes Vacation

I'm home. Back in my own old lumpy but comfy familiar bed. Surrounded by my forgiving dogs and kitty. They've gotten over their irritation with us for being gone so long. We're all back to normal, whatever that may be.

In a previous post I mentioned how our vaca was in 2 parts: first we visited oldest son in the Orlando area and then we visited youngest son and his family in the FL panhandle. We were relieved to see that the grandchildren were very happy to see us! Of course, not unexpectedly, the first words out of their mouths was something along the lines of "What you got for us in your luggage?" After all, our 4 year old grandson thinks hubby is "Papa Claus".

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What Works?

On the flip side from my last post, I read another quote recently: "Nothing will work unless you do." - Maya Angelou.

That I believe. Do you?

I whole heartedly believe in working hard to achieve a goal. Sure, it'd be great if it all came easily. Lord knows, I've prayed for easy solutions and outcomes. Because let's face it, work is hard!

We all know people who want to take the easy road. If they have to work at something, they'll do their best to find the easy work-around. Maybe they're lazy? Maybe that's what they learned growing up so it's the only way they know? Maybe the easy way worked once and they're waiting for lightening to strike again?

Let me share a story: I have a good friend who likes to enter sweepstakes. She's been pretty successful and often shares her good fortune with family and friends. Many call her "lucky". Some have been jealous. But she'd be the first person to tell you how hard she works. She doesn't depend on luck. She invests a lot of time, effort, and, yes, WORK into her hobby. And it pays off. As I believe it should. She's not firing off an entry blank here and there. She's at it day and night. Follows the rules to the letter and supports the sponsors. But her critics still claim she's "lucky". They pout and say they never win. Well, as she often replies, "You can't win if you don't enter." Which to me means, how do you expect to get anything if you don't put any effort into it?

I truly believe if you put your heart and soul into something, then you'll reap the fruits of your labor. Sometimes you might not get exactly what you want or what you hoped for but you may get what you need (see "You Can't Always Get What You Want" - Jagger/Richard).

For me, the satisfying feeling of accomplishment is multiplied ten-fold when I've succeeded at something I tried really hard for. So yes, not much will work for me unless I do. It's up to me. Make it work!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Confucius Says - I'm Confused!!

Did you ever hear the saying by Confucius: "Choose a job you love, and you'll never have to work a day in your life."

I've heard it many times but not sure if it's entirely accurate. What do you think?

I mean I get it. It's supposed to mean if your occupation includes doing something you're passionate about, you won't think of it as work (that dirty little 4-letter word).
I'm not so sure about that. For even if you're passionate about something, and absolutely LOVE what you do that earns you a paycheck, there are bound to be days when you have to toil and labor to get the job done.

Let's take nursing. Most nurses I know chose the profession because they love being the caregiver. They truly want to help people. But I'm sure there are days when it's not so rosey. When its more about charts, protocol, paperwork, training, etc. than actually tending to a patient. And that's when it crosses over from being a passion to being a job. It becomes "work".

I haven't found (i.e. chosen) a job I love yet. Probably because I don't know where it is or what it is. At this point, in this economy, I don't think I have the luxury of waiting around until it finds me or trying on different jobs until I find the one I love.

So tell me: are you in a job you love? If not, do you know what it is you'd love to be doing? And if you were in that job, would you consider it work?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Backyard - Waterfire; Providence, RI

Friday night. Date night with hubby. Nice to be out, just enjoying ourselves and not worrying or agonizing over our unemployment situation. The road of romance led to Providence. The downtown Providence Place Mall to be exact. We arrived thankfully before the evening onslaught of holiday shoppers.
First stop: Macy's. Always reliable store to purchase gifts for the family party yankee swap this weekend. Hubby and I found 2 perfect gifts in our price point and moved on. Next up: Bed Bath and Beyond. We've gone back and forth about trading in our old dependable Tassimo for the popular Keurig coffee maker. (I've been inconsolable ever since Starbucks jumped ship and joined forces with the K-cup.) We hemmed and hawed and finally gave in. Luckily, I had some of those pretty blue 20% off coupons and handed them to the cashier to save some $. Our Christmas gift to each other this year was now in hand.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My Backyard - Louisa May Alcott; Orchard House, Concord, MA

Bookworm. That was me. And still is me. Growing up, books were my friends - my escape. I loved to read. Authors were like demi-gods to me. They wove their magic in and out of the pages of my favorite books. And none were more magical than Louisa May Alcott. Like many young girls, my introduction to Louisa was via "Little Women". After that, I grabbed hold of anything written by her. I couldn't get enough. In time, I began to have delusions of becoming a great writer just like her.
After recently becoming unemployed, I leaned on the comfort of books. I ran to my local library to be among their soothing presence. As I slowly strolled the aisles, lovingly caressing book binders with  my fingertips, a familiar book suddenly caught my eye - "Little Women". All the old feelings, my love of this novel came flooding back. I felt compelled to search out Louisa's biography. To learn more. I wanted to read about her using my now old and tired eyes. What made her tick. How did she come to pen her interesting and riveting writings.

An idea slowly formed. Maybe I should go visit Orchard House. The home depicted in "Little Women". Where she had written many articles. Where her family lived. I couldn't understand why I had never been there, especially when I learned her home was only 45 minutes from my own.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Requiem for the Angels of Newtown, CT

Newtown, CT. December 14, 2012.

I heard the news today. It shattered the quiet. My heart is heavy. It aches. It weeps for the loss of innocent beautiful lives. Children. Educators. As a mom and grandmother, I am in shock and beyond horrified by what happened. I can not comprehend the senselessness. Hug your little ones and loved ones today. Hold them tight. Tell them you love them. How much they mean to you. Never take them or their love for granted.

Terra Cotta Cherub
Sung by Celine Dion
Written by Phil Galdston and Jean-Jacques Goldman
Fly, fly little wing, Fly beyond imagining
The softest cloud, the whitest dove, Upon the wind of heaven's love
Past the planets and the stars, Leave this lonely world of ours
Escape the sorrow and the pain, And fly again

Fly, fly precious one, Your endless journey has begun
Take your gentle happiness, Far too beautiful for this
Cross over to the other shore, There is peace forevermore
But hold this mem'ry bittersweet, til we meet

Fly, fly do not fear, Don't waste a breath, don't shed a tear
Your heart is pure, your soul is free, Be on your way, don't wait for me
Above the universe you'll climb, On beyond the hands of time
The moon will rise, the sun will set, But I won't forget

Fly, fly little wing
Fly where only angels sing
Fly away, the time is right
Go now, find the light

As Roger Daltrey sang....."Whooo Are You"....

♪♪♪...Whoooo are you....who who...who who...Tell me whooo are you...♫♫♫

Photo Credit - Hang_In_There (Flickr)
personalityDo your coworkers know the real you? Are you afraid to let them see your true self? Or are you such a confident secure person that you let it all hang out? Maybe you think your're doing a good job of presenting a certain face but you've learned your coworkers are not fooled at all?

Revealing question? You bet!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Florence Nightingale I Can Not Be

So I posted yesterday about my ultimate fantasy job. And that begged the question: What kind of job would I NOT want to ever do?

The first occupation that comes to mind is anything in the medical field. I think dealing with patients day in/out would be way too difficult for me. It has nothing to do with blood and/or guts, needles, scalpels, etc. I'm not particularly squeamish about all that.

The Stethoscope It's just that I don't think I'm emotionally tough enough to deal with the pain and agony. The life and death. How could I keep my feelings at bay and be all business like when nursing an injured child or critically injured baby? My maternal instinct would surely kick in and I'd be wanting to take that little one in my arms and hold them, rock them, and try to kiss the hurt away. I just don't understand how nurses and doctors do it day in and day out - how do they hold in their emotions? Not become overwhelmed or unaffected by the human suffering all around them? Not break down when they realize that all of their medical technology and knowledge won't be enough?

No, the medical field is not for me.

How about you? What job would be too hard for you? Emotionally? Physically?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Found My Dream Job on Southwest Airlines! (sort of)

Are you blessed to be able to work in your dream job? Is it everything you've wanted? Hoped for? If so, then consider yourself very VERY lucky. I'm not thinking it's the norm.

If your job is more nightmare than fantasy, do you ever stop and think about what you would rather be doing? If you could wish upon a star for the ultimate job, what would it be? Who would you be?

Me? Depending on the day of the week, where I'm sitting, who I'm talking to, my mood, the weather, etc...I could come up with lots of ideas.

I've often pictured myself as someone who works in an archive - a curator - keeper of the artifacts. Maybe at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Or the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Ah! I would so love to be able to just be in close proximity of all that glorious history!!

But recently on a return trip from visiting my kids and grandkids in Florida, I read an article in the Southwest Airlines magazine, Spirit, about a guy named Tristan and his really really amazing job. And I want it!! (the job, not the guy....I AM a married woman, after all....)

Job Title:  Margarilla
Photo Credit - Jonf728 (Flickr)

Tristan can be found working the tours of that ultimate beach musician...the messiah of parrotheads everywhere...Jimmy Buffet. He also co-manages the Margaritaville brand's marketing. What? How did he get such an uber fantastic job?

How cool is that? It's like the perfect occupation for me. I qualify on many levels. Let's count the ways:

  Margarita     (my fav cocktail, natch!)
  Music           (duh! no question I'm a HUGE music fan not to mention a lover of
                          songs about oceans, paradise and juicy fruit!)
  Travel          (only my number one hobby!)

Now THAT'S what I call a fantasy gig! If you read my previous post on relaxing, then you know how much I adore a good margarita. Nothing like a tall, icy glass of liquid sunshiny goodness...bring on those limes! (but hold the salt!)

Now how do I find a job like that? Wait a minute, can something like that even be called a job? It's from another latitude...with a totally different attitude than anything I've ever experienced before. 
Sigh...I know, I know. Fat chance. But hey, I can dream, right? So - back to the sky where the heck is that shooting star? And can ya hand me that cheeseburger... thanks.

Monday, December 10, 2012

What's There To Like About a Job?

Do you like your job? Did you like your last job?
For me, it's not a simple answer. It's a "No, but...." or a "Yes, but..." or a "Sort of" or a "It depends"......
Not easy to answer.
I was at my last job for over 11 years. I wasn't entirely happy with every aspect of it when I began. What made it enjoyable and kept me plugging away day after long day was my boss. She was super. The best. Whatever she asked of me, I'd gladly do it. She was always respectful and told me how much she valued me quite frequently. I couldn't have asked for a better boss and I doubt if a better one exists.
However, a sad day came 9 years into the job when she was part of a big lay off at the company. One minute we were chatting in the ladies room and about to sit down for our weekly meeting, the next I'm told she's gone. Poof! Just like that my job changed. For a while, I didn't have a boss. I was lost. I was a department of one. Eventually, I was assigned to another woman and that's when my job took a nose dive. The new supervisor seemed nice enough. But there was never the connection I had with my previous boss. The work load doubled. The hours and days grew longer. I became stressed. And worn out. Burnt out, was more like it.
Part of the reason for the burn out was the nature of the job. It started where I worked for many attorneys in the department and worked on everything from real estate to patient privacy. But eventually I only worked on the privacy issues which basically involved customer complaints. Thousands of complaints. And each one had to be investigated and addressed. Most of them ended up as baseless.
So if you asked me if I liked my last job, i would have mixed feelings about it. The beginning of my tenure was always different. Kept things interesting. I felt like I was a respected and important cog in the wheel. I was needed. I was doing vital work. The end....not so much. It was tiring, stressful, and most of the time....thankless. There was no one handing out "attaboys". No platitudes of gratitude. I didn't feel appreciated or valued. And then they showed me the door.....
It was certainly a sad way to end what had been a really good job at a really good employer.

Friday, December 7, 2012

How Do I Relax? Let Me Count The Ways.....

Like I mentioned in a previous post, I'm a hard worker. It's always been tough to leave work at work and go home and just relax. But I did find a few things that helped me to unwind and I'd like to share them with you:

1.  Mix margarita
2.  Drink margarita
3.  Repeat

Yes, I'll admit...I lean on the alcohol a needed.....just sayin'.....

But there are other things in my relaxation arsenal:

1.  Take off the 3-piece suit and put on my old sweats.
2.  Get down on the floor and play with my three dogs and kitty
3.  Chat with friends on social media
4.  Run on my treadmill while watching the Ellen DeGeneres show
5.  Stretching and yoga
6.  Turning on my iPod and listening to some of my fav music (with glass in hand-see above list)

And then there are those really stressful workdays where I just want to go home to silence. Total quiet. No tv. No iPod. No exercise. No noise at all. I head to my woman-cave, light some incense, dim the lights, sit cross legged on the floor and close my eyes. Breathe in. Breathe out. Ommmmmmmmmmm.......

Thursday, December 6, 2012

She Works Hard For The Money.....

I grew up in a family that didn't usually have 2 nickles to rub together. Times could be tough. But the one thing I knew is that my dad worked very hard to give the family what we needed. He owned his own landscaping business. The hours and days were long. And he only took Sundays off. That was church day; he never missed the Sabbath. When the weather turned cold, the landscaping business took a hiatus. My father would then take odd jobs. Plow snow. And work in the local factories.

My older brothers would help him with the landscaping after school, on weekends and on vacations from school. Even us girls would help out as much as our skinny little bodies could. So I got to witness first hand how hard my dad worked. It was very labor extensive. Hard work, for little money. I watched as he struggled through nursing a cold or an injury. He worked without complaint. But I knew he had great satisfaction out of being his own boss. Owning his own business. Being an honest business man. And supporting his family.

Flash forward to my work experience. I started working when my youngest turned 3. And I've worked hard ever since. I think the work ethic was ingrained in me from my dad. When I work, I'm going to give 100% to whatever task I'm assigned. And whether I'm feeling under the weather or dealing with a health crisis, I would not let anything deter me from my job.

My last job was supposed to be 9-5. Not so. It became round-the-clock, 7 days a week. I was given a laptop and a blackberry so I could work anytime, anywhere. That was a dangerous thing to do for someone like me. With technology like that in hand, there's no way a work-a-holic like me would not be idle. The workload had become intense. The mountain of work kept getting higher. So work-a-holic me took the work home and convinced myself that by working at night and weekends at home, I could somehow catch up. Ha! Wasn't going to happen. But no one could convince me of that. So I kept plodding along.

I was scared that the boss would think I was slacking if I couldn't show her that I was making every effort to do the work. I had visions that she would call me on the carpet and grill me about why the work was piling up. And she would crack the whip and tell me to put my nose closer to the grindstone and gitterdone!

My health problems kept rising, I still pushed forward. I did not complain. I did not take a sick day. I could work from home if I couldn't physically make it into the office.

In the end, it wasn't enough. I was shown the door. My committment to the job was not enough to keep me from getting laid off.

But you know what? I'm not going to change. I believe in hard work. I believe in giving 100% no matter what I'm doing. And I really try not to complain. I just do it. I can't change. I'm my father's little girl.

Vacation....all I ever to get away!

Sunny. Warm. Fun. Relaxing. Ahhhh, vacation! With all that's happened in our lives lately, hubby and I sure needed this. Even if only for a little while. We've gotten away from the stress and uncertainty back home. Time to enjoy ourselves. Recharge. Regroup.

We've already spent a few days with the oldest son. He's a hardworking guy who also recently lost a good job and is barely making ends meet now in a low wage menial one. We figured he needed a change of pace too, so we booked a room in a really nice hotel where we lived large for a few days. Swam in the pool. Relaxed in the hot tub. Sat by the pool one night at the outdoor movie theater.

The high point was spending a day at Universal Studios theme park. It's been about 20 years since we'd been there. Our son was just a boy at the time. While we walked the park grounds we reminisced and marveled at how much it had changed. We took our time. There was no hurry. We just wanted to enjoy each other's company and soak up the entertainment. Even though I probably shouldn't have (due to my back condition), I jumped at the chance to ride everything, especially the roller coasters. I LOVE them! It had been too long.

Sadly, our time with the oldest came to an end and we had to be moving on. Hugs. Kisses. And promises to see each other soon.

We drove 6 hours north to the home of our youngest son. He's in the air force. Lives with his wife and 3 children in a beautiful area on the coast. The kids were outside when we pulled up and ran into our arms. There's nothing like the love and affection from little ones to fill your heart with happiness. So far we've just enjoyed spending time together. We've strolled to the local playground, walked our oldest grandchild to and from his school bus stop, watched Christmas movies, sang carols, decorated the Christmas tree and did some Christmas shopping. We plan on having our own Christmas in a few days. A little early. But somehow I don't think the grandkids will mind the holiday coming early this year!

We've made plans to go to the beach. The zoo. And just drive the streets at night oohing and ahhing at the houses and palm trees adorned with festive lights.

Got a few more days here and will fill them with lots of fun and memories.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Work Work Work - BlogHer Challenge

So you've probably read a few of my recent posts and may have wondered...."what the heck is she talking about?.....why is she going on about what she's so good at...and who cares if she thinks she's a follower...and how come she's suddenly thinking she wants to be a teacher???" What's going on?
Here's the scoop. I recently accepted a challenge from the BlogHer website. NaBloPoMo (i.e. "NAtional BLOg POst MOnth") for December. Writing a post a day. December's theme? Work.
This should be enlightening. Interesting. There's sooo much that can be written about work. Just that four-letter word can mean so many different things to so many different people. A career. A job. Homework. Housework. Stay at home parent. Adult caregiver.
Feel free to join the conversation. Leave a comment. A response. I'd love to get your feedback and thoughts on "work". What does it mean to you?

Teacher! Teacher!!!

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a teacher. I used to play school with my sisters. And my dolls. They were the students. I was always the teacher.

School DeskMy dad must have gotten an odd job cleaning a school because one day a few old wooden desks appeared in the back yard You know the ones where the chairs are attached? With an inkwell hole in the upper corner? I lined them up, sat my sisters and dolls in the chairs and started their daily lesson.

My husband says I still act the same way (except I don't try to teach my dolls anything these days). And that I missed my calling. I should have been either an English or history teacher. I just can't help it. I have this compulsion to always impart my wisdom and knowledge on him and anyone else who unknowingly and mistakenly gives me their undivided attention. Sorry! Can't help myself!

And don't think my need to teach is limited to academia. Oh no. It doesn't stop there. I'm also a driver's ed teacher extraordinaire! I've taught many people how to drive: my kids, one of my sisters, a niece and nephew. And they all passed their road test with flying colors, thank you very much!

I just love teaching. Showing others what I've learned. I almost feel like its my duty to share what I know because I want everyone to be "in the know".

Oh dear. Maybe I should re-think my career reinvention. Perhaps I should look into teaching. But what field? What level? Argh!!!

Why do I make things so much harder on myself? Teacher! Teacher! I need help!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Where Do I Fit In?

Talking to my career counselor has been an eye opener. I've done some soul searching. And researching. I'm beginning my job hunt with the aim of getting a job where I'll be happy. Comfortable. In other words, a good fit.
Of course, we'd all love to find a job that fits our wish list of "got to haves". And I'm well aware that with this economy and the lack of jobs out there, my chances of finding the "perfect" job that fits all my criteria is probably very slim.
One of the criteria I've been asked is what role do I feel most comfortable in at work. A leader? A follower? Or a collaborator?
I think I can safely eliminate "leader". I've never at all felt comfortable in that role. I'm too shy, and have always suffered from low self esteem. So no way would I want to be thrust into that position at work. Where all eyes would be on me. Ugh! No way! I think the only aspect of leader that is enticing to me is the prospect of recognition, raises and promotions.
A follower? Well, sometimes. It's so much easier to be a follower. With someone else being the leader, there isn't much pressure or stress on the follower. But then again, the follower will probably never be recognized for their work. It's usually the leader who gets all the credit for a job well done. So by being a follower, don't be surprised when you are overlooked time and again when its promotion time or time for a raise. Followers don't get noticed. And they don't get as much respect as the leaders.
And there's collaborator. I think that's me. Though I'm more of a lone wolf at work, I like being part of a team sometimes. When we're all working on a common goal. And everyone is equally responsible for their part of the project. If the members of the group are the right mixture and all on the same page, there's usually an energy that electrifies everyone to continue to pull the project together to a successful conclusion. I like being part of that. And I think I make a very good teammate.
How about you? What role are you the most comfortable in? And why?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Writing - I'm a Pro

I've been working on a resume. Make that a few different resumes. (I'm giving myself a better chance at employment by heading down a few paths hence the need for more than one.)

Part of creating this 8½ x 11 personal billboard is highlighting my skills. What do I do best? Tough question since I'm my own worst critic so it's hard to look at myself and say "Gosh, aren't I great at this?".

So I got in the imaginary "way back" machine and took a long look at all the jobs I've ever had to see what stands out. I thought about what I loved to do at each job. And what my employers told me they thought was something I was very good at.

And there it was.......writing. It stood out loud and clear. And if I go back even further (ahem....back to the stone age period of my youth) i remembered how much I loved my English classes and the "writing" projects and homework. Yah, I know. Such a nerd, right? But I adored words. The dictionary. Adjectives. Prepositions. The thesaurus fascinated me. Sentences. Paragraphs. Grammar. Spelling. Poetry. Essays. Short story. No composition was off limits.

Heavens, I salivate over blank notepads and comfy jumbo grip medium blue ink pens. My hands just start itching to fill the paper with WORDS!
Each job I've had gave me lots of opportunity to write. Draft letters. Briefs. Contracts. Data Requests. Investigative reports.

The opportunity to write was there. But therein lies the problem: I was writing for someone else. Writing for something else. Not for me. Not my thoughts. Not my point of view. I eventually developed writers block and haven't written for pleasure in many years.

But now is my time. I'm taking full advantage of this bump in my career road to finally write for me. What I want. Even if no one reads it. Even if no one likes it. And I've found that the block is lifted. I wake every day ready to fill the page. (Okay, so now its a blog page and not a notebook.) But hey! I'm thrilled!

Not sure how long this phase will last. For all I know, I'll soon be back in the 9-5 grind, pumping out the written word for someone else and the block will return. But I'll try my best to continue to hone my craft as long as I'm able. Because gosh, its something I'm good at. What I'm a pro at. 


Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Oldest Son

My goal for the month is to post daily. I'm not thinking that will be too hard since I've been enjoying the writing so far since I started this blog.

But now I'm away from home visiting family so my mind and priorities have shifted focus.

I'm lying in my hotel room unable to sleep. It's 4 a.m.

Hubby and number one son are asleep. Wish I could too. I'm a worrier. And right now I'm worried about my son. He's 34. Shouldn't I stop worrying? Does it ever stop?

I try. I do. But what I really want to do is pack up his things and bring him back home with me. Where I can love him. Protect him. And be with him more frequently than just the few times of the year I can visit him here.

I ask him if he's happy. He always says yes. I ask him if everything is ok. He always says yes.

Deep inside, I'm not sure I believe him. Mother's intuition?

Life hasn't been easy for him. Did he move away from home to truly be independent or did I push him away? Is he just saying he's happy and okay out of pride or to keep me from worrying?

Sometimes I feel like I'm a bad mother for not keeping him closer where I can be there to support him. To help him.

I have 2 more days with him. Then I must leave. I know I'll be a mess for a while. Feeling like I'm abandoning him. Feeling like I'm not quite sure if he's okay or not.

Does the mothering worry ever end?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

RI Music Hall of Fame

A few weeks ago I mentioned in a post that I was going to be volunteering with the RI Music Hall of Fame. So far I've attended a board meeting and tonight I attended a committee meeting.

I am really getting excited about this! The people I've met so far are very excited about this venture and making the Hall of Fame on par with halls in other states. I'm going to be helping with putting together a directory of all the venues in the state and perhaps even developing a blog for the Hall. The other committee members had so many great ideas, including working with schools, sponsoring performances, reaching out to the music community and archiving information about the music scene. I could have sat there for hours listening to them.

I can feel the passion they all have to make the Hall successful and a place that the people of the State of Rhode Island can be proud of. A place that tourists can visit and get a sense of the great talent that abounds in my little state. I like that the emphasis is not just on what and who has come before, it's also focused on today and the future.

Now I need to get the word out and hopefully get others involved. It's such a worthy cause and there are so many ways that people can help. And all it costs is a bit of time.

This is going to be good!

Unemployment Update

So....I'm still unemployed. So is hubby. So far all this togetherness and stress has not led us to kill each other. And that's a good thing.

But I've been working...preparing myself for the hunt. Job hunt, that is. Shared a lot of what I've learned so far with hubby. He still isn't using my favorite tool.....THE (dreaded) LIST !!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ranch Homes - Not just for the 50's anymore

Read an interesting article today.

"Why 1950s-style ranch homes are all the rage again"

I live in a ranch style home. No, it wasn't my first choice but it was what we could afford 20 years ago when we were house hunting. And we're still here because it's all we can afford. But it also works for us. I really don't like trudging up and down stairs. And no, it isn't because I hate exercise (tho its not my fav activity). Mostly because of my back condition; i have to tread lightly when it comes to stairs.

However, I do have stairs leading to a finished basement. And that bothers me. It's rough going for me to carry laundry up and down the stairs to the basement laundry so that's become hubby's job. I also worry when little ones are visiting and they head down to the basement family room. (Had hubby put in an extra hand rail....worried grandma here!)

My next house will be completely on one level. An open floor plan will be nice...just in case I end up in a wheelchair...don't want to have to contend with narrow doorways like the ones in my current home.

What do you think? Are you a fan of ranch homes? Single level homes? Are you sick of seeing people erecting mcmansions like I am?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nicholas David - Voice of Fresh Air

I'm not much of a reality show fan. I did watch 2 seasons of American Idol. And now I've been watching The Voice. I'm not one who bothers to vote. Usually the talent is good but not my thing. Too young. Too pop. Too cutesy. And I don't think I'll be following any of them after they get booted from either show. Until this year. That's when I first heard and seen Nicholas David on The Voice. And now I'm hooked. If you haven't been watching this show, tune in next week and listen to this singer/pianist. His soulful voice is amazing! Some of the songs he's performed are:
  • My first, My last, My everything - Barry White
  • Stand by me - Ben E. King
  • She's Gone - Hall & Oates
  • Power of Love - Huey Lewis & the News
  • Put Your Records On - Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Lean On Me - Bill Withers
I found myself tearing up and giving Nicholas a standing O when he finished his gospel rendition of "Lean on Me". You can see his performances on The Voice site.

I think the show should just end right now and give this guy the winner's microphone. None of the other singers can hold a candle to him. We need someone like this in the music world these days so we can tune out the sad excuse for singers that the recording industry keeps churning out. He's a genuine talented throwback to some great singers of yesteryear yet he's a true original and a voice of fresh air.

Love this guy! Go Nicholas!

My Backyard - Mark Twain House; Hartford, CT

"To us, our house had a heart and a soul and eyes to see us with, and approvals and solicitudes and deep sympathies. It was of us, and we were in its confidence and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benediction." - Mark Twain

I was missing a good friend who lives in Connecticut. So I got to thinking. I should take a drive and go spend a day with her. To catch up. Commiserate. We had both battled health demons while being so overworked and involved in our jobs before losing them; hadn't seen each other or talked in a long time. Time to reconnect. I sent her a message; she invited me over and suggested visiting some local sites near her. I was immediately on board.

Few days later, early morning, I skipped the usually quicker highway route and opted instead to take the back roads to Hartford. So glad I did. It was a gorgeous warm Fall day. The sun was shining. I passed by dairy farms, little white churches and trees adorned in their fiery autumn colors. Idyllic New England countryside.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving at the Trolls

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving. Didn't go anywhere. Stayed home and spent the day with hubby and middle son.  Had the traditional tasty veggies - squash, corn and carrots. Sweet cranberry sauce. Bowls of chunky smashed potatoes and creamy sweet potatoes with a side of gravy and buttery biscuits. And of course there was the star of the show, a 16lb moist and delicious turkey.

Two dear friends also stopped by when they were in the area. So nice to have them join us. Out came the traditional pumpkin pie, tangy cherry pie and hubby's fav chocolate pie. All topped with the requisite cool whip topping.

Times are tough. And our hearts were a bit heavy that our other 2 sons, daughter-in-law, and our 3 grandchildren couldn't be here with us. But we're thankful for what we have and know we've been blessed.

Sending blessings and good tidings to all of you!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Unemployed x 2 = Unexpected Togetherness

So, you know I lost my job. And I'm working hard on finding a new one - maybe if I'm lucky in a different new exciting field. (I can dream, right?)

Anyway, now there's a new development. Unexpected but expected.

Hubby has joined me in the unemployment line. He was with his company almost 25 years - almost unheard of these days for anyone to be with the same employer for that long. Of course, it's not exactly the same one. He started with a regional family owned business that was acquired by a national company somewhere along the way.

Said national conglomerate allowed corporate greed and total mismanagement to run rampant, leading to its downfall. They've closed their doors. 18000 hardworking, loyal employees out of work.

Sure never saw this one coming - both of us unemployed at the same time. We're either going to come out of this closer than ever or we're going to be at each other's throats. I'll keep you posted.

Wish us be continued............................

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Backyard: Women's Expo; Rhodes on the Pawtuxet

I love spending time with my sisters. I have 5 of them so there's always an opportunity for gal-time. And since we love all things fashion, beauty, shopping and girly, we're always looking for events that bring it all together and we're there! Last month, 2 of my sisters went with me to the "What Women Want" Expo held on a Sunday afternoon at the Rhodes On the Pawtuxet in Cranston. It was presented by Alex and Ani and hosted by lady dj's from local music stations 92PRO-FM, Lite Rock 105, and HOT 106. A portion of the proceeds went to Women & Infants Breast Health Center.

Marathon Part II - Myles Standish State Forest, Plymouth, MA

He's at it again. My brother ran another marathon this past weekend. This time I wasn't just a spectator, I was a volunteer.
My sister-in-law was captaining a team of volunteers and asked if I wanted to join in. Of course I said sure!
So yesterday hubby and i got up in the wee hours of the morning. Headed to Plymouth for 6am to meet up with my brother and his wife. Let me tell was COLD!! Brrrrrr....Temps were in the 30's. Hard to believe people want to run in such cold weather!
We drove through the early morning mist of the beautiful Myles Standish Forest, thinking about the runners about to embark on a race along the same hilly, windy road.
We found our way to the beginning of the race area and went to work at the registration tables where about 600 participants signed in. Some were running as marathoners, others were part of relay teams made up of between 2 and 5 runners. At the relay table, we welcomed teams and handed out race shirts and batons.
With that completed, we went to watch the start of the race. With the blast of a horn, they were off. It was quite a sight to see all those determined runners heading off to accomplish their mission of the day.
After they passed, we followed my sister-in-law to a transition area where runners raced by and relay team runners passed a baton to a teammate. We  offered water and gatorade to all the participants, cheered them on and wished them well on the remainder of the course.
When we knew the last runner had passed by, we headed to the finish line near the Bayside Runner store in Plymouth where anxious family and friends were awaiting the runners. (The store was the sponsor for this first annual Myles Standish Marathon and Marathon Relay.) Hubby and and I jumped in to help. We wrapped mylar blankets around runners crossing the finish line. Another volunteer gave the runners their medals for successfully completing the race.
Before long we spied my brother rounding the corner and heading for home. I greeted him at the finish line by draping a blanket around his shoulders and giving him a big hug. His wife placed the race medal around his neck. Runners from his local running club, who also had run the race, were on hand to cheer for him and offer their congratulations. Though the fatigue was evident in his face and the sag of his shoulders, the happiness and self satisfaction he felt at completing the marathon showed in his smile.
What an experience! I really admire all those racers who came out on a cold sunny Sunday morning to realize a personal triumph. I'm envious. A tip of my hat to all of them! Congrats Runner!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Off to See the Wizard of Hair - Michael Galvin Salon

Hair Style Color

Just got back from the Michael Galvin Salon, one of my fav places. No matter how I'm feeling when I walk in there, I always feel better (not to mention look better!) when I walk out. I love feeling pampered. My stylist, Linda, makes sure of that.

Its been more than 15 years since I ran to Linda to fix a bad haircut I had gotten from another salon. She worked her magic and I was hooked. She's my style wizard. Through the short cuts, the long layers, the high and low lights, the various shades of red. She's made my hair look spectacular.

Most importantly she's helped me to hold back father time. I feel like she's kept me looking younger than my 51 years. Not sure if other people think I do but I sure feel like it. And that's what matters. How I feel inside. How my hairstyle makes me feel.

Not sure why hair is so important to woman. I don't think men think their hair is such a big deal. So what makes us feel this way? Why does my self esteem and self confidence rise when my hair looks its best?

Who knows? Not sure what the psychology is behind it. All I know is I need my monthly hair salon fix. Even being unemployed hasn't kept me away. If anything, its been the one bit of norm that I still have, that I cling to. I'm so glad that the salon and Linda are still there for me, especially now.

How about you? Are you attached to your hairdresser? Would love to get your feedback!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Backyard: RI School of Design - Museum of Art

"Summer" by Frank W. Benson. 1909.
I enjoy visiting museums. Unfortunately, my little state doesn’t have many. The one I wanted to see but had never been to is at the RI School of Design in Providence. The RISD Museum of Art began in the late 19th century and is housed in 6 buildings. It has thousands of pieces of art dating from ancient times to present: Asian, ancient artifacts, textiles/costumes, photography, contemporary art, sculpture, prints, and paintings. There's artwork by household names like Cezanne, Renoir, Picasso, Matisse, Stuart, Homer and O’Keeffe, and even a replica of a Federal-style home. The Museum definitely rivals art museums found in larger metropolitan cities. 
First off, let’s be clear. I’m not artistic in any way. I can't draw, paint or sculpt. (I gladly leave that to my 3 very artistic sons.) However, I appreciate the exceptional artistry, creativity and talent behind the art. So I had to finally find the time, and go! 

Friendship in the the 21st Century

"Winter spring summer or fall....all you got to do is call.....
and I'll be got a friend....."  James Taylor.

Let's talk friendships. In the 70's, songwriter James Taylor sang about calling a friend. Ummm, not so sure many of us do that nowadays. It's the age of texting, tweeting, facebooking (?) to reach our "friends".

And who do we consider our friends these days anyway? Are we throwing that word around too lightly? Shouldn't there be a deep profound meaning behind it? Take Facebook. We call our hundreds of connections "friends", but do they really fall into that category?

So...friendships. I'm thinking we all have some crazy ways we've met our friends. Here's mine:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Oprah Winfrey Lifeclass - My "AHA" Moment

I used to love watching the Oprah Show. I like her optimism. Now she has her own network (fittingly called “OWN”) and an excellent new series called “Lifeclass”. It’s an interesting concept. The show is an interactive classroom with a live audience where Oprah invites in a guest, some type of life expert, every week to impart a life lesson. The at-home audience can participate with the show online by tweeting or skyping in with a question or comment on the topic of the day.

So this past weekend I watched a recent episode. On the show was Pastor Joel Osteen, he of the 40k member Lakewood Church in Houston. I almost turned the channel because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be preached to but I decided to give it a chance. After all, part of my reinvention is to keep myself open for any opportunity or lesson that could help me with this new period of my life. And I think I found something that could really make a difference for me.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Backyard - The Breakers, Newport, RI

In my "about me" page I listed quite a few of my hobbies and interests. One of my favs is travel. I've been all over the US and traveled outside its borders to Canada, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. But my dwindling bank account due to being unemployed made me realize that I will have to curtail any big, extensive trips until I get back on my feet.

With that in mind, I took a long look at my own backyard. And I realized I hadn't spent much time sightseeing in my own neck of the woods. I had probably seen more of and knew more about other states and cities than I knew about my own. Anyone else out there ever think that way? Crazy isn't it?

So I made a list of nearby tourist attractions and hit the road.

First up was Newport. Oh, I've been there many times. Eaten in the fantastic seafood restaurants and shopped in the boutiques and galleries along Thames Street. Rocked out at the Newport Blues Cafe and at concerts on the waterfront. Stayed at an oceanside hotel. But there was one thing I had never done. And it involves perhaps the one thing that Newport is most famous for. The mansions...................

I decided to start at the biggest and perhaps the most well known of the summer homes of the wealthy: The Breakers.

Newport RI

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Friend Jenny Craig

Made a new friend this year. Her name is Jenny Craig. She's been supportive and helpful in getting my life and health back.

I've fought the battle of the bulge for many years now. It's been hard to keep the weight off while fighting health issues. And getting older, I truly understand when they say as we age our metabolism slows down. The weight just doesn't come off as quickly as it used to. All attempts on my part to do it on my own were met with failure.

Consignment - A Great Way to Save Money and Recycle!

So I officially entered the consigning world. I've been wanting to clean out some closets and say goodbye to the 3-piece suits that I swear I will not ever wear again! (or at least I hope not....really do NOT want to go back to the corporate world full of dull boring gray cubicles....)
Only problem is the store I chose to start with isn't interested in suits or formal wear, nor did they want my dress slacks, but they did take some jackets and a wool dress for consignment. Cool! It's a start. Hope they sell! One woman's unloved, unwanted clothes are another woman's treasure, eh?
So I continued on and tried another local store but they only look at clothes by appointment only. And would you believe they can't fit me in until the end of December? Really?
Oh well, I will reach out to some other stores to see if they'll take the rest of my clothes off my hands. Don't know if I want to wait until 2013 to try to sell off my fancier outfits. I'm thinking the formal dresses I have would sell better NOW than after the new year. This is the time of year that women dress up for parties and the holidays. They won't be looking for dressy stuff after the new year, right?
So anyway, I feel good that I'm moving forward on cleansing myself of my previous life. The corporate lifestyle is slowly disappearing in my rear view window.

p.s. If you haven't given consignment stores a try, what are you waiting for? They're full of treasures just waiting to be found. And its also a great way to recycle, save money and help local businesses. To find stores near you, just do a quick internet search. Or, if you're shopping in a RI consignment store, look for the brochure that lists all the local stores which makes it easier to find and visit new ones!  Have fun!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lazy Sunday with Keaton Simons

That was the billing. And it lived up to it. Cozy and warm. Like spending an afternoon catching up with a dear, old friend.
Since the first time I heard Keaton about 6 years ago, I became an instant fan. I love listening to his musical storytelling. Unfortunately, I've had to console myself with only his recordings and updates on social media as he lives and performs mostly on the other side of the country.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rock the Vote!

It's Election Day! One of the most important days of the year. The day Americans exercise their most sacred right as a citizen: The right to vote. It's a moral obligation.

"Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual--or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country. " - Samuel Adams 

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” - John Quincy Adams

Do it!! Get out there today and cast your ballot! VOTE!!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Research...Yes it is!

Heading to a nightclub on a Saturday night for some research...yes, you read that right .... research! It is! Honest!

Here's the scoop: As part of my reinvention I know I need to get involved with something that I'm passionate about. Something that's suited to my hobbies and skills. Something I'm a fan of. Something that'll add to my knowledge, create connections, and who knows? Perhaps it'll lead to the type of job I've dreamed of. A job I love.

I think I've found it. The Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame.

The Hall is a relatively new venture. The organization hopes to assemble a comprehensive place to honor the music of RI: the musicians, writers, composers, producers, venues.

I heard the call for volunteers and signed up. I've connected with a member of the board whose goal is to put together a website of resources and information about all the venues in the State. I love that idea and told him "I'm In!".

So, back to the research. I feel so out of the loop sometimes on what's going on in my own backyard. I need to get out there more, visit RI venues and check out the music scene. I'm starting tonight with Steve Smith and the Nakeds at Corinne's in Pawtucket. The band has been around for years and are a RI institution. But its been years since I've seen them or visited Corinne's so I'm off to do my duty (accompanyed by my obliging little sister).

Like I said, research. Work. But who said you couldn't have fun while working! Go me!

Friday, November 2, 2012


It's been over 2 months now since I lost my job. Done a lot of soul searching. The first month I was still in a daze and felt like I was sleepwalking though a fog. The second month was a time of action.

I made a plan to fill my days with learning and excursions (and of course there's always the never ending errands). Most things on my list were aimed at adding to my next act. Like museum visits. Local sightseeing. Libraries. Classes. Volunteering. Travel. But I've also made time for my parents and my pets. Shopping. Meeting new people. Catching up with old friends. Things that are good for the soul, which can only benefit my job search and reinvention, right?

Also started working with a career counselor. She's been great and really helpful. We have a game plan. We're working on 2 different resumes. One is for my reinvention, the other a safety net. It'll be used if I have to fall back to working in my previous field. I'm learning a lot about new and some enhanced ways to find job opportunities and hopefull land a job. Internet searches. Networking. LinkedIn. Social Media.

I've been so busy since I lost my job that the time is flying by. I don't know how I could have worked full time and accomplished as much as I have in these last 2 months.

It's been quite a journey and eye opening experience. I'm learning a lot. And I pray that all of this work will all be worth it someday!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cell Phone Update! - The winner: Android Galaxy Note

So I did it...I took the plunge!

Got a new phone. The Samsung Galaxy Note! No, I didn't wait for the new one which was just released this week. I saved a bit of money by buying the "old" model. Saved even more because we bought the Note along with another Galaxy phone for hubby.

So far I'm loving it! What a phone! Well, actually it's probably a tablet with a phone. It has a big beautiful screen that gives me clear, crisp images. It comes with a stylus pen so I can actually write on the screen as if I'm writing on a notepad. (Great for my blogging!)

I think the biggest and the best difference between this and my previous smartphone is the speed! i am amazed! i was so used to how slow my old phone was and the constant freezing of the screen, that it's going to take some getting used to not having to put up with that.

I'm making progress in personalizing it. Got the contacts in. Filled in my calendar. Downloaded some apps. Synced my email accounts. Now I have to work on the ringtones.

I just can't put it down. I'm lovin' it!

Happy Halloween! (or was it?)

How was your Halloween?

Wasn't sure what to expect for us in our area because of the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy. At the beginning of the week, I thought it might be raining cats and dogs tonight and the little kids would all have to stay home, heartbroken they couldn't put on their new costumes, make up their faces and go out trick or treating. Or I thought that Sandy would wreak havoc and it could be too dangerous for anyone to be out.

Fortunately, my town weathered the storm just fine. The rain ended earlier in the day. And it showed in the number of children that showed up at my door. Ordinarily my neighborhood is teeming w/hundreds of ghouls, witches and fairy princesses on Halloween. I'd say we've seen up to 300 kids before. But this year? Easily over 500! I ran out of treats and shut the lights when there was still super heroes roaming my street.

For about another hour after that I could still hear the howling and screeching of the roaming zombies outside my door as they searched for candy. I hid in my dark home, afraid to turn on a light or make a sound lest they find me and begin to haunt and torment me until I gave in to their evil demands for sweets.

I have 2 theories on why the numbers swelled this year.

1.  Some of the towns in my state are still cleaning up after Sandy and their power is still out. So those townies came to my neck of the woods in order to participate in the annual begging of treats (c'mon they never want tricks, now do they?)
2.  Due to Sandy, other towns have postponed Halloween until Saturday. So those smart enterprising young people decided to hit up my neighborhood tonight and then trick or treat in their own town this weekend. Lucky little monsters: Halloween comes twice this year for them.

This year sure showed me that I'm not up to this carnage anymore. Why do I keep doing it? It's not fun anymore; it's work! And who the heck likes work?

So, how was your neighborhood? Did they celebrate in your town? Did they postpone? Did you survive?

Inquiring minds need to know.................

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Marathon Man in the Twin Cities, MN

Do any of you have a super hero in your family? I do. My older brother. And I have the evidence to prove it. He’s older than I am, has a pacemaker and runs. Not just in any races. In marathons!

Earlier this year I nominated him for a spot on the Medtronic Global Heroes marathon team. The members are chosen from individuals around the world who are living longer, fuller lives thanks to medical devices manufactured by Medtronic. The team takes part in the annual Twin Cities Marathon held in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. We were ecstatic when he got word he had been chosen! See? Told you I had proof!

(Now kick back. Settle in. This is a bit of a long post but so much happened on this journey that there's a lot to cover and I don't want to leave out anything. Read on and enjoy!)

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Welcome back to Rhode Island, Anthony Gomes!

Saw this mighty guitar virtuoso last night at local jazz/blues club/restaurant Chan's. Two of my sisters and a brother-in-law joined me. First we enjoyed a tasty dinner of chinese food and then prepared ourselves for the magic!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Batten Down the Hatches!

Unless you've been living under a rock these last few days, I'm sure you've heard about Hurricane Sandy. The Perfect Storm!! Storm of the Century!! A storm for the generations!! The headlines are blaring, warning us all on the upper east coast to be prepared. The weather channel is in its glory and having a field day with this one.

So are you ready? Have you stocked up on all the essentials: batteries, flashlights, candles, bread, milk, pet food and the very important nacho chips and tequila? If not, you could be in a heap of trouble if the weather warnings come to pass.

Did you check your generator? Radio? Fill up the gas tank in your car? Hope so! If not you still have about 24 hours before the leading edge of the storm reaches our shores.

Don't forget to check on your elderly relatives or neighbors to make sure they're alright. If you keep animals outdoors, make sure they're safe and secure.

It's Saturday, late afternoon. Hubby has taken care of the outside of our home and yard. We have groceries, paper goods and propane for our outdoor grill. Plenty of jugs of water. I think we have done all that we can to prepare.

I hope the storm isn't as bad as last year's nasty lady, Hurricane Irene, but some forecasters are saying it could be worse. I've heard reports of incredible wind gusts, 10"+ rain, 2' snow, deep flooding, downed power lines,uprooted trees, power outages. All the usual hurricane damage but on a massive scale. Not good, people!

Stay safe my friends. And let's keep in touch. I hope we all weather the storm just fine and life goes on as normal (and that Halloween can go on as planned).

Take care.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Buffalo Gal Won't You Come Out Tonight.....

Tried something new tonight. Normally, I'm not that adventurous with food. But hey, this is my reinvention time now, right? Try new things, open my mind to new experiences.

So I went for it. Hubby and I went to Ted's Montana Grill in Cranston. Never been there before. We both had the same thing......drumroll please.........


Bisons dans la plaine
Photo Credit: om_man8 (Flickr) wasn't bad! Couldn't tell the difference from a normal beef filet. Matter of fact, it was quite yummy. It came with tasty garlic smashed potatoes and roasted asparagus for a filling meal.

Not sure if I'll make a habit of eating Bison. It was quite pricey compared to the beef prices. But I was proud of myself for stepping a bit out of my box and trying something new.

If you haven't tried it, give it a shot.

So.....what kind of "out of the norm" foods have you tried?

50+ Fashionista

50+. That's me. Sounds so old. But I don't feel like an antique and I certainly hope I don't appear to be that old to all of you!

I read the following blog post:

What do you think? This bothers me. I love fashion. I've dreamed of designing clothes since I was a little girl and I helped my mother design and make clothes for my dolls. I even enrolled in retail management at the local community college. I wanted to live, breath and work in fashion. Trips to NYC were magical for me. I once even got to tour the inside of the Calvin Klein design house and almost fainted from the excitement.

Eventually my rational mindset intervened and I switched majors to business/law because I realized that the only way to make it in the fashion world was to be in/near NYC. Being married and a mother to 3 little ones, I couldn't pick up and disrupt my family's life by moving closer to the big apple. I gave up the dream and chose a more stable "normal" career.

Secretly I still voraciously read all the latest fashion mags and kept up on all the trends, even though I did not have the funds to afford them or the places and occasions to wear them. I salivated over the fabrics and colors, the beautiful designs.

And now here I sit. Still coveting the latest fashion and watching Project Runway wishing it was me on that show competing for the top prize and finally going after and realizing a long-held dream.

But no one wants us 50+ designers or consumers. Yet there are more of us than there are of them. And we have the bigger purchase power. It just doesn't make sense, does it? Much to my chagrin, I often come home empty handed after a day of shopping, even after visiting the biggest malls in the area. There just isn't much to choose from for someone like me.

My husband jokingly tells me I should start my own business designing for myself and for women like me. It would solve the problem and fulfill a childhood fantasy. Should I do it? Is now the time?

I know many of you are not in my age group yet, but I'd love to hear your thoughts. What do you think?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Couch to 5K

My daughter-in-law gave me the idea. I had never heard of this program. But after reading about it, I'm going to give it a try. It may be just what I need to get rid of the last 10-15 pounds I want to lose.

I'm been trying to lose weight and get back in shape since the beginning of the year. I've had a few setbacks but its been mostly a positive experience. And by that I mean the scale is moving in the right direction.....down! Woo-hoo!

I'm not a runner and I can come up with a zillion reasons why I shouldn't be doing this. But I will NOT listen to the naysayer voice in my head. I CAN AND I WILL DO THIS!

I feel like I've hit a plateau and need something to push me up and over it. I think I've found it with this plan. Hubby and I are doing it together. My daughter-in-law and I are supporting each other across the miles. Always helps to have running buddies!

Check it out and see what you think!

I'll try to post periodic updates on my progess. (That is, once I catch my breath!)

If you decide to give it a try, keep me posted on how you're doing. And good luck!

Cell Phone Revolution

Do you remember the days before cell phones? I sure do. It’s hard to fathom how we lived without them.
Rotary Phone
I recall wishing we had a portable phone back in my childhood. (Heck, I wanted one of those newfangled fancy ones with push buttons that wasn't permanently attached to a wall. Didn’t want much eh?) Dad would be working his one-man landscaping business and mom would be getting dinner on the table. She’d suddenly realize we were out of something. We’d get these crazy science fiction thoughts about how to get word to dad. It would have made life so much easier if we could have teleported a message to our hard working father. (“Hey Dad! Mom says we need milk….NOW!)

Or how about when we took long car trips and it decided to break down (which always seems to happen in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night, right)? How did we call AAA to come save us? By walking miles to find a pay phone, praying it wasn’t broken and that we had a dime left to put in it.
           Photo Credit:  Dean Terry's Photostream (Flickr)

Where was that cell phone then, huh? It was only in the land of make believe. James Bond had a cool phone in his car, didn’t he? And what about Maxwell Smart? It was in his shoe!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Backyard - Boston Freedom Tour

On my to-do list was Boston. Sure I live less than an hour away, but have I truly ever spent time exploring that big historic city? Nope. Been there many times; for seminars, museum visits, ball games, etc. But I’ve never taken the time to hit the streets and get a real close look. To absorb the history, the culture and munch on the yummy food!

My 2 fun-loving younger sisters eagerly agreed to go with me on my latest adventure. Yay!! Away we go! 

False Alarm

I said in a previous post I'd been at the hospital recently. Here’s what happened.

In August I went for my annual physical. I'm told to go for a mammogram. I show the doctor a lump I found. She didn’t seem concerned. Probably a cyst, she said. I go for the mammogram. I show the tech the lump. She doesn’t seem concerned either but says she’ll take a good picture of it for the doctors to look at. I leave feeling like I’ve done my duty. Annual exam is over.
I leave for a trip to Minnesota for my brother’s marathon (more on that in an upcoming post). While there I get a call. I need further testing. Oh boy. I felt queasy. Scared. This sounds urgent.
I have another mammogram and an ultrasound. Afterwards I talk to a doctor. She’s worried about the lump. Neither test showed what it's made of; she thinks we should do a biopsy and find out. Yikes!
Two weeks later I’m back for a biopsy. This is nerve wracking. I’ve made it this far in life with no cancer scares. There’s no history of it in my immediate family. Haven’t found any lumps before. I’m worried.  This is so not a place I ever saw myself in. But I pull up my big girl pants and steel myself for whatever comes.
The staff goes over the procedure with me. They do another ultrasound. The doctor reviews it and preps for the biopsy. She studies the screen again. Does another test. Finally, she turns to me and says, “I don’t believe we need to do a biopsy. No needles for you today.” Huh? What? I’m not sure I’m hearing her right. "This is a cyst. Nothing to worry about. If it doesn’t go away or it becomes painful, a surgeon can remove it for you.”
Whoa! A gamut of emotions rushes thru my head. Relief, it’s not cancer. Anger, because this was a waste of time over nothing. Frustration, because no one could agree if it was a serious matter or not. One doctor's concerned, another isn't. And there I was laying on a table, holding my emotions in check, prepped for biopsy, and I’m told “never mind”. Argh!
Has this ever happened to you? How did you feel? Am I right to feel so conflicted?
Hubby was relieved when I told him it was nothing to worry about. I should have been, too. But I felt deflated. This whole process threw me for a loop. Wow! I don’t know if emotionally I can handle anymore craziness. First dealing with a hysterectomy. Then losing my job. And now thinking I might have breast cancer and die? Can’t wait for my head to stop spinning from this latest life episode. Don’t think I can handle another scenario like this.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


What the heck just happened? Where'd my job go?

One minute I was hard at work in a job I thought was secure. Next I’m being shown to the door. Whoa! In a flash my world as I knew it was turned upside down. Budget issues. That’s what they said. Could be other things. Don't know. Not going to dwell on the reasons they didn’t want me anymore. What’s done is done. As the wise man Mr. Bill says “It is what it is".

The question is, “So now what?”

And the answer is……. “I HAVE NO FREAKIN’ CLUE!”

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.....

Christmas. It’s coming. Some say it comes earlier every year. Now you know that isn’t really true. Christmas falls on December 25 every year. But retailers are coming after us and our holiday budgeted dollars earlier every year. Or maybe it just feels that way.

So I’m sitting in a hospital waiting room (more on that in a later post) watching the tv to pass the time. The Today Show is on. They’re running a segment about stores and hot toys children will be begging for this year.  Main topic: “What are retailers’ plans for Black Friday?”

Monday, October 22, 2012

How To Stay Sane: Replace Your Children With Dogs

I tease my 3 children and tell them that I pushed them out of the nest so I could replace them with 3 dogs. They just roll their eyes…smile and nod.......

I love dogs and cats; probably was always more partial to the felines. Our family has had quite a few of both over the years. But there was a time when I was looking forward to not having any. Children or animals. They both bring their own burdens of responsibility. And this woman was looking forward to a break!

My Personal Symphony

Okay. I know what you're thinking. "Her Fourth Movement"? What the ........... huh?

Let me explain.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My First Post - Call Me Ishmael......

Call me Ishmael….

Ha! Only kidding! That’s not really my name. (Just thought I’d class up the place by sounding all literary and refined; besides, its a great opening line eh? ☺)

I have lots of names:
Ø  Kathleen (on my birth cert)
Ø  Kathy (my family and sibling alias)
Ø  Yes Dear (term of endearment by hubby)
Ø  Kate (friend and nickname)
Ø  Red Rocker (self appointed rock star moniker)
Ø  MOM!  (plaintive cry of my kids)
Ø  Gramma (the sweetest sound)
Phew! Sounds a little schizophrenic, doesn’t it?  But, really, who am I? You even a little curious? I know I am. Seems as long as I can remember I’ve been trying to figure it out. Like that age old mystery: why are we here? I’m still trying to find an answer..............