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.................