Monday, March 31, 2014

FOOL NOT ONLY IN APRIL?

I wonder sometimes if I am just a foolish person.  Not in all aspects of my life - but specifically in my work
life.

When our finances made it necessary after 16 years out of the workplace (and while I still had my kids in school,) that I find an income and health insurance, I had one restriction - no commute.  After 8 months of job seeking with poor response and no results, I drifted down the ladder in terms of the types of jobs I applied to.  I found that trying to get directly back to the management level or field I left was not going to happen.  If I applied for management jobs the response was negative due to being out of the market for so long and when I applied for entry level I was questioned about why I would do that work with my background.  Plus I was turning 50.

After nearly a year of job searching, I took the job I was offered,  and was pretty much running the small business after a couple of years.  The only reason I left after 5 years was because of a new hire who chased out a couple of us long time employees in order to rule the roost.  It was an awful experience to go through.  I still get upset when I think about it.

I cycled through  a couple of low pay, dead end jobs.  Now I'm in another small business finding that after a year I am, again, running much more of the business than I was hired for.  I am working a lot of hours, having sleepless nights and anxiety over my workload.

The owners of the business contribute a great deal to my anxiety because they over  promise and then dump a lot of their work onto the small staff on top of our already substantial workload. It's been escalating for months.  In fact we are all looking forward to them taking a week of vacation because it may give us the chance to catch up.  The fact that they get to go to a warm, sunny place for a week, away from the devastation they are causing and we get to clean up the mess is not lost on any of us.  But there it is.

So, today, on April Fool's Day, I  wonder if I am just a fool to care so much, to work so hard, to take so much of this burden to heart for business owners who have the attitude "that's what you get paid for" about their employees who are really working above and beyond our "pay grade."  (I am paid $16.00 per hour,  $4.00 per hour less than the person I replaced and $5.00 per hour less than I was earning 5 years ago.)

I hope to stop working all together later this year - thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I don't have to work for health care coverage.  In the meantime, this fool is trying to find a better approach to getting through the day, be a good employee and co-worker and still leave it all behind when I go home for the night!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

FRIDAY FAST ONES

1.)  What is it about my appliances that makes them stop working in pairs?  First the refrigerator and hot water
heater stopped working within weeks of each other - thank goodness they only required repair which we deduct from our rent...the only benefit of renting that I can see.

This weekend I no sooner plugged in my new toaster oven (and used a magnifying glass to read the teeny tiny symbols on the dials) than I found my steam mop no longer steams. The warranty expired recently. Won't be replacing it with the same model, that's for sure.

2.)  These early days of daylight savings are hard.  I have more trouble getting a move on in the dark mornings and then find I want to do errands and stuff after work because it feels weird to go home and make dinner in broad daylight.

On the other hand, I refilled our propane tank and have already grilled twice since Saturday!

3.)  I have been wanting to write a long post about e-cigarettes, - perhaps I will someday again find the time and energy to write long posts about all kinds of things!

Anyway, my husband who has smoked since he was about 12 is now three months tobacco free.  He is not nicotine free, however.  And that is actually okay.  Tobacco is the carcinogenic aspect of smoking, nicotine the addictive part.  The "haters" of the e-cigarette are not telling the truth on this issue.  I am not an apologist for the use of nicotine.  It is a stimulant and may have other negative effects on health - so does drinking too much caffeine or alcohol and eating too much sugar or bacon. Just saying, when it comes to the health cost of smoking, it isn't the nicotine causing the problem.

I have a husband who is finally not inhaling tobacco smoke into his lungs. He stopped coughing within a week of being off tobacco.  He uses his e-cigarettes and snus packs and plans to decrease use of those over the next year. I consider that a major victory and all the e-cigarette haters can stuff their lies and misdirected outrage.  He has used his e-cigs in all kinds of public places for several months and has never had a negative reaction much less a complaint.

I am really proud of him for making this big effort.  He actually loves smoking and misses his tobacco. He has done this to improve his health.  I hope the anti e-cigarette people don't mange to make them harder or more expensive for people to use - the alternatives are so much worse.


4.) We have been recording the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show every day and loving it.  His monologues aren't much but the skits, games and general feel of the show is so fun and upbeat.


5.)  I didn't write s biking post last weekend - I am feeling strange about that being the only subject I post lately...

We tried going off road - I have now run into something I am just not up for, even with my "hill assist."  It freaks me out and brings my fear of falling off the bike right up front and center.  So no more of that for me.  However, our nearby regional park,  Lake Chabot, is fabulous! Next time we go we are going to rent kayaks and paddle around.



Monday, March 3, 2014

WET & WILD RIDE

View from the Double Barrel - sunshine!
 It was so windy on Saturday and the forecast for Sunday was for no wind with  0% chance of rain.  When we set out for Livermore the skies were ominously dark, but it wasn't very cold and, after all, a zero percent chance of rain...

We did some errands.  I got a cool jersey at the bike shop - short sleeves, so it will be a while before I actually wear it - and hung out waiting for brunch to start at the Double Barrel. It was getting windy and cooler - but we had a leisurely breakfast and as we left the restaurant the sun broke through.

Rain ahead....
When we reached the path back to Pleasanton, the skies turned dark again, the wind came up and we could see we were riding directly into rain coming down a couple of miles ahead.

We just laughed and peddled on.  What else could we do?

Luckily, the rain didn't come down in buckets, but we were plenty wet when we finally got home.  A hot shower and a cup of tea  took care of the chill.



Hey Maggie!!  The poppies are blooming!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

NEW BIKING SPOT

Crystal Springs water level is very low - but still lovely.
Last weekend we finally got some rain and the weekend before that we just didn't go for a ride for some reason so we made a special effort this weekend to get out on our bikes.  We  wanted to use the new bike rack so we hit the road for a new biking spot -  the Crystal Springs Reservoir near San Francisco.

The day was another warmish, sunny one, the air fresh because we had a small rain storm move through last night. The reservoir is low due to our drought, but the crowds were out hiking and biking.

The Pulgas Water Temple
We finally found a safe place to park and get on the
road.  We lucked out because we ended up in an area that had closed the road to cars for several miles.


We had great views of the reservoir, beautiful scenery and after a few more miles, to some spectacular homes and horse properties.

We rode about 15 miles along that area then put the bikes back on the car and drove over to the San Mateo coastline and got on the bikes again and rode down toward the SF airport.  We stopped for a snack and watched the planes coming and going for a while, then rode back to the car and went home.  I did a few chores and then realized how tired I was and collapsed on the couch for a while!

Monday, February 10, 2014

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD

This was quite a weekend for being nostalgic and thinking about just how long life has been.

There was the big 50 years tribute for the Beatles.  A wonderful show which brought me back time and again to times their music punctuated my life.  At my first boy/girl party  we played Meet the Beatles over and over.  When I Saw Her Standing There was my favorite.  I was in 5th grade.

I remember the Ed Sullivan show as clearly as  the assassination of JFK just months earlier.  It was a pretty memorable period of time for a kid.

The Beatles were the soundtrack to my youth and marked the changes our world went through in the 60's .  I was on the young side and a protected suburban kid, but even I could recognize their influence and reflection of the world as it was changing.  Hearing those songs brings back memories from so many periods of my life; and helps me remember that they opened my mind to new and different things.

I also got to spend time this weekend with Christina,  my friend who has been in my life the longest - since Biology class in 1970 when she sat behind me,  She liked to put her feet on the back of my chair and poke me in the butt. ( That really is how we became friends.)

I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around knowing someone for so many years.  We have lived in different states for most of the time and years have gone by between visits but still we manage to be connected.

I would say that it all makes me feel old,  but it doesn't.  It makes me feel full of life.  Seeing Paul and Ringo dancing and singing on stage at 71 and 74 reminds me there are still so many years ahead to celebrate and enjoy.  And spending the day with my long time friend makes me want many more visits in the years to come.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

JUMPING INTO THE GOSSIP POOL - JUST THIS ONCE...

I have maintained my 2012 resolution to steer clear of gossip sites and TV and have become rather blissfully
Mia and Woody with Dylan and Ronin.
and mostly unaware of  many things.  I have occasionally made an effort to find out the details of some items that the media hyped up ( twerking); and  felt glad to be a bit in the know and also found that it was hard to turn it off once I opened myself to the subject.  So I have made more of an effort to remain unenlightened.

So when all the crap started up again about Woody Allen allegedly molesting his adopted daughter immediately upon an honor bestowed upon him at the Golden Globes - I did read this extremely informed and well researched and smart article published on the Daily Beast blog.  I recalled much of this information from the investigations which were done 20 years ago.

If you have any doubts that that young woman has been brainwashed and that Mia Farrow is still a self centered whack job - read it...

Friday, January 31, 2014

FRIDAY FAST ONES

1.)  This year I have seen more current movies, in a theater than I have in ages.  I LOVED American Hustle and completely disagree with the "critic"  who wrote that it was a hot mess and over rated.  In my opinion he  has too little knowledge and experience of the world to be a critic and maybe has a hard time admitting he couldn't follow a smart script.  We are hoping to see Gravity and Her before Oscar night.  The only big movies we have not seen yet.

By the way, we saw Nebraska, I didn't find it all that great but Tom loved it.  It was of a similar pace as Llewyn Davis, which I also thought was okay, but not my favorite Coen Brother's movie.

I think my favorite movie of the year was Blue Jasmine.

2.)  At work there is a full frig, but no ice maker or cube trays so I buy ice to use for my iced tea habit.  Printed on the bag is "Ice is food, too."  Concerned that, like catsup, the FDA had determined the ice to fulfill a food group, I looked it up.  

The FDA considers ice to be a food when it comes to cleanliness, sanitation, packaging and transportation rules.  Good to know.

The downside of looking things up is finding out stuff you didn't want to know...like the kid who did a science fair project testing the bacteria levels in restaurant ice in comparison with their toilet water.  The toilet water won.

3.)   So apparently the Huffington Post put something on Twitter asking for nominations of outstanding women in 2013.  The Girl Scouts re-tweeted (sorry if I have that wrong - not being a tweeter) and now Fox "News" has declared war on the sale of GS cookies because a couple of the women on the list support  reproductive rights; therefore the Girl Scouts are actively promoting abortion within their ranks.

Sigh.

I don't really like GS cookies and rarely buy them - but I will this year.

3.)  Super statistician Nate Silver picks the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl!!! WooHoo!

Monday, January 27, 2014

STILL HERE

When these dour moods descend on me I alternately fight and succumb.  My mood lifts for several days and
plunges again.  The voice in my head says "snap out of it!" and I am very aware I have so little to complain about.  But comparing ourselves to others doesn't resolve our own feelings and sometimes I think we just need to lay low and let things percolate and purify.

I realize that the post holiday let down is a matter of riding on a high of activity and family and when it is over I am simply tired.  With work it has been a long 3 months of carrying the load of  3 jobs all on my own and now with my co-worker back I can let myself slump in my seat and feel the stress of it. ( I also feel the lack of compensation for it - but that is another matter.)

Then the little things seem to pile on - the loss my bracelet that I have worn daily for nearly 20 years feels like a slap by the universe.  I am sure someone found it and recognized it's value (an early David Yurman piece) and chose not to turn it in.  That adds to the misery of it for some reason.

Stupid things like dropping a container of yogurt, spattering my clothes as I was about to leave for work.  Hitting all the red lights. Not being able to find the bath gel I like in any of the 5 stores I visited. The hot water heater breaking and the landlords, once again, not answering calls and e-mails.  All ordinary things, yet of late seem to be flung at my head in a cosmic game of dodge ball.

So, still here.  Still whining. Still have nothing interesting to say. Maybe next week I'll manage to read something interesting and think of something new to say and find the bright side again.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

FUNK

I am in a funk.  I lost my favorite bracelet that I have worn for nearly 20 years. It is too damned warm and sunny.  Maybe it is a post-holiday thing.  I am just blue.

I'll catch up when I exit the funk.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

FRIDAY FAST ONES

1.)  I guess am settling into being 60 now.  I actually piped up and asked for the Senior Discount at
Walgreens yesterday - 10% off every Tuesday!


2.)  We went to see American Hustle last Saturday - what a powerhouse cast of amazing actors.  It was second only to Blue Jasmine on my movie list for the year.  We also saw Inside Llewyn Davis  a week or so ago - a bit slow moving but the music was great.  Tom wants to see Nebraska this weekend - anyone seen that one?

3.)  Having 10 days off work was great and really made me look forward to having every day off work...


4.)  We took our new bike rack out for the first time last weekend - we drove to Martinez and then rode our bikes over the Benicia Bridge, all around the downtown and marina and then back to Martinez.  It was about 22 miles altogether.

It was another amazingly warm winter day - we don't know how much longer this weather is going to hold but plan to take advantage of it while it is here.


5.)  Finished our book club selection Cukoo's Calling, which was very good and dove right into The Goldfinch which is sooo excellent.  I have read one good book after another this past year.  So satisfying.

6.)  One of the owners of the company I work for had a hissy fit a few months ago when the flu started going around and made a big deal about everyone getting a flu shot.  She quizzed everyone for weeks about getting the shots and freaked out when I was stuffed up even when I assured her it was just allergies.

This week she came into work sick as I have ever seen anyone.  We were all just cringing and practically bathing in hand sanitizer.  Her daughter is our office manager and kept telling her to go in her office, close the door and keep away from everyone but she just kept dragging people in there or walking around touching the door handles, the printer and the schedule book which is kept on my desk.  We sanitized everything in her wake.

Now we are all watching each other for signs that we caught her bug (it appears it might have been H1N1 and she finally got drugs from her doctor) - so far I think we dodged the bullet.

This weekend will tell.  Hope you all have a nice, healthy one!