Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I did a Costco run today and very carefully arranged things in the back if the car so the frozen things would keep the cold things cold, etc. I stopped at Noah's for bagels to go with the massive package of smoked salmon.

Then, since I was right next to Safeway I thought I would run in for the special kind of Power Bars Tom likes which don't seem to be stocked anywhere else. I made the silly mistake of thinking the Express Lane with 2 people in it would be faster than getting behind large carts full of groceries - silly, silly me.

It was unclear what the issue was with the first guy in line, but the woman in front of me had 3 items and had to try 3 different charge cards to pay. Sad - but time consuming.

A full 15 minutes later I was putting the bagels in the back of the car and realized the big bag of chocolate chips had shifted off the frozen chicken pile and was now a big bag of melted chocolate.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I am checking my e-mails constantly and jumping at the phone in case there is any movement on the job hunt. There isn't. On Craigslist, which I only check 4-5 times a day, I have seen a lot of jobs for "activists" to fight against Prop 8 - for the repeal, actually. It is only listed as summer work, they are looking for college students to canvas. I am interested to know what the plan is so I think I'll call to see what they have going on in my area.

I know that there has been some talk of activists turning up the heat on the Mormon church. In other states and on the internet, there have been ads which say "The Mormons are coming!" to play on the fact that more people harbor apprehension about the Latter Day Saints than homosexuality.

Of course the problem with that approach by an organization called Californians Against Hate is obvious. To invite fear and prejudice against an entire religion is not exactly showing tolerance. Using people's ignorance to fight ignorance is ludicrous.

Having lived in the West all my life, I have known many members of the LDS Church. Generally very nice people, devoted to family - some very creative, some living pretty high, most leading simple lives. Not one have proselytized, pried into my beliefs or tried to get my kids to go to their church youth group. Can't say the same of any other church goers.

I have always believed that when people know gay people personally, especially same sex couples, they support same sex marriage as a civil right. It is hard to deny rights to people you know and care about. Fewer people in this country know Mormon people, the population is small and mostly in the western states. Few Mormon people know openly gay people. It is not accepted in the LDS church (unlike the Catholic church which has a formal position -which is ignored on many fronts.)

I think the confrontations with the Mormon Church and the Catholic Church and all the religious groups which involve themselves in political issues has to be on the separation of church and state front. A delineation of the line between civil rights and religious beliefs.

I was horrified when I saw the name of a woman I know, living in my town , who had donated $5000.00 to pass Proposition 8. This family lives very frugally. Their lives revolve around the LDS Church. We have fallen out of touch over the last few years, and I wonder if we would have talked about this issue if we were still sitting on the sidelines at our daughter's swim meets. I'd like to think she would have listened to my point of view because we have always been respectful to each other.

I hope that the Californians Against Hate will find a way to fight the religious institutions without causing people to be disrespectful of the people who are members. Intolerance breeds intolerance. We need to do better.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


My brother had this poster on his wall, but -

I know this makes me very old school - he is the one I'll remember and miss.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I have now been looking for a job for over a week. I am not sure if I can even count myself as one of the nearly 12% unemployed in California since I left my job more somewhat voluntarily and do not qualify for Unemployment Insurance. I am kind of like all those people who have used up their UI and are not really counted anymore.

This morning there were a couple of reports on the news about job hunting and the economy. One was about making your resume stand out by listing specific accomplishments, following up after sending resumes and making job hunting a full-time endeavor. The usual, generic tips which aren't even always relevant.

What was interesting was a spokesman from Yahoo saying there are jobs mostly in health care, engineering ad high tech - which we have all heard. Then he goes on to say that the positions offered are not all "professional." They need receptionists and janitors and warehouse workers. Which is true, too. But mostly, from what I have seen in a exhausting week spent looking at everything out there, there are very, very few positions for anyone but experienced engineers, technology professionals and nurses.

While I am not one to shy away from applying when I don't have absolutely all the experience listed - it is daunting that a "receptionist" is supposed to have experience with autoCAD and Dreamweaver in addition to writing sales orders and proposals, staff scheduling and conduction facility tours.

Most companies want you to have worked in their specific field and know their specific software, etc., and I suspect they will get that. And cheaper than the last person who had the job. I see lots of very long job descriptions with 35 hour weeks, no benefits. I applied today for one that is a 1099 position - what they like to call an independent contractor - so they don't have to pay payroll taxes.

Something new to me is the online tests some employers have you take. Timed tests for math, grammar, vocabulary and reasoning. Like a mini-SAT! As part of the initial application process. I have also had to agree to credit and background checks.

I will say that I have been approached by numerous companies interested in meeting me! They are all sales positions. Some telemarketing, a couple of insurance companies, a real estate investment company and something to do with identity theft. All promise great incomes! Make $2000.00 per week! The catch? Commission only.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


The temperature zoomed from the 70's to the 90's today. I went out early to water and found...

A creature has eaten 3 or 4 tomatoes completely off the plant! They were the biggest ones, already turning red. It explains why the dog has been acting crazy every night, wanting to get out into the yard.

ON the other hand, the hydrangea is gorgeous!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Mrs G. posted about book reading and book banning today. It just got me all stirred up about my love for books and reading. I have a little picture file of rooms I would love to live in. These are some of them.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I hope that Michele Obama becomes aware of the military housing issues which Mary Alice is bringing to light on her blog From the Frontlines. In a series of posts she has described the broken cabinets, mold, tiny closets, make-shift bathrooms, rodents, slanted floors, broken appliances, dangerous walkways, etc. which have been ignored or shoddily repaired by the company our US Government hired - a privatized housing company which runs the substandard housing on their base.
In her frustration, Mary Alice has posted a number of times about the problems with the housing, the ridiculous amount of rent the families are charged, the fact that people assume they are not among the taxpaying citizenry contributing to the upkeep of their sub-standard housing and, insult to injury, that the US Mail is not delivered on cold winter days because the sidewalks are too dangerous for the mailman - but apparently not too dangerous for the women and children who live there.

We are a country which prattles on about our pride in our military - yet we refuse to properly fund their housing, medical and family needs.

Making it worse, the base commander asked Mary Alice's husband to tell her to stop talking about the problems. So, as requested by Jen at Juggling Life, we are out to talk about it, blog about it, tweet about it and get s big light shining on this issue. Join in!

Monday, June 15, 2009


I spent most of Friday glued to the computer taking online exams for government jobs. Jobs, I ,may add, which I believe would be soul killing should I actually snag one. Friday was also the last day of school so I was on duty to shuttle Ally hither and there for teen festivities. Sometime IN the afternoon, our next door neighbors set up a bouncy room in their front yard and had a herd of small children whose high pitched shrieks could be heard through the closed windows. Got the picture?

I was cross eyed and head achy when my husband came through the door and without a moment's pause began to berate me for how I parked my car. The thought process behind my parking decision, was simply that it would be temporary as I would soon be going out with Ally again and I didn't want to block his "space."

Rather than engage on the subject, I decided to pack my gym bag and leave when I drove Ally to her next destination. I went to the gym and mentally divided our assets while in the step machine. I was disappointed that the steam room and the whirlpool were not working on this rare occasion when I wanted to use them - but this was the theme of the day.

I called Ally to see if she was ready for a ride to her next destination, she said she and her friend were on the bus there and wouldn't need a ride until after 10. What to do? I was already down the passive aggressive path and not ready to go home.

I recall that I have a voucher for the movie theater. I have had it for about a year and a half. I will drive to the theater and see if there is anything I want to see! Me! My Choice!

The only attractive movie I recognised on the marquee was "My Life in Ruins" which I was aware of because Nia Vardalos had been on some show I saw talking about how hard it was to get it released into theaters because, according to the studios, "women don't go to the movies."

It was starting at 7:50 and it was 7:55. I grabbed a popcorn and kept a good thought that there would be a seat which didn't require that I disturb the on-time patrons. I slid into the dark theater as the opening credits were running and got a nice seat on the aisle.

Ladies, may I say that while this was a simplistic romantic comedy, it was funny and charming and filmed on location in Greece. The theater was full of laughing people. And it wasn't mean, slapstick humor. It was the perfect antidote to my day.

When I called the girls, they weren't ready to leave the party. The popcorn filled me up so I didn't need to eat. Where to go? To Borders to wander the aisles making note of books I'd like to read. I spent some time looking at the huge variety of magazines they carry and sat for a bit with the paperback I had in my purse. At 10:45 I went to get the girls and head home.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I am on the hunt. The job hunt. Great timing, huh? Is it ever good timing when you really don't know what you want to do and you are already really, quite grown-up?

I peaked out, job wise, in my early thirties. I had just graduated from law school and got a job in the marketing department of a nutritional supplements company. I liked the work which was a mix of product marketing and FDA /FTC compliance (the law part - which made me feel better about paying off my student loans.) I liked the small size of the company. I believed in the product. I even got to go to Europe twice on business!

The company was sold the month after I had my twins. I didn't work again for 16 years.

Then I had to get a job because our family was falling apart financially. I had a resume full of experience, but the last job I had came with a secretary and the only thing I had ever done on a computer was shop, help with homework and bank.

I couldn't even get an interview for a management level job. When I set my sights lower, I was questioned about my over-qualifications. I finally came up with a toned down resume and the explanation that after 16 years, I felt like I was pretty much back to entry level.

It wasn't easy. I was lucky to get the job I did, making a less than I had 16 years before. I worked very hard and enjoyed my job for 5 years and probably should not have left it. My husband never liked that I was working in what he considered a "menial job for low pay". He said I could leave it and when I was in a bad patch, I did.

Now his practice is slow and he is freaked out about our finances and telling me I have to go to work again.

This is not exactly how I pictured my fifties. I am just old enough to have grown up with the knowledge that I would have a college education, but without whatever it is that tells you to make a career choice. When I had my children, it was natural to me to be at home. I never missed working, I never really thought I would go back to working.

I have searched my heart and mind for a "passion." I have undergone career testing. I have read books. I envy those who have one. Who know what they want to do.

What I am going to do is get my resume updated and go hunting.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I have always been a champion multi-tasker. Very organized. Dovetailing activities and errands, planning the most effective route when out and about.

I do, however, fail miserably at cooking while blogging. I have scorched, boiled over, burned, overcooked and otherwise run the grocery bill up while on the internet.

Do you see the smoke rising up from my lunch?

Monday, June 8, 2009


During his opening, Tony Award host Neil Patrick Harris said that watching the Tony Awards as a kid was his portal to Broadway.
I feel the same way. It has always been one of my favorite shows because it was the only opportunity a girl from Walnut Creek had to see dramatic goings on beyond the Ygnacio Valley High School stage.

The only thing I would nit-pick about last night was the all too brief views of the non-musical shows. I love me a musical, but we tend to see those production numbers on various TV shows. The dramatic shows don't get the same coverage - so let us have a longer peek!!
I love that the actors look like normal people and that their husbands and wives look normal, too. It just makes sense that Botox and skin tight faces don't work well on stage. On the other hand - does Bebe Neuworth have a portrait hidden in her attic or what? It is also so interesting to see actors you recognise from TV and movies doing plays. Who knew Dr. Bailey from Grey's Anatomy could sing? But there is Chandra Wilson in All that Jazz.

I love that they are doing West Side Story in English and Spanish, and that there is still an audience for Hair! I don't get the Shrek thing, but I guess really rich people can afford to take their kids to Broadway musicals. I have watched the movie Billy Elliot a number of times and it was brilliant of Elton John to make it into a musical. Those boys who play Billy were delightful. And so amazingly accomplished.
I did see a play on the Broadway stage when I was in college. I saw Equuis which was a rather dark, psychological play. Then Tom and I saw the Broadway production of the musical Titanic which we enjoyed on a hot summer night in 1998 when he was in New York for an interview. The company offered the tickets as an incentive, he didn't take the job, but it was a memorable night, walking through the theater district and back to the hotel.

Friday, June 5, 2009


We got the letter on Monday June 1 from the IRS asking for some documentation to be submitted by May 27. Okay.

So I am filling out the forms and trying to navigate to the web address listed in the letter as there is certain specific information I am required to follow. The web address will not come up. So after numerous tries I finally find the correct web page and complete the packet of information.

Tom suggests we should call to notify the IRS that the packet is coming, but we didn't receive it in time to send it by May 27. So I call the number listed in the letter.

After 5 prompts I am told via electronic voice that the wait time is 30-45 minutes.

I try again an hour later. Wait time is 20- 30 minutes.

I try again around noon. The wait time is 10-15 minutes. So I wait. They play selections from the Nutcracker Suite. I wonder if someone at the IRS selected this as an ironic little joke.

After 11 minutes the call is answered, the agent rattles off an ID number. I share the information. The agent tells me I need to talk to another department, the one which sent the letter. Funny. You would think they would use their number in the letter.

I wait another 13 minutes. I tell this agent, number 4758/#( or something, the story. He says he will note the file and I should talk to another department so they will not start some sort of procedure against us. Yikes.

I wait another 19 minutes because this sounds quite dire. Agent 49%3+& isn't sure why they have put me through to her, but is happy to hear the information is going out today and make sure all the supporting documents are included. I dig up some additional information and add it to the packet just in case.

I double check everything and go to the Post Office. I hope that is the end of this little story.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


It's been awhile since I checked out the Prompt Tuesday post by Sandiegomomma:

We’ve got all kinds of friends, haven’t we? The serious ones, the anal ones, the silly ones, the lost ones, the distant ones, the ironclad ones.

Today, let’s write about the fun ones. Do you have a friend who makes you laugh and is a guaranteed good time? Write about this friend. Tell us a funny memory, something he or she said, or some goofball thing you did together.

This can be a character sketch or a plot-driven story.
Perhaps a poem.
Or maybe a song?
Sure, a song sounds nice, too.

And if you’ve got a picture, let us see it! Bonus points for zaniness.

This is my sister Nancy

When we are being zany it never occurs to us to take a picture - but this photo shows Nancy, my sister and best friend, at her smiley best. Nancy and I didn't have much of a relationship growing up. I am the older sister - 6 or 7 years older, I forget. I was off to college by the time she stopped being just a kid. It wasn't until I was married and in my early 30's that we connected as women and became friends.

We share an interest in politics and reading and of course, we share our family. We've spent hours on the phone talking about our kids and husbands and homes. When I moved to Washington state for a few years in the early 90's we learned how to e-mail to keep the phone bills down.

I especially enjoy when we are together during the holidays - we always have a lot of champagne to drink and get the giggles. Especially the year the Christmas Eve roast took an extra hour or so to finish - the kids still talk about that night and I still remember the hangover.