Saturday, November 29, 2008

So quiet

It's so quiet with son and grandson and ex-dog gone that I've had the TV on for most of the evening. Since I got home from taking Mom out, like I do every Saturday, anyway. I'd been on a sort of TV diet, had it on only about 2 or 3 times in the past month. The police radio has been off all of that time too. Just wanted the quiet. But now it feels odd and sort of wrong. Right now the background noise is sort of nice.

The visit was great and far too short, like always. Son had to work this weekend, he's in retail, and so had to return back to his home. How he managed to get Black Friday off, I don't know. That was a feat and I appreciate it! His girlfriend was working nearly the entire time he and grandson were gone. She really missed her sweetie and her baby. I don't blame her, I miss them now. Funny how quickly one becomes accustomed to having kids/grandkids around!

They only stayed for two nights, came late on Wednesday and left on Friday. He had many other friends and family to see (they all wanted to see grandbaby!) so while I got to see him, it wasn't for any extended amount of time.

Grandbaby LOVED the baby playland! We brought many of his favorite toys upstairs and he had a good time with them and in getting into other things.

Hope you had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! I did.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

The Six Things Meme

Ordinary Girl who is not ordinary at all, has tagged me for the Six Things Meme. And you know how I feel about memes! (Love them)

These are the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random, arbitrary things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

1. I grew up on a farm, in the country. Of course it would be hard to have a farm in the city! We do have an urban chickens movement around here. The proposal went to the City Council several times and now, with a signed document from all of your neighbors, one can apply and pay for a permit to keep chickens in town. I like chickens but won’t be doing that.

2. The farm that I grew up on wasn’t the usual type of farm with lots of livestock. We had chickens and ducks but that was only when I was quite young. The farm was a berry and vegetable farm, sort of like a truck farm. And it was lots of work, but I have fond memories of it now and really enjoy gardening.

3. Right now I have no pets, not a single living thing besides plants in the house. I do currently have a visiting dog. My ex-dog is here with son and grandson. The two people are gone visiting other relatives in the area so it’s just me and my ex-dog.

4. As much as I like and am interested in people, I really am kind of a loner at home. That’s my deep, dark secret. I need lots of space and alone time. Can’t stand to have someone else around all the time. My son, Pseudo Son and now Grandbaby are the only exceptions. That’s not been conducive to long-term relationships! That’s why when finances were tough this summer, getting a roommate was NOT a good option for me to consider.

5. Pursuant to that (always wanted to use that phrase!) I’m not looking for or interested in finding another man/partner, at least not for now.

6. I’ve been “connected” now and then over the years and even married for a while but have spent most of my life single. And like it that way!

This is the part where I’m supposed to tag six other victims, I mean, people! Any volunteers? Are there SIX volunteers? Anybody with deep, dark secrets?

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Turkey Day to all, except those not having turkey...
To them I wish:

Happy Ham Day!

Happy Prime Rib Day!

Happy Marinated Shrimp Day!

Happy BBQ Day!

and a Happy To-furky Day for the vegetarians! And not TODAY, of course, but tomorrow. I've also heard it called Gratitude Day or Gratitude Attitude. So:

Happy Gratitude Attitude Day!
No matter what's for dinner...

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Stonehenge was built to impress the girls

Sometimes I like to read letters written to "National Geographic" magazine. The magazine had an article about Stonehenge in the June 2008 issue. Letters regarding the article appeared in the October 2008 issue.

One letter writer ventured that Stonehenge was built as a sport complex. His/Her (only initials were given) reasoning being that humans tend to build things for three reasons: religion, defense and sports arenas. Examples given were the Colosseum in Rome, Mayan ball courts and today's "monstrous stadiums and ball parks."

But my favorite letter was from a writer in California who wanted "to share an epiphany I had the last time we visited." The writer went on to say, "Stonehenge, if understood more obliquely, was ultimately built to impress the girls."

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Friday, November 21, 2008

A Flunk-ee on Probation

Yesterday I didn't post about all the tests I took. I'd applied for three county jobs in the neighboring state. They sent me three letters, all packed into one envelope (encouraging that they are saving on postage!) Each of the three letters said the same thing in a slightly different manner: I needed to pass some tests to be considered for the job.

The County Courthouse is downtown. Parking, except on meters is difficult to come by and now I'm not able to walk for blocks and blocks. When my old job's old office was downtown, I became adept at finding free parking and fitting into the tightest of spots. If the parking spot was even a tiny bit larger than the Jeep, I could somehow get into it. Now, faced with tests that would take up most of the day, I really didn't want to have to keep plugging a parking meter. To my joy and amazement, I found a FREE parking space less than a block from the Courthouse! That was truly a miracle to find a free parking spot right downtown, at 10:00 AM. I wish the tests had turned out to be miracles too, but that was not to be.

I took the first test, Information Specialist I. It was long and rather difficult with two hours allowed for it. I think I did OK, good enough to pass, I hope. There was an addendum to it called the "Bookkeeping Test" that passing would qualify one to be listed for County Auditor jobs. I took the Bookkeeping Test even though I really haven't done much bookkeeping for years. It seemed to go OK. After taking those two tests I took the Information Specialist II test, two hours allowed. That actually seemed easier than the I test, not as much math on it--and no calculators were allowed for the tests--not even for the Bookkeeping Test which had calculating interest and adding up columns of figures.

Then it was on to the performance tests but the computer room was filled up. The attendant asked if I wanted a break while waiting for an opening. I took a break in the Courthouse coffee shop and had a tiny little coffee and a half tuna sandwich. Both were little but very good. Thus fortified I returned to the testing office for the performance tests.

Took the typing test and passed at 58 WPM. I always put that I can do 60 WPM but I guess not, anymore. The last test was a MS Word 2002 test. I used that program all of the time at my former job and know it well. The attendant sat with me through the sample test, in which I got one wrong that she said, "That wasn't wrong!" That didn't bode well for the test.

I have to hang my head and tell you--I didn't pass that last test. I thought I knew how to do everything but one question, but obviously I missed far more than one question to flunk the test! You were asked to click on the first thing you would do to perform the given task. They seemed to allow only one way to do things and apparently that wasn't the way I was used to doing those things. Very discouraging and I don't know how to even study up to take it again.

The good news is that I CAN take that test again, but who knows if I'll do any better at it. At least I will look up the one thing I didn't know how to do, so there will be one more correct answer, maybe.

The Worker's Comp person called me today between visitations to ask about all the testing too, so I had to tell her about needing to re-take the test. She wasn't impressed and told me I needed to get some training. During our last meeting she told me that I couldn't go out of town to visit my son, his girlfriend and grandson, not even during the holidays. Worker's Comp wants me to either be working or applying for jobs. Reminding her that I've been working 7 days a week didn't change her mind about that, either. That's why I was so thrilled and happy to hear that son and grandson would be coming here to visit--since I'm not allowed to go there to see them. Now THAT is a miracle, thank goodness!

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Build it and they will come

I've been putting together a play area downstairs in my son's old bedroom. My Mom likes to go to thrift stores and buy mystery books and while we're there, I've been picking up some baby toys. The toys are just like new, probably weren't used long before the child grew out of them. Since I've been around children a whole lot lately, I'm more up on what sort of toys are the favorites. Whenever I saw a toy that the children of around a year or so old at visitation loved, I nabbed it. Soon I had a wonderful playland downstairs, just waiting for a baby to come and play in it.

Well guess what? Yesterday I got a call from my son that he is coming with grandson to visit me for a few days next week! His girlfriend will be working (at double her normal wage, because of the holiday) so she can't come. That's really too bad as I really enjoy her company nearly as much as my son's. But---GRANDSON IS COMING!!!!
The playland will soon have a baby to play in it!

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Just call me Gumby

Well, yesterday was certainly interesting. I do like flexibility and unpredictability. The trouble is that last one can interfere with the rest of one's life. I was making chicken soup, watching the time and listening for the phone or the cell. I'd talked to both bosses but that was no guarantee that things wouldn't get all switched up. At 1:20 there was a call on the cell phone. It was direct boss calling to ask if I could come to a 1:30 visitation at the Center. As the other boss had said earlier, my regular visitation at 2:00 had been given to somebody else. Yikes!

I was (sort of, just in case) planning for the scheduled 2:00 at the client's house. While just a half-hour difference might not sound so bad or such a scramble, it was because I'd planned the soup to be done at 1:30, then pack up and leave. I said I was right in the middle of soup-making and wouldn't be able to leave home until 1:30, so would be late to the visitation. The boss said she'd switch the 2:00 person to the 1:30. I asked if I was still scheduled for the 2:00 then? She said she'd get back to me.

Ten minutes later I was done with the soup and sort of packed up. I really didn't want to waste the gas (and time) to go flying over there if someone else had been assigned to my 2:00 visitation. Finally I called the boss back and left a message. She called me back wondering why I'd called (?) because she just saw my number and hadn't listened to the message. I asked if the 2:00 was on or off for me. Apparently in the commotion she'd forgotten that it had been still up in the air and that she'd said she would call me back. It was on. So I rushed over the High Bridge to the neighboring state and to the client's house.

Whew! Now wasn't that interesting? I'm still waiting for a schedule for this week, have no idea what the scheduled times are, let alone the certain changes. Boss said she needed my E-mail, so sent it so her last night. This morning I'm on the computer checking for the schedule and got a "test" E-mail from her. Sent it back and am still waiting to see if or when I'm working today!

During the commotion of yesterday the land-line phone rang while I was on the cell talking to the boss. It was the Real Estate Agent with a showing for today! So I've been cleaning and sprucing up too. Away with the discount Halloween goblets and candles I'd bought for a quarter apiece and a set for a quarter. Also put away all the jars that were sitting on the kitchen counter. I'm going to clean and fill them with homemade "Cafe Vienna" "Mocha" "Spiced Tea" "Chai Tea" for (inexpensive) Christmas gifts.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Flexible Schedule

The utility guys came to fix the furnace last Tuesday. I waited most the day for them but it was worth it! They told me they had been making bets in the truck about what sort of furnace I had, and one had guessed correctly and also had guessed correctly what the problem was. These type of furnaces are known for that problem, apparently. So charged me for a hour of time and $4 for supplies for a total of $84--the cheapest furnace repair I'd paid yet. And also the only effective one. I'm very much enjoying the heat in here now!

I should be at a visitation right now, but it was canceled. This is the third one in a row that has been canceled. I got ready, took out the garbage and moved the garbage bin to the alley before leaving, because I thought I wouldn't be returning until after dark tonight. I had 7-and-a-half hours scheduled for two visitations and only a short half-hour to drive between them. I sped over the interstate "High" bridge and to the Center where the key to the visit rooms was missing (again). The building key was there so I could get into the building and knocked on the visit room doors, thinking someone had used the key and had not put it back. Well, that last part was true!

Called the boss about the missing key and she told me that the visitation had been canceled! I had gotten ready, raced over and stood out in the cold waiting--for nothing. Well, almost nothing, as she said I can get the 1-hour "cancellation" pay and a half hour for doing the paperwork. Friday morning the exact same thing happened, for a different family's visitation, and Friday afternoon the boss called me (BEFORE) I drove over the bridge, this time, to let me know that the afternoon visit had been cancelled too.

Although I'll get 1.5 hours of pay for each, it isn't what I'd planned for or what had been scheduled. So far I still have the 4-hour visitation in a family's home later this afternoon. But even that appears to be iffy because another boss told me just this morning that another worker had been assigned that visit, "to give me a day off"! Some day off when I had to go running over there! But my direct boss told me the visit is still on. We'll see what happens when I get there.

OK, I really do like this new job, but like any job it does have certain things about it that could be improved. When hired they told us that we would need to be flexible--and they really weren't kidding about that! They are also hiring more workers even though most of us are clamoring for more hours. What's up with that? Will the person who shadowed one of my visits be TAKING OVER that visit? Possibly so as I haven't seen her (new person) name on the schedule yet and she will be wanting hours too. I really don't want to donate any of my visitations to her, even though she seems to be a nice person!

Last week my hours did increase so Worker's Comp will (hopefully) be more pleased with this job. The job placement person is coming to meet for the usual two hours next week. I've already filled out the required job-hunting logs for her and the "Returns" matrix of companies who have gotten back to me, with rejection letters or E-mails.

I also finally finished the last folder of scanning for the friends who had this computer fixed. It was a barter deal and I had to fulfill my end of it after they paid for the repair. It was a good deal that worked out well. I couldn't have done my new job very well without computer access. The documents are E-mailed to the main office and there is a deadline about how fast they need to be submitted. Since a lot of my work is during the weekend, that would have been a problem to find a computer to get it done had not this one at home been fixed. I'm grateful. Everything is still turning out well, just not very predictable!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some interesting thoughts

Well, at least I think the thoughts are interesting! That makes one of us. Over the past couple of weeks I've been reading (currently while well-bundled up) the Seth/Jane Roberts material. This material was published in the 1970's and some of the "new age-y" philosophies are credited/blamed to the Seth material that came out during that time.

I'd run into this line of thinking many times before, as I'm sure you have: that a person creates their own reality. In the past I've always dismissed that philosophy almost immediately. The "proof" that it doesn't work, to me was that people are starving, suffering, dying--and why would they chose that? It just didn't make sense to me. That was about all the thinking I did about it and then closed the book on that entire subject.

Lately I've re-opened that line of thinking along with opening and reading the Seth books. As it turns out, the philosophy is a lot more complex (and intriguing) than I first had considered. Seth says that we create our own reality, but that it's created from our thoughts and emotions--not necessarily what our conscious "wishes" are. Fear and negative thinking also create reality. Ah-ha! Now that makes more sense to me and I can trace it in my own life.

Now why would I choose to have this Year-From-Hell? Well, I didn't choose it, exactly, but my thoughts and feelings came into play and then thoughts and feelings about things that were happening made OTHER (negative) things happen. Yes, I can see how it might have worked out in this way, even though I wouldn't have chosen it on purpose.

I won't go into re-tracing the entire year for you, but will just give a couple of the more major examples: I WAS feeling very negative about my job early in the year, in fact I was looking for another job. I had just decided to grimly hang on for another year when--I got injured on the job. Five weeks off and I was dreading my return. I wasn't back at work long at all before I got fired from the job. That was one way of leaving that job! Not the way I would have consciously chosen, but it worked.

Because of the injury, although it looked like a penniless summer at first, Worker's Comp came through with some money to support me and a job-finding person to help me find another job! Again, not exactly what I would have chosen to go through, but it worked out!

As for the continual stuff happening to my house (now THERE'S a long list I won't go into right now!) so it can't/isn't getting sold: I fell in love with this house and am still very attached to it. I wouldn't chose to sit here shivering, nor to have the basement flood of last year--but it worked--I still have my house! Funny how things have worked out, once I take a good look at them and an honest look at what my own attitudes have been.

So, have you just written off the "you create your own reality" theory or do you think that it really operates in some strange fashion? Got any good examples of how it worked in your life?

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Oh-Brrr and Oh-Brrr Again

Just finished typing three visitation reports (which took a couple of hours) and my fingers and lips are blue. Yes, the furnace is OUT again, since yesterday. Do suppose that guy was right? I sure hope not! We also got our first snow yesterday. Bad timing for that.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Still got it going on

Remember my October 7th post about the cold I had? Well, probably you don't remember as it's not all that noteworthy except to me. But here's the thing - I STILL HAVE IT. In fact my throat was so sore I could barely swallow and the coughing thing is annoying. Many times I've coughed so hard that I have vomited. Or perhaps that was from the tea with honey and lemon juice. Oh how I hate that tea now! Used to like it. But it does seem to ease the sore throat a bit. The four days/nights without heat in the house didn't help to get rid of this cold, or whatever it is, I'm sure.

Still, I've gone to work spreading my germs. I had a brand new visitation to observe last night. With a new visitation the Supervised Visitation Observer must go over the paperwork and the rules. I could barely talk, voice was gone and the effort made me cough and cough. I ended up just pointing out things as I couldn't read them out loud. How attractive and professional! Isn't that sad? But I need the money. And also have no health care.
Added later: I've been thinking (just a smidgen) about the 400 hours of sick time I lost at the old paid sick at the new job. There are no benefits at all.

Today I went to the pharmacy and got a generic drug, well two versions: a daytime and a night-time. The dosage is 2 tablets for every four hours but I've never tolerated cold medicine well, so broke a tablet in half and took just the half. I was glad I did, since there was driving to be done and even the half-tablet made me pretty spacey. (Too bad I didn't have a new visitation to go over the rules with--now THAT might have been fun!) It has helped though, there's been fewer spasms of coughing since then.

As to the historic election of yesterday? All I can say is that chant that was heard around the White House, "Nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, gooooodbye."
Added later: Even if it had gone the other way, the election would have been historic. I thought up another appropriate song: Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!

ps. There are a couple of my favorite blogs that I'm no longer able to get on to read or make comments! If that's you, can you please re-invite me? (if you want to, that is!)

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Monday, November 03, 2008

As pitiful as possible--sometimes works

By late last Thursday the furnace was running. That was exactly when it warmed up outside too! It was a long cold week. I put a 6' cushion on the floor, had a little electric heater running right next to it, and rolled up like a mummy every night in two heavy quilts. Still, I didn't sleep well. It was like camping INside, cold, and once I got internally chilled it was hard to shake it. Typing the reports for work on the computer was a chilly task.

The furnace repair guy came numerous times. He ran diagnostics and couldn't find out why the furnace blower wouldn't come on. By Tuesday night he was saying I needed to buy a new furnace. My reply was, with what? I'd been out of work all summer, taking money from my (meager) retirement account to survive. "Oh just use your credit card." he said. Yeah right, I ran that up too. Normally I pay the balance off each month but couldn't all summer, of course. I was just desperate enough to swallow my pride (along with lots of hot tea to stay warm) and try to be as pitiful as possible. I wanted him to find out what was wrong and to FIX it, not just have me buy a new furnace.

Well, I guess it worked because the repair guy spent hours on the phone to a supplier who had him try this and that. After a long, late night he finally discovered that it was the ignition that was not working. So that was replaced for about $400 total, parts and all the repair time. That was a lot of money but it could have been far worse. A new furnace would have been thousands, plus the installation cost.

Pitiful didn't work in getting my Mom her new identification card, though. I brought her to the Dept of Motor Vehicles with a valid driver's license from the nearby state and her social security card. Nope, they wouldn't take those "because of the terrorists" The guy at the counter said that Mom has to bring her birth certificate and get, this, her MARRIAGE certificate, along with those other documents to get an ID. Yikes, like an 82-year-old woman who can barely walk could be a terrorist, yeah right.

Mom was horribly disappointed and said that she has NEVER missed voting in an election since she was old enough to vote! She was born in the state where she's living now (moved to assisted living situation this summer) And even though the neighboring cities are called "The Twin Ports" and she had a valid Driver's license, proof of her current residency, and me to vouch for her--the man at the counter just shrugged. "Nope, I can't do that. There are rules." Some awfully STUPID rules, in my mind. It made me so angry, not only for my Mom but for other people who are not being allowed to vote.

Well, Mom is very organized and found her marriage certificate, of nearly 60 years ago, faded and yellow. We can stop at the Courthouse and get (I hope) her birth certificate even though she was born in a different county. Today is the last day she can get her ID. I'm devoting today to trying to do that. Wish me luck!

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