Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! My hope is that the new year will bring us all peace.

I am thinking back on all the changes my life has seen in the recent years. Some of them have been difficult, but I am trying to view them as opportunities to learn and grown. I have worked hard to get myself to a place where I can begin a new career, one which I have control over, to at least some degree. This has given me back some of my self confidence which had taken a real beating the past year. Some people wish to roll the clock back and be many years or decades younger. I do not wish that. Life has taught me many lessons that I would not wish to repeat, but having survived them I am a much stronger person. There are times I wish I could make people be me, if only for one day. I think they would learn a lot too. I do not take anything for granted. Each day I know that I am receiving a gift. No one knows how much time they have left but when you deal with the problems that I do, you know that they should all be savored and lived to their highest potential. I had to make some difficult changes recently to gain back the quality of my days. I cannot control the quantity of my days but I can take all the steps I can to insure the quality. I wish all of you quality days and most of all I wish you the knowledge of the gift of each day.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas to All and to all a Goodnight

I had a wonderful Christmas. Last night my spirits were not too bright but I put my best face on and we went to my brother, Bob's house. He had a nice crowd which included two surprise guests, my niece and her fiancee'. I hadn't known she was dating anyone since her break up during the summer so it was quite a shock. I didn't get to talk to him much but it was good to see her, she made a long drive from upstate New York to see us. As usual my sisters-in-law were a lot of fun. We had a nice time and got to spend some time with the newest member of our family baby Cadence who is a few months old. She had on the cutest Santa outfit. My sister-in-law gave me a great handbag (have I ever mentioned my love of handbags?) Came home and went to bed and this morning we woke up bright and early thanks to out cat alarm. Grrrrrrrrrrrr. I knew I was getting my flat screen monitor and didn't expect much more. I should have known better when the Leprechaun Santa is on the job. He consulted with our friend Tim, quilter extraordinaire and got me a sewing machine. I was delighted and look forward to doing a few things with it. I also got the most adorable Christmas monKey ornament with two monkeys. I think my favorite gift of all though was a business card holder. It has hot pink flowers on a border with my name engraved on it. Inside is the slogan my husband suggested that I use. I love it! All my gifts were wonderful but this one reflected such thought. My son came over and gave me an electronic organizer and a real estate dictionary which he proceeded to quiz me on. That guy! He was amazed at what I already know but I will be taking two weeks of further training next week.

My husband received some good stuff from Mrs. Claus which included a beer making kit, DVDS of the show House and a PS2 game. I was sad that the lottery tickets in his stocking were not big winners. I guess he will be going to work tomorrow after all.

We spent most of the day at my mother's house. My brother his wife, sister, her daughter, parents and my grandmother were there. We had a nice dinner. Sometime later my sister's significant other arrived. My sister has a horrible cold. She will be leaving in the morning. Tomorrow will be a hectic day for me as I run around getting papers I need and checks. Today was a much needed escape from the problems of the recent past. I am tired and looking forward to a restful night. This Christmas went surprisingly well and I am happy that I got to spend it with two relatives I have not spent time with in a very long time. Merry Christmas and good night.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Staying Afloat

Right now I am battling within myself. I am struggling to understand why some people say things and then when you take their advice get angry at you. I am wondering why people cannot just be happy that you have worked hard and put yourself in a place where you can possibly have more income (income of necessity not want). If they can't dictate to you how to live your life then they question your loyalty. What is that all about? Does one have to ruin any financial opportunities to prove loyalty? I think the key is that one must do what one needs to survive.
I am reminded of a quote "Don't tell me who you are. Don't tell me what you'll do. Show me what you've done and I will know you."

I just read a wonderful entry by Judith HeartSong. She makes such wonderful observations about life. She speaks how such situations are learning experiences. I must view this that way. I am about to embark on a journey. Where paychecks will not be steady. I have not received a paycheck in three weeks. (I am expecting to receive one for two of those weeks soon.) It's a bit scary. I have to view this as an opportunity to receive an education at which time I will start to earn money. Patience. Something I need to work on.

Christmas time has always been a struggle for me. It began when I was ten years old. I remember that Christmas as though it were yesterday. We took in a brother and sister foster children. My mother knew their aunt. For Christmas we were poor, my father was in the Navy and there were four of us children already. We crammed them into our rooms and now there were three sharing our double bed. For Christmas my mother bought the girl a teardrop pearl necklace. It was beautiful. My sister and I received a child's table with two chairs. It was ideal for my three year old sister but I was ten and although petite couldn't fit close to the table on the tiny chairs. My cousin called me and I went to her house. She had received a metal miniature kitchen. The sink even had running water. She also received a beautiful birthstone ring and many other things. I had such envy. It was so hard to deal with. The foster daughter was very mean to me. My mother kept telling me that I had to be understanding. At night she dug her fingernails into my arms until they bled. It was hard to be understanding. Finally they went back to their parents. We never heard from them again. Since then Christmas became an emotional ordeal for me. I still don't understand why but years later this haunts me. This year has been especially tough for us. We are both from large families. We have twelve nieces and nephews between us and two greats. We also have seven siblings and four of them have spouses. Over the years I have asked to stop exchanging. Some have agreed but most have not. I am overwhelmed with trying to shop and buy for all these people. Many of them buy anything they want all year and want or need nothing. Yesterday one who had agreed three year ago not to exchange called to tell me that she had bought us both gifts. Now in the eleventh hour am I expected to be out shopping for them? It gets harder each year. My charge bills arrived yesterday and thought I might need medical attention. I want to stop the madness. My mother-in-law's gifts are still here because I didn't have the money to ship them up there. I did ship the box with the children's toys earlier. I love buying gifts and I love giving. When the giving is so sacrificial it becomes difficult. It took me until the summer to pay off my charges last year. If my situation remains the same next year I think I am going to have to bite the bullet and refuse any adult exchanges except for each other, my son and our parents. I just can't keep going through this year after year. It ruins the holidays. I want to experience a Christmas Eve with the excitement that I once could. No stress, no pressure. I want the gifts I give to be sharing time, quality time with people I care about. Not an obligatory gift that I know they will be thinking "Who can I regift this to?" Sorry but how can I give you anything you want when you buy what you want on a daily basis? What can I give someone who is receiving diamond jewelery each year? Why do I feel pressured to go out shopping to get something for someone who agreed not to exchange knowing that I have two prescriptions I will be running out of in two days that will wait until my paycheck arrives to be filled.

This is my Christmas prayer: Lord please help me stop the madness and fill my heart with peace. Please don't let this stress get to me and necessitate a trip to the ER because I can't afford the copay. Amen.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Four Days and Counting

I cannot believe we are four short days away from Christmas. The countdown has begun.
Today I had the priviledge of taking my 94 1/2 year old grandmother grocery shopping. She is so sweet, words cannot describe my joy at spending time with her. I always think of the Christmas story about the cup of tea. How this woman goes into a house which brings back Christmas memories like a flood. My grandmother does that for me. My grandfather has been gone many years and I still miss him. To think that she will be gone one day just terrifies me.
She talks about that and I have to go into denial mode. I am seizing all the moments that I can with her right now. Thanksgiving was lonely for us. Although Rob and I are always happy to be together we only saw my son and no other members from either side of the family. Christmas we will have my grandmother here, my sister and her two daughters here and will be going Christmas Eve to my brother's house. It will be busy and we will see many of my family members. Rob's family haven't been here in three years. Fortunately, my parents who were dead set against meeting him have taken him into their hearts. Sometimes I think they like him more than me. Of course there are times I wonder whether they like me at all. Seriously.

I had Rob dye my hair last night. I have decided I cannot afford to get it professionally done anymore. It grows way too fast and often I am not happy with it. I was born with black hair. I was often asked if I had Asian ancestry which to my knowledge I did not. My grandfather's family were Black Irish. That means they had black hair and blue eyes. I always wanted that combination and think of Snow White when I think of that combo. My mother had that when she was younger. Now her hair is entirely gray and she refuses to put any color on it. I got the black hair but not the blue eyes. I have decided to have my hair be dark brown. It looks softer on a coughmiddleagedcough woman. It's also easier to add highlights or lowlights to.

I am tired tonight. I didn't sleep well last night. Change does not come easy for me like it once did. Even when we make changes we feel necessary it is hard to leave people behind. I hope as I get busier with launching a new career that will lessen. A new year dawns. I hope it will bring a feeling of financial security. I hope it will provide me with an opportunity to take a vacation, something I have not done in over a decade. Mostly though, I hope it will bring me good health and healthy relationships with the people in my life who matter most.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Changes in the Air

I am doing a lot of soul searching right now. Wondering where I should be in terms of my new license. There are many different ways it can be used and I am investigating the options which will be best for me. If I become a full time agent and give up my current part time job I will lose the security of the income (which is modest) however I will be giving myself an option to earn much more. I think I know what to do and have been receiving advice from people who have made careers for themselves. It's exciting but when one leaves the safety net it's always a bit uneasy.

I am still dragging from when I was sick several weeks ago. I woke up in the middle of the night last night and never did get back to sleep. I dozed but not the good restful sleep. I keep thinking how nice it would be to be making my own schedule more or less. I know that I have been way too stressed out. It's not good for me physically or mentally.

Tonight is my office Christmas party. Oops I mean holiday party. They start it at 4 which is ridiculous because noone shows up between 4 and 5. It goes until 8. At 8 a great new musician who just cut his first CD will be playing at a local pub. I would love to go providing I can stay awake. I think I could force myself.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hanging Tough

December has been a rough patch for me. While I love Autumn and early Winter weather and the holidays I have not been feeling well or rested. I missed two weeks of work just after Thanksgiving and I just can't feel rested no matter how much sleep I get. Last night my sister called which was a wonderful surprise and we talked for two hours. I got to bed just before midnight and had to get up at 7a.m. Since I don't work on Tuesdays that wasn't plesant. I had to get up, get showered, get medicated and get to the endodontist for my root canal. I really dreaded this. I have to take a huge amount of antibiotics before I go and often am running into the bathroom frequently before the procedure begins. I have to say that I was thrilled with the wonderful and capable Dr. Berger. I told him if I ever need another root canal he'll be the one doing it. He was very relaxing and gentle and the entire procedure was painless. That was very different from my two previous root canals done by dentists. The procedure was completed in one day! I just have to go to my regular dentist for the permanent filling and I'm done. The novocaine has worn off and I have a bit of discomfort but nothing I can't handle.

Yesterday as I arrived home from work I saw a message blinking. My mammogram that I had several days ago and got a thumbs up for seemed to trouble another radiologist and I need to go back for more films. Since I had a breast cancer lesion removed two years ago I am a bit nervous. Hoping it will be okay, I go back a week from this Thursday.

Next Tuesday I get digitally fingerprinted. In my entire life I have never been fingerprinted. At least I won't have black ink all over the place but you know what this means. IF I ever commit a crime, they will readily identify me. Thankfully, I have nothing planned.

Today my one man support system Rob took off a day and took me to the endodontist. That helped me. When we finished there we ran into the mall and picked up a few things for Christmas and something for our friend's birthday. It will arrive belatedly but at least it will arrive.

It's overcast outside. This year our neighborhood has gone light on outdoor decorations, as have we. I want to make sure that next year I don't plan medical procedures or tests or any stressful things during the month of December. If things are going well financially maybe I will even take December off! No matter how stressed I am, no matter how full my plate is, I know that my life is good and that there are good people who truly care about me. There are others in my life who are not good people, who seem to enjoy being deceptive and who don't want me to succeed. I know that I am not responsible for those people. I keep them at arm's length and let karma deal with them. They will not rob me of my joy at all that is good.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Tuesday to Be Thankful For

Tonight I am looking back on a day well spent. Yesterday I had a bit of a melt down feeling the pressure of my state licensing exam that I had to take today. Rob was home from work and was subject to my emotional bouts of terror. I did manage to get some studying in and took two practice tests online which helped to prepare me.

This morning I was up bright and early to do some final studying. My dear friend from work called me (one of the ladies I had taken the course with) to tell me she had just come from work and had said prayers for me. She gave me a pep talk as well. I simply adore this woman. I got dressed and decided to leave a bit early to pop in on my friend Monica who I worked with over thirty years ago. Her daughter was there with her four year old daughter who recently finished chemo and is doing well now. I met Monica's daughter when she was four years old and today I was looking at HER four year old daughter. Rather than feeling old I was explaining to Monica and her daughter that I had survived my cancer thirty years and am still going strong. Little Madison is a lovely girl and I took an angel that played Silent Night and she sang along with the angel. My heart was melting and I suppressed my feeling to just squeeze her so tightly. I feel it's important to act as normal as possible with a child under these circumstances. We had a nice visit and it lifted my spirits and Monica expressed her faith in me as well.

I headed over to the testing center. At the door I paused wondering if I could do this. I have had so much stress over this test. I read somewhere that 40% fail the first time. I did all my paperwork, had a horrible picture taken and was ushered inside with absolutely nothing. My purse had to be locked up. We couldn't even use our own pencils. Only a calculator of the simplest kind was allowed in. They allow 4 hours for the test. I can tell you that it is a very difficult test. They offer choices which make fine distinctions. You need to know the material thoroughly and be able to apply it to situations. I finished the test in under two hours. I walked out and they told me it would be a few minutes before the computer would give them the results. The results are pass or fail and not scored. Not sure why but that's how it is. My hands felt shakey although I thought I did okay. There was only one math question that I redid several times and couldn't get. I just moved on. After what seemed like an eternity the man smiled so broadly and said "YOU PASSED." I felt weak in the news. The tears began to flow and I was ferklempt. They handed me tissues. I explained to them how stressed out I have been. They said that they were glad I passed because if I were this upset over passing........... Yeah. I left with a huge sense of relief. Later my cell phone rang and my other coworker who took the class with me was calling. She had just passed her test and wanted to know that I had passed mine. She said if I hadn't it wouldn't have been as sweet for her. Yes I told her. I passed. I made many phone calls to let people know. I am proud of what I have accomplished. It wasn't easy to work and go to school and do the studying that I did. The important thing is that I did it. It will open up some other opportunities for me as far as income is concerned.

We went to IHOP to celebrate. We're just frivolous like that. :)
Seriously, I have missed two weeks of work with illness and studying. When I sell my first house we can celebrate then.

I just have one more thing to get through before I can relax. Next Tuesday I am having a root canal. While most people don't enjoy them, I find the dentist terrifying. Rob is taking me. I am not fooled. He wants to make sure I actually show up. After then, I will be able to enjoy eating hot/warm foods again. Right now it's not too pleasant.

As though visiting a friend, receiving tons of support from friends, passing the test and dinner at IHOP were not enough, I came online and saw that Jennifer, my journal guardian angel put up a Christmas tree and made it snow. Thank you, Jennifer.

Some days like today remind me how much I love life. Yes, you never know what new joys will unfold on any given day. Thank you God for another day of life.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Little Walks Down Memory Lane

Often I will read an entry in another's blog that will jog a little memory of my own. Tonight Jennifer was talking about her grandmonster turning 13 soon. It made me remember the traumatic incident that occured in my thirteen year old life.

We had a foster child named Michael. His father, stepmother and their children lived in a development. Michael couldn't get along with the others and they put him in foster care. He was a friend of my other friend Dee and I persuaded my parents to take him in. He was with us about a year I think. He had many friends from his development and one day he asked us to go and pick one guy up so they could hang out. I remember the first glimpse I caught of his friend, Ray. He had the largest, most piercing blue eyes and a beautiful smile. One glance and I was a smitten kitten. For the following year we went to each other's school dances and lots of trips in groups. We "went steady" for much of that time. During the end of the year Ray had "needs" that I was not willing to meet. He made it clear to me that their were other more worldly girls that were willing to. He tried to negotiate and bargain but I just wasn't that kind of girl. In June one night he called me and told me that he was breaking up. It was absolutely devastating to me. I called my best friend Debbie and through sobs told her how my world had ended. She had her Mom come and get me to spend the night at her house. I will never forget her mother, Dorothy telling me that there were "plenty of fish in the sea" and me sobbing in reply that there was only one FISH for me and Ray was it. We played "The End of the World" and other heart rendering songs as I cried throughout the night.

About a year later I fell in love, the real thing that lasted for three years with someone else. One day out of the blue Ray called me. He told me that he now understood what a jerk he had been.

The interesting thing is that from the day I first set eyes on Ray, I developed a "thing" for blue eyes. I always tell people never to underestimate the power of a teenage crush. Teenagers are vulnerable and often struggle with low self esteem. I am happy to report that my life was not ruined but it hurt at the time and I can still remember how I felt some forty years later.

Friday, December 01, 2006

'Tis The Season to be Stressed fa la la la la la la la la

I read an entry earlier about the commercialism of the Christmas holiday. It's so very true. This year, I have tried not to buy obligatory items but things that will have sentimental meaning to people. Still, I get weary. Although not up to it, I ran to the mall for gift certificates for my niece and nephew. They are great kids. It just feels so cold and impersonal to me.

One of my coworkers (who also took the real estate course with me) Melinda has sworn off all gifts. She started this last year when she said she had become completely overwhelmed. She has four grown children, the youngest of which is in an expensive college. She works THREE jobs, all part time. She has such a gentle voice and is a very compassionate person. When she told people she was going to implement this last year, they looked at her like she had three heads.
She went on to tell people that she would not accept gifts from them. This will be her second Christmas without the gift buying stress. She was telling me the other night how much more joy she can have. She still does a huge family gathering at her home. She makes a big deal over her children's birthdays. She just won't do the Christmas gift thing anymore. I love her courage.
One year I suggested to my family that we give donations to charities in each other's names.
My father who has everything humanly possible went ballistic. This is the man who year after year rips open something and ridicules it. This year he is getting a gift card to his favorite restaurant. My mother would no doubt cry all day if she didn't receive a gift. Again, there is virtually nothing you can buy her that she doesn't already have. Their VCR is only used when one of us is there to operate it for them.

Maybe next year Melinda's bravery will rub off on me and I will declare "Stop the madness."
Food for thought. Bon appetit.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Big Monitor is Here!

Today was my day to rest up. At least until tonight when a coworker is driving me to get my certificate to take the state test. I sounds crazy but if I were not going to be there tonight I would have had to sign special papers. This is a very important certificate. I will go there, get it and get back to my toasty bed.

Rob stayed home with me today. HE got a lot done! We both worked on Christmas cards and they are ready to mail. Lots and lots of them. He then washed my kitchen floor, winterized our lawn and unpacked and installed my Christmas Monitor. It's a beauty. Sleek, black and large. I am loving being able to really see and the flat screen prevents a lot of glare from the glass ones. I get fatigue from my eyes.

I am still sitting here in my nightshirt. I was going to take a shower all day long but it just seemed like it would take too much energy. I do feel a tad better today, no doubt the antibiotics are starting to kick in. Had a barrage of phone calls today. I tried to call a few people back that I owed calls to but couldn't get anyone else home. Just as well because I am sure my voice could use the rest.

Christmas is less than four weeks away. Hard to believe. I still have some shopping to do. My brain hasn't been too creative this year. I wish money were no object and I could give Rob a certificate to choose his dream car. That's what I would wish for him. He has done so much for me and done it without complaining. I must confess that Rob is not perfect. I have discovered that when I snore he does things to wake me up. Being congested I have snored a lot lately. Other than that, he's my McDreamy. I look at that face and it still melts my heart. Damn, hope I don't blow any more valves!

Monday, November 27, 2006

All I really want for Christmas (at least right now) is chicken soup

I am still sick. I had woken up last Tuesday not feeling well and on Wednesday had a bad sore throat. Now I think I have a sinus infection. Called the internist and he will see me at 1:45. It seems to me that the right half of my head feels much sicker than the left. My voice is a scratchy sounding weak noise that my animals don't seem to be hearing. I had to call out of work, something I hate doing when I have no paid sick days. On the other hand, I am too ill to work and would not want to infect coworkers with this plague of sorts.

This morning I managed to remove the sheets from my bed and get them into the washing machine. Rob helped me replace them before going to work. He wanted to stay home and take me to the doctor himself but if he calls out the day after a holiday, he won't be paid for the holiday, which is two days. I told him I will be fine.

I would love some chicken soup with matzoh balls. There's this wonderful Jewish deli only ten minutes from me but it seems so far right now. I don't know what time they open. I sure wish they delivered. Once you've had their soup you are ruined for canned soup. When I get there I'm going to buy extra for my freezer.

I am still eating Thanksgiving leftovers. Is anyone else? Saw a recipe on a show where they used the turkey, gravy and veggies and made a top crust only pot pie. YUMMMM. No matter how ill I am, I never lose my appetite. Sometimes I think I starved to death in a previous life.

All I really want for Christmas (at least right now) is chicken soup

I am still sick. I had woken up last Tuesday not feeling well and on Wednesday had a bad sore throat. Now I think I have a sinus infection. Called the internist and he will see me at 1:45. It seems to me that the right half of my head feels much sicker than the left. My voice is a scratchy sounding weak noise that my animals don't seem to be hearing. I had to call out of work, something I hate doing when I have no paid sick days. On the other hand, I am too ill to work and would not want to infect coworkers with this plague of sorts.

This morning I managed to remove the sheets from my bed and get them into the washing machine. Rob helped me replace them before going to work. He wanted to stay home and take me to the doctor himself but if he calls out the day after a holiday, he won't be paid for the holiday, which is two days. I told him I will be fine.

I would love some chicken soup with matzoh balls. There's this wonderful Jewish deli only ten minutes from me but it seems so far right now. I don't know what time they open. I sure wish they delivered. Once you've had their soup you are ruined for canned soup. When I get there I'm going to buy extra for my freezer.

I am still eating Thanksgiving leftovers. Is anyone else? Saw a recipe on a show where they used the turkey, gravy and veggies and made a top crust only pot pie. YUMMMM. No matter how ill I am, I never lose my appetite. Sometimes I think I starved to death in a previous life.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

An Unusual Thanksgiving Holiday

This was one of the most unusal Thanksgiving holidays I have ever spent. We had planned to be in Rhode Island. My mother-in-law felt that our dog might be problematic and besides she was sick so it seemed best not to go. Not my decision but sometimes you can only roll with the punches. We had a nice meal at home, which I was scampering about last minute for. My son came over and I had macaroni and cheese for him, the vegetarian. I had developed a sore throat and on Friday we were just hanging out when the phone rang. My friend had been inviting us to her place on the Cheseapeake Bay for weeks for Thanksgiving and we had declined, believing we would be in Rhode Island. I told her I wasn't feeling well but she wanted us to come so badly and I thought "I took 4 days off work expecting to go somewhere so why not?" My husband, the more reasonable of the two of us advised me against it. Ten minutes later we were packing up the car and made out getaway with Duffy in the backseat. Duffy gets carsick and I tried something on him the vet had given me. It worked for the first 100 miles. It was then that my backseat got covered. We pressed on and got to see the new home which sits on the Eastern Shore. The views are simply breathtaking. We had some leftovers for dinner and the men went and got Mission Impossible and we watched that. By now I was feeling worse and my voice was getting weaker by the moment. We went to bed and we both tossed and turned all night. The Canadian Geese were very noisy on the water. That would not normally bother me but my congestion, sore throat and some other man's snoring was keeping me awake. When we got up this morning, I know I disappointed my friend by saying we needed to head back. Three hours each way. She was celebrating a friend's mother's 100th birthday today. I simply could not in all conscience expose this woman to my illness. On the way back today our poor Duffy who had been a model of good behavior threw up all the way home. It was heart rendering.
We got him home, Rob bathed him and he is in good spirits. Not so sure if he'll be eager to get back in the car again. Rob did something he had always wanted to do. If you want to know what check out his journal. I don't want to steal his thunder. He is taking wonderful care of me this evening. He is more concerned about my health than I am.

I hate to think that tomorrow is the last day of my four days off. I have my final class on Tuesday night when I get my course completion certificate. I have to be well for that! Tomorrow I am hoping to wake up feeling better and maybe put a few Christmas decorations up. Now that class is done I just need to take my state exam and focus on Christmas. It's a beautiful life.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Anniversary and other things to be thankful for

I get very choked up when I think of what I have to be thankful for. I am thankful to be alive. There were times when I wasn't sure I would live through a medical crisis. I first got cancer when I was 23 years old. I feared I would not live to see my three year old grow up. I did. :)
When my only child got leukemia at the age of 16 I was stricken with physical fear, nothing like anything I had ever experienced before. I would have gladly taken his place but that was not an option. I thank God daily that my son survived (after being given odds of 30%). I thank God that my sanity remained throughout that three year ordeal. I thank God that I found the strength to leave a relationship that was threatening the core of who I am. I am thankful that I found the strength and endured the really rough times and survived them.

Today is the third anniversary of my church wedding. I am so grateful that I found Rob. He is a wonderful, kind and loving man. He makes me feel valued and loved. It doesn't get any better than that. He always believes that whatever obstacles I have to overcome, that I will. Knowing that someone believes in you is something that I have not had for much of my life.

I am also grateful for my friends. The ones who have always been there to listen, who have given me hugs when needed and told me the hard truth when I needed to hear it.

I have much to be thankful for. I think we all do but often people see the glass as half empty. To me my cup runneth over.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Two Days and Counting.........

We are two days away from Turkey Day and I just went today and bought a 14 pound turkey and two pies. I normally cook pies but since I was at the endodontist today, go to school tonight and work tomorrow I decided to buy them instead. Not the cheap pies but the really good ones, one pumpkin and one lattice apple pie.

Back to the endodontist visit.....a few weeks ago I began experiencing pain each time I put something hot in my mouth. The pain seemed to be coming from my front tooth which had been root canaled about ten years ago. The dentist x rayed it and told me that he could'nt see anything and wanted a root canal specialist to investigate it. This morning when he put heat (and by heat I mean something that was smoking, litterally) on the tooth that I thought it was coming from I felt nothing. The same heat on the tooth next to it revealed immediate, intense pain. WE now know that #8 is fine but #7 has an inflamed root. The doctor recommends having it root canaled. Before the pain becomes unbearable and before it becomes dead and infected.
Damn I hate dental procedures. I booked it for Dec. 12th. That will mean that my dental coverage for this year will pay for it since I barely used it. If I postpone it, which I am tempted to do I might find myself putting a lot out of pocket next year. Better to get it over with. That is providing I don't back out. When I was a child I first went to the dentist at age 6. My older brother told me that the dentist used the jackhammers that were used on sidewalks on your teeth. When I learned I needed a filling I promptly threw up all over the dentist. The following week when I arrived I fainted, came to and threw up again. At that point he advised my mother I needed to be knocked out for the work to be done. They gave me an ether mask. Don't know if any of you have ever had that but the smell is sickening alone. I came to and found that four teeth were missing and others had so much pain from the deep silver fillings. My grandmother took me to her house and I was on liquids for a few days. From then on the very mention of the name dentist had me in a cold sweat. It was only as a young adult that I learned that my brother who had terrorized me about the dentist had never had ONE filling. In his thirties he got ONE very small filling. My mouth is full of fillings, now some metal and some porcelain. I can go to the dentist now without throwing up or fainting. I do feel anxious and once I hear the drill I go into my flight mode. I grip the chair so hard I will have cramps in my hands afterward. I keep telling myself that I am fortunate to be able to have dental work as opposed to having my teeth fall out. I am fortunate to have dental insurance and know that I will only pay 20% for the most part.
I will do what I need to to keep my teeth. I just hope it goes better than my last root canal.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Why I support cloning........

This week I would like to be able to clone myself. Seriously. On Thanksgiving my mother will be going to my nephew's house in Pennsylvania. At first it was a bit shocking and I wondered what we would do. Little could I have guessed. We got an email from my mother-in-law (she can't call anymore because she can't afford it so we rarely communicate.) When we do try calling her she is rarely home which perhaps if she stayed home more........well I won't go there. My sister-in-law, the baby of the family has had her share of problems. She had a nerve removed which contained a tumor and she is now undergoing radiation. She has a seven year old daughter who has been quite upset, understandably so. We NEED to be there. I would like to be here with my son. I would also like to be at my friend's new house on the inlet of the Chesapeake Bay. Unfortunately, I can only be ONE place. It will probably be Rhode Island but we first have to find someone home to talk to. It is very hard when you have two families and they are nearly 300 miles apart. I also have a son who is here. His father goes to his girlfriend's and my son does not go there. It gets so complicated and I wish it weren't. This will probably be the last Thanksgiving that we go to Rhode Island. We have tried for six years to get my mother-in-law to come here. She refuses and the last time she was at our house was two years ago and it was a two hour visit while passing through our state with her sister. It has been three years since she was here for our church wedding. While she has managed to go to Mexico, Miami, Michigan, and New York she hasn't been able to come here. This really frustrates her son. She does not know my son, her son's step-son at all. That really frustrates me. Why must everything be so complicated? I have a trunk full of gifts to take up there. Next year if they are not going to come here we are going to have to do gift certificates. I refuse to spend money to mail toys and gifts again.

Don't get me's not that my family is a piece of cake either. Oh no. Not at all. I have older nieces and nephews that show up at my brother's house every year expecting gifts when I have never received a card in the mail from them. It's the one time of the year I know I will see one of my brother's and his family. They see her family weekly: parents and siblings.

I am not going to let any of this get me down. I refuse! I will enjoy turkey day. I will enjoy Christmas or someone's going to pay! I have visions of a flat screen monitor dancing in my head.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thanksgiving Approaches

My son called me earlier. He is sad because he can't celebrate Thanksgiving in the house he grew up in. Making matters worse he drove by the house today and the new people made some changes. I had seen those changes and while I don't think they enhanced the appearance, that is their right as the new owners. My son still regrets that I could not live there indeffinitely, perhaps even until he someday could take over the house. The taxes alone were beyond my reach once the house and all it's bills become solely mine. I was lucky to get out from under the financial burden. It had some good memories and my fireplace that I still miss very much.

My son is having what are growing pains. He hasn't found anyone he wants to share his life with. Well, he did many years ago but she decided once she lived in the city that she wanted to have her freedom. He has never cared for anyone the way he cared for her and I fear that it will be a long time, if he ever trusts anyone with his heart again. Life has been difficult for him. I wish I could change that but I cannot.

Saddest of all to me is that he cannot seem to see how much he has going for him. He finally has a full time job and money in the bank but he wants to own his own company. He is not a good business person as he does things for free or little money. He wants to be generous and helpful and while those are admirable traits they don't make a business owner a success in most situations.

He talks about leaving this country. The grass always looks greener. I understand that. I remember what it is to have dreams and the yearn to travel. I worry though. I don't want to have to worry. The hardest part of parenting is letting your child (no matter how old) pursue their dream knowing that it would be easier for them not to. I won't squelch that in him. He has the roots and now he is going to spread his wings. I'm glad that he is physically healthy enough to be focusing on things like that.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Celebration Time!

I am happy to report that I passed my final exam. The hard studying paid off and I got an 89 on my final. I think only one person got a higher score than me and she is the one person who does not work outside of her home and studies three hours per day. She got a 95.

My coworker and friend invited me to her house and we had the celebratory wine and a sandwich. We are both so relieved. Now we only have to pass the state licensing exam and we are good to go. It's been a long, hard road but the end is in sight.

Thanksgiving is next week and I will be spending it with some very special people. Time to be grateful and that I certainly am.

A B C........simple as 1, 2, 3...........

Yesterday I studied.....from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. I covered eleven chapters. Reread them and wrote myself notes. It was a productive day. Today I plan to cover the next eleven chapters.
My test is at 6 p.m. These are the chapters with the math problems in them and two are difficult. When I am done writing this entry I will be opening the book. I have found that taking breaks and learning to relax a bit is helping me retain more than I previously had. Yesterday the pets were good. They each got something to entertain them and I had a lot of quiet while studying. I feel really good about the day's progress. Things which previously confused me seemed to become understandable. My brain seemed to be kicking in. Woohoo!

The laws I have studied on discrimination have been very interesting and thought provoking.
In New Jersey you cannot discriminate on race EVER because it's a federal law. You can, if you own your own home and are renting out a room or apartment in part of your own dwelling, discriminate on some other factors though. I never realized that there were so many laws regarding real estate. In New Jersey there are laws prohibiting discrimination against sexual or affectional orientation. New Jersey is a progressive state. If you have been watching the news you know that. This state is overpopulated and very costly to live in. Sometimes though, I am proud of this state. I have lived here since the age of ten. That's coughfortytwoyearscough.
I live in such a diverse area. There are people from every race, nationality, religion. I have a neighbor a few doors down who has lights up for Ramadan. He's from India. It's a cultural melting pot here. Since I can't afford to live in Manhattan this is as good as it gets. I love the city. Often wished I could afford a brownstone an artsy neighborhood in the Village. That will never happen but the suburbs which were rural farms when I moved here so long ago are now more and more an extension of that city and it's people. It keeps life interesting.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Damn I Feel Cranky

Yesterday was a wonderful day. We drove to Pennsylvania to celebrate the birthday of my best friend since the age of ten. She seemed to like her gifts and we had a nice cake. Later in the day we went to a restaurant with her son and her fiancee's son and had a nice dinner.

Today I really need to be studying. I am facing so many distractions. The neighborhood kids bouncing a basketball and screaming, dogs barking (including my own) and a spoiled cat that cries constantly alternating between wanting attention and food.) I need peace and quiet. I remember being a teen and studying with music blaring in the background. The louder the better. I read something ONCE and retained it. I have read this material dozens of times and still, I miss things. It makes me cranky. It makes me banish pets for some "me" time.

On the second half of our midterm our teacher had 70% of the class fail. She blamed us for not studying. I studied for at least four hours for that test. I did well all through school. I think it's one thing to do something and another to teach. Perhaps that is my crankiness speaking. I know that I have spent countless hours trying to study, some were more successful than others. Still, I was told by the three people who scored an 80 on that midterm that they don't work and they study a MINIMUM of three hours per day. I am frustrated. Yesterday was a nice distraction for me but now it's time to buckle down and I keep wondering if I have the right stuff.

It's raining and while I usually hate it, I am getting happier because that means that the kids can't be outside playing. Sometimes I think I need to be in a senior development. That sounds awful but I need my quiet now. Damn it.

Happiness Is............

Sharing your Best Friend's Birthday!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My Week

Last week was quite full. Halloween was it's usual hectic night. The Duffster was dressed as "The King" with his white cape that had the gold eagle and jewels. He seemed to like the cape, even the collar that framed his head. He did veto the shades and I didn't push it. He greeted and barked at each and every treater I got. That was over one hundred although I don't think I had my record of two years ago which was about 130. Living in a development invites a lot of treaters for safety reasons. I don't know many of them but I do remember being a kid and each and every little bell ringer gets the same: a sticker page, Sweet Tarts and Dots or a Kit Kat, small sized treats.

I didn't have school Halloween evening but I was studying for the second part of my midterm which took place on Thursday night. Now that was scary. Picture this a room of over twenty adults looking at the test then each other in shock. The results were horrifying. Two women who are the 100 score, perfectionist types were able to get 80. Myself and a handful of others just missed the 70 score, coming in at 66. The majority failed it completely. I am talking scores of 40 and lower. I was always an A or B student. Frequently on the honor roll. I am not used to this. What is troubling is this: the book gives reviews and practice tests. I score 80 or above on them. This instructor with her decades of experience is making up her own tests. Huge discussion amongst students as to whether certain things were even mentioned that appeared on the test.
Secondly, there were two things discussed which were glossed over. There were five questions on each on the test. This is where the perfectionists couldn't even pull it together. One woman went into the ladie's room and sobbed. It was that bad. As one of the perfectionists was leaving she remarked to the teacher that the degree of difficulty on that test was beyond any expectation she might have had. The teacher remarked "I thought it was easy." Our instructor has worked in the field for over thirty years. I think that she cannot realize any longer what it is like to be starting out. It's one thing to do something but another to be able to teach it. At this point I am still trying. I did take a practice state test and did well but I must pass this final exam in order to be eligbile for the state licensing exam. I am hanging in there. Too much money and time invested to turn back now. Heading onward and upward.

This was my weekend to work. Yesterday was an exceptionally pleasant day at work and I got much accomplished with the quiet for the most part. I am having my yearly physical (the one I skipped the previous two years) on Wednesday and will be leaving early so I even made up that time on Saturday. It's hard to work a full day Saturday have Sunday off then return to work on Monday but Rob is such a help that I manage. He worked half a day Saturday also. I came home to dinner on the table, the house vacumned and a smiling face. Doesn't get much better than that. Some days I have to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming. Seriously. There was a time when I would have never believed that I could have the peace and contentment I now experience on a daily basis. The more I think of that I wish more people would realize that it's all about the choices that we make, or do not make. I know there are people who just will never get out of their bad situation no matter what. How sad because they are missing so much. I am so thankful to be where I am and to be with the person who brings out the best in me.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Turn those clocks back

Tonight something wonderful is happening. We get an extra hour of least in theory. Not sure my animals will note the difference in the morning.

I had a stressful week. Much more hectic than usual and a test on four chapters of material on Tuesday. I passed but not by a great margin. This concerns me. Today was my Saturday off but I was in such discomfort with my hip and back that I was not able to study. I was able to nap a bit on the sofa but the phone woke me up. There was a tiff in my family this week that lead to many irritating phone calls. I invited a sibling and his spouse over for dinner along with my parents to celebrate my father's birthday. The spouse felt that my menu (homemade macaroni and cheese with smoked sausage, salad and a birthday cake) did not provide a main course. I offered to make one dish without the smoked sausage but she felt I needed to also bake a ham.
I did not feel that was necessary. They didn't want to come which lead my parents inviting them out to dinner. We were also invited but they went an hour before my husband got home from work. My mother said I could come alone but I chose not to. Now I am viewed as the difficult one. I have had discussions with both my parents in the past few days telling both of them that they have made vast differences in the treatments of their sons than that of the daughters. They both agree but continue to do so. Several of my friends have recommended that I distance myself from my parents. Whenever they need anyone I am the one who is called but their favors are to their three sons. This pattern has perpetuated itself my entire life. It's hurtful and it has become too much to bear when I have other issues, particularly that of my health. My sister is also having health issues right now and they rarely even phone her. I have explained things until I am sick of having to even think of it. They admit that they have doled out money to their sons and that they have done little for their daughters. Still, nothing changes. Although I feel guilty not helping them it might come to that at some point. I am only human and am still trying to understand how one minute I am inviting them here and the next minute they are taking the others out to dinner and we are not even in the picture.

I have made up my mind that I am not going to spend any more time thinking about this. I have much to do with my course, with trying to adjust to a change in my medication and trying to help do something to alleviate this pain. If it persists I am afraid I will be making a trip to the ER.

Amid all this unplesantness, Rob has worked many hours of overtime this week. With the holidays coming it will be a huge help. Tonight he came out tired but took me to the opening of a wonderful new store, The Christmas Tree Shop. Many bargains. The holidays are coming and I am only going to focus on those who care for me. Those who want to be hurtful will find themselves out of the loop. Life is too short.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Tag

Sometimes you read something in another blog and it touches you so deeply......and you remember what the impact of another's life or words have on you. Today I felt that when I read Judith HeartSong's ended with her realizing that she had worth. I am so grateful to know that I have worth. That I am loved and cherished by someone whose love I can return. There was a time when I never believed that I could or would believe in love again.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Reading and thinking.....

On Friday my boss asked me to tidy up our conference room which had dozens of magazines in it. I noticed a few Smithsonians, some New Yorkers and a Time Magazine which I brought home to read. Yesterday after work I opened some and began to read through them all. I read an article in Time about Guantanamo Bay and then an article in The New Yorker about the same subject, while interviewing one of the attorneys representing one of the men who commited suicide. It left me very upset and sad. What disturbed me most was that when the prisoners are on hunger strikes they are being fed with tubes which many doctors say are much larger than those used by doctors in this country. They are of the opinion that these tubes are inhumane.
The articles clearly draw speculation that many of these prisoners do not belong there. One article mentioned that flyers were handed out in terrorist areas promising to make the ones who turned in the suspected terrorists rich. Of course while you might expect some terrorists to claim innocence it seems that lawyers did a lot of homework and feel that many truly are.
I sent my son home with these magazines today so I cannot make quotes or use the names. I had watched a special last night with a comedian. He was saying that he felt Bush was guilty of saying the stupidest thing any president every said "Bring it on" which was addressed to the terrorists. (The comedian, Louis Black, was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. I was born in neighboring Bethesda and spent the first ten plus years of my life in Silver Spring.) I am impressed that so many attorneys from firms have taken it on themselves to try to help these people. I have a lot of respect for these humanitarians. I do not respect how the Bush administration has handled this situation at all.

I have a very hectic week coming up. The next four days will be so hectic. I hoped to relax today but had an unexpected visit from my son. I put all the things I had scheduled on hold. I did manage to get groceries (with Rob's help.) Tomorrow I need another blood test. It's a pain to be on blood thinners. When they fluctuate too high or too low adjustments must be made. Mine have been too high lately and I who never bruised looked like I took a beating with a Louisville slugger. I am happy to have them reduced but for the next few weeks that means blood tests every two weeks instead of every month. How I hate needles. You would think I would be used to them. At least I no longer faint but I still do not like them.

Today we bought an artificial pre-lit Christmas tree. Of course a real tree is better but when you have two pets it's difficult. The dog might be tempted to hike his leg on it and the cat even attempts to shimmy up the fake trees. Last year my old tree shorted out. I tried to fix the lights and then in complete disgust threw out the old tree. This one is a slim which is perfect for our small living room. I look forward to Christmas. It's the only time of year I get to see my one brother and his family. Although they live only twenty miles away, there is always something going on with their teenagers or with his wife's family. It's only Christmas Eve that we really see them. It makes it extra special.

The leaves are falling and I am liking the brisk Autumn air but I miss the sunshine. The days are getting darker earlier and I know that next week I will be adjusting to the time change.
Best of all I feel more and more like my presurgery self. I am back in the thick of it and loving it.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Letting Go

I spent several hours on the phone last night and again this morning with my friend who is finding it difficult to let go of her former relationship. Why is it so hard for us women to let go? Even when we know a relationship is painful, sometimes toxic, we second guess ourselves for years to come. For some reason we have this hope that the man (who was clueless throughout the entire long term relationship) is going to have a moment of awakening and tell us he is sorry for everything he ever did. (An admission of being less than perfect would be enough for some.)

The sad reality is that the man thinks that any woman who left him is a bitch. End of story.They don't give a thought to the reality that they were content with the status quo when their wife perceived her existence as a caretaker. No matter how many times the woman may have tried to communicate her feelings of frustration and felt they fell on deaf ears, the man will say he never knew she felt that way. All they can think of is that their needs are no longer being met.

The woman is often beating herself up for not having been able to enlighten him. Often during the divorce process, or after, she is calling him on the phone trying desperately to have him admit that he was less than perfect. This is where one must be realistic. Had he been able to do that in the first place you probably wouldn't be at this point. I told my friend she simply has to accept that she cannot get blood from a rock. This man has never admitted in his forty something years on Earth that he made a mistake in any case. Surely, he won't break precedence now.

As a woman, I wish that we could take on more of the man's attitude. They don't agonize over love lost. (I admit there are some men who do but they are the exceptions.) As I was telling myself we need to validate ourselves more and stop relying on the former lovers to do it for us. We don't need approval for getting out of a toxic relationship. Instead of questioning ourselves we should be patting ourselves on the back. I have gone through two divorces with close friends recently.

Please don't read something into this that I hate men. I love men. I really do (the good ones that is.) It's just that so many of them (especially the ones over forty) feel relationships are a one way street. Far too many are cut from that same cloth where if they bring home a paycheck they have met their obligations. In a world where the partners also work for the most part, the main responsibilities for running a house, raising the children, and caring for the pets falls upon one person. That person is rarely the man.

Life is short. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is but a dream, all we truly have is today. We need to wake up each morning and give ourselves our own strokes. Life is hard. We can only take responsibility for our own actions, not those of others. I only wish I had known what I know now at 30. I can't go back and change it. I can only move forward and savor the days I have now.

Today I should be studying but instead I am going to go shopping and buy myself something new to wear to work. I deserve it. Give yourself some props today.

"I can be changed by what happens to me
But I refuse to be reduced by it. ~ Maya Angelou

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Do Do Do Do Do Do Feeling Groovy..................

I am enjoying my two days home this weekend. So much it's almost indescribable. Yesterday and today I slept over an hour later than usual. Yesterday I got a lot of cleaning accomplished, and groceries purchased. Cleaned out a few closets. Had a relaxing evening and today I got up baked banana bread and brownies. The weather is invigorating! Sunny with an Autumn chill.

I am feeling much better about things these days. I have my own computer (although people do use it when I am not there) and my desk. I have a drawer in which I can leave some items. It's so great to have a small space that feels private when in a work environment. Things that were problems have been resolved. The owner of our company is both insightful and diplomatic.
As we all know, the real estate market which was once red hot has cooled but there is still activity. As our course instructor points out, it's not as rough as when interest rates were 18%.
Can't imagine having been through that. I am not sure that my licensed will be used as an active agent. Just having it makes me more useful to my office as New Jersey has clear restrictions on non licensed people giving out information of any kind.

I have finally begun reading again. It's simply wonderful to enjoy that once forgotten pleasure.
I am currently reading a book called Sex Over Fifty. This was given to me by one of my friends at my 50th birthday party. I read a passage of it to my husband last night as he was watching the hockey game. Seriously, this was almost soft core porn. I guess the author figures he will titillate people with his writings and they will think his book a success. When I finish reading this book I will be reading White Oleander by Janet Fitch after reading Cynthia's review of it in her journal,
A Crazy Quilt Life. She has a great blog and often writes about books that I later read. I used to get the New York Times and make a list each week of books I wanted to read. About seven years ago I stopped for financial reasons. Now I am starting to read again. I feel so alive. It's incredible compared to how I felt last year at this time. I find I am sleeping better and my mind is clearer. The memory problems do exist but I am just studying more to compensate for them.

This is my favorite season. I cannot say how much I love the Fall. The leaves falling is something I have loved since a small child. We live near many apple orchards and you can go and pick your own. I don't have time for that but I can go and buy the freshly picked ones. They have the cider freshly made and even donuts made from the cider. The trees are simply breathtaking right now. I drive down the road slowly on my way to work soaking it all in. I wish I could have all my internet friends over for coffee on the patio. Just to share the beauty in my world.

Speaking of internet friends, thank you Jennifer (my blogging mentor) for setting up my journal so that I could have paragraphs. You're the best. You and Walter.
Also: thanks to
Angel for this tag. She is so talented and so generous with her talents! (Not able to upload the tag at this moment but I will try again!)

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Today is a Thursday. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I am here trying to study. Notice I said trying. Even though I have asked family and friends not to phone me or drop by, they still seem compelled to do so. I have the attention span of a gnat these days. I don't know if it's age, physical conditions, or mental problems. Perhaps C: all of the above. I only know that the slightest thing is a major distraction for me, breaking my flow of thoughts. At times I feel that I have bitten off more than I can chew. For the first time in my life I have missed scheduled dental and doctor appointments. Some days I am in such a hurry, I don't even check my calendar, which has always been a morning ritual. I just can't seem to get it together with this course. I was an A student.

Is this what happens when estrogen flees from your body? I don't think the fact that I am menopausal is insignificant.

Today I have a full plate, as usual. I have been up since 6:45. I have fed the pets, cleaned the kitchen after breakfast, made the bed and studied ONE of two chapters. Retained perhaps 50% of the facts, and calculated my math problems incorrectly. I who tutored others in algebra. I am now taking a break before showering. After that I have to drive to Rob's work, pick up his check and drive to the bank where we have an emergency savings account. I will cash both our checks there and then drive to the bank where we have our (free) checking account to deposit the cash. That covers the mortgage check I had to mail yesterday. After that I will return home attempting to absorb the next chapter and finish the review for 15 chapters (Lord help me!)

About 3, I have to leave for the cardiologist. I will then have to face the music for totally missing my last appointment, for the little change in my cholesterol and weight......and he wonders why there are times I need tranquilizers. I really like this doctor. I have a lot of faith in him and truly believe had I not found him when I did I would most likely not be here now. He is very serious and when he gives orders he expects them to be the letter. I get that. Part of me appreciates that. Another part thinks that he doesn't understand how hard it is to incorporate all of this into a stressed out, little time for relaxation life.

When I leave the cardiologist I will go to school where I will be quizzed. Not sure if my carpooling buddy will be going tonight. She went on Tuesday but was sick and has been out of work all week until today. The Woody Allen aspect of my personality is wondering if she is showering me with germs in the shared vehicle.

I cannot create paragraphs today. I could barely get onto Blog Spot. Sorry for my continuous flow of words here. It's not that I didn't want's just that I couldn't. (Inability to create paragraphs is just another one of those menopausal symptoms. Love ~ jennifer.)

Okay time to kick it up a notch and take my shower. Those ten or fifteen minutes are often the most relaxing part of my day. Although to be honest, there are days I can't fit that in either!

Did I mention that my final exam will be the Tuesday after Thanksgiving? God give me strength. Seriously.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Frustration thy name is Verizon

I am hardly able to use my internet connection in the past few days. Actually, all my phone related problems began when Verizon decided to put fiber optic cable in our neighborhood. The first time it rained my phone line hummed so badly I could not hear people on the other end.
When I called them, and they came over a week later, they said there was water in the box (our lines are underground and there is a small tower which contains the wires). They lifted it and when the water ran out the problem appeared to be okay......until the next rain. Next repairman said that the box needed to be lifted higher because this problem would keep recurring. He was correct. It has. Today I made my fourth call to Verizon and listed all the problems I have had. Calls to their DSL customer service told me there was nothing they could do for me. Had to deal with Verizon phone repair. At this point I am giving them a few short days to correct the problem If not corrected I will be switching to a cable connection. That means changing my business address from Verizon. Frankly, Verizon has nailed themselves to the wall with their huge cuts in customer service and now not fixing the problems they are creating by installing new unwanted lines. Not one person I know wants to switch from the present cable company........especially not with the service we receive with our phone problems. Today I couldn't wait for some emails containing pictures to download. Dial up was as quick as what I am currently experiencing for the cost of over $30 per month.

I worked today. It was really rainy and cold. I wanted to stay in bed today but forced myself to crawl out at 9 a.m. I only worked until 2 because I went to a viewing for a coworker's mother. This stoic woman lived to be 94 and until her last year she lived quite a life. Her daughter is a lovely woman and a great example of caring for others.

My sinuses are really bothering me with all the damp weather. I was put on antibiotics to try to get them in order. My blood was way too thin and I had to have that adjusted. I am hoping I will be feeling better with these medicines in check. I have been very tired lately.

I have ordered a few Christmas presents. When the weather cools my mind turns to Christmas and the upcoming holidays. I wish that I could make donations to charities instead of commercial gifts. I am thinking of alternative gifts. My parents will be receiving a small Christmas tree with handmade ornaments containing pictures of their children, grandchildren and two great grandchildren. I am trying to think of something meaningful for my son. My one coworker is not exchanging with anyone in her family this year. She said they do big birthdays but she just couldn't take the commercialism or pressure. Her kids are all grown and resisted at first but now seem to enjoy not being pressured themselves either. It's an interesting idea. Not sure I could get some of my family to get on board with that idea. My son would be most receptive.

My eyes are tired and I think it's time to call it a night. Hoping I can sleep in a bit tomorrow morning. Sweet dreams to us all.........and to all a goodnight.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Of sleepless nights and troubling thoughts

I have been having a lot of trouble sleeping. I can go right to sleep when my head hits the pillow but I wake around 3 or 4 a.m. and lay awake for hours. My mind kicks into high gear at that time. I have so much to worry about right now. I am working and taking a class that requires a lot of studying. I have a midterm this week and am worried about that.

My sister had her surgical procedure and we are now waiting to hear the results of her biopsy. I am giving her the space she wants while trying to be supportive in a way that is acceptable to her. She refuses to worry until she has something concrete to worry about. I am respecting her way of dealing with this.

One of my friends rushed ahead into a relationship that is now throwing up red flags for her. I am walking on eggs, trying to help her sort things out. Her last significant other caused huge problems in our relationship. I want her to be happy and I am concerned that she may hurt this person that she assured she would not.

Rob and I seem to be on different schedules work wise. I work two Saturdays each month and usually he doesn't work on Saturdays. The past few months it seems he has had an opportunity to work,but only on the Saturdays that I have off. Yesterday I went to a craft show with my sister-in-law. When Rob got home we went out for a bite to eat. We are both so tired these days that we flop into bed, passing out when our heads hit the pillow. (He isn't sleeping that well either. His sister will be starting chemo any day. His family never calls us and the only way we find anything at all out is to call them. ) Today we got up and Rob got our ladder out and we brought down our Halloween things from the attic. That cheered us up a bit. We have lots of stuff! Rob vacumned for me since my left wrist is so painful and weak. Afterwards he helped me to stir the dough and I made peanut butter cookies. My son was ill and we ran in his direction and took some, along with clean laundry that had been left here. Afterwards we ran to a country store that we like. It was a nice day. Not at all that relaxing but still we had a day together.

I know the worth of a good marriage. I worry that with all I have on my plate I am not doing enough to keep mine the way I want it to be. I am feeling my age these days. I don't have the energy I once did. I like my house to be tidy and organized. I like to go to work with a decent appearance. I like to give my pets the time and energy they deserve. I just can't seem to find the time to do it ALL. Anna Quindlen was so right. We can have it all but not at the same time. Once school ends late November, I will enjoy the extra time I will then have. In the grand scheme of things, nothing is more important than the relationship I have waited years for. My brilliant friend Diana, once told me that love is more about the way the person makes you feel about yourself, than how you feel about them. Rob makes me feel like the most loved woman there is. I only hope that I make him feel the same way, even when I am too tired to do the little things to show him that.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The waiting is the hardest part.........

Tom Petty you had that right. I hate waiting. Patience may be a virtue but it is not one that I have. Today I have been waiting and forcing my attentions elsewhere. My sister found out in June that she had a tumor in her pancreas. She asked us not to tell anyone. She was supposed to have it removed August 31. She postponed it until today. Thing is, that today they are trying to remove it without cutting her abdomen open. They are not sure until they try if it can be done. If not, she will have the traditional type surgery at a future date. The pathology will be determined when it is removed. Until then, there remains a cloud of uncertainty.

I took my first test on Tuesday night and scored an 85. What was troubling was that I had changed two answers from the correct to the wrong choices or I would have had an 89. Damn second guessing. I won't make that mistake again. I did a five chapter review this afternoon and next week I think will be our midterm. As long as you pass the final exam you are eligible to take the test for the state licensing. If you fail it, you are eligible to retake it as many times as necessary for up to ONE year. (At a small fee of $60 each test). If you have not passed it by then you are required to take the course again, and yes this does happen to some people. I think they give up after a few tries and then decide to try again later. We have a few of repeaters in our class.

I got an interesting phone call today from the college bookstore. My book ordered for the first class in early September has now arrived. I advised them that I had to order one from online when I was four chapters behind. They only expected less than thirty people to take this course and over sixty signed up. I guess most had to rely on Barnes and Noble as did I.

I am enjoying this course. I have a tight schedule with working and taking this couse but I know it's for a short period of time. It's a good diversion from worrying as well. Back to the books..........

Saturday, September 23, 2006

William Butler Yeats

(Cannot get this poem out of my mind:)

W.B. Yeats (1865–1939). Responsibilities and Other Poems. 1916.

53. The Young Man’s Song

I WHISPERED, ‘I am too young,’

And then, ‘I am old enough’;

Wherefore I threw a penny

To find out if I might love.

‘Go and love, go and love, young man,

If the lady be young and fair,’

Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,

I am looped in the loops of her hair.

Oh, love is the crooked thing,

There is nobody wise enough

To find out all that is in it,

For he would be thinking of love

Till the stars had run away,

And the shadows eaten the moon.

Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,

One cannot begin it too soon.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The complete lack of discipline

Today I relapsed. To my online addiction......reading message boards and looking through the many websites in my favorites. Where did the hours go? It's now 1 p.m. and although I did have two length phone conversations with friends, I have done little more than find time to woof a hot dog down for lunch. Yes, sadly, I am still in my p.j.s......the ones with the flip flops on them. I haven't had a day like this in so long......and it feels good.

I must pull myself together in the next half hour and go downstairs and hit the book. Yes, just one. Still, it is heavy material. I must get dressed. I must give the pets some attention. I must wash my face and put on some make up. I am trying to get myself into some good routines. I used to wear make up for many years. Then, when I was out of work and home recovering from surgery I stopped. Recently, someone gave me a Macy's gift certificate and I went in and treated myself to make up. They had an Estee Lauder giveaway where you spent $25 and got a huge bag of free stuff. I am now the proud owner of 3 lipsticks, 2 mascaras, 2 blushes and some eye shadows. I now NEED these things. I need to hide my flaws. At least cammo what I can.
I work with women who have such great makeup. Honestly, don't think I will ever be that good. They look professionally made up. I on the other hand can barely manage to get the basics on. I just don't think of it until the last second. It's almost humorous at how I go about this task. I am getting better.

Tonight it is my turn to drive. I am nervous about driving other people. New Jersey is nothing if not the law suit capital of the world. We have lawyers the way some states have plumbers.

My son lost his wallet over the weekend. Found out just how ridiculous laws can be. He needs a birth certificate to get another license. In the move five years ago, one of us put it somewhere where it cannot be found. When I attempted to get another one I found out that he would need a copy of his LICENSE to apply for it. Can we say Catch 22? New Jersey offers a six point ID system. Most things are only one point such as a utility bill, ss card, bank statement, while a birth certificate is four points. You know the one you can't get without the license with the photo. Military discharge papers are worth two. He will have to go with his military discharge papers and FOUR other one point items and hope they are all accepted. ONCE he has the license, we can send a copy of it along with his forms to get an original birth certificate. That will be put in a vault and hermetically sealed. From now on I plan to keep my driver's license in my bra, the only place it will be truly secure. Apparently, it has become my most important document now. After all, when I went to get it I had to produce a NEW birth certificate with the state seal (original which had been good for fifty years was now rejected), my mariage certificate to my first husband, divorce papers from my first husband, marriage certificate to current (aka good) husband, and my vehicle registration. Oddly, I was not required to bring my firstborn for this transaction to use as a bargaining tool.

I understand that this is the fallout from 9/11. Are government officials really preventing terrorists though? OR are they inconveniencing people like me, who lose time off of work (and pay) to navigate through this system? I honestly don't think anyone who is willing to give up their life for their fanatical beliefs will care if they have a VALID driver's license. Chances are they will drive without one or use a fake. Most people who want one can find someone in New York City to buy one from. Most underage high school kids know how to obtain one. Seriously, this is absurd.

Now........time to get going. Have a good one.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Putting on my college student uniform

Tonight I have another class.......I should be leaving in a few minutes but find myself mysteriously here still on the computer.

I mentioned my new desk. It has a phone on it with my own extension. Best of all it has a spanking brand new Dell computer with a killer flat screen large monitor. Oh how I love that monitor. Wish I had one just like it at home. I have a large monitor but the glare is hard on my eyes. (I have glaucoma which thankfully is controlled by eyedrops.) I also have the wonderful sunflower calendar my darling gave me at Christmas for my work area (which then was non specific). I am really happy now to have all the comforts of a real work area.

Tonight I go to school. My lovely coworker and classmate is giving me a lift. She only lives a few miles from me. We have different bosses, she works as an assistant to one man while I am an assistant to the current owner and staff support as well. There are days I really enjoy my job.
Yesterday I worked until 4 and got a phone call when I got home. I had forgotten my cardiologist appointment yesterday. (Actually I had blocked the day square with a party invitation for this Sunday.) Oops! On the other hand I think it's wonderful that instead of worrying about my health I am moving forward with my life and let it slip my mind. Other than being tired because I just don't get enough sleep, I am feeling pretty good. Well, it's not like I'm that old......I mean I am a college student ........ of sorts.

Did anyone notice my lovely pink clock? Courtesy of Jennifer aka Xzasporated1? Gotta love it.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


I am actually looking forward to going to work tomorrow. First time in a long time that I feel that way. There was a bit of tension but the owner of the company whom I have known for nearly thirty years has put that to rest. Honestly, she is a negotiator of the highest degree. She is able to see through the motives of people and see both the good and bad qualities in others. She tactfully handles difficult situations and with the patience of all involved, gets everyone back on course. The tension has been laid to rest and a few small changes have been made that I think will make all happy. Until recently, desk space was at a premium. I didn't have my own desk but kind of used whatever space was available. There were limited computers and at times I got bumped from the one I was using because I am support staff and have to accomodate the important people there. It was tough at times. Imagine if you weren't feeling your best and had to wonder about looking for a place to be. This week the person who had my desk in the reception area was placed in a quieter area which she had wanted and I finally have a desk. This is no small feat and I was thrilled. On Friday to make things even better a computer arrived, a brand new Dell with a giant flat screen monitor. I almost cried with joy! There is a weekend person who will use the desk and computer at times but that's ok, I have a space when I am there. I even have a desk to leave my purse in. I feel like I am a real employee. This past weekend was my weekend off and Rob had to work on Saturday. That seems to happen from time to time. When he got home we went to IHOP for a bite to eat. We accomplished a lot then and today. We managed to get to the toy store and buy our Godchild his birthday presents. He is a huge fan of Spiderman and all things must include this. In fact, he prefers to be called Spiderman. Our Godchild has some problems. They are trying to label him AHDH. I hate labels and often I feel that our society is too quick to want to label and medicate children. He does have a short attention span but I don't think his parents use much discipline on him. To be honest, I think he outsmarts them at every turn. I wish we lived closer to him and could take him for a few days at a time. In any event, he will love his indoor Spiderman tent we got him. I also got him a small Spiderman water cooler. (NOTE: I am not able to hit enter twice to form new paragraphs for some reason. When it seems I am not making new paragraphs this is why!) When I try to space down, I get these weird words that drop down to the new line. Anyone know how to fix this? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I am tired. Been up both weekend mornings at 7. One downside to our fur boys is their early wakenings. Still.......I just couldn't see myself without them. Thinking of Connie tonight. I so wish I could show up at her door (of course with Jennifer in tow!) I just know some great DVDS and a weekend of popcorn and a few Cosmos and a keg..........would go a long way to boosting her spirits. When friends hurt, we hurt with them. I just feel that often when it seems the darkest, is when things suddenly turn around for us. Just when I thought my life couldn't get any darker, I made a knot in my rope and I hung on and suddenly it got really great. Oh Connie, I just have to believe that the best is yet to come for you. Just know that your friends truly care.....and always will.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

This and That

My first day at school was interesting to say the least. I arrived an hour and a half early so that I could enter the classroom with my book in hand. I promptly learned that the bookstore was no longer where it had been but was now across the campus. I arrived there and gone were the wonderful gifts that they used to carry. Gone also was all the help that I had received so many years ago. The new bookstore required you to find your books on your own. Problem being that mine wasn't listed under a subject sign. I finally found someone who worked there and she pointed me in the right direction. Twenty minutes later I learned they were sold out of the book I needed. I then inquired what to do. I was told to fill out a form, get in line (that long line that wrapped around the aisles) and prepay for the book which was slated to arrive sometime Thursday. I then walked the entire campus back to the building my class was to be in. The instructor came in and you could see she was a bit troubled. Someone asked her and she said that earlier in the day her husband had been moved to a hospice. She quickly went into her professional mode and I was both stunned and impressed. I told her about my book situation. She told me that I was already supposed to have read and digested four chapters and there was going to be a pop quiz. Uh oh. Fortunately, I knew about 50% of the answers and she said I didn't really have to take the quiz but advised me to find the book elsewhere and quickly. A woman I knew turned to me and told me she had obtained two books. Her online order hadn't arrived and she bought one from the bookstore, only to have her other book arrive the following day. I met her the following morning and paid her for her book. Today I was able to read the four chapters. Our class was cancelled for this evening "due to illness in the instructor's family" and I am thinking of this fine woman and what she must be going through.

After reading the book and doing the exercises for each chapter I began to get ready for court. Today was the long awaited hearing for my neighbor. The cantankerous neighbor had signed a complaint against him for burning a chiminea, claiming it was a nuisance and bringing smoke into the house. We don't believe this is his real reason. He told another neighbor that he didn't care for the smell of smoke. Ken, our neighbor who was the defendant, had all the other neighbors come to court as his witnessed. I was psyched. Eager to get this over with once and for all. Should have known better. The complaintant decided last minute to drop the charges BUT without prejudice so he can refile them at will. Now this is getting absurd. I have missed work twice, as well as other neighbors. I think the complainer thinks we're playing a game and we will grow so tired of it that we will stop coming to court. He has no clue how stubborn I am........OR
how much I will support anyone I see as being victimized. I feel very strongly about this issue. In our town there is NO ordinance against using a chiminea. It is being used in a lawful and safe manor. This homeowner is being harassed every time he lights it because someone else does not want it lit. I am all about legal rights. Even ones that I don't care to exercise personally. I wanted my day in court and to tell the judge just that. In New Jersey part of your real estate is owning the air rights above the property. Ken has a right to fill the air above his property with smoke if he choses. The neighbor can close his windows (he has central air and they are usually closed anyway).

Thank you Jennifer for the lovely new links in my sidebar. Anyone who wants to be notified of entries, please sign up!

Tomorrow night a neighborhood celebration will take place. Chiminea will be lit. Beers all around. Toasting of hot dogs optional. Smiles and good times mandatory. I'll be wearing my college hoodie......or not. Despite a few rotten apples, I love this neighborhood. Relax Ken, we've got your back.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Taking a risk.........

I think I was bought up to fear things. Not from my Dad who was in the Navy and travelled the world but from my Mom who has never flown on a plane. She is terrified of lightning and what the neighbors might think. Imagine having to live your life in such a way. I just couldn't and as a teen I became somewhat rebellious and thought I would have a much different life. Sadly, because I married a controlling person, I ended up being a stay at home Mom. Not that my spouse wanted me home, he expected me to work. Thirty years ago there was no child care. I lived rurally and there was no place for my son to be. Besides, I felt responsible for his upbringing and had no education, so the only jobs I could get were low paying. When my son was in high school I began college. I went for three years before his illness forced me to stop. I never went back. I don't have the means to go back now. I did take a computer course over a year ago and have been working part time. I have decided for the next three months to take a course which will be two three hour evenings per week. I am going to try to get a real estate license. This will allow me to generate a lot more income. I already have some knowledge from working in a real estate office. It will be hectic for the next three months. I will miss having dinner two nights a week with Rob. Still, if I can find a way to earn more money he will profit from that as well. I have to go early this evening and purchase the book I will need. I haven't been on a college campus in fifteen years. This should be interesting. Unfortuately, me in a college book store is a dangerous thing. I love school supplies. Here I come spiral bound notebooks ..................

Monday, September 11, 2006


Today I began to read all the tributes in the journals to the victims. Two stories touched me deeply.......the man whose wife took her on life a month later and that of a wee eight year old girl, Zoe, who lost her life. They are all such huge losses. I am emotionally drained tonight. Tonight I pray for all the loved ones of these victims. I pray that they will find some sort of peace. I pray that they will find comfort in knowing that so many others care. I pray for world peace.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Thoughts on September........

Although Fall is my very favorite season, September is a very emotionally charged month for me. On Sept. 4th, 1990 my son was diagnosed with leukemia. In the next few days we learned that his prognosis was really grim. Those were some painful days. During this time, the children were returning to school My son would not attend that entire year, his junior year. He was able to attend a few special functions but they were few and far between. To this day when I see the first school buses of the new year I get overwhelmed with emotion. I know that there are many sick children who won't be attending. I know there are children who will never again return to school or lead normal lifes. Somedays I wish I could return to the innocent days before it was made painfully real to me that children get sick and sometimes die. I never can though and all I can do is appreciate that my son was restored to good health and leads a physically normal life today. Of all things in my life, I am perhaps most grateful for that. To those of you reading this if all you have to be grateful for is your healthy child, that is something that money cannot buy and something many people do not have. You are blessed..........................................................Tomorrow is also the anniversary, fifth of another day that is emotionally charged for me. To those of you who read my other journal you know what that day was like for me. I worked for a Fortune 500 company that had insurance for most of the victims of the World Trade Towers and the firemen of New York City. I was driving to work when I heard the news. I continued on to work, prepared to sign onto the phone lines when a woman from the next cubicle began to scream hysterically. Her sister was one of the victims that day. We were quickly told to go home as we were in a pentagon type building and they were afraid that perhaps other important company buildings might be attacked. I was on the fifth floor and began to feel anxious. As I went to leave I desperately tried to get my darling Rob on the phone. All phone lines were jammed, regular and cel phone lines. I debated whether to drive to where he worked but instead raced home. I never could get a hold of him and he arrived home hours later. I spent the next few weeks answering calls from widows who wanted to inform me that their husbands were no longer alive. These calls were so heart wrenching. WE had to hit the mute button and choke back tears as we talked to these family members. That day I realized that our company was not attack proof as I had always believed. I also realized what it meant to see Americans pull together. In our development I heard many stories of people in the streets and cooking food for others who were in shock. We didn't move to this development until the following May. One guy across the street lost his business as a result. He had a flag pole erected. Tomorrow he will be flying a special flag that has the names of the victims forming the stripes. I will never think of 9/11 and not choke up. Never. I am so glad that some of the bloggers will be doing entries on the victims. They deserve to be the ones receiving the attention. I pray that tomorrow the families will get through it. My next door neighbor's boss lost her son. Like most other families, she will never be the same. Tomorrow I can only fly my flag as a small tribute and say once again to the brave (including an Episcapalan minister I recently met who is dying of lung cancer.....she was at Ground Zero consecrating bodies and this was no doubt a result of her exposure) THANK YOU. God bless America, the land of the free and truly, the home of the brave.

Always Surprising.........

I'm feeling very pensive today. I just read a rather shocking email from a high school friend. First an introduction to the friendship.......over my junior year summer vacation I got married. I did this the day after I was 17. The following Fall I was living in an apt. in a nearby town while attending the high school I had attended previously. One of my nosy teachers interrogated me one day and then reported to the office that I should not be in that school. I was promptly forced to either pay tuition of thousands of dollars or change schools. I changed schools and the first day there I met my friend whose name sounded so much like Bon Bon Sherbert that became my nickname for her. This poor girl had lost her Dad many years earlier and her Mom was dying of cancer when we met. She was being raised by her grandfather, a man who was not known for his warmth, although to be fair he saw that his two granddaughters were taken care of. Right after her Mom died she was able to get a driver's permit and I decided to teach her to drive. Let me tell you, I was not the greatest driver back then. Still, she was able to get her license. She became engaged and began to plan her wedding to her high school sweetheart. She asked me to be her matron of honor, and I began to be a surrogate mother of sorts to her. She didn't know how to plan a wedding and I helped, while letting her do her own thing. It was bittersweet to see someone only 18 without a living parent at their wedding. The newlyweds rented an apartment in our same complex and we saw quite a bit of each other then. One day I bought a house and she was afraid to drive to see it. Over the next few years I had a son, shortly after, she had a daughter and then a son. We saw each other rarely over the next few years. I noticed that other than with her only sister or their mutual friends, she didn't seem to have much of a family life or social life with her husband. When I went there he was a recluse hiding out in either their bedroom or a computer room later. I was frustrated at times that she chose to stay with him. She had been such a vibrant and fun person and now she seemed to just be hanging on. Today after over thirty years of marriage she wrote and told me he left her. What I wanted to write back and say was that he actually left her about twenty years ago. To be honest I am happy that at last she can move on with her life. I told her that I have been through a divorce and will be happy to be a listening ear for her. I also told her to begin to live and have fun again. Damn a man who does this. On the other hand, I just wish he had done it long ago. I wish women, and men, who lived like this would realize that it's NOT a real relationship and that they should either make it work or let it go. Investing decades into something that is bankrupt just seems so futile. Having said that, I was guilty of that myself. I always tried to find the silver lining. I always hoped one day I would do something that would be a catalyst for my ex to change. He never got it and he still doesn't. I accept that he never will. I can't say that he's a bad person. He just is what he is and he is not what he is not.

If I could have access to every person standing at the threshold of a new relationship I would so want to give them this advice: find someone you like as they are. You will never change them and they will never change you. Find someone who has the qualities that you want or need. No one is perfect and during their mistakes, accept that they are imperfect as you are.
Most importantly, if the relationship is a mistake, recognize it and either get on the same page to make things work or gently, without inflicting unnecessary pain upon the other, let go.

I wish you luck my friend and it's my earnest hope that the best is yet to come for you.
We're never too old to start over and do it right the next time.