Thursday, October 29, 2009

Walking

So, I started out great with my friend Tracy. Walking three or four times a week for four miles each time. That little ipod thing will not measure correctly no matter how I recalibrate it. It consistently says 4 actual miles = 3.3 ipod miles. Anyway, it's not really the point (unless you can help me fix it). Then Steve's dad had a stroke and I went to their house for a week, no walking. Then I came home and had back issues and started my final term of community college (well, as long as I pass physics!) So again, no walking. This morning Tracy and I walked our four miles and then I forgot to stop the ipod, so it measure another ten minutes while I stood at her kitchen counter eating figs that I stole from someone's tree. I've been waiting forever for them to get ripe! Yumm-0! I have lost no weight, while Tracy has lost about twenty pounds. Maybe because she kept walking, while I slacked. Maybe I'll set my alarm early and go before class tomorrow. I have to do something. I feel like such a slug.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Orange-Ginger Sauce

I'm like a chef or something! :)

Mostly I just enjoy reading recipes, but this one I did try and it was pretty good. No house fires, no bleeding appendages. Just a jet-lagged husband who didn't care what I was feeding him. Always a bonus when trying new dishes.

Ok, I took pictures, but then I realized it's just as hard to take good food pictures as it is to make good food!

Here's the butternut squash and (ground) hazelnut filling. Doesn't look so appetizing in the picture, huh?
Then I made the pasta dough and rolled it through that little machine:
Here's what all the raviolis looked like as they were drying:
Close-up, because I know you care:
Ta-da! The final product! That's sage and shaved parmesan cheese on top, actually it's a different hard cheese that cost a lot, but didn't taste much different than parmesan and it had a name I can't remember, so I'm calling it parmesan.
You didn't know you were now reading a cooking blog. LMAO.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Cleveland airport, aka old stuff I forgot to post

We’re now in Cleveland and the airport is kind of a rathole. That’s my favorite word for icky places. Rathole. One time Steve and our youngest daughter, Tayler, and I stayed in a Holiday Inn in midtown NYC and it was a huge rathole. His brother suggested it. He may have received some sick pleasure in sending us there, I don’t know. I remember sleeping there during the day, while Steve and Tayler went swimming in a rooftop pool. I had heatstroke from being in the city in the damn summer!
Anyway, now we seem to be in a rathole in Cleveland. We’re waiting in a lounge area till the shuttle takes us to the convention. Steve thought the lady meant to wait in a nearby bar (when she clearly said, "waiting lounge"), so he was looking for somewhere that served drinks! Ha. She meant a seating lounge from the 70s. I don’t know what he’s whining about, as it seems to me I was the one in coach on the flight from Atlanta to here! Not even in the bulkhead. What the heck? He stretches as we meet in the waiting area, “How was your flight?” Snot.
He’s reading over my shoulder. Actually he’s trying to get my hair back in its barret. This stupid thumb does not lend itself to grooming. In the Atlanta airport, I was in the women’s room trying to safety pin my top as it’s too low-cut and I was tired of hanging out. Well, it’s almost impossible to pin anything with a big ole thumb, so finally a lady was laughing and said she could help me if I want. So she pinned my shirt. I should have asked her to fix my hair too! The barret is now in my pocket as Steve couldn’t make it work and neither could I. Oh well.
It’ll be time for the shuttle soon. I hope the hotel is good.

More Cooking

Still in Atlanta, still waiting, ho hum... Okay more cooking with Noelle...

Sunday I made chili. It was okay.
Monday I made double stuffed chicken breasts out of Rachel Ray’s October magazine. They were pretty good, well, except actually they were chicken thighs as the store didn’t have breasts with skin on, but it still tasted very good. I’d make it again.
Tuesday I made mozzarella stuffed pork chops (Rachel Ray again). Another hit!
Yesterday, chicken curry, cooked in the crockpot, since I’d be in school most of the day. I’d cut up the chicken the day before and had all my ingredients ready. I just had to cut up the sweet potato before my first class. Dumped in the chicken. Dumped in the sweet potato. Decided to cut up half an acorn squash too since it needed to be used. What I learned is that acorn squash doesn’t peel as quickly as sweet potato and I was short on time and going too fast. Now I’m short on thumb! Lol. Somehow I peeled the top of it right off, fingernail and all. I wrapped a towel around it and went to get Steve. I very calmly said, “Could you help me?” I think he pulled every bandage and accompanying tape we owned out of the cupboard, even some plumbers tape he found with the meds. He poured on the hydrogen peroxide. I asked for a chair. I can watch an autopsy repair but take off the tip of one of my own fingers and I get faint. What the heck? I don’t even know where the tip went, but don’t tell Steve. It all tastes like chicken, right? Gross.
So he bandaged me up; I went to the bathroom to get sick; and he apparently stayed in the kitchen to photograph the cutting board and medical supplies. Always an opportunist! Then I still had to finish throwing together the curry before heading to school. After class, I stopped by the health services department, where a soon-to-be nurse made me cry again as she undid Steve’s handiwork. She clucked her tongue as we both realized his bandage was stuck in the cut. It hurt almost as much as the first time. She butterfly bandaged me, wrapped me up and sent me to my next class. Throbbing thumb, huge bandage. Nice.
All in all, I think it was a pretty successful wifely week. Five cooking attempts yielded two pretty good meals (well, three if you count Muchas Gracias!) Not bad, I’d say. Well, I’ll probably score it higher in a few weeks...after my thumb heals.

Cooking

October 1, 2009
Sitting in the Atlanta airport, waiting for a flight to Cleveland. Last year we got to go to Rome for a Retrouvaille (marriage group we do) convention, this year: Cleveland. Really? Not that there’s anything wrong with Ohio, I’ve never even been there, but let’s see, Italy or Ohio? Hmm… Not a hard choice for where I’d rather go.
So, my thumb is bandaged and looks about twice the size it should be. It’s not twice the size but the bandage is big so I don’t thump it on something. I wanted to be a homemaker kind of wife this past week and cook dinner for Steve each night. It went okay, but could have been better.
It started last Thursday when I took a whole chicken out of the freezer to cook on our BBQ’s rotisserie. I thawed it overnight in the fridge, in an awesome marinade. Friday afternoon, I reached into the freezer bag to take it out and put it on the rotisserie-turner-pole-thing and my hand came back with a chicken breast. Then another. Then another. What??? It turned out not to be a whole chicken after all, but twelve breasts frozen into a lump! There are two of us, what the heck do we need twelve breasts for? Who even put that many in one freezer bag???
So, I dejectedly put the chicken on the preheated BBQ and went back inside to chop up some potatoes for boiling. As I stood over the kitchen sink, I could smell the chicken on the grill. That didn’t seem right, as it’d only been a couple minutes. Then I realized smoke was coming into the window and it was black. So I rushed outside where I could see flames on the inside of the grill. I’m not talking a little BBQ flame, but a full-on FIRE! I opened the lid, NOT SMART, and the flames roared. I shut the lid and hurriedly turned off the gas, terrified the whole time that my head was gonna catch on fire or the darn thing was just going to blow up. I called my girlfriend and asked could I throw flour on it. She said yes. Run back upstairs into the house and get the canister. Throw on a handful. Whoosh! Yeah, that worked well. Obviously it needed more flour. So, I threw on lots of handfuls, but they just burned up instantly. I called my girlfriend back, “It’s not working. The fire’s bigger, can I spray it with the hose?” “No, what if that spreads it because of the gas.” “I already turned the gas off, I better get the fire extinguisher.” I run to the garage and come back prepared. Pull out the red plug, squeeze the trigger, and NOTHING. Absolutely nothing. I look at the canister trying to determine if there are further instructions, how hard can it be to put out a fire? Then I realized there was a gauge, which read, “Recharge”. Great. I’m seriously thinking of calling 9-1-1. The grill is against the house and I’m terrified the house will catch fire. Black smoke is rolling from the grill and up and over our house. It’s two stories high! The children next door are starting to climb their play structure to look over the fence. I open the lid one more time and realize the chicken is almost burnt out and the flames are getting smaller. I throw on some more flour, just for effect. After about twenty more minutes the fire is out; the grill is black, no longer shiny metal; my whole house smells like smoke, and now, only now, I start to shake like a leaf. About this time, Steve calls to say he’s on his way home and, “hey, what’s going on with you?”
I have to confess. Swiftly, without hesitation. There’s no time to cover this up. Plus, now there’s no dinner, just small, black, hard lumps on a sooty grill. Oh my. It takes about five seconds before his chuckling begins. Just another day in the life of my cooking adventures. I ask if he thinks I should water down the side of the house now that the flames are out. He says yes. The water hits the siding and sizzles, smokes, pops its way up the wall. This was hotter than I realized. It takes a good five minutes for the house to stop smoking. Now I’m really shaking, so I go inside to “rest” till Steve gets home. He looks at me as he walks in the door, verifies that I’m okay, then looks out the back door and laughs. I get no respect, I tell ya. None, whatsoever!
He took me to dinner at my favorite Mexican place. Muchas Gracias, kind of authentic fast food. Yumm-O! But I really was looking forward to that rotisserie chicken…

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

According to WikiAnswers:

A cubic foot of top soil weighs in the neighborhood of 75 - 100 pounds. There are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard. Hence, one cubic yard of top soil weighs between 2025 and 2700 pounds.

A cubic foot of dry, loose gravel with 1/4" to 2" stones is 105 pounds per cubic foot. So, a cubic yard is that times 27, or 2835 lb. (There are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard.)

The weight of any soil will depend on how saturated it is with water. A rule of thumb is that a cubic foot of saturated loamy soil weighs about 20 pounds. Saturated clay would be heavier because it is denser than loam.


According to Noelle's back:

Four yards of wet soil & gravel (10,800 pounds) removed by hand, approximately one-fourth by Noelle's hand: 2700 pounds. 2700 pounds by friend Dave. 5400 pounds by 21-yr-old neighbor, who surprisingly didn't want to help the second day. Lol.

Four yards of wet soil & gravel returned to the hole after water pipe repair and a day of leak-checking: approximately 2/3 by Noelle: 7200 pounds. 1/3 by Dave: 3600 pounds. I was the second day's manual laborer, while Dave did the hard stuff, like tamping the dirt back in while moving it back into the hole also, replanting, rebuilding the retaining wall, not to mention the actual repair itself on the first day!

What a reminder to me of how dependent we are on other people for our sustenance. I just finished reading Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank from 1959. An absolute must read! It's about living in a post-nuclear-war world, and one of their things to contend with was water. I guess then having no water for an entire twenty-four hours made me think about what would happen if we suffered some catastrophic event. Maybe I better go out and buy some salt, while it's still cheap!

Seriously, sometimes I forget how blessed I am to have water that comes from multiple faucets inside my house. My house! It's regular sized, a couple thousand square feet, not a big house compared to what gets built today, but folks all over the world would give anything to live in what I regularly refer to as the dump, because I'd rather have a one-level newer house that isn't constantly taking all our money for maintenance. How spoiled I am!


Steve is glad I'm taking science classes (yes, -es, I saved three of them to the very end, it sounded good at the time...grr..) instead of philosophy this term. He's laughingly tired of me questioning everything about our existence.


I guess it was just a water leak and I don't need to get too weirded out by it, but I suppose it doesn't hurt to also recognize how much we have in this country and to be grateful for it.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Yesterday I went to my old funeral homes to visit and to pick up price lists. A friend's dad is elderly and ill and they asked me to help them figure out what they need to do. It kind of excited me to think of actually being needed and of actually having value. It's one thing I've realized in the past year of not working, no one needs me. My kids are grown and they hang out with me, but they don't need me. I have no coworkers depending on me to do my share. My husband has his work. The marriage group we work with functions fine without me, even though I like to think I make a difference. My girlfriend, Tracy, who I'm walking with, doesn't even miss me if i'm gone. I'm heading to Steve's office in CA tomorrow afternoon, so T already made a different walking date! I was like, hey, I'm not even going till one, and by the way can you take me to the airport?

Anyway, it was very fun to visit yesterday. The first place I worked is dark and kind of dreary, so it wasn't super great to visit, also I think the office manager doesn't really like me coming there. She's my replacement and i think it took her a while to figure everything out, so I think she thinks I'm judging the job she's doing, which I'm totally not. As why would I possibly care. Plus Skip wasn't there embalming, well, no one was embalming, which was a little weird. Bodies don't embalming themselves, you know. Actually, I didn't even see a body, come to think of it. Guess they weren't kidding when they said it'd been a slow month. I said, don't worry, the weather's cooling off, you just need a week of solid rain. "Don't I know it! A good stormy week and they'll be banging down the door!", Chris drawled with his heavy Southern twang.

So then I went to the last funeral home I worked for, it was the first time i'd been since they let me go. I called my buddy, Don, and said I wanted to stop by to get a price list. He was super excited and told me to come on in. It was only a little weird for a second to think about going in. I sure miss working there. So, long story short, the office manager got laid off about a month or so ago and last week the general manager got shipped to another location. (The location, managers go before they're fired.) So, Don is now the manager. Of course, I immediately asked for my job back, but they finally made the wise decision that they don't need three directors and a manager and an office manager and a receptionist. So the receptionist is now the office manager/receptionist and Don is the general manager/funeral director. They'll be running with four people instead of six and have a much better chance of being profitable. The two people who were incompetent are now gone and had I just ducked my head and gone with the flow I'd still be there and it would be a crazy fun place to work. I wonder will I ever learn? Well, I think I am learning, but it seems to be coming pretty dang slowly. I'm ready to go back to work now. It'll be nice to talk to our friend's parents about their funeral plans, it'll be nice to be needed for a few minutes.

We went camping for a couple nights last week, and I realized my kids are grown. The youngest is going to college this month. My oldest grandson starts school today, well kindergarten. My oldest boy will be 26 this month. At some point, time slipped up and got away from me and I guess I'm feeling a little melancholy or something. I just don't know what my purpose is right now. Well, right this moment, it's to do some painting downstairs. We painted window and door trim over the weekend, so now I have to touch up the walls, where we were a little, uh, messy.

That's it. The walls need me.

Sigh...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Walking/ Running/ Living

I started walking with a girlfriend. We're walking four miles three or four times a week. I bought my daughter's old iPod from her (hmm, how does that work? Pay for kid's stuff twice?) Anyway, I started using it today to track the walking through nikeplus.com. I'm hoping to add running back into my days at some point too. Mostly I think it's okay with my head now to run again. It was someting I cut out a few years back. Now I'm ready to not be chunky, but to feel okay in my own skin again. Steve says he'll join a challenge with me and then we can maybe both get back into shape again. It would sure be nice. Each time I've re-started running, my head goes to this weird place and I've stopped. Self-punishment, self-destruction, self-loathing, self-something. I don't know. I do know I'm tired of it. I'm tired of not thinking it's okay to feel okay. I'm tired of not liking how I look in the mirror. I'm tired of being physically tired, because I'm so out of shape. Time for some changes. I hope to show progress publically, so that I'm motivated to continue.

I'm supposed to be contacting the local university this week, as I'll finish at the community college in the fall and then will move on towards a bachelor's degree. Woo-hoo. I might just make it by the time i'm 50! :)

It's been interesting going to school again. I could totally just be a student for the rest of my life. Somehow, I'm thinking it's not in our budget though. I need to get motivated to find some kind of scholarship or something though, as I'm feeling pretty guilty about costing Steve so much money. What an awesome gift he's given me. What an awesome man I share my life with. It's incredible really.

There doesn't seem to be a reason for this post, just blabbing, which even I won't care to read later on. I'll hush now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I saw a ghost today

Today I was sitting in my car in the parking lot at school and reading about ways to prove or disprove the existence of God. The argument isn't whether he exists or not, the argument is how to prove or disprove in the most effective manner. Anyway, that has nothing to do with anything. The driver's seat was pushed back, my legs stretched out, book open across the steering wheel, when a young person walked between my car and the one right beside me. I hadn't heard or seen him approaching, and I would have because he came from in front of me, from the next parking lot. He had to cross through the median and it's crunchy from leaves and bark dust. No sound, even with my windows rolled down. I glanced in the side mirror and he was already gone. I turned around and looked, gone. I looked up and down the row of cars. No one. It was totally weird and totally cool. I don't know that he was really a male, but I got that impression. I found myself wishing he would've gone slower and maybe I could have had a better look. Really, I'm not entirely positive it even happened. Although, i'm not saying it didn't, as it did. But it was just weird. Not weird in a bad way, just different. I rather liked it. I guess I kinda miss dead people.

Weight loss

None.

I'm taking an Interpersonal Communications class and we have to set some communication goals. So one of my goals is to lose fifteen pounds. What does that have to do with communication? Well, part of my strategy was to track my weight loss publicly. I was going to put it on our "family" blog, but decided against that, as I don't need endless ribbing. Not that I'd get it, but I've seriously been saying I want to lose weight for the past couple years and I've not done it. So, I'm going to get one of those Nike/Ipod things that go in your shoe and then you get to make a little person who looks kind of like a Mii, but that little person will track my runs and I can attach it to this blog. I have to figure out how to do all this, well I guess I could just ask Steve, but I'd rather try it myself first. Well, technically I guess first I have to get a different Ipod as mine isn't a touch so it's not compatible with the nike thing, and then I have to get the nike thing, but not the nike shoes, because I'm so not a fan of their shoes. But I read you can put the little chip on your shoelace, so that's what i'll try.

A few years back, a buddy and I tracked our running mileage versus our weight and it really encouraged me to want to see the mileage rise and weight fall. So I'll also figure out how to attach a chart to this blog.

So, my goal is to lose fifteen pounds. But my real goal is to recognize the power of communication in setting and achieving that goal. So here goes...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

where am i going with this blog?

I so don't know what to do with this blog anymore. The writer (writer???) in me wants to continue writing...something... but the realist in me recognizes that i don't have much of interest to write about. And what i do find interesting, i probably can't write, because it probably is about our marriage group or about my anger management group. They are hilarious, the angry ladies. We continued meeting together weekly, even though we finished our anger class. Now we're doing a book called Choosing to Forgive, and we named ourselves Steel Magnolias. Well, i didn't choose that name and i didn't even vote for it, but it didn't matter. One husband said, it's more like lead-in-the-ass magnolias, which is probably somewhat true. Mostly i just refer to them as magnolias. My family has already accepted the name and hopefully no longer think i'm totally weird by having a group of friends who've named ourselves. Well, it was just to weird too continue referring to each other as "my anger mgmnt group", so magnolias, it is.



My middle daughter is getting married at the end of the month. I may kill her before the big day. That probably figures into anger management somehow.



I'm in the summer term of school, only the fall term left to finish my AA degree. I'm pretty worried about the financial strain it's putting on our home. Our goal is for me to continue going and work towards a bachelors. Maybe before I'm 50, I can really finish. Sometimes I feel like a good example to our children. Sometimes I just feel like a loser.



I'm taking a philosophy of religion class. It's broadening my horizons and confusing me. All at the same time.



My dog is still dead in the backyard. I can't believe how much I still miss him.



I can't cook worth a damn, but I'm trying.



This is kind of like my own little post secret segment.



I started running again. Yes, I'm planning to call myself a runner again. I'm tired of being a blob. I want to feel good in my clothes. I want to feel good in my skin.



that's all.

Monday, April 27, 2009

self-defense

Did I mention I've been taking a self-defense class? Tomorrow night is the last of a five week session. I am now a firm believer that every woman should take anger management and self-defense (probably in that order :) The class is at the karate studio where my girlfriend takes her young son. She and I and another friend have been attending it. It's been great fun hanging out with them every week! The class itself was really hard for me at first. My gf thinks we have body memories. I don't know if it's true or not, but I'd already worked through a lot of brain memories in therapy, so I wasn't prepared for my reaction to implied physical threat. Without a lot of detail, there's been some violence in my past and remants of it have carried over into my present in the form of intimidation. So a few posts back, i mentioned the boogey man in the corner, well he has a name and he knows our life, so he's got a good idea when Steve's out of town. I've known for years that I will one day die at his hands. It's just how it will be. A couple therapists have tried to talk me out of it, until they realized the truth in my knowledge. Some years ago, I did get fed up of living with this over my head and I told him I was sick of it, so if he planned to hurt me then come on and let's get it over with. Otherwise I was plain old tired of him threatening me and I wasn't going to take it any more. Well, that gave me some relief as I felt like I'd taken part of my power back, but when I started this class, I seem to have lost all that mental control. I've not slept well since the class started. Until last week.

Last week, husbands and friends came to class. Steve was working in another state, not that it mattered, as he'd already said he wanted no part of angry women kicking his gnards (I think he was mixing my classes!) :) Anyway, in my line was my gf who is small but tough as nails, a tiny woman about 4'10" and maybe 90lbs, me and a 19-yr-old gal who holds a black belt. At the front of our line was the Kung Fu Panda, 6'1" 280 lbs, mostly in the belly, if you know what I mean.

First we laid on our backs and he sat on our bellies. We were taught how to buck up to throw him off balance, elbow him in the groin 3x, toss him off us and kick him as we got away. (no wonder Steve wouldn't volunteer.) Anyway, the 19-yr-old was crying after her first try. The emotions get to you. I don't know her story, but I do know she hates her dad, so I put two and two together and gave her a big hug. Amazingly, I did fine. We went through the circuit four or five times each. Panda was getting a little sweaty, but he was determined to help us be safe in the future, so his fighting us was very realistic. Next they taught us how to get away if he had both our arms pinned as well. I was first in line. My mind was scrambling and I was trying to talk myself down, I lay still with my arms raised and as soon as he grabbed them, I lost it. I was sobbing and panicking and he immediately let go of my arms and let me up. My gf touched my shoulders and my cheek and helped me slow down. Panda took on the next gal, a little shaky himself. All too soon, it was my turn again. I laid down and raised my arms. This big man says, "I don't have a face." I asked him how he knew I saw a specific face. He said because I had looked him in the eyes before i got scared. He said, "I don't have a face, so you do whatever you need to do to get away from me." And I did! I got away. I bucked him off balance and I really got away. I made him swear to me he wasn't being easy on me and he wasn't. I got away.

When it was my turn again, the instructor came over and he took me aside to work with me himself. After Panda, he was a lightweight! It was much easier to throw him off balance. We stood up and he told me how proud he is of me for working through the internal chaos in these last weeks. He said he has seen me grow stronger and he's very pleased with me. Sometimes healing comes when we least expect it.

At the end of class, I thanked Panda profusely for the gift he gave me of working through my fright in a safe environment. I could tell I brought out the dad or the protector or whatever you call it in him, as he thanked me for being brave.

The instructor asked everyone how they felt. Every week the women say things like, "great!" or "empowered" and I never understood it, because I felt uncomfortable or even nervous. But I heard myself say aloud, "I feel good."

Through out the next day I cried or laughed at inappropriate times. It was an over-whelming rush of emotions anytime I slowed down enough to think. The boogey man will still come for me, but I will be ready. I will not die. I know now, for the first time in my life, when he comes, I will win.

going backwards?

i finished my first week at the plant nursery. It was super fun. You don't have to think to be a cashier, you just get to visit with folks and learn lots of new plant stuff. It was awesome. Well, except for the part of my upper back screaming at me for standing in place for five hours at a whack! This will not be nice, but now i know why some folks choose to stay in this kind of job for years. It's so dang easy. Sure, it's busy, especially when the sun comes out (which isn't all that frequent yet.) But busy isn't the same as having to think about what you're doing. Busy isn't the same as the emotional toil of helping someone plan a funeral. Busy isn't the same as crying your guts out when you get home or of not being able to eat certain textures of food because of something you saw at work. Busy doesn't remind you of funeral home smell everytime you go into the bulk food section at the grocery store. I DON'T KNOW WHY. It just smells the same. Busy is fun. Busy makes me tired at night. And that's definitely a good thing.

Busy does make it a little hard to get my homework done though. Late nights are becoming my friend. Still, that's okay. Right now i'd rather the busywork than the wrapping my head around somebody else's grief day in and day out.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

2nd offer of the day

ok, so i just got off the phone with a guy from the parks and recreation department. I'd done a phone interview with them yesterday, and he offered me a job as a fee collector at parks. It's a little weird that they don't even see what a person looks like before hiring them for a job around children and families. Oh well, I'll sit in a little box and take folk's money. No skills needed. Can you see a pattern in the types of part time jobs I applied for? This one pays even less than the nursery, BUT I could be alone! No coworker to make mad, no boss to disobey, a beautiful park to look at, absolute perfection in a part-time-just-want-to-pay-for-my-own-education-so-i-don't-get-into-a-weird-parent-child-role-with-my-husband-Steve kind of job. (Sorry, Mr. Todd, I'm trying so hard not to plagiarize, but it's pretty dang hard!) So, I go fill out paperwork and have an orientation with them on Tuesday. We'll see what happens and which job I keep. Maybe both? nah. That'd be too much like work...

what i've learned... ha!

So, Monday I have an orientation for my new part time job. I'm taking 18 credits of classes, so I'd like to only work maybe 20-25 hours a week, and I'd like it to be only mon-friday. And I'd like to get paid the equivalent of working full time at a nice paying job. But none of that is in the cards! Well, the 20-25 hours is but I think that's about it. I'm going to work in a nursery. Plants not babies. They probably don't call it nursery, maybe gardening center? It's its own business, not like a section of Lowe's or something. I love gardening, although truthfully, i'm not great at remembering to water (drip sprinkler systems rule!) I think it'll be a lot of fun, so long as I don't sneeze like crazy. What a journey in these past few years. In some ways, i feel like a total failure. Let's see, good career-type job, great benefits, great coworkers. Then I stayed at home for awhile and remodeled bathrooms. Great fun! Then I got a job where i could see the inside of people's heads and chests. Yumm-O! Not. My goodness, that very first autopsy repair is still branded inside my brain. It may not ever go away. I've not eaten a chicken nugget since. Then I got a job where i didn't have to look inside folks too much, whew! Just got to work with their grieving (or not so much) families. That was awesome and hard and rewarding and frustrating. Then I got to be invited not to come back. Geez, cremate one person when you're told not to and no one ever let's you forget it. It's a long story, but the short version is that morally, ethically and legally I did what I judged was right for the family, not that i did the actual cremation, there are checks and balances, and everything checked correctly so the cremation was done by the appropriate personnel. But my immediate supervisor asked me to hold off and get one more signature (again, not required legally). I chose to act superior and judge that i knew better than he did, plus I figured he was just embarrassed that I'd overheard a coworker telling him what an idiot he is, so I presented my paperwork to the crematory anyway, and the cremation took place. I know all this probably doesn't make a lot of sense and i'm not explaining well and i don't even know why i'm writing it at all. Maybe i'm still feeling smug and somewhat superior and still rationalizing my actions, when the point is I did not follow directions. In the end, it didn't matter if i was "right" because i lost. And it threw me into a tailspin like i'd not experienced before. so that's been a pretty black part of life.

But now, in some ways I feel like a new soul. (I've run twice this week, woo-hoo!) I'm learning and learning and learning. I now know how to tile a shower and a tub surround and a floor; I know how to texture walls and ceilings (well, in my own opinion I know how and it's my house, so that's all that matters!); I know how to sew curtains (but I can not make a Roman shade to save my life); I know how to make up and style a dead person; I know how to pull off one heck of a funeral service, with tears and laughter; I look super hot driving a hearse (ok, maybe not, but it sure is one of the best parts of the job, well, when it's empty not full); I know how to communicate in a small group (don't ask my classmates, just look at my "A" grade); I'm leading an anger management class, so obviously I know a little something about anger :), ok that one doesn't really count as I haven't just learned it in the last few years; and, finally, I know what Aristotle thinks about happiness. Hmm... semi-conductors, bathroom tiler, office manager, funeral director, student, nursery worker... some would say I'm going backwards, and financially they'd be right, but maybe, just maybe, all of this doesn't make me the failure I was beginning to think i'd become.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Guess who I ran into today?


This makes me laugh hysterically. I may be over the edge. I've sent it out in email for the last couple years. My friends are probably sick of it, but I can't help how much it makes me laugh.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

birds and spring

I need to borrow a bb gun. The crows are making me a little crazy. There are two kinds of birds who I love to hear, they have great songs. But they're usually drowned out by the gang of crows who've claimed my back yard as their turf. I read that I only need to kill one of them and then hang it in a tree. The rest of the crows will get the message and go away. I've not yet succeeded. But then I've only tried throwing pinecones and I think the success rate of killing crows 40 feet up in a tree with a pinecone is fairly low. I also read you should beat an empty cereal box with a wooden spoon. The crows will be so annoyed, they'll fly away. This is so not true! My family and neighbors, however, get pretty dang hostile. Well, i've not actually used a cereal box, but I do keep a pair of flip-flops (thong sandals) by the backdoor. They make an excellent echo and it did work at first, but then I realized Steve gets pretty testy when I'm smacking them together at 6 in the morning. (I want to say, "my husband Steve" because i constantly say to myself, "my wife Kara", but I'll keep from doing it. See http://justhumorme.blogspot.com/ , i don't know how to make cool links...) Anyway, I don't know why I get so mad at those birds, but I sure wish I could kill just one...

Friday, April 03, 2009

the boogey man

Today I am exhausted. The last two nights have left me tossing and turning. I hear every creak and groan of the house. Even though each noise is easily identifiable, it doesn't matter. My heart pounds, I can literally hear it in my ears. I am certain it's the boogey man finally coming to collect his due. He walks down the hall. He peers through my bedroom door. His is silhouetted by the light from my laptop in the other room. Last night, I remembered to close my laptop, so i couldn't see him standing there. It didn't matter, I still saw his shadow. I still heard his footsteps. I hear them in the refrigerator. I hear him in the wind. I hear him in the settling of old attic boards. I feel his breath as he leans over my bed. I feel his touch in the stirring of my hair as the overhead fan turns gently. I brush him away as though swatting at flys. Sleep visits me briefly before being ripped away by the drumming in my ears. Adrenaline flows through me like I've just run a marathon. All my senses are alive and at peak perception. The boogey man waits. He laughs quietly from the corner of my room. My bladder is full, the rain pours outside my window, taunting me, knowing I won't cross the floor to the bathroom. He will come out from the corner if I dare to walk past him. One o'clock, two o'clock, oh please let me fall asleep before the witching hour. You can wake me back up when it's past. Irrational thoughts. Irrational beating of my heart. Will he never allow me rest?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wii and Valentines

My valentine got me Dance Dance Revolution for the Wii for Valentines Day. I've been wanting it forever. I do not know why. I felt like an elephant in a labyrinth. Stomping around with no concentration! It is sooooooo fun. And not a bad workout either. This morning I played it and the strength training on the FIT. My abs are a little tender now. It's a good feeling. The dancing, aka stomping and swearing, is going to take a bit of getting used to. It's pretty hard for me since I have NO rhythm, but I think I'll like it.

I think I'll like the fun way to exercise. I hope it's one more step out of this funk....

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Proverbs 15:1

"A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger."

And so began last night's anger management class... I've now put that proverb beside my laptop, probably I should post it in the bathroom, in my car, use it as a bookmark, on the fridge, on this and on that and on and on.

I exel at harsh words.

Maybe that's not entirely true. I seem to have learned my mother's lessons well. I excel at meticulously worded throat slashings.

A soft answer turns away wrath.

A soft answer turns away wrath.

A soft answer turns away wrath.

Don't mind me, I'm just trying to make it stick. there's no place like home, there's no place like home.

I'm taking a small group communications class. My group is sure pissing me off. I may not have taken this class had I realized I'd actually have to work with a small group and my grade will depend on said group. They don't seem to care as much as I do about an "A," they want to develop relationships or something. Bah. Today I got a little grumpy during our meeting, no harsh words, but I was a little short. Can't they just stick to the agenda. "It's prima cotton and it's the silkiest cami ever. It comes in quite a few colors. Come into my store when i'm working and try them on." What??? Who cares! What even is "prima cotton???" Did I even hear her right, maybe she said pima, is that a cotton? I don't know. "Ahem, sorry but could we maybe talk about the project?" "oh, ha ha, sorry." Then silence, because the mean old lady spoke up. I'm trying to remember age and life differences. I'm trying to remember.

But they're just so damn stupid.

I'd make my momma proud.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

focus (or lack thereof)

I'm going to try to post something each day. Although there is nothing note worthy to post. I just need something to focus on. Steve's bday was last weekend and my focus this week seems to be to finish off the birthday cupcakes. I saw myself in the mirror this morning in the bathroom at school. I was a little surprised. Or maybe a lot surprised. You know how sometimes you catch a glimpse of yourself, it's quick and maybe you see your mom staring back or your dad or your sibling? Just that quick little, oh?! and then it's gone and it's just your own head reflected again? Well, that happened, the awareness of how others must see me. I'm bloated like a tick. It happened so slowly over the past couple years. The worst part is I don't seem to have a great desire to change my bad habits. I used to run. Now I eat. I was so upset by that old woman in the mirror that I came home, ate some lunch, polished off two more cupcakes and took a nap for an hour and a half. Grr...

Our middle daughter is getting married in July. I have tried to use that as motivation to stop eating and start exercising. For a while last summer I was using the WII fit daily. That's pretty fun and I like how it tracks progress.

A couple weeks ago, I crossed over a line and the WII told me I'm overweight. I said "bullshit, you are" right out loud. It's electronic, I know it's not overweight, but it just came out. I felt a little foolish, only a little. Yesterday I finally got the stupid game back out. It hasn't changed its mind, I'm still overweight. I'm 5'4" and weigh 149 pounds. There I said it aloud. I weigh alot. I stayed at 125 till I was 30. Now I am officially a blob.

Maybe just saying it aloud will motivate me to do something. I can't really figure out what has happened. I've turned into a middle aged whiner. I have a good life. Why can't I make this nothingness go away? I abhor women like who I am right now. Well, usually I only hate the ones who whine out loud, the poor me ones. I don't whine aloud. Well, except occassionally, but only to Steve and barely to one girlfriend.

Last Friday I had a meltdown, mini, well maybe it was not so mini as Steve was home to see it and usually I hold myself together when he's home. Little things have become huge. The weight of nothing has become unbearable. We didn't fight, it wasn't that kind of meltdown. I simply allowed him to see the chaos that my mind has become. I sometimes can not keep from crying and I may not even know why. I sometimes can not keep from sitting and staring and doing nothing. I sometimes can not do anything. I sometimes sit at my computer for hours playing stupid, mindless games, just to pass time till I can sleep.

So I will type. It doesn't involve much movement and I can cry if i want to. :) And hopefully I won't whine too much.

Monday, February 09, 2009

what is there to say

There is little of interest in my life right now.

Three years have passed along with two positions at two different funeral homes. Now, no job. I'm going to school full time and need to find some part time work to support this habit.

Perhaps the funeral industry is not for me. I am of service to families, great service, I know, but I can not seem to play well with others. Am I at fault for their stupidity? I think not. Am I to blame for their inability to manage well? Again, I think not. However, I am fully responsible for my own inability to shut the hell up and do what I'm told. I don't know why it's so difficult for me.

Two years have passed and I am now re-taking anger management. Actually this time I'm co-leading the class. Does that mean I'm really, really angry?

Three months have passed since the end of my job. I am in a place of utter confusion and chaos. How did I land here again? How much therapy can one soul need?

Five years have passed since I quit the high-tech industry and began my floundering. Is this growth? It seems that my life is paralelling my 17-yr-old daughter's. College next year for her and the beginning of a new phase. At 43, I should not be at a beginning stage. I should know where I am headed. I should be secure in a career. I should not be so lost.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

truths

there are truths about me to powerful to ignore.

I have greater financial worth dead than alive.

I am swimming under a great sea and the surface seems so far from reach.

I am melodramatic beyond belief.

I am capable of self pity on a grander scale than even I imagined.

My legs are tired and I have walked only from the television to the refrigerator to the computer.

Thousands have lost their jobs, and it was beyond their control.

Violins strum so loudly, I can not hear my fingers press the keys. The thought makes me laugh.

I am searching for a way out of this dark.

No longer a journey in a house of death, perhaps the page will become a journey from the death of who I thought I was to the person I am to become.

Tears of frustration and of rage have been my comfort for months. Quiet moments of lethargy. Loud moments of pain. Angry moments of disgust.

I'm tired now.

Tired of being in this place. Ready to move forward but unsure how. Ready to discover what awaits me. New truths. New tapes playing.

I am trusting.

God, who in all his wisdom, must know what I can endure.

I am trusting.

That he will comfort and grow me as maybe I finally learn to lean on him.