Monday, September 29, 2008

Mama Monday #42.1

Theme: Fortune

In the midst of all the despair that we're seeing nation-wide on the economic front, I thought I'd dwell on the subject of fortune in my own life...

Years ago, before we were married, Hubby and I took a trip to France - Saint Malo for one week, then on to Paris for the weekend. We took literally hundreds of pictures (actual film/have-to-get-them-developed pictures!). More than 300, if I recall correctly. We couldn't wait to get home and share them all with our family and friends.

Then we got home. We took all the rolls to be developed. And we went to pick them up. And we were told that none of them came out. N.O.N.E. None. Our camera was broken the whole time and we had no clue. It functioned as if it was working the whole time. But... no. Nothing. 

After our initial shock and sadness began to wear off, Hubby and I came up with an alternative plan. Hubby had previously lived in France - in the exact same place we visited - for some months during college. He had tons of pictures from then that we could pour through. We'd find as closely matched pictures as we could to the ones we remembered taking. And we'd work together to write an after-the-fact, day-by-day journal account of our trip. We'd make a scrapbook of our trip. It will be great!

And it is great. I absolutely LOVE that scrapbook. We found so many usable pictures from Hubby's previous trip. Exact locations where we visited together. Plus we had a friend who'd traveled to Paris a few years before us. She was so generous to allow us to have some of her own pictures of various Parisian sites we saw ourselves. And Hubby and I were able to recall, almost down to the minute, exactly what we had done each day of our trip. You'd never know that we wrote it all out after our trip was completely done.

In hindsight, I realize how fortunate we were to have lost our original pictures. We would have never created such an elaborate scrapbook - with detailed journal entries and all! - if we went with the pictures we "should" have.


Hubby and I decided at the very beginning of this year that we would not use our credit cards for anything this year. We would keep close tabs on our daily financial ins and outs. And we would work together to reign in our needless overspending.

Then, at the end of April, I was laid off from my job. A job that, combined with Hubby's income, never even allowed us to live more than from week to week anyway. Still - it was regular income.

However, I'm happy to say that - through it all - we have largely stayed true to our word. Save for my birthday dinner (which is long since paid off) and a couple of whole room heaters we just bought (which I know I'll be able to pay off when the bill comes in) - we have not used our credit cards this entire year.

Now I'm not saying that that status is likely to remain a fact throughout the remainder of this calendar year. The holidays are coming, insurance bills and doctors bills need to be paid and all that. Plus I'll be the first to admit that our debt is in no way dwindling as it "should" have been with our original plan. But at least, for now, it's not increasing either.

Of course, if we have to due to our circumstances, we will use the cards. I'm just happy that, at least thus far, we have kept them unused. I feel fortunate that, even given my (non) work situation... even given some unforeseen car trouble and health related bills.... we have not yet increased our debt.


Speaking of spending... I've witnessed a remarkable change in Hubby over the last several months. He is much more of a spender than I am. Granted, I'm told he often "needs" various new clothing and work related items (tools and such) because he labors hard and wears through them so quickly. I suppose I can't argue too much with that. But... Hubby is also one to get on tangents... new hobby related tangents... that have always required a decent amount of spending in the past. He's always been very skilled at arguing why it is he needs such and such in his life... usually saying that whatever purchase will ultimately make for less money spent down the road in some way or another.

That said... I feel very fortunate to report that Hubby has been very good this year about waiting to make purchases until he knows we can actually afford them. And if we discover that we can't afford something now or even in the foreseeable future? He let's it go. At least outwardly so. In the past he would have continued making his point about what greatness whatever product will bring into his - or our - life! On and on until I finally cave in. But not anymore. He's gotten much better about waiting, comparison shopping, and analyzing much more carefully what is an actual need vs. what is really just a strong want.


As for Christmas... It's no secret that Hubby and I have gone full out - at least on each other - buying all sorts of high priced, crazy things throughout the years, simply because we know the other person will love it. Even myself, who is in no way a true "shopper", cannot help but want to buy Hubby, Sweetie and anyone else THE gift that will awe and impress to the hilt. Who care's what the cost - the joyful reaction will be so worth it.

But, given this year's situation for our family, we're having to look at Christmas in an entirely new light. We have done varying amounts of homemade Christmas for extended family in the past. This year? It's pretty much gotta be a homemade Christmas all around.

The thing is... I think we'll be able to do it. And it will be awesome! Sweetie, for example, is going to get a homemade "magic" wand that Hubby has already started to create for her from a perfect tree branch from the yard. And she's going to be sent on some sort of magical treasure hunt, written by me, that will wind her deep into a mystical land. And we've taken a look at some catalog and store bought games and toys, figuring out how we can make our own versions from scratch. For instance, a story telling kit made up of 10+ small, random objects from around the house (ones she's never seen before) that will be collected into a small pouch, ready for her to make up tales and any other sort of memory game or what have you that she may dream of.

Extended family is well on it's way to being all taken care of too. And not in a cheapy, "sorry this is the best we could do because of life's jabs" sort of way. But in a quality, well-thought out, awesome homemade crafted gifts sort of way. That's all I can say about that, given who may or may not be reading this here post. But don't you fear - Christmas will in no way be lacking this year because of a lack of finances. In fact, Hubby and I truly believe it will be the most magical Christmas ever. And because our lives have led us to this path... we are fortunate.


I have applied for literally hundreds of jobs over these last several months. I have been very, very close to getting THE job of my dreams. I have been granted a high-status freelancing gig - which may very well have led to other, more permanent employment - and then taken off said project for, basically, getting in under more than I could handle in the end. I have seen so many hopeful, promising opportunities come my way, have had a few seemingly great first interviews, only to never again hear from those employers. 

And just last week I saw two of my regular writing opportunities drown away. One was only for fun, but the loss of the other is yet another monetary cut. Ouch.

Even my second shift mail processing "long term" temp assignment is over. Only lasted a week. Due to a slowdown in production, I'm told. No big loss there, as far as I'm concerned. But stilled, another loss nonetheless.

Yet, I have gone from an attitude of "Onward and upward! Seize the moment for a better career!" To a much more relaxed view of "Sweetie needs me this year. We're okay. My professional career will return whenever it does." I'm still applying - Lord knows I am. But I refuse to freak out. We're all good. And I feel fortunate to have had the ups and downs along my journey to this place of peace and acceptance. It is what it is. And it is alright.


I've also realized over the months how much we take health insurance for granted. Until recently, I had never been without health insurance ever. Not having health insurance available to me was never even a passing thought in my mind. I completely overlooked it's real value and importance in my life.

Until I didn't have it. And no one would give it to me. Because of my pre-existing condition. What the heck?! Who'd have ever known how awfully difficult it could be to find health insurance coverage for a person with some health concerns... until it was so very difficult.

Today, though, I am finally covered. Not the greatest coverage, mind you. And, boy, did it take a lot of research and hand-wringing to find it. But I've got it. We've all got it. We three are on three separate plans, of course. But we're all covered. We are fortunate. Amen. Now - let's all hope we stay as healthy and accident-free as possible, m'kay?

Fortune is not all about what dollar amounts are printed on your bank account(s). Personal fortune is all about being true to yourself and your loved ones. It's about knowing what you can comfortably handle and doing your level best to make the most of what may not be an ideal situation. We have our health. We have a home. We have some income. We have love. We have family and friends. We have each other.

The way I see it, supposed financial fortune is capable of leading to too much of so many unnecessary things. Real fortune is knowing what you have, appreciating it to its fullest, and living a high quality life no matter what.

I know how fortunate I am. And I will not forget it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sweetie Saturday #125 - Not So Funny Edition

Another week, another span of time without very much Sweetie hilarity.

No - this week we've really been working on Sweetie's attitude. She's got a big one. And we're beginning to see how it's liable to get her in trouble at school if she's not careful.

Her attitude about recess, for instance. Apparently, recess for the Kindergarteners is either longer or shorter, depending on what other activities are going on that day. But when Sweetie started alternating between beams of joy when recess was a long time today, and Miss Grumpy Face when recess was too short today, I took it to be a thing of perspective - recess is always the same length of time, it just seems longer or shorter to Sweetie depending on what activities she's able to fit in during the allotted time.

But at Parent Orientation night we did find out that the length of recess does change from day to day. Okay - whatever.

Anyway - I'm sick of picking up Miss Grumpy Face and hearing her tell me that school was not that great because she couldn't play at recess for as long as she wanted. At the same time, I'm tired of hearing how great school is on certain days - solely based on having a longer time to play outside.

One day this week as I waited second in line in the line of cars at pick up time, I saw all the kids, along with the assistant teacher, come out of the building and stand under the awning - as is the usual practice.

But Sweetie wasn't there. Hmmmm.... maybe she asked to use the bathroom just the minute before. 

Nope. Soon enough Sweetie and her teacher walked together out of the school and headed for our car... Sweetie sporting the Grumpiest of Grumpy Faces.

The teacher briefly explained to me what the hold up was - the two of them had to have a talk about what it means when the end-of-recess whistle blows, and about getting down from the slide and into line as soon as possible. Something like that, anyway... Sweetie was too busy putting in her own 2 cents for me to hear precisely what the teacher said.

We'll work on it some more tomorrow., the teacher told Sweetie. No huge deal. And that was the end of that.

Except that she had to deal with me at home. Mama interrogation.

Best I can understand it - it's the same ol' thing. Recess was over before Sweetie got to do what she really wanted to do. And she didn't like it. Again I had to restate to her:

School is not about recess. School is about learning new things.

I know. You already told me that before. But I already know my letters and numbers. I already know all that stuff.

Whoa. She's right. And from what I've seen of the work she's brought home - it is all stuff she's known already for a very long time. I had to quickly rethink my line of argument.

You're right, Sweetie. You are very smart. You do know a lot of things. You're a great reader. And you already know some math. But you do need to learn to play by the rules better and to listen better. It's important for you to go to Kindergarten to learn how to play fair and improve your behavior.

I ended up advising her to always ask her teacher at the very beginning of recess each day if the recess was going to be a long one or a short one. Then - no matter what the answer - play on the thing you love most, first. If it's a longer recess and you get to do that activity again later in the time slot - great! But even if it's a short recess, at least you got to play the best thing once.

I taught her a new word too - adapt. She needs to learn how to adapt - how to adjust to how a situation is, rather than how she wants a situation to be. 

Over the last few days, "adapt" has become an oft-used word in our house. If Sweetie starts fussing and whining over almost anyway, I stop and tell her only that one word - adapt. It works for so many scenarios, not just recess. And it's something Sweetie has desperately needed to learn to do for a very long time.

Of course, yesterday it poured all day and I offered to Sweetie that she probably wouldn't even have recess because of the weather. That, or they'd have inside recess in the gym. Either way, she was going to have to adapt and - if some form of recess did exist - ask ahead of time about the length of time she'd have to play.

Just my luck - no recess at all. Which worked out well for Sweetie - she had more time to play at Choice/free play in the classroom. But still, you better believe that I'll be reinforcing her new word and her new recess time "assignment" for all of next week and beyond.

(Oh - and Hubby and I will be asking her more often - Did you learn something new today, or did the teacher talk about something you already know about?) We're very anxious for Parent/Teacher conferences to see what they think of Sweetie's placement.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lazy Parenting....Smart Parenting???

Sweetie really loves to play games on the computer. At,, and, to name just a few. She knows how to get to these sites, how to navigate around the pages and games, how to read directions, and she is altogether quite self sufficient in her quest for on-line games and educational activities. Even deftly mastering the right-handed mouse when she's a tried and true lefty. Pretty impressive, huh?

(Now, now... don't get all uppity on me. Either myself or Hubby is always in the room with her whenever she's on the computer, she only knows how to get to her sites, she knows to click on only the sites meant for her, and she is very good about asking to go on the computer in the first place, then getting off-line when told to do so).

But, as self sufficient as she is, there are time (many of them, actually) when Sweetie will come upon a game that she doesn't quite understand how to play. Or that requires school-aged knowledge she's not yet had to deal with. More advanced math skills, for instance. 

In those instances, she will undoubtedly ask (uhhh... more like - whine) that she can't do such and such and she needs our help.

My pat (i.e. "lazy") response? More often than not?

Figure it out. You can do it. Keep trying, if you want. Otherwise, stop playing that one and move on to another game you do understand.

Then, in my head and my heart, I die a little. I just told Sweetie to give up if something's too hard. Why did I do that? How could I do that?

But you know what? Sweetie generally listens to the options I've presented and happily - nay, proudly - proceeds playing. Either she works out how to make it through the current game in a way that works and makes sense to her. Sometimes she is actually able read the directions more carefully and figure out how to play the game the "proper" big girl way. Or she moves on to another game she knows and loves, thrilled to be playing something she's a pro at and can enjoy without any further frustrations.

As I've noted here time and time again, Sweetie is a real smarty. At 5 & 3/4's years old, she can read just about anything you put in front of her. She's extremely good at reasoning out problems of all sorts. And she's catching on very quickly to mathematic principles such as groups of numbers (What do three groups of 10 add up to? - 30!), subtraction and addition.

(We were in the car the other night, traveling a distance to have dinner with Hubby's uncle who's current in New England on business. Hubby told Sweetie it would take us about 20 songs on the radio to get to our destination. As song 12 started up, I announced the number we were on. Without even 2 seconds of hesitation, Sweetie piped up from the back seat - Oh. That means 8 more songs 'til we're there!).

Needless to say (again!), Hubby and I are more than impressed and proud of our curious, eager little learner. She amazes us everyday with the questions she comes up with and the answers she's thrilled to discover. But at the same time, we wonder - how in the world did she get so dang smart?

Yes, we've read to her every night since her infancy. Hubby and I are both big readers and we're certainly doing our part to pass that love on to Sweetie (I think we're succeeding). Also, one of us is almost alway on the computer. So of course Sweetie's technical abilities are borne out of her watching us surf around the net, write blog posts, and virtually chat with friends and family around the world. 

But otherwise - I really feel like we've been more or less lazy about intentionally teaching Sweetie much of anything. Which - you know what? - may very well be a very active way to approach a little one's education...

When Sweetie wants me to read a book to her during the day, I insist that she read it to me instead. That, or we share responsibility in reading every other page.

If Sweetie stumbles on a word while she's reading, I tell her to slow down and figure it out. I'll maybe start her on the beginning sounds of the word, letting her do the rest on her own. Or, if it's a longer word, I'll cover each bit with my hand so that she's visually able to break the word into more manageable pieces.

If Sweetie doesn't know what plus 6 equals 13, I encourage her to work it out for herself. Start with an equation you do know (6+6=12) and that will help you know what more needs to be added to reach your answer.

And if she continues to get overly worked up over not knowing how to approach finding answers on her own - yes, I tell her to calm down and move on. Don't worry about it. You can "give up" on it for now. It's not that big of a deal.

I rarely spoon feed Sweetie the answers she's looking for. I easily could. Maybe I should! It would certainly cut down on the number of over-dramatic emotional breakdowns Sweetie puts up in the face of something she's not comfortable or familiar with. Maybe my, and Hubby's, way of helping Sweetie learn looks a lot more like lazy parenting than active teaching. And I definitely won't deny the fact that I allow Sweetie to give up on what she's not ready to handle on her own.

Given all that, this is what I know for sure - learning, especially for a young child, should not be frustrating or discouraging. I cannot express to you the sheer joy I see in Sweetie's eyes when she's finally able to move to a higher level in an educational on-line game. Or when she successfully sounds out a very long word. Sweetie is having a blast while she's learning. And she feels so great, so proud of herself when she works things out on her own. 

Some may call our ways lazy parenting. But I call it smart parenting. Confidence-boosting parenting. Parenting which encourages independence and an ongoing love of learning, truth-finding, and problem solving.

I call it - and Sweetie - great!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mama Monday #41.1

Theme: Principle


This slate slab hangs in our kitchen. It's often filled with the week's shopping list/dinner menu. Or To Do lists. And the bags per month of book and clothing donations we make each year. Those bits of information change from time to time, as you'd expect. But other things about the board always remain. Our family principles.

A thank you to the universe for conspiring in our favor. A reminder to make art every day. And an affirmation in the upper left corner that acknowledges the wonderful things we have - or expect to have - within our family and individual lives: a wealth of health, happiness and love, to name a few.

Yesterday we went to church - something Hubby and I have never really done much of together, and certainly haven't done any of since shortly after Sweetie's birth. Not that we don't have any spiritual beliefs. More like we don't feel that we necessarily have to attend formal gatherings and abide by a set standard of principles and beliefs in order to believe. Moreover, Hubby and I don't have to agree with each other on every aspect of certain religious/spiritual principles.

That's why when we had Sweetie baptized, we both felt it was important to leave Sweetie's options open for herself to learn about and grow from. The Unitarian Universalist church seemed like just the right place for a young person - or anyone - to attend, offering the freedom to explore one's own personal beliefs, starting out on one's own personal journey.

Now that Sweetie is school aged, we really thought it was a great time to give her the spiritual exposure necessary to help her explore her inner beliefs. 

Sweetie loved the Kindergarten circle time she and her peers shared during mass. And Hubby and I were interested to learn more about the century's old beginnings of the UU church, the basic beliefs they do hold close, and the open, humanitarian way in which the sermons are presented.

I'm thrilled to begin our family's journey with this wonderful congregation of people. And I'm excited to see how our involved in the church will help develop Sweetie into an even kinder, more caring human being.

Our own family principles mix very well with the UU doctrine. I know we all will grow and learn from our regular attendance as well as consistent supports and reminders on how we all can lead a personal life of greatness while helping our neighbors and the world to reach their full potentials as well.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sweetie Saturday #124 - Facebook Edition

Yeah... so... Hi!... How are you? I'm good. We're all good. I just don't know what to offer here in terms of Sweetie's weekly Sweetie-isms. Because I don't feel like I've seen too much of her this week.

Oh! I can tell you that Sweetie is, more or less, over her "love phase". Not that she's turned the other way, that is. She's just - Sweetie. Which is great! But there was one lingering instance late last week, while driving in the car, that Sweetie piped up from the back seat, completely out of the blue:

You're very handsome, Daddy.

Thank you, Sweetie.

I really like your hairstyle, Mama.

Thank you.

Ummm.... okay.... that was random.... what Eddie Haskell-type kid is in your class? Where are all these compliments and fits of love coming from!

Anyway. Back to this week. Sweetie did show me how to make the Bowling Buddies game on Facebook go faster, by clicking away your dancing avatar between rounds so you can get right back to the bowling. And when it finally became a habit for me to click the avatar away without Sweetie's reminder, she congratulated me:

Good, Mama! You remembered to click. Good job!

And then she went and showed me all up by doing so much better at playing Bowling Buddies in my place than I've done. I even think Sweetie got a Turkey!

Sweetie loves that bowling game, but I think pretty much only because she believes we're all "practicing" for the glow bowling birthday party we're going to next weekend for Sweetie's friend. Poor thing - I think she's going to be sorely disappointed when she sees how different real bowling is from virtual bowling.

Oh, and then Sweetie "made" me click on the Pet Society game at Facebook so we could create our own virtual pet to take care of. I let Sweetie decide what our pet looks like. And I let her name him. Mr. Lovah Lovah. Of course.

Now I'm just hoping Sweetie will forget all about it. I don't want to be roped in to taking care of a virtual pet - making sure it's well fed, well groomed and well loved. I don't even like our real cats very much! I cannot be held responsible for the pitiful demise of Mr. Lovah Lovah. Just don't remind Sweetie, m'kay?

So - that's it.  Apparently - from what I've heard - Sweetie and Hubby have had a grand ol' time of things on their own these last several weeknights. Reports of minimal T.V., dancing in the kitchen, late dinners, and early bedtimes all seem to indicate that all is well and lovely. Other than the night Sweetie informed me (happily so) that her dinner consisted entirely of tomato soup and a carrot, that is. 

Whatever. It's the weekend now. This working girl is glad to have a few days off before heading back to the grind. I hope y'all have a nice weekend as well. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


No, not Sweetie. Me.

My second shift mail processing job is.... fine. Easy enough. Repetitive. Fast paced. Pressure to reach certain (insanely high) nightly quotas. 

The people there seem nice enough. And I do mean "seem", as there's no occasion during working time to have any sort of conversation or idle chatter with them at all. Work, work, work. Process, process, process. Quota, quota, quota. No radio playing in the background. Just the steady hum of the computers and envelop-cutting machines. That's it.

As I said in my post last week, I don't mind consistent, reliable job duties. I like knowing what my time will be spent doing. I'm not big on changes or surprises.

But this worker-bee, always "on" function as a mail processor? Yeah - I'm not so much lovin' it. At all.

Especially considering that I'm not making any more money by performing these tasks than what I'm receiving in my unemployment checks anyway.

Especially because I know that, as the work load increases the closer we get to the holidays, the more likely they'll change our shift to end at 11 pm instead of 9 pm.

Especially because I barely have time to get anything done on my own during the short time Sweetie's at school each morning. Then I barely have time to play with/tend to her while attempting to get things done for myself after she's home from school. Then I either have to drive her 20 minutes to my mom's house in time to drive 25 minutes back to work OR my mom has to drive out to our house to get Sweetie in time for me to head off to a 3 start time. Then I get home shortly after 9 pm and see that there's a sink full of dishes to do, or 2 loads of laundry to take care of, or writing to be done, or a carpet desperately in need of a vacuum sweep the next time I have 5 minutes to spare during daylight hours (ha!). Then off to bed to get as much rest as possible before getting up the next day to do it all over again.

I'd so much more like to have a standard day job - with Sweetie-friendly hours, of course (for school morning drop off, that is) - and be able to come home to my family, have dinner, and enjoy a typical family evening together, then to have my day awkwardly cut up into crazy bits of unsatisfying time restraints. 

Ya know?

I went to the class/orientation/interview at the MDA this morning. Other than getting completely lost and being 20 MINUTES LATER - AT LEAST! - I think it went swimmingly. There were 6 of us there. One guy's voice was just made for doing over-the-phone sales/recruiting. But they're looking to fill 2 positions. I thought I did well enough to hopefully get that second position.

I also thought I'd hear by the end of today's workday that I did or did not earn the job.

I didn't hear either way.

I suppose I'll call my employment agency rep in the morning to see if he's heard anything. And then I'll go from there.

I don't want to continue with the mail processing job. Not because it's too difficult to do. It's not even that boring, in that my mind constantly is "on task" without a second's break to think about what's going on in the outside world. Not even because I hate it. I don't necessarily hate it. But I certainly don't love it. At all. It's pure busy work. It's pure grunt work. And I'd much rather be with my family during those quiet evening hours, using any extra time I have in the pursuit of work that "matters". To me. To others. To an honorable and worthy cause.

And, yes, I may be a quiet person who is far from socially graceful. But I do see now how much I prefer a work atmosphere where I can interact with my coworkers - joking around with them, gaining knowledge and reassurance from them, as well as helpful professional tips from them -then a production-oriented work environment where I'm surrounded by people who, like me, have only one thing to do - get those numbers up, process the paperwork, and be a human computer.

I am not a human computer. I don't want to be a quitter. But I don't want to settle either. I want to be satisfied with the work I'm doing - on a temp basis or permanently - at all times. Right now, I am not satisfied. And I wonder when I ever will be - and where and how I can find it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Not Tonight, I've Got a Headache

So I had this whole post in mind - a great tie-in between a book I just finished and Hubby's take on his new found duties as the one-and-only-evening-time-parent. I'll probably still write it very soon. But just not tonight.

It's late, I've had one heck of a busy week, and tomorrow is no exception. I'm home from my 3rd night of the mail processing job (1st night: this isn't so bad, nice people, interesting enough work. 2nd night: still okay, getting a better hang of things, new co-worker is a fellow mom of an afternoon kindergartener at Sweetie's school. 3rd night: this is going much slower than before, my machine keeps jamming, I'm not doing anywhere near the numbers I should be, I want to be home!) and I'm wondering what tomorrow's meeting/orientation/interview at the MDA will be like. All things being equal, I'm really thinking I'd prefer a day job than a night job. So we'll see.

Anyway - it's late. I've got dishes to do, a bath to take, some Advil to take, and an attempt at peaceful sleep to wish for. 

Good night. I'll be back later.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mama Monday #40.1

Theme: Options

It's so funny to me when Sweetie uses big words. For instance, if I tell her to pick out a game and I'll play it with her, she could whine about how she doesn't know which game to pick. But instead she says she doesn't know what option to chose.

It's just cute.

Well, today I may be faced with my own options from which I must make the best decision possible.

Today, I'm starting a new job. Please, please - don't get all excited now. I got it through an employment agency and the full extent of the duties (as has been explained to me thus far) is that I'll be opening mail and doing some data entry. It's a long term assignment (that is, no end date has been pre-determined) and it's only about 2 miles from my home. Wonderful!

Oh, and it's second shift. Yippee.

Actually, that's good. I'll still be completely free in the morning to get Sweetie to and from school, then have a few hours with her before I have to go to work. But that leaves she and Hubby to deal with each other every evening - Monday through Friday - with Hubby having to take over bath time and bedtime much more often than before.

So that's what I'm starting today. Not a glamorous job, by any means, but a job nonetheless. Which may - I presume - lead to bigger and better and more PERMANENT things down the line if they like me well enough, but who really knows. The agency rep who hooked me up with this position honestly seemed much more concerned that I was a warm body living in this small town where this random job assignment showed up for, than what kind of person I am and what I am capable of doing in the working world and how he and his agency may be able to better suit my personal goals.

I'm just sayin'.

Then there's this OTHER long term assignment I'm about to find out more about this morning when I go to another temp agency and meet with that staffing rep. I've already spoken with this gentleman on the phone, where he more or less gave me a pre-interview to see if I'd be well suited for a particular job. What I know about that job is: It's a few towns away from where I live (maybe about 17 miles or so), it's about the same pay as the other job, it would be a day shift that would still leave me time to drop Sweetie at school before heading up to work, and my duties would involve calling various companies to see if they want to be involved in a certain kind of fundraising event for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. And I think he mentioned there may be room for growth there.

On that job - I like the hours. And even though cold calling companies isn't something I'd be thrilled about doing, I know doing this job would improve my comfort level for making such calls and would give me a whole new skills set to add to my resume - fundraising abilities. I think I'd feel more like an "honest and true" member of the working world again with that job because I'd be working during "regular" business hours, with an office full of people, where I'd at least feel like I have to dress nicely each day, and I'd be doing a job that was helping to make a difference.

As opposed to working with a small group of people, off hours, doing boring work that I think may drive me insane.

But the "for certain" off hours job is in town - lots of money saved on gas. And the hours aren't that bad - I'll still have lots of time to myself and with Sweetie (if not Hubby).

But the potential "I-may-be-offered-after-my-meeting-this-morning" job is 5 more hours per week. But it's much further from home - lots more gas used up. But the hours are great! But the work will be challenging in that I'll most certainly have to deal with people who are less than thrilled to get solicitation calls.

Ugh! Decisions, decisions! Of course, it all hangs on the balance of what comes from my morning meeting today. But I feel like I'll be having to look over my options very carefully and very quickly very soon.

I'll most likely stick with what I've got for certain - the 2nd shift mail processing/data entry job. It's in town and I won't have to deal with outside "crazies" (meant in the nicest way possible, of course).

But then again - that MDA job may turn out to seem awfully tempting!


Who knows.... I'll keep you posted... I'm just happy, and lucky, to have some options to chose from in the first place.


UPDATED: Just got back from my meeting. Turns out the gentleman I met with can only approve me for the position to a degree - which he did. Now I have to go to a "class" with a pool of other candidates (which will be Thursday morning) to watch a video and learn more about the job from the Muscular Dystrophy Assoc. people themselves. They will then make their decisions from the pool of people regarding whom they think will work best for the job. SO - at least this gives me a few day to see how I like the 2nd shift job before having to possibly make any further decisions - if chosen.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sweetie Saturday #123 - Sweet Lovin' Edition

So, um... I have mentioned how much Sweetie loves school, right? Because she, uh... REALLY looovvvvees school. Oh, and just about everyone - and everything - else these days too.

I'm calling it XTreme Lovin'. And I'm also calling it somewhat disturbing.

I love three things, Daddy. I love you, I love 7:00 and I love Mama.

(Yes, I too noticed that I got third billing. C'est la vie. I'm used to it by now).

(Oh, and 7:00 is the time she must get up every school morning in order to get to school on time).

Some examples of Sweetie's XTreme Lovin':

* She is super hyper these days: twirling herself around and around and AROUND on the floor for a very long time, just for the fun of it. (Okay, that one isn't so much love-filled, just high energy filled).

* She climbs up on furniture - sofas, low coffee tables, chairs, etc - and then jumps at you (apparently hoping to land in your arms, which never works, especially if I'm the jumpee), exclaiming, "I love you Mama (Daddy, Nana, Grammy... whoever)!"

* She runs at you and latches on, giddily clinging to you and hanging from you, all the while proclaiming her love for you.

* If she's being scolded for whatever reason (not eating, not listening, whatever), she counters the disciplining she's receiving with a clingy/hanging/hug-filled showcase of the exuberant love she has for you.

* The other morning when I woke her from her sleepy state at 7:00 a.m. (usually she's wide awake on her own by then), this exchange took place between us:

Good morning Sweetie. Time to get up.

(she sits her droopy-eyed head up in bed and mumbles "Good morning." While I walk away to the bathroom).

As I near the bathroom, Sweetie's voice rings across the air with this out-of-the-blue declaration:

I love you, Mama.

* And, of course, if you ask her if she likes school, she corrects you:

No, I loooovvvee school! It's great! No! It's swweeeeeetttt! (high pitched, drawn out giddiness included).

What I'm sayin'? Sweetie, for one reason or another, is a big ball of love these days. A frenzied, high energy, wearing-her-heart-on-her-sleeve, sweet lovin' Sweetie. I don't get it.

Don't get me wrong! I much prefer a love drunk Sweetie to a pouty, school-hating, life-hating, defiant Sweetie. I am just curious as to the origins of her sudden turn toward the love lights. I've asked her what's up with her. She's not offering any explanation.

Weird. Great!... But weird.


Shortly after watching a Sid the Science Kid episode this week about how fruits and vegetables grow, ripen and decay, Sweetie had a coughing fit (yeah, she still has a cold. But she's handling it well - obviously! And, no - I don't think her high energy lovin' is a result of cold medicine overdosing, because I'm only giving her a bit of medicine on occasion when I really feel she needs it). 

Anyway, so she had a coughing fit. A pretty bad one, it seemed to me. My face contorted into a worried, sad state as I watched Sweetie get through it.

Then she turned to comment:

Mama, I saw you look at me as I coughed and it looked like you had a decay face.

Hmmmm.... great. No, I'm not decaying, Sweetie. I'm just worried about how you're feeling.


Hubby reported the following exchange on night after sitting next to Sweetie in her room, reading her bedtime story, then tucking her into bed.

As he was leaving her room, he asked:

Do you have anything else to say before I leave, Sweetie?

Yes.... you were sitting on my tissues, Daddy.

Yes, I was.

Uh... the tissues are flat now.

Yes, they are.

Thank you for ironing my tissues with your bottom, Daddy.

Your welcome, Sweetie.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Obsessive/Compulsive Personality

I can get completely obsessive.

I've been trying to fight a particular bad habit for a very. long. time. I have had bouts of successful "time outs" from this habit, but ultimately I have not yet had a totally successful complete break.

I have one glass of wine each evening. Just enough to make me happily buzzed - wanting a second glass - but still keeping me "with it" enough to know I really should not have any more.

I've always been one to get stuck on particular ideas - the way I "know" things "must" be - and then, when they don't work out that way, I feel totally crushed.

While I do like a challenge, I don't take too terribly well to change. My favorite day of the week back at my old job was Fridays - always completely insane, work-wise, but also really predictable in how the basic layout of the day and my duties would present themselves.

I know myself to be so totally capable of setting myself in front of the computer screen for hours on end, seeking and searching and hunting and pecking for just one more employment option that I'm positive must be out there waiting for me. And I do NOT like that "me". Nor does Hubby or Sweetie - nor would anyone else who would be subjected to my manic stresses, worries and aggravations, I'm sure. So I simply don't allow myself to go there. I search in the morning, apply to one, two, three or possibly more places. I check back in occasionally throughout the day, noting places of interest that I'll get back to at a quieter moment. Maybe a day or two will pass by without any promising leads. I don't dwell on it. I look forward to the next day's potential. And I continue on with my day.

And while I don't feel I'm always very good about keeping others' feelings and needs in mind, I do get really quite sensitive about how others perceive me. Especially people I love, respect, and/or otherwise want to be seen in a good light by.

I mean, I can get really, really hung up on someone's most-likely perfectly harmless (in their eyes) comment or glance in my direction because I just "know" that, for whatever reason, I've "obviously" just said or done (or not said or done) something they "obviously" disagree with. And it bugs me for the rest of the day. Into the night. And beyond - until something else rattles my brain the wrong way.

I don't like this about myself, as I'm sure you can understand. And of course I realize that almost everyone has some degree of the same hang up going on within themselves. No one likes to be thought of as less than strong/great/hardworking/with it/ready, willing and able. I don't know anyone who loves being held up to other peoples' standards, with people not seemingly understanding how you can think,feel, and act one way when you should, of course, be thinking, feeling and acting another way.

Still - this is who I am. I obsess. I am capable of acting compulsively. It's not the ideal way to be, by any means, but it's my way to be. I say, at least I recognize these traits in myself and I do what I can to not indulge (too much) in emotionally draining actions and thoughts.

So - a note to all - if you see me acting all calm, cool and collected, like everything is so totally wonderful and life is good and no worries exist for me and/or my family at all - just know that I am working hard to make that ruse a reality. I am doing what I need to do to secure a stable career life and a stable family life.

And the best way I know to achieve all that is to secure a stable ME.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Mama Monday #39.1

Theme: Schedule

Yep - right on schedule.... not even 2 full weeks into the school year and Sweetie has already caught her first big cold. Poor thing - she hasn't been sick since last winter. Last night she was lying on our couch, all decked out on our couch with her bed pillow, sleeping friends and blanket, completely pitiful. Not even laughing at the funny AFV videos. I seriously wondered if I'd send her to school or not today.

I gave her nighttime cold medicine, took her to bed, and fully expected at least one visit from her in the middle of the night.

Then - nothing. I didn't see her again until 7:00 a.m. on the dot.

How are you, Sweetie?


Really? You feel okay?



She was no longer warm to the touch, and she was in a subdued-yet-chipper mood. Okay! Here's your daytime cold medicine, some travel tissues, and away you go! Have a great day at school!

This will be Sweetie's first full week of school. What with an end of the week school year start, then a Monday holiday, today marks the first Monday she's had to go. Art or Music is on her schedule for Mondays, with the other one scheduled for the alternate week. 

Her day goes by so fast in my estimation. Drop her off for 8:05 a.m, pick her up at 10:50 a.m. Yet they manage to have circle time, table work, snack, free choice, and recess. Plus either P.E., Art or Music on various days of the week. I'm amazed they get so much in. But one thing's for sure - Sweetie really loves it! 

And of course, my not-very-scheduled lifestyle has had to adjust to Sweetie's school. Sure, she's always arrived at my bedroom door by 7:00 a.m. or so, but over the summer I was able to eke out another 20 or 30 minutes of rest by letting Sweetie quietly watch one PBS show on our upstairs T.V. But now? Nope. We both have no choice but to set the alarm (just in case) and get up and dressed early in the day.

Not to mention Hubby's work vacation over the last 2 weeks. His being home with me, while Sweetie is away at school, is completely strange. But very nice, too. Like this is the way life should be - working from home, accessible to Sweetie's needs, and free to run errands or participate in fun family outings at the drop of a hat. This is one schedule I can - and have - totally get on board with!

Alas, Hubby will be starting back to work by the end of this week. Another change to our schedule. Something new to get used to. How will I spend my mornings with no one but myself to contend with?

I don't know, but I best not take too long to figure out my mornings' plan. Cuz before I know it, it's time to pick Sweetie up from her "long" day at school.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sweetie Saturday #122

How was school today, Sweetie?

Great! We got to play outside for a long, long time!

(the next day)

How was school today, Sweetie?

Not so great because we only had a very short time outside.

You know - school is not all about recess. You're there to learn things, not play all the time.

I know.


(2nd day of school)

What did you do at school today, Sweetie?

Oh! We went to the gym for a show!

Oh... that's called an assembly.

Yeah... and yesterday the special thing was that we went on a tour of the whole school.

Wow! That must have been fun. Did you see where your music and art rooms are?


And did you see where the school nurse is?



Yeah... I wonder if EVERY day is going to have a special part to it. First the tour, then the show in the gym... I can't wait to see what's next!


I love hearing all the cute songs Sweetie is learning at school. My favorite is the Hallway Song (sung to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell)

My hands are behind my back
I'm standing straight and tall
My eyes are facing forward
And I'm ready for the hall


Sweetie! Get off the potty if you're not doing anything!

No! I feel the poop coming!... Poop takes time, Mom.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Taking Stock

I've been wondering lately whether or not this blog is of any "use" anymore in the blogosphere.

I mean, I haven't written here about spina bifida related topics in a very long time. Concerning that, I now write such posts at Disaboom, and am very happy to do so. While here I write about regular life, funny (or irritating) Sweetie stuff, and other complete randomness. 

Does this really need to continue? Should it continue? I just haven't been able to make up my mind on that.

Then I get a new email from a new reader. A reader who has spina bifida, is expecting her first child, and is thrilled to have found my site. Sure, she may be mostly reading my older posts at this point. But she's reading, she's gaining insight, and hopefully some comfort. And she's glad to know she's "not the only one."

Then I chat with one of the regular readers of this blog over at Facebook. She's an old friend of Hubby's and has often left comments here. She's also been kind enough to send Sweetie some of the very best things in Sweetie's life (her Bunny, some books, and a recording of a particular song Sweetie loves). Anyway, in chatting with her I've learned how "addictive" she thinks reading my blog is. She's also carefully read some of the book reviews I've done over time, and has now read and enjoyed those books - all because of my suggestions.

Then I receive sweet comments from friends and readers who understand my recent doldrums, but encourage me to move beyond these feelings and get back to writing and believing. "Write what you feel. We'll still read." Reminding me that their friendship is always there and that the universe really does work in remarkable ways. Friends who are thinking of me and glad to know about my "sense of peace". 

And so - this blog stays. As always, I cannot guarantee regular witty, thought provoking posts. And I can only hope that what I think of as Sweetie's funny comments also make you chuckle a bit. I can assure you that you'll still see plenty of random fluff here from time to time. But I will be here regardless. I'd be thrilled if you stuck around and continued to see what I come up with.

Oh, and on the school front - so far, so good. Sweetie, remarkably, is not blabbering on incessantly about the crazy good fun of kindergarten. But I am positive she loves school and she happily answers any and all questions we ask her about her days. I'm sure, as the days go on and she become that much more familiar and comfortable with her new friends, teachers and schedule, that the stories will start to spill from her with unstoppable excitement.

Lucky you, dear readers - I'll write all new Sweetie (and Mama) discoveries, observations and hilarity right here - just as I always have.