Life as a single Mother-Empty nest, Dating, Ex-husband, Best Friends, Full-time Employment, Unemployment, night school...How do these all relate to one another? Come with me:

Friday, February 27, 2009

Steak dinner turns to smoke

Since my son is home for a whole month, and both of the girls had a rare, and simultaneous night off work, we decided to step out on the town for a nice meal together. The place we chose to eat is a short drive into the canyon near our house, which is absolutely beautiful this time of year.
We had a great meal, great conversation, and enjoyed our evening out. Other than that, the dinner was uneventful.
Until we walked into the house upon returning home. The dogs were in a frenzy, absolutely frantic, and the house was filled with smoke! Every thought imaginable ran through my head. Fear white hot fear! We hadn't lit a fire in the wood stove in weeks and no candles had been burned. We ran in, dropped everything (seriously, I dropped my purse on the floor spreading its contents all over the room) and ran to find the source of the smoke. We found that source- in the kitchen.
Let me give you just a bit of background on this before continuing. Because our dogs have yet to learn to stay out of the trash can when they are left alone, we usually empty it or at least put it up before leaving them home alone.
This particular evening, I was lazy and did not take the time to take out the bag. Our house does not have a broom closet, a pantry or any other convenient area with a door in which to place the trash can and the cupboard under our sink is just too short. So, one of the best (maybe not) places we have found to place it, is to set it on top of the stove. Even though the dogs leave it alone when it is placed there, if they did choose to climb against the stove to get it, the range hood keeps it upright that they can not tip it over.
Last night I quickly placed it on the stove top as we were walking out the door. Here is where the problem comes in. As I placed the can on top of the stove, and pressed it back against the stove back (in order of less chance of the dogs tipping it) unbeknown to me, this pressed it back against the olive oil dispenser which is kept on the stove. The olive oil bottle in turn, pressed against the stove knob and turned it on.
While we were out having a relaxing dinner, the burner under the trash can slowly heated the plastic. By the time we arrived home, there was a good sized hole in the bottom of the can.
A drink cup had burned and spread some liquid onto the heat. This was lucky because I usually empty all 'wet' trash into the sink. Maybe this is one time I should be thankful for teenagers who don't do what I expect.

Other than melted plastic, and a small pile of ash from the paper products, there was no damage done.

Someone must have been looking out for us. With all the struggles in this house as of late, we didn't need to add house fire to the list.
We were very lucky!

It is now cleaned up and as good as it was before the accident. This is the bottle that pressed against the knob.

It was still a hard night, as I have asthma and the house was well filled with carbon dioxide smoke and possible toxic fumes from the plastic. And as I sit here now, my throat, eyes and sinuses are awfully sore.

But it is such a small price to pay. We are safe, the house is safe, and I am grateful.
If there is one regret it would be the terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach today. The feelings of guilt that such a small, silly, stupid thing I am personally responsible for, could have put myself and my kids on the street! I will take the time, from now on, to ensure the trash is taken out. Every time!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Guess who is home? For a whole month!

My son (on the right) has not been home since the beginning of January. he has been in Oklahoma getting yelled at by drill Sergeant's well, something like that. He is huge! I suppose they must have had to work off a bit of messing around because that boy is built!
These are times when I wish that my scanner had not 'bitten the dust' so that I could post some of his baby photos... hard to believe he started at only 5 lbs 3 oz!

Look at all he brought with him, sparing no time to dump it where he entered... ugh! In 6 months he can no longer blame it on being a teen!

and Guess who missed him the most of all?

Has not left his side!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscars, Chinese Food and Girls Night

Every spring I try to catch at least part of the Academy Awards, even if only for a few moments. I like to see short synopses of movies that I have yet to see, and that I may like to see. I also love to watch the telecast so that I might see some of my favorite actors and actresses receive recognition for stellar performances. Most years I am unable to choose a favorite movie to cheer for. Although I was only able to get out to see one of the films nominated for Best picture this year, The Changeling starring Angelina Jolie. But the other films nominated look wonderful and I will definitely be adding them all to my Netflix queue. I don't even think MILK was shown in this conservative state. Flashbacks to Broke back mountain (2005) (small shout out to Heath ledger much too young a life to be taken- for any reason)

In true form, last night, we (my girls and I) decided to put together our own intimate Oscar party, just us girls. My latest issue of Cosmo (can I say that?) had a couple of tasty looking, Asian inspired recipes (which I changed up a bit more to my liking). More about the menu (and recipes) at the end of this post. We cooked up in the kitchen together while watching the Barbara Walters pre-Oscar interviews, and later settled in on some large pillows using the coffee table as our low dinner table and eating a dinner worthy of the Oscars. Yum.

The Academy Awards were great! Hugh Jackman is such a hottie, but seriously he can't carry a tune to save his life. But that is OK because most of his musical numbers on the AA's had a bit of humorous touch to them anyway. We watched the first half-hour of the awards, and a few of the entertainment numbers, then began to feel a growing boredom of the long thank-yous.

But lucky for us, on another channel, at the same night and time as the Oscars, was one of my favorite reality shows. The Amazing Race.
So, during each of the commercials, we began a bit of remote control surfing. I know- we have mental issues in this family....I love The Amazing Race and watching the differences of each of the teams and how they interact with or not with the other teams. Every season I am pulled in by the strength of love between team members, balanced with the intensity getting on each others last nerve. And the physical, intellectual and emotional strength they must endure with these partners. Many years as a single mother, living through a divorce and attempting to blend a mixed family, I have known challenges of living with another person with differing points of view and ideas. It is a challenge on some days and most rewarding in others. However, doing this while racing other teams, while running into cultural, physical and mind-blowing challenging obstacles and being with that person 24-7 without an outlet, without ability to 'leave the room' so to speak, cannot be easy. No matter how much you love your teammate, it has to get tough.
Oh! But I have gotten a bit off-topic. Back to our Sunday night party.
We continued to rally between the two shows, Cheering on the teams from Amazing race while catching some wonderful performances from Queen Latifah, Beyonce, and many other acts between awards. Changing channels, and keeping up on two separate shows was a bit crazy but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. My daughters were not at all annoyed by my strange habit of dual-viewing, rather, they were reminding me, when I was distracted, to turn it back to see if Linda had found her way back onto the trail... (on the race) Poor Linda, and Steve was so supportive of her but also so emotional, they really weren't ready to be sent home.

It was all-in-all a great night, good food- TWO great shows and my beautiful babies at my side. We had so much fun! And I didn't even get the least bit sore sitting my 39 yr old body on a floor pillow for a couple hours. Only drawback? I ate so much I will have to figure out some new exercises this week.
Here is the great food we had to eat:

Pot sticker Dumplings with Ginger-Lemon Dipping Sauce-
I created this recipe on the fly (using the cosmo recipe of course). I began by browning a pound of ground beef. (Ground chicken or pork might have been better for this recipe but I didnt have any on hand).

Finely chop some button mushrooms, and water
chestnuts. Add them to the beef.

When the meat is warm, add some chopped green onions.

Add a teaspoon of chopped ginger

and a teaspoon of oyster sauce (found in the Asian food aisle of most markets).

Stir well and remove from heat.

Lay a stack of approximately eight egg roll
wraps onto cutting board and slice in two parts diagonally creating two triangular pieces from each. (sorry didnt take pictures here)
Using a basting brush, swipe outer edge of the wrap with cool water to moisten.
Place one teaspoon of meat mixture onto center of wrap.
Fold one of the longer corners over onto the other longer corner forming a smaller triangle covering the filling. Pinch tightly all edges making sure there are no open sections.
Set onto plate or cookie sheet separating to avoid sticking. I am sure you could dust them with a bit of cornstarch or flour to help with stickiness.
Heat ( I used Olive) oil on medium heat in a shallow skillet until it begins to sizzle. Add dumplings to the oil. Frying takes only a few seconds on each side. Less time is needed the more you cook as the oil gets used up and heats more. Allow to drain on paper towels.

Ginger -Lemon Dipping Sauce-
In a bowl combine the following: 3T Soy Sauce, 2T lemon juice, 1t. fresh ginger- grated, 1T. Sesame Oil, and 1 scallion thinly sliced. Stir and pour into a shallow dipping bowl.


Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps-
(Bonus! You get to eat these with your hands, unless you are like my baby and love chopsticks so much that you balance a wrap between the sticks).
Cut two boneless- skinless chicken breasts into small cubes, fry in skillet with 2 T olive oil until no longer pink. While the meat is browning,
Ccombine one packet of stir-fry seasoning, 2T soy sauce, 2T lemon juice, and 1t. sugar in a small bowl. Add 1/2 yellow and 1/2 red pepper-diced, 1/4 c. water chestnuts-diced, 2T scallions- thinly sliced, and a pinch of red pepper flakes to the meat. Cook 5 minutes on medium heat until peppers are tender. Stirring often. Stir in seasoning mix. Until meat is coated.
Continue cooking until liquid is absorbed.
To serve, wrap chicken mixture with individual leaves of romaine lettuce, garnish with bean sprouts, cilantro, mint or peanuts to your individual taste.

I didn't get pictures of the finished products... we were starving! here is a picture of my girls eating it. you can see the dumplings and the lettuce boats.

Although the wraps are generally low-cal, I think I ate enough of them and the less lo-cal deep fried dumplings to triple a single serving. But it was so worth it!

And congrats to Sean Penn and Kate Winslet!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Single Parenting

I started this blog for two reasons.
One, to keep an account of my day to day life and all the crazy day to day accounts of our lives in this house.
And two, To tell my story as a single parent raising three children on my own for the past 11 years. All the trials, Joys, frustrations, tears and smiles. As I wrote in the title, full-time work, motherhood, dealing with their father etc.

Things have changed a little bit in the few months I have been blogging. My son is no longer living with us full-time, my daughter will be graduating this May and spending the summer away from home also. My job, the one security I have always had in my single life, has been pulled out from under me. I have graduated from night school which has been a huge part of my life and taken up an enormous part of my time over the past eight years. And even my ex husband has been a little bit more of a part of my children's' lives (very little, and not necessarily for the better, but more on that later). My parents sale of my childhood home and move to a town 300 miles away after being within 5 miles of me my entire life. All of these things are change- and I have never been good with change.

And yet, a lot of things are still the same. My baby still loves to cuddle with me on the couch while watching an old movie. All of my children are still my best friends. Family is still as close as ever and love of my parents and sister is strong as ever.

I love being a single mother. I love having been through the trials and joys that I have been able to experience and I would love to share them with others here. As I have been home the past couple weeks and looking for work, I have had opportunity to peruse a few single parent blogs and although most of them have small children still, their stories are not so far from what I too have experienced.

As soon as i can figure out a good format, I will be sharing and recording more and more of the past experiences I have lived and hope to, if nothing more, share my story. Friends tell me that my life is never boring and they are right. How could it be boring raising 3 kids, working, attending night school and sheltering my children from a toxic father? And just for laughs.. maybe a dating story or two, names and dates changed to protect the innocent (me of course). Oh boy do I have some funny anecdotes of my life....just ask my best friend.

More to come on this later.

I would really love to hear from anyone who may be reading this blog, relatives, friends, blog stalkers, what would you like to hear about? comments are always welcomed here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Black Jack

When my son turned 16 he begged me for a puppy. He promised to take care of that puppy all by himself (I know, I know). He did a pretty good job considering he had such a busy 16 yr old agenda. But I lost a lot of household items in the process. There were times when I wanted to open the door, let him go and never see him again- the dog not the son. It has been a trial and an expense having Black Jack in our lives, but over time we have all come to love him dearly.

Black Jack is a very energetic dog, so much so that it is nearly impossible to take him for a walk. The very thing that would help to calm his energy. It has taken a while to get Black jack to calm enough to have company without putting him in the yard. Drove my parents crazy. Now they are better together. A lot less stress for all of us. The dogs will still have to be put out when the baby (my great nephew) is around. But things are a lot better now especially that there are no longer chewed up DVD covers or eighty dollar dog-at-large fees. Mark my words- no more puppies for me.

We purchased this bed for Black Jack when he was about a year old and had grown too large to share the large dog pillow with our Shepard. It was a bargain and when we saw it at the store we thought it was perfect for him.

When my son walked in the house with it, The puppy thought it was perfect too. He knew exactly what it was and that it was for him, attempting to lie in it while my son was still carrying it before placing it on the floor.
As soon as Black Jack climbed in, It was immediately apparent that he had already grown too large for the bed. And we decided to return it for the larger pillow a little discouraged as our house doesn't have an excess of open space for large floor pillows.
But as my son walked to the door, Black Jack was having none of this nonsense. He grasped the pillow in his teeth and would not let my son out the door.
My son lay it back on the floor and Black Jack climbed in. He didn't fit then, and he fits less so now. But this is his spot. This is his favorite spot.
As you can see by the following pictures, he has yet to understand what we were thinking in getting rid of his bed. He is definitely one of those large dogs who thinks he is a lap dog.

He is the king of the castle- this dog owns this house!

or at least thinks he does.

Side note: bear with me on the blog format- I know nothing about HTML and I am doing my best to find my look.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Stress Relief

Valentine's Day this year is just the girls and I. As I am sitting here typing, they are yet to awaken and see the cards and candy I make sure to give each year. They will be working tonight so I will just curl in with a good book or a movie. And that is OK. Sometimes peace and relaxation is just what we want for a holiday right? But last night we had a mom and daughter night and a lot of pent-up stress was released inadvertently.
My younger daughter was not able to go out with us so my older daughter and I decided on dinner and a movie but being the spontaneous and unorganized, indecisive Libra that I am, we didn't yet know where we were eating or what we were seeing when we left the house.
Dinner was nice, we ate way more than we should have and then waddled out to the parking lot.. chats like that, one-on-one, mom and daughter are the best. I still love moments like that with my mother and am glad that I can pass the same on to my children. Then we headed to the best of the movie theater's in our nearby towns. This particular theater has very comfortable, reclining seating. The next best thing to being at home. I don't often go out to the movies but when I do, I prefer this establishment. Because of our delay in getting out of the house, and the wait at dinner, we arrived at the shopping mall where the theater is housed at the time directly between the showings of any of the current films. We decided to do some window shopping and wander the stores of the mall while waiting. Which turned out to be quite fruitful as we found awesome clearance sales and bargains and ended up with quite a few essentials and barely made a dent in the savings. We are talking $50 for about 35 items!- But- I digress.
After some shopping and a bit of awesome people watching, we had decided on the new movie shop-o-holic we found it ironic that we were the only people in the theater with shopping bags below our seats. (as far as we know)
Even though the theater was filling up quickly when we arrived, the 'perfect' row in the middle of the theater was open sans two women at the far end. My daughter was ecstatic. Apparently it is best to have the very seats we were in, she took the time to count and ensure that she was in the exact center seat in the aisle. We chatted a little more before the movie began. My daughter was a bit wound up and rocking in her seat to show me how her seat was perfect.. haha
While she was settling in, she mentioned that her seat felt a little bit odd, a little tilted to one side. We joked about who or what might have caused the 'tilt' then the movie began. It was hilarious and we were laughing nearly to snorts.
As the movie progressed, she - and I- would lean back, or rock, settle in. At one point we were giggling at the movie and giggling at the fact that she was nearly leaning into me in her 'broken' chair when suddenly we heard a crunch. This sent us into a further fit of giggles, the kind that makes your entire body shake, and you cant catch your breath. We continued to watch the movie. The movie turned a bit less humorous and more somber for a few moments between laughs, my daughters chair chose that very moment to give out! I turned and saw her panic-stricken face as her body in the seat fell a good 3 inches lower, and sideways. The side of her seat closest to me had given way and she was hanging sideways into my seat.. which threw us into a fit of uncontrollable laughter reminiscent of slumber parties of my youth when we laughed until our Coke came out of our nostrils. We couldn't stop. Fortunately for us, there was more comedy on the screen as we could not get ourselves under control. Then she shifted in uncontrolled giggling and we heard the 'pin' or bolt or some part of her chair clank on to the floor below her chair... which set us off again. Giggling so hard it felt as though we had just completed sixty-one sit-ups, so hard that tears were forming in the corners of our eyes. All we had to do was look at each other and we would lose it again! As I type this now, it isn't nearly as funny as it seemed at the time.
She moved to the seat on the other side of me for the remainder of the movie, afraid that someone would see her move and 'turn her in' for breaking their chair. Worried that there were security cameras pointed on her the entire time. I assured her that she would not get in trouble because their chair broke while she was sitting in it. After the movie ended, we were still giggling out of the theater and out to the car, and even all the way home. Good thing we saw a comedy! We joked how awkward it could have been if we had seen our second choice of movies- Grand Torino. We might have been shot!
All-in-all the nights events made it one of the best nights with my daughter. Nothing beats an uncontrolled, crazy, make you light headed giggle fest with your daughter. My only regret was that my younger daughter didn't make it. I love being a mom.
It was a night of stress relief, and with the past weeks events, I needed it. I think it was good for my daughter too. As they say- laughter is the best medicine.
And the movie was pretty good too: Isla Fischer is a crack-up!

Friday, February 13, 2009


I find it kinda crazy that there are three holidays in this one weekend... Friday the 13th the day before the biggest love day of the year? Crazy stuff.
Valentines Day is a sweet day to tell the people that you love, how you feel about them. But I think that this is something you should do everyday, or everyday that you are in contact with them. Including yourself.
My parents will have been married 44 years this month. That is no small feat! They have taught me a lot about love, about couples, and about loving everyday no matter the outlying factors of life. My parents argue a lot, usually small stuff like which road to take, which relative said what at the last reunion, etc. But it is never a question how they feel about each other. It is also very apparent how they care about my sister and I. We are a close family and everyday is Valentines Day for us.
One year ago today I had been dating a man for about four months, I felt a bit of a connection and loved spending time with him, but things didn't seem to be progressing like they should. Still I was a bit shocked when he just seemed to fall off the face of the earth. I had purchased some fun things for him for Valentines Day, nothing real romantic (I now see that I really didn't feel a romance with him) and was waiting to hear from him what we might do for the holiday. Finally, after an entire week without so much as a text message, I called him. I hate to involve my children in my Roller Coaster love life so I pulled to the side of the road to make the call. He answered but seemed distant...long story short,I got dumped! On Valentines Day!!!
But it sounds worse than it actually was. We just weren't meant to be. What made it awkward? I had a card, a cute Chinese takeout box filled with candy- and didn't know what to do with it? It didn't feel right to eat it, nor throw it out. And so it sat in my bedroom for a few months- a constant reminder of my time with him and my foolishness not to see how he was feeling... But then I seemed to be feeling the same way. So I wondered, why hadn't I told him? I suppose it was better to be with a so-so love than none at all.
Another lesson learned.
This year? Goin' out with a girlfriend and it just might turn out to be one of my best Valentines Day's yet!
Happy Friday the 13th, Valentine's Day (tell those you love just how much you do!) and what the heck- Happy Presidents Day too! This year I will be home to spend it with the kids.
Mom, Dad, I love you more than words can ever say! and I miss you!
Tonja, who could ask for a better sister. I love you too.
All extended friends and family who might pass by this blog. I love you all!!!
Kisses and Hugs

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Selling yourself

I have not been on a job interview in over 3 years, and for that interview, they had contacted me and I figured I already had the job. Hard to get too stressed out in that situation. Prior to that I had not been on an interview in over 13 years. It is to say the least, intimidating.
Yesterday was my first interview since my lay-off the company I am interested in is very similar, in industry, to the past two employers I have worked for. I applied for a few positions at this company and figured I was a good fit for a couple of them at the very least. They must have felt otherwise and called me about the Junior-most of the four positions I had applied for. But I was happy to get a call and excited to let them know my qualifications first hand. But also nervous. Selling yourself is probably the hardest sale there is. Unless maybe you are narcissistic. I am not.
The interview went pretty smoothly. I got there a bit early and spoke with my friend on the phone in a nearby parking lot to use up some time. Then at 1:25 I headed in. After waiting in the lobby for approx 15 min., the receptionist paging the interviewer a few times, he walked by. I didn't recognize him as we had only spoken on the phone. However he spoke a few words to the receptionist then walked through one of the two badge-coded doors.
I heard the receptionist mumble something then looked at me. I asked her to repeat what he had said. She said I was to be meeting with someone else first, and that it would have been nice to know that. When a second interviewer came up to meet me, it was nice of her to mention to him (a few too many times) that I was on time but there was a mix-up as to whom I was to meet with first. Not a good start.
We walked through the second badge-coded security door and into his office, waited once again while a second person made her way in. Apparently their schedules are tight. The actual interview went well, I felt confident with my answers to their inquiries, I felt that I knew the tasks of the job and then some. The position they described was but a portion of a similar position I have held in the past. I met with these two, one who would be my direct report if offered the job, and a nurse I would work closely with. Next, I was to meet with his (my potential boss's) boss. However he too was tied up and I was ushered into HR.
This portion of the interview was actually with the man I had spoken with on the phone the night before regarding the job. (Also the man who passed me in the lobby.) This, I have to say was the most intimidating part of the interview process. He had the hard questions. He was friendly, as he was on the phone the night before, and polite, very polite. But his questions seemed to be some sort of psychological test. What type of boss do you like to work for? Who was the best boss you have ever had? and why? What makes you a good employee? etc. Again, I think I did well but I am sure there were a lot of ummm's and aaahhh's. Aren't we all basket cases and mental jobs when we are grilled? O.K. well I am.

Next and last, I was taken into the last interview. This man would be my potential boss's boss. He was probably the easiest- all three interviewers seemed to ask the same questions times three. Could have saved a lot of time if we were all in one room and they could ask once. But I am sure there was a reason. A test to see if my story changed perhaps. Interviewing, no matter how nice, or polite can feel a little like bullying. But I survived. He seemed a bit stressed out and overworked. In a hurry. But really interested in my credentials.
One item of the day which left me a bit uneasy was when I was walked into a lab where I will spend a good amount of my time (sans being hired) and met two of the three other people who work in the position that I was applying for. That worries me a bit. The people, the tasks of the position and the descriptions in the interview have me a bit worried I may be a bit overqualified and quickly become bored with the job.
I know this may seem as though I am tooting my own horn or feeling as though I should have an executive position because I have obtained my degree and have 16 years experience. It is not that at all, I know the work I do, I know it well. This will only be a portion of that. The numbers, the quantity of work will be more, however that is not a detriment to a single mother of three who has juggled Full time work and school for 8 years!
I need a job, I need a paycheck, I have not yet heard from them or even been offered the job yet. I know also that they have a few other positions open in the same department that have a bit more responsibility. My hope is that they understood from my interviews that I am a better fit for those openings. Maybe i am getting ahead of myself, maybe I'm being a bit inflated.
We will wait and see.

Oh, and I looked awesome in my new power suit and hair cut!
Sorry, didn't take any pictures.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hard Days Night

“Even though we've changed and we're all finding our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we'll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we're not all still friends.”

Yesterday was one of the hardest days I have faced in a really long time. As I have written here about trials of being a single mother, issues with kids, household problems etc. I have not said much about my employment or people I work with. I don't figure this blog is the place to discuss office workings.
However, as I have alluded to in my past few posts, I have been laid off.
Yesterday was our last day of hire. It was bittersweet in more ways than one. I have recently finished my degree so this may open new windows of opportunity for me, but I am scared of the consequences of not finding that opportunity soon enough. I am excited to move to the next chapter of my life but sad to say goodbye to friends from this one.
Small companies are absolutely awesome to work for. You really get opportunities to grow as a person as you more than likely take on job tasks beyond your own work scope. You make close friendships with other employees by working closely with them everyday. You know all about their families and their day to day lives. Even management.
It is kind of like living in a small town, everyone is in your business, you have no secrets. But those same people who know all about you would also do anything for you. An extension of your own family. I will miss you all.
I didn't let my emotions get the best of me when we all hugged goodbye after the luncheon. Maybe it was all the tears of worry the night before. It was hard though. To those who said they loved me and they will miss me, you know who you are, I love you too.
I was barely out of the parking lot, when the emotions overtook me and I cried like a baby all the way home. It was actually cleansing.
Who knows what the passersby thought- who cares.
And so- today begins a new day- a new chapter to this silly book of my life. I never accused God of giving me a boring life. And he never fails to follow through.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Unemployment blues

The job hunt has been a long and tedious process. I have never had to do this before. We had a meeting about unemployment insurance yesterday, another thing I have never done. I have been sending out resumes like crazy this week, I have applied for every job that even remotely matches my skills, both pre and post bachelors degree (as it is in a semi-different field than my experience).

I am optimistic, I think that this will give me a chance to use my newly gained knowledge. But, it better happen fast. I have a mortgage, a car payment, three kids, and many other obligations and very little savings to hold us over.

Friday, just two days from now will be my last date of hire. I then have 2 weeks vacation to be paid out, then a wait week with no money before I can receive any unemployment payments, however, I am hoping that it will not come to that as it would only be about 1/2 my monthly income now. That is not enough for us to live on.

This is probably a silly thing to think of when we need food on the table and shelter over our heads.. but every TV in my house is cirque 1980's they all run well, except the main TV which will periodically shut itself off then back on... like a ghost. However, in a few weeks the analog signals will be a thing of the past and without cable TV, converter boxes, or satellite, will make all of the TVs in our home nothing more than big hunks of plastic adorning our furniture. As it is now, we have basic cable, pretty stripped down, no pay movie channels, just some basic channels.

This leaves me in a bit of a predicament... If i don't find work soon, cable TV would be an obvious choice cut for downsizing to the essentials. However, not only would it make all of the TVs unusable, this will also be a time when I am out of work, - not working- nothing to do but sit at home and wait on calls from employers. Without TV.

The second obvious choice of a luxury to be cut would seem to be Internet! But how do you cut Internet when you must post at least four job postings per week?

Do I turn off the heat? the water?

What bills are the ones to cut? The cell phone? That is the number I gave to the recruiters.

Lets just hope I wont have to cut anything... and that I will find a better job, with better pay, with more vacation, stock options.....

OK OK. a job that pays for the life we have become accustomed to... lets start there.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Road Trip!!!!!

In the next few weeks, the third born of my mothers 4 younger sisters, Karen, will be turning 60. So her husband Jim and her daughter Summer, planned a huge surprise party with guests from 300+ miles. My younger daughter was attending an acting/ thespian workshop that weekend (more on that later) so it was a road trip for just my older daughter and I.
Some people hate driving....I am not one of them. Maybe it is because I am stir crazy this time of year. Or that we have not been able to afford many trips and road trips have often become our vacations. Or maybe it is just that I love the open road.

My children always behaved well in cars. Many a Sunday my ex husband and I would set up a makeshift 'bed' in the back of our explorer (before seat belts were law) and pick a small town on the map and drive. We saw so many things in those days. We would crank up the radio, cassettes, then CD's to favorite music and belt it all out karaoke style with the kids.

Well, this weekend was no different. We quickly packed on Friday afternoon, gassed up the truck, grabbed a soda and hit the road. Som
e funny things happened...
First stop, Gas fill up. Not too unlikely, however, a good friend of my mothers and of mine, Tina happened to be at the next pump... quick hello, status updates on ailments and job status, a request to tell my parents hello and we were off.
Silly us, we forgot to get a drink, pulled into station number two... a friend of my daughters is there with her new husband. - more updates.. fill our cups and we are on the road again.
Driving and singing- well to most of the songs- my daughters Ipod has quite an interesting mix. We were two girls on the road- ready to face what life would bring. Ready for warmer weather- in more ways than one!

I was so proud of her! She made it a good 212 miles before she had her bladder moment. Usually she waits until she is about to burst before she tells me to pull over, by the time we get to a town that would have services, she resembles the woman in the incontinence ads... gotta go right now!
The small town that we pulled over into just happens to be the town that my childrens grandparents and two aunts live in. Their fathers family. I am not a bitter divorcee and I get along well with his family, however we had not planned to stop in to see them on this trip. The trip was a short one, I had not seen my parents in months and we just didn't have time. I tend to run at the mouth and if we stopped... well lets just say, we wouldn't have made it to our destination.
As I waited for my daughter to run in and use the facilities, I was a bit humored by the small town character, and characters. There is a whole different kind of person who lives on a farm or ranch and gets to town only once in a while. Granted, there were people of all walks in this store that day. But some of them, I'm just not sure that they knew other people could see them... ratty hair, dirty overalls, some looked as though they were headed out to catch them a bear. - OK I will be nice from here on.... I promise!
A cute couple stepped out of the station, and I noticed them right away, they looked more like the city folks I was accustomed to. Then, I saw him! The male of the couple was my own ex-brother-in-law and my exes sister. Getting into the car parked in the next stall... what are the chances of that? We chatted for a moment, caught up a little until my daughter came out. Seems that they were headed to the same place we were (just an hour from their place) for a seminar. We had a good chuckle and set off again.
The weekend was a blast! Texas hold 'em on Friday night- until way passed my bed time.

Then the party on Saturday.
What a great time!

We have the
kind of extended family that gets along well. We laugh and joke, and love each other dearly. My daughter had to babysit that night as it was an adult only party but she made out like a bandit and loves to babysit anyway.

On Saturday we went shopping at a vintage furniture store. They had the most amazing fun stuff in there. Good thing I'm out of work or I may have bought more than I did...which was nothing. Who would think that we would find a used but pristine pair of black Prada boots in downtown St.George... too cool! (didn't buy them either). We walked down the street to a tiny little used book store. I love love used bookstores. There were some awesome finds in there also. A small poem book of Robert Frost poems copyright 1920's. Another book of 'love stories' they were called, were also poems copyright in the 1800's. Beautifully written. I would have loved that book, just didn't have the $23.00. Another book that caught my eye was an old Dr. Seuss book also from the 1920's.
A small 'learn to draw' book I found interesting as it showed the difference between the 1920's and the present day. Pictures of little girls always in cute little dresses and boys with suspenders. Mom did buy me one book, Speaking of Operations by Irvin S. Cobb. Which seems (based on the few pages we browsed) to be a hilarious account of one man's view of surgery. and since this was written copyright 1915, I can imagine it is quite a tale to tell. I have not yet read the first page but I shall keep you posted.

The weather wa
s great, in the 70's. It was nice to feel free of our heavy coats for a short time. It sure helped to take the job hunt off my mind for a couple days. No worries, no stress. But it was all short-lived. Sunday morning we went to breakfast with two of my aunts and their husbands, then we packed it up, hugged mom and dad goodbye, and headed home.

Here are some photos of the trip home. That is Mt. Nebo in the distance, very near our destination- Home.
Waiting at home was my younger daughter, some Superbowl Bingo, a very close and sweet football game, some really bad for us appetizer-like foods, some comfy sweats, some young teenage boys company, and then bed.
All-in-all great time to clear my head.