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:

Monday, September 26, 2011

“Whatever with the past has gone, the best is always yet to come.” Lucy Larcom

Another year has come to pass. As I today add another notch to my 'headboard' of life.

I am still awaiting the final calls and offers this week before that huge decision will be made.

I find it a bit Ironic that it would be my birthday week that would bring the best gift I can think of getting this year.

Two years ago this week, I lost myself- Literally. Just before my birthday that year, I was the victim of both a robbery and an identity theft. Scary to say the least.

Thus began a downward spiral in my professional and financial life.

But on this crisp autumn morning, I sit here alone in silence. Sipping my coffee and just enjoying. The past few nights have been the best sleep I have had in over a year. I am content. I am still a bit nervous, waiting for news on the job offers. But I feel a relief that has become as foreign to me as the sound of an alarm clock in the wee hours.

I can feel it inside, this is a new beginning. A new start. A new Chapter.

I am an empty-nester,  I am sliding into middle age, and I am ready for the new changes.

I feel a bit like the child with a broken bone, removing the cast. Able to move once again. The patient just healing from pneumonia breathing freely once again. I feel healthy and vibrant and ready to take on what comes. Another feeling lost long ago.

Nothing is a sure thing and I am not yet on any payroll- But I have a renewed hope and faith.

Today is a good day for celebrating.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Decisions- Decisions.

As I have mentioned before, the job interview process really sucks. Selling yourself, making those words on paper come to life with confidence and self assurance. Especially when with each day and with each rejection letter- or lack there of- causes your self esteem to diminish that much more.
And here I sit today, some good news- a miracle of sorts. Two jobs for which I have been called back for second interviews, passed the test so far. And once again, trying hard not to get too overly excited, not to jump to assumptions.

And yet, another sleepless night.


The two potential job offers, are very different roles, very different industries. 

I can see myself in both roles. I can see the possibility of advancement in both. One of the most frustrating things I have faced in the job hunt is that the salary and company benefits seem to be a secret, seem hidden until the actual offer of employment is offered. Benefits are also held captive from the interviewee.

This makes it so difficult to make decisions. It is also difficult when interviewing for two positions at the same time. If I am offered a job today (on my second in-person interview and plant tour) and I have yet to hear back from the other job (next week) what will I say? 

I am in a bit of a limbo.. afraid to make too rash of a decision on a job which I hope to hold me through retirement. Afraid also to put on hold in order to weigh the advantages of the second choice. I don't want to burn any bridges- especially considering the job market and job security issues in this recession.

Today I may have to make this decision. 
I try to go with my gut feeling as some have suggested, thing is my gut is giving no signs.

Don't get me wrong, I am so relieved to HAVE any offers. But more than one makes it that more difficult.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Defeat should never be a source of discouragement but rather a fresh stimulus. Robert South

I struggle to recall a time when life just came easy. I mean smooth sailing, no stress, no money worries- kind of easy.
I married pretty young. Just before my twentieth birthday. Younger than two of my children are now.
But that was not a struggle.
We purchased our own house-our first house that same year.
Things were going really well for us.
Our house was filled with hand-me-down furniture and decor, but it was ours.
Six months later on our first Christmas Eve, we discussed the idea of starting a family. We figured it would take a while... six months at least.
My first born, my son's due date was September 26th. My birthday. And if you do the math, it didn't take us six months.

It was a good year, money was good enough for me stop working and return to school. We purchased our first house, our first car-straight off the showroom floor, and things were going well.

Until it all started... the spiral.
It began with my first labor sensation. I was five weeks early.

I was scared but continued on trusting

After thirteen hours of labor and tests and worry and uncertainty, my son came into this world. He was early and small but healthy. He spent a week in intensive care and made huge strides in development then came home.
I was not healthy. The reason for my early labor, the reason I was forced to pant through the contractions and pushing, the reason my young son was pulled out with forceps and Cesarean was out of the question was my blood. It was not clotting. I was sick. Platelet count was about 150,000 less than needed. Tests were taken, biopsy's and transfusions followed.

The most painful test of all. A bone marrow test- a test for Leukemia.

I was scared but continued on trusting.

Tests came back negative for cancer. Surgery was scheduled. My spleen was removed. It seems my own body was fighting itself. Then I came home to my baby. Not cured but treated.
Husband was let go from his job- unreliable, missed too much work, to be with me.
Just a year and a half later, pregnant with my second. Still in college. My husband, a weekend warrior is sent to Desert Storm. He is safe, stationed in Germany. I am alone. Money it tight, soldiers pay is minimal.

I was scared but continued on trusting.

He came home, our daughter was one month old. Our bills were not paid. Our American dream, our house in foreclosure. They said there would be aid. There was not.
We had no choice, we moved in with my parents. I graduated school the same month my third child was born while there.
One more year and we were able to buy our second home. It was something that was ours.
Things were looking up. I was working once again to help with the expenses. But they were still tight. We fought of money often. Then just two years later, he left us.

I was scared but continued on trusting.

I had never been alone, it was terrifying. I had never been in charge of my own finances and he left them in a state. Multiple payments past due, and my accounts empty. But I worked hard and payed them up. The kids  were upset and it was up to me to console them as he was preparing for - yes his second marriage. We were strong- together. Then a few years later, after months and months of court and fighting for support. The announcement. He was moving. 2000 miles away from his children.

I was scared but continued on trusting. 

We did it just fine. Weekends with my kids were never a burden to me. I returned to college once more. I wanted more for us. More for me in my stagnant career. Long days at work, nights at school, and three kids full time kept us all busy.  And then the company was moved to Mexico. The job I held for twelve years was to be eliminated.

I was scared but continued on trusting.

I was offered a position at a small company. I knew the work. I gave up a five figure severance package to take the job. But it was a great offer and stability. Two years later I am a graduate. Same month as my oldest graduated high school. It was a rite of passage for us both. Until the company, not yet making a profit- ran out of funding. I was once more eliminated. And once again...

I was scared but continued on trusting.

It took a few months, I was able to score another gig. A long commute, a stressful and toxic workplace. It paid the bills- for the most part. Until the downsizing. I felt tired and defeated and a little less self confident.

I was scared but continued on trusting.

I am now on my sixteenth month without a paycheck. Nearly every resource has been extinguished both monetarily and emotionally. I am limping. I am scared. But... I keep on trusting. Trusting in faith? Trusting in Fate? Trusting in hope?

I do not know.

This week brings me some potential changes. This week brings me some possibility.

But then, I have been there before. Here is hoping.

Friday, September 16, 2011

“I'd like to see the fairways more narrow. Then everyone would have to play from the rough, not just me.” Seve Ballesteros

The words are just not coming to me right now. 

This video says a lot as to how I am feeling.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade... And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party. Ron White

There is something about Ron White, his comedy is brash and offensive, probably and alcoholic and just plain funny. If I am feeling down, a skit or two of his and I am in stitches.

I felt that a quote of his was perfect to get this holiday weekend started and as an opener for a recipe I created last night after a game of what I like to call pantry bingo.

Those who have seen Ron's comedy might be expecting 'Tater Salad' one of my specialties however not on the menu tonight.

I suppose if I had to give this dish a name, I would have to call it

Lemon Chicken
What you will need:
           1                 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
           1/4 c           White Flour
           1/2 c           White wine
           1 Tbs          Garlic (minced)
           1/4              Medium white onion (chopped)
           1 Tbs          Real Butter
           1/2 c           Milk
           1                 Lemon (or 2-3 Tbs of lemon juice)
           1 c              Fresh mushrooms sliced
           1 Tbs          Parsley (chopped)
           4 servngs    Pasta (cooked al dente)
                             Salt and pepper (to taste)

Heat skillet on med heat with a bit of olive oil and teaspoon of butter. Cut breast in half horizontally and then in half again (top to bottom) creating four thin sections. 
If pieces are thick, they may be flattened with a meat mallet or heavy rolling pin.
Salt and pepper each side of piece liberally, then dredge through flour until coated. Place in hot oiled pan. Cook each side just long enough for a light brown color. Remove chicken from pan.
Add remaining butter, garlic, and onion to the pan. when onions begin to caramelize, add mushrooms. Cook a few minutes longer then add the wine. Turn heat up slightly and bring to a boil. Add juice from the lemon, then the milk. (Milk will begin to curdle slightly from the juice, use a whisk to mix well)
add parsley and place chicken back into pan.
Reduce heat and let simmer about Ten minutes.

Serve warm over pasta.

I am not sure that this is an original recipe, However, I did not use one. I also did not get any in process photos as I was unsure of the result. 

But it turned out wonderful and even better day two. 

Have a fabulous and safe holiday weekend. May this Labor day bring some new employment opportunities to those of us searching. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I've always been an independent person, but that independence was in the setting of security. Patricia Heaton

A little over a week has passed since her first day in a new school. A school which to an eighteen year old looks as gigantic and daunting as that grade school did to the tiny five year old.

And yet the excitement and energy of independence is flowing through her veins as they did some thirteen years ago.

Of my three, she is the child most self-assured. The last of my three babies, the one I hoped to hold the longest was the one who didn't like to be coddled. Wiggle and squirm, until set loose.

Her first episode of autonomy at the young age of six. Bent stick in hand, a bandanna tied to the tip. weighed down by its contents: a change of shirt, underwear, a stuffed animal from the fair, and a can of peas. She stated she was leaving. Brought on by the insistence of a clean room.

She made it as far as one trip around the subdivision block. Home in tears.

Her first day of elementary school, was not to be shared. Not only was I working and she in daycare, she did not need me there. She was all grown up and didn't want the kids to think she couldn't go it alone.

And now, she is a little further than that.

She is independent, she is strong, she is oozing will power and self-determination. And yet-------

She has called nearly every day.

Not because she needs me. She is faring well.

She calls because she wants to share this new step in her life with me.

Among the teasing of her room-mates, about calling home. She calls to share her experience with her best friend. The friend who has been with her and behind her every step of her life. Her mother.

The older she got, the more she cuddled. It could have been the divorce, or just life's challenges but she never lost her autonomy.

I feel blessed. My children turned out ok. I feel proud, they are all upstanding adults. And I feel humbled, they all converse with me on a regular basis- Because they want me to be a part of it all.