Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Feeling Far Away

Feels like I'm never going to get back to critique group.

Since I started the new job, my personal life has taken a back seat. Figured we'd eventually get things settled back down to where I could get back involved in my personal pursuits again.

Now I'm beginning to wonder if it will ever happen.

Feeling a little sorry for myself and far removed from my writing. But at least I am thinking about it again. On my way home from work tonight, I had some scenes from one of my previously finished books pop into my head. Been thinking a little bit about the book I'd started working on before I miraculously got this job.

It'll come again - at least I sure hope it will.

Singing and writing are my soul - my passion. Haven't gotten to do a whole lot of either lately (except I did get to sing a small solo part with our choir this past Sunday).

My son is busy with life and living, which as he grows older and gets his own car someday will mean I'll have more time to myself again.

That means more writing.

Until then, I'll have to put up with this sense of distance - of missing my fellow wordsmiths.

Of feeling far away.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Reminiscing About Norma

Had something pretty interesting happen this week.

A young lady from Kentucky is playing my part.

As I wrote this time last year, I tried out and made the leading female role in my church's production of the play "I'll Be Home For Christmas", set near the eve of Pearl Harbor and the United States' official entrance into World War II.

Apparently they're doing it somewhere in Kentucky this year too.

She was looking for information about the play/musical after landing the part of Norma, where she proceeded to stumble across my blog.

Imagine that! The Chatter's Block came up under a search engine - wow, I feel important now (or pretty, but that's another musical).

So for a couple of days we've been commenting back and forth through the blog about the role, some of the music, and background from what I remembered. It was so nice revisiting those memories. Initially we were looking at doing it again this year, but other important things have come up this year at our church - namely the Michael W. Smith concert that our choir is participating in.

But that's fodder for another blog entry.

I certainly hope she touches base after their production to let me know how she felt about the character. She just found out she'd landed the role and hasn't even read the script - goodness gracious! I hope she's a fast learner.

Just glad to be getting some traffic going on the blog again - even if it is my own.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Shopping, Soundtracks, and Sixty-six

Christmas shopping has begun enormously, extremely, and terribly late this year in our little household. But because of the tardiness of my annual trek, I've been looking at Amazon for some ideas. I found something absolutely amazing.

The soundtrack to Band of Brothers.

Read the book - watched the HBO series on DVD that a friend of mine had. The one thing about the series that haunted me every time we watched an episode was the music. Incredible!

So call me stunned when I came across it on Amazon. It now sits comfortably on my wish list just waiting for Santa to bring it to me (okay, okay - so I'm Santa - I'm still getting it in my stocking!).

Looks like alot of my Christmas shopping will be through Amazon this year. At the moment, I barely have time to breathe, much less shop. Friday I had neither breakfast nor lunch and squeezed in a little dinner on my way home from work by going through a drive-thru (my son left on a weekend camping trip).

You'd think I'd be losing some weight with all the meals I've missed in the new job - but I digress.

So I've told my sisters (hint, hint AGAIN if you're reading this) that I'll be doing CD's and DVD's for the nieces and nephews this year. Really anything that I can find through Amazon because I don't see myself getting out into the stores anytime soon. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Just think of all the dollars I'll be saving by not driving around and burning up gasoline. Plus on Amazon you get free shipping.

What more could a girl ask for - ah, one of my two favorite four-letter words - FREE!

Anything right now to make the shopping process a little easier. Now if only I could get my son to start making his list and checking it twice. Sixty-six more shopping days left!

How's your Christmas list?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Life Happens

Ah life - it has its moments.

The last two weeks I've been running around like a chicken on steroids. Been very busy and crazy, but I'm staying with it just fine.

Last week one of my employees was on vacation, so I put in an enormous number of extra hours. Then I am already serving on two committees with the new company and trying to get things up and running with the upcoming holidays within my own team.

Last night my son had his big huge opening concert and fundraiser. Quite a smash! There's some great talent this year, and I'm not just meaning my son.

But I went straight from the office to the school. Got home just after nine last night, but it was very satisfying.

Tonight we had our opening rally for a new product promotion. Went straight from the office to help with set-up and serving and games/activities. Got home just after eight-thirty.

Friday the promotion kicks off.

I'll just be glad to have an evening home tomorrow night. :-)

So I arrive home this evening to a quiet house, devoid of my son but full of two begging kitties vying for my attention. He went to church with a friend of his and they usually run out to the neighborhood Dairy Queen right afterward to hang.

It's kinda nice for me to have a little time to myself to unwind.

Wait - I think I hear him now. Life is back!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Time To Settle In

Ah - it feels as if things might finally be settling in.

Besides the cold weather outside.

This morning I awoke feeling refreshed and energetic for the first time since starting my new job. There's always so much to deal with in a new job with a new company, and I knew it would take some time. I'd even warned my son when I started the new job that I'd probably be somewhat out of commission for the first two months.


I made it in less time.

At least one week less, but who's counting?

Years ago I settled on the practical side of reality. I've learned my limitations, but that doesn't stop me from continuing to push the envelope. Along with the joys and excitement of starting anything new and out of the ordinary, there's always going to be a period of adjustment. Even though I expected it doesn't mean I enjoyed it.

But this week I finally felt myself step across the threshold to embrace the confidence of the new position.

Think I'm going to make it.

No - I know I'm going to make it. I've never been one to do anything halfway. So now that the job is beginning to smooth out, I'm excited to once again embrace my wonderful friends who have so patiently been waiting in the wings, cheering me on to success.

And that includes you too, my dear and patient readers.

Now it's time to settle back into my writing. Look out, blogging world - I'm back!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Stress and Trials (and Bears, Oh My)

Ah my fellow travelers - how I've missed turning the pages of a good yarn with you.

Life has been rather chaotic these last six weeks, what with the new job, my son starting his junior year of high school, etc.

He's been enormously busy with his choir group already. Our small town has an annual fall festival to celebrate our history and to just have some fun. The group sang at the festival on Thursday night. Then Friday they spent all day at an area university for their district choir workshops. Next week they will be having their annual fundraiser dinner and concert.

After that I don't remember.

New beginnings are always quite busy and a tad stressful. I'm seeing that my son's junior year has been quite a blessing for him, regardless of how busy he is. It's good to see him sacrificing a little of himself to be a part of something greater.

For me, I find myself in a teeny bit of a quandary. My old boss has given me some news that may or may not pan out. I've let him know that I'd be open to keeping in touch should things take a turn for the positive in that regard.

Not that I don't enjoy my new job - most of the people have been wonderful to work with and I've felt such a sense of camaraderie already with the majority of my team. The idea of leaving them is difficult to deal with at times. Maybe that won't happen.

But I really miss this group I worked with for more than ten years. We were more like a family in so many ways. I know I could get to that point again with this new company, but I don't know if I still possess the drive I once had to prove myself all over again. Forgotten what it's like and how much stress that entails.

Plus I ain't gettin' any younger.

Then again, I also miss writing and sharing in my blog. Funny how our priorities shift as we age, isn't it?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Back To Blogging Business

I've been remiss these last several weeks. Sure do miss my daily blog postings.

The job is going well, but it sure has taken it out of me so that by the time I get home from work I'm completely spent. There's no brain power left for putting together a coherent thought, much less putting together a coherent blog post. It'd probably sound like something from Dr. Seuss mixed with a layer of Larry the Cable Guy.

The learning curve is sure taking alot of energy, but eventually I'll get settled into it where I won't need to stress so much and spend so much extra time on the job - at least that is my goal. I believe very much in the importance of work/life balance.

Still looking for it these last several weeks.

In order to maintain good job function, one must have a good personal support system in place. There needs to be time allotted for family, friends, and the occasional hobby for the pure enjoyment of fun. The three F's are a necessity to satisfy the F of function in the workplace.

Otherwise life gets out of kilter - when that happens life falters like the Tower of Pisa. Eventually it will all come crashing down no matter how hard you try to prop it up.

Long ago I learned this the hard way. Now I'm rather stubborn when it comes to some time for me and my son. When I come home, the work cell is turned off. On the weekend, it comes out of my purse and sits on the shelf until Monday morning comes back around.

Or in this case - Tuesday. Don't you just love Labor Day?

I sure do - it's allowed me a little extra time to get in a good blog posting. May there be many more to come in the following weeks.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Feeling Nostalgic

Two weeks down on the new job and another week to start tomorrow.

To be honest, there are some things I miss about being at home. This summer was the first I ever had with my son since he was born. No job pulling me away from him, but no money either to do anything much. It's funny what you can do without, though, when you enjoy merely spending time together.

I miss the opportunity for a few lazy mornings, that sense of feeling fully alive and rested after a good and full night's sleep. I miss having time to spend a day immersing myself in reading a good book. Then there's the time to write - haven't done any for about a month.

But after my son, the thing I miss the most is having time for my friends. By the time I get home from the office, I am slamming together dinner and getting it in our tummies. Before I know it, the bed is calling. I barely have time for a few hours with my son, much less talking to my friends.

The job is going well so far. It's getting back out and around the public and I'm enjoying getting to know my team. But I am feeling rather nostalgic for time to just be. The stress of learning the ropes will eventually pass and we'll get back into a new routine.

But I really enjoyed my seven months of being a stay-at-home mother for the very first time. As they say, all good things must come to an end.

They make way for new ones too.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

The end of a busy, busy, busy week.

The new job is going really well in many ways, but I do admit that I am absolutely spent at the end of each day. However, I'm so pleased to see the reception that my team has given to me. They really seem to be excited to have me coming to the helm and leading the way. What more could I ask for?

See, I'm a big believer in leadership not management. Though I carry a management title, it is the inspiration, positive motivation and leading by example that I believe in - not titles. There's been many a hated manager in all walks of life, but leaders are generally loved and followed by those who believe in the message and example lived before them.

Now it's just a matter of filling my brain with as much information as it can possibly handle each day (and then some). Believe it or not, by Friday there was finally some solidification beginning to happen. I'll be so glad to really get my feet back underneath me and start moving forward with the plan for my team. My confidence has been on quite the roller coaster this week as I try to soak up as much of the most basic of tasks as well as the important ones.

If I expect my team to accomplish menial tasks, then I better the heck know how to do them too. It also helps if I'm the one training new people who will come in under my wing eventually.

Mom and Dad came up this weekend to hear all the interesting stories first hand. They've been wonderfully understanding of my need to just veg a little bit.

'Cause a new week will soon be breathing down my neck. Gotta make a little room in my brain to soak up another great week of busy, busy, busy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The New Kid

First day of the new job completed.

Boy, am I tired! The last few days I haven't slept good because of excitement and a little bit of nerves. It's always a little discombobulating being the new kid on the block.

The day was quite a blur, but I did manage to establish some good rapport with several fellow managers. I'll need to lean on them a bit during the learning phase as I get my feet underneath me.

I did get a chance to meet the employees who will be under my care and so far I'm pleased with the reception. Have a feeling that once we all have an opportunity to mesh that we will work well together and enjoy each other's company - at least that's my hope and prayer.

So during this new phase in my life, I have to admit that postings may be a little more sporadic than what's been typical of me. Once things get settled I'll hopefully be back to my crazy writing self.

In the meantime, I'll keep trying to let you all know how things are going in my small neck of the woods. Keep coming back now, ya hear?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Monday's A Comin'

We're going to be leaving town for a little overnight jaunt shortly, so I'll probably not be posting tomorrow. So much going on this weekend and then starting my new job Monday.

I can hardly wait to share Monday's experiences with you all - heck, I can hardly wait for Monday to get here.

I'm so excited!

Whoa - what's the matter with me?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Storm Before the Calm

This week we've had a flurry of activity.

Since I'm starting the new job next week, I've been trying to squeeze in appointments and excursions as much as humanly possible. So with dentists, doctors, car maintenance, hair cuts, and whatever else we can squeeze into one week, it's been a little nuts.

So call me surprised when my son springs on me the desire to have his annual back-to-school party tonight. Since we're also going to try and squeeze in a quick run down to Oklahoma to see my niece and great-niece coming in from Arkansas, tonight was the only available evening for him to have this fling.

The gang of five began to arrive around four-thirty today. I'd just returned from filling out all my new hire and benefits enrollment forms to face running to pick up soda and snacks and order three large pizzas.

Good thing Pizza Hut was running a special!

Since this is his annual tradition, I'd never deny him this end-of-summer ritual. But I'll be kinda glad to see the weekend end and Monday to roll around. Then I'll start my new job and he'll start school the end of next week.

Sometimes schedules can be a blessed thing. It keeps the crazy desire for sudden activities in check. Feels like the storm before the calm.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In Shoe Heaven

Talked about shoes earlier this week in my post. Guess I've got shoes on the brain - tee hee!

Not surprising. The past week I've been hunting down bargains and finding absolute steals. My wardrobe needs boosts in major ways before I can start the new job, particularly in the shoe category.

For years now I've been desirous of taking myself out on a shopping spree. It's been countless years since I've allowed myself that guilty pleasure. First we were saving for the new house and the furniture, not to mention trying to keep my son in clothes and shoes of his own. Then the Europe trip popped up on the radar.

Then before I could recover from the multiple shocks to the savings account, our office was closed and the gang and I were laid off.

So much for a shopping spree.

From the moment my son received notification of his Europe travels, I planned to take money out of savings and treat myself while he was gone. Then the layoff. Never imagined I'd be out of work so long. Figured I'd have a job again before June rolled around and my son skipped out on a plane.

Nope - didn't happen. My hoped for shopping spree was called off indefinitely.

So now that I'm going to be employed again and in the public eye, I needed to update my professional appearance. Found some great bargains on beautiful jackets and slacks and even a few dresses. But the thing I've had the most fun with have been the shoes.

Typically I've had one or two pair of black heels (one for dresses and one for slacks), a pair of navy heels, a pair of tennis shoes, a pair of sandals, and a pair of boots. Last year I bought a little pair of red flats, but there's not a whole lot of things I can appropriately wear them with.

Not the case any longer. I've hit the bargain mother-lode in the shoe department!

Got a pair of taupe heels for $5 at Famous Footwear and a pair of tan sandals at Kohl's for $10 (not to mention the adorable purple patent Vera Wang sling-backs for $16). Picked up gorgeous black and floral for $20, a pair of black and brown Bini's at Dillard's for $24, and cream eel-skin Ralph Lauren heels for $28. Found a lovely pair of red heels at Penney's, but didn't get quite the bargain on them as the others, but they were still on sale and I had a $10-off coupon to go with it so they were still a great price for in-season. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm set for some time to come.

I almost feel guilty for having so many pairs now, but believe me - I will use each and every one of these in my new job. I've not allowed myself such shoe expenditures since I worked in a retail clothing and shoe establishment before I was even married. That, my friends, was a looooong time ago.

So even though my closet is becoming a shoe haven, I didn't spend a whole lot in the overall scheme of things.

That's where the rubber meets my checkbook - in regard to shoes at least.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Shoes Can Pinch

Here I am on the cusp of starting a new job, trading the unemployment shoes for the stilettos. For some reason, my excitement seems to be waning.

The job still excites me. It's going to be fast-paced and freedom loving in that I'll be responsible for the entire office and for running down business instead of being tied to a desk. This is the chance I've dreamed of for many years.

There's just one small problem - I wish so badly that I could offer jobs to all of my friends who remain out of work.

There are so many I know who have been laid-off and out of work for as many months as I. My church choir is back this Wednesday after six weeks off, but the loft is full of the unemployed. It almost makes me feel guilty to share my good news.

My son's best buddy - his dad has been out of work for almost four months with nary a nibble and their family is about two months away from exhausting their savings and being forced to sell their home. They only have seven years left to pay on it, but with no income they couldn't qualify for a loan to extend the term and lower their monthly outflow. They're now looking outside the state for employment opportunities.

Don't get me wrong - I'm so very thankful to be once again on the threshold of the gainfully employed, and just at the right time. God came through for us once again. But it's sure hard to get excited when so many have a hard time hearing my good news.

I almost feel bad saying anything to anyone, as if they might get the mistaken impression that I'm rubbing it in their faces.

Couldn't be further from the truth.

I'm finding it best to temper my enthusiasm with compassion and understanding. After all, I want God to get the glory for His masterful work in our lives.

However, I also want to be sensitive to those who are hurting and in dire circumstances. I was in their shoes until mere days ago.

And sometimes those shoes pinch while you're in them.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Holding Onto Family

Had a great evening tonight. We were invited to have dinner with a former co-worker and her husband at their new house and so they could see my son's pics from Europe.

It was interesting to reminisce about how my son was in kindergarten when I first started working with them. Sometimes he would come to the office with me when I had to take him to VBS or something and then he'd spend the afternoon drawing or reading after I picked him up. The whole gang got to watch him grow up.

So they were just about as excited for him as I was when he had this Europe opportunity pop up on the radar.

You know, I'll really miss working with the gang. Life must go on, but this is a group of people with whom I will strive to stay in contact. We went through alot together over the years and saw highs and lows in our personal lives. We felt like a family in many ways, and that's something you don't find very often.

I'm hoping that once again I will be blessed to add a new family unit into my life. But for the record, I plan to hold onto this one too.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Next Great Adventure

The last two weeks have been a veritable whirlwind.

I finally have a job!

It's not formal yet - she discussed it with me over the phone and now she's putting together the written offer to present to me on Monday. Then she'll conduct the background check and send me for a drug test next week. If all goes well (and there's no reason it wouldn't) then I will begin my new job on the 17th.

Isn't God's timing amazing? This morning I arrived home from the fourth and final interview - this time with their HR manager - to find a letter from the unemployment center in my mailbox. The purpose was to let me know that next week is my final week to receive the standard round of unemployment compensation.

So pleased that I'm not going to need it. Once again, the Lord has shown me that He's in perfect control over everything. I just need to do what I can do and leave it all in His hands - something I'm not all that great at, but each situation gives me more opportunity to learn.

Don't you find it neat that just as my unemployment is about to run out, I suddenly receive a flurry of interest and activity from months of putting my resume out there? Don't you find it so cool that I've had an entire summer to spend with my son - the first in his whole life - and will begin the new job the same week he begins his junior year of high school?

I do!

I can't tell you the number of huge and tiny but wonderful blessings God has allowed me to see and experience along this particular journey. Every day I've tried really hard to focus on the good things that have happened through all of this (some days not as good as others) and to thank Him for what He's been doing behind the scenes.

That makes me even more grateful to all of you who have been lifting us up behind the scenes too. Because of you - my family and friends - you've been an integral part in what God has been doing in our lives and I want to shout out a huge THANK YOU. Each one of you are so appreciated.

Thank you for being such an important part of our lives. Now on to the next great adventure!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Go-go Garage Sale

Well today ended up being a busy day.

My best friend called last night and asked if I'd be able to help her out with her back-to-school garage sale today. She invited me to put some things into the sale, but I'd gotten rid of so much stuff almost two years ago when I bought my new home that all I had left was pretty much clothes.

And clothes don't typically sell well in garage sales, in my limited experience.

Before the move, I'd taken a load of things to Goodwill - cookware, dishes, unmatched bookshelves, paintings, etc. If I'd have had them in this garage sale, they'd have probably been hot items.

But all I had were a few old suits that no longer fit, some slacks, and a few blouses - nice things, but nothing of any significance. Last night I chucked them in bags in case I decided to mess with them this morning.

I almost left them home because I was running late. Boy, I'm sure glad I ended up taking them with me.

When I arrived, she already had quite a crowd going so my bags stayed put in the car. Then at the first lull, I decided to go ahead and just put them out to see if anything happened.

I'd just started hanging up a few things when several ladies came by, saw them and snatched them up. For sake of time, I just dumped the remaining bags in my chair and told them to have at the pile. It was a feeding frenzy!

So I left this evening with cash in my pocket and only a few items left from what would have been just dropped off at Goodwill. Couldn't believe my luck and how well everything sold.

Maybe we'll just have to do this again next year.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Gossip Train

Just finished watching an interesting movie this evening called "Gossip". Pretty telling.

It's about a woman who goes back to her hometown while she's in the midst of her divorce. She's not been back home much in the years since she'd left because she got so sick of the small town gossip train. Once she shows back up, the gossip gets juicier and juicier until it spins out of control and threatens to really destroy some lives unnecessarily.

Being from a small town myself, I felt rather a close tie to this character. I still remember my mother receiving calls from unidentified people telling her things about us that weren't true or skewed to make it sound as if we were getting into trouble when it was all completely innocent. If only they'd had caller ID back then.

I'll never forget the one time my mother took all three of us girls to a local clothing store to try and support our hometown with back-to-school shopping. This store had some really nice and stylish clothes and was throwing a terrific sale. We all had our budgets to adhere to, but just imagine - three teenaged girls in a clothing store tailored to girls.

Needless to say, there was quite a pile of clothes on the small counter when all three of us were ready to checkout. My poor mother was so humiliated by the idiotic crowd that had gathered around the register to see what the total ended up being, even though the sweet owner was trying to be discreet. People actually were leaning over my mother's shoulder trying to see what she wrote the check out for.

My father had stayed down at the family restaurant while we were all out shopping. Someone went straight to him and asked him if he knew where his girls were (and of course, he did) and all the hubbub we'd caused at the store. I think he even found out about the total before we even got down there to show him our new clothes.

Never again did we shop in that store after the circus that trip generated. Sad to say it, but I've rarely been back to that town after leaving it except to visit my folks while they still lived there. They no longer do and I'm rather glad. Sometimes it isn't so great being notorious.

Small towns have alot to offer in many ways, but I wouldn't want the meddling busy-bodies ever again. Watching the movie tonight seemed rather painful to remember what some of those days felt like.

But it was just a movie after all.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Trap Is Set

This week I've been sorely remiss in posting even though I've been home here and there. Well I think I have a pretty good excuse.

There's been some major job interview activity!

Monday morning I received a telephone call which resulted in a solid phone interview. There was an almost immediately rapport with the interviewer. She then asked if I would be available this week for an in-person interview. We set that up for Wednesday afternoon.

So I then popped an email to my hairdresser. It's been many months since I had the care of her services, so she squeezed me in at 7:30 Wednesday morning. What a sweetie!

So I went to my Wednesday afternoon interview feeling confident and perky with a spring in my step. We hit it off nicely, spending well over an hour and ahalf discussing my varied experience along with a tidbit of what the position entailed. Then she picked up the phone and called a gentleman to see about his availability for round two.

My second interview was yesterday morning. During the night, I woke up at 4:00 and couldn't go back to sleep. I prayed that I'd at least be halfway coherent for the interview and made sure to drink plenty of coffee (but not too much). Even though the interview started off a little slow, it progressed until I felt we were both on the same page. He gave me some positive signals and I left there feeling extremely enthusiastic, not only about my chances but about the job in general. Very exciting.

I know there'll be a process, but I sure hope sometime in the next week or so I receive an offer. The trap is set, merely waiting for the right moment.

And I thought this would be a ho-hum week with my son gone. Little did I realize...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Tonight I find myself reflecting back on a summer almost gone.

This week my son is visiting his dad down in Oklahoma. The first of the summer I had a ton of days to myself while he was busy preparing and then going to Europe. Now I'm with another nine days all to myself while he's visiting his dad. He'll return and then it's prep for a new school year.


I've also seen my relationship with my son take a new turn - a really positive one. The Europe trip allowed him to see that he's more than capable of taking care of himself. He feels more confident in his capacity and comfortable in his own skin, and it shows in everything. Now I find myself at a crossroads in this new relationship.

It is very important to me to allow him this space to continue down the road toward manhood. Problem has been that so much of my life has been devoted to raising him, but now I have a chance to begin the process of considering what I will do post child-rearing.

Believe it or not, I'm looking forward to the opportunity in many ways. For the first time in nearly seventeen years I have a chance to consider some of the things I've wished to do - things I've put on hold. Trips I may wish to take just for the pure enjoyment of it.

And without my son along for the ride.

I know it scares alot of people when the kids begin to leave the nest. There will be moments that it feels a little scary to me, but this is what I've worked and sacrificed for all these years. The time has come to see the payoff. How could I not be happy that this day is rapidly approaching?

That means my son will be off in the great big world, forging his own path, and my job will be complete - for the most part anyway.

Now all I need to do is start figuring out where I'll want to go first. I've a pretty good idea of where that will be. :-)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Going Mental

Taking Saturday for a mental health day must have been a good thing. A really good thing.

I have a job interview.

Yes, even though the pickings are slim I've received another call for an interview. This is with a firm here in my hometown that is growth minded and yet still a small enough institution in which to have some influence and just plain fun.

After all, I love to be a part of making things happen.

Which is part of the issue in dealing with the big boys. Don't get me wrong - each player has it's piece in the puzzle. But for me, I prefer to be able to immerse myself up to my waist and slog it out with the best of the forward thinkers.

Which is probably why I love watching Deadliest Catch. I'd go out on a crab boat anyday if ever given the chance. Probably puke my guts up and be scared half out of my mind, but hey - what an adventure in which to do it. If you're going to die, why not go out in such a setting?

But getting back to the daily dose - I'm just really excited about the possibilities of being a part of such an institution. Whether I personally make a mark or assist in someone else being able to make theirs, slogging it out with the best is what makes it all worthwhile. All I want is a chance to prove myself.

And I still want to go crab fishing in the Bering Sea someday. Yeah, I know - then I'll really be mental.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mental Health Day

Today I decided to take a mental health day.

My son is gone for a week to visit his father. He's become the traveling teenager lately.

So I find myself home with few chores needing accomplished. The house is pretty much in order and the laundry had to be completed before my son left. That gave me a Saturday all to myself just to relax.

I've taken full advantage of it.

Spent some time emailing and talking on the phone with friends - yes, some of those friends I've recently come back into contact with from my high school days. The day allowed for two workouts (hey, a girl's gotta try and stay somewhat in shape at my age), a smack of time playing a game on the computer, a little dose of reruns of Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel, and some wonderful hours of reading.

In my younger years, I could devour a book in a matter of hours and the massive books I could spend reading most of the day. Those times were always so nice and have been rather fleeting or nonexistent most of my adult life.

So today no job searching, no chores, no errands to run - just pure unadulterated relaxation.

We all could use a bit of that now and then. I'm learning how important it is to one's well-being and plan to take advantage of it a little this week before my son's return and the rush of back-to-school preparation.

Then it will be back to chaos for another school year. Then hopefully a direction for me too.

But I've enjoyed my summer off. :-)

Friday, July 24, 2009

High School Memories

Not sure what the deal is this week, but I've seen a flurry of old friends from high school cross my Facebook page. It's been wonderful to catch up with a few of those old friends and reminisce about life back then and where life has taken us all since.

Some experiences were hard. Some great, and some not so great. But each thread of experience has woven us all into the person we've become today. We're probably all better for it in many ways, though life would have been easier if we'd made some better choices earlier on.

The good thing about catching up is being reminded of all the tidbits of fun and orneriness (but in a good way) we used to get into. There's so much I'd forgotten. My later high school years had some very difficult and unpleasant experiences associated with them. Therefore, I waited only to get away as soon as I could and throw the terrible memories into the dung-heap.

Only problem is that when we throw aside the bad memories, the good ones go right along with them.

So now that I'm being reminded of all the fun and absolutely hilarious memories of the past, it gives me so many warm feelings on which to hang my hat.

I think I'll let those stay awhile.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Collection Complete

My son's Europe collection is now complete and he can bid a fond farewell to the experience.

His final sword just arrived.

This one is much more elegant and detailed than the Lionheart sword. It is another heavy weapon, but came with its own wall plaque.

Thank God it also came with its own mounts and brackets. Another wall in his man cave is going to hate me very soon.

This one is a Robin of Locksley weapon (also known as the Earl of Huntington - better known as Robin Hood) and sports a pretty red crystal embedded in the pommel. The blade is etched with elegant runes and the hilt is decorated with two eagles' heads. It's a lovely specimen. No wonder it cost a bit more than the first.

The store also included a large brochure (in German, of course) that included examples of many other swords, specifically swords of kaisers and those of historic German nobility. My son visually devoured it and found several additional swords that hadn't been on display when he'd been in the shop. He's already making a mental list of those he'd like to have, though he wants to wait until he goes back (if he chooses to do so) because the group received nice discounts for purchasing in the local stores. How considerate of him. Hmmm...

Just a glance at the website reveals that they received some very good discounts indeed. He did good.

Now if he decides to return in two years...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Weapons of the World

Speaking of weaponry and my son's love of swords last night reminded me that I promised to post pictures from the weapons cache in the Louvre during my son's visit to Paris. He took some great pictures of Greek and Roman helmets, breastplates, and swords. There's even a pic of a couple of dueling pistols and full-body armor, but I'm not sure from what era. This was where he was in his element.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Slaying the Snowman and Other Sword Tales

The deliveryman just came bearing a gift.

My son finally received one of his swords purchased in Rothenburg, Germany during his Europe travels.

Comparatively speaking, it's actually rather lightweight for as long as it is. The medallion at the cap of the handle sports the familiar symbol of Richard the Lionheart. It's a nice rendition of a medieval knights sword.

The sword quickly found its place on my son's sword rack in his man cave. It's a good thing the sword was a little lighter than some of the other ones because I don't know how much more weight the wall can hold. Now there are only two open slots left on the rack.

The remaining sword to arrive has a home ready for it unless it comes with a separate hanging plaque. Another wall in his man cave already sports Anduril from the Lord of the Rings, but it hangs on it's own plaque. Had to buy special mounts to screw into the wall before hanging it because THAT, my friends, is one heavy sword (not to mention the thing is loooong!). That poor wall would kill me if we tried to hang another sword on it.

Never realized my son's penchant for swordplay until he was four. I bought him a cute little plastic sword, with which he summarily slayed a snowman and broke the tip off into it. We finally found the tip when the snow melted, but that poor sword didn't last long no matter how much superglue we used. Then he received another larger plastic sword as part of a costume a few years later.

Then came fencing classes when he received his first "real" sword, an electronic rapier weapon. He's been collecting various swords ever since, including two from the Final Fantasy movie sitting on his bedroom dresser. Sometimes I forget about those.

Of course, I have a tendency to support his fascination when birthdays and Christmas come around. Fantasy is my favorite genre remember.

For now we'll await the next brave deliveryman to grace our doorway, once again bearing a gift from the Old World to the New.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Everything In Its Place

Busy day, but it was so much fun!

Our friends came into town last night and we all got together today. Everyone ended up staying later than expected, but it seemed to be because we were having such a great time. The boys went straight to the man cave, went swimming, came back and filled their plates and went straight back to the man cave.

After all, it's what the man cave is for I guess.

I talked to one of my friends who spearheaded this thing once everyone left. She and I both agreed how much we all enjoy getting together. This is a group of people that we can just let our hair down with and be loud and obnoxious and laugh uproariously and still be friends at the end of the day.

No airs. No faces or hats. Just being who we really are and knowing we have a great time together.

That's what real friendship is all about.

It's why it hurts so bad that the one family moved away. Hey, but their coming into town is what gives us all a good reason to get together again.

We need to come up with more excuses to do that more often. Give me a little time and I'm sure I'll think of something. I've got this big house now and it's great for entertaining.

Even if it takes much longer to get in order for guests. Hey, they're all worth it!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pavement in Heaven

Today we've been pretty busy preparing for the arrival of guests tomorrow. We're having a get-together at our house to celebrate the brief visit of some dear friends. Their son was part of the gang of five with my son and their other friends until they moved away about five years ago with a job.

My goodness, has it been that long?

Anyway, they go visit family in Wisconsin every other year and so spend a couple of days here to reconnect with everyone on their journey north. It's always so nice to see them again, and also to see the boys all back together. They've all changed so much!

I will always regret one thing, however. Just before they moved to Texas, the mom and I had time to connect and develop a friendship. We'd do a girls night out or just hang at her house or my house picking up and dropping off when our boys would get together. Then the news of the move dropped like a bomb.

I was devastated.

It'd been several long years since I'd had a good friend, someone that I felt comfortable confiding in and whose husband wasn't secretly after me (long story). So the news seemed like a blow to my heart once again.

So I decided right then and there that I wasn't going to hesitate anymore in seeking out and developing close friendships. Early in my life, I recognized the need for realness in relationships, especially among trusted friends.

I'm blessed many times over in that regard once more, but I learned the lesson through many bumps and bruises. However, I'll take the bumps and bruises anyday rather than NOT risk friendship - before it's too late.

So my message to you tonight is to take a chance and work hard to develop friendships while the opportunity is there. In today's society we need them more than ever. They are worth the time invested. If you have hesitated before, make a vow right now to not waste another moment to obtain good, close friendships.

Relationships are worth their weight in gold. Remember, that's mere pavement in heaven.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Loving the Louvre

There were so many pictures to choose from with my son's shots of the Louvre, but here's a small sampling for your viewing pleasure. Find enclosed a picture of the Mona Lisa - it's surprisingly small. He said there was so much ceiling art, but I'll only offer up a few choice pieces. His favorite part was the room with all the historic weaponry and Roman armor, but that will probably require another post. After tomorrow, I'll take a break from posting a bunch of pics and get back to more important matters. Like writing!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cruising Through Paris

I promise I'll get back to posting proper articles and stories again very soon. Here's a few pics of the Arc de Triomphe looking down Champs Elysees, the Paris bridges and a few sites they saw on their Seine River cruise while in France. Can you guess which one is known as the Napoleon Bridge? Ah Paris!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The City of Lights

Well now that we’ve enjoyed some pictures of England, I figure it’s time to see the sights of Paris, the City of Lights. Once again, my son showed what a natural talent he has for photography. Someone even mentioned that the one of Sacre Coeur and one of the Eiffel Tower pics look like postcards. Nope, all were from my son’s camera (as my bank account groans from processing all 638 pics).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pomp and Ceremony - English Style

Normally I don't post on Sundays, but since there's still sooooo many pictures to go, I wanted to post one more time on their England leg of the journey. The pictures here are at Buckingham Palace during the changing of the guard. I didn't realize the pomp and ceremony for this event. They block off traffic and have a big parade every day as part of this ceremonial ritual. I wonder if any of the guys from the trip tried to make the guards smile.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Carousing London's Cathedrals

My son took some pictures of incredible chapels and cathedrals in England, with their fabulous architecture and stunning details. The picture at the top is of Westminster Abbey, but I'm not sure about the others. However, the interior shots at the bottom were inside Wesley's Chapel, home of their first performance during Sunday morning services. It's funny though because the most humble of exteriors houses some of the most beautiful of interior details and an enormous pipe organ. My son fell in love with the pipe organs of Europe.
There's more of those to show, but we'll wait for later posts. Gotta stay in order, you know.