Saturday, January 31, 2009

Big Movie Weekend

The big weekend is here. The big night is here.

Mom and Dad came in last night for the Hallmark Channel sequel to "The Note". Since they don't have the Hallmark Channel on their basic cable, my mom decided to come up and make a weekend of it.

Dad decided to tag along too.

So at the moment we're watching "The Note" and anxiously anticipating the sequel "Taking a Chance on Love" which follows at eight. Since tonight is our present movie night, we decided to wait and have pizza tonight followed by four hours of Hallmark Channel goodness.

Ooops! The commercial is over - I'd better get back in there to finish watching.

I'm so excited!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Class Rings Already?

Oh my goodness, we are at class ring ordering status, baby! Another milestone - wow.

My son received information this week concerning class rings. I can't believe we're already at that stage. The years are going to just fly by at this point.

Tonight we went on Jostens website to play with the "build a ring" designing thingy. They have so many incredible choices for men's rings that they didn't have for girls when I was young. Maybe it's just that there's so much more room on a guy's ring.

Anyway, we put the school mascot on one side and the drama/music/art symbols on the other side. He wants the dual metal look of silver/gold too (figured he'd like that one - my suggestion). Even though he doesn't know it yet, he also chose the square style I figured he'd like. So manly.

The pricing sure hurts - ouch! I'd rather he go ahead and order it now so he can wear it for at least two years. You know, get his money's worth out of it. Well, more like MY money's worth but who's counting. :-)

So we printed it out, and he's going to sleep on it tonight. Orders will be accepted next week at school and they'll receive their rings probably by the end of this school year.

Just hope his fingers don't grow a whole heck of alot between now and graduation in a couple of years.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Feeling a bit under the weather tonight, so in lieu of writing about something I'm just going to post the headshot picture from the Christmas play last month. Our music pastor recently sent it to me. The bottom contained my name and character, but for privacy sake I had to crop that off.

It would have been fun to have gotten shots of us in our updo's and costumes too, but I haven't seen any of that from rehearsal night. I think our hair actually got more elaborate as the days went on that week anyway, so dress rehearsal probably wouldn't have done it justice. Plus my friend, Lori, played with my costumes all week too until I had some of the best outfits I could possibly imagine.

So here's to the 1940's, Pearl Harbor, and Christmas. May the memories never die.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Old Faithful

It hasn't even been two months since I got over the last bout, and now I'm trying to come down with a nasty cold again.

Probably related to being a bit stressed out of late. Haven't hardly been out of the house, so I really don't think it is something picked up elsewhere unless from church.

You know, this whole getting sick all the time stuff is ridiculous. Before stress got to me years before, I had an iron-clad immune system. I NEVER got sick. The only times I missed work were when I had to stay home and take care of my son because he got sick.

A friend of mine warned me about that when they start kindergarten.

So it is really hard now getting sick at the drop of a hat. There's all sorts of articles out there on stress and how it affects the body, mind, and spirit. Most of all, I'm just worried about the body part.

Did you know they even have the American Institute of Stress? Amazing!

Some days I'm almost tempted to live in a bubble. Oh yeah, like that will work. Several years ago I decided to join a gym and work out several times a week to try to improve my overall health because I was told exercise would help strengthen my immune system.


When cold and flu season hit, I would pick up everything from those stupid machines. Then I'd be out of the gym for about a month or so to avoid spreading the love. Once well, I would return only to come down with round two. Then round three!

Did that for two years. I was paying for services I was not being rendered, plus the cost of doctor visits, missed work, and any medications needed to help me kick the junk. Decided it wasn't worth it any longer.

So I bought a treadmill instead.

Getting out and around other people was so nice and alot of fun, but the corresponding rhinovirus attacks left me in the cold. Therefore I've become a home body when it comes to working out. I've got my ten minute pilates DVD and my treadmill. Except for a couple of months after the big move last year I've been a faithful adherent.

I just wish this cold stuff wasn't so faithful. Yes, I know - this too shall pass.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Unemployed and Staying Positive

This evening I've been a bum.

For several days throughout this past week, I've been really stressed about the job situation. The one thing that has excited me was helping a friend.

In order to try and relax a bit today, I decided to do just menial chores around the house, taking my time at them too, playing around on the computer (refused to go to any job search sites), reading, and finished watching a movie a little bit ago.

Gosh, it felt good to relax today.

Started the morning off by going to meet a friend for brunch. We ate pancakes, talked about her life, my job situation, and just had fun being all girlie-girl together. When I arrived back home, I decided that we'd just do a few things to spruce up the place, take care of laundry, and relax. Really needed it after a hard week.

You know, I actually feel bad for people who are off work for enormously extended periods. For me it's only been a week, and I'm about to go nuts. Can you imagine what I'd be doing if it was for a month, two, a year?

Which is why I took matters into my own hands. I was not going to sit around the house worrying all day. The best thing for me would be to do this volunteer time and spend less scoping out the job atmosphere. Staying busy and feeling like I'm making a difference in others' lives helps to keep the positive feelings flowing.

For anyone out there without a job right now - I'm thinking of you. Try and find something you enjoy doing for others while you are off and avoid the overwhelming job hunt for a few hours each day or a few days each week. It will help to stay positive when that great job interview comes along.

And remember - it will come along.

Friday, January 23, 2009

To Do Or Not To Do

Tonight I'm feeling a little torn.

I've been talking to a friend of mine all week concerning coming into her shop and helping her with managing her employees, teaching them some soft-sell techniques, marketing skills, etc. We're planning to meet Monday to finalize things for me to get out of the house and work with her until more permanent employment comes my way.

The plan is basically that I would volunteer my time until she could pay me something for my work. She'd scratch my back a bit and I'd scratch hers. My goal is to help out a dear friend in difficult circumstances and also to help keep myself sharp.

This evening I received a call from my former boss. He and his wife were out to dinner with another couple and they brought up my current problems with trying to find additional lucrative employment. One of them made a call to someone they know and - BOOM - they want me to come in next week.

I should be overjoyed. I should be excited.

Actually I was more excited to try and help out my friend. Be an entrepreneur for a little while and get my feet wet.

The entrepreneurial bug bit me long ago. For the last ten years my life has been involved with helping small businesses, government relations, etc. I've learned so many things and had the opportunity for experiences I'd never before chanced.

It also made me excited about someday going into business for myself. For now, I just didn't have the guts to do it with the responsibilities of my son, my home, etc.

After being laid-off from the corporate world, I actually have been excited about helping a small business directly - utilizing so many of the skills I've learned throughout my life. Even though it's scary, what do I have to lose right now? Absolutely nothing!

So now I'm faced with the possibility that I may have to choose between going back into corporate America or the excitement and hard work necessary to see the backbone of America succeed.

Tough position at the moment. Well all I can do is see what they've got to offer. My friend could still use my help on the side or at least during the time I have left at home.

Then again, I could choose to take the risk, throw the known aside and head into the frightening yet exciting world of entrepreneurship.

Prayers would be appreciated right about now.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rebuilding What Is Broken

Parenting can be hard sometimes.

A dear friend of mine has had a devil of a time with her daughters. The tug-of-war with her ex-spouse hasn't helped either, but she's trying her best to maintain a somewhat stable relationship with them.

Kids sure need that - from both of their parents.

Can't tell you how many people I know who deal with the tug-of-war. In most cases it seems one spouse cannot let go of the other spouse - more likely their anger at the other spouse - and so use the kids to try and get back at their former squeeze.

It's never a pretty picture. The kids are the ones who usually end up so emotionally scarred from the battles, and you know what they say? Hurt people hurt people. The whole thing becomes a vicious cycle that can be perpetrated for generations to come.

One thing I've learned in watching my friend go through her battles is that at some point you have to let go of trying to understand or control the other individual. No, it isn't fair that he continues dragging her and the kids back through court all the time, but news flash! Life is never fair, and it's time more parents understood this.

Doesn't mean she just bends over and grabs the ankles. Doesn't mean she gives up on her kids. But somewhere along the line you have to decide what is ultimately going to be best for everyone, not just yourself.

My friend? She ended up letting her ex-husband have primary custody of her girls. You know what? One came back to her on her own volition. The relationship with the other one improved dramatically because the ex stopped fighting with her. No child support to fight over and no relationships to continue tearing apart.

Rebuilding what has been torn down is hard work. First there's the clean-up before reconstruction can begin. Then there's the preparation of the groundwork and laying of the foundations. None of it happens overnight.

But I think time is on their side.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Stir Crazy Moments

I think I'm starting to go stir crazy.

The last several days I've pretty much been at my computer all day long hunting for jobs, researching agents, querying agents, and working on my second draft cleanup for my book. Haven't hardly stepped outside. Haven't even really done any housework. Haven't been around human companionship - well, except for my son but some days it's hard to call him human.

A few friends have called. I've talked to my mother twice today. Think I'm beginning to drive them all nuts.

They think I need a man.

It's just that I'm so used to being around other people pretty much every single day. This much aloneness is about to create a black hole that will start a chain-reaction and likely suck in the whole universe.

Right now it is important for me to be focused on what I need to accomplish in regard to employment and my book. This does, however, go to show how important people are in our lives. I'm not keen on spending money unnecessarily right now, but this may call for a girlfriend brunch come Saturday.

To all my friends out there - I appreciate you more than you will ever know!

Sometimes it takes a few stir crazy moments to remember that.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cats Make Great Writer's Block

Cats make great writer's block.

Instead of looking for a new job today, I decided to spend the entire time at the computer creating an agent contact listing in preparation for querying agents about my book. Throughout the day, one of my cats kept climbing up into my lap and then onto the desk - right in front of my computer screen.

Heck, one time he even tried grabbing the pointer on the screen. I kept spinning it around in circles, hoping it would make him dizzy and he'd get off the desk.

Worked about as good then as it is doing now. At the moment, I'm having to peek around the cat and hoping my fingers are on the correct keys.

My writer's block has cleared!!!

So where was I? Oh yes - spent the day studying literary agents and compiling an Excel spreadsheet with their contact information. Tomorrow I'm going to clean up and sharpen the first few chapters a little bit, send out several queries via email, then spend some time on Career Builder seeing if there are some applicable job postings.

Have to admit, I'm feeling a little torn. Right now I wish I was in a position to take some extended time off to really devote to my writing and selling of my book(s). I'm seeing this layoff as a real opportunity to switch gears somewhat and focus - maybe even doing something completely different.

But there's still the mortgage and utilities to be paid. Financially I'd be in a sweet position if the markets hadn't tanked the last few months. If worse had come to worse, I could have just cashed in some of my 401k and paid off the house.

Magic mirror on the wall, I wish you'd told the future!

Even so, I think I can combine my efforts during the possible weeks I'll be off work (please, not months) and take advantage of having the time to really push my book(s) as well as search for work. The technological age does have many benefits, doesn't it?

Last year a friend of mine made the leap from full-time employment to full-time writing. Lucky stiff! He and his wife spent a few years preparing as a lead-in to taking this step and getting bills paid off and finances in order, etc. However, his wife still maintains her job and they're making it just fine.

Guess that's why it's a little hard for me to take such a step of faith, since I am the sole provider of my family. The pressure was always there, but it didn't feel so heavy until I was without paycheck.

Just want to use this time wisely while I have it. I'll find gainful employment again - I'm just not sure if I should stay with what I know or take a risk and try something new.

Maybe even something totally new.

I'll treasure this time eventually someday. Maybe I'll be able to write about it then too.

Well, I guess that might work - as long as I don't continue to have this writer's block problem.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Observations on Valkyrie

This evening we went to see a movie that's been out for awhile. It will most likely be the last we go see until I am again gainfully employed.

The choice of our excursion was "Valkyrie". I left there sobbing.

If you aren't yet aware of the nature of the story, it is based upon the July 20 final attack attempt on Adolf Hitler toward the end of World War II. Colonel Stauffenberg joins and then leads the military members of a resistance to assassinate Hitler with the assistance of political allies within the Nazi party.

As we all know from history, they were sadly unsuccessful.

The movie was shot at several actual locations around Germany, including the Berghof, Hitler's palatial retreat home.

Though the scenery and costumery were stunning at times, I left there sobbing because of one thing.

Some days it seems we do not understand what true heroism actually is anymore. These men and women - politicians, military, and civilians - risked everything, EVERYTHING, to try and save their country and countrymen. They saw the evil for what Hitler was and knew they had to act to stand against it.

By their mere associations, much more their involvement, they knew they were putting their own lives and also their families' and friends' lives at stake. In the end they may have lost their lives, but they also gained so many more things that were vitally most precious. By standing against evil they regained their dignity, their honor, their pride, their country, their memory, and their souls.

How many politicians can claim that now days? How many of us would be willing to do the same if we were in similiar circumstances?

We look at our lives and think we are suffering. We think our days are full of evil.

What a mockery.

We don't know the meaning of sacrifice. We don't know the meaning of suffering.

And we have no clue what true evil really is.

Why else do we call a dying generation the greatest generation there ever was? Because they faced evil...and stood it down.

Before that generation is completely lost to our time, we need to do everything we can to learn from that history they hold.

Otherwise we are doomed to repeat it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Melancholy Evening

Been a little melancholy this evening.

They started moving the furniture out of the office between 8:30 and 9:00 this morning. Don't know what they're doing with the computer and phone equipment since no one showed up for that.

Guess it isn't our problem now. Still we hate leaving things unfinished and undone. Rubs completely against our character. But they have a key when they're ready to finalize everything else.

Ten years we've been together. My son was in kindergarten when I started with the group. Now he's gone and become a sophomore in high school. One of the others came on a little later, but the core has been together so long, at times I don't know how we're going to survive without each other.

It's kinda nice working with people who feel more like family.

You know, I had a similar kind of working relationship with everyone in my previous job. Was there just shy of ten years at that time. When I left there, I thought I'd never be so lucky to find a family working type environment again.

I feel so blessed to have had it twice.

Guaranteed - I will be tarred and feathered if I don't send every one of them an invitation to my son's high school graduation in a few years.

Actually I'm already planning a post-separation dinner sometime next month. It will give us all a chance to catch up and find out what each person has been up to and who has secured jobs. Oh heck, like we need an excuse. I imagine we'll be talking to each other again next week.

One of us already has a new job, thank God. No, not me yet, but I'll be there soon (hopefully). But in between applications and job interviews, I'm going to be plugging away at sending query letters to agents about my book.

And hopefully I'll also find time to start my new one or finish up an old one.

Then again - I also have something interesting I'm chewing on too. Something totally dramatic. I'm going to really stretch out of my comfort zone, take a chance and try something new.

But we'll leave that for another post.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Final Day Approaches

Tomorrow is it.

Yep, my last day. There was an impromtu cry-fest this morning between myself and one of my dear co-workers. She and I have shared many stories, counseled and comforted one another over the last ten years. She's seen my son grow up from a little six-year-old child to a wonderful and handsome young man.

It's sure hard to believe sometimes that it's been that long!

Not sure yet how to feel about all this. I've accepted it. I'm ready to move on in many ways, to take a chance while I have it. But I will also desperately miss the working relationships we've built over the years.

We're more than co-workers. We're like family.

And like family we'll go our separate ways, but know we'll see each other every once in awhile. I'm already planning a get-together over here at my home for some homemade lasagna (lots of cheese!). Perhaps next month.

There's a list already begun to ensure we all have current and updated email, home and cell numbers. A couple of us have moved this past year, so we need to make sure our addresses are current with each other too.

I'm comforted to know that this isn't forever. We'll see each other again real soon.

Maybe I'll invite them over to see the movie at the end of the month. :-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hallmark Channel Sequel Has Arrived!

My mom is going to come up for a visit at the end of the month.

Nothing special going on. No performance of my son's. No special holiday. Just an ordinary weekend.


Okay, I'm going to be displaying my girliness here. Excuse me, it's a little embarassing for me.

Last year there was this incredibly wonderful Hallmark Channel movie on called "The Note". The story surrounded a journalist who inherited a column and things weren't going so well. Then there was this terrible plane crash just off-shore of her hometown, the results of a fire onboard the plane that quickly engulfed it. The pilot made a last-ditch effort to steer the plane away from populated areas before it exploded over the ocean.

The journalist wonders if the people on the plane knew that in that moment their lives were going to be snuffed out. Then she gets to wondering what would she do if she knew she was about to die and had no control. If she could tell her loved ones one thing, what would it be?

Jogging along the coast, she happens upon a piece of a lifevest washed up on the rocks. Underneath the lifevest she discovers a plastic baggie with a quickly scribbled note to a "T" from "Dad". She sets out to find who wrote the note and who it was intended for.

She takes her readers along for the journey as she interviews several of the surviving family members from the passenger list. The note touches each one in a powerful way and provides a gift of comfort, even though they were not the intended recipients. In the end, the journalist receives the most incredible gift(s) of all.

I won't tell you the rest. Just watch the Hallmark Channel on the 31st of January for "The Note".

But don't stop there. In the last few days I discovered that they have made a sequel that looks just as good or possibly even better than the original.

Needless to say, the reason for my mother's trip up here since she doesn't have Hallmark Channel at home. The sequel is called "Taking a Chance on Love" and the journalist goes on another journey in the relationships that developed from the first.

In this case, she asks the question - is it better to let one's heart lead in matters of love or take it slow and use more of the head. Not sure exactly where she'll end up with that one, but it does make me think of my own life a little bit.

When we've been smeared all over the place by difficult relationships, it's very hard to trust again - thence the desire to be cautious and take things slow. I know I've rarely allowed myself to experience boyfriend-type relationships since my divorce, but I've struggled with friendship relationships too since the betrayal by my best buddy.

But you know what? I think it is good to be cautious somewhat - not just allow ourselves to be blown about in the breeze. But it's also good to learn how to trust again - just making sure we learn to trust the right kind of people.

I have a tendency to have an awful lot of the head in most of my relationships, whether boyfriend or friendships. But it is best to try and find a healthy balance between the head and the heart. Allowing more heart comes easier for me once I've gotten to know someone a little bit, and that's okay for me.

So getting back to the Hallmark Channel, it will be interesting to see which direction they take the story. I'm so excited I can hardly wait. I think Mom might be a little excited too.

Ya think?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Reading, Writing and Elephants

This evening I've spent some time reading some writing material.

That sounds kinda funny! Reading some writing material?

Okay, guess you had to be there.

So in preparation for beginning another novel (and hopefully completing the crazy thing), I'm reading about certain plot functions and character developments and seeing how I've used these components in my current works and how I might use them even better in my works going forward. My goal is to get better and better with each successive novel I compose. Maybe someday that will lead to a publishing contract and maybe, eventually, perhaps, God-willing, I'll actually be able to make a living at this.

Writing can be enormously hard work. It doesn't necessarily come easy for me. I liken it to giving birth. The baby simmers and forms for nine months and then it takes hours and even days to push the blessed event out of the keyhole.

Maybe that was a little too vivid for you. But hey, I'm a writer. If it was vivid then that means I'm doing my job and doing it well. :-)

But seriously - the ideas are very easy for me to come up with. Getting started and plowing ahead is easy too. It's that middle part and wrapping it all up and bringing closure to the story that begins the difficult pushing stage.

During those times, I'll come up with every excuse in the book not to sit down and write. It's like scripture - I know what I'm supposed to do and yet I find myself doing that which I shouldn't do.

Procrastination should have been a four-letter word. Why is it that it starts with "pro"? Usually when you're a "pro" at something, it means it's a good thing.

I guess then I could say I'm a "pro" at pro-crastinating.

Plus I know now that when I sit down to start a story, it's going to be something that I'll work on for years and years. However, that was something that stood out to me in the book I was reading tonight. It talked about if you want to write a good story that you need to spend time on it, fully flesh out the characters, the setting, the underlying tensions and storylines. That's one benefit to working on a book for a series of years.

I'm just glad it takes only nine months instead of years to bring a baby into this world.

Sure feel sorry for those elephants.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Brewing and a Simmering

There's a story brewing in my mind.

It's been a long time since I wrote anything of significance. My brain is about to burst with a new story idea, but I would really like to go back and work on some of the other novels I've already started. Finished one about a year ago. I'd really like to get another one finished sometime this year.

However, there's a new story that has been simmering for the last several weeks. I've resisted putting it into the computer but it's about time to go ahead and at least get the story started.

Think I'll work on it at the annual retreat.

Yes, it's that time of year again - time for our annual writer's retreat!

Several years ago, our critique group began an annual tradition of going to a lovely campground down in Oklahoma and renting their cabins for the weekend. Each of us had a cabin all to ourselves so we could write and gather together to eat and share stories.

Last year seemed especially productive for me. I had several short story ideas I'd saved for just the occasion. Been thinking I'd save this new novel idea to start at the retreat, but now I'm not sure. Seems like it's been so long since I've had any real productive writing. The job switchover to a new company was enormously time consuming.

Now that I'm being released from that job, I'm excited to see what I might be able to come up with during my down time. Just hope my down time doesn't last too terribly long. Need a job to pay the bills until my writing begins to payoff.

But I'm struggling with the fact that the retreat will be an expense that I really shouldn't do while I'm without a steady paycheck. Plus my son's final Europe trip payment is coming due the first of February.

Feel in a bit of a quandary. I can't stand the idea of not going to the retreat. But I really shouldn't spend the money when I can't afford to. But then if I get a job now, I won't be able to go because the new job will rightfully take priority.

What to do - what to do.

You know what? Right now I'm not going to worry about it. I'm still going to plan on going, I think. I'll deal with a job if I get a job by then. If I don't get a job by then, I'll see how the financial situation is a little closer to that time. No need to worry about it just yet.

And my story? I don't think I'm going to wait on it, now that I think about it. My last week on the job is quickly approaching. I'll have some time on my hands then, so it will be a great opportunity to get a headstart on the story.

I can always work on it more at the retreat. Looking forward to the writing time. Hurry up Friday!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Applications and Road Construction (oh my!)

Spent some time the last couple of days freshening up my resume and preparing cover letter templates. Going to start needing to apply for jobs soon.

Matter of fact, I applied for a couple already yesterday.

Since I've never done this before, I wasn't sure where to begin with the online job sites. One of my co-workers had looked around on Career Builder and sent me some links to a few jobs she thought sounded up my alley.

So I went ahead and applied for them. One is here in my hometown while the other is at their headquarters office in the city.

Pretty much since my son was about a year or two old, I've been having long commutes to work. Starting in 1999 they began some major road construction on key thoroughfares, both of which I used to and from the office.

It has pretty much continued off and on since then. Ten freaking years of road construction! I keep telling myself that progress is painful in the interim but wonderful for the long term. Just didn't realize progress was going to take so long to complete.

I digress.

So starting to look into other employers now, I find several good jobs very close to home. I'm getting kinda excited about the possibility of actually having the chance to not have a long commute everyday.

Yeah right - now that they're almost done with road construction, I may not have to drive it anymore.

Oh well, can't complain if I get one of these positions.

Just think of all the money I'll save on gas!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hanging On For The Ride

Well the New Year cometh - and critique group met at our regularly scheduled time tonight. Yippee! I'm finally back on schedule again.

Yeah, they're jumping for joy alright. I have a nasty habit of butting in sometimes to add my two, three, four cents. Gotta stop doing that or they'll remember how wonderful it was when I was on play hiatus.

Sent my revised query letter for them to take a look at in preparation for beginning to query agents and editors about my completed novel. They had a few excellent suggestions and I'm pumped about a couple of the revision ideas. Hopefully I'll have some time to work on it somemore this weekend.

No, I need to MAKE time for it this weekend. Too important to not make it a priority.

That's one of the things I used to be so good about, but ever since our move into the new house at the end of 2007 I've had so many other pulls on my time that writing has lost its top spot in my personal time slot.

If I'm going to really make an attempt at becoming a published novelist, I have to focus once again and get serious. No more worrying about how awful the house looks. Heck, for three months during the play I HAD to not worry about the house. I guess when I'm home it's too easy for me to see.

Plus I'm terribly anal about the new house. At least for now until we settle in completely, though I'm not sure how many years that will take. I STILL have unpacked boxes stashed away. Ugh!

Anyway, even though I'm not a New Year's Resolution junkie, I need to resolve to once again proritize my writing time if I truly wish to succeed at this.

Opportunities come and go. Just have to recognize the moment and grab ahold when it passes by.

Then hang on for the ride. Maybe I'll write a Western next.

Hey, it could happen!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Still A Banner Year

Over the weekend we had an opportunity to go out to my boss' country home and have one final celebration with the gang.

I say one final because our office is being shut down. Yep, I'm being laid off.

We all found out the week after Thanksgiving while I was in the throes of production week for the play. Didn't have time to really think about it then.

Thinking about it a bit this week. We're packing things up and preparing for our last day next week. Been with this group for ten years exactly December 20th, 2008.

Haven't been happy with the company that bought us early last year. It's been a real struggle to stay sane, and I've almost looked for other employment several times. But the fact that my boss is absolutely wonderful and I love working with each and every soul in the office made me do a double-take.

I stayed - if only for the fact that I was able to work with them. They were feeling the pain too so we commiserated together.

So in reality this layoff is a blessing in disguise. It frees us up to look elsewhere for a company that is at least in this century and has a can-do attitude.

Only problem is that with the Christmas and New Year's holidays there was nary a response to our letters and phone calls last month. The chances of us all staying together as a group are very slim to none. That saddens me.

However, I'm already finding some good opportunities if I go out on my own with another firm. There's hope out there! Plus we're finally starting to get some responses the last two days. Might be a little too late though.

Gotta pay the bills, you know.

So I find myself even thinking a bit outside the box. If money were no object, what would I do? I feel kinda freed in that thought process.

This may be a real opportunity to go in a whole new direction. I've gotten out a query letter I wrote two years ago on a book. Polished it up tonight.

I think I'll take a chance and start querying agents about my novel.

Hey - it couldn't hurt, all things considered. :-)

Yep, 2009 is still going to be a banner year.

Someone remind me of that in a couple of months.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Elusive First Job

With the new year, my son is back at it again, pounding the pavement seeking that elusive first job.

There's a huge store expansion in town at the neighborhood grocery store. They've been advertising and posting job openings quite a bit in preparation for the opening. So my son just posted another application there.

Sure hope he gets something.

I think he's very ready to get a job. He sees alot of benefits to employment and having some freedom. He's even been volunteering to drive - THAT'S never happened before.

It's kinda nice watching him grow up and take on additional responsibilities.

Good thing too. I could always use the break. :-)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Saying Goodbye - Looking Ahead

The last remnants of Christmas have been tucked away safely for another year.

This evening my son and I spent a few hours de-decorating our Christmas displays in our home. It's always a little bittersweet but also fun because we spend the time sharing memories and talking about the ornaments and what he will take with him someday when he sets up his own household. It allows us the opportunity to reminisce about our favorite events this year as well.

Makes it so much more enjoyable now that he's old enough to really help out with the clean-up job. When he was little I was usually a little sad because I tended to do the put-away by myself and usually while he was taking a nap or had gone to bed for the night. It's nice to share the job with him now.

However, I must also admit that I love to get the tree out to the curb, clean up the needles, and get the house back in order. Seems to feel so much roomier when that tree is out of the house.

Last year we put up the tree in the family room. This year we put it up in the living room. I think I actually liked it a little better in the living room because I'd walk in the door from work and turn on the tree and hear the Star Spangled Banner from my Statue of Liberty ornament I bought when I used to travel to New York all the time. But then we also spend most of our time together in the family room so didn't see and smell the tree as much.

Next year I'll need to be sure and do more decorating in the family room so it looks more festive. I have so many decorations that it shouldn't be an issue. Time was the robber this year, what with hosting Thanksgiving and doing the Christmas play at church.

Even though it's hard to say goodbye to those warm fuzzy memories, I continue to look forward to what 2009 holds for us. I've a feeling it just may turn out to be a banner year.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bedtime Stories Movie Review

Yesterday my son and I went to see a New Year's day movie. For our viewing pleasure we chose the new one out from Disney - Bedtime Stories.

First of all - yes, it may be all sugary and sweet like...a gumball, but it was such a delightful journey of fun and adventure. There were several moments of laugh out loud riotousness. Kids will love the outlandish events the children dream up for their Uncle Skeeter. The adults will love the numerous 80's music references. All will love how these two aspects coincide.

Uncle Skeets is the maintenence man for the Nottingham Hotel in Los Angeles, built upon the site of his father's quaint little motel he grew up in and where his father told him the most wonderful of bedtime stories.

When news breaks of the nearby school closing and being torn down, Skeeter's divorced and uptight sister (the principal of said school) heads to Arizona to seek out gainful employment. This leaves her two children in the care of their Uncle Skeeter and their wild bedtime adventures at the hotel begin.

Meet Bugsy, the cutest and wild-eyed guinea pig you will ever see (and he can bust a move too). The magical rodent listens with rapturous attention at the bedtime stories Uncle Skeeter concocts, with a few side items thrown in by the creative niece and nephew.

Funny thing is, the next day the most incredible coincidences happen when their bedtime stories amazingly come to life in the real world. But the misadventures happen to poor Uncle Skeets. As the stories get more outlandish and threatening, Skeeter loses complete control as the kids put our hero at death's door.

Sadly it is here I must draw the line or risk spoiling the outcome.

No, the movie is not rocket science and will not save the planet. Just remember to suspend your hold on reality and let yourself enjoy the ride. And don't forget to throw a few good belly laughs in for good measure.

Laughter is, after all, nature's best medicine.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

State of Being

Just talked to one of my girl friends this evening. She's struggling with the New Year and being all alone once again.

So she and I took a little walk down the lane of memories from 2008. I tried to remind her of all sorts of wonderful and breakthrough things that have happened this past year. Back up from the heart-feelings a little bit and run up to the head for some logic.

In 2008, she's had an opportunity to see relationships from two different sides. She's not feeling so connected to the single scene she usually runs with. I told her that was wonderful! It means that she is starting to grow and heal beyond what certain segments of society can offer. What a neat opportunity to explore potential friendships in other circles.

See sometimes we as singles can get so stuck in our singleness that we can't identify with anything or anyone else. It becomes all about us - all about finding that someone to soothe our past pains and make life worth living again. Wrongo!

The only problem is that it focuses all of our attention on ourselves. There are so many other ways to identify our lives other than that we are broken and act as if singleness is a disease that we have to eradicate as quickly as possible.

Singleness isn't who we are but simply a state. There are so many married people who wish they were single. There's so many opportunities in singlehood that one doesn't have when we are married, yet marriage is honorable as well. The problem is getting stuck in the mindset that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

So whether you are in a single or married state, find a way this year to see and identify yourself by another label. Perhaps you're a great mom, great employee, incredible singer or actor or gardener. My sister is an incredible cook while I'm only average. But I can cry on command in a play (I'm not sure, but I don't think she has this as an accomplishment - love ya, sis!).

Tear out those labels you don't like and write in a new one. Yes, you may be single but it's time to stop focusing on your state of being and find a better identity.

After all, colds may be catching. Singleness isn't. Celebrate your life wherever you are in 2009.

And my friend? We got off of our phone call laughing and celebrating the great strides she's made and looking toward where she's going in the new year.

Married or single.