Monday, February 28, 2005

Wouldn't you know...

I have not been sick in two years. I had all the free time in the world (while freelancing at my leisure) and have great health. ONE WEEK before starting my new job I woke up this morning with a full-blown sinus infection. Or maybe it's the flu. Usually, they come on a little bit at a time and I can fight them, hot showers, hot tea, antihistamines, Tylenol. There was nothing subtle with this as I woke up coughing green stuff from my lungs. My heads hurts, my chest hurts, my face hurts. I can now sing "Smelly Cat, Smelly Cat" in my tenor register (which, for you non-music people, is NOT a good thing for a soprano). And I have a fever.

Then I was drying my hair this morning while checking my e-mail and actually got a round brush STUCK IN MY HAIR. Have you ever done that? It was excrutiating. If I'd had another person here, there might have been a small chance he or she (or forget being politically correct... she) could have untangled my hair. My head is practically bruised from pulling out the strands. Never did get it and eventually had to CUT MY HAIR. I couldn't even get the hair out of the brush once it was freed from the side of my head. Now THAT's tangled. So not only am I coughing up a lung full of green glue substance but I have a chunk of hair missing from my left temple. This is not the picture of professionalism. I look like someone broke into my house, and instead of robbing us blind, cut a hole in my hair so I stood out in the business world next week. My husband can't relate since he is bald so I doubt that my bald or short-haired readers can relate to this tragedy.

And I think one of my pierced earring holes has closed up from non-use. Oh shit.

Friday, February 25, 2005

I got the job!

This will be a true testament to how many people read my blog because comments and e-mails will be flying in cyberspace over this news. I GOT THE JOB! For those of you who don't know me well, I have been out of work for close to 22 months. Yep, you read that right. Almost TWO YEARS. How does one survive on a record like that? First, there was the severance. Next, there was unemployment. And third, there was always freelancing from my old company. All 3 served me well and allowed us to keep food in our bellies (far too much if you saw me), a roof over our heads (with a leak in the basement closet), and clothes on our backs (haven't bought anything new in 2 years).

This has been quite an experience. I know every trick, every job website, every personnel director from here to Illinois. My cover letter document probably has over 200 letters to various companies, specifically Wash U and Wash U's Med School. That was my dream, but I would have been happy with any institution of higher learning. The problem has always been putting me in a peg. I was a developmental editor for 18 years and there just is no such job like that in the St. Louis area, no other publishing company that could utilize my organizational and multi-tasking skills. So I decided I had to find a category for my skills and chose "administrative assistant." But I don't do coffee and I don't take shorthand.

Because I have had to teach myself every computer skill I have since my former company used to throw new equipment and applications at us like baseballs, I am pretty damn good at the computer and possess the biggest skill necessary: no fear. I can file with the best of them. I can cajole and nag any doctor for his/her manuscript. I have received flowers from a spouse who thanked me for getting her spous's manuscript off the diningroom table. I give "great phone" and can smooth talk a wild beast (i.e. doctor) with my cool kindness. I love fonts and am a perfectionist when it comes to making documents look nice. I go do the extra mile for people I work for and with. But how do you put those skills into terms employers can understand? And the problem in the 21st century with job hunting is most of it is done via the internet so no one is obligated to reply. In 2 years I have probably only received 10 rejection letters, which I always greeted with Steve "The Jerk" Martin enthusiasm when I saw that someone had to type my name on an envelope. Otherwise, no one feels that they have to write, e-mail or call you when you aren't chosen. I have probably only had 5 interviews over this time, and only ONCE has someone called my former boss for a reference. That would be this job that I was just offered. ONCE, I tell you, after the number of times I have listed references.

This job is destined to challenge me, which will be good because I swear, one more week watching "Matlock" will surely atrophy my brain cells. Although I am sure I could pass the Bar if I watch that show for just one more month. I think I have seen every episode twice now in this 22-month period. I will have to tape "Ellen" and "Oprah" now since I am thoroughly addicted to those shows. I will be fine with missing all my other workmates (esp since they cancelled "The Sharon Osbourne Show" and "The Wayne Brady Show"). This means no more working or watching tv till 3:30 in the morning (Yep, you read that right.) and waking up at 11 (for "Ellen"). I have led a rather strange "third shift" kind of existence over the past 2 years. And I have promised to get a million things done and have done nothing. I am someone who gets much more done if my time is highly scheduled. I have volunteered as much as possible and had lunch so often that I thought I would turn that into a permanent lifestyle. I will truly miss the freedom from semi-unemployment. I have to wake up at 7 and exercise and eat breakfast now. A part of me is panicked at my new lifestyle even thought it's the lifestyle (except for the exercising) that I had for 30 years. Wish me luck.

My college daughter, Mabel, has spring break in a couple of weeks and had no plans. We were going to hang out together as we have many times for the past 2 years. Part of me wishes this new job came up in April so we could hang out together, but I thought that would be a little rude to mention when I was offered the job. Don't you?

Thanks for all your hugs, well wishes, good vibes, comments, e-mails, prayers, and lunches. You know who you are... and I will never forget the love. Myuuuh!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Math and all that jazz*

My daughter, Mabel, is a math education major. She is like me in almost every way, looks, personality, wit, humor. But she obviously inherited one tiny portion from her father - the ability to deal with numbers. I do not have that ability, never did. And I can regale you with stories of not being able to wear mascara to my geometry class in 10th grade because I cried so much that it ran (pre Tammy Fae). Eventually, I found waterproof mascara and stopped looking like Queen Elizabeth I. (redhead, strawberry blonde eyelashes... are you getting the picture?)

So she called last night while writing a paper summarizing a chapter she just read on math and education. She said, "Mom, do you know the equation for a line?" She might have said "formula." It doesn't matter. I didn't know. At 47 1/2, I can proudly say that the only thing I can remember from math is "If a=b and b=c, therefore, a=c." Not even sure what it means or what it applies to, but I remember that piece of absolutely useless knowledge. She didn't really laugh. She was trying to prove a theory. She said, "Ask Dad." So in my sexiest voice, I said, "Honey, your daughter wants to know if you know the equation for a line?" While pulling the laundry from the dryer (which means he was multi-tasking), he said, and I quote, "Blah, blah, yadda yadda yadda." Ok, so maybe it's not a direct quote. Somehow, he was able to pull the formula or equation for a line out of his ass... 30 or more years after taking high school geometry. It was at this moment I stood with the phone in my hand incredulous that he would remember something so terribly useless and mundane while there are times I wonder if he remembers my name.

Mabel then said, "This chapter I read said that only 16% of students will remember the formula for a line 3 months after taking geometry." I said, "I think that percentage is a little high." This is where the laughter started. I said, "Not only did I not know the equation for a line, but I didn't know a line had an equation." The noise that you could call laughter that came from the other end of the line was deafening. Mabel was falling over with laughter. I didn't think it was that funny. She said, "Do you know that there is an equation for finding the area of a circle?" "Well, of course there is," I agreed. "A circle has space." Now she was weak to her knees with laughter. I said, not meaning to be funny, "If you need to know the length of a line, use a ruler." Made perfect sense to me. Now Mabel was out of breath from laughter. I don't think she had ever experienced someone as dumb as her mother when it came to math.

I told her it wasn't nice to laugh at me. She said that she had to because apparently, according to her education classes, it's just not good to laugh at your students.

What a concept.

* Dedicated to my high school geometry teacher, Coach York, who never laughed at me and never noticed when my mascara ran down my face while I was crying. He did the best he could.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Font size and stalking

I am so pissed right now. People say that computers do not have a soul, a being, vengenance. Those people would be wrong. I was MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS when I was forwarding an e-mail and clicked on "insert addresses." All of a sudden the addresses came up tiny tiny tiny. 4 pt, maybe 6 point. (I'm an old yearbook teacher so I know point size.) I am squinting and can't read my addresses, clicking on who I think would like that particular e-mail. (I am very good about making sure political e-mails go to political friends, religious e-mails go to church friends, education e-mails go to teacher friends and so on. I take a lot of care in forwarding, believe it or not. Maybe too much.) So there I was MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS and after inserting the addresses and clicking send, EVERYTHING was tiny. My folders, my addresses, my yahoo page, my news articles. Everything. And I have tried everything to correct the problem.

Where does my computer get off screwing me over? I have been good to it. I have caressed it, paid attention to it. Fed it. Even played games with it just to make it happy. I never ignore it. I even enjoy learning new things with it. And this is how it treats me??? I'm ready to ground the little fucker. I wander what computers do to owners who mistreat them, don't dust them, eat over them, peck them with 2 fingers instead of the 6 I use. I just don't deserve this.

On another subject, I may have to change my tagline soon, but I am NOT getting excited. I have an interview on Friday for a really neat job. But I am not getting excited. I answered a tiny (again, with the tiny) ad from Sunday's want ads. I usually don't waste my time on ads that don't give company names, people to address the cover letter to, listings of bennies, etc. But this one caught my attention because it had the words "legal" and "medicine" in it, 2 subjects I am interested in. Before I wrote a cover letter, I like to know who or where I'm writing. So I put the fax number into Google and up popped this website where this fax number can be found. Voila. Gave me a name of a company and the woman behind the company. So I wrote the letter and faxed it.

Monday this woman calls and I recognize her name when she introduces herself to me. She starts off with, "I have been inundated with resumes today," and I'm thinking, in my usual 20 month unemployed way, "This is the big send off, but it's awfully nice of her to call." She said she narrowed down the field to 5 people she wanted to interview, and I'm thinking, in my usual pessimistic, "Forget it, this woman is saying 'Thanks, but no thanks.'" But instead, I was one of the 5 people she was calling for an interview. Already, I am skeptical because I have not had any good news or luck in the last 2 years when it comes to looking for a job. Then she tells me that only 2 of us went to the trouble of finding out her name or the name of her company. Lesson: It pays to stalk. (I don't dare tell this woman that I can find her birth date on the internet! That would just be wrong.) Everyone out there: think positive thoughts, keep me in mind on Friday afternoon, find a voo-doo doll to poke the dolls of the other candidates, dance around a fire. Whatever it takes. Just don't let me get excited. I can't risk that!

P.S. As you can see, I bumped up the font for this entry because all the other entries are tiny tiny tiny. NOT my fault. I didn't do that. The computer hates me. HELP! Anyone? Offer some help!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Ash Wednesday and Phillip's organ

Ok, so let me set up this scene. 7PM Ash Wednesday church service. I am altar guild, usher (Don't even think about calling me an usherette.), and lector. I was so confident that the readings would be up on the lectern and enlarged as they always are that I didn't even bring my reading glasses. Remember a few posts back where I confessed that my arms are officially too short, and I must succumb to reading glasses?

Flash forward to after the service where I'm standing in the Narthex with a funny friend (Lucy, you know who you are.), the priest's wife (Hi, Pam!), and the choir director and organist, Phillip. I casually say, "I thought the readings would be on the lectern and enlarged but instead I practically had to read them while sitting on Phillip's organ."

The organ sits behind the lectern by a few feet. It would have been easier to read the readings from way back there since my arms have definitely not grown long enough to read it close up. But I may have to think where I sit or stand when I read from the Bible.

I am going to hell.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Buy Blue

Check out this website if you are interested in NOT using your buying power to support the Republican machine. You can do a number of things at this site - ask about a specific company's political contribution record, read a complete list of companies they've already researched, ask them to find out about a company you don't see listed, etc.

Blue Companies:
Borders (100% Democrat)
Barnes and Nobles (91% Democrat)
Apple 100%
True Value Hardware 99%
Bed Bath & Beyond 97%
CompUSA 100%
Arm & Hammer 100%
Foot Locker 100%
Gap, Old Navy, Bababa 78%
Google 100%
Hardrock Cafe 100%
LLBean 97%
Powells Books100%
Sharper Image 93%
Sonic 100%S
tarbucks 100%
Arby's 57%
EBay 57%

Southwest Airlines
Yum Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell)
Dollar General

Also, according to them, CVS / Eckard is the bluest drugstore chain, NOT Rite Aid as reported in the previous Buy Blue that circulated on the net. Walgreens is reddish.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Did I say that?

My church friends (I know, stop laughing.) are the best people in the world. They have been there for me and my family, through thick and thin. I can't say enough of them. The other night we had a 50th birthday party for one of the women, and it was WOMEN ONLY, while the men folk were at her house playing poker, drinking beer, and smoking cigars with the birthday girl's husband. (God, I love being Episcopalian!) There were about 30 of us and more wine and food that any sorority house could consume. Damn, we can put it away.

At one point, I had a small audience while I told the story of my husband fainting at the vasectomy CONSULTATION. After 16 years, even my husband can laugh at that story although it took a few years afterwards for him to see the humor in falling into the receptionist's desk, biting through his tongue, and knocking a hole into the door of the urologist's office. The women were falling over with laughter. (Sorry, Honey, but it IS funny.) Oh well, he cancelled the appointment and didn't reschedule it. I went out the next week and got an IUD and have been happy ever since. I reminded them about a member of our congregation whose husband had a vasectomy after the requisite 2 children, and she got pregnant SEVEN YEARS LATER. Apparently, you gotta get that thing checked out or things grow back together. You should have seen the look on this one woman's face whose husband just got the snip snip. She said, "We are going to have to reconsider some things." Another friend said, "Makes you rethink the whole swallowing thing, huh?" I thought we would break something from the laughter.

The highlight of the evening was when the hostess decided to play a game that she had thought of while driving home. She has a mind like a steal trap or has so much "disk space" left over in her brain that she can remember trivial quotes. She said these hysterical quotes and had us guess who said them. We were laughing so hard that tears were pouring out of our eyes, and I think I dribbled a little. Although you (my faithful readers) do not know the people involved, the quotes are pretty damn funny anyway.
"I told my ex-husband, 'I was born from white trash and I'm not afraid of jail.'"
"I'm not donating my organs when I die because no one is seeing me naked."
"I got screwed on this table." (meaning I paid too much) The hostess refrained from eating the appetizers off that table once she heard that comment.
And my quote was, "I'm joining the Visitation Committee because when I get old I want people to come visit me with soup and porn."

I could have sworn I said "soup and corn." I really like corn.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


When I was driving back home from lunch, I passed a street named Rocky Drive. Why didn't they name it Rocky Road? Why didn't the developers of that subdivision take advantage of a wonderful, delicious name for their street? Why???