Thursday, November 14, 2013

Got Insurance?

OMG!  I'm sure we have all heard about the fiasco called the Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare).  Probably the one thing you absolutely know about this law is that the website for it doesn't work.  Yep, evidently the creators of the site were surprised and overwhelmed with the numbers of people checking into the site.  (I loved the SNL Weekend Update bit comparing it to the site being surprised and overwhelmed by volume on Valentine's day.)  I watched the speeches from our president assuring those of use that have been paying for and using our own, chosen health care insurance provider, that we will not be required to give up our private insurance provider.  As millions of Americans received cancellation letters from their insurance provider, the president did stutter a bit in his "explanation."  This blatant lie to the American people will be discussed again and again.

My favorite part of this dramedy playing out before the world is the complete disregard and non-interest displayed by the people expected to pay for this law.  Every time the president would parade an American that was able to get through the website and actually sign up for "affordable care," it would be an aging Baby Boomer.  Attention ladies and gentlemen!  These are not the folks that are going to be paying for this insurance.  These are the people that will be using the insurance.  The PAYERS are you millenials out there.  Every time a reporter asks one of them what they think of Obamacare they typically respond with a blank stare.  If, by chance, the reporter is lucky enough to encounter a millenial that actually participate in life outside of their video game or texting or playlist, the typical answer is, "I'll just pay the $95 fine for not enrolling and deal with it later."  Awesome.

Evidently the government (thru a Colorado non-profit) has noticed that their cash cows are not engaged.  They have come up with some clever marketing to get their attention.  (hopefully you are not eating)  Enjoy.  (oh yeah, these are real ads.  They're known as brosurance and ho-surance.  wonderful.)

This one makes me the sickest
Yep, these guys are gonna get jobs someday
Making insurance sexy..., not
Do you think Mr. Gosling approved this ad?
Colorado, you must be so proud

557.  Having many more productive days
558.  Finding things to do
559.  Getting them done
560.  Seeing smiles on my husband and son's faces again
561.  Getting out and about (this is the ticket to energy)
562.  Praying for missionaries in the middle East
563.  Winter greens (I just love them)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The day you have to say good-bye to your dog

It's a much more difficult day than you ever thought it would be.

This is the same dog that has been trying to kill me by tripping me on the stairs.  This is the same dog that emits odor that can clear a room.  This dog has been constantly under foot.  But, even I loved this dog.

I remember the day my husband and son convinced me to get a dog.  I finally said, "sure, we can have a dog, but it has to be a Jack Russell Terrier."  I said that because the show, Frazier, was very popular and it had a cute dog on it.  I thought that dog would be difficult to find.  They found a dog and bought it and brought it home within four hours.

Then we had a dog.  (this was the first and only dog I have ever had in my whole life.)

Jack Russell's aren't the calmest of dogs.  This dog kept us prisoners in our own home for years.  The second our dog, Chet (the jet), would hear someone walking towards the door he would anticipate that door opening and streak out the door and run.  And run and run and run.  That dog could run.  One day my husband was chatting with a neighbor.  The neighbor, Warren, said that one day he saw a deer running through the back yard.  Right on the heels of the deer was Chet.  Warren asked my husband what he thought that Chet would do with that deer when he caught it?  Chet had no fear.  None.  He was a little dog with the soul of a lion.

Another trait of the Jack Russell is their ability to jump.  Chet could jump.  Until recently, there was never a time we could have a guest in our home that Chet wouldn't jump and jump and jump.  We just couldn't train it out of him.

Chet was pretty bright, for a dog.  He could do tricks to earn his dinner.  He could sit up and stay.  He could play dead after you said "bang".  And he could roll over.  He wasn't much of a fetcher.  He would chase the ball, get it, but he'd never bring it back.  That's just the kind of dog he was.

When I think back of all the things I loved about Chet, I smile.  I remember that pink spot on his nose from where he wore the black off from pushing the basketball around and around the yard.  I remember having to thaw meet in the microwave instead of on the counter.  I didn't have to turn the microwave on, I just had to have it behind a locked door because Chet would jump up on the counter and eat the thawing meat right out of the package.  I remember learning not to leave the leftover Thanksgiving turkey carcass on the counter because Chet would jump up and grab it for an after dinner snack.  I remember the look of pride in his eyes when he would drop off a dead bird on my doorstep (ducks included).  I remember how my husband would give him a voice and tell me all the things that Chet was thinking.  I remember how my son would smile and feel the love of a dog when finding friends at school was tougher than it should have been.

And now there is a tiny grave in the back yard.  I know I'll feel better about this in the days to come.  I know it was his time and we didn't steal one day of his life by making this decision.  He died with dignity.  But, I'll miss him.  (and there are a lot of people that will be surprised by that)

Jack (my son) and Chet

Bill (my husband), Jack, and Chet  (last pic of Chet)

552.  I can exhale
553.  We could hug each other and support each other over the loss of this pet
554.  I know my son and husband will find joy in life again
555.  Rotisserie chickens will always remind me of Chet
556.  Tomorrow will be a better day

Thursday, October 31, 2013

For better or worse, but not for lunch

There is a saying (and I think there are even books with the title) I married you for better or worse, but not for lunch.  This is something I've heard said in my association with my friends that are reaching retirement age.

Retirement, they say, can be rough on a marriage.

In my experience... they are right.

I remember back, waaaaay back (in December 2011), I saw a facebook status of a young mother claiming she wished her husband didn't have to go to work, EVER!  I took a few rough comments on this blog post, as well as getting blocked on facebook by the woman that posted the facebook status.  Well, let me tell you, it's not as great as you think it will be. 

First of all, believe it or not, your spouse is living their own life.  They are not hanging on a hook waiting to see what you would like them to do.  I only mention this because I think this would have been news to the woman that posted the facebook status. 

In my experience my husband left his job a year and a half before I lost my job.  He no longer calls himself a retired person.  He now calls himself a full-time student.  Anyway, the point is that he was home, by himself, quite a while before I was home, all day, with him.  He had settled into a nice little routine.  When I started being home, all day, with him he didn't adjust to the disruption of his schedule very well.  Sure, the first few weeks were fine.  I'd even go so far as to call them fun.  I applied for unemployment.  He didn't think I would qualify.  I did qualify.  He was surprised.  That gave us something to talk about for a week or two.  We interacted.  He spent a little time with me.

Then..., he wanted to get back to his routine.  And..., he wanted me to get a routine.

And I didn't have one yet.

On Monday my husband told me my vacation was OVER and I needed to start DOING something.  Hilarious.  He said a bunch of other equally hilarious things that weren't very nice, but meant to motivate me.

I think he forgot that, just like him, I'm living my own life.  Unfortunately for him, my life includes spending time blogging, reading blogs, working on the bible study I'm putting together for my small group, and... sometimes watching Real Housewives.  I think it was the housewives that put him over the edge.  I try to watch more CNBC than Housewives, but sometimes I just gotta have me some Housewives.  The other thing, I think, he has an issue with is my development of a sedentary lifestyle.  He wants me to exercise.  So, as I said on Monday, I broke through that barrier and started walking around the neighborhood.  It's a start.

For better or worse, I love my husband.  We will learn to spend our days together in the same house.  I know we can do it.  I don't need to talk to him all day.  I don't need him to help me do the things I need to do each week, like look for a job.  I don't need him to shame me into exercising.  My friends that have retired have told me that it's important to watch out for weight gain.  Being home all day can allow someone to be a little too close to the refrigerator.  Dangerous.

So, for better or worse, I will learn to be home all day with my husband.  I will look for two jobs each week, and I will go for walks around the neighborhood 4 (or 3) times each week.  I can do this thing.

For better or worse
547.  Working in the garden
548.  Going to lunch with a friend
549.  Hot tea when I feel the sniffles coming on
550.  Having a husband who loves me enough to accept me for who I am
551.  Looking forward to trick or treaters

Monday, October 28, 2013

Breaking through my barriers

I was going to write "fears" instead of barriers.  I think the two things I finally did today weren't things I was afraid of doing, rather, they were things I'd used as barriers to keep from moving forward in this new stage of my life.  Maybe now that I've done each of these things once, I'll have an easier time doing them again and again.

The first thing I did for the first time today was to apply for work through the MWE job search site.  I've mentioned before that since I am collecting unemployment benefits I need to apply for at least two jobs each week.  Up until today I did this the "old fashioned" way.  I looked for jobs in the local on-line newspaper or I asked people I knew about possible employment opportunities.  Those were working just fine for me.  But on Friday I received a letter from the DLLR informing me I was required to attend a seminar for the JobSource program this week.  I knew the state wanted me to use their job service to hunt for work.  It allows them to keep track of how I'm looking for work and not just relying on me to keep my own records.  So, today I updated my resume' and applied for work through the website.  I applied for two jobs.  Check.

The second thing I did today was to go for a walk around the neighborhood during working hours.  I had delayed this endeavor for more than a couple reasons.  I had excuse after excuse after excuse.  I'm lazy.  I'm fat.  I don't have good music on my phone.  I couldn't find my earbuds.  I didn't want to see anyone from the neighborhood.  My feet hurt.  It's cold.  It's hot.  It's windy.  It's not.  Yeah, I had a few excuses.  Today my husband shamed me into going for the walk.  And I lived.  And I DID see people from the neighborhood.  And the music on my phone was crappy.  And it did hurt.  But it was a nice day and, who knows, maybe it will be good for me.  Check check.

And, more importantly, maybe I'll do theses things again tomorrow.

541.  A nice neighborhood for walking just outside my front door
542.  Friendly neighbors
543.  A perfect fall day
544.  The feeling of accomplishment
545.  My son got a new roommate
546.  Looking forward to my bible study small group

Friday, October 25, 2013

Seasonal Affective Disorder (reversed)

There is a disorder for anyone and everyone.  But...

There is no substitute for hard work and perseverance.  At least that is what those members of the (Greatest) Silent Generation and those of the Baby Boomers believed.

And then came the Xers, Millenials, and now, the new Silents.  I can only hope the new Silents have some of the grit that their predecessors, the xers and millenials, just don't seem to have.  How can two generations find so many maladies to keep them from hard work and perseverance?

I recently heard of a disorder called sunny day depression.

Evidently, this form of depression is the reverse of another malady called SAD (or seasonal affective disorder).  This disorder is said to be prevalent at this time of year.  It is caused, they say, by a reduced amount of sunlight during the fall and winter months.

The disorder called sunny day depression is weird.  I think it's weird because if reduced hours of sunlight can cause depression, how can increased hours of sunlight do the same thing?

Here's a thought.  The xers and millenials are the best educated generations, EVER.  The sunny weather brings back memories of vacation days and freedom from school and fun and no responsibilities.  The only decisions that were made were what do eat or who to play with or where to play.  Sunny days meant you didn't have to get up and get to class, so you slept longer in the morning.  And, who knows, maybe you went to the beach or the pool and dozed off while laying in the sun?

The xers and millenials didn't have to worry about anything, they had their moms or dads to do their worrying for them.

And then they became adults.  And the sunny days of spring and summer become work days.  The responsibilities of work and children and bills don't go away just because the calendar rolls over to May.  And then they get tired.  They can't sleep late into the morning.  They cannot stay up all night and enjoy a balmy evening on the beach or the porch.  They mourn the end of childhood and resent the responsibilities of adulthood.

Life has gone from being fun to being mundane and the sunny days of summer are just the thing to remind them of this.

Since they cannot go back and repeat their childhood, they find the next best thing to allow them to escape from their responsibilities of life.  Their depression settles in.  And sure, they are sad.  The sadness comes because there is more than just do than just what they would like to do.  This is not a clinical condition.  Instead of taking in the extended sunshine hours and taking these feelings and memories and being childlike in their enthusiasm of summer, and turn it into a disorder that allows them to avoid responsibilities.

Maybe a little hard work would help heal this disorder.

533.  A day devoted to helping a friend
534.  Waking up with a purpose for the day
535.  Catching up on chores hanging over my head
536.  Sunshine on a cold morning
537.  Hearing my husband tells me he loves me first thing this morning
538.  Believing he does love me
539.  Continuing in prayer for my son to find a job with hope that this prayer will be answered
540.  Hope

Thursday, October 24, 2013

To Twitter or not to Twitter?

I'm on Twitter.

Something I've discovered about most of my peers is that they are not on Twitter.


I don't completely understand the thinking of not being on Twitter.  Ok, of course I understand that many of my peers don't like to spend a lot of time on the computer.  I understand most of my friends aren't bloggers.  I understand that most of my friends don't understand the value of using Twitter.  I understand that some people think Twitter is about being popular instead of being informed.  Sure, I understand that most Twitter users are kids and Real Housewives.  I understand that Twitter is used as a weapon of snark and stalking by the young and incredibly immature.  Some weak minded individuals have even shut down their Twitter accounts because they believe everyone is tweeting about them.  I don't think that is what Twitter should be about.

I think of Twitter as a tool.  I use it to make my life easier and to be more informed.

I check my Twitter feed first thing in the morning to take the temperature of world events.  I follow financial advisers, news people, my favorite sports teams, political leaders, and local news and institutions.  I know, at a glance, what is happening in my community and the world.  If I want to discover more information on a given subject I use the #.

I do not speak # (hashtag) speak.  I think it sounds dumb.  I do, however, use #'s.  This is how I narrow down information on a specific subject.  Another way to use Twitter to narrow down the wealth of information it has is to check out what an individual tweeter is saying.  When I want to this I use the @ (at) symbol and check out what a tweeter is tweeting.

I check out my Twitter feed much more often than I check my Facebook newsfeed.  I find it is much easier to check in with friends and arrange meetings with Twitter than with Facebook, but maybe this is because I check it more often.

If you are one of those people who need the information you put on social networks to be "super secret" then Twitter may not be for you.  Although, if you want the stuff you put on social networks to be "super secret" then maybe you shouldn't be putting stuff out there on the social networks (#knuckleheads).  There is no way to make your Twitter feed private.  Sure, you can lock it up, but that limits the people who can follow you.  I guess if you choose to do that, you probably don't have anything interesting to say.

One of the fun ways to play on Twitter is to join a group of people tweeting about a movie you are all watching together.  Or, during the presidential campaign debates, it was fun to watch my favorite tweeters become "twitterpated" or "un-twitterpated" about them.

In my humble opinion, I find it much more interesting to follow interesting people than to be concerned with how many Twitter followers I have.

Twitter is perched for the launch of its IPO on November 15th.  I am excited.  I would have been more excited if Apple had bought Twitter while it was still a private company, but you never know what will happen. 

527.  Twitter
528.  Leftover spaghetti
529.  A fire in the fireplace
530.  Black and white movies
531.  Smart people
532.  Fuzzy slippers on cold days

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Stages of retirement (and accepting it)

I'm struggling with this new phase of my life.  After all, I'm really not old enough to be retired.  I checked.  I called my pension fund manager and they told me I cannot collect anything from my pension until I'm 62.  I'm not 62 yet.  I've got a few more years to exist before I become 62 years of age.

So what am I if I'm not retired.  Am I just unemployed?  Am I between jobs?  I feel like I'm trying to figure out what I want to do with my life.  I'm still trying to figure out what I want my day to look like.  Even though I continue searching for work, I can tell you, I'm not all that excited about going back to work.  After all, yesterday was a $5000 day in the market. (go AAPL!!)

Even my husband won't call himself "retired" anymore.  He calls himself a "full-time" student.  He's still writing his dissertation.  (I cannot believe how long this is taking)  There is just something about being labeled as a retiree that doesn't sit right with me.

I've heard there are stages of retirement.  I think the first stage consists of dreaming about retirement.  I know what that is like.  You hear a tease on the news about The Best Place to Retire segment and you stay tuned to hear where that place may be.  Some people have countdown calendars to their retirement date.  They watch the days tick away until the big day comes.  They may even know where they would like to live when they retire and maybe have made the purchase.  (I think they are awesome)  I guess my husband and I got this "dream time" cut short.  After all, my husband quit his job when the stress and management style became detrimental to his health and I got fired at an age where finding a new job isn't an easy task.

When one finally retires.  When that great date arrives.  Or, when you are pushed out of the workplace.  One enters the go-go stage.  This is the stage I find myself experiencing.  I'm young.  I'm healthy.  I still want to do stuff.  I love to travel.  I still want to earn money, but I don't want to be a slave to "the Man."  I want to work for myself, but I don't know exactly how to do that.  Since I want to travel and "do stuff" I need to earn money.  After all, when you are too young to draw off your pension, the money has to come from somewhere.  And if you are anything like me, it just doesn't feel right to spend all your savings.

The next phase is the slow-go stage.  I guess this will come after I'm old enough to begin drawing my pension.  I guess this means that since I'll be older I won't want to "do" as much stuff.  Ok, I get it.  I'm guessing this will work out pretty well since less money may equal less travel.  We will see.

Finally people move into the no-go stage.  At this time I will be at an age when my health may be failing.  Or, if I'm like my mother, my mind will go.  I'm guessing I'll be spending more money on my health than I will spend on travel or "doing stuff."  Hopefully I'll have considered this stage of my life when I choose where I want to live at this stage of my retirement.  Hopefully I'll have planned for access to health care and access to shopping and access to family.

I feel a bit gypped in the "dreaming of retirement" stage of my life.  However, even though I didn't spend a lot of time dreaming about my retirement, I do have an idea about where I'd like to live.  I have saved money and I'm still managing it and I do know of places I would like to visit before travel becomes too difficult for me.

Who knows what plans God has for me at this new stage of my life?  All I know is that I need to be watchful and aware of His presence in my life.

521.  Taking steps to rectify a situation that was wrong
522.  Accepting encouragement from my husband
523.  Making myself available to be there for a friend
524.  Watching the leaves change color and taking the time to enjoy it
525.  Culling clutter from the house
526.  Finding purpose for the day

Monday, October 21, 2013

Unemployment (it's not just for beer and cigarettes)

Let me introduce myself...  I am the newest member of the entitled.  I am the newest member of the unemployed collecting money from the government (and me, 'cause I paid into it while I was working) and you hard working individuals out there.

This experience is teaching me so much.  I can now look at this experience from both sides.  I have written about about people willing to take money from anyone that will give it to them, instead of working, in this blog.  I've written about my lazy tenants and the lifestyle of welfare, unemployment and crime they have cultivated on the backs of hard working people in this country.  And now I find myself collecting money every week because I no longer have a job.

I will tell you... it seems weird.  I'm getting paid for looking for a job.  I am required by law to apply for, no fewer than, two jobs per week.  I am required by law to keep a log of every job I apply for.  According to my state's DLLR this log can be required for submission at any time during my term of receipt of benefits and up to two years after my benefits end.  I'm going to tell you...  I have a difficult time believing that many people collecting benefits actually keep this log.  I mean, it's sort of like taking a class and having homework assigned every week, but the homework is never collected or checked and you are going to get an "A" in the class whether you do it or not.  But, because I'm such an ISTJ, I'm applying for jobs and keeping the log.  It's just the way I roll.

Ok, I know the title of today's blog is a bit snarky.  I know people collecting unemployment don't use their benefits for only beer and cigarettes, but let me tell you, the government makes it easier to use the benefits for beer and cigarettes and more difficult for using the benefits to pay your mortgage or rent.  Seriously.

Here's the story.  When you are approved for unemployment benefits my state sends you a debit card and my benefits are loaded on to this debit card and I can pay my bills with this debit card.  This may work for many people or some people or people that don't want to maintain a stellar credit rating, but it isn't working for me.

First of all, my mortgage company does not take debit cards.  So, I cannot pay my mortgage unless I go to the ATM or the bank and have the money transferred into cash or deposited.  Both of these transactions will incur a charge onto the debit card.  POOF!  Money disappears into a charge I would have never paid had I been getting paid by direct deposit into my checking account the way I was getting paid when I had a job.  I HATE paying service charges when I don't need to pay them.

Secondly, I LOVE paying my bills with my credit card.  I pay my bills with my credit card for two basic reasons.  Because I pay off my credit card completely every month, my credit is stellar.  If I ever need a loan for anything, I have no difficulty obtaining said loan.  AND, I use a credit card that allows me to accrue points for free flights.  The more money I put on the card, the more points I accrue for free airfare.  I look at this as a "win/win" situation.

Maybe I'm not the typical recipient of unemployment benefits.  The few people I've told that I'm collecting benefits have all been quite surprised.  I guess they thought I didn't qualify.  That's funny to me.  After all, when you are fired from a job for no reason at all, one qualifies for unemployment.  This is just the way it works.  And, by the way, it's not going to be easy for this 56 year old woman to find work out there.  After all, most of the work in the area I live has been affected by sequestration, furloughs, and government closures.  It's tough out there.

I am learning so much, through this experience.  I'm learning that this program, and the limited checking into job search activity, may make it easier for people collecting on this program to become lackadaisical in their job search.  AND, more importantly, I learned that I could call my state's DLLR office and have my benefits deposited directly into my own personal checking account.  YAY!  Now I can pay my mortgage with my unemployment benefits.  I'm so happy.

511.  My back is all better.  (I tell you, the secret to living well into old age is to NOT FALL DOWN)
512.  Spending time in the book of Acts and the gift of Christianity to Gentiles
513.  OCR programs
514.  The cool crispness of fall
515.  Netflix documentaries (yeah, I watch too much tv)
516.  Crawling out of the depression that comes from being fired
517.  Clear blue skies
518.  Making lunch for my husband
519.  Learning to be quiet at home (no laughing out loud)
520.  Having the energy to entertain friends on the weekends

Monday, October 7, 2013

Finding my way in this new land

I have to admit, I'm lost.

I haven't found a routine or schedule or goal or whatever motivates one when they don't have a job outside the home and they don't have children to care for.

I used to think I was a "self starter," but now I'm not so sure.  It's funny (read, kinda sad) that I let little things stop me in my tracks.  The first thing I allowed to keep me from jumping into my new way of life was the hurt I felt from the way I was "let go" from my job.  It took me almost three weeks to pick myself up and dust myself off.  Now that I've got a bit of distance and I've let go of any ownership I felt about my work I can look at things objectively.  The first thing I've come to accept is that they fired me.

There, I said it.  Out loud.  On the internet (so it's out there forever).  Those people (jerks) that I worked for for 11 years, fired me.  Yeah, they did me dirty.

Ok, now I can move on.  But then..., my computer broke.  Seriously, I can't do anything without my laptop.  Here I am finally blogging again.  AND, I'm blogging on my brand new MacBook Air.  Yeah, I thought I was going to get a Pro, but I decided to go with the Air.  It cost less and it has everything I need.  I LOVE IT.  It is light as a feather.  Seriously.  I can take this thing EVERYWHERE.  I'm going to have to get some kind of sleeve or protector for it.  Since I CAN take it everywhere, I DO take it everywhere.  I've banged it against the car door more than once.  I don't want to break it.

I still haven't taken all my files off my old MacBook yet.  That bad boy is still sitting in the front hall.  Maybe I'll finally get to that little chore today.

Then, sadly, two of my former co-workers (ones that I truly liked, but cannot call friends because, well, are we ever REALLY friends with co-workers?  after all, we only know each other because we work together and when we don't work together anymore we don't really have time or opportunity to see each other.) have had tragedies occur in their lives.  One of them had a mini stroke (she's only 35 years old!) and the other lost her 22 year old son (she discovered he had passed away when she got home from work).  These two events stopped me dead in my tracks.  All I could do, that felt productive, was to pray (and, unfortunately, worry).  These things give me opportunity to reevaluate the way I look at the difficulties I have in my life. 

I have the opportunity to get a little perspective.

I'm out of work..., but I can look for a job and maybe even find one.
My son is out of work..., but he is still capable of working and he's looking for a job.  (at least that is what he tells me.)
My husband doesn't have job..., but he is on the last chapter of his dissertation and, fingers crossed, will finish in November.
My mother is losing her mind..., but she is 80 years old, still has her physical health, and her condition is not as difficult at this time as it will become.
My father is has become very bitter..., and become the best example of what I NEVER want to become.
My favorite millennial blogger has become a mommy blogger instead of being the voice of her generation (of the entitled)..., but I can find a more uplifting blog to read. 

I'm still searching for a routine.  I long for a schedule in my life.  I need to find some discipline and get myself together.  I know I can do it.

And I will.  But not until after my back feels better.  (I fell down the stairs the other day.)

501.  New laptop
502.  Heating pad
503.  My health
504.  My son's health
505.  My husband's health
506.  My father's health
507.  My mother's health
508.  Time in prayer
509.  Time in God's word
510.  Hope

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sad Mac

The rainbow wheel spins as thoughts back up in my brain.
Freeze.  Pause.  Jaw clenches.
Tapping keys with a purpose (of busting through the board).
Words get short.  Frustrations flare.
No love is lost when the faithful friend is dying.
Sure we’ve shared secrets and smiles and songs, but I long
For a MacBook Pro.

Nothing is more frustrating than a failing laptop, is there?
I'm linking with G-Man with my 55 this morning

491.  Yeah, I'm getting a pro
492.  Leaving anxiety behind
493.  Clearing stuff and feeling 10 lbs lighter
494.  Getting ready for company (yay entertaining)
495.  Farmers market
496.  Going out to a movie and dinner with a friend
497.  Waking up and realizing it was a nightmare
498.  Getting my confidence back
499.  Friday!  (not as exciting as it used to be)
500.  1st Friday!  (I adore the celebrating)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

There is no sense in nonsense

Ok, I'm ready to write about the of the story of my "retirement."

I thought it may take me a few days to find the humor in this and I was right.  You've heard that no news travels faster than bad news.  This was true for me.  A week ago on Tuesday my phone and email blew up!

Evidently the college had begun to hire for my old position.  And, surprise, surprise, they had upgraded the position and given the position a raise.

I wasn't surprised at all.  I knew they wouldn't be able to hire someone qualified if they had kept the position the same as when I was in it.  This is why I was asking for a raise.

Sure it hurt that I had been lied to.  I had been in the job 11 years.  I thought I deserved to be treated with respect.  I guess I was wrong about that.

I got over this pretty quickly.  I mean, my old boss, Mr. Nonconfrontational, showed his true colors.  If he had been any kind of a man or manager, he would had spoken to me directly and just told me the truth.  I knew what the truth of the situation was.  It wasn't that I was a bad employee.  It wasn't that I wasn't doing my job.  The truth of the situation was that I had pushed them too hard.  I asked for the position to be upgraded and a substantial raise.  If they would have done this for me, then they would have been opening the door for EVERYONE to ask for raises.  And, they would have been able to say, "You gave Happygirl an upgrade and a raise.  Why not me?"  They weren't gonna have THAT.  And the easiest way not to have THAT was to close the door I had opened when I turned in my letter of resignation.  So they did.

Ok, I get that there is not much humor in this portion of the story.  Let's see if this next bit contains anything that'll make me smile.

The new guy that was promoted to be my boss (get that!  he had been promoted.  he had been a co-worker, now he was my boss.  gee, you think he'd want to share  some of the blessings that had gone around his way.  I guess when you "get yours" you don't have to care about anyone else.) is retired Navy (albeit a blackshoe or surface guy).

It was inevitable that I would run into this guy in the commissary.  (a commissary is the grocery store on a navy base, fyi)  This happened last Saturday.  It was everything you might have expected it to be.  We were both surprised to see each other, although he looked much more uncomfortable than I felt.  He asked me how retirement was treating me and I said I was well.  I congratulated him on getting my old position upgraded.  He hemmed and hawed and eventually said that he had told me he would get the position upgraded.  I said, "yeah, but not for me."  He responded with an uncomfortable sheepish look.  And, oh yeah, he told me that EVERYBODY on campus wanted my old job.  I told him that of course they would.  It's the easiest job on campus.  I mean, heck, I was capable of doing it.  Then I let him off the hook and told him he could keep all the crappy things that they were saying about me behind my back, behind my back.  Good luck and yada yada yada.

Are you laughing?  Yeah, I'm not laughing that much either.

The bottom line is this.  They did me a favor by not offering me the upgraded position.  First of all, they didn't raise the pay to as much as I had asked for.  (really?)  Secondly, if they would have raised the pay enough, I would have accepted the upgrade and raise and stayed.  And, this would still have been the character of the people I was working with 40 hours a week.  These would have been the people I was sharing the best part of my day with.  This is who was getting the best of my energy and intellect.

Enough with this nonsense.

Btw, now that I work for myself, I ADORE my new boss.

484.  On line yard sales on facebook (I finally found something useful on fb!!)
485.  Working with people I love
486.  Reading
487.  Finding my footing in my new normal
488.  Chuckling at Samsung's smartwatch (really, who likes this thing?)
489.  Finding my "happy" again
490.  Smiling a lot more 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

No laughing aloud allowed

I have never felt like a stranger in my own home.  Even now, that I'm home all day and not spending 10 hours away from the house five days a week, I belong in this house.  It is my home.

I'll tell you a funny story.  My husband has been super supportive of me quitting my job and being home, with him, all day.  SUPER supportive.  You may remember that he quit his job back in February of 2012.  He doesn't have to go to work, EVER!  In the past year and a half he has gotten pretty used to having the house all to himself.  He liked it.  I think, while he was here all on his own and I was at work all day, he thought the house was his.  He had a routine.  He told me I'd develop a routine, now that I'm home all day, (but it better darn well fit into his routine).  He didn't really say that last bit out loud, but his actions and words to me around the house this past week have, sort of, indicated to me that this is how it's gonna work.

I don't really know my husband's routine and I haven't developed a routine yet, so we're just stumbling around trying not to piss each other off.  So far, so (pretty) good.  From what I can tell, the three tvs in the house are his.  There is a tv on each floor of the house.  While the market is open, the channels are all turned to CNBC.  After all, everything you need to know about what is happening in the world can be discovered on CNBC.  AND, now that neither one of us has a job providing outside income, we need to make our own money.  CNBC has all the information.  All tvs, while my husband is in the room, will be programmed to CNBC.

I do admit to enjoying watching CNBC, sometimes.  And, sometimes, I admit to enjoying Real Housewives of whatever city they happen to be filming this time.  And, just about ALL THE TIME, I enjoy watch those crazy housewives sit on two couches with Andy Cohen inbetween them and listen to them fight and watch them cry.  It is confrontation at its best.

Since I am now home all day, I was given some spoken expectations and I've been catching on to some of the unspoken expectations.  One of the spoken expectations, (and this is the funny part of this story, gee, it took me forever to get here and I've gone off on a horrible CNBC vs. RHOC trail to get here) is that I'm not allowed to laugh too loud.  Really, he said these words to me.  He told me he doesn't want me laughing too loud about anything.  Nope, no laughing.  If I find something funny during the day, I better keep it to myself.  He told me he doesn't want to have to tear himself away from working on his paper or paying bills or making a stock trade or whatever he happens to be doing at the time of my outburst of laughter to come to where ever in the house I happen to be to learn what it is I'm laughing about.  OoooooKay... whatever you say.

Seriously, even he can't believe he said this, out loud, to me.

I'm telling just about everyone I meet that this is what he told me.  I love it.  He believes this statement should be recorded in the husband annals of Things Husbands Should Never Say to Their Wives.  I'm sure it would be right up there with, "those pants make your butt look fat." 

I"m going to get used to the spoken expectations of life here in my own home.  I'm sure I'll even learn to tread the minefield of unspoken expectations.  I'll find my routine.  I'll even learn to fit into the thing my husband calls his routine.

I'll watch CNBC and look for the next BIG thing.  (why, oh why didn't I buy Tesla?  but, really, who'da thought those electric cars would end up being sexier than a Jaguar?)  After all, neither one of us is old enough to start drawing money out of our retirement accounts and we've both gotten quite attached to eating every day.  :)

476.  Having someone to run boring errand with, if I ask very nicely
477.  Green juice while watching Squawk on the Street
478.  The love of an old dog
479.  My son telling me he misses living with me (shocker)
480.  Saving LOTS of money on gas
481.  No phones ringing
482.  Discovering what I really like to do
483.  Did I say, getting up without an alarm... I love this part of it

Monday, August 26, 2013

Don't let the door...

I'm ready to tell the story of how I discovered I no longer had a job.

I am much more into to the idea of not having a job to go to each and every morning than I was last week. In fact, Monday mornings when you do not have to go into work are WONDERFUL. REALLY GOOD.

I thought I would find humor in the unceremonious way my resignation was accepted and the last day of my employment after being with the organization for 11 years. I haven't totally grasped the humor of it, but there have been some moments that made me chuckle.

Let's begin the story last Monday, August 19th. I was a bit late for work that morning, as I knew my boss was taking leave that day to assist his school-teacher wife in her move back into her classroom. I was doing my job and culling through his emails. I saw one email with the subject line of my name. My old boss was asking my new boss to meet with him to discuss me. A short time later my old boss's secretary called to set up a meeting. I told her it would have to happen the next day, so we set it up for Tuesday, August 20 at 9:00 a.m. Awesome. It appeared that a decision was going to finally be made. Part of the back story is from this blog, Why I'm still working.  This portion, in particular, sums up where I stood, employment wise, at this moment.

On Wednesday, July 31st  I carried my letter of resignation UPSTAIRS to my old boss.  I now work down in the basement and my new boss had not been hired yet.  Anyway, the date I put on the letter as my last day was August 8, 2013.  I was DONE!  When my old boss took the letter he was not happy.  He asked if this had anything to do with the fact that I had asked for a raise in January, written up a new PD and duty list in March, and he had said he would move forward on this and then had done nothing at all.  (oh, did I tell you he got a $100k raise in his new position? awesome.)  I said yes.  Yes it did.
He asked me if I would wait a couple days and he would go to HR and see what he could do about my raise.  Fine, I said.  So I waited...  A week later I'm told that HR told them they could not reassign my position in a way that would allow me to get a raise.  BUT..., would I continue working for 3 or 4 more weeks until the NEW HR director they just hired is on board and in place.  Looking at my job description and seeing about my raise would be the first thing this person will do.  My NEW boss said he would make this his TOP priority.

At 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 20th my boss went upstairs to the meeting about me.  He returned at 9:35 a.m.  He didn't look at me.  He didn't speak to me.  He hurried into his office and got on the phone.  He managed to spend the 25 minutes he was stuck in the office with me talking on the phone and then left, at 10, for a 2-hour walk around the campus.  He used the entire two hours.  He returned and told me he was going to lunch.

Really?  He wasn't going to say ANYTHING to me about the meeting about ME?

As he was walking out the door, I called him back.  I asked him what was the result of the meeting that morning?  What had they decided to do about ME?  He got a funny look on his face and told me that he and I had a meeting scheduled in HR at 3:00 p.m., and it wasn't going to be a good meeting.

Really?  Not a good meeting?  What was going to happen?  Were they going to FIRE me?  I mean, that wouldn't be bad.  I was ready to go.  If they fired me I would be able to collect unemployment for 99 weeks.  I'd be good with that.  So I asked, what's going to happen at 3 o'clock?

He told me since I had submitted a letter of resignation, they were accepting my resignation at 3 o'clock.  They wanted me off campus immediately.

Really?  It was noon and they wanted me to keep working until 3 and then they wanted me to leave.  Huh?  I began to clean out my inbox and download all my personal files to my flashdrive and began to clean out my desk.  Then my phone rings... it's my boss... he's decided to tell me I can clean out my desk and leave now.  There's no need to wait until 3.

No kidding there's no need to wait until 3.  I'm outta here.  I told my boss that this was not a bad thing, for me.  I had put in my letter of resignation weeks ago.  I wanted to leave.  I was only here because I was doing a favor for him.  He had ASKED me to stay a few more weeks.  He was working on getting me a raise.  (evidently, he didn't work very hard at it.)

I packed up my stuff in a box and I carried it out to my car.  On the way to my car, I passed my old boss (the new CFO of the college) on the path.  I said "good-bye" to him.  He said "good-bye" to me.  It was 1:00 p.m.  It wasn't the end of the day.  I was carrying a box.  He knew what was happening.  Neither he, nor my current boss thanked me for 11 years of service.  Nothing.  I don't expect my phone to ring and be invited out for lunch either.  This was an incredible display of classlessness on the part of the upper administration of the college.  I shouldn't have expected anything more.

The thing that has made me chuckle in this whole evolution occurred last Friday.  On Friday evening my husband carried the mail into the house.  Included in the mail was a manilla envelope with a DVD of the movie Office Space in it.  No note.  Just the DVD.  (I had loaned the DVD to my old boss when he moved my office into the basement.  He, of course, didn't understand why I would make a reference to this movie.  I asked him if he had ever seen the movie.  He, of course, confused it with the tv show The Office.  I told him that Office Space is a classic comedy about business management and the corporate working world.  I have no doubt that he did not watch the movie.  But at least he had enough class to ask his secretary to mail it back to me and not steal it from me.  He's AWESOME!  not).

I am able to laugh about this.  Now, does anyone want to take any bets on whether or not I get a good-bye lunch?  Hahahaha

467.  Levis 505s for $10 for my son (I have to hem them)
468.  Time to hem the jeans
469.  Neighborhood picnic (fun to catch up with neighbors I don't see very often)
470.  A new goal (earn enough $$ by selling stuff to buy a new laptop)
471.  Friends that are truly happy for my new state of unemployment
472.  Advice to take it slow and not commit to anything for a month or two
473.  Feeling absolutely great about this decision
474.  Happy that I have enough to do to occupy my time and not have to "twiddle my thumbs" while my husband works
475.  My son's resume is being forwarded for a part-time IT position  (please pray God's will be done on this.  my will is that he gets the job.)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Hiding from truth

I keep myself safe in the world of my own design
Erasing people who disagree
Keeping me the way I want to see and be
I become a person who is desirable
Only by me
Not she
 I won’t give truth entrée
I’ll run away, hide behind a tree
Beneath a blanket I call safety

I'm linking with G-Man with my 55 this morning
I like to face the truth, no matter how ugly, in my life.  Some people don't.  They fascinate me.

461.  Friday, but it seems the same as Thursday and Saturday when one doesn't have a job
462.  Lattes on a weekday
463.  Sleeping late
464.  Sleeping well
465.  Encouragement
466.  The offer of new employment

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Day 2 of life as I now know it

Don't be afraid.  I won't be chronicling my life day-by-day from this time forward.  I am quite sure I will settle into a boring existence that will be of little interest to anyone but myself.  But for now, I need to take a moment to examine my feelings (haha, I don't believe that will take very long), my plans and hopes for this new way of living day-to-day.

Yesterday was a day of decompression.  I spent the day recovering from being unceremoniously dismissed and treated as dangerous person (story still to come).  Tequila was involved.  My husband assured me that, even though my dismissal was done with a heavy hand, these people did me a favor.  I was done with them and the thought of being lured back with money was repulsive, even to me.  So, that was yesterday.

Today I awoke, without the assistance of an alarm clock, at 8:30 a.m.  LOVE IT!  I hadn't slept well the past two nights, so I was very tired.  At about 10:30 last night a GIANT thunderstorm blew through.  There was lightening and thunder and rain... you know, a thunderstorm.  This did not help me fall asleep.  However, the little oblong ambien pill did just fine.  Twenty minutes later I was dead to the world.  Sadly, I snored during the early portion of my slumber thus keeping the husband awake.  (I'm sorry)  So, this was his excuse for sleeping until 10:00 a.m.  Since I don't really know what he typically does all day (being I was typically at work and I just have to take his word for it) I'll take responsibility for the late awakening and subsequent late start to his day.  (yeah, sure... fool me once)

I was pretty happy with myself.  I got up and took a shower and brushed my teeth (it doesn't seem necessary to spell all of this out, but yesterday wasn't a great day for me and today is starting off much better).  I got dressed and started reading blogs and updated my fb status.  Yeah, I'm feeling pretty good.  I typically play with my laptop while I sit on my bed.  Since my husband was still sleeping and he has taken over the bedroom we have set up as an "office" room, I decided to move my laptop to the kitchen table.  After all, if I'm going to blog, sell on Craig's list and eBay and fb, I'm going to need a place to work.

I completely get that this house has been his domain for the last year and a half.  I am the intruder.  So far, he's allowed me to move about the house fairly freely.  I have been warned that I am not allowed to laugh too loudly.  He does not want to be alerted that I think something is funny that he doesn't know about and then has to run down from his office area to see what is so funny.  I will do my best to comply with this request.  (he cracks me up.  no worries, I covered my mouth so my chuckle sound waves would not escape)

This morning, after carrying my laptop down to the kitchen table and setting up my little work space, I went to the coffee machine and pressed the button to initiate the warm-up process.  I returned to my laptop to await the warming of the coffee machine.  No worries.  I know how to make coffee.  While I was typing away on this blog post my husband came down from the bedroom. He was dressed and ready to begin his day.  He let the dog out.  Evidently his morning routine is to come down from the bedroom, let the dog out, warm up the coffee machine, put food in the dog's bowl, let the dog back in, make coffee.  I didn't know anything about this routine.

Everything was going well with his morning routine until he pressed the button to warm the coffee machine.  This button is the same button that needs to be pressed... again... to begin the coffee making process.  The machine sprung to life.  My husband jumped back and said something I won't type here.  Fortunately, no coffee had been inserted, so there was no waste or water spraying on him.  He disagrees, but I claim that he raised his voice to me and recommended that I not screw with his routine.  We are going to be together 24 hours a day and we aren't on vacation.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to screw with his routine.

After a bit of discussion we decided the routine was going to have to be screwed with.  Yes, there will definitely have to be some screwing inserted into the routine.  Literally.  (after all, it's good for his health. :))
451.  A good night's sleep
452.  Acceptance of my situation
453.  A delicious latte in the morning
454.  The kernel of a plan for my new way of life forming in my mind
455.  Time spent in prayer before I started my day (I would like to make this a daily habit)
456.  Grateful that I sleep in a house and not outside during stormy weather
457.  The ability to disagree without be disagreeable
458.  My husband's wisdom of all things employment related
459.  Old co-worker checking up on me
460.  Sister-in-law reading my blog and assuring me that it wasn't just me that gets treated poorly

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I've got nothing to do today but smile

I am now retired.

I feel good and bad at the same time about this turn of events.  No one is more surprised by these conflicted feelings than I am.  I'm learning so much about myself.

I remember that in June 2012 I told myself I would work for one more year.  I loved the way I told myself that story.  It made me happy.  It gave me something to look forward to.  Every time I completed a task on the annual calendar I would tell myself, "Hooray, that's the last time I'll ever have to do that."  It felt like I was checking a box.  And being the strong ISTJ that I am, checking a box feels like success.  I continued through the fiscal year completing task after task, just waiting for June 30, 2013 to arrive.
June 30, 2013 arrived and I didn't quit.  Nobody was more surprised about this than I was, but there were extenuating circumstances.  I wrote about some of them here and here and here.  So there is no need to rehash this whole mess.  Oh, btw, the college I USED to work at is still accepting applications for fall 2013.  (classes begin on September 3rd.  hurry up all you slackers, there is still a place for you this overpriced public institution.)

I am happy.  I mean, I've finally stopped hitting myself with a hammer.  I'm out of a situation that was pretty toxic for me.  I really was never able to buy into the mission statement and mindset of the institution.  I tried to appease this in myself by just doing my job and not getting involved in the culture of the institution.  I wasn't able to keep my feelings completely to myself and ended up not winning any popularity contests.  There just weren't enough conservative capitalists on campus for me to hang around with.  (there were a couple, and we were friends.  hi girlfriend!)  I worked for a guy that believed that making money and talking about how you do that, was vulgar.  Making money in the stock market, on eBay, and renting real estate were my favorite hobbies.  (btw, it was ok to chat about killing birds, his hobby.  not gross at all.)

I am happy.  Now I can do all the things at home I wished I was doing while I was at work.  My lifestyle isn't going to change because I don't have this job anymore.  (well, sadly, I am going to let my house cleaner go today.  it would just not work for someone to come and clean my house while I'm at home.

So, you may ask, why am I not so happy I cannot stand myself?  I guess the first reason is because of my ISTJ personality type.  Yep, I'm my own worst enemy.  I'm a duty fulfiller.  It would have been easier for me to have a couple weeks to tie up all the loose ends of things I was working on.  Instead and because I had already submitted a letter of resignation with a date of August 8th as my last day, they accepted my resignation yesterday and gave me 2 weeks pay in lieu of 2 more weeks of notice.  I need to accept that those things I was working on that I hadn't finished yet, aren't my job anymore.  They don't want me to finish them.  I need to give up the ownership I feel for the work I did.  I don't work there anymore.

My husband tells me he went through this same process when he retired from his job.  He's an ESTJ.  I know it will pass.  Today is just the first day.  The way that my resignation was accepted was done in a strange way.  (I really need to write about that, but I think I need a day or two of distance because it was done in a pretty hurtful way.  a couple days may help me see the humor in it.)

So I'm turning a page.  I'm walking through a new door.  I'm entering a new phase of my life.  I've gone from being a child, to becoming a college student, then a working single adult, to a Navy wife, which turned into a stay at home mother, to a working mother, and then a working empty nester, to what I have now become... retired.  Thank you to all that have held me in prayer during this transition.  I'm ready to do this retired thing the best way I can.  I am accepting any and all suggestions, cyber hugs, real hugs, and hope, strength and experience out there.

To quote Paul Simon, “I've got nothing to do today but smile.”

I'm linking with Emily today at Imperfect Prose because I'm happy, but scared. 

441.  Waking up without an alarm clock
442.  Drinking coffee in my pajamas on a Wednesday and I'm not on vacation
443.  Writing my blog at home
444.  Thinking about my future
445.  Hearing people tell me they will miss me (for a little while)
446.  Thinking about what I want to call this stage of my life (I'm not sure I want to call it retirement just yet)
447.  Allowing myself to feel these feelings (it's not something I typically do)
448.  Being encouraged by my husband
449.  Not having to plan a going away lunch for Sleeping Beauty (his last day is a week from Friday)
450.  Trusting that I am in the center of God's plan for me

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Raising children the Downton Abbey way

I'm having my own private Downton Abbey week.  While surfing all things Downton Abbey on the interwebs, I discovered that season 4 will not begin to be aired in the United States until January 2014.  (pause... to allow for tear wiping)  However, season 4 WILL begin to air in the United Kingdom in October 2013.  (if only we had a queen here in the US.  oh Oprah, why oh why won't you use your power for good, rather than electing poor presidents and promoting movies you buy in order to act?)

As I continue in my longing for Downton Abbey to return to my living room I thought I'd share a little blog I found about raising children the Downton Abbey way.  I mean, seriously, they raise better children on that show than we do.   (even if they only use doctors that tell them what they want to hear which allows their daughter to die after childbirth from preeclampsia / eclampsia.)  I am so looking forward to see how baby George (the new heir of Downton and, by AMAZING coincidence the same name as the new heir to the throne of England) is going to be raised.  I cannot wait.

But we don't have to wait.  Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa Endlich Heffernan have written a blog laying out 17 parenting lessons from Downton Abbey.  If we learn nothing at all from watching the best show on PBS, EVER!, we can learn how to raise good and proper children.

1. Grandparents have a crucial role to play in any family as dispensers of wisdom and healers of souls. No one can put a situation into perspective better than someone who has seen seven decades pass. In times of pain and panic, it is the Dowager who is needed most.

2. If we do not change with the times and listen to those much younger than ourselves -- our children in particular, even when they seem callow and naive -- we will soon become obsolete. The world is spinning on and we must listen to the young or risk forever being a prisoner of 1923 or 2013. Even without a sneak peak of Episode Six, it is clear that Robert better start listening to Matthew.

3. We mustn't wait until caught in the grips of grieving to tell our siblings how much they mean to us. The sibling relationship is life's longest, and we would be fools take it for granted.

4. A home is truly only a building, even if it is Downton Abbey. Losing it or any other possessions matters little compared to losing those we love. We did not shed a tear when we thought the family would lose their beloved Downton; the same cannot be said of Sybil's passing.

5. If our child finds true love (or friendship), whether or not the object of that love is someone we would have selected, we must rejoice for them. A seeming gentleman might jilt our daughter at the altar, but a good man will love her until her last breath. One need only look at the sad episode of Edith and Anthony versus the true love shared by Sybil and Tom.

6. Our children need and deserve our understanding and forgiveness -- true forgiveness, even when they have done wrong. We love them and that love must transcend their mistakes. Mary's painful transgression with Kemal Pamuk did not deprive her of her father's love.

7. Never underestimate the power of a well-chosen few words. Speaking softly but strongly can have amazing results. The Dowager and Dr. Clarkson chose their words judiciously so that even though Cora's heart was breaking, she was not alone.

8. People can reinvent themselves -- just give them a chance to prove that they've changed, and avoid being judgmental and closed-minded, as the family was with Ethel.  (the housemaid that got knocked up)

9. When our deepest gut feeling tells us that there is something wrong with our child, even when experts may not agree, we need to follow our gut. Watching our child for a lifetime, through all of its up and downs, makes us an expert. No one knew Sybil better than her own mother.

10. Turning on those we love at life's worst moments -- although perhaps understandable in our rage -- will only magnify our grief. True consolation and understanding come from those we love the most, as Robert and Cora learn.

11. If someone truly cares for us, we should give them the chance to show how much. It is amazing what good things happen when we let love into our lives, as Daisy did with Mr. Mason.

12. When things are difficult, it helps to have someone to talk to honestly. True friendships are one of life's greatest gifts. We must not keep our problems bottled up inside. Where would Mrs. Hughes be without the loyal Mrs. Patmore?

13. We should teach our children to have faith in the people they love, even at the worst of times, like Anna and Mr. Bates.

14. If we have different rules and standards for our sons and daughters, things will not go well. If Mary could have inherited Downton Abbey, the show might have ended after the first season.

15. We must teach our children to be careful with their trust and alliances. Some who appear to be their friends will betray them. It is hard to know if someone is an O'Brien or a Thomas.

16. The loyalty and love of our children is one of life's greatest blessings, never to be taken lightly. Mary's loyalty to her father, when he is right and even when he is wrong, is a source of comfort and strength.

17. We don't need to like or even approve of everything our children do, but we can still offer encouragement. When our children's passions emerge and they show real enterprise, they need us as their supporters. It is hard not to imagine that someday Robert will be proud of a daughter who is a successful journalist.

Oh how will I wait until January?

431.  New boss, old boss and HR up in a meeting about ME this morning...  I'm still on their radar
432.  Son going to a Job Fair today with a new resume.  Please pray for him to find a job
433.  Looking for motivation and finding it
434.  Cold pizza for lunch
435.  Thinking about taking a trip to Maine and grateful that it will be there when I get there
436.  Being ok that most people aren't has taken with Downton Abbey as I am
437.  Hummingbirds
438.  People that actually focus on raising their children and make it their priority
439.  Being held accountable for your actions and not coddled
440.  Prayer.  I have so many prayers for my son, myself, my nation and other things today.  I'm glad it's a thing God doesn't mind that I do.  Even if I'm just begging

Monday, August 19, 2013

It's Downton Abbey week and let's learn how to love like a lady

Can you believe it's the middle of August?  I mean, kids are going back to school.  Essentially, summer is over.  Done.  We're just about back to the old routine.  And speaking of the old routine... I'm missing Downton Abbey.  Aren't you?  I thought I would indulge myself in thinking about all things Downton.  Sure, I'm going to miss Matthew.  It'll be interesting to watch Mary fall in love again, or not.

I learn so much from Downton Abbey.  I'd love to have the Dowager Countess' quick wit.  I'd love to have Lady Mary's strength and confidence.  I'd love to have Lady Grantham's figure.  And don't get me started on the servants.  I covet servants.  Yet on the personal side, I'd love to have Anna's sweet disposition.

While I was longing for a little Downton Abby love I stumbled upon some blogs.  I know I'm stealing, but I'll give credit where credit is due (just click the title).  I thought some of theses were too good to miss.

5 Love Lessons From Downton Abbey 

1.  Time is precious, don't waste it!  Most of the drama between Lady Mary and Cousin Matthew could have been avoided if either one of these two said three simple words as soon as they felt them to be true: I love you.  Instead, for two seasons we watched these two stubborn, reserved individuals go through love and war — literally — together and apart, with our heart in knots.  Though they finally confessed their love for each other, other couples aren’t so lucky and never get the chance.  If you love someone, tell them while you can — because there may come a time when it is too late.

2.  We all want what we can't have. When Lady Mary's family initially tried to set her up with Cousin Matthew in an effort to secure the family estate, Lady Mary was repulsed and refused him. She turned her nose up to Cousin Matthew, dismissing him as a social-climbing nobody. Cousin Matthew wasn’t so keen on being with the snobbish Lady Mary either. However, as the two got to know one another and a relationship became impossible and forbidden, they quickly fell for each other, reminding us of an age old saying: we all want what we can’t have.

3. Sometimes things don't happen like you expect them to happen. When Lavinia Swire appeared in season two as Cousin Matthew’s fiancé and he seemed to truly LOVE her, it looked like a future for Lady Mary and Matthew was out of the question. It was hard to hate the pitiful Lavinia, who tried to do the honorable thing by staying with Cousin Matthew even after he was injured in the war and unable to bear children. Let's be honest though — we all breathed a huge (guilty) sigh of relief when Lavinia came down with the Spanish Flu. After she caught Matthew and Lady Mary kissing shortly before she died, she said, "I do have some self-worth, just not enough to make you marry the wrong person." Though it was unfortunate for Lavinia, finally, the road was clear for Lady Mary and Matthew to be together again.

4. Don't settle for love. When Lady Mary became engaged to the scoundrel-like newspaper mogul Sir Richard Carlisle, who couldn’t hold a candle to Rhett Butler, she embarked upon a path which so many people follow when they stop believing in love and give up on their lives. With Sir Richard, Lady Mary’s eyes became vacant, her spirit lifeless, her attitude mellow and subdued. Even Lord Grantham and Lady Cora didn’t want their daughter to be with the cunning Sir Richard, despite his wealth and power. Thankfully, Lady Mary came to her senses and saved herself by bravely breaking up with her fiancé, even though he threatened to ruin her by exposing her scandal so the world would know she was “not virtuous.” Lady Mary didn’t care, having been freed at last from a lifetime trapped in a loveless marriage.  The lesson: don’t ever settle for love, or you’ll be preventing yourself from finding true happiness.

5. Love isn't about being flawless.  American poet and author Henry Van Dyke once said, "Love is the heart's immortal thirst to be completely known and all forgiven."  There is no better example of love’s forgiveness than in Downton Abbey.  When Cousin Matthew is injured in the war and may never walk again or have children, all while being engaged to someone else, Lady Mary never leaves his side and accepts him for all that he is.  Likewise, Matthew dismisses any skeletons in Lady Mary’s closet (like the scandalous death of Mary’s first lover, the Turkish diplomat), when he so lovingly says, "You've lived your life, and I've lived mine. Now it's time we've lived them together."

426.  Husband home today (I missed him)
427.  Cake (chocolate)
428.  Sunshine (I miss it now that my office is in a basement)
429.  Jeff Lewis Interior Therapy (I just discovered this show.  I like it.)
430.  Mondays (they really aren't all that bad)

Friday, August 16, 2013

How to throw your happiness away with both hands

Focusing on everyone’s story except your own

Waiting for the perfect moment

Working for nothing more than a paycheck

Harboring feelings of hate

Holding tight to worries and fears

Dwelling on difficulties

Seeking fleeting contentment

Trying to make a big difference immediately

Holding on to someone who hurts you

Magnifying the importance of physical beauty

I'm taking a moment to focus on the stumbling blocks to my happiness.  I thought they may be interesting to you, too.  I found them here.
Linking with G-Man for a Friday Flash 55

421.  Yay, yay FRIDAY
422.  A co-worker said I looked happier lately.  She thought it might be because I have a new boss.  Maybe?
423.  One day closer to having my husband home
424.  I blogged for 5 days in a row
425.  One day closer to having an unpleasant co-worker leave (who knows, maybe that's how they will think of me one day.  :P)