Friday, June 30, 2006
Day 130 - The New Me (I Mean the New Blog)
Can you see that I've changed the name of the blog?
I had to search the help files to figure out how to do that. Changing the name means I don't have to shut down this blog and start another one, since I can just change the name if I need to and GO ON with it.
I am sure you are happy about that. I haven't decided whether or not to change the 'Day XXX' counter though.
But anyway, the countdown is on to Employment! I start work July the 10th, which means I have TEN days of 'vacation' before I start work. Ten days, Ten days... Tick Tick Tick Tick...
I feel a mix of excitement and anticipation, and a bit of chagrin over a few things that I 'should' have accomplished during my layoff...
I should have washed my windows and vacuumed the window screens. (Hey, I've saved a lot of spiders from an early death. Peta should give me an award.)
I should have gotten all my doctor and dentist visits out of the way for the year. Oops. Who looks forward to THAT?
I should have cleaned out my closets.
I should have painted some rooms (I've been saying that for 4 years, so why start now?).
I should have traveled more. (Good grief, Karen, you travel all the bloody time!)
That's not too long of a list. I am sure every single person reading this blog would also like to clean out their closets and paint some rooms. AT LEAST I CLEANED THE OVEN!
I need to open a new checking account in Franklin. I am still using the credit union where I used to work, and that won't cut it forever.
I need to do a wardrobe check and make sure I've got suitable clothes to wear. After my clearance shopping escapades, I have lots of slacks but very few blouses. I might need to go shop for some after I take inventory. Maybe I should shop a bit here in Maine where they don't have a tax on clothing. (Now you're talking, Karen!)
I need to start scoping out a new place to swim. Wish me luck on that one.
I need to go see 'Superman Returns', but I don't know if that belongs in this list or not.
Is that all? I guess so. If I think of more things I need to do, I'll let you know.
Well, it is only 5:47am here in New England, and I am going to go back to BED. That reminds me - in the whole time that I've been laid off, I have not once stayed in bed late. Maybe I should? I dunno!
Have a great day, everyone and maybe I'll add an update later on... TTFN!
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Day 129 - Short and Sweet - While I Digest
It's 4:48am and I'm about to leave for that 'Fly and Park' place near the airport, where I will be whisked off to the front door of my airline of choice, and begin my trip to Maine.
Charlie is putting my suitcase in my Honda-CRV-4 Door-Color-White as we speak.
I can hear you now 'Good Grief - she gets a job and right away starts neglecting the blog'.
Nope, I just won't have time till late today when I am actually at my destination and possibly after I've already eaten a lobster or two.
Ayuh, y'all! ;-)
Update at 5:32 Eastern Time - I am here in Maine about to eat LOBSTER - that means you have to keep waiting for more bloggification!
Update at 6:28pm Eastern Time:
I am totally stuffed after eating Maine Lobster, accompanied by sauteed beet greens, grilled summer squash, and fresh garden peas. YUM-O, says Rachael Ray!
Later we have fresh strawberries and whipped cream to consume. If I ever get hungry again, that is. Can you believe it is strawberry season in Maine? In the South, strawberries come in the first week in MAY! We just had a thunderstorm, too, which sounded nice while we were eating.
New England and lots of other places have had WAY too much rain lately. My plane this morning stopped briefly at Washington National Airport to take on more passengers. I noticed how muddy and swollen all the waterways looked in D.C.
I flew into Boston, then caught an express bus to Portland, Maine.
While on the bus, I noticed a car sitting next to us at a light. Two things caught my attention. First thing - there was a bean bag ashtray on the dashboard of this car! The guy driving had his window down and was smoking, so I thought - 'What does this guy need the ashtray for anyway, as he's using the window as an ashtray'?
The second thing I noticed was the ELBOW of this man, resting on the window ledge of the car. He had THE dirtiest, grubbiest, blackest elbow I have ever seen on an adult. To be honest with you, I don't know if I've ever seen an adult with a grubby elbow, but now I can definitely say I have. YUCK-O! I could have skipped that view with no problem.
On the bus, they showed the movie 'Rumor Has It'. I didn't pay much attention to it, I just wanted to mention that they show movies on buses nowadays. Who woulda thunk it!?
Well, gentle readers, I plan to get up (somewhat) early in the morning and write my blog entry before we hit the road and go to Portland. We're going to visit with my aunt, see her condo, and go out for LOBSTER again for lunch at the famous Captain Newick's restaurant.
Have a wonderful night and wish me luck digesting all this food!
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Day 128 - Job Offer Received and Accepted, Thank You Very Much!
I'LL BE JOINING YOU SOON.
It took less than 24 hours after my second interview to receive an offer, and I didn't waste much time in accepting it, as it was where I wanted to go and in the PERFECT location for me to commute to!
I need to fill out some paperwork today and bring it in. Thanks for the reminder.
I start work at my NEW JOB on Monday, July 10th.
Tomorrow, by the way, I get on a plane and go visit the family in Maine for a long 4th of July weekend. Expect an IOU blog entry tomorrow till very late in the day.
Let's review the timetable for this job search, shall we?
June 12th - posted my resume on DICE and MONSTER.
June 14th - contacted by recruiter about this position.
June 22nd - telephone interview and scheduling for second interview.
June 26th - in-person second interview.
June 27th - verbal offer.
June 27th - notified the other recruiters that I am going 'off the market'.
June 27th - got rid of my resumes on DICE and MONSTER.
Each of the hit counters on DICE and MONSTER were for about 50 reads each on my resume.
June 28th - I'll pick up my written offer letter.
July 10th - Start WORK!
Well, there is not much more today to talk about, this is the BIG news and really BIG news it is!
My mind is racing at 100 miles an hour or more.
I think I tossed and turned half the night last night.
I only remember the manager and directors names, not my new team members.
I neglected to tell you something the day before yesterday...
When I finished my in-person interview, I walked out to the receptionist desk and realized I had left my handbag (the all-important handbag) back in the interview room.
The receptionist had to call and get them to bring it out. I am sure that clinched the position for me, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am a normal, spaced-out IT person. ;-)
So, whaddya think, bloggy fans?
And by the way - when I start work, I guess I should close down this blog and start another one, eh?
Well, I'll be busy today getting ready for my new job AND my trip to Maine. I'll be blogging from there on my Mother's computer.
Poor Charlie will be pining away at home while I am gone, and will probably do boring stuff like go fishing and make chili and watch hunting shows all the time on TV. :-(
TTFN, signing off to go print my boarding passes!
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Day 127 - Where,Oh Where Have the Benefits Gone
You're looking a bit peaked these days - are you ill?
Let's talk about something serious for a change. Insert gasp of wonderment here....
I am a bit surprised at what I am seeing (or not seeing) at the companies I am interviewing with. I don't know if it is a trend with all companies, or just with smaller companies.
All companies I have interviewed with so far have abandoned traditional sick days. They offer either a combined sick and/or vacation time allowance (with two different companies they start you at 15 days combined sick and vacation) to allocate as you can, or redefined the sick time as 'personal days' and start you at two weeks vacation and five or six 'personal days'.
I rarely GET sick, so it shouldn't really bother me, but it makes me a bit uneasy just the same, as I am used to accruing a pool of sick days that I can use if I ever do get really sick.
I have never worked at a company that offered such limited benefits, to be honest with you.
I don't think I like it very much, but I also don't know what alternate choices I have. Do I take a job with limited benefits, or keep looking for a company with better ones? I dunno.
Swiftly changing subjects to lighten the mood...
One funny story from the interview yesterday...
While going over my resume, one person wanted to hear a little bit about a past job I had at the Naval Underwater Systems Center in Newport, RI.
(As you recall, I've told some funny stories in a previous blog about the crusty old sailors that I worked with there).
As I briefly outlined what my job role there was, the questioner remarked how interesting that sounded.
Another person at the table interjected - She was DOING that job before YOU were BORN!
I am still chuckling over that one. It might even be TRUE, which makes me shake my head...
Well, I'm going to get this day going and enjoy my leisure time while I have it! TTFN!
Monday, June 26, 2006
Day 126 - Wild Thing and Wildcats
Sorry to break the news but it's MONDAY again!
(The Evil Bloggyman chuckles madly)
Have you been to any movies lately?
Charlie and I never got around to seeing Mission Impossible III, and now it's almost out of the theatres. Time flies, I guess.
I guess I'll talk about some of my favorite movies for a bit. Many of the movies that come to mind are from the 80's - what happened with movies the next 25 years?
I dunno, until 'Lord of the Rings' I guess I didn't really go crazy over many of them.
Maybe you're still stuck in the 80's when you were YOUNGER, Karen... Well, maybe.
Last night I had a good laugh watching 'Major League' again - I hadn't seen it in a few years and in MY opinion it is a great movie. A tad raunchy maybe, but really funny. I want to cheer myself when the 'Wild Thing' walks up to pitch.
Another sports related funny movie from the 80's that the kids and I loved is 'Wildcats' with Goldie Hawn.
She plays a 'fresh out of suburbia' football coach in an urban Chicago high school.
Some of the Wildcat Cheerleader Cheers are classics like 'You Ugly, You Ugly, Your mamma knows You Ugly!'.
Again, this is another funny but slightly raunchy movie. I am sure the language is worse in 'Major League' though.
I've already mentioned that the kids loved 'The Lost Boys' Vampire movie. They also loved 'The Goonies' and 'Willow'. All of these movies made a bit of a comeback when they were released on DVD. Remember when movies weren't available on DVD yet?
If you haven't seen 'Parenthood' with Steve Martin, do me a favor and rent it. I think it is a wonderful movie.
Come to think of it - 'Terminator', 'Alien' , and 'Starman' came out in the 80's, and I love those movies too.
Side note about movies and shows from the 80's - you have got to get over the big hair and awful clothes people wore then. Truly makes me wince. Linda Hamilton's hair made her look like a sheep dog in the first 'Terminator' movie.
Backing up to the 70's you have the first 'Rocky' movie which I loved, and 'Star Wars', of course.
Well, I guess I've talked enough about movies this morning!
Moving right along...
You recall that I have an in-person interview at 2pm this afternoon in Cool Springs.
I think I'm ready for it, and wish me luck (again and again and again).
Gotta go swim first, then put on my interview outfit yet again! I'm getting good mileage out of it, and my famous interview shoes.
Training update - does anyone have an opinion about the worth of 'Brainbench' certification exams?
I took one just for fun (truly!) yesterday through my e-learning internet site. It was on 'Data Warehousing'.
I had 120 minutes (3 minutes per question) to take it, I finished it in 19 minutes (that means I read the multiple choice options and answered in less than 30 seconds per question), and I passed it, no sweat and no studying.
Update at 7:22pm -
My interview went fine - it was 2 hours long. I met and spoke with a group of five people, then a group of 2 people, then a manager and a director.
They asked quite a few questions, and I asked a bunch of questions too.
I should know one way or the other within a week. Keep wishing me luck!
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Day 125 - Let's Make a (Bad) Deal
We've all made some good deals in our lifetimes, and we've also likely made some rip-roaring bad ones. I just heard a good one this weekend, and have my own story to tell as well.
Someone on Charlie's side of the family had an old Honda that he was using just to drive back and forth to work. It was running worse and worse, and becoming an aggravation rather than a vehicle. You know how that can be with a car, I'm sure.
He took the Honda to a mechanic, who estimated $1200 in repair work to get it into shape again. Of course, the car wasn't worth that much money, so he just got rid of it to a junk dealer for $75. He recently received a phone call from the new owner of the vehicle, because although HE had signed the title over, his wife had not signed it.
It turns out the junk dealer sold the car to someone for $500 as a fixer-upper. Mr. Fixer-Upper fixed it, and sold it to the 'new owner' for $1000. The new owner said it was running great.
*Sigh* That hurts, doesn't it?
I owned a 4-Door-Color-White-Saturn before I bought my Honda-CRV-4-Door-Color-White.
When I was ready to sell it, I priced it at $5000, though I was willing to take $4000 for it. It was in like-new condition, although it had quite a few miles on it.
Long story short, a girl approached me at work about buying the car. She didn't have $5000, and didn't have $4000 either. She had just found out she was pregnant. She wasn't married, and had a minimal income. She had $3000 for a car set aside. We made an arrangement where she could take the car for $3000, and pay me the last $1000 over time as she had the money.
She wrote me a note thanking me, and the note said I had 'changed her life'. Feeling like I'd done a good thing was as far as it went though, because that $3000 was about all I got.
She was never able to come up with more than MAYBE $100 (I'm being generous) toward the $1000, and one of her checks bounced, and then she left the company. I did see her several years later with her young son. She never mentioned the car or the debt, and I didn't either.
*Sigh* That hurts, doesn't it?
And speaking of cars, I heard a joke the other day and promptly forgot the punchline.
You didn't have to admit that, Karen.
I actually GOOGLED it successfully and found the joke! Here it is...
A married couple is driving along the highway at 40mph, with the wife behind the wheel.
Her husband looks across at her and says,“Darling, I know we’ve been married 20 years, but I want a divorce.”
The wife says nothing but ups her speed to 50mph.
The husband continues, “There's something else. I’ve been having an affair with your best friend.”
Again the wife stays quiet, but grips the steering wheel tighter and increases her speed to 60mph.
He pushes it. “I want the house,” he says, and the car reaches 65mph.
“I want the car too,” he continues. 70mph.
“And,” he says, “I’ll have the bank accounts, the dog and the boat.”
The car continues speeding up and veers towards a concrete wall.
This makes him a bit nervous, so he asks, “Isn’t there anything you want?”
The wife replies,“No, I’ve got everything I need.”
“Oh,” the man says,“And what is it you’ve got?”
The wife wrenches the car towards the wall at 90mph and says, “I HAVE THE AIRBAG.”
(play canned audience laughter soundclip from sitcoms)
Well, that's enough for today, my wallet is starting to hurt... ;-)
Charlie is off fishing this morning and I'm going to go swim (of course!).
TTFN and have a nice Sunday, because it's back to work tomorrow! (not for me)
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Day 124 - Cardboard for Breakfast and Opryland Hotel for Lunch
We've just finished a less-than-exciting breakfast experience. *sigh* We tried Turkey Bacon for the first and last time.
Charlie was especially 'repelled' by it's dry and chewy texture, likening it to cardboard. Oops. I thought it a bit more like leaves. ;-)
Thanks to Kell in Germany for this photo, and here is what she wrote about Turkey Bacon:
A Note on Turkey Bacon...
It's great and all, but I feel like hanging it up in a first grade classroom as bulletin board border...
I don't think the tacks would even go into it to hold up the border! ;-)
Quote of the Day:
I feel like such a heifer. I had two bowls of Special K, 3 pieces of turkey bacon, a handful of popcorn, 5 peanut butter M&M's and like 3 pieces of licorice.
Alicia Silverstone as Cher in 'Clueless'
Enough about that! Onward and upward to more interesting chatter...
I haven't mentioned yet that we went on a sightseeing tour to the Opryland Hotel last weekend when we had company. The parking cost $10 plus tax, but I always think it is worth it, and if you eat there in one of the restaurants they will validate your parking ticket so it's free.
If you have never been there, the indoor gardens and atrium areas are UNBELIEVABLE.
Tropical plants, waterfalls, and quiet walkways abound, all indoors.
The scenery is divided into 'areas', and you can pass from one area into another and find a new and different theme to each area.
We entered the Hotel in the Cascades area. The 'Cascade' refers to a huge INDOOR waterfall that cascades down one side.
There are two restaurants within the Cascades area - one is a revolving lounge area (pictured above), and the other is appropriately named the 'Cascades Restaurant'. I usually try to take people there to dine on their wonderful she-crab soup. I have dined there with friends and family many times.
Tiff - weren't you the one who originally took me there for the crab soup?
From the Cascades, you go through another HUGE atrium called the 'Cascades Walkway' area. A huge central walkway takes you above gardens, pools and a gazebo.
Steps will take you down into the lower gardens, where you can walk around and look at the beautiful exotic plants, flowers, and ferns.
It is just breathtaking anytime of the year, but exceptionally decorated at Christmastime.
Hotel rooms line one wall, with balconies overlooking the gardens.
Restaurants line the opposite side of the room.
Continue on to the 'River Delta' area.
There is a man-made circular river that runs through it's gigantic atrium, with a New Orleans theme, shops and restaurants. 'Riverboats' take visitors on rides through the 'Delta' area.
My favorite feature of the Delta area is a Fountain show that features music and choreographed jets of water that rise and fall in time to the music.
It is both relaxing and entertaining at the same time. Words cannot do it justice.
Each half hour (or more often), a special geyser goes off in the center of the fountain, reaching up STORIES high.
My photo again can't do it justice because the geyser is so huge it can't fit in one shot, but please note that this amazing geyser is reaching many floors high toward the beautiful domed ceiling. SPECTACULAR!!!!!
Well, I must run because Charlie is waiting and we're going to go do some shopping. TTFN!
Friday, June 23, 2006
Day 123 - It's Friday! That's Something to Sing About!
(Please sing this to the tune of 'Home, Home on the Range')
Ohhhh, give me a job,
Where I can still write my blog,
Where my hands on the keyboard still play,
Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word,
And with be-ne-fits greater than pay.
Home, Home I should be,
But to stay home would mean no moneyyyy,
A shorter commute,
With an increase to boot,
And my bank account growing each daaaay!
You wonder where I come up with this stuff?
This was running through my head at 5:30 this morning when I was half awake. I have to get it OUT of my head and then maybe it will go away. (Make the voices go away, Karen!)
I've got my big ol' mug of bloggy juice (coffee) here, and Charlie's lunch is made. He's aggravated because the newspaper isn't here yet. That happens just about every Friday.
I wish we could get on someone else's route and get the paper here EARLY, since we're EARLYbirds. We've even been considering getting a different newspaper if they can get that one to us EARLY. Of course, we do live quite a way from civilization, I wonder if that matters?
I have an interview at 9:30, and I'm going to leave PLENTY of time to get over there - you never know what the traffic is going to be like, though I'll be on the tail end of rush hour.
Do you get up in the morning on a 'special' day (or every day) and hope that something awful hasn't happened in the night to turn you into a gargoyle?
One little mosquito bite on your eye and your interview has no hope!
Now I have to go look in the mirror and see if a human looks back at me... I really did go look, and I'm ok. Panic averted, I don't have to go to DEFCON 3 or less.
When I was a kid, I got in the way of some smoke from burning leaves that also had poison ivy in them. Actually it's probably because I love the smell and got in the smoke deliberately. My eye swelled up like anything, and I had to wear an eye patch while it was healing.
Avast there, mateys! I'm a pirate, not a little girl! My friend PJ should get his daughter an eye patch if she doesn't have one already, knowing she loves pirates.
Gosh - I haven't done a quote of the day in a long time!!!
Let's do one about interviews, shall we?
Quote of the day:
'I interviewed Johnny Knoxville once. I was kind of scared to interview him because I thought he might be a real jerk, but he was really nice, and I ripped his chest hair out.' Rachel Perry
Well gang, I'd better get rolling here at the house. Lots of little things to do before I go out the door.
I'll let you know how it went this afternoon after I get home (gotta go swim before I come home). TTFN!
*** Breaking news **** Interview Update ****
Hi everyone - sorry it took me so long to get back online!
YES, the interview went fine.
YES, they liked me and actually appreciated all my YEARS of EXPERIENCE.
YES, they are asking me back for a second interview next week to 'meet everybody'.
The Director who interviewed me, by the way, was wearing JEANS!!!! Whoa!
Jeepers. Sounds like I'm going to have my pick, doesn't it?
In the meantime, I still have new places calling me. I've got to go reasearch one of them right now. This is a place I submitted a resume to in MARCH and they are just getting back to me, and not even about the position I applied for!
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Day 122 - Shine on, Shine on Harvest Veggies, Up on the Counter
It's that time of year again, when the counter gets overloaded with produce from the garden.
We've been 'squashed' for the past week or so.
It's a wonderful thing, but can also be an aggravation - what to DO with it all! How much to give away, how much to freeze, and how much can the two of us CONSUME?
Last night I made some cauliflower with cheese sauce with dinner, but I snuck a yellow squash in there with it just as 'filler'.
I guess I should start eating squash for breakfast too. Wonder if I could make squash wontons. (I don't think so). Last year I dehydrated and froze a lot of squash, it is great in soup and dehydrating it saves SOOO much room in the freezer.
Last year we had so many green beans there was a huge 'ceremonial mound' of them greeting me every day when I came home from work. Thank you Charlie for your gardening prowess!
By the way - I did try the 'Alton Brown' method of cutting up a watermelon and haven't had a chance to talk about it on the blog and show you the photo.
Remember how that works?
You remove the ends and then strip off the peel, leaving one big 'naked' watermelon to cut up any way you want to.
Do you think a bunch of people will surf over to this blog because I put the 'n' word in there? Probably.
My butcher knife could be better, and it would have made the job easier to have used a sharper knife. I saw another Food Network show where Rachel Ray was cutting watermelon. That knife went through it 'just like butta', so I know it was a super-sharp knife.
Changing subjects away from the Harvest topic...
I have a telephone interview this afternoon with a medium sized company in the Cool Springs area. Working in Cool Springs is my #1 preference. I am hopeful about this place too, and a lot of their information is posted right on their website.
You might as well keep your fingers crossed for me till the weekend, as I have an in-person interview tomorrow at yet another place - not in my target location area but a good company.
I have swimming this morning and sophisticated luncheon plans (Taco Bell) with Buddy Joe.
DW - I'm bringing you some zucchini whether you want some or not!
My friend CD just sent me a whole set of 'Low Fat and Healthy' softcover cookbooks organized in categories. Thank you! I started out (appropriately) reading 'Appetizers and Starters'.
After reading about 'Warm Crabmeat Spread' , 'Potato Crabcakes' and 'Pickled Scallops', I'm ready for lunch, not breakfast!
TTFN folks and have a nice day!
**** Breaking News at 5:14pm ****
I just had a phone interview at the 'Medium Sized' company in Cool Springs, AND THEY HAVE ALREADY CALLED MY RECRUITER BACK AND WANT ME TO COME IN FOR AN IN-PERSON INTERVIEW ON MONDAY!
Talk about fast - I had a second interview scheduled within 45 minutes.
A job at this company appears to be a better choice - for example, no on-call rotation duty, they didn't seem stressed out, I would be on a team of 6 people that they say work great together and COMMUNICATE well, better benefits, etc.
I'll know more Monday afternoon, my interview is at 2pm. ;-)
**** End of Breaking News ****
Ok, let's not forget that I have an in-person interview at 9:30am tomorrow morning too, at a different company, but NOT in my preferred area.
(play film clip of Sigourney Weaver whispering 'Lucky Lucky Lucky' as she climbs into the pressure suit before doing battle with 'Mama Alien'.)
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Day 121 - Four Months and Counting!
It has been 4 months now since I was laid off, and TODAY is my first in-person interview for a new position. (applause, applause)
I can hear you - it's about TIME, Karen - the rest of us have to work ALL the time and it's not FAIR that you are having so much fun.
I also have an in-person interview on Friday with a different place, a phone interview Thursday afternoon with yet another place, and I'm waiting to hear from two other companies. Whoa! When it rains, it pours.
My phone is still ringing too often for my liking, which means it rings and a recruiter is on the other end. ;-) Okay, I can't complain too much as they did tell me about companies and openings I didn't know about.
I can't blog for too long this morning, I need to go swim and then get ready for my interview and write down some questions I need to ask.
I'll put on my new 'interview shoes' I bought about a month ago that I've been wearing when I meet recruiters. (Buy one get one at Payless Shoes, I bought one black pair and one brown pair). Booooring and conservative of you, Karen.
So...does that remind you of something? When I got laid off and started my blog, I bought new fuzzy slippers that just 'made it work'. Maybe the same concept applies to my interview shoes. What do YOU think?
I PROMISE I'll write more this afternoon after I get home. In the meantime, wish me luck and TTFN!
I'm baaaaack - no, I haven't left yet - if I leave too early I'll just sit in rush hour traffic anyway.
Speaking of rush hour, I just wanted to mention that THREE companies I should be getting interviews with are within 20 miles of where I live, which is a FAR nicer commute than my previous 40 mile commute each way. A fourth company is moving where I want to be within a year or two.
As I said in a previous blog, the thought makes me giddy.
HOWEVER, eventually I will need to find another *sniff* place to *wail* swim, and I just don't know where I'll end up going...
Okay, TTFN #2!
Update at 3:30pm...
I know you've been holding your breath to see if I had a meltdown and went into hysterics when I stepped into an IT department and saw CUBICLES again! You know it's true...
First of all - it's 3:30 and I haven't even had lunch yet. It's heating up in the microwave right now. I'll blog while I chew, thank you very much.
Bottom line - the interview went fine. I spoke with FIVE different people and was there a bit over 2 hours.
The good news - The people seem nice, the equipment is great, and the work I'd be doing I think I'd like. I'd get a LAPTOP (that was a big bone of contention at my last job), the dress code is casual, and the location is wonderful.
The bad news - they are VERY busy right now and still growing very fast. The guy I'd be working for is stressed out and mentioned MONDAYS are always stressful - doesn't that sound just like ME?. The parking lot is over capacity, I would need to take turns being on-call for support, and initially they only give you a combined 15 days that includes both your sick and your vacation time total. That sounds kinda LOW to me! ;-)
Anyway - we'll see what feedback I get from them, and I should know in a week or two whether or not they'll make an offer.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Day 120 - Know When to Hold 'Em - Texas Holdem, That Is
Everyone throw in a white chip to 'ante up'.
I don't know why I 'OPENED' that way... Get it - Opened, Texas Holdem, that's card-talk. We don't play cards very often, but we have a blast when we do.
Our friends are great card players, so we stayed up pretty late again last night playing poker at the dining room table. It was great fun.
But I'm getting ahead of myself - I should tell you about the rest of our day first. We had our fantastic breakfast casserole, then piled in the car for a big adventure.
We did go to Mennonite country - in a community called 'Muddy Pond' near Monterey, TN heading toward the mountains. It's up on a plateau with farms all around.
It's not very big, but they have their own church, variety store, country store, leather and tack shop, and bakery.
The bakery is named something like the 'Bachen Haus' - the 'Baking House'. My waistline is happy that the bakery was closed on Mondays, PROBABLY because Monday is washing day (thinking back to our Amish country visit recently).
We stopped first at the variety store. Outside, it's a little homey jumble of farm tools, relics, antiques, and handmade furniture next to the owners house and garden.
Inside, we chatted with the owner while we looked at the hodge-podge of bulk spices, homemade goods like bread and fried apple pies, kitchen tools and knives, pots and pans, and all sorts of things. I bought some soup spoons ($3.99), a manicure kit ($3.99), and some stainless steel measuring spoons ($1.90). Oh... also a loaf of homemade wheat bread. ;-)
The nice lady also accommodated my request to buy some of her beet greens in the garden- I don't really care for beets, but I love beet greens (which you cook like spinach) and nobody sells just the greens around here. She went out to the garden and put a lot of greens in a grocery sack and charged me a dollar for them. Fantabulous!
We went to the country store next, which is a much larger and more 'organized' place, and also has a deli. We all bought sandwiches which we ate outside sitting on their porch in rocking chairs. It was just lovely. We also bought spices and I bought some honey and some sassafras tea concentrate - I haven't tried it yet but I'll let you know what I think of it.
We bought some cheeses and cold cuts to go too, which are just ridiculously priced around $3 per POUND. At any city store the same cold cuts would be at least $8 per pound.
Have you ever tasted 'Green Onion Cheese' or 'Bermuda Onion Cheese'? They are wonderful, lightly flavored cheddar cheeses that they get from Amish Country in Pennsylvania.
Charlie bought a new belt at the leather and tack shop, and I saw a ladies riding saddle that had PINK accents - it was adorable... (Yeah, guess I don't need a saddle right now, do I?)
The only thing that kind of shook our romantic view of the place was to see a UPS truck go by. That 'just ain't right'. ;-)
When we got back, we had 'rest time', did some shopping at the mall, and went out for dinner at 'Romano's Macaroni Grill'. I had LOBSTER RAVIOLI which was SOOOO wonderful I could faint for joy thinking about it. I may faint again when I step on the scale. ;-)
We played poker last night. I am NOT a good poker player (our friends are) but I won some hands. We played 5 card draw, 7 card stud, and Texas Holdem and used poker chips instead of pennies or other change.
Ok - insert brag here - I did win the biggest and final pot of the night. We played a version of poker that you had to have at least a pair of Jacks or higher to open and start the bidding, and if nobody had at least a triple - 3 of a kind or a straight nobody could win and the pot kept growing.
My masterful win was just because I was lucky enough to accumulate three 7's. (insert applause here)
Well gang, company is stirring so I'd better go get working on breakfast. We have breakfast casserole to warm up this morning, homemade wheat bread from Mennonite country, and fresh honey for our bread.
TTFN and have a nice Tuesday!
Update at 3:19pm... It's 91 degrees and blistering hot. Hot hot hot.
I had several phone calls this morning from various recruiters about more companies and more interviews! That is good news, because I would like to have some 'choices' if possible.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Day 119 - Reading This Entry May Be Hazardous To Your Waistline
Charlie is still abed this morning, and our company is still sleeping too because we stayed up late last night chatting and sitting out on the deck.
I am going to take a little time to tell you about our Father's Day dinner out last night, and our plans for the day.
By then, I think everyone will be stirring - stirring BREAKFAST, that is...
But let's start with dinner last night.
We all agreed that a 'Catfish House' for dinner sounded like a good idea, and might not have too long of a wait on Father's Day. Catfish is big here in Tennessee, and I cook it quite often myself.
Anyway - we went to the 'Caney Fork Fish Camp' restaurant in Nashville for dinner last night. It has a lodge theme and a waterfall and catfish viewing pond right inside the restaurant.
OF COURSE I used my coupon for a free appetizer - we ordered the little bites of catfish rolled in cornmeal and seasonings. Delicious!
My dinner entree was awesome - Salmon Oscar; grilled salmon topped with asparagus and lump crabmeat. It came with a baked potato and green beans cooked 'Southern Style' with lots of salty bits of ham in them. I thought the price of $15.99 was very reasonable for it. Our friend TY had the same thing.
Our friend SY ordered 'Blackened Grouper', and I tried a bite. It was also really good.
Charlie had the large sized Fried Catfish platter which had three big filets on it, with loaded mashed potatoes and green beans.
Hungry yet? Well, that's all I'm going to say about dinner.
We dodged some rainstorms last night, which we really needed, then they seemed to move off.
We sat around with drinks on the deck and told stories and talked about my job hunt and all that kind of thing. Before we knew it, it was 11:30pm and past time to 'Hit the Hay'.
By the way - company that 'brings stuff' is the best kind of company to have! Our friend CD always brings goodies and coffee and delicious bread and things when she visits.
Our friend SY is cooking breakfast this morning! She brought all the ingredients for a breakfast casserole, and this is how it's made...
The bottom of the casserole dish is lined with soft bread. Then comes a layer of crumbled cooked sausage. Then a layer of thinly sliced mushrooms (I sliced those last night). Then a layer of minced onion. Then a layer of minced green pepper (I chopped those last night). Then an 8oz bag of shredded cheddar cheese. Over all of that, a 6-egg scrambled egg mixture is poured. YUM-O!
In addition, she brought ingredients for a fruit salad. Who could complain about THAT?
When we've recovered from breakfast and cleaned up for the day, we are taking a drive to Mennonite Country (not Amish Country) toward East Tennessee. We plan to have lunch out there.
Have I talked enough about FOOD today? I think SO.
I'd better get back to the kitchen so I can unload the dishwasher and get things ready for our breakfast adventure.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Day 118 - Happy Father's Day!
I hope everyone is planning something special today.
Remember Dad with a card or a dinner out or a promise to be very very good all day and not hog the remote control. ;-)
We are going out to dinner tonight wherever we can find where the lines to get in aren't hours long. ;-)
'Fatherly memories' that spring to mind from my own childhood include:
Going camping (Ah, the pleasant agony of pitching a tent and 'Don't touch the sides' when it rains. I can still recall the smell of a canvas tent and the assorted 'plastic' smells of inflatable air mattresses).
Going fishing (The first fish I ever caught was a sunfish. Sometimes my sisters and I would just take our fishing poles and cast in the back yard where there wasn't any water. Why? I dunno.)
Getting a canoe (I don't know how many times we used it).
And last but not least - my father's gardening and landscaping prowess. He had a great strawberry patch when we lived in Connecticut.
Charlie got to choose his favorite breakfast this morning in honor of Father's Day, but he is doing the dishes while I write my blog. Thanks, Charlie!
Charlie received several cards, an e-card and a gift card.
Another Father's Day treat was to have a visit this morning from a wild turkey and a rabbit.
It's nice to see 'wildlife in action' around the place.
This 'big blob' is a female turkey sitting on our barn lot gate right before she flew down on the other side. She walked around for a while looking for whatever wild turkeys eat. We see her pretty often.
She looks pretty big, doesn't she?
Well, I'd better get a move-on.
NOTICE - I may not be early posting my blog the next few days, as we'll have company. Try not to fall apart or call the national guard if I post later in the day. ;-)
Happy Daddy Day! Love you bye!
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Day 117 - Domestic Goddess and 'Target Provider'
(That's a lineage kind of thing from 'Lord of the Blogs').
Hey, that would have been a good blog title. Maybe I'll do that the next time I'm laid off.
NOT. I just checked on the internet and a lot of folks have already used it. Well FINE then, I WON'T.
Here is a LOTB link with some cute illustrations...
Anyway, I digress. I am supposed to be talking about my moment of Domestic-Goddessment.
I was filling the soap dispensers in the bathrooms, as I do whenever they get low using a big refill jug.
We have visitors coming for lunch in 2 hours and I'm doing the 'company coming' checklist thing AND trying to write my blog. This is not going to be a long blog, I need to dust!
Charlie was entranced. 'What's THAT you have in your hand?' he asked wistfully.
I explained the frugal functionality of refilling soap dispensers with a refill-sized jug rather than buying new ones whenever they get low.
He remarked that he thought I always bought new ones, although the size, type, shape, color, positioning and brand name on our dispensers has not changed in FOUR YEARS and one of them says 'Citrus Basil' scent on it. I love men, I do.
Charlie took a hesitant but eager breath and said - 'It LOOKS like you're about to use that bottle up. ' I agreed.
'CAN I HAVE IT? IT WOULD MAKE A GREAT TARGET!' He even explained WHY it would make a good target and promised to take it down to the barn. ;-)
Adopt a rapturous tone of a dealer describing a precious work of art...
The color of the bottle, the bright label on the front, the large size that could be filled with water before... exploding it. ;-)
And that, my dears, is the rest of the story.
You have a great Saturday and be careful, no matter what you explode!
Friday, June 16, 2006
Day 116 - He's Fishin' For Trout and I'm Fishin' for a Job
Yahoo - it's Friday! The weekend is almost here!
Yeah, yeah, you think that every day for me has been the weekend.
But I will definitely HEAR a difference this weekend, our phone and my cell phone won't be ringing constantly (I hope). ;-)
Catch any fish lately? No?
Because you've had to work? I understand.
Congratulations to Charlie for landing this whopper of a trout.
I would name it 'Bubba' but it was a female.
This big mama was 17 inches long (including head and tail, that is).
Charlie says it's the biggest trout he ever caught, so he's got to be pleased about that!
I cooked it up for dinner last night with the other small trout that he caught.
Please note that this one big trout almost filled the whole electric grill from end to end.
Side note - while I'm thinking of the grill, I remembered to give my friend DW some zucchini. She loves to cook 'em on the grill, and I do too. ;-)
Job Hunt Update - I *believe* the tug of war has been resolved between the two recruiting companies.
I have already had a 45 minute phone interview with the Database Manager of a prospective new employer, and they have already asked me to come in next week for a followup in-person interview.
Do you think that counts as a second interview?
The good news - this company is less than a half hour away (20 mins or so if no traffic), which is SOOO wonderful that I am almost delirious thinking about it. Location, location, location.
The good news - this company is building an environment with GREAT hardware and leading edge software.
The good news - this company has flex hours so I can come in early and beat the traffic.
The bad news - they don't have a lot of staff so a lot of the 'TEAM' is going to be... ME. ;-)
The bad news - their parking lot is PACKED. No cushy parking garage.
Sounds mostly good, doesn't it? That's how I feel. I'll know more next week.
I still have other callbacks to make - we'll see if any of those pan out.
Eeek - it's after 7 o'clock and my wash is done. Gotta run. TTFN and wish me luck!
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Day 115 - Egad, What Have I Done?
Kudos to Tom Krepcio for today's illustration - I pulled it off the web but I think it's a good idea to give him credit for it.
Well, when I posted my resume the other day, I didn't know it would be like this.
I miss my perfectly calm and uninterrupted life already!
I think it's time to turn back the clock and start over.
Our 'regular' phone has 2 messages on it that I haven't had time to respond to.
My cell phone has at least 4 messages that I haven't had time to respond to.
I am playing 'phone tag' with a couple of people. I need to meet with someone later today.
And the emails and letters keep on a-comin. I have had TWENTY-THREE email messages since June 12th in my special email that is for job related stuff.
I even got a LETTER (yes, snail mail) yesterday from the State of Tennessee, after hearing nothing for the longest time.
I even have DRAMA to report - after THREE days I am already in a tug of war between two different recruiters over one company's open position.
I also had another company in Memphis contacting local representatives in Nashville to tell them I am 'on the market' as the email put it.
Is that a good thing, or should I be feeling like a sack of sugar in the grocery store?
I guess it's nice to feel wanted.
I guess it's nice to feel validated.
I guess it's nice to know my skill set is being looked at with interest.
I want to go hide under a rock!
What are YOU going to do today, Karen?
Hide under a rock, thank you very much.
Well, I'm going to keep this short - I've got a lot to do today and the phone will start ringing off the hook soon...
TTFN and send me a secretary and a bodyguard please.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Day 114 - Interview With the Vampire
Look into my eyes. I vant to dlink your blog!!!
By the way - my favorite vampire movie is 'The Lost Boys'. I know my kids will agree.
No, I am not interviewing with a vampire today, BUT I have TWO, count 'em, TWO appointments to speak to ... gasp... two different recruiters this morning. Ouch.
Ok, you know that recruiters are unofficially known as headhunters, but Vampires came to mind so I'm a-gonna run with that one.
Pull up a chair and expose your jugular, please.
Yesterday it seemed like such a good idea - let these guys go to work on my behalf. After all, that's what they DO. I have absolutely been bombarded with phone calls and emails the last couple days. It seems like every worker in Nashville is a recruiter.
Today I keep asking myself - do I really want or need their help? Ah well, I will reserve judgement until I meet them, and you'll be the first to know what I think. ;-)
Maybe what I'm REALLY grumbling about is missing my swim at the pool this morning.
Maybe what I'm REALLY grumbling about is stepping ever closer to going back to WORK.
Maybe what I'm REALLY grumbling about is having to wear work-like clothing.
Maybe what I'm REALLY grumbling about is wasting precious time.
All this grumbling is making me laugh.
Have a swig of Bloggy Juice, Karen and get ON with it.
OK - on to other topics...
My son sent me an email that he went out on his friend's boat and a swan came after them. Sounds like a fun trip. I told him Charlie would take care of that swan for him. ;-)
Charlie brought in 3 summer squash from the garden yesterday. Thanks, Charlie!
I finished my e-learning lab and completed another course. This lab was interesting, and part of a Microsoft course. It connected you to a virtual machine (another server somewhere else) so you could do your lab using real software. What will they think of next?
Charlie overheard a woman at the store use the term 'Case Quarter', which he hadn't heard in a long time. I'd never heard of a quarter referred to that way.
A 'case quarter' is a 25 cent piece (a regular quarter), vs. 25 cents accumulated in any other coinage. Looking around on the web, it is believed to have originated in South Carolina.
DYING to hear more? Here's some of the discussion.
Well, I've got to go get in the shower, decide what to wear, gather up a bunch of materials, print out directions, and basically get ready for my 'Interview With the Vampire'.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Day 113 - Little Miss-Management
I *think* you're my bloggy buddies but I might not remember.
I was going to post a picture of my overfull coffee cup this morning, but I can't find the camera. Just pretend.
I was going to post a picture of the zucchini Charlie harvested from the garden yesterday, but I can't find the camera. Just pretend.
It's not driving me crazy yet, but if I find that camera in the pantry or something, that will be embarrassing.
Let's do some catch-up. I have spent so much time talking about birds and swimming that I haven't really kept you up to date with what's going on in 'the business space'.
Job Hunt Update - I posted my resume on one of those internet job websites yesterday, and instantly got bombarded with several requests for work out of state. Sorry, folks, I ain't a-goin'. I did get a local call from a recruiter about a job nearby that I'll follow up on today.
Training Update - I am set up on the NEW e-learning software system now (remember I got grant money to get some skills update self-paced online training?) I have completed one course and am almost done with another (I have a 45 minute lab to do and then it's done).
NO I am not sitting at home twiddling my thumbs while I am not working, despite what you may believe. AND when I'm NOT busy, I'm reading. ;-)
I have finished reading the Chronicles of Chrestomanci Volume I, and the first book in the Witches of Eileanan series. That's about 700 pages in the last couple of days. I love to read.
EUREKA! The camera is found!
Charlie helped me find it - it was in my swim bag because I'd taken pictures of the outdoor pool the other day. Yahoo! Mystery solved.
I just put a picture of the OUTDOOR pool at the top of this blog. It is just lovely, though the picture looks a bit dark.
Anyway - back to some of the things I wanted to talk about.
I still can't give you a photo of my overfull coffee cup (I need a bigger cup because I like ONE cup in the morning) because half of it's gone now.
We haven't had any rain, so the garden is looking peaked.
The deer and rabbits are having a great time eating the peas and bean plants.
Charlie did bring in some zucchini yesterday and one tomato. This picture is missing one zucchini because we ate it last night in a stir fry.
Good job, Charlie! My friend DW LOVES zucchini, so I'll try to remember to bring her some.
That's enough for now - I'm going to go do that lab before I go swim. Wish me luck! TTFN!
Monday, June 12, 2006
Day 112 - It's Monday Again, and Again, and Again
It's Bloggy-well Monday again.
Maybe you don't believe that after 112 days of freedom I still don't like Mondays. (Insert shrug here.)
Well, I don't. A little less griping and wingeing, please, Karen.
How come my conscience always shows up while I'm writing my blog? It's a mystery.
Condolences to my daughter and son-in-law over the loss of their big white cat, Fred. I posted a picture of him at Eastertime. He was a beautiful cat and very smart.
It is very traumatic to lose a pet, and over the years we have lost many. I guess we all have. We've lost a whole menagerie of pets - mice, hamsters, a snake, fish, dogs, cats, baby birds - you name it, we've had it.
I think fish have the shortest lives, though I managed to keep my beta fish alive for a couple of years, worrying about it every day.
When the kids were younger, I was heading to work one day. I thought I saw our family cat Poncho, dead on the side of the road. I turned the car around and came into the house, already working up a good cry over it. I broke the news to the kids, bawling away. They interrupted me and pointed to our cat who was right there in the house, safe and sound. Oops.
This particular cat had her kittens right IN my son's bed, right by his side. That is trust for you. I heard yells that morning for sure - 'Mom! Mom! The cat had her kittens in my bed!'
Poncho was named after another cat we had with the same name when we lived in Providence, RI. He was such a small kitten when we got him (we found him in a tree) you could hold him in the palm of your hand.
We had a dog that had NINE puppies. They took over the entire kitchen for a couple of months.
We had several stray dogs that adopted us at various times. We found homes for them, but the kids wanted to keep them all. The chief of police in our town ended up with one of them.
Charlie and I had a stray puppy adopt us just a couple years ago. Until I found a home for him, Charlie made him a nice home with a bed of straw in the chicken coop next to the barn. I would go lay in the straw with him like Fern of Charlottes Web. He cried when I left for the house, so I took off my socks and left them with him to keep him company. That was good enough. What is it about dogs and socks, anyway?
Luckily I found a home for him right at the same time he learned how to dig himself out underneath the chicken coop.
I think I mentioned my favorite dog in another blog entry. I named him 'Scrambled Brains', because he would wag his entire body instead of just his tail. He was a VERY well-behaved dog, very mild tempered, and he slept on our front doorstep. He had abandoned the neighbor next door and came to live with us, until the neighbors on the OTHER side of us asked to keep him. He was a great dog.
Well, I hope this blog entry wasn't too sad, but TRY and have a good Monday!
I'm going to go swim and run errands as usual. TTFN!
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Day 111 - A Significant Number?
As I typed 'Day 111' - I thought the number 111 MUST be meaningful in some way.
Coincidentally, it is also the 11th of June, so there are 1's popping out all over the place.
Do you notice things like that? Well, I do.
Here is a snippet I found on the web about '111', and since it's Sunday, I'll pass it along.
I am not agreeing with it or endorsing it, just posting it for your perusal and evaluation.
Now, here is a thumbnail explanation of the number sequences that the angels use to communicate with us:
Whenever you see the sequence 111 or 1111 show up, it is a great sign of a golden opportunity. Both sequences mean that a "doorway" has opened up in which your intentions and goals will manifest extremely quickly. The Angels have taught me to focus my thoughts and intentions whenever I see 111 or 1111, almost like making a wish when a cake with candles is presented to you.
Okay - so if this is true, a golden opportunity is about to present itself. Great! I'll let you know if I get a great job offer or win the lottery or something.
And feel free to MAKE it come true by leaving me a golden opportunity in the comment section.
Blogger is still not working perfectly, and the website for unemployment is down at the moment. That doesn't sound very golden, but I am reserving judgement.
Nuff said about that...
Charlie and I are planning another Sunday drive this afternoon - we enjoyed the one we had last Sunday very much.
People don't go on 'Sunday drives' anymore, do they?
In the past - not everyone in a family had a vehicle. Also, most people did not work on Sunday.
The Sunday drive was a way to get out of the house as a family, see the countryside, and de-stress.
Driving ANYWHERE nowadays is actually a RISK, considering all the nut-case drivers out there.
I was in my health club parking lot (read that PARKING LOT) once this week and some crazy person was driving 90 miles an hour in the PARKING LOT! It scared me to death!
I had to go lay out at the pool until I recovered my Zen-like peace of mind.
Quote of the day:
I wasn't driving down the wrong side of the street, smoking marijuana, waving my gun out the window. Coolio (Karen's note - he's a rapper. Big surprise.)
Jay Leno announced the other night that the worst drivers are in Massachusetts, which of course is where I'm from. ;-) That is NO reflection on MY driving, however. (I hope.)
Well, whatever you do and wherever you go today, look for YOUR golden opportunity, and watch out for the crazy drivers.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Day 110 - Want a Little Sourdough With That Pipe?
Pat-a-cake, Pat-a-cake, Bakers Blog. Bake me a story that isn't a dog... Ouch.
I'm in trouble this morning. Am I a loser?
Looky what I saw on the internet while I was looking up words that rhyme with 'blog'.
...and that one thing that I haven’t done for a week. (Hint: It starts with BL.) I would like to say that the reason I haven’t blogged in a week is that I am not one of those pathetic internet losers who has no social life and must spend countless hours on the net to justify their existence, but the truth is, I am one of those losers.
I prefer to think that my blogging is an act of dedication and creativity on behalf of my READERS, not because I'm some kind of virtual LOSER.
Doctor! Doctor Bloggy! Lay it out for me, Doc. Say it isn't so!!!
Well Karen, I need to express that I am somewhat concerned about your mental state when you begin your blog in this manner...
Oh, all right. I'll act normal for the rest of the blog. NOT!
Now, back to my regularly scheduled blog before my loser-tirade.
Quote of the day:
I never drink water; that is the stuff that rusts pipes. W.C. Fields
I want to tell you a couple of plumbing stories I heard yesterday. This is the TRUTH, not a random act of bloggy-fantasy.
Two different people, one of them Charlie - have related stories to me about plumbers coming to the house, starting work on the pipes, and asking for a piece of bread! Talk about interesting tricks of the trade...
When Charlie was asked, he thought 'Oh, the poor man! He works so hard he's starving and needs some food!'. When Charlie brought him the bread, he also indicated to the plumber that if he was hungry he could join him for a fried chicken dinner. He said the plumber almost fell over laughing, and said 'I'm not going to EAT it, I'm going put it in this pipe!'
Similar story with our friends. When their plumber asked for a piece of bread, the lady of the house asked him 'Do you want anything ON it?'
The technical reason for the use of bread in plumbing repair work is this - the bread absorbs any liquid inside the pipe, which is necessary for the pipe repair to be effective, but then the bread will disintegrate rapidly and be flushed out when the water comes back on as it falls apart.
A perfect and naturally-delicious solution.
I even found a do-it-yourselfers link about it...
The moral of the story is this, dearest bloggies - if you give up bread and go on a low carb diet, don't come crying to me when you can't fix your plumbing problems.
Have a nice Saturday! Love you bye!
Friday, June 09, 2006
Day 109 - Rise and Shine and Get Bloggy Wid It
Hey, you over there, sonny... Please don't touch the blog, I just waxed it.
There was a beautiful sunrise this morning...
I stood, gazing out at the sky's gentle colors as the new morning bathed the propane tank in spring radiance... (makes you want to weep, doesn't it?)
All is well with the world, except Blogger has been having trouble and won't upload my pictures this morning. I'll try them again later. Just imagine a picture of a sunrise in the upper left hand corner.
Quote of the day:
What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives? E. M. Forster
The mockingbird chicklets are starting to look less fluffy-chick-like and more bird-like. They're still camped out around the yard and still like to sit on the deck rails.
No sign of the mouse. Drat.
(insert feminine WAIL here)
An elderly lady at the pool had on a bathing suit like mine one day this week! Mortification!
Roll video clip from 'Peanuts' of Lucy marching in a circle saying 'Uck! Bluck! Poison! Dog Lips! Uck! Bluck!'
AAAARRRGGHHH!!! What'll I do? Pretend it never happened? Give that suit to Goodwill? Mortification!
Darn - it was my famous black and white zebra pattern swimsuit that I ordered out of the coupon section of the Sunday paper (with free shipping, I might add). I thought I was the only person in the world with one. Mortification!
Of course, there were some differences. This woman wears shorts over her swimsuits, reducing the exposure risk ratio to 50%. She also has a COMPLETELY different body type than I do, which actually made it hard for me to recognize that it was the same suit.
However, I KNOW IT, and SHE KNOWS IT, and now YOU KNOW IT. *sigh*
Pretend there's a photo here of a zebra patterned swimsuit SINCE BLOGGER WON'T UPLOAD IT.
(I just tried the photo upload again and it locks up every time. *sigh*)
Craving of the day - ever since we went to Florida I have been craving Oysters Rockefeller again. I stopped in at the 'Aquarium' restaurant at Opry Mills yesterday to see if they make them, and they said they do. I'll have to plan a dining trip there soon.
Oh - I went to the OUTDOOR pool area yesterday at the health club where I swim - after I had my exercise in the warm, indoor pool. (Actually I think I overdid it a bit water-jogging and my knee is sore this morning). It was an absolutely perfect day, bright sunshine, nice breeze, and in the 80's. Todays high - 88 degrees.
I am definitely going back there today and bringing my most recent book - 'The Chronicles of Chrestomanci'. Supposedly Harry Potter fans will like these books. I'll stake out a lounge chair in the shade and camp out for a little while in the breeze. Maybe I'll take a NAP.
That, my friends, is LIVING. TTFN!
By the way - I'll get the pictures posted eventually, as Blogger is still uncooperative.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Day 108 - Five Minutes and Free Parking
I made very careful preparations yesterday to go downtown during Fan Fair registration and attempt to sell the tickets I was not going to use. I hadn't been able to sell them via emails and postings, and let too much time go by to put them on ebay.
Scalping tickets in Tennessee is supposed to be legal, as long as you don't ask over face value. I wasn't even interested in getting face value, but I want to state what I know of 'da rules'.
I thought I might be down there a while, as I have never tried this before and wasn't entirely comfortable about what to expect or how long it might take.
Motivation - I didn't want the tickets to go to waste, and I didn't want to lose all the money I paid for them either!
I unloaded most of my 'junk' from my pocketbook, to make room for a bottled water and an umbrella (I could use this if it rained or got too hot). I also put in a roll of scotch tape to tape a powerpoint sign to myself so I wouldn't have to HOLD it up all day.
My 'scalping outfit of the day' included a baseball cap to keep the sun off my head. I wore my New Balance sneakers with comfortable socks for good foot support.
I had my three tickets around my neck on their lanyards for good visibility.
As you can see - I was ready and set for the long haul. Why didn't I take a picture? Oops.
I drove downtown and drove around the block once to scope out a good parking lot. I also noticed where the scalpers were set up, as they were not allowed on the registration premises at the Entertainment Center. I pulled into the paid lot I had decided on, because it was right next to a LONG row of police cars and I thought that the constant police activity would be a bad-guy deterrent.
There were two women in the car next to mine. One woman rolled down her window and said 'We're leaving - put our parking ticket on your dashboard and it won't cost you a thing'. I gratefully accepted this freebie, and took it as a sign of good things to come.
It was about 2 blocks to walk to the corner where the 'professional' scalpers had congregated. There were several, with signs that said 'I need tickets'.
I thought to myself - well, if I can unload these tickets fast to a 'real' scalper, I'm all done and can be on my way. I had already decided what I wanted for them before I left the house - not full price, but 2/3 of what I paid.
Before I had even crossed the street, one guy made eye contact with me and asked 'Are you going to sell those tickets?' I said yes, and he said 'Let's see what you got.'
He took a look at them, then started off his spiel by asking me what I wanted for them. I told him the honest truth regarding what I wanted. He also warned me that if I tried to sell them myself I needed a street vendor license, which I don't know whether was true or not, but he showed me his.
He started off by offering half of what I wanted, which over the next few minutes increased in $20 increments until I got what I wanted. (He didn't know I've been to Mexico, where they bargain with the tourists exactly the same way over items.) The whole process took maybe five minutes. I was very happy and relieved.
As I walked away, money in hand - he was turning away to a couple standing near another scalper, seemingly to offer these newly purchased tickets to them. I suspect they were gone within another 5 minutes. I was completely and utterly 100% happy with that speedy transaction, having started the day with nothing, and ended up with 'a pocketful of clams' to spend. ;-)
Also, two girls stopped me on my way back to my car asking what it was like to deal with the scalper and what I had gotten for the tickets, because they had tickets to sell too. Evidently they were watching and trying to decide whether to do the same thing. I don't know if they did or not.
Anyway, I walked back to the car, passed along my already-passed-along parking pass to someone else, and went to swim. I was only an hour off my daily schedule, with money in my pocket. Who can complain about that?
Changing subjects - my Aunt Nancy wants the lyrics to the Monkees song 'SHE'. Here they are, I tried to bold the ones that are sung louder than the others.
Words and Music to She by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart
She, she told me that she loved me,And like a fool I believed her from the start.
She, she said she'd never hurt me,But then she turned around and broke my heart
Why am I standing here,Missing her and wishing she were here.
She only did me wrong;I'm better off alone.
She, she devoured all my sweet love,Took all I had and then she fed me dirt.
She, she laughed while I was cryin'.It was such a joke to see the way it hurt.
Why am I standing here,Missing her and wishing she were here.
She only did me wrong;I'm better off alone.
And now I know just why she Keeps me hangin' 'round.
She needs someone to walk on,So her feet don't touch the ground.
But I love her (love her),I need her (need her),I want her (want her).
Yea! Yea! Yea! Yea! Yea! Yea! She!
Why am I standing here,Missing her and wishing she were here.
She only did me wrong now;I'm better off alone.
Why am I missing her?I should be kissing her.
[Repeat and fade last two lines]
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Day 107 - Blog ON, Dude!
Blog on, through the wind,
Blog on, through the rain,
And you'll ne-ver blog-a-lone,
You'll NE-ver blog a-lone....
You know what? I never read anyone else's blog. I guess I should have some interest in what my bloggy-brethren are doing, but I don't. ;-)
Did you know I love Golden Oldies? 50's and 60's are my favorite - Doo Wop for the 50's and MOST music from the 60's.
I actually bought a Monkees Greatest Hits CD (used, of course) recently. WHY, you ask?
I wanted to hear the song 'SHE' again. It was one of those songs that play in my head and one I never, ever have heard on the radio. YES, in case you're wondering, I remembered most of the words.
Trizzle, trazzle, trazzle, trone... go back in time to the 60's...
My sisters and I (along with assorted friends) used to dance in the living room to the Monkees and the Herman's Hermits and the Beatles - we'd do the 'Skate' and the 'Mashed Potato' and the 'Shimmy' and the 'Shingaling' and other ridiculous dances like the 'Boogaloo'. I think one dance might have been named the 'Shovel', or maybe we just made that one up!
Once we even set up a record player in my grandfathers barn in Maine, then climbed up on the barn rafters with our cousin so we could 'go-go dance' like we were on TV. Not very safe if you ask me...
I didn't like the Rolling Stones at that time - they just seemed so... wild and vulgar compared to the Beatles. I like some of their music now, but I'd still rather not LOOK at them. ;-)
By the way - let's talk about 'The Barn' for a moment. The Barn is a big, red, enclosed barn attached to the farmhouse. For a time there was a rope swing in the center of it. There was a built in wooden ladder where you could get to the loft level, and lots of barn swallows. I love the smell of a barn - it smells of wood and hay and age and time...
A back room held all kinds of old farm tools and implements - a big stone grinding wheel, an old washing machine with a roller wringer mechanism, etc. There was an old car in one corner.
My cousins and uncles would get together in the barn and play 'Barn Ball'. Now 'Barn Ball' is a variation of basketball, but VERY rough. Kind of like Full Contact Basketball. Being guys, they loved it, and would laugh about their minor injuries acquired during a game. I cringe when I think of it. Is Barn Ball something unique to our family? One of the mysteries of the world, I guess.
We'd spend evenings in Maine outside with a campfire telling ghost stories, some of which really did scare us to pieces. My favorites were 'Give me my Liver Back', and the 'Loo-ga-roo'.
I always thought my cousin made up this story about something called the 'Loo-ga-roo'. As an adult I found out that it is a real, Canadian based folktale and the correct spelling is 'Loup garou' - it means werewolf! Here's one story on the internet about the Loup garou.
(By the way, I am sure you know that Canada is so close to Maine that there is a lot of influence there. There is also the potato farmer and lobstering industry friction.)
Well, I've just scratched the surface of that subject, but I'd better get my morning going here and quit blogging about 'old stuff'.
Have fun - whatever you 'go-go' and do today! TTFN!
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Day 106 - Two for Tuesday
Can I sell you a Fan Fair ticket?
I still have three and am trying to decide if I even want to go downtown tomorrow and try to scalp them, or just ignore the loss and maybe go to a concert or two myself. Or not.
NO, this is NOT my picture, kudos to 'Eringoblog' for it. I wish!
Charlie and I just witnessed Mr. and Mrs. Pileated Woodpecker at the suet feeder at the same time, one on either side of the pole. I say this every time - they are SOOO big!
I tried to take a picture and scared them off. Drat! I am sure now that who we see most of the time is Mr. Pileated Woodpecker, and he was taking the Misses out for breakfast this morning.
Meanwhile, Mockingbird Mamma is still running herself ragged feeding suet to her chicks, who are fatter than she is but don't know how to go get it for themselves.
No sign of the mouse since I bought traps. That just FIGURES (growl growl). Sheesh.
I am TWO gulps into my power-bloggy-juice (coffee). It is SOOO good! Set up the IV, Doc!
I was introduced (by an elderly lady in the pool) to a new power-exercise-training-tool the other day. TWO empty gallon milk jugs - one for each hand.
(I used to say that's why I wanted two children, one for each hand so I could hang onto them!)
There are three ladies who exercise three mornings a week and use the empty gallon milk jugs for a variety of exercises.
I was also told 'and they could save your life because they'll keep you afloat'. I guess I haven't mentioned that a lot of the water-exercisers don't know how to swim! They just exercise in the water!
By the way - you'll notice that I have been accepted and adopted into the 'retiree realm' - the retirees at the health club include me in their conversations now and try to give me advice. ;-)
One lady shared with me that her daughter had been laid off and didn't go back to work for a year. She was also in IT - what is it about this job that burns people out? Stress, I guess.
You've heard of the 'jaws of life'? Well I just invented the 'claws of life'.
That is when an old person grabs your arm in a vice-grip when they need help walking or need to steady themselves. They don't care WHO it is, but you'll be chosen if you are the closest body. ;-) The problem is when they grab onto someone who is equally as unstable as they are.
Ok, last topic before I close - it's getting close to 7am now...
Being unemployed gives me better access to clearance sales. (Have I mentioned that I probably spend more money being unemployed than when I was employed?)
I have never shopped at Hechts at the mall. That storefront used to be Proffitts, and before that used to be Castner Knotts department store.
Anyway - I checked out their 'Additional 30% off the markdown price' sale yesterday after swimming. I grabbed two pair of $42 Alfred Dunner Traveler career slacks for the paltry price of $13.99 each.
You're buying business clothes, Karen? Is there something you're not telling us? No, just that it's gonna happen eventually...maybe...probably...
'Traveler' clothes, by the way, are called such because they pack well, never wrinkle, and are mix and match kind of stuff. Competition brands are Chicos and Citiknits. Very nice stuff, and 'nuff said about that.
TTFN, have a nice day, and last chance for Fan Fair tickets!
Monday, June 05, 2006
Day 105 - Monday Mooning
Monday has rolled around again, as it has a habit of doing... around once a week, come to think of it...
Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary to Heather and Tony! A year goes by fast!
(A round of applause from the blog-pound with all the women going 'awwwwww' and making other gooey noises that only females make)
When I logged into Blogger just now - one of the blog entries that had just been posted was entitled 'Chuck Norris, I love you'.
Must have been a sign... of sorts.
Anniversary quotes of the day (I liked so many of them!):
It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. Rita Rudner
Love is one long sweet dream, and marriage is the alarm clock. Author Unknown
Spouse: someone who'll stand by you through all the trouble you wouldn't have had if you'd stayed single. Author Unknown
Back to your regularly scheduled blog...
Our house company due this weekend never showed up. They postponed the first night and cancelled the second night, so we were FREE to BE. That's the way we like it.
Charlie and I went out for a Sunday afternoon drive yesterday, which we topped off by going out to dinner at the Santa Fe steak house. It's one of those places that feeds you peanuts beforehand to keep you entertained.
We joined the seniors and the Happy Hour crowd at the ripe old hour of 5pm for dinner. The two hostesses at the door looked like they were about 15 years old and couldn't keep straight whose table to seat someone at next.
I had a BOGO coupon too, which made it even better, as we got $14 off our ticket. YUM-O and Ka-ching. Charlie was served his beer in a quart mason jar.
We both had a grilled filet, baked sweet potato, and salad. I was also interested in a menu item called 'Chicken a la Lawnboy' - who thought that up? It's smothered chicken with spinach, which I guess is the lawn part of the deal. I would have liked that too. Charlie's the Lawnboy around here, and BOY am I thankful. XX-OO
Ornithologist Update - I spotted a barrel-bellied-suds-sucker perched on a stool at the bar there.
Coupon Update - I read in Kiplingers that coupon redemptions are way down nowadays. I don't use anywhere near as many coupons as I did in the 90's, so I agree.
It's supposed to be a lovely day today. After I do some housework, I'm gonna go swim, get some sun, and basically bask in the glow of my blissful unemployment radiance.
That hurt, didn't it? Apologies. XX
Literary Update - I've just finished reading a couple of dragonrider-related books - 'Eragon', 'Eldest', and also finished 'Enchantress from the Stars'. I am running out of stuff to read!! AArrgh! Actually, I just ordered the first four 'Dark Tower' books by Stephen King, and I just won an auction for the first four 'Witches of Eileanan' books, if I can just find something to read until they arrive. I need a library NEXT DOOR.
Gee, Karen, why don't you read a career-planning book? Shuddup, Evil Bloggyman.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Day 104 - Watermelon, Anyone?
I'm going to make this short and maybe write more later.
I've got 'places to go and things to do' today.
First though, I wanted to share with you this 'little snack' that Charlie got for himself from the fridge...
Yes, that is a full sized dinner plate, so that wedge of seedless watermelon probably weighed a pound. ;-)
Go for it, Charlie! I am crazy about watermelon, but only if it's a 'good one'. I hate to go spend 5 or 6 dollars on a bland or mushy watermelon. Grrrrrr...
When I buy a watermelon, I take it apart, cut it into pieces, and store it in plastic containers. This one watermelon made four GALLON containers.
So, Karen, give us your sage advice... What technique do you use to choose a good watermelon?
FIRST - Live in the South. Watermelons and other types of melons are better here.
SECOND - Find the spot where the watermelon touched the ground. It should be yellow, not white.
THIRD - If there are multiple melons with a yellow spot, I also knock on them to find the one that sounds hollow.
FOURTH - I have better luck with the traditional oval shaped seedless or seeded melons vs. the bowling-ball shaped melons.
That's about it for choosing melons.
I watched the Food Network the other day and Alton Brown was dissecting a large watermelon.
He cut off both ends - like you would do with an orange or a squash or something like that.
He then STOOD THE MELON UP on a cutting board on one of those ends, and took out an electric carving knife.
He used the electric carving knife to cut off the entire peel in long sections, leaving one solid mass of melon-deliciousness that you can cut up into whatever shapes you want.
I think that's a great idea, for any sort of melon but especially for seedless.
And that, my friends, is it for now.
Go out, enjoy the nice weather, and have some watermelon for me!
By the way - the first time I published this entry I didn't even spell 'Day 104' right. Oops. TTFN!
Update at 10:03 - I forgot to tell a few things...
I just got out of the shower after using my 'Lucky Soft brand kiddie tears free watermelon-scented foam soap'. Aren't you jealous?
One of my very elderly pool-buddies bought a watermelon this week. She is a hoot and usually launches into a lengthy discussion of whatever is 'hurting' that day when she sees me, as well as describing in detail her cat's daily antics.
Number one- she hurt her back a bit carrying the watermelon. She told me that one of her friends said she should have put it in a garbage bag and dragged it. She told me it weighed 60 pounds, which I am very skeptical about. ;-)
Number two - she ate so much watermelon it elevated her blood sugar. She told me she shouldn't do that but she did the same thing the last time she bought one. ;-)
Last comment - I've just finished picking up THREE notes that Charlie left me in different spots around the house reminding me that I need to get online to Unemployment today. YES I did it. Thanks, Charlie! Love you bye!