Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Last Call

Tonight at work, job number 2, I got a very interesting call.

The gentleman who called was looking for an article that had been published in the paper earlier in the week. I said I would try to help him find it and I did. The conversation then turned to articles and writing and he asked me if I was a writer then what was I doing answering phones for the paper when I should be writing for them, or basically something to that effect.

As Jason DeRusha would say, "Good Question."

Then he asked if I really liked what I was doing and I said, "I love this job. I get to talk to really cool people and yes, there are those who complain, but they usually have a right to complain and I don't take it personally." He asked where I was a writer at and my stock answer was I wrote for my local paper.

He asked if I was making any money off of it and I said, "No, I don't get paid to do it, it's more of a nice way to feed my ego." Then the conversation took a turn.

"When you start believing you are good enough to make money at what you really love doing and are brave enough to take the risk, the money will follow."

I forwarded him the link, thanked him for the conversation and I logged off and went home.

On the way home, I couldn't help thinking about what this random stranger told me over the phone. I have been debating, like I always do, of whether I should just give up this writing dream and just make as much money as I can doing "real work" and just save up and do the writing when I retire, if I ever make it to retirement. I have been thinking of this quite a bit over the last few weeks, looking for some answer to my dilemma and hoping something would speak to me and clarify what I need to do.

I got the answer I wanted.

Through the last call of the night from a random stranger.

Thank you. I know what I have to do. And more importantly, I have to do now, not when I retire and not one day later. I have to take the risk and see what happens.

When I got home, the conversation I had with the love of my life, doubly clarified it for me. Ok. I got the messages, loud and clear.

Thanks again. And I'll keep you all updated with what happens next. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Gift of A Day Off

I know it's been a long time since I last posted.

Since my last post, I have been laid off from my job as a customer service representative for a lawn care company because the season ended. I will be going back in the spring and have taken on working two part-time jobs.

One job is at Target and I work from 4:30 am or 5:30 am to 9:00 am or 10 am or longer, doing logistics, which is unloading freight from the truck and stocking the shelves. My second job is as a customer service representative at a call center for the StarTribune. I love both jobs and love the fact I am not sitting around the house. Since working at Target, I've lost over 20 pounds. My clothes fit better, my sleeping is better (since I have to go to bed earlier), and I get paid to have a very intense workout lifting and walking and bending. I also am home by 6:00 pm which gives me more time to see my honey everyday, even if I have to work at both places on the same day.

I've been working almost everyday at one job or the other since late October, and today was my first day off from both jobs in weeks. I am very grateful for this time and spent it the way I wanted to, with no errands or driving around all over town, or working on a lot of stuff around the house. I was tempted to go nuts and clean and work on stuff around the house, but on the other hand, I wanted to just relax, to rest, to take stock and breathe a little bit. It's been such a crazy time, I haven't allowed myself any time off to just do that.

Today, I slept in as late as I wanted, did some laundry, the dishes and watched my favorite shows in the afternoon: Rachel Ray, The Doctors, The Dr. Oz Show, and Jeopardy. I also caught up on Facebook and on my emails. I even made out my To Do List for the next couple of weeks and also my grocery list for the next week. I will be finishing my NaNoWriMo novel for this year, and posting my word count once I have it verified, and will probably start working on a few ideas for some articles. I haven't allowed myself much time for my writing either. I realized how much I missed it until today. And how much I missed the time to just do what you want to do. It's very precious. Don't waste it.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and I will post again soon. Take care.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I Still Have a Dream...

I came to work on Monday and there seemed to be different kind of energy as I walked in the door. Then as I stepped inside, I heard, "Was it you, Laura? Did you win?" I had to think about it for a moment, and then I realized my co-workers were asking if I had won the Powerball Jackpot.

The answer: NOT YET! :) However, there was a retired couple who won from Dakota County, and after watching the report on the news tonight on WCCO,  I am happy it was them. They both reminded me of my parents, they are both salt of the earth people, people who have worked hard all their lives and were trying like so many of us to figure out if they would ever be able to afford to ever retire. Now they don't have to worry about that. I wish them many, many blessings and I hope they enjoy their retirement in style along with the rest of their family.

As for me, I bought my tickets, playing the same numbers, so am I still dreaming? Yes. Am I going to win? Yes.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

I Had A Dream...

Yes, that is a million dollar bill. What in the world am I thinking putting it up on my blog? What gives?

Well, a few months ago, I had a dream. I dreamt I was at the official lottery drawing, like you see on TV where they pull the balls out and put them up and for the first time in my whole life, I saw all the numbers be drawn one by one. I thought, "I'll never remember them." But I did, when I woke up from that dream, I remembered every single number, and I wrote them down and I have been playing them ever since. Just those numbers. Not any other. In both lotteries, the Powerball and the MegaMillions. If I'm going to win, I want to win big! I have a lot of family to take care of, and a lot of friends who will need some help. Not to mention, I would love to help the veterans in our country and their families.

I heard about a family recently who won the lottery more than once. It got me to thinking. I would love to be the first one to win both jackpots one after the other. The Mega Millions is drawn tomorrow night and the Powerball is drawn on Saturday.

What would you do if you won the lottery? How much would you spend and how much would you put away? Who would you help? Think about it. In the meantime, remember, money is just colored paper. The only value it holds is the value we place upon it. The things that are worth more are worth having, and most of them are free.

Have a great weekend, and Good Luck! :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Goodbye July, Hello August!

July 10, 2011, a thunderstorm rocked Lake Mille Lacs where our boat was docked at Hunter Winfield's Resort. Winds over 60 mph and lake swells caused our boat pictured above to break loose and end up crashing on the rocks on the lakeshore. What you don't see is the three foot wide hole in the bottom of the boat. What amazed me when I took the pictures the next day was that nobody was hurt or killed.

The month of July has been long, hot, challenging and I am glad for the lessons learned (put more insurance on if you can), but I am glad that it is over. August brings a lot of changes. My son is home from Virginia where he worked for the last 3 weeks in the Navy Reserves, only to pack and leave for Fargo to his college orientation. He won't be home long and then he's off to college for good. At least he's not too far from home this time.

I spent today trying to write my children's book I've been working on and found myself getting very frustrated. It was like I forgot how to write. I've been guilty of letting other things get in the way of my writing time, like work & sleep, but it felt like you do when you come back to work from a long vacation. It takes you a few days to get back into the swing of things. I've been away from it for far too long. I am finding myself having a hard time communicating verbally and in my writing. The flow I had before just isn't there. I know I just have to make a point to just write everyday no matter what and it will be like swimming: once you learn how you never forget. :)

Have a great weekend and see you in August!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Time After Time

I used to love the Cindy Lauper version of this song, but tonight I am listening to the version sung by Eva Cassidy on the soundtrack for Smallville. It's a fitting song to listen to on your birthday.

For those of you who have no idea who Eva Cassidy is, she was a young, beautiful inspiring woman with a fabulous voice. Just when things seemed to be going right for her in life and in her singing career, she was diagnosed with melonoma. She died at age 33. But her legacy is she filled the remainder of her days with love, life and music. And she sang her heart out.

We never know how much time we have here on this planet. Yet we continue to take it all for granted. We'll start to do this when we have this amount of money or this kind of house or drive this kind of car. In the meantime, our talents are buried, wasting away, when we should be using them to make ourselves and the world better. I'm as guilty as everyone else. I have barely written a page or two in the last few weeks and I've been paying the price. I haven't been myself, nothing seems right and I feel out of sorts. I've also been crabby.

But I'm still here and made it to another birthday. I'm so very grateful for that, but most importantly, I'm so blessed to have QH and Alex in my life, to have Cannon & the girls, my parents, my sister and brother, and the rest of my family here with me. I am so blessed to have friends both old and young who were so nice and remembered my birthday on Facebook and also by phone. Thank you all. I had a great day. And most of all, thanks to my mother who 42 years ago brought me into this wonderful world.

I hope to make you all proud in the next year. :)

"If your lost you can look, and you will find me. Time after time. If you fall, I will catch you, I will be waiting. Time after time." ~Cyndi Lauper, "Time After Time"

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day 2011!

Since I began my new job I haven't been able to post or write much. I was doing door to door sales, and now have moved into the front office to bring some much needed relief.

I liked doing the door to door, but I know I can be much more useful in the office, or at least I hope I can. We are doing this on a trial basis for now. But most of the ladies who are there are very nice and welcomed me in and once I learn all the stuff I hope to be able to work as fast and as well as they do.

So, here is another holiday I am writing a post about. Mother's Day.

This morning my son, Alex, made me pancakes for Mother's Day. QH bought me shocks, struts, brake pads and changed the oil in my car. He also bought me a cot for camping. I am the luckiest Mom in the world. 

I am very blessed to still have my mother alive and well, and she still makes me laugh and drives me crazy sometimes, and sometimes she doesn't understand me (and vice versa), I know I wouldn't know what to do if she was no longer here.

She is the reason I have no problem talking to people, because she has never met a stranger. She worked for a lot of years as a waitress and bartender, and has not just survived cancer, but thrived. She loves her grandsons very much and enjoys spoiling them and looks forward to the day when she will be spoiling granddaughters (Andy and Lisa, this is your cue!).

She loves birds, feeding the blue jays, the orioles, the finches and the chickadees and red winged black birds that flock around the back deck of her yard. She makes a really great salsa and the best pickles you will ever eat. In fact, she's the reason I can cook at all.

I see a lot of my Mom in myself, and I am very proud today and everyday to be her daughter.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom, and I hope you are as proud of me as I am of you.

Happy Mother's Day also, to my grandmother, Ellen Crawford, to my mother-in-law, Audrey Charlene Hathaway, and to all the moms, moms to be and to the military moms out there.
Special prayers to Aunt Mary, my great-aunt, who was like another grandmother to me. She may not be in this world much longer, but she will leave behind a legacy of kindness and unconditional love and a wonderful smile. She always remembered your birthday, sent two dollars with a card, and bought towels for you for Christmas that matched your bathroom even though you never told her what color it was. Please help me pray for her transition from this life to the next to be as painless as possible. Love you, Aunt Mary.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter 2011!

First off, Happy Easter Everyone!

Today the weather is fabulous, the sun is out and shining with a few puffy clouds mixed in. The turkey is on the grill, and we will be going to my MIL's for dinner later this afternoon. It would be a great day to go for a ride in the 1956 Chevy, but sadly, the Pink Ride has gone to another home. We sold it yesterday to a nice man who was surprising his wife. I will miss the car shows and riding around in it, but things being what they are financially, it wasn't practical to keep it anymore. I had a good cry and I have a lot of great pictures and memories to look back on. It was a lot of fun while it lasted.

Spring is here and I'm looking forward to the flowers blooming, the grass growing and the time when I can sleep with the windows open at night. I'm also looking forward to my new job which starts Monday and learning new things. There is so much promise in the spring and at Easter, especially. It's the promise of a new chance at life, a rebirth,  and a resurrection. It's a season of hope. And we all need to remember that as cold and dark as the winter gets, the light and warmth of spring always follows.

Happy Easter and Welcome Spring!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad!

This picture is my son, Alex with my Mom (left) and my Dad (right). It was taken just before Alex left for the Navy.
Today is my Dad's birthday. It is a special day this year for many reasons.

For those of you who don't know the story, my father was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in September of 2010. He had surgery to remove the tumor from his colon which was starting to permeate the lining, meaning it would have only been a matter of time and it would have spread to his other organs. He came through surgery and then had to go through chemotherapy.

Tomorrow, April 13, 2011, is his last chemo treatment.

This year, I wanted to do something special. I usually get him a silly card that he doesn't read for a week or so, and tell him Happy Birthday, or get him something he really doens't want or need or it ends up collecting dust in the house somewhere. I decided since he has pretty much everything he could need or want, and since he has the gift of good health now, I would have to be a little creative.

What I am doing is donating ten percent (10%) of my income and sales, in my father's name, Tom Crawford, over the next 10 days (April 12-April 22)  to the "Get Your Rear In Gear" event sponsored by the Colon Cancer Coalition. My donation will go for my state, Minnesota. There is a 5K race being held on May 22, 2011. For more information, please go here: 

Through my job, I am paid to show kitchen cutlery products by appointment only. If I sell anything, it is a bonus, but the prospective customer is not required to purchase. I have a great time presenting the product and meeting new people. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with me, call me at (612) 859-3109.

If you would like to donate, please go to and click on the "Donate" button.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

And Happy Birthday, Dad! :)

Monday, April 04, 2011

My New Job: Mother Hen

Last time I posted, I was saying how I had learned a lot of things from losing each one of my jobs, and how I wasn't going to just settle for a paycheck, right? I wanted to find a job that fit with my personality, that I felt a measure of success at and I wanted to help people.

Be careful what you wish for.

The last few weeks I have been sending out applications and resumes all over the place. I then received an email from an online job finding service listing all the places and positions I should look at based upon my resume. One of the positions was for Vector Marketing. Hmmm. Interesting. Should I see what this is about? Sure, what have I got to lose? I clicked on the link, filled out the online application and it said for me to call the number to set up an interview. Ok. I then decided to do it the next day.

I didn't. Instead, I received a phone call from them. What? I then put it off until it kept bugging me. I needed to find out what this was about, if it was a scam, then no harm done, keep looking for a job. They decided to schedule me for an interview on Wednesday. I went in for the interview, not expecting much. I then was shocked to find out it was a sales position.

I sold Avon years ago, so my idea of sales was less than positive. I didn't want to have a bunch of inventory lying around my house (believe it or not, I still have some Avon in my storage room that didn't sell). I wasn't going to have a house full of widgets or what-have-yous lying around my place and try to find someone to buy them.

But something would not let me say no to this. Suddenly, I was wanting this job really bad. I have bills to pay after all, and even if it didn't work out, I might learn something valuable. What the heck. So, as I sat in the waiting room to be called on or not, I felt myself feeling uneasy. Did they think I was a good match? I looked around the room. These were all college or high school students. I am twice their age, almost. My heart started to sink. I was too old. If this opportunity had come along 20 years ago, I would have totally been in. Now, forget it.

Then my name was called. Might as well get this over with. I walked in and sat down and she said, "We've decided to offer you a position."

Shut the front door! Are you kidding me? If it wouldn't have been totally inappropriate, I would have jumped over there and hugged her! (I did give her a Thank You card, handwritten). I was to start training the next day.

Training has been like boot camp for selling stuff. I have learned more about marketing, prospecting, confidence, attitude, recommendations, closing a sale, then I could have ever learned in a college classroom. I was nervous and scared and worried. I was afraid when they gave us our kit I would do something stupid, but with each appointment, it got progressively easier. Most of my family and friends thought it was really cool stuff (I sell CutCo knives), but they all said, "Um, not right now," or "We'd love to have it, but we have no money, " etc. Since the first 10 days are the most intense and they want you to sell and have the most appointments I wasn't sure what I was doing wrong. I had no sales on Saturday and Sunday wasn't looking good either, until I my second appointment.

Finally! I had a sale! It wasn't huge, but it was something. One of the best things about this job is checking in with my manager, Chris, who is encouraging and asks how things go, offering tips on what to do, etc.

And tonight on my final appointment, I was so excited after training to apply what I learned and to tell my friend, Kathy about this product and the opportunities. She looked at me as I was about to leave, "So, you really like this?"

"No, Kathy," I said, "I love this job!"

I am so grateful I have a job that I control, that doesn't control me. I am in a group of young people that inspires me to do more and to set a good example for. I told Chris, I felt like I was the Mother Hen of the team. Most of them are around my son's age, so I also wanted to know how everyone else was doing, checking up on my little chicks to make sure they are all ok and safe and warm.

Of all the jobs I have ever had in my whole life, other than babysitting, this has been the best job I have ever had in my life. I am very proud to be a member of my team and working for Vector Marketing.

If you are looking for a great job, have a great attitude and are over 17 years old, or are a college or high school student looking for scholarship money, please send me an email :,or call me at (612) 859-3109 for information.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Answers to Questions

In my last post, I ended with a few questions to answer. Here we go:

Question #1: What did I learn?

One of the biggest lessons I learned from losing all of these jobs is what I am willing to allow and not allow in order to make money working.

For example, I won’t work like a dog in volcanic heat. I can’t handle the heat. I ended up with heat exhaustion from a temp job in a thermoplastics factory last year. I decided for my health, making $9 an hour wasn’t worth me dying.

I won’t take less than what I’m worth. Most employment agency managers, in order to fill the job and get paid, will tell you, “This is what the job pays.” Whether you can feed your family or pay your bills is the real question. If you have experience, training, education, then don’t just settle for what “the job pays.” You will be miserable. It’s hard to go to work day in and day out where you feel like you are getting ripped off. Your time has a dollar value. Don’t sell yourself short. Do the math and figure out what your minimum pay should be and stick to it. Don’t settle for less just to collect a paycheck.

One of the most amazing things I learned and what happened when I decided for myself when I set my boundaries for what kind of job I would do and how much I wanted to be paid. I was patient, waited it out and found a job that paid MORE than my minimum pay. And while it was hot in the summer, I wasn’t melting each day I went to work.

Question #2: Are you !@#$% nuts? Why are you telling the whole world about this?

Am I nuts? Yes. I’m a woman, therefore, I am nuts to a certain degree. But the safe method of doing the traditional route of hunting for a job isn’t working for me anymore. I find the gap between jobs growing each time I do it. It’s time to try something else, something radical. I know what I want and what I don’t want. I’m moving forward within those parameters, and I’m keeping an open mind.

Another lesson I learned is you never know what is going to come along. Sometimes you just have to see how you feel about something.

For example, I have a degree as a paralegal. The market for paralegal jobs isn’t the greatest where I live and with gas prices being what they are, I can’t afford to commute to the Cities to work. Yes, there is the train, and the bus, but I don’t know if that will work for me. I’ve done the long commute before for a job that paid more and I never saw my family. I was tired all the time and depressed.

I’ve always thought about getting some kind of job working as a paralegal at home. I was watching “Criminal Minds” last night. One of my favorite characters on the show is Garcia. She is the computer guru who finds the baddies and doing Internet research to help the profilers with their cases. I’ve always thought if I had a job like that where I could work at home (or even just go to work doing it) I would be in Heaven.

Later on, I was surfing the Web and I read an article about how hard it is for those with a criminal record to get a job, because most employers are requiring a criminal background check be done before an interview is scheduled. Something in my tiny little brain went “ding, ding, ding” and the next thing I’m checking into how to become a background investigator. Turns out, there is a program you can do at home, to be certified and it’s accredited, accepted, and recognized in my home state. I can do this from home or start my own business. Wow.

This pairs two things I love: research and the law. I can help people. I can have contact with people daily fulfilling my social butterfly needs. I can do this to make money and still pursue my writing career! No commute. No need for gas in my car.
Win, win, win!

So there is an option that came out of the clear blue and would fit with my education and experience. I never would have considered it if I had not let my mind stay open. Open to the possibilities of what I know and I’m trained to do and find a job that fits my needs, not just my bank account.

Please understand. I know I need to make money to pay my bills. The sooner the better because I’m getting cabin fever, and I’m not saying I’m above working crappy jobs to provide for my family. I’ve proven that over the last year or so. I feel life is too short and it’s time I choose bliss as well as bucks.

Why am I telling the whole world about this?

Someone out there, maybe lots of people, are grieving for the jobs they lost, the lifestyle they used to have, but while it’s been painful, it’s for the best. We are all finding the importance of people over things. Experiences matter more than status symbols, and when those experiences are with the ones we love it’s worth a cut in pay or fewer billable hours.

Nobody on this Earth, if they have a heart, will ever say they wished they had spent more time at work instead of with the ones they love. We never know how much time we have and when we spend the majority of our time working to make a living, instead of making a life, our lives get out of balance and we don’t even realize it until something terrible happens.

I don’t want to wait for something terrible to happen. I want to work, but I want to do work that matters. I want to do work that helps people, provides a service, or helps them better themselves and still provide what I need for me and my family.

I don’t think that is too much to ask, do you?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

And Now For Something...Different

I'm not a whiner. I'm not into the whole victim thing, you know, I get picked on or something happens and I feel wronged and cry in the corner while the big bullies laugh at me, until I end up punching someone in the mouth in the church parking lot...Oh, wait, that was Catholic school. Never mind. Fast forward.

Present day. Here I am, once again without a job.

Sigh. (Ok, that's technically a small whine, and it pairs well with cheddar).

I know, it sucks and I'm sure I'm not alone when I make that statement it's not just hard to GET a job, but it's even harder to KEEP one. I could probably find a few people who would say something about why I get let go: age, weight, too friendly, too aloof, too chatty, smile too much, bitchy sometimes, too slow, too fast, weight, age, blah, blah, blah. But when you ask WHY you were let go, you never get a satisfactory answer. They can't. It's against the law so they go the passive-aggressive route and say,

"It's just not working out,"

"The position you hold is no longer available,"

"We're not picking up your option,"

"We're going in a different direction"

"We're downsizing,"

"We're busy NOW, but..."

"It's not personal, it's just business," etc.

For a longer list of lame reasons, click here.

I'm starting to get a complex for crying out loud. You hear that line in your head, "It's not you, you're great. It's me. Can we still be friends?" and you wonder if this is real life or the finale of "The Bachelor" all over again.

I started running through the list of people I came in contact with to figure out who I offended, who I pissed off, and what I did in a previous life to keep losing job after job after job. You don't get a do-over if you screw up with some companies and if you are a temporary employee, then you are expendable anyway. You could just "look wrong" and they will find something, some reason, to get rid of you and not get sued. Which is why you get the above excuses.

So, to those I used to work with, if I offended, pissed off, enraged, chatted too much, smiled too much or if you just don't like fat, middle-aged women with a warped sense of humor and a positive attitude, and a killer recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies, fudge and salsa, then that's YOUR PROBLEM.

I am who I am and I'm not ashamed of who or what I am.

And what is wrong with communication?

Please. Tell me.

Most people run around typing what they want to tell someone on a small little computer keyboard in a short hand nobody but teenagers can understand instead of looking someone in the face.
Or, they actually dial a number on their "smart phones" and speaking to the other person.
We have all become so impersonal and desensitized to one another, that if you actually do something nice, like smile and ask someone how they are, they think you have an agenda.

I admit it.

I did have an agenda.

I really wanted to know how you were.
And I really was happy the sun came out and it was horrible what happened in Japan.

If you can't get to know people and talk to them and get them to talk to you, you can't do your job effectively, can you?

And if someone you are training asks (begs) for help, instruction, guidance, (a training manual) and you are in charge of training them, and act like a member of a really dysfunctional family and think "If I just keep quiet, they will stop asking about it, or distract them and keep them off the subject" or ignore their request completely (basically, setting them up to fail), then isn't that counter productive?
Training should not just stop after a few weeks. In some professions and jobs it is a continuing education. (I forgot to add, I asked too many questions.)

So, in light of this new information, I made a decision. Since I'm not making a consistent living as a temp in manufacturing, just to have a paycheck, then drastic times call for drastic (and fun) measures. 

Time to go for something completely different. Instead of getting all upset, angry, depressed, and feeling like I was the second lowest form of life on the planet, I am going to make this a different experience. I'm going to act like it's Christmas Eve and Santa is clomping those big, old black boots on my rooftop and fake it, until I make it. I'm going to make this a fun, positive, uplifting and life changing experience.

I still want to get a real print book in my hands before I collect social security (and I have a great idea from this whole experience, but nothing solid yet, still working it out).

I need a total career change.

I need a job makeover.

I need a plan.

Since it worked for me finding the love of my life, I'm going to find the work that I love that will provide for me and my family until I retire (or expire), whichever comes first.

Here's my wish list:

Laura's New Career Wish List 2011

1. Best selling published author (like NY Times Top 10), making Stephen King or James Patterson money.
2. Freelance copywriter/marketer making Bob Bly money
3. Professional Public Speaker, motivational, like Tony Robbins only not as loud. :) I have no fear of speaking in front of large crowds (Thanks, Mrs. Fliginger).
4. Work from home as a researcher, blog writer, marketer, book reviewer or movie reviewer and get paid Seth Godin money or Bob Bly money (I like Bob Bly).

6. Paralegal or Legal Secretary (I do have a degree, ladies and gentleman), for criminal or family law, $30,000 per year minimum.
7. Receptionist, or Administrative Assistant making more than $15 per hour.
8. Become a Pharmacy Technician and work at Walgreens so we can move to Florida. (Job security). 

Now. Take a deep breath and let it out.

I will be looking at this every day, planning how I'm going to make it happen, but most importantly (and those who got sucked in by "The Secret", this is the important part), I'm actually going to DO SOMETHING EVERYDAY TO MAKE IT TO MY GOALS!

Because while the lottery jackpot is up there, and I do have a few dollars left, I do know this: If you are playing with scared money, you're not gonna win. And that's not a sound investment of time or money. I would have better luck as lunch for a Great White or becoming a human lightening rod.

I can hear what you are all going to say, so lets get the arguments out of the way.

Argument #1: It's not realistic. 
Yes, it's 'out there' kind of thinking, but the old school, go to college, get a degree, get a job and work until you are 65 or older isn't what is working anymore. Companies don't want to hire people out right. They want to have their options open and they don't want to spend all the money on an employee that won't work out in the long run (insurance, work comp, taxes, etc), so they hire temps. That is not working for me any more.

I want a home. A work home.

I want someplace to show up for work everyday and make the money I need to take care of my family. If that's here at home, where I sit now, or if I have to drive, take a train or a bus, that's fine.  

But my reality is I have to work.

I have to do some kind of work that makes me feel like I accomplished something or helped someone, or my favorite, made me proud of what I did, like call your Mom and tell her proud. 

What I learned from my job loss experience before is, I need to associate with real life human beings on a daily basis. I am curious, I'm an observer and through my interactions with most of the people I have worked with, I have worked with some of the most interesting, kind, wonderful, funny people who put that annoying smile on my face day after day. Work is my playground. It's where I shine. I need to be in a place where what I do matters, even if it's just that it matters to me and it's more than "what I do for money" (which makes me feel dirty).

Argument #2: What makes you so perfect? Were you the perfect employee? 
Not by a long shot. I'm not perfect and sometimes I did argue a few cases with management about the quality of my parts, my operators, my company, my peeps, and I know you are just supposed to shut up and get back to work and for the most part I did, but in all the years I've worked I usually got along with most everyone. Most.

True, there are those who are not my biggest fan (and the feeling is mutual) like the emotional vampires that lurk in the darkest places of every work environment and cause trouble for everyone. Those are the people I try to limit contact with because it's like running in quick sand. Once they catch you, they don't let go until they tell you EVERYTHING and the next thing you know you wonder why the sun even rises and sets on it's own and begin to lose hope it ever will again and begin to think being sucked down in their misery to suffocate is not a bad way to go. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And I hate running.

Argument #3: What the hell is your point?
My point is this, if you only get one shot at this life, and you keep doing the same thing over and over and getting the same results, and the results are...not good, then you need to change your approach. I'm not going to grieve over this job loss. I'm not. I will miss the wonderful people I met and worked side by side with for the last few months, even the P.I.T.A.s, but I did learn a lot from working there and if you are losing job after job and are not at least learning something from the people and the experiences you have, then you need professional help. Seriously.

Question #1: What did I learn? 

Question #2: Are you !@#$% nuts? Why are you telling the whole world about this?

The answer to these and other questions will be answered soon.

Tune in for my next post. :)

Please feel free to leave a comment and have a fabulous week! :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2011!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

May there always be work for your hands to do.
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine on your windowpane.
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

Wishing you and yours a million and one blessings on this St. Patrick’s Day and everyday! 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

One Writer's Search For Meaning

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance.~Viktor E. Frankl


All weekend I've been sick, nursing a cold/sinus infection. I've been pretty miserable, but trying to "will myself better" so I can go to work tomorrow. I've allowed myself to be sick, and to take care of myself, to sleep and drink a lot of tea (lemon/ginseng and orange/jasmine tea with hot water and honey), broth, and watch what I want on television (mostly Netflix) and just laze around.

This is not my normal state of being, I assure you. What brought my sickness about is a run down immune system caused by stress and worry. Stress of mind, body and spirit. Worries that haven't manifested or may never manifest, but they still keep running through my head. I keep running on the hamster wheel, going nowhere, not allowing myself time to think, time to sleep, or time to just BE. It finally caught up with me.

As you all know, I dream of being a published writer, someday.

I write here on my blog and tell all my little stories and adventures thinking someone out there must be reading it, even if it's only a handful of my family and friends. I used to wrote articles for the local newspaper, and I'm re-writing and editing a few novels I have written and finished, thanks to National Novel Writing Month in the past, but I never seem to get any further than that. The writing gets pushed back, or I get distracted with something else, or I find some excuse not to finish what I started.

Why? What is the point of writing if you are not going to share it with the world? Why keep doing it? Why not just publish something, ANYTHING, and get it over with? What's the obstacle that keeps me from finishing my so-called dream?

Fear. Fear of success. Fear of failure. Fear that I will change and that everything will change (which is really silly, because EVERYTHING changes. Nothing is stagnant forever). Well, that is part of it. Mostly, I feel that without becoming a writer, my purpose, my life, is really meaningless. Without the actual act of writing, even for a blog, or a journal, or even a letter or a thank-you card, I feel I am not fulfilling my life's purpose. Everyone keeps asking me when the book is going to get published, when I'm going to have it in their hands and available to buy. I always say, "I'm working on it. I'm editing it. Soon. Soon." But then "soon" never comes. I am not only lying to them, but I am lying to myself. That's wrong. Not fair to them and not fair to me either. I didn't really understand why I was doing this, and how to move beyond it to the place I really want to be. I keep sabotaging myself. 

This weekend I did some reading. I ordered a book I've been wanting to read for a very long time. Since I was sick this weekend, I finally gave myself the time to read it. The book is called, "Man's Search For Meaning," by Dr. Viktor Frankl. If you have not read it yet, please, get this book by any means necessary and read it. If you have children, especially teenagers, give it to them and have them read it. It's that important.

In this book, Dr. Frankl describes in detail his life as a prisoner in four concentration camps including Auschwitz. You would think the subject matter would be depressing, and sometimes it is sad, and I did cry in some parts and at the end, but it is also full of hope and inspiration.

He tells how he and his fellow prisoners could see when someone had lost hope, the signs of their soon to be demise, their inability to get dressed, to even go to work, even if under threat of a beating by the SS guards, how they would just sit, literally in their own juices, smoking their last cigarette, until they died.

It is very dangerous, and deadly, to lose hope, to believe that there is no meaning to your life, when you are faced with such unavoidable circumstances such as unemployment, prison, or death. He details how you can survive the three most horrible things: pain, guilt and death and do them with dignity. That if a man has meaning in his life, something or someone to live for, he can survive anything. And even if it is not possible for him to survive, he can hold his head up high and stand up with honor, while facing death or disease.

This is a man, who lost his whole family: his elderly parents, his young and pregnant wife, his brother, and came back to Vienna to help those after the war, and also in the process, helped himself. He wrote this book in 9 days.

That's not a typo. Nine (9) days. And he went on to marry, have children and continue his work until he died in his 90's in 1997.

But most importantly, he found a way to live, to love and to work to help others. He was able to put that nightmare behind him, find the beauty and humor in that experience and go on to be a joyful, grateful human being, with meaning in his life and his life's work. So many times, the odds were against him surviving, and yet, he made it, because of his attitude toward his situation. He was able to see, even in that horrible place, the beauty of the mountains, the trees, the flowers, the sunsets, and the spirits in his fellow inmates.

Most of what is stressing me out is real: the threat of unemployment again (I keep having bad dreams of it happening again), of not being able to provide for my family, of failing again at my writing, at not measuring up to my expectations or the expectations of those I care about (mostly my expectations are almost impossible to achieve), being good at everything and when I'm not, beating myself up for it, blah, blah, blah.

Now, after reading this book, I ask myself. What is there to fear? If this man could go through losing everything and becoming just "a number", as he describes it, and then write something touching millions of readers and helping them out of the abyss of their despair, and it continues to inspire teachers, therapists, and writers, then isn't it the purpose of every write to touch the life of one person with their words and their work, and leave a legacy behind that will be as true today as it was when it was written? Isn't that why we all write?

We surely write for ourselves on one level, even if it is just to calm the voices and the storms in our heads and get the words on the screen or on the page. But ultimately, we write for the reader, hoping on some level, we are able to help them escape, or laugh or cry or be touched or excited, even for just a little while. And to inspire future writers to take up the pen, or hit those keys.

A blog will disappear with the stroke of a key. And while I really enjoy writing this blog, that is not what I want. I want a legacy. I want a permanent legacy. I want a real, hold in your hands book with my name on it. I want someone to say, as I did tonight as I closed the last page of Dr. Frankl's book, "Thank you for writing this. Thank you. It's what I really needed right now."

I'm feeling much better.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Everybody Is God's Somebody

When I get home from work each night, I have a typical routine. I take a shower, grab a little snack and settle in to email on the computer or watch some television. I sometimes stay up late enough to watch a replay of "Oprah." I watched it last night and was inspired by a set of twins, Helen and Ellen, who are in their eighties and serve food to the community in a small place called "The Love Kitchen" in Knoxville, Tennessee. There was also a younger woman by the name of Dani Johnson, a millionaire, who did work in The Love Kitchen for a show called "Secret Millionaire."

Dani Johnson was no stranger to struggle or striving. She was abused and neglected by her parents, and at the age of seventeen, she became pregnant. By the time she was twenty-one years old, she was homeless. In a little over 2 years, with only a pay phone and the trunk of her car, she began selling health products and was soon a millionaire. She is now happily married for 19 years and has five children. As part of the show, she was supposed to live on $40 per week.

$40 dollars per week. 

She said on the show that it was actually too much money. She said for one person, she was able to keep money in her wallet and survive and thrive on that amount of money. She said even now, as a millionaire, she and her family have a budget of $100 per week. That might explain why she is a millionaire! 

As she was living this way, for about a month (I'm not completely sure, I haven't watched the show), she was to find people in the same situation she was in, who would inspire others. And in the twin sisters, Ellen and Helen, she most certainly found inspiration.

Their motto, taught to them by their father, is "Everybody is God's Somebody."

He also said, "There is no race. Only the Human Race," and told them to "never eat the last piece of bread off the table because someone might be hungry and come looking for it."

I got a great kick out of watching these ladies, and they said they would never slow down. "Lord, if you come to take me, take me on my feet."

I am happy to say that they received a check from Dani Johnson on the show for $20,000 and Oprah contacted Kroger's and they donated a year's worth of food to The Love Kitchen, which will feed the thousands they feed every week and then some. I'm sure because of the show they will reap even more than they have sown, and I am happy for them and the community that needs it so desperately.

I know there are more people like Dani, Helen and Ellen in this world, and I thank them for the work they do. Blessings to them all and the people they serve.

To learn more about The Love Kitchen, go here, or you can find them on Facebook.

And for more on Dani Johnson, visit here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I got home from work on Friday night and found these sitting on my table. I have the sweetest man in the whole world. He warms my heart everyday, and it's not because he brings me flowers. He does it by making me laugh, going to work everyday, doing the dishes, the laundry, shoveling and plowing the driveway, and by just snuggling with me on the couch. He doesn't have to do anything at all, but he does lots of things for me that help me out everyday. I am so grateful to have a man who loves me for who I am, warts and all, and who makes me feel like I'm the most important person in the world, even if I don't think that way about myself. He encourages me to live my dreams, to be the person I want to be not the person everyone expects me to be. He's the love of my life and I love every minute I am with him and when I'm not, I'm counting the minutes until I can be with him again. Thank you for all you do for me, honey, and know how much I love you on this Valentine's Day, and everyday.

And Happy Valentine's Day to everyone else out there. I wish for you all, a love as great as mine. :)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

February: Curse or Blessing?

February is a strange month for me. If anything significant is going to happen to me in my life, it usually happens in the month of February.

I have no idea why the shortest month of the year is usually the most turbulent for me. I don't know if it has anything to do with my astrological sign (Gemini) or how the planets are aligned in any particular way for me or if it just is that shit happens to me a lot in the month of February. It has been both a blessing and a curse for me.

Ironically, the curses have a way of turning into blessings.
Many years ago, my parents separated in the month of February. The blessings were, we all ended up in Minnesota where we were all able to start over and have a great life together and on our own.

I found out I was pregnant with my son, Alex, on Valentine's Day, almost two weeks after I broke up with his Dad in 1989. This turned out to be a blessing for many reasons, but at the time, I was scared to death and didn't know what to do. Alex was born on May 5, 1989.

My mother found out she had breast cancer and she had a masectomy in February of 2000. Good news is, she has been cancer free since then and has not had to have any further treatment.

This year has been kind of quiet, so I'm curious to see what happens. And I'm anxious to see what I will learn from the shortest month of the year.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Woke Up This Morning

I woke up this morning. It's going to be a good day.

Yesterday, well, it wasn't such a good day. I've been upset with how things have been going at work. The last couple of weeks have been very stressful, challenging, to say the least. I usually can put stuff like that aside and keep on going, but for some reason, it's not working. I left work last night very upset, my mind racing and full of stuff turning over and over in my head. I was distracted to say the least. Not good to jump into your car when you are in that state, but I wanted to get home. Put that night behind me. I should have taken a moment and assessed things, taken a deep breath, and let it go. I didn't. Instead, I got the hell out of there.

As I travelled down Highway 10, I was happy to be heading to home. I was between Ramsey and Elk River, when I heard my inner voice say, "You need to get gas." Just then, I looked down and my gas gauge was reading "E".

Crap!! I thought, "The next gas station is right up here, I'll pull in and get gas there."

**Cough, cough, sputter, sputter**

I had to pull over to the side of the highway. Stupid, stupid, stupid!! I put gas in the other day, and I only have been going to work (gas prices have gone up, so I didn't have as much in my tank as I thought), ... Crap!!

I got out my cell phone and called AAA. They would send someone out right away to put gas in my tank. Then I looked out and it was starting to snow. Great. Fabulous. I was getting cold and I was hoping someone would come soon.

About 20 minutes later, a police car pulled behind me with his lights on. It was an officer from the Elk River Police Department. I handed him my license and showed him my AAA card and let him know I was just out of gas and waiting for the tow driver from Collins Brothers. He said he would wait behind me until the tow showed up. "I just passed a Collins Brothers tow driver on 169, so he's probably on his way." I thanked him, and waited. I was ready to cry, but I didn't.

The tow arrived about 15 minutes later. He took my AAA card, then put gas in my tank. He was a nice young man, I didn't see his name on his jacket, but I told him how much I appreciated him getting to me as quick as he could. He gave me my card back, and then he got into his truck after I started my car and left. I signaled and got back on Highway 10 and made it to the gas station. I looked and the police officer was behind me and once I got into the turn lane for the gas station, he passed by me.

Thank God for AAA, and for Officer Morgan of the Elk River Police Department and for Collins Brothers Towing in Elk River. But Thanks to God I woke up this morning in my nice, warm bed, and have the opportunity to turn the last two weeks around.

Lessons learned: Make sure you have a full tank of gas at all times. Especially in the winter.

Also, don't get behind the wheel of a car when you are upset or distracted. Turn off the damn cell phones and drive!

Don't forget your AAA card, and if you don't have one, get one.

And most importantly, let go whatever has your head in a spin. Just take a deep breath, and let it go.

If you can't change it or control it, let it go. It's not worth sitting out in the cold by the side of the highway in the snow. It's not worth your life.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Six Months

Today I have been working exactly six months at my current job as a quality control inspector. Since I was laid off in June of 2009, this is the longest job I have held. So far.

I  am grateful to still be working and have a weekly paycheck. I am grateful to everyone I work with and to be learning all the things I am learning. I hope I can say in six months, I have been there for a whole year.

But Life is strange and you never know where you will end up. So, we shall see what happens next. It'll be good.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

His Name Is Skippy

Today Skippy went home. I was sad to see him leave, but I was glad he was reunited with his family. This morning he was wagging his tail when I came into the living room and was licking my hands and even wanted to sit on my lap. Uh-oh. There goes my heart. I knew I had to find his family because as much as I was falling in love with this little guy, I knew that someone was looking for him, someone that loved him a lot longer than I did. So, I decided to start sending his pictures and emails to all the animal shelters and when I Googled 'Sherburne County Animal Control' I got the website and the number to call for lost and found pets.

I called them and they described him even down to the color of the collar. They gave me the number of the owner and I called and told her, "I think I have your dog." She described him and said, "His name is Skippy." When I called him that his head perked up and his tail started wagging. I knew that was him. I asked for her address, and told her I would bring him home. I showered, got dressed, warmed up the car, and as we drove and got closer to the neighborhood, he was getting excited. He knew he was coming home.

I got to the door and buzzed the door bell, and the woman came to the door with a small Chihuahua under foot. I found out his name was Tito. I told her who I was and asked her name and said, "I brought your dog. I'll go get him." I opened the car door and Skippy heard his little friend barking and out he jumped and into the house he ran. She was standing in the cold, saying, "It's him!" I was so happy to have delivered him back to his family. It really made my week. I felt like a million bucks.

She explained Skippy was her Dad's dog and they are here visiting. He disappeared after she let him and Tito out to go potty and said they had been looking for him day and night with flashlights and looking everywhere in the woods and everything. I explained how he ended up at our house, that I took him to the vet to be scanned for a chip and he was checked out and given a clean bill of health.  I also told her he was spoiled a lot while he was with us, but we were happy he was back home.

We hugged and she thanked me. I left feeling so wonderful.

I'm so glad I did one right thing today. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Little Dog Found

This little guy was found around our place last night. He's small, has short black fur with white on his chest and on his feet. He was lost, cold, and hungry. So, of course we brought him in since the temperatures were going to be brutally cold last night. He's been fed, taken out for potty and seems to like my couch with the pillows and the nice warm blanket I put around him this morning. We know he belongs to someone, he has been well taken care of and his nails are clipped. He has a collar, but no tags and he won't tell us his name. We've nicknamed him Mongo. I'm taking him to the local vet clinic to see if he has been microchipped. If anyone knows who he belongs to, or is looking for him, please call (763) 856-2711. Thanks.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Water Tree

Here's a little video showing the water tree my son, Alex, helped build aboard the USS Carl Vinson to help bring water to the people of Haiti after the earthquake one year ago.

Warning: Adjust your volume. It gets a little loud towards the end of the video. Thanks.

What A Difference A Year Makes

Tonight, my son is sleeping, safe and sound in his own bedroom, and will rise early and go to work. I am more grateful to God and all the Angels and Saints in Heaven for that simple fact.

One year ago today, Haiti was hit by a devasting earthquake. The next thing I knew, my son's ship, the USS Carl Vinson, was being named on national television by the President of the United States. At that time, I was not in a good place emotionally, physically, or mentally. I was unemployed, out of hope, and beginning to think my life was over. Then I find out my only son is heading for ground zero where people are fighting and killing over food and water. Let's just say, it did nothing to help my situation at the time. As much as I wanted to keep watching the news, I couldn't. It was too terrifying.

I cried. I cried a lot. I didn't know what to do, and the worst part was not being able to hear his voice or know if he was ok. My prayers went up all the time, "Please God, just keep him safe. Please. He's my one and only. Please, please, please."

Those days were dark and full of dread. If it wasn't for QH, I would have stayed in that darkness, or worse. Instead, I fought my way out, and back up into the light. I couldn't give up. I've worked my ass off to make it this far, and some days it can be a struggle, but I am glad to look back at this year and see I am here, I'm ok, and more importantly, God answered my prayers and brought my son home safe and sound. I'm so proud of what he did there, of the people he helped and that he was able to continue on and go to South America and end up in San Diego, California. He crossed the equator twice on that deployment and saw a huge part of the world I've never seen, and all before his 21st birthday.

To all who have family in the military, for those in the military, I thank you for your service and for all you did a year ago for the people of Haiti. And thank you for all you continue to do right now to keep us all free and safe and to help out those in need. I'm very proud to be a Navy Mom.

And I pray your loved ones are home soon, safe and sound, sleeping in their own beds.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Neil Is Home

Neil checked out of the hospital today. I also have a few corrections to make.

First, Ted's girlfriend is Amber, not Amanda as I posted a few days ago. In the chaos of the situation, I wrote down the wrong name, but I should get some points for being close.

Amber, I am so sorry, and I appreciate you being there for me on Friday.

Today, Cannon came and spent the day with us. We played Lego Star Wars on the PS3, and watched Bugs Bunny cartoons, and finally, Johnny Test. He wanted cheese macaroni and since I was out, we went to the store and he got the Sponge Bob Macaroni & Cheese. I forgot how much fun it was to have the little guy around. You never know what he's going to say. When he was eating, he said, "I've got to hand it to you, Aunt Sissy. You make good Sponge Bob Macaroni & Cheese."

Thanks, kid, I needed that.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Good News

We got the news Neil will be coming home tomorrow. Thanks to everyone for all your prayers and good energy and well wishes. We are all grateful this is how things are and we still have Neil in our lives.

Tomorrow I'm spending the day with my nephew, Cannon. The past 2 days I was promising to see him and got distracted with one thing or another. I called my sister, Kelley and asked if I could come and pick him up in the morning. She said, "Are you sure?"

Yes. I miss that little guy since I don't babysit for him anymore. I need some fun time with my little Bubby. I've learned with all of this you need to make time for the important people in your lives. It won't matter if the other stuff gets done or not, but if you miss an opportunity to spend some quality time with those you love the most, it makes all the difference in the world.

I hope all of you have a great week.

Friday, January 07, 2011

One of Those Days

It started out, like any other Friday. I was planning on sleeping in a little, and then I was going to take Grandma Chuck shopping. Nothing out of the ordinary. I heard QH and Alex talking in the kitchen, discussing some things and laughing. Then I heard QH come into the room and I told him to be careful on the roads because it was snowing on my way home. "Love you. Bye," and then I snuggled down in the flannel sheets to try and get some more sleep. I didn't sleep very well the night before. I was tired enough, but for some reason, twice this week, I tossed and turned and didn't start to sleep well until I heard Alex's alarm buzzing in the other room. Usually, I hit the pillow and I'm in La-La Land. Nope.

I was about to drift off when the phone rang. We got a new phone this Christmas, and since the old one still worked and we had a plug-in in our bedroom, we set it up next to the bed. I looked at the caller ID. Not a number I recognized, so I thought it might be QH or Alex saying they forgot something. Instead, it was Carol, who is married to QH's brother Neil. She was wondering if Quint had left for work yet. I said, yes, you just missed him, why? Then she said, "I don't have any battery left on my cell phone, could you call him and let him know they are taking Neil to the hospital. He's having a heart attack."

I'm awake.

I told her not to worry, I would take care of everything and asked where they were taking Neil. She said to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids. They live in Buffalo, so if they were taking him to Mercy, it had to be dire. I told her to keep in touch and I prayed and prayed and prayed as I jumped out of bed, then in the bathroom to take a shower.  I called QH and told him what was going on, to call his Mom and tell her I was on my way, but I had to shower first. I hung up and got in and kept on praying. "Please, God. Not Neil. QH can't lose his brother. Not in January. Not now. Please, please, please, please..." I got out, got dressed, dried my hair and then as my coffee warmed in the microwave, I turned on the computer and found the prayer circle. I asked for them to pray for Neil and his family and to help give them strength no matter what the outcome was. We were all in God's hands now.

We got to Mercy, and the wind and the snow were blowing pretty fierce, but once we made it up to the room, we came in when the doctor was explaining they put in 2 stints in his heart, that he would be out of work about a week, and that he would have to make some drastic changes to be in better health. He was beyond lucky. No visible or apparent damage to his heart. He was groggy, but said, "A week with no work? I can go ice fishing!"

I told the doctor, "He's feeling better."

Neil and Carol's two sons, Ted and Clayton were there with their girlfriends, Amanda and Heather. I then let loose with the water works and thank goodness Amanda, Ted's girlfriend, was there. We hugged each other, and I was so happy that this was the outcome and that he was going to be okay. I backed out of the room and found QH in the waiting area, and told him what the doctor had said. He had to get back to work, so he left, and I told him if anything changed we would call him. I took his Mom (Grandma Chuck) to get something to eat and then to WalMart. We headed for the best place to deal with this kind of situation:  IHOP. 

I was just bragging to my friend Beth that I was cutting back on all the junk food and had stopped eating late at night and low and behold,  I lost 10 pounds last week.  It was IHOP's "All You Can Eat Pancake" promotion, and boy, did  I ever! I had 4 pancakes, 4 sausage links, 2 eggs over easy, hashbrowns and coffee and water. I wasn't going to eat anything until supper and figured a big breakfast was what I needed to keep me going. Inspite of the bad taste of eating all that fat, butter, syrup and carbs, while my "brother-in-law" was in the hospital for cardiac arrest, I didn't feel a damn bit guilty. I know I will be back on the wagon tomorrow, and I know that this has given me and QH a scare. It could very well have been me lying in that hospital room or him, with a very different outcome. Who knows? If I know anything, things are going to be a changing around here. Lots of things.

Right now, I please ask you faithful readers to please pray, send blessings and well wishes and any positive energy you can for the family. Thanks to all of you on the prayer circle, wherever and whomever you are for helping us through this. Praise the Lord all turned out as well as it did. Neil isn't completely out of the woods yet, but he has to make a lot of decisions as to the quality of life he wants to have from here on out, as do we all. I'm not preaching here, I'm just as bad as everyone else when it comes to excuses for why my health is as bad as it is. But when you have 2 parents who have had major cardiac problems, on who died 2 years ago this month, and you have a brother who had open heart surgery in September, it would certainly get my attention. Neil thought he just had the flu that was going around: vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing, out of breath going up and down stairs, and sweating, a lot. But then when his arm began to hurt and he couldn't lie down and breath, he felt it had to be something more. He got up, told Carol to take him to the hospital and went to the cupboard and took two aspirins. She got him to the hospital and they did an EKG and then next thing he knew, he was in the back of an ambulance on his way from Buffalo Hospital to Mercy Hospital. He made the right decision.

 Please everyone, make the right decisions. Hug your loved ones. Tell them you love them, even if you haven't spoken in a long time or you are mad over some stupid thing.

You never know how your day is going to start, and you never know how it is going to end. And you may not get another chance.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The List

It's that time of year again. The list of resolutions, things to do or wishes you would like to come true. Some people call them goals, but for most of us, they are abandoned before the end of the week. Why make them in the first place?

I think for me, to have a whole year sitting in front of me all brand new and open, I need to have something to look forward to, something to work towards. Last year, I wanted a job, one that paid much better than the job I was laid off from. Mission accomplished, but it took a lot for me to get there.

I had to begin by wanting it so much I wasn't going to settle for anything less. Then, and this was even harder, I had to feel that I deserved to have that kind of money in my life. I sat down and figured out that if I had received all the raises and promotions and good reviews I should have, I would be making over $15 per hour. I decided for myself what would be acceptable and what would not. I wanted to be making as close to what I made at my old job ($13.91 per hour) and would take $11.00 per hour as a minimum wage to start. Then, I made a list.

I realized that once I did, the power was back in my hands. I knew what I wanted. I knew what I deserved. I wasn't going to take anything less than what was on that list.

My next step is something most people never do. I took action. I began looking at jobs with better pay, applying for those that would match up better with my set of skills, education and experience. I then rewrote my resume to reflect the new skills I had acquired as a temporary employee over the last few months. I began applying and sending out emails, and finally, I found a job as a Quality Control Inspector that was close to home. I received a call the same afternoon I sent my resume, scheduled the interview for the following day, and began working the following Monday. I've been there ever since. And I couldn't be happier!

Did I think this could be too good to be true? Yes. I had a few twinges of fear, that I would interview and not get the job like I had so many times through the year, and then be disappointed and beat myself up wondering what I did wrong. But I had a good feeling this was a different situation. I felt that I had found what I was looking for. And more importantly, I found what was a good match on my list.

There is power in setting goals and writing them down. But the power is even greater when you take one small step towards achieving them. It is as if the book you need to read, the class you need to take, the money you need to get there or the job you want is just waiting for you to just take that one small step. Sometimes you have to take a few more steps to get there or for God or the Universe to guide you in the right direction, but if you sit around afraid of what would happen if you did, you're still sitting around and it's a day, a week, a month, a year, a decade later and you will not be any closer to the life you really want.

Be Brave. Make your list. Feel you deserve it, and then take action. And have fun!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

We rang in the New Year with our friends again this year, but it was a smaller crowd than the usual suspects we have. Most of that was due to the weather and everyone seemed to have other plans. Maybe they were just too tired of all the running around from the holidays, but we had a lot of good food and a good time and we bid farewell to a very challenging year.

I'm a "realistic optimist" and feel that this year has to be much better than the last. It seemed things are heading that way with what we are leaving behind us. I can believe that I will be much more motivated this year to have my books published and begin teaching and speaking. I have dreams about it. I have had dreams about it for the last few years, now I just have to make it happen. That isn't a resolution. I don't believe in resolutions. I believe in goals. Some of the goals I made last year I accomplished. Some I am going to carry through this year, but unlike other years, I am not going to go crazy and try to do them all at the same time. I realize with age, comes wisdom, and the fact that I just can't multitask effectively. I have learned to be more patient and I hope kinder, not just with other people and situations, but also with myself.

I am for the most part, very grateful that I have a new year to look forward to, but more than that, I am grateful the people I love the most are still here to share that year with me. I am going to do my best to be a better mother, girlfriend, daughter, sister, auntie and adopted granny. I'm going to try to also be a better employee and co-worker, and also a better writer and marketer. I want to look back on 2011 with pride and say, "Wow. I got a lot done this last year."

To all my friends, family, followers and fans, I want to say Happy New Year. I wish you all many blessings, better health, lots of wealth and much more happiness in the year to come.