Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I do not want tomorrow to come. I do not.

I do not want another month to begin whilst I remain at home throwing myself into projects like a deranged woman. I do not want February to arrive.

February is a short month. There is barely enough days left for me to obtain employment before the first of March arrives. For when that month arrives, my meager unemployment compensation ends and so does my hope of remaining here.

If March arrives and I remain jobless, then I shall call a realtor, put my house on the market, toss a dart at a map, and move. Well, I hope it is a bit more thoughtful than a dart. I mean, really, where do I go when I cannot remain here?

Right now, I am casting an eyeball at Appleton, WI. A city tossed off the lips of my cousin as a possibility is actually a close match to my list of requirements. That fact excites me. The thought of moving by myself with no job or friends or family terrifies me. It terrifies me, yet I see no other viable course of action before me.

Fifty-nine minutes before February arrives. Oh that I wish I could stay its arrival...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Seven hundred and thirty-four scans later, I am finished with the photos that were in the 6 packages marked with my grandmother's name. I still have 10 packages to go on this project.

Kashi has let it be known that he feels neglected and needs more attention. The birds...well...they are still not speaking to me because of my rather unforgivable behavior from yesterday. Whilst I was lost in the project, I forget to uncover their cage and open the door until after 8:00 PM. I felt horrible when, in the midst of scanning, I glanced over at their cage and realized my neglect.

For dinner, I wanted a salad, but found myself without lettuce. After wondering if it would be weird to consume what I had planned without the leafy vegetable, I put the chicken, corn, carrots, black beans, and feta cheese in a bowl and tossed it all with a basil, basalmic vinaigrette. I thought it was tasty, but wondered if anyone else would even find the thought appetizing. When I queried my dear friend Wynne regarding the matter, I found her response ever so slightly vague, filled with reassurance that I was not, in fact, too weird. Hmmm...

Question: Would a person in 1891 use the idiomatic phrase "paying his dues"?

Monday, January 29, 2007

I back dated this entry by two hours because I wanted for it to reflect the date of this crazy, crazy day.

I awoke around noon and came downstairs to let Kashi out. While he was doing his business, I flipped up the computer and thumbed the power button. By the time he was back, I started working on the scanning project.

Hours passed.

I organized all the photos from my grandmother's godfather. I scanned her photos through her teens. I also rifled through and organized the paperwork my mother included with photos. I scanned more.

My mother called to ask a question regarding some information I sent her. Hours passed again. With her on the phone, I created an archive account at her hometown newspaper and started searching. I discovered the obituary and article about my great, great grandfather (I am not sure about the greats) who was an original "pioneer," a man who arrived in 1865 and died in 1913. He was heralded as a son of city and a man who, along with his life, lived in gentle peace and kindness to others. His wife, Nannie, had died two years earlier. When I saw the photograph of her that was run in the paper, I had to swallow hard to hold back the tears. When I spoke to my great uncle about contacting the family of his half-brother I discovered among the photos, he wistfully said that he knew nothing, that he didn't even know the name of his father's parents. I was crying when I told him their names.

My grandmother hid so much in her life. She held grudges and manufactured "truth" to fit what she wanted out of life. I came across many articles about her in the paper, chronicling all she did for the community, especially the youth in the inner-city school where she taught. Publicly, she was a giant. Privately, I think she was a monster.

My great, great grandfather came from Castile, Spain. He was part of the troops hired by the Mexican government to "deal" with the Aztec Indians. He was killed in 1881, shortly after the birth of my great grandmother. Another great, great grandfather was a colonel in the confederate army. Apparently, my ancestors did not choose the side of honoring life in two egregious periods of human history. If my research into my current relatives is correct, life is a cheap thing indeed...from physically and emotionally harming children to killing classmates.

No long lost rich uncles to rescue me from my unemployment have I found...only history that is harsh and unforgiving, with few lives unmarked by alcohol, violence, secrets, and death.

I stopped the work, the research, the write here. I wanted to give myself a break from this journey. On Friday, I left Megan and Graham at an important time, a time when they are both beginning to understand the path on which they stand. A time in which they are learning to look outside themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. I must admit, right now, I am choosing the fiction over reality.

I wish to travel with the two of them on the path of faith for a while before finally going to sleep, so that my dreams might be of light rather than the darkness of this day.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Have you ever wondered when I became a writer? I have. I mean, I think I have always like to write, but what can I actually remember? Doodly Squat.

Well, it turns out that I do not have to wonder anymore.

My father has been cleaning out his closets. I am not sure what I think about this, but he brought over a 3-ring binder of all the correspondence that I have ever sent to him (and that to my grandmother), including copies of my grades, and all the notations he made on the money he spent on me from birth through college, including postage!

Below is a letter I wrote to my grandmother just after I turned six years old.

Dear Isabel, How are you?
I am too shy to kiss the boys.
I am learning how to spell words
by using flash cards.
I have a Donny Osmond lunch box.
I love you. Love Tricia


What else did I find interesting in the binder? Remember the photo I found of myself in New York City that upset me since I didn't remember ever being there? Apparently I wrote my father a letter comprised of a very exhaustive description of the trip.

I feel like a voyeur on my own life...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

My father came over for one of our movie marathons. The trouble is...he had a party last night and so we only managed two movies thus far. Well, two and a bit.

We made our pilgrimage to Wal-Mart, partly because while he did not get lost on the way over thanks to Garmin, he did forget his overnight bag. We loaded up on the essentials, picked a few essentials for me, and headed to the $5.50 DVD bin. Dad picked out 3 movies and I picked out 4. I might have picked out a few more, but with him footing the bill, I thought we should restrain ourselves somewhat.

We then went to Ruby Tuesday's because that is his new favorite place to get a hamburger (I still prefer Five Guys). Since I have been clucking my way through my meals for the past month or so, I thought I would get a hamburger, too. I asked for the cook to prepare it medium rare, you in the middle. Well, it was absolutely raw...mushy. The waitress gagged when she saw it and promised to get me another one pronto. Perhaps it was a bit too pronto. The second one was only slightly less raw and still mushy. This time, I was the one to gag because I bit into it.

I picked off the bacon and the cheddar cheese and sent the thing back permanently. Our check included just Dad's meal and my drink. My father kept asking if we should stop by somewhere on the way home, but I didn't see the point. I could just have some more chicken.

Well, we watched War of the Worlds, which got us both upset. It was too depressing, too horrific, and altogether too overwhelming. Prior to beginning our movie marathon, we had set our line-up of movies, but after seeing that one, we decided to switch the order to a plain old cat burglar movie. Oh, my...did we pick a truly awful one. The producers of Hudson Hawk should pay us pain and suffering compensation for the 26 minutes we tried to hang in there for the movie. Shame on you, Bruce Willis! For shame!!

Quickly, we shuffled through the pile of movies for something that might erase those awful movie memories and chose Dragonfly. Dad and I both were shedding tears at the end (he's gotten so emotional of late). Frankly, we needed a good old fashion shoot-'em-up to right our ships, but Dad is just too tired.

So, he's off to bed. I am off to my book. And we are both looking forward to better movie progress tomorrow. After reflecting on this evening a bit, I'm thinking that we might should watch National Treasure tomorrow for good measure.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

For some reason I could never determine, my scanner stopped working with my other laptop. I kept getting a connection error. I could scan once or twice, but no more. Sometimes it would disconnect four or five times in one scan. So, I abandoned it.

When I received the replacement laptop, I thought I would try again. Yet, this time I could not open the software that manages the scanner. I didn't think to pursue the matter again until two days ago. Voila! There was a known conflict with the latest version of Internet Explorer and the HP software.

With my scanner up and running, I returned to my project (a year late now) of cataloguing and scanning all the family historical photos that were discovered once my grandmother died. Some of them date back to the early 1800's.

Here is one of my great grandmother on her honeymoon. I wonder where she was, what they were doing. I have photos from her childhood and many, many of them from my grandmother's childhood.

My grandmother had a godfather who doted on her wholeheartedly. Charles E. Frees was a noted engineer with projects in Mexico, South America, and the Southeastern US. He sent her copious amounts of photos of his projects and took many of the ones of her youth. The collection was truly a staggering discovery.

However, the photos and documents brought tears as well as joy. For one, my grandmother had a half-brother she kept hidden from her children. My grandmother, while remarkable in her public life, was not so in her private life. No one holds a grudge as did she, punishing those whom she felt betrayed her for a lifetime. Perhaps she couldn't forgive her father for having a child from his first marriage.

I Googled him and connected with the son-in-law of his own son. Both my great-uncle and his son have passed away, but there is a significant branch of the family in Kentucky. I hope to connect with them and exchange photos and history. However, the contact said the family is quite private. Time will tell.

Speaking of time, I thought I would add one more photo. It is another one of my great grandmother...I am the child on the left.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I am up still...writing.

Just now, however, I am watching my puppydog sleep. He is dreaming. Running through some field, I would surmise by his paws moving back and forth. He barks from time to time, though it is muffled since his mouth remains closed. His tail will wag, too, but only in the tiniest movements. I love watching him dream and try to imagine the joy he is having.

Sometimes, when he is dreaming, I would swear he is nursing. Can a dog remember that far back?

I find it fascinating that he even dreams in the first place.

He knows many words. He has learned appropriate behavior. He is playful, often throwing his ball for himself in an attempt to get me to join him. He is sneaky, remembering things he shouldn't do and tries to get away with them anyway. He tries to make up with me when he has snapped at me. He is stubborn, often enjoining in a staring contest as a way of letting me know that he is choosing to sit. [Blind obedience is not a trait of Shiba Inus.] He snuggles with me when I am most upset and remains aloof when he wishes to be by himself. And he dreams.

He is a dog...and yet he dreams.

Perhaps, I should let my day end and see if there are any dreams awaiting me.

Monday, January 22, 2007

My scripture memory verses for the week couldn't be more apt.

In the wee hours of the morning, while still writing away, I thought I would take a break and search for this week's passage. When my eyes fell upon the passage, I felt as if I had been kicked in the stomach...but in a good sort of way. When I went to type the passage into my scripture blog, I miss-typed a single word that fundamentally changed the message I found in the passage: be on the alert became be on the alter. It sure made me think about the things I should be laying before Christ.

I am sure I have typed a thousand times how hard it is being unemployed, feeling useless, worrying over money. I struggle with believing how it is that this is a good thing in my life. I struggle with resting in the peace of Christ. And then I struggle with how weak my faith has been over the past six and a half months.

I think, perhaps, the miss-type was one of those perfect moments of clarity that often strikes whilst reading the Word of God. Of course, I should be on the alert. Frankly, one could say that I am making things easy for the father of lies. But I should also be approaching the alter of God with my burdens and laying them down. Even if I have to do so again and again...Because I find them in my arms once more.

Thousands of years have passed since those words were first penned, yet it is as if they were written just for this time and this place in my life. Such is the glory and the power of scripture.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Well, I You Tubed today.

I like to watch Dr. Who, a British sci-fi show created by BBC One and re-broadcasted on the Sci-Fi channel here in America. There was a Christmas special that aired over the holiday season. I learned about it whilst perusing the BBC, but couldn't find a listing on the Sci-Fi Channel. I wondered if it would be aired here, especially since the series seems to be aired here some months after it airs in England.

Lo and behold, I found someone who put the episode on You Tube! It was in seven parts, but delightfully good. Wahoo!

I sort of wondered if I ought to look around the video-sharing sight, but I thought that perhaps it would be sliding down a slippery slope. I would imagine that watching videos there could be quite addicting, becoming a black hole of your time!

Still, I was glad someone when through the effort of putting the episode on-line. I just wonder if the BBC minds...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Today, I found myself once more trying to help that international organization that is an utter mess in a virtual volunteering task. Some months ago, I had told them that until they had a business plan, a communications plan, and a strategic vision plan, they were not really in a position to utilize virtual volunteers--the work was too disjointed and ineffective. I should have said they were trying to hold their finger in a hole of the Hoover Dam. Really, none of them can clearly communicate anything!

I had also told them once they had done so, I would be willing to do discrete tasks for them. So, they sent me their inaugural eNewsletter...a 7-page MS Word document with a overly long, rambling letter from the new executive director. I edited the letter and the newsletter. However, I just couldn't resist. I re-worked a PageMaker template into a more polished and professional newsletter for them. I do not know if they will use it. The person currently working on the newsletter proposed I become their Editor-in-Chief. Yep...sucked right back into their black hole!

I will say that during the volunteer work today, I learned how to add a hyperlink to a PDF document after it has been created. Score 1 for me!

This evening, I engaged in a joint cooking operation at my writing student's house today. Our appetizer was my favorite spinach dip recipe. I cooked chicken with the Mexican dry rub marinade and a summer squash faux souffle. My writing student's mother put together a great salad and roasted potatoes and carrots. Oh, my...can she roast. Of course, it does help that she can just trot out to her back yard for fresh rosemary. Really, it is a huge, heart plant residing in her garden.

We also watched the remake of Yours, Mine, and Ours. The original is an absolute favorite of mine. Since Dennis Quaid did a great remake of Parent Trap, I had hopes for this one. While I did hear scuttlebutt that it a negative tone, I found the movie pleasantly surprising. It was a modern interpretation, but it lacked the outright sarcasm and disrespect that was found in the butchered remake of Cheaper By the Dozen. I could have done without the family pet being a pig, but I experienced quite a few guffaws throughout the viewing.

Upon returning home, I logged onto the Internet and applied to two jobs, one close and one a wee bit of a wicked commute. However, the close one is my first step in abandoning my hope of marrying my skills and interests to a job. Frankly, I applied for a high paying executive assistant position. I think I shall weep for days should I be hired there, but it would be better than remaining unemployed.

NOTE: There was an error on the sumptuous Strawberry Bread recipe on my January 13, 2007 blog entry. I forgot to put how much oil to use. It is now correct!

Friday, January 19, 2007

I polished off another chapter yesterday...or actually this morning. I wrote through the entire night and on into the rather non-wee hours of this day, i.e., nearly 8:00 AM. I believe that makes three chapters in the past week or so.

While I was writing this one, there was this point during which I felt as if I were Adam (the pastor) sitting down near a lake talking with Megan, sharing a bit of his past that makes him who he is this day. All these thoughts and feelings poured out before I even realized what was happening.

My writing works that way at times. One minute I will by typing away along in a direction I believe the plot is going and the next histories and personal experiences of a character explode on the page, something I had neither planned nor anticipated.

I mean, I know that I had made Ruth and Adam close siblings as children because their mother never let them play much out of her own fear that one of them might die has had her own brother. However, I had not anticipated how Adam's conflict over those early years in trying to understand that his mother really did love him and dealing with his own anger and resentment might play a role in reaching out to Megan. It just happened that way.

Of course, as with most everything about this story, I immediately liked the felicitous happenstance. I just wonder if readers will as well.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I vacuumed, dusted, polished the furniture, swept, did the dishes and laundry, and cleaned the bathrooms. The disappointing part of all this work was how much I needed to clean the wooden furniture after my last bout of productivity.

I also cleaned out the last cabinet. While I have already cleaned and organized the utility closet in the basement, in my heart I believe that it could be cleaner, more organized. I just am not sure how to proceed...other than to take everything out and start from scratch. Boy would that be a rather large undertaking.

Whew...I need a nap just thinking about it!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Sunday paper last week came with a free sample of Quaker Oats latest product, a maple and brown sugar version of oatmeal that came with a crunchy topping you add once the oatmeal has been cooked.

I must admit that I have never quite been a fan of oatmeal. A year ago, when my mother visited, she purchased this very expensive can of cross-cut oatmeal and cooked it for me. The process took over half an hour and I enjoyed the still crunchy texture. I still have the can of oats, but I have not tried to repeat her culinary craft with regard to them because she neglected to leave me the recipe.

At first, I threw away the packet, half because it was a small package of oatmeal and half because it came attached to a newspaper. After all, who knows how it got there or what safety measures were taken in this free distribution. However, the next day found me searching the trash can for my arthritis pill.

I had put it in my pocket with the rest of my day's medicine when coming downstairs, forgotten about them, stuck some trash in my pocket as I was cleaning, threw the trash away, remembered the pills, pulled them out of my pocket, and realized that the Celebrex was missing. The pain I am in without that pill is nearly overwhelming, so searching a trash can is the least of what I would do to get it back.

I did not find the pill, but I did come across the packet of oatmeal. It was wrapped in plastic and had come to no harm for its stint in the can. When I was putting all the trash back in the can, I thought about my financial state and decided that I should eat the oatmeal.

While I still find instant oatmeal a bit slimy for my tastes (texture oft plays a role in what I prefer to eat...ah-hem...okra), anything that is laced with maple flavoring and brown sugar is high on my list of favorites. Therefore, the free meal was not as objectionable that I first suspected that it would be. I would note that the serving was a bit sparse. I know that oatmeal is supposed to stick to your ribs, stay with you all day long. However, this serving, if stretched by pausing between each bite, might have covered, oh, two of them? Perhaps, three. Certainly not the whole set!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I sat on my deck chair for a while this evening.

The winter storm that has been ravaging America for days on end has finally rolled into my area. I do not believe we are slated for snow, or even rain, so all we have to endure is an icy blast wending its way through coats and gloves. Although, tonight I wore neither.

It has been so incredibly unseasonably warm all winter. I know that I have saved money in heating costs. Being unemployed, the weather could be seen as a boon. But having MS, the warm weather is just plain discouraging. The heat exacerbates my symptoms and can be a serious danger to me. The warm weather, while not marked by summer's heat, just wearies me. I've been living in a tank top and shorts in a home that has often been hotter inside than out because I have yet to run the air conditioner. Two nights ago, when I laid down in bed, I turned to look at my alarm clock to note the time and saw that the temperature in my room was 79.4 degrees. With the ceiling fan on blast and a cold pack beneath my neck, I finally managed to fall asleep.

I know that dozens have died from this storm. I know that hundreds of thousands have suffered from cold and loss of electricity. I know that the entire country will pay for this storm when it comes time to buy their groceries in the coming weeks and months. I have prayed for the safety and well-being of those who have slammed by one storm after another and those who have laid their lives on the line trying to rescue both man and beasts in those beleaguered areas.

This I know...yet still I welcomed the arrival of winter's blast, even if it only lasts for a couple of weeks before vanishing back into the unseasonable warmth. I welcomed the cold because I feel better in such weather.

I sat on the deck chair even when I had to tuck my jersey pants into my socks and pull my sleeves down over my hands. I sat on the deck chair soaking in the energy that I found in the invigorating arctic air. I sat on the deck and spent the time shutting out the whole world to savor the moment, no job worries, no money worries, no puppy-dog worries. It was me and Old Man Winter...greeting each other like old friends.

Monday, January 15, 2007

I think that someone should gift me a book with the topic of 101 things to do with chicken!

On the way home this afternoon after stopping by to celebrate with my writing student's middle brother, who has now entered double digits, I battled an overwhelming desire to just go out an charge some sumptuous meal. I called my best friend B to chat so I could resist the urge. However, my conversation centered around pizza and also mentioned Thai and Indian food. Not a great effort at avoiding the desire, eh?

Well, when I arrived home, I peered into my kitchen cabinets and refrigerator and tried to figure out what I could make that was new, that was not Tex-Mex in nature (although I am very much looking forward to consuming my next chicken quesadilla, don't get me wrong). I settled on trying to make chicken pizza, because I do happen to have a fresh ball mozzarella (having had the fresh stuff in Italy, it is hard go back to the packaged shredded stuff).

I cooked the chicken with the dry-rub and sliced it thinly. I made a crust, topped it with Prego sauce, Oregano, the chicken, and thinly sliced mozzarella. That sounds like a good meal, eh?

It should have been a great meal, a significant change from my current budget fare, and tasty in its own right. It should have been.

Unfortunately, I do not have any yeast. I Googled for some pizza dough recipes, but they all required yeast. I then went back and stared at the cabinets. Buried at the back of the top shelf, I found an old box of Bisquick. Back on Google, I found four different Bisquick mix pizza dough recipe and picked one of them.

I am not sure if basically it is just not a good idea to even think of Bisquick and pizza at the same time or if it is just that the box I used was most likely at least a half dozen years old if not more. And it was opened.

The crust was horrible. I actually spit out the first bite I took. Is this a metaphor for how crappy my life has been going of late?

After battling my utter disappointment (after all the crust baked up golden brown), I slid off the sauce, cheese, and chicken, pretended it was Chicken Parmesan, and finished eating my meal.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I have been sending notes to my grandfather and great uncle, both older men who are unbelievably kind and courageous in the health battles they have been facing. I often email my great uncle, but I learned by accident that he greatly enjoys having snail mail come to him. Hence, the small cards and letters.

However, neither of them know what a sacrifice doing so is to me.

I struggle with writing by hand. While I find the concentration it takes far more difficult than typing, it is both the forming of letters and the act of spelling properly that mark the battle. My pages are filled with blots, scratch outs, and smudges of white out. I also fight to control both my temper and my attitude, for I feel horrid about the fact that it is probably easier for a second or third grader to write the missive than it is for me. I may have a leg up on the spelling of some words and the construction of my sentences, but the ease and confidence which most anyone who has learned to write wields has disappeared for me.

Writing the notes I mailed on Friday drove home the fact that this ability is slipping further and further away from me. Writing them took over an hour. Crafting my thank-you notes for those who blessed me with gifts at Christmas lasted over six hours for nine notes.

Last night, I did manage to complete another chapter for the week and have started on one today. When my fingers rest on a keyboard, the muse flows through fingers that are neither clumsy nor slow. For this ease of writing, I remain grateful.

However, it is no small thing for me to say that I am mourning losing the ability to write by hand. A while ago, I gave up my signature. I no longer try to either spell my name or form all the letters within it properly. It just simply isn't worth the battle while standing in line at a store. On cards yes, but no just about anywhere else bar legal documents.

Even so, I refuse to simply type those missives because I wonder how much longer I will be able to set pen to paper with any measure of success.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I would guarantee that were you to make my dear friend W's strawberry bread, you would not be disappointed.

Strawberry Bread

3 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
4 Eggs (beaten)
1 1/4 Cups Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
20 oz. Frozen Sliced Strawberries (thawed)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine beaten eggs, oil, vanilla, and strawberries in a medium sized bowl. Mix together by hand. Add mixture to dry ingredients all at once. Mix well by hand. Pour into well greased and floured loaf pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Makes two 9x5 loaves or three 8x4 loaves. If baking as muffins, cook for 20-25 minutes.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Even after an interview that was more of a conversation with laughter and an exchange of communications practices and messaging ideas at my second interview on Wednesday, I received the dreaded thank-you-but-no-thank-you email.

I wept for hours.

I really don't understand this. I can write circles around many folk, I am organized out the wazoo, and am great at executing action plans with efficiency and efficacy. WHY CAN I NOT GET A JOB??????????????????????????????

Through the tears, I went on-line and searched through three of my favorite job spots. I found six more positions, two with good commutes, but all with hard to stomach communications topic. Can you see me as a transportation advocate? I hope someone does.

I don't even think an entire case of Dr Pepper would help assuage how I currently feel...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

My friend W gently corrected me tonight on just how long we have been friends. I had been counting from when I was 17. She told me that I was 15 when we met; there were times she gave me rides home from school. I do not remember a single one. In fact, I remember very, very little of those 25 years of her friendship.

I know how that makes me feel. I wonder what it is like for hold memories of our friendship that are nonexistent to me...

Something that I savor about W is that sometimes when we are talking, she finishes my sentences. But she does not merely guess/know the words that I am trying to say. Instead, she takes the ephemeral thought I am trying to convey and crystallizes it into a clear concept of understanding. She takes the bits and pieces and puts them together for me in such a way that takes me even further along the path than I had intended, that I had seen myself.

This lovely aspect stems not merely from our long association, but also from her keen intellect. I could wish she were more intellectually challenged in her daily life so that she might better realize the possibilities that lie before her, yet her basic work in counseling for troubled youth and their families changes lives.

I want the world for her. She rebuilds the world for others. Which is the greater path? Is there a way that she might travel both...her reality and my dreams?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

When we were driving to Costco yesterday, I asked my writing student's mother G if we had done something to our legs while cleaning up the basement because the outer part of both my thighs was hurting me. She couldn't think of any bumps I did, so it was just another mystery for the now four items that are now missing in my home. Last night in the shower, I took a look at the bruises on either leg and just wondered how many other things I was going to forget.

However, today, while sitting in the green chair, the mystery was solved.

Kashi has taken to sleeping on the couch, and given his current state of health I have been loath to disturb him. So, I have been writing while sitting in the green chair. Sitting cross-legged. I sat down this afternoon and nearly shot back out of the chair because of the pain in my thighs pressing against the arms as I sat cross-legged! The light bulb went off in my head. I have never sat in the green chair this way until Sunday, when I typed my way through two football games and three movies.

Who else do you know who can injure herself in a reclining chair?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I put in place my first energy saving, weird-looking light bulb today. My goal was at least one, since that is the goal the EPA has for each household in American in their Energy Star campaign...I believe.

My bathroom sink was stopped up, so I used the magic ZEP 10 Minute declogger. However, I had to use the last of my bottle. Lest I find myself in dire need at another point, I stopped by The Home Depot, home of those wonderful red bottles of magic to pick up another one. While there, I saw the light bulbs and decided to get two of them.

Everything I purchase is being charged, so each thing I buy is difficult for me...but I thought I should follow through on my plan. [Especially since my writing student's parents fed me quite well the night before after my labors, i.e. grocery savings.] My plan was to put one in the lamp by the couch where I've needed a new light bulb and in the lamp next to my bed once that one runs out. The cost, $6.97 each, was a bit daunting...but saving the environment doesn't come cheap, eh?

Well, a few hours later, my writing student's mom and I were at Costco, and we spotted a pack of 4 of those light bulbs for only $7.89. WOW! I get three more for just $1 above the cost of the ones I had purchased just a short while ago. Needless to say, I shall be making a return trip soon.

So, the light is screwed into the lamp by the couch, and I am typing by its glow. Another resolution upheld!

Perhaps...keeping resolutions might not be that hard after all!

Monday, January 08, 2007

I spent about six hours at my writing student's home today, helping her mother reclaim the storage area of the basement. Ah, there is nothing I like better than to roll of my sleeves, dive in, and organize another person's mess! When we were done, there was a large open space that the youngest boy and I have eyed as a great hide-a-hole for all his Lego toys. He thinks the "secret" spot is great. I am salivating over the prospect of getting all his Legos out of sight. Really, those little bits of plastic reproduce themselves all over the house!

I think one of the reason's I enjoy working on home improvements in the P house is that it is the sort of place I would like to have one day. Yes, because of the larger size, but the rooms and layout and location are all the sorts of things I would like. Of course, I would have one of the bedrooms devoted to a library with wall-to-wall shelves! My writing student's parents have made some truly solid choices in renovating their home and it is becoming a perfect fit for their family.

The other reason I like hanging out over there is G's generosity in preserving the childhoods of her children. They write, act, and film in these crazy plays with all this costume stuff that practically takes over the freshly cleaned playroom in the basement before I can even get the vacuum cleaner away. Yet, despite her desires for a more organized home (perhaps a futile longing with 5 kids who are not keen on housekeeping), G doesn't bat an eyelash at the chaos. I deeply admire the choices she and her husband have made in giving their children time to play and be involved in community sports, arts, and music...especially given the personal sacrifice the two of them have made in carting 5 kids here and there so that they can be enriched by those experiences. Who wouldn't want to slave labor in a storage room to support a family such as this?

I did finish entering the books from the built-in shelf. Not including the cookbooks (I decided I could live without them being on my spreadsheet), I have 142 books in this location. The task is taking longer than I thought because I added a few more fields of information to my spreadsheet, such as if it is a first edition, if it is a multicultural book (if so what culture), and if it is an antique (I have a respectable number of books from the 1800's). I think I am up to the letter "O" on the spreadsheet columns.

I figured out that I have nine locations left (10 if you count the stash of books I found on the top shelf of my closet). If I get one location done a month, then the resolution project will be completed on time. And...if I look a it that way, I am done entering books for the month. Now I can turn my attention to the annotated bibliographic notecards that need to be entered into an identical spreadsheet.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Lest you worry, I wanted to assure you that I have finally attacked my bedroom closet. The end result was more space, a cleaner appearance, five small bags of things to be donated, and one large bag of trash. [Why, tell me, do I still have the instruction book and the floppy disks for Word 6.0 for a Powerbook that is 15-years-old?]

The most interesting find was copies of my transcripts. Gee...I used to be smart...

However, I think that for the sake of honesty I will admit that I am beginning to believe that I should seek help for my attachment to top-loading sheet protectors. I was a bit dismayed to find a whole stash of them...considering that I have two other stashes I found whilst cleaning out the study...and none of these include the two boxes of sheet protectors that I bought on sale last spring because I was sure I needed them.

Really, this top-loading sheet protector problem may very well be even greater than my white crew sock problem.

I finished both assignments and e-mailed to the VP of Internal Communications. Boy...I sure hope he likes them and offers me a job when I see him on Wednesday! Wouldn't that be a lovely way to start the new year?

NOTE: A heartfelt thanks goes out to my friend W. I was complaining to her on the phone about the food I have been eating lately (I finally finished D's leftovers and groceries she gave me last month), given its canned quality. I was lamenting the fact that it had been a week since my last chicken enchilada (I've been having one about 5 times a week...if not 7). She said that I should cook myself a quesadilla. Casting about my brain cells for images of the contents of my refrigerator, I realized that I could cobble one together. With my two left-over tortillas, I added sauted chicken (cooked with the dry rub Mexican marinade I have previously waxed poetically about here), black beans, corn, cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Oh, my! What a tasty dinner! I am very much looking forward to purchasing the necessary ingredients for more quesadillas when I fetch the items for the chicken enchiladas!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Oh, my 'Boys. What a horrible, horrible ending to their season. Mighty heartbreaking!

I received a call-back for an in-person interview next week. Great news, eh? Yes, it is...but...I am a bit dismayed at all the work I have to do for this interview!

I had to complete a 5-page application that was geared more to the shift worker than a manager. I mean...who remembers what elementary school they attended? I certainly do not! I do now there was more than one of them...

I then had to complete a psycho-social profile on-line and submit a one-page essay describing myself. That was a bit too much thinking about myself for me!

Next was to create a factsheet for volunteers on how to access their intranet and what they will find on the website. That entailed getting a user name and password and then plowing through all the links and documents from one end of the site to the other. Once I got a handle on the site, I had to design and compose the fact sheet.

Finally, I had to submit a critique of the intranet website.

I have drafted both the critique and the factsheet, but both need more work. I need to wait, though, until I have fresher eyes. Both assignments are due tomorrow.

I did apply for three more jobs.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I lay down in bed to read last night and forgot about the barrette that was still in my hair, pressing against that spot on the back of my head. So, all too soon, I was dizzy and nauseous. After spewing my dinner in the toilet, I pulled the barrette out of my hair, ripping out quite a few strands in the process. I tried to get settled back in bed, but I couldn't seem to get the pillow right (it kept pressing against that spot) and ended up shivering, dizzy, and violently ill until around 6:00 this morning when I finally moved to the green chair where I could sleep sitting up, my the side of my head resting against the wing portion of the chair.

If shaving my head would help, I think I would do it...using wigs for went I am in public and just my bald head at home.

But...while barrettes and bobbypins and hairbands all make me ill if they rest against that do pillows. So being bald would be of no help in that situation.

I tried to discover why this is happening. Yet, three doctor's visits, one x-ray, and one MRI later, no one can tell me what is wrong with the back of my head. I am careful to avoid it, but then time goes by and I forget.

Being ill for hours on end is such a harsh reminder.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

All things being equal, I believe the phone interview went well. I was surprised at the amiable nature of the hiring manager and enjoyed our short conversation. He did say that he was interested in a quick hire, so he would have his in-person interviews next week and a hire the week thereafter. At least this time, I should not have to wait very long before knowing if there is hope with this prospect.

I wanted to try to explain a new source of pain that has been my companion for a few months now. If you make a fist with your hand, you will see the large knuckles at the base of your fingers sticking out. On my left hand, the knuckle at the base of my index finger (that is your first finger, right?) has started hurting. What is strange about that? Well, the pain often feels as if someone is trying to separate that knuckle from the one next to it, perhaps from the rest of my hand.

When I grip something, the pain is hurts so much that I find myself trying to adjust my grip. The result is that I have dropped more things, breaking some of them, than I care to admit. I find holding the steering wheel difficult, and I worry that I sometimes find myself paying more attention to trying to find a comfortable grip than my actual driving.

All in all, while some times I can just cast it up what my life is about...rising to the challenge of dealing with chronic illness. However, some times, I want to kick and scream and say it just isn't fair. Challenges, smallenges! Pain just plain stinks! I am tired of turning the other cheek to a body that is far too old for not quite 40!

Why write of this now? Today has been the most painful day that I have had in a while. I will be glad when it is over...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I finished another chapter on my novel today, dropped off some donations, and studied up for my interview tomorrow.

Kashi has not really gained ground, but neither has he lost. One, two, three days in a row, he will eat a meal, enabling me to get his medicine down his rather reluctant throat. Then he will not eat for a day...or two.

I must confess that, despite my concern for him, I am reveling in the fact that he has started sleeping with me again. There is just something quite comforting in having a dog curled up against your back as you sleep.

Monday, January 01, 2007

I thought I would get this whole resolution thing off with a bang, so I started the spreadsheet of all the books in my house. Of course, I started with the built-in shelves right next to the couch which are in reach of my favorite unemployed perch.

Well, 92 entries later, I am quite tired of the whole project and have not even finished the bookshelf. I have two shelves to go before I could cross this particular area of my home off the project list.

When I think about how much longer it will take to get all the other books down and then do the index cards I have, I am wondering when I will have time to do anything else. However, if I get into the math thing...doing about 75 entries a week should get the job done. Since I logged that much in today, then I can get going on my other resolutions the rest of the week, eh?