Category Archives: Employment

On Birthdays

For whatever reason, I’ve got a mind that remembers numbers, which is exemplified by my ability to recall almost everyone I’ve ever known’s birthdays each year. The only one that always tripped me up was my two best girlfriends from college. Both have (had-one sadly has passed away) birthdays in September, just three days apart. I often got them mixed up. I always remember that May 1st is my nephew’s birthday as well as my best friend from childhood’s birthday. I always remember my sister’s birthday coincides with the anniversary of the Edmund Fitzgerald (the shipwreck that occurred on Lake Superior on my sister’s sweet 16). I always remember my former housemate and college friend’s birthday, which is on 12/22. And I always remember my high school boyfriend’s birthday is on 12/31. Unlike many people, I don’t need to rely on Facebook to remind me of upcoming birthdays. I guess it’s kind of a weird talent.

I will be turning 51 later this month. I’ve been hemming and hawing about how to mark the occasion. Growing up, my dad’s approach to his birthday every year was a shrug and him saying “Ah, it’s just another day”. Hubs has a similar approach. Neither want to be fussed over. They are humble men.

While I believe it’s admirable to be humble, I feel a weird sense of possibly displaced disappointment when people I care about don’t wish to garner attention on the anniversary of their births. Because I want to lavish them with attention and I want others to lavish attention on them, because dammit, they deserve it!  Your birthday only comes around once a year, right? I think no matter who you are, it’s worth celebrating making it through another year on this planet.

I’ve always had conflicting feelings as my birthday approaches each year. Without a doubt, I always want to celebrate the occasion, as I am a “good time Charlie” who is always up for a party.  Yet, calling attention to myself by reminding others of my impending birthday feels kind of yucky to me (hence the reason I’m not divulging the actual date of my birthday here).  I worry that people will think I am self-absorbed, attention-seeking, and conceited. That maybe they won’t give a rat’s ass but will feel nonetheless obligated to send me a card or wish me a Happy Birthday because I made sure that they were aware it was coming up.

I am not going to throw myself a birthday party. That would be obnoxious. On the other hand, I would also never in a million years discourage a loved one from throwing me a party on my birthday.

I appreciated the strategy some of my former social work colleagues employed on their birthdays: they baked treats and put them in the break room, making sure to send an email to invite everyone in the office to come and enjoy a treat to celebrate their birthdays. I’ve only been in my job for two months now, meaning I’m still under that 90 day ‘probationary period’ so perhaps I should tread carefully and focus on doing the best job I can instead of calling attention to myself just because it’s my birthday and I just so happen to be at work that day. Plus, my boss recently had her 31st birthday (yes, it feels weird that my boss is actually young enough to be my kid), and no fuss whatsoever was made by her or our co-workers that day because she’s humble like my Dad and Hubs. Yes, I work for a humble millennial. They do exist, people!

However, I very much enjoy baking and I am striving to be as kind as humanly possibly every day (see my last post about my new fangled Kindness Jar ), so maybe I should bake something and bring it in to work. It’s not like I’m going to waltz into the office that morning wearing a tiara and a “birthday girl” sash, right?

Image result for funny female images for birthdays

 

Perks of work

I’ve been at my new job for almost three weeks now. It feels so good to be able to type that sentence. I am so very grateful.

I’d like to take a moment to share the perks, some unexpected and some not, of being gainfully employed after a year and four months of being unemployed.

My job is part time, at 25 hours per week. I was always secretly envious of those girlfriends I had back in Wisconsin that worked part time. They seemed to be more relaxed as they had more free time in their lives to pursue other interests, like travel, hosting parties, and book clubs. Meanwhile, for the better part of 20 years, I was working full-time. And still hosting parties and partaking in some travel. I never was able to make time to belong to a book club. But now, thanks to my sweet part time hours, I probably could if I wanted to. “Doing it all” was, well, exhausting. With my new part time gig,  it’s much easier , not to mention more enjoyable because I am not exhausted,  to plan and participate in these extra-curriculars.

I have absolutely no intention of ever working full time again in my life. 

Hubs and I share our one vehicle. I very much appreciate the odd day when he’s chosen to work from home and I have the car all to myself. However, riding the bus or taking Uber to/from work has turned out to not be such a big deal. These modes of transportation involve a little bit of planning, hence,  a bit of extra time; but it sure beats having two car payments, two cars to insure, and two cars to maintain. No need whatsoever to purchase a second vehicle, in my mind.

I am using my knowledge and experience from my former career as a social worker in my day to day work now. I really dig not feeling being responsible for almost every aspect of my clients’ lives-from finding them a new place to live because they (and in one case their dog as well) were evicted, to trying to convince a chronic alcoholic that sobriety was the way to go. In my new position, I help them through the food pantry, respond to calls for handyman referrals, and loan out medical equipment. It’s uncomplicated, straightforward, helping senior citizens and sending them on their way.

I’ve always enjoyed fashion. I have a pretty decent collection of pieces, many of which are mix and match, to wear for work. Only I wasn’t wearing any of them for one year and four months. I didn’t realize how much I missed this simple thing until I started working again. I’m having some real “girly girl” moments these days as I peruse my wardrobe, picking out new combinations of outfits to sport at the office. And I’m so grateful that I didn’t gain a bunch of weight during my “Gap Year” so everything still fits!

During my “Gap Year” (and four months), I found myself often recalling the enjoyable conversations I had with my co-workers at my social work job in Wisconsin. I found myself often missing the little things, like my next door cube mate singing along with her Ipod while she was doing paperwork. And the co-worker who occasionally would bring in delicious homemade cupcakes to share. And just chatting with my nearby cube mates about our caseloads or even what we did last weekend. Now I have that camaraderie back, just with different people. And lucky me, they are a very kind, sociable, and for the most part, cheery bunch of folks.

Lastly, and perhaps oddly, I love the feeling when I get home at the end of my no more than six hour work day and I can get on my favorite comfy clothes, grab a glass of wine or a bottle of beer and sink into the couch with Hubs. I feel relaxed, good about myself, and deserving of the coziness of home.

 

Gratitudes

It seems fitting to me, with it being November, the month of giving thanks and all, that I share what I’m grateful for, aka my gratitudes.

At this particular moment in time, I thankfully have an abundance of things for which I am sincerely grateful. 

Without any further ado, here we go:

#1: I am grateful for employment.  I started my new job last Wednesday, working part time as a program assistant in a non-profit serving senior citizens. And all signs indicate this is going to be a very good fit for me.

#2:  I am grateful for our early Thanksgiving celebration with our two lovable spawn. We had a wonderful time with them last weekend, when they came out to visit us here in Colorado. We had our traditional Thanksgiving dinner, spent time cracking each other up playing board games, and saw a few local sites. It was all so very good for this mom’s heart.

#3: I am grateful for my friends, both old and new. Like my friend Kevin, who is like a brother to me, who appreciated the Google playlist I made for him when he came for a visit last month. Like my newest girlfriend here in Colorado, who has such a good heart and a fun loving personality. I’m looking forward to spending more time with her.

#4: The mild climate here in Colorado. Let’s just say I don’t recall being overheated in a long sleeved shirt outside in mid-November when I lived in Wisconsin or Minnesota. It’s actually supposed to be 70 degrees here on Thanksgiving!

#5: I am grateful for Hubs’ support of me working again, which he demonstrates by doing things like staying on top of the laundry and the dishes, and cleaning the house.

#6: I am grateful for our church family. They are a kind, welcoming, supportive and faithful bunch.

#7:  I am grateful for nature shows on t.v. Hubs and I have allowed ourselves to consume an unhealthy amount of MSNBC the last couple of months. Nature shows, like the one we watched about sea otters the other night, are such a welcome and delightful respite from all of that bad news.

#8: I am grateful for blogging. Not just the process of writing and publishing, but the community. Lately, when it comes to blogging, I’ve been reading more than writing due to time constraints from having the job I am so grateful for. It is a bit of a Catch-22, so my future posts will not be as frequent as a result. Here’s a few posts from other blogger’s that I particularly enjoyed that I think you should check out:

This one inspired me to sprinkle cinnamon on my hot cocoa and it was fabulous!

Perfect mug of cocoa

This one introduced me to the concept of Hygge, which I really appreciate!

Hygge

What are you grateful for? Please comment and share your gratitudes!

 

Where my head’s at: Jobs, Life, and Gun Violence

You may have or may have not noticed that the frequency of my blog posts has declined as of late. It’s because, well…life. Other bloggers are surely familiar with this predicament. You get on a roll, posting with regularity, reading other blogger’s posts and providing commentary. You are in your groove.

Then, life rudely barges in, forcing you to shift your focus and re-assess your priorities. Like when circumstances force you to acknowledge in your core of cores that your parents are aging for real as illnesses and surgeries grow in their frequency and severity. Like when you begin planning for your young adult spawn’s overdue visit to your new-ish home in your new-ish state and potential snafus in this plan begin to emerge, leaving you to ponder an alternate plan. Like when you realize the amount of time and energy spent on blogging will not equal the satisfaction of working outside of the home with real live people and earning actual money.

That said, this is not me declaring that my blogging days are over. What I can declare, however, with relative certainty, is that change is afoot in my life at the moment. For better or worse. 

I have made some headway in my search for employment.  I updated my resume and applied for a job as a para-educator in the special ed department of a local elementary school. I have also applied for another job, for which I have an interview this afternoon.

So as not to jinx it, I’m going to supress my urge to provide details about said job interview and the anxious thoughts rattling through my brain as I mentally prepare myself for the first job interview I’ve have in 10 years. Gulp.

Then there are other happenings that are taking up space in my brain and especially in my heart. One week ago today, I awoke to the news of yet another fatal shooting. Only this time it happened a mere 5 minute drive from our home, at the Wal-Mart in Thornton, Colorado. I can honestly say that for the first time since all of these horrific shootings in this country of ours began, this scared me on a personal level. I’ve been to that Wal-Mart. I’m much more aware of my surroundings when going out and about as a result of this. Three innocent lives lost, for no reason whatsoever.

What angers and sickens me the most about this is that there does not appear to be an end in sight with these shootings. 

I pray, as many others in this country and throughout the world are. I pray for the families left behind but even more importantly, I pray that the jokers representing us in Washington, D.C., will take action, once and for all, to reduce the likelihood that mass shootings will continue to occur. The only way, I believe, for this epidemic to have any chance of being remedied, is for stricter gun regulations to be enacted.

A good friend of mine here in Colorado shared a video on Facebook today with the pictures and stories of all of those folks who lost their lives in the mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, last Sunday. I appreciate that, because I think it’s much easier to say our prayers and then get right back to living our own personal lives when we only pay attention to the sound bites offered by the media.

I don’t believe in taking the easy route. Not when it comes to the mass shooting epidemic in this country and not when it comes to how I live my personal life. Because a meaningful life and a more harmonious society is not manifested by making easy choices.

I’m going to go forth and do my best to seize this day. I will count my blessings, which are many. Likely more than I deserve. And tomorrow, I will strive to do the same. Day by day.

 

 

 

 

Time is my Frenemy

Time.

Full disclosure: I’ve become really good at wasting it.  Like getting myself sucked into what others are doing or trying to sell on Facebook. Like watching too much t.v. I seem to be battling time every day on some level, which stresses me out. There’s just so darn much I want to do with my time that I end up sabotaging myself with my own indecisiveness.

In the scheme of things, however, time is kind of on my side, as the Rolling Stones tell me. As anyone who has been following my blog knows, I continue to be a free agent. As in, not participating in paid employment of any kind.

I truly have nothing to legitimately complain about here. 

That said, I am 50.  While I generally don’t feel my age, physically, but especially mentally, there it is. I am most certainly not a spring chicken. However, if I live to be 80, I’ve still lived more than half of my life at this point in time.  On the up side (and you know I’m all about the up side), I’ve got 30 hopefully healthy more years to go. I can still have big plans. A new career, even. I could go to clown college. I could become a professional bartender. I could become a teacher. Life, aka the universe,  will no doubt intervene to provide me with unexpected curveballs. Because the universe excels at this. I like to believe that when this happens,  I will adjust my sails, conquer the obstacles, and re-negotiate the steps I’m taking to get to wherever it is I am going.

The below image could very well fall into the category of  “When we make plans, God laughs”. So be it. I’m going to latch onto it nonetheless, because it is, ultimately, a positive affirmation that serves as a reminder to me that I am indeed in charge of my life, and my daily schedule. It’s all about making thoughtful, responsible, and wise choices every single day about what I spend my time on. Essentially, making friends with time. And being willing and able to use whatever self-piloting skills I have developed in this life to get through the turbulence.

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Random Ramblings

Just a few, unrelated and utterly irrelevant thoughts I have had recently….

I’m kind of a sucker for those sites that post decadent dessert recipes on Facebook. It infuriates me, however, when “Easy” is in the title, however. Thing is, if I’m going to make and then of course consume said dessert, it is not in my belly fat’s best interest for it to be “easy” to make. The recipe should include ingredients you have to work for, like a specific kind of berry only found on the top of the Rocky Mountains. Or honey that has to be tapped from a specific maple tree located deep in the forest. Or corn meal that you have to grind yourself.

I might want to grow my hair out and see how long it can get. This notion was inspired by seeing Megan Mullally’s beautiful hair while watching Summer of 69, the big hearted and smartly hilarious comedy show she and her husband Nick Offerman created. Also, she played the ukulele during the show so now I want to do that too.

I love Pinterest but recognize that it can be a black hole. Or like the kettle corn I can’t seem to get enough of, despite feeling sick to my stomach and hyped up at the same time. Or like when my cousin and I, as kids,  would spend hours upon hours gazing through the JC Penney Christmas catalog with calculators in hand, pretend shopping for things we wanted to buy.

Hubs recently shared that he had to “drain the lizard”. As in, he had to pee. Use the lavatory (wasn’t that weird how the bathrooms in school were called this back in the day? Such a weird, unused word today). Hubs told me this was one of his favorite euphemisms. I prefer when he tells me (seriously, even in public) that he has to “go potty”. Weird, right? But I find it endearing. It reminds me that he was once the daddy to our no longer little spawn, and our charming 3 year old grandson. The daddy and “Papa” who said/says “make sure to go potty before you get in the car” and “do you need me to take you to go potty now?”

One goal I have in life is to be able to sing through the entirety of  R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World”. While undoubtedly frenetically paced, this is a classic song, amiright?And once I’ve accomplished that goal, I should easily be able to get work as an auctioneer. Maybe I could add that to the list of possibilities for my job search.

 

Practicing the 3 D’s

In the summer of 2016, Hubs and I had just moved to Colorado and settled into an apartment in Boulder while searching for a home to buy. We had decided prior to moving that I would take a break from paid employment. We didn’t determine how long this break would be, however.

We busied ourselves with the job of finding the right house, exploring the wonders of Boulder, and shopping for new furniture (we had a massive garage sale before leaving Wisconsin, greatly reducing the amount of stuff we had accumulated over the years).

Then once we found and moved into our new home at the end of August, we busied ourselves with unpacking boxes, finding the perfect placement for our new furniture and wall art, and familiarizing ourselves with life in our new townhome community.

Over the following several months, while starting this blog, joining a new church, settling in to a new weekly volunteer gig, and making new friends, I found myself referring to this period in my life as my “gap year”. And I wholeheartedly admit that I have milked this time for all its worth. If you find yourself financially able, unsatisfied professionally, and middle aged, I highly recommend taking a “gap year” to sort yourself out. 

The big epiphany here, for me right now,  is that my “gap year” is beginning to exceed it’s time limit. In other words, I have come to the conclusion that it is now time for me to expand my horizons. 

I’m going to start my job search, folks. In earnest.

Making this decision brings to mind words I found written in pastel colored chalk while on a morning walk in August 2016, while still living in Boulder.

Desire. Determination. Discipline.

I do believe these big and important words were submerged in my subconscious this past year. I had a great desire to pursue blogging. I had the determination to go ahead and start this blog. And I had the discipline to pen posts on a regular basis-3 times per week, with the exception of the weeks when we were out of town or hosting company in our new Colorado abode.

Now is the time for me to move these big, important words from my subconscious to my brain’s frontal lobe on a daily basis.

Do I have the desire to find employment? Yes.

Do I have the determination to find employment? Most certainly. In fact, once this post is published I will immediately be checking for jobs on Indeed.com. Fact is, my ulterior motive for creating this post is to enhance my personal accountability for this endeavor. 

Do I have the discipline to find employment? I like to think I do. I believe the fact that I’ve made the decisions to get my arse in gear, make a daily to-do list upon waking each morning, and then complete each task before the day is done (top on the list is searching for jobs and filling out applications), exemplifies my self-discipline.