Look, See, Be A Warrior

"Warrior"

“Warrior” (Photo credit: tiseb)

I’m in a new phase of life, the one that wants me to jump (okay get) out of bed and explore new things, consignment stores, nature, things to put together, photographs that I have taken, blending, coloring, initiating, cooking and baking. New things. What it will turn out to be I do not know but I am excited about having something new to do. I want to explore all new things. It’s been three days, so far so good.I’ve decided to focus on myself. It’s a whole new world out there.

My conscience is my conscience.

I need a new mission other than complaining on this blog. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here, sometimes, but I need to branch out in different directions. Instead of those huge collages I used to make for years to express myself, (they gave me so much happiness)  maybe I need to make them again in a different version of what they were. Smaller? Tighter? In another form?  Or give them as gifts, to brighten someone’s day. Drawing isn’t really my thing although I am proud I tried it, I want to try it now with my non-dominant hand and yes, I am a left-handed.

Color picture

Color picture (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I want to learn many new things out of my comfort zone, what’s the fun of staying inside? It’s been established that I can draw within the lines, I want out and not just with the #2 pencils but with bright purples and bold green, dancing red lines and orange oranges. I will dress in only colorful clothing, bright colors, no beige, tan or white (only with a colorful scarf.) I will wear earrings and for the first time, I wore make-up yesterday, oh yes I did. At my advanced age I should have worn make-up for the last 40 years. I thought lipstick counted. I felt great and I know I came off totally differently, with confidence, cheerful. People smiled at me, first.

I’ve had enough of old me, time for new me, it may last, it may not. Just going on to try it on for a little while. Also, I’m going to buy myself a present. Simply because I want to and can and I have saved up money for it. It’s mine, all mine, no thank you notes, no guilt, no, begging, no wish list. I saw it last year but it didn’t feel right to buy it back then. After a grueling seven to eight months of medical hell, I’m celebrating, by myself, for myself.

Tomorrow, a new day in my new life, empowerment, spirituality, more meditation, a light shining down even when it is cloudy, walking, noticing, keeping busy, getting unstuck. Will I make mistakes? Of course, I will go backwards at times. I need to realize it when it happens and accept it but, get up again.

And, I will earn money, someway, somehow. This is my Time.

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Employment Application, 2013

So freaking delicious, from my favorite restau...

So freaking delicious, from my favorite restaurant Le Madeline 🙂 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Hiring Manager:

Wanted: Full or Part-time Job involving food, writing or any combination of the two. Traveling with car service a must: ( I have NO sense of direction and that is an understatement)  It is NO joke. It is NOT covered by the ADA but  why isn’t it?  Mode of transportation:  Airlines: Private jet or first class preferable, business class necessary, economy, okay..if I must. Stand by: Been there, done that.

Interests: Food, Special Interest: Dessert, Food TV shows, Favorite all time dessert: Sacher Torte: Original or Fake, German or Austrian or American from Kew Gardens, Queens at the Homestead Gourmet with raspberry jam.I had it every year growing up for my birthday and I miss it. RIP Teddy.

Special Skills: Having traveled (for free) in my childhood I am extremely knowledgeable to rate hotels in addition to their restaurants and room service if you would like me to do that. I do not shy away from extra assignments, in fact, I just offered a very, informative link to the hotel industry. Can someone call ‘The Hilton’s’, please?

Proof of Expertise: Reading my blog, references, and restaurant owners in the area. I wrote a review of “The Flying Pig” for the local newspaper, it is not my fault they closed the restaurant, we still miss it, I assure you. Receipts upon request.

Good Points: Very amicable, charming, an excellent communicator, doesn’t like alcohol. Does not consider sorbet a dessert, perhaps as a palette cleanser and no weird flavors like octopus or lizard. Prefers cakes over pies, ice cream in addition to the cake never in lieu of the cake. Fresh fruit on request, ha ha ha ha ha. For a special occasion our family went out to a fancy restaurant and our daughter, the vegetarian, ordered blueberries and strawberries for $12 or $15 dollars and we said “no.” She was beyond furious even after I offered to make her some at home. Cookies: any time, all the time, but if you don’t want to make them, that’s fine, go to a bakery instead, Just sayin’…

Bad Points: I confess, favorite comfort food is still Kraft American cheese slices on soft bread (not Wonder bread. Anymore.) with light spreadable “butter and a chocolate related drink, this could include hot chocolate, Yoo-Hoo or chocolate egg creams. Diet Pepsi/Coke/Root Beer acceptable too. There are certain food items and beverages that go together well. Something salty would go with this dish, chips, pretzels, nothing special.

Additional Experience: Watching TV shows with my husband on our couch while eating our dessert not to be confused with Pre-D which immediately follows our meal but is a predecessor of the real “D” (which as you may have figured out is: Dessert. Ice Cream, pastry from French bakeries, even an occasional cupcake will do if we have nothing else. (Okay, maybe a Twinkie) and Baklava, yum, (another post on Baklava is also a blog post.)

Market Reach and Development: I need to be the first person or close enough to TRY NEW PRODUCTS, that is a natural field for me, I spy them on the shelves, I immediately buy them. Case in point: “*Candy Cotton Grapes.” I did not stop until I found them, it took 3 stores but I HAD TO HAVE THEM. I excel at wanting, finding and buying new products, my mother said I’ve been like that since I was 5, haven’t stopped. (see the entry “Cotton Candy Grapes” on my blog.

Cooking Skills: I make a mean chicken soup, I can roast a chicken with lemon and love, my baking skills are superb but limited to Banana Bread with the following options (plain, chocolate chip or chocolate chip and raisin) The latter being my son’s absolute favorite and the one thing he actually brags about (and hoards) from his friends.  I can also bake Pumpkin bread with or without raisins (without for my daughter who doesn’t like the texture of raisins and many other things) Oh, I knew I would forget something an award-winning Pea Soup. (Okay not a real award but it deserves one.) I learned how to make Chopped Chicken Liver when I was ten by a neighbor…

Excellent Writing Skills: To summarize the meals, service, attention to detail and I interact beautifully with all levels of  employees. Note:  I believe that you need to be kind to everyone and yes, it’s hard but at least try. Karma is karma, I’m not perfect, neither are you.

Overall summary: Delightful person with excellent communication skills and a love of food (junky or refined), enthusiastic, funny, silly, and a charming dinner companion. This applicant plays no games, she can’t wear high heels because they hurt her feet, although she would try fancier flats if necessary, she is willing to adapt. She has dancing green eyes and brown curly hair and only wears lipstick which her mother has bugged her about for the last two months. She is thinking about being dragged to one of those fancy stores like Nordstrom (which I used to call Nordstrom’s before my daughter corrected me for the 19th time ( with the ever so charming and obvious eye roll to the sky) for a make-over. Plus, I need new clothing too.

This candidate, I can assure you, will never, ever be late. She will always, unless there is a natural disaster, be early because she had/has  European parents and there WAS no other option. She is honest, she can keep secrets and is always reliable.

Take a chance. At the very least, bring her in for an interview.

Pretty please with rainbow sprinkles on top?

Yours truly,

Me.

PS: If you call my friend Maureen she will tell you that at times I do eat pizza with either grape or strawberry jam on top. I do not deny this one bit. In fact, I am proud of it.

I Love Ice Cream (Food Cop)

Thursday Night Dinner

Thursday Night Dinner (Photo credit: AxsDeny)

Last night I reached into our over-crowded freezer and pulled out a pint of Ben & Jerry’s” Phish Food.” It has everything I look for in an ice cream, chocolate (but not dark chocolate) a marshmallow swirl, a caramel swirl and chunks of dark chocolate fish. What more could you possibly want? It’s my go-to flavor for comfort although I have to say it was hard to resist that new coconut flavor they had in the summer. Oh my, I wonder how Phish Food would taste with some coconut in it? In my mind it reminds of a very old flavor that I used to love at Baskin Robbins when I was a kid “German Chocolate Cake” Ben and Jerry, how about it?

If I could choose any job at all I think I would be an ice cream flavor tester. (ARE YOU HIRING BY ANY CHANCE??) For the happiness quotient alone, it makes me smile just to think about it. I’ve forgiven Ben and Jerry for selling out to a big company, let’s face it, I would have done the very same thing. They are still involved, they have every right to enjoy their wealth and scoop what they sow. I love these two guys with a vision and a dream, these are two people I can say have made the world a better place. (And I’m not sucking up because I think I’ll get free ice cream, no one does that anymore.)  I truly like these dudes and I even visited their plant many years ago in Vermont, have a cow tee-shirt to prove it.

My husband likes “Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz,” but for me coffee is to be sipped slowly in the morning, steaming hot but not eaten with a teaspoon. I have tried his and it has a nice smooth quality but it’s not in my top ten list. See, now that I am writing about their ice cream, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that even having gained three pounds, I know we will be at their store tonight, waiting in line, asking for a free sample and then ordering. My genius son introduced me to the BEST way to order, because in our family, (except for my husband) rainbow sprinkles reign supreme. You order whatever size you want, with rainbow sprinkles and *THIS IS KEY* tell them that you want the cone in a cup! That way, they are not cheap with the sprinkles (guys: you should know this) as I can tell you they are when you just order a cone. Do you just LOVE THIS?    I know, I do too. Thanks, to my boy Tim for that idea. Everybody? “Thanks, Tim.”

I’m looking forward to dinner, it’s our daughter’s last night home before she leaves for college and she gets to select whatever she wants to eat. She has selected pizza and a cheese calzone with marinara sauce (YES!!!!!!!!) and I am really looking forward to that. Do you get the sense that we are a foodie family? We are.

GASP!!! There’s a PEEP in that photograph, another FAVORITE of mine, (but they have to be yellow marshmallow chicks) how fortunate was I to find a photo like THAT!!  I have written entire blog posts on Peeps. Check them out!

Okay, I’ve told you my favorite ice cream flavor. What’s yours? I’m licking my lips.

Photograph courtesy of the photographer, no rights owned.

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Life, Celebrate It

Beauty

Beauty (Photo credit: TONY – M)

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness (Photo credit: mbgrigby)

I’ve been a little down lately and cranky and I feel just a bit lost. I’m trying to get my footing in a very fast-changing world and I don’t know where I will end up. I know a lot of people, my age, who have felt the same way, even worse. The world is a very scary place, sometimes a very sad place and I know that many people are feeling its effects. I feel them too. How could we not? We’re getting older, if we still have parents, they are getting older and our children are just about adults. The sandwich generation is taking its toll, we are looking back over our shoulders wondering where the last 40 years have gone?

Today I talked to a very close friend who shut me up in about 30 seconds when she told me her aunt was having much more significant problems with her child, they had discovered two masses in his body and were in the process of finding out what they were. Hopefully, they were nothing serious but the stress they were going through was paralyzing. It left me embarrassed with my petty annoyances. Sometimes you just have to look at life that way. Yes, whatever you go through is real for you, no one is going to get down on you for what you feel, but in this life we all need to keep thins in perspective. Keep YOUR problems in perspective.

In the meantime, stop focusing on yourself. Today, as I had planned, I filled out the form to be a volunteer at a Hospice, something I’ve always wanted to do. A few days ago I joined a gym for the summer to finally get myself in shape. (I’ve already lost 30 pounds now I just want to be fit) I won’t have to look away from my internist or down at the floor when she asks me the “how much do you exercise question?” I am trying to help myself, to keep my mind and body busy.

If I do more, I will get more in return. I remember my father teaching me that, long, long ago when I was looking for a summer job in college and hadn’t gotten very many call backs from companies after sending out some resumes: “The more you send out, the more you call, the more responses you will receive” he told me. That was then, when people were courteous and he was certainly right, now, nobody seems to care. I spent over 20 years in Human Resources, calling every person, acknowledging every inquiry, what they do now is horrific. They don’t do anything, even after an interview. Nobody seems to care. They don’t treat people like people. What have we become? In a country that needs good manners the most for the discouraged or unemployed, people treat others horribly. My husband went through this years ago for 2 and a half years…we know.

If you need any helpful hints or have any questions before an interview, feel free to write me.

If there is nothing sparkling new in your life now or nothing to look forward to be thankful and appreciate what you have and don’t think about what you lack. Do some good in the world, some random act of kindness. Volunteer, offer someone who is elderly your arm to cross the street or carry their groceries. Hold the door for people, it costs no money and means so much. Celebrate what you do have and don’t cry over what you don’t. It’s really as simple as that.

Celebrate your life with wonder, grace and gratitude and even if you don’t feel like it, smile. Yes, smile. Sometimes if you “pretend”smile, it can help you as well as others. A very special teacher I had, long ago, called it “The Confidence Game.” It’s worth trying. You have nothing to lose.

I wish you peace, I wish you luck, I wish you hope.

How I Am Liking 2011 So Far…..

Happy Valentine's Day Flickrites!

Image by Sister72 via Flickr

I’m Ready For February

 

One step forward, two steps backwards and on and on we go. My husband, after 18 months finally got a job! That was the sweetest day of the new year and he starts next week. Yes, there will be changes, a new schedule, new demands and adjustments but to see the old easy, grin on his face again is worth more than ten times his salary. At the same time because I have a chronic illness (Fibromyalgia) I know I will need to do more and try to handle my pain the best way I know how. It will not be an easy adjustment for me, especially when he travels, but I will find my way. Our children are now 16 and 18 and they are at the ages where we expect them to help us if we need it. They are no longer children and while they may not offer help indiscriminately, they will never say “no.”

The weather in the year 2011 so far has been as bad as the last month in 2010, snowstorms and blizzards every other day at times. This is the winter of our collective discontent when the only thing you could do is stay indoors. Hopefully, we will get a break and Spring will come early this year. (I know, I don’t believe it either!)

Creativity is high on my list not just with writing but I am planning to make a new collage and I haven’t done one in years. The last unfinished collage was on thick black paper with small pieces of broken glass glued to it. Not hard to interpret. My new background will be pink. Friends ask me what it is going to be about or how will it look? I laugh, because I never plan what I am going to write, cut, draw or paste; it puts itself together and I am looking forward to sitting at my old blue folding table and working, surrounded by music.

I’ve learned to define and understand something very important: “Friendship” know who your true friends are and accept what they are able to give you and not expect more of them. In the same vein, I know that family members are not my friends. I’ve worried about my mom’s health, had my own health scares but all is well and I am ready for February. Bring it on! I’ve got my boots on my feet and my brown winter jacket hugging me tight. I’ve learned, little by little, how to ride the waves, whether they are frozen or not.

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My Gift Wish List

Santa Claus with a little girl

Image via Wikipedia

HO, HO, HO?

Dear Santa,

I’ve been asking for this special gift, this present, for over a year now. Since it’s almost Christmas (and Hanukkah) please, could you read my letter again? I was silly to think that you would grant my wish before the holidays but ’tis the season now…fa la la la la, la la la la. I am not asking for a present for just me, I am asking for one present for the whole family. I am asking for a job for my husband that pays real money. Our family would really appreciate it. Please Santa, its been a long time. I’ve been a very good girl and will, once again, leave out cookies and milk for you and carrots for Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer. Thanks a lot! Hugs and kisses and love, from ME

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9 and A Half Minutes, Episode 2 (Interviews)

Virtual Resume & Letter

Image by Olivier Charavel via Flickr

I apologize. I’m supposed to talk about things that annoy me but I can’t today. That’s just way too mild for a topic that’s making me feel totally infuriated and incensed. I’m steaming. Literally. I feel smoke coming out of my hair follicles and anything near me could burst into uncontrollable flames.  I want to talk about a practice that I absolutely hate with a passion. Today I am talking about the job market and I’m NOT talking about President Obama or the economy. I’m talking about people. Specific people. You should know who you are but since you are so out of touch with reality, I’ll tell you.

I want to blast the inconsiderate Human Resource people or “People Person” as some call themselves now AND Hiring Managers that don’t take the time to give a candidate an answer, a final decision. I’m not talking about someone who has just sent in their resume, I’m talking about a candidate who has been in for an interview, not to mention four separate times for interviews. I’m talking about interviews leading up to talking to the CEO of the company and then…. hears nothing. NOTHING, bupkes, zip, nada. This is not only extremely rude and hurtful. It’s inhumane.

What happened to simple common courtesy? I was a Human Resources person way back when and not only did we acknowledge every resume that came in with a letter but we called each candidate that interviewed and gave them an answer. Did we enjoy turning people down? No. Was it a hard call to make? Yes. But, at least we gave the candidate the courtesy, they so rightly deserve, of a phone call to tell them the decision. If we couldn’t reach the person, we sent a letter, an authentic letter with the company’s letterhead and our signature; because people have the right to know, one way or the other.

Today? They don’t acknowledge you or reject you, they do absolutely nothing. Do these interviewers and hiring managers think that because the economy is so bad and that they have so many applicants it makes it okay to just let things slide. It is not okay, it is never okay; it is wrong. Gee, I guess after several months and no return phone calls you assume you didn’t get the job.  Don’t they know that it’s the waiting that is torturous?  In this scenario, “silence is not golden” silence stinks, it’s a cop-out, it’s cowardly. Tell me, just try to tell me that these hiring managers or employment representatives don’t have thirty seconds to either pick up the phone (what am I thinking?) or at the very least send an e-mail. An e-mail would give the candidates closure but no, job seekers don’t even get that. Why not? To me, it’s totally unacceptable and nobody can convince me that you can’t write an e-mail that says “thanks but no thanks, we selected someone with more appropriate experience and blah blah blah”. PEOPLE NEED CLOSURE so they can dust themselves off and try again. Apparently this is too much to ask for.

In my opinion, there are no excuses, it’s just plain rude and demeaning. What kind of world are we living in now? What have we become? Don’t give me the excuse about the volume of resumes either. I worked in HR for 25 years and we had resumes coming in by the hundreds. Sure, we were busy every minute but we made the time to call and let people know the hiring manager’s decision. People are stronger than you think, they just want to know, one way or the other.  So, turn on your computer, or ask your assistant to do it for you, write a courteous note, click send and give people their dignity back.  There are no excuses. Just do it. People are going through enough of a hard time trying to find a job. You are just being rude and inconsiderate. If I could, I would start a movement against this. That’s how mad I am. Very truly yours, “Norma Rae.”