Musing #437

When we talk we give ourselves away. We reveal our true character in a picture which is more true and realistic than anything an artist can do for us. “  Dr Ralph C. Smedley


Ironies of Unemployment

Here's another teaser (designed mostly to hold me accountable for posting new content)!

The very first job I applied for; the one that was a total fluke; the one where the Director said I pretty much had her at, "I understand you're looking for a ..."; the one where the job was mine just as soon as the Director could tame the politics and take a breath ... remember?  Well, yesterday I learned that she has been arrested and charged with some mega heavy duty felonies committed via her position.

Damn. Ya suck up to someone for months and they go and ruin it by making a bomb threat. Dontcha hate it when that happens?

Stay tuned for the full story and even more stories of ridiculous situations that could only happen to me.

Yellow Dog vs. the Cannoli!

Stay tuned for an epic account of my battle with the cannoli. It was gruesome - every dish was dirtied; chocolate chips were charred; Cinnamon was shed and the ricotta totally turned traitor. Seriously. I fought the cannoli and the cannoli won. Stay tuned!



I've been playing around with layout, but my html skills are rusty. Please be patient - and let me know of any problems, preferences, or wonky links in the comments.

Speaking of Sophie

In my last post I mentioned that I related to the character of Sophie on HBO's In Treatment so much that her last few sessions had me in tears. It was like watching my own teenaged self going through therapy - which I probably should have. Abandoned by dad, depressed mom, feeling responsible for everything, acting defiant ... I swear the writers of this show found my diary from when I was 16. I wasn't a gymnast, but I did have red hair and I was in a motorcycle accident and I did OD. Hell, I even once bought a brass sailboat for Rick. I didn't have a therapist, but I did find a priest who met with me in his office once a week one summer. *sigh* "What did I do?" I still ask myself that question to this day.

Watch this video and then comment to let me know if Sophie made you cry too.

Also, in case you've ever wondered what I was like at 16, well, here ya go!

The Kids Are All Right ... Despite having seen this dumb movie

 I love the fact that even though both of the kids are officially "adults" now they still like to go to movies with mom and dad. We managed to coordinate all 4 of our schedules and spend a recent Friday night at the movies seeing Scott Pilgrim, which we all enjoyed for different reasons. On the heels of that bonding experience we made plans to see The Kids Are All Right a couple of weeks later.

I had been anxious to see this movie since first hearing about it. As a major champion for same sex marriage rights, I was thrilled to see such a relationship depicted in a mainstream movie. I anticipated realism without sensationalism; in addition to superior acting. I've loved Mia Wasikowska every since I had the pleasure of watching her act out my own life story via her role as Sophie on the series In Treatment. (Okay, so maybe I was never a gymnast and my parents were not rich beautiful successful California people, but the pathos and daddy issues were dead on. I literally wept through her last few sessions with Paul.)

D ended up being tied up with band practice but LD, KD and I went ahead to see this movie.

Wow. What a disappointment; an uncomfortable disappointment. We weren't very far into the movie before being hit with our first gratuitous sex scene. I'm by no means a prude, and the kids have not been overly sheltered to the sexual realities of the world, but sitting between my 18 year old son and twenty year old  daughter while gay male porn plays across the screen was definitely one of my most uncomfortable parenting moments. I knew without looking that LD would already be eye rolling at the gratuitousness of the scene, but KD was caught off-guard.

"Well. This is certainly uncomfortable," I whispered to her. "Probably won't be telling grandma we saw this movie."

I don't have a problem with the fact that our movie couple watched gay male porn - okay, I'll admit to a tiny problem with it because it defies both reason and the opinions of my lesbian friends (whom I queried later). My problem was with the fact that they made us watch it - and that it was completely unnecessary to the story line. We were also treated to a second showing later (including a man-to-man blow job) which was again, completely unnecessary.

In fact, I felt like maybe there was a whole subplot to the movie left on the cutting room floor which might have made the whole gay male issue a bit more relevant to the plot line. Like maybe Laser (the son) was, indeed questioning his sexuality. That certainly would have explained why the character of his douchey friend was included in the movie. Instead, the character of "Laser's friend" (I don't even remember his name) served no purpose except to nose around the lesbian moms' bedroom; find and play the porn; attempt a stupid skateboard trick; and almost pee on a stray dog. Relevance? I sure didn't see any.

And then we have the committed lesbian couple I was so eager to see portrayed. The set up is that they have been committed to each other for (at least) 18 years. They each underwent AI in order to give birth to a child of their own. In my opinion that shows a serious commitment. Why then does the doctor mom act so surprised when the hippie mom acts like ... a hippie. Is this news to her? I've only known them for about 30 minutes but I'm not at all surprised by her behaviour because that's so clearly a fundamental aspect of who she is. Ditto on hippie mom's surprise and indignation when doctor mom is discovered to be on the phone with a patient (okay, never mind that the phone never rang). They've been together 18 years - has she never EVER been called away to deal with a patient before?

And then we have my main complaint about the whole stupid movie, which is that apparently even when someone is in a near 20 year committed monogamous loving homosexual relationship all it takes for one to stray from both the commitment AND their own sexuality is a guy with a big dick. Seriously. The first time hippie mom hops into bed with the hetero male she's known for only a couple of days she is quick to make sure we know she's quite impressed with his endowment. And so begins the numerous scenes of them having heterosexual butt-pumping sex in too many different positions to count.

I'm not even going to bother with talking about the rest of the movie because it pretty much lost all credibility with me right there. Lesbians are turned on by gay male porn and when presented with the opportunity to enjoy a well hung man they will turn their back on their partner, their family, and everything they've ever held sacred. Yeah, right. Ugh.

I would love to have known what led Laser to want to find his bio dad, or why the moms seemed to suddenly not know or communicate with each other, or even why Sophie (she'll always be Sophie to me) was so concerned with her bff's sexual exploits. Instead, the only thing this movie showed me was a bunch of sexual positions I had already seen ... and some gay male porn.

The kids in my own life are definitely all right, as on the ride home they had a long discussion about how gratuitous sex or violence in movies is stupid and how they don't believe that one's sexuality can change on a whim. By the time we got home we were all three pretty much over it. When D asked how the movie was the kids just rolled their eyes and I gave him just enough information to horrify him (he's far more protective than I) before we all turned our attention to playing with Jake, who had been locked in the back yard all evening with no one to play fetch with.

Sometimes just having all of us dorking around together at home is way more fun than going to the movies. anyway.


Random Shout Outs, Kudos & Complaints

The world is a beautiful place today! I forget how much fun it is because I tend to stay holed up wallowing in my unemployed-ness, but today I ventured out and functioned among the masses for a change. The weather was beautiful, people were friendly,  and the traffic was tolerable.

Speaking of traffic:

To the man in the white truck with the old school trailer: It was very nice of you to stop in the middle lane so I could turn right even though the guy in the right (my) lane already had it covered & I had even begun my turn, but was it really necessary to honk repeatedly at me and gesture wildly towards the center lane? I mean, we were all stopped because of the red light a few car lengths ahead. So like I said, it was nice of you to stop also, but what you didn't seem to understand was that I did not want (or need) to turn into your lane, as I was just going to hook another right as soon as the light changed. The first time you honked and pointed I smiled and politely pointed back at my own lane to try and convey that I was going that way. The second time you honked/pointed I checked for a stalled car in my intended lane to make sure you weren't giving me some kind of polite friendly-driver heads-up. The third time I thought you were being far too bossy, so I just exchanged a wtf look with the red truck in my own lane. I'm sorry your lane wasn't appealing to me - despite your best efforts to get me to join. It wasn't you. It was me. We were just on different paths in life.

To Whole Foods: Your garlic pesto knots complete me.

To the nice mail carrier who traded lanes with me on the parking lot: Thank you for the car window service mail pick-up.

To the city worker guys with the Ditch Witch (Shout out Littlefield!): It's hot out there, but I want you to know you are appreciated.

To Dr. Cobb: Thank you very much for the supply of free samples!  It sucks to be uninsured in the U.S. NHC now!

To Bodhi: I said you could go with me, but you didn't want to, so quit acting like I abandoned you.

To DD: I want my steak dinner and I'm quite confident I earned it.

To Ilonka: So glad to have you back in my life!

To my neighbor who is moving to China in 3 days: I'm so excited for you and can't wait to hear stories of your experiences as an expat!

To iTunes: I'm already a genius so I'm not at all interested in your slow loading recommendations! Also, YES, I do want to continue to receive my podcasts. That's why I subscribed to them and I'll listen to them when I'm damned good and ready. And NO I do not want you to auto delete anything. STOP TRYING TO SECOND GUESS ME!

To Obama: Hang in there - not everyone is an ethnocentric idiot.

To Ethnocentric idiots: SHUT UP!

Life After Lay Off: Weeks 9 and 10

I've had strep throat. Or tonsillitis. I'm not sure which, but my throat looks like raw meat and feels like someone ran an electric sander over it. It hurts to swallow. It also hurts not to swallow.
Unfortunately since I no longer have health insurance, or you know, a job I cannot afford to go to the doctor.
Fortunately since I live with an autoimmune disorder anyway I have a giant stash of antibiotics on hand. So, I've simply used my Google-fu to determine which antibiotic and in what dose and have been medicating myself.
Hmmm ... even with my mad medical skillz I still don't have a job.


Popular Phenomena I Will Never Understand

There are many things about popular American culture that absolutely baffle me. It goes without saying that I abhor media manipulation, but the increasing willingness of people to succumb to it leaves me both disgusted and saddened. In many instances it's as if logic has ceased to exist. To wit:

1.  Lady GaGa: For starters she looks like a drag version of Howard from the Big Bang Theory. I do agree that she has a beautiful voice, but whatever happened to letting that stand on its own? I have no problem with celebrities using their platforms to educate and inform about causes they believe in, but Lady GaGa is promoting nothing but her own self with all the ridiculous costumes and videos. In fact, by appearing as a freak show she's alienating a large portion of an audience she might otherwise be able to reach and instead appealing to the lowest common denominator. I'm a huge proponent of individuality  and self expression. I was saying "fuck the fascist beauty standards" long before people  like her came along, but there is a difference between drawing attention to a cause and drawing attention to oneself. Lady GaGa is doing only the latter, which is shame because she seems to be an intelligent and articulate person underneath all the BS.

2.  Miley Cyrus/Jonas Brothers/Justin Beiber etc.: Remember the days when musical success and chart topping hits were the result of talent? Sure, good looks and connections played a role, but overall it was about musical ability - a good voice, a mastery of an instrument, the ability to write both music and lyrics. Songs used to stay at number one for weeks. The same names dominated the charts repeatedly. Stars had staying power. These days "stars" are manufactured by giant PR organizations (Disney anyone?) and actual talent has very little to do with it. Whenever I hear Justin sing I can only think, "Shut up little boy! You know not of what you sing. You are a child!" Seriously! Songs have become nothing more than commercials for a brand. I'll pass.

3. Dressing your dog: The basic reason people wear clothing is decency. We simply do not live in a society where it's acceptable to let your nipples or penis hang out for all to see, therefore we wear clothes. As a result of wearing clothing we develop personal style. Dogs? They are not required to conform to standards of decency. They "wear" their skin. That should be the end of it. No matter how much one might want to believe their dog loves designer clothes it simply is not true. Fido does not prefer pink over black; Yankees over Cardinals; Cowboys over Patriots; Harvard over Yale or anything else his/her owners might want to project upon their pet. Unnatural fibers probably irritate their skin. Ruffles itch on their necks as much as flies would. A collar weighted down with rhinestones and charms strains their necks. Shoes and hats throw off their balance. Get it? This dog does not look happy - it looks stupid! The beauty of a dog is that it is perfect in its natural design: feet that are padded to sustain walking on various surfaces; whiskers to help with balance; ears and eyes shaped in specific ways to facilitate survival; and coats of fur designed to keep them both warm and cool as weather dictates. Dogs need us to feed them, protect them, and to obtain medical help for them when they are sick. That is all. if you want to dress something up in costume and carry it around then get a freakin' doll. If you simply must buy clothing for someone other than yourself how about spending your money to help clothe needy people - you know, the ones who are freezing to death on the streets in the winter b/c they do not have coats. For the love of all that is right and good please let your dog be a dog and maintain his or her own doggie dignity.

4. Facebook/MySpace/Twitter: Identity theft is an ever increasing problem in our society. Privacy is a growing concern. The ink is barely dry on our stalking laws. One of the biggest fears of the neocons is that "Big Brother" is watching. Spam infuriates everybody. And yet millions of people have signed up to post all of their very personal information - including their innermost thoughts - on the most public forum existing in our world today. Does nobody see the irony in that?!

5. Reality TV: Here's a medium that celebrates the worst of human traits: greed, lying, stupidity, selfishness, ridicule, manipulation, and a whole host of other base human emotions and actions. This is not entertainment. Why are people so quick to want to see a fellow human being debase his or her self in pursuit of the almighty dollar? Why do we want to see people thrown together in a community only to divide and form allegiances against one another? And for the love of all that is sacred why on earth do we wish to watch people eat disgusting things until they puke? Game shows based on intelligence and knowledge are great. Those based on bodily urges and functions are not.

6.  Sushi: Newsflash here ... Every since the discovery of that nifty thing called fire (along with the appearance of opposable thumbs) there is no longer any need to eat raw fish. I don't care how trendy, pretty, innovative or fresh it is it's still RAW FISH and unless your only means of obtaining food is to catch live prey with your bare hands/paws, rip it apart immediately as its lifeblood drains out, and growl to intimidate any nearby predators as you ingest it then there is no reason to eat raw fish or any other meat.
 7.  Angelina Jolie: A very wealthy white woman who travels the world purchasing human infants is also considered to be a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and bestowed with humanitarian awards? I will NEVER understand that one. We have limits on how many fish you can catch or how many deer you can shoot. Can we not limit this woman's collection of human children?!

8. SUVs: Unless you have to regularly haul large masses of equipment from place to place, or drive in areas without paved roads, there is no reason at all for you to drive an SUV. None. You choose to do so only because media manipulation has convinced you that all the cool people are driving them. And another thing: Quit trying to tell me they are safer because I'm not buying it.
9.  Birthers: We live in a world of instant information. The vetting process for elected officials - especially those vying for the highest office in our land - is extremely thorough, not to mention extreme. The background check required to obtain security clearance to work for the government is beyond comprehensive. Despite all of this there is an amazingly large part of our population who believes that Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen. My own teenage son could not get a job serving ice creme until he proved he was 16 and a citizen. I hardly think that Obama could survive the vetting process, background checks, opposition research and the process of gaining security clearance unless he did too. And if the whole thing is a conspiracy then all of those necessary to facilitate such a cover up would mean that the whole idea of his holding any actual power is moot, so it wouldn't matter anyway.

10.  Fox News: I don't even know where to begin with this one. You don't get to claim fair and balanced when you financially support one political party over another. I don't begrudge them their right to show only what they want, but at least call it what it is.


Life After Lay Off: Week 8

You know those days when you wake up and it's pouring down rain and you'd rather stay in bed than go to work? Those days when you're at work and it's raining out side and you meet someone on the elevator and they say, "This is a perfect napping weather" and you agree and wish you were home under the covers instead of on that stupid elevator? 

Well, today was one of those days and when the alarm went off this morning I turned it off.

When you've been laid off you learn to appreciate even the tiniest of blessings.

Life After Lay Off: Week 7

Photo Source: http://anonymityno-identity.deviantart.com/
Dear Anonymous Hiring Manager,

I am writing in response to your job posting in the August 8th edition of [my local paper]. I am actually perfect for the position you are trying to fill. Not only do I meet all of your basic qualifications (proficient in MS applications, experienced, excellent oral and written skills etc.) which, really? Shouldn't all of that go without saying in this day and age? I mean who isn't proficient in MS apps? After all, it is 2010 and unless you still use a corded phone and correspond only by snail mail you pretty much have all that down. I'm pretty sure even kindergartners are capable of doing Power Point presentations these days.

However, in addition to all the basics, you "preferred" someone with experience in [obscure legal billing program] which is what I had been working in for the past 10 years until the shareholders of the law firm I was with lost a big case and got scared their bonuses might not be as big this year and spontaneously decided a 20% reduction in force was necessary. Don't get me wrong. I'm not bitter about having been laid off after almost a decade of loyalty because I can appreciate that it must have been terrifying to them to think they may have to make personal cut backs or sacrifices. The idea of having to give up one of your homes, forgo the annual family safari, lose your family's private box at the new concert venue, or *gasp* drive last year's model of  SUV and park with the commoners (rather than in your $15k a year alumni space) at your Alma mater's football games - well, that would certainly cause even Mother Theresa to lay off her devoted assistants. Right?

But back to the program experience you "prefer". As I said, I have extensive experience with that program because ours was one of the two (clearly, yours was the other) companies in the entire western world who actually bought and used that program. Hell, I can even do that program in DOS!

Not only that, but I really really (did I say really?) need a job because it's been 7 weeks without an income now and since I am the sole support for myself and my son things are looking pretty bleak. I mean, I've used up the tiny savings I had; cashed out my 401K; and nearly maxed out all the (previously zero-balance) emergency credit cards.  Rent will soon be due again, and while my unemployment is just enough to cover the cost of our shelter I'd sure like to have electricity and water also.

Economics aside, I'm also pretty bored with noting to do all day. My house is super clean, my closets are organised and I've even polished the blades on the ceiling fan in the dining room. It's getting pretty hard to fill my days. For example: I have this chair I inherited from my grandmother which is about a million years old. It's wooden back has a really intricately carved floral design. Yesterday I got out the Murphy's and some Q-tips and polished every tiny crevice of every flower and leaf in its carved wooden design. Yes, you heard me right. I spent over an hour polishing a wooden chair with Q-tips. That's how bored I am.

So, I'm sure you can clearly see how desperate my situation is - in addition to being highly qualified for the position you are trying to fill. But here's the problem ...

In your job posting you asked that I send in my resume along salary history, references, and cover letter; and you asked that I send it to an anonymous PO box via the newspaper. Basically, you want me to send you all of my contact information, employment history, income data and a list of my friends and former co-workers; yet you are unwilling to even give me the name of your company?!  I'm sorry, but I'd have to be all kinds of stupid to send that kind of information to an undisclosed recipient. I wouldn't even want to hire someone who was that stupid and I'm not sure why you would.

So, in conclusion, I'm sorry to have to break up in such an impersonal and public way, but you've left me no choice, Anonymous Company. We probably would have been great for each other, but you had to go and ruin it all. Our brief relationship has been entirely one-sided because you were too selfish to give of yourself. I wish you only the best and hope that someday you find someone who is right for you. But when you do, you will always know that your new employee is one who will blindly dispense very personal information to complete strangers and thus you'll always have to worry what they may be saying about you. I hope you can live with that.


Yellow Dog


22 Reasons I will Always Love Double D

1. He gets just how cool robots really are

2. He can be Ward Cleaver when he has to

3. He answered some of the "hard" questions during LD's preteen years

4. He still rocks the bass

5. He still remembers the sharkskin suit we bought at a thrift store in 1983

6. He stood in the front yard in the rain with me the night my cat got out and let to me cry it all out - even though he doesn't even really like cats

7. Even though the kids went through a phase of standing outside the bathroom door to harass him every time he went to do his business he never killed either one of them

8. He really does love being a dad

9. The kids and I can still easily embarrass him

10. Even though the bitch neighbor complained every single day he refused to quit parking in front of her house solely because that's where the shade was. And when she cut her tree down just to spite him he didn't flaunt his victory.

11. He always has exactly what is needed no matter how obscure. Firecrackers in December? Check! Emergency drain snake? Check! Black spray paint? Vinyl copy of an obscure album? Door handle for a 50 year old Buick? Probably! I'm pretty sure he even had a Midol in his glove box one time when we were out and I was bitchy.

12. He can drive a station wagon with 2 screaming preteens in the back seat and completely tune them out.

13. He actually cared enough to learn how to properly launder a bra

14. He remembers to make sure the car has gas if it's gonna snow overnight

15. He loathes camping and sports as much as I do

16. Even though he might say, "that's weird" he'll still usually do it

17. When he's being a complete dick you can usually turn him around with cake

18. He's fallen completely in love with his dog - to an almost ridiculous eye rolling degree

19. He can be cleared from any room by simply uttering the word "tampon"

20. Two words: Bell's shoes

21. He loves our weird little family just as much as I do.

And most importantly:

22. He's willing to share his daughter with me!


Fireflies and Memories

A friend of mine sent me this video and I had a lot of fun watching it and laughing at how many times I thought to myself, "I have one of those too!" 

I so want to be in that room and play with those toys!

Watching this video also made me really nostalgic for LD's childhood. My baby boy is pretty much all grown up now and will be going away to college in less than a year. It really really doesn't seem that long ago that our house was cluttered with Lego creations and action figures, and the back yard looked like a Little Tykes delivery truck had exploded over it.

Of course there are still robots, dinosaurs, planetarium lights, wind up toys and crazy kitschy things in my house today. That's just a part of who I am. But when LD was a little boy I wanted his room to be his own magical place - with clouds in the sky, airplanes flying overhead, faux fireplaces and pretend picture frames, chalkboard walls to draw on, and assorted other whimsical touches.

Clouds on the ceiling, a Kite flying, furry animal masks on the wall and hand puppets on the bed posts. His sheets had to have cowboys on them and his pillow had marching red hens and French numbers. You can also barely see the mobile of the planets that hung from the center of his ceiling.
Tiny chairs, a puzzle rack, planes flying across the ceiling, a lamp that projected rotating stars on his ceiling as he slept, a framed Pinocchio print and a couple of framed vintage Dick & Jane Illustrations. The closet door was chalkboard and the curtains made by Nanna. It doesn't show, but he also had a big rug that was designed to look like streets and highways for his toy cars to drive on.
He wanted a fireplace of his own - just like the one in the living room. RB & I sketched it out with chalk and then painted it all in one afternoon. The little chair I bought when I was only 16 and dreaming about the children I would some day have. The drawer pulls on the little chest were made from tree branches LD picked out in the yard.

He still has a pretty cool room, but now it's filled with bookshelves, comic books and vintage camera equipment - a reflection of his tastes as an almost grown man, rather than the little boy who used to act out storybooks for me every night before bed. It was a precious time, and while I am overwhelmingly proud of the young man he has become, I still kind miss my little boy in Osh Kosh overalls, with his pockets stuffed with Lego's and marbles, who would loudly sing me my favourite songs and dance in my arms.

I miss those times filled with imagination and innocence.

And I really do miss that room.


For Dev and Muller!

Also the only goat to ever grace the hallowed halls of the University. 

The Pony Pasture! It was worth falling asleep drunk in Muller's bed in the barn-house just to be able to wake up and see this beautiful sight in the morning.

That's Polly - the coolest Cobb in the pasture - and her baby, Veronica with Amy (?) and Tom - the Bart Simpson of horses who used to chase me and try to bite my ass!

Rev - the pony that tried to kill me! Yes he did! Shut up Muller! I still keep his shoe over my front door to remind me of my narrow escape from death.

Am I correct that this is Rev too? I think it is, but I don't remember.

The only time Muller and I have EVER exchanged harsh words was when trying to load a pony in the trailer and Muller got mad when I let go in order to keep from amputating my right arm. I don't remember which horse, but I know it was a looooong and silent ride home in the truck that day. It was also the LAST horse show I ever offered to "help" with. Sorry Muller, but Tony's right - you can be a bossy bitch!

Life After Lay Off: Week 6

Photo Source: http://www.gardendigest.com/concrete/cvp244.htm
Random Crap I've Learned While Job Hunting:

1. There are some surprisingly complicated jobs out there that only pay crap and some ridiculously easy ones that pay a huge salary. You will be considered "overqualified" for the latter. 

2.  The guy who euthanizes the animals at the city shelter only makes $32k a year and is not a veterinarian.

3. It apparently acceptable to expect an Office Manager for a non-profit to, not only have a Master's, but also to work for only $28k a year.

4. It is extremely difficult, though not impossible, to get hired as a public school teacher unless you majored in education. If you majored in an obscure humanities related field it ain't gonna happen at all. Though you can teach at a Junior College with only a BA as long as you're willing to work for peanuts, a PhD in Linguistics does not qualify you to teach English to first graders.

5. The person whose job it is to light some kind of very dangerous drilling related pilot lights in remote locations during subzero temperatures only makes $29k

6. Five years litigation experience makes you a very sought after legal secretary. Four years of the same won't even get you an interview because five years is clearly the magical turning point at which you become qualified.

7. There is no such thing as a secretary any more unless you work for a 1960s ad agency.

8. They really do audit you when you're on unemployment because apparently making 1/5th of your usual salary, being uninsured,  and having no reason to get out of bed in the morning is so fun that people are wiling to lie to do it.

9. Being the Children's Literacy Program Director sounds like an awesome job until you find out it will involve driving the bookmobile.

10. One of the great ironies of the universe is that you must have a great credit score to work as a collector.

11. Police officers and firefighters don't make crap.

12. All those "unavailable" caller ID entries you used to come home to are actually bill collectors looking for someone named Joyce.

13. The sunlight across your wooden floors at 2pm is really really pretty.

14. Programmable thermostats don't care if you're home all day and cannot be reprogrammed to cool your house on week days when your lazy ass should be at work.

15. It is possible to break a sweat from worrying.

16. Even though you are completely averse to sports you will still contemplate applying for the position of Stadium Manager. Especially if it does not require 10 key by touch!

17. Your resume is actually no reflection at all of who you really are or what you're capable of doing.

18. House Hunters is on TV all day. Every day.

19. Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization.

20. Job Hunting sucks worse than the worst job you've ever had.


Life After Lay Off: Week 5

Part my job used to involve talking with random people who would call the firm because they wanted to to sue someone, so I’m fully aware that we live in a litigious society. It still came as a surprise the number of attorney friends who suggested I file a wrongful termination suit.

It seems that laying off someone over forty, while retaining younger employees with less seniority is frowned upon by the EEOC. The fact that everyone else in my office who was laid off was also over forty left the firm vulnerable to a discrimination claim. And then there’s the fact that the day before lay offs they hired three new kids – one just out of high school. These were “favour” jobs, with no real duties, given to the sons and daughters of Shareholders or important Clients. It’s always been a tradition to hire kids like this, but you’d think that when you're also laying off people with families to support that tradition might need to end.

But you know what? It’s not worth it. Lawsuits are a pain in the ass – trust me, I know. And taking on one of the largest, most prestigious firms in this state would not exactly be a cakewalk. I figure karma will work it all out without my help.

I do, however, have to laugh when I hear a certain local political candidate preaching a platform addressing unemployment when I know for a fact that the firm that just laid me off donated at least three times my annual salary to their campaign.

For the first time in my life I may vote Republican.

Life After Lay Off: Week 4

You begin to try and embrace the lay off as an opportunity, but even though you know you will eventually find a job you love, and that you will likely make much more money; you still have to face down the pile off bills that arrive daily.

Unless, like me, you find it all too much and shove all of your unopened mail and scattered paperwork into a box which you then shove into the corner by your desk.

When your cell phone beeps with new messages you don’t want to face you toss that into the box too. Eventually you dump the contents of your purse; the grocery receipts, unread newspapers, the note your neighbor left on your door, appointment reminder cards, the shopping list, and your planner into the box too.

The box becomes your enemy.

You discover that Law & Order is on some channel at almost any time of day and there are actually still episodes you’ve never seen. You start watching The View. You try to watch Rachel Ray , but turn her off mid-show and wonder why the hell she is so popular. Your cats start avoiding you because you are too needy even for them. You surf the internet and lose hours of your life to learning about obscure cultures and people you will never meet. You avoid the grocery store for so long that you eat frozen peas for dinner more than once. You play with your robots, organize your photo albums and rearrange your closets.

Anything to avoid real life.

Finally your son gently points out that you haven’t left the house in over a week, so you get dressed and go to the grocery store.

But you’re afraid to spend money because for the first time ever it’s a finite resource. You grab the necessities like milk and bread. As you’re heading for the check out you pass the peanut butter crackers. You used to keep these in your desk drawer for those days when you worked through lunch. Your tears catch you off guard.

Suddenly everything in the whole freakin’ grocery store reminds you of work. Pop Tarts you bought because a co-worker liked them, the bakery where you  used to pick up the birthday cakes, the orange juice you kept in the work fridge for those afternoons when you were sick of caffeine, , even the magazines you used to justify buying because you knew all the gals at work would enjoy them too.

So you budget your necessities and carry out a single re-usable bag rather than the dozen you're used to loading into the trunk. You look at the gas gauge and decide that even though you have less than a quarter tank left you're not going to stop and fill up. You consider it money saved. On the way home you stop by the cell phone store and switch to a cheaper plan.

You pass the intersection by your house where the bums sit with signs and solicit money from the cars that have stopped at the red light. You wonder if just anyone can sit there, or if bums are like hookers who lay claim to a specific street corner and have pimps who will beat you for working their territory. You wonder if anyone would recognize you if you wore a wig.

Something has got to give!


You Can Call Me ...

... Bodhi
... or Big Bad Bodhi
... or Buddha
... or Bo-Dee-Oh-Dee-Oh
... or Bo Diddley
... or Bo-Delicious

... but I won't come when I'm sleeping

... or meditating

... and sometimes you won't be able to call me anything at all because you'll be laughing too hard!


Life After Lay Off : Week 3

Photo Source: http://bahava.wordpress.com/2008/04/03/loving-on-the-driscoll-sermons/

Two applications a week.

That’s all that is required to receive unemployment. Never mind that it’s only a few hundred a week. It’s all the income you have right now.
You search the newspaper, the internet, and corporate websites for jobs. You even check the student job board of your alma mater – though it’s been years since you graduated.

You send out a couple of resumes for jobs you don’t even really want.

You find a job that is perfect for you and you are surprised at how excited you feel about the opportunity. You shine up the resume, write a killer cover letter and prepare your answers to likely interview questions. You mentally inventory your wardrobe and plan what you will wear to work at your fabulous new job. You polish your interview shoes. You get a haircut.

You don’t get the job though, because despite all of the aforementioned you never bothered to send the resume because the little voice inside your head reminded you that you’re not good enough. Why? Because if you were then the employer you had devoted the past 8 years of your life to; the job you loved; the firm you were proud to work for … they told you so. Remember?

You schedule an appointment with your therapist because you still have 2 weeks left of insurance coverage.

And because you are falling apart.


Life After Lay Off: Week 2

Photo Source: www.myhumbleopinion.org/
Finally I accepted that I had to get up. After all, I’ve always been a survivor, right? It’s what is expected of me. What kind of parent abandons their kid to fend for himself and answer all the phone calls and pretend it’s all okay? How many times could he claim I was in the shower? How many times could I tell him I was okay when he could clearly see I wasn’t? It was a great farce we were playing out within the walls of our home that week.

So I got up. I showered. I ate some soup and promptly threw it back up. I showered again and slept on the couch that night. Eventually the soup stayed down and with the help of some supportive friends I was able to begin to function again.

I filed for unemployment. I deposited my last paycheck and paid what bills I could. I bumped up all my routine doctor’s appointments to beat the cancellation date of my insurance. I filled all of my prescriptions. I updated my resume and then updated it again. I began to network. I applied for as couple of jobs and then updated my resume again.

I had officially joined the ranks of the unemployed in America.


Life After Lay Off: Week 1

Your boss asks you to come up to her office and you know it’s not good because in the eight years you’ve worked there you could barely get her to even answer an e-mail, much less grant you a meeting. When you arrive you instinctively close the door. You note that the witness she has chosen is a woman whom you’ve considered a sort workplace mother figure - onewhose shoulder you’ve cried on many times. Even though you know there has to be a witness you wish it wasn’t her.

As you hear the news the tears begin to flow – silently, but humiliating nonetheless. Your boss is saying something about how hard the decision was and how it breaks her heart, and the snarky voice inside you laughs at the charade. Your co-worker/witness offers a hug and you shrink back. “Don’t you get it,” you want to scream, “You are the enemy in this scenario.” You let her hug you anyway. You know they are just following a script that calls for their characters to be sympathetic; almost apologetic. The part of you that left your body as soon as you entered the room is hovering in the corner as an objective observer and wonders just who is supposed to be comforting whom. Finally you ask if you can leave.

You go back to your desk; somehow managing to not trip as you go down the stairs. You pick up a box and put it on your well worn black office chair. You know that if you sat in it your chair right now and leaned back you’d still have a brief moment of panic thinking you were going to fall, because even after all these years you still never got used to its tilt. For some odd reason you check your e-mail and then delete them all while still standing. People chat behind you at the mailroom as if everything is still normal. You pick up a picture frame and put it in the box then remove it and place it back on your desk. You realize that there is nothing you want to take with you because it is all worthless now. Symbols of when you mattered. You take the box off your chair, push it under your desk, pick up your purse, and you walk out. Your sole goal is to get out of the building without falling completely apart. It’s hard to maintain any dignity at all when you’ve just been told you’re not good enough, but you’re determined to hold on to what little of it remains. The receptionist smiles at you curiously because usually when you leave before 5 you tell her when you will be returning. Surprisingly you are able to smile at her before you push through the paned wooden door of the firm for the last time.

Somewhere between the parking lot and your own driveway the ugly tears are unleashed. By the time you reach your front door you are a hysterical mess in full-blown snotty cry.
Your neighbor has also just come home and when he says hello you are unable to respond. You can only shake your head through his concerned questions. You are glad he doesn’t try to hug you.

It’s weird to be in your living room in the middle of a weekday. Even the cats look confused. You lie down on your couch and sob for two hours. It’s too much to process. It hurts too much to even try to think about it.

You wash your face before your son comes home. As soon as he walks in the door you ask him to sit down and calmly tell him the bad news. He takes it remarkably well and somewhere underneath your own pain you feel proud of him.

Then you go to bed, where you stay for the next five days. You cry until there are no more tears and then you fall asleep. Whenever you wake up you cry some more. You refuse to talk to anyone. You don’t bathe. You don’t eat. And every morning when the sun comes up a part of you is disappointed that you didn’t die during the night.

You know you have to get up, but you are too terrified to try. A week ago you had purpose.

Today you are unemployed.