Friday, January 18, 2008

Run Its Course

I came here in 2004. It was a rough time in my life and I want to chronicle and process it. I have made some good friends here and I treasure them. But I also have live friends...and an enemy.

Last night at dinner my friend told me how a malevolent woman takes the things I write and spews venom and lies. I wouldn't think much of it, but it seems that her viciousness overflows onto my friend and others. I do not want to give this pitiful woman any more fodder so I have decided to close out this blog.

Mary, I choose to not give you anything else to gossip and twist. Mary, you are one sad woman. You claim to be a God-fearing woman. Your actions completely betray your total lack of any understanding of grace or love. I pray that you read this entry and know that I have put you at the top of my prayer list. In case you miss this perhaps I'll make a copy, blow it up, and post it in the cafeteria like you did other personal information about me in an attempt to discredit and malign me.

To my friends and readers, thanks for your support and God bless.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tah-rash Bags

(The title comes from one of my favorite A-Team episodes...I love it when a plan comes together.)

I was doing the happy dance today. I got a call from an employer that was interested in someone I contacted them about in December. A brand new employer!! He has some questions, but there’s a real possibility. I’m so excited. This guy has been so patient and has so much to offer. I have to send an email to the employer to answer his questions.

The class went well this morning. I started with the pots and followed with conflict management and then a piece out of the communication lesson link it to listening and responding. The thread holding it all together was the value we place on relationships. The conflict management piece focused on Win/Win vs. Win/Lose.
The class participation was good and they seemed to get it.

I went to dinner with a friend tonight. It was nice. Then we went out to Walmart to pick up a few things. I looked at the boots again and I just decided they weren’t me. Part of the problem I think was that I was really only interested in them because they were cheap and that’s not a good enough reason to buy them.

Oh, that reminds me of something I read to the class today. Let’s see if I can remember how it went…Americans spend more on trash bags than 90 of the 210 world countries spend on everything. That one just blew my mind. But make mine Flex Strength and excuse me while I go put my bags out at the curb—trash comes early in the morning.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


What a day. Not a bad day. Just a long day. Up early to do devotions for the Ashland work crew. I shared a lesson on reducing the hurry in our life and cultivating solitude and silence. It went pretty well. Then I was off to Sandusky. The roads were quite fine. I saw about 20 people at the Job Store and then went over to the homeless shelter and did a group orientation for three guys and follow up for 2 more. After that I ate lunch back at the Job Store and met with a participant to discuss his resume. I stopped at one factory and met the guy I’ve been faxing resumes and got lost looking for two more possible worksites.

When I finally got back to the office I parked my car and got wearily out. As I rounded the front of my car I heard a voice say, “Don’t look so tired, you have a full day of work ahead.” I turned to see my boss in his car heading to Norwalk for a meeting about our work site there and how we might grow it. I ended up standing there and talking to him for over five minutes, which may not seem like much but I had to pee so bad I had to concentrate so that I wasn’t doing the potty dance.
Right now I’m watching a Baby Einstein video with Asher. A lot of people grouse about how people use the TV as an electronic babysitter. Doesn’t happen at my house. When Asher wants to watch a movie he has to have company and we interact all the way through. Right now we’re watching about numbers.

Nelson sorta kinda talked to Ann tonight. She called with a tax question. She’s trying to help a friend with her taxes. I was functioning as the go between when I finally put the phone on speaker. He listened to her and gave answers. It wasn’t a personal conversation, but I’ll take any progress I can get. He also gave her some instructions about filing her taxes, too.

I’m teaching at our building in the morning. I’m going to use the pot idea. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Working through the fog

Winter returned this morning. My boss told me to suck it up, engage the 4 wheel drive, and get to Norwalk. So I did. On the way I decided that snow, fog, and blowing was way too much to deal with at one time. I ended up going about 30mph the whole way. The road didn’t really necessarily require that slow speed, but I was behind about a mile long line of traffic. The good news is that I arrived safe and on time. By the time I drove home, the only road hazard was blowing snow and even that wasn’t too bad. Bad news is that it’s still snowing and I have to drive to Sandusky tomorrow.

I spent a chunk of time this afternoon trying to come up with a resume and cover letter for a man who recently go t out of prison after serving 27 years. While he was incarcerated he finished his GED, and got both his Associate of Arts degree and his Bachelor of Science in Business Management. I really like the cover letter I wrote. I considered all different kinds and formats. I’m thinking that I may try and develop it like I would for someone just coming out of college. The similarity is that both have training but no work experience. I’m meeting with him tomorrow to discuss it.

Well, I’m going to watch the last few minutes of Biggest Loser and then hit the hay. Sweet dreams.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sweet Stuff

Sweet Oil Moment
I got to work and Beth was moaning about her ear aching. She was afraid she was yelling all day because it was so stopped up she couldn’t hear. She hit CVS on her way home and picked up some Sweet Oil. Did you know that Sweet Oil is just Olive Oil? I put some in her ear and had her put some cotton in, too. She’s already wanting to take it out. Silly girl.

This reminded me of when the girls were little, but it wasn’t Beth that had ear problems, it was Ann. Her ears would play ping pong with the infection. Often they would be so infected that they would just burst. I kept asking if that was a good thing. The doctors said not to worry. I was always afraid that there would be so much scar tissue from the bursting that it would affect her hearing. Fortunately, she out grew it before that happened.

I remembered when the girls were little and I was trying to get WIC for them. I ended up hoping that something would be wrong with them so that I could get them milk, cereal, and cheese. It was humiliating. In the end we got the staples because they determined that Ann had chronic ear infections—surprise, surprise! And Beth was undertall for her weight. Thankfully, they both outgrew their issues.

I ran out of hours today. I was working on bringing my files up to date. Oh, I forgot to announce it, but I accomplished one of the goals on my list. I put all my files in my filing cabinet. Yehaw!!! I also worked on organizing my teacher’s manual. It felt good. Hard stuff for someone who’s ‘P’-ness is pretty thorough. But it’s really quite nice to know where stuff is.

Winter has returned. It was a lazy snow all day with more on the way all week long. That doesn’t thrill me at all. Hope there’s some warmth and accomplishment in your day.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Notes on A Sunday

Thoughts from my day:

We watched the Colts/Chargers game. I was impressed by the way that Billy Volek came in after the Chargers starting quarterback, Philip Rivers, went down with an injury late in the game. Volek even ran in a touchdown.

Nelson and I were talking about how Volek’s entire professional career he has been a back up quarterback. He’s played professionally in the NFL for 8 years. He was undrafted. His role has been to come on and take over a game when the starting quarterback goes down. Not a bad gig, and I’m sure the pay is pretty good, too.

Most people aren’t interested in signing on to be the back-up anything. But what if that’s your gift? What if you’re able to keep tabs on the game to such an acute degree that you could take over so smoothly that nothing was lost or wasted? Why not be the back up?

I’m thinking that I need to go dig out my Virginia Satir material. I was thinking in ABF during our discussion about optimism and negativity. I drew two pots on my paper and began to plan how to teach to thinking more about what we have instead of what we don’t have.

I’m going to either ask the group to draw two pots or give them a handout with two on it and ask them to fill the first pot with what they’re missing. Then I’m going to ask them to fill the second pot with what they have. I’m going to ask them to come up with a number (per centage) that represents how much time they spend focusing on each.

It’s just the beginning of the lesson, but I’m thinking I’ll move on to teach to restoring hope, what is enough, and the things we can and can’t change. I’m probably going to try and pull up the whole Serenity Prayer…I really like the part we don’t pay attention to:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
--Reinhold Niebuhr

And with that I think I’ll toddle off to bed. Oh and Beth checked out the boots. She didn’t like either pair. She did however see the pair that was just plain black leather (just like the black suede ones) and thought they were cute. Now, I have to decide: to spend or spend on something else.

Also, tomorrow, Nelson and I are going to give up coffee and start down the green tea road. Anybody else doing this? TTFN.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Need vs. Want

Or The Great Boot Debate

I went and worked out this morning. That makes 5 workouts this week! And while I didn’t work out last night, I still got a workout moving all the machines and cleaning.

After working out I went to Walmart to pick up some things I need. I came home with: new gloves (the little inexpensive ones that look like they barely fit a three year old hanging on the rack--$1.42); Sunsilk hair stuff (anti-flat); face wash (something new by Garnier—cheaper than Olay); a couple different feminine hygiene products; a shower foo (net washing thing); a pack of pens; a new wallet; a card for Annie. I picked up several other items and set them all down.

I spent some time in the boot section. I wish I knew what switch flipped in my pea brain that made me think I want boots. I’ve never owned a pair of dress boots. Snow boots, yes. Functional and ugly. Today I saw a really sharp and practical pair of black suede knee high boots that were reduced down to $13. I tried them on. They were cute. I stood there looking in the mirror trying to substantiate the expenditure. I went through a list of things that I could wear them with and then I decided that I just didn’t need them and what I really wanted was a pair of brown boots.

I walked away from the black boots out into the main isle where sitting right in front of me was a size 8.5 pair of brown boots for only $9. I stood there thinking through the list of things I could wear with them. I was so close to stepping away from the boot display with the boots under my arm but I talked myself right out of them. I didn’t need to spend the money.

I headed to the check out, stopping only to wish that a very cute and soft coral colored sweater was in my size because it would be perfect with one of my skirts that I only have a summer sweater to wear with so I have to put it away for winter. I split my items into two orders: first, what I was going to use family funds for and then what I felt I should use my allowance for. I walked out to my car and proceeded to engage in a spiritual discussion over want and need.

Honestly, I didn’t need anything I bought today. At the checkout my divided items were “sort of” divided between what I could almost justify as need and therefore use family funds on and what I wanted and spent my allowance on. I don’t have any idea where I got the idea I wanted a pair of boots. I have never owned any or ever (even when they were killer popular years ago) wanted any. Today was actually the very first time I even tried a pair on and I’m 50!

(Now at this point I must confess something. I came home and told Beth about the boots. She has to get some things later at Walmart and I told her right where to find both pairs. She’s got instructions that if she thinks either would pass the “What Not to Wear” test to pick them up and I’ll pay her back. I figured she’d be objective over whether they were a “good” buy.)

What do I need? To this day I have the nineteen cent comb that I got when I went to jail. Some folks won’t keep anything from jail, superstitiously believing that if you keep something you’ll end up going back. I kept mine to remind myself how little I really need. That comb and a travel size bottle of no-name shampoo were the extent of my hair care products. I can get by on a lot less than what’s taking up shelf space in my bathroom.

What do I need? I was talking to someone the other day about the summers I worked and lived at Cedar Point. Those summers taught me how to live on PBJ and cup-of-soup. Do I need to indulge at the nearby coffee café or even to buy fancy flavored coffees at the grocery? Nope. Most of what is in my cupboards and fridge is not about need.

Then I started thinking about what I want. Most of the time, I can’t even answer that question. The choices for everything are so vast that I don’t know where to start. When Nelson asked me what I wanted for Christmas last month I had no answer. I think it’s the first year I didn’t have a list. And oddly, it was the very best Christmas ever. I so treasured everything I got because I knew the givers put so much thought into each gift.

What do I want? What do I need? I wandered through the aisles at Walmart looking at so much stuff and for once I came out pretty much close to only having what was on my list going in. I may just tell Beth to forget to look at the boots…I don’t have to have this all worked out today, do I?