Monday, December 27, 2010


Scrooge eventually returned to gratitude and so have I, despite my lapse into negativity for a couple weeks. Winter solstice marks the long night’s journey into day. I have a lot to be grateful for but sometimes I hit a low spot. Cold snowy weather and cloudy days are not positive for me. My Seasonal Affective Disorder is strong this year. I have a full spectrum light that I turn on at night from 7-8pm (I don’t like to use it in the morning). I take St. John’s Wort and that usually is enough. I feel a bit isolated being unemployed for six months. Extra stress of unemployment may indicate that I need a prescription for a mild anti-depressant instead of taking the herbal supplement.

I attended an Al-Anon meeting for a second time and it was most helpful. The first week was very crowded but this time there were fewer people due to the holiday and it was easier to chat. I am still reading the pamphlets and need to check out a couple books from the library. The AA-style format is a good method of developing a social network. I don’t agree with defining God-Creator as a male (it either has no gender, is all genders-intrasex, doesn’t recognize gender, or doesn’t exist). Humans are too flawed to know.

Reducing stress through physical labor is helpful. I was just going to sweep the basement in anticipation of Tillie being allowed downstairs (she has been sequestered to first floor due to her naughty nature). She is eight months now and learning not to be such a profound pest, plus, her kitten food is almost done so I think its okay for her to consume adult cat food. Anyway, I decided to organize the clutter (recycling or throwing out a lot).

Removing old drywall is exhausting. Some fool (previous owner) placed it with the bottom to the floor and mold has grown since water sometimes seeps in after a heavy summertime rain. I had to spray it down with horrid bleach (turned on the clothes dryer with no heat to help suck out the toxic stench) before removing the first batch. I still have a large section to pound out but I am certain that it will reduce sneezing this summer. Add on frequent snow hefting and scraping snow off the roof and I am tired.

Good riddance 2010!
© 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010


Bah humbug for the holiday season. Here is what I hate, the continuous perfection pressure. I am to be bright and happy at all encounters. I can’t be truthful because that would ruin the holiday mood of fake happiness. I usually state, “I’m okay except for unemployment,” the other person responds by mumbling that I’ll get a job soon. Yeah, right.

Family togetherness. Ha. I get along with my parents as long as we avoid such topics as politics, religion or anything controversial. My hyper-conservative father controls my mother so she is just his parrot. I find that I can only stand being in their presence for a couple days before I want to scream. My siblings are nasty and it is best to avoid them. They, their spouses, and kids enjoy making derogatory remarks about me when I am in the room with them. I can’t verbally retaliate because they gang up on me and call me whiney. Bastards. I feel so alone and lonely when I am with my family. They may have a biological connection but they have no clue how to be accepting or loving. I wish that I had a boyfriend or hubby to take with me to act as a buffer.

Gifts are just silly and usually people give you stuff that you don’t want or need. I have stopped giving presents to adults and generally send out kid gifts in the early part of the year. I don’t adhere to an arbitrary date set by some dude in the 14th Century as the birth of a wise person. I would rather follow the celestial calendar, such as Solstice and Equinox. Christmas this, Christmas that, Christmas permeates the culture. What about other faiths??? It is really disrespectful to ignore their holidays or make only one mention. Excuse me, but not everybody is a Christian.

Cards are the only exception. They are physical evidence that people know that I exist. I proudly display them, though Tillie the kitten tries to eat them. I keep track of who sends me a card from year to year. If they go for two years without returning a card that I have sent to them, they are off the list. Why waste money on a card, time to write out the card, and postage on someone who obviously doesn’t care?

My friends care but I don’t expect them to invite me to their family holiday gatherings. I usually sit at home alone with the cats. Yes, I am grumpy this year. I never expected to be 40-something alone, childless, and unemployed. I want to have a good job and a good boyfriend/hubby who may already have kids (who like me). I guess that is too much to ask for from the Santa-spirit.

Bah humbug.
© 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010


Roast beef or roast pork, that is. I have adapted a family recipe to be a bit more flavorful. Feel free to experiment a bit and let me know what works well for you! The roast can be prepared and refrigerated a day in advance of the final baking.

Beef Roast (top sirloin roast is the cheapest) or Pork Roast, two+ pounds (smaller tends to dry out)
Ground pepper, fresh is best but okay to use pre-ground
Package of onion soup mix, best to use low-sodium version. If you don’t have onion soup available, use salt but sparingly
Olive oil
Ginger, at least one inch long sliced into 1/8th inch – slicing the long way
2+ Onions, roughly chopped – don’t mince, if you love onions use more
2+ Garlic Cloves, chopped finely – its okay to use pre-chopped, too
1-cup hot water

Safe preparation of raw meat is essential. Make certain that you have thoroughly washed your hands, utensils and any area that you use to prepare the meat. Anything that touches raw or partially cooked meat must be washed with soap and water. Do not cross-contaminate with the other ingredients, even if you plan to add them later. Otherwise, you risk nasty gastro-intestinal retaliation (food poisoning is no fun).

Assemble the ingredients. Pre chop the ginger, onions, and garlic. Warm the water, as it will be used later. Select a large oven cooking pot. If you can use it on the stovetop, that is even better.

Pour a couple tablespoons of olive oil into a large pan (or the large oven cooking pot) on the top of the stove; turn the heat on low to start heating the oil. Tenderize roast with a meat mallet as much as you are able, it loosens up the outer layer to absorb flavor. I usually pound it in a clean sink with a layer of saran plastic wrap on top to reduce splatter. Do not remove the fat; it adds a lot of flavor. Rub at least a teaspoon of ground pepper onto each side of the roast. If you really love pepper, you can go up to a tablespoon. Rub half the package of onion soup mix onto the sides of the roast, about a teaspoon per side (reserve the remainder of the package until later).

Take the roast and place it into the pan with the olive oil. Wash your hands. Raise the temperature of the pan to medium and brown each side of the roast for about a minute. You are not cooking the roast, just searing the sides to keep the moisture in the roast while it cooks. After all the sides have been seared, turn off the heat and remove from the burner, it is okay for the roast to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the pot for baking.

If you were able to use the large oven cooking pot to sear the roast, gently remove the roast to a clean plate (it will leak a bit so that is why I don’t put it on a cutting board). Otherwise, just let it stay in the large pan. Place the roast in the refrigerator if you will take more than fifteen minutes to prepare, it is better to be safe than let microbes grow. Once the roast has cooled, turn the roast so the fat side is on top. Cut small holes in fat layer to create many pouches. Stuff the sliced ginger into the pouches all over the top of the roast. You may need to cut the ginger into smaller strips, depending upon the size of the pouch. Try to keep the pouches nearly horizontal with the fat layer. Wash your hands and anything that touched the raw or seared meat. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the large oven cooking pot, place a cooking rack on the bottom, it elevates the roast and prevents it from burning on the bottom of the pot. Place almost all the onions on the bottom of the pot. Pick up the roast and place it fat side up in the pot on top of the roasting rack and onions. The onions may bunch up on the side of the pot and that is okay. Wash your hands. If you used a large pan to sear the roast, scrape up all the drippings on the bottom of the pan and drop them onto top of the roast. Use the water to remove any remaining drippings and pour into the pot (not on top of the roast or it will wash off the ginger. Otherwise, just pour the hot water in the bottom of the pot.

Mix the remainder of the onion soup mix with the garlic, pour on top of the roast and gently smear it over the area where the ginger slices are inserted. Be careful to not remove the ginger slices. Wash your hands. Drop the remaining onions on top of the garlic mixture. Do not cover the pot but place it into the preheated oven. The general guideline is 15 minutes per pound for medium-raw. I prefer the roast to be medium so up the time to 20 minutes per pound, longer if you want it well done. Cook thoroughly and let it rest for a few minutes before you cut into it or the juices will leak out.

Enjoy! I prefer “au jus.” Add some sautéed mushrooms to the broth on the bottom of the pot and a bit of Worcestershire sauce. Otherwise, you can strain out the onions/garlic/ginger to serve on the side, and use the broth to create gravy.

Eat well.
© 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010


Not the venomous snake, though the animosity between members of the US Congress causes them to hiss at each other. COBRA extends health care benefits when you depart from your employer. My health care benefits were ended at my full time job of four years when the position was cut to part time during the summer of 2009. Thankfully, the Economic Stimulus subsidized the cost of health care insurance and made it affordable for me.

Unfortunately, the subsidy has ended for me and now I have to pay $480 each month for health/dental care insurance causing a conundrum. It is a horrible gamble; if I don’t have insurance and I get hurt the financial result could be catastrophic; or, if I do buy the expensive insurance I will drain down my savings faster, which will cause financial catastrophe. I am afraid to be without health/dental care insurance since illness and accidents occur.

I could purchase bare bones insurance but it costs around $250 and actually is a better bargain to keep paying in to my former employer. My COBRA plan expires in the spring of 2011 so I’ll be forced to obtain the bare bones version at that time anyway, if I can afford it. It would be greatly appreciated if the US Congress would extend COBRA benefits beyond 16 months and reinstate the subsidy. Eventually, the national health care revisions passed earlier this year will fill this gap but that plan isn’t available now.

I hope that the US Congress extends Unemployment Benefits for those who have been unemployed for 99+ weeks, too. I have sent out nearly 100 resumes since July and had one in-person interview (got declined). It is irritating that corporations are posting huge profits and refusing to hire. Don’t they realize that they are stressing out their current employees? Lining the pockets of the ultra-wealthy is causing a lot of anger. I think that is one reason why the Tea Party and radical groups are becoming more popular. Fear causes anger, which is a fierce motivator.

I choose an attitude of gratitude to stave off the fear and anger.
© 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Thankfulness for every day of existence is an attitude of gratitude. Perfection is an unattainable illusion. I have so much abundance in my life. However, I am a realist.

I’m no “Pollyanna” (she refused to acknowledge that the negative exists). Yes, I encounter trials and tribulations every day but a negative attitude will only cause problems. I take responsibility for the problems that I have caused and try to avoid repeating the same mistake. I cannot control every variable in my life, but I control how I react.

Unemployment sucks but I’m grateful for the small unemployment insurance check that I receive on a weekly basis. I’m glad that I practiced frugality during the past two years so that I have some savings to draw down on each month to pay bills. I only purchase necessities and have turned down the thermostat to 50 degrees. The two cats cuddle extra close for warmth, which is nice. I like lap kitties, they tend to purr more and want their tummy rubbed. I miss Momo but I’m glad that she was part of my life for six years.

My physical health is okay. I need to lose weight but other than that I’m okay. My mental health doesn’t like cloudy days but I am happy that I have a full-spectrum light to trick my brain into thinking that the daylight is longer. Seasonal Affective Disorder was diagnosed a long time ago so I know how to reduce the symptoms. It is much better than suffering from the winter blues.

What are you thankful for?
© 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Mitch, a friend of mine, entered treatment for alcoholism. This totally caught me off guard. I noticed that he had glassy slightly unfocused eyes a couple times this summer and smelled alcohol issuing from him one time, a couple weeks ago. I never thought that he might be abusing alcohol. We were going to go out for lunch this week and one topic I wanted to discuss was how to cope with stress. Alas, I now know how he dealt with that issue and whatever else was bothering him.

A high school friend, Sally, learned that her husband was an alcoholic after she married him. He didn’t tell her a lot of things, such as having a vasectomy since he had a hereditary form of muscular dystrophy. She was profoundly disappointed but he agreed to get treatment and if he could maintain sobriety for two years, they were going to adopt or procure sperm from a donor. Jerry went through treatment several times but could never kick alcoholism. The disease had rewired his brain and body. Unfortunately, the story has a very sad ending because he had an accident and died while intoxicated. Sally has remarried but she still misses Jerry.

I hope that Mitch does not meet the sad fate of Jerry. From what I have observed, addiction is complicated and each person is unique as to what caused it to occur. I don’t think that Mitch has a family history of substance abuse. I know that he used marijuana in his 20s but I don’t know if he continued using it. He had bleeding stomach ulcers from over-use of aspirin about eight years ago, which was probably an indication of substance issues.

I have worked with people who have SPMI, serious and persistent mental health, meaning that the symptoms are serious enough to interfere with their quality of life and last for more than one year. It is normal for everyone to experience ups and downs but SPMI means that the roller-coaster of emotions and thoughts are overwhelming. Some folks use chemicals to reduce symptoms or quiet the effects of the roller-coaster. By the time they figure out its SPMI, they have to deal with CD, chemical dependency too. I think that some people stumble into substance abuse because they are too young or cavalier to realize that it is addictive, especially when they are in their teens and twenties. I don’t know what caused Mitch to abuse the substance. Obviously, he was using alcohol to deal with something but it might be physical pain, psychological pain or a combination. The cause doesn’t matter, only how to help him maintain sobriety.

Mitch doesn’t emote very much and is difficult to engage in conversation. I am a bit perplexed about how to support his sobriety, beyond not drinking alcohol in his presence. We were never “drinking buddies”. Our group of mutual friends is more interested in chatting and eating than drinking. We might get a buzz at a party, but alcohol hasn’t been the focus since we were in college. I will search for an Al-Anon meeting in my area to be prepared when he is released from treatment.

Any advice about how to support his sobriety would be appreciated.
NOTE: Names are changed to protect their confidentiality.
© 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


If you are a citizen, it is your duty to vote. No matter how "big" or "small" of an election, you have a responsiblity to travel to the polling place and register your vote.

If you choose not to vote, then you are choosing to ignore democracy. You have no right to complain about anything the government officals do if you don't vote. The vote needs to be from your opinion, you should not sell, trade or be intimidated to vote for or against any candidate or question on the ballot. A free and open election is essential for democracy.

I voted today. Did you? (If you reside where an election is occuring.)
(c) 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Web 2.0+ is grand in many ways. I applaud citizen journalists that diligently report what is occurring in their neighborhood. It is wonderful to read stories that may have been ignored by mainstream media a few years ago. However, sometimes I wonder if all the stories are based in fact because some state opinion and hearsay. Opinion and hearsay, also known as slander, is akin to bullying. The only exception are opinion columns or video blogs. This blog is based upon my opinion, however I choose not to spread rumors.

The damage to people and institutions can be horrific because of a false rumor. Slanderous statements purporting that a politician isn’t a citizen or is a different faith than where the elected official attends services, such hokum. My silly sibling likes to send me emails that spread hatred against a specific faith. The information isn’t based in fact, just opinion or an extrapolation of one radical’s words, which is hooey. One extremist, like the idiot who wanted to burn holy books in Florida, doesn’t represent the majority of the faith, just a few fools.

I miss investigative journalists who were keen on integrity. Not too long ago the mainstream media sponsored curious people to seek out corruption and expose it to the public, like Watergate. With the decrease in funding, these investigations have ground to a halt. Greedy evil people will do their deeds unchecked because it is unlikely that a citizen journalist will have the resources to expose the corruption. A few nonprofit journalistic organizations have started but their funding is limited.

I also miss human-interest stories. Local news has become a police blotter; they mostly report crime, which is depressing and doesn’t represent what is really occurring in the community. I hate it when the “local” news eats up time with irrelevant stories that aren’t even local. Since they don’t have time to check facts, they will repeat the slanderous stories and cause harm.

Too many crime, murder and blood shows (Law & Order, CSI franchises, cops & criminals, etc) are on tv. Why don’t the media companies dedicate an hour every week to feel-good stories about real people who help their community? One hour without blood. Instead, we are lucky if they have one feel-good story on the news each week. I can’t afford cable so I watch PBS or read a book. No DVD player and my computer is dial-up so I can’t watch anything there.

Journalists, where are you???
© 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010


He was bigger than me. I was rather scared but I punched him in the stomach. He cried and I was sent to the corner. I was about four years old and fought a bully, but I was punished. Granted, I shouldn’t have hit him. The teacher should have made the preschool a safe place and protected the “square pegs” like myself.

Bullies have harassed me since I was small. I loved learning but I hated to go to grammar school. I never fit in; I was the “odd duck.” My father told me it was my fault, my mother talked to the teacher and I was sent to see the Principal. All he did was tell the other kids to leave me alone. The result was social isolation. In 4th grade I came very close to committing suicide.

Middle school created the opportunity for older students to harangue me on the way to school. They taunted me even when I sat right behind the bus driver. He never did anything to stop them. One day they got off the bus to beat me up. Fortunately, I had my musical instrument case with me and used it to defend myself. The instrument wasn’t damaged but I was terrified. I refused to go to school for a week and came close to suicide again.

High school provided for bullies from the entire city to verbally abuse me. Upper class members protected me when I was with them. When they graduated, I became vulnerable. Thankfully, I had developed some friendships and found ways to meet people outside of my little town school. I joined a statewide group and learned that there were weirder kids than me in the world. Oddly enough, that was a relief because when a bully would say that I was strange I knew that I wasn’t as odd as a kid that I knew from a different town.

My biological family is not supportive; my eldest sibling is a bully. I have encountered bullies at work. I guess that I have a target on my soul; bullies seem to gravitate towards me. I wish that I could have told my little four-year old self to be a proud duck. Let the taunts of bullies slide off, like water slides off a duck. Swim or fly away. There are better ponds without bullies.

Bullies are cowards. They use words and actions to intimidate. They pick on others because their own self-esteem is crap. I have learned to ignore the bully, forgive and pity them. I have to avoid my family and hang out with nicer people. I choose to be with a family-of-choice, supportive people with whom have no biological connection. They are the best bully deflectors.

Life gets better, really.
Join to be supportive of gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered-crossdressing-intrasex-questioning-queer and all kids who don't quite fit in.
© 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010


Sorry for the belated posting. I have been so blasted busy during the past couple weeks and my schedule is fairly full for the remainder of October. I even have dates filled for November.
My schedule is more hectic while unemployed than when I was working. I do job search (unfortunately, I don't always locate positions to send in an application), physical activity (walk, clean or yardwork), tangible chore everyday (empty the dishwasher, do a load of clothes, sweep the floor, etc), and do something fun weekly (lots of free and cheap activities or else read a library book). All of a sudden the day is done and I'm too tired to accomplish anything more.
I have a lot that I want to do before I get another full-time job. Yardwork (get it cleaned up before the snow falls) and indoor chores (finish sorting some boxes, plus, cleaning and organizing closets and drawers). I need to paint but that can wait until spring.
Run, run, rush, rush, is there any time to enjoy life???

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I read a lot. I find it relaxing to “fall into” a good story and forget about all the stress in my life. Occasionally, a great movie will have the same effect. Commercials during television programs prove to be distracting and I start to fret again. Thus, I am a regular patron at the local library.

Since unlocking the mystery of letters strung together and their meaning, I have enjoyed reading. It was difficult because I have mild dyslexia which turns and jumbles letters. Plus, learning was hindered by the application of the ITA Reading System instituted in first grade. It relied on phonetics, so I memorize the phonetic spelling and it still trips me up all these years later. After one year of abysmal test results, our school district dropped this confusing system. My mom dedicated numerous hours of flashcards with me until my brain was able to understand. I can read very well but it is difficult to spell at times. Thank goodness for spelling and grammar checking computer programs. I usually think about ten words ahead of what I can articulate, which is bad for speaking too.

Here are a few of the books that I have read this year. Their ranking is behind the name.
“Water for Elephants” four and half stars; written by Sara Gruen
“Their Eyes Were Watching God” four stars; created by Zora Hurston
“Half Life” four stars; authored by Roopa Farooki
“The Help” three and a half stars; composed by Kathryn Stockett (I hope she writes an autobiography.)
“Baking Cakes in Kigali” three stars; developed by Gaile Parkin
“Aloha Quilt Camp” two stars; quite predictable
“Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch” one star; profoundly predictable
Five stars is the highest ranking. I recommend reading those books that are three stars and more.

One of the perks of unemployment is the time to read. There are several other books that I started but did not hold my attention (less than one star). I can usually finish reading a book in a day or two. I sit on the porch with the new kitten, Tillie, and keep her from chewing on its pages.

I heard that the movie of Elephants is in production. I was disappointed that the stars are much older than the characters in the book. The youth of the characters is a key element of how well the story works. It is better when the movie echoes the brilliance of the book, like “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
© 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Show that you support in the First Amendment of the United States of America and purchase a Koran, which can also be spelled Quaran. Read it. Learn about the Islamic faith, which has the same roots as Judaism and Christianity. Take classes. You don’t have to convert. Just open your mind and heart that other religions have a right to exist. Learn about other organized faiths, shamanism, agnosticism, and atheistic views.

People who sought religious freedom founded America. Freedom for all. I personally find some specific practices and philosophies of various faiths not meshing with my personal viewpoint. I don’t think that any specific religion is evil or should be eradicated because it doesn’t agree with my ideas. Faith is a personal choice. You can practice whatever you want as long as the basic tenet of “Do no harm” is followed. Per example, perhaps you worship a special rock. Go ahead. Just don’t use the rock to hit any person, animal, harm nature or yourself. Repression is a form of harm, as is burning holy text (though symbolic).

If you are Muslim, celebrate the First Amendment by purchasing a holy book from another religion and learn about other faiths. As you gain knowledge about other religions, you see that they are profoundly similar. We are human beings, first, before we learn any religious philosophies. Humans celebrate each other’s freedom to practice religion.
© 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


The cats are not allowed upstairs. The have freedom to roam the basement and first floor but not the second level. Houseplants are upstairs during the cool season and could cause problems for the feline gastro-intestinal track. Plus, the office is upstairs and was off-limits to Mo due to her OCD. Yes, Mo was obsessive-compulsive. She was compelled to eat paper, especially newspaper.

She had always occasionally nibbled on the edge of newspapers and paperwork since she entered my home. A couple years ago Mo ate half a newspaper while I was gone on holiday. I called the veterinarian and he assured me that she would be okay as long as the newspaper was digesting. She drank a lot of water but it all came out in the end. Into the litter box.

As a result, paperwork ended up in my office. Otherwise, it had to be placed inside a plastic bag (usually the clear bag from the newspaper) to ensure Mo would not eat it. Sometimes she managed to open the bag and eat the paper anyway. Since she died in May I don’t have to do this anymore. Zozo doesn’t seem to care about newspaper but she will eat plants. I suppose it is a good habit for me to keep paperwork in the office. I would be tempted to leave it lying about the house and paperwork tends to reproduce itself when left unattended. I don’t know if the new kitten, Tillie, will have the urge to chew newspaper or plants. She’s only 10 weeks old and likes to chew on a cardboard box and her tail.
© 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010


GOAL #1 JOB SEARCH: Conduct job-search related activities at least five times per week.
GOAL #2 PHYSICAL: Engage in physical movement at least five times per week.
GOAL #3 CHORE: Accomplish a chore at least five times per week.
GOAL #4 SOCIAL: Socialize at least once per week.

Obtain a full-time job before December 1st, 2010. The sooner the better! I do need enough income to pay the bills since the cats won’t work. I need benefits, such as health insurance. Most importantly, the job will occur in a positive work atmosphere where I am truly appreciated.

More details about the goals: Job searching is abstract. I send out my resume and wonder if a human ever reads it. Physical movement includes yard-work, house cleaning, or walking. I need to sweat at least a little. I admit to being rather out of shape so it will take me a while before I am ready for heavy-duty cardio-stuff. Chores are something tangible such as organizing a closet. If the chore is physically active enough it will also count as physical movement. Socializing will focus on no or low cost activity with at least one other person who I know.

I am posting these goals to help keep me accountable. However, I don’t know if anyone is reading this blog. If you are, please follow it. Thanks!
© 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010


Grief is not enjoyable. As mentioned in the previous blog, my cat of 7 years, Momo died of cancer in May. The vet suggested that she lose weight so I procured a low-calorie food and I just thought that she didn’t like it. I put her back onto regular food but she didn’t gain back weight so I took her to the vet. Ten days later I had to euthanize her because she was having trouble walking and started to smell sweet. The sweet smell is called ketones a gas given off by mammals as our organs shut down. It was profoundly difficult.

I resigned in April from a job where I liked most of my co-workers (didn’t like the hours being cut to part-time with no benefits) and took another job that I had been warned by two previous employees to avoid. I did not heed their advice because I wanted full time work. I had quickly realized that it was not a good fit and was already seeking another position but the transition occurred faster than I anticipated. Fired in July. I now am filled with anxiety and a touch of depression. Not a good combination.

Another stressor is family. My parents have both had health issues and my mom may have Alzheimer’s. Losing her personality before her body dies and the obvious stress on my dad. I am not close with my family because they are not nice to me. It is best for me to avoid them. I crave closeness but accept that it will never happen.

I have good friends but my two closest friends are busy raising children so I try not to burden them with my sorrows. No romantic partner to lean on. I was injured in May and still dealing with the healing process. The injury hurt so much today that I couldn’t do chores.

I still cry on occasion about Momo. I’m not a freak about animals (too much time spent on a farm) but she was a good companion. She wanted me around. The kitten is sweet, she does like to cuddle. Perhaps I can’t choose a name because I’m afraid of losing her, too.

I’m feeling a bit adrift at sea.
© 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Unemployment sucks. I left a part-time job that I didn't like anymore (after it had been cut from a full-time job with no fewer expectations of work accomplished) and took a full-time job, which has now ended. I am now fully unemployed. I guess it is the proverbial jumping from the frying pan into the fire. I've walked over these coals before so I plan to survive with very few burns.

Unemployment rates are astoundingly high so there is a huge amount of competition for the jobs that are available. I shall attempt to re-design myself as a consultant. I did consulting about 15 years ago and didn't like the loneliness of the work. I just need to make enough money to survive.

I hope that Congress extends Unemployment Benefits and the COBRA subsidy soon. I need both to keep my house. I had obtained a kitten a week before my job ended and she is not showing signs of employability. Momo died in May and Zozo was sad. They are getting along well, thankfully.
© 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Sorry about this belated entry. Working full time for the past couple weeks has been exhausting. Not just due to 40+ hours of work but it is also mentally draining to be learning so much new information. I find that I am thinking about tasks when I am away from the office more frequently than with my former job. There is stress involved with adjusting to a different office environment, per previous entry about a loud workspace. I have brought in a pair of headphones but they don’t really block out the surrounding sound, I must locate a better qualify of gear to purchase.

The job itself is already hectic. I am in charge of recruiting, screening and placing new people and I first need to update the position descriptions, application (remove two illegal questions pertaining to date of birth and disabilities – shocking but true the previous person had these questions on the application), and update the process. My new boss, Susan, is fine. We have a lot of the same philosophies and she came from an office where the standards were as high as mine.

I just feel a bit overwhelmed by the amount of tasks thrown at me. I have to do the intake process, coordinate marketing, do some fundraising and expected to help with client issues. That is one area that I will resist. Right now I’m using the excuse of not knowing the process but I don’t think it’s my role to do that piece. It is better for my boss to do the entire customer service process. I’m not comfortable with pleasing people… mmm, that needs more exploration at a future time.

HAPPY MAY DAY! (one day late)

Friday, April 9, 2010


Venturing into the unknown territory of a new job. I finished my first week at the new place. My immediate boss seems fine, nice co-workers but the owner is already irritating. I shall avoid him and go through my boss so that she can serve as a buffer. Another factor is my desk is horrid. It’s small, loud (close to customer service representatives and office machinery), and cube-land provides absolutely no privacy. Privacy is nice for an introvert. I am afraid that I will be over-stimulated by noise and visual activity every day. All I can do is hope that we move to a nicer location soon – good to dream.

The job itself is doable. I know that I can do the work. I have decided to stick it out for six months and re-evaluate in the fall. Financially, it is only okay. I won't have to worry about my mortgage but I shant be spending money wildly. If I dislike the place I shall pursue another job. I already know how to do that, per seeking for over a year. I do not want to live a life of “quiet discontent” I deserve to at least not be miserable.

Walk on!
© 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Disaster is inevitable. It isn’t a question of if but when. Are you ready? Each of us has the responsibility to prepare as much as possible. I have a week’s worth of food and water stored in my downstairs closet (I use and replace the items before they expire). Plus, I have food and litter for the cats. I have a responsibility to take care of them. They are utterly helpless since they don’t know how to hunt or turn on a faucet. Three days supply is the minimum but I prefer to have at least a week for four people since I may have guests staying at the time.

It is great to coordinate with your neighbors to take care of needs if quarantine would occur. Perhaps one neighbor could serve as the medical resource, another person as the mechanical resource, etcetera. I am fortunate to have two nurses, two “handy” persons, and a computer expert on my block. We know each other’s names and phone numbers. We support each other. It is better to get to know each other when there isn’t a stressful situation occurring. I made certain that I knew my neighbors when I lived in an apartment building, too.

It is important to have items ready for evacuation. I have a go-kit for myself and prepared one for the cats with a litter box, litter, pooper-scooper, plastic bags, food, water, and carrying case. I do need to obtain a foldable cage for them. A good source for information is the American Red Cross at or I also carry an emergency kit in the trunk of my car in case I should come upon an accident. Last year, I watched as a car was struck and flipped onto its roof. Thankfully, the driver wasn’t hurt badly but I had the first aid kit available.

Be ready at all times.
© 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010


As you are aware (if you have read previous blogs), I have been only partially employed since July 2009. I have been ardently seeking a full-time position and have supplemented my income with temporary jobs. I usually don’t qualify for unemployment benefits because I am working part-time.

I have drastically cut back expenses. I have delayed repairing my automobile, procuring new glasses, fixing plumbing and other items. I have reduced expenditures to the bare minimum but I still run a slight deficit each month. As a result of this situation, my savings-checking account declines a couple hundred dollars each month.

This old house is my home. It is nearly 100 years old and reminds me of a farmhouse. I have worked on many projects to fix, update, and paint the home during the past seven and a half years. I like it here. My cats like it here. This is my home, however, I actually own only a portion of the property (less than a third) and I owe about $113,000. It is a modest home on a small city lot. Nothing fancy.

I lost my full-time job in December 2002, two months after I purchased the home. I worked at temporary jobs for 14 months until I was able to locate another full-time job. However, I am much more anxious regarding the Great Recession because of the lack of open positions. I have never been late with a payment (thank you automatic withdrawal and frugality). Before my income dropped, I would submit an extra $100 per month toward the principle balance.

Last month I met with a loan adjustor specialist (loss mitigation) from the bank which serves as the processor for my loan. He assured me that it would be easy to refinance since I have never been late and am proactive. I met with a home ownership coordinator (nonprofit agency) and she assured me of the same. However, I just learned that I have been turned down for a renegotiation since I am in deficit each month. DUH! That is why I want to reconfigure my loan so that I am not in deficit. I do not want to be in default.

I met with the home ownership coordinator, again. I have redone my budget to show that I am not in deficit, though I know it isn’t completely honest. I have reapplied and hope to procure the modification so that I can stay in my home. Unfortunately, modification will hurt my credit rating for a while and that concerns me since so many employers review the job candidate’s credit rating. It is a vicious cycle. Sorry to vent but this is an incredibly frustrating process. I feel exposed and vulnerable.

Bank: Let me stay, please.
© 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010


What would I do if I won a million dollars, after taxes, I guess that I’d really have to procure 2.5 million so that I could bank one million. Mmm.

· $100,000 towards charity. I favor education since that can’t be taken away from the recipient. Half towards rural kids in the USA to attend college and half towards girls in income-restricted countries to receive at least a basic education (6th grade equivalent).
· $100,000 to establish an educational endowment fund for my nieces, nephews, and generations of their offspring. If they have already procured a college degree or certificate, $10,000 will go towards a Roth IRA in their name. If all members of our family expire, the funds will be equally divided between the charities.
· $100,000 towards my parent’s retirement. They did not save adequately while working.
· $100,000 for my sibling’s mental health. They need good counselors.
· $100,000 towards the education of my friend’s children.
· $110,000 to pay off my house.
· $90,000 to repair and rehabilitate my house.
· $100,000 towards my retirement.
· $100,000 for travel, I want to see more of the world.
· $100,000 for a rainy day. It always rains…
· All unused funds will go into the educational endowment fund.

Imagine - millions or billions!
© 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010


NOTE: Please read Anticipating Spring and Spring, Part II blogs beforehand.

Patience, persistence and a bit of luck will yield a great crop is the ninth step. Fertilize with half the amount needed for regular houseplants or it may burn the seedling. Be very careful to fertilize only every two or three weeks. Consider the seedling to be like a small human infant – too much too fast will harm it. You have to wait until the seedling grows large enough to transplant and that the outside conditions are warm enough. Soil temperature is what counts. A couple 80-degree days mean nothing if the soil is still 45 degrees. Let the soil warm and keep the plant inside.

The tenth step is letting the seedling “harden off” outside before you plant it. I place my seedlings on the unheated porch for about a week before I take them outside. The porch has windows so it warms up during the day and doesn’t drop below 50 on a late spring/early summer night. Depending upon the seedling, 50 or 60 degrees is the lowest it can stand. You don’t want to kill the plant after months of work. A couple days before I plant the seedling, I place it near the spot I will place it in the ground. It will become accustomed to the setting.

Finally, place the seedling into the ground. Don’t mess up the roots too much or they will break off. You should only disturb the roots if the seedling is “root bound” as in the roots are compacted in the container and have started weaving through each other like a mesh. Gently disturb the bottom half of the roots to fan them out a bit. Gently place the seedling into the soil and treat with care. With good weather, you’ll grow a fabulous crop.

Accurate information can be procured from the local Extension Service (in the US). You can contact your county representative to speak to a Master Gardner or link to their website. Many colleges have accurate information on-line and there are many books in the library. You should check with folks who live in your area. Oftentimes, they will have free or cheap classes to attend. Unless the local garden center is staffed by a horticulturalist, be wary of the advice they offer. It may be an opinion and not based in fact. I have taken classes and read a lot but a lot depends upon the humidity and angle of the sun. It is good to test your soil; too, it may show the need to add something to improve your crop. You can always buy small plants from the garden center if the seeds don’t grow adequately.

Grow Seeds Grow!
© 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Please read Anticipating Spring before this entry.

Read the directions of the seed packet and following them is the fifth step. New seed is more likely to germinate but I have been able to successfully use older seed by promptly sealing them into an old peanut butter container to keep out excess moisture. I also place them on the unheated porch for a portion of the winter so that they get a cold shock. You can use a refrigerator for the same affect but make certain that they are in an airtight container or they will dehydrate. Many seeds need the cold to get the command to germinate. Odd but true. I’m certain that a plant biology book explains why this occurs.

Use your sixth sense; actually use common sense as the sixth step. I place a layer of foil insulation on the table, a seedling heat mat, topped off by a seed tray where the planted containers warm. My house is kept at 50-58 degrees so the seedling heat mat is a requirement to coax the seeds to germinate. I have it on a timer so it comes on an hour before sunset and turns off an hour after sunrise. The tray is in the sunshine so it receives solar light during the day. If a lot of moisture has accumulated on the clear tray topper, I take it off so the soil and seeds don’t rot or steam. It is important to be moist but not wet and not too hot.

Once the seeds sprout, place them in a seed tray in the sunshine or under a florescent light for step number seven. Remember, the florescent light needs to be within a couple feet to be effective. I still use filtered water to give them a wee drink. Too much or too little water and the seedling will die. A little sip each day is better than a big drink each week. I rotate the plants as soon as they start bending towards the light. It is important that all sides of the seedling face the window in rotation. I call it “seed tending” and turn them every couple days.

Eighth Step: wind is good. I place a small fan on low and oscillation as soon as the seedlings rise about a half an inch tall. They need the breeze to grow strong. Otherwise, they won’t be strong enough to handle real wind nor strong enough to support large leaves or fruit/veggies. I have the fan on a timer during daytime hours, which also helps to ensure that the plants don’t get too hot in the direct sunlight. The seedlings closest to the fan dry out faster so I check them often.

© 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Yearning for the feel of soil in my hands, seedlings have sprouted in my house. Actually, I started the first batch of pansies in mid-January, peppers in February and herbs in March. They are located on the second floor of my house, out of the reach of curious cats that tip over, eat, and then throw up the plant material. Felines have their own pot of oat grass to consume. Starting from seed is so much cheaper than purchasing a small plant from a garden center. If you have the space and some time, you can grow your own seedlings easily. Here are some of my tips.

First Step: sterilize everything. I place old plant containers and all tools in the dishwasher and set them on the regular cycle with soap. Don’t include regular dishes or they may be covered by fine grit from the sand/soil. The grit will scratch glass. I reuse old seed starter and potting soil (not the soil you dig from the ground) since it is so expensive. Place about an inch of the soil in a 9 x 12 inch baking pan and cook in the oven at 250 degrees for an hour. Don’t attempt to speed up the process by cooking it at a higher temperature or it will burn. However, if the soil is wet the baking time will be longer. Be careful not to let the soil start smoking or it may start a fire. Most potting soil has some wood pulp, moss or organic material that may be combustible. You don’t want a fire in your kitchen. I usually bake something edible at the same time and the soil has never affected the taste of the food. Let the soil cool down to room temperature before you use it.

After the plant holders/containers (3.5 inches or 4 inches, usually in a square pot) have dried, marking them is the second step. I use liquid paper on the outer edge and give each holder a number with a permanent marker. I usually place them in a group of a dozen: examples A-1, A-2, through A-12 and start B-1 and continue. Third Step: place a couple layers of newspaper in the bottom of each container to block the holes but it will still permit excess water to exit. Put on a couple inches of the old soil. I top it off with another inch of new seed starting soil. It is easier for the seeds to start in the new stuff and they will be strong enough for the old soil, as they increase in size.

Fourth Step: use filtered water to moisten the soil. I like to douse the plant container the day before and let them soak in the water overnight. I use the 9 x 12 pan again so that a couple inches of water can be around the container. The seeds will be disturbed if you dump water on them from the top, especially since seed-starting soil is very loose. After the soil is moist, let the excess drain out. On the top of the soil, poke a small hole in the middle with your finger or the end of a pencil.

© 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


It is so belittling to register for unemployment weekly. I prefer to be on the other side of the fence, and provide assistance to others rather than to be a recipient. At least I am able to register on-line because the phone system takes a long time to navigate. I work part time so I don’t qualify most weeks. I only qualify if my schedule changes and I put in more hours one week rather than an even 20 hours each week. However, I am grateful for the funds – every penny helps since I have been in deficit since last July. My savings account is dwindling down.

I have held many jobs since turning 16 including mail-clerk, retail store clerk and all-around proletarian (aka entry-level jobs). There is nothing wrong with profit driven corporate businesses but is more acceptable when the wealth is distributed on an equitable basis. Some companies are to be applauded in their efforts to bring equity. We have all been impacted by the sin of greed, even if we did not practice it in our own life. The corporate executives need to get out in the field with their entry-level employees for an extended period (more than a site visit) and get a real grip on reality. Perhaps they wouldn’t reward themselves with a 10 million dollar paycheck while their lowest paid employee has to obtain food stamps to feed their family.

The program “Undercover Boss” is a good idea but the boss really needs to spend at least 40 hours in each job without a film crew present. It takes six months to learn a job but a week is better than a few hours. Otherwise, it is just an hour long commercial for the company trying to reduce public ire over corporate CEO compensation. I’ve met many executive staffers who consider themselves to be superior. I am rather cynical of “reality tv” unless the cameras are hidden and there is no fancy editing. Otherwise, it is just a staged show edited for emotional content.

A friend of mine used to work for a New York City investment firm. She is deeply concerned that several brokers have now taken over many large banks and other financial institutions, especially on Wall Street. This is due to the Type A – all for the moment – personality of the typical broker. I know a few folks who have worked in this capacity and I must agree. Many brokers are thoughtful but it is a concern when the short-term (less than a year) profit goals supersede the long-term future of investments. We will end up in a worse position than the Great Recession of 2008-10+. Regulations are required since you can’t trust greedy people to keep their money-addiction in control. The executives who cut jobs often write in a golden parachute for themselves and get a bonus for ruining people’s lives. They don’t have to grovel for unemployment checks each week and worry about a mortgage payment…

Greed “money addiction” & clueless corporate executive are bad.
© 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


There are myriad methods to save funds. Namely, don’t buy anything beyond an absolute necessity. Per example, I used to treat myself to a take-away (to go) meal a couple times per week. My weakness is Asian cuisine. Even though I would eek out two or three meals from the dinner, it was expensive - $15.00+ so that got cut from my lean budget.

I buy food at Aldi’s, Target Supermarket, and Walmart (rarely). I participate in a nonprofit’s food program where you volunteer and can procure food at a reduced cost. During the summer I consume produce from my garden. Alas, the only item to consume fresh during the winter, which transplanted well this year, was parsley. Good greens but not enough nutrition.

Besides food, heat is another necessity. I opt for a cool house. The abode is kept at a brisk 58 degrees (F) when I am at home and it is permitted to drop to 50 while I am gone. The cats shed less, yeah. This temperature is tolerable when I am in physical motion. I do have to wear a warm sweater, heavy sweatpants, socks and slippers or tennis shoes. The only time I feel chilly is when I am sitting still while reading, watching tv, chatting on the phone or typing at the computer. I adapt by plugging in an electric blanket and wrapping it around myself. I put on a hat and wrap a scarf around my neck. It works well except for my fingers while typing. I need to procure some gloves with their fingertips exposed (ala Ebenezer Scrooge). I also use an electric blanket to warm the bed before I snuggle between the sheets and six layers of blankets. The blanket is on a timer as not to run all night or mess up my electro-magnetic field. Spring is still several months away…

I make minimum mortgage payment each month, zero out my credit card each month, and there are no other loans. My auto died during the spring of 2009 and I purchased a different used car (2000 Toyota Camry). It is the most complicated auto that I have other owned but it works well. Thankfully, it is not affected by acceleration problems – yet (holding of breath). I do worry about the cruise control, though. I was able to pay for the auto from savings. I always combine driving trips; such as today I visited the post-office, library and grocery store in one stop. I have convinced my friends to carpool as much as possible. Fuel prices are guaranteed to rise as the economy improves.

My savings account is being slowly depleted despite my best efforts. I work part-time and add to my funds through temporary assignments. I purchase only necessities but mortgage, phone, electricity-natural gas, and other fixed expenses consume all that I am able to earn and more. I recently met with a person from the bank about modifying my mortgage; I must examine how it will affect my credit rating before I accept their offer. I have been diligently seeking a full time job since June 2009. I shall now start selling some possessions that I do not require. Anyone collect comic books out there???

Perhaps the cats will get a job.
© 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010


NOTE: Please read “Here Comes Trouble” for the first section of this story.

The saga continued a few days later when Zoë somehow reopened the stitches. I rushed her over to the vet; Dr. C, who opted to stay open late to perform her second surgery. I was filled with anxiety as I sat out in the lobby. This silly troublemaker had bonded to my heart. They carried her out to me immediately after the operation was completed. She reeked of ether, her pupils were oddly dilated but as soon as she smelled me and heard my voice she began to purr. They affixed a better Elizabethan Collar, a big ol’ funnel cone around her head, and only charged $200. I thanked them profusely and dropped off flowers the next day as a thank you.

Zoë adapted to the cone. Dr. C said that she should not be jumping so I closed her off from stairwells and moved all the chairs away and either made ramps or placed boxes on all the locations where she would normally venture. Mo was not thrilled by all these changes and the attention that Zoë was receiving. Zoë would be sequestered to the bathroom while I was gone but could roam the first floor while I was home.

After two weeks, the vet said that she could climb stairs so I permitted her to be out of the bathroom while I was gone. A week later, I came home to find pee piddled on the kitchen floor. Zoë was lethargic so we went on another trip to the vet. This time the diagnosis was dehydration. They had to squeeze saline solution under her skin. It created an odd lump over her shoulder blades. Her body absorbed the liquid quickly and she ate some special high calorie soft feline food. The result was immediate; she perked up and wanted to play. The cost was only $100.

We went to see the vet several more times and he did not want her to remove the collar until fur grew over the wound. Zoë learned how to pick up her favorite ball with the inside rim of the hat and pitch it across the floor. If she was annoyed with Mo, Zoë would head butt her with the collar. Mo hated the collar. Zoë hated bath-time. I would wet a clean towel and wipe her down daily. She would complain the whole time. Despite this effort, she started to be odiferous. I opted to wash her hindquarters in warm water. She did not agree with this plan and began to twist and turn. I lost my grip and she splashed into the washbasin – wetting most of her body. I grabbed the drying towel and wiped her down. It was the first time she ever hissed at me and I received the look of pure hatred. However, the result was no more smelly cat. Despite the passage of time, she now reacts with fear every I carry her near a sink.

After four long months the vet said that she was healed and the collar could be removed. I took it off her head and she looked surprised. She immediately started running around the house and squeezing behind all the furniture and nooks where she could not venture due to the collar. Thankfully, her leg has been fine ever since except for a bit of arthritis and a bald spot over the hock. Nearly $1,000 in medical bills but she has paid me back with purrs…

Gotta go hear that furry accordion music.
© 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010


A forlorn sound is heard. What could it be? “Yeeaawwhh? Yeeaawwhh?” Alas, poor Zoë, she has once again become trapped behind a door. Pickles aka Ms. Trouble! I rescue her from the guest room. She snuck in there when I ventured in to retrieve an item. She must have been content for a while because she did not start mewing for an hour. No worse for the wear, she waltzes out as if nothing out of the ordinary has occurred.

Her curiosity has caused her to get shut up into cabinets, closets and boxes. Thankfully, someone always heard her forlorn pleas and let her out. Her worst mishap was gashing her left hind leg at the hock (knee). Zoë was just over a year old. I arrived home from work to find her bleeding on the kitchen floor. The gash must have just occurred because there was not much blood but she had ripped the skin through to the bone. It was unsettling to see the tissue and sinew around her hock joint. The veterinarian speculated that she was chewing an itchy spot and accidentally ripped the skin since there were no other abrasions to her skin.

Unfortunately, my veterinarian’s office was closed. I rushed her over to the emergency vet’s office and they performed an operation to close the wound. I nearly had a heart attack when I received the bill of nearly $500 but she was alive. I asked what I needed to do and they said that I should leave on the bandage and take her to my regular vet in a couple days. We were both exhausted so I put her into the bathroom (for safety) with a clean litter box, food, water, toys and a blanket and went to bed.

I arose the next morning to check on her. Much to my dismay, her foot was quadrupled in size; it looked like Sylvester The Cat’s foot whenever he damaged it. I tore off the bandage and she was crying in pain. Of course, I had an important meeting at work, which I could not cancel. I called my vet and they said that I should drop her off. I took Zoë in and went to work. I was distracted throughout the meeting and called the vet as soon as it was finished. They said that the emergency vet had not removed the restriction bandage and that is why Zoë’s leg swelled – literally called “cartoon foot.” The removal of the bandage allowed circulation to return and she was doing okay. They didn’t even charge me for watching her for a couple hours and checking the wound. Yes, I used sick leave to tend to the ill cat.

Critters are a responsibility. TO BE CONTINUED
(c) 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Fever – chills – and other unpleasant symptoms, all due to a recent virus. I wasn’t able to eat so I felt weak and a bit dizzy. I had been suffering for about 14 hours when the thought occurred to me that I could faint the next time that I rose out of bed. There would be no one to find me.

The next time I got up to use the restroom, I procured the phone and placed it at my bedside – at least I would have a better chance at calling for help if it were needed. The ol’ “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” situation. I would then have to heave myself downstairs and unlock a door so that the EMT crew could enter or they would have to break the door down. Not a pleasant option. Plus, I would be heartbroken if the cats ran outside.

Thankfully, I recovered before having to call for aid. I regret residing alone when I am ill, lonely, needing romance, or could use assistance with a project. As an introvert, I expend a lot of energy when I interact with others so it’s nice to come home to a quiet environment. I always planned to find a partner but that didn’t happen so I bought a house on my own. I adore the felines, but they didn’t even bring me soup during my illness. Sometimes, I just don’t want to be alone. Another lonely Valentines Day. Sniff, sniff…

Time to buy myself some Toblerone or Godiva chocolate.
© 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010


“Pickles” is Zoë’s nickname. She taught herself fetch, despises milk, loves peanut butter and tomatoes, and runs to the window whenever a truck, school bus or large vehicle drives by. I had to kitten proof the house because she was more destructive than a two-year old child. She even chewed on the dining room table. She is just over four and half years old and still seeks chaos.

She has gotten herself trapped behind a stack of boxes, stuck under a radiator, crawled into a box with a closed lid and many more misadventures. Luckily, I was usually nearby to rescue her each time. Zoë cannot sit still for very long. I call her thunder-kitty when she rushes through the house. Her sharp nails have scratched the linoleum tiles. She loves to jump on one area of the dining room wall. She rushes to the spot, jumps up about three feet from the ground, makes a happy sound, and springs off in another direction while making small scratches in the paint. Heavy sigh.

Pickles hates being alone so she is either shadowing Mo or I. At least she will venture to the basement to use the litter box and eat without us. When I am on second floor for too long (the door is closed), she will stand at the top of the landing and mew for me – loudly. She even follows me into the shower – not to get wet but to sit in the same room and wait for me to wash off the dirt. When I am outside during warm weather and the windows are open she will mew for me through the screen. She is very vocal so I have learned a lot of her communication cues “Mew-lish.”

Since we reside in town, the cats do not venture outside. Too many dangers exist in an urban environment. Mo is neither very bright nor fast. Zoë is bright and fast but naïve. My grandmother had farm cats and many of them perished due to the perils of living outside. Happiness is when Momo & Zozo are sitting on top of me and purring. Aww.

Gotta clean the zoo.
© 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Intuition is usually correct. The old “sick” feeling which is not an upset stomach or GI track issue. I knew that something was awry but could not figure out what. It wasn’t until my boss pulled me into a meeting and told me that my full-time job was being cut to part-time that the intuition was sadly satisfied. That occurred in June 2009.

The economy always sucks when I am seeking a job. The last time it happened was December 2002 and I was laid off. At least during 2003 I procured interviews but not this time. I did receive one telephone interview a couple months ago but they decided to only meet with internal candidates. I have to dip into my savings a bit each month to pay the bills.

This has caused considerable angst. I feel disrespected and there is no less work to do in half the time, in fact, my boss wants me to do more. I would love to quit but require the funds to pay for necessities (food, shelter, gas/electricity, cat food). It is painful to go into the office every day but I trudge in. Thankfully, the Economic Stimulus subsidy will help me to afford health-care until November, which is another necessity. I better get a job by that time or I don’t know what I will do when the subsidy ends. I just wish my cats would get a job but they lack motivation.

Always seek the positive. Time is valuable. I have had the opportunity to volunteer more. Hang out with friends, read, and be a bit lazy. When I was working full time I had to rush from one task to another. I can now be a bit more leisurely. I worked on a lot of low-cost projects at home during the summer of ‘09. I painted part of the house and moved a lot of perennial garden plants. These are all tasks, which would have required the use of vacation time or exhausted me during the weekend. I now have tasks in the house to tackle – such as the dreaded piles of paperwork in the office.

Time to read more Jeeves and Wooster! My favorite is “The Tie That Binds.”
NOTE: I don’t care for the author’s subtle bigotry & sexism (I give him some leeway due to the society in which he was raised).
© 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Honey, it’s cold outside (also, one of my favorite songs). Some days are mind-numbingly cold. You step outside and despite all the layers – you feel chilled. The cold permeates and bites your eyeballs; it burns the inside of your nose or mouth when you breathe. I wonder why I reside in a northern locale, why, why, why??? The optimist in me states, “It could be worse.” True but I still curse the tilt of the planet when under 0 degrees Fahrenheit occurs.

20 to 80 is the temperature range that I prefer (Fahrenheit scale). Snow is beautiful to view. It changes the landscape without devastation. The city where I reside requires the residents to shovel their sidewalk within 24 hours of the end of a snowfall. An inch or two of fluffy stuff is fine and good exercise. That is not a problem unless I have to travel to work the next morning. It is horrid to get up an hour early just to shovel, come in the house to change into work clothes (I really should take another shower) and zip to work. After a snowfall the roads are iffy so I have to take extra time driving. Ugh.

I love my garden so I tolerate winter. I would prefer a briefer chilly season with less cold and snow. It would be more tolerable if the cats would shovel. I have a small profoundly expensive snow-blower. It sounds like a hair-dryer on wheels but it is helpful. Perchance to dream of a huge Toro someday… I’d love to have an electric lawnmower, too.

Shovel, shovel, shovel that blasted snow!
© 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Mo had been Princess for about a year. She always played aggressively but it started to be a problem when she would bite me through heavy leather garden gloves. CAT-HINT: Never play with your cat when your hands are bare – the cat cannot differentiate between playtime and petting when they are energetic. Gloves will save your hands and patience. Remember, cats have a brain the size of a walnut; they don’t understand the abstract. Their teeth are sharp daggers intent on puncturing weak human skin. Use this hint with dogs, too.

I decided that she needed a pet, another cat. I searched a couple shelters when a co-worker mentioned that his cousin had some kittens to give away. I was happy. Eliza dropped off the wee kitten that was known as Dani, the day before Labor Day. Little did I know that I had just brought two pounds of dynamite into the house. Mo was beyond anger. I had to place Dani on the front porch for her own safety. I was afraid that Mo would kill the six week old ginger & white bandy-tailed kitten.

A few days earlier, a hurricane named Katrina caused utter devastation. I’ll fume about that at another time.

Thankfully, Dani loved the screened-in porch. She had furniture to crawl under, toys, litter box, food and water. She was content to be out there while I was at work. I would come home and visit her. We made a trip to the veterinarian and she was pronounced healthy. The weather was very mild so she was able to stay on the porch for a whole month and double in size.

I still provided affection to Mo but she would hiss every time I brought Dani into the house. The weather was turning towards autumn so Dani (who never responded to the name) was spending time in the house when I was home. Mo wasn’t happy but was learning that when she hissed at the kitten, water would come rushing her direction. Mo hates being sprayed with water more than she hated the kitten.

I procured a baby names book and started reading the list out loud. Dani didn’t respond until I said Zoë. I kept reading names and said Zoë again; she came running over. That is how she chose her name. The story of Zo – to be continued.

Gotta chase the cats.
(c) 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010


Two felines share my house, or more accurately, I have the privilege of serving as the personal assistant in their home. Maureen (Mo) arrived angry, frightened, and wet (she peed upon herself) on a cold rainy night. She belonged to the brother of my best friend. He had been playing roughly with her, the Jack Russell terrier and three year old son. She was cornered and went for the weakest link – she bit the boy on the arm. His wife ordered him to remove the cat and that is how she ended up at my house on a proverbial dark and stormy night. The boy was fine and still loves cats.

Mo was a 7-year-old tortoise-shell calico mix. Piercing green eyes and an attitude. Cotter, the previous owner of the cat obtained her as a kitten from a shelter. She probably was the offspring of feral animals. He obviously loved her but his girlfriend, who became a spouse, did not. Once they gained a dog and child, Mo was sequestered to the basement. The only attention she received was when Cotter would venture down to play with her on occasion. The result of neglect was a withdrawn, angry and human-wary critter.

I never planned to have an indoor cat. Outdoor farm-cats were the only felines that I interacted with on a regular basis. My grandmother had extensive gardens and maintained about 100 cats to ensure that her crop was protected from small beasts. I wanted a dog but Mo arrived instead. I was only going to house her temporarily. She bit me three times, unprovoked, and I warned her that one more drop of blood and she would go to the shelter. A regular shelter would have exterminated her immediately due to the biting. It would have cost a lot of money to place her in a no-kill shelter. She must have understood because during the ensuing six years – she has never bit me.

Mo prefers to curl up next to me when I sit on the couch. She will grab my hand and purr while I rub her soft belly. She loves to sleep with her head in my hand. Her warm moist breath tickles my palm. I guess that I am now her person. I don’t consider myself a “parent” I am a personal assistant, catering to her every whim… (well, maybe not every desire or she’d weigh 40 lbs).

Time to get Mo a saucer of milk (a couple tablespoons only).
(c) 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Filled with excitement, anticipation and a bit of fear. The first time you kiss someone, it is thrilling and frightening. Hopefully, the result is positive and the negative emotions dispel in the warmth of the moment. Greetings! This is my first smooch-blog via “social media.” Let’s hope for a long and enjoyable relationship.

The weather is abysmal outside but it forces me to remain indoors to tackle projects, sleep, chat on the phone, spend hours in front of the computer, eat, or become numbed by the television. I obviously have made a choice. After I moved, my computer died – I think someone dropped it. A dear friend took pity upon my plight and gave me an old unit. I located a reasonably priced server and connect to the internet. Alas, I could only afford dial-up and am subjected to long wait times (which were the norm 10 years ago but seem like an eternity now). I will concentrate on composing word-smooches to the world (aka blog entries) while I grow old waiting for the next page or document to load. Heavy sigh… I will have a lot of time to write.

Smooches (kiss sounds),
Ima B. Musing