Monday, August 29, 2005

On The Job

Two weeks into the job and the fog continues to clear. I've been suffering from "brain stretch". For those of you who wear glasses, remember how your eyes felt when they're adjusting to a new prescription? I've always described it as the sensation of my eyes being pulled or stretched. This is how my brain has felt for the past two weeks. So much information, so much to process and remember; now, I'm mentally exhausted.

I've been working the last two weekends in order to receive extra orientation from the woman who's been filling in doing this job before me. I have one day off tomorrow and then I'm back at it Tuesday. On my own. Alone. Am I ready? Well, certainly more so than I was on my first day. I don't know my way around the entire campus (I've been told by more than one person this takes four to six months)! I do know where I need to go to deliver my med passes to homes. I do recognize and know the names of 23 residents. Gee! Only 277 more to get to know and remember. My biggest stumbling block is going to be dealing with the phone in the clinic. The receptionist picks up calls most of the time and the nurses help out too. If they're out or occupied elsewhere, which seems to be a lot of the time, it's up to me. This phone rings constantly.

The Phone. My old nemesis is back to haunt me. I have such an irrational fear and loathing of the telephone that I've aided and abetted for years. I especially don't like answering phones when the person on the other end is going to be asking questions for which I have no answers. This is what I have to look forward to on Tuesday. One of the major perks (to me) of my last job was that we caregivers never had to answer the phones. When I began working the early morning hours, the phone would ring occasionally at the front desk but it was always the same lady requesting bathroom assistance. No problem there. I hate to initiate calls as well. If I have to make a call to a serviceman, insurance company or clear up some kind of problem on my day off when I have time, that day is shot to hell and I'm miserable until this chore is behind me. I think the way my body reacts to interaction with the telephone is what I imagine a panic attack to be like. My heart begins to beat rapidly, my hands begin to sweat and I often develop a tendency to stutter somewhat. I realize these reactions to a modern convenience that so many people hold near and dear are foolish. I can't help how I feel. For all I know there may be an offical name for this phobia.

My family is all too familiar with my phone phobia. I'm often the target of mild, affectionate teasing and more than likely, private thoughts of being pathetically lame in this department. They simply cannot comprehend how I can feel this way. Knowledge that I'd have to deal with phones was one of the things that almost kept me from accepting my new position. I decided to accept this as a major challenge, however, in hopes that I would become more comfortable over time. And just think, for the first six years of my working life I worked as a secretary and had to deal with phones, multiple lines, etc. Throughout it all, my stomach tied itself in a knot each time those phones rang.

Wish me luck. Even as I read over what I've written here, I've been doing a little better with the telephone than my entry here implies. I have a long way to go. Lately, my personal motto has been "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". For me, this has been a most appropriate motto to live by these past several weeks.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Saturday Six - Episode 72

Picture from Hometown

1. What is your current desktop picture?  What made you select it?  I change my desktops frequently.  Currently, I'm using one of the transforming desktops that changes appearance throughout the day.  Fun.

2. A close friend who you consider to be up to date on fashion suggests that you should update your look and offers to pay for a session with an experienced hairstylist you've never dealt with before.  Knowing that it's free, would you go?  Yes.  At this point in my life I've learned I have little to lose and more importantly, hair always grows back out (in my case at least) so whatever I ended up looking like would not be permanent.

3. When you do look in a mirror, what is the first thing you usually look at?  Face...eyes.

4. Take this quiz:  Which Bugs Bunny character are you?  I am so prepared for this one;  very recently posted the answer to this quiz in my journal.  Being a major Looney Tunes fan, how could I resist?

Bugs Bunny!
You scored 0 Aggression, 85 Sophistication, and 71 Optimism! You have all the sophistication and charm one would expect from such a high-class hare. Very upbeat and generally laid-back, you are remarkably calm and peaceful even in the midst of the most stressful of situations. On those rare occasions that your anger is aroused, your retaliation usually results in embarrassing the aggressor and laying-bare how foolish he or she really is -- rather than doing any real harm. You likely have many friends and more than a few admirers and would make an excellent leader, if you had any interest in being one. But, being a leader would require hard work and attention to detail, both qualities you are lacking in. In fact, if you are not careful, your laid-back attitude will often lead you to drift through life completely oblivious to the changes happening around you. You also tend to have a horrible sense of direction.

Thank God!  I didn't wind up as Prissy, The Widda Hen!!!

5. What label seems to describe you the best as a whole?  Adaptable

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #60 from Stacy: Is there a specific person that you credit with your successes? and HOW did they help you?  I think I would have to pinpoint my parents on this one.  I was brought up to please my parents and make them proud of me; it must be understood that however they did this, it always seemed like my idea and not something they demanded of me.  The feeling of never wanting to disappoint, fail or embarrass my nearest and dearest has been the main cornerstone of my being for as long as I can remember.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Weekend Assignment #74: Got the Wants

Weekend Assignment #74: Forget about the things you need -- Tell us about something you want. Preferably something useless and/or expensive. In other words: Toys! Something fun and/or sparkly and/or indulgent that you don't already have but wouldn't mind getting, if someone were offering.

Extra Credit: Do you really think getting that toy would make you happier?

Having just torn down our old deck which was ancient and sagging and a lawsuit waiting to happen, I would love a new larger deck to replace it. I would love to have built-in benches around the sides and flower boxes built into the corners. I would love to have a large hot tub, jacuzzi, spa; whatever you want to call it, with plenty of strategically placed jets set into the floor of the deck in one corner. A fence for privacy would be built up around the spa and be designed to accommodate climbing vines or roses or whatever I chose. I would immerse myself in the soothing, swirling water every day I possibly could, especially after work.

Once this was all completed, I'd love to have a set of sturdy, comfortably padded, attractive outdoor furniture to furnish my outside room. To complete my wish list, I'd love to have one of those beautiful substantial canopies to place over the table for protection from the sun while dining. Necessary? No. Frivolous? Yes.

Would it make me happier? It would make me very happy to have such a lovely place to sit and eat and dream outside my kitchen door but I don't think it would make me happier than I am right now. There's a big difference between the two words.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tag, I'm It!

I seem to remember something about being tagged to share my love of reading.  Thank you, Lisa.  Here we go:

Books have played an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. I come from a family of bookworms and a house that had so many shelves of books that it resembled a small library. For the longest time I thought everyone's house was the same. Sadly, I discovered this was not so and some homes had nothing more than a TV Guide and perhaps the daily newspaper for reading material. It was a real eye opener.

I love reading books for entertainment; I resent books that are assigned to me to read. I hated the selections of "classic literature" that were thrust upon me in high school. The most notable standouts of those detested books were "The Scarlett Letter" and "The Sound and The Fury". The exercise of having to wade through those books was pure torture. I don't think this is the way to instill the love of reading into those who have yet to discover the joy of books. Books are my friends. When I was a very little girl, everyone in my house was always sitting somewhere with their face in a book or so it seemed to me. Even before I could read, I'd get myself a book, crawl up into a big, comfortable chair and read too. Little matter if the book was right side up or upside down; I was reading, wasn't I?

My worst reading habit is that I'm more inclined to reread the books I love rather than try something new. I never buy books new so it's always a long time before I read books which appear on the bestseller's list and remain there for ages. I only just recently read "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" which I enjoyed thoroughly. Next I read "The Secret Life of Bees" which is a wonderful story and one of those books you "experience" as well as read. I recommend it highly. My literary choices are probably absurdly light but I read to relax, decompress and escape. I have no wish for deep tomes of literary depth. I adore everything by Rosamund Pilcher; most notably "The Shell Seekers", "Coming Home" and "Winter Solstice". She writes of people and places you want to know and see. Literary magic. I love the "Outlander" series by Diana Gabaldon. I love the novels of Anya Seton, especially "Katherine", "Avalon", "Green Darkness", and "The Winthrop Woman". I enjoy historical novels very much. Then, of course, there are the timeless books from L. M. Montgomery. Everyone is familiar with "Anne of Green Gables" but the entire series which follows her life, subsequent family and involvement in WWI is marvelous. I was weaned on these books and as they originally belonged to my mother who read and reread them and then passed them on to my two older sisters, by the time I began to read them they were literally "read to pieces" and falling apart. Can a book have a greater legacy than that? Everyone knows the "Anne" books. There is a series of three books about "Emily" too. A completely different kind of woman and a wondrous read.  In fact, if I had to choose one book to take with me to some deserted island it would be "The Blue Castle" by this same author.  It is my all-time favorite story and I've probably read it at least twenty times if not more.   

I love "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith. I love books that I read, think and dream about. I don't read bodice-rippers. I don't usually read books to improve my mind. A guilty pleasure is reading Stephen King novels. I enjoy reading them but I never like to see the movies made from them with the exception of "Carrie" which I think is a great film. Right on, Carrie. You go girl!, but I do feel sorry for the sympathetic gym teacher. I have a very fond memory of the first time I read "Gone With the Wind" at a rather young age. Advice from my big sisters: when you get bored, skip to the the word "Scarlett" and things will pick up. Well, wasn't that the truth and it took me about two more reads to not skip one line or page of the book. Great book, good movie; the sequel written by I can't remember who was awful.

I have a very personal favorite novel. "Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtry. This was recommended to me by a friend who had already read it and suggested that we read it together. We did this from opposite sides of the country but regardless, it was a wonderful experience and I found this to be a great story. It was a bit slow to get into but I was riveted once things got going. This was one of the nicest reading experiences of my life. There are so many more books I've enjoyed; sometimes I spend time reading what my husband calls, "crazy woman books" which sounds funny but I know just what he means. I think I like to read these books for much the same reason as people like to watch soap operas. No matter what's happening in your life, the lives of the people in these books or on these shows is so much worse that it's a comfort in written or visual affirmation that your life is so much better and happier.

Note to Lisa who tagged me. I, too, love "In This House of Brede". Outside of my family, you are the first person I've ever come in contact with who knows this book. It is a very special, wonderful book.  I think I'll dig it out and read it again very soon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Remembering a Mentor, a Friend

Part of my daily morning routine is to check the obituary columns. It's not that I have a morbid fascination of the recently deceased. Rather, this is one way I'm able to keep tabs on the old folks I've known who have moved on to other facilities or back home with their children. Sometimes I wonder whatever happened to.....? More often than not I get my answer in this column.

A few days ago I opened up to the page before leaving for work and was totally unprepared for the picture and notice that met my eyes. It was a death notice for my former aerobic dance instructor who took me under her wing, instructed me on the proper use of free weights, taught me excellent body mechanics and opened the door to the pleasures of aerobic dance for me. Her name was Teresa O'Mallon and she was one of the lovliest, kindest, healthiest woman I've ever met.

About twenty years ago, my husband and I joined the local gym to shed some weight and firm up a bit. After a year or so, I met Teresa and found out she taught an exercise class in an upstairs room of the gym. Aerobics were very big back then but I had never tried a class before. Great physical coordination had never been one of my fortes. I told her as much but she persuaded me to come to a class and at least try. I did and damn if I didn't discover I had a bit of a natural aptitude for these routines. Teresa's background was dance; she also took ballet classes and her exercise routines were more choreographic in nature than most aerobic workouts. Her choice of music was superb and even though some of the moves were a bit more intricate than the run of the mill classes, they weren't impossible to follow. Attending her classes became one of the highlights of my day and I attended as many as six classes a week. The workouts were wonderful, so graceful and dance-like; at times I felt I was flying across the floor. It was pure magic. I fell in love--with aerobic dance and, I think, a little bit with Teresa. As a result from taking these classes and working out faithfully on the machines and using the free weights, I found myself residing in the fittest, firmest, best body I'd ever had in my life. I even gained an inch in height from learning to put my shoulders down, stand up straight and imagine a string attached to my chest, pulling me upward. These are the things this wonderful woman did for me.

For a brief time back then I considered learning to become an aerobics instructor; I was that into it and loved it so much. One weekend, Teresa took me to a huge aerobics convention in the Sacramento area where I took part in lots of different classes. It was a fantastic weekend and has remained one of my most special memories. In the end, I didn't pursue the idea but the mere fact that this marvelous woman thought I had "the right stuff" to do so was a tremendous compliment.

Teresa died from breast cancer. I hadn't been in touch with her for a long time but when I saw this notice and began to read, I wept. I was overcome with such a wave of sorrow. I weep now as I type these words. Teresa's birthday was in March. She turned 52. I just turned 52 a week and a half ago. So young; too young to leave this world. I am so grateful I was given the opportunity to meet this lovely woman and benefit from all she gave to me. Thank you, Teresa!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Which Looney Tune Are You Test

Since I am a major Looney Tunes fan, I simply could not resist this one.  I am very surprised by the results!

Bugs Bunny!
You scored 0 Aggression, 85 Sophistication, and 71 Optimism! You have all the sophistication and charm one would expect from such a high-class hare. Very upbeat and generally laid-back, you are remarkably calm and peaceful even in the midst of the most stressful of situations. On those rare occasions that your anger is aroused, your retaliation usually results in embarrassing the aggressor and laying-bare how foolish he or she really is -- rather than doing any real harm. You likely have many friends and more than a few admirers and would make an excellent leader, if you had any interest in being one. But, being a leader would require hard work and attention to detail, both qualities you are lacking in. In fact, if you are not careful, your laid-back attitude will often lead you to drift through life completely oblivious to the changes happening around you. You also tend to have a horrible sense of direction.

Brain Cramps

The worst is behind me. I survived my first week at my new job and things can only go uphill from here. By the end of the fifth day my brain was ready to burst from all the new information that had been hurled at it. The sweet thought of a day off was truly a salve for my soul.

It's always been a bad habit of mine to expect too much too soon, especially of myself. I expect to know everything right away and tend to get cross and frustrated with myself when, of course, I don't. But I'm a mature adult now, right? This time around I'm trying to be kinder to myself. Therefore, I decided that if I learned and remembered at least two things, at best four, each day then this would be acceptable. As usual all was a mishmash of information the first three days. By the fourth day a few lightbulbs went on above my head and the blur of information began to fall into place and make some sense.

My previous jobs in health care have carried with them the responsibilities of hands-on care of seniors, watching out for their welfare and safety, alerting nurses of change of conditions and such. My new job requires a different kind of responsibility that is completely new to me. I now work in the outpatient department of a Life Care retirement community serving people 65 years of age and older. The buildings are spread out on a 29-acre campus and are home to approximately 300 people. This is a senior living center which encompasses independent, assisted and skilled nursing care. Some of these people, while still able to live independently within the confines of the campus, need assistance with dispensing and monitoring of their daily medications.

My main task in the morning is to give medications to those residents who stop by the clinic to receive them. Some of these people also need assistance with eye drops or help with ted-hose (very tight compression stockings) which are extremely difficult to put on. Fear not! The clinic hasn't left me with a big bucket of pills, expecting me to dig in to find the right medications for the right resident. All medications are contained in sealed packets for each individual. The resident's name, time meds are to be taken, the doctor's name, name and quantity of the pills are clearly marked on the outside of the packet. It's up to me to carefully check the name, time medication is to be given and ensure that the resident swallows them. I have to stand by and watch them take their pills then and there. It's no easy task to stay close and observe while trying to seem unobtrusive at the same time.

After the residents who visit the clinic have come and gone, I head out to the cottages, apartments or single units of those residents who need assistance with their meds but don't come to the clinic to receive them. This part of the morning takes a great deal of time and entails a lot of walking. The little homes I must visit each morning are spread out all over so I'm up, down and all around the place. The first few days I wondered how I'd ever find my way around despite the map I was given. I thought back to my very first day of high school when I couldn't find my locker and my very kind big brother took me back that same day to help me find it. That was child's play in comparison to this! However, the nice young woman who's been orienting me shadowed me on my outside med pass on my fifth day and I didn't make too many mistakes finding those places to which I needed to go.

Once I've completed my med pass and return to the clinic, there are forms to fill out, forms to file in residents' charts and there are specific places within each chart where the paperwork should go depending upon its content. For one who has never worked in a medical office before, this is a challenge but I know I'll rise and conquer it. Throughout the remainder of the day I may be asked to assist with taking vitals, set up a resident in one of the examining rooms, get sent out to assist a resident who needs help with something or other, check a resident's home whose phone has been reported "off the hook" and assist with bathing a resident who isn't quite safe enough to do this alone. For such a huge campus, there is a very interesting method used to account for each resident on a daily basis. On the upper left-hand corner of each resident's door there is a small latch. All residents are required to open their front door when they first get up in the morning to release the latch to a hanging down position. Starting around 9:30 am Security travels throughout the entire campus and makes a note of which latches are still up and reports this information to the front desk. This information is then reported to the outpatient clinic and I must go to each one to check to make sure everything is okay. More often than not the latch is down when I get there inwhich case I don't have to do anything but report back to the front desk that everything's fine. Very often a resident will have opened their door soon after the security person has passed by. If the latch is still up I have a master key to access the home if no one responds to the doorbell. It's a pretty nifty system for such a huge place but, again, it sends me hither and yon throughout the day.

Enough for now and probably too much. I expect to get into and remain in excellent shape with this job. One more thing; I have a most unusual job title. I am the "runner". Can you guess why?


Graphics courtesy of,

Monday, August 22, 2005

Saturday Six - Episode 71

Picture from Hometown

Yes, I'm late this time 'round.  Working later hours than I'm used to and working through the weekend has put a crimp in my computer time.  But, as they say, better late than never...and here we go.

1. Other than the "Saturday Six," what weekly or daily memes do you play most often?  (Please give a link to that journal.)  I could've sworn we just answered a question similar to this not too long ago.  I participate in John Scalzi's "weekend assignment when the suggested topic interests me.  Some time back, I participated in The Journal Jar which posts a daily question to answer.  I enjoyed it but found it too difficult to keep up on a daily basis and as questions began to stockpile, it became a chore for me to try to catch up. I provide the link for others who may want to check it out.

2. If you could look back at photos you know of that were taken during your childhood, from your first school pictures to snapshots taken ten years ago, which one do you think would be the most embarrassing and why?  My senior yearbook picture is hideous.  I had been sick for several days prior to the photo session and still wasn't well on picture day.  Evidently there was no make-up day for a retake.  When the time came to submit my engagement notice to the local paper, you can bet I went to a professional photographer and came away with a much better picture.

3. What was the last thing you made yourself do, even though you really didn't want to?  Crawl out of a nice warm bed yesterday morning (Sunday) and go to work

4. Take this quiz:  How do you live your life?

You seem to be straight forward, but you keep a lot inside.

You tend to avoid confrontation and stay away from sticky situations.

You tend to have one best friend you hang with, as opposed to many aquaintences.

Some of your past dreams have disappointed you, but you don't let it get you down.

5. What was the last book you started but never finished (aside from any you're currently reading)?  Why did you stop reading it?  "Flirting with Pete" by Barbara Delinsky.  I've enjoyed everything I've read by this author but this book just didn't seem to be getting anywhere.  I always have several titles on my "next to read" list and life's too short to waste on books that hold no interest.  Besides, Barbara will never know.

6. Are you named after  anyone?  Has anyone ever been named after you?  I wasn't named after anyone; my mother just liked the name.  I'm so glad she did because I love my name.  My daughter carries my name as her middle name.  The syllables fit to make the first, middle and last name flow.  I like the idea of mortal continuity by passing along my name to her.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


I'm exhausted.  My brain is on overload.  I have spent a total of perhaps 30 minutes sitting in front of this computer in the past five days (which is an unheard of thing for me).  I just wanted to say that I am thrilled that not one, not two but three...three!! of my very favorite journals have been selected as Guest Editor's Picks.  Alphawoman has excellent taste in her choices and I certainly concur.  Congratulations to all.  I'm even too tired at the moment to provide links to the special three but I suspect at this point it probably isn't a bit necessary.

Weekend Assignment #73: Your Best Entries

Weekend Assignment #73: From your own AOL Journal or AIM Blog, pick your own favorite entry from the last year (from 8/21/04 onward). Link to it in the comment thread below, so we can all see what it was.

Well now, I did just that but for reasons unknown to me my link didn't come through in the "clickable" mode.  Sometimes this happens even when I do exactly what I'm supposed to...I don't know why; very frustrating and annoying.

Let's give it another try here.  I skimmed through my entries from the past year (in only one of my journals) and came across many favorites.  I decided to choose this one titled, "A Day of Simple Pleasures Within a Winter Weekend" dated Jan 10, 2005.  Hopefully, here's the link:


Saturday, August 13, 2005

Saturday Six - Episode 70

Picture from Hometown

1. A reader to "Men's Journal" recently wrote about technological innovations, stating that there isn't any gadget he couldn't live without:  "To see how vital technology is, spend a few days in the backcountry without your phone, pager, PDA, laptop, cappuccino machine, or MP3 player.  You'll emerge cleansed and refreshed."  Could you go a whole week really roughing it with no modern conveniences?  I'm pretty sure I could make it through a week of roughing it without modern conveniences.  Seems like I'm just about doing so already; the only technological convenience I own out of the above-mentioned list is a phone.  Would you want to?  Not particularly.

2. What is the most you've ever paid for a:

A) Shirt   $15
B) Pair of Shoes   $35
C) CD or Album     $19
D) DVD   $15
E) Book   $30

F) Vacation   $3500

3. Looking back at the answers to#2, which one was the most foolish?  None of them

4. Take this quiz:   Which snack food are you?

13 other people got this result!
This quiz hs been taken 119 times.
11% of people had this result.

5. There are three wells:  Love, Beauty and Creativity.  If you could only drink from one of them, which would you choose and why?  I would choose to take a nice long drink from the well of Creativity.  I am not a very creative person and I admire people who are.  I have a great deal of love in my live and I see beauty in many places every day.  If the well of Beauty  is meant to transform me in some way, I'm very happy with how I look and wouldn't want to change a thing.

6. If you were another person, do you think you would be friends with the person you know as yourself?  Yes, I would very much like to be friends with the person I know as myself.




Friday, August 12, 2005

Hoops and Rings

Lately I've been thinking of myself as a one-woman version of Ringling Brothers' Barnum and Bailey Circus. I've certainly been going through lots of hoops and rings of fire. "Ah", several folks observed, "I see you're taking some time off between jobs. Yet another vacation, Meredith"? Well, the opportunity of time was there but the reality is that I've had to do and rush around more this past week than I have had to do in many a month. Securing this new job ten years later than my last go around has been little short of exhausting.

After my initial phone and in-person offering of this new position, I was assigned many tasks. I had to make an appointment to be fingerprinted. No problem; I knew perfectly well I'm no felon and there's nothing to worry about here. Next; had to make an appointment for a TB test, physical and drug test. Hmmm. Drug test. Hmmm. Believe it or not, in all my years of employment since 1972, I've never had to take a drug test. I'm hardly a heavy-duty drug user but damnation! along comes this prerequisition right on the heels of my vacation. Gee, ya think I might've indulged in a little something during those carefree days of hedonistic pleasure? Only takes one time to inhale a little weed to contaminate one's system for one freakin' month!! I didn't even look at the stuff from the moment I received that first phone call from my prospective employer upon my return and immediately began to drink copious amounts of water. Lots. And then some. This is not a small task for me; I am not a water drinker. Lots of water, lots of cranberry juice and the wisdom to schedule the physical/drug test at the latest date possible. More water and more cranberry juice. Just call me old sloshy!

And so, I drove down the dreaded freeway to get my fingerprints. I drove down the dreaded freeway again to have my physical, TB test and drug test. I drove down the dreaded freeway yet again so some young lady could glance at my left arm for a fraction of a second to note that I didn't have any reaction to the TB test. Well, duh, I could've phoned the place and reported such and saved myself a fractious trip (and gas) but it was not to be. A few days down the line, I got a call from my prospective employer telling me the place where I went for my physical "has no record of my being there"! Excuse me? Am I going to have to go through that experience again? I think not. I got on the phone like quicksilver and said, "what the hey?". Oh, a minor mixup between your papers and someone else's. (Like this is comforting news, right?). Your file is on doctor's desk ready to be cleared. Okay. I once again began to breathe normally and decided to wait until the next day to see what would happen.

Coincidentialy, added to this mix was the fact that I had to renew my driver's license at this same time. I had been receiving renewals by mail from the DMV for years. This is the reward one receives when one never gets a ticket and maintains a stellar driving record. But how long will this continue until they might want to actually see the human being behind the license number? I received my first California driver's license in November of 1976. Sometime in between then and now I had to haul myself down to the DMV to have my picture retaken. The license issued on that visit was good until my birthday in 2005. I remember thinking that was an eternity away. Guess what? The eternity ended and my next renewal form demanded my presence, a vision test and a thumb print. Of course I made the appointment to visit the DMV on my relaxing week off between jobs. Here goes another trip down the dreaded freeway! Happy Birthday to me. Amazing to think that I've lived in California for almost 29 years and I've only had to show up at the DMV for a picture three times. Not that I'm complaining but methinks there's something wrong with this picture.

And on the next day, I was out and about doing this and that (mainly my DMV visit) and arrived home midday to see the messages on the answering machine blinking wildly. A good sign. And there it was; the message I'd been holding my subconscious breath for; the message from the woman who sought me out and offered me a new opportunity telling me that I had cleared all the hurdles and I was to report for work on Wednesday, August 17th at 8am. All right!! Then, would I please drop off the kazillion papers I had to read, sign and date on Friday or at the latest, Monday? Oh sure, why not. What's another trip down the dreaded freeway at this point? I was planning to go clothes shopping with my son for the new school year so I could certainly incorporate this little detour into my day. Besides, here was a great opportunity to share with him my new place of employment. I logged five trips down the highway in my supposed relaxing week between jobs. You have to understand that I have not driven on this freeway to the city where these businesses are for so long that I can't tell you when I last did. I've avoided doing so like the plague but God works in mysterious ways and in his ultimate wisdom presented these tests and hurdles for me to pass. I've yet to experience the commute in the morning rush-hour but I'm a smart enough cookie to leave in plenty of time and pack along a good book to read while I sit in the parking lot of my new workplace, waiting for my day to begin.

Weekend Assignment #72: The Ultimate Battle

Weekend Assignment #72: Which is better -- cake or pie? Explain your reasoning. Will you choose the moist sponginess and frosting-topped goodness of cake? Or will you side with those flaky crust-adoring, fruit-filling fanatics of the pie nation? You must choose one -- and only one! No trying to suggest that Boston Creme Pie is really kind of like a cake, or how cheesecake is actually not unlike a pie. Take a stand! Be true to your pastry orientation!

Dessert, in general, is not usually an option among my personal food groups. I like sweet things well enough; I just prefer to spend my daily calorie intake elsewhere. My preference is cake over pie. There are plenty of types and flavors of cake I like very much. My very favorite for a long time has been the cake I make every St. Patrick's Day when we always have a party, be it big or small. I make a chocolatey, spirited concoction called Irish Whiskey Cake for the grand dessert finale served with or without Irish Coffee. Regardless of the wonderful St. Patrick's Day traditional treats we always provide, I know in my heart of hearts that guests really show up in high hopes of a slice of this cake. Over the past few years this same cake has also been my son's official Birthday Cake of choice! It is to die for.


Extra Credit: Having chosen cake or pie, now admit your favorite variety of the dessert you did not choose. So if you chose cake, tell us your favorite pie. Prefer pie? Tell us your favorite cake.

Over the years of my marriage I have learned how to make a decent pie with homemade crust because I married a pie fan. It's been one of the greater challenges of my homemaking career but I'm pleased to report I've arrived to the point of producing a pie he always deems "the best ever". High praise from an east coast boy whose mother was a consummate baker. I have come to enjoy an occasional slice of pie and my favorite is strawberry rhubarb. This is my favorite kind of pie to make as well. The filling under the lattice top crust seems to sparkle like a rare jewel as the pie rests on the counter to cool.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Yesterday was my last day working at the job to which I've dedicated eight years and ten months of my life. I've never been a job hopper by any means but this is the longest I've ever stayed in one place. Arriving at work in the morning was accompanied by a mixed bag of emotions. It's not easy to bid farewell to a place where you've spent most of your waking hours for so long and people to whom you've given so much of yourself. I wasn't leaving because I came to the point where I hated my job. I decided to leave because an opportunity to do something different virtually fell into my lap. It seems that while we may not be overtly conscious of a desire for change in employment, the idea of doing so may well be milling about in our subconcious. Apparently, so it was for me.

Once the decision has been made to leave a job, I am a very strong advocate of taking the proper steps when you hand in your resignation. Very simply, this means giving a full two weeks' notice and continuing to show up for work through that time. Not to do so is rude, unprofessional and extremely inconsiderate to your co-workers. Many's the time I and my peers have been left in the lurch by a co-worker who suddenly decides not to show up for work one day only to learn in the not too distant future she is working elsewhere. That kind of behavior pretty much translates into, "I'm outta here and to hell with the rest of you"! This is not the way to go. Aside from all the consideration for others aspect, you should never, ever burn your bridges. One never knows what the future will bring and it's always good to know that the option is open to return from whence you came if need be.

Every morning, a copy of the daily activities is left at each resident's place setting for breakfast. When I glanced at the lineup for Tuesday's doings, I knew I had achieved a modicum of local fame. I had become an activity; there in bold print nestled between "Trivia Time" and "Bingo" was "Farewell Party for Meredith 1:15pm In the Parlor". Well, truly, I had arrived! And what a wonderful sendoff it was. Just about every resident currently in house and all the staff working that day were packed into the parlor. This is a beautiful room used for social events furnished with lots of comfortable seating, a fireplace and a grand piano. We all shared a beautifully decorated carrot cake (my personal did they know?)and sparkling apple juice flowed like a golden river. I was presented with many lovely gifts and such kind words of thanks and appreciation that I thought my heart would burst. Then the music started and many of us began to dance. Yes! Even if they're able to just stand and sway a bit, seniors love to dance. Lots of picture taking, lots of laughter and not a small amount of tears. As my party began to wind down, I went around the huge room to all the residents and staff members and had a special word or three for each one.

This chapter of my life has come to a close. A new one shall begin next week. Onward and upward...

Saturday, August 6, 2005

Saturday Six - Episode 59

Picture from Hometown

1. Besides your parents or siblings, what family member do you most resemble?  Since this question excludes listing those whom I most resemble (dad and brother), my answer is no one.

2. Check out this interesting website:  Is your hometown newspaper featured?  What is the top headline of that paper or the one closest to you?  Yes, top headline reads: $2.3 million jackpot latest in SR man's luck  (Nice change from the tales of horror that have been dominating the headlines for so long.)

3. If you knew it was completely tame and there was no danger, what zoo animal would you most like to pet or come into physical contact with?  I don't know about other zoos in the country but the San Francisco Zoo houses a couple of river otters and I would love to jump in the water and play with them for a spell.

4. Take this quiz:  How weird are you?

You Are 70% Weird

What?  Was it the preference of 50 extra pounds to genital herpes or the fact that I'd give up my parking place and find another that pushed me into such a high level of weirdness?  I protest!

5. Which of the following causes more stress in your life:  your spouse, your kids, your boss, your co-workers, your friends, your parents or other relatives?  My co-workers but not for long!

6. You find an old lamp containing a genie:  the genie decides to give you a single improvement for yourself, mind or body.  It must be something to improve within you and no one else.  What would you ask the genie to fix?  Oh, genie!  Rev up my metabolism so I can eat like a normal person and not have the food I consume turn so quickly into fat.  Note to self:  start haunting garage sales for old never know.

A Little Introspection

What an emotional week this has been! I learned a long time ago that no one is indispensable and life at work always manages to continue quite nicely when any employee decides to depart for one reason or another. From the moment I gave my two weeks' notice, I have been astounded by the outpouring of good wishes and hopes for good luck from so many people. What's even nicer is that I believe them all to be sincere in their sentiments. I'm not exactly sure what I expected when I announced my plans for departure but, certainly, it was nothing like this.

I keep sensing this underlying feeling that a lot of people have been wondering why it's taken me so long to make my move and branch out into something else. All these kind wishes and words of bonhomie are going to serve me well as much needed psychological bolstering when I soon find myself in the unenviable position of "new kid on the block" and "low man on the totem pole", etc. After being at the top of my present position for such a long time, the view from the bottom looking up is going to be a totally different perspective. Well, I was in such a place almost nine years ago and I guess it won't kill me to return to that place. Life is full of new beginnings and adventures and these are what help to keep us interested and interesting. It's more than a bit daunting to leave the known and comfortable to venture out to the unknown. I'm nervous and a bit apprehensive with a huge dose of excited anticipation thrown into the mix. This is exactly what an almost 52 year old lady in hormonal upheavel needs to keep her hand in the game (of life).

Monday, August 1, 2005

Just Because It's There...

163 Questions To Waste Your Time

This comes from Christy at "A Day in the Life" by way of Aunt Nub's Empty Head.  I got it from Patrick's Place. The object is simple:  copy and paste all of the statements and put in boldface the ones that apply to you.

Add something true about yourself at the end

001. I miss somebody right now.
002. I watch more tv than I used to.
003. I love olives.
004. I love sleeping.

005. I own lots of books.
006. I wear glasses.
007. I love to play video games
008. I’ve tried marijuana.
009. I've watched porn movies. (not all the way through and think they're boring as hell and would rather do than watch!)

010. I have been in a threesome.
011. I have been the psycho-ex in a past relationship.
012. I believe honesty is the best policy.

013. I couldn’t live without my cell phone.
014. I like and respect Al Sharpton. (maybe, I don't know him)
015. I curse frequently. (mostly under my breath)
016. I have changed a lot mentally over the last year.
017. I have a hobby.

018. I'm a perfectionist.
019. I carry my knife/razor everywhere with me.

020. I’ve never broken anyone else’s bones.

021. I’ve broken bones of my own. (no, but someone else broke my C-2 bone)
022. I have a secret that I am ashamed to reveal (doesn't everybody?)
023. I love rain.
024. I’m paranoid at times.
025. I would get plastic surgery if it were 100% safe, free of cost, and scar-free.
026. I need money right now.
027. I love sushi. (yuck)
028. I talk really, really fast sometimes.
029. I have fresh breath in the morning.
030. I have semi-long hair.
031. I have lost money inLas Vegas.
032. I have at least one brother and/or sister.
033. I was born in a country outside of the U.S.
034. I shave my legs.
035. I have a twin.

036. I talk a lot (but am shy sometimes)

037. I couldn’t survive without Caller I.D.

038. I have pictures of friends all over my room.
039. I have lied to a good friend in the past 6 months.
040. I know how to do cornrows. (I wish I did, that takes skill, I'm thinking)
041. I am usually pessimistic (but trying very hard not to be)
042. I have mood swings.
043. I think prostitution should be legalized.
044. I think Britney Spears is pretty/hot
045. I have cheated on a significant other.
I have a hidden talent.
047. I’m always hyper no matter how much sugar I have.
048. I think that I’m popular.
049. I am currently single.
050. I have kissed someone of the same sex.
051. I enjoy talking on the phone.
052. I practically live in sweatpants or PJ pants.
053. I love to shop.
054. I would rather shop than eat.
055. I would classify myself as ghetto.
056. I am bourgie and have worn a sweater around my shoulders. (whats a bourgie???)
057. I'm obsessed with my J.L. blog.
058. I don’t hate anyone. (Uhh, I try real hard not too)

059. I would go out of my way to cause shit with someone I hate.
060. I don’t think Mike Tyson raped Desiree Washington…
061. I’m completely embarrassed to be seen with my mother. (well not completely)
062. I have a cell phone.
063. I watch MTV on a daily basis.

064. I sleep more hours than I am awake.
065. I have passed out drunk in the past 6 months.

066. I have lied to my parents in the last 2 weeks.

067. I have kissed someone and cringe everytime I think about it.
068. I’ve rejected someone before.
069. I currently have a crush on someone.
070. I have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life.
071. I want to have children in the future

072. I have changed a nappy before.
073. I’ve had the cops called on me before.
074. I bite my nails.
075. I am a member of the Tom Green fan club.
076. I’m not allergic to anything deadly.
077. I have a lot to learn.
077. I have dated someone at least ten years younger or older. (this is supposed to be wouldn't work. but yes.)

079. I have/had a best friend of the opposite sex.
I am very shy around the opposite sex.
081. I’m online 24/7, even as an away message.
082. I have at least 5 away messages saved.
083. I have tried alcohol before.
084. I have made a move on a friend’s significant other in the past.
085. I own the "SOUTH PARK" movie. (we have one or two)
086. I have avoided assignments to be on Xanga or my blog.
087. When I was a kid I played "the birds and the bees" with a neighbor or chum. (we played house and doctor)
I enjoy country music.
089. I love my best friend.
090. I think that Pizza Hut has the best pizza.
091. I watch soap operas whenever I can.

092. I watch cartoons and like them. (the older ones, please)
093. I have used my sexuality to advance my career.
094. I love Michael Jackson, scandals and all.
095. I know all the words to Slick Rick’s "Children’s Story".
096. Halloween is awesome because you get free candy.
097. I watch Spongebob Squarepants and I like it. (this is an exception to the newer genre of cartoons)
098. I have dated a close friend’s ex.
099. I am happy as of this moment.
100. I have gone scuba diving.
101. Had a crush on somebody you have never met.
102. I've kissed someone I knew I shouldn't.
103. I play a musical instrument.
104. I strongly dislike math.
105. I'm procrastinating on something right now.
106. I own and use a library card. (all of us have one)
107. I fall in lust more than love.
108. Cheese enchiladas rock my socks.
109. I think The Lord of the Rings is one of the greatest things ever.
110. I’m obsessed with the tv show "Lost."
111. I am resentful that I have to grow up.
112. I am an entirely different person around different people.
113. I think the world would be a better place if people just smiled more often.
114. I think ramen is the best kind of food in the whole world.
115. I am suffering from a broken heart.
116. I am a nerd. And proud of it!!
117. No matter where I am or who I’m with, I always seem to be lonely.

118. I am left handed and proud of it.
119. I don’t change who I am for someone else.
120. My heart resides below my feet.
121. I am a Senior in High School.
122. I enjoy smoothies.
123. I have gastritis.
124. I have nothing better to do with my time.
125. I am listening to Radiohead right now.
126.Most people call me by my middle name.
127. I once stole a music stand.
128. Pi confuses me.
129. I love NASCAR!
130. I own over 200 CDs.
131. I work 7 days a week.
132. I have mono.

132. I don’t have the ability to make decisions without changing my mind.
133. People tell me I have a horrible sense of humor.
134. I'm wearing a bonds chesty. (A what?)

135. I had more than one Thanksgiving dinner this year.
136. I’ve drove to a different state to see a band I like.
137. I am the most over analytical person I know.
138. I believe in wasting time.
139. I don’t listen to much music.
140.I have a shoe fetish.
141. My favorite holiday isn’t Christmas.
142. I prefer weeks off of school insteadof days here and there.
143. I like sex.
I wanna go home.
145. I don’t know what I would do without my friends.
146. Christmas threw up in my dorm room and I love it.
147. Friends is my favorite tv show.
148. I can touch my nose with my tounge.
149. On most days, I like my job.
150. I need a new piercing or tattoo.
151. Been embarrassed by the number of people you’ve slept with.
152. I still use the phrase when I grow up.
153. I have a need to use phrases and words from the 80’s to "relive my youth."
154. I've given birth without painkillers of any sort..(why would I do that??OUCH)
155. I would do anything for my husband/wife.
56. I go to the gun range to relieve frustration.
157. My name is Mindy, but I’ve never met Mork.
158. I want to get my drivers licence next year.
159. My passion is art.
160. 160 questions was a waste of my time.
161. I unicycle. (yeah, right)

162. I almost died with I was a few months old (18 months to be exact)

163. I became a naturist at the age of 45 (better late than never, eh?)