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Posts Tagged ‘reentering the work force’

This past weekend was a busy one. Fitting everything in felt like trying to shove a size 10 foot into a size 8 shoe. Funny how some weekends can prove so uneventful I keep checking the phone to see if it’s charged and the highlight of my Saturday might be rearranging my sock drawer. Then, the following weekend I might offered up five options on how to spend my days with the cat complaining she’s not getting enough “mom time”. Last night I was sooooo tired my head hit the pillow at 10 and remained in the exact same position for the next eight hours. This is a good thing. Sleep has become as elusive for me as the truth flowing from a candidates mouth of late. So, when I actually do log eight hours of uninterrupted sleep it is cause for extreme celebration at my house. The cat, particularly excited when I remain in bed, usually carries the balloons because she sleeps at the end of the bed and gets up every time I do because she’s afraid she might miss something.

Funny tired person pictures

When I don’t get enough sleep I have noticed I begin to do stupid things. If you’ve read any of my previous blogs you would already know this is not out of character for me, but I mean particularly stupid things. This morning, for example, I spilled coffee on my new jeans. Normally I would use cold water to release a coffee stain, but this works only if you don’t use cream and sugar which I do. So, I grabbed the stain remover out of the closet above the washer and dryer and gave my pants a liberal dosing. Once the area was saturated I noticed the can I was holding read “Spray Starch”. My pants may still have the stain on them after I wash them, but they will have the capability to stand up in the closet without wasting a hanger.

Yesterday I was brushing my hair when the brush mysteriously flew out of my hand landing in the toilet.  Needing to sanitize it somehow my solution was putting it in the dishwasher. Note to self, “brushes with plastic points do not do well in extremely hot water”. When I retrieved it it was one solid unit with tiny plastic projectiles poking out here and there. Whatever. Next I opened a brand new lipstick. Somehow while applying it the base containing the lipstick also ended up in the toilet bowl. What is happening! Is there an unnamed entity living in the toilet willing all beauty products into it’s den? There was no recovery for the lipstick so, I deposited a brand new $16 lipstick in the trash bin alongside the molten remains of my brush and vowed to get some sleep. I also closed the lid on the toilet lest I accidentally deposit my purse in there by the the end of the day.

Maybe I’m just getting older. I try to eliminate labels, and attempt to keep the “O” word out of my conversations. How you view yourself is often the image you create. I do not feel old, even though certainly according to my birth certificate I am no longer young.  When I go to the movie theater these days my ticket says “senior” and this does not indicate I am graduating next year. To add to the mix I keep hearing from physician’s when asked about an ailment, “as you get older, blah, blah, blah”. As I said, I am aware I am not twenty any more. My house does have mirrors in both bathrooms, but is this fact the answer to every question? The original plan, or so it has been explained to me by medical professionals, was that we humans were not designed to use these bodies as long as we are doing now. Thus, our parts are wearing out before our minds do. I get that, really I do, but really?

When I took my mother in to get her hair done yesterday the stylist was commenting she has three ladies at 100+ who come in weekly to get their do’s done and a much larger number of ninety something ladies. Now I’m not saying that’s my mom’s age because she had me sign a non-disclosure agreement as soon as I was able to write my my name, but let’s just say we’re in the ball park and leave it at that. The fact is people are definitely living longer. As I’m on the downside of the middle of my life I vote for that as long as I am viable and contributing in some way I’d like to stick around to finish the game, so to speak.

When I do lame things such as those mentioned above I begin to wonder if my brain is starting to have a short or two preferring to think some sleep might solve the problem in this case. It’s not that I can’t fall asleep. Generally when my head hits the pillow lights are out upstairs nearly immediately but I can’t maintain that deep sleep level. Solutions must be sought or God only knows what I might do down the road. At any rate I shall put sleep to bed for a while if you don’t mind and go on to other things. Sorry for the pun.

As mentioned the coffers are getting low and it is time for Susie to begin looking for a part-time job. Every time I open a job search website and begin a search I end up either making  a sandwich or playing a game on my cell phone after about ten minutes. This is indicative, I believe, of my lack of interest in the available jobs that are posted. Caregiver comes up often on the search pages. After some years of first hand experience at this I would probably be qualified but for now I need a little respite from this type of work so I have crossed this off the possible list. My talents lie in graphics but there aren’t a lot of part-time jobs in this field at least in the area I live. Perhaps there is something to pursue as far as working from home in this venue but as yet I haven’t come across it. Thankfully I’ve kept my skills up by volunteering which at least makes me qualified even if my resume doesn’t reflect any recent work experience. My mind keeps chanting, “find a niche and fill it”. But what? The Internet gives everyone the opportunity to reach such a vast audience but you have to have a compelling message and a business plan and it seems at the moment I have neither A nor B. Sigh. Truth is I don’t really want to do what I have done but rather step outside of the lines drawn around my comfort zone and try something new. A therapist told me years ago when discussing a fear I had about trying something or other, “Ask yourself what is the worst that can happen?”. I like this thought and use it often. If I pursue something and don’t get it, am I any worse off then when I started out? The answer would be no. This I accept intellectually but sometimes my ego steps in and beats the heck out of intellect so the internal strife tends to get in the way of me putting this thought into action. I shall persist.

There are so many things beyond working I wish to accomplish with my life. Coming up with an excellent way to create revenue would open up the opportunity to pursue these as well. I have yet to see the Grand Canyon. I want to visit the Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale and would love to zip line in the Amazon. For Rick, who hails from Cairo, I would love to visit Egypt and while flitting about the area Italy and Greece are on my list of wonders to see as well. Truly if I had the wherewithal I would be writing these excerpts from exotic points all over the world.

For now, however, bereft of an amazing idea I am a work in progress. Hopeful and moving forward but still living in my little house in Northern California with my spoiled old puddy cat. This too will change and morph as all things do, but for today I shall be grateful for what I have not bemoan what I do not.

Have a great one.

 

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Albert-Einstein-quotes-miracle

Been doing a lot of cooking this week. Usually do this when I need comfort in my life. There’s something therapeutic about being in the kitchen, for me at least. Often I notice myself humming while preparing ingredients for a pot of soup or whisking an omelet to pour in the pan. Could be this comes from growing up in my grandmother’s home where the kitchen truly was the heart of her house. It was a large kitchen, or perhaps I perceived it to be so because I was small, situated towards the rear left hand corner of the building. As well as the main kitchen area there were two pantries one built on either side of the room.  The larger of the two, situated between the kitchen and dining room was used mainly for storage for linens, dishes and serving plates. The other, tucked beyond the kitchen door towards the interior of the house sat at the junction of two sets of stairs. The first, led down to the basement and the second, referred to as the “back stairs”,  rose up to the second floor where my bedroom was located. Easy access for a chubby little girl with an active sweet tooth.  This smaller pantry had three tiers of shelves wrapping around the interior. Each tier was stacked with colorful tins housing all the delicious goodies my grandmother spent her time baking. For a woman who looked as if she hadn’t eaten a decent meal in years, she had a rare talent for throwing together flour, sugar and butter to create the most delicious confections you can imagine. If I close my eyes I can still imagine the buttery goodness of her shortbread melting across my tongue. Yum.

She would often say we ladies are spoiled nowadays. Growing up in her time there weren’t prepared meals to pop in the microwave. There weren’t microwaves to pop them in. Everything was created from scratch. If you wanted bread you made it.  When they got their first refrigerator, replacing the ice box used for cooling up until then, her lady friends would stop by just to sit and admire it. These days much is taken for granted. A switch is flipped and lights go on, the phone accompanies you anywhere you go, and cars instruct you on how to park or actually do the parking for you. It must have been amazing for her to have spanned the progress of nearly all of the twentieth century particularly with the significant advances made during that time.

I’m glad I’m spoiled in some ways. The first time I made bread from scratch the dough was so sticky it adhered to the bread board I was kneading it on.  After much scrubbing to no avail we had to throw the board out and get a new one. Had we had to depend on me for our bread supply I have a feeling there wouldn’t have been a lot of sandwiches made in our house. Once I made a batch of yeast rolls. It took twelve packs of yeast to produce an equal number of rolls, half the number the recipe called for. Rick said had he accidentally dropped one on the floor he was pretty sure it would have continued on through to China no problems. Fine.

Sometimes I wonder why women got tasked with all the good stuff. Child bearing, though a wonderful experience I wouldn’t change a minute of, is not exactly a walk in the park. We are also the ones equipped with the feeding accoutrement once the child has arrived not the males of the species. Many of the household tasks appear to have been assigned to the ladies as well while men got chores like mowing lawns and taking the trash out once a week. Cooking, though many men enjoy being in the kitchen, is often the responsibility of the lady of the house. Looking back I would have happily stayed home and been a housewife, but my life path required me to show up for work every day to keep food on the table.  Cooking wasn’t always the joy for me it is now. When coming home after a long day at work to prepare a healthy meal some days became a job in itself. Lately I find it harder to find my rythm in the kitchen then I used to. After so many years spent scanning recipes in cookbooks, tearing them out of magazines and now sourcing them on-line I simply have run out of the creative energy as to know how to put the choices available into something not the same thing seen on my plate since the 1960’s. Let’s get real how many ways can you dress up Brussels sprouts? If there has been a new way invented most likely I have tried it. Maybe the solution is to produce a new vegetable or two? How about a new fish? Let’s get creative people. If we can have a space station floating around in atmospheric continuum surely we can come up with something new for company dinner?

Staying home is really not an option for me now either so currently I have begun looking for a part time job. This is not going along as enthusiastically as I would like. That, I might add, is totally on me. What I would like to be doing would be sitting in a deck chair floating on the Mediterranean Sea at the moment and that image keeps interfering with my dedication to sign up for work once again.  As I’ve said, it’s not that I don’t like to work.  I have worked most of my life. I just don’t want to work now. I used to wonder what I’d do if I retired. Now I know the answer to that I kind of like the idea. Actually I wonder how I fit everything into my life when I was a full time employee. These days I barely find time to brush my teeth and ostensibly I have nothing to do.

After perusing the job listings my mind keeps going back to coming up with something creative to do. Perhaps freelance work is the answer. It is not that I without skills. I am a graphic artist by trade, I’ve helped run a restaurant, and for years I was an administrative assistant. I have written articles for a newspaper and been both an event and catering manager to add to the list but still I suddenly feel like I don’t know where I fit in the puzzle. Truth is it’s been nearly ten years since I’ve drawn a paycheck. Makes for a little timidity when dipping my toe back in the water.

Being on my own again is still a matter of adjusting the fit.  My white knight is most likely not saddling his mighty steed as I write this, ready to whisk me off to the castle where I can enjoy eating grapes and being fanned by minions for the rest of my life. Over the past months I have come to the realization the person I can depend on 100% is me. That being said the solution to this problem needs to be an internal solution.

Local adult schools and the junior college are beginning their spring scheduling. That is another option I’ve been looking at. What if I retrained? I’m not too long in the tooth to grasp something new. Why not? But what? There are a lot of on-line options as well that I have been eyeing. I am not at a time in my life where I want to go back to school in search of a career. Been there, done that, as they say. However, a new field might be interesting. Something that doesn’t involve years of intense training but possibly draws on skills I already possess. So many questions.

My son gave me a weekend in Reno for my birthday at his timeshare. I am cashing this in next weekend. Perhaps I can turn that penny slot machine into a miracle maker and take home the big money. Surely these casinos have some extra they could share and still manage to keep their doors open. Not much of a gambler I’m afraid so probably a better chance my prince is breaking that saddle out of the tack room but one can always believe in miracles.

Have a lucky and productive day. Let you know how the jackpot goes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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finalI’m seriously considering going back to work. Not that I’m not busy enough at the moment, I am. However, depositing money into my savings rather than the other way around might be gratifying for a change. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, Rick and I may well live to a ripe old age. People are doing it all over the planet. Living to a hundred is far less unusual than back a few years. That being the case, we could have a long road ahead of us. I’d like a little padding to see us through our later years and to plump up the travel fund. Sitting around watching the grass grow is not my vision of how life should be when I’m fully retired.

Truth is I haven’t worked, other than volunteering, since we sold the restaurant in 2008. Ummmmm, I may be a bit rusty. Good news is I’ve kept my graphics skills up by volunteering where they utilize my artistic skills as well as my computer background. This is helpful.

My son is a corporate headhunter in Silicon Valley. Specifically, his job is placing the movers and shakers in the top jobs open in the high-tech industries prevalent in the area. Leaning on his expertise, I asked how I would go about reentering the job market. After a moment of silence on the other end of the line, he said, “you’re going back to work”? I know I’m not exactly a spring chicken, or even a summer one, but I am of relatively sound mind, equally relatively sound of body, and have some marketable skills still tucked away in my magic bag. Ach.

First he suggested I compose a brief resume. Interviewers, he said, are not interested in reading a novelette detailing your life since your first taste of Pablum. Rather they want the Reader’s Digest version of your last few jobs and an idea of what you bring to the table by way of benefiting their particular company. Oh. Other than the restaurant, which wasn’t really a job, more of a 24/7 lifestyle, I haven’t worked full-time since I resigned my executive assistant job at the newspaper. “What about all the jobs prior to that”, says I? “Anything prior to ten years, forgetaboutit”, I’m told. Oh. “But that’s sort of the meat in the burger”, I went on to explain. “Go vegetarian”, was the response. Okay.

Another thing suggested as imperative was not to discuss my frequently aired discontent with my cell phone. Expressing this out loud while job hunting, apparently, can be a deadly error resulting in public flagellation or worse. I’m sorry, I know I’m the only human left on the planet who doesn’t enjoy being umbilicaly attached to my devices, but I’m not comfortable being that connected. Shhhhhhh. Perhaps I’d better not list this blog as one of my accomplishments. My son, who has twenty devices each connected to the next, up to and including GPS tracking on every member of the family, is quite sure he was secretly adopted and I’m not revealing his true lineage.

A three page list was suggested noting my strong points and weaknesses on page one. Sorting through the short list of my strong points versus the tome of my limitations, I began a separate page where I was to weed out what I would like to do as opposed to what I prefer not to do. A third page was to be dedicated to my goals. He asked how I would respond on an interview if asked what my goals were. My guess is the appropriate answer might sound something like “develop my skill set and grow in whichever position I accept”. Actually, my goal is to inherit an obscene amount of money unexpectedly from a stranger I did a favor for back in the day. A man who remained eternally grateful for my little act of kindness. With this found money I will purchase homes for my loved ones, and give a huge chunk to the food bank where I volunteer and the children’s hospital. The remainder I would invest in an island somewhere off a gorgeous azure sea draped coast. Rick and I would then spend the remainder of our time roasting on a sandy beach like two holiday chestnuts, eating succulent tropical fruits and drinking mimosas. Just guessing but I’m pretty sure this answer wouldn’t land me keys to the executive washroom. Drat the luck.

Recently I was explaining to one of the younger members of my clan that work, in an ideal world, should be where you find your passion. Most people do not win that flip of the coin. Beginning your journey by stepping in the direction of your desire increases the likelihood of ever ending up there. Flailing about like a fish on a flat bottomed boat with no idea in this world or any other one where you are going, is not likely going to get you where you want to be when nearing middle-age. On graduating from high school I was pointed in the direction I wanted to go. My name could be found on a junior college enrollment form, classes were locked in, books purchased, and the school term had begun. Originally seeing flying the friendly skies as my chosen vocation once in school I leaned towards computer science. A surprise for me, as well as those around me who assumed “coffee, tea, or me” was right up my alley. Both lofty goals were shelved for love, a choice I don’t regret (well maybe a little on gloomy, rainy days) because my two beautiful children were a result of that choice. Life doesn’t always go in the direction you push it towards, but aspiring to a vocation that moves your soul and challenges your mind is a good place to start. The Millenials, or so I’ve read, are stumbling a bit when it comes to the future. I can understand this. Life seems more tenuous lately. Weather is crazy, terrorism on the rise, our infrastructure beginning to crumble, and the population swelling by the hour. Not as rosy a future as back a few decades, but then the earth has always been fraught with conflict. Not a new concept, but it seems as though it is up in our face more now there are more avenues from which to receive the news.

Concluding our phone conversation my son asked me what area I wanted to pursue. I told him I thought I’d like to be a plastic surgeon. I’ve seen some of their work, and it looks like something I could do equally as well. Another job I might be suited for is weather forecaster on the morning news. It is one of the few jobs where you can be wrong nine out of ten times and still continue your employment. Dog walker might be fun, although I wouldn’t want large dogs as they’d walk me, or feisty dogs, or little yappy buggers. Never mind. Something will turn up.

These tender little scallops are a recipe tweaked from my grandmother’s original which I still have penned in her hand. Always delicious. I usually serve them with a dollop of tartar sauce and a wedge of lemon.

Gammy’s Baked Bay Scallops

1 lb. bay scallops, foot removed (35-40)
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp. butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Spray shallow casserole dish with cooking spray.

Distribute cubes of butter around bottom of prepared dish.

Beat egg in another shallow dish. Mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, garlic salt, and pepper in another shallow dish. Roll a handful of scallops in eggs, then in butter. Repeat until all scallops are breaded. Spread out in single layer in dish. Bake for 20 mins. until lightly browned on top.

Serves 4

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