Does anybody read these?

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Adios, 2005!

I feel the urge to do some sort of sappy, introspective salute to 2005 here. But really what is there left to say. 2005 was just a year. For every good thing that happened there was at least one bad thing. There are things I'd do over again if I could, but I can't so why rehash. I know 2006 will be better because I am going to make it that way. Maybe it's because I'm so close to 30, but I'm really finally deciding what I want and going after it.

I just need to file 2005 away and say adios. Nothing else is necessary. I'm very excited to wake up in 2006 tomorrow. It's going to be a great year.

And for everyone who's been a part of my life this year. Thanks for everything you've done. I love you all very much and treasure your friendships. Best wishes to you in the New Year too.

Some notes on the news...

The train depot that Johnny Cash saved, moved and had down by the House of Cash is going back to Madison. This was an interesting article about it. The most interesting part? That they mentioned plans underway for a commuter railway in Nashville. How freaking cool would that be? Everyone knows I am not a big fan of driving and the only drawback to big city life in NashVegas is that it's not a big public transit city like DC, Chicago, New York. Hell, even some of the Los Angelinos take the subway now... But how cool would a commuter railway be? I'd LOVE that. Let someone else drive while you get caught up on your sleep or read the morning paper. I know when I worked out of our DC office and stayed with my friend in Maryland that I really liked that 45 minutes to unwind after work before I got home and started my evening.

OK, this is scary. I am sure Obie Trice got shot because he was Obie Trice, but if he didn't it wouldn't be the first time someone got shot driving on a Detroit freeway late at night. When I think about how many times I've driven from downtown to the suburbs on that expressway, it makes me a little nervous to hear something like this. And only 4 more weeks before all the tourists come! Yipper skipper!

I thought this article was funny. Anyone figured out the Tom and Katie thing yet? I'm waiting...In slightly related news, this Urban-Kidman thing was totally supposed to happen today and it's pretty late in Australia. I'm waiting Keithers. I just liked this article because it really poked fun at all the things we love to poke fun at about celebrities.

Last but not least, it's Bono and U2. And apparently he says the other guys think he's a bit bonkers with the charity work and political speech during shows and he thought they were going to kick him out of the band. To that I'd like to say: 1) U2 without Bono? Yeah, that sounds like a good time. And 2) I'd be a little sad if U2 weren't political. Listen to their music. That's just how they are. Yeah, if Bono starts passing a collection plate people might think it was bonkers. But otherwise, they just think it's Bono. And to use that huge global audience of his to fight poverty? Brilliant. If I could find one-million-plus people to listen to me spout off about things, I'd use that power for good.

Way too productive by 3 p.m.

I think I will take a nap soon. Why? Because I stayed up until 6 a.m. working on that job application last night. I really think I hit it out of the park. Or at least I hope. They asked for A LOT of information. I felt very redundant, and I hate feeling redundant. Especially when you're trying to convince someone they need to hire you because you're a strong writer. Anyhow, my press release was good. I put A LOT of research into it. All I made up was the quotes. That's how it should be with a good release. I really hope they like it. I just feel like the whole package was good. Except I just realized that I forgot something. Well, I am going to follow-up to make sure she got the package on Tuesday and when I do I will give her the phone number that I don't think made it onto the application. Oh well, it wasn't a big screw up. Or maybe she'll let me fax her an updated version of that page. I'll just ask her which she'd prefer. That's what I get for finishing it up at 9 a.m. with a three-hour nap. (You can't call it a good night's sleep at that point, can you?)

But I felt good about it. Maybe after my nap I'll hammer out some more cover letters and get some resumes emailed out. I need to find a job soon. I know I will find one when I get to Nashville if not sooner. I am talented and I am to the point in my career where there are a lot of opportunities out there.

One thing I noticed is that while I've been doing this nonprofit stuff my portfolio has really suffered. I have REALLY gotten out of my writing except here on my blog. It was a real struggle to find some good recent work to share with this application. I was almost thankful that I spent 4 hours researching and writing a press release and putting together a distribution plan...

Oh, one last thing. Part of my evening was spent with my newest friend in HP Tech support. I guess I need to do my resumes tonight and tomorrow because on Tuesday I have to FedEx my laptop to them, and they say they will keep it a week. He told me that it is very likely they will have to do some major work on it. We're pretty sure the fan is crap (although it DID work yesterday) and that the computer's had some major overheating issues. He said it also sounds like the processor is shot. And we ran a diagnostic test on the hard drive and it's got some problemos too. So, I am sending it in. I had come to terms with them scrapping it and sending me a new one, but now he says most likely they will just gut it and replace the bad components. And then they put an additional 90-day warranty on it. Which reminds me that I need to call Circuit City about my extended warranty with them, too. Want to make sure that's all in order...

Well, that's enough for now. My dad didn't go with my mom and aunts to the casino, so I'm thinking that maybe the spa party is off. We will see how productive I am when I wake up from my nap. On the plus side -- knocking on wood as I type this -- no migraine flare-up yet today. Of course, I am on the tail-end of my monthly salute to hormonal imbalances.

Oh, and to the person who keeps leaving me drunken voice mails: Yes, you were drunking. Yes, drinking is fun. And Tortola does rock. Thanks for the call. Wish I were there. I hate to miss the fun.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Caribbean Countdown photo of the day...

OK, so I bought this really cool beach bag, and if I saw the point in putting the digital camera software back on my dying laptop, I would post a pic of it, because it's got me all excited for the Islands again. But I don't, so here's another one from the Web.

I'm hoping I don't run out of pics. Maybe some of my dear loyal readers have some they'd like to contribute?!?

New Christmas Carols...

I promised to try to find info on the new Christmas carols we sang this year, and I almost forgot about it. The first one, I guess I lied because it is not really new. It was a Polish carol written in 1908, and translated to English by Edith Reed in 1921. The 3rd and 4th verses were written by one of the top Catholic songwriters, Dan Schutte in 2002, which is apparently why it ended up in our hymnal. I found a link to the first and second verses and a midi file of the song, "Infant Holy, Infant Lowly." We sang this in two parts, with the choir singing the verses and a soloist singing a second part that was pretty much a Gloria, and it was beautiful.

The other song was also by Dan Schutte, called "A Light has Shown." Here are the words to the chorus:

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Let all the world rejoice!
Today upon the earth
A light has shown.
A child is born,
The promise of our God,
the Savior Christ the Lord.

I found a link to Dan Schutte's Christmas CD, and it's safe to say I will not be letting next Christmas pass me by without purchasing it. I'm going to post it here, in case you want to go listen to the mp3 sample of this song or any of his other music. He's great!

Weekend plans...

So, this morning I get up to finish up the cover letter for this job that I told you all about and I re-read the email from the HR person and realize that I didn't get the entire application. So, I finally got the section that was missing and it suddenly became impossible to get it out quickly before I went to the Title office and BMV to get my new license plates. So, I decide I'll just overnight it on Monday, but luckily someone reminded me that Monday is a federal holiday. And even FedEx, which normally is open on federal holidays, is closed. So, that means I have until noon tomorrow to get it in the mail. No big deal. I am working on it, but I am very glad that re-read that application. I am sure I wouldn't have gotten a second glance if I sent it in with a huge chunk of it missing. However, now that I've reviewed the materials, I think I have a good chance, and I think it'd be a great job.

I happened to mention this opportunity to my mother, and she kind of went off about it. I don't know if I mentioned the specifics of the job here, but to sum it up it is a job at the national office of a major religious denomination. It is not my denomination, but it is a mainstream denomination that I have been working with for years. My mom went off about how all Protestants are anti-Catholic, and blah blah blah. Now this is coming from a woman who converted to Catholicism after being a Protestant for years. I will agree with her that there are some folks who are not big fans of Catholics, but the denomination in question is probably the most easy-going, ecumenical denomination of them all. I just thought it was an interesting argument. And, of course, a little surprised that she could find a way to turn me having this great opportunity into another way to disappoint her. Anyone shocked that I haven't told her about getting downsized yet?

I am watching St. Elmo's Fire on TV right now. I have probably seen this movie at least 50 times. It's a classic. Yeah, the 80s were a different time and this movie definitely reflects some of the uniqueness of that generation, but at the same time if you really think about your college peer group, I bet you can identify with this film. And besides, how hot are the guys? When there are four men in a film and Emilio Estevez looks least attractive, that should tell you something. There's just something unsexy about stalking.

Speaking of hot actors from the 80s, you all know how sad I am about Tommy and his craziness. He's so hot. I've loved him since I was 10 years old. And he opens his mouth, and I just shake my head. Sometimes even the most attractive guys can't overcome something like bizarre religious zealousness. I just wonder what happened to Tom. Did you know that he left the seminary to become an actor? He was going to be a priest. Now he's an insane Scientologist. Oh well. Mel Gibson used to be hot. He's crazy for Catholicism, but crazy is crazy. So, I'm sad about Tommy because of this whole Nicole Kidman-Keith Urban thing. Allegedly they are getting married this weekend, although the location's a little fuzzy. If it truly is happening in Australia, I'll bet with the time change the deed is already done. What brought all this on was I was watching CMT today and my mother was really cutting on Keith Urban. I don't think she realized that I didn't like him, but she knows my taste in men well enough that she pointed out that I probably wanted to give him a bath and cut his hair. How funny is that? But when I mentioned about Keith marrying Nicole, she says "That's so sad for her. To go from Tom Cruise to THAT." I pointed out that Tom was nuts and she said that sometimes you just have to plug your ears and look at his hotness. Good point. And when you look at it that way, while I'm sure Keith is a very nice person -- everyone I know who is a fan of his says that -- he's just not hot like Tom Cruise.

I have decided what I am doing for New Year's. I'll warn you, it's not very exciting but I am not a big fan of being on the roads with all the drunks and I live in the middle of nowhere, so no one will come here. But I am going to have the house all to myself, and I really haven't had any "me" time lately, so I'm going to have a spa party. I am in desperate need of a manicure and pedicure and my hair needs to be dyed. So, I'm going to just do all that stuff. And have a bubble bath and maybe drink a little while I watch some movies.

Speaking of spa parties, I got all kinds of great stuff at Bath & Body Works today. I am sooooo addicted to that place. They are having absolutely great sales. I need to remember to tell Amy that the hair detangler I got Cassie hooked on is on sale for $4 a bottle. That is NOT what I paid for it. I got all kinds of great stuff and saved lots of money. The spa line is buy 2, get 2 free. So for less than the price of a manicure, I got all the stuff to do manicures AND pedicures. Plus I got some shower gel and one of those Wallflower air fresheners. It smells like apple cider. Someone told me today that there are at-home spa parties like Tupperware or Longaberger, but I know nothing about it and wouldn't know where to find it. Maybe sometime someone will invite me to one...

Ooooh, I almost forgot! I got the coolest beach bag for my Caribbean adventure. It's been so balmy here at 47 degrees that I haven't posted any pictures lately. Maybe I'll go dig one up!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The highlight reel...

I am tired. I am going to have to get up early and do the stuff I didn't do tonight. I am out of energy and Mr. Migraine seems to be coming back. But I HAVE to get up early to get some stuff ready for the credit union and the post office, plus I have to find the title to my car so that I can new license plates tomorrow. I figure I need to be in town by 9 a.m., so if I get up by 6 a.m. I should be fine. If my sleep's as fitful as it's been the last few nights. I'll have no problem at all.

So, here's the highlight reel. When I get home tomorrow I'll tell you about the bank saga. I'm so past what happened on my trip at this point that it's getting a quick blurb here.

1. I upgraded my cell plan. I called last night because Gretchen and I had been IMing on my phone and I wanted to see how much that would set me back. It used to be a monthly fee. Well, the guy hooked me up with mondo minutes and text messages and I won't go over anymore which has been a big thing lately. My plan got changed when I got my new phone and I had gotten so frustrated every time I called that I almost gave up on it.

2. I walked two miles today. I'm pretty proud of myself. I ended up walking from Grandma's out to the highway, which was a great walk, but there is a new dog at their house and he followed me, and I only thought Sparky was bad on walks. Yikes. I am really surprised my aunt didn't take him when she went home tonight. He's a very lovable black lab. Probably not much older than a puppy. I almost didn't walk because it was raining, but I know I need to train in all kinds of conditions...

3. "Rock and Roll Pain Train" by Kid Rock. I love this song. And I forgot it was on my mp3 player. But as I was listening today I realized that musicians go through a lot of shit to be musicians. We put them through most of it. I know I couldn't do it. They're very special folks, don't ya think? Not put on a pedastal special. Just keeping us entertained special. And so many of them never make it big. Only like 10% of them actually ever make it to the point that they're music is their only job. Kinda scary? Not going to think about it anymore. I know the streets of Nashville are paved with broken dreams.

4. My trip. Here's the highlight reel. Had fun with my friend Virginia. Taught her about blogging and went to K-mart, which I love but we don't have here anymore. Got great storage tubs for cheap. Yay, after-Christmas sales. The apartment had no power. Turns out my brother and his roommate got a little hosed by his roommate's dad on the light bill. That sucks. It was cold. I think it'll get straightened out but it was just one more thing. I am doing a great job getting the place ready to move out considering I had no power. I'll be spending more time up there once I get done with work. I'm just going to help my brother so he can move out too. I wish he could live on his own, but it's just not likely. Not now, and probably not ever. But one thing's for sure, he's not going to be my responsibility anymore...I can't do it.

Will write tomorrow. Just don't have it in me today!

Oh, and as a sidenote...

My migraine had subsided, but I'm hoping the stressfulness of all this does not cause a relapse. That would just piss me off.

You have to be kidding me...

OK, I've taken on Charter One and I think I'm finally all done with them after my verbal abuse of someone who happened to take the wrong customer service call today. I had blogged all about it, but my computer, which has been prone to randomly erasing things ever since the meltdown, erased the whole darn thing. Hmmmm...maybe I should cool my jets before I call HP?

I will tell you the whole bank saga in a little bit. I doubt I'll forget one ounce of what happened. Needless to say, the gist of the story is -- are you ready to be shocked? -- the person I talked to last week pretty much continued the cycle of incompetence I've come to know at the bank.

I'll bet you can't wait to read all about it. And I thought the tales from my trip were going to be a hoot.

Tune in tomorrow...

I am home from a whirlwind trip to Detroit, and I have plenty to tell y'all about. However, it's going to have to wait until tomorrow because about 30 minutes ago, I got hit right across the forehead by a mega-migraine. My crazy hormonal shift is right on schedule, so I wasn't too shocked by this, but it's still debilitating and I can't look at the computer anymore. I just finished up the project I was working on and it's time for beddie-by until the nausea subsides or my headache gets down to a dull ache.

See you all tomorrow. I'm sure you can't wait!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I could get used to this vacation stuff...

Our office is closed all week. Yesterday I napped on and off all day and got caught up around the house. Today, I am sitting here in my new bathrobe sipping some Sugar Plum Spice tea contemplating getting in the shower. I have to take my brother Luke back to the 'Burg today, and if we leave early enough (considering he's not here yet and we have to stop by my storage locker, early is a very relative term) then I'll stop at Target on the way home. I think I've mentioned to all of you what a major production it is to get to Target, which is easily my favorite department store. I will not miss that at all when I get to the Big City.

Speaking of which, I had the opportunity to go down there later this week and I toyed with the idea of getting a headstart on house-hunting and learning my way around town while my brother and his friends enjoyed the Music City Bowl. It'd have been convenient, because the one house that I would consider our frontrunner is not far at all from the Coliseum. The more I thought about it, do I want to take two days and drive 900 miles on short notice when my roommate might not be able to make it, when I know I'll be down there soon enough for interviews. What I figure is we can just take a couple of days when I have interviews meet in Nashville and go look around at neighborhoods and the houses that we're interested in until we find the right one. But I'll tell you, after the prices we paid for rentals in Detroit, I am getting very excited about the housing options there. And I was a little worried about traffic, but it won't be 8 a.m. on I-696 even if it does get busy...

What else is going on? I talked to one of my friends last night who is in Florida on vacation and ran into some Colts players at the hotel. She's from Indy, and by the time we were done talking last night, she'd decided to go to the funeral for Coach Dungy's son. I told her I thought it was a nice gesture. Apparently, there's quite a crowd of folks paying their respects.

I was going to go to Detroit today and get more of my stuff but I'm just not sure. I have lots of stuff to get done around here. I guess I can do that since I'm half-way there when I get to Luke's. I will just leave there by noon tomorrow and get back here tomorrow night. I guess I will go hop in the shower and then finish up that resume and cover letter when I get out so that I can drop it in the mail before I leave. It has to be there by Monday, and I don't want to chance it...Part of me is optimistic with the deadline being right after the holiday break, but another part of me wonders if it's already promised to someone. I guess we'll see. And I'm only out 37 cents, right?

Monday, December 26, 2005

The coolest thing ever...

I think the coolest thing ever might be the fact that every morning I get an email from Career Builder with all these jobs that I might want to apply for, and I weed out the crap and there's usually still 1-2 viable leads. I've had some interesting nibbles lately.

I am 110% OK with where I am professionally. I think a lot of the reason I've flitted and floated was because I had no direction. I just wanted a job. Well, I'm going to be a little pickier now because I can be. True, I'm about to be unemployed, but really it's not a bad thing. I'm trucking right along on the career plan I've charted for myself. And my current job just continues to piss me off. On Friday I hear my boss scheduling some sort of training for my entire team for the afternoon of my last day. Now everyone who's worked there, including the two folks who started the downward spiral with their shenanigans, has had a nice send-off when they left. It's looking like I won't be having one. Not that I mind. I really would rather just fade into the woodwork. But seriously, there's something that sucks about knowing that there's no way you're going to get surprised with even a lunch on your last day...

Still haven't figured out exactly what or when I'm going to tell my parents. I guess as long as I'm completely prepared to hear all the awful things they are going to say, then I'll be OK.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Christmas Quickie...

Today's been a very lazy day. We didn't get home after mass until right around 3 a.m. last night. We got done at Church a little after Midnight. The choir sounded beautiful. I was impressed. I always worry about us, but it all came together and everyone was pleased. And we tried two brand new Christmas carols (I'll see if I can find more info on them) and EVERYONE loved them. I guess we'll add them to the winners' list for "made-up" Christmas carols. "Last Christmas" by Wham? It's not on the winners' list, but it was definitely made-up, probably 20 years ago. When did I get old?!? After mass, we went to my Godmother's house so I could get my way-cool wrought iron Longaberger serving caddy. And then we went up to my cousin's house so we could eat pierogi. And guess who answers the door when I get there? Cute guy at church, who was very friendly once again. And we just thought he looked cute in jeans. He should wear "dress-up" clothes a lot more often. So, we chit-chatted and smiled at each other and I ate fattening Polish food, and it was fun. I'll tell you, if there weren't such great new things waiting for me in Nashville, I'd be tempted to ask him out. It makes no sense to get involved when you know you're moving in 6-8 weeks...

Anyhow, we got up late to open presents. It was just me and my middle brother Luke here and we're pushing 30 so it didn't make much sense to run down at 6 a.m. (especially after going to bed at 3 a.m.) to see what Santa brought. I'll confess, too. I've been opening presents as I've been getting them. If I got them before yesterday, they didn't make it under the tree. I mostly got clothes because my mother saw no point in buying me gifts that would just end up in the storage locker. I understand that. But my absolute favorite gift this year was one I got yesterday, this beautiful gold bracelet with emeralds and diamonds around it. It's not a tennis bracelet; the gold is solid and not ropy. And it has matching earrings. I wore it to mass last night. I have a feeling it won't get worn too much since I am so notorious when it comes to losing jewelry.

Well, I am off to visit with the family some more. I'm going to wear my new fleece top with the angels on it to Grandma's house. I will be back later with some warm and fuzzy holiday thoughts for y'all. I just don't have time to pull them together right now.

Friday, December 23, 2005

My Belief-o-matic results...

Thanks to IT-chick for posting this. I really enjoyed the exercise. I'm also not surprised by the results. I think we all know that I am not 100% cool with everything in Catholicism but I was a little surprised that I'd be a better conservative Christian and/or Mormon. Scientology was last on my list, but this is not a shocker. You all should know by now how I feel about Tommy and the crazies.

Actually one more note on this whole thing: Except for the fact that I believe that no one faith has any right whatsoever to legislate their beliefs on our Nation (and Thomas Jefferson, I'm sure would agree) I am pretty right on with Catholicism. Despite my crazy feminist ways, I don't think women should be priests. Let's try to have married priests first. They used to be married. And we're running out of priests and have to do something. Is there a clergy shortage in other denominations? I think we're the only hold-outs on this whole celibacy thing. And married people can be chaste...

I could go on about this all day, but I won't...

Your Results:

The top score on the list below represents the faith that Belief-O-Matic, in its less than infinite wisdom, thinks most closely matches your beliefs. However, even a score of 100% does not mean that your views are all shared by this faith, or vice versa.

Belief-O-Matic then lists another 26 faiths in order of how much they have in common with your professed beliefs. The higher a faith appears on this list, the more closely it aligns with your thinking.

1. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (100%)
2. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (90%)
3. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (87%)
4. Orthodox Quaker (83%)
5. Jehovah's Witness (82%)
6. Eastern Orthodox (82%)
7. Roman Catholic (82%)
8. Liberal Quakers (78%)
9. Bah�'� Faith (72%)
10. Seventh Day Adventist (71%)
11. Unitarian Universalism (60%)
12. Orthodox Judaism (57%)
13. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (52%)
14. Reform Judaism (51%)
15. Islam (44%)
16. Sikhism (44%)
17. New Thought (37%)
18. New Age (35%)
19. Mahayana Buddhism (35%)
20. Neo-Pagan (34%)
21. Theravada Buddhism (33%)
22. Secular Humanism (33%)
23. Jainism (31%)
24. Hinduism (31%)
25. Taoism (23%)
26. Nontheist (17%)
27. Scientology (17%)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Adventures in banking...

I am currently (still) trying to close an account at a bank that I will say rhymes with Barter Hun. I am afraid they are going to hunt me down and sue me or something. They are scary and I wrote them a big-ass check to get them out of my life today. Fingers crossed that it'll work.

Here is the clif's notes on what led to my delightful call with a gal we will call "Evil Customer Service Shrew (ECSS)" based out of somewhere in New England. I was already pissed when I called because when I pulled up my screen I saw more than $100 in fees to my account from their screw-ups. You see, every time I try to close the account they slap on more fees and won't let me close it. I can't even tell you how many fees I have paid them the last few months. But ECSS was hearing none of this. I call her and I explain to her I need to CLOSE this account. Yesterday. Really, three months ago. And she is very hostile and explaining that I owe money. And I tell her that she needs to tell me where to write a check and I'm sending it and they can stick the account right up their asses when they get the check. I tell her I am not driving 150 miles round trip to the nearest branch, nor am I sending a check to that branch who put crediting my account very low on their priority list and ended up causing $66 of the fees currently on this account. She tells me I don't need to do that because they have a corporate PO box for just this occasion. I ask her if it's new and she says that they've always had it. I tell her that's very odd because FOR THE LAST SIX MONTHS they've always told me there was no such thing and to send it to my nearest incompetent branch for processing. Good golly, if I'd known this little secret, I'd have saved hundreds of dollars in fees, which is precisely why I think they DID NOT tell me.

So, I tell ECSS, who was apparently absent on "the customer is always right" day of her training that I need to close my account. And ECSS, who is apparently playing with a light-up Santa pen and not listening to me, tells me I can't close my account because I owe them money. And I say "Yoo-hoo, ECSS, honey, I am trying to do that. I am sending you a check and then you just close me up, OK?" And she tells me send the check and when it's credited and the computer says your account balance is 0, call back and we will close it out. And I said, "Just like you have the LAST SIX TIMES I've tried to do this, right?"

So, then ECSS suggests another option. I'll have to rewind a little more. And I'm going to tell you this person's name because, frankly, I hope she googles herself and sees this so she can help me. You see, for some reason unknown to me, this gal named Florita McNeely who I have never met nor have any clue who she is, has me listed as an authorized user on her account. Did I mention that I have NO IDEA who Florita is. Twice I have asked them to remove me from Ms. McNeely's account (once at a branch and once on the telephone when it used to be nice people from Cleveland and not jerks from somewhere in the Northeast), and then I didn't see anything about this mystery account. Well, ever since these jerks in Rhode Island bought my bank, I am once again on Florita's account. Because everyone has always told me only Ms. McNeely -- did I mention I don't know her? -- can remove me, I suspect in the past they just made it so I couldn't see her account online. Well, since the new people can see her account. And if I really wanted to, I could transfer money from her account to mine because I am a user on both. It's been very tempting when all these fees keep overdrawing my account and Florita has $5000 there with both our names on it. Very tempting. So, today my good friend ECSS says to me something about closing both accounts. And I ask her, "Do you mean Florita's account? Let me tell you about that account."

She says to me, "You have $6700 in your other account, why don't we transfer the $154 to this account and close them after that?" So I explain ONCE AGAIN that I DO NOT know Florita McNeely and I have no idea why I am a user on her account. And I do not want to go to jail for stealing her money, which in my mind and heart that's what that would be. It has been very tempting to see my account overdrawn and all this money that is not mine sitting there accessible to me. I tell her that both my friends at Barter Hun and Ms. McNeely should thank Jesus everyday that an honest person who tries very hard to be a good Christian is the random stranger who is on her account. And then I ask her if she can remove me from Florita McNeely's account, seeing how I don't know her and all and I suspect that I do not have an anonymous benefactor like Pip from Great Expectations. And, of course, she reminds me that only Florita herself can remove me. I am suspecting when I do finally manage to get this account closed that I will receive a cashier's check for poor Florita's balance. But I've done all that I can do. Thinking about it, I probably should've let her move the money and then I'm sure Florita would've had words with them. But it wasn't right. They are idiots and I don't think I've ever been so glad to be closing a bank account. It's always a little sad to leave your long-time bank. I have had an account with them for 7 years and have only had trouble since this outfit out of Rhode Island took over in the last year.

All I know is that when I got off the phone, the girl in the office across the hall from me says, "Could you please tell me what bank that was? Because I'm writing it down and never, ever banking there."

Sometimes plans change...

I just keep getting signs from God that I'm right where I need to be. How very exciting is that? Yes, I should probably be scared with everything going on, but I truly see it as an opportunity.

Today I talked to a very nice lady about a job in Nashville. It is right up my alley. They want everything in the U.S. Mail, so I went to Staples and bought some very nice resume paper. White linen. I need to clean my room when I get done blogging, so I'm thinking that realistically there may be no sleepytime tonight.

I had planned on coming home and doing all of this stuff, but I got a call from a former co-worker. This guy is pretty interesting and hasn't found a job and is pretty down on his luck. He's a folk singer and has written a few songs and put out a CD, of which I had planned to buy a copy. He called to tell me he might be leaving town and wanted to get my CD to me before he left. I told him that I was also leaving town so his timing was good.

I am a little short on money because I JUST sent a check for HUNDREDS of dollars to my piece of shit bank to cover all the fees I've accrued because they have trouble closing accounts when people ask them too (it's getting it's own entry, so stay tuned!) and, of course, my job is very finite at this point, but I figure it's Christmastime and I've heard rumors this guy isn't eating well because he has no job. So, I invite him out to dinner.

And we get to talking about the crossroads that we are both at in our lives. I tell him about the cuts at work and my master career plan and how my crazy ass is moving to Nashville with no job, and I also passed along a lead for a job here (I see NO point in applying for jobs here when I NEED to leave...) But we get on this discussion about the music biz and Nashville's vibe and he tells me that he thinks I am 100% on the right track. He said I have a love for music and I don't want to be in the spotlight, so the career path I've charted and what I am about to do is going to be great. He also says as a musician he can really see me moving up in the off-stage aspect of the music biz. I said something about coming home with my tail between my legs in 6 months and he said it's not going to happen. I needed that boost. Right now I need people to remind me that this isn't crazy. Or that if it is crazy, it's a good crazy that will lead to good stuff. Because whenever I tell my family that is NOT what I will hear. I am not a failure, I am making my dreams my reality.

This guy also got to talking about "meaningful coincidences" and serendipity and we got on this whole spirtual conversation that also confirmed that I am where I need to be. I believe that wholeheartedly. Yeah, it's scary, but nothing worth having ever comes easily.

I am glad that I had dinner with him, which I originally thought was going to be a MAJOR chore. Speaking of meaningful coincidences, I have to agree with him 100% that there was a reason God had him call me today. We both needed that dinner. I'm very glad that I went. And I told him if he ever gets to Nashville -- which he needs to because he could thrive there too -- that he should drop me an email and we'll grab a bite and catch up. It's the least I can do, really.

A world without Macs?! :-(

I love Apple Computer. Best company ever. (OK, maybe just in my top 5, but it's up there!) My sturdy Performa I bought in college kicked every Windows-based machine's ass. I used it until the end of 2003 when I got my Dell. And by January 2005 the Dell was full of viruses (Mr. P NEVER had those.) The viruses erased Dell's Windows. Went to Circuit City and got AMAZING deal on my little Compaq laptop. I still wish I had a Mac, but they are SOOOOO expensive compared to Windows PCs. True they are better quality, run faster, are less susceptible to viruses and last longer, but they are more expensive. And we've already determined that I'm an instant gratification kinda gal.

This article made me sad:

Apple Moving Away from Macs?

The iPod is a great invention. I love them. Everyone loves them. Mac users and PC users alike. Everyone loves the iPod. It's fantastic. And it's about time for everyone to appreciate the great things Apple invents. But please don't get rid of the Mac. Because God knows that I'd like to get enough money to end my dependence on Bill Gates and his company. I miss my Mac. These viruses and this inferior hardware makes me cry. This OS bogs down and crashes constantly. My Mac had better days at 7 years old than the laptop has had at 7 months old. Yes, I do love my laptop. She's gone across America with me. I've emailed concert photos 30 minutes after a show. I've gone to work in Chicago and stayed connected in the airport and at the hotel. I can even chit-chat with you at Starbucks if I want. I love her. She's very handy, but if she were an iBook, she'd kick ass about 20 times more than she does. And she surely wouldn't be on her last leg and have me thanking Jesus everyday that I bought the extended warranty.

So, my friends at Apple Computer Company: please keep making Macs. You rock. I love you. And you'd never make me cry. At least not since you discontinued my tangerine iBook.

But I don't want to sell insurance!?!

This is what I hate about updating my resume on Monster, CareerBuilder, etc. I start getting calls from every person in America who wants me to sell insurance, sign up for a pyramid scheme, start a home-based business stuffing envelopes, etc. I'm not interested in any of those jobs. I will not be doing any of those things anytime soon. But I keep my resume updated in those places for two reasons:
1. A few years ago when I was looking I got a few calls from executive recruiters who apparently really do try to find the ideal candidate on there. One position was very promising, and I went pretty far in the process when they ultimately decided to shelve their search for financial reasons. I went through that A LOT after Sept. 11.
2. Some companies like you to send them the resume you have posted on the site. You have to do that "apply online" gig. I hate it, but frankly if it's the right job I'd do somersaults down Main Street.

So, today I get all excited because I get an email about a job and it's insurance salesman. Did you read people? I am not staying in Ohio. You could give me canvas bags full of money, and my hopes and dreams are still not going to be here. Secondly, I am not an insurance salesman. If y'all had heard me after I got off the phone after trying to buy some the last few weeks, you'd realize that I simply cannot put myself in the situation that people would talk about me like that. Some folks are fantastic insurance salesmen. I am just not one of those folks.

Laura's pro-labor rant...

I'm for unions. Never in one million years will you hear me bitch about unions. Yes, you have to pay the workers a fair wage, which sometimes makes it more expensive to get things from unions than to buy them from China or some other country where workers' rights are violated, their health is endangered and they live in squallor. Supporting unions should make you feel less dirty about the money-grubbing state of corporate America. And if you're someone like me, who was taught growing up that everything she had in life she received because the United Auto Workers provided her father with dignities and rights all workers deserve, then you support and celebrate unions even when it's inconvenient for you. Because it's a lot less inconvenient for you than for the worker who's on strike who doesn't know how he's going to feed his kids while he's not working, but also doesn't know what he'll do if he loses his health coverage.

In the past few years, I've been very disturbed by the trend in this country to erode workers' rights. Wal-mart, despite union-busting activity is the #1 retailer in the country. The government has passed legislation (and executive orders -- I love them!) to water down the role of unions. And now, Governor Pataki has refused to even negotiate with the Transit workers until they go back to work.

That's not how it's supposed to work, folks. The reason strikes are effective in getting workers what they need is because they cripple the organization until it has to compromise because it needs the workers to go back to work. It's a bargaining chip. And honestly, everyone SHOULD have the right to leave work if they are not being treated fairly. It's not reality, but it should be.

I think it sucks that New Yorkers are crippled by the strike. But if the transit workers had been treated fairly before the deadline it wouldn't have happened. They didn't just strike for kicks and giggles on some random day. They gave a deadline and it wasn't met. They followed the rules. It's the government who's not. Of course, who's going to stop them? Our anti-labor president and his buddies on the Supreme Court. It's gone downhill since Reagan fired all the air-traffic controllers.

I know not everyone's going to agree with me, but y'all should know by now that I'm all about workers' rights and lots of other crazy left-wing ideas. I just can't bite the hand that feeds me (and will be putting Christmas presents under the tree in a few days). And for many, many years, organized labor did that. So, I always support workers' rights to strike and I don't cross picket lines. I have serious issues with Wal-mart and can't wait to live somewhere that I don't ever have to go there...

Yoo-hoo, Einstein...

Judge rules caging Ohio children was abuse.

Seriously? Was there a doubt. No f-ing duh. Really.

I don't know what to think about these folks. Part of me thinks they should be commended for adopting children who no one else wanted to adopt. However, I think the children would've been better suited to foster care or institutions than to be forced to live in cages like rabid dogs.

It's a sad story regardless. It makes me wonder how folks who seem so ill-equipped to raise children were allowed to adopt 11 kids. And to think I worried that if I decide to adopt later that it'll be an issue if I don't have a husband.

Are we there yet?!?

It's 84 on St. Thomas today. Ohio's weather's calling for a high of 44, but we're gonna have some sun. Very exciting. My traveling companion has her passport paperwork completed. Woo-hoo!!!!

Can I? Can I?

Make "Jesus Take The Wheel" song of the day AGAIN?!!? I promise this'll be the last time, honest. But right now I think it is song of my life!!!!

She was driving last Friday on her way to Cincinnati
On a snow white Christmas Eve
Going home to see her Mama and her Daddy with the baby in the backseat
Fifty miles to go and she was running low on faith and gasoline
It would been a long hard year
She had a lot on her mind and she didn't pay attention
She was going way to fast
Before she knew it she was spinning on a thin black sheet of glass
She saw both their lives flash before her eyes
She didn't even have time to cry
She was sooo scared
She threw her hands up in the air

Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can't do this all on my own
I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
To save me from this road I'm on
Jesus take the wheel

It was still getting colder when she made it to the shoulder
And the car came to a stop
She cried when she saw that baby in the backseat sleeping like a rock
And for the first time in a long time
She bowed her head to pray
She said I'm sorry for the way
I've been living my life
I know I've got to change
So from now on tonight

Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can't do this all my own
I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
To save me from this road I'm on

Oh, Jesus take the wheel
Oh, I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
Save me from this road I'm on
From this road I'm on
Jesus take the wheel
Oh, take it, take it from me
Oh, why, oh

For all of my friends...

...who have put up with my neuroses the last few days, here is today's horoscope:

You are looking at your emotions through a magnifying lens, altering your perspective on what is important. You could be worrying too much about your own insecurities now, but others won't even notice the details that have you all stressed out. Knowing that you need to lighten up is one thing, but putting this into action may be trickier than it appears.

I'm sorry. I'll try really hard. I think it'll help to see what the little sister has to say about all this!! Of course, I think we know...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Where's the holiday cheer?!

OK, I am really busy today so this will be a quick one, but I had to blog about what happened today because it ticked me off, and that made me want to tell others.

So, the other day we got this idea to spread holiday cheer by going caroling at the offices of our supporters around town. It is also a good idea to remind people that we are around and appreciate their support. A little more unique than the Christmas card and/or appeal letter folks normally get from nonprofits this year. So, we took a basket of candy canes and our song sheets and headed out, and we went from place to place and were well-received. I did have a little run-in with a woman over suggesting that she could take two candy canes for her kids. I'm not sure if she didn't celebrate Christmas, had her kids on no-carb or thought I put razor blades in them, but she was a little nastier than she had to be.

However, I'm kind of glad I had the candy cane experience, because I think it made me a little more equipped for the highlight of our afternoon. We stopped by this organization that is a supporter of ours and that we have supported for years. In fact, that's how both our founder and our current boss got involved with our organization and both have been on their board of directors. This organization, which is very, very tempting to name, is a religious organization. They are supposed to be Christians. Everyone who works there has always been very nice. So all of us were surprised with our run-in with a gal I will call "The Mean Elf." It is probably best that I don't know her name because I just might tell people.

We go into the offices and at first it looks like no one is there. So, finally this gal comes out and she seems nice enough. My, how appearances are deceving. We start singing and she flips. Flips. Goes off on us. Tells us that she "can't handle Christmas songs." Very angrily. And then runs away. As she's running off, we say "OK, well we just wanted to wish you a happy holiday." We left very confused. A few folks were very upset by this angry display and wanted to quit. Ultimately, we ended up calling it a day even though my boss encouraged us not to let her ruin our holidays. People just didn't have the energy to carol anymore. And I think they were a little afraid of folks' reactions.

I don't know that lady's story. I don't know why she was so violently opposed to Christmas carols. Maybe she had trauma at the holidays or something. I don't know. But there was no reason to be nasty to everyone.

I guess I just wanted to vent. Part of me is really upset because of WHERE she was working. It's supposed to be a religious ministry. I don't know what her capacity is, but this a place where you'd think religious holidays would be celebrated. I guess I am mostly wondering what happens when folks who go there for ministering mention the holidays. Because that'd be a major issue.

Seasons Greetings from Buttons Candy-lips

Christmas Elf Name

My Christmas Elf Name is
Get your Christmas Elf Name at

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Call off the hounds!

After yesterday's love-fest here, I figured you'd all worry if you hadn't seen me for a day. I am alive, albeit barely.

I am coming down with a cold. I am losing the fight. My head hurts and my nose and eyes are running. I also seem to be sick to my stomach for eating way too much at our work Christmas party. (Or perhaps it has something to do with my ailment.) Regardless, I'm too sick to think.

Tomorrow will be a very busy day at work. I have a whole morning of thank-you notes for donors and then we are having lunch in town for our holiday buddy exchange. After that, we're going Christmas caroling to our donors' offices and other neighborhood buildings. Oh gosh. I almost forgot to print out the words to the carols. Yikes. I will do that at work tomorrow AM. I can't keep my eyes open.

I have a lot to do at home. My little tree in my room still has no ornaments. I am officially out of clean laundry. I have more resumes to go out. But everything will wait til tomorrow. If it all gets done tomorrow, then I will go out and take pictures of my favorite holiday light mishaps on Thursday. Actually I'll take the camera tomorrow and maybe get a headstart!!!


OK, I need the advice of my loyal readers. I know you all have good heads on your shoulders, so I'm hoping you can help.

I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had made a sizable pledge for my work's annual fundraiser and I never received a thank you for my contribution and was a little cheesed off by that. I knew at the time that my job was not a sure thing by any stretch of the imagination, and I really put some thought into it. I selected payroll deduction as my payment option, figuring that when I left I'd just ask them to bill me. But I always had the intention of paying off the pledge. If I didn't believe in the organization I wouldn't have ever worked there. And God knows they need all the money they can get.

However, I'd hoped I'd be leaving on my terms. ALTHOUGH just because I don't have the money to pay until I have a new job, that's not to say I couldn't still pay it off, especially if I did it monthly or quarterly.

I have toyed with the idea of dropping my boss an email telling her that I figured she probably didn't acknowledgement my financial commitment to the organization because she thought she'd never see the funds, but to please bill me and I will pay when I am able, although obviously it will not be immediately, seeing that I'm unemployed and all.

But, another part of me is a bit jaded and displeased with how they manage their finances. Part of me wonders if they deserve my pledge. That part of me doesn't want to say a word and just forget that I pledged the money in the first place.

However, I have an overwhelming urge to prove everyone wrong, and I feel like they expect me not to pay the pledge off. I wouldn't have made it if I didn't plan to pay it, that's not my style...

Frankly, the lack of thanks or acknowledgement of the contribution really rubbed me the wrong way. Part of me wants to say something because NO ONE will EVER have success with fundraising if folks are treated that way...

Any thoughts? Should I pay it? Should I draw attention to my hurt feelings as a donor? Should I just cut my losses and run?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Odds and Ends...

Ohio current temp: 19 degrees.
St. Thomas current temp: 77 degrees.

I got an email from my former boss and professional mentor who did some PR work in Nashville a few years ago. He put me in touch with a former colleague of his who founded one of the top PR agencies in the Southeast. That firm currently has my resume sitting on the desk of the director of operations. Fingers crossed that I at least get an interview.

Also in PR news, I think I told you that Eric is trying to break into Nashville and has a Nashville Star audition next month to see if he's going to make it on to the show. I talked to him today, and I'm going to be helping him too. He's hired a new manager to start shopping for a label, and I think he and I could really get the buzz going for both of us. It seems like I am already laying the groundwork. Fingers crossed that he'll make it to the TV show. He's very talented.

I'm crossing my fingers a lot lately, but I think everything's going to work out. I think some folks are a little disturbed that I have so much optimism, but it's going to all work out exactly how it's supposed to. I am doing my part.

What's in my CD player: Blue County's self-titled CD. It was a Christmas present and I opened it early. And I can't stop listening. It's great. Every song is good, and I am pretty sure the guys wrote quite a few of them. I saw these hotties live in concert in they are fantastic. They keep you up on your feet. And they are the nicest guys. I wasn't expecting to meet them, but I got to and they cracked me up. They really put their fans at ease and that is really nice.

I'm really resisting the urge to post the pic of me with them because I look awful, so here is a pic of them from the show...

It's been a while...

Heard this the other day as I was mulling everything going on and realized I've been neglecting the song of the day.

All I Want is a Life - Tim McGraw

I just want to get a little more out of my payday
Finally own a car that doesn't break down on the freeway
A little vacation..... ain't askin' very much

I hate comin' home to this old broken down apartment
I wish I had a dime for every whole that's in the carpet
No I don't want it all... but I ain't got enough

All I want is a life
To drink from a glass from a well that ain't dry
I'm sick of the crumbs I want a peice of that pie
All I want is a life.

I don't mind the hours and the pain that comes from workin'
But it's enough to kill me when I see my baby hurtin'
Wanna give her that diomond.... I never got to buy

She keeps tellin' me that everything is gettin' better
But one step up the rung and someone knocks me off the ladder
Just wanna break even someday before I die

What's my hidden talent?

Your Hidden Talent

Your natural talent is interpersonal relations and dealing with people.
You communicate well and are able to bring disparate groups together.
Your calming presence helps everything go more smoothly.
People crave your praise and complements.
What's Your Hidden Talent?

OK, sounds good to me, but I'm dying to know what the other ones said...

The funniest thing I've ever read...

Santa Wars as deposed British World Champ fumes.

This is hilarious. And apparently it's for real. 'Tis the season, I guess... Happy Holidays, everybody.


A friend suggested I subscribe to this daily newsletter called DailyOM. It has been very interesting this far. I just got today's edition, and I thought I'd share it with all of you...

December 19, 2005
Beings Of Light
Human Angels
During each of our journeys, there are those inevitable moments when someone comes into our life at precisely the right time and says or does precisely the right thing. Their words or actions may help us perceive ourselves more clearly, remind us that everything will turn out for the best, help us cope, or see us through difficult situations. These people are human angels - individuals designated by the universe to be of service to those in need at specific points in time. Some human angels make a commitment before their births to make a positive contribution to the world at a particular moment. Others were chosen by the universe. All human angels, however, come into our lives when we least expect them and when we can most benefit from their presence.

A few of the human angels we may encounter are in professions where helping others is an everyday occurrence. But most of them are regular people, going about their daily lives until called upon to be in the right place at the right time to bring peace, joy, help, or heal someone when they most need it. You may have met a human angel in the form of a teacher who gave you a piece of advice that touched your soul and influenced your path. The person that momentarily stopped you to say hello on the street, delaying you long enough to avoid an oncoming car or a collision, is also a human angel. They may offer nothing more than a kind word or a smile, but they will offer it when you can draw the most strength and support from their simple action.

You may be a human angel yet not know it. Your fate or intuition may guide you toward other people's challenging or distressing situations, leading you to infer that you simply have bad luck. But recognizing yourself as a human angel can help you deal with the pain you see and understand that you are there to help and comfort others during their times of need. Human angels give of their inner light to all who need it, coming into our lives and often changing us forever. Their task has its challenges, but it is they that have the power to teach, bring us joy, and comfort us in times of despair.

Traditional Christmas Tunes...

So, Helen's comments to my "made-up" Christmas song post reminded me that I never talked about traditional songs. I love them all, really. Especially the Marian ones. I love any song about Mary. I love all the "church" songs. I am SOOOO excited for Saturday night when the choir will sing all the carols before Mass. We'll sing O Sanctissima again (still reeling from Immaculate Conception debacle) and Stainless is the Maiden plus a couple other Polish carols, because my Grandmother always sang those every year. I am not sure if my cousin Greg, who lives in Istanbul, will be home for the holidays, but it is beautiful to hear him and my cousin Paula sing. They sound just like Grandma and her brother Uncle Leo, who are both in heaven. Ave Maria. Silent Night. We Three Kings. O Holy Night. Love them all.

My favorite "traditional" Christmas song is a new take on it. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE David Bowie and Bing Crosby's version of Little Drummer Boy. That is the last song Bing recorded before he died. It is an odd combo, but absolutely beautiful.

Speaking of Little Drummer Boy, does anyone know what the Italian name of that song is?

Caribbean Countdown photo of the day...

Oh girls, when do we leave? It's 20 degrees here in Ohio...

Just a little check-in...

I stayed up way too late last night and got a lot accomplished. Still a lot to do, but I'll get some of it done today and this evening. I was drained and slept from before 5 p.m. until after 9 p.m. last night and then couldn't sleep until 3 a.m. I got lots done, though, including finishing up the design for the fan club tour cups that everyone's been begging for. Everyone who's seen it so far thinks it's very cool. I'm excited about that.

First off, I'm having another busted give a damn day. Seeing lots of those in my future. Have periods of sadness, then anger, then sheer stupidity. Oh well, running the gamut here...

Secondly, I got to work and had a message from a corporate recruiter who'd like to interview me for a few jobs they're filling. I am not always 100% sure on the whole corporate recruiter gig, but I looked around their web site and saw a few things that might be a good fit. So, fingers crossed if that's where I need to be.

I know Nashville is where I need to be. I got a sign of confirmation yesterday. Actually a few. Yesterday's readings at church helped. I know I'm not the Virgin Mary, but let's look at her. An unwed teenager. An angel comes to her and tells her she's pregnant with the savior of the world. Very big deal. And she was probably scared to death. I'd have been. And she said yes. The least I can do is pack up and go to a strange city with one of my best friends and no job. And honestly, I think once I am hitting the pavement there, I'll have no trouble at all. I'm not worried. It is all in God's hand.

The second sign is my VERY FIRST PR client. Last night I was talking to a friend who lives down that way and I asked her if she wanted to visit me in Nashville. And then we got on the discussion of what I do for a living and she asked me if I was interested in a client. Apparently she's got an album that she's trying to push and is trying to break into Nashville. I never knew that about her. So, she can't afford to pay me at this point, but it's definitely going to help me break into Nashville and get both our names out there. I'm excited. Folks, I am living my dream. So even though it's scary, thank you God for pushing me out of the nest. This just might work!

OK, one more funny story then I'm going to go do some work! So, I work well at night. Mornings suck. At 10 p.m., I am just getting going. Consequently, I do lots of work by email. People don't like when you call them at 2 a.m. with an epiphany. Well, Friday night after I talked to Kayla I looked at some houses online and jotted off emails to realtors. I saw one I liked and it was in our price range so I told the realtor that I'd like more details and we were going to be down in a few weeks to find a place and get stuff in order. I am pretty familiar with Nashville and I didn't think it was an area where we wouldn't want to live.

The realtor replies (this is the Clif's notes version) that if we were in town we should drive by the neighborhood and if we still wanted to rent there to call her cell and she'd meet us. OK, glowing endorsement. No wonder she can't get anyone in there!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

My "most" of 2005

So, my buddy IT-chick posted this on her blog last week, and I asked if I could borrow it (just the questions, not the answers!). I thought it was a great way to summarize the year. She borrowed from me today, and it reminded me that I hadn't done this yet. That's OK, lots changes in a week.

My “Most” of 2005

Most moment I’d like to take back?
I had about a half-dozen things run through my head here. Places I wouldn't have gone off the handle, apologized or just kept my mouth shut. But then I realize that everything happens for a reason and every move we make charts our future. So, while there are a few times I'd like to hit the rewind button on, truly every experience has helped get me to where I am, which really is not a bad place.

Best Moment of the Year?

When I got off the plane in LA and saw Gretchen standing at the bottom of the elevator. Sometimes you need a girls' weekend, why not have it in a beautiful place with palm trees? (Are my St. Thomas buddies still reading?!?)


This, I think, would be the night that I couldn't get home because of the flood and we thought my dad had gotten caught in the flood water and was gone. I don't care how old you are, the prospect of being an orphan is easily one of the most frightening things ever. And not being able to get to your mom who's pretty freaked out too is scary.

Moment I’d relive over and over if I could?

Cincinnati. U.S. Bank Arena. August 25. Me. A Boy with yellow hair. Lots of staring and smiling. Oh, and a bald guy sang a few country ditties too. Or at least that's what the girl next to me said.

Worst thing said to me in 2005?

That I didn't know how to be a good friend. It's not true, but it still sucks. Moving on...

Crapfest that turned out to be a good thing?

I'm thinking that it'll be losing my job. There's a really close second runner-up...

E-mailing the future?

I just read an article about a Web site called FutureMe. Remember back in school when you were given the assignment to write a letter to yourself and the teacher collected them all up and mailed them. Maybe you were sitting at home over summer vacation and there was a note from the past delivered to your mailbox. You read it and sometimes you got encouragement. Other times it was just a hoot. FutureMe does that online, delivering a message from you to you at a date sometime in the future. I'm thinking that maybe the 29 1/2-year-old me might write a note to the 30-year-old me. We'll see. I'm mulling it around. It's a cool idea, though. I don't think I'd plan too far into the future because I'm sure we'll have moved on to something new in a few years and it might not know where to find you.

Caribbean Countdown photo of the day...

When I went to California everyone laughed at me for my enthusiasm for fresh fruits, veggies and seafood. I see this happening again when we go to the Islands. So, when I saw this picture I knew it was a good one for this post. I am starting to get ready for the trip. We all are. One of us is getting a job on St. Thomas and making the arrangements to move. Another is getting her passport. We're all getting antsy. A friend of mine has been living down there for a few years and she put us in touch with her friend who has some cottages on White Bay, which is somewhere we want to go. He has promised us the VIP treatment, and I'm pretty excited. From what I've been told he's the nicest guy you'll ever meet.

We'll know more about when we're going very soon, and I'll keep you all posted. I can't wait to go and take lots of pics. You'll all feel like you were there with us when I post them here! I wish I could stuff everyone in my suitcase. But frankly, then there'd be no room to bring back LOTS of rum.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

This morning I had the last round of cup hell until next year. I looked like Santa with my black bag of packages for the Post Office. Luckily, there were a couple little presents in there too. Folks aren't getting much this year, I cut back with the impending doom at work. Anyhow, I waited in line for about 30 minutes at the post office.

Rushed home to go Christmas shopping with my uncle, although he ended up getting delayed and it was later when we went. We stopped by the Diocesan Retreat Center where I had decorated the pool with a luau-themed Christmas for their open house. They've got groups coming in for Christmas pool parties (to each his own, I guess) so I had to bring everything home. I put all the luau stuff in a box and it's going to my storage locker and with me and Kayla to Nashville. Act surprised when you come to our first cookout this summer, OK?

Then my uncle and I went to Sam's Club, which was surprisingly less busy than I thought, but lacking in the free sample department. All they had was some marinated salmon and I still can't eat it since the great food poisoning of 2004. Spend one night in the emergency room from bad salmon... Anyhow, we didn't do too much shopping because he forgot his asthma meds and wasn't doing too great. We tried to grab dinner at every restaurant in town but they were all packed. We finally went to the Chinese buffet and it wasn't too crowded and the food was good. Expect to read about my fortune cookies, lol.

When I came home I curled up on the couch under a throw and watched Love Actually. I love that movie and it really fit my mood. Some of my other favorite Christmas movies: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (probably favorite), The Preacher's Wife, Elf, A Christmas Story and Christmas with the Kranks (although the book is infinitely better than the movie). I can't really think of a Christmas movie or special that I don't like, actually...

It's sinking in, but that's not a bad thing...

So, I think it's sinking in about everything going on in my life and it's OK. I'm OK and everything is going to be OK. The only thing I'm really worried about at all is who's driving the U-haul to Nashville and what are we going to do with the dozen 3-5 year olds in my Sunday School class. I hate leaving people in a lurch. Unfortunately, I didn't realize I was going to be left in one.

The plan was ALWAYS to be in Nashville by spring. So, we're moving it up a month. That's OK. It will be easier to find a job from there. And I'll get unemployment, which doesn't pay my bills but will help. I have some money saved up that I can live off until I find something. If I have to I'll work at Target and tend bar until I find something that gets me back on track with my career plan. Yep, I am definitely making limes out of margaritas. Which is good, because I'm going to have to not spend my money on tequila soon enough.

I live in a storage locker right now. (Not literally. Don't call the cops or anything. I guess all my stuff lives there.) Really, it's nothing to move in 6 weeks. And Kayla's boards aren't until 1/31, so we probably aren't moving right on Feb. 1 anyhow. We talked for a long time last night. We are excited and I think it's going to be a lot of fun. It's a new opportunity. As I said to a friend last night, God just clipped some wings on my back and pushed me out of the nest. It's up to me to decide whether I'm going to spread my wings and fly or break my neck. And all I have to say to that is "Flap, flap, flap." I'm going to fly.

The words of encouragement I've received since all this came down have been phenomenal. Some folks have surprised me with their well wishes. A few have encouraged me to turn to my Bible, and I've done that. I know that God only gives us what we can handle. But as Bl. Mother Teresa said, "Sometimes I wish he didn't trust me so much." That's where I am.

My friend Toma
e-mailed me an inspirational missive this morning, and she referenced Jeremiah 29:11. "For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not harm, to give you a future with hope." I went on to read verse 12, which reminds me to pray I have to ask for God's help and He will hear my prayers.

IT-chick reminded me to read Philipians 4:13 "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me," and Romans 8:23 "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are all called according to His purpose." In my Bible there are devotions for both of those verses, and I'll be reading them later on tonight.

God will take care of me, as long as I keep working on what I need to be doing. I have been doing that lately and He's been very good to me. I was a little taken aback by moving a little ahead of schedule, but I realized there's a reason God wants me there a month earlier. I have a suspicion I know exactly why. I am sure you'll all read about it right here!!!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Well, we knew this was coming...

I'm trying to figure out how much to tell here. I haven't ever said where I work. Some of you are my friends and you know, I guess I can give details here without saying anything and those who know won't be shocked by anything I say. And those who do not know will get the gist of what's going on without me saying anything that would jeopardize the integrity of my employer. I'm nice like that.

The honeymoon period quickly wore off at my job. I came into the organization in the middle of a huge transition and there were a lot of issues going on. A lot of energy was put into dealing with management issues, and not as much into things like raising money. I was new and didn't realize exactly how bad the financial situation was or I would've pushed certain things a little harder than I did. We just weren't aggressive enough in our fundraising. Plus little things like managers not mentioning that their funding was running out and how was I supposed to know that?

OK, enough griping. What's done is done. I knew that the organization needed major overhaul and restructuring. And I also know that public relations is not essential and always the first position to go when major restructuring happens, especially if the PR person has the least seniority. I am used to this with my job. I probably should've gone into a more essential field, but this is what I love. I probably should've been more aggressive, but I was just learning the ropes. And once I realized what I'd gotten into I got disillusioned about the whole thing and kind of spiraled into a tad bit of a depression that I really don't think helped anything.

Long story short? My company has to make hundreds of thousands of dollars of cuts. I'm not the only person who's going to have to go. They've been having HR meetings with all kinds of folks. And it's not like I didn't know. I've been looking for jobs ever since the day my paycheck bounced. They just have serious cash-flow issues. I have never seen anything like it before in my life. It's just going to be a little sooner than I thought.

I think I have a game plan, but prayers would be very much appreciated. I have lots of real-world bills and I'm very frightened that I'm not going to get a job to pay them. I am not desititute, nor do I think I will be. I'm just once again at a crossroads in my life.

Mostly, right now, I feel like an idiot for taking a job there against the advice of a few folks. It's done now, and I can't dwell on it. And it'll all work out in the end, right?

New resume, new possiblities, new start...

So, I had a burst of creativity last night, and stayed up half the night working on my resume. While I'm going to be dragging all day today, after a few minor edits this morning, I feel like I have a real whiz-bang product. Fingers crossed that I can manage to get a few interviews. I also think that I'm going to try this new cover letter strategy that I read in one of my resume guides. Basically, the concept is to take highlights from the job posting and demonstrate examples where you've done that. I think I'd take a second look if I were hiring. Tried to put on my hat of all the years of hiring and supervising VISTAs and interns.

So, here I am with a brand-new resume and a stack of job leads. I feel like I have the whole world in front of me. I am really excited to get a new job and move to Nashville and start working on implementing the rest of my career plans, with the eventual goal of opening my own PR agency. I just feel like the possibilities are endless at this point. I am definitely trying to make limes into margaritas with this whole situation. And really I'm not shocked. I never expected to say here long-term, so I'm not devastated that it's just about time to move on. Heck, I've already had a few people invite themselves to come visit to a home that doesn't exist yet, and I am 100% OK with that. The only thing worse, I think, than only having a cat and coming home and feeling all alone is to live with your family and come home and feel all alone. I have that here. I'm miserable because I don't want to be here. Time to make changes.

Nashville is 110% about making new starts. It's about becoming that person that you've always wanted to be. It's about finding all your hopes and dreams. It's about charting a good course for the future. It's about being happy.

So, yeah, life's a little scary right now, but I feel extremely empowered because I have a plan and I'm working toward making it reality.

Oh, and if anyone is still reading this and likes to critique resumes, drop me a line. I could definitely use a second (or third or fourth or fifth) opinion.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I know, I know...

I know that I've been doing a bad job at updating my blog. I know that you're all waiting with baited breath to see what's next. This, my friends, will probably be a major disappointment. I can't live up to the hype. Really.

I am taking my time getting to work today. First of all, my body is battling some type of bug. Yesterday I couldn't breathe. Today my stomach is achy. Secondly, the roads got so bad so quickly yesterday that they sent us home early and I got all the way to the top of my driveway, where I completely lost traction and slid all the way back down the hill and almost hit a tree. A little worried to go out on a day where it promises to get worse to see if I can get back in tonight. I brought work home and perhaps I should just stay home and work on it. Nah, because what if it gets worse and I can't get there tomorrow either? I thought about taking a sick day, but those will come in handy when I'm job-hunting. Although I suspect that my job process could be somewhat hastened sometime soon. Fingers crossed that the original agreement I had wih my boss is still on the table. Although honestly, NOTHING would surprise me at this point.

At some point today I need to call the bank and fight with them over the ongoing saga that I like to call "closing my account." I had never had a problem with them until I decided to take my moolah elsewhere. Kind of odd. Have I mentioned how excited I am that I get to go through that again when I move?

The job hunt is not horrible. I have plenty of leads. I just need to finish updating my resume. That WILL happen tonight. It's mostly finished. It would've been done last night, but a friend was having a hard day and I ended up spending a lot of time on the phone, just listening. I think it really helped her. At least that's what she said. And honestly, I've been in a funk lately, so it didn't hurt me to talk to a friend either.

Speaking of friends, I have a friend who's having relationship troubles and I just got the update on what's going on in her life. She and I kind of gravitated toward each other because I "get" what she's going through because I've been there. But as I stare at this email I just received, I'm just wondering what that means in the grand scheme of things.

Speaking of the grand scheme of things, let me just tell you that I got a sneak preview of next year's tour schedule for Mr. Chesney. I thought that 2005 was going to be my big year. Ha ha, as always Kenny proves me wrong. It does not help that a gal from Nashville contacted me yesterday and was like, "Since you are going to be in Nashville when the tour starts, let's be roadtrip buddies." Now, I'll only have a few buddies when I get to Nashville, period, so I am not going to turn anyone down at this point. Fun, fun, fun. I can't believe that I'm starting back up March 23. The first weekend will probably do me in, but if it doesn't I guess I'll have one helluva summer, yet again.

I just need to find a job so I don't end up living on all my "mad money," blowing this whole plan.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Congratulations, Congressman!

If you know anything about me, you know that I love government and politics, even if at times it's cut-throat and ineffectual. Politics are in my blood, and I'm always the first to volunteer on a campaign. That's most of the reason I'm in public relations. I went to journalism school to become an international correspondent. I had visions of traveling the globe covering the news. And then my first year in college, the federal student aid program was in jeopardy and I, along with several of my classmates, started fighting to ensure we could continue our educational pursuits. I got involved with politics, and I never turned back. This was the same time that I took Issues in American Politics with Dr. Henderson. I knew that no matter what I did in life, being objective and nonpartisan was probably going to be a challenge. Luckily Dr. Cambridge told me that the journalism school offered a public relations tract. Not only could I still be a writer and work with my journalism colleagues, but I could probably even combine PR and politics. I did that for a while, but I don't think I could ever do campaigns or government as my full-time job. The back-room stuff gets frustrating and you wonder if you truly can do anything to change the world.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, I love government. I did a stint with Congressman Strickland's office while I was in college.

But my favorite elected official whom I have met (and I've met TONS from the president to city council folks) is Congressman John Dingell. He was my Congressman growing up, as I can probably safely say he was for MOST people who've ever lived in Southeast Michigan. He's been in Congress a million years (OK, only 50) and he is the nicest guy you'll ever meet. He's also someone I wouldn't want to cross. He's done more for Michigan than anyone I can think of. He hasn't let the rest of America down either. He and his wife Debbie are very civic-minded and his children are all involved in public service, as well.

Today John Dingell celebrates 50 years as a U.S. Congressman. Only two men have served longer than he has. Some of his staffers told me a few years ago that the only way he'll leave Congress is in a pine box, and I believe them.

Here is the Monroe Evening News' story on this staple in American politics and this momentous occasion.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Happy Holidays...

My brother lives in Miami. His girlfriend is from Mexico and he met her down in Florida. He has decided to start a new movement and she and her mother are joining in. Since I was discussing this topic on another blog, I decided it was worth a mention here.

They were discussing this whole Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays hullabaloo and my brother reminds everyone that "holiday" is actually derived from the words "Holy Days," which of course Christmas and New Year's are for us Catholics. So he decides that he is starting a crusade to say Happy Holy days instead of Happy Holidays. His girlfriend and the mamacita have decided to join his movement. As mamacita said, "We talk funny anyhow, so people will think we are just saying holiday."

So, the holy day/Christmas debate and my urge to blog about it reminded us of the Virgin Mary funyun and we got back on that topic at dinner tonight. My mom still thinks the Virgin Mary Funyun puts the fun in Funyun, but then she goes on to say that she did think the Virgin Mary appeared under the Fullerton Avenue overpass in Chicago earlier this year. Anyhow her sisters made called her a non-believer and on this, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. At our "Lupe" party at Casa Lopez! Well, needless to say a fun time was had by all. Unfortunately the giggles were at mom's expense. I'm just not sure. I thought the Funyun looked more like the blessed mother than the water spot on the overpass.

Tomorrow I'll write more about Guadalupe and post a pic from my trip to L.A. This weekend, weather permitting, I'm hoping to juice up the digital and hit the streets. When I get finished you can grab a cup of Nutcracker tea, curl up in front of the fire, put on the Larry the Cable Guy Christmas CD and see my Cavalcade of Redneck Christmas Decor slideshow!!!!

Technical Difficulties...

...So, I sat down with a cup of tea in my favorite christmas PJs to do my Christmas cards. I have three boxes of cards to choose from. I pick my favorite of the bunch. I am sending cards all over the world and these have a global message and are simply beautiful. I go to open the box. And I re-read the message. And I have a problem.

My Christmas cards are grammatically incorrect.

I am trained in the English language. Some of the toughest grammarians in the United States have taught me all I know. In college I was the person you always asked to proofread your stuff. At every job I've ever had there have been folks who refused to send their mail out until I read it for them. Half of my co-workers have given me red pens as Christmas presents this year.

Now, how can I send out grammatically incorrect Christmas cards? I have an image to protect. I bought a sympathy card once for one of my PR buddies. The message was perfect. And I took it back to Hallmark because on the quote by Thomas More, they misspelled it Thomas Moore. I am a stickler for good grammar.

So here I am with these cards. I love them, but the mistake is really bugging me. I am worried what folks will think if I send them out. In reality, no one will probably ever notice. It's easily one of the top 5 usage mistakes in the English language. So I doubt anyone would say a word.

(And who really says anything if they get a grammatically incorrect card anyhow? OK, I probably would. But who else would, really?)

So, they are beautiful cards with a lovely message of hope and peace. They say Christmas instead of "holiday" (although more on that later!). They are great cards. And I just don't know if I can send them. My biggest issue is that it IS a common mistake, and I just don't feel like as a grammarian that I should encourage it. I thought that maybe since I write my cards in red anyhow, I could correct it with proofreaders' marks. Let's face it; people would almost expect it from me.

I am torn. Any suggestions?