Compared to What

It’s been two months…..

I will be honest, blogging may be something I eventually give up. I was doing good at a one post a month clip, but the summer, as usual, got away from me. When you turn 48 (gasp), which I did two weeks ago, it matters.

I have spent the summer acclimating myself to a new job. I like my job, and enjoy my co-workers. On Friday, I sat at a table with them during lunch and felt included and happy for the first time in a long time – in a workplace setting, that is. But unfortunately, the day before we had all been informed layoffs were imminent.

On Friday, some people got notices. They were long timers, and over 50 years of age in many cases. But I don’t feel safe, not under any circumstance.

One thing the last eight years in the job market (and out of it, for that matter) have taught me is how to be fluid. How to move from one thing to the next, and never count on it lasting. When I took a job at the paper last year, a place I left eight years ago, I said I would keep it for one year at the part-time schedule I was on unless I went full time. Well, I’m full time now. If I can survive  this round of layoffs, I hope to stay one more year. And then, I can take what I’ve learned and move on if I have to.

One thing I have done this year is start exercising. I hate to exercise, and yet I’ve now become a gym rat at Crunch. Why a gym? Because this is what happened during my walking routine.


Poison Ivy? Well, I thought so. But now, I’m not so sure. I fear it could be a rash brought on by my blood pressure meds. Either way, I couldn’t walk in the summer of Florida. I was getting sick to my stomach from the heat.

The good news? I’m trying to walk at least two miles a day. And I am using the personal trainer for 24 sessions to get some weight work in. It was expensive, but I keep telling myself it will be worth it. Of course now that my job isn’t as secure as I thought it was….oh, balls. I’m all paid up, so I’ll finish the program.

The sad news is I’m not losing any weight. I’m gaining. And before you give me that “muscle weighs more than fat” trope, I don’t think that’s what’s happening. Again, I’m concerned my blood pressure meds are doing a number on me. So, off to the doctor this week to see.

I have a four-day weekend coming up, and am taking two more before the end of the year. I will have worked more than a year now with no vacation days at all. I’m so fucking tired, I can’t. I can’t even. No, I can’t.

The other two four-day weekends will be working ones – I’m doing the ninth iteration of Stitch Rock, and also Atomic Holiday Bazaar in Sarasota. My goal is to sell as much of my stock as possible, because with the exception of a desire to do Stitch Rock next year (tenth-anniversary and all that), I’m pretty done. I’ll be closing my Etsy shop at the end of the year, because it’s just not worth it anymore, and I have a real problem with how they do business. I have never been able to make the sales that some knitters do, and that’s mainly because I don’t make big, ugly crap on size 15 needles using yarn from Michaels and Hobby Lobby. Yeah, I said it. Ladies, you can call your yarn “vegan” all you want, it’s still fugly acrylic. And knitting garter on size 15 needles isn’t exactly growing the craft, now what I’m sayin’?

I’m going to close now. After months of reading nothing but duds, I am finally reading a book I ENJOY. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Yes, it took me long enough, I know. I enjoy reading about what went on before the hipsters took over Williamsburg!

We have gone to a few movies this summer – I loved Man from U.NC.L.E mainly for the clothes and locations and soundtrack. I liked Inside Out, but it didn’t make me misty like they said it would. And that short with the singing volcanoes was pretty weak. Ant-Man was surprisingly fun. Oh laws, Paul Rudd, you don’t age, bitch.

I’ll leave you with something great. One of the nice surprises in U.N.C.L.E was the opening titles, with Roberta Flack’s version of this Les McCann tune. Enjoy.

Stop making sense!

I want to say before I forget: Don’t you hate it when people say, “Does that make sense?” I say people, but let’s be honest – GIRLS. Girls say it all the time!

Does that make sense? Does it? Are you stupid? Because that’s what I’m implying when I ask that question. A simple “Do you understand?” would work just as well. “Do you have any questions?” That works, too! But please, for the love of David Byrne,


Although to be fair, I’m guilty of it, too.

Here, let’s talk about slippery people for a moment.

Do you know what tonight is? It’s my 30th high school reunion. Do you know where I am? Not at my 30th high school reunion.

I went to the 10th, and a muscle relaxer combined with some Johnnie Walker Red made the evening bearable. I went to the 20th, and took the husband. But he wasn’t my husband yet. I was utterly miserable and ended up sitting at a table where the principal decided to plop his dumb ass. No seriously, this guy was notoriously stupid. When he asked me what I was doing now, I said I was making meth in my basement.

Maybe that wasn’t a such a good idea?

But I digress. I hated high school with the fire of a thousand suns. I made excellent grades, graduated in the top ten of my class. But I was deeply unhappy and felt like such a freak. I know kids today have it just as bad, maybe worse. But at the same time, the tide seems to be turning. Being a freak is a good thing! It’s good to be different, better than it was!

I wish it had been that way for me. No one told me to wear safety pins on my stockings or clothes pins in my ears, it’s true. I made those decisions stone cold sober! No one suggested I have posters of Echo and the Bunnymen AND David Byrne in my locker. That’s kind of a double-nerd whammy. But I was a pretty big Talking Heads’ fan. “More Songs About Buildings and Food” was my JAM.

But more than anything, I wish I could go back in time and tell myself don’t be hurt or hate yourself for a single day because of what people say about you. I was called ugly or a variation thereof almost every single day. “Dog” was a particularly favorite term in the halcyon days of the 1980s. Which is why you’ll never hear much 80s’ nostalgia from this quarter. Seventies, well, that’s a different story….

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 9.15.16 PM

This is a very small picture I know. I got it in a screen cap from our yearbook, which I found online. When I look at my 17-year-old self, I can’t believe for one day I every believed all the things those people said to me. When I look at myself as I was then, I see a beautiful girl with perfect skin who had a head full of curly hair, it’s true, but why was/is that a bad thing? And yet I was made fun of for my hair more than anything! When I look at myself, I see a beautiful girl who looks out of time, like an old-fashioned cameo. And I’m so sad for all the years I lost hating myself.

And one more reason I’m not going: They’re all a bunch of right wing zealot jerks! One of them just posted a screed praising the Confederate flag! AND SHE’S A TEACHER!

This was my favorite song to dance to in my underwear during the high school years. Very Risky Business, just with less Seeger and more Byrne.


Summer Fever

I haven’t posted in a month but I’ve been busy. I got the job I applied for at the paper, but I’ve only been at it a week and a half, give or take. I won’t get my first bigger paycheck until this week (Friday), although it may not be complete if they didn’t start me until June 1. We’ll see, I guess the next mid-month check will tell the tale.

And I’m looking forward to the money, and the vacation time that I’ll accrue, and a bit more job security, although does anyone really have job security these days? I’m happy to be away from Negative Nancy, whose real name was actually Debbie Downer. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

My mother did indeed get married, and I wish her all the best. She is on a trip with the new groom to Chicago now, and I haven’t even been there so good on her.

About a month ago, when I still didn’t know if I had the job in the bag or not, I finally decided to stop moping and do what I wanted to do. How great would it have been if I had done that back in September, but better late than never, right? So, I started walking at the park almost every day.

I bought a Fitbit in February, and was doing good until the flu sidelined me. But I decided if I was going to buy the damned thing I was going to USE it. And so, I have. I try to get at least 10,000 steps a day, and 30 minutes of activity a day. I’m proud to say I hit that goal five out of seven days each week.

Have I lost weight? NO. And it’s tough but I’m going to have to release that desire and just try to be healthier and happier. Walking for between a half hour to an hour a day after work is doing that for me. Being in nature, even though if you had told me I would look forward to this six months ago I would have laughed at you. HARD. Every morning when I get up, I can’t wait for the workday to end so I can go home, feed the cat, change and head to the park.

I have two I go to. If one is overcrowded, I got to the other, secret park, unless I see someone skulking around in a van (which has happened). Stay away from me, G. Gordon Liddy!

Even though it’s Florida, and even though it’s June, I have managed to stay comfortable. And I’m never without my iPhone and headphones. I listen to Amazon Prime, or Pandora, or Hoopla Digital – the library’s free lending program. I tend to listen to the absolute disco-ey of the disco tunes. Van McCoy. K-C and the Sunshine Band. Earth, Wind and Fire. And especially Donna Summer deep cuts, anything from Four Seasons of Love, a disco concept album. It’s not just for prog anymore!

I was listening to Out Q radio on Sirius this week, as I do EVERY day (you don’t have to be gay, but it helps if you’re a drag queen, like me), and Larry Flick was playing his Friday night disco extravaganza. Listen, when you start it with a Sylvester obscure album cut, and follow it with Loleatta Holloway, I’m IN. But then he played “Lucky” from Bad Girls, which is an icy, pre-techno workout that tickles my sweet spot. Larry then said what I’ve always thought: Even though Donna can BELT, it’s her high, piercing head voice that really commands attention. I think it will be a long time before we find a vocalist who’s so fluid again. And there I go, getting nerdy with the music talk.

I’ve also been listening to Dawes’ All Your Favorite Bands for the Laurel Canyon, Jackson Browne-type feels, which I got for free on Amazon Prime, and Brandon Flowers’ The Desired Effect, which is 80s’ Simple Minds-style pomp at its finest.

I’m re-reading Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, to celebrate the start of summer. I haven’t read it since fifth grade, so I figured it was time to revisit Green Town. This cover image from about 20 years ago, by Thomas Canty, is one of my favorite pictures – I used to want to get a print of it, but I have so much art I haven’t even framed yet, it seems wasteful.


And now I must run, because it’s almost time for the Tonys! I have to fight honey who wants to watch Game of Thrones, but really, we can do that anytime with On Demand. I only get to see what happens when someone loses best actress in a musical once! And also, there’s Ken Watanabe in The King and I. One of Mama’s Precious Angels! Shall we dance? Indeed!

What are YOU doing this summer? Whatever it is, I hope it brings you the little piece of joy my daily walks, my books and my still-here kitty Ringo bring me.

Pictures of Lilly

I am a lifeflong South Floridian, but lord have mercy on my soul I have never been a fan of Lilly Pulitzer’s clothing. Oh, you can research her and the brand all you want and see they are both an integral part of the SoFla lifestyle. But I was never a preppy girl, not by any measure. And after I lost my job at the yarn barn, I really disliked Lilly, since my boss there, the multi-millionaire Palm Beacher who told me to “get the fuck out” as a way of laying me off, almost exclusively wore Lilly.

BUT. I needed a dress to wear to an upcoming outdoor wedding. I had nothing that would suffice, and it’s going to be approaching 90 degrees this week. What to do?

A few weeks back while my husband was on one of his work trips (or was it a vacation that I couldn’t take? I lose track) I set my alarm for 1 a.m. on Saturday night and was a part of the insane Target Web site breakdown when they released their Lilly for Target collection. Even celebrities were live-tweeting the horror of finding a shopping cart emptied. And I saw horror in jest, because I watch the news and know what’s going on the world.

But through a measure of luck or social media skills (I could see the CEO tweeting time windows and that helped) or the fact that I had a Lukas Moodysson movie queued up on Netflix and the cat was particularly rambunctious, I managed to score a simple trapeze dress in the XXL (my boobs!) size. And it actually came in the mail, and it actually fit.


And I know that may seem trivial and stupid and I’m frankly not thrilled about it anyway because even charging under $50 on my card was a stretch. Plus the fact that the dress is for my mother’s wedding this Thursday to the 88-year-old boyfriend.

Friends, I am not happy. And I don’t want to go to this wedding. My sister probably won’t. Which is not a surprise, and since I haven’t spoken to or seen her in almost two years, doesn’t much matter to me at this point.

But I decided to be the bigger person, to realize I can’t decide what does or doesn’t make my mother happy. It’s not my choice to make. If my mother is horribly lonely and wants to do this, I need to support her.

However, there are circumstances I can’t go into that make me very wary. All I can say is that she signed a prenup, and that will have to do.

But the enormity of the whole situation has started to hit me this week as I go through my cat worsening (lung tumor) and the possibility of losing him soon, even though I have been blessed to have these last five months with him that I didn’t anticipate I’d have.

Add to that my quest to find full time work that keeps hitting wall, and I have been crying this week. A lot. I’m driving my husband crazy, and that is not my intention.

This wasn’t the blog entry I wanted to post for May, but it’s the only one I’m capable of writing today. I had hoped things would be different. But I’m still trying, applying for multiple jobs daily and actually setting an appointment to see about getting my teaching certificate.

Wish me luck. And patience and acceptance.


Random thoughts

Random thoughts:

1) I really hate it when people give you a condescending compliment, don’t you? Yesterday I was sitting with another woman who has gone gray like me, and a co-worker said, “Oh look, it’s the two natural haired ladies. You know, they say gray hair is “in” now!”

Well, hunty, it’s more “in” that that brassy dye job you’ve been sporting for 30 years, just sayin’.

2) Ringo had a bad morning today. Just earth-rattling coughs that will wake you out of a sound sleep. But then, he carries on like nothing’s wrong. When he was diagnosed with lung cancer four months ago, I thought we had weeks left, and it’s been four months. But in the back of my mind, I’ve always felt he’s just been holding on until April 18th.

The day we’ve been waiting for.

3) My mother is getting married in a month. My 75-year-old mother is marrying her 88-year-old boyfriend. Ask me how I feel about this. Okay, don’t. It’s best if you don’t. The heart wants what it wants, right?

4) I will hopefully interview for a full-time job next week. I don’t assume I’m a slam-dunk by any means. It’s been a rough week; honey and I are under so much pressure we’ve had stomach problems, he’s been working 14-hour days, and he’s leaving for Chicago this weekend while of course, I can’t go because NO VACATION TIME. And there have been tears on my end, I’m not going to lie. But I have come to the realization if I don’t do what I want, and ask for what I want, I’ll never get it. So at least I’ve had that breakthrough? Ask me again next week.

5) I watched 20 hours of on-demand this past weekend because we had an Xfinity Watchathon. So, 10 hours of Outlander and seven of The Knick (which we had started a year ago). It was so lovely to see:

a) A primitive appendectomy (which I’ve had)

b) A primitive hear cauterization by wire (which I’ve had)

c) A primitive splenectomy (which my husband’s had)

All in glorious, gory 1910 color. Also, lots of ROBOT BABIES and women getting their teeth ripped out by quacks because, you know, women!

Let’s end with this: I had not seen this performance from the 2015 World Figure Skating Championships until a former ice dancer turned me on to it. The number three Canadian team, giving you Say Anything feels. Enjoy! (someone clearly had good seats and filmed it on their phone, and yet it’s better than most of the pro videos out there!)


Just what I needed.

When I die, I want Ben Orr and Karen Carpenter to sing to me as I enter the pearly gates. Because they are both in music heaven and they have my favorite voices of the rock era. Am I weird for saying that? What if I don’t go to heaven? Oh, whatever. Also, if Larry Gatlin introduces you, you must be special, amirite?

Lord, please find me a NEW JOB!!!

Because I can’t stop….


Change is good, or so they say. I’m not quite sure who the mysterious “they” are, but they do talk a lot.

This week at work, we had a big reorganization/restructuring meeting. Although I’ve heard of these meetings referred to as rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, I’m so burned by the past eight years of gigging from one job to the next that it barely registers with me.

Four high-level middle management positions are being eliminated(is that even a thing?!), but five new positions are being created. Will these four people move sideways? Who knows.

All I know is this: There is a full-time opening that I’m more than qualified for and I WANT IT. I sent my application in today, and hope to interview for it soon.

And frankly, if I don’t get the job I need to move on to the next great gig in the sky. I can no longer afford to work part time for table scraps, hoping something more permanent comes along. If it doesn’t, that’s all the message I need.

In other ramblings, is a bad thing if you’re a two-hit wonder but both your songs are so awesome that when you are driving and they come on, they make driving BETTER?

Thank you, Golden Earring, for just doing you.

In other change news, after the news from the meeting yesterday, my mother sent me a series of e-mails saying she had something she wanted to talk about. I decided to just call her since I got home at the stupid hour of 2 p.m. and just wasn’t ready to dig into Outlander on the Xfinity Watchathon Weekend. Yet.

Besides, I already knew what she was going to tell me. My 75-year-old mother has decided, three years after my father’s sudden death, to remarry an 88-year-old man.

Forgive me if I’m not shouting Mazel Tov! from the top of buildings. I will accept it, and try to deal with it. I don’t think my sister will, but that’s my sister, who incidentally, I haven’t spoken to in two years (by choice) but who now wants to know what I think of this development.

I’m not happy. I don’t like the man very much, and there are other extenuating factors that I don’t feel open enough to get into on a blog, though lord knows I’ve said just about everything else.

But she insists they are getting an airtight pre-nup, so I guess Kanye would approve.

As for me, I can’t pretend to know what makes my mother happy. She has not had the easiest of lives. Do I think she can be naïve? Yes, and I’ve told her so  just like I can be hypersensitive. We all have our flaws and tics, and if we can’t change them, at least we can acknowledge them.

But I don’t want to jeopardize the last years I have left with my mother over a disagreement. She is not senile. She does not have Alzheimer’s. She is not a child. For me to claim otherwise will be a lie.

All I could do was tell her I don’t agree with what she’s doing, nor do I particularly like her swain, who I find just as domineering as my father, albeit in different ways. But I will be cordial and polite towards him.

The heart wants what it wants. Mine wanted graham crackers with marshmallow fluff, so I ate that as a snack all week. It happens.

Life happens. Shit happens. The world keeps turning, and I don’t know if I’ll ever find out where I fit in to the whole shitty mess.

But I’ll keep trying.

Great gig in the sky

I have a confession to make: I am writing this at work. I have absolutely NOTHING to do today. Frankly, I don’t have much to do these days. As I’ve already mentioned, Debbie Downer has been very….let’s say withholding, since she’s been back.

And in fairness, season is running down. But I’m supposed to be learning from the other coordinators, and no one really wants to teach me. Because that would endanger THEIR job.

The only positive thing I can mention is that a sweet girl who started the same day I did, back in September, is leaving to move back home with family. Her position MAY be opening up, and I want it. And I’ll try for it, and if I don’t get it, the writing is on the wall – written in blood and tears!

I would normally be out of here by now, but Negative Nancy told me that she wanted to leave early, and the boss told her she could if I can in from noon to five, the most ridiculous hours on the fucking planet. And it kind of doesn’t make sense, since the boss is off today, the person I’m supposed to coordinate for left at noon and we all knew she would. So why am I here again? Sitting here with a raging migraine, my period and NOTHING TO DO FOR FIVE HOURS.

But wait!  I decided to upload one of my long-hibernating novels to Google Drive and work on revisions! Because I could totally self-publish now, why not? Who cares how bad or dated they might be?! Where was Google Drive ten years ago when I really needed it?!

Except….I put the first one up instead of the second one, and that was a mistake because your first novel should probably stay in that metaphysical desk drawer, I’m discovering.

When I was actively trying to write and get published in the laste 90s, early 2000s (up until 2006), I spent time in critique groups. And they DID NOT work for me. I don’t mean to disparage them, they work for some folks. And who’s to say I just wasn’t in the right ones? I really believe that was the problem. The first was with an older friend I met at a writing group, her doctor friend (who couldn’t write), and an ex-flight attendant and divorcée from Vancouver who hadn’t finished high school.

I’ll give you three guesses who has a shit ton of self-pubbed books on Amazon now. And whether they are good or bad( and they were almost unreadable back in the day), she at least DID it. What she wanted to do. And I can’t turn my nose up at that.

The second group was with a multi-published and agented author, who wrote in multiple genres, and though she was great and encouraging, I felt my writing at that time (the edgy young adult with four main characters) was not a good fit for the group.

So, in the case of my first book, a chick lit set in Atlanta, I let it be critiqued to death and it turned into a cutesy-poo piece of drivel that wasn’t “me.” And it is dated with way too many secondary characters, and that is no one’s fault but my own.

My question now is: Do I abandon the first novel (YES). Okay, I just answered my own question. But do I then work on the second (I can TRY. I didn’t make a lot of changes from the critiques).  Or do something else?

Here is my idea: I wrote a short story long ago that is actually GOOD. I am NOT embarrassed by it. I think I could definitely list that at Amazon for .99 cents.

Then, if I’m really feeling it, edit novel number two and get it out there. But if I’m not, move on to number three.

Write something completely new and different. Make it a novella, so there’s not as much worry and commitment.  Or even more short stories, which I really enjoy writing. Make it what I really want, don’t be afraid to be “too edgy” (something I used to get hammered for all the time, and now, HELLOO! Edge is IN).

Or, number four: Do something in a more essays/memoir vein, about what it’s like working in the new “gig” economy, which I’ve sadly been doing for the last eight years.

Whatever I decide, it’s my decision, and getting to that point alone is worth it.

It’s now Sunday morning, Easter Sunday, and also my beloved husband’s birthday. I hope the coming weeks will provide me with some clarity, and the ability to MOVE FORWARD where I am, or MOVE ON if that’s what I must do.

In very brief knitting news, and just to get some pictures of interest up here, this is the project I am currently working on – Thelma, from Berroco in Berroco Mixer, a tough thick and thin yarn that I had to rip back ten inches on a few weeks ago. But I’m a perfectionist, dammit!


This is the color I am using – I wanted the steel blue with gold accents, but it wasn’t available. I think this goes well with my hair.


It is VERY baggy, and I have gone done four needle sizes to what’s recommended to get gauge. Fingers crossed!



I had a real shit week at work this week, I know, try to hide your shock. Negative Nancy or whatever you want to call her was out “sick” for two days and I had to get all her work done in half the time, plus I came in early and off the clock to make sure everything was done, AND cut short my visit with my elderly relatives (aunts and uncles) who come down to visit once a year. And let’s be honest; with the exception of my Aunt Sarah, who is 70, the rest are pushing 80 or 90 and this could be the last time I see them. So, thanks bitch.

And speaking of bitch, my mother was being one, and her new “boyfriend,” who,quite frankly, I HATE, was there, so that was an awkward dinner.

I’m having some health issues and my husband is stressed out and Negative Nancy was her usual bitch self when she came in, but I reconfigured my hours to take Friday off, which I should be doing every week anyway, but whatever.

And yesterday I spent the whole morning watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and loving it. Best theme song ever? You decide.

And the World Figure Skating Championships are happening, and my Frenchies won the gold in ice dance! Ah, Guillaume….

I apologize for the awful commentary in another language, but this is how skating fans are forced to view their sport now. On fucking You Tube.

FYI, I love Gabi, too, she is so beautiful and original and regal – that nose! I mean, I am being serious. She has an unusual beauty that complements him so well. Enjoy four minutes of tight pants, Mozart, Pinterest braid inspiration.