Tuesday, October 27

"No, no..I don't do shots. I will just have a beer, thanks."

Flu Shot...to get or not to get. That is the question. Is it our moral responsibility to have one? Does that only apply if you have children? Unfortunately, staying home during the day, I have the ability to tune into "The View" and listen to the women fight over getting the flu shot versus not.

Now, this would not be an issue for me, as I would normally pretend I never watched "The View" (and please believe me it was only for a few minutes-60 tops), except my sister, who I sometimes forget has a PhD in analytical chemistry, asks me every single time we talk if I got the flu shot. The best part about this is that she is not trying to be annoying. She truly does not remember that she has asked me six to seven times and the horrifying 'no' I give her each time just slips her mind. Is she purposely blocking it out or does her brain hold too much scientific information to have room for the fact that I do not want someone putting a big needle through my body to give me a virus so I do not get a virus, but may get virus similar affects.

Is it money, she asks, because they are only $20 in this, that and the other place.

No, it is not the money. What if I get the flu from it?  I ask her.

That is impossible, she scolds me. The virus they inject you with is dead.

I feel much better now. Excuse me, where is the nearest shop selling dead virus injections?

Meanwhile, my boyfriend's father is a doctor and has been pressuring him for years to get the flu shot. He explained that every year you get the shot your body has more and more defenses against more and more strands of the virus. Admittedly, it does scare me that when the world comes down with a flu that wipes us out, I will be the first to go, as I am years behind everyone else in my shots. So, why start now? I wonder. I have a feeling my sister knows the answer.
My boyfriend did get the shot this year, formally ending one of my very researched arguments for my sister as to why I did not get it.  "Well, he didn't!" 
He got the regular flu shot. When he started to get sick a week later, his father explained it takes up to two weeks for the shot to work. Great.
He did avoid the flu though and everything worked out.

Now, what about the H1N1 shot! A totally separate shot, totaling two big needles needed through my skin.  Half of offices are home sick from it, or quietly oinking at their desks infecting co-workers. Meetings and outings are being canceled as people are out of the office to care for themselves and for sick children.  It is disgusting.

Shot or not, I honestly cannot think of a better time for my 'forced work hiatus'. 
As for my flu shots-To be determined..

Friday, October 23

Hidden Wisdom in my Week. A Bold Poem.

Visit the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. 
Start at the top of the spiraling ramp and look over the edge into an abiss of white and art and tourists.

 Appreciate Kandinsky and your free headset while commenting with an old friend on a Tuesday. 
Mid week, drive a few hours to see a cousin, have a sleepover and drink red wine
Try a new restaurant and laugh until the sun comes up.
Take the time to see your father in action at work. 
Watch him teach his practice as he has for the last fifteen years. 
Participate in his workshop, make new friends in the class and at the bar and swim in the hotel pool.
Share your pitcher of Sangria with strangers and celebrate your freedom.

Friday, rest.

Tuesday, October 20

Truckin' By the Grateful Moving Team

I had been down this road everyday for the past three years on my way to work, and before that I lived in the area my entire life.  For some strange reason I just could not find the U-haul place.  I never remembered seeing a sign for it and I did not see one this day, as I drove back and forth looking for address 352.   There was a house labeled 355.  U-turn.  There was a 349 address.  U-turn.  Where the truck is 352?  After about ten minutes of neat k-turns on a busy road, I finally found the phone number.  As I spoke to the kind lady I realized just how silly I had been.  Of course it is right here.  Two houses down from Anna's restaurant.  Of course sweet, gentle lady.  Only, it is not two houses down from Anna's restaurant because I am sitting in the driveway two houses down from Anna's restaurant and frankly it is getting uncomfortable because a family is looking at me, and not in the hey there, come on in and rent a U-haul kind of way. 

Eventually, I did get the real location out of this woman, and just so we are clear, I was joking about the sweet part.  The U-haul place turned out to be a colonial white house and its only sign was INSIDE the office.  I made sure to comment on how helpful that was.  Many hidden fees later, I was on my way in my big ten foot truck.

I had convinced the important men in my life their Friday evening would be best spent carrying large bedroom furniture up not one, but three flights of stairs.  And they believed me!  This made for a fairly painless move (for me) and four days later I am almost all settled in.  Albeit two blown fuses, a small, tiny fire in the kitchen and a human shaped hole through the garage door, everything is going amazing.

Just kidding about the fire, roomie.

Friday, October 16

Science Experiment/Trip to the Mall

Hypothesis- Malls Are Sad Places During Work Hours

Experiment- As much as I hate the over-crowded hustle and bustle of a late afternoon weekend trip to the mall, today's early afternoon trip just felt eerie.  I could hear each unemployed step I took down the empty walkways, and I felt bad for myself every time I turned to my friend to make fun of an outfit in a store window.  This was mainly because I was alone. 

Observations- There was an overweight man with a mustache, no beard- just the stache, wearing a Patriots tee shirt- from 2004- leaning against the railing.  What are you waiting for, kind sir?  I did not ask.  Otherwise, I saw a few Moms looking ragged with tiny people around them holding their hands, casually relaxing in strollers, screaming.  Then there were college girls giggling and shopping between classes, or maybe even skipping a class because who cares?  They do not have a care in the world.
I momentarily found myself envying the employed girl taking my money at my favorite store.  As she stepped away from the counter and I realized just how pregnant this 17 year old girl was, I decided to snap out of it.  I tried retail once anyway, and if anyone else reading this has ever dressed a mannequin, then you know why I occasionally still have day-mares from my short stint at Macys. 

Conclusion-  Malls are kind of sad no matter when you go. 

Luckily yesterday was not sad at all and in fact very productive with an interview at a small investment company and a graduate school open house at a local (and very affordable) state college with a possibly perfect career path I just may pursue.  Also, I am moving into my friend's new condo tonight!

Wednesday, October 14


"Yo, look it up dude.  If you put that Sh*t in the ground, a f**king mushroom grows," Ah the sweet sounds of college students.  This is an actual quote coming from a group of boys I passed on my way to see the career counselor at my alma mater.  I wonder what kind of mushrooms they were referring to.  Portobello most likely.

Coming from an insurance company, a university is like an alternate universe.  People are walking leisurely, reading outside on the library steps.  The men have earrings and the women have Greek letters across the back of their pants.  While one student plays a guitar another tosses a frisbee and a professor catches it.  A girl is frantically writing some last minute assignment and a boy is smoking.  I resist the urge to tell him to stop now before it gets too hard.  Laughter and insecurities fill the air.  There is this special aura of growth and learning, development and dreaming that make the campus quad come alive.  It puts an extra spring in your step, because with education the possibilities are endless.  The only direction you can go is up.  You learn here, experience here, become a better you through knowledge here.  It is incredible.

I ran into an old professor who calmly congratulated me when he heard I had been laid off, and then offered to write me recommendation letters without skipping a beat.  Under his sunglasses and multi-colored beret, he smiled sincerely at me.  And why not.   He was out for a stroll on a beautiful campus, a break between classes where he teaches something he cares about.

I joined a lunch table of an old history professor and his history colleagues.  We chatted for a bit and they also told me congratulations in their own thoughtful ways.  Soon the conversation turned to history, confirming what we all always thought we knew.  Teachers eat, sleep and breathe their passions.  Interestingly enough, this also happens at Insurance lunches.  At least I think.  I was sleeping.

Today reminded me how great it was to be a student.  I look forward to trying it again.

Tuesday, October 13

Pumpkin, Ginger, Cloves, Oh My!

As my house filled with the smell of pumpkin and ginger, I could not help but reflect on fall.  A season of change.  The only season awarded not one, but two names.  It is crisp and efficient and if you do not plan, if you do not get outside to experience its wonders, if you blink, the leaves are already on the ground.  Fall is our chance to transition from summer's easy living to the harsh winds and bitter nights of winter.  It comes in gently, lulling us in with its sweet whispers,

"Look at my leaves, children.  Look how beautiful I am.  Come and climb my trees and hike my mountains.  Breathe deep, for this is fresh.  Breathe it in, for this is real.  This is beautiful.  This is autumn.  Take me in."

We always hear her, but do we listen?  This fall when you go pumpkin picking, head out as far as you can.  Do not miss out on the lonely pumpkin in the back. When filling your bucket with apples, sample at least five on the way back to the barn.  As you rake your front lawn into piles of leaves you better jump on them because before you know it the piles are frozen and it will hurt like hell when you land.

Too soon fall leaves us behind and winter begins to creep, the trees become barren and dark, the sun shines less and less and the air gets cold and tight and unfriendly.  Left of her are only the leaves on the ground, slowly mixing with mud and being covered by frosts and then snows and then blizzards.  Every once in awhile, in the dead of winter, you see a yellow leaf peaking through a frozen mass, and she winks at you, "Remember me?"

Fall marks change and transition.  It helps us bridge from one extreme to another, but we cannot forget about the wonders of fall itself.

That was when I noticed a faint burning smell coming from the kitchen.  Luckily I was able to rescue my Pumpkin Ginger Bread out of the oven before I damaged it too much.  I think I will have a slice with some cider.

Monday, October 12

Amusement (Park)

When I first heard about the drama going on in my old work place, I could actually feel the stress start to creep through my veins.  It started in my back and traveled up to my neck where I used to get sore from sitting and staring at a screen all day.  My legs felt restless from hours of crossing and uncrossing them at meetings.  My fingers began to ache from typing reports and I remembered the paper cuts, the staple removers and the look on an otherwise wonderful man's face when he was about to ask you for the smallest favor ever.  I went through a roller coaster of emotions. 

                                                            I felt the stress aforementioned.

Then guilt for not being there to help the poor souls who have had my old responsibilities dumped on top of their own.   


After that I felt this strange wave of happiness, like I was floating, like I had just come in from a run in the middle of a beautiful day and had the world at my fingertips...


                               Then guilt again for feeling happy.

Ultimately, I landed on content because I remembered that 'The Man' running the roller coaster had paused the big machine and politely asked me to get off.

I think I will have a corndog while I mull over my next ride.

Sunday, October 11

Adventure Hike

Today I went for an adventure hike with my friend, Melissa.  I call it an adventure hike because you start out with just an idea of how the day will go, and end up far from that.  You take risks and get lost and for a second are not quite sure you know the way back.  Then you look at your friend picking up a snake "to save it from being stepped on" and you know you are in good hands. 

I expressed my fears of not being totally sure where our car was to Melissa.  She replied by telling me she was not worried at all.  It was nice out and besides there are no bears here.  Well, there might be bears here, she backtracked.  I think you are supposed to curl up into the fetal position and not move, she explained.  But I wouldn't do that, her eyes were big, I would run like hell.
Great.  What would I do!?

I soon forgot to worry about bears because we came across a beautiful wood bridge that looked like it went on forever.  We seemed to be in the middle of a forgotten forest.  Not one had passed us in over an hour.  Above us were gorgeous blue skies with streams of sunshine being filtered by yellow, red and orange leaves.  The sun came through the protective trees just enough to make us warm on our cool fall day. 

Our feet were crunching over leaves and sticks and stones as we came up to our bridge, our yellow brick road to home, or wherever it was we wanted to go.  We crossed the bridge despite the fact that every five or six planks we moved over, one was broken in half by water damage.  It was especially thrilling when a plank actually cracked underneath my foot.  After what seemed like a very long journey of praying that each piece of wood stay whole, we got to the end.  Looking around we realized we were right back where we had started our hike.  It was perfect.

On the way back to the car, a hawk soared maybe 10 feet above our heads.  It was kind of incredible.

Thanks, Melissa.

Friday, October 9

Chocolate Cake

I had already decided that yesterday and today would be my goof-off days.  Just relax and enjoy your freedom, I said to myself.  You deserve a break from harsh reality.  Next week you will dive into your future.  Next week you will find yourself.  Next week everything will fall into place.*  Well, it's hard to do nothing!

I woke up early**, visited with my cousin in the morning, made some networking attempts and checked Facebook more times than I am going to tell you about.***  With nothing left to do, I decided to bake a chocolate cake.  It came out amazing, tasted like heaven and other than that whole crumbling into pieces part, was perfect.  Which brings me to my analogy... 

Life is a chocolate cake. 

Just because it falls to pieces, does not mean it doesn't taste delicious.  Also, I whipped up some homemade frosting, and while applying this to my broken masses of chocolate, I discovered that it was able to hold the chunks together and in the end mask the ridges of the earthquake.**** 


Meanwhile, I no longer have co-workers to bring in baked goods for.  Anyone want some cake?  I use FedEx.

No, I don't blindly believe this.
** 9:30AM
*** I am still not telling how many times!
**** Me attempting to flip the cake onto a cooling rack
***** This is absolutely NOT what my cake looks like. Mine looks better******

****** Not true

Thursday, October 8


I used to rip my calendar's last month's pictures out and hang them in my cubicle.  A polar bear family, a lone wolf, an African sunset, a hot air balloon, palm trees in the tropics, anything that made me smile, and made my co-workers smile...  This is one of many tell tale signs I might not belong in corporate America.

Last night I was cleaning out my cube and I began to take down each picture and put it on my friend's desks as a last good-bye.  They were not there, as it was 6:30PM- marking the latest I have ever stayed at the office.

It was just me and Robinson, the afternoon janitor who comes by each day to empty our trash bins.  Sometimes he would leave me Mexican candies next to my keyboard, and more recently a post-it note with a red flower, (personally hand drawn), next to my mouse.  We always said hello, how are you and good-bye.  It was a nice relationship and a good way for me to end, and for him to start, our day.

When I told him it was my last day and he began to cry, it came as a bit of a shock to me.  His english is not perfect so he held up a finger and repeated "sorry, sorry" as he backed away and the tears spilled out. I did not know what to do.  He explained to me, in broken english, that he had been working there for 11 years and it was hard for him to see people come and go.  He said he considered me a friend and he is only human, so this makes him sad that I will not be there anymore.  I ended up giving him one of my calendar pictures, a red flower, because he is a friend.  I think we would all be surprised how many people we affect everyday and this was just another reminder for me.

At the end of the day, I knew I would be missed. 

By the way, today marks the official first day of the rest of my life.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 7

HR at the BAR

I went into my last Human Resources meeting with a pretty good attitude. I was pretty much fresh out of tears having already filled up two buckets that morning. So, I went in smiling. Lorie, my representative, was smiling as well and very kind. We soon found out we had grown up on the very same street, although 15 years apart. I even enjoyed this fact as she handed me my final packet to sign. We discussed her adorable shoes and how my co-workers and I were going out for a happy hour after work.
"Where are you having it?"
"At the new place down the road."
"Oh, I haven't checked it out yet..."
"Well, Lorie, you are more than welcome to join us" I laughed.
She laughed, too. "Oh, no, I don't want to give anyone a heart attack..I know my nickname is the grim reaper."
Hahaha. We both laughed and I told her to have a great night as I shut her office door behind me.

So, wasn't I surprised when Lorie walked into the bar. So was everyone else. She threw back one beer like a champion, said hello to everyone and then left for an early business dinner.

I actually enjoyed the fact that she came. (though I can't speak for everyone) It took a lot of guts. The whole thing was just another reminder to me that this situation is not easy for anyone. Not even the grim reaper.

Sunday, October 4

Water Cooler

Isn't it funny how you spend all your time looking for a job, only to get one and then immediately begin to say things like, "Is it Monday already?" and "The weekend just went by too quickly." "Always does, Joe, always does." (laughs by the water cooler) Joe is every co-worker you and I ever had, by the way.

Take a freaking vacation day, Joe. In the end no one is going to care that you slept til ten, splurged on a mocha frappuccino in lieu of your homemade brew, and finally found out what daylight looks like at 2 PM on a Tuesday. Not your boss, not your mother, not your neighbor and certainly not your dog who will take extra pleasure in a mid-day hike.

What they will notice, in the end, is that on Wednesday you have something exciting to say.

Think about what you have to say. Is it inspiring?

Take a day off, Joe. You can hang with me.

*Side note- After watching the movie, The Departed, tonight- This entire blog entry is written and should be read with a Boston accent. (Including this side note.) Go back and try it-Spice up your Monday.

Friday, October 2

Today is Friday!

Not that it matters... wahh wahhh.

Okay, I'm done being a Deb Downer!!

Today I am making a list.

1. Make a list

2. Exercise

3. Cook for friends/family

4. Find a job

5. Enjoy my time off

6. Volunteer

7. Chase the leaves

8. Visit my friends and family across the country, and close by.

Any other suggestions, guys??

I want to head down the right path.

Thursday, October 1

I Had a Beer at Lunch Today...

This probably does not sound so crazy to you, but I do not drink mid-work day on a regular basis. It makes me tired mostly, not to mention the act of "holding it together" when you are tipsy is incredibly hard. (Yes, I did mention one beer and tipsy in the same blog)

Of course, this is no regular day. Today Human Resources paid me a visit.

Oh, HR, thank you for stopping by. You never come to chat anymore. Have you been busy, HR, laying off my friends and planning out my death sentence? Oh, it must be so hard for you. Tell me all about it, HR.

Oh, you're right, it will be better to just read about it in this handy packet you gave me. Thanks so much for stopping by, HR.

So, there you have it. I'll be gone in a week. Drink up, friends, for it is time for a new beginning!

To be continued...