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My Life is an Open Book

English: Icon of Jesus Christ

English: Icon of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daily Prompt: Your Life, the Book

From a famous writer or celebrity, to a blogger or someone close to you — who would you like to be your biographer?

I thought about this long and hard before I came to the realization that there could only be ONE person to write my biography, indeed anyone’s biography.  Not everyone will agree with me and might even take exception; but here it is and is my decision.  The person I would want to write my biography is Jesus Christ.  Think about it. There is no one out there more qualified.  He not only knows my public person, but he knows the inside person. He knows my life from start to finish.  He not only knows all of my actions, but all of my inactions.  he knows my motivation, my fears, and I could go on and on.  Who is more compassionate to look upon my soul and find goodness, find value there?

I am Roman Catholic, as you might know if you’ve delved a bit further into my blog other than the current post. But, I ask questions.  Though I consider myself conservative, I am not a mindless sheep, following the institution.  I am mostly conservative, meaning that what I do believe is right, I will not waver, and some of those beliefs are sternly against the popular opinions of today.  This post is not intended for airing those here and now; but I’m sure you can find posts in my archives on those subjects.

So I guess I wanted to say with that is that Jesus is my go-to man when I seek the truth, especially about myself. I do not want my biography to just be about the positives, but about everything–the good, the bad and the ugly because they are all what makes me, me; and I embrace all of it.  The thing here is that you don’t have to like this post or believe what I believe.  This is what I believe and when it comes down do it, I believe that at the end of the world, whether literal or figurative, Jesus will sit in judgement and will write all of our stories….

Whoa… Make room on the shelf~!

I am Alive With the Sound of Music

Okay, so I couldn’t resist this one.  Daily. Prompt.

What role does music play in your life?

I am not a musician, though I did learn how to play the guitar later in life, which I think is so cool, but I’ll talk more about that.  Music literally saved my life.  That belief is so embedded in me that it’s a part of me.  I grew up in a depression.  I know that now.  In my teens I had serious thoughts of suicide.  I had a pretty vivid imagination and I would fantasize exactly how it would happen.  As a pre-teen, I’d fantasize about near-death situations usually by writing scripts for favorite TV shows.  One was the Wild Wild West, starring Robert Conrad.  This was the TV show that the recently made movie was based upon.  It was high tech for it’s time, which was cool, and I might be able to say it was sort of Steampunk because of that… hmmm that’s a thought.

the wild wild west-jim west-robert conrad-cowboys-western-tv-vintage-retro-television-train

The other was a show about rescue personnel, a helicopter and one guy had a rescue dog, a German Shepherd.  Don’t remember the name, but I’d type out the scripts on my grandfather’s old Underwood typewriter… I mean OLD.  One of those that had the exposed keys…..


Typing on this thing was a bitch but I loved it.  I got to really know the machine and could fix it, tweak it… I made it work for me.  When I really got going, the carriage would fly across and I’d promptly hit the carriage return.  To this day, computers have a “Return” button, well, it used to be called Carriage Return.  It was a lever at the upper left on the carriage.  The carriage was the roller and the thing that held the roller in place.  The paper would be inserted at the top, in back of the roller and you would roll it down, around and into place for typing.  At the top, the carriage return was just employed and the paper is back to the starting position, ready for typing another line… Anyway, I see I’ve digressed again… with pics to boot.

So you should have grasped the point by now that I was depressed and suicidal, or at least had suicidal thoughts as a teenager.  I am alive to this day because of Barry Manilow‘s music.   I would sing along constantly.  His music touched my soul in such a way that I felt that someone out there understood me.  All along, the range of my voice was on the lower end, but I can also sing higher now.  I know almost all of his songs by heart and every time I sing something, I feel that little tear, meaning tear drop, in my heart.  I am so grateful for that, for his music.  I’m sure that he already knows what his music has done for this world, but I’d somehow like for him to know how deeply it/he has touched me.  Mr. Manilow, you saved this life.

I can’t end this post in such a dark, non-presence of light.  All music touches me.  Growing up, and I hated it, my dad would play classical and yes, the old country music.  Now, I can say that I love almost any kind of music and I owe that to my dad.  My dad country music and my mom the top hits of the 50’s and her 45’s.  When I was very young and had the chicken pox, my parents got me a Close N Play phonograph and gave me quite an assortment of 45’s from their own collections, mainly from the 50’s and early 60’s.  I learned the lyrics to those by closing and playing all day long until I got all the words written down.  I’m sure my mother appreciated that… HA.  Oh, it was because of a wacky song or pseudo song called, “The Flying Saucer,” by Dickie Goodman that I came to love those story narratives with parts of songs inserted to fill out the story.  Buchanan and Goodman

Through music, I started writing lyrics to songs, and then poetry… or maybe visa versa.  Sad though because I’d never post them up on the internet because I know that someone will steal it for their own.

In my later 30’s I learned how to play the guitar from a friend.  It was a trade off.  I stayed with him while he recuperated from surgery and he taught me the chord of the guitar.  He’d play melody and I played rhythm.  I enjoyed that, but because of a lack of understanding, and math, I could never learn to read music.  That makes me sad, but I like that I can play by ear.  Even playing just the chords touches me deep inside; and just knowing that I can do it, makes me really happy.   I sang in our church choir for a few years and that was very satisfying as I could sing in front of people… and they actually liked it!

So in closing, what music means to me is memories, both good and bad… but mostly good.  Through music I can relive my past, know exactly where I came from and not be very bummed out about it.

Thanks for listening.

Sweet Sixteen… 43 Years in the Making

Life is ComplicatedWhen you were 16, what did you think your life would look like? Does it look like that? Is that a good thing?

Wow.  Something for me to think about.  In a way, my life has turned out exactly as I thought it would at sixteen, but the downside is that it took me just about 30 years to get here.

My life is a good one, but it definitely has not shaped up as I had envisioned way back when.  Growing up in the seventies did not provide hope to this sheltered, painfully shy girl.  I grew up with the understanding that all girls get married and stay home to raise a family, period.  Not one thought rested on the idea of going to college and having a career because back then the only career open to women was to be a secretary… or so I thought.  Career Day in high school didn’t have anything directed toward us girls.  I loved science, but was woefully inept in anything but the very basics in math.  I just did not get it and it was my understanding that to be able to do anything in science, you needed to be good in the higher math which was calculus, chemistry, geometry, ALGEBRA… Well, it was hard work, but I did eventually pass algebra and I needed a tutor to just pass geometry.  I just didn’t get it and that dashed my hopes of ever pursuing a career in the sciences.  So, with my illustrious science career raking in the coals, I turned my attention to the Domestic Engineer, meaning wife and mother to some very lucky guy… heh.

There was just one problem.  I was not high on the list of conquest for any male my age. Those suckers!  But I digress.  I did work at a series of clerical jobs, none of which I could deem “career worthy,” yet I managed to learn a lot during those years.  Lessons that I would carry with me throughout my life.  Well, to make a life long story short, at the age of 42, I finally met and married my husband and we now have a seven year old boy who, I’m sure, is the love of both of our lives… outside of each other, that is.  I have the life now that I had envisioned for myself–34 years later!   Ironically enough, I am a stay-at-home mom, but sadly looking for work at this time.  Back in the seventies it was the accepted norm… and expected that women would have their babies and stay home.  Now, after a couple of decades of women keeping their jobs after having babies, more women are returning back to the old ways of staying home with their broods.

I actually love being home.  My son is going to school full-time and I do have the whole day to myself, basically, to do whatever I choose whether it be cleaning or just writing this blog.  I volunteer at different places and last week I had that extra time to drive quite a ways to teach seniors how to crochet.  If I had a nine to five, I definitely could not do that.  I value my time and love to give it to volunteer where needed.  I spend a lot of time doing research on autism since our son was diagnosed with it when he was six years old.  However, I am in a position right now where we need me to go to back to work.  I find myself at actually another fork in the road, mentally.  I am loath to the idea for many reasons.  One being I feel I need to be home for the “just in case” something happens in school and I need to be called.  Huh?  Yeah, this is not something that would happen on a regular basis, let alone a tremendous long shot of it happening even once.  Another reason is that I am hating the corporate world right now and the devalued status of employees now-a-days, in general.  Everyone is dispensable.  Companies are almost looking for a reason to fire you almost as soon as they hire them.  Get the job done for cheaper, and no employee is safe from being cut from the ranks.  So this is the frame of mind I have right now concerning prospective employers.  On the other side of the coin, I really need to chip in right now and find a job that brings in some money and we also desperately need medical insurance.  This month, I’ve been putting in applications, taking online tests and what have .  I don’t have the luxury right now to take a part-time job.  DH is  Still, waiting for his degree from which the graduation is listed as Jan. 20th 2013 on the university’s registrars’ web page.  I know that we have not heard anything from the university, yet they have our money for graduation for over a semester now.  grrrr, another tangent.

As I look at all these words, I realize that no matter how confident I think that I am, I have fear in me.  My view of the working world out there is that they carry standards too high for me to live up to.  A lot has changed since I was a young person out there in the real working world.  A world that was and still is a very intimidating place.  Inside me I know that I have a lot to give, but freak out while wondering what an employer will expect of me now, in this day and age where youth is celebrated over the older, more experienced person… especially a woman.  I feel pressured to present myself in the youngest possible light and that is not so easy anymore.  I have more aches and pains than when I was in my 20’s, 30’s, heck even 40’s.  I have more outside-the-job responsibilities than I had back then, too.  I now have a school aged child that needs me at home when he gets here.  Back then, I could win an employer over with my receptivity of staying later than my quitting time.  I always stayed until I got the job done.  I just don’t have that freedom any longer.  Ah so, I’ll have to close.  I can ruminate about this all day, but I’ve got to let this go at some point.

Have a great day and keep warm!

Daily Prompt: You Asked for it…

Describe your last attempt to learn something that did not come easily to you.

Okay, this doesn’t really answer the question above, but I’m keeping it here.  I suppose, though, that one must learn this as much as any other skill out there… so here goes:

The thing that is very hard for me to do is find a job.  No matter what, no matter when.  I’ve always had a hard time going through the process. I am the proverbial “Jack of all trades, master of none.”   I have tons of experience, but I’ve not been working for almost seven years, not counting a few months working as a part-time cashier at Shoprite.  I have a pretty decent working history, except for those 7 years, and varied experience, got along with everyone, always gave 120%, loyal, a worker, a rule person…. that is to say I never abused breaks and always finished the current task before even thinking about going home.  Wouldn’t you want to hire me?  Sadly folks, these are not desirable traits anymore.  Nobody wants to see these things listed on a resume.  They are now assumed.  A lot of experience and skills are assumed now, like working with computers and programs.  It used to be great to have this kind of experience on a resume, but that was back in the 70’s and 80’s.  Man I feel so freaking old right now.

My first experience with computers was back when I worked for the US Army in the Transportation Department at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, NY.   We transported all personal belongings, from freight to contents of whole houses.  I learned computer basics and transferred a whole paper-based file system onto a database and got it to automatically send out various letters to clients.  They offered me the position of supervisor of the “whole” department, but I was the only one in that department because the two other people who trained with me bailed.  Long story, short my ex-husband pressured me to leave there and go to work in the city, Manhattan.  It was the worst decision I made, but then he had made it for me and I suffered for it.  From having job security to going from one job to another because nothing fit right.  Ah, experience, right?

Anyway, over the years I’ve done lots of things and the one I loved the most, and had room for growth was customer service in the billing dept. at a Labcorp call center, but that was THE most stressful job I ever had, and certainly can not do that again.  That was my first experience of feeling betrayed by an employer.  They led us on, talked about a new space being built for us, for years.  Then it finally got built and nine months later, we all got canned.  They dissolved our department and God knows, probably outsourced it to foreign country for all I know.

Anyway, that is part of my problem.  I value myself a lot.  It’s ingrained in me to be loyal to a company, to basically give myself to an employer and do whatever they want me to do for that paycheck.  I mean, no questions asked.  I am the person who ALWAYS has the “why” word hanging off the tip of my lips, otherwise.  My first marriage broke up precisely because I could not follow the whims of my ex without knowing the whys, and without believing in his views.  That upset the man-child and he divorced me.  Well, I was never put into that exact situation professionally, but I’m a company person.  Back in the day, that meant something.  Now, they want your blood.  Companies today do not value their employees at all.  Everyone is indispensable.  One time I got fired because of my weight.  After having the job well over 2 years, I was brought in and was told that my appearance did not convey their image.  I was the receptionist at an office building, but not in the lobby… WAY back out of public view.  The parent company was a PARKING LOT/GARAGE company.  I wish I had the balls I have now, but back then.  Instead, I was crushed and vaporized out of that office after leaving a flood of tears all over the desk.  <spit>

I am finding it really hard to put myself out there now.  Not because of my body weight but because I don’t want to give my valuable time to just anyone.  They have to deserve me, you know?  I just don’t believe I’ll find a good situation where I’ll be valued.  I guess that’s it right there.  Of course, I still will need to find a job, and the best paying one with benefits that I can…. but it’s making me cry inside.  What am I going to have to do to get something?  Oh, my friends try to help and they send me job opportunities they see around, but mostly, I need medical benefits and, well, good money.  I also need to work around DH’s work schedule… well, that’s when he gets one.

Something else, is that I need a local job.  I need to be available for my child and need to be home for him after school.  Living in Elizabeth, NJ does not help that one bit.  First and foremost, I have two strikes against me before I even fling myself into the game.  I am not bilingual. and I need to be home well before a normal job would let their people out.  Also, maybe the third strike is that I would need to leave by a certain time, without the option of staying later if needed.  Oh how they love to keep you working past quitting time.

Oh shit.  I’m quite aware that this should not be my mental state while trying to woo a prospective employer, but this is what it is.  Personally, I would love to find a great situation, contributing my talents, skills and creativity to getting a job done.   I love that I just wrote quite a few paragraphs about why I shouldn’t “apply” myself… HA.  I have a lot of fear of the unknown.  Fear that I’m not good enough anymore.  Fear that I was never any good and maybe I was deluding myself and exaggerating my value.  Oh my God.  Yeah, I should just trust in Him to get me a  job…. a Good one.

So yeah.  The hardest thing I ever had to do, and I don’t do it nearly as well as I should is finding a job.

A WordPress Exercise

No lights?  Light some candles.

No lights? Light some candles.

Okay, so I thought I could answer prompt questions thrown out by WordPress to keep blogging, even if it’s just a little bit.  We’ll see, usually my “little” blurbs grow into monstrosities.  First one up:

Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?

I jumped on this question right away because I can honestly say that I’m not happy with the initial way I react to crisis situations, or at least some of them.  What comes to mind right away is Hurricane Sandy.  We live in Elizabeth, NJ and had lost power for 10 days.  We ONLY lost power and had no flooding in the basement to speak of.  Immediately, I felt isolated in the dark and a bit scared when the power didn’t go back on right away.  We are used to the power going off, but never had gone more than a few hours without it coming back on.

After the fear (I never got over the isolation), I started to get angry.  Angry because I was hearing about everyone else getting power back and we were not slated to get ours back any time soon.  The feeling isolation was profound and something I had not felt since after my divorce and was forced to take up residence in a succession of rooms.  After the storm, no power, no phone.  I had a cell phone, but could not make calls.  I needed to connect with the outside world, my family, but I couldn’t.  Eventually, I discovered that I could do text messages and texted my family to relay our situation, inquire of theirs and hoping that I would hear back from them.

Forever tuned to NJ101.5, this radio was my lifeline to the outside world.

Forever tuned to NJ101.5, this radio was my lifeline to the outside world.

We had a radio and I latched onto that all day and night to hear news about the storm.  The station I listened to was NJ101.5 and at the time just didn’t buy into the “just be grateful” speech.  I wanted my power back, but really?  I wanted my internet back.  I feel ashamed, but that’s what it was.  I resented not having my internet.  I really don’t know why.  When I look at the things I do when online, I can’t see what is so important.  Also, our whole routine was disrupted, mainly our son was not in school for 10. whole. days.   That’s a LOT of days.

What refused to come into my sphere of any importance were the people who were REALLY affected.  Those who lost family and friends, who lost their homes, clothes and possessions…..lost memories.  Those who had no idea where their next meal was coming from.   Traumatic stuff that forces a realistic perspective.  I had my family and that really should have been enough for me.  It was hanging off my peripheral consciousness, but I was too hyped up.  Much too much caught up in the stories I was listening to on the radio and applying them to myself.

I can only pray that I have learned from this.  I am not going to “say” that I’ve learned from this because how many times do we say that, then the next time the so called definitive lesson eludes us and we jump right back into that trench.  A good thing to do to keep it into the forefront is to just keep thinking about it.  Think about the petty way that I reacted to this situation.  I say “situation” because it wasn’t a real tangible crisis.  We managed.  We kept warm.  We took hot showers…. That’s right, because we didn’t flood, our hot water heater was not affected.   On the coldest night, we all slept in the same bed.  HA… there I was thinking that DH and I were going to keep our seven year old warm and he was the one who kept us warm!  We had gas, so the stove was available, but after the food was gone two days later, we had to drive to other towns to get our food every day.  Was that so horrible?  Looking back, I cannot think that it was.

I really have to learn to stop, breath, and think things through.  I’m such a baby sometimes, which brings my thoughts back to someone in my past who told me just about as much and that I needed some growing up to do.  I guess I will never stop growing up and that is somewhat of a comfort.  My challenge to myself is to start being more mindful of not just my external environment, but my internal environment.

If after this, you’d like to read more about the details of our storm situation, you can go to the links below:

Day Nine Post Sandy

Who Turned on That Light

Frankenstorm Sandy Continues

Halloween and Frankenstorm Sandy

Winding Down the Days Post Sandy

Stormy Reflections

Imperfectly Perfect

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