Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
51. I have had the good, the bad, and the ugly of jobs in my life. I'm glad at I'm at a "good" one right now.
52. My first job ever was the same as most teenage girls, I babysat. I babysat a little girl who's name I can't remember, but I remember her parents were named Robert and Roberta...
53. I also babysat Damian himself. A next door neighbor who was so wild that it's a wonder he didn't kill himself or anyone else during his childhood. Seriously, he was out of control.
54. I have since found out that Damian had entered the Army and is now an upstanding member of society, doing fairly well for himself. I'm glad to hear that, I always thought he'd end up in jail for arson.
55. Damian's father hired me one summer to help "clean" his house. I spent the better part of three months trying to find the floor in his office, which was buried under about 4 feet of paperwork. I never did reach ground level.
56. He was a college professor, a freakin' genius, but eccentric is putting it mildly. Still, I liked the guy.
57. My first real job, where taxes were actually taken out, was at McDonald's.
58. My boss at McDonald's was a little rat guy who everyone hated, but since he worked days and us "high school" kids worked nights, we didn't have to deal with him that much. We had a lot of fun working there.
59. After McDonald's I got a job working for a record store called Coconuts Music and Movies. I was a shift manager, and really enjoyed the perks of that job.
60. My cd collection is upwards of 500 cd's, but most of those are from all those years ago when I worked at the music store. Record label reps gave me a lot of free music while I worked there.
61. I quit that job when I found out my manager (another rat like little bastard) was keeping from his employees the truth that the store would be closing in a few weeks, and they'd all be out of a job. He had a bunch of college kids trying to pay tuition working for him, and I felt this was inconsiderate, so I told him to take my job and shove it.
62. That was the only time in my life that I quit a job without another job lined up.
63. The very next day I walked around the mall asking for applications and was hired on the spot at a book store.
64. I loved my job as shift supervisor at the bookstore, and boy, those perks were even better for a book lover like me.
65. My manager at the bookstore, is, to this day, one of my favorite bosses ever.
66. I kept that job through college, while working work-study jobs, and temp jobs during the summers.
67. One of my temp jobs was for a company that "scored" standardized tests for elementary and high schools throughout the country. Our job was to sit and read the responses to the "essay" portions of these tests and give them a "grade" based on a scale.
68. Besides being boring as hell, this was one of the most depressing jobs I ever held, because it was trully sad to see how undereducated some parts of our country are. When you can't distinguish a 9th grader's essay from a first grader's essay, you know something isn't quite right.
69. When the bookstore I worked for went out of business, I got a part time job at a lawfirm in Boston,where I was promised a full time position upon graduation.
70. I worked at that firm for about 2 years after graduation, doing a semi-paralegal, but mostly "office manager" type job.
71. There was a whole lot of controversy with that firm when half the lawyers and paralegals up and left in the middle of the night one night, taking their case files with them, and opening up a new firm.
72. I was not in that department, and was therefore, left behind. However, the day I came in to discover everyone had flown the coop, was also the day I was coming in to give my notice, because I had gotten a new job.
73. My boss at that firm was the coolest guy ever, and I've used him as a reference for every job I've had since. He keeps asking me to come back and work for him.
74. My next job was as a paralegal in a firm that represented mostly landlords and property management companies, and we handled all their eviction work.
75. Horrible as it sounds, I loved that job. Evicting people isn't so bad when you realize that their share of subsidized rent is about $8 a month, and they'd rather spend that on getting their nails done or buying designer jeans.
76. I had great relationships with our clients, and enjoyed how much responsibility this job offered me. But my boss was crazy with a capital C...she once threw a stapler across the room, missing me by mere inches, because there were no staples in it.
77. I lasted at that job for about 3 years before I realized that if I stayed any longer I was going to go crazy myself, so I quit.
78. My next job was as a paralegal and yet another Boston firm, but nothing very exciting ever happened at that job. I was mostly a glorified file clerk. A very overpaid, glorified file clerk.
79. I left that job both because I was bored silly, and because I didn't want to work in Boston anymore. That's when I came to "The Firm". ("The Firm" was the job I had when I wrote this post...I no longer work there, I now work as an executive assistant to the president of a credit union, a MUCH BETTER job).
80. At one point, about 2 years ago, The Firm almost went under, and more than half our work-force was laid off. If you haven't noticed, I've closed down 3 business already, and was afraid my curse had followed me here. (The music store, the book store, and the firm where half flew the coop). But thankfully, we're still here. (I was eventually laid off from my job because their financial troubles continued, but I just recently heard that they are still in business, and doing fairly well for themselves again).
81. I also had a direct sales job for about 3 years, working for The Body Shop at Home. I really loved that job, but quit a few years back, because I just don't have the networking capabilities needed for something like that anymore.
82. Now that I've completely bored you with my employment history, let's talk about something more fun. How about boys?
83. I was a late bloomer, not having my first boyfriend or kiss until I was in high school.
84. High school was tough for me, in a lot of ways, including "boys", but now that I look back on it I realize I actually had more fun than I realized I was having at the time.
85. I think I bloomed fully when I arrived in college, and was pretty popular with the guys all through that time.
86. I would honestly say I've been in love with three men in my life, although I think only one of them REALLY loved me back. Well, maybe two...maybe not.
87. I have now been single for at least four years. And by single I mean I could probably count the number of dates I've been on in that time on the fingers of one hand. (I've now been single for a lot longer than four years...let's not dwell on the exact numbers...lol)
88. I don't have a problem with that. (um...maybe a tiny little problem)
89. After my last break-up, I needed some time to focus on myself, and on becoming a better version of me, so I took what I called at the time a "self-imposed dating hiatus".
90. I didn't expect the hiatus to turn into a cancellation.
91. Life in the last few years has been wonderful to me, and I've rarely missed the drama that comes with dating and relationships.
92. But sometimes, I do.
93. The only regret I have about not being married yet, is that I really wanted to be a mother by the age of 30.
94. I wasn't ready to be a mother at 30.
95. I do hope to get married one day, and am ready to allow that whole dating drama to enter my life again...maybe.
96. I now say I want to be a mother by the age of 35. (I wasn't ready to be a mother at 35, I'm 35 now...)
97. I don't think I'll be ready to be a mother at 35 either. (nope)
98. But if I am, and I'm still single, I have every intention of seriously looking into adoption options. I've always wanted to adopt a child. (I've been thinking about this a lot lately)
99. Even if I'm married and have kids of my own, I will adopt a child. It's something I've always known I would do one day.
100. In the meantime, I love playing with other people's kids. And the best part is, you can give them back when diapers need changing, or scoldings need giving.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
2. Specifically, I was born in Luanda, capital city of Angola a country on the western coast of Africa.
3. Angola was a Portuguese colony at the time, and my parents both moved there as youngsters, met and were married there, and had me.
4. That last one wasn't really about me, but it was about my history so it counts.
5. I left Africa when I was 8 months old, for Portugal
6. I lived in Portugal until I was almost, but not quite, 10 years old.
7. While I lived in Portugal, we moved 9 times.
8. I have wonderful memories of my childhood in Portugal, and even though money was tight, I only remember ever being happy and thinking we had it all.
9. My brother was born when I was 9 years old and became the love of my young life.
10. To this day my brother and I have a bond like few siblings I know. I don't think we've ever had a "real" fight, and I love that even now, at 23 he still comes to me for advice and support. (he's 26 now, but the rest is true).
11. I'm really proud of the man my brother is finally growing up to be. (yep, more and more each day)
12. I left Portugal for the U.S. the day before my 10th birthday.
13. I became a U.S. citizen at the age of 17 (I think) because my parents took the citizenship test while my brother and I were still minors so we'd become citizens automatically.
14. I have now lived in this country about three times as long as I lived in Portugal.
15. I consider myself to be an American in every way that matters.
16. I think this country is flawed in many ways, and wish we'd do a better job of being Americans.
17. That said, I'm proud to be an American, love the freedoms and opportunities that this country has afforded me, and don't plan on ever living anywhere else.
18. However, I do have fantasies of retiring to some tropical beach somewhere in Mexico or Jamaica, and won't completely rule out that possibility.
19. Since moving to the U.S. I've moved 5 times, the first four within the same city, the last time to the next town over, about 5 minutes from my parents' house.
20. I live about 45 miles north of Boston.
21. I went to college in Boston, at Suffolk University.
22. Suffolk was a commuter school at the time, so I never had a "campus" college experience.
23. I don't have a problem with that.
24. My time at college was what "they" say high school should be. "The best four years of your life"...or something like that.
25. College was really an eye opening experience for me, I learned a lot about myself, about life, about others.
26. While in college, I went to school full time, worked full time, and still managed to have time for a pretty darn active social life.
27. I also managed to keep a GPA above a 3.5 the entire time I did the above.
28. My major in college was Communication and Journalism because I wanted to be a reporter or just any kind of writer when I "grew up".
29. I had a minor panic attack my junior year in college when I realized I'd never get a paying job doing the above, and I had way too much debt to risk it, so I added a paralegal minor when most other students were taking the "rocks for jocks" sorts of classes.
30. Suffolk is NOT a sports school, our most celebrated sport at the time was soccer, but the only one we all partipated in attending was intramural basketball. Which was HUGE and I loved going to see.
31. Therefore, I never experienced the "college" sports phenom that seems so widespread in this country.
32. So, most of our extracurricular activities involved more cerebral or artistic pursuits.
33. On that note, I joined the Forensics team my junior year in college. (Yep, along with adding a minor and working full time).
34. No, Forensics doesn't actually have anything to do with dead bodies and CSI investigations. It's just a fancy word for the Speech and Debate Teams
35. I was actually pretty good at this Speech stuff, and won several awards in my short time on the team.
36. With the Forensics team I was able to travel to several schools in the New England and New York area for competitions, and also to a national competition in Flagstaff, Arizona.
37. That trip to Arizona is pretty much when the travel bug bit me long and hard, and hasn't let go yet.
38. One of the speeches I delivered was an informative speech on Pez (yes, the candy). Go ahead, ask me anything about it's history, I can tell you.
39. From the time I was young my dad would tell me that I should become either a lawyer or a politician because of how much I loved to debate.
40. At one point I had aspirations of going to law school and becoming a hot shot Boston lawyer, litigating major cases like you see them do on Law and Order type shows.
41. I knew, however, that it's not exactly like that in the real world, so decided to work in a law firm as a paralegal for a while after college, to decide if that was in fact the world for me.
42. It is now 10 years later, I'm at my fourth law firm, and still working as a paralegal. Obviously, I decided against law school. (except now I don't work in the legal field at all anymore - I'm an executive assistant to the president of a credit union).
43. I'm extremely confident in that if I had chosen to go to law school, I would have done well and would be, in fact, working at some Boston firm, making good money.
44. But I'm even more confident that I made the right choice when I decided that I just didn't want the school debt to enter a career that would practically require me to give up any personal life I have in order to be successful. (AMEN, AMEN, AMEN)
45. I think it is extremely tough for a female to be taken seriously in several different professions, and law is one of those professions, and therefore, women have to work twice as hard as men, in order to be seen as the "bitches" they need to be to be taken seriously. I didn't want to deal with that crap.
46. Most lawyers I know, male or female, hate their jobs.(still true)
47. I won't tell you that being a paralegal was or is my dream job, but I actually enjoy what I do, and aside from my gripes here at The Firm, I like my job. (I wasn't exactly "lying" here, but I think I was in serious denial...I hated that freakin' job. My current job, however? I LOVE).
48. I especially like the fact that when I leave at the end of the day, I leave my job behind me. I don't take work home, I don't have to think about it until the next morning, and I can focus on the rest of my life. (I still love that and it is actually true of this job).
49. While at one point I thought I would be a "career driven" person, I've realized that my motivation to work has changed as I have gotten older. I'm now driven by the desire to have a good, happy, comfortable life. I work to live, I don't live to work. (yep)
50. I don't have a problem with that.
Friday, November 26, 2010
When I signed up for NaBloPoMo, I forgot the small detail that I spend the last weekend in November disconnected from technology. Completely unplugged. Away from the interwebs.
From today until , I will not be online. At All.
Thanks to the magic of “pre-publishing” blog posts, I plan to complete NaBloPoMo anyway, but as you read this, I’m already enjoying the disconnect from the world.
For some, the idea of spending an entire weekend away from the internet, television, radio, their cell phones, might be far too much to handle.
In the past, this was true for myself as well.
And truthfully, my cell phone will be with me this weekend. Just in case.
But let’s be honest…considering most of my immediate family will be involved working this youth retreat, and my closest friends will also be there with me…what purpose could I possibly have for technology, for the internet, for my cell phone?
The phone will remain in my bag and probably only be used as an alarm clock, to rise me out of bed on our WAY TOO EARLY mornings during the retreat weekend.
While in years past the idea of being “away” scared me some, today, I am excited for the opportunity to step away.
Each year, this weekend forces us (myself and those others involved) to hit PAUSE on our lives and focus on what truly matters. On our inner thoughts, on our God, and on love.
I return to the world exhausted, but fully recharged. Full of love, full of hope, full of the belief that I can do this, I can make it another day, week, month, year, and make a difference.
Sometimes, before you can plug back in and light the world, you need to take a moment to recharge your batteries…
Unplugged I leave you with this:
Even if only for a few hours, remove yourself from the outside influences of the world, and take some time to reflect. Pray, meditate, exercise, dream, sing, read, but do something you love, something that reminds you of the simple pleasures of the world. Do it alone, or with someone you love. Hug a friend, tell your family how much they matter to you.
Take the time…recharge your batteries.
The internet isn’t going anywhere. It’ll be there when you’re done.
Have a great weekend everyone.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
It’s Thanksgiving day in the good ol’ USA. For most of us this means family time (good or bad), football, and way too much food.
Across the nation we eat, complain about how much we ate, watch whatever game is on, and reminisce of Thanksgivings past.
Many people will take the latter part of the day to formulate their plan of attack for the next morning’s .
For some, perhaps way too many of our nation’s citizens, however, Thanksgiving day is just one more day to struggle in the cold, searching for a simple meal and warm shelter.
I ask that you remember those less fortunate than you on this (and every) day. When you’re about to blow up at a relative, remember those with no family; when you are stressing about the mashed potatoes not being “just right”, think of how blessed you are to be eating such a meal.
This post is not meant to depress or make any one of us feel guilty for what we have. Just the opposite, in fact.
BE AWARE, BE THANKFUL, BE BLESSED and don’t lose sight of the important things this holiday.
It is … for your blessings…and if you can, when it’s all said and done, GIVE BACK.
I’ll be spending my Thanksgiving with my family, eating, laughing, celebrating.
And , instead of hitting the sales, like I used to, I’ll be heading to a retreat center to help lead a group of teenagers through a youth retreat, hoping to guide them a little closer to God, and to offer them an alternative to the greed, ugliness, sadness and despair in the world.
For a professed shopaholic like myself, giving up Black Friday sales, which I used to call “The Shopping Olympics”, used to be a sacrifice. I find that now, I’m thankful. I’m thankful that I spend that time after Thanksgiving day away from the world, away from technology, away from retail, away from the news, and completely enveloped by God’s love, by my faith family and friends, and by the youth…our future.
I can’t think of a better way to give back, and to give Thanks.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
There’s something you should know about me.
I’m a HUGE Buffy The Vampire Slayer fan. HUGE.
When the show was on the air, in the ages before Tivo and Dvrs, anyone who knew me, knew you didn’t call my house between 8 and . Because that was Buffy time. And you didn’t interrupt my Buffy time.
I have watched every single episode of the show, and even stuck with the spinoff Angel to its bitter (and I do mean bitter) end.
I will be the first person to recognize a Buffy quote or a Buffy alum in another television show or movie (did you all catch Xander’s turn on Private Practice recently? WHOA, not such a cuddle-monkey in that!).
I still hold, to this day, the opinion that BTVS was one of the most witty, well written, campy television shows of all time.
And also, all this new Vampire craze? Has made me more than once wish Buffy would come out of retirement with her Mr. Pointy already.
But, we should be careful what we wish for. Because the latest news to hit the interwebs on the vampire front is that Warner Bros. are in fact going to produce a Buffy movie reboot. And really, with the surge of vampire popularity, this was to be expected, no?
However, this movie reboot does not include series creator (WHAT? Sacrilige!) or any of the shows actors, writers, producers, costume designers…okay, maybe I’m getting carried away.
The point is, this “reboot” won’t have any of the original Buffyverse inhabitants in it.
And a Buffyverse without ’s Buffy? Is simply not a Buffyverse at all.
Before anyone goes all “Well SMG wasn’t the original Buffy anyway”, yes, I realize Kristy Swanson originated the role in the movie with (gasp) Luke Perry by her side…
but, SMG carried (beautifully) the stake for 8 great seasons and I’m just not sure I can see anyone else in that role.
And who could ever replace Rupert Giles? Angel? Cordelia? And PLEASE tell me they’re not going to try and replace James Marster’s Spike, because that CANNOT be done. as the loveable and bumbly ? Or Allison Hannigan as geeky yet powerful witchy Willow?
And yet…and yet…as much as I believe it is just WRONG to take the Buffy out of the Buffyverse…I can’t help but wish for a well done, well casted, well written movie. Because as a true Buffy fan, a poorly written, poorly acted movie would be a stain on an empire that deserves better.
SO I find myself torn, wanting to banish this so called movie from it’s existence before it even gets made, or wanting to cheer on those involved to make it the best Buffy movie ever…because NOBODY wants a “” on their hands here…
Monday, November 22, 2010
This week’s Popinjay prompt is Disorganized: –adjective
functioning without adequate order, systemization, or planning; uncoordinated: a woefully disorganized enterprise.
careless or undisciplined; sloppy: too disorganized a person to be an agreeable roommate.
Let’s be honest, this word pretty much describes me at any one point and time. It’s not that I’m a sloppy person, or that I can’t keep a certain decorum of order. In fact, with my OCD tendencies, I actually like order.
It’s just that I’m too busy all the time.
It’s just that I have too many interests.
It’s just that I can’t seem to say no to anything, that I constantly get excited about new projects, that I’m always digging into something new.
And when I do that, I tend to leave things unfinished. I tend to be too busy to maintain that very order I’m so fond of.
And therefore, I live in a constant state of limbo, or more specifically, disorganization.
But see, I keep lists, and even in my clutter and “mess”, it’s a sort of “organized confusion”. All my piles and bunches make sense to me.
But to a complete stranger, it just looks like a mess.
This is a pile in my home office of things I have to donate, give to friends, etc.
Currently, however, I’m in the process of decluttering my house, and my life. Had I taken a picture of my office a few months ago, you would have gotten a sneak peak into my world of chaos…however, I took it up on myself to go through EVERY ITEM I own, and have seriously reduced the content in that room. I also added some bookshelves, some magazine racks, some further organization odds and ends…and…
Somehow, even in my organization, I’ve still created piles of chaos.
Once again, however, it all makes sense to me…and yet, tonight, when I went to take pictures of my home office I found that for once...in my disorganized life...my office actually looks pretty darn good.
Except for this overflowing bookshelf:
And my new bookshelves with magazine holders and all:
Oh, and that black thing in the front of that picture? That's an ANCIENT television I have to donate to my church...but it's too heavy for me to carry alone, so it sits RIGHT THERE in the middle of my office, until I can get someone to come over and help me take it to the church...
Stop by Michelle's and see how disorganized everyone else is...go on, it'll make you feel better about your own messes...
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Cooked. Baked. Done. Spent.
Exhausted. Stressed. Overwhelmed.
At the end of your rope.
All out of steam.
Nothing left to give.
In essence…burned out.
Ever feel like this? I know we all do, at one point or another, we all reach a level of too much to do in too little time and we just can’t seem to catch our breath long enough to recharge our batteries.
I am about 12 days away from this point.
No, seriously, I can time it exactly.
Because every year, around this time, is hectic, insane, overwhelmingly busy for me.
See, every year, on Thanksgiving weekend, I help to run a youth retreat. This is a pretty involved retreat, with weeks and weeks of prep work leading up to the weekend itself.
I have been in meetings since late summer, and this coming Sunday is our final prep meeting.
Next week, is crunch time. Along with my work’s monthly Board meeting, and Thanksgiving, I will also be finalizing all the little odds and ends necessary before heading off to the retreat center on Friday afternoon.
The weekend itself will be exhausting, very little sleep will be had, and emotions will likely run high all weekend long.
And on Monday, November 29th, exactly 11 days from today…I will collapse.
But here’s the thing…I wouldn’t change it for the world. Every year around this time I ask myself “why do I do this to myself?” The month of November is crazy enough as it is, with the approaching holidays, and to throw all this other stuff into it…well, we must be crazy.
We are crazy. But there is no better feeling than to know that our sacrifice is for the best cause there is. For our youth and for our faith. How could we not be glad in that?
On that Monday, when I am feeling the burn out, when I am sleeping in (because I’ve learned to take that Monday of work after many years of doing this), recovering, attempting to recharge my batteries before the craziness of Christmas ensues…I will also be feeling fulfilled. Enlightened. Blessed. Loved.
The stress, the anxiety, the feeling of overwhelmedness is real. But so is the anticipation, the excitement and the amazing feeling of knowing that this is the absolute right thing to do with my energy, my time, my everything.
This post is a response to one of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop Prompts.