Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The New Kids are coming...The New Kids are coming...


A bit more randomness today, because well...because THE NEW KIDS are coming. That's NKOTB to you, and I received a nice little "tour announcement" email from them (okay fine, from their website, and yes, I signed up for what?), and they'll be coming to Boston in September, and tickets go on sale very soon, and YES, I will be buying some. The New Kids are coming! I feel like a 13 year old all over again, and I love it.

Also, I don't know if I've mentioned, but I'm doing a couple of "part-time" hours at The Firm for the next few weeks, to help them transition to life without me, and to get me some extra cash while I look for a job, and today, as I sit here, in my office, after M.I.A. has been laid off as well, and...yet...Whisper Wednesday is in full effect. She's come by for a "visit" and they sit there, doing their thing. Too funny.

Is anyone watching American Idol out there? I have my recaps over at Cafe Karina weekly (though tonight's results recap will be late as I have a meeting to go to during the show), but can we just say David Cook was AWESOME last night?

Speaking of television shows, I'm not ashamed to admit that I've found a total guilty pleasure in watching Gossip Girl. That show is so delightfully sinful that I really don't think teenagers should be watching it, and I'm pretty sure if I was a mother of a teenager, I might not want them to watch it...but boy do I enjoy it. Is that wrong?

The sun is out today, thankfully, so my spirits are up again. I love me some sunshine.

And now I really must go do something work related, since I do come in here to actually work the few hours I am here.

UPDATED TO ADD: I have a job interview on Friday at 1PM. I'm very excited as it's for a position 5 minutes from my house. Fingers crossed and all that that it'll be a good match for me and they'll love me and hire me and all that good stuff. ;-)

Happy Wednesday's always Friday for me! ;-)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Go ahead, reread that title up there...okay, don't say I didn't warn you.

The weather is downright depressing right now. It is rainy, gloomy and cold. RAW really. Here I sit with a brand new pedicure and my pretty toes are HIDING in fuzzy socks. It's freakin' cold folks.

I had the most fantastic of weekends. Saturday was a BFF sort of day, started the day off going for pedis. with my BFF Double D, she treated as a belated birthday present, and then lunch downtown in an outdoor cafe, because the weather was still gorgeous. Then I headed to mom's to help her with something and hang out for a bit. Some "girl time" with mom, my ultimate BFF. Left there to go to Shopaholic's to help her put together some IKEA bookshelves. Ladies and gents, IKEA "DIY" furniture is NOT user friendly, and I have the big, golf-ball sized bruise on my arm to prove it. But BFF Shopaholic was grateful for my help and treated me to dinner. Then I came home, grabbed my mail and had a very inspirational and beautiful "you will be okay, a better job is just around the corner" card from my BFF "Traveler" (who currently lives in Florida). Seriously, I have some of the best friends in the world.

Sunday was an equally positive day, but in a completely different direction. My uncle was graduating from a class he's been taking to become a "Certified Spiritual Director", and so my brother and I attended the ceremony, at a local church. Then everyone headed over to my uncle's house to celebrate his graduation, as well as "Braniac's" ninth birthday. There was a whole group of us "young adults" (do I still qualify as a young adult? hmmm), folks in our 20's and 30's, sitting around talking "religion and spirituality" for hours. It was different, but very inspiring.

I started off the week feeling positive and full of hope. The weather has managed to beat that down a little bit, but then rainy days always do that to me. It'll pass.

I'm still doing the job search thing, and I'm still not really coming up with any solid leads, but for some reason I'm at peace with it. There's really nothing I can do besides search and apply, and that's what I'm doing. In the meantime, I'm appreciating and enjoying the time off work, because truth is, I really needed some time off. I've been working nonstop for a really long time, and I think I needed a break. So, I'm trying to take advantage while I can.

HEY, I'm still looking for crazy New Kids On The Block fans to meet up with in NYC on May 16th...I want to share my "Today Show" experience with someone...anyone going to be in town?

Do you Twitter? Because I've decided that it's my new addiction of choice. If you do, you must let me know!

I know my blog has been kind of "blah" lately, but I've got some really fun posts in the works, things will pick up here soon, I promise.

And um...yeah, that's it...what did I say? Random.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fun Monday - Walk with me...

Fun Monday today is being hosted over at "The Lurchers". She wanted to come along with us on our favorite walk. Unfortunately, as seems to be the case with me lately, I didn't find out what the theme was until it was ALMOST too I'm limited on my photos.

I actually have "two" favorite walk spots. My favorite of late is the walk I've been taking with Candid Mama (also known as Rose now in the blogospere) almost daily. We start off at mama's house, heading down the LONG driveway that many mistake for a road:

We then take a long walk around the neighborhood, and just last week we were commenting on how beautiful the trees along the way are this year. But alas, neither of us had our cameras with us, as we are walking for exercise, and then this weekend it's actually been a bit cold and rainy, so we weren't able to take our walks.

But my favorite part about the walk isn't exactly "where" we walk, it's the fact that mom and I have 30 minutes or so to ourselves every day. We chat about work (or my lack of it), about good things, bad things, funny and silly things, and sometimes "I'm so mad" things. All the while getting our blood pumping and our hearts beating faster. It's become the favorite part of my days.

But, if you want photos, I'll share some of my OTHER favorite walk. This one is one I take with Shopaholic now and again, right by the Merrimack River in my town. I really enjoy this walk, not only for the company (which is excellent) but also because we are really lucky to have such a great place to walk so close to home...don't you think?
By the way, all this talk about "Twittering" going on around the blogosphere reminded me that I signed up for Twitter months ago, and then never did anything with it. So, I've revived my account. Do you Twitter? Look me up if you do, I'm "CandidK" over there, or you can just click over on the left sidebar of my blog to follow me.
Well, I'm going back to my job searching. Have a great Monday everyone!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lazy Sunday

Got up late-ish today (is 9:30AM late?) and have been blog-hopping and just puttering around most of the morning. Stopped over at A Spot Of T's and found this fun little blog-thing. I need to go get showered and dressed, so this was just what I needed for my Sunday post:

Your Slogan Should Be

Karina. Not for Everyone.

Have a great Sunday everyone...see you all tomorrow.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Photo Hunt #15 - Funny/Unique Signs

I wanted to run out and get photos of a sign I drive by occasionally when out shopping. Every week they change it to the funniest most random sayings. For example, a few weeks ago, it was something having to do with Diarrhea (seriously)...and I don't even know what the business is that puts these signs up, but they have nothing to do with diarrhea...random. However, I haven't had time to go there this past week, so instead I give you a few older ones that I've posted before on my blog.

This first one was on the wall of a restaurant in New York. I spiced the photo up a bit, and can't find the original, so you get this:

This next one is no longer there, but used to be at one of the LONGEST red lights in history, on the way to the local mall:

A close-up:
That's it, that's all I've got today. Go over to TNChick's for other hunters, an be sure to send her some love...she's having a tough time this week.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Follow-Up Friday - Whew...I made it through the week...

Well, this was a crazy week here at Casa Karina. I wanted to try and keep blogging everyday, since I signed up for Blog 365 t the beginning of this year, an I just barely managed to do so this week. But I haven't missed a day yet. Not that that's saying much considering some of the content of my posts of late. But it's been helpful to me to disconnect from all the nuttyness that is my life currently and come in here and post for a bit.

For Saturday's Photo Hunt theme of Thirteen, I shared a photo of myself along with my Jr. High BFF, "B", at the tender age of 13. In all our feathered hair and bangs glory. I laughed so much when I found this photo a while back, that I was glad to have an opportunity to share it with you all. If you haven't laughed seen it yet, be sure to pop over.

I almost didn't participate in Fun Monday this week because I didn't think I could find the time, but I'm so glad I decided to post a "quickie" which turned into a great list of things, and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Wednesday I got a bit "deep" and spiritual with the help of Wayne Dyer...and that kind of made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside too.

I didn't do a Thursday Thirteen yesterday either, so I just sort of "waxed poetic" (or not) about life in general.

I also sadly dropped out of NaPoWriMo on Creative Karina. I was doing so well with inspiration that I was writing a poem a day, and having great fun participating in National Poetry Writing Month, but the muse was seriously overcrowded in my brain this week, so she decided to take a vacation. Can't say that Iblame her.

I did, however, managed to do my American Idol recap at Cafe Karina, since reality television has been my "escape" for much of this week. Thank goodness for those crazy folks who put themselves on tv for or entertainment!

I have slowly, but surely, been catching up on visiting all my favorite bloggers, since I miss you all so much. I'm not quite caught up yet, but I'm getting there!

And in case you are wondering, the job search is moving along...slowly, but moving along. I've applied for quite a few jobs, and am hopeful that some phone calls and interviews will be forthcoming soon. I'm trying not to get discouraged every time the phone rings at it's someone I know (not someone offering me a job)...fingers crossed that'll change soon.

I'll be posting a "Unique/Funny Sign" for Photo Hunter tomorrow, and uh...does anyone know who's hosting Fun Monday next week? Cuz I have no idea, and I'd like to sign up.

Have a great weekend y'all!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


No Thursday Thirteen today...I'm just not up to coming up with a list of 13 anythings. One would think that with unemployment would come all this free time for blogging and stuff. But one would be wrong. Between the job search, the part time hours I'm putting in at work, and God only knows what else is taking up all my extra hours...I find I have less time than ever to blog or visit my favorite blogs. I've got serious withdrawal here. I have no idea what's going on in the lives of some of my favorite bloggers, and keep thinking I'll have a chance to catch up, but instead I fall farther and farther behind.

I blame it partly on the amazing weather we've been having this week. You see, once I'm done spending some time on the job search, and putting in my part time hours at work, and going to my various meetings with unemployment, or placement agencies, or whatever that particular day's schedule requires...I just want to be outside. I've been going for walks daily with Candid Mama, which is great, healthy and fun. And then, since I'm already at Mom's house, I figure I might as well stay for dinner...and before you know it it is 8 or 9 PM and I've been out all day.

By the time I do make it home, I have no energy left to get on the computer, so I crash on the couch with my mindless television instead.

But I shouldn't complain, really, because mother nature has blessed me with fantastic weather on this forced vacation of mine, so it's really a good thing, right?

So, no Thursday Thirteen today. Just some random thoughts, and I'm heading back to work/job searching/whatever it is I do all day now. ;-)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

When you give...

I've always been an advocate for volunteering your time and energy to good causes. I've talked about how I volunteer with my chuch every 6 weeks or so in feeding the poor at the local Y, and everyone knows that I've been a "Big Sister" through Big Brother Big Sister to Lil' K for about seven years now. But it's the little things too, and I always try to make a difference in other people's lives in a positive way. Whether it's helping them move, sending a "hello" card when I know someone is feeling down, or just picking up the phone and listening, these things matter, and I'm always happy to do them. I don't give with expectations to receive anything in return, and I don't do it so I can make myself look or even feel like I'm a better person. I just do it because it makes me feel good.

Yesterday, while watching the Ellen show, it was reaffirmed for me that you really do "GET" more than you give, when you give. She had Dr. Wayne Dyer on, and if you're not familiar with this man, you simply MUST google him, listen to some of his meditation cd's or audio books, or pick up one of his books. He is this insanely inspirational man, and I love everything he has to say. I've read a few of his books, and have one of his meditation cds, and plan on reading some more of his stuff in the future as well. Anyway on Ellen yesterday he was talking about "giving".

He talked about a study "they" (whoever the proverbial "they" is) conducted regarding seratonin levels in people how the act of receiving, giving and WITNESSING giving raises the levels of seratonin in people. He basically said that they studied these levels in folks while they were in the process of doing good deeds for others, and their seratonin levels would rise significantly as they were doing it. They also would study the levels of those "receiving" the gesture, and of course, their levels would also rise significantly.

But the most interesing part of the study is that they studied the levels in people who were just "around" witnessing these acts, and THEIR levels ALSO increased significantly. He said something about how if we could all just do some good deeds every day, the world would really be a "better, happier" place, and we could learn to restructure our brains, and get folks off anti-depressants and stuff, because we could raise our levels just by being.

I thought this was so interesting on so many different levels. But the thing that struck me about it most was how true it rang for me. Since getting laid-off from my job, I've gone through a mix of emotions, but lately, I've been on a serious UP. I just feel at peace, and okay with the situation, and I haven't been able to really explain why it is that I've been in such a good mood. But I have also been helping several other people with their own issues. Feeding the poor, helping my friend move, helping Candid Mama with her resume and stuff related to her own job search...things that benefit ME as they are benefitting others.

I always knew I felt good when I did stuff for others, but I had no idea it was an actual physical reaction. How about that?

Earth Day 2008

Today is Earth Day...did you hug a tree?

Tree HUG!!

Photo credit: MartinDurant on Photobucket.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Not so Fun Monday

Actually, that headline is deceiving. I'm having a wonderful day so far. It's Patriot's Day, which here in Massachusetts means it's a holiday for most businesses, and also Boston Marathon Day. It is also my first official "unemployment" day, since The Firm is open today.

I have spent the morning re-arranging my home office, to make it more conducive for me to actually sit IN my home office while I look for jobs in the coming weeks or so. I moved my desk in front of my window, so I can sit and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine while I work.

I am not quite done with the office yet, but decided I should take a break to focus on some actual job searching. Which I am about to do as soon as I hit "publish" on this post.

Which means that I simply don't have the time to put together a complete Fun Monday post. However, I really love the idea that Southern Doll came up with this week,so I wanted to at least attempt to participate.

So, here's the assignment: What have you done in your life that was worth doing? I want to know the moments in your life that you hope will be the ones to pass through your mind when your time comes. I hope that doesn't sound too morbid. This doesn't necessarily have to be items you have checked off your Bucket List, it can be those small moments that made you smile, or the time you got that huge promotion you deserved, or the first time your baby smiled at you out of pure joy. I want to know all the moments, big and small, that make life sweet! If you don't already have a running list of these in your mind, you should! These moments help you remember how much your life is worth living, and we all deserve to enjoy it.
And here are some real quickies from me:
1. Becoming a Big Sister to Lil' K
2. Buying my condo
3. Graduating college
4. Working in Boston
5. Leaving my job in Boston to work closer to home and focus on the "rest" of my life.
6. Spending as much time with my grandma as I did before she was gone.
7. Traveling to all the places I went to before I had a mortgage
8. Changing the relationship with my parents from that of a child to that of a friend.
9. Building the amazing friendships I have.
10. Letting go of the so-called friendships that were only destroying me little by little.
11. Learning to love myself.
12. Accepting that single does not mean lonely.
13. Allowing myself to fall in love with "The Soulmate", even when I knew in the end, he'd break my heart.
Wow, for a quick list, I went on and on, didn't I? It seems once I started, I kept thinking of new things. I'm sure I could come up with about a zillion more, but I have job searching to do.
OH, real quick though...last week I asked if anyone knew what the "pop culture" reference was for my title for Fun Moday "Five by Five". Nobody got it, but I bet most of you will do a "duh, I knew that!" as soon as I reveal it. "Five by Five" was what Faith the Vampire Slayer would say to let everyone know she was okay on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". "Five by Five, B." ;-) Yep, I'm a geek.
Have a great Monday everyone.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Feeding my soul

Had a wonderful weekend, just the stuff I needed to recharge the batteries for the upcoming week. On Saturday I spent the morning and early afternoon with a group of friends from my church preparing food and then feeding the poor at the local YMCA. From there I met up with Shoppaholic and helped her move the last of her stuff into her new apartment.

A day spent helping others did wonders to help me gain some perspective about what's really important in life.

It may also have exposed me to a potential job prospect...but I'll find out more about that this week.

Tomorrow begins the job hunt in earnest. My first day of unemployment kicks off on Patriot's Day which is a holiday locally, but since The Firm will actually be open, it does feel somewhat like I'm officially unemployed. At the moment, since I have faith that I will find a new job soon, I'm just enjoying it for what it is...a much needed vacation.

I'll be back tomorrow with some Fun Monday stuff.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Photo Hunt #15 - Thirteen

A photo of my best friend in Jr. High School "B" and yours truly at 13 years old:

Happy Hunting

Friday, April 18, 2008

Follow Up Friday - The calm after the storm

Oh, what a week it's been. Let's recap, shall we? (By the way, I responded to all comments individually at their respective posts).

In Saturday's Photo Hunt I showed you all a glass sculpture that sits in the middle of the "mall" at Mohegan Sun Casino. Many of you asked if it was a Dale Chihuly piece. Well, I had no idea, but it turns out that in fact, it is. Here's some more information on it, if you're interested. I think I may have found a new favorite artist...his stuff is just amazing.

Sunday I had a bit of a meltdown. Tough as it was that day, I think it was MUCH needed in order for me to "cleanse" the soul and start all over again. Once again, thank you so very much to all of you for your sweet words of encouragement. I don't think any of you will ever know what a bright spot you all are when I'm having "one of those" days.

Fun Monday was the funnest indeed. It seems everyone loved my new "interview" shoes, which I bought to go with my new "interview" suit. I do love them! ;-) Nobody got the "five by five" reference...but I'm not revealing the answer yet...I'll save it for this coming Fun Monday. Anyone out there taking any guesses? I'll give a hint, it's a television show reference.

On Wednesday I decided to change the subject a bit, sick as I was of dwelling on this job loss issue. It turned into a much more inspired post than I had originally planned. Funny how those things happen. Anyway, Frigga wanted the recipe for the Strawberry Passion martini I had at dinner Tuesday night. I wanted to oblige girl, but I can't find the recipe anywhere, and don't remember what was in it. I will tell you, however, that I had it at The Outback Steakhouse and it's their "Featured" drink right now. It's not, however, on their website anywhere.

Oh, I also threw out there on Wednesday that I want to go see NKOTB live on the Today Show on May 16th, and would love if anyone wants to meet up in NYC that day, we could go together, and act like teenage girls. I'm totally not kidding, so any takers?

On Yesterday's Thursday Thirteen I shared some of the photos I took at the New England Aquarium on Saturday, including something rarely seen here...a photo of myself (with the girls). It wasn't on purpose that the reflection of the flash is right above my face...but I was kind of glad for the distraction...hahaha...I've got even more aquarium photos, so I'll share those in the future.

And today I sit here, at work, on my last official day. I will actually be in, sort of "part-time" for the next few weeks, or until I find a job, whichever comes first. They're doing what they can to help me out with some extra cash, and in the meantime I'm going to help them tie up any loose ends I can. It's been really strange cleaning out my office, carrying bags and boxes home. You wouldn't believe the amount of crap one accumulates in five years at a job. Sigh...

Still, as sad as this day could be, I'm in good spirits. The job search is going quite slowly, which is scary, but next week I'll be able to dedicate some serious time to it, so hopefully something will turn up. And the good news is that since I'm on a "forced" vacation next week, I'll be able to catch up on all my favorite blogs.

Tomorrow I'm feeding the poor with my church group, AND helping Shoppaholic move into her new apartment, should be a busy day, but a feel good one too.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

There's other fish in the sea - Thursday Thirteen

M&M and I took Brainiac and Lil'K to the New England Aquarium on Saturday. It was an outing to celebrate Lil'K's 15th birthday. For those who don't know, Lil'K is my "lil' sis" through Big Brother Big Sister. We were "matched" seven years ago, and in that time, she has obviously become a part of my family. Lil' K was 8, Brainiac was 2 when they met, and they took to each other like little girls at that age will do. They are very much like cousins now, and although they don't see each other quite as often anymore, whenever they are together, that bond is apparent, and it is a joy for both M&M and I to watch our "little girls" together. Saturday was no different. The girls had a blast, and M&M and I got to act like giggly little girls as well, while checking out all the magnificent creatures the ocean has to offer. Below are just SOME of the photos I took:

1. Right outside, greeting us as we walked in, was this little guy:

I thought he was an otter, but was informed by Brainiac that he was, in fact, a seal. Either way, he was adorable and friendly.

2. The Jellyfish exhibit was fascinating and I couldn't take my eyes off these critters:

3. These guys were pretty cool too:

4. This little guy brought out the pinstrip suit, as well as the eye make-up for the occasion:

5. His friend chose to go with a more "70's" inspired look, however:

6. This dude was not feeling all that sociable, but I think that was probably for the best...

We were all a little bit freaked out by him, even if he was behind glass.

7. The seadragons gave us a bit of a dance routine to watch:

8. And Myrtle the Turtle (really her name), came right on over to say hello, managing to scare the living daylights out of the girls when she snuck up on them against the glass.
Myrtle weighs over 540 lbs., and is about 70 years old. I think she looks pretty good for her age, don't you?

9. This little guy looked like a miniature next to Myrtle. He's coming up for air here, and we were all kind of ga-ga over him.

10. Ever watch Fraggle Rock? Remember that talking rock, or pile of trash, or whatever it was in the back yard?

I think this fish was doing an impersonation of it.

11. This pretty lady in her colorful spring dress gave me my favorite shot of the day:

No, not the above shot...this one:

Well, hello there!

13. And finally, in a rare moment of self-disclosure, here's a photo of M&M, yours truly, Lil' K and Brainiac at the end of a very long day:
Hope you enjoyed your trip through the aquarium with us. Have a great Thursday everyone.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Not talking about it

I need a change of scenery, so today we don't talk about "it" in here. Okay? I want to go back to my carefree days of old, and talk about mindless (or perhaps ever more mindful) matters.

I want to talk about how amazing the first day of sunshine and warmth feels after a cold and dreary winter in New England. Stepping outside to find that you don't need your jacket after all, and you can drive with the windows down, air out the house on a Saturday afternoon and start moving the patio furniture out to your balcony. Leaving work at the end of the day with the sun still high in the sky, and plenty of daylight left to take that walk that invigorates your spirit. OH how I love Spring.

I want to talk about how incredibly fun the aquarium can be, even if you've been there a million times before, because every time you see something new, and the creatures of the oceans are magnificent, and amazing and mesmerizing. And how, when you take your "lil' sis", who is now 15 and a teenager too cool for most things, and at the end of the day she says "I want to live here" with a wide grin on her face, because she loved it THAT much, your heart swells and you know what heaven feels like...just a little bit. And you get all these amazing photos, (some of which I will share in my TT tomorrow).

I want to talk about how great you feel when you find yourself writing poetry every day again. When for years writer's block had set in so comfortably that you thought you might never write again. Now you find yourself able to create magic with words again, and marvel at the things your imagination can invent. And how comforting it is to know you are still "a writer" after all.

I want to talk about the fact that I need to find someone who is willing to get up with me at the crack of dawn on May 16th, in New York City, to go stand with all the other maniacs at the Today Show, so we can watch the first New Kids on the Block concert in over 15 years, and act like kids again. Anyone up for it? Because this crazy "Block-head" wants to go, and needs to find a partner in crime.

I want to talk about how much I've missed visiting all your blogs, and how I'm grateful that even though I haven't been able to give much blog love recently, you all still show up here and offer your support, your friendship and daily "hellos" which brighten up my days considerably. As I'm beginning to not feel as overwhelmed, I'm slowly, but surely, catching up on all your blogs and all that you have been up to, and realizing how much I miss reading up on you.

I want to talk about the FANTASTIC Strawberry Passion martini I had last night at The Firm's farewell dinner. It was like drinking a strawberry dunked in heaven it was so good. Oh yes, and dinner was delicious as well, and despite the "sad" occasion, we had a lovely time and I realized how much I really do appreciate these folks.

And I want to talk about you. What have you been up to? Anything exciting going on? Regale me with your stories.

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Better days

Feeling much better today. The meltdown on Sunday was probably much needed and well overdue. Once I had what Joy very accurately coins the "ugly cry", I was ready to pick back up and start all over again.

Spent Sunday afternoon with friends, and allowed myself a lazy Sunday evening with a glass of wine or two, deciding to leave the job search for Monday, with a clearer head.

Yesterday I did go meet with a placement agency, hopefully to get the ball rolling on getting some interviews. I also applied for a job on my own, one I'm actually genuinely interested in finding out more about. I wrote a kick-ass cover letter, if I do say so myself, so hopefully an interview will follow.

Spent some time last evening refocusing my faith, and discovering a new (new to me) method of prayer. In the next few weeks I will be digging a bit into my spirituality, and it couldn't have come at a better time. God does have impecable timing though, doesn't he?

Today I'm feeling much more at peace. I'm motivated, I'm focused, and I'm optimistic. And I have the best bloggy friends, and the sun is shining. Things are looking up.

Drove by a movie set this morning on my way to work. Hollywood has come knocking in little ol' Lowell, Massachusetts. Tina Fey, Rob Lowe and Jennifer Garner are in town filming their new movie. No, I didn't glimpse any of them, but I did get stuck in the traffic their movie set caused. Ah well.

Tonight is the big "goodbye" dinner at The Firm. Hey, they're feeding me, so I'm going.

Hope you are all having a wonderful Tuesday. Thank you for being the best bloggy friends a girl could ask for.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Five by Five - Fun Monday

This week's Fun Monday is being hosted by the Nekked Lizards. I am extremely grateful to them for choosing an assignment that didn't require a whole lot of thought and/or work, because otherwise I probably wouldn't have been able to participate. But the assignment was thus: Show five pictures, describe each in five words. Any five pictures, any five words. Sounds good to me.
Every woman needs good shoes.

And a little black dress.

Diamond's ARE girl's best friend.

Mother nature has great crayons.

Happy Fifteenth Birthday Lil' K.

I really want to keep to the five words, but FYI "Diamond" is my brother's (and/or my parents') adorable dog.

Also, bonus points to anyone who can identify the pop culture reference in today's title.

Oh yeah, and head on over to Tales of a Southern Doll, she's hosting next week.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


The fine line between "keeping it together" and having a total meltdown was breached today. It doesn't take very much to trigger these moments when you're trying so hard to keep it all together, and today, it was my internet crapping out on me right in the middle of me trying to apply for jobs online.

I fell off the tightrope and landed hard...thank God fo the safety net that is my mom, who was there to listen to me sob histerically for fifteen minutes or so.

I'm better now, and as you can see the internet is back up (after a 2 hour call to tech support), so I'm off for some job searching.

Not sure I'll manage Fun Monday this week, but we'll see how the job search goes in the next few hours.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Photo Hunt #14 - Twisted

I could have used these photos for last week's "Glass" themed photo-hunter, but for some reason chose not to, and I'm kind of glad I did, because this sculpture (which sits in the middle of the "Mall" at Mohegan Sun) fits today's theme just as well.

Happy Hunting.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Playing Hookie - Follow Up Friday

Shhhh, don't tell anyone at The Firm, but I'm not really sick today like they think I am. See, I had promised my mom I would take her to Mohegan Sun tonight to watch Richard Marx in concert, and I need to save all my vacation days so I can get paid for them after my layoff, so a sick day it had to be. Oh yes, I did say Richard Marx. Yep, THAT Richard Marx. He's actually performing in a FREE concert tonight at the casino, and mom was a HUGE fan of his music back in the day. So, I'm off in a bit, but I thought I'd do a quick Follow-Up Friday since with the whole job situation I didn't really do well on replying to comments this week.

I really just want to thank you all for all your kind words of encouragement, and offers to help, and positive thoughts in the last week. This whole job loss thing is a hell of a lot more overwhelming than I could ever have imagined it, but having so many people out in the universe sending me positive vibes has certainly made it a lot easier to bare. So thanks.

In looking over my posts this past week I realize that I'm turning it into "all about the lay-off" and I certainly don't want that to happen, so I've got some non-job related stuff coming up next week. However, a good thing about this lay-off is that it will give me plenty of blog fodder in the coming weeks, if not months or years. See, life as it was with the current job was not "boring" but it was kind of...routine. Things are certainly about to change though.

Can you imagine the blog fodder I'll have simply by going on job interviews? And then, with a new job, comes a whole new slew of characters to blog about, doesn't it? And if I end up having to "return" to working in Boston, as much as I'm dreading the commute and long hours, life should certainly get more interesting. I hated the commute, but I've said more than once in the past five years how much I miss working in the city, the hustle and bustle and all that.

Yes ladies and gents, there will be some interesting material coming up for sure.

Okay, well, I have to get out of here, mom and I (and dad's coming along too) are hitting the road in about an hour, and I have to go get ready.

Tune in tomorrow for a "Twisted" photo hunt. And the Nekked Lizards are hosting a truly FUN Monday I'm looking forward to participating in.

And NaPoWriMo is still going strong over on my Creative Karina blog, if you feel so inclined.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #50 - You're Fired!

No, I wasn't fired. But that was a much catchier title than "You're laid off", you know? And besides, it has pretty much the same emotional impact. As in, "Holy crap, now what?" And that was just one of the thoughts that ran through my mind when I received the news last Friday that as of NEXT Friday, I'll be jobless. I have had a job of some form or another non-stop since the age of 16. I've never been unemployed since then. I find a new job before I quit the old one, even if I am miserable at my current position. That's just the way it is. So this, seeing my future with no set job ahead? FREAKING ME OUT.

Here are thirteen other thoughts that have gone through my mind since I received the news:

1. How will I pay my mortgage? Am I going to lose my house? Damn it, I was thisclose to wiping out all my debt too. How much of a setback is this going to be?

2. Well, I do need a vacation.

3. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit...(sorry mom, desperate times call for desperate language).

4. I wonder if I can figure out a way to live off unemployment for a while and stay home and work on the next great American novel?

5. Holy crap, I'm going to be destitute.

6. This is a blessing in disguise, I'm gravely underpaid anyway, so now I'll go earn what I deserve.

7. I can't live off unemployment, who the hell am I kidding? I'll love my house. That's not an option, get it together Karina!

8. Maybe I can find a fun new challenging job, something that will have me excited about learning new things and stuff.

9. Oh, I really don't want to have to go work in Boston again and add that commute to my life...damn, I thought I was done with that insane lifestyle.

10. Working in Boston again could really be a whole lot of fun. I hated the commute, but I loved that crazy lifestyle. I met a lot of great people, hey, maybe I'll even meet a man or two...or ten... WHAT? It could happen.

11. Man, the job market sucks, there's nothing out there, I'm never going to find a job. And UGH, I hate job interviews.

12. Hey, I get to go out and buy a really kick-ass interview suit, so I can look and feel like a million bucks. Because if you feel good, you look good, and you project the right attitude and that'll get me a good job. That and my 11 years experience in this business.

13. No more Whisper Wednesdays!!!

And oh, I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Reality Bites

I've hit a new stage in my "job loss" grieving process today. I started with shock, moved fairly quickly to denial, where I stayed for a bit. From there I landed on a bit of depression, which brought about a certain amount of complacency. Then yesterday I finally stumbled upon motivation, and determination.
Today, however, I've started creeping up a bit on panic. I've come close to freaking out a few times, but have managed to reel it in, take a deep breath, and focus.
But it's taken pretty much all my energy to do so, so I'm left with nothing left to blog about...instead, I direct you HERE...I'm doing NaPoWriMo (which is National Poetry Writing Month) and have written a poem every day so far this month...would love for you to go on over and read some of them.
I'll be back tomorrow with a Thursday Thirteen.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

It's All About Choices

Today, I want to talk to you about Attitude. About the choices we make each day about how we will face the world. I think that decision is probably the most telling piece of our personality. Don't you? This is going to be a long post, because I'm a blabber grab a cup of coffee or tea, or whatever...then tell me what you think.

Here's where I'm coming from with all of this. You all know I was laid off on Friday, and it certainly came as a shock that's still reverberating in a new way each day. I've got some challenges ahead of me for sure, and I don't doubt things will get harder before they get easier. I'm hiding behind a curtain of denial, but it is a sheer curtain, I'm aware of what's on the other side, I just don't want to look at with a clear view.

I've decided to face this misfortune with a bit of humor, a lot of positive energy, and the occasional martini. And yes, some of it is false, but it is in that faux-happiness that I manage to get out of bed in the morning and function enough to plan my next step. It is a very thin line between reality and depression and panic, and I am walking that line daily. So, if I choose to focus only on the positive, and make light of the situation, that's what it takes to keep me on the right side of the line.

My friends, and that statement most definitely includes those of you reading this, because you have shown me an incredible amount of support and friendship through this, have for the most part stayed on that side of the line with me. I've received positive reinforcement at every turn. "You will find an even better job", "Someone like you will be hired before you know it", "This is a blessing in disguise", etc. etc. I've also received offers for assistance, virtual and real hugs, and proposals for the different types of martinis I should be sampling at this time.

And have no doubt that each and every one of those messages has gone straight to my heart, and filled it, and helped to keep me on that tight rope I'm walking.

I've chosen to tackle this head on, but with a bit of perhaps unrealistic optimism. Yes, the job market sucks, but until the moment I absolutely have to panic, I refuse to.

It's all about choices, and I choose to think of the best case scenario. And most people seem to get this, and not only support me in it, but even be a bit impressed by my response. I'm handling it well, I'm told. I don't know, but I'm handling it the only way I know how.

And yet, I've been taken aback by the response of one individual in my life. A person who I consider an extremely close friend, and who during this time has repeatedly taken a fatalistic attitude about my situation. From the moment I told her, I was faced with negativity. She has said everything from "The job market sucks, you'll have a really hard time finding a job" to "You can't live off unemployment and can't afford health insurance and won't be able to do it". Yesterday she informed me that when she recently was looking for a job, she sent out over 40 resumes and only received one call back. (Mind you she found a job in the matter of a week or two, so I'm not really sure how that adds up).

I'm sure she doesn't mean to...well...I'm not really sure what she "means" to do, but that attitude is certainly not going to help me any. I realize that it is a friend's job to offer up reality in small doses. I'm okay with that, I don't need friends who only paint me pretty pictures and tell me everything will always be alright. But there's a huge difference between small doses of reality, and smacking me in the face with an end of the world scenario. Not helpful. Not welcome. Not necessary. I'm highly capable of building my own destruction up in my mind. Trust me, all those negative thoughts? They've been at the back of my mind since the moment I learned my fate. But I've done a good job at keeping them at bay, and would like to continue to do so as long as possible.

You telling me I'm going to be destitute and lose my house (in so many words) is NOT going to help me any.

A long time ago I had a "woe is me" friend. You know that friend. The one who gets a headache and immediately thinks she'll die. The one who can turn a flat tire into the worst disaster to ever happen to any one person in this millenium. She drained me daily. Negativity, much like positivity, is highly contagious, and after a while, she sucked the energy right out of my life. I made a decision that I couldn't be friends with her any longer, and have since focused on surrounding myself with people who at least attempt a positive attitude on life. Life is much too short to spend your days surrounded by complaints and misery. I won't do it, and I'd hate for this to mark the end of another valued friendship.

I've decided to keep my "employment" (or lack thereof) discussions to a minimum with this individual. It is bothering me that at a time when she could step up and offer her friendship, she is incapable of doing so, but hopefully we can get past this. But still, its left a bad taste in my mouth. Am I wrong in expecting a different type of support from her?

What do you think?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Attack of the Teen Idols - Fun Monday

Before we jump into Fun Monday, I just wanted to take a moment and thank everyone who stopped by over the weekend to offer words of support after I announced that I lost my job on Friday. THANK YOU. I posted a more detailed account of the whole situation yesterday, if you're curious.

Okay, now, to:

Fun Monday this week is being hosted by Jo Beaufoix. The challenge we were issued couldn't have come at a more apropos time. The challenge?

"I want to know about your first ‘celebrity’ crush. You know, the one you fancied from that band, or that film, or who read the news, or who won Gold at the Olympics.Did you have their pictures on your wall or in your locker? Did you dress like them, style or colour your hair like them, follow them, meet them, marry them? (It could happen.) Photos of THEM would be good, photos of YOU at the time you liked them would be even better. Also, if you have time, I’d like to know whether they had any influence over your life, the person you became, or if they were just an embarrassing blip you would kind of rather forget about.”

Well, if you read my blog at all, then it should come as no surprise that I could have gone one of two ways with this. I could have waxed poetic about my love for Corey Haim, who was my first real celebrity crush. But I've already devoted at least two posts to my dear Corey.

Or, I could have gone with my other crush, the one that last through my most impressionable teen years, and the one I've n0t-so-secretly kept into adulthood. The one I was telling you about just last week. Yes, we'll go with that one. None other, of course, than Donnie Wahlberg of New Kids on the Block fame.

Donnie then:Donnie now (ish):

Yep, still hot.

I was a faithful Donnie fan from day one, and never wavered from my choice of the band's resident bad boy as my favorite member of the original boy band. Once the band split up, and they all went their own ways, my love for Donnie never disappeared, it just went into hibernation for a bit. But when Mr. Wahlberg entered the world of acting my dedication to him returned, and I've watched practically everything he's been in, except for those creepy "Saw" movies...Even Donnie can't get me to watch those. Well, you know...unless he wants to watch them with me..uh...WHAT? It could happen.

Back to reality here folks...I want to answer some more of Jo's questions, she asked if we dressed like them: No, but we "Blockheads" had our uniforms of t-shirts, buttons, and denim jackets with their names and pictures stitched right into them. Followed them: No, because I did not have the means, but, along with my two cousins PM and M&M, we created our own fan club for them, we had 100's of pen pals with whom we exchanged photos and posters and stories about them, and I even met other NKOTB fans from as far as Germany, all because of our love for the boys. Met them? Not then, and I have never had the chance to meet Donnie, but I did meet Joey McIntyre about 10 years ago, when he was doing the play "Tic Tic Boom", and he was a very pleasant and gracious.

Did he have an influence over my life or on the person I became? I could say no, because in a general sense, no, he didn't. But in a smaller sense, yes, he and the rest of the New Kids absolutely did. The height of their fame was during a prime time in my life, therefore, a lot fo my most powerful memories from that time include them in some way or another. I have fantastic memories of people I met, places I went, and experiences I lived that happened solely because of my love for The New without a doubt that shaped me. In another small way, Donnie influenced me in a way I realized only recently...being the "bad boy" of the band, he was my first "bad boy". He wasn't the last. This propensity to fall for the "bad boy" could definitely explain why I'm still single, so one could say it's all his fault. Or not.

Jo also wantes us to share photos of "US" at that time...I've actually shared these before, and really, should be too ashamed to share them again, could I not, she asked so nicely...

(That would be yours truly in the hammer pants, some boy whose face I've sort of disguised because I no longer know him, and my cousins M&M and PM, with my "wall o' New Kids" behind us. You know you're jealous).

So there you have it, my celebrity crush. Oh, and in case you're wondering, unlike Jo, I have no shame about this crush, and I DO plan on going to see them perform live now that they have reunited. Call it what you want, but just the feeling of nostalgia that seeing the five of them together again has brought up in me is worth it. I leave you with this:

Go to Jo's to check out what other Teen Idols had the Fun Mondayers dreaming of their wedding days.

And be sure to visit the Nekked Lizards, they are hosting next week.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A little bit more about the job loss

I want to thank each and every one of you for your kind words, offers of help, and just for generally reminding me why I love blogging. The outpouring of support and positive words I've received from all my readers has been amazing, and I find myself constantly saying "wow, there are some amazing people in this world, and I'm blessed to blog with some of the best of them". Thank you.

If you're just tuning in, I lost my job on Friday. Although the economy has sucked for a long time, and I was well aware that finances at The Firm were not doing so great, I had simply no idea how bad things truly were, and I was absolutely blindsided by the news on Friday. The shock came in waves of anger, sadness, and panic. I have been employed, non-stop, since I turned 16 years old. With the exception of the odd vacations, I have never "not worked" since that time. As much as I bitch and moan about how I wish I was independently wealthy and didn't need to work for a living, I don't know how to "not work". Unemployment has just never been an option for me, and I have always been the sort of person who, regardless of how bad a job may have been, always secured a new job before I quit another. The one time I quit a job on the spot, in the heat of a particularly nasty moment, I was working retail, and went to the mall that very same day, walked into every single retail store asking if they were hiring, and left the mall employed that very same day. I don't know how to be unemployed. The idea of not having an income is so overwhelming that I can't focus on it any longer than the amount of time it took me to write this sentence without breaking into a sweat.

As you all know, I am single. As you all probably also know, I own my own condo. This means I am SOLELY responsible for paying my mortgage, putting food on my table, paying the utility bills, insurance, and all other expenses of life. I do not have a secondary income, I do not have a fall back plan. And because I have been seriously underpaid at my current...uh...previous job, I do not have a savings account. That panic rising in is monumental if I allow it to peek through.

The details, in a nutshell: The Firm is already severly short staffed, with two attorneys, one paralegal (yours truly), a part time receptionist, an useless office manager (really no bitterness there...ha), the bosses' wife, who does not take a paycheck, the bosses' daughter who "works" one day a week, and the bosses' brother, who does the cleaning after hours. That's it folks, no bells and whistles on that operation. This week The Boss told his daughter next week would be her last week, he also told his brother the same thing. The receptionist will receive her notice on Monday, because she was out sick on Friday. (She will actually find out today because I plan on calling her to give her the head's up, but she's young and has another full time job, so I'm certain she'll be fine). And then there was me. I was given two week's notice on Friday. I will work the next two weeks, and then get my two week's vacation pay. And then I'm done. There is no money for a severance package, there really is no money for much of anything, and in fact, I highly doubt they'll be able to keep The Firm open much longer. Things are dire. And in case you're wondering, yes, the Nazi, the useless office manager, is keeping her job. Supposedly, she's cuttin down to part time, but I won't even go there...she's the only portion of this equation that angers me.

The Boss is and has been the best boss I've had to date. As far as lawyers go, the guy is one in a million, making me feel like a vital part of the operation, and knowing how to say not only "please and thank you", but also "good job" and "we couldn't do it without you". And yet, now they'll have to, won't they? I hold no hard feelings toward him, in fact, feel sorry for him, because this is his life's work, about to fall apart. And I know how seriously he genuinely cares for me, not just as an employee, but sort of as another one of his "kids". When I tell you he shed tears as he was telling me of the situation, I kid you not. His wife, as well, sobbed as we talked about it. We are very much a "family" and that is perhaps why this sucks as much as it does. This is the longest I've ever worked at a job, and it wasn't because the money was good.

I mention being seriously underpaid...folks, I haven't seen a raise in 3 years. But I enjoyed my job, and was willing to sacrifice the extra money for the peace of mind. Even if "whisper wednesdays" got to me.

But that's the background. Here's where we stand now: I have approximately one month's worth of paychecks left before panic truly sets in. I cannot afford to go on unemployment alone, so I will be working on my resume today, and going out to buy an interview suit. I will be looking for a job that will pay me, likely, about 50% more than what my current salary is. Hold on, let me say that again...50% more. Of course, that's what with my level of experience I should be getting paid, but in today's economy, it's likely that I'll have to settle for less...still, less than 50 will likely still be at least 25% more than I make now.

So now you're saying "Why the hell didn't you leave your job earlier Karina?" I know, I know. But as much as I love shoe shopping, money has just never been a determining factor for me. I'm more about peace of mind, and this job offered me more of that than any other job I've ever had. I was willing to sacrifice the paycheck size for that. But now that I have no choice, let's focus on the big bucks, shall we?

Anyway, long story short long, this is likely a blessing in disguise. As much as it sucks today, I'm sure in the end it'll bring better financial security for me, new experiences, and my circle of "people" I associate with on a daily basis was getting really secluded, so new people will enter my life. Hey, maybe "I'll meet a guy". (Said in that way that my married friends say everytime I leave the house, as if that should be my sole goal for going out in public). But hey, you never know. (smirk)

I'm hoping to hold off the panic for a few weeks at least, and focus on action instead. If you stayed with me all the way through this insanely long post...thank you. I think I just needed to get it all down, and out of my own head. Now I must go get dressed, because I have a power suit to go buy.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Photo Hunt #13 - Glass

The Photo Hunter theme this week is glass. I immediately thought of this:
How is that glass, you ask? It looks like wood, I know...but look closer:

My collection of shot glasses that I've collected from all the places I've travelled to. Thanks for stopping in.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The bad economy hits home

Follow-up Friday is being pre-empted this week. Instead we bring you breaking news from The Firm. In a nutshell, yours trully has just been told that her position is being eliminated. Yes folks, I've just gotten laid off. I have about two weeks left of paychecks before I have to figure out exactly how my mortage is getting paid next month.

I'm still in a bit of denial and shock and haven't completely processed the magnitude of this situation. It wasn't a completely unexpected turn of events, I knew things were dire at The Firm. But it was certainly a lot sooner than I expected, and I was under the impression we were turning things around. I was OBVIOUSLY mistaken.

I will post more about this at a later time, but I really don't have the state of mind or the energy to do it now...I'm sort of just sitting at my desk, staring at my computer, trying not to throw up right now.

Anyone up for martinis tonight? You'll have to treat though, I have a mortgage to pay and no income.

I wonder how much I can sell my shoe collection for?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Back to Africa - Thursday Thirteen #49

Last week in my Fun Monday post, I alluded to the fact that I was born in Africa. That little nugget of information seemed to spark some interest with my readers, so, as promised (although a bit later than originally intended) here is the story of how I came to be birthed in a handy little Thursday Thirteen format:

1. Let's start with a bit of a history lesson. Don't worry, I'll keep it short and non-boring. This:
is Africa, with itty bitty Portugal above it. Okay, yes, that's geography, not history, we'll get to the history in a moment. This:

Is Angola. And up on the left coast, is Luanda, the capital of Angola (and the city I was born in). Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, onto the history. Angola was at one point a Portuguese colony. Back in the days when Portugal actually had some holdings and some power and influence...those days are gone. But, that's neither here nor there. In those days, a whole slew of Portuguese citizens relocated to Angola.

2. Among those folks, were my parents. My mom, Candid Mama, who was about 10 or 12 years old at the time (she'll correct me on this, I'm sure), with her family.
3. And my dad, who I think was slightly older when he moved there, with his family...I think. Though, I know he was in the military, so maybe he went on his own...I really need to sharpen the facts on their stories, but I'll let mom tell you those in her own time.

4. My parents tell tales of the paradise Luanda was in those days. (please click on the photo to be taken to the Flickr page for the incredible photographer who took this and many other shots of Luanda): The fun they had, the people they met, the beaches, the nightclubs, the lifestyle in general.

5. Anyway, when mom was 18, and dad was 25, they met, and in the only story of true "love at first sight" that I know, and believe in, fell in love.

6. They were married, and quite immediately, mom got pregnant with yours truly:

That's me in her belly.
7. Unfortunately, as much of a paradise as Luanda and Angola in general where when my parents were growing up, as the years progressed, a nasty political civil war broke out. The tales my folks tell of the curfews, the military checkpoints, completely shock and amaze me. Amaze me that they managed to survive those days pretty much unscathed.

8. I was born in the middle of this war, stories of gun shots being fired right outside the hospital, my parents coming home to find my grandmother huddled with me underneath the stairs because of the sounds of gun fire or bombs goin off, are tales I've heard my whole life.

9. Eventually it all got to be a bit too much. My grandparents had left for Portugal, as had most of my parents' friends and families. And the time came for us to leave as well. In true refugee fashion, mom left first, with me in tow, as if she was simply going on a vacation to Portugal, leaving most of her worldly possessions behind.

10. Only recently I learned that my dad stayed behind for another month or so before he too left, with a suitcase and nothing else.
11. In Portugal my parents moved several times (we moved about 8 times in the first 9 years of my life), finally settling in a neighborhood where there were several other refugees. I grew up with the food, the music, and the culture my parents had adopted in Africa.

12. When I was 10 we made our move, as a family, to the U.S. All these cultures, mixed together, have made me someone who sees no color, no race but the human race. I find myself constantly wanting to learn more about different cultures, experiencing new ethnic cuisines, and surrounding myself with individuals from all walks of life.

13. I have never been back to my homeland, and as much as I would love to, I know I never will. I will hopefully one day travel to Africa, but never to Angola, never to Luanda. I have a vision of the paradise my parents speak of in my mind, and I know the reality of the war torn land would shatter those images. It breaks my heart whenever I see images such as the ones I saw on American Idol last week. The poverty, the disease, the inequality are just too heart-breaking. And yet, it is my home land, and there's something in the connection I feel to that place that can't quite be explained in words.

Click here if you want to know more about the history, struggles and present situation in and about Angola, it's a pretty good source of information.

Have a great Thursday everyone.