January 30, 2015

It's a snowy Friday...and I don't have to drive to work, ha ha ha

Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque.......Google images

When I rolled myself out of bed this morning, it was snowing.  It's still snowing.  It looks beautiful, especially since I didn't have to roll out of bed and go to a job.  Of course, I wish I had one to go to, but I am sick of griping about it, and you're probably sick of hearing it.  

Google images

I finished a book called "The Forge of God" by Greg Bear.  Written in 1987, I ran across it on my Kindle, and gave it a go.  It was an interesting read, definintely a sci-fi book about a civilization of beings that is known as "planet eaters" that finds Earth and decides to destroy it.  Along with them is another civilization that is determined to rescue a few thousand people and as much cultural information as is possible....because they have come too late to prevent Earth's destruction.  It was a rather sobering thought, and I was reminded of Steven Hawkings warning that any extraterrestrial beings "out there" would likely not be friendly.  It is not something I dwell on, because, quite frankly there would be little I could do.  So worrying about aliens from outer space is not something I waste any time on, lol.  The characters were very real, though.  Bear has written about 40 books, and there is a sequel, but I think I will pass for something a little more uplifting.  :-)

Sandia Mountains ~ Google images

I had an interesting interview at an animal hospital yesterday.  It would be part-time, and they are familiar with working around an employee's school schedule, so that wouldn't be an issue.  I was given a tour of the facility, and think it would be fun.  They aren't making their decision until next week, and there will be a "working interview" where they put you through the paces, and see if you work well with the current staff.  I'm really not too concerned about it, I think it would give me the opportunity to show them my stuff, and I'm confident I could handle it well.  I hope to hear from them.

I thought I would share the molasses cookie recipe that I talked about on my last post.  They are really yummy.  I normally never cook with Crisco, but these cookies probably won't be soft and chewy without it.  
Soft Molasses Cookies
Makes about 24 (so double the recipe if you want more)

Ingredients:

1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar

Directions

~Heat oven to 325 degrees.  In a large bowl, beat brown sugar, shortening, molasses & egg with evelctric mixer on med. speed, or mix w/a spoon.  Stir in remaining ingredients except the granulated sugar.  
~Shape dough by rounded tablespoons into 1 1/2 " balls.  Dip tops into granulated sugar.  On an ungreased cookie sheet, place balls, sugared side up, about 2" apart.  (If you use parchment paper, you won't need to clean up the cookie sheet!)
~Bake 13-16 minutes or just until set & cookies appear dry.  Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack (or a sheet of waxed paper)
** When I took them off of the cookie sheet, they were very, very soft.  Don't worry.  They will harden up, so don't over bake them.  I set my timer on 15 min, and it was perfect.  

And yes, they really look like this:
From the Betty Crocker website 

If you decide to indulge, I predict they will only last a few days, hence the recommendation of doubling the recipe.  To measure out the Crisco (or whatever brand of shortening you use), use a large measuring cup & fill with water to 1 cup, add Crisco until the water level reaches 3/4 cup, pour out the water & wha-laa!  You have exactly 3/4 cup of shortening.

Love, 365

January 27, 2015

I should be completeing my assignment......

Google images, National Geographic

As I sit here trying to concentrate on my homework assignment, I had National Geographic Wild on in the background.  As I view the incredible scenery, the struggle of a wolf to find food, and wild parakeets make their fledgling flights in an area of South America, I am reminded that even though I live in a metropolitan area, there are still many places that remain wild.  Usually located in harsh, extreme environments, it is amazing to see that there is any life there at all.  And yet, there are many species that have adapted to nearly every type of ecosystem on earth.  Just east of where I live stand the Sandia Mountains...still beautiful and wild. Bears sometimes wander into back yards to eat bird food.  Rarely, we see a mountain lion.  We often see coyotes in the arroyo (basically drainage for when rain finally comes).  And of course, there are rabbits, snakes, hawks, owls, lizards and tons of spiders.   Spiders are not my favorite.  Why do they like the shower so much?  It's a mystery.

****I have been having bouts of depression and generally feeling like shit about my prospects for employment.  I don't know if it's my age, or if my college information (under education) is turning off prospective employers.  Maybe both?  I'm feeling pretty darn useless.  Keeping the house clean, cooking meals, and laundry just don't cut it.  I feel like a washed up has-been.  Knowing that excersize usually helps if you're feeling down, I spent nearly an hour on the treadmill....bottom line is it didn't help.  At all.  So, I baked cookies: soft molasses cookies to be exact.  And that did it.  Who says cookies don't make you happy?  Oh, yes they do!!!

Love, 365

January 23, 2015

Two months later.....

Me, my sister and "Santa"......

This photo is of my sister and her husband, who I call Santa in jest.  Although what's up with the trend to growing facial hair?  I certainly don't understand it.  He is retired, so I can conclude that he always wanted a huge beard but never felt he could go for it when he was working.  Looks like a pain in the ass to me.....grooming, and keeping food out of it...I guess beards are shampooed as well?  I wonder if he uses conditioner too?  I will have to ask, lol.

Time is a funny thing.  When I was working, it seemed to go by so fast.  There are still times when it seems I'm on a pair of waxed skis hurtling into the future so fast the snow might catch fire.  This morning I was considering how long I've been out of work, and realized it's only been about 68 days or so.  And so, I'm trying to relax and enjoy it while pursuing meaningful work, which is driving me crazy.  The juxtaposition isn't escaping my notice.  What really surprises me is how few of the projects that I'd had unfinished are actually being finished....so far they are gathering dust.  I have promised myself that I will finish putting that quilt together next week, I will clean my refrigerator, and I will send all my receipts to the FSA people for reimbursement.  I suppose it's good to have goals.  Of course my main goal is to find work, as soon as possible, but I've decided that I would prefer to have part-time work so that I have the opportunity to finish my degree, and go wherever that might take me.

Yesterday I went to my friend's house after she was done with work and made key lime pies....without the key limes because they aren't in season.  I haven't tasted it yet, because we finished up kinda late, and it needs to be refrigerated for a few hours, and I didn't want to stay up until 11pm to taste it, lol.  My friend tasted it and said it was "amazing".  We had so much fun, we decided to make it a monthly endeavor...she feels she "can't bake" ~ meaning cookies, cakes, pies...in short her baking is "always a disaster".   Her last attempt was cookies that turned out to be brownies!  I'm not sure how that worked out, but I'm there to give her my advice & experience (because I love to bake and I'm good at it).  I'm looking forward to expanding my friendships (suggested she invite other people over and make it a group thing) and she'll overcome her lack of confidence in baking.  I think that's all she lacks, plus some common sense changes in the recipe, like baking those previously mentioned pies for 15 to 20 min instead of 10, like the recipe states.  Because there were raw egg yolks, and I didn't think 10 min was enough.  I will make the whipped cream for the topping and we'll have it tonight for dessert....

As you can see, I really didn't have anything special to write about.  And I need to get going on my Friday house cleaning...come and help me, won't you?

Love, 365

January 19, 2015

Of dogs, birthdays, and homework

From the Library of Congress: Carpenter collection circa 1800's

Oh, hardy har har.  I am not this old.  I don't feel remotely this old.  In fact, except for the creaky knees, and a few grey hairs and wrinkles, I don't feel anywhere near as old as I am.  Which is significant, lol.  A friend of mine and I will go out tomorrow for lunch to celebrate, and Romeo and I are going out on the weekend, a real treat to go out twice in one week for someone who rarely eats out!

Apparently Brodie (my scottish terrier) will have intermittent bouts of pancreatitis.  He came down with it again on Saturday afternoon, but has steadily improved since then, with the exception of a bit of lethargy after eating.  So it's back to boiled chicken and rice.  I read a lot on the subject last night while waiting for Downton Abbey to come on (I love that show, it's delicious to watch) and I am coming to the conclusion that he will most likely die in the next year or two...and that is only if we are extra vigilent with what we feed him.  I plan to add sweet potatoes to his chicken and rice.  Part of the issue is that if he has too much fat, it triggers an episode.  Too little fat, and he'll have problems with his coat and skin.  It seems like a delicate balance that will probably drive me crazy trying to figure out.  The only thing I can think of that may have brought on this bought of illness is the egg yolk I gave him last Wednesday.  And yet the website I was reading said that eggs would be ok in moderation.  Plus, he is so thin.  And yet while he is recuperating, I can't feed him as much as we were before it came on.  I don't think my vet is as knowledgable on how to manage pancreatitis, because she never mentioned that he might get this again, or how to properly balance out his diet so that we can keep him as healthy as possible.  

I finished my homework ~ good thing too, because class is tonight.  Class....listen to me talk about it as though there are 15 to 30 people in it, when it's just me.  I know I will learn a lot, but I'm concerned that my "take" on the material will be it, and I've always found it helpful to know how others view the material.  Someone usually has some comment that helps me view it in another way.  I suppose I will mention this to the Prof. tonight and hear his take on it.  I suppose he's already heard it all, and will supply me with these different viewpoints.  Hopefully. 

Poor grumpy cat.

Love, 365

January 16, 2015

Okey dokey...moving on....

At the zoo, last summer.  If only I could easily remove the chick in the background....

Yesterday I cleaned the house.  But I didn't apply for any jobs.  Because I didn't feel like it.

Today I played racquetball (yay!) and applied for 3 jobs.  One is particularly interesting because it's part-time.  Monday and Tuesday.  I think this would work for me.  Maybe.  I finally heard from UNM (by e-mail), and discovered I did not get the job I thought would be so awesomely good for me.  Oh, well.  I had a good cry, and am really over it now.  Romeo was so sweet, he kept texting me to find out how I was feeling about it, giving me all kinds of appreciated supportive words.  He knew that I was really excited about that position.  We had talked about it before I got the news, and I admitted that although there is a possibility that I would get it, I wouldn't put all my hopes in getting it.  Basically, I lied.  In many ways I thought it would be perfect for me, but alas, it was not to be. 

It was beautiful here today.  The next week day we have a day in the 50's (w/no wind, please) I am going to the zoo.  Take some photos, wander around, check out the gift shops.  Why not take advantage of being out of work?  I can only apply for so many jobs, and then you just get sick of the whole thing.  If there was a way to stay home all the time, I would do it.  My oldest son has a very high paying position and offered to pay for me to continue to go to school.  But I really NEED to work.  It wouldn't be the greatest financial decision to stay home.  So, I continue.  Soldier on.  Put on my big girl panties, lol.

Love, 365

January 15, 2015

Snow is falling on my happiness.......

(all of these are google images)

This has been a very strange week.  I'm afraid I haven't accomplished very much.....I used the excuse of the wet, snowy weather to put off cleaning house, so today I'm doing it, even though I am very unexcited about it.  




Right after the new year, I saw a number of jobs that seemed very interesting.  I've applied for them, was interviewed twice, but still haven't heard from UNM.  I'm trying not to freak out, because my professor said that the process is quite lengthy.  But, I am being realistic  pessimistic, and figure I will probably not hear from them.  I have (sort of) moved on, and I applied for about 5 jobs last week.  This week I haven't applied for anything yet.  I'm planning on hitting it hard this afternoon after I've finished cleaning.  My mood improves a lot after accomplishing something (anything).


 Albuquerque, Jan 13th, 2015

No, this wasn't taken at my house, but it's close enough.  We really only got about 2 to 3 inches over the course of the past couple of days, and the temp's were high enough to melt most of it, then we would get another inch the next morning.  Just enough to make the yard a muddy mess, and spend 15 to 20 minutes cleaning off dog paws before they went running through the house.

 Geez, I don't know where this was taken, but there's nothing worse than cold & windy.

So, I guess I would say I'm maintaining.  However, I did spend 3 hours with my professor on Monday.  I still haven't done my homework, but in my defense, I've already read the chapters he assigned, so I just need to re-read them and make some notes.  He is a very interesting person, and has had quite a career in anthropology/archaeology/cultural studies.  He has also written a few novels, and I will update you on those later.  First I want to read one, so will check out the library.  

Maybe I will add a few drops of liquor to my coffee, turn on the tunes, and pull out the vacuum cleaner, lol.

Love, 365


January 11, 2015

Is saying "no" enough? Uncomfortable sexual encounters......

Susan Dominus/NY Times

I was scanning the news online and read this story by Susan Dominos about an uncomfortable sexual encounter she had in college.  Go ahead....I'll wait while you read it.

Well, what did you think?  I was rather horrified.  Why is using "Hey, we're in a red zone" instead of "no" seems silly and pointless and stupid.  And if you think I've never been in that same situation, I would sadly have to tell you I have.  I don't feel like going over the details, but I'm willing to bet that many women (especially in their late teens and twenties, like I was) have been in that same situation. I would have chalked it up to a lack of "parental training".  I know my own Mother (whom I love dearly ~ it's not her fault, she just didn't know) never sat me down and told me what to do if I found myself in a sexual encounter that I didn't want.  I never had a daughter, and after two boys, I ended my fertility (I had seen the results of "lets keep trying until we get a boy/girl mentality ~ case in point, my cousin has 4 girls before they quit).  But if I had a daughter I would have given her some advice on how to say NO in a way that makes it clear.  And reminded her that saying NO should not label her in a nasty way by others that hear the story later, because at that age range, everyone talks about everything.  You think boys don't talk?  Hmmm, I guess you don't remember high school or those early college years.

The best advice would be ~ don't put yourself in that situation to begin with.  Not very realistic, but needs to be discussed.  But, explaining how easy it is to find yourself there ~ drunk or high or whatever ~ and now you feel like you've spent the evening leading some guy on, even if you realize you are under the influence and not in control of yourself.  The next thing you know you're naked, he's naked, and there's no doubt how that's gonna end.  The following day you review what happened, and like Susan, you just don't talk about it.  Who's at fault?  Everyone.  He is and you are, and hopefully you decide that you'll never put yourself in that situation again, ever.  To unequivocally blame the guy in this scenario is unfair since they were in the same state of inebriation that you were, and weren't thinking either.  Since when do we women expect men to have a higher developed sense of self control, when we can't even say "NO!".

Susan does seem to imply that the guy in question kept her red cup full so that he could take advantage of her later.  In my case, everyone was loaded, and there was no "plan", shit just happened.  But I don't believe that developing a new "phrase" is going to change the outcome.  

Love, 365

January 9, 2015

Who's in control here? Hello??

There is nothing so intimidating as the multiple interview  (google images)

.....8:15am yesterday morning ~ showering, dressing (side note: matched bra & panties in case I pass out or something ~ don't ask, ok?), doing hair, using sticky roller to remove dog hair from new pants for interview.

.....9:25am ~ as I exit the bedroom, I hear Sioux chewing on something.  I call out "What are you chewing on?" as I come down the stairs, and see:

 1)  the dog bed in the middle of the living room floor, open on one end, with the stuffing strewn all over (it looks like brown yak hair, but how would I know???)

 2)  the item she was chewing on? the TV remote control, which now is open on one end, battery cover off.  Thankfully she didn't chew on the batteries.

.....9:30am ~ I let the dogs out and proceed to the 10:00am interview, leaving the mess, because I don't have any time to be upset or irritated, gotta go!

.....9:50am ~ I wait in the waiting room for my interview.

.....10:00am ~ I did know that there would be 3 people interviewing me.  I did not realize how intimidating it would be having 3 different people, each holding a sheaf of papers with questions typed on it, two sided.  I actually had to sign a form to agree to be interviewed (?????), and a form to agree to a background check (OK, I figured on that one).  They began, and time slowed to a crawl.  I answered as best I could, feeling like I was being bombarded, which I believe was the effect they were going for, ha!:
           Describe how you handled an unexpected situation.
           What would you do if a credit became a debit.
And so on.  They each took turns asking me the questions....sometimes one or two would nod their head, sometimes not.  At the end, I shook each persons hand, and walked to my car in a daze.  I looked at my watch and realized the interview had only taken about 30 minutes.  I thought I had been in there for an hour.  And as I reviewed it all in my head, I thought:  I've done the best that I can, and it's out of my hands now.  
~Truthfully, I was very excited at this interview.  The job posting sounded like it was meant for me.  And sadly, I thought it would be a slam dunk.  I texted my racquetball friends (who wanted me to let them know how it went), and one of them texted back ~
       Do you still want the job?
 ~I've thought about it off and on in the past 24 hours, and the truth is, I don't know.  They weren't very friendly.  There was no banter, or personal questions that might have put me at ease.  I know it's business, but I'm of the opinion that business doesn't have to be so fucking boring and dry, and if it is I don't want any part of it ~ at least at this point in my life.  Why is fun a four letter word when it comes to work?????  Of course, they probably can't afford to discover they might like someone, because it might interfere with objectivity.  So, I'm moving on while they make their decision.  I made sure to just "be myself" and answered their questions honestly (like: what is your proficiency with Excell?  "I would consider my skills at the beginner level, just basic, as I never had to use it in my previous position").    Ah, well.  

So, I came home to the mess in the living room, and began cleaning it up.  The zipper on the dog bed wasn't destroyed like the last time.....oh, I didn't mention that this happened about a month ago?  Same situation, I was upstairs taking a shower and preparing to leave to run errands.  That dog bed was trashed, but she didn't chew on the remote.  Anyway, I figured while I was doing that, I would turn on the TV, only....the remote didn't work, which I suspected might be the case.  Luckily, our cable provider (that supplies said remote) simply exchanged it, without charge.  Whew.  Moral of this story: Sioux goes outside when I go take my shower.  Duh.
Sioux, on the dog bed in question.  She always sleeps in these weird positions.  
Bad dog, very bad dog!


Love, 365

January 6, 2015

Wow, I really don't have a publishable title for this one.....

Self portrait, taken this morning.

This morning when my alarm went off, I did the usual ~ in bed mind you ~ check e-mail and bank account.  I was dismayed unhappy pissed off to note that my gym membership dues had been f**ked up again.  This all began at the end of Sept. when the tennis people had a fundraiser of some sort.  To this day I don't know or care what it was for, but I bid on a one year membership thinking it would save me $$, something we all strive to do because then we can spend put it in savings for our eventual retirement, or an emergency or something.  Right?  Yeah.  I will spare you the long story, but these people still haven't got it right.  Going on 3 months now.  The general manager is an ass, and the assistant manager is an ass too.  I swear, I'm ready to cancel the damn thing and be done with it.  Every month I am promised that it will be corrected, and every month so far it's still screwed up.  How long can it take for someone to spend a few (&^$%^ minutes to correct the draw on my account?  Not to mention that I told the GM that I was laid off from work and would really appreciate the saving RIGHT NOW.  Well, you see where that gets me.  I asked the assistant mngr who to talk to in corporate, but she said she thought it would be better if she called.....now I'm suspicious, but I realize it is in my nature to be so when faced with this kind of snafu.  I will wait to hear back from her (hopefully another promise that won't show up on my front porch in a brown bag that's in flames), before I go totally ballistic to corporate.  Sheesh.  This is not what I need two days before one of the most important interviews in my current life cycle.  And to think that yesterday I was all like, happy and shit.  

Love, 365

January 3, 2015

New year, new look, new attitudes.....

I don't recall where I found this....so funny tho!  And surprisingly true.

Ah, the interview yesterday...it went well.  The dentist asked me when I could start ~ so I assume he was offering me a job?  The problem is that I really can't commit to that job until I have my interview with UNM on Thursday....which is a job I really want, for a variety of reasons like:

~They have great benefits, which means I would/could have my own medical insurance instead of being on Romeo's (which is OK, but it would save $$)

~It would be nice to work for a large company, instead of a small business for a change.  I'm sure it's not necessarily better, but it would be different.

~I could take up to 8 credit hours per semester tuition free.

If you have wasted any of your time occassionally reading this blog, you probably thought "ah hah!" on the last one.  And you wouldn't be wrong.  I want to finish my degree, without spending a fortune. There were a few ladies I spoke to at the food bank volunteer day, and two of them said this was the only way they could finish their degree.  And I may decide to go to graduate school after I get my bachelor's degree.

****Of course, they might not hire me, and if the dentist I interviewed with gets impatient, then I might still be looking for work on Jan. 12th.  But, it's a risk I'm willing to take.  It's a new year.   I'm out of the closet (I placed a photo of myself on the blog) , I've changed my settings....no telling what I might do next!  However, sky diving won't be one of them, lol.


Love, 365

January 2, 2015

AAAAAAHHHH! Interview jitters...

(Stivers cartoons)

I have an interview today at noon.  Which means that I will miss the "nooner" racquetball get together with my friends that they have on Friday.....that I have enjoyed since being unemployed, when finding things I enjoy has been a little more challenging.  I hope that it will be a quick 30 min thing, and then I can take off and play, but I realize that it may mean I'll miss the whole darn thing.  Oh, well, I am excited to "practice" my interviewing skills, and who knows? maybe this opportunity will be wonderful.  I was a little taken aback that he would be open on the Friday after New Years, but maybe he's closed and wants to take advantage of the quiet time to do interviews.  I find that dentists work their hiney's off and wouldn't normally work the day after New Years.  Oh, hell I'm just rambling, can't you tell?

Of course I woke up with a raging headache.  I got up and immediately took 2 Advil's, and then had a little coffee, and luckily it is gone....for now.  When I'm emotionally volatile I find I commonly get a headache (sad, happy, excited, anxious).  It has to be extreme, but it does happen.  I am so glad that someone invented ibuprofen.  It works for me the way Tylenol never has.  

OK!  I shall take my shower and get going.  I have 2 hours to try and create a nicer version of me than what is sitting in front of the computer at this moment, lol.

Love, 365

Look out Texas......

I'm leaving today to go to Round Rock for son #1's wedding.  Tonight I will be meeting my soon to be daughter-in-law.  My son alr...