30 November 2007


Let me start this post with a *WARNING* What I am about to say will likely offend some of you. In fact, it is so un-PC I'm certain someone will accuse me of being racist. For the record, I'm not, but this post will have many of you wondering.

As you know, I was let go from my job on November 2nd. I filed for unemployment benefits. This will be the first time in my 28 year work history that I have EVER collected unemployment (yes, I am very thankful for that). So, there is this whole waiting week issue with collecting unemployment - you are required to have one waiting week for each benefit year where you are not paid any benefits. This I knew. This I expected.

I call in to certify for benefits on the 19th of November as my instructional letter indicated. I get through the whole, irritating automated menu, hear a message indicating I have reached the end of my benefit year (I filed for unemployment benefits last November, but never needed to certify/collect them as I immediately found employment), and will receive additional information in the mail for my next benefit year. OK, not a problem.

I call in to certify for benefits on the 26th of November as the follow-up instructional letter indicated. Again, I go through the whole, irritating automated menu to get my confirmation message. Yesterday I receive a check - for ONE WEEK of benefits. What?? I've been unemployed for THREE weeks, why do I have two waiting weeks without benefits? Must call my local office to get that information ... and here is where the ranting starts!

When calling any State Government office in the United States, I should NOT have to "press 1 for English." The default should be English and anyone not speaking English should need to "press 1" for their native language. Through yet another automated menu I go, pressing 2, then 3, then 2 again, until I finally reach a live body. Guess what?? English is CLEARLY not this person's native language. Not only am I having difficulty understanding them, but they are obviously having difficulty understanding me - and English is my native language.

Now, don't get me wrong, I heart America!! The melting pot is what brought my family here and I am proud to live in a country as diverse as this one. As you all know, I gave up 5 years to the U.S. Army to insure this country remained a melting pot. But here's the deal, my ancestors were required to assimilate in to the American culture. They could not get a job until they spoke fluent English. They didn't expect everyone to accommodate them and their language, but rather did their best to quickly learn the cultural norms and language of America. Why is it that when I call a State Government agency, I get a "customer service" person whom I can't understand and who can't understand me? Not only that, but why am I getting SEVERE attitude (and refusal) when I ask (very politely) "Would it be possible for me to speak with someone else as I am having a difficult time understanding your explanation?"

I was told, "No! You can't speak to anyone else. They will just tell you the same thing." What?? You are supposed to be serving ME! These are MY benefits that I have worked 28 years for and you are going to tell me I can't talk to someone who I can understand? This was one of those times where the person I was speaking with just kept saying the same thing, repeatedly, only louder each time, as if I was going to somehow understand them if they screamed at me.

ARGH! It's humiliating enough to have to collect unemployment - really - but can I be treated with a little, tiny bit of dignity and respect? Is that too much to ask? And can I please speak to someone who speaks my native language fluently since you are bending over backwards to accommodate those that don't speak English?? Please??

Now I get to file an appeal for the one week of "missing" benefits. Do you suppose I'll get to meet with someone who can communicate effectively - in ENGLISH??

29 November 2007

What's a Blogger to Do??

I haven't really decided what I want this blog to be. I am an regular reader of several blogs that are sarcastic, cynical and just plain funny, and that is what I had hoped my blog would become as well, but it just doesn't seem I have the knack for that type of writing. So instead, y'all are just going to get what you get!

I recently finished a book titled Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's written by John Elder Robison. It is a thought provoking look in to the life of someone diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) - a neurological "disorder" that falls on the autism spectrum. Amazon has a short video introducing the book and the author here if any of you are interested. I've decided to spend my blog time today sharing my story of AS.

According to the Mayo Clinic, conservative estimates indicate that two out of every 10,000 children have AS, and boys are three to four times as likely as girls to have the disorder. Chances are you know or work with someone with AS and just think they are quirky. My son Cam was diagnosed with AS when he was 6 (he is now 11).

My son shows some of the classic signs of AS - deficiencies in social skills, difficulty with transitions or changes (he prefers sameness,) an inability to properly interpret body language and proper body space, and an oversensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells, and sights, that wouldn't even be noticed by the "normal" person. Unfortunately, his odd and unusual behaviors are often misinterpreted as intentional rudeness and bad behavior and I am seen as a "bad" parent - even by my own husband. I do not use his Asperger's as an excuse, nor will he, but having the diagnosis does enables me to better understand how he thinks and how I can help him be successful.

So why am I sharing this? I feel strongly that neurological disabilities - especially those that are somewhat mild, are often considered "less" of a disability than ... say ... paralysis. I think it is important for all of us to understand that just because a person's disability is not clearly visible, it can be just as much of a challenge for them.

25 November 2007

Sunday Secret

I don't think I'll ever be successful in my degree field because what I really want to be is a stay-at-home mom.

24 November 2007

American Gangster

I am a huge fan of documentaries, biographies and any movie based on a true story - this movie was no exception.

Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe are amazing as Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts - they bring this story to life and keep a 2 hour 40 minute movie from having a single boring moment. This "success" story of a cult figure from the streets of 1970s Harlem is a not-so-gentle reminder that there is a price to pay for every decision we make in life. I watched the HBO documentary, The Making of American Gangster, prior to seeing the film and would recommend it as a solid foundation for full enjoyment of the movie if you are not familiar with the Frank Lucas story.

I did take my son (11) to this R rated movie (violence, pervasive drug content and language, nudity and sexuality) and although there was really nothing I was concerned about him seeing, the movie did not keep his attention for long. I was hoping he'd stay engaged as there really were some valuable life-lessons in this film, but instead, he seemed to have get quite bored with all of the character development necessary to make this film a success.

My rating? Definitely worth the price of admission, and a bucket of popcorn, but leave the kids at home!

22 November 2007


I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and new.
~ Will Carleton

21 November 2007

20 November 2007

When did my shower become a Petri dish??

We have one of those master bathrooms that is about the size of a small bedroom - it has a separate shower, corner soaking tub, separate his and hers sinks/vanities and even a separate little room for the toilet (so hubby can have his privacy during the morning constitutional while I am in the shower). So, you get the picture - big ass bathroom.

Now, I like to think of myself as a fairly good housekeeper. I am by no means germaphobic, and you wouldn't want to eat off my kitchen floor, but there aren't usually unidentifiable colonies living on anything either. Well, at least I didn't think so until I cleaned the master bathroom this morning.

Now, I understand the concept of mold and mildew - give it a warm, wet, dark place (SHHHH! RockDog) and it will grow into a beautiful specimen, but I'm a bit fanatical about turning on the bathroom fan and leaving the shower doors open after my shower to allow air circulation. I even have one of those automatic shower cleaners that claims, "We Work Hard So You Don't Have To." Well today, I had to work HARD!

I happened to drop my hairbrush on the floor this morning and while I was at ground level, I caught a glimpse of the bottom of my shower surround - it was ALIVE! OK, not really alive, but it was pretty shades of pink and black that are far better suited for a hoochie Barbie® Doll than for a bathroom shower. I am proud to say that they no longer live there - they were blasted with bleach and a scrubby sponge, but still … EEUUWW!!

One more thing … can one of you men tell me why there was so much hair on the floor in the little room that houses the toilet? I know this isn't my hair (it was blond, and I am not), I know that hubby doesn't have that much hair left on his head and I also know that if he had been hiding some blond bimbo in there, I would have run in to her by now. Where does this hair come from?? What is he doing while sitting on the toilet that generates that much shedding?? And just where is he shedding from?? Or do I even want to know ...

19 November 2007

Is It Cheating? (Part 2)

For the record, I am NOT having a torrid on-line love affair with some cyber hunk/hottie. There has been no groping and no nuddie pics have been exchanged through email (although I *do* owe RLL a photo of her beautiful artwork proudly displayed). That being said, I'd be lying if I said I haven't fantasized about it.

I like to think that one of the things that happens as I get older is that I learn from past mistakes. I don't mind making mistakes, but I really don't like making the same mistake again and again. Cheating, and the damage that can result, is a lesson I learned long ago - but it's still been on my mind.

I stand by my position that it is unrealistic to think my husband should be all things to me at all times. He can't possibly meet all of my physical and emotional needs all of the time. Now, how (or if) I choose to fill those gaps is really what this is all about. In my world, it's not the physical act of sex that defines cheating, but rather the secrecy behind it all. The act of sex does not require, nor result in, intimacy - intimacy is something far removed from sex. Can they happen in the same moment? Absolutely! Must they? I don't think so, and I don't think it's a *bad* thing when they don't.

Jaded? Cynical?? Again, I don't think so, I think I am just realistic. According to current infidelity statistics up to 70% of men and 40% of women are involved in extramarital affair. No, this isn't meant to be an accusation that everyone will cheat, but rather acknowledgement that it happens more than many of us realize (or want to admit). Maybe honesty is still the best policy ...

18 November 2007

Sunday Secret

My self worth will always be determined by the number on the scale.

17 November 2007

Is It Cheating?

What Constitutes Cheating?

Seems odd that this has been on my mind, but it has. Ten years ago, I wouldn't have had a philosophical decision with myself on cheating, I'd have just gone out and done it. Age, wisdom, bad decisions experience, have brought me to a place where I ask more questions before acting.

For example, is it even realistic to think my husband should be all things to me at all times? Should he really be able to meet all of my physical and emotional needs all of the time? I don't think so - in fact, I am certain that I don't meet all of his physical and emotional needs all of the time.

Sometimes the cheating line is pretty damn clear - having sex (not the Clinton definition) with another man, without hubby's knowledge, is definitely cheating. But sometimes the line gets really blurry. What about sex with a woman without hubby's knowledge? Completely different type of emotional and physical need being met there - is it cheating? What about flirting (male or female) with a grope thrown in for good measure? What if it is confined to the cyber world but includes hard core intimate photos and videos being exchanged - is it cheating?

I suppose I could stand in hubby's shoes - would any of the above bother me if it were what he was doing? Honestly, not at all as long as he's not endangering my health or the well-being of the household or the kids. Of course, I'd prefer to know about it so that I could watch feel a part of the decision, but it's just sex - right??

14 November 2007

12 November 2007

A Veteran's Day Rant

This holiday, which was actually yesterday, irritates me, but likely not for the reasons any of you might think. You see, I *am* a veteran. I served 5 years in the U.S. Army and I am somewhat (OK, completely) a military snob. You see, I believe only those who have served, and been honorably discharged, should have this holiday off with pay. Not only that, but I believe EVERY employer should be required to give this day off - WITH PAY - to any employee who can show that they served in the military and were honorably discharged.

I left the military in 1995 and since that date I have NEVER gotten Veteran's Day as a paid holiday, yet my postal carrier, my bank teller and my son's school teachers (all of whom are likely not veteran's) receive the day off with pay. Why is that? Does anyone really believe these employees are honoring veterans in any manner (and no, taking advantage of the sales at the mall does not count)??
Yes, I do feel strongly on this, but I gave 5 years of service to my country to maintain the right to spew my opinion.

11 November 2007

Sunday Secret

It's not the other man my husband needs to worry about, it's the other WOMAN

09 November 2007

Anyone Want To Play???

So, I was perusing Leighann's blog, reading through the comments (I am an admitted voyeur after all, and the internet has *worsened* my condition) and I stumbled upon two very *fun* blogs - RockDog and In Search of My Hip Bones (Real Live Lesbian). Now, Real Live Lesbian is playing a game, and we all know that I like playing games (especially those involving lesbians), so I've decided to play too.

Here are her rules:

"The first 5 commenters here will get a small gift in the mail from me. All you have to do is post this on your own blog and promise to gift the first 5 commenters on your post if they promise to gift the first 5 commenters on their posts… you see how it goes. What do they call that? The domino effect. After you comment jot your address in an email and click it off to me. As soon as you participate in the game I will get your little something in the mail."

Now, I don't have a cock or shiny objects to send, but I'm pretty sure that I can find a little something that will bring a smile to your face. Just send me an email with your mailing address and I'll make sure your postal carrier (politically correct) finds his/her way to your mail box.

Week One

I've made it through week one of unemployment and you want to know a secret?? I am LOVING it! How terrible is that? Here's the deal though. For the past 4 months, DH and I have both been working 12-hour days (including commuting time). There seems to be no time to take care of the "normal," daily stuff, and since the majority of it is put on my shoulders, I'm the one that feels the stress.

So, this week I've had dinner ready when DH gets home (he used to have the dinner duties as he was home before me), the house is reasonably clean, laundry is caught up, the basement and front doors no longer squeak, the light switch in the master bath no longer shorts out, Cam's homework has been completed every day before dinner AND my resume is updated! I feel FABULOUS!!

At this point, I can see that our home runs far more smoothly when I am home. Everyone seems to be more relaxed and everyone has a better attitude. Guess what? Assuming things continue to go this well, I don't want to go back to work any time soon! I never thought I would say that - my self worth has always been tied to my employment - but I'm discovering that my family is far more important than my professional growth.

I did get my unemployment insurance information in the mail yesterday. I will receive $473/week for 26 weeks. This isn't a HUGE difference from my regular take-home pay, and it will be extremely easy to save the difference between the two just in transportation costs. I'm hoping to find some type of part-time or freelance work rather than the 9-5 grind I've been doing. The problem? I've got to convince DH this is not only a great idea, but one that is financially sound.

If any of you faithful readers have any RELIABLE sources for freelance/WAH positions, please leave me a comment. Of course I've googled both and had thousands of hits, but I am very skeptical when it comes to online resources.

05 November 2007

Just When Things Start Looking Up

They come crashing down. I've been at my "dream" job for 4 months now. It's doing exactly what I wanted to do after graduating from college last year. I've been frustrated with the position at times - training has been sporadic and inconsistent, I had absolutely no experience in the field going in - but I was just starting to feel like maybe things were clicking.

I spoke to the office manager on Wednesday and gave a bit of an ultimatum - I was frustrated and needed more training. I asked that I be either given that training or let go if I wasn't the right fit. I wanted to do the best that I could for the firm, but I wasn't being given the tools I needed to succeed.

Friday afternoon one of the partners stopped by my desk and asked me to come to the office manager's office. Her first words? "We have decided that today will be your last day at the firm." Wow … so much for my "dream" job … My reason for termination? I am not a good fit for the firm.

I'm having a really difficult time with this. I am questioning whether I am a good fit anywhere. A quick look at my employment history for the last 4 years (5 different employers) starts looking questionable. Did I screw up by completing a degree in paralegal studies? Am I just too stupid to handle the demands of an international trademark paralegal position? Should I just go back to accounting, earn $35,000/year and be happy?

DH has been GREAT through all of this, telling me there is no need to worry - financially we'll be fine - that this really isn't about my inadequacies - blah, blah, blah. I'm grateful for his support (he *owes* me after his last unemployment debacle), but I don't believe a word he is saying. I find myself in a position where I doubt all that I thought I knew, and that is not a good feeling.

The job-hunt starts today with a revamping of the resume. I've got to look at going to a functional resume rather than a chronological resume, as my employment history is so spotty these days. I've done some preliminary searching and it doesn't look real good out there. The holiday season is never a good time to be looking for a job.

Damn … damn … DAMN!

04 November 2007

Sunday Secret

I am afraid that if I tell people my first husband committed suicide just three months after we got married, they will wonder what it was that I did that made him take his own life ... because 18 years later, I still wonder what I did ...