Monday, June 30, 2008

Best Mom in the World!

I got a card from my parents the day after my birthday.

Mom told me that she had it all set to go to arrive on my birthday - Dad was supposed to mail it while she was at work.
Turns out, Dad set it on top of the fridge when he stopped to put his shoes on, then forgot that he was headed to the mailbox in the first place!

It's hilarious how they tattle on each other!

So I knew the card would be a day late - but imagine my surprise when I open the card and out falls a check for the full amount of the cost of the photography class I told mom I wanted to take!! They are so sweet!

I also want to share the card with you all.
It's sweet, and a good reminder for all of us... or if you have children - these are great lessons to raise them on.

Ten Things To Keep In Mind
(to make your life better)

1) Trust Your Instincts.
If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't... fun, tempting... maybe, but not right.
2) Remember Your Manners.
It doesn't cost you anything, but it speaks volumes about who you are. Having class starts with this.
3) Never let possessions "OWN" you.
It's just stuff! The most valuable things in life - friends, respect, love, knowledge - don't cost money... Hokey but true.
4) Nurture your friendships.
The investment you make in true friends will pay huge dividends all your life - remember, you can't make an old friend.
5) Keep your hands clean.
This means both literally and figuratively... it will save you a lot of regrets later.
6) Believe in yourself.
Yeah this is another hokey one, but you do happen to be the only you in existence, and you're also the only person in the world who can truly hold you back in life... Think about it.
7) Be grateful.
Don't waste all your todays in anticipation of some grand tomorrow. Now is all we've got. Live in it!
8) Treat others the way you want to be treated.
(okay, so I didn't make this one up.) The point is, just because you're smarter or richer or prettier than someone else doesn't mean you're better. It just means you've been more blessed.
9) Always keep playing.
Who says adults have to give up toys? Keep the little kid inside you alive... it keeps your imagination primed. Silly is good.
10) No matter what, you will always be loved.
You don't have to test this one... Just carry it around in your back pocket, and know that, no matter what, you can always come home.

If you can only remember one - Remember that you are loved.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's My Birthday!

I'm old.

and still single... just as the title of my blog suggests.
Start the annoying music!


So fun when various friends call all day to extend warm birthday greetings! Two of them always sing me Happy Birthday over the phone! I love that!

Then Mr. Burns came to take me out to dinner. He arrived with a bouquet of beautiful orange tulips (my favorite!)

and a neatly wrapped gift. ( I love that he can actually wrap gifts by himself and they look nice. A lot of men can't do that!) The gift was a card for a 50 minute Warm Stone Massage! Ahhhhhhh. What a man!

The man listens. My back has been really screwy lately and I've mentioned how badly I need a massage but can't really afford one given my state of employment. That's not only a generous but very thoughtful gift!

Then we went out to dinner at my favorite little Indian place... Mmmmmm! After that, as I requested, we went out for Gelato for dessert. I had a scoop each of Pomegranate and Strawberry Rhubarb. MmmmMMMmmmmMMMMmmmmm! Mr. Burns had Chocolate. Probably some sort of double chocolate mocha overdose concoction!

and now... I'm just sick. As I was tinkering with my camera's memory card trying to get a decent picture of my flowers - I accidentally wiped out the last 30 pictures of my dad's birthday party. The pictures of Mom and Dad with all the grand kids... and of Mom and Dad with me and my brother. And - the ones where Dad was dancing with my Sis-in-law and their neighbor.
How cute he looked in his cowboy hat and suspenders dancing like a fool!
Woe is me! I'm just sick about it. Wahhh.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I've been officially unemployed for the past nine months. My contract ended and the company saw a downturn. No contracts available. The company that had around 200 people working hell bent for leather last year, is now down to about 30 employees. Scary.

So, to the drama of looking for a job that meets my skills and experience - add 170 other people in town with the same specialized skills competing for the same jobs.
On the rare occasion that I get an interview, the people at the prospective company express their condolences for my past position. They know all about the company and in fact, just interviewed 8 people who have that company listed on their resume as well.

Don't expect a call.

I've been working at a part-time minimum wage job since then. Through Divine intervention, I've been able to meet my mortgage payment.

All the jobs I'm targeting seem to want current skills - technologies that weren't even around when my 1992 Bachelor's Degree was issued. Because I was steadily employed, there was no need to learn those new whiz-bang programs. They weren't even necessary in my job.

Here I am in the dust.

During this trying time I have rediscovered my love for photography. It was my first love, but I got distracted by moving pictures and sound and now I'm at the end of that career. Never made any money at it anyway.

People seem to like my photography. And at the part-time job at the portrait studio... I've learned a few tricks for baby pictures and family portraits. More importantly, I've discovered that my personality works very well to coax the best smiles and make parents happy.

I think I'm ready to take a photography class.

I've always been a natural at composition but I need some help learning the technical side. Once I'm armed with that knowledge I'd like to take my show on the road.

It's risky. There's tons of competition. I can't afford to start a studio. Can I run my own business? Scary.

Last night I shared all these concerns with my mom. My desire to strike out on my own. My fear of going to school. (I hate school) Half expecting her to say... "Can't you find a job doing _______ for _______? "

Instead she said, "I think you'd be good at that. You should try it."

You don't think I'm crazy?

"No. I believe in you."

Blink back tears.

"You've always been a hard worker. You've always done well at everything you set your mind to do. I believe in you. I always have."

Choke back tears.

It is one thing to know that your parents support you and believe in you.
It is another entirely to hear them say it aloud. With words. It's so amazing. It is in some way like hearing the voice of God reassuring you that you are on the right path.

That is one of the things I really love about my parents. They never ever even suggested that there was something I couldn't do. That something might be out of reach.
I've always been far more aware of my limits or possible limits than they have.
That is an incredible thing to be able to do for your child. To present the world as a wide open possibility.

Maybe part of that comes from their farm background. You just have to trust that you are doing the right thing with the resources you have and God will provide. They took risks, buying or selling livestock, trying a new crop, buying more land. It was all a risk but they must have always believed it would go well. And it did.

My parents are amazing.
And guess what? I'm believable.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

You Gotta be Smarter Than the Box

I'm not a huge fan of most chain restaurants - I'm rarely impressed. I tend to seek out locally owned, original bistros if I have a choice.

But tonight, Mr. Burns was actually in town (He's been working on the road a lot lately) and he picked Austin's and I figured, "Meat" which was all I wanted so off we went to Austin's.

One of today's specials was a pork tenderloin with an apricot sauce or glaze. It's pretty hard to screw up pork and I love me some pig so picture a happy me.

It was all SOOOO good I couldn't believe it.

There were also plenty for leftovers which made me crazy happy. Once the waiter brought me a take-home box I told Mr. Burns, "I'm debating between finishing my mashed potatoes or saving them to take home." Ever the gentleman, Mr. Burns pointed out that he wasn't going to finish his potatoes so I had the best of both worlds! Eat his potatoes and save mine for later!

I quickly scooped my food remains in the take out box, eyeing Mr. Burns plate as if I were still starving.

The takeout box wasn't cooperating. The lid had a goofy little hinge that wouldn't line up properly - so I fumbled trying to close it. Still eyeing Mr. Burns' potatoes - I gave up and handed him the box to close so I could wolf down the last yummy morsel.

As he swiftly managed the closure, I looked at him and said, "I was bested by the box, baby."

He cracked up and said, "Some guys complain about girls who are dumber than a box of rocks. My girlfriend is dumber than the box!"

Um. Let's clarify. It's not a matter of stupidity! It's a matter of patience!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Letting Strangers Run Your House?

We had a lovely brunch at my church this Sunday and I got to see many lovely friends that I rarely see these days.

During our visit, conversation turned to the prospect of renting out their homes to out-of-towners for the Democratic National Convention here in August. One couple said they had considered it and landed on: No!

Mr. Burns turned to me and said, "Baby, I could put you up for a month if you wanted to rent your place for the DNC. You should think about it."

If it hasn't been made clear on this blog - I am - for the first time since college - hard up for money. I haven't had a full-time job for 9 months and my job search is simply depressing. I've been thinking of going back to school. I always hated school.

So the idea of making ... what $3000 or so? - above a monthly mortgage payment for one month doesn't sound so bad. I checked out the DNC Lodging website today :

Do you think I:

(minus the snow of course) 700 sq ft, one bedroom, 3rd floor walk up. Only amenities a coin-op laundry room and use of the courtyard with BBQ Grill.

can compete with this?

Full amenities, swimming pools, fitness centers, yadda yadda yadda...

Even if I could - it would mean moving out some valuables (not many) clearing out a closet, and praying that these temporary renters don't ding my beautiful credenza or soil my beloved white carpet.

Would you do it?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Found It!

I found my missing ring!

After scouring my (messy) apartment for a day and a half - I found it on my dining room table - under Mr. Burns' car keys.

( I was holding them for him while he was out of town.)

Clearly, if my apartment had looked like this:

at the time... it wouldn't have been missing.

Working hard this weekend to make it look like this again!!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Plain Brown Wrapper

Mr. Burns and I are embarking in a tough time in our relationship.

Collectively, we don't know if there is a future. At the beginning, I was sure I'd finally found my man. But after a year of his uncertainty - now I too am unsure. From where I stand, it seems to come down to his inability to determine whether or not he is in love. He says he's never been there before - and I think that is the root of his problem.

I read a relationship book that I borrowed from a friend. Like most relationship books, it wasn't a whole lot of anything you hadn't figured out on your own if your eyes were open - but still good to remind you, "Ah yes, this is what works and what doesn't and why." So it is helpful from that standpoint.

Upon finishing, I asked Mr. Burns to read it. I thought it would open up some discussions.
At first he asked when he possibly had time to read it.
I apologized for the purple, cursive, flowery cover.
Then I offered to make a plain book cover for it. He laughed.
I actually did cut down a brown paper grocery bag - fashioned a cover like the ones we made in school - then wrote on the front "Plain Brown Wrapper".

I teased him that I would write, "Porn" on the cover so that he could carry it confidently in the airport. Ha! *

Well, when he landed the first day of his trip he told me he was three chapters in. He even pointed out the biggest concern that I shared from those first chapters.
This is progress! I thought. I was so pleased that he was willing to read the book. It seemed like a good step considering the let-down surrounding my visit home (see post below)

I picked Mr. Burns up from the airport last night. He started a conversation about the issues in the book! Wow!
He also said he wanted to finish the last few chapters.

Dear Lord, I was right. I knew if we could land on a common language to speak - we might get somewhere. He's better able to see things from my perspective. And in all fairness... I need to learn to see his perspective, but I need his help to show me. That too is where the book is helping.

Now I'm not saying this is some sort of magic book. All I'm saying is... beginning with our great ability and desire to communicate openly - and then adding a common language and topics to discuss - there is progress.
Most of all, I am touched by his willingness to both read the book, (how many guys would groan about THAT?!) and to discuss it. Yay.

* please do not infer in any way that I condone porn. Mr. Burns also, would never read or engage in porn. That is part of the joke.