Friday, December 25, 2009


Merry Christmas to all and to all a good morning.  May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be whatever you need them to be!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Life Gets Scary Sometimes

I am in a scary season of life I think.  Yesterday was an impossible day -- everything upset me.  I would break down and cry for no reason at all; I got in the conundrum of caring that we were way behind at work and at the same time not giving a damn.  I felt as though I was drifting through the day powerless to do anything to make things better or right.  I knew I "shouldn't" feel this way, and that knowledge just fueled the fire.  Last night I thought that a good night's sleep would fix the problems, but then I didn't sleep all that well.  I was up and down from 2am on and up a bit after 5, giving up on the idea of getting any real rest.  So today, I feel a bit fearful of life -- don't want to go to work, don't want to do anything.  Yet, I can't afford to not go to work and I have things that need doing for church and life marches on.  My question is, "Why does it have to march all over me?"  I am usually in pretty fair control over my emotions though sometimes when I am tired they tend to get the better of me, but this feeling of being propelled along through the rapids with no life jacket and nothing to grab onto, scares the heck out of me.  Where is the redeeming moment of sanity, how do I regain a sense of control, how do I function through the day at work when all I want to do is walk out?   And on top of that is the fear that things will get worse before they get better.  Some would tell me to buck up and face the day, thankful for job, health,and home.  I have been "bucking up" for a long time and am getting tired of it.  It seems that I take two steps forward and one back, then one forward and two back, and nothing ever seems to improve.  I know I'm rambling, but when one is being honest and dumping feelings, that's often what happens. Thanks for your care and support and for taking the time to read my ramblings.  I am hoping for a better day!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

There is Life afer Funerals

Well, I haven't posted since the first of the week, partly because of laziness and partly because of being overly busy.  When I last posted, I was preparing to head to Detroit for the eight hour day of viewing and visitation.  It was wonderful to see so many people paying their respects to a great lady, but it was extremely grueling for those of us who are the least bit introverted.  I told the funeral director that I was indeed dealing well with mother's passing, but the need to be "on" for that long was a real struggle.  My daughter arrived safely -- with her mother -- the "EX"!  There were some awkward moments, but we got through it all.  All of the grandchildren served as pall bearers which I found interesting since there are 9 granddaughters and 1 grandson.  The service was very nice.  The graveside service was a bit weird since we stood and witnessed the actual lowering of the casket into the grave and the sealing of the vault.  We did not stay to see the dirt dump; the rest was enough.  The funeral was Tuesday, I worked from home on Wednesday, and returned to the office on Thursday.  Now I am sitting here on this chilly Saturday morning facing the need to complete a sermon, do the laundry, clean the house, finish decorating, etc. when I would rather sit here and do absolutely nothing that requires thought or movement.  But life goes on, so the sermon will get written, the clothes will get washed, the dishes will go in the dishwasher, and there will be some decorating.  Perhaps by evening, Ben and I can enjoy some peace and quiet.  Then tomorrow is Sunday which is always a busy day.  When do people find time to grieve?  Life goes on -- and on.  Thanks to all for your care, prayers, and support through the past week.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Most Unusual Week

Well, it was an odd weekend and the next couple of days promise their fair share of oddity as well.  Friday, we headed to the Detroit area to be with my sibs and to make the final arrangements for Mom's funeral.  I've been involved in such things from the perspective of a Pastor but this was the first time I was integrally involved in the planning as a surviving family member.  Thankfully, Mom had pre-planned a good bit of it (including a page long list of people to call).  Last night was the first visitation.  I saw some of Mom's school chums (she's known them for somewhere in the vicinity of 80 years -- can you believe it?).  It went well, though there were lots of folks I didn't know.  Today, Ben will go to work and I will head back over for eight more hours of visitation.  I expect that one brother absent last night should be with us today and my daughter should be arriving from Tennessee.  Tomorrow is the pre-service visitation, the funeral, luncheon, and then the family graveside service.  It was interesting to see Mom laid out -- I guess the funeral people did a "good job", and while it looked like Mom, there was a special sparkle of life that was missing.  I was expecting to get all emotional at that first sight of her now empty shell, but because that spark of life was not there, it was not nearly as difficult as what I had prepared myself for.  I am having (and will continue to have) moments in which I tear up a bit or when I remember a special moment or something, but for the most part I recognize that death is a necessary rite of passage on our life journey and I celebrate Mom's transition.  She will be missed by many, but her influence will live on in her children, grandchildren, friends and acquaintances.  Once we get through the next couple of days perhaps life can exit this surreal time and move forward.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Orphaned at 60+

Had a call this morning from my sister to tell me that my mother died last night.  I'm not sure what to feel right now, but am headed to the Detroit area to be with the family.  Ben took off work on this Black Friday to go with me -- he's wonderful.  If any family members are reading this, please give me a call so we can talk about stuff.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A Change to My Blog

Well, it had to happen.  I have been getting spam comments on this page.  Therefore, I've changed my settings for comments to require word verification.  I know it's a pain, and I hate it, but I don't think very many of my faithful and legitimate readers care about links to Miley Cyrus Naked (if that is really where the links take you).  So, my apologies to those who have meaningful comments.  Why do people find it necessary to muck things up and make it harder on everyone?

The Majority takes Rights from the Minority - Again

The results of the vote in Maine overturning the right of ALL people to marry the person of their choice are in, and -- big surprise -- the narrow minded heterosexual majority stripped away the rights of a minority.  Why do we continue to put basic human rights up to a popularity contest?   When will we learn that all people are deserving of the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that these rights are not subject to "majority rule"?  Again I need to ask the question, 'How does my choice of a lifemate or spouse affect your marriage?'   I believe that eventually this matter will have to be decided in the courts and the legislatures, and once the rights are granted, they will not be taken away by narrow minded bigotry.  Marriage WILL ultimately be expanded to include all people -- why continue to fight and impede progress and inclusion?  

Monday, November 02, 2009

Ready or Not, Christmas is Coming.

Well, we have passed Halloween, so it seems that the Christmas preparation season is "game on."  As I sat this morning trying to figure out how to juggle money to pay the first of the month bills, I began to shudder at the thought of the costs of Christmas.  Gotta buy a few gifts; there's the added cost to the electric bill for decorations; charitable requests, unpaid time off from work, and the list goes on.  Then I began to ruminate on how one can be expected to enjoy Christmas -- to be "merry', to celebrate and rejoice -- when one cannot possibly fully participate in the annual "traditions" of spend, spend, and spend.  Then, of course, I began to reflect of the true meaning of Christmas -- while it is about the giving and receiving of gifts, it doesn't necessarily mean the giving and receiving of the newest, most expensive, biggest, most popular stuff.  The greatest gift was given centuries ago, and that gift is still a source of joy, strength, peace, and hope to all who take the time to receive it -- that gift is the human manifestation of the grace and love of God.  So--much as my worldly self is stewing about what Christmas 2009 is going to look like here -- I will be celebrating the joy, peace, hope, and love of God made real in our lives.  There may not be much under the tree, and the decorations may be a little less than usual (though with Ben in the house, I expect a lot of decorations), but the spirit of Christmas will be alive and well.  My wish for all of you is that you keep a sense of balance and recognize that Christmas is not just a day, but a way of life.  As you ski down the slope of Christmas prep, keep a sense of balance and take time to not only give, but to live the Spirit of Christmas.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I am till reeling from my 61 hour work week (plus doing church stuff) and into a new week that doesn't look much better.  As I see things, we need more people.  We have proven that throwing excessive overtime at the problem is not the solution since we got half way to a controllable situation with people working OT last week, but by yesterday afternoon, we were right back behind the 8 Ball.  I fear what the situation will become as our team is relocated and some don't go.  Ben keeps telling me it isn't my problem and I know that on some levels, but I feel as though in some ways I need to be involved in the solution.  Don't know what's going to happen -- we shall see.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


In preparation for National Coming Out Day, I just wanted everyone to know that I AM GAY and proud.  The coming out process is exactly that -- it is a process filled with several "coming out"s, not a specific event frozen in time.  One can come out to family in a single event, or at work or here or there.  However, I come out each time my partner and I are out in public -- he gets asked, "Is that your Dad?"  Do we change the subject or tell the truth of who we are to each other.  Each time we encounter a situation where our sexuality is either unknown or questioned, we make the conscious decision  whether or not to "come out."  I have been "out" to myself, my family, my church(s) and more for more years than I care to think about, but new opportunities to come out arise frequently if not every day.  So, today I take this opportunity to say for NCOD -- I AM GAY!

Thursday, October 08, 2009


Well, I went back to work today after two vacation days.  I put in 10 1/4 hours today and probably that tomorrow.  They want folks to work Saturday and Sunday to catch up, but I cannot.  Saturday I am doing a workshop in Pontiac (four times during the day -- yuck) and Sunday I have a Board meeting and church.  That kind of fills up a weekend.  It appears that the overtime will be continuing next week.  GM seems to be offboarding a LOT of people recently.  Perhaps the recession is not over -- at least not here in the mitten state.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


There is a ray of hope on the job front.   I cannot elaborate on it yet, but it sounds like a workable solution at least in the short term.  At least I am not staring directly at the soup line for the moment.  Also, sent my grandson's birthday card out today -- he will get it a day or two late (Sorry about that), but it's sent.  Sadly, the only contact with daughter, SIL and grandson seems to be when I send a birthday or Christmas card.  I think that we are all missing a valuable resource in the relationship that we are not cultivating, but I am lost as to how to make it happen.  There isn't a day goes by that they aren't on my mind.  My hope and prayer is that they are well and happy and that they know that they are loved.

What Next?

"What Next?" is usually a dangerous question to ask, because no sooner do we ask it than we find out the answer -- usually something not too exciting.  Well, I guess I asked the question this week and yesterday the answer began to unfold.  Before leaving for work I had a premonition that I was going to lose my job.  It did not happen -- quite!  However, imagine my mood when I read the email that said that my job will be moving to a site some 75 miles away sometime over the next few months.  Of course, I do have the "opportunity" to "transition" with them, but is that a practical choice?  I have to sit down and do the math on costs etc.  The trouble is that the employer is not providing the answers that we need to make an informed decision, but they want our answer on whether or not to go -- by Monday.  There's supposed to be a rep from the temp agency on site tomorrow, so we shall see what THEY have to say.  According to the unemployment office, if I don't go, it is viewed as a voluntary separation and benefit would be dependent on the outcome of an "investigation."  Again, no clear cut answers!   So the question of the day, like it or not, is "What's next?"  Only time will tell!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Musings

I survived Monday somehow.  Had a very busy weekend.  Took part in AIDS Walk in Midland on Saturday and church twice on Sunday.  That all meant two long drives (totalling about 400 miles).  The rest of Saturday was spent getting ready for Sunday, so there wasn't much down time on the weekend.  I woke up feeling fuzzy and almost panicky this morning which made the first half of the workday a bit weird.  The fog started to lift about halfway through the workday.  Of course, by that time, the fog and panic were replaced by a bit of exhaustion.  Came home where Ben had dinner and a big tall cocktail waiting for me.  Doing laundry this evening and perhaps tomorrow will actually get some of LAST WEEK'S laundry put away.  LOL.  Life is always an adventure here at Happy Acres.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Emotional Ups and Downs

We've been back from vacation only a few days.  We had a wonderful time, doing our best to put the trials and troubles of day to day life out of our minds and to just relax and enjoy each others company.  It was wonderful, but ended way too soon.  We came home on Saturday, spent Sunday resting and doing laundry and stuff, and hit the work merry-go-round on Monday.  By the time we reached Wednesday night, we were both mental basket cases.  Our under-employment situations are no secret to long time readers.  Something has to give if we are to survive.  One or the other or both of us need jobs that use our talents and educations, that fulfill us, and that provide some financial rewards.  That likely means that we will have to re-locate and we are open to that -- the question is "Where?".  The answer to that is dependent on opportunities that may arise.  Of course, the preferences include warmth, some mountains (or at least hills higher than the freeway ramps), and reasonable travel time/distance to both families.  The lack of clarity and answers continues to leave us feeling confused and trapped in our current situation, which coupled with everything else, deepens the depression.  Thankfully, we have each other.  Ben is the bright spot in my life (and rumor has it that I light up his life).  Whatever we do, we will do it together.  I am not posting this to ask for answers, but simply to vent.  Of course, if someone HAS the answer, don't hesitate to send it ASAP.  Maybe God works through blogs too.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Joy of Vacation Quickly Fades

We had a wonderful trip to Iowa, and the break was great. However, with two days of work under my belt, I am ready to go again.  I came back to a huge backlog of work and am putting in overtime trying to help catch up.  And strange as it seems, the BS at work hasn't gone away.  People are still people and problems are still problems.  We do have three days scheduled off together next month so we will find something to do with it.  Even though time off has a drastic effect on the budget, not taking time off has a worse effect on our emotional well being.  Ah well, life goes on -- and on -- long after the thrill of living is gone.  HEE HEE.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Home Again

Well, everyone, we have returned from a much needed and too short vacation. We visited with Ben's family in Iowa and had the opportunity to visit with friends in Illinois and Iowa. One thing I have never figured out is why people usually come home from vacations as tired as when they left. I truly believe that a one week vacation, while enjoyable, is too short. You spend the first couple of days unwinding from the chaos of routine life and the last couple of days gearing up to get back into it. That leaves four or five days to relax. Now a two week vacation would allow a week and a half to relax and have fun. I vote for more vacation time for most people. Europe seems to have it right -- people get much more "holiday" than we do, they are restricted on how much they can work. But it is wonderful to have been off for a week. Today is unpacking, laundry, groceries, and such. Can't wait for the next vacation break. Pictures may follow soon.

Friday, September 04, 2009


I cannot believe it's been three months since I posted anything here. Guess I've been too busy at Facebook -- some of those social networking sites are addictive. It's been a weird summer -the weather has been okay but not great, we've had to put down two pets. finances have been a struggle, and so on. BUT -- we have our health, we have each other, we are both employed, and life goes on. We are heading to Iowa for vacation in a week -- a much needed break. Church stuff continues to both challenge and bless us both. That, in a nutshell, is a quick update. I will try to post a bit more often if I can tear myself away from FB-- hope to see you all there.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

And the Fight Rages On

The California Supreme Court validated Proposition 8 today. That does not mean that they agree with the content, only that the process was valid. However, the idea that voters get to decide everything without regard to rights or equality makes me wonder what would happen if someone proposed reinstating slavery and having a majority build it into the constitution. Would slavery then become law because a majority of bigots said it should? I doubt that such a proposal would ever pass in this day and age, but if it did, the court would be bound to uphold it. So -- let's reinstate slavery, let's take away the right of women to vote, and let's see what else we can cram through a gullible electorate to turn this country back a few hundred years. OR -- we can wake up and realize, as many states have done, that just because a majority of people don't approve of same sex marriage, freedom from slavery, or the full inclusion of both genders in the voting process doesn't give anyone the right to legislate such bigotry. I am not going to criticize the Cal. Supreme Court for this ruling -- they are bound by law. However, I say SHAME on the voters of California! I think that all the GLBT people in California need to move to Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, or Maine and watch California's already teetering economy fall flat on its face. The decision today is a setback, but folks -- same sex marriage is here to stay. Eventually these inane constitutional bans will fall one by one like dominoes and we will be included as full members of society. Until that day, stand firm and speak out for JUSTICE for all.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What a Week!

Here I am at the start of a three day weekend (except, of course, for church). The break from the secular job is much needed as the pressure of getting things up and running is about wear me out. That's not to say that it is entirely my responsibility -- there are better paid people than I to have the final call on things. However, I am in a position of having to deal with local management who has expectations (I believe them to be a bit unrealistic, but hey -- I'm only a grunt so who cares). Then we have to deal with co-workers from the other side of the world by email and instant messaging whose "way of doing things" impedes the achievement of those expectations. Then there are the people who work with me. We have a team of 11. Management has figured out that this is too small a group to achieve the desired result so they are adding a few folks. Then we got the news that one of the better team members is leaving next week to take another job. OUCH! Add to that the fact that our team absentee rate seems to be among the highest of any job I've ever had and you can imagine the chaos. We have been short one, two, or even three team members every day since the start of this project. Add to that the ever changing processes, and you can begin to see why my stress level is at its apex. Since I am one of two folks scheduled the latest, we have to stay to make sure that all the work put before us for the day is completed. Yesterday was a ten hour day with lunch at my desk while continuing to work. Poor Ben had to keep himself entertained since my workload made me nearly two hours late picking him up after work. He was so good about it and didn't complain, but even though it wasn't my fault, I sure felt a good case of the guilty's. Today will be sermon day (and I hope a little R&R), tomorrow is church and then I am OFF on Monday before heading back to the grindstone on Tuesday. I sure hope that things balance out or I may lose my cool! Can't afford to chuck the job -- the creditors would just not understand. Ah well, this too shall pass -- like a kidney stone!! Hug someone.

Friday, May 08, 2009


For some reason this has been an incredibly long week. Today was the completion of training for my new duties. Monday I start the new task and the new schedule from 1030-7pm. That's not horrible, just different. Of course, between gaps in the training schedule and Ben's car trouble, I lost out on about 9 hours this week - plus the 5% pay cut took effect this week. Next paycheck will be a bit anemic, but it's better than NO paycheck. The bright note in all this is that the work I will be doing is the same work (with some revisions) that I was doing for these folks a couple of years ago. At that time, the work went overseas, but it's coming back -- and bringing work back to Michigan (the unemployment champ) is a victory. If we do well and keep the customer happy, there is more work to be had. That means if our team does well, I should have a degree of job security for some time -- I hope.

The computers are up and running after two monitors and a power supply. Perhaps that will be the end of that for a while. Tomorrow will be Sermon day! Sunday will be church, a board meeting, and then a trip to see Mother for M day! So-- I will likely not be home until around 8 on Sunday evening. At least with the new work schedule, I can sleep late on Monday.

That's the way it is on this fabulous Friday! Hope you all are well. Hug someone.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Economy Strikes Again

Well, I experienced the joys of the current economic situation today. All of the temp help was called into an office one by one and informed that we will be taking a five percent pay cut starting next week. My response, while not happy, was reasonable -- 95% is better than no percent. I was kidding with a couple of co-workers by saying that I should wait until next week to call in sick so it won't cost me so much -- of course, I'm not sick and I won't be calling in. I also reasoned that an across the board five percent pay cut was better than a five percent staff reduction. So, the little bit extra that Ben has started getting from the church counterbalances part of what I am losing -- the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Ah well, life goes on .....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Life Moves Forward

Well, it was a long and time consuming move, but we turned in the keys to the old place last night and brought the last load of stuff back -- Ben called those boxes the "Miscellaneous Boxes". They will get opened in the next couple of days and all will be well within a week or so. Another casualty -- besides the table leg, a chipped glass, and a couple other small oops's -- was the laptop display screen. I was sitting here the other night typing away (or playing a game or something equally exciting) when all at once Ben let out a howl. Before he could explain it, the entire rack of dvd's and cd's came toppling over toward me and the computer. It smacked the lid of the laptop and the display went all whacky and useless. Well, I worried and stewed about it for a while, and we decided to find a monitor to hook to the laptop. I posted my need on and within hours yesterday I had a couple of emails offering monitors. I went this afternoon and picked one up, brought it home, hooked it up, and --voila!!-- I'm back up and running. All things seem to work out somehow.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hello all; miss me?

When I looked at how long it's been since I last posted, I was almost embarrassed to come back. Between a serious facebook addiction, moving, job, and church, things have been a bit hectic. I've missed you all. Our move is nearly completed -- we have about one and a half more carloads and then final clean up to finish up. Then, of course, there's the joy of unpacking it and finding places for everything. It amazes me how quickly the space fills up. We are settling in nicely, however, and look forward to staying here for a while. I am so sick of moving. This is my fifth move since moving back to Michigan in 2004. Doing the math, that works out to about one a year. TOO MUCH. I am so sick of seeing cardboard boxes!!!. My time at the church is winding down -- two more months and I'm done. The turnaround in the congregation's involvement and attitude over the past six months is amazing -- almost makes me want to stay to see where it leads. But I won't and I cannot according to contract. They will now need to step up and move forward into the next chapter of their life as I do so in mine. I did have the opportunity to go to Ben's church with him today and meet a bunch of his folks. At work I am back in training for a desk that will be doing the work that I did when I was there nearly two years ago--the work that went to Malaysia is now coming back to the good old USA -now if only our primary client (a large US automaker) stays in business! Spring seems to be coming finally. We've had some hot weather already and oh the spring rainstorms!! I think I saw a big boat full of animals go past the window last night. All in all, things are good. We are happy and looking forward to making this place into a home we can enjoy together for a good long time. We shall see.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Economy Strikes Again

We continue to read and hear about how the economy is struggling for growth and survival. In our area, many folks have fallen victim to this economic mess as jobs vanish, homes are lost, and prices continue to rise. I have felt very fortunate to have landed a decent job, but even this one is not immune from the ravages of the economy. Relax -- I still have my job, but they are cutting 40 hours per employee over the next five weeks. While that will result in a loss of several hundred dollars for our household (and many others), I am thankful that I still have a job. This management decision adds to an already uncertain future for my job. We shall persevere -- God hasn't let us down yet. But that doesn't lessen the worry factor. It is perhaps the least desirable part of working through a temp agency -- the lingering knowledge that any day could be the last balanced by a desire to do a professional and worthwhile job. Ah well, life goes on!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Daylight Saving Time

Remember to SPRING FORWARD one hour tonight!!


First, thanks to all who made suggestions about furniture arrangements in response to my last post. I knew that the particular readership of this blog would surely have ideas on decorating -- LOL. I am sitting here today watching it rain. Our weather has been weird -- cold and snow, then warm and sunny, now cold and rainy --welcome to Michigan where if you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes. My sermon is pretty much ready for tomorrow, a load of dishes is washed as is a load of laundry. Ben will be home within the hour and dinner is on the horizon. Tomorrow is church and a board meeting -- oh joy! Less than four months and my time with this group will be O-V-E-R!!. It's been an interesting ride with moods swinging from excitement to gloom and back toward excitement. It is my prayer that during these four months I can narrow that swing and focus the group on being church. Ah well, we shall see. In six weeks time, Ben and I will be moving -- scary prospect. I look forward to the new place, but getting all this crap packed and moved and unpacked is a daunting challenge. We shall, however, manage it somehow. Anyone want to come and help? Well, that's about all that's going on here -- guess I will wrap this up and go back to playing games on Facebook. See you there!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Looking Toward the Big Move

In just over a month Ben and I will be making many trips between where we live now and our new home -- we must have a few thousand boxes of stuff and furniture enough for a small hotel (well, that might be an exaggeration, but you get the idea). Here is our new floor plan. I have been arranging furniture in my mind for the past week and there are so many options that we won't actually decide anything until we start getting stuff over there. We had to laugh during our initial visit to the new complex. The not too bad looking young man showing us the units made several mentions of "roommate" situations -- particularly with reference to the second bedroom. We decided not to burst his bubble of innocence or ignorance, but we thought, "Boy, have you got it wrong!" But back to the unit itself. See that area on the first floor called "dining area"? Well if one has a small and narrow table maybe it would work as what it is labelled. However, I am playing with several ideas for that space. We have two antique wooden arm chairs that I think would make a great reading nook with the addition of our antique round side table. Or we could put a TV there (that's what they say a lot of residents do), but I don't think I want a TV in the Living Room. Then of course, we could do a wall of bookcases (God knows we have enough books to fill it), but that would mean having to buy bookcases. We could leave it empty (what a novel idea). Your thoughts on this "odd" and somewhat useless (or somewhat versatile) area are welcome. Anyway, it will be a fun experience setting up housekeeping - again!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Life is Up in the Air

Our lives continue to be in an uproar. After a Saturday morning trip to the mechanic for four tires and new front brakes, we headed west to apply for a lease on a townhouse. Between those two stops, the rent and a couple of other bills, the big three week paycheck, the tax check and the bank bonus are gone and it's back to the grindstone to earn enough to pay the next stack of bills. But life is good. I am really looking forward to the townhouse. With a basement that will allow Ben to bring his glass stuff home and also some space for storage, I might be able to keep at least the first floor somewhat organized. At least that is the plan -- of course it remains to be seen whether or not I can do it. Only time will tell. The job continues to be challenging -- not terribly difficult, but a great deal of detail. It's easy to make boo boo's, but I think I have a handle on what I'm doing. The problem with a temp job is that I go to work every day with the possibility that this could be the last day. I expect it to last for some time, but since we service a major automaker, and they aren't doing so well, they may make cuts and those cuts will roll downhill to us. We shall see. I'd like it to last a year or more, and certainly at least six months. Six months will qualify me for unemployment again and a year will put me within 6 months of social security. Who knows? I might just slide into retirement and become a gentleman of leisure. Ben can support me in the style to which I'd like to become accustomed. Just kidding -- we will get through all the turmoil and life will settle down one of these days. I hope! Hug someone.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

It's All Facebook's Fault

Hi all! When I looked at my page today, I realized how long it's been since I posted anything. Shame on me. Besides the reality that I haven't had much to say, I've been hooked on Facebook and seem to be spending a lot (read that as way too much) time there exploring and of course playing Pirates and Sudoku. So, blame Facebook - I seem to strangely addicted.

On a different note, I completed my federal and state income tax forms. The US owes me, and I owe the state. At least the difference is in my favor. Now all I need to do is figure out the city forms -- they're more convoluted than the US IRS forms == I never thought that was possible, but..... Once the federal check arrives, it is going for four new tires for the little red car. With the miles I do, good tires are essential. At least I got new wiper blades the other day and with Ben's help got them put on -- in cold windy weather. A word to the wise: If you need wiper blades do it in August or September when it's warmer. We about frostbit our hands, noses, and ears. At least now I can see out the windows LOL.

I don't know much else today so this will be it for this post. See you all again soon (sooner than this time). Remember to hug someone.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Taxation of Taxation

I know that this time of year many of us are giving some thought to income tax, whether we will owe or reap a huge refund, or whether we will be able to figure out the maze of forms, figures, and receipts and get everything taken care of. The whole issue of taxes is very much in the forefront of the media these days in light of two cabinet nominees withdrawing their names in the light of tax "errors" and one who was confirmed in spite of tax problems. Over the past few years, there have been others in high profile positions who were discovered to have had tax issues -- including Caroline Kennedy. What all of this brings to my mind (and hopefully should put some thoughts in smarter folks than I) is that our tax system is so broken that mere mortals are baffled by it. I cannot believe that these public servants intentionally strove to cheat the government of which they are a part (though I suppose that is possible). I strongly believe that our entire tax code needs a major overhaul free of partisan and classist politics. I am a strong proponent of a straight percentage tax on all income -- from the poorest to the richest. The poor will scream that they can't afford it and the rich will scream that they are paying more than their share, but that's too bad. Employers could simply withhold a percentage from all paychecks and submit it directly to the government. Corporations paying dividends could do likewise with dividend payments. There would be no need for individuals to ever have to file a return or keep receipts or any of the dreaded first of the year tasks. The government could downsize IRS, and all would be well. I suppose that I am looking at this from a naive point of view, but for me it would be far more simple and fair. What do you think?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sunday Evening

Hi everyone. Since I got hooked on Facebook, my blogger life has been suffering. I hope to get them in balance with each other soon. Anyway, here I am. I am sitting here in front of the TV watching a series of commercials that is interrupted by something that the girls call football. Can someone explain that to me? LOL. The job seems to be going well though half of Thursday and all of Friday were wasted time since they had us out observing other agents (the bad part of that is that most of them were doing things we will not be doing, and the ones who were doing the thing we will didn't seem to know what they were doing.). I am sure that this week will be more productive. The paycheck for the first three days of work was nice. Today was church and that is always challenging. Service went well, but afterward someone got his feathers ruffled and blew up and left. It was silly stuff too. Some folks were setting up for a Valentines Party (why they are setting up this early is beyond me, but that's another issue). They rearranged the tables and that - believe it or not - is what precipitated the upset. When will these people get a clue that most of the little things are not worth getting upset over. And who cares how the tables are arranged? They can be moved for the next time and the time after. Whatever! I am tired of dealing with middle aged children! That's about all for today. Stop by and look for me on Facebook! Hug someone.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The State of the State of Unemployment

No, I am not unemployed. The new job is going all right as I am still in training. What this post is about is the incredibly whacked out unemployment system (a real oxymoron) that exists in Michigan. What prompts this rant? The story began with the good news of a new job and the leaving of the lower paying part time job. Yesterday I called the unemployment system right on my bi-weekly schedule to claim benefits for the last week of the old job and the first partial week of the new job. The automated call began with the usual question: Have you begun work? (Answer was "YES"). Next question: What was your first day of work? (Answer was 1/21/09). So far, so good. The next question: Did you quit any job, refuse any job offer, etc? (Answer was "YES"). This was the kicker question and answer. The call proceeded through the usual ten minutes worth of information, only to end with "We are unable to issue a payment at this time. Please call xxx-xxx-xxxx and select "Inquiry." Well, I went slightly nuts at that, but in fairness, I did what I was instructed. After being on hold, bounced off the call, on hold, bounced again, and on hold (total time was 45+ minutes), an agent came on the phone and I assumed (WRONGLY) that we could straighten out this snafu. She said, "We are not assisting any more clients today! Please give me your SSN and we will call you back tomorrow." Now I was seeing red! After wasting about an hour by this time, I was told that they were through for the day? EEK! So, I told her that a return call would be difficult since I am WORKING FULL TIME! (DUH!). I asked for a call back after 5:30PM. Today, at almost 6:00 PM (with no call), I called them again and got put on hold for several minutes. Finally, I got an agent and I thought (WRONGLY AGAIN) that we could resolve the issue and get the payment released. I was told that since I had answered that I had quit a job, they would hold the payment pending a four to six week investigation. I tried unsuccessfully to explain that in order to accept a FULL TIME job at a HIGHER hourly rate (and thus get off the public dole), it was was necessary to quit the PART TIME LOWER WAGE job. She wouldn't budge, so I asked for her manager. I was told, "She's gone for the day, but if you leave your number, I can have her call you first thing in the morning." Um, what part of WORKING FULL TIME did she not hear? So, now I will have to play their game and maybe - if I am lucky -- I will get a payment in 4 to 6 weeks, during which time I will have to make those biweekly certification calls to the automated system to keep a claim active that should, by rights, have been closed this week. This is government service (another oxymoron!)? Ah well, maybe my creditors will be happy when I tell them to send me a bill in four to six weeks! Yeah, right! And that is the state of the state of unemployment.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Job - Day One

Well, I lived through the first day on the new job. It was refreshing to not have to deal with "I want to return this", or "This is supposed to be on sale." Of course in a couple of weeks I will be dealing with folks on the phones, but I think for the most part they are a little nicer, etc. Of course, the trainer still has stories and bad jokes to tell, but he does give us breaks about every 45 minutes to an hour, a long lunch, and out early, so I guess that's okay too. I did see a few folks I used to work with and they seemed happy to see me. All in all I think that this is a good move for me. Now I'm home and resting up for tomorrow's stories and jokes LOL. Hug someone!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What a Day!

It was wonderful being home and able to watch the historic events of the day live on TV. From Aretha's hat to the Chief Justice tripping over the oath of office to Rick Warren's very Christo-centric prayer (including the Lord's Prayer)there were some fun moments. But, putting all that stuff aside, it was a wonderful and historic day. What I think struck me the most were the shots of the mall packed with people, most of them waving American flags which created an amazing sea of red, white, and blue. In the midst of celebration, let us remember that the work of rebuilding what America is lies ahead of us. Also, as we celebrate, let's pause and pray for Sen. Kennedy in his health crisis. I guess I will go back and watch the parade for a while. Hug someone!

And What if I Won't?

As many of you know, language and grammar are pet peeves of mine. I think that the English language is wonderful and should be treated and used with the respect and dignity it deserves. Several times during today's historic events in Washington I heard commentators use the phrase "if you will". I have no idea exactly what they mean by that? Will I agree with them? Will I allow them to speak? Will I listen? Will I go to the kitchen for a glass of water? What??? And, in our house at least, the response becomes, "And what if I won't?" If I say that I won't (won't whatever it is that they want me to "will", will the TV screen suddenly go quiet and dark with the commentator drawn and quartered or will he or she continue on with what they were about to say? Since they are going to say it anyway, the "if you will" is unnecessary and perhaps condescending. Or is it an affectation like "um', "like", etc? Come on, people -- let's honor the language we have and use it correctly without fillers like "if you will".

Monday, January 19, 2009

Write Your Own Inaugural Address

I found this on, and created the most hilarious speech. Give it a try and see if you are ready to be sworn in as President -- I, obviously, am not ready. Enjoy.

The Winds of Change

Well, here we are at last in the week when we inaugurate a new president. This week is about eight years overdue by my calendar since the past eight years have been anything but productive. But that criticism would be the subject of not only a separate post, but an entirely separate blog! On to the moment and beyond.

Yesterday kicked off Inauguration fever in earnest with the big pre-inaugural event on the mall in DC. We tuned in to watch history in the making and of course were disappointed by the non-broadcast of the invocation by Bishop Gene Robinson. According to what I've read, it was the decision of the transition team to not broadcast the "Pre-show" show. How sad. I have read the text of the prayer and seen the UTube of it and was quite impressed by Bishop Robinson's care in crafting a prayer that said what needs to be said without being overly political. It will be interesting to see the unfolding explanations of why it was not broadcast. The rest of the concert was pretty good, though I can't imagine why some of the "artists" (and yes, Ben, I intentionally used the quotes) were invited. At least there was enormous diversity. I commented at one point how this whole thing must be driving the radical right crazy -- at one point it looked like a bunch of homeless folks having a sing-in on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Overall, I would rate it good -- not great, but good. There was certainly an air of hopefulness and celebration in the air.

This is the last full day of the Bush debacle -- that alone being reason for hopefulness and certainly celebration. Our country and indeed our government has been stuck shifting between neutral and reverse for the past eight years and it is indeed time for change. That change has begun and will officially become the expectation beginning at noon tomorrow. I will be tuned in!!!

Sandwiched in the midst of all this celebration of change is the celebration of one of the greatest agents of change of my generation -- the birthday of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. This voice for change still rings out across this land some 40+ years after his untimely death. The upcoming inauguration is glowing evidence of the truth and depth of Dr. King's legacy. Look how far we have come in those 40 years. Yet, we still have miles to go. Perhaps the next four years (and perhaps the next eight) will move this nation and society into a new age of peace, inclusion, liberty, and dignity for all it's people.

Anyway, that's all of my philosophical musings for this early Monday morning. Take a moment to pray in whatever manner is comfortable to you for the winds of change to propel us forward as a nation and a people. AND -- as usual -- Hug someone special!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Unemployed for the Moment

Well, tonight ended my stint on the customer service desk at the local "X"mart kind of store. Everyone seemed genuinely sorry to see me go (guess I must have made a darned good employee). My new assignment begins on Wednesday, so from now til then I am a bum again LOL. I will be home to watch Gene Robinson pray at the Lincoln Memorial tomorrow night and for the inauguration on Tuesday (to hear Rick Warren?--ick). It will be nice tomorrow to come home from church and not have to dash out in my red shirt and khakis to work 6 hours in the evening. No more nights and weekends -- hallelujah.

Actually, leaving was a little bittersweet. I am surely glad to be doing something else and making more money and working days during the week. But I will miss some of the people and even a few of the customers. Some of them I will miss like one misses a toothache when a tooth is pulled, but there really were some nice folks too. Those I shall miss.


Well, I gave my notice at the current job yesterday in preparation for starting the new job next week. My boss was very nice about it and said some really nice things. The lack of advance notice was not a particular problem -- she just had to shuffle everyone else's schedules around to fill the void. The start for the new job was pushed back to Wednesday. It seems that no one remembered that Monday is a holiday (I bet the line employees remembered) and that makes Tuesday a slam day so they say. So, after today I will be unemployed until Wednesday morning. Maybe I can find some time to get the house cleaned or maybe just sit and play online and watch TV. Who knows?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Day Off

Ben and I both had today off, and as usual, it did not go to waste. We began the day with my doctor appointment (which instead of being there 15-20 minutes took about 90 minutes including the wait. Then we headed to the local lab for my drug test for the new job -- I'm sure I passed. We finally had the opportunity for breakfast (of course it was 1PM by this time) at Cracker Barrell -- YUM. Then we got out the GPS and began the usual type adventure. Of course the first two places Ben entered in the GPS were CLOSED when we arrived at them. We still managed to have fun between shopping and looking at the sights -- not to mention a little bit of slip sliding on some of the roads. I actually bought a "Snuggie" (as seen on TV - the blanket with sleeves). I actually bought it to try one out before getting Mother one for her upcoming birthday (if any of the family is reading this -- I am buying her one so don't you!). It's really kind of neat -- another of those things that I wish I had invented. It's so sensible and simple, yet until recently was unheard of. Think of the money I could have made. Ah well, I need some new and practical (or at least saleable) ideas to get rich. Now we are sitting at home together relaxing and each of us surfing the web and reading email. Soon it will be off to bed in preparation for another day (I'm off tomorrow). Being off will mean a trip to the dog groomer, the bank, the dry cleaner, and maybe get the oil changed. I guess I should write a sermon sometime for Sunday. And that's the way it is on this wonderful day off. Hug someone.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


As most of my readers know, I have been in job search mode for the better part of a year and I have had moments with the two temp agencies with whom I am registered -- no calls back or apparent follow through. BUT -- all is not lost. Yesterday, out of the blue, the phone rang, and it was the rep from the agency I was working through last winter. NOW -- pending background and drug check results -- I will be starting a new assignment on Monday. At last - a full time job with more money than I am currently making. How timely since unemployment is going to run out in just a few weeks. So, thanks to all for encouragement and support through this search. Barring any unforeseen glitches, I will be among the full time employed in a few days. It will also mean "good bye, service desk", which is both good and bad. This job has not been horrid, just frustrating at times. I am so looking forward to a Monday through Friday, 40 hour a week, daytime gig. HOORAY!!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

This Week's Rant in Review

First, the good stuff. The other day I was having a major self pity party -- feeling useless, under appreciated at work and church, and not worthy of the desired appreciation. It was not a pretty sight. I managed to work up enough gumption to go to work -- it's really hard to do that when feeling in such a deep funk. Anyway, I made it through the work day and when I got home I discovered that my wonderful Ben had bought me the flowers pictured here. What a gorgeous array of happy colors. Of course that, along with the cherry pie and ice cream -- not to mention Ben himself -- helped pull me back to a tolerable level of feeling. He's a sweetheart, this one!!

Now, on to other stuff. I headed out for church on Sunday morning and had to make a stop for gas. I fell victim to one of those stations that has a different price for cash and for credit for the same gas. I find that practice offensive and somehow unethical. Needless to say, that station can be added to the "kiss my butt" list and I will purchase gas at stations that treat their customers fairly. I will continue to boycott stations who choose to penalize customers for the convenience of using a credit or debit card and paying at the pump. So far, in recent weeks, I have discovered this practice at one Mobil, one Citgo, and several BP stations. I think that whoever regulates gas stations in the state should do something about this silliness!!

Today was day six of a eight day stretch at work. It's not horrid, but eight days in a row (mostly second shift type hours is poopy. I'm looking forward to Thursday when Ben and I are both off. I have a doctor appointment in the AM, and then we have the rest of the day to do whatever floats our boat. That will probably be some adventure involving the GPS, back roads (if the snow is not too deep) and an exploring spirit. With Ben's imagination, we always find fun and unusual things to do as you have seen in various previous posts on his blog and here.

I am thoroughly aggravated with two temp agencies where I am registered. Both of these agencies called me back in early December with some "hot" assignments. I have called both of them back on multiple occassions only to receive no further response. How professional is that? These agencies are supposed to be looking out for the employer AND the employee/contractor. What kind of an example of responsible business behavior are they portraying by not at least returning phone calls?

My next rant of the week is television commercials. Those are the things around which the networks interject brief segments of mediocre programming. I think it is getting to the point where the commercial breaks are actually longer than the program segments that they separate. I think it's outrageous to pay the cost of cable television and still be plagued with ads for everything from credit counselors to condoms and beyond. Thank God for the DVR box -- we can record shows and fast forward through the commercial interruptions.

Well, since it is now Tuesday morning == early-- I suppose I should end this rant and get myself ready for some sleepy time. Hang in there and hug someone special.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Here I Am in 2009

No, I didn't fall off the planet at the coming of the new year. I've been fighting a cold, working, doing the church thing, and so on, and I've not been in a blogging space. There's not a lot going on in life at this moment. I did renew the church contract for 3 more months though after yesterday's gathering, I don't think it was such a wise idea. People somehow haven't learned the art or concept of respect. People snap at and belittle one another, often without thinking about how their message is received. We had a furnace problem and I had the building person call the repairman. It turned to be a thermostat problem which, according to the "monday morning quarterbacks" could have been fixed in house. However, a call was appropriate. Come Sunday, one of the board members mouthed off saying, "You should have checked the thermostat first". We nearly lost the person who was being addressed. I told him it was real easy to criticize the day after, but in the moment we took the appropriate action. People haven't learned the art of expressing opinion without belittling other people. That, if nothing else, is my challenge over the next three months. I am calling people on their inappropriate behaviors and let the chips fall where they may. I am using the manta, "JUST BE NICE." We will never all agree on every matter before us, but we can disagree without being disagreeable. We need to recognize that it isn't a me vs. you, but a "What's best for the life of the church?" mentality that is needed. Breaking this systemic mess might break me, but it will be worth the effort if there is success. I am off work today and tomorrow and taking it a bit easy trying to get over the cold. I am just about well, but still tired and a bit coughy. Perhaps another day of laying around. Anyway, that's what's happening here in this suburb of Hell. Hug someone.