Thursday, June 30, 2011

June Was For Connections

Other than the ups and downs of my job search, June was a month for making connections.

I heard from and got in touch with lots of people I haven't connected with in a long time.

It really started on the last day in May when Ken and I had dinner with friends in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Then in June ~

I heard from a friend who is in the East from California and will come for a visit in mid-July; it had been five years since our last conversation. We have known each other for thirty years.

I called another friend of thirty years I last saw a year ago; we talked for forty-five minutes and made plans to meet for coffee.

At a lunch sponsored by my investment advisor I sat next to a woman I knew thirty years ago and haven't seen to talk to for twenty years; we exchanged email addresses.

I met with a friend I last saw in November and hope to travel north to see her again in two weeks.

This week I had dinner with my new yoga class and got to better know five women who live in surrounding communities.

Today a neighbor from my old house called to say hello. This evening a friend from many years ago asked to friend me on FaceBook.

All of this in addition to lunch and a movie with my teacher friend and visits with my elderly friend in town.

I'm on a roll.

I have a list of people I haven't seen since last summer, or before, that I have wanted to invite for dinner. I think it's time to start making plans.

Monday, June 27, 2011


This is a first. I find out I didn't get the job before the interview.

When I got home Friday night Ken said someone had called from the organization where I was scheduled to interview. The woman didn't want to leave a message and said she would send me an email, though I didn't receive anything from her office.

All kinds of things went through my mind: rescheduling, papers to bring...and although I thought that maybe she could be calling to cancel the interview I quickly dismissed that possibility. I mean, they haven't even met me yet!

When there was no phone call from the woman early today I felt better. It probably wasn't anything important. It did occur to me that she could send an email to an incorrect address, so I put in a call at 9:00 this morning. It went to voicemail so I left a message.

An hour later the woman called to say the interview has been cancelled. They have already filled the position, which means someone who is already an employee or someone interviewed previously for another position. I asked if she would keep my application on file.

So that's that. Back to the drawing board. And the air is out of my sails once again. I wish I could stop getting my hopes up, but when something that looks promising comes along I get excited. I read the signs all wrong.

When I contacted one of my references last week to confirm her contact information, I learned she has retired to the Southwest. I told her I have had no luck with any of the small non-profits that I worked with when I was an intern in her office. She said, "Who would have thought that would happen?"


Friday, June 24, 2011

A Celebration Long Awaited

One year ago my daughter took part in a ceremony to celebrate her almost-completed residency in family medicine. I just reread my post on that day. At that time there were still many questions about what came next and how everything would be resolved.

What a difference a year makes.

This evening is a ceremony to celebrate a different sort of ending. She will not be officially done until mid-August, but it's time to celebrate the completion of her one-year fellowship and what comes next.

This time my daughter knows what comes next. In late August she will take a position as the doctor at a rural health center, where everything is done with the patient in mind, and health care professionals are treated with respect and care, too.

After four years of college, four years of medical school, three years of residency, and a one-year fellowship, my daughter will be the doctor to a community. This is what she has wanted all along. The work it took to get to this point will not be forgotten, but now the goal is realized and that puts the last dozen years in perspective.

When we start on any path it is impossible to foresee all that will happen on the journey. It is what we do along the way that speaks to our character and commitment. Who we are and how we get there matter as much as where we end up.

My daughter has reason to be proud of her every step.

Tonight we will celebrate not just an ending but a beginning of all that lies ahead.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Summer Tradition

We have lived in this house four years, and in that time we have learned a few of the local traditions. One of the tastiest summer traditions is a trip to a drive-in restaurant in Brunswick, the closest city to our town. My elderly friend from town and I went on the day they opened this year, which happened to be St. Patrick's Day, but the real joy of this landmark is a visit on a warm summer's day. This is the well-known Fat Boy's ~

My friend likes to sit in one of the half dozen booths inside the building. If you stay in your car, you signal you are ready to order by turning on your headlights ~

The menu is simple. The house speciality is a Candian Bacon BLT with an order of onion rings. They serve a delicious fish fillet sandwich, and their coffee is good too ~

It was a treat to have lunch on this eighty-degree first day of summer with a friend at Fat Boy's Drive-In. Summer is fleeting, and we know we need to enjoy these moments while they last.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Life Is In The Bits And Pieces

This has been a week of extremes. Wednesday I wrote about the banner day I'd had. It felt good to mark on my calendar the day of my next interview. It was cathartic to cheer wildly each time the Bruins scored.

Yet for some this has been a week of extreme loss.

Last weekend I learned of the death of a friend's friend, someone I have known for years because she worked in the main office at the high school. She was the mother of one of my daughter's friends, and she kept track of my sons as they signed in or out as they came and went for appointments during the school day. She was two years older than I am, working and grandparenting, and she knew something was wrong but doctors couldn't pinpoint exactly what... until they found cancer in her lung just weeks ago. The news caused me to pause, and I will keep her family and friends in my prayers.

Then tonight I learned of another death that has shaken me in another way ~ someone I have never met personally but someone I met through blogging and have followed for over a year. I first commented on a post Char wrote about John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett in February of last year. When I visited her blog ramblins I was so taken with her writing and photography that I went back to her beginning and read each post. I hadn't planned to comment but I couldn't not connect with another John Hiatt fan. She was 53 and her death was unexpected. I will keep her family and friends in my prayers, as well.

In a way I knew Char better than I know a lot of people in person. Through her writing and photography she shared her life, the ups and downs of day to day living. Her words gave shape to her thoughts and her photos brought life to her vision. Up close and personal. She trusted her readers with her innermost hopes and fears. It's those bits and pieces that matter.

That's where life is.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Banner Day

Today was one of those banner days from beginning to end, literally.

This Wednesday in mid-June started with a phone call. It was a young woman calling from the organization with the job opening for which I submitted an application Monday evening. She was calling to set up an interview.

I felt light-headed. I kept my cool, located my calendar, and manged to hold onto the phone.

She told me the date, two weeks from today. Okay.

She told me the times. Okay.

No, she needed to know which time worked for me. Okay.

She gave me directions to the building. I asked if I needed to bring anything. Just my list of references. Okay.

That was how the day started....

And twelve hours later the puck dropped on Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Bruins won 4-0, which means the Bruins won the Stanley Cup!

I love days like this.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lucky Thirteen

I like the number 13. It's a prime number. It's the first "teen" number.

And hopefully the fact that yesterday was June 13th bodes well for the the events of the day ~

My daughter made a major decision about her future. It's not my story to tell but once the news isn't so new I bet I can get permission to write about it.

The Boston Bruins won a hard-fought Game 6 in the Stanley Cup Finals, and that means they proceed to Game 7 which will be played Wednesday night in Vancouver. The Bruins have never needed to play a seventh game when they have made it to the Finals in the past, and this year they have yet to win a game in Vancouver.

I'm betting on Lucky 13...

Because I filed a job application with a large social service agency yesterday.

I have been shying away from such large organizations for a number of reasons ~ When I got the MSW I did not take the classes I would need to be licensed, and I assumed that would keep me from working in the larger agencies. I had the idea I wanted to go to work for a small non-profit where everyone knew everyone else. I honed my resume to fit the various positions for which I applied, and I appreciated that it was received by a person and reviewed with other resumes submitted in application for the same position.

Those ideas of mine were challenged when I had dinner with a friend a couple weeks ago. She said agencies do not hire only licensed social workers, that I might be surprised at the services that such agencies provide, and that there are ways I could broaden my job search.

I took our conversation to heart. I started checking out job openings that I hadn't considered before.

The last hurdle I had to get over was filling out the online application. The question, "What have I been doing for the last four years?" does not fit easily into little boxes.

It took a few days and a couple failed attempts, but yesterday I settled in to fill out and submit the required online application. It took hours, and then it took a while longer to answer the four "interview" questions that followed and also needed to be submitted.

The good news is that they will keep the application on file for one year and it can be considered for more than one position.

The better news is that I continue to expand my options.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Bruin Is A Bear

I have become a hockey fan.

This has been news to me.

My sons are avid fans, and my husband enjoys play-off games. In the past I would watch a game for a few minutes and then lose interest.

This year has been different. The Boston Bruins made it into the play-offs. While we were in Boston for T's graduation all of us went out to a pub to watch the game on a big screen television. The Bruins won!

And they kept winning. They are now playing in the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1990. The Bruins last won the Cup in 1972.

In this hockey play-off of all play-offs the Bruins lost the first two games to the Vancouver Canucks, in Vancouver, by just one goal each game. The games were not only close, each one was decided in the last seconds.

This week the Bruins have found their groove. The Monday and Wednesday night games were the two games of the seven-game series that could only be seen on Versus, the cable hockey station. So my daughter and I met over dinner and a big screen to watch the Bruins....

Win! Big! Monday night they won handily 8 to 1, and last night they dominated the ice again and shutout the Canucks 4 to 0.

I am now arranging my schedule for the next week so I am sure to see the next three games.

There's no help for me now. I want to watch the Bruins win the Stanley Cup!

That will give my family something to talk about for years to come;)

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Culprits: ABS

Last week at the hotel I had the pleasure of watching morning television, which was one of the things that really made it feel like a vacation. morning Kelly Rippa pressed a fitness expert for nutrition advice. Yes, yes, yes, she knew that exercise was important for good health. What she insisted she wanted was guidance on how to eat to get back her before-forty body. Kelly wanted to know what foods were contributing to her changing shape.

His answer was simple: Alcohol. Bread. Sugar.

Kelly, so cute in her size 6 workout clothes, slumped over like she had been punched in the stomach.

I know how she feels, though for different reasons. Her life is full of celebrity events, fancy dinners, and luxurious vacations. I am sure that the alcohol flows, the bread is delicious, and the sugar is sweet wherever she goes.

I thought "Of course!" for reasons of my own.

For the first time in almost three decades I can enjoy a glass of wine or beer and keep sweets in the house. Why? Because there are no children living at home.

Ken and I made a commitment early on to model the most responsible behavior possible for our children, and that included not drinking and driving. When the kids were little it meant we didn't drink alcohol at home before we went anywhere or drink anywhere when we had to drive home. When the kids got older it meant that we didn't drink alcohol because we were chauffeuring them around or needed to be available in case they needed a ride.

Ken and I didn't regret the decision we made regarding alcohol consumption. It meant that our children could watch what we did as well as listen to what we said. We did quite well for many years enjoying fresh brewed coffee and iced tea.

And now we certainly do enjoy a chilled glass of wine or a cold brew.

So of course that's contributing to my midlife spread! I finally have the freedom to drink now that I don't have the metabolism to burn off the calories of alcohol.

And how I love fresh baked bread, popovers right from the oven, and warm bread pudding! All things sweet taste better than they ever did before, now that the calories take up residence in places where I need a crow bar to pry them loose.

Oh, well. Knowledge is power, so now at least I know what part of the problem is. I am not going to give up a glass of wine with dinner or a beer during the hockey game, and I am certainly not going to stop eating bread or sweets, although I am paying closer attention to what I keep in the house.

I did climb back on the treadmill today after a ten-day hiatus, and yoga class resumes tomorrow. Now I have an even stronger incentive to stay active. I need to keep busy if I am going to continue to enjoy the tasty things in life.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

On The Road Again

I am in New Hampshire again this week, this time in Keene. Ken has been working here during the week for awhile and may be here awhile longer, so I came over to visit. Tonight is the first game of the Stanley Cup, and the Boston Bruins are in! So I will be here to see the game with Ken:) Yesterday I went into downtown Keene and after visiting several coffee shops, decided on this one ~

I sat at a table right in the window and looked out on Main Street ~

I love this shot of the window across the way ~

At the end of Main Street is a circle called Central Square ~

Last evening Ken and I crossed the Connecticut River ~

To have dinner with friends at the Fireworks Restaurant in Brattleboro, Vermont ~

I realize how fortunate I am to be able to be away from home for a few days at a time. With a bit of preparation I can take time away. On the one hand I long for the things that used to ground me, and on the other hand I'm learning to take advantage of the situation that allows me the freedom to be gone.