Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not An Orange Truck In Sight

Our power company has easily recognizable orange trucks. So far I haven't seen one on our road, and we are at 68 hours without power. I was encouraged Monday afternoon when the fallen tree closest to our house ~

Got the attention it needed to no longer be a problem ~

I walked further down our road to see that this tree had also been cleared away ~

By Tuesday afternoon every bit of wood from both trees had been salvaged by neighbors for firewood. I hoped it would only be a matter of hours before power would be restored. This morning I walked down the road to see if there had been any further progress and heard work being done on a neighbor's new garage, where I learned we are waiting for a new telephone pole before power can be restored. When the oak tree fell across the road it took with it the top of the pole standing in the way, and there are only so many pole trucks.... It might be a while longer. Ken is working in New Hampshire. I'm lucky my youngest son is home to help me start the generator - I can do everything but pull the ripcord hard enough to get it started. It's a bittersweet visit because T is home for two weeks before he moves to Seattle for graduate school. I am looking for the silver lining. Walking up and down the road I have met more of my neighbors, which is a good thing because I may need their help with the ripcord in the next storm. I have one more photo to share that I am glad I took on Saturday ~

A single bloom for a single day on my hibiscus, which hasn't bloomed since December 2009 ~

Monday, August 29, 2011

Powered By A Generator

By the time Hurricane Irene got to Maine, she was a tropical storm. That didn't stop her from dropping inches of rain early Sunday and hurling intense winds Sunday afternoon.

We still had power until two trees fell on electric lines sometime after 3:00 p.m. We didn't know what the problem was at first. After a bit of time Ken walked down the driveway to meet a town emergency vehicle, when he learned what was waiting for power crews just around the bend in our road.

Last night, just before dark, Ken started up our portable generator. We ran it for a few hours to keep the fridge cold, the lights on, and so we could take showers. This morning he started it back up before he left for work, so it will purr contentedly outside the family room window most of the day. The stove, microwave, dishwasher, washer and dryer draw too much power to use, but the well pump and coffeemaker can run so life is good.

I have taken a few photos but am not sure how to download them onto Ken's laptop, which I am using because it will hold a charge. If I figure that out or decide to risk turning on the desktop, I will post pics later. The problem is that plugged-in computers draw a lot of power, and we're not sure it's good for the computer, either. So for now words will have to do.

I can check email and facebook and may get around to some of your blogs later today. It's true that I am lost without my "reader" and my bookmarks.

The sun is out and there's a light breeze. What a difference a day makes.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Life Comes Back

As weather turned cold last fall I decided to bring inside geranium and shamrock plants that did well in pots last summer. This year it looked doubtful that they would match the glory of their first summer. In the last few weeks the geranium has exploded with fresh green leaves and vibrant red flowers ~
The shamrock has more leaves and flowers than ever ~

Today these plants brought to mind my favorite quote~

Then, when it seems we will never smile again, life comes back.

[author unknown]

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Dedicated Post

With my daughter's help I started this blog exactly three years and five months ago.

This is post number five hundred. That's five zero zero.

I had no idea. I don't keep track and know this tidbit only because I was in the edit room knocking about and checking the shelves to see if there was anything to recycle. I have been in clean-it-up and clear-it-out mode for weeks now. All my drawers are organized, and my closets look more like closets and less like fully stocked storage units.

I knew little about blogging when I started this gig. My daughter followed blogs as a college student and started one as a med student, when there were no handy dandy templates and she had to figure out how to write code to get what she wrote to show up on the interwebs. Over time I gained a basic understanding of what a blog was and figured out how to follow her online journal.

In the spring of 2008 I wanted to touch base with friends and family more often than I was. My daughter encouraged me to start a blog and I kept saying no, until she sat me down one day and took me through the process step by step.

This endeavor has been moderately successful as a way to keep in touch with old friends and minimally successful as a way to let family know what I'm up to. However, blogging has been a huge success as a way to connect with other women. Many of you have become good friends and I am grateful to know you.

And I owe it all to my daughter. I couldn't have done it without you, K. Thank you for your patience and encouragement. While I had no idea, you knew it all along.

Here's to the next 500 ~

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Days Of Daylilies

Two years ago I received a box of daylily plants in the mail. A friend in Massachusetts was thinning out her plants, of which she has hundreds, and thought I would enjoy a few for my garden. Last year there was a handful of flowers and I enjoyed every one. It can take a period of years for transplanted daylilies to settle in and bloom so this year I have been surprised to have at least one flower a day for the last four weeks ~

The ruffled orange among the maple leaves made me smile ~

The nicest surprise has been the beautiful blooms that appeared on rainy days ~

I have not seen this almost-white color anywhere else ~

We have had steady rain for the last two days, and tonight my mood matches the weather. There is more rain predicted for Thursday and Friday, but a big yellow sun is on tomorrow's weather map. I will be pleasantly surprised if there are any daylily buds left to bloom ~

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Seasoned, Not Stirred

Thanks to all of you for your supportive comments. I did attend two workshops at the local career center today and I learned some interesting things.

The biggest surprise I had was that in the current job market I am considered a "seasoned" worker. There is actually a guy who holds seminars to educate career counselors about the discrimination against older workers, now called seasoned workers, a phrase he has coined.

The category includes workers who are 55 and older.

I laughed out loud. Really? This is my latest label?

When I returned to college at age 33 I was called a "nontraditional" student. I bought that for about five minutes, and then I laughed when I learned that one third of the student body looked like me. We didn't need our own label. A student is a student is a student.

Just as a worker is a worker is a worker. I don't need a special label.

I don't feel seasoned or old. In fact I said out loud to a group at the morning break that I feel the best I've felt in ten years ~ physically better, mentally better...and to myself I included spiritually better. Then I said that I could outrun any one of them:)

Other than learning that I'm in a new category I knew nothing about, the information was helpful and the day was productive. I was again encouraged to apply for a job with state government, and that idea seemed valid until I got home and looked online to find about a dozen jobs listed. Soooooo I will need to further investigate that avenue.

There may be a contact to be made through someone the instructor knows at a local nonprofit. She mentioned the woman as an example of someone we could call to request an informational interview, where we sit down with someone to learn more about the jobs offered by an organization without actually interviewing for a job. At the end of the afternoon workshop I stopped to ask if it would be a good idea for me to give the woman a call, and the instructor offered to mention my name and intention to call when she speaks to her friend tomorrow.

I feel positive about the day I had. It's not that anything specific has happened. It's that there are things I can do to keep moving in the right direction. It's that I feel like I am making minute bits of progress and that gives me the encouragement I need to continue the job search.

Onward ~

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's August

August is off to a roaring start in these parts.

* * * * * * * *

We came to the decision to sell our 1999 Subaru Legacy Sedan, known affectionately as Loretta. The problems with the engine continue and now she needs a right rear brake. She does still run, and I hoped that someone who knows Subaru cars would be interested in giving her a newer engine and a few more years. Last week I placed an ad in Uncle Henry's, a local for-sale magazine that lets you list items for free if your ad is 15 words or less. The magazine is available each Thursday and that morning I got my first phone call at 7:12. By Friday I had received four phone calls and decided to meet with the owner of a local auto repair shop who offered me more than I asked without even seeing the car. Two hours later he came by for a look-see and liked the car. He has an engine that needs a home and thinks Loretta will fill the bill. We drove her over to his place on Saturday. It was sad to see her go but it was the right decision for us.

* * * * * * * *

We have had warm temperatures and rain most every day this month. Yesterday was cool with steady rain, so Ken and I headed to the movie theater to find more people than we've ever seen at the cinemaplex in Brunswick. We were looking forward to seeing "Crazy, Stupid Love." With the line almost out the door we turned around and decided to try again another day.

* * * * * * * *

Up until just a few days ago I was holding out hope that I would be able to write a different type of post today. I had what I thought was a good job interview a couple weeks ago. A few days later the program manager called at least one of my references, so I felt good about that, too. Then on Thursday I received the dreaded rejection letter. The good news is that I got a letter at all and that it was personalized. The bad news is that I didn't get a job. Most telling was the last sentence in the second paragraph: "I do hope that you will have success in finding a position that will make use of your education."

This is important information for me to have because it confirms what I have thought for awhile now. It appears to people who know me only through my resume and a brief interview that I have a good amount of education and this is not balanced with the right amount of experience.

I take responsibility for not adequately relaying my passion for and desire to do the work for which I am applying. There is a missing link that I am obviously not able to find on my own.

So today I called the Southern Midcoast Career Center to reserve a place on Wednesday for the morning Resume & Cover Letter Workshop and the afternoon Job Search & Interviewing Workshop. It has been over two years since I had help with my resume and I have been told that templates have changed in that time.

I feel my disappointment in the pit of my stomach. My renewed job search has shown me that I can get in the door but I can't close the deal. It worries me that I feel bitter. Again I am angry with myself and every decision I've made in the last three decades. I can't keep going back to that place because it doesn't help ~ negative thinking will not improve the situation.

So I made a phone call, checked a website online, and found a career center that offers the workshops this week. I called to reserve space before I had time to change my mind.

I can't be afraid to hear what I need to do if I am serious about finding a job.

The journey continues....

Monday, August 1, 2011

It's Not Personal

I was dubious about writing a book review, something I have not done before, but I wanted to help my online friend Cindy Hampel. When she asked me to write a review for her book I told her I would, while I knew if I didn’t want to recommend the book I would gracefully bow out.

Cindy sent me a copy of her book titled It’s Not Personal: Lessons I’ve Learned from Dealing with Difficult Behavior.* I opened the envelope and set the book aside, not sure how to begin. Then I decided I should begin reading at the beginning. That was a good idea because in the preface Cindy explains the basis for the book and how it came to be written. The book is a compilation of stories based on her personal experience and what she learned about how to deal with difficult people.

The book reads like a journal. Each chapter is a few pages long with a concise piece of advice at the end, such as this gem at the end of Chapter 1, “Difficult behavior is a window, not a mirror…so don’t take it personally.” I found myself nodding as I read. Many of the situations were familiar to ones I had experienced and the advice made sense to me.

Yet I wasn’t sure how to write a review. What could I say about someone’s writing where she shares stories and what she learned from each situation? How could I have an opinion about a body of work that is so personal?

Then my life got busy, and when I was about halfway through the book I set it aside for a few days. I had the opportunity to see friends, and I had conversations with different family members.

I was particularly frustrated after one conversation. I had tried to share an idea with someone who couldn’t see my point of view; I couldn’t make myself understood. Then I had the thought, it’s not personal. And that was exactly what it was: the person could only see what was in their interest and could not hear what I was trying to say. It was the first time I had been able to reflect on a conversation with this person and not wonder what I could have done differently. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t personal.

That’s when I knew I wanted to finish the book and write a post about the helpful, practical advice the book has to offer. Any relationship could be substituted for each situation that is described, and the gem of wisdom at the end of each chapter could relate to a variety of situations. This is a book that I will reference in the future to remind myself that it’s not personal when I find myself dealing with difficult behavior.

I recommend this book for anyone who would like to have a better understanding of difficult behavior and how to be more at ease in relationships with difficult people.

*Copyright 2011 by Cindy Hampel, Orange Sun Press, Royal Oak, MI.