Saturday, November 28, 2009

Office Holiday Parties

I realized yesterday that this will be the first year in honestly I don't remember how long that I don't have a workplace holiday party to attend! Are they always fun? mmmmm..... not really. But are they a tradition? For sure! Sadly for me this year, no awkward conversations, no Chinese raffles, no White Elephant gift exchange (I even had my present all ready to wrap in MAY), no watching co-workers shake their groove things to a DJ playing classic hits like "Brick House".

Are you still working? Is your office having a holiday party? If you have an open slot, consider me as your entire company's "+1". In return, I promise to participate in, or at least enthusiastically encourage the following:

1. Xeroxing body parts.
2. Drinking too much and then try to hide the fact that they drank too much when they're talking to someone like the CEO, etc...
3. Drinking too much and making out with someone completely inappropriate
4. Requesting rap songs with bad words in them then giggling at the awkward stares as HR vacates the dance floor and glares at the offending party, secretly planning the latest addition to that person's "Permanent Record"
5. Food fight!!??!!
6. Loudly demanding "Let's do shots!"
7. Sneaking out of the party and sneaking into a better party at the same facility but thrown by a different company
8. Finding the stash of blank name tags and making up funny faux name tags

I would be especially honored to be included in the subsequent flurries of emails sent to / from my "coworkers for a night" expressing remorse, sharing gossip, and, especially welcome, containing photos. I promise to hit "Reply All" and respond with clever retorts like "LOL" and "OMG" as long as you wish, to keep the conversations going and make sure the server has plenty of data to store.

My dance card is filling up for the rest of the year, but for your office's party, I'd happily re-evaluate my priorities. Especially if the DJ will play the Chicken Dance.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Peachy Chicken and Cranberry Orange Chutney

Peachy Chicken and I have a little history. I remember about, oh, maybe 7 years ago, having lunch with some coworkers at the Rockne's out in Solon. On the table was a bottle of Heinz Malt Vinegar. It's the restaurant standard as far as malt vinegars. On the back of every single bottle of it EVER (at least every bottle I've ever seen) is a recipe for something called Peachy Chicken. During that lunch I vowed out loud "Someday I'm going to make that." I'd repeat that promise every single time I'd see a bottle of Heinz Malt Vinegar. Well, yesterday was The Day. Funniest part was when I went to the grocery store to get more malt vinegar because I didn't think I had enough, the store I went to didn't carry Heinz. Of course the recipe's all over the interwebs, so I found it in about 2 seconds after I got home.

Final Grade: B. I'll make it again, but with more spices. So there. 7 years of empty promises now atoned for! Thank you, crashing economy for the time to make Peachy Chicken.

I finished all of my Thanksgiving grocery shopping yesterday - aided by three sets of lists I created over the course of 2 days. The list for the West Side Market. The list for the grocery store. The Final Menu. I'm grateful that I can do shopping at off hours, because on Monday morning, stores were already getting crowded and people were squirrely. You know how people say that New Years Eve is Amateur night, because people who don't go out much will go out and act like people who don't go out much? I think shopping before Thanksgiving is like that.

The turkey find was exciting - a little free range, no hormone fueled bird that hopefully had a reasonable life before turning itself over to us.

This morning I made the cranberry orange chutney (and discovered that it is delicious on oatmeal). Later today, pie crusts. Tomorrow, stay out of my way because it's ALL getting cooked tomorrow.

Also yesterday, I made an appointment to go meet a kitten that needs a home. I'm on the fence. I'm not sure bringing a new cat into the house will be good for our current pets - the two crotchety old lady cats we have (if you are old enough, picture the Baldwin Sisters from the Waltons if they didn't have the benefit of The Recipe). This would technically be a good time to add to the fold because I have the time to work on keeping them separated until they get used to each other and stuff, but they're old and I love their dynamic (they sleep on us a lot). I hope I'm not messing with that.

I also had a little phone interview yesterday. Very exciting sounding position, we'll see what happens.

Rock on!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Let Me Brush Your Rock and Roll Hair

Go on, TRY not to think of the Cars song.... I love the Cars. In fact, I'm pretty sure every time I hear a Cars song, I say out loud "I love the Cars". I am predictable that way.

So I got a nice little lesson in "Care. Less." and how it can be some darned good advice. Bear with the little set up... I was in a pretty up and down mood yesterday. The morning was good, I got a good haircut then went to MOCA to see the craft show. Then when I got home, I was back to feeling funky-in-a-bad-way again. And I did exactly nothing to shake it, which was my own fault.

Later that night we had plans to go out and see some bands. I almost said I didn't want to go because it all just seemed like too much work. Puuuuuuuuttting on clothes....... puuuuuuutttting on makeup.... goooooooooing outside.... But I had a great hairdo, my better half was pumped, so I went with it.

Turned out to be one of the most fun nights in ages!

One of the bands that was supposed to play canceled at the last minute (screw you, or maybe THANK YOU, Russian Business Syndicate), and one of the dudes in another band asked me if I'd play a few songs. Normally, I plan my sets down to the LETTER, but this time, I just said, "SURE!" They set up a kick drum for me, and a guitar, and got me a kazoo, so all I had to do was just sit down and play. I didn't even make up a set list. This may not sound like a big deal to you, but ME? No PLAN? hoooooly lack of planning Batman! No pre-show jitters, no hassling with booking, no nothing. Oh, and it was to celebrate someone's birthday. As if I can EVER dis a birthday!

So I think this small incident was a little gentle sucker punch from some higher power, telling me "See? Plan all you want, stuff's going to happen as it is supposed to happen." Maybe it's my new rock and roll hair. Maybe it's the fumes from the aerosol hairspray. Don't know, don't care. All I want to do is hang on to that feeling of winging it, and having that be A-OK.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

10 Worst Things to Say

Good morning...

I got this article from today - 10 things not to say to someone who just got laid off:

#3 JUST about made me punch my computer monitor, and it's not the monitor's fault, poor inanimate object is just showing me the article! While there are a few upsides to being laid off, no one needs them pointed out. Let us discover them on our own - for me, it makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something.

#9 and #10, I can't believe people have to be instructed to not say those things!

Ah.... navigating the waters is hard on everyone these days!

I'm going to work out, then have lunch with a woman I used to work with. My best friend told me that while things are slow with recruiting and job hunting, I should go out to lunch a lot. I took her VERY literally :) I'm sure she meant to do it as a networking thing, but today, a burger and a beer sounds like the better plan.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Small Kindnesses


Over the past few days, two more people I know lost their jobs. Welcome to the fold, wish it was lonelier here.

This past Saturday, I played a show in Bowling Green. I haven't played out in awhile because honestly I just didn't feel like it. It takes a lot to get out of bed some mornings, being entertaining just seemed too hard. It turned out to be a really good night though. On the drive there, Tom and I saw a shooting star - my first! I wished on it, of course I can't tell you what I wished for but it has already come true. So, I am batting a thousand with shooting stars :)

I played with a band I did one other show with - a bunch of people from Bowling Green who do two bands: Hot Love, and the Dumb Easies. They totally made my night, they seem to love Miss Firecracker (clearly they are highly cultured and brilliant musical aficionados, ha ha ha!). When it was over, I guess there was some kind of snafu with money. They ended up reaching into their own pockets to make sure I at least got gas money for the trip. That doesn't sound like much, but to me, it was HUGE. Before the show, I complained to Tom that dealing with booking shows and having to haggle about money discourages me from trying to book more shows. That gesture reminded me that there are some good people out there.

My friends and I have had some pretty sh*tty stuff happen to us this year. But for me anyway, it makes even small kindnesses go a long way. I'm going to spend a little bit of the money they gave me on food for a food drive, kinda pay it forward.

This morning, I'm back online seeing what jobs have been posted recently. I've expanded the types of jobs I'm looking for, which has at least resulted in more jobs showing up in searches. This at least gives me the illusion that things are getting better. Ah, smoke and mirrors LOL. After I was finished searching, I was reading some random news articles. A job I JUST applied for was included in an article called something like "High Stress Jobs that Pay Badly"! Is that ironic, or just funny?

Time to plow through my "To do" list!

Friday, November 13, 2009


I realized this morning that when I start to type the URL to check my lottery tickets, two websites come up in "history" - the lottery website, and the state unemployment website.

It's a beautiful day, going out to enjoy it. I'm becoming a regular at the West Side Market these days. Today I'm picking up bread and cheese for paninis for tonight. After that, I'm going to find a coffee shop, get some strong brew, and read my ERP book.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Getting over it"


Today, I took myself on a little date. First I worked out so I'd look nice for myself, I even showered and applied cosmetic products afterwards.

I went to see "Law Abiding Citizen". 1.5 hours of Gerald Butler kicking the asses of people who didn't do right by his family. While I can't condone the violence, I can't say I didn't enjoy living vicariously through the movie for a little while.

After the movie I went to dinner. Nothing fancy, but I understand I'm on a budget so I went Dutch. A burger and fries at Longhorn, and a beer bigger than my head.

During dinner though, I wrote in a journal. I'm not a big "journal-er". Growing up, I didn't have a lot of privacy, so putting thing down on paper wasn't the wisest plan let's just say. But lately I'm finding it helpful. Kind of like talking to myself, but I can go back later and re-read stuff, see what I was thinking, what I did, how I felt....

I was in a SUPER bad mood this morning. Weepy, angry, never-gonna-find-a-job-ever-again, the whole deal. So I'm writing in this journal that I bought at CVS to document something we were going to do about two months ago that went to sh*t, trying to figure out how to stop being so angry. I realized that I'm afraid to not worry, and to not spend every single minute obsessed over finding a new job, running out of money, worrying about God-knows-what. It's comfortable to worry. That's what I'm supposed to do, right? I lost my job. I have no money. I'm supposed to gnash my teeth and beat myself up. It's comfortable, that's how I'm used to behaving. And THIS time? This is the longest I've been without a job since I started working a hundred years ago, so surely I'm supposed to feel extra sh*tty. Mission accomplished then, because I. Feel. Like. Ass. (Sometimes)

Here's what I realized: I'm afraid if I stop worrying, and stop feeling like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, two things will happen: 1. The people who didn't do right by me will feel relieved, and think they're off the hook, and 2. Nothing good will happen to me because I didn't pay my dues by worrying enough. Like there's a quota.

ALL kinds of stuff is crazy about those two little sentences. The first one's easy: a. They don't care, and b. I very seldom care what people think. Why did I pick NOW of all times to start?

The second one's a little tougher. The best I can say right now is that sitting at home feeling bad and frantically searching for any shred of a job is not going to make a job magically appear. It's not going to make the recession over, it's not going to make companies hire more workers all of a sudden, and it's not going to help me keep an open mind. As my best friend brought up today, in a different context but it's still relevant, "Sometimes, the hardest thing to understand is that it is not always about you." or about me, whatever the gramatically correct way to say that is.

Normally I like to have a nice wrap-up. A sentence that ends with "So I......." But I don't have one today. There's no real answer right now. And to paraphrase Pema Chodron, this isn't something that has to be fixed. I just have to make friends with it. So I guess the first step is trying to cut myself a little slack. I'll cut a little tomorrow, a little more Saturday, and so on. I will also try to admit to myself that as much as I would like to, I cannot control everything.

Alright. This blog is interrupting my date. I have some Merlot, some fresh Mad Men episodes, and some chocolate cake. I'm going to resume my date now.

Thanks guys.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I officially ended my "detox", "experience", whatever you want to call it yesterday. It was a great week. I did a lot of thinking, and a lot of yoga. By Saturday, I was actually a little bit sore. It was good though. I'm going to keep up journaling for now. It helped me keep track of my thoughts instead of having them spiral out who-knows-where. It will be interesting after a month or so to look back and see what I was thinking, too.

We went to see the Burning River Roller Girls last night. It was their first time at the Wolstein Center. They were very entertaining, and it was a really well run, well organized night. A good friend of mine is the President of the league this year. I'm really proud of her for how hard she's worked to help the BRRGs be more organized and portray themselves as a sports team. It's easy for people to dismiss them as just silly girls in little outfits, skating around. But they work really, really hard. It's good to see them getting more popular.

After that, we celebrated the birthday of another good friend of ours. (that is where the detox came to a crashing halt, oops!). It felt really good to be out among friends again. I don't feel very social much of the time, but last night, it was fun.

Tomorrow I will focus on reading my ERP book. I hope it will be a nice day so I can find somewhere to sit outside, maybe with a cup of coffee or tea, and take it all in.

Have a good night everyone!

Friday, November 6, 2009

It's Day 6 of Immersion. It's been a very interesting week. Sometimes hard, because a lot of feelings that have been buried for a long, long time have come up. It can be surprising what pops into your head when your body is twisted like a rag doll and you're pretty sure you're not going to be able to come out of the pose :)

Today during practice, it was like a lightening bolt: When did I get such a restrictively narrow view of myself? When did I become Oh So Painfully Serious about work? What happened to the view I had of myself in my 20's. This is strictly related to work, by the way. See, my idea was to do everything I could in my 20's, figure out what worked for me, then kind of settle in. So in my 20's, I was much more relaxed about what kind of job I had. Granted, some of them were crappy jobs that I'd VERY much prefer to stay away from. But some were fun. I love managing projects, and I love technology, so a marriage of the two would still be my favorite situation. But maybe I'm being too narrow. Tell me ANY job that has ANY kind of responsibility that doesn't involve managing a project some how. Seriously!

Now, I understand that now, the stakes are higher. I have a husband, a house, more bills, and frankly, I like being a little more comfortable than when I lived out of my '81 Ford Fairmont. But does that mean I have so few options that I feel this trapped? I don't know. Maybe. But maybe not.

Today I'm going to open myself up to looking at "Work Carol" differently, see what I am truly open to and try to blur the lines a little. It's completely possible I'll end up back where I started, but I want to at least see.

Monday, November 2, 2009



So yesterday I started a week long detox. The yoga studio I go to does this every few months, then I think once or twice a year they do a month long one. It's pretty lowkey for a detox - do 6 sessions of yoga in the week, eat whole foods, nothing processed, and skip booze and caffeine.

We also are supposed to journal - something I have never been good at. That's because growing up I knew whatever I wrote wouldn't be a secret, so I wasn't willing to commit anything to paper. Oh childhood baggage! This week though, I'm trying to actually follow through with it. One thing I am going to do every day is think about something that I'm grateful for. I've lost track of a lot of that lately, and I've been focused on all the crap that I'm mired in right now. So I want to spend at least a few minutes every day reminding myself that there's a lot of good in my life. This is by no means a broad, sweeping declaration of "Hey! Everything's GREAT now!" It's not. But it's not all shit either.

I am also reading a book called "When Things Fall Apart". It's by a Buddist nun whose name I can't remember right now, Pema something. It's an amazing book. It's not a typical self-helpy oh hang in there everything's fine, take a long bath and a nap and things will all be back to normal. No. It's more about how when things are chaotic, or you feel fear, the best thing you can do is acknowledge it and feel it. I believe she describes it as making friends with your fears so you can sort of have a truce. Very radical advice, and HARD. But it makes sense. Typical ways of handling situations don't really help, so I'm very excited to be learning new ideas about that. I'll post some stuff from her book here and there. Not to be preachy. It's not for everyone. It's just interesting food for though.

"Chaos should be regarded as very, very good news."