March 25, 2016

Unfinished business: things weighing on my mind

For some things, I'm still waiting

If there’s something I need more of in this life, it’s quite likely more patience.

I’ve no shortage of things to be patient about but surprise surprise, I really suck at it.

The need to resolve things itches

The mortgage refinance is creeping along at a snail’s pace. Two and a half weeks ago, they said it’d be approved two weeks ago. Yet, still no idea if they’ll approve it yet. Cross your fingers, please?

We need to schedule a signing of our estate plan with the lawyer, just as soon as I quit being a disgusting, racking-cough, sneezy sniffly snotty mess.

Oh right, this cold brought by an emissary from the lower depths of Hades? Still here.

Even better, it turns out that flu-like fever and chills can also be a fibro symptom which is just awesome. I discovered this over a 24-hour period of misery. My only solace is that I didn’t manage to pick up the flu in addition to this cough thing.

Car #2 remains a figment of our fevered imaginations so we’re still a one-car family, and Seamus doesn’t fit in that car so I can get him to the vet for his overdue nail trimming. I did try it myself and got as far as three nails before I quicked him. Sorry, pup.

My phone is still creaking along, but it’s just getting worse, and really needs to be replaced. This has got to happen before it totally craps out in the worst possible situation.

Keeping my chin up (or at least above water)

Before I get too sunk in the melancholy of what’s NOT going right, I will keep in mind that:

We’re still all alive and kicking. In this, the most disease ridden season ever, that’s no mean feat.

Even if I’m scraping the dregs of my energy barrel, I’m still getting my work done and still managing to do a little writing here.

February 26, 2012

A catching up and cookery Sunday

It’s been a heck of a week. Not terrible but tiring. I finally caught up with my dad and found out that there have been multiple deaths in the family. It’s maybe a good thing that I didn’t know about them in time to attend the services as I would have felt obligated to attend. Instead, I’ve been focusing getting things done at home and exercising myself and Doggle.

Kind of overdid it though, between being emotionally overwrought thinking about Mom and seeking catharsis through cleaning. My hands and arms don’t appreciate the outlets that my brain seeks, which is really frustrating as physical activity is so good for the brain.

Posts for Perusal

Little Miss Moneybags and Peanut got their Life Insurance in order. PiC and I organized our life insurance along similar lines, though we will likely be having more conversations to get aligned as things change. At the time we sorted our insurance, he was well able to take care of any financial needs without my income. Without me, he would likely still work in this town and stay in this home. He would need some assistance for sorting things and Doggle, so I still carry insurance through work but both he and my dad would be beneficiaries of my life insurance because I don’t want him to be financially responsible for Dad’s healthcare and continuing care. (I still have to set up a trust for that.) If he’s gone, I couldn’t carry the costs for myself, this home and my Dad however long I had to support him, so I would need a fair amount of extra income from his insurance.

Lazy Man and Money’s Decision to Buy a Timeshare years ago. A few friends of mine own timeshares with varying experiences, and it seems to have been a relatively decent experience for all of them. I’m neither here nor there on the math, it doesn’t fit into our lifestyle right now but I won’t say that it never would.

Congrats to Danielle for her move from law to FitFluential!

Eemusings on the Cost of Convenience: I’m pretty sure that I’m close to the same as eemusings. I hate spending money on convenience items like snacks when they’re not part of the grocery shop. But I will buy things as part of the shopping trip like chips, nuts, frozen foods for reheating on those nights when we don’t want or don’t have time to cook a full meal.

A Recipe

I have SingleMa‘s Pinterest obsession to thank for this one.  She pinned this Crispy Honey Lemon Chicken recipe several weeks ago and the name (of course) stuck in my mind. I rather obsessively went back to hunt for it when trying to decide what to make for dinner and made it with some alterations to the recipe to suit my lazier cooking style and general preference for baked over fried (faster clean-up). 


Crispy Honey Lemon Chicken
serves 4-6

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1/4 cup olive oil + 3 tablespoons
3 tablespoons honey + more for dripping/drizzling
the juice of 2 large lemons
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest + 2 teaspoons
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup all-purpose (or whole wheat) flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch

In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons honey, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, and a 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Whisk ingredients together, then add chicken pieces to a ziplock bag and pour marinade over top. Let sit for 30 minutes – 2 hours.

When ready to make, add flour, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon lemon zest and the remaining salt and pepper to a large bowl. Mix well. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, and once it is very hot, add 1 tablespoons of olive oil. Coat chicken pieces in the flour mixture, then add to the skillet and cook until each side is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove and set chicken on a paper-towel covered plate. Cook remaining batches, adding more/less oil if needed. I used 3 tablespoons, but depending on how coated your chicken pieces are you may need a bit more.

Serve with rice and a few tablespoons of honey mixed with lemon zest for dipping.


Crispy Honey Lemon Chicken
serves 2 greedy-faces

4-8 chicken drumsticks and/or thighs, bone-in
1/4 cup olive oil + 3 tablespoons
3 tablespoons honey + more for dripping/drizzling
the juice of 2 large lemons
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a roasting pan with foil.

In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons honey, lemon juice, and a 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Whisk ingredients together, then add chicken pieces to a ziplock bag and pour marinade over top. Let sit for 30 minutes – 2 hours. (Or overnight.)

When ready to make, add flour and the remaining salt and pepper to a large bowl. Mix well. Coat chicken pieces in the flour mixture, then place pieces side by side in the roasting pan.

Bake for 20 minutes, turn, bake for another 10-15 minutes until done.

Serve with rice and roasted vegetables.

March 19, 2011

Weekend wonderings

It’s not going to be because of the night owl tendencies that Monday morning is going to dawn a bit more darkly than Saturday or Sunday.

Dare I cop to burnout so soon?  Dare I admit that it’s been a long hard slog since landing this gig and no matter how hard I work, there’s always more piling on, more left to do, more that staff need from more, more expected of me, more, more and more?

Yes, we’ve got a vacation coming up but more often than not, the thought on my mind has been: what would I rather be doing? 

And I know this has been an excellent learning experience, albeit a painful one, so it’s hard for me to say I want to do anything but this – that may just be the Tired As All Get Out speaking.

So instead, as I don’t rightly have the answer to that for myself, what would you rather be doing?  Monday morning when you arise from your beauty rest, what would you ideally be getting ready to do for your daily bread?

April 28, 2010

Workaholism: The quiet contagion

One of the oddest things about starting this new job is taking on a supervisory role, officially performing the duties I was unofficially in charge of in previous jobs, and going to a salaried position. I’ve never been salaried before and this is a dangerous thing.

I run with workaholics.  I always have. This particular set seems to avoid imposing their schedules on me, but when your peers or people you report to are diligently at their desks before and after you arrive …. well, I don’t know about you, but that gives me a touch of indigestion and I feel compelled to at least match their time in the office. That seems silly but most especially in the first six months, I think it’s crucial to do your best work and oftentimes, it has to be made evident via face time while you’re just learning the ropes.

The difference between starting this job and any other job in the last ten years is that while I want and expect to excel, I’m not willing to let the job take over my life. So rather than automatically resigning myself to mimicking their behavior, I’m on the lookout for ways to become extremely efficient and good at my job without having to log 14 hour days. As it is, I’ve naturally worked until almost 6:30 every night even on days where I’ve arrived before 8 am.

Part of that is the settling-in process: I have meetings back to back all day and very little time to do actual work. But every single meeting produces more reading, more meetings and more follow-up I’ve got to do. I expect that a third of the meetings will go away, but that’s only a few extra hours in a day.

The real boss has finally been in the office this week, so that’ll be part of the settling in process as well.

Does anyone else have problems balancing work-life-expectations?

April 25, 2010

In pursuit of R&R

It’s meant to be my supremely lazy Sunday by which the following are banned from my list of Things To Do: no cooking, cleaning, laundry or other chores. 

Instead, SO kindly scribed the following stress-free suggestions for consideration:
– Buy a cardigan for the office; these bones would greatly appreciate extra warmth, p’rhaps a parka? 
– Go out for brunch; there are a few folks about the area I coulda shoulda called up
– Massage; medical necessity, actually
– Reconnoiter the local garage sales on Craigslist
– Check out the Martin and Osa sales online
– Use the BOGO coupon at Jamba Juice

It’s a cute idea, but right now my idea of destressing actually includes: not spending money, not leaving the apartment, and catching up on work.  Taking out all the housework is splendid though I will pay for it later. 

It seems nonsensical, but hear me out. At least one-third of my stress is powered up by the knowledge that I have a million things to do and bills to pay. The balancing act of living frugally and earning “enough” is precarious and altogether draining.  As it is, just not pre-cooking for the week would have me in knots if I weren’t at least well ahead of the game on one freelance project after logging hours yesterday evening.

Thanks in no small part to rising early (another abnormality when I’ve got any choice about it), today has been both semi-productive yet restful.  There’s a banana nut cake with extra walnuts cooling on the stove, some leftover Indian food warming in the oven, and not an unmanageable amount of work slated for today.

I haven’t watched any TV yet (Serenity! Battlestar Galactica! Dr. Who! White Collar! Bones!) this weekend, but if I wrap up at least another project by mid-afternoon, I could still squeeze in a geekfest.  After I defrost the chicken, that is.  A girl has got to eat something, sometime this week.

Bonus Question: should I trek out for this week’s coupons and a few bags of Trader Joe’s pretzels for work? I need carbs to get through the day. 

December 5, 2008

Reactions to layoff news

An official announcement hasn’t been made, but the word is that our entire staff is likely to be laid off in a few months. You might know that SOP for layoffs is denial until the moment of truth, no matter how wrong I think that is.

Call it naivete, but I certainly did not expect to run a gamut of emotions when my prediction months ago was confirmed. Keeping in mind the huge numbers of people being laid off, at best, I expected frustration, a little tiny bit of vindication that I was right, and a readiness to move on. It turns out I’m not that simple. And that I play devil’s advocate with myself even when I’m upset. Read on ….

There are about ten thousand ways that this could have been prevented. Really. This is not a poor-economy related issue, this was a bad management issue, and it’s no surprise.

Unsurprised or not, it ticks me off, royally, that management wouldn’t change their ways even when we were in a poor negotiating position. They continued to act as though they had the power to make demands, break promises and generally acted the fools. That led directly to the current situation.

I’m not ready for this! I associate unemployment with (immediate) brokeness. Even though I know approximately how many months I would last without a drop of income, there’s still a visceral reaction that a major emergency will eat up all that money and I’ll immediately go into debt trying to survive without a steady paycheck.
That’s silly. I’ve taken a few months off between jobs, without having a job, having less in the bank before. Yes, that was four years ago when the outlook wasn’t terrible and I wasn’t paying all household expenses. But I’ve got the budget, the e-fund, the cushion. And it’s not like I haven’t supported other friends while they downsized and job-hunted and become re-employed in the last six months. This is survivable.

Even though I brought my A-game every single day, regardless of the politics and turmoil, I’m actually a little ashamed that I didn’t manage to save us. And is there stigma attached to being laid off? Even in this environment?
There shouldn’t be, and I can confidently state that it’s through no fault of my own. My performance and abilities are respected, even if it feels like management’s failures reflect on me.

This wasn’t advertised except to a select few but I’ve been preparing and job-hunting during the last few months. My tolerance for the BS was about to crack spectacularly so I took steps to prevent going postal. The resume was perfected in August, and I’ve been quietly applying to new jobs while working insane hours and trying to keep up with everything else. Nothing has resulted so far, and even though I know, intellectually, that the job search while holding a full time job combined with a downturn in the economy means that it’s going to take longer, I still can’t help but mentally wring my hands for a minute.
Or file this under frustration.

How are the people who DO know the intimate details managing to pretend everything is status quo?

There’s a sense of regret that a huge part of my life is going away.
Why on earth would I feel like I’m losing something leaving this job? It’s been a major source of frustration and negativity for months. Yet, there it is.

I’m not at all inspired to work, work hard, and work well today. Considering I work through natural disasters, this is a little different. Because of the combination of the above emotions, I just don’t care today. It doesn’t matter whether or not I perform well today, as I did yesterday or the day before that. I’m still going to be out of a job.
Except that’s not true. I still have my pride and self-respect, and at the end of the day, that’s what I’ll be taking home with me. Among other things I’ll be taking home with me: my work laptop, that lovely new spindle of CD-RWs, and a lifetime supply of pens and toilet paper. Nick at Punny Money says it’s ok.

I’m kidding!!!

So the other side of all this? Barring the part where I’m not making any money because that’s not good no matter how you spin it, this is motivation to search even more diligently for a new job while I still have one.

This is a chance to start fresh, and that’s not such a bad thing. Sure, being the bottom of the employment totem pole is not where I want to be, but there’s nothing saying that that’s the only place I’ll get hired. I’m not entry-level, I’ve got great skills, I work damn hard, and have an excellent reputation. Now I have to learn to sell whatever doesn’t shine through in a cover letter and resume.

At the end of the day, Pandora’s Box still had one important thing to give, and that’s what I’ll hold on to: Hope. Hope that better things are still to come, hope that I’m resilient enough to handle this change, hope that this isn’t the straw that breaks this camel’s back after all the nonsense that’s gone before. (Hope that this time next year I won’t be reporting that I’m completely broke, in debt and at the end of my rope……!)

Despite all the negativity and doubt, deep down, I still have faith that there are ways to get past this rather ugly situation. There are, I just have to find and implement them.

In my frustration after my farce of a review early this year, I decided that I wanted to be ready to pick up my purse and saunter out without a moment’s regret. That’s how ticked I’ve been with the poor team building, blatant double standards and favoritism-based policies. I cleared out my desk then, and have only kept food here since. Not having to “stick it out” under this sort of stress because it’s practical is kind of a huge weight off. Or I’m trading for a different weight. 🙂

Did I say I was de-motivated? That’s only in terms of this job right now, not the next one. I’m absolutely charged with the energy to find the next place where I can give my time and dedication to a good cause. (And receive a good check, in return, of course!!)

Alternate plan
If I don’t land anything before the layoff? I’ll take my severance, and my unemployment, and go nanny my best friend’s newborn for a couple months while I continue to job hunt. The timing’s about right. They’ll “pay” me room and board, and I’ll pay for COBRA. And thank PF-blogging for a good emergency fund. But what to do with my parents …..

Edit: I forgot to link to this great article guest posted by Jacques Sprenger at The Digerati Life: Are you in Financial Trouble? Money Tips to Cope with Hard Times.

September 23, 2008

Back, older and wiser

Or at least, a little bit wiser. I got back home last night from a long weekend and boy, am I in pain.

Saturday was a day o’ adventuring. First up was the Embarcadero Farmer’s Market where I was treated to a ridiculous amount of … treats! A cone of salami, shockingly expensive but oh-so-good aged Irish Gouda, a huge round of whole wheat and walnut bread from Acme Bread company. Throw in a couple pieces of fruit, and our hikers’ lunch was complete.

I’d so been looking forward to getting out and about that, unfortunately, I never questioned our destination or trail. We invited a rather veteran hiker to lead the way, and many belated regrets ensued. The terrain was absolutely gorgeous, and I’m sure the unfamiliar scent in the air was freshness. At some point, I felt like a Hobbit, packing my way through nature and conquering vast mountains. It really was fun, as long as I didn’t think about the pain. We hiked from Stimson Beach all the way into the Ranger’s Station — which was originally sold as a 6-mile loop, tops — only to find that we had another 3 miles to go before we were back to the car. The worst was that the first 6 miles was continuously uphill, and when the ranger told us it’d take another 1.5 hours, I had a horrifying vision of having to go another 3 miles upcountry. “Our parents were right, you CAN go uphill both ways!!” It was funny for about a minute.

Your resident deskbound homebody was absolutely dying at that point, but refused to show weakness, so trotted off after the others with a stiff upper lip and wobbly knees. Nary a word of complaint passed through my lips, but I sure wish that I’d asked for more than the 2 one-minute breaks that we took, because, oy vay, I was utterly destroyed by the end of that trek.

In retrospect, that was utterly foolish pride. Who cares if my two fellow hikers didn’t want to turn back? I could have taken the car keys and waited for them at the car! Yes, I would have looked like a wussy in my mind, but they knew I’d not hiked in years. *sigh* So very foolish. Luckily for me, 12 Motrins and 4 Tylenols later, I was able to hobble along to a late brunch the next day, and then turn in for a looooong nap before my birthday dinner, thus avoiding the ruination of an entire weekend.

I’m still regretting the (length of the) hike a little. I’d taken Monday off, and it was a relatively quiet day. We visited a friend’s new stable, and I was offered the chance to ride any of their horses …. but had to decline because I could still hardly walk normally. It was heartrending, I miss horseback riding so much, but I’m realizing that perhaps part of being an adult is making fewer foolish decisions, or trying to avoid compounding previous poor decisions. (*cough* bailout! *cough*) Can you imagine adding saddle soreness to the cripple’s hobble I’m sporting now? *eyeroll* That’d be dignified. Instead of riding, we went ’round to pet all the horses, and discovered which of them were “lickers.” At least three of them had developed the hilarious habit of licking visitors’ hands like dogs.

It was a perfectly lovely, refreshing weekend, and while I’ll be sore for another week, and be even longer recovering mentally from the brutality of that hike, I’m proud that I made it through.

Now, for a good long week of work!

I need another day off ….. 🙂

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