Monthly Archives: March 2009

Cutting myself some slack

I have a confession. Some times I just sit here and stare into space instead of looking for a job. Some days, I can barely bring myself to do it. I AM SO SICK of tweaking cover letters and resumes and sending them out into the black hole known as APPLY ONLINE. I am so tired of telling my so-what-are-you-doing-now story. I wish I had the nerve to say, “you know, here’s what I do: I sit on my ass most of the day, eating cinnamon toast and oranges.” Honestly, if I let myself, I could slide right into dinner and bedtime without having moved more than 40 feet (the distance from the couch, to the bathroom, to the kitchen and back again.) Some days, I don’t brush my teeth.

Searching for work has never been easy

Searching for work has never been easy

The truth of the matter is, I don’t do idle very well. Not because I’m some superhero, it’s because I’m afraid of what will happen if I don’t. Trust me, I’d rather hide in my closet than face another day of job hunting.  I’m tired of being upbeat. I’m tired of saying to myself (and to others) that this is an opportunity for me to do something interesting and terrific (because I don’t always believe it.) Some days I search with vigor, other days, it’s a half-ass attempt. Some people consider my determination a sign of moxie, gumption, true grit. But I think it’s a sign that I’m just burning myself out. 

Today, I took a shower, brushed my teeth and put on clean jeans. I applied for two jobs. (This is more of an exercise than anything else because I’m starting to believe there’s no one on the other end of that APPLY tab. I don’t expect to hear anything anymore. Having your hopes dashed day after day can suck the optimism out of the best of us.) I contacted two former colleagues to see what they were doing and schedule lunch. Perhaps they’ll have some freelance work. I work a little on an online media curriculum that I’m developing and do more research for a contracted SEO project.

 If I knew all my efforts were leading to a job, I’d dig until my knuckles were raw. But, sometimes I wonder if I’ll EVER get another job. I wonder if there is something more I can be doing. I call people I know to see if they know someone who knows someone who can get me an interview. I’ve got a blog, a website, I do pro bono work, I make cold calls, I do follow ups, I make a few bucks doing freelance and consulting. I stalk people on Linkedin and Twitter. It’s exhausting.

It’s time for a new strategy. 

 After three months, I have come to terms that a full-time job may not be around the corner. So I’m making plans, something I couldn’t bring myself to do two months ago. I decided to put more balance into my week. I’m letting go of the fear that if I skip a day of looking for a job, I’ll have missed some great opportunity. I don’t think it works that way. So I’m giving myself permission, heck, forcing myself,  not to take it all so seriously all the time.  If I chose to sit on my ass all day I won’t feel guilty about it. I’m going to go out more and do the things I couldn’t do when I worked full-time; go to the museums on a week day, walk to the Dairy Queen with Lenore  when she gets home from school because the weather is sunny and warm,  let my friend Carolyn make me breakfasts that last until lunch without having to worry about the time, and read a book in the middle of the day and not get up until it’s finished. Plan a road trip with my sister that takes us everywhere and nowhere. This week, I’m helping a friend who owns a consignment store in town sort and tag clothes. Business is booming and she can use the help. I can use some place to go.  

The mother of a friend of my daughter said to me the other day when she learned I had been laid off, “Oh, that’s great, now you have all this time!” I thought she was nuts – and clueless. News flash: I LIKE working. But her comment stuck with me and while I still wouldn’t wish unemployment on anyone, I’m realizing now it’s  important to embrace the time off. Not waste it, but make the most of it.  I’m cutting myself some slack. So  if you find me Monday, sitting on my ass, still in my pajamas at noon watching The View, only chastise me a little – and then ask me to go for a brisk walk to the little bakery downtown for hot tea and a cupcake where we won’t talk about the economy. 

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What was that you said?

I like loud music as much as the next person. On a spring day you can hear me coming down the street – car windows open, music blaring. But, for the life of me, I cannot understand why, in stores that cater to a young demographic, they insist on playing the music so loud. It’s a wonder anyone can think. Jokes aside about the people working in these stores and their IQs, but honestly, does the music have to be cranked? What’s up with that?

I took Lenore shopping on Saturday and the music in Aeropostale was so loud I found it impossible to shop.  Sales clerks had to shout. I had to shout at Lenore and I must have said “WHAT?” a dozen times. If me making her shop for less revealing tops didn’t make her insane, that sure did. At Hollister, the pounding from the music was so loud it gave me a headache. Not that the fact that this “cool” store refers to boys as “dudes” and girls as “bettys” wasn’t enough to give me a headache. I had to leave. 

I just wonder, with some of these kids growing up with headsets, has their hearing been so destroyed that music that’s loud to me isn’t loud to them? Or, is their hearing still so sharp that they can hear people talk despite the loud music?

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Smarties outrage just dumb

imagesMy cousin, Judy, forwarded this Wall St. Journal article to me recently, with the  comment that even she’d pass on worrying about this one. Apparently, some kids can blow “smoke” from Smarties candies.  Parents and teachers are outraged and fearful that this trend will make smoking look cool.  I don’t know. But if I were 10, I’d think the kid that could blow Smartie smoke out of his nose would be more funny than cool. The fact that the smoking Smarties article took itself seriously is a sad commentary on our society of worry-addicted parents and educators who seem to have nothing better to do, or at best are just avoiding real issues. News flash: Kids who want to look cool “smoking” will do it with a real cigarette; probably from a pack they stole out of your purse.

When they start snorting crushed Smarties, then I’ll raise an eyebrow.

On the other hand, I don’t think the You Tube videos showing how to smoke Smarties are particularly funny, and ok, maybe the kids are a bit weird, but I don’t think they’re dangerous. These kids might end up in jail, but I don’t think it’s because they’ve smoked Smarties.

 The Girls Club (where I took swim lessons every Friday until I was in high school) had a candy counter stocked with penny candy. With a nickel, you could get FIVE packs of Smarties. I would unwrap them, holding them together with my thumb and index finger and run the line under the water spout. Then I’d suck on the saturated Smarties until they dissolved into my mouth. Adults didn’t pay attention to kids back then, but if they had, would they have seen this as a sign of a dangerous, drug-like trend? Perhaps. But nobody did care. We must have had other things to worry about in the early 70s. 

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Oprah’s economic fix for family needs reality check

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it with all these talk shows and morning news segments that try to help me survive these “tough economic times.” A segment that aired yesterday on Oprah was downright appalling. (I’m still slapping myself for even watching. I’m done with Oprah.)we-need-groceries-she-needs-exercise-what

If you need some expert from the Oprah show to “teach” you how to cut what you spend weekly on “take out” from $400 to $59, you’re an idiot. You should be arrested just for being stupid. And so should Oprah for featuring these people. Are they kidding? These people need help making ends meet? Have you ever noticed that the people on these shows live in HUGE houses? Drive SUVs? Have big screen TVs? Airing it is an insult to those of us who know better.

 People like this don’t need financial help, they need mental help. People are STARVING in this country and this particular family was spending $20,000 a year on take out? I don’t care how much money you make, if you spend that kind of money  and then try to tell us that you know you need to cut back because these are “tough economic times” but  just don’t know how, you’re a dumb ass.  And, these experts that Oprah showcases? Wow. How hard is it to tell these morons to open up a box of pasta and jar of sauce and toss the take out menu from Applebees?  Just for fun, I would have loved to see Suzi Orman come in and wag her finger at them. Jerks.

 I challenge Oprah to send one of her experts over to my house. I dare them to look at my budget and tell me where to cut. Regardless of having a comfortable income, we never have or would ever spend that kind of money on take out or even on eating out no matter how many hours a week we worked and certainly not because our kids didn’t like what we cooked.  I live in a modest home, have never purchased a brand new car, and 50% of my wardrobe is purchased at consignment stores. Show me how to cut my $100 a week grocery bill in half. Go ahead. I dare you.

Oprah, if you want to really help us in these “tough economic times” then have some guts and make it hard for your experts. Have them tell us something we don’t already know. Excessive spending and selfish attitudes are to blame for the recession. People should never have been living like this in the first place. Stop showcasing them as faultless, helpless middle class Americans, stuck in the middle of an economic crisis. Instead, have a show that can help the millions of desperate people in this country who would be happy to eat the scraps of $400-a -week-in-take-out leftovers. 

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Fashion icon Barbie turns 50 today, touts tatoo

Barbie turns 50 today. What a role model she has been. She has held up magnificently well. She continues to challenge herself by mastering different professions. She has kept her style up to date and makes cutting edge fashions work for her. And, regardless of the public outrage, I think she’s old enough to get a tattoo and put it anywhere she wants. With skin that doesn’t age, why not?

Barbie, fabulous at 50

Barbie, fabulous at 50

 

For most girls growing up in the 60s, having a Barbie doll was a rite of passage. My sister Maryann, who is five years older than me, was the first one to get a Barbie, the one with coifed blond hair. Maryann also had Midge, who had red hair and freckles. On a good day, my sister would let me play with her, but Midge was no substitute for Barbie. Everyone knew Midge was the ugly one.  

My Barbie was the first bendable Barbie and she came packaged with a neon orange bathing suit. It was not a good look for her. I changed her into a smashing white lace two piece and accessorized with matching wrap, straw hat, beach bag, and high-heeled sandals.

The way I see it, all that controversy about Barbie’s freakishly proportioned body diminishing my worth as a female is just stupid. Everybody knows that Barbie HAD to be built that way otherwise the clothes just wouldn’t have hung right.

I may not have been a particularly astute kid, but I sure as hell knew my body was never meant to look like Barbie’s. She was plastic for heaven’s sake. She had no nipples or body hair or, um, genitalia. With all the other women in my life with real, soft, buxom, warm bodies, why would I ever think that SHE was what I was suppose to look like?

I yearned for her wardrobe, not her boobs.

Barbie was, and always will be, a fashion icon. Playing with her was about dressing up and experimenting with style. Barbie had mini-skirts and maxi-skirts, black cocktail dresses, fur-trimmed ski parkas, go-go boots and fabulous handbags.  She always had the latest in fashion and for a kid like me who grew up with three pairs of shoes: brown school shoes, sneakers and black patent leather, and hand-me- down clothes that never fit properly and were horribly out of style, my Barbie doll case was a plastic box full of fashion possibilities.

If we’re going to blame Barbie for something, blame her for the 40 pairs of shoes in my closet, my obsession with wood hangers, a compulsive collection of handbags and scarves, and for the fact that I’m willing to spend an insane amount of time finding the perfect outfit for an important occasion.

So here’s to Barbie and a half-century of teaching girls that, yes, a red velvet clutch with tiny gloves tucked inside can be the ultimate prize. And here’s to all the women who grew up loving Barbie – and their own beautiful bodies. 

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A little more honesty (and humor) as we age, please

I’m a loyal reader of More magazine, it “celebrates” my age. Over 40. In terms of women’s magazines, I relate to it more than say Glamour or Marie Claire and certainly more than Cosmopolitan. I don’t read Family Circle or Woman’s Day, although I used to. The fact is I just don’t need another recipe for boneless breast of chicken. imageaspxSo while I prefer More than any other, I admit, I’m getting weary of the “How Great Life is over 40 Testimonials.” I know. I know. Embrace your age. Love the skin you’re in. Yeah. Whatever. Here’s what would be fresh.  Interview someone over 40 who admits to having to pop a couple of Advil with her morning coffee before she can start the day. Honestly. I want to hear a woman over 40 candidly talk about hemorrhoids and how she found a really good cream that gets rid of that awful itch.  I want to hear a woman over 40 talk to me about thinning eyebrows. I want someone to admit the reason they don’t have sex more is because they’re too damn tired to undress – and then get dressed again, not because they’ve lost their will.

I don’t feel inferior reading how some women over 40 feel more confident because I know they’re mostly full of shit. “I love being 50.” Yeah, right. You’re now ok with having stomach fat and gray hair and having to spend a fortune to replace all the metal fillings in your mouth because some 30-year-old dentist told you they’re getting old and will crack at anytime.

Look, I am more comfortable with myself than I was at 25. I know myself better. I understand the world better. I’ve traveled. I have more money. I have better friends and a great marriage. I raised two terrific daughters.  And, I don’t give a rat’s ass about so many of the little things that I used to when I was younger. But I do wish I had the more resilient body and skin I had in my 20s, heck even my 30s. I wish I were still a fearless skier. I’m not so afraid of falling, but that I won’t be able to get myself back up again. I wish I didn’t have to put on glasses to read the directions on the back of the brownie mix box. I wish I could experience the joy of being a young mother again. I wish I didn’t have to work so hard to lose weight and stay fit. I wish I didn’t have dreams about my teeth falling out.

The idea behind More is to make us feel good about ourselves. I know that. And I do believe plenty of women are OK with being 50. After all, embracing it is healthy, physically and mentally. There is a lot of really good life to be had at 40, 50, 60 and beyond.  But I just hope that as we age, we can be more honest with each other and stop pretending that we’re 100% OK with our bodies aging. I’d be so much more OK with turning 50 if I new it meant more honesty and humor and a truly effective hemorrhoid cream. 

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