"I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere beyond the morning." - J.B. Priestly

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Unidentifiable Lip Fungus

Susie quoted the above line from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" when she saw me this past weekend.  I have no idea what this is, but it's itchy and it hurts when I eat something hot or salty.  I keep trying different things, but I may have to give up and see a doctor.  I suspect I'll require an antibiotic to get rid of it.  I'm wondering if it has anything to do with the bad infection I had in my cuticle a couple of weeks ago.  The air at Kohls is very dry at night and I think maybe my lips got dried out and cracked a little and the infection moved right in.  Not sure, but it's pretty gross.  I also have some blisters that got infected and some glands under my jaw that hurt pretty bad so I know they're doing their job in fighting this thing!

Gross picture alert!!!!  I took the picture to remind me of how I need to go the doctor right away and not let things get out of hand. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Catching Up

It has been more difficult than I had anticipated to stay on top of things while working both days and nights.  I didn't realize that I'd be scheduled for so many hours!

Anyway, last Monday I had a few hours to kill before going to work so I went back to the library to finish my orientation and training to be a volunteer.  The City requires orientation just like an employee, and the training wasn't difficult but I still had to learn where everything was, etc.  Now, if I can just get some time to actually volunteer!

Tuesday night was the Santa Parade in Appleton.  It's a tradition that goes way back and there are approximately 100,000 people that line the streets each year.  Last year, Maggie and I went with the boys but this year we were all there because Ian was in the parade.  His mom's employer had a float in the parade with the theme of The Wizard of Oz, and Ian was dressed as one of the flying monkeys. 
Fortunately, his costume was heavy and warm because the weather has taken a nasty turn and it was really cold on Tuesday night.  Fortunately, Jeff had won a spot for all of us indoors at the Children's Museum, so we were able to watch from the second floor through the windows.  Sure makes it a lot nicer with your hot chocolate while sitting indoors.

We had a great Thanksgiving at our house this year.  Jeff got a new "deep fryer" that doesn't use oil; it's really a vertical roaster but cooks a turkey in a fraction of the time that it would take in the oven.  We watched football, and played with cars, and saw a couple of movies.  Ian and I played the game of Life and he totally stomped me.  The doggies all got along reasonably well and we had too much food, as usual.  A great day all around, but I had to get to bed early because I had to be at Target for "Black Friday" and Maggie also was going out for the deals.

I got to Target about 3:15 and it was bitterly cold and windy.  Nevertheless, there was a line of people all the way around the store and there were tents set up where they had spent the night on the sidewalk.  People really are insane.  When the doors opened, I thought they'd trample each other to get to the cheap TVs that had been advertised.  I was able to get out into the store and snag a couple of things that Maggie wanted, and put them aside (although we're not allowed to do that as employees) and I was able to save a cart as well.  It's a good thing as the store filled up pretty quickly.  Maggie didn't even have to stand in the long lines to check out -- which were taking approximately 2 hours to get around the store.  I did traffic control for about an hour, and spent a lot of time restocking shelves and also going around retrieving things that people left sitting all over.  In the process, I found a few good deals of my own that I managed to sneak into the back room.

Then, we headed to Rice Lake around 1:00 on Friday and got to spend most of today there before heading back home.  I have to work tonight and Susie is having everyone over tomorrow for Thanksgiving.  We were able to spend some time together today (Doug and Susie, Tom and Sylvia, Scott and Maggie and Alex,  Jeff and I, and Mom and Dad).  Jeff put up some of Mom's Christmas lights and we shared some KFC and pies.  Susie is still struggling with her sinus problem and I have "an unidentified lip fungus" so we weren't the liveliest group, but Alex had enough energy for all of us.

Tonight, I'm headed back to work overnight at Kohl's but then I'm off until 1pm Monday afternoon when I go back to Target.  That will give me plenty of resting time.  Got paid on Friday for the week ending November 20; I had 16.1 hours with Target and 20 hours with Kohls.  Together, I don't think I made enough money to offset unemployment so I'll need to file that to make up the difference.  :-)  It makes me chuckle.  However, this past week I racked up about 50 hours of work so I think my checks will be a bit bigger next Friday.  Fortunately, I'm getting some Christmas shopping done in the process and getting some really great deals, which was my goal to begin with so I guess it's work it.  My swollen ankles and blisters are telling a different story, though, I think.

If I'm not too dead tomorrow, I'm hoping to start my Christmas decorating.  Although the weather is quite cold, we have no snow.  They have an inch or two of snow on the ground in Rice Lake, but I'm perfectly content to not have any for a while.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Quick Updates with Photos

Last Thursday night (the 18th) was Ian's school concert.  It wasn't a Holiday concert -- just singing and even the audience got to sing along for a couple of songs.  Then, we had pizza afterward.  The picture I took was with my iphone so it's not very good, but I wanted to capture the moment anyway.

I've been working lots of hours and, when I work back-to-back hours at Target then at Kohl's (or vice versa) I can be pretty tired but never too tired to spend time with all of my kids!

On Saturday, we went to Milwaukee to help Anna celebrate her 5th birthday.  She had a swimming party and had invited a lot of her little friends.  We had the facility to ourselves so all of the kids had a real blast in the pool and going down the slide.  Steve's present to Anna was being in the pool the whole time.  Anna was in Heaven the whole day with swimming and opening her presents and having so many kids to play with.  It really was a lot of fun.  All of the kids were pretty tired after that long day -- both the little kids and the big kids!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


We had a great time today for Anna's 5th birthday party. It was a swimming party followed by good treats. Anna got a ton of presents and really didn't know what to play with. Dad had a lot of fun just getting thru the packaging.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ready for Sleep

Got through my day at Target today after being up all night.  Fortunately, it was a short work shift (9 - 2) as I was pretty tired by the time 2p.m. rolled around.  I put on another 9,000 steps just with being at Target today; that's on top of the steps I walked yesterday.  My feet are pretty tired!

Need to use my discounts this weekend -- either Saturday or Sunday.  Right now, everything is on sale at a really good price, but only through Saturday so I may have to shop when we get back from Anna's birthday party tomorrow night.

Swimming part for Anna's birthday and I think she has a lot of little friends coming in addition of Jack, Ian, and Alex.  Can't believe she's turning 5 already.

Well, it's not even 4:30 but I think I'll be heading to bed pretty soon with a book.  I'll need at least 12 or 14 hours of sleep so I can keep up with those kids tomorrow!

First Complete Day of Work

So, my first shift at Target yesterday from 9 -5, followed by my first shift at Kohl's from 10 p.m. - 6 a.m.  It's now 6:34 a.m. and I'm pretty beat.  My feet are killing me and I don't have time to sleep because I have to be back at Target by 9 a.m. again.  Today will only be until 2 so I should be in bed and asleep by 4 or 5.

This is really interesting work, though.  I am absolutely shocked beyond belief at how much stuff is in the back part of a store.  It's also totally crowded and, sometimes, not even unpacked yet but leaving a store without asking if there's more in the back would be a big mistake!  The really great thing about being at Kohl's is the fact that there are no customers so, on breaks, you can wander around and look at stuff.  This weekend is an employee discount weekend so I'll get my normal 15% employee discount, plus a special 15% discount because it's employee weekend (I signed on just in time), and I think I can also use my 15% pick-a-day that I've been saving.  All of that on top of the sales going on!  I found a couple of things in the store tonight and put them on hold in the back room so they'll be available when I want to shop on Sunday.

Can't have my cell phone while working (although I keep it in my pocket to check the time and I can check emails on break).  No eating while working, and only water can be brought along while working.  Everybody I've met at both stores is really nice, and I'm hoping to make a ton of money while also saving a lot of money on Christmas items.

Here's the best part:  I don't have to be in charge, I don't have to be responsible for other people, and I go home when the shift is over without bringing work home with me.

Oh, almost forgot to mention:  I wore my pedometer today, putting it on just before I left for Target this morning and taking it off after I got home from Kohl's this morning.  Results:  14.79 miles (31,237 steps).  I'd like to think that this job will help me lose weight, but the downside of staying up all night is the need to eat once in a while.  I gotta believe that walking that much has to have a positive impact, though.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Getting Acclimated

Wow, talking about getting what you ask for!!  I really didn't like just sitting at home (even collecting unemployment, it was just too boring) so I thought I'd get these seasonal jobs.  When two were offered, I thought, "Why not?  It's only 6 weeks -- I can do that."

Yesterday, I had Orientation with Target for 3 hours in the morning and with Kohl's for 4 hours last night.  By the time I went to bed, my head was spinning so sleep was a long time coming.

Today, I worked 9-5 at Target learning how to do the registers, how to work those hand-held scanner things, merchandising, etc.  My feet were killing me by the time I got home!! Those floors are hard!  Ian's school concert was at 6, and we had pizza afterward so got home 7:30ish.  Now, I've gone through the mail, pulled together some things that have to go back out in the mail tomorrow, stacked the packages that have started to arrive from my online shopping, and changed clothes because I have to be at Kohl's at 10:00 for my night shift (10 p.m. to 6 a.m.).  I'm mainlining caffeine at the moment.

Tomorrow, I work at Target from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and, following some errands and things that I need to get done at home, I can sleep from 5ish tomorrow night until maybe 9 or so Saturday morning.  Then, it's off to Milwaukee for Anna's birthday party.

I think this is going to work.  I just have to get used to it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The best laid schemes of mice and men / Go oft awry

I had it all planned out:  working days at Target and nights (10p - 6a) at Kohl's.  It's only for a few weeks and it wouldn't be 8 hours at each place every single day anyway.

So, I sat through my Orientation at Target this morning.  Lots of policy and safety stuff, and a big push to keep the unions out (with which I agree).  Then, I got my training schedule and immediately hit a snag.  The good news:  I have both this Saturday and next Saturday free so Anna's birthday party and going to Rice Lake after Thanksgiving are safe (so far -- I still have to meet with Kohl's this evening).  But, I'm scheduled to work next Tuesday night when the Christmas parade is in Appleton and Ian is in the parade, so I need to try to change that.  Additionally, I'm scheduled to work 'til 11 one night, which would overlap my Kohl's start time.

It seemed like such a good plan at the beginning and already I need to be a pain to the scheduler and start asking for changes.  I really want both jobs, but I'm not going to miss out on family stuff.

Turns out that Target has a dress code, too -- which I should have realized after being in the store a thousand times:  khaki pants and a red shirt (with no writing on it).  Khaki pants I have, but I'm astonished that I had no red shirts at all.  So, I had to immediately buy some red tops today, but I got a 15% discount so I guess that helps.

All of the people in the Orientation class this morning were really nice -- the trainers and the other trainees.  I think it's going to be a great place to work.  And you should see the very tiny pin-hole cameras that they use in that store for security in addition to the larger ones that are pretty obvious in the globes overhead.  Pretty cool!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Odd Career Choice

I was thinking about the drug tests that I had to take last week and this week, and I know the vast majority of business places now require testing either before hiring and/or random testing during employment.  I'm guessing that the testing was originally done at hospitals where it was probably pretty expensive.  So somebody had to create the collection sites.

At the place where I went, there were business cards on the desk for the guy who ran the facility.  He has a BS (Bachelor of Science) degree and I started thinking about this guy going to college for 4 or 5 years to get his BS, and ending up as the "pee police" in a dingy little basement office.  Somehow, I just can't believe that was what he aspired to be when studying for his degree.

REALLY gaining speed now

So, a few updates since my post this morning.  I got a phone call from Target asking if I'd be available for training tomorrow as they're combining the store on the east side (where I'll be working) with the Mall Target for training tomorrow.  I liked that way better than waiting until Friday.  It also gave me a chance to mention that I don't want to be scheduled for Saturday as Anna's birthday party is Saturday.

Then, this afternoon I got a call from Kohl's saying that, despite the fact that my drug test hasn't come back yet, they're confident that it will be fine and training will be tomorrow evening.  That works out really well because I didn't want to miss Ian's school concert on Thursday night.

So, by the time I go to bed tomorrow night I'll have two jobs and will have been trained for both.  This is really kind of fun for me -- whole new world really.

Picking up Speed

As expected, after waiting for days with nothing to do, I'm getting everything together all at once.  That generally happens this time of year anyway, I guess.

So, I got an email from the Target HR department this morning telling me that I'm scheduled for training this Friday at 9 a.m.  I'm really pretty excited about that, actually, as Target means working days and that's the place that may continue to hire after the holidays.  It's not Barnes & Noble, but I've always liked Target and it seems like a good place to work.  Fortunately, then, I could call the unemployment people and get taken off that list for placement training.  I think it might have been kind of amusing to sit through -- just to see what it is they do to train people, but the job got me out of it.

I had some plasma donation appointments that had to be moved, and Anna's birthday party is Saturday so I have to make sure that I'm not scheduled to work that day.  Haven't heard back from Kohl's, but I expect the results of that drug test to be delivered soon and I'll find out when I have to go in for their training.  I've decided to try to do both jobs -- it will be like going from famine to feast, but just for 6 weeks or so.  Neither place works Thanksgiving, so I'll get my holiday for sure.  Not sure if holiday pay is included -- probably not, but I'll still be able to file for my unemployment to make up the difference each week.

I'm finding this to be an interesting journey.  Having been a salaried office worker for 30+ years, I have no experience with this type of work environment and I'm enjoying the differences.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Slow Day

After my drug test this morning, I was at loose ends.  I did some volunteer work at the library last week, but they've asked me to hold off until I can go through a formal meeting/training session.  That may not be until Thursday of this week.  I took the drug test for Target last week, but have heard nothing back and, of course, the one for Kohl's was just this morning.  I hate being in a "holding pattern".  Then, to add just a little humiliation to the mix, I got a letter from the unemployment people telling me that I've been selected to participate in the Reemployment Services Program.  The purpose is to "provide you with up-to-date tools, services, and programs to help you become reemployed in today's job market."  Mandatory 3-hour session on November 30 (unless I'm working by then).

I could do some Christmas shopping, but I hate to do that if I'm going to get some discounts pretty soon.   It did occur to me that I could maybe do some holiday baking and put things in the freezer -- I may do some of that tomorrow and Wednesday.  I will go and donate plasma tomorrow and Friday ($20 each time), and I'm hoping to catch Ian's school concert Thursday night and Harry Potter either late Thursday night (midnight) or Friday.

So, today I'm finishing my annotated volume of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice.  I've read the regular version, I've listened to the audio version, I've seen every film and TV version ever made -- this is a new volume that was just released.

Here's a funny anecdote:  our neighbor is a single gentleman and a bit odd (he puts his cat on a leash and takes it for a walk around his yard).  He's a nice guy, though, and we have a friendly relationship.  I saw him out in the yard this afternoon down on his knees trimming the grass along his sidewalk with a pair of shears.  I went out and asked if he'd like to borrow our sidewalk trimmer; it's not electric but would be a lot faster than using shears.  He thanked me and said that he had an electric one, but preferred the look of it when cut by hand with shears.  Total whack job!

Drug Test #2

Following up on my call from Kohl's Friday, I picked up the paperwork and headed back to the little dungeon where they do the drug testing in Appleton.  Honestly, it's an old building that is completely deserted except for this dingy little office on the lower level where the samples are collected.  When I was there last week, there was a young girl on duty (although I heard noises from another room and suspected that she wasn't alone).  Today, though, only the guy that runs the place was there.

Here's the drill:  you have to show your driver's license to prove who you are, leave all of your belongings in the waiting room, and go into the bathroom alone.  It's kind of freaky to leave your purse, etc out in a waiting room in a building that is, basically, deserted.  Today, I only took my ID and keys in with me, locking everything else in the car.  Didn't take long today as I had a big diet Coke before going.

Kind of fun to be exploring this other world that seems to be a regular part of hiring now days.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Holiday Shopping Season

The day started pretty early (for me) at 6:30 a.m.  I had a tough time sleeping last night -- tossing and turning while thinking about whether I could really handle an overnight job at Kohl's and whether I could also handle a day job with Target at the same time.  Also, trying to understand why I'm pushing to work at a low-paying job when it may very well have a negative effect on my unemployment.  Guess I just don't want to be non-productive.  [Note:  I have yet to hear back from Target after going in for the drug test last week, so I don't know how the conversation will go once they do finally call.]

Anyway, up at 6:30 so I could get onto the Younkers website and take advantage of their early bird savings for the big sale today.  Ended up ordering quite a lot and saving a ton of money using the savings book from Jack's school.  I even got free delivery.

Alex came over for a while and played Wii and we set up a road race with cars.  It was quite a fun morning, after which I thought maybe I'd go out to walk around the mall and see about other deals.  The number of people out shopping was unbelievable!  I know it's always busy at the mall on Saturdays, and the holiday season is approaching, but I was still surprised.  While I was in one of the stores, it started pouring rain and I decided that I just didn't want to fight the crowds and the weather.  So I went off to the library -- and ran into Scott, Maggie, and Alex.  It was quite amusing.

We've been pretty lucky here today.  The weather has stayed in the mid- to high-40s all day so no snow.  There was some heavy ran in the afternoon, but that tapered off and it's just wet and cold now.  It's a good night to be inside where it's warm -- so I'm having some wine, watching movies, and knitting a scarf.  Very toasty.  Definitely going to sleep in tomorrow morning!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Even I'm glad it's the weekend

For weeks I've been at rather loose ends, which is why I applied for the seasonal jobs (and the money, of course) and also started volunteering at the library.  I found that sitting home all day just isn't for me at this stage of my life yet.  I've had a busy couple of weeks with job interviews, drug testing, Christmas shopping (a little bit), weekend visit to Rice Lake, watching Alex for a while last night, and volunteering 4 hours at the library today.  Turns out that I'm kind of tired and looking forward to relaxing a bit.

When I got home late this afternoon, I had a call from Kohl's offering me a job conditional on a positive drug test (which I'll go do again on Monday but remember to drink a lot of liquid before I get there).  I also have the offer from Target that was conditional on a positive drug test, but I haven't heard back from them.  I did the test on Wednesday so I'm guessing they might have gotten the results today, which might mean a call some time this weekend.  What a bother!  First I'm sitting around with nothing to do, and now I have too much to do!  I want those Kohl's discounts and first shot at Target's Black Friday deals!  Funny thing about that:  I don't really need anything from either store as I could do all of my holiday shopping online, but I'm smelling the deal and hate to miss out!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

End of the Day

Scott and Maggie went out to eat tonight for their anniversary (on the 15th) and, then, to see A Chorus Line at the PAC.  So, Alex came over and we went to Burger King for a delicious mac & cheese dinner (and where he could play in the playground area for a while), and then back to his house for some Power Rangers and library books before bed.  I turned the light out at 8:00 and he was asleep by 8:01.  What a difference from the little boy who wouldn't go to bed and often was still awake after the adults were asleep!

Weather is supposed to get cold and rainy starting tomorrow and through the weekend, so it appears that our balmy Autumn may be on the way out.


Working on the wireless network at the library and it's a bit slow.

  1. Jeff got home last night reasonably early after driving all the way from South Dakota yesterday.  They got nine deer during their trip -- Jeff didn't get any (missed a bunch), but had a great time.
  2. My finger is feeling a bit better today; at least it doesn't look like raw hamburger oozing out from under my fingernail any more.  It's been almost a week, will probably be several more days.  The bandaid makes typing a bit difficult.
  3. The weather continues to be beautiful and it's difficult to believe that it's mid-November.
  4. I have two unofficial job offers now for the holiday season:  Kohl's and Target.  Both are waiting for background and/or drug tests.  I'm hoping to get a real offer soon.  Frankly, I'd like to do both jobs since it's only for about 6 weeks.  The discounts would be great and would help with Christmas shopping.  We've become accustomed to a certain type of Christmas and I don't want to give that up now that I'm no longer working.
  5. On Yahoo today, there was an article about Target having $3 appliances for sale on Black Friday.  I remember when they did something similar last year and everything sold old quickly.  I'd like to get the job in time to take advantage of that sale.
  6. I'm going to do volunteer work at the Appleton Public Library.  I'm meeting with the person who would ok me in just a little while, and planning to come in tomorrow to get some training on doing shelving.  Not sure how difficult that is since I pretty much know the library system inside and out -- I'm a pretty regular patron.  I am totally looking forward to doing this as spending the days of winter in the library will be so fun.  Also, it will put me right in line for any jobs that come up.  I'd love to spend my retirement working part-time at the library.
  7. Started thinking about Christmas shopping today.  Actually, I bought a sweatshirt for Jack while in London as it's for his favorite soccer team.  But, I spend a lot of time each year going through the amazon wish lists for all of the kids, combing through the sale ads for the stores, and making my shopping lists.  Those amazon lists really help as it would be impossible to know what everyone already has otherwise.  Gift cards would be a solutionm, of course, and I do give those so everyone can go shopping, but having gifts to open is the ultimate fun thing.
  8. Had a tough time sleeping last night.  Saw this thing on Facebook about an e-book being made available through amazon, which is a pedophile's guide to getting sympathy.  Then, I made the mistake of watching "The Lovely Bones", which is a movie based on a best-seller that I had read several years ago.  It's about the murder of a child.  Even though I watched the movie early in the day and already knew the plot, it stayed with me while I tried to get to sleep. Guess I'll stay away from that type of thing in the future.
  9. Today is Susie's birthday and she has the day off (holiday for Polk County).  Lucky girl.  I'm blessed that my siblings are also my friends, and grateful that my sister and I have gotten so close as adults.  Love you, Sis!
  10. Today is also Veteran's Day and I want to give a shout-out to the veterans in my life:  my Dad, my brother Tom, my late father-in-law, two brothers-in-law (Tom and Mike), my nephew Matt, and two good friends still in service -- Steve Cook and Kevin Lucas.  God Bless all of you and thank you for your service in protecting all of us.  The USO is one charity that I remember monetarily on a regular basis.
  11. I'm cleaning out my closets and shelves and storage areas at home a bit at a time.  In one of my closets are several beautiful suits from when I was with Marsh and when suits were required for trips to NY.  A couple have never been worn and one still has the price tags.  I tried putting one on ebay to see what would happen, but I couldn't sell a $175 suit for $25 (including shipping) so I'm going to give up that idea.  Instead, I'm going to keep a couple of the jackets to wear with jeans and other pants, and give everything else to a local organization that provides suitable apparel to displaced and retrained women applying for jobs.
  12. Only a week to go 'til the new Harry Potter movie comes out.  A couple of days before that, there will be a simulcast of Les Miz 25th Anniversary Concert at the theatre.  Les Miz is my absolute favorite Broadway musical.  I see it every chance I get (including recently in London), I have the movie version, and I listen to the soundtrack all the time.  There was a 10th Anniversary Concert (which I have on DVD).  So, I'll be in the theatre for Les Miz on Wednesday night and back on Friday (or Thursday night at midnight) for Harry Potter.
  13. I'm currently listening to an audio book:  "The Lodger".  It was written in the early 1900s (or maybe the late 1800s) and was inspired by Jack the Ripper.  Several movies have been made of it, although I haven't seen any of them and had never even heard of it until recently.  AMC had the movie on just before Halloween and I recorded it to watch, but never got to it.  Then, I was in the library and saw the audio book and thought I'd give it a try.  It is really, really good!!  When I'm done, I'll watch the movie that the critics liked the best (an older version), but I'm sure it won't compare to the somewhat chilling atmosphere of the book.  I read so many books that I get a little bored with the same plots and the same characters and what seems to be the lack of innovation among authors.  It's a genuine pleasure to come across one that really holds your attention.
Well, I guess that's enough for this day.  Perhaps I'll have a few more updates this evening.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Free Speech Isn't Free

I am absolutely appalled at the information I got today about a e-book that can be downloaded to Kindle owners through amazon.  For the bargain price of $4.79 you can get The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure.  The author's description says "This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certian rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter sentences should they ever be caught."  [Note:  this is a copy and paste directly from the amazon site, so the poor grammar and spelling belong entirely to the warped author.]

There is no excuse or reason that can convince me that both the publisher and amazon aren't acting very irresponsibly in publishing and distributing this filth.  Will we next allow publication of a manual for terrorists to make them more cuddly and encouraging lighter sentences when they murder hundreds of people?

A lot of people are already writing messages to amazon intending a boycott until this publication is removed from circulation.

Job Offer

I had filled out an online application for Target a couple of weeks ago, and got a call on Monday asking me to come in for an interview yesterday.  It was actually two interviews:  two team members ask a bunch of questions and, then, separately offer a recommendation to the manager.  This morning, the manager of the store called and offered me a job, conditioned on passing the drug test.  So, I went to the testing center and, maybe for the first time in my life, couldn't produce enough of the required substance (pee).  So, I waited around reading magazines and drinking water until I could finally accomplish the task.  I think they'll produce the results yet this week so I might be starting next week already -- if I get positive results, of course. ;-)

There are some real pros and cons to think about:

  • Target would have me working days / Kohl's would be overnight
  • Target would give a 10% discount & 5% if I use the "red" card / Kohl's is 15% discount
  • I do more shopping at Target so the discount there would make more sense
  • Target is definitely planning to keep people on after the holiday / Kohl's made no promises
  • Target is a tad further to drive, but not significantly
  • Both Target and Kohl's know that I can only work one of the days of Thanksgiving weekend
  • A night job would be more convenient for upcoming social things:  Anna's BD party, Ian's schl concert and the Holiday parade.  Not sure that the concert or parade would necessarily be affected, though.

Here's the really interesting part:  I would make more on unemployment than I'll make at either job so I could just sit at home and collect money.  However, I'm kind of bored already with just sitting home and I think I'd like to be out among people. While I know I couldn't quit and still keep collecting unemployment, there's nothing saying that I need to seek full-time work after this seasonal gig is over.

Late in the day addition:  Got a call from Kohl's tonight apologizing for the delay in getting back to me with an official job offer.  Seems that they're having a problem with the computers and the background checks haven't come through.  They wanted to have us working already this week and are hoping that I'm still interested in the night position.  Here's a crazy thought:  what if I could figure out a way to do both the job at Kohl's and the job at Target!  Talk about your holiday discounts!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Full, Fun, and Satisfying Day

Not sure why, but I overslept this morning:  it was almost 9 when I woke up.  I think it has to do with my sinuses this time of year.  I had nothing planned early anyway, but it was a bit startling.

I had a great couple of interviews at Target for a seasonal job; I think it's something that I would enjoy and would be days instead of working in the middle of the night.  I really liked the one lady that I talked to who, I believe, would supervise the area in which I'd work.  Beyond that, though, I know nothing -- not the job, or the hours, or the rate of pay.  Like Kohl's, they were pretty insistent about being available for Thanksgiving weekend.  Well, we'll see how it turns out.

Following that, I went to the plasma center to give a donation.  You can donate plasma twice a week every week (if your stats are ok) at $20 each donation.  It takes a little over an hour and I just listen to my ipod or, like today, went through my Birds & Blooms issue.  Sometimes my iron is a bit low and I get turned away, but I'm taking iron supplements and eating lots of protein so, hopefully, I'll make some Christmas money.

Good news for Dean today:  he finally got word from the State of Florida about his claim for disability benefits and the news was positive!  That's really a good thing and it's about time that he finally caught a break.

 Jeff sent me this kind of ugly picture from South Dakota.  Looks like they shot several deer and one looks nice enough to mount the head.  Jeff said it was all Len and Tim, and the rest of them resembled the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight.  I believe they're heading back from SD tomorrow.

We're having the most incredible run of beautiful weather the past few days.  It has hit 60 both yesterday and today, and should again tomorrow.  I sure would like to see a mild winter, but I'm guessing the bad weather is just around the corner and it's only a matter of time 'til we're looking at mounds of snow outside the windows.

Finally, I ended my evening by going to see "A Chorus Line" at the PAC.  I'll bet I've seen it at least 20 times since I first saw it in the 70s.  I've seen local theatre productions and high school productions and a lot of professional versions.  Also have the soundtrack and know every single song.  Because Jeff wasn't here to join me (and we have season tickets), I turned in his ticket and got another one so I can go again on Sunday afternoon.

Great day.

Busy Day Ahead

Another gloriously beautiful fall day -- and I have a lot going on today.  I'll be interviewing at Target for a seasonal position and I started wondering if it's possible to take on two seasonal jobs.  Probably not as one would be at night and the other during the day -- I'm guessing it would just be too much, but it would be nice to have the discounts and the money!

After my interview, I'll be going over to donate plasma.  Takes about an hour and a half and pays $20, which you can do twice a week.  I always listen to my ipod and it's very relaxing.

Then, this evening, is the opening night for A Chorus Line at the PAC.  I have two season tickets but, because Jeff is away on his hunting trip, I decided to be really selfish and trade the second ticket for one on Sunday afternoon so I could go twice.  I just love the show and I know I'll be singing it all week after seeing it tonight.  Going again will be a nice treat while Jeff is watching football on Sunday.

Quick update on my sore finger:  it's really hot and really sore so I know the infection is still raging.  When I take the band-aid off and look at it, I'm totally repulsed by how gross it is.  However, I need to be able to scan my fingerprint to donate plasma today so I'm going to go without band-aid today and see how that works.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Movie Notes

I'm a huge movie fan:  love old movies, new movies, and every genre ever made.  When I was a kid, going to a drive-in movie was a huge treat.  We'd pop a bunch of popcorn and put it in a brown grocery bag, and we got to have Coke with our popcorn -- a real treat.  We'd wear our jammies and, in those days, there was a huge rear platform where some lucky child could lay and watch the movie.  The scratchy speaker always hung on the front window, and the movie theatre had a great playground up near the screen.  Just before dark, a truck would go through and fog for mosquitoes.  All great memories.  I still have to have my (diet) Coke with popcorn when watching a movie.

 Today, I caught an old Dirty Harry movie (The Dead Pool), which I'm sure I must have seen once upon a time but didn't remember at all.  It was an ok movie:  there's a young Jim Carrey in what must be one of his first acting roles, and a much younger Liam Neeson and Clint Eastwood.  The best part, though, is the 1970s San Francisco.  I love those hilly streets and now have a real hankering to go back and visit the city.  

In the meantime, though, a memory from a 2008 visit.

Belated (but cute) Halloween pictures

Ian as Anakin Skywalker (from Star Wars Clone Wars)
Anna as Rainbow Bright (wearing a costume made by Grandma Lancaster for Stacy when she was little)
Alex as Blue Ranger (from Disney's Power Rangers)
Jack howling as Scooby-Doo

The weather was beautiful and the kids got a ton of candy during their trick-or-treating.  We had in excess of 60 kids in less than the first hour.  I thought I was going to run out of candy!  It was great fun seeing all of the kids out on such a nice day, with a lot of parents also in costume.  Grandpa Jeff went out on the second run with Jack and Ian -- and came back with a beer from one of our neighbors.

Another beautiful day in the neighborhood

It's almost impossible to believe that it's November 8!  The day is sunny and should hit 60 each of the next three days.  I could definitely live with this each year!  Although a really hard freeze first would be good as my sinuses are not happy with the stuff in the air.

So, I know this is really childish but my finger hurts :(.  I pulled a hangnail on the middle finger of my right hand and it ended up getting infected.  Now it's swollen and hurts like crazy.  There's a big swelling on the side -- like the finger is trying to escape from underneath the fingernail.  Pretty gross, really.

Spent some time this morning adding more autumn decorations in my home (thanks, Mom!).  We cleaned out some things in Mom's garage yesterday and she chose to get rid of lots of things -- which I scooped up and brought home with me.  I have a whole house full of scarecrows now.  Cute.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Random Musings

After several days of really cold weather, we got a break today.  It started out cold, of course -- it is November after all -- but the wind has gone away, the sun was out, and I think we might have gotten up into the 50s today.  It was a beautiful drive home from Rice Lake and I pulled into a driveway completely full of big yellow maple leaves.  Of course, the entire front lawn was covered with leaves as well.  As I had mentioned in an earlier post, our trees (at least those in the front) seem to drop their leaves well after every other tree on the street has finished.  How timely that Jeff is sitting in South Dakota today watching football and drinking beer while I was outside raking the leaves into the street.  We have a blower but I don't have the first clue how to start it.

After my grueling effort of raking the mountains of leaves into the street for the City crew to pick up, I decided I deserved a nice hot bath with some nice smelling bath salts and (believe it or not) my little laptop on a tray in the tub.  I know:  totally ridiculous.  After a few minutes, I closed the computer and simply put some good music on my ipod and relaxed.  

I'm sure there are lots of injuries worse than mine -- I have an infected cuticle on my right hand.  It has gotten progressively worse over the weekend to the point where I was actually unable to open a bottle with my right hand today because of the pain in my finger.  Really?!  I feel like such a baby.  Anyway, I decided that soaking my hand and, then, biting the bullet and shoving a needle into the infected area would eliminate a trip to the doctor.  Therefore, that nice, hot bath was actually a medical necessity.  I had no anesthetic on hand, but a chilled bottle of white wine seemed to do the trick just fine.

I'm catching up on some recorded TV shows while doing this blog and just caught a commercial for the football game this evening between the Packers and Cowboys.  Why are the Dallas Cowboys still called "America's Team"?  How many people outside of Texas really care about them any more -- other than the law enforcement community?

How many clocks do people really need?  When the time changes for daylight savings and back to standard time, you realize how many clocks you have.  We have two in the bedroom, two in the computer room (plus the ones on the computers), one in the guest room, one in the upstairs bathroom, 3 in the kitchen, 1 in the dining room, 1 out near the hot tub, and 1 in the living room plus the timer on the thermostat.  The computers and phones (both cordless and mobile) reset themselves as do the DirecTV units, but it's a lot of resetting otherwise.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Extra Hour

As we transition back to standard time, I wonder how many people will get totally messed up tomorrow because they missed one of their clocks (like the one in the car, for instance).  I've kind of enjoyed the sunsets in the evening, but it will be dark so much earlier now.  I guess it will be good for those who get up early to have the sunlight; doesn't really affect me since I don't get up until well into the morning anyway.

Weather was really cold the last couple of days with a bitter wind.  However, it's going to be back up in the 60s Monday and Tuesday with lots of sun.  Guess I'll need to finish whatever yard work is left to do.  I know I still have some garden tending to complete, and we have a ton of leaves that still need raking.  I totally don't understand our trees.  We have 4 huge maple trees -- two in the front and two in the back.  We live on the north end of our street on the north side of our town so you'd think that our end would get the cold winds, etc.  Instead, our trees are always the last ones to lose their leaves -- sometimes on top of the snow.  It's really annoying because the City will come through and pick up yard waste for free; all we have to do is rake it directly into the street and they do the rest.  However, the service is almost always finished for the year before our leaves are all down.


What a cold and frosty morning we had today!  I could really believe that winter is just around the corner.

We took Mom's van to the garage this morning to check on the damage following the accident, and it turned out that there was considerable damage to the undercarriage.  Even the cast aluminum frame was cracked -- making it unsafe to drive.  As a result, we had to leave in a borrowed vehicle that had just been taken in in trade -- and it's a total pig sty inside.  I can't believe the way some people ignore their pretty expensive vehicles.

Instead of shopping, then, we tackled an organization problem:  the shelves in the garage are full of things that are being stored, but without any organization.  So, we pulled everything down and went through boxes, getting rid of stuff and generally cleaning things up.  Right up my alley!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hello, Weekend

It's Friday night of the first weekend in November.  The temperature is extremely cold and the leaves are almost all gone -- I guess winter is on the way although it's supposed to get back up into the high 50s later this week.

I'm in Rice Lake for the weekend -- Mom and I are both on laptops this evening.  Had a good, uneventful drive over here but Mom and Dad weren't as lucky.  They were in Turtle Lake this afternoon and, on the way home, had a traffic accident.  Apparently, a personal vehicle was pulling a low trailer on which cut hunks of wood were loaded.  One of the very large chunks of wood fell off onto the road, which Mom and Dad couldn't see because there was a car in front of them.  That car swerved abruptly to miss the wood, leaving it right in the path of Mom's oncoming vehicle.  They hit the wood and it caught under the vehicle.  The police were called and it was clearly the other guy's fault.  We have to take the car in tomorrow to be checked to make sure there's no damage underneath.  No one was hurt, but it was stressful and cold and a TOTAL pain!

We had originally planned to go to Eau Claire shopping tomorrow, but will probably stay closer to home.  We'll need to take the vehicle in to be checked, and will undertake a project at the house:  going through all of the stuff stored on the shelves in the garage.  We need to sort things and find Christmas decorations, etc.  Might go shopping in Rice Lake later in the day.


Headed off to Rice Lake for the weekend.  Get in some shopping and "girl" time with Mom and Susie in Eau Claire.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Master Gardener Program

I'm hoping that I'll have more time to work on my gardens -- both flowers and vegetables -- this next summer.  I really love the gardens in England and the way the flowers are grouped together in small spaces.  It seems that everyone goes out and putters in their gardens for a bit every day.  Loving hydrangeas, I need to learn more about how to get them the colors that I want, as well as cultivating my other perennials.

Stacy went through a course of study to become a Master Gardener, so I went to the website for the UW-Extension and got the papers to begin the course this next January (http://www.ocmga.net/).  The course starts in January and runs 'til the latter part of April -- one night a week for 3+ hours per night (plus volunteer work).  I had no idea that it would be so extensive, but I'm looking forward to it.
Topics included in General Training:
Soils and Fertility
Houseplants / Herbs
Compost / Backyard Wildlife
Vegetables / Fruit Trees
Weeds / Invasives
Seed Starting / Perennials / Garden Designing
Insect Control (this will be particularly good for my tomatoes and herbs)
Landscape Design
Trees & Shrubs

By April, I should be ready to go!  


What a sad world this has become.  I was at the library yesterday and asked about volunteering (anything that needs to be done around the library).  On one hand, I think it's a good think to do for the community and on the other, I can't think of anything I'd rather do than spend the days around books (and it will give me an "in" if a job pops up).  However, I had to fill out a big application and the city will need to do a background check on me to make sure I'm not a druggie or pervert since the library is always full of kids.  Could be weeks before this is all done.


I filed for unemployment on Monday (by phone) and got a statement in the mail today already telling me that I'm eligible for $363 per week.  I think that's a pretty good amount -- I'll certainly miss my salary, but that's better than nothing at all.

I had also filled out an employment application online for Kohl's (since they hire so much seasonal help) and was called in to a group interview yesterday.  It's a bit weird to be answering questions in a group setting -- there were 7 of us.  Then, I got a call last night asking me to come in today for a 1-on-1 with the assistant manager.  Everything went really well and I filled out the necessary paperwork for them to do a background check, etc.  I suppose they don't want people who will rip off the store, especially since I volunteered for the 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift.  That will entail unloading and shelving merchandise for sale the next day -- but it won't include working with customers and I see that as a real bonus with the holiday shoppers that will be coming in.  I'm guessing that it will also mean a more casual (and warmer) dress and it pays a bit more.

Here's the really interesting part, though:  the store manager mentioned that she'll be leaving at the end of the year because she's been given her own store (to manage).  I congratulated her and asked where and...wait for it...it's in Rice Lake!  I told her that my parents live in Rice Lake and everyone is chomping at the bit for the store to open.  She mentioned that she had lived in Rice Lake for 15 years and we started talking neighborhoods.  I said that my folks live at 419 E. Gates Street and she said she had lived at...wait for it...406 E. Gates Street.  We talked about the guy building the house next door to Mom and Dad AND she knows Tracy and (what's her name?) -- I always forget her name.  Anyway, the coincidence was unbelievable!!  The store will be opening in the spring, by the way.

The only real downside is the fact that this will kill my Thanksgiving.  They aren't going to hire me if I can't work at least one of the nights of the Thanksgiving weekend, so I put on my application that I could definitely work one but not both.  Sure hope that I still get the job offer.

Falling into Fall

Wow -- the leaves on our trees have turned bright gold in a matter of days.  Even though it's late in the season, our trees hold their leaves forever, but this cold weather has done the trick.  The nights have been cold and the days are generally in the 40s.  Can't believe that winter is almost upon us.

I did way too much yesterday and had trouble going to sleep last night.  As a result, it was almost 9 a.m. when I woke up this morning!  Jeff is off on his hunting trip to South Dakota so the house was quiet and I just slept on!  I need to get moving as I have another pretty full day ahead. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Starting at the Beginning

In J. K. Rowling's incredibly popular Harry Potter series, a pensieve is a container in which to revisit one's thoughts and memories.  When a wizard's head is simply too stuffed with thoughts, the memory is withdrawn and stored in a bottle.  Then, when the memory is to be revisited, it is poured into the pensieve.  What a wonderful idea!  Instead of losing these wonderful thoughts and memories, we simply pull them out and revisit them at our leisure.

My hope is to do something similar with this blog.  There are so many things that happen every day -- some of them are trivial and some are things that you'd want to remember.  Back in the "old" days, we kept diaries and journals -- writing things out by hand.  With technology, keeping a journal is easier than ever before.

So, today's thoughts:  my job with HNI ended October 31 and I filed for unemployment on Monday, November 1.  Additionally, though, I applies for a seasonal position with Kohl's and had a first (group) interview this afternoon.  This evening, I got a phone call asking me to come back in tomorrow for a follow-up.  I volunteered to work the night shift (10 p.m. to 6 a.m.) which pays a bit more and fits more into my life style.  Not a big fan of getting up early.  I also put in an application to volunteer at the public library.  Without being tied to a work schedule any more, I really want to branch out and do other things.  In January, I'm going to start a course of study to become a Master Gardener.

I have to say, though, that I'm a little concerned because I'm in such terrible shape.  It's interesting that I had almost no leg or foot pain during my trip to England even though I was doing so much walking every day.  I had such good shoes, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to wear those for work.  If so, everything should be fine and I'm hoping that the activity will help me get back into better shape and lose some weight.