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Monday, January 31, 2011

Spring cleaning

Today I have set aside to do a thorough house cleaning. I want everything to be shiny and clean tomorrow, for the eve of the new year. Although our warm sunny weather has departed and today is grey and cold, I still have the almost-spring feeling deep inside. I am ready to dust, sweep, polish and shine the old year away! 

Time to turn on some music, brew a pot of tea, and get to work!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Imbolc is near

Imbolc is approaching, and it seems like it outside. The air is milder, warmer. The sky is a gentle blue with wispy cotton-candy clouds. The little song sparrows are examining the nest box, adding a twig or fiber occasionally to prepare for the upcoming nesting season. The earliest blooming trees (two Bradford pears in my yard) have swelling buds. The tips of the blueberry branches are turning red. My herbs are perking up. Sunset is beginning later with each passing day, closer to 6pm than to 5 now.

And oh, the marvelous pink sunsets we have been having! I love a late winter sunset with a deep inner joy. I know that they mean the slow approach of spring, no matter how much cold weather (and even snow) may still be in store. I am taking a few minutes each day (even at work) to walk outside and take in the beauty of it all.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Looking up

Things are looking a little bit brighter here!

It looks like I am about to be offered a job...at a bookstore!!!...with excellent benefits, a great staff of potential coworkers, and a cool boss! And they really, really, seem to be afraid I may not accept their offer. Apparently they think I'm a bit overqualified for the position. What a nice feeling after all the worry and fear I've had in the past few weeks! Nothing is 100% official yet...but I have one last interview with the district manager on Feb. 8. My current boss returned a call to them yesterday, and gave me a glowing reference. (As much as I loathed him at times, he always liked me..... thank goodness!) They told him that they are thrilled that I am considering joining their team...and that meeting their DM is a formality at this point! I am so happy! Finally, finally...things are looking up!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Random thoughts about a new year

Well, another day off is here, and I'm trying to summon the will to write something. I spent the fall just brimming with ideas for posts, but since the holidays I've been in a real funk. I'm not feeling very inspired to do anything these days, much less post boring blog updates when I have nothing new or exciting to say.

I did hope that this could be a safe place for me to vent in written form about all the things I have trouble expressing in my everyday life. A private place, just for me and possibly a few cyberspace friends that I will probably never meet face to face. In fact, I have not told anyone about this blog in "real" life. That includes my husband, friends, family...no one. This is just for me. So why am I having trouble opening up on here? It's strange, but I still am not entirely comfortable talking about some things. I still keep a lot inside. Maybe I need to work on it by just posting more often, and treating this more like a real diary rather than a series of mini essays designed to entertain or amuse or win acceptance from others. There are hardly any "others" to begin with (is there anybody out there? *smiles*)...and the few people that may read my posts aren't exactly going to ask me about something I've revealed  at work the next day!  So maybe it's time for me to use this blog as I originally intended to....as an outlet. I am going to work on this as I try to deal with some of the "stuff" the universe has decided to challenge me with this year.

I am grateful for the fact that what feels like a bleak time in my life is coinciding with the depth of winter. I don't really feel like a new year really starts until very early in the spring, so I hope that I am going to emerge more hopeful and happy soon. I think that spring-solar spring, halfway between the solstice and equinox-really begins around Feb. 2, not sometime around the 21st of March! That is the middle of spring, the midpoint, the epitome, not the start! And my birthday falls on March 23, which makes it seem like an especially meaningful time for me. I am hoping to be able use the energy of change, at the real start of the New Year, to transform some aspects of my life.

Obviously I need a new job, a new source of income, but it's more than that. I need to clean up some personal habits that are making my life less happy than it could be. I need to lose weight. I need to eat healthier. I need to take better care of my overall health and manage some chronic health problems I have better. I need to see new things, try new things, and break free of some ruts I have gotten into that have stifled the excitement and joy in my life. I need to spend more time with my husband, and not just doing house maintenance when we have a day off together! He deserves a wife he can have fun with sometimes, too! Oh, there are lots of things I want to do for myself to make things better.....in fact I'm a bit overwhelmed.  I hope some of the changes being thrust upon me are happening for a reason...to make me wake up to the things that I need to do in my life...to reexamine priorities, and habits, and goals. I want to one day look back on 2011 as the start of better things!

With the start of spring approaching, I am trying to figure out what concrete steps I am going to take to make this year the best it can be. I am ready for better things, happier times, and the return of the light.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Rollercoaster

The past two weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster for me.

It's hard to be coming to the end of a job that I loved for over 7 years. Some of the people I work with are like family, and I know that some of them will disappear from my life very soon. It's hard on all of us to go to work every day knowing that our time together is quickly running out. And although I am grateful to have a paycheck until the end of February, I am quickly growing tired of this limbo land. I think we're all ready for it to go ahead and end, already.

Then sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night in a panic....what if I can't find a job? What if I can only find something that I hate? What about our (mine and my husband's) health insurance? Can we afford Cobra? For how long? And so on and so forth. The other day I came home after a particularly trying day and burst into tears. I am ordinarily a cheerful, positive person and my husband was alarmed. He assured me that we will get through this together, and that everything is going to be ok. I love that man so much! He is always supportive no matter what. I sometimes have the nagging worry that I am letting him down, which I know is silly, but it definitely takes both of our incomes to make ends meet and my income is going away. He has been cutting out all unnecessary spending (we both have) but I feel guilty when I see him pinching pennies. I don't mind doing without luxuries myself.

Then, sometimes, I feel a strange sense of relief.....my job had become increasingly stressful because of the new boss I got last March, and I can't help but be glad that pretty soon I will no longer have to deal with him. I have had extra time off, because I have personal days that I either must take or lose...and the extra time away from the responsibility of the job has felt good. It has been nice being at home and spending more time with our pets. I've also had more time to cook from scratch, which means we're eating better and saving money to boot. I've also been knitting more, which I enjoy and it seems to help keep the stress level down. In a couple of weeks I plan to go to Raleigh, NC to spend a few days with my inlaws (something I rarely have had time to do in the past few years) and it should be a welcome break.

There has been one happy development....I finished my resume, and heard from a friend about a management opportunity in a bookstore. I submitted an application and my resume and got a call from the manager less than 24 hours later...and I have an interview on Tuesday! I got the call from her last night, and happy tears were immediately followed by fear...what if I don't make a good impression? What if I do, and the job doesn't pay enough to meet my needs? If it does pay enough, what if they can't wait for me to finish out the closing process at my current job? What if the people there don't like me....what if, what if, what if...

I want off this rollercoaster! Oh how I hope that these fears are put to rest soon!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Winter Reading, Winter Weather

We are expecting snow again for the next few days! I am so excited...it is really unusual for us to get snow at all....and to have it twice by mid January is almost unheard of! It has been a bitterly cold winter this year. Most nights have been well below freezing, and lots of mornings we've had temps in the low teens. I love it! It's like we're spending a winter further north, and I am enjoying the change.  So far I am not ready for spring yet. I am continuing to rest and dream of what the new year may bring for me.

I have been doing a lot of reading for the last few weeks. My newest discovery is the Earth's Children series by Jean Auel. It was purely by chance that I read the first book, "The Clan of the Cave Bear". It was left behind by the lady that used to live in our house. We found three big boxes of books in the garage and we kept any that looked interesting. Well. This series follows the life of a girl named Ayla who lived during the Ice Ages. When she was a small girl, her parents were killed in an earthquake, and she was adopted and raised by a group of neanderthals. I have been captivated by these books! Apparently the author did lots of research so many of the details of the early humans' lives included in the book are believed to be based on facts. It has completely altered my perception of neanderthals. And it has been quite an escape for me, following Ayla's adventures through prehistoric Europe!

I just love sitting by the fireplace at night, reading, sipping wine, and enjoying the coziness of our den. I am about halfway through the fourth book in the series, "The Plains of Passage". I can't wait for the snow to start falling. I hope to awaken tomorrow to a fresh sparkling wonderland of white!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Unity, Trust, Nonjudgment

Happy New Year! I am hoping for a fresh new start since 2010 was most definitely not my year.

I began it living 30 miles out of town with a car I had bought the previous summer which turned out to be a total lemon. I had it towed a total of 5 times in the five months that I owned it, and in January it died a final death (after draining a good portion of our savings for repeated repairs). Thus began the first month of the year......30 miles out, sharing a car, (with very different work schedules, and afraid of being in debt due to the economy). We had to get over that and start looking for a car to buy...with no credit history. Needless to say, it's easier to get a loan if you've got bad credit than to do it with no credit at all. Sigh. And we thought we had been responsible all these years by avoiding credit and living within our means!

Finally, in March we managed to buy a car that is almost new, and still well under factory warranty. Our interest rate is terrible (see no credit, above) but it's totally reliable and a gas saver. Great. Then we moved back into town, closer to work. Spring was busy with the move, and while that was going on I got a new boss. I had had a great relationship with the previous one, but this guy....well, after a couple of months, I knew I was in for it. Everyone swears the man is bipolar. He can be super nice, supportive, helpful....but let him get stressed out and he can turn on you in a minute! And he can turn into a totally unreasonable, shouting, insulting monster. I spent the whole summer feeling that I had to walk on eggshells with this guy. The only thing that made the situation tolerable was the he works out of Charleston and only visited my store about once a month. He still made me plenty miserable at times, though, but he liked me reasonably well. Some of my peers told me real horror stories about his behavior! Most of the time I was under his radar, thank goodness.

Then came  the rush of the holidays, and I was busy, but at least I was starting to settle into the way things were. I felt a bit more at ease with the boss, the car situation was resolved, I liked the new house and the time I got back from no longer commuting. I felt that things were finally settling down. But the year had one last sucker punch to deliver at the very end.

My boss showed up unexpectedly one week ago today to let me and my employees know that our lease was up, and a new business had offered a better bid for the space. At the end of February I will be unemployed after almost 8 years with this company. Many of my coworkers have been around 5-10 years and feel like family at this point. We're all scared and unhappy and it feels like someone has died.

So I have no idea what 2011 holds for me. I am lucky...I have two months to work, and then I get two month's severance pay. So I have some time to prepare a resume and to begin looking for something. I hope this year will bring me a new job that I enjoy more than the last one, even if I have to accept a bit less money for it. I haven't been happy at the current job for awhile. Maybe this job loss is a blessing in disguise; I sure hope I look back on 2011 one day and think so!

I have been intrigued for awhile with the practice of drawing a word (or three!) at the New Year to divine the purpose of the year ahead. I found a great list at another blog I read, so I printed it, cut out the words, and
drew three. For 2011 my three words, in order, were: Unity, Trust, Nonjudgment. I am still pondering what sort of significance those three words could have for me in the days ahead. Thoughts?