Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Taste of Possibilities

      It has been a long while since I last wrote and I am sorry for that. I feel like whenever I do write it is because of some huge event or some sort of drama. Today... I write because my heart is happy and my mind is clear. But that is how one should write, isn't it? So here I sit with my happy little self at my new job, waiting for all the blue hairs to finish setting up for bingo.

    Bingo you say? Yes... I said Bingo. I am now part timing it at the local VFW snack bar while the Hens and the ship hat wearing Roosters quietly play bingo. It is nothing like the Catholic church Bingo games I went to with my grandma. Where women chain smoked and rang bells while little troll dolls looked on in amusement. A place where when "BINGO" was yelled it was like New Years at Times Square. Here you can hear a pin drop at any given moment and "BINGO" is a polite whisper and a raised hand. But they have cute bingo bags and the markers have little disco balls on top. Who doesn't love sparkly things!?!

   It is a fun little gig. The Roosters ( named so since there is one man for every 6-7 hens, and they strut around like they own the place)  love coming up and talking to me ( and apparently one likes making pinching motions when I walk by) and the Hens ( little short, round old ladies who slowly walk around  and then nest in rows) are all happy with the changes I have made so far. It is a long way from where I want it to be but between the other woman and myself we will get it there. The hardest part right now is figuring out which groups like what and keeping it hot and ready. But the 4 1/2 hours a day I work, about 2 of those hours I am sitting around doing nothing. There will be many a book read, I foresee.

     Another change, job wise for me is I am now officially Key Person at my School. Key Person is a fancy term for Assistant Manager. I will hold the fort down when BettyLou isn't there and learn from all her wisdom. So that one day, I too can run my own little crew. I am excited to finally get recognition for what I do. Ever since I was 15 I have co managed most places I have worked, or done more work than most with out the credit. With this promotion comes more hours and a nice raise. Maybe I can start to pull out of this hole I have gotten comfortable in and start getting things done.   The only down side is that I start back to the school tomorrow and have to be in East BumbleFart at 7am. Not looking forward to that. But in two weeks it will be the norm again.

     August 4th is the first day of school. I am actually looking forward to taking the girls back to school shopping and getting everything ready. They have decided the things that they can't live with out and some of the things they want. Apple has her heart set on a pair of white patent leather Doc Martens and some dreads. Bug has decided on fire red hair and HAS to have these acid wash jean/sweatpants things. I love seeing how their style evolves and the women they are becoming. They are so much alike but each their own person, and they stand true to who they are. That is rare for their age.

      App also starts back to ballet that week and it almost wasn't  an option. She got the go ahead to start pointe this year and thus has to take 2 classes. Regular ballet and pointe.  Not being able to secure a part time job over the summer and no word on the promotion I knew making the now doubled tuition was going to be a problem.  Even with the extra money coming in now it will be hard. But one morning I awoke with the bright idea to start a go fund me page for her. I calculated her tuition, recital costs and the cost for supplies and made that my goal. I figured if I could get enough for at least her shoes I could try and scrape the first month of tuition up. Never in a million years did I think we would raise $800! It was enough to drop $200 on shoes for both classes, a leotard that fits AND she likes and new tights. The rest will be going onto her tuition account and is enough to pay for 5 months. By then I should be back on my feet..

     So life is good right now. I really can't complain. Have enough faith and the pieces will fall into place. The next few weeks are going to be crazy while I try and find the balance of it all but the payoff will be worth it. And come on... anyone who knows me knows I am happiest with a certain amount of crazy going on in my life. Peace out for now. Hugs!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Goosed at Cool Beans

          Okay.. this whole blogging every day. Yup, not doing so hot. but today I am throwing the topics out the window and just writing.

           My mind has been occupied the past week. My brother had brain surgery on Tuesday and I am been thinking about him constantly. I went and saw him at the hospital yesterday and while he looked good I know he was absolutely miserable. All I could think was I wish I could swap places with him. I have been down the surgery/trauma road so much I am an old hat. But everyone needs to go through stuff and for a reason. Yadda Yadda. Right now all I want is for him to be all better and healthy again.

          Apple is being very observant through out this whole thing because she knows it could very well be the boat she is in one day, since she has Arnold Chiari Malformation ( ACM ) also. App has quietly brought up questions and concerns. She knows that she leads a very active lifestyle and that could cause problems. In the coming weeks we will see if her old DR takes her insurance and set up an appointment if they think we should. If they find she is still the same and all it does is put her mind at ease then it is not a waste of time.

         Today is Thursday and as usual I am sitting in the coffee shop next to App's dance school writ8ing and people watching. As I was chatting with Barista Lady and ordering my uber awesome chocolate on chocolate brownie with chocolate chips and drizzled with chocolate, and my tea, a woman passed by me with a blood hound. She looked like she just spent all day hiking in Tennessee or something. As they walk by, the dog took a sniff at my boots, that I haven't worn in about a year  and then all of a sudden I had a cold wet nose up between my butt and my hoo ha! I squeaked and the barista busts out laughing to which the woman responds to her, not me mind you, "Oh I am sorry. He is a police dog in training and doing passes to look for a girl." Barista Lady responds "She's not up her butt!" I don't think Hiker Woman realized what happened. But EVERYONE else in the place did when Barista Lady announced to her co worker I was goosed by the "officer". The tea was on the house today.

           Apple Jacks will be done in a few so I think I shall sign off here. Tomorrow we are going to go visit BroMan and then 3 day weekend!!! Furniture building will be happening on Monday and I can't wait!!! Pictures will happen.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Practical Magic

          Opps... I missed 2 days. I could list a host of great and honest excuses but I won't. I have been busy but really, I am busy every day. I shall now move forward with the next topic.

                                            * The Meaning Behind My Blog Name *
         I went around and around for days trying to figure out a name. How can I sum up me in just a few words and have it be *cool*?  I have seen blog names that were witty and catchy and when you are the one trying to figure it out you draw a flipping blank. Days... yes days, I wrote down this and that ( remember I do like lists! ) and bounced quirky jumbles of words around in my head. But it took looking for a movie and coming across one of my favorites for two words to stick. And thus "Practical Magic" happened.

         I love the movie. The romance, the story line, the perfectly cast characters and the house. Oh Lord I love that house. But the title sums up me pretty well, also. I believe in the magic of the world. As a Pagan I believe that there is power in the words we use and our actions. There is energy in plants and minerals and every breath we take. People are born with gifts and there are spirits around us.  At the same time,  I know that I can not make myself look younger with a potion or conjure up the winning lotto numbers. There is an order to the magic. A creed of Harm None and a belief that you are given exactly what you need and no more. Like when times get tough and I find myself in a bit of financial difficulty I pray and believe. I always end up with just what I need to take care of myself and my family. I believe that in a case such as that, the money has to come from somewhere. To give to me could mean taking away from someone else who needs it more.

          Everything I do is a bit like that. I see the magic in my job, my home life and the relationships I have. I appreciate the joys and the highs but am aware of the lows and the sorrows. I know that not every day is going to be all rainbows and unicorns. Take my Friday for example. Started out fine and between accident traffic while taking Bug to school, a ticket on the way back to work and Apple missing the bus, it was a wonderful  morning. Accidents happen, I deserved the ticket and App got to school with out any issues. Shit happens and you move on. If I had focused on the crappity crap I could have destroyed my whole day. But I got back to work and moved forward. I am too positive to let the darkness in.

         And there you have it... each blog I write is a glimpse into my magical little world. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Shooting Rabbits

     I need to make some changes... something everyone says at the beginning of every year. But really, even if it were August I would be saying this and doing this. I have never been one to start a diet on Monday or Christmas knitting by, well Christmas. So today I start making changes. Like losing the 20 lbs I have put on and writing more. The 2nd being way more important. I have found an old 30 day blogging challenge list and I am going to try and stick to it. Some of the topics are a bit corny and whatnot, but it will get my brain working and I can go from there. Tidbits for my 3 followers to read. :)
                                            Todays topic is 10 Random Facts about Me.
Here goes nothing.

Fact 1: I love lists.... I will write to do lists and follow them. I write shopping lists and Christmas cards lists. Lists for my bills each month and my cheque book is always balanced. They always have to be neat too. I think because in this day and age we don't handwrite things as much and it is a reminder that I am still human. It also puts order in my ever chaotic life.

Fact 2: I collect white rabbits. It is a small, carefully selected collection mind you. I am not all gaga over every white rabbit out there, but there is something about finding one and falling in love with it. My latest addition is a small white tea cup with a band of rabbits around it.

Fact 3: My imaginary friend growing up was a white Lion with green eyes. Funny that I ended up with green eyes. There was a whole menagerie of white animals, but the Lion was definitely my main "friend". I am not sure of where my obsession with white animals comes from but there has been a pattern since I was very young.

Fact 4: I wish I owned my own business. I have grand ideas for a yarn shop and yet I still work for the man. Like seriously... I work for the government and it blows. I even have the storefront picked out and dressed up in my mind.

Fact 5: For some reason, even though I was born and raised in New York by New Yorkers I spell some words the Canadian way. Colours... Cheques. Have no idea.

Fact 6:  I play paintball. Anyone who knows me is aware of this and it is hardly random. But it is a passion. I get on that field and I am 100% myself. It is the only place that I don't care what anyone else thinks. I am there to shoot and be shot, battle and get my aggressions out. My blood starts pounding when I hear the sounds of the guns and there is no other feeling out there like it.

Fact 7: I am not as confident as I portray myself to be. I am always second guessing myself and my decisions. I constantly wonder what people are thinking and crave being accepted. But I won't change who I am. I think it stems from High School when no one liked me and the girl friends I had formed their cliques and abandoned me. I wasn't into fashion and boys. I preferred army coats, Gun magazines and grease under my nails. Oddly enough they were well maintained LI acrylic nails. The words and the rumors still sting to this day but looking back I never changed who I was to fit in.

Fact 8: I am poor. Like seriously... Broke ass Bitch here! Last year I made $500.00 less then what is considered poverty level. I should be in charge of the national debt the way I budget and stretch a penny. Yet I own (not in name but legally) my house, I bought a car last spring and I pay for Apple's dance every month. I am constantly going over numbers in my head. But day after day and month after month I make it work.

Fact 9: Fan girl, right here!!! Okay, maybe fan girl light. I become enthralled with a show or book and live and breath it. I am currently watching Dr Who and realize why people become infatuated. Past shows I have fanned... Eureka, Castle, Firefly, Voltron, Mythbusters and Lie to Me. Books? Fever Series and the Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega books. If I could really have one of these as my reality... it would be the Mercy books.

Fact 10: If my toenails are not painted I feel naked. It wasn't like this until I become pregnant with Bug and then I started getting pedicures. I never looked back. It is almost like I feel like less of a woman. I can be covered in mud and bruises, no make up, shaved head but if my toes are naked I feel weird.

       Okay, truth be told I was supposed to do 20 facts but since I started it when Apple was at dance and I managed to delete half my facts and had to re due them... it is now 10pm and I am ready for bed. I shall close out my first day challenge and look forward to tomorrow's challenge.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Oh SNAP! Panera CEO gets schooled.

   I just read an article on FB about the CEO of Panera Bread, Ron Shaich,  living on food stamp money for a week. He gets it... He took the challenge and he gets what it is like to have to think about how much and what you are eating for breakfast so that you can eat and stay full throughout the day. But he just fed himself. Try feeding a family.

    I have been on food stamps for the past year and a half, until they cut me this past summer for an over site they made. I called them about it and I was told it was fine and it would go through no problem when I renewed. By the time I found out it hadn't it was too late to appeal. I have to wait till Christmas. And yes, that little bit of money a month did help greatly. I used it to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy snacks. Good proteins and dairy. I don't allow soda in my house so juice and yes bottled water ( I know... why? But it was better than soda for the on the go active family we are) were bought with SNAP. I used my own money for the fillers and treats and on the times when extra money was tight I had the SNAP money to cover it all.  When pennies are being pinched you do tend to eat more carbs and less fresh things. I still try and keep to a healthy diet but the fresh stuff is so expensive. I do my best and my girls are never hungry or ever eat a poor diet but there has been a day or two where I don't eat dinner because what I made didn't make up into enough for the three of us.

     I am a single mom of two teens. When I got divorced I was doing okay and was able to afford my kids school lunches and we ate well. Hell, we traveled and had good birthdays and Christmas would be small but very nice. In the 5 years since my divorce I make almost $1 more an hour and work more hours a day but I see almost $200 less every cheque due to my insurance and such tripling in the past 3 years. When I was married I had no need for credit cards and everything was in my ex's name so I have no credit, so thus no credit cards. My ex has had to make changes in his job and I no longer get any help outside of child support for anything. We used to split a majority of things ( glasses, back to school, extra activities ) 50/50. I now cover everything myself. And my kids are no longer 8 and 9. They are 13 and 14 and MUCH more expensive.

     I live pay cheque to pay cheque and since my SNAP has been cut it is extremely hard. I work for the school system. A government job. They have altered the schedule this year and with the placement of furlough and vacation days ( non of which I get paid for ) I get MAYBE 2 full pay cheques in a row and then a partial. This next cheque, which I get bi-weekly, will be for 5 days. I am having to shuffle utilities around just to feed my kids and gas up my car. I can't even get a 2nd job because all places want part time employees who have flexible schedules. If I try and get a different job all together I lose my pension with the school. It is a vicious cycle....Oh and that new law that Georgia passed 2 years ago about non certified employees being able to file for unemployment during the summer. It's bull shit. I fought with them for 2 months. I jumped through all their hoops and the week I was supposed to finally get a cheque I received a letter saying I was denied.

    Even when times were good I am very smart with my money. I always shop at Goodwill for myself and I saved up and planned for 4 years to buy a new/used car. I have been cable free for over a year and while I do have internet, with High School and Middle school kids and the projects they get I feel it is needed. For a few years I paid a lot for car insurance but it has paid off in my most recent renewal. I now have no deductible if God forbid I get into a car accident. My only debt is my outrageous insurance deductible from a mammogram and biopsy I had  done in January. They will see that come tax time. The girls and I all have cell phones... at this point the only reason I keep them is because it is cheaper then having them shut off with all the penalties and such. Plus really, I prefer to be able to have contact with them when we are all here and there.

      And the whole insurance thing. Yeah, don't get me started. I am on anti anxiety/depression meds. I can't afford them since I am paying so much for insurance. And they are no longer covered under any of the $4 generics for what ever reason. I couldn't afford the $20 to stay sane. It was someones therapist that told me to talk to my  pharmacist, that there had to be a way. She ran it with out insurance and it was only $11.25. She had no clue! The software that pharmacies have just runs it and charges the co pay automatically unless you see if it is cheaper otherwise. Even so I can't always afford it. I have been off of it for two weeks and finally able to refill it tonight.

    This whole thing is an ongoing, never ending cycle. I can't not have insurance... I am too much of a klutz to take that chance. I need a colonoscopy but can't afford the deductible when I have the time to actually have it done. But it is so very expensive to keep it. I could look for a different job but I have a pension here that will be very fruitful one day. Plus if I stick it out and move up with my job I could be salary in the next year, if all goes as I plan. Right now it's just sticking it out. I would love to sit down with Ron Shaich and see what he comes up with for reinventing SNAP. How can we end all the circles that people keep running  in. How do we supply those in need with the tools to help them feed their families AND get out of the need for the assistance.

    And with all that said... I think  I am going to go to bed now. Like I planned on doing over an hour ago before I read an article that someone shared on FB. Night Folks!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Work vs School: the Lessons We Lose

     While talking to Bug the other day about school, I passed on words that have slipped off the tongues of parents for generations. When faced with a teacher a kids doesn't like we say "One day you will have a boss you don't like. This is just a lesson on how to handle them" or "Yes I know that girl that sits next to you is annoying, buy you won't always like your co workers" and the best of all.... " If I have to go to work you have to go to school!" In my own gripes about my new work place and listening to those of my co workers I realize like so many early on lessons, we haven't listened.

      I admit it. I miss my old manager and her OCD  ways. I miss the comfort of my neat little work spaces in the kitchen and the fact that even though we are all different in how we work, everything is done by the book and correct. I miss the fact that I had to think and had some sort of control over things. I am now a simple worker ant in a pile of dirt. There are pathways and tunnels that sort of make sense but we are still bumping into each other with food on our backs. The queen ant is safe in her order and neatness and we are all just the same to her. For weeks I have been so focused on what was and what I missed, I have been hating my job. I have forgotten why this manager wanted me so badly and why I decided to leave the other place... besides hours.

      I am a leader. I am the person who likes a challenge and rises up to the pressure and the stress.I have been living in the comfort of the past that I have been failing my co workers. They come to me to bitch and whine and I listen and remain Switzerland. I am trying not to rock the boat and just come in and work and leave. It has left me unhappy. This past week I kicked it all aside and put up the entire freezer by myself by Tuesday afternoon. I know I have team mates and one of them whom I consider my work Twin, is amazing. But this is how I work. I was taught and believe that all stock should be put up the day it is received, the next day at the latest. It makes it easy for me because it is the beginning of the week and I am not burnt out and it makes it easy for the rest of the staff to find what they need. This week I started to feel like me again. I have taken my little cashiers corner and made it my own. Yes I am OCD with my set up and literally had a panic attack over ketchup on Monday, after being out on Friday. But I got through it.  

    Some of the close working people are starting to get to one another. They are so focused on how they work differently from one another that they are constantly bickering. I have tried to stay out of it and not get involved since I haven't entirely witnessed situations. My staying out of it is making things worse. I see that now. They are looking to me for answers and I am also ignoring it. I don't have all the answers but I have some ideas. One of the women is leaving. She has become so righteous in her beliefs and that they are so correct. She is not taking into account that all of us are different. We come from different backgrounds and leave to different home lives. We are single moms and married grandmas. We are families of all sorts but we are all there for the same reason. We all need to work and this job fits all of our needs. I wonder how she will feel when she goes to a new school and she actually has to do what she is told. When someone says the correct way to do something she can't just walk away and say "Oh well, I'm going to do it my way" Will she run away from that job also?

      This leads back to those childhood conversations with our parents. We adults have become so soft and whiny. We bitch about jobs and jump from one to another because "Sally is mean to me"or "my boss doesn't appreciate me" When did we become a society of pussies. Really? There is always going to be the office bitch and there is always going to be crappy work days but each day is new and what you make it. We have to work. It is the way things are. We have to take care of ourselves and those depending on us. I know so many people who complain about how much they hate their jobs that the hate becomes who they are. They are so focused on the negative that when they are not at work they are still not happy. It ruins them. Yet look at kids. They put up with those teachers and those annoying kids. They come home and shed their "work" right inside the front door and surround themselves with what makes them happy. They turn on music and IM their friends. They watch TV or go to the park. They take our lessons and teach us a few back. It is about time we started showing them that we are listening just as much as they are.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I posted a quick status on facebook this morning and I was floored at the outpouring of support I received from everyone. I will admit when I posted I was in a very Mama Wolf place. And so the ( shorter ) version is known I will just fill everyone in.
Upon dropping the girls off today I was heading back to work when Emm calls me up, obviously upset. I turn around and as I am walking up to the front of the school I see the girls standing outside by the car drop of point, crying. Crying!!! Not in the school... not in an office or even by the front door. No... right where the kids get out of the cars. They were not allowed into the school because of their hair. And Abi's pants, which were Emm's uniform pants from last year. But that is a minor thing. After a talk with a counselor I was a little calmer but was still not guaranteed that they could stay the day. So we spoke with the principal. She and I were both heated and both trying to get out points across. And while I was trying to be understanding but yet defensive I felt she wasn't exactly listening to me. I was willing to try and work things out with the school but the "sterility and conformity" comment sent me over the edge. Emm said my face completely changed when she said that. The other thing that irked me was their solution to the "problem" was to either dye their hair a dark colour or have it stripped/bleached, and the school would pay for it. I have a rule when it comes to the hair... I don't care what colour but nothing permanent and NO bleaching. Once the principal figured out that it was not permanent and would was out with in the month then it was considered settled as long as it is fading by the end of the week then they could still come to school and just don't dye it again.

Fast forward a very busy and grumpy first day....

After I got off from work I went to the middle school to get a medical form for Abi.... the nurse was in a meeting and so I decided to wait. While sitting there the Principal walks in with the area Superintendent. They are walking around and such  and then go into her office. As he is leaving he passes by me and I stopped him. He immediately took a defensive pose and I let him know that what I had to say was good and a compliment and he loosened up. I thanked him for the kindness he showed my daughters last year when my Grandfather passed away. He left a group of obviously important people and personally walked Emm to her locker and allowed Abi to follow. He then hugged them and said some kind words to them and then to me. There was some chit chatted and he asked me how Argyle's first day went. We shook hands and he left. Now, I could have just let him walk out and not said a word today but I knew the principal would come out of her office at some point soon. Hehe. Well hello! Who is now in front of me wanting a moment of my time?

Hello Principal. Well we went into her office and not at her desk, but 2 chairs set up on the other side. We had a talk... there were many apologies and admittances of imperfections. She agreed she did not handle it well at all, and I agreed. I also apologized, though. I did come at her in that way only I can. I can be soft and squishy, but when my cubs are crying you had better not be the one who caused the tears to fall.  She said she was trying to protect my girls from the other kids because kids can be cruel. My response? They are sisters whom are 17 months apart... Who can be more cruel then they are too each other! She made note that she saw me talking to the Superintendent and that she wanted me to know she already spoke to him about my girls and several others in the school. He made it clear that by no means can anything be said about their hair. I made it clear my talking to him had nothing to do with her. I think she was relieved.

So all in all, my little freaks can continue to be little freaks. I will be keeping my eye on the principal and how she treats the kids. I love how Emm protected her sister and despite everything kept her head. She also came up with a plan on how to fight this before she knew it had been resolved. Despite it all they still had a great first day and are looking forward to the coming year. It should be interesting.