Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chill out!

So last week the temps were in the 80's.  This week we are in the 40's to 50's.  Crazy!  Straight from summer to late fall!  There was actually a chance of snow today. Can you believe that?  From shorts to coats!  Where on earth did the nice, slow change of seasons go??  Oh, right, that phenomenon just doesn't happen in North Idaho! 

My schedule is working out famously.  I am loving having Outlook back so I can organize the family's calendar and tasks (including chores).

I'm so excited that the park is finally done!  The fence was taken down about a week ago.  It's about a tenth of a mile away from our front door.  I love walking there with the boys.  And occasionally, the man-child can go on his own.  I need to take more pictures.

I've been taking the youngest to swimming lessons.  It's been great.  His older brother was born a fish.  This child... not so much.  The lessons have been so good for him.  He's gone from clinging to me in terror to making himself "go" while holding a noodle, and ducking his head under water to go under a rope!

I've been studying for the GRE.  I am not as good at those analogies as I thought I was.  Holy moly.  So I've been studying vocabulary words.  Why isn't this stuff easier?  It's about the only thing I can do right now, anyway.  I have another seminar next week to further pursue education benefits, and if that doesn't pan out, I'm going to appeal the earlier decision.  I found my job description on their site.  "Management Analyst."  It shows the field as "stable" with 10 job openings per year in the entire state.  I'm hoping this is evidence enough to approve training benefits, though I'm going to pursue the Trade Act stuff first. 

As Tom Petty so aptly put it... "the waiting is the hardest part."

Friday, September 25, 2009

I'm the winner!

Gosh, it's been a few days.

I had an opportunity to drive by myself for a few hours this week.  It was cathartic.  It's good for a person to have some time alone to do nothing.  To do nothing but think.

I came to the conclusion (which I've known, but have not OWNED) that I WON.  With this whole layoff deal.  Intellectually I've known that it's a good thing for me, but the actualization came this week.  It's nice.  The pride is still a bit bruised, but the black and blue is all gone, and it's just a light yellow now. 

Life at home is peaceful.  Well, when the boys aren't fighting, but let's face it: they are going to fight, and they fight when I'm working too... but the slower pace is nice.  No more rushing around to pick up the kids and throw something on the table.  I have the schedule pretty well lined up, and it's easy enough to move things around when needed, which is how I like my schedules to be.  Life is good.

Well, I went to the CAT (commissioner approved training) seminar thing, and though I don't know if I'm approved to be able to go to school and collect unemployment benefits yet, I did find out that I probably still qualify for TAA benefits (schooling from NAFTA stuff since a previous job went overseas).  I'm still chasing it all down.  I have an orientation seminar for that in about 10 days.  And I can appeal the previous denial for WIA.  So many acronyms for basically the same thing.  I do plan to appeal.  I have no idea how they determined I was in a demand occcupation when my occupation wasn't anywhere to be found.  Yes, I do have a degree in organizational managment, however... that's a very broad field, and my experience is very specific to quality and process.  I'm just NOT going to qualify for a retail manager, or some department manager without other experience.  Besides, high tech and manufacturing are so male dominated.  I'm really just worn out trying to be some female poineer there.  I don't think I can do it anymore.  Not if I want to keep my sanity.

Which brings me back to my driving thoughts.  Doggone it, I'm highly intelligent and very capable.  I had to scrap my way to getting the bare bones of my job done.  It is not easy telling other brilliant people whom you respect that there are problems with the way they are doing things (or not doing them).  It takes a special personality to get compliance from such people.  I had those skills.  They were underappreciated.  They became invisible over time.  Then I became invisible.  Then I believed I wasn't important, wasn't capable, wasn't valuable.  I cannot let that happen again.

There are only so many times a person can "charge the hill" and be defeated before they stop trying to charge the hill.  The process is hastened when those who are supposed to help you along (those sitting in offices with windows and doors, and whom sign your annual review) are the very ones blocking your way or telling you NO.

I realized something else.  The foundation of quality is measurement.  We all do this, whether we realize it or not.  We measure. Height, weight, cost of groceries, gas, medical expenses.  Even if we don't chart and graph these things, we are cognizant of them, and it drives our behavior. 

Now I'm not exacltly a svelte woman.  And when I'm not working hard to lose weight, I don't weigh myself.  Why?  because I don't want to be confronted with the truth.  Same could be said for people with debt problems.  They don't sit down and look at their numbers and spending habits... no one wants to face this stuff.  It's not fun.  It doesn't make us feel good.  And we can't possibly NOT feel good, right?

One of my roles was to measure processes in order to improve them.  Now, one process in particular had a lot of opportunity for improvement, if you catch my drift.  So I'd worked with IT to implement a very simple and automated way to measure volume and lead time.  How many times an activity is performed and how long the activity takes are two fundamental process measurements.  It was ready for the button to be pushed, and at the last minute, the dude in charge (who also happened to be my boss, who understands process excellence, and who was supposed to be responsible to make my job easy... remove barriers and all that) said NO.  Suddenly he wasn't on board.

A different MANager took the same approach.  Forecast accuracy.  How well did we do forecasting sales?  How much excess and obsolete inventory were we carrying because of over forecast?  How many times did we have unhappy customers because we underforecast and had no raw materials?  How many times did they have to wait longer than promised to get their goods?  A direct quote: We don't want to measure that stuff, it will make us look bad.

So THIS is why my efforts have not been as successful as they should have been.  It's not that managers weren't interested in improvement.  It's that the preliminary measurements "made them look bad."  We can't have THAT in the era of the quarterly layoff cycle, now can we? 

Heaven forbid we do the right thing just because it's the right thing to do.

I'm excited at the prospect of changing industries.  Not that a different industry is without it's own demons, but at least the healthcare industry is on record for wanting to improve processes and reduce costs.  Who knows, perhaps I'll have an opportunity to participate in some REAL, meaningful change.  Be a part of history.  For the better.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Life is easier with an IT department

I got a super duper wireless printer.  It was going to solve all my problems, and be able to fax!  I installed it on my mom's computer, though I had some trouble with it.  My IT genius cousin stopped in thursday on his way from Missoula to Seattle.  He worked some magic.  Then I get MY pretty red computer from the fabulous Mr. FedEx.  I spent nearly 4 hours trying to hook up!  I couldn't even get it to print through a USB connection.

Life is easier when you have IT people to help with this stuff.  Alas.  I'm my own IT department now.  I guess I have an opportunity to learn.  To learn patience, that is!

The schedule
My scheduling is coming along nicely.  I'm using some ideas from  And now that I have outlook again, it's easier to do.  Funny how we become so accustomed to particular tools.  I've carved out GRE study time, mapped out weekly chores.  Life is coming along.

The severance
Well.  It was deposited.  Half of it, anyway.  And yes, I'm accounting for taxes.  Unless they are taking 75% taxes out these days.  I'll get on it tomorrow.  And here I thought I was done with the company.

Apparently I didn't receive some forms.  So I have to fill out some papers and send them in so we have insurance.  We got a bill from the pediatrician.  I suppose we should be grateful for that, otherwise it might have been too late! Now if only I could get my scanner/printer to work as intended, I'll be able to accomplish this.

aaaah, I have my music back!  That is all.  God bless Steve Jobs.

Gosh, it's a lot of work configuring computers!  I still have a lot to do!  Need to archive some items to my new (red!!) portable hard drive, see if IT can crack my old machine again and retrieve my contacts.  I could have sworn I asked for them, but I didn't receive them in the mail.  I'm hoping they are still retrievable.  INVALUABLE information there!!!

My next big step is to see if I qualify for the CAT benefits, so I can go to school without worrying about a job search.  Though I've heard that I might still be able to receive TAA benefits from when my job before last went overseas... can't hurt to ask, right???

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Keep on plugging on

So, after thought and discussion, the hubs and I have decided to continue to pursue the school track.  We'll sacrifice however we have to in order to get me through another two years.  I'm praying we are on the right course!  Now I just need to crack open the GRE study guides and schedule a test date!  Hey, perhaps if I DO find a job, they'd be willing to work with my school schedule???

I received my severance deposit on friday.  It's half what it should be.  Ugh.  Hopefully it's no problem to get it fixed.  Otherwise, I guess the waiver would be void.

My computer came to my doorstep this morning!  Thank you Mr. Fed Ex Man!  It's pretty and red, and I have a lot of work to do to put information on it and get stuff configured just how I like it. 

I'm settling into my new identity.  Though I spent too much time on the computer today, though that's to be expected... I guess.  New computer and all.

I suppose I don't have anything profound to say.  Not that I often spout profundities... but a litany of daily tasks isn't good for anything but solving others' insomnia. 

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Alas, my application for WIA (workforce investment act) has been denied due to my job function that I left being in high demand.  Too bad they don't also help point you to exactly where those openings are... I see only one in my area, and it's for an employer with a very bad reputation.  So, I'm off to see about Commissioner Approved Training next week.  We'll see.  Not exactly sure what the differences are between the two programs, but I'm going to do what I can.  I'd really like to change industries.

Though I did have a good phone interview this morning for a company located 500 miles away.  Too bad it's not closer.  It seems like a great position with a good challenge.  We'll see what happens with it.

It's interesting how we can plan all we want, but "things" don't just bend to suit our plans.  God has a plan.  I just have to be patient, and it will be clear soon enough.  He's taken good care of us thus far!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I came here with something to say

And now it's completely gone.  Void.  My mind is a vacuum, a vortex of veritable blackness.  Perhaps it will come to me.

Clean Carpets
I cleaned the carpets today.  I cleaned the carpets six weeks ago.  You'd never know it.  Where does it COME from?  Are there carpet gremlins that come out at night?  Must be.  I've learned to do a run with the soap, and then another run with plain water.  Uck.  Feels better now!

Ah HA!  Teamwork and "Skills"
Teamwork.  This is what I wanted to talk about.  Teamwork and skills.  Though I bet "skills" aren't what you THINK they are.

We had a little joke at work about "skills."  Us girls have a set of skills located just below our shoulders and above the belly button.  These skills allow us to be proficient in note taking, setting up meetings and projectors, etc.  Yes, I was highly skilled.  Okay, the double entendre releived the annoyance a bit, and allowed us to make lots of inappropriate jokes.

Funny though the joke may be, it has more than a ring of truth to it.  I can't tell you how many times I was invited to meetings so I could set up the projector and take notes.  Not because my OTHER skills were needed.  Not to create a visual representation of a process or to find some form of waste.  Not so I could provide input on robust methodologies to measure products or processes.  Not because the other meething attendees all had broken hands.  Because I was the girl in the area.  Uniquely qualified for these tasks.

Highly skilled.

Which brings me to "teamwork."  I'm pretty proud of the relationship I have with my husband.  We have a great balance, and we pitch in and get things done.  He stayed home with the boys for a couple of years.  There were ways in which that was hard for him.  Sometimes people would make nasty comments to him.  Because he's THE MAN, and should be out winning all the bread.  Well, it just worked better for us that way at the time.  He did the laundry, vacuumed the floor, made dinner, did dishes.  I also helped him, though he did the lion's share of the work. 

Granted, I'm ALWAYS the one who cleans the carpet.  But he's ALWAYS the one to mow the lawn and change the oil in our vehicles.  It all works out.  But we don't have much work that's HIS or HERS.  And now that I am the one home, he still helps with the housework.  He's making homemade refried beans today.  I didn't even ask.  I'm wildly in love.

Why can't this be true in the workplace?  Why on earth is it so hard for the men to learn how to plug a projector into the outlet and focus it onto the wall?  Why is his hand less capable of typing in notes?  Granted, there WILL be situations where a facilitator skilled in taking and formatting notes is important, but by and large, why do you need a set of breasts in the room to get that task done?  And why is it that men are less apt to hone that particular skill??  Pitch in and get it done, so the D cup can work on her process map. 

Now the question remains: how does an employment candidate determine the level of cooperation and teamwork when it comes to the "woman's work" ??  Perhaps I should add a section to my resume!
Does not:
  • wash windows
  • fetch coffee
  • sharpen pencils
  • drop off dry cleaning
  • buy your wife's birthday gift

Monday, September 14, 2009


Who knew kids got migraines?  I didn't!  Until today.  At first I thought my son was doing a bang-up job vying for an academy award in order to get out of running laps for pushing his brother.  Until he laid down and really slept.  And screamed and writhed and got ILL.  Though migraine wasn't what flashed through my head while driving the 1.5 miles to the urgent care clinic.  Thank God it's not meningitis!  Poor kid.  That sums up my excitement for the day!

House cleaning
I also got all of the light diffuser bowls (alabaster bulb cover things) through the dishwasher.  First time in 4 years (I am NOT proud of that).  Oh my.  Ick.  AND... there HAS to be a better way to secure those things into a fixture other than the three screw design.  My right finger and thumb are quite raw.  I also repotted some plants, and washed the boys' bedding.

Unemployment /education progress
Made plans to meet a buddy at a WIA presentation.  We'll see about getting in to school! 

I also applied for a job close to my family.  Wonder if I have to go to an interview and/or take it if offered a position?  I'm fuzzy on the rules.  You HAVE to apply for jobs in your field.  You don't have to apply for jobs that are too far away, or have unfavorable conditions or pay.  hmmm.  Added that little item to my growing list of compliance questions.  But at least I'm one down for the week, right?  This is my waiting week.  Though I get my severance this coming friday.  It doesn't count as pay because benefits are not accrued.  All the unemployment logistics you never knew you were interested in!

I'm excited that my friend and her family are coming up for a short visit!  It will be so nice!  She's a homeschooling mom, so she's looking to do something "field trip-ish" while here.  I need to check out the options of things to do and still be home in time for the eldest's arrival.

So things are coming together.  So nice how that all works out, eh?  :)  I'm happy!  TA TA!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Park

So I took the boys to the park today.  Got to play with the camera a bit.  Evidently (my shout out to a work buddy), I have a lot to learn!  Looking forward to learning more about how to use light and glass to capture moments in time.  I got a lot of shots.  A few pretty good ones.  But the boys were moving so fast in the shade that quite a few weren't as good as they could have been.  First "run" with it, so I'm still happy.

Speaking of parks, the one by our house should be done pretty darn soon.  We're all excited about that.

Today was a good day!  It's kind of strange to not go grocery shopping on the weekend.  Gives a different feel to Saturday and Sunday without having to battle people for an hour or two and unload groceries.  Kinda nice.  :) 

I looked at a couple jobs online, and just couldn't apply for them.  Not just yet.  Can't wait to go to the WIA seminar this week and see if I can get approved.  If not, I'll step up the job hunt game.  But I'm really looking forward to going to school now.  Honestly, if I'd been given a choice to be laid off with the ability to go to school vs. continuing my job, I'd have chosen the layoff.  I'm pretty sure of it.

My friend and her family will be here this week!  It will be a fun couple of days!  I can't wait to see them and show off our town!  Maybe the park will be done in the next three days???  LOL, probably not, but that would sure be fun!

It's late...

It's technically Sunday.  I had to apply for 2 jobs in order to be able to answer the unemployment questions truthfully tomorrow.  Ugh.  There's not much out there in my field.  The rules are to apply for jobs in your field.  Is it bad to hope to NOT be called?  Though I suppose I shouldn't hope anything just yet, since I don't have a firm schooling plan.

I got a lot of dusting done today.  Also got my new wireless printer all hooked up.  How nice to have two computers print to ONE machine!  Thank heavens for modern technology!

Otherwise, I don't have much to contribute.  I'm hoping the little ones will remain in their own beds tonight so that I might get some sleep!  My poochie is giving me the "sleepy-eye."

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's D-day! Vitamin D!

Three more doses of the vitamin D to go.  Wonder if it's helping?  I guess I'll know in about three months when they check it again.

I shipped the docs today.  I'm done.  I also purchased a Nikon D-60.  I figure I wanted to blow a LITTLE of the severance pay.  I've been wanting a DSLR camera for a long time now.  I haven't had a lot of time to check it out, but what I've seen is amazing.  It's so darn fast!  I love the speed, the clarity and the color!  I can't wait to take the boys out for a photo op this weekend!  I wanted something GOOD and FUN to come of all of this stress and and sadness and change.  This should be a healthy distraction. 

MMMmmm, Wasabi peas.

I was just going to say that I didn't have a bitter thought all day.  I was pleased with that.  But then I remembered that I DID have a bitter thought.  Ah, well... it's waning, and that's what's important.  You know, I think the whole thing would have been easier for me to absorb had it not been performed so impersonally.  The boss's boss tipped back in his chair, played with his cell phone, and recited some speech and left.  It was like he didn't care.  Though in my heart of hearts, I think he DID care.  I think he felt somehow triumphant.  This person is the one I have most of the bitter thoughts about.  I'm struggling with forgiveness.  He was not a good manager.  He was not a competent leader.  He is no longer a relevant part of my life.

I know that ultimately, I'm better off for what happened.  I can't change the past.  I can only plan for the future and make good decisions today.  I'm slowly moving there.  It will happen!  One day, I'll be typing in this blog, and I'll remember that the layoff event inspired me to start writing in a public forum.  And I'll be a different person.  Grown.  Getting there just isn't easy.  But you know what they say, you can't build your muscles without pain.

I am going to face the pain and ugliness and sadness and use it to grow into someone I'm proud of.

[Insert witty title here]

Seems I'm all out of funny.  And interesting.  Need to run to the store for some more, I guess.

The day started out disappointing.  I went to the Unemployment Office for a presentation on WIA (Workforce Investment Act) to see what I needed to do to apply for my education to be funded, or UI benefits extended, or whatever magic they whip up with the education.  Alas, I was late.  Partly (okay, mostly) because I woefully underestimated the time it would take to drop my son off at the sitter's and park in the "mafia wars: LIVE on Second Street, Spokane Edition" parking lot they have.  Also partly because the chick at the "reception" counter was quite honestly dim-witted, and I (and another gentlemen) waited a full seven minutes for her to finish a phone call (Time is of the essense!) 

So I left there, and went to the bookstore to find a GRE study guide.  And then I ordered what I wanted off of Amazon.  Hey, I got two books for the price one would have sold for at Barnes and Noble, plus free "super saver shipping"... you really HAVE to patronize a purveyor of such excellence in alliteration!  Besides, the reviews are priceless.

I had the priveledge of dining with four lovely former coworkers this afternoon.  The food was good, and the company was exceptional.   I really did work with some fantastic people.  Even though my employer was flawed, I miss so many people I got to interact with daily.  It's good to keep in touch with people.  At least for me... it makes me feel less crazy.

Speaking of the crazy...I'm wondering when it will go away.  How long will I wonder what I did wrong, or if people really thought I was stupid and just were too nice to tell me?  How long will I go back and forth on whether or not there actually was a good deal of injustice there on a daily basis?  I'm thinking at least until I get into school.  When school starts, the head focuses on something else.  I'm really looking forward to being engaged and distracted.  Being with the boys is fantastic, don't get me wrong... but their whirlwind energy still leaves me plenty of time to meander down crazy street.

So, this is my life today.  Next stop: make appointment with a career counselor at WSU.  I hope they have some information as to the actual difficulty of people "outside" the healthcare industry to crack into it without a nursing degree.  I really don't have the time to earn a BSN.  I also lack the inclination.  So there you have it.

HAHAHA, something funny... while at lunch, a friend told me the rumor mill has it that I'm going for my nursing degree.  This isn't entirely unbelievable; my mom is a nurse, and I'm an excellent student.  I can really do just about anything.  But it would be a huge switch.  I said "as long as the rumors don't involve a pole, I think I'm good!" 

Credits: I'd like to thing Amanda G for the inspiration for the witty-witless title.  Yes, I completely plagiarized from your facebook status update. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

If you ask, you shall receive!

The good news!
So, I had an attorney draft up a letter to outline my legal claims that I could sue on, and requested that they double my severance pay in order for me to waive my rights to sue.  They sure responded quickly!  My husband thinks we should sue, but I'd just like to move on.  I don't want to do anything that looks or feels vindictive, but I want to speak up for myself and "call 'no fair!'"  I think this is the best possible solution.  Perhaps I could have asked for more... but I feel good about this.  Like I can still hold my head high knowing I had good intentions, knowing that people I respect won't (likely) loose respect for me, and knowing that I have a backbone.

Life at the company wasn't all horrible.  There were some fantastic people that I hope to maintain relationships with.  It's just unfortunate that at the executive level and on down a level or two, there IS a machine.  It's not in my head.  Even though I know I didn't defeat the machine, I also denied it my energy.  I hope I loosened a few screws, at any rate.

So I took my youngest to Starbucks to celebrate.  He's really a gift.  He found a couple dollars in the clothes dryer, and I told him he could buy a treat; he enjoyed a cinnamon roll.

Coffee: a uniter of the people
While there, I observed the people a bit.  Coffee is a gift from God.  Not just because it's tasty and can provide a bit of an energy boost, but also because it unites humanity.  I'm fond of Starbucks.  I'm a Northwest sort of girl, and I'm pleased to see a NW company doing well.  And I enjoy their product.  I like their coffee better than most.  There are naysayers.  Some people genuinely do not prefer the Starbucks coffee, but many of them just don't like the large company-ness of the brand.  I suppose it's all good.  The world would be a boring place if we all agreed on everything.  But don't say Starbucks is for snobs.

While there today, I saw people from every walk of life.  People coming into a building to procure a beverage.  A tasty, energy boosting beverage.  People in coveralls or overalls, people with ties and sport coats, women in heels, women in long skirts and headcoverings, smartly dressed, people dressed for comfort.  All these people in a half an hour.  Coffee unites us in our diversity.  So when I say it's a gift from God, I'm partially speaking tongue in cheek, but it's really true.  While Starbucks (or ) isn't a church, per se, it IS a uniter of people. United we stand.  United with a warm beverage (I am exstatic that the pumpkin spice latte has returned!).

Kindness is weakness?
I've been thinking a lot about what the factors are in my recent  unemployment.  Sure, there's the machine I've talked about, and there's the "someone had to go" element... but what made them select me as a skill set they could live without? 

I've written before about how one of my persuasion techniques is to get people to think that my idea is actually THEIR idea.  This is a necessary skill to have in order to work with the machine.  However, it also makes one appear weak. 

Women are nurturing by nature.  Generally speaking, of course.  But we are wired differently.  This nurturing/kindness/gentle pursuasion... I think it's viewed as a weekness.  Certainly by the man types.  Generally speaking, of course.  So now, the question is... is it something I really want to change?  I think the answer is "yes, in part."  I don't want to become someone entirely different than who I currently am, but I DO want to have a voice.

The voice and the cough
Speaking of having a voice... I had a cough for nearly two years.  When conventional medicine wasn't giving me answers, I went to a naturopath (affectionately referred to as "the hippie doctor"... thanks to a friend).  One of the first questions he asked me is if I felt like I couldn't talk, or was being silenced.  I laughed at that.  He agreed that I didn't seem like one who had trouble offering her thoughts.  Though looking back, I DID feel like I was talking into a vacuum.  That I wasn't heard.  I have to wonder if that was a factor?  If (when) I go back, I'm going to have to ask him about that.  If you are curious, the hippie doctor put me on a grain-free dairy-free diet.  The pulmonologist put me on prednisone for a couple months, and together, that seemed to do most of the trick.  Though separately, neither was terribly effective.

At any rate, I'm feeling pretty good today.  A lot of good reflection, a new red coffee cup (so I can toss or donate my former favorite red cup with the company logo on it), a pumkin spice latte, good news, good day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The first day of school

Second Grade begins Well, we all survived.  My oldest just walked in through the door, quickly talked about his day, and jetted off across the street.  I'm so glad to hear how much he likes it so far.  He was (awkwardly) sitting on my lap, and I said "you aren't my baby anymore."  He smiled a big, teeth-coming-in smile and said, "but I always will be in your memories!"  I love his sweet brain.

Today is the first time I was home for him to come home to me.  It makes the differentness of life sink in that much more.  A whole new routine.

Give in to bitterness?
My old boss contacted me today, asking for some information.  I'd be lying if I didn't say that I struggled hard deciding what to do.  I've always been helpful.  I used to teach people how to use applications at work.  Even though "IT trainer" wasn't anywhere near my job description, it helped QUALITY and standardization.  So I pitched in where I could.  But the bitter part of me didn't want to help today.  What a new sensation that was.  It's the first time I can recall where I actually wanted to withhold information that could help somebody. 

So I asked a friend.  I pretty much knew what she was going to say.  I guess because I really DID want to help and needed some encouragement to do the right thing.  Otherwise, I'd have selected a different person to talk to... So I ended up helping my old boss.  Besides, I quite like him.  Still.  (Truth be told, I think he had little, if anything, to do with my current employment status).

The vote of confidence
In other news, the old boss also forwarded contact information to me from the Quality Auditor/ consultant that I've worked with over the past 5 years.  Seems the Auditor/Consultant wanted to share information on how to contract for his company.  How nice!  Not only for the potential income/job, but also for the vote of confidence.  These little nuggets keep me from going insane from self-doubt.  Like another friend says, I have mad skills.

The schedule
The schedule (read: shhh-ed-ju-well) is coming along.  Though I've found myself to be quite addicted to the "Mafia Wars" application on facebook.  So I have to peel myself away from virtually killing strangers to wipe down the kitchen cabinets with orange oil.   The morning looks like this: Off to school, morning chores (, and then storytime at a library.  Though we missed storytime today.  But everything in good time, right?  Next step: swimming lessons for the little tyke.  Yoga for mom in the afternoon.

Speaking of yoga, I've been unsuccessful at doing it with the boys.  They just get silly, and I fear for my health.  Now that school has started, and naptime will leave me with TIME... I will do it then.  I do miss it.

Healthcare industry / Job outlook
Does anyone have any insight into the medical / healthcare community?  I've been reading a bit on the job outlook and there seems to be conflicting information.  Some say the healthcare MBA is a ticket to success in the industry.  Others say that without a BSN attatched to it, it's virtually worthless. I'm assuming that like many topics, the truth is somewhere in the middle. I've read that Lean/Six Sigma is just as valuable as a BSN to get into the industry, and I have to imagine that some might have no professional experience at all, or perhaps have degrees from less robust programs, or perhaps they interview poorly.  I just don't want to set myself up for failure.  Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Feelin' Mellow

I'm feeling peaceful today.  I hope this feeling lasts.  It's almost 3 weeks now, and I think the brunt of the bad has passed.  I'm sure I'll still have some negative emotions, but it seems as if most of that is over.

The boys are sick.  The oldest is getting over the cold going around, and my youngest is just starting it.  At least it makes for a quiet day.  The hubs is going to be home in the next day or two, and I'm looking forward to that.  Life will feel more normal.

I've found all the library story times in the nearby libraries, and I'm geared up to take the 3 yo while his brother is in school.  I have another list of things to do with the boys, and some preschool activites for the youngest.  It feels good to feel prepared.

It's a lovely gray, chilly day today.  Most people don't like the gray days, but I think there is a special peace about them.  Coffee, the internet (or a good book) and you're all set.  Besides, the pumpkin spice latte is back at starbucks.  Life is good.

Sooooo... I've got nothing really to talk about.  Other than that today, life is good, and the future looks good as well.

Friday, September 4, 2009

All signed up

Well, I just signed up for unemployment. Why do I feel a sense of shame? I didn't do anything wrong. The good news is that unemployment is now direct-deposit-able. Nice.

Now I just need to start opening up envelopes that have come in the mail. Health insurance, life insurance, 401(k) rollovers... unemployment is a paperwork nightmare. Good thing I've got all this time off to get it done! Though one of the reasons I haven't opened envelopes is because the hubs is out of town, and I'm rollin' "single mom style." Yeah, tomes of important papers should not be kept around a three year old. Besides, opening them and filling that stuff out makes it all the more real.

Speaking of reality... it's starting to sink in a bit more. I've gotten confused on which day of the week it is. That's easy enough to do when you aren't counting down to friday. I'm not counting down to friday anymore. The day of the week is relatively unimportant. Though school starts up for my almost second-grader, so I'll get back into the day of the week thing at that time.

I got my last paycheck today. I also had an attorney send in papers to negotiate my severance pay. We'll see how that goes. I'd been struggling with the decision on whether or not to sue for a miriad of reasons, and decided to try a quicker, cheaper, and emotionally easier route to standing up for myself. Maybe I'll get into those reasons on a later date. To delve into them now would set me back.

Back to the Unemployment ... now I have to start looking for work. Ultimately, I'd like to get back into school. So what's a girl to do? Apply for jobs she's not qualified for? Apply for jobs she IS qualified for? I've never been a good liar or cheat. I'll probably end up applying for jobs I could get. I did see a really cool looking one in Sandpoint. Though it was taken. Alas. It paid more than twice what I was making, and looked like essentially the same job. Well... I want to change industries, anyway.

Last time I was on unemployment, I though I'd be able to "ride" it for a while and stay home with my baby. I was 7 months pregnant when I was laid off for the first time. When I got home from a 4 day stay in the hospital with him, I had a message on the answering machine requesting an interview. Now I'm laid off from THAT job. My oldest was 9 weeks old when I started there.

I got my CDs in the mail with the information from my old work computer today. *sigh* Soon enough all the activity will be done, and I'll just be another chick without a job...with this lame sense of shame. Like I'm not good enough. I'm not as good or as valuable as I'd thought. Though some very lovely people have encouraged me that I AM. That it's not ME. After seven years of being underpaid, of not being recognized for what I did or was capable of... it's hard to believe. But I'm working on it. I have to. I have a great future ahead of me, and I won't get there with THIS mindset.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Settling in

So it seems as if I'm settling into my new role as a housewife. Though, sadly, I've come to realize that I still need to get up before 8am.

Though after reading another blog, I've come to an epiphany. I'm using this "new role" as a distraction to not accomplish what I should be accomplishing in order to pursue school and to get my benefit stuff in line. Though admittedly... the doctor and dentist appointments we've had this week have sufficiently interrupted my day. That, and my hasty focus on a different effort have been taking up quite a bit of time. And my husband is out of town. See how easy it is to self-justify??

I am excited at the prospect of school! MBA in Healtchare Administration. A field friendlier to the female sort. (nice consonance, no?) And I think I'd feel like I was somehow working for society, less so for THE MAN. Like I'm adding value people understand. Making some large corporation more efficient... who really cares? Heck, they didn't!

Have I ever mentioned that I turned down a job with the department of energy in Idaho Falls / Pocatello? Idaho Nucular Laboratory. As a process engineer. With nukes. Required a security clearance. Would have been cool. But it was so... "post WWII East Berlin" there. and the towns... just weren't as pretty as here. No green to speak of, unless you count sagebrush. An hour drive to work each day. Well, there's a bus that's hired out that everyone uses. Not to mention that there's no starbucks to walk to with a buddy, and the cafeteria was... reminded me of prison or something. There'd be no working from home (National Security can't be VPN'd in), no cell phones with cameras, desk materials circa 1962... so I declined it.

My cough started up right after my interview there... but let's not dwell on THAT.

Ah, well. Life is good, really. I feel much better. I've made a big decision regarding the company, and I'm feeling relief and peace again. Now I can focus on my boys. And getting the details straightened out.

And I've found some yoga on the dish. Recorded some. Now I need to actually do it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's September!

I have it on good authority that the pumpkin spice latte is back at Starbucks! Color me ecstatic! I splurged on the boys and me yesterday with frappucinos and a latte...but Thursday I'm heading out to the unemployment center for a seminar on WIA... the education benefits that may be available. So perhaps I'll stop in then. :) I also have plans to meet up with some work-y friends for lunch!! YAY!

I've not gotten a ton done today. My finger still hurts from yesterday. The gout (a type of arthritis) gets aggravated when joints are used. But I have gotten the floors done, and some laundry done. But why am I having such a hard time coming up with a basic schedule?

Well, the boys are no longer content with quiet time!
So I'm having a hard time making myself go to bed. I'm tired and all... but my world is still off balance.

Purge Party
I cleaned out my entry closet and the shoe baskets we have on/under the entry table. There are still a couple items left to take care of, but that's one big item off my list. Purses are purged, coats are donated, shoes are gone thru... I feel like I've accomplished something. Not to mention that purging is just a good thing to do now.

The bathrooms have also been scrubbed. Though they still need the mirrors and floors done. And purging. But everything in time, right?

I think I have some items I should list on craigslist. Or perhaps I should have a garage sale. I hate garage sales. People always come around talking in "bits." Listen... the currency we use here is DOLLARS. I'm not working a conversion table. Oy. Anyway, that's a moot complaint as I'm really just not going to have a garage sale.

The schedule
I've started a schedule. It's barely more than a "straw-man," but it's something. Once I get some of this purging done and school starts, I can really hone in on assigning tasks to specific days and on what the day is going to look like. I bought some preschool materials for the 3 yo. I'll be sure to work that into the schedule.

The paperwork
I still haven't touched any unemployment paperwork. It's partly a function of the interruption-driven lifestyle of a home with small children. But it's mostly a function of ... gosh, it's just hard to acknowledge that my services are no longer needed by my former employer. At any rate, I'm not sure if some of my frustration and, let's be honest here, anger are justified, or if it's just part of the grieving process. Probably some of each. The hard part is accepting that there were some fantastic elements of the job. And some foul elements. And that most of the elements are people. Anyway, enough web whining.

I guess it's time to face the post midnight music and get some shut eye. Perhaps it's the dreaded wheel-o-thoughts that's keeping me away from bed.