Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Back To Work For Me!

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's back to work I go!

Yes, tomorrow I'll be back in corporate America earning my own money. I'm so excited about this opportunity and feel like a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders. My financial struggle won't be over by a long shot, but at least I'll be using the skills and knowledge I've learned over many years and gain some new ones too.

This morning I attended my orientation to fill out paper work and will have benefits in two weeks - a great relief! Then I had to drive to Laura's house to take Alissa's advent tree to them so she'd be able to open the first pocket tomorrow morning. Afterwards, I came back home to get Pumpkin and take her to the vet for her booster shots (another $100!). So my last day at home was spent on the road, but that's ok. All these things needed to be taken care of.

I crocheted a beautiful white on white scarf for my friend, Gail, and gave it to her yesterday. I wish I had taken a picture of it because it was really pretty. I used some soft, fluffy yarn I bought at JoAnn's a few weeks back and then stitched white pearl beads on it and added a few skinny ribbon strands on top of that. She was very pleased with it, but I knew she would be :)

I've almost completed the gift for my mother and am giving you a sneak peak. I'll have to call her and tell her not to look at my blog for a few days so she doesn't see any of it.

So, I've been frantically trying to get as many things done as I can around the house these last couple of days. I've got most of my Christmas decorations put in place and just have to buy my little table top frazier fir to make the house smell like Christmas. Nothing beats a frazier fir for fragrance!

Here is my small cloche with a pair of tiny deer by a tree, and some cool snow - all from Gail's store. The snow comes in miniscule grains and when water is added, it grows 100 times their size. That's why the cloche looks a little foggy - from the moisture. I've got this on my side table in the kitchen.

The snow is really to keep sprigs of holly hydrated, which I've done in the den. And it feels cool to the touch - very neat stuff!

I'll post more decorating pictures when I get them all tweaked properly. Till then, it's back to some final touches on my mom's gift so I can get it in the mail! And then to bed to get back into a nice, normal routine (I love a routine!)!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Am Employed!!!

I've waited so long to be able to post this! After almost two years of unemployment / under employment, I have a job!!! I was offered the position last Wednesday, but it is just beginning to soak in.

Immediately after losing yet another offer a couple of weeks ago, I felt like I had hit bottom (again). The next morning I read one of the motivational blogs I have listed on my blog. I really paid attention to what the words meant and it was enough for me to at least half-heartedly do another job search on line. I applied for an administrative assistant position, not knowing any details.

That afternoon, I was contacted by a staffing agency asking me to come in for an interview the next day. While there, I learned some details of the position and it sounded pretty good, plus it was with one of the companies I've been targeting. Then last Friday while driving to MD to visit my mom and sister, the staffing agency called and asked if I could come in for an interview with the hiring manager the following Tuesday. You bet I could, I told her!

So after returning home from MD, I met with the hiring manager and her director and learned all about an absolutely fantastic project they were just awarded with the Department of Energy for a green project. The position is actually for a project assistant, which is what I was looking for. Plus, the duties are so close to what I did a few years ago that the learning curve should be minimal for me. And the icing on the cake is that it's for a green project - for me the long time tree hugger!

I report to my new job this Wednesday and for at least the first three months I'll be working through the staffing agency, but the director said that if I perform up to his standards (and you know I will) that in about three months, I'll be made permanent with full benefits. The only negative about this is that the salary sets me back about 10-12 years, but the opportunity is absolutely fantastic and I couldn't be more thrilled!!

So now I can get on with my life and move forward. I like routine and now I'll get back into a more normal one. There are still struggles ahead financially, but I'm on the right track...and just in the nick of time. For any of you that have gone through the same struggle in this anemic economy, you can understand the relief and hope that I am feeling.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!

Gobble Gobble! I hope you all have a happy and safe Thanksgiving with friends and family.

I GOT A JOB!!! More later :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday

She did this by herself; it's dingbat Zoe.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Waiting and Running

This has been one of the most stressful weeks I've had in a long time. I was told at my 2nd interview last Friday that I would hear no later than today if I was getting the offer or not. Waiting for something so important stresses me beyond belief; it's like being on an emotional roller coaster. One day I was positive and pretty sure I'd get the offer and then without explanation, have a strong feeling of negativity and knew it would happen.

I've been sad, hopeless, grouchy and asking myself why do I even try. Well, the waiting is over - they chose another candidate. When I read the e-mail, I was immediately relieved - not only because I wouldn't have to wait any longer, but that I wasn't selected. As much as I need and want a job, this one was low pay and no benefits. The owners were great and it would have been a good opportunity to grow with them, but I had every intention of continuing to look for what I really want - a project coordinator position where I can run with responsibilities and solutions. And it will come eventually, and I would have felt terrible leaving those guys if I was working for them.

So, just in the nick of time I've had yet another interview for a 6 month contract project coordinator position with one of the companies I've been targeting. I may or may not be called back, but it was just the thing I needed to give me hope again.

And now for the running part of this post...I'm headed to MD to visit my mom who has been in the hospital this week (another stresser). I'll be staying with my daughter and be able to spend time with little Ginny again and she will make me laugh. We have a nice weekend planned with my sister and I can't wait to get there.

I'll leave you with a picture of a piece of mixed media art I made for my daughter, Erin, last year. I don't know if I ever posted a picture of it.

Have a good weekend - I know I will!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Charming Play House!

Hi everybody,

Just before my camera batteries died, I took a few pictures of the garden shed Gail built inside her store. She's turned it into the cutest looking Christmas space that makes me just want to move right in and stay. She missed her calling as an architect to be sure. When I make something, I usually just start nailing and screwing without measuring. Not Gail. She measures everything precisely and it always pays off.

Just look at what she built all by herself using nothing but old shutters, doors and windows. The only part she had her husband build was the tin roof.

She even created a little faux fireplace inside under the mantel, but that's when my batteries died. I'll be working there tomorrow and take a few more pics to share with you.

I heard from one of the interviews I've had recently and didn't get that one, but still waiting on another one. I'm supposed to hear either way by this Friday. I felt very positive over the weekend, but not so much now. I know things will work out eventually, and I hope I have a brain left by the time it does! I feel like I'm getting dumber every day!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

This morning I was craving something yummy to have with my coffee. Oh I confess, I crave something yummy every morning! I haven't gone to the grocery store since having company last weekend, so didn't have anything "store bought". I started rumaging through my recipes and came across one that I haven't made in years...and I had all the necessary ingredients. :)

My camera batteries died so I can share a picture with you (it would be a little embarassing anyway to show you how much I've eaten already). But I can share the receipe. It's quite old because it's one I clipped out of a newspaper when my girls were little. This was before we were so bombarded about cholesterol and the like.

Try making this and your family will love it!

Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

1/2 C butter
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1 1/4 C sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C milk
1/3 C flour
1/3 C brown suger (I used WAY more than this)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 T butter
chopped pecans - optional

Cream together butter, sugar and cream cheese. Beat well until light and smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until blended. Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately with mil to first mixture. Mix well.

Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan or bundt pan. Combine last four ingredients and mix with pastry blender until mixture looks like coarse corn meal. Sprinkle over cake. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Cool on rack for ten minutes.

I'll be giving half my coffee cake to Laura later today. Otherwise, I will eat the entire thing in 48 hours! Have a good day everybody!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Is Exploring

I've begun letting Pumpkin out of the bathroom - she was ready to explore the house. When she sat by the fireplace, I thought it would be a pretty picture to send to the rescue group. I wish my arm wasn't in it, but oh well.

I'm home today working on my mom's Christmas gift...gotta get it done. Hopefully, I'll have something to show you by tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Weekend and Quilt Updates

What a great weekend I had! My oldest daughter (Erin), hubby (Aaron) and granddaughter (Ginny) came to visit. They haven't been here for a couple of years and it was wonderful to have them again.

Laura and Alissa spent the weekend too, so that they could maximize time spent together.

Alissa loves her little cousin, Ginny, as is evident in this picture.

And Ginny loves Alissa too!

On the sewing front, I've been plodding away at quilting my bird quilt. I've also been working on the crow wall hanging (no pic this time). I've had to set my bird quilt aside because I've got to get my mom's Christmas present together and it's going to take a while!

My bird quilt looks quite messy from the batting pilling up. I'm having to man-handle the quilt a lot trying to quilt it.
I decided to follow the swirl designs in each block as the quilting and it's taken forever, as they are difficult to see once under the needle.

I've got more to share, but need to get to the Garden Market to help Gail set up her Christmas displays. Plus, it will be another busy week with job searching and another interview.

I hope you all have a great day!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Pumpkin of a Different Kind

First, I've got to tell you all that I had a fantastic interview yesterday! I came home so happy and excited about meeting with this small business owner. Today I will regain my senses and go on with my life and see what happens, but it felt so good to feel like I actually connected with a prospective employer.

I've had another busy week. I attended my second Job Seeker meeting on Monday and on Wednesday, I attended a Women Owned Business Expo hosted by the Cary Chamber of Commerce. I made more connections for future possibilities and overall, it was a worth while day.

Want to see a funny kind of pumpkin? Here she is...a stray that appeared at Laura's house a few weeks ago. Sucker that I am, I took her to the vet to have her checked out. Other than the usual worms and ear mites, she's a healthy little girl - all 7 pounds of her. She looks like a mini Maine Coon cat with round feet that have tufts of fur poking out. "Pumpkin" is so sweet and will paw at you for attention.

She looks a little mean in these pics, but that's because I just squirted meds in her ears...and you know how much cats hate that!

I've contacted a local rescue group to get her pictures and bio posted, but I guess til she finds a permanent home, I'll be fostering her. Right now, she's isolated in my bathroom, but she seems quite content in there.

I'll be helping Gail with her shop today. She's preparing for Christmas and has a ton of merchandise that needs priced and displayed. It will be nice to spend the day with her, as we don't get to see each other much these days. I'd better get going - lots to do before heading to Gail's.

Have a great day today!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tomorrow, I Play!

What a day I've had!

I attended another great Job Seekers meeting 30 minutes away, which lasted all morning and made three more great connections. And I was shocked when a woman came up to me and asked if I remembered her. I recognized the name but couldn't place her face. Low and behold, we worked at the same company 8-9 years ago! I was floored to run into her again and we are now re-connecting.

I had a phone interview this afternoon and will hear back from them in a couple of weeks. Still waiting on one from last week. I have a face-to-face interview with another company Wednesday, after attending a free business expo, also 30 minutes away. Lots of activity lately, which is a good sign in general.

I was home long enough to round up the stray kitty that I've been keeping in my garage for 1 1/2 weeks. She appeared at Laura's a couple of weeks ago. I took her to the vet to see if she was as healthy as she looked. That took a couple of hours and way more $ than they had quoted me. But it's done and she's healthy and safe. She'll be moving back to Laura's house in a few days.

The only thing I am absolutely doing tomorrow is going out to vote. Other than that, I hope to have a nice day at home working on my crow wall hanging. (See, I told you fall would be over before I got it finished!)

Here are some Halloween pics to share...my Southern Bell

A little Halloween kitten...

How I wish I could have been there to hear her say "tick or treat"...awwww

And my own Halloween kitties...looks like one big ball of black fur!

At least now you can tell there are two!