Saturday, April 30, 2011

the whirlwind continues, but first a royal wedding fan fest

I woke up yesterday and dashed to the TV. I was just in time at 5:00 in the morning to see the queen's limo arrive at Westminster Abbey. I watched for the next hour and was able to see the wedding. So pretty. What a gown. The Abbey looked amazing. Crazy hats in the audience. Wild dresses. Pomp. Circumstance.

First, I adored the dress. Perfection. As soon as they showed a good glimpse of it, I thought of Grace Kelly. Sure enough...the side by side view they posted later in the broadcast revealed a close resemblance to the American Princess' gown from years ago. Let's hope Kate's dress inspires a return to decorum, style and elegance in bridal attire.  I thought the two Princes looked quite dashing in their military uniforms. The bridal party was adorable, and I liked Pippa's dress too.

Of course, I had raging thoughts of my visit to that Abbey in the 1980's and how much I loved being in London. Ah, to be able to go back is on my bucket list.

Speaking of lists, and buckets and such return to the financial world will be coming to an end as I have secured another position. I am excited beyond words and eager to start. The craziness of the last three weeks will continue for a while, but I anticipate this new work will not only provide income, but some flexibility in  my schedule and 'tasks' I enjoy doing.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

my part is I wait

I'm back into waiting mode again. Ugh.  I think everything went well. I know I could do the work. Here's to getting a good phone call on Friday.

Please, please, please.

But in the meantime, I have some more stuff to learn and shove in my noggin. I hope the rain moving out, the sun coming out and the promise of the weekend approaching aids in my endeavors to FOCUS on the tasks at hand for the next 48 hours.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

sleeping through the sirens

After sirens going off several nights in a row, I was so exhausted last night. I went to bed at 8 and slept straight through until 5. I needed rest and I think if the tornado would have come, I'd have been carried away still snoozing.  Luckily, the tornadoes didn't touch down in my town and while standing water is everywhere and the BIG river is even BIGGER and will continue to grow for weeks, we passed through this latest severe weather threat unscathed.

I have yet to turn on the TV to see the damage to the areas around us. I'm 'weathered-out' for the moment. I hope my morning commute doesn't involve slow speeds, windshield wipers and a novena.  I hate driving in the rain, but thankfully my hubby insists on buying top end tires for my vehicle. They do make a difference.

Today is my opportunity day.......debating on what to wear, heels or flats, and all that jazz. I'm very excited about this meeting and hope I have some incredible news to report soon.

Happy Wednesday from a soggy, but still standing, Liz & Co.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

rain, rain go away

It has been one rainy, stormy, nasty, tornadic Spring.  The ultimate was, of course, a trip to the basement of the building I was training in yesterday. Yep, the gal in the central part of the state didn't quite believe us when we said the sky was looking ugly and if the sirens started we were heading down those four flights of stairs for the safety of the basement. Not five minutes later, the sirens started and off we went. We stayed down there for a good 20 minutes before getting the all clear. Yuck!!

We are still under a severe weather watch and the flooding that may come as a result of all this water could be devastating. The small Missouri town where my mom is from was evacuated because the levee broke. Old Man River might crest in the 44' range which means major flooding, dangerous waterways and lots of damage.

Looking forward to Thursday and the sun!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

dyngus day

Back up in the land of my 'raising' today is a very special day. Easter Monday, also known as Dyngus Day, is a celebration of Spring, Polish sausage, beer and politics. I spent a couple of those Mondays at the local hot spots for such festivities, but it was never one of my favorite things to do. I went along and was glad when it was time to leave.

My Monday brings a fervant wish that this week is a good one for me. I'm hoping, praying, focusing, concentrating and pleading that Wednesday goes Super D Duper fantastically well.  I hope what I learn is what I'm hoping to learn and what they see in me is what they need. I'm hoping for the 'this is a good fit' moment for me and for them.

The rain held off all weekend and we had glorious weather for Easter. Thank you, Mother Nature. Now, the rain has moved in and the storms will be with us for up to two days. But, it should dry out and be picture perfect for the oldest's prom night on Friday.

Going to be a busy and exciting week for all of us.  Fingers and toes crossed that everything falls into place.

Friday, April 22, 2011

good friday

Where did Lent go this year? I'm having a very difficult time wrapping my head around the idea that today is Good Friday and Easter is on THIS Sunday. Wow.  Those forty days seemed to compress into one week for me and the only thing I can attribute the time compression to is my return to work. The return to paid employment provided  a nice deposit into my checking account today. So glad they managed to get the electronic deposit right considering all of the other electronic/technical problems I had the first few days 'on board.'

The CBT is going....and going....and going.  I went to lunch yesterday with a group and realized several different things about the workforce in this part of the world.  I need to mull such thoughts over for a while before I attempt to blog about them, but rest assured, a blog will be forthcoming on that topic.

Up for the weekend is shopping for food and for prom paraphenalia. The oldest needs shoes and a hair thingy and maybe a necklace.  She has done some prep work and cruised online to find what she thinks she wants. She has been given a budget and is looking in the appropriate stores.

I hope the sun comes out and shines on us as the rain has dominated our weather over the last several days and things are just a bit more squishy than is ideal for Easter weekend. Glad we aren't in the egg hunt age group anymore. You might need water wings to accomplish that activity.

Good Friday to all.....and Happy Easter.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pale Demon

I adore Kim Harrison and I love her urban fantasy series staring the red haired witch, Rachel Morgan. The latest book in this series is "Pale Demon."  I wouldn't recommend reading these books out of order. Go back to the beginning and read each one and let the world building, the character development and the overall plot grow as Harrison intended.

Rachel is on a road trip to the west coast to defend herself against the charges levied by the witches' coven. They've named her a 'demon' and want to banish her to the ever-after for daring to use demon magic/curses in her struggle to stay alive, save her friends and defend the defenseless.  Does Rachel truck with demons? Of course she does. Does she have demon smut on her aura for such activities? Absolutely. But when a demon is unleashed that has been held captive under the St. Louis arch for two thousand years, the only witch who has a snow ball's chance in Hell of sending him away is the 'itchy-witch' herself.

All the regulars are in this book and Rachel continues to learn about herself and just what she is and isn't capable of as the story unfolds.

Harrison does a great job, as always, and the ending of this book leaves a smile on your face and a fervent hope that the next book arrives on the shelves sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

i'm a royal wedding geek

Okay, so I've watched every royal wedding televised. I'll admit it.  I love them. I love the pomp, the gossip, the goofy interviews, the shots of London, and on and on.  I got up early to watch Charles and Diana tie the knot. Same thing for Fergie and Andrew. I even think I might have seen a bit of Princess Anne's wedding. I've seen the newsreel clips of Queen Elizabeth II's wedding.

So, of course I will be watching when William and Kate say their "I do's".  It is must see TV for this gal.

I want to get back to England in the worst way. My childhood pen pal and I found each other on facebook and to be able to see her again along with her family would be an amazing treat. We wrote each other regularly for years as we grew up and when I was able to meet her in person in 1988, it was incredible.  I know I've harped a bit on how the Internet and the web and all the tech stuff  negatively impacts our communication. BUT, without the Internet and facebook, Donna and I wouldn't have reconnected. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have that relationship again and to see her daughters grown and to see pics of her grandchildren and nieces and nephews.

So, while I watch the royal wedding, I will also be thinking of my trip to merry old England and the family who welcomed this "Yank" with open arms, plenty of tea and lots of conversation.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


In the lovely world of acronyms, shortcuts and abbreviations, I've discovered a new 'four-letter-word' and it is only three consonants long.


Computer based training is my new nemesis.  Is it hard? NO. Is it boring? YES. Did my brain feel like it was ready to atrophy and my eyes start to cross and threaten to fall out of their sockets? YES.  Staring at a computer and reading, clicking and scrolling for 6 hours yesterday tried every ounce of patience in my body. I finished what was required for Day One by 2:00, which included an hour lunch and 30 minutes of breaks, and hoped to be told to go home. Noooooooo. I got to move on to another section that is actually assigned after the two week training is completed. We did get to leave at 3:00 instead of 4:00, so I was home and able to get dinner prepared while the kids finished their homework.

That was a nice treat and one I hope continues. The drive there and back, a half hour each way, isn't too bad. It allows plenty of gear up and gear down time.

Had a lovely Chinese Chicken Salad last night for dinner with a Peanut Dressing. Yummo.  I really like the recipes from Jennifer Chandler. The cheeseburger pie I made from her latest cookbook was excellent and this salad concoction came from her first book.  Good Stuff and Easy to make.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

roasted chicken, white wine and a good book.......

I'm cooking in a different way now that I'm not home to begin dinner preparations during the afternoon hours. Today I roasted two chickens along with potatoes and carrots in a lovely broth seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices. We have plenty for dinner tonight and enough meat to have a Chinese Chicken salad for tomorrow along with some chicken chili later in the week.  Planning ahead, that is my ongoing motto.

The wine comes courtesy of a trip to Costco yesterday. No, our Costco doesn't sell alcohol due to the antiquated liquor laws in our Bible thumping state that professes the Republican mantra of 'free commerce' except when it comes to liquor sales.  The liquor store next door to Costco does a thriving business and now that the warm temps have finally arrived, I picked up a big bottle of Frontera Chardonnay. Can't beat this vineyard/label out of Chile for inexpensive and consistently good product.

While in Costco I also nabbed a great loaf of rosemary and olive oil artesian bread to complete the meal. YUM.

Rachel Morgan has been entertaining me all afternoon as I dove into "Pale Demon" by Kim Harrison. Gosh, I love this series. What is not to adore about a red haired witch who breaks all the rules and still worries about everyone around her? And the fact that each book is a take off on a Clint Eastwood movie doesn't hurt one little bit.

I don't normally blog on Sundays, or the weekend for that matter, but my two weeks of training requires a drive into the city and an early start time. So....until I adjust myself and see how quickly I can move in the wee hours of the day, I might do my blogging at night.  Or maybe not....time will tell.

So, happy Sunday night and happy Monday on the horizon. A new week is upon us.

Friday, April 15, 2011

modules give you nodules

I worked through four online training modules yesterday and I swear I could feel the nodules starting to form on my brain. I have two weeks of online training to begin on Monday morning. I will have one lumpy noggin by the time I'm finished with that phase of my education.

The training was basically an online workbook, but reading online and clicking on all the various tabs and links and graphics is not the same as having PEOPLE there to talk to you and interact with you.

Something is being lost with all this online 'stuff.' All the email. All the online messages. All the online training. The convenience of technology has sped up how we do things, but in the process it creates a different type of work and gives a rather frantic feel to the day. We rush, rush, rush all day long and are less patient and more demanding as a result of the instant gratification that comes with our cyber-world. Those people who are older than the advent of this environment, and who still enjoy a slower pace, are viewed as dinosaurs who are taking precious time away from the full inboxes, clickable links and screenshots.

Will there be a backlash? Is there a market for a slower way? Does the shifting back and forth between communicating with a person in front of you and generating dozens upon dozens of emails daily cause harm? The how and why of our communication is changing.

And, it is changing us.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

knowing your audience or word choice matters

They say that attitude is everything. And it is and it can be in many situations. What supports attitude is word choice and knowing your audience. When you are first meeting someone, how and what you say to them is crucial, especially in a work environment with a new 'teammate.'

After my interactions yesterday, I did a lot of thinking about my working style and management skills when I was in my twenties. Gave me a lot of food for thought. Most of the women I worked with had a good twenty years on me. They were where I am now. A lot has changed in the business model in the 17 years I've been out, but some things remain constant.

How you talk to people is one of them. Knowing who you are talking to matters. The words you use matter.

Food for thought.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


What follows is a bit of a rant or a vent, so beware. Welcoming a new member to your team shouldn't include the following......

Five emails outlining five different new user logins and passwords for five different platforms and not one works without multiple phone calls to the tech folks for a reset.

A workspace that is dirty, dusty, buggy and full of your four predecessor's stuff....including dental floss, gum, contact solution and spare change not to mention the boxes of information and paperwork that are outdated and need shredding.

And that is just the start. I could go on about the general dirt and the disheveled look of this facility. The dirty carpet, the dirty kitchen, the holes in the bathroom walls, and the holes in the ceiling tiles. Or the Christmas decor sitting on the floor under chairs, or the empty pop cans on credenzas, or the peeling wallpaper and on and on and on.

Okay, vent is over now. I just needed to get that off my chest.

Calgon....take me away......

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

the language of business

The reason I started this blog, way back when, was to honor words. The words in books, the words I wrote, and all the many words housed in the library.

Words can be very specific to a location. Pretty obvious that words used in medicine aren't going to be the same words used when a book group meets to analyse a novel. But words also change and how we communicate basic things changes too. The words used in business have changed in the 17 years I've been away.

It is no longer a Personnel Department or Human Resources. It is now Talent Acquisition. You don't orient a new employee, you have an Onboarding Celebration. With terminology like this, you could obviously date yourself by the words you choose.

I'm retro. All during my onboarding yesterday, I kept thinking about the AMC TV show, MadMen. I thought some of the appeal for the show celebrating an advertising agency in the 60's had to do with a nostalgia for that time and that attitude. With words like 'onboarding' I can understand the nostalgia for the words of yesteryear.

I wonder what new words I will learn today?

Monday, April 11, 2011

hi ho, hi ho......

"Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity." 
Gilda Radner 

I found this quote from a very famous funny lady and it struck a chord with me this morning. Delicious ambiguity perfectly describes my life at the moment. I know so little about what is going to unfold over the next several weeks and months. I have so little control over so much of it. I do know it involves a lot of change, not just for me but for four other people I dearly love. I know we will make the best of it, and while we may not always succeed at that, we will try again and again. 

One foot in front of the other, we move forward, together, into this next chapter in our family's 'history.'  The day mom went back to work.

A very wise and treasured friend sent me an email and reminded me that this will be all about what to 'oversee' and what to 'overlook'. Wisdom is knowing which choice to make and realizing that everything important will get done, and what doesn't, well, that wasn't important anyway.

Friday, April 8, 2011

book sale bonanza

Our big spring book sale at the library is now underway. The preview sale was last night and I've seen the numbers we brought in from new memberships and purchases. We aren't where we usually are, but as I've discussed with the other die hard volunteers, a new normal will slowly begin to emerge. With the store generating an amazing amount of income on a monthly basis, the biannual sales are bound to reflect that impact. We have less to sell and although we organize beyond belief, it is still harder to shop the sale than it is to shop the store.

But, I'm off to spend a wonderful morning with folks I love to work with doing what I love to do...talking about books. Bittersweet for very bittersweet.

I broke the news to my two best buddies yesterday and the tears flowed. I do hope that I can continue on in my role with the Friends in a scaled back capacity. That work feeds my soul. Too bad it didn't feed our budget!!

Happy Friday.....I hope to continue on blogging, it is a wonderful outlet for my thoughts and feelings. But, if the entries are a bit haphazard for a while, bear with me. I will find my footing again.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

and so it begins.....deja vu

I accepted a position at a local bank yesterday. Yep. Guess that means I've come full circle. I start on Monday, but until then I have to pass a drug test and drop off proof that I have the education I listed on my application. The kids all know and we will be having a big family pow-wow over the weekend about what comes next.

In the meantime, I have the book sale setup to finish. I have to break this news to the ladies I volunteer with at the library and I need a haircut.

Monday will see me driving all the way into downtown, something I am dreading, for the day long new employee orientation. Tuesday I will be at the branch to observe for the rest of the week. After that I get to attend two weeks of virtual training. Just me and a computer, all day long.

Then, I guess, they will turn me loose on the public.

The one major perk......this branch is right next door to a LIBRARY!!!!!  I can spend my lunch hour basking in the sights and smells of my passion.

And so it begins. Deja Vu. What goes around comes back around. And all that jazz.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I do

Twenty years ago, in a cathedral, I said those two little words. I'd say them again today. Happy Anniversary to us.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

the in between time

I watched the first half of the national championship game in the family room, but retired to bed to watch the second half. When Butler had to take all five of their first shots in the second from beyond the three point line, I knew the jig was up. UConn was going to keep them so far away from the basket, Butler wasn't going to have a chance. So, I turned off the light and went to sleep....until 3:00 rolled around.

Middle age just rocks.  Wide awake at 3:00, most definitely the in between time of the day. Not night and not morning, those wee hours that are silent, cold and unforgiving. I've never been a night owl, but my early rising habits are getting to be a bit over the top.

With my life right now, I can take a nap later this morning and be just fine. That might be changing next week. My return to the world of compensated employment might be happening after all. The lady who got me the interview with the bank a few weeks back called yesterday to check on me. I might be getting more phone calls today. I might be starting a new job on Monday. She needed to make some phone calls to her 'people' and things would progress from there.

Life as we've known it for 17 years is about to end and something new is going to replace it. Once we get over the whiplash, we will be fine.

Lots of 'what-ifs' at the moment, but I do know I have lots of books to unpack and place tomorrow, a hair appointment on Thursday and most likely a trip to the mall to purchase some things I purged long ago from my wardrobe. I need to look the part even if on the inside I'd rather crawl onto the bottom shelf of a book truck and get lost in the fiction stacks.

Hmmmm. Is my life in the between time right now? Yep, I'd say so.

Monday, April 4, 2011

River Marked by Patricia Briggs

When I discovered Patricia Briggs series based on shapeshifting heroine Mercy Thompson, I knew I had found gold. What was not to love: a female mechanic who shifts into a coyote, werewolves, vampires, fae and lots of adventure/mysteries/action.  Each book builds yet another layer in this amazing world and the latest offering is not an exception. Mercy is part Indian and in this book Briggs explores more American Indian legends including Coyote with a capital 'C'.

Mercy and Adam finally tie the knot and head off in a borrowed trailer for a camping honeymoon. Where else would a werewolf and coyote go?  The loaned trailer and the loaned riverside campsite are courtesy of a fae who Mercy considers a friend, but as she well knows, fae just don't give things away without wanting something in return.

Something is in the water. Something big. Something of legend. And it will take legends to help Mercy and Adam destroy it.

As always, Briggs delivers a wonderful story, great characters and a well plotted adventure. I've never been disappointed in one of her novels. Well done.

Friday, April 1, 2011

the book club in a bag

The library is ready to roll out the new program named in honor of my friend, Anne. The book club in a bag concept has been a huge hit with her family and I received kind notes from her daughters and one granddaughter expressing how much they think she would have loved this project.  I also received a note from a former library board president who felt that it was the perfect way to honor Anne's contributions to the Friends and the community.

I hope the community takes advantage of this new service. I've sent press releases out with a photo and caption. I've facebooked it for the past week. I have a few more ideas on how to spread the word, but some of the promotion needs to come from the library itself. I'm anxious to see what sort of display the head of circulation puts together.

As I read book reviews and see tidbits about novels other avid readers are enjoying, I've even been jotting down names for next year's bags. We've already received donations to fund the continuation of the program. That is very exciting.

The big book sale is next week. It seems that our fears of not having enough books were misplaced, as we are almost back to where we were for the fall sale in regards to our inventory. That is good. I'm eager to see how our new sorting and boxing system impacts setting up the hardback fiction tables. I hope our plan helps what is usually a chaotic and mind-numbing 6 hours of work. We've presorted the books as we packed them and they should be in boxes that roughly match how the books are allocated on the tables. The concept worked for nonfiction and helped reduce that set up time from 2 days to 1 day. I'm hoping to have a similar effect in the fiction room.

We shall see on next Wednesday. In the meantime, I'm off to promote my latest 'baby' in honor of my friend.