Friday, December 30, 2011

Final Friday Financial State of Affairs ~ 2011... Is it over yet? God, please be over!

Here we go...

12/30/11 ~ Bank Account Funds Available:     $ 1,472.28

I'M RICH!  Electricity, hot water, running water, waste pick up, interwebs... you are mine!  All mine... for another month at least.

Blessed today I am able to:

  1. Make Dec.16th car payment of     $627.90
  2. Send Dec. 27th phone/cable/internet payment of     $227.35
  3. ........ I can't do it.

    I'm finding it hard to continue.  Keenly becoming aware of what we "do" have.  Feeling sense of serenity from realization that I have been able to keep utilities on; we did have food to eat all year, I was able to catch up on car payments... took me nearly the entire year, but I DID IT!  We have each other, our dogs are still with us, we have a reliable vehicle, and everyone remained relatively healthy in 2011... and I didn't have to resort to prostitution!  Yet?

    Friends and Family in California - all over the county... around the WORLD - saw us through, sending what they could; keeping us in their prayers.  It was hard making phone calls asking for help; embarrassing posting concern about need.  But, I was heard and hands were outstretched to help.  Some fed us for a day; some for an entire week, even two.  Barb kept us feeling clean and soft and smelling good. One friend, Patty, made sure my girls had some new clothes; Lorraine made sure I could get them much needed school supplies.  Thank you everybody.

    Ending the year on a positive note... there's money in the bank.

    Must be grateful.

    How-To Help

    I know what it feels like... you want to help.  I've donated cash, clothing,

    Thursday, December 29, 2011

    How-To Forget Your Troubles, Come On Get Happy....

    Relish in fact that there is wonderful talent and beautiful music to help get you through the day.

    For example... What Are You Doing New Years Evedelightfully performed by the deliciously charming Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt



    Courtesy of Hello Giggles

    Painful year, really...

    For so many.  Take my friend in California who is living this:   "My ex decided to not pay my car so now is going to be repossed... he has ripped me off of everything. I'm homeless, without my kids, dishoners my visitation with my daughter and has my car taken away soon. I just owe 5000 and the car would be paid off. Yes, I'm upset. But I will make it."  She is a pillar of strength, and I am amazed at her courage; Happy to hear she's found some work through temp agency this week.

    *****

    I hurt quite a lot, for different reasons at different times; mostly self-inflicted emotional hurt, mostly brought on by fact that I'm unable to provide for my children.  But, one incident that has constantly prodded me since it occurred kinda broke my heart - I was presumed a liar by a perfect stranger.  It was a Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.  Safeway managers were setting up a special table promoting Colorado state lottery.  We walked past it after making last minute Thanksgiving meal purchases, and it caught my eye and curiosity.  I wished I could win the lottery, I thought.

    Before we reached the store exit, I found myself turning around and returning to the table... just to ask a question or two.  You see, I don't play the lottery - I don't have that kind of luck.  So I asked how much tickets cost... $1, $5, $10 and up; What you had to do to play... buy a ticket, scratch off, win a prize (or nothing), or choose numbers (or have them automatically chosen for you) and hope come announcement day that the numbers you have match the ones revealed by the state lottery commission. AND CONGRATULATIONS, YOU'RE A WINNER... of millions and millions of dollars.

    Anyway, back to the hurt.  The store manager has the nerve, after sizing me up, to say, "Oh, I don't believe that.  You don't look like someone who can't afford to buy lottery tickets."  after I mentioned I didn't have that kind  of money ($1) to spare.  In my head, I thought, "WHAT?!?"  I walked away in shame.  You see, my son, who at the time was working part-time earning minimum wage, was the one purchasing our groceries.  He still does.  That's where his money goes... to feed his family.  He selflessly, generously, puts food on the table without once ever complaining about it.

    Might have only felt slightly worse that time some attorney's office called on behalf of  *insert credit card company, health provider, etc, here* demanding payment for balance on delinquent account.  After spewing out our financial circumstances - through sobs, standing in front porch so as to spare my kids overhearing me this way - law-office-girl offers this tidbit, "to earn some much needed cash" as a solution:  "You should try to sell your blood at the blood bank."  Yup, selling my blood would put food on the table.  I was furious.  That was around the time my cousins rallied around us and paid a month's worth utilities and friends sent grocery store gift cards.

    *****

    More than anything I should feel proud and honored to have such a loving child anytime he and I exit a store with bags of  food... I do, actually.  But for some reason I can't let the shame I felt from that Thanksgiving eve comment by the Safeway manager go - which explains my finding it increasingly difficult to go in stores lately.  Must work on that.

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011

    How-To Lessen Severity of Downward Depressive Spiral...

    Do not make sudden and drastic changes in daily habits and typical patterns during the holidays.  Especially if this is the first year - in last twenty - you are spending the holidays off various medication for mental illness like bipolar disorder.

    I've reduced television viewing this week to 1 hour CNN in the morning, and an additional couple hours in the evening, as opposed to having cable news shows tuned from 7:00 am to 1:00 am - with only slight interruption from a smattering of favorite episodic television programs here and there, depending on the day, or sometimes a movie.  I think I made a mistake forcing myself to not watch as much television - doesn't help there really isn't anything great on or much to catch up on recorded on DVR - because my brain can't take this "down" time.  Not only have I been terrifically bored, scary thoughts have been weaving about, kinda freaking me out.

    It's winter break and my girls are home from school all day, but they pretty much keep to their rooms, also, my boy is at work during the day, and the husband keeps to his room almost 24/7.  Although we enjoyed a late morning outing into Denver today, I guess since having returned, I'm reminded just how lonely I am for some company and conversation.  Not much our dogs, Shadow and Sombra, can do about that.

    So before I go completely out of my mind, I'm gonna go get my CNN on.

    The thing about "poverty"

    ... is you become a great keeper of secrets.  You hide things.  You become an actor... try to pretend (sometimes with every ounce of your being) that everything is all right.  My current role involves faking being able to see clearly.  I don't remember when the last time was I had my eyes examined, but I'm pretty sure it's been over a year since my eyeglasses were replaced with stronger prescription lenses.  Today, my vision has become noticibly fuzzier with glasses on.  I've cleaned them repeatedly over the past couple of days to no avail.  I need new lenses.  Constant headaches may be confirming this as well.

    My daughter's don't complain that they've been wearing their last pair of contact lenses for well over the 30-days recommended amount of time (more like months and months over 30 day limit).  Grateful my son recently qualified for health benefits through his job at the bookstore so that he could soon have his eyes examined and lenses replaced.  Last time I bought him a much needed pair of glasses they cost over $400 without insurance.

    *Keep in mind, I am a child of welfare, raised by a single, physically impaired mother and I never went without.*

    There's one major reason why it's critical I work and earn money... to properly care for my kids; resume wellness and healthcare maintenance for us all.

    Heaven help us.

    Tuesday, December 27, 2011

    How-To Feed the Hungry at Home

    During holiday breaks from school it's easy.  You avoid the whole "Mom I'm hungry" issue by sheer luck.  Teens like to sleep.  So, I let them sleep in.  Like now, it's 11:57am and my youngest just came down stairs, found some stale croissants from Christmas day and seemed genuinely excited to find ramen soup in the making.

    $ SAVING TIP ~ For the household with $0.00 food budget ~ On sale, four packages of Ramen soup and a bunch of green onion:  Total $1.50 (approx).

    Dinner under $10.00:  Pork chops - skillet fried, and Knorr garlic pasta shells satisfactorily fed four.  Dad took the boy by the grocery store for his dinner - "on sale" frozen pizza  - after picking him up from job at bookstore.

    2011 Your days are numbered

    And I'm forced to figure out what the hell to do about "starting the new year off right."  Like, with a job... even though I have no recent experience in today's workforce.

    So, in my effort to avoid cleaning house or sorting bills I can't pay, I'll try to use these last free days in "create" mode.  Will attempt to conjure a resume - out of nothing... no education, minimal skills and zero talent - in hopes of finding gainful employment earning substantial wages (enough to support my family) at a job located within walking distance from home, where hopefully I don't have to deal with people who go out in public still in pajamas and house slippers, or who are not considerate enough to properly dress themselves by at the very least pulling pants waistband up to within a couple inches of their navel, or worse yet, not get off their wireless devices to conduct business.

    Sadly, lack of socialization & economic isolation has left me unprepared; I'm not ready for contact with society as we know it.

    And, just to spice things up a bit, had somewhat of a panic attack last night during the short time I was awake between late-evening nap and when I finally fell asleep for the night.  Not sure what brought it on, other than maybe just a "trigger" to New Year's Eve and memories like, THIS. Also, forgot to pull the ottomans away from the windows so I froze whenever my throw blanket fell off and exposed an arm or leg - I think my head's used to being froze!  So I had a not-great night's sleep... just what I need.

    Monday, December 26, 2011

    Last Week of 2011... Updating

    Updating blog title & heading.  As I expect things to remain unchanged, prepare for more honest, heartfelt, fear-filled, chronicling of life as I know it.

    Happiness is so goddamn over-rated, right?

    Oh, and since this blog touts itself  "a how-to guide,"  I'll throw in a how-to tip every now and then.

    Sunday, December 25, 2011

    Christmas...

    It was what it was... may never have the same old feel of years gone by again.  Kept a stiff upper lip though, glad there were a couple small packages delivered by mail for the kids.  No tree to put new ornaments on however... maybe next year.  Learned my kids don't have much knowledge of true meaning of Christmas; not pleased I let that happen.  Enjoyed viewing Little Drummer Boy and Nestor the Long Eared Donkey together.  Grateful three stockings were filled with some peppermint candy canes and chocolate Santas.  Best part of the morning:  The gifts *Santa* left for the girls... books by their favorite writers.  Richard Paul Evans for S and Jim Benton for E.  *Thanks, R.J.  You're a sweet big brother.*

    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    Hallelujah

    I DID IT! Holiday shopping season is just hours from ending; succeeded in avoiding torture of it all. No Barnes & Noble, no Target, no mall, no Whole Foods, not even much need for grocery shopping! Happy I was able to keep outings to a minimum since Halloween. Hard enough driving past decorated shopping centers and businesses (broke down crying first time I saw countless colored lights cascading from every tree at neighborhood garden nursery), not to mention watch the kids sitting at the table and leaf through favorite catalogs, from which, in the past, I would order slippers and sweaters, while we ate our ramen noodle soup.   No money, means no presents.  Extra glad I didn't have to go anywhere that would only remind me of the impossible.

    Relief is setting in and I was even able to reminisce about years gone by in reply to my favorite blogger, Jen's latest post on peopleiwanttopunchinthethroat.blogspot.com/2011/12/holiday-gifts.html, where I sighed recalling "the good old days," and wished her:

     "Merry Christmas, Jen. From mom of 19, 17, & 15 y/o's who cannot yet part with their Knex, Bitty Babies (or accesories) and still use DS as alarm clocks.

    Grateful, this "jobless year without wages," they decided together to pool monetary gifts from relatives to use for Christmas Eve dinner out to favorite steakhouse in lieu of opening presents."


    Gotta say, I was touched that my kids elected keeping family tradition of Christmas Eve dinner at Saltgrass Steakhouse using monetary gifts from Rick's sisters over buying themselves presents to open on Christmas day.  They did the same thing last year using Christmas money from Grandma Carmy.  My mom also footed the bill last time we went to Saltgrass, when RJ offered his high school graduation gift from her to be used to celebrate his special day.  It's our favorite restaurant and I'm thankful we again will be able to enjoy a delicious meal there together. 

    *****

    My reply to a couple tweets posted by one of my favorite organization today:

    • What are you grateful for this year? ~  I am grateful for community of strangers who get me through my day; love of friends, family & pets. And, the ability to laugh.  ( @LynchFoundation )
    • What is the most important gift you have ever received? ~ Providence  ( @LynchFoundation )

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    A message...

    Something YOU did brightened a day in a life.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    *****

    To everyone who cared enough to send caring thoughts, messages and gifts.  And, hope & pray for me.  Especially those I have no clue where to mail  personal season's greetings.

    ~ Gratefully yours, Lil

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Someone wrote something great...

    And I felt compelled to profess my love of their talent.   So I wrote this to Jen, author of the brilliant peopleiwanttopunchinthethroat.blogspot.com, who is probably pretty as she is clever:


    I think I love you, Jen. Happily shared (repeatedly) "Elf" post on Twitter last night, and discussion spilled right over into today... internationally, too! Was thanked for sharing with friends on Facebook. I wanted to go out and scream from my mile high hell - Highlands Ranch Colorado - "READ THIS BLOG!!" after one of my friends turned me on to it. You write how my heart wishes my brain could make my fingers spit stuff out onto my keyboard. I write the most depressing blog on www. My name is Lil... and I'll say it again: I love you.

    Cheers

    *****


    I know, I know... You'd think deep inside I'd be seething with jealousy -- since yesterday Jen's followers have amassed in droves, at last count, blog post Over Achieving Elf on the Shelf Mommies had garnered 12,200+ "Likes" on Facebook.  Whereas I have three followers, zero "likes" and seriously doubt my posts will ever have more than a handful of readers a day... me being one of them.  But, alas, I cannot be jealous.  I'm grateful.  I now have something great to put a smile on my face... Jen's amazingly funny, brilliantly written blog.  


    Thanks, Jen!  


    Oh, and Carolyn!  Thanks, C. for having a wicked sense of humour and cheering me up when I need it most.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    My friend Lydia asked today...

    On Facebook:  "So what are your opinions on NO MORE CELL PHONE TALKING WHILE DRIVING, EVEN WITH A WIRELESS DEVICE? with regard to one of today's headlines - Would banning all texting/cellphone use while driving affect you?

    Lydia lives in California and I live in Colorado, and for the most part her friends all seem to agree.  For my part, I offered these gems....

    ~ Every time I see someone on the phone while they are driving I yell in my car "Get off the damn phone!" (usually there's "lady" at the end of that sentence. During snow season... I usually add a curse word or two, ending with me yelling "Before you kill me, a**hole!"

    ~ Once saw a guy driving an El Camino, on a cell phone, smoking a cigarette, while brushing his mullet looking in the rear view mirror. Imagine THAT being the story of how you died...killed by some stupid chain smoking, mullet-headed idiot.

    ~ Oh, and often times I say, "Get off the damn phone." in crowded grocery store aisles. My kids hate when I do this because it's usually loud enough for anyone not on a cell phone to hear; and I make the point to look right at offender, speaking with a smile on my face.  Moron.  ;)

    How would banning all texting/cellphone use while driving affect you?  I'd sure cut down on cursing.

    Sunday, December 11, 2011

    If only...

    If only I had somewhere to go, I'd be there already.

    If only I could keep the promise, "I'll be back."

    I guess that's why there's nowhere for me to go.

    I couldn't promise her, leaving now, I would be back for her special moment.

    I guess I'll have to stay; I wouldn't miss her graduation day.

    If only...

    I could hide my unhappiness today.

    If only.

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Update:

    Remember way back March 2011~ http://ahow-toguide.blogspot.com/2011/03/march-15th-first-good-news.html ~ when I was behind two months on my car payments and afraid to drive anywhere because I was positive credit union had a repo truck following me to pull me over and take back the car if the promised late payment I scheduled over the phone didn't clear the bank?  Glad to say that today, in my checking account, ready to be debited, is November 16, 2011, SSFCU monthly automobile loan payment in the amount of $627.90.  FINALLY, I am all caught up! You are welcome SSFCU.

    *****

    On a not-so-great note:  I'm reminded I am now eleven months behind on the mortgage monthly payments totaling... wait for it... calculating... not including delinquent fees... (this is gonna make me want to throw up)... $26,145.46.  WOW, I'm pretty sure that's nearly what the amount of my disability and Rick's unemployment benefits have totaled so far this year!  

    So, today I sit here relishing a rare bowl of Progresso beef barley soup, however still afraid... fearful of the time when we are forcibly removed from under the roof over our heads.  I guess I'm going to try to be grateful that we still have our vehicle.  Hoping to have funds to take care of December 16th car loan payment and insurance, and pray utilities aren't shut off, since I can't even think of paying those until my disability benefits direct deposit goes in at the end of the month. Must have heat for days like this:




      

    TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2011


    March 15th ~ First The Good News

    In five short weeks our financial situation will be eased by the addition of state unemployment benefits.  Good news, right?  As for tonight?  Crunching the numbers, rubbing my forehead, and hoping to make the throbbing stop. Yes, my head hurts.  It's been hurting most of the day. I blame lack of a solid night's sleep and the stress from having to face another "15th of the month" without having cash on hand to pay bills, not to mention, I have been so preoccupied with "stuff" that I've neglected to take my medication for the last four or five days. (This is bad; now I must be extra vigilant at checking for fatal body rash which may appear due to drops or increases of chemicals in my blood as I get back to my regular daily dosage.)  Also, could just be allergies.  Whatever it is, all I have to say about it is... NUTS!


    Speaking of nuts... They are not only a wonderfully, crunchy snack - all healthy and delicious - they can also easily replace an entire meal.  I've gotten in the habit of munching on pumpkin seeds on a regular basis, and could probably eat a pouch a day.  Yum.  I could probably live on pumpkin seeds and oranges, I love them that much.


    Anyway, today was bill paying day and this is what "the numbers" crunched:

    • Combined Family Cash On Hand  ~  $  595.25  * Woo! Whoo!! Way more than I thought.
    • Loans Due (and Past Due)
      • Feb Mtg Pymt  $2,376.86
      • Mar Mtg Pymt  $2,376.86
      • Feb Auto Loan $   627.90
      • Mar Auto Loan $   627.90
        • Total Loan Payments Due 3/15 - 3/22  ~  $6,009.52
    • Household Expenses Due
      • 3/17  Gas & Electric  $  243.67  * Whew, thank goodness it's been mild.
      • 3/15 Water District    $    93.88  
      • 3/22 Phone/Internet
      •          Cable Package $  218.80  * A job-seekers' 1st line of communication.
      • 3/17 Wireless Pkg     $  317.76  * Secondary line of communication for all job seekers.
        • Total Household Expenses Due 3/15 - 3/22 ~ $  874.11
          • Total Loans & Expenses Due ~ $6,883.63  *WOW!

    Hmmmm...  Here's the bad news... What do I do?  Those calculations don't even include $50 we need for fuel for our vehicle, $175 for a week's food, $261.00 for exams, $50 for school lunches.  And forget about hospital, doctor, credit card and other miscellaneous bills! What can I do?!?  

    Thinking cap on, Me! What to do!  Thinking....  I don't want to think.  My head hurts.  I'm going to bed and escape this nightmare.  Crunch on that numbers.

      ...Have those five weeks passed yet?

      Monday, December 5, 2011

      Something great...

      ... about my Emmy.  She's a talented artist-in-training.  Plus, she also has a pretty great brain for Writing, Math and Science... got honorable mention for DNA model in honors class today.  I'm a proud mom.









      Sunday, December 4, 2011

      Something nice...

      Winter Babies make the Season brighter... Here's my little bundle of joy delivered fifteen years ago today.



      Here are cards from big brother:




      ...and big sister:  



      I'm so grateful they have each other:

       

      So glad we have each other:











         



      Saturday, December 3, 2011

      Today in my little corner of the world...

      I like to share these moments with my family and friends on Facebook & Twitter.  I miss them all dearly as we live so far away from everyone.   Wish they were here...





      Thursday, December 1, 2011

      Oh My God... Problem Solved!


      My Em - bottom left (2010)  Happy 15th Birthday love. 


      Somebody up there likes me...   Just opened desk draw to discover $10 roll of quarters, which means my soon-to-be fifteen year-old will have a few things to open for her birthday on Sunday.  Thank God for "Free with purchase" $10 gift card offers we got from Target and Albertsons during Thanksgiving shopping too!  Not bad... now, all I need to do is pick up traditional tiny Carvel ice cream cake.

      I'm not ready...

      I'm not ready for whatever is supposed to happen here.  I. Am. Just. NOT. READY.

      It may be hard to believe, but I am - at heart - a happy-go-lucky-person.  People have referred to me as goody-two-shoes, Polly Anna... spunky!  I've lived my life according to the "be nice" school of thought.  But lately, I can't help but consider karma as I wonder, "What the hell did I ever do to deserve this?"  Whatever "bad" I've done, I wish I could remember exactly when I did it.  Get a re-do, you know?  When? Where did I go wrong?

      Or was the mistake somebody else's?  I was, after all, suggested be aborted.  I was most likely conceived by rape.

      Hmmmm...  Things I think about while I sit here bored outta my tree!

      I'm an idiot.

      Wednesday, November 30, 2011

      Thought I couldn't feel any worse today...

       ~ Follow up  ~ 


      Another problem solved - THANK YOU, GOD!:

      Found out Sarah's graduation cap & gown cost will be waived due to financial need status. * One less thing to cry about. *



      ******


      But then this comes in:

      Dear Parents of the Class of 2012,

      As you know by now, the Class of 2012 will graduate on Monday, May 21, 2012, at 7:00 pm, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The next few months will speed by faster than you can imagine. Believe it or not, there are a few items that need to be taken care of soon, deadlines are not far away.

       FAQ's

      Q. Does my student have to purchase a cap and gown from Jostens?

      A. Yes, they are the designated vendor we use for caps and gowns.

      Q. My sibling graduated from HRHS. Can I wear the same gown?

      A. Yes, if it fits, by all means wear it. Seniors will need to buy a tassle and cap from Jostens. Souvenir tassles (with the bling) are not allowed to be worn with the cap and gown.

      Q. Do I have to buy graduation announcements through Jostens?

      A. No, feel free to design your own.

      Q. Does HRHS issue tickets for graduation?

      A. No, Red Rocks seats 9,000 people. We do not need to limit seating. HRHS provides special shuttles for guests who are not abled bodied and need assistance getting into the amphitheatre. Details about special needs transportation and seating will be published on the HRHS website in mid-April.

      Please feel free to call me if you have specific questions about graduation. I will be placing more information on the website in the near future.

      Deb McCormick

      Principal's Secretary


      *****

      As if I could not be more depressed today... I emailed the school letting them know we do not have financial resources to cover graduation costs... feel bad that Sarah had to sit through an entire assembly going through stuff she can't have. Feeling like a major loser.


      What a relief...

      Barring unexpected expenses, next week I should be all caught up on monthly car payments... What a relief!

      That said, still having trouble coping with current circumstances.  Phone rang quite a bit yesterday... creditors and debt collectors busiest time of year I guess.

      Sleep's becoming nightmarish again; waking up a chore.

      Feeling a huge useless waste of life, lost and alone... dead inside.

      Tired and frightened.

      Numb.

      Tuesday, November 29, 2011

      Low Point

      Emotional low point happening.  I feel physically exhausted, like I cried the entire night while I slept.  But I don't think that happened; I don't even remember dreaming... and I always dream of something.

      Hating myself for not doing everything possible to adequately provide for my kids' needs.

      Slowly weaning off Twitter and Facebook and turning off TV just about doing me in.

      Today's a bad day.

      Friday, November 25, 2011

      Apologies


      When you're out of work for a  year and unable to make a mortgage payment since February or March, this is what you'll see as you pass the house this holiday season.

      ******


      Wish it could be this.

      *****


      But, nothing lasts forever and sometimes traditions must end.

      *****

      So, travelers , passers-by, neighbors and school children, accept our apologies... our Christmas House is not to be this year as there are priorities, like being able to keep utilities on; put food on the table and have a vehicle in our garage.  Then until taxes are paid, bankruptcy filed, complete financial restoration occurs, and only until a job is secured will there be a Carilo Christmas house to enjoy... Sorry.   And, have a Merry Christmas.

      Thursday, November 24, 2011

      Bloom Where You Are Planted...

      That's a saying I've heard.  And I guess it's only right to keep this idea in mind during these uncertain times.   ~ to be continued

      Tuesday, November 22, 2011

      Just Saying...

      My prayer is that our returning vets have jobs, and they not experience uncertaintly faced by jobless Americans out of work for over a year. My hope is that our foreclosed home be first made available to military family starting out (although, I wish it were in better condition). My wish is for all those suffering invisible injuries have proper, adequate treatment when they come home (I have same, but no insurance to continue treatment).

       I'm grateful for our troops, they are foremost in my thoughts this Thanksgiving

      Monday, November 21, 2011

      A Thanksgiving Wish

      Original blog title and description:

      PEACE OF MIND & FINANCIAL TRANQUILITY DURING THE WORST OF TIMES ~ A How-To Guide...


      There are all kinds of self-help books for everything under the sun, but none offer solutions for what's happening to families like mine all over America. If you know of such a manual, guide or plan, maybe something titled, “Home Sweet Homelessness” or "The American Dream... WAKE UP!" please, let me know. I could sure use some tips, advice, and resources to help recover from trauma of job losses during the first decade of the 21st century. *Hunger and homelessness should not be an option.

      ~~~~~~~~~~

      I wish things were better.  I wish Rick never lost his job... in Texas.   I wish we never had to leave there.  I wish I had hope for the future.  I wish things were better.

      I'm grateful our boy is doing well at his job... I wish he someday goes to college and studies about all the things he's most interested in and fascinate him.  I hope he achieves great success in all he does.

      I'm grateful for our girl's independent spirit... I wish her dream of going to college next year comes true.  I hope everything comes together in her pursuit to be a teacher.

      I'm grateful for our youngest's strength... I wish I could make her birthday wishes come true.  I hope she knows how much I appreciate her understanding.

      I wish I could be better, smarter, calmer, optimistic, attentive, hopeful.  I hope they know, even though I don't have their pictures, artwork and awards hung all over the walls, they are my pride, my joy... my treasures.  I'm thankful they make being a mom  the best thing that ever happened to me.

      Friday, November 18, 2011

      Thanks for stopping by...

      Thank you, WORLD, for visiting my blog this week.

      *United States *Brazil *Russia *Austria *China *Germany *United *Kingdom *Portugal *Slovakia *South Africa

      Wednesday, November 16, 2011

      Don't know how this happened...

      ... But, I have very smart kids.  I like to claim they got their brains from their momma; but probably not.  My girl currently has a 4.026 GPA in high school; I'm positive I was nowhere near... POSITIVE.   We were all so proud of our girl as she accepted her certificates of achievements during high school Academic Lettering assembly we attended today.   Her example of hard work and perseverance reflects in her school grades.  Today she was recognized for a number of achievements along with several of her closest friends, which gave me even more reason to be proud.  I love that she has surrounded herself with the cream of the crop - each girl unique; talented and bright.  Today was a good day.

      Tuesday, November 15, 2011

      Some Good News...

      Effective immediately, after having proven himself a conscientious, hard worker, my boy has been offered full-time status at his job.  Glad he's giving this, his first job, such tremendous effort, and that this effort has been recognized so soon after starting at job.  I can tell he is thoroughly enjoying this new endeavor.  Proud that he nobly, selflessly, is doing all he can to provide for his family during difficult times, but especially relieved that he can now refocus attention on health needs.  He's a great kid... My boy.

      Monday, November 14, 2011

      Last Night...

      ... standing at the kitchen island, words were shared, truths spoken; was asked to not give up.

      PEACE OF MIND & FINANCIAL TRANQUILITY DURING THE WORST OF TIMES ~ A How-To Guide... 


      There are all kinds of self-help books for everything under the sun, but none offer solutions for what's happening to families like mine all over America. If you know of such a manual, guide or plan, maybe something titled, “Home Sweet Homelessness” or "The American Dream... WAKE UP!" please, let me know. I could sure use some tips, advice, and resources to help recover from trauma of job losses during the first decade of the 21st century. *Hunger and homelessness should not be an option.

      Sunday, November 13, 2011

      Monday, November 7, 2011

      November 7th ~ Parting Thoughts

      On day 365... my head is refreshingly blank.  On the other hand, I am excruciatingly bored.


      In closing...


      Today, I got this mention on Twitter:


      KQEDnews KQED News
      @anibundel @lcarilo @PharaohCarlson @risaibi @NewsHour@KQEDnews You explain what #unemployment means to you, in Tweets ow.ly/1zYurH



      As for my blogging assignment reaching it's end, I have found the most gratifying thing to come from this experience has been connecting with lovely, thoughtful, and compassionate people; being followed on Twitter by CNN contributors and journalists that I respect and admire; delighted in occasional chit-chat with brilliant comedy writers and actors. But the biggest kicker has been the handful exchanges with favorite authors.  So as lousy as life has been, dreams have come true. Come on... Anderson Cooper sent me the last book he had read over summer!!! That was an OVER THE MOON, once in a life time thrill, right?  Well, it was for me anyway. 

      Thanks Anderson and everyone else, for those moments when I couldn't stop smiling, laughed out loud, was left speechless; touched by your virtual hugs... during these worst of times.


      ~ Oh, and by the way, I only got told off once, by some woman named Melissa... or was it Michelle, via my Facebook page a while back. She had some "How dare you..." words for me.  I took care; cleared things up.  Pointed out that had she read the heading on the blog post, she'd see that I was not asking strangers for money... I was, in fact, traumatized by the idea of having to ask relatives for financial assistance.  She got the message; deleted her nasty post and apologized for having misunderstood.  

      Sunday, November 6, 2011

      November 6th ~ Confession of a Coward

      You know the expression:  Behind every great man, stands a great woman.  Well, I hate that expression.  I hate it because it drills home just what a crappy wife I am.  The worse part... This phrase repeats over and over in my head each and every day that goes by that my husband is out of work.  I blame myself.

      I blame myself for not standing firm nine years ago, when he lost his job in Texas.  To be honest, I expected he would be the one to take matters at hand and tackle jobless problem with every ounce of his being... for his family.  I thought we were on the same page: Okay, laid-off.   Just find another job... doing anything...  take two jobs if possible; Three!  Do whatever necessary to get through this.

      Well, that didn't happen.  What happened was he shut down, so I shut down.  I not only shut down, I became distraught and resentful.  Why wasn't he trying harder.  Why was he okay with life crumbling from financial burdens.  Why couldn't he deliver pizza, work at fast food restaurant... hell, why couldn't he toss newspapers every morning?  I was so angry and disappointed back then.

      And when it happened again in 2007, no change.  In fact, my resentment and frustration reached a whole new level.  I wondered, "Why does he just not seem to give a damn about us; our livelihood!"  I again blamed myself.  Kept my mouth shut; waited for his lead.  Nothing.  I proved useless to my family in so many ways; and when I could have been the driving force behind "my man," my failure was magnified.  What kind of mother, right?

      These days, a year after third job lay off,  I operate on automatic pilot - slow and steady, navigating through misery; mountain of chaos and turmoil dead ahead.

      Saturday, November 5, 2011

      November 5 ~ This happened on this day last year...

      Is this why it hasn't snowed yet... because Sombra is coming to town?

      Yes.  It's the first week of November, and for the first time since moving to these parts, there has not been an ounce of snowfall.  Past years there's been at least one good snowstorm by Halloween.  This year, nothing.  I've even turned on the a/c  the past couple of days - and it's supposed to be in the 70's the next few days!  Honestly, I am anxiously awaiting a good hearty snow; the first snowfall of the season is magical to me... It's one of my favorite things ever.  But now I'm relieved temps haven't dropped yet because... Sombra will be spared that freezing shock to the system as he's being taken off the airplane, or when he's being let out to "take care of business" in our backyard.  (I'm shivering just thinking about it.)  So, the longer it takes before this season's first snowfall, the better, because in about 48 hours from now, Rick and Sombra will be arriving at DIA.

      It's going to be great and it truly feels like the holidays have arrived at the Colorado Carilo home.  We get to finally meet our new puppy, Sombra, and we couldn't be more excited - it's going to be like Christmas morning.  Rick was here a couple of weeks ago, so his welcome might be more like, "Back so soon?"  Ha ha.  Of course we'll be happy to see Rick... he'll be home for good AND joining him, is the little doggy he adopted from a shelter in the town where he worked.  Now, I hear, that that part of the world can only be described as an arid desert-like climate by the sea.  (I'm pretty sure the only other "weather" that occurs is hurricane season.)  I don't think Rick ever even mentioned being cold in all the time he lived there; spring, summer, fall or winter!

      Upon arrival in the U.S., Sombra, will be experiencing his first Rocky Mountain high... in mid-Fall.  Hopefully, our new little doggy's American welcome will be warm and that he immediately senses how much we love him already.  As for little, Mister King of the World, Shadow dog... We shall see.  We'll make it work.  If anything gives me comfort, it's knowing that Shadow is fully aware how much we all love him, and we sure do get tons of puppy love from him.

      Sombra, meet Shadow... brotherly love & peace... I hope.


                                                                             



      Sombra's backstory:  Sombra, as many dogs in the town Rick lived in, was abandoned at the local college - in a planter - most likely only days old. La Paz, MX has an extremely high abandoned dog population. Sad, right? Baja Dogs helped rescue Rick from loneliness when he was introduced to Sombra dog.  Resident's thought it was wonderful that Rick brought him home with him.

      Thursday, November 3, 2011

      November 3 ~ Nothing like waking up feeling like a useless piece of crap... again

      Man, I hate waking up and, first thing, immediately falling straight into “I am such a crap mother!” mode.  Worse, I wasn’t even fully awake.  I sleep downstairs in room which by design opens up to the kitchen, so every morning I hear the rustling of my youngest daughter preparing her school lunch.  I let her do her thing, but sometimes will call out “Good morning, love” and she’ll say it back.  Today, I wasn’t fully awake until both girls were on their way out.  My oldest girl remembered to come to the back of the house to say bye, but Emily, didn’t.... that should have been a clue.  Moments earlier, knowing we probably didn’t have fixings for lunch, I shouted out to her asking if she needed any money for lunch (Still have a few dollars cash reserve from Summer yard sales that we never used toward H & R Block tax preparation.).  I heard her say "Something, something, pretzels."  Was she only taking pretzels?  Might explain, why she didn’t come back to give me a kiss goodbye.

      That all happened around 7:30, 7:45.  Rick gave them a ride to school because it was super cold and the streets still pretty slushy.  I had fallen back into a dead sleep and didn’t wake up until I heard the front doorbell ring.  It was Sarah.  She was home for her combined open class hour and lunch break.  (Me in a panic – “Oh God, is there any food for her!”  I wasn’t thinking straight, I guess, when I had the guys go out to buy rations to get us through snowstorm the other night.  We knew we wouldn’t need much, but like I said... I wasn’t thinking.

      So Sarah is home to study and finds some instant oatmeal to snack on, but in preparing it in microwave, there was a problem: it overflowed out of the small bowl she put it in... See, crap mom: I don’t even have proper dishes available for instant oatmeal to be cooked.  Wanting to clean up after herself, she asked if there were any paper towels to wipe up the spill.  “Dang it!” I thought.  I told her I’d take care of the spill, not to worry about it and told her to just use a dish cloth to wipe off her bowl.

      This is around 9:30 and I’m just awake, realizing, “Nuts!  I have to go to the market.”  I don’t want to go to the market.  I was hoping there would be absolutely no reason for me to go for the next couple of months.  I was going to do everything possible to avoid stepping into any kind of retail establishment.  I can’t cope with seasonal crap all over the place, TV commercials are bad enough.  This week I had snow on my side.  Rick rather I not drive in icy condition, so he’s more inclined to drive to the store for stuff we need.  Thank God for snow; November 1st, perfect timing Jack Frost.

      I wasn’t thinking straight when I asked if someone could run into the store to pick up this, that, and the other to get us through the next couple of days – because I forgot about the toilet paper and paper towels! Whenever there’s bad weather in forecast, always pick up toilet paper, paper towels and, oh yeah, a box of feminine protection products!  So, at 9:45 this morning I’m out in freezing temps, driving on slushy roads, crusty eye goo not fully wiped from my eyes.  Got to the store, navigated my steps through icy parking lot, prayed I not fall (my ankle still isn’t fully healed from last month's fall), bought the stuff, back to car, and home to turn on computer, sit here and share my November 3, 2011, “I’m a bitter, angry, horrible mom” rant.

      Doesn't end there.  Now I feel extra bummed, because as I walk in the house, aware that it's trash day,  I'm asking everyone to empty rubbish bins.  I set down the market bag and start shoving stuff off the counter into the overflowing kitchen can, only to see an empty jar of peanut butter teetering at the very top.  Someone had not thought someone else might need to use the tiny bit left in it for sandwich for school lunch the next day, like the kid who has rationed it all week because we don't have lunch meats this week.

      *Dear Midnight Snacker.  Grow up.  Think before you eat.  Or, sleep through that late-night hunger.  I saw you eat dinner.  There was more than enough.  Next time, eat some goddamn instant oatmeal... BUT DON'T MAKE A MESS, I only clean up after people who work their asses off and/or have tons of studying.  Sincerly, Crap Wife.

      Good morning and you are welcome.

      **********

      BY THE WAY, I WROTE THIS A YEAR AGO TODAY:


      WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2010

      Please tell me it will not get any worse

      Problem: My husband's termination/release process from job out of the country seems to be taking a bit of time; meetings have been postponed for the third time since Monday. Regretfully, I feel that his employer - and please excuse my language - is trying to screw him over using delays, manipulation and intimidation. Apparently, leaving the company must be overseen by labor board because as far as company owner is concerned, they and Rick have "mutually agreed" to part ways. LIES. He is being coerced into taking whatever "serverance" they have offered and hit the road. Without legal representation to accompany him to labor board meeting and speak - the country's language - on his behalf, my husband is totally screwed.

      Back here in the U.S, I can't help but be extremely concerned about my husband's well being, as he is all alone out there; all I can do is remind him that the kids and I just want him to be back home safe and sound. However, since immediate return is not feasible, I continue to worry about him because he is being treated so unfairly, he's alone with no one to turn to there, and he has done nothing wrong. His return home on Sunday - regardless of labor board meeting outcome - will be a huge relief for all of us.


      Requesting you keep my family in your loving thoughts and prayers... we need all the help we can get.

      Wednesday, November 2, 2011

      November 2nd ~ One year ago today I posted this...

      LAST NOVEMBER 2, 2010, WENT LIKE THIS...
      http://theniwillshutup.blogspot.com/

      Elections. Smelections!


      BACK OFF PEOPLE! PASSING ON VOTING FOR BOZOS ON EITHER SIDE THIS ELECTION! AND YES, I'M YELLING (but not at you all). I'VE IMPOSED A "EVERY PERSON IN THIS HOUSE WILL ONLY SPEAK IN CIVIL VOICES... EXCEPT ME" LAW AROUND HERE TODAY. *I'M UNDER SO MUCH PRESSURE AND STRESS THAT EVEN THIS KEYBOARD IS PLEADING WITH ME TO STOP TYPING! (poor defenseless little keys).

      *****

      I know. I know. So sorry to disappoint. But, that was this morning. What I actually did do today was just as important. I helped make travel arrangements for Rick and his - our - dog to finally fly home... for good! My butt hurt, my ears overheated, I got a sore throat, and my head hurt (my cell phone battery charge even died!), but it wasn't as big a headache that it could have been - I'm talking airlines here, right?  All to get a grown man and his adopted rescue Mexi-mutt back where they rightfully belong... HOME.

      So, Alaska Airlines Representative was a dear; Frontier Airlines Representative, Rene... not so much. She had me on hold so long I thought that maybe she had gone to lunch and left me hanging there.  I'm an idiot. (I'm pretty sure that I hate Beethoven after that too.) Really, I shouldn't complain, they were doing their job; and I remained cool, calm and collected. (Wait, what?)

      *****

      It's nice breathing easy at the moment... or does that just mean this new asthma inhaler is still working. Hmmm.


      * THIS NOVEMBER 2ND IS APPROXIMATELY THREE MONTHS SINCE VERIZON WIRELESS SERVICES FOR THIS FAMILY'S CELL PHONES & BLACKBERRY DEVICE WERE INTERRUPTED

      Tuesday, November 1, 2011

      Ah, Sweet November...

      It's going to be a good day.  The weather is perfect this morning... gray skies, temps dropping, snow in the forecast... I love November.

      *****

      I woke up with a twitchy face yesterday and today.  Sorta freaked out about that.  Mostly it's the left side of my nose, but I think it's starting to balance out.  Hope it's nothing.  If somebody in the house notices, they'll say something... I think.  What might have caused this is that I slept facing the window the other night and my face froze.  (Can that happen with a few inches in between?  Yikes!)

      Last night ended on an up note and it carried over to this morning.  Also proved it doesn't take a lot to make me happy.  But, actually, what happened was a big deal.  They say good things come in threes.  My three good things were great in my opinion.  First of all, I got a Twitter follower who in my book is a pretty big deal; a writer for some of my favorite comedies - stuff I used to watch and silently fall over laughing, because I was usually watching at some ungodly hours of the night... Following me?  And we had a bit of back and forth via the Twitter.  Cool, right?  Next thing was, Halloween was saved by R.J. buying a couple of bags of candy after work to hand out to kids who came by trick-or-treating.  But the best thing was getting in touch with an old friend who I haven't seen in years; a former neighbor who I met during those happier times, in Texas.  That made my day.

      As for today... I blame four power outages  for making it a not-completely-great day.  I had been hoping to be quite a bit more productive... do a good deed or two... have a nice tea... watch a favorite movie!  Did none of these things.  My A.M goal was to do four loads of laundry, but I had to go out a few times and by noon I had only done two loads; also, two outages - one long, one short - put a wrench in that plan.  My P.M. plan was to shower, go to grocery store, and take some coats and jackets to the homeless vets drop off site, then stop by Salvation Army with a few bags of clothes that didn't sell at our Summer yard sales.  Had to put plans off until another day this week; after tonight's snow storm clears up.  At least I did eventually do those four loads of laundry by the end of the day despite there having been a couple more power outages.  Hope we are done with those for now.  It's late and I don't really feel like tea right now, however I would love a nice hot shower.  Don't want to disturb the household though.

      I do love November, to me it has a romantic feel.  I'm going to honor that and try to watch favorite movies with romance themes.  I had planned on first movie to be Little Manhattan, but outages didn't allow time for that, so hopefully tomorrow.

      November also reminds me of the importance of gratitude.  So, today, I am grateful for new acquaintances and old friends; Quick and easy and cheap meals that turn out delicious; Electricity and good t.v. shows and news reporting; My family; and a quiet, snowy sleep time.

      One more good thing about today:  I actually shared a dream; thought I felt a twinge of hope.

      Welcome, November.



      Sunday, October 30, 2011

      October 30th ~ October, huh?

      Something, something, something....

      Hmmm, what was I going to write about?  Oh, yeah.  October.  I'm not quite sure how I feel about the month of October.  I have several friends and family members who were born in October, which alone should qualify it as a pretty great month - I really like those October birthday people, like my wonderful friend Clarissa, my cousin Roman and his cousin, Stevi, also my other cousin Ibel, and loads others.  As a kid I remember often being ill in October.  Looking back I'm convinced I suffered from seasonal allergies, which were probably ineffectively treated therefore usually developed into severe respiratory infections... so I was often sick the entire month and well into November.  When I was around nine, both my sister and I were super sick and mom had to go out, leaving us alone.  I started gagging on phlegm, then throwing up.  I was having trouble breathing out of my mouth, and of course my nose was stuffed too.  I chucked out a massive ball of guck.  My sister was terrified.  That was the first time ever, maybe the only time, I've ever heard her tell me "I love you." (That's how scared she was I might die in her care.)  It was nice that she would comfort me as it was rare that our paths crossed. (We lived in a four room house!  You heard right... f-o-u-r  r-o-o-m-s.  Quatro.  4 )

      Like I said, I haven't made up my mind about whether to like or dislike October.  Some would say, "How about Halloween, isn't that enough reason to love it?"  Sure, there's a reason:  Free candy, who wouldn't love that?  But to be honest, as a little kid  I hated Halloween.  Being of Mexican heritage, with all their friggin' Dia de los Muertos folklore and crap, scared the bejeezus outta me.  My vivid imagination didn't help either.  Leaving all those stupid stories behind as I grew up, my attitude totally changed when I finally  had kids.  Halloween would now be fun.  Actually, we moved into this house on October 31st.  Vampire Emily was in third grade, Cheerleader Sarah was in sixth, and Monkey face-masked R.J. was in the seventh grade. *insert pics of kids from that day*


      One reason I might not like October is because of how many times we've moved during this month in the twenty years Rick and I've been married.  Wow!  I may have started living with him by the end of October... of the same month we met!  So, if I have this right, I have moved four times in the month of October in the last 21 years.  That's a lot! Not so fun fact:  In my lifetime, I've moved about 26 times.

      Let's look back shall we.

      First move was gradual to say the least; I didn't keep journals back in the day, but I'm pretty sure Rick and I were cohabitating by Halloween 1990.  That's move number one - from Grandma Carmy's apartment to Rick's place.

      October 1996 I was "out to here" with baby #3.  Rick was working a lot because the company had just downsized to skeleton crew and Rick's pay had been cut by half, so he was doing side work to bring in extra money.  We had sold the mobile home he had refurbished, and we were going to start renting his brother's house in a nearby town.  So because Rick was working day and night, my pregnant self and two toddlers boxed and packed as much as we could to move to our new big house - not too big a deal, we didn't have that much to pack.  It was time to go.

      Rick's brother's father-in-law had bought his daughter and him a nice just built, fully furnished home, leaving their house for us to occupy now that we needed a bigger place for all our kids.  I was still reeling from having lost Sylvia at the hands of a brutal murderer, so I needed a distraction.  That was also around the time when diagnoses for this, that and the other were being thrown around health-wise for me. I remember that was also around the time when I had casually asked Rick where he saw himself (us) in five years.  I remember liking his answer.  Still working for Sunrise, achieving recognition for his hard work, moving up in the company, enjoying raising his family - That was good, right?  So, October '96 was our first move as a family, my second since 1990.

      *****

      Not an October move, but something great that happened in Fall of 2000.  By then, as he had hoped would happen "in five years," Rick had done well at his job and worked up to leadership positions.   What came as complete surprise was his brother being fired after he was discovered stealing from the company (and other wrongdoings)... and, that's right, Rick worked at the same company.  So what happens?  Rick was offered the department supervisor position that had opened up.  Yes, a promotion and a raise.  Nice going honey, you've worked hard... and don't steal, do drugs, bite the hand that feeds you...

      So all this exciting stuff is happening in Fall of 2000, but the grand kicker is when Rick got offered another raise and promotion if he would be interested in relocating out of state and be director of new home warranty and customer service department.  He came home and asked me what I thought.  I said, "Let's go."  So away we were going.  I spent a good part of October packing up the house to move 1600+ miles away.  I remember having to brainstorm Halloween costumes for the kids that year.  We had the orange paint left over from a giant jack-o-lantern Rick had made previous year for the Montessori school party and cardboard boxes.  I constructed and painted two flower pot shapes for the girls and bought bunches of artificial flowers and leaves to put in headbands and attach to shirts.  They looked so cute.  For R.J., we took a heafty bag, stuffed it with balled up newspaper, taped "trash" on the outside... and voilĂ !  He went trick-or-treating as a sack of rubbish.  They all were so adorable, I wish I had photos.  So while not technically a move, by Halloween that house was just waiting for movers to come load it's contents into a container for delivery to new home in Texas.  Oh happy day.

      *****

      Oops!  Sidetracked just a bit.  Next move was a minor move which followed a delightful inconvenience.  We had been spared by the goodness of God and all creation that year. Rick had been laid off from his job when the US home-building industry suffered a blow after 9/11.  November 2002 he was laid off work from the company he had worked for since 1985.  By summer of 2003 we had been surviving with help from interfaith community; my spirits lifted by our wonderful neighbors and friends in Texas.  We had just filed bankruptcy and were wondering aimlessly into God knows where, when finally in August a job came up for Rick... in Hawaii.  Again, I was left to pack up the house with the help of my little friends, my kids.  Moving container was loaded and shipped a couple of days before the kids and I would travel to join Dad.  Wonderful friends sheltered us for a few nights, neighbors fed us.  Two days before leaving Texas our vehicle was reclaimed as scheduled by loan holder and on our travel day, I gave our house keys to a friend who would be there when bank representative would arrive to "take possession" of what was once "the home of my dreams."



      Now this doesn't count here, because it was mid August.  That Summer we arrived in Hawaii and found ourselves living in "rock star" accommodations at a top-rated golf resort & hotel destination until our household furnishings traveling half way across the United States, then half way across the Pacific Ocean arrived to the island and the cottage we eventually chose was ready for us to move in to.  The few USPS Priority Mail boxes (containing important documents and precious family items) that my friend Sarah and I had prepared at the house in Texas that Summer - which she sent out to me a few days later -  and five suitcases were all we actually had to move, but that move from The Lodge at Koele to the little house "up on the hill" counts as "month of October" move number 3.


      This House


      In Fall 2005, I didn't feel time was right for us to buy a house yet.  I wasn't "feeling it" here in this part of the country.  People were different here... not particularly friendly, often times downright unpleasant. (I still wonder why that is.  Maybe they don't like the cold and stay miserable about it year around.)  Rick thought otherwise.  He took a job in Denver that came with relocation and temporary corporate housing allowance for first six months.  We could have stayed in the apartment we were renting after the six months, but Rick decided to go ahead and find a house.  We knew we wanted to stay in the area - apparently, from my initial research, it was safe, had good schools, great nearby shopping... what more is there, right?  Having friends nearby and welcoming neighbors would have been great. (Maybe, that's a year-round, warm and sunny state phenomenon.)  Like I said, I wasn't into it.  Since we  were looking in the same neighborhood as the apartments were were renting we at least were familiar with the surroundings.  So, when I saw this house, just a few yards away from the high school the kids would eventually attend, and less than a quarter mile from the middle school R.J. was already going to, I pointed at it and said "Let's just get that house."  Done.  October 2005, move number 4.

      *****

      November 2007, layoff number two.  November 2010, layoff number three.  This might suggest I hate November, but actually, regardless of  layoffs, November remains my favorite month - filled with birthdays of people I love dearest and Thanksgiving holiday memories I shall cherish forever.

      I am pretty bummed that tonight wasn't spent filling our extra large yellow metal bowl and matching platters with stuffed packages of assorted candies to hand out to trick-or-treaters.  Not looking forward to turning everyone away tomorrow.

      Oh well.

      Happy Halloween