Saturday, May 30, 2009


The countdown is on..8 days left until I start my externship.

 I was always one of those geeky kids that was excited to start school. I loved going to the store and buying fresh new notebooks, pens, organizers, and the like. 30 years later, this time is no different. I fired up my laptop and made sure it was ready to go. I got a new notebook from my stash downstairs (yes, I have about 20 blank notebooks all ready to go, just in case). I packed up a couple of pens and a highlighter and I was set.
I'm all ready to start learning and typing and documenting. My time online will be greatly diminished while I'm doing this, as I will be busy for about 40+ hours each week. I'm sure I will have lots of new and interesting subjects to blog about, I will just have to find the time to do it. I'll also have some cool photos to publish, as part of my documentation involves pictures of me performing vet tech tasks. 

8 days and counting! I can hardly wait.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

"The Associate" by John Grisham

As some of you may know, I am a voracious reader. One of my friends even suggested that I blog about books, or do a book review post from time to time. I used to write book reviews for a company newsletter many years ago, and got a lot of positive feedback. However, that time has passed and I just blog about whatever strikes me. 

This book I just finished has struck me. And not in a good way, either.

I enjoy John Grisham a lot. Every time I see a new one published I go to my library and check it out. "The Associate" is his new one. It took me about 3 days to read it. It started out ok, got to be good, then turned really great. There was lots of activity, subterfuge, legalese and suspense. There was even a murder. Pretty soon I was almost at the back of the book. Noticing how few pages were left, I said to myself, "This book better start wrapping all the loose ends up soon."
I wondered what was going to happen to the characters. My mind ran through different scenarios and I was looking forward to a few double crosses as the bad guys got what was coming to them. 

(At this point in my post I'm going to write about how the book ends. Consider this a SPOILER ALERT. Read no further if you intend to read this book yourself. You have been warned.)

The book...Just. Ended. The bad guys were not caught, there was no retribution, the scared associate didn't even go into the witness protection program as he was supposed to. Hell, he didn't even get the girl!! 
For 99% of the book the plot rolled along like a rock down a hill, twisting and turning, bumpy and fun. Then the plot slowly creaked to a stop. It was if he grew tired of the characters and gave it a quick and easy ending. 
I was so unsatisfied. Then I was angry. 
This was not the quality of writing I grew to expect from John Grisham. What was happening here? I felt cheated. 
I will still read his books, but will certainly be on the lookout for more lousy endings. I hope that he is continuing to write the books himself, and not employ a ghost writer. There will probably be a while before his next book comes out, and I may even forget and forgive this transgression. Really good authors are hard to find, and I hope he stays in that category.

Strange Neighbors

When I moved into my current house years ago, all the people on my block cautioned me about my next door neighbor. Suffice it to say, we have dubbed their family the "evil-doers". Their most interesting quirk is their extreme distaste for anyone turning around in their driveway. (We live on a dead end and when drivers ignore the sign and come down the block anyway, they inevitably pull a K-turn in front of either my house or the evil-doers.)
It's really not a big deal, I'm not saying everyone pulls all the way into the driveway, they just kind of put the nose of the car in a few inches and then back out. No big deal, right?
It is to these people.
The matriarch of the family (known to us as the Old Bat) will park her car all the way to the end of the driveway and walk, walk, walk all the way UP to her house. This, in turn, forces her daughter to park her car on the street. There is room for 3 cars in the driveway, but the Old Bat insists on hogging the whole thing.
Now, the second part of my story. The daughter was in the habit of parking her car in front of OUR house for a while. Then my Dad passed away and I put his car in front of my house. Suddenly the daughter (she has no pet name, sorry) discovered that her car fit just as well in front of her own house. She still parked in front of mine from time to time when they found out it annoyed us. 
The last week or so, however, she has been parking on the other side of her house, far away from us. I asked my husband what was up. He told me that the neighbors across the street have about 5 cars, and they were parking THEIR cars in front of the evil-doer's house! A little turnabout is fair play!
Needless to say, they took umbrage at that, and now park in front of their own house (as it should be) to prevent the neighbor's cars from going there. 
Are you still with me?

So now everyone's car is in front of their own house and all is well. 
I'm glad that I have more in my life to occupy me than the parking of cars.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Nation of Superficial People

My best friend & I went to a minor league baseball game today. The game started at 11AM and he advised me that there would be a million kids there. 
He was right. 

There were about 2 BILLION kids there. Bus after bus pulled up, from grammar and middle schools. Picture hundreds of kids all wearing their school t-shirts, waving foam fingers madly, milling about, screaming, laughing, throwing things, and generally not paying any attention to the game whatsoever.

This was my day.

I don't have much (if any) interaction with kids, so I gaped in amazement. And shock. Most of the girls were dressed way too provocatively, their hair was perfect (complicated styles too), and their makeup was done to a "T". 

I gaped some more. 
The boys were regular boys, t-shirts and caps on backward, so I went back to looking at the girls again. When did kids start looking older than they should? And no, it's not about the age thing (my age thing, that is).
It's just a general observation. 90% of the girls were so pretty that their dads must be having heart attacks just having them out of their sight. The other 10% were trying very hard. And 100% were totally rocking the cool factor, more than I remember me & my friends doing. 
I mentioned this to my friend, who replied, "Don't sweat it. This generation is obsessed with looking perfect, that means they are going to grow up to be idiots".
I thought about that for a minute. He told me another story about his niece being ecstatic that she got braces, and her friends were too. When we were younger we wanted nothing to do with braces, but nowadays all the kids want them because it's a means to PERFECT TEETH.

Don't get me wrong, having good teeth is certainly laudable, but there is absolutely no reason for an 8th grader to be wearing that much makeup and majorly short shorts. They should be worrying about other things, like school and hobbies, not getting their eyeliner perfect and spending all their parent's money on Hollister clothing. 

I'm really not viewing this as a "these young whippersnappers" moment. I guess it could be construed as a generational gap, but I think kids should be kids, enjoy being young while you can and leave the hot clothes and makeup to the older girls.

Believe me, aging prematurely is not good, no matter what age you are.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hard Work And Fun

I laughed yesterday. Not the "heh heh" polite kind when someone says something witty or sarcastic; a full out belly laugh. That in itself is pretty unremarkable, but if you know what I have been going through the 8 months or so--then it is pretty impressive. I laughed so much I couldn't breathe and I had to beg the person to stop talking! 

Since Thursday I have been helping a friend of mine in his warehouse. There are a million small boxes that have to go from one spot to another and I was asked to help. I managed to be there all day and not be anxious. I actually felt good! Some of my old work friends were there, I got a lot of hugs, and more importantly, I got out of the house and got the blood flowing. 
I brought along my best friend Saturday & Sunday, and that is when the laughing started. As we sat and ate lunch some funny topics came up and I cackled merrily. Yesterday I laughed so hard I almost cried. I'm sure part of it was that we were all tired of moving tiny boxes for 4 days straight, but the things that my friend was saying WERE funny. 
It felt so good to laugh. 

I never laughed like that at the vet hospital, but on the other hand we had constant cuteness and lots of animals to pet all day long. My previous job was stressful and boring, but we laughed there lots of times. I suppose it's a trade off. 

The bottom line is, I'm able to get out of the house and not panic, and actually laugh and feel good again. Exhausted though I was after 4 days of work, I also learned that my medication is working, and that in itself is something to smile about.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Good News...Finally

This past Tuesday was a great day! I interviewed at a vet hospital and the vet agreed to take me on as an extern! I should be starting in a few weeks. I also got an extension for this semester, free of charge since I was having medical issues. 
My depression seems to be lifted, as I am much happier about things, even when they are going bad (like lack of money and no jobs available). I still have anxiety from time to time but it's nowhere near what I was experiencing last year. I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel. 
Once I start my externship I will find out if I can truly go back to the regular world of work and responsibility. I may not be able to blog as frequently since I have essays to write as part of the externship. I'm sure there will be lots of things to write about..I will have to save it up for when I have a few free moments. 

Life is pretty good right now.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Act Your Age

As I was reading one of my books the other day I came upon this sentence: What seems eccentric and edgy when you're in your 20's or 30's turns into something closer to pathetic at 40. 
I stopped reading and thought for a moment. How true that is! How many times do we see an older person wearing something best left to a college student and thought to ourselves "what is THAT?"
I remember going to clubs and seeing 40-somethings on the dance floor and thinking unkind thoughts. Now that I'm up there in age I wonder what would people think if I showed up at a club?
The other day I was waiting on line at a restaurant. There were 4 kids in front of me. (I hate to say kids, they were probably 17 or so, it's hard to tell anymore, the older I get. Sigh.) Anyway, they were wearing their velour sweatpants and Ugg boots and lacrosse varsity jackets. They were giggling, the girls were smooching their boyfriends and gazing into each others' eyes as only the angsty teens can do.
I hated them. 

I wanted to be young & carefree, smooching my guy, with no weightier problems other than final exams and "does this shirt match these pants?"
I sighed to myself and immediately conjured up the thought that I had plenty of fun when I was younger, tempus fugit and all that, and I'm now experienced, wise & savvy. Obviously I was trying to talk myself out of the pathetic envy pit I had fallen into. 
It wasn't working. 
Today's teens are hip, well dressed, technologically advanced (compared to when we were teens) and very cool. Even though I have an iPod, go on FaceBook and Twitter daily I still feel like a dinosaur. This is not good. 

We never did get to eat at that restaurant. The line wasn't moving and it was getting quite near to 8 o'clock and American Idol time, so we left. I'd like to report that I stopped being disgruntled about my lack of youth but obviously it stuck with me, hence this post. 

To make matters worse, today in the mail I received a party invitation for a friend's 50th birthday party. I have known this person for over 16 years, but to hear that he just turned 50 made my mouth drop open. 

We are all aging, whether we like it or not. I guess the important thing is to stop worrying about it and make every day count, to make memories at every age. 
I will try to remember that the next time I see some giggling teenagers.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

More Nostalgia

Albert Camus suggested that we spend our adult life seeking to restore our childhood's brief moments of happiness. As I get older I think this is very true. I have been thinking a lot about what made me happy during my grammar school years, and so today's post is a brief but certainly not all-inclusive list of happiness. I'm sure there was a great deal more but my memory fails me. 

going to the movies with my Dad (for example, The Poseidon Adventure or The Towering Inferno

swimming in my backyard pool

homemade chicken noodle soup for lunch on a rainy day (when kids were supposed to go home for lunch since my school didn't have a cafeteria)

Beeman's Gum

going to Lancaster, PA with my parents twice a year

Saturday afternoon movies at the Lyceum Theatre in Bayonne

hours upon hours spent at the Bayonne Public Library

I'd be devouring books by Lois Lenski, Louise Fitzhugh, all the Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twin series, reading about Pompeii and the Greek/Roman gods,  and of course, the Anne of Green Gables series.

Just thinking about any of these things makes me feel all warm & fuzzy. If I could have a wish, other than to be able to go back in time and be in grammar school again, it would be to have all the books I read as a child available to me again. I lost many books due to a house fire and that is one of the big regrets of my life. 

I did say this was a brief list; as more things come to mind I will continue this post.