Monday, August 31, 2015

Back from Break- (My Second Life (or Third, or Fourth, or ?)

Wow.  How many years have passed since I posted last?  The time goes by so quickly.  Guess the job just took it out of me, but I'm getting ready to fly again.  This year I've joined multiple writing groups and as is my habit, way too many to keep up with.  I have that writers insecurity and haven't really begun to work on anything new, mostly just short prompt writing and fooling around with things I began a few years ago.  So the many groups just added less writing time to my newly uncluttered life. But a few weeks ago, I bid farewell to some of my new starts, and am focusing on writing and learning about structure, and the business of writing.  It's time to move on, as of today August 31, 2015.

The beginning of my recent reinvention:
Back in 1999 I took the CBEST (California Basic Education Skills Test).  Passing the test is a minimum requirement for teachers in my state, and I took it "just in case."  Last year, before my job of a decade and a half ended, I got rid of my old car and bought a 2015 model that is extremely gas efficient after my years with the Mitsubishi Montero Sport.  As I season, I also had decided that I was lifting and hauling too much stuff around, so I bought a smaller sedan this time, and bought it brand new. 

The last time I bought a brand new car was in 1968 when I was 18.  It was a Volkswagen Van blue with a white top, a powdery kind of blue.  My dad turned the middle seat and the back part into a convertible bed so I could go camping at the beach in San Diego County.  And I did.  Smoking cigarettes, learning how to play the guitar, drinking Spanada, getting sunburned, making out with total strangers and surfers,  and the smell of the Ocean in the morning.  But I am getting off track here.  My youthful camping adventures are stories in themselves.

So back to the CBEST.  I submitted my application to the State Credentialing agency back in March.  I had a small hiccup, putting an x in the wrong box apparently, but I know it wasn't just me.  I had the staff at the Career Center take a look, and also asked friends who were teachers and none of them could figure it out.  Regardless, by mid May I had my 30 day emergency substitute teacher permit for grades K-12 and a few weeks later a 30 day emergency career technical education permit. I wanted that second one to be for marketing but once I received it the only thing it mentioned was "major" which was fine arts, so I have to try to get clarification for that.  I sent my job description to prove my expertise in marketing and advertising, but since I checked the wrong box perhaps that got lost in the mix.

The second thing I did before losing my job was to completely redo my yard from the dirt to the fences and gate and blew a hole through my master bedroom, and added a door shutting the master bed/bath off from the rest of the house.  I also installed a gate, dividing my entry courtyard from the rest of the yard and the house just for me.  I rented it out on airbnb and had many teachers from all over and a musician (female) with a local gig.  In January of this year I rented the room full time to a guy who had a family just north of LA, and a new job in my neighborhood.  That worked out great until June, when he moved his family up to Oregon to work out of headquarters.  So , back to airbnb and listing on Craig's list, local community colleges and airbnb.  The decision to divide the space meant that if I had a  high maintenance guest, the gate stays locked.  Low maintenance, allow some access. 

Within a week of my long term tenant departing I had a college engineering student from Texas doing a lab at a local company for 15 days, a US Marine and his fiancĂ©e from Georgia stay for a week over the 4th of July, a woman who makes sacred jewelry and sells it at the Chopra Center for 2 weeks, a 60 something woman from New York attending a conference on enneagram (look it up) for a week, the talented jewelry/fresco artist for another week, then. A French fitness and meditation expert who works for a spa in Aspen Colorado, is also a photographer, leads tours/treks in Tibet. Nepal, Bhutan and Africa and a Chopra Devotee booked for a couple of weeks while receiving a Good Health teaching certificate from that organization, and now a really nice guy who retired after 30 years from a job in Oceanside, who sold his house, and moved to St. Martin for 4 months- starting life as a vagabond, but just before he headed for the Caribbean met a lovely lady, so he's back in town, tired of staying in hotels, getting to know the lady, and seeing his adult kids (now in college), friends and he booked for an entire month.  Maybe more. Who knows.

On top of all that, I am eligible for Medicare as of October 1st!  Free at last, reasonable payments and co-payments and I've applied for SSA benefits as of October also, which will bring in almost two grand!  Oh, and I replaced my stove and refrigerator too, so they should be good to go for a while.
And today I worked for 1/2 day at an elementary school in Encinitas.  My first substitute teaching job.  It was terrifying and wonderful and I enjoyed it.  Hard to read the teacher, but I actually did what he asked, then went to help a second teacher for the last half hour and she asked for my card!  Good sign.  I am going back to this school on Thursday, so I hope everyone will be happy with me.

Of course there is so much more going on in my life, but for now I'm feeling exhilarated and happy to be back to work, part-time that is.  I was letting myself get lazy, not moving enough, watching multiple seasons of shows on Netflix, wasting whole days if I had one appointment, and now I have a purpose and a reason to get up to walk the dogs at 5am again.  And I am recommitting myself to writing andf am going to try to keep this up-  if not every day, every other.  We'll see how that goes.  But right now I'm sitting in the yard, a nice breeze, under an umbrella-  and revitalizing my blog that I've neglected for way too long.  I feelo peaceful and hopeful for this next chapter of my life, and determined to let all the petty frustrations bred over the last few years go.  And start again, as a kinder, gentler, positive spirit I used to be.  To return to myself. 

Here's to me and a new life.  I welcome it with open arms.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

What I didn't notice

I'm back. I think.
I'm starting to notice things around me again.  Perhaps it was the vacation, boredom, uncertainty, whatever.

The amazing man at the trolley station.  African American, white pants, black long sleeved dress shirt with white silk trim, black tie, white hat with black band.  I wanted to take a picture but that would have been rude I think.  So glad I looked up from my book.

A whole new group of whomeless (yes, that w is there for a reason, however obscure) on my walking route.  Friendly nonetheless.  3 black guys with grins asking me how tall I am, telling me I'm a fine woman.  The pregnant girl, always smiling next to her cart.  Good Morning I say.

I've been reading.  All sorts of interesting things.  Right now it's Dreaming in Hindi.  Besides just being an interesting glimpse into someone elses mind, it has some really thought provoking ideas/facts about the mind, and learning a new language through imersion in a culture.  The good and the bad.  Also reading Dancing with the Wu Li Masters , the dummys guide to physics. 

It's sunny outside, glorious actually.  The farmer's market run brought me beautiful kale, arugula and red leaf lettuce, a white eggplant , some green beans and a few tomatoes.  I've become addicted to the greens guys produce.  I finally asked them today what other markets they do,  because the Ecke/Leucadia market on Saturdays is a parking nightmare, and I can't always make it there an hour early just to find a spot.  Encinitas Wednesdays, Vista Saturdays.  Good to know.

All my laundry is done, going to start today by vacuuming the floor then wiping it down with water.  The laminate is beautiful, but I have a drooling dog so there are always spots on it.  Maybe I put a mask on the dog so the floor stays pristine?  Probably not.

Took a road trip to Del Dios yesterday. Used my memory to go off RSF Road then up the Norte road to Del Dios Highway.  Picked up a piece of art glass from my friend Garry at The Glass Ranch and chatted for a moment.  Saw the Hydra sculpture live-  pictures just don't do it justice. 

Drinking my Dry Cucumber soda with some mint and basil.  It's so good.  Blew through an entire container of hummus yesterday, along with some Mary's Gone Crackers!  The small container, not the Costco sized!

Noticed that the CoinStar machines now don't take a cut of your money when you use it.  I guess I can stop rolling coins -  (i'm probably the only person in the universe that does this-  I hate change.

Hey, today i may even start waxing my kitchen cabinets.  They need it as much as the floor.  Wish I could afford a cleaner. :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Re-Merchandising (the trend)

I'm in a snippy mood today.  Don't use that word often, never actually, but it pretty well sums it up.  No coffee before the weight watchers meeting, more irritated than inspired during the meeting, too much avocado on my scramble, obsession with cherry pie from Elizabethan resisted, then I stop at Trader Joes.  The newly remodeled Trader Joes.  Where in the heck did they move stuff, all I want to do is get my corn tortilla flatbreads, my marinated mozzarella, and carry on.

All the local supermarkets seem to be doing this, the big guys I mean.  It has irritated me for years, just when I know what i want and where it is they move it.  Or they decide that no one is buying my favorite bread, or the kind of 1/2 cake i like, or else they move it somewhere that makes no logical sense.

Now that that is off my chest, after sharing my thought with the cashier at TJ's , i think I should put myself on time out, until I have something nice to say. :)

Electronic Messages from Work

Email,texting, instant messaging.  No one listens to voicemail anymore, and I don't either. 

I simply return the calls I get, and take care of it.

I am amazed at the number of people who have no clue about how to properly use electronic tools.  For example, sending an email to 75 people without using the BCC box to hide the long list of people.  Or seeing a post on something you want more info on, but instead of taking the time to ask the poster for more info, they hit reply all and send their "me too" message to the entire original group which creates another message notification for each of those people.

There are also the serial forwarders.  They think that everyone loves to see things they are interested in, or maybe they get points for the number of friends they contact via email or on facebook or whatever.  Please do not forward stuff to me, unless it is something you know that "I"  might be interested in.  Do not send me jokes, suggestions for supplements to purchase, or anything that requires a large download or a large file unless you ask first.  Or know that I am deleting it, without looking.

A more recent irritation is people who answer their work emails, or initiate work emails outside of business hours.  It can be 4am or midnight, they give little thought to the fact that someone else might be asleep, driving, handling a health emergency, or whatever.  I don't know about you, but when my boss sends me an email close to midnight I'm going to assume it's an emergency.  And when it's not, it keeps me up even later worrying about the "expectation" of a response.

I can say, however, that the bad habits of others have inspired me to be more considerate of my peers and/or subordinates.  I do not email something outside of business hours unless i preface it on the subject line (don't read until Monday).or something to indicate "it can wait."

That is however, unless I am given the instruction to do so by MY boss.  I wish I didn't feel that I had to cover my behind, but I have hard evidence I do.  I do however wish to pass on my plea to anyone who actually read through this entire diatribe....please respect my time outside and inside of working hours. 

If it's an emergency, call me. 

Invisible Garage Sales

This morning, at the crack of dawn, I was headed for my weekly "remember not to eat everything that comes into your reach" meeting.   I follow pretty much the same routine every Saturday morning.  Alarm goes off, find the lightest clothing possible for the weigh-in, put on my flip flop crocs, quick look in the mirror, brush teeth, find my "activity monitor", pull out of the garage, get the dogs into the back of the car, prepare their breakfast, insert into crates, close the back hatch, hit the garage door "closer" and head for the freeway.  Get off 3 exits south, make a left at the stop sign, make a left at the second signal along the frontage road, make a right at the first street swinging way over into the incoming traffic lane so i can manuever into Quick Fix in Encinitas for a cuppa. 

Today, doors open wide, but no one there to make coffee.  bummer.  I wait 3 seconds (i'm already running late for the weigh in line and hate to get stuck standing in a queue for a half hour) and pull back onto the frontage road, left at the signal , pass by the place where they sell flowers under a pop up on the south side, then hit the red light approaching SDA. 

Across the intersection, on the south side, there is an empty lot.  I've often wondered who owns this, and why no one has ever built anything on it, as far as I can remember.  There are always signs for garage sales, plant sales, poinsettia sales, christmas tree sales planted there, and a couple of cars are ususally parked adjacent to or along the curb line with obvious sale signs.    I've never seen it full of weeds or trash, so someone must maintain it. 

I've begun to notice that there are usually some people selling stuff on the lot.  Not commercial stuff, things that are pretty well worn, clothing and all sorts of random stuff, obviously used.  Today there were two tables, with a lady sitting on a chair behind them.  A string was tied between the two tables and what looked like kids clothes on hangers drooped towards the blanket placed underneath them- a bit of protection from the bare earth. 

There were 5 men standing there, chatting with the woman.  And oh,  by the way, no garage in sight.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


The Rite Aid near my house has a new banner.  The garden section didn't work.  No one was ever out there, people probably stole stuff, half of it wasn't marked, and the plants they offered were never that great in the first place, definitely not worth trying to find an employee to find out how much it was.

The new banner says "Check out our new expanded wine section".  I knew they sold wine, have always thought it was bizarre that a drug store sold wine, but now it seems every store is trying to sell everything, and in my view, that's shooting yourself in the foot.

With the move towards farmer's market, and locally grown food, why would you buy groceries at Target or WalMart?  For that matter, why would you buy produce at a supermarket?  The variety maybe?  But if it isn't in season, it came a long way on a truck to get here.  And food in a gas station?  I'm still trying to get my head around that one.  It's not like it is your only choice.

A chef friend posted an article from somewhere that told the story of a yam from a supermarket that wouldn't "sprout" when you stuck it in water, suspended in a glass jar by strategically placed toothpicks.  We always did that with potatoes when we were kids, it was fun to watch the vines grow out of that old brown potato (this was in the days before new potatoes existed- at least in my family).  That yam just sat there, not a nubbin, not a root, definitely not a vine.  It's genetic character had eventually devolved to the point where the life was sucked out of it.

I've been studying the donors to the no on 37 campaign.  That's the issue where food companies would have to indicate if they used ingredients that were genetically modified.  It's a horrifying idea that this stuff is in the food we eat and they are allowed to use it.  It pisses me off.

Kashi.  Why would Kashi support a campaign like this with financial contributions.  Before I posted this I'm went to their site to see what they say.
Wow. It's the Kashi Go Lean cereal I've been buying, for years now.  All those other ones were too sweet for me.  The commitment is disappointing, and was written by the HR dept, the attorney and a PR firm.  Authentic, heartfelt....not.

I really don't know what I'd do if it were my company.  I have nothing against Kashi personally or Kelloggs- if people will eat stuff they aren't sure about, then companies will sell it.  I just would like to have the choice - and to not have to search for the information that is important to me, that companies of this size have been aware of for quite some time, and yet continued to promote themselves as "healthy" "natural" (in what universe). 

All of this is just an opinion.  My personal opinion.  This doesn't mean that it's valid, that I have done significant research on the subject, or that anything I've read or overheard is really true.  I recognize that, but do you?  Something to think about.

Copyright/All rights reserved SharonJCorrigan 2012


Listen when I say we have nothing in common
Listen when I say we are not a fit
Don't play to my nicer nature
It will eventually turn mean
When I get tired of the guilt of trying to be nice.

Let's shake hands and walk back to our corners.
Get out of the ring, and find a new partner.
Someone who perhaps isn't an identical twin
but has the same basic values.

Time is precious.
That is the most important thing I could say to someone younger.
That and travel is addicting.
Get out of your box.
Try not to call people names.
Try not to ruin people's days.
But be true to yourself, always.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.
Not an original thought, but worth repeating, reminding.

Listen, I never hide my thoughts, just try to cloak them in manners.
I don't want to smother anyone.
I don't want to tell a friend, don't talk about that stuff around me.
I don't want to say, I have no interest in an hour long, or even a half hour long
political discussion - that is not fun for me, it makes my jaw tight and my head ache.
I don't want to discuss sports.  Watching other people playing games bores me when there are so many other things to do.

At this point in my life, I'd rather continue to walk alone than to sit and smile at someone who isn't a fit for me, as a friend or a lover.  I need to learn to let go of the guilt, and cut it off at the early stages, not whittle away at the string that is frayed from the start.

Listen when I say we have nothing in common.
Listen when I saay we are not a fit.
Don't play to my nicer nature
It will eventually turn mean
Trying to be nice

copyright/all rights reserved sharonjcorrigan2012