Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Local Libraries Offer Much More Than Books.....

My last post summed up how I've been feeling for quite some time. Being 3 years unemployed has taken a toll on my self confidence and I knew if I continued down the same path, I would probably drown in my wallow pool.

However, with limited funds, I needed to really look at what I needed to kick start me. I have a long way to go, but I did mention how I want to do something daily so I would leave my own self-pity party and regain the self confidence that's been slowly slipping through my fingertips.

Sunday, I checked out the events at the local libraries where I live. A couple months back I went to a great lecture/discussion at a nearby library, but prior to that event, I've probably been to the library 5 times in the past 20 years (maybe more, but let's just say the trips have been infrequent).

Last night, Bill came with me to a discussion given by the founders of Food52.com. A great site if you love to cook, and they just came out with their first cookbook - The Food52 Cookbook. I had some birthday cash leftover, bought the book, and Bill got to choose 4 recipes which I'll make because he was a good sport and came with me. Knowing his sweet tooth, I'm finally going to have to bake something for him. Don't get me wrong, I have baked non-box brownies for him, but it had to be at least 3 years ago. Besides, he's heard stories of how I used to bake about 10,000 cookies around Christmas and give them out as gifts to friends. Needless to say, I need to keep my mouth shut on things I don't like to do, but can. Oh well, lesson learned!

Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs were 2 approachable people who love food and were able to create an amazing food website Food52.com. I love the fact anyone can submit a recipe. They have contests, test the recipes, pick finalists, but it is the votes from the interweb community that pick the winners.

I love how the cookbook and the website have amazing photographs of both the finished recipes and the ingredients in a very appealing, inviting and artsy way. Each photo makes you believe the dish is something I can accomplish without worrying.

I knew of Amanda's work from the New York Times and The Essential New York Times Cookbook, but the moment Merrill mentioned how she loves to chop and mince the vegetables, I knew I connected with someone (yeah, yeah, I find it relaxing to iron and chop onions).

We have a rib eye steak in the freezer and plan on using the Cowboy Rubbed Rib-eye with Chocolate Stout Pan Sauce tonight before I start my vegan/gluten/caffeine/sugar and alcohol free cleanse this Friday (how I went vegan for 21 days last December) I'll let you know how it comes out.

In addition to last night's fun lecture, today I went to another library lecture entitled: Jobseekers: Energize Your Job Search. It was about how to gain access to great resources and research databases by just having a library card. There a couple of new job search sites I hadn't heard of and am thankful I decided not to blow off this opportunity. The woman who gave the presentation was both succinct and genuinely kind by offering her email and phone number to anyone who may need assistance in company background checks. I left feeling as though she sincerely wanted to help each person in the room become gainfully employed. I plan on checking out every url she gave us to give me a new perspective on the work I've already put in.

I know it's easy to research online, but there's so much more a library can offer if you just take the time to look. I'm glad I did.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Recognizing When You've Been Wallowing Too Long...

I want to name the place I'm currently residing in as the "Wallow Pool". I figure if people can swim in the shallow end of a pool, I can only describe how I've been feeling as swimming in a pool of self-pity or the Wallow Pool.

Lately, there are more than enough days where I feel as though I'm swimming in the world's longest swimming pool with really strong currents. I'm not drowning, but constantly feel as though water is splashing in my face making it incredibly difficult to see the edge of the pool I am trying to get out of. And it's always just beyond my reach.

I need to put on some fins.....

Fins are a great idea, but if I swim too fast with them on, I fear I might ram my head in the wall.

Maybe a kick board is a better option. In fact, I know it is. It'll get me to my destination and will protect me if I hit the wall before I actually get a chance to see it.

It make take longer to get to the edge, but in my case, I think it best to swim slowly.

I need to do one thing a day to better my situation. It can be writing that kick-ass cover letter (which may or may not lead to the end result I want), trying a new food or recipe, practice the art of writing, blog, read blogs, learn something new, dance just because, streamline my overall life or face a fear (right now it's a constant unknown with every financial call I have).

I realize my kick-board doesn't have to be big to be effective, but I realize everyday if I do something it is one more day I'll get closer to the end of the pool; one more day I'll start feeling better about me. But, really, it's one more step towards facing my biggest fears with confidence.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Philly: The City of Neon

Before any Philly pounce on me for the title of today's post -- don't. This is not an insult. It's an observation. One, which I marveled at. Seriously, all the neon signs I saw were FULLY lit and I was really keeping an eye out for an unlit one. I was completely shocked. It didn't matter what part of the city we were in, I was impressed the signs were fully lit. Does Philly have an edict which states any shop owner wanting a neon sign must keep it in working order?

None of the 1/2 ass neon signs I see around my home for Philly. It brought joy to my heart to see this (and you're probably thinking I need to get a life if this is what I noticed about Philly -- you could be right).

There's more to Philly, but here's where I'm going to make some enemies.... I went to Geno's Steaks for a famous Philly Cheese sub and it fell flat. I LOVE a good Philly Cheese Steak, but the onions weren't sauteed enough and I figure if you're touting yourself as the organism of cheese steak subs, well, you shouldn't. I mean the sub was okay, and I loved that the baguette was fresh, but the partially sauteed onions did me in. If I happen to go back to Philly, I will give Pat's a shot. Maybe they can uphold the title of amazing cheese steak subs.

Enough about the cheese steak and neon signs... I bet you're wondering what brought me to Philly? Okay, maybe you're not. Here's what brought me to Philly....Nothing. Absolutely nothing other than pure curiosity. I've never been and went to visit my sister, YogaGirl, who lives close enough to Philly that you don't have to whine "Are we there yet"? while in the car.

Because we got a late start, and I insisted on getting a famous Philly Cheese Steak sub, our time was limited. No Liberty Bell or Rocky Statue (hell, if I refuse to see any of the movies before I die, I'm certainly not going to head over to his statue), instead, I was very cultured and chose Philly's Art Museum.

I love when European artists don't name their work and others come up with titles for their pieces. You get titles like: Two Dead Birds with One Dog or Riverview or Three Dead Birds with Two Dogs. It's interesting dead birds were such a hot topic to paint way-back-when.

The museum had a substantial number of pieces by Monet and an interesting Modern art wing. Okay, interesting is over selling it. I mean, when does breaking a shovel in half get the right to be placed in a museum with special lighting? However, what I love most about viewing modern art with YogaGirl is how frustrated she gets when she believes she can create the piece herself. She may have a point. I wonder if I should start viewing paint swatches with a different depth and appreciation as it may hang in a gallery one day. However, YogaGirl wasn't as disturbed as much as usual with 'she-can-make-this-so-it's-not-art' pieces on the wall, but was completely disturbed by the whole room devoted to Cy Twombly.

Cy passed away this year, and I know it's wrong to talk ill of the dead, but his stuff, IMHO, was HORRIBLE.

It looked like he smudged the pastels a bit and wrote some words using his toes. As we sat on the bench in the room taking in all the pieces of his exhibit, I overheard people behind me talking about how great this particular piece was. I've never felt so dumb. What was I missing? Why couldn't I see the passion in this piece created by writing some words on canvas using one's toes? Why?

Actually, I felt like this in many of the rooms of the modern art exhibit. In fact, I asked one guard if he got it. He smiled, laughed and said: "Oh yeah, I get it. Especially this piece". It was a piece of plaster navels. Yup. The belly button is now art.

So...next time you're removing clothes lint from your belly button, just remember how your belly button could be in a museum of art.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just Remember It All Starts With the Rubber Band Wallet....

Last week I got a call from my sister YogaGirl telling me about her latest conversation with our dad. My dad is 89 and believes he no longer has to abide by the rules of society. I believe, as you age, an individual should receive a certain amount of respect with no questions asked. However.....if you want to be a member of this society, receive certain benefits, you have to play by the rules.

There are certain rules my dad has to abide by and believes he's above them. For starters, I know he's has just shown up at a physician's office without an appointment and has learned he truly believes the concept of the 4/5 hour window waiting for a furniture delivery does not apply to him. I no longer debate/argue these points with him and let him sit and wait like everyone else.

However, every couple of months, YogaGirl or I have to have a breakdown with him about certain issues regarding the writing of checks. We don't care how he spends his money, but the government does. It's a long boring story of why we care about his check writing activities (so, I'm not going to bore you), but I hate the fact he only responds to us when we have a total meltdown with him.

It's not fair. It sucks and we both hate it.

After talking with YogaGirl last week, I blamed his inability to listen to us on the rubber band wallet.

In the early 1990's I had a boss named Bruce. His father would often visit our small office and when he'd leave, Bruce would just hold his head in his hands and shake it. I'd laugh and he'd say: "Just you wait till your dad starts using a rubber band as his wallet."

Twenty years later and I now understand the "rubber band wallet" issue. See...once a person has replaced their wallet with a rubber band I believe all social graces go out the window.... Showing up unannounced, believing lines aren't meant for you and thinking any rule the government has doesn't apply to you.

My dad is not an anarchist, but seriously he picks and chooses what he wants to do and leaves his daughters to pull out their hair from complete frustration.