The first to visit me were tiny, water-filled itchy blisters between my fingers. I did research on the 'net and found this is caused either from handling live tarantulas (which I don't recall doing lately) or from stress. Then came the attack of shingles -- ARGH!-- but not as bad as the first attack I had, in February. And then, about a week ago, I had a little bout of fever and chills. I felt fine the the next day, but now I have an explosion of cold sores on my lower lip that makes me look like the loser in a prize fight. Looking like a leper doesn't help in the job search, either.
I have had all kinds of well-thought-out plans for finding new work. Certainly, in an economy as awful as this one, you would think my debt-counseling skills, honed from years of bneing a legal aid consumer law attorney, would be in demand! But there is an adage about law -- you are only going to be as rich as your clients are. Nobody who needs my skills can afford to pay for them! I have taken all sorts of special trainings and I'm signed up to be a volunteer lawyer for several organizations, but so far, no calls, even to do it for free! The legal aid community is a kind of closed-off group, I'm afraid, and I'm not inside the circle. Pooh.
So many times in my life when I've been the closest to the end of my rope, that's when something wonderful happens. I would not want to make any assumptions that this will happen again, but I remain hopeful. I decided I should pile myself up with so many volunteer responsibilities that the Gods of Contrariness will just HAVE to bring me employment, just to mess with me. To this end I have become a certified reading tutor and English as a Second Language instructor for an organization called Literacy Connections. I'm also doing stuff for the kitty shelter (though I am no longer on its board of directors) and I drive people without cars to medical appointments. I'm working with two writing critique groups, editing manuscripts for other members.
Speaking of writing, though I have been a dismal letter writer, I have been very busy on a couple of books. The first one is a collection of short, mostly humorous stories about cars and things that happen in cars. The economy has also hit publishers, and so I have not even contemplated trying to find one. I only wanted to send it off to my family and friends, but I was encouraged by some other writers to use a print-on-demand publisher. I found out that I can have a bound book, with a nice cover and everything, for less money than it would cost me to run the thing off on a photocopier and staple it together! So the galleys of "Never Look a Gift Hearse in the Grille" should be arriving very soon. I need to have some friends help me check it for boo-boos and then it will be available to everybody at Amazon.com and other sites. I also want to run the stories past some of the people who appear in the book. I like to say, speak now or forever hold your lawsuits.
What else? I have been keeping myself occupied with creative projects. One of the most fun was making Robert's anniversary gift. He has always wanted a BEAR COSTUME. (Why? To wear when he goes to the bagel store to buy bagels, of course!) I have priced these and to get one that looks anywhere near real, it costs about a thousand dollars. So I got busy with some papier mache and fake bear fur, and the end result is pretty cute! No! I mean, pretty scary! I also made a cat costume, for the shelter, with the help of a little girl named Tessie. We had a Hallowe'en party, and here are our costumes: