Thursday, November 26, 2009

She Arises From the Muck, to Say Happy Thanksgiving!

My cousin Karen calls me up to BEG me to write a letter. I tell her, "I'll do it today!" Then I don't. My brother Tim thought I was mad at him and had cut him off my letters list. I don't know why it has been so hard for me to do what comes so naturally to me -- to let everybody know what nutty things we are up to. I thought perhaps it was because, for so long, the target audience for my letters was Mom, and she's not here any more. I have even written letters and then deleted them. So this must mean I am psychotic. Oh well. I am trying hard to be less psychotic.

This is Thanksgiving morning. I was going to do the big dinner here but was waiting for it to get cold enough that I can store a turkey on the back porch (my fridge is too little or crammed with too much other stuff) and it is freaking BALMY outside. Then our guests dropped out, one by one, and I didn't want to think of Robert and me chewing away on the same old turkey carcass for three weeks, so we happily accepted an invitation from our friends and former neighbors, the Carrolls. I am bringing pies, that are right now making my house smell wonderful.

Well, what have we been up to? I have now been unemployed for NINE MONTHS. Every day I look for work and there are so few things that are really appropriate, I get very down about it. But that goes away in a flash when I have even the slightest whiff of a job possibity. I get cheery! I start making plans! Then, like smoke, the job dissolves away and I'm all bummed out again. I think I only have a week of benefits left, and perhaps that is why I am suddenly suffering all sorts of dermatological maladies.

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 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:

Robert, the Bear

Here I am as an Arab, but I think mostly,
I look like my brother, Chris.

Well, it is almost time to pack up the pies and take off for our Thanksgiving afternoon of too much food. I am thankful, as always, for my husband and my family and all my friends. I hope you had a great holiday, and even better ones coming up!



I promise to write again real soon!