Thursday, December 30, 2004

12/30 Another holiday weekend

I rented movies and watched three tonight...a marathon. Saw Uptown Girl, Dodgeball, and Napoleon Dynamite and enjoyed them all. I'm looking forward to the long weekend. Some plans have come up which will make the weekend tons of fun. Will write more about it later.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

12/29 Shoot!

Just found out I'm not working at CSz this weekend. That reeks. I could have stayed in Quincy instead of coming back to Milwaukee. I came back because I didn't think I should take off two weekends in a row from CSz.

Ah, well. I guess it will be nice to have a full three-day weekend with no obligations. Quite unusual actually. Perhaps I'll see what my brother and s-i-l in Aurora are doing for NY Eve.

I really do want to be in Quincy. Our New Year's Day ritual is unique, I believe. We all go out to the cemetary and have a beer with Mom and Dad. We stand around their graves and laugh at the great times we had and remember how wonderful they were. One of my brothers then usually pours a little beer on their graves. When there's snow on the ground, the beer looks like pee and that makes us laugh too.

After a little while we all adjourn to the house we grew up in, now owned by my brother Joe and his wife Cindy. We spend the day eating and playing games...and making fun of each other. It's actually an exquisite day, and I wish I could be there.

(I must confess there's another ritual--the boys try to make me wet my pants. It happened once, about 15 years ago, and they keep trying for a repeat performance. I laughed so hard that day that pepsi squirted out of my nose and I couldn't control myself.)

I always get so homesick around the holidays. But it'll pass and I'll be my old self again. Rob and Beata look forward to moving to Chicago from Japan to rescue me from this. That will be awesome, having my son and d-i-l so nearby.

12/29 Thinking about tragedy

Are you glued to the news because of the earthquake and tsunami tragedy in Asia? I'm finding it hard to stay away from the news websites, but need to do so because I'm at work. What a horrible tragedy--now CNN confirms more than 80,000 people are dead. Many thousands more are still missing.

It hit me mid-morning that the child I sponsor through Christian Children's Fund lives in Indonesia. I'm trying to get more information to see if the area he lives in was hit by the tsunami.

I donated money through Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders)--that's the organization I have the fantasy of working with when I retire. They recruit mental health specialists as well as medical personnel. Don't know if it will ever become a reality, but it's quite possible.

This is horrific. The government is really helping. But I'm afraid though that the rest of us will look at it for a while and then forget about it. We, the public, tend to agonize more on tragedies in the US.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

12/28 Back to work

Today will go quickly because I have so much to do. Plus I had to leave for 3 hours for a dentist appointment. Next Monday I get my permanent bridge. Hooray--I'll be so happy to get these visits over with.

Tonight is the last rehearsal before our stand-up performance next Tuesday. I'm really looking forward to the show.

And today I got player #3 for our Rec League team. Am waiting for a reply from someone else. The league should be a lot of fun. It starts January 11th and runs for 10 weeks.

Talked to Rob and Beata again last night. They loved the presents I sent, and I loved theirs as well. My Christmas was blessed--not just with being with family, but also in the generosity of people who love me (and me them). I got so many cool gifts.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

12/26 Vacation's almost over

After having a delightful lunch at Jan and Tim's yesterday we played dominoes, then came back to Jane's for more movies. Very relaxing.

This morning at Mass we celebrated the feast of the Holy Family. I loved it because I was there with family members, but I desperately missed my own kids. Hope that someday we'll all be together. Maybe at the next wedding, who knows? But I sure missed my kids this trip. It was great talking to them so often, however.

After Mass, Jordan and Pete went camping with the Scouts, so Jane, Sarah and I met Jan, Tim and Kristen for lunch, then the gals all went shopping for After Christmas Bargains. I got some great ones, that's for sure.

Sarah had an indoor soccer game tonight. Her team had to play a boys' team--there aren't enough girls' teams in the league. So 7th grade girls played 8th grade boys. Sad... but the girls did score 2 goals. Very cool. My favorite part of the game was when a cocky boy (good player though) was showing off trying to pass Sarah and she stole the ball from him. Everyone on his team applauded her and screamed for more. Loved it.

Tonight Sarah and I watched another movie she wanted me to see. Jane went to bed early because she has to work tomorrow. I'm driving back to Milwaukee. It'll be good to be back to my own place. Wish I could transplant my Milwaukee life into Quincy. That would make it just about perfect--then if my kids and their families would move to Quincy too, that would make everything absolutely perfect. Maybe that will be my Christmas wish next year. You never know what lies in store....

Saturday, December 25, 2004

12/25 Merry Christmas

What a night we had at Jan and Tim's on Christmas Eve. We still buy for everyone, although we keep saying we want to start drawing names. But the day after Christmas everyone is out looking for bargains for the next year. It was so much fun though, giving out and receiving tons of presents. Even little kids were giving out gifts--stuff they'd made. Loved it.

We had such a wonderful time. The only downside was that both my kids called (Rob from Japan, and Jill from LA) and I didn't hear my mobile phone ring. Aaaarrrrggghh! But I called them back later and that was cool.

Several college aged nephews and I played ComedySportz games. I think I told you all before that they call them "Jer games," and I can't get them to change it. They also say Jerberish instead of gibberish. But we had a riot. Played for HOURS. The rest of the gang watches and every now and then someone new will jump in when we're playing freeze.

I gave those nephews CSz UK shirts and cock 'n toast T-shirts and bumper stickers. They were thrilled. Two of them had visited me in Milwaukee last year and saw a CSz show and C 'n T show.

Then a few folks convinced me to do my stand-up routine. I was nervous because I knew my brothers would be heckling me. Only one made a smart comment however, but I'm so new at this that it did throw me. But that's okay. Good practice. And people said they really liked it. The laughter was reinforcing, that's for sure.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all. (We haven't opened presents yet at my sister Jane's house, and I'm looking forward to that.)

Friday, December 24, 2004

12/24 I love this time of year

Arrived at Jim and Karen's (bro and s-i-l) on Tuesday around 8 PM. Had a late dinner and did my routine for them and guests. They loved it, so I hope that kind of review continues. We exchanged gifts and made it an early night since Jim had to get up at 6 for work.

I got up at 8, showered and made it upstairs by 8:30. Met Jim in the kitchen. He'd overslept but wasn't too worried about it. Wish all my sibs lived a bit closer to each other. It's fun to be around them.

Had a quick breakfast with Karen, Frank, and Katy. Then took off for Quincy. I arrived yesterday around 2:30 PM and immediately needed to go over to Jan and Tim's (sis and b-i-l) to drop off presents. Jim and Karen had given me so many gifts to bring plus added to my own, well my car was so stuffed I couldn't see. The drive from Aurora to Quincy (about 5 hours) seemed like a really long drive because I couldn't see in my mirrors. Anyway, Sarah (13 yo) squeezed into the front seat and sat cross legged because the floor in front was full of gifts too. We first drove to Joe and Cindy's (bro and s-i-l) to drop off some stuff and then went to Jan and Tim's. Their new home that Tim built (with Jan's and a little help from others) is absolutely gorgeous. I'm so glad they're having us all there for Christmas Eve. It will be grand. The house isn't entirely done yet, but what is done is beautiful. They have every right to be proud. They invited me to stay at their home--the guests rooms are HUGE--but I said I'll stay at Jane's again because I love getting up Christmas morning and opening presents with kids.

We went to dinner at Krieger's and Kris (niece) and her boyfriend Rich were shopping and we saw them through the window, so they joined us. (I'm putting down relationships because most of my friends can't keep track of our family without a scorecard.)

Then we went back to Jane and Pete's (sis and b-i-l) and I watched Elf with Sarah and Jordan. We also have Princess Diaries 2 and Shrek 2 to watch. I love being around other discerning movie watchers. :) Today Sarah, Jordan and I are going to the threatre to see the Lemony Snicket movie. I can't wait. Doesn't matter what reviews say, I know I'm going to love it. Jane loves this tradition. She can get her last minute Christmas stuff done while I am having fun with her kids. I've been doing this for years. And the best thing is--she pays for it. Can't beat that.

Tonight we'll all be together for Christmas Eve. It will be wonderful but I'll miss my own kids so much. Damn now I'm tearing up. Damn. damn damn damn. Jill called yesterday and will call again tonight. Rob and Beata will call I'm sure. And Jim and Karen said they would call as well. Jan and Tim's son Craig and his gf Megan are in Columbus OH and will arrive for New Year's so they'll probably call tonight too.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all who read this note--and even to those who don't. It's a blessing to be alive and relatively healthy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

12/22 Annual review

12:52 PM: In 8 minutes I get my annual review. It's hard to type with your fingers crossed. More later.

Later: The review went better than I'd even hoped. So my Christmas vacation will start off with a light heart. Christmas carols are playing on my computer (I LOVE Launchcast), I'm going to finish up what I can today and leave around 6 PM for five days of no-responsibilities except FUN! I love Christmas with family.

Oh, one other responsibility besides having fun will be to memorize my comedy routine. No problem, as that really falls under the fun category anyway.

Monday, December 20, 2004

12/20 Fun day at work

The day started with an early dentist appointment to finally get impressions for my permanent bridge. I'll get the permanent one put in on January 3rd--one day before I make my stand-up debut. Hooray. It will feel so good to have a "real" tooth again. Guess this will teach me not to bite on any frozen candy bars again. Yikes. I paid for it dearly--figuratively and literally. Another dental note--on December 28 I'm going to get a Zoom cleaning, and I'm thrilled about that. Even though they said my teeth aren't discolored, it seems that way to me. Especially when I see myself in a group shot. Some of the people I'm comparing myself to are professionals actors or public figures. Like my friends in California. But tough. I'm just going to have it done and will feel better.

Didn't get to work until 10:30 and at 11:15 we went out for a department holiday lunch. Went to TGIFridays at Miller Park. All of us received a gift card for Blockbuster, which was a nice surprise.

Tonight I need to FINALLY get my Christmas cards done, and I'll be glad to have that off my plate. I really love to send them, but am kind of stressed this year.

I'm really really really looking forward to Christmas in Quincy.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

12/18 12 hour workday

I was supposed to work from 12-5 today but ended up working 12 hours. From 5-midnight I was the floor manager. First time. But I was glad to do it. Extra money, since I won't be working over Christmas weekend. And while doing that I got to watch a lot of the shows. You do a lot of work prior to and in between the shows, but during the show it's a lot easier than Box Office. Dick said to sit in the aisle and make sure the door gets opened when the players rush in. I can do that! It was fun. But I am really beat.

I'd planned to come home at 5 and do some of the hours and hours of work needed, but now have to cram it in tomorrow. And I have stand-up class tomorrow night too. So I think I better get to bed and get some zzzzs. (I changed the date and time, so it would look like this was posed on Saturday, but actually it's 12:45 on Sunday morning.)

Friday, December 17, 2004

12/17 Holiday frenzy

I'm feeling a bit rushed. Working at my regular job, plus two times this weekend at CSz, plus dealing with this damn bridge in my mouth, trying to get out Christmas cards, and finishing wrapping what I have for Quincy is causing a little stress. Of course, that's not uncommon during this time. But since I'd bought everything early, I thought I could get it all done early. Alas, not to be.

I did figure out my routine for 1/4, but now need to memorize it, or at least begin to memorize it for our class on Sunday. I'm looking forward to that. Refining the act is much more fun than I thought it would be.

Someone is coming to clean on Monday, so that means I MUST finish preparations for Quincy this weekend. Right now, no one could clean because there's too much crap strewn about. I'm a mess when I'm wrapping. But I can't wait to go there. My sister Jan and her husband Tim just built a house and moved into it a few weeks ago. So we're having Christmas Eve there this year. I'm sure it will be lovely. And it's always fun getting the gang together.

I stay at my sister Jane's house and enjoy Christmas morning her family. This year they're all going out to the Illinois Veteran's Home to assist wheel-chair bound patients in attending Mass. That's neat. Jer

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

12/15 A really good day

Today is a good one. Not only is it payday, but we got a nice gift card inside the envelope. This will make my last minute shopping a little easier. I bought most of my Christmas gifts while in the UK, but still have a few more. With the number of relatives I have, it's a wonder everything fits into my SUV.

And as usual, last night's Stand-Up class was fun and informative. Lee is wonderful for teaching us for free. A nice guy. And he really is knowledgeable about the subject. I find I'm eagerly anticipating our performance on 1/4.

We're meeting Sunday instead of next Tuesday, because Tuesday is a special workshop by Jill of CSz Twin Cities. So between now and Sunday I have to tentatively decide what's going to be in my routine. That's the hard part. I know what made the others laugh, but will the audience be made up of the same "type" of people? Probably, since the only ones there will be relatives and friends.

Three of my friends made it into the Minor Leagues. I knew it earlier, but it was announced via the CSz paychecks so it's public. I'm very happy for them, all three deserve it.

It makes me wonder about me. This was the first time I was eligible to be called up, since I just finished 104. Guess I need to ask Dick or Dave what I need to work on. I also wonder if my age is an issue. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

12/14 Work keeps multiplying

Like Tribbles. The piles on my desk keep getting higher and they taunt me. Taking time out to eat lunch at my desk, and check on personal emails and two forums. I'll probably work this weekend to help me catch up.

Tonight is Stand-Up class. I'm really looking forward to it because we're going to start building our routine out of all the "stuff" we've performed so far. We're going to pick out what has worked and find a theme that will make the jokes flow.

I need to make a sign to put up at work, letting people know when the performance is. But I'm rather nervous about people I know attending. I've never felt that way about improv, but stand-up is different. It's very personal.

Monday, December 13, 2004

12/12 Back home and back to reality

Don't know where to begin. Friday night was tons of fun. My friends absolutely loved CSz. For all of them, it was there first visit. But all will return. In fact, one friend booked her daughter's 16th birthday party there.

LA CSz was superb. The theatre is small, but wonderful, with no bad seats. I saw two people perform that I knew--Natasha and Kurt. Natasha shared that they just got engaged. So cool. I like them both...had lunch with them when they were in Milwaukee for WC. Kurt said he'll be back here for the holidays; Milwaukee is his hometown.

After the show I met two other people from the forums, Andy and Eric. That was neat too. Andy and I hugged like old friends. I'll definitely return for another show next time I'm in LA.

Saturday, we bought the tree for Jill and Todd's house and had fun decorating that with the kids. The kids got a small tree for Kayla's room, and I think next year it will be in Hunter's room. And they asked Grandma to help them decorate. Loved that.

Then Saturday night we opened presents. It's such a joy to be around little ones at a time like that. Plus, I made out like a bandit myself. :) I received a really nice gift certificate to Home Depot--one of my favorite stores. And they bought me a new printer, that prints photo quality prints. I'm thrilled with that. I use my digital camera all the time, but never print anything. And on my desk at work I know have Kayla's first school photo--from pre-school.

It was a great visit, but as usual was hard to leave on Sunday. I'll probably go back in a few months, but it's still sad to leave them.

However, the trip back to Milwaukee was eventful. While Heidi (the girl from the flight out) was in the bathroom Tony (the boy from the flight out) jumped over me and took her seat. She then sat in the middle seat and we laughed all the way back to Milwaukee. It was really REALLY turbulent as we got ready to land and Tony was scared, so he got out the emergency card and read it to us. I think he began seriously, but ended up being a comedian. An exchange student from Lithuania (adorable young man) stood by me, flirting with Heidi too. I don't think I've ever felt so old. But they ended up paying a lot of attention to me too--and Andrius said, "You're a hot grandmother" in German to me, so that was certainly a bit of fun.

Tony is coming to my stand-up debut. Hope that works out.

Friday, December 10, 2004

12/10 In sunny LA

It's 80 degrees and sunny and of course I neglected to bring shorts. I also neglected to bring something to sleep in and wore one of Todd's T-shirts last night. Omigod it was laughable. If I had more humility I would have taken a picture. A size M on a size XL body. Not a pretty sight. So I bought a pair of pajamas at Walmart today. I let the kids pick them out, so they are of Charlie Brown and the gang having fun in the snow. :)

The trip here was a stitch. A 19 year old girl was in A and I was in C--luckily we had an empty seat between. The kids from Marquette University High School soccer team were on the plane. The one in front of me was playing cards and every time he played a good card he'd jump up in his seat and then back in his seat. My seatmate Heidi and I just laughed, but it stopped being funny when the kid spilled my coffee. So I politely tapped him on the head and asked him to settle down. We started talking and Tony is so much fun. 16 years old and a bundle of energy, but Mr. Congeniality definitely. Did he stop jumping? Absolutely not, but he did apologize every time thereafter. :)

I told him that no matter how crazy he made me that I got a joke out of it for my routine. Don't know if it will fit into my 5-10 minute stand-up debut, but it cracked up everyone around us. I'm going to talk about the kid with ADD who sat in front of me and drove me nuts. (Of course I'll do a little overacting.) And finally, when I could stand it no long, I jumped up, grabbed the mike from the flight attendant and yelled, "For God's sake does anyone have any Ritalin?" (Gee it sure doesn't read funny, but it sounds funny, I promise.)

Sweet Tony wants to come to the performance. I told him there's no guarantee the joke will be in there, but if it is I'm going to exaggerate the whole scenario. He understands but he still wants to come and bring friends. I hope it works out.

A nice thing is that all of us are taking the same plane back to Milwaukee and we're sitting in the same seats. I love it. The kids said it'll give them something to look forward to. How sweet.

My grandkids were asleep when I arrived, but Kayla woke up and crawled in bed with me. Then Hunter woke up crying, I coughed and couldn't sleep, took medicine, got indigestion, and didn't sleep a wink because when the indigestion ended around 6 AM, it was time to get up. Yikes.

I'm going to be tired for our trip to LA CSz tonight, but will still enjoy being with family and friends and watching the show.

Today I'm with the kids all day while Jill and Todd are at work. We're having fun. Right now it's nearly naptime for the kids--and for Grandma.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

12/9 Another brother, another birthday

I wrote three birthday messages, three days in a row--one each for John, Joe and Jay. Three out of five brothers. All five are beyond crazy. That's what I love about them. They keep me laughing. One of their goals when we get together is to see which one can make me wet my pants because of laughing so hard. It happened once. ONCE. In the late 80s or early 90s. But it's a legacy I'll never live down.

Sure wish I was famous in the family for something besides that.

Well, everyone's got to be good at something.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

12/8/04 Fun last night

Stand-up comedy class was really fun last night. All six of us are starting to get some confidence and we all have such a different style of delivery. That's cool. The show won't be so boring because of the differences.

Last night we were to talk about our childhood or our future. I'd asked relatives to tell me what they wanted to be when they grew up--when they were asked as children. And I was going to make my routine about how no one ever becomes what they said, etc. But I had to cut so much to get to the punch lines, that it took too long. So I ended up using material from me. About what I'd wanted to be, and how it got me out of housework and chores as a kid. Then segued into looking forward to retirement. I got more laughs last night than at the other classes.

Next week, we're taking the best of each week and crafting our routine for our performance night, which is going to be January 4, at Giggles Comedy Pub. I'm really excited about it, and hope we can get a good-sized audience.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

12/7 Birthdays 1, 2, 3

Today's my brother John's birthday, tomorrow is brother Joe's birthday, and the following day is brother Jay's birthday (and also b'day of son-in-law and ex-husband). Lots of sex going on in early March apparently.

Yesterday was just work, come home, crash. Boring. But a friend sent me a website for those days when you're very bored. It's nuts.

This morning Rob and Beata called from Japan. Very cool to talk to them. And a little while ago I talked to Jill in LA. I'm going there on Thursday evening for a very short weekend--coming back on Sunday.

That's it.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

12/5 Weekend

What a super weekend. Since I worked at CSz on Thursday night I have the weekend to myself. I decided to take care of a few things at home. Yesterday I got all the presents ready and in a suitcase for my early Christmas trip to LA on Thursday. Then I relaxed. :)

Today I'll do laundry, start Christmas cards, work on my comedy routine for Tuesday (I hope), and of course watch the Packer game.

This morning I was online with my friend Bron. Right now it's around noon here and 6 PM there. It's really fun to be able to communicate so easily. We also played some Scrabble. She's really picking it up for someone who'd never played before. And also she's spelling in American English instead of UK.

Friday, December 03, 2004

12/3 Good day--Friday

First of all, I just came back from lunch and found that my son Rob had submitted comments on my blog, and that was a nice surprise. In fact it made me cry. Especially the one I've linked to here.

My theory of child rearing is no matter how painful it can be at times (and how lovely too), when your kids grow up what wonderful benefits you reap. To have grown up friends who are also your kids. Unbelievable.

Last night I worked at CSz and it was fun. A nice easy evening, which contrasts with my usual Friday or Saturday night mayhem. Afterward there was a birthday party for one of the players. That was fun too, especially because I got to kiss him. He's a cutie. I also had a beer and enjoyed that too.

I've been having such fun with Bron and Jen. Bron has been the only pal consistently submitting comments to this blog. Guess that's because I consistently submit them to hers too. She runs CSz in the UK (and performs too). Jen is with the CSz troupe in Portland OR. We've become such good friends online--of course I've met them both. Jen at the World Championship in August, and Bron was there too, but I also spent 5 months working with Bron's group when I lived in the UK for that time. But lately we've been emailing and IMing so much that they're like my little sisters. Nice women. Funny women.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

12/2 Rob's writing and one more thing.

Yesterday I received 12 pages of writing from my son, Rob. He has a great premise for a techno-thriller and finally his wife and a friend convinced him to actually begin writing. I'm going to love this manuscript, I know. He's very talented. Now we've just got to get him to finish it. Being a Special Ops guy himself, he knows this kind of stuff from the inside. I think there's a market for it. And it just so happens his Mom is an editor.

Oh, and my temporary bridge broke and fell out, and I had to go get a new one this morning. Joy beyond compare.

The good news is that they made two, so if I break one I have another. Very cool. I'll get my permanent bridge right after New Years.

Tonight I work at CSz and have the weekend off. Life is indeed good.

Our stand-up class was fun again on Tuesday and I got some good feedback. Have to develop another routine and memorize it for next week's class, but I'll be able to do it this weekend in between wrapping Christmas presents and addressing cards.

I'm so excited that I'm not working this weekend. And next weekend I won't work either because I'll be in LA. Hooray!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

12/1 December already?

I love December. The holidays are precious times. The last few years I haven't decorated my house however. I go to LA in early December to visit Jill and her family for an early Christmas. Then I go to Quincy to be with my sibs and extended family. We have a Christmas Eve that is awesome (my opinion), scary (new guests' opinions), overdone (everyone's opinion), and wild. I LOVE IT! Most of us still buy for everyone, but we don't keep score to see who doesn't. Doesn't matter at all. I feel so blessed when I'm at that gathering of 40 people or so. (I don't have the energy to count.)

My brother and sister-in-law from Aurora may not make it this year--his job has him on call at that time. There's a definite void when someone's missing. And you definitely need a note from someone in authority if you do miss. It is a rare and wonderful experience. And I always think that National Lampoon had us in mind when they produced Christmas Vacation. (Have I mentioned I love it?)

Many of us go to early Mass on Christmas Eve--some at 4 PM, some at 5 PM--then we gather at the designated house. One brother's house isn't big enough to hold the gang, but I've never heard anyone say anything negative about it. Whoever has enough room just takes turns. When I lived in Quincy, I had the gang over, but that was before everyone's kids started having kids. I know the group wouldn't fit in my old house now.

So we begin with food--everyone brings something and we eat and drink and laugh (and sometimes choke on our food and laughter). The kids (including a few of my brothers) begin anxiously saying, "Can we open presents now? Can we? Huh?"

And that's when the real craziness begins. Words can't describe it. I once made the mistake of asking if we could just give out one present at a time, so we could enjoy watching everyone open their presents. One of my brothers yelled out, "Only if we stay here two weeks." So we continue the tradition of a few people sitting on the floor near the tree, grabbing presents and yelling out names. Then it becomes a free-for-all. Such fun.

Many times we'll play some games. Usually not Jer-games on Christmas Eve. We save those for other occasions--like New Year's Day. I'll save those comments for another note.

People with little ones leave fairly early because the kids are anxious to get to sleep so Santa will come. Those of us with grown kids stay around and play games or talk. Then the rest of the crew goes to midnight mass--at our parish back home it begins at 10:30 PM. Kind of a faux midnight mass.

I can't wait for Christmas!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

11/30 Good and not-so-good news from doc

Had my annual physical this morning. The great news is that I've lost 20 pounds since the last time they weighed me (late August) and also my blood pressure (normally around 120/70 which is high normal) is 104/60. I almost kissed my doctor at that one.

The not-so-good news is that I have degenerative arthritis. No big deal. I've had osteoarthritis for years and haven't let it stop me from doing anything I want to do. But now I have this stupid stupid stupid bump on my finger. I thought it was an injury from doing a pratfall at CSz. I remember throwing myself on the floor, getting up and telling a teammate that I'd hurt my finger a little. Turns out I didn't hurt it. That's just the time that I noticed it. Drat. There goes my career as a hand model.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

11/28 Another weekend

I worked a lot this weekend at CSz. Most of it was fun. Friday had some rough patches including a drunk going backstage and coming out onto the stage. He ended up being thrown out (not physically). It was the first time I ever saw someone "dismissed" from the arena. Young kid. Bunch of them came in a bus to celebrate someone's 21st birthday. Birthday boy's mom was there too to ensure everyone stayed semi-sensible. Didn't work.

Also Friday night the cash register "froze" with all my money and receipts in it. Ugh. I couldn't balance the show and that was frustrating.

But Saturday matinee was great. I love working that show. The kids are adorable and really enjoy CSz. I think that's a show I could perform in and do well.

Speaking of that, in our paychecks was a note that some new people will be moving up to the Minors. I know it's not me because no one has spoken to me. But that does mean some of my friends will be going. That is very cool. Can't wait to find out who they are.

Today is laundry day, wrapping presents day and football day. Hate one, love the next and LOVE the last.

Friday, November 26, 2004

11/26 Yesterday was a good Thanksgiving

Yesterday started perfectly. My wristwatch alarm went off at 7 and I started to get up. Then I remembered that I didn't have to. What a great way to start the day--by being able to go back to sleep. I certainly give thanks for that.

At 8:30 the phone rang and it was my niece Sarah, calling to wish me a happy Thanksgiving. She's 13 and one of my favorite people in the whole world. I give thanks for Sarah--and everyone in my family.

My daughter Jill called later in the day and it was great talking to her, Kayla and Hunter. There's a lot to be thankful for there too. I'll be there in two weeks for a visit. Can't wait. We do our early Christmas usually the first or second week in December every year. Kayla told me yesterday that besides the winter dress she wants me to buy, she wants to take me to the Disney store so I can buy her an Aurora dress. I had to ask who Aurora was--it's Sleeping Beauty. Love learning new things. I hope that's a trivia question sometime. :)

I stayed in my pajamas all day. And it was so wonderful to be lazy. So often I run around with too many activities going on. I took the day off from everything that I didn't want to do. Was going to wrap some Christmas presents, but decided not to. Was going to work on the manuscript, but decided not to. Was going to start writing my jokes for stand-up class, but decided not to.

So what did I do? I watched tons of TV that I'd recorded. I played online Scrabble with people all over the world. Got trounced most of the time. (Yeah, I'm even thankful for that--teaches me humility.) And I "talked" to two friends a lot--Bron (in the UK) and Jen (in Oregon). Such fun. That's become a daily event with us and I look forward to it.

There's something that I do like about myself. I'm always grateful. Don't know why. Maybe it's because we didn't have much when I was a kid. I've learned to appreciate things and people. Each day the first thing on my mind isn't "Oh, crap I have to get up." It's "Thank you, God." I'm just grateful to get another chance. Another chance to be a better person. To right the wrongs I did yesterday. Another chance to have fun, to learn something new, and even another chance to have a lazy day. What a gift.

Okay, then sometimes I think, "Oh, crap, I have to get up."

As Kayla taught me to say: I'm a lucky bug.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

11/24 Last night's report

The stand-up comedy class was ace. Lee--a friend from CSz who is also a successful stand-up comedian--is a really good teacher. He wanted the class small...only five. But he did let me in, so there are six of us. Five students know each other from CSz and the sixth is someone who's been doing open mike nights for several months, but wants some instruction. So even though this is really new for us, we don't have the usual fear of getting up in front of an audience. Lee said that makes it easier for us to put on a good show. Yeah, we're doing a showcase in several weeks. Don't know exactly when yet. I'm pretty stoked about it. Although it is pretty scary venturing out into something brand new. It's really fun learning new things though.

Someone wrote a mean comment on my blog. Not mean like my brothers would be mean--but just plain mean. And they weren't even adult enough to say who they were. I deleted the note right away and then decided to delete that poison from my mind. Criticism isn't fun to hear, but I can take it. Not from "anonymous" however. Anonymous and cruel doesn't interest me. Bye-bye, you're gone--POOF!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

11/23 Life is gooooood!

Okay, so my face still hurts from the damn dental work, but I lost more weight. And tonight I start a stand-up comedy class, given by a friend of mine. Other friends are also in the class so it should be a lot of fun.

I find that improvisational comedy comes kind of easy for me. Quick retorts, smart-alecky while still be clean (required in CSz) are right up my alley--hell I have five brothers and we all have to talk fast to get a word in edgewise. Plus we all try to outdo each other with who is the funniest. I win, but not one of my relatives would agree with that. I didn't mention my sisters in this; that's because they don't play "can you top this."

I've been doing improv for nearly two years (January of '03) and am completely and utterly in love with the genre.

Monday, November 22, 2004

11/22 Woe is my face

CAUTION: Do not read further if you are squeamish about blood, guts and entrails!

Okay, it's not quite that bad. I just got back from the dentist and my face hurts (I know, it's killing you). I have a temporary bridge in and will have it for about four weeks. We hope my permanent one will be ready before I go home for Christmas.

Turned out that my tooth was dead anyway, and it broke because it was dead--it didn't die because it broke, which was what I originally thought. And apparently an old crack in it caused the whole thing--a crack which appeared on my x-rays but never caused me any problem, so we let it go. I ended up with a really big abcess and it took a few hours to clean everything out. Hence my face pain right now.

He pulled the tooth, fixed the abcess, ground down the two other teeth a little, and then I was fitted with a temporary bridge.

What may be a wonderful byproduct of this is that three years ago I had horrendous face pain. I thought it had been caused by eating a frozen Snickers bar and cracking a tooth. (See where this is leading?) They did tooth xrays, an ENT doc did sinus xrays, an oral surgeon did TMJ xrays, and nothing showed up. But the whole side of my face hurt, and it was excruciating pain. The final diagnosis was some sort of nerve pain caused by one of my cranial nerves. And I've been on meds for three years.

Getting rid of the abcess might--just might--take care of all that pain and get me off those meds.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

11/20 More tooth woes

I forgot to post what happened with my tooth. So to recap--at lunchtime on Thursday I cracked a tooth while eating a bagel cracker. My dentist took me in immediately. When he looked at it he said, "You must be in a lot of pain." I said, "I wasn't until you told me that."

It cracked and separated all the way to the root. I told him that I'd feel differently if I'd been taking off a beer bottle cap with my teeth, but it was just a damn bagel chip, with lo-fat cheese on it.

I'm done laughing at my jokes now, because to do everything top notch it's going to cost me almost $4000. He said my insurance probably won't cover it because they'll want to do the cheapest option. And he said the prognosis on that working isn't good at all. So I'm calling my dental insurance company tomorrow to see if crying, begging, threatening, whining, or joking will help.

I had three shots to deaden it while he pulled out the already dead piece that had broken off. I don't understand how a tooth can die that quickly. Now the feeling is starting to come back, it hurts and I'm also sad about the dough.

Okay, I'm done whining. If I get the implant, the good news is that I'll never have to get a filling in that tooth. Ba-da-bum!
I called my insurance company yesterday and told them the three options:

Since the tooth broke under the gum line (ouch), it killed the whole tooth. At least the doc thinks so. He says the cheap way to go and the one the insurance will pay for is to try to save the tooth, do a root canal, a core build-up, and a crown. That will be close to $2000 (approximately $1850-1950). Even though my insurance will pay for it, doc said that he's pretty certain it's not the best way to go, because he doesn't believe we can save the tooth. It's a molar and is very damaged.

Option 2--the one he recommends is to get the tooth extracted, get a titanium implant done by an oral surgeon, and an implant crown. That one is about $3700-3800. Because my other teeth are really good, and should last my whole life, he said we need something for this tooth to last my whole life as well.

Option 3--Extract the bad tooth, PLUS the teeth on either side and get a 3-unit bridge. This will last my whole life, but is a waste of two perfectly good teeth. That's why he recommends #2. Cost of this one is about $2800.
So of course the insurance company definitely won't cover any of the implant. Guess I'll have to go with the root canal and crown. It's the cheapest, and insurance will cover all but about $750.

This reeks.

I'll call the dentist Monday and give him my decision. The "stuff" he put in the tooth to fill it in the meantime, all fell out the first time I ate. So know there's this big hole in my mouth and of course my tongue goes to it all the time. Ugh. I just want to get this over with.

Friday, November 19, 2004

11/19 the Beatles

Today an acquaintance slammed the Beatles in a Forum I frequent. I responded:

As an Oldie, I need to comment on the Beatles. I don't know if anyone ever loved them as a "band." We never cared about their musical ability. They were a phenomenon. We had never experienced anything like them. Yes, we screamed for the young Elvis. And we loved the Doo Wop of the 50s and early 60s. Motown wasn't the power that it was going to be, but some of those early R&B groups still make me smile.

Ah, but the Beatles. Every young girl had her favorite. And just knew that he would marry her. As a young Catholic girl, I wasn't in favor of divorce, but I would have made an exception in John's case. He needed to divorce Cynthia and marry one of my friends. Paul was mine. Still is.

As far as some of the other groups go, songs still elicit memories for me, and yes they make me smile. Some of the Beach Boys songs make me feel like a high schooler again. Same with the early Stones. Same with some of the very early Ike and Tina Turner, when they weren't national and only some very cool kids knew about them.

I love the Beatles. Musicianship be damned in this case... it's them! The phenomenon! (Paul still loves me best.)

Thanks for slamming them. It made me smile to write this. Jer

Thursday, November 18, 2004

11/18 Yikes, my tooth!

While eating lunch (bagel chips and soft cheese) I broke a tooth. I'm very upset. Not about going to the dentist--I don't mind that at all, but I hate leaving work early. There's so much to do. I'll finish at the dentist around 4:30 or 5 PM and will have to come back to work to finish up some stuff before tomorrow. That's what upsets me. I wanted to work on the book tonight like I did last night. But the best laid plans etc. etc.

The show last night was quite enjoyable. I saw seven folks from my own group (out of 12), so that was fun. Got home to find a message on my machine from 4-year old Kayla. "Grandma. Grandma. Hello?? Helloooo? Grandma, why does your phone sound so funny? Mommmmmyyyyy!" Then my daughter spoke for a moment. Cute.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

11/17 Hmm, why haven't I posted?

Don't know. It's unusual for me to go three days without posting. I try to do it during my lunchtime but sometimes I forget. My mind is a colander. (I used to say "sieve" but that's a cliche, so I made up one of my own.)

Tonight I'm going to CSz to watch another class's performance. That's sure to be fun.

Am starting to think more and more about home. Even though I have a lot of acquaintances here in Milwaukee, I really don't have a good friend. Someone that I was really close to when I lived here before is now married with a small child. That certainly puts her in a different life phase than me. I still love her, but our relationship was forced to change, and that's not a problem. I'm glad she's happy. We'll see each other every now and then, but there's no more calling me to see if I'd like to go out to dinner, movie, play, whatever. That's what I miss. I noticed that I'm the one who asks people to do stuff. No one calls me.

Guess I need to do some introspection on why that is. (Damn, I hate introspection.) There's no reason to try to look for blame in other people. Why don't I have friends here (versus friendly acquaintances)? One reason for sure is that I enjoy doing things that younger people do--like CSz. Only a very few people there in my age group. My young friends (I'm going to use friends--meaning pals) enjoy being around me sometime, I do know that. But I can't expect them to want to hang out with me all the time.

The last time I lived in Milwaukee I was dating the Prof. Of course that made living here much more palatable. It's not that I don't love Milwaukee. I do. Just well--all the crap I've already written about.

As I think about home, I try to create ways I can do my job long distance--I can certainly write and edit from Quincy. Those are the major parts of my job. But the managerial part would have to go. Am I ready to do that? I'd also have to give up the comaraderie that goes with working in a company. Am I ready to give that up? Guess the answer is no.

Maybe I'm just in a temporary funk. My classes are over for now. Who knows if I'll be in others. Plus, I thought I'd be on a Rec League team with certain people that I've practiced with for a long time. But that's not to be. So I can risk more rejection by asking others to join me on a team, or I can decide to forego the league. Haven't decided yet.

Aarrgghhh! I hate introspection.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

11/14 Rob's birthday

Today is my son Rob's 33rd birthday. It seems like a moment ago he was a 2-month old baby in my arms. That's how old he was the day we brought him home from the agency in Hawaii. I'd wanted a baby forever, and we'd been married for more than four years when I discovered I couldn't get pregnant.

We'd been approved for about six months. Back then Hawaii DFCS approved six couples at any one time, and when a child became available that child went to the couple who had the best "fit" with the child. Rob is Samoan, and at the time there were no Polynesian couples, or any couples of color, approved. Out of all the haole couples, my husband was the biggest. So we got Rob. I was so grateful my ex played football in college.

(Haole--pronounced hah-oh-lee--originally meant stranger in Hawaian. Now it commonly means white person.)

When I got the call that a beautiful healthy baby was ours, my husband was in the field on the Big Island. He was in the military. I had no way to reach him. So I called the OOD (officer of the day) and told him the story. He radioed the Big Island and my ex said he had to maintain silence during the manuevers. So as soon as they were supposed to "attack" the other forces, he yelled aloud as he ran, "I'm a FATHER--I have a SON!!"

He came home the next day and we went into Honolulu to pick up Rob. At this point we hadn't even seen a picture of him, but that didn't matter. We walked into the agency and the receptionist said they weren't expecting anyone with our last name. After a few extremely anxious moments, we found out she was brand new and had no idea what she was saying. Then they brought out our baby.

He was gorgeous. I fell in love immediately. They gave us pictures from the first two months of his life in foster care. I cherish those.

Rob's gifted in many ways. He can play any sport, but soccer is his favorite. He can draw and paint. He is musical, has played drums since a kid. And he's smart. I can brag, since he doesn't have my DNA. :)

I'm so in love with both my kids, and I wrote about Jill on her birthday. I wanted to do the same with Rob. Both of them have enriched my lives in ways I never could have imagined prior to their coming into my life. What blessings!

Happy birthday, Rob. Can't wait until you and Beata move home from Japan. I miss you both.

Friday, November 12, 2004

11/12 Happenings, none

Nothing really exciting happening. Except my work. I love doing what I do. I love writing and editing (don't judge either of those skills based upon my quickly-written and unedited blogs). I love that I'm kind of a utility infielder and receive other assignments from the CEO and also the owner.

The owner asked me yesterday to contact Rob and Beata (son and d-i-l), who live in Japan. One of our employees in the Japanese office is leaving and the owner wanted to get him a suitable gift. Rob suggested a bottle of Habu Sake (sake with a poisonous snake coiled inside the bottle). We don't quite know if he was serious or not. He and Beata did give other suggestions too.

Eating lunch--this is when I normally blog. Today it's black olive hummus, scooped up with bagel crisps. Oooh, I love this!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

11/11 Another day in the office

Got a lot done. So why does my desk look worse than when I arrived this morning?

Yesterday I went home at 4. Couldn't think; I was so tired. Today I feel pretty darn good.

I work all evening at CSz on Saturday, and Sunday I have a Sisters-in-Crime meeting. Wish I had a day where I didn't have to go out at all. I love those days. Especially when it's cold--like now.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

11/10 What fun! zzzzzz

Last night was so much fun, but right now I'm as tired as I can be while still almost functioning. I found that critical thinking is out the window. Also found that I can sleep with my eyes open, while nodding my head, smiling, and pretending to listen to people speak in a meeting. I've regressed to college days. But then, of course, I could stay out all night and still function.

Got home after midnight, to bed after 1 AM, and up at 7 AM and my behind is dragging.

But it was a magical evening. The group performed well, most of us were able to put our lessons into practice. I failed on one thing, the others I did okay. Even shone a little. Thanks, LA James, for teaching me the grandiose, "I FAILED!" (Throw arms up in the air.) "Thank you." (Full theatrical bow.)

There were more than a hundred people there, I was told. I had several friends attend, which was wonderful. We stayed in the CSz bar for a long time after the performance.

My friend, Christine, was the shining star of the evening, I believe. While everyone did well, she grabbed the audience's attention with her risk-taking and wit. I'm happy she was so successful.

I hope I'm able to finish out the day withou ZZZZ ZZZz zzzzzzzzzz drool

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

11/9 Performance Time

I'm really psyched. Can't wait for the performance tonight. The only bad thing is that it will soon be over. Well, that's life. I've learned so much in this series of workshops...probably more than all the others combined. Or maybe it's that I've absorbed a lot and am ready to put it into practice. Who knows... I'm just excited.

Here's a picture of Kayla with the elephants my co-workers sent her.

Monday, November 08, 2004

11/8 Monday--oh yeah!

I do love my job. Today is overwhelming to the nth degree, but I'll survive. In fact, I'll thrive. (Trying the power of positive thinking here.)

The weekend was busy. Friday night I worked at ComedySportz, the two evening shows. And on both Saturday and Sunday my group rehearsed for our Tuesday CSz show. I'm so psyched about it. Maybe that's why I'm feeling so good today, even though the work is piled so high on my desk that I can't see over it--metaphorically speaking.

At the same time I'm trying to stay up to speed with NANOWRIMO--see that blog if you're interested.

Friday, November 05, 2004

11/5 Death

Yesterday when I got home from work, a neighbor said that Glenn died the night before. Glenn's bedroom is right below mine in the condo building. The police and the coroner were still there, having had to break into his condo. They were waiting for the funeral home to arrive to remove the body.

Glenn and I weren't friends, but we were "hello, how are you" neighbors. I saw him nearly every morning when I went down to the basement garage. He was usually returning from breakfast as I was leaving for work. Kind and polite to me, as I was to him. I liked him, except for his smoking. When our windows were open, the smoke just drifted into my place. I hated that, and won't miss it.

But I'll miss his neighborliness.

I asked Gene if Glenn had any family and was told there was an estranged brother and that was it. That made me sad. I know when I die there will be a host of people grieving. Not bragging, because I have no idea how many friends would grieve, but I'm speaking of family. I'm so blessed to have tons of relatives who love me as I do them.

So I'm grieving for Glenn. Someone needs to.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

11/4 UPS came through...

with a check for $22 and not even an acknowledgement that I'd asked for no money, but rather an apology to Kayla. Now that I have the money, I'm pissed that it's not enough. Yuck. Plus they made the check out to my company rather than me, because I shipped from here.

After a semi-productive day at work, I went to the Minor League show at CSz to support some friends. It was a great show, but only about 25 people in the audience, so that was a downer. Other friends had rehearsal elsewhere so I sat by myself. Sat in the front row because no one else was there. Finally a few others joined me. Afterward one friend said she was happy to see me in the front row and to hear my laughter. I'm really glad I went.

Didn't feel well, so I took a lot of work home with me in case I decided to stay home today. But I couldn't do it. It's just a sore throat, so I'm at work. Got in really early because I woke up at 5 AM. Darn geese flying south for the winter--always are honking and waking me up.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

11/3 Depression and joy and lots of barrel laughs

I'm much sadder than I thought I'd be about the election results. Sad, and a little scared. But my son will be happy. Damn it.

But Kayla is ecstatic and not about the election. I should have seen this as a forewarning though. The elephants made her happy. (Darn symbols of Republicans.)

The elephants arrived by UPS. She loves them both so much. One is battery operated and one is huggable and plush. She told me the Mommy elephant knows how to walk, but the baby elephant doesn't. Adorable. Jill is going to take pictures and email them to the sweet women who gave the elephants to Kayla.

Last night we had a run through of our CSz Workshop show for next week. I'm pretty stoked about both the number and the type of games I'm playing. The whole group did really well, and I laughed a lot. Afterward we adjourned to the bar for a few drinks. Fun evening--well, except for the election results part.

And so we come full circle.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

11/2 I voted

I arrived at the Brown Deer Library around 7:45 AM and was finished by 8:30. Not too bad. It was cloudy and cool, but no rain. I proudly wear my "I voted in Brown Deer" sticker. Very chic.

Am on my lunch break, and am breaking my WW diet in a big way. Eduardo's pizza delivery guys got to pick their three favorite customers and give them free pizza. So I'm chowing down on a deep dish slice, only because it's the only vegetarian one there. Am I feeling guilty? Yes. Will that stop me? No.

Tonight is my final rehearsal before our CSz performance next week. I'm quite excited. I love performing and wish I could do it more often. Perhaps after this class I'll look for a play to audition for. I'd rather do CSz, but I'm far from good enough to be a pro. I'm confident I could get there, but I'm so much older than everyone else. I doubt that it would become a reality. So I might check out something else. Who knows. (Now I'm sad that this is my last workshop.)

Sunday, October 31, 2004

10/31 Worked late last night

I had a great time working at ComedySportz yesterday. But I noticed one thing about myself. If I work noon-11PM I get kind of punchy at the end of the shift. Especially after working a full week on my regular job. I found it difficult to balance the books for the last took me a long time. Hate that.

Today, I'm taking it easy. Am watching football and doing laundry right now. Love one/hate the other. Guess which is which.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

10/30 Halloween fun

Yesterday at work was really a lot of fun. I ate way too much, but when I got home from work I was still full, so I didn't eat dinner. I think it will be okay. As of yesterday I'm down 17.5 pounds in 9 weeks and am thrilled. Only lost 1/2 pound but that's because I went home to Quincy last weekend for the celebration. This week will turn out better.

Today I work 10-12 hours at CSz. It will be very tiring, but should be fun. We're giving discounts to people who wear costumes, which will make accounting a little more difficult. Plus I'll have to make hard decisions like--does a crazy tie count as a costume? Earth-shattering decisions like that.

Tomorrow I'll sleep a good part of the day most likely. Then will get my laptop and notes set up to begin NANOWRIMO on Monday after work.

My NANO blog.

Friday, October 29, 2004

10/29 One-issue voters

I get emails all the time from people who urge me to vote for George Bush because he's pro-life and I say Hogwash! He might be anti-abortion, but I don't see him as pro-life at all. Here's what I wrote on a friend's blog:

I'm a Right to Lifer too--but I'm a LIBERAL in every other sense of the word. I loved what the late Cardinal Behrnadin of Chicago said... he called it a consistent ethic of life (at first he called it a seamless garment, but everyone used that for their own purposes, so he changed it).So what I see--If I'm pro-life and I really believe that, I have to vote for the person I see as more pro-life, if that's the only issue I'm looking at (and it's certainly not). But I see Kerry as more pro-life than Bush. If I believe life starts at conception and ends at death, then the 9 months in the womb is a much shorter span of time than the 70 some years we have left. A consistent ethic tells me that I should respect life in all its forms--not just in the womb, but in the unemployment line, in the homeless shelters, on death row, in a bunker in Afghanistan, lying in a hospital in Iraq, grieving over my dead child in the US, etc. I can't put a value on one life over another. Except for my children of course, they have a higher value. :) Not trying to convince anyone, but wanted to express why I think Kerry is more pro-life than Bush. Jer (GET OUT AND VOTE!)

Thursday, October 28, 2004

10/28 Kayla and Beata

I spoke to Kayla Tuesday and again today. Hunter didn't want to talk either day. But Kayla talked my arm off. I just adore her. She talked to me about Halloween. She's going to her pre-school party as Mulan (an outfit I'd bought her a while back). She's thrilled because normally she can't go outside in that outfit. She said her dad bought her shoes to go with it. And in Glasgow I found the perfect flower for her hair to complete the ensemble. Can't wait to see the pictures.

And this morning, while I was getting ready for work, Beata and Rob called from Japan. Bea was so excited. She had gotten her GED, even though English isn't her first language, and is now in college. After her second class she called to tell me of her experience. She'd been shy because of her Polish/Danish accent, thinking that people would stare at her or, even worse, laugh. But Rob encouraged her, and she spoke up in her class and was pleased that she knew answers that others didn't. After class she spoke with the professor while she waited for Rob to finish one of his classes. She said she told the professor about me--about how supportive I am, and how much she loves me. Also that I'm a writer and editor (don't look at my typos in my blogs). She really brought a smile to my face. Then Rob got on for a moment. I only had another minute before I had to leave for work. Normally it doesn't matter when I'm late but on Thursdays I lead the all-staff meeting and have to be on time. So Rob and I exchanged quick "I love yous" and I let both of them know that we're still anxiously awaiting their arrival. Rob said he got tired of wasting time just waiting for the Army to do what they said they're going to do. So they both enrolled in school. If the Army gives him orders back to the States, he said they'll drop school in a heartbeat.

Gosh, I miss them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

10/27 Elephants are gone from my desk

My work is becoming more and more taxing. Am I crazy that I love being so busy? Probably.

One downside--I may not get the part-time help I'd planned on. That's causing a little anxiety, but we'll see how it plays out.

Last night's rehearsal was stupendous. We played Replay for most of the session, and I enjoyed it so much. The class was small--only eight people showed up. Usually we have 12, so we got a lot more stage time, which isn't a bad thing at all. Our show is in two weeks and having more practice time (equaling more fun time) is awesome.

I shipped the elephants yesterday. And Kayla is looking forward to getting them. And I haven't heard yet from UPS whether they'll send her a letter of apology. We'll see.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

10/26 Bye-bye elephants!

Because two lovely people in my office wanted Kayla to be happy, I now have two rather large elephants sitting on my desk. I must send them to Kayla immediately! Someone walked by, saw the elephants and said, "I hope that's a symbol of how you're voting." Yikes...get these "things" off my desk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 25, 2004

10/25 The party's over

I'm back in Milwaukee. Arrived yesterday afternoon.

I got to bed at 1 AM on Sunday and had to get up at 5 AM to catch the train, so I didn't get any work done on the way back to Milwaukee--or when I got home.

Joe and Cindy's 25th Wedding Anniversary Celebration was awesome. We began with an inpromptu lunch on Saturday--ten of us. It was great, and I ate really healthfully, despite being surrounded by mounds of french fries.

At five we all went to Mass together at the church two blocks from where we grew up. That was very cool. Joe and Cindy live in the house we grew up in. Of course it's a lot different now--much nicer.

At the party itself, I ate way too much, but not enough to feel guilty. So I think that's pretty darn good for a huge family celebration. Got lots of comments on how good I looked. And I danced all night. I mean it. My sister, Jan, and I got out on the floor with the kids and had a ball. Jan (she of the size 7 body--we hate her) quit before I did. She said she wanted to visit with our aunts and uncles. I said she didn't have as much energy as I did. But I do feel bad that I didn't visit as much as I could have. I just felt really good, had lots of energy and really enjoyed being around the kids. My niece, Jenna, introduced me to her boyfriend as the cool aunt. And nephews clamored to play "Jer games." But of course it really wasn't the place for it, but I promised that I'd teach them some new games when I get to Quincy for Christmas. This one day turnaround wasn't easy.... but it was sooooo worth it. I love being around my family. Happy Anniversary, Joe and Cindy!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

10/23 Quincy IL

I took the train home last night. Got a lot of work done organizing my NANOWRIMO novel while spending 6 hours riding. Am home for Joe and Cindy's 25th wedding anniversary. I arrived last night at 10:45 and will leave Sunday morning at 6 AM. Wow, what a short trip. But today should be fun. A bunch of family members are getting together for lunch. Then tonight we're all going to Mass and then the big celebration. It will be like a wedding reception...lots of beer, food and people you only see at weddings and funerals. I CAN'T WAIT!

Friday, October 22, 2004

10/22 Another blog?

I began another blog a few days ago, but the link doesn't work on my website yet (you can reach it from the link in this note). It's about NANOWRIMO and will be a different kind of blog. Although I won't post my entire manuscript, because posting on the Web is considered publishing the novel, I will post excerpts, but also write about the struggles of writing at least 50,000 words during the month of November. Unfortunately I can't fix the link on my website yet because I'm going out of town for the weekend, and don't know if I'll have the time to fix it until Monday. We'll see.

A little miracle happened this morning. I was coming from the break room with my coffee and Sandy, an Executive Assistant extraodinaire, stopped me and said, "I want Kayla to know that not everyone is like that bad person who took her elephant." And she handed me an adorable gray and pink elephant. Kayla will just love it. I got tears in my eyes of course, and told her I'd hug her except I had coffee and an elephant in my hands, plus there was a desk between us. Her gesture really touched me, and I'm so grateful for her thoughtfulness.

Lots happening today. We're having a going-away party at work for a reservist who got called up and is going to Iraq. Plus I'm leaving at 2 to take the train to Quincy for my brother Joe's 25th wedding anniversary--and of course it's his wife Cindy's anniversary too. :) More later about all this.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

10/21 Better News

John is doing much better. The angioplasty was successful and he won't have to have surgery. Jill is driving from LA to Fresno anyway and will spend a few days there. (4-year old Kayla explained this last sentence to me over the phone. The kids seem to really understand why Mom is going and Dad is staying home and watching them.)

So I'm very happy that things are working out for John and his family.

This episode has made me even more committed to my health program. I joined Weight Watchers Online and in 8 weeks (tomorrow) have lost 16 pounds. I'm so pumped by that. And I will keep it up (said to convince myself).

Just came from Q-Doba where I ordered a naked vegetarian taco salad. I LOVE IT!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

10/20 Bittersweet memories

My daughter, Jill, just contacted me. Her dad is in the hospital with a heart attack and is being evaluated for possible surgery. This news really hit me. He's quite a bit younger than I am, and also more overweight than I am.

So funny that when we were married we were both in such good shape. We exercised, ran, and did all sorts of outdoor activities--backpacking, camping, rappelling, canoeing, caving. We were always out doing something with our kids.

I'm thinking now about a lot of things--all the great times we had (not thinking of the painful stuff), how we both let ourselves go after the divorce, and I'm also thinking about his family. His wife and their son who is only 4. He's just two months older than Kayla, our grand-daughter. So John's got so many reasons to get healthy.

I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes even though we've been divorced for more than 20 years.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

10/19 Guest Book and Stuffed Elephant

I finally put up my Guest Book on my home page, and my daughter wrote something last night. Can't tell you how cool that feels--I mean, I'm teaching myself all this stuff and am so proud every time something actually works.

I talked to Kayla last night. Ended up telling her that a bad guy probably stole her elephant, or else they just can't find it. She said, "They can't find it, Grandma? What are we going to do?" She said it in a problem-solving way, not crying or upset. I told her that if they don't find her elephant, I'll buy her a new one. So she yelled at her mom something about, "Don't worry. Grandma's going to buy me a new elephant." Then she told me, "Remember--small, soft, and with a tail that curves out from the bottom." She added, "I really need a winter dress, and Daddy said to ask you." She loves to wear dresses (even as she climbs trees, etc.) but hers are mostly summer ones. So I buy her a winter dress every year so she'll have one for what the Southern Californians laughingly call "winter."

At work, a huge set of responsibilities moved to me today. It's stuff I used to do, before I took over the job I currently have. There's no way I can do it all, so I know I'm going to get to hire some help soon. But for right now, I'm feeling overwhelmed. When that happens I don't get much work done at all. So on my train trip to Quincy Friday I plan to do some organizing of everything I have to do. Plus make notes for my NANOWRIMO novel. Thank God for laptop computers.

Tonight my CSz class starts at 6:30 instead of 7 and I'm happy about that. I need to laugh.

Monday, October 18, 2004

10/18 I forget what Mondays are like

Over the weekend I actually forget how busy I am at work. Today just rocked. So much to do. Time just flew by. And tomorrow will be the same, because I haven't even finished going through all my weekend email yet. The new website is keeping me very busy.

Tomorrow though I have to prepare for another online newsletter that I'll publish on 11/1, and will also prepare for the Sales and Marketing meeting as well as proof the Online Media Kit, and begin editing the articles for the next hard-copy Journal. And that's just with my first cup of coffee.

Okay, I'm lying. That--plus reading about 20 trade magazines--will take up my whole day, and I'm sure I won't finish all the reading/skimming.


Haven't talked to Kayla yet about the elephant. Just can't seem to be home when the kids are awake. So Jill and I plan for me to deliver the news tomorrow.

We should be hearing from the delivery service by the end of the week or early next week regarding their investigation. The saga continues.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

10/17 Packers Win!

Funny how something as simple as the results of a football game can just make my day! Right now it's 4th Quarter with 10 minutes to play and the Pack is winning 38-10. Wow.

The only downside is that since Green Bay's defense had been playing so badly, I benched them on my Fantasy Football team and substituted St. Louis. The Rams just better look good when they play, or I'm sunk.

In the meantime, I'll just continue to feel great about Green Bay. Some days it hurts to be a Cheesehead. Today's not one of them.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

10/16 Winter comes too soon

It feels like snow.

When I went to work at CSz at noon, I didn't even wear a sweater, much less a coat. When I got in my car to go home at 5:30, I couldn't believe the weather change. I stopped at the grocery store and there were only two of us without a winter coat on, and the other guy was drunk. Guess he was warm in his own little way.

Wow. Glad I don't have to go out tomorrow if I don't want to. I'm just not ready for this. But when I'm watching the Packer game tomorrow, and I'm drinking hot chocolate, or a hot toddy, or a cold beer, I'll be glad it's winter. 'Cause that's the only way the Packers are going to win any games.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

10/14 Poor, poor elephant!

When Kayla returned to Los Angeles with her family, she left a stuffed elephant in the sleeping bag at Grandma's house. Two weeks ago I sent it to her via UPS. Also in the package was the newspaper her picture appeared in, and a little plastic kickstand to Hunter's toy motorcycle. All told worth about $10. Cost me more than $9 to ship. Not a huge investment, except when you think about a four-year-old girl who asks every day why it's taking so long for her elephant to come home.

UPS today told us that the package was found, and it was empty. I understand that someone who is a thief is going to open whatever package he or she wants to find something valuable. But when they found a toy elephant, why in the world wouldn't they just put it with the empty box.

So today, when UPS faxes me the claim form I'm going to say I don't want any money, but what I would like is for them to send Kayla a soft, stuffed elephant and a note of apology. We'll see if that happens.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

10/13 Work interrupts my fun

Last night was another good class at CSz with a great bunch of folks. The first exercise we did, on establishing the "where," was enlightening, but got a bit boring because everyone had to do the exercise and we dissected every one. It took most of the class to do it. After that though, we did a great CSz game, Forward-Reverse, and had a lot of fun with that. Next week we'll have class for three hours because we're doing mime and gibberish games, and they take a lot of time.

We didn't go out last night because Jordan locked his keys in his car and lots of folks pitched in to help. I knew they didn't need me, so I went home. Christine ended up saving the day by being the one to finally get the coat hangar to work. WTG!

Lots going on today. Even though I'm tired, I'm not feeling out of it or anything, because there's so much work to be done. This new website is tons of fun, but for some reason every time I try to sign on to work on it, it says the dreaded Access Denied! How frustrating. And our web guru is off-site at a meeting, so I can't get help on this yet. Luckily (?) I have much more stuff on my desk that needs attention, so it's okay.

BTW, I'm number 4 in my Fantasy Football League. Out of 20. I'm pretty impressed, especially since this is my first year doing it. But of course we're only five weeks in, and I haven't played the top teams yet. Yahoo goes by W-L record and not points. So that's the only reason I'm number 4. Otherwise I'd be number 16. And in my work football pool, I really suck. Last place. Looks like I'll have to pay more attention.

C'mon Packers!!!!! You can do it. (I think that will really help motivate them.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

10/12 Another lunchtime blog

Today is a good day at work. I've accomplished several tasks that needed to be done. So now there are only 28 more items on my "to-do" list. Two meetings yet this afternoon, but both will be interesting, I think.

Got an email from one of my high school chums, and it seems she's not able to make it to the NC get-together either. So that's three of us that can't go. But the ones who are going will have such a great time. JC is a delightful and welcoming hostess. We visited her when she lived in St. Louis. I'll think about them all this weekend when I'm working at CSz, or sitting at home pouting.

I really need to get my thoughts together for NANOWRIMO. Writing is fast and furious during November. It's crazy but it's fun.

Monday, October 11, 2004

10/11 Posting late in the afternoon

I'm trying to develop the habit of blogging during my lunchtime, but failed today. We're launching a re-vamp of one of our websites this month, so I'm really busy writing and proofing. Luckily I don't have to do any of the hard stuff--programming and design. Just writing and proofing. Not too hard, but it's very time-consuming.

I'm very excited about one of the Journals I edit. Articles aren't due to me until the beginning of December and I've already received commitments for four articles. Amazing. I won't have to go hunting this issue. That certainly reduces an editor's anxiety. Hope it doesn't go in the opposite direction where I have to decide which ones need to be cut. I've already said "No, thanks" to those articles that don't fit the theme of the issue. So far the ones that fit the theme have all been excellent. I have a promised one from law enforcement, one from school, one from a psychiatric hospital, one from residential treatment, and a promised one from another hospital. Plus a reprint from another magazine. I might have to cut the reprint, which is okay with me.

In the past this particular Journal did mostly reprints. For some reason, since I've taken over we've gotten more original articles. I don't take any credit for that, but I am very happy it's happened. No matter what the reason.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

10/10 I love Sundays

I've felt so overcommitted lately. No time to just relax.

I worked until 10:30 last night, got home around 11 PM. Today I slept in, went to the grocery store, and am now being lazy. I'll watch football and catch up on shows I've taped. (Gotta love that DVR.)

Even though I'm relaxing today, I'm feeling guilty about not going in to work. My desk is overfull and tomorrow is stacked with busy-ness. I'm going to try to get that out of my mind, and just enjoy the day.

Spoke to Jill and Kayla yesterday--Hunter wasn't interested in talking to me. But it was still wonderful. A nice respite in an otherwise busy day.

Gotta run--the couch is calling me.

Friday, October 08, 2004

10/8 Taking a brief time-out

Taking a break at work. This day has also been full--but exciting as well. I made a proposal and feel pretty good about the results. It may not be exactly what I want, but it will be close enough to make me smile.

Right now I have a 60-page journal to edit and I still haven't started. I sure don't want to do it over the weekend, and it's due to the printer first thing Monday morning, so I need to get busy. Cheers! Jer

Thursday, October 07, 2004

10/7 Busy, busy and more busy

Can't believe how time is whizzing by. Tuesday night's workshop was excellent as usual. We focussed primarily on listening, and it was a hoot. Bogan's a really good teacher. Afterward we all went over to Slim's to visit for a while. That was nice. Had a beer and it felt so good to relax. Got home about 10:30 PM.

Wednesday was another crazily busy day at work. It's strange how much I love this kind of busy-ness. No fear of ever getting bored. Then Wednesday night I went to the Minor League performance at CSz because several buddies were performing. It was fun--and an old friend from a former workshop was there and sat with me.

I work Saturday night at CSz, doing both late shows. But it won't be so frantic this week, as Amy S. will be in the Box Office with me.

Speaking of frantic, I have so many major projects on the burner right now. Also, in the midst of all the piles of papers on my desk, I get asked to do lots of "little things." Like edit an 8-page paper that must go out today, and more tasks like that. Plus there's a 60 page journal in my mailbox waiting for a copyedit that must go to the printer tomorrow. But I'm still taking my lunch break so I can write here.

No complaints about the work though. As I always say, it's job security.

A few bad news-es: First, our Research Analyst, who I hired two years ago, is in the Army Reserve and is being called up to active duty. He found out yesterday and announced it today at our All Staff meeting. It really choked me up. I lead the meeting and found it hard to speak. It told Bob later that I felt emotion for him, but also because of my son, who is still in the Special Forces and hopefully will be home from Asia this year.

The other bad news is that I was supposed to go to NC to visit with some high school chums. We try to do this every few years, in between class reunions. It's such a fun time. But I had to cancel. Mostly because of financial reasons. I'm working my ass off trying to get out of debt, and got rid of credit cards--so if there's no money there, there's no money there, and no way to extend credit. I'm finally proud of how I'm dealing with money, but also so disappointed that I can't go. They're great people, and so fun. At least I'll see them all next year at our class reunion.

I keep Kayla's mantra in mind: "You're a lucky bug." And indeed I am.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Taking time from my lunch break to blog. (Sounds almost dirty, doesn't it?)

I signed up for NANOWRIMO again this year. That stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November (for the past six years) people commit to writing at least 50,000 words during the month of November. I did it last year, but a lot of it was just plain bad writing, so I have about 25,000 words worth keeping I think. My unfinished manuscript, Reality is Murder, is from last year's contest. I really like the concept and should complete it. It's about a reality show that turns deadly.

The pace of writing is very difficult during November. Writing 50,000 words means that outside of working my two jobs, I won't find much time to do anything else, like watch every television show currently on TV. (Yep, I'm an addict. Hey, maybe there's a story in that.)

I'll try to keep up with my writing, and will post my progress, and maybe even snippets from the manuscript. I dread this, but eagerly anticipate it at the same time. Fodder for books, huh?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

10/3 To Madison and Back

Last night, working at CSz, was a real trip. So busy and fun. The nice thing is that the boss realized we always need two people in the box office on Saturday nights, so I really appreciate that. And both shows pretty much balanced out. I think I was $3 for the early show and right on the money for the late show. I feel GOOD.

Got home about midnight and stayed awake until 2 AM. Woke up at 9, did a little work, then met Susan for a drive to Madison for the organizational meeting of Sisters in Crime, Wisconsin...hereafter known as SinC-WI. Quite an enjoyable trip. Turns out Susan and I have much in common including being rabid Packer fans. Downside is they lost today. That's another story.

We met at the Booked for Murder bookstore. Nice people. Majority of members are lawyers. I sure felt out of place. :) But the serendipitous thing is that Susan is a lawyer, writing a police procedural, and one of her heroes is a trauma counselor. She was going to go to UWM to seek advice, but when I told her I was a Certified Trauma Counselor, she said that I could be that resource. What fun. And I'll use her for my "lawyer-like" questions.

A good day. Well, except for the Packers...

Friday, October 01, 2004

10/1 All is not pleasant in paradise; well maybe it is

For some reason I had a rotten day at work. Way too much to do, and normally I love that. Staying busy is fun, plus it's job security. But today was different. First, I have to practically re-do a whole newsletter. Okay, I'm overreacting, but I do have to re-write a bunch of it. Again, normally that doesn't bother me. Writers are used to that. Write and re-write, edit, re-write. Smile upon completion. But so many details in it. My boss found so many things she doesn't like. And usually that's fine with me, but she's never found this much in the newsletter that she doesn't like. She knows much more about journalism than I do. I'm a converted social worker after all. But today, it felt overwhelming.

Plus I'm assisting in revamping a website. Of course, I'm no web maven, I'm just doing a ton of busy work. Copy, paste, save, cuss when an error message comes up. Repeat. Over and over for hour after hour. I'm developing a hump in my back from hunching over the computer. It's one of those tasks where you can't see the end. I'm transferring all articles from three years of newsletters from one website to another. Because of the content manager we're now using, this can't be done automatically. Yawn.

Today I feel almost powerless. Unusual. And it will probably pass in an hour or soon as I get home and relax.

I really need to think about yesterday morning. At an all-staff meeting, someone read emails from customers commenting on how valuable and compassionate our last Journal was. That one was all mine--editing wise. I found the writers, developed the theme, and edited the journal. So my heart was really warmed. Dwell on that good feeling. Okay... breathe.

You know, it's getting better. I have a great job and I love it. Almost all the time. There are plenty of people who can't say the same.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

9/30 Payday and More

Last night was fun. It was great catching up with Bruce prior to his performance. The only downside was that not many people showed up. Three of my friends were there (thank you Virginia, Bill and Joel), one of my friends wrote to say he couldn't find the place, and Bruce had three friends there as well. Other occupants of the coffee house were UWM students with their respective noses in their respective books. Yet they were still polite and applauded, seeming to enjoy the concert.

Bruce was awesome. He played as if he were in Carnegie Hall with an SRO crowd. I loved it. I just hope he wasn't too disappointed in the turnout. He said he wasn't, so I need to believe him. He sold three CDs, and some people put a little money in the pitcher. As we were leaving he remarked, "Good. Gas money."

When I left for work this morning, Bruce was still asleep on the sofa bed. I haven't spoken to him today, but I hope he's doing well on his trip to his next performance in Minnesota.

Here's Kayla's picture that was in the newspaper a few days ago:

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

9/29 Newspaper Photo

Turns out Kayla was on the front page of the Metro section yesterday in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. I missed it. But luckily some friends will bring in their newspapers for me tomorrow. Michele scanned one and emailed it to me. Kayla was adorable. Can't wait to see the newspaper itself. Have to send one to Jill, of course.

Jill called with a minor emergency. Did I have Kayla's stuffed elephant? I looked and it was hiding in the bottom of the sleeping bag. So I'll mail it to Kayla. Emergency over.

In a little while I'll leave to go to Anodyne Coffee Roasters to meet Bruce. He's set to start playing at 8 but will probably arrive earlier. I'm so tired from the last several days, but I'm sure the combination of good music and caffeine will keep me awake.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

9/28 Here today, gone today

Jill, Todd, Kayla and Hunter left this morning. I set my alarm for 5:30 so they could get to the airport on time. Unfortunately I was already awake, because I was sleeping with Miss "I don't want to sleep in the sleeping bag, Grandma. I want to sleep with you." Kayla is what I might understatedly call a restless sleeper. She talks, makes noises and kicks all night. The experience wouldn't have been horrible if I didn't have a 18 hour day in front of me. So I have been awake since 3 AM and won't get home until 10 or later tonight. I'm yawning.

The visit was so wonderful. It's heartwarming to hear "I love you" so often. My grandchildren say it frequently, as does my daughter, and it sounds so good.

Yesterday, Jill and Todd slept in a little and by the time everyone had eaten breakfast and showered, it was about 11. We visited my office. Both little chatterboxes played the shy card, and I had to laugh at that. I'd been bragging about them for years, and finally my collegeagues got to meet them and neither one spoke. I think Hunter said a few words to my friend Bill and that was it. Kayla stood behind me with her forehead against my bottom--like we were cojoined. I had to keep laughing about it, because it must have looked strange indeed. And since I laughed, she kept doing it.

After the tour, we stopped in Wauwatosa at the Chancery and had a delicious lunch. Both kids behaved, and that added to the ambiance. Hunter finally got restless so I took both kids outside so Jill and Todd could finish eating. The kids were climbing on some metal sculptures that looked like dragons to them. A man came up, said he was from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and could he take pictures of the kids for the newspapter. He said he was out and about looking for photos of people enjoying the day. I asked to see his ID which was around his neck. It looked legitimate so I said okay. He must have taken a hundred pictures, and even snuck in a few of me beaming at the kids. Jill and Todd joined us and gave their assent also. So if anyone from Milwaukee reads this, PLEASE give me the newspaper if Kayla and Hunter are in it. Thanks.

We went to Lake Park and played on the playground. Everyone had fun with that, and I got some great shots. I'll post some tonight or tomorrow. After that we stopped at a Harley dealership because Hunter is CRAZY about bikes. Todd rides motorcross (Jill did too until after the second child). H can't wait until he gets a bike. Carries a toy one around constantly. There was a child's ride in the dealership. For 50 cents each, both kids had a chance to ride a child-sized Harley. I think that was the hit of the day.

We came home and I made dinner for the kids while Jill and Todd went out to dinner. It was their 7th anniversary. Very nice. I enjoyed my time alone with the kids, until it got to be bedtime, and both of them wanted to wait for their parents. Luckily they got home early.

It was a memorable visit. But when I think about them getting on the elevator to leave, the tears start again. Guess that's the only downside of being a Grandma.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

9/26 Ah, Sunday!

I worked several hours at CSz last night and didn't get to sleep until 2 AM. So it was nice to sleep in today. In a few hours the kids will be back so of course I'm ecstatic.

Instead of doing anything productive, I've been playing online Scrabble.

I put several pictures on my website, but haven't got any fantastic ones yet. The kids barely stayed still. Here are a few: Kayla is inside a large Harley motorcycle at the Children's Museum. Hunter is running and playing on the stage at CSz.

Friday, September 24, 2004

9/24 Back to work

Yesterday was just an all-around perfect day. Except of course that Jill, Todd, Kayla and Hunter left. But they'll be back Sunday. It was such a pleasure having them visit, and I can't wait to see them again for a few more days.

I worked at CSz last night. It was a small house, but a decently responsive one. After I closed out my work, I watched the show for a few minutes and enjoyed the laugh. Then home, where I caught up on some TV. Tonight I get to be at home, and relax a little. Tomorrow is Saturday and I'll work at CSz. Should be fun though.

Now that I'm working two jobs I've noticed that my writing has really suffered. I need to clarify my priorities for when I'm home. Is it watching Survivor? Or finishing my novels? On the surface it seems like an easy choice. But lately watching Survivor is winning.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

9/23 Family fun

Kayla and I woke up earlier than everyone else and we walked to the corner restaurant (Family Table) for breakfast. It was an entertaining and remarkable time, when we caught up on everything that's happening the 4-year-old Kayla's life.

Then Kayla decided she wanted to go to my doctor's appointment with me. I finally saw an orthopedist for my foot. Some amazing news...well, the bad stuff first. I have to sleep with a splint on. It's big and uncomfortable, but is supposed to do wonders. I need to go back in two to three months. If it's not better they'll put a cast on my foot.

The good news is that when I played kickball and ruptured those tendons--well, that was ultimately a good thing. One drastic treatment the docs do is go in and "release" some of the tendons. Seems like I did that myself when I ruptured them. Doc said that my way hurt a lot more, but still will most likely stop me from having surgery. How cool is that?

After that all five of us went to the Children's Museum. I love that place and we had such a blast there. Of course the two kids loved it and didn't want to leave. But we got hungry and had lunch at the Third Ward Cafe. It's a really nice Italian restaurant. I had a gift certificate for there. And more good news is that my gift certificate covered the whole bill. Hooray for that!

We followed lunch with a tour of CSz. The kids had a ball jumping, running, and tumbling on the stage. Now they're napping (or are supposed to be napping) and I need to get ready for work at CSz. They're leaving tonight to go up north for Todd's brother's wedding, but they'll be back Sunday. Can't wait. I love this Grandma stuff. Wish I had more time to spend just talking to Jill, but that can't be helped. It's all good.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

9/22 Happy happy happy

Just finished cleaning up from dinner. A dinner prepared with the help of Kayla and Hunter (ages 4 and 2). Their job was to tear up the lettuce and they loved that they were in charge of it. I'm in Grandma heaven. Kayla is going to sleep in my room. Hunter will sleep with his mom and dad. It's so good seeing my daughter Jill too. She's such a remarkable young woman. More later--Kayla wants to sit in my lap and it's hard to type. A great problem to have.

9/22 Everything's looking up

I've been feeling a little down, but that's gone, and I'm back to my sunny self. So many things are going right.

I love both my jobs, I have new brake pads on my car, I've lost 9 pounds, my new CSz workshop started last night, and my daughter and family arrive today. How could I be depressed? Oh, yeah--I need more money, the world is going to hell in a handbasket, I'm still fat, blah blah blah. Okay, I'm done with the negativity.

Class last night was the best! I love Bogan as a teacher--had him in 103. When we make mistakes that block the scene from progressing, he stops us immediately then has us continue. Some others might let you finish the scene and then give you feedback. I love the immediacy of his comments. He doesn't let you keep making the same mistake, and I appreciate that. I also love that there's some other older folks in the group, so I'm not just with 20-somethings this time. I love the youngsters, don't get me wrong, some of them are good friends. But it's nice to not be the only gray head in the group. Everyone went to the Ale House afterward but I couldn't go as I still had some stuff to finish at home to prepare for company.

There are other neat things being planned for us amateurs and they sound like fun. I love acting, I love comedy, and I love being able to combine the two.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

9/21 $365.95

I just redeemed my car from the pawn shop known as Auto Repair. Front brake pads, front brake rotor, adjust rear brakes that, thank God, didn't need fixing. Yet it was worth all 36,595 pennies because my grandkids are coming tomorrow. They need a safe car.

Monday, September 20, 2004

9/20 I understand road rage

For the very first time I understand road rage. It had me in it's fiery grip today. A young woman cut me off this morning on the freeway. I was really mad, but under control, and gave her a sarcastic "thumbs up" sign. She must have mistaken it for the finger, and flipped me the bird and laughed. Anger erupted. "I'll show her." I took off after her, speeding up. Wasn't looking at other lanes, no defensive driving, just anger. She was my total focus.

Suddenly, I realized what I was doing. I slowed down and got into the right lane where I could drive more slowly with the traffic. Surprised? Absolutely. Where did that rage come from? Is there something else going on in my life to explain this misdirected anger? I don't know yet, but I hope I find out. It's disconcerting to say the least.

I'm not happy that I understand road rage. It was much easier when I could laugh at people who got angry so easily.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

9/19 My condo building

Someone died in my condo building Friday. I live in a place where I'm the "young chick." The average age must be 70. One person I really like is 93 and going strong. But I found out that a woman who is only two years older than I am was found in her condo. I haven't been able to find out any details at all, but it's unnerving on different levels. First of all her age. But secondly, she's the second acquaintance to die recently. Both relatively young. Both a surprise to me. Both were people that could have been close friends but weren't.

I first met Joan last summer at the pool. She swam every day and so did I. She didn't work, but made sure she came outside when I was swimming laps after work. At first I really liked that--someone in my building with whom I could be friends. She asked me to go to see fireworks at Summerfest and I couldn't make it. She asked me to do something else and I couldn't as well. On both occasions I could have changed my other plans and gone, but there was just something offputting about her. She invited me into her place and I accepted, and she ended up showing me home videos of her going to the Circus Museum in Bariboo WI--a famous place here. It was boring for me, but I knew she was alone and that her mother had died just a few years prior, so I was patient and suffered through it. She asked if I wanted to see more videos of their trips and I declined. She finally blew up at me once at the pool when she was bashing Arabs and Muslims (she was Jewish and had worked in Israel on a kibbutz for a time) and I said I didn't think the question was as black and white as she painted it. She just blew up at me and started screaming. I finally said that life was too short for me to hang around with people who treated me the way she had and that I wasn't interested in spending time with her.

When I heard of her death, I flashed back to this lonely woman who wanted an almost total stranger to see videos of her mom. I remembered her mother calling her "Joanie," and that she must have been devestated when her mother died, because except for the sojourn to Israel they'd always lived together.

I said the Arab-Israeli conflict isn't black and white. Neither was Joan.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

9/18 Saturday returns

Today is a good Saturday. My cleaning friend is coming over. So that means I put everything away and clear out. I'm going into work for the afternoon to try to catch up. Then I'll work both shows tonight at CSz.

Besides the obvious benefit of getting a clean house, I love having someone come over because it forces me to put things away. Normally I pile things on my mirrored dresser in my bedroom.

One of the reasons I work a second job is because I don't want to give up having someone clean my house. It's a luxury sure, but I'll pay for that rather than going to movies. I've done a great job of much so that I desperately need new clothes. But I've lost 7 pounds in the last three weeks and I don't want to spend money on stuff I'll shrink out of. Yes, that's wishful thinking. And I do have some clothes here that are still too tight, so they should fit soon. Some are out of style. (What were we thinking with those shoulder pads?) I'm doing WW online, the CORE program and so far it's working well and I'm very satisfied with all the food I get. I'm too lazy and undisciplined to count points, so CORE is just made for me.

Wednesday Jill and family arrive. I'm stoked.

Friday, September 17, 2004

9/17 Waxing poetic

On my writers' bb, we were talking about the wonder of children and I liked what I posted, so will post part of it here.

"Your description matched my feelings perfectly about the wonder of children and the hope they bring to all of us. My grandkids are coming to visit on Wednesday and my heart is already leaping. 4 year-old Kayla, having told me that she is really Princess Kayla Mulan, is such a beauty inside and out. And 2 year-old Hunter proudly yelled into the phone, "I'm a big boy. I went poop." How can you not love that? I have a wall full of pictures of Rob and Jill throughout their life. It hangs in my dressing area and every day I am overwhelmed with love. My story is different than yours. It's the story (you know it already) of trying for many years to get pregnant in an era when there were no other ways to try. No drugs, no procedures. Just people asking "when." Being from this huge Catholic family, it's unusual to have a childless couple. The adoption of both my kids stands out as my greatest accomplishment--oops, wrong word...rather the highlights of my life. They've both exceeded my expectations and my dreams. They both bring me hope."

Thursday, September 16, 2004

9/16 Insomniacs R Us

Woke up at 3 AM and couldn't go back to sleep. Watched a few episodes of Queer Eye that I'd taped. Tried again to sleep. No luck. So I came into work early. Got here before 6:30. It was pretty funny because there's a woman who always comes in at 6:30 even though our work day doesn't start until 8:30. So she always is in the first parking space. But today I parked there and was the one who turned off the alarm system etc. Everyone as they drive into the lot will know there's something wrong with the world--that my car is in the first space. I love it.

Got an email yesterday from my brother's daughter's mother (long story about that relationship). Anyway, she has an agent/editor and they want me to write a blurb to be included in their book proposal. Originally I was going to edit the book and assist them in finding an agent, but with two jobs now I don't even have time for my own writing. So I'm glad they were able to get help.

I helped edit one of my friend's books and got paid for it. That was awesome, and something I'd like to do more of. This blog is informal, but when I write formally or edit for publication, I'm really persnickety. And I'm damn good.