Friday, September 30, 2005

9/30 Musings

Two new great-nephews to hold when I get to Quincy. Our family continues to grow and it's a blessing. We all are crazy about kids.

When Jill, Kayla, and Hunter arrive (and me), we're going straight to Gem City Pizza and Mexican (what a fun name). Jill is craving their nachos. A lot of the family will meet us there so K and H can get used to everyone again--over pizza.

And the big news of Rob and Beata coming home for Christmas. I get misty every time I think about it. Even though they may not move back by then, they're going to be here for Christmas. The family will be ecstatic. Meeting Beatka is a trip. She's adorable. And of course, so is my son. :) Above is a picture from when they renewed their vows at Waikiki.

On the right is Rob at the Samoan Village at the Polynesian Cultural Center. He said one of the guys could have been his brother, they look so much alike.

Can't wait to see them.

But first, my Jill and grandkids on the 9th. Just 9 days away. I'm a lucky bug.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

9/29 Home...

I had a super time in NYC, although we worked very hard. However, as usual, it feels great to be home again. I love coming back to my little cozy condo.

While I was gone, two of my nieces gave birth, so now I have two more great-nephews. Can't wait to meet them in 10 days when I go to Quincy with Jill and the grandkids. Yay.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

9/27 Tired

Working hard. I love NY and wish there were more time to do fun things. Luckily this job involves traveling around Brooklyn a lot. Fascinating. My first time in this borough.

The people I'm working with are such fun. There are six of us and I like everyone. Lots of laughing through the hard work.

I turned on word verification. In order to post a comment you have to prove you're a human instead of a robot. Weird, huh? But I'm sick and tired of the comment spam left by non-humans. After a few days of this I'll turn it off again and see what happens.

Monday, September 26, 2005

9/26 What fun!!

Yesterday we worked in the afternoon at the agency, reading files. Then last night we (five out of six surveyors, and five of my friends) went to CSz. They were performing at the Improv. We ten were the only ones there until 2 or 3 others came in. But we enjoyed the show. It was fun seeing Caprice, Stephanie, and Rory again.

Afterward we went to Hell's Kitchen. That's the area of NYC where West Side Story was filmed. But it's getting pretty darn trendy. DF recommended this Chinese restaurant. It was absolutely delicious. Imagine 10 of us eating family style. Great fun. And D's wife is Chinese Canadian...he said she would approve of the place. High praise indeed.

We took the subway back to the hotel. I was tired by then. But D walked all the way back and even stopped at the Festival of San Gennaro. What energy. Those Canadians. :)

This morning we met at 8 AM and took a van to the agency in Brooklyn. We worked hard all day, at least when we weren't eating. Oh my, they fed us--way too well. By 6 we were ready to go though. And we walked down the promenade to Grimmaldi's for dinner. A great pizza place recommended again by DF. He is 2 for 2. I called him and asked him for a recommendation for tomorrow night--we want it close to the hotel, inexpensive and delicious. I don't think that's too much to ask do you?

Lots of work to do, but I'm sure enjoying the company, and the food. And found out that I could borrow a wireless card from the front desk, so I'm happily typing from my room instead of at the public computer in the club room. Yay!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

9/25 Games Gang

I took the subway to Penn Station and met DF about 2 PM. We took the LIRR to Valley Stream to Glo and Lar's house, a lovely home I've been to several times. We played countless games (with Monk and Neal too, five of us). Glo wanted to try them out for Words Weekend (in November at Mohonk). She's also writing a review of new games for Games Magazine where she's a contributing editor.

At some point we went to Itgen's for dinner. The food was okay but the ice cream was top-rate. They make it there and YUM!!

We took the 11:04 PM train back to Manhattan. While on the train, my sisters called me. The were a bit inebriated (a bit?) and we had a hilarious conversation.

DF walked me to my subway platform and then left for his. It was about 11:40. I waited until a little after 12 before a downtown-headed A train came.

I got home at 12:20 or so this morning and got on this computer in the Club Room to check my email before bed. It was a long day--4 AM-1:30 AM. Yikes.

But I slept until 9:30 AM--a good 8 hours. After showering this morning I walked the quarter block to Wall Street and got coffee at Starbuck's. Ground Zero is only a block or so down Wall Street. I'll go there soon.

At 1 PM today I'll meet with my five colleagues (from all over US and Canada) and we'll go to Brooklyn to begin our study of the agency. At 6 PM nine of us (colleagues and friends) will go to CSz and then dinner afterwards. Looking forward to that a lot. (Sorry for typos, I'm in a hurry.)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

9/24 Too tired

Too tired to post tonight. Just got in from being with friends and I'm tired, after only 3 or 4 hours sleep last night. Am on a shared computer in the lobby. Will write more tomorrow. G'night.

9/24 New York City

Writing part of this while waiting to meet DF at Penn Station--

Found a lot of words that I developed to describe myself when I was in Hollywood and attended a Sam Bennett workshop. We learned to change those negative thoughts into positive ones. I'm easily bored and adventurous; never met a stranger; non-judgmental; quick-wittedly goofy; insatiably curious; good-hearted; a word lover; and needy. We couldn't come up with the "good" side of needy. But I'll work on it. :)

While fly to LaGuardia today, I sat by a pilot. I was trying to write more bits for my comedy act; told him I wanted to add more about travel. He said he'd think of something. But immediately all these ideas hit me and I started spouting off incident after incident that happened in UK and Europe. All I have to do now is change them to "set up and punch."

DF and I will take the LIRR to Valley Stream to play word games with other writer friends. To some of you that may sound boring as hell. But to "word nerds" it's a slice of heaven. And to play against people who actually can beat you. Wow. As one of my brothers used to say, "No brag, just fact." I'm good at word games and usually win--but not with this group. I'm certainly one of the winners, but so is everyone else at the table. Love that.

My hotel is very European, like a boutique hotel. I love it.

Friday, September 23, 2005

9/23 Reality

I’m a reality show freak, as confessed many times. When I’m feeling particularly good about myself I say I’m a student of popular culture. Sounds better. (Thanks for the phrase, DF.)

What is the voyeuristic tendency in me? Or is it merely the joy in feeling superior to some jerks on TV? I don’t know, but reality shows absolutely fascinate me. And it’s not just the network ones like Survivor, Big Brother, Bachelor/Bachelorette, Amazing Race (my favorite on networks), Endurance (kids’ version of Survivor on Saturday mornings) and the Apprentice(s). Nope, it’s the trashy ones too, like Surreal Life (my favorite on cable), Celebrity Fit Club, The Firm (went from network to cable), Kill Reality (mercifully over now), Reality Show (with Andy Dick who I think is one), and there are even more. Some of the above aren’t on right now of course, but weave in and out of the TV schedule.

Normally, I couldn’t watch that much TV, but with the advent of DVR (digital video recorder), I can record two things at once in my living room, and two more in my bedroom. Can’t remember the last time I watched something when it was actually on (except for the Today Show as I get ready for work). Being able to skip commercials and fluff makes each show a lot shorter. Regular hour shows become 40 minutes sans commercials. And when you fast forward through the recaps and other redundancies, I can watch an hour show in 30 minutes.

I’ve not seen Real Life or Road Rules, and am trying to stay away from them. Don’t need any more…

There are still other shows on the schedule. Besides reality shows I’m enamored of sci-fi series too. Stargate SG-1 remains my favorite TV show although I miss MacGyver on it. Then there’s Stargate Atlantis, Dead Zone and Battlestar Galactica. And the networks have the audacity to add several more sci-fi fantasy shows to cash in on the success of Lost (another fav). So I’m checking them out and almost hoping some get cancelled.

You might wonder if I have a life outside of my fantasy one watching TV. Actually I do. I work two (and sometimes three) jobs. I take comedy classes, both improv and stand-up. I perform in a Comedy League on Sundays. And I go out to lunch with friends, and travel a lot. It’s just that when I’m home, the TV is always on. When you live alone and like noise, it’s either TV or CDs.

At work I have my iPod going, or music from my computer. Maybe it stems from being one of nine kids. There was never a quiet moment.

When I meditate there’s silence. But that’s it.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

9/22 Pete's Pond

Pete’s Pond in Botswana is an absolutely fascinating place. You can travel there as easily as I do. Merely click on the above link and become a voyeur at a popular watering hole in Africa.

Apparently it’s become so popular that sometimes the site is busy. But it’s worth it to try again. National Geographic rocks when it comes to something like this.

Last night was good. I was able to help out a little at a fundraiser at CSz with all the proceeds going to Gilda’s Place. Ultra cool. And I bought a great T-shirt. Black with white lettering. On the front it says Cancer Sucks and on the back it says Fight. It was designed by Christine Capriolo’s art students. She’s one of the professional players at CSz.

Speaking of that, five people got promoted from the Rec League (where I play) to the pro ranks. I’m so happy for them. Out of the five, I know four of them pretty well, and it’s great to see their promotion.

Then when I got home I received a call from H, who is joining Brainstorm, the Rec League team I’m on. He sounds great, and I’ve heard he’s funny. So I’m pleased… I can leave town without worry. You have to have three or four to play. S and C could have gotten a sub in my absence, but this is much better. A real teammate. We will actually become accustomed to performing together. Much better than using subs.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

9/21 Stand up, I said

Had a good initial class last night. There were six of us there and two others who'll be there next week.

Before I went I added this whole section about dating my stalker. It's pretty darn funny and went over well. Just have to tighten it up--set up and punch is what it's called.

Tonight is a benefit at CSz. I volunteered to work in the Box Office.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

9/20 Hurricane(s), etc.

HHS's website now says:

At this time, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is NO longer accepting individual medical and relief worker applications. More than 33,000 health care professionals and relief personnel have registered with the Department of Health and Human Services for possible deployment in affected areas.

I'm one of the "more than 33,000." Elsewhere on the website it says:

The vast pool of applicants should allow us to meet the needs in the affected areas. The recovery effort will be long and the current pool of volunteers will be used over the next several months. We ask those who have registered on this site to please be patient as we continue to deploy workers where they will be most helpful. We will be contacting those who meet the requirements and needs in the field as soon as we are able.

Guess this will work out well for me. If called, it will be October or after, just what I'd hoped. And there's only one MUST for me in November--I'm giving a talk at Mohonk that I can't/won't miss. That's only for a long weekend. Other than that, I can go. My boss asked me this morning about the request I'm supposed to write for her to give to the CEO. Don't know why I haven't done it yet. This volunteering is so important to me; maybe I'm scared they'll say no. That's such a small chance that it shouldn't worry me. Maybe it's because my desk is piled with incomplete projects that I need to finish. Dunno.

I'm just glad that I'll be able to serve. (Fingers crossed.) And now that Rita is a Category 2 already, who knows what's going to happen in the Gulf. It's just sad.

9/20 Here and gone

A staff member was here one minute and gone the next. Official word is that she's off to pursue other options. But what if she were abducted by aliens.

I already wrote about being addicted to reality shows, but I must admit I'm hooked on sci-fi too. In fact, I LOVE it. And if it can happen on the 4400, it could happen in real life.

Or maybe I'm confusing reality shows with un-reality shows.

Well, there's no TV tonight anyway. It's the first meeting of the Advanced Stand-Up Comedy class I'm taking. That's kind of sci-fi in it's own way.

Monday, September 19, 2005

9/19 I like lunch

Going out for lunch is nice. It's a great break to the routine of the work-day. Today I had lunch with my friend, T-man. We have lunch every few months or so. T-man has a job similar to mine, only for a fairly-prestigious college.

We met at Heinemann's, one of Milwaukee's staples. I love these restaurants because they're always non-smoking, and they have vegetarian choices for me.

T and I always have a talkfest when we get together. We met through CSz, but he didn't stay long enough to get "hooked" like I have. Then we were in a writing critique group. It was great, but we stopped when I moved to the UK last year. He's about 20 years younger than I am, so we're very safe friends and can talk about anything with each other, which is fun.

He is just about done with his non-fiction book. I'm going to look it over before it gets sent out. I love doing that for friends. Plus every time I'm in the acknowledgments it helps me. When I retire, one of the things I want to market is my editing ability. Right now I've edited several books and can put them on my Editing Resume--assuming I ever develop one. :)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

9/18 Trading Spaces

I stayed awake way too late last night. One of the things I did after getting home late from CSz was watch Trading Spaces which I'd taped. The title of the episode was Father and Son Have Different Taste. The title itself made me laugh. The two couples live across the street from each other. Dad and step-mom are landlords for son and d-i-l. Three of the four people work at CSz. So it was so much fun to see TS come to Milwaukee and to showcase people we know.

Dad is Bob Orvis, one of the founding members of CSz. He is now the manager of all the remote shows. He and his wife Lisa redid a room for Jayke and Mandy Orvis. Jayke is a welder, but also works as Mr. Voice for CSz. Mandy is the office manager. Bob and Lisa are straight-looking. And Jayke and Mandy are metal-heads. They have tons of tattoos, fun hair, and love the macabre. Hildy helped Bob and Lisa make over Jayke/Mandy's kitchen into a horror filled, 50's diner. Just want Mandy wanted. They absolutely LOVED it.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

9/17 Worked hard

So busy tonight at CSz. The 7:30 show was sold out (about 180) and the 10 show had about 100 people. I earned my money tonight. Dick stayed to help out with the 7:30 show...answered the phone and took reservations while I dealt with the crowd picking up their tickets, and the groups of 20 or 30 who wanted to pay individually. The 10 didn't look all that busy when he left, but we had tons of walk-ins. And in the middle of it all someone came in to buy a gift certificate--and the stupid printer wouldn't work. We had to just write one out and that will probably mess with the bookkeeping.

Then one of the bachelorette parties took an inordinate amount of time because they thought "it was stupid" that they couldn't wear condoms on their heads and carry in penis toys. I reminded them it was a family friendly show, and one of them said, "That's really stupid. Kids should be in bed." I said that some adults appreciate we're a family friendly show as well. There was a woman standing there with another bachelorette party (her daughter's) and she nodded. Later she thanked me for saying something.

When Dick first told me I had to gather all the inappropriate items and keep them behind the counter or ask the person to take them to his/her car, I thought it would be no big deal. But almost everything is a big deal when someone is drunk. (Not me, the customer.) Most people are nice and tend to understand. The bride in question tonight did. She kept saying, "It's no big deal."

But I really deserved my free after-shift drink tonight.

Friday, September 16, 2005

9/16 Another meme

The Describe Yourself in Song Meme:

Rules are as follows: Choose one band and answer the following questions about yourself only using titles from that band's catalog of songs...without repeating songs OR the band of the person who did this ahead of you...

Here's mine:

Artist/band: Beatles
Are you male or female: Tell me what you see
Describe yourself: Getting better
How do some people feel about you: Wait...
How do you feel about yourself: I feel fine
Describe where you want to be: The long and winding road
Describe what you want to be: Paperback writer
Describe how you live: Eight days a week
Describe how you love: Hello goodbye
Share a few words of wisdom: We can work it out

The hardest part for me was leaving some good titles out. Under male or female it would be easy to put GIRL--one of my favorite Beatle songs, but I thought the other title was funnier.

Try it. Jer

9/16 What am I doing?

What am I doing?

Spending all my money on travel, that’s what. Even though some trips are business-related and I don’t have to pay for the big things (travel and hotel, for example), trips are still expensive. And, of course, some trips are personal, so I do have to pay for anything.

I absolutely love traveling. It feeds my need for adventure. Staying in one place all the time bores me silly. Yet some people close to me don’t want to leave their hometown. They’re perfectly content. I bet they actually save money. Wish I had that habit.

But the habit I do have, the addiction I do have, must be satisfied. So I travel.

A week from tomorrow I’m in NYC for six days. Ten days after returning home I leave for Quincy for a week. And a month after that I’m in Mohonk in NY state. No international travel this year (yet). And all my vacation time will be gone once Christmas is here. But PTO (personal time off) is to be used. I’m just lucky I don’t get sick and have to take PTO for that. PTO is like a precious gift to me—only to be used on things that make me smile.

Last year I took a day off for a cousin’s death. And even though the occasion was sad, it was still a time of smiles and laughter. My extended family is so cool, and so weird, ya gotta love them.

A friend just emailed and said, “Seems like you don’t hold still longer than a minute.” I don’t appear hyper in a micro sense, but in a macro sense I sure am. I think that’s one reason I’m really good at trauma work. It certainly causes an adrenaline rush, but in the meantime I’m really helping people.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

9-15 More on hurricanes

I emailed HHS to find out when I’d be notified about deployment. In the email I mentioned that I couldn’t go until mid-October because of work commitments and the return email from HHS said, “Due to the amazing response of interested applicants, we will be notifying only those that are being deployed at this moment. We are working hard to deploy those who receive federal appointments to the disaster areas as fast as we can, and will notify potential appointees as soon as possible. Thank you for your continued willingness to serve.”

That sounds like three things: 1. There are many volunteers, which is super. 2. They’re only notifying those who are able to go immediately. 3. And I assume it means I can still be used later.

So my adrenaline is down and I’ll be able to remove the mobile phone which has been surgically attached to my body.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

9/14 Windy Wisconsin

Last night Wisconsin rivaled coastal areas hit by hurricanes. We experienced hurricane-force winds and it was really something to see. I tried to leave work about 6 last night, then looked outside and noticed the trees being thrown about and bent over. The rain was completely horizontal at times. Fascinating and I couldn’t stop looking. When I finally was able to leave the building the rain was still pounding down, but the wind had died a bit. The radio said there were many measurements of 70 and 75 mph gusts and one 80 mph gust was reported. Hurricane winds begin at 74 mph.

One guy was killed when he accidentally came in contact with a downed wire. Very sad. But I think we’re so lucky there was only one death.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

9/13 Ten dinner guests

In my writing group someone asked an old question, about the ten people you would invite to dinner. They can be living or dead. I found it difficult, so just did it off the top of my head rather than thinking hard about it. Here's my answer:

I need two dinners. The first one would be my 10 favorite people in the world, my eight brothers and sisters and my two kids. And I'd sneak in the two grandkids.

The second would be:

1. Thomas Jefferson--I want to find out what the founding fathers really meant in the Bill of Rights and Constitution. Then I'd come back and kick some butt politically.

2. Jesus Christ--to judge for myself. And to find out if he really wanted us to keep making rules that on the surface seem a bit silly to me (not all, but some).

3. Gregory Peck--when I read the article written by Scout (forgot her real name--oh, yeah, Mary Badham) I wished I'd known him. He sounds like a good kind man.

4. My childhood self--I want to see the innocence and hope and recapture some of it. I also want to warn myself about my faults--that they're harder to get rid of when you're a grown-up.

5. My mom as a teenager or when she was engaged--She had such a hard life as a married woman and mother. I'd love to see that spark in her eyes all the time. Through her adult life we saw the spark, but I just know that she had it constantly as a youngster. She was adored by her family, the youngest of 8 kids. And her friends still talk to us kids about how wonderful she was.

6. St. Catherine of Sienna--She apparently was a hoot. I'd love to meet this mystic with a sense of humor. She even joked with God. "If this is the way you treat friends, is it any wonder you have so few?" (I'm sure those words aren't exact, but they're pretty close.)

7. Julian of Norwich--another female mystic who fascinates me. She is the author of one of my favorite mantras, "All will be well, and all will be well, and every manner of thing shall be well." I love the sentiment, and it echoes my own Pollyanna take on life.

8. Mary Chapin Carpenter--I love her music passionately. And her words fascinate me. Would just like to meet her and have dinner with her.

9. Paul (forgot his last name, I'll come and fix this when I remember)--he dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and until the day he died thought it was the right thing to do. He's from my hometown, Quincy Illinois, and I want to talk to him. I'm thinking the only way he could live with himself was to remain firmly convinced it was moral and right. I mean, how could you stand to think of what you'd done if you eventually thought it was wrong?

10. Miss Dorothy Haxel/Sr. Rose Veronica--She was my kindergarten teacher and loved me. I loved her too. She ended up becoming a nun, and we were friends as adults. We lost track during the 90s when I left Quincy, and I imagine she's deceased now. But what a great self-esteem builder she was. (Can I blame her for my cockiness?) Smile

Okay, I'm now ready to start another list of 10. I knew this would be hard. Smile Jer

9/13 Waiting and working

I know it will take a while for HHS to check out my credentials, etc., but I'm hoping they contact me soon. Even though I won't be available to go until October, I still want to get started on the shots and other stuff I need prior to deployment.

Lots going on at work. So much to do, and I love it.

Spoke to my boss about the HHS volunteer bit, and she doesn't think there will be a problem. I'm going to write up the request formally and give it to her. She'll give it to the CEO for authorization. That was a relief. Don't know why it was hard to ask, but it was. She's really nice to me, so there wasn't anything to be scared of, but it felt like I was asking for a lot--two weeks unpaid leave.

I'm going to NYC next Saturday (24th). I'll be staying in lower Manhattan near the Brooklyn Bridge, but will be working in Brooklyn. Can't wait to see my NY friends. We're gathering for a Games Gang fun day. And DF will most likely go to see the NYC ComedySportz with me that Sunday night. Should be a great time.

My work begins Sunday afternoon and there will be mostly 10-12 hour days Monday, Tuesay and Wednesday. We'll finish up on Thursday and I'll fly home that night.

I love New York.

Gotta run. Lots to do.

Monday, September 12, 2005

9/12 Update

Important stuff first--we sucked last night at Rec League. It didn't feel that way, but the score we received sure showed it. Only place to go is UP!!!

Really important stuff second--I faxed in all the documents today to HHS.

The website is very thorough and gives a list of everything you need to bring for a "rigorous deployment." It also notes that the CDC says to get tetanus shots up-to-date and to begin hepititus B shots prior to deployment. I think I'll wait on that until I find out if they want me.

And I've decided to just borrow the money I'll lose while gone. It's enough if my company gives me the time off without pay, I'm not going to take advantage of them by asking them to provide my salary too. (Although a friend told me that Disney is paying salaries for their employees who volunteer. I have new respect for that company.)

I'm nervous, but am so excited that I might actually be able to help.

9/12 Update

Important stuff first--we sucked last night at Rec League. It didn't feel that way, but the score we received sure showed it. Only place to go is UP!!!

Really important stuff second--I faxed in all the documents today to HHS.

The website is very thorough and gives a list of everything you need to bring for a "rigorous deployment." It also notes that the CDC says to get tetanus shots up-to-date and to begin hepititus B shots prior to deployment. I think I'll wait on that until I find out if they want me.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

9/11 Interesting email

Wow. On the 4th anniversary of 9/11 I'm thinking about that, while watching football and praying my fantasy team wins. What superficial fluff--but it's a fun part of my life.

And I'm getting ready to go to CSz to play in the Rec League. This is my team's first match in this season. Not so superficial fluff, laughter is something that we can't live without.

About one minute ago I got an email from the feds (HHS) saying I may be deployed. I hope I can set the dates for my volunteer work so other things can still get done in my life. (Not talking about CSz--my team will do fine, or better, without me.) I am scheduled to go to NYC for a COA site review in two weeks, and I can't miss that. And there's a week in October when Jill and the grandkids will be in Quincy--I've scheduled a vacation week for then. My family is the only thing more important to me than doing this work. If I have to miss the COA site review, then I will and I know COA will understand. They're a human service organization.

I'm not opening the documents attached to the email until after my CSz match. Oh God I hope it's not immediate. But if it is, I'll go and make adjustments in my professional life.

I lied...opened the documents right away. Couldn't stop myself. It says up to a month, with a possible extension of a month. That's not possible. I need to earn money and this is as an unpaid federal employee, volunteer work. Which is fine. But I can't do it that long. The website I saw said for two weeks, and I can make that happen. (May have to borrow money to pay my bills, but that's okay.)

I'm sure they'll do it for two weeks, and if the need is still there during the holidays, I can go back. We'll see. (I say that a lot, don't I?)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

9/10 Fun at work

I really enjoy working at CSz, and hanging out there as well. Wish I could be as funny on stage as I am behind the counter in the box office. Customers are always asking me if I'm playing in the match they're going to watch. Then of course I say, "No, I'm not a professional player. I play on Sundays in the Rec League." But it's always a compliment that I get asked.

Tomorrow will be the fifth day in a row that I'll be at CSz. That's much more frequent than usual. Wednesday was the benefit, and I worked Thursday through Saturday. And tomorrow is the Rec League. I'm so excited about playing and hope I can use some of the good "stuff" I learned at the tournament.

Friday, September 09, 2005

9/9 Impulsive

Impulsive, but well-meaning—that’s how I’d describe myself right now. I filled out the paperwork to volunteer for two weeks with the Department of Health and Human Services. They need social workers, especially those with disaster/trauma experience.

I feel like I’ve just been twiddling my thumbs while others work. That’s a difficult feeling, when you know you have needed skills.

My schedule is really full between now and the end of the year, but there’s only two things I can’t/won’t cancel. So I’d be able to fit in the two weeks—that is if work lets me go “with pay.” I don’t have enough vacation time. But we’re a very charitable company. It really is a company with a huge heart. We’re giving to charity all the time—both money and staff resources. So I think they might “donate” my time by paying me while I’m gone (if I get accepted). That’s the only way I can do this.

Guess I should have thought this all out prior to filling out the forms, huh? But then I wouldn’t have been impulsive, and the title of this blog entry would be a lie. And we wouldn’t want that, would we?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

9/8 Benefit

CSz Milwaukee held a benefit last night for Second Harvest, with all the money going to the relief efforts down south. Unfortunately the turnout was small. Our intentions were good and they sure marketed the heck out of it, but it was very short notice. Perhaps their next one will get more attention.

Anyway, since the turnout was small, those of us who were in the Rec League got to participate in some of the games. It was a “slam” rather than a CSz match. A number of games, and any player could jump in when he/she wished. It’s my sad duty to write that I SUCKED! I only spoke in probably two games, and each one was pitiful. Don’t know what was wrong. But anyway, I’m glad I got it out of the way, so maybe I won’t be so sucky on Sunday at the Rec League.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

9/7 Friends, etc.

9/7 Friends, etc.

Received a call from a friend I hadn’t spoken to in months. She lost her job in June and I just heard about it. It was difficult, knowing I could have been there for her but didn’t have the information to do so. She’s probably my only friend who didn’t have email. She has it now, and I’m grateful. It will be easier to stay up to date. It’s amazing though how much we rely on email and text to communicate, and how wonderful it was to talk to a far-away friend and hear the warmth in her voice.

Other tidbits: I’m in frequent touch with some young friends from New Orleans. It warms my heart that in the midst of everything, they contact me. Oh shit, I’m tearing up.

Even though the activation didn’t take place with one company I contract with, I’m now in touch with another company that has lots of people mobilized to the N.O. area. My training and education is suited for the site work, so am waiting to hear if they need me. Just heard yesterday that one of our workers here is in N.O. volunteering. She’s one of our “travelers,” so I don’t see her much anyway. Her absence is normal. But when I heard this, I thought—that’s just like her. She probably went down on her own and is working. Good on you, girl.

Tonight ComedySportz Milwaukee is having a benefit performance. I'll do my small part. Hope they make tons of money.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

9/6 It's a day, isn't it?

Back to work after three days off. Interesting phenomenon. I’m very energized and am accomplishing tons of work. First thing this morning a magazine editor called, wanting to do an interview. I contacted our President (who was at an airport) and she’ll do the interview tomorrow. Got a handle on other projects too.

I’m officially “off call” now. The feds didn’t activate the call center. I’m disappointed since it was a tangible way I could help. We’ve heard from most of the N.O. group and at least four of them have landed in Austin TX, where they plan to remain. These young improvisers, comedians and actors want to continue practicing their craft. The CSz theatre in N.O. is gone (according to the owner). What a devastating blow. This woman had finally gotten the enterprise up and running—and it disappeared in a second. She’s grateful to be alive, as are we all. It’s not my place to share details of her life, but there are so many other things going on as well. So stressful. So traumatic.

I hear from some of my young N.O. friends via IM and email and every message is a gift.

Monday, September 05, 2005

9/5 I'm boring.

Still no call to be activated.

A quiet day. I swam laps in the morning for 1/2 hour and did laundry. Loaded pictures from the CSz World Championship onto my website. Worked on some Christmas presents (I have a huge family and buy all year). That's about it.

Boring, I know. But truthful.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

9/4 Ugh...

I still haven't received the activation call. The only reason I'm pissed is that I gave up working at CSz Friday night and Saturday night in order to do this. There's still tomorrow. Anytime after that I'd have to take days off from my regular job. We'll see.

Today a friend and I created a forum for our friends who are serious about getting healthy. We're just setting it up right now, but I think it's going to be cool.

Heard from Rob today. He and Beata are in Hawaii at Hickam AFB. That's where they're starting their adventure. Nearly everything he mentioned that they planned to do were things I'd done when we lived there. I'm so happy for them getting this great belated honeymoon.

Plus it's always good to hear from one of my kids.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

9/3 Not waiting...

Not waiting by the phone...I'm taking the phone with me. Went out for breakfast this morning and then spent a couple of hours by the pool. Took my cell phone both places, and took my cordless to the pool. It works out there. But still no activation to work for the hurricane victims.

They said it would be yesterday or today most likely. It's still today, so we'll see. Maybe if I start playing some online poker the phone will ring. :)

Friday, September 02, 2005

9/2 Memorable Day

Thirty-eight years ago today I married Phil. There’s some nostalgia when I think about it. That 20 year-old girl with stars in her eyes was soon introduced to reality. Not that everything was bad during our 10 ½ year marriage. But there were some times I don’t want to remember. The good things? Living in Hawaii. Adopting Rob there and Jill in Georgia. That wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for Phil’s army career.

He’s now been married for 25 years to Sandy. I’m happy for them.

And now onto current news. Like most people, I’m saddened and repulsed by what’s happening on the Gulf Coast. I can’t believe people are suffering so much. It seems like such a simple thing to give them food and water. Yet there are other people shooting at those who try to help. Hard to understand. But people’s response to trauma differs. Some are frozen, in shock. Others vent their anger in dangerous ways.

I’m on call to be activated to assist (as a therapist, on the phone). It will feel good to be able to help. Some friends and I were just talking about wanting to help, and the helpless feeling we have during tragedies. Of course we give money. But we want the feeling of doing tangible stuff—working. So I’m very grateful I’ll have the opportunity to do that.

Another tangent: My son and daughter-in-law left today from Japan to go on a vacation to Hawaii. I’m so happy for them. But my d-i-l sent me a beautiful note that held instructions on what to do in the case of her death. It was very detailed and well-thought-out. I’m touched that she trusts me to handle everything. On the other side—I hate to think of anything happening to them on the best vacation of their lives. They have so much planned. And since my son is Samoan (Polynesian), they’ll fit right in with the locals (kamaina).

I wish them a beautiful and romantic trip.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

9/1 Musings

Being on the ComedySportz forum is always fun after tournament. So many people post who normally don’t. This time though it’s a little different. We all met (and loved) the team from New Orleans. We’ve now heard from all of them, but we’re still concerned. For most, their lives will never be the same. They’ve not only lost houses and possessions, they’ve lost jobs too. So far, none have lost loved ones, which is a real blessing.

I switched from IE to Mozilla Firefox today at work. I’ll see whether I think it’s better or not. But already I see one benefit—I can put RSS feeds onto my toolbar. That’s very cool.

Talked to Jill and the kids today. As always, it was so cool. Kayla was excited because today was going to be Green Day at kindergarten. Everyone would wear green and read Green Eggs and Ham. She said, “I’m not going to eat any of that.”

Hunter was all excited because, “Daddy got a new dirt bike it’s a Honda I’m going to get a Honda when I grow up when I get my training wheels off my bike I’m going to take Dad for a ride on it when I’m a big boy…(takes breath)…well I love you Grandma and I’m coming to see you in October on an airplane will you pick me up at the airport wait Aunt Jane will pick me up bye Grandma I love you.” (Sounds of him kissing the phone.)

Can you see why I love talking to them?