Thursday, November 12, 2009

Veterans Day

OK, I guess I missed my Tuesday blogging deadline.

Yesterday was Veterans Day, so Ron and I went out to dinner to celebrate. We were celebrating the fact that Applebees was offering free dinner to veterans, so Ron could eat for free.

The parking lot was packed, but we didn't have to wait very long to be seated. We noticed a lot of veterans in the place. Either they had on a cap or sweatshirt that had some kind of military "stuff" on it or they had the telltale Special Menu on the table. For the veterans free meal, there was a limited menu with six choices of entrees, all very good. Ron chose the 3 Cheese Chicken Penne. He said it was very good, and the portion was so huge, he brought some of it home for lunch or dinner today. I'm not a veteran, so I was able to choose from the full menu and it was a very difficult choice; everything looked good. I ended up with the Babyback Ribs with the Sweet & Spicy BBQ sauce. I'm so glad I got them; they were sooooo delicious. They were so tender, the meat was falling off the bone and the sauce was perfect - more spicy than sweet. I let Ron have one rib, but I ate the rest and enjoyed every bite.

Earlier in the day, at lunchtime, Ron went to a Veterans Day ceremony in Taos Plaza. He said there were about 200 people there. Several survivors of the Bataan Death March live in Taos (and many more live in various areas of New Mexico).

If you haven't yet thanked the veterans you know, thank them. If you've already thanked them, thank them again. (Thanks, Jim)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cat Tales

Natasha's beloved, beautiful cat died a few days ago after a long (but still too short) and happy life. Here is a picture of him in all his furry glory that she sent to me a few years ago.

I started thinking about the cats we have now and the cats that came before them. A new cat never replaces the previous cat, but it fills up part of the hole left when a cat dies.

I've noticed some interesting thing. Winston filled up part of the hole that Panther left in our lives and hearts when she died. Of course the two never met, but we always say that Winston has Pantherisms. He loves to sit or sleep on the back of any of the motorcycles in the garage, just as Panther did. He's very vocal, especially in the morning, when he wants his breakfast, just as Panther was. There is one huge difference; Winston loves the dogs and loves curling up with them. Panther hated the dogs and loved to torment them even when they hadn't done anything to her.

Then there's Princess, who filled up part of the hold that Shadow left when she died. She has Shadowisms. When Ron is reading in bed, Princess loves to get up on the bed and plop down on the magazine or book he's reading, just as Shadow did. None of the other cats have ever done that. Then there's the fried chicken; Shadow loved fried chicken, to the point where she would try to take the piece out of our hands while we were eating it! Princess loves fried chicken, too, although she isn't quite that rude. She just tries to take the piece off of the plate when we put it down. She's more "chirpy" than "yowly" in her meows.

Cats are so great! I'm so glad they share their lives with us; it would be so empty without them.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Why have just one job when you can have three?

Back in late July I decided to get a part time job to bring in some more money. Together Ron and I made a list of places to go and apply for an evening or weekend job. I ended up being hired on the spot at the first place I went! It's a hotel, an "independently owned and operated" but part of a chain (the initials of the chain are BW; I'll just leave it at that). I inquired about a Night Clerk position and the woman said, "Night Auditor? Did you know we have an opening?" So I filled out the application and interviewed with the General Manager and he hired me on the spot.

I only work two nights a week - Friday and Saturday nights, but the hours are 11:00 pm to 7:00 am. That way since it's the weekend, I can go home and sleep for a few hours. The other Night Auditor trained me for a few nights and I only worked 11 to 2 or 3, which is all the time the actual audit takes. It's just filling out several forms, noting how much money we took in for rooms, the restaurant, and the bar and it what forms - cash, check, credit cards (which ones), etc. Once I learned which numbers go where, it's pretty easy, unless someone on the day shift has messed things up. Once I'm done with the audit, I read, write, get on the Internet (I take my netbook computer and there's a wireless signal available), or talk with the Security Guard. He's either in the lobby or out on the grounds doing his rounds. When he's not in the lobby we both have walkie-talkies to communicate and after 11:00 the lobby doors are locked, whether he's there or not, so it's all perfectly safe.

I'm getting great material for my writing from working here. The staff alone are such bizarre characters that no one would believe it. Most of the bizarre ones have been fired and the recent hires are normal. Of course one of the recently-fired guys was re-hired (over the years he's been working there, he's been fired 4 times and re-hired 5 times; fifth time's a charm, right?)

About 2 weeks after I started that job, my hours at my regular job, at the construction company, were cut from 40 to 30, so that put me back at square one as far as extra money goes! It wasn't the economy; business is pretty good, but my boss, the Office Manager, likes to be in control and would rather do everything herself (and complain about all the work she has to do) instead of letting me do more. She also said that I was "too good" at what I do, and "too fast", so I would end up sitting at my desk not "looking busy" and the Big Boss didn't like that.

So in my next therapy session (I go about once a month) I talked about that with Dr. M and she talked about all the work she has to do and I said, "You should hire me" half kidding and half serious. We talked about it and she agreed that I would be the perfect person to help her fill out insurance claim forms and schedule appointments. She said she'd never hired anyone to help her, but she knew I'm detail-oriented and I know to keep everything confidential and all that.

So Monday through Friday I work my "regular" job from 8-2 (straight through, no lunch break), then I go home for a quick bite to eat and work for Dr. M from 3-5. On Fridays I take a nap before I go to my hotel job from 11-7, but on the other evenings I'm home. And I have most of Saturday and all of Sunday at home.

The schedule sounds horrendous, but it really isn't that bad. All three jobs are pretty easy and very low-stress, compared to the vet job. And I'm definitely getting good material for my writing from the hotel job.

I also have a part-time editing gig. One of Ron's sisters is writing her memoirs and I'm helping her with that; I'm editing what she writes and I'm going to arrange for it to be printed. That's also interesting work.

So if you don't hear from me very often, or you hear me say it's crazy-busy here, now you know what I mean.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm Back!

After taking nearly a year off from blogging, I’m back. I’m inspired by my sister, who recently celebrated her third anniversary of blogging. In fact, she was the one who encouraged me to start a blog and I’m so glad I did. I’ve enjoyed blogging, but somehow I let things go.

I’m planning to post three times a week – Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the weekend. I have good intentions, but we all know where good intentions will get you. Life is crazy-busy right now (more on that in Thursday’s post), but maybe writing the blog will help me get some control over things (or at least the illusion of control). Some people are control freaks, but I’ve discovered that I’m a self-control freak. I’m working on that.

One thing I’m planning for the blog is a regular post called the Weekend Feature that will highlight stories from my various jobs (more on those in Thursday’s post) or stories about the dogs and cats.

In the meantime, the weather is beautiful – highs in the 60s and lows in the 20s. We had a brief cold snap last week when the low got down to 8 and we had our usual Halloween snow (only two inches, much less than the four to eight inches they predicted), but this time it came a few days before Halloween instead of right on Halloween, which is the norm.

In the next few days, I'll be improving the blog - adding more links, changing the layout, etc. And I'll post a new entry on Thursday.