26 June 2008


I walked over to Panda Express for lunch. I do get tired of eating alone, but I really roll with the punches pretty well. I would rather be anonymous than have to deal with the personalities and politics of this place. Maybe other jobs will be different...

I would guess I might meet some interesting and likeable people along the way. If there are any left in this world! People have to really be dumbing down--reality t.v., text messaging, MP3 players stuck in their ears. Why send your kids to college if they all dissolve into little techo-media geeks. They are all going to have thumb arthritis because of overuse in texting...

Once in awhile I see a really pretty girl walking along downtown. And some of the 20-something boys are so fresh-faced and vital looking. Lots of times you see too much bouncing boobs and nipples. Cleavage is in style--kind of back to the Marie Antoinette era.

Sometimes I look around the train and think how they all look so road-weary and drone-like. The conversation is completely inane. I need to ride the train with some of my audacious middle-aged friends--we would really give them something to listen to!

By the way--tried to watch "Living Lohan." What a bunch of non-happening, boring people. They can't even contrive any drama. At least the Kardashians have a more a flashier life-style, and Ozzie and Sharon Osbourne had the potty-mouthed kids and the pooping dogs. T.V. is a wasteland.

24 June 2008


Been here over a month now. Very, very slow environment. Two distinct tiers--those who rain-make and those who wait on the rain. There is no content or depth to this job--you have to be ready, willing, and able from 8:30am - 5:00pm every day--but, actually only work 1 - 2 hours a day making traveling arrangements, scheduling meetings, with very few administrative responsibilities. Someone else makes the copies and binds the books. That same someone handles the catering, serving, and clean-up. All phone calls go through an experienced receptionist or on direct lines. Very few calls to screen or even answer.

Sounds like a breeze, and it is. The days are moderately to painfully slow and the staff is rather stiff and impersonal.

The views of Lake Michigan are stunning and the energy of the City is fun.

Still surprises me that with the homogenization of retail across the City, suburbs, and the nation that you rarely see two women wearing the same clothing. Actually, in my 5+ weeks of close observation, I have not seen it even once and I do pay attention.

Haven't resorted to reading at my desk yet, but have gotten very bored with solitaire and have been writing a bit. Don't make personal phone calls, either. The benefits of email--you get to keep your private world private. I never use their email system for any personal correspondence. When I leave the trail will be clean.

July 16th is my last day, but it may end on the 15th. There is NO NEED to retrain the returning encumbent. With access to the calendars and main email system, she will be up and running immediately. Such a strange job, and I hear they pay well and their benefits are outstanding. They contribute 11% of your salary to a financial growth fund and the healthcare is tops, because it is the same enjoyed by the partners.

Will I look back fondly at this first job in my new journey? Hopefully I will meet some fun and interesting people along the way and have a chance to use my brain!

10 June 2008


[makes 3 European cups or 1-1/2 USA]

> 2 Scoops coffee, coarsely ground
>Boiling water
  1. Place 2 scoops of coffee in bottom of carafe.
  2. Let water boil on stove or microwave in separate container; take away from heat source for one minute or less—doesn’t have to be accurate.
  3. Pour water over grounds; fill to the top of the metal band. The metal against the carafe keeps the carafe from breaking when the water is added.
  4. Place plunger over carafe with bottom disc in the highest position.
  5. Let sit for 3 minutes.
  6. Carefully push plunger down until coffee grounds are condensed below the disc.
  7. Pour and enjoy!

    HINTS: The carafe comes loose for cleaning. Push it up from the center bottom, if it isn’t loose-fitting. Don’t turn it upside down—we have broken a couple that way when the carafe falls out and breaks.

The first friend that I made when we moved to CL just retired from teaching kindergartners--a life well spent. What I particularly love about BR is that she is a truth teller. We didn't have the new-age lingo back then, but we knew we were from the same tribe.

Two of my favorite BR stories involve our pre-school boys when we were stay-at-home moms needing daily diversions.

First story: There used to be a large Lee Wards store in Elgin that we would case for craft projects, Christmas decorations, and just to have something to do with two overactive boys. We were one aisle away from each other pushing our boys in carts when my small son said, "Mom, when we get a baby?" And, with no plans to increase our 3 person family, I said, "Yes?" He continued, "Can we get a black one?"" Now this was long before Madonna went to Malawi and mixed racial adoptions were certainly happening, but not commonly. I hear this snort from the next aisle, and BR says, "Go ahead, Marielle. I can hardly wait to hear how you answer this one!

Second story: BR's family usually spent the summer at a reading camp, but this particular summer her little guy broke his leg rather seriously, so the two of them stayed at home and her husband went as planned. Sometime mid-summer we decided that BR needed to buy new chairs for her living room and so we loaded up my tiny Pinto wagon with two boys (one in a full leg cast) and a stroller--just about crowding us out. We drove to Rolling Meadows to Levitt's--the original location for Harvest Bible Chapel. We found the perfect velveteen chairs in the just-too-trendy gold and olive velour. Now, how to get them home? Never underestimate the power of moms on a mission!

Recently BR indicated that she had never heard of/had French press coffee, and so I knew what would be the perfect gift to begin her new mornings--French press coffee on the back porch while the mist is still on the garden. She is an early riser and this will be just the punch she needs before she hits the road to take care of her mom and to case the garage sales, etc. Blessings BR! I treasure your friendship. Sip one for me.

03 June 2008


Not a new thought, but a great reminder. You write your own story. YOU write your own story. Others may try to write it for you, but you CAN and will write your own story. Whether you surrender temporarily to someone's control or influence, you are still the author. You decide. Even ambivalence or acquiescence is your choice.

Very much the wisdom of Viktor Frankl--no one can take from you the choice of how you view each situation.

Victor Emil Frankl

I love it! What an encouragement to celebrate life and choose to enjoy the little odd moments and people. And, to cut your loved ones some slack as you determine what YOU want your relationship to be.

The difference was, Lottie thought, that she was old enough to understand the nature of the story: that everyone had one, but that it was thrust upon you as often as not. That what counted was what happened after that, the combining of the aftermath with the original story. Your mother is an alcoholic. Yes: and then?...For Love
by Sue Miller