Ramblings of A Mutant Penguin

The Mutant Penguin Herself Speaks - Personally

Thursday, December 24, 2037


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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fall 2013 Moves Along

Here is the picture I will put in my snowman frame (when I remember to print a copy for me!).  This will update what's in it which is from Christmas 2010!

Because my flight was delayed instead of arriving on the 10th of October in New Hampshire, I arrived on the 11th which as you probably know is my birthday. Ally, Sean and Matt (who will be 7 next month) came for 3.5 days which was wonderful!  Matt and I had an opportunity to go shopping and to a pumpkin patch alone while his parents enjoyed some time alone.  I was so happy to see all of them!  I hadn't seen Sean since 2011 so I was really, really glad he could come.  He's such a good dad and husband.  Ally is so happy and so is Matt.  How I miss them!

Now here is a great picture of Matt with his Great Grammy.  Had to post this!

Ah yes, here we are again, the PSC gals.  Yes, I know it's Plymouth State UNIVERSITY now but to us it will always be Plymouth State College.  Jeannie, on the left behind me in the chair, will have known me 40 years next September. Where did the time go?

And finally a picture of Andrew and Matt.  It's hard to believe how much they've grown since last year.  Matt is getting really tall!  Matt is in 2nd grade and Andrew is in 1st.  Both are probably the smartest boys in their class.  I wish I could visit more than once a year but with no paid vacation and plane fare really high, I was lucky to be able to go this once.

There is a possibility that I will end up with more work.  The office manager has taken a 6 month leave of absence and I'll be doing some of what she does. Obviously because I'm not in the office physically I can't answer phones but I can schedule appointments and do other documents.  I'm hoping that when things pick up financially for them that it will be passed along to me and I will be guaranteed 20 hours per week instead of the 10 I have now.  If they did that it would make my life a bit easier, for sure.  I am hoping they will do that and move me up to a limit of 25 per week soon.  We shall see.

I've been busy doing crochet.  I should probably post something to the Crafty Rantings about that but some of these things are presents for Christmas so probably not.

I'll be spending Thanksgiving with my adopted family in Gridley.  How lucky I am to have been taken in by them!  At first I wasn't sure I would ever fit in. That lasted about 15 minutes. :)

While I was thinking about how long I've known people it occurred to me that I have known Susan and my friend Amy for 12 years now!  I haven't had a fight with either one (knock wood) and hope it stays that way!

Tuesday I had another eye doctor appointment (every 4-8 weeks) and got another shot in my left eye (the bad one).  On my way home from Amy's house, who is kind enough to take me to my appointments, I had changed the CD in the car and didn't pay much attention.  Until it started.  And then it made me cry.  Neil Diamond singing "Forever in Blue Jeans".  It brought such happy memories of "champagne weekends" at Bev's place in Peterborough with her, Jeannie and I being together and while we might not have done a lot, it really was a time in my life that made me incredibly happy.  Thank you Bev and Jeannie.  I will always think of the two of you when I hear that song.

Then later on came Eric Clapton singing "Nobody Knows You" (when you're down and out) and that made me think of how lucky I am that after I lost my job in 2011 I had some wonderful friends who continue to this day to stand by me and be good friends - Amy, Susan, Alma and Tammy.

God has blessed me with a wonderful family and magnificent friends.  I am one fortunate fat old penguin, for sure.  Thank you.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Bad Blogger

Oh yes I'm bad at blogging.  I hate continually repeating things but I see that this will be my first entry for 2013.  Yikes!

Since April I have been working 20 hours a week which is enough to support myself financially.  No more unemployment.  Getting the hours has been a significant struggle during the summer and I am hoping it gets better now.

I have made it through the horribly hot summer.  I had repairs done to my house.  The significant ones were adding a ceiling fan/light to the livingroom, a new front door that looks just like the other but doesn't have gaps around it, safety bars to hold onto in the tub and a new kitchen faucet.  Other things, too, but these I needed.  Well, ok, I needed the railings out front because there are a lot of stairs.

On October 10th I fly to New Hampshire to spend 7 days with my family.  I need that desperately.  I miss them so much!

I've been blessed with wonderful employers to do a job I love from the home that I love.

For almost a month now I have been suffering with a left knee and surrounding area that hurts like crazy.  I limp.  I have no health insurance or money to afford a doctor so I use the only thing I know that can work - prayer.

It is getting dark earlier now.  This makes me happy because I know that winter is coming.  Not only will it be cooler but I am still here where I want to be.  If the leg is doing alright I will decorate as much for Christmas this year as I did last and that was a lot.

This coming Thursday my dad will have been gone from us for 15 years.  Maybe I should say "gone from this earth" because he really is always with us.  Memories.  I miss him terribly.

I talk to my mother at least once a day.  That helps me handle being lonely.  She is my biggest emotional supporter.

I will see Ally, Matt and Sean while I'm back east and I'm looking forward to that a lot.  Also my college friends who I miss.

I don't sleep well but that is a combination of planning ahead and too much in my mind.  I know whatever happens to me, wherever I end up, the destination isn't really of my planning.  God's got things planned.  I just hope I'm smart enough to follow and trust.

I have had struggles this year with my vision.  My eye doctor has been kind and generous and allows me to get the treatment I need even though I have no insurance.  I am still paying off the 2011 work.  So that's another blessing from heaven.

As summer fades into fall, fall means a trip to see family.  When I return it will be very close to being winter and I will like that.  Cooler weather.  The ability to fill my time with crafting and not worrying about roasting because of the yarn.

Hopefully I will get back here again, maybe after vacation with pictures.

Life goes on.  Not always how we'd like but it goes on.  I am not as well off financially as I'd like but I have so many other blessings that I'm not worried.  And I'm a lot happier than I was before I was laid off in June, 2011.  Much happier!

Monday, December 31, 2012

End of the Year

Here we are at the end of the year.  I haven't blogged since the beginning of November.  I wish I could say I have good reasons but I probably only have the excuse of just not doing it.

I am still working just 20 hours per pay period (2 weeks) and so desperately hoping they can double that so I can get off unemployment.  I told them the end of the month but I am thinking that may not happen.  But then again, after the holidays are over maybe things will improve.  I sure hope so.  I want to stay here in my house in California and keep working at this job I love with wonderful employers.  But I need enough income.  There aren't any other jobs in this area, even part time, that I could use to make up the difference.  Worst case scenario is I have to sell the house (or give it up to the bank), move in with my mother and do their part time work in New Hampshire.  That's up to God.  I do what I can.  My employers do what they can.  But the plan for my life is set out and executed by God and whatever He decides, I have to accept.

It seems colder this winter than last but that could be because last winter I wasn't working and spent a lot of time sleeping thanks to being depressed. This winter I am working and up and about more.

Since this is the day most people reflect on how their year has gone, here's a brief reflection of my own.

I started the year 100% unemployed.  At the end of February I was hired for a full time job and started that the first Monday of March.  Then the Wednesday before Easter (first week of April), I'm told I'm being laid off.  I asked if I could at least work the end of the week so I was granted those two days.  Back to being unemployed.  Had no health insurance with that job so that status didn't change.

In June I saw an ad on craigslist for a part time probate paralegal position for a firm in the bay area that was a telecommute job.  They said not to apply if you were looking for full time but that within 6 months it could be as many as 30 hours per week.  Depending on what they paid it could work.  So I applied, interviewed and the next day they hired me at a very good wage which will pay my bills at 20 hours per week and anything over that (which I would love!) would make it possible for me to eventually get a new car and have some breathing room.

I've worked for them for over 6 months and been extremely happy.  They are wonderful employers.     I hope to be with them for a very, very long time.

In October I was able to go spend 10 days with my family in New Hampshire.  I got to see Ally and Matt and my college friends... it was a great way to spend my birthday!

For Thanksgiving and Christmas I spent my holidays with my dear friend Susan and her family.  At Thanksgiving dinner her granddaughter, Isabelle, came up and put her arms around me and asked me if I would please come spend Christmas with them because I was family and she really wanted me there.  I thought I was going to cry.  I love them all so dearly!

Christmas Eve I went to Amy's new apartment and we had a turkey dinner while we watched "A Christmas Story".  I would love to make it a tradition of sorts next year and have dinner at my house (non-turkey probably) and watch the movie.

Tonight I have no plans.  Today is my nephew Ryan's birthday.  He turned 28 today.  The extent of what I am doing today is hopefully obtaining some work from my employers and possibly cleaning the floors which are in need of it.  I may start taking down some of the Christmas decorations but I love seeing them.

Tomorrow I am only available to work a couple of hours because my plans changed.  I am going to brunch with Amy and then later to a movie with my friend Alma.

The end of this year is better than 2011.  And I hope that next year is even better.

I plan to do all I can to be the best mom, daughter, sister, friend, employee and human being I can be.

I wish everyone a wonderful new year and pray that your life is filled with as many blessings as you pray for, hope for and need.

Sometimes all we need to make things better is a little faith that it will happen.  And this year I have a lot more faith in that (and God) than I have had before so I know life is not only going to be good, it already is.         

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Another Picture or Two from October

The top picture is Den standing on the bridge by a lake outside of Mount Chocoura.

The second picture is Matt and Andrew the night of their sleep-over with Matt reading to Andrew.  Matt, obviously, is the blonde on the left and Andrew is the dark haired darling on the right.

The final picture is the PSC gals.  We all met at Plymouth State College (now Plymouth State University) when I was 17 and they were 18.  We have known each other many, many years.  Actually, 38 to be exact.  In the past whenever I've been able to go for two weeks in October we have gotten together.  Because time was short this trip we got together for dinner and spent a long time catching up.  From left to right, me, Bev, Torse (Sherry) and Jeannie.

October Happenings

Well looky here at where I've been!  October was a month filled with some very emotional happenings in my life.

I was able to spend 10 days in New Hampshire with my family!  Ally and Matt were able to come visit for two nights which was wonderful!!  It had been almost 18 months since I had seen my family and it was far too long.  Matt has grown and changed so much!  I will try my best to NOT let it be that long again.  Unfortunately no job and finances is what kept me away.  Mom paid for my airplane ticket and without that generosity, who knows how long it would have been.

The first week back from vacation I had 11 hours of work.  I'm authorized to 10 with additional upon approval.  I was working on a project so I was approved for the extra hour.  Since then it has been like pulling teeth.  The lady attorney had been out most of the month with family issues and since she was the one getting most of the work to me, through no fault of her own, my work slowed down.  She is back to work now but I have still been struggling this week.  But last night the male attorney called me to tell me that since they had promised me 10 hours a week I would be paid for that unless I'm authorized to go over.  This is a HUGE relief for me financially.  In January, however, as we had discussed, my unemployment which has supplemented the part time income can't be counted on and I need 20+ hours per week instead of pay period.  I reminded him so they can plan and me, too.  He reminded me that they love my work and they do not want to lose me which is why they are willing to make sure I get paid for the minimum 10 hours a week.

Did I say these are the nicest people I have EVER worked for?  Well if I haven't, I'm saying it.  If I have, it's worth repeating.  Before I left for vacation he called and left me a wonderful email thanking me for all my good work and the help on one particular project.

I am blessed to have this wonderful job.

October started and ended on wonderful notes.  I can't say how much my soul was refreshed being able to be with my family!

Interesting fact... Den and I were born in 1956.  Our birthday this year was 10/11/12 and we turned 56.  How cool is that!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Finding Time Is Hard

Finding time to update a blog is hard.  Especially lately.

Even though I am only working part time (10 hours a week) it seems I have very little time.  How does this happen?  Well when you only work an hour or two or three at most per day and it's spread out over many days, it seems like I'm working 4 days a week to make 10 hours.  It wasn't always this way.  I used to always be done on Wednesday and have Thursday, Friday and Saturday to myself and sometimes Sunday.  I don't mind working on a Sunday, though, since it gets me a head start on the week.  Only problem is I can't do that unless I have work already assigned to me.  This week I do so I should be able to get at least 3 hours of the 10 out of the way early.

I spoke to them about unemployment income and when that will go away and how many hours I will need to keep working for them.  I need 20+ a week.  20 will pay the bills but that's it.  Truly I need more than that.  But it has to be every week.  I explained that I can't go off unemployment for a couple of weeks and then have to re-file because it takes a while and I lose a week of income doing that.  So they know that I need 20 or more hours a week, every week, starting no later than the beginning of the year.  Hopefully they can do that.  I would hate to have to give up this job.  And if that was my only income the only way I could survive would be to give my house to the bank and move in with my mother.  I could do the job there... it's telecommute.  But I don't want to do that and there are no other jobs around here.  And any other job would require commuting and I'd have to get a new car and, well, honestly, there is no job around here that could pay me enough to pay the bills, get a car and add car payments and commuting costs.  They love my work so I am sure they will do what they can to make this happen for me and them.

Tonight here's what I did in my half hour spurt of energy.  I did the dishes (luckily not too many), folded the laundry, emptied all the garbage cans and took the one bag of garbage out to the container and moved it into the alley for pickup on Monday, filled the steam mop with water and steam cleaned the tile floors in the kitchen, Tile Room, hallway between the bedrooms and the bathroom and did a little on the laminate floor in the livingroom since I had one spot that was something sticky that had been under the chair and I didn't know about it until Amy and I moved the furniture 2 weeks ago (I moved the futon into the livingroom so I could have a couch and the big leather chair and a half went into the Tile Room with a blanket over it because even with conditioning it's getting dry and going to crack plus the footrest doesn't go up so you can't recline it).  After I did that I turned on the computer so I could check the email and finally grabbed a bottle of water and here I am.

On October 4th I am flying east to see my family!  I haven't been there since May, 2011.  I feel bad, though, because Mom had to pay for the ticket and it was $755!!  I fly back on the 13th.  Since I get in later Thursday night, that day is all shot.  Friday we are going to the beach and Saturday to the mountains.  Saturday night Ally and Matt, and hopefully Sean, are coming and will stay until Monday afternoon.  Wednesday night I am having dinner with my PSC college friends Jeannie, Bev and Torse.  Thursday the 11th is my birthday.

Trying to get ready to go is fun, especially trying to get work done, cleaning, packing and I am making something for mom.  Hopefully that will be done tomorrow.  I wasn't going to make her anything but felt bad because I had the winter when I could have done something but instead I made presents for Ally, Matt, Sean, my friend Tammy and my friend Amy.

I really love my job.  My employers are wonderful people.  The work is challenging and they pay me well.  And it's work I am very qualified to do.  Now to just get enough hours that I can get health insurance although I don't know what that might be, maybe 30.  Hey, at 30 hours a week I could maybe still have Friday off and I would be able to afford to get house repairs and maybe sometime furniture.  But for now I am happy I can make the bills.  And praying that I can get 20 or, with luck 25, hours a week at the beginning of the year so I wouldn't have to worry about unemployment any longer and I could fully support myself.

I can't wait to see my family!!  I haven't been to New Hampshire for my birthday in 2 years.  No foliage.  No anything.  I am going to cry and cry and cry at the airport.  But that's ok.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Cautious Update

Here's my cautionary update.

Towards the end of June I applied for a part time job.  I had said I wouldn't but this was too good to not apply.  It was for a probate paralegal and they wanted a lot of experience.  I had a 45 minute interview via phone and the next day they offered me the job.  To start it is 10 hours a week at a good pay.  The law firm is in the bay area so I am working from home and we are doing everything via the net or email once the documents are ready.  Their office is about 3.5 hours away from me, one way.  The telecommute is wonderful!

So far I have worked 4 weeks at 10 hours a week.  Today I finished my work week at 12:30pm which means I had half a day today, all tomorrow, Friday, Saturday and maybe Sunday.  I have received my paychecks and now direct deposit.

The employers are wonderful people!  They are so appreciative of my experience and mind and it is great to work for nice people!  They ordered me all the supplies I thought I would need to get moving (ink, paper, legal pads, pens, even paper clips and flash drives!).  My first paycheck couldn't go direct deposit and when it arrived it had a note on it from one of the attorneys thanking me for my work.  And I get emails saying the same thing a lot!  How great!!!

Last night I was assigned a lot of things to get done today.  It took the remaining time I had for the week (4.5 hours) but I got everything drafted and to them and received a "thanks for your great work" email.

At some point when the business picks up again (they were turning down business because they didn't have the time for everything - no one can work more than 40 hours due to personal circumstances and now they are advertising again) then I will get more hours.  For right now 10 works well.  It ensures I get at least 2.5 days off a week and since I work from home inbetween emails or calls assigning me tasks I can get dishes or laundry done, read or watch some tv.  At the point where my hours are doubled to 20 I will be off unemployment altogether.  I won't be making much more than on just unemployment and it will still be a very tight budget, barely making it, but it will be off unemployment.  I am hoping that happens in another couple of months.  When it gets to 30 hours a week then I will really be earning my pay by doing complicated things (which I love) and be making decent money again.

For right now I am happy to have the job.  More than half my weekly income is coming from real employment.  I work for very nice people doing what I love.

Life is pretty good.  I am a lot happier.  I even don't mind doing housework because I'm not so depressed.  And because I am pretty sure this will continue and I can stay in my house.

Eventually when I am feeling more secure I will cautiously move ahead and the first thing I need to do is buy a couch.  Of course I have to save for that and it will take some time, even at 20 hours a week, but if I can do that by the end of the year I'll be happy.

Looking forward to spending Christmas in my house, decorated, again.  I didn't decorate last year.  Hoping to be able to go see my family for a week in October if I can work out the work schedule.

Tomorrow I am taking my dear friend (adopted sister) Susan to lunch because her birthday is Friday.  It will be nice to see her!  I wish I had a present for her but, unfortunately, it wasn't in the budget so lunch will have to do.

I haven't blogged because writing about sad things is hard and I don't want to post those.  But God has blessed me with this job and the promise that the plan for me includes happiness and the job so I am feeling good enough to post this.  I know the last job only lasted 5 weeks.  But I have a feeling this is a good, long term job, that God wanted me to be patient and wanted me to find the perfect job, even if it was part time, that would bring me happiness and fulfillment.  So far it's working.  Thank you, God!