Sunday, September 7, 2008

I Hate Bureaucrats

You guys are NOT going to believe the next (and last) chapter of the library saga.

I found out I got the job on Wednesday afternoon. I was so happy - whooping and hollering and telling everyone I knew. The very nice man from the library district employment office said I needed to come down the next morning and get my intake paperwork and then go do a drug test. No problem.

My family and I celebrated the job that night and Kirk made a nice dinner. I went down to the office the next morning, did my intake, got my papers and went to do the drug test right from there. It was a hair and urine test but not a big deal. I've had two kids, so I've (ahem) peed in many test cups. And I've got tons of hair, so a few snips won't even show. As a matter of fact, seeing as how I worked in the medical field for almost 20 years ... I've done the whole drug screening pre-employment dance before and have never had even the tiniest issue.

Piece of cake, right?


I get a call Monday from the office and this testy little governmental female drone informs me that they have to rescind my job offer.

I am shocked. "What? Why?" I ask.

"Because you failed your drug test." She answers, in this slightly accusatory tone.

I'm stuttering now. "W-W-W-WHAT?"

"Your urine test came back positive for alcohol." Ms. Smug says. "0.02."

For those of you whose jaws have not dropped at this incredible finding ... let me explain. (And I did a LOT of research to verify these facts.)

That horrid, job-ending-before-it-began result is proof that a female person of my height and weight, who tends not to drink enough water and is probably dehydrated, and eats a LOT of carbs and sugars .... had ONE alcoholic beverage in the last 24 to 48 hours.

See, females have a higher fat percentage, so alcohol tends to stay in the system longer. Worse still, if that female is dehydrated (I live in the desert, people, and it's 106' outside!) the alcohol will be flushed out of the system slower. And, since carbs turn to sugar just like alcohol does as it is processed through the body, it can affect the accuracy of the test. On top of all that - because I am the daughter and granddaughter of diabetics and I don't have the best diet (Did I mention that I love carbs?) I am more likely to have a higher insulin level in my system, which can also affect the test result.

The irony of it all is that the alcohol that cost me the job offer was a celebratory drink with my celebratory dinner with my celebratory family the night before.

Sooooooo .... I fought it. I talked and talked and tried to reason with the worker bee, and so she went to talk to her queen worker bee and they decided that I could re-take the test within 24 hours, but I would have to pay for it myself. $35 frickin dollars.

I started to think about the whole issue. I waited for that stupid little part-time job for FIVE months. I'd work 12 hours a week and make $8.36 an hour. When you do the math, baby ... it just didn't seem worth it. The whole drama left me with a bad feeling. To have to protest and fight for a low-paying job ... when the entire drug testing fiasco was such a sham ... I just let it go.

Don't think for a second that I'm not going to write a very long letter of protest and send it to everyone on that library board, detailing all of the inaccuracies and fallible aspects in the drug testing process.

And now I'm going to end this missive on a happy note. Remember that new website business I told you all about? I went to the launch party last night and it was FAB-U-LOUS. I signed up right away and left there walking on clouds. My own website will be up and running in about 5 days, so you will hear much more about the business in the coming week. I've known the owner for years and years and just love her to pieces. This is going to be great!!

I guess it's true ... things really do happen for a reason.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Better Days

This has been a good week. The kids are both back in school again - and although we had a little kerfuffle (I really love that word) with Katie's schedule, that problem has been fixed and she'll have the classes she wanted as of next week. Payton really likes his new teacher, and seems to like third grade also.

I got really great news too. I finally got a call back from the library. I'm sure the man from the employment department thinks I'm quite mad because I nearly yelped in his ear when he said I had the job. The hours are perfect - part time so I can still be with the kids a lot - although the pay is peanuts.

I know I could go back to ophthalmology and make three times as much money but my heart just isn't in it. I was so miserable at the end of that career I get nauseated thinking of going back. All the politics and backstabbing and crap ... bleah.

I loved taking care of patients, learning and working with my doctors but I couldn't just clock in, do my work, clock out and go home. Everything and everyone gets tainted by the tornado of drama and that ruins everything. Gossip is everywhere, and gossiphounds thrive.

Enough of that negative crap ...

I'm still working with Charlotte at the book review site and loving it. Imagine - getting free books in the mail to read and then write about. I'm loving it so much that if I was getting paid to do it I'd die from happiness. As it is, free books are payment enough for now.

Most amazing of all is that Charlotte sent my name to a publisher. I've been working on my resume' and will send it off as soon as it's polished. If I could get paid to write, work at the library, and spend time with my kids, well ... that would be too wonderful for words.

This was just a quick update for those of you that still check back in with me. I know I've been posting so infrequently that I may have lost many readers but I'll never stay away.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Is It Just Me?

Has anyone else noticed the change in the Blog-O-Sphere?

Two blogs I read often - one of them religiously - have gone and shut down on me. Three more have posted "hiatus" notices.

It's helped me to thin out my "Favorites" list but I'm sad to see them go. I understand that real life gets in the way, and that sometimes you just need a break from blogging. But, honestly? I'm feeling a little selfishly upset. OK, more than a little. I miss 'em. Baaaaaaad.

I've been a mite on-again-off-again with my own posting so I get it. I really do. But I always try to make my way back here again - to connect with my e-friends all over the place. There's a lot going on here now - I'm really loving the book reviews I'm doing, and I'm starting a new online business next week (or so) and possibly doing an interview and writing a brochure for a very prestigious architectural company here in Vegas. I'm trying to keep busy, and maybe make money doing something I love so much it actually leaves me at a loss for words. Yeah, I know. Me.

So, just in case you were wondering - if you decide you need to shut down or take a break, I'll understand but miss you like crazy.

But if you stick around and slog your way through ... I'm your biggest fan.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Reading and Writing Fool

Did you think I fell off the face of the Earth again?

I am happy to report that I have been absent because I've been reading and writing like crazy.

I've been reading books and then writing reviews for Bookstrumpet! Yay, me!

My first review was for "Twilight" - not a bad review for my first one, but I'm getting better. I've just finished reading "The Painter From Shanghai" by Jennifer Cody Epstein. A gorgeous story with such lush prose. My review for that one is almost done - it's difficult to write a review for such an amazing work. It's also hard to not use the word "lush" in every other sentence, but it was. The scents, textures, tastes and colors she describes are so ... well, you know. Lush.
I only hope I do it justice.

I've also just read "Kate - The Woman Who Was Hepburn" and will write that review next. That was a thick book - 532 pages in hardback. But it was very worth it! And such an interesting take on Katharine, her life, and (of course) Spencer Tracy. Thoroughly researched, for certain, and quite eye-opening. Most especially for a huge fan of both Hepburn and Tracy. I've read bios of them before but this one was layered and complicated - just like the woman herself.

In between reading those two books, I got to do an interview with one of my favorite authors - Sonia Singh. She's very warm and witty and the interview was a treat. And, as it was my first interview, she was very patient and helpful. She also gave some good advice about dealing with your Inner Critic as you begin to flesh out a story. I hope I get another chance to interview her again - I learned some valuable info, and would love more!

If you have a few minutes, stroll on over to and take a look. Charlotte even posted a little something about the interview on her main site - Wordstrumpet. (The link for it is over there on your left.)

That's all for now. We had Payton's (belated) birthday party at the Noisy Arcade, Pizza and Birthday Party Place today ... and right now I'm seriously exhausted.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Happy Birthday, Pay-Pay

Today, July 8th is my son's eighth birthday. This is, as he learned from his sister's tenth birthday a few years ago, his golden birthday. That's the one where you turn the same age as the date of your birth.
I think he's had a pretty good day for an eight year old. He got to sleep in a bit, got cinnamon and sugar toast and a big glass of orange juice for breakfast, got an early birthday call from Grandma, and headed off to school to talk about his birthday (all day, I'm sure) with his classmates.
Then he came home, got another birthday call from Mamaw and Papaw, and opened his first present (we're saving the rest for the party with his friends and the extended family) and unwrapped the Lego Indiana Jones Playstation game.
And there was much rejoicing.
Then Kirk made his birthday cake, and Payton got to decorate it however he wanted. I didn't help with the baking, but I helped with the decorating. Later, he got pizza and soda for dinner - all the while playing the new Playstation game.
At the end of the day, he got a birthday call from Aunt Kelly in New York (New Jersey) which tickled him to no end. I think he talked to her for over a half an hour.
He finally went to bed at 10p.m. and fell asleep just after the sugar crash.

He was our surprise baby, no doubt. Katie was three when we began the "should we have another kid" talks. Soon after those talks began, God or Fate or The Universe said ... "Here." That silenced all our debates - we were expecting our second child.

He was a very easy pregnancy - except for the ravenous cravings for Del Taco and Peanut M&M's that I dealt with. I soon learned that his sister and he had totally different movements in the womb ... she was graceful and tai chi-like, he was short, staccato-like punches. I knew from the first moments of confirmed conception that she was a girl, and later, that he was a boy. It wasn't just their movements from later on ... right at the start - I just knew.

I worked right up until the day before his birth. I felt great, and had that spontaneous energy burst that tells you that something's about to happen. I picked Katie up after work on Friday, and after being home for a few hours, realized I was having early contractions. Katie and I walked the neighborhood for a while until Kirk got home from work. I had plenty of time to check and re-pack my bag, call the grandparents, call the hospital, and call my doctor.

We got to the hospital after dropping Katie off, and the next few hours were spent roaming the labor ward hallways, joking with the nurses, and watching T.V. in my room while waiting for the labor to get serious. I clearly remember watching the video for Metallica's song "I Disappear" from the Mission Impossible soundtrack about 10 times. I adore Metallica and that put in me in a very happy mood. The hard-rock soundtrack that accompanied the laboring for his birth could very well explain his current constant level-10 energy, though.

He was born near noon on Saturday. His birth was so easy. I think I "pushed" three times. My wonderful doctor, who had saved my life (literally) after an ectopic pregnancy a few years before and delivered our daughter in 1996 was fantastic. With a smile on his face, he told Kirk, "I'm tired. I delivered your last kid. You do this one." And Kirk did. Dr. T. was right next to him; instructing and guiding him.
So the first hands to touch my son in this world were the sturdy, dependable hands of his own father.

Over the last few years, we have learned quite a bit about this unique boy. He has the physical body-sense of his football-playing father, and the obsessive-compulsiveness of his mother. He's as whip-smart as his big sister - but he has a curious, unique view and observation of the world around him that gives all the grown-ups pause. He loves dinosaurs, bugs, archeology, cartoons, candy, camping, swimming and the beach.

He's gentle and loving, rowdy and blunt, sensitive and obtuse, and much, much too witty and smart for an eight year old boy.

Happy Birthday, Payton. We all love you so very much, and are all so glad you showed up to become a part of this family. We wouldn't be complete without you.

I love you! - Momo

Saturday, July 5, 2008


I'll admit it.

Letters, words, punctuation, grammar, all that ... makes me High with a capital H.

Reading, writing, thinking about writing and reading - it's all so good and sweet.

I've had the house to myself for the past several hours and I've done nothing but write and plot and think about what I'll write next. And it's so ... delicious.

The first review I wrote for Charlotte was O.K. Nothing spectacular, just O.K. But I want to do better. I want to do more. I want to do another review, with more review of the book and less of how I came to read the book. In addition to that, I want to dive in and do interviews now. Biting off more than I can chew? Maybe. Probably. But it is too tempting and exciting.

A few minutes ago, I sent an email off to one of my favorite authors and asked for the chance to interview her if she comes to town again - or any other way that I could work it out. Phone, email, texting, carrier pigeon - I don't care. I really like her work - reading it reinforces the idea that someone, someday may just want to read my work - my book.

All this literary goodness goes straight to my head. It's so addictive. The more I write, the more I want to write. The more I read, the more I want to write. I am giddy with the thought that I have an email correspondence with two published authors - and two more writers that are published regularly in magazine and newspapers. For me, that's like having signed autographs from Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

Those writers - my e-friends - are my idols, in a way -because they have found the way down that scary dark path that I am trying to navigate. And they are kind enough to show me support, and offer a light to ward against the darkness.

I'm giddy and nonsensical and it's past midnight, so I ought to go to bed. But I won't because I'm too full of these words. I have to get them down on paper or on screen before they disappear.
I don't think I'm the only one that has to sleep with a notepad and pen beside the bed, and has to carry a small notebook and pen with her at all times.
Today, these past few hours, I have felt more alive and more myself - my true self - than I have in a long time. Writing is like breathing. When I don't write, I feel suffocated and stale. When I take pen in hand, or place my hands on this keyboard - I come alive.
(Happy sigh)
Good Night!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Frickin' Field Trip

What is it about the month of July that makes the teachers of the Clark County School District - or more specifically, the teachers at my kids' school - decide it's a great frickin' time for a field trip?

Last year I was a newly-freed parolee from the prison of an multi-doctor ophthalmology practice (read: had just quit job and 18 year career to stay at home) and all that freedom went to my head. I volunteered of my own free will to be a chaperone on my daughter's fifth grade class's jaunt to the Hoover Dam. (Boulder Dam for us old-time natives) And just when did they decide to undertake this venture? Um, the second week of July.

Helloooooooo ?

We live in the frickin' desert, people!?!?!? It's 117' outside !!!

Why the hell can't we do a field trip in February or March? Is it because the teachers have cabin fever by July and just have to get out of doors? Is it because you get cheaper rates for admission for a bunch of rowdy elementary school kids? Why, oh why?

I'm not going to rehash the trip to the Dam 'cause that was last year and I posted about that after it happened - and after I recovered from the heatstroke. Scroll back through the archives for July of 2007 if you want the whole story.

But I will refresh your memory (or let you in on the joke) by recalling that I had a group of six kids I was to watch over throughout the trip. My mantra for the day was: one, two, three, four, five, six ... just counting each head and making sure the little hellions hadn't (a) been kidnapped by a crazed tourist (b) fallen over the side of the Dam (c) run out into traffic. And just so you know - I did return to the school with all six accounted for. But my sanity?

I left it somewhere on that school-bus-with-a-poor-excuse-for-air-conditioning.

Fast forward one year. Now my second-grader's class is going on a field trip to the Natural History Museum. I signed the permission slip the day he brought it home (four weeks ago) - because to not do so would have caused him to spontaneously burst into flames. He loves dinosaurs and there are dinos-a-plenty there - they even roar when you push a button on the display.

There was no place on the slip to volunteer to chaperone so I figured I had dodged the July-field-trip bullet.

Ha-ha-ha. Fate has a sense of humor, did you know that?

This past Monday, I got a call from my son's Very Sweet and Nice teacher, asking if I would be available to chaperone the field trip.

Of course, being the big spineless dork that I am, I agreed.

Thursday morning found me sitting in the school's office, (which also had iffy air conditioning) and waiting for the morning bell to ring so I could traipse down to the classroom. Happily, the other chaperone for the trip was the father of my son's dance partner from the talent show. He has a good, snarky sense of humor also, so that helped.

As the class lined up for last-minute potty breaks before boarding the buses, the Very Sweet teacher, the Girl's Dad and I were discussing how to divvy up the kids to watch over. Once that was settled, she mentioned that I should keep an eye on "Shawn." I agreed and asked her to point him out. She did. Turns out Shawn is the one with the four-inch Mohawk.

Oh. O.K.

Shawn has a bit of an attention-span problem, Teacher says.


Let's just spare you the gory details and sum up the rest of our day. The mantra from last year, when I was counting all the kids? Totally unnecessary this time. All 10 of my kids stayed close with the group - no one wandering off ... except for ... guess who.


My mantra for this most recent trip -all day - was ... "Shawn, turn around. Shawn, sit down. Shawn, don't stand on that. Shawn, don't touch that. Shawn, come back here. Shawn, sit down. Shawn, listen to the tour guide. Shawn, don't run. " (ad nauseum) Girl's Dad snickered at me and my mantra the entire day, by the way.

(Harrumph - that's OK though, HE had to go to the PTA meeting that night ... HA! With the exception of one woman, my friend Anne, they are all Scary Psychotic Control Beasts. )

I am happy to report that my son seemed to be aware of Shawn's 15-second attention span, and without any instruction or request from Teacher or myself - helped me herd that hyperactive little boy like a sheep dog all damn day. At one point, my kid had his arm around Shawn's shoulders, subtly trying to keep him focused on the tour guide. And let me tell you, my kid can be hyperactive like nobody's business some days.

That was the best part of the day.

Oh, and the air conditioning actually worked in our school bus.


Thomas likes to play with your mouse ... he'll even purr!