Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hit the "Pause" Button

Life has been placed on "pause" the past several weeks.

We received word that my mother-in-law was desperately ill, which led to my husband and I setting up rotating shifts of ten days each to go live with her during that period and provide for her 24 hour care (in her home), with hospice nurses and nursing assistants popping in an out.  She passed away as I was about to board the plane to take my first shift (hubby went first and took the first - and only - shift).

Then a whirlwind of activity at her house in another state getting utility bills, credit cards and other such things handled, clothes to the Salvation Army, and of course a memorial service for her friends there.  This followed by a drive home rather than a flight as we then took over the care of her dog who has come home with us to live.

No sooner did we walk in the door and my sweet golden retriever began bleed profusely.  An emergency run to the vet and the diagnosis of leukemia quickly followed.  I held her and patted her and told her that she was the "bestest dog ever" and how much I loved her as the vet put her down.

In a few weeks we will have the larger memorial for my mother-in-law here in our home state for family and life-long friends.  We need a little time to pull it all together.

The past several weeks have been a struggle to say the least.  So many emotions and so many tears.  I know this is a part of life, but this part stinks.  I also know that this feeling will pass and we will learn to adjust somehow to the "new normal", but right now I am walking around with a profound sense of sadness and loss.

I'm not very good company at the moment as it's taking all I've got to get through this period and to try to be a support to my husband.  Just thought I would pop in and update lest anyone wonder what happened to me.

I'm not gone.  Just on "pause" for now.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Please pass me my cane, bifocals and hearing aid...

Apparently I am a very elderly senior citizen who is facing many challenges - or at least according to the chief medical assistant I had an interview with today.

The practice itself was impressive.  The office was gorgeous, the equipment all new and top-of-the-line,  convenient freeway access.  The works.

But then as I sat in the waiting room biding my time until they called me back for my interview I noticed something that struck me as odd.  By that time I had seen approximately 5-6 employees, several at the front desk, then several MAs coming into the waiting room to bring patients back.  ALL of them were extremely beautiful and extremely young.  By young I mean that there is no way any of them had seen their 30th birthday yet.

Enter the chief MA to call me back for me interview.  Yep.  The same, as was the office manager who accompanied her.  Gorgeous youthful perfection.  I noted each of them sizing me up briefly, looking me up and down.  Their expressions were not ones of delight, even though I was dressed in a classy business suit, looking sharp, brief case containing extra copies of my resume and my personal and professional references in hand.

I was escorted into an exam room (I have found that interviews conducted in exam rooms generally do not go well for me - curious that).  They pulled up three chairs, motioned for me to sit in the center, and we began.  Unflattering florescent lighting beaming down on my face and grey streaked hair from above, they proceeded to pepper me with questions, and unusual number of them containing the word "old".

Example:  "I'm assuming Dr. So-and-So was older.  I think you will find it challenging, therefore, to keep up with our fast-paced office."

EXCUSE ME?!  There is NOTHING in my resume indicating the age of the doctor in question, and the doctor actually demanded that I work at lightening speed, multi-tasking all day.  And the doctor was well please with my performance, in fact, she said that I was the best MA she had ever had.

No.  It was ASSUMED that the doctor was older because I am older.  And it was assumed I wouldn't be able to keep up, because of course, I am old and decrepit.

It was also mentioned that they had concerns about me catching on to the computers.  Seriously?  I'm extremely tech-savvy.  I own and operate  (or did own) several online communities, personal websites as well as those I've created for my church, for special functions, for real estate...  I am not only trained in EMR and the major computer programs, I have successfully worked on them.  They wondered if I could "keep up" on an iPad.  Good gravy.  I had to inform them that I do indeed know how to operate computers of all types as well as have mastery of many programs.  They looked incredulous when I informed them that my personal computer at home is a MacBook, that I also have an Android-based tablet, that I often use my iPhone to scan QRS codes, can convert a paper document into a PDF file simply by taking a photo of it, and that I have not only frequently used my husband's iPad in business, but I used an iPad exclusively at a previous medical office for all of my charting via EMR.  Their expression told me they thought I was lying.

Meanwhile I could feel their eyes almost burning into me (or was it my cheeks that were burning?) as they seemed unable to stop looking at my hairline and the emerging grey.  Meanwhile, I had to fight not to stare at the too-perfectly-full pouty lips on the office manager.  It seemed like she had a bit of trouble forming some words, as though she were still getting used to the size of her new lips.  Nonetheless, they, and she looked perfect and flawless.

After this brief but insulting 15 minute interview, the office manager informed me very quickly as to what the benefits would be IF I was selected for the position.  The benefits she began listing were AWESOME.  Even free scrubs!  One thing was missing, however, that had been mentioned in the ad:  Retirement benefits.  Ohhhh!   How very telling that was!  Then she told me of a benefit that was NOT in the ad:  Discounted pricing on all first-time cosmetic procedures such as Botox, facial fillers, fat reduction through cooling the fat cells (snake oil anyone?), collagen lip injections, etc., because "ALL EMPLOYEES ARE EXPECTED TO LOOK AND SELL 'THE BRAND'"!

I was then thanked and rushed out the door.

It is very obvious that they consider me too old for their office.  They are not a medically-based practice, but are rather cosmetic-based.  I would far rather be in a medically-based office of course.  Helping people get well is why I got into medicine in the first place.  If I'm to work as an MA again, I  would prefer to be in an office where I was assisting in surgical procedures again, comforting and educating patients, dressing wounds, etc., etc.  I wouldn't have minded the cosmetic aspects as I've done that before, but well...I guess I'm feeling a bit rejected today.  If it had been because they felt I lacked the experience or skills that would be one thing.  But I was rejected the minute they met me, just because I am not in my 20s, beautiful with long swinging hair, skin plumped and polished in all the right places to dazzling perfection.

I feel like an old and ugly slug.  The pity party begin at 7:00 p.m.  BYOB.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Potential Job Change

Not exactly a pithy title for today's entry, but definitely to the point.

For some reason I'm just not getting much action in my current business this year (even though hubby is doing just fine, although a little slower than last year), and I NEED to make a better income.

I've been putting all kinds of feelers out, and have an interview next Wednesday for an MA position.  IF they offer me a position and IF I accepted it, it would be full time with medical, optical, dental, 401K  (which I don't care much about at my age), paid holidays, sick days and paid vacation - VERY rare in medical offices.   I have very ambivalent feelings about this one.  I'd love the money and benefits, and must admit that we need them, but the idea of 40+ hours on my feet, running around like mad, the stress, etc., exhausts me before I even begin.  Of course, if I stick with it long enough it will stop being as stressful since I would learn their routine and stop being so darned nervous and insecure about myself.

The cart is before the horse here though, because I haven't even had the interview, let alone received an offer.  I just have this feeling. . .

Because I've been letting my hair grow out (as in growing out the indigo so I have dark brown hair with white roots - yuck!), I decided to stop by Sally's Beauty Supply today and pick up a temporary color to try to blend the roots a bit so it's not so severe looking and will look a bit more professional for interviewing.  While there I noticed that they had a help wanted sign, so long story short, I have a Sally's application in a folder in my car to fill out and drop off this weekend.   You see, I've decided to apply lots of different places and see what offers (if any) come in.

I'm going to take what feels right to me at the time.  I'm not limiting my options.

In the meantime, I'm definitely keeping my real estate license and my finger in that as I will likely always at least assist my husband in it in some manner.  Also, we feel we will probably never be able to fully retire and have discussed selling real estate together part time into our 70s.  Many people we know that age are quite active in the field, and it's something we think we would enjoy doing together.

So, if I end up taking an MA job, it's my HOPE that if real estate doesn't pick up for me that I could continue working as an MA for about another 6 years, then retire and go back into real estate part time. Of course, Social Security needs to still be around then, and who knows what will happen with that.

This post is really quite pointless, LOL.  Here I am making all kinds of plans when I haven't even gone on a single interview.  That's me!  Always worrying ahead!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

EUREKA! Lost Blog Found!

I can't believe it!

While cleaning out an old drawer (okay, the drawer wasn't old; rather it was a drawer filled with old junk), I discovered a small notebook with the password to this blog.  :)

I am deleting the replacement blog I started and am returning to this one so that I can still retain my old posts.

Posts will be made judiciously for a bit as I've had a bit of eye strain from staring at a computer screen all day long.  If I'm not on a computer, I'm on a tablet, iPhone, etc.  The old eyes are rebelling so I have the brightness on all my devices turned down and look at them as little as possible.  Though as it's required for my work.

But here I am, back again.
Bad pennies and all that!

God Winks

Originally posted:  April 28, 2014

As I thought about how I wanted to begin this blog (a reincarnation of my previous one - but that's a story for another day), I tried to come up with something Important (with a capital I). 

After many false starts, I realized that sometimes the important things in life are really the small things.  This lead me to recall a book I heard about from a friend and an experience I had while out browsing at the local garden shop on Saturday.

My friend had recently been telling me about a book she read by SQuire Rushnell, "When God Winks".  I haven't read it myself, but from her synopsis, I gather that the author suggests that the little coincidences in life aren't coincidence at all, but are rather a "God wink", as in God giving you a little sign that He's with you and thinking of you.  Just kind of a way to make His presence known in a very personal way.  A bit like how my father still gives my shoulder a little squeeze when I pass him in the hall and says "Hey Kiddo!" just as he has for the past 50+ years.  It's a lovely idea this "wink" business, and I do believe that it can definitely be true...sometimes.  I also believe in coincidence, however.  That is until I experienced a "God wink" on Saturday, and now I'm reconsidering.

I have been particularly stressed of late and Saturday afternoon I needed a break - any break - to just regroup for a bit.

About a mile from my house is a little garden center that I have always enjoyed visiting.  Outside are various bushes, flowers and trees on display, but inside the little dumpy-looking wooden building (glorified potting shed?) a magical wonderland awaits!  Tiny rooms and enclaves are waiting to be discovered, each decorated from floor to ceiling in a whimsical holiday theme.  Christmas dominates here, but there are also cubby holes filled with branches, autumn leaves, pumpkin-scented candles.  A bit of Halloween in this corner.  Spring flowers with gazing balls and fairy gardens in that corner.  And everywhere...magic! 

The old wooden floor creaks and groans with each step.  The air seems to be permanently scented with a mixture of vanilla, pine, ancient wood and cinnamon.  And everywhere, in every little room packed with holiday delights, it sparkles.  It gleams!  A bit of glitter...twinkly lights...shining glass...candle light.   There are so many treasures to discover hidden among tree branches, under a flower petal, tucked behind a candle. 

Typically it is somewhere I only go at Christmastime, a tradition that began when my adult son was just a little boy.  Behind the little cottage, Santa and his reindeer were always waiting each December to grant a small boy's dreams. 

As I walked through the door on Saturday and began the process of decompressing and leaving the "real" world behind and allowing myself to enter into this wonderland for just a little while, I noticed music playing in the background.  Not unusual, really.  They typically play Christmas music.  As I moved further away from the outside door and deeper into this mystical realm, I began to be able to relax, forget the dirty house and stack of unpaid bills at home, and as I did, I was able to focus in on the music. 


They were playing Camelot with Richard Harris, one of my absolute all time favorite plays.  I've seen it more times than I can count, seen the movie dozens of times and have the musical score all but memorized.  I was utterly enraptured!  The perfect musical accompaniment as a stressed and weary middle-aged woman shrugged off the outside world for a bit and entered, well...Camelot.

The place was devoid of customers as it usually is inside at this time of year.  The shop staff probably thought I was quite mad as I sang along with the soundtrack OUT LOUD, not caring who heard me, eyes glittering with joy and wonderment as I allowed myself to get lost in their beautiful fantasy world.

After going through each room at least twice and inspecting every nook and cranny with childlike glee,  I knew it was time to gather myself together, let the spell lift, and leave.  As I did, it suddenly occurred to me...GOD WINKED!  He DID!  He looked at his daughter, knowing she needed a mental escape, and arranged for her favorite escapist music to begin playing at the very beginning of the soundtrack when she walked through the door of the shop.  Yes.  I know in my heart of hearts that He thought of me.  How long did He have this planned?  Did He put the idea in someone's head to purchase that CD for the shop just so that I could hear it on the day I needed it?  No, I'm not full of self importance.  I simply know what a magnificent Father I have and that He showers me with Grace and Mercy.  He makes certain that I don't get what I deserve, but rather that I receive wonders that I have not earned and never could.

Sigh.  I received a God wink.  And I'm still smiling from it.

"I wonder what the King is doing tonight?
What merriment is the King pursing tonight?
The candles at the court, they never burned as bright.
I wonder what the King is up to tonight?"

Yes, indeed.  I wonder.  ;)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I'm Mr. Bilbo Baggins, I've lost my dwarves, my wizard and my way

Well, I'm not Mr. Bilbo Baggins, but I definitely lost my way to my blog for a while!

You see, I have so many passwords to so many places that I keep them in a little notebook so I won't lose them, so of course I lost my little notebook!  I finally found it in an old purse tonight, so here I am again.  (Why is it that I find so many things in old purses?  I really must learn to look there first.)

I had additionally lost my passwords to various email accounts including the one attached to this blog, so to those who have tried to reach me, I'm so very sorry.  I was not neglecting you! I've taken a gander at your blog when I could, but of course couldn't log in and couldn't comment....making my head spin!

So much has happened since my last entry I don't know where to start so I'll just sum it up.

On the job front, I was eventually offered a position as a medical assistant at an urgent care center with a holistic edge to it.  It is a brand new practice and the building was still under construction.  First I was to start at the beginning of February.  Then March...then construction delayed until April. You get the picture.

While I was waiting, my dear hubby had the idea that I might want to get my real estate license so I could help him out at the office and maybe I could earn a few extra bucks selling a house or two a year.  Well, long story short, I took the courses, passed my license exam, joined the Realtor board, and started working out of the same office as my husband.  I ended up calling the urgent care center and telling them I had to move on as I couldn't wait months and months for employment.

I LOVE REAL ESTATE!!!!  My husband has a large office and now we share it. :)  I'm doing well at it,  have some great clients and and truly happy. I love being partners in yet another way with my hubby and being together all day.   It's a tough field and I do miss the benefit of a scheduled paycheck, but being unemployed provided me with NO paycheck, so this is so much better.

While I would love to make more money, in all honesty I can say that I'd rather be tight financially and be happy than miserable with money.  Because you all know what money can't buy......

I've got to scoot and visit my blogger friends!  I can finally comment!

It's good to be back. :)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

...and the search continues...

On Tuesday the electronics company called at 11:30 in the morning to tell me that they had to cancel my 3:00 pm second interview because the owner was called away to bid an important job. The owner's  wife went on and on about how it was vital to the company that they try to get this large job and how they hoped I understood. She promised that they would call back on Wednesday to reschedule.

Of course, true to form, Wednesday came without a word from them. Finally, I called them on Friday, just to be told by the owner, quite rudely, that I should look for another job. He said that they'd already hired someone some time ago and then said that they have another girl who has given her notice and will be leaving after the first of the year. He suggested that I call back and reapply for that job when it is advertised in January.

I think not.  These bozos have led me on a merry chase since October. I'm gladly washing my hands of them.

Tuesday I also had an interview with a dermatology office.  Wow!  It was so impressive!  More like a dermatology hospital!

The interview went well and by the next day I was hearing from my references that they had been called and that their discussions with the dermatology office went well.

Friday morning they called and told me that they had decided to go with another candidate who had more straight medical dermatology experience.  She said that too much of my experience was diverted into things such as Botox, dermal fillers and other cosmetic procedures which their medical department never did.  She said she'd keep my resume on file, blah, blah, blah.  At least she had the courtesy to call me and let me know that they selected another applicant.

By noon on Friday, I received an email from an optical clinic right down the street from me.  The doctor had reviewed my resume and emailed me asking if we could conduct a phone interview today (Saturday) at 9:00 am.  Of course I said yes, and she called right on time this morning.

She's a lovely young lady, and this is her first practice.  That makes it a bit risky because she just opened her practice in July and is still trying to build up a practice.  I don't really care though.  If I should be offered a position and the place folds, as long as I work there long enough to get unemployment until I find a new job I won't feel anxious about it.

The phone interview went well and we had a nice chat.  She's interviewing a ton of people by phone though, and isn't even going to start arranging live interviews for another week or so and will not want anyone to start until after the first of the year.

At this point I've come to the conclusion that I'm out of work until the beginning of the year as a best case scenario.

I'm a bit disappointed and don't feel much one way or the other about the optical job.  The close proximity to home would be nice though.  We'll see if anything comes of it beyond a pleasant conversation.

My hubby and I have discussed it, and if I don't have a job lined up by the beginning of the year, I'm going to go back to school for a couple of months and get a few more medical certifications to increase my employment opportunities. The courses come with externships, which means I'll be able to work as a student in a local hospital and a local lab, and there is always a possibility of getting hired directly during externship.

Am I a bit blue about all of this?  Absolutely.  I feel over-the-hill and unwanted.  I don't mean to whine, but geez!  So much rejection!

I think I'm going to just take the attitude that I'm on holiday until the first of the year when I either begin a new job or new coursework.  I'm going to work on some art and crafting projects that I've been neglecting, get my office in shape so that I can transition it from an office to more of a studio, and take this time to enjoy the holidays.  I'm going to challenge myself to do SOMETHING on my art projects each day (beginning tomorrow - it's 12 am now).

I'm going to treat this as a fun and adventurous time for myself.

I'm also going to pamper myself a bit.  I'm going to start working out again, ask my niece over to help me go through my closet once more and help me put together some snappy outfits (I think I'm dating myself by the way I dress for interviews - too matronly).

I'm going to give myself a decent mani and pedi.  And a facial.  Lots of them.

I'm going to try styling my hair in different ways.

I'll go see The Hobbit.

I'm going to go to the little Christmas Village the local garden shop puts on each year.  It's utterly charming and used to be a tradition each year when my son was small.  I doubt he'll go with me (I'll ask, but I think it's a bit much to ask at his age, LOL).  I'll go myself, take some pictures, and drink in the holiday "magic".

I'm going to reattach the fairy door to the side of my favorite tree.  Somehow it came lose this autumn and is laying forlorn beside the tree.  I'll go out and reattach it and glue some ultra fine silver glitter to the base and to the trunk of the tree.  Then when we get some snow I'll go out and sprinkle a bit of ultra fine glitter at the base of each tree, splash a bit on the trunks, and shake some on the snow on the front walk.

I did this last year and it looked absolutely amazing!  It was quite subtle actually, but at different times during the day the sun would hit a spot of glitter and it would just shine like a star for a short while!  Always brought a smile to my face.  Even in the spring the bits of sparkle dust were well embedded into the cement on the sidewalk, and in the bright sunlight and during a full moon there was a dreamy, subtle shimmer to the walk.


Since I know I'm going to be off work for a while, I'm going to savor this time rather than spend it fretting.  I will miss these days off work once I'm back putting in 40 hours or more a week or am back hitting the books and doing clinicals.  I don't want to look back and regret that I didn't enjoy my time off.

Oh, I'll definitely continue applying for every job that opens, but I'm going to apply and then forget about it.  Fretting over each phone call or interview isn't going to get me anywhere.

Time for me to put on my big girl panties (is it okay if they have sequins?) and start loving and living each day for what it brings and trust God with my future!

It's off to bed with me now.  I'm going to snuggle under my blankets with my snoring sweetheart and read a romantic novel with my little book light so I don't wake him.  Church in the morning, then I'll begin work on a project of some kind.  I have many ideas, particularly a BIG idea for an art project that is way beyond my abilities and reach I think, but what the heck!  Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Time to stop pouting and start LIVING in capital letters!