A New Chapter

On February 7, 2014, I celebrated an anniversary.  On that day, I had not had a full-time job for two years.

holy cow

Those who know me already know this about me – I like not working every day.  I don’t like thinking about from where my next dollar will come, but I no longer place any value on myself in reference to my work status.  I used to.  After I was fired from Mintz & Hoke in 2003, I learned not to.  I figured if they could fire me after all I had done while working there, I needed to rethink who I was.  There is a party game.  It goes like this.  What are you?  Name three things.  The most true thing first.  For years and years, I was

1.  A production manager

2.  A wife

3.  A friend

production managerWife-t-shirt friend1

Two and three varied, but for 20 years, I was a production manager first and always.  A cruel lesson I had to learn, but like many tough experiences in life – I am so much better for it.  Cancer – better for it.  Battered woman – better for it.  Infertile – better for it.  All true.

Now this sound like it could be a depressing blog but I tell you, it is not and will not end up that way.

smile face

I am selling my condo that I have owned for the last 10 years.  I can no longer afford to live here.  It is my favorite place I have ever lived.   I suppose I could find two lousy-paying full-time jobs but I don’t want to.  And lucky for me, I have another option.  I am moving in with my parents. (Plus a huge shout-out to the Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare.)

condocondo1

And this is what this blog is really about.  Me, moving back to my childhood home.

home

You read about this all the time.  You are reading about this now.  We are living in a strange world.  This economy is in an uproar.  I always did the right thing.  I saved money.  I supported myself.  I owned my own home.  Three times I bought a home.  I started at the bottom and made my way up to a spot where I could do what I wanted.  Within reason.  I remember buying my first house in 1985 and when we came out of the closing, we had about $100 left.  But we made a comeback.  We were careful and frugal.  And later on we, and then I, went on nice vacations.  I drove a relatively new car.  I picked up the tab.  If I wanted something new, I bought it.  New Nikes.  A prime rib to feed my friends at dinner.  Sushi once a week.  A mani/pedi.  A book.  Flowers for the dining room table.  A pizza delivered.  A massage.  Just regular stuff.  Nothing too extravagant.  What everyone wants to make life nice.  I don’t buy any of these things now.

nike sushimani

When I was a kid, I moved to Florida.  It was 1977.  I answered an ad for a job with “Kelly Girls” to work at a printer as a secretary/receptionist.  Voila!  The rest is history – I went into printing – remember drinks around the table – what are you – I am a production manager.  I was made for that job.  I had never heard of a production manager when I was growing up and all at once, I was one.  And I was good at it.  But print is dying a slow and painful death.  It won’t die all the way.  It will reincarnate as a smaller type of business.  PDF and the internet took care of that.  And I’m OK with progress.  I love the internet.  I was a library freak when I was a kid and I’m an internet freak now.  I love looking stuff up.  I used to keep a dictionary by my bed.  I read in bed.  Every night.  I liked to open an encyclopedia to any page and read about what I landed on.  Encyclopedias are gone.  Now we have Wikipedia.  And I like Wikipedia too.  And Google.

librarycomputerencyclopedia

So I was laid off two years ago and I looked for a job.  But I had been working in printing since 1977.  This is 2014.  I am 58 years old.  It is hard enough to get a job at my age, but I’m a one-trick pony to employers.  I know what I am.  I know I am not a one-trick pony.  I’m smart and funny and patient and passionate and flexible and fast and a very good student.  But I have given up on convincing anyone new of that.  And I no longer worry about it.

I have done some volunteer work at the daycare at the Y.  That led to a job as a sub Pre-K teacher.  I helped a friend with an older relative.  That led to respite care.  And work through Care.com.  I’ve done some editing for a university alumni magazine.  Now I’m driving escort cars.  With the oversize load sign on top?  And the flashing lights?  And a CB radio and orange flags?  And I have to say, I love it.  And it pays quite well.  Not much going on in the winter but it’s good.  No politics.  No crap.  No fighting.  And if there is, I pay no attention.  I go where they tell me.  I do what they tell me.  Then I go home.  I am going to try to support myself for a long time doing this.  My “friends” say I am a paid escort.  I love them too.

pre-koversize loadcb

So back to moving.  I like my parents.  They like me.  Dare I say, it might be love?

C&V

At the end of last summer and early fall, I let a friend stay in my condo.  I spent most of that time with my parents, in both Maine and Connecticut.  I had been considering moving in with them and in the back of my mind, I was afraid we might drive each other nuts and I wanted to test the waters.  And you know what?  I dove right in and the water was fine.  I kept asking my mother, “Am I driving you nuts?”  And she kept saying, “No.  Are we driving you nuts?”  And the answer was no from my end too.  When I finally came back to my condo, my mother called me and said, “Come back.  I don’t want to do my own laundry.”

maine laundry

Another thing to know about me.  In addition to being Self-Appointed Hair Critic to the World, I am the Queen of Laundry.  Believe it.  I separate.  I do the hot, warm, cold loads.  Every single time.  I use bleach as needed.  Every single time.  Yes.  No short cuts.  I’m a good production manager.  Probably why I was able to stay in my condo for two years without a real job.  I sold my Wii, my grandmothers crocks and kitchen antiques, my china and crystal, my jewelry, my jewelry armoire, designer clothes, and many more things that I cannot recall right now.  And I will sell lots more before I am through.  Because I am moving.

old country roseswaterford j3

I am heading toward a new chapter in my life.  I will live with my parents.  It will be good for me.  It will be good for them.  I won’t have to work ever again in a full-time job about which I do not care. I will do for them the things that become more difficult as they age.  And they will make my life easier.  We will take turns cooking.  My father and I want a big garden.  I love yard work.  I will do dishes and laundry.  I will run up and down the stairs.  I can watch their dog if they want to go somewhere and they can watch Dante for me.  I will drive my escort vehicles.  I will be busy in the nice seasons and slow in the winter.

breadgardenmushrooms

I will enter a new phase of my life.  I will peel down another layer and explore the person who is there – someone different yet the same in many ways.   As I have done many times before.  I look forward to it.  I embrace it.  My life is good.  It was good and will continue to be.

I am at a party. I am playing the game.  I am

1.  A daughter

2.  A dog mother

3.  A friend

daughters dante friend

I another few years, I may be someone else.

But for now – with my family, my friends and my dog, I’m happy.

Happy

Bad patch, better patch…

I have not written a blog for a very long time.  I have been in a bad patch and I could not write because I didn’t want to let people know how crappy “my patch” was.  But I am trying again.  And I feel better.  And I am taking my own advice and pulling myself up by my bootstraps.  See below.

bad patch

You don’t owe anyone your life.  Not one single person.

It is OK to tell your grown children to try to make some decisions on their own.

If anyone treats you like you are stupid – and he/she is being a superior bitch – you may tell him/her to fuck off.  If you are not able, call me and I will do it for you.

girlfight

Attitude is everything.

Don’t be afraid to cook.  If it doesn’t come out right, throw it in the trash.  And don’t let anyone else decide if it is “right”.  That is for you to figure out yourself.  I have been amazed to find out how many people worry about this.  I think many of you know I can cook.  But I will have you know that as a child, I once broiled a birthday cake for my mother.  It was very flat.  But I tried.  And we all laughed.  It was OK.

flat cake

Do what feels good.

When you are 40 or 50 years old, it is no longer OK to blame your parents for the things you do.  You are an adult and it is time to take charge of your life and make it right.

Put effort into everything you do.  You can make things better.  Love hard.  Play hard.  Sleep hard.

sleeping

The truth will set you free.  Don’t keep bad secrets.  Tell someone.  It forces the badness to dissipate.

Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.

Life is about choices.  Make good ones.  If you wake up every day and feel crappy, then that is what you have chosen.  If you live with someone who abuses you, you are allowing and choosing it.  If you never feel happiness, you are choosing that.  Think about it.

choices choicesA

Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.  People can help you but only you can sustain a change, an improvement in your life.  Where there is life, there is hope.

boot straps

Never eat anything bigger than your head.

sundae

Many things will be as good as you make them.  For example, if you put effort into learning about and training your dog, you will have a fantastic dog.  It is not a coincidence.

dog training

There are people out there who are sociopaths.  When you discover them, leave a wide berth.

Don’t assume anything about people.  You really don’t know what is going on in their heads unless you know them awfully well, and for a long time, and you have the capacity to keep your mind open.

Try not to be so hard on yourself.

Eat the ice cream.

cone

December 14, 2012

Did you watch 60 Minutes Sunday night?  It was about the parents of the children slaughtered in Newtown in December.  They were unbelievably reasonable and composed and realistic.

Here is what they want.  Right away.  They want straw purchase laws to be seriously enforced.  (A “straw purchase” is when someone buys a gun for someone who cannot legally own one.)   They want a law to require background checks.  They want large capacity magazines to be illegal.

They want their babies back.

These brave people are not talking about the mental health component right now.  We Americans are so dopey that we have made HIPAA laws that protect this information no matter what.  God forbid we should use common sense.  Nope.  Not us.

These parents don’t want your shotgun.  They don’t want your handgun.   They don’t even want your semi-automatic rifle like the Bushmaster .223 used to kill their kids.  They just don’t want you to have the 30-round magazines that Adam Lanza had.  More common sense.

And polls show most Americans agree with them.  These are three very sensible expectations.  But here is the problem.  Not only is the NRA lobbying against these three things, who can possibly explain this, but the NRA is fighting to prevent any new gun laws from coming to a vote.

This is a big problem, folks.  And it looks like they might succeed.  And this is wrong.  Really, really wrong.  I have been on boards before.  I am on one now.  Sometimes things have passed on these boards with which I did not agree.  However, we were all elected to these boards.  We were given one vote each.  We voted.  Occasionally what I wanted to happen did not.  That’s OK.  Boards are democracies.  We live in a democracy.  We vote for the things we prefer.

Remember President Obama talking about Newtown in his State of the Union address earlier this year?  He said, and I’m not sure of his exact words, but something like” these people deserve a vote”.  You bet they do.  I noted this comment at the time and didn’t exactly understand what he meant.  I do now.

If you’re interested, you can watch 60 Minutes on youtube or probably CBS.com – maybe even OnDemand.  It may break your heart.  But your heart will not be broken as badly as the mother who said the last thing she does each night before getting in bed, is to kiss the urn on her dresser that contains her son’s ashes.  And then she prays she will dream about her son so she can see him again.  And sometimes she does.

But if you really want to do something, the right thing – send an e-mail to your Senator and Congressional Representative and tell them you want them to vote.  Many of them have taken NRA money so they are afraid.  But that’s too frigging bad.  Time to man-up.  Or woman-up, as the case may be.

I keep saying and saying this – We have to try.  And like all good democracies, we will compromise. And these parents’ three requests – they are a good compromise.   I know some people think I am anti-gun but those people would be completely wrong.  I don’t own a gun but have been around guns my whole life.  I can shoot a gun.  Rather well, I might add.  I have never used a gun under duress.  But put me on the shooting range and I can aim at the targets and I will hit them.  Right where I’m supposed to.

It is very easy to contact Congress.  I am attaching a link here.  You can e-mail, call on the phone, or you can take pen to paper or type a letter on your computer and mail it.  All the information can be found in this link.

http://www.contactingthecongress.org/

So let’s all do this.  Take a minute and tell them you want them to vote.  You want to see a vote.  You want to see their vote.   It’s the right thing to do.

One of the fathers on 60 Minutes said something like this.  Go to your mirror, look yourself in the eye and say this can never happen again.  This can never happen to me.  Try to believe it even if it is not true.  It will happen again.

And I know and everyone reading this knows this is a fact.

We can’t solve all the gun problems with laws but we must make an effort.  We must try.  These babies, children, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, grandmothers, wives, mothers deserve it.  They deserve for us to try.

Newtown paper angels

Susan Glennis, Susan Isaacs and Glennis Maguire

So I went to a writing class with my friend April last Saturday.  I don’t think I learned anything new – it was a beginner class – but I did enjoy myself.  Loved the women leading the class.  If you want to know more about them – http://easthillwriters.com and http://www.annsheybani.com.

So anyhow – two hour class – our assignment was to write about a person, place or event from our childhood.  Just write anything about a subject for 10 minutes.  Don’t stop.  Free flow – stream of consciousness.  So I picked my maternal grandmother – Glennis Maguire.  My blog name – susanglennis.wordpress.com – my middle name – that’s where I got it.  I didn’t want to use my last name at the time I set up that blog – I would now but the susanglennis has grown on me.

We wrote for 10 minutes.  Then we went back and picked out our favorite parts – things that struck us, things that maybe we had not thought of before.

Here is some of what I wrote.

My grandmother made fabulous chocolate cake.

She was not what any of us would call a nice person.  She was mean.  When my mother was a child, my grandmother wanted her to cut her long hair.  My mother didn’t want to so under the guise of giving her a trim – my grandmother grabbed a huge hunk of her hair and hacked it off.  My mother ended up with a short haircut to even it up.  For my mother – just one in a long line of betrayals.  One of life’s cardinal rules broken – You should be able to trust your mother.

My grandmother made the same supper every night.  Fried hamburgers, boiled potatoes, canned peas – shriveled and gray and mushy.  Once in a great while on Sunday, she made oyster stew.  This “stew” consisted basically of milk, melted butter, canned oysters and pepper.

During one of my grandparents’ Christmas visits in Connecticut, someone they knew came to see them and said they would be stopping at my grandparents’ house in Maine for an overnight on their way north the following summer.  My grandmother went upstairs and got in bed and stayed there all the next day.  When I finally got her to tell me what was wrong, she said she didn’t want company to stop because she didn’t know what to cook.

My grandmother took naps.  These naps were a religious experience, like a priest and communion.  No one could make noise, no one could wake her up.  Dire consequences.  As a child, my mother was not allowed to go outside when a nap was going on.  She had to stay in and be very quiet.  I come from a long line of readers.  My mother went and got her book.  My grandmother made her stop reading while she was napping because the sound of the pages turning woke her up.  My mother sat there – a small child – not moving – not making a sound.

My grandfather was a kind man who teased his wife often, trying to cajole her into a good mood.  She didn’t like it.  She stood and screamed “I’m gonna get a knife and stab you right in the heart!”.  She said it like hot – she was from Maine.

The grandmother stories are endless.  At the writing class, one person wanted to know everything about her.  April didn’t want to hear anymore.  And I do have lots but I can truly say they don’t bother me anymore.  And also, although my grandmother was mean to most everyone, she was not mean to me.  I don’t know why.  Sun rising and setting in her first-born grandchild?  The old story about grandchildren and grandparents getting along so well because they share a common enemy?  The family dynamic.  But I was a pretty bright kid.  I was aware of the crap she was pulling, especially as it concerned my mother and grandfather.

My mother had no idea how to deal with her.  She spent a lot of time trying to please her mother, so she wouldn’t be unhappy or mean.  But this was not ever, ever going to happen.  And my mother was so confused by the whole thing, she never really figured out she couldn’t make her happy.  Some clarity has come to her over the last 20 years or so since her mother passed.  But she is scarred and in turn her children are scarred.  And are my grandmother’s great-grandchildren carrying some of the marks too?  I’m sure they are.

And I will take this opportunity to say I love my mother.  And my father.  I’m glad they are still here with me.  I believe they did the best job they could.  I’m way beyond blaming my parents for any of my shortcomings.  But people didn’t dissect their screwed-up childhoods back in the day.  They didn’t go to shrinks or take Prozac.  My grandparents were born in 1916 and 1917.  My parents were born in the 30’s and started reproducing at a very young age.  That is part of the reason they are still in my life, being 19 and 22 when I was born.

So on to Susan Isaacs.  I love her books.  She wrote one of my very favorites – Compromising Postions – link below.

http://www.amazon.com/Compromising-Positions-Susan-Isaacs/dp/B002PJ4HFI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361400478&sr=1-1&keywords=compromising+positions+by+susan+isaacs

There is a line in this novel – I can’t remember it perfectly and although I searched for it, I apparently cannot find it right now without rereading the whole thing.  But it is one of the reasons why I love this book, and Ms. Isaac‘s writing.  It is a mystery about a murdered Lothario who took pictures of his conquests in flagrante delicto, and the main characters – Judith and Nancy – see pictures of a woman with cylindrical produce protruding from her most special of orefices.  And one says to the other something like this – If we ever do meet her, you must remind me not to try her coleslaw.  Compromising Positions was Susan Isaac’s debut novel published in 1978.  I’ve read them all.  I have well-loved copy of this book.  All banged up.  Bent and held together with clear wide packing tape.

Another reason for my love of CP, Nancy refers to a mutual acquaintance as a “subanthropoidal horse’s ass“.  I had forgotten about that – used to use it often and will now start saying it again.

So Susan Isaac’s latest which I took out of the library last Thursday is titled Goldberg Variations.

http://www.amazon.com/Goldberg-Variations-Novel-Susan-Isaacs/dp/1451605919/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361556833&sr=1-1&keywords=goldberg+variations

This is the first of her books that is not very funny.  Not to me, anyway.  It is about a miserable grandmother and how she treats her family.  But I amused that these events came together – the writing topic and the book.  I’m sure I subconsciously chose to write about my grandmother in that class because I knew this book was in my library pile.

So toward the end of Goldberg Variations (page 246), Gloria’s grandson Matt thinks this and I quote –

“Gloria was definitely curious to hear what they were saying.  But there was something more with her, too. I didn’t know how I intuited this, and I could have been wrong.  Sometimes you got an insight into someone and you thought, Hey, I am so fucking perceptive.  And maybe it was true, you were.  Except wasn’t it equally possible that your observation was totally made up either to fulfill some need or because you really weren’t perceptive?  In fact, you were an ass and, like any ass, were too dumb to comprehend what you were.”

Perhaps a subanthropoidal horse’s ass.

Loved this quote. Something else for me to worry about.

Those of you who know me and/or have read very many of my blogs, are aware that I often immerse myself in introspection followed by self-flagellation.  So as a woman who spent six years in therapy, I am always searching for my weak spots.  What of Glennis Maguire has made it into her namesake, Susan Glennis?  Worry.  Worry.  Worry.  Laughing at self here.  Sort of.

When my grandmother died, as is customary, the minister sat and talked with us – my mother, my uncle Michael, my sister Katie and me.  We couldn’t think of anything really nice to say about my grandmother. The silence was, as they say, deafening.  We squirmed.  My uncle finally took him aside and told him the truth – our truth – what we all felt.  During her service, the minister said she was a woman who made her feelings known – something like that?  Then he said she made good chocolate cake.  That was it.  Nothing else.