Tuesday, April 28, 2009


It was happened! Fingers crossed, the jobless wasteland of the past 12 months is beginning to evaporate.

Last week, I got a call about not just one long-term job, but TWO. AND I got some consulting work to boot. Not a ton, but enough hours to pay a good chunk of my mortgage this month. Hallelujah!

It still remains to be seen if either of the potential long-term jobs will really materialize, but I'm excited that things seem to be turning a corner.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Maggie's Trying to Get Greener!

I'm excited about Earth Day. I'm reminded of even more things I can do to help the planet and create a better world for my little child.

I encourage you all to look for ways to be greener, too. Recycle, obviously, but there are so many simple and fun things you can do. Plant some veggies in your garden or containers. I'm planting herbs, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and maybe some snap peas, too. Mend something or get something repaired instead of buying new. I LOVE mending things! I really do feel great when I've put something back in order or given new life to something that otherwise might have been discarded. It makes me feel useful and clever.

Buy used instead of new. This is fun and saves money as well as the environment. Many of my babies clothes, toys and baby "stuff" have been purchased on craigslist or at yard sales for a pittance compared to the price of new and most just require a good washing or two to be good as new.

Use fabric napkins and dish towels instead of paper ones at home. I had tons of fabric napkins I never used until about two years ago when I decided to use them for meals instead of paper ones. I'm sure I've saved a lot of money and a good bit of landfill space.

We don't buy plastic poop bags to pick up after the dogs any more. It suddenly occurred to me last year that I was discarding perfectly good "poop" bags in the form of plastic bags that I get with loaves of bread, produce, etc. Now when they are empty, we just fold them in a drawer with the dogs' leashes, ready to pull out for the next dog walk.

I'm thinking of cutting up old laundry detergent containers to make some colorful planters this year (cut off the top and put holes in the bottom for drainage). I think I'm also going to make the move from disposable diapers to washable, re-useable ones. The modern ones look really easy to use and will really save us money over the next few years while Henry is still in diapers. I feel guilty every time I stick a disposable diaper in the trash and that's something I can change.

Hope you join me in trying to get greener!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Surprising Reconnections

This past week has been somewhat amazing in the reconnection department. Not only have I found one, but two old friends. One, my best friend from the ages of 4-8, found me on Google and now she's coming for a visit in June. I'm so excited! We lived next door to one another and I can't remember my mom ever having a better friend than my childhood friend's mom. We went to kindergarten together, caught butterflies, egged each other on to see who could eat the most sour gooseberries from the bush in the garden, listened to "I Think I Love You" one too many times and watched Speed Racer every afternoon. Such happy memories of carefree days!

The other found-again friend is a kooky guy from college who I lost touch with years ago. My friend Joan and I have often wondered what became of him and finally I was able to track him down through a friend of a friend on Facebook. He's still living in California where I last heard from him and, thankfully, doing well. He's hanging out with celebs on occasion in the swanky LA hotel where he works as the hired muscle should any security be required.

And if two reconnections weren't enough, I'm actually having lunch with a third old friend, this one from junior high, this Friday. She was my friend for only a short time until we had a falling out over religion (how 13-year-olds fall out over religion is sort of beyond me now). I think it all happened when she fell into the grip of an evangelical group and started telling me I was going to hell for this, that and the other thing. Even at 13, that was enough for me! Anyway, she tracked me down on Facebook and told me I was one of the best friends she ever had--which to me was quite surprising, though nice of her to say.

She had an unfortunate accident several years ago and is now confined to a wheelchair which is very sad for one so young. Also, Ms. Right-Wing Christian now practices Islam--if you can believe it!

Anyway, I didn't have a burning urge to see her, but she wanted to see me and meet Henry, so it felt like the right thing to do.

How is it that sometimes just when it feels like the world is getting smaller and smaller, something happens and a new world of possibilities seems to open up. I feel like that's happening now. For a while now, my circle of friends has been diminishing but now old friends are reappearing in unexpected ways. And it feels nice.

It makes me happy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Too Tight for Tea and the Sea Creature Next Door

Ahh sweet mother. . .there is nothing better than a piping hot cup of latte in the morning. Even my own, cobbled together with non-espresso coffee and microwaved milk. Delish!

A friend from out of town is in town and I met her and another "friend" (acquaintance now, really) for tea at the Four Seasons on Friday afternoon. While I do love high tea, it was hard to enjoy it because I knew it's really just too expensive a thing for me to be doing right now. Over fifty bucks including downtown parking, for teeny sandwiches and cookies just slightly bigger than your thumbprint. Kooky, really.

But what's done is done and I must try not to live in perpetual financial regret.

Today we're actually meeting these same friends for lunch. This time Craze is coming and we're going to an Indian buffet, so hopefully we can both have a good meal without doing too much financial damage. I really do look forward to eating out nowadays since it's been relegated to the "not now, maybe later" list of things we put off until the day when we have more household income.

I have a call with a company next Friday about some consulting work (it got postponed from last week). I'm really crossing my fingers that they need help. Oh, how I want to work and bring in the cash again. I do not enjoy being SO cash strapped.

In other news, my gypsy (and I mean REAL gypsies!) next door neighbor, just got colored contact lenses that make her look crazy. She is very olive skinned with dark, dark eyes but suddenly now has light, aquamarine eyes that make her look like the love child of the Man from Atlantis and some kind of Sci Fi Channel creature. Weird! So weird in fact, that it's hard not to look at her face without staring at those crazy eyes. How can she possibly think this is a good look for her?

I'm dumbfounded, really. The other thing I find surprising is that she's an unmarried mother of three with no job who lives (and has always lived) with her parents. How can she justify the expense of colored contact lenses when her parents are supporting her and her three kids? Grandma is a waitress at a local diner and grandpa has not one but two blue collar jobs to support all of them (plus their 30-something son who also never works).

I guess if I remind myself that Ms. Crazy Eyes is the same woman who I regularly saw outside smoking last summer throughout the duration of her third pregnancy, I shouldn't be very surprised. . .

But still I am. . .

The older I get the more I realize that people and their behaviors are a never-ending mystery.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Magic of Neosporin

Okay, a little warning: My post today might seem somewhat gross, but I have to share. Here goes. . .

Ever get one of those things in your nose, like a scratch or cut that just won't heal. Often after a bad cold and clearly made worse by winter's dry air? Well, I had such a spot just inside my left nostril for months. MONTHS I tell you. Three at least, maybe four. Every time I'd move my face in a certain way or wriggle my nose, I'd feel it. Uncomfortable. Abnormal.

I tried saline spray to keep the area moist. Didn't help. Figured time would heal. Still, nothing.

Then I had to go to the dermatologist recently for an odd-looking mole and while in the office, I hit him with my nasal issue. Peering inside my nose with a light and a little wooden stick, he said, "Have you tried putting Neosporin on it?"

Huh. . .no. Indeed I had not.

Well, it was like a little miracle in a tube. Two applications of generic triple antibiotic ointment with a Q-tip over a 2-3 day period and my little problem is completely healed. COMPLETELY HEALED. After 3-4 months of waiting for it to heal otherwise and feeling the daily discomfort of this annoying nasal thing all I needed was a couple little dabs of neosporin. Wow. I really am amazed.

Now I'm wondering. . .do you think it will have the same affect if I just sort of smear it on other parts of my face or body every now and again. Beginnings of crow's feet. Bam! Baby-making stretch marks. Pow! Come on Neosporin. Do your best!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wasted Easter

I'm so annoyed. Today has been an absolute waste of a holiday.

The one thing I said I wanted to do today was go out to eat. I told my husband this repeatedly in the past weeks. The one thing he wanted to do was watch hockey. Live. At the stadium.

I told him we didn't have $60 or $100 laying around for him to go watch a hockey game that he could watch on TV. And besides, if we had any extra money, it seems to me that it's more fair to use it so we can both go out to eat since that's something we never do anymore and guess who's the person at our house responsible for ALL the cooking ALL the time. Yes. That would be me.

So as it's ending up, my husband didn't go to the game. But my requests to go out to eat were repeatedly ignored. It's 6:10 pm and unless I choose to make dinner right now, we won't be eating anything today. And for some reason, on the holiday, my husband has taken a mad fit in his head to run around in his underwear cleaning the house. Cleaning the house. In his underwear. On Easter Sunday. Huh. . .

Could have been done yesterday, when he did absolutely nothing (except watch more hockey), but no. None of our families decided to include us in their Easter plans today and it seems that goes for Craze, too. It's no wonder I just decided to give up on the day a few hours ago and go take a nap when the baby went down.

I'll be glad when this day is over.

Hippity Hopping Baby Bunny

My key priority this morning was to dress my 4-month old in a hand-me-down Easter outfit complete with fuzzy white and pink bunny ears. Henry looks like the cutest, most charming little bunny you have ever seen! Have I learned nothing from The Christmas Story?!?!?

Am I going to end up being one of those moms?????

I think I can't help myself. At the moment. Maybe I'll be able to stop before he turns say. . .eight?!?!?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Don't Cry for Me, Mr. Tax Dude

Tax day was REALLY taxing since we ended up having to pay both the federal and state governments as I was behind on my self-employment taxes. Oh brother!!!

Just what I need when I'm broke. . .another big bill. Thanks, IRS. It really depressed me. Also, my tax people confirmed my worst fear: since I'm self-employed, I can't apply for unemployment in the state of Illinois. I almost started to cry right at Mr. Tax Dude's desk (but I managed not to--thank god). That pretty much put the rest of the day onto a downward slope. Even baby Henry was in a somber mood.

But today I'm pulling myself up by my bootstraps! I need a more positive attitude if I'm going to find a solution to our financial problems (i.e. I need to get some work!).

So, I'm being thankful for what I have, not stressing about what I don't and touching base with people I haven't talked to in a while, i.e. opening myself up for the universe to give me a hand here. I actually have a call next Thursday about a job opportunity--so fingers crossed!!!! Double crossed, in fact!!!! Even some consulting work would be a HUGE break for us at the moment.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

So Taxing. . .

Tax day is fast approaching so today I must make valuable use of all available baby-napping time to get all our tax stuff together. Baby Henry and I have an appointment with the tax gentleman tomorrow. Off I go!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A Secret Told on the Breeze?

Some days, like today, I feel sort of lost. I look for purpose in feeding the baby, cleaning the kitchen sink, loading up the dishwasher. General tidying. Trying to do what needs to be done and putting things in order. There's a momentary sense of rightness in seeing things cleaned and put away. In knowing that my baby is content and happy and that even when he cries endlessly in his cranky teething mode, I am good and patient and calming with him.

But I still feel out of place. Neither here nor there. A stay-at-home mom but not, since I really need to find a job to make ends meet. A career woman who knows she would rather be at home cleaning the sink and singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider even for the 78th time. Stuck in the middle.

My husband tells me to get out of the house, but there are few places to go that don't require spending money. I guess now that the weather is better that I just need to get into a walking habit with the baby. Fresh air and blue skies might blow away the cobwebs and help me get over the post-pregnancy frumpiness I feel. Maybe the breeze will tell me something I need to know. Let me in on the secret that holds the key to real contentment. Help me feel confident again. As a career woman AND a mom. As the woman I long to be.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Here He Is, By the Way

April Already? Time Flies When You're Not Sleeping

Oh, how long it's been, dear blog. That's what happens. One day your little babe is just a little over a week old and suddenly fast-forward and he's four months and five days old already. And you wonder where the time went. . .well, it wasn't spent sleeping. That's for sure. Especially when you're still getting up for those middle-of-the-night feedings. . .

I guess time indeed does fly when your a new, first-time, now 44-year-old mom.

My little one continues to thrive. His formerly broken arm is pretty much as good as new. In fact, my almost three-week-early "little" babe is something of a giant now. 27 inches long and 17 pounds at the four-month mark. He's pretty much outgrowing his 6-month size clothes already. And he's an early teether--been teething already for weeks. Those bottom front teeth are about to pop any day and, oh boy, are they making him, my usually sweet and flirty little boy, a crank monster.

And me? Well, it's a mixed bag. Still no work, so money is a constant worry. And I'm torn. I love looking after my child and my home, but my husband doesn't make enough for me to stay at home full-time. Hopefully, I can find something part-time, but any job is hard to come by at the moment. I've been in touch with long-time colleagues in my profession to see if they have any openings or know of any and I've been surprisingly totally blown off for the most part. I find it hurtful and quite staggering. People that I know very little, acquaintances really, have been the most helpful in my job search. I guess it just goes to show that you can never really know some people. People are often not, in reality, who they lead you to believe they are. Well, never mind.

If I wasn't so broke, I might actually say that this was one of the happiest times of my life. Heck. I'll say it any way. This is one of the happiest times of my life.

I have a little miracle child and every day I find more reasons to be grateful. Grateful for my wonderful, hard-working, funny husband who clearly loves being the father of his child. Grateful that the sun is shining on my back and spring is finally coming to still-cold Chicago. Grateful that I can be honestly content with what I have. Grateful that even in these hard times, we will find a way to get by. This I know.

In the end, everything will be really fine. Better than fine. Possibly great.