Sunday, January 12, 2020

Unemployment 101

Its hard to imagine, but its been about 2-1/2 months since I was fired (is dismissed better? Or terminated?) People have referred to it by both words, dismissed and terminated, but I kind of like fired myself.  What word do you prefer?

I have to say that the month of November I was mourning a bit the fact I didn’t have a job.  I was glad to get away from that job; you guys all know the stress I had with it, but it was not my intent to not be working at this stage of my life.  Also, I didn’t have a sense of closure with it either.  When hubby was ready to retire, he gave his 6 week notice and during that time he had a chance to wrap up things, have going away parties and lunches in his honor, got to say goodbye to people he worked with, etc.  For me, one day I’m working, the next morning I’m fired.  Kind of felt lost the first few weeks.

I did get unemployment, like I mentioned, 3 weeks after my last day of work.  I was glad to have gotten it without having to appeal.  As part of getting unemployment, I have to diligently be looking for a job at least 4 days a week and have to report what jobs I have applied for and which companies the jobs were at.  I have to have 4 job searches per week and all can’t be on the same day. I apply for more than 4 a week and keep track of them in a notebook as well as make copies of the job notices so I can refer to them if I do get an interview.

I had no interviews or calls in November.

December hubby retired and I still looked for work like I was supposed to, but the first few weeks of his retirement it felt like a weekend so we went out and did things like we would on a weekend, including going out to eat.  I felt disjointed, out of sorts, and knew that I needed to keep/have a routine.  Christmas was also in that month and while we didn’t do a lot for it, there were some presents to buy and wrap, etc., so that took some time.

I made the wise decision to set the alarm and get up at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday and to make sure I got on the treadmill those 5 days a week.  I didn’t want to find myself sleeping in a lot, staying up late, but wanted to have a similar routine to when I was working and hubby was working in case I got another job.  I would sleep in on the weekends if I wanted to.

I realized in December several things. My resume needed to be updated and I didn’t have the computer skills a lot of the jobs were calling for. I had worked on a computer with my previous job but it was their software program.  Most jobs I saw advertised wanted Microsoft Word and Excel; training I did not have.  So I looked into where I could get training.

I resolved after Christmas I would get serious about really looking for work, updating my resume, taking computer classes. 

I had 2 interviews in December. One in person; one phone interview.  Might have gotten the first job, but they weren’t providing benefits and I wanted/needed health insurance, etc., and let them know that so I think I was taken out of the running. The second one, the phone interview, they wanted more of a receptionist than a transcriptionist and wanted someone with more current skills in that regard.  I had worked as a receptionist, but that was over 30 years ago. 

I researched and found that Goodwill has a Career Center where they provide training for those who need computer skills for Word and Excel so I signed up for the classes, which I did last week. Also, there is a company here, Arizona at Work, tied in with unemployment to provide training and help in getting people back to work. I’ve gone to interview classes there on what to answer for interview questions and this week will be going for a resume class to spruce mine up.  I did look online and found some samples of resumes and redid mine, but want to take the classes to see what they recommend.

I’m thinking on some jobs my age (62 years old) might be playing a role. Though they can’t ask age, they can pretty much find out how old I am if the job application asks for when you graduated from high school.  Also, I’ve worked 30 years at home as a transcriptionist.  There are no transcription jobs out there (there are a few but not ones I want to do).  People want more current skills than I have for answering phones, scheduling appointments, etc. 

I did have an interview last week for a small eye doctor practice.  It did sound promising and I think I did good with the interview.  I should know this week if I will be offered the job or not.

I’m not panicking about finding work.  I would like to work and be productive.  I will get early retirement Social Security starting next month in February.  We’re doing okay money wise. 

I’ve worked pretty much all my life and had planned to work until I was 67.  I’d still like to do that.  Hubby says to be patient and it will happen.  So that’s what I will try to do.  Be patient.

And wait upon God.  This didn’t catch Him by surprise and I know that there is something he has planned for me.  I just need to wait. 

Waiting is hard, isn't it?

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

really? we thought she was all done with that nonsense

This is a post containing pictures of quail.

You have my permission to not read it or comment on it. 

I know a lot of you stuck by me during those months when we lived in Prescott and every (exaggeration) post I did was related to quail.

Quail in the snow.  Quail eating.  Quail sitting on the bird feeder.  Quail this.  Quail that.  

Quail ad nauseum.

Okay, waiting for everyone who wants to leave to leave........

There's still time to leave anytime you want.

Guess what we saw on Christmas Eve?? (Oh my, let me think, Big Foot, the Lochness Monster?) 

No silly, we saw quail!! In Phoenix.  

I've seen them here and there but this is the first time I saw them in this particular area though hubby saw them a few years back.  This area is pretty close to a lot of businesses, shops, busy streets, etc.

We had pho for lunch that day.  (Do you like pho? We do).  (Pho is Vietnamese soup; its delicious).  Then we took a drive to this area where hubby had seen quail before.  It was a windy, damp Christmas Eve.  We got a lot of rain throughout the day.  

Something caught my eye.  Sure enough a covey of quail were scampering around.  Hubby pulled over and we started to snap pictures.

 They are so adorable!! I shudder when we visit fine markets and see quail eggs or meat available to eat......

It was the best Christmas present I got (thank you Lord because I KNOW you orchestrated this for me.  You placed us right at the right time to see those quail and those quail came out just at the right time you wanted them to).  We had been in this area on multiple times before but never saw them.  That's why I know this time it was a gift from God.  He always gifts me like this with sightings of hawks and in this case quail.  And He always knows exactly when I need such a gift and I have to admit this particular day I needed a gentle reminder from Him that He is for me not against me and He has me covered and will meet all my needs.  

We had a nice quiet Christmas.  It was just the two of us, hubby and me.  (Thanks for all your kind words about the music we shared on my last post).  We had breakfast at Starbucks, saw the new Star Wars movie, lunch at Jack in a Box, walked around a resort here to see their Christmas decorations and were going to end our day with a drink at the Coach House; a dive bar that is opened 365 days a year.  When I heard that, a few months back, I said "we are going there on Christmas Day."  Apparently everyone else had the same thought because when we were there at 4 o'clock on Christmas, it was PACKED! Parking lot full and a line to get in! We went home and enjoyed salmon and asparagus for dinner.  (And we tried to go there on New Year's Day and it was just as busy!! Most of the time there are people there but never this crowded). So we'll try again a few months down the road.

So now 2020.  You all know "perfect" vision is 20/20.  It is kind of a fun sounding year.  2020!  I don't have perfect vision as I wear glasses and even corrected, I don't quite achieve 20/20.  

But in 2020 I'm going to gaze on perfection and try to draw nearer to Jesus.  Pray more, trust more, seek more.  And keep my eyes focused on Him.

Happy New Year!  May it be a kind one to you and yours!!

(and I can't promise I'll never post another quail picture.........) 

(stick with me though, okay?????)

You are all the best!

(for any new readers, I love quail and when we lived in Prescott, Arizona (about 90 miles from where we live now in Phoenix) we lived in an open type area that had some wildlife, one of which was quail.  A family of 16 quail visited us quite often and we set out seed for them. I truly enjoyed each and every time they came around.  I was glad to move to Phoenix to be closer to our grandson, but I also knew I'd be missing the quail.  My so very faithful readers and friends tolerated my consistent and constant and continuous quail posts in 2015 and 2016). 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

O Holy Night - my Christmas 2019 gift to you

Back in Christmas 2015, I wrote this post about my gift to you about a recipe for a most delicious rum cake.  Funny, we haven't made the rum cake since then, but it still is delicious.

Now four years later, here is my gift to you.

Hubby playing "O Holy Night."  It is only 1 minute 40 seconds long.  (By the way, this is my favorite Christmas song and his full rendition of it brings me to tears....every single time.....).

We're playing around with a YouTube channel for his music.  Right now it is Betty W (there are several out there) but I'm thinking of changing it to the "Headless Guitarist" (little humor here). You know how I have an aversion to having personal pictures of my blog or any social media site. 


(The song is obviously longer but this was our first attempt at putting something on YouTube and we wanted to see how it all worked). (And I have to learn how to hold my cell phone straighter LOL).

Merry Christmas to one and all! My next post will be in 2020! Can you believe it is almost going to be 2020??? Where did this year (decade) go?

Friday, December 6, 2019

He made it to the finish line

Hubby retired today (12/6/2019).  He has always been a hard worker and a dedicated worker and a great provider by the grace of God.

These past 3 years and 8 months have taken a toll on him and in the periphery me though I didn't have to put up with the long commutes he had.  But when the alarm clock rang at 5:30 a.m. to get him up to be on the road at 6:30 (ish) I was up with him.  I saw him out the door, made his lunch when he was taking his lunch, kept up the house so that when he was off we had the time to do things together as a couple.

He had a brutal (Myra will attest to this) commute.  He worked 50 miles away from where we lived.  He googled his commute every day to check out road conditions and accidents and it was never under an hour and 5 minutes unless it was a holiday time.  There were some times when there would be an accident and he would be stuck in traffic for literally an hour or more and there was the one monsoon storm where it took him 3 hours to get home.  

By the grace of God (truly it was) he never got into an accident during that time.  He got hit one time from behind by a lady at a stop light.  No damage to either vehicle. He sort of got side swiped one time by a truck but again no damage.

Angels were protecting his car.  I believe it.  I prayed for his safety daily coming and going.

He had to have 3 times his windshield repaired because of chips and cracks. The first time we had the insurance do it. The other 2 times we paid for it ourselves and got a higher quality of glass.  The last time I prayed that his windshield would not crack and thank you Lord he has not had any problems since then.

Part of his commute involved going by a gravel company......with rocks on the get the picture.

Honestly he worked at the most terrible of places this last time.  It was a healthcare facility on a Native American reservation.  Unless you were community (a member of the tribe) or Native (Native American) you were unwelcomed and basically unwanted though they knew they needed you to provide the services that they could not.  

It is socialism at its best (worst).  The tribal members get stipends quarterly because of the casinos they operate and from the federal government because of how they were treated years ago.  The community would provide a house for you if you qualified, would pay your electric bills, and so much more.

The tribe really doesn't encourage advancement or education though they strongly encourage community to be hired for positions.  Unfortunately, there aren't many community members eligible for the higher paying management type jobs.

He has been shunned, scorned, told he is unwelcomed but at the same time told he needed to contribute to the needs of the tribe. Food, help with the kids for community events, gifts at Christmas, etc.

He could not get treated at their clinics because he was not community or native but did get health insurance.  

Yet because of the kind man that he was, he won over a lot of the community members and natives and was respected by them.  Case point.  When he was buying his meals in the cafeteria, he would talk with the workers (mostly community or native) and joke around with them.  It took a long time to warm them up but once warmed up they give him double of the food he ordered for the same price of a single serving (and that's why he stopped eating there and taking his lunch since he was gaining weight).

He maintained a candy bowl where people could come regardless of department and help themselves to candy.  Every year at inventory he provided a lunch for his employees, oftentimes paying for it himself if there was not money in the budget. Every year at Christmas he gave each employee a gift card for a local grocery store. 

He was a very kind manager.  He truly cared for his employees.  He listened to their problems.  He motivated them.  He encouraged them. He disciplined when necessary but tried to restore when possible.  

He will be missed.  He has been missed by other places he has worked.

Several straws broke the camel's back from him continuing working. A promised warehouse expansion was taken away.  He was working at capacity and beyond.  That hurt.  A board member (a community member) said that people working there that were not native or community should remember they were a guest there and act appropriately but at the same time said they should also participate in giving to the community.  

He was done.  He was done basically the first few months he took the job.  He looked diligently for other jobs but nothing came up (ageism has a way of sneaking in I believe).

So when he reached his retirement age for Social Security he started planning.  And six months later he finished.  

The past month has been a stretch for him. Every morning waking up the countdown.  And finally today was the last one.  

He is done. He finished well.

He now will pursue what he wants to pursue.  Music and the whatnot.

I thank him for his faithful service to the family and being a great provider.  The last 3 years and 8 months has truly been a labor of love. He knew how important it was for me to be close to the wee one.  He endured what he did so that we could have the relationship we have with him.

And for that I am grateful.

So rest up, hubby.  Enjoy no long commutes.  Enjoy no office politics.  Enjoy doing what you want to do.

Just enjoy.......

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Of course we had to go

And check out this place.  Saw in one of our strip malls a new business Crumbl  Cookies! So last night after dinner, we decided to stop by and perhaps buy some cookies for dessert for Thanksgiving.  I was impressed that the place stayed open until midnight!  And that they were continually making cookies when we were there at about 8 p.m.

Here is the menu for the cookies.  The actual cookies themselves.  They rotate what they bake every few days (every 4 days I think if I read it correctly).  

I will admit.  They are a bit pricey.  Kind of like those cupcakes you get from specialized cupcake shops.  Each cookie was $3.27 but you could get four for $10.98 which is what we did.

Here's the four we got.  In order from left to right, carrot cake, caramel deluche, molten lava, and chocolate chip.  Hubby got the first two, I got the last two, but we shared bites.  

I only ate half of my chocolate chip one last night and finished the rest of it in bits and pieces throughout today.  Got half of the molten lava for dessert tonight after our Thanksgiving meal.

They were all yummy, fantastically delicious, still warm from the oven when we brought them home and kept fresh today.  

Its deadly because its about 2 miles from where we live.

And its open until midnight.

But we'll try to show (a little) self control and make it a treat every now and then.

So, the 3 burning questions:

1.  Do you have Crumbl Cookies by you?

2.  How was your Thanksgiving (ours was nice and quiet but fun).

3.  Have you started Christmas decorating yet? (we put the lights up outside, one string; debating how much more decorating I do inside if any).

Next up next week:  Retirement!!! (not mine)

Sunday, November 17, 2019

its one of my favorite days of the year

This past Saturday ranks in my top 5 favorite days of the year. Could care less about my birthday, love our anniversary, kids' birthdays, a few other things, but this day whenever it falls in that particular year is one of the best for me.

It was turkey day at the Phoenix Rescue Mission.  They ask for donations of turkeys for their holiday food baskets given out to those in need. They want 1500 turkeys.  

I read that this year some family through working with their neighbors and others were able to donate 600 turkeys!!! Awesome!! And what is cool is God knows exactly which families are going to get these turkeys and lives will be changed if they are willing to let their lives be changed........

I heard about this back in 2016, our first year in Phoenix. It was on the local news channel that Saturday morning. I'm like "we can buy a turkey and we can donate it" so that's what we did.  We didn't take the tour of the mission and the invitation for lunch that first year due to other commitments, but it was on my agenda to do so down the road.

2017 and 2018 I worked on Saturdays so hubby took the turkey down to the rescue mission and didn't take the tour.

But this year, 2019, I was able to (thank you job termination :). The rescue mission must partner someway with Grand Canyon University because there were a lot of student volunteers helping to direct traffic to drop off a turkey and then do the tours.  

It was so cool to hear about the programs offered to get people off of the streets and into productive citizens again. One lady said that someone in the women's program had gotten her GED at the age of 59!!! thanks to the training provided by the rescue mission.

I love what this lady said. She said the old philosophy for missions was "make those who want a meal to hear about Jesus and then feed them" whereas they adopted the policy "feed them and see what God does for them." The man who told us about what education was available was in the program, working it, and hoping to advance in it. His faith was so palpable as so many others there. 

We donate monthly and we will continue to donate monthly (termination or not) because it is working. Lives are being changed. And for the good.

And because of Jesus. So thank you Jesus!

(and rejoicing; I got approved for unemployment; now I'm working on getting health insurance). God is faithful, God is good. I know he will provide. 

I will continue to trust in him.

So the big question remains. Do you like turkey on Thanksgiving??? (I do :)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Joy Bus Diner

This year I have been diligently writing reviews for Yelp.  In fact I was recognized by a community ambassador for my reviews and she nominated me to be a Yelp Elite a few months back.  The only bad thing about it was that I had to post a picture of me on my profile since they wanted to verify I was an actual person.  I took an okay picture of myself and got accepted to be a Yelp Elite.  It is nothing fancy but as an Elite you get invited to some special events local restaurants do to promote their businesses.  I have yet been able to go because of my previous work schedule and hubby's work schedule but that is rapidly changing with my termination and his retirement next month so I look forward to participating where I can for these events in the very near future.

I'm aiming to get to 200 reviews by the end of 2019.  Currently I am at 188 reviews so I'm pretty sure I'll get there within the next 6-7 weeks.  I have 3 reviews I need to write over the next few days as I have time so that will put me to 191.

I've been looking for new places to eat or visit for the reviews.  We mainly go out to eat Sundays after church so I've been looking at restaurants that serve brunch or breakfast all day.

Last week in driving to one place I happened to catch the name of another restaurant so I looked it up and once I saw what it was, I knew we would be visiting it so very soon.

It is called "The Joy Bus Diner" and it is a nonprofit restaurant.  Yes you heard me right. A nonprofit restaurant!! It was started back in 2016 to aid cancer patients going through chemotherapy.  All the profits from the restaurant go to various aspects of patients with chemo etc. They offer free of charge a daily meal for those undergoing chemo that they deliver to people's places where they live.

I knew I had to go there especially since I'm a chemo angel. Chemo Angels have business cards you can pass out to tell others about the organization so I ordered some and then we went to the restaurant today.

Here is what I would call their "mission statement" of what they do and why they do it.

Both hubby and me got the breakfast burrito to eat; delicious!

Their breakfast menu.  

They are open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. They were busy when we were there with a steady amount of people coming in to eat. 

You have the option of making a donation when you pay your bill to help them provide meals free of charge to those undergoing chemo (like I said above they deliver a meal daily to those undergoing chemo).  We did make a donation.

I had gotten the business cards for Chemo Angels so I asked the manager if I could speak to him. I said I wasn't selling anything. I asked if he had heard of Chemo Angels (he hadn't). So I explained the program and gave him the business cards. I hope he checks more into it and passes out the cards to those undergoing chemo.

The food was good. The service excellent.  The cause outstanding.  We'll be a frequent visitor there.  And I plan to give it a 5 star review of Yelp!