Saturday, March 02, 2013


I just realized how long it has been since I've written here....SHOCKING!  WOW!

It has been a long and arduous road but I can say....finally, there is light.

Thursday, February 28 was the 3 year anniversary of Aaron's last day of work.  For two years, he worked tirelessly trying to find himself a new position in the semiconductor industry.  He was ultimately unsuccessful.  He had barriers, not the least of which was being over 55.  As the months dragged on it became apparent that he had also fallen into the abyss of being "long term unemployed". 

As we passed the second anniversary, we started to look seriously into buying a business.  Our primary parameters were not the industry but what we could afford and what looked to return what we need to maintain a standard of living close to what we have always enjoyed.  That eliminated a lot of options and through 2012, we looked at a few business we never dreamed we would find ourselves involved with.  They ran the gamut from flood and fire remediation to a modeling and acting school.  We made bids on a couple of opportunities that we did not win (one was mosquito worst nightmare).  On the day after Thanksgiving, we received a call that a deal we had bid on and lost had fallen through.  We were offered the opportunity to revisit....and we did.

January 29th, we closed on the purchase of a new franchise with S.W.A.T (Soil, Water and Air Technologies) Environmental in Pennsylvania.  The company does residential and business property radon remediation.  The business is established and was being run from Lansing Michigan.  The founders had beeen establishing locations throughout the country in areas where radon is of concern, and had decided to spin these locations off as franchise opportunities.  If you're not familiar, Radon is a radioactive gas that is generated through the breakdown of bedrock.  This gas enters the home through the foundation and is recognized by the EPA as a class 1 carcinogen.  It is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking.  It is mitigated by the installation of a vacuum/venting system in the affected building.  Our business sells, installs, and services these systems.

So we are a month into the new venture.  We are still on Long Island for the time being and Aaron's commuting to PA.  Joel is on track to graduate this June so we couldn't consider relocating before then.  But, ultimately, we will relocate back to PA.  We'll locate our statewide office in Allentown and will eventually be going HOME!

I'm not planning to taking a long term role in this business however at the moment, I'm doing what I can to help Aaron as we learn the ropes.  He understands and supports that I want with all my heart to finally make photography my profession.  I am dabbling....mostly working on creating a portfolio so I can market a business doing lifestyle photography featuring pets, children and families.  Pets are my primary interest but I may have to work a little more broadly as I get myself launched.  The timing could be better as there is a move in the future.  So I'm thinking of this time for myself as portfolio building and just learning what works and what doesn't.  I'm not doing any work for money at the moment but the portfolio is coming together, as is a new website.  I spend a lot of time working with and learning advanced editing techniques.  My mind is continually blown by what one can do with photoshop and some curiosity and creativity.

So, we have rounded a bend and I like what I see in the distance.  Unbelievably, Aaron and I have come through this intact.  We have stood the tests of some agonizing challenges.  There's been more than enough stress and tension and depression in our home over the last few years to last a lifetime.  I've experienced a full blown panic attack that landed me in the hospital overnight on a heart monitor.  There have been tears, times of extreme anger and frustration and overwhelming self doubt.  We have more challenges to face...selling this house in NY is going to be a big one.  The market here is still dismal and we're still upside down.  But now, there is hope, a glimmer of light and FINALLY, a sense of direction.

Monday, December 05, 2011


Time for a little update as our job saga continues...

A few entries back, I wrote about a temporary break in the job crisis.  Aaron had found a short term consulting gig at a decent rate of pay which would tide us over through the end of the year.  It was a DISASTER!  The company owner (L) was an absolute lunatic...a madman.  Aaron was not there a week when the marketing director came to him and told him that he was leaving on Friday with no notice.  He could no longer take the bosses tirades.  Here are the bullet points of the nightmare...

- Small company is owned and run by L

- L's live in girlfriend is second in command.  She has no particular background that makes her a great person for this position.

-L and girlfriend have frequent screaming fights in the office

-L's parents spent lots of time in L's office, just hanging out.  L is a man in his 50's.  L fights with his parents the way he fights with the girlfriend.

-L "knows it all".  A meeting with L to share input, observations or advice turned into a session where L told you all the reasons you didn't know what you were talking about.

-L changed your job description on a daily basis so you could not focus on making progress

-L was frequently out of the office.  L had a stroke 2 weeks before he contracted Aaron.  This was one reason that Aaron was brought in.  L is so crazy he's killing himself.

-L had a history of getting frustrated that people were not doing what he expected (even though he could not define what was changed day to day) and firing them.

Needless to say, Aaron was miserable.  He was trying to give L what he wanted and L would rip him a new one.  One day he came home and told me that he and L had had a red faced screaming fight.  Several times Aaron came home at the end of the day desperate to terminate the contract.  He hoped to be fired.  He'd tell me "it wasn't working out for either of them".  My response was....this wasn't about "working out" as far as we were concerned.  This was not a career move.  This was a paycheck....period.

He stuck it out....until L decided Aaron wasn't working out.  L called him in to terminate the contract and Aaron graciously acknowledged and agreed it was the right move.  Apparently L was STUNNED that Aaron took it all so well.  All in all, the job lasted about 8 weeks out of the expected 16.

So, we are back to being jobless.  He has one opportunity which is a good one.  He's a very strong candidate but not "the perfect guy".  They have been looking for Perfect Guy since January.  It's an executive position that they've had filled with an interim person and they're in trouble with that because he doesn't have the management skills to run the department.  Aaron has those management skills but he's not an expert in the technology.  They seem to be focused on getting someone with the very specific technical background and strong management experience, and they can't find that person.  It's time for them to hire my husband!  :)  I am sending my daily messages to the job gods.

The job is in California but we are not even talking about the logistical problems involved (House we can't sell, child with a year and a half of high school to go).  We're just hanging onto every hope that he gets this job, then we'll worry about all the details.  It will probably mean a long term bicoastal situation.  Doesn't matter, he needs a job.

By the way, Aaron had a communication recently from someone who is still at L's company.  He was making sales contacts and forwarded to Aaron an email conversation between himself and a potential client.  Upon making the pitch, the clients asked if L was still the CEO.  His response to learning that L was still there was "I will not do business with that schizophrenic asshole!"  Kind of sums it all up right there....

I also mentioned a photography job that I was pursuing.  This has turned into a big run around as it is a county civil service position.  About 1000 people have to handle my paperwork and things continue to go missing along the way.  I have spoken on the phone a number of times to the woman who would ultimately be my superior and she seems very interested in hiring me.  There's just always another hoop to jump through or something that they can't find or don't have.  My 30 year old college transcripts?  For a part time photographers positions?  When I supplied a copy of my diploma?  REALLY?  OK.......

I'm still hopeful that this will work out but it may be months.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

L'Shana Tova

It is Rosh Hashanna...the Jewish New Year.

It seems that so many of my friends have been facing big challenges.  Loss of loved ones, cancer, job loss, money issues, the need to sell a home...everywhere I turn I see people I love are struggling.

As am I...

So my hope for all is L'Shana Tova....may the new year be a sweet year, for each and every one of us.  My wish for health and happiness, security and peace goes to you all, today....this year....and always.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Late Summer Garden

I posted this image to my photo blog earlier in the week.  Today, I'm posting it here as an entry to the September Gardening Gone Wild Picture This photo contest.

This photo was taken just this past week.  These tiny daisies are all that remain in the meadow...Mother Nature's truly wild garden.


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Quick Pic

One of my favorite photos from the recent concert tour. Two years ago, Bruce started featuring the dulcimer in both new songs and old favorites.  This year, he brought his drummer Sonny to the forefront on the washboard in Shadowhands....a song about talking to imaginary friends.

It's this obvious joy for what they do that keeps me coming back for more.


Monday, September 05, 2011


A little potpourri type entry with mostly GOOD news!

Aaron has found a job! At the moment, it is a contracted consulting job with a very small startup software company. They have a product and they have customers. It's founder is struggling with moving it from the idea/development phase to a functioning and profitable company. He is also dealing with some significant health issues. Aaron has been brought in to help him move the business forward. He'll be doing some long range business planning for them, perhaps some hiring and some work with the clients. Toward the end of the year they will assess their relationship and determine if he will move into a permanent executive position there. It's a good plan because this is a business with some real strengths as well as some serious weaknesses. He'll have a better understanding of it's viability before he makes a permanent commitment to them.

So, we're relieved....for now.

As a startup, it's a salary cut for him. So I will probably start looking for some type of work in the next few weeks. I would LOVE to figure out a way to make photography my profession without going the route of weddings and bar mitzvahs. I really don't want to have the pressure of recording "once in a lifetime" memories. We had a mediocre photographer at our wedding...I know the disappointment. I've also had the experience of selling what can't be seen until it's done. That was the most stressful part of the years with my window treatment business. So, I'm thinking about some other possibilities...some more realistic than others. In the meantime, I've got to figure out what to put on a resume to sum up my piecemeal job history. I'm not really sure how to start or what can be highlighted that will make make me attractive to an employer. So, I've got a project ahead of me.

Hurricane Irene came through here and did her best to wreak havoc. We woke up without power on Sunday morning and were in the dark until Friday afternoon. My daughter Arielle was supposed to fly in to New York from Israel on Sunday afternoon. Clearly, that didn't happen as we were experiencing tropical storm force winds. She was there as part of the BirthRight program which sponsors travel to Israel for young jewish adults. Consequently, THEY picked up the tab for her extended stay in Tel Aviv. Lucky girl! The first day of school for Joel was also delayed as a result of the storm. He was scheduled to begin on Thursday but the island was still in disarray with no power in a lot of locations. They sited student transportation as one concern as we still had street lights out everywhere. Tomorrow is now "the big day"

I had plans to be away a good part of the week to see a few Bruce Hornsby concerts. Anyone who's read my blog for an extended time knows that I'm a devoted fan and see as many shows as I can when he's in my neck of the woods. Once again he generously granted me media credentials so that I was able to photograph the shows. The first was a great opportunity as it was the last performance on the tour where he was double billed with Bela Fleck and his band. Talk about an amazing night of music!! So while we were powerless I had the excuse to dart off to Connecticut, and Philly, and Manhattan, and New Hampshire.  I heard a lot of amazing music and got to see many friends. The dates did allow me to stop through here between most of the shows and touch base as needed.  My tour has ended for now but I hope to catch a couple more shows at the end of the month.

While in Manhattan, I had an experience I had not expected. I was walking toward the venue with a couple of friends and I looked up to see a poster for the show featuring a photograph that I took! It's was a little mind boggling and a real thrill. Yes...I snatched it off the wall after the show. How could I not? It may be my 15 minutes of fame so I needed to grab the proof.

Perhaps I'm in a state of post show euphoria but I'm feeling pretty good at the moment. So much worry has been relieved for now with Aaron working. We've taken the house off the market until we see how the job plays that concern is gone. It will be a big adjustment for us all for me  to begin working more than just teaching a couple of classes a week.  But worrying about that is putting the cart before the horse. I have to find something first. I've got my thinking cap pulled down tight on my head. I would love to be my own boss and be in control of my schedule. But then, who wouldn't?

I'm swamped with concert pics, so keep an eye out! Something will probably pop up here or on the photoblog soon!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011