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

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Bright Spot

I have done a disproportionate amount of complaining about Long Island here on this blog.  But today, I need to honor the one thing I honestly love about living here....and that is being near a shore bird habitat.

The first summer we were here, we bought two kayaks.  I have not had near the opportunity to use mine that I would have hoped.  It's too heavy for me to manage on and off the top of my van alone.  And, while Aaron goes out often....he prefers to go out mid day when the intensity of the sun is at its worst.  Being a blue eyed blonde, I have no business out in the burning rays.  Even covered in liquid shirt  (never sunscreen rated below SPF55), I still break out in hives.  So, my kayak excursions have been limited.

But this week, I was able to arrange to store my kayak at a boatyard at the harbor just a mile from my house.  It's easy to drag the boat from the rack to the shore so now, I am finally free to enjoy the water and the birds at the time of day that is best for me.


Our harbor is beautiful and filled with a huge variety of birds.  This little map shows my launch point (x marks the spot), and the island in the harbor that is habitat for herons, egrets, terns, skimmers, oystercatchers, all kind of sandpipers, plovers and more!  A little planning with the tides and it's an easy paddle around the island where I can get close to shore to photograph all my feathered friends.  And there is something so peaceful in paddling through the wetlands, surrounded by thickets of grass.  It feels like a big adventure right in my backyard.



I'm posting photos of the birds from our harbor on my photoblog.  For an ongoing birders tour of my little corner of the world, please visit me there!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Many Thanks...

I really deeply appreciate the comments I received on the last post. Not only am I touched by your kind words and encouragement...I also appreciate knowing you are each still with me. I wrote with a little trepidation...what if NO ONE read? I should have known better as our friendships ARE real. All your comments are so encouraging and inspire me not only to try and stay strong, but also to continue to share these challenging experiences with you...friends who care.

I know some of you have been through your own very rough times over the years. I feel privileged that I have gotten to know you through times good and bad. What I am experiencing now is the true joy of blogging. Thank you!

Rose - I've been mentally shouting "ENOUGH!" for about a year now. One thing I've learned is that we don't get to choose when we've had enough. But we can hope for is a reprieve. I'm not a pessimist, but I have sure learned to be a realist. Thanks so much for your thoughts, encouragement and prayers.

Lisa - You are absolutely right, our blog friends are a very special breed of friend. You are one of the wonderful people I've known through this medium for EIGHT(?) years now.  It gives me so much peace to know that you and the others WILL be there when I break down and decide to dump the mess of my life here. I think you know I'll be there for you too. Thank you my friend.

Paul - When I saw that you had visited, tears came to my eyes. I thought I had lost touch with you. I find joy in knowing that our connection is still intact after all this time. I've missed you and hope to hear from you again.

Phinney - I wish we lived closer too sweetie but at least we live close enough that we've really spent time together. I know you're always there when I need you. And, don't sell yourself short in the strength have been through as much as anyone I know. You have had some incredible struggles all the while showing nothing but strength to your friends, family and your son.

Don't stop talking about what's going on. If you're not up to blogging. Call me....

Cynthia - I know you understand exactly where I was coming from when I wrote this entry. If even an occasional entry can help us through our most troubled times, then we need to stick with it. You have had a very, very tough few years and when you write, your introspection always makes me think and it inspires me to be stronger. Thanks for having the courage to share the way that you do. And thanks for being here for me.

Monica - I feel that hug! :) Sending one right back at you! I know you are like me in that when times are tough, you get quiet and stay in touch with your beautiful photos. It's safer to speak through photos than through words sometimes. But I also know, you have followers that really do care about what's going on in your life and they'll be there when you're ready to share. If you're not ready to blog, please send me an email and let me know what's up with you.

I BELIEVE one day we will have the chance to do that photo outing together. I know we'll have an amazing time. I'm counting on it!

Susan - Thanks so much for reading and commenting here AND for all the hugs! We're just starting to get to know each other via blogging and it makes me smile to feel the connection strengthening. I feel like your spirit is as big as Oz Land. Thanks for sharing some of that beautiful spirit and your hugs and encouragement here.

You all are amazing and today my heart feels so full. I'm sending lots of love out to you all.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Yesterday was the anniversary of the last day of my "normal" life.  The last day I felt fully like myself.  Six years ago today, the first (and worst) of a series of events began that have pulled me further and further from feeling my place in the world.  Six years is a long time to drift and I still have no real vision of what will bring me back to a sense of stability.  Who knew that at the age of 54, so much of my life would feel so far out of my control.

Today is the sixth anniversary of the terrible accident that killed my sister and my nephew.  It's a loss I've learned to live with but some days my psyche and my heart finds it  almost impossible to accept.  

Since that day, I have been repeatedly thrust into life changing situations that have challenged my belief that a life I envision for myself is within my grasp.

Six years and one day ago, I was living in a bubble of contentment.  I loved my home and my community, I had wonderful friends around me, my family was intact and we were emotionally and financially secure.  That day now seems like ancient history.  It all started with a devastating phone call.  I relive that moment frequently in my head and still can hardly believe the news it brought.  It broke my heart and robbed me the ability to believe that my loved ones are protected and safe.  And now,  so much more has happened I feel  little confidence  going forward.

My husband lost his job...not once, but twice.  The first we knew was coming and we would have weathered it better if it was not in the immediate shadow of Meg's death.   I was grieving while things were uncertain and I was not up to the task of providing Aaron with the support he needed.  He looked for work for a year and when he found a job, it required a relocation.  I was about to be faced with my next big loss....either my husband, or my home.

I chose to keep my marriage intact but the price for that choice has been monumental.  I loved my home, I loved where it sat, I loved (and still love) my neighbor there.  I loved my friends.  I loved my place in the community.  I loved the surrounding area.  I loved that everything around me was filled with memories of my precious children growing up and happy times with my dear friends.  In my heart...I was home.

But I left it.  I can't let myself believe that it was the wrong thing to do even though my gut told me otherwise.  It would have been worse to divide my family.    I've regretted that I wasn't more forceful about my instincts.  It's like another death to me.  Just like I can't get my sister back, I can't get that life back.  My homesickness is like a rotten spot on my soul.  It's a festering wound that just won't heal.

The first two years in our new place were rough.  I was heartsick to be here and felt tremendously displaced.  Were it not for the few friends who supported me over the miles, I don't know how I would have made it.  It was very difficult to meet and connect with anyone here.  I felt "out of sight, out of mind" with many people I'd left behind and that was painful.  Some days I'd look around and think "where am I? WHO am I?"  Of course, it put tremendous strain on my marriage.

By the third year, I'd made one friend and was finally getting my head around "this is where I live."  While I was still very fragile with homesickness, I was getting a bit stronger and a more peaceful in my day to day existence.  Then, Aaron came home to tell me that he'd lost his job.

Aaron was working as an executive at a semiconductor company.  It was a high paying position with a lot of responsibility.  He was laid off because the company had hired a new CEO and (as is not uncommon) she cleared the executive decks to bring in her own team.  From the moment she was hired he had an inkling this could happen, yet when it did we felt blindsided.

That was almost 18 months ago.  He has been looking diligently for work all along but things far out of our control an obstacle.  We are a statistic heard on the news every night.  We are the "over age 50 long term unemployed".  Aaron has exceptional skills and experience.  One prominent CEO in silicon valley invited him out to meet on a consult and told him that his resume "glowed in the dark".  But there are no jobs....there are no empty chairs.  And he can't get considered for a lower level position because his experience is a "threat".  No one wants to hire someone who could do THEIR  job.

Our expenses here are staggering.  Everything was within our budget when Aaron was working.  This was not a case of borrowing more than we could afford.  Thankfully we have money in the bank....we were conscientious about saving all our married life.  But now we are watching that nest egg hemorrhage.   We have put the house on the market but real estate is in such bad shape here that it is listed for what we owe.  All our equity is gone.  We can't get anyone to even look at the place.  With the economic uncertainty there's no surprise there.  Once again, we are a news statistic....upside down on our house and no buyers in sight.

I watch what's happening in our economy and with our pathetic collection of "lawmakers" and consider our status as a statistic and wonder if there is anything we will be able to do to get through this mess and land on our feet.  It's frustrating because for almost 30 years we really tried to be forward thinking plan for our future and the future of our kids.  We left the home I loved to come here because this was the clearest path to ensuring financial security.  Look where it got us.   Without a job or a buyer the outlook is pretty dismal and some days we are more discouraged than others.  The last six years has been a long haul of heartbreak and disappointment.  I'm tired....I'm tired of feeling this way.  Hopelessness is draining.  I keep looking for that one thing to grab a solid stick in a flooded river.  I need to grab onto something to keep from swept away, pulled under, and drowned.  But, nothing feels like the solid anchor I hope to find.

I'm hesitating to push the publish button on this as the latest in a long series of woeful posts.   But today's anniversary is significant.  It was the first and most overwhelming loss in a series of losses that I'm struggling to recover from.  It's hard for me to wrestle with any one without all of them falling on top of me.

I've been wanting to return to blogging for awhile and all this emotional clutter gets in the way.  I'm hoping that if I dump it here one more time that maybe I can resume a pattern of blogging about TODAY without dragging in all the baggage of the last six years.  I'm going to try.  I hope a few of you out there are still with me....

Friday, June 17, 2011


This entry is cross posted to In My Dreams I Can Fly...

I have a confession to make...I drank the iPhoneography kool-aid.

I really like my iPhone.  I don't know anyone who has one who doesn't.  The people at Apple are geniuses.  It's not a's a fabulous toy for grownups.   It just so happens you can make a call with it.

I rarely took photos with my old phone.  I didn't start taking photos with this phone right away.  But then, I discovered the creative apps....I discovered iPhoneography...and I quickly learned that it's an art form that is being widely accepted by BIG names in traditional photography.  Photographers from National Geographic, Outdoor Photography and other major publications are ladling out the kool-aid to the rest of us.

It's being embraced for what it is.  What it is a replacement for high quality dslr photography.  It's really a new creative medium that you carry in your pocket.  For people truly passionate about photography, it's not a way to turn a bad photo into a gimicky  "good" photo.  At present, we're limited in the amount of control available in making the image.  You can't set your shutter speed or control your depth of field.  So it becomes very much about composition and applying a new medium to a well composed picture.  

It's fun and it appears that the creative possibilities are almost limitless.   Google'll be amazed.

FX PhotoStudio Image

Photo effect by Pic Grunger.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

June 5

Just checking in at the beach party for a little small talk.

Right now, I'm far from New York...sitting in my brother in law's living room in Barrington, IL near Chicago.  We're here to celebrate my mother-in-law's 80th birthday.

Aaron and the girls drove out ahead of Joel and me...airfare for five was just too steep.  But Joel isn't finished with school yet and we had to make a quicker turn around on the trip.  I love traveling by car and would have enjoyed a bit of a road trip.  But at least we got lucky and our flights were on time (early actually) and NOT packed like sardines.  We'll see how it goes on the return trip.

Our realtor is holding an open house at our place while we are away.  We just dropped the price on the house by a painful amount and it will be interesting (perhaps excruciating) to see if we can now draw in any potential buyers.  I spent the last two days before we left town cleaning like a mad woman.  I'm sure that anyone who has ever sold a house can relate to what an enormous pain in the ass this process is.  For the moment, I'm glad to be far away from that reality.

We have a small family and live far from everyone.  We haven't seen Aaron's parents since this time last year.  In light of all the uncertainty we are living with, it's a comfort to be here and feel like part of a larger whole.  It's good to talk and laugh, recall times past and just be with people who are "mine".  When your family is spread out, you forget what a comfort it is to be among them.  I was actually dreading this trip a bit because these days I feel so fragile.  The problems aren't gone, but surrounded by these people, I feel bit more buffered from everything we've been dealing with.

The party is this afternoon, and there is so much to celebrate.  My inlaws  (and my mom) have made it to their 80's and they're all healthy and independent.  I feel almost childlike in wanting to be in the presence of the security of the previous generation.  I am aware of how lucky we are to still have them with us and I want to take this day and hold onto it with all my might.  It could all change in one unsuspected instant.  Boy, hasn't that lesson been rubbed in my face again, and again.  As I sit here writing, I clearly see my mission of this let each of these dear people know how much they are loved, and how much their love means to me. 

Have a great week everyone...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Away One Year


It has been, and continues to be an overwhelming year.  I'll save that for another time.

Martha at Menagerie has started something new to attempt to draw bloggers into new sense of community.  She's describing it as a virtual cocktail party.  The idea is to write a blog post at least once a weekend and then link through her blog to the community.  She's suggested a little blurb about what's gone on that week, or a recipe, a photo....just about anything.  Click here for more details and to join in.

I have missed that feeling since the demise of AOL journals.  It was SO different back then.  I've missed the connection that we used to have.  So, I want to support Martha in this effort and hopefully regain some of the community spirit we used to enjoy.

I've been away for the last year for a couple of reasons, but the most significant is the tough times my family has been facing.  We're still in the midst of it and there's a lot of uncertainty.  I hope that maybe I can use these posts to put some focus on what's positive.

With that...

I want to share a big music event that's going on today....right now! (a fan site for Bruce Hornsby) is running a fund raising event for 25 hours in support of two great causes, the ALS Association and the National Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (in the UK).   For 25 hours, at, live recordings are being posted for free download.  Each hour five additional downloads are from each from five great artisits (Bruce Hornsby, Bela Fleck, The Grateful Dead, Phish, and Dave Matthews).  The downloads are completely free but the hope is that listeners will choose to help to support these causes by making a donation via the links provided on the site.

I invite you visit the site, download and enjoy the music and consider supporting these worthy organizations.  If you like these bands, this is a chance to grab music that is not in wide release.  And if you're a fan of one, chances are you will like it all.  It's a rare opportunity!

Happy Memorial Day everyone

***Quick edit...I just made the rounds of the links posted so far.  Everyone's offering up some pretty amazing recipes.  All we need is the music!  Who's ready to dance?