Wow….haven’t posted since September 2009…..

SO much has happened in nearly three years. So much so I couldn’t even begin to detail it all. Two of the main things that have happened have both been monumental in my life. One I will relate here, because it deserves its own separate post. The other I will tell in a separate post.

It has taken a really, really long time to be able to write about this.

I have a best friend who has been my friend for over 26 years. She was a little older than me, and I was not yet old enough to be drinking in the bar I met her in. I was casually dating a guy who was friends with her, and he introduced us. We were fast friends from that night on. We took trips together, shared each other’s lives and secrets….I was the maid of honor at her wedding, and she was the matron of honor at mine. She was godmother to my oldest daughter, and my BFF for life through everything. EVERYTHING. We had small disagreements over the years, but always found a way to preserve our friendship and we never had a fight, not even once.

In fact, one time a really really long time ago, a producer for the Dont Want to Say Because Of Libel But The Show is Still on the Air Talk Show, back when it was first on the air, contacted us to ask us to appear on the show because of the topic: “Can Black Women and White Women Really Be Friends?”

 

I don’t look like that anymore.

That’s a young, fresh faced me on the left, shiny, glowing Paula on the right. We were interviewed, but we were rejected. You wanna know why? Because we WERE true friends. I had never slept with any man who was with her, nor she with anyone I had ever dated, we never had a fight, neither of us had ever stolen from the other or disparaged the other to anyone else, and we loved each other AND had never had sexual contact with each other. In short, we were too boring….there was no drama between us and we were not what the show was looking for.

My lovely, caring, charismatic, peaceful, fun-loving, giving, wide-hearted, most beautiful BFF of 26 years passed away on the evening of Sunday, March 7, 2010. She died in my arms, and the arms of several close family members, including her mother, two sisters and a niece, and another friend. She passed relatively peacefully, surrounded by love, and I am crying now even as I type this, remembering that night. I hate that I lost my best friend….I hate that she is not here any longer, and still, even now over two years later, I reach for the phone to call her when she crosses my mind…until I remember. So, so, sad.

At Paula’s final moments, she was sitting on the edge of her bed, feet on the floor, elbows on a pillow placed across her knees….she kept lying down and sitting up, lying down and sitting up, because her lungs were filled with fluid and she felt like she was drowning, she said. So she would sit up to breathe, but then vertigo would force her to lie back down. So she was sitting up, me sitting on her right, my left arm around her, her mom sitting on her left, her right arm around her, her sister Susan on her knees on the bed behind her, rubbing her back, her niece Autumn at her left leg, stroking it in the way she taught us to increase blood flow and relieve the pressure, her good friend Carrie at her right leg doing the same, and her sister Linda on the floor in front of her rubbing her thigh and murmuring loving words.

None of us knew she was going to die.

I mean, seriously, I think we ALL thought she was somehow going to “pull out of this”, and her sister Linda was even on and off the phone making hospice care arrangements and such, since Paula could not remain at home alone, and arranging shifts of people to care for her was hard for her family, none of whom live local to Paula. Everyone pitched in with every task and it was fine, and her teeny, tiny little apartment seemed to magically expand to accommodate however many people needed to be in it at any time. We didn’t know she was going to die.

Paula knew. She kept that to herself, though, and just smiled and nodded when the rest of us babbled our “you’re going to beat this”s and “you’ll get better”s and “next month let’s go to the beach, that’ll make you feel better”s and “we should have an epic party for your birthday in November”s. She knew.

I do believe that in moments of awareness and coherence, Paula was able to say what she needed to to everyone who was important to her. She said a lot of things to me, relived memories and experiences we had over our 26 years of friendship, and we laughed a lot, though quietly. The last private thing Paula said to me was “I love you. I’ll wait for you on the other side. Next go round we’re gonna rule the world, babe.”

Paula took her last breath, enfolded in that circle of love and peace, and left this world at a time of her own choosing. Just like she lived the rest of her life….the way she chose, no matter what anyone else thought. Can’t argue with that. But damn, do I miss her.

See you next go round, babe.

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Guess What? I Have OPTIONS! Who Knew?

The economy sucks.  We all know that. Between the media, kvetching commuters, neighbors and the companies we work for,  it would be hard to be unaware that the economy is Bad with a capital “B”.  Or Sucks, with a capital “S”.  It’s hard to escape the news.

Without saying ANYTHING BAD about the company I work for, I have to say….I just f0und out I have options.  For the record, I work for a great company, a law firm.  At least it USED to be a great comapny, but it’s definitely not the same place it was pre-recession.  As law firms are imploding, and are having to make unprecedented decisions in order to better position themselves financially both for the here and now and for the future of the economy, whatever that may be – law firms now suck. 

Gone are the freewheeling days of money falling off the shelves for whatever we want, bonuses, salary increases, catered happy hours, ice cream socials, the works.  I’m not complaining about that, mind you, I do understand WHY these cuts are being made, and rarely attended any of those events anyway.    And I was neither surprised nor upset to learn that I would receive no raise this year.  Hey, I can do my part!  Doubt we’ll get bonuses either, which totally sucks, because I depend on that to take care of Christmas for my children.

I really feel (NOT!) for the recent law school graduates, most of whom are bratty, mid-level intelligent worker bees who think the world lies at their feet. HAH.  Not anymore, buckaroos!  Lockstep pay increases are OVER.  Automatic raises are DONE.  A significant portion of the graduated incoming 2009 class of newly minted lawyers who SHOULD be starting their new lives as associate-lawyer-drones, have been deferred until 2010, and some even into 2011. Some are being paid a token amount of money to just get lost.  Some are being promised jobs, but just not now.  “Here, here is $75,ooo, go work a non-profit or volunteer job….we’ll see you maybe sometime next year. Or not.  Don’t call us, we’ll call you.  Or not.” 

Well, due to some recent job changes, I no longer really like my job.  What to do?  What to do?  The prevailing attitude is “shut up and do as you’re told and be grateful you still have a job.  There are NO JOBS out there, and you need to buckle down, suck it up and just do what we tell you to.”  Really?  That worked for a short while – we who were lucky enough not to get laid off were saying “Whew! We really dodged a bullet there!  We’re so grateful that at least we still have a job.”  Now?  Not so much.  That attitude can get really old, really fast.

I’ve done some research, made some contacts, talked to some hiring people.  Guess what?  There ARE jobs out there.  My skill set and work experience make me a desirable candidate for HR departments in some of the most prestigious law firms out there.  I’m grateful for that.  Once I put the word out, I have been getting calls about some new and interesting opportunities. Pay cuts for some of them, but a 4-day work week could SERIOUSLY make up for the lost income.  So could a work at home position.

Of course, I’d be happiest to just quit and stay home, make jewelry, weave rugs and run my daughters organic dog treat business.  But we’d have no health insurance.  If it was just me, I’d take the risk, but I can’t have my kids out there on the other side of the health insurance safety net.

So word around the water cooler is that there is “another round (of layoffs)” coming this month.  What in the world does one have to do to get on that list?  LAY ME OFF!  I hear the severance package is 1 week’s pay for every year you’ve been employed at the firm.  I’ve been there nearly 10 years.  Between that and unemployment, I could take off the rest of the year, get my head together, make a bunch of really inspired jewelry, BREATHE, and start fresh somewhere in January.  I want to be on the layoff list, but sadly, I don’t think I will be.

It was, however, VERY good to learn that, not only am I highly qualified for good paying positions, but that there ARE jobs to be had, which is contrary to what we’re being told.

Hey – I’ve got OPTIONS!

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My Absolute Hero

Ocean City, NJ 2009 042 

This is my oldest, dearest and best friend, Paula.  I have known her since I was 18 years old, and too young to be working in a bar.  She was the good friend of a guy I was casually sort of dating.  He and I ended up being friends only and she and I ended up being lifelong friends. 

She has always been absolutely beautiful. Gorgeous, long,  shiny, dark chestnut colored hair, on the fluffy side of plump, and one of the nicest, sweetest and most generous people you could ever know.  Cancer has become her worst friend now.  Even in the midst of grueling, painful, heart wrenching treatments, including one interstitial radiation treatment where she was implanted with “seeds” of radiation and actually was TOTALLY RADIOACTIVE for SEVERAL DAYS, during which period when she needed a friend most, NO ONE COULD GO NEAR HER.  I pray for her.  I love her.  And I could never, ever, under any circumstances be as calm and accepting and gracious as she has been these last 35 months of cancer treatment.

I don’t think the type of cancer she has is curable.  Treatable, but not curable.  And every time the doctors aggressively go after it to treat it, it simply moves to a new location in her body.  The cancer has done this for the last 35 months and I have no idea how the treatments have not killed her.  Maybe it’s her attitude.  If that’s the case, I’d most assuredly be dead by now if I were her.

I took her to the beach recently. Well, she drove, cause ya’ll KNOW I can’t drive, but I sponsored the trip. She called me and she was upset and she was crying and she was distraught.  She said, “I NEED the ocean!”  An unexpected financial windfall (thanks, God!) made the trip possible and Paula, me and my two daughters had 4 glorious girls-only days at the beach.  Paula was a lot happier at the end of the trip than she was when we arrived.

 

Ocean City, NJ 2009 048

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I’m Sure My Girls Will Hate Me For This, But…

They will one day get over it, no?  Just getta look at these gorgeous girls.  I am proud of both of them for different reasons, and I am proud to be their mom.  Even when Parker goes over her text message limit and Neville eats all the cell phone minutes and their rooms look like disaster areas and they forget to take their laundry down to the basement AGAIN and there are dishes in the sink and smears on the bathroom mirror and fingerprints on my – oh wait, I was being complimentary, I forgot.  Anyways, these are my beautiful daughters Parker and Neville, and I love them.

I’m quite sure that they are properly mortified that I have told the entire world.

 

 

jettygirls

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I. Am. Laughing. My. Ass. Off.

This may as well be my son:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T1RMuoQnKo&sid=ST2009061203892

See this post:  http://justjazzjewelry.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/time-for-an-upgrade/  for explanation as to why.  Seriously, I don’t need to say anything else.  Seriously.

 

(NON LOCALS:  Arlington, VA is a yuppie, upper middle class, chain store haven about 10 miles from us.)

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Big, Bad Swine Flu is Not So Big and Bad After All.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/06/13/Swine-Flu-Alert-Moves-Highest-Stage.aspx

Not that I ever thought it WAS big and bad.  But the media (both national and international) did such a splendid job of whipping everyone into a frothy, fearful frenzy about how this is a “pandemic”  (it is, in the very basest sense of the word) and how it has the potential to wipe out whole populations (“POTENTIAL” being the operative word here…for that matter, acid rain has the same potential, but no one gets whipped up into a frothy lather about THAT).

Any death is regrettable….I feel for the families who lost a member to the illness.  But thousands of people die every single day from things far worse than this.  Ask me…it’s all a ploy to sell Tamiflu.  Maybe this is part of the “stimulus” package? 

Oy.

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Time for an Upgrade

WANTED…. Owner Manual for a Male, 1997 Model Child

I hope someone out there might be able to help. I need the detailed instruction manual for a 1997 model child.

We are the original owners/parents. For the first ten years, no real complaints. Everything seemed to run smoothly and work great. Then suddenly I would notice little things here and there, like the child’s eyes rolling almost every time I spoke. This was one of the first of many malfunctions. A few of the others are:

Child’s room, along with pretty much any place in the house he spends time in, are complete disaster zones. The upkeep is really taking its toll. Trails of little wrappers, garbage, empty food containers and dirty cups follow him everywhere. There is a odor always lurking from the room that can only be described as a mixture of dirty socks, ass & old pizza.

The personal hygiene of the child has become a daily struggle. Child won’t even think to brush own teeth unless you stand there and oversee the whole process. This problem comes complete with refusal to put clean clothes on, doesn’t mind wearing smelly socks a fourth day.  Subject has also begun to slam doors.

The maintenance costs have also skyrocketed. The “needed” stuff to participate in all the typical daily male activities has gone up more than 500% in a 5 year period. Even with the added tax benefit he brings, I am WAY in the red on this investment.

Recently during a regularly scheduled monitoring session, it was discovered that when child had friends over, they had looked at pornographic material on one of our home computers, quite unsettling.

We’re also having several annoying communication errors. When the child is asked questions, or you try to talk to him, his answers almost always contain just one syllable, spoken in aggravated tone. Unit is also making a “Tssss” sound. This is often in conjunction with the eye rolling, and accompanied by a terribly disdainful vibe.

If someone out there, anybody, anywhere, has the manual for this model child I’d gladly pay anything for it! Must contain the “Troubleshooting, Solutions & Adolescence” section. I’m sure many of you will just tell us to read the “Ass Beatings are a Good Thing” chapter. It probably would help the problem, & we haven’t yet ruled that out. Just want to start with the legal solutions.

*** Although the trade in value for this specific child is nil due to his total lack of work ethic, foul smell and refusal to contribute anything positive to his environment. But I’d be willing to trade for the right product upgrade. Would prefer a sweeter, later (2000 or newer) female model that enjoys snuggling, getting hair braided, shopping, playing dress up and exchanging compliments. Must smell like a rose. Will gladly pay difference. ***

My mom sent me that.  She found it posted on Craigslist.  When I read it, after I picked up my jaw from the floor (I mean WHO the HELL has been peeping into my HOUSE?) I sympathized with the author.  I could have written this.  My son (1997 model) went to sleep one night in October a science nerd, and woke up a gangstah rapper from the ‘hood. 

The day before he entered Gangstahood, he was wearing cargo pants, t-shirts under a button down plaid shirt and Vans.  The day he woke up gangstah, he wore gigantical jeans about 3 sizes too large and a t-shirt that would have fit The Rock.  I could have worn it as a dress and not been indecent.  And now he has to have big, puffy, thick soled gangstah shoes – white only, no colors, thanks – with short socks.  Oh, and no belt, so we are regularly treated to the sight of either the top of his boxes (no more boxer briefs, not gangstah enough…who knew?) or the crack of his ass.

I told him that if I saw the crack of his ass one more time, I was going to buy all of his clothes two sizes too small, and make him walk to school with me holding his hand.  He wears a belt now, but only when I am looking. 

We live in Silver Spring, Maryland….in a peaceful, crunchy granola, tree hugging, Birkenstock kinda neighborhood.  Been here all of his life.  All of his “lyrics” are about The Man tryinta keep a brotha down, having to dodge bullets on his way to school (I wonder if this is before or after he stops at Starbucks?), not having enough food to eat, and being “mizundastood” by everyone.  Sigh. 

I’ve never seen a gangstah rapper whose lyrics are all gramatically correct.  I cannot figure out whether this is a good thing or not. I mean, yay, that he knows the proper grammatical rules, but I don’t see him being a successful rapper if he can spell and properly punctuate.  Not that I want him to be a successful gangstah rapper, mind you, but damn.  He’s so hood, right?

I really need the village to come together and help raise this one….cuz I just might put a foot in his ass.  Or is that a “cap”?

They told me the GIRLS are the hard ones…..

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