In search of a career while everyone around me is retiring (and I am just so happy for them)

I’ve been told that writing a paragraph once a year does not constitute official blogging. I never read the bloggarian rule book. (It’s probably written in some blog.) As a kid, I hated writing in my bdiary, even a paragraph every other year. So I’d say I’ve made some progress.

Now what to write about? Seems like writing a blog about my hatred of writing blogs just won’t cut it. How about this? I’m 812 years old and I still haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up. Oh, I’ve dabbled. Depending on the reader’s perspective, I’m either extremely diverse or very, very confused. So how about if I make it my New Year’s resolution to select a career? Nah, too much stress. However, I will fill you in on my path so far.

I “studied” theater arts, fine arts and media communications in college. My goals weren’t too lofty. Either I’d be a world renowned stage and screen star or the next Van Gogh (with ears in tact. Although I always tend to lose just one earring, so…). I was open to either. To placate my parents, I earned a master’s degree in education of the gifted/talented. (I liked possessing that diploma. People automatically assumed I was gifted/talented. Ha!.) The only problem was that I only liked nice, easy, “Stepford” kids. I asked for a class made up of just that, but the school districts were not all that accommodating. So, I worked for printer Bob. At least I worked for printer Bob until he was arrested for making counterfeit 20s. No, I didn’t know he was doing that. I obliviously sat there creating logos for bagel shops. By the way, did you know that you need to apply to attend specific prisons? I didn’t know that either. Do you have to write essays, too? Ugh! (For the record, if the situation arises, choose the prison in Danbury. Supposedly very posh.) Printer Bob was my 2nd employer that took time off for a prison sentence. Red Roost Guy was a tax evasion enthusiast. I wonder if it’s me? But I digress…

Temporarily unemployed, although, and after the fact, Bob did explain how to make the 20s, I explored a bunch of other options. Because this was the stone age, I needed to learn to type a bazillion words per minute. Not happening. (It took me 3 hrs just to get to this point in my blog.) I was the world’s worst waitress. Hungry people are really irritable. I dabbled in cocktail waitressing (I liked the uniform), but thirsty people are really irritable – well, until they drink a lot. Then they don’t object when I make up my own incongruously unique concoctions- always topped with a cherry. I like cherries. They’re a very happy fruit.

After a stint as the world’s worst travel agent (I see a trend here.), I landed an art job at a now major party goods company. (Luckily, I began working there before the guy that I accidentally sent to Dallas returned to NY. Dallas…Dulles. Seriously, they sound way too similar.) That was right up my alley. “Creative people” get away with so much. People just shake their heads and do that eye roll thing, but they leave you alone.

I left the very day they brought in the computers. Figures. My graphic design experience ended with a slide rule and lettraset. In hindsight, it seemed like a good idea to leave when I did. It was probably better to deliver my first child in a hospital.

Now regarding childbirth, Rich and I were so damn prepared. We took a ridiculous “earth mother/tree hugger” class which insisted that the fathers help the mothers get used to pain. Sounds a little s & m to me. The guys were supposed to practically puncture the soon-to-be mom’s Achilles tendon until the pain was “accepted.” They were out of their friggen minds. Rich asked if he could run me over a few times instead. It would save time. He’s so practical.(Sorry about that. After all these years, I still had to vent.) Now back to careerish endeavors…

Is this too long for a blog? Never mind, I’m getting into it. You can stop reading anytime. (But I WILL hunt you down.)

We’ll zoom ahead to 3 sons later. (Yeah, I read the book on how to have a girl. But I love Kevin anyway.) I would have continued to have kids if it meant that I didn’t have to still tackle the great career debacle. But my body did strange things after kid 2, and my mind did weird things after kid 3. The only thing left was my soul, and I wasn’t messing with that.

Eventually, I succumbed to the need to pay bills and offered myself over as a substitute teacher. AAAAUUURGH!!!! In case you missed that, AAAUUURGH! In order to sedate the masses, I had to employ more bribes than any corrupt politician in all the third world countries combined. I even learned magic tricks. Lots and lots of magic tricks. I fed, entertained, gave out trophies and assorted gifts (thank you, Oriental Trading), analyzed handwriting, sketched cartoons, attempted hypnosis…you name it. I did this for 9 long years. Financially, I may have broken even – I’m not sure. I then landed a job as a G/T teacher. It would have been fine had my principal not been certifiably insane. (My son’s a lawyer so I know not to name names. See. His education paid off.) I was the happiest happy person when the district decided to shut down the department. Yahhhhhooooooeee! I was free! Now what? At least I was able to stop with the therapy and sedatives.

These days, I’m working part time for my school district in a nice stress free, extremely low paying position, trying to write and illustrate picture books (Come on…Doesn’t somebody know somebody???), studying oil painting, cursing during my attempts at water color painting, sketching and laughing with like minded pencil artists, auditioning for roles in NYC, cursing when I can’t remember any of my lines during auditions for roles in NYC, and “blending in” as an extra in TV shows and movies. So, my life hasn’t changed all that much! I remain either diverse or confused.

Now these acting gigs aren’t nearly as glamorous as they sound. Yeah, it’s cool to see how they make pretend rain, but… Through the process, I’ve learned a few things:

  1. Don’t drink the props. The crew had to make up a whole new batch of “blood.”
  2. Still don’t drink the props. (“You actually drank that??? People stared at me for quite a while. I think they were afraid I’d grow a new limb or something.)
  3. When it’s your turn to eat, RUN! It’s each man for himself. Extras eat the leftover scrapings after the actors, producers, directors, crew, microphone guy, lady with the safety pins, the neighborhood crossing guard, and the cashier at Duane Reed have had their fill.
  4. Don’t cut ahead of the line before the crew has finished. They have knives up there.

Hmmmm…everything on that list pertains to food or drink. This may explain my shrinking pants. Nah…It’s the hot water coupled with the faulty dryer, humidity, Chinese sizing and an insidious ISIS plot.

As a side job, I’ve been tasting and smelling things for money. I’m a “lady of the lab ,” as it were.

Did I write enough yet?

Okay, so this is my blog. Ta da.

I think my blog topic (is that a thing? A blopic?) will be “In search of a career while everyone around me is retiring (those bastards).” I’ll keep anyone who’s interested up to date on my “extra” assignments and the colorful people with which I spend the 12 hour at minimum wage, unless I get hit with water and then I get an extra 14 bucks, day. Plus, I’ll update you as to how new products smell and the side effects of ingesting them, as well as new ways to survive substitute teaching. As a special bonus, you lucky reader, I’ll fill you in on my soon to be medicated because she’s a lunatic, yet I love her anyway, dog. I bet you’re frothing at the mouth, as is my soon to be medicated dog, with anticipation.

What do I do now? Just stop writing? Seems abrupt but

Holiday Newsletter 2015

Somehow it’s already December 2015
Greetings and Salutations! I never know how to begin these things. The first paragraph is always the most difficult. It sets the tone. Oy, the pressure! I’ll just start with paragraph two.
I suspect that this year was missing a few months here and there. It went far too quickly. Something’s up. Or maybe I slept through it. We pretty much accomplished nothing. Nadda. Zilch. Rich agrees. I would like a do-over. This is going to be one very boring letter.
Welp, the big news is that Jason and Amy are engaged! (I don’t recall giving him permission to grow up.) It was all very romantic – Kauai sunset on the beach and everything. We love Amy and her family and we’re thrilled! Of course, this means that I have only about six months or so to lose thirty pounds. (Somewhat inconsiderate of them. Maybe they’ll plan a Hawaiian theme so I can just wear a moo-moo.)
Jason (esq.!) completed a clerkship with the federal District Court for the Southern District of NY and is now employed by NYC. Next year he’ll be clerking for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. He and Amy live in Long Island City and have been traveling the continent attending wedding after wedding. (They were even invited to a few of them.)
(Dr.!) Scott graduated, passed his boards, lives in Philadelphia, and is a physical therapist in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He’s officially a real person. To commemorate his personhood, he and fellow Temple grads celebrated in the Dominican Republic. He just loves that every time I speak with him, I ask him to diagnose various ailments. (I paid for it, right?) So if anything ever even remotely bothers you, a neighbor, or even the cashier at Walmart, please contact him ASAP. It will make him feel important. (OK, Scott? Scott…?)
Kevin is now a junior at Umass, Amherst, Commonwealth Honors College (what a mouthful) and (this week) he plans to become a bio-medical engineer. Thanks to his girlfriend, Marianne, and her kind and generous family, he vacationed in Antigua and Disney World. Over the summer, he interned with a pediatric medical facility and he has since moved off campus with his buddies. (It’s cute that he thinks he’s a grown-up, too. I would really like to spy on him, but my suit of invisibility is still a work in progress.) Kevin is joining Birthright on a trip to Israel later this month!
Jeff and I (and sometimes respective family members) have been collecting frequent flier points by making repeated trips to Boynton Beach. In fact, I believe I’m singularly responsible for keeping Jet Blue in business. My parents think that I’m there to visit them, but, in fact, I’m there for the Flakowitz breakfasts – specifically the early morning specials. The entire deli could serve as an interesting sociological experiment. The Flakophiles are all ex-New Yorkers who instinctively arrive at the establishment in one of two shifts (early-8am, very- very late-9am – There is no “right on time” shift – sort of like the Jewish holidays). Although the place went through the trouble of printing menus, no-one uses them. Patrons (above mentioned Flakophiles) MUST order the morning special, which consists of oatmeal and a scrambled egg with a bagel. Here’s where the regulars are separated from the newbies. The bagel has to be placed in a bag (untoasted) “to go” and the diner is obligated to throw in any food item that remains on the table after the meal is consumed (ex: cream cheese-screw lactose intolerance, a guest or neighbor may want it-, raisins, complimentary sponge cake squares… leave the salt and pepper shakers. We’re not animals.) Rich ONCE made the mistake of eating his bagel right there in the booth – in front of all the Flakovians. A hush filled the room. He WON’T be making that mistake again. Another interesting aspect of this Flako-culture is that everyone in everybooth knows everyone in all the other booths. They chat, “schmooze, kibbitz,” and tease the wait-staff. (Speaking of wait-staff, when you visit – and you will- ask for Maria. She gives you extra oatmeal and throws in additional “to go” bagels. However, Matt is better at snatching the elusive bottle of sugar-free maple(less) syrup. It’s a toss up. Go with your gut.) These Flakofriends only communicate within the confines of the restaurant. If anyone actually spotted another outside of this environment, I’m not really sure what would happen. I’d rather not go there.
Hmmm. I made the error of reading my last paragraph. I might need an intervention.
Back to the family…Daisy is still the weirdest canine on earth. We actually paid for a DNA test to verify that she’s 100% dog. (It wasn’t totally conclusive.) Then we took her to a dog psychologist. I used to make fun of people like me! That was a waste, but at least we found out she’s not crazy. Just “spirited.” (Duh!) Daisy still enjoys pulling inserts out of shoes (she creates nice, neat piles of her contraband) and de-rolling previously rolled socks. Oh, well. She’s lucky she’s a cute whatever she is. Daisy loves playing with Jason and Amy’s dog, Penny (her niece?), and the Becker’s dog, Gramm. I’m not sure Penny and Gramm are as thrilled, but they’re good sports.
Rich can still be heard cursing out the NY Giants. No matter where you live, I’m certain you can hear him. He’s annoyed when they continually screw up in the fourth quarter and he’s annoyed when they win because “They didn’t deserve it!” But it seems to make him happy – he must enjoy the adrenaline rush. He’s still IBMing and futzing around with computers.
I’ve been really getting into oil painting and I’m trying to enjoy water color – but ugh. (Been stalking my teacher – her “order of protection” notes will one day be collector’s items), and I’ve participated in a few exhibits. Sometimes complete strangers buy something! How about that! (Of course, I’m so grateful that I try to give them back their money – but still!) I dabbled with mosaics, but I wasn’t really into the bleeding part. My prismacolor pencil group finally came up with a name – “8 of Arts” (not to be confused with 8 Old Farts – that’s a totally different group) and our first show went well. I’m also a member of an intimidatingly talented picture book critique group. It keeps me very humble. Besides “hanging out” with my birthday bunch and survey sisters group (we taste and smell things for money), I continue to work part-time with friends and coworkers for the Lakeland School District.
See! I told you it was a ho-hum year. But you made it through the letter (even though I know you skipped some parts). I’ll try to be more interesting in 2016. Thank you for your time and tenacity.
We hope your year was full of love and laughter and we wish you a Happy Chanukah, a Merry Christmas and a tremendously Joyful New Year!
With love,
Nancy, Rich, Jason, Scott, Kevin, and Daisy (whatever she might be)