Friday, June 29, 2007

"The End of an Era"

Well, I got up at 4AM for the last time this morning. Got into my car and off I drove to meet my car poolers at K Mart parking lot. Same routine, down Rt 2 to Rt 128 and pulled into the N&D parking lot.

I spent most of the morning cleaning out my desk and taking things of personal nature to my car. Everyone saying their goodbyes to me and wishing me well in the future years to come. Very emotional day and I will be very glad to finally leave the parking lot for the last time. I am blogging at work on their time today as I have nothing to do, but must stay to take my car poolers home. I guess I did not plan this very well.

I am excited about retirement and going to see my family in California. My Son and his family will join us from Utah. That should be a fun time at the Family Reunion. We are having it at Folsom Lake. I remember going there often growing up. In fact when I was a senior in High School I cut class with two of my classmates and we spent the day at Folsom Lake. My Dad was an educator at the High School I attended caught me red handed and I got suspended from school for three days. The others had there parents write them notes excusing them from class, but good old Dad wanted to teach his daughter a lesson. It is beautiful there at the lake. I can't wait to see it again.

I just got a message from My Daughter-in-law. She wants me to retire in Utah and visit my Hubby on holidays and every 5th Sunday. I may just consider that option as you could not blast Hubby out of New England. He is a Damn Yankee, you know. I am sick of the cold weather, the black flies and the humidity. Fall is the best time of the year in New England. I could come back for the Fall and stay in Utah. Hmmm! Something to think about.

I just called my sister Betsy at her work to discuss plans on picking me up at the San Francisco Airport and the progress on our Family Reunion. (can you tell I am bored and have nothing to do) We talked and talked and then she said "Joanne, I know that you don't have a job anymore, but I do, goodbye".

Well it is almost time to pick up my belongings and head out the door for home. My car poolers await me for my last ride home from the Good Old N&D. See ya later everyone. It has been great knowing all of you and working with all of you, but like they say, all good things must come to an end and the end has finally come. Bye Bye!!!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Countdown- 3 more Days"

Well, the count down begins for my final departure as a full time employee at the good old N&D. Friday, June 29th 2007 is my last day of employment. Bitter-sweet emotions fill my head at this time. The decision has been made and there is no turning back. Hmmmm! What is next?

Yesterday, I had a dentist appointment in the early morning (yuk) and on the way back to work, I stopped in to see about a job opportunity that was knocking at my door. This is an Insurance Agency in a small community near home. Seems nice the people were great to talk to. First, I met the Big Guy, Mr. Murphy. Jovial and very friendly. Seem ok so far! Then I met Miss Jones the young HR Manager with her three piece suit and high heels with matching Coach bag. The interview begins. Now mind you, I have conducted countless interviews in my career and this one , I could tell was going to be a nightmare. First came the personality test. I guess I passed that with flying colors, stupid as it was. Then the questions. "Joanne, What is your greatest accomplishment"? (to make it through this interview, I thought) "Joanne what motivates you"? (God, I always hated that question) "Joanne, Where do you want to be in 5 years?" ( this one really got me. RETIRED! Hello??? Joanne. What are you doing here?)

Well, I said my goodbyes and graciously thanked everyone for their time and exited the building, went back to my car and just pondered and reviewed what had just taken place. Joanne, (I talk to myself at times when I am confused about things) what the heck are you thinking? You are retiring! Go home and review your options again. So I did just that. I came home, fixed myself a glass of the red stuff (not cool-aid) and reviewed my options. After carefully reviewing all areas of my Wheel of Life,(took a course in Personal Development) and I determined that this retirement thing that I am embracing is really going to work out for me. I don't have to get another job if I don't want to. I can stay home, join the local college's health facility and relax. What a great feeling and I am doing just that. I leave for California in July to spend time with the family and old friends, return to work for a few months then... RETIREMENT! Yeepie!

I do plan on doing something with my time, but it won't be in Insurance. Perhaps a career change is in order. I know, I'll hang a shingle out and counsel Women whose hearts have been broken. I am a good listener and have a basic understanding in relationships that do not work out. My friend came over to my home, sat down in our large recliner and began to shared her sad experience with me. I listened to her sad story on how she was just dumped by her boyfriend with complete empathy. Then I said, with much sincerity and compassion in my heart, "He's a Jerk, dump Him." She then looked at me with total disbelief and said, "But I Cried a River". I then said, "Build a bridge and get over it". I don't think that was the response she was looking for and perhaps I should re-think my career goals in the field of relationships and romance.

Oh well, whatever I decide to do with my time I am sure it will be productive and fun. Maybe I will write a book. I sure do have alot of material to write about. It has been an interesting 59 years here on earth and I sure hope to have a lot more years to follow. Goodbye N&D, Route 2, Route 128, car poolers. It's been a great ride, but I'm not going to miss you.(except my car pool buddies, of course)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"Lobstah and the Brown Paper Bag, Come on Down"

Every Fathers Day our Son drives his Harley Davidson into the yard with a brown paper bag strapped behind him. The brown paper bag is very large and partially wet. Our Son slings his leg over the seat, takes off his helmet and unwraps the brown paper bag which is secured to the bike. He proudly marches up the walk with the brown paper bag under his arm pit and hands his traditional Fathers Day gift to his Dad. You guessed it. A hugh lobstah weighing in at approximately 10 lbs. Our Son always picks the largest Lobstah he can find as he knows that is his Fathers favorite thing in the world to eat. He salivates when he sees his Son on Fathers Day because he knows what he will be eating that day. He never shares the Lobstah with his better half, either. He boils up the water, puts that poor Lobstah head first in boiling water and cooks it until done to perfection. He then sits down with drawn butter on the side, a non alcoholic beer, a smile on his face, and he is in his glory feasting on the poor old Lobstah.

It just does not seem right that the 10 pound Lobstah should die of such a horrible death. He is approximately 75 years old and in a matter of seconds he is dead. It usually takes 5-7 years for a Lobstah to reach 1 pound. This old Lobstah was around when the Yo-Yo was introduced, the First Class Stamp was 2 cents, Popeye made his debut, Herbert Hoover was President, Stock Market Crash/Great Depression begins, Dick Clark was born, the NY Yankees put numbers on the back of uniforms and Penicillin was first used to fight infections. Just doesn't seem right.

Do you think I am just a little jealous that I am not offered just a little taste of the Lobstah? Well, I am jealous. It is my favorite thing to eat too. All I get for Mothers Day is a hanging plant that I seem to kill in a matter of days. Not that I am not appreciative of the plant but, just once, would I like to see that Harley Davidson come down our driveway on Mothers Day with the same brown paper bag affixed to the back of the bike. Maybe next year?

Monday, June 25, 2007

"Green, Green, Grass of Home"

My Hubby felt sorry for me Saturday, when I dragged out the old lawn mower. I am the one in the family that does all of the yard work. Always have and always will. Don't feel sorry for me as I love it and it is my choice to do so. However, there are times that mowing the lawn, with this antique lawn mower is not the most pleasurable experience in the world. Especially, if you have had too many birthdays and have had too many aches and pains lately. I bet you that this relic is all of 15 years old. Hubby bought it at a yard sale so the age is really a mystery. It could very well be 20 or 25 years old. Every year when I drag it out of our storage shed it starts right up. No priming or hard to start pulls, just purrs like a kitten. It never fails me. It is not a self propelled one though, and through the years it is really hard to push.(like I said, too many birthdays) Last year I really thought it was the end of the mower. I backed up my car and ran over it. The wheels flattened out like a pancake and I thought for sure it was time to take it to lawn mower heaven. I gave it to a friend of mine that was to take it to the dump. I said my farewells and kissed it goodbye as I watched it go down the driveway. The next day, my friend returned with the lawn mower. He said he fixed the wheels and it started right up. I just can't seem to get rid of that old thing. I thought for sure this was the year I was getting my new lawn mower.

Hubby came home with a surprise for me in the back of his truck. It was a beautiful new green lawn mower with all of the bells and whistles you could imagine. It is self propelled, has a bag catcher, it mulches and does just about everything a real lawn mower should do. Hubby started it right up and away he went for a dry run. Ouch!!! I heard this loud, horrible noise. Hubby ran over something and the mower stopped. Now, Hubby never reads the instruction manual that comes with our new purchases. He is of the mind set that he can figure it out. Apparently, there is a kill switch somewhere on that machine that he can't find to start up the machine. I said, "read the instruction manual, Dear". "Not to worry, I will figure it out".

Well, I had things to get down that day and could not wait for Dear Old Hubby to figure it out. Soooo! I started up old faithful and finished my lawn like I had done for the past 15 years. Although I know that Hubby will figure it out eventually, and I mowed my lawn with the old fella for the last time, it was kinda sad to finally say goodbye to an old friend.

Ya know, I think I will keep the old mower and make it a lawn ornament. Maybe place a pot of flowers on its carb, or something. I think it has earned a place on the green, green grass of home.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

"Traveling Down Life's Highway"

On December 28, 2001, Hubby loaded up his horse trailer and headed for Ohio to pick up two horses that he just purchased. While traveling on interstate 80 in Pennsylvania, Hubby was involved in a 56 car pileup. A white out occurred unexpectedly and all of a sudden, Hubby saw all of these cars in front of him sprawled all over the road. He attempted to avoid the cars but was unable to pass safely. He came to a halt and then the cars in back of him just kept hitting him and each other. A large Mac Truck carrying gasoline exploded and caught our trailer and other vehicles on fire. 8 people, including a 2 month old baby died as a result of this horrible accident. Thankfully, Hubby only had bumps and bruises as a result of the accident.

For the past 6 years we have been in litigation due to this accident. 8 law suits were filed against us. Several trips to Pennsylvania for depositions and many sleepless nights thinking we would lose our home and everything we have worked so hard for. It has been a nightmare for us to endure, as I am sure it has been for the victims families.

Yesterday, while traveling home from work, my cell phone rang. It was our Attorney representing us in the law suits. " Hi Joanne, this is Chuck. I have some good news for You and Frank. The cases against you have been settled. I have obtained full releases and it is finally over." I wanted to cry with happiness. Such a burden has been lifted from our shoulders. It is finally over. What a great feeling.

Many good things have happened during this past year that have been wonderful and life changing. The fact that the law suits have been settled is such a relief. Taking early retirement. Meeting new and old friends. And the best thing of all, My Son Darrell, who has put joy back in my heart.

Traveling down life's highway can be dangerous and hurtful if you don't know how to avoid the road bumps.I have hit some of them head on in my life time, but always seem to bounce back and continue on with my journey where ever it is taking me.

Well, this blog certainly was serious in nature, wasn't it! Sometimes you just gotta express yourself, I guess!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

" Pure and Natural"

Today I had a hair appointment after work,(my Grand Child, Kelsi Rae, thought I should color my hair and get rid of the grey. Soooooooo! I am now a bleached blonde hussy that will have a root problem in about a month. If you believe that, you don't know my Hubby. Mr. Ivory Soap, Pure and Natural, no perfume allowed, kinda of a guy. His moto is "If God wanted you to have a hole in your ear, He would have put one there".

25 Years ago, when Hubby and I met, I had a very nice soft fragrance Perfume that I loved. I would place it behind my ear, ever so gently, and off to work I would go, thinking I would leave the scent of intrigue and romance in the house when he returned from work. I am afraid, just the opposite happened. As our relationship became more comfortable( as all new relationships eventually do) he told me that he did not want me to "stink". Hello? stink? I was trying to be, how should I say, somewhat appealing to him, and he said I "stink. He even threw my lovely fragrance out of the window on the Mass Pike one night to make his point.

Ok, I realize that compromising is a plus in a new relationship and I did just that. No more stinky perfume for me. Just Ivory Soap and Pure and Natural just to please my Man. So I adjusted to what would be a non stinky kind of relationship.

25 Years later....... Hubby just came in for dinner with Horse Manure on his boots. Hello????? You smell very stinky, Dear... "Yes, Dear, but it is Pure and natural".

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I have a new friend. Her name is Chris. She is one of two, that reads my Blog. She makes constructive suggestion on improvements for my blog and I like and thank her for that. Debbie,(daughter-in-law) so kind in her comments, is the other one that reads my Blog. My friends and family think that I have lost my marbles with this Blog thing. But, I like it, and am having a good time expressing may thoughts and feelings....sooo...I shall continue.

Today, we had our annual Company Outing. I was always on the committee, but since I am , soon to be a retiree, I just observed. It was a great time and the meal was great. Clams, chowder, steamers, salmon , steak, etc. So many games and events. Great fun! I will always remember the good times I have shared with my fellow employees and will never forget my many years with this fine company that I have been with for so many years. Ok, I guess enough of being sentimental.

Ok, Chris, can't wait to see what your plate looks like!

Monday, June 18, 2007

"Car Pooling in the Fast Lane"

Monday mornings are always a drag, especially when you have to get up at 4am in the morning in an effort to meet the car pool. I am an early riser and am usually the first one to arrive at our designated car pool location. One CPer is always late and that drives me nuts. I told her, too. We just laugh about how she is always late. After I get my traditional large Dunkin Donut Black Coffee I patiently await my car pool buddies. I must admit, I really miss the "I Man". I really enjoyed his early morning talk show with all of the famous guests and news personalities. If he only kept his mouth shut about the women's basketball players I would still be listening. He gave me a jump start to the day. (Dang you, I-Man.)
Once all aboard, we start our long journey (appr. 1 hour) down Rt 2 east to Rt 128 south to exit 18 to the good old Norfolk and Dedham. Once we pull into the parking lot, we all pile out of the car and the day begins.

Settling Insurance Claims has been my career for the past 38 yrs. I can tell you it has been a good career, but at times I questioned myself why I did not become a Nurse. With my retirement approaching in two more weeks, I find myself slowing down somewhat,and pondering the fact that shortly I will not have to be getting up so early, saving mega bucks on Dunkin Donut Coffee (that will be $1.95 and you have a nice day), listening to rude and obnoxious insureds that are not happy that I will not pay their claim because they burned their house down, and doing the car pool thing.

Life in the fast lane is slowly becoming life in the breakdown lane. Although I am nervous and anxious about retiring, I am also very excited what the next chapter of my life will bring. Got to go now, my car pool awaits me.

Friday, June 15, 2007

"Hang in there"

A good friend of mine who is going through a tough time in her life sent this to me. I wanted to share it with you as I felt it was very beautiful. It goes like this.

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart broken probably more that once and it's harder every time. You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. You'll fight with your best friend. You'll blame a new love for things an old one did. You'll cry because time is passing too fast, and you'll eventually lose someone you love. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you've never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back. Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.

I plan on placing this on my refrigerator next to my magnet collection (places I have visited) so I will remember to think of only the happy memories I have and not the bad ones.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

"Three Part Harmony"

I recently returned from visiting my Son and his family in Utah. While sitting in the kitchen, watching his wife make cookies, I heard my Grand Daughter playing the piano. She is twelve years old and really plays very well. I stood behind her and watched her play, remembering the old days when my two sisters and I would sing and my older sister Karen would play the piano. Oh yes, we sure had some memorable times around that old piano. Usually, we would start off with our traditional song, Ave Maria. Three part harmony was what we would try to achieve. We started off in perfect pitch. Ah- Vay- Ma- Reeya.....etc. I would be the page turner sitting on the bench with Karen. By the time we reached the high pitched notes, I would sing a different tune and change octaves. Betsy would get really annoyed at me, and say, "Joanne, you are singing my part". We would then start over and attempt to get it right. But that did not happen, as I would always get to that spot in the song and switch to Betsy's part. We then would attempt to start again and we would start to laugh so hard that we could not finish the song. Ah- Vaaaaay ha, ha ha ,laugh ,laugh, ha ha... Such a riot to watch. My Father had a beautiful voice. He would often join in with our sing-a-longs. Mom would join as well, but her voice was terrible so some times we did not invite her. I think she was insulted.. That became a running joke in our family about Mom and her singing voice.
We are all grown up now, with families of our own. I live 3000 miles away, but get together with the family when possible. We still gather around the old piano at Karen,s house and attempt to finish, Ave Maria, without laughing. To this day, Betsy still says to me, "Joanne, you are singing my part".

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

It is that time of the year!!!!

Every April for the past 15 years My Hubby starts getting all excited about the upcoming Horse pulling season. The phone starts to ring off the hook. All of his horse pulling buddies exchange gossip about who got what horse at the Topeka Horse Auction, how much they paid for the horse, etc. I have always said that there should be an inoculation shot administered to all of the horse pullers around April because there is nothing that gets done around our house from April tell late October. Every weekend we pack up the horses in our horse trailer and go to a pull at one of the New England fairs. Usually a drive that is over two hours away. WE never go on a real vacation because, God forbid, we miss one of the pulls. My Sister and her Husband invited us to go on an all expense paid Cruise to Mexico in October. I am bunking alone, as my Hubby will be at the Roundup. (last pull of the season). Can you believe that one! Who wouldn't want to go on a cruise?
Last year I attended a wedding, alone as always, and a fellow horse puller friend of ours asked where I was. My Hubby relied, "she is at a wedding". Our friend replied, "My Wife is also at a wedding". My Hubby replied, "who got married"? Our friend replied, "My Daughter". Now do you get my drift?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Stormy Weather

We have a new dog. Her name is "Stormy". She is a lovely little dog and so smart. Very well behaved, comes when she is called and just a joy to have as a new addition to our home. She is a registered Blue Healer and we got her for free. Well, Stormy is a great dog, but........... Stormy has some issues. First she eat my Hubbys teeth. That cost us $1,200.00 to replace. Hubby was gumming it for two weeks before he got his new choppers. Then last night, I wanted to make a beautiful dinner for my Hubby as he has been a little down lately. So I made a great salad, he marinated the steaks and I went outside to check on my veggies on the grill. When I came back into the kitchen. I saw a plate with a small amount of marinade left on the plate. No Steaks???? I called out to my Hubby, "Where did you put the steaks"? "On the kitchen counter"! Ooops! Stormy ate our steaks. No evidence of any steaks anywhere. My Hubby abruptly walked to the house, and I knew Stormy was in trouble. My Hubby scolded her and sent her to Time Out. My Hubby said, "that dog is going, she ate my teeth and I had to wait two weeks to eat my steak and now she ate my steak. She is gone". I could not contain my laughter and got in my car and drove to the store to purchase two new steaks that cost my $13.00. Now, lets see. To replace the choppers, $1,200.00, vet bills $160.00, have her spayed another $250.00. two steaks $13.00 for a grand total of $1,623.00 Not bad for getting Stormy for free. Several hours later... Hubby and Stormy have kissed and made up and Stormy promised Hubby she would be good little doggie for ever and ever. We shall see.......

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

"My Bob"

I want you all to meet "BOB". He is my favorite. So much fun and what a character. I don't think he thinks he is a horse. If he could, I think he would come into our home, sit down and have dinner with us. We have a Jack Russell by the name of "Charlie". Bob and charlie are buddies. They play ball together in the paddock. It is a riot to watch. Charlie pushes the ball and Bob kicks it back to him. I should video the ordeal and send it to Most Funniest Videos. I might win a bale of hay!

Monday, June 4, 2007

trunks up

I have a hobby in collecting Elephants with their trunks up. I am told that they are a symbol of good luck. I started collecting Elephants when my Dad became ill 10 yrs ago. I have all kinds and I love everyone of them. My good friend bought me one to get me through the hard times. It is silver and small. I have it on my desk and I look at it constantly and rub its trunk for good luck. It reminds me to be happy and not sad. It reminds me of the good times and not the bad times. It reminds me of going back in time and remembering the good old days, knowing you can never back up. It reminds me to think in the positive not the negative and to always be kind and understanding to others in times of hardship and misunderstandings. I love my Elephants, they are memories for me to enjoy as I grow old. My Mom once told me, "Memories are like a bank account that you draw on when you get old". I hope to have many more Elephants and many more happy memories to draw on in my older years to come.