Are work friends real friends?

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There’s no such thing as just work friends.  I have always thought this.  And I believe it even more now.

Recently, I started a new job.  Truly though it isn’t really a new job.  It is the job I had before I left for Florida.  I was (after a long wait and an even longer period of being without a job) finally welcomed back home to the hospital where I believe I truly belong.

I have worked here on two separate occasions before.  Each time after I left, I missed it.  I missed it very much.  I didn’t miss the actual building, per se.  I missed feeling like I belonged someplace.  A place that I have come to realize I really do truly belong.  I missed the people.  I missed feeling familiar in a situation, in a setting.  I missed walking through hallways and seeing many faces I knew.  I also missed the friendships.

My marriage blew up one summer while I was an employee here.  I tried and succeeded to not tell any of my family and certain friends the details.  I felt as though they were just too close to the situation.  During this time, I leaned on my coworkers.  I was a Patient Transporter then.  We were a very close group.  They kept me sane, they kept me as happy as I could be.  They were there to listen, and they were also there to take my mind off my troubles.  It was then that I realized I just wasn’t protecting my outside “people,” these were the people I wanted to confide in.  They were the ones I turned to for help, even if I didn’t ask for it in so many words.

There are people here who are coworkers.  These are the people I recognize in the cafeteria.  The ones we laugh together with on the Employee Shuttle.  The people we gripe to each other about the odd choices in the cafeteria.  But, the immediate people I work close to, for hours every day – they are not just coworkers.   They are friends.  I spend more time with them than with my family (Jeff and my cats, not to mention my kids).  These are the people I share silly little inside jokes with.  The people with the faces that make you smile during your shift when you’d really rather be home.  Or anywhere else.  Having the friends I have here almost makes coming to work not really a job.  For that, I am beyond thankful.

This is my third go-round here, as they say.  It’s going to be my last.  I will never leave again.  It took me a while to get back where I belong, and now that I’m here I won’t be leaving.  I realize what I have.  The grass is not greener on the other side.  It’s plenty green right where I am right now.

Is there really anyone out there like me?

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I don’t think I’m really all that unique.  Other than the fact that I am fifty-six years old with seven cats and I’m also a pro wrestling fan, I think I’m fairly regular.  I love my friends and family, and in general I am a very happy person.  I love being home, tinkering around the place and watching the classics on television – and I mean MY kind of classics, Maury Povich being high on my list.  I love to cook when I have time, and I love to thrift store shop.  I am a bargain hunter.  I like to go on the internet, and I try to find tips to keep myself looking halfway decent.  I really enjoy reading blogs about the things I like.  And even if the authors of these blogs claim to not be “all together” – why do they seem so much more “with it” than me?

Lifestyle blogs are great.  This one I’m writing is very real.  It is scattered, with topics all over the place.  That’s kind of like my life.  I’m organized and on top of things one minute, and the next minute something peeks my interest, and I’m off in an entirely different direction.  One of my sons had Attention Deficit Disorder.  It was harder to get him diagnosed because he had it without the hyperactivity part.  I think I may have part of this as well.  I am not hyper.  I am laid back.  I like nothing better than sitting around, lounging – watching television, playing with my cats.  Taking it easy.  So while my mind may be in all different directions, my body slows down as soon as it feels the need to.

I am not entirely sure what has been wrong with me.  I have not felt right since last Thanksgiving.  I have felt off, not good.  Not sick enough to stay home and in bed, but not good enough to be perky and active like I would like to be.  I don’t know if I don’t want to admit it or not, but maybe feeling “off” is my new normal.  And it’s a part of aging?  I don’t know.

Eh, all I want to see if there’s another scatter-brained cat loving wrestling fan out there, or a reasonable facsimile – if you find her, send her my way.  We need to bond!

Does it cost anything to be nice?

Let me start off by saying I like people.  I really do.  I find people of all ages interesting, as I believe everyone has a story to tell.  I try to be pleasant and kind, which has helped me a great deal as most of the jobs I have had in my life have involved dealing with the public.

Because I generally like people, I find it hard to understand why people can’t seem to be nice to one another.  What effort does it really take to use a kind word and a nice tone?  Is it really easier to behave however you feel at the moment?  The saying is true, that you do get more with sugar than with vinegar.  Why don’t people get this?

The job I currently have is being a Switchboard Operator.  I work in a hospital.  We are responsible for all incoming calls to the facility, and we act as an answering service for many local physician’s offices.  I understand that dealing with your loved ones being sick or unwell is not easy, and can cause a lot of stress.  Why do some people rise to the occasion and behave decently?  They behave properly and they speak appropriately.  And the next call that comes in – you can be bombarded and verbally assaulted by a caller who (probably) doesn’t like having to deal with a hospital or having anything to do with us. Sickness brings out vulnerabilities in people.  I try very hard to be understanding.  I really do.  I lost both of my parents in hospital settings, and I never, ever resulted to being a rude and inappropriate jerk.

Most of the callers I speak to (and there are hundreds each day, at the least) are kind, polite and easy to talk to.  They say please and they say thank you.  This is the way human beings are supposed to treat each other.  When I get a caller who is stressed, rude, nasty and insulting (the language isn’t pretty) I do my best to ignore it, and show them – if they can’t be decent, at least I can be professional.  I also have tried “killing them with kindness,” which I guess is a bad thing to say in a hospital setting.  Many times it has turned them around – as if giving them a jump start kind-of shock showed them how they were speaking – and then they shaped up, so to speak.

When I’m out in public, I see things that I like.  And things that I don’t like.  I don’t think there is any reason to be rude to a cashier or worker who is simply doing their job.  I’m smart enough to realize that a young cashier does not set the prices for an item, nor does he or she make policies for the store where they work.  I enjoy seeing customers talking to one another while waiting in line, passing the time.  Just being nice.  And polite.  Why don’t more people act this way?  Last year I bought more things at a department store than I could really carry.  A young girl saw me struggling and helped me with all my stuff to get on the cashier’s line.  We stood there, talking about the holidays, prices, plans, etc.  When it was my turn, the girl turned to me and said “happy holidays.”  I then realized she didn’t have anything she was buying.  She simply stood there, chatting with me.  Smiling and laughing.  Just to be nice and to be pleasant.  This is how we should all treat each other.  Nicely.

I’ll continue being my nice self.  It’s not that I’m always happy go lucky, because I’m not.  I get in moods, I have things going on in my life that could cause me to act wrong.  But I won’t.  Because that’s not who I am.  More people should live by the “treat (and act) towards others like you’d want to be treated.”  It’s a good rule to live by.

Money. Saving. Dave Ramsey?

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I need more money.  I need to save more money.  And because of this, I read.  A lot.  All over the internet, Facebook and Pinterest.  I have read many different tips.  So many people refer to Dave Ramsey.  He makes many good points, as do many other writers.  I am not criticizing nor endorsing, but lately I have been scratching my head with the tips on how to save and how to get ahead.

The first one that made me smile is to amass a $1,000 Emergency Fund.  Really?  Wow.  It is hard enough to pay our bills day to day.  Tell me, please – how am I going to get this in place?  They tell you to have this, yet don’t explain to you how to do it when you’re living day to day, paycheck to paycheck.

Pay all your debts – well, yes.  That’s what I’m heading towards, hoping to do.  Saying this in articles describing your financial life – well, to me it’s almost insulting.  Of course we all want and need to pay our debts!

It’s good to have a 3-6 Month LONG RANGE Emergency Fund – well, hell yes that’s a good thing to have.  But this one goes along the road of $1,000 excess, yada yada yada…If you’re just barely skating paying your regular bills, how in the world can you get more?  No one ever explains this.  No one!

You’re told to invest 15% – again, how is this possible?  How do you do it if your daily expenses are barely getting met?  I would do this if SOMEONE TOLD ME HOW IT CAN BE DONE.  How?

Give to Charities – I barely have enough money for me, for us – but yes, I do donate.  I realize that even in the financial situation I’m in, I am lucky enough that I can still give to people, pets, etc. that need.  Of course, I would like to give more.  And maybe one day I will be able to.  I do also feed many cats in our neighborhood.  I cannot look at a cat and wonder if he or she is hungry.  I just HAVE to put food out for them.  Just in case.

Make an envelope system – good idea, yes.  Right now, currently I have this going on – I have one envelope, and it’s marked CRUISE.  It has $30 in it.  Not a lot considering a more significant deposit will need to be paid by November.

Don’t buy a new car – no worries, none.  I am THRILLED with my 2015 Chevy Spark (in Grape Ice) and I feel no denial, whatever at all.  It is the perfect car for me.  My daughter in law calls it the perfect Lisa-mobile.

Check your Cell Phone and see if you can upgrade, downgrade – change your bill.  Well, I did this, and we saved a bit.  Though last time my phone and my son’s were just paid off, they seemingly, amazingly needed to be upgraded as they stopped working decently.  I swear it is like the phones are pre-programmed to need upgrades.  Right now we have until September to think about changing.  Ugh.

They tell you to INCREASE YOUR INCOME – well, yes.  Of course.  So you sign up to deliver for Door Dash and Grub Hub, and you want to drive for Uber (because all of a sudden, Lyft deletes your vehicle type).  It is not as easy as you think.  You have to consider the area in which you live.  Trust me.  Not as easy as it seems.

Get Free Items whenever possible – I cannot believe anyone in what they would consider a financial crisis would not do this.  Do not be proud.  Investigate what you are eligible for, what programs you can be accepted into.  And take advantage.  But, without a doubt – when your situation changes (and it will) make sure you give back.

Avoid Brand Names – hahaha, who with financial concerns does not do this?  Another tip that is almost insulting.

Eat Less – great tip, if all is good.  If you want to lose weight.  If you are not hungry.  Self explanatory.  No more words needed.

Start a side hussle – yes, I agree.  I have started two – a cat sitting/cat care business – to hopefully make us some money, and to give me my “need” to be with cats.  And I’ve started a home laundry service.  So far both are going slow, but that is to be expected at the new beginning of anything.

These are my thoughts on money, finances, etc. – hate all of it.  I would so very much appreciate any ideas and tips you all have…we need to help each other!

Motivation. How to get it. How to keep it.

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Lately I have had problems with motivation.  Motivation in every way – I’ve been finding it hard to be motivated to get anything done.  I do the basics, and of course I do what I need to, what I have to.  But doing anything beyond that, anything extra – it’s just not been happening.

I think part of this lull I’ve been going through is because for such a long time, I just have not felt good.  I believe there’s something going on with me, health wise.  I don’t think it is anything serious, but how I’ve been feeling is what is preventing me from just…doing.  I hope to get this under control soon, as I have an appointment with my doctor.  I am hoping she finds something wrong that we can fix, and I can move on, and move along.

I find myself very happy and proud to see and know I did what I wanted, what I needed to do.  I’ve been trying hard to stay on track, to stay the course as they say.  I realized a few things that have helped me.

Lists – make a list.  An actual list.  I find at times I really am old school, and having an actual LIST on a piece of PAPER seems to motivate me.  I am all for using my phone for this too – but for me, it’s easy to ignore a list on the phone because it’s not as obvious.  What has worked lately is having a list, the list on both my phone and paper.  I cross things off as I do them, and while checking in on the phone I will update my list.  When I see my list with cross outs on it, I get motivated to make sure all things are checked off.  And when this happens, I feel motivated to be able to do it another day with another list.

Goals – I need my goals to be reachable, to be realistic.  I cannot expect myself to do ten errands when I know realistically I will only do five.  If it’s possible, I will divide my goals (such as errands) into two days – say today and tomorrow.  I feel as though this is giving me a break – making it easier.  When I do this, I stay strict and do the five I promised myself I would do.  The other day, I had stopped four different places.  I was at my last stop.  At the post office.  I was there to buy four stamps.  That was all I needed.  The place was so crowded.  I was surprised that it was such a hot bed of activity on a Tuesday afternoon.  Tempted as I was to leave and go back the next day, I stayed.  As much as the few minutes I wasted was frustrating, I didn’t want to add one more thing to my list of errands for my next outing.  So I waited, got my stamps and ended the day happy that I did what I set out to do.

Focus.  You have to focus on the big picture.  Recently we took quite a lot of my things from my sister’s basement.  Her house is being sold, and the landlord wanted things cleaned out.  We rented a truck, and took all the boxes, totes, etc. from there to here.  Everything I have is finally in one place now.  I’ve been all over the place, so to speak for almost five years now.  While I do not like the few totes that are still in the dining room, waiting to be brought to our basement or to the attic, I have to focus on the fact that everything is here now.  And it’s a matter of time until all the boxes are put away.  I know that I cannot nor should not keep everything we took from there.  However, I’m focusing on the fact that it’s all here now, and there is no rush to go through it.  It’s been five years, so if I do a box or two a week, that’s ok.  Eventually it will all get done.

Tunnel vision.  You’ve got to have it.  As with all the boxes, I can visualize the fact that finally after all this time, I will be organized.  All of my children’s memories, memories from my own childhood, clothes for each season and shoes will be clearly marked, organized and “findable” should I ever need certain things.  Seeing this organization in my future allows me to keep going, head down, straight ahead until I hit the finish line.

Why.  It’s key to figure out why at certain times you are unmotivated.  As I’ve said, sometimes I just do not feel good.  At these times, I need to give myself a break and just be happy I did the things that HAD to be done.  There are times that you’re just not going to want to DO anything.  That has been me.  A LOT.  Sometimes there is a reason – your health, if someone else needs you, if you are sad (like after losing a beloved pet).  I have always been good to myself.  I’ve cut myself a break many times (too many times) and because of that, when motivation strikes me and I’m doing good – I need to seize the moment and barrel through.

What are your problems with motivation?  How do you overcome them?  I would love to hear more reasons and solutions.  I really would!

Why? Why? Why? I just don’t GET it…

I’ve heard, read, known – that people just don’t like cats.  Why?  Whenever this is stated, nothing is ever provided for why – why people don’t like, or even worse, hate cats.  I don’t see how this is possible.

I am old – fifty-six, to be exact.  And I have had cats in my life since I was turning four – so it has been a LONG time.  Every cat that was in my family was just that – a family member.  How anyone can try to convince others that these furries are anything but – they are losers, and have no clue.

We recently suffered the loss of our boy, JB.  It was awful, yet after his diagnosis – he lived with it, we lived with it.  The night we found out that he had cancer was the absolute worst night of my life.  I know that sounds crazy – as both of my parents were diagnosed with cancer, etc.  With them, we knew.  With J – his diagnosis was a shock that we had NO idea to prepare ourselves for.  I loved my parents without care, without reason – and nothing could be done to prepare me, to prepare us for the loss.  Loss is loss, regardless of who it is, and when it comes.

I am just feeling sad tonight.  Yet, as I say this – as I type this, my baby – our baby – Malenky is on my lap, not leaving me.  At all.  I think the boy knows.  And I love him for it…


You’ve got to fight for your right to PARTY…

Happy birthday cats

This is a big year for our family – in the next few months, or a little more actually – three family members will be hitting milestone birthdays.  The ex-husband will be turning 60, my middle son will be turning 30, and my nephew will be turning 18.

I have always tried to do notable things for those special birthdays – 16, 21, etc.  What I have done is usually give the recipient the number of gifts corresponding to the age they are turning.  It was hard enough finding thirty gifts for my oldest son last year – to get sixty for his father, well – impossible!

The ex has said he doesn’t need (or want) sixty gifts – so I will humor him.  He was and is a candy person, so one of his gifts will be a large box with sixty pieces of candy – mostly Reese’s of some kind, plus other things.  We have come full circle in the years since we separated and divorced, and his girlfriend and I are planning to give him a nice party to celebrate.  Besides the candy, and making some sort of a sign in thing for people to put their thoughts on – what else can I bring, make, take with us?

Kevin will be thirty.  It’s almost a year away, but I like to plan ahead.  Obviously I have known the boy since the day he was born, and like his oldest brother, Michael – he will get thirty gifts.  He and his wife, my beautiful daughter in law Amanda, have six cats and two rabbits – my fur grandkids.  I could up the items for him to include things for the furries – but I want it to be for HIM.  What else could he want, need?  Like his Dad, he likes Reese’s.  I want to spoil the boy, because he is a great son, a great husband.  And he deserves it.

Then there is my nephew, Dan.  I cannot believe he will be turning 18.  I remember getting the call when he was born.  That does not seem to be that long ago, but I guess it was.  Eighteen gifts is not too hard to figure out.  The issue with this is that he will be turning 18 when we are all on a cruise – he will not be able to drink the day of his birthday on the ship, but we will be in either Nassau or Freeport that day – so on land, he will be able to.  What can I get him?  What can I bring on board?  I want to make it memorable for him.  When we went on our cruise (my first one) this January, we had such an amazing time, and an event that had us laughing until we hurt – I want his 18th birthday to be memorable!

I am on Pinterest all the time.  I try to research the kind of things I’m looking for – in every aspect of my life.  I guess what I’m saying right now is…I need ideas!  I want these three events in my family’s life to be special – and I’m asking for help.

What do YOU think I can do to make a 60th, 30th and 18th birthday special?  Any and all help will be so appreciated…



EZ. Eee Zee Eee. EASY! Foods…

I love to cook, and I love to eat.  This is a fact.  Another fact is that I like things to be easy.  Laid back.  And simple.  That got me to thinking about some EASY things I like to make to eat…

Easy Chili – if you’ve got a hankering for chili, and don’t want to wait all too long – make what I call Easy Chili.  I take a large can of Baked Beans – I like the Brown Sugar kind – and a can or two of store brand “chili beans.”  I add in a package of chili mix if I have it, or if I don’t – a few shakes of chili powder will do.  This ends up being more like Vegetarian Chili, because I don’t usually add any kind of meat.  Though I usually have a can of canned chili on hand, so that can go in too.  If you want, it can go an hour or two in the crock pot, or a few minutes in a pot on the stove.  I always have shredded cheese and sour cream on hand, so I can pretty much satisfy my chili cravings whenever they pop up…


Easy Chicken and Broccoli – In my freezer I always have a bag of individually frozen chicken breasts.  When I’m in the mood for this kind of dish, I pop a breast or two into a pot of boiling water.  They cook up fast this way.  While the chicken is boiling, you can microwave some frozen broccoli.  When the chicken is done, cut it in strips or chunks.  Stir fry it in butter, margarine – whatever you use, and add whatever seasonings you like.  While this cooks a bit on low, you can boil some pasta or cook some rice.  When all ingredients are done, toss together and you have a nice, quick meal.  And an easy one.  Depending on what you are in the mood for, you can drizzle it with soy sauce to make it Asian style, or Italian salad dressing or a bit of spaghetti sauce (just a tiny amount) for an Italian flair…


Easy Spaghetti Meat Sauce – I always and I do mean always have jars of spaghetti sauce on hand.  Because I just love pasta so much!  Sometimes though, I want more than just sauce on top of pasta.  When this hits me, I cook up a bit of sausage in a pan – or microwave – I use breakfast links, so they cook fast.  You can use the regular kind or hot – whatever you’re feeling at the time.  While your water boils, and after the sausages are cooked – run them through a little chopper, you know – the small food processor “thingy.”  Add them to a pot of sauce that is warming.  Once all is done, spoon/toss together – add some grated cheese, and you’ve got a great EASY meal.


Easy Quiche – you can easily make quiche, and it doesn’t have to have a crust.  Simply take four or so eggs, mix with some milk and whatever you want your quiche to have – usually mine are based with cheese, and vegetables too. Mix up, and pour into a greased pie pan (I use my clear glass one).  It doesn’t take much longer than twenty minutes.  This is a healthy meal that is also EASY.

Easy Mashed Potatoes – I love the mashed potatoes at one of my favorite Irish restaurants here in Scranton.  I didn’t entirely realize what made them special right away, but eventually I did.  For the easy version, you can use instant mashed potatoes.  Prepare them as you usually do.  The secret to make them (to me) extra special is to add grilled onions.  Yes, that’s it.  It seems so simple, but if you grill some onions (in whatever you use to stir fry) and add them to your mashed potatoes – you will see and taste something that is very, very good.  And also very easy!

photo of pile of potatoes
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So there are a few of my EASY ideas that I also think are very good tasting.  Any ideas, what do you all make that’s easy and good?  Would love to hear!