Friday, December 25, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 05, 2009
So she was pulling me merrily along the bike trail on Foster Island, when she stopped and refused to lead. I tossed her back in front and told her to go ahead.
Yup, that's a real command. I need her to be able to lead: to pull, actually. She reluctantly began to move slowly along the shoreline, with me tottering among the skinny trees and slippery leaves.
I was dumbfounded when I first saw it:
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Tonight we will set back the clocks to gain an extra few weeks of sunlight in the morning. Sounds good to me; I am tired of waking up to the bleak blackness.
Good news! We expect to be completely laid off this summer. I am more than ready; the commute is killing me. Gannett will move us to our temporary quarters in November.
Frankly, I don't care where we work. Just let's get it over with. It's been a miserable half year. We have adjusted, but don't like it any better than before.
I want out, and I'm getting out in another ten months.
Monday, October 12, 2009
My car went the way of my naps, and I now own a Malibu. Definitely not the end of the world, but not my style. Between the car payments and the huge gasoline consumption, we have no cash for anything, and no longer pay down our debts incurred from raising teenagers. The banks raised the apr's on anything and everything they could. We barely make minimums, and we buy only food.
We are now unable to maintain our home as we should. The paint never went on the outside, and the roof will not see new shingles anytime in the foreseeable future, whether I do the work myself or not. Our walkways are literally crumbling into rubble.
Yes, I looked into early retirement, but the 401K was ravaged by the crash on Wall Street, and is only now beginning to make its excruciatingly slow recovery. And of course, there is the debt. I had figured two to three years to clean it up. Now it is anybody's guess. Certainly not two to three years.
In eighteen months my job will have flown to Michigan. Is it Michigan? I don't remember, and it is irrelevant. Too far to commute from Upstate New York.
I had planned to write my books and my blogs when I retired from the paper. Now retirement from the paper will be a ticket to a parttime job somewhere closer to home. If work is actually available, then even that will be a blessing. Right now, there is no work, no advertisements, nothing but a very slow increase in the highly specialized jobs that disappeared in the crash.
Yes, I am lucky to have a job. I reach into the attic for old clothes to alter when anything I wear is totally worn out or just ruined. The laugh's on me. I was skinnier in the waist until I turned fifty. Now middle-aged spread makes most old clothes unsuitable for me. Ironically, my hips are thinner than before, so everything fits everywhere except at the waistline.
No time to walk the river on weekdays; I spend at least eleven hours of every work day in Binghamton or on the road commuting. This too, will increase; our offices will move just before Thanksgiving, and will add 15-20 minutes onto my commute. If I hear one more person tell me that "that's not bad, just a few minutes more," I will slap whomever it is. One minute more than my hour and a half commute is just too much to contemplate.
I've already had an exacerbation. Very short, just a day or so, but terrifying. My sight went completely out of whack, enough so that I wondered if I were having a mini-stroke, like my Dad had a few years back. Just once, thank the powers that govern the universe. Again, one too many.
I want to blog, I want to write, and I want to walk the river. But after each work day, I am too tired, and the weekends are only two days.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Lucky I have time for that, these days. Back to work tomorrow.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
I tried to catch a heron doing his thing near the spillover, when I spotted a very unusual heron. I snapped away until I ran out of batteries.
This is not the first one I've seen. It can't be an egret, because there is no fancy plumage. Looks like a white heron, pure and simple.
Almost makes up for the miserable, rainy Sunday. So wet that even the waterfowl wouldn't come out to pose.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Ellie's been to the river a lot this week, and there will be new photos soon, but for now:
Bout a week now.
Friday, July 03, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
It is beginning to look like it all is temporary.
Both of my riders/drivers are looking actively for local work. Supposedly so am I. For me, it's all online; there is nothing in the newspaper for two days per week. Literally nothing, no want ads. Wednesday and Thursday are negligible, because the real deal is 3 days Friday to Sunday. Those days the ads are looking for young professionals, mostly schools, government or charity. Some are worth considering.
Naturally there is no newspaper work. After all, the upcoming demise of print publishing is what got my whole mess started. I will wind up grabbing anything, anything, local when push gets to shove. Then I will find something to do from the computer. Even two part time jobs will allow me to regroup locally.
One thing is certain: I will not be able to afford commuting on my own. Right now a weeks worth of gas would be 50-60 bucks. That's what it costs me the times I drive. Add the recently purchased car at $150 per month, and the privilege of working in Binghamton would cost me $350 commuter costs alone. Then subtract out a day's pay every two weeks for the recession-related furlough.
Something local that pays significantly less would still pay.
Recessions are complicated messes, aren't they?
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Saturday, June 06, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Can't remember when the allergies hit me this hard. My throat hurts, my sinuses are swollen so large that they swell down into the roof of my mouth. And my lungs are filling with crud.
Only good thing is that all the meds are killing my appetite. I will follow a strict regimen of small calorie doses to keep up the health, spread throughout the day.
It's gloomy and threatens rain, but I still want my HuggaMutt, and we will still visit the river.
It's Gosling and Duckling Time!
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
The first week I was called into the Star Chamber. You know, the place where there are two levels of supervisor and just one of you. I had said that I was afraid I was going to wind up not caring, because I was overwhelmed by the difficulty of the adjustment.
Helpfully, they told me I'd better keep it to myself. Thanks for the assist, guys.
Less than two weeks later, one of my co-commuters was called in and treated the same. She had committed the sin of leaving unfinished work with her supervisor. The supe thought it was necessary to call in the next level to chew her out.
Apparently they are not too happy about our commuting situation.
Well, this week our last buddy was given a raft of it over her suggestions regarding workflow, as regarding customers from our old work place. I never make suggestions: they resent it.
She did not take it lying down, however. She went right over the heads of them both.
Can't wait to watch the fallout.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Go here for a series of eight photos. Unfortunately, the darned thing was backlit in the early morning sun, so I can't even tell you its colors. Good sized fowl, about as big as a goose.
Saturday, April 04, 2009
Well, I hadn't, so they stopped payment on it all and will go after the culprit.
So if you get a call about questionable charges, be sure to reply or call back.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
It is considered a lateral move with same pay.
There will be at least two hours of commuting everyday, in my 1995 Geo Tracker that is held together with duct tape. I did get an oil change, but don't have time for anything else.
My nearest, dearest coworker is going to the Press Plant in Johnson City.
We knew all sorts of bad things were on the way, but I must confess I am in shock, anyway.
I have to trust that all will work out for the best.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
We escaped the megastorm that messed up the East Coast, but we always have lake effect snow here, all winter long. That means our floors and carpets show salt the entire time. (In the spring and summer, Husband RJ tracks gardening dirt, but that's another post.)
Lucky us! We had sunshine late yesterday, and are starting with a glorious morning today. The bitter cold makes the house warm, except around the windows and doors. Those are specially weather-stripped for the winter and usually do not leak cold. This frigid spell, however, comes with constant gentle winds and occasional gusts. It's weird and worrisome to feel the chill at the sills and jambs.
We are also dog-sitting our next-door neighbor's, um, whatever it is. He's very tiny, compared to Ellie, brown, short hair and big, wide, erect ears with long hairs hanging from their tips, and a pugged-in face and nose. Decidedly a lap dog, Wookie is aging and arthritic, so much so, that his "wrist" joints point his feet away from his body. It looks as if he were walking on broken legs, although he's not.
Wookie is an indoor dog and the companion to my fairly house-bound neighbors, who are visiting Hawaii. They could not get a kennel, and their family's promise to watch Wookie fell in at the last minute. We are not alone, though, and Wookie gets 3-4 visits a day from us and other sitters.
So, with my usual chores, dog-sitting, and the occasional attention to details regarding my future position in Johnson City, I am living a busy life here. Okay!?
Sorry about the post, though.
Monday, February 23, 2009
By the way, I want to mention that the tickets were my Christmas present from Husband RJ, but my partner in crime last night was Gale, one of the last people standing at the Elmira Star Gazette office. She's probably the one who will take down the flag.
At one point he mentioned our lovely theater which had recently been renovated and is now all sparkly and new. The Clemens Center is an old vaudeville venue with an incredible explansion and is completely updated on the outside.
Even with the (supposedly) red-necked crowd, everyone was decently dressed and well behaved.
In fact, as we were leaving, the fellow who sat in front of us, turned to me and remarked, "Did you know he was so vulgar?" I mentioned that he usually is on Comedy Central, too, but the man insisted that he was never so raunchy. We finally agreed that the worst of it is usually bleeped out for cable.
This was not cable at the Clemens Center.
And last night was a two-fer!!!!
One of my favorite up and coming comics from Comedy Central was his warm-up act: there was Alex Reymundo, in all his sexy, Latin-lover-turned-country-redneck glory! I was beside myself with elation and purred myself to sleep last night.
We even got AR's autograph, and spoke very briefly with him. I'll tell you what I told him.
I would have paid to see him alone.
One very happy Little Fish,
Saturday, February 14, 2009
I think they knew long before they initiated the changes. It is all eerily familiar to one who has weathered downsizing and consolidation many times in past lives.
The bottom line: our corporation prefers to leave us out of the loop on the bottom line. It will be a good three weeks before anything is announced.
For me there are three possibilities: a job in production that would be a lateral move; a position in advertising that would be a step up; or eschewing the one hour commute each way that the first two would entail, accepting a severance package.
It was never discussed, but I wonder if I am well enough to put in the 10 hours commute and work that accepting a position would require. In the past, after long work days, I have been known to fall asleep at the wheel. That hasn't been a major problem in a town with so many traffic lights over a short area; the trip to the central is between 45 and 61 miles, depending upon the exact site, over Interstate 86.
It is something to consider.
On the other hand, the position in advertising is a long-overdue acknowledgement of my efforts in the past several years to bring quality control to our printed advertising. Not any real compensation, mind you, just a paycheck, and very rarely, a thank you.
If I had a third hand, I would also point out that the production position would have many pleasures, not the least of which would be working once again in periodicals, with whatever is the current standard for their associate editors, publishing coordinators, etc.
I would still be just a grunt, but possibly a happy one.
In the meantime, I am falling back on alcohol to ease the pain from grinding my teeth in my sleep.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Right about now it's all a wash, anyway. It's a long way to Binghamton.
Meantime, I am still the RiverHag and Ellie is still the RiverDog, and the weather is gorgeous.
The heck is this about? Likely a water trough for horses.
But what's with the pvc pipe coming out of it? Just plain weird.
Take that, Fate!
Friday, February 06, 2009
For me, a seven minute trip would turn into 60. For others, it's worse.
Tears and fears all around me. We knew that was coming, but it still surprises more than we expected.
We weren't even driving the bus, just riding the train to the end of the line.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Go here for our visits to the frozen Chemung.
Also, time for a minor update: we are now using our newly-wiped Compaq Presario almost exclusively. Because of the unpaid furloughs, the PC's and Macs at work are closely monitored. What's more, I don't feel like posting or even just composing at work. During my breaks I play video games.
My first "Out of Office" day, a.k.a. unpaid furlough, is Wednesday. We will be visiting with Golfer Girl, who is now to be called Golfer Lady, since her man is now Joe Sindelar, Sr. Most appropriately, they live next to a golf course north of here.
My book came to a crashing halt with our hard drive. Only chapters that were uploaded to Blogger survived. My favorite chapter still exists, but my second favorite had been committed to paper and gifted to its starring character. We'll see if it turns up, ever. In the meantime, it will take a long time to revisit my little world.
Boy, did the latest episode of the Simpsons ever hit home!
Monday, January 19, 2009
Hamas hides behind human shields. Always has, always will.
Israel will defend itself, an island of civilization amid the barbarians. It would not surprise me if Palestinians begin to filter into Israel. Again. After all, they will be safe there.
The Israelis take care of their own, training them to avoid the missiles and keeping a standing army to protect its nation.
Hamas recruits the hopeless from mosques, and pumps them up to kill themselves and others.
Their human shields are their parents and families. Their parents and families stand solidly behind them, taking incoming Israeli attacks full in the face. Ergo every Palestinian is in fact a solder.
Hamas soldiers duck out of harm's way to save themselves, and their families die, creating the most starkly horrifying situation, designed to inflame the world.
The absolute antithesis of how a nation's army is supposed to operate. The barbarians are willing to sacrifice their nation to lessen Israel in the eyes of the world.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
His little cap was a common sight when we were small. My Irish Twin Tommy wore one, too. It made his eyes look huge.
The neighborhood in the background doesn't look much different these days.
Get a load of the flannel lined pants!
Guess Moms always loved to dress up their kids. Wonder how they could afford cowboy boots back then? Maybe they were those cheap vinyl ones that children wore with costumes.
Husband RJ remembers the boots, but not the rest of the getup.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
BTW, just found this photo while trying to recover all my lost files. We were both younger then.
But that was before we grew up on the Chemung River.