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Dear N/A

I got a press release today, and like many of the correspondence I get from publicists, it was addressed to me specifically, probably using an automated system.

This release began, “Dear N/A”.

Obviously the firm didn’t have my name, so put “N/A” in the name field of their database. I have had releases addressed to me as ? or in some cases there’s nothing at all when they don’t know my name. The letter just reads “Dear    “.

I’m happy being “?”, because that translates to “I know you exist but I just don’t know you”. And a blank is just another way to say “Sorry, we don’t know your name and don’t have time to find out what it is.”

But “N/A” just seems more like, “We don’t care what your name is because you don’t matter.”

Which is how I feel sometimes. I’ve always written those moods off to hormones or too much wine the night before. But gee, maybe this PR firm knows something I don’t? I guess it’s a good thing I got this part time job, since I have to wear a name tag. It says “Joanne.” Phew.

Day 2, Year 47

It’s true. Yesterday, I turned 47. Or as I like to say, celebrated my 30th birthday for the 17th time. I don’t feel old. Not often, anyway.

I feel fat. In my head, I’m still a size 6. In my closet, I’m a 10. 

Years ago, I had gained some weight and couldn’t fit into a size 8. I refused to buy a size 10, so I was motivated to lose some weight. Now? Losing weight would mean giving up my favorite food groups – sugar and carbs – and exercising. Bring on the size 12.

I had thought that when I got a job I’d be getting a little more exercise. Not that it’s a labor intensive job. But at home, I sit on my arse all day and peck away at the laptop. I figured standing up and waiting on clients would burn a few more calories. But guess what? At work, I sit on my arse and peck away at a computer.

I am trying to cut down on sugar and carbs, but I drink about 6 cups of tea a day, with milk and sugar. That’s a hard habit to break. And it’s a habit I really, really like. On my second day of work, I didn’t have a cup of tea for 6 hours. By the end of my shift I had a splitting migraine and my brain was so fuzzy I couldn’t have spelled my own name if my life depended on it. I stopped at Dunkin Donuts on the way home for a coffee and at home had two cups of tea before the pounding stopped.

Is it such a big deal to gain weight? Sure, actresses on TV work out and do yoga and maintain their size 2 figures. Even actresses at my age, I guess. But that’s no fun. I mean, at my age there are more important things to worry about on the horizon. Like facial hair. Skin tags. Varicose veins. Incontinence.

Somebody hand me the sugar bowl.

The head looney gets a real job

Well, it’s official: I’ve got a job. A real job. Not a writing job where I sit around in my pajamas and write. Or think about writing. This is a part time job at a local animal hospital. I get to wear scrubs. Which are basically pajamas for professionals.

If I have to work, this is the perfect job. A few nights a week, a couple of weekends a month, one holiday a year. I’ll be working at the desk, doing work similar to what I do at the shelter plus some more: answering phones, filing, checking people in/out, getting rxs ready. I’m assured I will not have to do math in my head. (They dodged a bullet with that one.)

I’ll start next week with some day shifts so I can get trained – my new boss asked if I could work Wednesday from 7 to 12. She laughed when I asked, “Seven in the morning?” I guess that’s a good sign. Continue reading

Part time jobs, sick dogs and a load of dirt

By next week, dirty dogs like this will be a distant memory. I hope.

I heard today from a local animal hospital where I applied for a part time job. Yay! The job is right up my alley – customer service at the front desk, scheduling appointmens, answering phones, checking people out. A couple evenings a week, a couple weekends a month, one holiday a year. I wasn’t sure what to expect for pay; I figured it was minimum wage. Turns out it’s a little more than that. Cool.

Scout stopped in to see Dr. Hawkins today. She’s concerned, as am I, that after time on the meds he’s still having bloody stool. She wanted to see if seemed in pain and decide if we wanted to do an x-ray before or in place of the ultrasound to see if he has something stuck in his intestines. This morning, of course, he had a pretty normal poop and wasn’t up during the night to go out. (Monday, he woke us up at 11:30, 1 am, 3 am, 6:45 am and went again at 8:30 am.) And Dr. Hawkins said he doesn’t seem in pain. So we’ll stick with the ultrasound on Saturday and go from there.

Tomorrow is going to be a big day: we get 4 cubit yards of top soil! Who knew I’d be so happy about dirt? But it’s one step closer to getting the sod on Saturday and by Sunday we’ll have a lawn. Yay for David!

And lastly – there’s a fly in the house. Welcome to summer. Bzzzzz.

A challenge for my readers: 31 days of Thank You

Let's spend the month of May saying "thank you"!

In his book, “365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life“, author John Kralik chronicles his attempt to write one thank you note a day for a year. Ironically, when he started the project, his world was falling apart. Financial ruin was on the horizon; his personal relationships were unraveling just as fast.

But he started writing a thank you note a day, and in doing so realized that not only did he have a lot to be grateful for, the simple act of reaching out to someone else with a positive thought gave them a boost, too.

In my May column for the Christian Voice Magazine, I issued a little challenge to readers to write one thank you note or note of encouragement a day for the entire month of May. And I’m inviting you to join in!

Ideally, you’d actually write a note on paper and put a stamp on an envelope. While it’s more time consuming, it actually shows a much greater degree of care and commitment than just shooting off an email. It helps you connect more with the person to whom you’re writing and gets you more invested in the project.

We’re not talking lengthy missives. We’re talking postcards, short notes, even positive feedback on comment cards. Give your favorite cashier or waitress a pat on the back, for example, by writing a little note to their manager. Send a note of thanks to a neighbor or write a little “pick me up” to someone you know who’s down in the dumps.

And then tell me about it! How did you feel being grateful or encouraging every day? Did you get feedback from people who got your note? What was the most rewarding part of the adventure?

You’ve got a few days to prepare. Dig out some paper and pens and buy a book of stamps. Find your address book and get ready to be grateful!

It’s official – Bailey can stay

Really. Who can resist that face?

Last night was our time to address the village planning board about our request for a special permit to keep three dogs. In our town, the limit is two. Bailey needed special permission to stay.

The building inspector/animal control boss had given us a little leeway on getting that approval if we were looking for a home for Bailey, but since it seemed like she was getting settled in with us and we were getting settled in with her, it made sense to find out sooner rather than later if we were going to have permission for her to stay.

Just in case she didn’t find a home. You know. I mean, really, I was looking for a home for her. Honest. Continue reading

A Funny Farm update

A moment of silence for Mimi the chicken.

I noticed today that it’s been a while since I’ve updated the Funny Farm blog. That’s because I’ve had my hands full with the pets.

Where to start.

 A month or so ago it came to my attention that under all of those fluffy feathers several of the hens had pecked themselves raw. Mimi’s skin had become infected to the point of necrosis. That’s what happens when you have several months of freezing weather and a backyard chicken farmer too lazy to pick up every chicken and inspect it regularly.

So Mimi went to the vet for a check up, and we agreed she was too far gone. (Unless, of course, we wanted to spend about $500 so they could put the chicken under general anesthesia, remove all of the dead tissue, keep her at the vet’s while they gave her IV fluids and antibiotics, and then hope for the best.)

A moment of silence for Mimi, please. Continue reading