I am an East Coast expatriate hiding out in the Midwest...
I am an urban gal living in the suburbs and occasionally hiding in the country
I am a believer in the mind-body-spirit connection...
I am a mid-life "revert" to the Roman Catholic faith in which I was raised and which has become a source of support, encouragement, inspiration, and joy in my life...
I am a mom, sister, daughter, and wife...
I am an explorer; adventurous and curious about the world and people around me...
I am educated in the formal sense but I gain insight through everyday living...
I created this blog at a time of great fear and apprehension in my life. I chose to sustain it because of the discoveries about myself and the world around me that it has revealed.
What you can expect to find here:the documentation of a love-hate relationship with the greater Philadelphia area
reminiscing about the good-ole-days (the 80's!)
complaints about my various ailments and injuries, both real and imagined
pictures and stories of gardening, decorating, shopping, sewing
my love of irony
links to kooky news stories
way too much scatological musing for sane people
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
It's horribly, dangerously hot these days (triple-digits) so I'm just sitting around in the air conditioning, watching an old movie via internet streaming. It's called "Smithereens" from 1982, and chronicles the end of a certain era of New York punk/new wave culture via the storyline.
It brings me back to my junior high years, when I began obsessing on anything and everything "new wave." As I watched, I thought about a list I once made in 8th grade or so. It was my list of things to pack if/when I ran off to New York to just hang out at record stores by day and nightclubs by night. I have no idea what I thought I'd do for money or a place to live.
It also reminded me how much I was encouraged by my high school art teacher to attend art school instead of the 4-year university I chose. I wonder what would have happened if I chose that route?
Posted at 04:12 pm by brandy101
Thursday, June 28, 2012
That title sounds dirty but it seems that this blog has become little more than a dumping ground from comments from spammers. I tend to update certain aspects of my life/point of view via Facebook and Twitter.
However, this is the only place where I post anything detailed and personal, because it's just a more appropriate mode for that sort of thing.
Lately, things have been stressful. My spouse has been very tense, edgy, and flies of the handle with little to no provocation. I DO understand...he's in the midst of a possible job change and it's really killing him. He's been at the same company since he graduated college (17 years!) and it's like a long, protracted breakup for him.
At times like this, I do regret buying our cabin. Granted, when we are up there, it's generally more harmonious than around Illinois. BUT...we'd have much more freedom (financially) if we just had that dough in the bank, plus fewer monthly expenses.He would likely say that the cabin is the only GOOD thing we own, however. He could be correct, actually.
I've been looking for a new job for awhile now. I had my resume reviewed by some HR Pros and have been writing cover letters like crazy. My other job ended for the year (school year) but ended on a surprisingly bad note, so I'm not going back next year. It sure as hell ain't worth fighting for for a stinko $11 a DAY.
I'm not even sure that me working would help out our family dynamic. I'm the only one who cooks & cleans and I do all the bills, organizing, etc. I have tried to not "own" these responsibilities and otherwise share them but no one seems interested in picking up the slack, so I can keep doing it - but not in addition to 40 hours in an office somewhere.
Posted at 08:02 am by brandy101
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Despite an unusual 80-degree stretch in March it has been downright chilly here in Chicagoland in April. Luckily for me, however, things have been downright COZY with hubby ;)
On Saturday, we are attending a black tie charity event - not because we are such philanthropists, but because I'm a big fan of the event emcee - a local radio personality.
I'm still somewhat insecure about my attire of choice for the evening (mostly due to the unseasonably cold weather,) but I suppose it will be fine.
The financial fears we had in the beginning of the year have diminished somewhat as his annual bonus came through, and thus shored-up our savings.
So, for now, it's staus quo. But he and I are both sprucing up credentials and keeping our eyes and ears open to new workplace opportunities.
Posted at 10:44 am by brandy101
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Time to make like a condiment and KETCH-UP!
Har har har.
Ok, so basically, things are a bit stressful here because hubby's work situation is not going well - his entire dept. was dismantled and some folks have been let go. There is more to it that I can't get into but his sense is that he needs to be on the hunt for opportunities.
My job search has stalled, as well. I did speak to someone in my district about being considered for add'l t.a. (teaching assistant) hours when they are planing for the new school year but I'm not too hopeful anything will come of that.
All I can do now is:
1) be frugal/cautious with spending
2) keep looking for a gig for myself
3) maintain a positive attitude.
So that's what I'm doing.
Posted at 04:47 pm by brandy101
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
I had no idea I missed over a month of blog entries. I've said it before but I'm much more active on Twitter and Facebook. Anyway...
Xmas was good, although I was so stressed the whole time, I feel like I didn't enjoy it much. We did visit my family and for whatever reason I slept terribly on the guest bed (which usually is great) so that didn't help much. I think I was worried aobut the many pets I left behind with pet sitters or at the kennel. I feel guilty about breaking up the group. They get SO SAD when we leave!
My baby sister is due with her 3rd and she asked if me & my husband would be godparents, but I told her that the airfares are so high, I'm not sure we can swing it. Really! Isn't that sad?
Here's what else I realize: I definitely prefer my Midwestern Chicagoland suburb to the Philadelphia area. Yes, this blog is called "Philly Expatriate" and I still love my Phillies and Eagles and certain nostalgic things of my childhood, but other than that...I think Arlington Heights is where I want to be; not there. It's sad b/c I miss my family but...I could never live in Delaware County again.
That said, I've been back on the job search...and this time of year, school jobs are scarce. I am considering full-time, year-round work, and applied for a few but have not heard anything yet.
Our local library offers tutorials of MS office products free online so I've been trying to upgrade my knowledge of the latest version so I can actually back up the skills my resume claims I have!
Posted at 05:43 pm by brandy101
Sunday, November 27, 2011
My gum surgery was on Tuesday and I guess it went well. I was so looped from the anesthesia, I remember NOTHING - not even coming home after it. I then took a Tylenol-3 after that so that day is a complete blur to me.
I can state confidently that my smile already looks much better. I'm also leaning toward bonding a few teeth to fill gaps and skipping the crowns altogether. I'm not eager to grind 8 of my existing teeth into nubs for the promise of a gleaming white smile. I'm just not.
Thanksgiving was depressing and lonely as usual. We went out to eat and I was the only one who even ordered turkey. If we didn't have dogs (and thus, the expense of boarding them to travel) I'd start shopping for airfares to just go to Philly next year. Maybe I will, anyway. I can't take sitting home, no leftovers, no good smells of turkey in the oven.
I thought about applying for yet another teaching assistant gig in the district but I'm of the mind that I want to talk to someone in HR to discuss my areas of interest, first. Sort of exploratory, so to speak. I am state certified to be a TA, so that's no problem.
Here's the REAL problem: my barium test revealed no apparent hernia or swallowing dysfunction.That is GOOD news. Sort of. Then, I realized that over the summer, I had little of the "lump in the throat" sensation caused by an inflamed larynx (voice box.) My current job, which requires much yelling (really!) is likely causing the problem!
Posted at 02:28 pm by brandy101
Sunday, November 20, 2011
I'm drowning in a sea of mucus and yuck right now. I picked up a virus of some sort. It was an excruciating sore throat for the first 4 days; now I'm getting sinus/nasal congestion. I have also had a hacking cough, but no body-aches or fever, so I don't think it was a flu virus.
I never got a call regarding that other job I applied for in the district. I was really disappointed. Talking to a co-worker about it, we have come to realize that we are stuck in our current positions within the district. Because there is such a demand to fill our jobs (there are always postings for it every year, due to high turnover) we assume that they will NOT cherry-pick from within to move into more lucrative (and thus, easier to fill) jobs.
I'm going to stick with it for now, but as I've been sick in bed, I've been browsing some job opportunities in my area. There are one or two administrative gigs that look really interesting to me, but I'm still not comfortable with the idea of working in the evenings (after school hours) or in the summer. Not that I need the time off, but I would have no idea what to do with my 12 year old. Not to mention, I'd be seething that we're still paying taxes & utilities on a cabin in WI that I'd then not be able to use.
Tomorrow I'm supposed to have a barium swallow test, although I am going to try to change it due to feeling like a sack of shit. I can't imagine trying to drive a car with all the meds I'm on right now (including Rx cough syrup!)
Tuesday is my scheduled periodontal surgery, which I may also change, although I'm being driven to and from that app't due to the anesthesia. I'll see how I feel tomorrow.
Posted at 01:42 pm by brandy101
Monday, October 24, 2011
Last week, I applied for another gig in our school district. It's very close to my idea of the "perfect" job: in the library, perfect hours/schedule, great tasks that I'm not only capable of doing, but that I actually ENJOY. My preference would be with elementary-age kids, and this is for middle school (not my daughter's middle school.) But overall, to ME it seems like a perfect match (I did a very similar job for 2 years as a volunteer at my daughter's former elementary school.)
I was hopeful but now don't think I have a chance because, for one thing, the district is woefully short of folks who do my current job and they seem to have a hard time recruiting more, so I doubt they'd pull from my ranks to fill a position that might be much easier to fill (because it's full-time with benefits, but on the "school schedule" so still great for moms like me.)
That said, I did do some things to move myself in a positive direction mentally. For example, I tested out some "interview outfits" by mixing and matching things in my closet, just to reassure myself that I *could* quickly head over to an interview, should I get to that level of scrutiny. I also updated my resume and put together a file of pertinent documents. I think at this point, that's all I can do.
The kitten , "Pumpkin," has really come around and now is soooooo friendly, cuddly and playful with us. I think part of her issues were that she was malnourished and a bit dehydrated. A week at our house has turned that around. She's also really accepting of one of our cats, Lucky, who is curious to get to know her, but is a bit apprehensive. She's now ready for him to play but he's not quite there yet. They do sniff, and even nuzzle a bit - no growling or hissing - so I think that they have the potential to be close companions.
Our other cat, Percy, is not quite as accepting or interested. He'll view her quietly but if she gets too close, he growls a bit and then runs away.
Our dogs are still being goofy and make her a bit nervous, so we keep a baby gate up in the doorway to "her room" (for now) until they get to know each other over time.
Posted at 06:25 pm by brandy101
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Things seem to be improving for hubby's work situation. That's all I can say without jinxing anything. I'm breathing easier.
Hubby will be breathing worse, though... because we got a new kitten! (He's mildly allergic to cats but he's had them for over 20 years. ) Well, I should say that we are officially "fostering" it until I find a permanent home for it but typically with us and our pet history that means "adopting." We've never shoved a pet off on someone else - not even the ones that were pains in the ass! ha! But, truly, if I knew someone who
It was not a planned event. The other day, a local restaurant posted a Facebook message about a litter of five kittens of a stray cat that was living in the garage of a regular patron. They are about 7 weeks old now.
Oddly enough, I had been thinking about getting a kitten for a desire to "baby" something lately. She hasn't come close to settling in yet, but it seems pretty typical for a kitten this young to be fearful. She did use the litterbox, so that's a great sign!
Posted at 10:27 pm by brandy101
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Don't ask for specifics, but I'm getting a bad vibe about my spouse's job security. Actually it seems more likely that his boss is in jeopardy but that's all I can reveal. It just seems that the internal politics are really bashing his department pretty badly, although there have been glimmers that the tide could turn.
Either way, it just makes me feel very anxious these days/ As I've noted, I've been trying to get more hours, although I now am realizing that even if I did get a TA job with more hours, it wouldn't be enough to make that much of a difference. I'd need to strike out and ramp-up my job skills (or at least my MS-office skills!) to pre-motherhood levels.
I think that will involve some sort of tutorial software that I think I can get at our local library.
For now, I'm just being careful, sticking to the budget, and yeah, I'm still gonna get the teeth fixed (while we still have dental insurance!) I think it's a worthwhile investment - esp with chipped front teeth, which looks rather Hillbilly-esque, in my opinion!)
Posted at 02:26 pm by brandy101