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Update: 2014

  • Jun. 9th, 2014 at 12:02 PM
Hmm...haven't written on here in a very long time. Reading my last entries make me feel as it all of it is still so raw and new. Life is still complicated, but I'm still here, just fighting the fights. Some things have been good, but it hasn't been without hard work.

I did graduate with my MSPTC in May 2012. I saw that I was griping about one of my classmates in one of my last posts here, and reading that still burns me up. But in the end, I did end up having the last laugh. First, I'm not friends with her anymore. She irritated me enough that I broke up the friendship. She was annoying, a know-it-all who had a comment for everything (and she was often wrong), and there got to be a point where she irked me enough that I just un-friended her cold turkey. It wasn't worth trying to work on the friendship. She was only out for herself and making herself look great. She felt SHE was the reason I had a good career going, but she wasn't. It was all ME, not her. My tech comm career has taken off, and it's all on my own, thank you very much. I graduated a year ahead of that person, and while she was a feature interview, I actually had my e-portfolio posted on the NJIT website as an example of how to do it right--publically. I also had a VIDEO interview that is still used now and then for NJIT's promotional purposes, and to quote the program director at the time, I am their "poster child"--I'm the success story, not her. I'm even in contact with the new director of the program, and she's a big supporter of mine as well--and I never even had a class with her, but she knows my work! Shortly after I graduated, I gave a global webinar hosted by Adobe--yeah, that Adobe, the makers of Photoshop and other fantastic products like that. I mean, who gives an online webinar for a global software giant just 3 weeks after they graduate? I kept up my tech comm blog, and after almost 2 1/2 years, it's still going strong, and has fairly large following, even by the true tech comm experts in the field. I'm a tech comm celebrity, as I'm told. I've given both webinars and presentations in the tech comm and e-learning fields now. Most recently, I gave my first international presentation at the STC Summit (only my 2nd year attending!), and also gave presentations at an e-learning conference at Drexel University on m-learning, where I was the only non-e-learning professional there--and yet giving a presentation that supposedly went over well. I'm working as a remote consultant (through an agency, ugh) for BASF, the chemical company. The work is essentially the same as what I did for Merrill Lynch, but WAY less stress, and my professional opinion is actually considered, heard, and even requested at times, which is incredibly refreshing! I like the people I work with, and am glad that my skills are actually valued. I'm in my 2nd year of my contract, which ends in about 6 months or so. I have a feeling they'll keep me on beyond this, but I've learned not to count on anything, so I'll have to get after them again like I did about this year's contract. I'm bored with work right now, but I'm making almost twice as much money hourly than I did at ML doing the same thing, get to work from home most of the time (I often commute once a week to the Florham Park office, which can be an hour and a half away on a busy day going one way), and my hours are generally pretty flexible. So, I can't complain on that front. I'm hoping some upcoming projects with site conversions will raise the bar and I'll be used for those. Time will tell.

I still get upset about Drew's autism from time to time. He just had his 13th birthday, so now I have a teenager on my hands. He's about 5'7 or 5'8" tall now, his voice has deepened in the last month or so, he wears glasses and braces, and he's a little tubby, but he's actually lost some weight in the last few months with healthier eating. (He's still a cutie though--he's going to be a good looking man. He's in seventh grade, and while he's still catching up with his math skills due to the idiocy of one school he went to, he's doing much better. He actually had a good year this year, and has been doing great in his classes. He finally has friends, too! He's feeling better about himself, and while there's still room for improvement, he's really doing okay. There are times that he's really annoying, and I don't know if it's the age or the autism or both. I've concluded that most likely, it's a little of both. But he's a happier boy, and while I still have my moments of mourning the son I had hoped for, there's still hope. He's so much better off than so many autistic kids I know because he's so much more higher functioning, that I consider myself lucky in this respect. He loves cars--watches Top Gear and other car related shows obsessively, loves gaming on Minecraft, Roblox, and other strategy games as well as racing on regular video games. He's a good looking boy with good intentions with a great sense of humor--he's a big jokester who likes to 'troll' his mom. He's a good kid. I've come to the conclusion that he'll get to a point where he's like his mom--that most people won't even know he's on the spectrum at all, but it might take him a little longer to get to that point. Oh, and he switched schools again about 2 years ago, which was definitely the right thing to do. The school he's at now is SO much better, and while it took a long time, he's happier, he fits in, he has friends, and he's doing well. I'm not going to mess with that. And since the school does college prep and does go all the way through high school, he's staying there. They also prep for vo-tech and other post-high school choices, so we have some flexibility. I decided that as a parent, all I want him to be is like any other adult, insofar as that he's helpful, respectful, responsible, caring, independent, and can contribute to society in a positive way like anyone else. If it means he's the local mechanic rather than someone who designs motors on cars, that's okay. As long as he's a good mechanic, and he does right for his customers, etc. Y'know? I think it'll be alright, but we're just taking a potentially slower path to get there, and that's okay.

My husband--well, not much changes with him, for better or worse. Still love the big guy.

So, that's where we are at. We have been able to turn some things around, but it hasn't been without a LOT of hard work and perseverance. There are still things that we need to improve to get ahead and really have things going smoothly, but I think we're on our way.


  • Jul. 1st, 2011 at 11:45 PM
I could have had two different icons up today, dealing with princesses, but I chose this one. Today would have been Diana's 50th birthday. Her son, the Duke of Cambridge, and his new Duchess, were in Canada on this day. I'm sure he was thinking about her, and those two, as well as Prince Harry, are doing a fantastic job carrying on her legacy. She would be proud. Oh, and I do like Princess Kate. ;-)

Ironically enough, today was the civil ceremony marriage of Prince Albert II of Monaco to Charlene Wittstock. So, Monaco has a new princess. Of course, I always felt that if Albert had met me decades ago, he would have settled down sooner, and I would have been an awesome Princess of Monaco. I mean, his mother was originally from Philly, and much of my family is from Philly, so we would have established that true princesses are of Philadelphian stock. ;-) But alas, this was not to be.

I'm still here

  • Jun. 7th, 2011 at 9:36 PM

The need to update my paid account prompted me to visit here again. I suppose I could've left this unpaid, but I've been thinking of coming back, if for not other reason than to vent a bit again. From time to time, I want to write what I'm feeling and what's going on in detail-- warts and all-- and I find that I can't do that so easily. I'm on Twitter and Facebook a lot, I admit, but I'm stifled there, since I have too many relatives on Facebook, as well as my current boss on there, so I can't say much. I say a little bit on Twitter as it's not quite as public, but even so, I don't write much. Since there are security features on this site, I can use this, and I can write on here. JC doesn't like it when I write about our woes publically, but hell, I need an outlet. So if I seem like a Debbie Downer, which I'm often accused of being, sorry ahead of time-- tough luck. There are good and bad things going on, but it's difficult these days to talk about the things that are getting me down, so I think I need to rediscover this outlet.

So, hopefully, now that I've renewed my paid account, you might see a lot more of me. We'll see.

Weird but good situation

  • Dec. 29th, 2009 at 4:30 PM
HRG - Are You Kidding me?
It suddenly turned into a busy afternoon. I got a call from the temp agency, and they told me that the place I used to work asked for me to come back for a short-term assignment, from 1/4-1/22/10. Not as much money as I'd like, but it's money right now. And it'll look good on the resume. Glad they wanted me back!

Anyway, that's the good news-- temp work. I know I said I didn't want anything less than 6-12 months' worth, but there it is.

Bad news: I have to get after school care for Drew again, and I may lose my tuition waiver for the courses. Well, I may have a solution for after-school care. I forgot that the babysitter he had over the summer is still home that week from school, so she can watch him those afternoons, but I have to check to see if she's available if EDP (after school program) won't take him at the last minute.

The tuition waiver is another thing altogether. I called up my contact at the re-employment office. Her feeling is that it's only for a few days so it shouldn't be that bad and that it should be waived, but it's not her determination. She asked someone in her office, and her office said it probably isn't good, but she's going to check with her supervisor, and see what she says, hopefully getting back to me tomorrow.


If it's a "no" on the tuition waiver, it sucks, but then at least I can finally sign up for the courses on my own and not wait anymore. It also means that I have to decide whether to pay for one or two classes on my own as well. I can live without unemployment for a while, and hopefully I can re-apply as soon as this assignment is done. If I can't, well, I'll just continue not to spend too much of my saved up money and continue to look. We aren't hurting, but that's also because I was getting that small stipend from unemployment, and I haven't been spending the money (or at least not that much of it). It's frustrating that I still haven't found a full-time-- or even a part-time job for a while. I just wish the place that let me go would just bring me on, once and for all. Frustration big time.

But, at least I will have something to do as of Monday. And after that, I will definitely have to play it by ear. Life is just crazy.

Loss of freedom extended

  • Nov. 18th, 2009 at 9:15 PM
HRG - Are You Kidding me?
If you are in my close friend bunch and can read my locked entries, then you saw that among the things going on is that my car is in the shop. It's Wednesday night, I dropped off my car last Friday at lunchtime, and I haven't seen it since. I called the mechanic 3 times today alone and texted him once, and got the call about an hour ago. *IF* everything goes okay, then it'd be ready on Friday night. But since we are going to the Meadowlands to see Star Wars in Concert on Friday night, it'll have to be Saturday morning. That's IF things go okay. Evidentally he sent some part out to be pressure tested, and that outsourced place hasn't gotten back to him yet. Once they've tested, then they need to resurface the thing or something...

Geez. Something that was only supposed to take 2 days has not taken almost a week. And since Sunday, I've been trapped at home, because I can't drive JC's car. It's a stick shift, and I don't drive stick. (And I can't, because I've tried learning, but I can't get the hang of it and have nearly ruined JC's transmission on two different cars trying, so it's not worth it.) I can't rent a car because even for the cheapest econo car (assuming that's a stick shift too), that's $40/day, not including tax or gas. By now, I would've racked up over $250, and if I had to wait until Saturday, it'd be more. And this whole repair was estimated over $1K as it is! No, renting a car was NOT an option.

I'm just very frustrated with the whole situation. The guy's customer service skills are lacking. I mean, I first called him today at around 10:30 AM, and he's not getting back to me until 7:30 PM? That's NOT good, especially since he knew that I needed my car. I've had to rearrange a lot of things and have been highly inconvenienced by this, because there are some things that we have to do in a not so convenient way in order to get them done. JC's being cool about it, considering he has to take me all over the place for the next two or three more days. It's just such a mess, and all the things I've had to do to rearrange or work around not having a car is just not making me happy. I've been going rather stir crazy around here too, so I'm desperate to get out of the house (I now understand even more fully how pickleboot feels), and yet in the days when I can finally get out, we're running around like crazy.

This car had better PURR when I get it back, for all the time and inconvenience it's caused and the money being spent. It'd better run like a brand new Mercedes!
Flying Man!
As seen on the back bumper of a minivan at Drew's camp this week....

And just so you know, that's not Little Richard, which I thought it was at first.


Get it? :-P

I love where I live. :-)

My good mom turn of the day

  • Jul. 24th, 2009 at 10:55 AM
Flying Man!
After many weeks of putting it off, and confirming that it looks like it will be a hot, sunny day tomorrow with no particular plans, I was able to set up a last minute playdate for Drew and his best friend, S. S's mom said she's going to surprise her tomorrow, as we'll meet at our favorite pizza joint, and then bring her home for swimming in the pool. Her mom said that S needed a day like this, after a rough week she's had lately, and I know Drew's needed it too. He's been seemingly quiet for him, not quite melancholy, but bogged down. I know the ADHD camp has been pretty intensive, and he misses S a lot. He's been working hard, and he needs a break too with a familiar face. I think they are going to have a fantastic day. The question is, at least as I write this, is whether to keep this a surprise for Drew until tomorrow, or tell him ahead of time. Oh, the excitement. He'll be happy either way, I think.

I did my good deed for the day, and it was for my own little boy. I think we'll have a good time.

Just a little snippet to share

  • Jul. 7th, 2009 at 11:48 PM
Hiro - Yataa!
I'm so glad that Drew has gotten into the groove at his ADHD camp. It started out rough, but his days seem to get better as time goes on.

But today, even though it's only day 6, tops it all so far. Drew was named "Camper of the Day"! He was the first one in his group! He got special privileges and everything for the day, and seemed to take it all very well. He was very excited to tell me all about it, and tell his dad again later. I don't know what the criteria was for choosing him first, but he thinks it's because he's been listening and following directions well in the last day or so. So, we are all proud of him, and I think Drew was proud of himself.

Now, if he can just keep this up ALL the time, we'll be in good shape...


So much for feeling good. :-(

  • Jun. 25th, 2009 at 1:19 PM
princess bride LIAR!
I just got the "heads-up" this morning that more likely than not, they will be letting me go in August. They didn't give me any more details than that, but due to the cutbacks, etc. that the odds of them keeping me after the early retirement package offer expires and restructuring is pretty unlikely.

To say the least, I was shocked. I talked it over with R, and she was shocked as well.

From what the person who broke the news told me (and it wasn't my boss, who still hasn't said a word to me at all, even since being told), my boss will probably not take the package, which I think is crazy for her to do, but we'll see. R was shocked because she knows they'll need help with the new system. I asked her to speak to her "new" boss on my behalf, and see if she can at least suggest me for "consulting" or if they do create a new position, and call me if they need help or want to hire a new person for the new system. They know what I'm capable of doing, after all. The person who broke the news to me also told me that she and my boss would be more than happy to provide recommendations or be references in future job searches, as they were pleased with what I was doing. I also asked if they knew what day I'd be finishing, and she didn't know, but guessed they would at least try to extend the courtesy of giving two weeks notice.

I'm upset and highly disappointed, understandably. While I knew this was a strong possibility, I didn't think I'd hear something until it got closer to August, not the end of June.

I guess there's a few snippets of good things about it. One is that I have at least 4-5 more paychecks coming, minimally, since they won't tell me for sure until August (so I've been told). So that's still money coming in that I can save, and add to my little nest egg. The nest egg is still enough that we can go on vacation and not worry about costs too much (no eating microwave dinners in the room again!), and still have a lot leftover. (After all, I don't pay for the whole thing. JC can afford to chip in too.) JC is still the breadwinner, and we're fine that way. He's the only programmer for his company, and the one who created the system that they use from scratch, so they'd be goofy to let him go. He's got a little bit of job security that way.

The other thing is that if they let me go in August, then I don't have to worry about the daycare for that one week that Drew doesn't have camp anymore before vacation. (All the camps have been paid off, fortunately.) I can probably start my search more in earnest once school starts, and get a bit of a break, perhaps.

I really didn't think it'd go this way. And it still might not, but that hope is so small that I'm not counting on it. I'm really disappointed because I really thought I had a chance of staying, and finding somewhere that I could stay for a long time. It was so ideal, even through all the changes and sacrifices that I had to go through to keep this job. It feels like a little bit of a betrayal. But, I have to remind myself that I was a temp, and nothing more, and that I was always expendable. I was just here for so long, after all.

Bleeh. ;-(,,,

Mini update - Feelings of accomplishment

  • Jun. 25th, 2009 at 9:40 AM
Squier Mini guitar
Boy, while it doesn't take much, it's amazing what a little bit of online shopping can do to give you a sense of accomplishment. It's too bad that I'm feeling physically bleeh. I haven't been getting enough sleep, and I think my body is starting to rebel as a result. I woke up in the middle of the night (well, early morning) with a killer headache. I typically don't get those, I mean any kind of headache that actually wakes me up. It was that bad that it almost scared me. Two hours after taking an Aleve for the pain, it's now just a dull ache in my head. I don't know if it's the body rebelling that I need more sleep and rest, or the weather, or both. I would take the day off, but there's a big "meet and greet" meeting this afternoon, and I'd rather save the days or time for when I feel like I'm at death's door instead. Maybe since JC is working from home today, when I get home I can take a nap for a while and not worry about making dinner.

But I digress...

Two major "purchases" yesterday that will be for the better.

1) Finally bought Drew his electric guitar. Also bought a mini amp and connecting cord too. I finally talked JC into letting him have it sooner than later. We were going to buy it from Best Buy, (heck, we are over there every weekend), but found the same stuff that we were planning to buy at Best Buy from another source online (a reputable one, don't worry) for a lot less. Like, the three items I just mentioned-- the guitar, amp and cord that we bought through the online dealer (no tax, free shipping) was about $30 less than if we bought the same package before sales tax at Best Buy. No brainer. Drew has no idea that we have made the online order. Our explanation for him to do it now is that it's a combination late birthday present, he stuck to the lessons, and he had a good school year and earned it. (Which is true-- I consider this past year, even with its problems, to be his most successful school year yet. The principal didn't call me once! And his report card was still pretty good despite all the stuff that went on with the meds and his aide. I think that counts.) I'm excited about him getting the stuff. I think it will extra motivate him with the lessons. I may get JC a little travel guitar too. He thinks having the cheap toy guitar we have for Drew now, plus the electric guitar (see my icon, btw, that's what it will look like), plus another regular or travel acoustic would be too much. But I have to tell you, JC was fiddling around (no pun intended) on the acoustic more than Drew was, so it might be a surprise for him as well. JC can hold out a little longer, and it might be a delayed Father's Day present, or an early Bday present. I might even try to get into playing it again as well. (Dummy me, JC convinced me to toss out my old guitar when we moved to this house, even though now it would've been good to have, and possibly better repaired had I kept it. It was a very cheap guitar, but still...what was I thinking?) But anyway, I think Drew will be very excited and surprised, and I really hope he sticks with this. I think it might bring him a lot of enjoyment if he does it right.


2)We finally booked our vacation! Yes, we are going back to Myrtle Beach again the week before school starts. In the end, we came to the same conclusion about going there. Even with the long drive, it still ends up cheaper than some other places, and there's more to do with a kid down there. Drew loves it there, and I'm sure with some planning, we can figure out some new things to do as well as the "old" things to do too. We're going to be staying at a different resort/hotel this year. The one we've been going to for the last two years is okay, but it's run down, and even their "renovations" aren't that impressive. They have a great location and their own pier which we liked to walk on at night, but it wasn't enough to keep up there. For just a few dollars more (and I mean only a few dollars), we could get a nicer place a few blocks from there and still be on the end of town that we liked. I think it'll be a good change of pace. I was starting to look at the restaurants and theater show websites around there, and getting excited already. Too bad it's still two months away! But it gives us something to look forward to doing. After looking at the website for the new shopping center that's there that we discovered last year (and it's built up even more since), I really started to get excited about where to go and what to do down there. Maybe I'll still get my day trip to Charleston in this time.

So, having found a good bargain online for my son's guitar and equipment, and having nailed down a good deal for our hotel accomodations and getting booked, you can understand why I feel a certain sense of accomplishment, and why I'd be excited about both of them. Fun stuff. :-)