The only thing I take seriously is my Freedom. And Bacon.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Eliza Starts A Rumor by Jane Rosen

Eliza Starts A Rumor is a great book. The characters and story lines were so interesting that it only  took me two days to read. The story centers on a few women in a suburb outside of NYC. It touches on our present day social media boards (Facebook) and how damaging it can be. A series of women become connected through a rumor on this board, and it has devastating effects. There is a silver lining among the dark clouds for all the women, and by the end, through courage and strength, all the women are on their way to flourishing.

This book will be available June 23, 2020.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Wuhan Strikes - Live For the Moment or Plan for The Future?

It all feels just so...end of times.
This Wuhan Cornoavirus Covid19 (or, to be honest, a really bad case of the flu) is crazy.
On late Thursday night, March 12th, I learned that Macy's (where I'm working) would be shutting down starting Friday the 13th (the unluckiest of days) and will hopefully reopen on March 28th.

Would we be getting paid?
The stories varied from "people leaders" to what we were reading on the Macy's online employee portal. One said we'd get paid for the first day of closure if we were scheduled to work. Our "people" leader said something different. Then we were told we'd be getting paid for 3 days of work out of 5 days of work the following week.  Zero mention of pay the second week.
That has since changed and now our online portal tells us "it's all under review."

Literally I feel every time I get so far in life (money saved, bright skies on the horizon) BOOM! Back to square one.

At times I feel like: What's The Point? and I revert back to that girl - fifteen years ago- that lived for the day, the moment, the fun, not the future.

I practiced what Tim McGraw said, "Live Like You Were Dying."

It took me quite a while to change from an impulsive life to thinking toward a future life.

Until one day I found myself saying, "Cake today? No way. I love my skinny jeans that I found at a thrift store for 5 bucks!" Ah- that was discipline. Thinking of the future. Not the moment.

My life has always been one of changes. As a Military Brat I was accustomed to moving. To adapting. Then we lived for a whole 8 years in one place...and to be honest, toward the end there, I was bored.

My parents thought I'd take it the worst when they announced we were going to move. I was headed into my junior year in highschool, had a close group of friends, and had a collection of posters on my wall that took me forever to get "just right."

I took the news well. My brother, 8 years younger, was the one that was upset. He had never known change. He'd lived almost his whole life at our house in Illinois.

Off we went though, and my next 21 years would be a series of changes, chaos, and there were as many beginnings as there were endings. The only constant in my life was change. Even after having children, you'd think they would tether me. The only thing I could tie myself to was the father of those children who worked really hard and drank even harder.
We were far away from close family. And to be honest, I didn't really understand what it was like to have close family. Though my mom and dad came from large families, respectively, my parents left the small town they grew up in because of "narrow minded" "gossip mongering" relatives.

My parents spoke very little about what actually went on but from what I know, my dad came from a mostly blue collar family, was a bit of a hell raiser, and didn't practice the same religion as my mother's side of the family. My dad was also a "grease monkey" and apparently, not good enough for my mom.

Anyhow, most of the changes in my life came from me, an internal struggle. It came from the different messages I received growing up. Something not working? Adapt. Move on. Move.

I was taught that speaking up against wrongs were noble. And then promptly was vilified for speaking out. I have to say, it didn't really stop me. Though because of speaking out,  I've had to adapt, move on, and move.

And then I reached an age and settled down with a partner and have spent 15 years in one spot. With one man. I've lived long enough in one spot to own a collection of bakeware, recipe books (though I'm at a time of my life I'm paring down), and Christmas decorations.

Life prior to the last 15 years was one in which I knew to never really invest in THINGS because I had a poor picker in men. The one really nice guy I married was TOO NICE, too predictable. However, his ex-wife was one sneaky cocksucker, and he hated dealing with her and I hated him being taken advantage of.
After that marriage ended, I reversed and picked a guy who was the best present giver ever, but also a cheater, drug addict, and abuser. And then just when I swore off guys, the next guy comes along and he's a variation of good and rebel. He is totally opposite me. Though he has a job that thrives on chaos; in his life, he has a rhythm. He has habits he rarely changes. Part of what keeps me staying is: I can't figure this guy out. 
Part of what keeps me staying is...wanting to not give up on something.
It's totally romantic when Zac Brown sings about his gypsy soul and how he was born for leaving.
And of course, Eric Church's version of Bob Seger's Turn The Page is angsty and the only thing he's not giving up is the road no matter how exhausting and ugly it is.
The culture I grew up in (and still exists today) is: If you don't like it, change it! You can be anything you identify as! Hard work doesn't pay off unless you happen to have been a  NAVY SEAL, lift weights, and do a Podcast.

I'd been trying to find that steady. I'd lived the majority of my life in a cloud of chaos. As a youngster, understanding not to get too invested in the view outside my bedroom window, because it could change in a week, and often did.

As a young adult - maybe I thought that having babies would give me that sense of stability I'd never seem to find. But dang if I couldn't help being who I am and not putting up with a drunk abuser.

And though kids are the greatest joy, if you don't have a firm landing place, if you don't have safety nets, you can easily find yourself behind the eight ball. And that's where I've always been.
I've always felt I'll never get out of this hole. I'll  never know the feeling of living without worrying about money. I'll never know what it's like to buy a house in my name. I'll never have my own house where I can invite people over, family over. I might end up on the street one day. All it would take it one shoe dropping.
I've tried everything...I've tried leaving, moving on to a better job, better area. Staying. Even if I'm unhappy, stay and make it work. I've tried making good choices. I've tried making better choices. I've tried working hard. All working hard got me (when I worked for other people) was more responsibilities. Especially when you work as a part time person. You'll receive more hours, but none of the benefits that come with it.
I've tried hardly working. Hardly working seems like money for nothing, but in all actuality, for me, it tarnishes my soul. I like to feel purposeful. I like to feel proud of my work ethic. When a company treats its' employees like bodies and not like humans, I still find myself actually working simply because it's not worth the heaviness my soul will eventually drag my spirit and my self worth down.
Back to the Wuhan Virus.
I'd had some money saved up.
I actually bought a NEW PURSE and not from a CONSIGNMENT shop. Granted, the purse cost 22.00 (but it was originally 108.00!). I waited weeks before buying it. My daughter, when I first showed it to her when it was sitting on the shelf, said, "Oh, that purse is SO YOU." And then later, a co-worker said the same thing: "It's so you!" And so, I treated myself. I was getting more hours at work while a co-worker was on leave for a few weeks, I had a tax refund, my car (knock on wood) hadn't required an emergency service for a month or so. I was feeling SO CONFIDENT I even took advantage of cheap airfare to Nashville and bought a 70 roundtrip ticket. The last vacation I took was 2013 - 7 years prior. And that was paid for by my husband.

And now, here I am again. However, this time, many people join me. Our country is thrown into chaos over a flu. A flu.

Part of me wants to get drunk, eat chips, and sing - that live for the moment girl. The other part of me says: Two weeks off? Time to GET STUFF DONE. I feel fine (so far) - use this obstacle as an opportunity.

Write. Rewrite. Clean. Exercise. Read.

It will be an inner battle. Maybe my lot in life is to just always be behind this eight ball. It could be so much worse. And the one thing I've had plenty of experience in - is chaos. Instead of treating it like an enemy, I should welcome it,  and let it drive me forward.

I still would really like to get paid by Macy's though.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

After She Wrote Him by Sulari Gentill

After She Wrote Him : Author Sulari Gentill available April 7, 2020:

This is a fascinating book that, at times, does become a tad confusing. An author creates a character who is himself a writer, who then creates a character after the author. Sound confusing? At times, it is. However, each "world" is interesting and each chapter had me hurrying on to the next one. It does all tie together nicely and this is a fresh, creative, thriller that is deeply inviting and shuts the real world out.

5 Stars!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Working In Loss Prevention - Macys, Bloomingdales, Target

Many years ago, I worked as a Loss Prevention Detective at Bloomingdales. Of course, as is often with events in life, I remember the good times. I worked with a team of people, however, there was one guy that I clicked with.

Dave was great. We had a-lot of fun and when I made a call out, he listened to me and took me seriously.

Probably because my first day on the job, he was reading the morning paper, drinking coffee, set for a relaxing day, and I was watching the monitors that were watching the shoppers on the floor and said, "Uh, Dave, I think that guy just stole some jeans."
Dave sighed, temporarily looking up from the paper to watch the customer I had pointed out.
"Holy Shit," Dave said, then radioed the Abington Police that he was about to make a stop.
Dave chased the guy through the parking lot (we weren't supposed to step off the curb but many years ago, that rule was overlooked). One of the cops somehow got into an accident responding (nothing major, just blew out a tire on the median).

But we got the guy (rather, Dave did), and from that day, Dave and I worked really well together. Communicated. And laughed a-lot.

It was a short lived job...everyone left to become cops, join the military, or, in my case, start a sales job that brought in double what working in LP brought in.

Many years have since passed, many jobs, and yet, other than being a paramedic, loss prevention remained my most fun job I'd ever had.

In 2018 I went back to the loss prevention field, this time for Target. Well. Much had changed in the field. And Target...well, unfortunately, the store I was at went through many mangers and the whole store was going through a "makeover." I was also shocked at the amount of creepy things and creepy people (men) that preyed on customers (excuse me, "guests") at the Montgomeryville Store. And the Operations manager did NOT want the public to know about these incidents.

A new Asset Protection Manager came to our store and he was...odd. He told me I cared too much about the job and was too enthusiastic. The AP District Manager told me to do things one way, but my store manager told me the complete opposite. I had loved working at Target my first few months. I was basically solo for 6 weeks after the manager that hired me was moved to a different store and my new manager was in training for 6 weeks. I made it work. But when the new manager, Tom, came in, he was cold, had the personality of brick, spoke about hiring more diverse people, but told me I should me more like Craig and Sam (men). Hmmm. The definition of diversity means variety.

Anyway, I asked to be relocated to a different store, Tom refused, and I resigned.

Off to Macy's I went. The great thing about Macy's  is that I am in plain clothes. When I arrived at Macy's - they too, were in a state of flux. Getting new cameras, new systems that identified people on TrueVue (as you walk out the door, the towers scan what you bought and match it to a receipt. No receipt, it's a good bet that it's stolen and reviewing tape can prove or disprove it.)

My manager, unfortunately, as is too common across most retail organizations, is also the Operations Manager. He is spread way too thin. It's obvious his heart is in Asset Protection. Unfortunately, training is basically bare bones. And I started during the busiest time of the season - Oct, Nov, Dec. The team I work with comes together when working a case, and of course, that's when the job is awesome. However, the team when NOT working a case, is frustrated. There's such little communication and no clear guidelines on how to handle situations. The history of that department is crazy! I keep telling the old timers they need to write a book! From a local cop who was forcing shoplifters from Macy's to have sex with him after he picked them up to take them to the station (he was fired) to a detective who was stealing his co-workers food, and also stealing merchandise and would walk out one door with it, and in another door to get a refund for it!

I used to say if I won the lottery, it's a job I'd do for free, however, there's just such a lack of caring and training from corporate. It's not just Macy's - it's all over. And the criminals have more rights than the people assigned to protect the assets of the companies.

If you're thinking of getting into Loss Prevention, do it. Despite all the problems, it's a fascinating job. You might be good at spotting shoplifters, you might be good at investigations, you might be good at internals, you might be good at auditing, you might be good making sure high risk merchandise has appropriate security measures, hopefully you'll be good at most of them.

It's a thankless job. But it can be an exciting job. And if you are lucky enough to land on a good team, you'll love your job despite the frustrations.

Taco Johns Potato Ole Recipe Update

Taco Johns - Potato Ole Recipe

When I move away from an area, it's usually not the people I miss, it's the food. (KIDDING) (somewhat).

It's been years since I've been to a Taco Johns. They just don't have them on the East Coast. Yes, I know we have pierogies and cheesesteaks and hoagies, but my GOD, sometimes, I just want some damn nachos and potato oles from Taco Johns.

I tweeted about how much I miss those potato oles - they are little crispy crown potatoes that have this fantastic spicy yet a hint of sweet seasoning.
Someone was kind enough to send on a recipe for homemade potato ole seasoning. I tried it out today, and it is fabulous! Granted, it's been awhile since I've had them, but they satisfied my craving! Ole!

I used Ore Ida Crispy Crowns - but I suppose they'd work on tater tots too!
Cook Crispy Crowns as directed.
While cooking, mix:

Taco John's Homemade Potato Ole's! So Good!

  • teaspoons Lawry's seasonings salt (I, however, used Jane's Krazy Mixed Up Salt that I got from Fresh Market)

  • teaspoons paprika

  • teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 

  • After removing Crispy Crowns from the oven - sprinkle on to your liking and serve with sour cream/ranch dressing/or spicy ranch dressing. 

    A reader suggested this recipe from Top Secrets Recipe Cookbook: 
    4 tsp Lawry's seasoning salt
    2 tsp paprika
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1 tsp cayenne pepper (basically subbing the cayenne for the cinnamon)

    Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl
    Sprinkle of tator tots or crispy crowns
    Bake tots or crowns following instructions on package.