July

June 30

2011:  don't see me ever saying "I hate my job". But, "I hate my job TODAY!" Glue stick? 100 small metal objects? Point and shoot digital? Photoshop? I'm done - Enough for today - going to have a cocktail, meatloaf, mashed, veg & movie.

"Jack of all trades, master of none" is the term that comes to mind when I think about the vast amount of projects that I have worked on in my lifetime to pay the bills.

This project paid quite a few bills and although I do like a challenge, the challenges of this project were many and not many of them were fun for me.

I was impressed that this local client was already doing so well with e-commerce.  I was even more impressed that he produced a piece product that was being bought in bulk in China.  Dog tags.  I would have guessed that China would have a corner on the market for such a product, but, I would have guessed wrong.

The reason I was retained was to be the technical liaison when speaking with the India company that was tweaking and publishing the company website.  It's not an easy feat to talk tech with techies from India.  A communication and cultural exchange that could cause high blood pressure in the most mild mannered soul.  But, I was getting paid well, so I endured.

Shortly after proving my worth to this company, I was asked to handle other odd tasks and I did because my pay rate justified working as many hours as I could.

It was a challenge and a mistake for me to offer to take digital images of metal dog tags.  I didn't have the right equipment or the right experience at staging those kind of photographs.  I labored over this task and I'm thankful that I could do it from home because my temper flared on more than one occasion and it probably wasn't pretty.

One day I just up and decided that spending long days on a project that causes me misery is just not worth the money.  I cleared my house of dog tags, handed over hundreds of digital images and thanked the nice client for the experience.

2012:  Bonnet Shores Beach Club History: here’s something sad – I just scanned 100+ beach photos from the ’20’s. With the technology we have today, I can zoom in and see that what looks like ‘ants’ in the photo is really a family of 5 – all smiling/laughing with white teeth, slim, fit and having fun. The sad part is that most of the ppl in the photos aren’t around to see them anymore

June 9

2016:  Such a long and very productive day. And look what I got... pretty toes for the first time since Janie made me get them done last. Yes... that long. I hate pedicures. I'm ticklish to a fault. Jane used to shame me into going and she'd always come with. She was probably with me every step of the day today. I'm now ready for flip flop season

2019: This was a facebook memory from a few years back.  I remember it well because I fit this mani/pedi in between meetings.  After I got this done, my next meeting was at Ruby Tuesday's where I scheduled an introduction between my ex (in life and business dealings) and one of my clients.  I made the connection because I knew that both could help each other in an up and coming industry.

I was right.  I provided the connection my other half needed - a cash cow so to speak.  I'm disgusted that he doesn't remember that and has chosen to devastate me financially rather than reward me for years and years of service for our mutual betterment.  A pity.

June

May 5

1980. ’80’s Are Just Entering The Scenes Now.

Graduated from St. Patrick's High School in May of 1980.  Didn't know if I was going to graduate because I was at a stage of rebellion at that time and I failed my Religion final exam.  I got a 4 grade on a scale of 1-100.  I was reading Steven King novels at the time, smoking weed, and having fun.

Like, going to the Frat House near Delta Drug and Kentucky Fried Chicken on Smith Street in Providence, RI.  Two floors of nightclub fun and open bar from 7pm until 9pm for a whopping $3.00 cover.

My friends and I were young, and broke.  But, we were tenacious.  We rolled up pennies in wrappers to pay our cover. Got Mom to give us a ride to Delta Drug next door and drop us off.  We paid our way in with penny rolls.  Enjoyed open bar for a couple of hours.  Drank for the rest of the night on my brothers and friends.  Always had a ride home.

The '80's were full of those open bars.  Playden cost $5.00 and had open bar and buffet with hanging meats.  Barry's in Warwick cost $5.00, too.  They had a buffet and top shelf liquors.  Black Russians were the drink of choice for me at that time and I am not sure how I ever got home safe.

But, I always got home safe.  I had those brothers and lots of friends that I speak of.  I was taken care of.

HOWEVER, there were some times after we all got home that I would get these calls.
Michael: "Mary, I am in the Cranston police station and I need you to take Mom's car and come and get me.  They won't let me drive because I am drunk".
Me: No Michael.  I'm drunk, too.  I'll call John.
Michael:  Mary, He's locked up, too.  Ya gotta do this for me.
Me:  Ok.  On my way...

2010: I was still happy then.  Although my brother John and my Dad had already passed, I had time to process those deaths and I had learned to carry on with fond memories and stories of each of them.  And I still had other siblings - my closest in age being Michael and Janie - "We Three Of Family B"... We were tight and we were all still alive.  In 2010, I was also happy with my ex-SO (significant other) and we were building a house after spending over a decade of days and nights living together, working together, loving each other and sharing family with each other.  I began planting perennials by plant and by seed.  Leaving a legacy in my wake...

2013: On this day in 2013, life the way I knew it in 2010 had changed drastically. They say that hindsight has 20/20 vision and in hindsight I see the warning signs that should have made me run away from my Ex to a safer haven.  I never could have guessed what I would have to endure for the next few years, but, I never stopped wanting a better life and on this day in 2013, I secured the kind of job that would allow me to flee if need be.

As I said, on this day in 2013, I never could have imagined what I would have to endure for the next few years.

2014: By this date in 2014, my brother Joe was in his final resting place for five full days already.  My Mom's health had been declining for years and my sister Janie had already begun aggressive treatments to try and eradicate the surprise cervical cancer that had been discovered just about a month before.  On this day in 2014, she had no white blood cells and she was worried that I might've been mad at her because of the painful time we shared while she was transfused.

On this day in 2014, my life was already officially dedicated to doing what I could to keep my sister alive. It was a singular focus and the most important responsibility of my life.  And I failed.

2015:  On this day in 2015, Janie had already been gone for one month and five days.  Her death wasn't an April Fools Day joke.

2016:  The signs come in strong from those that are already gone.  Michael is still alive but we are estranged.  That was meant to be.  I was meant to venture out and try to find a new life without having to deal with seeing him die.  There was only so much I could handle.

2017.  Michael died in January of this year.  I kept my head in a computer coding, kept busy with charity work and began taking bullets from a toxic ex significant other.  In 2019, I became a Hazel Nut.

2019:  We're all still learning how to live and work together. There are a lot of people in and out of this house and things are constantly moved or rearranged. I'm not used to that.

If I'm not left with a nightlight to guide my way to the bathroom at night, I have to light up the stair way. And since Hazel's room has been rearranged, she sees my shadow looming down the stairs each time I need the restroom which causes her to call me by name... sometimes relentlessly - all night long.

The lesson here is to keep the bathroom light on with the door ajar. I won't break any bones and Hazel won't know I'm on the first floor. Kind of simple. TY.

2019: If I listed the kitchen staples that I am out of (important things), you can start calling me the "kitchen magician". How many things can you make when ONLY vegetables are delivered. I got crafty today.

Lentil Veggie soup has cauliflower, onions, yellow peppers, garlic, white and sweet potatoes. I only had dried herbs to use (parsley, basil, onion powder) and no stock or bouillon so I stole seasoning from a package of ramen. A quart in the freezer, a quart in the fridge and she devoured a big bowl so I know it was a good choice.

I had potatoes and about 3 dozen boiled eggs (a donation), but, no mayo. So Potato/Egg/Veggie salad with peppers, cucumbers, red onion and tomato. I had no olive oil or enough dressing so I simmered canola oil with all my dry herbs and added some white wine vinegar. It's all I had. I used equal parts of potato, eggs and veggies. It's healthy for sure and she devoured that, too... although she didn't know what she was eating.

THANKFULLY, I bought scallions and had fresh ginger in the freezer so I was able to make a version of my famous chicken and broccoli. I missed having sesame oil on hand, but, I did what I could. Marinated the chicken with garlic, ginger, hot pepper seeds, a little soy (ran out), cornstarch and scallions. Cooked the chicken, removed. Cooked broccoli stems (fiber) with more garlic, ginger and scallions. Added florets and steamed until bright green. Added chicken back and doused with 1/2 flavor packet of Asian ramen and cornstarch slurry. I had a couple taste testers to let me know how that turned out... I didn't need to test it. And the house smells incredible.

The sweet potatoes will be roasted and a big salad will be made with some chicken strips and eggs for protein.  It's nice to have some peace on weekends to accomplish this kind of healthy cooking. It's only 5:15 pm... I'm not done yet.

2019: Those eggs will be deviled now, Hazel.  And you'll have some asparagus and even corned beef (and hash and eggs, maybe) this week, too.  I've got some mighty fine friends that read my crap and have you in their hearts...

I was able to send some lentil soup and chicken and broc in return.. but, NOTHING... and I will reiterate, NOTHING can compare to the thought that went into this delivery.  Sleep well you pretty in pink Queen of the house.  Me and all my friends are in your corner....

2019: Last night I was typing to myself.  This morning I woke to an email with the subject line, "An Ode to Michael".  He was one of a kind, ya know.  I don't know if anyone will ever really know him as much as I did.  I was a lifelong mission for him.

The Kempo Karate post had me thinking...

"My body and mind is on chill tonight.  That's a nice place to be.  January-April is still a rough time for me.  I was trying to find that post that I read that prompted me to find photos of Michael at George Pasare's studio.  I couldn't find it.

But, the person who posted shared a story about learning from the masters in regard to what to do if being attacked by a dog.  He was told to let the dog grab hold of his left arm, even though it would hurt like hell.  It left his right arm open to drive his fingers into the dogs ear and end it all.

This is true and I was mentored in the same way.  Sounds horrendous - especially as a young girl to hear.  But, Michael came home from his years and years of training and taught me so much... a never ending lesson. I never had to use any of it... but, I always thought myself capable.  I made it a point to keep myself (and family and friends) out of trouble so none of those teachings would come to fruition.

The fellow went on to add that it happened to him and it worked out in his favor in a way.  His left arm took a beating (through a leather jacket), but, he scared off the dog and also got in a couple right shots to the dogs snide owner.

That may sound like abuse in this day and age, but, it wasn't.  It was trained self defense. It's the way real men learn how to protect.  Hands, feet and close combat.

One of the most valuable lessons Michael ever taught me was that not all people out there are like my brothers.  They use guns and knives instead of hands and feet.  He told me to run away from any exchange I might see happening.  That was a very valuable lesson that saved me and my friends while out and about during the nightlife scene.

Sometimes I don't know if the stories that I remember so well should be shared.  Other times I know in my heart that they need to be shared."

2020:  Today marks 9 months smoke free.  I've got some allergies going on but, I think I am Covid free.  I feel like this day in 2019 was a million years ago.  Once again I find myself in a position where I am forced to locate my next place to call "home for now" and begin meeting the people who are destined to be in my next chapter.  This pandemic is making things difficult, but, difficult is something I have become used to.

 

May

2018. Me And My Philanthropic Interests

If you've ever wondered why I have very strong opinions about philanthropy and why I choose to support grassroots and growing organizations, this may be a good example.
In my early days of fundraising and supporting community efforts, I had the opportunity to meet people who were passionate about making a difference. People from all walks of life. And where there is true passion, good things happen.

For instance, in the mid '90's, I was introduced to my friend Jean. Jean founded House of Hope CDC... and she had an undeniable passion for the small nonprofit organization that she later grew into a very successful community development corporation that expanded in leaps and bounds. I can't imagine how many people found safety, shelter and food because of her work.

Had I not met her and so many people like her, I might not have gotten so involved in philanthropic efforts. But I was mentored and educated by people with that kind of passion. And look at the legacy she can still claim because she poured the foundation and dedicated her career to make it grow.
#ProudOfMyFriends http://www.wpri.com/news/local-news/mobile-unit-will-provide-showers-haircuts-for-homeless/1127335124

2017. Work Ethic

Millennial: I just want to be a digital nomad. My family is from all over so I just want to take my laptop and work from anywhere.
Me: Yes, you can do that.
Millennial: But, I heard a podcast that says that says you have to deal with client emails after the project is done. I don't want them to keep contacting me like that.
Me: Why? Would you have a hard time emailing a reply from the beach in Positano? Really?