Monday, July 19, 2010

Cloudy with a chance of kindness

Hazy. Hot. Humid. Chance of thunderstorms. Classic July weather forecast said Fox 5 Weatherman Mike Woods.  I laced up my sneakers, grabbed my water and Ipod and headed out. I drive each day to a local park, walk three miles outside of the park and finish up with two miles in the park. It usually goes well, until today.

I was about two miles from the park - and my car - when suddenly the sky turned black and I could hear the distant rumbles of thunder. I had no choice but to keep going, when the lightening lit up the sky. Okay, now I was getting a bit scared. I headed towards a main road - away from trees - and picked up my pace. Then the rains came.  Torrential. Drenching. If I was driving, the type of rain where your wipers seemed useless. I tried to run - it wasn't pretty - but I knew I couldn't run the whole way back.

I tried to think of someone who could come and get me, but I wouldn't be able to see my phone contacts in the downpour. I was totally soaked - shoes, shorts, hat....I kept squishing along the road, desperately looking at the cars flying by me, splashing even more water on me, to see if I could recognize anyone who could drive me back to my car. No luck. Then I started to wonder...would I stop for a complete stranger - a soaking wet stranger - and offer them a lift. Granted I look like what I am - a middle-aged woman, trying to get her daily exercise - not exactly on any one's terror watch list. As I distracted myself with these thoughts, a car suddenly stopped, the window rolled down, and a woman said "hey, do you need a ride somewhere?"

I quickly jumped in her car and apologized for being so wet! She said "don't worry - where can I take you?"  I couldn't stop thanking her and babbled on and on - she kept smiling and said "no problem". She took me to my car and drove off to work.

I'm not sure how you can really thank a stranger who took a chance and did the right thing. I just hope that if I am driving down the street in a rainstorm and see a bedraggled looking woman I won't hesitate to help. Now, if it was a man...not so sure. I am paranoid enough to think the worst...don't want to be a headline on the The New York Post ( mentioned on Page that would be different!

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

I did not choose unemployment

My usual Sunday routine is to pour myself a mug of Irish tea, flip on the CBS Sunday Morning show and file for unemployment on my MAC. However, tomorrow will be different. The bank is empty. I will be one of the 3.2 million people hoping that the Senate does pass the extension bill on Tuesday, now that we have the 60th vote from the new interim West VA Senator, Carte Goodwin.  If for some reason, I don't get my extension - then what? What can I do to find a job that is any different from what I have been doing these past 18 months?

I have networked, updated my resume, crafted individual cover letters, attended job fairs, worked with the counselor from the New York State Unemployment office and have tried to be optimistic that there is something out there for me. It is embarrassing and and yes, sometimes I even feel ashamed that  I haven't found anything yet. I keep coming back to the line from the movie "The Wrestler" when Randy 'The Ram' Robinson says to his daughter "And now, I'm an old broken down piece of meat... and I'm alone."

Lucky for me, I'm not alone. I stand with my fellow unemployed Americans and try to keep my head up, ignore the slings from certain groups that we all could have a job if we really wanted to. 
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

60 votes...please do not forget us

It has been a few months since I have written in my blog. I just reread what I have posted in the past and was pleasantly surprised by them. I think I captured a lot of what I was feeling at the moment...and isn't that the point?

What's on my mind today? The biggest concern I have now is the fact that my unemployment is out - unless the US Senate can reach the 60 votes needed to pass the extensions. I have been all over the Internet trying to find out how to make my voice heard - and was cheered on by the fact that there are a lot of people out there giving out very useful information and links to email our senators to urge them to vote it in.      Unemployed Advocate

The stories are heartbreaking. Too many people are now living in their cars, moving in with family members, or are becoming homeless. You can't find a job when you don't have an address, access to a shower, or money for gas or public transportation to interview for a job. 
It's even harder for the terminally unemployed...people who have been out more then nine months. There are actually companies that are now including in their job postings not to apply if you are unemployed! Looking for a job? Unemployed don't need to apply (

I am married, my husband is still working, we have health care, so I count myself as one of the lucky ones. He is under tremendous pressure as the sole breadwinner, with one adult daughter at home (can't afford to move out - even working two jobs - and she has a college degree) and one son still in college. He goes to work every day, dreading the workday that never really ends - thanks to his blackberry.

Jobless need Congress' help ( Let's stop the finger pointing and give all the Americans who want to go back to work a chance - but please continue to help us out along the way. Together we can try to dig ourselves out of this crisis - or face the real possibility of two-three million people scrambling to find food and shelter.
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