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Category Archives: Losing a Job


It’s been 13 days since my last post. I am so sorry. I know I said I would keep up. It sounds like I am sitting in a confessional, doesn’t it? “Forgive me father for I have sinned. It’s been 13 days since I last wrote!”  With only 3 comments you have to wonder, is anyone besides my friends, (the REAL friends not just the nosy acquaintances or those that want something from me) who are great supporters of my writing even following this blog? I think the most recent thing on my mind lately is who the hell am I and reassessment. I am re-assessing EVERYTHING. My wheels are spinning constantly. It’s good to have the blog to turn to for my catharsis. I know the main reason when I started this blog was to get my story out about everything I have went through in the last 5 years but now that we are at present day, I hope you don’t mind the present days.

Our play, The Switch was performed on Oct 30 which was probably the happiest day of my life barring the fact that a few people I wanted there couldn’t be there. That would have made me twice as happy but what can ya do? In any case, I think my actors were overworked because they were forgetting lines. That never really happened in rehearsals. I was kinda upset at first but keeping in mind the fact that the show really wasn’t fully cast until two weeks before, how can I really be upset? I received a lot of positive feedback but as a lot of artists feel, you often wonder if people tell what you want to hear. Some may THINK just the opposite – if you don’t agree with the naysayers opinions on how you should handle your work, then it sucks or they want no part of it. One thing I will not involve myself with now or ever is the “write MY way or it’s the highway.” I have wanted to write since I was 6 years old and I will be God Damned if someone is going to try to control it or me.  I am all about input, don’t get me wrong, but the minute the input turns into dictating, PEACE OUT – I am done with you! *KNOCK ON WOOD * – This hasn’t happened but I am just sayin . . .

Back to re-assessing and who am I. . . Let’s start with Who Am I – Maybe some of you that know me can answer that. Maybe you can’t. If I don’t know me, how can you? I feel like I am constantly changing. I felt a change in me coming on the minute my father died in 2009. It’s funny when you really become obsessed with the phrase “Life is too short,” or you start surrounding yourself with different people or you start really honing in on your craft how your mind is on overload and it  just starts going to places you never thought it would or to places where it is not supposed to be.  It’s peculiar too when these thoughts surface when you are out alone or with friends. It’s like I have to say to my brain SHHHHHHH. I often wonder if people can read me when the thoughts start surfacing.  Sometimes I wonder if i make things obvious. I try not to. Reading back over this, that sounds a little strange to you I am sure but it’s nothing to suspect that the white coats need to be called. LOL! It’s a writer/artist thing. You know us types. We are all over the place emotionally especially when you can literally reach out and grab what you want but you really can’t or you have to be prudent or it’s just an oasis and not quite there yet.  Don’t mistake these words because my REAL friends know that I would give them the shirt off my back or do anything for them. I know they would adjust nicely to the lifestyle I desire.  

Now re-assessing – I guess this ties into the above. This whole writing thing has me bursting inside. Like I said I have known I wanted to do this since I was 6 years old. When I was 6 I had a friend Colleen that lived around the corner. We set up my play room like an office. She was my secretary and I was the writer. She would take fake phone calls and write out invoices for our “clients” with titles of stories. She would give me a ton of titles and I would just write. It was at that moment I knew what I wanted to be. As I got older I used to tell other friends how I wanted to make a name for myself but with all the dysfunction that surrounded me, writer’s block and low self-esteem sneaked in. Look I am not even going to pretend that my self-esteem is where I want it to be but the excitement about writing that I had when I was 6 is back. How? I don’t know. My long term goal is to write 24/7, to go around the world for research on novels, and to write theater pieces. It’s frustrating because right now I can’t do that. I don’t have a lot of money where I could sit here, not work and just write. I have to finish my teaching certification program and get a job to pay bills and write whenever I have free time. I wish I had this fire inside me two years ago when I had first lost my job.   I know now what I want, who I want to be, and who I want in my corner. I am a big mush internally so support means everything to me. If there is someone out there that disapproves where I want to go in my life, honestly, I don’t care. I’m tired of living my life with other people controlling it or telling me (us) what a normal life and a normal routine is supposed to be. I never claimed to be normal. I didn’t come from a normal environment.  

On a few side notes, I think I made a point to say I have been having weird dreams and thoughts lately. The dream I had the other night, man, I had to write it down. It certainly would be a good story.

Lately I feel like I have been expressive through music. If you watch some of these videos or interpret some of the lyrics, you would think it was always about an ex. I’ve always been one to interpret everything differently. It could be just a phrase or the emotion used to sing that can trigger something. Take one of my very old favorite love tunes – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0XMn0U9b2Y  There are several phrases in this song that trigger something for me. It certainly doesn’t remind me of an ex.

They fired my personal trainer at the gym. The guy who took over as the fitness manager is such a “salesman” that he doesn’t care about the clients. The trainer I had was very loving and caring. I want to start going to another gym. While I have lost weight, I  have a long way to go. Is it bad as a woman to say that I want to look like Jackie Warner or Jillian Michaels? 

Maybe some of you out there think I am completely bonkers; others of you may see yourself after reading this post.

Who am I right now? I am not yet a teacher and I am not 100% a writer. Mid life crisis or identity crisis? I say identity for sure because I went back and read some previous posts. WOW! I am in a totally different place.


Hello!

It’s been a LONG time. Did you ever hear that phrase “I’m up to my ass in elephants?” That’s me! I have been so busy with my internship, grading massive amounts of papers because of the size of the classrooms, classes, and getting our show revised and edited. Thank goodness I do not have to be in it. I am looking forward to seeing it come to life. I wasn’t sure at first. More and more feedback started to trickle in. Some good and some not so good. We never got to go through process with the play so we had to do a quick revision. It seems to be more conversational now. Of course we allow the actors to have some creative input. When this over we are going to take a playwriting class in New York. I would also like to take a character development workshop.

I am getting observed next week by my supervisor in the classroom I am interning in. My cooperating teacher wants me to do a Revise & Edit lesson. I started the powerpoint tonight. I should probably give it a rest but I think my nerves are a little on edge. I am sitting here now trying to unwind listening to music on the computer. I am listening to Stairway to Heaven. I am not a Zaeppelin fan. I just love this song.  There is a lot to it – metaphors and such.

I promise to write more!


Anyone watch The Singoff last season? NOTA is awesome! – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG0PiVtqLxM I LOVE accapella! There CD comes out in November. This is great too – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbdPeSnXvUY

I started tweaking my play from my undergrad. I had to modernize it big time. I have 5 pages of dialogue right now. I know the concept I want to use. I just have to figure out what I am going to do and what direction I am going to go in.

I taught my third lesson yesterday at the high school I was put in. I have to get my act together with time management. I am so used to doing these damn mock lessons for Kean, that I find I am planning 20-25 minute lessons and then leaving the rest of the period for the activity. I don’t feel comfortable doing that. My cooperating teacher is really great though. She tells not to beat myself up since this is still new to me. Just because someone tells you not to beat yourself up, doesn’t mean you don’t continue to. I am the same way with theater. If I can’t get a song down or dance routine down the first time I do it, I lose my mind. That’s just me. I have that Uncle Ben’s Rice mentality – Instant! By the way, yesterday’s Quote of the Day was from a male student in the 7th period class who when I gave the activity just kind of sat there so I said “Hey too cool for school, you going to write something down or what?” So he says, “I would rather just type it at home. I am not a pre-draft kinda guy.” ALRIGHTY THEN! Too funny. I love the 7th period kids.  

Please tell me why a brand new campus building wouldn’t have computers in the classroom? Of course now I have to borrow a lap top from the professor to do my mock lesson. It’s quite embarrassing. My husband and I are just not in the position to spend money on a lap top right now. Maybe when I get a job but not while I am on unemployment. I swear these things only happen to me. It’s bad enough I am still having flashbacks from the Spring semester. Whatever. What’s going to be is going to be. I have to go back to the scale of 1 to 10 – 10 being losing my father. Where does not having a lap top really fall on that scale? I don’t want to have to go begging for a higher grade though. I’ve already done that once. That’s when my humility surfaces. I hate acting like a big mush. Did you ever notice when you put your heart on your sleeve you regret it later? I guess I am having business flashback where “Kevin” told my husband and I on numerous occasions that I wear my emotions on my sleeve. UGH! I HATE doing that. That’s a character trait I can’t seem to get rid of. Who really appreciates that except your parents and your spouse?

(I would like to wish a Happy 37th Birthday to a friend of 23 years. She knows who she is – Now we can get FV and choose your Kia or my Santa Fe to cruise in. What mid 30s? We are 21 over and over every year! Those were the days of  M. Gizz! :-0)


Did you ever want something for yourself so badly? I love writing. That is why I started this blog. It wasn’t just for the catharsis. It was because I just love to write. I think I mentioned a few blogs back that my husband and I were writing a one-act play and that it was going to be performed. We finished it. After many changes and editing it numerous times, we finished it. I uploaded it on the government copyright page today. I am so happy and so excited. I have waited so long for something like this. On the night it is performed, Oct 30, 2010, I am going to be extremely giddy – kinda like Scrooge at the end of a Christmas Carol after he had his epiphany. I am sure not everyone is going to like it. Just the fact that we completed a one-act play makes me feel great. Something I wrote with my husband is going to be performed. Unreal. I actually started writing a book about the topic of the play. We took that concept and made the one-act. We are thinking about expanding it to a full length play or a screenplay. We have no experience in screenplays but I know I am certainly open to learning. I’m sure my husband is too. Another option is just to keep the book idea. I don’t know but I am psyched! I have always wanted to have my name recognized for something. I never wanted to be just another person in society working a regular job. This has made my journey to this point all the more worth the hurdles.

On September 8, I started interning at the high school I was assigned to. My cooperating teacher is great. She’s very helpful and supportive. I have already taught two lessons. It went pretty well. I had some of my own criticisms about time management. That’s just the flaw of this perfectionist attitude I have developed. I’m tired of failing at things, ya know?

I have also started two other classes. The computer class I have, honestly, I hate it. The professor is inserting lessons on binary numbers. I asked him point-blank what this had to do with teaching English in a classroom. Lisa and Math – HUGE oxymoron.  I do not do math. I hate math. I’m sorry all you mathematicians. I give you credit because I have ZERO patience for it. My other class – so far so good. I’ve had this professor before. I think I mentioned about her class the prior semester where I bombed her lesson plan project. Now in the class, I go and just keep my mouth shut. I know better now because I know her. I am going to do my best to do good lessons. We have to do two literature lesson plans. I wish I could use the lessons I already taught at the high school! She picked the book though. Bummer! I definitely understand why it is more uncomfortable to perform in front of your peers than it is in front of the room with the kids. In the classroom, I brought my personality and a little of the “Prospect Park – Lisa Jersey” swagger. It worked. Being in front of my peers doing mock lessons, eh, not real comfortable. Oh well. I have no choice.


Today is a GREAT football day! My husband’s team, the Bears, are on at 1 p.m., then the Jets at 4:15 p.m. and then my boys are on at 8:20 p.m. I just love when they play at night. *CAN YOU HEAR THE SARCASM COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH?* I get to go to bed aggravated some times. Just lovely. It’s the Manning Bowl II! Lets go Big Blue!

We are just about caught up on the journey or at least we will be fairly caught up after this post. In any case, when I finished the summer semester I think my nerves got the best of me. I wasn’t sure I was ready to do my pre-professional field (one day a week internship) come September. It was bothering me that I was still on unemployment and didn’t have a job. I have this thing about having to contribute to the bill paying. While I am on unemployment, I don’t really consider that “contributing.” With  everything going on with this HORRIBLE governor, I didn’t think there was any way I would get a teaching job come September 2011. At the same time, I was  doing public relations (still am) for a murder mystery group we are a part of. I like doing that. Anything writing related, I love. My first love will ALWAYS be writing, not teaching. My husband said that if I see a job in the paper that I can see myself doing for a long time to submit but not to just submit to anything. I submitted two resumes and never heard anything. I told my husband that was a sign. If I were to get called and hired somewhere, it was meant to be. If not, then it wasn’t and I was meant to stay in school.  At first I was so conflicted as to whether to mail out the first resume. It was for a PR job at a college. I needed an objective opinion so I emailed a friend of mine from Connecticut that I went to college with who has the same passion for writing that I do. We used to work at the local paper together.

I needed some sound objective advice from someone removed from the situation. I explained I had two semesters and two classes left plus the one day a week internship for September. I would be doing my full internship 5 days a week during the Spring semester Jan 2011-May 2011. Heres what was going on in my head in more detail. I had been on unemployment since November 2008. I was tired of not working. Besides working out during the day, I was bored out of my mind and basically found myself doing house wife things – so not me. I don’t know how some women stay home all day. The education program at Kean doesn’t want you working when doing your internship. In the middle of September, the claim I had for unemployment was going to expire. I would start another tier of benefits. The problem was I did not know how much money I would be getting at that point every two weeks but it was believed to be less than what I was currently getting. Our expenses have gone up because we had to get our second new car since the lease expired on our other car. My husband and I both have new Santa Fes. As I stated, my hubby told me if I could find a job that I really wanted to do and could see myself doing for a long time where the salary was good, to go for it. I was conflicted. I didn’t know what to do. Teaching was going to be a fall back position so that I had given myself options career wise with the current state of the economy. However, my love had always been for writing and PR. I love kids, don’t get me wrong, but the excitement I get when I write wasn’t there while I was thinking about it. I had the envelope with my resume, cover letter, and writing samples ready to go for the college PR job. I kept going back and forth whether to mail it or not. The reason I was conflicted was because I didn’t want people thinking I was a quitter in terms of school or that I couldn’t finish anything I start. That seemed to have been my pattern. Since the whole business fiasco, who knew what people would say. Everyone always has an opinion about other people’s business. Whether they tell you to your face is another story. Since losing my job in Nov 2008, I havent really been able to make up my mind about what the hell I wanted to do and I am 35 years old! I didn’t really get a chance to really assess what I wanted to do and really think about it because two months after I lost my job I lost my dad, my pet died, we had a bankruptcy and so on. Who would immediately have a clear head to make a good decision after all that? I was afraid to take a job in the writing/editing field because I have lost my job so many times because of the economy. BUT, if I stayed in school, I am accumulating loans with no guarantee of a teaching job come September which would cause me to look in the writing field anyway. Plus if I stayed in school, I was another year away from working. If I took a job and I lost it again, I was afraid I would be kicking myself for not finishing the program at Kean. I wanted to make the best decision for my family because of this horrible economy. Like I said earlier, I don’t know how much less money from unemployment I was going to get. I was not having any problems in school. I was just trying to figure out what the hell the best decision was for us. God gave me the answer because I did not get any phone calls from either resume I submitted.

I think all the above may have stemmed from fear about actually having to be in a real classroom now and being monitored by a cooperating teacher and supervisor. It wasn’t a mock classroom anymore. I didn’t know if I was ready for a real setting.


 As the time went by I found myself in a bad place mentally but I started classes in September 2009. My first two classes were Shakespeare Survey and British Lit. My thought on this? Oh boy – HATED Shakespeare at the time and wasn’t really diggin Beowulf.  I joked with my husband telling him how ducky my first semester was going to be.

It actually wasn’t too bad. I did awesome. In fact, I was one of the top 3 in the Shakespeare class and my professor, Sister Meg, made that known quite often. That class was A LOT of work. She wasn’t the last to call me out in class. Kean has this thing where the professors like to call you out good or bad in front of your classmates. What’s up with that? Stop me if this is old school, but when I was younger it was, “See me after class” or “Come to my room at the end of the day.” I was never called out at William Paterson or Manchester or Prospect Park School 1. Wait! I take that back. I remember in history class at Manchester, Mr. Reuter came up to my desk when I fell asleep and said, “Ms. so and so, your grades are not good enough in here for you to be sleeping!” Ahhhh Mr. Reuter . . . If only I could do high school all over again.

British Lit went pretty well for me too. The professor was awesome. She broke down every piece of literature we read. I can’t tell you how important that was to me. My smarts are not analyzing literature I can tell you that – especially Old English. I actually found myself enjoying some of the Canterbury Tales. I couldn’t believe it!

I enjoyed my 19th Century Women’s Voices class at William Paterson during my undergrad. Dr. Perry loved me cause I always disagreed with her interpretations and had a mind of my own.  I also used to tell her how horrible I thought Emily Dickinson was. 

As my first semester at Kean came to a close, my husband and I and Melissa, Frank, and Squidge started planning a trip to Canada for New Years. The plan was for the 5 of us to drive to Old Quebec,  stay in a cabin for a few days in St Raymond where it is practically all French speaking, and then stay in a B&B in Quebec City. With my first Christmas without my dad approaching, and my frame of mind, I should have never agreed to go up there because it turned into a debacle.


Since the phone wasn’t ringing when I was applying for teaching jobs through alternate route or any other job I applied for, I registered for classes at Kean University for the Fall September 2009 semester.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdpkFPKo1o4

I had not been in school for 10 years. I was never really good at school. I mean, grammar school my grades were very good but my academics sort of declined as I got older. When I graduated William Paterson University in 1999, my GPA was only a 2.52. I was too immature to be in college when I was there and I was also working almost 40 hours a week to help my mother pay bills. Now I get to do it all over again. I should mention that in July 2009, I taught Creative Writing to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students from an urban district at William Paterson Summer Youth Camp.  I initially applied to William Paterson to get my certification. I read on the Board of Education site that a 2.75 GPA was required to get into any education program BUT if you graduated before 2004, you needed to have at least a 2.5 GPA. Apparently William Paterson was not aware of this, and did not accept me into their education program. I filed an appeal.  (I have to add that when I initially took the Praxis back in 2005 or so I looked into William Paterson’s Education Program and was told by the Assistant Dean at that time I would NEVER get accepted into any education program without going back to school and getting a different Bachelors degree to prove that I could have a better GPA. Really now?) This did not make any sense to me. I had the requirement because I graduated in 1999 and I just taught middle school kids there that summer. After I filed the appeal, I started looking into Kean. Kean accepted me immediately when I applied. The funny thing is way after I registered for 2 classes at Kean and got my books, William Paterson calls to tell me they reversed their decision and decided to take me. I laughed and said, “Sorry I am going to Kean.” Too bad so sad for William Paterson. They initially rejected me because of a GPA I had when I was 18, dealing with parents going through a divorce, and working 40 hours to help my mother? Not my loss. It’s theirs because I currently have a 3.784 GPA at Kean. Whose laughing now? After everything I have been through, it is so gratifying to prove people wrong. I know some of this sounds bitter but that is not my intent. It’s just, well, you get the idea.

Oh brother. Unbelievable. The Jersey Shore cast gets seats to the MTV VMAs. I’m not going to lie I do watch that show but all the perks they get annoys me. I mean I have a real life “situation” to discuss but people would rather see 20 somethings getting wasted and having sex. Sigh.


Sorry there was a lapse in time. I started classes. Today as a matter of fact was my first day interning at a local high school. I will elaborate on being back in college at a later time. Oh boy, I am definitely not used to getting out of bed at 5:10 a.m. The school’s first bell is at 7:20 a.m.

March 20, 2009 – Time for court! My husband and I arrived in a downtown urban area where the court was housed. We walked four blocks to the court building, took the elevator up, and entered the waiting room. The court was PACKED. It was like a sardine can in there. I couldn’t believe all the individuals there for the same reason. Since there wasn’t any room, we stood up against the wall near the entrance and waited for our attorney. When she arrived, she took us into the actual court area we were seated and waited for our case to be called. Supposedly the trustee we were assigned was a real hard ass. When our case number was called, the trustee asked if counsel was present. We approached the table and answered all his questions. He was actually very nice to us. My attorney was shocked at how well he treated us. We explained everything. He had a copy of our Quickbooks. It was very easy to see how much money we lost from this lemon. Listening to him read back our situation left a sour taste. We were sitting with him no more than 10 minutes. He concluded our meeting by saying, “I am assuming you wouldn’t be here if it had not been for this business, correct?” We answered, “correct” in unison. That was it. Our attorney bought us lunch and we left our future in the trustee’s hands. It was another waiting game.

In the next month and month and a half we received news on both fronts. My test scores had come in to ETS Testing Service and we received a letter in the mail from the district court. Nervously I logged into the test site. I clicked on test scores and up they came. WOO HOO! I passed! I got a 164. In order to get a Certificate of Eligibility, a score of 162 had to be obtained.  

When my husband got home from work we opened the letter from the Bankruptcy court – DISCHARGED! The feeling was unbelievable. It was like having an enormous weight lifted off our shoulders. Bye Bye Albatross! We craved a fresh start and now we were going to finally have the chance to get one. One can only watch The Secret so many times!

When I received my Certificate of Eligibility in English in the mail, I started to submit resumes for a Teacher of English position to various districts. I even submitted for Teacher Aide positions. I had two interviews for an Aide’s position out of the 30 something resumes I sent out. This is another situation one has to laugh at. I wonder if people even look at resumes before they call you in.

The Alternate Route path was not working out. A friend of my husband’s who is a principal told him for every position open, the district was receiving 200 resumes. He also said that when he received resumes he separated them into 3 piles – Experience, No experience, and Alternate Route. If someone was alternate route, he didn’t even bother with the resume. Apparently student teaching was a very important component to most districts. That prompted a discussion with my husband about applying to college and getting the certification the standard way. I hadn’t been in college since 1999. Now at 34 I was applying to go back.


Happy Labor Day World! Hope everyone had a nice weekend! The hubby and I ordered new wedding rings this weekend. Finally we are going to match! I can’t believe I start classes again tomorrow. I don’t know if I am ready for the harder part of the journey. Speaking of the journey, let’s get back to it.

It was March 14, 2009 – Praxis Test day. It was literally only a month and a half since my father died. I woke up early, had breakfast, and drove down to the University I am attending now with my husband to take my exam. My body had not been able to come down off the stress yet. I kissed my husband goodbye when he dropped me off at the front of the building. I entered the building and got in line with the other test takers. As I was waiting to go into the auditorium, I got two text messages – one was from my husband wishing me luck and telling me he loves me and the other was from my best friends, Melissa and Frank. They told me they were thinking of me, wished me luck, told me they loved me, and to remember I had a little extra help this time around. They meant my dad was with me. I absolutely prayed for his help and to get me through.

I took my seat and broke the seal when the proctors told us to. I had two hours to finish 120 questions based on all things English related or so I thought. Some of the questions had absolutely nothing to do with teaching English. Isn’t that funny? Two hours for 120 questions? REALLY? It takes several minutes to answer just one question. In some cases, you have to read a paragraph to answer the questions, yet they expect you to take only a minute to answer each question. It’s just absurd to me that it’s mandatory to take a test in order for you to get your teaching certification. Some people are horrible test takers but brilliant in the classroom. It’s just like when you want to obtain a Master’s Degree. What the hell does the GREs and Analogy Test have to do with you wanting to better yourself in a field that has nothing to do with anything that’s actually on the exams? In my opinion, it’s all a bit of nonsense. Just sayin . . .

In any case,  this test was a lot harder than the other two I had taken years ago. As a side note, they raised the score to pass to 162. The first two times I had taken the test, you only needed a 155. I guessed on a lot of the questions. It got to point where I had such a weird feeling. I was on auto pilot. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience and someone else was doing the work for me. When I was finished, I didn’t have a good feeling. My husband was waiting for me in the hall of the building outside the auditorium. He asked how I did. I gave him the raspberries and said, “Forget it! This one was the hardest one out of the three of them.” Now we played the waiting game for the score. If I remember correctly, I think the scores were going to be available in four weeks. Relieved that the test was over, the focus went back to the bankruptcy which was the following week. What was going to happen when I actually had time to sit and digest everything that had happened starting with my father? At this point, I didn’t know because my mind was on court and what our trustee was going to do in regards to our case. I can’t imagine that our petition for Chapter 7 would be denied. We never made a profit in the 2.5 years we owned the gym, I had lost my job and was on unemployment. He had to rule in our favor. Stay tuned!


I wanted an autopsy done on my father. That didn’t happen. According to my old singing teacher whose husband worked in the FBI, if there is a death in the house when no one is at home, it’s the law to have an autopsy. Everyone including paramedics and the town police assumed it was heart related. I know he was having pains in his legs and started taking medication for it. It could have been a mix of meds, it could have been an aneurysm, it could have been a blood clot in his leg that spread, the stent could have closed, or it could have been something else. The very last time my father was in the hospital he had a blood transfusion. He told us the doctors said he needed iron tablets. A blood transfusion for a heart patient? I still don’t believe it to this day. I think everyone thinks I am a ball full of nerves and there was more to this story that I wasn’t privy too. The funny thing is everyone is so wrong. Especially these days. It honestly annoys me sometimes when people think they know me when they really don’t. When someone starts spending 24/7 with me like my husband does or if someone has been friends with me as long as some people in my life have, then you have the right to say you know me. Until then, you don’t anything about me.

In my father’s will he specified he didn’t want a viewing or funeral. He just wanted to be cremated. I think he didn’t want his family to have to emotionally suffer. His wishes weren’t honored. Our family was talked into a memorial service and private family only viewing in Ridgewood. Each one week after another. This whole thing lasted two weeks between the viewing and the memorial. The day of the viewing my brothers and I wore our Giants jerseys for our dad. He was in a coffin with a Giants t-shirt and sweats. Makes me laugh.  We always joked that we wanted to be buried in our Giants jerseys. That was one of the hardest things in my life I have ever had to see.

Sons and daughters of my father’s friends came to the memorial service the following week with posters and sayings my father said. My father coached football so all his old players came. Someone made a photo collage on their computer. Others made poster board collages of pictures of my dad. Some were with his friends, some with me, some with my brothers, some with my stepmother, and some with my husband and I. Replaying over and over again on the computer collage was I Will Remember You by Sara McLaughlin. That killed me. I was hysterically crying. As the night went on, there was a line out the door and around the block of people coming to pay their respects to my father and the family. It was incredible. I couldn’t believe the outpour of people and love.

I just wanted all this to be over. I still had the Praxis exam to take in March. My husband and I still had the bankruptcy to deal with. How was I going to handle all of this when I just lost my father? This was still a shock to my system. It’s still a shock even to this day. As the days followed, I said after losing a parent, how much worse does it get. From now on, everything was going to be weighed on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being my father dying. And so continued the domino effect.

Two weeks later my pet bird who was still having a little bit of trouble after being seen by the vet months ago didn’t seem right. When we were getting ready to go to bed, she was able to climb to the top of her cage to what we called her “sleep cup.” We covered her and went to bed. The next morning when we woke up, our bird heard us. To get us to uncover her, she always played what my husband and I called “bat bird.” She would flip herself over and flap her wings real hard. I was happy to see she was able to do that after the symptoms she was showing the night before. I uncovered her and when she flipped herself back up on her cup, she was teetering back and forth. I put my finger in the cage. She hopped up on it. The minute I had her out, she collapsed and died in my hand. She wanted her mother. She wanted me to be there. It was heart wrenching. First I lost my job. Next bankruptcy was decided, then my father died, and two weeks later my bird died in my hand. I thought for sure I was being cursed. Someone was giving me the evil eye. What else could it have been? Why was this happening to me? What did I do? Was this punishment for being greedy and having to have a business and wanting money? I had no answers. I honestly didn’t know how much more I could take. I should have read this prayer over again back then:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

I think my faith may have been being tested.