Wednesday, August 18, 2010

ambivalence is my word

la di da . . . just spent four luxurious days in Gloucester, Mass., with my long lost buddy L, her two beautiful blonde-haired daughters, and my patient travel companion, Rob. I hadn't seen L in over twenty years, we were best friends in our Tufts University days, in our twenties, and it was as though no time had passed. It just felt that comfortable. We both are having financial struggles so we were frugal, bought live lobster, cooked at home, lots of salad from her garden, sweet juicy tomatoes and bright green basil. Took long walks along the ocean with her new puppy, certainly nothing extravagant, just taking in the gorgeous scenery of the North Shore, the huge glacial rocks tossed about like pebbles, offering up a cozy seat for a quiet read. Speaking of reading, has anyone read The Kite Runner (I know it's been around for a while), or Eat, Pray, Love? Both are a nice easy read without grabbing a dictionary every other word.

And now we're home. Back to reality. Ugh, reality. But L was such an inspiration, to keep up the job search, without complaint, to be disciplined. All amidst a demanding family. So I'm calling for pharmacy jobs (oh, now I can speak of the mystery pharmacy job, it's as a medical communication specialist . . . and the Board of Pharmacy actually okayed it! Finally, throwing me a bone, after what, a year and a half of denying everything and anything).

And one last thing, after fretting back and forth for most of this year, and actually the last three, on and on about what to do with these Clara Schumann performances, whether to just let it go, chalk it up to frayed nerves and performance anxiety, I got a call from a library looking to book me. I called a woman I know who performs at schools as an electric violinist and we talked for over an hour, about my fears, my ambivalence (which by the way, I decided is my Eat, Pray,Love word --that word which best describes oneself, in a nutshell). Awful isnt' it? Who would want ambivalence to be their word, but there it is, the truth. So I think I may continue with the Clara shows. This woman reminded me that even though she does over 140 shows a year, each time she steps on the stage, she's has fear. Her recomendation? You guessed it, yoga.

So after three years of juggling pharmacy, writing, and Clara, I'm still not even close to working out any sense of balance. I'm just not willing to give up any of the trilogy. Hey, maybe my word should be obstinate. Or ADHD. How could anyone focus with three careers constantly buzzing inside one's head?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wuthering Heights right here in New Jersey

Feeling tired, spent, rather out of sorts. Ben went to camp for a solid month, so now it's just me and Rob and our five-month-long unemployment woes. It truly is beginning to feel like Wuthering Heights around here, you know, the part from the last half of the book, with morose Heathcliff shuffling down the hallways looking haggard and scruffy as all getup. I try and put an upbeat spin to it, that it's an opportunity for us to be together midday, a buddy to go food shopping with (my most hated chore), a helpful sport to come with me as I water my community vegetable plot, but this togetherness thing can only go so far. Soon I swear, my front door will burst open and I'll just go screaming down the street. Where I'd go is the question. I know it would be to a girlfriend, I just miss talking to a friend, one on one, laughing, drinking.

Rob says I need a job. "It is what most people do all day," he says, actually sweetly, "it really is what fills most people's days." Well, pharmacy was the plan, and that certainly didn't make my days any better. As you recall, I hated every working hour there. Speaking of which, which I really shouldn't, I may have stumbled upon an actual pharmacy career that may not be so onerous. But I can't spill the beans just yet. Sorry, more on that in the coming weeks.

Anyway, being in a pissy mood is sort of going with the flow these days, no? With temperatures hitting the 90's and everyone looking like a fallen sprig, I fit right in. The problem is, when I run into anyone I know, like a neighbor, or a school mom, who simply asks, "how are you?" in some food market aisle, that's when I trip all over myself.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chinese friends

Some people are reading this, which is terrific, wonderful, only apparently, you are Chinese, and, well, unfortunately I don't speak your language, so I'm at a loss. Can someone translate?

Sorry, I've been so remiss about keeping this blog going. Honestly, I've been afraid to add anything in the last few months, since my pharmacy internship is under review and actually this week the Board will decide whether I will need to repeat the entire, long, painful experience ALL OVER. Sort of like my lawyer won't permit me to speak on this, or some such thing. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but if the Board reads this, it could harm my case, not to mention, screw up this whole tiresome endeavor of becoming a pharmacist. Do I really care? Well, do I? Yes . . . the money is too good. Where else could a girl work partime and make over 50 an hour?

Anyway it is nice to be writing again. Missed you. I'll let you know the outcome of the Board of Pharmacy meeting this week. Keep your fingers crossed, though I'm expecting nada, zilch, crap. Oh by the way, one more thing, the Singapore job for my husband is entirely on hold. I suppose that's the Chinese connection?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The lighting

My son making bonfires on our driveway all weekend. Late into the night, neighbors stopping by, a group of us roasting hot dogs in the flames, reconnecting now that the long winter is over. As I write this I can hear him and his friends discussing matches, marshmellows, pine cones, twigs. I'm happy. Life is full and rich.

Ushered today at SOPAC, Rob and Ben got in for free. A Juilliard quartet playing Beethoven and Mozart, by the second movement Ben is asleep on my arm. When he awakes, whispers "when is this over, my friends are waiting on the driveway."

I am reminded that the best things in life are free, and this weekend brings it home in spades. I look at the young musicians, playing their hearts out and I know they can't be rolling in dough, but that the tradeoff is worth it. I mean compared to Michael Jackson, who is more content? So once again, I know that it's important to live in the moment, to enjoy the spiritual life, the music, the writing, friendship.

It's clear we are facing a hard road financially, but that doesn't mean this can't be the most wonderful year ever. It's really up to each of us, to rationally decide to be happy and then let our hearts open up to it.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I'm having a hard time, feeling unmoored, not sure where to begin. Rob and I looking to eachother for direction, both of us at a standstill. We shuffle through the house, Heathcliff-like, two lost souls. Today he brought up a job in China. Talk about an adventure. Uprooting my son to some expat school, trying to find any semblance of the friendships I have here, it could turn lonely real quickly.

Today I will go back to cold calling for a pharmacy position. Only now as an intern. Boy does that ever suck. But the good news is, this economy is so bad, particularly in NJ, that maybe it would be easier to get a pharmacy to hire a cheaper, intern-salary employee. I still never received the letter from the NJ Board of Pharmacy so I can begin the appeal process. So now it's been since October without stepping foot inside a pharmacy, how is that preparing me as a pharmacist.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A river runs through it

When it rains it pours, or, if you will, the hits just keep coming ... Rob's job, my father's passing, my internship fiasco and now 48 hours of sewage backup in our basement from the rain. The good news is my ten-year-old son learned a few life lessons as he feverishly bailed water from our toilet for hours. I did feel sorry for him, but hey, the pilgrim children survived, as did kids living on the frontier and so will he.

When I regroup, will attempt to restart my internship. For now it's hair in a ponytail, slop boots and attacking the basement.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cash register runaround

I'm really at a loss, just not sure what to do. The plan was that if Rob lost his job, I would be poised to jump in and work as a full paid registered pharmacist. So now I have to redo the last year-and-a- half (if I continue part time), in an even worse economy, at an internship salary. My friends can't believe this, that according to some evaluation by an inept preceptor, the board has decided to make me redo the whole internship, not half of it, not a quarter, but the whole damn thing. And without ever hearing my side of things, or for that matter, ever meeting me. Or better yet, me and Sally, together, with the boxing gloves on, going at it for all to see. Then it would be clear that impartial could never be a part of this.

I will appeal their decision. But I don't expect redemption. This will just be a bureaucratic waste of time, as I stand before, well, let's see, two members of the public and some bespeckled pharmacists who will look at me with curiousity as I make nice, be respectful, and ever so sweetly point out that Sally may claim I didn't get up to snuff as a pharmacist but where were these board members when I couldn't get Sally and Walblues to move me OFF THE CASH REGISTER! Oh right, I can't say that, that would just fuel their claim that I am not qualified to work yet.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Marsha vs. Walblues

It's been a rough week. Rob lost his job, my 87-year-old father passed away and today I heard that the NJ Board of Pharmacy decided not to count my 1000 hour internship (based on Sally's awful evaluation of me.) I find myself speaking the words of others who are maligned by have-it-in-for-you superiors, "I've always gotten A's in school, and now I've been given all F's."

At first the executive director of the Board of Pharmacy got on the phone and told me I'd have to redo 1500 hours. "But I originally only had to do 1000 hours," I told her. After some hesitation and bureaucratic mumblings she said, "Yes, you only have to do the thousand hours." So I wasted that time, that year and a half at Walblues, hating every last hour there. I guess you could say, they've won, Sally won, and so then the question becomes ... should I give it up?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Death by pharmacy

So yesterday I'm driving through East Orange, trying to find this independent pharmacy in some faceless strip mall. All around me are police cars straddling curbs and I realize I'm right smack in the middle of a city slum. Not that I didn't have an inkling the neighborhood might be a bit shoddy, but my husband- yes we must blame someone- told me to wait and see, that maybe it wasn't so bad. When I ask a cop for directions he tells me to keep my doors and windows locked. Great, I'm thinking, I'll get a job and robbed the first week, or my car will be broken into, or I'll get shot at and my son will be motherless, and won't Rob feel guilty then.

But I open the car door, walk past a laundromat and liquor store, and step into the pharmacy. Turns out the owner is this sweet, lovely, Indian guy, and well, we really hit it off. I did ask him if it was safe working there and he said he's never had a problem. So if he offers me the job, I will take it. Yes, I'm desperate, but really, how bad could it be (discounting the car break-in or being shot at.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Give me a Break

Well the good news is it's still January and it's only been 3 weeks since my last blog entry. So I guess I haven't given up this blog thing yet. It's just hard, writing, not getting paid, wondering who out there is even reading it, except some guy in... is it Ohio? Anyway, I'm back for now. I feel a temper tantrum coming on, you know, a dump on readers, oh no, not good.

Today I have an interview at an independent pharmacy, the owner sounds nice, but it's 45 minutes away. That could turn nasty really quickly. But for now, my hair is blown dry, I'm up for the interview, maybe lunch in a new town. They compound lots of meds there which could be interesting I suppose, although can pharmacy ever be that interesting? I haven't worked in 3 months since Walblues let me go after that horrendous internship. I just got a preceptor evaluation from Godzilla and no surprise there, she slammed me. I put a call into the board to add my two cents to the record, you know, my evaluation of her. Saw an episode on The Office where they did that, so figured I'd give it a shot.

Well off to my real life of looking for a job and writing and reading and piano. Life is short, make the most of it. Find your passion and if you can't get paid for it, work it girl!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Needle in a haystack

OK, so nothing, absolutely nothing happening on the pharmacy job front. I guess I'm waiting for someone to call me and say,"Hi Marsha, we have this adorable little pharmacy 10 miles from your house, and get this, it has an actual soda fountain, and oh, the owner just loves jazz music so the sound track is mostly Ella and Louis, and of course, yes there is a 45 minute lunch break. Can you start right away?"

But right now, I'm mostly concerned about my sore hip, is it sciatica or cancer, as in osteosarcoma, and until my doctor's appointment in six days, I'm mostly fretting. Can a hypochondriac ever really be happy? And then there's my concert for an entire school coming up in two weeks, so basically I'm a wreck.

I'm seeing a pattern here. I know the best thing for me would be to first get a job, get some money coming in, and seriously I am looking a few hours a week and so far absolutely nothing. It really does seem that only chains are hiring. The chains have taken over, ruined the profession as we all know. But today I will continue looking.