Saturday, June 22, 2013

Unnessary Roughness By: Karen Pilarski

Unnecessary Roughness is an illegal sports action.  In football it is where a player uses moves beyond what is needed to intercept or tackle another player.  I believe in working hard and collaboration to be successful. It seems I’m always left holding the ball. Where are my defensive players? Life sometimes tosses a fast ball and it not careful can bean someone square in the face.  I’ve been the recipient of similar injuries.  

It seems the dirty tactic has been used more than it should. If this was a regular season my touchdown record would be poor.  Sure every aspiring super star goes through a slump.  There are financial, relationships and job slumps. Unfortunately, it can snowball into one gigantic slump.  I’ve put in the practice and straitening but always seems to be yards behind everyone else.  The touchdown I’m aiming for is to pursue my passion of writing. Mostly I want to dodge the many financial, professional and personal tackles endured lately.  

It has been said people have to start out as rookies and work their way up to the majors. Foolishly I thought as a rookie I could play the winning move. Uncoordinated and clumsy, I missed the pass and lost the game. 
The other day I lost out on a great job. Not because I wasn’t talented or lacking appeal. My skills for that position weren’t ready for the Super Bowl of jobs. The defeat was a bit painful. That victory would have helped to climb out of my slump. That is the bad thing about putting all hopes into one shot is that the failure weighs down heavily. Disappointment piles up and presses down on the body. The pressure makes it hard to breathe.   

The old adage is “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose but how you played the game”.  The same can be said about slumps and unnecessary roughness.  Every job can’t be attained nor can every relationship work out.  It is a competitive world out there. Some use bad sportsmanship to fight and trick to get what they want.  There are risks of being sidelined or penalized. Instead of a pity party, congratulate the winners and come up with a new goal. The real winners are the players who take the losses and use them as constructive lessons to improve.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Porcelain Dolls by: Karen Pilarski

Mom used to collect porcelain dolls. It was after my parents divorced that she began buying this type of doll. The other explanation was that once no kids were around she didn't think "I can't have nice things." The fragile faces painted with creepy smiles. Piercing eyes that seemed to follow when walking past the glass cabinet. The dolls hair was always in romantic curls that cascaded down the back. Beautiful colorful dresses and hats decorated each figure. Her collection had better clothes than I did.

My step daughter had a few porcelain dolls. My mother in law gave her a Hershey Kisses doll that belong to her mother after she passed away. My mother also gave my step daughter twin porcelain babies. I am a twin so it seemed rather fitting. However she was given a defective twin brother. I could insert an obvious joke about my own twin brother but I'll play nice. The boy baby had a loose hand. It would pop off if the doll was shifted to hard on the shelf.  Those dolls are in her in room but are not played with anymore.

It is apparent that little girls love dolls and especially if there is a sentimental reason. My mom was an adult when the hobby began. I often wondered was there some child like spirit within her that compelled her to buy assorted dolls? Maybe it was because my mom seemed fragile at times. Life wasn't easy for her and she has had her share of hurts. A simple crack or chip becomes deeper and larger with time.

Reminiscing about my mom's collection got me thinking about how the human spirit is like a child. Protection is needed to keep the vulnerable safe. Care should be taken for those who are hurting and sad. How easy and comforting it would be to cry out like children often do. Warm tears flowing down and dripping off the chin. Underneath the sprayed on makeup, glossy complexion and toothy smile is a simple girl. Just dressed up.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Money Tree by: Karen Pilarski

I recall a time in my youth when I would beg my parents to buy me candy or a toy. All kids open with the "pretty please with sugar on top." I thought I could make them cave eventually. Sometimes when mom was tired and my other siblings were loud she would give in. Mostly she would say "no, what do you think money grows on trees?" The little thought bubble above my head showed a flower pot with a tiny tree with dollar bills dangling from it. When money was snatched off a branch another one grew in it's place.

Hey, what do you expect from a child? As a tot I thought $5 dollars meant I was rich. Although I didn't 'grasp' the concept of money, I knew my family was flat broke.

 My twin brother didn't comprehend the money concept either. He was however a very good cash finder. He used to play the state game at the corner church festival. Without fail, he would find the manilla envelope with the large sum of money.  The cunning sleuth could find dollar bills anywhere. One day when walking home from school he found a $20 bill laying abandoned on the sidewalk. His eyes widened and heart raced. Jumping up and down he yelled "Mom. I found a buck!" He wanted mom to take him to the store to buy him a candy bar. My mom was also slick. She bought the hungry boy chocolate and kept the rest of the change. I guess I don't blame her, there was nine children after all!

My family often had good business ideas to help make money. We lived by the Wisconsin State Fair for a few years. Our yard was a good size. My mom charged people to park their cards on our lawn. This earned enough money for my mom to take us to the fair. To this day other people have followed suit.

Now that I think of it, mom was a pretty savvy business woman. My father also was crafty. He made guitars by hand and sold some.

While I am certainly creative, I lack the arts and crafts talent. Most of my siblings have a knack for art. My stick people don't even look normal. My twin as an adult made police plaques and sold them. The girls in the family (with an exception of myself) are good cooks. I need a fire extinguisher when I make pop corn.

The economy isn't in the best shape and often a dollar has to be stretched. I can relate to that feeling. Last weekend my husband and kids were involved in a car accident. The person who hit us drove off! My husband has a very sore neck and back. I have to pay a $500 deductible along with rent, car payment (for a banged up vehicle) bills and student loan payments. If there was a money tree seed, I would grab it in an instant. Unfortunately for many of us strapped for cash people, such a wondrous treasure doesn't actually exist. My sister and I joke that we are sometimes one bad week away from becoming a stripper or a hobo. Thankfully I haven't had to buy my five inch glittery heels just yet.

The only hand to play is utilize the gifts that God gave us. No matter how silly it seems to hold a rummage sale in March. No matter how 7th grade it appears to babysit for the neighborhood ankle biters. Whatever it takes to earn some dough.

It would awesome if a money tree blossomed and grew when needed. Roots expanding and the tree trunk becoming taller and reaching towards the sky. Trees are still special despite not producing cash. Trees best assets are being sturdy and strong. If someone needs to lean on it for support it is there like a good friend.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Classifieds By: Karen Pilarski

Warning: When I write blogs, they are not about being unhappy in my job or relationships.  My blogs also are not meant to bash a business or person (s).  Just random reflective thoughts as I try to make it as a writer. Thanks-KP
  Piles of red circled job classified ads sits on the table. Musty smell of old newspapers linger in the air. The computer has browsers opened to LinkedIn and local newspaper employment postings.

Books about resumes and social media presence littered the living room. My head dizzy with thoughts of New York City and writing. I wondered if I watched too much 'Sex and the City' and 'How I Met Your Mother'.

The sudsy drama and exciting lives of those characters danced in my mind. Secretly I felt I could totally be a 'Carrie.'The only difference was that I was married and living in Wisconsin. I looked at my arm and noticed the dull imprints of red inked circles on it. I'm ready to tell different stories. I have traveled all over this land, with ink in my writing hand.

Looking up I noticed my two brown leather diploma cases with gold trim, spelling out where I graduated from. My two degrees are a Bachelor's degree in Professional Communication and and a Master's degree in Instructional Design and Adult Education. I remember the graduations, champagne and confetti. The hope of tomorrow left a glow on my face as I approached the stage. Happiness and eager to start my career gave a little pep in the step.

Now looking at the classifieds leaves me feeling defeated. All this experience and fancy terminology for the ideal job candidate. What ever happened to finding talent and helping a person grow into a job role?

In college I was editor of the college newspaper. I had no experience when I was chosen as editor. I grew into the role and blossomed. I eventually started writing for local community newspapers. My niche was writing about children and community events. Five or ten years experience in writing wouldn't give me the rich experience I had as an editor and freelance writer. There are writers with decades of experience but maybe not as much drive. Why does years of experience equal quality? The next breakout best selling author is waiting for someone to take a chance on them.

I know I did the right thing by becoming an educated woman. Unfortunately the lack of concrete experience bites me every time I apply for a position. I'm told "you don't have the experience." I know I'm not the only college graduate to feel this sting of employment rejection.

All is not lost. I do my best adhering to the 'rules' of networking. I use social media to create my presence and I blog. I meet interesting people in the the journalist field for coffee dates. Twitter has allowed me to talk to people I may not have had the opportunity to chat with before. I have met inspiring and memorable contacts.

Like a good writer, I keep up with blogging in hopes that The New Yorker, The New York Times or any magazine or newspaper will take notice. 'Experience' can only take someone so far. It is talent that makes magazines sell and readership to increase. Talent is how writers gain the knowledge they need to make in the media industry. I've heard a person has to start somewhere.

How does a writer gain experience if no one is willing to offer the opportunity in the first place? Here I am ready to take a bite out of the big apple of life and make a go out of my sheer thrill of journalism.The only thing that is needed is for someone to take a chance and circle my name with red ink.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Just Deserts By: Karen Pilarski

When I was five years old, my younger sister and I stayed over by my aunt and uncle's house. We slept on single air mattresses. At dinner our plates had a piece of meat, potatoes and peas. Our faces turned the same vomit shade as the vegetable. My aunt promised a special treat if we both cleaned our plates. Gulp! Our parents never forced us to eat healthy food like this. I thought about stuffing my face with chocolate and ice cream after I finished these mini green pellets. I chocked down each spoonful until the plate was spotless.

My sister on the other hand made disgusted faces at her plate. My aunt made her sit there until she ate those peas. The peas turned cold and mushy. My aunt's patience wore thin. She made my sister throw away the peas and said I could have my treat. I wondered about my sweet impending reward. Maybe it would be moist cake or cherry pie. She went into the freezer and pulled out a single popsicle. It wasn't even a good flavor. I ate it anyway but shot dirty looks at my aunt for tricking me.

Funny how people anticipate their just deserts and often are left a bit disappointed. Perhaps it is the sense of entitlement that bitters the sugary taste of what is thought to be owed to them?

It is often displayed in court cases such as suing or divorce. One party thinks they deserve everything for all the pain and suffering they were put through. After all the legal drama is over no one is happy. Someone walks away victorious but not scratch free. There is always a speck of dismay that looms. Is what the person deserves really what they deserve? Is it actually what the person wants?

In my own life I have felt I deserved my just deserts in the form of a relationship or job. When I was nineteen I thought the twenty-seven year old musician I dated belonged with me. My immature heart thought I was in love. When he broke my heart I felt I was owed some compensation for the pain I was going through. I felt this way despite my friends telling me he was a jerk and not worth my time.

I lost touch with him after a while but heard he suffered a few setbacks. It might be assumed that I was giddy with the him getting what he deserved. Time had moved forward and I dated other people. The just deserts had no importance now that I was no longer hurting. I realized I just wanted him to hurt the way I was hurting.

At the end of the day no one wins. Especially if revenge is the true motivation. Retaliation doesn't make what is deserved appear. Cockiness might not even earn you a popsicle. The only thing left is mushy cold peas on a plate. That is no dessert.