January 8 - December 31, 2009

January 8, 2009
» opportunity knocks (and sometimes emails)

Earlier this week I sent Happy New Year greetings to some of the people I know in real-life. Today, one of them - a former co-worker - sent a very nice response in which he mentioned that he knows of a company that is hiring.

That caught me by surprise. More than that, I was stunned, but in a good way. I mean, I was just trying to keep in touch with some friends. I didn't mention anything personal - no "Hi, I'm job hunting, please help!" -I just sent a brief poem and what do I get? One little sentence with potentially life-changing implications.

But again, in a good way. As I read that email, maybe it was the fact that it was morning and the whole day was before me, or maybe it was the way the sun was shining, or maybe it had something to do with the three cups of coffee I'd had, but this particular opportunity - and I didn't even know any details about it - seemed so right, so close. Like it was mine if I wanted it, all I had to do was say the word.

I've actually heard about several jobs this week. One person clued me in on a possibility that is closer to home. Another person suggested a company near Birmingham which, although farther from home, is consistently on the list of the top 100 places to work. Then today I found an email from a recruiter asking whether I'm still job-hunting.

While I *love* the idea of getting a job closer to home (indeed, it is my goal to do so), lately I've gone from merely tolerating my job to actually liking it again. My boss has really lightened up, and now the atmosphere at work is SO much better than when I last wrote. A big part of that can also be attributed to our lack of work. Time goes by slowly without much to do, but it definitely helps ease the stress levels. Without being rushed to crank jobs out quickly, I can take my time with them, and just this week I've been able to get better acquainted with some of the finer points of my job. It almost feels like I've accomplished something!

So, for now, I don't plan to pursue any of these leads. Oh, I'm well aware that my current job situation could change in a moment. My boss could go Mr. Hyde on me again. The work to be done could suddenly increase to where I'm expected to work 60 stress-filled hours a week. And of course, my employer could simply tell me to leave and not come back. (They've already fired one person this week.) Still, should the tide suddenly turn, I know who I'll be calling first. Even if they don't pan out, it's nice to be reminded that I have options.

January 15, 2009
» one door closes

I was fired from my job this afternoon.

Maybe there was something to that good feeling I got about that job opportunity that I wrote about in the previous post! Needless to say, I've already sent that co-worker an email.

I'm actually not all that devastated. I guess I've been prepared to leave since the company changed owners back in September.

A co-worker told me that "everything happens for a reason." And I actually believe that, and I have for the longest now. So far, I haven't been proven wrong. :) Obviously it's time for me to move on. Sure, it may take a while, but my bills are pretty minimal, so I should be okay.

Another bright side: maybe I'll have time to catch up on some website stuff!

I'll keep you all posted on the new job search.

February 6, 2009
» gainfully unemployed

Shortly after I lost my job, I was sitting around listening to the radio with my sister. To amuse myself, I'd turn the lyrics into something job related, like "I Still Haven't Found The Job I'm Looking For" by U2, and - my personal favorite - that classic remake by Hall & Oates, "You've Lost That Jobbing Feeling."

After several days of up and down emotion, going from an optimistic, "I'll find something. Something better!" to the highly disheartened "I'll never find anything!!" I'm now leveling out somewhere closer to the upbeat end of the spectrum. (For now at least. Give me five minutes, and it could change.)

It helps that a recruiter called today. As I expected, the job he's trying to fill is WAY south of here, near the Alabama-Florida state line actually. I said that I wasn't interested in moving that far, but the guy - a nice recruiter, for a change - offered that I could think about it over the weekend and call him on Monday. Eh, why not. That'll give me time to debate which is worse: being five hours away from my family or continuing an indefinite period of being unemployed. (Hmm. Tough call.)

In the mean time, I'm very glad to have website work to help keep me busy. Last week I finished the first part of adding a new layout to the Alias site, and I'm on track to finish the rest of the update this month.

Unless, of course, I wind up moving. :sigh:

February 18, 2009
» one flu over the cuckoo's nest

Dear Local Medical Clinic,

After spending a total of four hours this morning at your ill-designed facility, I just want to thank you. Thank you so much for taking $85 of my uninsured money - before I actually saw the doctor so that I wouldn't leave before my two and a half hours of waiting time was up. Thanks for letting me have a strep test and a flu swab by the male version of Nurse Ratched.

Thank you for declaring that I have the flu. I've never been diagnosed with the flu before, and I had been under the impression that it was really terrible, as in the sick person can't even lift their head from their pillow. Thank you for clearing up the fact that the body aches, mild fever and wicked chills I've had for the last three days can also be the flu. This also explains why everybody and her brother has "got the flu."

Thank you for telling me that all that can be done is for me to treat the symptoms. This does bring me to a question: why did you feel compelled to give me a prescription for cough syrup? I'm really not coughing here, not that the doctor would've realized that in the eight or so minutes he actually spent with me. Please don't be offended that I plan to tear up that worthless prescription and throw it away. As mentioned above, I'm uninsured, and being unemployed, I'd already wasted $85, so spending even more money on stuff that won't help just didn't seem like the thing to do.

Also, please thank the doctor for not even looking at my sore throat, or at my ears which I'd mentioned felt sensitive. Kudos to you, doc, for sticking to a strict Hands-Off-The-Patient policy. This really contributed to the warm, fuzzy feeling that I was getting the bum's rush.

Most of all, thank you for reminding me why I don't go to the doctor. Clearly, I'd lost my head this morning (must've been the fever) thinking I could find some relief from feeling bad. I apologize for breaking down into tears from frustration at the thought of an unknown number of days in which I can continue to feel miserable. Next time, you can bet I'll be at death's door before I visit you again.

Thank you, quite literally, for nothing.



February 28, 2009
» adding insult to extortion

This is one month I'll be glad to see behind me. Repeated failed attempts at job hunting. Crummy weather. My boyfriend's too busy to see me. My computer's started acting up regularly. My first-ever (diagnosed) case of the flu, not to mention an expensive-ly worthless visit to the clinic.

Which just gets even more expensive, as yesterday I received a bill from said clinic for $60. That's right, I get to pay sixty bucks to go with the EIGHTY-FIVE that I already paid to receive a "wait and see" diagnosis. To quote a former co-worker, I can't tell you how mad that makes me. But because I know good people who work in the medical field, I'm trying hard not to spout things like, "Those clinic workers have it made! They send the real cases to the ER and tell everyone else to wait and see!"

Sigh. Maybe things'll look better in March.

March 17, 2009
» picture it, interview edition

Picture it...

...a plaid long-sleeved flannel nightgown, teal background with white and red stripes, and three little red bows on the front.

...a decades-old purple pair of sweatpants with holes in places modesty forbids me to mention. (But not to wear, go figure.)

...a turquoise blue zip-up sweatshirt.

This is what I'm wearing as I'm on the phone with a journalism grad student, trying to compose some insightful thoughts for possible inclusion in an article about one of my favorite fandoms.

If clothes make the woman, I could be in trouble.

Then again, it *was* a phone call. Actually getting dressed up for it might just have been the more pathetic way to go!

April 9, 2009
» those things I do, jobless edition

As of the 16th, I will have been unemployed for three months. During that time, I've...

Finally stopped moping about being unemployed. Mostly. As my former boss used to say, "It is what it is." I can either mope around, or I can use this time to try and accomplish something.

Been job hunting. Looking through the on-line job postings can be SO disheartening, but I'm feeling more focused in my search. So, I keep reminding myself that waiting for the right opportunity will be worth it, even if it takes a little time. I've also been reviewing my work history and preparing answers to common interview questions. I'm already feeling much more prepared. Hopefully by the time someone wants to talk to me, I'll be more than ready.

Worked on my websites. I've finished three of the four "ambitious plans" that I outlined at the start of this year.

Watched six episodes of Simon & Simon on-line, and in honor of the *huge* crush I had on AJ during the show's original run, I'm thisclose to writing fanfiction. I've also seen one episode of The Facts of Life and one episode of Miami Vice. (Yes, I'm a HUGE fan of cheezy 80s TV.)

Spent more time with the family than we've enjoyed in a long while. Since we can only make so much conversation, we've been watching tapes and DVDs of old TV shows and movies. We've watched so much of my collection that I'm now sorting through things I haven't thought about in years, just so we can see something different. Earlier this week we watched Roman Holiday, which I taped 10 years ago and never watched. Eventually, we may have to subscribe to Netflix, or something.

Been getting organized. I organized my closets and gave away some things I never wear. I also sorted through my computer files and completed a major backup. Next I plan to tackle my paper files and -- perhaps my biggest task of all -- my assortment of "mementos". (Hello, my name is Anne, and I'm a packrat.)

Worked in the yard at my mom's place. It's getting to the point where I actually enjoy it!

Seen my boyfriend. But only twice so far this year, because he's been working so much.

Visited the doctor three times. Or I will have as of tomorrow, when I see a specialist about my ear, which has been stopped up for almost three weeks now. :sigh:

By the time I do get a job, my stuff (real and virtual) should be in good shape. And who knows, after all this, forty hours a week may feel like cutting back! ;)

April 17, 2009
» overly unqualified

Right after I wrote the last blog post, I was surprised with an invitation to interview this week. Since this was the first interview I've had in the three months that I've been unemployed, I was thrilled. And I can honestly say that I felt I was the best prepared I've been for any interview that I can remember. I had found a long list of potential interview questions on the Internet, and I prepared answers for almost all of them.

But at the interview, the lady I talked to spent most of the thirty minutes explaining what they do there. She even brought a sample of their paperwork. She was very nice, but the first thing she said (while looking at my résumé) was that I'm overqualified. She said lightly, "Oh, my, you'll be so bored doing what we do here." Then she talked about spreadsheets and completing monthly reports. I tried to explain that that was *exactly* the kind of thing I did when I was an admin assistant before, and being an organized person, it's actually something I like to do. In any case, she said it'd be at least a week before they make a decision.

That always sounds to me as if they're trying to put me off. They know that at that moment I'm hopeful, but they see that I haven't got a chance, so they vague out about their plans, I guess to try to take the sting out of it. As time passes, my dream of being hired slowly dies, so that by the time the rejection letter comes weeks later, I'm pretty much expecting it.

Anyway, my preparation did pay off: I *knew* that my interviewer would ask something like, "Why do you want this job when you've got an engineering degree?" So I had prepared an answer about "choosing engineering because I knew that its reasoning and problem-solving skills would be an asset in any career." (Hopefully they bought it!) However, the minute she said I was overqualified, I wanted to scream. Every one of the engineering places I've applied to has apparently found me way UNDERqualified, because they won't even interview me. So I set my sights a bit lower and what do I get? "You're overqualified." GAH!

I understand why employers are cautious. In these tough times, they know that some people are looking for any job they can to pay bills, but the employers don't want to waste their resources training someone who will leave when a better opportunity comes along. I just don't know how to make them understand that that is not my intention. My experience in the engineering field -- the lack of training and job security -- has left a bad taste in my mouth. I must be getting lazy, or old, or something, because I can't stand the thought of having to start over and over, moving around to find opportunities in my that field. (I already feel that my whole life has been starting over!) I can't say that admin work is my dream job, but if I can find something steady, I plan to stick with it.

May 11, 2009
» swine flu over the cuckoo's nest

Status update: I didn't get the job that I interviewed for. I'm not surprised. At least they told me. :shrug:

In other news, I've been sick yet again, and it started around the time we were having a local outbreak of swine flu. This concerned me -- I may be falling back into my hypochondriac ways -- so to comfort myself, I made a list of the

Top Five Reasons I Know I Have an Allergy Attack, Not Swine Flu

5. Before becoming sick, I hadn't been out in public for over a week.
4. I *had* been out in the yard for hours two days in a row, during high pollen count days.
3. Classic signs of seasonal allergies: sneezing, watery eyes, sinus pressure, a bit of skin rash
2. No "high fever that doesn't respond to Tylenol"
1. I'm a vegetarian!

I was amused a few days later when I received this from my cousin:

Top 10 Signs You Have Swine Flu

10. You can't pass a mud puddle without wanting to roll in it
9. Even though it's hot outside, you don't sweat
8. *cough, cough* *oink, oink*
7. You can smell food five miles away
6. You have the urge to push things with your nose
5. Your Jewish friends have shunned you
4. The smell of bacon is appalling
3. Your new favorite story is "Three Little Pigs"
2. The site of a BBQ grill makes you nervous
1. You now think Miss Piggy is a supermodel

Thanks, cousin, that makes me feel better. Except maybe for number ten. :D

May 27, 2009
» in love with an image time is bound to see through

While meeting my boyfriend at Sears on Saturday, I was distracted by my latest celebrity obsession playing the guitar with his band in high-definition on one of the large flat-screen TVs. I stared, transfixed and delighted. The song was ending, but MAN, it was cool.

I went on to meet my boyfriend, although I did insist that we stop by that TV (several times, heh heh) to see if I could catch the full-length song by Mr. Celebrity Obsession. I was actually proud of myself for wanting to see it, because it was a recent clip. I've been watching the guy's music videos from the '80s/late '70s, and diligently avoiding all the current stuff, i.e. reality. Indeed, seeing him looking his age was eye-opening, but I think I needed that.

However, as we watched, my boyfriend felt compelled to snark, "Is he on drugs right now??" Okay, maybe I was slightly out of line, mildly gushing over some public figure, but honey? You putting him down does *not* make me like you more.

Then, the next day my sister felt compelled to mention my obsession's, um, chemical reputation, and I wondered why everyone is so determined to bash my little, albeit irrational fantasy. I don't have a job. It takes effort to find things to occupy my days and my thoughts, and lately I'm trying hard not to dwell on how it seems as if everything I've ever wanted has been for nothing. So, IF IT'S NOT TOO MUCH TO ASK, could I just enjoy a few happy thoughts? At least in this case, I *know* not to expect them to come true.

Well, I say that and yet, with such an in-your-face reminder that they won't come true, I admit that I've been left largely disenchanted with my celebrity obsession. Sure, I still enjoy his music, but congratulations, sis and boyfriend! Yet again, I feel like a girl without a dream.

Yesterday, this all reminded me how, when I was in school, I'd get a crush on a guy, and I'd have it for a long while, and no one else would do. I admit, sometimes I get a little bitter that not one of them worked out. Looking back, it finally occurred to me that maybe I was being unrealistic, focusing so much effort on someone who didn't reciprocate. In my defense, I was a teenage girl! And we want what we want, right?

To be honest, I now suspect that the fantasy was more enjoyable than reality with those guys could have ever been. When you're with someone, the newness is bound to wear off (this I know all too well, sigh). Sure, the lows of pining from afar -- namely the rejection -- were low, but the highs ... wow. It can be pretty awesome when just seeing the object of your affection is a thrill.

Hmm, could it be that the whole point of the crush is the pursuit? With that in mind, I'm off to YouTube to watch some videos. There are some by Mr. Celebrity Obsession that I haven't seen. *smiles*

June 1, 2009
» she shall see Chelle?

Lately, I've been reading my past journal entries, and I noticed where -- in early 2001 -- I had grumbled about my old friend Chelle's "know-it-all attitude", and about her trying to set me up with her friend's brother (who is six years my junior, btw). This led me to wonder if maybe Chelle finally got around to checking out my site, read that, and is peeved about it. And this is why, in response to the lengthy catch-up letter I sent her last Christmas, she responded with only a photo postcard of her boys. And also why when I emailed her (along with a few other people) to wish her a Happy New Year, I received no response whatsoever.

Yes, I was a wee bit snarky in what I wrote, but I honestly didn't think it was anything to be angry over. When I consider sending the link to my site to someone I know in real-life, I'm always aware that I may have written something about them. So if I go ahead and send it, I've obviously deemed the content suitable for sharing. Besides that, those who know me should know well that I'm decidedly not a mean-spirited person.

If she *is* angry about what I wrote, I have only one question for her: wouldn't *you* have felt the same way I did, if you had been in my shoes?

Okay, two questions: is an eight-year-old journal entry worth holding a grudge over?

Chelle, if you read this, I hope you'll email me sometime, because I really would love to hear what's going on with you. However, if you no longer want to hear from me, please let me know, because I plan to keep sending you letters at Christmas-time -- although you'll probably find them considerably shorter than the last one.

June 10, 2009
» new layout

I just completed a major overhaul of my so-called personal site. I started this project months ago, but I'd work on a layout for a while and then decide I didn't like it. I did that three times (or was it four?), and I find it ironic that the theme I started out with was "Perfection is my enemy."

In any event, after *hours* spent finalizing it -- both yesterday and today -- it's ready.

Now I can move on to the next overhaul...

June 23, 2009
» new layout, kinda

I recycled the eclectic layout at rusted-crush.com so that I could focus on organizing and upgrading the content. (Which, I'm happy to report, is done!)

I also updated the MacGyver site, and I posted my first MacGyver fanfiction.

June 30, 2009
» liars, bad liars, and list-makers

As of today, I've been unemployed for five and a half months. Between you and me, the novelty is starting to wear off.

As you may or may not know, I live in the vicinity of Huntsville, Alabama, and just this week, I saw it ranked on yet another list of cities that are "thriving" despite a bad economy. Is that right, list-maker people? Well, you couldn't prove it by me. I've been applying to job openings in Huntsville (a.k.a That Marvelously Flourishing City) repeatedly for these five and a half months, and I've only had one interview. Apparently all the other job seekers in these neighboring, non-flourishing cities are applying for the same jobs.

The result is like actors in Hollywood: applicants are a dime a dozen, and employers can pick and choose their perfect candidate. Meanwhile, the rest of us wonder what is so powerfully wrong with us that we can't get hired in such a hotbed of opportunity. :rollseyes:

And while I'm exposing the dark side of economic hype, I feel compelled to mention how my mother and my sister work for a company that frequently places high on lists of great companies to work for. One such list bragged how this company has never laid off a single employee. Maybe they haven't terminated anyone -- and that's a big maybe, btw -- because of low business levels, but they *do* drastically cut the hours of their part-time people. For example, this week my sister is only working two days, and my mother isn't working at all. A job with no hours is a lot like being laid off, and, needless to say, plenty of people leave voluntarily, taking jobs elsewhere because they need more income.

Moral of the story: don't believe everything people list.

July 20, 2009
» watch for falling...

Last week, my mother and I were out in her yard picking up twigs from a recent windstorm.

At one point we stopped and stood chatting by our wheelbarrow, underneath some trees. We heard the sound of something falling above, but we didn't think anything about it, because as I said, we were picking up twigs. (With all those trees, something's *always* falling.)

And then -- PLOP! -- a snake landed not four feet from us. I screamed and Mom took a quick step away. We both calmed down when we recognized it as a smallish green snake, and it wasted no time in hurrying away from us.

I think I can say with certainty that if it had landed on me, I would never work in her yard again. Even now, I'm still casting a cautious eye upward when I'm under the trees.

July 31, 2009
» another day, another new layout

As of yesterday, I've completed posting a new layout (well, with the same banner) at the MacGyver site.

August 6, 2009
» lessons learned from email

I just can't seem to blog about the things that have been going on in my life lately, so I'm posting the start of my latest email to my friend Michele. (Michele, don't read this unless you want to spoil the surprise, lol. I plan to finish the email and send it to you by the middle of next week. Hopefully, I'll be able to report some progress in the topic in the first paragraph.)

Hi, Michele!

Well, yesterday was the 4 year anniversary of Jeff's and my first date. Without launching into a ramble, I will say that this date (milestone?) has been on my mind. I remembered writing to you -- maybe back in January? -- that it was coming up later this year, but when I realized a few days ago that *this* was the week, I was flabbergasted. I've really been feeling that I need to take this opportunity to tell him (as I said all those months ago) "We've been dating for four years now, and I'd like for us to discuss how we think we're doing..." I'm planning to say this to him either tomorrow (if he calls) or on Saturday at the latest. I really, really think this is something that he and I need to discuss and soon.

Moving on before I start to ramble, yes, I too was blown away by the death of Michael Jackson. His music was such a big part of my younger years, and -- like with the 80s music in general -- I have such good memories of listening to it. When I hear his songs now, I can't help feeling sad that his life, once so promising with so much talent, took such a tragic turn. :*(

About my mom's house being hit by lightning, it must've just got into the electrical stuff, so we're pretty thankful for that! One house not far away was struck by lightning years ago, and it caught on fire and had to be torn down. It definitely could've been worse!

I got an email yesterday from one of my former co-workers that he'd been rehired. He was let go back in June. I'm really glad for him, because he has a wife and three kids to support, and he's from that area, so I know he'd like to stay there. That got me wondering if they'd try to call me back to work. I quickly dismissed that notion -- as I have from the start -- since they called mine a "termination" and not a lay-off. Plus, I *really* don't want to go back there, to that same old mess. I'm really looking forward to starting something new.

And speaking of something new, I taught our class's Sunday School lesson last week. :o Our teacher -- who is the pastor -- was going to be on vacation, so he asked for a volunteer. There were just a few of us, so I volunteered. The topic was one near and dear to my heart: finding and following God's will. Part of the lesson was about waiting for God's timing, and I still marvel at how that falls right in line with what you and I are always saying. I even used an example that you mentioned about waiting: like with baking a cake, you want it *now* but if you don't wait until it's ready, it won't be nearly as good.

August 14, 2009
» welcome to me

My boyfriend and I reached a milestone last week: the four-year anniversary of our first date. In honor of this, I finally shared with him that I have websites, including this blog.

So, Jeff, if you're reading this . . . welcome! I know I cautioned you -- twice -- that I sometimes rant, and you seemed to take it under advisement. Perhaps I should've specified that I've ranted about you, but I didn't want to belabor the point, especially when it's been quite a while since my last rant.

I've been trying to decide why I waited so long to tell you about the websites. I know I didn't mention them when we first started dating because I didn't want to overshare. Then, I guess I liked having my privacy. But since this year began -- or was it last year? -- I've resolved to try to talk *to* people instead of complaining *about* them, and I think that knowing you can read what I write will help keep me accountable.

Maybe part of me also wanted to keep the sites a secret because I feared rejection. Years ago, I let my boyfriend at the time read my real journal. I was trying to reassure him that my feelings for him were real, but it backfired on me, because in his reading he focused on how I said another guy that we worked with was cute. My ex said glumly, "I was just the guy who bugged you into going out with him." If I'd thought for a second that what I wrote would hurt the guy's feelings, I would've kept it to myself.

But in the case of this blog, and even the rest of the sites, they're *meant* to be shared. Even if I'm ranting, I keep in mind that anyone could read it, so I try not to say anything I wouldn't want known. So, Jeff, when you read the less-upbeat musings, feel free to share your thoughts on them. In fact, I would LOVE for you to mention things you've read here. For one thing, that would show that you've been here and are giving my writings some thought (and you know how important it is for me to feel listened to!), but also it would start a discussion, another very desirable outcome.

I'm not sure what else to say by way of introduction. I know there's a lot of material here. (I did mention the twenty sites, right? And actually it's more than twenty if you count the little ones...) When perusing the blog entries, you might find it helpful to do so in the archive, which contains the entries from the current blog as well as those from previous years.

Again, welcome!

August 25, 2009
» wheeler keeps turning

On Saturday, since it was such a beautiful and mild day (especially for August in the Deep South), I suggested that Jeff and I take the short drive to Joe Wheeler State Park and Resort. We did, and I'll leave most of the comments for the pictures.

EXCEPT to point out how, as we walked on one of the nature trails, we happened upon a deer that remained sitting in its spot even as we passed about 15 feet away from it. As we walked away, I was all, "D'oh! I should've taken a picture!" But, to be honest, I didn't linger because I didn't want the poor thing to feel crowded ... and to react to the threat by getting up and kicking us repeatedly. (Stranger things have happened, right??)

September 1, 2009
» multiple choices

I'm really torn.

A teacher friend from church heard that I'm still unemployed and offered that I could come help out with her class. She said she couldn't pay me, but she could really use the help. I agreed that I'd think it over.

When she first mentioned it, I was excited about the prospect. I'm certainly not at a loss for things to do, but that seems especially worthwhile. Plus, it would be nice to get out of the house. And who knows, it just might lead to a job.

Still, I have *no* kind of teaching ability, especially with math, which is what she said I could help with. I see how things are supposed to go, but I can't explain them any other way. "Two plus two is four. Don't you see? You have two, and you add two, and it's four. Two. Plus two. Is four!" Insert blank look from student here.

And have I mentioned that I'm not very good with kids in general? I'm just not around any kids on any kind of regular basis. And after recently spending time near a very active toddler, I'm reminded that I kind of like it that way. (FYI, I'd be helping with a third grade class, which for some reason seems like a good age to me.)

Another issue with agreeing to help is wondering, "Am I not REALLY CLOSE to getting a job?" True, I currently have zero prospects, but -- to avoid a full-on depression -- I have to believe that something good is around the corner. I'd hate to make the commitment to help at the school and then have to leave for a "real" job. I'd feel as if I'd be leaving the kids in the lurch. But, realistically speaking, since I'm not even finding anything to apply for, I'd probably have at least two months to work at the school.

On the topic of schools, my hypochondriac side keeps pointing out how the schools are a major point of concern with the swine flu. Hypochondria aside, being uninsured, I'm trying to avoid situations that might contribute to excessive medical bills, and let's face it, schools are somewhat of a hotbed of germs.

On the topic of working, if it's (oh so depressingly) true that I'm not any closer to finding a so-called good job, I could seriously use some income. Would it be wise to put restrictions on my availability with volunteering if I'm going to have to start applying for part-time work?

Well, I had hoped that writing these things down might help me sort them out, but I'm still torn. If anyone has anything helpful to share, I'd appreciate it!

September 9, 2009
» money not for nothing

Re: the topic in the previous entry, I'd just about made up my mind: I wasn't going to volunteer in my teacher friend's class. The primary reason being that, as I approach eight(!) months of unemployment, I really need to start considering some source of actual income.

Ah, but then! Today I learned that I was actually approved for unemployment compensation. :shocked: I applied at the urging of another friend, but I really, truly, utterly believed that I would be turned down. My only experience with someone even attempting to get unemployment compensation was when my sister tried for it seven or so years ago. She was fired for her cash drawer (at a fast food place) being $3 short. Although she had worked there over ten years, because there had been two other instances of her drawer being short, she was denied UC. At that point, I became convinced that "those people" went out of their way to deny claims.

I figured that since I was fired because my "performance did not meet expectations," I would be turned down. I figured it wouldn't matter that my many requests for help/training went unanswered or that my ex-employers hadn't given me a single performance review before suddenly kicking me to the curb. That's why I waited all this time, and I ONLY did it now so that I could silence people who asked about it with a curt, "Yeah, I didn't get it."

But I did get it! And I actually find myself somewhat inspired by it. Before, job hunting was quite disheartening, with all the looking and finding no opportunities. But now, it's as if I'm getting paid to job hunt, and that makes even the fruitless searches seem like just part of the process. For the first time since I got fired, I feel as if I haven't been forgotten. (And, wow, does that feel nice.)

This may sound corny, but also while I'm considering myself on the government payroll, I plan to make it part of my "duties" to try to be a better citizen, more of a -- dare I say it? -- do-gooder. And part of that just might be helping out in that teacher's classroom.

September 24, 2009
» I pity the fuel

This morning as I drove in to the gas station, I noticed a former co-worker fueling up. I parked at the adjacent pump and called out a greeting as he was headed toward the building. He came over and gave me a one-armed hugged.

He asked what I was doing now. Upon hearing that I'm still unemployed, he gave me such a pitying look that I actually get embarrassed when I think of it. He was all, "I just hate how they did you..." While I do appreciate the sympathy, I absolutely do not think of myself as cause for pity.

Okay, I had plenty of pity parties myself right after I was fired, but now I'm feeling more optimistic, and I tried to convey that. I told my former co-worker that I *could* have a job now, but it'd be something I didn't want. "I don't mind taking my time and finding something good," I insisted, to which my former co-worker gave me another oh-she's-being-so-brave-about-all-this look.

He's still working at that company, and he said that business is picking up. He asked if I'd consider coming back. He's in no position to hire me, nor do I reckon that he has any influence on those who do. And really, it doesn't matter what I would or wouldn't do; since I was fired for less-than-stellar performance, I'm fairly positive they wouldn't hire me back anyway. But *just* in case, if any of the higher-ups bumps his head and starts to think about me, for the record I told my former co-worker that I would not come back.

On the way home I heard "I Will Survive," and I mentally dedicated it to my former bosses, especially the first part: "At first, I was afraid. I was petrified! Kept thinkin' I could never live without you by my side. But then I spent so many nights, thinkin' how you did me wrong, and I grew strong..." Yeah, getting fired threw me for a (gargantuan, industrial-sized) loop, but I'm past that now, and I'm really looking forward to the new opportunities I'll have.

So, my former co-workers, please spare me your pity. If you want to show your support, join me in happily pondering the good things the future holds for me. Or buy me some lunch, if you prefer to give something more tangible. ;)

October 6, 2009
» rhymes with "fired"

That would be "hired."

:pause for anticipation of joyful news:

That's right: I am HIRED! And I've gotta say that the eight(!) and a half(!) months(!) of looking were *well* worth it because I got a lot of my wants with this job. It's close to my mom's place. It's not in the industry that I left in January. Best of all, it's still in engineering but more on the business side and less on the oh-so-frustrating, who-do-I-have-to-kill-to-get-a-straight-answer design side. Excuse me while I weep for joy.

Really, it sounds like such a good opportunity that I'm almost afraid of saying too much about it at this point for fear of jinxing it. Maybe I'll just move on.

I start to work this coming Monday, so there will likely be a slight lull in website work while I get settled into a new routine and find a new apartment.

Oh, and in sharing the happy news with some former coworkers, I finally revealed the location of my websites. So if any of them are reading this: welcome! Yes, I have a blog, and yes, I may have talked about you. And if there's *any* chance that might hurt your feelings, may I suggest that you peruse one of my other sites instead?

But if you're feeling strong -- got your big girl panties on? Good -- and are not afraid to hear another point of view, then read on.

And actually, I kid. There's no need for anyone to brace for some scathing attack. I feel pretty comfortable exposing these writings because a) as I've written before, when I write something to post on-line, I keep in mind that anyone could read it, so I try to be as objective as possible. Also b) people who've spent time around me should recognize that I am overall a positive person, and c) on the occasions that I've ranted about coworkers, I didn't use their real names. Combined with d) it's been about a year since my last work-related rant, surely the objects of any rants will have forgotten and won't recognize that it's about them. Hopefully, they don't journal. ;)

October 24, 2009
» a website oversight

Work is going well! Mostly, I've been reading to get familiar with the business, their software, etc. and that can make for a long day, but it's a necessary first step. Happily, I realized yesterday that all of the reading *is* serving its purpose, as I do feel more familiar with the material.

In other news, this week I was finally able to check one of my (twenty or so) old email accounts. It had -- I exaggerate not -- over 4000 emails. Of course, 3996 of them were spam. Of the four valid ones, one was a test email I'd recently sent, which is actually what inspired me to do the work to check that account. But the other three non-spams were warnings from TheFanlistings.org. Apparently my MacGyver fanlisting was on the troubles list, and since I didn't respond to their two warnings, they wrote to say that it was removed from the network. And this happened back in October of 2007. Oops!

I would've sworn I checked the TFL.org site not long ago to be sure my three sites were still listed. I guess I checked the two I thought were more likely to have been removed. Oops again.

This is not a tragedy. I think of the MacGyver site primarily as a fan website, and the bulk of its traffic is from people who are looking for MacGyver information. Still, I am embarrassed at this oversight, and after checking to see that there isn't a new Mac fan listing, I applied for mine to be it again.

And if they say no, the new layout was made in such a way that it'll be very easy to remove the fanlisting related links from the menu.

November 8, 2009
» photoblogging

I'm almost settled in at both my new job and my new apartment but I still can't seem to follow through on the blog topics that I think of. So, I'm catching up with posting the pictures I've taken recently -- if the baseball game that Jeff and I went to back in early September can be called recently. :blush:

Anyway here are the links:

Five photos from the baseball game

Three photos from Joe Wheeler State Park

Three photos from Monte Sano State Park and one from my Mom's yard

The links above are the first pic in each set. Click 'Next' at the top right corner of the picture to see the next one.

Note: as I was giving the slideshow a test run, clicking 'Next' and proofreading each comment, some ad suddenly redirected me to some weird yellowpages lookup. If that happens to you, use the album index link below to view the pictures. (And would you please let me know? I like the features at fotki, but if their ads get annoying, I will move my gallery away from them in a heartbeat.) I did move the gallery and updated the links on this page.

Photo Gallery Index (2009)

November 15, 2009
» the I in panic

My boss called me at home early last week. She had to put me on hold for a few minutes, and this gave me time to ponder how odd it was to be hearing from her about seven-thirty in the evening.

My train of thought went something like this: "What in the world could she be calling about? Does she have a question about that project? Could I have misplaced something? Or is she just going to say that I shouldn't come in tomorrow -- or at all! Maybe the company's in trouble financially with that one contract getting moved back! Or have I done something wrong? I HAVEN'T BEEN THERE LONG ENOUGH TO DO ANYTHING!" And if you're reading each of those lines with increasing panic, then you're reading them the way I was thinking them.

Needless to say, by the time she was back on the phone, I had braced myself for impending bad news. And the reason for the call? She was attending a training class the next day, and she realized that it would be beneficial for me to tag along as well. Could I meet her there at eight-thirty? I sheepishly said yes.

After I hung up, I was embarrassed to be reminded of my tendency of late to fly into Chicken Little mode at the drop of a hat. I've been doing that for the better part of this year in my thoughts about my health issues -- all of which are thankfully minor, btw, knock on wood. Yet I persist in going from "everything's okay" to "everything's as BAD as it can POSSIBLY BE."

Maybe Thanksgiving would be an excellent time for me to count my blessings and include all those things I've recently worried about that turned out to be nothing.

And hopefully I'll take that all to heart and just try to calm(!) down(!).

November 28, 2009
» more website work

With two lovely days off for Thanksgiving (woo hoo!) I have finished redesigning my "inspirational site."

Two years ago, I changed that site to a blog format -- where I still post regularly, btw -- but the previous site is still open, partly as a backup and partly to point people to the new site.

I consider them both companions to my Christmas site, which I also redesigned a few weeks ago.

December 5, 2009
» now that's a delayed response

Two days ago I received a rejection from a job application. Since I've been at my new job for two months now, I knew that the company's response was at least that old.

Curiosity got the better of me, and I looked up in my notes exactly when I had applied: August 7th. So this rejection is about four(!) months(!) past due. Thanks, Camber, for (finally) deigning to give me an answer, but you know, I kinda already figured out that I was not the candidate selected for that esteemed Administrative Assistant position.

But seriously, thanks for the reminder that job-hunting is beyond frustrating, and that I'm so, so blessed to have actually found a job.

December 23, 2009
» Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you!

December 31, 2009
» a year in review - 2009

Again this year, I'm doing the Year End Review - 40 Questions meme.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
watched entire seasons of TV shows on-line, got diagnosed with the flu, rented a non-ground floor apartment, rented and drove a large moving truck, hired movers, received unemployment compensation, told my boyfriend about my websites/blog, almost got hit by a snake that fell out of a tree

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2009, I had a few goals: 1) learn the Stayin' Alive dance, 2) read another of Jane Austen's books, and 3) get involved in something worthwhile.

Results: I definitely got involved with some worthwhile efforts; I didn't read the book but I saw the A&E version of "Pride and Prejudice" and *loved* it, and I made zero progress toward learning the Stayin' Alive dance.

For 2010, since 2009 went nothing at all like I thought it would, I'm actually scared to set any big goals. I just want to know my job better.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No - thankfully!

5. Where did you travel?
only to local cities that I've visited before

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
My biggest dream is still to own a home. If I can get closer to that in 2010, that would be awesome.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 15th, the day my former supervisor told me I was fired

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I'm pretty pleased with what I accomplished during my unemployment. Sure, I started off sitting around and whining, but I got past that and really put a dent in my To Do list.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Thanks to getting fired, I felt like a failure most of the year, having to reply for nine months, "No, I haven't found a job yet. Still looking."

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Both! Thankfully nothing serious, but I visited doctors three times in two months: once for a stopped-up ear, once for an ingrown toenail, and once for my first-ever diagnosed case of the flu.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
In this Year of Living Frugally due to unemployment, I'm more proud of the things I *didn't* buy: I repaired my years-old coat, I pulled an old coffeetable out of the attic to use for a printer table, and instead of buying a new cell phone, I dug out my old pre-paid model, which the company upgraded - to one that works - for free.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The people who hired me! and Angie, who insisted that I apply for unemployment

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The people who fired me

14. Where did most of your money go?
A dishearteningly large portion went to paying for an apartment where the fees for terminating the lease would've been more expensive than finishing it out. As I've heard it said, that apartment was very expensive, very inconvenient storage space.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The ample storage space in my new apartment

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Congratulations by the Traveling Wilburys, because every time I hear it I think of how I felt so blindsided by my former bosses

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? maybe a little sadder
Older or wiser? this year, I've just felt older
Thinner or fatter? about the same
Richer or poorer? definitely poorer, since I was unemployed for nine months

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
been a blessing to other people

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
dwelling on how my boyfriend hasn't sent me a single email all(!) year(!) [FYI, I sent him two earlier in the year, and I'm beginning to suspect that he's lost my address.]

20. How did you spend Christmas?
My mom, sister and I opened our gifts, then ate lunch, then went to my cousin's house for a visit. Back home, we finished the day by watching "While You Were Sleeping."

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?

22. How many one-night stands?

23. What was your favorite TV program?
I *really* enjoyed watched Simon & Simon on-line.

24. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
my mother

25. What was the best book you read?
IIRC the only book I read was "Rebuilding the Real You" by Jack Hayford - and it was VERY good.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Make it Better (Forget About Me) by Tom Petty and the Hearbreakers. (I was pleasantly surprised to find a song of theirs I hadn't heard - and an upbeat one at that!) I also really liked Free To Be Me by Francesca Battistelli.

27. What did you want and get?
a good new job

28. What did you want and not get?
a sensitive spot on my foot is not going away, and will probably require medical treatment: that is definitely not getting what I want!

29. What was your favorite film of the year?
Fave Film Released This Year: (didn't see any movies in the theatre this year)
Fave Film Seen This Year For The First Time: the A&E version of "Pride and Prejudice"

30. What did you do on your birthday?
I worked on some computer projects, emailed a resume to my soon-to-be employer, ate my favorite lunch with the fam (including my dessert of choice, cherry pie), went with my sister to the mall, watched some of my favorite videos on-line - and made screencaps! - then watched Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
if I could've gotten my well-worth-the-wait job earlier in the year

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Continuing my efforts from last year, I'm still trying to assemble outfits that I like. Hair-wise, I've been trying a new tip - blowdrying hair from the top (no flipping hair over to dry) - and I think that's been helping my hair not to be so dry and brittle.

33. What kept you sane?

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
This guy and a TV character, AJ Simon

35. What political/current events issue stirred you the most?

36. Who did you miss?
the people from my old job

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Caren, from work

38. What changed the most in your life this year?
It feels like everything changed: I got a new job and a new apartment in a new city.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:
I've been surprised several times this year after being "so sure" I knew how things were going to work out. I guess that's the lesson: don't get too comfortable but don't give up because you really don't know what will happen next.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need." ~ The Rolling Stones


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