27 August 2014

The Mail Saga Continues

So, my mom called again.

First, she apologized for "calling every day", which it hasn't been.  It's been more like every three-ish days, which is enough really.  I find myself not wanting to answer the telephone when she calls but I've actually had the thought of "She's getting older, you need to answer."  We don't talk often, it's just not how I'm wired.  She will talk for hours, actual hours but I'm not much a phone person.

She started the conversation like we had just talked an hour ago.  It turns out that it is a continuation of the Package Story.  She ended up going to the post office with the slip to pick up the package.  They let her sign for it and she brought it home.  What she neglected to share at first was that she signed for an envelope, not a package.  I learned this about halfway though the story.

For some reason, she thought that this couch replacement part would arrive in a business envelope.  We are still wondering why she didn't notice the return address or the addressee.  It turns out that it wasn't for the new neighbors but for the former neighbors who haven't lived there in over a year. Again, how we didn't notice this at the post office is beyond me. (almost 80 years old is now, really but really?)

Once she got home, she called the furniture place to schedule a repair person but didn't have all the information still; no last name or telephone number.  The kind person at the furniture place was patient with her and asked her to open the package to try to figure this out.

Yeah, it was legal papers.  This is when she discovered that it was for the old neighbors.

Now her kerfuffle is how to figure this out.  I told her to seal it back up, take to the post office, and return it to sender. I told her that worse case she would have to put it into a new envelope and pay a little postage.  Maybe include a little note that it was mistakenly delivered.

Like before, she immediately swirled the drain.  "But if this doesn't work, I will have to go to my lawyer and that will cost me money!"

Wait, what? Why are we going to the lawyer?

"Because it's legal papers."

*Deep breath*

We finally decided that just taking it back to her little, rural post office and asking for help would be her best bet.  She ended the conversation relieved and a little heart-breakingly grateful for the guidance. 

I'll let you know when she calls back because all y'all know she's going to and now you're dying to know what happens next.

Oh, and the furniture part?  It has never arrived. 

26 August 2014

Long Form Essay in Pencil

I had another job interview today for a job that I wasn't super excited about.  It's part-time (yea!) but it's in the Human Resources department of a school district so: paperwork. (ugh)

The person that scheduled the interview mentioned on the telephone that it would be a two-part interview but didn't go any further with information.  I'd forgotten this part until I pulled into the parking lot.  This is good, I guess, because I couldn't obsess about it.

The district office is a maze of what appears to be what was intended to be a temporary office. I don't think I could find my way through it again to save my life.  The reason that I know this maze exists is that the first part of the interview was an ESSAY.  Yes, an essay. 

The best part is that I had to sit in what was clearly once a closet.  It had a little workstation but there were storage shelves behind me and the random effluvia that storage closets hold. I was in a room the size of a guest bathroom and they shut the door when they left. Good thing I'm not claustrophobic.
It did make me wonder if that was the best they could offer, after seeing the maze of workstations and empty desks on my way through the labyrinth of rooms.

Anyway.  Essay, yes.

I was given a set of instruction with a space to write below and an attached sheet.  I was also offered a legal pad in case I wanted to use that instead.  And a pencil.  And I had to write my name on the top.  I swear to you this is true.

Well, obviously, writing is not an issue for me.  I wasn't the least bit concerned when I sat down.  She told me that I had thirty-minutes to complete it then she would return to get me.  I nearly asked if I should come out when I was done but I didn't want to appear cocky.

I started at 10:29 and finished at 10:40.  Twenty minutes to sit and wait and contemplate the wonders of the storage closet. As it was a job interview, I didn't bring my phone with me. So regret that choice!  Instead I fidgeted in my chair, I reread my work (three times), and fidgeted some more. 

Oh, I had the choice of two questions:  "What are your professional goals in your career?" and "What communication attributes will you bring to the district when it comes to interacting with the students, parents, staff, and co-workers?"

I hate the Goals question because I never have a good answer.  If I'm being honest, I want an easy job that pays decently and that I can quit in a few years.  This is not a good answer for a potential employer.

So, I answered in proper essay form and in long-hand, with a pencil, question number two.  I had some serious flashbacks to high school. Stuck in a room, writing an essay, just like when I had in-school suspension.

After the requisite twenty minutes passed, I was shuttled back through the maze to the reception area.  I waited just a few minutes then was taken into a conference room and interviewed by FOUR people.  The superintendent, his assistant, the receptionist, and the schools supervisor. Two had a sense of humor and two did not.

I never know how to sit at these things.  I'm not so much tall so most chairs and tables are too tall.  I just leaned forward on the table and did the best that I could.  At least it wasn't a spinny chair, those are impossible to look grown-up in for me.

The interview went well, I think. One never knows with these things.  I tend not to reflect too much on it because it's so utterly out of my control. We'll see.  I never get my hopes up for these things, although it would be nice to go back to work doing something.

So, here I am, it took less than an hour out of my day to momentarily time-travel to high school again. Now I'm back home reading a book and looking forward to the last four episodes of Doctor Who.
*shrug* Life is weird.

25 August 2014

With Just a Click of a Button

The method of which I have been applying for jobs has been scatter-shot. I've applied to jobs randomly and wantonly. It's so easy to apply now-a-days, just a few clicks and you've applied.  So, it's a little too easy to just ask for a job that, perhaps, you have absolutely no interest in doing. 

Earlier today I applied for a part-time office manager job that is not far from my house.  This seemed a little too good to be true but on the premise of Why Not? I applied.

About an hour later, I received an email in response.  It had three questions, two of which were the standard "What is your wage requirements and when can you start if hired?" but the first question was the kicker:

"What are your feelings about providing services and communicating with individuals involved in the I-502 Initiative?"

Firstly, I had to look up which initiative 502 was.  It's the legalization of marijuana; which some of you may be aware that passed wholeheartedly.

Secondly, perhaps a sign of the weekend being spent watching Doctor Who, I responded with "A pop quiz then..." followed by my responses.

This is a tough thing for me because I'm not necessarily pro-pot.  I'm kind of annoyed about it actually.  I have a very low tolerance for people under the influence, especially high people. I also worry about the long-term ramifications that perhaps people haven't considered in their excitement over legalization.  i.e. brain development, increase in lung cancer, increase in mental illness diagnosis.

When I voted, I equated it with Washington State's privatization of liquor sales.  I'm so very glad that this happened after my dad passed.  A nearly life-long alcoholic, I can only imagine the negative effect this might have had on him.  (clarification: WA State used to have liquor sold only in state-owned stores, with business hours, and no liquor sales on Sundays in some areas versus sold everywhere/all the time)


This is one of those For the Greater Good situations.  These laws benefit more people than are harmed.  These laws have safeguards in place and the ability to adapt to the changes these new laws create.  So, I voted in favor of both.

This doesn't mean, however, that I'm interested in working for a dispensary or store front.  But it does have the possibility of being an interesting job, if not lucrative in the long run.  And this is a call-back to the statement in a previous post that "an application or interview doesn't mean you have the job."

So, yeah.  That's how my day went.

23 August 2014

The Doctor

When I was a child, Doctor Who was routinely mocked. It was the utmost in cheesiness, science fiction on a really low-budget scale.  Also, it was British so the humor would sometimes be over our heads. It was also played late at night on the Canadian channels so access for me was limited. 

Not that I didn't get to occasionally "enjoy" the Christmas lighted cardboard boxes, tinfoil covered, Halloween costumed cheesiness.

So, my perception of the show was always 100% cheese.  Also, I've never been a big science fiction fan.  It's odd really because it would seem like I would be all over science fiction but I just don't enjoy it. I'm not sure why, maybe it's the unpredictability of it.

I was up late the other night and I noticed that there was a Doctor Who marathon on BBC.  Because late at night is always the best time to get involved in a marathon, I turned it on.  It was oddly mesmerizing.  I find David Tennant attractive and I'm always interested in really smart guys.  It was the perfect mixture of funny and drama with a little bit of crazy mixed in.

Next thing I knew, I had watched two episodes and set all the episodes to record. 

The next morning, it was the first thing I turned on.  Kevin is incredulous and not a little bit surprised that I'm watching it.  I told him that it's kind of fascinating and soon enough, he found himself watching it too.  But, he's not one to sit still and we were leaving for the racetrack so the show didn't implant in his brain like it did mine.  (see? science fiction! haha)

Now it's Saturday, this began on Thursday night, and I'm doing chores and meals based around episodes.  I saw the last four of David Tennant's Doctor and now I'm not quite half through Matt Smith's Doctor.  Tonight is the new season with the new Doctor and like every other nerd in the world, I'm just not sure I'll be able to let go of the previous Doctors.

I blame the internet for a lot of this.  You can't go onto Pinterest without seeing a ton of Doctor Who stuff.  Well, wait, that might only be me because I like to look at the books, television, nerd/geek pins.  Then there's all the coverage of ComicCon, Wil Wheaton on the twitter, and one of my favorite nerds Chris Hardwick.  If all of these people think it's cool, then it must be cool.

And it is.  Now, I'm going to go finish watching the marathon and pin all the things on Pinterest.  See you in a few days.

Radio Hell

Every once in a while we get trapped in what I refer to Radio Hell.  I'm not sure how this is even possible when one has Sirius/XM and access to nearly a hundred channels.   But it happens. 

Kevin refers to Radio Hell for when he's stuck in a truck with terrestrial radio.  He rarely loses his cool but give him standard FM radio and get out of the way because: incoming tantrum.

We went to the racetrack yesterday, without the racecar and alone.  This never happens but the planets aligned.  We so rarely get time like that alone that I don't even care if we're going to the grocery store. Anyway, our class was bumped off the schedule, Kevin was going to crew chief on our friend's car and I tagged along.

It was a challenging day from the start.  The race time was bumped, so we left a little later, traffic was bad because Friday afternoon, then we stopped for lunch a little cafe in small bordertown USA that we love. It was busy and took forever.

Then we got into the wrong lane at the border.  Not wrong as in the wrong lane but in the We Haven't Moved for Fifteen Minutes Lane.  So we swapped lanes and then, as happens every time, the lane began to move again. (few things worse than snarky border guards)

Finally, we reached the racetrack.  We hung out a little bit and then the round run time was bumped AHEAD so the boys had to hustle.  It went great in the end as our friend qualified first in a beautiful pass. 

THEN, his chutes didn't deploy correctly and he went into the marbles, which is nearly off the end of the track.  But he got it stopped safely and was fine.

We hung out a little while longer after we found everything was okay.  We had lemonade and doughnut holes (they're like crack cocaine, I swear) for dinner, like you do.  Lunch was so late that we skipped dinner, by the way.

Finally, we went up to make the final qualifying pass.  And the car wouldn't start, because of course it wouldn't.  We watched the other cars make their passes then returned to the trailer where I sat for a few hours and listened to a bunch of really smart and smart-assed racers work on the car.  While this sounds boring as all hell to most, it's actually one of my favorite things to do. 
(when he, literally, bounced to a stop it shook something loose)

At 11:00 pm, we headed home.  We weren't on the road five minutes and Radio Hell started up again.  The country station had interviews and live guests, which we both hate, the other stations were all playing songs we hated.  Finally Kevin said "Turn on the 70's channel, it's always good music."  To which I replied, as he knew I would, "No, because it's the 70's CHANNEL."  But I tried it anyway.

ROBERTA FLACK.  Singing a B-side song. For the love of sweet baby jesus.

Because I'm a brat, I left it.  Even might have hummed a little. Until finally Kevin said "Okay, okay, you can slit my throat now."  So I switched the channel again.  Yep, still songs we hated.

So, it was a particularly challenging day with the accompanying sound track. 

21 August 2014

Don't Help the Neighbors

My mom has new neighbors and they are only there during the summer.  They asked my mom to sign for a package, a replacement part for their couch, and my mom agreed.  This seems a little forward to me as they're new neighbors but my parents have always been over-involved in the neighbors since they've retired.

Well, my mom didn't catch the mailman so there was a slip left to sign for the package.  I tried to walk through what the slip said to attempt to determine if they're going to redeliver or what. This is after trying to figure out if it was USPS, FedEx, or UPS.  Or the stork.

This was such an exercise in frustration.  This is where I say that she's almost eighty and living on her own. And also where I'm going to hell for the gestures and eye-rolls that I made during this conversation.

It's a repair part for a couch they were having issues with and we're assuming it's a warranty thing. They are living in Yemen over the winter so this seems it was a time sensitive thing and why they asked her to sign for it.  My mom is unsure when they are returning so we don't know if they're gone until next summer or what.  So, we also don't know what the timing is for this to be resolved.

To up the difficulty level: my mom doesn't know their last name nor have a telephone number for them.  I KNOW.  But this tells me that someone must be returning  sooner rather than later.

I suggested to just sign the thing, leave it in the mailbox, and see what happens.  This is where my mom broke out the martyr hat that I get to "enjoy" every once in a while.  "SURELY, this is a LEGAL DOCUMENT" she says.  (imagine me with an imaginary gun in my mouth at this moment)

I suggested that she could go to the post office and explain what happened.  She then worried that she would get accused for mail fraud/theft.  (again: imaginary gun to my head)  I reassured her that it seemed unlikely.

We decided to just wait and see what happens.  They really didn't leave her any choice or enough information to do this favor.  She was worried that she will have failed their request; when in fact they failed her.

This just confirms the "no good deed shall go unpunished" theory.

19 August 2014

The List

I try not to go into town more than once a week now that I'm unemployed.  It's to save money and to keep me from mischief.  So today I had a pretty good list of To-Do's plus two job interviews.  Don't get excited. One went well, the other not and I'm not one to get excited because I hate disappointment.

The errands were wide-ranging and took me all over town. I didn't go to the dollar store because it was too hot outside and I was over it.  Also see: mischief.

Taking a sandal to get repaired.  The first place wasn't open even though it was past ten so, well done shop-owner.  The second place was out of the way but they are repairing it for $7 so it's all good there. This is where I mention the sandal has been broken for three years.  Also, summer is nearly over and I can only wear them a little bit, if at all but they are my favorite.  This is the kind of fools errand that I too often find myself doing. And: $7.

I had to drop off a package at the UPS store.  I love being overly polite and kind to cashiers, it throws them off in a good way.  I'm guessing because people are often thoughtless, if not downright rude so it must be surprising. Hopefully in a good way.  I also love the amazon returns process is so easy.

We have Lucy on a specific dog food that is available at a small pet store downtown.  I kind of love going there because downtown is never boring.  It's a mix of big city with a dash of crazy kitsch. And parking meters.

I *had* to return to the bookstore to get the book that I thought I already had.  I might have bought another book as well.  I didn't want it to get lonely on the ride home.

I dropped a bunch of stuff off at Goodwill. Now I have time for stuff like that. It was stuff that kept getting thrown to the back of the coat closet that I meant to take while I was working. I also had stuff from culling the clutter from the living room.  Now that I've done this, I have to keep the ball rolling with this whole decluttering and taking it to the Goodwill thing.

I had to get my glasses readjusted again.  I'm really tough on glasses.  Along that same theme, I've already bumped them and undid the adjustment. 

Finally, I had to stop for groceries.  I had to pick up stuff that I forgot on the speed shopping that I did last week because Kevin was waiting for me.  I don't like going to this store so this wasn't so much a treat.

In celebration of two job interviews and nearly completing my list I stopped for an iced mocha.  When I pulled up to the window, my radio was kind of loud.  While I was turning it down, the guy came to the window to take my order.  I apologized and said that I had to turn down Howard Stern, not safe for public listening.  To my pleasant surprise, the guy smiled and exclaimed "Bababoey!"
Which means nothing to non-Howard listeners but is everything to listeners.  It made my whole day.

The only task left is the dollar store, which is one of those errands that cause trouble so I skipped it. (the paper is a gift from a client, it is made from paper grocery bag.)

18 August 2014

The Problem of Being Jobless

There are a few problems with being unemployed, other than the stress of not having a job or a reduced/no income.  Things I wouldn't have thought about before.

I have to remember that an interview or application is not a job offer and to calm the hell down.  I don't get excited, I get anxious. This is new, and I don't know why.

Part time work is difficult to find, which is what I need so...

I forget to eat.  I know, you can call me names and/or flip me off. It's okay, I understand.

Without a schedule, I often find myself at odds.  I try to keep a schedule but the problem being is there isn't enough stuff to fill a day.  Shower, chores, watch television, play with the dog, read, sit outside, cook.  I know, I know, I know: STFU already, you're saying. 

I have to remember that there is a slim chance that I'll be called back to my job and then it's Sophie's Choice.  (the people who now run it are not people I want to work for. However, it's a good job) But I'm not holding my breath for that.  I just know that my luck, I will go back to work and they will call.  Or I'll feel anxious and return to work even though I might not want to.

I've reached the remodeling/organizing/cleaning portion of having time off.  Yesterday I decided the living room was too cluttered and now it's pretty spartan. Sidenote: I have to go to Goodwill now.

Another challenge is that I need to get my ankle looked at as there is a screw that is protruding.  It's always been that way but it bothers me that it literally snags on things and hurts if I sit on the ground.  I like to sit cross-legged so this sucks. 

The problem here is that it might require surgery again so yuck.  The original prognosis is that if something like this happened, it's two weeks off my feet again.  This is okay except if my dream job becomes available in that time period. On the other hand, what better timing?

Greys Anatomy is addicting.  Enough said.

Okay, I'm done whining now.  These definitely qualify as #firstworldproblems

16 August 2014

Not in the House!

Lucy is a hunter, she is a hound/beagle mix.  She has caught moles, snakes, shrews, mice, bugs, and probably many more things that we're simply not aware of. 

Now that I'm home, she isn't on a cable run during the day.  We've negotiated keeping the front door open so that she can come and go.  She's only two years old so I can't just ignore her or she'll be in Texas before I even know what's happening. With that, she is getting better at staying in the yard and I'm getting better at not freaking out if I don't see her in the yard.

I was working in the office on the laptop.  It had been a few minutes so I went to look outside for her.  When I walked into the living room, I was pleasantly surprised to see her playing wit her toys.  But she looked guilty.

Walking around the couch, I was telling her "Good girl staying around the house".  She came toward me and well, the toy she was playing with MOVED.

We usually buy her the brightly colored, non-realistic appearing toys.  The realistic ones just make me uncomfortable.  That being said, I did buy her one that looks like a mole and another that looks like a hamster/guinea pig hybrid.

So, of course I thought it was one of those toys and an optical illusion.  IT SO WASN'T.

Lucy had caught a mole and brought it in to play with and share with me.

I KNOW RIGHT!?!?!?!?!

My first instinct was to command Lucy to "bring it here."  I started to say it and Lucy started to respond and I admit: I panicked a little.  "No, Lucy, leave it!"  Now she looked like she was in trouble.  And policy is that she gets a treat when she catches a mole so mixed messages much?

I took my phone and Lucy outside and went to retrieve a shovel.  I called Kevin and when he answered I said "We have to move. Now."

He didn't even get a full sentence out when I probably shouted "SHE CAUGHT A MOLE AND BROUGHT IT IN THE HOUSE."

"Is it alive?" he asks, not just a little bit laughing.

"It effing MOVED."

"Get it out of there"

"What in the name of all things holy do you think I'm doing right now?"  (Because, really?)

I hung up with him and took the shovel into the house. I tried to leave Lucy outside but she wanted to play with her new toy and I couldn't close the door and get the mole out easily. 

I went to go get it but thought "I'm taking a picture, just in case."  I quickly took two and then girded my loins for mole removal.

I slide the shovel underneath the mole and it wiggles.  It's on its back because after being the Best Toy Ever, that's all that it can do. THANK GOD. Wiggling is unacceptable.

I freaked out a little then tried again.  It finally kind of rolled onto the shovel and I hurried outside and flung it out into the void that is our lower property.

Lucy was most displeased.  So was I, just for very different reasons.

I went inside and gave her the treat for being a good girl.  Then I texted the picture to Kevin.  One minute later I got a call "You DID NOT just send me a picture!!!"  I laughed and told him that if I had to get a mole out of the house, the least he could do is look at a picture of it.

I'm still completely SQUICKED out so we will never talk about this again.  But it was too good of a story not to tell.

14 August 2014


I went into town for boring errands and decided I would take time to wander through the bookstore.  This is something that I love but never seem to have the time to do, except for birthdays or Christmas or while in Vegas. (because that's what you do in Vegas, duh)

The biggest problem with spending leisure time in a book store is not emptying my bank account while browsing.  I usually set my limit at 2 books or about $20, whichever works out first.  The second biggest problem I have is remembering if I already have the book or not. 

For example, I wandered through the first part of the store with a book that I was uncertain whether or not I already had it.  I finally decided to leave it and suffer if I came home to discover that I didn't have it.  It would be worse if I went home and did have it.  Although, either way would result in a return to the bookstore.  It turns out that the book was on sale (shoulda risked it) and I didn't have it. Guess I have to go back. Sigh. 

I browsed all the sale tables and all the fiction aisles. I usually stick to the authors I know and am sadly a "Judge a book by it's cover" person but I'm trying to broaden my range. 

So, I spent the majority of time reading the covers and regretfully returning them to the shelves.  I think Swistle mentioned this not too long ago and now I'm aware of it as well.  Why must every plot include "Her life was going perfectly UNTIL".  I realize that this is usually the plot of chick-lit but that doesn't mean I don't get tired of it.  Can't people just have other issues and stay in their relationship? Does no one have brothers in the literary world or do they all have sisters? Can't we enjoy a relationship after they've found one another?

One of the other things that I've noticed is that most chick-lit and fiction is set on the seashore.  I think I've mentioned this before: do people not fall in love or have issues in Kansas?
I mean, I get it, the ocean is a dramatic background.  But so can other settings like rolling hills, mountains, farmlands, or lake shores; they can provide drama and beauty as well.  I didn't mention the desert because that, indeed, doesn't provide any sort of fantasy or drama for me.  I do enjoy Nevada but it's not somewhere I would willingly choose to live or use as a background in a novel.

(Mine is set in the lovely Pacific Northwest, of course.  Not on the coast but in the foothills)

I did wander down one of the romance novel aisles.  They are horrifying and I felt a little embarrassed to be spotted browsing there. There are, of course, exceptions but most of them indeed are the aptly named "bodice rippers".  I am one the folks that don't read heavy or true fiction because I just can't have that drama/dark in my head now.  So, I get it the escape part. I don't understand the fantasy, sexy-time stuff though.  It's just not my thing.

To booksellers dismay, I did find myself thinking "I can get that cheaper on the amazon."  But it's a sad fact for local booksellers.  What they do have going for them is immediate gratification.  There were three books that were new releases that I didn't know about and I bought one. (such restraint!) 

I do like being able to read the first two paragraphs of a book to make sure it is indeed something that I will be interested in and enjoy reading.  There are few things more disappointing than buying a book online then not being interested in it once it arrives.

Choosing new-to-me authors is usually done two ways: friends recommendations (Swistle! BFF C!) is the go-to way usually.  The other is a little more involved: if I read about a book on multiple sites/magazines like NY Times/People/local bookstore newsletter and it keeps snagging my attention then I'll usually risk it. This was the case when I started reading Karen White.

So, hmmm, what was my point in this post?  I guess nothing, really, beyond "I went to the bookstore today!!" which is always a cause for celebration.

13 August 2014

Cannot Solve for X

Stupid math.  Or, rather, stupid brain that doesn't accept/understand/retain math information.

The one thing that is keeping me, twice now, from getting a para-educator certificate is MATH.

To quote Charlie Brown: "AAAAARRRRGGGHHH"

On a practice test, I missed the requirement level by ONE POINT.  I reviewed the questions that I missed and one of the math questions was incorrect because of doggone dyslexia.  I answered 3/2 instead of 2/3.

I do okay with basic math concepts and geometry but BOOOOO on doggone algebra.  When I was in high school I muddled through Algebra with probably a C- or D grade.  Three math classes were required to graduate so I had to take Trigonometry.  I failed, woo boy, did I fail.  I actually bribed my way into getting a D- instead. The conversation went something like this:
"You know I'd have to take this class with you again, right? Until I pass." I said. 
"You'll pass. By one point, you'll pass" he said.  Then he said "You need to promise to never take another algebra class ever again.  You're not wired for it." 
"Oh, DEAL. Never again."

I can write you anything from a thank you note to a reference letter to a novel.  But don't ask me to do algebra, like, ever. 

I can read the instructions and concepts. There are cheat sheets online that I've reviewed.  I can understand those but the moment that letters and numbers begin intermingling: I'm out.  The minute that I have to figure out what goes where, there's a fifty percent (ha! math concept!) chance that I'll misread it. So. Frustrating.

Especially frustrating as I want the para-educator certificate for the younger grades with no intention of needing to use higher concept math skills.  But, the test requires it so *shrug*.

So, if you need me, I will be studying Math for Dummies and hoping that guessing through the algebra portion of the test will be good enough. 

12 August 2014

Broken Parents

One of the things that I've realized is that friends often bond or are attracted by similar interests or circumstances. Not just "Oh, I like that book too" but socio-economic standards, religious beliefs, sports even.

Now that I'm an adult (sigh) and have lived a bit of life and have gained some perspective, I've noticed a common thread in the core group of friends when we were in high school.

Broken parents.

I, as we well know, was raised by alcoholics.
Another friend was, as well.
One friend was raised by a single parent, with little/no knowledge who their father was.
One friend was essentially raised by a single parent as one was often absent.
One friend was raised by two parents, one of whom was a Holocaust survivor and battled deep anxiety and depression.
One, I just learned, lost a parent to suicide. (effing depression)

This seems was our common thread: broken parents.  Single parenting wasn't common when I was young.  Also, one didn't talk about substance abuse or mental illness then.  We didn't talk much about it then yet still found each other and bonded. We recognized the broken-ness of one another.

I wonder what would have happened if we had known then what we know now.  We all turned out successfully in our own rights.  What would have become of us if we'd shared more about one another?  Maybe nothing, maybe we wouldn't have bonded more because teens are not always the most compassionate bunch, or maybe we would have been better.

It probably doesn't matter because we did form our own little group, with it's effed up little world, and now thanks to social media, most of us maintain regular contact.  Perhaps now that we're grown and (hahaha) mature, we are able to understand what the other had been through more than when we were fifteen. 

Maybe it matters more now than it did way back then.

Not Blessed

On the twitter and facebook, I often see the hashtag "#blessed" and it makes me stabby.  I have a family member that does it frequently and it invariably makes me want to throw things.

Before you think that I'm a complete ass, this is what I'm talking about: because it's bullsh*t stuff like "After being without a phone all weekend, I'm back online. #blessed" or "Spaghetti and bread for dinner. #blessed"

Umm, no.

"Blessed" is something that shouldn't be used for trivial things.  I tried  to think of instances where I actually use that word and there is only one example I could think of.  "We weren't blessed with kids" is usually my go-to response when people ask if I/we have kids.  It has just become one of the more gentle ways to answer a sometimes uncomfortable question.

I'm blessed with family and friends.  I'm blessed with reasonably good health.  I understand this use of the word, even though it's not something I usually state. Both of those things are actually in my control so I don't consider it being blessed.

I really don't understand the use of the word when it comes to what you had for dinner, that your favorite movie came on cable, or that you found a sweater on clearance.

Being the research nerd that I am, I looked it up:

BLESSED: adjective
1.  consecrated; sacred; holy; sanctified: the Blessed Sacrament.
2.  worthy of adoration, reverence, or worship: the Blessed Trinity.
3.  divinely or supremely favored; fortunate: to be blessed with a strong, healthy body; blessed with an ability to find friends.
4.  blissfully happy or contented.
5.  Roman Catholic Church , beatified
Doggone it, Number Four, you're not helping. Still, I remain steadfast in my rant.
It just feels like if we are going to be "#blessed" by something, it should be something significant: children or the recovery of good health after a bad diagnosis.  Something big and out of our control; not that there wasn't traffic on the way home or that the Bachelorette was proposed to. Like the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl. #blessed.

10 August 2014

My Job is (was) Making Me a Republican

I hate, hate, hate those posts that you see on the facebook about how welfare recipients are responsible for the downfall of society.  They're not.  They contribute sometimes but they are not the sole cause.   

I am usually a bleeding heart liberal.  Working in social services certainly and regularly makes me question my beliefs.  Because there is, sadly, sometimes a ring of truth to those posts.

Yes you're right, interwebs, that (in my humble opinion) persons on welfare should not have manicures, drive nicer cars than most of us, or be able to buy cigarettes/alcohol/energy drinks/etc.  The way I see it is that if you are receiving public assistance, you best be working your ass off to get off of it as soon as possible.

That being said, sometimes the people had those cars before their life took a downturn. It's not always in everyone's best interest to turn a car back in to avoid payments and sometimes that nice car is actually their home.  But we've all met the person with a Mercedes who constantly complains about drowning in debt.  There's this thing, it's called a Kia, or a Chevy, or any of the other cars that are less expensive.

Yes, a $20 manicure is a self-esteem boost.  Yes, a treat is good when you're feeling down.  However, that $20 can be saved to increase your overall circumstances instead of a fleeting increase in how you're feeling about life that particular day.

Sometimes people have cable television while living in free public housing.  This makes me grit my teeth in the same way as the $20 manicure.  That cost, while providing a momentary distraction from how awful your life is in that moment, can also be set aside to further your life. $20 can make a difference.  It can also eliminate distraction when a person should be focusing on improving their situation

Some of what social services are experiencing is two-fold.  The middle class becoming a low-income class and the transition is brutal.  People who are used to a certain standard of life can no longer afford it.  Another side is the values set forth in society right now that a person NEEDS that fancy cell phone, that manicure, or that television. 

But people land on welfare for a variety of reasons: divorce, job loss, illness.  Sometimes it is not because of bad personal choices but by circumstances out of their control.  The key is to get off of it as quickly as possible and that is where the system is broken.

One of the broken pieces is the mindset of "Oh, something terrible has happened so you will not be able to function for a long time, if ever again at all."   There needs to be strict guidelines in place and not the assumption that because you have a PTSD diagnosis, it means that your entire life stops. Or that the diagnosis is correct and valid.  Depression is not a reason to withdraw from society forever. I've witnessed a definite increase in these diagnosis and it's not necessarily a good thing.

There is a tenet in social services that everyone deserves a second chance. I agree, people do.
Often people are given third, fourth, fifth chances and this is where I disagree.  If you're on your fifth tour through social services then clearly the resources can be spent on someone who *is* ready to make needed changes in their lives to become more successful. 

Because, clearly, on the fifth try: you're not ready or, as sometimes happens, you're taking advantage. Yes, yes, I hear the retorts of "Well, on the fifth try might be The Time that it works.  Yes, that's true, it could but often it isn't.  I look at the greater good often.  In the fourth and fifth try, two other humans can be given second chances to be successful.

To work in social services you must be a bleeding heart liberal but sometimes your heart has to be black and closed.  Sometimes you have to make the hard choice regarding clients.  Sometimes that hard choice is what causes them to change, and sometimes not. 

And like the title of this post states: my job was making me question all my moral, ethics, and scruples.  (Gosh, I'm glad to be done there. I just keep realizing that)

Five Random Photos From My Phone

Foggy spring morning

Spring sunset

Rhodies in our garden

Sunset at the parents
Cozy, sleepy puppy

08 August 2014


I always pictured a drawstring purse when I imagined heartstrings.  Being an imaginative, not linear, thinker, that's just the picture my brain conjured: a bag to hold your feelings and memories. Now I think of it, the word seems more like a musical instrument; the heartstrings thrumming.  I looked up the actual meaning and it's much less poetic.  (they're an actual thing)

Why am I waxing so poetic, you ask?  Am I writing for the Hallmark company?  Nope, just thinking.

A few months ago I met two friends from high school in my hometown. It seems like I've made more trips there recently, with memorials, visits, and business.  It's only natural, I suppose, these things happen as you age.  I'm afraid that I've reached that stage in life: where I'm attending more memorials than weddings and birthdays.

It's not a town that really has a draw to it, unless you're from there and something calls you back.  It's just an old logging town with a Wild Western feel to it. It's a cute, old-fashioned, main street town that one passes through, not necessarily travels to.

Two of my high school friends who moved away after high school recently mentioned how nice of a town it is and how nice it was to return for a visit.  A few of my other friends treat it as if it's been filled with zombies and vow to not return unless required to do so. I was somewhere in the middle: I stayed behind a few years after high school then, once gone, rarely returned.

My dad and brothers went to school at the same high school I did. I went to school there for six years (including middle school, I'm not a repeater. haha)  and lived there almost two years afterward.  I had some really horrible experiences and some really great ones too.  I grew up there, both chronologically and emotionally.  Now that time has passed, the bad times have faded and the good times are creeping forward a little more readily. The town holds a lot of history.

I feel pulled toward the town now.  I think it's a combination of wanting roots and feeling comfortable in my own skin again.  I've always had these things but as I've gotten older and lost people, I think I might be seeking them out more than before. Having old friends move home again is probably responsible for this feeling as well.

It's not easy though, returning.  Old, bad memories have to be faced.  My old apartment is run-down now.  I can still drive to the house where someone lived who broke my heart when I was sixteen.  I'm not friends with one of my BFF's anymore.  Those ghosts wander around town a bit still.

Then I'm reminded of the good times.  Having parties at that apartment, skipping school to see that guy, cruising town when you've just gone to rent a video (so old!) or pick up groceries. One friend worked at auto parts store, another at a dentist office.  The apartment was a block away from where one of my friends grew up, other friends houses were just five minutes (at the most) away.  All of the parents still live in their houses, just the kids have moved away. 

I think if a person stays in their hometown, these things are faced earlier and just become  part of the scenery.  But for us folks that left town and rarely looked back, it can be like experiencing it all over again.

As if the universe wanted to prove my theory, our cousin stopped by for a visit last night.  She moved away years ago and rarely returns.  She spent yesterday visiting old memories and taking photos.  She mentioned, not knowing that I was working on this post, how emotionally strange it is to go back and visit old homes, schools, friends.    She was surprised at what memories were brought forward by this little trip down memory lane. It was in some ways comforting and others upsetting.

This really has no point other than going home again can be a strange experience.

And that heartstrings are quite literally that.

07 August 2014


(This is my humble opinion and a post I started a while ago)
I an mono-theistic, I believe in one God.  I believe in faith.  I don’t believe in religion.  I believe it is a very personal thing.
Kevin is agnostic, he is just not sure what he believes in. He does believe in some form of higher power, he is just not sure how the whole thing works.
One of his issues is the whole “You have one chance to hear and accept the truth. Do not accept false gods.”  I think that maybe he overthinks it, he thinks so globally.  “Christians think they have the Right Way so does that mean the Catholics are wrong? The Jewish? Someone has to be wrong.”
I think that if a person believes in one thing, be it God, Allah, Jesus, Buddha, or the great Spaghetti monster in the sky, lives as good of a life as they possibly can by either following the holy book of that faith or by their own moral code then that is Good Enough.
I believe that a person will know what is right for them when whatever the belief is strikes a chord within them.  That moment when you hear that passage, that idea, or that feeling that makes you feel calm and centered.
It might not even be a god.  It is whatever strikes a chord within you. It's a personal and solitary choice.
I have been all over the map with my beliefs.  I have believed many things.  On beliefnet.com a person can  take a quiz that determines their core beliefs and what religion it matches.  If that is to be believed, I am Jewish. Okay, that's something to think about. But I identify Christian.  I love the new pope but am not a Catholic fan.
I have  seen plenty of examples of a higher power in my life.  However, it might not be so clear to others or their examples might be very different.  That’s okay.  I think that is part of the reason we’re all here: to trying to figure it all out.
I believe not one person is more right or wrong.  I might not agree but I won’t be so bold as to proclaim them wrong.  That is not my job.

06 August 2014

Unemployment School

When you're unemployed in Washington State you have to go to an orientation class.  I call it unemployment school.  I knew I was going to have to go but still cringed when I received the notice.

The last time, years ago, I went it was boring and depressing and I remember I just wanted to curl up and sleep.  So I was super-excited to attend this one!

I got there early so I could choose a seat and not feel like the new kid in the cafeteria.  Also, I hoped that everyone else would too and we could start early thus end early.  No luck.

There were only about 12 people there and that surprised me a little.  I'm not sure why other than I expected to see some of my former co-workers there. I didn't and I was disappointed.

Like every.single.class I've ever taken ever, there was a Question Asker.  Gah, what is with these people?  I try to be patient with the human race but I was just shouting SHUT UP in my head every time that he raised his hand.

He had a cane for some reason, yet wasn't on disability (they asked) or had a visible injury.  Having my own issues, I cut him a little slack but it just felt contrived.  He said he was a construction worker but just laid off for a bit.  Then he said that he was union then he back-tracked.  He also told the class that he kept applying at a company and they kept giving him the "run-around".  I'm thinking "Dude, think it through. You're never gonna get hired there."  Even the job counselor kind of discouraged him from applying there repeatedly.  Thankfully, he ran out of questions quickly.

So, I settled in for a long boring class.  She started by asking each person what their field of work was.  I hate, hate, hate ice-breakers.  Lucky me, I was the last person asked (sitting in the back of the class...people who know me in reals just giggled).  I stated that I was an office administrator and she immediately replied "So, when I have a problem with the laptop, I can just ask you!"  Gah, yes, you can but please don't.

By the grace of all things holy, the class only lasted an hour when it was scheduled for three.  When we were excused, we were assigned a caseworker.  He took a copy of a form that we had to complete and we returned to our normal lives. 

Part of me was disappointed because I was anticipating more help or supervision and the less mature part of me started thinking about whether or not I wanted to get a mocha on the way home. I did come home with some good online resources.  I love that job search can be done from the comfort of my own home now.  The introvert part of me is very thankful.

One uncomfortable part of going to that kind of agency was the fact that I will run into past clients.  This is always a risk but the odds were great in this situation.  The universe did not disappoint. 

As I was waiting for the copy of my form to be completed, I noticed a woman sitting at a computer and looking at Google Streetview.  I thought that was a little odd because she was looking at houses, not businesses.   She was also talking to herself. (I played the schizophrenic or bluetooth game until I realized she was indeed talking to no one)

When I picked up my form, I got a better look at her and sure enough, a former client.  A former client that had been trespassed from my work.  Thankfully she didn't notice me and more thankfully, she is so far gone in her illness that I don't think she's capable of recognizing me.  That being said, I still wanted to get the eff out before something happened.

The employment security agency does most communication via email now so I'm relieved that I won't have that experience again.  It's also one more example of how I'm relieved to be not working in social services for a while, if ever again.

Out Just in the Nick of Time

The city where I used to work has a pretty low crime rate.  Every once in a while things happen that surprise people but for the majority of time, bad things don't happen.  So when they do, people take notice.

I read with interest that a body was found in a house and that it was being considered a homicide.  Firstly, I always wonder (and anticipate) the person being a former client.  This is the reality of working in social services sometimes.

Imagine my surprise when I read the newspaper online the next day to discover it's the tenant of my work's board president.  They named her in the article and included the typical overwrought, emotional quotes that articles like these often use.  Except I can hear the person say these words and I can just imagine the drama (and melodrama) that is happening.

It's like I'm watching a soap opera from just off the stage.  What the hell is going on there?  It just keeps getting weirder and weirder and I'm getting more relieved that I'm not working there anymore.

I must have gotten out of there just in the nick of time.  Who knows, I could have been murdered! (insert *Law and Order music* here)

04 August 2014


There was a little gathering of my former co-workers right after we were all laid off.  It was planned pre-lay-off then morphed into a memorial of sorts.

The topic of grieving came up, as one would think.  One of the social workers stated that she was an emotional griever but that someone else was an industrial griever.  "A what now?" I asked, feeling a little stupid but also feeling like "This is new information!"

An industrial griever is one who mourns via action.  Someone not prone to wallowing but to being busy. I am totally that!    I'm the one that gets busy when things go sideways.  That is totally me and there's a word for it.

I clean and organized when I'm stressed. I'm the one that goes into research mode upon the receipt of bad news.  That's me and there's a name for it.  This makes me feel better.  This makes me feel (almost) normal.

The person I was talking to said that she was an emotional griever and normally I think I would tend toward wanting to be more like that.  But I'm not. I'm usually not that person.  Sure, I have a temper but it has a long fuse and I get emotional but it's usually short lived.  I think being wired as I am, I tend to live in the moment.  I don't know if it's good or bad.  

I'm just happy when I learn something new and it makes me not feel so weird.

03 August 2014

Where the Magic Happens

At the beginning of the year I set a goal of submitting the book to agents again.  It's now August and I've done eff-all with it.  Now that I'm home I've no excuse not to work on it again.

That being said, I had allowed my desk to get a little out of control.  The drawers had gotten disorganized (err, stuffed, whatever) and I'd allowed junk to accumulate on top.   Usually I keep the office pretty neat, with the exception of Christmas, but in the past two years or so, I've not made the effort.

I have one drawer left to organized (filing = ugh) and then I'm out of excuses.  I plan on getting that drawer handled tomorrow and then it's down to business.  No excuses.  It sure would be nice if the temp dropped out of the eighties though. The office is one of the first rooms to get sun and then stays in it all day. 

Thinking about it further, I'd put that book to bed a few years ago so I'm equally hesitant and curious to reread it and do some editing.  Maybe I'll find something big or maybe it will be fine.  Who knows, really.

Also, I have an unfinished book that I've been wanting to get back to but just haven't done it.  I write in my head, especially when I am trying to go to sleep.  I think I am a little nervous about opening that door again though.  It can be overwhelming having something like that consume your attention.

Blogher has been doing regular blogging challenges and I thought I'd try that this month, being as I'm at home and have nothing else to do but hang with the puppy, watch Greys Anatomy, and read books.
So far, so good, I've posted three whole days running.  :)   Also, August is a no cheat month as there aren't any holidays that I can cheat with.  Alas.

I've been remembering to post to Twitter when I write as well.  I'm hoping that August will help me regain and build good habits when it comes to this writing thing.  We'll see.  I know that as soon as I plan something, the universe loves to throw a wrench in the works.

Sun streaming in the window, pillows on the dog crate so she doesn't climb on the desk and a sad little fan that does little to cool off the greenhouse effect.  Also: married to a car guy, in case you missed it.

02 August 2014

I Love This Right Now

Things I love Right Now:

Dirty Pop Live on Sirius XM OutQ.   It's Lance Bass's radio show and they just make me laugh. Topics range from Hollywood gossip to dating to playing games.  I used to listen on the way home (it replaced TMZ Live) and now I have to remind myself to listen at home.

Wil Wheaton AND his wife Anne Wheaton on Twitter.  Individually they're fun to read but paired together is so much more fun.

Allison Winn Scotch and Karen White are two new authors I enjoy reading.

That looking for work no longer requires leavng the house.  When I started working you had to go door-to-door or go to the unemployment office and choose index card off the bulletin board to apply for jobs.  Thank you, interwebs!

I'm probably late to the party with this but Burt's Bees lotion.  It's my new favorite.



01 August 2014

Nothing Really Matters

When I had to complete training to be a domestic violence advocate there were lots of little examples of healthy and unhealthy interactions.  Some of the examples were obvious and some of them were a little subversive, making you question any interaction that you've ever had.  The subversive ones, I should say, were usually paired with a "this example AND then this too."

One of the examples given was loading the dishwasher, which made me giggle because who argues over that? I realized that some people do and that's okay.  But the example was one of those that held a "and then this too" component.  Arguing over how to load the dishwasher is fine, per se but belittling the other person or becoming aggressive about it, is not fine.

This is the awkward part where a co-worker casually commented how she argues with her husband and son all the time about how it's done.  She continued with "It's not that hard really, how can they not figure it out? Are they dumb or just playing dumb?"

WHOA, red flag on the play ma'am.

Because I tend to automatically switch into smart ass mode in uncomfortable situations, I quickly stated something like "Well, clearly then you're the abuser" with an eye-roll and laugh.  The look of discomfort from the co-worker did not alleviate the awkwardness of the situation.

So, blundering on, I off-the-cuff mentioned that "I can't believe that's even an ISSUE.  As long as it gets done, who cares really?"  I was promptly given examples then of dishes needing rewashing or not fitting so they had to wait or be hand washed.  Again, I was all "I still don't get it, why is that a problem?  It's an inconvenience, yes but not a Problem.  Because if it is one, then you need bigger problems."

Finally, the instructor moved us onto another topic (really should have done that sooner, I guess)

But it made me think of examples of myself blowing a gasket over something like that.  I couldn't really think of one.  Certainly there are things that are annoying or irritating but not usually something that makes me lose it.  Perhaps that's just me, how I'm wired. I rarely fall into the "normal" category.

Really, though, is it worth it to argue over something little like that?  Does it really matter?  Are lives going to be lost because the cap isn't on the toothpaste or he doesn't empty the garbage or we run out of milk?  Are these offenses really something that we're going to look back on and think "That time is the time when things went off the rails." 

Probably not.  I just think we should save our arguments for the big things.  And really, few things are the big things. Money, family, life/death decisions: those are the big things.  Not dishes in the sink or socks on the floor, or forgotten garbage bins.

Nothing really matters *that* much to argue about, I think.  Time is short.