Things to look forward to…

Since I’m a little down about having to apply for a job that I know I don’t want but I need, I’m going to write out things to look forward to:

(this one is dedicated to Kellie B.)

1.  Walking outside on a windy day, with the leaves swirling around me.  If I listen closely, I’m sure I can hear Vivaldi’s Four Seasons playing as my soundtrack.

2.  Eating Halloween candy and then checking my teeth in the mirror because they feel like they’ll fall out.  It will occur to me that I never worried about this when I was a kid and I’ll remember Halloweens past, with all the fun it entailed.

3.  The first snowfall, when everything is covered and all the dirty world is made clean.  It’ll be cold and white and wonderful.

4.  The sound of a little kid belly-laughing.

5.  The smell of laundry fresh out of the dryer – warm, soft, and smelling like comfort.

6.  Something hot and spicy to drink during the holiday season.  This one is even better if it’s with a small group of friends.

7.  That moment, after a really long, frustrating day, when you get into bed, stretch out your toes, and let your head sink into your pillow.  Or maybe it’s the moment just after that, as sleep comes on and you feel the memories of the day drift away.

8.  Getting a hug from someone that you know truly loves and cares for you.  If you’re alone, then it’s taking a moment to give yourself a hug…  and I’m sorry Frasier, but hugs ARE really valuable.

9.  Hearing or reading a story about someone overcoming great odds or trauma.  Or hearing about someone who helps another person for no reason other than humanity.

10.  Fresh-baked cookies.

11.  Looking up at the stars, feeling small, then realizing we’re all here on this spinning rock together… so maybe we’re not as alone as we think.

12.  November 5th… no matter what the results are. 

13.  Watching something inanely silly that makes you laugh until you snort.  Then trying to cover up the fact that you snorted, but nobody really minds anyway.

14.  Making something – a mess, a dress, a blog posting, anything that trips your personal trigger.  Then sharing it with someone. 

15.  Hearing a true “thank you.”

16.  Helping someone who needs it and not expecting anything done in return.

17.  Being the object of good-natured humor.

18.  Realizing that you’re a good person and your mistakes don’t define you.

19.  Being old and looking beautiful in bright colors.

20.  Seeing green buds in the spring and red leaves in the fall.

There’s more, of course.  I’d add reading a book that makes me sad when I’m done, hearing my baby tell me he loves me and giving my boys kisses, laughing at my husband when he does something silly and trying to “make” him cuddle me…  The smell of homemade bread….  laugh lines and gray hairs that mean I’ve lived…  family…  friends….  mojitos… hot rum toddies…  chocolate cupcakes….  yorkshire pudding…  (yes, there’s a theme here) 

I am also looking forward to the day I regain control of my weight and starting swimming and walking for fun. 

I look forward to the day that I’m ok if I don’t finish my degree, but do it because I can.

I look forward to picking on my teenage sons and telling them things like, “You kept me up when you were a baby, so you deserve this!”  I look forward to watching them experience life, even if I don’t look forward to the times when it will be hard or painful.

I look forward to my friendship with my mother lasting forever.

I’m going to be a grown-up now, but I DO have things to look forward to.  I may want to be weepy and sad about a few things, but there is even more to smile about. 

I send this off now with a big thanks to Helen, Joanie, Kellie, Rachel, Todd, Andre, my mum, Dan and Geraldine, and my boys.  And I’d add a “I’m thinking of you” to Steph, Michele, Kerri, and Marcus.

Life is good and we are all blessed.



I am mom, hear me sew…

Bren is now the proud owner of one exceedingly awesome shiny green alien costume.  My serger cranked tonight!  I thought I’d be up super late working on it (Todd thought so too)…  Nope.

I was done before 9:30.

No pattern.  No instructions.  Yeah baby!

And Bren’s little buddy, Alyssa, elbowed him in the mouth today and knocked out his loose tooth.  I know I wasn’t supposed to laugh when I heard, but she’s this little teeny thing!  So the tooth fairy will be cruisng by our house tonight.

Aidan will be the small cuddly (fleece) vampire bat and Bren will be the funky green alien.

I’m going to sleep like coma-girl tonight.

Still fretting about something…

even worse…

In a follow-up to my prior posting today, there is a job posted with the federal government that I am qualified for (as are multitudes in this area).  It pays better than what I’m making now.  The problem?  It’s a secretarial position.  I have hated being a secretary for the last 10+ years.  As I noted before, I’ve hidden out in those positions because of the “comfort factor,” meaning that it was familiar and relatively easy for me to do.  I say “relatively” because doing secretarial support is actually challenging and takes a great deal of patience.  Those who do it long term, or life-long, are amazing people (and no, I don’t include myself in that category – I’ve just been lucky). 

If you’ve got a good administrative support person, be very glad.  They work harder than most people even begin to guess.

It’s simply not for me.  It makes me nuts.  And I struggled with it back when I was 29… so I say this with full comprehension of who I am and what makes me tick.

I should apply for that job.  If I got it, I’d be helping my family.  It wouldn’t be a lot of help, but it’d be something.

The thought of it makes me want to cry.

And that’s why I simply can’t bring myself to do it.   I’ve been trying to talk myself into it for the last two hours.  I’ve reviewed the qualifications test.  I even meet the definition of G7. 

I’m ready to go sit in the back room and start praying that one of those professional positions comes through with an interview.  And for those who know me… this is a big thing.

depressed and miserable,

angry, and broke, in Idaho

Our marketing manager just sent out this report to all the staff.  We deal with professional technical education, displaced homemakers, non-traditional workers (ie, woman going into welding or automotive – or a man going into nursing)…

The report is called “The Race for Wages – Living Wage Jobs in the Current Economy:  2007 Northwest Job Gap Study.” 

To give an example of what they found in Idaho, with respect to my family, here is the quote:

“Sixty-four percent of current jobs pay less than a living wage for two adults (both working) with two children ($31,257 a year or $15.03 an hour for each adult).  This is likely a conservative estimate, since both adults need to find a job at or above this wage to meeting [spelling error in report] living wage standards.” (p. 6)

Here’s perspective on this:  I make $13.57 an hour, working 40 hours per week.  Todd makes $11.33 an hour, working 24 hours per week (and he’s been looking for extra work for several months, in order to help out).  Todd is a student, so we have some assistance via financial aid.  We couldn’t survive at this point if we didn’t have his family helping with childcare.

A lovely woman I know is a single mom with a son in kindergarten.  According to the report, she would need to be making $18.77 per hour in order to be achieving a “livable” wage.  The childcare program at our school will be closed for Christmas vacation and she’s going to have her son come hang out at our place because otherwise she would have to pay for childcare.  I guarantee that she’s not making almost $19 an hour at her job.  How on earth is she making do?

Rents are not cheap here, especially if you need space for children (and I mean even a small amount of space)…  Gas is crazy.  Food costs have gone up.  Medical costs have gone up.

And there are CEO’s making astonomical sums.  Do you know how many people those salaries could support?

Ahh, but then come the cries of socialism, right?

Is it capitalism when a normal, hard-working family can’t support itself?  Is that what it means?  No wait.  I know.  We’re talking economic principles here and they aren’t supposed to take into account what might be right or wrong, they are simply scientific measurements and assessments of a system. 

Here’s irony too… I am college-educated.  I have my bachelor’s degree.  As one friend said, there are a lot of degreed folks out there, waitressing and serving coffee.  A friend who graduated in May has been looking and applying since March.  And here’s even bigger irony – he got his degree in Economics!  He got to the final round of interviewing just recently, only to be told that hiring was frozen while the company waited to see what was happening with the economy.

64% of jobs here pay less than a livable wage for two-worker families with two children.  36% pay less than a livable wage just for single workers. (p. 6)

I haven’t even gotten into the numbers for minorities.  They are even worse.  Welcome to the American Dream.

I’ve got an idea for a fund-raiser:  It’s called “Sink the CEO.”  Can you imagine how good it would feel to dunk ’em hard?  Hell, I’d live on Ramen for a week in order to pay for a few turns.

So yeah.  I’m pissed off.  It’s nothing I didn’t know already, but it’s sad when the information is there in black and white, where you can’t hide from it.

grumpily yours,

a little night music…

Todd has a load of clothes in the dryer and Aidan is fussing in the background.  I can hear a couple cars on our street, but other than that, it’s quiet here right now.  I’m drooping and exhausted.  I have a lot of reading to do tomorrow and, in the grandest of ironies, I’m going to accomplish it at work.  I’ve also got research to do and a costume to sew tomorrow evening.  I’m “tracing” Bren onto some great shiny, green, scaly fabric… He’s going to be an alien.

Yes.  He was going to be Optimus Prime, but this was more a communication failing than anything.  So here it will be the day before Halloween and I’ll be “transforming” him into a shiny green alien.

When we were shopping for fabric for his costume, I found something fleecy and bright green… He told me, “Mom, I don’t want to be a FUZZY alien!”  Oh crap…. no, ’cause that’d be warm and cuddly…

Todd is getting giddy about the Blackberry Storm and I’m trying to think of interesting ways to reduce my weight without making myself feel nuts.  Unlikely that either of us will be satisfied anytime soon!

Bren and I went to the library this evening.  He got to pick out a book and it’s hilarious – “Vacationers from Outer Space,” by Edward Valfre.  I highly recommend it.  Funny stuff and interesting pictures.  Brennan read it to me in the van on the way to the fabric store.  I’m amazed at how well he’s able to navigate those words.  Valfre didn’t write it with uninteresting words…  I like it in a big way – something tasty and fun for mummy, something spacey and exciting for the little boy!

I submitted yet another resume today – for an entry-level editor job.  I’m really hopeful that I’ll get called, but I suspect that we English majors are plentiful around here.  My pessimistic side is taking over about the wonderful job I interviewed for on Monday too.  I know it’s a long shot.  I have to be somewhat realistic.  I expect that I’ll be blogging this same type of topic in a year from now, bemoaning the fact that I can’t even get an interview.

And that’s a big sigh from me…

time for bed – moonfire.

the search is on

Interesting thing it is, being on the edge of massive change.  You either accept it and welcome it, or you fight it and suffer.  I’m there right now.  I had thought I’d put off looking for that entry-level information professional position until I was through my first year of the program, but things have turned in a different direction. 

This means that I’m right smack-dab in the middle of change, coming on the heels of a whole lot of it already.  I’m trying to embrace it, to find some kind of peace in it.  This is easier said than actually put into action.  I’ve applied for a great job (and it remains to be seen if I’ll get the first real interview for it, although I did make it through the screening interview).  I’m luckier than most job hunters, given that I have existing, sound employment.  I’m hungry for it, but don’t feel pressure beyond my own hopes for it.

At the same time, I know that the job would be challenging, using my skills plus enabling me to learn new things.  In comparison to where I am now, it would be a mental stretch and it would be more work than I’ve had to do in a very long time.  While that is exciting, it’s also scary as I consider whether or not I’m too rusty.  It’s been a long, long time since I had to really stretch to learn something. 

It’s an intimidating feeling.  I think about the theoretical knowledge I’m learning right now and all I can do is hope that it helps support the practical application that I might need to do in the near future.

Then there is the worry I’ve developed – the fear that I can no longer trust my own judgement.  Let’s see if I can break this down…

I’ve “hidden out” in administrative support positions for years… long past the point where I wanted to stay in them.  This was the easy choice, in a sense, because I’ve done this type of work so long that I can step into that role almost effortlessly.  I know the software, the hardware, the attitudes, the language, and I have the experience. 

On the rare occasion that I’ve made the attempt to escape the gravitational pull of those types of positions, I have felt almost fraudulent in my attempts.  I actually got to the final interview with a large local bank for a personal banker positon, only to allow intimidation to set in.  I was interviewing with VP’s from the bank and they questioned my background, saying that I had only ever done “passive” work where people brought assignments to me, rather than “active” work where I went out seeking it.

Considering my personality, I don’t regret not being in what ultimately was a very sales-oriented field, however, I know that I’m not a passive type.  I’ve always questioned and sought out new projects.  I sold my own jewelry and that required stepping outside of the comfortable little box I existed in, talking to people and putting myself out there.

Here I am now, hoping that I get the next stage interview, yet at the same time I am verging on fear because I am questioning myself.  I know that I can do the work.  I know that I would do a good job and I know, with 100% certainty, that my current education would be of benefit to the company I’d be working for.

In order to conquer the fear, I’m going to study and prepare.  It’s all I can do at this point.  I can either fight the change that I will have to go through or I can get excited about it and do what is necessary to do it right.

Cross fingers for me.  It’s time to leave the nest.