Monday, July 31, 2006

This and That...

When I was taking theology classes, I wrote a critique of an article in America Magazine about whether economic justice was possible in a capitalist/free market economy. The gist of the article is that it is possible if we all get our fair share. Should CEOs be well compensated for their time and ability? Absolutely. Do they need to have $10 million salaries and bonuses and stock options, and company cars and all those other perks, while their employees are barely making a living wage? Absolutely not. Should corporations be able to make a profit? Absolutely. Should their profits continue to increase to record levels at the expense of the consumer? Absolutely not.

I was reminded of that article in this weekend's gospel (it was the loaves and fishes from...John, I think - though it seems like it should be Mark. Sigh. Guess I should look it up, but I'm too tired). You all know the story, so I'm not going to recount it. But what made me think of that article was the fact that after everyone had had their fill, there were 12 baskets left over. My pastor touched on that aspect in his sermon, but didn't go into it much (his sermon was really good, but I'm not going to write about that now). Maybe it struck me because of my current situation, but I never thought of that before in that reading.

There are two wasps' nests hanging from the roof of my slab. Just thought you should know.

My ankle is better. I spent the better part of the last three days stretching the Achilles tendon every chance I got, and it helped. It must have just seized up whent he dog bit me.

I really want some chicken. And chocolate. And pancakes. And a daiquairi (which I still can't spell). Oh, and some scrambled eggs (which I haven't voluntarily eaten in years). And bacon. And maybe some jambalaya. And an eggroll.

Yeah, I'm hungry.

What else...Oh yeah...


It was just orientation stuff today, but it was wonderful. And I actually got to do some writing on a real proposal this afternoon. And it really is casual and offbeat (guess that's what happens when you have a company full of geeks). But the work they do is incredible.

I can't wait to go back tomorrow. I don't know the last time I said that.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


I really hope I'm nervous about tomorrow. I really, really hope so. Otherwise, I may be a little bit sick. Actually, I may be a lot sick. My stomach hurts, and...well, no need to give you the ugly details. I hope it wasn't what I had for dinner. I had my last frozen dinner tonight - Paella. It's been in the freezer for a while, but I don't think it's been that long. The only extended power outage we've had was Katrina, and I'm pretty sure I threw everything out after that, though I can't remember now. But it would have smelled bad if it had been in there that long, right?

It has to be nerves. I hope. Though, as much as their commercial annoys me, I could go for some Gas-X right now.

Oh, and it's weird to watch reruns of shows that were set in NYC pre-2001 and see the Twin Towers.

Plus, I didn't remember that Jennifer Anniston ever had shortish hair. It still looked good. How come she never had a bad hair day, and I have them all the time? Even Courtney Cox had them. I hate my hair.

And I wish I didn't have scars from staph on my face.

I found a new blog by following links on another blog. Faith*in*Fiction looks at both popular and explicitly spiritual fiction through the eyes of faith. I really like what I saw clicking through a few of the discussions. From a literary standpoint, the analysis is solid, and from a spiritual/theological standpoint, the analysis seems very moderate. If it isn't already on my sidebar, it will be soon. Go, read, and enjoy.

Oh, and the chatline commercials on late night TV just keep getting ickier. Just thought you should know that.

And yes, I am aware that I should be asleep. I've spent too much time off work, I guess. I'm back on that night shift schedule. Yeah, opting to work graveyard for three years wasn't one of the better decisions I've ever made.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Alright. Time for a rant.

Morgan Spurlock, the guy who made Supersize Me, is on Oprah right now. He and his fiance did this thing where they decided to live on minimum wage for 30 days. He's talking about how hard it is, and Oprah is preaching about the number of working poor.

OK. I'm offended by this. I'm offended that these people, who were raised in profiled, think that they can now empathize with the working poor because they spent 30 days living at the poverty line.

I have news for them. They can't.

I grew up in a family where we lived paycheck to paycheck. The most my dad ever made in a year was $18,000, and we were a family of 3. My dad lost his health insurance, which really only covered hospitalization, when I was a freshman in high school. There were times when things were so tight that we got food stamps because without them, we wouldn't have been eating.

When I was little, I never had new clothes. They either came from the thrift shop or from hand-me-downs. In high school, I got two pairs of pants (never jeans), a skirt, and five tops and a pair of tennis shoes. That had to last me all year. I was in a public high school with no uniforms. Even though it was an inner-city school, I still stood out among my peers, who tended to come from middle class families since I was in the gifted and talented program. I don't remember my parents ever getting new clothes, except on my mom's 50th birthday. Her brother gave her $100 and told her she had to spend it on herself.

I can't remember my mom ever going to the doctor in my whole life until she had a heart attack my sophomore year of high school. My dad would only go when he had an ear infection bad enough to make him cry (his ears had been damaged by his years as an artillery instructor in the Army during WWII. The VA wouldn't acknowledge that that's where his problems came from, and therefore wouldn't help him).

Every time we thought that we would be getting ahead of the game, something would happen and we'd fall behind again. We never went on vacation. My dad worked six or seven days a week, 10 hours a day. My mom worked 40 hours a week.

But you know, we made it. And I always knew that as bad as things were for us at times, there were people who were worse off. My dad gave money whenever he had it to St. Vincent DePaul, or to the Children's Hospital Free Care Fund. If he'd be approached by a homeless person, he'd buy them a meal. Everytime he passed a Salvation Army kettle a Christmas time, he'd put money in. And he taught me to do the same.

So forgive me if I am offended by multi-millionaires thinking that they know what it's like and that they can preach at the rest of us how good we have it just because they spent a month around minimum wage.

That's why I haven't gone to any of the agencies here that offer help to the poor even though I have struggled this month. I know that if they helped me pay my electric bill, that's one person who really needs the help who will have to go without. I know that if I go to the food bank and get a couple weeks of food, that there is a family out there who will have to make due with a little less. I know that if my church helps me out with gas money and food money, that the is someone else who needs help more who may not be getting it.

On Monday, I will be starting a job that pays very well. It'll take me a couple months to catch up from these six weeks, but when I do, I will be relatively secure. I will continue to help people who haven't been as luck as I have, because I KNOW how hard it can be, and not just for a month.

It offends me that they think they know what it is like, even though they had the security to know that they were going back to their multi-million dollar, priviledged lives in 30 days. And before you Oprah-philes out there start telling me how much good she has done with her money, and how she grew up poor, I know that. But she is so far removed from that world, that she doesn't know what it's really like.

That is the end of my rant. We now return you to your regularly scheduled misanthropy.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


So I was talking with a friend of mine, commiserating over how how hard it is to find shoes in a 9.5 wide, with a low to no heel, and good arch support. OK. I was whining, and she was listening patiently. Anyhow, when I got done whining, she directed me to this site. I think this is my new favorite place in the world. They have a huge selection of shoes in my size, that are actually stylish, and don't look like they were made for a 85 year old woman with bunions (though I do have one of them, too). They even have the tennis shoes an orthopedic surgeon recommended for me, which have been impossible to find.

Now, this isn't a cheap store, but their selection is amazing, and they offer free shipping and free returns. If you have normal feet, stick to Payless. If you are like me and can never find anything that fits and is wearable at Payless, here's an alternative.

Oh, and when I get my first paycheck, I've decided that I am going to have steak, french fries (homemade ones like I have been craving), the broccoli and corn mix from PictSweet that I love, sangria, and a Hot Fudge Brownie Blast from Sonic. And then I will probably be sick from eating so much and drinking alcohol to boot.

And if you are interested, the staph infection is better thanks to some leftover antibiotics I had that I didn't finish when I was supposed to (if my doctor happens across this, you can yell at me in January) and the stinky soap I'm supposed to use all the time. It turns out that it's the same soap surgeons use to scrub with. I guess that truly is antibacterial, then.

Did you ever notice that my topic title rarely has anything to do with most of my post?

And as a final note, if I'm ever able to get a dog, I want a bulldog. Their faces are so expressive. Either that or a toy dachshound. A couple I'm friends with has one, and she is just about the most precious thing I've ever seen. I really want a doggy.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I am Brave (and Humble, too)

I e-mailed the pastoral director at the CCC to tell her I wasn't sure if I would make it for the funeral (though I'd really like to be there to support my friend), and to leave without me if they didn't see me in the parking lot when they are leaving.

Well, I also told her that we should do lunch sometime, because I am ready to put the past in the past.

That's the brave part.

The CCC hurt me deeply. The whole experience there made me question my value as a person, and made me question my whole belief system. Some of those wounds will never heal, but I think I need to finally find closure on that part of my life. I thought officially joining the congregation I joined would do it, but while I am happy in my faith life, something still isn't right.

So maybe if I can meet with her on neutral turf (not in her office or the admin building of the church in any way, shape, or form), I can finally let go of all that stuff.


And Let Me Just Say...

I am having a really good hair day, and no one has seen it. Is there anything more depressing?

I may be going to a funeral tomorrow. The person I was closest to at the CCC's parents were killed in a car accident in New Orleans. The funeral is tomorrow. Someone else from the CCC invited me to go, but I can't decide. I'm still uncomfortable with that place and those people. But maybe this can be a step toward reconciliation of some kind.

The funeral is in a funeral home, not a church, because their church was destroyed by Katrina. Still, it will be a mass, and I am afraid about questions/perceptions if I don't take communion. Personally, I wouldn't think it would be a big deal if I could. I still believe that Christ is present in the bread and wine. The only thing is a difference of opinion about how He got there. And I believed what I currently believe for all those years I was Catholic.

But by the same token, I wouldn't want to offend anyone by participating in the Eucharist. And I don't know how to handle all those questions that are sure to arise on the long drive to New Orleans about where I am worshipping now.

If I had enough gas in my car, I would drive myself. But I don't, and I'm not sure when I will be able to put gas in, or I would try to bum the money.

Life is just too complicated. Even on a good hair day.

If you don't already have a g-mail account, you must get one simply for the entertainment value of the spam. I've written about it before, but I just wanted to share a couple of my current favorites with y'all.

Subject lines

Your future, onion maggot
Better life, wood nut
Your cash, non-gaelic
Hi, Pan-China
Better success, wood-girt

Names of Senders
Hung Sheperd (like I could make that up!)
Hershel Lozano
Shera Delinda
Sanjuana Angelina
Alden Mahoney (which I think sounds really cool and I will probably steal to replace a name in the thing I'm currently writing)
Brear Woody

Why yes, I am easily amused.

Also, I have watched the same episode of Blue Collar TV three out of the last four weeks. I don't understand that.

Oh, and I really like the new Cingular commercial with the mother and daughter.

I'm afraid that my ankle hurting may be a clot. It's the same leg I ran over with the van. They told me I could have problems with clots later in life. I also have two big bruises on my calf that appeared as if from nowhere.

Oh, and I just put on a sweater I haven't worn in a while because it felt like it fit too tight. It not only fits, it is loose. Yay.

A Dream?

A days ago, I either had a brilliant inspiration or a great dream. I was going to write a really cool book that had something to do with the Psalms. Of course, I didn't write the brilliant idea down either after I woke up or after I thought it up, so I have no idea what the brilliant idea was now. I hate it when that happens.

At first I thought it had something to do with rewriting the book of psalms, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't even dream about that. I love the Psalms just the way they are. Why mess with a good thing?

But really, I think the idea was to take each of the Psalms and write some kind of reflection or essay that fit with the Psalm. The thing is, I'm pretty sure it's been done before, and by better people than me. But at the time, whether it was in real life or in a dream, it seemed like such a brilliant idea.

I can't wait until Monday. You know you've been off work too long when you can no longer distinguish between a dream and reality

Still no word on the unemployment front, but they haven't processed my claim for this week, so I take that as a good sign. I hope I hear something tomorrow. I really need to get out of the house and stop eating tuna. I've had it three days out of the past five (the other two were mushroom soup and stirfried vegetables). I only have one can left, of course, so it won't be forever.

Hmm...maybe the eating once a day thing is why I'm so tired lately. Or it could just be simple boredom. Hmm. Something to consider.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

  • I dreamed last night that my mom and I were picking heirloom tomatoes with Martha Stewart. Martha didn't want me to help (guess she heard about my plack thumb), but my mom talked her into it. The only problem was that these were the funkiest tomatoes I had ever seen. Some of them looked like peaches, and some like purple onions, and some were even stranger. I had no way of knowing if they were ripe. But I picked them anyway. Then Martha showed us how she stores her garden tools (apparently, she stretches a piece of chicken wire across an empty part of her garden, and shoves the tools handle first into the ground through the chicken wire.). I watched her build a mobile greenhouse with my mom, then I got bored and went off to look for the salad bar. The tomatoess that looked like peaches were mighty tasty. Anyone want to interpret?
  • My ankle really hurts. I think it may mean surgery this time. So how long do you have to be on a new job before you tell your boss you need a couple weeks off for surgery?
  • I had stirfried vegetables for dinner last night. I didn't have the stirfry sauce, so I use Tony's. Let me just say - yum! You really must find and use Tony's. It is horribly tasty.
  • I am craving steak and french fries. That is weird because I'm normally not a big steak person, or a big fries person. But I guess it's going to be a while before I can partake.
  • I'm so bored. I'm thinking about selling my blood just for something to do. Though the money would be a good thing, too.

I guess that's all for my midday. I'm going to watch Judge Alex now, then I think I'll go for a walk around the lake, if my ankle can take it. It's only 84 degrees today, so it's actually not horrible to be outside.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Weekly Advertising Rant

Ok. I'm tired of advertising for feminine hygiene products. Not because I can't deal with the subject matter. Please. I'm a big girl.

No, I'm tired of it because the ads are horribly stupid. They treat women as though they don't have a thought in the world when they have their periods other than chocolate, salt, and choosing a feminine product.

Now, in my experience, most women I know tend to stick with thier favorite product unless that product makes some kind of change. Personally, I've been using the same brand since it came out (which is probably more information than you wanted to know), and before that I used what my mom used. I only switched once when they made a change I didn't like, but I switched back when they brought back their original model.

My point in giving you all this way-too-personal information is that women aren't likely to switch their preferences based on a TV ad. Therefore the companies that make such products are wasting their money, and passing the cost onto the consumer.

Join me next week when I rant about how lame beer commercials have become.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

So yeah. I have another staph infection. I can't do anything about it until I either get unemployment or get paid in mid-August. That isn't such a good thing.

I'm just about out of food. I have three cans of tuna, two cans of soup, two packages of rice, one package of mashed potatoes and one frozen dinner. That's for the next month. If you love me, or even if you are just a kind hearted stranger, consider buying something from my Amazon grocery wish list. The link is on the sidebar. What I will promise to do in return is to give the value of anything you purchase to Habitat for Humanity for the house my church is building once I start getting paid again. That way, you are helping me, and helping to build a house for a family that really needs it.

OK. I'm done begging now. I am going to go do some laundry in my bathtub. I have enough change to do one load in the washer, but I really think I had better save that money for gas so that I can actually get to my new job.

Peace out.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

More Big Brother Observations

Moreso than any other reality show, Big Brother seems to make things up as they go along. I think that is what is annoying and intriguing about it at the same time. This is only the second time I have watched it this season. They changed the rules since the first time, for no apparent reason.

Everyone on the show annoys me, too. There is nothing appealing about any of the them. I would love for all of them to lose and the money to go to some inner city schools somewhere.

I'm cranky and I want chocolate. Yes, it is just about that time, if that time is on time.

In Keeping with the Theme...

...of language and food (Spam is food, after all), go read this.

My former employer had decided to contest my unemployment claim. I'm contesting right back. I have $9 to my name, and I get paid August 17th. If this is denied, I don't know what I am going to do.

My ankle still hurts, and it's a little swollen. Houston, I may have a problem.

Stupid dog.

Gmail spammers are getting more creative. Witness these two gems I received today:

Opus anglicum pancake bell Non-jew Pan-america
never-conqueredoff-cutting parcel-deaf once-born open-bladed nine-knot
pale-tinted mortar bed one-toed nigh-ebbed naked-tailed paradise seed mis-stroke
paraffin wax pale-green mis-heed nitrogen monoxide mince pie mis-tilled palm
beetle paschal candle palm squirrel mummy brown mountain flax mild-scented
myrtle bird naphtha distiller middle-classism

I know it's just a series of words, but there is something poetic about it. Now here's the real bit of brillance:

Getting dumber. But what am I saying, I've been
dealing with fools all my

secondly, he's
been kind of strange lately." Arthur laughed and shook his

the left. The current was stronger. Some where
between them and the

Redrick felt a barely perceptible current of air
on his left cheek and

his eyes, probably because he no longer had
eyebrows or eyelashes. Arthur

they all drawn to this quarry? Why hadn't I heard
anything about it? Damn

"That's not important whether or not I believe.
You answer my

know me better than I know myself. You're getting
old, that must be it.

embankment there was a mosquito mange, or maybe
it extended along the

is stronger than greed. He saw all of this and
took it into account, and

pain, Mr. Schuhart."the sweat break out on her
shoulder against his. They lay there and

"Stop," he told Arthur.
and it was even nicer to drink now than alcohol.
It smelled of home. Of

"I don't need that for courage, Mr. Schuhart. I'd
rather have coffee,It's probably the most valuable thing in the Zone! And who
should have it?

Since childhood he had relied on nothing but
himself. And since childhood

bowl with Noonan's favorite salad on the

smooth." Arthur shook his head, hurt.Noonan's a
fool: Redrick, Red, you violate the balance, you destroy the

That's the
truth. Dick was right about that. You have a house, you have a

among the rocks and rubble stood a bulldozer, its
lowered bucket jammed

his sweet Artie, his one and only son, that his
pride and joy had gone into

willows are a little thicker. That's the way.
You're off!"

them back?"
am I worrying about it? What am I,

embankment there was a mosquito mange, or maybe
it extended along the

really low. Ah, the hell with it. Does it matter?
I went. So here I am. Why

system? He slipped on a stone that turned under
his foot, and fell in. He

hot coals were pouring over him, and his clothing
was in flames and the

it won't harm her. They even say that they
generate good health."

they found! Drop it, he told himself. You have to
think first, and then use

through the puddles. He was limping and did not
look as straight and

voice, which promised unheard-of marvelous places
and times, and Kirill

the pleasure of the wet, icy caress. Arthur
gurgled, moved about, braced

willows were dry and rotten. Redrick looked
around, but for now everythingf

irst-aid kit had burst to hell, and a damp spot
reeked of antiseptic.

embankment there was a mosquito mange, or maybe
it extended along the

such a
fantastic-looking woman could actually be a plastic fake, a dummy.

will be like later."Forget it," Redrick said
firmly and sat up. "Give it here. There's

is like his father's, he does. If you only knew
how things were turning out,

feet from the swamp, and turn him over on his
back. Well, he used to be a

"Forget it," Redrick said firmly and sat up.
"Give it here. There's

soaked in deodorant, stuffed up his nostrils, and
offered some to Arthur.

forgot about the disappointment --not forgot,
just refused to accept what

many of the tales had it. It lay where it had
fallen. Maybe it had fallen

nearest hill a hundred steps from the rocks. "Got
it? Let's go."

suddenly exploded without any warning like a
hydrogen bomb The assistant who

and leave all his filth behind. That's what you
deserve, he told himself.

and all of him covered with a crust of oozing
slime, and he felt no pity, no

against the side of the truck, wiped his hands
against the small rocks, and

Redrick opened the pack and started picking out
the slivers of glass and

unconscious on the sidewalk and Redrick chased
the other three for four

could be seen the mottled surface of the stagnant
swamps, covered with

said looking around:
He suddenly felt that there was something ahead
of them--not far, some

"Yes," said Arthur. "I wish I could wash up.
Everything's sticking.

I love the last line of this.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

New LInk

Just added a link to the blog A Church for Starving Artists. The author is a Presbyterian minister and mother. I've really enjoyed reading her perspective on theology and call and a whole bunch of other stuff. I highly recommend her.

Tomorrow I plan to add more links, so check back and see tomorrow night.

Oh, and one of my cousins e-mailed me out of the blue. I don't even know which aunt or uncle she belongs to.

I'm starting to think that that little dog actually did some damage to me. I think I'll take the lady on Judge Alex. He's kind of hot.

Boy, I can't wait to get back to work.


First of all, for all my readers who have ever gotten a parking ticket in Erie (which is pretty much everyone who has ever driven in Erie), apparently the city wasn't the only one getting rich over alternate side parking and zealous checking of meeters.

I went on an interview the temp agency set up today. I don't know why I went. Even if I didn't just get an offer, I can't afford to work for $10 an hour and no benefits. Anyway, I interviewed with th owner of the company, and her dog bit my ankle. She only broke the skin a little, but was my bad ankle and it really hurts now. Think I should sue?

My first paycheck will be August 17th. That's not such a good thing, but I'll manage. I'd manage better if gas wasn't almost $3 a gallon. Fortunately, the office isn't real far away from my apartment. I'm still hoping my unemployment will come through soon. If I don't hear anything by tomorrow, I'm going to go to the office and see if I can figure out what is going on.

Oh, and just one more note...I hate, hate, hate fruit flies. They still haven't caulked where I can see daylight above my front window, and my apartment is full of fruit flies. No matter how often you take out the garbage, spray, and everything else, you can't get rid of them. They are of the evil one.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Details

So, the job.

Well, I'll be working as a proposal writer for a company whose main client is Homeland Security. Basically, they'll submit a request for a proposal to deal with a particular emergency situation (chemical spill, nuclear disaster, hurricane, terrorist attack, etc). My job will be to define and clarify the problem, communicate with the techie types who can actually come up with ways to deal with that stuff, and translate it into language that bureaucrats can understand. It sounds really cool.

It pays $6K more than my last job, the company pays 80% medical, all dental, vision, and life, and they offer 401K.

Oh, and as long as you look presentable, you can wear whatever you want to work unless you are meeting a client. How cool is that? Very, in this ubearable heat.

Now all I have to do is pass the background check. I'm actually a little worried about that. I read an article last week about these two old ladies who worked in the cafeteria in the federal building in Pittsburgh who were deemed unacceptable by Homeland Security. Hopefully, my defaulted student loan, my tickets for expired inspection and expired insurance, and bleeding heart liberal tendencies won't do me in.

Oh, and I came home to find an eviction notice taped to my door. I know I'm paid up on rent except for late fees, so I tracked down the manager when she was walking her dog. She said not to worry about it since I was always on time until I lost my job, and since I currently have an offer and a start date. and since after next month I'll be on time again.


Details to come later...

I've been up all night long writing cover letters and submitting resumes for jobs I don't want. I'm feeling a little frustrated.

I found out this weekend some not-so-nice things about someone I thought was a friend. Why do I always seem to pick people who use me, then say unkind things behind my back?

I'm going to sell my plasma today so I can pay my electric bill. Joy.

Sigh. Life kinda sucks right now.

On the plus side, I heard a good sermon yesterday. I may write about it later, after I get back from the blood-selling place.

If anyone would like to send me a book of stamps, it would be appreciated.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Desperation Not So Quiet

Well, I have less than $100 in my checking account. I still haven't received any unemployment. I still don't have a job (I have another interview this afternoon). My electric bill is due, and they won't make payment arrangements. The student loan people are going to take money out of my account Monday come heck or high water.

I have officially hit the desperation point. I updated my sidebar (finally) with all those links (though Tim, I spelled your site name wrong - I will fix that) that I keep meaning to put there. I put my Amazon wish list over there as well. If you would like to feed the author (literally), please click on it. It is all food.

Of course, I'm not averse to monetary contributions, either. You can
e-mail me
if you want my PayPal information.

And even if you can't help me temporally, please, please pray. I think that is the most important help of all.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I Still Haven't Found My Macaroni and Cheese

Just thought you should know. That's why I had corn for breakfast. Oh, and my printer cartridge did come this afternoon, after I spent $20 printing stuff at Kinkos.


Best interview ever! It was 2 and a half hours long, and most of it was just talking. Despite my adventures last night and this morning, I have a really good feeling about this. I was so worried because I was running late and it is freakishly hot, and I sweat too much because of my medicine, and I didn't finish putting my makeup on (skipped the eyeshadow) and because I ended up wearing the frumpy shoes, and I didn't have time to iron my skirt, and I was bloated because I had corn for breakfast and I didn't sleep last night because my stupid thyroid medicine kept me up, and...

Well, you get the idea. I talked a lot more than I usually do in an interview because I was so comfortable (and my medicine didn't hurt either). The HR person met with me afterward to go over benefits and the like, and they usually don't do that unless it is a good sign.

So, keep your fingers crossed and keep praying. I may finally be getting a job where I can put my degree to work.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Damn, I'm Good

Found the black jacket. It is dusty and dry clean only, however, so it looks like I am not wearing it tomorrow.

I just went through a box of stuff in search of professional writing I might have hidden from myself (I do that sometimes). I didn't find any, but I did find the notebooks from theology classes I took a couple of years ago. I took horrible notes, but I did some fantastic writing during those classes. I needed to see that. I needed to remember that I have talent.

Speaking of which, I have a little message to all the Hollywood script development people who read this blog (because there are sooo many of them). Instead of continuing to make movies out of mediocre TV shows (just saw a commercial for the Miami Vice movie coming out sometime - didn't really pay that much attention), or remaking mediocre movies, or remaking classic movies into mediocre ones, I will sell you the plot outline of the Great American Novel for $100K., no strings attached except for a writing credit. It is original - how many scripts have you read tht feature a gay priest who is actually commited to his vocation and is not a pedophile, a dead drag queen, a hippie neighborhood association president, a catfight, and lots of bathtubs. Tell me you read that in a script somewhere this year.

OK. I'm going back to try to find my macaroni and cheese now. I was really looking forward to having that for dinner. Sigh.


So I'm trying to get ready for this interview tomorrow. I've found some things I can print at Kinko's tomorrow morning (watch my cartridge come right before I leave for my interview). I'm searching my apartment desperately looking for the black jacket I know I have somewhere (even if it is hotter than hell - tomorrow is supposed to hit 95). And I have decided to wear the red blouse - since I am wearing makeup, I shouldn't look too washed out. Then it hit me.

I don't have any shoes to wear.

Now, you may be scratching your head saying, "She is wearing black - how hard can it be?" Answer - very.

See, I have bad feet. Horrible feet, actually. I inherited my dad's width, fallen arches, and calluses; my mom's length, ingrown toenails, and strangely skinny heels; and I have my own multiple broken bones and partially torn Achilles tendon. Finding shoes I can wear and that are comfortable are like finding the holy grail.

Of course, that doesn't stop me from buying shoes that don't fit and aren't comfortable because they go with a particular outfit or they look good. As TG so eloquently wrote, the lust for cute shoes runs through me as it does through every woman. I have lots of shoes, but no dressy, skirt-compatible black ones.

Oh, I have a nice pair of black, square heels that would look pretty good, but I may have to park pretty far away from the building, and I'm afraid I won't be able to walk in them. Yes, I am aware I should have though about that before I bought them.

I have a cute pair of black sandals, but they just don't work for an interview.

I have a pair of black flats that would work with slacks, but not a skirt.

And I have a pair of black Birkenstocks that are my everyday shoes (sandals are normal every day shoes down here), but they just aren't acceptable for an interview.

I have been looking for a pair of black, flat dress shoes in a 9.5 wide that will work with a skirt for about three years now. I have yet to find them. I have, however, found areally cute pair of tan canvas mules that I probably spent too much money on a few months back. Oh, and I bought a pair of white, strappy sandals that I wore to a wedding and haven't worn since because they don't have enough support. I looked good that night, though (I also wore the skirt that was falling down on Monday. It looked good, then).

So I still don't know what shoes I'm going to wear, and I still can't find my jacket. I still need to go to Kinkos and spend way to much money to print stuff. And I lost a box of macaroni and cheese somewhere between the shelf this morning and the stove this evening.

On the plus side, this place employs a lot of geek types. If I get hired, perhaps I can find geek love. You know, where you whisper sweet lines from Monty Python in each other's ears, share a passion for all things Star Trek, and write each other little notes reminding each other to tape Stargate: Atlantis.


Well, I solved my clothing problem for tomorrow. I found a skirt that I forgot I had that is a size smaller - plus I accidentally shrunk it because I didn't read the washing instructions. It fits perfectly now, and looks really good. I just have to find a top to wear with it and I'm set. It's black, and I'm thinking red because it's supposed to be a power color. But I'm afraid that it will make me look even paler than I am. We'll see.

I have a new dilemma, now, though. The recruiter called and asked me to bring writing samples. I'm not worried about that in terms of quality, but most of my business-type writing, including the training manuals I did, were saved on my work computer. They wouldn't let me keep those files when I left. That's a problem.

Now, I do have things that I wrote when I was at the CCC, but those are prayer services and the like. And I do have some academic writing. Should I take those with me? I'm going to take the curriculum proposal I wrote for the dream teaching job a couple of years ago, and I think I may try to recreate the Excel manual I wrote, just to show I know how to work with graphics. I just feel like those examples don't really showcase how capable I am.

I really wish my printer cartridge would come today (I know it isn't going to, though). It costs 49 cents a page to print at Kinkos. I had used my friend J's printer in the past, but she has been told that if she associates with me outside of work, she could be risking her job.

I really want this job. The corporate culture sounds wonderful, it's in a great industry for the current times, and I would be writing full time. I really don't want to do anything to mess up this opportunity.

Monday, July 10, 2006

My Day

So here's how my day went. After you read this, tell me that God doesn't have a sense of humor.

I got up this morning and got ready for my interview. It was pouring down rain. We haven't been able to buy a raindrop here for months, and on the day I have an interview (and can't find my umbrella) it rains.

The skirt I planned to wear today, that I wrote about yesterday? Well, I did wear it, but I discovered that when you wear something that is too big, and you actually have to move in what you are wearing, it doesn't matter if you have hips or not. Yeah, it kept slipping down. It never slipped enough to be embarrassing, but my shirt kept coming untucked. It wouldn't have been so bad if I could have worn a jacket, but a) the jacket is a whole lot too big, and it makes me look frumpy, and b) South Louisiana in summer is roughly 10 degrees hotter than hell.

So I get there, and the first thing they do is give me an IQ test. It was easy. The recruiter person finally interviewed me, and she went over my resume and tests (I also had to take a bunch of computer tests over the weekend - I type 60 words a minute sitting cross-legged on my couch with my keyboard on my lap.). She told me that I was way overqualified for admin work. I wanted to say, "No Shit," but I refrained (pardon my language if you have sensitive ears. It's been that kind of day.). Then she asked me how I would feel about working in a call center. A CALL CENTER!!! I'm overqualified to be an executive assistant, but I can work in a call center?? I told her that that really would not be my preference (read: I would rather pluck my eyes out with flaming sporks), but income is the most important thing right now. She said she'd be in touch.

So then, I'm left the building and checked my cell phone. I had it on vibrate, so I knew I missed a call. It was one of the companies who asked me to apply based on my Monster resume. She wanted to know if I had faxed my application yet (I hadn't), and told me that the hiring manager wanted me to come in for an interview. I'm interviewing with him at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Yay.

Well, after I left there, I drove to Kinko's to fax the application. Well, on the way, I got another call. Some financial planning firm saw my resume on Monster and wanted me to interview. I'm interviewing with them on Monday. It is not even close to what I want to do (sales work always makes me feel guilty), but who knows?

Well, I got to Kinko's only to discover that the first company's fax number was not on the application, and I didn't have it written down. Now had I been thinking, I would have called the recruiter back and asked for it, or I simply would have logged onto one of their computers to check my e-mail and get it. I, however, am stupid, and I drove all the way home to get it. Now, Kinko's is a pretty good distance from my apartment, and I'm poor. Not to mention the fact that my car is eating gasoline the way an addict consumes...whatever they are addicted to. That did not make me happy.

So I got home and the power was out. Fortunately, I did have the number written down outside my e-mail. So I drove all the way back to Kinko's, faxed the resume and drove home again. The power was still out. If it weren't hotter than Hell (literally, remember), I just would have stayed home and waited it out. But it is hotter than hell, so I didn't. I got lunch at Sonic, then went and hung out at the library for a while.

I got home, and I had a message from the student loan people telling me they were taking my payment out of my account next Monday. That will be a really funny feat, because I don't have that much money in my checking account. Oh, and I had a note from my building manager. Apparently, they are charging me a late fee for this month, even though I paid my rent on time, because I hadn't paid the late fees from last month. And, they are charging me late fees on my late fees. Something about that doesn't quite sound legal to me.

Well, I got an e-mail from Walgreen's telling me my prescription was ready. I assumed it was my thyroid medicine, because I looked online to see what the dosage was (not as high as I was expecting, but I have to get my blood checked sooner). The only problem was they had the wrong medication listed there. My doctor said I have to have the brand name medicine because the generic isn't as potent (it has something to do with the way the hormone is synthesized). So I went to the pharmacy, armed with my new prescription discount number that is supposed to save me 40% on the cost of this medicine.

I pointed out the mistake to the pharmacist, and she did say that it was called in for the brand and fixed it. So the tech went to ring me up, and the number I had from the prescription discount people didn't work, so I had to pay full price. So she rings me up and gives me a total of $231. My heart nearly dropped into my shoes. I knew that couldn't be right.

Well, it turns out that a prescription for antibiotics that I dropped off almost a month ago, when I still had insurance, was finally in. They must have had to order them from the moon. Those antibiotics were $166 dollars. I told them to forget about it. If I lived for the past month without dying from an MRSA infection, I figured I'm probably OK. If they had had the antibiotic when I had insurance, it would have been $20. I shouldn't have to pay that much when it was the pharmacy's fault that they didn't have the medicine. So "only" ended up paying $50 for the thyroid medicine and a part of another prescription they didn't have enough to fill that same day.

So that's where I am. My finances are getting dicey, and I still haven't gotten my unemployment. I may be posting that food wish list soon. Pray I get a job soon.

Well, I need to figure out what I am going to wear on Wednesday as none of my professional clothes fit right anymore. I do have a tan skirt I could wear, but it is kind of casual. If I had a jacket to dress it up, I wouldn't be as worried. I'll figure it out, I suppose.

You know, it's funny. As long and as...stressful as today was, this is the most alive I've felt in weeks. I guess it just took getting out of the house. I may try doing that more often. The library is free, and Barnes and Noble will let you hang out forever.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Dogs on Bikes

Well, I tried on the skirt I plan to wear for my interview tomorrow. I bought in March and I haven't worn it since April. Well, it's too big. It's almost too big even with my hips. The pants that came with it don't stay up at all. The jacket never did fit right (I have T-Rex arms, apparently), so that doesn't count one way or the other.

I am happy about that, but I'd be happier if I could afford to buy new clothes that fit.

When I write my rant against the public education system in this country, you will find that a big part of my ire is directed toward standardized testing. But having said that, I am glad to announce that this fall I have a part-time job rating constructed response answers on standardized tests for ETS, the great evil of the testing world. I'll work about 20 hours a week, and make $18 an hour. It's a good little gig for this English major. If there are any other English majors out there looking for a little extra spending money (you can work as few as 10 hours a week), let me know and I'll send you the info.

Oh. I saw the strangest thing tonight. I was driving back from Taco Bell (I had to satisfy my craving for Nachos Bellgrande), and this guy on a bike almost rode right in front of me. Now that's not strange; in fact it happens at least twice a day in Baton Rouge - it's a big bike town. The strange part was what was on the back of his bike. He had what looked like one of those white, plastic, snap together shelving systems with two levels attached to the back of the bike, and on each of the shelves, there was a little dog harnessed in. The dogs looked perfectly happy and content, and in fact I think one of them was sleeping (it yawned, anyway).

That just really amused me, and I thought I'd share.

I think that after my interview tomorrow I'm going to go to CC's and nurse an iced tea for a few hours and write. I really need to get out of the house. I'm starting to annoy myself.

Oh, one other thing I just noticed - the stove in Joey and Chandler's apartment on Friends is the exact same stove that was in my apartment in Pittsburgh. No wonder they never cook. You have to light the pilot light manually every time you use that stove.

I suppose that's all for tonight. I need to try to sleep early tonight, so I'm sure to get up in time tomorrow. I think I'll set the alarm on my cell phone. It's the Star Trek red alert noise. The first time I set it, it nearly scared me half to death and I smacked my head on the nightstand and fell out of bed.

Daily Update

First of all, remember my decision to live my life according to the signs and billboards I pass? I finally figured out why I am so confused. I drove by Outback Steakhouse tonight, and their signboard said, "Beat Summer the Aussie Way - Try Our Margaritas." Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but margaritas aren't really an Australian thing, right?

OK, now the real reason I'm here. If you ever need to order printer supplies, you must go to this site. I heard about LaserMonks a long time ago, and looked at their site, but I never ordered before today. The toner cartridge I got for my printer (remanufactured) was two dollars less than the cheapest online price I found, and $10 less than the cheapest price I found in the stores here - including shipping. Shipping is only $4.95 on orders up to $50, and they have office products now, too. But the best part (other than the savings), is that all the profits the monks make (and they do make a tidy profit) go to various charities after what they need to sustain their community is deducted. They have made some significant contributions to some really worthwhile charities. Oh, and they have bulk rates for businesses, and savings programs for schools, churches, and non-profits as well, so if you are in a decision making position, you might want to give them a look.

Oh, and you can send them prayer requests, too, even without ordering anything {grin}.

I have an interview Monday with a different temp agency. They have an interesting position available with better pay than my last job. We shall see, I suppose.

What of Monday, I will also be on the highest dose of thyroid medicine available. My levels are getting better, but they still aren't where they need to be. This time they were a 12 (from 17 last time), but they need to be a 2. My doctor told me Thursday that she was going to bump up the dosage to the max if it wasn't a whole lot better this time.

If I seem a week, don't worry. Whenever my dosage gets increased, I get really hyper for a few days to a week. I can't seem to stop talking (and if no one is around, I will talk to myself), and I will actually sing in public, a rare thing outside of church. With this jump, I'm expecting to see that even more, because it will double my current dosage.

OK. Off to look at Sunday's classifieds before sleeping.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Big Brother

OK. I admit that I have followed this show rather loosely off and on since it has been on the air. Because it has been a rather loose following, I'm not particularly invested in who is in this "all-star" cast.

Having said that, however, I would like to see sometime in the future a house with nothing but men or women.

In looking at the candidates for this particular season, the men are the only ones I have any clear memory of. The women all seem to be...well...the same. No personality whatsoever. So from this group, if it had been all the men, then there might be a show worth watching.

But in general, my experience has been that if you put a whole bunch of women together in a house for an extended period of time, things will eventually get interesting. Women have a tendency to be catty behind each other's backs, and sweet to their faces...until something gives. Then it is no holds barred.

That is why girl bullies are so much worse than boy bullies. When I write about the problem with public education, maybe I'll write about that as well.

My Life is Weird

So I updated my resume on Monster last night. I got two e-mails from "real" companies today wanting me to apply for writing positions, one here in BR and one in Madison, WI. Both are casual companies with fleixible work arrangements, and both offer terrific benefits. The one in Madison is intriguing, but I don't know if I can afford to relocate there. The website doesn't say anything about relocation benefits, but it may be on a case by case basis.

Just when I was starting to get frustrated, this happens.

I feel much better about life today than I did yesterday. Of course, this was the first time I've been out of my apartment since Monday, so that might have something to do with it. I didn't even hate my doctor's appointment today.

My thyroid still isn't where it needs to be, though. My doctor said that when it gets to the level where it needs to be, I'll notice a tremendous difference. I hope so. Though I just have to say that none of my professional skirts, dresses or pants fit me right any more. If it weren't for the fact that I have hips, nothing would be staying up. Oh, and the only bra that fits is one that is really old and I have no idea why I kept it. I guess that's good. It would be nice if it were my hips instead of my...upper body, though.

I have something I want to say about public schools as well. I probably should put it on my presidential campaign blog, but I have more readers over here. Besides, it is more a rant about the problem than any proposal for a solution.

So I spent the whole day submitting resumes for jobs I don't want. It was not fun. It was, however exhausting, even though it is 1:18 a.m. and I am still wide awake. Sigh.

I took Benadryl the past two nights to get to sleep. I didn't want to take it tonight, because I don't want to grow to depend on it, and because it leaves me groggy the next day. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. I don't want to be groggy for that.

I'm a little worried about my financial situation, but I'm not going to stress yet. It's just worry about the unemployment thing that has me stressed. I'm still afraid I'm going to get turned down, even though they told me I was approved.

Other than applying for jobs, I did nothing of substance today. I feel vaguely guilty about that.

And just as a final note, I'm watching Martin Scorsese's documentary about Bob Dylan on PBS right now. You know, for a long time I got Bob Dylan and Dylan Thomas confused. That was because I first encountered Bob Dylan in a poetry anthology when I was in high school. That's what happens when one of your parents grew up with Big Band, and the other grew up with all those 50's groups, I guess. Neither one of my parents were exactly the folk/protest music type anyhow.

So on that note, I shall depart for the evening. Bet you expected me to quote lyrics here. Nah.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Late Night Loquaciousness

So it's almost 2 a.m. and I'm still awake. Sigh.

My biological clock is all screwy. It happens any time I'm off work for more than a day. I asked my doctor about it once, and she said it probably has something to do with the several years I worked night shift. I really need to get working.

Speaking of which, I have an interview at 10 a.m. today. It's at the medical clinic where virtually all my doctor's practice. It's temp to hire. The good thing is that once hired, any physcian's visits, tests, etc performed at the clinic are free. The bad news is that it pays less than what I am looking for, and it is all financial. It isn't even remotely what I want. I can't be happy doing spreadsheets and pulling financial reports all day long. But I'm playing the what if game. What if the computer company calls me right after I accept this position? I really want to be working, though.

I suppose if it starts out as a temp position, I shouldn't feel bad about leaving if I'm given a better opportunity. But I would feel bad, of course. Yes, these are the things I think about when I am awake in the middle of the night.

So after this interview tomorrow, a friend who is off work wants to take me to lunch and the movies. She wants to see "The Devil Wears Prada," and her husband doesn't want to go with her (movies like that seem to threaten his masculinity). She's too much of an extrovert to go alone, so she asked me, her treat. I guess I'll go just to get out of the house. I think I'm going a little stir crazy. And if I spend all day out, maybe I can get my clock reset.

Meryl Streep can sing. What a surprise. Just saw her on PBS on A Prairie Home Companion from Tanglewood on Great Performances.

And Garrison Keillor is really meant for the radio. He just looks unnatural on TV. Maybe it's just because physically he reminds me of a weird cross between one of my high school English teachers and an English professor I had in college. TG, you can guess which one, if you want. I'll tell you if you are right.

I'm about a third of the way through the scene TG set, by the way, though I have the whole thing plotted in my head. It is maybe a comedy, but kind of an ironic comedy. Maybe even a satire.

I really do have trouble writing pure comedy. Oh, I can slip comedy into other things, but pure comedy is tough for me. I don't know why that is. Something to think about.

I think I'm having hot flashes. Is 35 too young for that? Hmm. Maybe it's my thyroid, then. I get blood tested this week, so I suppose we shall see.

I made stir fry for dinner tonight. (Don't you love stream of consciousness blogging?) Instead of using the sauce that came with the meal kit, I use Cane's sauce. If you ever happen to be around a Raising Cane's restaurant, you must go and get chicken fingers. They are the best in the entire world, hands down, bar none. The closed one to most of my regular readers is in Columbus, OH, though. If you are looking for a franchise opportunity, they are always looking for new locations.

What else? I seem to be beating myself up at night. I keep waking up covered in scratches and bruises. Just thought I'd share that.

I watched School Ties this afternoon. I had forgotten what a good movie that was. And everyone looks so young. I had forgotten that Matt Damon was in that as well. And I think I caught a glimpse of Ben Affleck as well.

Speaking of which, have the two of them just dropped off the face of the earth? I haven't seen anything from either one of them in a long time. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, given thier most recent movies.

Last thing. I spent about three hours this evening reading through my whole archive - all 254 entries (when I watch a fluffy movie like "How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days," I need to multi-task. It was interesting to watch my journey over the past two years. This is the longest I have kept any kind of journal or diary with any kind of consistency, which is kind of ironic for someone who loves words as much as I do. If I think about it, I will offer some observations tomorrow evening. You shall all just have to wait with baited breath until then.