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good news (finally!)

April 21st, 2015 at 07:48 am

I'M EMPLOYED!!!

Yes, that deserves all caps and three exclamation points. Not only did I just accept a position at a great place, my salary is right where I wanted it (read: much higher than I've made at former jobs), and it really seems to be a great fit. The people were genuinely nice, it ties into one of my college majors a bit, and I think I'll get to use most of my skills. Plus it's a brand new position, so I'll be building it from the ground up. I start in a couple of weeks.

I'm seriously thrilled. I can't wait! It doesn't seem real!

Tonight I'm looking at a duplex that's available May 1. It seems pretty perfect. There is a lot of interest in it, so we'll see... but if I want it and get it, I'll be moving ASAP. The actual act of moving is not something I look forward to, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Things finally feel like they are moving forward!

Now I need to buy a few key work clothing pieces and to lose these 10 pounds of stress weight I've gained in the last six months. All in due time. I think I'll have the opportunity to walk a lot more at my new job, and they have an in-house gym!

March

March 16th, 2015 at 05:35 pm

Checking in, even though I haven't got much news to report!

I've still not found a job, but I have a ton of applications out. I'm applying to jobs that will get me close to being able to afford a decent place in a decent neighborhood. I'm so grateful for online crime maps, especially for the parts of the city that I don't know well, even after 14 years of living here. I've lived in four different suburbs and have friends all over, so I have a pretty good sense of most of it, but not all.

Packing takes roughly 879 times longer than I expect it to. I brought 10 bags of books to Half Price Books, and they didn't pay well at all, but whatever. I sold one book on Amazon. Several things are up on craigslist, and I've received numerous bizarre messages and one no-show. I suspect that is the norm for craigslist.

Several people I follow on Instagram are currently obsessed with Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of D.... After seeing their results, I want to read it. I still have 10 boxes of books, 10+ boxes of kitchen stuff, and let's not even talk about the boxes dedicated to my hobbies. I realized I have at least 13 hobbies, which explains why I have So Much Stuff. Downsizing is hard.

My former employer hasn't sold their building yet, and it's still partially furnished. They are giving me a loveseat, a recliner, a folding screen, and a small bookshelf for my new place. I am so, so grateful. I just need to move before they sell the building, or I'll need to get a storage unit.

My check engine light came on over the weekend. I had a minor emotional breakdown once I made it home because it's one more stressor that I just don't need right now. I'm bringing the car into the shop tomorrow.

I find myself vacillating between confident hope for the future and utter despair, and not a lot in between. I can't wait for this period of my life to be over, to be perfectly honest. I'm ready to move on to greener pastures.

and then...

May 27th, 2014 at 11:08 am

Life has been a whirlwind since my last post.

- SO had eye surgery and his vision thankfully improved in that eye. The other eye became substantially worse in the meantime, so he is on the same path to surgery with that one. We'll find out more in August.

- We both found health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. It made more sense to do that than to take my job's insurance, because I'd rather not change ALL of my doctors, and it wasn't much cheaper. It turns out ACA insurance was a better choice anyway because...

- A dramatic few weeks at work resulted in the "owners" of the organization I work for deciding to close it at the end of June. I'm getting laid off...AGAIN. I will get a small severance, but no unemployment. In the meantime, I am the go-between for my coworkers who abhor each other.

- My car's muffler pipe broke off earlier this month and needed to be repaired immediately. $300

- Our cat started acting strangely last week so I brought him in to the emergency vet. Bladder stones. One day at the emergency vet, surgery at a regular vet, and three days there = $3300. Now, we have savings, and I have no qualms whatsoever on spending that on him - he's my big, sweet baby. But damn, that's a lot of money. Especially because...

- SO is still unemployed. Still. Unemployed.

- I had an interview two weeks ago that went smashingly and was one of three called back for a second interview. That went really well too - so well, in fact, that they were calling my references as I was leaving the building. They said I'd hear back from them the following afternoon. That was last week and I've not heard one word. I am incredibly disappointed.

On the plus side, I have a ton of people praying for me. I'm not a religious person, but I will take any and all good thoughts. I got 2 of my vegetable gardens planted. We're going camping next month. I'm very under budget on May groceries.

I just have to keep breathing.

cobra coverage=$$$

February 26th, 2014 at 04:01 pm

Thanks for your insights. The job thing worked itself out without me having to say a thing (which, incidentally, seems to be the best policy around my workplace lately anyway). I'll be starting 30 hours a week next week, which is just perfect for right now.

SO is having complications from type 1 diabetes and found out that he will need to have eye surgery next month. We are getting a second opinion later this week.

It makes sense for him to choose Cobra coverage for now, since he has to have this surgery and has already reached his deductible. I won't get health insurance through my job until April. The cost of Cobra is absolutely prohibitive for me. After being unable to register on the MNsure website today, I filled out a paper form and will wait for them to send me information. If something terrible happens between now and April, I can still backdate my Cobra.

I was about to head to Trader Joe's after work today, but I knew shopping with a hungry stomach would be a bad idea, so I went home instead. After updating YNAB, I realized that if I hang in there until March, I will actually be *under* my grocery budget this month! So I think I'll wait. Nothing is pressing, so I can hang on for a bit longer!

This winter is really a long one - I can't wait for spring, especially with the seed catalogs are already filling my mailbox!

job hours

February 17th, 2014 at 06:32 pm

My boss wants me to increase my hours. The desired amount of the increase seems to change from week to week. Right now I work 20 hours, and could go to 30 or possibly 40. Boss asked if I would do 40 today. No talk of a higher salary.

Pros of 30:
- get benefits at a lower cost than I would at 20 hrs
- extra free time and ability to visit family on short notice (which I value intensely since my layoff and family illnesses/deaths)
- more time to apply to other jobs and interview

Cons of 30:
- can't cover the mortgage
- will I be viewed as lazy by society at large? (do I care?)
- if I need to increase my hours down the road, they may not go for it

Pros of 40:
- more money coming in
- looks better on a resume
- get benefits at a lower cost than I would at 20 hrs
- we need all the money we can get since SO is out of work, even though it would barely cover the mortgage
- I could conceivably support myself if necessary

Cons of 40:
- I don't think I like where the company is going (and my job satisfaction has greatly decreased)
- Boss sometimes makes me uncomfortable
- Less free time
- Would it really be 40 hours, or more? Weekend expectations?
- More exposure to in-fighting among coworkers
- Would likely greatly upset a difficult coworker whose hours and benefits would get cut so mine could be increased
- I'd be making what I was making in 2001, which frankly is not great. If I'm working full time and exchanging my precious free time, I feel like I should be making far more than that. I guess I justified 20 hours a week at this salary because I could balance it with my free time.

Making this list helped clear my thoughts a bit, but I'm still torn.

Happy 2014!

January 25th, 2014 at 11:56 am

Hi all!

I've still been reading the blogs, just not posting!

Since the last update in 2011:

- I gave the photography business a go, but realized over the last year that portraiture is not my thing, so I'm closing my LLC and re-evaluating.

- I started a new part-time job, with the hope that it would go full-time. A year later, I'm still hoping. I'm applying to lots of full-time jobs.

- My SO was laid off from the job he loved last month. I'm shocked by how unstable his career has been since 2009. He has a great, in-demand skill set, but employers are offloading again right now, it seems. Unfortunately that was the source of 90% of our income and our health insurance. Thankfully they gave him a short severance, he can apply for unemployment, and we have some savings to fall back on...but he really can't be out of work for too many months. My salary will not cover the mortgage. And now we need health insurance. Time to look more closely at ACA.

- I fully took over all of our finances in early 2012. Up until that point, I kept things separate, and had just a vague idea of how much credit card debt SO had. He wasn't exactly honest about it, which led to some tough conversations. Thankfully we have paid off over half of it now and should be rid of it soon, assuming things turn out on the job front.

- I'm exploring new career ideas, again, always. I'm still not one of those people who knows what they want to be when they grow up. Will that ever happen?

It's good to page through the blogs and the forums here. It centers me and reminds me that keeping a handle on the finances and increasing our savings can make for a more secure landing when life inevitably throws a curve ball.

Things I need to do:
- Look into the Affordable Care Act
- Plan meals every week and use up what we have
- Look into selling photography gear
- Reduce my car insurance premium
- Get SO's retirement funds consolidated

Longer term:
- Bulk up our savings
- Create a long-term financial plan for SO's increasing medical expenses
- Max out our Roth IRAs
- Create a savings fund for my parents

hi there!

April 2nd, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Hi!

Yes, it's been a couple of years since I last checked in. Sorry about that. I've still been reading your blogs and commenting when I can.

Since my last post, I haven't worked full-time. I've been looking, applying and occasionally interviewing, but nothing has come through. I am very lucky to have SO, because he has pulled us through. Unfortunately he was laid off again a week ago, and is scrambling to try to find something new. Fortunately he has marketable skills!

We bought a house over a year ago and adopted another cat. Living in our own home (with a garden!!) is so fantastic. I can't wait for spring so I can plant again.

An elderly family member passed away and left me a bit of money, which I've used to pay off my student loans (wheeeeee!!!) and invested in my photography business. I am officially up and running now, all the legal business hoopla done, and trying to launch this thing. I am slightly dreading doing my taxes next year because of it, but I have to hope that it will all pay off in the long run. I won't get studio space until I have consistent paying clientele, so at the moment I drag all my equipment around, but that's ok. I love being a photographer.

I need some sort of small business financial software. Any suggestions?

one job found

February 16th, 2009 at 06:53 am

Good news - SO found a job. In fact, he found one so quickly that he ended his last job on a Friday and started the new one on a Monday! Not only that, but the new job pays over twice what the old job paid - a very, very good thing, considering I cannot find a job in my field to save my life.

I had a couple of interviews at one place, but they didn't call me back for a third. I asked for feedback from the interviewer (because frankly, I could have done that job in my sleep, not that I said that!), but she never responded. At least I am able to collect unemployment - that will help pay the bills until August, anyway. The bills are piling up, too. I just got one for a medical appointment I had in March 2008!

I thought staying at home all day would be fun, and that I'd accomplish so much, but I never factored in the inevitable depression. I should be happy as a clam, but the combination of being laid off so soon from a job that I thought was perfect for me and being unable to find anything remotely applicable is taking its toll. Combined with freezing temperatures, ice, snow, sleet, and no sunshine....I'm trying to be positive, but it's hard.

I wish spring would come! That would help!

laid off x 2

January 8th, 2009 at 11:42 am

I was laid off on Tuesday; my last day is the 15th. Several people from the company are getting canned, and I knew things were bad, but I was surprised to be one of those cut. The magazines I worked on only had three employees as it was - now there's one. Sounds like a setup for failure to me.

I went home that day, dreading telling SO, just because I knew it would complicate things. He asked me how my day was...I said, not so great, I got laid off today. He said, are you kidding me? No, not kidding....and then he said he got laid off, too. ON THE SAME DAY. That sounds like a script from a poorly written melodrama, but unfortunately, it's true. It was so absurd, we just laughed. They gave him a month's notice.

So...I'm job searching again, in earnest. Fun times. I am trying to convince SO that we should move, since now we've got nothing tying us down. Costa Rica! Mexico! Oregon! Washington! Wink Really, though, it's everything I can do not to ball up into the fetal position.

2008 update

November 30th, 2008 at 08:11 am

Good grief, I've been away for a while. I guess I haven't felt particularly inspired to post because I felt like I was repeating myself. People continually comment on a couple of posts I wrote over two years ago, which is really fun and interesting, so I thought I'd stop by and say hi!

It was three months ago already, but it was awesome to get to meet baselle. She and her DH were really fun to hang out with, and gave us some great pointers about moving out there (namely, visit in the winter!). Hopefully we'll get a chance to do that soon.

I've got a new editorial job, one that I took a pay cut for, but it's much more creative than what I was doing. The only catch? The person who was supposed to be my boss quit right after I started. I am now stuck with someone else as a boss, and we don't jive. I'm pretty sure I know the difference between first, second, and third person, thankyouverymuch, even if I didn't go to journalism school. Anyway. If I can stick it out for a year, maybe I will get enough experience to move on to something with higher pay.

My photography has really improved! I was just looking at some shots from last year and am pretty happy with how far I've come...though I have a long way to go! After my Project 365 ended in April, I took a part-time job at a portrait studio. I have been photographing friends and family on my own, and building up a portfolio. SO is creating a photography business website for me, and I just got some business cards. I am really excited about the prospect of all of this! Times are tough, yes, and people aren't spending as much, but there are still moments you want captured by a professional photographer. I can't compete with the prices at Target or Walmart (nor do I want to), but I think coming to someone's home and spending an hour or two with them warrants spending a few extra dollars. We'll see. Smile

I'm slowly chipping away at the student loans...still have a long way to go, but that's ok for now. SO and I were contemplating buying a house, but now that it seems we'd need to have at least 20% down...ouch. I'm sure I don't have to say this to the SA crowd, but check your credit reports, people. A close relative of SO went off the deep end, stole all of their identities, and wracked up big credit bills in their names. Luckily we caught it early, so SO's credit isn't completely trashed, but dang...you just never know.

So, anyway...hi! and please know that even if I don't post regularly here, I do check your blogs for updates. Save on!

nicest home on the web

July 30th, 2007 at 11:01 am

Wow - what wonderful feedback! This really is the home of the nicest, most helpful people on the web, I'm convinced. I feel lucky to be a member of this community. Thank you so much for your support and ideas.

I am definitely going to learn more about stock photography. I'd love to assist a photographer, so I'm perusing the ads on craigslist, and I belong to a local photography meetup.com group. There's also a craft sale at work twice a year, so I may mount some of my photographs and see if any sell (if I am still working here then). I know there are some near my home, too. Etsy is a great idea too!

I searched through all the local colleges and community ed locations for photography classes. Last night I pored over a few photography career books at the book store but didn't buy any. I'll check the library.

As for the job hunt, well, I've been getting seven different daily job notice emails for over a year (some for several years). I also periodically check the websites of places I'd like to work, just to see if they have announced anything new. I think that's partially why I'm so frustrated - I feel like I've been continously job hunting for six years. I should have kept track of how many interviews I've had along the way (although that might be more depressing).

My ideal job traits:
- Good benefits and pay
- Relatively creative
- Variety of tasks
- Flexible schedule
- Minimal supervision
- Friendly atmosphere

I know I can't expect my job to make me happy. It would be nice to do something that doesn't make me dread getting up every morning, though. Ideally, it would pay me enough to allow me to do what I want in my free time (travel, attend orchestra concerts, donate to causes, help out my family, etc). I don't need a McMansion, or a garage full of cars, or a fridge full of caviar (yuck). I just want to get paid what I'm worth, and feel like my skills are appreciated. Do I ask too much?

On that note, here's the tiny foot of my friend's two-week-old baby. Remember feeling like you could do anything in life? I hope she always feels that way.

rejected and dejected

July 26th, 2007 at 08:35 am

Well, I got the rejection letter on Tuesday. I was so hoping to get that job. They must have mailed it out the minute I walked out of the building...guess I didn't make as good an impression in those 2 hours as I thought I did. I was seriously depressed yesterday...feeling a little better today. Honestly, truly, I have NO IDEA what to do with my life. The fact that I can only seem to land dead-end jobs is really frustrating. I'm starting to think I should go to law school simply to have something to do for the next three years, and because I'd pretty much be guaranteed a decent-paying job at the end. I feel like I am running out of options.

Thank you for your kind comments about my photos! I'd love to make a career of photography, but I have no idea how photographers make any money. I guess appreciate stability in income more than I thought. My other problem with an artsy career is...criticism. I have a really hard time accepting it. I joined a flickr group that critiques food photos just to try and work on it. Art (and music) is just so subjective; everything is a matter of opinion.

So, until I figure out what to do, I'll be spending day after day at my current job. SO and I both have health insurance through me, and I have to pay my bills somehow.

A couple of recent soccer game photos:



thank you!

June 29th, 2007 at 08:44 am

Thank you for your honest responses to yesterday's post. I really appreciate all of your input!

I thought about it long and hard, and finally decided to be honest with myself. I can't work for the money. The raise would be fabulous, but spending my time forcing other people to do their jobs just does not appeal to me. I can handle stress - in fact, I love odd situations, unforseen problems I can solve, things other people find stressful. What I don't like is being a task master. I feel that if you're contracted to do something that has a deadline, you should do it by the deadline, without having to be asked or reminded a zillion times. So, I declined the job shadow and am applying elsewhere.

I'm confident I can find something better. I don't want to go from one bad job to another, nor do I want to settle.

I should clarify that everyone walking in seemed happy...except the woman who would have been my boss. She was clearly stressed, and as I mentioned, pretty much ignored me throughout the interview. Not a good sign.

My 10-year high school reunion is this weekend. I'm staying in town and taking maternity photos of my friend instead. Hopefully they will turn out!

advice requested

June 28th, 2007 at 09:13 am

Had a very short job interview this morning. It would be as a project coordinator for a translation firm.

PROS
- Free parking
- Something new and different
- Diversity of projects (10-15 juggled at one time)
- About $5,000 more per year
- End-of-year bonus
- Everyone in the office seemed happy as they walked in, which is unusual
- Pretty much the same commute
- No two days are the same
- Casual, pleasant work environment - jeans!
- Some proofreading, more Quark experience
- Small office, everyone around my age

CONS
- The person who would be my boss hardly spoke to me at all - she was more interested in checking her email
- They stressed how stressful and chaotic the job is
- I'd have to track down translators and beg them to finish projects on time, and then dock their pay when they don't, and explain why (yuck, I hate confrontation)
- They want me to do a 1/2 day (4 hours!) job shadow before they even offer me the job, just to see if I like it (unpaid, and I'd have to take time off of work)

So - more money, more stress? Is it worth it? I can't decide.

My job now is not very stressful, not even remotely challenging, pretty much the same every day (boring), and I haven't been happy with it since the second month on the job.

Decisions, decisions.

lurker

June 27th, 2007 at 10:15 am

Three weeks this time...wow. Just wanted to let you know that I am alive, and still reading your blogs. I have google feeds for several and take a peek at the main blog page whenever I have the chance. So although I may seem absent, I'm still keeping tabs on you!

Let's see...the baby shower I hosted was fabulous. I think most everyone had a nice time, particularly the soon-to-be parents, and they received so many nice gifts. I baked four dozen vegan cupcakes (root beer float flavor and lemon flavor) but didn't take ONE photo of them! They were a big hit, even after SO told everyone that they were vegan. (For whatever reason, that tends to freak people out.) I am incredibly excited about this baby's arrival. Since they are keeping the gender a secret, it will be fun to see what it is!

I have a job interview tomorrow. My main goal is more money and less boring work at this point. I purchased an LSAT study guide last week...still on the fence about actually taking the test and actually going to law school, but it's a start. I need a life plan, a career plan, something I can really feel involved in that will bring in some decent money. Right now, I'm just floating through life, and I hate that feeling. Fern, I've been thinking a lot about what you asked in my previous post, and my biggest gripe is the monotony of my current job. Every day is the same and far too simple. Some of my coworkers drive me nuts, but that's inevitable. I should be getting paid more in general, as well.

If I do go to law school, it will preferably be full time, so it would be nice to have a job for a year that brought in more money than my current job. Anyone with insights on law careers and law school, bring them on! I'm most interested in environmental law, international law, and public policy.

I cut out my daily Topamax pills and am waiting for my headaches to subside. At the moment, I'm pretty sure it's just medication withdrawal. I hope I'm right, or I may need to finally give in and visit a neurologist. I just don't want to be eternally medicated, and cutting out dairy and eggs has really helped with the headaches. I hadn't had a migraine since March, up until last Saturday, when I quite taking the Topamax.

My five-year anniversary with SO is tomorrow. Five years! It certainly doesn't seem that long. I guess that is a good sign, eh? We have no plans to celebrate, but we bought ourselves a Wii...romantic, I know. Wink It's seriously fun, though.

I've been posting Project 365 photos to my flickr page, but here are a few small ones.

If you think vegan food is boring, bland, or uninteresting, think again.

Bean enchiladas with vegan "cheese" sauce, tofutti sour cream, and salsa:


Seitan tacos (one of my favorite recipes):


Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate chiffon mousse frosting - these are to die for:



and, not food-related - beautiful daisies in my yard:

howdy!

June 5th, 2007 at 08:26 am

Yikes! I've been away for a couple of weeks. I visited my parents for the long Memorial Day weekend (and my dad's birthday) and have been pretty busy lately.

Since I haven't posted two weeks' worth of Project 365 photos here, I'll spare you the endless array, and just direct you to my Project 365 site on flickr. Click on a photo's thumbnail to see it bigger. Please feel free to comment! My favorites include the little green worm that attached himself to SO's shirt, my dad's old GMC truck, and my mother's sweet 29-year-old horse.

My sister moved into her apartment last weekend, so I hosted her and my mom again. I spent waaaaay too much money as well. June is shaping up to be an expensive month already.

I purchased some of the upcoming baby shower food items at Sam's Club but I've still got more to get, including decorations. The party isn't until the 16th, but I feel like I've got a lot to do...including baking four dozen cupcakes.

Still losing about a pound a week! Big Grin I received the completed payment notice regarding my student loan, too, so I'm free and clear on that one. I also dropped down my car insurance levels and removed collision entirely, so that will help immensely. The yearly premium plus deductible was more than my car is worth, and I don't even drive it that often. I kept comprehensive, since I live in the city. I'll be saving $250 a year - not bad!

One of my coworkers is quitting, and I'm pretty envious. I've been looking for something new, but nothing clicks. Same refrain - six years after college, still don't know what to do with my life. All I know is that it's not this. It would be nice to be happy in a job, and feel like it was a career. Am I dreaming? How many people actually obtain that?

3-day bake sale

May 1st, 2007 at 07:26 am

My employer is having a three-day employee shindig this week, and I have a sale table. I'm selling baked goods, all proceeds benefiting me! I've made about $20 in the first hour. Not bad! On the table, I've got orange almond biscotti, rosemary bread, blondie bars, mini banana bread, mini banana muffins, and giant peanut butter oatmeal cookies. If it all sells, I should make about $70 today. Wish me luck!

P365, Day 11: 4/30/07
Banana Walnut Mini Muffins

catch up

April 6th, 2007 at 07:57 am

I'm leaving for Florida this weekend. Somewhere along the way this week, I managed to catch a cold. I've been trying to fight it with all sorts of stuff. I really don't want to bring it to my great-aunt.

My employer's IT department was a bit freaked out over a recent internet virus scare, so we had no internet for two days. Let me tell ya, two days without internet at my job is pretty rough. I'm not sure what people did during work lulls before the internet...created giant rubberband balls? Chatted endlessly around the water cooler? I made up an Excel spreadsheet outlining exactly when I would pay off my big student loan based on different monthly payments and the interest rate - yeah, I was that bored. I'll share it with you, though, because you're really the only people who might possibly be interested.



$135 is the minimum payment. I'm going to shoot for $300/mo payments in 2008 - it might be a bit of a stretch, but that might be good for me. I can't believe it's still going to take me so long to pay it off. I just want to be rid of it already.

Good news, though - my smaller loan will be paid off in May! Big Grin

I also figured out my net worth for March - I'm up to ($1,113). Perhaps that will be a positive figure by August.

On a related note - I'm thinking about going back to school. What's it this time, kashi? Law. I wouldn't want to be courtroom, criminal lawyer - I'd rather do something more like public interest law, environmental law, or international law. Something that felt like I was making a difference. I love research, writing and editing, thought-provoking materials... So I've been mulling it over. Law has always been in my personal top-ten careers list, and my aunt reeeaallly thinks I'd make a good lawyer. We'll see. It definitely would not help me reduce the student loans, though...

I'm going to start adding a photo a day, as Fern suggested, but that may not happen until after I get back from Florida. Internet access will be hard to come by.

Sweet 80-degree weather, here I come! What a shock it will be, considering it's been snowing here, and 16 degrees this morning!

tidbits, and angry money gods?

February 20th, 2007 at 08:02 am

Today is my sweetie's birthday. We both had President's Day off work yesterday, and are taking this afternoon off to celebrate too. He's not much of a birthday person, but I'm going to keep smooching him anyway. We might see a movie this afternoon...not sure which one yet!

I've taken a few photos of my new mannequin head modeling a handmade scarf and hat set. I'll post them soon. She really needs a wig, though. We stopped at a party store yesterday to look for one, but no luck. Too bad it's not closer to Halloween!

It appears to be spring here - yesterday it was 41 degrees!! Today should be a repeat. I'm so happy. The birds are singing, my skin is thawing, life is good. I hope this nice weather sticks around.

Mom was supposed to return from Florida this week, but they have too much left to do. I'm not sure when she's coming back; she's got to change her return flight date now. My great-aunt is going through waves of feeling well and not-so-well. It's hard to leave someone who has no family nearby, but I can tell my dad is feeling lonely. He and I talked on the phone for two hours the other night, which is some sort of record.

I took this coming Friday off work because Mom was supposed to be here, but now she won't be. I'm tempted to stick with it anyway. I had a marvelous dream last night that involved me walking into the office on a Friday and quitting. I was going to start grad school on Monday. Weird dream, but boy did I feel good when I woke up.

Yesterday we used up the last of our grocery store gift certificates at Trader Joes. Now we've got lots of tasty organic frozen vegetables in our freezer, just waiting for dinner.

Something odd and job-related - last month I applied for a position I'm completely qualified for, and the recruiter wrote me an email asking me for my desired salary range. I asked her to provide the job's salary range, and I'd let her know if it was within my personal range. She sent it to me - $14,000-$23,000 more than I make now - so of course I wrote back and said I was interested. No response. I wrote back again a week later and indicated I was still interested and would love to come in for an interview. Still no response. What's the deal? Who does that? Did I anger the money gods somehow? Needless to say, I was bummed...that much of a raise would be truly fantastic.

trading boring for...boring?

January 16th, 2007 at 08:40 am

At what point is it a good idea to change jobs? If I had a potential opportunity that paid slightly more but offered less benefits, meant a longer commute, and was potentially just as boring as this job, is it worth taking? Just to get away? I had a terrible time getting out of bed this morning after a three-day weekend. All I could think about was how boring my job is, and how I wish I was doing something else. Trading boring for boring may not be the best choice, but it would be different, I guess.

I started up my car yesterday, and it sounded awful. I popped the hood, and voila! No antifreeze! None whatsoever! So I dumped some in, and now it's fine. You'd think those people I just paid $430 to would have noticed that there was no antifreeze. Grrr.

We spent $100 on spices this weekend. Yes - $100 on spices (half of it was for my mother) - at Penzeys Spices. We got some great curry powder, a cheese blend, the Bangkok Blend (sweet peppers, garlic, ginger, black pepper, galangal, hot peppers, lemon grass, basil, cilantro), shallot salt, Vietnamese cinnamon, etc. I adore that store.

We also spent too much at Target, but what else is new?

Coming up this week: maternity clothes shopping with my pregnant friend, a meetup.com event, and a friend's birthday dinner.

mish mash

November 30th, 2006 at 09:46 am

We're finally getting new hires on our work team, and - surprise! - I'm training one person in, starting Monday. I haven't had to train anyone for years. It should be interesting. We're also mixing it up; my cube partner is moving to a new spot, and I get a new person. Someday, when I finally get an office with a door all to myself, I will be ecstatic.

Last night I created four wine corkboards for holiday gifts. I just have to glue them together and *poof*, four sources of holiday stress, gone. A friend of mine is picking up corks from a restaurant for me tonight - more free materials! If you drink wine and hang on to the corks, let me know, because I'd love to have them. Smile

I'm a little nervous about making biscotti. My sister told me it is harder than it seems. Guess what I'll be experimenting with this weekend?

My sister and I took a step back in time last weekend and tried to think like a 6-year-old girl. My niece asked me to make her a scarf, and of course, her favorite color is hot pink. Sister and I hit the craft store, and juggled several skeins of hot pink yarn until we found the perfect fit. I might need to wear sunglasses to crochet it, but my niece will love it. Good thing I had my sister with me, because I never liked pink, not even as a kid.

I ordered my TransUnion free credit report, and it was decidedly unthorough. It had the least amount of information of the three. I didn't bother getting my credit score this time around - $7.95 for a number? No thanks. I have more important things to spend that money on, like fudge ingredients. Wink

I've got three weekends left to finish the fudge, bread, biscotti, truffles, magnets, scarves, jewelry, and gift wrapping. Eep!

I like the idea of the garden to relax in...perhaps a lovely one like Fern's? Smile In a more temperate climate? Something to dream about...

net worth

November 7th, 2006 at 11:51 am

Thanks to Tina's motivational post, I figured out my net worth today.

-$3663


It's not as bad as I expected, but not good. Maybe sometime in 2007 my debt to asset ratio will even out.

I had an unprecendented experience over the weekend. I tried on a pair of jeans - and they fit on the first try. I tried on another pair - and they fit, too. I didn't have to grab a bazillion other sizes or styles like I normally do. Amazing! Even more surprising to me was that they were Target jeans! $20 each, I can handle that.

I did my part this morning and voted. I went with my gut and voted for governor accordingly. It will be interesting to see how a couple of Minnesota races turn out. You never know with this state!

Good news! I just received a cash award for all my hard work at the office this year. This place never ceases to surprise me!

Anyone in the vicinity - visit Como Zoo when you have a chance. They had a baby giraffe and a baby zebra born last month! So absolutely adorable!

motivation

October 18th, 2006 at 12:04 pm

There's a media sale today at work, so I picked up a couple of books for $1.75. One is on how to start writing fiction. It's pretty good so far, and I need the motivation! Every time I think about what I want to do with my life, I come back to writing. I have this vision of me living on the Oregon coast, writing away, enjoying the ocean, my cats, my sweetheart, and a peaceful existence.

Another piece of motivation - today two members of my team got special awards for exceptional work. One definitely deserved it for all the hard work she does. The other has been here for just four months. My boss nominated both of them. Every member of our team has now received this award, but me. I'm feeling rather dejected and unappreciated. I feel like I've done just as much work as the new person. I'm not sure how to make these people happy.

Thanks for the tip on dark chocolate! What a great idea! I've personally never been a big fan, but a small bit of dark chocolate is worlds better than no chocolate whatsoever. Wink SO and I stopped by Whole Foods last night and picked up brown rice pasta. It was surprisingly delicious and hit the spot.

Pottery class tonight! I'll have to buy another $10 bag of clay since I used up so much of it. Just have to remember not to use so much water, and make sure the wheel is spinning in the right direction. Stick Out Tongue

Current total student loan balance: $12,420. I'd love to get that under $12,000 by the end of the year, but we'll see!

raspberry herbal tea

October 5th, 2006 at 08:21 am

Thanks for the heads up, PricePlus! You're right, those diets sound nearly identical. I'm only going to try it for a little while...I don't think I could live without bread or chocolate forever.

Pottery class went much better last night. Reading library books on the subject really helped. I always thought I was a hands-on kind of learner - turns out I'm a reader. I made four pretty ugly pots. Practice, practice.

Sipping on my second giant mug of raspberry herbal tea today, what a throat-soother! I also adore the Kashi oatmeal (how could I not, given the name? Wink ). I picked some up at Trader Joe's the other day, and now it's on sale at Cub Foods. I think I'll stop by and get several more boxes. The honey cinnamon is deeeeelicious.

A co-worker of mine is moving away and her last day is tomorrow. It's funny, I never realized how truly warm and fuzzy non-profit organizations can be, comparitively. No one has said boo about her leaving around here. I bought her a card and am having everyone on our team sign it. And to think, I got a going-away party at my last job! There are good and bad aspects of both types of workplaces...I'm just not quite sure which suits me more. Perhaps neither.

I need to compile a list of things to take on our trip this weekend. It's a half hotel, half camping excursion. I'm going to pack lunch for Saturday, so we'll only eat out once, with any luck. Still not quite sure what to do with the food in bear country. I think we'll pack the bare minimum and hang the rest from a tree. Watching that feat should be an entertainment in and of itself.

Something financial related...I received a Herbal Essences rebate check, and sent out a Snapple rebate.

attempting to think about finances

September 26th, 2006 at 07:51 am

Thanks for all of your support. I haven't shared the details of the procedure with my boss - all I said was I'm having a medical procedure done. Still no approval to leave, but obviously I'm taking care of myself first. You're right - I've only got one body.

In financial news...I've been working on holiday shopping. I ordered several delicious soy candles from Crooked Mile Candle Company. They've got new scents - cocoa cappucino! Caramel pecan crumble! Count me in (and my giftees, as well).

I'm contemplating purchasing a MP3 player with radio. I miss listening to NPR every day, and I can't stream it at work. The one I've got my eye on is 1GB, $69.

I've been busy stocking up on grocery gift cards. I have one other store to stop at (perhaps two), and we'll be set for the rest of the year. Neat!

Yesterday we watched a little Globe Trekker (anyone else a fan of this show?). They were bopping around several Carribean islands, and it looked heavenly. I told SO we should consider our Mexico trip again. We've got plenty of time to save up!

job search in overdrive

September 16th, 2006 at 10:36 am

Yesterday I was informed that because I had one sick day in July and one in August, if I have one more unplanned sick day between now and sometime next year, I will be put on written notice. That means no raise, no time off whatsoever, and and my job is at risk.

Ridiculous.

Yes, this fact is in the employee manual, and yes, I should have remembered it. However, I think it's ludicrous to expect employees to come to work when they are legitimately sick. My July time was taken to get my eyelid stitched back up after the cat attack. August's was for a bacterial infection that required antibiotics; I was literally running to the bathroom every 15 minutes all day. At my job, if you are sick with the flu for three days in a row, you're put on written notice.

Again, ridiculous.

I felt like I was one of those people who are out of the office all the time - like I've taken 20 sick days this year. I've taken a total of 4.

I was also told that my error rate since January is unacceptable. Care to know what it is? 1.7%. They expect perfection.

This, on top of everything else going on right now, is too much. I had to have a biopsy last Wednesday and if the results coming in next week aren't good, guess what? I'll have to take more time off to have surgery. Will I get written up for it? I have no idea. All I can say is, my health is more important to me.

So, after I'm done with the coupon train (it's enormous! so great!), I know how the rest of my weekend will be spent. Job hunting.

stockpile spread out everywhere

August 31st, 2006 at 09:41 am

It's a good thing, knowing what's in your stockpile, right? I've realized that I've got mine stashed in all four corners of the house. A couple of days ago I bought an enormous container of laundry detergent...turns out I already have one sitting upstairs. Last night I bought a pack of Q-tips with coupon...turns out I already have one stashed in the closet. It's not really saving money if you're just duplicating stuff that you didn't know you had.

Next challenge - make a household stockpile list!

Also, I need not hang on to any more hair product coupons. We have enough to wash, condition, and style us into next year. It's a weakness of mine, trying new hair stuff - anything to tame this mane.

I just got a lovely email from a coworker (via my boss) praising my work. How nice! Some recognition and appreciation! Definitely made my day. Smile

a riddle...mystery..enigma

August 15th, 2006 at 04:40 pm

It seems no medical doctor can figure me out.

I'm having symptoms similar to an episode from a few years ago (I'll spare you the gory details), so I went to the doc this afternoon. Still a mystery. He prescribed antibiotics and I'm hoping they magically clear it up again. If the sample I provide them shows evidence of something bad, well, there will be plenty of specialist visits in the future. Please, no. I've just about maxed out my sick time this year, and it's only August.

It's like this with so many things. The eyeball I shouldn't be able to see out of...the mind-numbing headaches that no one can melt away...and now this thing is back in all its glory. I just have to remember that I can see out of my eye, there are plenty of drugs I can take to alleviate the headaches, and antibiotics should help. Plus I'm not disabled, my mind is fully functioning, and I have lots of people who love me. Hard to remember all that when you're hugging the toilet, though.

Luckily, only a $15 copay and $10 for meds.

No word from the job interview front yet!

good interview

August 10th, 2006 at 09:34 am

I had an interview this morning at a publishing company and I think it went really well! I enjoyed talking to the interviewer, and she seemed to think I was a good match for the position. I had to take an hour long test (personality, word definitions, 'this is to this as that is to ____', MATH-ugh), and if I'm chosen to do a second interview, they'll call me next week. At that point, I'll actually get to meet the editorial team. So, keeping my fingers crossed. It seemed like a nice work environment, nice building, and the job would be far more challenging than what I'm doing now (not to mention better paying!).

The only downside is that I'd have to start commuting by car again, on super busy freeways. If I make more money, though, maybe I'd actually be able to buy a better car!

I put on my new suit last night, and lo and behold - the zipper on the skirt got stuck! So stuck, in fact, that it ripped the fabric and was impossible to free. I'm returning it ASAP. I wore my standard black today, and frankly, I'm more comfortable in pants anyway.

Mr. Fat Cat is going to the vet tonight. He's so easygoing that I expect it to be fine. Hopefully he doesn't need a ton of expensive shots...

Glad the nerve-wracking interview part is over...now I'm just hoping for a phone call! Smile

am I supposed to ask for coupons?

July 19th, 2006 at 01:20 pm

About this emailing of companies - am I supposed to come right out and ask for coupons? I've gotten several email replies from companies to my complimentary emails, and all they really say is "thanks." Only one (Amy's Kitchen) has said they'd love to send me coupons. I went down the Organic Coupon list and emailed those companies I knew. I'm just not sure if I'm should be forward and ask for coupons or not. And from what I've read, I shouldn't write more often than every 90 days...so I guess I'll wait a while.

Last night I made an impulse buy at Walgreens when I stopped in for my prescriptions. I bought a new fan for our home, but when I set it up, it was much louder than the display model in the store. It will be going back today. It's difficult to find a truly quiet fan.

I bit of respite from the sun and heat today...thunderstorms. My peppers and tomatoes should be happy.

Hitting Target and the grocery store tonight to stock up on provisions for my weekend guests and use some of my new coupons! Feeding my guests will be a snap - entertaining them will be more of a trick.

It's incredibly slow at work these days and I have so little to do. Dreaming of an office with a door and a job that interests me...


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