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February 6, 2019

Strangely enough, I tend to be most active on this blog when I am not fully employed or am unemployed. Thus why there has been a many year gap between my last post and this current one. I am back to being unemployed again!

For those of you keeping score at home, I thought I would actually recount my real life steps for getting fully employed again.

A lot of research has been taking place on my part. First off, I had the thought of living in Montana to keep an eye on my aging mother (who is comfortably in a full service retirement community, but sure would love to see us kids more often, why can’t we just move up to Great Falls?) But every time I look at the jobs available in Great Falls, and my known current fixed expenses and debts, I just can’t see living in Great Falls and not getting further into debt. Although Great Falls has two Starbucks and two Walmarts and an Air Force base, the city’s population is only 55,000 or so, with a lot of small businesses, so there are not a lot of jobs to choose from. And certainly not high paying ones. If only she lived in a college town like Bozeman or ideally, Missoula, a city I enjoy a lot. But alas, she doesn’t.

Last year I was working on the concept of moving to Texas in the Austin area near my brother, and convincing our mother to move down to live near us by living with me, but I have pretty much given up on that. As much as she wants to see us more often, she really is not wanting to move ever again.

So the only logical thing I can think to do is stay here in Los Angeles, take advantage of all the job opportunities I have here, and work on paying off all my debts as quickly as possible, work on beefing up my ability to work virtually (either by improving my skills, learning new skills like coding, writing and publishing a best selling book or setting up everything here in LA before moving up to Great Falls.) Having less fixed expenses and debt will greatly increase my options as to what jobs I can take.

That, plus once I no longer live here in Los Angeles, I can rent my condominium out, thus increasing my income by not even living here!

So that’s the current plan. I even have an outline of working at least two full time jobs, one graveyard, and one regular business hours, and the lesser paying one will be used to whittle down my debts, while the greater paying one will go towards my regular fixed expenses, upcoming taxes and actual savings, while also taking the time to get my condo ready for another’s occupancy. There are things I put up with that if resolved, will make the place more comfortable to live in, such as the fact I have very low water pressure in the shower, and no steam radiator hooked up in my apartment, thus no heat. But I live on the fourth floor, so I am plenty warm during the spring/summer/fall months!

So enough about the plan, here were today’s actions:

Between the hours of 6:30 am and 10:30 am, I all I did was submit 10 resumes with unique cover letters for the various jobs I had gleaned appropriate to apply from the previous day. The gleaning probably took a couple of hours total, I wasn’t really counting them. I did some more gleaning today while on the bus. I will do some more tonight.

My sources for jobs are Craigslist LA for a random assortment of things, for Entertainment jobs, Dan’s List for non-profits, Indeed and ZipRecruiter.

I wrote an email to an HR assistant for a job I interviewed for a week and a half ago, since my interviewers had informed me a decision would be reached this week. Still no word back. When I was job hunting in Texas last year, I found not informing people they were no longer being considered is the new norm, so I feel it necessary to reach out to find out my status so I can stop hoping and move on definitely to new options.

Someone tried calling me as I was descending down the escalator to catch the Red Line Metro, but when I answered I lost reception. I went back up the escalator, but got a general line and left a message asking if someone had tried to reach me about a job. No answer or email for that. But I did find out the company was Magento, an e-commerce platform similar to shopify, over in Culver City. Since not all the jobs I applied for gave the names of the companies, it could have been one of my resume recipients.

My cell phone and its continuing memory issues meant today I deleted Hulu and Netflix off my phone to increase available memory, and downloaded two more apps I had been eyeing for the gig economy: Rover and Wag, both dog walking (and pet sitting) apps. I am about half way through setting up my Rover account, but now need 4 pictures of me walking dogs. Yikes! The dogs I have owned and cared for, no one ever took a picture of me walking them, just me cuddling them. So that is on hold.

I also attempted to get the InLine4You app set up, where I go and stand in line for someone (presumably to get tickets or entrance to some event) but even re-loading it, the app is complaining about my email address and not having a proper authentication certificate. What?

I have already gotten started on another gig app, created here in wonderful wacky LA, PeopleWalker, where you get paid to take walks with strangers. I think there is an additional step, like an online interview, so I need to go re-read the instructions, since I was approved but can’t seem to set myself up online to be available to be selected.

Between all the gig economy apps, I figure (once I get them set up and I am available to work them!!!) clearly most will not be transferable to working outside of LA, but they should help with my financial needs as of right now, as most have payment times within 48 hours of services being provided. And once I get my apartment more presentable, I would be able to offer the option of boarding other people’s pets in my apartment, something I can only do now as my cats are currently living at my brother’s.

One job I saw on Craigslist that I am putting together a response to is for a band manager of a reggae band down in the South Bay (Hermosa Beach, CA). They want help getting more local gigs. Not a huge fan of reggae, as I hear a lot of the songs sounding the same-ish to my uneducated ear, but this band I liked, as it was harder rock with reggae influences. So to research them, I had to listen to their songs off their recent EP. It’s a tough life, but I had to force myself to listen to enjoyable music…..

Total time so far today spent working on getting employment, from research, to emails, trying to set up apps, and more research: 7 hours so far, with another couple of hours expected tonight.

Tomorrow I will be reaching out to any dog owners I know to arrange dog walking photos, get started on the Wag app, follow up with the band manager request, send out more resumes, follow up with a couple of former employers to see if they might need some short term help while I am looking for other things, and also follow up on the lead a friend gave me for contact information of a temp agency she is working with. Phew!

See, this is exactly why staying in Los Angeles makes the most sense for finding multiple employments – my friends and network are here. Who would I know in Great Falls or Austin to ask if I could photograph me walking their dogs? Who would give me a lead for temp agency contacts? And what former employers could I possibly ask if I could provide some services for, never having worked in those cities before?

And up above, something visual. My favorite cafe in Austin, Texas – Stinson’s in Rosedale, housed in a former gas station. Not only a cafe, but they also have a food truck, and it is a bar, and has live music! The best of all worlds. And free wi-fi. And a staff that doesn’t seem to mind patrons sitting for quite a bit. Laid back is the name of the vibe. Y’all are welcome!



One of Those People

February 2, 2012

I have become one of those people.

Somehow, I have no time. The refrain in my head is “I don’t have time to breathe.” Where did that come from?

High points of my day now include being in my car, tunes blasting, singing at the top of my lungs with the windows rolled down, commuting from job one to job two. Or job three. Or the volunteering I do.

Let’s look at yesterday, a somewhat typical day:

Woke up late, didn’t hear the alarm. Or heard the alarm(s) and turned them off. Tore into clothes, ran to my car, praying the parking meter maid/mister had not given me a ticket, and yet again, they hadn’t. I count my blessings where I can.

By the time I got near my coffee shop, the one I stop at because it is on the way to work and independent AND cheaper than Starbucks, I realized I was hungry, or would be soon, so stopped to get my mocha and my breakfast sandwich. They have my order memorized. Made it to work and clocked in at about 9:30 am. So far, so good.

Yesterday was January 31st. January 31st is the date that all 1099s need to be sent to independent contractors and such. Anyone paid over $600 in rents, in pay or other assorted stuff. Guess what I worked on all day yesterday. But it couldn’t possibly be easy. I’ve never done that before. Okay fine. Something new to learn. All for that. Part of what I love about my job. But we recently switched accounting systems, so even though I had done 1099s the day before for one of our companies under the old system, today I had to learn how to do it all over again not just for me, but for my co-worker/boss who was handling some of the other companies. But more importantly, we couldn’t print in our new accounting system. I had already spent a couple of hours trying to print, trying to email, trying to preserve in some manner the reports I generated so we could determine who really needed a 1099. With a techie on the line while consulting our accountant, I played some more and found I could now print. But the option I had didn’t exist for my boss, so I determined that if we could move on and resolve our issues with why we couldn’t manipulate the data to determine our 1099 people, I would then be able to print the forms for all the companies, regardless. We moved on, and sure enough I ended up printing all the companies’ 1099s.

And I rushed from the office to make it to the post office to make that day’s outgoing mail. And stop at two banks to make deposits. And be on a weekly conference phone call for one of my volunteering obligations. As I drove to my own bank (the one I had visited the day before only to find out that it closed at 5 Monday through Thursday and only at 6 on Fridays) to make a $26 deposit to cover my Netflix bill. And stop for another mocha at an independent coffee house there on Wilshire next to SAG and the La Brea tar pits.

Back in the car, I headed to my next job, tutoring. I had made special arrangements to meet that night only since my student hadn’t been at one of her sessions and so we were behind in meeting our required hours by our deadline. While tutoring, (she’s working on cursive handwriting and loves tracing the letters on a pre-printed white board, or copying my very carefully not-at-all-my-own handwriting words, words she picked to practice alphabetizing and proper spelling in addition to the cursive) I checked the arrival time of a flight a friend was coming in on. An hour late?! Glad I checked. While my student practiced words like wonderful, voice and yogurt, I used one of her sheets of lined paper to create a sign for my friend. He wanted to be greeted by a sign with his name on it, to make him feel important. Check.

I strategized what to do next. I needed to empty the car enough to put my friend’s luggage in. Having dropped him off at the airport when he left, I knew exactly how much room he needed. I also needed to get to an office supply store to pick up that whiteboard cleaning fluid, as we had not been diligent in erasing the traced cursive letters, and too many of them had dried and now would not be removed with mere tissue nor warm water and soap. I also needed to make photocopies of my students’ paperwork to submit by the 2nd of the month. And I needed to pick up the bottle of wine back home that I had written my friend’s name on when I promised him I had a bottle of cabernet with his name on it. Literally. I had even taken a picture of it and sent it to him while he was away.

It was a little after seven when I was done with my student. I went home, unloaded one box out of my car’s back seat. I had just put in a quarter for 15 minutes of parking in the meter, when the meter person came and gave a ticket to the car parked in front of me. By the time I came back down with my bottle of wine, I had one minute left and the parking patrol was gone.

Next stop, office supply store. I had just enough time to get there before they closed. Made my photocopies and then went hunting for white board cleaner. No luck. I did get some new white board markers, since the ones I had were dying. Officially the store was closed. Oh, and I needed some more 1099 forms. I had run out and hadn’t been able to print my own. They had those at least. Saved me a trip in the morning on the way to work, especially if I overslept again, a distinct possibility.

And now on to the freeway, heading down towards the airport. While photocopying, I noticed I had some additional items to fill in before I could hand in my official paperwork and call it complete. So I stopped at the place I volunteer at, conveniently located just down the street from the airport. I had already set up my phone to get a message if anything changed on the incoming flight. I kept checking the flight information, but it didn’t change. I finished with my paperwork, found the official address I had to put on the envelope even though I would be dropping it off in person, and now I had just enough time to go and drop it off, also conveniently located down the street on the way to the airport.

To the airport. I would be parking, a rare thing since it involved me paying for it. But I knew there was a parking garage directly across from the arrival terminal. I arrived in the terminal exactly two minutes before the flight landed. Found the luggage carousel with the correct flight number. And waiting. And waiting. A group of family was gathered with a large sign stating WELCOME HOME. I looked at the exit and noticed the airline he was arriving on was not listed. I followed the family group to information and asked from which exit Air Canada’s flights were arriving. When they began arriving, it became obvious. There were three possible ways for them to arrive: elevator, or one of two escalators. I took my cue as to where to stand for the best viewing from the waiting limousine drivers, with official looking signs. Since I was wearing a short red dress emphasizing my curves, I decided that I had been sent from the escort service to pick up my client. I saw the limousine drivers just holding their signs but I figured my arm would just get tired. Besides, I suspected the limo drivers didn’t know what their clients looked like.

But alas, he saw me before I got the sign up. Fortunately, a building pillar momentarily obscured his view, and I held the sign in time to elicit a thumbs up through the glass partition. As we waited for his luggage, he told me we were standing behind Drake’s entourage. That he had run into them at a bar back home a few days ago, only to find him on his flight to LA. I said Drake must be stalking him, and he replied cheerfully that that’s what his ego liked to think.

I took him to the place he was staying, a few blocks from my own home, and we parted ways. A few passes around the blocks to find parking, and I was walking in my building just before midnight. Just another day.

Domestic Affairs

January 10, 2012

In addition to the new exercise regime, I have been trying to do exactly that which I said I was going to do: a little bit of cleaning a day.

Last night I came home and finally figured out why my bathroom sink was taking forever to drain. At last! Now I could clean my sink and have it sparkly clean. There had been no point when it took 15 minutes to drain anytime I used it. I had tried drain cleaner, more than once, with no luck. Turns out there was a huge wad of hair at the very top of the plunger to plug the sink hole closed.

Strange, since most of it looked like the cat’s hair. I don’t brush my hair at that sink, I just wash my face, my teeth and my hands there. Where had all this hair come from?

Anyway, sink’s clean, drain was never not working properly, no plumber needed. One of the joys of home ownership is that every time you figure out a way to not involve a professional and spending money not in the budget, is another home owner victory!

This morning saw the cat’s box cleaned (doesn’t count in my tally as it is a weekly task), not a major deal and I took all the holiday/thank you/and family update letters off the back of my front door. They had been this very nice reminder of people in my life right before I walked out into the world each and every day, but they were all from the past.

My boss at work told me she has a dream board on the back of her front door – reminding her of what she wants to create in life right before she leaves the sanctity of home. I really like that idea, so that is what will be going up. At least now it is clear to create that. The end of the hallway is a little brighter, now that the white of the door has been revealed. Not as cluttered looking, even though it was strictly visual clutter.

Plenty more to do, but progress is happening.

New Year’s Rez

January 8, 2012

Ya know, it’s that time, the time for the new year’s resolutions.

I have a plan, I have structure, I have reason to be motivated.

The plan: lose some weight. 45 pounds to be precise.

The structures:

  1. morning boot camp! begins tomorrow. lasts a month. I went and checked the location out today, while the sun was shining, because I need to be there at 6 am, when the sun don’t shine.
  2. buddy system! my walking partner for Saturdays also signed up, so I have reason to show up and not just stay in bed like I may want. don’t want to bail on her.
  3. fitted clothes! no more 100% stretchy fabrics so I have no idea what size I am, where my body is bulging. already went and bought some new outfits this last week, and was amazed at what sizes I had to buy. but they are not stretchy. apparently they are even flattering, given the looks and advances I have been getting this week.
  4. questions: am i still hungry? do i feel full? wearing fitted clothes helps me realize that the meal’s bulge is enough, i don’t need to go any further. doesn’t work to unzip a skirt in public.
  5. scale! I went and bought a digital kitchen scale. One friend of mine who recently lost a noticeable amount of weight told me the only change he made was he weighed everything he ate so he was really concious of his portion control. nothing else was different. Another friend who also told me her recent weight loss story, merely stopped eating dinner and eliminated dairy from her diet. I don’t really eat dinner myself, but I could eliminate the late-night-when-I-get-home-grazing I do. I am also considering not doing the morning mochas for the next month. Considering, I say. Haven’t decided to commit to it yet. I do get almond milk for my mochas instead when it’s an option.
  6. oatmeal! I have heard it from a million people, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day, blah blah blah,” but I’m just not hungry when I wake up. But a friend gave me his remaining oatmeal when he left the country, and I took it to work, so after my morning workout, I have oatmeal to look forward to to start the day. I think I can manage that. There’s even hot water out of the office water cooler. Comforts of home.
  7. No time! I just worked out my schedule for every day and night until the end of June, and besides not scheduling any work for Sunday nights, I just don’t have time to eat that often, ya know?
  8. Finances! I need to be saving some money here, and just not eating out would make a huge dent in my available cash flow, in addition to getting rid of the ritual (and expensive) morning mocha.

The motivation: oh the many reasons! the basics: to feel better about myself, to have more energy, to fit into more of the clothes in my very extensive wardrobe that I currently don’t fit into, to ensure my health by being my ideal adult healthy weight, to impress someone, to cause envy of someone else (cause mischief), to generally have my physical appearance match my mental image of myself, etc, etc, etc. Ya know, the usual reasons, yadda yadda.

The cool thing is the reason I have picked the weight I want to get to is I know I can do it. I was nearly there when I went off to Europe, back in December of 2003. That was less than a decade ago. So I know it’s doable. The weight I think is ideal is because I used to be that weight for more than a decade of my adult life, with no effort maintaining it. Then I moved to LA and got a real corporate job, and I stress-ate to deal with it. Quit the boyfriend and lost a bunch of weight. (Couldn’t sleep, found myself walking a lot to do something with the nights.) Went to visit Europe. New stresses. Same boyfriend in my life again. Weight went back up. Quit the job AND the boyfriend again, lost a bunch of weight again. Up, down, up, down. Right now, I am nearly to the same incredible, horrible weight I was once before, but feeling quite different about it. Feeling a lot more balanced in my insane life of three+ jobs and working every day of the week. I just feel in more control of my life, my finances, my choices. This is what I am doing to get by, right now, and it’s working, and things will get better soon, because I won’t put up with this insanity for too much longer. I have an internal clock, and it says things will be changing soon, for the better. And I believe it.

Another cool thing is I know exactly how to maintain my weight, once I get to whatever weight I get to. I walk. I walk a couple of miles, three or four times a week. Can be totally flat walking, doesn’t need to be strenuous, it just needs to be consistent. End of story. My weight maintenance plan.

And I just heard an interview with someone talking about weight and financial changes, and they suggested doing something drastic to start with so that you are motivated to continue on the path that will get you to your desired goal. When you see a result in the first few weeks, you are more likely to continue with the changes, even if the later weeks are less drastic. By then it becomes a habit. So the boot camp is my drastic jump start to get me going, and then all the other little changes will start to make a showing.

Yay, I love a well crafted plan. Pretty good for just a bunch of random decisions being put together towards the same goal, isn’t it?


December 23, 2011

If you’ve been reading my tweets, the word smitten came up recently. Still true. My object of smittenness and I now have plans to meet up for Christmas, watch a couple of his favorite Christmas movies. Sounds home-y. He owns the movies, but they are back in his home country/city/elsewhere. So we need to figure out how to get our hands on them in time for Christmas. They are not streaming on Netflix, I checked.

Of course, still clueless if barking up an unavailable tree, or an uninterested tree or what, but we have had coffee twice these weekday mornings. We walk and talk. It’s been fun to get to know one another.

Not only have I been getting exercise as a result, actually going to bed and trying to wake up early for our meets (he wakes up at 5:30 every morning!) but I’ve been writing poetry again.

Smitten I say! If nothing else, the excess of energy, motivation and interest in life have been excellent enough benefits, in addition to having a new friend, that whether the smittenness is mutual or not, does it really matter?

Here’s today’s offering:

I remember why/

early morns have no appeal/

when cold/

outside my cave of covers/

I’d rather snuggle warmth!

In Celebration of Lolla’s 20th Anniversary…

September 3, 2011

Pictures of Chicago!

Chicago Church

Reliable Plating

Okay, so they aren’t pictures I took of Lollapalooza, actually, since I wasn’t there this year, but rather Pitchfork Festival. So rather the surrounding area of Grant Park, this is the neighborhood of Union Park. And, it wasn’t from this year, but rather last year.

Grain Silos in the Middle of a Major City

Bottom of the L

And is that the Sears Tower in the Background?

A Ride Into the Sunset

And there you have it, Chicago in a just a few snapshots….

Once Upon a Time….

August 22, 2011

For some reason, I have a bug up my butt, and have been watching the TV series “Charmed” incessantly*. Never used to watch it when it aired, have only seen a few episodes here and there on re-runs, and only was interested once my brother made a passing reference to following it himself. I thought I would give it a try. And all 8 seasons are presently available on Netflix.

Well, once the character of Cole Turner was introduced, and his epic, tormented love for Phoebe, as a demon, as a mortal, as the ultimate evil, the Source, banned to purgatory Wastelands, escaped because of his undying love, with ever expanding powers, yada, yada, yada… I was hooked. And I got to thinking:

What sort of love is this? He never gives up. He is addicted. He is manipulative and controlling in all his efforts to resist her/ gain her/gain her back, convince her of his love, it is what drives him in all his actions. Got to admire him for it, if not condone his actions.

It’s very appealing as a storyline. Who hasn’t loved someone that wasn’t right for them, damn the consequences? Most of us don’t end up the Queen of the Underworld as a result, but we all know that good girl attraction for bad boys is real. And obviously the converse is true too, or else there would be no bad boys to fall for.

Before his 46th episode, an entire storyline was developing that was picked up in later seasons. Would it have redeemed him if he had taken on the same struggle another character later did? What had the writers originally intended for the character of Cole Turner, if the actor Julian McMahon hadn’t started working on other projects (i.e. a starring role in Nip/Tuck)?

Alas, at 46 episodes, he anti-climactically got written out of the story line.  I kept expecting for him to come back. I wanted his love to conquer all, for him to be rewarded for his tenacity, his blinders of focus for only one woman. One more episode had him guest appearing, but it didn’t really add anything. Not really. A little hope, and nothing further developed in the storyline. Not developed further because then Julian was working on Fantastic Four in addition to Nip/Tuck? Alas… what further might have happened?

One friend is a bit bemused by my endless analysis of all this.

And then I realized, it is research. In my continuing quest to make my vampire novel unique and still tell a story that hasn’t been covered by other writers who got their product out AFTER I had my idea but before I have gotten mine published, I am now re-working my heroine as in part, evil. Can an evil character be sympathetic, hold the reader’s interest?

I think Cole Turner of Charmed points to yes. There is hope for my evil heroine.

*Incessantly=8 years of 22 episodes per season, at least, at approximately 42 minutes an episode (not counting the credits I skip) = 120 hours of nearly constant episode watching when not at work…. Yeah, that’s incessant. Why is it that I’m not meeting anyone new again?

A Little Secret

August 7, 2011

I have never owned a bikini. Never even been in one or tried one on.

Just wanted to get that off my wish list.

I would like to have a body that I could look great in in a bikini. That’s it.

Like I said, a little secret.

somebody has been paying attention

July 17, 2011

So Thursday, there was a kerfuffle in the office, and as a result, I was a little inattentive, my boss was a little flustered too and handed me the blank deposit slip for the account a deposit needed to be in, and I arrived at the bank to make the deposit that had to be done THAT DAY, and after waiting in the parking lot for a parking spot, I finally made it into the bank, stood in line, and as is my habit, I was looking over the deposit slip, the check,the account codes, to make sure all was correct and matched, AND…

I realized I had a deposit slip for the completely wrong bank. Oops.

Since work was a mere 1/2 mile away, I just turned around and went and got the correct pre-printed deposit slip and tried again.

Let me just say that the bank was busy, every teller with a customer, and I may have been first in line, but that was no guarantee it would be soon to speak with a teller.

When I came back, there was no line, and I went straight to the first teller available. It was the teller I frequently get, who asks about my weekends and sympathizes when I say I will be working, as will he.

He said he noticed me in line the first time and wondered what had happened. I explained I had the wrong bank deposit slip and figured it would help if I had the right one, the correct one for the bank I was standing in.

When I left I realized that was really pretty attentive of him, noticing me in the first place when the bank was so busy, and he with a customer. Hmmm.

When I mentioned the whole thing to my boss the next day, she knew exactly which teller I was talking about.

As I say, somebody has been paying attention. More than one somebody. But it certainly hasn’t been me. Next time I need to go to that bank, I will have to make a point of checking out whether a wedding ring can be seen on his hand.

Family Photos

June 5, 2011

So here are a few more from the family album.

These are of my parents, looking very stylish and dapper for the late 1960s. My mom, when seeing these photos, commented on how awful her glasses looked. 🙂

My Mom in Japan, 1969

My parents were in Japan in 1969 for a conference, and then went and did touristy things for the remainder of their time there.

My Dad in Japan, 1969

Weren’t they a handsome couple? Who knew?
Here they were in Nikko.