Wednesday, January 31, 2007

An Eventful First Day of Work

And no, my first day of work was not today. It was Monday. What kind of strange job would an employee start on a Wednesday? Anyway, Monday proved to be an eventful day. I did many things: filled out forms, learn some of the protocols for doing a variety of activities (from writing letters to updating address books in Excel), filled out more forms, did some filing, learned how to use the copy machine that should officially be considered an antique, filled out some more forms . . .

Anyway, my retention as an employee was (and is) dependent on two things: a good evaluation after the 90-day "probation period" and successfully passing a drug screen. I made a face at the drug screening paperwork for a variety of reasons: a) the methodology is gross, b) the address for the drug screening place was in Salt Lake, c) I don't have a car or a license, and d) actually, I think I used up all my reasoning.

My boss knew that I would be taking the bus to and from work, so she decided they would pay me to go to the drug screening place on Monday. She okayed my co-worked to drive me out there. And then I spent exactly one-fourth of my eight-hour day trying to pee into a cup. Two hours! Humiliating! And by the time I finally succeeded, the nurse was actually laughing at me. I guess I made his day somehow . . .

That was the most memorable first day of work I think I might ever have. Of course, I'll never say never. But how good natured I was about the ordeal should be grounds for getting a glowing report on my evaluation.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Only One Semi-Unpardonable (As Opposed to Seven Deadly)

My mom has committed a sin that I find unpardonable. Okay, not entirely unpardonable. So I'll say my mom has committed a semi-unpardonable sin. (Caveat: let it be duly noted that I love my mom, that this "sin" is not a sin per se, and that she actually has been pardoned. Thus the label. Continuing on . . .) Anyway, a recent conversation between my mom and me devolved into talk of my ex-boyfriend--the one who broke up with me roughly two weeks ago and I'm not gutsy enough to communicate with any longer in person. Not at the moment, anyway. I told her I would be his friend. Eventually. On my time, since I apparently felt more decimated by the dissolution of the relationship than he did. She just shrugged noncommittally, then looked at me and said, "I don't think that's the last you've heard from him. He'll come back into your life and I wouldn't be surprised if you two dated each other again."

That was the sin. Right there. No mother, in her right mind, should ever say such a thing out loud when talking to her daughter, someone who is already supremely confused and only sinking deeper into it as the days move on (confusion, incidentally, is like quicksand; once you step in a little, you're toast for a while unless somebody is on hand to grab a vine and dive in to pull you out). At this crucial thinking time, it's not cool to instill hope into someone who --a mere week and a half ago--was watching Elizabethtown, crying on her cookies, and wondering if she is, after all, a "substitute person." (Of course, Mom wasn't a witness of that one. But still!)

My dad frequently likes to tell me to think about what I say before I say it, to evaluate the reaction of whoever I'm talking to, because I have a tendency to let whatever I think pop out of my mouth. ("Pop" may be too mild of a verb, since such not-thinking-ness often causes explosions of a catastrophic variety) He has always told me this because he has the same tendency. I used to think he was the only parent with it, but I suppose almost thirty years of marriage would cause certain tendencies spouses have to rub off on each other . . .

Anybody is allowed to think anything they want; there are just certain things nobody should say.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Those Who Know Me Best

It seems I often forget the people who know me best. In the course of things, I forget that my good friend Heather always knows the right thing to tell me to make me snort. Or, if I'm eating when we're talking, to practically choke. Of course, she's never caused me to die. And we only get into near-Heimlich territory when whatever she told me is hilarious. Like today, when she said that parts of her office have, unfortunately, become a shrine to Lara Croft. Poor thing. Doesn't she see enough of Angelina Jolie when she picks up her groceries?

My chum Kassie knows how to make me happy both outside and inside . . . And she is one of two people who have posted comments to this blog. Heck, she may be one of, um, I don't know, three people who actually read my various ramblings and keep up to date on my life this way. The other comment poster, Petra, I value because she is a wicked awesome e-mail correspondent. And one of the few people who can also cause the near-Heimlich reaction, even if she does it long distance.

And my parents, who know I like frozen yogurt to celebrate any momentous occasions in my life. (Like getting a job!) Between the two of them, they don't even have to call to see what I want. My dad knows it's a medium. My mom knows it's vanilla yogurt with raspberries and cream cheese.

Today is one of those days that I love living at home.


As of next Monday, I will have to change the title of my blog. I got a job offer! And I took it. Because the job sounds fun, the people were incredibly nice, the position will not be boring in the slightest, the insurance is super-fabulous . . . My mom says her prayers were answered rapidly because I had the interview yesterday and I got the call with the offer just ten minutes ago.

Thankfully, this amount of time is shorter than everyone else I know who started looking for a job right when they graduated. (Lots of people I knew had jobs right when they graduated because they were smart enough to look for them during the semester and not afterward)

My days of lounging are done! No more will I spend time correcting all of the errors in the local newspaper with a red pen (and debating sending them back to the newspaper publishing company), reading every novel on two of my six shelves (I've been too ADD for reading, or I probably would have reread everything I own), or completing the New York Times crossword puzzles with my mom. No more will I prowl around blogger, using punny pseudonyms and posting comments on the blogs of people I don't even know.

I am employed!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My Math Skills Aren't So Bad After All

I actually had an interview today! Sort of. It was with a recruiting firm, so perhaps it was more of a prelude to an interview with the company. But it's progress! This week I am hoping to have at least one interview for the rest of the week. I didn't have an interview yesterday, so it won't be as great as if I could have five (or more) neatly lined up interviews for every day of the week, but still. All I'm lacking is an interview for Friday.

I ventured south, to West Valley, for the interview today. I will travel north, to Layton, for my interview tomorrow. On Thursday, I will step out to Woods Cross (a whole ten minutes or so away). So Friday's interview should be in Ogden, I suppose, to maintain a parallel-ish sort of pattern to the interviews. (Ogden being equally as far as West Valley, and Woods Cross and Layton being roughly the same distance from Centerville as each other). Unfortunately, I don't think I applied for anything in Ogden.

The only down side to all of this interviewing is the wardrobe issue. It's not an issue, really. I have things to wear to interviews. And I looked very presentable this morning. (And apparently I didn't need to dress up as much as I did. I must admit this irks me slightly.) Anyhow, interviewing means wearing skirts. Granted, it's a plain black skirt that falls just below mid-calf and it's not terribly restrictive. But it's a skirt. And I am not overly fond of skirts. Many are times I've wished I could get away with wearing dress pants to church . . .

But now I am beginning to be convinced I should have obtained a degree in technical writing after all, since those are far and away the positions I am most qualified for without the degree. How much easier would this whole process be with the degree? Of course, I only think that periodically. And when I'm not remembering how much I enjoyed getting my creative writing degree. Because when I remember how much I enjoyed the creative writing degree, I mentally thank heaven that I did not spend four and a half years working toward a degree that made me want to shoot myself in the foot. And that alone is worth waiting on some job interviews for positions both related and unrelated to my major. Because, if all else fails, I will still have time at night to write.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

How to Stay Skinny

I have a skinny family. All of us are skinny. Not a fat one among us. It has been the subject of consternation for friends and coworkers and peers to watch me eat and to see me not gain much. But I've discovered my family's secret.

When we eat, we eat. Many are the girls who can acknowledge that I've stomached half a pizza and half a package of Toll House cookie dough and ice cream and still had room for more. No inner organ down there digestin', just a bottomless pit.

However, many of my familiy members and I have chronic health issues. These issues may factor in, because any time we feel less than lovely and we think no food on earth looks good, we don't eat. Nothing looks good. We don't starve ourselves. And this doesn't happen on a regular basis. Just occasionally.

We also exercise. I do it because I have to manage my stress somehow. And heaven knows that yoga is one of the few things that helps. (Writing, though sometimes cathartic, is a double-edged sword; it is a catalyst more often than it is catharsis.)

I also recently decided to give up chocolate. The lack of the substance leads to less pain in my head in the long run. Now all that remains to be seen is just how far away from sugar willpower can take me. I'm guessing: not terribly far. Giving up chocolate, so far, is a beast! A terrible monster that, alas, I can only occasionally placate by giving it things I've tricked it into thinking are far more sugary than they are . . . like that yogurt . . .

Friday, January 19, 2007

No Black Cats Here, But . . .

I have never considered myself superstitious--for several reasons, really: I don't go out of my way to avoid black cats; cracked mirrors have never bothered me; I see no point in throwing salt over my shoulder. Though occasionally good things in my life have come in threes and occasionally bad things have come in threes, there is no overarching pattern I would point out. But I discovered I have some superstitions after all, though they are not the average, garden-variety of the types I already mentioned. Or perhaps mine are, when all is said, more of the average, garden-variety type than black cats.

First and foremost, cleaning. It is something I do for catharsis because I am weird and twisted. But it's also something I've started to avoid creating big projects out of, and this is why: every time I finish a big cleaning project (like sorting through the assorted memorabilia--read "junk"-- in my room), I get bad news. I end up moving back to my house after such news. Or breaking up with boyfriends. Or finding age-old friends have decided to become catty and backbiting. Nothing good has ever happened after big cleaning projects. Bad things always happen soon after. I shudder to think what life might be like if I ever own a house that is one big cleaning project . . .

Second, singing. Nothing good ever happens after I sing. I'm not talking choirs; I'm talking at the piano, by myself, when nobody else is in the house. Bad phone calls come after I sing. I grant that I'm not the world's next Kristin Chenoweth or Linda Eder, but my voice never seemed that bad. Except that, like I said, bad phone calls come after I sing. I think it might be karma restoring the balance of some poor, floaty entities I can't see being subjected to my voice.

Third and last, phone calls. More specifically, phone calls I am hoping for or expecting. For example, yesterday someone actually called for an interview. We spoke for a moment and then, in an effort to see if he could interview me from a closer location than West Valley, he said he was going to check on things and that he would call back. He didn't call back. Not yet. But I'm hoping. Anyway, when I expect a phone call like that, I absolutely refuse to go to the bathroom. I will not be parted from my phone. Because every time I am expecting a call like that and I cave in to the urge to use the facilities, they call! Every time! Without fail!

So there you have it. No salt, no black cats, no mirrors, no ladders . . . but I'm superstitious all the same.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Suspicion Confirmed

The town I live in is not terribly big. It's not terribly small, either. But in recent years, the powers-that-be in my neighborhood have seen fit to write a neighborhood newsletter in the hopes of fostering good relationships between everyone within a two-block radius of my family. Anyway, this newsletter "introduces" us to each other (today's issue is laughable--one of the two families in question lives directly across the street from me, and the husband assisted me last summer when an unfortunate flooding incident occurred in the back yard; the other family has lived one street east of mine for thirty years and there isn't a soul in a five-mile radius who doesn't know them).

Anyway, this newsletter also publishes any good news that any person in the neighborhood might have. I'm in this issue! This is where the confirmation of suspicion comes in. I attended BYU for a year. I did not graduate from BYU. For three and a half years, I attended Weber State University. WSU is my alma mater. But I have long suspected that, in this my hometown, any attendance at BYU means that the attendee graduated from BYU as well. Does this make sense? Dumb question. I know it makes no sense. But it's right there in the newsletter: "Congrats to confuzzled, who recently graduated from BYU with her bachelor's degree in English and her minor in Communications."

My real question is this: how long has the newsletter writer been retired? And how often does he get out of his house? For all three and a half years, I walked down to the corner of Casa Loma and Main and hitched a bus north to Ogden (note, dear newsletter editor, Provo is south) at 7 or so in the morning. And, at approximately 6:00 every evening (such is the life of an on-campus worker), I disembarked from the bus and walked back home. Newsletter writer/editor seems unaware of this, though I walked directly past his house. And corrected his wife every time I visited the home ward, saying, "No. I'm at Weber State." Such, I suppose, are the perils of attending the singles ward and having a life outside the immediate neighborhood.

P.S. Odds would seem to dictate that the more places I apply, the more likely a response from someone would be. Is my math wrong here?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What is This Feeling?

Yesterday was a holiday. And that meant absolutely nothing to me. Please don't interpret wrong: I am not racist. The civil rights movement was an excellent and necessary thing. Martin Luther King Jr. was a good man. But yesterday was another in a string of long days of perusing job listings, wondering which jobs I'm truly qualified for, attempting to calculate--in my head--the odds of actually receiving jobs I was looking at (truly not a good idea for a lit major, purely because I work with words and not numbers, thus the lit major), reading back issues of Writer's Digest. In addition, I spent at least an hour pondering what the highest possible score in Scrabble is. Astonishingly enough, this type of math doesn't faze me. Maybe because I'm applying it to words.

Anyway, yesterday I noticed a disturbing side effect of unemployment. Also probably a side effect of a recent breakup, though I hope not. But here it is: apathy. When my mom asks if I want to play Scrabble, I shrug. I don't care. When she further asked if I wanted to find a red pen and correct all of the egregious errors in the local newspaper (and I mean egregious--I will allow for a certain margin of error because even the Wall Street Journal and New York Times make minor mistakes), I shrug again. I don't care. I haven't actually picked up a newspaper in three weeks. (And three weeks ago was pre-breakup, so I suppose I can't blame too much on the breakup. However, the apathy notably increased this weekend, which was post-breakup.) I've watched an excessive amount of mind-numbing television. I find myself staring at nothing for hours. All because I can't motivate myself to get busy and do something. (Aside from the doing of applying for jobs, of course.)

And once I've finished this, I'll shower. I'll look for jobs. And then I'll read. I've been doing some of that. But I've even been feeling apathetic about that. How scary! Perhaps I'll exercise, because "exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't kill their husbands." Thank you, Reese Witherspoon. Hopefully happy people also find ways to overcome their apathy.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Carless in Centerville

Alas, it doesn't have quite the same ring as Sleepless in Seattle, but it's what I am. And don't get this wrong: I'm not looking for pity due to my licenseless state. I'm just dreaming of more transportation-friendly places.

For example, Chicago. One of the only places I've visited where it's actually faster to walk anywhere you're going downtown. And they have the El. And they have the trains. Sure, Salt Lake City had the Olympics. But we've never had any great system of transportation. There is a public bus system that runs between the college campuses of Weber State University and the University of Utah, between downtown Ogden and downtown Salt Lake, between Salt Lake and places to the south . . . and TRAX can take a girl any place she wants to go in Salt Lake and the immediate outlying areas . . . but this is not enough for an unemployed, suburban, licenseless girl who lives in Centerville. Fifteen car-minutes away from the center of the Big City (phrase meant with pure irony) and lifetimes away from anything terribly cultural.

I've spent twenty-two years in this place. Not in this exact place, sitting at the computer and writing these words down, but in the state of Utah. Technically speaking, I suppose I've spent twenty-one years in this house where I slid down the stairs on pillows (but not for the whole twenty-one years, just select parts!) and had my first date (not here! but he had to pick me up from somewhere . . .) and danced around with college acceptance letters. I got so excited about BYU! And then I spent one year there before transferring to Weber State University, before returning to this house, before starting not one-but two-separate relationships with people I knew from a church choir (and both of them failed . . .), before sitting at this computer on this chair, blogging because I have nothing better to do until someone calls with a job offer.

I hope the out-of-state people call back first. It seems like a change of scenery could be awfully helpful.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What An Unemployed Girl Does

The blog has its name for a reason. I am between places--neither overbooking myself to earn an undergraduate degree anymore nor pursuing grad school pipe dreams, neither writing the next good (or great or bad) novel nor working a full-time job.

To further exacerbate this problem, I also feel in between people. I am ever-envious of the indomitable Petra, who not only managed to stay at BYU for all of her college experience, but who now gets to jaunt around Indonesia at least three times a week. (Granted, she's also teaching English to a bunch of Indonesian high schoolers, something I covet and shy away from simultaneously . . .)

The people at church are nice, but we're not exactly on the same page life-wise. Not to mention the writing center colleagues, who had the nerve to not graduate and move on with their lives at exactly the same time I did. But who am I kidding? I can't hate them . . . they provided three semesters' worth of entertainment for the low, low cost of the occasional sugar high.

But On to the Title of My Post:
1. Reads The Pursuit of Happyness
2. Becomes all-too-familiar with the Department of Workforce Services,, and
Craigslist. (Sidenote: when navigating around craigslist, it is highly recommended and not quite as detrimental to one's health to actually input the right location.)
3. Reads the first three novels of The Wheel of Time series
4. Contemplates writing Robert Jordan and Tor Publishing to request a uniformity of font style and size throughout the books. Decides against it.
5. Starts writing three novels, which (combined) equal a total of six sentences. Not even good sentences.
6. Stares at phone.
7. Plays soccer with a two-year-old who is better at it than she is. Said two-year-old (okay, he's not two yet, but it's practically February tomorrow!) also encourages her to learn ABCs and how to go to the potty by visiting the Sesame Street website. Occasionally wonders if she should giggle at the Sesame Street website so much . . .
8. Reads the Anne of Green Gables series, contemplates writing more of one of three novels. Decides against it.
9. Compulsively checks e-mail
10. Prowls around Blogger, posting comments under various punny pseudonyms