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All posts for the month December, 2012

Unemployment and Lifestyle Changes

Published December 28, 2012 by mindfulofchatter

I am sitting here fresh from a walk with the dog. Before that, I had a sit down (with a cup of tea) after returning from a job interview. The interview seemed to go well. It is for a job in the field I have worked in for the past 3 years. I am well qualified, but not over qualified. I know the basic ropes, the issues and the expectations that generally accompany this sort of position. I am hoping I am their choice for the new employee, but I have to wait until next week to find out. Until then, I wait and look for things to keep me busy.

I just finished working a seasonal job. The money from that has gone to pay my rent and the remainder tucked in the bank for bills. Thankfully, I have only two bills. My cell phone and my electric. The electric should not be much. How can this be, I hear you cry. It’s winter. It’s cold outside. It must cold inside too! But it isn’t cold inside. I live in an apartment, in the middle of three floors with apartments on either side of me. I snugged in. The heat from below and next door seeps into my place and keeps me plenty warm. My heaters (baseboard energy wasters) are turned off at the breaker panel. No heat, no heating bill.

Lets see, I was………Oh! Yes. Keeping busy. Being unemployed is sort of game. You have to be savvy with your dollars. There is no eating out, no going to the movies every day, no unnecessary shopping. The bucks in the bank need to stay in the bank. But you also have to keep yourself from going crazy with cabin fever. You to stay somewhat entertained in between job hunts. Having a dog helps. I have to take her out to do her business, she needs to exercise and play. So do I. We go to our local dog park when the weather is good enough. I don’t mind a little rain or mud (I have wellies), but I won’t go in a typhoon. She keeps me moving and keeps me company.

TV can be mind numbing. I do not have cable. Why not? I don’t have a regular job and I don’t want incur any extra costs. Instead, I have a digital antennae sitting in my window. I get all the local channels, plus PBS. All three PBS stations. I can still watch Downton Abby, Sherlock and any other fabulous PBS shows. I just watched a program on Solomon’s Mines. Very cool. And I get all of that for the cost of electricity.

I don’t have internet at home. I go to the local coffee-house, or more often to a friend’s house and use the WiFi. I also have a smart phone, and I use that in place of my laptop. Until I have regular work, internet at home is a luxury I can not afford.

I have a DVD player and a lot of movies. Because I have eclectic tastes, I can watch Singin’ in the Rain and follow it up with Zombieland or Bubba Hoptep. 

I also have music. I can dance or use it as a background for editing photos from my trip to France. I also sing along. I hope my neighbours have ear plugs. No one wants to hear me sing.

I have an ‘e’ reader. I can download free books and read them at my leisure. I have found a lot of really good books that way. I have read my way through a few bad ones, but for the most part, I have enjoyed my freebies. I have discovered new authors and new series. And I get to leave a review of what I’ve read. How cool is that?

While not having a cable or internet may seem horrible, it isn’t. I don’t miss cable. I don’t watch a ton of TV. The cable shows I like, I can find and watch online. I don’t do tons of stuff online, so I am content to make do without having internet at my disposal 24/7.

All in all, being unemployed has forced me to make lifestyle changes I may not have been willing to make earlier. My life is simpler. My cost of living is a lot less. I don’t have any huge bills to worry about (my car is paid for and I don’t have a credit card). I am not giving myself an ulcer worrying about tomorrow.

After all, tomorrow will come regardless if I worry about it or not.

 

 

 

Upheaval Isn’t Always a Bad Thing

Published December 23, 2012 by mindfulofchatter

My life has undergone huge changes and experiences in the past 8 months. With Christmas just around the corner, I am at a place where I can catch my breath and relax just a wee bit.

It all began in May of this year when I relocated to Washington state to help out my sister. Sis suffers from depression and was having a major rough patch. She dreams of moving to France and living to rest of her life there. She asked me if I wanted to join her. I had agreed, even though I had never been to France. So off I went to Washington to get reaquainted with a sister I had rarely spoken with the past 20 years or so. We got along pretty darn well, for the most part. We were squeezed into her one bedroom cottage, but it was okay for a start. Sis got a small windfall from a long-term legal matter getting settled. She immediately booked us a trip to France. And in October, off we went.

I didn’t bond with France. I just didn’t see the fuss. Paris was loud, dirty and crowded. The people were all very nice. Many went out of their way to help us out, and point us in the proper direction. We also stayed in Blois (Bl-wah) and just outside of Cognac. But this part France looked just like rural Minnesota to me. And after ten years of living in Minnesota, I wasn’t ready to relocate to a country that looked just like it and spoke French just because the food was better. I am happy to say that my sister is working her way towards her dream without me. She has opened a vintage clothing store on Etsy. I wish her the best with all my heart.

I also didn’t bond with Washington. I tried. I was out for walks every day and shopped in the local shops went to the beaches to walk and beach comb. But it just wasn’t me. Once we returned from France, I moved next door to my sister. A relief for both of us. Her cottage was never intended for two people. Then I was faced with a small disaster. My full-time job was cut to a part-time job. VERY part-time. My boss was upset, but there was little he could do. Here I was two weeks in my new place with way to pay for it. My landlord and I had done a month to month agreement, so at least I wasn’t hooked into a lease. She was very understanding and we worked it all out. I took all of  this as a sign Washington and I were not to be. So after 5 months in Washington, I sold my beloved Mini and moved back home.

My friend offered her home to me until I found a place of my own. But that didn’t work out. No ones fault, it just work. I ended up leaving there and staying with other friends until I found a place. I did secure a seasonal job, so I had a bit of income. A relief for me, since my ‘extra’ money was earmarked for an apartment deposit. I did, in fact secure an apartment in the same complex I had left 8 months earlier. The manager was happy to have me back, and promptly set me up in a studio near her office. My ex sold me his old car at a price I could afford (He and his girlfriend are good people. We all get along quite well.)

I ‘rescued’ two pieces of furniture and re-painted them to suit me. One I even hauled back from Washington.

This is the T.V. stand (well, it may not have been a TV stand before, but it is now) I found while out walking my trusty four-legged friend. It was tucked up next to a dumpster. An abandoned, unsold estate sale item. I carried it home. Thank goodness it wasn’t heavy.

TVstandbefore

After some scrubbing, sanding, paint and new drawer pulls, I have this pretty little TV stand:

TVstandafter

Yeah, I was kind of amazed too. My Tv fits on it as if it was made for it and my DVD player sits perfectly on the top shelf. I love it.

The dresser was more of a mess:

FunkyDresser

You may notice the kick plate is missing, there is a chip out of the top drawer and the hardware is, well, horrid. Like, ew. This is the same piece I wrote about in the ‘Upcycle’ post. In spite of all of its short comings, I just loved the funky look of this thing. So I hauled to my ex’s shop to work on it (With his permission. He has a small, heated shop and all the proper tools.)

After sanding, cutting a new kick plate, nailing, gluing, working with plastic wood, and painting, I ended this:

funkydresserafter

Finding the hardware was the toughest part. My budget is very limited, but my taste is not. I kept finding the ‘perfect’ hardware only to notice it was $30 a piece. Yeeaah…..that just wasn’t going to happen.

Now I am in my small, but tiny, apartment with my trusty four-legged friend at my side. I have my seasonal job and an interview for a regular job coming up. I have much less ‘stuff ‘ than I had before, and much happier for it. I think I can step off the roller coaster and recover a little bit before it takes off again. It has been emotionally draining, up hills and screaming down the other side, full speed ahead adventure.

And I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Online Dating Messages. What?!? Are You Kidding Me?

Published December 17, 2012 by mindfulofchatter

Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends on what you put into it. – Tom Lehrer

I have an online dating profile. I have talked a little about this before. I have little to zero luck, but I leave the silly thing up just in case. Who knows, the not-so-perfect-slightly- off guy could find me there. I’m not banking on it, but……….

I do get messages every so often. None have panned out to even a meet n’ greet, much less a real date. I suppose I should say ‘real, live date’.  Bernie may message me at some point, and with the zombie apocalypse just around the corner, you just never know.

But back to messages. I have gotten some that go straight to the delete bin:

Your pruddy.

My pruddy – what? What is a ‘pruddy’ anyway. I’m not familiar with that word. Let’s face it. Spell check is everywhere. At least spell it correctly to start with, or click on it when the computer highlights it as incorrect. Can’t be bothered? Well then neither can I.

Wow. You r tall.

I already know that, thank you. While I could look past the statement had he added something else, I really, really dislike text shorthand, especially in an e-mail. Was it really that much more of an effort to type two more letters? I can only imagine what a longer communication would look like.

I have heard many men wonder why women are so ‘uptight’ about spelling and grammar. It’s similar to the way women equate dancing and sex (Oh come on. Men do it too.). It you can’t be bothered to take a few seconds to check your spelling and proper word usage (‘your’ and ‘you’re’ – etc.), then we figure you won’t want to be bothered with a relationship details.

The following is a more current e-mail exchange:

Him: I just wanted to say Hello.

Me: That would be nice. Hello to you.

Him: Hello

Me: Wow! This has a deja vu feel to it! *L*

Him: Hello

We had (or I hoped we had) a little bit of a laugh. I thought he was being funny and left an opening for him to move it forward. He didn’t. We are done.

I have a few men who have added me to their favorites list. They have not messaged me, just added me to their list. There must be something in my slightly-warped-yes-I’m-a-bit-of-a-geek/dork profile that they like. Not enough for them to try to talk to me, just enough that they want to re-read my silliness from time to time.

I admit I am a tad eclectic, geeky, too tall, not skinny enough and perhaps even too old to date (early 50’s), but I would like to. I can’t help how I look beyond taking care with my appearance. I can’t help that I am taller than a lot of men. I also can’t help that I tend to, and will, babble. Even in cyber space.

Yes, I have a quirky sense of humor. No, I do not wear footie pajamas.

Take that, Cupid.com!

Death Never Takes a Holiday

Published December 15, 2012 by mindfulofchatter

Today is not a great day for America. It’s not a great day for anyone. Amid the rush of holiday shopping, Christmas carols and people wishing each other a joyful holiday, there has been tragedy.

Twenty children, in grades ranging from kindergarten to fourth grade, will not be home for Christmas. Not this year. Not ever again.

Six adults will never wish their families ‘Merry Christmas’ ever again.

Black wreaths will replace the merry green ones. Funeral arrangements will replace family feasts of joy. Tears will be shed on gifts not given. Families will gather to wonder ‘why’.

Because one individual had a grudge. Had a mental illness that went undetected. Or simply felt his childhood was ‘unfair’.

We will never know exactly why he decided to kill his mother, then walk into an elementary school full of children he most likely didn’t know with guns blazing. I know I don’t understand it. I can’t wrap my head around the idea that killing twenty young kids made him feel better or stronger or more independent. They did nothing to him. They never bullied him, never stole his lunch or gave him a swirly. I would bet none of them even knew who he was. He has managed to mar the holidays for these families forever. Christmas (or which holiday they celebrated) will never, ever be a happy time of year again. It will only serve of a reminder of the time of year they lost a child, a parent, a grandparent, an aunt or an uncle.

My heart goes out to those who lost family today. And to their friends who can not find any words of comfort, because there are no words of comfort. And to the children who survived, but lost friends.

There will no Christmas lights in my home tonight. They will remain dark.

For the lost children.

For the lost adults.

For the first responders who will forever have those images in their heads.

For the officers who came to stop the gunman.

For the families grieving without restraint.

My prayers go up and out. I hope yours do too.

Upcycle? WTH?!?

Published December 1, 2012 by mindfulofchatter

puzzled_woman

 

I am recently returned to my home valley after a disastrous jaunt to live further north. When making that move, I sold almost all of my furniture and got rid of loads of stuff (Stuff is a polite way to say junk). Now, of course, I need to replace some of the furniture.

This brings me to the new phrase ‘upcycling’. You know, you take a POS bit of furniture, repaint or re-finish it, add new hardware and then re-sell it for an absolutely ridiculous price. At least that is my take on it. Maybe I’ve missed the point completely. But as I have looked at used furniture, I see this  wordy little trend more and more.

At first the term ‘upcycle’ had me baffled. I saw the word, but not the thing associated with it. When I saw what ‘upcycle’ meant, I laughed. Out loud in an empty house. Thank goodness for the emptiness or I may have otherwise been committed to the funny farm to weave baskets or twiddle my thumbs and toes (10 points if you got that reference). I guess an upcycled dresser if more appealing than a repainted dresser.

I’m not sure when it happened. We used to re-finish old items. Then we recycled them. Now we upcycle them? What comes after upcycle? Uppaint? Regrade? cyclegrade? upcyclethepaintupgrade?

Along with upcycling comes the trend to add prints to dressers and side tables. Lay down a bit of lace and spray paint over it. Lift the lace and wa-la, you have a lace print on your surface. Zebra print seems to be all the rage. I have seen several table and dresser with a stripe of zebra print across the tops and down the sides. Well, they call it zebra print. It’s really not very zebra-ie. But you get the idea. I saw one small (as in tiny) chest of drawers painted turquoise with a zebra strip up one side, across the top and down the other side. They wanted $110 for it. I almost nose snorted my tea.

Now I have my own little POS dresser to repaint, oh sorry, upcycle. It is a funky old thing, and the funkiness appealed to me. Oh sure, its missing its kick plate, the pulls are uglier than sin and one drawer has a chipped corner, but I like it. It will hold my clothing and look just fine once I fix the things that need fixing, paint it and re-hardware it. I will skip the animal print and lace print, thank you. Best of all it was dirt cheap. And dirt cheap is about my price range at the moment.

 

FunkyDresser