Friday, April 29, 2011

Box of Books!

Walking to work yesterday I noticed a Books and Baked Goods Sale outside my building. Books and baked goods? Yes please! And apparently I showed up to browse at exactly the right time, the end of the day, as the fundraisers wanted to push the books and announced, grab a box, fill it up, five bucks.

Awesome. At this point in the day, most of the books left were cheap paperbacks, bodice-rippers if you will. I avoid these and go for anything marked “novel” in order to fill my summer reading quota. I usually read memoirs and non-fiction, and I’ve already stacked my shelf with these, so I grabbed at some fiction.

SAM_4539Due to the chaos I simply picked up random books, hoping to get something good. Here is what I came home with:

A selection of Pierre Trudeau’s writings

The Voices of Robby Wilde, a non-fiction account of a man with schizophrenia.

Quickening, a novel set in 1985 Upstate New York (I’m excited about this one)

The Incantation of Frida K., not an actual biography of Frida Kahlo, but a treatise on memory at the end of life.

Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul, a memoir about Father Joe, a mentor to the author.

The Safety of Objects, the short stories of A.M. Homes

A Week in October, a novel in the form of an autobiography concerning unfaithful marriages.

Vinegar Hill, an Oprah Book Club book (which is not why I grabbed it) which chronicles the life of a family in the Midwest.

The Long Way Home, a non-fiction work about immigrants who fought for America during World War I.

I Could Tell You Stories, a collection of writings concerning memoirs and the act of writing memoirs.

Morality for Beautiful Girls, is apparently the third book in a series, ooops, but could still be good.

A Little Trouble With the Facts, a novel about gossip in New York City in 1999, very gossip-girl-like it seems.

A biography of Rudyard Kipling, I love Kipling, so I’m excited about this one.

Kill The Dead, seems to be a supernatural series, I grabbed it because I tried to find something for The Professor, but I doubt he’ll read this.

Making Toast, a memoir published this year about a family going through grief of losing one of their own.

Sandcastles, the only one I’m skeptical about because it looks like something my mother would read on the beach. But I won’t judge it by it’s cover. Or, I’ll give it to my mother next weekend when I see her!

The Rags of Time, the last novel in a series (ooops again) about an aging novelist living in New York.

A Pilates book!

Candace Bushnell’s Trading Up. I’ve read her books before and they’re good beach books. Quick and easy.

I also picked up some German novels and poetry books because I really miss reading in German.

Has anyone read any of these? Any suggestions with where I should start?


1: Loves of my life (human ones)

2: Tornadoes we've survived at the cottage

3: Number of known pets currently residing at my residence

4: Injuries I've sustained since being denied health care

5: Number of times we've lost electricity at the cottage (since January)

6: Months I've been married

7: Months since I've left England

8: Days until I visit my family again

9: Hours to fly between Atlanta and Manchester

10: Dollars I make an hour

11: Number of adult males I've seen wearing overalls in public this week

13: Countries I've visited (I think)

17: Pounds I've lost since actually trying

18: States in America I've been to (I think)

19: Pounds I gained after returning to America (the Holding Pattern is stressful, yo!)

20: Minutes it takes to walk from the car park to work

21: Interviews I've had in this current job search

22: Current number of boxes at my work station

23: The date of my wedding

24: Books I scored at the library book sale yesterday

25: The Professor's age

26: My age

31: Number of weeks my sister is pregnant

34: Boxes of tea currently in my house

110: Miles put on the car during the daily commute

112: Jobs applied for

150: Approximate phone calls made in connection to job applications

180: Days I have lived in Georgia

Unknown Number: Elephant figurines in the cottage

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A New Day

Thank you for allowing me a bit of hopelessness. It was a hole I dug myself into, but some days you just have to allow yourself to feel exhausted and finished. Thank you especially to T from DSS for all her sage advice. I know it will be OK and that we'll be settled soon, it's just the waiting I can't stand!

So fear not, I've come out of the sorrow pit and am trying to be positive once again. I'm busying myself with The High Power Pregger's baby shower (whatever will I call her when she's no longer pregnant!) The theme is Toy Story and here is what I have so far:

Guests will come in and choose a character badge (a circular badge with a print of one of the Toy Story characters on it) and pin it to themselves with a baby diaper pin. They won't know it, but whichever character they chose will determine what teams they'll be in for the first game, which I'm calling Potato Head Baby. I've printed out silhouettes of a potato head as well as packets of photos printed on regular paper of the future mommy and daddy. Some of them have them making funny faces, ect. Teams will have five minutes to cut up these photos and paste them to the potato head, making it sort of a "if they mated" game that Conan O'Brien used to play. But super-duper more mature (because you know, I'm all about maturity!)

We will also play a trivia game based on questions concerning The HPP's pregnancy (cravings, aliments, ect.) and baby bingo, which The HPP specifically requested. I've made it Toy Story themed by creating a Toy Story bingo board, which I'll share on here when it's completed.

Favors will be "Oh Baby It's the 80s" 1981 pop song mixed cd as both the future mommy and daddy were born in 1981 and the cover will be adorned with their baby photos. I found the Billboard top hits of 1981 and can't wait to pick and choose what to include. Any favorites from the list?

Other Toy Story touches include the fabulous Toy Story invitation, seen above, a cowgirl hat headband that I'm making my sister wear throughout, red and yellow decorations, cupcake toppers (possibly these!) and special gifts such as a Jessie-themed blanket I'm actually crocheting. Do you know how hard it is to crochet a cow-hide pattern?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Serenity. For two weeks anyway. This is the amount of time I'm told I must wait further. Another two weeks of this holding pattern. Another two weeks without a full breath, time wasted, uncertainty.

I know I sound dire. I also know this outlet for my frustrations has become just that, no longer talking about the joys in my life, for which there are many, but instead focusing on this gnawing, this constant itch to be settled and the journey I've been on in my attempts to do so, mainly through acquiring a full time job. It's all coming to a boiling point for a number of reasons, reasons that make it all so much more dire. First, I no longer have health care and have been denied when trying to apply for individual health care due to a pre-existing condition. Apparently all the health reforms we've fought so hard to achieve do not go into effect for a few more years, during which time it seems, unless I am employed full time, I will not be able to get health coverage.

Additionally my student loans are due. On top of that The Professor seems to be having an even worse time than me in our eternal waiting. I was told, by the same people I've been interviewing with since March, that I would know their decision Friday of last week. Friday before Good Friday. I heard nothing until Wednesday and was on edge with each passing day. I then learned that I was a finalist, something I had already figured on my own. I continued to wait throughout Easter weekend during which time I was told that I would be interviewed again, for the 7th time, through video conferencing. I figured surely this was the meeting where we'd discuss salary, start dates, and any final questions. But it was another interview. The same questions. Similar answers. And I was told they would decide in two weeks. Two. Friggin'. Weeks.

I used to get sick a lot as a child (let's just say I'm not the most 'robust' of humans) and my mom would tell me the serenity prayer, because I could not control that I was sick, but I could control how I dealt with being sick. Since then I have had this outlook on almost anything, always attempting to react best to bad situations. This resourcefulness has protected me and gotten me through some bad times. But now, in the 11th hour, I'm just not sure I can handle this any more. I've gone through worse things, it's true, but never for 12 straight months. An entire year of being told no. It's hard not to take it personal. It's hard to remember my serenity prayer.

God, Grant to me the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; courage to change that which can be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Last night I told The Professor that I no longer have any hope. That each time I get my hopes up I am told no, or to wait longer. Thus I think my hope has dried up and now I am jaded, constantly expecting the next no, and accepting the idea that I will never be back in my field and we may waste away depending on others to get by financially.

I know this is all depressing, and not what you might want to read on this Tuesday morning. But it's overcome my thoughts. It's become my entire world. I have so many other blogs in my mind that I'd like to share. About our trips. About Easter weekend. About the snakes and other critters which have come out of the woodwork at the cottage, terrifying this city girl. About cooking a whole chicken. About my first ham dinner and how well it went. But all these stories would seem fake to me if I didn't first express my current state of mind and being. At least for today anyway. Hopefully tomorrow I will have a more cheerful story for you. For now, I repeat:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Still Waiting

what-are-you-waiting-forNo news is good news. That common expression can’t really be applied to the job search. On one hand if you have not yet been told anything, there is still hope that the answer will be yes. On the other hand, if you have not been told anything, realistically, the job was most likely offered to someone else who is now weighing their options and deciding to take it or not. You might be able to get the offer, the sloppy seconds, if they turn it down.

waitingSo in my mind, no news is definitely bad news. And I am still waiting, no news in hand, no way of knowing to head north or south. No reason to put down roots anywhere. The waiting game has been, by far, with each new opportunity the worst aspect of this holding pattern.

stopwaitingBack to the quest. After my horrible interview in D.C. we enjoyed a fantastic birthday dinner, where I allowed myself to eat many calories, before jumping in the car and heading north once more to the city of brotherly love. Little Miss Dirty Martini (as named by Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong) met us outside her very college-like residence (one large room, small kitchen, futon) and I loved every square inch of it. It was real life. I miss that. I would trade this entire cottage for her slice of real life any day.

We enjoyed late-night birthday spring rolls (made by her own hands!) and had our usual conversations, and by that I mean we talked about everything and deeply. I’ve missed these talks, which face to face are so much better. I realized I miss all my friends and see how isolated I’ve been, surrounded by The Professor’s family and friends, but never my own.

In the morning we head out to Reading Terminal Market, by far one of my favorite places of all time. Then it is GPS time as we needed to head into New Jersey and find the last interview, which went really well (too bad it’s not for an open position, just for networking.)

vintage-ladies-by-gabriela-camerotti3That night Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong burst through the door and we were all reunited again. These past few years I’ve felt like the silent idiot girl in all their adventures. I’ve always been out of the picture. School, fellowships, and The Professor have guided where I end up, how much free time I have, and what I do. Now, finally, when it is up to me to decide, and I want nothing more than to live close to what I call “my people” I can’t. What’s holding me back now is the job market and the utter desolation to my prospects.


UntitledStaying positive and chipper, we all go out to the best restaurant I’ve been to in ages. That’s the thing about living in the middle of nowhere and having little to no money, a huge lack of good food. Being a foodie I’ve missed that life so much. We went to Amada, Jose Garcia’s tapas place, and I fell in love. It became a mini-birthday gathering and I tried to soak up as much of the moment as possible. I was in Philadelphia. I was with my friends. I had The Professor by the side. All was well.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Up, Up in the Air

I start this entry not even sure, in so much of a holding pattern am I, of my fate or life plans that may be in place by the end of this post. I have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for something to come of my quest. My sister always says, though it never calms my nerves, that the second best answer to yes is no. Meaning, at least they told you no and did not let you sit around unknowing.

Well here I sit, at work, unable to do work, uncertain. My best prospect, and really last hope, is a position in D.C. for which I interviewed during my quest. I was told they would contact me either Friday (which did not happen) or today (which has yet to happen.) Every time my phone rings (stop calling me people!) I jump. But alas, no news. So I continue to wait.

In the meanwhile, since I'm ruined for work anyway, I'll attempt to recount some of my life over the last month of the holding pattern. By far the most exciting of the last six months, due to the final push for employment. When I left you last I was deeply emerged in my nostalgia series, recounting a holiday to Scotland. During this time I had what I supposed could be called a meltdown and decided we had to do something about our life. We could no longer go on in this constant stream of applications and rejections, driving 3 hours a day during extreme hikes in gas prices in order to get to part time jobs. This was it. We decided to head north, visiting cities where my most promising prospects were. Charlotte. Washington, D.C. Philadelphia. We called it the "Grab Destiny by the Balls Tour, 2011."

I called all my prospective employers and let them know I'd be "in the area" on such and such days and could I "drop in" and meet with them. I call this forced interviews, but it worked. Three agreed to see me. I won't go into our morning in Charlotte, as I've since learned that I did not receive that position, news that broke my heart just a little as the job was perfect perfect perfect and exactly what I wanted. After a beautiful day in Charlotte we drove to Washington, stayed overnight with my Aunt, and I interviewed for the position which has since become my most hopeful.

About that interview, let's be diplomatic and just say it was hard. OK, let's be serious and say it was the hardest interview ever. I've had difficult interviews. Panel interviews. Dissertation defenses for goodness sakes. This was brutal. After three interviews, which included a panel, I met with the head boss who put me through the ringer. Asked me questions I could never answer. And I didn't answer them. I smiled and joked and hoped that the purpose of all this was to see if I would cry or not and not entirely dependent on my actual answers. Then he pointed out a typo. A typo I made on my resume. A typo I noticed before leaving on the quest and corrected, printing out new resumes, one of which I handed him at the start of the interview. He said he noticed I had changed the typo. How, then, can I be detail-oriented if I make typos. The shit has hit the fan.

Once again I laugh it off, tell him how cleaver he is to have noticed, and try to make jokes. I basically dance for my supper. Let's hope, once again, that this was a test of my ability to stay calm and cool and not what it seemed, a meany bully pants.

And, it was my birthday.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Quest

bicycle_einstein-quoteIt is true that the longer one stays away from something the harder it is to start it up again. This is true in all things, except of course bike riding. This is true with contacting old friends, going back to school, starting to eat healthy after the holidays, and of course exercise.

subway-signThis also happens to be true with blogging. So I apologize for falling out of the little blog world with which I have surrounded myself these past months. Trust me, it was hard to start writing again. Because once again, I find myself in the same predicament and each month I remain in this holding pattern it becomes worse and worse.

Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong was a gem for 300px-LOVE_Park_fountainstanding in for me. Although I fear her bias towards Philadelphia swayed her to leave out some vital information about my quest of late. First, I had three interviews in three cities, Charlotte, D.C., and Philadelphia. Second, the position in Philadelphia is not even an open one, more a networking interview. I know, all you Philadelphians are sad that it appears I won’t be joining your ranks any time soon.

Or any ranks for that matter. The Quest seems to have been unsuccessful (but let’s cross our fingers and everything else that at least one possible position has come from it!)

SAM_4365Besides being gone for a week for that purpose, we also experienced, directly upon our return, a tornado and storm, no electricity, then immediately a trip to San Antonio. I couldn’t wait to tell all the stories that came out of all these experiences. But then I did wait…and wait…and wait until we’ve been back from Texas for an entire week and I have stayed silent.

My apathy has grown out of the deep sadness I bear towards this job search and my subsequent failure to become employed. It makes me a bit down around the house, at my current temporary job, and just in general, which makes it hard to blog to be quite honest. But as of now I’m throwing off the debbie downer attitude and trying to focus on all my blessings, including all of you.

rman2488lSo prepare yourself for many short stories of our most recent adventures, including the quest, the night of tornado horror, San Antonio, spending four days with my in-laws, more job rejections, spending two more days with all my in-laws (in Nashville!) and learning to drive a tractor!