August

July was a crazy month for me. I began my job as a child protective services assessor for my state. The first 12 weeks of the job are strictly training and shadowing other workers. Plus, a majority of the training is in our state capital in an effort to centralize everything. On the whole the centralization of the training is a good thing, but it means a 3.5 our commute for me and it is becoming harder and harder to remember where I have been and where I am supposed to be!

Of course, this job came at a point where I had made the decision to put social work behind me and move into librarianship, but things seem to be working out the way they should. I am a big believer in things will always work out the way they are supposed to, but the path to get to that point may be hard, frustrating and confusing. That has certainly been true for me in my employment quest since being laid off last October!

I don’t have a lot to blog about since I sit in a classroom for training most of the time, but I thought I better do a check-in for the 3 faithful readers I have. 😉  I started with the easiest section to update: Book Bag and found out I’ve read a total of 39 books already this year! Go me! Here’s what my August looks like:

August 3-7: Training in state capital ALL WEEK

August 3: Started a new class at JessicaSprague.com on using Photoshop brushes. I will be posting my work on my art page.

August 5: Niece’s 4 year birthday. Ahh!

August 6: My parent’s anniversary- they have been married for 32 years and have been great role models for me. It is also my sister-in-law’s birthday.

August 7: Julie & Julia the movie starts! RR – we need to make plans!

August 8-9: Our library is having a book sale M. and I plan to attend. M. is hoping to scope out some cheap war books that he will probably never read. I will just look for some interesting books at a good price.

August 10-14: I get to work in my home county ALL WEEK and sleep in my own bed!

August 17-21: Back up to the state capital <SIGH>

August 17: New season of Flipping Out on Bravo!

August 23: Nephew’s 7th birthday

August 24-28: A mixed week of in county and at state capital

August 31: My little brother’s birthday. Happy Birthday J. Back up in the state capital…
And, just for fun, here’s a photo I took recently. What do you think it is?

Can you guess what this is?

Can you guess what this is?

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Julie and Julia

I usually reserve my blurbs about the books I read for the Book Bag section of my blog, but I just finished I book I really enjoyed and felt like putting a little something out here about it.  The book is Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell. This book does not have the best rating on Amazon, nor did the blogger who wrote about it on our public library’s website give it very favorable props, but I simply adored it!

People reviewing the book have said Ms. Powell simply whines and has a potty mouth. I thought her writing really revealed her true feelings, even if they did seem a bit whiny at times. Who among use never whines? I whine a lot and I admire that Powell puts her well-worded whining out there for anyone to read. A bit of foul language doesn’t offend me either. I have heard plenty of foul language in my life and even use it from time to time.

The project behind the book is interesting. Powell decides she is going to spend one year making all the recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, vol. 1. In doing so, she hopes to find more meaning in her life. At the time of the project, Powell is a government agency temp, married, and living in a tiny apartment with three cats. As part of the project, she also starts a blog to record the progression. This was before blogging was as mainstream as it is now (I don’t know that I even knew the word blog back in 2003…), and Powell gained a large following, was interviewed for news programs and newspapers, and eventually got a book deal out of the whole thing.

I found myself relating to Powell throughout the book. I enjoy trying out cooking, but am not quite adventurous enough to try out MtAoFC, plus all that butter would totally ruin my weight loss progress over the past 6 months. I also feel my thoughts run along the same lines as Powell’s; she is definitely a snarky one!

RR, when you read this post, please go out immediately and get a copy of this book. I think you will like it as much as I did. You need to read it before the movie comes out in August, and then we can go see it together! Powell also has a second book coming out about the same time as the movie: Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession.

I don’t really know anything about Julia Child other than what Powell writes about in her book, but I certainly enjoy Julie Powell! For those interested, Powell still maintains a blog. I just added it to my Google Reader.

So where have I been?

I plan to start posting a monthly calendar on my blog each month because I know all my readers are just so interested in what I am doing. (ha ha ha) I posted the first calendar for May and here’s an update on where I’ve been in May.

Well, working. Getting back into the swing of things at my old job. I have a temporary position there while a coworker recuperates from back surgery. Seven months is a long time to be out, but it’s all coming back to me and I think I picking up on the new stuff. Just as my stint is ending I should be all caught up on everything! While I don’t really want to work, seeing some of those faces more often is nice and it’s good to be contributing to the household income again.

I attended our library event on plants for our region. M. came along and read the rules for some war game he’s playing while I tried to jot down notes using my lap as a desk. It was okay, but obviously did not inspire me too much since I’ve done absolutely nothing in the way of landscaping in the yard. Still a blank canvas. We have a screened-in porch and I did get that all cleaned up last Friday. It was full of dirt and cat hair.

My friend ended up buying lunch for me for my birthday. Awww. 🙂 I also had my first tv appearance. Our local Fox channel interviewed me for their “Hire Me” week. Each day last week they profiled a different person looking for a job and I aired on Tuesday. I felt disorganized and flustered when the the reporter and cameraman were in my house, but ultimately, I thought the edit job they did was good and it turned out okay. M. found the video online and has saved it for all prosperity. Still no job offers…

I am now 30 years old! I remember when my sister-in-law turned 30 and had a meltdown of sorts. I don’t feel any different than I did about 10 years ago, so really 30 is just another age to me. It means that I am probably going to click the next age bracket up on surveys and that I am a bit closer to midlife, but feeling older? I do not. M. took me to a nice dinner and to the zoo. Awesome times! My birthday was also my first short-term weight loss goal. I missed it by about 1 pound. I blame my birthday.

Since M. took me to an out of town zoo for my birthday, I ended up skipping the book discussion at the library on The Gift of Rain. I keep scheduling myself to attend these discussions and haven’t joined in one yet! The book was just okay. I probably wouldn’t have read it if not for the plan to attend the discussion.

Yesterday I big plans to attend a workshop at the library on writing memoirs and then going to a local school corp job fair. I got the library early to pick up some books on job interviews (I am just terrible at the interview part, but so far really haven’t had to worry about it since I’ve had so few calls for interviews). I went to bed really late Friday night and my internal clock really doesn’t let me sleep past 6am most mornings no matter what time I went to sleep – so I was up early. By the time I found the books I wanted, I was starting to feel really tired. I saw that the flow of people into the meeting room where the memoir workshop was held was mostly white, fuzzy haired people. So I decided to instead get a jump start on the job fair.

First of all, there was no parking anywhere near the door to the building where the job fair was held. So I parked in the middle of nowhere and hiked in my heels and suit. By the time I finally got in I had sweat running down my face and my back. Very attractive. The building’s air conditioning was not turned on, so this condition did not improve. Most people were there for teaching positions and most were interested in elementary schools. The line for elementary was extensive and filled the entire place making it difficult to find anything else. I, of course, was interested in any non-teaching positions and thought myself lucky since those lines appeared to be short. After some searching, I ended up in the line for information technology even though it really isn’t my area. I just wanted to start talking to some people since that was what I was there to do – schmooze for a job. Info Tech guy told me they anticipate having 1-2 positions open in January 2010, so I handed him my resume and started hunting for more non-teaching tables. I found another for after school programs and since I had worked for the after school programs while I was completing my master’s degree, I stopped by there too and handed off a resume, even though I don’t think the pay will make it worth my while if they do call me. The next table was labeled “support services.” I wasn’t totally sure what this meant, but thought it might be what I was looking for. I got in line. Fortunately, some school corp guy was talking to people in line and told me that the “support services” were custodial, bus transportation, and food services. Okay, not what I was looking for. I was hot and beginning to get very frustrated. The flier for this thing said “Hiring for all positions!” Down the side was listed a variety of areas they were looking for people – including administration which was the main area I was interested in. Where was the darn admin table?

There wasn’t one. I heard someone talking to a school corp representative and she said they did not have a table for administrative positions, that people interested should complete an online application and check their job postings on their website. Well, I have been doing that since I was laid off last October. It would have been nice if the flier had said something to the effect, “if you’ve filled out an online app and have been job searching our website, basically, this job fair will be a total waste of your time, especially for those looking for non-teaching positions.” So I hiked back to my car and drove home. The entire morning was a bust.

The rest of the day went better. I made some tasty turkey roll-ups for lunch, took a nap, finished dresses for my nieces (pictures will be posted on my art page), and made crispy chicken tenders from a new recipe and M., the somewhat finicky eater liked them! M. and I also finally got some of our 2 hour show finales knocked out.

Today I finally got to my blog – I’ve missed my blog. And I plan to finish the book I am currently reading, The Forgotten Garden. I also have to write an essay for my library science program application because I am going back to school!

May

May will be a busy month for me. Here’s what is coming up (so far).

Monday, May 4th: Will be returning to my old job temporarily (6-8 weeks) to help out while another staff member has surgery. It will be good to earn some money again and work with my old buddies, but I’ve been off work so long now I don’t know that I ever want to go back! I have no choice…

Tuesday, May 5th: Attending a seminar at the library on plants for our region. I’ve been taking lots of walks around the neighborhood lately and would love to start gradually adding some landscaping to our yard. Right now our yard is a blank canvas.

Wednesday, May 6th: Lunch with a great friend at Chili’s and interviewing with a local news station for their “Hire Me” week. Hopefully this will generate some employer interest in me. I’ve never been on TV before, so new experience for me.

Sunday, May 10th: Not only is it Mother’s Day, it’s my 30th birthday too! It’s also my first short-term weight loss goal deadline. As of this morning, I need to lose another 2 pounds to make it. Starting today off with a 45 minute walk around the neighborhood was a good start. Check out my art page the week after Mother’s Day for pictures of the gifts I made.

Monday, May 11th: Attending a book discussion at the library on The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng. I have got to get some reading time in this week and review the discussion questions! Don’t forget to check out my Book Bag page for a list of what I’ve read.

Saturday, May 16th: A local school corporation is having a job fair that I would like to attend, plus the library is having a seminar on writing your memoir. These overlap, so I may have to make a decision on which to attend.

Monday, May 18th: Our niece turns 4 years old. I have plans to make a dress for her out of a pillowcase. Pictures to be posted on my art page once completed.

Sunday, May 24th: Going to a graduation cookout party for a friend’s daughter. She was also the only person I’ve managed in my career. She was our summer office assistant before I was laid off. I will at least have a card to post on my art page.

Sunday, May 31st: A good friend’s birthday.

In the midst of all that, I will also be continuing my job search, researching library science careers, deciding if I want to pursue a MLS degree, looking for ways to save on our household shopping, trying to get some time in to complete some skirts (bought the fabric ages ago and haven’t used it yet), keeping up the house, searching for new, healthy recipes, and lots of other things. I should have some good blog posts coming!

Happy May!

Just before the weekend randomness

This has been a somewhat slow week. I’ve spent quite a bit of time at home with my cats and reading. (You can check out my bookbag page – click the link above – to see what I’ve been reading.)

I’ve kept up with my tracking of my food and nutrition as I’m supposed to based on the book I’ve been following (Diet Docs) and have kept up with my workouts with the Wii Fitness Coach. And, guess what? It has continued to pay off. I have now lost over 20 pounds and feel really great.

I’ve applied for jobs, which I have to do per my unemployment benefits, but have received no calls for interviews. Boo! I did drop off an application yesterday for a job I am really, really excited about, but I am going to keep it under my hat for now and off my blog and just keep good thoughts in my mind about it in the hopes I get a call about it soon. They are accepting applications until April 11th for the position, so I might not hear immediately. We’ll see. It will be a different career path for me than anything I really considered previously, but will incorporate one of my favorite hobbies. Okay, ’nuff said on the job front.

M. has been really, really into board games lately. He has a weekly board game night with some of the guys from work and I think that’s where this obsession started. We’ve played some interesting games over the past few weeks including Memoir 44, Lost Cities, Pandemic, and Ticket to Ride. We are currently learning to play a somewhat complicated, but very neat game based on the works of HP Lovecraft’s work: Arkham Horror. I suspect I may spend a good amount of time this weekend with M. on this. 🙂 If you’re into board games, you might want to check out BoardGameGeek.com. Lot’s of stuff there!

I have been thinking about my home state, North Dakota, quite a bit. Practically my entire family and a lot of childhood friends are still back there and the entire state has been declared a disaster area because of blizzards and flooding. Businesses and schools have shut down for periods in the heavily hit areas (like Fargo) to sandbag and ice jams had to be blown up in Bismark. My poor sister posted on FaceBook recently that she had to give up on trying to shovel snow and get out of her driveway. I have all my family and friends back home in my thoughts. Hope you all stay safe and warm!

Well, I am going to have to run. The bug guy is here – about 15 minutes early (this is the only service we have that regularly comes early) – and I will have to monitor my cats who will be freaked out when he comes in to spray. One last thing for my readers who are also fellow bloggers. You might consider checking out AlphaInventions.com. You can find other interesting blogs and also get yours into the rotation to up your viewership.

Have a Warm Snarky Weekend Everyone!

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