Friday, February 27, 2009

Unproductive Day

So Clinique hasn't called :(

I called the woman I met with yesterday to pull the old "I'm planning my schedule for next week and needed to know, etc...", but she was on break when I rang. Anywho, I am being held in suspense.

Today's weather was crazy. It was BEAUTIFUL ! Yesterday it was cloudy and then extremely snowy. Today the skies were bright blue and made the snow a brilliant white. It made me want to go skiing or sledding, but instead I stayed inside looking at my cookbooks and not doing much.

So not much to blog about today except I'm so anxious about the Clinique job since I thought they would have called by now. Ugh, hopefully I'll have a confirmation either way soon.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Comments are allowed

For some reason, I somehow turned "off" (if you can describe it that way) the comments although I have NO IDEA how. But I figured it comments are back on.

Yay for feedback!

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

Today I got to truly understand what a "winter storm warning" actually means in MN, and fortunately, I had enough foresight to take the light rail / bus to the Mall of America for another interview with Clinique. On the way there I was thinking, " it's not evening snowing...damn, I should have taken my car. After my interview (which I will describe in a moment), I got back on the light rail to go home and experienced what can only be described as a white apocalypse.
It was snowing so hard that I couldn't see but a few feet away from the train. It was pretty insane. I have never seen that amount of snow fall from the sky, but that was just the beginning. When I got off the train and had to walk to the bus stop (which was less than a block away), I couldn't see more than a few feet in front of me. And the wind was blowing so hard the snow was "falling" horizontally (Abra, I desperately needed some of that up and down snow you're fond of). I get to the bus stop and wait with a ridiculous amount of people - definitely more people than normal for the middle of the day bus riding. The bus arrived, and we filed on.

So now I get to rant a little about bus etiquette. People who use public transportation - this message is for you. When the bus is packed (meaning there are no more seats and people are standing), please move all the way to the back of the bus to allow for people getting on to have a place to stand. Do not, I repeat DO NOT stand in the same place and expect people to go around you to the back of the bus - it just doesn't work that way. People were lucky today that I was listening to my ipod and zoning out or else I probably would have put on my best pissed off Abra face and assertively asked them to move their inconsiderate asses...actually most likely I just would have scowled in their general direction.

Lack of bus manners wasn't even the amazing part of the storm today. The bus passed at least 15 cars on the way to my apartment that were stuck in the snow and spinning out. There were basically no lanes anymore because cars were spinning out everywhere. Although I am proud of Minnesotians because people would get out of their cars and help each other push their vehicles out of the way. Very awesome!

So I had to walk in the several feet of snow to get home, and now I can brag to my kids that I had to trudge through the freezing snow to get home. Then for the rest of the afternoon, I watched cars try to get up this hill next to the apartment and then slide back down / get stuck/ spin out/ or hit all the parked cars reminding me NEVER to park on 26th street during the winter.

But back to my interview. I will be VERY surprised if I do not get this job (I'm supposed to find out tomorrow). The interview consisted of my future manager giving me the "customer experience" by giving me a make-over. And I have to say after she was done, I really wanted to buy everything she used on me. She made my skin feel amazing. Anywho, it was really laid back, and we just talked about the training process and some procedural stuff like schedules and availability.

So that was my winter storm day - altogether very exciting and interesting. If this ever happened in Texas, the whole state would have shut down. Minnesotians are made of some pretty tough stuff or just enjoy the bragging rights.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I'm not dead...really

So I have gotten terrible lately. I got knocked out of whack with my mom and sister visiting, but now I'm trying to get back in the groove. Also, for some reason when I visit my family (or they visit me) I always feel down the next week. So lately I have not felt like blogging or really doing anything...I'm really tired of being jobless. I went to a Macy's job fair yesterday and felt like a complete failure. I know that's being dramatic, but I really thought I would have a "real" job by now. Anywho, I went and sat through some truly painful group interviews. The other candidates were a lil ghetto and very young (most had never worked before and obviously never interviewed before). After the group interview, one of the group sales managers pulled me aside for a second interview with the head of cosmetics. So it looks like I will be working for Clinique which is highly ironic since my sister worked for Clinique for a while (what are the odds). I have a phone interview tomorrow. It was nice getting out of the house and interviewing for an actual job opening instead of meeting with someone to interview them about their job (I've been doing a lot of that lately). But I keep hoping that my last hopeful position will come through, and I won't have to work for Clinique at all. Overall, I just feel down about the whole thing.

I now understand why a high unemployment rate is such a terrible thing. Besides people being out of work, morale goes way down. I try and keep a positive outlook, but it's tough. I thrive with routine (I know, I'm a toddler) and for the last five months (I know five months, can it really be that long?) I haven't had one. But who knows, maybe this job will lead to something else or I'll find that I absolutely love it...but I'm doubting it.

On a more positive note, today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lent season. I don't know why I like this season so much, but I always have. This year I am giving up meat for the 40 days, and I know these next two weeks are going to be tough - but I'm excited to do something different. The last several years I've given up sugar and diet coke. I've always wanted to try the vegetarian thing so this is the perfect opportunity. Dale and I are going to the Ash Wednesday service in a few hours which should be nice, and yesterday we had Dairy Queen burgers which was awesome (but Whataburger would have been better) to celebrate Fat Tuesday.

Really overall, life is good. It sounds like I'm miserable, and I am definitely not. I am having the time of my life here in MN and with Dale. I am just ready to start my career again and start contributing. This is just a humbling time, and I'll just have to pay my my dues.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Again, Neil Gailman, I mean Henry Selick is a Genius

On Valentines' Day, Dale and I went to go see Coraline. I read this book back in the fall, and my immediate reaction was first "what a freakin' weird but good book" and secondly "how the hell are they are going to make a movie (for kids) out of this." But my friends, they did it and they did it well. I had low expectations for this movie because it was such a weird book with some pretty abstract ideas in it, but I was pleasantly surprised. I absolutely loved the movie and want to see it again. I highly recommend seeing it in 3D while you still can but I am sure it is just as good in 2D. Henry Selick did all the right visuals to portray this book in good form. I am SO excited for Neil Gaiman who I know must be pleased with this portrayal of his book. I also highly recommend reading the book for yourself. It is really short and would be best read at night in your bed alone (so you can get a little creeped out).

(Sigh) I love seeing good movies! Also, I am obsessed with the music it was just too good.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ear aches, beeps, hugs, and bridal showers

I just learned that someone I've known all through my childhood has just lost her battle with cancer. Sandy Calendar was my elementary school nurse and constant friend at church throughout my life. She has been battling cancer for the last several years and this morning passed away. She has a son and daughter that are around Abra's age, but I never really knew them. I just have vivid memories of her as my nurse and seeing her at every Methodist bridal shower I ever attended. I wanted to honor Sandy with the telling of my first vivid memory of her when I was 8 years old.

When I was in 3rd grade, the whole school was given hearing tests. You had to go into this portable building and wait in line that was scotched tape to the carpet. You went behind this screen where Mrs. Calendar, this petite woman with curly brown hair and pale complexion, would put these huge ear phones on your ears and test you with the beeps. You raised your hand on whatever side you heard the beep. I remember being tested for an extra long time and kept raising the wrong arm. I remember getting upset when there was an extra long pause and I couldn't hear anything (the pitch was too high for me). Mrs. Calendar took the earphones off and asked me in her soft voice if I ever got ear aches (which I did often at this time) and telling me it was okay and giving me a green sucker. Ends up I had an ear infection at the time and was interferring in my hearing.

Several months later I had terrible stomach cramps in the middle of class (I never got sick as a kid) and asked to go to the nurse. On the way there, I threw up in the grass next to the sidewalk and was SO embarrassed. I remember crying the whole way to Mrs. Calendar's office, and she taking me behind a screen and calming me down. She put a cold cloth on my forehead and told me she would call my mom for me. I actually felt tremendously better after throwing up (probably because I had gotten rid of all the chicken rings in my stomach from lunch...grosses me out just thinking about those school lunches), and she and I had a long chat about school and my dad. She was a big fan of him. Always when I felt bad at school or had allergies, I was never scared to go to the nurse because I knew Mrs. Calendar would be there and make it better with her warm hugs and soft voice.

Years later whenever I attended bridal showers with my mom, I would often spend my time chatting with Mrs. Calendar and Mrs. Colwell. She was always so interested in whatever it was I was doing and would ask about Abra and my dad. She was so sweet, and I will miss seeing her at those showers :(

So here is to you Sandy Calendar. You made elementary school all the sweeter and bridal showers all the more memorable. You were a Christian woman through and through, and I can only hope that I will someday be as sweet and sincere as you. May God be with your family during this difficult time. I didn't think I would get emotional writing this but I cannot help having tears running down my cheeks as I type this.

She really was such a sweet person, and my heart is breaking for Amy because I cannot imagine losing my mother so young. I guess it just makes me appreciate what I have - 2 healthy parents so I think I'll call my mom again to tell her how grateful I am for her.

I will miss you Sandy Calendar...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Books..the faves

I don't think I have ever listed my top ten favorite books ever. These are the books I feel were the most influential and that I could read over and over. I am listing these in no particular order:

1. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  • I can remember reading this book for the first time in 8th grade and absolutely loving it. I recently reread it and got teary at the ending all of over again.
2. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • I read this book sophomore year of high school, and I remember having a lot of trouble finishing the book. I reread it last June and realized that I might have been too young to read it the first time. So many allusions and character choices were over my head then, and now I can fully appreciate this tragic but beautiful story.
3. Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
  • I read this during the spring of my freshman year of college and picked it up thinking it would be difficult to read. If you want a chilling easy read that takes you back to that awkward time in your life when you were wanting to grow up so fast but were scared to understand all the complexities of sex and responsibility, this book is the right choice. I absolutely love it. I recommend reading it around Halloween because it describes autumn so well and will really get you in the mood for All Hollows Eve.
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by J.K. Rowling
  • I love all the Harry Potters and can reread them over and over again. I choose this one as my favorite because it made all the years of reading the books worth it. I picked up my first Harry Potter in 6th grade in my jr. high library. Our librarian Mrs. Plotts had just ordered it and asked me read it to tell her if it was good. I can remember flying through it and reading it during my science class when we were supposed to be reading our text book, but finishing the last sentence of the last page of the last book of this series was one of the most satisfying feelings I've ever had while reading a book and that is why it is my favorite of the seven.
5. BFG by Roald Dahl
  • I cannot honestly remember reading this for the first time but feel like I've owned it forever. It will always be among my collection of books. And whenever I am feeling down or have watched a really depressing/scary/ or intense movie, I can always take this one out and feel better again. Plus I think it's funny that Dale thought BFG stood for big fucking giant...that's funny.
6. The Stand by Stephen King
  • My mom and sister convinced me to read this the summer I graduated from UT. I was REALLY reluctant because it sounded boring, and I knew Stephen King had a reputation for writing eerie stories and I just didn't think I would be into it. I was completely wrong. This book took over my life for 5 days. I read nonstop and was completely absorbed into the story. Poor Dale had to listen to me theorize about what would happen and analyze all the characters. This is the first book I have ever read where I could completely sympathize with the villains. You see their development before they are truly bad and see what influences make them choose certain actions/ choices. I understood why they did what they did and couldn't honestly say that I would have acted differently. Truly an amazing piece of fiction that makes you take a look at integrity and appreciate how truly fragile our government and society is. So kudos to Mom and Abra for making me a Stephen King fan because he really is a writing genius even if he sucks at directing movies.

7. Persuasion by Jane Austen

  • I had watched this movie with my mom many times and thought it was a romantic but boring story. On a whim, I picked up this book last summer and fell in love with it. Jane Austen usually gets fame for Pride and Prejudice (which I also highly recommend), but this book is about a mild-mannered, sincere character who gets the short end of the stick most of them time but in the end (because she was herself) receives her happiness. I just LOVE this book and get teary eyed every time I think of it. Great book for this month!
8. Green Rider by Kristen Britain
  • I have reread this book so many times I can't even read it any more because I get bored because I have it almost memorized. I read this in 8th grade staying up all Saturday night (I was such the wild child) and just loved the adventure and free-will of the main character. I don't really recommend this book to the average reader because it has the teen melodrama that I loved at that time and it has more sentimental value for me than truly great writing. The book is the first in a quartet (which the 4th book still hasn't come out, come on Kristen it's been a decade), and the other books are just as good but this one takes me back to being 14, sharing a room with Abra, and staying up all night reading and eating Doritos.

9. Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce

  • Again, it's a book in a series that I loved as a kid. I can still reread this series and be entertained. If you know of any young preteen girls that need a good book, this is a great series to inspire independence and woman power. I can remember reading this book and wanting to take on the chauvinistic world of men and become a knight....but then remembered I was in the 90's where Britney Spears ruled so I would have to be more subtle in my battle for women empowerment. I chose the last book in the series as my favorite, because it ends really well without compromising the story. Ha, I also remember this was the first book I read that had sex in it (no pornographic romance novel sex, but just an allusion to "spending the night").

10. The Baker's Boy by James Malory
  • A trilogy with truly heinous villains, I loved this series. Dale teases me if I ever bring out the books to reread saying "Didn't you JUST read that." Again, I read this when I was romantic teenager anxious to get out Madisonville and start my own adventures. This is fantasy in it's purest forms with knights and wizards, but the complexity of the story was what really drew me in. It has a lot of conspiracy, and the story is told from several different points of view. Ha, and this is the 2nd book I ever read that sex in it, but much more graphic than the first.


I'm watching an episode of Gilmore Girls and craving a plate of Thanksgiving dinner. Why do I always crave holiday food during the wrong season?

Yesterday I went to a PRSA networking event. Right before heading to the restaurant, I almost convinced myself not to go. If you have ever been to one of these things, you can understand how awkward and uncomfortable they can be. However, they can also be really great if you talk to people you click with. I was feeling drained from visiting bookstores yesterday (I was applying for part-time jobs) and didn't really have the energy. I knew I would be mad at myself if I didn't go so I forced myself, and now I'm REALLY glad I went. I met a lot of really great helpful people. I seem to always forget that everyone wants to help me find a job. No one is ever going to say "That sucks, good luck finding something." People always genuinely try to help, and it makes me feel so good to know human kind is so kind. I feel like we take for granted how giving people can be.

So today, I am going to spend my time following up with the people I met and looking at some of the job postings/ web sites people recommended. This afternoon I'll be heading over to Mall of America and the Southdale Mall to apply at some stores there (Gap and Barnes and Noble) so wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's been a while...

I've gotten a little off track with my postings, and it's been a while. My mother visited this past weekend, and it was truly fabulous. But of course I'm feeling a little down this week after having so much fun those few days she was here. We went wedding dress shopping...and we found one! It's all starting to feel real, and I'm getting really excited. 

My sister is coming next week to decide on a bridesmaid's gown, and I will get to show her the dress. I would post a picture and go into great detail about the loveliness that is my wedding gown, but Dale reads this blog from time to time :)

Also, on Sunday after taking my mom to the airport, Dale and I went for a run which was fabulous but even before that we were on a mission to go to this yarn store that I've been wanting to check out. I have some knitting projects that need yarn, but when we went to the shop, of course it was closed because any time I got out of my way to see a new shop it must be closed. Anywho, disappointed, Dale and I walked next door to a children's book store. My friends if you know anything about me you know my obsession with books and especially children's books so I was excited but had no idea what was in store. First off, the shop had a door within a door. There was a smaller child size door within the larger door which Dale and I promptly used. Inside the shop, there were chickens walking around and cages all over the place with rabbits, ferrets, birds, lizards, and spiders. The ceiling had a huge crack in it (purposefully made) so it looked like you could see the sky above. There was a shack in the far corner of the store to hold all the scary books and comfy chairs behind every corner. In short, it was the most amazing book store I have ever been in. Dale and I did not want to leave, but because we were not buying anything, we felt it necessary to eventually depart. 

So I've decided to apply at local bookstores, including the one described above, to make some money until I get a full time gig. I'm REALLY sick of unemployment and am going to a networking thing tomorrow with PRSA. I'm not really that excited about it, but hopefully it will go well and I will meet some new people. Keep me in your prayers because I'm about to lose my mind with boredom...but as my mother used to say if you're bored its because you're a boring person...actually I don't think Mom said that. I think it was our neighbor Mrs. Lowry. I guess it is a part of the choices I make, but hopefully working at a bookstore will pass the time if I can get a job. Darn this recession. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Unemployment Goods

So if you have ever wondered what I do with all my free time during unemployment, the following pictures are proof I am not sitting on my bum eating bon-bon's. I am just sitting on my bum knitting instead.

In actuality, I only work on these at a maximum an hour a day if that. Most of my time is spent emailing people about informational interviews, making follow up calls, sending my resume to companies, researching companies, and asking friends/ acquaintances for leads...I'm really not a bum.

But at least out of this quiet time in my life some products are being made. Mine and Dale's necks will survive the winter.

This is my first scarf. I believe I started it in 2005 but didn't know a thing about knitting and wasn't really that "into" it yet. I completed it in October just so I could use those needles. It is now worn by our stuff pug names Puggle. (Yes, I still own stuffed animals...and name them...don't judge)

This was my second scarf/ project. I found a pattern I liked, began understanding all the different stitches, picked out some soft yarn, and Voila. It is a little short but Dale doesn't complain.

I made these slippers right before Christmas and contemplated making a pair for all the women in my family as stocking stuffers because they are fairly easy and fast to knit, but decided against it. I didn't want the holiday pressure. If I make these again, I think I'm going to add a strap to make them Mary Janes so they don't fall off as easy. However, I was VERY proud of these since they actually required some measuring and aren't one long strip of cloth.

This item is my most recent addition. I completed it today. It is a little purse/ bag for Corey whose birthday was last week. I got her a little something and wanted something special to put it in. Dale suggested I knit something so I tried out this new pattern I really liked (found on the purl bee) and this is what resulted. I am really proud that I was finally able to use this yellow yarn which I purchased forever ago for a rag doll project. I think it turned out well.