Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cool Craigslist Perspective

This week I started volunteering with COOL Youth, met a woman from Craigslist about a possible friendship and got a new perspective on what I want to do with my life. I will now approach these out of order, the way I was taught not to.

In March, I posted an ad on Craigslist looking for someone to hang out with once I moved to Minneapolis. I wanted to meet someone that lived in my neighborhood and wasn't frightening to spend time with. (At this point, I have ended half of my sentences with prepositions.) Krista replied one late night, and we traded Facebook information. Up until this week, we had been inadvertently avoiding each other. We met for coffee at a neighborhood coffee shop and then moved on to eat dinner at a local Vietnamese restaurant. Overall, I thought it went well, but I talked way too much. I think a lot of my uncontrollable life-story word vomit is rooted in the need to get it over with and lay the crazy out on the table.

Monday I also started volunteering for COOL Youth. "What is COOL Youth?" you might ask. It's a non-faith based after-school/summer program for low-income families in my neighborhood. And, it's amazing, and I love it. I hang out with fun kids all day who don't waste time trying to act suave and sophisticated. It's really refreshing, and we take turns battling to be the center of attention. Another great thing is the staff is awesome and really dedicated to the kids. Even grumpy, tired kids end up running around smiling their little faces off.

I'm liking the experience so much, I've applied to be an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow with COOL Youth and work there for a year. It's all plus-sides. I would get the experience necessary to coordinate a similar, youth-based program. I would be able to establish network connections in the community. Oh, and they'd pay me to be there. It's nuts. I've been looking at job requirements for positions around town with after-school programs and non-profits that work with youth. This AmeriCorps Promise Fellow position would give me the experience necessary to turn a beloved volunteer opportunity into a promising, non-morally compromising career. I think it's interesting that it took me this long to realize that I don't have to sell stuff to make a living.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Top 5: Why I Don't Tweet

I don't own a smartphone.
Jared and I are on a small budget and can't justify spending $30.00 a month each on a data plan. I tend to purchase "old lady" phones more commonly known as "the cheapest ones." I did splurge on my last phone, because I liked the keyboard more and it had a flash.

Generally, I justify not owning a smartphone by the age old adage, "I just want a phone that is a phone," but really I'm just 24/7 broke.

I feel that owning a smartphone is crucial to being able to update Twitter regularly enough to benefit from use.  
I don't like people knowing what I'm doing.
I am not the type to be connected at the hip to my phone. Actually, I don't usually know where my phone is --- probably on a table somewhere. I don't like the idea of people being able to contact me whenever they feel like it. It makes me feel like my time isn't mine, but public property. This same attitude extends to my daily happenings. What I eat for lunch is nobody's business but mine. And, I'm not going to bother my friends with that knowledge either. Because, who cares what kind of soup I'm eating. (I'm not eating soup, by the way.) 
None of my friends use Twitter.
For real. I don't know who has Twitter and who updates regularly. I'm willing to bet not as many as are on Facebook.
I've reached my "enough" point with social media. 
Right now, I'm on Facebook. I read Jezebel, Mary Jane, Geekosystem, and Newser. I get a lot more information from the news blogs and enjoyment from the commenters than I would reading random statements on Twitter. And, the good news is that Jezebel covers any funny celebrity tweets I miss. Anymore keeping up with social media and I might evolve into a barnacle.  
I am not cool enough to use Twitter. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June Catsup

Monday, I sat down with Tracey and George from Jabbok Family Services. We discussed their COOL Youth Program over the school year and the summer program that begins the 27th. The summer program sounds really fun, and it's clear that they're really serving the community.

This afternoon, I attended volunteer orientation and met some of the other volunteers for the summer program. I was a little surprised to be the eldest volunteer by almost a decade. I talked to a woman that is volunteering with COOL Youth to fill the service requirement to graduate high school. I told her about chaperoning for the middle school dances in Platteville. Then later I realized that when I was nineteen and chaperoning, she would have been old enough to attend said dances. Oh boy.

The COOL Youth program is arts focused which is great. I like that I can work with youth, work with art and work with people like George and Tracey who seem to genuinely care about the program they run. That is why I applied for an Americorps Fellowship to work with youth over the next year (hopefully with Jabbok).

After orientation, I ran home and threw on my interview uniform. Right now, my uniform has evolved to be black dress pants, a black tank top, black socks, black shoes and a cover up of some kind (Today it was a hot pink sweater.). I leisurely walked to the Marriott. I had never been there before and asked the valet where HR was located. Today was a group interview with myself and one other person. I think it went okay. Actually, I'm not 100% sure, because when we met or interviewer he was all smiles and by the time it was over he was straight faced. This might be a bad sign. Well, I'll know by the end of the week.

What I am really excited about is the summer program with Jabbok. I bought a one piece and a cover up; I am ready for some fun in the sun. Hanging out with kids keeps you young. I just want to have fun and a good reason to act like I'm ten. Being surrounded by thirty kids under 11 and four or so volunteers still in high school should help.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Alteril Alters Me

Most people who know me understand that I have near crippling insomnia. My internal clock would like me to stay up until around 10 AM and wake up at about four PM. To alter my preferred sleeping pattern, I have been trying Alteril. I take one Alteril an hour before bed and then patiently wait for it to finally kick in.

Tonight, I made a grave mistake for which I blame Michael J. Fox. I stayed up past the sleep wave I usually get at the end of the hour to watch the rest of Doc Hollywood (which is a wonderful, heart-warming movie). Now, I am awake and still planning on waking up at nine AM.

But, if I stay up past one AM,
I will not get a full eight hours sleep
and might rise from my bed
a fifty-foot, fire-breathing monster
hell-bent on using hyphens with
enjambments. Then, what will this
world come to?

Here I am online, downloading audio books on how to speak Italian. My plan is to go to the Minneapolis Institute of Art and sketch copies of their carefully curated collection and alliterate a lot. Just joking. I'll iterate Italian idioms instead.

Sleeping pills make my humor do wacky things.

Also, I've been reading Your Money or Your Life. (I'm thinking! I'm thinking!) It's making my ideas on time and use of time seem less out there. Tomorrow, I sketch, and then I blog about my time since we last spoke. Oggi, parlo poco Italiano. Parla inglese? Forse. Non capisco. Pizza.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rejection Month

As of today I have been searching for employment actively for one month. Let me tell you this: once I get a job I'm going to dig my bear hands in and never let go. Looking for work when you are unemployed is extremely dissatisfying. No amount of unflinching optimism can prepare you for the monsoon that searching for a job releases on your self-worth parade. All you are left to do is retire to your tiny apartment for a solo pity party. (Not that I don't throw a great pity party, but eating a whole pan of brownies is getting harder now that I'm not a preteen.)

Here is the run down. I have had interviews with Hilton, Macy's, and Saks Fifth Avenue. I've also had telephone interviews with U.S. Bank and Well's Fargo. I have exchanged emails with MCAD. I have sent 31 applications out through Craigslist. I have accounts with Snagajob, Indeed, Monster, Minnesota State Jobs, Manpower Inc. as well as private companies. I have interviews to come with Marriott and Well's Fargo. 

My skills at cover letter writing are developing surely but slowly. I have a pretty succinct resume. I feel like I bomb my interviews. My confidence is not very high in that kind of setting. I actually told the people at Hilton that my long term goal was to act more like an adult. While that could be better than explaining that I don't promote the idea of expectation, because it only leads to disappointment; it was definitely a bad answer. My biggest issue with interviewing is that it's eerily similar to modern dating. They want you to sugarcoat your personality and then release whatever crazy you might have slowly rather than jump in with both feet and clearly labeled flaws. This is a big problem for someone who believes everyone should have labels that tell you exactly what your dealing with up front (like an FDA warning.)

With the Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's interviews, I'm really glad I didn't get a call back. I don't think retail is a good idea for anyone who wants to earn a living wage. Retail is accepted wage slavery. People think of working in retail as the job someone holds down in college or high school while going to school full time. But, many companies cannot hire someone under 18. For many people retail is their reality. They hold down that crappy job selling you affluence wearing clothes they had to buy on sale, because otherwise they wouldn't be able to afford it.

On Monday, I'm going to Jabbok Family Services to see about volunteering as a tutor and mentor for kids grades 6-12. I'm pretty excited about the possibility of doing anything with my time that isn't in front of a screen. Wednesday, I have a group job interview with Wells Fargo in Bloomington.

My plans are to keep looking for work, but if I don't find anything by mid-July, then I am going to go back to school for a degree in Network Administration. I have a tour of Minneapolis Community Technical College in July. I really don't want to go back to school though. I want to live an understated life enjoying my time before I'm too old to enjoy anything. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Small Words

When I was fifteen, I read a book titled Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein. Admittedly, I didn't understand a lot of the misogyny and ego stroking that went on behind the curtain of martians and religious questioning. Because of my naivety, I loved this book. One of my favorite topics approached was the difficulty of language. Michael Valentine remarked that the smaller words are, the more difficult they are to define. His example was "love." At this point in my life, I'm having a hard time with small words. Specifically, I have a hard time with "adult" and "peer."

I can drink, smoke, marry and vote, but I am not old enough to be considered dependent of my parents according to the FAFSA. I pay my own rent, have credit cards and utility bills. My parents haven't helped me much over the years. (They did give me $250.00 in 2007, when I overdrew my bank account and freaked out. But, what's a girl to do working part-time at a small record store while attending boring lectures on Macroeconomics.) And yet, when I want to apply to a community college for a degree in Network Administration, I am told that I need to supply not only my tax information, but also my parents. All these hoops because I was born two days shy of the cut off of July 1988.

FAFSA hoops aside, I feel like I won't be an adult until I'm married or grey-haired or a homeowner. As if I won't be fully developed until there is an "r" in my prefix and a mortgage to my name. Or better yet, if I have tiny copies of me running around driving me insane. 

My hopes and dreams of being an adult without giving birth or incurring serious lifestyle change ride solely on the statistical fact that I am not alone. More women (and men) are choosing to stay single and rent their dwellings. More homes are choosing dogs over children. I am not sure if as a nation we are building a new normal that will stick, or if this new normal will be gone once the economy picks up. For now, I don't feel quite so alone in this Peter Pan life. 

The other confusing syllable is "peer." Personally, I've always had a problem with the word "peer." Mostly, because the word is so flexible. We can choose who our peers are in context between similar age, status or ability. For instance, my peers are anyone unmarried; or twenty-something; or anyone who can draw or blog or paint or walk and chew gum; or anyone unemployed; or anyone lower class. (Or am I lower-middle class? Everyone thinks they're middle class.) So, when a friend tells me she is jealous of her peer who has the new job, should I be jealous? What if, to me anyways, that person is not my peer? And what if I haven't found myself jealous of anyone? 

I have always felt that I exist, mind and body, as a separate thing. I feel like I am not a part of a tribe or group or gander. I don't compare my life to others in a competitive way. I can make a factual statement without spin.  Or, at least, I'd like to think so. This makes it very difficult to point out my peers and, better yet, to understand competition among peers.

Then again, find me a 22 year-old woman in a large city with an art degree from a small town who struggles to find a job and lives with her slightly older, introverted, science-y boyfriend. Maybe then I will have a peer. Or maybe I'll pretend it's a social experiment and one of us can be the control. Who knows what adventures doppelgangers might have.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I'm trying to remember all the books I've read. Here is the list so far.

Them: Adventures with Extremists
Tim Gunn's Golden Rules
Holidays on Ice

Fear of Flying
Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture
Heart in the Right Place: A Memoir
When You Are Engulfed in Flames
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim - College
I Am Not Myself These Days
The Lovely Bones
The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine
God's Brothel: The Extortion of Sex for Salvation in Contemporary Mormon and Christian Fundamentalist Polygamy and the
Stories of 18 Women Who Escaped
Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs
Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's Wife
The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel
The Secret Life of Bees
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Ninteen Eighty-Four
Brave New World
Jane Eyre
Book of Joe
The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Of Mice and Men
Things Fall Apart
Heart of Darkness
The Awakening
God-Shaped Hole
The Tutor
I Am the Cheese
Cold Sassy Tree
The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 1: Charmed Life / The Lives of Christopher Chant
The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 2: The Magicians of Caprona / Witch Week
Dark Lord of Derkholm
Year of the Griffin
Fire and Hemlock
The Time of the Ghost
Fahrenheit 451
Romeo and Juliet
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Catcher in the Rye
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Crucible
A Raisin in the Sun
The Halloween Tree
From the Dust Returned
Stranger in a Strange Land
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
Freak The Mighty
Ella Enchanted
The Outsiders
The Giver
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Number the Stars
Where the Red Fern Grows
A Wrinkle in Time
Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, Austria-France, 1769
Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne
Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging
Catherine, Called Birdy
My Brother Sam Is Dead
The World's Best Fairy Tales

    If anyone remembers me recommending a book that isn't on this list, please let me know. If any of my English teachers read this and wonder why Metamorphosis or whatever isn't on this list, I'm willing to say I may have used Spark-notes.

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    This Week In Herstory

    On the job front:
    This week, I've interviewed with a high-end department store and a hotel in Minneapolis. I received an email from an art school about a position in their art store. I've met up with a woman from a temp agency about finding an office job. I need to call another agency and register with them. And today, I received a phone call from an office supply store about a specialized sales job. However, I don't know if the job at the office supply store will meet my salary requirements.

    I really want the job at the hotel. I think it will be a great opportunity for a career in hospitality. What I like most is that the hotel brand has hotels all over downtown, so I can find open positions within a number of hotels while staying with the same company. I sent a thank you letter this afternoon to the manager. It's important to me to seem eager for the position. Because, well, I am.

    On the home front:
    Minneapolis is awesome. I really like the city. I feel like anything is possible, and I can do anything I want here. I'm also getting a big head, because my price of living is so cheap. I can walk almost anywhere, and once I get a job I will be getting a bus pass. That will open up a whole world of "what next."

    On the Jared front:
    Jared took a job with Swiss Valley about an hour from town. It's not super high paying, but there is a very real opportunity for promotion. We're both very excited.

    On the Netflix queue:
    We're watching Lost, Psych, Veronica Mars and a lot of random movies (some starring John Cleese). I've found a lot of humor in telling Jared that "the thing [he] hates most about Lost is that [he] doesn't hate it." We've been spending our afternoons exploring the city and our nights watching TV.

    On the shore front:
    Jared and I realized we don't have any goals to save for tonight at dinner. I really want to go to Disney World, so I'm looking into that. It's a real possibility. Jared wants to spend some time in south Florida not at Disney World too. I don't know why he'd want to do that. All I think about is Mickey Ears with my name on them and 186 foot castles.
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