Sunny Day in May

Moody Sea
May is always one of my favorite months. In California the weather was warm again, everything was blooming, and when I was younger it meant that school was almost over for the year. Now that I live in the Pacific Northwest that isn’t always the case. It’s warm and then it’s not, the sky is grey and rainy and you are left wondering why you didn’t wear socks with your shoes. But it’s nice today, the sky is mostly blue, the sun is out, and I’m in a really good place.

I’ve been at this new job for a few months now. I’m still learning things but I feel like I mostly have the day-to-day minutiae of my job down. This summer is a first for business travel and that’s an interesting position to be in. I’ve slowly been accumulating small things to keep that are specifically for travel so I can cut down on the unpack/repack for the few busy months ahead.

I have a handful of half-started ideas I thought I would end up fleshing out sooner. Blog posts, writing ideas, other assorted creative starts are sprinkled everywhere I look. I meant to come here sooner, I always do, but it’s been hard lately.

February ended in a big upheaval, starting a new job, dealing with a car accident, getting a new car, and jumping into everything. I’ve had some other difficult decisions to make and have been processing the result of those decisions for a while now. This all coincided with one of the worst anxiety episodes I’ve had in years. I spent all of April constantly feeling anxious. I couldn’t catch my breath and I felt like I was trying to navigate my life behind warped glass. Everything felt distorted. I feel like I’m finally finding my way out of this anxiety bubble. Things aren’t feeling so impossible anymore. So I’m here because at the moment writing this doesn’t feel just so hard.

I went to San Diego for work at the end of April. Spent my six year anniversary on the beach with my feet in the water and even though I ended up bright red, it’s one of my favorite anniversaries to date. I’m still working through my pictures of San Diego, I just simply haven’t had the desire to upload them and do some editing. But I’m slowly itching to start doing things like that again. With the bursts of nice weather I think about going out adventuring with my camera, which makes me happy.

I’ve started swimming laps this month as well. I have prescription goggles which are amazing inventions and I can’t tell you how good it is to see in the water, really see, not just seeing blurs and not knowing if it was a person or a marking on the side of the wall. Vahid is teaching me to freestyle swim and it’s difficult. Or rather coordinating myself is difficult, but I’m learning. I’ve never been a great swimmer. I would drown in the water but I was only ever a master of a hybrid doggy paddle and underwater swim that barely kept me afloat. I’m managing about 300 meters a session and slowly building up from there.

May always ends up being a big month of change for me. It could be the first signs of spring bring an unconscious want to change. It could be because it’s my birthday month and as such I find myself naturally reflecting back on the previous year and looking forward to the new one. Perhaps it’s nothing to do with anything and it simply takes me five months to start a change. No matter what it feels good to move again, to be hopeful again, and to know that I’m exactly where I should be in this moment.

A little bit of Everything

I just kept waiting because I was hoping I would be able to talk about it but now it’s nearly the end of November, Thanksgiving is this week, and I still can’t. Not yet, soon, but not yet. I try to make a point of not writing about work, for a few reasons, but mostly because I don’t want to have another job where all I do is complain about it. I mean this job is pretty nice as far as jobs go. It’s nothing career building but it’s a good office with nice people and someone is always bringing a dog to work. I only have to work four days a week and now I feel insanely spoiled if I were to get any other job where I was working Monday through Friday.

All that to say that I wish I could talk about what’s going on because it’s awesome and kind of a big deal in that I’ve read stories about stuff like this in school but never thought I’d be on the ground level of something like this. Granted because the office and facility staff is small what’s happening is on the small scale but it’s still pretty awesome.

I’ve also been busy writing. At the end of October I decided to try to complete NaNoWriMo this month and both failed wildly and succeeded unexpectedly. I failed as I haven’t been writing every day, really only about two weeks total, and even for that I am only sitting at about 8,000 words. But it was successful because this is the longest I’ve worked on something without just giving up. I’m also really trying to get a first draft down and not get caught up in details I’d like to change but rather just write because anything can be changed later.

I also decided that since we are renewing the lease and not moving that I was going to decorate because I just haven’t. We’ve lived in this apartment for four years now and every year was the year we were going to move and for one reason or another we didn’t. Some years we just never looked for a new place. Recently rents have just skyrocketed and it didn’t make sense to leave an okay place and pay more money just to live in a similar apartment in a different part of the city. I was sick of living in what felt like a transient space and decided that even if it meant I was going to invest in a lot of putty to fix holes when we did decide to move out I was going to make our place look nice and feel inviting. It’s not completely done but it’s done enough that I feel a lot better about having a bunch of people over for Thanksgiving.

I really don’t know what I’m doing with that story I’m writing. But I am determined to keep writing and just see where it goes. It’s so hard to write but writing and decorating has really sparked a lot of my creativity. I am itching to paint again and draw and I found my pens it feels good to be in touch with part of myself again. I was so creative when I was younger and perhaps it’s something about “growing up” that we feel we must put things like that bed and embrace this more “adult” version of ourselves. Maybe I just put it away as I became more and more bogged down with the stress of life and now I can finally find it again and embrace it.

This has been a good month full of things and full of life.

How have you been? Do you have plans for Thanksgiving? What have you been up to this month?

Monthly Triumphs of August

I’m sitting here wondering what I actually accomplished this month. It’s been a little stressful at work and when I think of August those stressors pop into my mind. However, despite that it’s been a good month and here’s why:

  • Vahid and I are cooking nearly all our meals at home. I’m really loving the routine we’ve developed of getting our produce (and most of our meat) at the Farmer’s Market each week and cooking with really good, really fresh ingredients. It’s really great to learn new uses for things I used to just walk by each week like leeks and fennel.
  • We bought a new mattress and our sleep has dramatically improved. I knew our old mattress wasn’t great and wasn’t giving up good quality sleep anymore but I wasn’t expecting such a difference. I don’t wake up in a bunch of pain from sleeping on a mattress past it’s prime. It’s a much better way to start the morning!
  • Exercising in the morning. This isn’t an every single morning activity yet as I’m still adjusting to waking up a little earlier to accomplish this but the mornings that we have been doing this I’ve felt more alert and just felt more energized throughout the day.
  • Reading. This might seem silly but it’s been quite a long time since I’ve dedicated time (nearly) every day to do some reading. I’m even reading a book just for pleasure (I’ve been reading a lot of books on thinking, habits, and general self improvement) which is a great change of pace. This summer one of my favorite things has been to just sit on the shared patio with a book and a glass of iced tea or lemonade in the evenings and read. It’s pretty nice, even if I don’t have the whole place to myself.
  • Drawing some boundaries professionally. I don’t mind my job mostly. I’m not in love with it. I don’t wake up super excited for work, but I don’t dread going either. But it was good that for the first time I was able to draw a line in the proverbial sand about a couple things and it felt good. No one was upset and I was glad that this will end up being a place where I am not expected to be ready to work ‘round-the-clock.

I suppose once I thought about it this month has been pretty eventful!

How has your month gone? What are some things you’ve accomplished or are accomplishing?

Working Girl

The night before my first day at this new job I was quite anxious. I was worried I was going to muck it up, that they weren’t going to like me, that I wasn’t going to like them. Everyone told me it was going to be fine and I knew it was going to be but that didn’t stop me fretting about everything.

It’s been a few weeks now and I’ve settled into the role a little bit. There’s still things I’m learning of course, but for the most part I have what I need down. For the most part my job is simple. I have a couple thing I do each day and then I fill in where needed.

This is the first job I’ve had where I actually like coming to work. I enjoy the people I work with and the hours are superb. I get to take lunch when I want instead of at a certain time whether I’m hungry or not. It’s great working in an environment that is caring rather than hostile.

I work downtown and that’s great for lunch. I’m able to meander down to the food carts to grab a quick bite. After work I’m a few blocks from my friend’s work and we meet for happy hour. I can actually go to happy hour. I walk so much more here and that’s a huge thing. I get to walk in the city during Spring, one of my absolute favorite times of the year.

I only work four days a week and I really love having three days off. It’s almost like I can get a mini-vacation in every weekend if I want to. My hours are great too as I’m off when the office closes at 4pm.

But mainly it’s the people. I’ve never worked with such caring and just genuinely nice people before. We had an end-of-year meeting (they run like a school year) and there was a salad potluck and we even had pies and cake to celebrate the birthdays. Mine was included even though I’d only just started. Everyone wrote really nice things and the whole experience has been lovely.

I was skeptical about this job at first and I wasn’t even sure if I was going to take it at one point. But you know what? It’s turned out to be a wonderful job to have.

Interview Stories

Job interviews are funny things. Sometimes you interview for a job and walk out confident you got it only to receive a rejection a day later. Sometimes you leave the interview more confused than when you went in. Sometimes you walk out believing there’s no way you are getting the job only to have it offered to you a few days later.

As odd as an interview can be the lack of interviews can be quite disheartening. My average interview success was about 1 interview for every 14 job applications or so. The odds were not great. Perhaps it was my cover letters or my lack of certain things on my resume. Or perhaps it’s simply that so many qualified people are applying that it’s hard to get seen when everyone is so qualified.

To keep my spirits up during this time I decided to write down some of the weird interviews I’ve experienced and how they eventually panned out for me.

Job Interview #1:

This was for a home care aid, I mainly did it as a favor for a friend. She had set it up with her boss and I felt guilty saying no outright as it was during a time I was unemployed and she knew I was looking for work.

After the initial questions the woman interviewing me asked, “would you ever hit an old person?” I was taken aback but then realized the job I was interviewing for. I said I obviously wouldn’t. But she then elaborates, “what if you were very frustrated with the patient, they were being angry and yelling, would you hit them then?” The questions just kept getting more and more intricate as she went on. “What if the patient hit you after you said something they didn’t like and if you did hit them would that be self defense?” “What about if they came charging at you violently, would you hit them then?” The more I said no the more disappointed she became. While this could simply be a way to rule out people would eventually snap at her for the questions it was a little bit unnerving that we spent 20 minutes on this question.

After that she told me her life story but the time she came to America with her parents, to her marriage, to her kids, and her grandkids. She told me her beauty secret, although I can’t remember it now.

She did offer me the job before I left the interview but I turned it down for several reasons.

Job Interview #2:

I got a call from a company asking if I was interested in a specific job with them that they had my resume on file and felt I would be a good match if I was looking for a job. I hadn’t been but was at the time frustrated with my current work. I had a pre-interivew phone screening and was set up with an interview. The woman I interviewed with loved and me and said I would be the perfect fit for the job. The job sounded amazing on paper. I had one more interview with three gentlemen later in the week.

The first two men I talked with sang my praises. I’m not joking about that. They basically said I was the perfect person for this job and based on my work history and education I’d love this job. I was so stoked because I was excited for this job.

The final man walked in and threw my resume across the table at it and uttered, “well I’m not hiring you.” I hadn’t even stood up to introduce myself when he said this. After some back and forth it came out that he thought I’d be better suited as a temporary admin worker than the job I was interviewing for. He also didn’t notice that my resume had a back page.

I left that interview extremely angry and sad. I let myself believe that I would walk out of that interview with this fancy new job. I didn’t and after contemplation I can say that I dodged this bullet. The universe was helping me out with this one. The only woman in that office was the receptionist as the woman who initially interviewed me was with another office out of town and filling in for her (male) counterpart. I believe that it didn’t matter if I was qualified or not that I was not getting that job.

Job Interview #3

This job also had a phone interview component. After chatting for a few moments the lady I was talking with said she loved what she was hearing and wanted me to come and meet the team. I had an interview on a Sunday morning with a group of three women. I didn’t prep for this interview so I know I fumbled a bit. Working in a team environment was important so I answered a questions with, “when I finish my set tasks for the day I always try to help my team members with extra work,” or something to that effect. It did not go over well.; neither did my other statement of, “I try to find the most efficient way to solve the problem and I look for ways to make work more streamlined.” This caused one of the women to say that my looking to streamline things could infringe on others work and make them not feel valued. It was something I hadn’t heard before in an interview.

There was more fumbling and lots of things I said were viewed as combative and once I left I was just left with a feeling of strangeness. My weaknesses weren’t weak enough and my strengths weren’t strong enough. I just left with the attitude of “this is what I’ve got to offer and if that’s not enough then so be it.” I sent a silent prayer to the universe that if this was meant to be it would work out.

The next day I got an offer letter and ended up taking the job.

Interviews are strange and hard and sometimes they lead to new adventures.