Sunday, September 30, 2007

Doing the internet personals thing is weird. I've mentioned this before, right? What with all the actual old-fashioned going-out-on-dates one has to do? It's like getting set up on a blind date by your cousin, except your cousin is a poorly-designed web portal who asks a lot of lame questions. At least having to try to explain to a stranger who I am, in an hour or less, has made me much more comfortable in job interviews. And that's a skill I'll need, since tomorrow is my first day of official unemployment.

My to-do list for Monday:

Wake up sobbing
Buy cat food
Apply for unemployment
Have panic attack
Do laundry
Go to Post Office, mail off eBay items
Eat nothing but egg rolls
Look for jobs on craigslist and mediabistro
Stare at the boxes of crap taken from my office
Make more shrinky-dink earrings for dandie
Water plants

And so on. Tuesday should be a little less grim, since a group of recently-canned coworkers are gathering to watch Ugly Betty and eat take-out all day. After that, the future opens up before me as an endless black void. And it's cold out there. So very, very cold.

Getting laid off due to downsizing is kind of nice in the way that getting to be at your own funeral is kind of nice. Sure, you're dead, and therefore no longer an active player in the story of your life (or career). But if you're lucky, like I am, you hear a lot of people saying a lot of genuinely nice things about you that you wouldn't have otherwise heard. You may be surprised at who comes to the funeral; there might be people you thought had forgotten about you. A few people you thought you might see won't show up at all. For the most part, I've felt incredibly supported, both with words of wisdom and with job leads. I still haven't used all of my networking contacts. I might feel differently when my severance pay is about to run out (late January) but for now I feel great. Terrified, but pretty hopeful, and determined to make the most out of this time of forced semi-retirement from the working world.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I am packing up my office. It's weird how little I feel. I mean, I am constantly worried I won't find a job, and that it will be a cold winter, and people will forget about me. At the official farewell party last night I was making jokes about networking with the homeless people who hang out under the railroad bridge, you know, just in case that's what I end up doing. But I'm not yet at the point of despair. A few more weeks of failure has to happen first (I'll let you know, I'm sure). Right now it feels likely that I'll have to take a job that pays less than what I'm getting now, and I'll have to scramble to make extra income to pick up the slack. I don't have an extravagant lifestyle, so it's difficult to find things to cut out of my budget.

Anyway. Onward and upward. Goodbye squarehouse, goodbye mouse. Goodbye people I've worked with for 11 years. It's a lovely day outside and I need a nap.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hey, look at me! I joined BlogHer. Which means I now have a beautiful, life-giving advertisement over there on the right. Isn't it great? And shiny? Don't you want to click on it, and then tell all of your friends to come to this blog and click on it too? I thought so. Get to it, people!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I just came from Isabel Baker's 90th birthday celebration. She's been living in Laurel Park for 40-something years, and has been active in the life of the community the entire time. She's one of those elderly people you want to be when you grow up. She's warm, friendly, sharp, has a lot of self-awareness and a sense of humor about herself. I hope I am half as loved as she is if I get to be 90.

After we'd all eaten potluck lunch, the mayor of Northampton (also a resident of the Park) read an official proclamation declaring today Isabel Baker Day. And the current president of the Laurel Park Association (not the same thing as the homeowner's association... it's complicated) presented Isabel with a brass plaque thanking her for her service to the LP community; the plaque will be installed in the Tabernacle. Then Isabel spoke. She thanked all of us for coming, and introduced a woman who had come all the way from Japan -- when the woman was in college, she traveled around the U.S., and bumped into Isabel's husband, who made her come over for dinner. Her English wasn't good, but her French was, so Isabel brought over a friend to translate from French to English. They stayed in touch over many years. Isabel told some stories about the old days of the Park, and ended by saying that whether she'd known us for a long time or a very short one, we were all very dear to her. Then we sang and had yummy cake.

I was also fortunate enough to sit at a table with Harry and Priscilla, a couple who met as kids at the Methodist summer camp here. They just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. As a child, Priscilla may have even slept in my house, back when it was a dorm (there were 2 or 3 similar dorms). So cool.

The whole experience filled me with gladness, and made me more determined to keep this house. I hope I can do it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I no longer have any actual work to do, in these twilight days of my job (officially unemployed in 12 days!). And I have never been so busy. I have a gazillion people to contact and ask for advice, get names and email addresses and phone numbers of other people to contact, and they send me to other people, or tell me about jobs to apply for... It's amazing how much I've managed to keep on top of, what with my lack of any sort of personal organizational system. I've only let a few things slip through my fingers, mostly by choice (my hairdresser urged me to call her niece, who works at a web company; haven't done it yet). I have a couple of interviews coming up, which is awesome. I have a good pitch idea in mind but I haven't gotten around to writing it yet. Our off-site editor people are coming tomorrow, and we have dinner and drinking plans both Wednesday and Thursday evenings. I am also getting advice on applying for unemployment, and using COBRA vs. one of the cheaper MA-provided plans, etc. In between all of this, I am sorting all the stuff in my cube.

And then there's all the stuff at home I want to do. I bought the supplies for baking my own bagels; I want to finally refinish this coffee-table thing I've had for awhile, plus repaint my metal patio set; I need to do some all-around cleaning (always); and sew some fancy scarves in addition to the cool t-shirt ones I made for dandie. There's the big-ass quilt still unfinished, too. This weekend has a trip to the Big E, plus the Laurel Park matriarch's 90th birthday potluck lunch.

I enjoy being busy and all, but this is getting a bit ridiculous.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I kind of love Kathy Griffin. Not many people know this, but I am a regular listener of a couple of hilarious, vulgar, NSFW and very, very gay podcasts (PNS Explosion and Daily Purge, can I get a what-what!). And Kathy fits right in to that genre. Yes, she's had too much plastic surgery, but there's something about her that totally charms me. So I was thrilled to read about her acceptance speech for the Emmy she just won:

In her speech, Griffin said that "a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus."

She went on to hold up her Emmy, make an off-color remark about Christ and proclaim, "This award is my god now!"

Predictably, the Catholic League of Eternal Disapproval or whatever the hell it's called has condemned the speech, and now they're going to edit the "bad" parts out of the telecast. Lame.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I'm using a new template! The old "classy" beige/tan was getting a little dull. List of links has been updated and refreshed as well.

If you call someone and he texts you back saying he can't talk just now because he just got out of the money machine, which would you assume?
A. He somehow became trapped in an ATM vestibule and needed rescue.
B. He won big at Bingo and got to enter the Money Machine: a glass cabinet full of swirling wind-blown money, where he had 45 seconds to grab as much cash as he could.

"A" is the more reasonable choice, right? It's Occam's Razor, people. But no, the true story is "B." And it's not my tale to tell, so you'll have to hit up Henning next time you see him.

Speaking of seeing people you know, next time you're in a check-out line and you see a copy of the October 2007 issue of Disney Adventures magazine, pick it up and turn to the first page.

Monday, September 10, 2007

After a short period of rallying, by television now appears to have turned the darkened corner towards actual tube-death. On Saturday I decided to turn the TV on after a couple of hours of listening to my iPod on shuffle (the best part: "Johnny Thunder" [Kinks] and "Hold Back the Rain" [um, yes: Duran Duran] coming on during a brief thunderstorm) and I couldn't get the picture to show up for more than a few seconds. I tried slapping and hitting it in various spots and with varying degrees of strength, but it was futile. I only wanted it to be on as background while I did a mindless sewing project, so I ended up listening to a Hallmark Original Movie starring Shelley Long and Patrick Duffy. I lasted a half-hour. Still, the experience didn't make me loathe myself and everyone else, like watching "Rock of Love" (a.k.a. "Strippers Fighting," thanks Scott) does. I have a problem with that show. It's a car crash from which I can't look away. I need a personalized V-Chip that blocks that show from my life — plus "Flavor of Love," "Parental Control," "Cheaters," and "Intervention."

I might need to add that new show about the lobster boats... I watched one episode recently, and it started off with an airlift rescue of a cameraman who went into shock after being violently seasick for three days. They kept showing the guy, looking pale and awful and semi-conscious, unable to swallow a sip of water as he lolled on the bed in the cabin of a pitching, rolling boat. I have a surfeit of empathy, so just typing that is making me feel like I need several Bonine and a nap somewhere very very still. Even while I watched it I was thinking, "Shit. More raw material for my nightmares." And yet, I had to see the guy get rescued and healthy again. At least he made it out of there ok... Which is more I can say about the poor "Rock of Love" girls.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Someone at the sing tonight asked me where I worked, and I had to say, "Well, until the end of the month, I work at ..." She was a college senior, and so I acted hopeful about my job prospects, not wanting to crush her tender, optimistic soul. I'm still in the planning and plotting phase of my job search. I did send out one cover letter/resume via email last week, and have another position a friend is encouraging me to apply for (excuse me: "another position for which a friend is encouraging me to apply;" gotta have the perfect grammar if'n I want a writin' jorb). I hope to send that out tomorrow, after I get my new "professional" blog going. I bought a domain name (which is my name, .net, since some asshole is squatting on my name .com) and everything. The site will just have my clips online. I don't have the web skills to make it look amazing, but I'd rather it not look quite as amateur and "web 1.0" as it does right now. Sigh.

My garden is in the last frenzied throes of productivity. I can't even keep up with pinching off the basil flower buds. The tomato vines are beginning to brown and wither but there's still plenty of fruit getting ripe every day. I've blanched, peeled, and frozed a bunch of the smaller variety of tomatoes, and I've been giving away some, and I have been trying to eat a tomato a day. I'm trying to really savor them because the season is short, and you just can't get good tomatoes in a store... But it's tough when there are so many tomatoes in the garden you feel guilty when you go a day without consuming one.

My god, this post reads like I have the life of an old woman. I'm exciting and with-it, I swear! Once you get to know me! And after I've had my arthritis medicine, and there's no rain in the forecast, and I've taken my Centrum and Ensure...