For years, I have been aware of a particular lady. Why she has made such an impression on me, I am not certain. I first became aware of her when I was around 5 or 6. I cannot be certain of the year, but I remember that I first saw her outside the old Sedano’s supermarket where my mom used to shop for groceries when I was very young. My mom stopped frequenting that store when I was about 8, so it has been a good long time. The lady I speak of must have been in her late 40s or early 50s at the time. She was begging by the entrance to the store and I remember my mom offering her what change she had as we made our way to the car. Perhaps it is because I was so young that it made such an impression on me, or perhaps it is because I continue to see her around the city. Always she looks so downtrodden and poor. I wonder how she came to be in the position that she is in. I cannot say for certain if she is homeless, but the ever darkening tan that marks her skin is evidence of long days spent on the streets. I’ve seen her all around town, near intersections, outside stores, by malls, always holding her hand out for a bit of spare change. Sometimes years pass before I see her again, but when I do I cannot help but wonder what her life has been like during those intervening years. I’ve been aware of her for over 20 years. Always I wish I could do more to help her. There are times when I don’t have any money on me and I regret the fact for days. She reminds me of my grandmother, similar in stature and appearance; I imagine what my grandmother’s life would have been like under similar circumstances.

what I’ve learned

The recession (and not having a proper job for about a year) has taught me a bit about money and how not to spend it.

These are a few of the things I’ve learned, though I learned some the hard way:

  • You really can control your spending if you can see what you’re spending. I made a spreadsheet to chart what I earn, my monthly bills, what I owe, what I have saved, and what I can consider “me” money. It’s really helped me become aware of my spending habits.
  • Don’t charge it unless you can pay it off. An easy one, so why don’t more of us follow this rule? I’ve learned that if I can’t pay cash for my tall chai at the Starbucks at school, I shouldn’t charge it. As it is, I will be paying off my tea and coffee habit for the next year or two… so much for the caffeinated grad student lifestyle.
  • Simple meals can be filling and cheap, and cooking for my b-chan makes me feel incredibly creative in the kitchen.
  • Some things really are free… free entries to parks (my camera thanks me for these), free entree when you buy two, free mini facials at a training school, free cake (at least where I work, I try to steer clear of these lest I give in to my sweet-tooth).
  • Libraries have books! I love books! I can’t afford them all! OMG I can go to the library! Yes, I’m in library school, but until last year, I never really visited any of my county libraries. University libraries also have non-academic treasures for some light reading.
  • The right accessories can spruce up your wardrobe. Scarves, pins, and faux pearls can go a long way to creating some neat outfits.
  • The bank is not here to help you, no matter how often they say that they can help you figure out your finances if you give them a call. My current credit rating does not thank me for that call. I’m more than a little bitter about what they did when I called about adjusting my interest rate and/or minimum payments.

on my irrational fear(s)

This is a kind of confession and explanation. I had a discussion last night that got me thinking about why I find it so worrisome to have my “real life” friends read my posts, and why I prefer sharing random thoughts with people that I don’t really know.

After mulling this over for a bit, I now realize that it started when I was in high school…

I had a friend who introduced me to blogging and design. She and I worked on some silly little web-projects that never really took off, mostly because we kept arguing over what the sites should look like and who our co-authors should be. As a result, we both started individual projects of our own, ultra-bright badly coded sites on geocities, but we were only 16 and experimenting with html, so what did it matter. This was also around the time that livejournal was the big social networking medium. We each had accounts, but I never gave much thought to who was reading my entries. In other words, I didn’t think she was paying much mind to what I was writing.

It turned out that she was.

I wrote an entry about a particular event and she took offense. I felt that I was only describing my experience of the event and meant no harm by it. They were my views and I was certain that I was justified in expressing them.

Well, that friendship ended badly.

That’s when I started censoring what I wrote, not sharing my blog(s) with friends, and made my journal friends only (only to later start a new journal altogether in an effort to get away from that part of my web experience).

As some people know, I shut this site down for a while and only wrote on my journal. But I like to write, and I think of this blog as a kind of narrative exercise, just as my book blog is an exercise in writing about books (after all, I have a Lit degree, I should keep it up).

Yes, my worry is somewhat irrational. I am still worried that someone might react badly to something I’ve written, and I would rather it was someone I didn’t really know.

under the rainbow

I may be losing more hours than I thought, I may be losing a whole semester actually (summer term, but a good six weeks nonetheless). It looks like the budget for my department has been squandered on who knows what, seems that our brilliant director wasn’t doing much.

I’m trying to stay positive and take things as they come. There are others facing situations that are far more dire than mine. It’s hard. As someone who just completed a graduate degree, I’m one of the many dealing with the lack of options brought on by the recession. The markets I would have worked in with my degree (publishing or advertising) are nearly nonexistent in my region at the moment, so I decided to get my MLS sooner rather than later and take advantage of the upswing in library jobs that are predicted to result from baby boomer retirements.

I’m hoping and waiting and taking the extra hours in my day to get creative (and work on schoolwork when I start the library program in May). I even took advantage of the Tara McPherson coloring book kit that my friend gave me for Christmas. I took it to work and colored these two pages. (pictures taken with my phone while at work).

The kit brings a coloring book, art cards, and a box of crayons in the palette that McPherson generally uses for her artwork. It was fun. It has been ages since I used waxy crayons.

a whirlwind of dust

I find cleaning to be a very cathartic activity, especially when it involves getting rid of old, useless junk. This afternoon, I became a bit upset over something that I had no control over, so I decided to finally tackle my bookshelf, my two junk drawers, and the drawer where I keep all of my digital photo stuff. The result, I feel slightly less edgy and my bookshelf looks all neat and colorful 🙂


Managed to resolve my work issue with a carefully worded email to the director. I expressed my concerns and offered suggestions for possible long term projects that I could develop, projects that would make use of my skills rather than keep me busy on a task that has no relation to my position. Overall, I think I handled it quite nicely. The librarian I work with was very supportive; she liked that I defended myself and told me that the other assistant is only now coming to realize that she should have done the same when she first started – they have her working on all sorts of tasks that are not related to the library.

So what’s in the agenda for today? I’m going to try my hand at making a cheesecake. It’s a thank you offering for my boyfriend’s dad, who kindly took care of my car. The whole family loves cheesecake, so it’ll be a nice treat.

And after cheesecake, Watchmen. Though I said no to a late night show as I don’t want to deal with crazy lines and a packed theater. I’ll take a matinee.

How do you tell your boss “No.” without making it seem that you don’t want to be a “teamplayer”?

I have this side job that I really enjoy. It’s in the field that I have chosen to pursue and I’ve met some great people. However, the director of the program has approached me twice regarding duties that are unrelated to my job and that I feel are absolutely wrong for me.

He first approached me about a possible teaching position, and I explained that my recent decision to quit teaching had led to my applying for this position; as such, I am not looking to return to that field.

Tonight he approached me to see if I would act as a sort of student motivator, making calls to students who have stopped attending class. I tried to tactfully explain that I feel that I am not an adequate person for the job, as I do not like making phone calls and am not someone with that sort of sales-pitch personality. He insisted and advised that I give it a try and see how it goes.

I don’t want to give it a try.

I know this is not something I want to do. Partly, because I have a laissez-faire attitude to teaching – if you don’t care enough to show up, that’s not my problem. And partly because I have no desire to bother people while they are working/eating/relaxing/whatever.

I don’t want to seem like I don’t want to be part of the team, but this duty has nothing to do with my being a library assistant, and there are others who are better qualified to handle such a task.

I am hoping that it will not come up again, but if it does I want to be prepared to tell him no in a professional and well-argued manner.

I don’t want to lose a job that I actually enjoy, but I know that this is a task that will stress me out and make me feel as anxious as I feel at my other job.

Is it wrong that I do not want to do this? Should I accept a task that is unrelated to my job and most definitely not part of my job description? Do I offer to not work on the two nights that the other librarian is there, if it is a matter of my being superfluous?

replenishing the royal army

Since when are condoms kept under lock and key? I rarely blog about my sex life, but I just have to know if this phenomenon is a new thing as I have never encountered it until today.

I went to CVS with my bf to buy a new pack only to find that the entire “Family Planning” section of the aisle was behind a locked glass case with a Staples easy-button-esque Call for Service button hovering above the glass. This glaring red button is not a discreet button. Oh no. It calls for service on the loudspeaker, interrupting whatever lite track is on at the moment and requesting that one of the employees make their way to the Family Planning aisle. It is also a bilingual button. The English message is promptly followed with a request in Spanish.

I found it utterly hilarious, but it was still a little weird. I really wonder if they just have a lot of condom thieves? Is there a purpose behind the lock and key other than to see how people react to the awkward button pressing moment? Is this local? Is it because I live in a largely Hispanic community that there is this odd watch on the condom buying? Or is CVS just toying with us?

Sundays at Work

Tutoring on a Sunday has to be the one of the slowest jobs ever. Students barely come in during the week, I don’t know why we even bother offering services on Sundays. I am breaking about 5 center rules right now in an effort to keep myself from succumbing to sleep.

I am commiting the following crimes:

  • listening to music (oh noes!)
  • having a snack (double noes!)
  • wasting time on Gawker (only to be topped by wasting time on YouTube)
  • checking Facebook (only slightly less illegal than YouTube)
  • Texting/IMing (it is the end of order as we know it!)

Yes, I am behaving very badly and setting a terrible example for the young’uns.

I am certain blogging would be against the rules as well, if the head one were familiar with the concept.

I should have brought something to work on 😦