Furniture Shopping

The biggest difference between our down-turned economy (and don’t try to tell me that it isn’t) and the Great Depression is that the middle class was not forced to spend their life savings on college to earn a good job. It is a cultural construct that if you want to get a good job then you have to go to college. So here is the big problem, I spent my life savings on my college degree, and yes I wasn’t doing it to just get a job but to learn more about writing, and now the only jobs I can get are an internship (that my professor really got for me and that was nine months later) and elder care on the weekends. That is not what I signed up for when I joined the grown-up club (and seriously the membership fee is practically extortion). So here is the real problem. I cannot afford anything. I can’t afford rent, I can’t afford pizza and cheap wine, I can’t afford gas to get to either of my jobs, and I can’t afford to have a life of my own. In August I had to move back home with my parents. Every time a “grown up” has to return to the pack there is a certain amount of backsliding. To combat that backsliding, rather than getting super depressed about it (which also happens), I go to the furniture store across the street and decorate my fake home/apartment.

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Why is every one so surprised?

I am actually very cool. I don’t know why every one is so surprised to find that out but I am a cool person. 

During church today the pastor was talking about something… I don’t remember what because he asked me to think about locations for things and tell him after the sermon. I did not do either of those things. Instead I did a personal inventory. Every time I meet someone they ask me to tell them about myself and quite frankly I am always stumped. My eyes go into screen saver mode and I say “Oh gosh, who am I?” So church today seemed ike the best time to figure that out.

I did not go through an existential crisis when I graduated from college (existential crisis defined as “who am I? meh”). I prefer to think that I went through a “what now” crisis. I know who I am and here is what I came up with.

I am very cool. I wear cool jackets and I do cool things. I’m just a big dork so every one acts all surprised when they “discover” it.

I have good taste in furniture.

I am smart.

I am funny.

I could go on but I think I’ve made my point. Like I said I did not experience an existential crisis after college I just experience it every time someone asks me about myself.

Get Out of Jail Free

There are a lot of those funny “how I got out of my ticket” stories floating around the interwebs. Mostly things like handing them a get out of jail free card or saying “these are not the droids you’re looking for.” I don’t have any of those interesting stories or the guts to try to talk/cry myself out of a ticket. That’s just the way my life is. So this afternoon, while driving almost 75 in a 65 on my way home from work, when a cop pulled up on my bumper you could say that I was a little nervous. Then he swung out from behind me, into the carpool lane mind you, and sped off. Not chasing someone just driving off at at least 80. 

hmmm, I shrugged, “if I get pulled over now I’m just going to say I was following his example.”  

How to be Attractive

How to be Attractive

            It is easier for some people to be attractive than others, physically. They have more symmetrical faces, better skin, fuller lips, or a prettier hair color. That is called riding potential. Some people manage to live long beautiful lives on their potential without having to worry about the added little things that make someone attractive. Those people never become super models. Much like The Princess Bride’s Princess Buttercup I spent most of my life fluctuating between six and seven based solely on potential; depending on who was winning the everlasting war with my hair, growing it out and chopping it all off. Mostly I lurked at a six.

Fortunately for those who choose not to ride their potential there are simple ways to increase ones attractive level both in your looks and your personality.

The first step to being attractive is having things that interest you. An important piece of having an attractive personality is having hobbies or interests that do not involve a screen.  That means that you need four hobbies that are not video games or watching television. Bird watching is an example of a hobby that does not involve your computer, cell phone, or television. If you cannot think of one of those it might be time to run out and get a personal trainer for a total overhaul.

Developing four interests is easy and fun if you follow some important guidelines (note interests that can be shared by other people earn more points than solitary ones). These interests and hobbies should all be things you enjoy doing. Developing interests that you do not enjoy so that people will like you is generally considered a lie and lying is both frowned upon and unattractive. If you enjoy arts and crafts you can take up knitting or painting but if you do not then no one is telling you that you have to sit around painting landscapes and bowls of fruit.

            Your four interests should follow a range of categories; one should be creative, one should be physical, one should be interesting to hear about, one should be intellectual. These four categories can cross and intersect, opening other categories for consideration.

Have you selected or thought of four interests? If not please take a moment to do so.

Like most college freshmen the first Friday in October in 2008 I was sitting in the lounge with a computer on my lap. Unlike most of the people around me I was not working on homework but playing Jewel Quest, I had yet to figure out the allure of doing weekend homework before Sunday night.

Wade, a sophomore who lived there in Stewart Hall and had adopted my little group of awkward freshmen girls, perched at the piano playing something with a lot of foreign words in the title. He looked down at his watch. “What are your plans for tonight?” He asked the group.

My friend Amanda gestured to her computer. “Homework.”

“Afterward,” I chimed in, “we were going to go get ice cream.”

Wade squished his mouth as if he had just tasted something bad. “No.” He shook his head. “Today is first Fridays. I’m taking you guys downtown.” Like many major cities Spokane features several art galleries and on the first Friday of every month they are free and open to the public, I did not know that.

“What are we going to do downtown?” As a girl who had spent most of her life in small towns far away from the infamous dangers of major cities, which now looking back Spokane hardly qualifies as one of those, I was still a little afraid of downtown.

“The art walk. It’s first Friday.” He turned back to the piano. “If you guys want to go I’m going to leave in half an hour. Wear shoes for walking.” Of course we all went.

            My first “first Friday” was a disaster Wade and most of his real friends were Art Majors who used words like “post-modern” and “consumerism” where I was the girl who “liked pretty things.” I did develop quite a few interest and hobbies during that part of my life. My friends and I drove down to The Magic Lantern to sip lattes and watch film festival winners half a dozen times and went swing dancing. I also grew into liking art galleries a lot more over my four years at school, especially the photo exhibits, but never got over being the girl who liked pretty things.

The second most important step to creating a more attractive you is posture. I realize that your mother and your elocution teacher have been telling you that for years but you really ought to listen to them because it is important. Poor posture leads to back problems, not seeing people’s faces, and the use of caveman style grunts for communication. The third is by far the most terrifying and unattractive of the side effects of poor posture. However, good posture leads to easier breathing, nicer photographs, and fewer old women pulling your shoulders back after church. The third is by far the nicest side effect, if you have ever had an elderly woman forcibly correct your posture I am sure you will agree with me.

Of all the steps to make yourself more attractive correcting your posture is the most difficult and the least noticeable to those are not you. Fortunately there are incredible benefits to having good posture, not including having everyone stop commenting on your bad posture.

To correct you posture you need to follow Queen Clarice’s advice in The Princess Diary, “we drop the shoulders and think tall,” otherwise you will never be a princess or reach your full attractiveness potential. What this means is relax your shoulders so they are not boxed around your ears and lengthen your neck and spine (note: for visuals and proper instruction please contact any voice professor, voice teacher, voice coach, or royal family member). If done properly this will immediately open up your airways and give your voice a fuller tone as well as present cleaner clothing and body lines.

            Have you started correcting your posture or taken a moment to contact someone who will help you with this task? If not please take a moment to do so.

Sometimes a semester’s classes come together to create an overall theme for learning. When that happens every class seems to cross over and layer making the information transcend its original intent much like pieces of strings in a tapestry or pair of jeans. My final semester at Whitworth University was that sort of semester. Every class was somehow about communicating but more importantly they were all about the use of my own voice, except Core 350 which I do not remember what that class was about because I never went. My weeks that semester went something like Voice for the performer class, Theory of Composition, Advanced Writing Workshop, Voice for the performer meeting, American Sign Language then repeat… Core 350 would fit somewhere in there but like I said I never went. So everything I did was about me and working on my own communication skills.

“You know,” my friend Isabel said one night while blowing cigarette smoke from her nose, “it has been so nice to see your improvement in Voice and how it seems to cross over into your writing in Advanced Writing workshop. It’s like as you improve in Voice your written voice gets bolder.”

“Thank you,” I pulled the comforter tighter around me. I did not smoke but enjoyed the opportunity to sit outside and chat with friends even if it was three degrees out. I did not mention that I was also making huge improvements in understanding the material for my other classes that I thought had a greater effect on my written voice. I always take compliments where and when I get them. I did really appreciate that she noticed I was improving in Voice because I had not noticed.

            The most difficult part of studying voice was posture and breathing. Cognitively I understood the different ways I was supposed to move and hold my body but translating that to my body was not happening; my body and brain never did speak the same language. I would stand on my mat thinking my shoulders were dropped or my chin was up but it never failed that when Diana, the professor, would inspect us she would pull my head back so my neck aligned the right way or push my creeping shoulders back down. “Relax,” she would sing in her artsy willowy theater voice. “Tension is the enemy of good posture. Bad posture is the enemy of good voice work.”

Step three is be confident. In my teens I labored under the idea that anyone who liked me had something inherently wrong with them and I will not date someone who has something so terribly wrong in their head. The rest of my life I lived and shouted the opposite theory of “I’m GREAT! People like me.” Of the two options thinking that you are great and that people like you is going to make you happier than believing everyone you know has something inherently wrong with them.

It is a sad truth of society that the person who looks and behaves as though they are smart is usually considered to be smart when in reality they usually sit in their Honors Biology class wondering how they went their whole life without learning any of those words. That truth tends to be a universal. People who claim to be great are often thought of that way by others even if they have a secret My Little Pony collection in their basement. In fact most people who are thought of as cool do not do cool things they mostly just lean on stuff and act like they are cooler than everyone else. Confidence is therefore easily achieved.

            Feel free to use these simple suggestions to boost your confidence level by 10% – 15%. Wear clothing that you actually like and fits you, smile, and tell three people that you are great and everyone likes you. You cannot use something you do not have so if you are a talker be a talker if you are more of the shy artsy type then be that. The point is you have to be something so be it and be confident and excited about it.

Have you boosted you confidence and self-esteem level? If not please take a moment to do so.

It was a warm fall day. Several bees landed on the shining white paper of the book I was pretending to read while soaking up as much of the sun as I could before going to work. The bees, like me, were trying to fulfill as many of their outside duties before the long dark winter set in. I pushed a bit of short brown hair away from my face, still getting used to styling the spikey pixie cut, and adjusted the straps of my flowing tank top.

“I think,” I muttered to Mandy, brushing nature off my text book, “that I will work in back computer lab today so I can at least see the sky.”

“Those computers don’t have the program I need on them. I won’t be able to visit you at work.”

I scrawled a note in my cramped looping handwriting in the margin of my book. “What if I stop and chat with you when I refill the printers. That way we both get work done and get to see each other.”

‘That’s fair.”

That year I worked as a Lab Assistant in the library computer labs; cramped rooms with flickering lights and loud air-conditioners. The job was easy enough and it paid for my rent and meals but on sunny days the price seemed too high. I pushed myself out of the sweet smelling grass in front of the library. Time to go. Mandy and I wandered into the musky library, the last dregs of summer scent clinging to our clothes. I breathed deeply; today the library had the smell of a heater burning the dust of disuse out of its innards.

“At least you won’t be cold today,” Mandy told me as we turned up the stairs.

We parted ways at the first lab. A pair of boys, I sort of knew both of them but they were “popular” and we were not on library greeting terms, turned the corner and followed me toward the lab. I became unfortunately aware of the way I waddled when I walked and the bra strap that wanted to slide out from beneath my tank top. I was always uncomfortable around those two, they were good friends with a boy I had had a crush on and got to be present for my more embarrassing flusters. I walked a little faster.

By the time I was set up at my post they were logged onto computers and chatting with a third boy in the lab. Just another slow Saturday, I thought, at least these boys know enough about computers that they won’t be asking me for help all day. I picked up my book and went back to “studying.”

“Hey,” one of the boys, the one with dark brown hair who had always been very nice when he was not ignoring me, snapped his finger at me trying to catch my attention.

“I’m not a dog. You don’t have to snap your fingers.”

“Sorry, I couldn’t remember your name. I was just… how do you print in color? I thought this was the lab that did that.”

My eyes went into screensaver mode. You have been for four years and don’t know how to print in color? I went with a more tactful approach. “No this printer isn’t color, that is the one at the bottom of the stairs but you can print to it from here.”  I leaned over his computer and walked him through each of the steps. I was used to helping freshmen print in color but never a senior.

“Thanks,” he walked me back toward the lab assistant alcove because it was on his way to the printer. “By the way, I thought you might want to know, Ben and I have decided when we saw you yesterday that you are like five times hotter than you were last year. Keep up the good work.”

            “That sounds like a compliment,” I thought about it for a moment, “but it really isn’t.”

Another important trick to keep in mind when trying to reach your full attractiveness potential is smell good or do not smell at all. It is the only absolution to deal in. It does not matter what you look like or what things you are interested in do not smell bad because no one wants to be around someone who has a smell. This simple rule is why hygiene is so important.

With that final rule in mind you are ready to reach your attractiveness potential. Please use your new found gifts wisely.

Have you started fulfilling your attractiveness potential? If not please take a moment to do so.

What have you been doing?

Yesterday I went to a job interview for an internship that I heard about through my old professor who heard about it through her friend from grad school, who knew about it from his friend who works for the company. Needless to say when they asked how I heard about the internship my answer was incredibly convoluted. The interview went very well with one minor problem. The problem I came across and that I always come across when applying for jobs is that people want me to account for the months that I have been unemployed since May. 

Here is how it went:

The woman I was interviewing with looked over my resume and said “so you have been graduated since May, almost a year. What have you been doing in that time?”

What have I been doing? WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING? 

My mind went blank. I’m sure I have done something for the last NINE months. I mean in that amount of time a girl can pop out a baby. What had I done? Well now that the pressure is off and even then with the pressure on I knew that I had done quite a few things.

I got a passport (and you may recall that was quite the adventure: check the archives for May 2012) 

I went to Alaska where I visited the Raptor Center, rode the ferry from Juneau to Sitka, saw whales, camped out in Sitka, rode the ferry from Sitka to Ketchakan, bought fudge, rode the ferry to Bellingham, and taught a pair of strangers how to play Shanghai.

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I also saw moose

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And didn’t shower enough

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After that I went back to Spokane and won several games of Monopoly… just call me Daddy Warbucks. (A friend of mine said that playing Monopoly with my brother and I was the most intense experience of her life.) I was also applying for jobs in that period of time.

Then I lead cabins at a summer camp where I played paint ball, rode horses, and destroyed at Kajabbajabbacancan. 

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Pictured above is a picture of me about to destroy things. Below  is a picture of me destroying things.Image

After camping it up I went on a bunch of Spokane adventures, having been denied a Tacoma job that I had actually already been offered. (Funny side bar. The corporate office offered me the job but the Tacoma office never called me and gave the job to someone else. So I both had and did not have the job.)

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Some of those adventures involved an ax.

Then I drove twelve hours to Utah and even more hours down  to California so I could climb a mountain. And I climbed that mountain. I climbed that mountain real good. I also climbed up to White Chief Mine, fell down a mountain, and saw a bear.

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There are pictures for proof. Proof that I really did do these things that I said I did. I lost my camera charger somewhere in there and there are no more pictures.

Since then I have been doing elder care, I cleaned up on what should have been a set from hoarders and written most of a book. I have done a lot of things not including slaying five more dragons since graduation. I’m telling you not having to go to school really freed up my dragon slaying time.

But what was my answer when my interviewer asked me what I had been doing for the last nine months? “Applying for jobs mostly and I went down to L.A. and took care of my grandmother for a while.” Seriously you moron? Ug. Sometimes I hate past me.

Good news though I got the job so there are going to be a lot more interesting things for me to blog about soon.