Tuesday, December 8, 2015

2015 in Review

A lot of exciting changes happened to my life this last year. Some were good and some were bad. All were for the better:

* In January I met a young man named Josh. He worked next door, and he helped me work on a project for my office. The next day I went next door to thank him. We spoke for 45 minutes straight.

* In February I started drinking heavily again. I don't recommend heavy drinking. I don't have weird rules about drinking (one does not become more drunk if one drinks at 11 a.m. versus drinking at 11 p.m.); I do have rules about drinking until one is sick, one has health problems, or one is showing up inebriated to important functions. Do what you want - but don't use me as an example of healthy behavior.

* In March Josh and I started officially dating. It was apparent that he was smitten with me early on. I was fairly certain during our very first conversation that he was a catch, but it took me a while before I was sure I wanted another relationship. I am one of those weird people who actually enjoys being single. I enjoy being single even more when I'm with Josh. :)

* April was a frustrating month for me. I spent spring break at the office pretending to do work because rather than simply closing shop, the director insisted on keeping our doors *literally* open. FYI, no one is on campus during spring break. I could have used the break. My health was rapidly deteriorating, I was sick pretty much constantly, and walking 3-6 miles a day in all weather in nothing but cheap pleather flats was not doing my feet any good. My boots literally came apart off of my feet as I walked home (two pairs in one week), my clothes didn't fit, and I couldn't afford proper food. I survived for six months eating leftovers from work (where they had no problem spending $1600 on catered food that they then threw away, since the university dining services had a rule banning patrons from taking leftovers....).

* By May I was becoming extremely burned out at work. I was responsible for 80% of the daily functions (with the students taking care of the other 20%), and even though I was given many opportunities, none of them included an increase in pay, an improved job title, or even the ability to request a day off during a holiday. I still had to work, even though no students were present, and even though there were no job requirements. The fact that I was responsible for office management, staff supervision, the entire budget, institutional and department research, supervising our copy editor (including launching a university-wide publication), and doing all of this for less than I was making as a graduate student was, apparently, irrelevant to management - who happily discussed blowing a $50k surplus (Yes, CLCE, you're welcome.) to ensure that they maintained their overall budget, rather than investing in higher pay for students or, I dunno, their office assistant, who clearly could have become an assistant director and/or replaced both Program "Managers."

* In June I quit my job. I didn't resign. I didn't tell anyone it was happening. I straight up pulled an "Office Space" and stopped going. Under normal circumstances I would never have done such a thing. I don't recommend anyone do it. These were not normal circumstances. I have no regrets. The people at the office were so abusive, incompetent, and shameful as human beings that I simply wasn't willing to go another day.

* I spent most of July avoiding checking my email and volunteering at Second Chance Ranch, a retired racehorse rescue in Cle Elum. I consumed a lot of cannabis and spent a lot of time cuddling Josh. I also had a reality check regarding the LDS church. Although I left 11 years ago, and resigned two years ago, I have been defending what I believed to be an ultimately honest, sincere institution for the better part of a decade. Unfortunately I discovered a few truths that shamed, stunned, and saddened me. (For the sake of any LDS readers I will not go into further details, except to say that I know my LDS friends and family members to be true people, regardless of what the leadership does/says/did/said. I do, however, invite them, or any other readers, to contact me if they have questions.) Josh and I spent about a week in Provo for his older sister's wedding. It was beautiful, Utah is glorious. I wish it wasn't polluted by corrupt and vile people.

* By August it was decided that Josh and I needed to leave Ellensburg. We made a few plans, freaked out a little bit, and, in the final week of the month, held a massively successful three-day estate sale. We smashed our sales goals each day, and, obviously, our weekly goal. We were highly motivated to continue a resale business. Unfortunately, September happened.

* In September I proposed to Josh. :) We moved to Kennewick to stay with his parents and work the Benton Franklin Fair. It was a disaster. I was elated to gtfo and continue our eastward travels. I am proud of myself for putting up with the crap I did without punching anyone in the face or burning any houses to the ground. Josh and I did a lot of work, including fixing up his car. I should have become a mechanic. It is pleasing work.

* In October Josh and I moved to La Grande, Oregon. It is glorious. Rea got married. It was lovely and the weather was lovely and everything was lovely. Some day maybe I will have a lovely wedding day, too.

* November was extremely stressful. Our funds have been dwindling rapidly, despite our best efforts to find work. Thanksgiving was spent just the two of us, mostly with me freaking out over my horrible failed attempt at making pie crusts for the empanadas. At least the flavor was great!

* December. I turned 30 on the 4th. I was awfully depressed - not about getting "old" (uh, 30 is still super young), but about the fact that I am unemployed, stuck in a small town, and have no direction. Mom and MATT! came up to take us to lunch, and we had some good conversations. I was still awfully depressed, but, fortunately, I was able to support Josh in his efforts to get back into school for his final 9 credits, and we were successful in that endeavor. I also consumed a lot of vodka - which helped me remember a great lesson my friend Jed once taught me: Being good at many things is not a curse, but ultimately one must simply choose *one* direction. Thus, I made an obvious choice: I am going to be a writer. I have many job skills, but the most frequently used and praised is my ability to write. I can write anything and everything. I may not be the best creative writer, and I most certainly am not a great blogger, but I can and will write. Perhaps I will fail, in the end, but at least I have some direction to go in, and a better idea of how to present my resume and direct my job search.

So, here's to 2015. It was a good year. I bet 2016 will be even better.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A brief update.

I work at the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement at CWU. We coordinate volunteer opportunities, create/host community events and offer leadership training. Recently I oversaw our Giving Tree program (collecting gifts for kids in the community), helped with the Holiday Extravaganza (35 holiday craft tables for community kids to come and make with/for their parents) and aided in Fall quarter's Unheard Voices, which is a quarterly program that focuses on one cause/organization and helps them out. We did a winter clothing drive with ASPEN, an agency that helps victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Photo Dump:
Due to my superb folding skills, this box (roughly the size of a mini-fridge) was FULL of coats, sweaters, gloves, socks, beanies and scarves. There was a second box full just to the right of this photo. In total I believe they collected over 130 pieces of clothing. It was awesome.

My first ginger bread house! I can't believe I'd never made one before. It was crazy amounts of fun!

Details of the different piping I did on the roof.

Side view! It is so cute I love it!

The back view.
One of my mother's houses.
Her other. Sorry for potato - my phone is so old and falling apart it's sad. Rumor has it that Katherine is sending me a nice Galaxy that she got from her bf's parents (since it doesn't work with her plan, and she doesn't want to unlock it).
Just one small taste of the success of our Giving Tree program. We had several hundred gifts and stocking stuffer bags. This is just one angle of the room in which we stored them. Initially they were in our office....everywhere.

Each school/daycare center had their own numbers, and we tried to keep them organized (which helped enormously with both keeping track of them and being able to get in and out of the office).

Another corner of the office.

Wrapping around the front desk (where I work 50% of the time).

....continuing around. This was AFTER we'd moved at least 100 of them into another room.

Other corner of the office.... I also didn't take pictures of the book cases, upon which we'd stacked about 30 stocking stuffer bags.

My office. These pictures were all taken about 4 days before we finished. It represents only about 2/3 of the total gifts we collected. It was crazy.

The view from the front desk.
My job is fun - I basically just make crafts and help people all day. I enjoy the people I work with for the most part, but I won't be able to stay here forever. It doesn't pay enough and I'm far more capable of doing better work than I currently do. 

Feel-good experience my friend Nick shared. I met him through imgur and he's a solid person

Hilarious picture is hilarious. I love the idea of "yard fiddlers" being some kind of natural pestilence like deer or gophers, and which appear regularly when people are outside sipping coffee or pruning the roses. 

This is a picture of me before I went to a July 4th celebration.

Badass sign from the protests of the Iguala Mass Kidnapping. It says "They thought they could bury us but didn't know that we were seeds." 

A view of my Minecraft home. I built it out of opal (really kick-ass block that came with the mod my friend and I were using that changes color - horizontal changes give you gradient, vertical changes give you a new color). The tall tower is my launch pad (I use a hang glider to get around, it's amazing). 

The changes I planned for my blog are going to have to wait until I have more money and better technology to use. I may start using the office computers during my lunch break, but I doubt it. Most likely I'll continue to be an only-occasional blogger until I have the time and resources to post more regularly - not to mention I don't exactly have anything exciting to share. I have some big plans for this next year, though, so we'll see where I'm at next Christmas!

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Brief Update - and Major Changes Coming Soon!

Yesterday at 4:55 PM I completed the final requirements for my Master's of Arts degree in Russian History. I sobbed.

I have moved into a friend's house, about 6 blocks south of my apartment. This is not only going to be a blast of a summer, it also makes me feel safer - my across-the-hall neighbor was stalking me, and I had to file a police report - so I will actually be able to enjoy being "home."

I am going to relaunch my blog at some point during this summer and have massive changes ahead. I'm not sure if I will continue to use this particular site or not. Either way, it will make for a fantastic summer project and I'm excited to roll it out!