April 8th, 2013 §
Here is my 2nd place entry for the Short Story Contest through Bookshop Santa Cruz :) The rules were that it had to be a fictional piece and 1200 words or less. THAT was the biggest challenge!
I hope you enjoy it!
I was a lonely child. Instead of playing with neighbor children, I searched for treasures amidst the black Georgia soil. Barefoot and knotted hair, I walked through tall grass towards the ancient oak trees. I marveled at their size; the branches reaching upwards and outwards, gnarled over time. These trees became the border of my Irwin County kingdom, my land in which I roamed; 130 paces from my dilapidated porch, passed the fallen fence, two leaps over the trickling creek until it emerged. Some days, after my hike, I’d sit beneath the branches, stifled by the heat. Reflecting on my trail, I’d watch for movement, ready to run at an instant, away from the broken building inhabited by those I do not name. They’re simply he and she. She being frigid, he with scuffed cheeks and whiskey-laden breath. His eyes never knew me, his callused hands did. Once I meagerly asked for water and his hand brought me to the floor. “Rats don’t need water!” he scowled. Rat was all he called me and all I ever knew.
On colder days, I dug, searching under hanging limbs. Most days I left empty-handed. But one humid afternoon I found something—tarnished silver, encasing a blue stone; a perfect pendant. To keep it, it had to remain a secret, tucked away in my dress pocket until safely placed in my pillowcase at night. Every day I carried it, hoping for luck. I once heard she talking about a local man who carried acorns for luck. She cackled, “Only the idiotic would do a thing like that,” as she burned meatless pieces of chicken on the stove. I was given leftovers, the scraps they didn’t finish. Little did they know I’d sneak bits of bread at night while he was slumped in his recliner and she snored deeply. After I found the pendant, I began stealing milk as well. Maybe it wasn’t luck it brought me, but courage.
Weeks passed as my kitchen excursions continued; brave I had become. And so, I decided to explore the forest beyond my familiar border. Pendant in hand, I stepped into the jungle. It was cool here, calm and silent. I brushed against the bark, feeling warmth with each touch. Lost in amazement, I was unaware of the boulder at my feet. As my body flung forward, my hands flew outward throwing the pendant away. Panicked, I frantically searched between leaves for my treasure. I crawled amongst the wreckage, my fingernails black, caked in mud. Hopeless, I looked around; I didn’t know where I was. As I surveyed my environment, I saw movement on the horizon approaching me.
“He,” I gasped.
I scrambled backwards watching the figure grow. Slamming against a tree, I closed my eyes and rocked in fear. The footsteps quickened. I felt the earth beneath me move as the crunching of leaves burst inside my ears. Then suddenly, silence. I bravely opened my eyes. An elderly woman stood before me, her frail hand reaching out. Her skin was dark chestnut, weathered. My eyes met hers; a deep coffee brown, the whites yellowed from time.
“Whatcha doin’ out here all alone?” She paused, examining my bloodied hands.
“Oh child,” she quivered, “yous musta took some nasty fall. Yous come with Miss Bailey, E’rthing gonn be just fine .”
She guided me through the wooded maze to a small, quaint building. The rusted roof shone bright. Paint chips spackled the structure, revealing the aged wood. We stepped through the front door into a small sitting room. Sunlight poured through the white linen-draped windows. The room smelled of the outside world; fresh with hints of soil.
“Here now,” she said, “lets wash them wounds.”
She took a hot, damp rag and brushed the dirt from my body. I hissed, burning from the heat. Once finished, she handed me a glass of iced tea with honey; it was sweet and earthy.
“Whatcha name child?” she inquired.
I sat silent, gazing at her questioning brow. She waited calmly, seeing my hesitation.
“Rat,” I mumbled as I sipped the brisk drink.
“Rat? Come now,” she smiled, “Yous ain’t foolin’ Miss Bailey. Whatcha real name?“
“Rat,” I stated.
Puzzled, she sat in silence, staring. Her look of concern bothered me. It was a look I didn’t understand. I tried to think of another name I had been called; nothing. Frustrated, tears began to brim. I looked around and found something to focus on—a photograph in a dusty frame. A young girl stood with long braids next to a tall man dressed in a white shirt and slacks.
Miss Bailey noticed my gazing and stated, “That’s me and my Daddy. Ain’t he handsome?”
I smiled at her, seeing the picture was important to her. Then, I noticed an item she was wearing in the photo. A pendant. My pendant. My head spun, flashing to the moment of my fall. I slammed the tea on the side table and dashed out the door.
“Whas the matta?” her voice called in the distance.
I pushed through the thicket, coming to the rock that forced me to the ground. I began to search.
“I will find you!” I grunted.
Amidst my frenzy, I saw a flicker of light. I snatched it up along with a handful of wet dirt.
“Miss Bailey! I found it!” I exclaimed.
Breathing heavily, she shouted, “Darlin’, you scared me to pieces.” She gasped, “Now whatcha you find?”
I handed her the treasure, awaiting her reaction. As she studied the object, her jaw dropped.
“What on earth? Where’d you find this?” she wept. “It was my grandmothers, given to me on my thirteenth birthday. I lost it years ago.”
She sat silently, lips quivering, eyes fixated on the pendant.
Her face was bright and reflective. “Darlin’,” she looked at me, “you’ve done made this a happy day for Miss Bailey.”
She fell to the forest floor and wrapped her feeble arms around me.
We walked hand in hand towards her cozy shelter. She talked about her family, mainly her grandmother and the history of the pendant; she lost it sixty years ago as she strolled through the forest. She was near twenty at the time and enjoyed her daily walks.
“These trees here, theys great listeners.” She continued, “…and they talk back child. Theys tell you things, like how to love and how to live. That’s why I stay here with them trees.“
She stopped and turned to me. Bending down, her face inches from mine she said, “Child, I see in your eyes, you ain’t been loved. But yous full of love and as sweet as my honeyed tea,” she smiled. “Now I don’t know where yous come from but I see that these trees gave yous protection. And so did this.”
I looked down at her trembling hands and saw the pendant.
“Ayla, this belongs to ya now. It found you so yous gonn keep it.”
“Ayla?” I questioned.
She smiled gently and touched my face. “Ayla was my grandmothers name. It means Oak Tree. And that’s you, strong, significant, and warm.”
It was on this day, that I was born.
March 22nd, 2013 §
I am old. Yes. That I am. I have found myself baffled by the following things: today’s “music”, clothing, and youth. I have become a grandmother. Working in a middle school is fun at times; I particularly like that sarcasm is a generational language. But while I am perpetually striving to teach middle school students the importance of an education while trying to control their hormonal-desire to hump everything in sight, I am finding that preventing fights, teaching social studies, and instructing kids to “keep their hands and lips to themselves” is causing me to ask, “What the hell is wrong with these children?”
I have found myself reflecting on my middle school years. Initially I thought, “I was NEVER like these kids.” I laugh because deep down, I am sure I was pretty obnoxious. Truth is, I don’t remember how I treated my teachers (Ms. Tejada if you are reading this, maybe you can fill me in. How bad was I?). I DO remember the several phases I went through, trying to find my own style and where I belonged. Here is the breakdown:
6th grade: I don’t even know WHAT to call my look. I can only describe– Baggy Silvertab jeans, Tight Tank Top, Brown Lip Liner (no fill) and hair up in a ponytail with super curled bangs. Yes it is as horrible as it sounds. I was trying to be “sexy” but also tough. Newsflash: when a girl wears lipliner with no fill, it doesn’t equate tough. It is nothing short of hilarious.
7th grade: Call me Johann because that is what I looked like: A Dutch boy. I had this awful haircut; above the ears, straight around. Just hideous. But I had also discovered make-up which consisted of blue eyeliner and silver lipstick?! I also wore this elastic necklace, brown that wore like a choker. All I can remember of my clothes were ill-fitting light blue jeans and a white shirt. I think this is also the year that my friend Kim and I decided to make pen necklaces–actual pens hanging off a piece of black rope tied around our necks. What happens to the brain at 12?! I had a decent group of friends that I still keep in contact with. I played basketball and started playing softball. This is ALSO the year that I noticed boys and formed a giggling complex every time I talked to one.
8th grade: This was the year I struggled. I had ballooned up as girls often do (thanks puberty) and wore nothing but sweatshirts and jeans with the occasional basketball short thrown in. This would then become my go-to look in high school. My hair was respectable, shoulder length and parted down the middle. Oh and I had braces and glasses. Yep. I was that girl–chubby, acne, braces, and glasses. I was still interested in boys but was becoming more of the “sister” role instead of dating material. I think this is why so many people thought I was a lesbian in high school–no boyfriend, dressed like a guy, played sports year-round, and hung out with dudes.
Now that I have grown out of my middle school phase and into adulthood (and thanks to Nicole I FINALLY wear “girlie” clothes. My sister thanks you), I study the current youth. Their music is terrible. But then again, so was ours. We had “Barbie Girl” by Aqua and “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba. At least if you grew up in the 70′s and 80′s you had quality music like Metallica, Queen, Rolling Stones, Run DMC, etc. Our “lasting” artists are Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. Terrible. They currently have…umm…Rhianna I guess?! And Bruno Mars who sings about “F*cking like Gorillas” (yeah that is what I want my pre-teen daughter to listen to. PERFECT). Adele is the ONLY acceptable one. Music aside, I also look at the fashion. While I understand I was a mountain girl where our fashion wasn’t dependent on the current trends but how to stay warm, I still believe that comparatively, the girls today are wearing wash clothes. Fortunately there are rules at the school so certain outfits can’t be worn, but I am still seeing what looks like ass cheeks hanging out of shorts (at 13 years of age). I pray to GOD that she snuck those shorts into her bag and that her parents don’t know. If I had dared to have worn basketball shorts in the winter, I would have been grounded.
Fashion and music annoy me. But the ATTITUDE really gets under my skin. While reflecting on my youth I am SURE I was a brat, but I never cussed at a teacher or was flat out disrespectful. When I initially started working with 6th-8th, I got picked on. Hard. Kids were evil to me because I was, in a sense, the new girl! Cussing was the easy part, the insults were what got me. I would come home after three hours with those dragons hurt. And sad. It actually brought me back to my school days. It showed me how much bullying can cause so much harm on adults but even more so on children. And so, realizing that, I began studying the kids; how they interact, what they are saying and what seems to affect their judgement. Combining it with the fact that I was 12 at one point, I found myself reacting differently to their so called “insults”. When an attempt was made to upset me, I would smile and wait. When I didn’t react. They would try again. And again I would smile. Eventually I asked, “Are you done?” and that seemed to kill it. Now, I have no issues. Which is great. For me. But what many of the kids don’t understand is how powerful language is. And I think THAT needs to be taught to our youth. More so than their choice of music or style, it is all about language. My father continues to remind me how important my words are–cussing isn’t lady like and I must always be aware of what I am putting out there. And he is right. While I still cuss (shhhh don’t tell Dad), I am constantly trying to be careful with my words. I think it is up to US, the old ones, to remind our youth, who can be seen as our former-selves, that despite the fact that their adolescent brains are firing at rapid speeds, it is important for them to slow down and think. Because what you say, becomes who you are in the eyes of the world.
“…of all the weapons of destruction that man could invent, the most terrible–and the most powerful–was the word. Daggers and spears left traces of blood; arrows could be seen at a distance. Poisons were detected in the end and avoided. But the word managed to destroy without leaving clues.”
― Paulo Coelho
January 11th, 2012 §
I almost lost my sister yesterday. There have been many times throughout my life I have said that statement. But I only have pieces of memories from the past– hospital rooms, doctors, IVs, etc. The actual stories have left my brain. Yesterday was all too vivid and will never leave me. I felt death standing in the doorway, waiting.
There isn’t a time in my life that I don’t remember my sister. Being 17 years older than me, she was very much a caregiver; she helped me learn to write my name in print and cursive, how to tie my shoes, how to find the best bargain at MacFruggels. And thankfully, I have more memories of her being healthy and happy than sick and near death. I also know that I have tried to block those bad moments out. I am terrified of losing my sister–I was when I was little and maybe even more now. I have seen her seize, her collapse from low blood sugar, her go through a triple bypass. None of those times did I fear death as much as I did yesterday.
She was going in for a simple procedure. She had done it before. No worries. No sweat. I was fixing my break light when I got the call. I had never heard Mark this upset and I knew, this was serious. This was real. Fluid was building around her heart. A surgeon was standing by to open her up. She went into cardiac arrest. The words hit me like a hurricane. All I could say was, “Okay.” When the phone hung up, I collapsed in my driveway. This is it. This is the moment I have feared since I could remember. I was going to lose her. I thought of McKay. I thought of what he would go through. I shook my head and thought to myself, “No. She isn’t dieing. It wouldn’t be fair!”
Automatically, once the family heard the news, we all rushed to Fresno. My Dad flew down from Washington, my Mom drove from Carmel, and D and I were on our way too. By the time we left, Mark had called to let us know that the fluid had been removed as well as a clot. She was stable, but in critical condition. At that point I felt that no matter what Mark said, I wouldn’t be calm until I saw her. It seemed like time flew–three hours in the car seemed like 30 minutes. My mind had been occupied the entire car ride. When we arrived at the hospital, Mark, McKay, my Mom, Mark’s parents, and their pastor Ledo were in the waiting room. The scene was all too familiar. This was roughly the same group that was in the same room over a year ago when she had her triple bypass surgery. Only this time, our moods were more grim. We waited about 45 minutes before she was able to be seen. Once Mark, my Mom, and I were able to go back, we rushed to her side.
There she was. Alive. Awake. In pain. And scared. She knew what had happened and the longer she was awake, the harder it hit her–she had died. Her heart stopped. The doctors had to shock her back to life. She started crying; her bottom lip quivering, her body heaving in sorrow. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” is all should could say. We all tried to calm her. She had nothing to apologize for. If anything, we should be thanking her. She fought for her life. Hard. When she went into cardiac arrest, despite the fact that she was under anesthesia, she flailed her body. She was fighting death and clearly winning. Whether she remembers or not, while her body was giving out, her spirit wasn’t. She wasn’t ready. It wasn’t going to be her day to leave this world. And her doctor wasn’t going to let her leave either. He later told Mark, “I have children the same age. I wasn’t going to let her die.”
The doctor came in to her room while we were there and checked her vitals. He had this look of, “How do you keep doing this? How do you keep defying the odds? How are you still alive?” He was smiling. This was comforting to us all. He said, “You are a fighter. You are still here.” She smiled and said, “I wasn’t supposed to live passed 30. I am 42. I still have some living to do.” As he was checking her, she touched his arm, smirked and said, “Oh and I forgive you for what you did to me.” She winked. The doctor laughed–she was referring to the procedure. What had happened was during the angiogram, they were trying to gain access to get through the scar tissue build up in her stints. As they pushed, they tore the vein causing her to bleed. Since she was on blood thinners, it caused a very serious situation. A clot formed and she went into cardiac arrest. The fact that she made a joke of this was proof, she was in this life for the long haul.
I went to sleep last night knowing I nearly lost my sister. My nephew nearly lost his mother. But she scared off death. Death indeed has a fear: He fears Shannon Marie Davis. Each time he comes for her, she beats the crap out of him. Her will to live is so strong. I don’t think I could ever love her more.
Today I am grateful. Everyday I am humbled. I am blessed to live this life with an amazing sister and friend.
I know as time passes and she is released from the hospital, I will have more to write. Right now, the events are still playing; jumbled, heart wrenching, and all too real. Thankfully my family and friends have been able to provide the support and love we all have all needed. May God Bless you all!
January 7th, 2012 §
People fascinate me. I am constantly intrigued by peoples behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, choice of hair style, etc. After spending three hours playing Mario Kart with Nate and Judy, Judy and I scurried around Gilroy to do some shopping and then headed to Santa Cruz to admire Charlize Theron in her latest film, “Young Adult.”
I’m not even going to go into detail about this movie. All you get is, “Bat shit crazy,” and “not recommended.”
While the movie left us looking a little like this:
…it did however get Judy and I to dissect historically, psychological behaviors of mankind. Automatically we jumped to religion. Ah, religion. The one thing that unites us all (I can hear the scoffs people, let me explain). Whether you believe in a higher power, mother nature, or believe in scientific fact, you still hold a belief in something that is larger than yourself. When you examine this world and its’ people, you see that religion (that is “…a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe…”) is tangled within the masses. It is so powerful that it can cure the sick and start a war; it can fill someone with love and joy or it can cause someone to kill their neighbor. It is a driving force that effects us all.
I could go into a lengthy discussion about the corruption of Catholicism throughout history or how religion divides this country and its government, but I don’t want to do that. I brought up religion as a mere example of how human behavior is fascinating–humans thousands of years ago recorded either through oral history or some other form of documentation what they believed in. It has morphed over the generations with the help of language, written tools, philosophical ideals, and science and has now gone to work uniting and dividing over 6 billion people. HISTORICAL THOUGHT AND BEHAVIOR EFFECTS OVER 6 BILLION PEOPLE TO THIS DAY! That is fascinating! Our need to believe in SOMETHING bigger than ourselves is fascinating. And, we are drawn towards people that believe the way we do and then begin to spread our beliefs over time and land, growing ever so slowly and forcefully…like the Blob. And during it all, we make choices that either support our belief or completely contradict it (but then try to defend it). That is fascinating.
Okay. Okay. So, what is my point…
History is important and should be taught passionately in schools.
And don’t see “Young Adult”
And religion is really just “The Blob”.
January 4th, 2012 §
I have experienced death. I have loved and lost those dear to me–friends, classmates, family. But I cannot imagine the pain one would feel losing a child.
Last month, 14 year-old Jesse Lopez was murdered. A freshman at Watsonville High School and a recent Lakeview Middle School graduate, he was described as an outgoing, fun-loving kid. But he will know nothing of this life due to gang violence. Watsonville in recent years has been plagued by budget cuts, thus leaving our officials to reduce fire and safety and completely shut down youth programs. And in recent years, Watsonville has seen a surge in gang-related violence; mostly among the teenage populations. With the violence and weak economy combined, solutions seem scarce and arguing and pointing the finger continues to rise. Furthermore, it feels as if communities aren’t focusing on local issues, but national. Though important to research presidential nominees, new policies being thrown around Congress, it shouldn’t out shadow fellow neighbor–especially when it comes to our youth.
What I find frustrating is that our local representatives have yet to see the correlation between youth violence and budget cuts. It continues to amaze me that while we cut police officers, youth programs, and social services, we continue to pay individuals like Carlos Palacios over $200,000 a year to basically sit there. His department alone costs nearly $600,000. I can’t imagine how much money is actually wasted within city council walls. Apparently to a majority of them, driving the latest Mercedes model is more important than providing proper care to our youth.
I remember the last time I attended a city council meeting–I was there to discuss the Atkinson Lane housing project that has been tied up in litigation for the past couple of years. A specific council member stated that there was a “need” for more housing (despite the fact that Watsonville had/has the highest foreclosure rate in the county). He then went on, quite condescendingly, about Pavlov’s hierarchy of needs saying that shelter is one of them. My argument to him was, “so is water and food. We do not have the water to provided housing for an additional 3,000 residents and by law, you must provide a 25-year water plan for the specific area in which you want to build. And by building on farm land that is still being used, you reduce food for the community as well as add to the unemployment rate THUS contributing to the struggle of paying bills INCLUDING housing.” It has occurred to be that, just like then, our local reps aren’t looking at the bigger picture. They aren’t preparing for the future. They are trying to solve problems in the now instead of creating proper solutions that will continue to help and support the growth of our youth and community. And unfortunately, I don’t think the death of Jesse Lopez will move them enough to make proper changes.
So, here I am now, thinking of solutions. The simplest one would be to provide more youth programs! Keep our children busy, give them options, and nurture their talents. And when I say youth, I don’t mean 13-17 years of age. Proper growth and support starts from infancy. Pajaro Valley Children’s Center is one of the last state licensed child day care centers in Watsonville that provides infant care for low income families–our community is riddled with low income families with little to no support. Providing something as simple as day care for parents gives them opportunities to finish school and look for jobs; this will in turn lower the unemployment rate and provide a better future for these families. PVCC functions as a nonprofit and has managed to provide quality care for nearly 40 years. It also has a budget of $160,000 a year–which of course ISN’T enough but it manages because of the teachers that love these children so much. They sacrifice SO MUCH of themselves for their clients and community–I have such great respect for them all. I think our council members could learn from these strong individuals.
And as I reflect on my last seven years here in Watsonville, I have seen little hope within our local government. With their internal fighting and selfishness, I feel as if they have forgotten what their job is suppose to entail–supporting the local community AND representing our city to the county in a positive manor. Instead, they get kicked around by our county because, well, they don’t care enough. It really takes a village and the only hope I do have now are the locals. We the people can make the difference in the lives of our youth; if only we put forth the effort.
I believe in our youth. I believe in a bright future for them. And I believe that as a community, we will be successful in showing our children that success is tangible. It takes work and dedication but more importantly, support.
Support our youth. Support our future.
Here are some links you can use to get more involved in your community:
Santa Cruz Volunteer Center
Boys & Girls Club of Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Teen Center
Second Harvest Food Bank
October 4th, 2011 §
You know how I said the hardest thing a person has to do is look for a job?! Well, I was wrong. Dieting is the hardest thing. Then becoming a professional midget bowler. Then finding a job.
Midget bowling aspirations aside, I have decided to go on a diet. And when I say diet, I don’t mean that trendy new thing that Teri Hatcher is doing called anorexia, I am talking about simple food management–cutting out the sugars, eating proper proportions, drinking lots of water, etc. Sounds easy right? Wrong. My husband basically has a sugar-drip attached to himself constantly and I get the fall out, my idea of a proportion is the amount of food it takes to deem it necessary to change from jeans to sweats, and water is just a mystery to me. I know I need it. In fact I crave it. But yet, it eludes me. Coffee seems to take its place. And yet, here I am, striving to do the impossible. But it will be done my friends, it will be done.
I think the biggest challenge however, will be trying to train my brain to think “broccoli” instead of “baked goodness”. I wish I had that ingrained in me; that my parents were hippie-esque tree loving individuals that fed me flax seed and snozzleberry juice as a child. But in all reality, who would want that?! There is nothing like a slab of beef right off the barbecue, a nice buttery baked potato, and gorgeously grilled asparagus (at least that was healthy….until I smothered it with butter as well). The trick was back then, I could eat anything since I worked out 4 hours a day. Now, my workout consists of me rolling out of bed, walking down the stairs, and logging into work. So not only do I need to change my delicious diet, but I also need to move muscles I haven’t moved in 5 years. I wonder if they are still alive? I guess I’ll find out when I try jogging and lifting weights.
Fortunately, I have a few motivating factors–I am tired of feeling like a slug, I am going to Vegas in three weeks, I am playing basketball again and so I want to be fit, and I am 25 and feel like I am approaching 50.
And so, I invite you all to join me on my journey of anger and frustration. It’ll be a hard battle against Betty Crocker and Woodstocks Pizza, but victory will be mine!
July 15th, 2011 §
I think one of the hardest things a person has to do is seek employment. There are multiple factors that go into this process including finding interesting, available jobs, writing a resume and multiple cover letters, and be willing to make yourself vulnerable to competition. Notice I didn’t mention the interview process–that is another gigantic beast of burden that is placed on the shoulders of employment seekers.
After a long talk with myself, I decided to hit the job-seeking ground running. I have been in a part-time job for years with the hope it would eventually turn to full time. Well, my patience has dried up. I have decided that my skills are not being utilized and I want more out of my job than toggling between Excel and databases. I earned my BA two years ago in Human Communication, specializing in histories and new media, and feel like I have obtained skills that I am not using in my current job. I have seen that this a problem for most recent graduates–either they are in a position that has nothing to do with their degree or they are unemployed. I am dangling in the middle. It’s a scary prospect but just part of life I guess. So, I will hold my head high and try to “pimp” myself out to the job market.
I have found that it isn’t the job hunting that scares me, but it’s the interview process that terrifies me. Once I get the interview I realize that my first impression must be spot on or I have no chance at the job. I wish I could just walk in, slam a copy of my resume down, and say “You are going to hire me. You saw the resume. I am kick ass. I am so much awesome that you don’t even need to interview me. I am the woman for the job and I will rock the crap out of it!” But alas, I can’t. I must go in with a smile and patiently wait for the slough of questions I will be asked, on the spot, and pray to God I answer properly. I have found that more often than not, I choke. I am asked a simple question and I stammer, stutter, sweat, and basically sound like an idiot. In my head, I am searching for words that resemble the English language and while “umm, I, yeah,” are indeed words, they are unintelligent and in that moment, so am I. I hate the interview. Hate it. It is a process that I am still trying to figure out. I know that I must be unique, not crazy. Smart, but not smug. Personable, but not annoying. There are fine lines between all of the qualities and I just don’t know how to stay on the right side yet. But practice makes perfect. I am hoping I get ENOUGH interviews that I will eventually learn to nail down my interview-personality so I can get multiple offers (and thus, my pick of sweet jobs).
I am learning that the key to getting a great job that you enjoy is having confidence in yourself which is one of the hardest things to have in the world. Walking into an interview confident that you can answer any question thrown at you is almost impossible but not unachievable. It starts with the outfit. You have to have a great outfit. If you aren’t confident in what you are wearing, don’t even show up to the interview. It throws off your game. In one interview for a job I REALLY wanted, I was wearing a button down shirt and a black skirt. In the midst of the interview, I was setting my water bottle on the floor and on my way back up to a back-straight position, a button got caught on the table and popped open. I flashed the interview committee. I was in the middle of answering a question when this happened so all eyes were on me. I tried to play it off by continuing to talk while I buttoned it back, but me fiddling with the button, turning beet red, and going “so, I think, that, you, umm, may, you know…” truly gave way to my fumble. I didn’t get the job.
Despite my interview nightmares, I am going to keep looking. I have updated my LinkedIn, notified Facebook friends, and even called people to ask if there are any openings where they work. I am seriously playing this game and I know I will come out of it with a great job! No more button down shirts though. I learned my lesson.
Thanks to The Oatmeal for always providing comics that are not only relevant but flippin' hilarious.
May 26th, 2011 §
On May 24th, it was discovered by me, the customer, that you had decided to discontinue your route to Cairo, Egypt. I discovered this not through a notification sent by you (which I know you notify your customers of changes because you let me know through urgent email that the flight from San Francisco to Jersey was delayed by 8 minutes), but by waiting on hold for over an hour to talk to a representative regarding my itinerary not showing my destination flight. Upon her telling me that the flight had been cancelled in JANUARY, I became irate. When I say irate, I don’t mean just screaming, I mean shaking, trembling “If I could reach through the phone and punch you in the baby maker I would” irateness. I am not only upset that you canceled this route without informing me, but you also decided to continue to charge me the $1300 it costs for an international ticket just to take me to Jersey. I would NEVER pay that much, let alone a quarter of that price, to go to Jersey. So, as the operator tried to calm me and book me on another flight, the line was disconnected. At this point I had been on the phone for an hour and a half. With no call back number or any way for the operator to get a hold of me, I had to start from scratch.
Another 45 minutes go by and I hear form another Continental airlines representative. During my 45 minute wait, I received a notification that my itinerary had been updated–the previous operater booked my flight without my confirmation–this flight included a 4:30 AM departure time from Cairo. WHY ANYONE WOULD LEAVE AT THAT TIME is beyond me! I don’t think anyone is awake at that time–that is prime sleep time. That is usually when my dreams go from fuzzy, faded, nonsensical drama to colorful, blissful, acid tripping ecstasy. But I digress. As I let the new operator know my situation and that she better rebook that 4:30 AM flight, I come to realize that the connecting flight from Frankfurt to Cairo is listed as a HELICOPTER?! Now, unless I get to shoot some shit out of it, I don’t want to ride 4 hours in a helicopter (come to find out, the itinerary has a Boeing 737 listed as a helicopter–think you need to fix that). The operator then tells me she has rebooked the return flight for a departure time of 9:45 AM connecting in Frankfurt. I should be happy at this point right?! I haven’t had to pay a dime, just waste approximately 3 hours of my time…
WRONG! The operator now informs me that my passenger and I will not be seated together on the flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco but I could pay extra and get upgraded seats next to each other. NOW STOP RIGHT THERE. Let’s recap–cancelled flight with no notification, still charged me $1300 for half of my flight, three hours of my life thus far gone, new flights booked without my confirmation, and NOW I won’t be sitting next to my passanger unless I WANT TO PAY?! I politely told your operator “I am not giving you a f*cking dime!” She said, “Ok, well the best you can do is check in the night before and see if you can get a seat together,” in which I quickly replied, “Even if the universe folded into itself, you wouldn’t be able to upgrade our tickets without me paying?!” She was a clever girl and said, “That is correct.” While her response is quite amusing, that doesn’t make up for your lack of customer service and your status of being a shitty airline–I also noticed that you are merging with United. What happens when two crappy corporations merge?! Nothing good I can tell you that!
So at the end of my morning, I was left with new flights and four confirmation numbers–one for United, one for Continental, one for Lufthansa, and one for Egypt Air. It was then made clear to me that I won’t be flying a single United or Continental aircraft–how does that work by the way?!
So, being that you violated your own customer commitment agreement by not notifying me of this change, there are a few things I want from you:
1. A big apology.
2. Upgrade my damn seats on ALL flights
3. Either a fat credit or a ticket to anywhere I choose since I could have easily showed up to the airport ready to go to Cairo without knowing the damn route was discontinued in JANUARY!
4. Any meal and alcoholic beverage of my choosing on my flights
5. A shrubbery
I await your response.
P.S. – The new itinerary still says that both connecting flights between Frankfurt and Cairo are Helicpoter aircrafts but upon checking with Egypt Air, that isn’t the case. REALLY need to fix that.
*This isn’t really the letter I am writing to Continental–although, maybe it should be. I will write something more eloquently angry. But this will be a good first draft. Be prepared for the most pissed off letter in modern history!
May 5th, 2011 §
Are you ready world for my super random thoughts today?! I don’t think you are ready. Tough cookies.
So yay! Sharks 3-0 against the Red Wings. Pretty sweet. If we keep playing this way, we have a shot at the cup.
Work. Seriously?! What happened?! When did you all of sudden decide to get all crazy on me? I know I am pretty smart and all, but I am supposed to be part time. This whole working 32-40 hours a week thing out of nowhere is throwing me off. At least I am getting paid for it now!
Going to Tahoe this weekend AND I AM STOKED.
Bin Laden is dead. Yay justice. Boo negative nancies. I do not celebrate death but I do celebrate the fact that 9/11 families have some closure now.
This whole “birthers” movement is getting ridiculous. I don’t care AT ALL about Obama’s birth certificate. I think people need to find more constructive things to do with their lives.
Donald Trump–shut up! Who does he think he is?! Well, I know he doesn’t think he is a douche, but the rest of us do. And bravo Seth Myers for ripping on him, “Donald Trump said he was running for president as a Republican. That’s funny because I thought he was running as a joke.” So did I Seth. So did I.
This weather is so amazing right now. Not 5 minutes ago. JUST RIGHT NOW. Check in with me in an hour. It’ll probably be way too hot for my liking.
Egypt is 39 days away people. 39! Woot motha f*ckin Woot!
I need a new haircut. Should I cut it short…let me think about it…..No. Long it stays.
The Rotten Tomatoes won the championship this past season! How have I NOT written about this?! We kicked ass. Who would have thought that last year, being 2-7, we would come back and take the title. Summer league starts in June and we have a team of 10. So so so stoked.
Ok…I think I am done. Be prepared for an update later. More random thoughts will be heading me way shortly.
April 26th, 2011 §
Me: My Words with Friends is acting up–did you get my last play of “LEZ”
Jess: Haha mine too. I’ll look.
Jess: Mines restarting…mine couted se…but.not 3 other letters
Me: Umm, please retype that in Englisg
Me: Or English. Whichever you prefer.
Jess: That was…it played “se”
Jess: Ok counted* Hahaha
Me: OK, I saw that play. And then as I was submitting my seemingly inappropriate yet totally existent word, it freaked out. I wonder if Words with Friends is a Christian affiliated program.
And so, as Jess and I tried to figure out WHY WWF decided to be an asshole and freeze up on us (and just FYI I was winning and even managed to place the “Z” of my “LEZ” on a triple letter), I received this message from our friends at Zynga:
PROOF LADIES AND GENTLEMAN! They are of the Anti-gay. Screw them.