Monday, July 27, 2015

Still Here

No news. Just waiting. Keeping busy, in my way. Spirits are all right, actually. Just waiting.

Meanwhile, this guy is waiting for me. Good night!


Friday, July 24, 2015

Closer .... Closer

So, no, no written offer yet.

But! Confirmation via email that things are happening, and I should get it next week.

And! It "wouldn't likely start until the end of August"; is that okay? Um, more time off, with less worry? Yes, I believe that would be okay. Thank you.

Mind you, it isn't no worry. I'll worry that it will fall through, which would leave me up that proverbial creek. However, I respect the person I'm talking to, so I think the worry will be minimal.

I guess at this point, I am sure enough that talking about it won't jinx it that I will spill some more details: this position is for the company I worked at prior to the one that just shut us down. And if you've been reading for a while, yeah, I had some issues with the editorial manager (I mean, not that we fought or anything; I'm fairly sure she doesn't know how I felt about her), and yes, she's still there (for now, anyway). However, after due consideration, and conversations with the man who is now in charge of the division, I am pretty confident things will work out. If nothing else, she will be much more tolerable to me when I am working from home, and I can roll my eyes at her emails! And I know the work, I know I can do it, they know I can do it, all that good stuff. It's also flattering that they want me back; this is why we don't burn bridges, right? And there's all that I said about working from home, too.

So, if it all works out, if I do get the letter, and it rolls on from there, and I don't have to start for a month? That's kind of awesome. I have done very little around the house with all this time: I've either been out, seeing friends and so on, or I've been mooning about the place, accomplishing little. My kitchen table is messier than it was when I was working, and it was a regular problem then! Perhaps with the worry dialed down, I will be able to focus better and get something done. Anything. There's plenty to choose from.

Setting up some sort of home office/workspace, for instance...

Thursday, July 23, 2015

And Waiting, and Waiting, and Waiting

I wouldn't want to say that the waiting is driving me mad, but it's the truth that today I've read three books (light novels; I'm working my way through DE Stevenson's complete oeuvre) in addition to having a filling replaced at the dentist, and running several other errands. And it isn't even 8 o'clock.

What am I going to do with myself until bedtime?

Please let me hear something tomorrow, please let me hear something tomorrow, please let me hear something tomorrow...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Not Yet

No official word today, either. Hopefully tomorrow. Meanwhile, here's something a friend shared with me today: an a capella group named Pentatonix. Pretty amazing, I think!


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Thoughts on Working From Home

While I wait for the written offer to make it all seem real, I thought I would share my thoughts on theoretically working from home. I haven't done it full time, just the odd snow day here and there, and that one week last spring when I worked from Florida, but on the face of it, there are some serious pros and very few cons.

To start with the cons, they really boil down to one thing, and it's something I won't know until I try: Will I like it? Will I have the willpower? (I think so.) Will I find it too isolating? (I don't think so.) Basically, I have to try it and see. Any other cons are very small (no free coffee, that kind of thing). I mean, I will specifically miss working with some of the people I just worked with -- already do! -- but there's no guarantee that a new situation will have people like that (you always hope, but...).

And the pros? Lo, they are many and varied. In no especial order:
  • No commute. This hands me five to ten hours a week, on a platter. Also, less money spent on gas, less wear and tear on the car, no driving in snow or other bad weather ... yes, it means I may not have "snow days," but it also means no hand-wringing to decide just how bad the roads are, ought I to try, am I justified staying home ... none of that.
  • No more freezing in an office. I can't think how wonderful this would be. It ties in to wardrobe, too: I can wear sweatpants and t-shirts or whatever I want. But not to be so cold ... marvelous.
  • Food flexibility. While proximity to my own kitchen might turn out to be a drawback (see: willpower), being able to cook things properly could be awfully nice: no waiting my turn, relying on a weak microwave, or wishing for something that really ought to be heated in the oven. I can eat loud food (like carrots) or 'aromatic' food (tuna noodle casserole) without worrying about bothering anyone else. I try to be very considerate of others, and it can be paralyzing, really.
  • While we're talking consideration, I can play music if I want, or talk to myself out loud, and I don't have to listen to anyone else! No trying to concentrate with multiple conversations going on around me.
And I'm sure there's more, but that will do to start. I might even get myself a standing desk, something that has interested me for some time, once I'm sure that I'd like it. (No sense spending $400 on something like this if I decide two months in that it isn't going to work for me.) Overall, while I want to make myself a little distinct space (that will send the signal to my brain that "this is where we work"), for most things I will wait and see what I turn out to want or need. I mean, beyond the computer they provide. Organizational things.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Outlook Promising

A discussion isn't an offer until it's in writing, really, but things are looking like they will happen, and there should be news this week. I think I will remain elliptical until I have it in hand; forgive me, but I just don't want to jinx it.

I will say that this opportunity is working from home, so if anyone has advice on that, I'm listening. I know I want to set up a separate space for it, but am working out how exactly that will look. Think, think, think.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Here I Am! Been Busy

I had a busy day Friday, and then yesterday, well, was an odd one, so I didn't manage to blog before being overcome by "too sleepy for coherence," but here I am again, ready to ramble about Things.

First off, a note about socks. Proof that I did in fact make two of the green ones:
Ah, sunlight through the leaves, dappling on the grass...

Also, about the socks I'm currently working on. The yarn is one I got in San Francisco last year, from Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts, in colorway Orange Tabby. When I've looked at the yarn, I've been dubious about it actually being Carlos-colored, but I finally got around to making the direct comparison, and it's surprisingly like him! I think the lack of white in it threw me off. But no matter how the light changes the color of the yarn, you can see the resemblance, right?

If I had it to do again, I think I would make the heel and toe in white yarn ... but I just finished the first sock, and the lack of white doesn't bother me enough to undo it.

Speaking of the orange tabby himself, this is the look I got when I was cutting up a peach and a plum the other morning.
"Yes, I do want it. When you cut things up, it means good things. I want."

He also came running yesterday to the sound of a can opening, and didn't believe me that it was corn, even when I held it out to him. Poor baby. I'm planning to make a batch of tuna salad later today, so he'll finally get his tuna water.

In the interest of equal time, and to continue the recent theme of Places Belmont Sleeps, here she is in a favorite corner, on the base of the scratching post.
As you can clearly see, said base is the location of catnip parties, and thus difficult to keep clean. You can also see that the post itself badly needs the rope replaced; once I have a salary coming in again, I'm going to find someone who will do that for me. The post itself is exceptionally solid, and wrapping new sisal around it should be pretty easy for someone handy, but I know I'm not doing it myself.

Now, none of this explains my busy Friday. I actually set the alarm*, a rarity these days, in order to be in Wilmington by 10. Yes, time again for Bruins development camp! Last year it was over a weekend, but this year it was Tuesday through Friday, so how fortunate that I was laid off and free to go! Well, kind of fortunate, anyway. I wouldn't have chosen it, but. There we are.
*Not early, but set is set.

I arrived just before the players came out to warm up. Speaking of warm, I wore jeans and socks and sneakers, and brought my winter coat to put on over my t-shirt, and by so doing was able to survive less than two hours in Ristuccia. So cold! A number of people I saw had brought blankets for their legs (the man next to me had gloves on), which I think I'll do next time, as my legs and feet were really cold by the time we left (we including Mary Ellen and her husband, who joined me there). But such fun! I only got a couple of pictures.
If you click on the next one to make it big, you should be able to see the ad on the boards in front of the visitor bench. What kind of restaurant spells "restaurant" wrong on their ads, and doesn't fix it? (For that matter, I just looked at my pictures from last year, and it's wrong there, too. Sigh.)
They played a 4-on-4 scrimmage, in two 25-minute periods, followed by all the players going though a shootout (even though it didn't end in a tie). Some of the players tried out their moves, with mixed success, but Jake DeBrusk nailed his (make sure you watch it in slow-mo). Nuts! Even slowed down, I don't believe that move.

Afterward, they all shook hands, which is kind of cute.
Outside and thawing again, we decided to get some lunch, and since there's a Sonic right next door, we went over there and (since we were in two cars) went in, rather than doing the drive-up (at Sonic, you can pull up into a space, place your order, and get served in your car). We went in, and waited, and waited ... we only ever saw one employee, though hopefully she wasn't actually doing everything including cooking ... it took twenty minutes for us to get to the front of the line, and ten minutes later when she still hadn't made it back, we decided to go to Panera instead. The poor girl, but boo to Sonic on that one.

Panera was fine, of course (walk in and order immediately, what a concept), and afterward I went into TJ Maxx next door and found a new purse that I think will do ... I've been looking for a new one forever, and like my job search, I know just what I want and can't find it. Meanwhile, my as-close-as-I've-found purse was falling apart. The one I found I don't love, but I like it well enough, it has most of the pockets and things where I want them, and it was $30, so we'll call that a short-term win, anyway. I then went into Market Basket for a few groceries, and then home to put them away and hang with the cats for a bit before heading out for dinner plans with friends, pizza at someone's house in Brighton.

It was a very fun evening, and late--after 10 when I left, so after 10:30 when I got home, and by the time I wound down, it was midnight before I got to bed, quite late for me even in unemployment. I did wake up sometime around 6 for a bathroom-and-feed-cats break, then went back to bed and was pleasantly stunned, upon waking, to find it was almost noon! Half the day gone, but honestly I felt so good that I didn't mind. I also had a family-dinner invitation for that night, so I spent the afternoon getting some things done around the house, then had a good time in the evening.

Quite the social whirl; I have no outside plans today, and that's okay with me. Especially as there's a thunderstorm warning right now, a good time to not be going out. I'm finishing the laundry, and things like that. Later I may paint my toenails. A wild day, indeed.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Of Bad Health, Good Health

The answer is, "the past year". And the question? Well, two of them, actually.
  1. Over what period of time have I gained 20+ pounds?
  2. Over what year of my life have I exercised the most consistently?
As you might imagine, I am feeling a might crabby about that. Particularly today, when I went for a walk with a friend and now have blisters. Hey, karma, that is no way to encourage me to exercise! Now, granted, it was a beautiful day, but if I'm going to regret it for a few days, how likely am I to want to exercise again? Not very. I don't like carrying the extra weight, but I hate that hungry-and-deprived feeling, too. It's a problem.

Of course there is also a bright side question to that answer. In addition to the questions above, it is the answer to "What is the longest period of time in recent years that you have gone without a terrible headache?" Yes, I last had one of the awful ones on July 21st of 2014.

A year. An entire year without wanting to die of the pain. How awesome is that?

The overall numbers of headaches are down, too. Here's so far this year, compared to the last few years.
So far this year, my rate of days with headaches is less than half what it was last year. Half. Truly amazing.

Which, when I think about it, is an offer I would have taken happily a year or two ago: How about you gain weight, but don't have as many headaches? I would have grabbed for that deal. A good thing to remember, especially as I hobble around today.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pictures and a Small News Teaser

It's not even nine PM, plus I get more sleep when unemployed so I think I only got up about 12 hours ago, but I am yawning my head off! Whew. Let's look at some pictures.

I haven't taken pictures of the recently finished socks (I can NOT figure out where I put my sock blockers, it's just not a thing that I would use for anything else so why would I have moved them...grumble, grumble), but I did think to take a picture of the new one, in progress. Last Monday:
And this Monday:
I got past the heel decreases and am cruising down the foot. Not bad for under 2 weeks of work.

We have to have some cat pictures, right? The baby, nap interrupted:
And princess loudmouth. In addition to enjoying a good shoebox snooze:
She has another spot she has been patronizing recently: behind the books on a shelf. She only knocks books off sometimes.
"What? I can look at the curtain if I want to, can't I?"
Then, a few odds and ends seen around. This was in an ad, and I find it very strange. I know I went to college a million years ago, but I would have been stunned if I'd had a roommate pull out one of these.
I went over to Assembly Row in Somerville the other day, and was taken aback at this vehicle outside a burger joint.
Publicity, sure, but do they actually drive it? Because I feel like that would cause accidents.

In the same location, there was a tall guy outside the Legoland.
I love Legos.

I also liked this whimsical display outside Sugar Heaven. I managed not to go in; lead me not into temptation.
I was delighted to see that there's an Outback Steakhouse going in, too. Can't have enough of those, especially as I heard the one in Burlington is closing.

Right, so that's the photos. In other news, I have a quasi-interview-thing on Monday, so it's good to have something happening. More details if it seems promising after that; don't want to jinx it!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

In Lieu of Intentions

I meant to get here earlier with some photos, but it's late and Carlos is nagging, so I will have to save that for tomorrow. For tonight, I will point you to this NPR story, celebrating the end of the winter's snow.

Yes, I know it is mid-July.

The last of the snow has finally melted in Boston. Somehow, this validates my feelings about last winter.

Check out the time-lapse melting:


Monday, July 13, 2015

Considering the Weekend

When one is not working, the meaning of the weekend shifts considerably.

To me as a worker, Friday night is a big sigh of relief, and Saturday and Sunday are the days when I try to Do All The Things.

Unemployed, Friday night is like any other night, and if anything, Saturday and Sunday are days when I am less likely to try to Do Things. I mean, stores and roads are less crowded during the week, so why would I go on the weekend?

Which doesn't mean I did nothing this weekend, but I didn't do much. It was fine. And now it's the week again, which also doesn't mean what it used to. It's a little disorienting.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Friday Report, with a Bruins teaser

The unemployment check did in fact come in today's mail, so that's something. I also did some laundry, ran a few errands, made a pros and cons list, patted kitties, and read a couple of books. It's been a busy day.

Meanwhile, some lovely person made a video showing great moments by my favorite Bruin. I love that not only did they show goals and assists, but some of his excellent defensive work. What a player!



I caught the end of a Bruins game rerun on NESN this afternoon, and my goodness, I miss hockey. I don't know what kind of team the Bruins are going to have this year, but at this stage there's still hope they could be good. Hope is a good thing in many ways.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

The Thursday Report

I think (knock on wood) that my unemployment claim is straightened out, so that's the good thing for today. Seeing as how the system was designed by people who have clearly never used computers before, and is set up in the most confusing bureaucrat-speak, this was an accomplishment. (What really boggles my mind is that I feel I am reasonably intelligent; how do less intelligent people figure it out? Perhaps all the fraud they keep warning about is just people who don't understand the system doing it wrong.)

I had tried last week to figure out how to attach the copy of my severance agreement that they claimed they had to have, and ended up calling and being told that that part of the claim had been voided or suspended or something, and they would have to undo it before I could proceed. Since, as far as I could tell this week, that hadn't yet happened, I made an appointment to see an unemployment rep at the career center (which is a place that the unemployed can get help and training and all--they aren't the unemployment people, but there's a rep there two days a week, so if you need help ... and face-to-face seemed easier to me than calling and waiting forever on hold again).

The nice man took a copy of my signed agreement and said he would put it in my file when he got back to the office tomorrow, and was also able to assure me that the lack of it hadn't held up my claim; in fact, he almost had a twinkle in his eye as he showed me the part of my account that said they had sent me the first check this week, and repeated, "The check is in the mail." Who would have expected a sense of humor in a government employee? It was quite a pleasant surprise. And as long as the check comes, and they keep coming* until I have another job, that will be a help.
*Metaphorically speaking; after the first one they are supposed to be direct-deposited.

So that was that. With the notice/vacation pay check and the severance payment, I wasn't worried for July, but now August doesn't look quite so scary. Which it was starting to seem, given the dearth of job openings I can find for what I want to do. I'm sure I wrote about this the last time I was laid off (but I shan't look back as it's sure to be depressing): editing and proofreading mean such different things to different people, that finding a job for what I mean by it is frustrating. There's no end of job titles with "editor" in them, but they mean a million different things, and the sorting and sifting gets old.

Still, it could be worse: I met up with my former co-editor yesterday for coffee-and-commiseration, and she told me about having an interview where she was already feeling a vibe that it wasn't the right place for her before the woman who would be her boss started describing what would be her duties, including, "You would turn on my computer before I got in, and wipe down my desk." What? You ... can't push the button to turn on your computer yourself? Your desk gets so dirty it needs daily cleaning? Aren't people fascinating, though? Still, perhaps not the reason my friend got her master's degree. Keep looking.

Anyway, I have to go. It turns out that even when you are laid off and spending much time being sad about it, your kitchen doesn't clean itself. Isn't that disappointing?

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Fighting Off the Blues

Given the fit of my clothes these days, my usual strategy of comfort food in tough times is a dubious coping strategy, so when I felt the blues descending tonight (for no real reason, especially as it was a good day), I went to the library to pick up a few things.

I've already read more books this year than I did all of last year, and if this keeps up, I may set a new record. Which wouldn't be so bad, really.


Tuesday, July 07, 2015

A Quiet Hour

As I mentioned, the cats are definitely looking for more attention since I got back. This morning, I found myself on the bed with a cat at each elbow.

Left:
Right:
Happily, there was nowhere I had to be, so we could chill together for a while.

Monday, July 06, 2015

The Week That Was: Florida Edition

So, I went to Florida, did I mention? Yes, it's time for the avalanche of pictures.

The trip down was fine, except for a delay in the flight, somewhat annoying since it was an early flight that ought to be less prone to such things, but oh well. Still arrived in time for lunch, and happy to be there. Especially since it was raining and chilly when I left, sunny and warm when I arrived! Ahh.

We only walked on the beach twice during the week; it's something I could normally do every day, but man, with such hot air and only a small hot breeze, and the water feeling like bathwater instead of cooling you off ... you know I'm not complaining, but when that much sweat is dripping off, it's not ideal for walking miles. A couple of days we "swam" in the pool instead, if by swam you understand I mean mostly floated around. It's enjoyable.

And let's be clear, the beach was still very nice!
I like to pick up shells, and got a few, though as our timing worked out, it was better for walking than for shelling both days when we went, smoother and less shelly underfoot. My feet were glad of it! On Monday I found this shell, perfect.
And I had hopes for this one, but when I poked at it, its occupant turned it firmly back down, so I left it as it was. "I'm not done with it yet!"
Also on Monday we had a neighbors reunion, having lunch with sisters who lived across the street from us when we were kids. Funny how they seemed so much older than me then, and now, it doesn't register. It was so nice to see them again and do some catching up.

Tuesday we drove over to Everglades City to take the boat tour. Again, super hot, and it's a good thing I put on sunblock because in spite of it being overcast, I got some sun. Should have worn a hat, in fact, as the top of my head got tender, but then I might have passed out if I'd worn one, so perhaps best not.

When I'm in Florida, I always think of one of my friends who's into manatees in a big way. So I had to get a picture of the Manatee Zone sign, of course.
(Got one of Manatee Road another day, too.
)
Our friend the brown pelican.
And an osprey, chilling in a tree.
Another pelican.
Terns on a post.
Off in the hazy distance, Marco Island.
Nearer sunset, this will be covered with a million birds, more or less. I've seen it that way.
The dot in the middle there is a dolphin. Click on the picture to see it better.
Large (relatively) white bird in the middle. Ibis? Maybe?
Terns on the sign again, lined up better.
Driving home: a flock of egrets on a lawn.
Because that happens there.
The path to the beach.
Hot, yes, but gorgeous.
I mean, really.
Just perfect.
On Friday we took the little boat tour from the Conservancy in Naples. It's hard to believe that this is behind the scenes in the middle of a city.
That's a mango tree!

This time, instead of the usual tour, we took one that took us to a nearby restaurant for lunch. Fun change!

We also had time to look around the Conservancy before the tour. They had some very nice exhibits, new I think since my last visit. Another manatee sighting!
And a (live) turtle, floating with his reflection.

Fishes.
Dinner and a show Friday night: big lightning off in the distance while we ate. Kind of neat.
I mean, check out the sky.
And one night we saw a rainbow! Here's the left half.
And the right half!
Dinner on Thursday, and another threatening sky that fortunately did not douse us.
Some oddball things. Like, someone thinks their Nissan Versa is "gorgeous"?
See, above the Nissan logo? I guess that proves what is in the eye of the beholder, all right.

We had dinner Sunday at a local sports bar with this sign.
Which was somewhat ironic, as there were some people there who were very, very drunk, and really, really LOUD. The kind of thing that makes you hurry to leave, but is a good story later. (She has 13 brothers and sisters! And is on her third marriage! And...way more than I would ever want to know about even a friend, let alone a complete stranger.)

Meanwhile, in another restaurant, I liked this sign.
A funny thing to rule against, but I'm okay with it.

For my return flight, I was thrilled to have an empty seat next to me, such a rarity these days, and such a difference it makes in the comfort of the flight. When I had checked in on Friday, I saw that there was a window seat left that had an empty seat next to it, and I switched to it figuring that, while the middle seat would probably end up being filled, there was that chance--and it worked! Wonderful. That flight even left a little early; got in a little early; my bag was about the sixth one on the belt; the shuttle pulled up just as I got to the area for it; and I hit no traffic going home (not that I expected to, but still). All quite painless, and were the cats glad to see me! And how. Belmont has taken to coming to the bed when I go, something she has never regularly done, as though she just can't stand to be in the living room alone. They follow me around, and welcome me rapturously when I return after being gone for an hour. It's quite sweet, in a slightly suffocating way. Such are cats.