Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Economy Sucks!

I wasn't going to post until I got a job, but it's the end of January now and I still don't have a job. It has been the most frustrating thing. I got a call for an interview that was supposed to be last Monday, but got cancelled because the school district didn't need the services. That could be true, after all, education isn't immune to economic downturns. Then I thought I had a shoe in with another agency, but they lost a client in the Jerome school district to a day program and the boss was going to have to scramble to make up those hours to the full time employee he already had, so there went the 15 hours a week he wanted to offer me. Friday I had an interview for a developmental specialist position, but they only wanted to pay $11/hr. That's an insult - really, it is. I can get a job making that much money doing half the work with no real responsibility. I was a little miffed.

I have three interviews lined up for next week. I had sent one of the agencies my resume in the mail, one I dropped my resume off at their place of business, and the third I took my resume in and filled out an application. I don't think any of the jobs are full time, but, if they pay a fair wage, and offer me a position, I will take it. After all, this economy can't last forever. If I get a part time job, it will eventually become a full time job.

I'm not ready to panic yet - that will come next week if a job offer doesn't come my way. I hope my troubles really are just bad luck. There is a possibility that my ex-boss is giving me a bad reference. I am planning to test this by having someone call her posing as a prospective employer and find out what she is saying. It may have nothing at all to do with her. I am hoping that is the case. It's just frustrating that two jobs went down the toilet like that.

The really sad part about all of this is that the GRE registration deadline is approaching fast. The fee is $130 and I don't know if I will have it. I will apply for the reduced fee for sure, but if I don't get a job there is no point in it. If I can't take the GRE, there is no graduate school.

I had my birthday this month. I almost forgot it myself, but two people e-mailed me birthday wishes. I had absolutely no idea how they knew it was my birthday! I actually e-mailed one of them to ask if I could put her down as a reference, and told her I had racked my brain and couldn't figure out why she would know it was my birthday! It turns out that Myspace and Facebook tell you a week in advance of your friends' birthdays. I didn't know this because I so rarely visit my networking profiles! Now, I know I'd better check things out at least weekly so I will know if I have birthday wishes to send!

My Birthday Cake by MeganMegan made me a cake. It was beautiful! For a minute. It was delicious! For a day. Now all I have are memories and pictures (wouldn't it be cool if you could take taste pictures - every time you looked at them you could taste it!). But guess what! Valentines day is coming. I'm thinking at least cookies!

There was a hiccup with Zach. In August, a new manager started at McDonalds. Zach kept coming home and telling me that this manger hated him and was trying to fire him. I kept telling Zach to give it time and some patience, and that once he and the new manager got used to each other things would be fine. Well, a few weeks ago Zach brought home a performance update that had checked off as unsatisfactory every single item that had to do with autism. On the bottom it says "30 day probation!" Of course, I'd have none of that. I went in to talk to this manager and set him straight. I wasn't nearly as snotty as I could have been, but apparently I still intimidated the poor guy (note the sarcasm there). We just got things set up for emergency job coaching and are working on long term job coaching so that this crap doesn't happen again.

This guy said he knew how to work with developmentally delayed employees, but he had no clue what autism was - though he kept telling Zach he did! One of his biggest complaints was that Zach didn't look him in the eye when he was talking to him. DUH! One of the most consistent symptoms of autism is lack of eye contact. So I printed off a bunch of information about autism from the internet (because apparently he didn't have time to do it himself), highlighted all of the things that I thought were most relevant to Zach and gave it to him. He did back off on Zach, and though Zach is still raw from the experience, I can see him starting to get back to his old self. Today was the first day of real job coaching, and he got a $6 mystery shopper bonus for doing such a good job!

So, at least Zach is still working.

Megan has two jobs, and one of them is being discontinued due to governmental budget cuts, and the other is in jeopardy because of cuts to the department of Health and Welfare. I guess we shouldn't be too upset. After all, people with disabilities and drug dependence problems don't need any help during economic downturns. I wonder if it will take people roaming the streets homeless and hopeless, stealing from those who have to survive, urinating and defecating in alleys and streets to make people see that cutting this funding is a huge mistake? The justice department has been seriously cut, so it is unlikely any of these people will find relief in jail for a night or two. How much time will be lost teaching people to take care of themselves, to be independent and self advocating. The more people can do for themselves, the less money has to be spent paying someone to do thing for them. I know, there is an economic crisis, but some things shouldn't be dropped.

I have learned to play all of Clementi's Sonatina Op. 36 #1! I still suck at it, but at least I know it! I almost got through it today without having to stop and start from huge mistakes. The last movement is still too new. But I have hope that I will get there. What I really hope is that I suddenly find something to do that keeps me from having time to perfect my performance. You know, like a job.

UnbornMy neighbor took me to see a movie last weekend. We saw Unborn. There were other movies we would have rather seen but timing chose this movie. The premise of this movie is really good, but I think the arrow missed its mark. I wonder if it all ended up on the cutting room floor. I am not religious, but I really love religious possession movies. Yes, you have to leave your brain at the door and suspend disbelief long enough to be entertained. I hadn't been to a movie in so long that I was willing to make that happen for a couple of hours. Then I got to laugh about it later. She took me to Jakers for calamari and lobster bisque. I didn't know you get get that much food for just $15 at Jakers! When I get that job next week, and get a paycheck, I am definitely returning the favor! I'd never had lobster bisque before because I thought it was a waste of good lobster. I was wrong. I don't believe I've ever had anything that tasted better. And I'm pretty sure it wasn't because I've been eating bread and water for two weeks. Ok, beans and rice too. I miss chicken. I miss sausage. I miss beef. I miss lettuce, and tomatoes and potatoes.

So, there it is.

Friday, January 02, 2009


No one can sit all alone and watch tv all day. Last Sunday, I lit some candles, made some candy-cane hot chocolate (that I got at the lab Christmas party), cuddled up in my blanket and read a book. It was a book I purchased last summer because Barnes and Noble was having a killer sale. I went looking for The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (which I may write about at a later date), and got At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks, Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman (neither of which I have read yet), and Skin by Ted Dekker.

I've read books by Nicholas Sparks that made my heart ache and beat, but I am in no mood for romance right now. I started reading Misquoting Jesus, and it seems interesting, but I needed and escape. Skin is a huge departure from the type of book I typically read, but the bookstore girl gave a rave review, so I bought it. Hey, for $4.00 (that's how much the three books I didn't go to buy were) how could I loose? So, I opened up the book and began to read.

This book takes on a CSI feel early on. It is a fast moving drama/sci-fi with lots of twists and turns. I can't say that I was really surprised at the end, because I had actually guessed that ending at one point. However, there were so many possible endings that you do have to read all the way through to see. And the author writes engagingly enough to make you want to read it.

It begins with a woman traveling to the Utah Nevada border to see her mother who is a part of a cult (what? on the Utah border?). She is driving through a freak storm that is spawning tornadoes - something we don't see much of out here. She nearly hits a truck stopped on the highway, gets out of her car to investigate, and meets two of the main characters in the book. From there the book takes you on a roller coaster ride through crime scene investigation, the mind of a serial killer, and some really strange situations that don't make any sense, and can't be a part of the natural world. Will they solve the mystery and stop the killer in time? You don't know 'till page 389!

Usually I rate books by how long I daydream about them after I'm finished, or how sorry I am that the book actually ended. I was glad to get to the end of this book, and I haven't spent much time daydreaming about it. I don't think that makes it a bad book, though. It is just different from what I'm used to. I didn't really feel connected to the characters, though the author did a good job of painting them. I think the ending explained why, though. It was a fun story to try to keep up with and figure out.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Christmas 2008

Christmas came. It snowed all Christmas Eve and all Christmas Day. Megan and Steve braved the roads home from Richfield, though I can't say they used good judgment in making the trek. A man in Jerome got stuck in the snow storm on Christmas Morning and told/allowed (depending who you listen to) his two small children to walk 10 miles in a blizzard. The little girl died of hypothermia and people are looking for retribution. It is one of the saddest stories I have heard - it ranks right up there with Poor Babes in the Woods.

The snow is nearly all melted away now. That's how it is here. There is still plenty of snow in the mountains (canal officials might disagree), and some ice still covers some side streets. They say that another cold front is coming and we might get more snow, and we'll definitely get more cold. My dad said something that is helping - it is a reframing of an old cold thought. I hate winter, it seems to last forever. But my dad said, "Winter will be over in March, and then it will be warm again". Yes. March. That's only a few months away. Three months, I can do that. A long winter? No. Three months? yes.

Here are some pictures of Christmas at Zach's. Megan took pictures, but for some reason she only wanted to take pictures of me, which I deleted. The first is a picture of Zach's christmas tree, then a picture of his hors devours (saltines and sardines). I 've decided I really like having Christmas and Thanksgiving at Zach's. I don't have to wash the dishes! He had all the dishes rinsed and stuck in the dish washer before I left. He got cable, so we watched the Star Trek TNG marathon all day. They only showed one of my favorite episodes. Oh, well, it was kind of fun anyway.

When I got home, it was late and still snowing. I took some pictures of the snow. Really - it is snow. It's not spirit orbs - it's blurry snow. Although, I might be able to sell one on Ebay, and say that it was a picture of Christmas Spirits! I'll bet I could make enough money to get some more saltine crackers and sardines!

And that was Christmas.

Car trouble on Teton Pass

There was a power outage on Teton Pass, so I couldn't post a picture. Until now. This is why I love these cameras - especially this one. You get to see the people close up and personal with this camera. The other cameras just show the roads and landscape, but this one shows the people. People when they're coming, people when their going, and people when their car breaks down.

I started looking around at the department of transportation sites, and Utah and Oregon do a pretty good job with the cameras. A good job in that you pick a camera as placed on a map. That way you can daydream about that road trip! Other states have cameras, but you kind of need to know the area to understand them at all. They are listed by location, and I don't know the landscape of most states. It's still fun though.

I really need to get a job.