Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How *NOT* to Deal with Rejection

So, last night, I had a dream that Jason decided his best life plan was to become some sort of bank/business robber, just like his "Great-Aunt Sally" from the 20's-- (who is completely fictional, btw)- only he was going to do it right this time instead of botching it up and living most of his life in jail like she did. Without my knowledge, he had pulled off two heists but then "the fuzz" was on to him, so he left and we broke up because he didn't want me to have to live that kind of life.

Then, when I woke up and checked my e-mail and there was a rejection notice for one of the few pieces I had out.

And I have a sore throat and a cold sore.

And everyday that I wake up without a call from an employer wanting to interview me hits a little bit harder and we are mid-way through my 3rd month sans job, so it's hitting pretty hard, these days.

So basically I've been feeling pretty rejected today. I mean, granted, Jason didn't actually break up with me to start a life of crime, but it is hard to not start feeling really dejected by all this rejection.

I'd like to write a post called "How to Deal with Rejection," but I don't know that I have a lot of handy tips. I know some things you shouldn't do... mainly because I do them. So here's a list of how *NOT* to deal with rejection.

1) Remember every previous rejection you've ever had. From the cute boys who never paid much attention to me, to not getting accepted to Missouri State Fine Arts Academy, to not getting certain scholarships that I interviewed for, to never getting any part that I really wanted in a play. I shouldn't remember them all and play back in my heart all the disappointment I've felt from reaching for something I really want and being told no.

2) Use absolute words like "always" and "never." Talking about how I'm always disappointed, is never a good idea, because it removes the possibility that there have been any gray areas or bright spots and it sounds like nothing has ever worked out, when, in actuality, I live a pretty happy life.

3) Take it personally. I've been a drama teacher, I've been on the panel for a literary journal, I've been on the other side of the hiring committee. Choices are never personal, they are based on talent level and chemistry and mood and balance and a hundred other things that aren't personal, but it still feels so personal, every time.

4) Avoid future rejection. This is my worst one. For a time in my life I tried to just stop wanting anything.  If I didn't care, then I couldn't be hurt. Which is technically true, but a terrible way to live life. I've gotten a little better about this, but I still am very emotionally reserved about practically everything. It's so hard for me to let go and loosen up, but I don't know how you can pretend that you don't want a job... being able to live is kinda important. I've wondered a few times if it was possible to get someone else to send my stuff out so that I would only hear if I got accepted, not if I was rejected, but that seems sort of a cheaty way to go about it.

5) Let your light go out. I just... I don't expect my life to be a movie or perfectly smooth. I don't expect to be a huge star who is known all over the world. But I would like to be known. I would like to make some sort of impact. I would like to actually make a living. I would really like to shine.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Quilt Block Woes


So, I have this great idea for a quilt. 

I have made quilts before, but just little ones for babies. This one is gonna be a big quilt. King-sized.

I figured out how to do it with as little money as possible, considering the unemployment situation.

I planned out how to make it on quilt software to make sure it looked good and to make sure that I liked it, and to lessen the math I had to do.

I figured out how to print the piecing lists, so I have a total list of every block I'm making.

I prewashed my fabric, which I never do, just to be sure.

Picture and discussion about prewashing found on this blog.

I checked and rechecked all my final measurements, to make sure it will be what I want it to be.

 and finally I was ready to cut the fabric.

I used my rotary cutter for precision cuts, and measured very carefully.

Then it was time to sew. I pinned everything and sewed at a slow to medium pace.

 I checked all my seams, and they are all 1/4 inch.

And yet, and yet! Despite it all, my 1st block is 1/2 inch shorter on one side than it should be.


What. the. what. Fabric is so frustrating sometimes.

But it is pretty, dontcha think?

I'm not going to fix it yet.. I'm going to wait for some of the other blocks to come out too short and then just add an extra book to make it work right.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Highs and Lows and Bacon Mac and Cheese

It's such an up-and-down existence.

I got a message about a job recently that I think sounds really great for me. I don't want to say much about it, so I don't jinx anything and I'm trying to keep my expectations for gainful employment low, but it got me feeling all hopeful and excited for the future. I was feeling really good on Tuesday.

Then today, I got an e-mail for a government job I applied for: "You were within the Best Qualified, Highly Qualified or Qualified Category, however your application was not reviewed or referred for employment consideration."

I mean, I'm happy that they actually sent an e-mail so that I have a clue, but... that's not exactly helpful. "You were totally qualified, but we just weren't that interested." Bah!!

But ok, this is a job that gives preference to vets, and (especially considering the perspective I have gained since dating a vet) I'm really glad that vets are getting jobs. So that's the perspective I'm adopting. A ton of vets who are highly qualified applied and there was only one job. But I need a job, too. And I mean, I know I'm not a war vet, but shouldn't there be a job where I can get preferential hiring as a widow? Do they give preferential treatment to widows of men killed in action? Cause they should. Even more than me, "war widows" should get preferential treatment. Ok, new perspective. A widow did get the government job. Just not *this* widow.

Also, I would like to share with you an important discovery I have made this week.

It looks like this:

Now before you get all judge-y on me, hear me out.

Normally the gross thing about frozen meals is the meat which can be a bit sketch. But this is Jimmy Dean. They are meat people. If the meat in their meal/bowl/thingie is gross they are shooting themselves in the foot, right?

That's what I figured when I bought it at the store, and then I was brave enough to try it, and you know what? I thought it was great. The noodles and the bacon and the cheese sauce have all been cooked separately and frozen and then added to the bowl because someone somewhere figured out the best way to freeze things and the right size to cut everything so that it all tastes like food on the other side of the microwave. It wasn't quite as good as Panera, but honestly? It was pretty darn close.

It's not great on the sodium and saturated fat levels, but when has mac and cheese ever been? And in total it's 440 calories-- again, not bad when Applebees is all excited because they have lunches under 600 calories.

So you know, on a day when you kinda want some comfort food because the government likes you enough to take your tax dollars, but not enough to give you a job, it's not a bad call.

(I promise, Mister Jimmy Dean did not pay me for this endorsement... but if he wants to hire me, I'll tell Jimmy, "Abso-flippin-lutely.")

Saturday, August 30, 2014

What Have I Been Up To?

There is a lot of time between applying for jobs and looking for jobs. I apply to at least one job per day, and I spend many hours looking for jobs to apply for, but you can't fill all of your time looking for a job because that will drive you insane. So what do I do in the mean time?

I went to the library and picked up five books the other day and not a single one of them was assigned to me. It's been a while since I could read something without feeling bad that I wasn't reading something for school or something more "literary." But the simple truth is that I like my Mercedes Lackey and "non-literary" fiction just as much, if not more than the other stuff... There is nothing wrong with liking a book because it makes you feel good and fufilled, rather than sad and depressed. Especially when your life is stressing you out already.


It's been just as long, I think, since I haven't felt like I had to squeeze my craft/art stuff in during whatever time I could find. I got this gorgeous sconce from a yard sale for three dollars and then took it from a shiny kinda tacky gold to this pretty aqua blue that acknowledges the possibility of tacky but embraces all the over-the-top scrolls and flourishes. And, thanks to my mom and e-bay, I've got some matching sconces coming to me. I can't wait to paint them, too! And to contrast all that bright color, I've started designing and blocking out a quilt that I've wanted to make for a while now. It's going to be all in greys, blacks, whites, creams, ect. I know, it sounds bland, but trust me. It will look good. I went to JoAnns to get some good deals on some quarter-yards, and I got many compliments. Neutrals don't have to be boring, and there is a ton of patterns and textures in it. I paid attention in my art classes. I know how to work this! I think it's going to look awesome. I'm pretty sure there will be more blogs about that in the future.
I did a lot of exploring quilt software, while trying to design this quilt. I know I'm not the first person to have ever made one because I got the idea from pinterest, but it is simple enough that I wanted to design it on my own and complicated enough that I wanted some computer help. It's ridiculous to me if we don't use these beautiful machines to help us do the tedious math. I am currently on a trial of some software (generally agreed to be the 2nd best, as far as I've seen), it's pretty badly designed on the user end, but seems to work adequately on the back end. I'm still curious about what the "best" quilting software would be like, but I don't have the money to spend on it now, and they don't have a trial option. I've also been watching you-tube videos in order to learn how to applique, because I am my mother's daughter, and while elaborate cross-stitching work isn't really my style, appliqueing a quilt block seems like something I might enjoy. And I love to have something to do while watching tv or at art nights that my friends host. Some people Zen Tangle. Maybe I'll quilt. Who knows.

I admit it. I watch weird things these days. For some reason I got into watching these guys play Minecraft on YouTube. I can't really explain why it's enjoyable to me, but it is. Part of it is that they are British and what American doesn't love to listen to a British accent? Part of it is they start out just playing Minecraft and then somehow the series morphs into this weird half scripted/ half improvised action adventure acted out by Minecraft characters. Then after I "finished" their first series (Warning: it doesn't end, they just sorta stop) I went on to a different series, and then another and then another. But sometimes it's absolutely hilarious and the rest of the time it's good for background stuff while I'm cleaning or doing mundane crafting or whatever. I've found that I really like this kinda stuff for that. I've also been watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey. I know. You don't have to tell me that this is not great television. But again. It's funny and it's good for background. Let me tell you. I love Doctor Who, but The Doctor deserves my full attention. On the other hand, some guys playing a computer game or some housewives who lead ridiculous lives, can just keep me company in the background and maybe make me feel like I'm not such a terrible person in the mean time.

This has trickled off the longer I go without finding a job. I'm not sure why, but I think it's because I need to feel like I've accomplished something more "real" and tangible, when I don't have a job, but I've been working my way through Final Fantasy XII. First off, let me say: They need to put some flipping pants on Fran, the bunny girl. I don't need to see that every time I'm leading the girl party.. But other than that, I was enjoying my first foray into the world of Final Fantasy. I'm sure I'm not done with it. When I'm feeling less job conscious or tired of all the hobbies I've picked back up, I'm sure I'll return to it. I don't know why it took me so long to play one, but it's fun... and it's free, which is good.

What I Haven't Been Doing:
Calling my friends: Is it stress? Partly. I think I'm letting my insecurity with the job translate over into other areas of my life as well, so I've not been reaching out nearly as much as I should. Which is dumb, cause I have great friends, and I have "all this time." But it's like the abundance of time is almost paralyzing in it's own way. I've completely reverted back to my night owl ways, and I look around and see how busy everyone else is, and here I am just sorta drifting... I never understood why someone who was in a lot of money trouble wouldn't want to open their bills-- I always thought, "But not opening them doesn't change their content." But now I'm starting to understand better. It's hard to be confronted with what you know is your own failure... and seeing people who know me seems to somehow underline my job-less-ness in my own mind.

Working out: I started working out this summer during the busiest time I had in school... and I managed 3 times a week for a month or so... and now it's dropped off significantly. I haven't given it up completely. The other night I did 6 sets of 9 (girl) pushups, which is pretty good, considering I started at 5 sets of 5 and could barely do it. So I've upped it to a little more than double. But you'd think I'd do it every day with all my free time. Nope. Not so much.

Ok guys, I'm ready to work again. Introspection and free time are overrated.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Creature of Habit (aka why a career is like a boyfriend, apparently)

What? Renée has written a blog post!?! That's something that doesn't happen every day... ok, well, it doesn't any more.

I'm going to try to get back into the swing of things, though... because, I mean, really, what else do I have going on?

So quick and dirty life update: I'm still dating Jason (he's wonderful, but would deny that if you asked him), I graduated with my Masters on Aug 1st, and (though I have been applying a lot) I've not heard back from anyone.

It's hard. I mean obviously, I know I shouldn't take it personally. I know it's all in who you know and getting the right notice at the right time and something will come along and it will be great and ect. ect. ect. But it's hard to be here. I keep saying-- this time off would be a whole lot easier to enjoy if I knew when it was going to end. If I was on an actual vacation rather than unemployed. Even the word, "unemployed" feels terrible. It makes me feel like a loser and a drain on society. If it were a choice I were making, it would be different. If I could claim a different title. If I was a "housewife" or a "stay-at-home mom," not having a job would be lovely and I could work and make my Etsy things and get better at quilting and paint hoodies to my heart's content (or at least I think that from this side of the fence!) I don't judge someone else for being unemployed, but boy howdy am I judging myself. It feels scummy.

It's not like I'm only looking for writing/tech writing jobs. I'm looking for administrative assistant style jobs, too. I did that for 4 years for the church and while I'd rather be doing something more project-orientated, I certainly didn't mind being an administrator and I was pretty good at it.  But at this point I really just want someone to call me back. Just call me in and talk to me!

Could I get a part-time job? I mean, I do have the Pixelscopic stuff when they need me and, yeah, I probably could get something in retail or food service, and if this stretches out too long I might have to, but I have some money in savings and while I don't want to blow through that either, I also don't want to take a stop-gap part time thing that stresses me out with learning a new job and slows down my ability to look for a full-time "real" job that can actually support me. Cause that's the thing. In the long run, I need something that can support me.

It's so frustrating. I mean I'm a good employee. I really think that I am, and as far as I know every supervisor I've had would say the same. I'm calm and I work well with others and I have a good work ethic and I'm personable and I learn what I need to do quickly and I do my job well. But it's not like I can just write on my resume: "You are a fool if you don't call this girl in for an interview." Cause that's very bombastic, for one, and perhaps not the greatest first impression. Should I start mailing HR departments cookies? I probably should. Sugar cookies that say, "Hire Renée, today!"

I'm not great at selling myself. I don't think in terms of numbers or scope of projects or talents. I try to be so great that other people will sell me, or somehow my previous work will sell me. I make the cookies. You tell me if they are good enough. When I have to tell you if they are good enough I want to undersell. Because maybe you don't like nuts, or maybe chocolate or cinnamon isn't your thing, or maybe (God forbid!) you like raisins in your oatmeal cookies. If I have to tell you that I'm going to blow you away then I probably won't. I will have probably raised your expectations far beyond my ability to exceed them. Or at least that's how my mind works. But I know that you can't do that on a resume, so I have done the best I can to avoid that... and yet I've still to receive any calls.

Today my phone rang and I got excited. And then I saw it was a number from Florida, but I went ahead and answered, cause you never know. "Hello?"

... "Hola!" followed by a long string of Spanish that I could not begin to keep up with.

*sigh* *End Call*

I mean... good gravy, hire me for a two-week trial period and if you don't think I do a good job, let me go. I'm pretty confident that you wouldn't, but if you've been burned by employees before, I get it. Call my references, please! Call them all. I'm not sure the Mt. Vernon principal from 2008 will have a strong recollection of me, but that's fine, you can go for it. I can put you in touch with a few of my former students, if that would help.

I sound desperate. I'm not... at least not yet. But I am serious. It's legitimately as demoralizing as trying to start dating again, only this time I can't wait for two years for the right one to come along. Oh gosh... yeah. I've just read back over this thing and it really is like dating. I even hear the same things. "Just be patient." "The right one will come along." "Stay positive, don't beat yourself up." "Try and focus on other things, too." I could literally reskin this blog and make it about boys, and it would be my blogs from like 2012.

Ha! Can't you imagine it? Here's paragraph 5 from above: "It's not like I'm only looking for brunettes. I'm into gingers, too. I never had a crush on a red head and while I'm naturally drawn to brunettes, I certainly know and love a lot of people with red hair and even tried it a time or two myself  and I looked pretty good in it.  But at this point I really just want someone to call me back. Just call me in and talk to me!"

*shakes my head* I guess the more things change the more they don't change even a little bit? I mean this should probably be encouraging, right? Jason certainly turned out to be pretty great, and at least I can apply for a job. You can't really submit a girlfriend application unless you have the money to hire a matchmaker.

Monday, August 19, 2013

School things

First off, I really want a hamburger. All over the city, the smell of hamburgers has been following me until no other food sounds like it could compare.

I said it on facebook but it bears repeating. I really love being a student. I wish there was a way I could be paid to go to school forever without being a teacher.

My one class today was awesome. Not because of the subject matter, though I think that will be at least mildly interesting, but because I knew about 50% of my classmates, and I love *love* being in a class where people I know come and sit near me/by me and ask how my summer was and tell me about theirs and chat with me before class. It was great last year, even when I didn't know anyone, but it's fantastic this year, already.

Also I love that my job is actually proving to be kinda useful to my friends as they start their TA's (teaching assistantships) I was able to give lots of decent advice today just in the five minutes before class about Blackboard and experts and training classes, which was so nice. Huzzah.

Also either I or my supervisor have a stalker, so that's interesting... on the "Springfield Bear Confessions" page:  
4890- There is this lady I think is insanely cute who works in the library. Sometimes she teaches classes in a room on the second floor, sometimes I see her in Cheek, and her office is in the back corner of The second floor of the library. She is so hot, I think about her while out with my girlfriend, I dream about her in my dorm room, and I cannot get her lovely body out of my mind. I know a wonderfully cute and married woman like that would never give a guy like me the time of day, but now that I have her in my mind I cannot seem to get her out of it. I have fantasized about her all summer, even when I tried not to. How the hell do I get her out of my head. I dont wanna seem like some stalker but I cannot live a normal life when every thought is of her. I wrote a paper recently that mentioned the library, when I reread it I realized I had changed at that mention and wrote 7 pages of fantasy about her.
 ...Yeah. Pretty sure it's about my supervisor, but our office is in the "back corner of the second floor" of the library, we have tech training in a room on the second floor, our other training center (and most of computer services) is over in Cheek so we are over there all the time. (She teaches classes way more often, which is why I think it's her.) The only thing that isn't accurate is that neither of us are married, but ours is the only office in any corner of the library on the second floor... so I'm almost positive that it's her.... it's too many specifics not to be.

And that's pretty much everything I wanted to say...  Now to find that burger!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


by William Carlos Williams

I awoke happy, the house
Was strange, voices
Were across a gap
Through which a girl
Came and paused,
Reaching out to me--

Then I remembered
What I had dreamed--
A girl
One whom I knew well
Leaned on the door of my car
And stroked my hand--

I shall pass her on the street
We shall say trivial things
To each other
But I shall never cease
To search her eyes
For that quiet look--
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