Wednesday, December 28, 2016

ARCH


Today, while I was using the building restroom, a woman and her young son were in the stall next to me. This boy took one look at my shoes under the stall and somehow concluded that another guy was using the restroom ( I was wearing fairly masculine looking shoes today ) and he insisted on waiting until I came out of the stall to make sure I wasn't, in fact, a guy. His mother, a timid Muslim woman, was absolutely mortified. I have never been so amused by work antics.....

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I worked my third shift today, at an interpreter services company that provides all kinds of transcription, interpreting, and language assistance for the greater Minnesota region. I was hired one week ago today as an Interpreter Admin Assistant - basically this means I get to assist the administration team in whatever they need, primarily scanning and handling interpreter documents, making sure people stay current on the Minnesota Department of Health interpreter roster, and sending out lots of emails to people...

So far, I really like it. I have my own corner in the office, with a nice desk and computer, I can use the restroom and pop down to the break room to grab coffee or water whenever I like, and all the people I've met so far are really nice. Getting up early and dealing with a 9-5 shift has been kind of hard on me though, I'm used to waking up around noon. Not 7 am. Ouch. 

And I have to take public transit, which is spendy during rush hour - both ways. But I'm managing. Even though I'm sick again and I have this horrible phlegmy cough going. Yuck. 

So far, in my first three days I....
  • Hand addressed over 300 envelopes for Januargy birthday cards for our interpreters
  • Scanned and filed several Medical Terminology tests for 'not contracted' interpreters
  • Stuffed and MAILED those 300+ envelopes
  • Prepared Yearly Planners to get mailed to interpreters outside of the Twin Cities area
  • Learned how to check the roster for active/inactive interpreter statuses
  • Printed and mailed new roster badges for interpreters.
I think tomorrow Amber (my trainer) is going to show me how to start scanning and filing new interpreter documents, so that'll keep me busy because there are stacks upon stacks of folders of stuff waiting to be entered into the system. 

In conclusion - I like my job so far. Quite a bit. The only thing I don't like is the early morning rise and commuting in transit. 


Monday, December 26, 2016

I had a "holly jolly".....something.

Over the holiday weekend Tyler and I didn't really have much planned. We'd already decided that driving out to Wisconsin on the 24th was a bust, but his mom did stop over that morning with some gifts for us. Apparently, she'd gone to the Dominican Republic recently and brought back some souvenirs - like fridge magnets, knick-knacks, rum and a bottle of Mama Juana herbs/bark. We'll probably never actually make the stuff, but it was pretty interesting nonetheless. She also left us with some cash.

That afternoon, we decided to go back to Chaska to have Christmas Eve with Tyler's dad, who was attempting to roast a turkey. I'm pretty sure he got it in the oven around 3 pm, but the darn thing wasn't finished until closer to eight o'clock. The potatoes turned out okay but I am of the firm opinion that Stove Top brand stuffing should NEVER be baked under any circumstances. That's why it's called Stove Top, y'know?

So while we waited on food, Tyler and I watched a lot of pointless Youtube videos and even sat through the Bill Murray film Scrooged. Which was terrible by the way....


The holiday decor in his townhome was minimal, but still festive. And the pups were glad to see us, though Dakotah was the only one willing to sit pretty for a photo. He spent most of the night in my lap or begging for turkey scraps. Cutie. Lacey, the other Cairn, seemed particularly camera shy that evening...

After dinner, we actually went to the bar for a beer. It had been quite a while since I visited Heartbreakers, but they had this awesome ale on tap called 9 Ladies Dancing, which was flavored with vanilla and coffee. Pretty awesome.


On Christmas Day, we drove up to see my mom at her place in freezing rain. The weather always seems really messed up whenever we go visit her....

She made scalloped potatoes with ham for dinner and it just didn't feel like a Christmas dinner...but its hard to really put together a feast with no money and I understand this. We hung out there for a while and once the rain stopped, we eventually meandered back to St. Paul.


Bonus photo of Tyler and the little black hellion - Shadow. 


I had every intention of going to bed early that night, I really did. You see, I had to start a new job in the morning and I always get anxious the night before....so I usually try to crash early so I can sleep through the night. Instead, we watched Batman Returns, a Tim Burton classic, because it was technically a Christmas film and Tyler had never seen it. 

Suffice to say, I didn't get ANY sleep at all last night (because nervous) and then I went in at 9 am to start this administrative position. It actually went a lot better than expected - they have coffee in the office and snacks sometimes too - and everyone was really nice. I think this is something I can actually stick with and enjoy - wish me luck! \

I'm working in Interpreter Administration with ARCH Language Network in St Paul, MN. Woot! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Surviving the Holidays (as an introvert)

My holiday decor, filters courtesy of Pixlr


The holidays have always been kind of bittersweet for me. As a child they're great, because you get to celebrate with family and open gifts and have lots of food, but there are downsides there too - such as seeing relatives you can't stand, watching your cousins open up bigger and better gifts that anything you received, and your mom forcing you to eat grandma's nasty green bean casserole.

That was my experience growing up celebrating Christmas. It was the only night of the year (save for Easter) that I had to go to church and once I had reached thirteen or so, I no longer wanted to and was never made to again. But even as a child, the bustling noise of the holidays and the influx of people EVERYWHERE was always very jarring to me. I was always relieved after family gatherings to climb into the quiet car or close the door on a quiet house, and just breathe.

But I'm an introvert and so that's a given.

The holidays are a trying time for people like me. Lots of social gatherings just don't sit well with us. We'd rather stay in and listen to fun holiday tunes, read a book, watch a movie, cuddle our pets, etc. Anything else than go to several family holiday parties, the office party, or random meetings with friend groups. We'd rather shop online than brave a busy store, and riding transit this time of year is an absolute nightmare.

Over the years, I stopped celebrating Christmas and started focusing more on my own witchy celebrations. I adore the Winter Solstice - and while I don't really honor any deities this time of year - I love lighting candles, welcoming the sun back into my life, reflecting on the good things to come and the things from the previous year to get rid of. I love cooking or baking something hearty. I love decorating with all modern (pagan) holiday trimmings - we even have a tree in our studio this year! I love the tradition of gift-giving as well. I still celebrate Christmas with my family or my partner's family, but my own spiritual focus is on Yule. Which is tomorrow, incidentally....

I have a couple of job interviews lined up tomorrow. One is at 9 am for a Front Desk Coordinator position at a nice salon here in the Twin Cities. Another is for a data entry position with a language interpreting center in Midway. Both of them would be great opportunities, so I'm optimistic about something working out. That's the early part of my solstice.

Later in the evening, I plan to light a bunch of cinnamon scented tealights, bake some cookies and biscuits, and reflect on the idea of balance, which I desperately need more of in my life right now. Maybe the generous spirit of Santa Claus himself will grant my wish for a good job that I can stay with me and help support my partner with.

For Christmas Eve, we had planned on the possibility of going over to Wisconsin to visit some of my partner's family, but I think we ultimately decided against it. None of us like those people in particular and even the promise of free food and booze isn't enough to want to withstand the probing questions of close-minded bigots. Especially this year. So instead we might visit my partner's dad and the puppies in their new home. I'm not sure if we can swing a drive all the way up to my mom's for Christmas, but we'll see.

And we literally have nothing else planned. It's the most introverted and unbusy holiday season yet. I'm glad for it, but at the same time I wish I had an opportunity to engage in a little more holiday spirit. Maybe next year...

Just for fun, this was the Pinterest wish-list I put together:




Sunday, December 18, 2016

2016: A Rotten Year in Review

In January of 2016, I was facing eviction. So it didn't start out well - tensions were high between my partner and his father - they were always screaming at each other. We were both jobless and struggling to make ends meet at that time.

Oh yeah. Bowie died that month. Let's not forget that.


In February, my partner got a job as a dishwasher at a local co-op grocery store and things were okay for a bit. I was still jobless but looking at various different things - like hotel laundy attendant and child care assistant. None of that panned out. My anxiety was at an all time high.

In April, Prince kicked it too - less than ten miles from us while were parked at a Kwik Trip.



Fast forward to May of that year and we faced the finale ultimatum - leave the house on our own or get kicked out. To faciliate our peaceful vamos-ing of the premises, my partner's dad signed over his pick-up truck so we'd have a vehicle. This also meant we absolutely had to move out - the house was on the market anyways and about to sell. There was little choice left.



That month we packed all of our belongings into the back of said pickup truck and headed west. No plan. No real destination. No jobs lined up. Very little money. A lot of that journey is referenced in this post, this post, and that post.  Trying to make it in Washington was a real bust - we camped out at a rest area for over two weeks, only managed to shower a handful of times in that period, and had no luck finding any kind of lucractive work in a timely manner.

So in the middle of June, we made the choice to come back to MN - and that was an arduous journey fraught with arguing, bad weather, and a fear of not having enough gas money to make it.

We spent a few days in Minneapolis crashing with some of my partner's friends....it was unbearably hot. We eventually hopped over to Chanhassen, where some other friends were getting ready to move out of their apartment and were willing to let us sleep there until then.

THEN we moved into Tammy's hovel. This is kind of detailed here, and not something I want to talk about or relive EVER again.

In the meantime of all that unpleasantness, my partner got a job canvassing for our local PBS. This was down in St. Paul and required quite the commute, so we began looking for residencies near there. In the end, we found a nice studio in a remodeled building less than a mile from his workplace. This came near the middle of August, just in time before it would start cooling off. The rent was a little high, but you couldn't beat the location and nothing else was panning out.


In November, USA elected the Devil. I don't even want to add a photo of him to my blog, it feels like a curse. Nor will I utter his name - but since the orange cheeto is going to be the new president, I kind of fear for my safety and wellbeing. So that's fun.

And that kind of brings us up to now - my partner still works for PBS even though it's colder than Hell out there and I'm still jobless - I've tried a few things here and there but because of my extreme anxiety nothing really panned out. All I want this holiday season is a good job that I'll stay with - because only one income has been really rough on us and I don't want my relationship to be this strained any more.

OVERALL, I would rate this year a 3.5/10 stars. I didn't really have a good time of it and I'm hoping that 2017 is more bearable. That's the best I can hope for.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Midnight Ballroom's "Witchy Questionnaire"

This lovely blogger, SEE HERE, posted this awesome questionnaire and answer combo on her blog, so I'm going to follow suit and do one of my own!

1. How did you discover your path?
~ That's a long and convoluted story that dates back more then ten years ago to early high school and a silly Ravenwolf book called Solitary Witch. It was really my first introduction into witchcraft as a real thing and while I Wicca ended up not sitting well with me, it was my first foray into uncharted waters....

2. How long have you been practicing witchcraft?
~ On and off for about ten years now.

3. What kind of witch are you?
~ I don't really define myself in that way, I simply AM a witch.

4. What specific path/tradition do you follow?
~ None, specifically, but I would say that I do align more closely with secular (no religious dogma) witchcraft than anything else.

5. Do you have any ethics or moral codes that you follow?
~ Yes, don't fuck with me or what's mine and nothing bad will happen to you.

6. Are you a solitary witch or have you worked with others in a Coven?
~ My variety of witchcraft and practices don't really align with the Coven mindset or lifestyle. And frankly, I answer to no one.

7. Do you practice divination? If so, what techniques?
~ I do fire scrying sometimes, but mostly I use my Faery oracle deck.

8. Would/Do you read for others? Why or why not?
~ I do, when asked. I've actually been thinking of charging a small fee for those services though. Divination can be tiring and draining....

9. Do you believe in anything supernatural/paranormal?
~ Of course, I've have numerous encounters with spirits and even work with them from time to time.

10. What are your beliefs on an Afterlife?
~ Only that there might be one....

11. Does your family/friends know you practice witchcraft?
~ Yes, I've been pretty open about it. I don't come from a religious background, so this wasn't much of a hurdle for me.

12. Do/Will you practice witchcraft and teach your children?
~ No, because I don't plan to children and honestly, if I did I would let them choose their own path when they're old enough to have that kind of spiritual understanding.

13. Matron Goddess (or goddesses you favor)
~ Well I don't really work with deity, but there are some that I respect for what they represent and do. Kali is one that spoke to me a long time ago. The Morrigan. Athena....definitely they are powerful, dark, and intelligent beings that most often resonate with me.

14. Patron God (or gods you favor)
~ At this point....Hades. He's a chill dude and probably one of few gods in the Greek/Roman pantheon who wasn't a wanton rapist. So cheers to that!

15. Favorite pantheons?
~ None, really. Like I said I don't work with deity and I often look at pantheons as very telling of the people and time in which they were worshipped. So from a historical point of view, pantheons are awesome and fun to learn about. But I have no connection to any of them.

16. What are your sun, moon, and rising signs?
~ Libra in sun, Aquarius in moon, and I have no clue what my rising sign is....I'm not huge into astrology

17. What's your element?
~ I've always felt very well aligned with the air element.

18. Favorite Season?
~ Autumn, hands down.

19. Favorite tree?
~ I've always been a bit fan of Weeping Willows. The Douglas Fir is nice too though.

20. Favorite flower?
~ Orchids. Or Elderflowers.

21. Favorite Gem?
~ Amethyst or Citrine.

22. Favorite color?
~ Rust. Bronze. Gunmetal. Black.

23. Favorite animal?
~ Corvids of all types - crows, ravens, etc. I also like foxes a lot.

24. What's your familiar?
~ I don't really have one. I have spirit companions, but I don't think they fit that descriptions.

25. Do you have an altar?
~ I don't, actually. I pretty much in whatever space is most convenient to me at any given time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

There are holes in our floor.....



So when we first moved in, we noticed something curious about the corners near the window - there were two oddly fitted vent plates just shoved into the corners of the floor. Our landlord informed us that they were just to cover up "holes" in the floor. No biggie, it would get fixed if it was a problem and since we had our bed on top of that area for the longest time, we sort of forgot about it.

Then it started getting cold. Really cold. And we noticed that there was some cold air blowing up from those holes in the floor. So we went and got some cheap floor mats from Walmart to drop in there to keep out the draft. Worked well enough then.

Here's the thing - it's 3 degrees F outside right now. That's -16 C for those of you around the world. Despite the fact that we have shoved our small couch into that window corner, stuffed blankets underneath it and pretty much piled ALL of our extra junk into those nooks and crannies - it's still only about 40 F ( 4 C ) inside the apartment. The wooden floors feel like they're made of ice. Cold drafts are coming in from around pretty much ALL the windows and I can still feel the cool air from around the couch pile creeping across the floor....

The only way to stay even remotely warm or comfortable in this studio is to hide under the blankets in bed. All day. It's too cold to even stand in the kitchen and cook something. It's too cold to sit in the bathroom. I can't even hang out on top of the bed without feeling the chill.

So naturally I put in a maintenance request with our leasing agency. I did this a number of days ago, to be honest. I even requested a new lightbulb for our kitchen (a really easy fix) and it's been a week with no results. I have no idea what our landlord is up to - I don't see him anymore around here. When I do see him, he's in the middle of loading up his wild children and screaming girlfriend to go somewhere....

And it's hard to put in a complaint about him, since our leasing agent is his brother. Oops.

So I have no idea what to do, except stay under the blankets and pray I don't get sick again.....



Friday, December 9, 2016

Getting a little bit "Liff'ed"

So it's been a hot minute since my last update regarding Target and lack of funds. I'm starting to get the impression that this blog is a lot of me complaining about shitty jobs and no money. Sorry for that. 

There is SOME good news though: I got a new job. Last week I had an interview with The Liffey, which is an Irish pub here in St. Paul just a stone's throw from my apartment so the location couldn't be better. They hired me on as a line cook, which is something I've never done before and am admittedly nervous about, but they're also starting me at $11.50 an hour, so I can't really scoff at that.

I was supposed to start this Wednesday. To my absolutely dismay, I woke up that morning with a head full of static, a nose full of snot, and a nasty sore throat. Tyler had been sick since the previous week and I'd been hoping that I would not contract whatever he'd brought home. Alas, the morning of my first day I started exhibiting the nast symptoms of the either a severe cold or the flu.

So I wasn't able to start. I'm only now coming down from the nasty illess - yesterday was absolutely rotten. I probably went through the equivalent of two boxes of tissues and all that coughing didn't help my sinus headache either. Today, I'm feeling better but I still have a cough and my voice is really hoarse. Even so, I'm going to call tomorrow morning and let them know I'm ready to come in and get started.

Lucky for me, they've been pretty understanding and because I'm only starting training this week, they can probably do some last-minute rescheduling for me. But this also means that I have to work extra hard to get good at being a line cook and prove myself, despite being sick.

Am I nervous? Oh goodness yes. I get stressed our and overwhelmed so easily these days, and everything I've read about being a line cook informs me that it's a high pressure job with little room to make mistakes. Granted, every work place is different and every crew is different so I really can't go into this with a lot of expectations. I just have to show up, do what I'm told, and learn as much as I can during my week of training. Yup.

🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄


Even though I will probably be working in the afternoon all weekend, my mom still offered to make us dinner on Sunday so we could mosey up that way and pick up the holiday tree she's not assembling this year. I guess she's got some decorations we could maybe use too, so our apt. won't look too bare and un-festive this December. Her tree isn't real large either, so I think we can fit it in our space just this once. I'm pretty grateful for that, since we don't have the money to do any crazy decorating this year. 

Not really the space for it either. (Which reminds me, I should take some updated photos of our studio). 

So that's all that's really been going on lately. Just recovering from illness, anxious about a new job, and feeling ambivalent about the holidays.