woo and hoo

I got a job! Finally!

While it isn’t as big a deal as a Supreme Court justice dying in Texas, it’s major to me. Once I accepted and hung up the phone a huge sense of relief came over me. I did not do the happy dance like I had imagined I would. I did tell my sister and dad, right after I told my dog. It was only fair; she was sitting next to me when I got the call and she seemed genuinely interested.

I know it will be at least 3 weeks before I see a paycheck. Yet the first thing I thought was “Yes, I am going out to celebrate,” and I had Chinese food for lunch. I also made an appointment to have my hair dyed, for the first time in 2 months. Making that appointment made me feel like I’m myself again, that everything is returning to normal.

There’s stuff to do, including a drug test. So I have to get my hair done, take Olive to get her nails trimmed, find my old lunch bag and have a colonoscopy, plus I need to do laundry. It’s going to be a full week.

I told a few people, my sisters and dad and a few friends. In a strange way I’m a little embarrassed about telling anyone, because it’s been so long and some people may even think I’ve already found a job. It’s reminding people I was unemployed so long, unproductive and just sad. I admit my sense of humanity is returning, I saw myself becoming a parasite, wholly dependent on others to take care of me and I hated that. Now that I will be able to pay my own way, have a purpose and a place to go every week day barring holidays, my sense of my worth has increased. When people ask what I do I will have something to say. When they ask where I work I’ll have an answer. Being unemployed takes that from you, that sense of being, of having a definable status.



It’s been a rough week and it’s only Tuesday. I’m including the past seven days, to make it an actual week. So in one week the following has (or not) occurred.

  • 3 email rejections for jobs I applied
  • My hockey team lost 3 games, 1-0, 3-2 and 3-1
  • No answer for my library volunteer query
  • No answer for my writers group query
  • No answer from temp agency for jobs applied

Even though my Wings beat the Senators last night it was a hold-your-breath victory in sudden death overtime and they played adequately but not great, going from a 2 point lead in the first period to a 3-3 tie by the end of the game. Still a win is a win and I haven’t had many lately so I can’t complain. Much.

The email rejections are almost routine now, I look at my inbox and just sigh when I see them. I can spot them easily, but will still open it and read it. Just in the farfetched case it could be an interview. It never is.The only good thing is I don’t get them every day, that would be a soul crusher.

The hockey season goes on til April and things can change, so my team will persevere and probably, no, will make the playoffs. We got Pasha back, anything is possible.  Don’t stop believin.’

Now the big blows, getting rejected for offering my help and for wanting to possibly join a group. I’m not asking about a paying job, I’m offering my labor and myself and still getting rejected. That hurts, my ego has suffered some damage from job hunting but I foolishly thought if I offered my services for free I’d get a taker. The writers group looks interesting and I think I’d like to join but the dues are $95 a year and I don’t know if I want to do that. For me that money represents gas, dog and cat food, food for me, bills and diet cherry limeades and I do not want to part with it.  Although no reply is not automatically a rejection it feels like it. I admit I was looking forward to hearing from both of these, hoping they would get my mind off being unemployed, get me out of the house, meet some new people, maybe learn a few things and finally feel like I was accomplishing something. It’s also painful because I feel like I’m being rejected from what I’ve come to consider my kind of people, namely readers and writers, book people, those people who didn’t fit in growing up. And now they’ve excluded me.

I will expect another couple of job rejections,  even though I haven’t submitted many applications lately. It’s just depressing to try when you know what the outcome will be. I want to believe that things will change, turn around for me after the new year when I come back from Saigon. I am so tired of trying, holding down my hopes to avoid disappointment and then being disappointed.

I suppose being a widow makes this even more pathetic. I almost wish it were a special category like disabled or being a veteran. In a vague sense it is. Being a widow isn’t a disability but it does set you apart from other people and you will struggle in ways that married people or single people don’t. You are in limbo, part of each group but not belonging to either one. You identify with both, but only to an extent.

The only thing I can honestly believe in right now is a bunch of guys on skates with sticks chasing a piece of frozen rubber over an ice rink.

Just crap

That describes so much: my mood, my general situation and possibly what I’ll have for lunch.

I  am accepting that I probably won’t find a job until the first of the year, at the earliest. That’s at least 2 months, 2 more months of being broke, feeling like a loser and bum, 2 more months of nothing. My sister is letting me stay with her and I’m kicking in some for the bills, from my savings which are slowly dwindling down. Like feeling sand slowly slipping through your fingers, down your palm and disappearing. Gravity and life pulling it down and away, nothing can be done, it just is.

Telling a potential employer I am leaving the country for 2 weeks around Christmas is not helping my cause. I had a job interview 2 weeks ago and really hoped I might get it but I didn’t, it was retail, working in a bookstore. Christmas is the busiest most intense time of the year and telling them that I couldn’t make it sabotaged my chances. Telling them I was a cannibal wouldn’t have been as bad.

Interviews have been scarce. I’ve had only 3, and I’ve been looking in Seattle for 4 months and here for 2 months. It is discouraging. Yet I have hope the law of averages will be on my side and eventually I’ll find something I can live with, live on.

I have been unemployed before, for a year I looked for a job before I found one. It was different then, Jerry was here then. He told me it was okay, told me not to worry or feel badly. He seemed to like being able to take care of me and Bear. And it was socially acceptable, being a married woman who didn’t work, very traditional. People didn’t automatically think I was a parasite or loser. Jerry even encouraged me when I got frustrated and impatient with the whole job process.

This time is different. It sucks big time. I’m more aware of how alone I am now, except for my sister who is letting me crash on her couch, there’s no backup or support system this time. Although the couch is technically mine the house it is inside is hers ( and partly mine too, thanks to our aunt’s convoluted estate). But I know I have to look after myself and the pets. I can’t look to Jerry to pay rent or give me money for groceries. He isn’t here to tell me it’s going to be okay, that he believes in me.

Which is another reason this sucks. I feel like I’m letting him down too, that I’m not as strong or smart as he thought.

Tomorrow is a 5K I signed up for a month ago. I wasn’t as bummed and still walking and going back to yoga. I felt better. But I haven’t been walking as much and went to my last class last night, I can’t afford yoga anymore. I will do the race, and it will be the last one til I can afford the luxury again.

Focus on your breath

Which is about the only thing I can do. The job search is discouraging, though I had an interview with a temp agency today I am not expecting much. I feel frustrated and a little embarrassed, humbled. I’m living at my sister’s and dipping into the money I set aside for moving. I’ve been trying to walk more, to go to yoga and keep moving in at least one way. But I don’t do as much as I can or should.

Yoga is the one thing that makes me feel alive. I have to drag myself there most of the time but once class begins I forget about what is bothering me, for one hour I don’t feel like a failure or a loser. Even when my balance is wonky or I struggle I am only concerned with what is happening in this room and in this moment. The most important thing I can do is breathe. Focus on your breath, one of my teachers tells us. Breathe slowly and deeply, hold it for a moment then release it, slowly. Do not hurry, do not force your body to do anything that hurts, but if you want to go deeper you can. Everybody’s practice is different.

By the end of the hour I’m sweaty and my body feels lighter, looser, stronger. I’m usually thirsty and a little hungry too, but I feel better, mentally as well as physically. A friend told me it’s the oxygen that gives me clarity. I don’t want to analyze it or explain, in my opinion that defeats the purpose. It just is.

I don’t want to say yoga saves my life but it might save my sanity. I’ve been anxious about being unemployed, I had thought I’d have a job and be in Seattle by now. Now I worry that it won’t happen and I should accept that I’m just stuck here, find a job and suck it up. But finding a job here might not be easy either and I don’t know how long it will take, how long I will be at my sister’s house, how long I’ll have to pay storage fees for my crap. I feel useless, most days I try to find something to do besides watching TV. Daytime TV is a great motivator for finding a job too. I found myself going Mystery Science Theater 3000 on soap operas and judge shows.

I want to go to yoga more often but I can’t afford too many classes and have to pace myself. It’s hard to justify spending the money when I’m not working and need to keep my expenses low. But when I do it is worth the effort and cost.

Yoga has given me a goal, something I might actually be able to do. I want to do Bird of Paradise pose. I attempted it in class tonight and I looked more like Road Kill. With patience, practice and luck I should be able to do it.

Selfie fails




Classic resting bitch face


So fake


Incredibly fake


Scared or incredulous,  take your pick


Smug, my final choice

Jerry always tried to get me to smile in pictures but it didn’t look right. I have a serious case of Resting Bitch Face, there’s nothing anybody can do about it.  It didn’t help that I hated having someone take my picture. In our wedding video I give the camera guy the fish eye at one point.

Jerry didn’t like having his picture taken either but when he smiled it looked genuine. It often was.


Jerry being himself

I’m trying to take a decent picture to post on LinkedIn, my current pic sucks rocks.  I usually look pissed off, incredulous or fake, especially when I smile, it is so not me. But I don’t want to look hostile and scare people and I worry that my being older, something quite obvious, does not put off people either.

Jerry didn’t care, he was comfortable with himself. He took great pride in pointing out that Brad Pitt had gray in
his beard too. But I think he’d be irritated that growing a beard is trendy now, he had a beard in high school. When people thought it meant you were a hippie, stoner, anarchist or something worse, not from here.  The only person who touched the beard was Larry, his barber for 27 years.

It’s hard to find a job when you’re old. Older. When interviewers ask why I want to move I have to tell them about Jerry. They usually say something like “I’m sorry,” there’s a brief moment and then it moves on. Which is what I’m trying to do, more or less.

He would encourage me to try and do better. Even though it wasn’t true he would say I was the smartest person he knew and made me believe it.


Anyone who has applied for a job online has probably come across a Taleo application at some point. Taleo has an exact match keyword search that kicks out applicants if you do not meet a narrow and specific criteria. I hate them, feel a sense of hopelessness and defeat when I see Taleo on the top of the page because I know I’m doomed. Even if I meet the qualifications.

I’ve been weeded out of jobs and while there are different reasons why nearly every time the company used Taleo. So I take it personally,  from Taleo not necessarily the company.

I’m still out there trying, including cover letters hoping they might counterbalance the evil prejudice of Taleo but not really expecting it to work. My previous job titles are probably to blame and I acknowledge that seeing “bookseller” in my past is not going to fire up many potential employers. Not even Barnes and Noble, I applied for a job in Tukwila and got turned down. They used Taleo.