Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Little Girl Giant

My sister showed me this video of The Little Girl Giant. It's SO beautiful  -- have the music turned on. It's magic what artists can do....  

Wrong path?

I called the Personnel Technician at the school district today. She said a month ago that I had to wait til today to even call to talk about being a substitute teacher.
Well, first thing she asked was if I had put my name down on a list.
No, I was never told to do so.
Did I have my substitute teacher's permit?
No, just my letter of acceptance, CBEST results and fingerprint clearance (assuming that was ready). sidebar: The permits take 8-10 months to process. Yes you read that correctly: 8-10 MONTHS!
The Personnel Technician said she would put me on the list, got my name, address and phone number, but told me that those who already had their permit would be given priority.
I guess that all I can do now is wait and see and every month or so I'll check back to see if they may need me. I'm frankly stunned that it would be so complicated to substitute teach -- just about everyone I've talked to said that it's highly in demand and that they've had to turn away work. You know when time after time of trying something seems futile, I wonder if this is even the right path to be on. It's taken over nine months just to get where I am NOW. Unbelieveable.

Well, it's both good news and bad... My time as a temp has actually slowed down our income for the month because Golf needs to be able to put up auction listings, not to mention take the photos, wrap and ship the items shop for more items, and spend quality time with the baby and care for his needs. A person simply cannot do all that because the baby needs his Daddy and he's a priority. So our eBay income has reduced a bit this month since I was working for 3 weeks.

Tomorrow is my last day and I can devote myself to my son again. And that will help Golf get back on the ball and we have strategized more on taking turns caring for the baby while we each work on the auctions. I want to start buying my own things to resell under our brand, so with running the business and caring for Aidan, it's very much a team effort.

Thinking about doing this is exciting to me. While the people I worked with at this job were very nice, I don't really care much about corporate culture. Three weeks is enough of answering phones, filing, mailing, this n that. At least the people working here made it a pleasant experience. I don't know what will come of teaching, but my contact at the temp agency is eager to have me do more work for him if I ever need it so that's consoling. At least I now have the time to put forth even more effort to our home-based business. Doing something FUN!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Went to the Fair

Over the weekend we went to Sacramento to stay with my sister and brother in law. It was so nice for Aidan to visit with his Aunt and Uncle! His affection for them both has grown and it was so cute to see him asking to be picked up and to snuggle with them. He's such a sweet, affectionate boy. :) His Uncle Jimmy got some fantastic photos of him at the park. I love
this photo so much that I'm going to get it on an 8x10 and have it framed.

On Sunday we went to the California State Fair and it was so much fun! It has been years since I last went and it was Golf's first big fair and of course, Aidan's first one. There were so many people and it did get hot, but not too bad. I did well with the fair food, no deep fried Twinkies for me, but I did splurge on a jumbo corn dog and an ice cream cone later on (which I shared with Aidan anyway). Jim brought his camera there too and got a ton of pictures. Aidan did so well for being there nearly 5 hours! He'll love it even more in the years to come when he can appreciate it more. I'm looking forward to it! :)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

"Working too hard harms the spirit"

I don't follow the Pope at all, but in light of my last blog entry, I found this article to be quite timely!

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy - Working too hard, even for those leading the Catholic Church, is bad for the spirit, Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday as he greeted tourists at his summer residence outside Rome.

During his traditional weekly appearance to bless the faithful, Benedict quoted from writings of St. Bernard in the 12th century meant for the popes of his time on the subject of overwork.
Benedict quoted the saint as advising pontiffs to "watch out for the dangers of an excessive activity, whatever ... the job that you hold, because many jobs often lead to the 'hardening of the heart,' as well as 'suffering of the spirit, loss of intelligence.'"
"That warning is valid for every kind of work, even those involved in the governing of the church," 79-year-old Benedict said.
Having had a vacation in the Italian Alps in July, Benedict is spending what remains of August and much of September, in the papal palace in Castel Gandolfo, a lakeside town in the Alban Hills southeast of Rome.
The pontiff will interrupt his holidays to make a day trip on Sept. 1 to a religious sanctuary on Italy's Adriatic coast and to fly to his homeland, Germany, for a pilgrimage Sept. 9-14.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Corporate workhorses

As a temp at the office where I'm working a few weeks, I've been reminded yet again that I never will be cut out for the corporate work style. Hoo boy, these people are ambitious, always going, competetive Type-A personalities. And naturally being competitive, these people seem to compete with one another to see who can work the longest hours. They look at it like a badge of honor in a way. One man who works here says that an 80 hour work week is normal for him because he has so much to do. He said it in a way that was half bragging and half "have sympathy for me".

I just don't understand this sort of mentality. You may or may not love what you do working for some Giant Corporation. My friend works for another giant corp. in San Francisco and she says the mentality there is the same too, so I imagine it's like that everywhere in big cities: workhorses giving 110% 24-7. Yeah, they might get some nice material trappings to enjoy when they have a few minutes at home, so their efforts are rewarded by high salaries. But what a sacrifice! The man who with the 80 hour work week is divorced. Many of these people have no home life or any other life outside work so it's no wonder their family life suffers so. Is the Giant Corporation worth that? These days the Corporation is so quick to lay off workers or cut their benefits without so much as a blink of an eye. And this job insecurity makes the workhorses work even harder, to catch the eye of the Giant Corporation to make sure they are noticed for doing excellent work and showing productivity so they won't get laid off.

I was listening to my favorite talk show the other night and the topic was vacations and why Americans seem compelled to not take their vacations or when they do, they take work with them, even if it's their mobile phone or laptop. They feel like they have to constantly prove that they are committed to Giant Corporation because of job insecurities. Is that the underlying premise of this extreme ambition and commitment to the Corporation?

This is why I'm committed to being in the classroom and being my own boss, (thanks to my husband on that one). If I'm going to be a workhorse, it's going to be for me, not for some Corporation that could fire me on a whim. I can work as long as I want, I won't have to commute ungodly distances, and when I take time off, I'm OFF. I just hope that all these slaves to Corporations aren't burned in the end and have regrets. It sure isn't a life for me.

Monday, August 14, 2006

First day on the new job

So far so good.... I figured out how to get online here at the office and since they don't have much for me to do, I don't feel bad about getting on the Internet.

Well, when I went down to the parking lot this morning to get on my bike, I discovered that somebody had stolen the bike seat!!!!! I mean of all the days to do this, it had to be on my first day of work. What a bummer. I had to take the car and fortunately Golf didn't need it today. We have one more bike, but I haven't tried using it yet so I will try it out tonight. I might also consider just walking. This office is 1.8 miles from home and I don't think it would take me more than half an hour to walk. If I could walk to and from work, I wouldn't have to worry about not getting my exercise! It would, however, take longer to get home, and after Golf's been with that baby all day long, it might be an inconvenience. I'll talk to him about it tonight. But it has been a question about when I would get some time to exercise when I'm working all day long and come home to more chores and most important, spending time with the babe since he doesn't see me all day long. I feel lucky to be living so close though. There are some people here who are commuting a LONG way to get here.

This job will end up likely being a two week gig. That will be just right since the school year will begin right about then and I can get on the substitute teacher's list. The greatest thing about subbing will be the fact that I will be home way before 5 PM and can help out with the kidlet.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Got a temp job

I signed up with the temp agency I worked with at the time I was in the US before going back to Thailand a few years ago. Since they already had my file on record, I didn't have to retake any typing or software tests. Signing up with this agency dredged up the old feelings of sadness that I had when I was back in the US working for them: I couldn't find a fulfilling job (or ANY job for that matter) after my first stint in Thailand. So I had signed up with this agency to bring in SOME sort of wages. I had worked two or three jobs over the 9 months I was back here in the US and at that time I wasn't planning on returning to Bangkok. But the jobs I had were soulless, meaningless cubicle jobs doing menial work, which is what administrative jobs feel like to me. (Not to offend the admin people out there or the secretaries or clerical folks -- these types of jobs are simply not suited to me!)

I had thought that this was the type of job I was destined for for the rest of my life, after having such an interesting and meaningful job in Thailand. It was devestating to me -- these jobs had no meaning. These are the memories I dredged up when I was updating my special office resume to send to the temp agency.

Well, I had to think that circumstances are different now. There is an end in sight: The beginning of the school year means substitute teaching opportunities. And I'm also helping with our business and of course, Aidan is a job too, and a fulfilling one at that! ;)

So I feel much better about it. I start a week long job on Monday that may possibly go on a little longer and it's a short distance away so I can ride my bike. I did not want a long commute. Aidan's going to have a bit of a shock, though, not having Mommy around all day. But at least he will have his loving Daddy there. Golf will have a newfound appreciation for what Stay at home Moms go through when they have husbands gone all day every day.

Four more days to go before I'm out in the working world again.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Nose in books

My blogging has been slow lately because I've been caught up in some very good books lately. They're the first books in months and months and months that I've allowed myself to read for pleasure. I'd had it with reading books on the stock market. Since I have no money in the market and don't plan to until we get EXTRA, then I'm going to enjoy my books again!

Here's what I just finished:
The Anubis Gates -- A time travel book involving ancient Egyptian sorcerers, a body changing werewolf, several ka's or duplicate (cloned) individuals, a woman disguised as a man, and the hero. Got it for 25 cents at a thrift store and it was a great read!!!

Goa Freaks My Hippie Years in India -- A memoir by Cleo Odzer of her time spent on Anjuna Beach in Goa, India. It was one long drug trip and a series of drug smuggling scams. I had mixed feelings on this book. It was a very interesting read because I was more curious than anything about those travelers at that time (the 1970s mostly) who hitched along the famous Hippie Trail from Europe overland into Asia. But what upset me more than anything were the hippies-turned-junkies who had children or babies. Put it this way, such addicted parents are only concerned about their next hit of coke or smack, not the needs of their own offspring that go neglected most the time, I'm sure.

I finished that one last night. And so right away I began Solomon Time, about a British teacher who goes to the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific and all about his adventures there living in a remote island village.

When I'm finished with that book, I'll read Indian Summer, by the same author, who goes to Pune, India to teach orphans in an ashram.

I've got some great reading ahead of me!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It takes about six months!!!!

I walked into the School District office this afternoon to apply to be a substitute teacher. The woman there who does the hiring told me that the personnel department is so overwhelmingly busy up until after the school year begins that I won't even be able to call to make an appointment with them until the end of this month! Boy, am I not surprised one bit. It will have taken well over six months from the time I signed up for that CBEST test to the time I sub in a classroom and get my first check. And that's if I get substitute work relatively soon after the school year begins. So we must rely on only Golf's income for another two months or so. I feel so helpless in what I can contribute, so I do my absolute best with our eBay business and taking care of the baby. It's SO FRUSTRATING!

Oh my achin' hip

I was a little too ambitious yesterday taking Aidan on a walk and using the baby backpack. I love wearing the backpack as it burns more calories and gets me a better workout. Plus Aidan likes riding on Mommy. His patience lasts much longer there than in a stroller. So we walked over 4 miles, which is no big deal -- it used to not be a big deal anyway. But by the time we got home I was pooped. I mean Aidan weighs over 25 pounds!

Later that night my left hip started hurting. It's been painful now for the last couple of months and I've been taking glucosamine and controitan tablets hoping it will help. My sister said it helped her hip joint after about 6 weeks. I'm still waiting. I think my hip problem is a result of power walking for the last 18 years.

When I was trekking in Nepal in 2001 I had a hip joint attack when I was a good 5 days hard walk from the nearest town. All I could do was hope it went away and it did, thank goodness. But walking four miles with a baby on your back on flat ground is small beans compared to the hard climbing I was doing five years ago. Can five years really do that much deterioration? I'm so glad I went trekking when I did because I don't know that I could do it nowadays. I could whip myself into better physical condition no problem, but the hip joint -- your skeleton and cartledge -- you cannot get into better shape.

One morning several months ago I got out of bed and the pain was so severe I could barely walk. Fortunately that happened only that one time and it didn't last long. I hope my body doesn't fall apart on me! My consistent exercise regimine has been not only to control and maintain my ideal weight but to feel good! It's for a good quality of life. I hope I won't need a hip replacement when I'm older. Yikes.