February 2010

PnF.com's first music review

File under: greta | music

Greta on Megadeth: Can you turn it off? It's going to make my ears fly off.

Wrestle Fu

File under: greta

Sometimes you have to move the coffee table aside and have a family kung fu / wrestle session like they did in olde tyme days.

At first, Greta was holding her own.

Then things seemed to be a draw.

The tide quickly turned.

In the end, they called a truce (and there were no tears).


This girl has no idea how great her hair is

File under: greta | nada mucho

I hope she appreciates it some day.

Hi world, I'm okay!

File under: job search | unempolyed

Hi, all. This has been an interesting week indeed. It has been a week and a day since I was laid off, and I can't believe how quickly the time has gone by. I don't feel like I've made a big dent in Operation Find a Job that Doesn't Suck, but I have been making progress. It is amazing how much time I can spend tweaking my resume or on a probably fruitless endeavor such as searching for job postings on Monster or the like. Anyone who doesn't think finding a job is a full-time job is obviously not trying hard enough - or they're more marketable than me.

For the most part, I've been in very good spirits. It is exciting to look at my updated resume and see how much I've grown over the last few years, but yesterday I spent the majority of my day searching every site I could think of that lists job postings, and by the end of the day I felt deflated - very deflated. Things seem more promising today, after talking to one woman I used to work with who might have a lead on a job I am legitimately excited about. I haven't brought myself to actually apply for anything yet. I honestly haven't seen anything tangible I could fathom doing for 40-some hours a week. I am a picky girl, and over the last three years editing content I found extremely interesting, I got spoiled. One thing I can say with certainty is this: there are a lot of crappy jobs out there.

Not having a real income will not allow for me to get too comfortable, but I am finding joy in being home all day (and even in being unemployed).

+ This is my new "office." It is a corner office with windows! And every day is bring-your-pet-to-work day! And with the book case right behind me, a copy of The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath is never more than an arm's reach away, in case I need to feel like I'm at least doing better than SP.

+ I can make foods for lunch I wouldn't bother attempting to make at the office. This took me about a minute and a half to make, but I wouldn't have made it if I had to pack up the fixin's and assemble and prepare them at work.

+ No one will let me buy anything because they feel sorry for my poor soul. Two people have bought me lunch this week, and although I am so not a mooch and it pains me to let people buy me stuff, it is very nice. And I like food. And food you don't have to make or buy is pretty awesome. So is lunch with friends. And it's just a really nice gesture. You get the picture.

+ I can listen to This American Life and music without headphones, but, really I haven't felt the need. I really love quiet. I can totally deal with a somewhat noisy office setting, but quiet - sweet, sweet quiet - is divine. It is nice not to have to try to drown out any type of chatter.

+ I have talked to a lot of people I haven't talked to in ages, and I've talked to former coworkers on a more personal level than I have before. I have been in contact with so many people this week that it is amazing and even overwhelming to me. Yesterday, a former coworker called to say she missed me and that she "needed to talk to my Fran," and it was just nice to feel valued like that. It has also been nice to catch up with old, old coworkers and see what they're up to at new jobs, even if it doesn't lead to anything.

+ I can do laundry during the day. This has been a dream of mine for quite some time.

Happy Friday, peoples. I hope you had a nice week and that you have a salubrious weekend.


Better than Thursday

File under: weekend update

Thursday, after the most bizarre work experience of my life, and after I sat on the couch drinking diet Coke and watching Dr. Phil in a complete daze, I met up with Pat and we walked over to the photo building for Greta's art show premiere. I avoided crying in front of any of the students and parents, and we enjoyed looking at the preschoolers' artwork. The kids in Greta's class made artwork inspired by Leo Lionni books. Look how cute!

After the art show, we went back home, and there was a very exciting package for Greta. Pat had ordered her a pink electric guitar and amplifier. This may not seem especially interesting on the surface, but it seems notable to me, because maybe 20 minutes after we found out I was pregnant and Pat and I got over the initial OMG-we're-having-a-baby! excitement, the first thing Pat said was, "I need to start thinking about what kind of guitar to buy the baby." I suggested he wait a little while since she was pretty much a zygote. Since that conversation, Pat has spent quite a bit of time researching guitars for kids, weighing the options, and he finally settled on the perfect one. Greta loves her new guitar, and it matches all of her outfits perfectly. :)

Friday evening, we headed over to NTID for a contemporary dance performance of Sleeping Beauty. Our good friend Amy was one of the dancers, and we knew Greta would love seeing Amy perform AND see one of her favorite princess stories set to dance. It was really fun, and Greta hasn't stopped talking about how cool Amy is since.

Saturday we lazed around a lot. The big thing is after Greta went to bed, Pat and I cooked our annual Valentine's dinner. Given my employment predicament, the menu probably should have consisted of hobo beans, but we splurged for organic beef tenderloin, sautéed mushrooms, beet and warm goat cheese salad, good bread, and we opened a nice bottle of wine from our collection. The food was great, and we watched a romcom we both actually liked (500 Days of Summer), and we just generally had a nice night. We ended up waiting to have our dessert until today, since we were way too full to eat it, but I made chocolate soufflé. I am still far from mastering soufflé, but at least this time I made it the soufflé did rise (the only other time I attempted soufflé it came out flat as a pancake). No pictures. I was too busy eating.

What else? I am feeling much better about the whole getting-laid-off thing as of today. Other than my freshman year in college, I've had a regular job since I turned 15. I am staying positive about finding something else I'll enjoy doing (or like even better!), and, meantime, I'm determined to enjoy my mini temporary retirement. I'm looking forward to the challenge, including finding ways to save money, and living off the land and my wits and riding the rails (well, okay, maybe not that last part).

Oh, yeah, and happy Valentine's Day.


I have today off...

File under: unemployed | work

...and the next day, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day...because I have recently joined the ranks of the 10% of Americans who are unemployed. I just found out yesterday. I apologize to my close friends and family if you're learning about this en masse, but I just hate talking about it, and even though I have suddenly found myself with more time on my hands, I feel like I'm in a dither and like I need to do 5 million things at once. So here's the update:
I am sad because I worked with so many great people and I am really going to miss them. I am actually holding it together pretty well, but there is one editor I worked with who was such a great mentor to me, and every time I think about how I won't be working with him anymore, I burst into tears.
I am embarrassed, and my pride is definitely bruised. One thing that makes me tick is I always want the people I work with to think I'm doing a good job. I hate the thought that anyone would think otherwise or that people who don't know the whole story will think less of me. I am definitely having an issue with the stigma of being laid off. (I survived a lot of rounds of layoffs at my previous employer, and I hoped it would never happen to me, but the way the economy is, it seems so common it is almost a rite of passage.) Ugh, and the thought of having to talk to certain people (you know, everyone has those one or two - or more - annoying people in their lives) about it makes me want to crawl under a rock.
I am annoyed that I need to update my resume, and try on my suit, and go on interview(s), and get settled into a new job with new coworkers. (And even though I am very thankful for unemployment benefits, I'm annoyed I need to figure out how to do that.)
I am scared, for obvious reasons.
I am humbled and in total shock that I completely agree with my company's decision. I fully support them and wish only the best for them. I would have thought I would be too stubborn to feel that way, much less admit it. But that is truly how I feel.
I am honored that so many of my coworkers expressed their kind and tearful support of me and that people have been coming out in droves to offer me emotional support and to write recommendations for me.
I am thankful that I have such a great family. I can't be too sad when Greta and Pat are with me. I told Greta that I wouldn't stay working at my old job and that I needed to find a new one. She said, "Oh no!" and then asked me a few questions about it. We got into a mini economics lesson, and her suggestion was that maybe they should start selling "princess stuff." Smart and funny, she is.
I am also thankful that I wasn't escorted out and that they gave me time yesterday and today to collect my things and thoughtfully organize and pass along my projects. It was also nice that so many people offered to help me with my things that I actually turned some away, and those who did help me made it so I didn't have to do the "walk of shame" to my car alone.
I am excited for the future. I think I have a pretty good chance of finding something similar in my field, but if I want to try something completely new, this is probably the perfect opportunity to do so. And I'm also excited to have some time to, like, paint my kitchen (sometimes it's the little things), and to ultimately have more time with Greta.
I am tired. I keep thinking this is just a nasty dream. Alas, it is not.

Candy heartbreaker

File under: greta

All artsy fartsy up in this piece

File under: greta

At the moment, it looks like Saint Valentine himself threw up on our living room.

I tried to step things up a notch from last year. I got my ideas for this year's valentines from here and here. For the teachers, I got these super cute travel cups. Now I sort of wish I had gotten one for myself.

I couldn't care less about Valentine's Day, but I do love making valentines. It gives me a chance to put my very expensive art degree to use. Ahhh, just what my parents had in mind, I'm sure.

Speaking of the art, the kids from Greta's day care are going to have an art opening tomorrow night on RIT campus. The name of the show is "Little Artists Make it Big." I CAN'T WAIT. I am so excited for Greta's first art opening. I'm sure it will be many for our little future artist-doctor-musician. (What? I have high expectations for our little girl. Is that so wrong?)

Greta continues to bring cool artwork home from school. Recently they were learning all about pengins, and Greta brought this home. I love it! In case you can't tell, it's a pine cone with a shredded cotton ball sort of wrapped around it, and then of course the face and the soup cup igloo. So creative.

She also brought this home earlier this month. Can you guess what it is? Hint: It came home on February 2nd.

Speaking of high expectations, sometimes I think they have some sort of smarty-pants-making plan in the works for the kids at day care. As I've discussed previously, sometimes they get scrap paper for the kids to draw on, and recently we've been getting drawings on information like this:

If Greta becomes a artist-renologist-musician, then I'll know who likely deserves credit.


Sticking a fork in the weekend

File under: weekend update

What a weekend!

We had a really nice weekend, and I am exhausted and can't wait to go to bed (No, I'm not watching the Super Bowl. Shocking, I know.), so I'll keep this short.

Saturday, Pat and Greta had some nice daddy-daughter time while I went out to have afternoon tea with my friend Dottie. This friend is a sort of new friend who is so ridiculously nice. When we were buying our house, she insisted she wanted to come over and help me clean. It boggled my mind. She not only brought her kick-ass cleaning skills, she also brought her Dyson, wine, and cracker-and-cheese goodness. She helped me clean the entire house, and having her company for that first big clean was priceless. As a thank you, I got her "tea for two" and Hicks & McCarthy. I swear I wasn't fishing for and invite, but she insisted I join her. So we finally got around to doing that this weekend. She is such a fun person, and she reminds me that there is a lot of good in the world.

Today, we got together with some new friends and some old friends. First, we met up with one of Greta's newish day care pals (and her family) at the museum. We had such a good time with them. We seem to have a lot in common, including parenting style. I have never met people through a kid connection who I've clicked with more. I really, really like the mom, and, frankly, I think I have a little bit of a friend-crush on her. I hope she likes me! And, probably more importantly, I really like their little girl. She is one of the sweetest, most thoughtful three year olds I've ever met.

The girls were so cute together. They were holding hands and just very obviously enjoyed being together.


I think Greta might have a friend-crush too.

After the museum, we went over to our little friend Nathan's birthday party. Frank and Joyce are always such good hosts. It was such a nice party. I will say I was stumped as to what to buy him for his birthday. (Girls are so much easier than boys, sez I.) I was walking around Toys R Us last night in a daze, and finally I settled on this big wooden dinosaur play thing and container of plastic dinosaurs. I was thinking, Uh, do the kids like dinosaurs these days?? And when we walked in and saw that there was a dinosaur theme, I was all, YES! I am awesome. I have no pictures of the event because I was too busy stuffing my face with food and playing with dinos.

What else? I was kind of a lazy cook this weekend, but we were running around a lot. I did make a healthy(ish) French onion soup. It was my first-ever attempt at FOS. It absolutely killed my eyes, and when I woke up this morning I had lovely bloodshot eyes. It was far from the best FOS I've ever had, too. Given how painful it was to make the soup and the lackluster results, I think FOS is something I will leave to the professionals in the future. Here's the recipe in case you want mediocre soup that will make you cry and wake up with red eyes.

The only downside to having such a fun weekend is that it went by in a flash and now I'm really super especially not looking forward to work tomorrow. Blerg.

Time for bed!


Some things on my mind - in no particular order

File under: birthday | food | reading list

I took a half day yesterday, and Taryn and I met up to celebrate her birthday. She came to town so we could hit up some Rochester food/shopping. I hadn't been to Black & Blue yet, but I had heard good things, so I suggested we go to lunch there. There were so many tasty-looking items on the menu that I had trouble deciding, and so I did what I sometimes do when I'm being indecisive: I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu. I figure, why not? If it all looks good, why not go with the cheapest? It was their signature burger. It cost what an average burger costs at Fridays/Applebees/RubyTuesdays/Chilis/Whatevers (it was actually less than $8), but it was perfection on a perfect bun. It had bacon and blue cheese, and it was seasoned and cooked perfectly. Did I mention it was perfect? Oh, and it came with shoestring French fries. Perfect. Taryn and I also both got desserts. They were not perfect because they were too big. I ate so much I actually had a cramp for half an hour (and I wasn't even swimming after the meal).
After lunch we did some shopping at Eastview. As I mentioned previously, we recently got an Anthropologie. Taryn and I both came to the conclusion that it's nice to look, but it's too expensive to buy. Even their sale stuff is really expensive. Also, their clothes look like how I would *like* to dress, but it's just not how I dress. I feel like I would buy a dress and then covet it in my closet and then never actually wear it. And that would be sad. I'm glad we have an Anthropologie, and I plan to stop by their sale section and visually enjoy the regularly priced eye candy when I can, but I don't think I will be getting a new wardrobe there anytime soon. I did get two sweaters at Banana Republic for a combined grand total under $35 and a magical pair of boots on super-sale at Macy's. And Taryn found some good stuff too. It was a great afternoon - one that I totally needed. I felt like it was my birthday!
So, amigos, my friend Alex IM'd me the other day to tell me that our former home-away-from-home Mex is celebrating its 10th anniversary this weekend. Can you believe it has been 10 years?? Alex said, "It's been almost 10 years since you kicked someone out of a bar." It has actually been 7 and a half years since I kicked someone out of a bar, but who's counting? 10 years...time flies. I might need to have a gin and tonic this weekend (at New Mex = my living room) to celebrate.
I'm reading a crazy book for book club right now. It's Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, and it's kicking my @ss! It has 6 different sections, and I have gotten into each one eventually, but it takes time. I really need to think about what I'm reading as I read and sort of translate the meaning as I go. If I don't, I sometimes have to go back 10 or 20 pages and reread a section. I have NEVER had to do that - ever. I feel like a pansy because other reviews I've read of the book were all so positive and people claim they loved it from page 1, but I'm struggling. I blame both my job and modern technology for giving me adult-onset ADD. Having a kid who craves constant attention doesn't help much either. It also doesn't help that there are some crazy dilects. I read a paragraph of one of the sections out loud to Pat, and I think his response was, "Oh, f*** that." I like the book, but I'll be sort of glad when it's done.
What did you do today?