Friday, October 30, 2009

The end of "funemployment"

Texas has an unemployment rate of 8.2 percent, and in September alone, 44,700 people lost jobs. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, for every 5 unemployment claims in the D/FW area there is one job opening.

If you're unemployed in Dallas or Fort Worth, or even Texas, you better just get used to it. The average length of unemployment is 6 months, which I attribute to the crazy amount of competition for the very, very few job openings.

I was laid off from The Dallas Morning News on April 7, 2009. Yesterday, Oct. 29, I finally got a job.

Not only that, but I found my dream job.

No matter how much I may gloss over my time at The Dallas Morning News, I knew that there was a ceiling on my professional growth (and salary growth, too, considering that about two years into working at The News there were two layoffs and a salary freeze). I started in the Editorial Department at age 22, fresh from graduation, and promptly went to work with a staff that was mostly twice my age. I only had one peer in the office, and she eventually buckled under the strenuous demands of daily deadline work.

And yet, I loved working there. I loved the sense of tradition and respect that working for a Texas legacy carried with it. My parents were ridiculously proud, too. Anytime anyone that knew of me would come into the Drivers License office to get a new photo or renewal, my mom would tell them that her youngest daughter ("You remember her, right? The storyteller?") was working for The Dallas Morning News. She expected them to be VERY IMPRESSED. If they weren't, then they were just ignorant.

When I lost my job, I lost a little bit of that pride and confidence. It took a big chunk from the armor of my ego. In truth, though, it was a good for me. It really helped me figure out what I wanted from my next job.

I thought that I might have found it a couple times in between April 7 and yesterday. I interviewed once with a local university's publications office, and when he told me that over 100 people had applied for the job within the first few days of its posting, I was more than a little disheartened. That is way too much competition. I made it to the first interview round, which was roughly 10 percent of the applicants, but I wasn't chosen. That's OK, though, because the commute to Arlington is a BITCH.

I also learned that I have a whole system of support in my family and friends and former colleagues. I really wouldn't have held up so well without them. The Editorial Department of The News is full of great people with big hearts, bright minds and great ideas. I feel so privilged that I got the chance to work with them. My mom and dad were there to help and just to talk, and of course to tell me that I needed to visit more. My in-laws helped to lift us up when we were down, too. My brother and sisters and their spouses always lended an ear. There are too many people to thank, really, but they all know that I love and appreciate them.

This has a happy ending, though. For that I am so thankful. I start my new job Monday. I get a chance to start over, too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Stiff competition for worst day ever.

If I don't put too much effort into considering it, today very well qualifies as the worst day ever. Worse than the early-morning, guerilla-style move from my ex-boyfriend's shitty apartment. Worse than the day I found out that my boyfriend threw a kegger in his dorm room and hooked up with the local slutface.

It's been awful.

I woke up a menstrual case today. Emotional, defeated, in pain and tired from a night of tossing and turning. Then I went outside to check on the chickens only to find out that my favorite girl, Jane, wasn't handling her molt so well and needed to be brought to the chicken sick bay (the shower enclosure in our bathroom) for some warm feed. I though that maybe the day could be salvaged, so I took the dogs on a walk.

I came home, let the rest of the chickens out of the coop and started cooking dinner. Soon after that a wave of nausea hit me like a string of tequila shots, and I spent a good 10 minutes dry heaving.

Folks, it gets worse from here.

So, I make dinner, we eat and watch game one of the World Series, and Dave suggests that we should pick up the remaining chicken feed and close the coop for the night, and I obliged.

I went out there only to realize that we were missing a chicken. Effa Manley, one of my favorite girls and the flock's benevolent dictator, didn't make it back that evening. We searched all over the yard and there was no sign of her.

Then, while I'm crying about Effa and trying to floss, my temporary crown pops off.

Now it's raining, there's still no sign of Effa and I can't drink any liquids because it fracking hurts my exposed tooth.

Worst. Day. Ever.

Update: Effa turned up this morning. Thanks for scaring the living daylights out of me, bitch!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Being missed

Once upon a time, I went to yoga class four days a week. I was comfortable in the fact that a dedicated practice would help me grow, that it could help me be the person I wished to be emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Slowly over time, I let other obligations eclipse my yoga practice. Sometimes I wouldn't have enough time to make it to Tuesday or Thursday classes. I'd admonish myself for putting work before my personal health, but at that time I was so scared of losing my job that I was willing to make myself unhappy twice-over to keep it.

In April, the job dissolved. Surprisingly, so did my yoga practice. I sunk into a depression, and tried to get myself together in fits and spurts, but ignored the fact that I knew what was missing. I knew that my regular yoga practice made me happy and helped me hold the pieces together before.

It wasn't until last night that I realized what I had been avoiding. To me my absence from class had been shameful. I had no excuse except for my own emotional withdrawal.

One of my Iyengar teachers saw me after my Tuesday Iyengar class and was very shocked to actually see me alive. She asked, rather puzzled, "Where have YOU been? We've missed you!"

I didn't know exactly how to answer that question. I just told her that I'd had a rough bout of adjustment after being laid off, but I'm just now finding time to come back to my regular practice. I told her that I was thinking about striking out on my own. Come to find out, she was doing the same thing after a job loss.

How ironic is it that the one person I had been afraid of dissappointing in this whole dynamic, the one I'd been avoiding, was the person that could understand my situation the most?

Needless to say I'll be coming to class more often. And I'll let go of the shame that doesn't belong.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I am not a morning person ...

... and I don't think I ever will be. However, my sleep schedule is out of control. Today I woke up a little late for a week day. How late you ask? Not telling. That's how embarassing it is.

I think sleeping late runs in my genes. My B-I-L Brent says my sister Sara is half woman, half mattress. Then again, Brent wakes up early on weekends only to crash on the couch after breakfast to take a two-hour nap. It's not like half man, half couch is without precendent.

But lately, the late sleeping has gotten worse. I think it's mostly because my alarm clock is too ambitious. It rings even before Dave's does, and that mofo has to get up and go to work by 8 a.m.

I'm going to try to set it later, and maybe even follow a schedule so that I can stop feeling as if I'm spinning my wheels.

Good news, though, is that I'm making headway in crafty endeavors. I made a pretty awesome knit cardigan yesterday (I've already had three requests for said cardigan!) and my holiday knitting/crafting is shaping up. Thank God I started early, right?

And, in a couple of weeks we're going to Houston to visit my family and go to the Texas Renaissance Festival in Plantersville (Side note: if you've ever made the drive from College Station (Texas A&M) to The Woodlands, you've driven by Plantersville and my favorite speed trap, Montgomery).

I haven't been to RenFest since college, so it should be fun to take Dave. Although, there are some pretty interesting people at RenFest, so it might be eye-opening for him.

Also, I just put some late-season veggies in the ground and some winter crop seeds, so here's hoping we have plenty of veggies!!! In other gardening news, we fixed the compost container last weekend so that I can turn the compost more easily, but the pile quickly became a bug buffet for the chickens. The've been digging through the pile for three days and are still finding yummy insects (never thought I'd use those two words in the same sentence!).

All in all, things are great here at the casa, but if Santa is listening, I hope that bastard knows that I need a MacBook Pro like, yesterday, buddy.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

From the Mississippi, with love

Dear Dallas,

I hope you know that I thought about you a lot when I was on vacation in New Orleans last week. I thought about what the weather might be like where you were, and how the house was doing. I tried to not miss you, but I did a little, and on the drive home up I-49 through the most boring and beautiful parts of Cajun Acadiana, I couldn't wait to see your skyline and know that I was almost home.

But I'll be honest: Rarely do I consider myself at home in your arms. Dallas, you can be downright inhospitable. From the searing heat to the fricking terrible drivers and endless strip malls, most of the time, you aren't much to look at. You're no city on a hill, that's for sure.

And yet I live with all of your flaws, and I'm happy to be home after a great week in The Big Easy. I saw a lot of things that you don't have, like a kickass Audubon Zoo and Aquarium and a downtown that people actually flock to after hours. And, get this, people actually USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION in New Orleans in lieu of driving. Why? Becuase there are things to do and wonderful bars and eateries in the places with rail access. What a novel idea!

I bet it would be a sore subject to talk about the fact that there is not just one major university in New Orleans, either. In fact, there are THREE!

And then there's the local cuisine. And the plethora of cute French cafes on sidewalks, which are perfect for people-watching, because, get this, THERE ARE PEOPLE AROUND.

But, Dallas, I'm glad to be back home. I have puppies and kitties and chickies that all need me to be here, and a garden that needs to be tended. This is all just constructive criticism, of course, and perhaps you should take it to heart.

Much love and stuff,

Miss Dallas