Wednesday, February 25, 2009


The last two days (after the chill of yesterday morning) have been pretty awesome, because I had two more freelance assignments. One was another political event, and it was fun to be in a big, excited crowd and taking tons of candid/paparazzi shots. This morning was totally different but really cool. Here are three of my favorites from the day (not journalistic enough for the paper, so I feel okay about posting them here).

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


The job fair began at 10am. I figured that since it went until 2, and it was a job fair, no need to be there right smack at ten, so I gave myself a more leisurely start. I arrived in midtown around 10.45 or so.

The event took place in a hotel but the line was outside. A very long line. It moved pretty quickly though. Every so often, you'd see a person turn back and leave, shaking his or her head. (Interestingly, the job fair was hosted by Women For Hire, but there were a number of men in the line too.)
Soon I saw that the line went all the way down the avenue block. It was quite cold, but I had on my standard issue coat, gloves, hat and scarf. Sadly, my feet were pretty chilly in regular shoes. Fortunately, I was tearing through an adorable YA book, so I did my best to forget where I was and how cold it was.
After standing on the line for thirty or forty minutes, I saw that it kept right on going down the next street block. And then doubled all the way back.

By that time I had lost all feeling in my toes, as well as most of my confidence that it would even be worthwhile. Another letdown; I should've known, what with the record numbers of unemployment in this town.

So I turned and left. It was physically painful to walk on my numbed feet--ouch! And I decided there's a great metaphor in here somewhere--a long, twisting, neverending line, stranded out in the cold among so many strange, surely more qualified faces, alone, not sure what to do, not sure what decision is best, feeling small and unimportant and so damn cold.

And I walked away.

Monday, February 23, 2009

inner strength

I need to find it and hold on to it!

Last week I was feeling down and hopeless. A few things started picking up and I had a couple really busy days, with meetings and 'interviews' and whatever else random things.

This week is filling up nicely--tomorrow I will be doing various somethings from 10ish to probably 10ish, including that career fair Schoolgal alerted me to, volunteering, and photographing. On Wednesday, I have another photography gig and then a photography interview. Thursday, I will pick up my rental lens (17-55 f/2.8 Nikon lens--costs almost as much as our rent! weekend rental is really cheap though) and then will be meeting my second shooter at the wedding venue to test lenses and flash, unless a photography gig comes through. Friday night there are two do's I might attend, and Saturday I shoot the wedding!

I didn't leave the apartment today, but I did finally work out. It actually felt really good and for once I'm in that place where I'm looking forward to more. Unfortunately I've not been eating very well (lots of cookies and chocolate) and I have to get better about that. Tonight I had an apple, baked potato, and fruit smoothie for dinner, which is more like it.

I wish I had the luxury to continue random things like this. It's been almost a week since I've dedicated any time to applying for real jobs. I hate that process, but of course I can't give up. I wish I/we had the resources that I didn't have to worry about it. I like freedom, but it seems like too much freedom is weighing me down, overwhelming me and making me lazy. So I need to buckle down and really work at finding work.

It's pretty nerve-wracking to look at the calendar for next month and have zero idea what it will contain. The only thing I know is happening is a weekend trip to Washington, DC for a big ol' flickr meet-up.

Which reminds me, I've been feeling uninspired lately with my personal photography. I see so many talented artists, who every day have another gorgeous, perfectly lit and composed photographic artwork. I'm not jealous of them, more in awe of their talent. But it makes me despair--what on earth do I have to offer anyone? How successful could I possibly be when I don't have that kind of creativity and vision? At the same time, reading wedding photography boards makes me anxious and excited to get out there and see what I can do. If only I knew more people to shoot!

I've gotten some good leads for subbing, and this week I hope to get started with that. Money in the deposit column would make such a difference for my mindset!

On an unrelated note, I would like to announce with happiness that I beat the final level in Katamari this weekend! I hadn't played in weeks and only made it with fifteen seconds to spare. Woo!

This morning, I lay in bed, in the sunshine coming in through the window, and finished reading a book. That's a nice way to start the week.

Hope all you teachers had a good Monday back at school!

Sorry this is so disjointed and LAME. Sorry *I'm* so lame.

Monday, February 16, 2009

How Time Does Fly

A year ago during February break, I started looking for a new teaching job.

If you know me in real life, you may remember another exciting thing that week.

My life could not be more different this year. I would never EVER have guessed I'd be unemployed, and I would never have guessed that my photos would be published in a newspaper, either.

I'm having a great time with the photography stuff this month. I really hope that it leads to more in the coming months.

As for a full-time paying job, my camera won't be doing that for me anytime soon. I might have to go buy the Secret or something and start Visualizing Success. People say, 'Oh, it's only been a month.' 'Oh, something will come along.' 'Things will work out.' But in this economy, I don't think that's as assured as it might have been at another time. I've registered with three different temp agencies and have yet to hear a single peep from any of them. I've applied to dozens of jobs that I'm qualified or overqualified for. Most of my inquiries/applications have not had any responses.
If anyone knows of a school that would definitely hire a sub, I would love to hear from you.

I certainly want things to work out--I want to find a job that's interesting, fulfilling, and allows me to afford my modest lifestyle. I just hope that there's one out there, and the position can be funded.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I'm obviously not doing these every day, because really, holy crap, that's a lot of tiny blog posts, or a lot of regular blog posts with nonrelated footnotes. (Which, for the people that are/can do this, way to go!)

However, regardless of how often I actually post anything about this Daily Grace stuff (and the hippydippy name makes me cringe *just* a bit (sorry!)), as I go through the day, I find myself trying to notice good things. Making mental notes of that song or that cloud or whatever. And considering that I'm rather a Carmen Crankypants in reality, it's an interesting shift.

I still notice plenty of annoying, stupid, ridiculous things; I haven't become a pod person or anything! But I tell myself, Dammit, you're not supposed to think about that stuff! Be nice, for crying out loud!

So I won't tell you about how I can't sleep and how I have trouble keeping track of the days because I do so little and how I should probably just suck it up and become a shut-in. And that my computer is so slow all the time--doesn't it know I've got work to do, even if the photo files are huge? Or the giant fucking cockroach/waterbug/BEAST OF SATAN that was wiggling in my kitchen sink tonight as I was rinsing the cheese grater (mm, pepper jack nachos.). SHUDDER TIMES INFINITY.

Nope, I will continue on with the list for today, which actually includes three more things that were leftovers, so to speak, yesterday. That's kind of neat, right?

1. Crystallized honey in a PBH sandwich.

2. Running into someone I haven't seen for years--right on my own street. Holy shit.

3. Fun picture taking with friends.

4. Going to another freelance assignment! (I hope I'm not jinxing it by these mentions of photography. It's kind of exciting and I'm trying to jump in as much as I can.)

5. Seeing very feisty democracy in action!

As a footnote (ha! see what I did there?), there have been some new friends visiting here in the last couple days. Hello and please don't hate me. Just kidding. Sometimes I swear a lot; I hope you're not too delicate. Good luck slogging through. I like comments, so say hi if you want.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I actually had more than 5 today!

1. Walking on curbs.

2. Walking in the sunshine and not needing a hat, scarf, gloves.

3. When a song comes on whose beat you can match exactly with your pace. I *love* that! (I actually have a playlist somewhere with them. The one I 'discovered' today was Cell Block Tango from the Chicago soundtrack.)

4. Reading this warm, supportive post on A Place at the Table. Wow, this kinda made my week.

5. Cookies and friends!

(this is my artistic friend and her beautiful cookie! mine were decidedly less pretty.)
(I'm hoarding the rest of my good noticings for another post. :D)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Monday (now with pictures!)

1. It's now been an entire month of not having that stressful job==No more Sunday Night Anxiety or Monday Blues! Cheers!

(celebratory cherry Mojito)

2. Volunteering.

3. Painting walls--I somehow grow much more patient with tedious tasks like taping and brushing edges. The whole endeavor is soothing and satisfying. Not painted and blah, then painted and pretty.

4. Walking past a pizza place and inhaling that delicious scent.

5. Bright sunshine and less-than-frigid temperatures.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


This afternoon, I returned to my old school (from last year, not this year) to visit teacher friends and students.

Those stupid butterflies were flitting around inside; I wasn't sure if this was a good idea.

But I am so glad I went. I got to see a lot of familiar faces, some kind acquaintances and a few decent friends. Unfortunately I missed a couple more. But it was fun to knock on a door and see the expression of, "Whoa!" when they saw me again. They all said it was great to see me and they missed me there. Which was really sweet and lovely to hear, even if it was a slight exaggeration, because really, who knows? That school has had an...interesting journey the last couple years, and each person has a different perspective on it, which was fascinating to hear. A lot of knowing shrugs and "we're getting through"s. Several askings of, "Are you coming back?" Lots of hugs and good-to-see-yous.

And let me tell you, the lit-up faces, hugs and happy shrieks of former, now taller and more mature students are worth an entire week's worth of daily grace.
(Even if one whole class begged me to do my (apparently infamous) Evil Eye, for old time's sake or something. Kids are weird.)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


So yeah, unemployment is kinda tough, and it kinda sucks.

That first week I had a handful of interviews and responses, but since then it's been really sparse. I send out a dozen resumes a day and I'm not getting anything. Yesterday I had some potential photo leads, which are exciting. Of course, I still need a real, regular job to pay bills and such. Today, after a somewhat disastrous interview, I revised my resume, which I hope will at least garner a few callbacks....someday.

It's kind of ridiculous that being a teacher for five years holds absolutely no weight in the outside world. I have half a mind to leave it off my resume altogether, because maybe the hiring people think I'm still trying to be one? It's just a distraction. I don't have impressive numbers to throw around that mean anything, like increasing sales ten percent or initiating a new marketing campaign. How do I convince potential employers that I'm actually smart and I promise I can do whatever you ask? How do I convince them that I'm okay with taking a forty percent pay cut and going back to entry-level office grunt work? I'm smart, dammit--hire me! I can do great work for you! Give me a chance!

Even after sleeping for ten hours, today I am exhausted. Maybe it's because I actually exercised yesterday but drank no water? My whole mood, as you can tell, has been pretty bleak.

At least the snow was pretty. I chose to walk home instead of taking the bus, so I could walk and enjoy it. (And get a little free exercise to loosen up my sore muscles.)