<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: March, 2009
 

Archive for March, 2009

Upset with myself

March 31st, 2009 at 08:58 pm

I just finished taking my GRE. They show you your scores (minus the essays) at the end. I bombed it. Completely. Horribly.

I got a 570 on the Verbal - over 100 points less than I'd been getting on the practice exams. On the math part I got a 460 which is pretty close to what I was getting on the practice exams. I was surprised I got that high on the math - so much of the questions I did an educated guess on. The verbal though really, really upsets me.

An average score is 575 - so both my scores are below average. I dont know if its even worth it at this point to even send in an application to grad school.

I knew I wasn't going to be able to get the math much higher, but I was hoping that my verbal would be high enough to make it a good overall score.

Maybe my essay scores will be enough to help.

All I know is that I've blown through a couple hundred dollars, plus spent numerous hours preparing for this test - and it feels like it was a total waste of time money and energy.

Keeping Busy

March 29th, 2009 at 07:53 pm

Hi all,

Just a quick note to let you know I'm still percolating. Smile

I'm anxiously and nervously working on getting ready to take the GRE on Tuesday. I've taken two practice exams so far -- out of 800, I scored in the low 700's for Verbal, and high 400's for Math. Urch!

I'm not really sure at this point if there's any way for me to study enough to boost my math score. I'm going to keep reviewing the math parts that are giving me trouble - but mainly it is all the various formulas and knowing when to use them.

--
My friends got back from their cruise Friday night. I spent most of Saturday with them, church, potluck, and then watching videos they took/pictures.

--
I *stil* haven't heard anything about my Unemployment status. So, will have to attempt getting in touch with someone via phone yet again this coming week. Looks like tax day will have been an overly positive estimation of when I receive my first payment. Ugh!

--
Still haven't done my taxes. I know - time is running out.

--
I've decided to use my GRE test trip as a mini-vacation. My dad has generously provided funds for two-nights hotel stay where I'll be going. There are several free admission museums there - specifically one about Children's Literature which looks interesting. It'll be nice to have two nights of cable as well. Smile

--
After I get back from this trip/test, I am going to have to seriously hunker down on the spending front, the eating/health front, and the finding a job front.

--
Ok, I need to get some posts put together for my two other blogs, and then work on getting packed. I'll be leaving right after working at the gym tomorrow. I'm not looking forward to a 3 hour drive, but I'll survive - as long as I can find good music stations on the radio. Big Grin

Quick Update

March 26th, 2009 at 12:31 am

I've been keeping pretty busy the past couple days doing various things. Nothing really exciting really.

Today I did my last pet-sitting visit before my friends get back (actually, I stayed there last night and watched some more cable!) Big Grin Their cat Megan was hiding from me this morning, but as I was just about to leave, she came out and hissed at me. So I sat down and took my shoes off -- and she let me give her foot rubsies. Big Grin

My dad sent me $100 for my hotel when taking my GRE. (Isn't my dad sweet?) That's enough for 2 nights - taxes. I'm thinking about maybe making this a little mini-vacation. Yeah, like my life isn't a vacation right now, right?

But really, Abilene does have some interesting things to see, and it's one town in TX I've not been before. If I stay one or two nights will depend on how my job search is going. If I've got an interview lined up for Wednesday -- it'll be one night!

---
I've kind of been disappointed with the traffic my children's book blog is getting. It went for nearly three days with NO visitors. I was beginning to wonder if it was worth it to keep going with it. Then . . . the visitors started coming back (mainly google searches) and then *yesterday* I had 8 unique views - but one of them had to have been one of those indexing robots, because I had a total of nearly 600 page views!!!!!

---
I am beginning to think that sending responses to job postings on Craigslist is good for one thing, and one thing only. Job search credits for UI. Every week I've sent at least 6 or more responses (sometimes closer to 12) and I've gotten 4 interviews out of it, plus two other responses - one of which was that spam site trying to get me to sign up for online degree programs.

Yech.

There has to be a better way.

When I get back from my GRE test on the 1st, I am going to seriously start trying to figure something else out. Also seriously work on revamping my resume. I've kind of been doing *just enough* in trying to prepare for the GRE. So once that's out of the way, I can get focused again. Even if I could just find a part time job to add to my gym job - that would be great.

----
A few days ago I wrote a post about the Montana Plane Crash and how there were people on it who hit close to home for my family.

---
Ok, I'm going to catch up with some blogs here, then get back to prepping for the GRE.

Toot a loo!

Checkin' on the neighbors

March 21st, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Friday afternoon I went over to my friends house to check on their rabbits and their cat. If you remember, when I went there on Wednesday, the rabbits were completely out of water. That is why I decided to go back on Friday instead of waiting till Saturday.

Well, I guess the weather had been cooler, or the rabbits hadn't been as thirsty, because their water bottle was half full. Still, I had bought a second water bottle (Walmart $3.xx) for them, so I went ahead and attached it to their cage.

I had decided to go ahead and spend the night there (which my friends had told me I was welcome to do) to both keep Megan (cat) company, and wait a few hours to change out everything (plus they have a big cable package, so I did a bit of cable surfing too.) Smile

About 9:30p.m. someone knocked on the front door. I debated about acknowledging the person, but in the end decided to at least turn the porch light on and see who was out there. After seeing it was a man, I called out "um, yes?" He asked me if I was a family member. I told him that no, I was a friend of the family. He said, Oh, ok. and then went on his way.

That was a little unnerving, but it also made me feel good to know that my friends have neighbors who are keeping an eye out for them.

---
I kind of wish I had Lifetime for the next 4 weekends at least. They're showing 4 new Nora Roberts movies. If I could pay for just one channel, it would be Lifetime.

---
One week from Tuesday is my GRE test. I'm really getting nervous about it. I almost wish I'd scheduled it out further. But, even if I had, I probably still wouldn't feel ready for it.

---
I talked to my brother today. Once he has his acceptance letter for nursing school, he is thinking of signing up for the Air Force - have them pay for his schooling, and then serve however many years are required in exchange.

He'd be able to go in as an officer because he already has a degree, so wouldn't have to do boot camp (which is good, because he has two bad knees.)

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I want my brother safe, but I'm also proud that he's willing to serve his country (even though it also will benefit him financially.) Going in as a medic/nurse should keep him fairly safe -- hopefully.

Whatever happens, will happen. Hopefully it will all be for the best.

----
My recent post on Single Frugalton is about the dangers of gift shops. I'd love to hear your opinions on it.

---
Sunday plans;
() Craigslist
() Study GRE math
() update blogs
() clean kitchen
() trash run
() exercise

Realization & Jury pay

March 20th, 2009 at 02:00 am

Yesterday at my interview, one of the questions was if I prefer working by myself or in a group setting. I thought that was a funny question, because sometimes I have thought that I'd much prefer working out of my home and not having to mess with the whole office/coworker thing.

But the last five weeks or so, where I have had very little interaction with other people comparatively to when I worked in an office, I've realized that I actually miss it.

Even working at the gym doesn't offer that much in the way of interaction. For example I was there today for four hours, and only ONE person came in.

I feel kind of bad for people who stop and say more than hi to me, because sometimes that's enough to get my mouth going - just to have someone to talk to face to face.

Another thing I've realized is that when I was first laid off, I had so many people calling me to check on me, or emailing me, etc. But now, it's back to normal - where I get maybe two calls a week.

I think next week I am going to force myself to go to at least one of those networking get together things. Even just to get out and interact with other people. Although, when in a group of strangers, my shy/quiet will hardly say a word side strikes up. Worth a try though.

----
Yep, I received my check for Jury Duty today. So, since I had to pay $6 for parking (since the attendant gave me back $2) I am now even. Yay. Wink

I'm really having a lot of fun with my children's story time blog. I hadn't realized that so many of my favorite children's poet poems were on you tube. Some of them aren't read exactly the way I'd do it - but they're still good. Smile

While at the gym today I skipped the last section of chapter 5 - just was not getting it - and studied through the middle of Chapter 10 of the GRE math. There were a couple sections I didn't stay with very long, but might go back to later if I have time.

---
oops - time for ER - will finish later

Interview today, Unemployment, Funny Cat video :)

March 19th, 2009 at 02:00 am

Well, my interview this morning was interesting. I didn't speak with the person I'd been corresponding with, and he didn't seem to have seen any of my info until it was handed to him. He reiterated the fact that there were at least 600 cannidates for the positions.

Then he mentioned that sometime they had to work a little late to ensure projects were done. I told him I didn't have a problem with that. THEN he mentioned that sometime they had to work Saturdays. (Groan. Interview over.) I told him I couldn't do Saturdays, but I'd be more than happy to come in on Sundays if needed.

They're of course not open on Sundays.

Oh well - I don't know that I'd really want to work at a place where I'd be expected to put in that much overtime anyway - esp not for what they're paying per hour.

---
Long story short - I found out today why I haven't received my unemployment benefits yet. They were on hold. For more of the story check today's post on The Single Frugalton.

----
Here is a really cute video of a cat being aggressive with another cat - that is, a *picture* of a cat! LOL

Cat attacks Picture

----
I went to take care of the Bunnies and Hissy Cat today. Hissy cat of course hissed at me as I opened the door and growled at me as I walked past her to get to where her food/toilet/water were all at. Before I left though, she let me give her a foot rub - only after I took my shoes off. Smile

Poor bunnies! Their water bottle was completely empty! After I refilled it, they both practically attacked it.

I ended up goofing off for an hour or so, then before leaving, I refilled their water again.

I'm not supposed to go back again until Saturday - but I'm worried that they'll be dehydrated before then. The weather has been pretty warm.

I'm also thinking about getting a second water bottle for them - but I really don't want to spend very much, since well, they're not MY pets - and it won't probably even be necessary again once the family is back.

Any suggestions?

----
I called about the Lab bill today. I was told to resubmit my insurance info to them and then see what happens. For now, I'll leave it at that.

The lady I spoke with confirmed that it should have been covered.

-----
Wednesday's Accomplishments:
Wednesday Plans
(x) Interview at 10:30
(x) Cancel savings account at Chase
(x) Call Aetna and holler
(x) Go feed hissy cat and bunnies
() Study Chapter 6 in GRE
(x) Update blogs
() Finish Driver's Ed renewal course!!!!

Thursday's Plans
() Watch Lost Big Grin
() Update blogs
() Finish Driver's Ed renewal course!!!!!
() Study Chapter 6 in GRE
() Send in application to place mentioned by Chase bank lady

---
ETA - When I got home today from taking care of the fur babies, I found out that my freezer door hadn't properly shut. So, I don't know how long it had been like that, but there was starting to be some drippage.

None of the food is meat - it appears that all the frozen fruits have turned to mush. Do you think my frozen burritos (bean and cheese and rice) and my frozen veggie lasganas will be okay to eat still?

I can't believe I did that!

Say What?!

March 18th, 2009 at 01:16 am

When I got home tonight and checked my mail, I had a bill from a lab. It said that the insurance company had denied the claim because I wasn't covered on the date of service.

WHAT?!!! I was told I'd be fully covered through Feb. 28, and after that I'd have to go with Cobra. The lab work was done on Feb 19.

I will have to call Aetna tomorrow and find out what the eck is going on!

The lab bill itself isn't horrible - $104 - but if that wasn't covered, then probably the doctor's visit wasn't, nor my medication refil -- that all would add up.

---
I hadn't realized how long and involved Chapter 5 of my math book was. I worked fairly steadily on it today for about two hours, and still haven't quite finished it. The last section is on Algebraic Fractions (+,-,x,/).

---
I applied to a number of postings on Craigslist today. It was weird though, one of the listings I'd found last night and had left up to apply to in the morning, had been removed. I guess they found someone between late yesterday afternoon and early this morning? It had every appearance of a legitimate ad. Oh well.

----
Tomorrow I have an interview at a place that does loan modifications and credit repair. They sent me three websites with info on their company.

I looked over all three websites - the first one is just a list of products, but the other two are for the Loan Modifications and Credit Repair. The Credit Repair site shows they are licensed and bonded in the state of Texas, but the Loan Modification one doesn't say anything about that.

I read an article on MSN yesterday about the Loan Modification places basically not being worth anything because they take your money up front, and then have little if any results to show for it.

So . . I am wanting to ask enough questions about how they operate their business to reassure myself that it is a legitimate business that is actually helping people. I'm just not sure of the best way to phrase my questions so that I don't come across as accusing them of something in case they ARE legitimate.

For instance: How does the loan modification process work? Do you take the money upfront, or upon successfully helping someone? What is the success rate?
How long has this business been operating? Has it gone under any other names? etc. ..

Suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Smile

----
Tuesday Accomplishments;
() Cancel Chase savings account
(x) Cash paycheck
() exercise
(x) Check Craigslist
(x) Update blogs
() Study Chp 6, 7 GRE Math
(x) Gym from 3 - 7

Wednesday Plans
() Interview at 10:30
() Cancel savings account at Chase
() Call Aetna and holler
() Go feed hissy cat and bunnies
() Study Chapter 6 in GRE
() Update blogs
() Finish Driver's Ed renewal course!!!!

Getting Up Early

March 17th, 2009 at 01:34 am

Due to the shift changes prompted by one of our staff members being asked to leave, I now have the early morning shift on Mondays.

It's amazing to me how fast a body gets used to NOT having to be up at the crack of dawn and how difficult it is to force that same body to rest the night before.

I had to go by the South gym to pick up the paychecks for the other two locations, so I even got to sleep in a few minutes more than I would have otherwise.

Even so, I was totally dead off my feet at the gym. Luckily, between 7 and 11 only 1 person came to workout. The other problem was that I was *cold*!

I hope I'm not coming down with something. Ugh!

---
I stopped by my apartment management's office today and signed a 6-month lease. I also found out that I could rent the smallest two-bedroom for $750/mo including utilities. So, I think I will spend the next few months looking for a roommate that I can live with to split the rent. Even if it goes up a bit, it'll still be less than $400/mo which would save me at least $265/mo. The biggest issue I still have to wrestle with is if I can give up my privacy.

----
I did manage to get in a few hours of studying my GRE math. I'm working on Chapter 5 of 14. So, if I concentrate on two chapters a day, I should have throughly gone through all the chapters by Sunday. Then I can take the practice exams, and review what I missed. Then on to the rest of the test. Big Grin

----
I spent way too much time this afternoon working on my Storytime For Children blog. I think though that I like how it is coming along. If you'd like to check it out and let me know what you think -- especially about the header and color scheme -- check my side panel in a few minutes for a link to it.

----
Tuesday Plans:

() Cancel Chase savings account
() Cash paycheck
() exercise
() Check Craigslist
() Update blogs
() Study Chp 6, 7 GRE Math
() Gym from 3 - 7

Good Friends post 2

March 15th, 2009 at 10:37 pm

My friend T and her husband are going on a 12 day cruise tomorrow - her husband won it as a prize for being the top salesman for quarter 4 at my former company.

Their two children are on their way to their grandparents, but they have a cat and rabbits at home. I've been asked to stop by and feed/care for them 3 times while they're gone - which I readily agreed to do.

I would have done it for free - but they insisted on paying me. So, I said, ok, let's say a tank of gas. Before I left today, they gave me enough money for at least FIVE tanks of gas! And they wouldn't hear otherwise.

I kind of feel guilty accepting that much money just for taking care of their furbabies 3 times. It is a 30 minute drive one-way with good traffic - but they've done so much for me over the years, it doesn't feel right accepting anything for it.

God has truly blessed me.

---

It looks like I have another interview this Wednesday. That outfit that had over 700 responses to their post responded to my followup response. It would be a full time position, M - F, paying 10 - 12/hr with benefits. It sounds like it is a place helping people modify their mortgages - so probably something pretty stable even in a bad economy.

I would however, have to limit myself to just one or maybe two classes per term, so that means it may take an extra year to finish. But again, if I want it badly enough, it's worth it.

----
I have 15 days until I take my GRE and I have not been focusing very well at all. I need to really hunker down for the next 9 days and focus on studying the Math, and then I'll spend 4 days on the writing, and the last few days focus on a general overview and taking practice tests.

I was talking to my dad last night, and he offered to pay for my hotel stay after the test is over. I probably need to make a reservation now rather than later. My test is at 1:00, so I may drive there in the morning, leaving around 7 a.m. in case I get lost.

Nevermind then

March 15th, 2009 at 05:22 pm

OhhKkkaay... Just got a call from E. Looks like I won't be getting more hours - just had my shift changed all around and getting basically the same amount of hours as before. So . . the job hunt continues.

Speaking of the job hunt. I got an email from one of the job postings on Craigslist. They said they'd had over 700 responses for the 6 positions they're offering. This is so much fun.

Tomorrow I get to make another claim on unemployment. I wonder when I'll actually see any money from it - if ever?

Danger - Thinking ahead

March 15th, 2009 at 01:43 am

So . .. I didn't sleep very well last night. (Let's just say that when you have a bottle of vegetable oil from 1997 and you're not sure if you should use it or not - no matter how much you want to make the brownies - DON"T DO IT!)

While I was tossing and turning, my mind was scheming as to what to do about my storytime blog. I'm thinking the likelihood of getting publishers to give me a carte blanche go ahead to read their books from cover to cover on videotape without having to pay royalties or something, is probably pretty slim. Especially without having anything established other than the one post.

So, I've decided to go ahead and do something similar to what I was thinking - except without the videos. I'm going to focus on different children's authors/poets and/or themes. I'll write short histories of the author's, give ideas on how to use the books or poems in a homeschool or classroom setting, and provide either links to already created activities or my own suggested ideas.

I also am going to see if my dad would be willing to record himself saying his children's stories. My dad was a pastor for 35 years, and I've never heard better children's stories. So, if he's willing, then I might put up two of those a month with a transcript.

Eventually, if it gets established enough, I might be able to add in my original idea. I still might make videos showing how to read a story to a group of children, or how to engage one child on your lap in a story. You would think most people would have those skills naturally, but from what I've seen, that's not so.

I need to get an amazon code from today for linking to the books, so it may still be a while before I get it really going.

I may be asking those of you with little ones 10 and under to give me suggestions of some of their favorite current authors. I know quite a bit myself, but there's so many out there that I may not have heard of them before.

----
Can I live on $838/month?

The answer to that question is no. But I *can* live on $1000/month.

Why am I asking myself this question? Because that is what I'm probably going to be doing for the next couple years.

I think I'm going to give up on the job search for now. (Not that it's going so great anyway.)

If I work at the gym 32 hours a week - M, T, TH and F that will give me roughly $838/month income. The monthly difference will have to be made up through my savings.

What this will allow me to do is:
1. Have 4 days a week where I will have plenty of time to study and work on my blogs while getting paid.

2. Be in a place 4 days a week where I can work out.

3. Have my Wednesday's free to volunteer at my local library branch to start getting some real world experience.

3a. By getting my foot in the door at the library as a volunteer, I *may* be able to be in line for a paid position eventually if one opens up.

So, here is my budget:

Income: 838
Rent: 665 (Utilities are paid)
Phone: 50
Internet: 20
IRA: 50
Insurance: 200 (Health, Car, Renter's)
Gas: 40
Food: 50
Other: 10
Total Output: 1085
Difference: 246.60

246.60 *12 = 2959.44

So, at least $3,000 will be used from savings. I will have to use savings also for any taxes owed, medical costs, or car repairs. So I'm thinking roughly $4200 for one-year above my income.

I will pursue other avenues of income, such as from my blogs and babysitting, but that's not consistent enough to count.

My food budget will basically be this:
loaf of bread - $4
jar of peanut butter - $3
2lb bag of pinto beans $2
quinoa or lentils - $10
RiceMilk (2 lg containers) $7
Oatmeal $4
Fruit - $5
Frz Veggies - $6
Other -- $9

A day's meals would look like this:
Breakfast: Oatmeal w/milk banana
Lunch: Beans and veggies
Supper: Quinoa w veggies
Snack: peanut butter toast

I have some of these things on hand already, as well as a good number of other food items, so any grocery money not spent will be kept back for months when the gym is closed for a holiday.

I think I can make this work. It won't be easy - especially using up my savings. But if in the end I have my Master's and have library experience for my resume, I think it will be worth it.

What do you all think?

Maybe more hours

March 14th, 2009 at 02:10 am

I found out today that I might be able to get some more hours at the gym starting next week - for a total of around 20 - 22 hrs/week. It'd still be a good bit less than my unemployment allowance, so I can do that and still claim payments. (not that I've been paid anything yet.)

I think it will be good for me to have more days at the gym - force me to get out into the world at least 4 days a week. E understands that I am still actively searching for something that pays more/give more hours, and that I may not be able to give much notice.

What I'm actually thinking would be good is if I could find something part time that pays 10-12 dollars/hr for 20 hrs, and then do the 15 hrs or so at the gym for min wage. That would give me enough to pay rent, gas, and bare min food. But it would also give me two days a week where I can study and work at the same time.

---
It is so weird to wake up on a Friday morning and remember that I'm not going to have had an infusion of cash in my bank account. Today was the 4th Friday with no paycheck.

I will be getting a paycheck on Monday for the gym, but it will be 1/3 of what I was used to getting every Friday.

I am still living off of what I earned in February, so reality hasn't totally sunk in.

In a couple weeks though I will be living off much much less in order to avoid touching my savings as much as possible - unless of course I find another job. The rubber will really be hitting the road.

Monday morning I'm going to go by that place where they offered me a job several years ago. It probably is a real stretch that anyone there still remembers me, let alone would have a job open -- but it wouldn't hurt to try. Especially if it meant I could walk to work again. Smile

----
Friday's accomplishments
() close Chase savings
() Study GRE Math
(x) Gym from 11 - 7
() exercise

Saturday's plans
() study GRE math
() make flashcards
() update blog

----
Oh I wanted to tell you all. My Single Frugalton blog came in 3rd place out of the 5 blogs. There were a total of 65 votes, and I got 12 votes. Caregivingdaughter.today.com, which is a fantastic blog about a woman taking care of her mom with alzheimers, won with 20 votes.

I was totally honored to know that 11 other people liked my blog enough to vote for it. (Hey, I had to vote for myself, right?) Big Grin

Progress

March 13th, 2009 at 01:06 am

Didn't really do as much as I'd planned on doing today because I stayed up way too late reading, and then slept in later than I'd planned.

I did send out a couple more responses to Craigslist job ads. Haven't gotten any response from the ones I've sent so far this week.

Was *very* annoyed to find out that Governor Perry of Texas refused the unemployment stimulus money.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090312/ap_on_re_us/stimulus_texas

----
I sent a couple of emails to various children's books publishers today asking them how I could obtain permission to read their books on video. I'm just not having much luck finding hard copies of public domain books to use. Plus, those in the public domain are at least 70+ years old, so may not have very much for the preschool/first grade age range.

I'll have to wait and see what the publishers say. I tried to couch it in the sense that they'd get some free advertising. Smile

* My new blog is located here if you want to look at it. I only have one post so far since I am still trying to come up with material to use for it.

Suggestions and ideas would be welcomed. Smile

----
I found a great deal on Glamour Magazine which is posted on my blog.

----

Thursday's Accomplishments:
(x) Updated blog
(x) Made progress in kitchen
(x) studied GRE math (some)
() math flashcards
() exercise
(x) contacted 2 children's publishers

Fridays Plans:
() Update blog
() Study GRE math
() Make math flashcards
() close Chase savings account (service fees!!!)
() Gym from 11am to 7pm

----
ER with maybe George Clooney guest starring in less than an hour! Woo Hoo!

Missed a few days :)

March 12th, 2009 at 02:21 am

Hey all. It's been a few days. Sunday was a LONG day. I got a good bit done at home in the morning (or should I say between 10 and 2 thanks to a late start due to missing an hour!) Then I went over to my friend's house, and he went through the whole Math book with me - all 14 chapters of it! We did take a break for supper which his wife made - yummy dinner roast and sweet potatoes. Big Grin But all in all, we spent nearly 6 hours working on math.

I came away with a much better base to work from, and have been going back through it doing as many examples as I can to make sure I really get everything.

What would I do without such wunderful gut friends? Big Grin

---
Monday was jury duty. I was going to take the bus so I wouldn't have to worry about getting lost. Hah! The bus was supposed to be at the bus stop at 7:12. A bus pulled up and it was the wrong bus - I checked the time and it was 7:24. So, I hustled back home and got directions. Amazingly the traffic was light, and I didn't get lost (going over there at least!)

I couldn't figure out where the underground discounted parking was, so I parked in the nearest lot I could find -- $8 for all day parking. Ugh!

Luckily for me, they only called jurors through 999 - so at 10:30, as I was #1807, I got to go home. Big Grin

The parking lot attendant was so sweet - I asked him if there was any discount since I'd only been parked there two hours - not really expecting anything. He gave me back two dollars. Big Grin

Then of course I got royally lost on my way back home. Have I said before how much I do not like driving in downtown Dallas??

I called E and let him know I was available - so he put me on the schedule for the gym - so the day wasn't a total wash.

---
Tuesday was a wash. Got an email letting me know I didn't get the job I'd interviewed for on Friday. Oh well. Really didn't do anything productive - I think I was wiped from Sunday's math marathon and then no sleep Sunday night.

----
Today I applied for 7 different jobs - through Craigslist, hotjobs, and careerbuilder.

One of them in particular interests me - except I'm a bit worried that it's not an actual job, but they're wanting you to purchase a franchise. It's going to preschools and other school settings and teaching their computer programs. It sounds like I could make my own hours - so I could do it T,W,TH and keep the gym job.

Oh, and I fell for another one of those scam applications where they take your info and really want to get it for online schools to call you. This time someone actually did - I told them I wasn't interested, and they said they'd take me off their list. We'll see.

I got one of my quarterly calls from the DSO (Dallas Symphony Orchestra.) Before the lady could even start in on her pitch, I told her that I'd been laid off and didn't have any money for tickets. She let me go nice and easy. Big Grin

I'd love to go more often, but those tickets are pricey, so I prefer to save for when Kenny G or Jim Brickman or the Beach Boys are performing. Big Grin

---
My apartment isn't in company shape yet, but I do have to say I am proud of the progress I have made.

---
I've been waylaid by a new author - Cathy Marie Hake. They are Christian Historical Romance novels. Big Grin She's good. I read 'Letter Perfect' and 'Bittersweet' the past couple days. They're the kind of books you can hardly bear to put down - even when your eyes are burning from lack of sleep.

----
Thursdays Plans:
() Study GRE Math
() make flashcards for formulas
() Finish cleaning kitchen
() Update blog
() exercise

-----
Question: Does anyone know where I could find hardcopy copies of children's books that are in public domain? I am working on another blog and I need to have a good selection of children's books (actual copies) to use. I've found the online sources, but I'm needing something for a visual.

--
P.S. I have been keeping up with the blogs here, but for some reason my computer hasn't been letting me post comments since I updated my browser.

Blast From the past :)

March 8th, 2009 at 02:12 am

I sat with my friend T and her two children for church today. She chose to sit in the *very* first pew - not exactly my first choice (or second choice, or third choice....) Her husband was playing the piano for choir, which is why she was sitting there. (He is a very talented pianist.)

After church was over and we were getting ready to leave, a family of 3 came over. I looked up, and it was like a blast from the past! One of my students (one of my *favorites*) was standing there in front of me! She looked so grown up, but I knew her almost immediately. I hadn't seen her in almost 4 years - she'd been my student for two years - such a quiet, intelligent and polite girl.

I didn't mind so much having sat up front, otherwise they probably wouldn't have spotted me. Big Grin

----

I took some pictures today with the 4 gig SD card I'd bought out in CA. Previously, I'd been using the 2 gig card borrowed from my stepdad. My computer doesn't seem to want to recognize it. Frown I hope I can figure it out soon, because I use my camera quite a bit - and would really hate to have to buy another card. (I can't take this one back, it was on clearance sale - Circuit City - no receipt.)

-----
Accomplished so far today:
(x) Sabbath School and Church
(x) picked up books from library (including GRE book)
(x) Study GRE Math
(x) trash run

Sunday Plans:
() clean kitchen (counters/dishes/fridge)
() make oatmeal patties
() study GRE math
() go to T's house for math tutoring
() decide how to go to courthouse for jury duty (drive downtown, take DART??)

Another Good One Today!

March 7th, 2009 at 04:30 am

I really liked the place I interviewed at today. It seems like it would be kind of like what I was doing at my former job - only maybe with a bit more variety and keep me busier.

I think the interview went pretty well. Which was good, because I could have had my nerves totally frayed by the fact that my hose decided to run *below* my hemline AS I was getting out of my car to go inside!! And no, I hadn't noticed a run before that. They lasted all of 3 days. Nice.

Anyway, I should be hearing back from her on Monday (while I'm possibly at the courthouse getting on a jury!)

---
One of the GRE prep books came in at the library today - but it wasn't the one I was most wanting. So . . I decided to bite the bullet and go buy a couple prep books. With the test coming up on the 31st, I don't have very much time to waste at all.

I bought one book focused on Math review/test questions, and one book focused on the essay questions.

After spending about 20 minutes working in the Math book, (and yes, I know I am being hard on myself), I am feeling kind of stupid. I'm in the basics chapter. Some of it I'm remembering, some of it I'm still going "huh???" after he explains it.

Word problems are going to kill me.

Ask me to find the average - fine, can do.
Ask me the mode or the mean - great!

Now give me a problem that says Sally took 3 tests and got a 90, 92, and 94. She needs a 95 average to get an A for the course. What does she need to get on her 4th test?

Figured it out - not the way the book explained it - but still got the right answer.

Then, here comes this problem:
20 students scored a 90 on a true false test. 30 students scored 100. What is the mean, mode, and median?

ARGH~~~~~~

I hate word problems!

Luckily, my friend T's husband is going to spend a couple hours with me on Sunday on this Math stuff. I really am going to feel silly telling him I'm getting confused on the prime numbers. I used to know this stuff - really, I did.

All I can do is take my time and study it right? If it gets to be a week before the test, and I'm still faltering with the math, then I'll just have to reschedule it. It might mean that I start my program later (and cost another $50)- but this isn't a race, right?

So . . tracking my back to school spending so far:

GRE registration: $140
Prep books: $40

-----------------
Friday Plans:
(x) 9 a.m. Interview
(x) 11 - 6:30 --- gym
() Contact school librarians
() Write thank you notes
(x) Study GRE math materials
() trash run
() dish run

Saturday Plans:
() Sabbath School and church
() set clocks forward??
() study GRE math materials
() trash run
() dish run

Much Better!

March 6th, 2009 at 02:59 am

Perusing the Craigslist ads today, it seems like I have exhausted most, if not all of the possible legitimate job listings - at least for awhile.

This afternoon I went for my second interview. It was at a company dealing with waste management.

It didn't start out so good. When I arrived (30 minutes early - sat in car till it was 15 minutes early) there was *no one* in the lobby! At first I sat in a chair hoping someone would come into the lobby. It kept getting closer and closer to my interview time and I wasn't sure what to do.

I contemplated going down the hall labled 'human resources and payroll' to see if I could find someone there -- but in the end I just couldn't get up enough moxie to do so.

Finally, it was 2:58. I decided to call the phone number where my appt had been set up. They asked me to give it another 10 minutes, and if no one had shown up, to call them and they'd email the company to let them know I'd been there and they needed to reschedule with me. Just as I got off the phone, a lady came into the lobby -- and within a few minutes I was seated at a cubicle desk filling out the application.

The first thing I noticed was that everyone was wearing jeans. Oh happy day!!
Everyone seemed pretty relaxed while taking calls - they had a pretty funny one where someone wanted to rent a garbage truck for the day. Smile

After filling out my application, I took a typing test (scored 62 WPM.) Then I had my interview.

It was a total opposite of yesterday. I wasn't completely *not* nervous, but I wasn't *too* nervous. The lady was really friendly.

She told me about the company, and gave me a chance to ask questions. I asked her a question no one had ever asked her before - about how the calls were routed to the different reps. Smile

The position actually sounds like a fairly good fit for me (temporarily while going to school.) It's taking inbound calls helping customers be happy. The pay is about what I made at my former job -- but, and this is a BIG plus - you get graded on your performance (did you ask customers name, did you verify info, did you get account number, did you follow through on what you said you were going to do, etc) and based on your scores (10 quality checks a month) you get either a 15% bonus, 10% bonus or no bonus. They meet with you twice a month to go over your performance, so you're never left hanging wondering if you're doing okay or not.

They also offer full benefits (including tuition reimbursement - wonder if they'd reimburse for getting a masters in a totally unrelated field?? Or I probably should stay mum on that.)

She also told me that they have very little turnover - everyone has been there from one to 30 years. The reason they are looking to hire new people is because they've expanded (doubled) their territory and need at least 7 new CSR's to handle the call volume.

I won't know one way or the other for a couple weeks at least - but I really like the sound of this particular job. Big Grin

----
Oh, I went to Office Depot again today to print out corrected copies of my resume. The same guy who helped me yesterday was there. I told him that I had bragged about OD's customer service. Smile

-----

I spent some time reading through this Algebra review pdf today. A lot of it makes little sense to me - so many symbols it starts to run together. But some of it is sort of coming back.

http://www.math.uakron.edu/~dpstory/tutorial/mptii/lesson02.pdf

I have a long way to go though.

-------

Thursday Plans:
(x) Practice interview questions
(x) Print copies of updated resume
(x) Check Craigslist
() Send thank you note
(x) Interview at 3 pm
(x) Study GRE math material
() Contact school librarians
() trash run

Friday Plans:
() 9 a.m. Interview
() 11 - 6:30 --- gym
() Contact school librarians
() Write thank you notes
() Study GRE math materials
() trash run
() dish run

Off to see ER!

Office Depot to the rescue!

March 5th, 2009 at 03:27 am

I used my problem solving skills this morning.

I stopped by Walgreens to pick up some hose - since I haven't worn hose in I don't know how long. Then I headed over to the library.

I planned to print out a copy of my resume there, as well as to print out my former address list/work history/reference list.

As I approached the library, I saw lots of men on the roof. I got a little nervous.

When I pulled up to the front door, I saw the horrible CLOSED sign. Frown

To avert panic, I started trying to think if there was any kind of solution to my problem (other than getting my printer at home fixed!) The Work Force Center was way too far away to be able to go there and come back in time. Then I thought, well, maybe Circuit City would let me print something out there.

I thought it was pretty far fetched, but I was desperate. As I got to Circuit City, I noticed an Office Depot next door. Lightbulb! They have a printing service - much more possible chance they'd be willing to help me out.

So, I went into Office Depot and explained my situation to the man at the printing area. He let me use their computer to access my documents, and then I was able to print my resume on bond paper (which I purchased by single sheet.)

Office Depot made a loyal customer today. Smile

It gets better though.

I arrived about 15 minutes early for my interview. After being shown to the waiting area, I happened to glance at my resume. In my haste, I had pulled up and printed my updated, but before lay off version! Ugh!

Needless to say, I was a bundle of nerves going into the interview.

From the time I walked into the persons office until he walked me to the door -- less than 10 minutes.

He did ask me what I knew about the company, and I'm not sure if he was impressed or something else when I rattled off the info I'd read on their about page (over 40 years; in 2006 expanded to UK; 14 locations ...)

He also asked me if I was nervous - and I told him I was a bit - that it was my first interview since getting laid off. Probably shouldn't have said that.

I didn't get a chance to ask any questions - he didn't even ask me if I had any - which is part of why I think he'd already made a decision and was trying to get me out of there fast.

Look at it as practice right?

Tomorrow is another interview, and another chance.

----------------
I registered to take the GRE on Tuesday, March 31. It's not available here where I live, so I'll have to drive to a city over 3 hours away to take it.

The test costs $140, and I'll probably have to get a hotel room for the night before - which may be another $40 or $50.

It's worth it though right? To become a librarian.

Although, after going through some of the practice math questions --- I'm more than a little worried. My math skills are WAY rusty.

-------

I attempted to get in touch with a real live human at the Unemployment Insurance office today. No matter what number I called, no humans were produced. I just kept getting told to go to the website!
---------
Wednesday Plans:
(x) Print out copies of resume (maybe finish new one)
(x) Get GRE study materials
(x) Practice for interview
(x) Research company
(x) 11:00 a.m. INTERVIEW
(x) make follow up notes
() Call Chase
() Contact Teachers about library
(x) Schedule GRE!
() Exercise!!!!!

Thursday Plans:
() Practice interview questions
() Print copies of updated resume
() Check Craigslist
() Send thank you note
() Interview at 3 pm
() Study GRE math material
() Contact school librarians
() trash run

Little Happy Dance & A Useful day

March 4th, 2009 at 01:42 am

Okay, in the today.com blogosphere they have a monthly contest where today.com bloggers can nominate their favorite blogs. As a newbie blog, even though I only had two nominations, I made the voting list. Big Grin The other four blogs are awesome blogs, and I'm so jazzed that I not only got two nominations, but so far have 10 out of the 50 votes cast so far.

What was really surreal was to check my feedburner stats last night and see I had 9! subscribers, which was up from 3. Of course all of those newbies have dropped off now (not really sure why someone would subscribe one day, then unsubscribe the next . . oh well.)

---

Today I attended the resume writing seminar and then the interviewing skills seminar. Both of them were VERY worthwhile. I strongly suggest that you check at your local work force center to see if they have anything like that -- and even if you have a job currently, it probably wouldn't hurt to be current on marketplace trends. Smile

Then, on my way home I stopped at the library and talked to the children's librarian. She was very helpful and gave me a couple names of school librarians I should talk to in the area.

Oh! I also met someone during the resume seminar who's husband is a librarian and went through the UNT program. We exchanged emails, and I'm going to send her my resume and see if her hubby has any ideas for me. Networking. Smile

-----
I'm having trouble reserving things on the library's website. I'm going to try again later tonight - need to get the GRE materials reserved - there isn't much in the way of available materials.

----
Tuesdays Plans:
(x) Work Force Resume class
(x) Work Force Interview class
() Print out copies of resume
(x) Make detailed work history list
(x) Make detailed address history list
(x) Check Craigslist
() Get GRE study materials

Wednesday Plans:
() Print out copies of resume (maybe finish new one)
() Get GRE study materials
() Practice for interview
() Research company
() 11:00 a.m. INTERVIEW
() make follow up notes
() Call Chase
() Contact Teachers about library
() Schedule GRE!
() Exercise!!!!!

3 Interviews! Paul Harvey :(

March 3rd, 2009 at 02:45 am

I lined up two more interviews today, so I now have a total of three for this week. One on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The one on Wednesday pays the least BUT it is within a mile of where I live AND after 3 months you get benefits. Plus, it doesn't sound like very difficult work (market research company.)

I got a strange call from Chase today telling me that the government had tried to make a deposit in my account but they needed more info. OMW - I just thought of something .. I wonder if it was a new scam. With all these people being laid off and getting debit cards for UI benefits .. Ugh! I didn't write down the number they gave in the phone call because I wasn't ready to take a number down - so I called back the number on my phone. And I GAVE them my debit card number! Oy vey! I really hope I didn't do something really stupid.

I really hope that it was legit - but I thought it was strange that I'd be getting my UI money so quickly, since I'd only requested payment at 10 a.m., and I got the call about 3pm. And of course all the tele-serve numbers don't go to a real person!!!

---
I was really sad to read about the passing of Paul Harvey today. The Rest Of The Story was always such a neat thing to listen to on the radio - he was so funny and thoughtful. The passing of true legend. Frown

---
I spent some more time today looking into becoming a librarian. The more I'm reading about it, the more sure that I am headed in the right direction. Smile

---
Last night I called my best friend T to ask her if her hubby would be willing to tutor me in a Math refresher for the GRE. He is a math genius. I offered to barter babysitting for tutoring. Smile (Of course, I'd babysit their kids for free anytime.)

It just so happened that they had planned on calling me to see if I'd watch the kids last night - but little N had been sick, so they weren't sure if they should go out. I offered that I'd be more than happy to babysit.

So, I spent a couple hours reading stories, playing the kid version of Monopoly, and generally being silly with two of my favorite munchkins. Smile

=-----
I stopped at the library tonight to get some GRE materials, but they didn't have any. I can't search their online catalog because it's having some weird malfunction right now - but will do tomorrow.

------
Monday's Accomplishments:
(X) Call UI and ask for first payment (need to find out how my severance check affects this)
(X) Call Work force center and get my password reset (ugh!)
3. Workout for 30 min
(X) Gym from 1 - 7
(X) Call for interview at party place (from Craigslist)
6. Check Craigslist for any new possibilities
7. Research GRE prep materials
8. Contact UNT regarding online program details

Tuesdays Plans:
() Work Force Resume class
() Work Force Interview class
() Print out copies of resume
() Make detailed work history list
() Make detailed address history list
() Check Craigslist
() Get GRE study materials

March Goals, etc.

March 1st, 2009 at 09:29 pm

Following in the footsteps of others . . Smile

() Workout 3x a week
() Research for best GRE refresher course
() Study for GRE
() Register for next available GRE test
() Talk to branch librarian regarding some kind of job at library for experience, maybe paid
() Contact UNT to find out details of program - how online works
() Submit proposal to WIA for paying for/helping to pay tuition
() Find a part time job or more
() Spend no more than $150 outside of Rent, phone, internet and gas expenses (not including GRE expenses or application fees)
() Spend 30 minutes to an hour 4x a week cleaning and or organizing apartment
() List Spanish books/materials on ebay
() Make at least 28 posts to blog
() Finish Drivers Safety Course for discount
() do taxes

One thing I've found the past two weeks with not having a full time job, is that I've been spending a lot more on food - namely food that isn't great for me. So, my plan for March is I am taking out $150 cash for food and anything else (other than gas, GRE expenses, etc.) I'm hoping that that will make me a lot less likely to spend on food I don't need. If I have any left at the end of the month, I'll treat myself out to a meal - or if it's a tiny amount left, then I'll treat myself to a movie at the dollar theater. Smile

I'm really getting excited about the idea of going back to school and getting my Masters in Library Sciences. The more people I talk to about it, the more I'm hearing that they think it's perfect for me.

I'm more than slightly nervous about the whole GRE thing. I just need to bite the bullet and find study materials for it, find out test dates, and then get prepared for it!

---
Tomorrow I'll be posting an article my brother wrote for my blog about how to play golf inexpensively. It really is a pretty good article, if I do say so myself. Smile

-----
Monday's Goals:
1. Call UI and ask for first payment (need to find out how my severance check affects this)
2. Call Work force center and get my password reset (ugh!)
3. Workout for 30 min
4. Gym from 1 - 7
5. Call for interview at party place (from Craigslist)
6. Check Craigslist for any new possibilities
7. Research GRE prep materials
8. Contact UNT regarding online program details