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Archive for March, 2011

WalMart, PreEmployTesting, Fun w/Mom, Super News!!.

April 1st, 2011 at 01:31 am

Today I stopped at Walmart to pick up a few groceries. Something I've really started to like is the Tai Pei Vegetable Pot Stickers. Last week they were out of them. Again, this week there were none.

So, when I got to the checkout, I asked the cashier, "who should I talk to about a missing product?" She told me a manager, and then preceded to call one over. The person who came over then went to check the shelf (don't know why they didn't have me come with them the first time ...) He came back and told me that he thought he'd found what I wanted. But when he showed me it, it was not it. I showed him exactly what I was talking about - only they had the Pork and the Chicken Pot Stickers. He ended up calling someone else over, who eventually told me she'd put in a request for it!

All this time I was just thinking that there'd be a form or something to fill out with a product request ... Smile

I am not totally sure why I decided to ask about it today. There are so many different products that are vegetarian (or at least without meat!) that are only on the shelves for a short while, and then Poof! It becomes quite frustrating.

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So, I can't remember if I mentioned it here or not, but I finally got an interview set up with the Oil & Gas company. Big Grin It is for one-week from today.

A kind of funny thing happened - in the email where the interview was set up, the person put 11:30 PM. I didn't notice it until I went back to the email for a second time to get the address. I emailed back and asked to "clarify" our appointment time. I'm now kind of wondering if that was some kind of a test - because not too long after that I received another email with a link to a couple of pre=employment tests. Hmm...

I totally panicked when I saw what the one test was over though ... Excel 2007!! I don't even know anyone who owns a copy! I'm very familiar with 2003, but have never even opened Excel 2007. I have worked with Word and PowerPoint 2007 (and HATED them) but not Excel.

So, I thought I would try at the library yesterday. Their computers have 2003. Another nearby branch has 2000. I ended up borrowing two "dummy" books on Excel from the library, and watching a bunch (5 hours worth) of tutorial videos on youtube.

This afternoon I took the test(s).

The Excel test was 35 questions long, and I missed 4 (5 of them I got on the second try.) A couple of the questions I just plain didn't understand (a formula one, and a couple others way beyond me.)

The other part of the test was 80 questions long. Part of it was math (ugh!!!!!!!!!!), part of it spelling/grammar (choose the correct sentence), part of it was comparing two lines of numbers/text and saying whether they matched or not, and finally, the last section (longest) was reading this chart and then answering questions from it.

I think I did the best on the last part. There was one question though that was completely wrong. It was asking for which job required the *most* amount of years in education and experience. Three of the jobs needed 21, and one needed 19. I read that one over and over and over. Finally I just clicked something and moved on.

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I have the feeling I'm getting kicked out of here sooner than later. Ex-stepdad asked me this afternoon if there was much left to my schoolwork now. His fiancee is getting anxious for me to be out of here. (not that he's said this to me.. but he has said it to my mom).

If I get this oil and gas job, hopefully I can appease him to let me stay at least til I can get my own place lined up. I really, really, don't want to stay with my mom. But that is my only other option at this point.

Our interaction last night after the tutoring appointment is a case in point. Moms telling me why she decided to not move in to a 2br apt. "I feel like I've always done too much for you guys (my brother and I) and you never have shown me any appreciation. So maybe it is better to do less ..."

I seriously wanted to jump out of the car and SCREAM!!!! Seriously? We've never shown any appreciation?? Wow - must have been some other woman I've been doing stuff for over the years. Some other woman who I left cases of Diet Coke in her apartment when she couldn't afford them ... Some other woman who I took multiple days off of work to take care of her after one pointless and ridiculous surgery, as well as after an actual necessary one ... some other woman who I spent Thanksgiving Day helping to pack her things ... Some other woman who has never had a birthday or mother's day forgotten (at least not by me!) ... and I could continue on and on.

Oh, and then the night before ... my first night doing an extra session with this same family ... I get to the house about 5:10. I ring the doorbell twice. I knock. I freeze my tushie. Finally! I am let in. What is the first thing I'm greeted with? Mom: You are 15 minutes late! How are you going to make up that time?

Nice!

I calmly explained to her that No, I was NOT 15 minutes late. I had told the mom when we made the arrangements that I could not be sure exactly how long it would take me to get there due to traffic. So we had said I'd arrive between 5 and 5:30. I had to drop a tutoring client off across town at 4:30. If I was a little further up the particular freeway, I would have been able to make it by 5. But where I was at, it was total bumper to bumper for 20 minutes. I didn't even stop anywhere for a sorely needed bathroom break.

Needless to say, I was ticked.

Last night I told her I had not appreciated her talking to me like that - especially in front of the students. She told me that my being late "reflected badly on her." Oh that was SWEET! MY being late reflected on her?? I can count on one hand the number of times that I have been late to a tutoring appointment since starting in January, 2010. She'd need to borrow the hands and feet of all of her clients, plus some. Just saying.

So ... can you see just how famously we would get along living in close quarters for more than a few days??

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The really awesome, fantastic super duper news though is this .... MY BROTHER IS COMING ON MAY 10!!!!! He's coming for my graduation, but decided to come a few days early. Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin That is the only graduation present I need. Big Grin

The only dilemma is this ... if I get the oil and gas job, I knew I was already going to ask for the Friday off (May 13.) But ... with my brother being in town a few days early ... I'd really like to ask for Wednesday and Thursday off as well. But it would be SO soon after starting ... Maybe if I just asked for Wednesday and Thursday afternoon (and all day Friday)?

Thrifty Ray?? Others?? Cover Letter/Interview advice?

March 29th, 2011 at 04:12 am

One of the reasons that I think I have not been getting any responses from the numerous applications I have sent out for various school librarian jobs across the country is due to my being out of state. This creates two obstacles: 1, my certification (will be) is for Texas and not for their state. Most states offer reciprocity with TX, but it is a process, and 2, the fact that I'm out of state means that I'd have to fly out there (or drive) and I may be wanting relocation costs, etc.

In order to avoid another time and money waster such as driving 5 hours two ways for a 30 minute interview, I'd like to figure out the best way(s) to let an employer know that I'd like the initial interview to be over the phone or Skype AND that I'm available and more than happy to live anywhere.

Tonight a job listing came up for an assistant librarian position at a middle school in Washington D.C. (not a public school). The position doesn't require certification, so that would not be a hindrance. I figure it would be a great way for me to gain valuable experience for a few years under someone who knows what they are doing. I have a good friend who lives in that area, and most likely would let me stay with her and her family for a short time if necessary.

So anyway ... what suggestions do you all have (especially Ray!) as to how to address an out of state employers concerns regarding relocation costs, etc?

This is an example of what I was thinking of ...

Dear hiring manager:

I am interested in the position of Middle School Library Assistant at _______ school. I have 8 years of teaching experience in grades 1 - 5, as well as several years experience tutoring students ages 5 - 20. During the summer before starting college, I stayed in Washington D.C. for a month with a good friend and really enjoyed my time there. On May 13 I will complete my Master's degree in Library Science from _________, and also receive certification as a school librarian. In my lifetime I have lived and traveled in many places, and enjoy new experiences.

Blah blah blah (listing experience, etc)

To further discuss how I can best benefit _______ school, I can be contacted at email address, or at phone number. I would prefer to have our first conversation via the phone or Skype. (this is what I'm really not sure of!)

3rd Beezag Payment - No News :(

March 28th, 2011 at 11:54 pm

I received my 3rd Beezag payment of $8 today - that makes two just in the month of March. Largely thanks to their running the March Madness campaign where all videos are worth 250 points. I already have over 3000 towards my next cash out.

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The principal on Friday said he'd let me know later that day, or Monday. It is now nearly 7 p.m. on Monday. Nada. I think that probably in this case, no news is not good news. Frown

I'm debating on sending him an email so I can have conclusive evidence that it is bad news. But I am not sure how to word it without sending desperate or putting him off in case it just is really taking longer than he thought.

Ugh. I feel sick. (literally - Sat a.m. woke up with bad stomach cramps, and have not felt well since then)

I get that he probably interviewed lots of people, but if you say that you'll let a person know ... well, then it seems like it is just common courtesy.

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I have a research paper due on Monday. I have all the resources I need, but just can't get myself started on it.

I wish I hadn't let myself get so excited about this job possibility. I knew better, but I just hoped so much.

Capstone!! Interview, Road Trip

March 26th, 2011 at 08:26 pm

Hey everyone!

Friday morning before heading to my interview, I found out that I had passed Capstone! That means that all I have left to finish my Master's is passing the one class I am taking right now. Yahoo!

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I'm not really too sure about how the interview went. One way or the other I should know by Monday.

The things that make me question whether or not it went well:

1. It took only 30 minutes. I've heard of many school librarian interviews lasting several hours or more.

2. I was not introduced to anyone. This right there was a big indicator to me. Of course it could just be that they don't want to do introductions until a final decision has been made ...

3. Towards the end of the interview I had to ask him (the principal) if he wanted to see my references. This could just be forgetfulness, or it could more likely be a bad sign.

4. I wasn't asked to fill out any paperwork. However, he did say at one point that the background check, etc., would be filled out upon hire. Seemed kind of strange to me, but maybe that is the way they do it.

Things I did right/went well:

1. I was prepared with a list of questions to ask - thankfully it was a rather long list, because I ended up crossing out 3/4 of them.

2. I was prepared with a list of suggested databases and technologies/websites. I think that this actually impressed him - especially when he recognized one of the items as something one of his teachers was doing.

3. When he asked me about what I saw the role of the librarian in the school, I told him that I saw the librarian's role as being one of the instructional leaders. He liked that answer. Smile (I'd read that answer Fri morning researching librarian questions!)

4. I think he also really like my question regarding how he felt about having a volunteer program for the library - both parents and students.

5. Something else I think he really liked was my idea/suggestion of having the high-school students create a weekly school news podcast.

6. I sent a thank you email as soon as I got out to my car.

7. I spent about two-hours of my drive down practicing questions with my Dad and also my Grandma. My dad has served on numerous school boards, and my grandma taught K-college and served as a librarian.

Things that need major improving:

1. One of the first questions he asked me was "Tell me a little about yourself in relation to experience for this job." I started out strong, stating that I had 8 years of teaching experience, and that I had learned a list of things with my library mentor. But then I floundered - visibly. I need to have a prepared and practiced statement for this type of question. (How I missed being prepared for this type of question??!!!) This is where I think I really lost him. Frown

2. WAY too many um's and uh's.

3. In trying to let him know that I had read through the school's website pretty throughly, I said the following "I noticed that you have a 70% Hispanic population." After saying that, I realized that I had no idea where I was going with that statement, and that it probably gave him the idea I was a bigot. Esp. when followed with the following question (the only one left on my list!!)

4. My following question after #3 was, "I noticed that you have an ISS Supervisor and a Dean of Discipline. What is the discipline policy here?"

5. I looked down at my list of questions WAY too often. It was partly because of trying to find questions which had not already been answered, but it was also because my mind was starting to draw blanks. Frown

Two possible positive indicators:
1. He showed me the salary schedule of his own volition.

2. He handed me his business card.

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If you're wondering if this is a job I'd like to do? The answer is an unequivocal YES!! Essentially this is a charter school founded in 2006. As of this year, they are now a K - 12 school (so I could still do storytime!!!) They do not currently have a library -- of any sort. A nearby military/army whatever base recently closed, and is donating over 16,000 items from its now defunct library. Plus, the school got a boatload of Title 1 funds for the purposes of developing a school library.

So, if I get this job, on April 4 I would start the process of going through all these materials, setting up an automation system, and putting together a temporary (3 - 5 years) library. If I were still to be there a few years later, I would then have the chance to help plan/design a brand new library space!

Oh, and here is something else I really liked -- his answer to my discipline question. He told me that they go by a code of conduct which is adhered to quite firmly. The main reasons kids get disciplined/detention is due to tardiness and uniform violations. Very minor, minor issues. Music to my ears.

And while I would be more than happy to do this job for free Big Grin since I do have to eat and all, let me say that the starting salary for a teacher with a BS and NO experience is MORE than what I earned my 8th year of teaching. So, needless to say, I would very easily be able to rebuild my savings, eventually replace my car, and start dreaming of a house again.

Almost forgot - he mentioned that he'd need the librarian to continue working through the summer, both to finish the setup of the library, but also to support the summer school program. And that this would be over and above the regualr contract days. (Contract days I think are ten more than what the classroom teachers have ~195). So even more so, I would be able to make my coffers flush again!

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The road trip was fairly uneventful - at least the first 350 miles of it or so...

One thing which I will be eternally grateful to my ex-stepdad for is what he did for me this trip. Thursday morning I mentioned to him how the car charger had NOT worked when I went to Houston last week, and how my phone had just about died before getting to my destination. He did a little puttering around, and ended up letting me take his inverter. This thing you plug into the cig lighter, and then you plug your normal wall plug into it. It was a total lifesaver. In many ways.

Friday afternoon I was cruising along and contemplating how long it would take to be able to replace my car if I got this job. Literally seconds later my steering wheel starts jimmying and shimmying, and then a small popping noise, and finally I'm having to keep both hands on to control the car. Providentally (I strongly believe - if you could see the roads around where I was driving, miles and miles between exits) this happened *just* as I was about to pass a rest stop! I pulled in, and had to drive for 100 feet or so to get inside the rest area.

My right passenger side tire was completely shredded. So, after checking to make sure I still had my spare tire (I've had several go missing over the years ...) I called Geico to send out someone to change my tire. 40 minutes later I was heading down the road with my hazzard lights on. My attempts to use the frontage road as much as possible caused what should have taken maybe 30 minutes to find a place to get a new tire, take more than 90 minutes! I was seriously tired and felt like falling apart at one point. Then *finally* I see a Walmart with a tire center! (I'd stopped at three other places - all only had truck tires.)

Three observations I made in my stops along the way:

1. The first gas station I stopped at was kind of a smaller mom and pop type place and was manned by a good ol' boy Texan with a cowboy hat. When I explained to him that I was looking for a place to buy a tire, his first question was one of concern for me. Then once I told him I was fine, and I had a spare tire on, he told me of a place that might have tires.

Outside of this gas station there were two small dachshunds running in and out of the cars. I have no idea who they belonged to. I hope they don't get run over - if they did, the driver might not even know it!

2. At the second gas station (one of those Travel places) a clean cut All American man was the cashier. When I asked him about where I might find a tire, he acted very annoyed and curtly told me there was maybe one beyond the McDonalds.

3. At the tire shop, an older Hispanic man was at the counter. As soon as I told him what I needed he let me know that they mostly only had tires for trucks, but maybe a few for passenger cars. He then went out to my car and got the measurements. They of course didn't have the tire I needed. He did tell me that there was a Discount Tire right off the highway in about 20 miles. I never did find the Discount Tire because I saw the Walmart first - but those 20 miles became more like 50 thanks to three different times having the frontage road veer off into another roadway, or go into a turnaround.

4. I had my oil changed on Thursday, and asked the guys to take a look at my car - but especially my tires, due to the impending road trip. I was assured that they were just fine. When the guy at Walmart looked at my shredded tire, he showed me that I had NO tread left whatsoever. Um ... wow!

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I can't remember if I mentioned this on here already or not, but on Thursday morning I got a reply *finally* from the oil and gas company. It said that I sounded like a "great candidate" and that they want to interview me. I replied right away, but still have not heard back. I imagine that Friday was their day off. (every other Friday they take off, work 9 hour days the rest of the time)

Oh and there may be a third possibility too - with my mom - but this is already way too long, so I'll save it for another post. Big Grin

Interview Outfit Possibilities - Please Vote

March 23rd, 2011 at 12:04 am

Thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions! They have been *very* helpful.

Job Interview!!!!

March 22nd, 2011 at 04:30 pm

I just got a call asking if I was still interested in a school librarian job in San Antonio!!! I have an interview on Friday at 10:30. If I get the job I'd start immediately - not totally sure what that means, but I'd be letting down my tutoring students. Hate to do that ... But, I need a job!

Please send good thoughts and prayers. If this is right for me. It is a middle/high charter school.

Redemptions, Dogs/housing, and Another Job Poss.

March 22nd, 2011 at 01:55 am

Yesterday I was able to redeem more of my Mypoints for a $25 Amazon gift card. That makes $50 in AGC from Mypoints this month (once they arrive of course!) I'm now down to a measly 471 points. So, I think it will be awhile before I can redeem again. Big Grin

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I'm within 600 points of being able to redeem for my next $8 cash in Beezag. This March Madness deal (where all the videos are worth 250 points) has been fantastic!

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I've donated 770 Swagbucks so far this month to the Japan donation thing. I'm at 21 Swagbucks now. I'll wait till I get back up to 100 to donate again, or March 30. Whichever comes first. Smile

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So I was supposed to pick up Buddy yesterday afternoon on my way back from my friends house. But when I called to find out if my mom wanted me to pick him up, she wasn't home yet. So today she calls me while I'm in my tutoring session and asks me if I can come pick him up because she was going to be gone from 1 pm to after 11 pm, and couldn't take him with her. So of course I said I would. I got there about 4:30. His leash was nowhere to be found. UGH! I texted her to find out where it was - and she didn't know where it was either.

When I took him out to the car, I had to improvise a leash - because when I set him down on the grass, he ran after another dog .... I found one of those tie down straps. Worked perfectly. A normally 30 minute trip took 1 1/2 hours thanks to traffic. Not fun!

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Mom's lease is up at the end of April. So she also today was asking me if she should get a two-bedroom apartment so I'd have a room to stay in. I told her I really had no idea at this point - I may need a place to stay, and I may not. Of course, considering how many responses I've received from my school librarian job apps ... more than likely I will need it. Frown

So, I think she decided to go with the two bedroom, with the understanding that I'd be renting the "guest bedroom" from her and that it most likely would be temporary. She at first was wanting $300/mo for it - but when I asked if I could bring all my stuff from storage so that I could save that expense ... she agreed to $200/mo. If we decide to make it a more permanent arrangement, then she wants me to pay half. Half of what we didn't discuss ...

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I sent inquiries about a couple more jobs. One of them is similar to what Whitestripe has been doing. If it works out, I could do it for 15 - 25 hours a week at $10/hr +gas allowance. It is putting out fliers for a window washing company in various neighborhoods. I'd be doing a lot of walking - which is something that would be *very* good.

I figure I could do that from 8 - 11/12 every day, get home and shower, and then start my tutoring appointments at 1 or 2. That would put my income in the range of $1400 - 1600! I don't know what I'd do with all that money! Save as much as possible of course Big Grin

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I bought some groceries today: $8.61 (yogurt, bananas, cheese)

So I have $11.49 remaining for March.

Back from my Trip

March 21st, 2011 at 01:54 am

And I had a GREAT time!

I left Thursday around noon after dropping Buddy off with my Mom, and then arrived at my friend's home just before 4 p.m. Immediately I had her two kids all over me ... and that didn't change throughout the whole weekend. Big Grin

On Friday morning I made aebleskebers for everyone. The kids couldn't get enough of them - they ate them just about as fast as I could make them. Smile

I let them play games on my iPhone. The biggest hit - for both the almost 5 year old girl and the 7 year old boy ... was the Barbie Memory game! It uses a lot of "outdated" words. I had to explain "Jeepers" and "Toodles" plus a few other words. It was quite funny actually.

My friend and I somehow managed to get in 5 games of Flinch - she won all of them!

Saturday after church we took the kids to the Lufkin Zoo and park where we had a picnic. Not even 5 feet from our blanket was a lake ... with warning signs about alligators!!! That was quite exciting. Smile
The church's pastor and his two kids joined us to go into the zoo (his wife was in a meeting of some sort). I somehow ended up having not 2 kids all over me, but 4! I loved every minute of it of course. Smile

It didn't cost me anything to get in to the zoo because my friend had an extra guest pass. Really, just a perfect way to spend a Sabbath afternoon.

I got lots of reading time in ... out loud to the kids! We read about Zacheus and Goliath and the little Maid who helped Naaman ... and we read an older book about how Goofy got his name (it was called something like "The Princess Who Never Laughed"), a book of Mother Goose rhymes, and LOTS more. Smile We also played quite a bit of Wii. The little girl is quite skilled at the swordplay!

So ... anyway ... the trip was well worth the ~$60 in gas and $24 (treated for a meal at CiCi's Pizza) that it cost.

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I have heard diddly squat from any of the places I have applied to so far for jobs. It is frustrating - quite frustrating. Nevertheless, all I can do is keep on looking and trying. Eventually something will turn up (I hope).

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I should know the Capstone results by this Friday. Just slightly anticipating the end of the LOOONNNGGG wait.

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Now that my trip is over, I am stipulating that I will not spend more than $20 for the remainder of March (other than gas and one celebratory meal if good results from Capstone). I think I should be able to manage that.

Walgreens score and Japan donations

March 16th, 2011 at 09:58 pm

Yesterday on my way home from working with my main tutoring student, I decided to stop at Walgreens to pick up a couple of things. I happened to pass by the freezer section, and saw that they had the pizza singles on sale for $.69 each. These make a nice quick lunch, and for $.69, I picked up two.

When I got to the cash register ... the pizzas rang up for $.25!! I of course went back and got 8 more! There were 6 or so left on the shelf for someone else. Smile

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As of 11 a.m. this morning, Swagbuckers have made over $6,000.00 in comprable Swagbucks donations for Japan! That is a lot of Swagbucks in a little more than 24 hours to be donated!

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This morning I made it to my university campus and got my TSH (thyroid) bloodwork done. I had to see the doctor so she could order the test - I messed up on the dates of the lab specials - they were last week! Ugh!

Anyway, while the doctor was talking to me, she told me that I would need to find my own doctor to keep going with the meds. I told her that I *do* have my own doctor, but she charges nearly $300 for what costs me $15 at the university! So while I have this chance, I'm sure as hey going to use it!

All in all it cost me a total of $85 today - $30 for two doctor visit fees (they didn't charge me last time, even though I'd asked ...) and $50 for the TSH test. So when my current prescription runs out, I have it set up to get it renewed.

Phew. Hopefully by the next time I have to go through this song and dance, I will have actual insurance!!

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I'm looking forward to heading off to the Houston area tomorrow to see my friend and her family. She's got her kids excited about my making aebleskebers for them. Big Grin

Beezag Info -- Jobs

March 15th, 2011 at 01:16 pm

Last night I was reading through some of the postings on the Beezag Facebook wall, and I realized something. The reason I've been getting a lot of videos worth 250 points lately, is because they are doing a promotion -- March Madness - where ALL videos are worth 250 points!

If you are a Beezager already, this is the time to check daily for new videos. The points add up really fast when all videos are worth 250! If you've been on the fence about Beezag, really, now is a great time to start!

I've already cashed out two times since starting with them in December, and am over halfway to being able to cash out again! It is fun and easy. Just watch videos and then enter the two numbers that flash on the screen.

If you decide to sign up, and want to help me out, my referral link is under "Sites I Enjoy". Otherwise, you can just go to beezag.com or check with a number of other bloggers here who do Beezag for their links. Smile

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Yesterday as I was driving to my evening tutoring appointment I was thinking about what I would do if I don't find a school library job soon (or at all.) I decided that maybe what I need to do is find a part-time W-2 job where I can make at least $600/mo steadily. That would give me enough steady income for a small studio apartment. Then, I would continue to tutor part-time. It wouldn't make me rich, but it would give me enough income to live on. I also then would not be *as* dependent on my tutoring income being steady. Right now I have at least 3 students who will most likely continue with me through the summer, and possibly 4 who would continue with me next year. So, this is a feasible idea.

In that vein, I started looking at Craigslist last night. Lo and behold, I came across a posting looking for an Administrative and Project Assistant for a small family-owned oil and gas company -- here, in my city! Where did I work for 3 years??? At a small family-owned oil and gas company in a nearby city!
While not a part-time job, and obviously not a school librarian job, it is something I know how to do, and did enjoy for the most part (at least when I was busy).

So I applied for it this morning. If miracles happen and I actually GET this job, then I plan to continue my tutoring in the evenings. I might lose one or two of my students, but I know at least three of them would be fine with evenings. I would be able to afford a small apartment, AND SOCK the money away!!
Even better, this company works on a 9/80 work week. From what I've been able to research about this, it may mean that I'd have every other Friday off! I could use those Friday's to volunteer at my local church school's library - especially since I wouldn't have to worry so much about gas money.

I'd be one busy person, but I'd also be very happy because I'd have benefits again, I'd be rebuilding my savings and restarting my retirement, AND I'd have time to volunteer using my degree!

I may totally be getting ahead of myself here, because I may never even hear back from them. They probably have been inundated with resumes. But ... it is nice to dream a little. Smile

I am planning on calling my former company and see if they know which company this is, and if so, if they can put in a word or two for me. (It was a blind ad on Craigslist, no company name listed.)

Prayers please - if this is right for me ....!

Donate Swagbucks for Japan

March 15th, 2011 at 03:28 am

Swagbucks has opened up the gates for us to be able to donate towards relief efforts.

If you are a swagger, this is the link to donate:
http://swagbucks.com/p/prize/24705/Japan-Earthquake-Tsunami-Relief-Fund-Donation

If you're not a swagger yet, then why not? Smile

I donated 350 Swagbucks so far, and am pledging any more Swagbucks I make for the month of March (or until they stop taking donations, whichever comes first.)

Extra Money Tracking

March 14th, 2011 at 02:32 am

My 1,650 points for making 3 "purchases" (all were from gift cards) through MyPoints finally credited today. Thankfully they didn't credit as "pending." So I debated about redeeming for a $25 Amazon, Walmart or Paypal gift card. The AGC was the cheapest (in points) and since that is where the vast chunk of my extra income money is located, I figured I should stick with that route.

I have enough points left for another $25 Amazon card, but 2,700 of them are "pending." So, by the end of March I'll be able to redeem another card.

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I'm almost up to 4,000 points on Beezag. If this keeps up, I may be able to do a second cash out in March - way cool! There have been a lot of 250 point videos, along with the sweepstakes videos recently. Very nice. Smile

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So far in March I have cashed out and/or received:
$25 Paypal - from Sidetick.com
$5 Amazon - from Irazoo.com
$8 Paypal - from Beezag
$20 Amazon - from Swagbucks (received)
$5 Amazon - from Swagbucks (waiting)
$10 Amazon - Irazoo (waiting)
$25 Amazon - Mypoints (waiting)

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I have almost enough Swagbucks for my first card in April, but if they open up a charity option again (for Japan) I will probably donate most, if not all of what I have right now. The last time they had the charity thing, someone donated all the Swagbucks they made through Swagbucks TV. Maybe what I could do is donate all the swagbucks I make through the little videos on the various walls.

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I really need to stop going to CNN. Some of those videos are just ... heartbreaking. I may think sometimes that I have it bad, but at least (for now anyway) I have plenty offood to eat and clean water to drink, a roof over my head, my family is all alive and I know where they are, and I have more stuff than I really need (even after unloading a lot of it in the last couple moves.)

Beezag & Sidetick --- Paid in Paypal Acct! - Job ?

March 11th, 2011 at 12:01 am

Beezag took less than a week to hit my Paypal account with $8! Sweet! My second cash out since December. Such an easy and fun way to earn money - watching videos.

I also *finally* received my $25.00 from sidetick. I requested payment over a month ago. I'm trying to decide if it is worth it or not to keep doing this site. All I have to do to earn .50/day is comment on a blog post. The problem is that sometimes the blogs aren't posted til after ten a.m. I try to get most of my paid to do stuff sites out of the way between 8 and 9 a.m. So this means I have to remember to go to this site later during the day. Still though, for something that takes maybe 5 minutes a day ... I'm leaning more towards going back and continuing to do it now that I *finally* got paid!

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I recently found the website pixelofink. So far I have downloaded ten free ebooks onto my iPhone. I don't think I'll ever run out of reading material (although most of them I wouldn't say are exactly ... quality). Smile

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I like what SB's has done with their tv! It is now part of the toolbar, so you can surf the internet while the videos are playing. Such as right now, I have the videos playing off the toolbar. So instead of typing this on my iPhone and having numerous mistakes, I can type it on my full keyboard and have a few less mistakes. Big Grin

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I'm trying to complete an application for a PA school library job. One thing they want is your fingerprints. There is no protocol for out of state applicants. I'm hoping I can just go somewhere here locally and they'll forward on my fingerprints. I wish BA was around, he'd be able to tell me (he was a police officer at one time, if I remember correctly.)

Filling out all these applications is so frustrating. There is a system called REAP which supposedly is the *one* application you fill out for numerous states. But after spending 3 1/2 hours filling it out (including writing 10 Professional Statements and an essay!) you see what jobs are available. I selected several ... only to find out that they want you to go to their districts website and ... fill out another application!!! Argh!!!

So far I have actually completed and submitted two applications - one for Missouri, and one for MA. I started one for PA and another one for South Carolina.

My dad is miffed that I haven't filled out any applications for CA, or nearby. Unfortunately, there are NO school library jobs IN California (unless you want a library clerk job ... expecting you to do the job of a certified librarian for half the pay.) Nor have I even seen any openings for WA, or OR, etc.

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So my confidence level right now is pretty low. All three of my "parents" (mom, dad, ex-stepdad) seem to have assumed that I'm not going to find a job by May.{sarcasm}
This is really helpful to me, seeing as how I myself am really worried about finding a school library job.{/end sarcasm}

My exstepdad seems to think that I should be applying for any and all jobs right now, and not focus on just school library jobs. I hate to give up on that ... but then again, what if there is a job right now that I can get, and I never can get a school library job (or at least not one for next year?)

How long do I wait to give up looking for what I really want (or at least focusing on it) and branch out to look for anything and everything?

My mom is talking with another tutor about having some kind of a summer school program, and including me as the technology person. This would be good for me, even if I *did* end up getting a librarian job, because I still would need some income before August. I also have several students who've already asked if I will keep working with them through the summer.

I really don't know what to do. One way or the other I will have to have another place to live by the middle or end of May. If ex-stepdads fiance had her way, I'd be OUT now. Considering my income (especially come summer, unless this summer school thing actually works) I will barely be able to afford the $200/month I'm paying now for rent. So my only option would be to bunk with my mom in her apt. That would not last very long very well. The other option would be to move out to CA and rent a room at my dad/grandma's. Of course, by doing that I would then have no way of knowing how I'd bring in any income, and it would be a lot of expense to move out there which may make it more difficult to move somewhere else where there is a job.

Please tell me if I'm being bull headed about this. It is a problem I know I have, being narrowly-minded focused on a goal and not seeing the big picture. The other thing I know is that I need to get more aggressive about looking for school library jobs and getting the applications filled out. It's just that every application (for each state) I fill out sends all my references an email ... I'd imagine that gets quite annoying to those references!

Also, I feel like I've committed to my current tutoring students through the end of May. Some of them would be fine if I wasn't working with them ... a couple of them need every bit of help I give them plus some. So, looking for just a job, any job, which may start before May, really doesn't appeal.

Sorry, I've been all over the place. That's kind of where my head is too -- all over the place. If you managed to follow all this and have any words of wisdom, I'd appreciate it!



Beezag payout! Low Spending Week! New Student!

March 5th, 2011 at 04:16 am

Last night after getting lots of sweepstakes entry videos, I got a 300 point video which put me to 8,000 points. So I was able to cash out for my second $8! Yay!
I'm already up to nearly 700 points - they've been throwing out the videos. One really cool one I just watched called Bravia - a bunch of synchronized color splotches. Put a smile on my face, although I had to watch it twice since I was too into the video and missed the first number. Wink

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I actually managed a pretty low spending week. Other than buying a copy of Sixth Sense, groceries, and gas, I didn't spend anything extra. I was really tempted by the Fandango movie deal on groupon, but with the Redbox deal and the previous Movie Studio deal, I think I have more than enough to keep me through June. Smile

I only had enough Swagbucks this month to cash out for 4 $5 Amazon's. I'm about halfway to my fifth for March.

I'm still waiting on my payout from Sidetick. Getting impatient.

I finally have over 1,000 Zoombucks. Only 987 to go for my first cashout. Maybe by May ....(would go faster if I attempted more surveys and qualified, but they are pretty much a waste of time for someone with my demographics)

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Today I was sitting in the lobby at the school where most of my tutoring students attend. The senior girl I tutored last semester came up to me with another girl - a sophomore. We are going to start working together on Monday - Mon/Tue/Th. The senior girl also told me that she was accepted into the college she wanted to go to. Yay!

This extra money will be a big boost to my bottom line - a much needed one.

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I've decided for sure that I'm going to go to Houston over the last part of Spring Break. My friend has already challenged me to a rousing game of Flinch. Big Grin I might just bring my aebleskeber pan along and make breakfast for her family one day. Smile

I can't really afford the gas there and back, but on the other hand, who knows when I'll be this close to her and her family to visit again??

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Speaking of gas ... today cost $3.37/gallon w/ Walmart discount. I'd put $30 on a gift card, and it didn't fill my tank. :0 Never had that happen before. Made a sick feeling in my gut.

Frustrations and Updates and Buddy??

March 3rd, 2011 at 04:53 am

I am feeling quite frustrated with my main tutoring student (the Junior.) On Monday I told him very clearly that he was to get a copy (in English) of the book he'd chosen to do for his book journal (over 2 weeks late on Monday.) We were going to work on it today and Thursday. So today I asked him if he'd done it. He hemmed and hawed, but no, he hadn't. So ... on the way to his house I stopped at the library and picked up a copy.

We get to his house and he goes upstairs. He comes back down more than 5 minutes later. He proceeds to tell me that his father (in Korea) needs him to translate in a business matter *right then*. This is the fifth time this has happened. I told him that he was going to be charged for today's session, as well as for the extra time we will now have to do tomorrow. I told him how frustrated I was because we'd worked so hard to get him on the honor roll this year, and right now he's in danger of failing English!
He told me he's frustrated too, but that if he doesn't help his dad, then he'll have to go back to Korea. I asked him what did his dad do before - when he wasn't getting out of school early. He told me that he would have to hire someone to translate at $100/hr. So ... essentially it costs less to pay me for my time, than to pay for a translator in Korea.

ARghh!!! Supposedly today is the last time this will happen in April. I hope so for his grades sake.

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I updated both my Living Frugal and Children's Books blogs yesterday. I found out about a really neat website that I think parents of young children will really enjoy (old enough to "write" stories) which I wrote about.

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Good thing I gave myself a spending out for tutoring expenses. The same tutoring student I mentioned above has to do an essay comparing The Turn of the Screw to a modern day horror/ghost film. Neither of us are into the gory stuff, so I suggested The Sixth Sense. His job is to have watched it by Friday so we can begin the essay.

I myself haven't seen it since it came out in 1999, so I figured that I better see it too. I checked the library - all 8 copies were checked out. I checked Redbox - no copies in stock. The local Blockbuster - no copies for rent available, but had one to buy $15. Netflix only had it in disc. My SD finally suggested Half Price Books - voila! I got a copy for $5. I'll watch it tomorrow night, and bring it to Half Price on Friday (along with other books) and hopefully get a few dollars back on it.

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After having been solidly housetrained for a good 4 or 5 months, Buddy seems to be kind of regressing lately. About a month ago there was an incident where he did #1 on the stairs when we didn't take him out fast enough. Then today I'd taken him out at 10:30 a.m. before leaving, and when I got home at 12:40 he was jumping around while SD and I talked. Then he went right by SDs chair and lifted his leg. It took me a minute to believe what I was seeing.

I hope this isn't becoming a pattern.

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Wow! Last night I finished the book "Because of Mr. Terupt". I just kept repeating the word Wow as tears streamed. It is probably one of the better books I have read in quite awhile for this age level (middle grades). A brand new teacher changes the lives of his class - told from the perspectives of 7 of the students.

Today I started a teen fiction book called "My Life as a Rhombus." So far I like it - not great, but enjoyable.

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Almost forgot! Guess what I did tonight when I got home from tutoring? I set off the house alarm!!! I kept turning two of the numbers around!!! I finally got the alarm turned off so I could take Buddy outside. Of course I took the handheld phone because I knew I was going to get a phone call from the alarm company - which I did. Thankfully I remembered the password!

Irazoo Paid, March goals

March 2nd, 2011 at 01:10 am

Yesterday I received my $5 Amazon gift card from Irazoo that I ordered on 1/17. Took a little while ... I am 1,000 away from having enough to order two more, so am going to wait until then. Smile

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I can't quite do a no spending month in March, but I would like to attempt a minimum spending month.

The two main spending times I foresee are a spring break trip to Houston - only cost gas and snacks most likely .. and a celebration dinner (hopefully!) when I get the Capstone results.

So ... these are my goals (with the above exceptions):

1. No more than $15/week on groceries (not including reimbursable type items for SS or tutoring materials)

2. No more than one fast food stop (plan ahead!)

3. No spending money to "make" money

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I need to call my friend in Houston and make sure the dates I can come down are good for her and her family. I haven't seen her since her 7 year old son was 8 months old. My SD is going to be gone the first half of SB, so I'll have to go the second half. I may see if my SS asst. will do class for me that Sabbath.