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Archive for February, 2009

I Think I Figured It Out!

February 27th, 2009 at 07:38 pm

I think I have figured out what I want to be when I grow up! Big Grin

Seriously though, Yesterday I was talking with some people about my whole life/work situation. I told them how I just was feeling unsure about going the technical school route, and how none of my options really excited me.

One of the people asked me what were my greatest passions in life. I immediately responded: children, books and computers!

Since they already knew that I don't wish to go back into the classroom, they suggested that I might enjoy being a school librarian!

I mulled over that idea most of last night (and overslept this morning getting to the gym!) Then today I spent a good bit of time researching it and thinking about it.

It just feels right. I am going to go back to school and get my Masters in Library Science with Certification for being a School Librarian.

My next step is to refresh my math skills, etc., and then to take the GRE.

Then, I am going to present a proposal to the WIA people as to why they should pay for me to get my Masters (or at least enough credits to get the certification) instead of paying for me to go to a technical school.

Whether or not they are willing to help me out, I am going to do this. It will just be more financially difficult without their help.

If I am accepted into the program, then that means I will be here in Texas for at least another year.

University of North Texas is where I am thinking of going. They have an on campus option, and an on-line option. If I can, I'm going to see if I can do some combination of the two options to provide the most flexibility.

I am truly excited about this!

---
I heard back from one of the Craigslist ads I responded to yesterday. I am to call on Monday to set up an interview. It is a part time position that pays $12/hr.
But, if I can combine it with my gym job, then maybe it'll be enough to manage through school without cutting into savings too much.

---
Today's Accomplishments:
1. Gym - 8:15 - 6:15
2. Decided what I want to do when I grow up! Big Grin
3. Updated blog (Potluck idea)
4. Not much else

Saturday's Gameplan:
1. church
2. update blog
3. get laundry together
4. do laundry at Mom's

----
Have a great weekend everyone!

Craigslist today :) And a Funny book!

February 26th, 2009 at 06:08 pm

Wow, today I spent a good bit of time on Craigslist. I ended up responding to 6 different ads, and considered 3 others.

One of the ads was for the local garbage service company for a customer service rep.

I actually was given a link to their site where I filled out a bunch of information and sent my resume. Once I was through, I was told to call an 800 number within 24 hours. So, I called it.

I've got an interview on Thursday at 3 p.m.!! Woo hoo! It's a bit far away, but hey, it's an interview right, it'll get my feet wet.

Another ad I responded to was for a Market Research company. They were looking for people to call possible research participants for studies (people already signed up in the database.) I love focus groups (free, easy money!) so I think this could be quite fun too. AND their office is *really* close by.

I searched a bit around their main website and found a name of the person who I think is doing the hiring - so my cover email used that person's name. Genius if I'm right, bozo if I'm wrong. But, at least I'm trying right?

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In doing research for today's blog post, I came across a really neat freebie site for sharing videos with friends and family. I've already set up a site for myself and uploaded my first video - so easy and best of all, free! Smile

---
I have to tell you about this book I've been reading the past few days. I first saw it in Barnes and Nobles three or four years ago, and wrote the title in my notepad. Just this past week I finally got it from the library.

From the moment I read the first paragraph, I was guffawing. Seriously. It is a Young Adult book, but if you remember anything at all about being a teenager, I think you too will get a kick out of this book.

"The Year of Secret Assignments" by Jaclyn Moriarty.

Here's an excerpt from the first chapter:

Writing Prompt:
We bet you just wrote down 'grass,' "water," "sky" etc. Maybe you noticed the coffee cup, but we bet you didn't notice the lipstick stain on the side of the coffee cup! Now, go ahead and try again. Write down EVERYTHING that you see.

Girls response:
I don't get it. There is no coffee cup.
Ms. Yen just turned around from the board and I noticed shes getting a bit fat. The top buttons on her jeans has popped open.

She said that she didn't think there was a formula for time travel, although she does think there might be a formula to make me shut up and do my maths or else find myself laughing on the other side of my face when it comes to the half-yearlies!

If she tells me what the formula is, I'll write it out for you.

End Excerpt.

---
Okay, over and out. Almost time for ER - I missed it last week and the nbc.com episode viewer STINKS. Frown

---
Almost forgot:

Fridays goals:
1. gym from 6:20 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
2. exercise
3. clean apartment
4. update blog

No More Sopapillia's :(

February 25th, 2009 at 07:01 pm

Today on my way home from the career skills seminar, I passed by a restaurant I haven't eaten at in quite a while. Pancho's. One of the main reasons I would go to Pancho's would be for their sopapillia's. They made them the way I first learned to love them in Albuquerque.

But, alas. Sometime in the last few months it appears that Pancho's closed its doors.
So, it appears that I will not have the chance to indulge in a sopapillia craving again any time soon. Frown

----

There was a huge group today at the work center for the seminar. I would garner a guess of at least 60 people.

The seminar started late, and the presenter didn't really get through all the points she had in her outline. She was funny though, which made the time pass quickly.

Next Tuesday they are having a 3 hour session for resume writing and a 3 hour session for interviewing skills. I figure it wouldn't hurt me any to go to both of them - so I'll be spending most of Tuesday at the work center. Only two other people signed up for it out of the 60 - guess they feel like they've got their resumes just perfect.

---
I wish I could turn the ac on in my apartment. It is so warm and sticky in here. I even have my ceiling fan plus a floor fan going. Yes, I know it is Feb 25 - but this is Texas remember. Smile

---
Today's accomplishments:
1. Researched A T I - think I'm going to pass, seems a little too much like West Wood (in it for the money.)
2. Updated blog
3. Attended work force seminar
4. Checked Craigslist

Thursdays Goals:

1. look for birth certificate
2. Fill out WIA paperwork
3. Craigslist
4. Check work sites listings
5. Do more research on schools -- call community college about program
6. Exercise
7. Clean something
8. Set up spreadsheet for tracking applications/emails

----

Any thoughts on medical transcription? I found an online course CAI that looks legit.

What about a Medical Secretary course that takes only 8 weeks? Does that sound like enough time to really train someone for real world work?

Saw the Economy in Real Life Today

February 24th, 2009 at 07:29 pm

This afternoon I attended the orientation session for WIA (a program which pays your tuition, books, etc., for you to go back to school.)

The room we were in was meant to hold maybe 20 - 25 people, tops. Today, there were closer to 40 people. The center wasn't ready for quite that many people, and had to pull in chairs from other places. But, I did hear a few comments saying that the orientation sessions had been fairly large for the last six weeks or so, and getting more so every week.

When we came to the end of the orientation, the presenter handed out appointment sheets. These appointments were for us to have a one-on-one conversation with her, and take an assessment test.

The earliest date for an appointment was April 9. Ouch.

I didn't fill out an appointment sheet because this particular center isn't the closest one to me. I completed the orientation at it because it didn't conflict with my schedule at the gym.

I called the one which is closest to me to see if I could set up an appointment with them - seeing as how far out the appointments were being set. Unless the person I spoke with didn't understand what I was asking, I was told to just come in Friday at 8:45 a.m. and they'd take us in groups.

If I can find my birth certificate (yes, they require your birth certificate + social security card + driver's license, etc.) before Friday, then I'll go in this week. If not, I'll have to order one, and hopefully go in next Friday.

The school I'm looking at is A T I. (American T ech nical Ins ti tute.) It looks like they offer Business Office Admin and Medical Office Assist courses.

Does anyone know anything about this particular college? Would a certificate from this place actually be worth anything (career wise?)

-------
Today's Accomplishments:

1. Attend Census thing - no, overslept
2. Attend Orientation - yes
3. Update blog - yes
4. not much else

Wednesday's Goals:
1. Check Craigslist listings
2. Check out WIA college listings and career courses
3. Look for birth certificate
4. Work on filling out WIA application
5. Go to gym to run
6. Attend career seminar
7. Clean for 15 minutes (anything!)
8. Update blog

Chase - New Customer Service Method?

February 23rd, 2009 at 07:28 pm

So this morning after calling about Cobra (yes, I can just put the account number on the memo line) and figuring out what was going on with my work in Texas login, I got dressed for my workout.

Before heading to the gym to workout though, I stopped by Chase to make a deposit. I was hoping to be in and out in 5 to 8 minutes or less. Preferably less.

Remember - I'm dressed to go workout.

So, I go in to the lobby and fill out a deposit form. I'm standing in line for less than a minute, when one of the ladies who has a cubicle desk asks me if she can help me. I tell her I'm here to make a deposit. She tells me that she can help me - so I go sit at her desk.

The manager comes over and takes my deposit for me. (Where's that bug eyed smilie when you need it?) Somehow it comes up about how I was laid off . . . and at least *15* minutes later I am finally able to get out of there!

On the one hand, it was really good personal service. But, on the other hand, all I wanted to do was make a deposit and scadoodle!

I actually had to cut my workout a little short due to how long it took.

---
I haven't had any responses yet on any of the Craigslist postings I responded to yesterday. I went through some more tonight, but didn't see any possibilities.

----
I may have another person signing up at the gym under my credit. Big Grin Yay!

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I wrote a post today on [url="http://thesinglefrugalton.today.com/2009/02/23/show-you-care-by-adopting-a-nursing-home-resident/"]Adopting a Nursing Home Resident.[/url]

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Today's Accomplishments:
1. Cobra ---check
2. Work in Texas (WIT) -- check
3. bank deposit --- check
4. exercise (30 min) check
5. Gym from 11:30 - 5 -- check
6. Craigslist -- check
7. cleaning -- working on it

Tuesday's Goals:
1. Go to WIT for Census jobs testing (A.M.)
2. Go to WIT for WIA orientation -see if qualify (P.M.)
3. Mail resume/cover letter to job op
4. exercise (even just 10 minutes)

Magic Time Machine & CraigsList

February 22nd, 2009 at 08:49 pm

Saturday night I went with some friends (and a bunch of their friends) to the Magic Time Machine. It was the first time I'd been there.

We had to wait about 90 minutes to get a table. While we were captive... er waiting for our table, we went upstairs. The upstairs is filled with ways to part with your pretty penny ... a Magic Show for $3/person, arcade games, a bar (not sure if they serve other than soda ..), and several people who'll do a caricature. Other than soda and water, none of us parted with any pennies upstairs.

Finally we were led to our tables (one for the adults, one for the young'ones) by two swashbuckling pirates.

One of our group who was celebrating her 40th birthday was dressed up as a granny - gray hair, fake glasses, droopy parts Smile, a walking cane, etc. N, who was the person who helped me get my job at my previous company, will be having a birthday soon, and so he dressed up as Duff Man, the Redneck. To put it mildly, both of the celebrators, plus various others in the group, didn't need a drop of alcohol to get into the 'spirit.' Big Grin

After ordering (food way overpriced - I had a baked potato for $5) we were all led on a Salad Car Train. One of our group needed to use the restroom, and was thusly led on the "needs potty training" walk.

The kids all had a blast getting autographs from the various characters, and the adults had a blast having permission to act like kids. Smile

It really was a fun evening, which ended up not costing me anything because my potato was taken care of by my friends who'd invited me.

---
Today I spent a lot of time on Craigslist. I found the gigs section, which somehow I'd missed before. I ended up emailing 3 different ads.

One I got a reply on quickly - asking me for $10 to cover 'training materials.' Next.

A second one sounds a lot like Ch@Ch@, except you are based in a building and you do a lot more than just look up answers to questions. The pay per hour is about $1/hr less than what I was making, but I would get full benefits, plus have the possibility of merit raises.

I had to google the answers to 3 questions and include the links to where I found my answers in my email. That was kind of fun. Smile

The third one was for a Nanny position taking care of two 3 year old twins. Big Grin From what I could tell, it is a 4-day a week job (Tue - Fri at 1p.m.) Amazingly, the pay is slightly more than I made per week at my former job, but no benefits. (Well . . I'd say playing all day with two little ones counts as a big benefit.)

---
Tomorrow I have to call work in Texas and figure out why I can't log in to the site. Well, it will let me log in, but not actually go anywhere - it says there is no account associated with my log in??? I will be *majorly* annoyed if my information has been lost, because I spent *numerous* hours putting together the info for the resume on it.

---
I found out how much my UI will be. It's roughly 55% of my former paycheck. Frown

I can send in a form to have 10% withheld for Fed Tax if I want to. I'm not sure if I'm going to do that or not.

----
Monday plan:
1. Call Work in Texas about website logging in
2. Call Cobra company to find out if TX is participating in the 65% deal, and when it goes into effect -- also if they *must* have a paper coupon
3. Make bank deposits
4. Exercise
5. Work gym from 11:30 - 5
6. Finish trash run - do dishes
7. Check Craigslist

Early Start

February 20th, 2009 at 07:43 pm

I got a phone call from E this morning at 6:47 a.m. asking me if I could go in early - as in ASAP. The person who was supposed to be there had gotten a bad sunburn and was pretty ill.

I made it over to the gym by a little after 7:30. Smile

One big accomplishment today -- for the first time since before Christmas break, I did my 30 minute run! Of course, I scaled it back a lot since it had been such a long time, but I ran for a total of 18 out of 35 minutes. Yay!

I found out from E that both of the people who I'd talked to about joining the gym have signed up! Bonus time! Smile

---

I got my Cobra letter today. Just for Medical it'll be $398/mo. It didn't mention anything about the 65% Stimulus discount - but it was dated on the 17th.

I'm going to call them on Monday to clarify about that, plus some other items.

---

Today's accomplishments:

1. Gym from 7:30 - 5 pm
2. Cashed gym check
3. updated blog
4. 35 minutes exercise session!
5. Checked Craigslist

Saturday Plans:

1. Church
2. poltluck lunch
3. update blog
4. Out on town with friends Smile
5. Clean counters (one of these days I'll actually do this!)

Jury Summons & My Day

February 19th, 2009 at 07:29 pm

I worked at the gym from 8 to 3 today. It was pretty uneventful, except that one person came by who was interested in joining. If he joins, I'll get a bonus. Smile On Friday a woman came by who was interested in personal training - she set up an initial appt w/E, but wasn't able to keep it. But if she ends up signing on, I'll get another little bonus. Smile

After I finished at the gym, I met my former OM in front of our office building. She gave me my severance check, and a few items I'd forgotten in my haste to leave.

For some reason, looking at that check took me back a few steps in dealing with the loss. I was a zombie for the next few hours - even through my doctor appt and stoping at Walmart.

When I was putting my groceries in my trunk, I realized I still hadn't brought in my box of stuff from my former life. It had sat there since Friday.

Once I got home I checked my mail. There were a number of important letters.

2 of them were from Texas Work Force. 1 said that as of Feb 22 I have to complete at least 5 work jobs each week - submitting an application, contacting an employer, attending a seminar, etc.
That sounds like a lot to me, especially when I see what the job listings look like. But . . I'll do whatever it takes.

The third piece of mail was a summons to serve on the Jury on March 9. I wonder if Work in Texas will exempt me from the 5 thing if I get picked for a jury, esp if it lasts more than a day? I've had Jury Summons before, but never made it to the courthouse. My group number always seems to get dismissed - maybe it's because of my last name being in the latter part of the alphabet?

----
Thursday's Accomplishments:
1. Worked gym from 8 to 3
2. Dropped off severance paperwork
3. went to doctors appt
4. grocery shopping (spent too much, bought some junkfood.)
5. Worked on work in texas resume

*no exercise, no cleaning, didn't look at Craigslist

Fridays Goals/Plans:
1. Work gym from 11:45 - 5
2. Get to gym by 10:15 to workout/cleanup
3. Prepare 3 blog posts
4. Clean counters
5. Cash gym check
6. Check Craigslist

Two things I learned today & 2 Stimulus ?'s

February 18th, 2009 at 06:49 pm

This morning I made it to the Work Force Center about 8:20. The seminar I was going there for started at 9, but I thought I'd get there early in case there was a typing test or something else I could do.

At first when I asked one of the ladies at the front desk about the seminar, she looked like she didn't know what I was talking about. Then when I told her the name of it, she was like, "Oh! WIA. Are you in the WIA?"

Trying not to sound stupid, I told her I didn't know what the WIA was. (I'm still not sure what the letters stand for!)

She told me that it was a program for people who had been laid off and want/need training in job skills in order to get a better job. Also, she told me that the seminar I came to attend was one of the requirements for the program - that most people didn't choose to attend it. Luckily I'm not most people, right? Smile

Another lady who was nearby spoke up and told me that WIA was a great program. That it was paying for her to go through training to be a medical secretary. Not only are they paying her tuition, but they also are giving her gas cards for getting to school (and presumably a part-time job.)

Hmmm.... this sounded interesting.

I am going to attend the next orientation session on Tuesday to see if I qualify, and what all it entails. (There is a session on Monday afternoon, but I'm working at the gym then.)

I'm just thinking that going the route of being a medical secretary wouldn't be a bad idea - or at least the training for it. Will have to check into pay scales on it though.

Another possible route is to take computer training on Quickbooks or other accounting software - both of which seem to be asked for quite often in the admin asst ads I'm looking at.

****Would it be bad of me to take advantage of this program if I qualify, considering I do have financial resources available to me, while others may not??***

The second thing I learned today was at the seminar. It actually became a one-to-one session because the room it was to be held in was occupied, and the presenter only had space for one person in his cubicle. The other two rescheduled for tomorrow.

The seminar was going through the functionality of the work in Texas website. I'd already signed up on it, as well as done a good bit of exploring, but he was able to show me a lot of things I had not figured out yet. He also gave me a lot of great hints and tips.

So, my visit this morning to the Work Force Center was well worth my time - even though they don't have an official typing test. Smile

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Accomplished today:

1. Seminar at workforce center
2. Checked Craigslist
3. trash run, dish run
4. updated blog
5. Filled gas tank - $18

*Did not exercise, nor update applications, nor cash gym check.

Thursdays goals:

1. Work at gym from 8 -3
2. Give former OM severance paperwork
3. exercise
4. update blog
5. work on resume/application info
6. Check Craigslist
7. Clean counters (kitchen and bathroom)

----
This afternoon my mom treated me to seeing "Confessions of a Shopaholic." I absolutely LOVE the book series, and the movie was really pretty good too.

Afterwards we ate at TB ($3.01 for both of us!) Then went off on a wild goose chase looking for a book she needs to read before her interview on Tuesday.

My lateness getting home is partially why I did not accomplish some things I wanted to.

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I have two questions about the Stimulus bill which recently passed, and am hoping someone may know the answer(s).

1. Is Cobra being subsidized at all?
2. Is there a certain amount of UI you can make without Federal Taxes being owed?

The reason I ask, is because both items were brought to my attention as things that were being proposed as part of it, but were not confirmed as to whether they were passed.

Thanks for any info!

Well . . .Not much progress

February 17th, 2009 at 08:19 pm

Um yeah. You know that list I made yesterday of all the things I was going to accomplish today?

Managed to do four items.

1. Applied to company scfr mentioned
2. caught up on blog posts
3. Perused Craigslist job postings
4. Started to look into ehealthinsurance plans

Didn't clean, didn't exercise, didn't finish applications (although did make some progress on one of them.)

On Craigslist I found a number of interesting postings. One was for AmeriPlan, which I don't think is right for me. Another one was for a different tutoring company than AtoZ, which I did apply for and took a number of qualifying tests.

A third one though made me annoyed. I responded to an ad for an admin asst with a starting hourly rate slightly higher than what I made. I received a reply back with a link to a website to fill out an application. I filled out the application, copied and pasted my resume, and submitted.

After submitting, the next page was a list of online colleges where you could 'further your career opportunities' and nothing else. So now I'm wondering if the ad wasn't just a scam to get you to give your contact info so they can bug you to death to apply to one of those online schools.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think I am. Frown

----

One thing I've been trying to wrap my brain around today is the fact that all the money which I've been earning from my side jobs, and which I've completely allocated towards savings goals, is now not really 'extra monies' but is now 'NOW' monies.

I'm trying to figure out if the money I have stashed in my general Extra Monies account, but not allocated yet, should be put in my Next Month fund for general spending, or go to where I'd put it if life was normal.

You see, right now I am using the money I earned in January for expenses. In March, I'll use the money I earned in February (including the severance pay I guess.) So by April, I'll presumably need to use the monies earned in March.

Since there will be no full-time income coming during March (unless a miracle happens) the only income will be from side jobs or unemployment.

So . . . maybe for February I will go ahead and allocate my extra monies normally, since I'll have a 'normal' income. But then in March, whatever comes in from whatever source, will go to fund April's budget.

Am I making any sense?

---

Tomorrow my mom wants me to go with her to some travel business seminar she thinks I could really do well with. I think I'm going to tell her I'm more than happy to meet her for lunch somewhere, but am not interested in MLM (which is what this is.)

What I hope to accomplish on Wednesday:

1. Attend seminar at workforce center - maybe see if I can take typing tests and/or other computer proficiency tests

2. Cash gym check and deposit it

3. Gather needed info to complete various applications (health insurance, workforce)

4. Check Craigslist for any new listings

5. Clean at least one hour

6. Get in at least 30 minutes of exercise.

-

Moving forward + cute kitty video + an IRA question

February 16th, 2009 at 06:50 pm

To keep myself accountable I am going to note here what I am doing each day in my job search.

Today:

1. Applied for unemployment
2. Applied at TexasWorkForce
3. Applied at AtoZ tutoring
4. Stopped by gym location and got my schedule
5. Read most of the employment related articles on MSN

Tomorrow's Goals:
1. Send in paperwork for severance
2. Search Craigslist for odd jobs
3. Apply at company scfr told me about
4. Spend at least two hours cleaning apt
5. Fill out state application
6. Catch up on blog series posts
7. Exercise at least one hour
8. Finish resume info for TWF and AtoZ

My mom called me tonight and told me that she has an interview for a position which I think she'd be awesome at - a teacher trainer/evaluator. She's one of 7 people being interviewed. I think she has an excellent chance.

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Here is a really cute [url="http://holy-cuteness.blogspot.com/2009/02/noisy-drinking-cat.html"]video of a kitty drinking.[/url]

Enjoy!

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Since I'm not earning real income now, do I have to stop my Roth IRA contributions? Or could my gym earnings count towards earned income which would qualify me to continue my contributions?

Should I continue them??? I've been sending $75/mo to my IRA, so it isn't a big budget item - - but percentage wise out of even 40 hours/mo at the gym, is pretty huge.