2019 Goals

15 Feb

-of course, continue running at least 1 mile every day in a row.

-continue making a weekly menu, grocery list, and sticking to that at the store.  And shopping at Winco.
-Continue to put on makeup and fix my hair every day for work.  This is important, because I look better.  And it gives a better impression.  And I do care about me, so why not look nice?
-Drink 12 cups of water a day.
I’m really mad at work, because after a TON of struggle, I was finally doing this.  I did it for maybe even a whole year!  But my current job micro-manages us to such an extent, that I can’t drink water because I am not alloted the bathroom time.  So I have to get a doctor’s note saying I need to use the bathroom.  That way, my company will remove the time restrictions, then I can drink enough because I’ll be able to pee when I need to.  Dreams.
-go to the doctor.
I have GOT to force myself to jump through the hoops in order to use the insurance I’m paying for, get doctor’s note for work, and refill all my medications.  I hate logistics.
-dentist twice a year.
I have to find one closer to the new house, because I’m not going to go out of my way.
-Floss daily.

-workout at least 5 days a week.
-cook at home and meal prep on weekends to make the week easier.
-pay off the Visa.  Moving and unemployment made it a little crazier than I’d like.
-read.
This one had been ok.  But then I realized if I read at night when I couldn’t sleep it was actually perpetuating my insomnia.  Because the reading would set my body’s alarm clock to wake up at the time in the middle of the night every night.  So now that I can’t read during the times I can’t sleep, I haven’t found time during the day to do it.  So I haven’t read at all..

Valentine’s Day [Part 14] and Work Productivity #MeToo

13 Feb

I wish Valentine’s Day would always fall on a weekend, so I did not have to engage with it in any way.  When the holiday falls in the work/school week, there is no escaping it.  I will hear about what my boyfriend did or didn’t do for me, and I will see girls parading their items around to show everyone how loved, and how superior they are to other girls.

If I ignore the day, fuss about it being superficial, or say I don’t like it–someone will say/ask, “it’s because you’re single.”  Which is why I hate the day so much.  P.S. I’m not single–and *gasp I still hate the day.

Also, doing something at work to recognize the day, is at the very least a distraction.  It also gives opportunity for people to one-up each other either with the great gifts they got, or the ones they didn’t.  Aside from that, it opens a can of worms.  It makes it ok for people to give gestures or show affection.  Suddenly, susan from accounting is receiving a gift from creepy Dan in customer service.  She has to deal with this.  Unwelcome advances in the workplace are a whole big HR-ball-of-wax.  And Jennifer in the cubicle might take this once in a year opportunity to ask out James across the hall–which makes for awkward work boundary-setting.  On the other hand, if someone feels slighted by not getting the type of reaction or attention from a co-worker that they are hoping for, it can lead to larger issues. Shining a light on a blossoming romance between a manager and underling seems inappropriate as well.  And it even gives sketchy people the green light to do some grabbing, or sexual harrassing, maybe.

Some 44% of Americans say they have received unwanted sexual advances or verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. About six-in-ten women (59%) say they have experienced this, while 27% of men say the same.

Having Valentines Day in the workplace just isn’t a good idea–it’s kind of a liability..  The workplace is not a dating agency, and shouldn’t be one.  Workplace romances can alter the dynamics between many employees, not just those involved in the romance.  These issues become bad for the individuals involved in these situations,  and in turn, bad for business.

Overall, 69% of women who say they have experienced sexual harassment say this happened in a professional or work setting

Overall, about six-in-ten men who say they have been sexually harassed (61%) say it happened in a professional or work setting

So I’d say it’s best for places of employment to let the day go by–just like Saint Patrick’s Day, which would be a drunken, sexual, brawl if sanctioned at work.  Valentines Day festivities at work create more problems then they are worth.  It could create jealously, initiate sexual harassment, and hurt work output.

Boom!  Another reason (the 14th in the series, I think) why Valentine’s Day is nonsense, and why Valentine’s Day is harmful.

 

*Green statistics taken from Pew Research Center Survey:

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2018/04/04/sexual-harassment-at-work-in-the-era-of-metoo/

2018 Goal-Progress

10 Feb

-make a food menu, grocery list, weekly shopping

90%!
Once we finally, finally got into these habits, we were pretty good at keeping them up.
-get a job
95%
I got the jobs, now all I need is to have a job that gives me SECURITY, which I haven’t had in quire a while.
-run a daily mile.
100%
What needs to happen now is an outside mile, a faster mile, and additional working out.
-Working out
28%
When we have any kind of routine, we are good about this.  But because of job insecurity, financial worries, and moving–it wasn’t always possible.
-Love points
80%
Cool and I try to be mindful about conveying love every day.  And we will estimate our “scores” (1 point for hugging, a point for taking out the trash, etc…) on the matter, nearly daily.  The points are not always as high for either of us as I’d like.
-floss daily
10%
NOT good at all.  Worse than in previous years even.  I think this was do to an ever-changing schedule, money-worries consuming my time, and tiredness/laziness.
-go to the dentist
100%
I got this done.  Really, because I wanted to use up all my insurance benefits before I lost them at the end of the month.  It’s a lot easier making time for various appointments, when there’s not a work schedule in the way…
-Fix my hair nice (or cut it)
89%
I actually managed this in 2018.  Even when I had to shower at the gym at work, carpool, or when I was tired.
-wear makeup at work
99%
I literally forgot one day, but did this all the rest.  And it isn’t that hard to do, once it’s a habit.  Plus, I don’t want to look like an old hag…
So for the most part, I feel like I did pretty well on my goals.  Though there is room for improvement (flossing, I’m looking at you!).

Best 2018 Albums: Late for New Years, right in time for Chinese New Year and the Grammy Awards **edit 4/25/19**

5 Feb

30.  Cover songs and compilation albums don’t really qualify for my best of list.  But I wanted to give a special nod to this one, because I liked it.  And also, because I usually do singles, but this year I only found 2 so I am skipping singles and just shouting out this one:

Revamp (various artists)

“Bennie and the Jets” is distorted and spacey, reminiscent of Sargent Pepper’s Loneyly Hearts Club Band album.  “Candle in the Wind” is an unplugged version that evokes VH1 Storytellers. Miley Cyrus is surprisingly emotive in her rendition of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”   Because Lady Gaga is such a shameless copycat of Madonna and her entire career trajectory, I often forget the gal can sing–and perhaps with more range than the material girl.  “Your Song” is a fitting choice for her, and she does it beautifully.  And Sam Smith is this next generation’s Elton John. His version of “Daniel” is impeccable.

Now from bottom to top. 

Here are albums I didn’t really care for:

  1. Playing Favorites, Meiko

I don’t get it.  She sings all covers.  But first, she makes them boring.  It’s all copy-cat songs, but done in the style of some weird-ass acoustic-guitar at the independent coffee shop.  Write your own songs, then we’ll talk…

  1. Delta, Mumford and Sons

Just when I was beginning to think maybe I was being too hard on them for changing their whole sound, Spotify snuck in “Little Lion Man.”  It reaffirmed my huge disappointment in where Mumford took their sound. This new album has no trace at all at the music that brought the band mainstream success.  It is slow, it’s not uptempo at all, and there is no acoustic/bango flair even a little bit. Big disappointment!

27. Life is Good on the Open Road, Trampled by Turtles

Firstly, it’s too long of a title.  More to the point, Why is their recent work so melancholy?  The sound is sad a forlorn and listening to this album bummed me out.  The best stuff is when they play super-fast, and this album had none of that.

26. Pray for the Wicked, Panic!  At The Disco

I thought this would be almost identical to Fall Out Boy since there are, like 2 bands in this genre.  Especially since both of these recent releases have religious album titles or song themes. Yet, what I got from this one was a decidedly bro-y vibe that I couldn’t get behind.  Nearly all the songs were of drinking and conjured up the worst type of frat-boy or party-monsters. I’d call this a miss, as it caters to a very specific, narrow audience.

And now the OK:

25. This House is Not for Sale, Bon Jovi

I always love Bon Jovi.  He is a legend, and all of his stuff has merit.  This album isn’t his strongest offering (or even in the top three) but it’s still good to listen to.  “Walls” and and title track, “This House is Not for Sale” are the strongest songs of the album. And I did miss that good ‘ol rock ballad that Bon Jovi is expert at writing and singing!

24.  Only Love, Jordan smith

Lyrically overwrought, but the guy has pipes!  “Feel Good” has a funk vibe that I like, and it’s really catchy.  I think the material could be toned down one or two levels as choirboy singing Disney covers leaps to mind, but the singing talent is there.  Lots of potential.

23. Golden Hour, Kacei Musgraves

I would call this poetry set to music.  Each song has great emphasis on the writing and lyrics.  I don’t really attach to it as a great album like a lot of critics and fans, and do not really think the hype is warranted.  It’s nice poems, but the singing of notes doesn’t really move me, and the songs don’t get stuck in my head…

22.  The Wandering Hearts, self titled album

They sound like a cross between Seal and Lady Antebellum.  The songs are pleasing, yet I feel a component is missing. It could be more catchy or passionate or something-I’m not certain what the last ingredient needs to be, but for now they have a lot of potential.

21.  Seasons Change, Scotty McCreary

The album is a feel good country album like those prior to This Hollywood country sound that has taken over. There are love songs and foot stompers.

20.  Bea Miller

It’s a pleasant reminder of the strong women who were so prominent in the 1990s

19.  Dark Horse, Devin Dawson

The title track is a strong, but low-key outlaw song.  “All On Me” is a stand-out. I like the voice, like the writing, and think this is an artist to watch.

18.  Nation of Two, Vance Joy

Initially I had this album ranked a lot lower because it is subtle.  I said that the album was a little too quiet and unassuming. “I’m going home” was the only catchy song, in my opinion.  Low-key is one thing, but a good hook shouldn’t be ignored entirely. When you listen (maybe ear buds were the difference? Or just more exposure?) multiple times the layers built into these songs become more obvious.  The instrumentation is varied and beautiful. And no, the songs aren’t catchy like straight pop, but they do grow on you.

The Good:

  1. Dogviolet, Laurel

Of course I want to place my name-twin’s album higher on the list and I do feel this mixing of sounds and genre-eclecticness has great potential.  It’s not strong on every track though. “Lovesick” is a mix of indie and folk with a little electronic flare.This album has an unmistakable sexuality about it.  Just the longing in the voice, and the “wanting” in the lyrics makes it sound that way. ”Recover” has that pleading to it that I’m referring to in the sexy, desperate way..  “Hold Tight” is just as catchy as Florence and the Machine and has that pop-indy vibe going. “All Star” is sensual, and bitter. And my favorite track is “Adored” which is pleading and angry at the same time.

  1. Volunteer, Old Crow Medicine Show

Happy-bluegrass.  Is there enough harmonica in music these days?  This album was fun to listen to with songs like “Methamphetamine” and the familiar tune “Flicker and Shine.”  It reminds me of Virginia City—or just Virginia mountain music.

  1.  No Roots EP, by Alice Merton

“Roots” reminds me of a more tribal Florence and the Machine.  There is a bit of funky playfulness. I can feel Merton’s feminism is each song, not so much due to any rawr lyrics, but more the combination of tenacity, strength, and longing in her voice.  “Lie to My Face” is the strongest song on the album, an anthem telling some deceitful, philandering partner where to shove their BS–in a sarcastic way.

  1.  Encore, by Anderson East

The back up singers lend a soleful, community feel to the songs.  “Girlfriend” is the stand out of the album. I saw them perform it live (as opener for Brandi Carlile) and it was meh–very lackluster.  For the studio-version, they added some more oomf. It has more percussion, more angst behind the vocals, and makes me feel when I hear it.  The other two songs I really liked were, ”All in my Mind” and “King for a Day” which are both very catchy.  In all, I wouldn’t say Encore is a contender for the top of my list.  But I do think Anderson East has a ton of potential, and we’ll be hearing more from them if they amp of their songs, and keep them interesting.

  1.  Vide Noir, Lord Huron

Sometimes, even I’m surprised about how this best album list shakes out.  I just listen and rank them against each other. And where they fall on the list is all about how that album only compares to the other albums from the year.  I will comment, of course, on person lives, concerts, and my personal biases, but the rank is about how that albums stack up against the other offerings of that year.  This is my second favorite band right now, because their concerts are near-perfect. The execution and energy is top-of-the-game stuff. They really need to put out a live album, because their studio work does not even come close to being as great as their performance at a concert!  “The Night We Met” feat Phoebe Bridgers, is a story song. “Ancient Names, (Part I)” is probably the best example for a new listener to sum up the band’s trademark sound. I like Vide Noir, because the songs all fit together in a cohesive way.  Now, let’s get on a concert album or compilation of live shows.  I’ll be first in line to buy that CD!

  1.  My New Moon, Amos Lee

This album is what I’d call stoner/hippy-rock.  It’s peaceful and easy to listen to, just like you’d expect.

  1.  Black Coffee, Beth Hart & Joe Bonamessa

“Black Coffee” will get stuck in your head and is a good single (and title) for the album.  And I especially liked the cover of “Sittin’ on Top of the World” as it showcased exactly how Beth Hart can take down to Earth material and jazz it up with her husky vibrato.  And Bonamessa really takes this into jam-brass territory with his seemingly improvised playing. It’s a sound that puts me right in a dark, smoky jazz night club. I need chicken and waffles after Black Coffee.

Top 10:

  1.  The Port Saint Joe, The Brothers Osborne

The deep voices, the harmony, the outlaw country attitude.  It’s a modernized throw-back to my grandfather’s country, and I like it.  I find it fun to listen to, and a little different, while being ultra-traditional.  I could drink to this, for sure. I could dance. I could do housework and feel bad-ass.  It’s nice to hear a band that isn’t a super-glamorized, polished version of music. Grand Ol Operey sounds without the slick-money sound of most other country.  

  1.  Mania, Fall Out Boy

They still have their signature sound, in a genre they pretty much pioneered.  He’s hitting the notes-like, whoa. The lyrics are some seriously thought-out writing.  “Bishops Night Trick”

Takes FOB out of frat-boy only status, sounding exactly like Panic at the Disco, into a serious place, where talent is evident.  The album has a theme and the songs flow nicely from one to the next. I’m as surprised as you this even made the list, let alone cracked the top ten.  They have an epic-sound in this album,(listen to “Church”) and a tight theme. It’s the singing, itself that really pushes this album to that next level.  Well done, FOB, you’ve risen above bro-status, into major-player.

  1.  Raising the Bar, Terry Clark

I initially rated this album toward the middle of my list.  The songs alone are OK. It’s the theme and flow of the album as a whole that really makes it special.  This is the album you write/listen to when you’re freshly divorced and back in your rural home town trying to readjust.  “Giving Up Given a Dawn” is exactly reminiscent of that sentiment. “The One That Got Away” is a good break up song, full of bitterness and regret.  And you know that kind of writing has a special place in my heart. I love a good, fuck you song. “”As Long as There’s a Bar” is a good down-trodden country song.  “Young as We are Tonight” is about moving on, maybe rebounding, definitely getting drunk and making questionable decisions. And the song that naturally follows, (or precedes, depending on how you look at it) is “Bloody Mary Morning” which speaks of morning drinking.  I think the album is cohesive, and has a strong theme. “Cowboys in this Town” is a strong single, which talks about this divorcee seeing other options for suitors–that might even be better than what’s his name. jA+ for finding a theme and really sticking to it, and making me feel like I’m part of a situation and in that place, both physically and mentally.

  1. By the Way, I Forgive You, Brandi Carlile

I have to put the disclaimer out there, that compared to Brandi’s own body of work I didn’t care for this album.  It’s obvious to me she is Grammy-pandering. An example is the contest for fans to play “The Joke” most number of times for opportunity to win things.  That, is a tactic to increase stats. And it’s plenty fair but desperate, and manipulative?  Yup, it’s that too. I’d like to see a more natural and organic fan growth and actual stats.  Not just from Brandi, but industry-wide. Let’s get the $$$$ out of music and talent IN. Still, it’s Brandi Carlile!  Compared to others she’s still a head above the rest. “Hold Out Your Hand” has fast parts, melodic pieces, and some sass.  It’s like the old cowboy talk-alongside and special and different. Really, the only reason she ranked even this high on the list is because her technical singing skills are better than anyone else this year.  In the future I’d like to see the songs have more variation from each other. These all blended together for me. And I hope she’ll put the twins a little more to the forefront instead of relegating them to background status as she has in the last two albums.

  1. Come  Tomorrow, Dave Matthews Band

This is more of a singing album (vs instrument jamming) then the band has had in quite some time.  I attribute it to the lack of Boyd Tinsley, which I am disappointed about. His violin made the band interesting and differentiated them from every other band.  Though, Tinsley was a mediocre violinist at best, it still added flavor. That being said–he had to go. That sex-abuse stuff just will not stand with me (and the band, apparently).  Though I would have liked more of a public response condemning that behavior. And I guess then I would have complained it was hypocritical considering live outtakes with objectification of women going on by Dave and Carter.  Clean up your acts. Anyway, more to the point of the album’s quality–I like the writing and I like the softness about it. Dave’s voice is admittedly, shot–all that smoking, drinking, and screaming to “Halloween” will eventually take it’s toll, as is evident in “That Girl is You” which is a screetchy-dog-sounding horribleness in the beginning.  Was it intentionally bad? I don’t know, but someone in the editing room should have spoken up and chopped it. That’s the one blemish, and the rest of the album stands up, with superb, well-thought lyrics and sweetly sung choruses. “Virginia in the Rain” is a good example of beautiful, romantic lyrics, that are nice to listen to on a date. Nothing compares to “Crush” but this set of songs is in the same category.  And will make for some nice slow-breaks in the concert. “Black and Blue Bird” (another bird-titled song?!) is a nice, slower song on this album. The rest of the songs are also very nice, and still have jam-potential as we heard at the Stateline Concert. DMB is getting older, and cracks show from time to time, but they still hold up. And they still know how to put on one of the best live shows!!!

Top 5 Albums of 2018:

  1. Songs for the Saints, Kenny Chesney

Do not count me amongst Chenney’s long-time fans, though I am aware he has had an enormous following for a long time.  I never got on to his stuff and didn’t really “get” the appeal. Actually, I thought it probably had more to do with the look of his butt in his jeans than his tunes.  Songs for the Saints is substantial though. I like the melding of easy-Jack Johnson-type strumming with island-country. “Get Along” is a good example of this hybrid. Easy-going, peaceful, fun to listen to.  And I’m not sure that “Ends of the Earth” isn’t a Kenny Chesney that features Lord Huron–I know a mash-up when I hear one (even an uncredited one).

  1. Man of the Woods, Justin Timberlake

Once I got a grip on the theme-and that the album is decidedly NOT rugged as the title implies, I liked it.  Read: there is nothing woodsy about the album. It’s a love letter to his wife and cozy lifestyle full of funk and pop lyrics.  Same funk and dance as usual, and the same saccharine lyrics (sometimes gross:  “your pink my purple”?  yuck!!!), too.  But also the same calliber of really bringing that performance aspect to the table that we have come to expect of JT.  Let’s see this one on Netflix also!

  1. This Ones for You,Too, Luke Combs

Because these songs were on such heavy rotation this year I kept feeling like it must be an older album.  “One Number Away,” “When it Rains, It Pours,” “Must’ve Never Met You” wait–are these new songs?? I’ve been hearing them on the radio forever.  They’re like old, familiar friends by now. But the record is from 2018 and the songs are so catchy they just took hold quickly. I think it’s a good mix of country and pop.  Gravelly-voiced, cheeky lyrics combined with hooks that stay with you. I can’t wait for more. If this is where country is headed I like it.

  1.  Home of the Strange, Young the Giant

“Something to Believe In” is strong, it’s catchy and makes me want to sing, and when the band performed the song live at Innings Festival it was so extra.  “Nothing’s Over” is a little more low-key (comparatively) and still catchy in a mesmerizing way. This is my favorite band right now, because they are so great in concert–very high energy.  And they can write catchy, yet lyrically-relevant material. I (of course) wanted to rank this CD in the number one spot, but I think Ben Harper catches a wider variety of sounds, harkens back to jazz/r&b/rock’s roots in America, and masters several different instruments.  But Young the Giant is going to take the world!

 

–>late addition–<

Oh no!  How can this happen?  I’ll tell you:  The email that had been my primary in the past gets auto-forwarded to my new primary email.  And this has always worked well.  I still give whatever email address and everything ends up in the one I check-no effort required.  And I use different addresses for different purposes.  So I was always receiving emails.  I might have noticed an issue if emails just stopped altogether.  But sometimes I’d forget my passwords on whatever and have it emailed, and just never get that email.  So I thought whatever it was I was using was acting all glitchy–since the email and password weren’t working.  And I can’t remember how I figured out there was an issue, but my email had stopped auto-fowarding.  Like, months and months ago though.  What a mess!  All my Amazon notices were going to an email that I wasn’t receiving, as was Geico, and (this brings me to the point of why the preceding paragraph is in my albums of the year blog) my music fan artist update stuff.  I was not getting Dave, Brandi, or the Indigo Girls.  What a travesty–I missed everything!

So I see TODAY that the Indigo Girls did an album with the symphony that I completely missed 😦  And Amy Ray put out an album in 2018. . .

Holler, Amy Ray

This is most definitely Ray’s best solo effort.  And is #2 on my list of albums of the year for 2018.  It’s the country/Americana that I think Brandi Carlile is trying to strive for (in order to get a Grammy in a smaller, category-which did end up working for her, she got 3?).  Ray, unlike Carlile (who as a fan, I think obviously strayed a little from her authenticity in the last 2 albums) stays true to herself in Holler.  I think Ray makes the transition to a new genre easily, and steers clear of disingenuousness.  Her gravely, rough voice works great with the material, and she is genuine to her past aesthetic (of folk/rock, sometimes punk–ish), while breaking into new territory.  The songs are still edgy and full of advocacy and rebelliousness, as Ray’s writing has always been.  But there’s a rural feeling to it that is fresh and welcome.

The varied instrumentation that always features in the Indigo Girl’s songs is still present here, and brings a homey, desolate vibe.  Banjo, violin, percussion, even brass brings to mind listening in a shed, a dilapidated shack, or in the middle of the woods.  I think this is the closest Amy Ray has ever gotten to her inner self.  Every listen just whispers authenticity-there is no put-on here, and it’s a subtle change.  I think Ray has found that sweet spot, and I hope her next album is similar to Hollar!  I’m sad I didn’t find it until the 2nd quarter of 2019.

And Drumroll Please……

The TOP album of 2018:

 

  1. Choke Cherry Tree, Ben Miller Band

A new face/voice.  Every song makes me want to listen more.  Each track seems to feature a different instrument.  

“Trapeze” has the melody of a patriotic march, and the lyrics of a circus.  The chorus Makes me think of the Bayou. It ends in a cacophony of brass and other things that sound familiar but I don’t hear enough to identify.  See what I mean about novel and interesting? “The Outsider” is like a church-picnic stomp. It makes me want to see the band live to see what they would do with it.  “Sketchbook” has a fast pace and a story-telling cadence. “Nothing Gets Me Down” is folksy-outlaw. See how each song is so unique, yet the compilation of songs goes together well?  And the brass flare-ups make “I Got Another One” special and different. “My Own Good Time” has a waltz time key. And the singing is very folksy-evoking campfire days of yore. “Mississippi Cure” is haunting with gorgeous strings, yet upbeat with some catchiness of a pop song. Lyrically it is the most powerful song on the album, bringing race into the conversation-but in an organic way- not forced or pandering. And I think an accordion is happening on the song.  It’s a stand-out on a stand-out album! I can’t wait to hear more from Ben Miller Band-there is a lot of talent and a lot of potential for them.

So there you have it.  The top 30 albums in a kind of lackluster (unless R&B is your jam) year.  Let’s hope there’s more different types of albums in 2019.

Best Moments of 2018

3 Feb

-We have been promising the kitties for the longest time.  Because we’re almost in small apartments, it’s not possible-won’t fit.  And we’re always moving.  And a cat tree is not that conducive to moving.  Well, we finally landed in a place where we want to stay awhile, and where we actually have some room.  The kitties sit on it, and we put a bird feeder on the other side of the window to provide to “bird-television” and it makes all of us happy.

-I got a job after a lot of fear.  It’s always nerve-wracking to be unemployed.  I never know how long I’ve got to make the money last.  I never feel so unqualified as when I’m looking at jobs that are posted and what the qualification are (and how I don’t have any of those things).  I’m a wonderful employee, but I feel like being a good worker is a different skill-set than being good at getting jobs.  My resume is full of vet stuff that people can’t envision translating to their  position.  I’m not good a schmoozing.  I’m a nervous interviewer.  And I don’t learn particularly FAST, but I make sure I have the information down perfectly and work relentlessly to make it functional for me.  Anyway, any job is good after having no job.
-At CareNational, they made videos to promote jobs, and employees would be in them sometimes.  I was a minor celebrity within my own family, and filming the spots were fun.
-I got employee of the month at CareNational.  This was special, because I had never been formally recognized for my work–usually just griped at for what I wasn’t getting done right, not the thousand things I rocked.  So it was really special to me.  And I was recognized the next month they did it also.  So the company really liked me and the work I did–and that felt great!
-Cool and I did brunch in Tempe.  I love brunch and their food and cocktails are so yums.  I have great memories (and selfies) of our good times.
-We went hiking at Wild Horse Trail at Tonto National Forest.  It was beautiful and the perfect example of being in Arizona.  It felt good to finally be somewhere that we plan on staying.  The views were awesome, the exercise good for us, and the conversation sparkling.  It looked like a Looney-Tunes cartoon and we could hardly believe this is home.
tonto.jpg
-During my birthday month (and Cool’s) we were both unemployed–which super-sucks.  We had to cancel our birthday plans.  We were spending our days combing the internet for jobs, polishing our resumes and interview skills, and worrying about money. It was a dark cloud.  But in July, there was a groupon for the local water park.  It’s cheaper in the summer here, because people leave this part of AZ to escape the blazing 120 F heat.  So we got to go.  And Cool, though she’s afraid of water, was a good sport, and awake and everything.  So we had a lot of fun, and it made me remember all the fun times I ever had at Wild Waters in Reno.  It was a good time during that horrible time, and the closest I got to a birthday celebration.
-Innings-Fest!  On Facebook, I was lamenting about how festival tiks were too expensive for real people.  And someone had bought 3 day passes for her and her husband, but couldn’t go.  So I bought her tickets half off.  And we got to see Lord Huron, Young the Giant, White Buffalo, and so many other bands!  My only complaint is they don’t allow containers in or camel-packs.  And AZ is hot.  So we had dehydration fatigue.  But–We looked awesome, and drank whiskey samples.  And got rum poured straight into a coconut.  It was really so much fun.
Innings Fest.jpg
-In October 2017, we were moving, and during that time, there’s nothing else.  So in 2018, we had a proper Halloween month.  We watched a scary movie every day (except 2) of the whole month.  While eating sweets.  It was a much more spirited (pun) way to celebrate one of our favorite holidays!
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-Cool and I got to go to 4(?) professional basket ball games in downtown Phoenix.  We saw the Suns play and the Mercury vs Storm.  The tickets were actually affordable, and we made a day of it every time, going to brunch once, and George and Dragon Pub.  All good and cheap food.  And we went to Bitter and Twisted, which is a take on fractured fairy-tales and has an adorable menu, and really, really good drinks.  And endless options.  And we enjoyed each game and had so much fun downtown.
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-There is a place in Arizona called Oatman, and there are feral burros (donkeys?) just walking around like they own the place.  So it’s a vibe like Virginia City, with shops and the western boardwalk, but with donkeys walking around.  They have a western shoot-out, I found fire-agate!!!  And we took pictures with burros of all kinds.  It was a lot of fun!
-The best thing about 2018, was getting a house!  Renting one.  We went from the absolute worst place we ever lived.  It was small, and the management crooked and hostile, gyping us and being rude at every turn.  To a cute, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom house with a yard and a car-port!  It’s adorable and we fit in it.  The neighborhood is walkable and we are happy here.  Finally.  It feels good that we are away from ghetto neighbors, and awful, strict management.  We have room and autonomy.
La Jolla.jpeg

Worst Moments of 2018

3 Feb

From bad to worst:

-Bank of America processed a rent check.  The exact same check they had processed before.  So two rents were taken out by Central on Broadway Apartments.  And I had to spend 30 minutes on the phone with inept, uncaring, unapologetic bank employees to get the money back.  And talk to the chronically belligerent apartment office workers.
-Cool was tired on my birthday.  But wouldn’t admit it.  So she didn’t take action to correct her energy until 3/4 of my birthday had passed already.  Oh, and we were both still unemployed still–so that puts a damper on festivities.
-I applied for a promotion at work–one that I would do really well at.  But didn’t get it.  The person who did get it, had done my side-by-side.  She was the person who had inspired me to make a tool to improve the side-by-side experience, because she didn’t teach during the exchange.  The whole thing had made me feel uncomfortable and underprepared.  During that interaction, she had conveyed that she worked to the goal number, then just f-ed around the rest of the day.  She was disgruntled to train me because it meant she couldn’t play on her cell phone as she usually did.  During a break in the training, her friend was continuing to talk $hit about side-by-sides and how they hated doing them–right in front of me.  She hadn’t realized I was  the side-by-side being trained.  So that’s who beat me for the promotion…
-The rent bill was $25 higher than it should have been at Central on Broadway Apartments.  There was no reason for that so I had to contact them about it.  The office staff had no idea why.  I ended up looking at the balance sheet of their accountant,line-by-line, and saw they had fined us, but never bothered to inform us about it!  I had put UV film on the west facing window and slider (side-note–it was not adhesive of any kind.  It adhered via static cling, which was a very hard thing to find).  They apparently didn’t like us conveying that their apartments had $hitty insulation and single-pane windows to prospective renters.  As if anybody was renting there because they had a choice and not because it is the cheapest rent in the metro-area.  Anyway, I was made to take down the film, which I had painstakingly measured, cut, and stuck up there as smoothly as possible–which was a time-consuming project.  And one that was supposed to pay off with the utility savings.  I had to rip it down, pay the fine, and then worry about what else management would find to fine us about….
-On the way to work one day, we had a 10 day eviction notice on our apartment door!  We always pay the full rent on time, but the letter from Central on Broadway  Apartments had a severe tone (per the usual), and  said they now had the right to enter our unit at any time.  For what, I could only guess…  So I had to go to work worrying about our housing, whether our stuff would be there when we returned, and the kitties.  Cool called to inquire what the hell–and they unapologetically stated they had accidently put a bunch of those up because of a change in office staff…  So they were so inept and disorganized they had quadruple the amount of evictions, and nobody double-checked.  And they just acted irritated we were amongst the many who were bothering them with questions!
-For my promotion, I made it to a second interview!  Except I had a few hours warning of it.  I had obviously not practiced answering any questions.  I had also gone to the gym that morning, which meant I had to shower there and get ready AT work–not nearly the ideal interview prep.  When I got in the interview it was with the two big-bosses.  First question–why did you leave vet medicine?  In my answer I mentioned I was glad I never had to deal with the situation where people chose to euthanize a pet for financial reasons (vs being medically necessary).  The big-boss cried.  Like, had to wipe tears off his cheeks.  And this was the first question!  I was horrified and didn’t know how to fix it.  As the interview wore on, he still looked distraught, so I kept interrupting the flow to re-apologize.  Also, the second question of the interview was an exact-repeat of a question asked in the first interview.  That threw me off, and I thought I better make my answer different.  So I deviated from my go-to answer for that question (the good, rehearsed one that makes me look awesome) and went to a different ($hitty) scenario on the spot.  And it was the exact wrong answer.  The whole experience was awkward and horrible.
-I am a temp at work.  They make clear temps have no job security–any infraction you’re out of there.  Don’t leave anything at the end of any day, because at any time, you might not be invited back.  Of course, in my first month of work I made a mistake.  We have to report any bad drug outcome.  We did this by emailing like 4 different supervisors.  But I didn’t have a list of their emails (or names), so I had to go into all the emails in outlook and try to find them.  I, of course, picked a name that wasn’t  the exact supervisor (and somehow wasn’t even an employee?) so of course I sent HIPPA-protected info to a stranger.  It was a big ordeal, and one I couldn’t un-do.  I left not knowing if I still had a job.  I do feel they should have clarified the process to new employees–like specify a list and give us their emails…  Also, why is someone that doesn’t even work there in the company address book?  And don’t get me started on what I think of crooked companies who extort temp labor…  None of it mattered, I was out on a temp limb, without any job security…
-This sucked.  The person I was working with at the temp agency told me I had a job.  I was the same company as Cool, same start date as her.  Then, TWO days prior to my start date, suddenly, my person was asking me if I would work swing-shift (I can’t /won’t after all the previous problems it caused for me), and was looking at different further away, less-paying jobs.  Suddenly, I was out.  I went from having a start date to just no prospects at all-unemployed.  It was additionally disappointing, not just cause it had been a sure-thing and she got my hopes up, them dashed them–because Cool had the job.  effing temp agencies.
-We just moved to Arizona in October of 2017, which is expensive.  And you have to set up a whole new life all at once.  And Cool lost her temp job early and with no warning.  Just came home one day–no job.  It’s scary, and financially it’s devastating.
-I got a job on our scouting trip to Arizona (luckily) and I was liking it, and doing amazing at it.  And that’s not just my opinion, my boss loved my work.  But it was a start-up company and they had to do cost-cutting measures, so with only a few days notice, I was suddenly going from having my first vacation time coming up after 8 months of work–to unemployed.  That sucks.  And it’s financially terrifying.  I had money, but how long did it have to last?  You just can’t be comfortable with any expense, because no money is coming in any more.  Also, I had to cancel Airbnb reservations for our birthdays, which felt awful!
-To add stress to an already bad situation, Cool was fired from her job (the 3rd job change in 8 months) at the same time I got laid off because they eliminated my position at the start-up I had been working at since we moved.  Neither of us had jobs.  Right in time for both of our birthdays.

Expanding on CareNational Possible Blog/Tutorial Topics

7 Mar

*nomenclature

-A topic geared toward staff.

-Share the instructions.

-Also include several examples of more difficult situations.

*organization

-Can be geared toward our staff as a natural partner to our planning talks.

-Show how you really can’t have one without the other.

-Give tips about not only how to get organized, but to maintain it.

-Can also be geared toward our clients.

-Give tips how to keep each stage of the job search organized.

*work-flow

-For both co-workers and clients.

-Talk about how making routines helps with both planning and organization and how it leads to greater productivity and efficiency.

*setting priorities

-Both co-workers & clients.

-Tie in with planning and work-flow.

-Use examples to show the benefits.

-Explain how to quickly ascertain what needs to be done when, and how to practice it.

*work-life balance

-Both co-workers and clients.

-Find some statistics regarding employee retention, productivity, and health.

-Give some tips about how to achieve it.

*planning

-For clients (staff has already heard it)

-Reiterate our talks at work.

*ways to maximize productivity

-Both co-workers and clients.

-ties together planning, organization, work-flow, but would be more broad.

*phone etiquette

-Both.

-Talk about familiarity making people more casual.

-Mention how we are busy, distracted, or have other goals so we fail at phone etiquette.

-Find statistics about how people like manners.

-how relationships are forged and maintained with better phone mannar.

-Provide some example conversations with a funny ‘what NOT to do’ vs preferable way.

*call reluctance**

(close to my heart)

-more toward my co-workers

-Talk about how common this is & why

-Share my fears

-Talk about why it’s important to work through this.

-Share some tips from my notes, youtube, & tips from others.

-Make graphs & visual aids of my calling statistics that I gather.

*acronyms list

-for clients.

-write an intro and a conclusion about how medical management has its own lingo.

-post what I already have.

-Ask for expansions, comments, or new ones.

*definitions

-clients.

-write an intro of how it’s important to stay abreast of all changes, especially language.

-Talk about how new things are added all the time.

-post the definitions I already have.

-Conclude by saying CareNational makes sure we are on top of new legislation & ideas.

-Ask for amendments, regional/hospital differences, and additional terms.

*using social media to network

-both

-talk about stats of social media

-talk how social media is no longer optional in the business world.

-Give examples of different forums

-finish by showing HOW to appropriately use each forum

-Briefly mention some tactics to increase visibility.

#keeping engagement high

-co-workers

-I need to brainstorm different ways this can be accomplished

*working with coworkers

-both

-talk about amount of time people are at work

-find an excerpt/short story about a co-worker personality difference

-say everyone has had conflict with people at work

-Give tips about how to prevent and deal with conflict between co-workers

-Sum up with happiness and productivity #s.

*sexism in the workplace

-both.

-Find stats

-give examples of subtle sexism

-Tell how someone can learn to recognize the signs

-Suggest how to stop sexism in the workplace

-Give examples of how to foster a positive work environment.

*the trifecta that contributes to getting sick

-both

-Describe a scenario of feeling sick on the job.

-talk about pressure to work despite illness

-find stats of cold & flu incidence

-also find stats of missed work/pay from sickness

-talk about cold, stress, lack of sleep, and germs and how they = sick

-finish with prevention

*how little things can impact getting the dream job (typing, for exp)

-clients

-tell story of my typing

-share how it is quite unrelated to my job duties, but it was the key to getting hired.

-challenge the reader to recognize similar skills to hone

-finish with having a relationship with a recruiter can give insight to those things.

-conclude with how CareNational prepares and helps candidates land their dream job.

*tips to increase self-discipline

-both

-look at my study tips blog and copy a lot of those things.

*moving/relocation tips

-look at my prior moving blogs and copy a lot of those things.