October 13, 2006

Reformat Successful

Made it though another week, almost. At least on Saturday I don't have to leave as early because there is almost no traffic. Saturdays are also usually a little bit slower, but since attendance is a big problem at the call center (and probably most call-centers) the calls are pretty much non-stop. Still, Saturdays are slower and feels calmer. Tonight instead of watching TV I'm writing. The computer reformat went fine and my computer is running well. He guided me through doing it and it was pretty smooth. So far I have only reinstalled MS Office, McAfee and several free spyware programs, the bare minimum. Haven't needed to use some of my other applications or been desperate to play Hoyle card games or the Movies game, a studio simulation that is a lot of fun, slightly addicting.

North Korea nuclear tests are really frightening. I still have a friend that lives in Seoul. Occasionally since I returned and it has been such a disaster finding a stable job and floundering to find a career direction, I have wished I had stayed or wanted to return to Korea. Now I'm glad that I haven't.

October 08, 2006

Quick Update

Having some computer problems, so my drive is getting reformatted and I'll have to reinstall everything. My brother-in-law, a talented computer tech, will do the reformatting for me. He just started a new job as a network administrator so we are having a family celebration dinner tonight for him. They have moved to Bellevue now to be close to their jobs. The business cards that I ordered for networking arrived yesterday. VistaPrint did a great job and I got to personalize them with the same red tulip photo that I am using now on this blog for my profile. That was taken this April when I went up to Mt Vernon for the tulip festival. I got lots of wonderful pictures at Roozengaarde, a tulip farm. Just making this quick because the computer will be down for a while. Things are very busy. Going to go in to work tomorrow, my usual day off, and to put in some overtime. They are asking all of us to do some and I can use a little extra money. Holiday season is approaching. I had a pumpkin pie latte and a pumpkin muffin this morning for breakfast at a favorite local coffee shop. Those are some seasonal favorites.

October 03, 2006

New Beginning

Starting again after not writing for a long time. As you can see, my attempt to revive it earlier this year did not last. I have been on the phones as a customer service representative for about 8 months now. Long enough to be worn down by whiny, belligerent customers and struggling to take calls faster. The company’s goal is 300-450 seconds (5 – 7.5 min) per call. I’m at around 800 on a good day. Today I also begin a really determined job/career search. I have been checking in with CareerBuilder and SouthSoundJobs all along, but not focusing on developing new ideas, networking and setting specific goals. Work is not getting any better and I am nearing the breaking point. I need fresh ideas for work and career inspirations. Perhaps what I really need is a husband with a good income and then I can just tutor part time or volunteer in some community programs and not worry about having to support myself independently. Well, I'm not holding my breath on that one.

I have a new favorite TV show, Heroes. The first two episodes are amazing and promise great things to come. I was so surprised by the ending of this week’s episode. There are a lot of questions and a lot of things to discover. I hope the show delivers.

March 05, 2006

Picking up My Journal Again

It has been many months since I have written or even visited this page. So much has happened since then. I finished the computer and career development classes in October. My sister arrived just before Thanksgiving. This is the first holiday season that we have all been together in 5 years. Now that my sister and brother-in-law are now completely relocated, we can look forward to more. This season we all lived together in the same house through the whole holiday season. That will certainly not happen again in a very long time, perhaps never. It went smoothly for the most part and it is so good to be together as a family. I continued serious job searching throughout the holiday season. In January I started a full time job at a customer service call center. There were 5 weeks of training and now I have completed 3 weeks on the phones after training. It has been a challenge. I’m still learning a lot, but am starting to feel more comfortable. I need to get a bit faster and multitask better. My sister, brother-in-law and my mother have all gotten full time jobs as well. Now everyone is so busy. Today is my day off. I work Tuesday through Saturday.  I am going to church and then straight to the Seattle Opera to see Cosi Fan Tutti. Mom and I have season tickets. I just renewed for next year last week. It will be a very exciting season- La Boheme, Der Rosencavalier, and Don Giovanni are the main attractions. This is just a short update because I have been starting to miss writing and having a little homestead of my own in cyberspace. I don’t honestly know how often I will keep up with updates. I’m still experiencing time management issues with my full-time schedule. Taking it one day at a time…

October 04, 2005

To Do Lists Rule My Life

To Do:

* Finish and send e-mails to long neglected friends

* Plan Sunday school Music: 12-20 core songs

* Work on Educational Counselor application for a local community college

* Make networking phone calls

* Homework:
      Master Application – due October 10
      News Article – due October 11

* Order new checks from bank

* Deposit unemployment check

* Order business cards (or decide to make them) (http://www.vistaprint.com/)

* Practice a few songs on guitar for our graduation celebration

Early morning, I hit the ground running and drink my cup of dark, rich liquid energy. I am learning new things and making friends in class, which is enjoyable and exciting. I will miss them when it is all over. Right now I miss having time to ponder and write; at least tonight I don’t have a meeting to go to or too many chores to do. I am up in my room listening to the History channel and typing by candle light.

Another seasonal change that I didn’t mention last week, there is a new television series. I watched part of  the first episode of HBO’s Rome and was impressed with the cast and quality production values. Unfortunately, the violence and sex are a bit much for me, so I won’t be watching it. Given the historical and cultural source, I should not be surprised at all. I have seen one other new TV show pilot and also the first two episodes of the new season of West Wing, an old favorite. The new show that I saw is Surface. It seems fun and intriguing; in fact I am staying up late tonight just so I can watch an episode that I missed that is being re-aired on the Sci-fi channel. Serendipity, the new Joss Whedon movie, was released last weekend. I saw the trailer early this summer and it looked great. I wanted to see it on Saturday, but was short of time and ambition. I watched Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence on DVD with my brother-in-law instead. The animation in that movie is incredible in detail and color. I have a hard time deciding whether I like the original or the sequel in this series. My brother-in-law likes the story in the second one, but finds the first one more watchable and enjoyable overall.

I am trying to stay healthy, since many people in class and in my family are fighting cold and flu bugs.

September 24, 2005

A Change of Season

Fall is here, announcing itself in the crisp evening air. BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and Sunday school started two weeks ago. I’ve been in school now for three weeks. It has been years since I’ve helped with Sunday school, but now I’m co-teaching 1st and 2nd grade and leading the songs. I’ve always liked fall. By the end of the summer I was ready to get back to class. In college it was especially exciting because everyone had gone different places and done different things over the summer; there were lots of stories to catch up on. Starting new classes was always intriguing, too. I went to the bookstore and found all my books, then brought them home to browse and preview. The table of contents, chapter headings, charts, and pictures formed a landscape map of an unfamiliar, undiscovered country.

I can’t believe that Rita is hitting the same area as Katrina. It is very hard to understand all the suffering and destruction. We are telling the story of Noah and the Ark tomorrow to the children.  Some people are saying that this is God’s fault or that he is causing this to punish people for bad behavior. If that was the case, the punishment would not be limited to one area. The whole earth would be destroyed because there are all kinds of people doing all kinds of evil everywhere. No person is completely innocent. God does allow things to happen, though. Perhaps this is a sign of global warming and the damage we have done to the environment.  Who can say the reason why? Right now I don’t think it matters; people are in desperate need. Being unemployed, I haven’t been able to donate money. I have been considering what I can do. I can donate blood. I can give clothes. I can knit hats and scarves. I can give my time to an organization that is helping. I haven’t taken any action yet, but I will. I must.

We have a homework assignment over this weekend to list and analyze the “good experiences” we have had in our lives, from as early as we can remember. Anything we have done that did well, invested ourselves in, and were proud of the results. That has been an interesting and encouraging exercise. I was surprised as I looked over the list. I have never thought of myself as a particularly brave or risk-taking person. My Dad taught me to think carefully and be cautious, and I generally follow that example. I also have anxieties and fears in certain situations, as everyone does. As I looked over the list, I was surprised to see that I have done many things that were risky. Most of them were small risks, but they are not insignificant because they prepared me for larger ones. I never imagined as an insecure teenager that I would ever live or travel in a foreign country. I secretly dreamed of being an exchange student, but was too scared to even apply. But in college, I finally had enough confidence to apply for a summer volunteer program in Mexico. That whet my appetite and gave me my first experience teaching English, leading me to go to Korea almost immediately after graduation. Of course, being my father’s daughter, I researched the job market and working conditions for English teachers overseas before I decided what countries to focus on. Later when I finished my graduate degree, I took a risk in working with a friend of mine on a start-up educational organization. I worked in a low-paying human services job while I spent free time working on a pilot program. We ended up getting a grant and we did a bigger project and got paid some money for it. I still had to work the other job. In the end we didn’t get any further funding and it fizzled out. Needing a better job, I went back to Korea for my second “tour”.  I still felt successful because I was willing to take a risk and we did a good job on our projects. New and challenging things don’t always work out the way you want, but I landed on my feet. It was an exciting learning experience because I developed the whole curriculum from scratch.

I also remembered many physical activities that I really enjoyed and did well. Roller-skating, ice-skating, and bike riding, even dancing. I was not born to be a couch potato. I have the coordination and ability to enjoy healthy physical activity. I just stopped valuing it and developed an attitude. No, I have not been exercising for probably a couple of months. I want to start again, but I don’t quite want it enough yet. Mom has not been exercising, either. She is feeling it. I don’t feel it now, but I know I will eventually.

September 17, 2005

Pretty Fingers...

typing on the keyboard. Buffed, shiny nails and moisturized cuticles. Yes, I gave myself a manicure with a new buffing system (a rectangular buffing block, cuticle oil, scented hand lotion, and a nail file) that I got on special at the mall. It was probably not as amazing a deal as the saleswoman told me, but I’m pleased nonetheless. I can see my reflection in the super-gloss shine. It’s all a part of dressing for success, right? I also got a set for Mom as a birthday gift. I think she’ll really like it. She has the best nails in the family because they are strong and grow very nicely. People ask her if they are real or acrylic. She doesn’t have the patience to paint them regularly and doesn’t like the fact that polish chips after several days. This is an easy to maintain and impossible to ruin option. No waiting for polish to dry or getting sheet imprints if all the layers of varnish (base coat, color, and protective top coat) haven’t dried well enough before you go to sleep. I also won’t be saying any of these phrases, “Can you pick that up for me, I just did my nails?” or, “Arghh, I just ruined my nail!”

I haven’t had the patience for all that for the last couple of years, so I haven’t done anything with them for a while. I have in the past spent lots of time and money on polish to do my own manicures. Other times I have been a regular manicure patron. My favorite manicurist ever was a man at a salon in Korea who gave the best hand massages. One special memory is when my sister and I gave each other pedicures on the night before her wedding. What color did we use? OPI’s “I’m Not Really A Waitress”, a really vivid red with a bit of shimmer. Light bulb flash! I need to get a job writing names for OPI’s colors! I think I just solved my career dilemma! They have the most fun naming their colors. I wonder if they really do have that as a full-time job. Maybe it is just one project that their copywriters do. I would still sign up.  

I thought that I would never get the list of things done that I had to do today. I’ve made big progress on everything, though. Several things needed to be gathered and prepared for Sunday school in the morning. Yes, I’m volunteering this year. I haven’t done Sunday school for a long time, but the week of Vacation Bible School was a lot of fun. I have a teaching partner, which is good because I don’t want to do it alone. It is less work and more fun to have another adult in the room. It is also required for safety reasons.

Yesterday I went to the job fair at the local mall, which was announced in my class last week. I thought it would be a good opportunity to practice interviewing and networking. I spent the morning printing out copies of resumes, reference contacts, and even some writing samples.  It’s best to be prepared because you never know what businesses and schools might be there. It was a bustling event, with a whopping 4 companies participating. There was an insurance company, a toy store, a direct sales (at home parties) company, and one more that I forgot because it was so completely uninteresting. The best part of the 10 minutes that I lingered there was getting a free hand massage with mango lotion at the direct sales table. They sell home spa and skin care products. That mango lotion was luscious, reminding me of the mango body butter that I had several years ago from the Body Shoppe.  I got a catalogue so that when I have a job and money I can place orders when I want to. It was a very fruitful afternoon.