Still Second Class

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So, Leon and I have been together for 11 years. Comingled finances for about 10 1/2 years. Leases, loans, credit cards, everything. Thankfully, he’s always had jobs that offer domestic partner benefits.

Now, he’s unemployed and I have a job. I can get insurance through my employer. The insurance, while decent, is through two different providers, one for medical and one for dental and vision. I was filling out my applications for them today and got to the question about marital status.

Marital Status: Single // Married // Divorced

It’s always a tricky question. We’re not legally married in any state in the country (something that *will* change this year, dammit). If I have to get in on the fucking lawsuit against the state of Ohio to get my 14th amendment rights, I will. In, as my friend Zach says, a cocaine heartbeat.

Let me be perfectly clear about this: none of this is the fault of my employer or the insurance agent. It is completely the fault of the insurance providers. If I was married to a woman, this wouldn’t even be an issue. If I was a single parent, this wouldn’t be an issue.

For those of you who can’t seem to see that this is about creating a second-class distinction, you’re part of the problem. And that makes you one of the biggest fucking douchebags on the entire planet. Those of you who can’t seem to fight for anyone who’s not just like you, same pile of douchebaggery.

I’m so goddamned angry right now that I’m surprised that my hair isn’t on fire. There will be so much pixel death tonight. SO MUCH.


My Insecurity — Let Me Show It To You

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eeyore1

It’s never pretty when one does far too much navel-gazing. I never feel adequate enough. It bothers me a great deal.

I have an amazing husband. Most days, I don’t know why he bothers with me.

I have a great job and fantastic co-workers. It’s an entire office full of knit-worthy people. Seriously. Every single person in this office, I would knit something for. Every day, I feel like I frustrate them and let them down.

I’m very good at my chosen profession. I can not clue in to how to do this job well. And I don’t even know if I’m good enough to keep it. Six months in, I should have some confidence in what I do. Not so much.

I feel like a giant fraud in my faith most days. I know what works for me, but is it fair to try and teach others when I don’t know what works for them? I don’t know what to do anymore.

I haven’t been running in weeks, and I have a 15K this weekend and it’s going to take me 2.5 hours to finish it (it does have an awesome goodie bag, though, so that’s something). I’m somewhat alright with that, but damn, I want to do it faster. I can’t even seem to finish the goddamned Couch-to-5K program and I think I’m going to run a half-marathon in two years? High much?

I feel very, very adrift. Again. Still. And the shittiest part of all of this is that I know that it’s not me with the doubts. I mean, they’re my doubts, but right now, they just feel completely unmanageable. My seasonal affective disorder didn’t hit until January or February last winter, and it was super light for me. This year, it’s already hitting, and it’s hitting hard as fuck.

Two songs have been on repeat in my brain today: Mama’s Broken Heart by Miranda Lambert (“Go on and hide your crazy”) and If You’re Going Through Hell by Rodney Atkins. And now it’s adding Morning Comes by Delta Rae.

I need more light in my world. I need more peace in my world. I need more me in my world. And gods above and below, I need it soon. I hate feeling like I’m losing my shit. I’m terrible at coping with the way the world moves around me, and it’s getting worse as I get older. A year on a remote plot of land with just learning how to be me again. That wouldn’t suck.


Frustrations

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So, I’m job hunting; we’re all aware of that. I use whatever websites I can to find jobs. There are a zillion postings on Craigslist for which I’m qualified. However, I rarely, if ever, apply for any of them, for the simple reason that whoever posted them wrote a terrible job posting.

If you want qualified people to apply for your job opening, you can’t hamstring your applicants. It’s all well and good to tell them what they’ll be doing if chosen for the job. However, you have to — need to — tell them for whom they’ll be working. In Columbus, Ohio, you’re most likely not the CIA, FBI, NSA, or one of the other acronym agencies. You don’t have to be super secret about it. More details are better when it comes to these postings. People want to know to whom they’re sending their resumes. It helps job seekers to tailor their cover letters.

And hiring managers? Really, wouldn’t you rather take the time going through qualified people than taking the time to go through three times as many people who aren’t, simply because the job posting is written poorly?


Workin’ it

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Three times in the last week, I’ve made it to the gym. GO ME. I’m pretty damn happy about this. I’m doing a strength-foundation workout that I found on RealJock (link is so very not safe for work; you’ve been warned). It’s kicking my ass. Tonight, I added an extra set on most of the exercises I’ve been doing and holy shit, do I hurt. I’m gonna sleep VERY well. I’ve also been keeping up (and, well, surpassing, because I’m an over-achiever sometimes) the Morning Mile Challenge from NerdFitness, and it feels awesome. I’m not always doing it in the morning, but I’m getting at least one mile in a day. Kinda proud of myself.

Still working on getting my food choices smarter, and that’s still not easy. I’m kind of a picky eater, and some foods are more challenging for me than others, but I’m doing what I can. I have asparagus that I’m going to make this weekend, I hope, and we have some orange cauliflower that we’ll be mashing up, too. Kinda looking forward to them. There are ways to make this easier and better, and I will do my damnedest to find them and make this happen, because I need to make it happen.

I finished a pair of cabled fingerless mitts this week, and I have a pair of kicky red cabled gloves on my needles to finish next. It’s kind of nice that I don’t have gigantic paws; most glove patterns are made for women’s medium or large hands, so I’m pretty safe with most of them. I hate sizing patterns, mostly because I suck at it.

Still nothing on the job front, but my unemployment kicked in this week. That will help until I get something. Help, because it’s not a lot. It’s not supposed to be a living, and I can’t wait until I can tell them to stop it. In the meantime, I’ve been working on a church program for Mom (link to Mom’s blog, which needs to be updated, hint hint hint), and I’m pretty proud of the way it turned out. I used my Mad Office Skillz, and it’s pretty awesome. I also have a hefty data entry project on which I’m working, and I’m designing some office documents for a friend’s new business. Those are heavily on the agenda for next week, I think.

Still reading Evolutionary Witchcraft with JaguarMoon. I’m not as enamored of it as I want to be. It’s nice to see another path, but I don’t know that that path is for me. I’m a little skeptical of it, but I think that has more to do with it being out of a book. I deal better with the experiential side of it, and the Feri rituals I’ve seen or of which I’ve been a part have been amazing. I’m pretty sure that that’s what the difference is for me.

I’m also still working my way through the Wheel of Time series. I’m on book five, The Fires of Heaven, right now. The final book, book fourteen, A Memory of Light, comes out in January, and I hope to be caught up by sometime in February or March so that I can get the final book on my Kindle and finish the series. I know that there are a lot of people who pooh-pooh this series because it’s so freakin’ wordy and loooooooooong, but I bough the first one, The Eye of the World, when I was working at Jack & Jill in high school, and it’s been with me ever since. It’s one of those things that I give my sister Sarah shit about, because there is crayon ALL THROUGH my copy of EotW, thanks to her little four-year-old self. No, she’ll never live it down. She knows why she doesn’t get to borrow my books. I don’t care that she’s almost 28. No.

People keep asking how I am. My standard answer is, “I’ve been better. I’ve also been worse, and I’m getting better.” The anger is mostly gone, though it spikes every once in a while, but that’s to be expected, I think. At some point, it will be gone, with little flares of bitterness and cranky-face. I’ll move on to better things, I’m sure, and life will move itself inexorably forward. It will take me along, as it always does. I will bounce back. And until I’m bouncing again, there are video games, there are rockin’ hot workouts, and there are good times with good friends.

And I will take this life, and I will make it my bitch.

So mote it be.


Over-reaching

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Perhaps once a week was too much? Who knows. I just know that I’m not blogging, and it’s not like I’ve been doing anything else with my time. Job hunting sucks in a good economy; in this one, it’s horrible. I don’t want to go back to temping, but we can’t survive on just Leon’s paycheck. We’ll see what happens.

Applied for a job that … if I get it? I’m gonna be BUSY. And they’re willing to pay the good money for the good skills. It still blows my mind how… inhuman… people are when it comes to salaries. Seriously, $25K a year is feeble for my skills and experience. I’m easily worth $35K, but I’ll work for less, simply because it’s what needs to be done. I defy anyone with a BA to do the job I do with an AAS and be better at it, just because of their degree focus. You tell me: would you rather have some 25-year-old with a BA in Art History as an administrative assistant, or would you rather have a 30-something with a degree in Business Office Applications and 15 years of experience as an admin? Who do you  honestly think is going to be more qualified? Is the difference in the letters after your name that big of a deal? Yes, for some people who can’t see past those letters, it is. For the right employer, no, those letters don’t matter.

You know the worst part about that? Even if I tried to go to retail and work for $8-9 an hour, they wouldn’t hire me, because they would assume that the minute I found a job that fit my skill sets that I’d leave. I can’t say they’d be wrong, but I’m a damn good worker, and I get my work done.

Fuck, I hate office politics. I don’t think it’s so much to ask for that everyone in an office act like a grown-up and not some paranoid cheerleader.

We’ll see what comes down the pike. It needs to be good, and it needs to be soon. As it is, Yule is looking a little bleak. So that’ll be fun.


Strike

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Early this morning, the union of drivers and mechanics for COTA (Central Ohio Transportation Authority) went on strike. For a large percentage of Columbus, this means nothing. For a lot of people, though, such as me, it means a great deal.

We have one car. We live in Whitehall. Leon works in Dublin, so he drives. I work downtown. We live a block from Main Street, which is a major bus lane. The 2 runs from Reynoldsburg to downtown and then turns north to Crossroads, just outside the 270 loop. That’s how I get to work.

By car, downtown is about a 15-minute drive. By bus, it takes me about 40 minutes. I like taking public transportation, to be honest. It gives me time in the morning to finish waking up, to read, to listen to podcasts, to knit, and to get myself in a work mindset. In the afternoon, it lets me shrug off any feelings from work, and to put the work mindset to bed until the next morning. Driving doesn’t do that for me.

This morning, though, I didn’t have that option. I knew that the strike was happening, as I’d woken up about 3:30 this morning to go to the bathroom, so I checked the websites for COTA and the Dispatch. I knew that a tentative agreement had been reached, but I also knew that the strike was going to happen. There is a union meeting set up for 6:00 this evening, where I hope that the agreement gets accepted.

I won’t go anywhere near saying that I’m anything even remotely even an armchair expert when it comes to these things. I have heard everything from “the union is a bunch of greedy thugs!” to “COTA management is a bunch of overpaid fatcats who don’t care about the people they serve!” As with most things, I’m sure that the reality is somewhere in between. COTA drivers make a CRAPLOAD more than I do; their top level payrate is three times what I make. The COTA CEO reportedly got a $15,000 pay raise over the former CEO (which, to be clear, is nearly what I make in a year).

Personally, I think that most of the people involved are COMPLETELY out of touch with what happens in the rank-and-file of the rest of the country. I know that I don’t make nearly as much as I could, but that’s my doing; I work in the non-profit world, and I knew what I was getting into. However, a significant number of the people who use COTA probably average right around what I make, and another big chunk probably don’t make much more than I do.

Yeah, this is an incredible inconvenience for a large number of people, no matter on which side of the issue you fall. The comments on the Dispatch articles and the articles on Columbus Underground have been ragingly vitriolic (which should continually remind me not to go into the comments). My biggest beef with all of this is that every Dispatch article revolves around the fact that, last year, COTA transported 29,000 people to Red, White, and Boom (the fireworks display for the Fourth of July in Columbus), and boo hoo, those people might have to drive, park WAY FAR AWAY, and not be able to walk their fat asses and their entire brood of piglets so far to the fireworks! Makes me wanna punch reporters in the throat. There are bigger issues, like the thousands of people who use COTA every day to get to and from work and who can’t afford to just “call a cab,” like some people keep suggesting on the forums.

I know I’m lucky enough to be able to ride in with Leon. Not everyone has that luxury.


Adrift

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It seems like I only get inspired to post when I’m moody. I don’t like that, to be honest. I’m not always moody. I can get that way, but I’m not always Eeyore.

I just feel so adrift from everyone and everything. Work doesn’t suck, but it’s a little… uncomfortable? Insecure? Marking time? I don’t even know how to describe it, but no, I don’t really want to go into it.

Leon’s always awesome. As much shit as I give him and as much shit as he puts up with from me (which are not necessarily the same thing), I know he’s always there and always strong for me.

I just don’t feel like I have any passion for anything lately. I said this to someone last week. She said that she doesn’t believe that, that I do have passion, I just need to figure out what it is and how to tap into it to make it work with and for me. I don’t know that she’ll ever read this, but I also don’t think she knows how much that meant to me. And I know fully well that she knows just how difficult that task is as well.

I’m almost 40 years old. I should have a direction, shouldn’t I? I should know by now what I want to do and be when I grow up, right? I mean, I’m evidently very good at being a priest, but I’m not Christian, so there’s not really any way for me to turn that into a career. I’m a decent writer, but I don’t know if I have enough to say to turn that into a career, either.

You know what I’d love to turn into a career? Ridiculously wealthy international playboy. How do I get that job?

In all seriousness, I still think I need to check into our insurance to see if I can’t get a therapist. I don’t know what kind of help someone of that line will be, but I can’t imagine it would hurt. There are just so many positive changes that need to be made in my life that it’s all a bit overwhelming, to be honest. So many things I can see that could change, so much trepidation, so little wherewithal to make the changes.

Maybe a run would help. Maybe I should give that a try. I’ve noticed that my head clears out and my mood improves, even with the pain I deal with when I run. That’s at least some small part of a positive change I can make in my life.


[OCT] Farm Stands!

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(Originally posted over on the Ohio Civic Tourism blog. Sometimes, I get to do awesome fun stuff for work. This is my original before it had to be cut down.)

Aside from honoring our fallen war heroes, Memorial Day is traditionally the beginning of summer. The beginning of summer means different things to different people: if you’re a kid, it means school is (or is almost) over; if you’re a boater, it’s time to head to the lake; if you’re a camper, the wilderness is calling; if you’re a motorcyclist, you get to take your road beast out of storage. For Leon and me, California transplants to Columbus five years ago, it’s the start of Farm Stand and Farmers Market Season!

This weekend, we decided to head south out of the city on 23. We have friends who live near Chillicothe, and on the drive down there (usually in the late fall, winter, and spring) we pass several farm stands and always say, “We need to visit those this summer!” We finally did. Fully aware that this is the beginning of the season, we were in no way under any illusions that there would be mountains of fresh, Ohio-grown produce. Keep that in mind as you read.

Our first stop was barely outside of the 270 loop. For a lot of Columbus residents, it seems that this is akin to saying, “We put on diving helmets and went to the moon.” There are a lot of great things about the city, but there are a whole lot more things to do within about an hour or two drive from Columbus. Just south of where 23 meets 317, about 10 minutes south of Columbus, there is a place near Scioto Downs called Lombardi’s. (Side note: between the junction and Lombardi’s is a place called Fox Run. It’s a tiny little shack of a place that their sign claims is “featuring Go-Go Dancers.” Leon looked at the sign, snorted and said, “More like Went-Went Dancers.”) It’s attached to an ice cream shop, and they carry all manner of sauces, dips, preserves, and dressings, as well as butter, cheese, and sweets. They had some onions and potatoes for sale, but it looks like they will really green things up later in the season.

Our next stop was Peter’s Farm Market. We started seeing more green here, mostly in the form of garden plants and flowers, though inside there were some more veggies for sale. They also had their own line of homemade jams, preserves, sauces, and dressings, but for us, their shining star was their bakery. There was an amazing array of fresh-from-the-oven pies and breads. We picked up small loaves of strawberry bread and blackberry bread, as well as a full-sized loaf of the softest sunflower whole wheat bread I’ve ever felt from a small bakery. We also learned from one of the folks there that the strawberry season, due to the quick rise in heat, will sadly be a little short this year. It seems that the prime time for strawberries is coming very quickly this year and won’t last as long. Get ‘em while they’re good!

Our final stop was Bambi’s Farm Market, who open on May 1 and close up for the season on Halloween. They’re about five minutes north of Circleville, and they were stocked with a great array of produce, most of it imported from climates where the growing season starts earlier. They did, however, have a great selection of local jarred goods and honeys. The produce they did have, though, was at a good price and looked and smelled fantastic.

Farmers markets all over the city started this weekend, and while they’re nice and convenient, sometimes it’s nice to get out of the city as well. There are a ton of places to see within a very short drive of the city. Our adventure – one that will be repeated a few times throughout the summer – was less than a 45-minute drive from our home in Whitehall. These places, and dozens like them in all directions, are closer than you may realize. Check out Local Matters, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and the OSU Extension Service for more possible farm stand possibilities.


A Rarity on Several Fronts

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I don’t (think I) often have existential crises, at least not ones bad enough to warrant talking about them. I’m not so sure about this one.

I feel like I’m not “enough” in a lot of ways, but mostly, lately, it’s been in my career. I’m an administrative assistant, and a damn good one. Is there room for improvement? Of course; anyone who thinks that he or she is perfect at his or her job is an egotistical douchebag who needs therapy. However, I’m very good at what I do.

I feel like I’m not grokking the way “the real world” is running these days. Like I’m going through the motions but I’m not catching the right things at the right time. It’s not necessarily anything that anyone has said or done, really, but just an feeling around the office, like I’m expected to fail or explode or something. I don’t like it, and it’s affecting the way I see the job I do.

What’s shitty about this is that I don’t know if it’s being done on purpose or unconsciously, or if I’m just imagining things. Any of the three is possible and/or probable.

Is this my perfect job? I don’t know. Can I see myself here for a good long time? Yes, if given the chance. There are big changes in office procedure coming up soon (yay, new website! yay, new database!), and I’d like to be here to help affect the changes that inevitably need to be made as well as seeing the effects that come from those changes.

I know I’ve got a big strike against me (in the view of at least one co-worker, and it’s not what you think), but I also don’t feel that strike is necessary for me to do my job. My job is to answer phones, keep the office running smooth, document formatting, database clean-up, represent the office to the best of my ability while not making anyone look bad, and do it all in a timely, awesome manner. For the most part, I feel like I’m doing that.

I’ve got two more months before my six-month review; I guess we’ll see where I am at that point. If this is where I’m supposed to be for a while, I’ll be here. If not, I’m sure the right opportunity will present itself. I just have to have faith that everything will work out the right way.