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(no subject) [Jan. 19th, 2013|04:45 pm]
My dad's dying from lung cancer. He was diagnosed 23 months ago, and he's been doing chemo and radiation. He was on his third round of chemo this past December, and when I went to see him for Christmas he had really declined since I'd last seen him in October. In October he was obviously ill, but he didn't look too different and he was mobile. We were on the roof working on capping the chimneys and he was able to putter about the house. My mom and sister warned me that he had declined before I came out for Christmas. He had lost about 30 lbs in the two months since I'd seen him, and he was bedridden and on morphine. He was hallucinating, moaning in his sleep, wandering the house aimlessly at times... well, if you've seen anyone go through it, you know what it looks like. He had just finished up chemo and they were waiting for a couple weeks to pass before another PET scan to see if it worked.

PET scan was 1/11, and we found out on 1/15 that it had not worked. At that time, the doctor estimated 2-4 months. The hospice nurse told my aunt she thought it was more like 2-4 weeks. My mom told me this on Friday, and I had to leave work. (Basically my manager sent me home when I was crying while explaining what was going on.) My mom asked me to come out next weekend - one way ticket, and pack for an indefinite stay. She called me this morning and told me that my dad is noticeably declining day to day, and she wants me to come out Tuesday. I bought a plane ticket for Monday, which gives me time to prepare for an extended absence (people to watch my cats, etc.)

So that's where we're at.

Emotions you ask? What are they like? Well, I'm not sure. For one, I've prepared for this for a long time. I know lung cancer doesn't have a lot of success stories. And when the cancer spread to his brain last December, I knew that meant about 4 more months, mean average (if the internet can be trusted). So I've accepted it to a degree. In fact, I often find myself thinking in terms of just me, my sister, and my mom. Then I'm surprised to remember my dad is still with us.

My sister and my cousin (who lived with us for awhile in the 90s) are devastated, barely able to function. My mom and I are holding strong. But we're very similar in that we put on a brave face and then fall to pieces in private.

And I'm having that same struggle everyone with a dying loved one has ever had - the conflict between wanting him to live forever, and wanting him to pass soon so he's not in pain and everything can return to normal, or a close semblance of normalcy. My guess is that he'll hold on until my cousin and I get there (my sister arrived today) and then he'll go soon after that. But who knows.

I told my boss I'd be out indefinitely, and I got FMLA paperwork all filed.

Right now I'm losing myself in small chores and tasks. Trying to clean my house, gather tax paperwork, etc. It's such a cliche to say 'take it one day at a time' but that's the only rational advice in this situation.
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(no subject) [Apr. 29th, 2012|12:48 pm]
Apparently I only write when I'm miserable. Usually that's while unemployed, but right now my job is making me so miserable I've found myself opening old Word docs and pounding away at the keyboard. I always thought it was the free-time aspect of being unemployed that led me to write, but now I see it's just the depression part. It's good to know how your own brain works.

I decided to start rewriting the book I began back in 1999. It's always haunted me, and I want to see it complete. I've written about 50K words of it previously, but this time I'll kick it out. I've abandoned the last one I was writing. I realized I couldn't work on it anymore because I had no passion for it, and that was affecting the quality of writing. No idea what will become of it. But I have no delusions of my first few books being of publishable quality anyway, so I'm not going to stress over it. I want to write because there's a story that needs to get out, not because I want it to pay my bills. That's backwards.

Job StuffCollapse )
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(no subject) [Nov. 12th, 2011|06:52 pm]
I've run over here from Facebook to hide. I feel like no one likes me today. I'm sure it's all in my head, but I've learned to let these thing run their course.

Last night was a party for a girlfriend of a friend. I was invited but didn't go cuz I was having anxiety and feeling anti-social. I knew I'd regret not going, but I also knew I'd regret going if I did. I hate when there's no right answer.

Worked on projects around my house today. I've been doing the trim in my bedroom for what seems months. What may be months. Actually, yeah, it's been months. Wow. It's not as simple as just painting the trim. My house is 110 years old, and woodwork gets pretty beat up. So there is a lot of sanding, filling with wood filler, sanding, filling some more, sanding, priming and then painting going on. And with the massive amounts of trim in my room, it takes forever. Really eager to get this project done with so I an move on to fixing my kitchen ceiling.

Still working at Extend Health in a seasonal position. I have no clue how long that will last. We may have a decent number of clients lined up for the off season, which means I'd have a good shot at being kept on. We'll see. Meanwhile, I feel as if I should be job hunting.

Not much else. This is why I don't update this thing much. Time keeps on ticking, but nothing changes.
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(no subject) [May. 24th, 2011|03:20 pm]

Two months since the last update. Oh how the days go by.

I've been working a temp job as a CSR for online banking. It almost-but-not-quite pays the bills, but it beats unemployment. However, it puts me in an awkward position. My friends, who used to report to me at eBay, is my boss here. He helped me get the job, so I feel I owe him a positive attitude and good performance. Since he recommended me, he put his name on the line. He's also a new supervisor, so he's still in that proving himself stage.

Of course, since the job is below my job experience and ability, my attitude isn't great. It's incredibly boring, and I tend not to be the most positive person in the best of times. Also, he knows that I'm looking for another job pretty actively. That puts me in the aforementioned awkward position. On the one hand, I need to act like I'm staying here, on the other hand I'm obviously not staying at this job long if I can help it.

One would think that there's no problem in announcing that one is looking for another job. But I guess it hurts morale, or something. He says he wants people who want to be here. I obviously don't want to be here. I think he'd like me to discuss it out loud less than I do.

I interviewed again at Comcast yesterday. I didn't get a job there when I interviewed back in February, which necessitated my selling my 401K and getting this temp job. Well a manager I worked with at both eBay and the Census got a job there as a Sr. Manager, and she was able to get me another interview. It was another second round interview with two managers. I don't know if I did better on it than I did on the first one, but with a different set of managers, the same interview could have different results. And maybe my manager-friend will pull some strings for me.

All I can do now is wait and see.

Lastly, my dad is done his chemo/radiation. Now they're just waiting while his body absorbs all the dead tissue from the tumor. Then they'll do the MRIs again and re-evaluate. The chance that the cancer was completely eradicated is slim, but I'm still hoping. I hope he doesn't have to do more chemo. That was really hard on him. You may have heard it said, "If the cancer doesn't kill you, the chemo will." I can believe it.
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(no subject) [Mar. 27th, 2011|07:05 pm]
Life has normalized a bit. I cashed out my 401K, so I have money in the bank. And tomorrow I start a temp job at a piddly $15 an hour. But that will pay the bills so I don't have to use up all the 401K money. It's nice to be able to breath again, even if it does mean I'll be working phone support for the first time in my life. I somehow managed to avoid that before now.

But I'll be working with two of my friends from the Census, one of whom helped me get the job. That will be fun. And it will reduce the stress a tad.

Spring has finally sprung. This past winter was the longest, and hardest of my life. It was hard enough getting through the shit I went through, but the lack of sunlight just made it that much worse. It's one thing being jobless, but quite another when you're both jobless and housebound. At least going for a bike ride or walk in the park will help with the stress, but I didn't have those options. Nasty things, Utah winters.
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(no subject) [Mar. 11th, 2011|04:37 pm]

Life is in dire straits at the moment, specifically on two fronts: money and dad's health.

1) Money. I'm cashing out my 401K so I can pay my bills for the next few months while I continue to job search. I don't know why I'm having trouble finding a job this go-round, but I am. I don't seem to have a problem getting interviews, but I'm apparently blowing those. Oh well. I can't pretend to be something I'm not, and if I'm not what they're looking for, that's out of my control. I can just keep applying and interviewing. Eventually something will stick. Right now I'm just very tense that my money from my 401K gets to me before April mortgage is due.

2) Dad's health. He was diagnosed with lung cancer about three weeks ago. He started his chemo on Monday, and he starts his radiation therapy either yesterday or today. I need to call my parents up and see how that went. We're a bit stressed about this, to say the least. The type of cancer he has doesn't have a high rate of being cured, but they think they can control it so it just becomes this manageable thing he has for the rest of his life. The plan now is chemo once a week for 4 weeks, and then radiation 5 days a week for 6 weeks. Then re-evaluate at that time.

I spent last weekend in South Carolina with my parents and sister. My sister bought my ticket so we could all be together when my dad got additional test results back last Friday. It was good to be together. It was almost as if nothing were wrong. Oh well. I'm just focused on being optimistic right now.

I wish these two things weren't going on at the same time. I can barely handle one, much less both. I'm so tense that I either can't sleep at all, or sleep for 12 hours at a time. I wake up and fall asleep at all hours of the day. I can't eat. I've lost about 8 pounds in the past couple weeks. So I guess that's a plus. :-) Just one more bad thing happens, I should be able to get my weight back down to 160 lbs.

And I've been way too stressed for writing. Lame excuse, I know. Writers should write come hell or high water right? Well what about hell AND high water?
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(no subject) [Jan. 31st, 2011|08:01 pm]
I may have an interview coming up. I found out that one of the guys who was laid off with me from eBay was working at a place I had applied to, so I asked him to pass on my resume to HR. He did, but he wrote back to warn me that they were "a little concerned that your resume looks like you jump around a lot." But he did say they were going to bring me in for an interview. He gets props for giving me the heads up on this so I can address it in an interview. But really, my last job was seasonal, and the job before that was temporary. (Hello people, the US Census is not an ongoing job.) Any any case, I'll just do my best during the interview unlike the AmEx one I had last summer which I totally blew. That's the only job I've interviewed for and not gotten out of my past 6 interviews. But the guy who was interviewing me was a dick. He kept checking his Blackberry while asking me questions, and he just rubbed me the wrong way. And he would have been the one I would have reported to. So I soured on that job during the interview and didn't give it 100%. But I'm going to go for this one full tilt just as soon as I hear from them.

On the writing front, the book is up to 116K words. They're mostly crappy words, but there are some good ones. Overall the book reads as amateurish to me, and that's okay since it is being written by an amateur. I'm just impatient. The question is, when I get a job will I continue to write or will I set it aside as I always do?

Edit: I just came up with this brilliant plan to make a living at writing. I might need to flesh it out more. But here's what I have so far:

1) finish book, 2) get agent, 3) get published, 4) make money
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(no subject) [Jan. 16th, 2011|08:46 pm]
So, per my previous post, I was one of the unlucky ones who got let go at work when the project was over. No hanging on til the next project for me. On the one hand it was completely expected. When I was hired I was told it would probably run into early January then end. So nothing I can complain about there. On the other hand, they did pick up another contract and were going to be keeping some people on through June. And in spite of being the best supervisor there (no, really) I wasn't kept on. It makes me gag a little to think of who did get to stay on. Again and again I learn that in the corporate world, brown nosing is more important than doing your job well. I should just take it as another sign that I really don't belong in that world.

I'm used to being jobless. Somehow I always get by. Last week I got a call from one of the managers I worked with at the Census (and I also knew her from a previous job). She had just started working at the call center where we did the Census again, and she was looking to hire a couple supervisors in the near future. She was putting out feelers to see who might be interested and at what salary. I told her what I made at my last job and that it had just ended. She told me she probably wouldn't be able to meet that range but she'd give me a call. Even if the pay is shit, it will beat what I get on unemployment, and I can keep looking in the meanwhile with less pressure.

On the writing front, I did a re-read of what I had written so far (~105K words), then went back to my outline and tweaked it a bit. Turns out I didn't need to tear it apart and rebuild it as much as I had thought. Through the first 13 chapters or so, I had written them chronologically. Then I started jumping around as POVs wandered apart to do their own thing. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to pull it all back together, but no big problems so far. I did realize today as I write that the current chapter, um not resolves but brings to the next point, a plot point I had introduced only last chapter. Not sure about that pacing, but I'm going to finish the draft first before worrying more about it.

The outline is really helping though. Now I can go, "write this scene. Okay, now write this scene." And it just sorta builds together.

Okay, my TV shows are done downloading. Time to watch me some Simpsons and Family Guy. Then another 1500 words before bed.
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(no subject) [Jan. 4th, 2011|08:57 pm]

Hi world. So still at the seasonal job for at least a few more days. Change is in the air, so I could be jobless soon. Or I could be there through June. Waiting to find out...

While I resist most things that reek of mass conformity, one think I do jump on with the crowd is the New Years Resolution. They are a good idea, and since my birthday is also in January, it's a double new start for me.

This year's list:

Write more.
Eat better.

Yeah, that's it. Let's keep it simple, shall we?

I wrote 1000+ words last night, which is good. I just need to make it a habit. But baby steps. I'm suffering from a lack of imagination I think. Too many straightforward plots and predictable events. Problem is that I'm not much interested in writing plot. I love the characters and themes and such. I know! I should write Literature!

It all makes sense now.

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(no subject) [Nov. 28th, 2010|10:13 pm]


Roughly a month left in my current job. Things are up in the air about what will happen at the end of December. But in any case, I need to be looking for another job. There are aspects of working temp jobs that I really like - less office politics, the ability to walk away and forget about it, low stress - but there are also a few that I really dislike - lower pay, and having to find another job every 6 months or so.

Oh well. I keep telling myself that it's just a paycheck while I work on other things that are more important. The problem is that I'm a lazy ass and don't write. And I really have no excuse. I get home from work around 4:30 every day, so I have 5 solid hours open with nothing to do when I should be writing. If I were really dedicated to making this work, I'd be doing it. No excuses. So what's my problem?

Well, that inner editor is a bitch, for one thing. It keeps trying to convince me that first drafts have to be GOOD. No, no, I say. A first draft is a lump of words to be molded into shape later. Just get a rough story down to start. If only I could heed my own advice. Or even better, Hemingway's advice:

“The first draft of anything is shit”

So at this point, I haven't finished any draft. I keep starting new ones of new stories. I know if I'd get through a first draft in a few months before the shine wears off I'd probably stick with it. But after a year or two, it's dull and lifeless. I'm amazed by authors like Patrick Rothfuss who spent 10 years on his first draft. That's more dedication than I'll ever have. I just want to tell little stories, not change the world.

Hm, again more advice I should tell myself often.

So back to work, this shift has been killing me. I have to be up at 5:30am to be at work at 6:50. I've been late most days over the past couple weeks. It's hard to be motivated.

I should be in bed now. It's 10:12, and I need to get up in 7 hours and 18 minutes. I NEVER get a full 8 hours of sleep on weekdays any more.

But I think I'll write a couple pages first. The only question is, which draft do I work on?
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