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My computer resurrected itself somehow. I just poked the on button in passing because I needed something from the desk anyway and it turned on.

I'd been writing along on the laptop since not-poland is saved to Dropbox anyway, but the laptop is a pain in the ass. The keyboard's really worn out and the battery doesn't work, and the poor thing is afflicted with Vista so it has bad habits.

I'm thinking when I go to Prague I want something to take with me. Depending on finances and whether it's still available, I'll probably just give in and accept Emma's hand-me-down laptop even though it is a Mac. But Frank is happy with his Nexus 7 and I was thinking that since there's a new one coming out in July the price for used Nexus 7s might come down a lot in June, and you can get a case for it that has a reasonable keyboard built into it, and that and a couple other inexpensive accessories look like it becomes a decent thing to travel with . . .

I don't know.

On another front, I snagged a bunch of my friend's really old seeds and planted them today. I've had decent luck with old seeds, we'll see.

And on another front . . . I found a message on my machine which I do not know how old it is, about an interview for a teacher position with UCSC childcare. I called back and left a message, front-loading the information about being out of the country for half the summer. I applied for that job at least six months ago . . .
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- for some reason it delights me to discover that I will be in Prague on Jan Hus Day (July 6)

- it's premature to say more, but it's really likely I'll be working by the end of next week

- they built some really cool minimalist statuary at the Highway Nine end of the levee: they are exercise equipment. Some of them have moving parts and others are various kinds of bars to pull yourself around on. They are beautiful to look at and fun to use. I tried a couple of them today (as many as Truffle had patience for) and I got a little light-headed (motion sickness?) but they were actually quite fun and only hcallenging enough.

- I filled out the Army of Women questionnaire for breast cancer research and I am not happy with how I answered some of the questions. I answered that my health limits various activies "a little" but what I wanted to say was "my health doesn't really limit my acitivities but it makes me think about them really hard and it sometimes makes things uncomfortable"  Also sometimes they gave you radio buttons when ticky boxes would have been better -- as to why I'm not using birth control, for example. And it was surprisingly moving to fill out the consequences of all my pregnancies.

- I skipped two weeks of reading report, but I like doing it, so here it is again:

Recently read: Madeleine Kamman's Savoie which is a travelogue and cookbook, and some book about Rebetika which was sitting in my dad's stuff in xeroxed form

Reading: (continuing the dad's bookshelf project): Francisco Garcia Lorca, In the Green Morning: Memories of Federico: Hanif Kureishi, The Balck Album: Steven Feld, Sound and Sentiment: Birds, Weeping, Poetics, and Song in Kaluli Expression (another instance of how Making Up Improbable Culture is the New Guinea national sport), and re-reading The Cheese and the Worms by Carlo Ginsburg.  Why yes, I am reading four books at once. I thought I'd stopped that nonsense. But none of these have grabbed me in a way that makes me want to just read page after page until it's finished.

Will be reading: I don't know, some random books or other.

- - writing: it's getting there. Really, really getting there. The war is over, Yanek's getting reunited with people one by one, he;s going to meet the trees soon. But I'm going to have so much work to do in the revision to get this set up better, because I look at it now and it's not set up properly at all. This is because when I started this story it was going to be a different thing entirely. It was kind of a romance at first and now it's not at all.
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. . . today I was told not to bother applying for the children's center permit, as I do not need it to get hired. No, I should wait and take the two administration classes I need to qualify for the site director's license, because all the licenses cost the same: I can always "just teach" with the admin license: and the state funding for continuing education is higher for people with higher licenses.

Okay.

Both of the jobs I am most likely to get one of would allow me to take night classes at the community college for the first time in a long time. (If you work closing shift in a center that is primarily a child care center and therefore leave at five-thirty or six, it is next to impossible to get to a class that starts at six or six-thirty on the other side of the county). The admin classes are given during night shift.

The jobs and my likelihood of getting them keep morphing, so there will be no specifics here until I have one of them in hand.  Suffice to say that all the jobs I'm paying serious attention to are the kind I like to do.

On another front: peas and lettuce soup turned out . . . not bad, exactly, but bland, even with all the herbs I put in, and iceberg lettuce should cook much much longer than butter lettuce, actually longer than cabbage. I may try something like it again, but not soon, as I have almost a gallon of this stuff left to get through. The whey part of the soup is actually pretty nice, as weird as that sounds. I mentioned I might have use for more sour milk and the world has told me there may be more sour milk in my future. The ricotta I made, I think I will use in making a lasagne-like concoction based on the half a butternut squash in the fridge. ut not until after I eat up most of this damned pea soup and the rest of the garbanzos and lentils.

I missed Gray Bears due to an interview but it doesn't matter: the fridge is full of vegetables, so I can easily wait. I am some months behind in some of my bills, but the mortgage gets paid and I have more free veggies than I can casually eat, so I guess it's okay that it's taking a while to get a job.
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So it turns out my credential isn't what I thought it was.

I've had these surprises before.


It's largely my own fault.  Back in the day when I was first taking Early Childhood Education classes, I took all the required classes but I stopped short of applying for the permit, because it wasn't actually required by law and it was very expensive and I made so little money. Then I went and got a teacher's credential, which I cleared and I keep up to date. 

Then I went back into early childhood, and I set out to buy my permit, and I was told that I didn't have to, because between the units and the teaching credential I was "deemed to hold" a preschool permit.

I should stop and add here that when I was getting my early childhood units there were no infant classes. Now I am supposed to have some small number of infant-toddler units which are exceedingly difficult to get because all the classes are impacted, the night classes start before I get off work, etc., but I still hold out hope I'll be able to complete them at some point because I am in fact an infant-toddler specialist by experience and on-the-job training (and I trained directly under Magda Gerber back in the day), and it's ridiculous for me not to have the official recognition when it's something like two units in the way.

Anyway, just now I found out that the "deemed to hold" letters are obsolete and have been obsolete for years.  And also: when you look at my teaching crdedential online, it says that it covers preschool through 12th grade, but this only applies in contexts outside the licensed preschool, because an entirely different agency -- Social Services -- gets involved in the licensed preschool, and they have different regulations.

So I need to get a new permit.

The good news is really weird.  Apparently, I am more likely to qualify for a Site Supervisor permit than a Teacher's permit. However, the Site Supervisor permit will allow me to work as a teacher.

In a little bit, I will be off to get my transcripts. my papers from my old job, and a flyer from the County Office of Education. I have an interview on Thursday with an outfit that has union representation and two sites near my house, though I'm not sure I want this job right now when I am planning to leave for a month or six weeks this summer.

oh stuff

Nov. 28th, 2012 01:50 pm
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In no order, of importance or chronology

1. Last physical therapy appointment yesterday. I can do so much more than I could a year ago, and my physical therapist gave me a few even harder things to do. I'm still working on loosening the muscles and flexibility and strength, but I'm also working on balance and stability too.

2. I have an interview Friday for a job that pays 175% of what my old one did. It's a lot more work, including things that are hard for me (a lot of deadlines, and a lot of conversational Spanish), but it's good work.  My housemate does the same work, and she's overwhelmed, but she's been moving and also dealing with some other personal stuff. Also, the job has insurance benefits.

2a. There's a job to apply to in Bonny Doon. That's actually worse than Scotts Valley. Anyway, it's half-time. It could end up costing me more in transportation than it pays in wages. (There's a story as to why there's a bunchof those names up there, having to do with a guy named Scott, but I never remember the details)

3. As for Nano, I think I will get my fallback goal done: I'll get to the end of the battlefield stuff. I planned to get to the end of the draft, but this has been really, really difficult, and I have been doing more research and problem solving than word piling.

3a. the last third of the book keeps getting more complicated . . .

4. Irreproducible recipes:

Steamed broccoli, shirataki (noodles made from tofu, very nice if you're going low glycemic), tomato sauce, cheese, heat it all up and there you go.  Irreproducible because the particular tomato sauce is made of sad elements in the fridge.  Hint: two anise seeds is more than a quart of tomato sauce can support without large amounts of other things in it. You'll be balancing flavors for hours until you give up and say it's good enough to eat.  I thought Italian sausage has anise in it, so it would be nice in a sauce too? But it was wrong. Anyway, I did prevail and I am eating this now.

5. (or 1a?) I have something to wear to the interview, because at Thanksgiving I snaggled up some of my stepmother's clothes.
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. . . the one I'm looking at sounds suspiciously like the people who just fired me . . .

wouldn't that be embarrassing to somebody?
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early head start home visitor

ucsc (childcare) teacher I (still needs cover letter, will finish when I get back from walking the dog)

there is nothing else
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We have a yearly tradition of walking to the pumpkin patch a few blocks away and getting all the children in the center a tiny pumpkin.  In past years this also involved a really odd storytelling couple who looked so corny you couldn't believe they knew what they were doing, but they did, and the preschool children at least got quite a lot of of it.  but this year the storytellers moved to a pmpkin patch which is too far away, and we just went to the same one without storytellers and it was fine.

Seriously, it's a really fun time to take twenty or so children to a pumpkin patch. The babies of course are equally interested in the dirt and rocks as they are in the pumpkins, and the toddlers mostly want to run around, and the preschoolers want to climb on the decommissioned tractor and mess with the wagons. The adults, of course, want photographs.  My favorite is going to be one of the series where I had like six children all trying to sit on me at once because I was holding a baby sister (no, they were not all trying to sit on me because I am that awesome, though me being that awesome of course has a bearing on it).

And then we came back and it was the quietest nap time ever.  Really.  The kids who always fight going to sleep didn't, and the oens who usually wake up screaming after half an hour woke up serene (mostly). There were two kids who cried for a bit when they woke up.  One was an almost-three who also wanted a diaper all afternoon -- she was positive that she didn't want underwear, she seemed almost frightened of it: I figured that something in the nightmare that woke her up sapped her of her confidence for the rest of the day, and we found her a diaper, and she was fine. This was her third trip to the pumpkin patch, by the way. I have a picture of her at eight months pointing to her name on the cribs that we used in the teen program back then.  Actually, I have a jillion pictures of her doing baby pre-literacy things.

on another front, I am beign saved, once again, from my own depressive, lazy, work-avoiding nature by the arrival of my friend Bonnie.  I have a weekend to get my bedroom ready for Shukuntula to move in. I had a month and a half, but I squandered it. And Bonnie is here to help me! And I have acquired enough mental health to let her.

on yet another front, tonight Truffle decided to take her battered toy corgi for a walk.  She held that thing in her mouth for the whole walk, which was the version that goes around two blocks -- that is, six blocks linear (I tried to get her to go farther, but she had a specific itinerary in mind.) She didn't do much but cart that toy around, so I imagine I'll be washing the tile floor by the back door in the morning.  She's taken things on walks before, but always dropped them after a block or so.

Boom

Sep. 26th, 2012 09:11 pm
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Dropped the boom on Yanek. Now he just has to flop around a bit before he's marching away with the other "recruits." The chapter will end in drum training camp, which I cannot find any references for so I'm making it up whole cloth.  So glad this is a fantasy. I figure they drum and drum and drum, mostly.

On another front, I witnessed the most amazing tantrums today.  We think the child in question is having tooth and tummy discomfort, but all we know is he was doing the back flop and the kick and lash and screaming. The most amazing part was when I had laid him gently on the floor to keep him from launching roughly there off my lap.  He put up his hands -- like he wanted me to pull him back up, which is not unusual -- but as soon as he got th8em, he pulled himself half up and tried to launch himself as hard as he could on the floor.  I stopped him, making his descent softer, but it made him even angrier.  Later he was still doing it when we were outside (he stopped long enough to eat snack, at least) and he threw himself backwards in the sandbox: while he was ltying there, he threw sand in his own face.

Tyke is seventeen months old.  He has a lot of new words, but apparently not enough.

On another front, I can carry a box of groceries up a short flight of stairs putting one foot in front of the other like a normal person now, instead of having to step and place the right foot on the same level as the left before proceeding. Nine months of physical therapy! And also, I can squat to clean a thing on the ground, instead of getting down on my butt.  Nine months! Of physical therapy! MRI in late December, pre-op early January, first surgery late January or early February.  I have to log some paid work time between the surgeries or I have to pay a thousand dollars a month COBRA payment to keep my insurance, so the second surgery will be in mid-May.

My friend who has had a different type of knee replacement says the thing to watch out for is not going back to work too early.  Can't be helped. But at least at my job I have a boss and coworkers who will help me do whatever is the least wrong we can figure out.

On yet another front, I spent last night listening to Warren Zevon on youtube and tonight listening to the COon Creek Girls.  It's kind of hard to find much of them.  And you have to get the early stuff, and not "The New Coon Creek Girls" or videos with (TRIO) in the description.  After a while it's inevitable: you must ditch the girls and start listening to Grayson and Whittier.
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today's thousand words will probably be pared down to five hundred or less later since the conversation between Sasha and Yanek leads away from the conflict instead of towards it like I planned.
I don't know. I have a story conflict of my own: Sasha cares more and more for Yanek, while Yanek doesn't particularly notice Sasha. I thought I'd have Sasha, as he gets older, trying to make things better for Yanek and being frustrated because Yanek is never grateful or even all that friendly. But it's hard to have Sasha do things for Yanek without them interacting, and whenever they interact, they either have a premature meltdown that I have to go back and prune, or they have too much of a reconciliation, and I have to go back and prune that. It was easier when Sasha was still a child(he's only a young teen now, but he has more agency because he's the oldest son of an autocrat) and when the two of them spent less time together and Yanek could thoughtlessly snub Sasha more effectively.

I have reached the stage in the project where I have to stop and outline things. Jo Walton was saying that she doesn't outline, except when it's required, in which case she outlines after she writes. Other people write an outline and stick to it. Me, I usually have what looks like an abortive novella to work from, and then sometime after the halfway point everything goes wild and I have to stop and outline the last half of the book, bit by bit.

Continuity is becoming a problem too, as I have Better Ideas for the later story that demand Different Things in the earlier story. I have a great big revision note I added to the chapter before this, which changes a number of prominent things in the chapter and possibly in earlier chapters. I put it at the beginning of the file, in maroon letters, yellow highlighting, all caps, and bolded. Yeah, I was that afraid of disturbing continuity glitches arising from this chapter I'm working on now.

Anyway. I am on the way to work today: tonight I am to give a guest appearance at somebody else's parenting class for parents in drug and alcohol recovery. I'm supposed to spend a half houjr showing them stuff about music with babies. Next week it's infant massage.
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So that character that turned up and threatened to do terrible things to my protagonist and my story? It turns out he's just foreshadowing. What a relief.

And . . . I know what to do with the rest of the chapter. And the next chapter is all about the turning point thing that the story has been leading up to till this point. And the chapter after that is when I have to suck it up and write one or two battlefield scenes, and somehow get across a bunch of stuff that has to happen offscreen since my intention to write omniscient fell by the way and I seem to be writing from only Yanek's point of view and more or less in tightish third (though the grip loosens now and then). Originally, when I had this planned out in omniscient, it would have been very easy to follow the Duke and the little Duke and the sister around while they had their various adventures. Now I need to save some of that for later revelations, and figure out how to hint at other parts of it indirectly, or how to have Yanek hear about some of it (but since most of it is stuff that he really can't know about until later and still preserve the integrity of the story, that last category is very small).

I think I caught all the missed letters, by the way, but the notable thing about this laptop handed down from Frank is that it does not register every tap on the keyboard, especially certain keys, so if you see a bit of garble that doesn't have enough letters in it to make sense, that's just because I didn't catch it and beat the keyboard into submission. The letters most likely to go missing are a, i, l, s, n, and t. Not all the most common letters, but they are all very common ones.

On another front -- had my first parent conference in this job that wasn't with a teen parent. It went well.

And also -- I'm riding the bike to work, like I said I would, not every day, but some days. And some days I walk, and some days I drive there and walk back. And yesterday because I came home at lunch to print out some stuff, I drove to work, walked back, and rode my bike there and back. I still need a wider seat and higher handlebars, but the distance is so small that it's not a fatal problem.

I don't see how we can go much longer without rain and not call it a drought.
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No writing done yesterday: I went to the center and moved boxes and furniture and then I was in too much pain. But this morning I am better. I only wrote 1300 words, which barely puts me at 50K, but that's all right, because I figured out how to accomplish a lot of things in those words. Those new characters that interloped on Saturday are earning their keep, so that's all right. And anyway, they will keep me from having to introduce other characters lter, since they have replaced them all.

Found while trying to get some terminology straight: Lamber Simnel, who sounds rather like the outline for a boy's-love story in which the protagonist eventually finds love and peace of mind with a falconer's apprentice.

Going in early because my coworker has a sick kid.

And lastly, the Prague contingent has determined that they're going to marry at some point in the discernible future, which will apparently involve taking out a license there and eventually throwing parties wherever necessary. As Frank says: it's an excuse for a pie.

And I say: good enough. One big wedding was enough for me.
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2100+ words (so therefore 3 800+ for the chapter 32 000+ for the novel). Didn't accomplish what I thought I would, but I did accomplish something I wasn't sure how to: something important, too. Gave the reason for the Duke's relatives to dislike Yanek, and therefore a reason for the Duke to shelter him from the relatives. Got them to the country, got a few personality things straightened out. Got Sasha to demonstrate his social graces. Got some description of the godawful late winter landscape. Accidentally created a recurring character of a newsboy glimpsed from the car two chapters ago, by glimpsing him again on the way out of the city.

I am not Mr. Earbrass.

I don't have to go to work right now but I do have to clean: the furnace man is coming this morning (which is why I have a substitute for the morning). I have been reluctant to turn the thermostat even on because the furnace has as fr as I can recall never been cleaned. I'm not sure how long we've had it but it's more than ten years, I think. Yesterday one of my co-workers really needed to leave early for personal reasons and stayed later but still we couldn't get them out until more than two hours after they wanted to leave, because of a high number of children staying later.
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I was really tired but couldn't put myself in bed till ten-thirty last night so I planned to sleep in till 6:30 and only write a thousand words. Instead I slept till almost 6, had a slow start of fooling around, and wrote about 1700 words for chapter total of 4500 and I guess a book total of 20 700. Took me an hour and a half to get those words on the screen, so I'm still running an overall average of about 1200 words an hour. Why do I care? because I'm finally interested in organizing my writing time so that it is efficient. I know that more words isn't always better. But I figure I write better when I'm revising anyway, usually, so the key is to have a good bit to revise. And of course, it's properly backed up to the latest word.

A feature of Googledocs is that you can upload a file repeatedly and it doesn't overwrite, you get different copies distinguished by the timestamp. This is good for tracking changes in different versions. I don't care to do that, so when I upload a file and it's the same chapter as the one before it, I manually delete the old version right away so I don't have to go reading timestamps later.

I found a stationary bike on craigslist and made an offer. I used to be sort of set against stationary bikes -- I figured if I was pedaling, why not go somewhere? But I need to be able to set the thing to way way easy at first to gently stretch the tight ligaments before I am interested in strengthening the muscles even. So I'm following the doctor's orders to the letter as much as I can. Yesterday my knee was aching when I left work, and that is just really really dumb. I spend the most of my day moving round from one sitting position to another, it's not that hard. I don't sit still and I don't run and I know how to lift (and anyway the heaviest child in the infant-toddler group is probably forty pounds, and she can climb the diaper ladder on her own: she doesn't really need to be lifted at all).

On another front, I complained that the articles in the "Young Child" magazine which are labelled as being about infants and toddles sound like they're being written about advanced three-year-olds, and my boss said they probably are because there are hardly any programs like ours which deal with infants per se, and the label "toddlers" includes three-year-olds.

That means . . . nobody's writing professional articles about what we do. Hmm . . .

day 5

Nov. 5th, 2011 08:44 am
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This might get boring for other people but it is the original purpose of me getting a journal in the first place.

Anyway: 1800+ words. Chapter total:3600+. Novel total: 9200.

Accomplished today: the ponies got named, and the scope of Yanek's hurt over the ponies much better done, and Yanek's day running around being anywhere but where the ponies are when the riding tutor comes, and the handyman's search for him.

Yanek has not got a pony yet. He might not, the way things are shaping up. But the little Duke has named his pony after Yanek -- in honor of Yanek, though Yanek thinks it's anything but an honor.

Also, indicated the ethnic diversity of the villages.

Tomorrow: finish up the pony thing. Monday: Ludmilla's microscope.


Also, I have a sore throat and no voice and I'm supposed to go to a training that starts in twenty minutes. I wonder if it will be okay to be late.

day 4

Nov. 4th, 2011 08:36 am
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1750+ words

Accomplished: Sasha gets a pony! Yanek, being ten, is jealous. Also, Sasha rats Yanek out for jumping out o a hayloft, but there's no consequence because the ponies have arrived.

I don't know anything about ponies, it appears, despite the fact that I did some research. In 1900 would the ponies have walked ten miles from where they were bought or would hey have been brought in a trailer, given that (1) the Duke is a tentative modernizer and likes automobiles and (2)this is not a well-paved or advanced country?

I will figure that out later. I will also have to gloss over details in pony care and children's riding lessons though these will be plot points. How did I fail to do that research in the last two months when I knew this was coming up?

How did it get to be eight-thirty? I had to take a nap, yes, but it was seven-forty-five a moment ago before I started browsing for scrubs to wear to work.

I'm going to the doctor today! I am an insured woman! Soon I will have a referral for my leg pain! And answers for my skin things!

Tomorrow: Yanek also gets a pony. It's an afterthought, but it's a pony.

And after that, Yanek goes to the Duchal palace and is mistaken for a serving boy, which is not the part of being there that is the most traumatic.
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I have written 9.8K words n the cheat outline since September 10: which is respectable for this stage, I think, especially considering that I have been advancing my bagatelle stories at the same time (I hope to conclude the 2 current bagatelles before November 1st. I think there's something wrong with me, that I'm writing a light-romance novella about a person who has had erectile dysfunction his entire adult life, and the other one involves a threesome which pivots on one of the characters having ridiculously low self-esteem -- oh, that one is supposed to be a romantic comedy -- no wonder nobody ever believes me when I say that about my writing).

I was just looking at the bookshelves last night and I noticed that I seem to have succeeded in giving the nice fellow's military history books away. I thought they were still up there collecting dust. That means I'm going to have to struggle with finding out stuff. Anyway, I've outlined 24 chapters out of probably less than 30 depending on how the last bit sorts itself out. My experience is that as I work on a novel-length thing the chapters tend to increase a bit especially in the beginning and middle, but I've been working on this in my head for a long time and I think most of the increase will be in the second half of the book. Also, I noticed that I've been using a lot less flashback material in the later parts of the book and I am not sure that is a good thing for my sense of the rhythm and tone of the book, so when I go over the outline again in a week or two I will have to evaluate that.

I continue to accumulate highlighted questions for research at an accelerating pace.

Favorite highlighted questions so far:

*Look up army organization. Choose silliest for Empire
*What citified knowledge? Probably political
*Figure out dashing young officer
*Mutualism in Plants
*Military telegraphy
*Prisoner exchange
*Ethnic cleansing as described by LanguageHat
*Ponies

There's apparently another weird little Polish horse, the Konik, which I thought was its own (sub)species but it turns out all horses belong to equus ferus caballus. Isn't it at least a little bit dd that a domestic animal has as part of its name the word for "wild?"

I do not have time to gush about the upturn my career has taken, or why it doesn't matter that it won't increase my earnings, or the very exciting event the day before yesterday where I got to watch a kid conquer crawling in the course of the day, step by step. Later, maybe.
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I collected about two liters of blackberries along the Arroyo Seco path by University Terrace Park today, and came home to make jam.  I almost lost it from spacing out.  But the jam, while too thick, is not burnt.  There's burnt jam on the bottom of the pot, but the rest of the jam tastes good (not amazing).  I think I should make another batch with the berries from Emma's house.  Also, since I am not scheduled at work this week, I think I should get strawberries and make strawberry jam for Emma.  And that will be pretty much it for jam.  Well, and lemon marmalade.  I'm not making apricot jam this year, because except for the strawberries I have a policy of not buying fruit for jam this year.  I've used wild plums and blackberries, and I can use my own lemons.  I decided that jam is not the best use for the Satsuma plums.  I have plenty of other projects for those.  And for the apples.  I used to think home canned applesauce was kind of a waste, but I ate all my applesauce last year and wished I had made more, so I suppose I will make more this year.  If the apples and pears at Emma's house are any good this year -- last year they weren't, and I don't know why -- I can do something with them too. 

I also have figs coming along, but Zack will account for all of them in desserts he makes for the Wednesday night game meeting at Connie's house. I have been dropping by there for a half-hour or so after I walk the dogs at Ocean View park, which has a little hillside path leading out of the dog area.  It overlooks the river and the Boardwalk on the other side, which is quaint and nostalgic for me because Ted and I used to live near there for a few years and when we worked at the Boardwalk we used to go there by crossing the railroad trestle near there.  You're not supposed to take your dogs offleash on the little hilly path but I had gone there several times and met several other offleash dogs there before I even saw the sign.  So I ignore it.


We spent two hours at the berrying today.  The dogs actually got bored after a while and came and stood around me with eager expressions -- like, Can we go do something else now? But when other dogs came along the path they were happy.  I think that's the only place in Santa Cruz city where you can take your dog offleash and get in a mile-long walk.

I'm killing time because I'm getting Emma at about one o'clock in the morning and I didn't put myself to bed earlier and now there's no point.    She's essentially working a double shift this week, and by double I mean double. I did that once -- I worked spinach season at the freezer plant and ten hour days at the small leather goods factory.  I did it because it seemed romantic and I thought it would only be for three weeks because spinach season was really short.  But it went on for more like two months and I was really wiped.  And then one year when I didn't get a teaching job and I was subbing half-heartedly and we were pretty strapped Ted worked as a manager at a fast food joint at the same tinme as he was a cook at the University.  He did it for a few months and then I put my foot down, because while he was doing that I couldn't get a real job because there were the kids and all the stuff around the house to take care of and he was exhausted all the time and I had to take care of him, too.  Most people who moonlight for a long time take on a part-time job for their second job, not a full-time one.  But Emma's only doing this for a week, fortunately. 

I always think in ":we" instead of "I" when I think about doing things or going places, even though "we" has to mean me and the dog(s) nowadays.  Sometimes I remind myself of that Star Trek Next Generation episode where they captured a single Borg soldier and he was completely freaked out about being separated from his pod or whatever it was called. 

I'm all sticky from handling the blackberries. 

Another project I want to do is to take cuttings from the prune tree in Emma's yard, because those are very nice and you don't see that variety around here.  Most of the fruit in Emma's yard is suffering horribly.  I suppose it's from neglect but I have seen neglected fruit trees that had better and more abundant fruit.  I don't see any sign of disease: just mostly empty branches, and last year most of them except for the plums and blackberries did not develop much flavor.

She's ready!  I'm going to get her now.

ritaxis: (Default)
One of our teachers (whose position is assistant teacher) is going to take a regular teacher position at another school. It sounds to me like she'll be taking a net loss in her income and benefits, since the new position is part time, but she wants that teacher title.

I'm taking the assistant teacher position that she's leaving, which entails a drop in pay over what I was making before the layoff (but not what I was making during the independent contractor period). Also, part of the desperate attempt to stay afloat after Even Start was defunded was that everybody got cut from 8 hours to six and a half, which means, altogether, when you add the cut in hours and the cut in hourly together, I'm taking about an eighteen percent pay cut. But I'll get my benefits back in a while (I have to go through the whole rehire thing with the ninety days till benefits thing, I think). There's some program with the state called "workshare" which allows unemployment benefits for people who work at places where everyone's hours are cut, which I am not eligible for because at the time that the program was set up for the employees at our center, I was not on the payroll, being an independent contractor at the time.

The overall cut in hours doesn't bother me as much for myself as for everybody -- because I personally do not like eight hour days and will cut my own hours whenever we're low in numbers and I don't have a big project to do. So I shouldn't complain about that part. And the cut in hours was done to avoid a complete loss of health coverage. Well, it wasn't billed as a complete loss. There was some fiddle-faddle about a health care account, into which the center would put a minuscule amount of money and the employees could put whatever they wanted on top of that, and that would be expected to cover all your health costs. Right. Fortunately, my boss's boss told the board that was unacceptable. Our insurance is going to erode a lot, but that's mostly from the insurance companies, which are raising the costs and cutting the coverages across the board. We're changing over to some HMO that makes my boss grimace to name it, but even though I haven't seen the details I know it could be a lot worse.

The smallest cut that any of our workers is taking is a ten percent cut in wages. If you ask me, this constitutes a raise in taxes -- since our wages are public money, paid for out of our own pockets, and it has been taken away from us to fund wars, torture, giveaways to wealthy criminals, and luxuries for their mouthpieces.

I read that the sticking point for the republicans in the house of representatives in voting for John Boehner's vindictive mess was that there was money in it for Pell grants. Pell grants are the thing that allows poor kids to go to college. It's just breathtakingly mean to object to them. But every single dog-damned detail of the whole mess, from the Tea Party ravvings to the Koch Brothers to Obama, is breathtakingly mean and evil Avedon Carol said something a while back -- I wish I remember her exact words, but she said that all this hardship and degradation isn't an accidental byproduct: it's what they want us to have.

When it wasn't so wildly flagrant, when it wasn't so maniacally destructive of everything of any use or beauty in western civilization, you might have been able to say it was because they hadn't learned anything about economics or politics in the last two centuries and they sincerely thought they were going to improve their profits this way. But they've gone so far beyond what could improve profits in any sustainable way that I am forced to conclude that they really don't believe they will be here in ten years and it doesn't matter how bad it gets because the obscene inflation of their wealth at the expense of the rest of us is all there is.

It's a pyramid scheme on a global scale, is what it is. We're all paying everything back to the tip of the pyramid: even our great-grandchildren are.

But, anyway, as of August 15, dog willing and the creek don't rise, I will have a regular job again. It will be in the toddler room instead of the infant room, which has its advantages and disadvantages.

And next week Emma's working fifteen hour days for six days straight, last I heard: and Frank is coming on Wednesday to spend most of August here. So life goes on.

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