June 25, 2007
Creativity is Dead
I have spent a large portion of this morning attempting to figure out "what comes next" for me. Here's the dilemma in a nut shell:

I have a job for next year teaching at the same local Boston college that I taught at last year. There is a slight pay increase, but not much. My status as "adjunct" requires that I obtain a second and third job in order to pay my bills and rent, thus not relying on the beneficence of the Greater Bank of Grandpa and Grandma for a loan to pay one or the other.

HOWEVER... I hate the northeast and I specifically hate Boston. Therefore, I am currently searching for a Job Elsewhere.

I've applied to two separate jobs in my hometown with the idea in mind that I can live at home with the moms (in upstate NY), save some money, and then relocate in a year. I'd also like to start a retirement fund and saving for a house.

I'm also applying to jobs in Georgia (specifically Savannah, which I have been in love with since reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil). Here's where it gets tricky. I'm applying to some college comp positions but am also debating the merits of getting provisional certification to teach high school English. The college comp jobs are by and large adjunct positions which, despite the lower cost of living in Savannah, will require a second job (see above conundrum).

Furthermore, I want to get (more) serious about my writing which means that if I have more than one job (as I do now) I won't have time to write because no matter how much I tell myself to get up early or stay up late, I just can't do it. I'm too wiped out.

So the problem lies in this: I am in my upper 20s. I'd even say late 20s. I am officially much MUCH closers to 30 than I am 20. I don't own a house or any sort of residential property. I am sick of renting. I don't have a retirement fund. I want to retire with a sense of security and at an early enough age that I can still do things without having to worry about broken hips and incontinence. I feel as though I've reached a point in my life where it is literally sh*t or get off the pot. Now or never. Do or die. I want to keep on teaching--I LOVE teaching. And I love the freedom of being able to design your own class that is encouraged at the collegiate level. But how long can I stumble around as an adjunct getting paid pennies on the dollar to teach two or three classes at time, hoping that I'll go full time so I can get benefits and a pension plan, meanwhile slinging drinks or books or whatever at a second job just to make ends meet while simultaneously wishing and hoping that an article here or there gets published and ultimately a book so that the administration will take me seriously enough to hire me as a full time creative writing professor? When is enough, enough? When do I give up hope?

Or do I just pursue a different tract? Do I get certification to teach high school, thus giving up (to a degree) the creativity associated with building one's own class for a secure paycheck?

Truth be told, this has weighed on my mind for a long long time now. Someone close to me told me "You'd be perfect, and much more marketable as a partner, if you just made more money." Which brings up a whole other set of worries--am I not a good choice of partner because of lack of earning potential in light of my advancing age (which, granted, I don't think that late 20s is old. In fact, I think I'm just getting started!)? I like to think that I'm bohemian and free spirited, the kind of person who just rolls with the punches and hopes that she lands on her feet. I thought this made me (to a degree) a spontaneous and fun person, one of those people who flirt with danger or something. Someone with varied interests who doesn't want to be boxed into a desk job pushing paper and crunching numbers all day. But what if that's not the case and I'm merely a flighty in terms of job security (and thus a bad partner) am I doomed to spend my days by myself? And is this even important? What says that a woman has to have a partner to be secure? Why can't a person be spontaneous, creative, and set financially? And why does part of being a secure woman include having a "secure" partner? And at what point did we, as a culture, stop revering the creative people, the mothers and fathers of literature and art and free thought? What happened to the time when the voices of a generation were recorded on paper, or in song, or even on film and that these voices made a difference and that difference was worth more than making some top millionaires list? At what point did we collectively decide that we must squash all creativity under the thumb of the all mighty American dollar? At what point did we stop celebrating these creative people and their role as our social consciousness?

posted by Tina at 12:00 PM
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June 21, 2007
On Learning that the One True Love of Your Life is Getting Engaged
Ok... fine, a bit dramatic. He wasn't necessarily "the one" but he was the first. And now he's bought a house (a 300K house at that) with someone who isn't me.

We haven't been together since we were 19, but some small part of me always thought... and now he's buying a house with someone he calls "my everything." My. Everything.

The part that really gets me is that he knew I'd be a little disappointed and upset, and because of that he felt he couldn't talk to me. He tells me that he thinks about me and wonders "what if..." and that messes with his head.

I'm happy for him, I truly sincerely am. I have always wished him the best. I hope that his everything treats him like he deserves, and I hope that he grows fat and old and happy with lots of family around him that he loves and adores and love and adore him.

Selfishly, I hope we still mean something to each other. I'm naive enough to think that maybe we'll be friends, the desperately important to each other kind of friends. That we'll talk on the phone all of the time, he'll invite me to the wedding, our families will summer together, our children play together. I'm old enough and wise enough to know that is probably not the case.

I haven't thought about him in awhile, but all of the sudden I miss him.
posted by Tina at 10:12 PM
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June 19, 2007
On Work Environments
So... I currently *work* (sorta...) three jobs. Or at least I will once school starts up in the fall. I work as an office manager (aka glorified lackey), a bookseller, and (in case you missed it) a college instructor. Three very different working environments will three very different amounts of pay.

Job #1: Local College Instructor
I love this job. It feeds into my obsessive compulsive nature as well as my controlling tendencies. I mean, seriously, what could be better for a controlling obsessive compulsive than to have 12-18 teenagers under her power? I am the ultimate authority, the Queen of my Domain, all hail the Queen. Plus, no obnoxious co-workers.

Job #2: Glorified Office Monkey
I detest this job. I hate that I am not in control. I hate that the annoying marketing department can give me projects to do. Mostly these projects consist of sh*t that is too tedious for them to bother themselves with. If it involves spending more than five minutes looking something up on line, it falls under that nebulous category of "other" on my job description. Most of the time all I do is send FedEx, sort mail, answer the phone (which is usually the wrong number), and order supplies. Woopie.

Job #3: Book Jockey at a Local Bookstore
I like this job. I like the people I work with. They're a varied group of people with varied interests who love books. I've started to develop favorites, who are becoming friends. The customers are kinda meh, but we power through that. Mostly I like the perks... 33% off all purchases. Good thing I bought a new bookshelf.

The job I hate pays the most. The job(s) I love pay the least. I wish I could own and work in a bookstore while teaching as an associate professor. Then I'd be happy, making money, and my own boss with summers off. I could take vacations! God I miss vacations.

Speaking of... I'm *supposed* to go to Vegas with a good college friend in August. However, said friend is considering the merits of buying a condo in Florida, even though said friend is going to NYC next year for grad school. Am trying to be psyched for friend but really would like a vacation. I haven't had a vacation for like two years, and that vaca doesn't even count cause it was more of a "save my mental health" situation as I was broken hearted over a long term relationship disintegration. I needed to be physically far, far away from the source of my heartache. So yeah, I NEED this vacation.

Tags: ,
posted by Tina at 8:12 PM
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June 15, 2007
Thoughts on Women's Health Care
I just finished this article in Self magazine about the state of women's health care, specifically women's reproductive health care. By and large, the article is pretty fairly written as it examines both sides of the issue before making a pronouncement. Nonetheless it was disturbing to read this article and realize how limited women's options are vs. men and how NOT on the side of women our state level governments are. It saddens and angers me to think that potentially if I were raped, not only would I be denied the morning after pill but I could also be judged and degraded based on someone else's actions. No doctor, or human being for that matter, has the right to judge my level of smartness, capability or what have you based on a violent act perpetrated by someone else. Nor, for that matter, do they have the right to deny me care of any kind based on their personal beliefs. I think it is highly irresponsible of our state governments to create legislature that has gigantic loop holes that work against the very people governments are supposed to protect. At the end of the day, doctors provide a service. If they can't stomach what that service entails, then the decent human thing to do is to make sure that I, the patient am aware that there are options available to me. Doctors should not be allowed to make a decision for my health just because the state "says they can."

Bet your bottom dollar that if a man had an issue with his reproductive organs, he's sure as hell get the help needed. Or, conversely, if he wanted to make sure no more of his little swimmers jumped ship, no doctor would tell him he couldn't.

Any way, blogged more extensively about the article/this topic over on The Hathor Legacy.
posted by Tina at 3:58 PM
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June 13, 2007
The Dark Side
I am *attempting* to switch over to the new version of Blogger. Here's hoping it works!

Edit to Add
Ok... so what I know about blogging and html and all that crap, I've pretty much taught myself. I consider myself pretty intelligent and competent when it comes to all things internets. Yet... no. I WANT to switch over to the new version of Blogger, but don't want to lose my template. I like my template. It's calming and soothing and just goes with the theme of karma. But it's not compatible with the new version of Blogger. And I'm too lazy to spend the next couple of hours trying to figure out how to fix it so that it is compatible. I'd much rather wait for the designer to do that. But I want to use new Blogger... PHOOEY!

Also... am trying to figure out this labels thing that Blogger has now. Are they Technorati tags? Are they just a nifty way for Blogger to organize your posts? Whats the deal? Do I need both Technorati tags and Blogger labels? Any thoughts? Bueller?...Bueller?

I'm also trying to increase traffic to my blog. If anyone out there has any friendly advice, feel free to jump in. I want to keep this blog light and funny and personable, but I also want visitor. Love me, damnit!

posted by Tina at 10:27 AM
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I Try Not To Let It Bother Me But...
So I'm a little wiped out right now with the two jobs, and trying to write, and trying to work out (which means I stay up until 2-ish in the morning, get up at 6:30 a.m., work until 9:30 p.m., home around 10:15), I try to catch a few zzz's where I can. Like on the train in the morning. It is mostly quiet, everyone mostly reading their papers, drinking their double non-fat latte mochacino coffee delights and avoiding eye contact. So I figure, hey, what the heck, I'm stuck sitting on this thing for 30-40 minutes, might as well take a nap.


Today there was this man who kept making this weird wet sucking noise, like he was trying to suck some spit in between a gap in his teeth or something. Now, mind you, I didn't notice this sound at first. Until IT WOKE ME UP. A little muddle headed and confused, I blearily looked around with my "I just woke up, don't f*ck with me" face trying to locate the source of the noise. Sure enough its this man standing above me.

Now... by and large I am uber patient with people with mental and physical handicaps. I grew up babysitting for a family that had two autistic kids--one severely autistic, the other high functioning--and they taught me patience, 'cause really, can you get pissed at someone who can't help it? And I'm pretty patient with "normal" people who have weird ticks 'cause God knows I've got a few of them myself. But usually, when said normal person becomes aware that their ticks are impinging on the the rest of us they stop. And this guy didn't look handicapped. In fact, I would go so far as to say he wasn't based on his reading material: The Wall Street Journal. So I figured maybe he just had something stuck and would shortly get it un-stuck.

No freakin' dice. He wetly hoovered the entire way in to town. The. Entire. Way. EVEN after I shot him the look of death, which I KNOW he received as we made eye contact. In fact, after this exchange he moved down the T, but I COULD STILL HEAR HIM. I wanted to stand up and have one of those movie public transportation moments where the crazy lady screams down the length of the train "I CAN STILL HEAR YOU!!!!" but restrained myself. In fact, as I was getting off the T, the man looked at me and sucked in loud and long.

I wanted to smack him.
posted by Tina at 9:34 AM
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June 11, 2007
You Might Have Issues If...
My plant problem is well documented here and here as well as various scattered references throughout my blog. I even wrote Ode to a Tomato Plant as a sort of frustrated love song to a tomato plant that was having problems producing. You could say that I border on obsession...

I recently (as in five minutes ago) purchased these lovelies off of eBay:

All for the super delightful price of $9.47 (including shipping, handling AND tax). And did I mention I get a FREE orchid as well!??!! Dude... at Home Depot one orchid usually costs from $12-$30. (Does happy dance around room, waving arms and shouting "woot! woot!).

Yeah... I might have issues...

posted by Tina at 12:52 PM
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June 10, 2007
Things Better Left Unsaid
How I Imagined the Conversation...

Leaning against the counter in the kitchen, beer in hand. The fan gently blows a strand of hair across her face, he leans over and brushes it out of her eyes.

Girl: So... you're leaving on Tuesday. You excited?
Boy: Yeah, it's a fantastic job and I love D.C.
Girl: (sipping beer and staring at feet) I'll miss you.
Boy: Really?
Girl: You know I've had a crush on you for, like, forever.
Boy: What? Really? Why didn't you say anything?

The two fall passionately into each other's arms, kissing. They vow that the distance between Boston and D.C. means nothing, and that they will fly at least twice a month to see each other.

What Really Happened...

Leaning against the counter in the kitchen, beer in hand. The fan gently blows a strand of hair across her face, he leans over and brushes it out of her eyes.

Girl: So you're leaving on Tuesday, you excited?
Boy: Yeah, it's a fantastic job and I love D.C.
Girl: (knows its her last chance, takes a deep breath and...) You still selling your air conditioner? 'Cause I'll totally take it off your hands.

posted by Tina at 4:14 PM
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June 07, 2007

I'm losing one of my good friends (and occasional crush) this up coming week. He is moving to D.C. to work for this amazing not for profit Rails to Trails which essentially turns old railroad tracks into bike and footpath trails. A majority of the trails connect areas of cities and smaller towns in a manner that encourages commuting via bike or foot. Its a fabulous enterprise as far as I'm concerned and I'm very excited for this friend as he is the first person that I know who will be putting our useless MFA to work (he will be a communications liaison, writing for their website and print journals) and because of that I'm very jealous.

"Losing" this friend has gotten me thinking about how transient the people in our lives are. They come and they go, mere blips on our radar unless we choose to make them more. There are people from high school and college that, at the time, I couldn't imagine my world without. Now, we barely speak to each other and I'm not even upset by that.

I included a picture above from the classic 1931 James Whale version of Frankenstein. In this scene the monster, played by silver screen legend Boris Karloff, befriends a little girl. The two throw flowers into the water, watching them float away, until they run out of buds. Frankenstein, not comprehending the game, picks up the girl and throws her in the water, expecting her to float like the flowers do. However, being more dense then the petals, the girl struggles, sinks, and drowns. The monster is confused and ultimately feels equally bewildered that his new found friend has left him, unsurprised that she has, and a little betrayed.

Truth be told, this is how I have felt about my "friends" for a long time. I am confused that we could mean so much to each other during the time that we spent together, yet mean so little afterwards. I am unsurprised as our friendships slowly dissolve into nothingness. And I am a little betrayed when we don't put more effort into remaining friends.

That being said, I wish my erstwhile crush, fellow Team HOTT team mate and, above all else, friend the best of luck in his endeavors. He deserves nothing less.

posted by Tina at 2:38 AM
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June 01, 2007
Things I've Been Doing and Why I'm Behind
Whew! May flew by like... something that flies by really fast, a run away freight train maybe? Here's what happened:
  1. I finished up my first semester of teaching. I am happy to report that all my students passed, most with mid to high Bs, a few As, and only one C. They loved me so much that across the board I got "review" scores (from the survey my students have to take to access their grades online) higher than a 4 out of 5. You can't see it, but I'm grinning like a fool right now.
  2. I graduated with my MFA in Creative Writing. Suffice to say it was a hectic time that involved balancing family obligations with graduation parties and my work schedule. No idea where to go from here...
  3. I got a second summer job (glorious work as a bookseller at Borders... I get 33% off items purchased, am interested to see how much of my paycheck actually survives).
  4. I turned old, though I don't feel old. My sister, the wonderful being that she is, not only took me out for a night on the town with some of my nearest and dearest Boston friends on the Saturday preceding my birthday, but she managed to put together a surprise party that I almost ruined! How great is she? Seriously, how great?

For my birthday, my mother and middle sister sent me this gorgeous necklace pictured below. It's made from glass beads and real wood and is totally hippy-chic (that prounouced "sheek" as in French for cool):
It is from this fabulous company called World of Good (http://www.worldofgood.com). World of Good, according to their website info page is all about:

creat[ing] opportunities for hundreds of artisan cooperatives around the world to share their best work with you by serving as a bridge to the U.S. retail market. We respectfully assist artisans by providing access to fair wages, safe working conditions and long-term economic sustainability. Learn more about the principles of fair trade. We also re-invest 10% of our profits in the artisan communities through our non-profit partner, the World of Good: Development Organization, a 501(c)(3)focused on strengthening standards for handcrafts in the international fair trade industry and also improving the lives of thousands of artisans through community development projects.

I love this idea of paying local (international) artisans--who I gather from some of the bios I read are by and large impoverished peoples--a fair wage for their work and then bringing it to the U.S. and ALSO re-investing in the community. I saw a lot of this kind of capitalization happening in my travels through India, a lot of "country bumpkins" making indigenous items that tourists just ate up. It was a great way for them to continue to practice a simplistic life, but also make some money. Plus, I'm a littly hippy, attempting this whole "going green" thing and these items TOTALLY feed into that vibe!

In other news, I am now writing book reviews over at Dust Jacket Review (http://www.dustjacketreview.com/). My handle is "tinapickles" if anyone is interested. I don't think the site is up and running yet, but should be in the near future.

I am also working on a few writing projects. I'm still trying to flesh out my novel idea, and I've re-examining a short story that I wrote about a teenage graffiti artist (and then subsequently turned into a script for a class). I'm toying with the idea of turning it into a YA book... we'll see though.

I've made a promise to myself to lose about 8 pounds this month for my sister's wedding. I'm not "fat" or anything like that. Rather, working a desk job since undergraduate graduation has lead me to become soft around the middle, and a little flabby in the arms and back area. Not to toot my own horn, but when I was in college I was in kick ass shape. I fluctuated between 125 and 130, which is an appropriate weight for someone my size and build (5' 6" and athletic with chicken legs). More importantly, I had a gym to go to free of charge which meant I could workout daily and attempted to do so (I cheated a little and considered the nightly dancing done at the bar as a form of workout). I was particularly proud of my arms, shoulders and back--all of which were well defined without being grotesquely muscular. Some how, over the past 6 years, I've let myself go. I've never had a washboard stomach or anything, rather I (used to) have a softly rounded belly bump that, while not obvious, was there and womanly. As of late, I've noticed this bump has begun to blossom into a gut. I don't want a gut. And those arms, shoulders and back muscles I was once so proud of, gone. It's not flabby back there or anything, just not tone. Also, I used to be able to run (on the treadmill) on a .5 to 1 incline at a speed of 6 to 7 for about 45 minutes and feel sweaty but great. These days, I'm lucky if I can jog for 20 without getting winded. So I want to be tone, and trim, and have a small waist again. I've started walking every morning (I suspect that being on my feet for seven hours a day at Borders may help with this) and am going to start jogging AT LEAST once around the Reservoir (about 1.25 miles). I've also come up with a abs routine that if done daily should help with the middle. As for the arms, I'm considering the merits of push-ups and light weights. I also play soccer two days a week, so I figure if I take off one day a week, I should be in (no pun intended) good shape. Wish me luck!

ALSO... wish Team HOT good luck tonight... it's our first game of the summer season!

posted by Tina at 12:34 PM
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