It’s been a while. I’ve been in a funk. My shoe-in job prospect went kablooey. Long story. Not entertaining to read, but it explains my absence. I needed to wait for a better mood to strike lest I bore you all (I flatter myself by assuming there is a “you all” reading this) with my whining.

It’s sort of all-consuming when you’re unemployed. You keep being reminded.

When people talk about their jobs (stupid employed people!)

When rent is due

When you second guess going out and joining the rest of the world because it will probably involve spending money

When you are home on a Thursday afternoon, but everyone is somewhere else (this mythical thing called a workplace)

When you check your e-mail and no one has even bothered to acknowledge receipt of your resume

Yeah – it’s not for me. I’m not laid back enough for this. But here I am, so I tried to come up with some things I am grateful for/happy about today. You know – try and psyche myself up. The idea being that even little things…and maybe especially little things…are what it’s all about.

So…here’s goes:

Apple crisp – I made some the other day and I think another batch is in my very near future…like as soon as I finish this post

Knitting – making something out of a ball of string. Fabulous!

Smidgen (I couldn’t put this one first or I might be labeled a crazy cat lady) – but seriously, a little fur therapy can brighten anyone’s day. And she’s so soft right behind the ears.

Flannel sheets – Feels like 8 degrees outside?…who cares. I’m toasty in my bed!

Sunbeams – I used to live in a basement apartment, and now we face southwest with two big windows in the bedroom. It is pretty awesome. It helps that I can sleep through anything. I cannot go back to the hobbit hole.

….let’s go shopping! Oh wait – I’m unemployed. No shopping for me. To go shopping, I need a job….which means applying. But applying is hard….

This is such a vicious cycle.

Well, at least all this sitting and waiting for callbacks has allowed me to finish up some knitting. No, not that darned February Lady Sweater. But I finished the lace ribbon scarf for me. Not warm, but I feel fabulous wearing it.
Lace ribbon scarf
And a super-fast garter rib scarf for S. I did a little sampler scarf with a half-used skein and let him pick the design he liked best. Unfortunately, the first one he picked, a herringbone scarf from Tangle, was a yarn eater. And the scarf yarn had already been pre-purchased. I actually wasn’t thrilled with this garter rib choice, cause I thought I would be bored out of my skull working on it. But it went so fast that the measuring excitement was good enough. Knitting while watching episodes of House, helped. (S claims they aren’t a complete avoidance of med school, since he learns stuff by watching them diagnose people. uh-huh.)
Garter Rib scarf
And now, I’ve started the Nutkin socks. After some of my Wednesday night knitters gave me a few more double points and pointed out how the pattern made much much sense on 4 needles instead of three, I have been breezing along. I did my first short row heel last night, with a bit of a modification I found on ravelry because I have a large instep. I overdid the modification a wee bit, but it will be fine. I’m using yarn I dyed, and it’s coming out quite nicely. Photo forthcoming.

In other crafty news, I still have a sweater design in my head…so maybe that will be the next knitting project. Though most of the US will be out of sweater weather by the time I finish. And Smidgen needs a fabric-covered catbed. Well, she doesn’t need it, but I took the hood off my big marshmallow coat and she took it over as her bed. So, if I ever want it back, I need to create a replacement to assuage my guilt over taking it away from her. Our pets really do ‘own’ us.

That was essentially why I left my last job…well, along with moving to another city. I want to make a difference and see the results of my work. I guess I never got that idealistic post-college thing out of the way. I did the stable, but not idealistic job first, and now I’m going backwards, or something.

Well, I’ve realized that everyday, most people in this city go to work, or go to school. And I exist in this parallel, but distinct universe – the universe of the unemployed. And because most unemployed people do their unemployment-ing alone, it’s a bit isolating. Some days, I don’t speak to anyone but S….and the cat. In fact, I spend way too much time talking to the cat. I actually tried to get S’s attention a few weeks ago by doing the psss-wsss sound you make to call a cat. This is where my communication skills have regressed to. I’m calling to people using cat sounds.

So, in coordination with the advice of the career counselor, I contacted several places to see if they could use some volunteer help. Places that either might have job openings later, or where i might meet people who knwo people with job openings. Environmental nonprofits, planning organizations, etc. I offered my master’s degree, 6 years of work experience, work ethic-having self to them for free. And???? Nothing. Not a peep. Or, one initial peep and then nothing.

The same thing has been happening with folks I meet at networking events who offer to introduce me to the HR person they know at X environmental firm, or temp agency. Silence. The same with the people I’ve been contacting to explore their careers (for the long-term part of my plan).

Between this and the drear of winter (I actually had a dream last night that I went outside and there were daisies), I’m feeling a bit out of sorts. Looking for something positive to happen. I’m supposed to just keep trying new places, making new calls, and moving on. But come on – I just want to be useful, join society and maybe get myself a job.

Is this really too much to ask of the universe?

Especially today, I miss DC.

Even though I know there would be crowds, and tourists, and blocked streets, and it’s colder in DC than Boston, and there would be trash in my front yard. I wish I were there.

Speaking of trash – I’m always amazed at how people don’t seem to understand the simple concept of taking their garbage with them. Exhibit A and B.

I was also amused by the fact that several appointees and aides skipped out of the inauguration after the oath of office – to go get to work. Not the typical government workers, huh? Get to work guys, there is lots to do!

Since my recent birthday gift of a Nikon D40, I’d been eyeing up another photography class. I have much to learn, and I do better with someone giving me assignments. Apparently, the camera business must be doing well, because every class I’ve tried to take is full. New England School of Photography – full. Cambridge Center for Adult Education – full. Brookline Adult and Community Education – full. The Nikon school – full.

Ugh. The Boston Center for Community Ed has a class, but the description isn’t telling me a whole lot, the registration people can’t answer my questions. For 200 bucks, I kinda want to know what I’m getting. The Mass College of Art and Design also has a rather vague description.

The only bright spot is that I’m first on the waitlist for the Cambridge class, so I’m hoping for someone to drop out – you know….get the flu, have a 400 pound man sit on their camera, break their shutter finger.

Wish me luck….

Yep. But it relates to after christmas-sales, so it makes sense….really.

Some of you know the whole deal about putting panthose over your tomatoes to keep the birdies from chomping a bite out of every one of your tomatoes. (I really wouldn’t mind if they took a lot of bites out of a few tomatoes, but they always seem to want to sample them all!) Well, a few months ago, I cames across a post by modern cottage. Now – there is scientific proof for another way to keep the birdies away from your precious tomatoes….at least the red ones. Hang red christmas ornaments around your plants, before they get any fruit. The birds will try taking a nibble out of your red ornaments, and, finding them unsatisfactorily hard and super not tasty, will fly off. Because they have pea brains, they will then assume that your tomato beauties are those same tasteless hard red things and leave them alone.

So, go out and get some red ornaments for your garden. at this point, the desperate retailers have probably marked them down to 90% off.

Now, squirrels or deer – that’s another story. And all this reminds me that I need to get myself on a list for a community garden plot. My first seed catalog arrived this past week.