Wednesday, October 7, 2009

One Line Wednesday

I'm a realist idealist, soon-to-be armed pacifist.

One Line Wednesdays @ Running With Letters

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day One

The world is a strange place at three AM; the late night crowd has finally crashed, but the early birds aren’t quite awake yet. Which makes for a very empty feeling world, I must say.

It was really more like 2:40 Monday morning that I headed off to work- in my eagerness I’d left the house far too early, probably subconsciously factoring in traffic issues or some such. I counted seven other drivers along the way, including my bleary-eyed father.

I was sort of touched that Dad felt the need to make sure I got to Grocery Store safely on my first day, but my predominant emotion was actually concern- I’d seen the Driver’s Ed videos. Red Cement had been a particularly ominous warning against sleepy driving. In preparation for the five minute drive and subsequent eight hour shift, I had gone to bed around four the previous afternoon. I must have been exhausted because I remained virtually comatose until my just-in-case alarm went off at 1:30 AM.

I showered and donned my uniform. The glorious hat gleamed atop my short haircut, the first time I’d ever felt good in a baseball style cap. The polo I’d refitted that weekend still looked slightly awkward, but it would do. I carefully tucked its considerable excess length into precariously perfect pants I’d just purchased at my favorite store’s new location. “The problem here,” I had told my all but cliché sexually disoriented shopping buddy, “is that while these fit great now, who’s to say what I will look like after a month in the bakery? I’d feel better having a little growing room, but the next size up is just too big.”

“Hmm…” my ex looked me up and down, frowning slightly. “Well it’s really not the end of the world to get another pair of pants. You’ll have a few paychecks behind you by the time it would be an issue anyways.” I scowled at the tactless reminder of my fiscal issues. Also I was none too pleased that he thought I’d end up pudgy, but I couldn’t say I was surprised, he’d always said I had “the spirit of a fat American.”

I tied the black shoes I’d serendipitously found in my closet the week before, stood up, and looked myself over in the full length bathroom mirror. Pretty darn cute, I concluded with a nod. The only thing missing was a nametag, which by all accounts was waiting for me in the back office.

When I arrived at Grocery Store, I sauntered over to Dad’s car as he rolled down the window. I was relieved to see he looked slightly more alert. I bade him farewell and headed to the main doors, crossing my fingers that I they would be unlocked. The automatic doors were not operational yet, but I was able to slide them open. I held my breath as I walked through, half expecting an alarm system to start screaming at me or something. That’s all I needed, a police investigation, charges of breaking and entering on my first day. Fortunately, the whole affair was silent and uneventful.

I walked back to the bakery department, only then realizing how early I was. While I waited for the bakery manager to show up, I thumbed through the cake decorating binder on display. About halfway through the epic picture book, Manager M arrived. Even at this obscene time of day, her gigantic blue eyes still sparkled. I was fairly jealous.

My best friend’s unenthused reaction to the detailed description of my work duties was disappointing. Perhaps the sheer joy of frying and glazing the perfect donut, boxing it up with twelve other mouth-watering beauties, taking it out to the floor and watching a random customer lazily plop it into his shopping cart is just one of those things you have to experience for yourself. The enormity of the Giant Oven, the paradoxical chill down your spine as you fear the door ever closing behind you (I’ve been told this doesn’t happen, but I am still wary), the actual, extreme chill of standing in the walk-in freezer moving 50 pound boxes around, preparing rack upon rack of breads and rolls… maybe these things are simply unexplainable. Or maybe I’m a total n00b (as Brother likes to say).

Round about 8 o’clock a familiar face disappeared into the donut display case. I have a feeling Dad will be “visiting” me at work a lot. Shortly after, I took my 15. That was very boring. I just sat in the break room, wishing I was making fritters instead. It was then it struck me that I had been on my feet for five hours, three more to go, and all I’d eaten was half a turnover. Maybe I don’t have to worry about these pants after all.

When I finally left Grocery Store for the day, I was aching, hungry, very tired, and ready to go home. But also very stoked about doing it all again tomorrow. I drifted off in my thoughts on the drive home, eager to spread the news of my amazing day.

Flashing lights brought my attention back to the road… back to the speedometer actually. I pulled over, panicked, upset. I’d heard tales from my friends about sweet talking your way out of tickets, but all the details seemed to escape me now. I hadn’t listened that close really; I didn’t ever think I’d be in this situation. See, my friends joke on my careful driving on a fairly regular basis. No, I’m not that jerk going fifty on the interstate, but I never go more than five over on surface roads.

Well, rarely.

My beautiful convertible must have given the cop the impression that I am in the habit of speeding- he handled the situation as if I’d been through the whole rigmarole before. He looked disinterested as I looked at him stupidly, teary eyed and sniffling. There was no “do you know how fast you were going ma’am,” no “well this is your first offense so you can go home,” nothing. This was not how it goes down in the movies.

The whole debacle concluded with him barking “you are free to go” in his megaphone for all the world to hear. Passersby looked over, some chuckling, some shaking their heads in disapproval. I was humiliated and shaken.

After thirty seconds of driving two below the speed limit, I was home. Within an hour my family was home, hearing my woeful tale, looking over my crumpled, sloppily scrawled ticket. Mother looked at me with concern, announcing I hadn’t looked quite this sad even during the break-up. Dad shared her confused sentiment. “It’s not like they took your car away,” he remarked.
Which, of course, is true. It would just be nice if I could make it to work and back without losing a week’s pay. Guess I’ll just have to try harder next time.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Sudden Reappearance With No Explanation Offered or Available

“We really don’t want any purples, blues, pinks, greens…” she laughed at the very thought. “Just keep it natural.”

I could feel my face slowly drooping despite my best efforts to remain stalwart. This was a crushing blow; full focus was required to keep that fact secret. The HR Rep really didn’t need to know that throughout the previous year I had enhanced my ever-shortening hairstyle with highlights of more than just the aforementioned colors.

It was a mere month and a half prior that I had finally given in and settled with a singular, as-normal-as-I could-muster hair color— more for the benefit of my fretting family and boyfriend (at the time) than for the sake of the job hunt. Some nonsense about my hair falling out before I hit thirty.

Brother challenged me to a dye free summer, a 20 oz coke at stake, so I picked up some cinnamon red at the local convenience store as a final hurrah before accepting. The repeatedly bleached sector of my hair remained a much lighter tone than the rest, unfortunate indication that it really was time to give it a rest for a few months at least.

But this! This was too much. I had just been sentenced to social normalcy for my foreseeable future. I felt grimmer by the moment, as Ms. HR went on to outlaw nail polish, visible tattoos, facial piercings, and colored shoelaces. I must have paled upon the realization that my lifelong intentions of sporting a shiny little nose ring had just been significantly delayed, as a fellow Grocery Store trainee cast me a sympathetic glance. The plan had been to spend the first of my hard earned money on said piercing, a celebration of disproving the skeptics and landing the perfect first job.

Granted, I should have gotten a job much earlier than I did. But it was easier to survive off babysitting gigs and two sets of graduation money (a hefty round last year after high school, another smaller yet significant dose after getting my associates in May). I’ve been reportedly looking for work since the summer of ’07— the lengthy search consisted of three bouts of frenzied online application submissions and two visits to a neighborhood coffee shop. I just didn’t feel a sense of urgency— I’m on good terms with the padres so there was no fear of getting kicked out upon adulthood, I had a sweet car with insurance paid until September, I had managed to stretch that graduation money farther than anyone thought possible, and my babysitting clients always seemed to call at just the right times.

A month ago I discovered some news. My favorite store was packing up shop and moving across the street, meaning some major sales. I decided to take stock of my monies before heading over there, and was met with some appalling numbers. The totals were grim. Low-ish double digits grim. That’s when it all hit me. At eighteen years old, I had no money, no work experience, no savings account, no plans beyond a whimsical “someday I’d like to be an anarchist baker.”
I’ve always been full of explanations— I’m focusing on school, you’ll complain that I’m gone too much, the economy sucks and there are no jobs to be had, my boy is rich and he’ll take care of me. But I was out of excuses- I had a degree, there was no way to pretend my parents wouldn’t be overjoyed to have me earning my keep, I was an adult with a whole slew of new job opportunities, and I no longer had a boy.

So I hauled my sorry self out to Grocery Store the next day and wandered back to the bakery department. Mustering all my self confidence, I introduced myself to the bakery manager, filled out an application, and left with instructions to call HR if I didn’t hear anything by Monday. By Tuesday I was in an official interview, answering unnerving questions like “So why are you just now looking for a job?”

Thursday I took a drug test, the next Monday my negative results were rewarded with a promise of being put on next week’s schedule (Monday and Tuesday, 3 – 11 AM) and an official Grocery Store hat and polo. The shirt was unfortunately huge, but the hat… I paraded that sucker around like a gold medal.

Friday was training day. Despite the disappointing discovery that Grocery Store training had nothing to do with learning to make bread, suspicious videos pleading with me to not join a labor union (I never would have thought to, I don’t even know what one is but I’m certainly looking into it now), and the heart-crushing news that I had to look like a normal citizen, I had absolutely no doubts that becoming a part-time baker at Grocery Store will prove to be one of the best decisions I’ve made to date.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Case in Point

I have trouble with follow-through.

It's a life-long thing, no cure has yet been discovered (by me at least) and it tends to follow me in every aspect of my life besides breathing. Yes, even my dietary habits suffer due to this tragic problem.

I actually have to MAKE the sandwich? Well nevermind then.

Some have proclaimed it laziness, others ADD, still others are baffled and don't know what to think and announce that the psychology books just didn't cover people like me.

Like an infectious cancer or other powerful disease, I mutate and adapt to my circumstances. I have been evicted from my room, bribed with monetary rewards, gotten my computer taken away, been grounded, even had every object in my room boxed up and in the attic, and I still have not been convinced that clean is the way a room should be. Don't get me wrong, magazine homes are nice to look at, but too hard to keep up with and you're always paranoid about doing stuff because you have to allot enough time to get it all clean right then... It's just too much pressure.

My mindset has not only cluttered homes- numerous painting, sewing, knitting, drawing, reading, organizing, socializing, computing, cooking, inventing, studying, and writing projects have also been left to "flap in the breeze."

A list of unfinished things:
The "biggest art project of the 21st century"
the gingham dress
seven scarves
two sweaters
one blanket
a hat or two
a dozen or so novels
requests to the local paper to showcase my various talents (these always trail off about eight lines in, when I realize that I sound like a blathering idiot)
the Billy Graham autobiography (but there's still hope here, it's a good book , I just read it in spurts)
The effort to get a beloved teacher on "What not to Wear"
the employment movement
the "getting my license" movement
and of course, high school.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Into the blue

When all my church friends change their facebook status to "[their name here] is praying," I know something is up. Somehow I'm always out of the loop, and end up having to ask the embarassing question, "what's everyone praying about?"

This time, the news was stunning- it's the kind of news you hear and there are no words to explain the spinning thoughts and emotions. No matter how many times I read the txt in my inbox, the word "died" just didn't seem to register. Paul Tucker was so alive, how could he just... die?

It frightens me to come face to face with the fact that nobody is guarenteed that they will wake up in the morning. In this mindset, it really strikes me how stupid it is to ask "what's everyone praying about-" with death looming large, prayer should be a central part of our lives, every day, not just when something devastating happens. Because if we're dead, nothing matters besides our relationship with God. We should "pray without ceasing" [1 Thess. 5:17]. This is just like what Dan the Intern said in his message two Sundays ago. The stuff of current life is all really really stupid compared to eternity.

Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12:13-14- "Meaningless! Meaningless! says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless... Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil."

Are you ready?

One of those days

Seeing as nothing has happened really since yesterday afternoon, it's time to recycle some material.

Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 1:57pm

After being pressured for weeks to finally get some headway on signing up for classes, I decided today was the day- well actually Dad told me today was going to be the day. With only two exams today (one at 9, one at 5) and no car, it only seemed logical that I should spend my day at the registrars office, getting an application for standard admission (as I will hopefully no longer be a dual enrollment student next semester), seeking division approval to take Music Theory 111 (a class I am being forced to take), and taking a math placement test (as I have no clue what math class I should take).

This morning, sadly, I did not have such a clear understanding of what needed to be done. After a lengthy explanation given to me by father which ended in a slightly demeaning "One... One... One... can you at least remember that? Call me if you get confused," I announced wholeheartedly that the admissions office knew nothing and would prove entirely unhelpful. But as I hopped out of the driver's seat and turned the wheel over to my father, I decided I would give it the good ol' college try, since I had nothing better to do anyways.

With an hour until my first exam (which, by the way, I needed a 97 on to get an A in the class), I headed over to Main Hall, determined to overcome my intimidation of the large, heavily lipsticked woman who was no doubt at her post this morning (as she had been every morning in the past), determined to succeed in my mission. To my surprise (I shouldn't have been surprised, this is Community College we're talking about here and it was indeed 8AM), there was no line, so I walked right in.

"Hi, um, I have a few questions?"
"Mmmm, whatchu need shugah?"
"Um, I need to pick up an application for standard admission, I'm a dual enrollment student right now but I'm grauating in the-"
"Oh, nuh uh, there is no application, you just need to meet with a counselor and declare your course of study. There is no -chuckle- honey no, there's no application."
"Oh, well, okay. Um, I have another question then, I need to get division approval to take Music Theory (shoot... what was that number...) 111, um I've been taking piano for 10 years so I'm trying to get excused from the prerequisite..."
"Mmmm you just gonna have to talk to the counselor about that one hon."
"Okay, well maybe you can help me with getting a math placement test."
"You taken the SATs?"
"And whatchu get on the math?"
"600 something I think..."
"What's your social?"
"Oh gee, I dunno... but I have my student ID..."

After looking me up and checking my scores online (I got a 650 on the math portion, btw), she informed me that if I didn't know what math to take, the counselor would just have to handle that too.
"Well then, can I talk to this counselor?"
"Ummm, I suppose I could see about that, I mean there's really no hurry though, plenty of time, plenty of time."
"Well I'd like to take care of this now, my dad's been bugging me about it..."
"Honey how old are you?"
"Well we can't do this now anyways, you need a parent with you. If you were seventeen, going on eighteen, maybe I'd let it slide but no, no honey you're too young. We're open until seven for the next two weeks though, so you can come back then. You have a nice day."

After being summarily dismissed from the office, I disappointedly called my father who said he would come at lunchtime and solve the problem.

"Can you bring me food?"
"-sighs- Chicken nuggets?"

So I had fourty minutes of nothing to do, and BFF Josh always insists that I need more excercise, so, diet coke and psychology book in tote (the exam was open book), I set off on a walk down Butler Farm Road. A nice sidewalk quickly presented itself and I wandered around someplace that seemed to be called Workforce Development. People with briefcases and suits and cigarettes and the occasional bag-with-wheels rushed in and out of the buildings, mostly in, as it was still early-ish morning. I went in a loop around Workforce Development and found myself on a new sidewalk. I was rather frusterated by this point, as instead of using my walk as a time to relax, I had spent the whole time working myself up over how horrible my day had been and how stupid I must be and how horrid it is to be young and how i'd never get a 97 on this exam. So under the arm went the book, into the right hand went the coke, and out came the phone. Txting away my trouble seemed the only thing to do, and my thumb flew in a bizzard of venting. I don't know how long I typed for, the only clue is that out of the maximum 1120 characters (160x7, check my math people) that one message can handle sending, I had about 47 remaining when the sidewalk suddenly ended and I found myself face down beside of the road, coke spilling and phone flying. After the treck into the leaf pile to fetch my phone, I sat on a muddy tree stump, finished my woeful txts, and waited.

When it got to be 8:45 I was tired of waiting and headed across the road to the "Community College ghetto" (as one professor had named the annex building that was a 5-10 minute walk from the main campus). I was the first student to enter the psych classroom. My professor looked at me, smiled cordially, and summoned me to his desk with his index finger. I was handed a test and a four leaf clover. My eyes must have lit up with child-like glee because he laughed and said, "what, you've never seen a four leaf clover?" I told him that I had looked for hours before, but had never actually found one.

I went and took my test, other students came and took theirs too (nobody else got a clover though). When all was said and done, I got a 93 (leaving me with a B for the semester) and was wished "good luck in my endeavors" and then I left.

I puttered around for a bit, dad came and brought food which I ate like a two year old, barbeque sauce covered my hands and it was just a generally childish experience, I was rather alarmed with myself. Another alraming thing that occured during the meal- a sea of people I recognized from this morning's office trip started leaving Main Hall in swarms. I became a little nervous, but the woman said they were open until 7 so I dismissed the sightings.

Sadly, upon visiting the office we were informed that everyone had left for a town meeting and wouldn't be back until 2. So dad went back to work and said he'd return then. So here I am, in the library. Waiting until 2.

Andddd it's about 2 now, so I'm off to see if the meeting is over. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 5:42pm

The meeting went... not so well. But I have declared a major.

I also turned in my final english paper this afternoon, and picked up my art portfolio, discovering I made an A in Fundamentals of Design 1 (barely- 89.5).

But of course things still had to go wrong.

After hours of boredom, I showed up at 5 to my Public Speaking "exam" only to find an empty room. Well, almost empty. There was one person there, a boy that has been constantly dazed and confused with a glazed expression ever since his alarming seizure last month during class. So the two of us called our classmate Annalyn, who told us that the exam was not today at 5, it was Tuesday at 5 (as in 48 hours ago). So seizure boy and I raced off to the library to email Mr. D. We called him as well but got no answer. We can only hope he has mercy on us and allows us to take a make-up exam... time will tell. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008 at 4:01pm
"One of those days" turned into one of those weekends...

I went to prom Friday which was pretty cool, I was really excited to ride in a limo for the first time ever! There was assigned seating and stuff though and it was a little formal for me, but I had a pretty good time. I was rather tired though, I didn't get home until 2.

But I was still worried about my Public Speaking situation... several calls had been made and emails sent, but had been met with no response yet. And Saturday turned out to be quite the disaster, riddled with arguments and frustrations.

Sunday morning was amazing though! Every few weeks I help out in Sunday school for elementary aged kids, they are so much fun. Then I had good food at Moe's... Dad was a little miffed by the meal-time experience however. When the lady at the counter asked him what his name was, apparently she mis-heard because she wrote down "Rat" instead of "Brad." It was rather alarming. And apparently my Mother is now "Sidnie." Oh well.

Sunday afternoon/ evening was a little rocky, new tensions stemming from the previous day's troubles were kindled, however for most of the day I pushed them aside and had a great time with Josh, his girlfriend Amanda, my exboyfriend, and this other amazingly cool kid. The best part of the evening was definitely when adorable Amanda was handed a stuffed bear from a random boy. She decided she'd give it to a crying child we would no doubt meet along the path to Land of the Dragons. Lo and behold, a little child walked past us (not crying, but it's alright as you will see in about 3 seconds) and we heard the little voice say "hello bear!" Amanda raced after it to give it the bear... the child turned out to be mentally handicapped and it was just a rather touching moment all around.

At 8 I headed home.... That night sucked, blah blah blah... I was also informed that the next morning (Monday at 9:15) I would be dropped off at Community College and picked up after I contacted my teacher. I was rather distraught, as I had been informed by a teacher that teachers had stopped holding office hours on Friday. Also, nowhere on the syllabus was an office number for this man enumerated, only the phone numbers and email address which I had basically been spamming for the past several days, to no avail.

Monday morning I read through every email I had ever recieved from him, pouring over them for some sort of clue as to his whereabouts. I discovered an email address I had not before seen, and sent to it a firmly worded yet polite and apologetic sounding paragraph, which included my phone number in case all the buildings were closed once I got to school and I ended up sitting under a tree all day. To my surprise, at about 9 my phone rang, and my professor told me he was just going to average together the grades I got on all my speeches and not to worry about a thing because I had an A for the semester.

Funny thing is, I got a B on all my speeches except two...

But I'm not going to question it! I didn't have to go to school or take the exam, which by all accounts was murderous and horrible...So I suppose everything (well not everything, but most things) had a happy ending.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A brief overview of educational experiences and future aspirations

As I mentioned in my introductory post, I am not a standard high school student. I have actually never been a typical student. I started school officially in 1996, as a 5 year old homeschooler in 1st grade. After 4 years, studying at home and at co-op, I started attending Private School #1. My mother got a job there teaching art, and my brother also attended there, as a 1st grader. Private School #1 hit some hard times round about 8th grade, at which point other schooling options were explored for me, and a rather appealing opportunity presented itself. For any who may not be aware of the International Baccalaureate program, it's almost like an AP situation, but a bit more elitist, and definitely more of a work load. I was accepted into the IB program at a local high school- at first I was unsure of whether I wanted to actually do it though. Entering the public school sytem for the first time as a 13 year old 9th grader definitely sounded a little awkward, but I realized that I could always drop out, but this was my only chance to join the program. So join I did.

I despised it. It was a combination of culture shock, busy work, loneliness, and just plain mean people. The proverbial "last straw" came right before Christmas Break after recieving a 37 on my math test and encountering some vicious cheerleaders. I didn't even finish out the year- come January 2005, I was back at Private School #1. There wasn't really a 9th grade there, but I was labeled a "Directed Study Student" and stationed in the library with another girl to study away. It wasn't a very productive year- I did get to disect a fetal pig though. that was pretty interesting.

The next year my friend Cat and I went to Private School #2 as 10th graders. Our class was (and still is from the accounts I have heard)... ecclectic, hated by faculty, mostly under-achieving, yet bundles of fun. However, the next year, I became tired of it all. Not to mention my grades were nowhere near the way they were in middle school. Following in the footsteps of a classmate, I decided it would be a better use of time and money to just leave and go to college. Instead of getting a GED like my friend, I became a homeschooler once again, and began classes at Community College last year. There's a program at this school that allows high school students 16 and older to take classes there for both high school and college credit. It is working out nicely, considering all I really need to graduate is an British Literature class. My mother, a graduate student, also needs this class, so this very month we are studying up together for a CLEP test. Once I pass that, I will be officially done with high school.

My future aspirations have changed countless times, but the current plan is to attend Community College for another year to recieve an associates degree. Afterwards I want to go to culinary school. It's super expensive, but I'm convinced it's my goal and I shall find a way.

Ultimately, it would be amazing to have my own restaurant. Be it fine dining or a humble bakery, my place is in the kitchen and I'm proud of it. Perhaps some day it'll even land me a decent guy (they say the way to a guy's heart is through his stomach... no luck yet).

Restauranteering would be a way to combine all of my biggest passions... my art and interior design interests (restaurants have to look pretty too), my love for children (Saturday morning muffin workshops), even my love for animals can be adressed by this endeavor (a jar of fresh-baked doggie biscuits by the cash register, duh).

Until then, it's my mission to build up a decent resume for scholarship applications. Recipie contests, volunteer work, perhaps a decent food related job... (any suggestions or opportunities anyone is aware of would be greatly appreciated).