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The Long Road to a New Beginning

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I know I haven’t been here in a while. I decided I could really only concentrate on one blog at a time. But occasionally, I’ll still need to spill my guts about things that might be too personal to share on a more professional blog. I talked a little bit about my new job in a post called Be Awesome: Make a Comeback. I hope you check it out and enjoy it.

But I needed to say more.

When I think about where my life was five years ago, compared to how things are now, especially compared to how they will hopefully be starting on Wednesday when I begin my new job, it’s hard to believe I am even the same person.

The past few months have been really stressful with our financial situation and the drama with the wedding. And I’ve struggled with bouts of depression about my professional life since moving to Hawaii and trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. It hasn’t been easy. But when I remember five years ago, well, this was only a small hill to climb.

In the summer of 2008, I was single and bitter and lost. My mother was dying. Cancer was eating her brain, and in a way I’d already lost her. She was still with us, but she wasn’t the same. I can’t imagine how frightening that must have been for her. I was also jobless. Maybe I should have taken that opportunity to get out of teaching, but I guess it just wasn’t time. The situation was bad, and I wasn’t handling it well.

I think I managed to make some people think I was doing fine. I forced myself to get up and put on clothes and act like a human most days. Other days, I hid. I cried, and I pulled at my hair. I didn’t know who I was or where I was going. I somehow stayed hopeful, ultimately, but I’m not entirely sure how I made it out alive.

I remember Emily used to try to do things to make me laugh. She has always been so sensitive.

The past five years have taken me down a crazy path. It led me to a man who I believe will always look after me. That has made all the difference. Still, I think there might have been some small bit that I can take credit for. Even for all the days back then when I didn’t leave my bedroom, there were a lot more days when I did, but I never wanted to. That has to count for something.

My name, Renee, means born again. I have transformed more times than I can count, and each time has been excruciating. But this incarnation feels the most beautiful. I have learned to become a wife and a mother in a new way. I have learned to reach for things that make me happy, and to accept that I deserve them. And I have found a way to serve my community in a job that I hope will bring me pride and satisfaction.

This job will mean so much for us financially. To have the stability of a steady paycheck, bigger than I’ve ever received, which, as a former teacher isn’t saying much, is such a relief. I’ll have health insurance again, and if you’ve ever been without it, you know what a relief that can be. It gives us a bit of peace.

But to have a job title that I’m not embarrassed about is the biggest relief of all. Look out, world. I’m about to become the queen of nonprofit development. I may not be able to save the whole world, but I think I’ve saved myself. That seems like a tremendous place to start.



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I went for a job interview yesterday for a low paying position doing work I find terribly depressing dealing with people who are in a bad situation. Not helping them, but taking from them. Still I’m currently making zero dollars an hour, so ten would definitely be an improvement. But is it enough to have to deal with people who are in desperate situations every day?

Every day I have a secret wish that the agency will call me and offer me a temp to hire position with the Foodbank. I’m comfortable there. I know what to expect. I can feel good about the organization I work for.  I would even work part time or as needed if it meant that I didn’t have to do a job I hate.

But I desperately need work, and by work of course, I mean money.

Naturally, the work I want to do doesn’t make me any money at all. Getting a job means there’s a lot less time for it. I guess I’ll just have to work harder.

I’m also secretly hoping that one of the other two people interviewing for this position today will be really outstanding and need/want the job more than me, so that I won’t have to make the difficult decision to turn it down.  Or take it. And work for the devil for the rest of my life.

I suppose I could take it until I can go back to the Foodbank in November. Ugh. What should I do?

In other news, I made this awesome calzone grilled cheese sandwich and took it’s picture for you. Make one. It will cheer you up after a day of agonizing.

Free Lunch

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“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” That’s a thing that people say, right? I love it when “they” are wrong. I mean, I realize it’s not supposed to be literal, but today, I had a pretty amazing free lunch. And when you’re as strapped as we are, to get food that’s not only free, but tastes great, makes the day a win for sure.

There was a big catered lunch meeting with board members and other important people. After it was all over, the staff got to take a stab at the leftovers. My supervisor even managed to snag me a lemon bar that was one of the take home favors. They know how crazy I am about desserts. That’s one of the things I love about the people I work with. They’re all really into food, and they love finding great treats and snacks. Even better, they love sharing them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself eating two cookies at once because somebody insisted that I just had to try both flavors.

One of my co-workers even went to culinary school. I’m usually in the middle of excitedly rambling on and on about a baking project or what I made for dinner when I realize that she’s listening and knows I’m full of crap. She’s completely tactful and never says anything. I couldn’t ask for sweeter co-workers.

But I only have two days left there.

I very much hope that I get asked back the next time they need a temp. And I hope that I’m available. Gillian Welch once sang, “Never minded workin’ hard, it’s who I’m workin’ for.” The work I do there may not be the most exciting or challenging, but the people I work with and the people they serve are totally worth it.

Right On Time

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I did it. I’m actually writing a daily post on the day that the things in my life happened on. Can I give you one more weird sentence? Probably.

Did you know that in the UK they say boss-eyed instead of cross-eyed? Does that seem insane to anyone else?

This is my last week at the foodbank, which makes me terribly sad. Apart from really really needing steady work right now, I actually really like working with these people and this organization. I wish it didn’t have to end. But then, that is sort of the definition of temporary.

If anybody knows of any part-time work in the month of July, don’t keep it a secret. I’m trying to find something from 8 to 12 so I can have plenty of time to hang out with my baby, who arrives a week from today.

Awesome on 20 has been blasting off the last few days. Sunday we broke our record for views, and then on Monday, we broke that record, too. I’m a bit obsessed with our stats at the moment.

It’s going to be amazing to have an assistant for the month. We won’t have any spending money as we have to pay for Geoff’s immigration this month as well as his scooter repair. There’s going to be lots of nature next month. 12 year olds are into that, right?

Deep breaths. There’s still a bit of savings. Everything is going to be alright. Isn’t it? Maybe I am a big loser.

Probably not.

No really, it’s gonna be okay.

It’s Alive

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I woke up Friday morning finally feeling normal. Now, that still means that I was stumbling around for an hour not making any sense. For me, that’s completely normal. But I didn’t feel like I could barely move, and that was a welcome feeling indeed.

I got to work feeling highly normal and ready to rock. Somebody brought in this amazing cinnamon bread with cinnamon butter to spread on top of it’s toasty warm goodness. It was heaven. I wish I knew where it came from. I’d eat it all.

I started on this supposedly dreaded task of scanning old press clippings. I don’t know what everybody was freaking out about. It’s not any more boring than most of the other stuff I get to do. And if I’m real quiet, I can write in my journal while I’m waiting for things to process. Don’t tell anybody I’m slacking.

It was cider and pizza for us last night, and I was delighted. We watched the pilot episode of Firefly while stuffing our faces. I have to admit, I dig it. I never watched Buffy, even though I was a fan of the movie, and I knew people who were die hard fanatics. Somehow, I just never found the time for it. Since Firefly is streaming on Netflix, and I’m in the sad sad 80’s on my movies list, it was the best option for joint watching. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. I hope it gets even better. I already want half of the clothes.

Recovering from an illness, no matter how slight, can be pretty exciting. I was singing Calendar Girl by Stars all day. Stay alive.

Who Turned Up the Gravity?

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Around 9 am each day at work, I go to the kitchen, put the electric kettle on, and make myself some instant oatmeal. Unless there’s a food I’m particularly excited about, I usually can’t bring myself to eat any earlier than that. But on this particular day, as I brought the first spoonful of oatmeal up to my mouth, I suddenly realized that I wasn’t sure I was actually going to be able to swallow it. I felt ill. Not my favorite.

The following hour brought on a spiraling decline of nausea, dizziness, and utter exhaustion. It quickly became apparent that if I did not go home and go to bed, something awful would happen. Luckily, at the slightest hint of illness, my coworkers start stepping away and insist that I go home. They don’t mess around when it comes to germs.

I somehow managed to drive myself home, though I don’t remember much of it. As soon as I walked in the door, I changed out of my work clothes and back into my pajamas. I then proceeded to fall on the bed and sleep for about four hours, interrupted only by my very confused husband who didn’t check his text messages before leaving for work.

I spent the rest of the evening feeling like I could barely pick myself up. I accomplished absolutely nothing short of playing Sims for way way way too long. It is impossible to stop playing that game.

I feel so guilty when I don’t work, or at the very least check something off my list of movies or books. There are a lot of things I want to do or need to do. I did none of them, and even though I was sick, I felt just awful about it. What’s with all the guilt? Someone please explain.

Monotony and Surprises

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My job can be pretty boring sometimes. Like, claw your eyes out boring. I suppose it’s better than “ruining” children’s lives, but mindless, droning work isn’t exactly rewarding. I try to keep my mind busy with podcasts, and I probably check my phone way more than is actually necessary. I’m the kind of person who usually feels the need to do about eight things at once, so being bored is rather frightening. That combined with having to sit still for the entire day can be brutal. It’s getting to the point where my coworkers actually feel sorry for me when giving me new boring tasks to accomplish.

My evening ended up being rather hectic, though, as a coworker put in a last minute Treatsies order. I found myself having to stop into Costco on my way home from work, and then make a double batch of white chocolate raspberry blondies. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to photograph them, so they won’t even be appearing on the blog. I’ve had people tell me it’s one of their favorite desserts, so I hope I can share them with you.

I also had to prepare a post for Awesome on 20 about working out without paying for it. I seriously don’t get why people buy gym memberships. There are plenty of stairs you can walk up and down for free. Why go to a yoga class and have people sweating all over you when you can do it in your own living room? And for goodness sake, what the hell is up with running on a treadmill. Running isn’t boring enough? You have to do it without actually going anywhere or seeing anything? Baffling.

Someday I will get caught up. Someday my skin will stop burning and my head will stop pounding and my stomach will stop turning. Someday. But not this day.