Monday, December 28, 2015

jobbity job job

Joblessness has officially ended. I start next Monday with a local high-tech company as an application support specialist. It's a challenging position with on-call requirements and a steep learning curve for someone whose unix skills just might be a little rusty. I'm so excited!

I have learned much about the elusive work-life balance since my last career job. I understand how important good food, sleep, exercise and play is for my performance. I'll need stamina and a clear mind for this job.

I'm happy that we have simplified our lives to be able to focus on what really matters to us. Having only a tiny apartment with the bare essentials in it means I don't have to spend much time on maintenance. We share a car that neither of us needs to get to work, so it sits quietly waiting to ferry us to the rock gym or the marina on weekends.

I wake early to run and practice yoga, so my body/mind is ready for the day.

My work wardrobe is basic, easy and machine-washable. I wear two rings and the same earrings I've worn for over 20 years. I don't have to comb my hair. I have two pairs of office shoes (boots and clogs).

We eat simple vegetarian stews or stir-fry, so meal prep is straightforward. I use a menu-planning, grocery list, recipe manager that saves much thinking time. Packing my lunch is quick and easy - some combination of apples, carrots, hard-boiled eggs, and leftovers.

All this simplification means I can focus on work during the day and focus on my own life priorities the rest of the time: talking with my kids on the phone, playing with my husband, planning travel adventures for our vacation days and a little reading thrown in for fun.

Bring it on, Monday!

Friday, December 11, 2015


I went to a job fair today. At the Metro station, I noticed a young woman searching around and staring at her phone, apparently lost. So, after we got off the escalator, I asked her if she needed directions. She looked relieved and said yes. Turns out she was headed for same the job fair, so we walked the few blocks chatting together. 

She has her Master’s Degree in some kind of IT/data analysis/health care research stuff. She came to this country 6 months ago from Nepal with her husband on an H1 Visa. They are here, in our country, to make a better life for themselves. 

But they are are not just making a better life for themselves. They are making a better America. 

This country was built on the skills, talents, ingenuity, and back-breaking labor of immigrants. Why do we keep forgetting that? Why does someone like Donald Trump preach a slew of anti-immigration policies when he, himself is a product of immigrants?

What, exactly, does his campaign slogan mean? “Make America Great Again

How far do we go back to claim the “Great America” we want to recreate?
America when the white man came over and killed off most of the indigenous people? 
America when we legally enslaved millions of Africans?
America before the Irish came?
America before the Chinese came?
America before the Scandinavians came?
America before the Italians came?
America before the Germans came?
America before the Mexicans came?
America before the Hmong came?
America before the Cubans came?
America before the Guyanese, the Dominicans, the Nepalese?
(order of immigration waves from here)

What would America be without immigration? Think about it just for one minute.

I hope Subita gets lucky at the job fair.

I hope we open our doors to our Syrian neighbors. 

To quote President Obama, in a speech in 2014,

“There is no us or them, there is only us.”

Saturday, December 5, 2015

winter weekends

For the three seasons of warm weather, we like to spend our weekends on Red Ranger. She'll be moving from Deltaville VA to Deale MD this spring, so we are looking forward to exploring our new cruising grounds. Today, however, it was 2 degrees C when we woke up, maybe not the best day to go sailing on an unheated boat (although it is sunny and the wind looks about perfect). While I'm well aware that the weather we get in NoVA doesn't really qualify as "winter" in the sense we are used to, but it's still chilly.

Since we've embraced a minimal lifestyle, we have the luxury of not having to spend our weekends churning through household chores or errands. For now, until I find a job, I'm able to clean, provision and cook on the weekdays. Those tasks don't require much time anyway, cleaning three tiny rooms goes pretty quickly.

So, how does one spend winter weekends? We do like to walk out to the coffee shop in the mornings to read and write for an hour or two. We also like to get exercise and fun at the rock gym. But that still leaves large stretches of loose time, since we're still getting acquainted to our new neighborhood and don't really know anyone. Last weekend we headed into the District to attend a climate march around the White House to show support for the Paris climate talks. I got to chat with a retired NOAA marine scientist and meet a few folks from the local Sierra Club. And we got to explore DC a bit more.

This weekend I'll be helping at the local library book sale. I went over yesterday to sort and stack books and meet some of the regular library volunteers. During the sale, they're even providing us lunch! I'm always up for bartering food for labor.

Wait, this could be a pattern. If I work this out, I can find a volunteer opportunity every weekend until the weather warms. It shouldn't be too hard. I'm already tapped in to a few activist organizations that I worked with in our former city. There are volunteer aggregate sites like VolunteerMatch and a local site that do all the searching for me. We have the Metro to get around.

Volunteering is a win-win. We get out, meet people, and support organizations that build up our communities. And the organizations, obviously, get to function and serve. Looking forward to hitting the search sites for next weekend's outing.