It’s been 3 years…

I have finally logged back in after three years of nothing. Three years of nothing. I wasn’t crafty. I barely functioned. It felt like my job had consumed me. And it did. I had to work to pay the bills. I dutifully dressed everyday and drove to a job that was eating at my very soul. It was terrible. I endured verbal abuse that is unbelievable to most. And I was the Human Resources Manager! The abuse was coming from the top of the top. What do you do when the person that signs ALL the checks turns into a monster? I had worked at this place for such a long time and I knew it was an unconventional job from the start. For the longest time I felt like it was all my fault. And it partially was…But it allowed me the flexibility one needs when you have kids that get sick, or need to be picked up early. I didn’t have to arrive at a certain time, just before 10 am. That is not too bad. For a while the pay was good. Then I guess they figured they were getting a bargain so I went two years without a raise.

I became pretty depressed. Like go home sit on your couch and don’t move until bedtime. I had to force myself to get up and do activities, like cooking. Ugh. It really sucked. I made up my mind to find a new job and set out to do so. But…the whole flexible thing really made the choices narrow. Like really narrow. Plus I live in an area where commuting was going to be necessary in order to find a job that would pay me what I needed. But wait, my kid starts school at 7:30am and gets out at 2:30pm. Sure there is afterschool care but I have to get back by 6pm for that. With an hour long commute (if I’m lucky) as a given, I realized I needed to be really careful about the next job I took. Talk about anxiety. Make enough money to pay rent (I live in the Bay Area, not an easy feat), pay bills, flexible, and not filled with people that make me feel bad. I didn’t want to end up homeless.

Around the end of 2014 I started to feel desperate for a new job. I networked my butt off. I went to a ladies mixer event for business women which was similar to what I imagine speed dating to be like. I updated my linkedIn and networked like crazy. I got an Indeed account, a Monster account, and signed up for the alerts from city and county jobs. Everyday during the workweek I put out 5 resumes, on the weekend we would take a “fun” trip to the library or Barnes & Noble (I had no internet at home) where I would send out over 20 resumes and applications. I scoured Craigslist and networked some more. I went on interviews, I was charming, but I wanted too much money. I felt like screaming, “for Human Resources?”. You can’t pay someone $15.00 an hour to manage that responsibility, unless you expect labor violations due to the person not knowing what they were doing. sigh. And so it went, I didn’t share with anyone that I was looking so I wouldn’t have to endure worse treatment at my job, should my boss find out.

Nothing hurts your psyche more than getting shut down over and over and over again. Why couldn’t I find a job? Maybe all the awful things my boss said to me were true. And then it hit me. Why was I limiting myself? I had been helping advise/run the company I was at for almost nine years. I was not just a human resource person, I was an accountant, I was a manager, I was a payroll specialist, I was document control. I was whatever I could do.

That was the turning point for me. I started applying for different jobs. I got a part-time job populating a database for an online auto parts store. This lifted my spirits and renewed my faith in my brain. A friend of mine had a start up and I asked him if he was hiring. And he wasn’t but he said he would let me know when his company was at the point when they could afford to hire people.

So I continued plodding along. I kept my chin up and tried to stay positive. Then it happened, all the drama. Someone else at my work found a new job. This poor soul had also been abused. He was called the F-word, told to watch himself because he just bought a house and “what if he couldn’t pay for it anymore”, and on and on. About a week after he gave his notice a girl in my office that I am convinced is crazy, told my boss that I “got” the other guy his new job. No, no I didn’t. I need to get my own job. Anyhow, he went crazier than normal and cut my hours based off of what she said. He even confronted the other guy with her in his office to see if I got him the job. Still no.

That is when a good friend told me to just take anything. All I needed was good pay. I didn’t need to plan on a career but just to take any job so I could get out. So I did. Wow was I happy. I quit that horrible job and took a new one. It was not flexible, it was not pleasant, but it was better. Then it happened. My friend called, his company had just enough money to hire me, it was flexible, super flexible. So I quit. And it was great.

Now I am working on cleaning up the mess I made when I sat on the couch. Maybe that will be a post, how to clean up a mess like a boss. But for now I am going slow and enjoying being able to breath and believe in myself. And bonus: my new boss isn’t a selfish beast that demands that when bagels/donuts are brought in no one is allowed to eat them until he shows up and picks the one he wants. Now I am happy, appreciated AND I don’t have to worry about getting fired over a bagel.

Happy Halloween Eve

Or would it be “Happy Eve of Halloween”? I’m not sure. All I know is that I have two more boxes to spray paint green for my son’s costume. And I’m not feeling well. And it is not the best spray painting weather. Oh well. I think his costume will be pretty straightforward…a bunch of green boxes so he can look like the green monster thing in this picture (creeper):

Just in case you don’t know about Minecraft, it is a PC game that consumes the minds of young children and teens. I think of it as a virtual Lego world, except there are monsters. They get to build and buy things for a heavily pixelated game. Don’t let the graphics fool you though, it is a pretty well designed game. My son tells me it is educational, he is learning how money works. I’m not sure about that one but he likes the game and as long as he is doing well in school I let him play it.

If it is a failure we still have a homemade Max (from Where the Wild Things Are) costume or a homemade Waldo costume. However, my child has already been both of these in previous years and wore both of these to Halloween parties this year. That means it is crunch time. I just hope our boxes work out and that it doesn’t rain on Halloween.
Anyone else doing a last minute costume crafting project?
~lauraj

Photography & Phones

I have a great camera at home. I like taking it to sporting events and taking action photos. That has been my claim to fame is that I can catch some awesome action shots. What I need to work on are the close up shots, the arty shots and still shots. I should be practicing or taking a class. Instead I find myself leaving my bulky camera at home and taking pictures with my iPhone. Even when I’m at home I find myself taking pictures with my phone. Sad, I know. At least on the iPhone I can apply different filters without using Photoshop. Then again, I know I lose clarity on my photo when I do this.

Bottom line- I know I need to learn how to use the functions on my camera so I take better photos. I love taking pictures but I am not always happy with the results. Perhaps a photography class is in order? I don’t have time for a class right now but a few bloggers I follow have posted tips that I can use. Maybe it can be a substitute for a class? 😉

20130512-161851.jpg

Have a wonderful weekend! ~lauraj

Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie’s & Preserving Summer

strawberry/rhubarb

Blended

fruit milk base

Finished ProductIt is getting cold now. I cannot believe we are in October! It seems like summer was just the other day. Darn. I like sweater weather but I miss all the fresh fruits that summer brings. Especially strawberries.

I live in an area where strawberries are harvested, packaged and shipped to far away places. These same farms let people pick the fresh berries by the bucketful. It is great. The kids like to walk around the fields and find the fattest, juiciest strawberry. They stop and hold the berry over their heads, shouting to the rest of us about their amazing find. It is really hard to not eat the berries before we get home.

This summer I decided I would try to savor summer all year by making my own berry base for smoothies. I picked up some fresh strawberries and rhubarb. I chopped up the rhubarb and pureed it with the strawberries. I used a Bella personal blender and now I know why people are always asking what the best blender is to buy for smoothies. (And what is the best blender? I obviously don’t have a clue as I used the same one I use when I don’t want to share my smoothie.) Anyway, I put a little milk in mine to give it a good consistency. ‘t want to use milk you can use water and a bit of honey. I didn’t use any sweeteners because I want this as a base for smoothies OR milkshakes. Once everything was pureed I poured the base into my ice cube trays and froze them.

I made milkshakes the other day: two scoops of vanilla ice cream, a little milk to get it all moving and two of my base cubes. So yummy!

I do like smoothies in the morning so I will be popping two cubes in with some honey and a handful of spinach.

Have a great day!
~lauraj

Labor Day Weekend

Gallery

This gallery contains 4 photos.

I hope everyone had a nice break over the weekend. I do sympathize with those that had to work. I spent many years working in retail and never had a three day weekend. Anyhow, this was a great weekend of … Continue reading

Garage Sale Days of Summer

I absolutely love to garage sale! Sometimes you find squat but other times you can come out feeling like you won the lottery.  I love those moments.  The last big garage sale day I found a pretty green glass pot, a Homer Laughlin teapot, a glass soap dish, some pretty doilies, a side table, two glass lamps and a boogie board for $30.00. I totally felt like I won the lottery! The lamps and the side table were the best – $2.00 for both lamps and $5.00 for the side table. The side table came with a couple of little baskets too. Such a score! The little table was claimed by my youngest and he now has a Pokemon /candy/star wars theme going on with it. For now I’m okay with that, he has everything displayed artfully.

The teapot was such a pretty find and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.

The teapot

The teapot

The windchime

The windchime

I sent this teapot to my mom as a birthday gift and I included a little succulent to plant in the top. I know this will love lovely in her garden.

Thanks for stopping by ~ lauraj

MuuMuu Monday – Part 2.

First off I would like to say sorry I am so bad at blogging. I think I tried to do a post everyday and that was a bit much for me and my busy lifestyle. Then a high school graduation happened, then a long road trip, then keeping up my eBay store and on and on. I know, I know, everyone is busy. I just think I needed to figure out how to recharge and keep from burning out. So, I have decided that for now I am not going to try to post just to post. There. I feel better now. On to the next thing, because I have not stopped upcycling, redoing and crafting…

Part 2 of my muumuu upcycle. So wayyyyy back when I first started writing I posted about a muumuu I found at the thrift shop. I still have tons of fabric left over and I had some jeans that I no longer felt comfortable wearing in public so I thought I would try my hand at embroidery and patching them. I love how they turned out! And it was so easy to do. Just a little time consuming. The bird was probably the toughest because of the shape. This was a two evening project in front of the tv. easy peasy.

The Muumuu

The Muumuu

Close up of fabric from muumuu

Close up of fabric from muumuu

Holey jeans

Holey jeans

And for the finished look- taa-dah!!!

Finished

Finished

IMG_1039[1]