I was awesome, but they hired someone with experience who could hit the ground running. I understand and I'm still bummed and rather sad. Cried on my way home yesterday and the fucking cold doesn't help, universe.

I knew it wasn't a lock, I also knew that if I didn't get it I'd shed the bitter tear as if it had been yanked from my grasp.

My supervisor hated telling me. She knows that I need to find full-time work, and they're unicorns around this jobsite, so...

I rather detest the advice about shaking it off and starting over again. I know I have to start over but I'm not good at shaking things off and I'm fucking sick and tired of feeling guilty about that, since other people are better at it and don't understand that not everyone is so shiny.

I'm not talking about any of you (that I know of), really I'm just yelling at some memories.

I've been slacking on the search for full-time work. All my fault - no, not the way to put it. I spent time and energy on trying for this job. But once I did all the work I should have gone back to the job boards.

I'm grateful for this job while I look, and I really love where I work and what I'm doing. And or the first time I think about the fact that the next job won't be a matter of me fantasizing that it'll be a clean slate and no one will ever know I'm flawed, but rather that there's every chance that the next job will have the chance to be just as much fun as this one. I appreciate the difference in my thinking - I'm feeling so much better about my life, even as I still want to cry over this spilt milk.

I decided I could have until Monday to grieve the dream and then I needed to get to work. I also decided that if I want to renegotiate that, well, I can check in with some people and see what the voices outside my head say about that.
The waiting is indeed the hardest part.

My head plays games on me, and maybe on you, too. I know that what happened in the interview and my behavior at work before and after is what sells or damns me, and not:
* if I get up and work out or not,
* if I buy a certain pair of shoes or not, nor
* if I stay home a day because of a cold.

The first two, one of my wise counsel tells me, is magical thinking. The third is a self-esteem issue, that calling in sick is going to be read as a weakness.

The cold started with 2-3 days of sore throat and nothing else, which isn't my usual style, so I wondered if maybe I had pharyngitis. Never had that before, but I know it happens and there's not a lot you can do except ride it out (yodeling and smoking are most likely contra-indicated).

I wish the full-blown cold had started Friday, which is a day off for me, so I could have been down two days and maybe better for today. But I took the day off and now I'm kinda waiting until tomorrow morning to see if I need to call in again. This is irritating, you know? I was used to taking days off or not when I worked full time and had sick days, and it's not that the missed days (AKA wages) don't hurt, but it's more about the mind game, the way my head tells me that this will affect whether I get the job because it somehow puts this into a moral context and I'm sinful.

If anyone would like to temporarily trade brains with me, I am open to negotiation. I'd want my head back afterwards, because I am entertained by it often.
Watching the Great British Bake-Off might not be the best choice of viewing.
was this morning.

"The" interview (as opposed to the thousands of others I've had in the last six months, I guess) went well. But that's no guarantee, you know? There are seven other candidates - they did four yesterday and they'll have four next Tuesday, so the absolute soonest they'd have an answer is Tuesday night. I was first, 8:30-10:00 AM, and then I cooled my heels for an hour and worked 11-4 same as usual.

During the course of a workday, I might be at several different posts: I could be in the Welcome area, I could be upstairs at Adult reference, maybe I'm orbiting somewhere out on the floor, maybe I'm on the phones, which are tucked away in an admin area that may or may not have people near. It's where the staff conference room is, which is where I had my interview.

So in the afternoon I'm in the Welcome area, and a woman comes in, looking around. I ask if I can assist her and she says she's just looking around. I see her again later and she says she has an appointment with ____, and I realize, what ho, a rival.

Don't worry, I didn't scare her off. )
Thank you for the friendly ear, and for the comments. Sometimes you just want someone to say, "... what?"

So I've been working on the new round of assignments for the full-time position I'm trying for. The trading cards mentioned last time are one example of things that can be done to get people interested in reading - I was actually leaning towards a Dia de los Muertos tombstone thingie, but nothing gelled in my head. After the *koff* chat *koff koff* with my brother, I decided to do trading cards on 21st century African American authors. Heh.

I also had to do a video book review, which is a painful exercise in "OMG I'M FAT" on top of "I WOKE UP WITH RED EYES GREAT NOW THEY'LL THINK I'M A STONER" but on the whole - not the worst thing I've done. I didn't think it was something that would tank my chances nor put me over the top.

... But something did, because I'm going on to the next round! WHOO HOO! I have an interview for the job!

Which means the next few weeks is going to be about staying calm and chill and not think about the future, which I have divided into "I will not get the job and life will suck and I will die alone and unloved" and "I get the job I move I buy a toaster oven nothing bad will ever happen again"

For those who wonder about my mental state, you are not alone.
To sum up the big picture of rattlecatcher:

A little over a year ago I got a voice in my head telling me I was quitting my job and moving back to Oregon.

In December I gave notice, and we eventually settled on a date in January.

In March I moved to Oregon. My brother, thrilled by my move, helped, and I ended up staying in Salem, near him, rather than head to Portland, as rent in Portland has approached SoCal standards, so why not go with cheap rent while looking for a job?

I got a job a few months ago! It's part-time, no benefits, and I'm still looking but OMG am I happier than I was a year ago! It's been incredible!

And then last night I hit my limit on conversations with my brother.

I want to stress one time that I love him, I love all my siblings, but we've all got about a 20-minute limit with each other that we all acknowledge and deal with, and we're all proud of the fact that we got through the deaths of our parents in a manner that did not require lawsuits. Truly, had our parents spent all their savings and died leaving five cents, we'd have each pocketed a penny and nodded, thinking that that worked out well.

But.

How many times do I say that in almost every conversation my brother says something racist... and when do I just say my brother is racist?

When did he turn into an old white guy?

I mean, yeah, we're white. But - wtf, bro?

When we were finalizing his help on the move, he asked about me getting some friends to help haul, and I had to admit that I really didn't have any local friends who were big strong guys. "I don't even have a lot of butch dykes locally," I added.

To which he said something about how if he were to say something like that he'd get in trouble, and the conversation moved on but I was thinking, jeez, dude, you've got 90% of the world locked up and you want the rest of it? It's called sharing and you're not being asked to do a lot.

This isn't going to get better. Did I mention he's not a Trump supporter? No, seriously, he's not. )
I just need the name of the episode, because I can't figure out which one has a scene in the barbershop Ray Vecchio's dad used to go to (partly for the coif and mostly for the betting, iirc).

Thanks, darlings.
I have now heard from two public libraries with a similar job opening to the one I have secured, and in both cases they have told me that yeah, no.

So a part of me thinks, well, obviously the people who hired me know a good thing when they see it.

And the rest of me, being the majority voting bloc, wants to talk again to the good people at "You Should Jump Off a Cliff" because obviously this means I am unemployable and will never find more work and what was I thinking maybe I should beg my old employers for my job back.

It's a very short fear spiral on my playground.

In other news, I heard about a month ago that the person who did take my old job (which was slightly reworked, I'm assuming to make it sound like it was easy-peasy)... quit after a week.

I'm trying not to increase my schadenfreude but come on.

Actually I have to wonder if maybe they'll understand there was a problem and you know, maybe make changes.

And now I'm gonig to take five minutes to look at the job boards, five minutes to write, and then head off to the job. My library has two locations - I've been at the main branch and today I'm at the branch. I had my second interview at the branch and am still struck by an image, when the three who were going to interview me all came out of a doorway, each with a bowl like priestesses bearing gifts, and lo, there was fruit in the bowls, should we wish to snack. So it was half holy, half goofy. That's an average I would be glad to see every day.
It's on call, but I have a job!

I'm at a public library outside of Portland, and I'm thrilled and excited!

I'm also wondering if that means it's time to find a place of my own, and not be taking the free space I've been using (with all gratitude) since March.

It's my brother's inlaws spare house, one they have for people to come stay at for a few months, and a grandchild stayed for 18 months - I think we're all agreed I'm not a grandchild and not entitled to that... but September 17th will be six months, and I'm grateful as all hell still, and enjoying my little goofy house, which is far more than I will have once I become a renter.

I'm only on-call, and Portland is too costly to rent there without full-time employment. But hopefully I can get a month-to-month in Salem that isn't the moon. Maybe I can rent a room in someone's house? We'll see.

Back to the celebration: I HAVE A JOB! DO THE DANCE OF JOY, NUMFAR!
I had a friend email me and ask if she could stay with me during the eclipse. She'd just got a wild hair, she said, and she felt like driving up. Well - she'd planned to fly but apparently that's not an option. So, could she stay with me, or do I know anyone she could stay with?

Well, first off, I have a single bed and a couch that doesn't unfold, and neither she nor I can be considered petite. So I told her, no, not gonna work.

But really, I was just kinda wigged. I mean, maybe she could stay with my brother but I feel strange saying that a friend has made no plans for visiting a city preparing for an event that city planners say will quadruple the population, could she stay here?

I just read something that said this could be huge, or it could be Y2k all over again. So my fears could be for nothing.

My cousin and her husband are doing the same thing - I think they said they're planning on camping, but at last conversation they'd switched back from Eastern to Western Oregon so I'm betting they don't have any reservations... My cuz had said maybe we could hang. At the time I'd thought, well, if I have a job, maybe not. No problem, says the cuz, Maybe we could meet for lunch after, and my response was sort of a yelled email, though without caps, of WTFOMGBBX DO YOU NOT REALIZE THE TRAFFIC?

And then someone on Facebook posted a public request asking if she could park in someone's driveway during the eclipse, and she named and some of her other Oregon friends. Okay, it's her post on her wall, not on mine, but What.The.Fuck. You want to ask me a question, send me an email.

Maybe I need to set my public setting to HELLABITCHY or something.
“I haven’t seen Bob lately,” Ray’s dad says, looking around the bar as he climbs up on a bar stool. “Have you seen him, Raymond?”

“Nope,” Ray says. He’s still trying to figure out if he should ask his mum if she’s noticed Dad talking to himself (or Bob), but it’s true that he hasn’t seen Bob, so honesty is definitely the best policy today. What he’s worried about is - aside from the way this tap isn’t drawing the way it’s supposed to. He has a sneaking suspicion the problem is in the basement - other people noticing this new friendship of Dad’s.

“So, Damian, where’s he from? Where’s he live?” asks Bruce, who’s at the other end of the bar. If Bruce and Ray’s dad were in high school and were girls, they’d probably be called frenemies. They’re both former meat cutters, they worked at the same packing house, they know all the same people and each thinks the other’s an asshole. It’s possible people who don’t know either of them think they’re both assholes but for two bits Ray would tell Bruce to take a hike.
Well, two bits and a guarantee that all the other meat packers would still drink here.

“He’s from somewhere up north,” Damian says. “And he’s dead.”

There’s a pause. Ray realizes he’s not the only one who needs a moment to think about that.

“Well, I guess that’s why he’s not been around,” Bruce says, because of course he does.

“Well you couldn’t expect a living Mountie to be spending time in a bar in Chicago, now could you?” Ray’s dad says, offended by the asshole nature of Bruce’s comment. Ray doesn’t even try to be fair in this fight.

“So you’re saying this place has a ghost?” Bruce says.

Ray looks over, sees his dad’s face in the mirror, rolling his eyes.

“Of course he’s not a ghost! He’s just dead.”

“Dad, did Mum tell you she wanted you home by nine?” Ray asks, looking at the clock over the bar and hoping he’s reading it right. His dad looks up at the same clock and then looks at Ray, confused.

“No, she never. She say why?” he asks. Ray thinks fast.

“She’s not trying to plan a surprise party for me, is she, Dad? Dad, you gotta make sure she -”

“All right, Raymond, I’ll handle it,” Damian says, a fatherly smile on his face that he beams at the rest of the bar, the little shit still needs his old man. Ray decides maturity means taking one for the team without shouting something like you are going to pay for this and keeps quiet.

His dad ambles out and Ray gives up on the tap. He tells Mikey to watch the bar, and to pound the hammer on the floor if Ray needs to come upstairs, and he heads down.

There’s a locked door at the top of the stairs and at the bottom and that’s how it was when Ray got the keys and how he keeps it now. Former cops got no arguments with one more lock on one more door. He closes the door at top and locks it behind him before clamping his fingers around the second key and heads downstairs.

He’s down here every day to check on things, and everyday someone sweeps and mops around the kegs, so Ray’s not expecting to see anything when he opens the door. Oh, sure, there were rats when he started but he had the exterminators in and the holes are cemented and most of the crevice like spaces are gone. The kegs are raised and you can slide a broom and mop under there.

So it’s a surprise when he unlocks the door at the bottom of the stairs and walks in, turning on the light and seeing that he’s in some sort of cabin with a wind howling outside and a fire in the fireplace.

“Close the door, young man, you’ll let in the cold,” an old man by the fire says without turning around.

And then he turns around, and the thought that there could be two Mountie ghosts haunting Ray’s bar is probably beyond belief, even in taking into account that there’s apparently already one Mountie ghost haunting Ray’s bar, so adding in another probably shouldn’t be a problem.

“Holy shit, you’re Bob,” Ray says, and Bob looks offended.

“I don’t see that that sort of language is called for, son,” he says, and comes over. He takes off his hat and his coat and hangs them up on the pegs by the door.

“I’ve got a moose hock and some Gorgonzola, if you’re hungry,” Bob says and goes back to the fire. Ray turns around, sees the open door and the stairs.

It’s been since two months after the divorce that he had one of the painkillers, the strong ones.

“You’re dead,” Ray says, turning back around. Bob looks up from the wooden thing he’s whittling, because of course he’s whittling.

“Never be afraid to state the obvious, son,” he says.

“I don’t usually have to be reminded of that,” Ray says. “Thing is, Bob, we have this thing where -”

“Who does?” Bob asks.

Ray looks around.

“We. The living. Chicago. Take your pick of the many things you don’t get to be ‘we’ about. We got this thing where we don’t talk to dead people, which is actually in response to the thing where dead people don’t talk to us. It’s a thing,” Ray says, but there’s a problem in that Bob’s not lost in all the things, which Ray has been counting on. It works on his parents, so he’s a little confused, because Bob isn’t. Confused, that is.

“But we’re talking, son,” Bob says, just like that annoying guy in math class (and he’s in every math class, you know you’ve met him) who says that Latin thing, the one he says, and then looks around and adds, “Q.E.D.,” as if that clears anything up. “You can’t say we’re not talking when patently we are.”

“I can patently say this is the strangest day of my life,” Ray says, and he hears the hammer against the floor above him.

“You’re a pain in the ass,” he says to Bob and turns, leaves, shuts the door behind him, and heads up when he remembers he never did check the taps. Hell.

He heads back down, his arguments lined up, but when he opens the door, it’s the bar basement he expects. That shocks the shit out of him because one thing worse than a weird thing happening is a weird thing not happening and then you have to decide if it did happen or are you just going crazy.
So I'm doing the GWYO 7 days/7 stories challenge, but perhaps not seven stories. Maybe just one, in seven days.

What's below is a preface (written yesterday), followed by Part 1.

BREW, A COFFEEHOUSE AU SET IN THE DUE SOUTH FANDOM:
Preface )

Part 1 )
Over 100,000 words y'all. Some of them good.
Too hot for a pussy hat? Try a pussy pin! Handmade felt is just the first step for these handmade artisanal beauties.

Pussy pin (ukulele not included)

The crafter sends all proceeds to Planned Parenthood, International. She says most people pay about $15.00 for each one. All I know is they're darned cute and as soon as she has more I'm getting one.

After all, my ukulele would look stunning in one.
1.
So I got an email from a public library system in the greater metropolitan Portland area asking me to come for a meet-and-greet/kinda-sorta interview next week. The position is on-call, but if you want in, this is a way to go. If I pass the meet-and-greet (which is how they term it) and they have me actually come work, then they get to see me in action without committing, because, you know, on-call. If I impress I imagine I get shuffled into the mix more, and if I impress more then they put me in for full-time once that comes open.

Or so I imagine. I'm crossing my fingers.

2.
I am angsting over an application for a job that I really really want. I have applied to the institution twice before, and I have interviewed twice before. At that time I was in California, so just to be interviewed was an honor, as the Oscar nominees might say. Still I wonder if my file is stamped LOSER because I've interviewed twice without advancing. But now I am in town, and if they liked me at a distance I have to hope they like me up close.

The application is almost done. I'm stuck on the final question and have been for two weeks. I've sent it out for inspection and have the edits, so I'm just waiting... I guess for final approval? Which I believe I have, and I need to send it in. Fear holds me back. All right, all right, I'll send it in.

3.
I have a storytelling gig!

That overstates it (and the entire world wonders how you overstate a storytelling gig - is that like a supermodel pigging out on two crackers? Seriously, who cares about storytelling?) - apparently my awesome story last week impressed the panel of judges and I am now part of a showcase that will determine which, if any, new tellers are added to the guild. I'm not worried that I won't be good enough - frankly, if I'm the middle of the pack for the showcase then holy shit! That's some deep bench!


Okay, I want to have 93K and change before I finish my tea, so it's back to the Google doc for me.
Well, at least that's what the GYWO monthly check-in lists me as having. This is already wrong, wrong, wrong, for I now have 86,664 words. And that's already out of date because I don't have today's added. Because I haven't written enough today, so there's that...

So last night I went to the Portland Storytellers Guild monthly potluck and story swap. A swap is an informal storytelling session, often just other tellers in the audience. I only knew one fellow in attendance, and he kindly introduced me around. I put my name up on the board and was told I had about 7 minutes, and if I wanted critique they'd be happy to give it.

Sure, I said. Feedback's always good.

They had a microphone. With a room that size I don't really need one - I've been bellowing since the cradle - but having one meant I could pull my voice way down and still have everyone hear me, and ... here's a pro-tip for getting attention: go quiet. Make them lean forward a little, as if they might miss it if they sit back.

And then I quietly told a little Buddhist story that is almost a shaggy dog because of a surprise ending that's pretty much a punchline. Which, when you're telling a quiet story, gets a great response - they totally don't expect it.

So, pretty much love all around with the story - the critique was positive, people were happy, and maybe I'll be able to do some work with them next season.

Job front... no change yet. I am doing the applications for things I'm over-qualified for, under-qualified for, sorta-kinda-qualified for. I am still staring at an application from last week, in which I need to say, in 300 words, what I think the job is and three things about me that make me the one they should pick.

Drabbles, one fannish friend said, and I am trying to consider my response in that way - 75 words on the job, and 75 words on each of three of my awesome attributes. Communications, I like to think - I'm good at helping people, either one on one or as training, and I'm great at a reference interview, and a darn good coworker. (This category also gets a little storytelling love)

I am still pondering my other two attributes. Hair, maybe. Okay, fine, no - but I try thinking and I try not thinking and I don't know what to put yet.
1.
Through March, my GYWO total was 31,065 words. As I'm in the 200K group, that's... well it's a bit thin.
But in April I logged over 40,000 words. I am happy, I am thrilled, I am grateful.
My ego is waiting for the results to be posted so I can see that my count is no longer thin, but thick with words, and the possibilities of continuing same. Which I am - my words are continuing to flow, and I'm over 80,000 words at this time.

2.
I am staying in a little house - not a tiny house, by definition, just a very small 1-bedroom dwellng with a front and side door, carport and a back yard with one of those bench trellises I am currently sitting in. It's very peaceful living here, and I'm happy. Meanwhile, my landlords are my brother's inlaws, and they are sweet, gentle souls. I have offered to mow (I kill plants, so don't ask me to garden if you value your beds), but still my bro's F-I-L comes over and mows. He was here last Thursday, and the mower tracks are still visible. The little flowers - I always wantto call them daisies but they're the little white flowers you get in yards. Not clover flowers, but, you know, tiny daisies. So the field of them visible last Thursday are gone, but already more have sprung up. "WE DON'T CARE," they seem to say, flowers in the air like they just don't care, and I am still so happy.

I had a few hours on Saturday of a mood I knew would appear at some point, the OH SHIT I NEED A JOB I'M GOING TO BE OUT ON THE STREETS WITH NO MONEY HELP HELP HELP. I had been sitting in my living room when this happened, and I did two things to combat it. One, I took a walk in a park, and Two, I called people who understand my brain. I didn't get actual people, but I left voice mails, and while I didn't feel better, I felt like I'd done my part to change things. I mean, I am looking, and appling for positions - so I am doing the right things. My mood is less interested in action and more focused on results, which shows that my mood should go sit in the corner.

But here it is Sunday night, and because it's May in Oregon, the twilight is huge and all is visible still, just not lit, and I can see those tiny little daisies and I am happy.

I did the absolute right thing in quitting my job and moving.
This story at NPR looks interesting to me. I haven't read a lot of Lovecraft - in the article she talks about how it's woven into our fabric as much as Pride & Prejudice, so that even if you haven't read it, you're not confused by references - but I know I've read some, and I've looked him up only to go whuh, he's racist? Huh and then stop reading, and forget, and then repeat the cycle. I cannot tell you how often I've done this.*

I know I reread something - probably the Innsbrook story - a few years ago after reading Gaiman's Lovecraft-esque story in... Werewolves in Their Youth, iirc.

And I think it's quite possible that Night Vale satisfies my need for a mythology of dark forces beyond my grasp, so perhaps I'm overthinking it. Still, this is going on the list of books to be read.


*I am well aware of the privilege I exhibit in this behavior. Perhaps I need to do a deep read of Lovecraft, looking at the themes Emrys talks about, which are apparently BLATANT unless you're a clueless person like me. In my defense on a literary level, I'm not a deep reader. I need to read something several times, or read something in conjunction with a class or a group, to slow down and look at a piece of work as a commentary that needs conversation. My self-indictment on privileges refers to the fact that I have the luxury to forget racism as a force that impinges far less on my life than on others. My self-indictment on shallow reading is, well, yes, I'm a shallow reader who goes too fast and doesn't stop for thought or beauty. Also, this footnote is way too long.
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