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DARTHLAURIE's Recent Blog Entries

A New Beginning

Friday, May 08, 2009

As you all know, it has been a tumultuous and insane few weeks. It seems more like months. Craig and I are somewhat moved in to our beautiful little townhome-- we're moving the last of my things out of the apartment tomorrow and then I need to clean it.
Even better, I was hired at an architectural specification software company and this is my first week. It has been exhausting, terrifying, and frustrating. The people are amazingly nice and it seems like for the most part they dislike intra-office politics as much as I do. My position is administrative assistant, but that's just the easiest title for someone who will be proofreading specification documents, running the continuing education, and doing the mundane phone answering/ receptionist stuff. There's still a lot to learn but I'm getting paid $1.50 more an hour and the benefits are great and they even offer bonuses. The down side is surfing the web needs to be kept at a bare minimum, even at lunch. I miss my mid-day Spark inspiration!
Well, it's time for bed but I'll check in soon and hopefully now that I'm getting back on schedule I'll be able to eat better and start working out again!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMALIA8 5/17/2009 10:23AM

    That's wonderful news ! Keep up the great work!

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LLNLBLOG 5/13/2009 12:54PM

    emoticon I'm so happy for you. Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures.

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    Congrats on both the job and moving in with Craig. emoticon

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SAPPHIREWINDS 5/9/2009 12:22PM

    How wonderful for you! Yippee!!! More money AND a new place...see, there were reasons for losing that other job.

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-SHAWN- 5/8/2009 2:10PM

  I think it's great about your new home and job! And benefits too... oh the joy!

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BRAVAH 5/8/2009 11:51AM


So much positive! Congrats on getting somewhat moved in to your townhouse. That's great. I bet you'll feel better after you get your old place cleaned and can mark that off your list. A fresh start in a new place is so nice!

And congrats on the job!!! Seriously... $1.50 more perhour? That is so wonderful! I am happy for you!


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So many roads

Friday, April 17, 2009

It has been an insanely crazy couple weeks.
I haven't been eating well; there are days, like yesterday, when I can barely work up the energy to eat and other days where all I want to do is eat. The only exercise I've done is my weekly dance classes and packing boxes and stacking them up.
I had a job interview on Monday, but I don't think it went very well. I stumbled over answers and I made myself out to be a lot less flexible that I am-- and I don't think that works in my favor. I've applied for a few jobs, but not many.
I've read a book called The Successful Introvert looking for ideas to help me with the job search and I'll finish a book called Rebound today and then start to read The Anti 9-to-5 Guide. More on that in a moment.
Craig told me to focus more on packing and getting ready to move. I cleaned out a lot of stuff; I had one large box full of stuff and enough garbage bags to fill up the back of Craig's Trailblazer. I organized my craft stuff and narrowed them all down to three plastic bins: fabric in one, yarn in another, and miscellaneous things like beads and thread in another.
Yesterday was the worst day I've had this week. I couldn't stop crying and I had to force myself to go to my dance class. I'm absolutely terrified at the prospect of not having health insurance. Craig says worst comes to worse we can get married and then I can be on his health insurance, but I don't want to be married. I like knowing that if something happens I can just leave the relationship. I also don't want to get married because on some level I like taking a stand-- not being married is my private way of protesting the fact that so many loving gay and lesbian couples can't marry the people they love. It's not right that I could go right now and fill out a littl piece of paper and be married but they can't. I know it's silly, but that's a big deal to me. Besides, I wanted a beach wedding and obviously that can't happen here in Utah.
Yesterday Craig and I had an aha moment about the same time. He found some links about getting freelance writing gigs about the same time I found www.anti9to5guide.com/ . I'm contemplating whether or not I should try to my hand at freelance writing. We all know that I love writing and I'm fairly good at it. If I can make $1300-1400 a month, I'll be bringing home what I made at the library. From what I can tell, once I get started, it's quite likely that I can bring home that amount fairly easily, and not working at it forty hours a week...which means I could potentially come out ahead and be happier working on my own terms. One of the tech writers that works at Craig's company said that freelance tech writers are doing fairly well right now because companies would rather hire for what they need rather than having someone on staff right now....and it's always possible that if they like your work, when the economy improves some company you've been working for will want to hire you full time or at the very least they'd be repeat clients. This is just another road that's available to me, and I have to admit there's something really alluring about being able to do things my way without someone looking over my shoulder or nitpicking things or having to deal with office politics. I think I'll start working on a portfolio and Craig has suggested putting together a professional blog, which would be more like an online portfolio.
As for the business side of things, I've been doing things right when it comes to the side copy editing job so I can keep doing things pretty much the same. The big trick is going to be marketing and networking since I'm really a shy/introverted sort of person, especially when I'm not in my own environment.
The idea of striking out on my own terrifies me, but at the same time even though I'm not sure if it feels right just yet, it feels more like something that's closer to what I want to do; when I was 14 I locked myself in my closet for hours and wrote. I realized then that's what I wanted to do with my life (hence, ten years later I chose English as my major without hesitation). My work life has been the one aspect of my life that didn't feel me with joy and exuberance...now, just maybe it's possible. But...I need to research things more before I dive in.
Thanks everyone for being so supportive...all of your messages have helped cheer m e up and you've given me things to think about. I think today I'm going to reconnect and do things that I haven't been doing; I'm going to practice dancing (Jodi filled in for Mecha and she taught us the spectacular dance she taught her class...and I don't want to forget it!), I'm going to finish reading one book and start reading the next one, and I'm going toset up some knitting time. I may even throw in some lunges, squats, sit ups and push ups because my body needs to stay strong right now!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LLNLBLOG 4/22/2009 10:52AM

    Sorry to be a stranger but happy to return to your awesome blog. I forgot how much I love your post; they speak to me and sometimes for me. I am can relate on not having a job and health insurance and decided that writing for a living was a real option. I can remember feeling torn between getting married and just living together because of not be willing to commit my life away. I'm so excited for you and your new ventures and so grateful that you've shared that link. Thank you for being so open with your life. It gives me so much perspective and comfort that helps to ease the stress of the unknown.

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BRAVAH 4/19/2009 6:29AM

    Hi Laurie,

Brilliant! All I can say is that I feel like karma is kicking you in the butt to get you to write!

I know that you are worried about not having health insurance. That is a valid concern. Does your work have a cobra program, where you can buy extended coverage for awhile? That should cover you while you figure things out.

As for weddings... I know that you have a lot of reasons not to get married. And if you aren't ready, then you aren't ready. But if you ever do... I've got the perfect beach location! We were married in the Dominican Republic. Aside from the travel to get there, and the hotel (which included all food and drink - even mai-tais and pina-coladas), the wedding itself was $1000. Yes, that's right... one thousand bucks - not the ridiculous amount that people spend these days. And it was gorgeous!

Of course, my dress (custom-made by Dark Gardens) was $600 (very cheap for a wedding dress), and my sweetie's kilt was quite a bit more than that, lol. But overall, it was a really awesome week, with low stress and gorgeous flowers and everything one could want in a beach wedding.

But I digress...

I really am excited about you writing for a living. It will be so much more fulfilling than any job at the library!

Best wishes, and keep me posted.

And good luck with your move - tell Craig I said hello!

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AMALIA8 4/17/2009 4:12PM

    You can get through this. I think that writing sounds like a great idea for you. It sounds like a lot of fun and it sounds like it would be something you would really enjoy doing. If you aren't so sure about marketing yourself so that you can get the amount of work you need, then see if there is anyone close to you who would be willing to do it. I ask because my mother was always the best one at putting good spins on things that I was capable of doing and making them "marketable". If you have anyone in your life like that, then ask them for some help. :) You are going to have good things happen to you soon. I can tell. The time is coming for some amazing things to happen. :) Keep your chin up and come visit us (Sparkpeople) any time you need us. :)

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The End?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Today was a tough day. I was one of the fourteen or fifteen people who got laid off at the library. I spent the day on the computer at work sending off applications and trying to be strong and ignore the pitying stares and trying to be upbeat so other people who got to keep their jobs didn't feel so bad.
I'm trying to be positive, but it's next to impossible. I'm not whining "why me" because I knew that being the low man on the totem pole would mean I was also the most dispensable. Now I'm just trying to figure out how to keep myself moving so I don't just curl up and get so depressed that suicide would be the least painful option. I have a few things to do, but not enough-- and I'm not entirely sure what I ought to be doing.
There is a bright side: I have three months' severance pay and insurance until the end of June. That gives me a tiny bit of breathing room.
I'm trying to look at this as a cosmic two by four. Since I wasn't being motivated to take the risks necessary to get out of a stagnant, miserable job, the cosmos gave me an incentive I couldn't possibly ignore. Craig has spent the better part of the afternoon and evening telling me that every time he has lost his job that something better has come his way. I hope I can say the same thing in a couple months or less. Preferably a couple weeks. But...I have my own family history and all I can think of is that when my mom lost her jobs things weren't exactly any better. Wally never lost his job. Even while being drunk or on drugs he kept his job until he retired. Honestly, I don't get it, but government jobs are usually that stable.
I'm hoping that somehow I do come up on top and that I can look at this as an adventure and another step in my personal evolution. I'm hoping that I can find a job where I feel valued and not just on the last day I'm there. I also hope I'll actually make a little more, but in this economy a person has to take what they can get.
The other thing that has me stressed is I have to move. Craig told me to give my landlord the thirty day notice. I was going to wait until we had the keys to the condo before doing that, but Craig is pretty confident we'll be closing on schedule, around April 23. I'm trying to figure out how to job hunt and pack and get ready to move all at the same time. I have a couple hazy ideas.
Here's my current plan of action:
This afternoon Craig took me to the Verizon store and got me on his phone plan and I got my first cell phone. I really despise phones, but I'm in a really desperate situation and now I need a phone. I also applied for three or four jobs that looked promising (and they were research, writing, or editing jobs).
Tomorrow I'm going to the state workforce services office and I'm going to hope someone there will be able to give me some guidance and fill out some applications and probably paperwork.. Afterwards I'm going to go back up to the library, return the books I have and finish getting my stuff out and saying goodbye to some people.
Friday I'm going to do something worthwhile: I'm going to donate platelets because I had the appointment already scheduled and according to the website there are hospital patients and preemies in need of my type of blood. I was going to cancel, but the thought of being useful in some way pushed me over the edge. Besides, the wife of one of my cousins just had a baby who was six weeks premature and they had to send her by helicopter from the Tooele hospital (somewhat remote place west of Salt Lake) to the U of U hospital before the baby was born because the Tooele hospital didn't have a NICU . I'm grateful that they're both doing well and I want to show my thanks in that small way. It's not like a couple hours would make a change in how things are going for me.
Monday I'm going to a job seeker workshop for all of us displaced UofU library people. I'll be commiserating with people I know.
That's all I really have planned out right now. I'll spend as much time sending off resumes and attending workshops that will hopefully help me land a better job. There's another resource that costs $200 that the U has set up for graduates that I've been told the library will foot the entire bill and I'll set that up on Tuesday after the other workshop. I'm thinking that I can spend the afternoons and evenings sorting, cleaning, and packing up my apartment. Worse comes to worse and we don't get the condo, I'll move in with Craig and we'll be crowded, but I'll save that money and use it to pay bills and stuff while I am job hunting.
I'm going to try to maintain some sort of routine because if I don't, I'll never get anything done. I'm really not sure what else to do. Another bright side: I don't exactly have an appetite so I'm not inclined to start a binge. Well, I guess I better get to bed. Normally I'd either be asleep or close to it at this point and now that I've written things out, hopefully I can rest my exhausted body and be ready to start the new adventure tomorrow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FIGHTERCHICK32 5/5/2009 11:22PM

    Hey Laurie:

I'm sorry to hear that you are having such a rough time right now? How you applied as a client at VR? They may be able to help you find employment.

I will be thinking about you!


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MISS_SINDEL 4/8/2009 1:02PM

    Hey hunny, you and Craig are getting a condo together!? Thats SWEEET.

I hope your search is going well. Keep staying strong.
Lots of love.

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AMALIA8 4/5/2009 2:17PM

    Craig is right about normally when you lose a job a better opportunity comes up. I'm not sure how well you can know someone over the internet but I'm not normally a sad person. In fact I'm very upbeat LOL. However, the summer I was fifteen I was working at Superstore (a grocery store) and at the end of the 3 month probation (which just happens to cover the summer I might add) they decided not to keep me because (get this) I wasn't "perky" enough. Now, I laughed out loud at that one. The manager had to go on and explain that what she actually meant was that my emotions were too changing but the "not perky enough" phrase has stuck with me ever since and I always tell people that and we laugh (if they know me at all) because I'm always perky LOL. Anyway, the point is that when I lost that minimum wage job, within a month (without even looking) I obtained a new job teaching an autistic boy for 10 dollars an hour (which is great for a teen). I kept that job for 5 years. I loved it. In fact, I changed my idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up based on that job. I no longer know if I want to pursue Speech Pathology or not, but I enjoyed that job immensely. Anyway, my long winded point is that something amazing is around the corner for you. Just hang on and you'll get there. :) Keep up the great work and put some music on and dance around while you pack because it will make it so much more fun. :)

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    Aw...that sucks! Take advantage of all the great workshops that you can get, Workforce Services has some great ones. Get the word out there that there's an awesome lady for hire! Keep your name on people's minds. I'll be looking, too. Another thought, when you go to Workforce Services, there have been lots and lots of on the job trainiing positions available, PM me, we can chat about what your skills are and were you want to go with them. It's not the End, it'a a Beginning!

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BRAVAH 4/2/2009 7:54PM

    Oh Laurie!

I actually read of your job on the other boards, but now I have a minute to respond. I am really sorry that you are no longer employed, but deep down, I have this feeling that you will actually be able to find something that you want to do long term... I mean, even if you have to take a call center job for a few months (thanks to another friend, or something), that would really help you keep looking for the right job! I know that you are a talented woman with lots to offer and I hope that you find exactly what you are looking for!

By the way, what exactly are you looking for? I mean, you need to be shouting out to the universe what you would really enjoy doing - and that includes here in your blogs!

I am sending good energy your way!


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WARBLER1 4/1/2009 8:57AM

    Hi, Laurie. I'm sorry to hear about your layoff. I was laid off from my university position on Jan. 27 and have been in the job hunt ever since. There is a team on SP for folks who have been laid off. I'm a member and you can find a link to the team on my SparkPage, if you're interested.

Craig is right, you have to have a phone for a job search. A lot of places do preliminary phone interviews to determine who to call for face-to-face interviews. There are lots of job listing sites you can take advantage of. Some that come to mind are USAJOBS.gov, JuJu.com, Monster.com and americasjobexchange.com. America's Career InfoNet (www.acinet.org/acinet/default.asp) offers tools for creating a plan, networking and finding potential employers. They also provide links to state job banks across the country. Lots of sites allow you to post your resume and apply for jobs online, which really cuts down on postage costs.

It is a scary time but know that you're not alone. Think about using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to network and let people know you're looking for work. LinkedIn is also a great way to post your resume online and network with other professionals.

Chin up. You can handle this.

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Busy, Busy, Busy

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I've been crazy busy for the last couple of weeks. Last week Craig was out of town and I stayed at his place. I was busy doing last minute costume stuff and feeling like a chicken with its head cut off. He got back last Thursday.
To make things worse, I've been having feet issues. My right foot has been having some weird pains. Sometimes they're sharp and I almost fall down. I ended up ordering new shoes and I got them Wednesday. So far they've helped a little, but not entirely. I ended up making a doctor appointment for Monday. This has made it really difficult to muster up the energy to workout. I've had to resort to wearing shoes whenever I'm doing anything (I've been known to workout in my slippers and socks). Here's the thing: I hate feet. I hate people touching my feet. I don't like to be barefoot except in the tub, bed, or the pool (although I barely tolerate that). Craig doesn't touch my feet. In fact my belly sister Jodi is about the only person who has touched my feet and it was a life and death situation. We were all at the deep end of the pool when I got a charlie horse. Craig and Jodi's significant other were holding me up and trying to keep me from thrashing while getting me to the shallow end and Jodi was trying to work out the charlie horse. I obviously survived the trauma. You know things are bad if I'm going to a doctor and letting him even look at my feet...well we'll see how it goes.
Last Friday I got up early and went to the dance studio for some tv time to advertise Springfest, which was last Saturday. I didn't get much tv time...which was okay by me.
Saturday was the big day. I was extremely nervous about Springfest. I didn't think that I'd be very good on stage. I thought I'd go too fast and ruin our drum number. I was also worried the sharp pain would trip me up. As it turns out, things went really well! As you can see, Craig got some good pictures! Someone took an illicit video of our troupe dancing and I've posted it to my Facebook page. I think this link might work: www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/
If not, look me up under Laurie Richards and you should find me. :) As you can see, I found a lovely green skirt to wear with my costume. I can't wear it alone, but I can wear the yellow skirt underneath it. I won't wear the green skirt during performances because it wouldn't match the rest of the costume!
I didn't get home until after 8 that night and my feet were so painful (too many hours in dance shoes...even with good insoles) that I could barely walk. I spent Sunday on the couch, at one point soaking my feet. They still hurt Monday.
But things are back to normal now. We got some good news on the condo front. We took a break from looking while Craig was in Seattle. It's a good thing we did because one of the condos we really liked came back on the market. Craig's dad put a bid in for us and we got an acceptable counter offer yesterday! We're extremely excited at the possibility that if things go smoothly (not that we expect it to be a smooth process), we could have the keys to our own home on our sixth anniversary.
So that's all of the fun stuff that has been happening in my world. It's a busy, exciting time for me and on top of everything else, spring is around the corner, the snow has melted and it is slowly warming up...which means I feel like waking up and moving around again!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRAVAH 3/16/2009 5:54PM

    WOW! Laurie, I am truly impressed!!!

I mean, I knew you've been dancing for awhile, but that was amazing! You really know how to swing those hips, girl! Sweet!

I am sorry to hear about the drama with your feet and hope that it gets resolved quickly. But what a lot of good things going on right now! I am sending good energy your way for the offer on the place you want!

Again, that video was amazing. You really do have a talent for dancing!


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ETERNALMOTHER 3/15/2009 1:44PM

    I am the opposite on feet. I love to go barefoot and can't. I overdid step aerobics and aerobics one semester and got plantars fascitis. It was worse in the morning. You put a foot out of bed to stand up and fall on the floor. Since I got my orthotics that has been much better. The unfortunate thing is that it requires off the feet rest. I hope your problem is much simpler to fix.

I will keep my fingers crossed for you and Craig to get that condo.

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-DEBY- 3/14/2009 6:22PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

emoticonand emoticon

blessings allways...


ng Saturday LOVE ~~~~0:)

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The Amazing Chicken Sandwich!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Back in January I blogged about a delicious chicken sandwich I had at a local restaurant. Well, last night I created my own tweaked version of this sandwich. It was messy. It was decadent. Here it is:
1 chicken breast (preferably on the thin side)
2 slices of bacon (the original used pepper bacon)
1 good sandwich roll- I had ciabbata
a small handful of hazelnuts, lightly crushed and toasted
2 sun-dried tomato slices, rehydrated in hot water and diced
1 slice provolone cheese (the original had swiss)
1 T mayo
1t ketchup
1/4-1/2 t minced garlic
Avocado, two or three slices (the original didn't have avocado)
(you can also add fresh tomatoes and onion, but I don't like either of these)
Cook the bacon. Don't drain the pan. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels.
Cook the chicken in the pan you just cooked the bacon in. I seasoned the chicken with sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and poultry seasoning. Do what you like.
While the chicken is cooking, make your aioli: combine the mayo, ketchup, and garlic. Set aside.
Lightly toast your roll. Add a slice of provolone cheese to one half of the roll and toast until cheese is bubbly.
Spread aioli on the other half of the roll.
Assemble the sandwich by stacking all of the ingredients on one half of the roll and topping it all off with the other half of the roll.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEWMOMOVER40 3/21/2009 11:54AM

    Hi there, I've been enjoying your blog today! Have you put this recipe on SparkRecipes? It's a great way to share your recipe ideas with other Sparkers (and even people outside of SP ... it's a separate site but uses the same food database). Bon appetit!

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