Monday, October 29, 2007

24 Days

My three week temp job has been completed, so currently I am only employed at Panera on the weekends. I worked 24 days in a row without a break. It sounds really difficult until you do it. It wasn't as bad as I expected. But that's probably because 1) I knew that it would end soon and 2) Robb was amazing and kept the house clean, cooked, shopped, took care of the cats, and made my lunches for me. Working at the mental health facility for three weeks was certainly interesting. I spoke to some unusual people on the phone and have some interesting stories for the future. One day I went into the lobby and saw someone sitting there with a Dracula cape on. I thought, well, this is where crazy people hang out; so I wasn't completely surprised. But then I remembered that there was a Halloween party for some of the clients that day! So lesson learned: even the crazies only pull out the costumes on certain days!

Today I went to interview for a Management Analyst position with the state government. It was a really phenomenal interview, and if nothing else, at least I have my interviewing confidence back. After that, I headed to downtown Seattle to check out a public administration career fair. How lucky am I? This month there was a nonprofit career fair and a public administration career fair in Seattle. Unfortunately, I didn't find much at either fair. The nonprofit fair had a lot of organizations looking for interns and volunteers. And the public administration fair employers just told everyone to check out their websites, which I already do. It's pretty sad that career fairs are now wastes of time for me. From what I understand, employers at career fairs used to accept hard copies of your resume, tell you about great job opportunities that you couldn't hear about anywhere else, and actually make connections with people who could help you. That's no longer the case. But I continue to go to job fairs because you always hope that you'll meet that one person who can help you.

And today I met some people involved with the American Society for Public Administrators (ASPA.) I was really involved in Central Florida's ASPA organization. But my membership lapsed this summer and I don't want to spend the money right now on the renewal. But I talked to a couple of ASPA members today and I'm going to try to get involved again without having to pay the dues quite yet.

So now, the next few days will be spent on recuperating from my long days of work. I will probably try to sleep in a little, get back to running, and take care of a few chores. Then it's back to Panera this weekend. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy working there. My fellow employees (although mostly young and in high school!) are very nice and the managers are really great. I enjoy helping customers and eating reduced-price lunches. If nothing else works out soon with another temp or full-time position, I might take on more hours at Panera. We'll see though.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Winter Weather

This morning there was major frost on my car that I had to scrape off before I could leave for work. In Florida everyone said I was ridiculous for holding onto my ice scraper, but I was extremely glad this morning it was still in my car! Not only did I not have to spend any money on it while I'm extremely broke, but I also didn't have to be without it on the first frost day (because I definitly didn't expect that to be today.) And I'm also happy to report that after two years of looking longingly at my winter coat, I've finally gotten to wear it again here in Washington. The morning temperatures are usually in the mid-30s and the afternoons are in the 50s, and sometimes the 60s. I'm also excited to have full use of my sweaters again. In Florida I only wore a few light ones, now I can wear the wool and heavy ones too. I'm a little bummed out because I really like the warmth of my winter coat, but it doesn't provide the rain protection I need. And my rain jacket is too light to wear by itself in the winter. I guess I'll be asking for some type of North Face winter jacket for Christmas.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Not to sound pathetic or anything...

The career hunt continues. But I thought you would be interested to read this snippet from an article in a local magazine. It reinforces what I said last week about Seattle being full of smarties.

"Hey Genius. Yeah you. Holding the magazine, your brow all bunched up in thought. Not that it's news to you, but you're living in the brainiest city on the planet. Seattle ranks as the most literate and educated place in America. We have the most bookstores, the highest number of advanced degrees. And we are changing the world. Again.....Let's face it, geeks run the planet and Seattle is the geekiest place there is." -article from Seattle Metropolitan, October 2007

And I've talked to a few fellow employees at my temp position, who are also very smart, have advanced degrees, etc., and found that they also took several months to find positions once they moved here. It makes me feel a little better to know that I'm not alone. I just don't want my friends, family, or past colleagues to be disappointed in me or feel that I'm just plain stupid or terrible interviewing! So instead, I'm choosing to be pathetic in a different way, and every time I find or hear something that shows it's not entirely my fault that I don't have a career yet, I must let you know! (Don't get me wrong, I'm not a complete ego-maniac. I'm sure that my interviewing skills could be better. I tend to start out nervous and uncomfortable, and finish strong. But I don't know if the strong finish outweighs the bad start.)

So that's all from the West Coast. I wish I could tell you that we did some cool Washington activity recently, but I'm so tired from working all the time that we never go out. To celebrate Robb's birthday on Wednesday we just went to the fancy grocery store and got a smorgasbord of food from the deli. We are an exciting bunch here. Let's hope I get a real job soon, not only so I don't feel so pathetic, but also so that we can afford to go out again and I can regal you in my blog stories and pictures.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Semi-Famous Blogger

Well my blog is getting a little famous! It seems that another blogger has found my blog intersting and is including it in his list of the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Blogosphere." His comment is copied below.

"It will be interesting, I think, to share the adventures in your new home. And I'm pleased to tell you that Beautiful Rainy Days Ahead has been included in the newest {updated} edition of A Hitchhiker's Guide To The Blogosphere.One last thing, I'm hosting the carnival of cities Monday. You look like you have some posts that will be great!!"

His site is at: Scroll down to Wed. Oct. 10 to see my blog listed.

By the way, I NEVER thought I would write a blog. This isn't my normal style, but I'm glad I started it and I hope that family, friends, and strangers continue to find it interesting.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Career Hunt

I despise career hunting. I call it that because I’m not looking for just a job right now, I’m looking for a career path. A career to me, means utilizing my education and training in a long-term way to make money to live, while at the same time enjoying my 9-5 responsibilities. To find my career is much more difficult here than I ever imagined.

I came from a community in Florida where I knew lots of people and had made fairly good networking connections. I feel that I could have found a job there fairly quickly. However, in Seattle I am just starting to meet people that can help me in my job search. So much of job hunting comes from who you know, and I don’t know very many people yet. Another problem here is the job market. While there are lots of nonprofit organizations in this region, people interested in nonprofit management know this and flood the market. Seattle is a high cost-of-living area with a good reputation for jobs, so the job market is flooded with recent college and masters grads, just like me. I was talking to someone yesterday and she said that in this area, a bachelor’s degree here is like a high school diploma in other areas and my master’s degree is only equivalent to a bachelor’s.

So the career hunt continues. In the meantime we need to start paying some bills, so I’ve got a couple of temporary jobs. I work 7 days a week right now. Depending on the day I need to get up between 4:00 and 5:30. I’m a little tired and look forward to a break, but I like making money and not sticking around the house. (Just to let you know, Robb’s not hanging out on his laurels. He had a temp job last week sorting ballots for a nonprofit election, and spent this week applying for hourly positions to help pay bills.) I just finished the first week of a three-week temp position at a mental health facility. I basically answer the phones and pass on messages to people in the intake/admissions department. The good thing about this job is that I learned how to take the bus from Federal Way all the way to Seattle . It only costs me $2.00 each way and it actually takes a little less time (about an hour) and is less stressful than driving my car. Plus I save the environment and can sleep or read on the bus.

And on the weekends I am working as an opener for Panera Bread. On Saturday I have to be there at 5:00am, and Sunday at 6:00am. I put out the bread/pastries that have been baking all night and then am a cashier. It’s interesting because Panera’s have just started opening here in the past couple of years, so tons of people come in and have never been there before. I just can’t imagine not knowing what Panera is, or thinking that it’s a cool new local bakery.

Next week I’m going to a nonprofit career fair and at the end of October I’m going to a very large public administration career fair. And I’m starting to get this networking thing down. I started attending King County Young Democrats meetings. I’ve been to two meetings so far, and everyone is very nice and told me about some good websites and sources to look for jobs. And next week I meet with the development director of this mental health facility to talk about the nonprofit realm in Seattle . Please keep your fingers crossed that something works out soon!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Pike Place Market

On Saturday we were desperate to get out of the house. Plus, Robb had a temp job starting on Monday in downtown Seattle, so we figured we'd head over there so he could scout out the area. When spending time downtown, Robb has discovered that parking costs are outrageous. So we park near the Seattle Center and then walk a couple of miles to downtown/Pike Place. The Seattle Center is where the Space Needle is, as well as the venues for the ballet/opera. "Our" parking garage there costs only $6 for the entire day!

We walked along the waterfront to get to Pike Place Market and were very pleased that it was raining! We finally got to use our rain jackets. When we got to Pike Place we decided to eat and chose Pike Place Chowder. We ordered a variety sampler and while everything was good, we must say that the New England clam chowder was the best we've ever had. Absolutely amazing. After the chowder we grabbed some doughnuts from the Daily Dozen Doughnuts. They make mini-doughnuts fresh in the market and the line was incredibly long because they smelled so good. The Pike Brewing Company was next on our list and we each tried a local beer. I'm not a huge beer fan in general, but Robb liked both of the brews we tried. After that we tried a beef and curry humbow from a street vendor. This is the second humbow I've tried, and while they're interesting, I don't think I'll get one again. The bread that surrounds the filling is topped with something sweet, and I just can't get over the sweetness and the savory. Our final food stop was The Confectional. This little bakery specializes in mini-cheesecakes and cheesecake truffles. We tried a sampling and OH MY GOD! Robb made sure to pick up a brochure and remind me that his birthday is this month.

Now, a little disclaimer. This sounds like a ton of food. And don't get me wrong, it was a decent amount. But, we shared everything and got small things so that we could sample a lot. And as hard as it was, I managed to resist stopping in Pirosky Pirosky to get a cheddar/potato pirogi. Next time we go to Pike Place Market I'll definitely be getting one of those again. And we really want to try Beecher's. This place makes cheese and are renowned for their homemade mac and cheese. Plus, their sandwiches look pretty good.

Pike Place Market is obviously more than just restaurant vendors. However, we're on a budget and didn't spend the money on the beautiful bouquets of flowers, crafts, or art. And unfortunately, we had just stocked up on fruits and veggies, so we didn't need any fresh produce. But ultimately, Pike Place Market is a great place to people watch and, obviously, eat tons of local food. It's interesting because it's obviously a huge tourist destination in Seattle. But it's also still very important to the locals. Many Seattleites still buy their produce there and eat at the food booths during their lunch break. And the vendors are a great mix of silly tourist crap and real crafts.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mt. Rainer - Spray Falls

I promise that this won't morph into a hiking-only blog. The problem is, that hiking is the cheapest way for us to get out of the house. It has finally turned cold, windy, and rainy though, so our hiking for this season is probably just about over. We knew the weather was turning soon, so last week we went out on the last sunny day that was forecasted. Spray Falls Trail takes quite awhile to get to. The road to get to the trail head is several miles of unpaved road. In fact, the road closes on October 8 or after the first snowfall because it isn't regularly maintained by rangers. The trail itself is considered easy and was about 5.5 miles round trip. It had great views of Mt. Rainer (the side we hadn't seen before), a towering waterfall, and started/ended by Mowich Lake. The most interesting thing about hiking around Mt. Rainer is how different all of the trails and areas are. Robb and I really feel as though every hike we go on has something completely different and amazing to see. For example, this lake was absolutely gorgeous (very blue, clear, and deep) and we saw a cray-fish crawling around. Who expects that kind of wilderness spotting on a mountain hike?