Thursday, April 14, 2011


I have decided it is time to update my resume to include my current temporary employment assignment. I believe this is a good start in preparing me for my upcoming job search. That said, I am considering a total revamp – maybe altering the style of my resume from chronological to functional. Or perhaps I may even change my resume to reflect a combination of chronological and functional resume features.

I understand that the purpose of a resume is to get my foot in the door and schedule an interview. So how do I make that happen?

Are there any readers out there that work in Human Resources? Does anyone have any suggestions for me? What can I do with my resume in order to stand out from the rest of the crowd?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Squeak & Rock

Just in case you are wondering, our new kids are settling into Holly Hollow (our apartment, named after my mom) quite well.

The best news is that Squeak, the cat, no longer has a cat box inside! Weeks ago Mike put the cat box out on the patio and Squeak has been using it out there. Hee hee…silly cat. The goal is to eliminate it completely when the kitty litter runs out.

Squeak has also developed quite a meow – even though we were told he had no meow and that was why he was named Squeak. Following that theory, his name should be MEOW.

He also has shown his affinity toward my veggie seedlings that I have started and am growing in our office. One day I noticed little cat paw prints in the soil – arghhh! Now we keep the office door closed when we’re not home so that the seedlings don’t become deadlings. And they’ll be transplanted outside shortly so this issue will resolve itself.

Squeak does have his own SmartyKat Sweet Greens, but he's not interested!

Squeak likes attention and from time to time he uses his arms to reach out and touch us. He especially likes to do this when we are trying to see something on the TV and he blocks our view. But he is also a very cuddly, loveable cat with a good disposition and no bad habits. Good kitty cat!

Rock, the dog, is a sneaker. He is so stealth in the way he tip-toes around us and we don’t even realize he’s there. He can go from the living room, pass me in the hallway and wind up in the bedroom and I seriously did not even see or feel him go by! It’s almost spooky.

And Rock loves to eat! It’s almost like he is always starving. The vet said his weight is good (he’s 64 pounds) and he has a solid middle so he’s not starving by any means…I just think he enjoys a good meal. We got him some doggie treats and Mike uses them when he’s teaching Rock commands.

Rock goes with us in the truck everywhere we go. Sometimes we put him in the truck’s canopy, but most of the time he’s right there with us in the extended cab. So far, so good.

One thing Rock needs to improve on is occasional barking. Ugh. There are now six dogs in our fourplex and sometimes they all get going. But he also barks when someone knocks on the door or rings the doorbell and I like that. I like it that he is protecting our home.

Rock also covets attention and he cuddles up with his paw stretched out on us or with his chin lying on our leg or arm. He has a very sweet temperament, however, STRANGERS BEWARE! He already has bonded strongly with Mike and I think he would protect either of us if necessary.

Rock loves Papa Mike!

So there you have it. Our diggity dog and our kitty cat came out of a bad situation and they’re doing great! Plus, they LOVE each other. I have never seen two different species so comfortable with each other.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Seattle-Everett Interurban Railway

Wednesday evening Mike and I attended a Kenmore Heritage Society event. The event was called “Take a Ride on the Interurban” and it was most enjoyable.

Part of the enjoyment was attributable to the fact that my friends Cheryl and Kevin (sister and brother) were the guest speakers!

You see, they wrote a book titled, Images of Rail: Seattle-Everett Interurban Railway, and it was published last May. The book is an historical tale about the construction, use, and eventual closing of the short-lived interurban electric railway system that operated in the first decade of the 1900s in the Seattle-Everett area. It is chock-full of vintage photographs of the electric trolleys with stories about not only the interurban railway, but also about the area itself.

Both Cheryl and Kevin are members of the Alderwood Manor Heritage Association and they have done extensive research of the locale. Plus, they grew up in the area and live nearby to this day. (You may remember them from my recent post about the Alderwood Heritage pancake breakfast.) Their research included numerous interviews with people that had knowledge about the railway and they gathered and digitized a multitude of era photographs.

The most famous trolley car is Interurban Trolley Car 55. The Alderwood Heritage web site states: Interurban Trolley Car 55 is one of six Interurban rail cars that provided commuter service from Alderwood Manor to Seattle and Everett from 1910 to 1939…After the demise of the Interurban in 1939, Car 55 was retired, serving as a restaurant diner for several years, and later as a ticket office for the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad. The refurbished trolley now enjoys its respite at the Association’s Heritage Park in Lynnwood (what used to be called Alderwood Manor).

The presentation was very interesting and several people in the audience had questions for Cheryl and Kevin about different types of rail. It really got us thinking about how Seattle, and the surrounding communities, developed and the role that rail played in that development.

Before leaving we were able to purchase a book and even get it signed by the authors! Thank you, Cheryl and Kevin – great job – I can’t wait to curl up with your book.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Trouble in Temp Town

Here I am – almost five months into my eight-month temporary assignment at a large, humble company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. This is the longest temp job I’ve ever had and I’m getting antsy.

I'd like to have a permanent position and all the perks that go along with it. I’d like to be able to go to company and department meetings. I’d like to be able to participate in contests and other events. I’d like to know that I really am part of a team. I’d like to think that there is a future for me there.

Conversely, I like working and getting a paycheck. I like the challenge of trying to figure stuff out (i.e. "Where is that darn women's bathroom? I know I saw it around here somewhere...") without all of the usual training that permanent employees receive. I like showing up everyday and surprising people that are accustomed to having temp employees “call in sick” when they don’t feel like going to work. I like to do a good job with most things I tackle.

And I’d love to share detailed stories of my temping, but I don’t because I’m never sure who is reading this blog. However, yesterday I came across a blog, Laura’s NYC Tales, written by someone named Laura. The blog is divided into six sections and one of them is titled, Temping Escapades. I read the six Temping Escapades stories (on my lunch break, of course) and laughed and laughed and laughed. I wish I’d kept a notebook about all of my crazy temp assignments so that I could write a book!

And thank you Laura (whoever you are) for writing your stories. Following is a sample that lifted my spirits. Read it! Laugh about it! Think about me!

The Glorious Start of it All

As a temp en route to a new assignment, I never know what kind of environment I'm going to be working in or exactly what the work will be. Counselors at placement agencies have a job order that serves as a basic guideline, but you can't go by that alone. Landing a good temp job is really all in the luck of the draw.

I was booked for a job working in the administrative offices of a hospital. After meeting my supervisor, he led me down a long hallway to a remote area at the very end. I was shown into a tiny, windowless room containing two back-to-back workstations facing opposite walls. One of the workstations was vacant; in the other was this extremely sad-looking woman typing away at her computer. Beside her was a stack of papers that teetered to the sky.

The supervisor mumbled a few words to the woman and then left. You're not going to leave me here, are you? I guess you are....

The woman sat me down at the vacant computer and began to explain what she did all day -- and now what I would be doing all day: entering information from the endless stack of invoices into the hospital's database system. I tried to digest her instructions, but I found the entire situation so dismal and depressing that my mind wandered to all these thoughts other than the task on hand. This woman seems so nice. Is this really her life, sitting here in this isolated room, entering numbers day after day while life outside passes her by? Does she have a boyfriend? Is she happy?... How does she do this job? I can't do it... I just can't....

I started to get overcome with emotion. Try as I might I couldn't hold back my tears, and started sobbing minutes after she left me to my work. Feeling sorry about my distress, she came over and put her hand gently on my back. In a soft, reassuring voice she said, "It's okay. I know it seems hard at first, but you'll get it. At first I didn't understand, but then I learned how to do it." I nodded in agreement, trying to make it seem like her pep talk was helping. But the truth was I couldn't have cared less about the data entry process.

When my crying spell ceased I excused myself to go to the bathroom. I splashed cold water on my face and took many deep breaths. When I saw my reflection in the mirror, I thought to myself that I looked like hell. (Mr. DeMille, I am not ready for my close-up.) I came back red-faced, but firm in my decision that I had to, and was going to get out of this place.

I found my supervisor and told him I was sorry, but I was the wrong person for the job. He didn't know why it upset me so, but thankfully I was allowed to leave without an interrogation. My agency? Well, they weren't thrilled, but they didn't fire me.

After my disastrous reaction to this job, I realized something I never knew about myself: I possessed an almost psychotic aversion to data entry. It's completely soulless to me, and it affects my sense of self-worth -- or lack of it -- on a deep, almost primal level. When I do data entry I can't help but think, Is entering numbers into a spreadsheet all I'm capable of in life? No, I know I can do more. Much more.

I made sure to double check that subsequent temp jobs would not be data entry. But like I said, with temping you never know for sure what the job is going to be until you show up and sit down at your desk. And thus, if you plan on trying your luck at the "Temp Job Table" it would behoove you to blow on those dice with all your might before rolling them.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Eddie Vedder Ukulele Tour

Eddie Vedder, frontman for Seattle band, Pearl Jam, goes on a one-month tour in June, ending with two shows in Seattle’s intimate and acoustically excellent 2,500 seat Benaroya Hall.

And guess who’s going?

I AM!!!

My cousin, Mary, who saw Pearl Jam with us in Vancouver, Washington in August 2009, managed to get tickets via the Pearl Jam Ten Fan Club and she’s taking me!!

WHOO-HOO – I can’t wait for July 15th!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mike the Diplomat

He’s good. He had the big chat with the neighbor’s sister.

The cord has been severed and yesterday she took Bella to work with her and last night told Mike that there were no problems with doing that.

Further conversation between the neighbor’s sister and Mike found that in the past she had never really dropped off Bella to stay with her brother, Rock and Squeak. She clarified that she had done that on occasion, but not every day. So why did she tell Mike “untruths” in the first place?

Who knows. She may have just been so upset about her brother’s suicide that she was reaching out to Mike. The two of them would sit out on the patio and smoke cigarettes together. And a couple of times they had tea together when she came to pick up Bella in the afternoon. They enjoyed each other’s company and Bella was able to hang out with his friends, Rock and Squeak.

Maybe she’ll stop by to see Mike now and then. Maybe she won’t. Maybe they’ll share cigarettes and tea again. Maybe they won’t.

I am so happy about how Mike handled the entire situation. Don’t forget that he has that darn arachnoid cyst growing on his brain and that it affects his decision making process. He listened to his heart and did the right thing – even when he cut the cord.

The memorial for her brother is this weekend and we’re planning to attend. I think it will bring some closure to the recent events and allow us to move forward without guilt. Hallelujah.