Category Archives: future


Started a steady temp job and coupled with the volunteer work with IAJGS I had no time or leftover energy to blog for what turned out to be four to five months. Then I ended up so overwhelmed and exhausted from the intense learning curve of the job that I had to make the painful decision to stop the volunteer work. Not surprised by this difficult decision but definitely feel a lot of guilt.

Feel blessed and very lucky to have found this steady gig, though of course the “temp” part of the job is a little scary in this economy. As a workaholic, a trait both inherited and not-so-proudly earned, I would like more security that comes with a full-time status of course, but I am grateful so grateful to have a job.

Pickle Sisters

Pickle Sisters

It’s definitely a pickle, to be a workaholic who ties so much to the job, but I am trying to work hard but not too hard, do a good job but not be too OCD (difficult for me), and look forward with a semi-positive approach (newish for me).

This is Grumpy SXSW Week, when most of my online friends are in Austin going to see loads of great bands and eat amazing food. I am always semi-tortured by wishing I could join in the glut of music-going and incredible fud eating good times, surrounded by a lot of folks who have made such an impact on my music-listening recent past. But the rub of wishing I could be there is countered by the fact that in New York, most bands come through here if I really wanted to see them. And it’s a physical and mental feat of strength to see so many shows in such a concentrated amount of time, standing on cement and walking all over the place. So that’s another pickle.

There have been some recent stories in the New York Times about this hoarder who has to vacate his apartment. And today I spent the day with my friend Jafe helping him with his apartment. He’s a fellow collector and clutter addict. I admire him for the hard work he’s done to improve his environment. Slowly but steadily things are getting really good for him, and I’m so happy for him.

Having some continuing sleep issues, but I try to listen to this Keith Jarrett Köln Concert segment. It helps a lot. But the sleep problems are still there. I tend to pass out early, sleep for a little while, then wake up and not be able to get to bed and get the full 8 hours or whatever would be ideal. Hope to figure it out and get over this but it seems like the sleep things might be ongoing for a while.

Wikipedia editing has continued, which has been a really nice way to do a bit of volunteer work, as it were, while only doing it when I get inspired or have pockets of energy.

Was going to write something more personal and hand-wring-y, but can’t seem to put pen to paper here, so it stays bottled up while I think on it.

Favorite movie of recent past, In A World… by the surprisingly fully-hatched talent, Lake Bell. Here’s the trailer.


pinks and greens

summertime growth

a time of growth, regrowth, renaissance, hard work, learning, growing, absorbing, etc.

this week, which feels like it started today even though it’s Sunday, is going to be a busy one.

Milwaukee cousins!

today i was so glad that a Milwaukee-based fam-member, Freddi (3rd cousin once removed), gave me a call because she was in town for a quick visit.

please forgive the sloppy obscuring... photoshop tutorials are coming later this summer... :-)

please forgive the sloppy obscuring of living folks… photoshop tutorials are coming later this summer… 🙂

our relationship is clear as mud, eh? basically her mom and my grandma — well their grandmothers Brauna and Chana were sisters. our common descendants were Mondral sisters (Brauna and Chana) whose kids (Ben SEGALL ne LOPATKA and Leo STEIN ne Szafirsztejn, among many other LOPATKA and STEINs), cousins from Radzanów, Poland, came to Milwaukee from Poland together. there is another sister, Shaindel, who are also part of the mass exodus from Radzanów, Poland to Milwaukee from abt 1885 to 1939….

basically this is my paternal mom’s branch of Segall and Stein families in Milwaukee.

Radzanów (Mława County‎), Poland

Radzanów (Mława County‎), Poland (cribbed from Google Maps)

i don’t usually like to post pics of myself — find the selfie fad to be fundamentally disturbing — but i loved seeing Freddi and i’m smiling like an idiot here so enjoy a rare glimpse.

me and cousin Freddi at Broadway Bagel in my hood

me (left) and cousin Freddi at Broadway Bagel in my hood

Broadway Bagel has these mounds of cream cheese, sort of awesome and very New York.

Broadway Bagel mounds 'o cream cheese

Broadway Bagel mounds ‘o cream cheese: very Strawberry! (and scallion, i think)

reminds me of the New York chain of Strawberry stores

very Straw-berry! the Strawberry clothes store, of New York City fame

very Straw-berry!
Strawberry clothes store,
of New York City fame

so spending a couple hours catching up with Freddi sort of restarted something fundmental in me. i don’t want to say my faith in humanity is restored or anything quite so dramatic, but when i meet up with people who are so clearly mishpucha of loveliness, well it’s a magical thing for me.

it also means in addition to my other summer projects, i’m going to re-focus on the family genealogy. first priority is going to be Frank’s of course (hope he’s doing okay). but then also the Milwaukee branch, who i just love completely.

rest of week plans…

so the rest of the week will be busy.

InDesign CS6

Adobe InDesign (splash page)

Adobe InDesign CS6 (purty logo / splash page)

i am finally sitting down to learn Adobe InDesign CS6. bless you for making tutorials that may take me forever to get through (i get distracted by shiny objects) but are comprehensive and informative.

BagIt/Bagger at METRO

i missed the in-person workshop on File fixity and checksum tools (but got the course materials that i will go over after the InDesign deal).

this Tuesday will be METRO’s BagIt/Bagger workshop. these great workshops are part of the Keeping Collections series, and are excellent. there will be an ExifTool workshop in July that i’m planning on attending.

June 18 (Tuesday) – BagIt & Bagger

July 16 (Tuesday) – ExifTool


also this week, in a longer, all-day format, is a MODS workshop called “Using MODS to Describe Cultural Heritage Resources.”

am a little gunshy about attending a cataloging workshop because i have such a low comfort-level with description — haven’t flexed that muscle in any significant sense since taking classes in grad school with the awesome Rick Block. so in other words, no real life experience. but i think that i need to just go and absorb and allow myself to have cataloging anxiety. i hope to surprise myself.

MODS stands for Metadata Object Description Schema and was developed at the Library of Congress. the MODS website is here.

continuing efforts

so this week will be intensive skilling up. i need to contact temp agencies and head hunters but i would like to be able to truthfully say i have a familiarity — even if it’s at an Essentials / beginner level — with InDesign. it seems to be a mandatory requirement in addition to Microsoft Office, for word processing jobs in NYC these days. at least for jobs that pay enough for me to work 3 to 4 days a week while i job search and/or work on my passion projects and figure out my future. you know, small stuff!

music discovery of awesomeness ‘o the week!

new Mando Saenz record is out and it is WONDERFUL. produced by Mark Nevers and featuring great folks like Bobby Bare, Jr. and Kim Richey. highly recommend. so so worth it. talented singer-songwriter with a velvet smooth voice.

okay, just wanted to check in here in blog-land. going back to the salt mines of learning! yay….? oy.

Enthusiasm, muddling through

Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell

On “A Case of You”…

“I remember playing it for Kris Kristorfferson. And he was kind of shocked by it. Said, ‘Oh Joni, you know, save something of yourself.’ I think he felt that I had gone to reveal too much of something. I’d laid myself too vulnerable.’

— from Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind

Enthusiasm, muddling through

Not to underline myself as a creator of the magnitude of Joni Mitchell — no Kanye West messianic histrionics here, thankfully — but the words and thoughts in this Joni Mitchell documentary really spoke to me today.

I watch this documentary (American Masters’ Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind) a few times a year, if not more often. I love the ideas of Joni Mitchell, of her creating, doing her own thing. This documentary has a lot to dig into, in Joni’s own words. Plus Joni Mitchell represents my childhood, that time of my life in the 1970s. She was so much about being an independent women creator, just being, just being brilliant, herself, ferociously.



I was one of those kids who sat with a headphones on, in the space between the huge armoire and the stereo cabinet, record sleeve and cover in my hands, parsing every bit of the lyrics and images possible. I felt this connection to the emotionalism of the songs Joni Mitchell sang. The melodies, her singular voice.

So anyway….

I err on the side of enthusiasm so much. And I live my life in a certain way that is very open (in many respects). I love to ask questions and have discussions about stuff. I forget all the time, because I get caught up or I don’t operate in any other mode, that other people are definitely not as enthusiastic. And they aren’t necessarily open — or most importantly, they aren’t interested in a conversation.

Or, more brutally, that they don’t see the world like I do. They have their own thing going on that may not correlate with my oftentimes clumsy, enthused, barreling through.

Hello Kitty (and friend) in flash drive jail -- and the re-appropriation of obsolete media containers

Hello Kitty (and friend) in flash drive jail — and the re-appropriation of obsolete media containers

I forget this. All the time. I can guarantee I will learn from my mistakes with this kind of enthusiasm. But I can also guarantee I will screw up again and again going forward. It is a problem of boundaries, unclear thinking, and hard wiring.

At this point in my life I can learn from experiences — and I am glad I have the chance to continue to do this. But also some things are hard wired into who I am as a person. It is just how I am and I don’t think I can stuff my square self into a round hole to the extent that I could adjust this personality trait enough to “fix” it.

It is what makes me me. A flaw and an asset. I apologize. But I am not sorry. If that makes sense.

And in the end analysis: I can only admit my flaw, try and learn, and continue to move forward. And hope those around me can be patient, loving, and kind if at all possible. I write that and think, yeah, not other people’s problems. Understood. I sort of just have to throw myself on the mercy of the general good in others, I guess. And really, no one is really all that interested in going this deep (or noticing), thankfully.

porch song

Porch Song by Trailer Bride

yeah, a little obsessed with this song. and thinking back with nostalgia to how great Trailer Bride was — one of my favorite Bloodshot Records bands — and definitely my favorite Melissa Swingle project. so far.

ah my girl crush on Melissa Swingle really knows no bounds.

here she is (“Melissa Swingle talks about Hasil Adkins”):

good news

got some GREAT news today. my internship at CUNY Graduate Center Library processing the Activist Women’s Voices Oral History Project & Archive is winding down as of the end of this month (i.e., next Friday).

Ruth Draper

Ruth Draper, just because

i applied for a Community Facilitator position at CUNY Academic Commons. just found out today i got the position. i am so happy.

just realized it is my first paid position since being laid off from Credit Suisse. sort of verklempt now i am thinking on that. progress. baby steps but progress all the same.

it is a part-time position, not a lot of hours, but i have been so impressed with both the CUNY Academic Commons and the IT offerings at CUNY Graduate Center / CUNY Graduate Center Library that being a part of both, continuing this new-found love-affair for things CUNY just really makes me happy.

Scandinavian TV

new / current obsession: Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter, streaming on Netflix. what do they put in the water over there to make such great TV?!? wish there were more than six in this series.

Malin Crépin

Malin Crépin in Annika Bengtzon

just smile

capturing the smile

it is a sunny Sunday afternoon in May* and i have my balcony door open and my window blinds up. making sure i get my Vitamin D and fresh air fix. have exactly two weeks left on my internship at the Graduate Center Library. so decided to take a blog break from pulling together geographic references for the geotag portion of the excel extravaganza that is the metadata of the Activist Women’s History oral history project. whew!

*freaking Mother’s Day, a day i never love every year (RIP Mommy, 1984).

good stuff

i feel like i am learning some good stuff.

Global Women Wikipedia Write-In

i participated in the Global Women Wikipedia Write-In (#GWWI) and spent an intensive day (or two) forcing myself to learn Wikipedia editing (tutorials, helpful #IRC help desk, trial and error). it became pretty clear that if i dedicate my energies towards technical skill building i can learn things — or at least get a muddle-through adequately level of workability. but did i enjoy the process? not hugely. coding and stuff like this doesn’t come easy to me, but then learning something like this maybe never does? at least for me…. it isn’t where my natural skills lie. maybe this relates to how i approached math and science as a kid, and the phobias / lack of girls participating remainders from childhood. who knows.

new non-diverse late night TV host #zzzz

new non-diverse late night TV host #zzzz

late night boringness

saw on Twitter and the New York Times that Seth Meyers will be replacing Jimmy Fallon as the late night host on NBC. ridiculous. seriously, do we need another white man hosting a late night talk show? it is time for some changes. it would be so nice to see a woman — or a person of color, or god forbid, both — on TV in a position of authority and fun. i mean, really, it’s enough already. and in his tweet Seth Meyers thanked Lorne Michaels. yeah, here’s hoping Lorne Michaels won’t be part of the show*, because that can only be a bad thing. the limitations of the Lorne Michaels model are plentiful — as exemplified by the frozen in time and innovation Saturday Night Live.

wow. didn’t know i needed to get that out there like that. feel a bit better. well not really but at least i am not screaming at the computer and/or TV. just screaming on the internet via this blog.

*aaand, reading the nytimes article, Lorne Michaels will oversee the show just like he does for Jimmy Fallon and others. well, here’s hoping that it is minimal overseeing…

Frank and his legacy

my friend Frank has been sick. i get periodic updates but i worry about how he’s doing down in Australia. he has lived a very long life, is a survivor (literally, figuratively). but age is not a kind mistress (cliched but true). the comfort i can give myself is that we have done a lot of great work together, and no matter what, his legacy of materials will survive. i will do my best to continue to work on it, organize it, and make sure that it has the proper disposition and survives. take that Hitler and your killing machine. a big F U.

schwetty Jews

made reservations for the IAJGS Boston conference this summer — ah, Boston in August. the joy. prediction that will be 100% true: i will be schvitzing, actively and profusely. can’t wait to spend time with a bunch of grumpy Jewish genealogists, of which i am a card carrying member. these are my people. and now i am in my mid- (late!) 40s, i am getting closer to the typical demographic (of being an old grumpy Jewish genealogist). well i feel old. och.


interviewed for an interesting part time job not specifically related to library science, but something that i am interested in, thankfully. not sure if i blew the interview or not. i always feel very pessimistic about my interview experiences. am trying to follow the excellent Ask A Manager advice of moving on and letting go, as these types of things are totally out of your control. but it is difficult to follow this advice sometimes.

i could have been much more prepared, which i am peeved at myself about. that was a definite learning experience which i will not repeat. and interviewing for a position with more than one person is always non-ideal in my book. this was four people, which is nerve-wracking. i guess this is how job interviews are done nowadays but stressful. i don’t think i’m the best interview, but once i get into a workplace, well, that’s where i do well. semi-desperate (true, but not true) for a foot in the door. oh gads, i don’t know…

the folks involved in the project i would potentially work on are scary interesting and talented, have implemented a very cool technical interface. plus it has to do with CUNY, a place i have become passionately a fan of, so there is that… more smart people doing cool stuff. i hope it works out because it would be fun, interesting, and very cool.


in addition to feeling like i will never be able to earn a living again, which is obviously a ridiculous thing to even say, but at this point post-CS it is a very real experience. all the jobs in academia require a second master’s, which i would happily get if the institution would let me go for free AFTER hiring me… (yeah not very realistic) i loved grad school, love learning. but i am also very ready to complete this shift into a new career already.

i know a lot of folks have been working at getting a full time library gig — or any substantive library gig — for much longer than me, that i need to be patient and keep my nose to the grindstone of creative problem solving and hard work, but it is inevitable that i am questioning my efforts here. do i succumb to a money job in a good environment (if i can find something like that, hopefully)? or do i continue on this broken-down, unstable / sketchy path of cobbling together a library science career? which is going to take a lot of time and effort.

the conflict i feel is that i could continue to do what i did in my last money job (of 16 years). i could work on things i love, things like the work with Frank that have no financial compensation, that actually cost me money and my time. but make me soul-deep happy and satisfied. do i continue to do what is technically classified as “hobbyist” work for free, follow that passion and journey? or do i try and shove my square shape into a round hole of a library science job. it is very unclear right now.


SouthLAnd was canceled. not a surprise but damn.

SouthLAnd RIP

SouthLAnd RIP

not a lot to smile about there. sads.

Sammy, oh Sammy

Sammy, oh Sammy

okay, back to the grindstone of prep for geotagging locations. hopefully can use Leaflet, though i suspect the tech side of this Activist Women’s Voices oral history project will not be part of this journey / experience, is out of my hands. oh well, i will use it for Frank’s stuff maybe? or another project. oy.

thanks for reading, if anyone made it this far.

patience and fortitude

patience and fortitude

Patience, who faces Southat the main branch of the New York Public Library

Patience, who is the southern lion
at the main branch of the New York Public Library (taken during a snowstorm in 2011)


Fortutide, who faces Northat the main branch of the New York Public Library

Fortutide, who is the northern lion
at the main branch of the New York Public Library (taken during a snowstorm in 2011)

i took these pictures a while ago, when i was going to the main branch of the New York Public Library for my Map Institute class. love these lions, Patience and Fortitude.

been thinking a lot about big picture things lately, which makes sense since i am going through such a significant amount of change right now. thinking about these lions and what they represent, patience and fortitude, as guiding principles for myself right now.


 Alexander Covers the Body of Darius with His Cloak, engraving by Bernhard Rode 1769-70. "Darius on a wagon, in golden shackles and killed by an arrow. His tiara has fallen from his head. Alexander spills tears over him and covers him with his purple cloak. The Greek soldier who succored him with a drink of water shortly before his death and led Alexander to him, sees with a look of pity that he has already died." (Catalog of the Exhibition of the Berlin Academy, 1794, 3, in Die Kataloge der Berliner Akademie-Ausstellungen 1786-1850, ed. by H. Börsch-Supan, vol. 1 [Berlin 1971].) Literary source: Quintus Rufus Curtius, The Life of Alexander the Great, Book 5, 13.

Alexander Covers the Body of Darius with His Cloak, engraving by Bernhard Rode 1769-70.
“Darius on a wagon, in golden shackles and killed by an arrow. His tiara has fallen from his head.
Alexander spills tears over him and covers him with his purple cloak.
The Greek soldier who succored him with a drink of water shortly before his death and led Alexander to him,
sees with a look of pity that he has already died.”

(Catalog of the Exhibition of the Berlin Academy, 1794, 3, in Die Kataloge der Berliner Akademie-Ausstellungen 1786-1850,
ed. by H. Börsch-Supan, vol. 1 [Berlin 1971].)
Literary source: Quintus Rufus Curtius, The Life of Alexander the Great, Book 5, 13.
[my bold / text highlight added]

the one thing that i stubbornly feel supreme annoyance by is pity.

even if it is something others are expressing out of love, pity is worse than telling someone upset to calm down (don’t even get me started on THAT one!).

Camryn Manheimyeah, she said it!!!

Camryn Manheim
yeah, she said it!!!

i wish i could find it, but it’s in storage in my clipping files — i have a clipping from an old Time Out New York article i found of a review of Camryn Manheim’s one-woman show (of the same name as this book) that features Camryn in a similar pose / photo. the name of the show was so great, “Wake Up, I’m Fat!” brilliant even. really spoke to me, even then, when i was less heavy than i am right now.

weight (metaphorical, literal) is a complicated issue. for me, for others. and if someone wants to pity me for my weight, well, i don’t give my permission. i own my own life, my own body, my own choices.

quite frankly, i don’t need anyone to tell me i am fat, am carrying a lot of weight. it’s like, really, no crap!?!? well, i did not know that! thanks so much.

this is my business. my life. my burden (metaphorical, literal).

Marilyn Monroe, by Richard Avedonso pretty. so screwed up....

Marilyn Monroe
Copyright 1957 The Richard Avedon Foundation
so pretty. so screwed up…. but at least she wasn’t fat!

in the high school popularity celebrity-obsessed culture we live in — and i am just as much of a participant as everyone else — we are totally screwed up when we talk about and deal with fat people.

the other day on The View, Joy Behar was saying she took an informal poll (of one) and asked a guy if he would rather be with someone with pustules on their face — or someone fat. the guys said pustules all the way.

i am not surprised by any of this anymore. i don’t have expectations of people to rise above their issues around fat people. but these are exactly that: their issues.

me, i have my own issues, issues that are mine and mine alone. they are private (if i choose to keep them private while not blogging – oy). and i did not ask for the feedback, or pity.

i have been thinking about this — triggered by a visit and phone call by some extended family members. i love my family no matter what — or maybe i should say, despite everything. and they don’t read my blog (very few people do really). but this is my process blog, so i wanted to put this out there….

and say thanks but no thanks for the pity.

brrr it’s cold outside


freezing temps here in NYC…. has me thinking of that cheer in the seminal cheerleading movie, Bring It On.

I said…


It’s cold in here

I said there must be some Toros

In the atmosphere

always a dicey proposition posting a clip like this in the blog. it will probably expire / get pulled from YouTube due to copyright. and i may or may not notice it and if i do i may try and find a new clip, which will have the same problem. again and again. sigh.

but at a certain point when a movie joins the zeitgeist — at least for me — and it is over 10 years later, the copyright issues and reuse issue get more and more hindersome and impractical. big sigh repeated.

i wish the movie studios would understand what a disservice they do to their own product by not letting anyone have fun with the material, by not capturing the possibilities that people would maybe pay a little bit of money if the usage was clever and smart enough. the MPAA and recording industries take no responsibility for their part in this problem. if the usage and deployment was more usable, their products would be even more popular, and they could actually monetize it more effectively.

aaagh, copyright is just a flipping nightmare.

/rant & handwringing (for now)….

blog template

have been trying a different template for the blog in hopes that the load time of the graphics, etc. would be improved, but i haven’t found (a) a good solution and (b) a template i like as much as the Matala template i used for my old blog, so i’m going to stick with the initial one i think….

the things i am looking for in a blog template is a clean graphic, preferably a dark background, and social media icons. i think the social media icons should be available on all of these templates, but it seems to be a relatively new option.

wish i “clicked” with this one the same way i did with the Matala — and could figure out a quick fix to the slow loading of pictures, APIs, etc. that didn’t seem to be a problem with my other blogs. it could just be this buggy and slow Chrome browser. or my lazy approaches to making sure photos are small file sizes.

it might also be the distributed computing i am doing via Boinc that is slowing things down, but i am starting to use other browsers. Chrome performance issues are concerning. though i love so much about the browser. ugh, Google isn’t always better, it turns out. 🙂

i will figure it out eventually. hopefully.

current recalibration

color balance

color balance card
when i worked on movie sets, the Director of Photography (or their assistant) would always do a “white balance” for the cameras.
i always loved that technical side of being on set….

after spending time and energy on applying for jobs via USAJOBS and other job search websites — and at least blessedly hearing back from the USAJOBS folks on the status of my applications, that i haven’t even gotten through the initial filter because of lack of experience. so i have recalibrated my efforts.

i simply don’t have enough quantifiable, relevant, library and/or archival experience. i understand that. own it, as Stuart Smalley says. because i rushed through graduate school and didn’t maximize my internship opportunities, i am in a bit of a pickle. my own damn fault. but i am hopeful, as i have retrenched.

the new plan: i am going to temp for money and will volunteer like crazy, but only at places and/or on projects i feel passionate about.

the benefit of doing internships while matriculated in a degree-granting program is that most internships require there to be some formal structure and connection to your educational institution. i get that, there is protection in some sort of monitoring of the internship.

but now that i am “out the door” on my degree, this is a big problem. not matriculated = no internship. however, not matriculated = volunteering. yay!

potential opportunities

i have two excellent potential volunteer options.

one potential volunteer project is at CUNY. another potential volunteer opportunity is at the newly relocated National Archives at New York City.

until these options become finalized <knock wood> i don’t want to jinx them or go into much detail. yet.

but even if i have to find other options, the best part of this new approach is that i have had positive responses to my inquiries. responses! and i even had a phone interview. an interview! which in this market and with my relative inexperience in the field is just something i am so grateful for, even in the context of volunteering.

i hope to blog these projects if it is allowed. i kept a blog for my one official internship during grad school at the NYPL. i did a blog in lieu of the required paper that was the academic side of the internship. but i initially misunderstood and thought i needed to blog every day, not just once a week or periodically. which was actually a happy accident and got me into a disciplined habit.

so the blog really stretched me, and i was constantly thinking about the work i was doing at the library and how i could translate my learning experience into an interesting and engaging record of what i was doing in the internship. i started to think of the blog as it functioned as a “process blog,” or a “project blog.” the functionality really made sense to me, helped me to document the experience so effectively.

and really, i had such a good time, and i got positive feedback from the librarians, so a love for blogging began.


as far as temping for money while i do these internships, that has been more difficult than i anticipated as well. the temp scene in New York City has completely changed since I temped full time back in the late 1990s. it used to be that you could find a really good paying, interesting, plentiful temp job that was flexible with no problem. and your fellow temps would be other folks like yourself, chasing dreams to be opera singers, actors, directors, filmmakers, undergraduate and graduate students. the jobs were “money jobs” that funded your career, your vision, your life.

these jobs used to be everywhere in New York. in the financial sector, in the legal sector, in publishing, advertising. everywhere. and if you had good computer skills, could type and problem-solve, these opportunities were almost assumed.

post-globalization, post-outsourcing (domestic and international), and especially post-2008 these opportunities are few and far between. and the rates that we used to assume we could make are gone. you need more technical skills in a more diverse set of programs for a guaranteed lower hourly rate of compensation. and getting a temp-to-perm gig that was flexible, like i had, forget about it. and definitely no benefits.

so this is scary and stressful. but not impossible.

i was grateful to have a chance to test at one agency this week, though i am not sure if i passed the very difficult test, sad to say. there were some native tricks that my 15+ years of dependance upon macros meant i was slow and had to dig around for solutions. as well as battle Office 2010, which is always a barrier.

however, the folks at the agency have been sympathetic and amazing and full of really valuable advice. they are familiar with my skills and the market and they will do what they can to use my talents. but the whole setup has changed.

if i can skill up and get some deliverable projects i hope to leverage myself to either a better “money job” and/or start to freelance maybe. the last resort will be a 9-to-5 job doing secretarial work. but i suspect the competition for a job like that — and a good fit for me for a job like that — will also be something i will need to either luck upon or will need to do a lot of legwork to land.

Licensed nurturer Stuart Smalley

Licensed nurturer Stuart Smalley

as Stuart says, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt….” trying NOT to do that. and taking comfort from places where i can (like Stuart Smalley’s Daily Affirmations).

MLK day

Martin Luther King Day

it is Martin Luther King Day today, and also the Presidential inaugural — though Obama and Biden were both sworn in officially for their second term yesterday.

via the amazing

via the amazing Public Domain Review
James Buchanan, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front
Source: Library of Congress

illin: flue

i haven’t been feeling well enough to blog for a while. had this danged flu — which i always spell flue cause i like the way the letters look (plus it reminds me of the flues in our chimneys in all the houses we had growing up)….. had the flue for about 3 weeks total i think.

finally went to acupuncture, felt better immediately (and was kicking myself for not going sooner!). plus i got some Chinese herbs that you drink like a tea that is some kind of miracle tea. i drink 1 to 1-1/2 packets 3 times a day and voila!

miracle flue medicine(front of packet)

miracle flue medicine
(front of packet)

miracle flue medicine(back of packet - with ingredients)

miracle flue medicine
(back of packet – with ingredients)

In my Joker cup that i procured from McDonald's.... the tea in drinkable formyumula!

In my Joker cup that i procured from McDonald’s….
the tea in drinkable form
yumula! cod liver progress

have been making painfully slow but steady progress on the UNIX for Mac OS X Users. i need to make sure i don’t just whip through these UNIX basics but truly absorb and understand as much as possible. so i rewatch and play around on Terminal and try not to go mad. sitting and watching these tutorials is a little bit maddening for me. i think i am anxious to acquire knowledge, so much that i get bored and fidgety very easily.

i always tell people who i help with computer stuff, that the biggest barrier to learning stuff is being anxious and/or afraid. i am definitely both of those when it comes to the programming / technical side of computing. which is ironical because much about computers is easy and fun for me. but this is sort of like cod liver.

going to embrace the cod liver!!!

Cod LIver Oil

Buffalo, New York.
Lakeview nursery school for children of working mothers,
operated by the Board of Education oat a tuition fee of three dollars weekly.
Taking cod liver oil after lunch
Source: Library of Congress

Vivaldi and the end of the world

Vivaldi time

much thanks to my lovely cousin Alyssa for sharing this wonderful music with me.

i didn’t know anything about Max Richter or his work, Vivaldi Recomposed, but i absolutely adore Vivaldi. this reworking of the Four Seasons is both modern and evocative of the past. perfect holiday music.

Max Richter

Max Richter

the end of the world, or the Mayan calendar

the world is supposed to end today, and while i don’t want to mock this concept and poke it with a big stick, things have been feeling very cataclysmic lately.

the first page of the the Popol Vuh, which prophesies the end of the world

the first page of the the Popol Vuh, which prophesies (?!?) the end of the world

the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut was definitely psychically damaging. the weather feels weird — family and friends in the midwest are dealing with severe blizzard conditions. and instead of snow there is rain and strong winds outside, making the original windows in my hovel shudder and shake.

the end

and then there is the extreme feeling of ending that i am grappling with on a personal level.

burt reynolds was so crazy good…. The End (the movie), what a cast!

the end of this month officially ends my time at Credit Suisse. the end of 14 plus years (plus at least a year more when i worked as a temp before getting hired). which all seems to be an anomaly in today’s world: it seems rare for folks to be able to stay at one employer more than five years, much less during such extremes of highs and lows that have categorized the investment banking industry during my tenure there.

working — even in a support function — in the financial services industry for this long, i have had a front row seat to what feels like a very shaky economy. and speaking of scary stuff, this fiscal cliff is something to look forward to in the new year, isn’t it?!?

anyway, as this year wraps up and i take a good hard look into the future, this is all swirling around.

a lot of anxiety — and during the post-Sandy shooting news glut i needed an escape. nothing couldn’t be more perfect — or tragic, than Roman Holiday.

Annex - Hepburn, Audrey (Roman Holiday)_02

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, downtime on the set of Roman Holiday

ah, the beauty of young love… (cough!)

Audrey Hepburn smoking

Audrey Hepburn smoking

such a nice change, to immerse myself in the gorgeous black and white images. i need to re-watch more of these films.

the kiss

the kiss

Gregory Peck was so amazing. and i fell in love with Audrey Hepburn yet again.

which reminded me of one of my favorite tweener shows of the recent past, 10 Things I Hate About You (the TV show), which introduced the world to his talented grandson, Ethan Peck.

enough with the end!

ok, after all that, i am going to try and ease through the rest of this December — enjoying the remaining time as much as possible.

and look forward to next year, with new beginnings.

i have been applying for some interesting jobs. most are outside of New York, which makes me look around me with a bittersweetness.

ah, bittersweet! i loved the Hoo Doo Gurus so much!

onward, bravely!