the ‘sha

February 28, 2006

When I first started managing my current Qdoba store on the outskirts of Waukesha, I quickly had to become acclimated to the downtown in order to deliver catering and accomplish other business. I’m not sure how old Waukesha is as its own city, but it’s safe to say that at one time it was very separate from the city of Milwaukee, about 20 miles away, downtown to downtown. In 2006, Waukesha is one suburb at the western side of a line of development that runs about 30 miles along I-94, from Lake Michigan to Delafield, and heading farther west every day. Milwaukeeans have few reasons to head to Waukesha, and my experience with people at my job tells me that many people from Waukesha only go to Milwaukee for special events.

I, however, drive the 18 miles from my house on the Western edge of the city of Milwaukee to Waukesha five or six days a week. The occasional conversation with a customer sometimes evokes surprise when I reveal I am from (surprise) Milwaukee, like it’s a distant land of urban hipsters and skyscrapers.

Today I landed on young Milwaukee blogger Mandy Jenkin’s site. It’s not the deepest or most thoughtful writing, but it’s pretty amusing. I was scrolling through her observations of life downtown, people watching, bar-hopping, and restaurant visiting, when I came across a funny description of what it’s like to be a Milwaukeean driving around Waukesha. It very aptly described the frustration I experienced when I first toured around Waukesha. Read on and laugh:

If you’ve never really explored Waukesha – make sure you have a detailed map and a long fuse when you go (you’ll need it).

Before yesterday, I was convinced nobody actually lived in Waukesha – unless they happened to live inside superstores and chain restaurants. But while making a trip to our Waukesha bureau, I found that not only are there homes out there, but they are located on streets with no apparent directional course.

When traveling on West Broadway, for instance, one moment you’re actually going west… and the next thing you know you’re suddenly headed south. Turn left or right and expect to find another road running parallel? No dice. Honestly, it’s as if a drunken monkey laid out the city’s grid. (It’s actually very reminiscent of the country roads where I grew up – only with a lot more traffic)

Not to mention that so many streets don’t seem to have identifying signage. I suppose the residents know where they are going and we out-of-towners are supposed to identify streets by their shopping centers (when you pass your third Taco Bell – take a right at Talbot’s…).

What’s worse, when I stopped to ask a guy at a gas station on Bluemound for directions, he seemed just a little too amused at my plight.

“Yeah, you Milwaukee drivers always seem to get turned around out here,” he remarked. “This isn’t downtown, sweetheart.”

Yeah, yeah. Next time I’ll be ready


weekend getaway

February 27, 2006

I have been having a helluva time at work the last few weeks, safe to say my stress level has been skyrocketing. All this means decreased hand-eye coordination (ie. dropping things, lots of thing), poor eating (work 10-12 hours with one quick meal break and then stop for junk food before going home at 8:00 pm) and less time doing things I enjoy. I am seriously looking for another job and not finding anything. I have had some interviews but although I think my experience is somewhat significant, it doesn’t exactly qualify me for anything non-restaurant-related. I really, really want to get away from food and low-wage workers and really demanding corporate rules for a while.

Last week I joked that I was going crazy a lot. I’m probably not really, but the stress was really getting to me. Luckily my friends were unknowingly to the rescue, unearthing an old plan to have a weekend away this past. Brilliant idea ladies. First I thought I had to work Saturday, so we were going to hang out in Milwaukee, but stay in a hotel instead of at mine or Jen’s house. Then, Mary found this fabulous deal at the swanky Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, and I got permission to take Saturday off. We had a two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite complete with balcony and lake view (far too cold to enjoy but worth mentioning), whirlpool tub, kitchen and access to a nice pool and hot tub.

Basically, we did nothing all weekend but hang out, eat, read, talk and enjoy the occasional cocktail, but it was perfect. I tried to make all the jittery, stressed-out parts of myself calm down with reading, relaxing and being away. More than ever I have the feeling that I am far too selfish and uncaring of a person to have friends like I have. With all my cynicism, I struggled this weekend to have much good to say about life, even though I would be quite happy save my job, and that’s a huge part of my life. Anyway Erin, Mary and Jen listened like always they do.

I spent some time this weekend analyzing why I might be having all these issues. Am I incompetent to do my job without being in a constant state of high-stress, or are there some expectations that the average person cannot live up to at work? I’ll have to save that for another post. I have another stress headache after a not terrible but not good day at work. Here’s to another week.


February 21, 2006

I know this is totally overblown and this isn’t what a blog is for, but my dad sent me these jokes from the late-night hosts regarding the Cheney shooting, and some of them are hilarious. Here are my favorites:

“I have to admit that I turned away from the Olympics yesterday. Fox had a more exciting sporting event on: Softball with Dick Cheney and Britt Hume.”
–Jay Leno

“Dick Cheney gave an interview to Fox News. I don’t want to say Fox News was lenient, but the first question they asked was, ‘Who do you like in American Idol?'” –Jay Leno

“Here’s my favorite part of this whole incident. After Cheney shot the guy, the police later showed up at the ranch where Cheney was staying and wanted to talk to him, but was told to come back the next morning. And that’s what they did, they came back the next morning. Kev, that ever happen in the hood?”– Jay Leno

“Over the weekend while on a hunting trip down in Texas, Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a member of his hunting party. He apologized. In fact, he told Brit Hume that he was actually trying to hit Cindy Sheehan.” –Jay Leno

“Hillary Clinton blasted the vice president today for failing to disclose all the facts. She wants Dick Cheney to give exact details. You know like, “How do you shoot someone and make it look like an accident?” –Jay Leno

“Evil Democrat Empire? I got news for you, if we’re going to do the Star Wars analogy, the Democrats are, at best, Ewoks.” –Jon Stewart, on a Republican spoof video comparing Democrats to the evil Empire in Star Wars “The comic book makers of ‘Batman’ have announced that Batman will go after Osama bin Laden. So you see Bush does have a plan.” –David Letterman

“Rumors are that the reason Dick Cheney didn’t say anything about the hunting accident for about 24 hours was because he had been drinking. And I’m thinking, well jeez, he was probably drinking when we planned the invasion of Iraq.” –David Letterman

“Dick Cheney and his buddies go down there hunting in Texas, and Dick Cheney guns down a guy. And they’re hunting quail, and the quail disappeared. They vanished. And reports now that they’re hiding in the mountainous area near Pakistan” –David Letterman

“Today, President Bush says he is standing behind the vice president. Way behind him.” –Jay Leno

“America remaining obsessed, fascinated, appalled, by what is being called ‘Dick Cheney Shot A Guy In The Face-Gate.'” –Jon Stewart

“He sat down for a one-on-one with Fox News. Very bold choice. Dick Cheney sitting down with Fox News is like Mrs. Butterworth sitting down with the Pancake Channel.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Cheney says he feels terrible about what happened. The man he shot was his friend and if he could, he’d give him the central processing unit right out of his own heart to make up for it.” –Jimmy Kimmel

There was some talk that the vice president had been drinking before he went out to shoot and it turns out that was true. Cheney said he did have a beer during lunch. One beer, and the only reason he even drank it was to wash down the three hits of ecstasy.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Everybody is in the Valentine’s mood. For example, earlier today Dick Cheney shot his buddy in the ass with an arrow.” –David Letterman

“If this story gets any bigger, pretty soon they’re going to have to tell the president.” –David Letterman

“You can’t blame [Cheney]. Bush says you can spy on people without warrants, you can torture people, you can hold people without a trial, so Dick Cheney thinks, ‘Oh what the hell, I can shoot a few guys.'” –Jay Leno

“I’m surprised Dick Cheney loves to hunt so much. The five times the government tried to give him a gun, he got a deferment.” –Jay Leno

“What a nightmare I had last night. I dreamed I was at a Washington party and I had to choose between Dick Cheney taking me on a hunting trip or Ted Kennedy driving me home.” –Jay Leno

“The rumor is that Cheney may have been drinking and he wanted to wait until he sobered up. So he may have been drinking and then he shot a guy. And you know what’s really scary about all of this — what if it turns out all this time Bush was the smart one?”–Jay Leno

“The guy Cheney shot is a Texas lawyer. While he was lying there on the ground he actually handed himself his own business card.” –Jay Leno

“After Whittington had a heart attack, Cheney said, “You big baby. I get those all the time. Walk it off.” –Jay Leno

“Mr. Whittington is doing fine, but based on this development, we’re going to downgrade the condition of this story from ‘Incredibly Hilarious’ to ‘Still funny, but, mmm, now a little sad.'” –Jon Stewart, on the heart attack Harry Whittington suffered

“It turns out now that Dick Cheney did not have a license to hunt, and coincidentally, turns out we didn’t have a license to go into Iraq.” –David Letterman

“Kind of a sad study out today that single women over the age of 35 are more likely to be shot by the vice president than to find a husband.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“The guy who got gunned down, he is a Republican lawyer and a big Republican donor and fortunately the buck shot was deflected by wads of laundered cash. So he’s fine. He took a little in the wallet.” –David Letterman

“I think Cheney is starting to lose it. After he shot the guy he screamed, ‘Anyone else want to call domestic wiretapping illegal?'” –Jay Leno

“When the ambulance got there, out of force of habit they put Cheney on the stretcher. No, the other guy!” –Jay Leno

“Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man during a quail hunt … making 78-year-old Harry Whittington the first person shot by a sitting veep since Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, of course, (was) shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honor, integrity and political maneuvering. Whittington? Mistaken for a bird.” –Jon Stewart “Now, this story certainly has its humorous aspects. … But it also raises
a serious issue, one which I feel very strongly about. … moms, dads, if you’re watching right now, I can’t emphasize this enough: Do not let your kids go on hunting trips with the vice president. I don’t care what kind of lucrative contracts they’re trying to land, or energy regulations they’re trying to get lifted — it’s just not worth it.” –Jon Stewart

“The Vice President is standing by his decision to shoot Harry Whittington. Now, according to the best intelligence available, there were quail hidden in the brush. Everyone believed at the time there were quail in the brush. And while the quail turned out to be a 78- year-old man, even knowing that today, Mr. Cheney insists he still would have shot Mr. Whittington in the face. He believes the world is a better place for his spreading buckshot throughout the entire region of Mr. Wittington’s face.” –“Daily Show” correspondent Rob Corddry

“This is a great story. You’ve got the Vice President, a shotgun, a bunch of rich guys hunting tiny little birds. The only thing that could possibly make this story better is if he shot Michael Jackson.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“The man who was shot is named Harry Whittington. He’s a high powered Republican lawyer, he was very lucky. They say the only reason that he wasn’t killed is he was wearing the body armor that never got shipped to our troops.” –Jimmy Kimmel

100 Things

February 12, 2006

I have been working on this for a while….

  1. I am 5’5” and wish I were about 2” taller. However, my husband is 5’9” so in that way my height is just fine. I would just like to be a bit taller, I think it would bring me a bit more respect.
  2. I have a total of three brothers and one sister, only one of those brothers, however, is a “whole” brother.
  3. My parents are divorced. My dad is remarried, buy my mom is still single.
  4. I really love U2. I know a lot of people say that, but for me they are amazing musicians with amazing, relevant lyrics and on top of all that, Bono does amazing things for the poor and underprivileged in our world.
  5. There are songs that remind me of times in my life. For some reason, there are a few that really stick with me. I bought an illegal copy of “All that you can’t leave behind” by U2 in a backpacking town in the south of China in 2000. I listened to that CD as we traveled all around China, and every time I listen to it brings me back to those great times.
  6. The smell of certain Bath and Body Works products brings back vivid memories of junior high and high school church trips for me.
  7. I am a pretty level-headed, logical, undramatic person, but I have a soft spot for a good soap opera.
  8. I can watch television in Spanish now and understand at least 60 percent of what’s going on thanks to watching the telenovela “La Madrastra” for three or four months a few hours a week.
  9. I dislike cartoons, pretty much across the board. I can enjoy the Simpsons, but if I haven’t watched it for a while, I really have to struggle to get back into it.
  10. I used to be very Conservative, but I think I just didn’t know any other option.
  11. Because of a good friendship with a Madison-raised son of environmentalist parents, I slowly became something of a liberal.
  12. I loved Supersize Me! and Fahrenheit 911.
  13. I subscribe to Michael Moore’s e-mail newsletter; he’s sort of a crazy, but he’s also very thought provoking.
  14. I read Sojourners, Sun, Ode, Relevant and occasionally Time magazine.
  15. I didn’t vote in 2000. I was in China and too lazy to get an absentee ballot mailed to me. In addition, I wasn’t sure I would vote for Bush, and pretty sure that my colleagues in China would be shocked if they found out.
  16. I lived in Beijing for one year during college. I was there on a college missions trip, although now I see that time as the most formative in my life, for many non-spiritual reasons.
  17. I learned a ton about myself, about accepting people the way they are, about cultural nuances and getting to know a place as home.
  18. My friends are amazing. I don’t know why they are friends with me.
  19. I can remember being three or four and “helping” my mom cook in our blue and cream kitchen. She was asking me to watch the second-hand on the clock for something and I couldn’t see it. She realized it and took me to the eye doctor, where they realized I had terrible vision for such a small child.
  20. I got glasses when I was four years old. One of my earliest memories was in pre-school, walking alone into class with glasses on, and the teacher explaining to the rest of the kids what I was wearing on my face. At that time, it was very rare for such a small child to wear glasses, so I think my teachers were feeling a bit sorry for me.
  21. I now wonder if the reason I have few memories pre-glasses is because I couldn’t really see anything. It’s probably true.
  22. As many of my old, old friends will attest, I did, in fact, wear powder blue glasses as a child through middle school when I got contacts. They actually had some pink on them too.
  23. I played soccer as a kid, and perhaps because of that, when I was angry at a friend or my brother, I sometimes would kick them.
  24. I was sort of a dork in high school. I tried to dress well and look sort of cool, but I wasn’t so successful.
  25. I have many high-school aged employees and they see me as sort of a cool adult, and I have to admit, I kind of enjoy it.
  26. I bought my first new car in 2004. I bought a new Toyota Corolla because I was so tired of the hassle of car repairs on an old car. Two months later I was rear-ended and my new car was totaled. I later bought a second new car, but I lost $1500 between the deductible and the gap between the car’s actual value and what I still owed.
  27. I am a very good sleeper. I can sleep for 10 or even 12 hours at a time if I don’t set an alarm.
  28. This talent for sleeping actually turns out to be something of a curse, because it’s really hard for me to get out of bed in the morning unless I have something really exciting to do. Work, however, does not qualify as exciting.
  29. I love reading. I started when I was four years old, and never really stopped.
  30. My (current) favorite books about China are China Wakes by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and Foreign Babes in Beijing by Rachel DeWoskin.
  31. Ever since I went to China for the first time I have loved tea. Someone there told me that drinking tea with a meal aids digestion, and by experience I’ve found this to be true. I drink many kinds of tea, but favorite is homemade chai and an African Red Tea made by the Republic of Tea.
  32. I used to unconsciously whistle when I was a kid. My dad used to get irritated because it was a reedy sounding weak whistle and I never had any melody going, just random noise. Sometimes my dad would tell me to stop from the other room and a few minutes later I would start up again without even realizing it. When I am really pensive I occasionally start whistling again.
  33. I prefer Borders to Barnes and Noble.
  34. I LOVE Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, TLC’s What Not to Wear and most recently Bravo’s Project Runway.
  35. I am currently addicted to watching the past seasons of the WB’s Smallville. Apparently the show is really popular (dubbed in Spanish) in Mexico, and when my brother-in-law brought home season one, my husband and I started watching it. Now we’re both hooked.
  36. My favorite store-bought cookie is the fig newton. I recently found out that they make whole-wheat varieties. They are very tasty!
  37. One of my favorite places to hang out is any bookstore. My usual pick is Harry Schwartz (a Milwaukee original), Borders or Half-Price Books. I can spend hours and hours browsing in bookstores.
  38. I have a bit of shopaholic in me.
  39. I am terrible at saving money. If I could change one thing about myself, I would become more frugal.
  40. I have a strange capability to remember obscure numbers. For example, I could tell you several of the phone numbers of my friends when they were in high school, and a few from elementary school, even though I haven’t used them in years.
  41. I am a Capricorn, born just two weeks after Christmas, which is a terrible time for a birthday. My brother was born June 25. This is a perfect birthday, ensuring gifts and celebration every half year.
  42. I really enjoy going to pick out a Christmas tree every year. I also really enjoy putting up the lights and decorating it.
  43. I have a persistent “what am I going to do with my life” line of thought going through my head.
  44. I am not unhappy with my life, but neither am I content with it. I am always looking for change, fulfillment and happiness.
  45. I used to think that one important qualification for me in a husband would be that he was smarter than me. I like to debate/argue and I know I am not right a lot of the time, so it was important that he would be able to put me in my place sometimes, I need that.
  46. My husband is actually ridiculously smart. He possibly thinks more intensely than I do about life. In addition, he was the math star of his schools growing up and can do large multiplications very quickly in his head.
  47. I am not a morning person. I inherited this curse from my mother, who once told me that well into her 40s she had trouble getting up for work. Boo.
  48. My dad, on the other hand, gets up before 6 every day. I cannot think of a time he ever was still in bed when I woke up.
  49. I have watched the TV show ER since it started (save the one year I spent in China). I am a little embarrassed by the fact that in college I would watch with friends and start to describe in detail the background stories for the character when plot questions arose.
  50. I spent two weeks in India working at a school for underprivileged children in 2003.
  51. When I was in kindergarden I had a classmate who had the same birthday as I. I believed that made us twins.
  52. One of my earliest memories is of myself holed up in by brother’s room singing: “Fame! I wanna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly” at the top of my lungs. I’m no longer sure why I did this, but I still remember it very well.
  53. As I recall it, my dad walked in on me, but I don’t remember being embarrassed, I assume he didn’t know what to say.
  54. I remember very few of my dreams, but I have one that I have remember since I had it when I was a kid. All I know is that my aunt Diane, myself and a gorilla were in a room that had some sort of obstacle course and was decorated in the hip pink and sea green motif of the ‘80s. Any interpretations?
  55. I can’t decide if I want to write non-fiction or fiction for a career (or at least just a really serious hobby).
  56. If I could start life over again I might become a photographer.
  57. I would like to retire to a foreign country, but not until I am about 75.
  58. I have never broken a bone, or been to the hospital for really anything.
  59. I did, however, have to be put under to get my wisdom teeth taken out, after which I don’t remember anything for like two days, including apparently walking out of the clinic.
  60. When I was in sixth grade I wrote a story for school and I remember the two teachers coming up to me after it was turned in and saying “well, Laura may turn out to be something of a writer.” That was one of my favorite compliments ever.
  61. I spend too much money on fast food, coffee, and anything sold at Target.
  62. I have been teaching myself to garden since we bought our house. I have one year of experience under my belt now.
  63. One of the success stories of my garden were my 10-foot high sunflowers. Unfortunately I planted them in such a spot that they shaded some of my veggies. Nonetheless, I produced at least 10 pounds of jalapenos this year from about five plants I bought at the farmers market.
  64. I live with my husband and five of his family members. His sister and husband have a three-month old baby, and oh my god, he’s the cutest thing in the world.
  65. The baby’s name is Carlos, my first nephew-in-law, and he smiles all the time.
  66. Advice to newlywed women who start yearning for children but feel they shouldn’t really start a family yet: move in with someone who has a really nice baby – you can get your fix and not have all the responsibility.
  67. I enjoy watching thought-provoking movies, so I watch a lot of independent and foreign films. I would highly recommend the recent “Born into Brothels,” and 2000’s “City of God.”
  68. I really enjoy navigating on road trips.
  69. I currently work for Qdoba Mexican Grill, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am a General Manager.
  70. My job has many facets. I am responsible for hiring/firing, running shifts, maintaining cleanliness, food quality, store financials and profits, managing labor, repairs and maintenance and the list goes on. It’s not a difficult job per se, but it involves really good time management and keen multi-tasking skills.
  71. I think I was a better Assistant Manager than I am a General Manager. I don’t enjoy disciplining people and I get very frustrated and passive-aggressive when people don’t do things the right way after I have told them once or twice.
  72. I have a great boss. She is very intelligent, has a lot of integrity, and is a very interesting person. Unfortunately, I don’t like a lot of other things about my job right now.
  73. I don’t love confrontation, although it’s a really important part of my job, and I suppose I am learning to be better at it.
  74. In the past, when a friend, family member or co-worker would confront me about something in the past, I would occasionally laugh. It was very inappropriate, and I knew it, but I guess it was a coping mechanism.
  75. I love Thai, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Mexican, Italian and Cuban food. There are many other nations that I need to try, and I am guessing I will like those too.
  76. I have the unfortunate tendency to look down upon those who don’t like onions, spicy food or anything that isn’t “American.” I need to stop that.
  77. I enjoy trying to convince people to eat things they normally wouldn’t. This also gets me into trouble.
  78. I once ate some dog stir-fry in China. Contrary to popular belief, dog is not part of typical Chinese cuisine, however, it is eaten regularly in Korea, and therefore some restaurants in Beijing (and I am sure many other places in China) serve it.
  79. I love maps,, atlases, etc. I always have a Milwaukee and Waukesha county map as well as a U.S. atlas in my car for emergency situations. Because of this, I almost never get lost.
  80. I have never had a cavity, which is a testament to having strong teeth, not because I avoid sweets.
  81. I am quite competitive, but only in a few areas. Those include any games I play with family and friend, ie. Monopoly, euchre, spades, etc.
  82. I have severe devil’s advocate syndrome. I tend to immediately comment on the negative possibilities of any idea presented, in just about any situation. I mean, it’s nice to have a devil’s advocate. I provide reason and balance, but I think I also bring annoyance and irritation to my husband or my boss at times.
  83. I almost never drank alcohol in all the typical “sow the wild oats” time of one’s life (late high school, college, and immediately after). However, now I enjoy a glass of wine some nights and going out for margaritas every once in a while with Fermin.
  84. I have been drunk exactly once, at my company holiday party in 2004.
  85. I met Fermin one month after I graduated college. He was one of the first Mexican people I met in a restaurant. I was a shift supervisor and he was a cook at a new restaurant opening in Brookfield, Wisconsin.
  86. The first memory I have of Fermin was thinking he was a bit intimidating and scary, because for a few weeks during the opening of the restaurant, he rarely spoke and never smiled.
  87. We became friends and started seeing each other while I was the assistant manager and technically his boss. We kept it a secret for a while, and it truly didn’t interfere with our jobs.
  88. In May of 2004 we got married at the Milwaukee County Courthouse.
  89. I never envisioned myself in a big princess wedding, although my parents probably would have preferred it. But hey, it’s my life, right? I have no regrets about it. It would have been terribly awkward to plan an American wedding with Fermin.
  90. I feel a bit embarrassed when I am forced to display any cultural ignorance. Today, for example, someone at work started talking about some musical (I guess) called “The Producers,” and I felt myself trying to make agreeable sounds and nods while not furthering the conversation so that I didn’t have to reveal my ignorance.
  91. In certain social situations I feel awkward about my relative naiveté regarding drinking and “the bar scene.” I am glad to have been saved from all the negative consequences of this lifestyle, but I wish I could go to a bar with friends and know what to order. Because of this, I sometimes pick the brains of my friends for good drinks to order in certain situations.
  92. I was lucky enough to have Spanish classes beginning in kindergarten at my elementary school. I credit this for my aptness with learning languages. I studied Spanish until the start of college, then switched to Chinese for a few years. After college I started working with Mexican immigrants and the Spanish came back. Now I would say I am fairly proficient in Spanish.
  93. Sometimes, when I am tired, especially at work, I have a tendency to mumble.
  94. Like my father, I sometimes learn a new hobby or craft and go totally gung-ho about it. Examples include scrapbooking, gardening, photography, and lately, baking bread.
  95. Some of those hobbies stick, others fall to the wayside after I have invested maybe $100 and 15-20 hours.
  96. I once spent a day learning to bake bread from my grandma, who makes great homemade bread. Then I came home and made my first 2 loaves of bread, which miraculously, turned out.
  97. The second loaf of bread I tried to make, which included some interesting organic flours, did not turn out. But I think it’s because I killed the yeast. So sad.
  98. Sometimes, when I am crabby, I am not so nice to my husband. Later on, however, I will deny that I was a bitch, and then still later, I will feel badly about it.
  99. I love coffee – my favorite beverage is an amaretto latte. Alterra Coffee in Milwaukee makes the best one.
  100. This list took me five months to complete.

the real world

February 10, 2006

Thanks to everyone for your great comments on my writings from the last post. I’ve been writing so many cover letters and resume objectives in the past two weeks I haven’t even been able to stomach the idea of posting blog entries. It’s funny, I have days when I love my job and others when I completely hate it, and this week I’ve been on the upswing. I guess it’s more that I really like my boss and I’ve seen more of her lately and that keeps me a bit more grounded.

Besides that, I am pretty sure that if I take a different job right now, it’s probably going to involve a pay cut, and I guess for the right job that would be totally fine, but I haven’t found anything that seems right yet. But this process has really made me think about the tension between loving what you do and having the resources to do all the things you really love and want to do. For example, I have a friend who is a pharmacist and quite young and successful. She has a good job probably making twice what I do after 6 years of school. In high school I thought she was nuts for choosing pharmacy school, because how boring would counting pills and understanding medications be for an entire life? Now I admire her and envy her a bit for making as much as she does, basically never facing a life where money will be an issue. If she is smart with her money, which I know she is, she should have the resources to buy a nice house at her leisure, and do most of the traveling and other activities she wants in life. Maybe she doesn’t have the most exciting job ever, but it’s good and she’s comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with that.

On the other hand, say I had gone to pharmacy school, or pursued law or nursing or something like that, I likely would never have had the cross-cultural experiences that make me who I am. I would never have met my husband, or any number of amazing people I have met in my short but scattered about life.

I certainly don’t regret my choices, but I wish I had had a bit more foresight when I was about 18 years old to analyze my options. What I really wish, is that I was indifferent to money. I hate to say it, but I like money. I like being able to buy things, even though I hate to say that. I wish I didn’t like money, I wish I wasn’t interested in fashion and food and books and gardening and home improvement, but I am, and I haven’t figured out how to really save money very well. The more money I make, the more I have been able to spend. Of course, we have a house and I have a newish car and student loans, so maybe I am doing alright, but my husband has legendary Mexican saving ability. I wish I had that sort of discipline, and that I could innoculate myself with a bit of perspective, so the next time I am about to binge on unnecessary cosmetics and home goods at Target, I could think, this is my lodging for one night in China next year, and put away the debit card.