Sunday, October 16, 2005

Which Way to the Yellow Brick Road?

Recently, I checked out a display in the window of a shoe store. Among the sandals, slides, and stiletto heels, I saw a pair of shoes that I think I might buy. The shoes didn't have pointed toes. That's good because I don't have pointed toes. The toes on the shoes were, well, sort of square. They reminded me of the toes on a pair of shoes that I bought when I was a college freshman.

In those days, I wasn’t very practical when it came to choosing my wardrobe. I wanted to wear whatever styles the fashion magazines dictated were “in.” Despite my advanced age of 18, I was still a regular reader of Seventeen magazine. Thanks to one of its ads and a display in an upscale store that I visited regularly, I coveted a pair of Capezio slippers—no, not ballet shoes, street shoes. They were fire-engine-red patent leather, and they had square toes.

Although my parents thought they were too trendy and too expensive, I managed to save enough out of my allowance to be able to buy the shoes before they went out of style. I thought wearing them would make me feel like a Seventeen model. Instead, I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Job Interviews—Part I

I’ve been through many job interviews. Sometimes they go well; sometimes they don’t. Several times, I've been hired on the spot. There were also times when I thought an interview went very well, but I never heard from the company again.

Some interviews were just plain strange. One company I applied at seemed to have a rather foul-mouthed parrot employed as its relief receptionist (long story, but interesting—some other time though).

Several years ago, during an interview for an accounting clerk position, the interviewer asked, “If we hire you, will you go to the Christmas Party?”

I glared at him and asked, “What the heck kind of a question is that?”

He blushed and muttered, “Just forget it.”

I didn’t think I’d get the job, but the company hired me anyway. And, yes, I did go to the Christmas party.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Still Here but Still Busy

I’ve just completed an online class in PowerPoint. The material got rather technical after the first few lessons. All I wanted to do was to learn the basics, which I think I have.

I’ve decided to take a hiatus from online learning for at least a month. Next time, I think I’ll take an online class in writing —résumé writing, that is. I’m not looking for another job, but I think I can help people who are looking for a job. Taking the class will be a first step in that direction.

Not that I don’t already know a few things about writing résumés. Years ago, some friends and I sponsored a résumé writing workshop after many people were laid off from their jobs at our former place of employment. Unfortunately, we held the workshop on the Saturday before Memorial Day. Only six people showed up. Three were from the same household.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Checking in - July

I've been busy during the last few weeks. In addition to going to work every day, I've been participating in three overlapping noncredit online classes and a writing workshop.

I've just completed my online Grammar Refresher class. I scored 100 percent on the final exam. I would have felt like a failure with anything less than that. I guess I'm just a perfectionist. I'm also a former English major and a writer (with a day job as an editor).

I wasn't so happy about my final grade in the Excel class, which was 93 percent, mainly because I didn't do much reviewing before completing the final exam.

The short story workshop I participated in ended last week. I finally read my story, well at least part of it. Why did I read only part of it? That's another story that I'm sure will appear in this space sometime in the future.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

PowerPoint and Story Boards

I recently began an online class in PowerPoint, and I think I’ve found a new use for the software application. Then again, maybe someone has been doing this for years.

When writing short fiction (which is the only type of fiction I’ve attempted so far), I always have a hard time blocking out the story. I figured I might be able to use PowerPoint as a story board, outlining a scene on each slide. I wondered how many slides I could include on one page and still be able to read the text. I printed out six slides (of a presentation that I had created for my online class) on one page and decided that my idea was doable (ooh, is that a real word?). I think I’ll give it a try the next time I write a short story.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

My Purple Finger Hurts

I've learned to make good use of my word processor's spell check feature because I've been making a lot of typos during the past several days. I usually don't do this, but at the moment, I have a purple finger and it hurts.

So how did I get a purple finger?

I fell one moring on my way to work. I was distracted by something and wasn't paying attention to where I was going. I tripped on an uneven section of the sidewalk, rocketed across a strip of gravel on my stomach, and smashed the middle finger of my left hand against the curb. Ouch!

As soon as I determined that I had no broken bones, I left the scene in a hurry before some good samaritan decided to come to my rescue--or worse, call 911 on a cell phone.

What was I distracted by?

The house across the street.

I was looking at what is rumoured to be a very expensive house in a neighborhood where the asking price of most of the houses would probably be about $200,000. A couple of years ago, I watched this house being built. When it was completed, it was a nice, rather plain three bedroom house with a two car garage. And then someone, presumably the owner, got other ideas. He or she added another room, a patio, and an RV garage. Later on, I saw a work crew building a portico onto the front entrance. Shortly after that, a wall with two custom-made metal gates surrounded the property. One morning I noticed professional landscapers working at the house, and the next day the front yard was dotted with juvenile palm trees, assorted cacti, and other desert plants.

A few days later someone mentioned that the house was listed on the market for $600,000.

For almost two years the house had a For Sale sign stuck in front of it. Although the sign disappeared several months ago, I have seen no indication that anyone lives there. In fact, the house is still under construction. The two car garage and the RV garage are being converted into rooms.

Last Tuesday, as I strolled along, I looked at the house and wondered where the people who will eventually live there will park their cars. If you sign a mortgage agreement on a $600,000 house, you probably don't take the bus very often.

That's when I tripped.

By the end of the work day my finger was dark purple and throbbed like crazy. When I was getting ready to leave, I looked for my hat, a necessity in this part of the country. That's when I realized it had fallen off when I tripped. I went back to look for it, but it was gone.

I still have a purple finger, but it's a lighter shade of purple, and it doesn't hurt so much. And I have a new hat.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Just Checking In

Just dropping by to say, "Hello, I'm still around."

I’ve just been too busy to blog lately. I’ve been working, partying, and trying to keep up with my two online classes. And I’m starting a short story writing workshop tomorrow evening, so I will be busy on Monday evening for the next six weeks.

However, I have a four day weekend coming up, so I just might be able to post something that consists of more than a few sentences. But I’m not promising anything.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

I Was a Housekeeping Failure

Doing housework has never been one of my favorite activities. As a toddler, I was terrified of the vacuum cleaner. If Mom wanted to vacuum the living room rug in peace, she had to draft someone to take me for a walk.

By the time I was eight, my parents were fairly certain that I had gotten over that nonsense. So, early one Saturday morning, Mom flipped the switch on the vacuum cleaner, turned it over to me, and pointed me in the direction of the living room. Within minutes, I had toppled a couple of lamps, knocked my little brother into the magazine rack, and scared the cat out of three or four of her nine lives.

“Do it yourself before she kills us all,” Dad hollered, extracting Mopsy from his shredded trouser leg.

Unfortunately, my father’s instinct for self-preservation condemned my mother to doing most of the housework forever.

When I was thirteen, my parents decided that I was old enough to starting helping out around the house on a regular basis. But, by that time, I was beyond rehabilitation. I just couldn’t seem to get the hang of housework. Mom complained that I dusted around knickknacks and doilies and failed to vacuum the corners of the living room—or any room.

My incompetence annoyed Mom even more when it came to keeping my bedroom picked up. She claimed the place looked like an explosion at a rummage sale. “How can you tell the clean clothes from the dirty ones?” she frequently asked. Sometimes I couldn’t. I also suspected that I held the town record for having the most overdue library books. They were usually shoved under my bed, where they stayed until the librarian reminded me that they should have been returned weeks ago.

When Mom couldn’t stand the sight of it anymore, she cleaned my bedroom. Coincidentally, she usually did this right before we were expecting guests. Throughout my adolescence, Mom had a recurring nightmare in which an overnight guest took a wrong turn on the way to the bathroom, stumbled into my bedroom, and disappeared forever.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Of Taxes and Serial Killers

Tax time has come and gone for another year.

I was thinking about taxes just before I drifted off to sleep last Wednesday night. Earlier, I had been reading a book about a serial killer who prowled I-5 between Washington State and northern California, killing prostitutes along the way.

I dreamed that I was doing his taxes, and he insisted on claiming mileage. I wouldn’t let him do it because he wasn’t engaged in a legitimate business. We started arguing. That’s when I woke up.

Whew, maybe I should give up reading those kinds of stories just before bedtime.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Just a Few Words

We went out for dinner last night, and I ended up with food poisoning. Bummer!

I've decided to register for a noncredit class in short story writing. The class meets for six weeks on Monday evening, which I’m not too crazy about. However, I've been working sporadically on a short story that I (eventually) intend to submit to a major women’s magazine, and this class just might give me the incentive to finish the project.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

A Blogging Weekend (sort of)

I haven’t posted in a while as I’ve had a major bout with allergies. I haven’t felt like doing much of anything except going to work, going home, and going to sleep. Hopefully, I’ll be up to writing more next week.

I finally did get around to registering for the online Excel class that I’ve been intending to take for the last few months. I’m also thinking about registering for a self-study bookkeeping course titled Internal Control and Detection of Fraud. I really like working as a copy editor, but experience has taught me that you always have to have Plan B.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Another Nonblogging Weekend

I haven't done any writing this week. I've been fighting off the sniffles. I don't have a cold; I'm allergic to the vegetation that has popped up all over the place. Thanks to the rain we've (finally) had this winter, wild flowers have carpeted the desert in shades of purple, yellow, and orange.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

I'm Still Here

No, I haven't abandoned my blog; I'm just very busy. I will post something more interesting soon. I promise.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

My Mission Statement

WestWord Arizona is a work in progress. Generally, the content will focus on one of my interests, which are writing, photography, education, computers, cats, wireworking, people in general, and work in general. (Gosh, I’ve really narrowed it down.) My goal is to entertain and inform my readers, mostly to entertain. I am an independent person, so WestWord Arizona will reflect my own opinions, not those of relatives, friends, co-workers, people I meet at book stores and bus stops, or current or former employers. I hope that I do not offend anyone; however, if I do, please accept my apologies in advance.

Also, please bear with me (ooh, is that a cliché or something?). I work full time as an editor, so I write on weekends only. For the past few weeks, I have been attending a writing workshop on Saturday. The workshop will end next Saturday. Beginning in March, I will try to post something every weekend.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

A Confession

Last month I registered for a non-credit writing class. I've been to three meetings so far. I feel guilty because I haven't written anything original for the class. Yesterday, when everyone else passed around newly created work, I recycled an essay and an anecdote I had published several years ago.