Thursday, January 31, 2008

7 Weird Jobs I Have Had

Bethany over at Bitter Betty Blog offered up Seven Weird Jobs she has had. So I got to wondering if I had any jobs that qualified as weird? You be the judge. I will reach back and think...

1.) I started babysitting when I was 12 and had a good word-of-mouth reputation. One of the families I sat for (on Huckleberry Island in Brookdale!) were song writers. They had one child who went to bed early, and they had HBO which was pretty exciting. Friends of theirs would often stop by (picture California+Hippy+1978ish setting) and one time it was a guy named Neil and he hung out and watched TV with me. He was disheveled and hairy looking and laughed a lot at the show we were watching while strumming on a guitar. He told me he was in a band. Later when the dad drove me home he told me it was Neil Young and I knew who that was because my folks used to listen to him.

2.) A short-lived restaurant in Boulder Creek California called the Boulder House hired me as a salad/desert girl when I was 15 years old. I probably looked 13. Most of the staff was snorting cocaine and sleeping with each other. I felt like I was watching a racy movie the whole time I worked there. The chef that trained me was really good though, and to this day, I can still make a great salad and pour a perfect crepe.

3.) In 1980 I sold bloodworms, night crawlers and junkfood from Andy's on the Wharf in Santa Cruz. It was just a Sunday job. My highschool girlfriend Theresa's family owned the place and they had a church commitment that day.

4.) At 16, and a spiky-haired punk rocker girl, I worked selling tee-shirts, sex toys and operated a Ticketron outlet in the early days of Camouflage upstairs in the Cooperhouse in Santa Cruz. Before the earthquake took it down.

5.) Right after college when I was doing freelance design, I used to supplement my income by "teaching" art classes at the Bel Air Bay Club. Less like teaching, more like being an
art waitress. It was hell! These kids were so demanding! I felt for them though. Their folks used to stay too late and the kids would get cranky and want to go home! I use to charge $50 an hour so I did it for a few years a few weekend nights a month.

6.) After almost ten years of working in the Advertising/Design field as an designer then art director, I got laid off. I took a temporary job with some private investment traders or "flippers" and I worked from 5:45 a.m. to about 3:00 p.m. and I loved it. I made almost as much as I had been making in design, plus they let me bring my dog to work. I stayed for about a year and a half then decided to leave L.A.

7.) I've done occasional design work for my brother who is a general contractor, sketching out design directions for clients of his. One especially eccentric (and wealthy client. Think private jets...) was having some decks built, house painted and bathroom remodeled, so I went by to snap pictures for my color sketches and I saw how filthy he lived. So I produced a brochure with different services. Expert housekeeping, to personal shopping, fresh flower and baking services to pet care. Well, he bought
every service I offered upon seeing the brochure. I hired a small staff, and three days a week we were up there baking goodies, cleaning, choosing linens and managing services like car detailing to appliance repair. I won't tell you what I charged!! It was outrageous and it lasted for almost two years.

Have you had Seven Weird Jobs? Consider yourself tagged and remember to let me know so I can read them.

Coming Back From the Dark Side

I finally feel some lightening from the dark, introspective and lethargic place that I've been traveling through. I really had to push myself to move through each day with some focus and purpose. Of course Annie is a wonderful companion, even through the dark side. On those days where staying in bed and watching TV seemed the best course, she's perfectly willing. Some days our biggest accomplishment was dressing and walking up to the corner store. As a home schooling parent, I see that I pressure myself to be a consistent, upbeat and enthusiastic person. But the reality for me is that sometimes I'm confused, or sad or frustrated and that is how it feels for me to be human! I'm wanting to be honest with Annie and show her that life, as I experience it, is very textured and prismatic. Maybe as she encounters the full spectrum of feelings in her life, especially the challenging parts, she will remember the ebbs and flows of my journey, and trust, maybe even value the times that feel challenging, rather than fear and judge them as I notice that I can do.

That said, one thing that has been really exciting for Annie, and for Bill and I lately, is Kung Fu! Annie watched her friend Johnny in his class and decided to do it too. The staff is fantastic with kids and they teach in Mandarin, so she is right at home! She is now taking it three days a week and would take it everyday if we could swing it. It's so exciting to see her work at something she loves! We've also been venturing out between rain storms to hunt for mushrooms, we're sewing new jammies together (kinda frustrating for me), and we felted a men's Irish sweater and transformed it into a great coat for Annie. I've been taking photo's. I just need to download them and post them now. Ahh! It feels good to be back!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Not a Love Bug

I am still weak, shaky, and my muscles feel atrophied, but I think the worst is behind me. That isn't meant to be a pun. I have suffered. Monday night I felt nauseous, and then all through that night and until Thursday late afternoon, I was stricken with what I thought might be Ebola, or Typhoid or some other death sentence. At first I guessed it was a 24 hour bug that was ravaging my system, but apparently is is more of a 72 hour horror show. One that got worse as the days passed. Imagine intense nausea, incredible amounts of liquids exiting my intestinal system every few minutes, leaving me dehydrated to the point of dry heaves and shakes. I called a nurse Thursday morning and she said it's just a bad bug and to drink as much Gatorade as I could and that unless my fever was over 102 to just ride it out. Ugh! So I've made it to the other side, and I hope none of you get this thing. I have no idea of where I got it.

As bad as it all was, (and still is-I'm so weak and lightheaded!) the worst part was having Annie see me so sick, and for me to see her so alone and exposed to T.V. I couldn't offer much else! Thankfully dear Jen and Johnny scooped her both Wednesday and Thursday for a lot of fun and play! I felt so relieved and cared about!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Annie's Archives

I was cleaning up my desktop tonight and noted over 1700 portraits in my PhotoBooth program! Hmmm? Since April? Annie has been taking self portraits and "artistic" shots to a degree I wasn't aware of. Since my computer is almost always on and the program is right in the dock, she can use it whenever she likes. I am amazed at some of her work, the lighting, props and special effects she uses. Plus, I'm entertained at some of her antics. Like wearing my bra and taking a picture of herself to surprise me, or getting a peck on the cheek from her dear friend Johnny while his mom and I drank tea in the next room. Many are crazy, nude and experimental. I won't show any of those. Maybe it's the sheer number of shots she takes in one setting that delights me. I get a sense of her more private self. Of course these are just a couple that I pulled to show. And yes, it is with her permission that I post these few tonight.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

New Years Re-Do!

You may recall my last post telling (well, mourning more like) of my solo New Years hike. I'm happy to say that today Annie and Billy went with me to retrace my steps that I took New Years Day. Once Annie had seen the ladybug and mushroom photos that I took on my hike, she said "I would have gone if I knew it was going to be so beautiful!" I knew Bill was interested in checking it out too. It was a beautiful, beautiful opportunity to explore and we timed it perfectly between these California storms. The ladybugs were still there, and we saw an astounding amount of mushrooms sprouting in the damp, cold and alive forest. Ahhhhhhhhh! Really, I think I'm most content when we are together! It could be anywhere, and being outdoors and exploring with them both is pretty close to Nirvana to me. Both Bill and Annie have eyes for spotting life! With each find Annie would cry "This is a magic forest" or "Thank you earth!" I was in perfect bliss and I'm still feeling the effects of our experience tonight! Thanks for the comments both here and through email! I felt supported and cared about.

Love that!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Where Fairies and Ladybugs Spring Forth

In the hills overlooking the bay, on New Years Day I spotted this fountain of ladybugs in a decaying log and I was so thrilled! I guess it's not that unusual, but to me I felt like I had found a mysterious fountain of magic and fairies. I hiked with Jasper through the hills, going from dry chaparral, to moist redwoods, and through groves of eucalyptus. I was hiking alone because Bill and Annie wanted to sloth around the house, and I felt very argumentative about it and weepy. So I went alone. Well, except for Jasper. He led the way, never going too far from me, always turning around to see where I was. Love him. It was mushroom madness up in the Oakland hills! I think I spotted more varieties of mushrooms than I've ever spotted in one hike before. It felt wonderful to just breath and to walk in the woods.

Other than that, this is at least the third draft I've started in as many days for this post and blah, blah, blah. I'm not focused at all. What am I wanting to say?? A bunch of stuff that feels important, and nothing tangible at all. I'm struggling within about all matters...creative, domestic, existential, and anything else you can come up with. I'm not finding pleasure in the places I usually do. Even my blog isn't lighting me up as it usually does. My solution? Going very gently with myself (my mother would be proud), and giving myself a break, trying to have fun and not panic. I know clarity will come, and until then I will not add to my suffering.