April 23, 2009

Finally, someone who understands...

I first read Dorothy Allison as a freshman in college. My Interpreting Literature professor, Dr. Covey, had "Bastard Out of Carolina" on his syllabus. I'd never heard of her prior to this class, but it was one of the first books we read that semester and I literally could not put that book down. It took me two days to finish it because every spare moment I had I devoted to losing myself in the story.

Then, in 2005, I discovered "Cavedweller." You'll note that my Blogger address includes that moniker. I so loved this book, too. This woman is an unbelievable storyteller. Until today, however, I had no idea she had other literature. I thought she was just kind of a flash in the pan. Nope. My next read will be "Trash." Check out her bibliography:

She Who. A novel, forthcoming (Penguin Putnam)

Trash, A Collection of Short Stories, 2002, Plume.

Cavedweller. Dutton, 1998.

Two or Three Things I know for Sure. Dutton, Fall, 1995.

Skin—Talking about Sex, Class & Literature. Firebrand Books, 1994. A collection of narrative essays.

Bastard out of Carolina, Dutton, 1992. A finalist for the National Book Award, a selection of the B. Dalton Discovery program, and winner of both the Ferro Grumley and Bay Area Book Reviewers Awards for fiction, Bastard Out of Carolina has been translated into more than a dozen languages and published in more than a dozen countries. In 1995, it was made into a movie directed by Angelica Huston and premiered on Showtime.

The Women Who Hate Me, Poetry 1980-1990. A chapbook. Firebrand Books, Ithaca, New York, 1991.

Trash, Short Stories by Dorothy Allison, Firebrand Books, Ithaca, NY, 1988.

The Women Who Hate Me, Poems by Dorothy Allison, Long Haul Press, 1983

I was so excited to learn how much more of hers there is to read. Yay! Anyway, this page, found on her website, speaks volumes about where I'm at in life right now.

April 21, 2009

So I may get a job after all...

So I took the test yesterday down in Pittsburgh. First of all, let me say that I LOVE downtown Pittsburgh. I've never really been there, save for one two-block walk from a parking garage to the Mellon Arena for a hockey game in college. Rob dropped me off at the Pennsylvania State Office Building on Liberty Avenue at about 12:40 p.m. yesterday and I felt at home. This is where I need to be. LOVED IT.

Anyway, I made my way up to the 15th floor of a building so old, I'm sure I saw pillbox hats, a-line skirts and heard the click-clack of a mechanical typewriter behind a door with an opaque glass window. I walked into the office marked "Civil Service Examinations" and got sent through another door into the quietest room ever. The test proctor (that term always makes me giggle, the 14-year-old kid in me rearing its head) sent me over to a computer after giving me instructions on how to take the typing test. I managed to finish that with a score of 78 words per minute with only 6 errors.

The next section was a 135-question multiple choice test that scored me on comprehension, basic arithmetic, alphabetic and numeric filing, checking for spelling and grammatical errors or inconsistencies, and office etiquette. They give you 2.5 hours to finish it. I finished it in 45 minutes. I raised my hand (because that's the quiet way - and the only way - to get the proctor to come see you) and she came over and said, "I can't believe you're already done!"

That made me nervous. It's one of those situations where you finish a test so quickly you figure there are only two possible outcomes: a) You blew it. No chance in hell you did well. b) You kicked some serious ass. But I tried to shrug off the worries and went outside to call Rob to come pick me up. Want some free advice about Pittsburgh? Take the T. Much more convenient and much cheaper.

We had left the kids at my mother-in-law's for the afternoon so, despite the rain, we went down to South Side and poked around a couple of used book stores. We grabbed some onion rings and a big Diet Coke at Burger King and went back up to get the kids.

This morning, I checked my score. With civil service tests, your score ranks you among all the other people who've tested for that position. The results show you how many people are ahead of you on the list, how many are equal, and how many did worse. I got a 91. I had no idea what that meant until I clicked on each of the positions I tested for and there were four, apparently: Clerk Typist I, Clerk Typist II, Clerk Typist I (local government) and Clerk Typist II (local government). I applied for employment in five counties: Erie, Crawford, Butler, Allegheny and Washington. Here's how I did:

Allegheny County:
Fifteen people did better than me, nine were equal to me, and 334 did worse than me. YAY!

Butler, Crawford, and Erie Counties:
Roughly five people did better than me, a couple were equal and about 150 did worse.

Washington County:
NOBODY did better than me, one was equal, and about 100 were worse. YAY!

So now I sit and wait. Stay tuned for next week's update, when I test on the 27th for Income Maintenance Caseworker. I'll have the details on the 28th of how I did.

April 16, 2009

Time Marches On

So I'm still unemployed. Big news of the day, eh? I've e-mailed or snail-mailed about another dozen resumes in the last week, three going out tomorrow to Sarris, First National Bank of Pennsylvania, and to Duquesne University. I really hope something turns up. I don't think we can make it on two part-time incomes and live in the greater Pittsburgh areas.

I officially became a Pennsylvania resident today. I'm trying to contain my excitement. I thought I'd be okay with relinquishing my California residency...but it sucks a little bit. If things had gone like we'd originally planned - if Rob's work had been steady and he'd gotten steady increases in pay - we could have done really well. I know it's all said and done and that it just didn't work out but if you've never had to start over at nearly 30 years old, you don't know just how much it can suck. But the nice lady at the DMV in Meadville punched a hole in my pretty, yellow license and the nice old man (who, oddly enough, worked with Rob six years ago at AutoZone) handed me my temporary license with my god-awful picture on it. Same license number I had six years ago, same address. Meh.

Also, can someone explain to me how our country was so blind as to believe Barack Obama could be good for our country? This man is out of control. Oh, but he's not a socialist. Nope. Not a chance. MEH.

I'm feeling very cynical today. Do I have any readers who live in or near Pittsburgh? Do you know of anyone hiring? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

And a big, belated congratulations to Kate, my college roommate and one of my bestest friends, who gave birth to a baby girl last week, Kelsey Jo. YAY!

April 6, 2009

Stipulations and such

So apparently, when you sign a contract, you actually have to hold up your end of the bargain. For example: you ask a company to allow you to run their ads on your blog. They say, "Sure! Even though your blog is small and hardly noteworthy, you get maybe four hits per week, you can run ads through us and you'll get a hearty percentage of the hit value." I'm stunned; I was under the impression that only big, important blogs - even ones who take a walk on the controversial side and suffer the loss of readership for their efforts - got to run ads on their site.

So anyway, one of the stipulations was that I had to update at least once weekly or they'd pull my ad code. My last post was March 25th. Whoopsie!

I will, from now on, attempt to update at least weekly, if not more often. The thing is, where before I was living in an 850 ft² apartment, I'm now living in a big-ass house (relatively speaking) where kids can roam freely. My hands are full. Thus, I have little time to sit and focus on a blog. So to both BlogHer and my faithful three readers, I apologize for not blogging as often as I contractually should.

So what's happening here? Rob flew out to California this past Thursday to buy a pick-up truck and haul our stuff back to Pennsylvania. He found a 1989 Ford F-150 and rented a small U-Haul trailer; he and his brother are loading everything up as I type and are departing in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. Yay! After that, we'll officially become Pennsylvania residents again. Oy. Unnerving, really, especially since I'm still unemployed and didn't get that job at the high school.

Did I mention it's snowing today? Yeah. It's April and it's snowing. Up to a FOOT by Wednesday morning. I miss California.

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