Posts Tagged 'Energy'

Just Hang On

Just hang on, hang on to the vine
Stay on, soon you’ll be divine
If you start to cry, look up to the sky
Something’s coming up ahead
To turn your tears to dew instead

And so I hold on to his advice
When change is hard and not so nice
You listen to your heart the whole night through
Your sunny someday will come one day soon to you”

~Pink Martini (Hang on Little Tomato)

What a way to start the new year.

First of all, I’m sick. Boyfriend had a nasty cold/flu thing just before Christmas, which got him out of having to meet my family. I wished really really hard that I would get it too, and miss the whole holiday crap myself, but it came too late.  Ugh. And I’m supposed to work tomorrow, to do some really nasty work that nobody else wants to be around during the normal workday.

Second, the heat and hot water are out in my apartment. Again. What terrible timing! I’m always the one who ends up calling the landlord when somethings wrong with the building, so I always feel like a whiny brat. There are at least six other tenants, and the guy who runs a business on the street level. Why can’ t one of them call for once? But I’m the sicky one, so I’m sure it will be me again. What can I say? My tolerance level for this crap happens to be kinda low at the moment.

Third, Did I mention I have to work tomorrow? With dangerous chemicals. They’re so bad, in fact, that I’ll be earning my hazard pay, which is part of the reason I agreed to do this in the first place. I’ll be wearing a respirator, and I’ll be sure to change the chemical cartridges a couple times during the day, but it is really really hard to blow your nose with a respirator on. I’ll have to go outside every ten minutes! Boyfriend, and perhaps you all agree with him, thinks I’m nuts, but there is a reason behind this. By working Sunday, when nothing is open anyway, I can take a weekday off and get things done.

Fourth, my to-do list is a mile long. And being sick has slowed my productivity rate significantly. There are things I want to do. Please note, these are not New Year’s Resolutions. I firmly believe that if we want to make changes in our lives, the best time to start is immediately, not at some fixed, yet mostly meaningless point in time. There are time sensitive items on this list, so I guess they are the priority. No, blogging is not one of them. Yes, I am wasting precious time and energy.

Fifth, one of the items on my to-do list. My license expires in May. Not my car drivers license, that other drivers license. I’ve been real reluctant to do anything about it. There are a number of steps, some of which cost money, others that just cause hassles, and some that cause both. I haven’t been through this process before, so I don’t really know what to expect. Most of my friends can’t help, because they got theirs after me. My former employers have been through it several times each, but getting advice from them is like pulling teeth. I feel all alone in this. And I’m not entirely committed to renewing; I’m not sure there is a point. I’ve never really used the darn thing, and I hope my life path leads me farther away from ever needing it. But the economy is crap, so who knows where I’ll be next month or next year?

Sixth, and I like to think of this last one as the bright spot right now, I am revamping my job search efforts. No, I have not been laid off, but I can’t handle the stress of constantly believing that any week could be my last. Despite assurances from the company that I have nothing to worry about, I can’t help freaking out. I cannot live like this. So I’m actively looking for a Plan B, which depending on what I find, could potentially become Plan A. I’m back to using USAJOBS, a site that has caused me much difficulties and no luck in the past, but I’m looking at a different department. I’m currently looking for a job in a national park, preferably one in the Rockies, the West, or Alaska. Many of these job opportunities are temporary appointments, which would give me the chance to get out of here for a while and see something new. What happens after the temporary time is up (probably September)? I’m not sure yet. Perhaps current job will still exist, particularly if people do get laid off for the summer and we have some work again next winter. Perhaps the current state government hiring freeze will no longer be in effect, and I could use my experience in a national park as a bridge to say, the Department of Conservation. Perhaps I don’t return here.

I do have other bright spots in my life. My new yoga class starts on Monday, and after the holiday break, I feel like I sure do need it! My saxophone is currently in the repair shop, but I will have it back this week, and the repair guy is going to help me find a new mouthpiece, which will hopefully help to correct some of my tone issues. And then the first rehearsal for my new band is next weekend! I’m also thinking of doing some volunteering at the local hospital. In high school, I was a volunteer in the O.R., and I think it is a great way to branch out of my little rut, meet new people, and gain new experiences.

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I’m Scared

I thought my job was reasonably secure. “We have work.” “We’re not overstaffed.” “You are not about to lose your job.” Although I’m currently still employed, the managers were either lying or delusional.

Every other company that does what we do, in this state and probably down the whole eastern seaboard, has already laid people off. As of two weeks ago, that tally also included my brother. For whatever reason, we held out a little bit longer.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday (how nice of the managers to wait until the week beginning of the holiday season!), my department of nine was called into the office for a meeting. Annual clients have cut down on the number of requests for the year. Our competitors are trying to steal away our clients. We are overstaffed. It is likely that we will not all still be employed by the spring. The people who keep their jobs will be the ones who produce high quality work in shorter-than-average times, which will keep the clients’ bills down.

I was, and still am, shaking. How many people are going to go? My quality and productivity are probably somewhere in the middle of the nine; I’m nearly certain I wouldn’t be among the first two or three to go. I’ve also recently taken on some other challenges within the company and completed them successfully, proving that I am a versatile and adaptable employee.

I also don’t want to work for this company forever. Nobody ever believed I’d stay a year, much less three! Maybe I can take this news as a push to find something else, although I don’t care for fear as a motivator.

So I’ve done a little searching online tonight and got to feeling a bit depressed. There aren’t a whole lot of jobs in my area, good, mediocre, or otherwise. This is not entirely due to the global economic troubles, but that sure doesn’t help. I’m willing to commute; the state capital is about an hour away, but there aren’t many jobs there either. I’m not willing to move.

I’d like to work in alternative energy. With my science background, I think this could be a good fit, and I see this as an industry poised to take off during my working life. I’ve been told that Maine is already on the leading edge, but I suspect this is mostly due to power generation off of small scale dams, not the newest technologies. I believe the state government will be a good place to find new jobs in the energy sector. But unfortunately, Maine state government is under a total hiring freeze, effective a month ago through the foreseeable future, as Maine deals with continued budget problems while the economy continues to fall apart.

Yeah, I’m scared.

Bein’ Green

“But green’s the color of Spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like.
And green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree.

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why? Wonder,
I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful!
And I think it’s what I want to be.”

Kermit the Frog (It’s not Easy Bein’ Green, lyrics by Joe Rapposo)

Happy Earth Day! What are you doing to ‘save the planet’? Did you know that this year has been named The Year of the Frog by zoologists? Frogs are a barometer of our environment, as they are very sensitive to climate and habitat changes. If drastic measures aren’t taken to preserve their niches, they will follow the dodo and the dinosaurs.

I planted a garden the other day! Um, well, perhaps ‘garden’ is too generous a term. Living in an apartment building, I have zero outdoor space. Instead, I took a windowbox and set it up just inside the windowsill in my kitchen. I’m hoping to grow some herbs, but my garden still looks like a box of dirt. Yes, I am aware that it takes a while for seeds to sprout, but that doesn’t stop me from checking a couple times a day! To start with, I’ve planted flat-leaf parsley, basil, thyme, dill, and rosemary. I wonder if there is enough space in the box to grow some lettuce; I don’t need much.

I suppose I should also note that I have a black thumb. I enjoy having greenery in my apartment, but in general, plants don’t seem to enjoy me. I do have a few plants in my apartment. A friend gave a cactus, as they are low maintenance plants. I still have that original pot, but I believe this is the third cactus (this one’s an aloe) living in it. My other cactus has flowers and has had three bright pink flowers for as long as I’ve had it (a year maybe). Is this normal? Of my other plants, I have some ivy that took over the big pot it lives in, killing off it’s neighbor, and now it is trying to spread out over the whole room. And I have a variegated leafy thing that must simply have a very strong will to live.

Many of my coworkers are planning their summer gardens, which are, in some cases, over 1000 square feet! That seems like a lot of work to this lazy couch potato. But I guess the results are pretty good, and some of the veggies (like beans and peas) are freezable. Many of these same coworkers have animals as well. Ducks and chickens for eggs are the most common, although pigs are becoming popular, and I know of at least one person who plans to raise chickens for meat this summer. Maybe this is all just because I live in hickville, or maybe it is all part of the rising cost of energy and food and the attempt to consume more locally produced goods. You can’t get much more organic, either. My coworkers also spend a considerable amount of time discussing solar panels and wind turbines. This state also has one of the highest percentages of hydroelectric energy, due to our many rivers and streams. Huh. Who’d of ever thought that this state would have forward-thinking trend setters?

How May I Help You?

“Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long till ‘m gonna need
Somebody to lean on”

~The Temptations (Lean on Me)

How are you doing?

I’ve been doing pretty well lately. I’m confident that my improved mood and outlook has much more to do with the increased daylight than the drugs I’ve been taking. My therapist doesn’t see it, though, and she keeps coming back to the concept that I don’t have much of a support network.

Ok, it is true that I no longer talk to a single person I went to high school with. I was ready to escape everything about that place and I’ve never looked back. I also no longer talk to anyone I went to university with, although I did keep in touch with a couple people for a while. There are a couple people I do wonder what happened to, such as my almost-roommate who transferred because her parents needed her closer to home, and the other three members of my “Brat Pack” from first year.

I’ve never had lots of close friends. I was very social and outgoing as a young child, but that diminished as I got older (I blame my parents for isolating me…. a long story). Now I’m a quiet person and I don’t really make deep connections with other human beings.

But I do believe that you get what you give. Karma. ‘Energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only changed from one form to another’ — physics / conservation of energy. I have energy, and I’m doing good these days, but someday again, I’m going to need somebody to lean on. Until then, how may I help you?

Daylight Savings

“Who needs sleep?
Well, you’re never gonna get it.
Who needs sleep?
Tell me what’s that for.
You’re happy with what you get
and there’s a guy that’s been awake since the second world war.”

~Barenaked Ladies (Who Needs Sleep)

The Daylight Savings Time switch came early this year. (So, clarification: are we now on Daylight Savings time, or now off it?) In previous years, the switch happened in April, but the Feds’ decided to shorten the winter dark season to decrease energy consumption, as Americans are more active during the evening hours than early morning hours. Unfortunately, the numbers that Mickey’s hands point to have little to do with our internal regulatory clocks.

The springtime spring-ahead is tough for me, especially since it is occurring a month early this year. I do consider myself a morning person; I am most productive before lunch, and I don’t even drink coffee! But I find it incredibly difficult to get up before the sun rises. Yesterday, sunrise was at 6:01. Today, 6:59. Tomorrow, I have to be at work at 7:00, meaning I will see the sunrise long after I’ve been forced awake by the headache-inducing BEEPing of an alarm clock and the sudden forced brightness of the fluorescents in the bathroom. I suppose I should be grateful that at least I live on the eastern side of this timezone.

In the evening, there will be an additional hour of daylight after I get home from work. Yes, of course this is a wonderful thing; sunlight has been shown to increase seratonin levels, making us feel happier. But it’s still too cold to spend significant amounts of time outside. So, I will head home, bump up the heat, turn on my computer, and fix myself a snack.

I will be using additional energy in the morning to wake me up. I will be consuming additional energy when I arrive home ‘an hour earlier’. My internal clock is all messed up, so I will be staying up later (according to Mickey). I will get less sleep in an average night, making me irritable during the day, and I will be consuming additional energy, thereby mucking up the Feds’ plans to conserve energy. Is this really a good idea?