Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some timely  catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, we’d be breaking the Stay Home WuFlu rules unless we were doing so virtually like Scott Adams does daily.

Last week because I work for the Census and was an Election Judge, I was out more than most. We used lots of disinfectant and kept our distance, but I did Census recruiting at a nearby Early Voting site.

I worked with such a wagamama person on Election Day. Since we just had 3 judges rather than the planned 5 it was a test of patience. This woman was convinced the moving of the polling place from her usual spot at a retirement community (for the very wealthy where she admits she was spoiled with three free meals she could order from the menu) would be a disaster. She didn’t come to set up the night before as required, but spent two and a half hours calling county employees and the warehouse just to calm her own nerves and wasn’t needed. The woman wore headphones the entire day, complained to voters about how she was put out and made herself a general nuisance to the management of the Park District where we wound up and to the fellow judges in our precinct and the two other precincts that she made the management move into a different room because there’d be a disaster if we were all together. It’s a shame some people can’t be cooperative and pleasant during an emergency. I was stunned when she made voters wait while she talked with her refrigerator repairman. They seemed to be as well. It was a long day as we started at 5 am and finished around 9 pm. But I’m still glad I pitched in as judges are really needed.

After Tuesday, I just recruited by putting yard signs out along public areas where we need applicants. I was in my car and hopped out to put up signs. It was nice to be able to move around and get work done.

Friday afternoon we were still to work, but that afternoon we got an email saying recruitment efforts were to be suspended. Then Saturday I received a call saying we could work from home planning and researching. I’ve got a few ideas, but I’m not sure how many hours I can do meaningful work. I believe some people are going into the office but I’m happy to get the work.

During the quarantine, I’ve been scrubbing and organizing. I did finish watching Death on the Nile, which I listened to as an audio book. The book was okay, as was the movie, though I’d say there was a lot of over-acting in the film. While Agatha Christie set the standard for mystery writing in many ways, even she got tired of Hercule Poirot, whom she grew to find pompous. Also, this was at least her second book where a group of people all with a motive find themselves on a vehicle.

booksbookmametchicagotb51

I’m now listening to David Mamet’s Chicago as an audio book. Since Mamet is known for the cadence of dialogue in his plays and films, and that dialogue in this novel has his style, I highly recommend listening rather than reading this book. The narrator has the right cadence and tone to capture Mamet’s style.

I think Adam Corolla had offered some wisdom on approaching the quarantine, which can get on our nerves. He says that prisoners often say, “If you don’t do the time, the time will do you.” In other words, use your time wisely. In addition to working half days, I’ll be  cleaning and organizing my kitchen and basement a bit each day and starting a new writing project. Well, resuming one. I have a historical drama in mind and I’m delighted that I just found my primary resource, which I’ve been hunting for for the last 2 days.

I’m also watching Hillsdale College’s online course on the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. What I really like is how the professor shares earlier documents that influenced the creation of these documents.


Wagamama = Japanese for difficult, irritating

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some timely  catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I went to the funeral of one of my parents’ good friends. This woman was a true leader in the community who connected with people, young and old, and was very involved in charitable work. While it was a sad occasion, it was a beautiful tribute to a fine lady.

I believe I’ve drawn the short straw when it comes to my election judge team. What complainers! We were scheduled to work at a poll located in a senior living community. Given the WuFlu, it’s been moved to the Park District and we’ll share a room with two other precincts. Two of these people are pitching a fit. They’ve called me numerous times to complain, They’ve hassled the County Clerk workers and the Park District folks. Evidently, at the senior living community they were given breakfast, lunch and dinner. Obviously, a park district doesn’t serve meals. What’s more they want a window that opens. Well, this building doesn’t have that. One woman says it’ll be a disaster and she insisted we get a different room. So we were offered a room on the second floor, which does have an elevator. Well, “SC” asserts that this elevator is too far from the room. There’s no satisfying her. She insisted we meet on Friday night (rather than the usual Monday night) to check that all our supplies have been delivered. I thought she meant we’d do some preliminary set up too. No. So I spent an hour with “SC,” hearing her kvetch as she noted what we were missing. She couldn’t believe that the County workers weren’t picking up the phone at 6pm on Friday. I didn’t think they’d be in. I pray my other team members are more sensible.

I believe that it’s best to just do what needs to be done and not ask too much from people who’re doing their best under the circumstances.

I’ve been recruiting at an Early Voting site and getting good results. There are lots of civically minded people at this village hall and many parents are with their kids who are back home due to the WuFlu.

On Thursday I recruited with a colleague at Willow Creek Church’s Care Center. Wow! The church sits on about 300 acres. They had a job fair with 30 employers and beforehand they offered resume reviews, coaching on how to get the most out of a job fair, a work wardrobe closet where you could get professional clothing, a photographer taking headshots for people’s LinkedIn profiles. They thought of everything.

While I believe in caution, I think we’ve gone to far in canceling mass. Let people decide for themselves. Sadly, few Catholic churches are packed on Sunday anyway. It’s easy to sit a distance away from people where I go. I pray the WuFlu soon is under control so that life can return to normal. I refuse to live in fear, but with so many placed shuttered it’s a hard to live a normal life.

What was COVID-18 or COVID-17 like?

 

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I finished reading Kafka’s The Trial, which I liked, but I need to reread it or do some research so I understand it fully.

I completed my training to be an election judge for our primary election on March 17th. We’ve got new sleeker equipment, which should be easier to work with and quicker to set up and take down. Fingers crossed.

I am rather disappointed so many candidates dropped out just before Super Tuesday. It doesn’t give states that come later much voice in the matter. How can a state change when it holds its primary, I wonder.

Saturday I attended a Lenten Retreat organized for alumnae of my high school. My all girls’ school closed in the 1990s, but we still have alumni events. It was a small group of just 35 or so and no one else from my year was there. Still the program was a good start to Lent (though Lent started 10 days before. My former freshman homeroom teacher was one of the co-leaders and I did sit with two sisters of one of my classmates.

I’ve continued to work a lot and I am enjoying recruiting. This week I attended a nearby Toastmasters and not only did I get some people to apply, but I got to see a very active group, again of all ages and a mix of first languages.

 

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m enjoying watching the classic film Giant with Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. I’m about half way through this saga.

I went to Massachusetts for small claims court and I’ll describe that experience some other time. In a nutshell, mediation failed and I’ve asked for a continuance. I did get to meet with Jane, a friend I taught with in 2009-2010. I’d seen her a couple times since then, but I think it’s been about 8 years since the last time we met up.

One of the things I wanted to do for Lent is to use my writing talent by writing for 20 minutes a day. That hasn’t worked at all. I put a lot of my time into work and it’s hard to avoid that and will be for the next couple of weeks. I’ve also given up wine and chocolate. The thinking behind this isn’t just to make life hard for no reason. I’m influenced by a friend who believes it’s good to examine what little crutches she’s turned to when things get tough and to eliminate them and turn to God as one should. Some of my wine and chocolate consumption is just out of enjoyment, but Lent is also a way to experience deprivation. I’m also doing a 40-day Bible study for Lent and I like how it challenges one to do a different act of kindness each day.

Last Monday I attended a Kiwanis meeting to recruit for the Census. The people were lovely and I got to hear a nurse speak about a book she’s written called Getting the Best Care: Rescuing your loved one’s from the healthcare conveyor belt. It’s got a lot of insight into how the healthcare industry effects the elderly and how a trip to the hospital can be the last thing they need because they’re likely to come out more confused and less healthy. She writes for the average reader and her style is clear and concise. The author Margaret Kilpatrick offers information on how to stay in control of what can be a confusing journey, which makes people acquiesce to the people in the white coats.

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d probably first bring up my bafflement that the local food kitchen won’t allow a Census Recruiter to come recruit at their site. They’re supposed to help the poor. Geez. Also,last Tuesday  I went to a Power Employment Workshop for job seekers and not one person was willing to apply. It doesn’t make sense. The pay is good and the hours flexible.

Last Monday I went to recruit at a Kiwanis meeting and was impressed by the members, who’re very service minded. I also liked that the group had members of all ages. The lunch was at a Senior Center, but 3 or 4 were much younger. I like when people socialize outside of their demographic. That night I recruited at the Evanston League of Women Voters’ Drinks & Dialog event. Lots of vibrant, smart women were there.

I’m getting nervous about a quick trip to Boston for a Small Claims Trial I initiated. I wouldn’t have bothered but I was out almost $2500 and that makes a difference. I’m organizing documents like emails and want to dot every i and cross every t. I’m not eloquent in such novel situations and the other side is sure to have a lawyer. It may snow tomorrow. I hope I get there for the Wednesday proceedings.

Wednesday I attended a mystery book club to discuss Dick Francis’ Nerve. I wasn’t blown over by the book, but the group is engaging and fun. Monday my Great Books group met to discuss Nietzche’s Birth of Tragedy. Boy, was that dense. I really didn’t like the reading, but again, the group’s insights redeemed the whole experience. Next month we read Wealth of Nations, well the first 9 sections of that.

Thursday I got a little joy out of saving my second warmest winter coat. The zipper got off track, but the marvelous Michelle at my library’s makerspace knew how to fix it and with some pushing, tugging and crimping we got it fixed. Good thing she owns a zipper repair kit. I didn’t know there were such things.

I’m not sure where I’ll be working after the Census ends in August. I applied for two teaching jobs. One’s in Cambodia and the other’s in Kazakstan. I do plan to look into Instructional Design jobs here. My skills transfer, it’s just a matter of convincing an employer that they do.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

When I look back on the week, I’m see that it actually was quite busy. I don’t feel like I accomplished much, but I was on the go. On Thursday I recruited at a different Toastmasters group. It’s interesting to compare the two meetings. Both followed basically the same format, but this second one was much more formal. The group was hospitable but they did critique each other more on formalities. On Friday my Census recruiting job took me to the Chicago Auto Show, which  claims to be the biggest in the country. I’d never been to one of these. The new car models all gleam and dazzle. We did get a good number of interested applicants. My colleague said that this year’s Auto Show didn’t have all the interactive activities as years past.

 

Saturday I recruited at the Illinois Briefings meeting for the Illinois League of Women’s Voters. Members came from the top third of the state and they were so engaged and supportive of the Census. A few did apply, so it wasn’t just lip service. I got to hear a bit of the opening speech and heard about their efforts to get Illinois to get neutral parties (ha!) to draw up the voting districts. Illinois is famous for egegrious gerrymandering. See the map below with the green district.

gerrymander-illinois-4th

Illinois’ 4th district. Come on!

We’re not the only state though. Check out these districts.

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How about getting high school seniors in Geography to make the maps. Give them a couple rules and go. These maps are sickening.

I digress. The League had sessions on affordable housing, criminal justice reform and taxation in Illinois, which is a hot topic. The League is supposed to be nonpartisan and I’d be interested to see how members with differing views on policy interact. Most sessions seem to have been given by one person so I wonder if they provided all sides of an issue.

Yesterday was busy with socializing, not work. In the morning I met Kristyn, who was in from out of town. She came in with a group of Korean students who’re at her university this month for a short term program. They visited Chicago for a weekend of fun. It was great to catch up. Kristyn has been teaching in China for the last two springs as her university is dangerously low on students and in the spring there isn’t the need for her. This spring her program is delayed till May due to the Coronavirus.

I know of 4 people in this situation. It makes sense because germs easily spread in dorms and classrooms. Yet these overseas teachers are in limbo. Some have found other jobs and others are just waiting.

After going to church at Northwestern’s Sheil Center, which has a consistently good mass, I met a friend for coffee. Kathleen’s also a teacher and she’s taken early retirement so now she does long term sub assignments. She’s also able to go to Florida and help her parents out with whatever projects need doing. We’ve known each other since birth and its one of those friendships where there’s deep understanding of family, jobs and life.

Then I drove over to the library to meet with a few library lovers to discuss the latest news article and prepare for tonight’s board meeting. People want the former branch manager reinstated and for the Board to be held accountable for spending in excess of $50,000 on consultants to help them keep the former Director who did so much damage to the library.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If I were having coffee with you this weekend, I would tell you that I’ve gotten confirmed to work for the next operation of the U.S. Census.  I have get to do another background check, but that won’t be a problem.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Downton Abbey film when I saw it with my mother last week. it was entertaining and a film you can see with people of all generations without cringing at language or subject matter. There was a trailer for a new film on the life of Harriet Tubman, which looks promising. It looks like they’ve added steroids to history, but Harriet could be good.

I am disappointed that I haven’t found any time to write. I’ve missed polishing my stories and would like to start a new play. This week, I vow to correct that.

Finally, my former employer from my teaching job in China has agreed to reimburse me for the costs incurred when I had to return to China to get my belongings after they decided not to have me return. I learned that a male colleague in essentially the same situation was reimbursed. It took a while for me to come up with the needed receipts. Now the problem is that they’ve sent me a W2 form, an I-9 and other new hire documents. I mentioned that I’m not being hired and that signing these forms is dishonest. I wasn’t sure what they were doing and still am not. Then a new girl in HR replied that they weren’t responsible for withholding taxes. What?! Withholding on a reimbursement? I’m not getting wages, I’m getting reimbursed for airfare, hotel, etc. Those expenses aren’t taxed. These people should know this. Clark University continues to vex me.

I returned to volunteering in the Makerspace at my hometown library. It was loads of fun. It’s interesting to see how each space differs. In the 7 weeks I’d been gone two of their full timers have left. One got a new job and the other a promotion. They’ll leave a hole in the team even though the others are good.

No word from the two jobs I’d interviewed for. One wanted their new employee to start today. I’m guessing they have offered the job to someone else.