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 Maskerspace 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.

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Downton Abbey, the Film

I admit I was worried that the film wouldn’t meet my expectations. Perhaps it wouldn’t translate to the silver screen.

The main plot involves the Crawley’s hosting the King and Queen of England (Elizabeth II’s grandparents). Will they be up to the task? What will go wrong?

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By framing the story around this glorious event, writer Julian Fellowes hit the target. It’s a story that puts both the family and the servants in a tizzy. Since perfection’s required, Carson’s called out of retirement as the once sneaky Barrows isn’t experienced enough as butler. As the residents of Downton unite, conflict enters in the form of the supercilious royal servant staff. They elbow our favorite servants into a corner. No cooking for Mrs. Patmore. Poor Mr. Mosley, who’s taken time off from his teaching to return to serve, won’t get to. The royals bring all their food, drink and personnel.

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A suspicious stranger comes to town and starts sniffing around Tom, the Irish son-in-law. What is this man who booked a room over the parade path in town up to? How will he implicate Tom?

Other subplots include Violet’s scheming to get a cousin to leave her fortune and property to Robert. Violet is beside herself when it seems that a maid will get everything.

Lonely Thomas may at last find understanding and possibly love (in a sequel?) but not till after surviving a very close call.

Widower Tom is pivotal in the film. He’s tied up with the mysterious strangerr, befriends the maid who’s to inherit a fortune and offers sage advice to a distraught royal.

It’s good fun to see this familiar cast again. Edith’s life has improved dramatically now that she’s married. Her problems are manageable, rich girl problems now that she’s away from Mary and has moved out and upward in status.

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Violet and Isobel spar with wit. The saddest scene takes place towards the end between Violet and Mary.

The pacing was brisk and the film was clever and entertaining. With a such a large cast it’s hard to get everyone a good part. Mr. Bates didn’t have much to do and Mary’s husband was out of the country most of the time.

As usual the costumes and sets were amazing. Lots of delights for the eyes. It’s a film that’s sure to delight Downton fans, which is its aim.

Late 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 today, I’d tell that it feels weird to be in my final days of working at this library district. I’ve had some great days with my coworkers and the patrons. Yet the abusive management is still in place and still hurting people.

I had two positive career experiences. I had two job interviews that I felt good about. One was with a regional library association that is looking for someone to manage a Census outreach program. With my library and Census experience, I do think I’m a strong candidate. The only problem is the job is not near any mass transit and it cost $9 in tolls to make the 75 – 90 minute commute. I wonder if given an offer, I could negotiate some work from home days. My census manager told me he’s thrown my name into the ring for recruiting work. The pay would be good; recruiters can work from home with occasional meetings downtown and you can set your own hours. Finally, I had an interview to teach English in the Middle East. I applied as a lark, but was very impressed by the director and her program at a brand new college. What’s more at first the contract is just 6 months long. I think I could put up with anything for 6 months. Or am I being naive?

I am still uplifted from watching Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus. I’m delighted that I discovered this newly released DVD. There’s just something about old movies that cheers me even when they’re full of melancholy. These films are touching whereas many contemporary films are a one, two punch. I don’t need that much stimulation.

I’m currently reading Charles Finch’s Beautiful Blue Death and am enjoying his Sherlock-like hero Charles Lennox.

Note: I realize this is late. I started it on Monday as I usually do, but got interrupted and never completed this post.

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 today, I’d tell you that my wrist is now in brace. The doctor says the bones are healing well but it sure hurt when the splint came off in any time I take off my brace. It’s strange how weak my hand is. Surgery may still be an option but I really hope it isn’t.

Another librarian got fired, which makes 19 since December 2018, which is horrible for a staff of 43.

As for my salary talks, my manager would not consider a different title or salary for a full-time position which draws heavily upon my many years as an educator. The fact that job pays $9000 less then the Branch Coordinator job I applied for which they gave to someone whose just got the high school diploma is galling. Unless there’s a miracle revelation I’m going to quit. The workplace is toxic and stressful.

I gave up on the Korean award-winning film Burning. It was just too pessimistic and soulless. I greatly there were plenty of beautiful or sophisticated shots, but for me characters make all the difference.

I’m still having fun with my census work and we’re head of the game with 75% of the county finished as of last Wednesday.

This morning was my Great Books Book Club can we discussed Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. I always enjoy the monthly talks with these group members. Before leaving the library I went upstairs to see the inside forest bath. One of the women at the book club reminded me about this installation. Basically, it was a little closet full of house plants of different sizes. I was curious about Forest bathing. What is that? Evidently it started in Japan and it’s the way to meditate or relax by taking a nature. If It’s often done in an actual forest where people very slowly move through nature absorbing all its calming, healing properties. I just looked over the little room and will have to return to take my first real “bath.”

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 today, I’d tell you that I fractured my wrist on Thursday. I was at my brother’s house and he has two dogs and one more he was taking care of. At one point, I took a step backwards not knowing there was a dog behind me so I fell over the dog. I put my hand out to break my fall. Immediately my hand puffed up. My brother got me some ice and took me home. I figured it was just sprained because it felt like a sprained ankle. I couldn’t move my fingers so it seems I hadn’t broken anything.

Later my sister-in-law came over with the splint my nephew had used. By Saturday my hand was still pretty swollen and black and blue so I went to a nearby bone and joint specialist that has an immediate care unit. Out I came with my arm in a splint. Needless to say it’s tough to get dressed, open a jar, or do most household tasks. I am testing out the dictation mode for my word processor and getting in the swing of that.

An added complication is that the library underpaid me for eight months. They discover the error and deposited all the money I was due into my account last week. Because it’s hard to get a full-time library job in these parts, I’ve been working part-time and qualify for Medicaid. However the big deposit disqualify me from that form of aid. So I had to pay out-of-pocket. An extra ouch. I am hoping that the library will take at least partial responsibility but that’s doubtful. If it weren’t for their error, getting the healthcare would be no problem.

Also at work the library got into the local news with two stories on the front page concerning the high turnover rate and the directors’ performance. Our turnover rate exceeds that of McDonald’s.

Just this year out of 43 employees 16 have left. I had lunch with some of my colleagues and what they told me about the harassment they’d witnessed in endured was frightful. The problems are worse than what has been stated in the two articles below. More on that another time. The library board take some action and responsibility.

Annex - Hayworth, Rita (Cover Girl)_NRFPT_02

If we were having coffee, I just tell you I thoroughly enjoyed Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth in Cover Girl. In contrast, I’ve given up on Jean-Luc Godard’s Pierrot le Fou, a crazy nonlinear French abstract New Wave puzzling Bonnie and Clyde.

 

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 today, I’d tell you that I regret overloading my schedule. I now have two part time jobs and I’m trying to give as much time to the new second one in case something goes awry with job #1. The director at job #1 has fired several dedicated employees and forced a few out by making them miserable. Also, I’m having fun with my second job for the U.S. Census so I rather like the work and people involved.

On Friday night at almost midnight my mother had to go to the hospital as she had a painful tightness in her chest. When you’re in your 80s (or probably even in your 50s), that is scary. Luckily, her stress test had normal results and there’s no heart problem. What a relief! I will mention that on Saturday I had been assigned to work for the Census. I had all the training materials in my car so I had to go to our workplace. My supervisor was very understanding and got someone over to take over the training.

I watched Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Funeral this week. It’s got lots of bawdy humor so it’s a guilty pleasure, but I did laugh out loud and needed to this week.

My father bought a new car. He’s been mulling that over for two years. His old car was faithful, but just not performing well lately. Well, the car he’s gotten is very sleek and high tech. The problem is we don’t know how to get all the features to work. Often the voice activated features respond with unintended results. For example, when dad asked the car to turn on the radio, it turned on the heat.

My University of the People courses are winding down. Next week is finals week. The required College Success Course has been a waste of time. I’ve written that I don’t think they should assume all students need an 8 week course on note-taking and how to cite. I had to write a 500 word response on what I learned and what skills I’ll apply this week, one of several essays that are hard to write because none of the content is new. I had to be honest and said that I hadn’t learned anything new so we’ll see what sort of grade that gets me. It galls me to waste time. I could have used that time to job hunt or do my own writing. Time is more precious than money right now for me.

My computer class is fun and challenging. I’ve definitely learned in this course, but I miss having a teacher’s response to a question. There’s no live sessions and the teacher seems to sign on just once or twice a week so when you’re puzzling over what to do and want to ask, “Why does this work, but that doesn’t?” you’re not getting an answer. That can happen with a live teacher in a classroom, when the teacher isn’t a good teacher. Nonetheless it’s always frustrating.

I’d write a bit more, but I’ve got to get to my computer homework. Anyone good with Python? I wouldn’t mind a tutor.

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 say I had a good Independence Day with just the right amount of celebration, not so much that there’s a frenzy. I marched in the local parade, met the trustees, had a relaxing afternoon before enjoying hamburgers, potato salad, the Capitol 4th Concert and some local fireworks.

 

I’ve started reading Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder for a Who-Dunnit book club at the library, which I’ll start to lead with a partner. I’m on for the July meeting next week. I’m on page 42 and the story’s fine, but not gripping. I’ve also started reading Sarah Blake’s The Guest Book for my neighborhood’s new book club. I’ve accepted the role of facilitator. I’m farther along in The Guest Book. I don’t enjoy how it hops between generations. It’s a gimmicky structure and somewhat hard to follow.

I’m enjoying my computer programming class through the University of the People, but the class is time consuming. I do feel I’m learning Python, but I also realize that it would take a couple years of study before one can get paid to use this skill. I’m more in need of something I can learn in six months and get employed doing.

Last night I had a Skype interview to teach in China in Weifang. While I did move on to the next stage, I’m not excited about the job. It seems like another school that’s mainly for-profit. They’re not sure how many students they’ll have. They do have a curriculum, so that’s better than Clark University, my former employer, but who knows how good it is. The Dean is busy and I didn’t speak with him, but he is bilingual and has a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in accounting. He also has a degree in education.

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When I think of the human rights abuses in China–the camps for Uighyrs, the demolition and spying on religious groups, the lack of free speech–I really can’t justify working there again. Who knows what will happen with Hong Kong. The Chinese won’t let them go and won’t let them have their separate system forever. It’s not a country where a teacher can give lessons that allow students to consider the ethics of their president or government. So despite the lure of a full time job with benefits, I’m inclined to say no.

I do wish I had more time to write. I’m excited about a new play idea, but with the computer class and the easy, but time consuming class on online learning, there’s little time to research and write.

How’s your week been?