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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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 the weather here is perfect. Sunshine, not to hot and the leaves are turning. People have started to put out their Halloween and harvest decorations with adds to the color.

I was amazed by the film The Biggest Little Farm. The lush orchards and greenery and the tension in man vs. nature kept me riveted. I don’t know whether any corners were cut in the filming to make it more dramatic or successful, but I loved what I saw.

I tried acupuncture for the first time and would do so again.

I’m entertaining the idea of a short trip, but I don’t know where. I’ve got a lot of airline miles and I’m feeling the urge to explore. I miss the side trips I could make when I lived in Asia. I’m not sure whether to try a new place or to revisit a familiar one. Japan, China, Estonia, Ireland, Laos, Portugal. They’re all under consideration.

Saturday I attended a neat presentation on the Whistle Stop Canteens, which started during WWII. In North Platte, NE and other towns, women and girls would serve soldiers and sailors whose trains stopped at the station with cupcakes, donuts, fruit, magazines, sandwiches, coffee and more. These men who were off to fight had no idea whether they’d return to their hometowns and were grateful for the hospitality and a taste of home. It was an important way to support the troops.

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 I were having coffee with you this weekend, I would tell you that I had a great weekend working. Well, sort of great. I did hear this horrible information about how cold heartedly my coworker whose mother died has been treated. Yet, because I worked with good teammates the time flew by and everyone pulled together that made things fun.

I had a good birthday with dinner at my aunt and uncle’s new condo that overlooks a small lake. They moved from the home they’ve lived in probably since the 70s, but the stairs were too much for my aunt. We had a great night with lots of laughs.

I started reading a mystery called The Beautiful Blue Death. Set in Victorian London, it reminds me a lot of Sherlock Holmes stories.

I started a gofundme campaign to help defray the costs of my doctor’s visit given that my employer’s error got me kicked off my insurance.

Next Monday is my last day at this library. I’d go back if there was a new Director. This woman is pernicious and inefficient. It’s hard to believe she was ever hired or that she’s kept her job.

I began watching Buster Keaton in Saphead, a sweet comedy with less slapstick than I expected.

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 I were having coffee with you this weekend, I would tell you that I finished reading the book, rather I finish listening to the book, Getting to Yes by Robert Fisher. Is not a new book but this book about negotiation is still is relevant.

Rather than teaching people how to beat the party they’re trying to negotiate with and just teaching you to be a Better horse trader Getting to Yes offers more positive solutions.

On Saturday I had lunch with four former colleagues it’s been our tradition to meet once in the winter and once in summer however since one of our group job to full-time we never got together in winter. So we have a lot to catch up on. My colleague with the new job has changed from advertising to healthcare. Her title is Engagement Coach for local hospital System. She coaches nurses and doctors on their communication skills by evaluating talk and how the patient reports how well the Conversation went. Then she coaches to health care givers on how to improve.  It’s cool that the hospitals are systematically working to improve communication.

15 Edouard_Manet_011

Manet. Still life

After lunch, I went to the Art Institute of Chicago for its final weekend for an exhibit on Manet’s paintings. Usually I take a lot of my own photos, but with one arm I didn’t bother. I did get the audio tour and that was worth every penny. The only downside was it was extremely crowded so I didn’t see every piece. 

I’d tell you that I enjoyed the Japanese movie I am Waiting, a noir gem.

I’d tell you it’s getting cooler and a few trees’ leaves have begun to turn. I’m still not ready for fall.

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I’d tell you that it’s been hard continuing to work at the library with one arm. They aren’t legally bound to make accommodations for people so the choice is either do all the same tasks go home and recover. I have been juggling answering the phone while using a computer with one hand. The patrons are quite sympathetic and patient. The higher ups don’t give it much thought and actually see my injury as their inconvenience. 

On Wednesday a nearby library hosted a training session on customer service. To evaluate how you’re doing, however a lot of what we learned I’ve learned other positions. Also half day program tried to pack a full day into a morning. So the last hour was quite rushed. Given that they charge $316 per person, I love to start my own business in this field. 

I’m continuing with my census work and am grateful for my wonderful team. I got a couple blocks done yesterday myself enjoyed exploring neighborhoods I never gave a second glance.

Two more people have decided to quit the library. That’s now 16 for the year from a staff of 43.

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 tell you that it’s been rather tough figuring out how to manage in a sling. Needless to say getting dressed, cooking, bathing, writing, working, and even reading a book is a whole new ballgame.

I did go to work on Friday and was able to catch up with email and do a few tasks. There was a second news report in the local paper about the state of the library. We also learned that the director has consulted a lawyer to help her deny people Freedom of Information Act request for documents. Other libraries have provided these documents on the same day as they were requested. The library where I work doesn’t want anyone to read these documents. 

I had a good long talk with my mentor who profusely apologized because she felt guilty that she knew this library with the toxic work environment but she also knew I wanted a job so she refrained from telling me how bad it was. Again and again she suggested I get out of here as soon as possible. I do still think there’s hope and I’m not ready to quit yet. Since I’m just part-time I don’t see the full abuse that others have seen. I do pray things improve.

Thursday I had a meeting with some of my census team members. I’m really happy about the people were working with me. They’re interesting and dedicated. There’s a ton of addresses to verify and good people are on this job which can be challenging in many different ways.

And Friday since I can’t type quickly rather than discuss The Age of Innocence via email with my friend Bill, we arrange to Skype. I worked with Bill in Korea and for the last few years we selected a novel read it via email. Skype with a great way to go because the back-and-forth was immediate. I think we both learned new ways to look at Edith Wharton’s novel.

Today is Labor Day and we’ve gotten one of those beautiful late-summer days. It’s not too hot; the sun is shining and the sky the brilliant blue. Mainly, the day has been filled with work by choice. This morning I met one of my listers for the census and we tried to troubleshoot his computer problem. Unfortunately, I had no solutions and the IT department was closed. Then I tried to make progress on a huge block that I have to canvass. I thought it only consisted of a senior living development, but when I finish that complex, I realized it includes the entire street to the east of that complex plus for at least two cul-de-sacs. It could take another two days to do this since I can only work a couple hours at a time due to this broken wrist.

I’ve been boning up on negotiation skills. Right now I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Getting to Yes. Although the books a bit old, the approach still seems relevant. And there’s lots of specific examples to guide you through the process. I like how the authors suggest methods that aren’t confrontational but rather ways to work together without resentment and bad feelings. I hope to be ready to go to discuss salary with my current job get up there salary. Wish me luck.

On my way to the massive block I stopped for gas. Somehow I locked the keys in the car along with my eyeglasses and phone. I wound up having to walk home about an mile and a half, call my father who’s in Utah, find out the code to open the door, call my neighbor, get a ride back to the gas station, unlock the car and proceed to canvass. I didn’t want to court more bad luck so after canvassing, I had lunch with a friend and canceled any other errands for the day.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be an easier day.