Klutz in My Paints

Job hunting is not what it used to be when I was a teenager or in my 20′s. No more getting up and putting on my best clothes, knocking on business doors and asking if they’re hiring, filling out applications. Now it’s all online and if your company’s online application system is convoluted I won’t apply because it’s just a sign of your business practices. As such, applying for five jobs that look good may only take 3 hours or so. Time, generally in my life a rare commodity, has now become an overwhelming fortune. By overwhelming I mean I don’t know what to do with myself and all of this time.

To keep busy I have been painting rooms in the house. I turned the red and yellow dining room into a nutty-white and purple room. The downstairs guest room is now a light blue with an effect on it called Candlelight – which is best described as an expensive overlay of Elmer’s glue. Next I am prepping to paint Andrew’s all red office into not-all-red (actual colors yet to be determined – but first the primer). To prep for that he moved all of his office stuff off the walls and transplanted into my office/craft-room/extended closet space.

All of the acrylic (and glue) sniffing has apparently made me high because I now want to paint. Like, pictures.

I used to do that in high school. In my memory I was relatively good, but had a problem of not knowing when to stop. But, that was high school – back when I used to print my résumé on a tastefully light blue thick paper (to stand out from other résumés) for my busing job at Macri’s Fish House (I was a go-getter) – so who knows if I was really any good, or just high from the paint fumes of the guest room.

But, even after enough time that the probability of drug stupor dissipated, I still craved painting. It’s potentially brain damage, but I had to follow through. So, Saturday, after a lovely brunch with friends, I headed out to The Loaded Brush to paint poppies.

It's no Monet, but it's not bad.

It’s no Monet, but it’s not bad.

I texted Andrew a picture of it:


And then I went to Blick’s and bought some art supplies – it’s how I do.

Yesterday I sat down at a painting desktop by myself and started playing. Without a guide giving me confidence and assistance I realized I have a lot to learn (like how to mix colors, how to mix enough color so that I don’t have to try to get the same color on the second mixing – I am guessing that’s impossible unless you are my cousin Louis – how to not use too much paint, how to not use too little paint, how to have lots of light in the room because colors look different in 60watt than in the sun). But, I also realized that this is going to be a fun hobby.

Either that or I am really susceptible to acrylic paint fumes.

Prostrate to the Prostate

I begged.

I pleaded.

I pouted.

But no matter what I do, Andrew will not grow a Movember mustache. I tried to remind him that it’s for his prostate health and that if he grew a mustache it would mean his prostate would be healthy for another year – where else can you get that kind of guarantee?

I told him it doesn’t matter what other people think, because I’m his girlfriend, and the people who love him won’t put a restraining order out just because of some lip hair. We don’t even own a windowless van.

Alas, no cajoling would do. He has remained headstrong about this. But, let me ask you this:


Movember 2013

This is so Tom Selleck and not John Wayne Gacy, am I right?


Killing Me With Kindness

I should have probably been more cautious when my friend, upon hearing of my job loss, offered to pull me out of my misery with a visit to Chicago. But, timing was right and, after all, she is a “friend”.

Don’t get me wrong, Chicago was fantastic. I saw some good improv and got to perform as well. I really enjoy big cities and as soon as I got there I longed to stay for good. There is something comforting to me about the pace of the city and the coziness of the skyscrapers.

Next time I go, I will just have to be more cautious in my lodgings so as to prevent choosing accommodations where the host is actively trying to kill me.

It started relatively innocuously, an offer of bagels in the morning with a cheery, “Oh, I totally forgot that you are gluten intolerant! What does that do to you again? Oh, anaphylaxis! Mmmm, sorry.” But, after the 5th day of being offered wheat products (at almost every meal – followed by giggling), I had to reconsider whether this was a mistake or a mission. There was also the morning cup of coffee retrieved from the building lobby. Sure, at first blush, this seems a lovely gesture until I open it and see the cream inside – though, to be fair, me having milk is as bad to those around me, as it is on me.

Then there was the consistent feeling of pending asthma attacks as I slept. It wasn’t until the 4th day there it was divulged I was wrapping myself in, and resting my head upon, down. How could I possibly complain about going gently into that good night – it was a cozy burrito of death.

Finally, I came down with some massive cold on Sunday. I am certain my drinks were laced with rhinovirus and that this cold had nothing to do with the man sneezing on me on my flight in.

Alas, her dastardly plan to do me in was thwarted by an impenetrable shield of ladybug luck. On my walk to the grocery store to get fixin’s for reparative soup on Monday, I came under attack – the cutest attack ever – by swarms of ladybugs. It was like the Pixar version of a Hitchcock movie. And, thank goodness! With all those ladybug luck-juices (that sounds dirty when I say it) all over me, I made it through the rest of my trip without any further incidents.

Although, I do still have that cold. And, if I am being truthful, a little schadenfreude at being the one on the plane ride home spreading the germs instead of receiving them.


Dear Chicago,

I love the attention you are giving me – to a point.

On the El ride in from the airport I got flirted with, that was sweet and nice. I have been complimented by strangers on my hair, my boots, my skirts, my lipstick color, my glasses, my sweater and generally seem to have made a good impression on you all around.

Then there was last night – or rather early this morning, I’d say around 1:30 is when this began. I transferred from the red line to the blue line in order to save 2 blocks of walking. At the time I was unaware that this was a bad idea and that the blue line can be a little shady. As I was waiting for the train to appear, playing Words With Friends, a man approached me and was very suddenly in my personal space. I took a startled step back and looked up.

He breathed alcohol all over me as he slurred out compliments and his unrequested and undesired digits. I explained to him my sincerest lack of interest and thanked him for the compliments. The train arrived and he waited for me to choose my car then got on the same. The train was delayed so I went to the next door got of the car and onto the adjacent car. 2 minutes later he followed me. I immediately got off the train and went from the frontmost car to the rear-most car. This time he didn’t follow me and the train left after another four minutes.

The next stop was mine. I got off and looked behind me and there was no one there. I got on the escalator to go up and looked behind me again and there was the same guy taking long strides while pulling his hoodie up.

Panicked, I ran up the escalator, through the turnstiles, up the stairs, onto the sidewalk and the quick right turn onto the street I am staying. I kept running at full pace. A white Ford F150 going in the opposite direction started honking its horn and the guys inside started lasciviously catcalling, “keep running girrrrl, that’s so hot, mmm nice tattoo.” My heart was now in my throat and my lungs were burning as if I’d smoked 7 packs of cigarettes before all out sprinting.

Right ahead of me on the sidewalk were two young men – maybe in their 20′s. I ran past them and almost froze with exhaustion and panic when I heard one of them start to speak, “Hey, are you okay?” I slowed down and said, “Yah, I’m just scared.” and when I looked behind them I saw no one following. “Thanks for asking.” I started walking (at a fast pace) and got the last block out before heading into the secured building where I am staying. In truth though, it wasn’t until I was in the apartment with the door locked behind me before I calmed down.

I eased my asthma attack with some albuterol. Reconsidered the previously planned morning run on behalf of my lungs and in respect of it being 2AM. Snuggled into the cozy comforter and regretted the early evening Starbucks run for another 2 hours while watching Netflix.

Hey, Chicago, I really like you, but could you be slightly less rape-y?



Hadas GOES to Chicago

This is the face of depression:

IMG_1953You may think the smile belies the statement, but it doesn’t. I have depression. Usually it hits pretty severely in August but this year I was too busy for it – it takes a lot of time and energy to hate one’s job.

Well, once my body sensed some spare time, depression found me – and hit me hard. For the past week it has been really hard to motivate myself out of bed. I have been forcing myself to brush my teeth. Getting out of the house is a constant negotiation. But I want to be clear, I am not sad. I am just utterly demotivated to participate in my life. It’s like a heavy weight is depressing me (hence the term “depression”). I have upped my dosage (and consistency) of vitamin D and have allowed myself forgiveness for canceling out on plans with people.

Tuesday felt a bit better – spending some time with friends helped. Wednesday even better – partly that is due to adventure.

I arrived at the airport at 7:40AM for my GOES interview. The interviewer arrived at his office about 10 minutes after I did. Obviously I was the first one scheduled. I dropped my luggage in the waiting area and sat across from him. He had floppy hair that I would have guessed to be a toupee had it been more well groomed, and was wearing a police-ish uniform that shouldn’t come in that size. I was apparently the first adult female he’d ever spoken to as he immediately started sing-song talking to me like I was four and dressed in my favorite princess outfit. “Do you understand what having global entry means?” I batted my eyelashes and in a warbly soprano, surrounded by woodland creatures, “Oh heavens, no. Do tell!”

For fifteen minutes he spoke down to me of all the fancy benefits and took my fingerprints. Finally he set me free and offered his hand to shake. The douche-chills ran down my spine but were slightly calmed by the sound of the next person to be interviewed shuffling around behind me. I mentally took a Silkwood shower and wandered over to the Alaskan Airlines counter to get my boarding pass and cajole them into adding my newly minted pre-check status.

Unfortunately, it takes about 24 hours for “the system” to process global entry so I had to line up with the proletariat, take off my boots and remove my laptop – like an animal.

I got to my gate with about 2 hours to spare. Chris Hardwick and I snuggled up and napped lightly. On the plane I pulled out my knitting and was extremely grateful for my noise canceling headphones as the man next to me was obviously trying to chat me up. I looked over to the man in the aisle across from me. He took an amazing amount of time to get settled and finally did with some sort of blanket shawl/scarf thing. He took two throat hits of Cēpacol, sneezed twice into the crook of his arm and fell right to sleep. I am pretty sure I now have Ebola (is it just me or is everyone using this :& as the Ebola emoticon?).

Several inches of knitting, a snack of salami and two Nerdists later we landed in O’Hare. I am in Chicago to visit my friend, who offered for me to come visit when she found out I was unemployed, and to participate in ComedySportz Midwest Invitational Tournament (Portland plays tonight!). My friend lives in Printers Row and told me to get on the Blue Line and off at LaSalle which is two blocks from her apartment. I went into the tunnels under O’Hare to find the El. I am not certain how far down those tunnels are – I was still getting cell reception – but by the temperature, I would guess we were only about fifty miles from hell – it was either sweltering or my :& fever had sunk in already.

I found the ticketing machine and took almost ten minutes and two failed attempts before I finally got my week long El and bus Ventra pass. I blame the :&, it’s melting my brain (also, now when I say Ebola in my head it sounds like the guy in the Ricola commercial). I then continued on the people movers to follow the blue signs to Terminal 1. It wasn’t until I actually got to Terminal 1 before I realized I was not heading to the Blue Line of the El but to a terminal in the airport. At some point I am going to have to stop blaming :& but I believe that point is in 21 days. I u-turned back to the ticket machine and found the actual Blue Line.

One stop in a man got up from his seat and offered it to me. “No thanks, I have been sitting all day.” Which started us into a lovely conversation. Shelly is an auditor for a marketing something or other. We talked projects, start-ups, Chicago, travel. He offered me his contact information, and told me I have another friend in Chicago. I took it (because, networking) and gave him my relationship status information. He took it well and mentioned something about us just being strangers on a train (I hope I don’t have to kill someone for him now). It was all very pleasant, even with my douche-meter needing recalibration from having been set off that morning, and the time zone change.

I found my way to my friend’s apartment with only going in the wrong direction once. I am now snuggled with a dog named Miley. Like the original she has short hair, drools all over the place and can’t really twerk despite all the tail wagging.

Shhh… Be Vewy Vewy Quiet…

It is officially rabbit duck job hunting season.

How can you tell Hadas is unemployed? The garage is spotless, the blog is updated, her Words With Friends average score has increased, she’s taking an online programming class, and the cats are in a catnip rehab clinic.

I know people call this time “funemployment” but to me it’s just a lot of time on my hands to figure out what to do next. I gave myself an entire week to mourn the loss of my job. I caught up on Property Brothers and rewatched Season1 of The Gilmore Girls. I told a friend of mine that I was going to take my time in finding my next job. I feel like two weeks is a good amount of time…

Now, my new job is officially looking for a new job – and in that, I consider myself an expert.

As an example, to get the job at Nike I found out who the CISO (department head) was, I LinkedIn connected with him and then directly emailed him and told him to hire me – which he did. If only that tactic had worked throughout the rest of my employment things would have worked out better. Reaching out isn’t rocket science and the best way to get a job is to stand out from the other people trying to get that same job. Right now, EVERYONE is trying to get that same job.

Another “trick” I use is to go through placement agencies. In Portland for IT I cannot recommend VanderHouwen and TEKSystems enough.  They are the most knowledgeable about the industry and are well respected by the companies they place people at. Placement agencies are a no-brainer. For free you now have an entire company (or several) trying to get you paid to do stuff you are qualified for. I don’t care if you are a janitor or a CEO there are placement agencies for you and the more you let them do for you, the more Bejeweled Blitz you can play while the job-hunt proceeds.

Finally, I cannot overemphasize the importance of networking. It sounds like such a complicated thing, but really it just means having coffee and lunch with people you have worked with, or that work in companies or jobs you are interested in – and often having them pay for said food or coffee (I mean you are the one out of work after all). I have had 6 such dates and have two more this coming week. When at lunch, tell those people what it is you are looking for. If they can’t give it to you they may be able to introduce you to someone who can. The more up front you are with this the better off you will be; make sure you are clear with what you want. Don’t be wishy washy about it – save that for dating.

Which leads me to yesterday. When I first published my blog about losing my job I got an interesting tweet from someone I follow on Twitter saying to contact his law group for next steps, if I was interested. Never one to let go of a networking opportunity (or interesting story) I followed up. This culminated in having a meeting with Jerry Carleton of Immex Law.

I showed up 10 minutes early for our appointment and he met with me at exactly 10. We sat in the large front conference room and Jerry dropped his legal pad on the table in preparation. For about a minute or two (which seemed a lot longer) we kind of just smiled at each other waiting for the other person to start the meeting. I finally broke the ice with “So, I’m not really sure why I am here.” It’s a strong opening for networking. We ended up chatting about our various paths since graduating from Lewis and Clark Law School (different years). Jerry has a very successful law firm in downtown and is doing things differently – as a lover of start-up culture, I admire when people find a new way of accomplishing things successfully. In the end he invited me to a monthly mixer and I referred his company to a friend looking for some non-profit start-up help. Who knows if anything will come of this, but I consider it a networking win.

I then went to the gym and did 5k run, 5k row and 6mile Airdyne (like a stationary bicycle, only from hell). One positive of being out of work is all the time it affords me to be active.

This time around, instead of finding the next job, I really want to find the right company. So, one thing I am doing is looking up companies based in Vancouver and Portland. Did you know there is a company that will fix your grammar, online (this blog was not sent to them)? And a company that wants updated access to old-style nerdiness? As I filter through these companies I try to find something that attracts me and gets me excited about what they are doing and how they are doing it. Other great places to find those companies are Silicon Florist and Angel.co. It is where Portland Startups are listed. Then you can go to each company’s website and stalk get to know their people through LinkedIn and Twitter.

I have yet to find my next job, but I have a lot of really positive leads.

Now I am off to Blitz some Bejewels.


One week before I started my Nike job I got into a motorcycle accident. I was merging on to one highway from another. As I was getting up to highway speeds traffic stopped suddenly. I slammed on my brakes and lost control of the bike. By the time I hit the ground I was probably going about 40MPH. Distinctly, I remember thinking, “I will ride again after this accident” as I slid with the bike for a bit and eventually came to a halt slamming my helmeted head on the asphalt.

Immediately I got up and assessed. No bones broken. The guy behind me had stopped and helped me right my bike. I was completely shaken. He called the highway patrol and proceeded to shout at the top of his lungs at anyone who looked put out by the traffic congestion I had created right before rush hour. He then explained to me that he had been in a motorcycle accident before as well.

I eventually got myself together. I called Andrew.

A: This is Andrew

(he always answers the phone like that even though he and I both know I am calling and he is answering)

Me: Hi, I am fine.

A: Uh Huh. Are you at the emergency room?

(It’s like he knows me)

Me: No. And I don’t think I need to go to one.

A: How many legs and arms are still attached to your body?

Me: No more or less than normal.

A: Okay

Me: So, there is no need to worry, but I got into a motorcycle accident. I am about to ride to my mechanic to drop the bike off and just need you to pick me up.

I drove my bike away from the scene and to my mechanic. I dropped off the key, Andrew picked me up and took me home where he filled me full of Motrin and a distinct lack of hovering or asking after me, just as I prefer it.

Eventually my bike was totaled and I bought a new-to-me bike with the insurance check.

It’s now been about 4 months. I was riding my bike to and from Nike. I was taking advantage of the summer. I was enjoying riding again – almost. Except, I was scared shitless. Every time a vehicle in front of me would brake I would over-react. Every time I was going downhill I would slow to a crawl. Every time I got off my bike my hands would be sore from squeezing the grips so hard.

Then, about three weeks ago, a woman in a Prius tried to kill me. She was upset that I had moved into the right hand lane on the highway to go slower than the rest of traffic when she had intended to go to the right hand lane to use it as a speedway. So, she honked her horn at me after getting in the lane behind me. Then she got in the left hand lane, passed me, got in front of me and slammed her brakes. I was so scared. I am still scared now. As I type this I remember how it felt to be on that bike and to really feel the aggression and anger of having someone literally try to hurt me. I followed (at a safe distance) this mad woman. I was seething with anger.

She pulled into a gas station. I pulled up next to her got off my bike and opened her passenger side door – I am not proud of these actions.

Me: I am so glad to know that the reason you almost killed me on the highway was for an important appointment with the gas station.

CFB: You cut me off.

Me: You crazy fucking bitch – you almost ACTUALLY KILLED ME.

CFB: Shut my door.


I have no idea what we were yelling at each other in the end – we were both at the top of our lungs. There was a lot of swearing. But, I left her passenger door open, got back on my motorcycle and drove safely home. I pulled my bike into the garage and put it up for sale on Craigslist; it sold on Sunday.

Maybe in the future I will be over the fact that I got in an accident and get the motorcycle riding bug again – I do still love the feeling of it. For now, however, I am too scared to ride safely. I was sad when the guy who bought my bike rode off.

And relieved.