Archives for category: General

Life, for me, has always been a journey. A curious path with unexpected turns, rife with ups and downs, and twists and turns along the way. Not everything turned out the way I’d originally dreamed it. But I have no regrets. There is really no point to regretting what made you who you are today.

When I was 8 I wanted to be a nun, then a firefighter or maybe an explorer. When I was in high school I wanted to be a fashion designer. Instead I married young, had children young, and by the time I was ready for college, with the youngest firmly planted in school, it wasn’t fashion design I wanted. It was Archeology.

Two years into the anthropology/archeology program we were informed by professors that the typical job for us would be social worker, reviewing a landscape before a highway went in…among other things, but definitely unlikely to be professors. Not because we were not talented. We were. But simple fact, the current crop of professors probably wouldn’t want to vacate their positions and the lifespan of the current crop was likely 20 years. As for cool adventures out on dig sites…much to my surprise we were informed its really only those professors who have schools with the funding or rich people who ever actually get to do anything interesting.

I believed this was true because the only archeology professor on campus who went on fantastic digs was wealthy ( and a friend to Stephen King!). In addition, those friends of mine who graduated in that year or the year before, were now working at kinkos.

So, I played around with the idea of becoming a writer, going into computer science, or getting deep into history. I took classes in those areas and decided since Id taken some fine arts classes already, to dabble a little more in the design area. I had NO reason for taking the art or design classes other than as a stress reliever and a little fun.

If you knew me well when I was in high school then you probably know I was always drawing and trying to teach myself to paint. And while in my 20s I won some local awards for painting and photography, I never, ever, believed, and still do not, that my talents were of a caliber that would lead to a lucrative, or even stable income. I may be a dreamer but I am also very practical.

Computer programming was too rigid. I liked the structure very much but not the teachers who would downgrade me for chosing a path of code that wasnt on the list.

History was amazing but I couldnt see myself being as entertaining as my professors. Did you know condoms were invented for the English king Charles who literally could not “keep it in his pants”? Oh yes, but thats another story!

I loved writing and still do…but the idea that the bread and butter is in writing jingles and blurbs was not for me. And besides, what I really want to write is fiction–amazing freaking blow your mind fiction. I was an A student. But I didnt want to do it as a living. Like my art, for now, I just wanted to have fun with it.

While playing in the art department I learned about graphic design. Here was a way to be creative and make a buck. Though I have to tell you, its not big bucks and money wasn’t the IT factor for me. I was stimulated amazed and totally into all my professors, the kids, the work. I was hooked.

And while I was taking computer programs, I discovered the web. Oh it was grey and ugly and I received hate mail from some physics kid for putting pictures on my web page. The sender said the web was not for pictures it was strictly for information between scientists and I should be shot. He should have been pretty scary as he continued by saying he would shoot me if he ever saw me.

I chalked him up to a weirdo and went on my merry way. I was addicted to the web and my vision was to make it user friendly and oh I am just gonna say it, Pretty!

Though some of my design professors thought the web was a fad (this was in 1993) I was adamant it was here to stay and was rife with potential. I went one step further in saying to anyone who would listen that the art departments website sucked and didn’t do its students or its professors justice. If we wanted to attract the best we needed to look like we were the best. My big mouth had earned me my first web design project for my computer science professor, my big mouth earned me my second web project, designing and building the art department website.

The rest is history. Though I was near the forefront of the web design explosion, the truth is by the time I had discovered the web there was a plethora of other designers discovering it as well. Some of them made huge amounts of money. I never did. And until last year (2008) my income had always been steady. Even during the dotcom bomb Id managed to stay afloat.

So thats my story.

As a child Id never intended to get married and have children. I have three sons, and two grandsons. As a teen I’d wanted to design fashion. From birth, thanks to my grandmother Id had a love of archeology and anthropology and I swear I was born to draw. But it’s not where I ended up.

I am a graphic web designer. I still want to be a fiction writer but I might wait until I’m 90. Grandma moses started painting when she was 90, so I guess Ive still got time. In a way, Im still the explorer I wanted to be as a child. The journey isn’t over and everything is grist for the mill! What’s your story?

Where did you want to be and where did you end up?

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Sometimes a deep mind plays the shallow role so that the not-so-nimble won’t feel threatened.

Over the last few days I have expressed my excitement over the first black president and been shocked to learn that most members of my family dont get the significance. Even the 12 year old downstairs, eating her breakfast, while watching music videos, just said, ” so what, he’s just another president.”

Now the 12 year old wasn’t raised by me or mine, but my brothers, my own sons, at least two of them, have said the same thing. To which I responded, my god, don’t you know anything about history?

I thought I taught them about slavery, I thought they knew about the hardships of being a negro in america. But I am not black, and so I did not engrain history into their minds. I think perhaps, that lack of understanding must also come from the schools which have failed to teach the real history of our country.

I know, I didnt learn about slavery in school. I was oblivious until roots, the tv show, and after that I ate up every bit of history that I could to try to understand how it could be that people in america once enforced, and embraced such inhuman cruelty.

But american history omits much of the truth regarding america and its actions, or lack thereof. I didnt even know about the holocaust until I was 12 and had a jewish friend whose grandmother had survived the camps.

What a world we live in when so many people just dont understand the significance and the potential for healing this president brings.

How do you not know about segregation, about men being hung because they were black and dared to drink out of the white fountain instead of the black?

How do you not know that Rosa Parks took her life into her hands when she refused to sit in the back of the bus and that she was arrested simply for sitting in the front of the bus?

How do you fail to know that the pathway from the lincoln memorial to the white house used to hold slave markets there?

How do you not know that Martin Luther King had a dream, that segregation would end, and that all people would one day be truly equal? I know by the law, equality has technically been around since the early 50s- 60’s but how do you not get the significance, or understand that today, the dream finally passed the last barrier and became reality?

I am disapointed in those of my family who have missed out on the joy of this day because they lack the knowledge and the understanding of the significance regarding this time, in the span of not just American history, but in some cases, world. And I am disapointed in myself for not realizing I have enlightened no one in all my 50 years.

Barack Hussein Obama, born August 4, 1961, is not simply “just another president”.

I went to comcast yesterday to take my extra modem back. the line was so long it was nearly out the door. At first I stood looking around, then realized I needed to take a ticket. I may have seemed uncertain, so a nice dressed young man, with what sounded like a russian accent, helped me out.

I took a number, waited for a moment, realized there were several seats open, then chose a place sit. I attempted to  said hello the woman next to me, whose response was a deep frown and a dismissive look which I may have misread as disgust for my rather large frame. I let it go, Im used to it. I see this kind of attitude on any given day when I go out.

Determined to keep my good mood, I smiled as I scanned the room, and waited for my turn. An older white haired gentleman came in, took an empty seat as soon as one was available and started chatting up the old grey haired gent next to him with regard to cars, engines and motors.

The white haired gent seemed nice at first, perfectly combed, brilliant white hair, in good shape for his 65 or 70ish years. His clothes, though casual, and much like older men wear on the golf course, suggested someone who was, or had been somewhat affluent.

When the gray haired gentleman moved away to take his turn at the counter, the white haired gentleman moved his conversation on to the next gentleman who, coincidentally, was also gray haired. With the older  men,  when he spoke to them– he seemed jolly, though a little too talkative for my tastes. And there was an undercurrent running beneath his chit chat that seemed off, so I avoided looking at him. I didnt want to be the next person he chatted up, and my number was near being called.

Since I was not looking in his direction, he started with the next available male who had the misfortune of facing toward his direction. The young man had a darker complexion, was dressed like any other american young man that you might see in a store or walking down the street. He was holding one of the comcast machines like many others in the room. Most had come in to trade their old comcast boxes for  newer ones. 

Until the old gent started in on the younger man, I never really thought of the younger man as hispanic or otherwise. He was just a guy waiting in line.

The first thing the older gent said was some purposely, or so it seemed to me, garbled attempt to ask the hispanic gentleman if he spoke spanish. Both the young man and I looked at the old white gent not quite certain what he was really trying to say. The older mans tone and attitude seemed somehow challenging and he was unapologetic and his poor attempts to speak spanish.

While the younger gentleman said nothing, we were soon to find out what the older gent was really all about. The old gent responded, to the younger mans failure to engage, by slightly chuckling. His chuckle seemed more like  a sneer than anything pleasant. He said, “Im trying to see if you speak spanish”. And indicated that he, himself, did not. Im sure  I, and everyone else in the small room, were thinking the same thing. “If you dont speak spanish than why are you asking if the young man if he does”?

Would you say to a someone else in the room, “Voule vu parle du francaise”? Now that’s my bad french, and forgive me for it. But I think you get what I am trying to demonstrate.

The younger gent, who may or may not have been hispanic, looked at the old man, tries to smile it away,  stayed calm and neutral in his expression and body language, and clearly, like me, did not want to engage this old fart, as I had come to  think of him, in any kind of conversation.

The old fart,  said, “not that I have anything against mexicans. As long as they aren’t illegal. You aren’t illegal are you? Because that’s the one thing I can’t tolerate. As long as you’re not illegal then I have no problem”.

At this point the old fart is practically staring at the young man,  his eyes reduced to narrower slits, as if squinting at the young man would reveal some kind of truth that the other was hiding. Im rolling my eyes, shaking my head in disbelief, and I really, really want to tell the old fart how rude he is. I really want to tell him to be quiet. But I don’t say anything because I am afraid anything I have to say will just escalate the situation into a worse situation.

Other people in the room, some of them, as I mentioned, having a russian,  or perhaps german accent say nothing. It is obvious they also believe the old fart is out of line, and like me, can’t believe how racist and rude he is behaving. If the old fart had been in the room when accents where heard, Im betting he would have been just as rude to them. Perhaps they were silent do as to avoid his attention. Or perhaps I misread them and they were anti-hispanic as well.

I was offended by the old fart because my daughter-in-law is half mexican, her mother is mexican-american as well. I was offended on behalf of the younger, possibly hispanic, gentleman and I was ashamed that I didnt speak up. Yes, possible keeping my big mouth shut meant things could just fade away…but I can’t help feeling like my silence was some kind of betrayal, In silence, I might have led the younger  man to believe, I  was just like that old white fart.

I can’t even imagine how this young man, who had no accent, and looked like every other american man in the room, must have felt when not one person spoke up. And I am so very sorry I couldn’t think of anything to say to erase that old farts rudeness.

I cried when Obama won. I was happy, but also awash with the pain of the past..a pain that I hope will be washed away in the healing waters of a black mans presidency.

If you weren’t alive in the 50s and 60s, or a history buff, you’re probably wondering what the big deal is all about.

I know, it seems like something that happened a long long time ago. But I am only 50 and I remember how black people were treated like second class citizens, bullied by the clueless clan and restricted by segregation.

I saw the signs, in Texas stores and restaurants, and even in Oregon that said “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” and it meant, “black people not welcome here”. I vaguely remember water fountains designated for whites…but I remember this more for when the government put a stop to it — some white people were very upset about the idea of sharing with black people and they raged against it. Just look up the history of Governor Wallace. A bad man. A very bad man who was anti-black for a very long time.

As a child I hadn’t known many black people. The only thing I thought was different was skin color, and to me it seemed exotic, something interesting, and sometimes beautiful. not something to cause separation or fear, or hate.

I didn’t understand why black people were being treated poorly. And I remember the kluesless klux clan always seemed to be hurting and killing black people and getting away with it. When I asked my parents my father went into a tirade about how black people were less than whites. He hated them. I said what if I married one,  and he told me that if I ever married one I’d be disowned. I said GOOD. I was about 11 or 12, soundly slapped and sent to my room.

I will give my father credit, by the time he died, he was wiser than when he was young and had come to accept that he was wrong about black people. He tried to make peace, with me, when I was in my late 20s,   by giving me a black baby doll. As a kid I had wanted to mother all children and  I had often asked for a black baby doll and he had always said no. 

As a child and even now, I wasn’t buying that black people weren’t just like whites. I was a god believer in my younger days, and my premise was, if god created people in all different colors, it wasnt so one could lord it over another, but god must of had a GOOD reason. I just hadn’t figured it out yet.

As an adult (and later an athiest) I would go to college and learn from anthropology courses that skin color is determined based on evolutionary elements such as where you live, how much sun you will be exposed to, and of course natural selection.

In Africa, for example, it’s better to have dark skin, lots of sun there, burning sun and the extra melanin protects you. If you are white, it’s because your ancestors lived in a zone where there was less sun and you didnt need as much melanin to protect you from it.

If you believe in god, this evolutionary explanation still makes perfect sense. After all, wouldn’t god be smart enough to factor in the need for more melanin?

For the first time, and finally, a black man is president of America.  I believe his becoming president can go a long way in healing some folks who are old enough to have been mistreated for being black or had family who were, beaten, murdered, and made into slaves simply because of the color of their skin.

Obama wasn’t my first choice. I was torn between him and Hilary. I was interested in Hilary because women have been second class citizens (and yes, often slaves too) for most of written history. But in American history, black men were given the right to vote before women were. In America it became illegal to kill or beat your black slaves before it became illegal to beat or kill your wife. Yes, back in the day, you were allowed to beat your wife and say it was all her fault. And that persisted into the 1970s. So I see this progress for black people as progress for women too.

I will say, there was a brief moment when I was intested in McCain because Obama and Hilary had gone at it in ways that made me lose respect for both of them. And McCain had pulled in Palin, who is a woman, and I liked the idea of a woman making it to VP.

That interest in McCain lasted until Palin opened her mouth. My impression of her was red-neck, gun toting, soccer mom, not very intelligent, and not whom I wanted to represent women or America. 

My daughter is a soccer mom. I love her. She is intelligent, smart, beautiful, but being a soccer mom doesn’t qualify her to run for president, or vice president so why should it qualify Palin? After hearing Palin speak, Im not sure how she ever became governor of Alaska.

And joe the plumber? OMG I remember plumbers when I was a kid, it’s not for nothing the joke about plumbers butt. And why would you champion a guy who was found to be practicing without a license?

But it wasn’t joe the plumber that turned me more toward Obama. As he debated McCain and spoke to people, I came to believe he could take care of us. He would affect change we so desperately need. And he, Obama, could do more than lead us well, he could heal a people whose history is rife with injustice.

My tears — were the tears of justice ringing in the land.

Fall  colors, lacking sun but somehow peaceful. Waiting for the UPS man to bring my code books. Covering all the basis, learning new things. Searching for jobs this morning, web tangents. Web tangents means following links from site to site, searching for one that might be a hit for a good job op.

Saw many entrepenureal sites. none of them need a web designer, but they inspire me to wonder…to remember, long ago, I wanted to be one of them. to design clothes, or purses, or fabrics. I never went that route. In college I didnt remember that dream and now, I wouldnt know how to follow it.

This week Ill order another book. Related to designers. where to push your product, such as greeting card design. Im thinking that would be fun to do.

No, Im still thinking about the medical dream theme and yes, there is room for designing greeting cards. Or illustrating. Though I think Im not the kind of illustrator I would like to be.

Anxiety high, soon we will have a new president. Its odd, they arent bombarding us with the numbers for this region that region, this state, that state like they’ve done for every election I can remember.

Not a single word about the counts yet. Im glad really, all it does is panic people even those who dont vote.

My registration was messed up and I didnt know it until it was too late to fix it in time to vote. Too many moves, lost my card, cant remember where I was last registered. If I just had my card I could have proven my registration. In lieu of that I had to remember WHERE I was last registered. But they couldnt find me.

New registration will be needed but not in time for Obama. Id like to say may the best man win, but as we’ve seen in the past, even when the best man won, the worst man can steal the presidency with the help of shifted electoral votes and citizens votes being discarded by a brother and an ex lover. Conspiracy? no you all saw it. It was in our faces so plain but no one dared to stop it.

So, yeah, Obama could win and with the same anti-democratic boobs in high places, relations and friends of bushinsky, McCain could steal the white house just like his cronie.

The electoral has to go. ITs not the voice or the will of the people. Especially when people in high places can redraw its borders to suit their needs.

Im still angry.

Can we really be made to suffer 4 more years of the bush regime via mcCain.

I am still afraid. The answer might be yes. 

McCain means unemployment, rich get richer.

They call Obama the neo socialist. Ill take a little socialism againsts capitalism run amok any day.

Ive been researching alternate career options because the one I am in has become such a dead end.

Web designers used to design and build static websites. Most jobs Ive seen advertised expect a website designer to also be the website developer with an lot of experience with PHP, MYSQL and more. These expectations are rediculous until  you see where companies are getting the idea that you should be a jack of all trades.

I followed one colleges graphic design path. It started with traditional design and then deviated to cover a path in bindery, traditional print, web design as user interface designer, and finally web developer.

So, I’ve got a choice, try to learn code, starting with a basic language called Alice, which has nothing to do with website development or change my career altogether.

When I was younger I loved the way code worked. I learned a little basic, a little Amiga basic, but I found the tight structuring of the teachers too restrictive..you had to stay in the box! and honestly, I wasnt as good as the other kids. I was better at design.

If I don’t want to go back to school to become a developer, what else can I do, hmm, nothing unless I go back to school for something else. What do I want to do? Something that has a job at the end of it, something that makes me feel like Im giving something to the good of people not just the good of some ones wallet.

I keep hearing how medically related jobs are never going away even when the country is in recession so I started looking at this area. No, I dont want to be a nurse, a doctor, or a CNA. Note I said related!

I think I would love medical receptionist because I would get to help someone and contribute a little to making them feel better. Yes, I suppose somewhere its about someones bottom line, but I think the bottom line isnt so in your face  like it is with design.

In design, if your latest advertisement doesn’t make money, first your companies GM blames the writer, then  blames the designer, then when the GM has no one to blame because she’s been rewriting and redesigning everything everyone does, well then she blames the outgoing costs. Next thing you know your out because they hired someone, behind your back, at half the price.

Which brings me back to new careers.

I still love creating art. Im just tired of doing design for people where my craft is subjected to someones mood, PMS, or reaction to their bosses negativity regarding the bottom line. I am not the farmers dog.

So, my thinking is, become a medical receptionist, or a medical biller, and create designs and tutorials for my own pleasure. Write an online book of how-to-dos. And like my son said, pick up little jobs for design on the side. I think that would make me happy.

Plus, medically related jobs, at least there are lots of those out there!

Wish me luck. Im still researching the avenues and paths to this option in hopes I can make it work.

My next steps are

1) move in with son in November.  I cant afford my own place anymore.  My savings is depleted and UI just doesn’t cover the full cost of living in my own place.

2) Sign up with workforce retraining. I need to find out if I qualify for any retraining funding or can keep my UI while I  go to college for retraining ( even if I will have to pay for myself).

3) Apply for, and hope I qualify for financial aid with the college and make sure I get all my old college transcripts to them. The problem with financial aid is that if you already have a degree, and I do, then its not as easy to get financial aid even when you are borrowing.

4) hope that I havent missed the window that lets me start this in the spring. I already missed the winter window because I didnt think of this sooner. Better late than never?

I try very hard not to let my current situation get to me. But some days, it’s just so hard.

It’s getting depressing searching for jobs when the economy is so bad and nothing is out there to even apply for.

Some days my optimism overrides the truth of the current state of things and I have a shining hope.

Somedays I just want to cry.

If I don’t find a job, I will lose my apartment. Where will I put all my things? I know I can stay with my oldest son, but he lives with his girlfriend and to me, it just feels like an imposition for them both.  I am grateful for the offer… but the environment  just doesn’t seem to have the same kind of peace that I’ve learned to crave.

Will I end up being one of those old people by the side of the freeway off ramps, beggars sign in hand?

Will I even be able to get a burger flipping job when all else fails? I can’t help noticing, some of the people in the drive-thru window are older than me!

And if I flipped burgers, I’d have money coming in, but I’d never have my own home…min wage, doesn’t even begin to pay for rent, utilities, and put food on the table, even with regard to the apartments in the bad neighborhoods.

Other days I am not this morose. Other days I can see all the roses in every possibility from flipping burgers to living with my son and his lovely lady.

I guess I have to have these days, so that I can more deeply appreciate the days when my mood is higher.

They say keeping a journal is good for the mind. We’ll see.

In the meantime, here I am, sign in hand, graphic web designer, will work for moola!

I remember a long, long time ago hearing some news person say that the average person has seven career changes in their lifetime. I thought that was bunk since careers aren’t cheap to come by and you can’t just snap your fingers and come up with a new one.

Today, however, Im wondering if he was using the term “career” rather loosely to include any kind of job from flipping burgers to changing the sheets at the local hotel.

If I count every kind of job I have ever had as a career, then I am well beyond seeing seven.

A a child, I was a babysitter, not just for my own brothers and sisters but for whomever else my parents chose to draft/volunteer me for. Not very lucrative as careers go and not a lot of fun when you are 12 and have the charge of 10 other kids ranging in age from 2 to 10 while your parents and theirs, booze it up in the pasture. But it felt like work, hard work, so I will count it as “career” one.

Raising my own kids was the hardest job I ever did, but raising kids is really BIGGER than anything that can be defined as work so, for the sake of the seven career changes, I’ll leave it out. Raising your kids isn’t something you switch away from, or change to something else.

Once you have children, even when they are grown, your children and their children are the very essence of you. A career might temporarily be the very essence of you, especially if you take your work to heart, but jobs come and go, children are forever.

So back to earning a buck. After babysitting, and later, as an adult, I tried cleaning hotel rooms. If you think the people who clean your room don’t take their jobs seriously you have been going to the wrong hotel. I worked for the Cosmopolitan in downtown Portland for a very short time that, for me, was all too long.

It was colorful, it was boring. It was back breaking and I hated it. Though the people I worked with were awesome, the people who stayed in the rooms we cleaned, were the real eye openers. Pilots and Stewardesses, who would have thought that people who looked so elegant and so refined could be so, so, icky. But this was in the 70s, decade of free love when pilots were men and stewards were stewardesses and not men.

Until I cleaned up after them I thought it would be cool to be one. If you ask me, in those days at least, the pilots spent way to much time dipping the stewardesses. I think you get my drift.

The pilots rooms were always a mess, smelled of sex and booze and they were messy. It was also the first time I ever saw a playboy and a hustler magazine. The playboy was naughty but the ladies seemed somehow, hmmm, upheld? Like art or a beauty standard? I know, that’s pushing it, but that’s what it seemed like compared to hustler. Hustler, the first page I flipped to showed only the vaginal area of the woman with a kitchen sink drain plug in it. It was repulsive, objectifying and it made me feel like I’d stepped into a sewer.

I didn’t clean rooms for long, but not because of the magazines insulting my young intelligence (I was 17), but because of the dust bunnies and the toilets. I hated cleaning toilets other people had used. Drunk men miss the bowl and aim everywhere. And I was forever forgetting to vacuum under the bed and having my left over dust bunnies pointed out to me. I knew enough about dust to know, if the room was really, really vacuumed every day, under the bed, as the training maid had indicated, there wouldn’t be a dust bunny there in the first place!

Two months of that and I was outta there!

Two career changes and on to three.

Three was as a cashier at the grand opening of a Fred Meyers back in the day when Oregon City still had miles and miles of fields. Amazing how a landscape can change in 25 years. Not a bad job, terribly boring. I got in trouble once for helping a fellow cashier straighten up the box in front of her station. The PIC said I needed to stand at my cash machine even if there were no customers in the store.

The truth is the store had hired 300 people too many. Some folks they outright laid off, or made uncomfortable until they quit and if that didnt work, they whittled your hours down to nothing. Which is pretty much what happened to me. I went frm 35 hours a week to three. The cost of the monthly union dues cost more than I was making. It wasn’t worth staying. Though I will say for years this remained my fav Fred Meyers and as the community rose and usurped the fields it became, as far as I could tell, a whopping success.

Four was flipping burgers at the small town local blackman’s corners. The work wasn’t all that bad but the “lead” girl was insane. The first night I was there she said she could do anything she wanted and say someone else did it and the owners would believe her over anyone else.

When I was young, I was so naive, so, innocent. I didn’t understand what she was getting at. She threw a small package of ketchup on the floor, slammed her foot onto it. It burst. She said, “You see that? I could leave this mess, say you did it, and they would believe me.” She cleaned up the mess, and said, no worries, she was just demonstrating.

I thought, she can’t really be crazy. But if you consider that several years later her brother raped and murdered the verym very, old lady next door to his parents house… I count my lucky stars I left that job after two weeks. The owner was awesome but this girl was just too creepy.

Sometimes I think we really are six degrees, not from anyone we want to know, but from anyone we’d never want to know.

Job five was cashier at the local small town video store. Nothing too exciting but it was the first time I ran into the exciting world of having two bosses, each with a counter goal to the other. A Husband and wife team, with big egos (they thought they were the next Tom Peterson). In the end it was too much like being inside a soap opera and I moved on.

If you’ve stayed with this boring tale this long you are wondering what 6 was.

I went to college. My kids were all in school, I was in my 30’s, and needed to be busy, but as far as jobs go, I was done with boring. I wanted something more challenging.

I worked while in college, odd jobs, one in publications that included deliveries of printed materials by hand truck, gluing paper edges to make note pads, chopping papers into specified sizes with a machine that required two buttons be pushed on opposite sides of the machine. The buttons were a safety feature to ensure you didn’t chop off your hands or fingers. Trust me, it was a GOOD feature!

I did that for two years, at community college, does it count as a career?

Next I went to university. I loved Oregon State! I had several years of archeology under my belt before our professors decided to fess up and inform us that the kind of jobs we dreamed of just were not possible unless you had LOTS of money or all the professors in the world dropped dead. I switched, long story short, to graphic design. Meanwhile my employment was in the financial aid department.

I loved the people I worked with. I didn’t love all the data entry and filing of papers.

Luckily I had discovered the internet. It was NOTHING back then but ugly gray pages but I was so excited about it. I got hate mail from some physics kid who said the web wasn’t for images but for information. Not sure how I had attracted his attention. All I had done was take a MM class, build a web page and put my pic on it as was the required assignment.

For me, the burgeoning, big wide world of web, was absolute bliss, and this is what led to my next paying job.

While other graphic designers had non-paying internships their last year of college, I was paid designing and building the graduate schools website. It only paid 7 dollars an hour, the most any student could make working for the University, but I loved it.

While at University I was allowed to design the Art Departments website as well as a favorite professors, both gratis. Both great experiences.

The Art Department was my first experience working with people who had assets I needed to acquire for the site. While some, thought little of the webs future, others were often “too busy” to provide slides of their work. I finally found an advocate who most of the staff really liked. He wasn’t a nobody student, he was a professor on their level, and once they saw his outstanding work on the web, then they wanted theirs online too.

When I was at OSU, I had friends who made $20,000 (yes twenty thousand) a page for other companies. I never saw that kind of money, not even close. I’ve often been in the right time, but never quite the right place!

I consider myself lucky to have graduated and with paid web experience under my belt. Ive been a web designer (with the occasional print project here and there), ever since.

How many careers? if all that counts, I guess I am at eight. if you only count the career that cost the most money, that I went to college for, that I am still paying for, then I guess I am still at one.

I’ve been at it professionally since 1996. Despite layoffs, companies that closed, or companies that changed hands, I’m not ready to give up on this career just yet. However, I am wondering what comes next. Im 50, you don’t get to be 50 without wondering what the next 40-50 years are going to be about.

So how many careers have YOU had?

The forthcoming demise of my sister-in-laws mother has made me think about how much things have changed in so little time.

Im only 50 but I remember life before todays modern washers and dryers.

For example, I remember when I was a kid of around 11 or so, we didn’t have washers and dryers as we know them now. Im not saying no one else had one. I dont really know. I never saw one until I was 13 or 14. But I remember clearly what we did because it was all my dad, an airforce man, could afford.

Our “washer” was a ringer machine and you used it in the basement. it was electric and it churned the clothes back and forth, it didn’t spin out and didn’t drain automatically. Instead, you set a timer, or kept and eye on your washer for however long you wanted to wash.

I used a stick to push the clothes down and around a little…to help the machine get everything good and soaked. If the power was out, well then,  the stick came in very handy to churn the clothes around with, but it wasnt easy, wet clothes can be very heavy to churn armed with only the might of an 11 year old arm and the power of a stick.

When ready to ring,I unhooked the drain tube and placed it down to the floor near the drain hole in the basement. This could be messy if one was not experienced as the water didn’t politely wait to shoot out of the drain tube. You had to be fast and make sure you didn’t squirt your mum with the bloody thing on its way down or risk getting quite a smack upside your head.

Next, ready to rinse, I filled the washer tub again with another hose which was connected to the faucet above the  two giant, ugly, old, tin-looking sinks,  people would have used in the “way old days” before electricity. Yes, imagine that, to wash clothes by hand, some old houses were so modern they had built in sinks in the basement! 

When I was satisfied the soap was all out, I would drain again and turn the ringer on so I could feed the clothes through it to ring them out before  hanging up to dry. In winter we hung the clothes on basement clothes lines, and on backyard clothes lines in other seasons.

Sounds lovely archaic but it was scary for a kid. One had to be careful, of that ringer, because your hair, your fingers, or even your arm could get pulled into that bloody thing and it did some damage if it got you. I was lucky, the one time it grabbed my long hair, my mom was there to turn it off. It literally could have torn the hair out of my head. Scary fucking machine. I HATED IT.

I remember times when Carl and I were married, apartments didn’t have washer and dryers in them. Sometimes we didn’t have the money to go to the laundromat and I would wash clothes in the bathtub before hanging them to dry on a rack. It didn’t take an hour to dry. If it wasn’t warm enough to put the rack on the back patio, it could take days for a pair of jeans to completely dry standing in a bathtub.

And just think, my grannies generation, when they were kids, if you couldn’t afford the ringer you always had the old tub and scrubbing board that great granny grew up with. Or if you were lucky, basement wash sinks!

Only four generations of change. We take so much for granted. And I am so spoiled, I won’t even rent an apartment if it doesn’t come with a washer and dryer! But Im not ashamed of my love of this luxury. Tongue in cheek, armed with past experience, I know what to do it civilization falls. 😉