Receiving Gratitude

Receiving Gratitude! About two week ago I received my stimulus checks from Uncle Sam or from China Biden. Many Americans did and if they have children received a bigger stimulus check. That weekend, Saturday, my mom and I went to the grocery store to buy food for the week and my lunch for work. Of course I also buy my dog her dog food and doggy treats. My mom and I routine when buying grocery is we go half and half on paying. Other times, I’ll pay for it all, now that am working full-time, I can help out a little more financially. So we go to the store on Saturday and ended up not getting everything we needed cause it was crowded with people. Most likely people who received their stimulus check, buying their grocery. The next day we head to another grocery store and got the rest of the groceries we need it and headed to the check out line. Am at the check out counter waiting for the cashier to finish scanning our groceries. My mom and I see the total and I say we just go half and half. She gave her half in cash and I would pay my half with my debt card. Awhile we are doing this there a young lady, maybe in her late 20 with a little boy behind us. As am about to pay my half the cashier tell me and points to the young lady saying, she wants to pay for your groceries. The cashier hands back me the cash my mom gave for her half. I tell me mom what going on and the young lady want to pay. We tell the young lady, “that not necessary, we are fine.” “We always go half and half on groceries.” She insist that she wants to pay for our groceries. From the time we got in line to check out till our interaction with the cashier, we made no actions that would give any idea that we were poor, we didn’t tell the cashier we aren’t taking these items, we didn’t have coupons or food stamps. I believe that one time someone help this young lady by paying for her grocery and now that she had enough money, she wanted to return to the favor to someone else. Who knows, but my mom and i accepted her generous offer in paying for our groceries.

South Texas VS Old Man Winter

In Texas we are still facing a pandemic, COVID-19, but here in South Texas we are now facing the wrath of Old man Winter. Well the whole states is. Starting Friday, February 12 temperatures have dropped and dropped below freezing. Yes, we do see our seasonal half day freeze just about every year, maybe skip a year sometime, but to stay below freezing for longer then a day, that not something most of us are prepared for. Waking up Saturday I think we were just hovering above freezing until the late evening hours. We had some rain and early Sunday morning that rain with temperature falling below freezing cause iceing conditions on freeways. The freeway near my neighborhood, people where evacuated from the cars cause they lost control. Their car left on the overpass until conditions improve to move them. Sunday we were just at freezing until the evening hours when the temperatures drop in the 20s. Around 10pm, old man winter, brought us snow. In South Texas, it doesn’t snow that often, so it a big big deal. Most kids here don’t experience snow unless they go somewhere where it happen so often. The last time it snowed here was three years ago, December 7, 2017. It wasn’t a lot but enough to cover the ground. So on Sunday night from 10pm to 4am Monday morning, it was snowing. The snow was falling fast and it was cold. Nothing compared to what happen here in 2017. We haven’t seen weather like this since 1985 which was the last time we saw a heavy snow fall. I was like 4 years old at the time and still remember it. Monday morning everything was cover with snow and with the sun out, we were able to defrost. I actually did my first, shovel snow off the side walk since it was cover with snow and ice below it. With this wintery weather, it been tough on the power grid, so many people have experience power outage. People having to bundled up cause they had no electrical to run their heaters. I lost power today for about 8 hours only to come back on for me to start typing this post. My family and I were getting our self ready to sleep with no heat until the power came on. I feel lucky cause other people have gone without power for a day, maybe more and some don’t have running water either. Monday evening, all that snow that melted, refroze with temperature dropping again below freeezing. Grocery stores closed early on Monday and Tuesday, today, open later in the day. Just like last year when this pandemic started, there were long lines of people. Longer then what I saw last year when the pandemic was beginning.

As for work, well I didn’t have to report in on Monday nor Today. As of now I don’t have to report in until further notice. At this moment the weather forecast for tonight is freezing raining and another chance of freezing rain with snow Thursday evening. It won’t be until this weekend when temperature will climb into the 60s with sunshine that we can defrost and warm up. I can say we will still be feeling the after effect of old man winter wrath such as water pipes breaking cause by them freezing.

NOTE: I was type this post Tuesday night after our power came back on.  Three hours later, it went off.  So we were without power through out the night until 5am Wednesday morning. That change when the power went out again around 8:15am. It came on again around 1pm, so who knows how long will have power for the rest of the day into the evening.

Working 8 months during a pandemic

At the end of February, I will reach my 8th month working at my job during this pandemic. It been an interesting ride working during this pandemic. Having to wear face mask awhile am in the building or having to walk through the office to talk with co-workers or other people in other departments. There are still a lot of people I haven’t met since the company has people working from home, but they have hired several new people who are working from the office. Lunch is an interesting time since the break room has 9 tables, but only one chair for each table. The company is follow the guide lines of social distancing, so now during lunch the few who eat there look as if their in a detention class. Most people eat at their desk which I don’t know how people can do that. I just need to get away from my work and enjoy my lunch. Just able to walk and stretch a little and not seeing all the work I still need to do. Speaking of my work, I handle a lot of paper work that I review, make small correction if needed, review the information on the data base that it matches what on the paper. If something is incorrect on the database I correct. Then I scan it, and enter into another data base where I also review the information previous entered. In addition, I enter in other information. There are certain paper work that I can’t correct for example, forgotten signatures or wrong person signed or incorrect/unreadable personal information, that where I have to send the paper work back to the department who worked on it and communicated with the client who filled it out. That basically my day and every now and then I be ask to do something different. It kind of boring, but for now it a job and until the job market pick-up I’ll be there for awhile.

Six years of Blogging on WordPress

It was the beginning of 2015 when I started this blog, Staying the Course. I was unemployed at the time and already keeping a film photography blog. I started this blog to practice writing, to put my thoughts into words and not just keep them in my head. Also just to blog about my experience of searching for employment with little work experience. Maybe to connect with others who have similar experience in searching for employment. That goal is accomplish, am working full-time.

Fast forward till today, I have learned that I enjoy blogging.  My blog isn’t a hit when it come to followers, just about 245 followers. Just the small cyber-interaction you can have with people you never met, even if it just 2 people, who live in another state, city or on the other side of the global is satisfying. As for content and writing, am sure I could do better.  I don’t know if my writing has improve since I first started blog, but I do my best that am writing to the highest standard possible.  Re-reading what I write and re-reading it again and again before hitting the publish button.  Sometimes I wonder if am making any sense with my words, but so far no one who has visiting my blog has mention that my writing sucks or somewhere along those lines. Content, coming up with new content is a struggle sometime which am sure it is for most bloggers.  There are time I just don’t know what to write about. So far my only solution to this is writing a book review or posting my progress in drawing.

How long have you been blogging and why do you blog?

Merry Christmas!!

To everyone in all corners of the world, Merry Christmas!!!  I hope that today on this holiday season we enjoy the company of those we share the same roof with.  For many years in my family since I was little, it is and still is a tradition to go to my grandmother home to have a Christmas dinner and open present with the rest of my cousin. The Christmas dinner is the traditional mexican food, tamales, rice and beans and ham.  Top it off with dessert, my grandmother top secret cake.  It the one thing everyone looks forward to eating since this is the only time of year she make it.

With COVID-19 this will be the first year she will not be having this Christmas dinner. It kind of sad, but it better safe then sorry.  Having everyone safe and not someone or everyone getting sick.  I always have a positive feeling when going and seeing my cousins and the next generation in the family. Kids running around, a smile on their face opening presents.  Seeing that, takes me back when my cousins and I were doing the exact same thing so00000000 many years ago.  Sitting on the exact same floor, running through the hallways, eating at the exact same table in the same room. I will and willing to wait until next year to continue on with this family tradition.

Being a Witness

As we remember and reflect on what happen 19 years ago, September 11, 2001 the United States was attacked by terrorist. I was in my 2nd year of college at UT-Austin, living in the dorms. Adjusting to a new roommate, getting into a routine for a new school year.  The world we lived in back then was different compared to what we are living in today, except that the entire world is now under attack.  Not by terrorist, but a virus, COVID19.  Just like Sept 11, am again a witness to the world changing again.

pool party I attended when I was in college.

Two major events have cause society to change their behavior.  September 11 cause us to be more aware of our surroundings.  If you saw someone or something that look suspicious, report it.  I remember the airlines were halted for a few days before resuming flights.  Increased security and additional screening at airports to assure nothing like this would happen again. Life continue on with a little fear and caution, but we were united.  We stood together, letting our difference go.  Living on campus it took time for thing to return to normal, but eventually college life went on.  Students going to class,  attending parties and social events.

Today, covid19 has been made into a political issue and has divided this country, U.S.A.  Just like Sept 11, we are having to adjust our social behaviors. Now, keeping 6ft apart, social distancing, wearing a mask, and practicing good hygiene: washing hands, covering your month etc. Unlike September 11, COVID19 has force us to limit our social interactions.  Avoid attending large crowd gatherings, schools closed and/or moving to online learning. Am sure this has to be difficult with college students today. That experience every student look forward to, socializing, going to parties, football, the classroom experience. Now having to adjust to sitting in front of a screen and not having the personal interaction with a professor or other classmate.

A time before social distancing.

Strange when you take these two events, the president in office and just compare what was going on at the time. September 11, President Bush was into his first year as president. Of course there was still that debate about recount in Florida if he actually won.  COVID19, Trump is ending his first term and running for a 2nd term.  The debate now is voter fraud and abuse with mail in ballots. Both Republican Presidents, also had space exploration event happened during their their first term in office. Bush the re-entry break-up and burning of space shuttle columbia in February 2003.  Trump, about three to four months into the pandemic, spaceX was successful launch and dock with the space station.  One constant thing that each events have in common is people’s mental well being in dealing with these stressful events.  Living on campus during Sept 11 it was college football that was the escape for a lot of students.  Today with COVID19, that isn’t the case with the messaging, avoid large social gatherings. The fear and risk that you can get this virus at any large gather. Unlike back then, thanks to technology people can talk with a professional using their iphone or tablet.  2001 that wasn’t possible yet nor was the topic of addressing mental issues. Today mental issues is talk about every day.  The importance that people seek help if dealing with depression and are stress out cause of the pandemic.

Take care where ever you may be in the world.

Where was I on September 11, 2001?

First day of work during pandemic

Last week I started working at my new job, Full-time Job!!:) I never thought I was going to find a job with all this craziness we have going on with COVID-19. I thought with COVID-19, companies were going to hold off hiring since some of them moved to working from home and have postpone their hiring. My first day was two Mondays ago and like any other job my first day was just completing paper work, making sure I understood company polices and all that other stuff. That was basically my whole first day and at the same time the state and city are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases. Which made this a strange first day at work, since I needed to wear a mask awhile I was in the building and completing all these necessary first day on the job task. Usually your first day of work is meeting face-to-face, but this time to keep the social distancing everything was done on Zoom as I was in one room and the HR personal was in another.

After my first day, I met the people I would be working with and the person who would be training me. My duties and the job I would be doing is pretty straight forward. The only thing are the small little details and rules you must remember and follow. Since my job is dealing with confidential documents and information I need to make sure I follow procedures and that these documents are filled out correctly. I pretty sure I will be doing a lot of on the job training before I start doing things on my own which is cool with me.

If there any right now that am concerned about this job is getting this COVID19. Since this is a office setting environment and everyone is required to wear a mask, am hoping that enough for not catching this COVID-19. As of now they have the majority of the people working from home, but when they return, that mean a lot more people in this office space. Which is scary cause, most office building are not well ventilated.

Lady Bug, R.I.P

double exposure I took of Lady Bug clouds.

On Sunday May 10, 2020, I had to put my, our beloved dog Lady Bug to sleep.  It wasn’t something I was expecting to have to do so soon.  She was doing great and then all of sudden, she wasn’t eating and just laying down.   Lady Bug was the most non-aggressive, soft loving dog you would every meet.  She also love to cuddle.  She pass on Mother day and even though she her self never had her own litter, she was a motherly figure to our other dog Lilly.  Lady was a few years younger then Lilly, but she took that roll of being a mother to Lilly.  Grooming her, even though I think it drove Lilly crazy sometime, but she allowed it.  Lady Bug was the calm enforcer, getting in between me and Lilly when I would come home.  Lilly gets excited and Lady made sure to tell her in a doggy way, “calm down” he here.  I will never forget her doggy

Lady Bug giving Lilly kisses or doggy licks.

face, with one ear point up and the other down.  I’ll miss just squeezing her cheeks.  She never growled at me for doing that. It was your little thing between us.

 

Lady Bug. One ear up and the other down. Never forget that doggy face of hers.

Am sorry Lady Bug, I wish I could have done more for you, but I couldn’t see you in pain.  You will always be in my heart, broken heart  because you are no longer here. Here on the sofa or seeing you from my room, laying on your blanket/ pillow.  R.I.P. girl, Lady Bug:(

Good News

News on the job front.  Two weeks ago I had a job interview at one of the University for a temporary admin associate within the counseling services.  So I went for my interview  and left feeling okay about it. Again I wasn’t expect this, but I received a phone call later that day that I was one of two candidates they were looking at to offer the position.  The next step was just that they do a background  check and I had to scramble to get at least two professional references.  I was able to get those references, one from where I volunteer and a former co-worker. Once I submitted my references it was just wait and see.  Then just last week I received the call that they were ready to offer me the position once they got the clear from human resources.  I got that final call and the job offer for this temporary part-time admin associate.

I started this Wednesday, training and observing the front desk since that where I will be.  Checking in students for their appointments, answering phones calls and doing other admin duties.  So these past three days have been absorbing as much information as I can and learning as fast as I can. This counseling services deal with mental health so as you can understand there are a lot of sensitive issues to deal with.

Awhile this is only a temporary position that can end anytime or at 4 months which is the allowed time they can keep a temporary employee.  At 4 months they need to hire someone permanently.  Any way, am still excited about the position just cause it an opportunity to show what I can do and learn.  There is a lot to learn.

 

Jury Duty

Jury Duty, we all gotten that letter, summon you to be at the court house at 8am in the morning to be a potential jury.  On Monday that where I was.  It my 2nd time being summoned and having to show up.  I do remember my mom calling me when I was going to school that I was called up for jury duty, lucky enough that was a excuse to be dismissed.

Well Monday morning, showed up at the court house, and when through all the security screening.  I did have my small bag with me which I had all my stuff to hopefully keep me busy if I wasn’t called.  A book to read and my sketchbook along with some color pencils and black drawing pens.  Followed everyone else to the jury room, turn in my paper, took a sit and await for everyone to take their sit.  Then the judge came in, gave a little speech and swore everyone in. There was 30 minute wait until they started calling people and for some reason I had a feeling they would call me. The first group of 65 people they called, I was number 4.  Out of those 65 people, 12 would be selected to be a jury member in a aggravated assault case.  The judge hearing the case was the same one who swore us in.

So 65 of us waited outside the court room, for more then 30 minutes.  Watching people passing by as they exited the building or going through the metal detectors and screen by the security guards.  Looking at the people coming out entering and exiting the court room thinking that was the person to tell us, you are all dismissed or that they are ready for us to enter the court room.  Seeing attorneys talking to their clients in the hallways.  We were called in by a security guard, entering the room, seeing both the defense council and prosecutor standing in front of the room with the judge behind them.  It was a weird feeling since I was sitting front row only to later hear that I along with the rest of people sitting front row have the best chance of being one of the 12 members that are going to be select.

In the next hour or so both prosecutor and defense will be questioning us and just walking us through the process of what assault is and the punishment. Trying to see what people opinions are and how they feel about punishment and sentencing someone, to our bias against the defense client, to witness, and police officer.  My whole thought process was not to say anything.  I didn’t want to stand out, but both council mention that it usually the quiet ones that get selected.  That really didn’t change my mind about not speaking out.  It wasn’t because I didn’t want to, I had nothing to say or to ask.  This was a whole new experience for me and a lot of the information was just not sticking in my head.  We were dismissed for lunch and am sure just like me, there were people wondering if they would be pick and just like me am sure there were a lot of people who didn’t want to be pick.

Everyone return from lunch and all 65 of us waited and watched people going by.  Then the security guard came out and everyone attention was toward him.  Hoping to hear good news that we were going to be let go, but the guard was just asking us for our jury pin that we were giving earlier in the morning.  From across the hall someone ask him is this a good sign, the guard reply maybe.  Again we waited for a few minutes and again the guard come out and call out a name.  We saw the guard along with this individual disappear behind the courtroom doors.  After about 5 minutes that person came out, but again the guard came out.  Everyone eyes focus on him, but the guard call another person name and they disappeared behind the courtroom doors.

The person came out after five minutes in the courtroom.  My mind was wondering if these were some of the people who spoke out during the defense and prosecutor questions.  Was it something in their response that they weren’t sure or were they being told they were selected to be one of 12 jurors.  The guard appear again this time telling all us to come in and just to sit where ever. As everyone pour into the court, no one dared to sit in the front row.  I guess no one want to be called or take the chance to be assign a jury sit.  I sat on the second row and as everyone us was finding and taking a sit, the guard said in my direction we know who you are.  Then the judge said some final words along with both state council and defense.  The judge gave some directions, that if your name is called to come sit to the left side of the room where 12 sits awaited. Names being called, I wasn’t sure if they were by number or by last name.  The third name they called out was a lady that was sitting next to me, she was number 3.  After that I was listening to the last name being call and after the 8th juror called, I was sure I wasn’t going to be pick.  It was a relief that I didn’t hear my name.  Then the judge thank everyone for their time, honestly and he was going to dismiss us for the day.  The guard mention we wouldn’t be dismiss and we all need to report back the the jury room.  The judge was a surprise since that has never happen since he been judge. At the same time as the guard said, “report to the jury room” a female clerk walk in waving in the air a piece of paper that was our ticket that we were done for the day. We were officially dismissed from jury duty.  We all could go home with the exception of the 12 people called.