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Time for Creativity. Time for Pause. Time for Solitude.

One of my great regrets of all time, that is all time leading up to today, is my lack of proper time dedicated to reading. While I’ve wasted countless hours of my life transfixed in Jezebel articles, Facebook posts about hilarious dogs and babies being successful or unsuccessful babies, and magazine articles sunk into overflowing bathtubs with their wet pages stuck together before completion, the number of full-fledged novels I’ve read in my life – is something I regrettably can count on my own two hands.

Yet language and writing has always been a passion of mine, more than the drawing and painting my parents had pushed my talents towards. While as a child I stayed up late at night to read trashy childhood series such as Sweet Valley Twins and The Babysitters Club: Little Sister editions, I refused to read actual serious books. Why? I’m not sure where my rebellion of all things “adult” and “responsible” came from, but it sure started early. My father, with his stern aggression and judgement around my own interests, made me hate authority and turn against it at all costs. Although my father was a man of physics textbooks and oft right-wing historical non-fiction and editorials, for some reason literature got mixed up into the world of authority, my arch nemesis, the land of academia and maturity, of all the things we should do with our time when we have it in between hours staring at the second hand of the clock hung above the school door and the darkness that is our daily rest.

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RIP Robin Williams: Depression isn’t Funny

The news of Robin Williams’ suicide today hit me like a brick. I didn’t know him personally and I certainly haven’t seen all of his films. But something always transfixed me about his spirit. His brilliant improv comedy. His ability to entertain and make others laugh while inside were these dark shadows hidden only by his light.

Also, as a resident of San Francisco, I often would imagine┬áhis comedic inspirations walking down the hilly streets. Once, my boyfriend informed me that Robin Williams was on his flight back to SFO. I wished I had been on that plane. Not that I would have said anything to him, but I just wanted the opportunity to meet him in person. I think a lot of people felt that way about Mr. Williams. And now we’re all in mourning on news of his passing. Continue reading

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It’s Been One Week Since I Lost My Job.

In terms of sharing the news that I lost my job, so far I’ve only told a few close friends, and of course all my anonymous readers here (whoever you are, hi.) This morning I’m glad I had a dentist appointment scheduled at 8am so I got out bright and early, got my teeth cleaned, then walked a few miles home while stopping for a quick bite to eat. I also – and probably shouldn’t have – treated myself to a manicure, pedicure – mostly because my nail were a hot mess and I needed to get the gel polish professionally removed. I spent $80 on my nails, which was probably a terrible idea unemployed, but if I’m going on job interviews (and I am) having good looking nails is important. That’s my justification for my bad decision.

The colors I chose for my nails are bright and happy. I have a beautiful fuchsia on my fingernails and an orange pink with glitter on my toes. I know you’re all not interested in what color my nails are but my point is that things like the color of my nails can significantly impact my mood – and right now I need all the help I can get to keep myself from falling into a depression like last time I was unemployed.

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Filing for Unemployment Benefits

I finally sucked it up and filed my unemployment claim. The process is quick but confusing, especially if you’ve had more than one employer in the last 18 months. The most confusing part is figuring out your exact gross pay for periods that lasted less than a quarter and then determining your hourly rate if you’re a salaried worker. I hope the data I submitted was correct. If not it will put off receiving my unemployment benefits even longer.

Did you know that every state has a different amount paid out to workers on unemployment? You’d think in California where cost of living is so high the unemployment benefits would be among the highest, but not so. In CA the max unemployment benefit is $450 per week, or $1800 per month. Given my portion of my rent in my 825 square feet one bedroom apartment is $1350, that doesn’t leave a whole lot for health insurance, car insurance, gas and food. And in reality that money is taxed so I won’t actually get the full amount. Luckily I have an emergency fund so I will be ok. However, if I lived in another state that pays more – say – Massachusetts – I’d get $653 per week on unemployment, or $2612 per month pre-tax. Since cost of living in most other states is lower, that amount would go a lot further if needed.

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The Unemployed Budget: Part 1

While I was getting used to the luxury of taking home $6k after tax per month – and saving a significant amount of it while not cutting my spending too much – now I need to really get frugal. On the other hand, now I have TIME which when I’m working I don’t have much of, so I want to use it and actually do the things I would do if I had time… but those cost money. It’s a tricky situation.

My networth goal this year was (and still is) $300k minimum exiting 2014. That seemed very doable prior to losing my job but now, yikes, it doesn’t seem that doable at all, save for a major boost in the stock market or accepting another gig that pays well enough to make up for lost time in a month or two. Continue reading