Saturday, June 10, 2017

It's time to celebrate!!!


Familiar faces leaving.

Moving on to new cities, to new jobs, on to bigger and better things.

It's bittersweet for sure.

Here at the university I work for, students are finishing up their final exams for the year and many are preparing for graduation.

That can only mean one thing.

It's time to CELEBRATE!!!

I wanted to give the student workers at my (second) university job a big send-off and thank you for all their hard work this academic school year.

The counter in the back office space was transformed into an abundant potluck party.

Before...

After!

I tried making it as colorful and festive as I could. Bold signage, metallic fringe, and bright floral garland among bags of chips, candy, and cake.

Mmmmm.....

It was fun livening up an otherwise dull space. It was also a much-needed moment to create and play with color and patterns and textures. And it helped bring us all together over some good old-fashioned junk food.

Congrats to this year's graduates! May you all go FAR!!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Purple couch!


These things always seem like mini milestones for some reason, even though they're probably not.

I moved into my very own condo nine months ago but besides my bed and dining room table, I didn't really have any furniture to sit on.

My previous place was a small studio so a couch never seemed necessary. Now that I own a one-bedroom, well, there's a big space in the living room begging for seating.

That's all changed though because I purchased a couch and it arrived two weeks ago!

It's my first couch. Ever. Like a proud sofa dad, I must show it off!

The walls in my condo are warm oranges and peach tones (that's how the previous owner had it) so I wanted the sofa to pop against such dominant colors.

I chose a lovely purple.

Not a Barney purple. My couch has more blue in it.

Not quite, Barney.

Almost like a Prince purple but deeper.

Closer!

Here it is.....
 

It's a three-seater but the end has a chaise lounge built in so I can rest after a long day's work. And now if I ever have company, they'll have a place to (properly) sit.

I still don't have artwork on the walls (yet), and I feel there's still much decorating to do, but this couch will help make my place a little more like a home.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

I could be the one.


It was the spur of the moment. 

He flew all the way from his country to see me late last month. 

It was for less than a week--like a drawn-out daydream. 

We talked about life and love. Our families, our past, what we want for the future. 

There's no denying there's something there. How long will we dance this dance? Will we ever see it through? 

If he would just give me his heart completely...I think I could be the one. 


"I see the moon
I see the moon 
I see the moon 
Oh when you're looking at the sun
Not a fool 
Not a fool 
Not a fool 
No, you're not fooling anyone 

Oh but when you're gone
When you're gone 
When you're gone 
Oh, baby, all the lights go out 
Thinking oh that, baby, I was wrong
I was wrong
I was wrong 
Come back to me, baby, we can work this out 

Oh baby come on, let me get to know you
Just another chance so that I can show 
That I won't let you down, oh no 
No, I won't let you down, oh no 
'Cause I could be the one 
I could be the one 
I could be the one 
I could be the one 

I see in blue 
I see in blue 
I see in blue 
Oh and you see everything in red 
And there's nothing that I wanna do for you 
Do for you 
Do for you 
Oh 'cause you got inside my head

Oh but when you're gone 
When you're gone 
When you're gone 
Oh, baby, all the lights go out 
Thinking oh that, baby, I was wrong 
I was wrong 
I was wrong 
Come back to me, baby, we can work this out 

Oh baby come on, let me get to know you 
Just another chance so that I can show 
That I won't let you down, oh no 
No, I won't let you down, oh no 
'Cause I could be the one
I could be the one 

I could be the one
Be the one, be the one 
Be the one, be the one 
Be the one, be the one 
I could be the one 
Be the one, be the one 
Be the one, be the one 
Be the one, be the one 
I could be the one 
Be the one, be the one 
Be the one, be the one 
Be the one, be the one 
I could be the one 
Be the one, be the one 
Be the one, be the one 
Will you be mine? 

Oh baby come on, let me get to know you 
Just another chance so that I can show 
That I won't let you down, oh no 
No, I won't let you down, oh no 
'Cause I could be the one 
I could be the one 
I could be the one."

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Love today!


You'd think today of all days would depress me the most. 

I've been painfully single most of my adult life except for a few brief stints here and there. And yet I still believe in love and am happy for those that have it and have had it. They are truly blessed. 

Everybody's gonna love today!

My heart remains very full and hopeful, even if I have no one to give it to. I know love is a powerful, transformative force that can and should last a lifetime. 

So even though I am very much alone and often very lonely, I still celebrate today. I still celebrate love!!! 

Happy (St.) Valentine's Day, everyone!!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Eight and counting.


I've been so busy with work that I almost forgot about today. Today is Exploding Doughnut's eight-year anniversary!! 


I don't know how many people read my blog anymore but I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge making it yet another year in the blogosphere. 

Thanks to everyone that continues checking out what I'm posting on here. It means more than you know. 

 ***Happy Anniversary, Exploding Doughnut!!***

Saturday, December 31, 2016

This year.


Wow, 2016 flew by FAST but I'm kind of glad. It's been a lonely and often sad year for me.

There were a few highlights though. Most notably was buying my first-ever condo.

What about the rest of the year, you ask? Well, here's your chance to find out!

Every blogpost from 2016 has been neatly listed for you to re-read or check out for the first time.

Here we go!

January:

(1-9-16) (You're) so far away.
(1-15-16) The end of an era.
(1-22-16) Celebrate!!

February:

(2-12-16) Asha's art.
(2-14-16) One day.

March:

(3-31-16) Keeping up!

April:

(4-6-16) A year on the phones.
(4-11-16) Opening Night!
(4-28-16) Nominated!
(4-30-16) Not worth celebrating.

May:

(5-4-16) Finally!!!!!
(5-31-16) Two-weeks notice...almost!

June:

(6-23-16) "You'll just have to live with it."

July:

(7-4-16) I never thought I could feel so free.
(7-31-16) Two-weeks notice almost...extended!!

August:

(8-20-16) Lost love.
(8-26-16) Property Owner!!
(8-29-16) Not going anywhere!
(8-31-16) One last time...

September:

(9-5-16) Red, Gold, and Green.
(9-20-16) Five years going on strong.

October:

(10-9-16) Fruits of my labor.

November:

(11-1-16) Happy Anniversary to her.
(11-4-16) Hey Chicago, what do you say?

December:

(12-11-16) Extension denied.
(12-29-16) Mentor.
(12-31-16) This year.

And there you have it.

I no longer have New Year's goals/resolutions but the things I'd like to focus on this coming year include:

- Continuing to decorate/furnish my condo so it becomes a real home and haven.
- Exercise on a more consistent basis.
- Create art again!

We'll see what 2017 brings. May it be GREAT for all of you.

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Mentor.



Mentor v.tr. To serve as a trusted advisor or guide. To train. To impart skills or knowledge to. 

A couple vacancies recently opened up at my call center university jobTwo part-timers were hired to fill those slots. I was pulled aside by the department head and asked (along with another coworker) to be the newbies' mentor. 

Why me? I thought. I'm just part-time myself and have only been there over a year-and-a-half. Some call center agents have been there for five and six years. 

I was told it's because out of everyone, me and the other agent are the most even-keeled on the phones and we follow protocol. He wants the new hires to learn the correct way to answer the phones. 

A part of me was annoyed. 

A full-time opening in our department was available a couple months back but another part-timer was picked over me. And with my other part-time university position (night job), I work 40 hours each week but without full-time benefits. 

It's just another way I'm being taken advantage of. 

And yet, I was quite flattered and proud to be chosen to help train the new crew. Everyone has been very supportive and kind to me in both departments and this is a way to pay that forward. 

So for the next six weeks, each new call center agent will sit with me (and our other coworker), listening in on and observing our phone calls. I'll show them as much as I can and help them so their transition on the phones will be an easy one. We'll see how it goes.

Time to mentor!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Extension denied.


Denied tr.v. Declined to grant or allow; refused.

I knew the time would come but I was hoping for at least one more year.

Four years ago, I interviewed for a city department in Seattle. It was part of their continual recruitment process that granted those living out-of-state (such as myself) the ability to apply to their in-house openings.

I was accepted into their program and landed a couple job interviews along the way but was never picked. At the twelve-month mark I asked for an extension (the exclusive access expires after a year) and it was granted again and again…and again.

The last extension expired last month and when I asked for another extension, it was denied. I reached the maximum amount of renewals.


It was disappointing but rules are rules. They were gracious enough to let me stay in the system for as long as they have.

I'm losing the dream of being able to run away to Seattle, knowing I had a good way of landing a job there. It's that "way out" that I'm mourning.

HR told me I could reapply for the continual recruitment process when it opens up again next year so at least that's something.

Deep in my heart I still feel like I was meant to be in Seattle. But now with both of my university jobs and having recently bought my own condo, I feel like I'm bound to Chicago more than ever.

Maybe there's still something that needs to be done here before I can be free there. 

I haven't forgotten about you, dear Seattle. I hope you haven't forgotten about me either...

Friday, November 4, 2016

Hey Chicago, what do you say?


You've probably already heard the terrible news.

The worst and unimaginable thing has happened.

Brace yourselves.

The Chicago Cubs won this year's World Series!!!

Those of you who have followed past posts of mine know I LOATHE the Cubs. I've had to deal with their drunk fans for years and they turned me off to the team.

I give the team credit though. They used to consistently lose but with new management (and new players) these last couple of years, the Cubs rose to the top, winning game 7 this past Wednesday.
 

Everybody would break out into this song throughout the week!

Normally I'm bored by baseball but I ended up watching most of this year's Division, Championship, and then World Series games. I found them to be exciting and stressful. I'd swear at the TV whenever the Cubs would get a hit and cheer when the opposing team would be winning (some games were sooooo close). Who knew watching baseball could be such a roller coaster ride!

My coworkers (die-hard fans) would get mad whenever I'd say I hope the Cubs lose, so instead I started saying, "May the best team win." And in the end that proved to be the Cubs...as much as it pains me to admit that.

The World Series parade was held here in Chicago today. Even though I was at work during most of it, I was able to watch it streaming live from my computer. An estimated 5 million people attended the celebration and it was non-stop noise and cheering from the city streets down below.

My stomach turned at the sight and sound of all those dressed in white and blue and red jerseys but in the end I'm happy for the fans. I know they wanted it badly (108 years in the making) and it was a shared, historic event for the city I was born and raised in.

So congrats to you, dear Cubs. Dye our river blue, fly the W, and drink your copious amounts of beer. You earned this victory.

Bask in it while you can because we all know you won't win again for a long, Long, LONG time after this.

:)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Happy Anniversary to her.


When I arrived at my university job tonight there were flowers sitting in the back office space. A heart-shaped balloon bobbed from the bouquet's protective cellophane exterior. 


My heart skipped a beat. Who were they for? 

The boyfriend of my Tuesday-night student worker got them for her. Today was the two-year anniversary of when they first met. How very sweet.

She read me the card nestled among the red roses and soft Peruvian lilies: 

"Two years ago was one of the best days of my life. You showed me the meaning of love. A blessing sent from above, you're forever engraved in my heart, baby. Te amo mi amor."

"You're blessed to have that, especially at such a young age," I told her (she turns 21 later this month). "Some people wait their whole lives and never find it." (Like myself).

I'm happy for her. She's a very sweet and kind girl. She deserves it and so much more.

My heart longs for love that lasts but as I get older with each passing year, I know my chances keep dwindling. At least I get to see love exists in the world even if I can't have it myself. 

Happy Anniversary, Araceli and Brandon!! Here's to many more!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fruits of my labor.


It's been a little over a month since I moved into my condo.

Those first few days felt very strange, like I was living somewhere new. Which I was.

But as the weeks went on, it slowly sunk in and started to feel like home. My home.

I still ask how I got this. And then I remind myself this was all possible from the years of saving up my money and working all of my jobs for so long.

That's when I say it wasn't sheer luck or chance that got me my new place. It was hard work and determination finally paying off.

I'd show you pics but I still haven't fully unpacked and not everything is where I want it. It's too cluttered looking to show off but just imagine a warm and inviting and colorful space.

In the meantime, here's some views from my windows. I overlook the lake and get to wake up to the harbor every day.


How blessed am I!

It feels AMAZING getting to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Epilogue:  And I may have been listening to this underplayed Madonna song (loudly) several times while cooking dinner in my lovely remodeled kitchen...

Sing it, Madonna.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Five years going on strong.


It's hard to believe it's been five years yet it does feel like a good chunk of time already. 

Today marks my fifth year working at the university night job! 

The students and staff continue to be so nice to me and my student workers have been a joy to work with...as always. 

And we organize the BEST potlucks here. There's always something to eat! 

It really does feel like a second home and my coworkers are like extended family. 

Even though the position has nothing to do with the arts, I'm honored and grateful to have it. 

Happy Anniversary, night-time university job!!

Me behind the front desk yesterday.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Red, Gold, and Green.


When I was in the process of looking for a condo and eventually buying one, my real estate agent helped me every step of the way.

His name is David and he ROCKS!!

David explained the home-buying process so it wasn't so overwhelming to me. He kept me on schedule, made sure every line was signed, and all documents were in place (and sooooo much more).

It was such an exhausting and at times stressful past two months. I truly couldn't have done it without his help and know-how.

To show my appreciation, I gave David this painting the day my condo closed

"Red, Gold, and Green" - Acrylic on canvas - 18" x 24" (NFS)

The artwork was inspired by the classic Boy George song Karma Chameleon which has the line "Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dream--red, gold, and green--red, gold, and green."


I like the restrictive nature of just using those three colors. It kept things simple.

::: Close-up detail :::

Texture medium was mixed into the paint and then applied straight onto the canvas.

::: Close-up detail :::

This is the only painting I've done all year. It felt so freeing creating it. Hopefully I can do more down the road (time permitting). For now, I'm just glad I was able to give this as a gift.

Enjoy the art, David! Thank you again for everything!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

One last time...


As I type this, I'm currently sitting in my studio apartment...one last time.

Even though I successfully moved into my new condo over the weekend, my apartment's lease isn't up until tomorrow. I spent the last several days cleaning and wiping down the unit and moving any remaining items.

Now it's just a plain, empty space. Just like when I got here a year ago. I guess I really did make it my own during that time, with all my plants and things.

Even though I had the terrible dust issue to deal with, I will miss this place. It kept me safe and was somewhere I could come home to after long workdays. And the view was just lovely (though the new place has a lovely view too!).

I'm grateful and thankful to have had it but am looking forward to growing into my new place (I fall in love with it more and more each day).

In honor of my one-year anniversary, here's some pics of my quaint but cozy studio I lived in for the past twelve months!

The main living room space.

I snuck plants into EVERY corner I could.

I sat at this table every day.

Interior of my retro kitchen cabinets (notice the turquoise metal).

 Wonder Woman always watched out for me!

Bathroom shot!

My small little hallway area leading into the main living space.

I'm going to miss the views from my window. A lot.

Did I mention my amazing view?

At least I'll have the memories to look back on.

The great news is my new place is colorful and interesting and better than what I had. Everything happens for a reason.

So...onto bigger and better things!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Not going anywhere!


I must be crazy. There's no other explanation.

I gave my two-weeks notice to the art-and-crafts store several months back, then said I'd stay for a couple months beyond that, and just recently I asked for an extension.

Even though my position has been filled, the store manger asked if I'd like to keep working just on Sundays doing the same tasks as usual.

Doesn't that defeat the whole point of me leaving though?

"Maybe you want this to be the next chapter in your life," the store manager debated, "and you want to be set free."

That sounds wonderful!!! I thought.

But I could tell he didn't want to lose me and that things would be a whole lot easier for him if I were there on the weekends to do the deposit, process rtv's (return to vendor), and finalize payroll.

He also kept my original pay rate intact, even though technically I was demoted (by giving up the position).

All that to keep me around. How could I say anything but yes?

And with my newly purchased condoit just seemed wise to retain that extra bit of income a little while longer, until I get a sense of my new monthly expenses.

At least it'll be easy to leave at any time now that my replacements are there. It'd just be a matter of one of them absorbing that Sunday shift when I'm finally gone.

Why do I keep staying? Maybe because it's familiar to me and I've known my coworkers it seems like forever. That or the glitter keeps luring me back.


Today marks six years of me working at the crafts store and for the first time EVER, I actually feel good about that.

Happy Anniversary, arts-and-crafts store!!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Property Owner!!


After two months of signing, initialing, submitting payments, scanning financial records, and everything else I had to do, the time has finally arrived.

Today's the day my condo closes!

I dropped off the down payment and claimed my keys this morning.

I'm officially a property owner!!


My new keys!

What a journey. There were literally two or three steps I had to take every week for the past several weeks. A very exhausting, overwhelming, and frustrating process--but totally worth it in the end.

Thankfully my real estate agent was there every step of the way. His referrals (attorney, lender, insurance agent) helped me as well. They became part of my team, instructing me what to do week after week. I truly couldn't have done it without them.

Thanks to them, my monthly expenses will now go towards something I'll eventually own outright instead of paying a landlord.

A place I can be proud of and enjoy for years to come.

I feel very accomplished and excited and powerful in this moment.

Go, Dean, go!!