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!


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


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


(3-31-16) Keeping up!


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


(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 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 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 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 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!!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Lost love.

It's been over four weeks since we last spoke yet it feels like an eternity.

He flew out to Chicago for a surprise visit back in June but after that he told me he didn't want to pursue a long-distance relationship anymore. That it had become too painful to see each other, only to be separated afterwards.

I think he was being realistic. With him being from a Latin country, his chances of relocating here were next to none. I guess I was the hopeful one. I thought we'd find a way down the road.

Maybe I was na├»ve in thinking love would've been enough--that I would've been enough--to keep him around. Because if I were truly someone special, he wouldn't want to let me go. 

In any case, I have to give him the space and time he asked for. 

We ended things on a very caring and loving note and I'm certain we'll always be in each other's lives in some form or another. 

For now--to help me cope--I try to pretend the last several months were just a dream. 

Here's a piece of Mail Art I made for him just after his last visit. He has a very strong connection to nature and plants (like myself). Dried leaves from my collection were the inspiration for this piece.

Leaves on backing board - 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" (Assumed LOST) 

The address side (lined with origami paper)

Close-up glitter shot! 

He seemed to be having a hard time back home and I wanted to show my support overseas and send him some love. Literally. 

Last I heard, the Mail Art never arrived. Fitting, I think, and perhaps for the best. 

Some things just aren't meant to be. 


Thank you for everything, chapin. It was nice being loved...even if for a little while.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Two-weeks notice almost...extended!!

Today should have been my last day at the arts-and-crafts store.

But. It's. Not.

I'm in the process of buying my first-ever condo and the mortgage lender said NOT to alter my employment status during this approval time (even though I only work there on Sundays) until after closing...which is the end of next month.


Thankfully the store manager agreed to let me continue working for the next four weeks even though my replacement already took over the position. The store manager said I stayed and helped out far longer than I planned and he wanted to "do right by me".

So the last Sunday in August should be my new last day!

*fingers crossed*

In the meantime, here's a song currently playing at the store:

Monday, July 4, 2016

I never thought I could feel so free.

Given the recent turn of events, I scrambled to find someplace new to live.

I sifted through countless rental listings to no avail.

But last week I visited several condos for sale instead. I found one I really liked and, well, I bought it!

While the buying process has several more weeks--and steps to go, the initial contracts were signed over the weekend.

If the loan comes through, I should be good to go.

It's a one-bedroom in the same neighborhood I'm in now. Fully renovated with hardwood floors and the loveliest views of the lake.

The best part is the monthly mortgage payment (including taxes and fees) comes close to what I'm paying now each month in rent for my current studio.

It's all so sudden and scary and exciting at the same time.

I love how my landlord refusing to clean the radiators led to me finding something much better. I went from being frustrated and angry at the situation, then fearful, to now feeling empowered and free.

By the end of next month I'll be a property owner. Me! How cool is that!!

The lyrics to this classic TV show are exactly how I feel right now.

Perhaps this is so significant because buying a condo on a whim is so unlike me. Normally I take very safe, calculated risks...if at all. Maybe it was like me all along, I just never knew it until now.

How fitting to share this news on our nation's day of independence.

Happy 4th of July, everyone!! Here's to freedom!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

"You'll just have to live with it."

I didn't expect to have this news so early on when I just signed my lease late last year.

I'm going to have to find a new place to live! 

It all started last month when my building shut the heat off for the year. It seemed the airflow change caused a lot of loose dust particles to kick up into the air. So much so, that my throat felt like it was closing up when I tried sleeping at night. 

It was coming from the radiators, so I vacuumed and wiped down its coils. Chunks of dust came out and there was black soot throughout its metal undersides. 

I've always had a hard time breathing in my apartment but just shrugged it off as me living in an old building. 

Some of my houseplants sitting on the radiator covers. 

The radiators are enclosed in a metal box...which is sealed shut. I had no way of cleaning them from the inside where a lot of dust and debris could still be seen remaining. 

I called my landlord and informed her of the situation. Long story short, she said nothing was wrong and that it'd be too expensive to have the radiators cleaned. 

"You'll just have to live with it," she told me. 


Then she said, "You sound really unhappy now. Just let me know because I can rent that unit within a week." 

At that point, I no longer felt comfortable and decided it's best to cut my losses and find someplace else. 

My lease is up in September anyway. 

It's just very disappointing and saddening to have to move so soon. 

A part of me feels like I failed. That I couldn't make my first time living on my own work. 

I'm also afraid I won't find something comparable for the price. I may have to lower my standard of living (not counting the breathing issue) if I want to live in the same area. 

In about two months, I'll have to pack up everything and start again. 

I pray to God come this September, I'm living someplace safe, affordable, and where I can enjoy myself in.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Two-weeks notice…almost!

The letter was carefully typed and phrased as professionally as possible. I thanked the crafts store for the opportunity but told them it was time for me to finally move on. 

It was my two-weeks notice!

When I got to work that morning, I didn't have the heart to give my resignation letter.

Our store manager of three years got transferred to another location last month. The replacement store manager is relatively new and the assistant store manager (whom I really enjoy working with) joined our team last year. 

I didn't want to leave them both hanging. The girl covering my position during the week is on medical leave until the summer. 


I told the new store manager I intended to leave last year when I got the call center (university) job but ended up staying (something always seemed to come up). The new store manager understood and said he'd start looking for my replacement so that I could be "set free". 

While I'll be sad to leave my coworkers, it would be nice--no wonderful--to have my weekends completely free (I've worked just about every Sunday for almost six years). 

Come this July, I should be done with the arts-and-crafts store once and for all!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Finally adv. After considerable delay; eventually; at last.

I went home to be with my family over the weekend for my birthday.

Look what was waiting for me when I returned back to my apartment...

A bouquet of flowers. From. A. Man.

Can I get a "finally!" up in here?


I have waited years for this (and this and this and this and this
and this and this and this and this and this and this and this).

This is the first time a man has gotten me flowers. Ever.

Love those masculine blues and gentle whites.

Flowers can turn your day around and make you feel special...and loved.

Finally a man that gets it.

Thank you for the beautiful bouquet, chapin.

Until we (finally) meet again.....