Monthly Archives: June 2014

Weekly Update #30

This week, I shook things up a bit. I actually did things outside of work and hanging out with my boyfriend! Crazy, I know, right?

I’ve been getting pulled here and there for little tasks to assist my TL. I’m taking this as a good sign that hopefully in the near future I will be given more responsibility and more time off of the phones. I would very much like to be off of the phones. End goal in working in the call center is to get off the phones.

On Wednesday, me, my family, and M got together for a combined birthday dinner for me and my mother. Our birthdays are a week apart. We ended up going to Red Robin and because M kindly drove, I was able to have a couple of Orange Blitzes. They taste like liquid creamsicles and are gloriously alcoholic. Kate got a little buzzed. It was pretty sweet.

Then, on Saturday night, a bunch of us from work went out to Buffalo Wild Wings. Since some of us didn’t get off until 11:00, we didn’t meet up until 11:30. Which is actually pretty late for me. I’m usually asleep, or at the very least in bed, by 10:00. But it was nice to go out with friends since M was spending time with his family since he took overtime on his birthday this week.

Today, we celebrated M’s birthday by going to lunch with his family, then spent some time wandering around the local mall until it was time for the weekly tabletop gaming session. Which is actually where I am now, waiting for everyone to get here and/or update character sheets.

Looks like we’re getting ready to start. I’ll have to end it here, dear readers. Check back on Tuesday for some character development fun!

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Pinterest Project: Reed Diffuser

For this week’s Pinterest Project, I decided I was finally gonna make that reed diffuser I’ve been meaning to make for nearly a year now.  I had everything but the reeds – which I finally bought at Michael’s a couple of weeks ago – and the actual mixture to put in the diffuser.

After some extensive research, I found a nice, cheap way of creating the scent mixture.  Through Pinterest, I found this blog tutorial about using vodka instead of oil as the base.  And then, in the comments, I saw someone had said they use rubbing alcohol and water as the base.  $2 for a bottle of rubbing alcohol or $12 for a small bottle of vodka that would just sit, undrunk, for months and months?  Yeah, with student loans breathing down my neck, I opted for the cheap route.

Reed Diffuser1

Things you’ll need

  • A container of some kind.  Glass or ceramic would work best, whether it’s a vase or a bottle I bought at Goodwill for $0.50.  If you go with ceramics, make sure it’s glazed inside so it doesn’t leak.  A container with a narrow opening is better, as the mixture won’t evaporate as quickly.
  • Essential oils.  Or, if you’re lazy like me, I just bought a bottle of scents used in soaps and lotions, as found at (you guessed it) Michael’s.  I don’t know if it really makes a difference.
  • Mineral or baby oil as a base.  I also see sweet almond oil or safflower oil as greener alternatives.  Another option – the option I went with – is to use alcohol and water as a base.  Vodka is the go-to alcohol I’ve seen around the internet, but again, I used rubbing alcohol at 91%.
  • Reeds or bamboo skewers.  If you’re using skewers, make sure to trip the sharp tips off so no one (like nosey felines) gets hurt.
  • A funnel if your container has a really small opening.

Reed Diffuser4

Instructions

  1. With an oil base, use a mix of 30% essential oil to 70% base oil.  Or see what ration works best for you.  Experimentation is fun!
  2. Using the alcohol/water base,  add 12-15 drops of essential oil in 1/4 cup of water with a splash of alcohol to help bind the oil to the water.  I put too much alcohol in my mix initially and ended up adding more oil to balance out the alcohol smell.  Again, this is more of a personal preference thing, so use however much scent oil you like.
  3. Pour the mixture into the container.  This is where the funnel comes in handy.
  4. Place the reeds into the container and let them absorb the mixture.  Once they’re saturated, flip them around so you can smell your concoction right away!
  5. Decorate as desired.  I used washi tape to make my bottle look a little less plain.  Place in an area where it’s proudly displayed.  Or, if you’re in my situation, place it up and out of the reach of curious kitty paws.

Has anyone else made their own reed diffusers?  Do you use oil or vodka?  Have you used rubbing alcohol?  Let me know in the comments, dear readers!

Character Project

For the next month or so, I’m going to try a little experiment. I know I can write short stories , no problem. The shorter the better, in fact. Point proven by my relatively popular In A Hundred Words posts.

Writing such short stories has dulled my ability to create in-depth plots and has severely hindered my skill in developing interesting characters. So I’m going to challenge myself. I am going to use my love of short stories to develop a character or two.

Usually, my In A Hundred Words posts are inspired by a random first line generator I found here. I take that first line and run with it wherever my mind takes me.  What I’m going to do now is change out every other In A Hundred Words post with some character development worksheets I found online. Then I’ll use the characters created to fill in for random “he & she” placeholders in my short stories.

It should be a challenge to expand my usual writing to something that spans more than one short story.  One of my ultimate goals is to write a novel, and writing nothing but 100 word stories isn’t really leading up to a novel.  So stay tuned over the next month or so to see where this little experiment takes us, dear readers!

In A Hundred Words

His fingers traced circles softly over her skin. She shifted under his hands, soft moans escaping her mouth. His touch was like fire on her skin.

Roaming over her body, he caressed her. Kissed her. Each touch eliciting a request for more. He loved the way he could read her body and write his own story on her pages.

She couldn’t take it anymore. She pushed him over, onto his back. Straddling his hips, she leaned forward, enjoying the feeling of his hands sliding up her body.

Gently, softly, she kissed his ear. “I want you,” she whispered.

He obliged.

Weekly Update #29

I know, I know, I was supposed to be posting steadily every week now. I have a blog planner and everything. I even got a lovely iPad mini for my birthday to make it easier for me to keep up with the posts.

Life happened, as life tends to. I fell off my usual schedule, fell off of writing my posts ahead of time. It was my birthday on Monday. I’m now 26! M was pretty sick for a few days before he finally went to the doctor and got some antibiotics. Yesterday was our six month anniversary.

But I’m getting back on track. Can’t beat myself every time I make a mistake or don’t quite follow through on my plans. As long as I keep taking steps towards my goals, that’s all I can do. Even if those steps get off track sometimes.

Let’s see… I’m writing this post on my new iPad. I’m kind of in love with it. I used to do most of my writing on an Acer net book, but that particular machine was a bit slow for my tastes. This iPad is so much quicker and lighter to carry around and it’s just a delight to use for blogging.

Look forward to this week for a few changes to the posting schedule. I’m going to try a new writing project. Should be a fun little experiment. Until then, dear readers.

Weekly Update #28

This week has been the same as pretty much every other week has been.  Work, work, and work.  Spending my free time with M.

On Wednesday, we took my parents out to dinner.  We went to a Mexican restaurant by the name of Azteca.  It was actually a really nice time.  We’d been out with M’s parents several times, so it was nice to catch up with my parents; have M get some face time with them.  I’m not really a huge family kind of person – I mean, I love my family, don’t get me wrong – but compared to M, I don’t have that strong of a connection with them.  I think it really comes from the military life M and his family had.  Moving around a lot like that really pulled them all closer together.  Where as with my family, while we did move around a little bit, we didn’t really bond quite that strongly.  I’ll always be there for my family when they need me, but I’m not really compelled to spend that much time with them.

Tomorrow is my 26th birthday.  I have the day off work (thank you, paid time off!), and M took the day off, too.  The plan was to be able to spend two whole days together (we have Sundays off, too).  Well, the plan was to do things for Father’s Day with our respective fathers, but that all kinda went down the drain when M’s cold or virus or whatever kind of disease he has caught up with him and made him very sick all day.  At the rate my poor M was throwing up, I doubt we’ll be able to spend much time together tomorrow, either.  He’s finally going to see a doctor, so hopefully he’ll get his health straightened out.

At least my dad had a nice Father’s Day.  My brother and I were able to be home and have dinner together as a family.  Dad was recently in the hospital (he’s fine now, it was just a bit of an issue with his heart), so it was nice to be able to have everyone together.  I know my dad appreciated it, and that’s what really matters.

In other news, my parents put down a chunk of money towards an iPad for my birthday.  I got the last part of my signing bonus on this last paycheck, too, so it really was a happy birthday for me!  Well, at least so far.  I still have all of tomorrow for my birthday to get even better.  My lovely, amazing boyfriend got me Japanese versions of Red, Blue, Yellow, Crystal, the TCG and Green!  Those are Pokemon games, if you weren’t aware, dear readers.  It’s a really thoughtful and sweet gift, especially because M knew I had copies of most of those games, but they got stolen when my apartment was robbed a couple of years ago.

And now, as a continuation of my birthday celebration, I think I’m going to play some Borderlands.  I haven’t sat down and had myself a good gaming session outside of Pokemon Y, and I’m long overdue.  Cuddle up with the kittens in my chair and shoot the living shit out of some skags.

Pinterest Project: Cross Stitch Diamond Arrowhead

This week’s Pinterest Project didn’t really come directly from Pinterest, but rather was inspired by an image I found while browsing Pinterest.

I am a cross stitcher.  I picked up the needle about a year and a half ago and haven’t looked back.  Most of my stitches I find either free around the internets or buy off of various etsy stores.  But this one that I’m sharing today, I actually created myself.  It’s based off of this image I found on Pinterest that ended up linking back to a tumblr site.  I really don’t know who the artist is; if you do, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

DSC_0091I’ve never actually made my own pattern before.  The finished product doesn’t quite follow what I plotted out on the graph paper.

DSC_0085I also decided to not do the drop coming off the arrow.  I didn’t like the way it looked when I tried stitching it, so I just removed it.  It left my finished product off center since I used a smaller, scrap-ish piece of aida cloth.

DSC_0089DSC_0087The thread I used is actually multi-colored, so it was basically one strand that changes from red to pink to teal to dark teal.  Looks really cool, right?  I got it at Christmas in a huge pack of a bunch of different and fun colored floss.  My mom always knows just what to get me!

DSC_0092As soon as I have the extra money to, I’m buying a pattern-making program I can use on my Mac.  And as soon as I do that, I’ll make a PDF of this pattern for those of you looking to try your hand at it.  Keep an eye on Day Old Sushi for that in the next couple of weeks!

Introvert In A Call Center Part 2

It’s time for a topic revisit from when I first started working at a call center.  If you recall from part 1 of this topic, I was having a hard time coping with literally being paid to be social for 8 hours a day and needing time to myself, as an introvert.  I’m back for part 2 now to let you all, my dear readers, know how I’ve been handling a job where all I do is talk on the phone all day.

The first thing I had to learn and take to heart is that I cannot internalize things the callers say to me or even the things they call me.  For example, just last week I had a caller who called me a fucking moron because I told her she did not have a Medicare account with us.  The call didn’t last much longer than that, but it was upsetting.  Even when I’ve had to deal with people like that day in and day out, it will always be upsetting.  But you know what?  I had to deal with that entitled asshole of a customer for less than 10 minutes.  She has to deal with her insurance issues for hours, days, and hopefully even weeks.  She’s not worth my time outside of work to worry about.

The trick is, when you get a call that upsets you, it’s totally fine to take a minute or two after the call and take a few deep breaths.  Take a long swig of water or soda or coffee or whatever it is you drink.  Go take a bathroom break, even if all you do is get away from the phone for a few minutes.  If someone calls you out on it, all you have to do is say you had a bad call.  I promise, everyone who has ever worked at a call center will understand and let you take a couple of moments to calm down and let it go.

The other side of the coin is that you need to take the kind things customers say to heart.  If someone is thanking you for helping them, even if all you did was click a few buttons and get their medication refilled, they are being sincere.  It may not seem like a big deal to you, but sharing that one little piece of information like that they can get up to a 14 day supply at the local pharmacy while waiting for their 90 day supply through the mail order pharmacy can make someone’s day, even their week.

Yes, more often than not, you’ll get calls where the caller won’t even realize they’re yelling at a real person, but those calls were the caller realizes it and then goes a step farther by acknowledging the fact that you are indeed a human being are going to make the job bearable.

If you’re worried about the physical act of having to answer the phone every time it rings, the whole process does become automatic.  Also, you don’t even physically answer the phones, the call just sort of comes in.  No real way to avoid it.  At my job, it’s this little beep-beep and then we’re on with our “Thank you for calling.  This is Kate.  How can I help you?”  It gets easier and easier the more you repeat the process.  I’ve been at my job for 8 months now, and each time I take a call, I begin automatically.  In fact, I move through the majority of my calls pretty much on autopilot.

Working at a job where all you do is talk on the phones, making and taking phone calls outside of work becomes even more of a daunting task.  It is nice, though, when you can relate to the person answering the phone at your bank or when you call the electric company.  It makes those calls seem less like you’re talking to some stranger and more like you’re talking to a comrade-in-arms (because, let’s face it, it’s a war on those phones – fighting customers who think they’re right but aren’t, trying to help those that have been wronged by the system, and moving through the seemingly constant verbal barrage of insults and complaints).

You’re friends, family, and loved ones will at least attempt to understand you need a good hour or more of silence or minimal conversation upon arriving home.  I’m lucky my boyfriend works in the same call center I do.  We have a mutual understanding that the drive home will only consist of very basic “what do you want for dinners” and whatever music is playing on the radio.  You may need to explain to family or roommates once or twice that all you do all day is talk, you need time to not talk.  And I mean that – you need physical time to rest your vocal chords.  You will get sore throat after sore throat and loose your voice on a monthly, even weekly basis.  Once whoever you live with sees the physical side effects of literally talking for 8 hours straight, they’ll let you rest up your voice a bit before asking again how your day was and the like.

So far, being an introvert at a call center isn’t an impossible thing to do.  It does just take some time to get used to it all and to learn coping mechanisms for dealing with the constant socialization.  Expect more posts on the topic as I learn more about it through first hand experience.

In A Hundred Words

I knew what I’d done as soon as the door closed. I heard the soft click of a lock sliding into place. I heard the soft intake of breath and the shaky exhale of her trying to be strong. She knew I was still standing there, just on the other side of a plank of wood.

I reached out and rested my palm on the door, in the spot I thought hers was.

Silence for long moments.

Then the click of her heels on the hardwood floor as she moved away from the door. Away from me. Away from us.

Weekly Update #27

Another week gone by,  another weekly update post.  This week was the same as most weeks.  Work, work, and more work.

I’ve been really grumpy lately for no reason I can really figure out.  I get really irritated really easily over the smallest things.  I don’t know if I’m just getting burnt out on work or what.  But in a few weeks, I have an extra day off – I got PTO for my birthday.  It’ll be a nice little break, and hopefully I’ll have enough PTO soon to take a whole week off.  That’ll be nice.

It may help that I had myself a nice cry today.  My friend and I went to go see The Fault In Our Stars.  She originally lent me the book, so it was only natural that we went  together.  All the tissues in the world would not have been enough for all the tears that we shed between us.    If you’ve read the book, or are fond of crying for basically two and a half hours straight, then I would definitely recommend TFIOS.

Sorry, my lovely readers, that this post is getting up so late.  Since I’ve gotten home from the movie, all M and I have done is marathon Orange Is The New Black.  Like I’m sure most of you know, Season Two is out on Netflix.  I’ve watched the first two episodes, and now I’m getting M into the show.  We’re marathoning Season One as I type this.  I don’t think we’re going to get a whole lot of sleep tonight.  Netflix always sucks us in.