Friday, June 12, 2009

Real Estate blogging

One of the foremost industries (and thus problems) in Arizona is real estate. When the bubble was big, our economy was booming. Construction, resale, renovation, improvement, retail (for all those needs for the home) -- everything benefitted. But when the bubble burst, so did a lot of our economy. Nothing surprising there. But a good place to keep up with the reality of all of this is the ASU site for real estate statistics. There is an unemotional picture there of the real estate market and while I don't think this economy should ever depend on one industry (it's like farming one crop: if there's a die-off, then you're out of business and out of food), real estate is always going to be a big part of this state. Thus, this link is a good place to go: ASU's real estate statistics site.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

No job, no income, lots of depression

Well, I got the bad news today that one of the schools where I was among the top 3 candidates did not hire me. What high school, given the chance to have a Ph.D. teaching for them, would turn that down? Especially knowing that I really wanted the job, was excited at the thought of teaching. I just feel crushed, I have to say. I know I have to move on and keep applying for jobs but it is very difficult.

I suppose I should just keep working on my freelance writing and editing and go back to writing fiction as well. Right now, frankly, I want to curl up in a ball and just not get out of a fetal position for several days. Add to that the fact that I just came back from 2 hours at a Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant where I took my five year old daughter to her friend's birthday party, as well as my other two kids (10 and 7) and had to listen to blaring hip hop music shown on screen with cartoon characters. Ugh. I have the headache from hell. Thankfully, several of my adult friends were there and everyone has the same headache. Makes it more bearable.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Uh oh, emotional cliff ahead

Well, I've begun to have those debilitating cries (wild sobs of despair) and thoughts of self doubt (my husband can't respect who I am or what I do and thus, maybe, just maybe, I am not worth anything, Ph.D. isn't worth anything, teaching is not important, etc.). Don't believe it, don't believe it, don't believe it, I just keep telling myself. Instead of anger, though, I'm upset. I'm hurt. I don't know what I want. Maybe I should just tell him to f... off and not come home. He says that's what he would do if roles were reversed. That's a way of saying to me there is no respect there.

I am hurting so badly. I want to write fiction again, I want to work on the novel, fill the hole with writing but can't. Can't focus on my characters (they are all just shadows now, the two brothers, the father, the woman. Just empty caricatures of what they were when I first started to hear them in my head years ago). Even poetry seems too unfocused now, too blatantly emotional without substance or solidity. How can you write without discipline? How can you write without hearing the voices or the words themselves?

Need to go cry again. I need to cry for me. As much as I need to. I need to get angry and I will. But I need to cry. Can't just accept everything and take it and hold it in. That isn't good for anyone: the kids or me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Trying to stay afloat in a sinking economy

It is not easy, of course, to try and keep one's spirits up when you've been a) out of work for 8 weeks, and b) starting to have to tap into your severance pay, and c) worried about the mortgage, how long your family will be able to stay in your house, etc. I know there are plenty of people in this situation but it does seem to me that our situation is unnecessary. We could have managed it better from not taking the Option Arm mortgage last year to saving more money and on and on.

Emotionally -- I'm fragile but surviving. I wonder if I could fall over the edge (I can see it just ahead, a big, steep cliff of depression and despair) but I try not to think about it and most of the time I am not near it or at least not heading in its general direction.

Teaching -- I really want to teach. I really want the job I have an interview for tomorrow (2nd interview). Will update when I know something.

Thank goodness for friends. I don't even have to call; I know they're there if I need them. So far, thank goodness also for the fact that I have learned to rely on and trust myself. Not isolated but comfortable with myself and knowing how to take care of me. It is a solid feeling.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Take a look at this

This is Robert Reich's article, posted on his blog today (April 6, 2009) ( . It deals with hedge fund managers and the economy crisis and the bailout, etc. This is worth reading and sharing with everyone.

Another good source for information on the economy, learning about what is going on, and starting to actually do something about it (as ordinary citizens rather than those in power): William Greider's new book, Come Home America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of our Country). He did a really good job talking about it both with Bill Moyers a couple of weeks ago (see and he talked to Diane Rehm on NPR this morning, April 8 (find it here:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

To politic or not to politic, that is the question

Whether 'tis better to work within the system and "take over" your political party from within to change it or whether it is better to change it from the outside.

I actually am thinking about getting back involved in Democratic politics in Arizona (which is akin here to trying to find an illusory oasis in the truly barren desert). I have the time. The problem is twofold: if I spend too much time I won't have time to actually make money, which we need desperately (the conundrum there is that if the Republicans run things too much longer here, I'll never make money anyway). The other "fold," if you will, is that I'm not sure that I can get in there and actually do any good or if the party here is progressive at all.

On another front, I had always wanted to write a scholarly book about paradox (for me, primarily in literature) but never got the opportunity because I never got that wished-for tenure track job. And then, in a little posting I got in email today, I saw this:

"If it’s not paradoxical, it’s not true."
Shunryu Suzuki
It certainly opened up the desire to write that non-fiction/scholarly book again as well as fiction. I have always seen the truth, indeed the entire world of possibility as well as truth, contained in paradox (it is not a dilemma to be resolved; it is to be accepted as true. This is the difficult concept for Western minds to grasp).

Monday, March 30, 2009

Getting through, getting by

Made it through a Monday mostly by doing "busy" work like taking care of what little financial business I have left -- 401k to be specific, which is very little, unfortunately.

Really worried about not having a job, more specifically not having an income. I always have "work" to do and I always have writing to do but I have no paycheck from these things. And while there is reward and "calling" (vocation), with three children and a house, there is a pressing need for money as well.

Monday panic

Okay, now I am panicking because I can see out ahead without a job. And the more I read about our economy and the more I look at the bad mortgage we have and the real lack of caring about what happens to "ordinary" people in this economy, the more frightened and panicky I become.

How will we be able to live on a teacher's salary? If I can get a teaching job, that is. My husband has a good job and makes good money but a teacher's salary is not very good and will not really add a huge amount.

Positive aspects: everyone you talk to has a story and if you tell people, just people you know everyday, that you've lost your job, they have things to tell you if you can listen. It may not make a difference in the short term but there may be connections to be made or just lessons learned from the stories. And as a writer, just hearing the stories are important.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

First Sunday with no job coming up on Monday

Tomorrow will be the first Monday morning in 9 years that I am without a job. Very odd indeed. I am obviously not alone in this economy and by far, I am not the worst off of people who have lost their jobs. I can teach part time, I can do freelance writing and editing, my husband is working and we still have our health insurance through him. We do need my income; I can't think of any middle- or working-class family that doesn't need two incomes these days (sad; I remember my parents were able to raise me on one income and my mom could do lots of volunteering at my school and working in politics, etc.). And I will have to figure out how to replace a fairly decent income in a not very decent economy. But there is also a kind of exhilaration: I can go back to teaching, I can start a new career, I can do more of what I want to do, there are new paths opening up to me.

Maybe it's crazy but when something like this happens, it does force you to be creative. And I am lucky enough that I don't have to take the first job that comes along or do something like flip burgers so I can avoid being homeless. That is a blessing that other people do not have in this economy. My desire would be that all people have this chance: if they are fired or laid off, they can have that second chance (or third or fourth) at doing something they love and not being scared that they will lose their homes or won't be able to feed themselves or their children.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

In the middle of Earth Hour

I'm in the middle of Earth Hour but writing this on batteries (switching back to AC at 9:30). How peaceful and quiet it is. I got my children to participate although they're not used to all the quiet (no TV, no radio, no lights -- only candles and flashlights).

This should be something we all do more often. We in the U.S. waste so much energy with useless pursuits. We could move a little more slowly and own a little less and consequently waste a lot less and save the earth a lot more.

Earth Hour 2009

I'm looking forward to turning off my computer, my lights, the tv, and getting my kids (at least the two older ones, 7 and 10, to just hang out for an hour. There are flashlights so the kids can keep building with Lego or read if they want. And I am going to sit by candlelight and meditate and try to flush out the bitterness left from being summarily fired from my job of 9 years 3 days ago.

I think we need Earth Hour once a month at least! More dark and peace and quiet instead of 24 hour activity (like some wound up manic depressive in the midst of a high cycle). In the U.S., it seems like our entire culture has become manic-depressive.

I may pull out my electric plug and try to blog a bit on just batteries. Or not. Turning off the computer -- what a novel and wonderful idea!