----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: October 2007

The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Well, we didn't get any trick-or-treaters, but at least we had cute pumpkins!

Why I Am Ashamed to Be a Realtor

Really, there are many reasons to be ashamed to be a Realtor right now. Most Realtors are undereducated and not particularly good at their jobs. In fact, in a survey of public trust, Realtors ranked right down there with used-car salespeople. And that's why I don't really work as a Realtor anymore. (Well, that and the fact that after my one big sale, I wasn't making any money.)

But here's yet another reason to be ashamed of Realtors. This was the headline of an email from the Pacific West Association of Realtors that showed up in my inbox recently:

"Your invited to participate in the Swinging for Education Golf Tournament"

I especially like the fact that the glaring grammatical error comes in a pitch for a fundraiser for education. Nice!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My Positive Attitude Has Left the Building

So, I've been working part-time for this company, and it's been really great. The work has been sort of boring, but it hasn't been overly challenging, and the pay has been amazing. Best of all, it gave me the chance to pursue some of my other interests. I have been in a wonderful, encouraging writing class, and I've written three solid chapters of my novel.

But all good things must come to an end. My part-time contract was up, and I was offered a full-time job with the company. "But wait," you might say. "Isn't that good news?" No, not exactly. You see, I'll be making roughly the same amount of money as a full-timer that I was making as a part-timer. Twice as many hours for the same pay! What fun! However, I had resigned myself to that fact, because the pay is still pretty good, and hey, everyone has to work, right?

Now, however, I am learning more about my new job responsibilities, and I am less than thrilled. One of my big jobs is going to be (drumroll, please!) UPDATING A SPREADSHEET! Yes, folks, that's right...I get to use my writing skills to change the phone numbers in an Excel document!

This is even more exciting, though. I get to go to a seminar on--wait for it--direct mail! (You may know it as junk mail--the stuff you throw out or put through the shredder without even opening.) I don't know what I should be looking forward to more: the discussion about "The Future of Intelligent Mail," or "The Response Optimization Guide and ROI Calculator."

Okay, end of rant. I will try not to complain too much. We need the money. We need the money. We need the money. Not everyone can be as lucky as my dear husband Mr. Pink, who has a job he actually likes! And eventually, I will finish my novel and sell it (fingers crossed) and then I will no longer need to live in a cube farm, where people get excited about innovations in mailing envelopes.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Did You Miss Me?

My life went a little crazy back in September, which is why there has been a dearth of posts. But things are settling down a bit, so I will try to post more regularly.

Here's what happened: In mid-September, our landlord told us that he was planning to sell the condo that we were renting. He offered to "let" us buy it, but since the real estate market is tanking here in Southern California, and since we didn't think this cramped, 900-sq.-ft. place with no washer or dryer was worth the $410,000 he wanted for it, we decided to take a pass. Now, I lived in my parents' home while it was on the market, and I know that it is no fun to live in a place while it's for sale. You've got to keep it clean all the time, and you have no idea what sort of strangers might be trooping though and rifling through your personal belongings. So, we had to find a new place in short order. (Oh, and for the record, our landlord's condo has been on the market for about 15 days, and he's already dropped the price by $10,000. Maybe if he were to drop it by $200,000, we'd be interested.)

Luckily, we found a new place very quickly, and we signed a year lease. It's only two miles from our old place, and it is much, much nicer. We have about 300 more square feet, and now we have our own washer and dryer. We also have a very roomy two-car garage, plus two patios--one off the living room and one off the master bedroom. For all this, we only pay $75 more a month than we were paying!

Unluckily, the move was highly stressful. Mrs. Blacklabel, my mother-in-law, came out to help us pack, which was a huge help. I don't know how we would have done it otherwise. Then we rented a huge U-Haul one day to bring all of the furniture over, and Mr. Pink got some friends to help. But then the rest of the move was all up to me. I packed up all the books. I packed up the office. I schlepped over all of the clothes (okay, so they were mostly my clothes). I gathered up the bathroom supplies. And then I unpacked it all at the new place. I spent four to five hours a day doing all of this, and it was exhausting.

Once we finally got settled, we were off to Hawaii for a retirement/anniversary/birthday party for Mr. Blacklabel. We had a fabulous time, and we got to celebrate our third wedding anniversary in paradise at Roy's, one of my favorite restaurants. There was also a big party on Wednesday night, and we all got to drink tropical drinks out of pineapples. Very festive.

Mr. Pink had to leave Hawaii early to fly to Thailand for business, but I got to stay a few more days and lounge around and soak up the sun. But now it is back to the grind. Well, vacation was fun while it lasted!