aesmael: (probably quantum)
LiveJournal and Dreamwidth are so desolate, I think I have seen more than one person refer to them as ghost towns. Even though I have contributed to this by having so little to say for so long, and not saying what there was of it here, I'm not happy about this. The two of them are to my mind the best-structured of any sites I have tried which might bear the label 'social network'.

Flaws, sure. But at least they are structured in a way that supports blogging or journalling and gives me some control of what happens to the post afterward and who can access it. Even though I mostly only post public anyway.

I have decided therefore to go all cargo cult about this. If I post more, talk more about what is going on in my life and thoughts, then I can pretend to myself this will have some sort of encouraging effect on the wider internet and these sites could live again.

This is an excellent plan.

aesmael: (probably quantum)
Quiet day of work, probably just as well for my still-recovering self. Also my still-recovering voice, which I seem to have damaged yesterday afternoon in a protracted period of coughing and hacking. Nearly called in sick again but the voice was pretty much the only problem and I practised talking in the morning to make sure I could actually do my job. Did have to convince my co-workers I was mostly recovered and the dread sound of my speech were mainly an artefact of damage than illness per se.

One patron asked if we had a particular book which has had a bit of recent notoriety, something he had heard was a bucket list kind of read. I tracked i down for him while he went off to browse other stuff - others had recently asked about it so I knew there was a copy around, just had to find the exact title which neither of us could remember off-hand. When I saw him later I said there is indeed a copy in the system but it is on loan currently and would he like to place it on hold? But he declined, as he was going in for heart surgery soon and did not know when he would be able to get back in to pick the book up.

I read into that a bit of what I felt to be understandable fear that this forthcoming operation would be the end of him and some desire to get in what classic stories could be got first. But of course this impression may have far more to do with me as a brief stranger in this person's life and how I see things than any actual insight into the person. I think it's important for me to remember that.

He also seemed to get frustrated having some difficulty navigating the self-checkout system which I attempted to guide him through - clearly had used it before, but was attempting to do different from usual things with it. Contrasting what I said just above, this prompted me to consider that people's frustrations might not have so much to do with me as something like annoyance with themselves for having difficulty with someone they don't think they should be having difficulty with, or some other pressure in their life. Certainly I've felt those things enough myself yet I don't so easily remember other people might be feeling similar things.

And of course there is always so far room for improvement in my own handling of interactions. Details to wonder if I could have said this or that, or framed the other thing in a different way.

The previous post I typed up using RedNotebook, journaling software I originally installed via PortableApps as a means of taking down notes and musings while I worked on my assignments this past semester. That experience led me to think RedNotebook would be useful for actual diarying and then if I liked the result I could just copy and paste the results as a substitute for blogging.

Although, not these words which I am instead typing as a post on Dreamwidth. And with its calendrical structure it would not be suitable for accumulating notes to refer to in an ongoing way instead of the thought-clearing sort of doodling I was doing previously. Well I've seen some hints it can be customised for other uses but nothing to convince me I should attempt that over other more-favourable tools.
aesmael: (haircut)
Read some more of A Game of Thrones this morning, very much getting back into that story again and enjoying it. Likewise getting more into and enjoying Sailor Moon, and the contrast between those two stories.

Have been enjoying, also, taking some quiet time to make notes on what I am reading and how that encourages me to reflect on the stories as they go. In light of how this adds to my appreciation of what I read and brings pleasure in itself, am more firmly resolved to continue doing so despite my recent worries that no one else reads or cares about those entries. This is my diary, so to speak, and so long as I am pleased with it that should be good enough for now.

I think I may have overexerted myself by working yesterday. Been feeling a bit sicker again today so I have resumed symptom-alleviating medication to compensate, though I am still past what felt like the serious phase of it. Also, lots of tea courtesy of the staff kitchen. Have decided I perhaps like unsweetened black tea and am taking time to savour its flavour. Hopefully I shall be completely recovered, so that I can sleep more easily and this lingering fuzzy-headedness will no longer interfere with most anything I attempt to do.

Previously I managed to forget to mention that on the Tuesday evening when I succumbed to this illness I also gained one flat tyre[1]. That had not previously happened to me so I did not initially recognise the occasion, never mind that I can be spectacularly unobservant at times. The nearest moment I can think of was when I changed lanes around a cyclist and misjudged a change of gears, as happens occasionally (I want to attribute this one to falling under the weather). Shortly after that it seemed as if a patch of familiar road was uncharacteristically rough, but after that I was on the motorway and at high speed everything seemed fine. Only when I exited the motorway did the rough shakingness return and I began to worry I had somehow damaged the functioning of the car, as I always fear at the back of my mind whenever I do make such an error with the gears.

Having come to such a grim and expensive conclusion, I even managed to fill the tank with petrol without noticing the flat. My  family went out and looked and informed me in the evening of the flat after I got back, though I like to believe that had they not done so I would have seen it for myself in the light of the following day.

Currently running on the spare until a replacement can be obtained, which necessitates taking slower and more complex routes in the meanwhile. Not fun with poor sleep and lingering sickness clouding my wits at the moment. But at least I now have experience recognising and changing flats, and recognising tyres in danger so I'm better equipped to travel into the future.

I'm also feeling much better for finding and taking some quiet time in which to write all this out. It forces me to realise how much I have missed blogging type activities and how much I might need to cut down on social media type activities to be able to return to this. I think doing so will be difficult; as the name implies I get a lot of socialisation from social media and I feel a bit of guilt at potentially withdrawing further from the friendships and associations I have developed there.

In truth I have already done so to a degree over the past several months for both emotional and practical reasons. But my current habits are still not well-aligned with the sorts of thinking and speaking I have been missing and it is very easy to default back to especially twitter as a ready source of stimulus for any moment of boredom. I do not know what would be best to do; I aim to try different things at least until I find myself more pleased with my being than I am now.

[1] Previously been referring to this as 'blown out', but have just looked up the term and discovered I was incorrect to do so.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Yesterday's progress: not written. Did, while cleaning up my desk in search of my camera, uncover my course transcripts which I had been looking for the day before. Those are slightly essential for actually getting work and had been intended as a rather important basis for my big cover letter project mentioned last time. Now safely stored where they should have been all along.

Today procrastinated - had appointment with case manager, except she wasn't in today. Her substitute gave me some good leads for bookshops in suburbs I don't normally visit, which I shall have to follow up on soon. Called and confirmed my intention to be at farewell event for the toy librarian next week.

Also called up the university I previously attended to find out if I would be able to go back and finish my course of study. It does not look good. Confirmed that they offer nothing equivalent to the degree I was studying for a few years ago. I could get a science major in geology or biology or climate change, but the university no longer offers astronomy, physics or chemistry.

The verdict I got is I will need to enrol with them again to find out anything further, such as how much academic credit I get with them for units already studied, and I suppose my best hope is that they will be able to make some special case for me. Otherwise instead of being one unit short of a degree I'll be back to several years short of one.

Don't know what to do in that case, but it's probably very expensive.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

I've been worrying a lot lately, for values of lately that include the past 4-5 years. Trying to do the sensible grown-up thing and get a job, to prove to future prospective employers I can hold a job, to obtain educational certification that I am someone capable of doing what employers want. My goal is to be able to move in with my loved ones and also be a financial benefit to them rather than a drain.

So far it is not going well. Three years looking for work, two of them with a fresh diploma proving I am capable of all sorts of things employers presumably like, and about half a year of actually working for people in a volunteer or trainee capacity, and still haven't ever been actually paid for work. It's upsetting, I shouldn't dwell on it. I expect I am doing something wrong, like not trying hard enough or looking in the wrong places.

My watchword continues to be diligence. I realise I can't expect to be 'on' all the time, to always be taking some productive step toward my 'sensible grown-up' goals, nor even to my more appealing creative ones, and that I need to allow for having fun so that I don't either burn out or not get anything done. I harp on to myself about it, but so far I am not very good at it despite having created semi-structured time in my life to work on that balance. At least I can keep feeling like I am getting better at it, and just never reaching my ideal, rather than slowly slipping into a pit of failure like job-hunting feels.

Probably, reporting on how I am going at this balance thing, how well I am managing to both make progress toward important goals and to not either burn myself out with nothing else or to slip off into frivolous time-wasting would help. And help again my goal of writing more online again by having something to talk about as a starting point.

I expect it would be good for me psychologically too, being more deliberate about saying "this has been my project(s) today and this is the work I have done toward completing them". Even if it is just about obstacles I encountered and trying to get past those.

At present I have a job application with a relatively short deadline and I am bad at those. Library job applications are often relatively demanding compared to the generic customer service positions I have been looking at, requiring me to submit lengthy documents explaining how I meet their particular selection criteria. My immediate goal is to create a set of base documentation addressing common requirements, covering as much of what I have done as possible, so that when I see a position going I can put together an application much more quickly. As it is, I typically put in work on these applications over about a week and end up sending them in at the last moment, trying to make them as good as I can.

If I can get these applications in much earlier I hope I will have a better chance of being considered, and if I can write this documentation up without time pressure I can hopefully do a better job of it. Of course I can't quite escape time pressue, since if I finish over the next couple of days then I can put in an application for the job mentioned above. If not, then I can't. At least I don't expect to get it either way. That lightens some pressure.

So I should probably sleep soon if I want to make a good crack tomorrow.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Something I dislike about working with the public is the gendered depersonalisation that happens. To anyone with a small child in tow it seems I become "the man". "The man" this, "the man" that, "Don't bother the man" (even if I don't mind at all). Unexpectedly cutting since I otherwise manage to avoid that sort of thing. Especially, I don't like being used as a proxy threat to keep someone else's children in line.

I would say I should get a badge that has my name on it, instead of only 'volunteer', but the one I have for the toy library has my name on it and the same thing happens there. It's hard to make signs unmissable.

I suspect this hurts more than I am admitting to myself, but there is little I could do about it.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

First day back again, feeling almost no longer sick. Just an easily irritated cough and an annoyingly cloggy nose. Wasn't sure whether the toy library would be running this week, hadn't got a response back from my email and didn't see anything that felt definitive on the website, so I called and left an enquiring message with my name and phone number. Felt proud about that because I usually stumble and mishandle these phone things.

At the charity shop today the first hour was occupied relieving one of the senior staff at the till, until another volunteer wanted to take over. Then I tended to the books for sale for the remaining two hours. First priority was restocking fiction and non-fiction from the staff area at back, to fill in the gaps that had accumulated over a week of custom. Seems like the new arrangement is doing pretty well. Lots of Stephen King and religious books gone.

Once I had those shelves restocked I moved to the back of the shop, staff area where items are kept for sorting and pricing. To make future restocking easier I reorganised the books back there into stacks as fiction, non-fiction and children's.

Feeling a lot better flow and camaradarie there lately, getting to do some cooperative work that is actually useful. Still hoping I don't run out of things to do before I run out of time there. Would hate to return to the original situation. Dreary.

Shortly before I was finished with the charity shop for the day, got a call confirming the toy library is not on this week, nor for the rest of the school holidays, so ended up coming home early. This would mean I need to do extra hours at the charity shop to make up the total required of me by Centrelink, but I have fortunately been putting in about 2 hours extra each week, which means the two hours I spend on Tuesday mornings cleaning returned toys for the library keeps me at the required amount of volunteer work to not be censured.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Been trying to write a post each day this month, but didn't manage one yesterday. That was not because I am sick at the moment, nor for having no intended post. Rather, I was wrestling with a disappearing bookmark problem that has only just been resolved. And now I am busying myself with organising those and clearing away nearly a decade of bookmark clutter and duplicates that have crept in.

What I was going to post was a link to an image of Torchwood as various anthro-animals and use it affectionately as an example of why I invented a semi-shapeshifter species for my Unified Erotica Setting. Mainly because as much as a variety of anthro folk can be nifty and useful it tends to bug me when used in stories, whether everyone is sorted into families by base species, or designed according to personality, or whatever - I think I have a hard time with suspension of disbelief over that many individualised people-species running about, or the ecology of the whole thing makes me twitchy. So I ended up inventing a species that could give a similar effect without me having to worry where that species of bear-people came from and why we haven't seen any before if I decide to suddenly introduce one in a story.

Incidentally, I found that image from reading the thread on fanficrants which inspired it.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Watching the movie Next starring Nicholas Cage. Have decided prescience is memory theft. We see an exchange between people happen, come to a conclusion, then the film jerks time back to show it has not happened yet and our protagonist takes a different path so what we saw never happens. So, he's stealing memories from the people around him, he remembers what no longer will happen and they don't get to.

Clearly the theft of future memories is what powers his abilities. There is no other logical conclusion.

Oops

2011-04-08 21:28

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Avoided seeing my GP this week about an intermittent, sharp abdominal pain, mainly because it was not bad enough to prevent me from working, and only lasted a couple of days so by the time I was free to see someone about the problem it had been gone for a while, and I gave in to 'would have felt silly going in to complain about an absent pain'.

But now I'm having another recurring problem, a sort of torn pain in the sole of my right foot. That's been going on for months, and when it flares up it makes walking painful although definitely not impossible. So I probably ought to see someone about that, even if it is unlikely there's much to be done.

I feel silly posting about minor stuff like this, when I know people with much more significant problems not going on about them like this. But, it is a sort of goal to post about stuff that is going on in my life and right now what's going on is "foot hurts, walking difficult but doable". Ah well.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

I think I half-believed my work of yesterday would be undone again. But it was still there, happily, and I got to spend a couple of hours at the charity shop improving on that still. Got the non-fiction sorted and shelved by broad categories (think I forgot a few yesterday), should be much more maintainable henceforth. Got thanked a couple of times for the work I put into organising their book displays too, which was admittedly gratifying.

A customer had wanted to buy a CD of educational children's games, but I could not find a disc in the book to match the case he brought to the counter, nor could I find cases for the alternative discs I recommended to him even after going through them all. This is disappointing. Hopefully I can wrangle my way into organising the rest of their media merchandise too, before my time there is done. I don't like being asked for help and not being able to provide.

Toy library went well too. Found out one of the library staff has volunteered to be support for the toy library until a new official toy librarian is secured, so that sessions can continue running and momentum can be maintained in the meanwhile. Mostly straightforward in execution today. A very satisfying finish, and some of the other volunteers had secreted a farewell card to which I added some words of my own... presumably it will be found at some point before the toy librarian leaves, or be mysteriously delivered when she least expects it. But I couldn't speak to that.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Situation continues to improve for me personally at the charity shop. Hopefully this keeps up; I keep fearing it shall fall out from under me and I shall be back to tedious boredom.

Yesterday I was asked if I could come in earlier today, and work 09:00-14:00 instead of 12:00-17:00. That was fine with me. Had been considering requesting such a switch, and hesitated to see if I could continue being up appropriately early for it first. When I arrived I was assigned to continue a project started by one of the senior staff yesterday, and which was basically identical to the book-sorting I had attempted a few weeks ago. Seems the undoing of my previously attempt was a bit of an abberration, as something like this restructuring had been wanted for a while if anyone were bothered to perform it.

So, I got to spend nearly my entire hours of work today separating the fiction from the non-fiction and alphabetising the fiction according to author's last name (or editor, or publisher in one or two rare cases), and by first name in case of identical last names. Made a very cursory start on categorising the non-fiction in the last ten minutes I was there today, into religious, craft, books about stuff, management and economics, life stories, children, history, self-help, and humorus anecdotes, but that did not get very far today.

Am hoping to continue working on that project tomorrow and perhaps next week too. Get non-fiction sorted, further organise fiction by publication order within author, nicen up the presentation some more.

Some customers who saw me organising the books asked about particular genres. The staff member who initiated this said it would be too much trouble to determine the genres of all those books for sorting them that way too. I think it would not be so hard, and not even require much reading of the promotional copy in many cases, but do think there is not the space available for such an undertaking, not and have it remain intact usefully long. At least working more closely with the books have given me a better working knowledge of what is in there, so as to more usefully field questions from customers.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Disappointed in myself at the toy library this morning. Most of the toys I cleaned ended up going in the storeroom as incomplete, and I wonder if I should have been bolder about renumbering parts to fit them. Felt like I could have done a better job with more time, but an extra half hour or so would have made little difference. Actually, I think most of those toys would have needed more work than I could have provided in the time before I had to be at the charity shop. So I suppose I am feeling bad about factors largely but not entirely beyond my control.

I would really like to be able to do more.

Worked the register again most of the day at the charity shop. Very nervous prior to having any customers, but forgot about that once got going. Went mostly well, I suppose. On Monday I had an appointment with my case manager and could have requested she find somewhere else for me, but didn't since the charity shop has picked up for me of late. This probably coincides with not seeing the other volunteers in a week or two. Fewer other people on staff means more for me to do which means I spend less time being bored.

I bought a gift from the charity shop for my sister, who is moving interstate in the next few months. Another copy of the household cookbook I have been working from, in rather better condition. She seemed quite appreciative, which was a pleasant surprise. I had been worried she would not want it. Also bought a few cookbooks for myself, as I had been wanting to start a collection of my own and these were significantly cheaper than the new ones I'd had my eyes on. I assume I will buy those eventually, when I am in a better financial position, but this alleviates the tension between considering a cookbook of mine as progress in life and more urgent financial needs. The books were Worldwide Cookbook, The Australian Heritage Cookbook, and Australia's Favourite Recipes.

Am looking forward to getting to try those out, and hopefully learning lots.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Work at the charity shop has been notably improved since Tuesday, mainly because I finally got some training on how to work the register. I am amused to have been advised several times on that topic that I should occasionally walk around the store to alleviate boredom, as actually operating the cash register is about the most interesting thing I've gotten to do there.

Will have to update my resume to reflect this, now I have gotten something of value there.

Has been stressful, because with a machine that prints everything I have less room for error correction or conducting experiments than I have had with library software, although hopefully they are switching to a computer system next week. My main stress has been worry that I will make too many mistakes to be trusted further with the device, or cause accounting discrepancies. But I am also riled by suggestions from others that I stress too much - from experience this is how I operate in similar situations, to panic and worry when my learning experiences are under actual working experiences potentially actually inconveniencing the people I am supposed to be helping and potentially being some degree of costly or troublesome errors, but practice brings confidence and I won't be quietly freaking out for very long in the long view of things. I'm still getting work done, when I'm doing that, anyway, unless I am asking for help because I've encountered a new-to-me problem.

I'm not very fond of this style of learning on the job, because one gets an extremely partial education to start and then has to run for help every time something unexpected happens. I'd suspect that costs a lot of extra time and customer satisfaction, but it does seem to be standard. And I don't mind it in a more consequence-free environment, such as my little forays into the land of Learning To Program.

I think I can also say I like my work duties to be more definite, whether that be in the form of a duty roster or list of things which fall at least partly within my responsibility, whatever. I'm feeling a bit lost at this place because I have almost no responsibilities or duties beyond showing up for 13 hours a week. My only official instruction has been to familiarise myself with the stock and 'perform customer service'; pretty much everything else I do I make up to pass the time, or else is a one-off lend a hand type activity. Have mostly picked up my understanding of what sorts of things are appropriate to do from conversation with co-workers or observation (e.g. if I do X someone will come along and reverse it the next day, or no one stops me from doing Y). Am continuing to refine my sense of what I am supposed to be doing, but this is definitely not how I prefer to learn.

Probably I should give up hopes of having influence on the floor layout. Saw a job advertised last week for that store with duties including making sure the place conforms to the larger organisation's will, and Wednesday was occupied rearranging clothes within the store to comply with new display directives. Hadn't realised the place was as managed as those non-charity department chains (probably isn't, but nor apparently in the hands of those working there).

But I got to actually do stuff, and that is exciting.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

This past weekend, a state election. Everyone knew the approximate outcome in advance: after 16 years of Labor, historic landslide Liberal / National coalition victory. I had hoped voter antipathy might mitigate that somewhat, I know I wasn't the only one thinking perhaps a recapitulation of last year's national might be a good thing. But it didn't turn out that way at all, and I didn't vote for either of the major parties because I don't trust them, although since we end up with them I try to hope.

Walking to the polls, one of the folks handing out party 'how to vote' pamphlets recognised me as working at the library, and it didn't seem an appropriate moment to explain that being a volunteer rather than someone who receives income from the library in recompense for the work done there, I maybe can't quite claim to be 'someone who works there' (even though I go there and perform work for some hours each week). Apart from his being there on behalf of the Christian Democrats and thus The Enemy, that was a bit heartwarming and left me wondering why couldn't it have been someone else.

They, by the way- It was not so prominently covered on what I saw of the election night, but from a few days later it appears control of the state's upper house may no longer lie with the Greens, and instead could be in the hands of the Christian Democrats and the Shooters and Fishers party.

That worries me more than the lower house result, which had been all but foregone the past four years.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

[end post-braek]

Later, at the toy library, I heard from the toy librarian's lips directly that she is retiring in the near future, shortly before she told the library staff in general. The reason she cited was office conflict, in a sensibly unfortunate way. She wanted to let me know she can't assure me of a place there beyond approximately April, although it is expected when her replacement is found ey would probably welcome any continuing volunteers. Specifically she said she didn't want me to pass up an opportunity elsewhere on the assumption I could rely on the toy library.

I have been wondering if it would be possible to organise some sort of volunteer farewell thing for her, but I do not know how to go about that. Am hoping inspiration strikes.

Have been putting out applications to proper library jobs, the sort that pay money, but am experiencing a scarcity of hope at the moment. I have increasingly been thinking that despite the work I put in, and revision and focus on looking for work and all these other activities that are supposed to improve my situation, I am simply not going to find anything. It is getting closer to two years since I graduated and apart from volunteering at the toy library all I have is the government pushing me into a place where I must make my own pointless busy-work because they don't even have that for me. It does not help that of one of my more recent applications, despite getting input from more than one other person, and going over it myself, I still sent off a cover letter that referenced by name the place it had been previously sent to and didn't catch that until two minutes after sending the email. Dreadful feeling, no idea whether I should hope they don't notice it or send off a panicked correction, and worrying about just how small an industry it is.

I am worried about my long-term situation, even supposing that I can and do find work in the future. For one thing, in moving to the US I would sharply contract the salary I could command, possibly even if I were to undertake and achieve a Masters in Library Science. For a more serious other thing, libraries as an industry seem to be contracting now and into the forseeable future, and I do not imagine myself as one flexible, ingenious or whatever enough to escape being out of a job in the next decade or few anyway, and I don't know what I would do then.

It is scary, and I don't see much future hope for myself to do more than minimise the cost to others of supporting me.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

On the Wednesday last week I learned the charity shop was throwing away newish jeans because they lacked buttons. One of my co-volunteers had offered to sew buttons on them so they didn't have to be trashed, but apparently no supply of buttons is kept on the premises. That's how I was able to answer an inquiry from customers the next day about whether they could get buttons, in the negative. Alas, ah well.

On that Thursday, too, right after arriving to work for the day, I recognised a previously unseen volunteer as someone I'd gone to high school with. I thought about saying hello, but if he didn't recognise me I might need to name myself, so I didn't.

We both got assigned early on to take out the trash from the big wheelie-bin to the bigger skip bin round out back, successful, but he acquired a splinter in the process and wanted to a) get some tweezers to remove it and b) file an incident report. We had trouble finding the forms for the report, and I don't know if he got them, but the first aid kit with tweezers was found (I don't think it was pointed out to me on my orientation, which it really ought to have been). Shortly after, one of the more senior staff members, who had been otherwise relatively friendly and who'd pointed out the first aid kit, walked out to where I was and said "Wuss" a couple of times. I could only conclude she meant that in criticism of his behaviour, one person to another disapproving of a third, so I called back that it was policy.

I should have said it is law. Occupational health and safety law, one is required to file a report of any such injury incident, no matter how minor. It provides a foundation for a worker's compensation claim should it prove to be or grow into a serious issue, and might bring attention to lurking workplace issues that need addressing. It was upsetting. And I really ought to have been reporting the back and knee issues I have been experiencing. I knew that already, already had been kicking myself for worrying too much about 'causing trouble' or 'making a scene' by requesting a form and filling it out. Plus worrying since I've had issues with those before that it would be inappropriate anyway.

[Post-braek]

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Was fortunate this morning. Driving in to the charity shop, there was a car coming the other way at the T-intersection roundabout. Car's body language made me think the driver intended to turn right, down the trunk of the T and across my path, but as hard as I looked I couldn't see any indicator blinking, not until it was already in that part of the turn anyway, and fortunately I'd stopped enough from the body language reading and straining for confirmation that we didn't get in each other's way, or it could have ended badly.

Was unfortunate today. When I arrived everything with the books I had done yesterday was undone, and someone in the morning had sorted them by height. So, I surrender hope of being able to implement my plans for an organised and topically presented book section, since it appears to be against policy. What's weird is people saw me doing my thing yesterday and didn't say anything about it.

If I am fortunate, conversation with senior store personnel will get me a go-ahead for that anyway. Meanwhile, I'm back to shuffling coathangers on the clothing racks. Hopefully not all the way to the end of June.

Conversation with another enforced volunteer on break, about fixing up the larger sizes section. She agreed and opined the signs should be redone to indicate sizes, rather than just lumping all clothes of the same kind together. (currently, clothes in the shop are organised first by broad category [e.g. mens, skirts] and secondarily by colour). Which has certainly caused me disappointment when customers ask if we have something and not only do I not know, but there is no way to know without examining everything individually, so I can't help them. I admit, I know hardly anything about clothes and the ways to organise and arrange them, and as a charity shop they are nearly entirely limited by what people choose to donate to them, but it seems like they have a labour force on idle and presentation shortcomings with solutions that could use that labour.

Clearly I need to compose some diplomatic enquiries for the senior staff and find out if there are good reasons we aren't or can't do these things.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Today was okay. Feet are definitely getting better at handling the standing, rather faster than I had been expecting based on experience, and minimal other pain today. There had been an arrival of new furniture at the charity shop today, which I took upon myself to arrange while senior staff were out, and which was well-received. As much as I spend most of my 13 hours/week there straightening coathangers, I make it clear to the staff there that I am interested in having my time occupied with work rather than simply bludging if there is anything else they have for me to do.

Today I invited myself to sort their books for sale. Started with progress on arranging each shelf alphabetically, getting some feel for their material and plotting to follow up with more ambitious stuff like subtly differentiating the children's books into subsections like 'infants', 'children' and 'young adult fiction'. It may be a losing battle given customer- and staff-introduced entropy, but at least it is a losing battle that may make the days pass faster. Shall see what I can do with it, along with straightening coathangers. If I get a semblence of victory, possibly move on to their audio and video material too. Not to mention weeding the larger sizes rack to make sure it actually has only larger sizes (a customer wanted some larger clothes recently, I directed her there, after some searching she informed me that many of the clothes there were not so large).

The toy library cleaning went well. I dared to sully my professional image by listening to podcasts during the cleaning, on the Nook Colour I acquired in Minneapolis. That was fun. Got to hear two parts of a modern opera serialised by the ABC and learn some stuff about dolphin brains and intelligence. Two halves of toy pizza and a crocodile were found to be superfluous and went to the storeroom until their homes can be found. Apart from that and one other item, everything went smoothly.

That other item was the dread bath toy set, which at first I thought had come back with a mold infestation. Fortunately what I saw from the outside turned out to be just dirt and tiny leaves, water. Went through a lot of wipes cleaning that up, worryingly so as supplies seem low. The last toy in the box was full of water which needed shaking out, and a live spider inside a wheel.

I stared at that for a bit, checked the storeroom, then asked a librarian if there were any containers I could use for removing a spider. Was brought a small cut off cardboard box and somehow managed to get the little spider in there without killing it. Shook the box a lot on the way out so it wouldn't climb up the walls and out, and finally dumped it on a lawn.

Returned the box, finished up with the bath toys and the next box and left for the charity shop about ten minutes early, arriving only a few late. Felt pleased with self for handling the Great Someone Sent A Spider To The Library incident and so, hurrah. Surely there will be more of that stuff.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

For about the past decade I've had very, very intermittent problems with my knees and back pain. The sort of thing that goes unmentioned to doctors because it only recurs on very long timescales, enough that I didn't even think of it as something to talk to a doctor about until very recently, rather than as 'something that just happens'.

But since I have started at that charity shop I have been more worried, as several times in the past couple of weeks I have felt my knee act as if it is about to give out under me, including a small yell of pain I was surprised no one reacted to. Twice in the past week I have had to swap out what I was doing to moderate back pain. At least my feet have been growing better at not hurting with all the standing involved, and that is a pleasant surprise, for it to be improved so soon.

I do not mean to say these are serious issues relative to other people, or any sort of trivialisation of what other people face, anything like that. Am just writing about what I have been experiencing and my personal consequent worry that, as the activities I have been engaged in when those pains and problems of mine have dramatically increased their presence (although not to their serious extent yet - I have neither collapsed nor had to make an early departure, in that workplace so far) and the work I have been doing to apparently bring them on is very similar to what I have done in the past in libraries (and, possibly I vaguely recall this having happened when working in them too and going unmentioned)-

It makes me worry that in the long term I may be unable to do a form of work that I do love, if these similar activities bring on those former incapacitating pains with any frequency. I hope that won't happen. Maybe should work out what to do if it does.

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aesmael

September 2017

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