Sarah-er Than You

Sarah-er, More Sarah, More of the Time

In Defense of Gift Cards

Posted by saraherthanyou on December 3, 2009

When did everyone decide to hate on gift cards? People think that they are tacky, show no thought, etc. But here’s my argument in favor of gift cards.

Jim and I live in a 530 square foot apartment. There is not a lot of room for stuff, so it’s difficult to brainstorm a list of appropriate gift ideas. Also, I am unemployed. (You’d never guess from my blog, right?) So I haven’t exactly been making lists of things I want. Right now I’m focusing on the bare necessities (anytime I use that phrase, the song from The Jungle Book pops into my head).

For me, a gift card gives me the opportunity to go into a store and not feel guilty about buying some makeup, a fancy shampoo or a shirt I don’t really need. Or, if I get one of those credit card-type gift cards, I can use it for a dinner out at a restaurant I wouldn’t consider going to while unemployed.

Why are gift cards so wrong? When pressed for what I want this season, I’m asking for gift cards. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.


Posted in Holidays, Unemployment | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Say No to Faux Thanksgiving

Posted by saraherthanyou on November 23, 2009

Jim and I alternate holiday plans. Thanksgiving with one family, Christmas with the other, the following year it switches. This year is a Jim-family Thanksgiving. But. BUT! My mother, in her infinite wisdom, decides to move Thanksgiving to Saturday (as in this past). She wants to go to Rehoboth for actual Thanksgiving, so she hosted faux Thanksgiving.

Great in theory, right? 2 Thanksgivings for the price of 1? More family drama and more leftovers? Guess again. I came down with the cold to end all colds 2 days before faux Thanksgiving. First it was in my chest, then it was in my head and it just wore me out. I’m pretty sure it’s not swine flu (or as my friend Libby likes to call it, bacon flu), but it still sucked. I managed to suck it up and prepare my dishes without breathing on them too much and off we went.

Terrible, terrible idea. I was so tired and had no appetite. I should’ve stayed in bed. But it’s faux Thanksgiving! All the food looks so good. And the stuffing! So I made myself a plate, even though I could taste almost nothing and then immediately felt worse. I didn’t want food, but I wanted to taste food, and now there was a rock of faux Thanksgiving sitting in my stomach. We left early and I crashed on the couch as soon as we were home. But now it’s Monday and I still don’t feel great and haven’t gotten my appetite back. And the thought of the leftovers sitting in the fridge makes my stomach turn. Did I just ruin Thanksgiving for myself forever? Will I even be able to stomach it on Thursday?

Faux Thanksgiving, terrible plan. Though maybe I just invented a new holiday diet.

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New Year’s Eve: Bust or Blast?

Posted by saraherthanyou on November 17, 2009

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet and I’m already supposed to make New Year’s Eve plans.

You’re aware that’s 43 days away, right? But my friends have already picked their party and hassled me about buying tickets. And I caved.

But New Year’s Eve is one of those nights with a lot of anticipation that’s never as fun as you imagine. And it’s one of those nights when restaurants and bars jack up their prices for the sake of increased profits, not providing a greater service. Just ask any couple that’s celebrated Valentine’s Day at a restaurant.

Two of my favorite New Year’s memories sit on opposite sides of the spectrum. My sophomore year in college, one of my best friends from high school invited me to celebrate in NYC at her friend’s family’s restaurant. (Did you follow that?) The restaurant was close to Times Square and was filled with college kids. I don’t remember how much we spent, but we had an amazing time and were even able to run out to see the ball drop at midnight.

My other favorite memory was a house party a friend threw that cost virtually nothing. The party was with my closest friends so we all counted down to midnight together, and all it cost was a case of beer.

What are your favorite New Year’s Eve memories?

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If I Ran HR

Posted by saraherthanyou on November 16, 2009

I am very aware that the economy is bad and HR is receiving hundreds (or thousands) of applications for every job posting. But clearly HRs are falling into bad habits that will really hurt them when applicants have more leverage. I will not talk about any particular company, but I’ve been applying for jobs for about 3 months, so I think I can speak generally. Here’s my code of conduct/courtesy for HRs.

1) If you bring me in for an interview, you are required to call and give an update whether you offer me the job or not. I had to get my suit dry cleaned, shower and try to sound intelligent for at least an hour, you can spare 5 minutes to call me and tell me I didn’t get the job. Believe me, I won’t want to chatty after that.

2) If we have a phone interview, do not say that you will follow up with me regardless of the outcome if you will not, in fact, follow up with me regardless. This phenomenon makes me think of the Friends episode where Chandler goes on the bad date with Rachel’s boss and can’t stop himself from saying, “well this was great, I’ll give you a call, we should do it again sometime.”

It’s ok if you don’t want to call me unless I’m a candidate, but then say that you’ll call me if you’d like to bring me in for an interview. I’m a big girl, I can handle it.

3) If you broke rules 1 and 2, or if I’m really interested in the job and I follow up with a phone call or email, RESPOND! You’re busy, I get that. But when I am really excited about a position or have spoken with you and you said you’d follow up and didn’t, I want to know where I stand. It’s not that hard to shoot me an email thanking me for my time and telling me that a) I’m not a fit, b) you won’t be interviewing me or c) you’ve already selected your interview candidates.

Job candidates, for the most part, don’t want to be obnoxious. But it’s extremely hard to apply for jobs and hear nothing for days or weeks. I had one job that I applied for and 10 weeks went by before they contacted me for an interview. At that point, I assumed I had no shot. So cut us some slack and we won’t assume that you’ll get back to us within 24 hours. Deal?

Posted in Unemployment | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

The Wishing Year, Part Dos

Posted by saraherthanyou on November 12, 2009

After my post on Monday, I went outside to enjoy the gorgeous day (what up global warming?) and continue reading The Wishing Year. I found spot outside Starbucks in the sun and dove in. I made it to the “May” chapter where Noelle Oxenhandler examines other authors’ takes on wishes. She says that, on beginning her own experience, she had to follow American philosopher and psychologist William James’ practice of “a willing suspension of disbelief.”

Needless to say that I almost fell out of my chair. I used almost the exact same phrase on Monday to describe by decision to join the Mondo Beyondo class. You know that sense you get when you read about something and then suddenly everywhere you turn, you hear about it, friends are talking about it, it’s on TV? That’s how I’m trying to frame wishing in my mind. Once I put the wish out there, I’ll become more aware of the opportunities to make it come true.

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A Year of Wishing

Posted by saraherthanyou on November 9, 2009

The Wishing YearI’m currently breezing through The Wishing Year: A House, A Man, My Soul, which I first heard about from my Mondo Beyondo class. After learning more about Noelle Oxenhandler, the author, I was hooked because she is so down-to-earth even though her book is about dreaming and wishing. And so far, that holds true. I think the best part about the book for me is that Noelle is a skeptic, she doesn’t immediately believe that her wishes will come true, even though she is giving herself a year focused on wishing.

Noelle discusses her religious background and how the Catholic part feels that you can only wish and pray for things that benefit others, such as wishing that a family whose house burned down will find a new shelter or someone who is gravely ill recovers. She reflects that she isn’t brazen enough to put her wishes out there as others she encounters, which is something I can relate to.

I’m a skeptic, for sure, and the whole Mondo Beyondo idea was a project in suspending disbelief. I want to believe that we can get everything any of us wish for by focusing and keeping the mind open to opportunities. But the skeptic wonders if we truly deserve everything we wish for. That’s what appeals to me most about Noelle’s book. She decides what she wants at the beginning of the year and, during the first few months of the project, she keeps those wishes close to the vest.

I’ve only read through April, so I’ll have to update this once I’ve completed the book.

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All Consuming

Posted by saraherthanyou on November 2, 2009

I can’t think of anything except an upcoming interview, so this is all you get. If I don’t blow it, it’ll be back to the regularly scheduled blog program. If I do implode, well, at least you’ll get an amusing story and my continued unemployment.

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A DC Halloween Tradition

Posted by saraherthanyou on October 28, 2009

From a few years ago, photo courtesy of my friend Bryan

I was a wuss and worried that I’d melt in the rain, so I skipped the Drag Queen High Heel Race. Clearly I’m not a true DC resident.

The race, which started 23 years ago, began after a few drunk drag queens proposed a race from JR’s Bar & Grill to Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse. Each queen would then have to down a shot and race back. Now, though, it’s just one-way and there are plenty of racers who just walk in their fabulous high heels.
Over the years I’ve seen Condoleezza Rice, many Monica Lewinskys and the ladies from The View. There have been fat ladies and thin, branded costumes and movie stars. All generally in skimpy outfits and some in poor taste.
Some of my favorite photos from this year:

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Posted by saraherthanyou on October 26, 2009

I’m going to jinx myself here. I’m finally getting responses to jobs I’ve applied for. And that FEELS HUGE after 2 months of unemployment. Having a company even want to talk to me makes me hopeful. So don’t hold your breath, or cross you fingers or any of that supersticious jazz. I’m just taking a moment and putting it out there that I’m ready for a job and if one of these fine folks that I’m talking to wants to make that happen, all the better.

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Posted by saraherthanyou on October 23, 2009

Why can’t we all believe in our craziest dreams? Why do we talk ourselves out of going after what we really want in life? We tell ourselves that dreaming isn’t practical, that dreaming is only for children. That’s silly. Let’s all dream a bit, shall we?

Here’s a beautiful book from Dallas Clayton on dreaming, called An Awesome Book!

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