Wednesday, November 26, 2014


He tiptoed in to our bedroom, and leaned in close.

"Are you happy? I want you to be happy."

My initial reaction, the knee-jerk, from-the-bottom-of-the-gut reaction was "Yes."

And then I thought about all the ways I had shown him I was happy.

Asking to do more dishes.

Endless errand runs on the weekends instead of one-on-one time.

Worrying over handmade Christmas gifts and self-imposed deadlines.

Job training and budgeting.

If this is the season to be thankful, how are we showing others how we feel? How are we communicating gratefulness?

I'm thankful for food- scrumptious, delicious food.

I'm thankful for husbands and mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and in-laws and friends that feel like family, new friendships and old friendships and only-friends-at-work-friendships. I need these people. Everyday.

I'm thankful for dogs who love unconditionally and nephews who love only on the condition that they can play with big Captain America toys at your house.

I'm thankful for health and hearth, a place to rest my steel-toed feeties and the energy to fully enjoy it.

I'm thankful for books. For movies. For Facebook, without which I wouldn't have very interesting conversations.

I'm thankful for job security and the breather of fresh air this gives us.

I pray many times a day, a silent thankyouthankyouthankyou out to the universe for this life and all the wonderful things in it. Personal thankfulness is one thing, but how does my husband know what's in my heart?
These thoughts ran through my head in the split second it took me to snuggle in closer.

"Yes. I'm the happiest."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Brie's Personal Book of Job

It's official- Baxter made me an offer I couldn't refuse. I'm getting hired permanently at Baxter in Los Angeles. This means benefits, paid vacations, but more importantly: no more job searching. I mean, after my three month probation period.
godfather animated GIF
The plant here in Los Angeles works with human plasma to create hemophilic treatments and immuno-therapies, although Baxter focuses on a number of treatments in plants all over the world. So there's a lot of opportunity to further my career and get trained in multiple areas. For the time being I'm working in the Quality Department- making sure everyone else is doing their job correctly.

The one thing I never thought I'd feel about a new job? Judged.

I've worked at quite a few different contract (read: temporary) positions since I graduated from UCSD three years ago. I didn't mind because Mr. E and I didn't know where we were going to end up, so putting down roots into a job didn't seem like the best idea until we moved to where he would need to work. The first job I found out of LA seemed great- good commute, interesting company products, I liked the people... But the work itself was repetitive, slow and the training vague. I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere in that position, in the department or in the company. So when Baxter called I jumped at the chance.

Here was a homogenous mixture (read: equal) of temps and permanent workers. Kids right out of school and employees who had been with the company for 35 years. We rubbed elbows. We relied on each other. There's a lot of communication and teamwork between all three shifts for our 24-hour facility.

And yet, when I was offered my position (yes, Yes, YES!) I was asked repeatedly by the younger crowd, "Are you going to take it?" As if I had something better in mind. As if I was better than this job. As if a decent-paying position with upward mobility, international locations and paid holidays was something I wasn't interested in.

Let's be clear: I'm not going to school anymore. I have no dreams to be a doctor or an anything-ologist. I don't want a Masters or a PhD. The most I was contemplating was phlebotomy but that's more of a certification anyways, to be honest. So why the well-meaning condescension?

Here's another reminder that I'm not in the same place as my peers. There's a generalization that if you majored in science you're going to continue in science education- because a well-paying job means years of study.

There's a generalization that if you married young you're going to have kids ASAP and focus on family first because marriage and families go hand in hand. Or at least that's what the internet tells me in yet another list.

I tread that line between them- where all I want to do is work. And earn money so my husband can make movies (read: finance his short films until someone else can). We'll add kids in there when we're not eating peanut butter for the month to keep our budget down because that's our choice to prioritize our life that way.

So why the judgement? Next time someone tells you they got offered a job, and their voice has suspiciously climbed six octaves, muster up a little excitement for them. There's no need to squash the sprouting dreams of a new hire. There's plenty of time for corporate politics to do just that.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Fair

I already had my outfit picked out in my head- black on white stripes, jeans (per usual) and Toms (also per usual) with my book-shaped locket necklace. My hair up and out of my face- perfect for windy outdoor days AND for picture taking. I didn't know who I was going to meet, or what we were going to get into, but if it's LA and it's a fair, they mean business and I would too.
We trekked through the city to USC- Mr. E's almost alma mater. It's a beautiful campus, smack-dab in the middle of one of the worst areas of Los Angeles. But that's the way the city is. You need to brave the crazy and the potentially dangerous to find the gems scattered beneath the grime. Gourmet grilled cheese? A corner of Silverlake. Biggest book fair on the West Coast? USC. And the one thing you must know for all excursions? Even if it says it's free...parking will be astronomical and mandatory. Who wants to brave the side streets and the possibility of getting your car stolen, broken into or lost to avoid paying $15?
It didn't occur to me that a book fair would be geared towards kids. I guess I'm such a kid at heart that I assumed there would be fountains of books - and there were. But we hit the kids section first. Parents and teachers, working together, pouring over slightly used copies of the kindergarten classics. Makeshift shelves with glossy brightly colored covers and pop-up books free from rips and tears. My brief disappointment (this is it?) turned to wonder as I looked up and recognized tents as far as the eye could see- around peeking around building corners and rows upon rows down paved sidewalks.
There were authors.

There were publishers.

There were bookstores and libraries and newspaper peddlers.

But most of all there were readers.

Enthusiasts of the written word. Connoisseurs of phrasing and grammar and prose. There were T-shirts and book-bags and first editions and sales of all kinds.
This was a fair I could get behind. Keep your booz-y summer fairs and your military aircraft shows. Give me a three-for-one deal from Penguin publishers and a tote to boot.

Of course, some circus animal cookies doesn't hurt either...