The Mallory Project

"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it." – Julia Child

Pain flares and long nights

My fibro always seems to flare when I have an overnight and/or long shift? It could flare on the days I have off, so I can lay in bed (or the hot tub). Or even flare on my 4-hour shift days.

But no, those are the days I feel good (well, better). And when I have to rely on caffeine and little sleep, and carry heavy boxes and move shelves and climb ladders, my body decides to painfully ache from head to toe.

#it feels like all my muscles are throwing up #or yelling unintelligently at me #i wish I could go back to sleep #but I’m here for another 5 hours

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More Old Navy Problems

I love Old Navy’s clothes. I’m not saying that as an employee, but as a fan. I’ve been wearing Old Navy clothes since I was in middle school. Maybe before then, if that’s where my mom bought my clothes.

But I hate how they size their women’s pants. All their pants are from the same brand, they should be the same size. Regardless of fabric, cut, color, style, right? Not according to Old Navy.

I am currently wearing their Boyfriend Skinny denim in a size 8. Just the tiniest bit too big (not enough to warrant a belt, though.) A few days ago, I was wearing the Sweetheart skinny jeans in faded gray. Size 6, fit perfectly. I also own the Sweetheart boot cut jeans in a size 8, and they are way too big. I have the Rock Stars super skinny jeans in pink, size 12, and they are a little too tight.

So I have Old Navy jeans in four different styles and four different sizes, and they all comfortably fit me.

But this is just the women’s pants. The men’s are consistently sized, by height and waist size (29″ x 30″, 30″ x 32″, etc). Kids’ sizes are consistent, with size approximately correspondent with age.

So why are the women’s sizes so whacked out?

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Chocolate Cupcakes

Two of my coworkers are leaving today, so I made goodbye cupcakes. Regular chocolate with a chocolate frosting (almost a ganache, except I used milk instead of heavy cream.)

I also decorated them. The “regular” ones just had pearl sprinkles and gold edible spray paint (so cool!) My leaving coworkers got special decorations.

PPB (using initials to protect their privacy) loves Hawaiian food, especially spam musubi. Here’s his cupcake:


AEL loves zombies. Here’s her cupcake:


PPB said I was a “rad baker”. And another coworker asked why I don’t have my own bakery yet. 🙂

Here are the “regular” ones:



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Heroes Among Us

There have been a lot of scary things in the news lately. For me and my community, it started over the weekend. An 8 year old baseball player was hit by a pitch and collapsed. His heart had stopped. He’s okay now, but he had to be rushed to the Children’s Hospital in Oakland (over an hour away).

And of course, on Monday were the explosions during the Boston Marathon. Then the ricin scare at the White House, the explosion in Texas last night, and the Senate voting down the gun background check bill.

Scary news is nothing new to anybody. That’s pretty much all news is nowadays. “Something bad happened blah blah blah” (or “Kim Kardashian did something!”, though I would still consider that scary news.)

Which is why I am appreciative for every piece of news I hear about somebody doing good. There are as many examples of that as there are of horror and terror, but those pieces are rarely printed on the front page. “Firefighter saves kitten from tree” is a great story, but it doesn’t sell as many newspapers as “Explosion at factory kills 11.” It’s unfortunate, but that’s not what this post is about. I don’t want to talk about why good stories aren’t on the front page. I want to talk about stories that should have been on the front page.

These are all local stories, so those of you outside of Sonoma County will probably have not heard of any of these people. Those of you within Sonoma County might not have heard of these people either. I hadn’t heard most of these stories until this morning, and I’ve lived here for 15 years (except for the 5 years I was away for school, but my family still lived here and I visited often, so I still count it…)

This morning, I was able to attend the American Red Cross’s Real Heroes Breakfast, during which ten local heroes were honored. Their stories were humbling and inspiring. Some of them were even tearjerking. It made me feel proud to be a part of this community, and to be part of such an amazing organization. (It also made me feel like I need to get off my ass and do some good.)

The first hero honored was Officer Tim Murphy, who is a California Peace Officer and Lifeguard. He saved three people, including an 11-year-old boy, from drowning. He was four miles away and the only lifeguard on duty for the entire Sonoma coast when he got the call. The water was 49 degrees. There have been 130 recorded drownings at this beach. During his speech, he thanked his parents for “getting me into the water early.” (My parents got me into the water early; I don’t think I’d be able to save three people from drowning, though.)

The second honoree was Matthew Nalywaiko, who created a local aid effort called Serve A Little, which provides home and car repairs for single mothers. He’s spent time in Haiti, India and Mexico, building houses and working in orphanages. He credits a quote from Martin Luther King Jr for inspiring him to create Serve A Little. (This is my new favorite quote.)

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

 Honoree number three was Mary Munot, who is known as Green Mary. She works to create Zero Waste events, and to promote composting and recycling. Her endeavor is honorable, but it wasn’t tearjerking. She is the only honoree I’d heard of before.

The fourth honoree also has an honorable but not tearjearking endeavor (at least not tearjerking to me personally.) She is Dr. Elaine Leeder, who started a program to help prisoners receive higher education. It was her past that got me interested in her story. Her father is a Holocaust survivor, and she marched with MLK in Boston in 1962. I wish I could say something that cool about my life.

Austin Morris is a recent high school graduate who participated in Project Kaiseim, a 151-foot brigantine that spent summer 2012 tracking debris from the Japan earthquake as it traveled through the Pacific Ocean. One of his crewmates fell overboard, and Austin rescued her.

The sixth honoree also saved a life in the ocean. Mark Anello freed a 40-foot gray whale from fishing nets off the Sonoma County coast. “The first thing I thought was holy cow,” he said. But his sponsor, from Medtronic, said “I won’t tell you what he really said, instead of holy cow.”

 Dr. Paula Dhanda has worked throughout the Third World, training women in health care. She’s delivered babies and saved lives in Chad, Haiti and Nepal. Her group once performed 50 surgeries in 2 weeks. She sums up her values as “It’s not what you have but in what you can give away”.

CHP (California Highway Patrol, who aren’t all like Ponch) Officer Adam Garcia pulled two people out of a burning car. He said it was one of those “once in a career moments…at least I hope it is.” He said he was just “in the right place at the right time”.

The ninth honoree is the one that really got me teared up. For a little background here, my family is very involved with helping the troops. I am friends with a number of Naval officers and members stationed in Hawaii, and my mom is a part of the Soldier’s Angels program. Every month she bakes goodies and sends care packages (and birthday cards) to troops stationed in Afghanistan.

Army Specialist Stefan LeRoy, who is originally from the Sonoma County area but currently lives in Washington DC, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. He stepped on an IED and lost both of his legs below the knee. But he has managed to go snorkeling, and ski, and even complete a marathon with a handcycle. He now plans on competing in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. He says that no matter what hardship you are facing, “someone else out there is facing the same thing, and something harder.”

And the final hero was Trevor Kasimoff, who rescued several of his neighbors from a fire in their apartment fire. Thanks to Trevor, the worst injury was a broken foot. Another of his neighbors suffered from smoke inhalation, but Trevor got there right in time. “If it had been a minute later…it would have been a different story,” he said.

The Red Cross also honored three of their volunteers, Fran Condon, June Albor and Jim Plank. As June said, the greatest gift that can be given is someone saying “you touch my heart”. All three of these volunteers have traveled as far as New Orleans (after Hurricane Katrina) and New York (after Hurricane Sandy.)

These are only three of the 1,000 Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake County volunteers who have helped thousands of Northern California victims in such disasters as flash floods, fires and mudslides. The Red Cross wants to remind people that “what happened to somebody else yesterday could happen to you today.” And they want to make sure that they are there to help you if (or when) you need it.

ARC wants to give everybody the chance to be heroes. And the best way to do that is to volunteer your time or donate your money. Even $5 will help provide a child with a warm meal. $1000 helps 50 people find shelter for a night. Visit your local chapter of the ARC to help out.

Or be like Tim Murphy, Matthew Nalywaiko and the others and become heroes in your community. It doesn’t take much. You can be in the right place at the right time, like Trevor Kasimoff, or you can create a business like Mary Munat. As Austin Morris said, “it’s a great feeling. I recommend it.”



P.S. Check back in tomorrow, when I write about some of the heroes closest to me, who I think deserve recognition.

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Does it still count as temping if you’ve been there for 3 years?

I started my third temp assignment this week, and it is so much better than the previous two.
I liked the first one okay, but it was a special assignment and it only lasted a week. I liked working at Kendall Jackson, but I didn’t really do anything. (It was a sort of data entry thing to help them switch to a new website server.)
The second one was a better job; admin assistant for a CPA. I had more duties, and didn’t have to sit behind a computer doing the exact same thing for 8 hours.
But that one didn’t last long. I don’t want to get into details, but, seriously, if you have a project that needs to go out to a client with literally no mistakes, don’t ask the new girl to do it, and then get mad if there is one mistake that is easily fixed.
Anyway…I am now working for Raiser’s Edge Hub, a contractor for the American Red Cross. We’re in charge of the donation lists for chapters all across the country. They put me in charge of Arizona. So for every donation in the state of Arizona, I have to record it. And then we send all the info to the local chapter and National Headquarters.
The person who’s training me is actually somebody I went to high school with. She’s been working at Raiser’s Edge for three years, but she’s still connected with the temp agency. Is it still considered temping if it’s been three years?
My new bosses told me that I could potentially have this job for the next 18 to 24 months. Which is awesome, if I don’t find a job in my field anytime soon. I’ve also been applying for writing fellowships and residencies for 2013-2014. But so far I’ve only gotten on one waiting list…oh well, I’ll cross that bridge if I come to it.

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