Saturday, January 08, 2011

Fresh Year's Determination

Because, New Year's Resolutions are soooo overdone!

I don't really have any New Year's Resolutions.

I went back to work on Monday and tried to adopt a more positive attitude about a job I really don't enjoy.

That lasted until about 9:30 a.m.

No matter how you frame it, crop it, paint it or dress it up in pretty clothes, I am really loathing that job. I'd quit and get a new job, but I think that's just a temporary fix.*

Shuffling paper, making dinner reservations, typing and transcribing, and being EVERY ONE'S go-to girl, isn't going to change if I go somewhere else. I'm overwhelmed with work to do and they keep piling it on.

It's going to be spectacular when I explode or implode.

All I want to do is take my lunch break again and not feel guilty for doing it.

Anyway, that gripe aside, I've made a Fresh Year's Determination to devote more to my hobbies.

Those hobbies include mainly baking and knitting with a little bit of sewing.

They're like the drug that takes the edge off the mounds of paper I have to file, but no time to file it.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cookies

They're the six beers you drink after work to numb away the fact you might be dinner reservations at swanky restaurants that aren't for you for the rest of your life.


They're the little things you create that are more meaningful and useful than a series of manila file folder labels.


And the worst injury you'll get from these hobbies is perhaps a burn on the side of your hand when you accidentally brush the oven rack pulling out a sheet of warm cookies, or a callous on your middle finger from where the knitting needle rubs.

Not the millions of paper cuts on your soul that shuffling paper for a living will give you.


All that philosophizing aside, there's a real reason for this post other than a pretty-picture-pity-party!

I'm in the market for a new point and shoot camera. We've had the big old Kodak Easyshare 4 MP camera for a while now and I'd like to have one that I don't have to share with Mr. Moochie, patron saint of gooey fingers and lens smudges.

The one thing I do want is a decent macro setting for those close up stitch and crumb shots.

I'm partial to Kodak and I've been sort of ogling this one, but it hasn't come out yet and I'm not sure what sucks about it. Nor can I really tell if it has a decent macro setting. (maybe?)

Another Fresh Year's Determination is to post better pictures. I've been reading a few tutorials. But, I'll level with you, the technical talk makes me a bit cross-eyed.

So, if you've made it this far, do you have a recommendation for a moderately priced point and shoot (I don't want a paparazzi SLR camera) with a decent macro setting?

* I realize I could go back to school and finish up my degree, but here's the deal -- I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I'm not wasting that kind of money for some piece of paper that's not a guaranteed ticket to happiness. Part of me is happy I didn't finish my degree. Chances are I'd be exactly where I am today if I had it. How depressing would that be? A bachelor's degree AND stuck in that soulsuck of a job. I thought things were supposed to be clearer as you got older. I had clearer goals when I was 19.

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Blogger Carol said...

I hear ya. I have been trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. I technically have a career. But I'm not passionate about it. It pays well. So at least it's got that going for it. spark, yanno? So I guess what I'm saying is you're not alone

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy cow!! I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up!!! I think about going back to school and then it is.....Well what would you study? There are so many things that I like and am inerested in that I just don't know!
Love, Mom
PS: Looks like you are a chip off the OLD Block!!

9:25 PM  
Blogger janna said...

Even a job that you love isn't wonderful all the time. Actually, it's not even wonderful most of the time! But there are those moments that make up for it -- until it's so awful that you have to leave a place you love and move someplace with awful winters...

Well, anyway -- my only advice is to keep thinking about it, and to keep knitting!

9:54 PM  
Blogger Discoknits said...

I feel for you. I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I became an accountant. Now, I'm in a different country with no reciprocity for my qualification and wants me to get a 4yr degree AND 2 years of number-cruncher exams, just to be that same accountant. Erm, no thank you, I'll stick with SAHM now.
Unfortunately you seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. The USA labour market is a bitch about needing a degree to do any kind of decent job. I wish you luck deciding how to handle this long term. At your age, I'd get the degree.

2:56 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

And then there are those of us who love our jobs - but the job has very little to do with what I went to uni for in the first place. Not rubbing it in - I've been where you are.

I have an Olympus 10MP camera, and it takes great shots, and has macro and super macro. 2 years ago it was $150, so it has to be less than that now. Sometimes I still use the old camera I gave to W - Nikon Coolpix 5MP - it was only $80 or so 5+ years ago, and still takes great quick shots.

5:07 AM  
Blogger Coco, not as in Chanel :) said...

I know more people who have degrees who work in admin positions (and even lesser positions) than I know who actually put a degree to work for them. The job market sucks, and unfortunately, having a degree doesn't mean shit anymore when it comes to making money. The market is diluted w/ people w/ degrees. At one time, having a degree actually meant something, now it is just another piece of paper that says you sat on your ass for X amt of years and listened to the BS in the classroom.

FWIW, if I would go back to college, in one year I would have my BS (oh, how freaking true!) in education, and since I spent so many years in college taking all types of stuff, I could have my masters in another year-1/2 after that. But why? It isn't worth it to me to waste my money for a low paying job in a liberal education system.

There is nothing fulfilling about most jobs...unless you are the owner/CEO, etc, then that bonus/paycheck, etc. is pretty sweet.

What a ray of sunshine I am ;)

6:37 AM  
Blogger Poops said...

I'm 42, have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, and a degree that will open exactly zero doors.

You are not alone.

I have a Canon Powershot A470 that has a great macro feature, is small, easy to use, and I believe is moderately priced.

Have you tried Photoscape for photo editing? I run all my pix through that now. It's free, and it brightens stuff up, you can crop, resize, flip, all that cool stuff.

7:06 AM  
OpenID pyewacketsid said...

I hate watching this job suck out your soul. If the market were better, I'd advise you to stomp your foot down at work and set limits on what you can do in a day. People keep piling more shit on because you handle it.

Have you thought about starting your own cookie company, catering to weddings and business parties and stuff? I'm not kidding; your baked goods are art, and artisans can command their price from the fat cats. Maybe instead of a Bachelor's degree, you can look into some classes on how to start/run a business?

8:23 AM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

I have a Canon sureshot and I love it for its portability and it's ease of use and yea, it takes great photos. It's the person who pushes the button that sucks at it.

As far as jobs go, I like what I do but I don't like the bs that goes along with it. The pay is ok but nothing to get excited about and lunch? What's this thing you call lunch? (actually, recently I've stopped answering my phone at lunch since I can't affort to go out to eat and bring my lunch and eat at my desk). I'd go back to school but at 53 I don't want to write papers and sit in lectures to just get a similar job. I'd want to do something completely different but god only knows what, 'cause I sure don't.

I'm pretty sure I'd be a wonderful woman of leisure.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if it will make you feel better or worse, but I can almost guarantee you that all of your bosses hate their jobs even more than you hate yours. But they can't leave now because they spent all that money and time getting the degree, and there are golden handcuffs in place. Law is a tough lifestyle.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Crafty Christina said...

If it makes you feel any better, I have a master's degree and am stlll doing the same work you are. But I'm a masochist, which is why I went back to school again, haha.

I'm a terrible picture taker. No patience to read those techincal tutorials. But I have a Canon Power Shot (can't remember the model right off the bat) that has a decent macro feature. I've been pretty happy with it, especially since I'm not willing to pay oodles for a fancy pants camera.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Tactless Wonder said...

It seems we are all like-minded here, at least about the work thing...I too hold a masters degree and am an accounts payable assistant. Education is not all it's cracked up to be...esp. when you thought you know what you wanted to be and um...10 year later...not so much...

I actually chose between A/P and one of the possibly better-paid positions at my current place of mental torture because it did NOT involve setting up meetings and events. I stare at and yell at numbers instead...I know my limits...

When it comes to cameras however, everyone has their favorite. Mine is the Sony Cybershot series because they have "steady shot" and (mine at least) has the Carl Zeiss lens as well as a viewfinder (very useful for outside pictures where the sun is messing with the LCD screen.) I have the W170. Awesome macro shots, awesome non-flash shots, as well as a pretty fast picture-taking time. I don't know what they call that, but it's the difference between getting the baby smiling and seeing the back of their head as the camera is saving the image...

Good luck...and look into accounting offices, same paper, less dinner reservations for others...just a thought.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Eh, I have the bachelor's degree, and am stuck doing pretty much the same stuff as you (probably for a lot less money too, since I work for a small nonprofit, and jobs just don't pay much here in the Cleveland area). I get depressed too, if I dwell on it too much.

About the only thing that makes it tolerable is having a fairly flexible work schedule, a boss who doesn't have a fit if I call off when one of the kids (inevitably, with allergies and asthma) gets sick, and a good amount of paid time off. At least that makes up a little bit for the lousy pay and mindless, boring work.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Laura said...


I second Jo about the Nikon Coolpix. That was my first digital camera, and I loved it. It took super clear and bright pictures. I had to replace it when it broke from being dropped one too many times, and I got a pretty pink but crappy picture taking Samsung camera that I hate.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Ugh on the work stuff..I'm stuck pretty much like you. I also agree with you on the not knowing what I really want to do. Getting a degree (other than my xray license) doesn't appeal to me. Especially since hubby's Masters isn't opening doors at the VA (non-gov't most likely would, but we need the retirement $$ and insurance so until 2012 we are stuck :(

I have a Canon Powershot G5, I like it ok, wished I could change lenses though. Also have a Nikon coolpix..wait, I should say DD has it ;) I don't like it as much...

10:27 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

If it makes you feel any better, I did finish my degree ... and then some, and I do, essentially, what you do for a living :). The only difference is that I do it from home.

If you were interested in finding another job, perhaps you could look into a telecommuting or some home-based business/entrepreneurial opportunity, like a virtual assistant, which would give you a steady income, while allowing you to more fully enjoy your hobbies (and depending on how you arranged your schedule, save you $$ on childcare). At least that way, you wouldn't have to put up with the office politics ... and you wouldn't have to file, either ;).

We just bought a Kodak easy share C182. I haven't had the opportunity to see what it will really do, but the selling point for me was that it used the same memory card as my old Kodak easy share ;). I don't know the first thing about cameras, except that when it comes to picture quality the higher the "pixels", the better the picture. This one has 12 (the old one had four), and it was under $60 on eBay.

6:52 AM  
Blogger knottygnome said...

ok, i'm from the land of kodak so it feels like sacrilege, but trust me when i say that kodak blows now. i would get a canon. they still make decent cameras. mine was only 100 bucks.

i hear you on the hobbies thing. it saves the sanity at times.

11:34 AM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

I still love my Fuji FinePix F20 (?) that I had before my Canon splurge. It stays in my purse and still produces some great pics. I love the macro setting on it. It's a great camera for knitting. And cats! And thus, presumably, kids.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Cindy in Happy Valley said...

I guess it's up to me to stick up for "higher education". So many students come to uni thinking that a degree prepares them for a specific career, only to get kicked in the tookis after graduation. Only a handful of degrees are that specific, and most start with the letters engineering and medicine.

A degree is a "green card". It means [well, in theory] that you have the ability to learn. Your hair would stand on end if you ever heard how faculty bemoan the fact that students today don't want education for educations sake. (My theory is that it has to do with eating regularly.) Your hair would equally stand on end if you were asked "why do I have to know this" by yet another student.

Add to this that I'd guess that most of us are in careers that have no relationship to what we studied (Agriculture, anyone?)

If you have the time, money and interest (in ANYTHING), a degree will make you more competitive. That is all.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Being creative is what gets me through the crap I don't like doing. Man do I get bitchy if I don't get my studio time.

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I also think I may have the most useless degree possible. A BFA in printmaking, LOL!
I wish I had business sense, I keep thinking some point will be the right time to take a few courses to learn some basics.
Almost 42 and I'm just now thinking there might be a list of 10 things I could be when I grow up.

8:46 AM  
Blogger weezalana said...

Like Cristi, I have the Fuji FinePix F20. It's a great little camera!

And THANK YOU for putting the recipe for those Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cookies on the Flickr pic. Apparently, the baby likes sugar more than I do, and wants me to make those.

12:44 AM  
Blogger Alisha said...

i love the idea of you devoting more time to the things you love. it is a way to help things look a little brighter!

i have been away from blogging for too long and have some catchign up to do on some of my old fav blogs....great to see you still here and love your artsy photos...perfect!

5:47 PM  
Blogger DPUTiger said...

Hi! I'm a gazillion years behind on my blog reading. You?

Personally, I think you can't go wrong with a Nikon or a Canon. My #1 requirement for a point-and-shoot, though, is that it must take AA batteries. I refuse to be tied to a proprietary battery It's guaranteed to die right when you want it and when you can't recharge it. You can find AA's easily anywhere in the world, and the energizer lithium (silver/blue) batteries last for-freakin'-ever.

8:26 PM  

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