How to Be Unemployed


A couple of summers ago, after finishing grad school, I went through a three-month period of unemployment, where it felt like every day was a battle to maintain my sanity.

I soon found myself maintaining a particular routine, just to try to keep some structure in an otherwise long, purposeless day. If you ever find yourself unemployed, I highly recommend following a similar schedule. May the Job Force be with you

10:00–10:30 – Wake up and force self to get out of bed. Whine and moan a lot.

10:30–11:00 – Eat breakfast. Chew cereal angrily.

11:00–12:00 – Swim laps in the apartment pool for no other reason but to kill time. Pretend THIS guy is in the water with you to make things more interesting:


12:00 – Try to convince yourself to shower, so that you can get the chlorine out of your hair. Decide that you don’t care if your hair turns green. You’re THAT hardcore.

12:05-12:30 – Shower.

12:30-1:00 – Get dressed, but not in real clothes. When you don’t have a job, you can wear any stupid thing you want and it doesn’t matter. You should take advantage of that!

1:00 – Sit down to the computer to start job-searching for the first time that day. Pray to the Gods of Employment to show a little mercy on you. Consider performing some sort of séance or animal sacrifice to please the gods and increase your luck.

1:05-2:30 – Apply for stupid bullshit jobs that you have no desire to do, but you’re running out of money and people keep asking you if you’ve found a job yet, and every time they do, a little part of you dies, and you can feel yourself losing your grip on sanity and you just want a fucking job, so you just keep searching, and you keep editing your resume until you hardly recognize it anymore, and you keep applying for shitty ass jobs you don’t want to do. Because that’s what grown-ups do.

2:30-3:00 – Weep all over your fancy-framed diplomas.

3:00-4:00 – Watch a little daytime TV on one of your three channels, because you can’t afford Netflix or cable. But you refuse to watch that Dr. Phil pseudo-psych bullshit, because he’s the worst. Even while unemployed, you still have your standards.

4:00-4:05 – Groan some more. Try groaning in different areas of your house to see how the acoustics change.

4:05-5:30 – Throw on the stained t-shirt that you’ve worn for three days in a row, and go out to run your daily errand. (Even if you have multiple errands to run, you can only allow yourself to go to ONE place. Gotta spread things out.) Go to Target and spend an hour staring at the pretty stationery, and then leave without buying anything but a single banana.

5:30-6:30 – Prepare ramen or instant mac & cheese.  Eat your Target banana for dessert.

6:30-6:35 – Take deep breaths as you check your email. Try to convince yourself that if you think positively, you can MAKE a response appear from a prospective employer. Perform another séance for luck.

6:35 – Discover that there are no new emails. Decide it is your computer’s fault that you’re unemployed. Punish the computer with your thoughts.


6:37 – Receive a text from a family member or friend, asking if you’ve found a job yet. Consider murdering them.

6:45-7:00 – Lay on the carpet and cry some more. You’re going to miss having a place to live.

7:00-8:00 – Watch Grey’s Anatomy. Find yourself hoping that the entire hospital explodes into a huge fireball, and that everybody gets mangled. Especially Meredith.


8:00-10:00 – Begin the second round of job-searching, because for some crock of shit reason, employers have started posting new jobs at night, and if you wait until the next day to apply for them, you’re probably coming behind some overachieving assholes who are even more anal than you are, so in order to keep up with everyone, you’re going to have to up your level of anal, and you never thought you’d say that phrase in your life, but you’ve lost perspective, and you don’t know what to believe anymore.

10:00-10:30 – Consider taking up a new fun hobby, like smoking crack.

10:30-12:00 – Come up with an idea for a children’s TV show about a clog-dancing gremlin named Elvis. Write and illustrate the first 15 pages of the script.

12:00 – Check your email again. Discover that an employer wants to set up an interview with you!!!!!!!

12:00-12:07 – Run around your apartment like a madwoman, waving your arms in the air and making pterodactyl noises.

12:07-1:00 – Try on different outfits to wear to the interview, because even though it’s after midnight, and the interview is still three days away, you need time to prepare, and you’re not sure whether that pencil skirt still fits, and you briefly wonder whether a pencil skirt is perhaps too fancy for an interview at a nonprofit agency, but you don’t exactly have a lot of choices, and it seems like a better option than the dress pants with the hole in the crotch.

1:00 – Feel thankful that you showered earlier. Green hair really wouldn’t go with this blouse.

1:00-1:30 – Research interview tips. You’re going to interview harder than anyone has ever interviewed in the history of interviews.

1:30 – Fall into a twitchy sleep.

For those who have endured periods of unemployment or (other difficult periods), what kind of routine did you develop? What other strategies helped you through?


Grocery Bag Confessions

Have you ever been on Postsecret? The website is a bit amazing. People make and submit anonymous postcards divulging their most personal secrets and confessions. Some of the “baggage” is heavy and sad, like those big travel trunks, or giant suitcases. Other secrets on the website are more lighthearted, like….grocery bags.


That was a rough metaphor, but you get what I’m saying. Hopefully.

You know what? Just go take a quick look at the site to get a better idea of the immense awesomeness of it. I’ll be here when you get back. I probably will have eaten all of the chocolate, though. Sorry about that.

For today’s post, I thought it’d be interesting to make a few secretive postcards of my own. But not of the dark stuff! Heavens to Betsy, no. Although I’m often struck by the pluck (heehee that rhymes) of the people who submit to Postsecret, I’m personally a bit of a chicken, so I’ll just stick with my more lighthearted secrets.

Or, my grocery bag confessions, if you will:






Anybody else guilty of these secrets? (Except for the Christmas tree one – I’m assuming I’m alone on that one.) What lighthearted confessions are you willing to make?


Diagnostic Manual of Annoying Child Behaviors


Last week, I traveled to South Carolina to spend a few days at the beach with my parents, niece, and nephew. My brother and his family live in SC while I’m in Texas, so I only get to see them once or twice a year. Needless to say, I really look forward to these trips, and always have fun with my niece and nephew. They’re sweet, funny, and charming little children.

However, they’re also children. Meaning they do irritating things sometimes.

In a previous post, I’ve talked about the fact that I question whether or not I want to have kids of my own. Before you throw rocks and pitchforks at me, just know that I happen to love kids, and even work with them in my job. Willingly. But I haven’t yet decided whether I want to subject myself to the never-ending, 24/7 responsibility of raising kids of my own.

As much fun as  I truly had with my little look-alike minions, some events of our vacation last week further reminded me about my hesitance. From an academic (read: nerdy) viewpoint, I was sort of fascinated by some of their behaviors.

“Why are you doing that? It’s weird. Stop.” – Me, every few minutes.

Part of my role as a therapist is to make diagnoses, and I found myself wondering whether some of my niece’s and nephew’s “quirks” might fall under brand new disorders. Feeling intrigued by this idea, I decided to create some new disorders all on my own.

Again, before you throw rocks and pitchforks, this is all in good fun 😉

Selective Speed of Movement
This is similar to Selective Mutism, an actual diagnosis in which children are unable to speak in certain settings due to intense social anxiety. You may also have heard of “selective hearing,” a phrase typically assigned to middle-aged men who seem to hear only what they want to hear.

Selective Speed of Movement applies to children who (at times) can move very, very quickly, such as when you tell them, “Go change into your swimsuit so we can go to the pool.”

Other times, these same children appear to become like sloths in a vat of maple syrup: Every. Tiny. Movement. Seems. To. Take. A. Great. Deal. Of. Effort. This hasn’t yet been studied in a lab, so it’s possible that syrup-covered sloths are actually quicker than the children.

This phenomenon is most likely to be triggered when you say something like, “Go brush your teeth.”

Overwhelming Urge to Press Buttons
Children with this mental disorder have an extreme desire to press any kind of button – microwave, elevator, figurative, etc. If you come across a child with severe OUPD and happen to push a button before they got the chance, prepare for their wrath. There will be whining, there will be angry faces. There may even be dramatic proclamations that you’ve ruined their day.

Misunderstanding of What Constitutes Fun for Adults
Symptoms include:

  • Asking you to watch them play their video game
  • Wanting to poke you in the face with various objects
  • Farting on you
  • Using your body as their personal diving board in the swimming pool
  • Expressing disappointment when you turn down any of the above activities


Inappropriate Internal Clock
This is a seasonal disorder that applies to children who wake up on summer days at 6:32 a.m. for no reason.

Pointless Competitiveness
Sometimes it’s good to have a little competition – it fosters hard work and determination, and there are lessons to be learned about both winning and losing.


But Pointless Competitiveness applies to scenarios where it makes no sense to compete, and there’s no clear winner. Children exhibiting PC might do any of the following:

  • Ruthlessly fight their way to be out the door first, despite arriving to the destination no quicker than anyone else
  • Passionately argue about who is the better “shuffler” (of cards)
  • Loudly declare that they have the smelliest feet



For those of you who have kids, know kids, or were once kids yourselves, what do you think of these (fake) disorders? Did any of them ring a bell for you? What would you add to this list?


I’ve Returned from the Beyond


After a week-long trip to South Carolina to visit my family, I’m finally back! I haven’t posted anything in over a week, which is the longest I’ve gone since I started this blog in October.

I was starting to experience blogging-related withdrawals. It wasn’t pretty.

I’ll have a couple of stories to post later in the week about my trip, but I wanted to go ahead and let y’all know that I’m back and I missed you so much! Every single one of you. Except for those of you who hate things like blueberry poptarts and cheese. What’s wrong with you, anyway? Why do you hate fun?

Oh, and P.S. – Last week, I entered Sometimes Stellar Storyteller’s 6-word story contest and came in 2nd place! Woo hoo! If you haven’t heard about Nicola’s blog and/or her contest, go check it out! She runs this contest each week, with a new theme/prompt posted on Saturday mornings. Everyone (even if you don’t participate in the contest) can vote on their favorites. Last week’s theme was “insult,” and this was my entry:

 “This dinner you made is…interesting.”

 I’d like to thank my friend’s well-meaning-but-super-condescending mother-in-law for the inspiration behind this entry.

P.S. #2 – I came home from vacation to discover that my Directv satellite is out. It’s going to take a week for a technician to come look at it, and I’ll apparently have to pay him $50 for the visit. I feel like this is the universe’s way of saying I should get  rid of the satellite all together and make the move to Netflix.

That’s right. The galaxies, stars, planets, and moons all aligned in such a way as to tell me that I should find a new method of digital entertainment.

So, all of you Netflix-seasoned people out there, what are your favorite shows and movies? What would you recommend for me to watch? My favorites so far (after mooching off my friend’s account) are Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, IT Crowd, and Arrested Development, but I’m open to any suggestions – comedies, dramas, documentaries, etc.

Queso Critique – Iron Cactus

Iron Cactus – Bee Cave, Texas

As a super famous queso critic and blogger, I’ve learned that it’s important to take detailed notes while testing a new dish, so that I can refer to them later on when I’m writing the review. Unfortunately, I recently made the fatal, unforgivable mistake of accidentally deleting my notes before I’d gotten around to writing.

I didn’t realize it until days later, and by then, I’d forgotten a lot of the cheesy details. (Cheesetails?) This is one of those times when I’d like to have a talk with my brain about the way it organizes itself. I can recite a poem for you that I memorized in 4th grade, but I can’t tell you what I thought about a dish that I ate a couple of weeks ago.

Since I can’t do anything about my poorly organized brain at this time, today’s critique will be reduced to the main highlights!

  • Restaurant: Iron Cactus in Bee Cave, Texas. (To my knowledge, there’s no actual cave of bees in this town. I’m disappointed, too.)
  • Dish: Queso Compuesto. White cheese with guacamole, pico de gallo, and grilled chicken
  • Flavor: Cheese was yummy, and had good spice. Chicken was inferior to El Arroyo’s.
  • Consistency: Too liquidy. Many sad.
  • Final score: 3.1. This queso was par with so many ones that we’ve had before – good, but not great.

I know, I know, this post was somewhat “meh,” but then again, so was the queso! In fact, I purposely made this critique boring, so you’d truly understand how forgettable the dish was, and NOT because I accidentally deleted the notes like a flippin cheese-rookie.

Although I’ve only had this blog since October, my cheese wife (it’s a thing) and I have been testing quesos for an entire year now. It’s our quesoversary! In order to spice up our cheese marriage, we will be trying a few different activities this summer. Here are some posts you can expect to see over the next couple of months:

  • A Just in Queso original recipe for…queso. Obviously. Why would we give you a recipe for salad? Go make your own lettuce.
  • Details of us forcing unsuspecting people to bring us cheese offerings.
  • Notes from our attendance at a queso-cooking contest in Austin. They haven’t asked us to be judges yet, but I’m sure the invite will come ANY day now.

The reason for the cheesin’

Iron Cactus website




Thoughts I Have When Texts Go Unanswered

You know when you text one of your friends or family, and they don’t respond for awhile, and you spend those minutes or hours agonizing about the reason for their silence?

No? Just me?

Okay, I’ll admit that occasionally, when my texts or phone calls go unreturned, my brain goes a tiny bit haywire. Unanswered texts feel a tiny bit like rejection, and like most homo sapiens, the emotion center of my brain doesn’t like this feeling.

So what does it do?

It employs a number of strategies to decrease this icky reaction. First, it tries to distract itself. Then, it attempts to figure out the reason for the lack of response (and this guessing game can go on for quite a while.) If those techniques don’t work, my brain will devise a list of bullshit reasons for why I should try to make contact again.

Here’s an idea of what this internal dialogue looks like:

  1. They must be busy. No big!
  1. I HAVE been texting them a lot lately. Maybe I’m being too needy
  1. Nah, they’re probably just busy. Cooking dinner, maybe. They’ll text when they can.
  1. Unless they’re mad at me. Didn’t I say something weird to them four days ago? I probably upset them with my strangeness.
  1. Did they have some sort of big event or task to do tonight? I feel like a better friend would remember these things.
  1. Perhaps this is their gentle way of letting me know I text them too much. I’ll try to stop.
  1. Unless maybe I should text them again and ASK if I’m being too clingy? No, don’t do that.
  1. Just going to casually check to make sure my phone isn’t on silent. We’re good.
  1. They’re probably not in a ditch. There aren’t a lot of ditches around here, anyway. It’s mostly just hills and cliffs.
  1. Seriously, what if they’re mad at me? I shouldn’t have said that vaguely teasing thing a couple of weeks ago.
  1. Okay ya little narcissist – not everything is about you. There could be about 100 different reasons why they haven’t responded, and most of them don’t involve you.
  1. You know what, maybe they were in the bathroom when I texted and they just didn’t hear the phone go off! Maybe they desperately want someone to reach out to them tonight, and have no idea that I tried. I’ll just send another text…
  1. Wait, what if they’re with another group of friends, and they’re all sitting around laughing about me, and placing bets to see how many times I text them? Well, I won’t give in to that game!
  1. Dude, get a hold of yourself. They’re probably busy, or maybe they just don’t feel like talking right now. You understand that.
  1. Think of something else. Think of something else. Think of something else.
  1. Crocheting is FUN! I’m totally focused on learning this new stitch. In fact, I feel so fulfilled by this activity, I’ve completely forgotten that my loved one is ignoring me!
  1. You know what, I can’t blame them. This is what I get for being such a clingy weirdo. A clingster. A cling-meister.
  1. What if this is a test of my friendship? What if they’re feeling really sad, and the lack of response is a challenge to see how hard I’ll try to help them? A really good friend would keep texting until they got an answer, right? Or would they call? Maybe go over to the house?
  1. That’s it. I need new hobbies. I’m going to make myself SO busy that I don’t even have time to send text messages in the first place.
  1. Just going to casually check my phone to see if I missed a response. Totally don’t care if there’s not one.


Anyone else occasionally feel this way when a loved one doesn’t answer your phone call or text? (Please tell me I’m not the only one!) What sorts of thoughts do you have when this happens? What do you say to yourself to gain control?

The Look I’m Going for is “Lobster”

Each week, I like to pop over to Mind and Life Matters to read all the submissions to Rashmi’s weekly limerick challenges. She presents some sort of theme (such as envy or superstition) that everyone has to follow, and it’s entertaining to read the different spins that various bloggers take on it! Some are lighthearted and silly, and others are darker and more mysterious.

I’ve never participated in the challenge before, but as soon as I saw this week’s theme (color), an idea popped in my head, so I decided to give it a try:

A girl on a trip to the shore,
Didn’t like her pale skin and she swore,
She wanted a tan,
So she lay on the sand,
Hours later, she was reddened and sore.


Guest Post: Yearning

I did a guest post for Mark over at Coloring Outside the Lines, and I may or may not have written a love poem about my favorite dairy product 😀 Please go give it a look and let me know what you think!

Coloring Outside the Lines

Welcome to Amanda/Mandi week! Wait, this one is Just in Queso. Queso? See picture below. Thanks to her for guest post. Any other Amanda or Mandi out there contact me. 😉

Greetings, earthlings!

While Mark is on vacation this week (lucky bastard), he asked if I’d like to guest post for him, and I was excited and flattered to take him up on it! I have a blog over at Just in Queso, where I review a certain cheesy Tex-Mex dish at various central Texas restaurants, and I also write stories about my strange and often pointless shenanigans.

I like to keep things pretty lighthearted and fun over there. My blog is cheesy in more ways than one.

Anyway, Mark said I could write about anything I wanted, so I strongly considered writing an expose on hemorrhoids, just to mess with you all. However, I wanted to keep within…

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