Archive for ‘gainful employment’

July 8, 2013

“I have the kids tonight, Elizabeth is in the ER”

The semester is over. It’s been over for quite some time – a couple of months now – and I have a couple of months before classes start up again. I had hoped that this chapter of my blog would be a quirky but poignant chronicle of my time in seminary, filled with revelations and tidbits I’d want to remember. I made fewer than ten posts and none of them exactly revelatory.

I joked on facebook that if I had to title my first year of seminary it would be, “I have the kids for the night, Elizabeth is in the ER.” Elizabeth, my housemate, was diagnosed with breast cancer last May and I continued to live with them and help out with the kids over the course of the year in exchange for a room. Not that anybody has a particularly good experience with cancer and I suppose her outcome, that is “not being dead,” means that in many ways she had a better outcome than most but she ended up in the hospital a lot with scary high fevers and things that just didn’t feel right. Many nights I ended up unexpectedly watching the kids while Elizabeth hung out at Mass General.

I attended Dorian’s preschool graduation, let the kids watch a little too much TV while I worked on assignments, taught them the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament, tried to hide my exhausted crying from them, and gave them lots of hugs. Choosing to live with somebody going through fairly aggressive cancer treatment (including chemo, radiation, and more than one surgery) was not the most logical decision but, hey, the price was right and I love the kids. Housemate is in remission, I’m still living here, and I feel like things are very much at a standstill right now.

In a lot of ways I’m scared to leave. I have a routine here; it’s the only place I’ve called home in any real way in a ten years. Sunday mornings are the epitome of that for me. The other thing I did during seminary was attend church every Sunday. I only missed twice when I was in town, once because I was super sick and once because I decided that drinking coffee with some queer friends was what my spirit needed. There were a couple of Sundays when I was out of town with my now-ex and it always felt weird to not be in church. Church is my routine, my rock, and I love that stability.

The kids love that stability, too. They’ve been coming to church with me almost every Sunday that I attend for a couple of years now. We don’t actually attend church all that close to where we live; First Parish Cambridge is clear across town though, realistically, it’s only a 30 minute train ride. Even that train is part of our routine. We walk to the station, in snow and sun and wind. We comment on the trees and the flowers, we talk about what we did with our week.

I’ve watched them grow up on these walks. When I first started taking them to church V was still in her stroller, not talking much, and D was a very shy 4 year old who didn’t want to leave my side. There’s a small wall at the corner of our block that D would walk on, holding the handle of V’s stroller. Slowly we phased out the stroller, instead of clinging to my side D started leading the way and running ahead. V scraped her knees every other week in an effort to keep up with her older brother, and slowly started to balance on that small wall herself holding my hand. Then slowly she no longer needed to hold my hand, not even for the “super hero jump” at the end.

We get off the train at Harvard, after crossing the river and inspecting it carefully for any signs of boats. D doesn’t often sit on his knees to look out the windows any longer; he’s too busy reading comics. We hold hands to cross the street and go in the side door of the building.

When I’m the worship associate the kids help me set up the sanctuary since childcare doesn’t start until 45 minutes after I have to be there. We set out new candles, make sure the pulpit is set up and arrange hymnals in the right places. I lift up V to hang the hymn numbers and let D light the starter candles. They both scamper around the sanctuary like they own the place. I usually let V test to make sure the mics are working. And the kid who wouldn’t leave my side got up this year, with three of his classmates, and spoke into a microphone in front of the whole congregation.

One year ago I agreed to stay for an extra year. It’s been a year and I know I need to move on. But I can’t imagine my life without walking those two to church on Sunday mornings and watching them grow from the “big kids” they are now into even bigger kids. And I can’t imagine not having them to distract me from school when school is too much.

April 21, 2012

Odd (online) Jobs – I need money

My job isn’t giving me enough hours to really make ends meet right now.

Does anybody have any online jobs I could do to earn a little extra money?  Data entry, transcription, etc?

I just need to earn a hundred or so bucks to get me through to next payday – May 1st.

March 2, 2012

I got in!

I got accepted to Boston University School of Theology for their Master of Divinity Program!

January 23, 2011

I’m Moving to Boston… And I NEED a Job

Alright, folks, for my more spiritual, emotional, analogical take on this please see the previous post. This is all work and no play. Please spread this post far and wide to any people you may know who could help me out!

I am moving to Boston, soon, and I desperately need a job once there. I have a place for my sister and I to stay for a little while but that little while needs to be spent saving money, not looking or a job.

Things I have done in the past:
-Worked at a residential treatment center for children and teens with autism spectrum disorders and other PDDs (pervasive developmental delays).
-Ran campaigns on local, and statewide levels.
-Worked with LGBTQ non-profits on grant writing.
-Worked at summer camps for children with developmental delays, physical delays, and mental challenges

Things about me and what I am looking for:
-I know a lot about LGBTQ history and the current atmosphere in the US
-I am really, really good with children of differing abilities and ages
-No, really, I am fabulous with children
-I can write curricula
-Public speaking (ok, this is based on stuff other people say, but I am certainly not THAT bad at it)
-I am willing to travel
-I would love to do something that involved religion or interfaith organizing
-The job needs to be cool with the fact that I am genderqueer. I have put up with enough gender discrimination crap for my lifetime, thanks.
-It needs to be public transit accessible.

Other things:
-I have a bachelor’s degree from College of the Atlantic in Human Ecology
-I am trained in infant/child first aid and CPR
-I type 90 WPM
-I really, REALLY need a job.

Want to know more? I’ve got resumés and I know how to use them – I’m happy to email them to you on request. If you have any tips (actual tips, not tips like “check out!!” or “my aunt knows somebody who worked for this man who had a son whose wife’s ex sister in law once worked for this place in Boston!”) then please leave them in comments or email me at andyleighcoate-at-gmail-dot-com.


January 22, 2011

Slow Moving Stars

Do you remember the windows screensaver called something like shooting stars?

You looked at a black screen with white dots coming toward you. But the dot would never hit the middle of the screen. It would always go off to one side right at the end.

Last night I stood on a bridge during the ends of a snow storm and watched the snow flakes fly at me. The wind was whipping in my direction, and the snow seemed to be flying directly toward me, right at my face, but few actually hit me. And I remembered being that little kid watching that screen saver, placing my pointer finger right in the middle of the screen and being almost annoyed that the star never hit my finger; it always veered at the last minute.

There are so many “almosts” and “close calls.” So many stars that never hit your finger, so many snow flakes that don’t hit your glasses. It feels like if you just moved your finger a little to the left or right, or ducked your head just the littlest bit, that something would hit, would stick.

I’m moving.

I’m moving to Boston after coming to the hard conclusion that, as much as my heart is in Maine there just isn’t a place for me here. Boston has opportunities and all kinds of things that Maine just doesn’t.

I can’t help but wonder if I’m just moving my finger an inch to the right, ducking my head a little, hoping to catch that illusive star or some errant snowflake. Will it make any difference? I’ll still be the center of wherever I am. Will things always just fly by, some looking like they will hit, and some so far from me as to not even try to grasp?

In that screensaver you can change two of the settings: how many stars and how fast. Maine has very few stars, and things move pretty slowly. You can trace each star’s trajectory. Moving to Boston is like ramping up both of those things – things will fly by, there are opportunities, and more opportunities means more of a chance that I can shift at the right speed at the right time to catch one. But I also can’t follow each opportunity. I can’t hope to see every option before needed to grab.

Maine is slow. Things will happen today… or they won’t. You move at your own speed in a lot of ways. The people at the bank know your name, you almost always run into somebody you know when you leave the house, and people shovel driveways for other people or help them if they are at the side of the road. Once I got pulled over because my tail light was out, and the cop offered to replace it for me if I had a spare.

I grew up in Los Angeles, and I’ve lived in Boston for varying amounts of time. They are cities. Nice things happen, but they are more spread out. People are more cautious. Here I have no problem leaving my computer, wallet, and backpack sitting at my chair in the coffee shop or library to walk around, go to the bathroom, order another drink, or step outside to make a phone call. It’s safe here. I don’t lock my front door or my car door anymore. I’ve even gone so far as to leave my keys in my car when I’m at home or at a friend’s house on occasion.

Those things can’t happen in cities. And I’m going to miss it. I can move quickly, I can adapt. But I do like my slow moving stars.

August 5, 2010


When I was 5 my mom had my little brother.  When I was 6 1/2 she had my little sister.  When I was 8 my stepfather, my siblings’ father, started becoming incredibly religious.  To the point that he was up late at night praying in the living room with candles lit, speaking in tongues.

Like I said.  Really religious.  Or insane.  Take your pick.  I won’t judge.

So we were going to church, every Sunday, every Wednesday.  I loved it.  I liked the community, the other kids, the adults who knew me.  I kept going even after my mom and stepfather split up.  He was picking up my siblings anyway, so it was easy for me to keep going.  I was a “Missionette” which is the evangelical version of a girl scout (my brother was, by contrast, a “Royal Ranger”).

And I went to youth group.  I loved youth group.  And good lord did I want to believe that everything was going to be amazing and fabulous and great if i just prayed enough, fasted enough, believed enough.  There was a lot of indoctrination.  We were told time and time and time again about all the teenage Christian martyrs.  The girl who was asked “do you believe in God?” by the Columbine killers and, when she said yes, they shot her.  Which turned out to be totally not true at all but makes for a great story for a bunch of tweens and teens trying to figure out this big old world.  We were asked, “would YOU have the courage to stand for God like that?”

I tried really hard to fit in.  But I always knew that I didn’t really believe what we were being told.  I did, however, really like the ministers.  The youth ministers, the guest preachers, and our minister.  His name was Rob and he was a good guy.  Looking back he was a total homophobic asshole but I did like him.

And more than liked them?  I wanted to be them.  It seemed like something I would want to do.  I loved doing the kid’s services and all of that kind of thing.  And though I really dislike myself for it now, I liked going into the community to talk to people about, you know, the love and eternal salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Not what I’m all about anymore, if you hadn’t noticed.

But the point was that I liked ministry.  I told people that I wanted to be a youth minister or a missionary when I grew up.  I thouht that those high school and college students who went to other countries to do missionary work were The Coolest People Ever.  Seriously.

I was no longer welcomed at the church after I was 12 or so, and it hurt.  But I got over it.  I went to high school, to undergrad, I moved a few times.  Church wasn’t a part of my life.

And now it is again.  And in the past few months I have met more queer, young, vibrant, sex positive, feminist, enthusiastic, accepting ministers than I knew existed in any form.

I don’t know how I feel about any of this.  Suddenly that thing that I wanted when I was in middle school is vaguely an option.  I don’t know that it is what I want at all.  But it’s weird that it’s an option again.

June 20, 2010


“So, what are you doing after you graduate?”

“Congratulations! What’s next in life?”

“What are you doing after graduation?”


I have a job. I have had a steady job for 6 months that pays the bills and I love the kiddos I work with. But I know that it’s just a job until I figure out what I really want to do. The thing is that I have no idea what I want to be. Even when I just sit and let myself dream about what I want to do in the future there is not one career that actually seems to fit me. I don’t want to be a butcher, baker, candle stick maker, doctor, lawyer, sex toy designer, penguin tamer, janitor, teacher… nothing appeals. I don’t want to work full time for LGBTQ rights, or full time with youth, I certainly don’t want a cubicle.

So what would an amazing, fulfilling career entail for me?

In my ideal, mythical career that doesn’t exist I’d want:

  • To connect with people on a personal level
  • To travel, at least some
  • Not work work exclusively with LGBTQ populations, but to never have to hide, lie about, or be ashamed of my various identities
  • To meet new and interesting people often
  • To be able to share my ideas from the start
  • To work collaboratively with others, not doing things alone all the time, but the ability to work on my own when I need/want to
  • For this to be a career that is not totally geographically specific
  • To be part of changing, for the better, a community
  • To learn and grow and have a great time doing it

so what? I want to be…

Tell me, folks, what is my future career?