Friday, December 28, 2007

slow slow slow hops the bunnygirl

Sometimes I get a song stuck in my head and it feels like it will be there forever. This seems to be especially common on days when there is a hangover present, as though marked absence of alcohol has left room for songs to sneak in and play on repeat for hours.
Yes I had too much to drink last night and today even typing is difficult. I've got this hollow where my brain used to be and my eyes seem to get stuck to objects that have no significance (hello coffee cup you sure are looking nice today. so nice I just can't look away).
I forgot where I was going with that. Case in point.
Oh--I went into the restroom earlier and after washing my hands grabbed a paper towel to dry them off and licked it I have no idea where that came from. I watched myself do it in the mirror and wondered what the hell I was doing and then the taste hit me and I though "my god, why would someone do that?" all the while I actually was doing it.
I am very lucky I suppose that there is nothing of great importance entrusted to me today I would assuredly fuck it up. As it is the complexity of putting together a citation style guide is proving to be beyond my abilities.
I went to a wine and cheese tasting last night and it was quite fun, which sort of lured me into going to dinner and drinking more red wine which led to going to watch some music and drinking cheap beer which eventually led to walking home in the early hours of the morning, making a pathetic quesadilla (I just spell checked that twice and spell check doesn't know what it is. it wants to make it "odalisques" but I can't imagine trying to make one of those at one am while drunk) with some bottom-feeder tortillas and parmesan cheese (thankfully not shaker cheese but still not something that usually leads to a good quesadilla) and then stumbling off to bed to awaken at 6:30 very very confused about the world and existence and all its baggage and also obviously quite stupid. Unfortunate indeed then that I have to spend a fair amount of time with my mother (stuck in a car no less) this evening.
But we do what we must. Because we must.
And really I can't think of another thing to write, and typing hurts me.
goodbye 2007 bring on 2008 already.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

look out for the hydraulic crane

This morning was all about laying in bed and contemplating mortality. Only I had to get up and go to work. Its a hard push-pull kind of a deal, talking yourself out of warm covers on a gray day, made no easier by thoughts of death and sleep being so similar and pleasant and preferable to movement or faking motivation.
It keeps hitting me that I'm a grown up now. Or as close as I am ever likely to get. Its a freakily unfulfilling realization. What in the hell am I supposed to do with that?
I think most of my generation is having the same problem. Or at least I hope so, nothing sucks quite as much as being the only one in the middle of an existential crisis.
Why don't I have things figured out? I thought I'd just go with the flow and things would fall together in some sort of fateful way, but at the moment it feels more like things are falling apart rather than together and I don't think that fate really has anything to do with it.
Most likely it is just because I'm lonely. The person I talk to the most is the one I know is planning to abandon me for bigger brighter better things, and that doesn't really lend itself to too much confidence or admittance.
So that has to be part of it. Here I am alone and likely to stay that way. Really part of me is looking forward to knowing for sure I'm alone. The part after may not be so good, but at the moment a schedule sounds nice.
I looked in on an old boyfriend the other day--online, not in person--and was happy/sad to find him as pitiful and unable to deal with the world as when I left him. Happy because it makes me very sure I made the right decision there and sad because it doesn't look like things are ever going to change for the better for him, and that is always sad.
And I keep remembering that time after I left, and how good it was for me to be alone. And maybe this time will be just as good--cathartic, fulfilling, and I will be alright with it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

red fish winging into the sky

The 26th is kind of a let-down day all around for me. Holiday day, the 25th, is all about the family and the giving and the staying at home and eating too much, and the 26th, for me at least, as a little kid I wasn't sure what to do with it--am I still supposed to stay in "family" mode? Is it alright to abandon them immediately? I always feel badly about that. And what about the presents we just opened? My mother is something of a consumer queen--she never knows when to quit, and I always feel embarrassed by the sheer amount of crap I am left with on the 26th. This is the first year that she has kept tags on things and told us all that she is okay with our returning things we do not want. In years past it has been viewed as something only an ungrateful child would do: if you love her you will keep the things she gives you. And she is always trying to top what she did last year, a continuous escalation of stuff: more packages or bigger packages or whatever. Every year is going to be different, bigger, better, best.
This year my father and I talked a little about trying to do things differently next year: limiting the number of gifts any one person can buy, trying to keep things small and simple. Its too early to tell right now, but I hope at least some of what we're planning comes to pass.
I've been thinking a lot about the necessity of contrast: feast and famine, holiday and workday good day and bad. You have to have one to define the other, right?
The general idea of contrast.
Only it would seem that in this day and age, in this particular country we don't want to have both. We want to have a holiday every day, every year to be a "boom" year, a growth year a good year. But it can't work like that, can it? I mean, we need some contrast. We need to have days "on" to have days "off". We need to fast before the feast--in order to enjoy it at all. Otherwise how will we recognize the feast at all?
I am concerned that we don't--that our quest for the "good life" our "pursuit of happiness" has led us into a spiral--continuously having to top what has come before, searching for the next "good" and after that the next "great". Without looking for the sacrifice that should come before or after, the day of fasting before the feast; for contrast, for reflection, for perspective. Instead of taking a day out, taking some time to reflect, regroup, recommit, we just make the next one bigger--that seems to be the only contrast or comparison we want to make. Last year was big, but this year will be bigger. Always bigger.
We can't go on like this, can we? We need some simplicity. Some down time. Some contrast. Some perspective. Some rest.
Instead, yesterday we (as a society and also, specifically, my family) unwrapped our gifts, and today we (all of us) will go out and return them for new things and tomorrow we (the great unending "we") will start planning how next year will be bigger, better, best. I am hoping that we (my family) can get out of this consumer spiral, can set our sights on what really matters about the day and the holiday and that we (as a society) can some how, in a larger way, shake the urge to go bigger always as well.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

holiday b&e cheer.

Here we are, solstice on the verge, snow on the ground, Christmas on the horizon, Cait on the edge.
Only not really. Things are good, calm, peaceful. There is joy and cheer and camaraderie that I am happy to take part in.
Only thing, I'm not sleeping. I don't know exactly why. Last night I laid awake for four or five hours thinking about engraving. Of all things. The night before it seemed like the heater was making so much noise I was never going to be able to drift off. And I didn't.
But it could be reversable: I went running this morning, just a short 4 miler because it is cold and snowy and I am a lazy slack ass, but usually exercize helps. Physical exhaustion can often win out over internal rambling--my own little hamster wheel that won't stop spinning.
Man I am such a drama lately! Why can't I let it go? I am really looking forward to a couple of days off and away--I will be going to my family's for the holidays and hopefully doing nothing more stressful than carrying on polite conversation with my mother and watching sappy movies and some good bad cable.
Happy everything, anyway.

Friday, December 14, 2007

let's not forget the Rum.

Its all merriment and cheer around here. And I’m totally feeling it. I’ve got my red boots--my favorite farm boots that make way more sense in mud and rain than snow, but which I wear anyway at any given opportunity because I love them: they’re big, they’re red, they rock.

Did you ever read that joke book when you were a kid that had the joke in it: “whats big and red and eats rocks?” in it? I was such a huge fan of that book and that joke in particular.

(answer: a Big Red Rock Eater! All the toddlers in the room fall down, all the grownups groan).

I made festive food last night, in the midst of a snowstorm. We got slammed, here on the coast. Lots of driving snow and wind-whipped road ways. It was quite romantic to be snowbound and baking with my sister.

Her boyfriend was trapped for about seven hours on a bus, which is totally unromantic, but he had his laptop, so he got some good paper-writing done I guess.

And today all the trees are tippled white and the snow is as pristine as it ever gets along the sides of major road ways. The roads themselves are already a brown churn, and much windshield-wiper fluid will be expended for visibility to stay good over the long haul.

I’ve got homemade candy to send to relatives all stacked up and waiting in the cold storage room, but because it is right there and already bagged and all, I keep giving it to other people. Not accidentally really, its just that I seem to want to give everything away lately. I am feeling a need to clean out my closet and crawlspace before the holiday--my mother has told me twice now that she thinks I have quite a lot coming to me, and I am worried that she has been thinking about the fact that I may be sad since August and taking it out on her credit card. I hate it when she does things like that. My parents, as a couple, and my father, as an individual, are big believers in sustainability and self-sufficiency. Once upon a not so far away time, they grew most of their own food and their house is as energy efficient as it was possible to make it (with the roof designed for the eventual addition of solar panels they’ve never been able to afford), my father is against all things consumerist and specifically “The Man”. Oddly, my mother only goes along with that to a fairly superficial point: she is something of an uber-consumer; she cannot say no to a “good deal” and thrives on discount shopping and post holiday sales and the like. She almost always overbuys in the cheap-plastic-crap department and it is something I’ve tried to talk to her about in the past, and totally given up on in the present. My dad feels the same way. When I balked a few years past at accompanying her to some post-thanksgiving day buy-buy-buy frenzy my father took me aside and reminded me that it was a small thing, I didn’t have to participate myself, and it would make her happy. My dad is good like that.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

cradle and the cookie jar

I get a little fixated sometimes, on the finance thing. I begin to obsess about numbers and they way they impact my life today and will impact the future course of my life. My sister and I have been having arguments lately about how warm our apartment should be at night and during the day, because I am interested in keeping costs as low as possible (within my measly budget) and she is sort of oblivious to costs, rising costs and the stupidity of heating a building that no one is in.
Its a hard thing about this time of year; the budget--It seems like there are suddenly a lot of things that require a small gift or item--holiday parties and Yankee Swaps and I have fifteen coworkers in my department who all send each other Christmas cards. I've been trying to keep things on the low end of the scales by home-making as much as possible--the cards for example--and toffee for party gifts and for the people I actually share an office with. I like to think that, on top of being cheaper it also is more personal. But even if other people don't see it that way, it is at least a little cheaper. I like getting to go to these little parties and being included in holiday gatherings and traditions, but I want to try and do it in a way that doesn't compromise me financially.
The heat thing, the continually skyrocketing cost of oil has me worried. I don't want to get myself into a situation where I have to abandon my savings plan to just make ends meet. My sister isn't on any sort of plan--though she is a student with a fairly small fixed income, she has that feeling common to students (at least in my experience) that things will work themselves out and time spent in school isn't time to worry about money. I'm a little frustrated with the attitude myself, but that might just be because I am a perpetual worrier, and financially fixated besides.
On the upside, Christmas is within striking distance! So it is almost over, thank goodness. I've got most everyone done--my mother is the last person I need to buy for at this point I think, and I stayed pretty well within budget for everyone except possibly her (I'm doing her stocking this year, so I've kind of gone overboard on the small-but-expensive items, like makeup and fancy beads, that I would want in my stocking, because thats the way I want to do it, I'm not going to cheap out on my mom, thats just not cool). But it is sort of troubling, you know, the massive commercialization of Christmas--really of holidays in general and the huge emphasis on gift giving . I don't have any children, but I have friends with small children, and its becoming apparent that this may be the last year I get away without buying toys--or books, I suppose, but boy could that get expensive fast!! I read an article or blog entry (and I don't remember quite where, so no link) about some people who made a conscious effort not just to not have children, but to not make friends with people with children so as to avoid the costly outlay for various holidays. I do think that is a little extreme, but at the same time I wonder if there may not be some sort of drift, over time, where people who have children and people who do not may begin to have less and less in common and a certain amount of annoyance for one-way cost cropping up on the child-free side of the line.
Not that I'm opting out of ever having children, just with circumstances the way they currently are, I'm pretty sure its not in the 3-year-plan anyway.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

the cookie in the cookie jar

When I was in graduate school I got kind of obsessed with personal finance literature. I don't know exactly why--I know the first book I read on the topic was some Suze Ormond thing and it left me with more questions than I had started with, so I went looking for another book, and after that one another, and then once I found out they existed, for blogs on the subject(and there are lots of them, very good ones) and web pages and the like. I am fascinated by it, and possibly if I had discovered it earlier I might have ended up with a degree in economics or in the field of financial planning.
Occasionally I look at academic programs and think about going back, but from this vantage point it doesn't make that much sense--I already like what I do, and it would cost me a fair amount of money and time take that path and see if it was really as interesting as it seems at first glance.
So instead, I keep reading, and doing my little "run numbers" sheets (occasionally also referred to as "bistro math" or "Cait's ridiculous percentage obsession") and trying to figure out what I should be doing with what I've got. It changes a lot. Every time I read something new I want to integrate it into my planning and also I don't want to be totally in the thrall of minute finance at every waking moment. I like the idea of simplicity and automation where it comes to financial things (I read about that someplace early on, of course).
For my first two years out of school I focused solely on getting rid of my credit card debt, I got rid of it for good (fingers crossed) early last year. Then I started on the current quest: a 60-40 split of income; where I live on roughly 60% of my take home pay and save the other 40% of it in various vehicles (high-interest savings, CDs, and Index funds predominantly). Incidentally this doesn't count my pre-tax 403b plan: into that I had been putting 8% of my gross income (with an employer match for the first 7%) . So I've been doing alright. Generally I'm pretty proud of myself. But then I read something new; for instance the fact that the limit for pre-tax account contributions this year is $15,500, and my measly 8% of my measly income doesn't even come to half of that. Also, I'm not debt free by any measure: I had to take out some considerable loans to complete graduate school, and during my debt-repayment phase I was sending double payments every month to the folks that hold those loans. But this fall I had a talk with my uncle, who was outraged that I was paying double (and in June was technically all paid up for the current year) on a loan that was only earning 2.65% interest. He said I was doing myself a disservice by not saving or using that money for myself, and education debt being considered "good debt" it was the kind to have around. I thought about it for awhile, and then I reached my 36th on-time payment and qualified for a 1% interest rate reduction and decided that I could make minimum payments on a loan earning 1.65% interest, let it live forever and be okay with it. So now I am, and I'm taking that money and hopefully offsetting an increase in my pre-tax 403b, from 8% up to 15%. Well, I say that but I think at the same time I may also have put that extra money into an index fund...I rebalanced my 40% savings scheme and set it up so that an estimated 25% of it is going into index funds (and of course the stock market is thats not the smartest thing ever I suppose, but over the long term it should give me a decent return, again, fingers crossed) and the rest is sort of unevenly distributed between savings for a new car in about two years and a house in about five and a "fun" fund (about $25 a month) for the misc good time stuff that I will likely never buy.
Does any of this make sense? Its hard to say. I am not necessarily very good at keeping track of this stuff: I am not 100% sure how the increase in pre-tax savings is going to affect the size of my next paycheck, but I want to at least try to get a little closer to the maximum next year, because there is hope that I am young enough to have compounding interest working in my favor and helping me into early retirement. Which is, at least sometimes, a goal of mine.

Monday, December 10, 2007

what if the mice get to it first?

This sums it up perfectly:


Man, why can’t I get words like that? That’s exactly it; what I’ve been feeling in the back of my head for days now, but my attempts at expressing it are so much more amorphous, when I really just needed to come out and say that, and then it would all make sense.

I went to a memorial service on Saturday and it was really good, in that way that something sad and terrible can still be good, because it is about a whole lot of people getting together and remembering and loving someone (even if it is, okay, a whole lot too late for that person to get much out of it, it is nice to know that people care) and I enjoy the community feeling and the commiseration that make you feel like you are part of this group instead of all alone (as we all are, inevitably, at death). Of course it did make me ponder the point of continuing to live at all because (as stated so clearly above): LIFE HAS NO PURPOSE, COMMUNICATION IS IMPOSSIBLE, THE EXISTENCE OF MAN IS ABSURD. Yeah. Good times.

I don’t know how many people would come to my memorial service, if there was one. I know my mother pretty much planned one once (I was in a bad accident, and on the way to the hospital apparently my folks had the necessary talk about the necessary arrangements, but she still won’t tell me the details). Which is nice to know, I guess. At least there is a plan.

A plan generally makes things better I think. I get more done with planning and deadlines. I enjoy a certain amount of structure. If it were not, for instance, for the need to get up and go to work on weekdays, I would most likely have spent today laying in bed listening to Nirvana. Usually my laying-in-bed-questioning-the-futility-of-living music of choice is Tool, but something in me really wants to hear In utero back to back to back for a period of eight or nine hours.

But I don’t have a choice in the matter (or at least I tell myself there is no choice in the matter) I need to get up and go go go like an animated doll: get in the car, drive ever so slowly through snow and slush to work, and sit and type-type-type and think-think-think and make little to-do lists of the things I want done by the end of the week. My lists are always a little mixed up: I have a tendency to run together all the things I want done in work and out of work in one non-prioritized list:

  • Make new book display,
  • eat fruit for breakfast,
  • finish CSE citation guidelines page,
  • get to the gym at least three times,
  • do some actual collection development and get the slush pile off my computer desk,
  • make Christmas cards,
  • lose five pounds or grow five inches, your choice.
  • Write something you might enjoy reading sometime in the future
And honestly this probably does not fulfill that last one, I am just a rambler and do not really merit re-reading truth be told.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

waxing pathetic...I mean poetic

You need to write about the awesome.

So I know I haven’t done so well with the writing every day thing, for November. But I did write (I think) on the majority of days, and almost always was able to produce something on a day when I was in front of a computer for more than a half hour anyway. But looking back I think it was still good and worth trying to keep going: keep working on. I still haven’t actually submitted anything to anyone, I’m still all talk on that front. But I am at leas castigating myself about it (that’s the start of something, right?) and I know that it does help, so there is that.

About the awesome: often lately I’ve got that horrible stained thrown away feeling (you know the one, or would if you’d read anything from early in November I guess) and its bad in the crappy-getting-crappier kind of way, but if I look past it and try and find something good and fine and worth keeping, worth doing or looking forward too, there usually is something. And I have a feeling it would totally help the world view to write about the awesome instead of the crap-suck-a-potomous that is daily existence sometimes (well, except it feels so good sometimes to just write it all down, like blowing your nose: hah gunk! Now what are you going to do? Huh?). So yeah, the awesome: my best and least responsible friend from college has had a beautiful baby girl. She came to visit this weekend and called me at 7:30 on Saturday night because she hadn’t made plans for where they were going to sleep that night…its nice to know that babies don’t necessarily change people. Another one of my friends from college--who used to get rip roaring drunk and threatening to any and all comers, has a beautiful wife and a gorgeous one-year-old and he doesn’t drink at all anymore (his wife, actually, has never seen him drunk) and it doesn’t seem to matter--he is still fun and opinionated and insightful about things and he doesn’t miss it (well, he said sometimes he misses drinking Jim Beam at 1’o clock in the afternoon, but he gets over it)…so its nice to see that sometimes things do change and families make people feel whole in ways you didn’t know they needed to feel whole. I got fantastically farm-fresh produce today out of the back of someone’s mini van and was reminded how cool it is to participate in the local scene of something: you’re helping them and they’re helping you and there is really no downside because I have fresh cabbage and they have money to feed their chickens. And there is snow on the ground outside, and its new enough that it is still all white and stuck to tree branches in a decorative fashion and so I am loving it even though it makes it harder to run.

And its already Wednesday! How did that happen so fast?

Friday, November 30, 2007

the penguin in my head said "NO!" and I believed him.

Sometimes you think things are going to be fine, you’re going to be fine: sure, you’re mad at your sister for not cleaning up the kitchen after she made muffins two days ago, but she’s in law school and under a lot of (constant, unending, self inflicted) stress and so you should just let it go, go easy there, clean it up your damn self if it is pissing you off so much.

But then, after you have painstakingly talked yourself into this plan and world view while scraping hardened batter off the counter and filling the dishwasher, in she walks and your mouth inevitably sets in that frowny-line and you just can’t let it go. She’s a slob and lazy and not using her time well and her angsty bitching is totally unnecessary given how easy she currently has it. She takes four classes a week. And that’s it. No job, no commute even--we live around the corner from the law school (but she still drives. And complains about the parking tickets she gets when she leaves her car in the faculty lot). She is unhealthy and unmotivated to get healthy and I am fuming about all of it: all the bad choices I have seen her make and see her continue to make because I live with her.

God, I make a horrible roommate don’t I? I really was going to just try and let it go and get on with my own life (which is obviously what I should be concerning myself with: its not like I’m making a whole lot of good choices for my own self most days) but instead for some reason while I cleaned the kitchen last night I felt the need to ruminate on all her mistakes instead of my own. Which is bad for so many reasons, not least of which because despite my pessimistic world view last evening she hasn’t made that many.

She went to a private high school on a full scholarship and got a great education. She went to state college when she didn’t get any full scholarships to save money and made sure (through constant involvement) that she got a great education. She took two years of Russian and then went and lived in the Komi for four months her junior year (still so, so ballsy in my opinion) with just one other English speaker in a city of several hundred thousand. She applied for and got into the state’s only Law School, which is expensive but still way less expensive than her first choice (which she also got into but decided against because she didn’t want $200,000 worth of debt after three years. She said she didn’t want to have to sell her soul immediately after graduation if she could help it). She’s a cool kid, she’s got a wide group of friends an eclectic taste in music and an open mind about pretty much everything. She’s really generally exceptionally kick ass as a little sister, its just that sometimes I forget.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

we're going to have to skin it if we want to bring it inside.

Sky is grey, wind blowing dead leaves around in little whirlwind circles in the parking lot. It’s a great example of a November day in New England.

The chill in the air isn’t serious, but would certainly make you think twice about flopping down onto the grass to get a better look at the clouds.

There is construction going on outside my window, and I wonder about working outside in this kind of weather. I’m sure once you’re moving the cold doesn’t intrude too much, but it seems like these guys only move as much as they have to: there seem to be a great number of breaks and shovel leaning going on around the site. At any given point several men smoking cigarettes and watching as the rest of the work flows on around them.

I’m always astonished that people still smoke. I never have, but my parents and grandparents did, and a lot of my friends through high school and college picked it up at least for a little while. Most of the friends I still have from that period have given it up--there are just so many ways you’re bombarded with health information these days that it seems like you can’t help but digest the fact that it is going to kill you and in the mean time make you look old and haggard before you’re ready to be mistaken for a grandmother.

So how did these guys duck the information overload? Its just another example of how the people around you influence your own actions: I don’t see how people could keep smoking, and yet there are a great many people out there who don’t see how they could ever stop--its too social or too ingrained or too pleasurable to be put aside so easily. And yeah, so its going to kill you eventually. But so is everything else. You just have to keep in mind that no matter what happens we’re all going to die and you’ll see that the whole death card isn’t really as big an issue as it might seem at first. We’re all going to get there someday, and wouldn’t it be something if you determined your own path, even that little bit?

Not that I am suddenly going to take up smoking just to get a jump on figuring out how I am going to die. Generally I am motivated by what might give me a slightly longer life span rather than a shorter one. Though today it doesn’t really seem worthwhile I must say. I read a bunch of stuff earlier (go to slate if you really want to read it, I will not link it and spread the sadness and mania) about avian flu and pandemics and global warming and general disaster preparedness and I just go to thinking: is survival really such a good idea? I mean, I’m not saying that I don’t want a chance at it like anyone else, but just: why would you want to live through the horror to live through more horror?

Say you get yourself all prepared and outfitted and manage to navigate the horribly debilitating worldwide illness that spreads, airborne, through your family, killing roughly half of those infected. So half of the people that you love and live with you now have to bury or dispose of and then you need to barricade yourself and the supplies you’ve hoarded into some little out of the way spot to keep from being killed for your pantry by the other grief stricken survivors who are now starving in the aftermath because they maybe didn’t stockpile quite as much as you did.

Kind of horrendous, right? To contemplate (at great remove, obviously, but still a major downer) loosing so many loved ones and friends and then having to defend yourself against others as similarly inflicted (if you actually did start saving shelf loads of canned tuna and dried beans like these columnists were recommending, which I don’t know if people in general are--my mother is, but she is a little on the “nut job” end of the “normal people spectrum”) . So yeah, anyone for an afternoon cancer stick?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

lobster in the lobster trap

Off site yesterday so I didn’t have any time to have myself a little sit-down.

Fun thing: it is supposed to snow here either later this week or early next week. I’m excited about the possibility. I love a good snow storm.

I would also dearly love a snow day, but for most of the adult world that’s not really a possibility. I can commiserate: at my last job I was the snow policy. At this job though we are given leave, in winter months, to examine the circumstances and decline to come if the conditions seem unfavorable. I love that--we can use our own discretion and judgment! How novel! How humane! Were I to take the temperature of my inner landscape into account I would probably call in a lot more frequently “I’m sorry its just looking a little dark and icy, I don’t think I can get out of my pajamas today” that doesn’t really fly though (save the odd mental health day). But I have high hopes and ambitions and plans for taking a day off my commuting schedule, at least by car: I’m hoping to leave my car at home one day a week and make my way here by a variety of buses. It is a little complicated (involving three changes each way) and a rather ridged schedule (the changes only match up if you make the 7:10 in the first place, otherwise the wait will be rather long between bus #2 and bus # 3 ) so I am going to aim for going car-free on Thursdays and see how it goes.

If it goes at all. I have yet to actually get to the testing process so we’ll see once we’re actually there.

In process and preparation I have been looking for a good warm winter coat. I do enjoy outerwear, but I don’t buy much of it. My great aunt was a horrible pack rat for that sort of thing: she had an entire closet in her apartment filled with just coats. When we cleaned out her apartment after her death I remember being slightly horrified and astounded: she had only ever worn this one raggedy purple down filled winter coat when I had known her, it was amazing to learn that she had had a closet full of choices and never done anything with them--neither wearing them herself nor giving them to someone who might wear them.

So I don’t really have a winter coat--I have an old English duffle coat of my father’s that is wonderfully warm and three sizes too big--which until recently I really haven’t minded. I also have a kids red ski parka that was given to me by a friend who worked at a L.L. Bean’s for a winter and got it for a couple of dollars. And I’ve got a rain coat that I wear most days, which has started to seem a little silly.

I keep seeing people out at night in town in these sort of “out at night in town” type coats and I keep wondering if I possibly look totally ridiculous in my oversized rain coat with sweater, hat and scarf. I think it is a distinct possibility and I am not sure I want to keep being the ramshackle girl--especially if I am riding the bus.

Way too much introspection, huh?

Monday, November 26, 2007


amazing how lazy i can get sometimes.
Thanksgiving was good--lots of food and just my little family.
Well, my sister's boyfriend came, but they're pretty much attached at the hip these days so it wasn't unexpected. Also he's kind of a blender--he just sort of sits back and doesn't say too much so it is easy to imagine he's just part of the woodwork I guess. He's supposed to spend christmas with us too this year.
I told the boy (my boy, who is so not my boy, obviously, since he is leaving me and not looking back in a little over a month now, but who I persist on still thinking of and treating as though everything were hunky dory and we were totally going to be together longer than six weeks. I'm such an ass) about how Mr. woodwork is going to come to christmas and he was sort of amazed--probably because in the recent past its seemed like our relationships (my sister and her bf and the boy and mine) have been rather parallel, but obviously they are not at this point--I'd like to think maybe he was feeling a little left out but I think he was really just thinking "what is Mr. Woodwork doing breaking in on their christmas?"
It was a weird weekend because of our whole odd dynamic--I didn't hear from the boy until late in the day on Saturday (I don't call him anymore--its a rule of mine that I doubt he knows about--so I hadn't heard from him since thanksgiving). He was hung over but we were supposed to be having dinner with a bunch of friends of his. I suppose they are my friends too--but honestly this time around it didn't really feel like it. Maybe it was just the state of mind I was in, but it felt like a lot of pulling back, a lot of "she's walking the plank there boys watch out"--I didn't say much and kept contemplating getting completely blitzed, but I didn't really have the guts to do it. He stayed in town with me and hung out on Sunday and maybe he got the hint that I was feeling like I had the plague--he kept trying to be comforting and at the same time avoiding the subject.
I kept wondering, all day--did we have things in common? Were there things that I thought were indispensable about us? Not about him, but about the combination of the two of us? I know he is singular and unique and wonderful (in his special special-ness...haha but really) but why do I think that he belongs with me? Do I even think that any more?
I can't figure it out. I feel like I've been through my stages of grief on this--bargained and made lists and cried a hell of a lot for so many different reasons--and he is still here and I can't quite figure out where to go from here. sometimes I just wish he would leave already I guess so I can get on with what is next. And all the time part of me is scared about what is next because I know him and I don't want him to go, even if I can't figure out what it was about us that I used to think was worth mourning.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

raise your hand if you want ketchup

First snow!

Always exciting--when I was in middle school and high school I had a particular friend who I would go walking with in the first snow. She had her first baby this year, has been married for just over a year and owns a home not that far from mine--we don’t really talk much any more (other than when she emails to tell me about her latest landmark achievement: buying the house, getting hitched, getting knocked up).

I had this huge grey and black sweater that I used to wear instead of a coat. It was my fathers, but it was too big for him too, so I appropriated it and wore it instead of both a jacket and mittens, since the sleeves were more than long enough to cover my hands.

My dad still has it I think. He has another one, a brown and black version, that actually fits him as well--I think they may have been gifts from an aunt of his and she got the size horribly wrong the first time around but liked the pattern and tried again.

I’m still not much for coats--I’ve actually ordered one this year, a fleece from some “mountain goods online” place, to go inside the rain shell I wore last year in place of a coat. I don’t know why I can’t seem to get it together to have an actual wardrobe--some odd combination of laziness and thrift and bucking conformity at all opportunities prevents me I guess.

I used to (and still, to some extent, continue to) have a huge problem with jeans--as in the quintessential teenage uniform, denim pants--I hated the idea that life could be so conscripted as to have that single choice: wear it with t-shirts! Wear it with sweaters, but on pain of death, wear it!

So I never did. Although honestly part of this was most likely the fact that I couldn’t afford the nice jeans, I could afford the jeans from GoodWill or Salvation Army and that was about it. So I wore khakis or skirts or fatigues or (in place of that perennial ‘80’s favorite, the stretch pant) bright red long johns. I got a great pair of tight oil-stained jeans at a local dump store (literally a thrift store at a dump where people could drop household items that might have further use) and those are the only jeans I had through much of high school and college.

As a result, I’m still not very comfortable in jeans--its amazing to me how so many people put them on to show that they are “relaxed” or “casual” for a Friday. I have two pairs: one pair tight (my “hey its almost marathon time: check me out” pants) and one pair baggy (my “fat” pants). And generally when I put them on I feel like I’m putting on a costume, my I am a normal mid 20s girl hanging out casually--see me--see? Yes I am.

Monday, November 19, 2007

the clouds of snot do cover

Sorry. I've been sick--still am sick. It doesn't help that beyond all sense I went out on Saturday and went to a wine tasting and two shows--that was a little uncalled for and I have not quite rebounded from it.
My head is too full of snot to be let any good words out.
maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

would you be interested in a little harmless movie watching?

On Wednesdays I work in the evenings, so my schedule is a little off--but generally I love it: its great to have a weekday morning mostly free to do the administrative things of life: going to the post office and bank and knowing that they will be open and not too crowded, using the kitchen while the rest of my housemates are away at school and work, and especially eating leisurely breakfast before I shower.

I don’t know about you, but on the typical weekday morning I am generally in a rush, lately I get up at the last possible instant, and even when I do manage to get up earlier I don’t really have time to ease into the day or take things slow. If I have to I shower (and very often I just say “screw it” and fake a shower with a wet brush and a quick face wash) throw on clean (does it pass the smell test? Then yes, in my book it counts as clean) clothing and throw some food into my bag to eat once I get to work. A true measure of leisure time, as far as I am concerned, is eating breakfast at a table and then showering.

Pretty much every day this week I have brought a piece of fruit with me with the intention of eating it for breakfast. And every day I’ve brought a piece of fruit I have abandoned it on a corner of my desk and gone for hot chocolate powder mixed with coffee. This should not be part of a balanced breakfast but has become my default breakfast of late. Obviously this is one of the reasons I’ve caught a cold and feel generally sluggish and unmotivated about life. Something really should be done.

I mentioned to my office mate that it looked like I was saving up for a fruit salad. He laughed and the next day he came back from the cafeteria (I don’t usually go there to eat--its only $4.75 so I do get there once a month or so, but sort of on principle I like to bring food from home because if I’ve already got it I might as well eat it, and if I keep throwing down $5 for lunch the numbers get big pretty quick: $4.75 x 12 = $57 spent if I went once a month all year! $242 if I went once a week instead! Oh how money lost does have a way of adding up!). Office Mate Man goes pretty much everyday--he has a regular crew that he eats with and so they all go together and he usually brings back the good gossip--but this time he also brought me a banana! And he has promised that tomorrow he will bring me an apple! So on Friday we will really have a fruit salad! I’ve got some frozen blueberries and also some plain yogurt already in the fridge at home, so although it will be an occurring-at-work post-shower breakfast, it should still be pretty good!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

blustery indeed

I have a cold. It’s the sneaky kind, the back of the throat sore, the sinuses dry yet leaky (eeew.) and the body as a whole kind of achy and slow.

I hate being sick but as sicknesses go, this one is not too terrible. The sneakiness and mildness of it allows for a certain academic detachment. As I breath in I notice the complete lack of moisture in my nose, as I swallow I follow the decent of the ache.

Also, it makes the needs so much easier to meet: I want warmth and stillness, which equals bed, empty save perhaps for a curled up kitten at the end. Simple and easily met, though of course first I’ve got to get through work, and then a training session with gym buddy and then an evening meeting (I curse all of these things individually but I will not back out of them. I hate being sick and do not want to use it as an excuse. I am a firm believer in using sick days only for ulterior purposes).

Which reminds me. At my last job once I used one of my insanely late work days (really more of a work night, since I would come in around 3 or 4 and work until 12midnight or 1 in the morning) to have a morning interview at a company a four hour drive away. I got up insanely early and drove down there and then had an hour and a half interview and then hightailed it back. On my way back I realized that with traffic the way it was I was never going to make it on time, so I called and told them that I was going to the doctors in town (with still about two hours to go until I needed to be in) and if I was running late that was why--and I told them that I was having a strep test and a monoculture done because I’d had a sore throat for a week (lies, obviously but I was thinking on my feet--since I didn’t want the job I had to know how much I wanted out). When I was a half hour from home I got a call from my director telling me to just go home and go to bed after I got done at the doctors, he would cover my shift for that day and the next so I could get better. It was unbelievably kind and made me realize that even if I wanted to leave I wasn’t going to be able to. And I didn’t--the other company offered me the job and I tried to play the bargaining game, but they didn’t want to pay me any more (their initial offer would have been 1/3 to ½ again as much as I was making at my first job, but the benefits were all in all more expensive, not as inclusive, there was little to no vacation time to speak of, and the area was considerably more expensive, cost-of -living wise, so the actual money in my pocket would have been about the same, with less time off and more expensive surroundings) and they didn’t want to give me anything for moving expenses, and they wanted me to start right away. So it was really a non-starter. Plus my boss had covered my shifts for two days because he thought I might be sick. And the department secretary called to check on me twice. So I stayed. and the second year wasn’t as bad, they hired someone part time so that I was able to work a steady 5-day (and night)-work- week and have my weekends almost completely to myself (there were always exceptions, but then, there always are). I found a cheaper apartment that was still within walking distance, which was sort of like getting a raise. And I started teaching yoga classes at a local health club in exchange for free membership, which was a fantastic move. How would you like to get paid $20 a week to work out? It made me happy, that’s for sure.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I have a thing for reference books

I’m starting to wonder if I am going about things in the right way.

I did things pretty quick early on: I went straight from high school to college, straight from college to graduate school, mostly on the urgings of my parents--both of whom dropped out of college at least once and were concerned that if I didn’t get it all done quickly I would never finish even a single degree.

My four years of college were done at a state school fairly inexpensively--except for a semester exchange to England, which was expensive (but not something I’ll ever regret--I loved the traveling, learned a lot from it, and the study abroad was a great way to get out and do it). But my graduate degree (which I finished in 10 months because I was terrified of how much it would cost me to do in the recommended two years) cost about three times what my undergraduate degree did, and I am going to be paying back those loans for quite some time.

I think, if I had it do to over again I might not have jumped so quickly into a graduate program--with a little more looking around I probably could have found some way to not foot quite so much of the cost (I got a couple of small scholarships, but the rest of the money came in the form of loans).

When I finished my graduate program I had two months of being unemployed and worried about it during which I immediately refinanced my loans (and thank goodness I did--I managed to lock in a 2.6% interest rate for the lot of them, which dropped a full percentage point this year with my 36th on-time payment). I went on three interviews and took the first job that was offered to me--making slightly less (before taxes even, gah) than I held in loans for the first year, and getting a 4% raise the year after to make about what I held in loans the second year.

When I got the job I had a pretty serious boyfriend who was a pretty serious waste of time. We had been together in college and somehow I never noticed that he didn’t have much of a work ethic or moral compass--we didn’t have many classes together and he was just so cute and different from me that I sort of glazed over the bad things for the first year we were together. When I went to graduate school he went to work at a private school, as a coach, and got himself fired just before the end of his first season. I was shocked and horrified, emotions that deepened when he went on to blame his behavior and sacking on everyone around him and take none of the blame for himself. We had fight after fight about petty little things that I’d never noticed before, but ultimately we managed to keep it together for the year we were apart.

Which turned out to be a mistake when I got a job and we moved in together.

We had lived together for our last year of college, so I knew what I was getting into, but I had hopes that things would be better--because we weren’t in college anymore, and I wanted to believe that we could be adults now, and clean up after ourselves among other things. Our apartment was decently sized--we got a cheap two bedroom and so had a whole room to use as “storage” --I wanted it to be an office eventually but it was really nice to just have a room to throw stuff in when I didn’t want to look at clutter. It was furnished with a combination of things we had had in college, thrift store finds and things my parents had given me. He never seemed to be able to close a cabinet door or actually throw away any of the packaging for things he ate--and he ate a lot of pre-packaged crap, all of a sudden. He would eat a bag of chips for lunch, or buy those gas station cinnamon buns and eat one for dinner and the other for dessert. I had no idea who he was. I was a vegetarian and pretty serious about health and health-conscious living--before, in college he had at least made an attempt, but now there was something seriously wrong.

While I was working my first professional post-graduate gig, he had gone back a step and gotten a job doing some seasonal work at a local ski hill. Although I wasn’t making much, he was making considerably less than I was, and he knew that his job had a definite expiration date. I started writing all the rent- and living- related checks so that he could build up a savings--only he didn’t, he just bought more crap: videogames, top shelf alcohol, pizza and other food that would be delivered, and several different controlled substances.

When I confronted him about the lack of savings--when he asked me to cover a couple of months bills it was so that he could save up and start looking at graduate school for himself--he raged at me that since I made so much more than he did (kind of an exaggeration, actually, but it was at least a steady pay check) I should be supporting him, it was only fair.

And then I kind of lost it. Even though he was still cute (though at this point a little pudgy), without the filter of college we didn’t really have all that much in common, and it occurred to me that this wasn’t really a relationship I had to be in, or wanted to be in.

I started writing lists; its what I do when I need to clear my mind and think seriously about a decision. He found one such list--I think he may have been poking through my stuff at the time, since most all of my writing was in a single notebook--and a couple of days later we had a huge fight followed by several days of tense silence and then his announcing that he was leaving me, had found a new apartment and would be gone by the end of the week.

I think he expected me to protest somehow, but I didn’t. it was a huge relief.

Then he asked if he could borrow $200 for the security deposit.

I loaned it to him--I should say gave it to him, since to date he still owes me somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 for covered rent, security deposit and a cell phone plan that included both of us.

It was quite a learning experience.

Anyhow, when I got that first job, our “plan” was that I would work at it for three years--long enough for that interest rate to drop, and for the two of us to save some money (I have a feeling he still hasn’t saved any money, but I haven’t talked to him in something more than two years at this point--mutual friends say he just had to drop out of graduate school because he owed the school too much money) and then I would quit, or take a leave of absence if they would let me, and we would travel for a year. Because I loved to travel, and he had never been out of the country. With our break up I decided I still wanted to stick to the plan--that I would work for three years, save as much as I could, and then take off for a year of well-deserved rest and travel.

But then I started actively hating my job. I didn’t really realize right off that I was being taken advantage of--I was working 6 days most weeks, sometimes until midnight or one in the morning, I was the office “snow policy” because when the breakup had happened I had left the 2 bedroom apartment behind for one that was ¼ of a mile from my job. After a couple of months of keeping this schedule I started to sort of look around and realize I’d put myself in a hell of a position. So I started using my late-night stints at work to look for new opportunities. I found one and applied for it, but when I did my second interview (the first was a phone interview, so I didn’t get to see the place until the second time around) I realized that the office culture was much like the place I was already working, so I decided to stick it out.

Then, as often happens, I met a guy. A good one this time: he was a vegetarian, health conscious, interested in a lot of the same things I was: organic agriculture, sustainability, zombie movies and post-apocalyptic fiction. And he was working in a similar field…two states away.

We started spending the weekends I wasn’t working together, and I started looking for jobs in the same state he was in.

I found one, and when I interviewed, mid-way through my second year at my first job, I discovered that it was perfect. So much more laid back, so much more time-flexible, so much better paid. I interviewed three times and then the manager called to tell me they had decided to go with someone else.

I was heartbroken. I called the boy and sobbed. He tried to consol me, wrote a very nice email about how he planned to be with me a long time--even though I was still two states away--and that he had started looking at jobs in my state as well.

It was so sweet and gave me renewed hope.

Then two days later the manager called again, to ask me if I might still be interested in the job. Something had happened with the first choice candidate, and she said if I didn’t take it they were going to re-open the search and get a new batch of applicants. I accepted on the spot.

I let my old manager know he was about to be my old manager and he took it really well and gave me a really decent time table for the transition.

I didn’t take any time off between jobs, I finished on a Friday, moved over the weekend and started the new one on Monday. And it was good. The people were nice, the pay was decent and the hours were fantastic.

It occurred to me at this point that I wasn’t going to be able to stick to my timetable: it would be almost impossible--I liked it and I had only just started. I couldn’t give it up after only a year, it just seemed unthinkable.

Plus it felt a little like things falling into place: a great guy, a great job, a great new apartment, though not with the guy--we had agreed that that was too far too fast--but everything was pointing toward our continuing to be serious, moving toward having a future together.

But then of course, nothing ever stays that way for long.

The boy in question has let me know he is planning on moving on--going to New Zealand for awhile, then traveling around a bit after that possibly. He’s not sure when he is coming back so he thinks we should break things off. He thinks we’re in different places right now: that I am settled and have a career, and that he just wants to travel for awhile.

I want to scream and shake him sometimes.

But part of it is right, I have sort of fallen into a career--and I’m wondering--am I going to feel like I’ve been trapped here? Am I going to regret not chucking it all and seeing the world while I’m still in my 20s and all my joints work properly?

Its just hard to know right now.

Friday, November 9, 2007

walk around walk around

So. Yeah.
Had kind of a busy day yesterday, and obviously didn't get as much accomplished as I wanted to (for instance: no writing). But it was a pretty good day, all told: I managed to get up early (!! shock of shocks!!) for the first time in a couple of weeks and feel fairly motivated in the morning. I had a big presentation deal at work which went sort of haywire at t minus 2 hrs to lift off and caused a lot of running around and panicking, leaving me with massive amounts of adrenaline that stopped me from eating anything yesterday afternoon even though there was lunch at the presentation and my actual active piece of it only lasted through the first ten minutes. So that meant I went to the gym when I got home from work (after going to the city library to pick up shameful genre fiction that I will read in the seclusion of my quiet bedroom and nowhere else) and talked my gym buddy into trying this with me, which I am very excited about (I went the whole deal: I weighed, measured and photographed my "before" self in preparation for the slick new me. Friend thinks I am hilarious and ridiculous, and so far I can't say she is wrong, but I want to gauge and mark and track my progress. Here's hoping for progress!!)
Can you ever tell who you are going to end up friends with, or keeping in touch with? I never can. I think it is very possible that I just do not interact well or keep in touch well or something like that, and so possibly I am the only person who looks back at the last five or ten years and goes "my god: where did my peeps go? And who the hell are you?" I mean, there are people that I have kept in touch with and kept up with who are wonderful and fine and great and then there are people that I've had halfhearted online relationships with who, when we get together it bounces back into fullness and the friendship is totally alive and wonderful and you promise yourself no more dry spells but it never quiet works out. Then there are the folks that once upon a time you were inseparable for months or years at a time and now you just wonder "what happened?"
I bring this up in part because gym buddy is someone I knew in high school. She was Ms. Valedictorian, Ms. I-am-morally-and-intellectually-superior, and occasionally Ms. stick-so-far-up-my-ass-its-in my-brain-stem, back then. So I can't say I considered us close friends--we were both in the accelerated classes together, did the occasional project together, for a little while drama geek-ettes together, but not exactly confidants or pals or anything. But we kept in touch. Through her Ivy league education and my parallel state school stint. My graduate degree and the disintegration of my college romance , her quick marriage and drawn out divorce in (of all places) West Virginia. And now we're living in the same area code again, and we've started going to the gym.
Really, she asked if she might use me for my gym membership: she doesn't want to fork over the cash for one of her own, and one of the perks of my job is access to the gym for free--and I am allowed guests, which I had mentioned to her at some point.
But in a larger way, too, it is odd that of the people I knew in high school somehow I have hung on to gym buddy. I have a roommate right now whom I also went to high school with--but that makes more sense, because we also went to elementary school together, and played soccer together even before that. I have known that girl forever, and she is one of the ones that even though we might go a year or more without speaking, when we do talk it all comes back: the shared past, the quirk factories that are our brains, the camaraderie. I'm really glad that things sort of fell together the way that they did (it started out with a blind "hey does anyone know of a decent apartment for the summer...looking to sublet" that she sent to probably three dozen people and I just happened to be going out of town for a month, so she sublet from me and then one of my roommates moved home and she took his room and has been around ever since. fortuitous). I'm lucky to have both of them around (separately however--they do not and have not ever gotten along, which I remember well from high school) its just such an interesting thing, the way the universe works out sometimes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

and she was

Home. Is where I want to be, lift me up and turn me round.

I listened to Talking Heads on the way in to work today, and it was so good--something to lift your spirits and make you think of things differently.

And then, of course, because this is a shitty year, I got pulled over.

I wasn’t speeding even! I learned my lesson last year, and got my one warning ticket. This time I got pulled over by an Officer Flint who meant business.

And he had noticed what I had been warned about--an expired inspection sticker.

It wasn’t my car, it was The Boy’s, and I should have known better I guess--I just figured that even though you imagine the worst happening, it doesn’t mean its going to happen that way. Only this time it did.

To the tune of $133. This is so not my year.

its not really a big deal. not really. just another setback. who would even notice, honestly? lately life is cluttered with them.
i'm trying to brush it off, let it go, get on with things.
so far, as you can see, that is working beautifully.
i did go to a really interesting lecture on happiness and coping mechanisms: apparently you can divide the world up into two kinds of people (can't you always?) one is strategically pessimistic (i.e. stressy about major/minor life events) the other strategically optimistic (i.e. totally laid back when it comes to the big &little stuff). and the woman giving this talk had done lots of different trials to try and make the stressy ones less stressy about things, and in the end it turns out: if the person is of such an inclination as to need to stress (imagine every possible worst circumstance, over plan and over prepare et cetera and so forth ) then even if you calm them down with soothing music or menial distracting tasks they will do poorly at whatever test you set them to because their physiology says they need to be stressing. i thought it was pretty interesting and telling--at the end she recommended ways to deal with each type (if you come from the other) and i loved that the main one for the strategic pessimist (which, hello, yours truly most likely falls into were the world to be divided as such) was give them more information so they can plan their doomsday scenerios in detail. yes please, i like my details. and i can also recognise that i have a habit of giving other people way too much information if they ask me for information (not in a TMI way--i do not share the gross minutiae of my life, but if you ask me for an article on lime disease you're likely to get three articles, a book chapter and a relevant web site).
Also today i ate lots of cookies and read about weight loss---hahahaha. i'll admit myself intrigued by this body for life thing which is similar and yet different from the fit for life thing i toyed with this summer. anyway all of my races are over for the season so perhaps i will make an attempt to shed the fluff instead of bulking up for the winter like i normally do.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

soft shoe

Okay so I suck. When I am not making some inane attempt, I am generally cracking wise to all and sundry, thinking I should really be writing this shit down because I am secretly brilliant. And then I go to write it down and the Big Fat Sads hit me and all I can write about is how some stupid guy is leaving me and blah blah blah. For chrissakes--do you think I’m going to get over this anytime soon? I hate the Big Fat Sads. I used to indulge in them a fair amount as a teenager--I was anti-color in clothing (shades were fine: black, white and grey. No color though. Not on my watch) and would have been wearing the big black eye makeup and such were it not for the fact that I grew up in rural Maine and I never learned how to put on makeup at all (seriously--I am a no-makeup person. I had friends who tried to teach me in college, but they would put it on and 15 minutes later I would have smeared it off--I’m really bad at most of the grown-up-girl-stuff). And I thought sad was probably the best of all the emotions. I was always sad about something.

So I think I may have wasted all my sad back then. Or possibly the summer after my freshman year in college, when I indulged in clinical depression (don’t worry, I think it was mostly situational) for a couple of months. So now I am all “sad sad sad” flailing myself around and then in mid-flail I suddenly realize how ridiculous I am and how stupid it all is: to be sad over a boy? Wtf? Okay so he is leaving me, okay so it isn’t going to work out in typical fairytale fashion. Did I really think I was that person? I mean, yeah today I wore khakis to work, but I am generally just about a half-step above streetcrazy as far as appearance goes, so how in the hell did I expect to “normalize” and participate in the mating games of civilized society anyway? Because that’s the thing: he totally made me feel like we were doing the “normal” thing, that there was a flow and we were following it, that everything was as it seemed and that that was a good thing. And so I’m all romanticizing life and imagining continuing normalcy and it turns out I was some sort of diversionary tactic prior to his world tour. Shit. And its one of those things that starts to freak you out, not in and of itself, but because you’ve been building your little romanticized worldview and as it gets pulled down around your ankles you suddenly realize that its cold out there without it and you can’t figure out how to keep warm anymore.

It reminds me, very pointedly of the most worrying part of my ramble around Europe in college--my aunt and uncle came to visit me in England, and we palled around for a weekend--did all the expensive London stuff I couldn’t afford to do on my own, went to visit some friends of theirs in Kent, that sort of thing, and then the time came for us to go our separate ways--and I had been traveling for over two months already at that point--I knew my deal, knew what I was doing and how to go about it, but when I left them at the train station I was suddenly terrified and uncertain about anything and everything--I felt abandoned and alone, because I’d been a kid again--a part of a group, a follower--for that whole weekend, and then I was jumping back into being in charge of myself again and it felt so totally foreign in that moment I wasn’t sure I could do it. But of course I did: when you haven’t got any other options it makes things pretty easy I’ve found. You do something because you have to and its just that simple. Which is where I am right now I guess. He is leaving me and I am all wrapped up in my Big Fat Sad but I’ll get over it because I have to: I just don’t have that kind of tragedy in me anymore. And I never did learn the proper way to do that eye makeup (I would still like to learn that I think--I do think it is fabulous still, to this day).

Monday, November 5, 2007

slack attack

Okay so I totally slacked off this weekend on the writing side of things: I lounged on Saturday--well, I did the bare minimum necessary to keep up; the usual round of bank-post office-bookstore (okay so usually that’s grocery store, but I had paperbacks to get rid of and there was a Nor’easter going on so I needed new reading material). And then I made a bunch of stuff out of apples (I had a shopping bag full of apples in the basement that was about to be unusable, so I made applesauce and apple dumplings and finished them off).

I did a fair amount of laying around feeling sorry for myself, which isn’t really a good thing. I had a ticket to go to an event at the Expo--a sort of showcase of locally brewed beers that had sounded good at one point, and at the last minute (Saturday afternoon, for an event that was Saturday night) I decided I really didn’t feel like going and looked on Craigslist to see if I could get rid of it--and I did manage to make a little profit above getting my money back, which was something anyway.

Obviously I need a specific time dedicated to this little practice if I want it to continue, but I am (as always) having trouble setting aside the time or finding the time to set aside or whatever else I can blame it on.

And now I am kind of “eh” on it, because I haven’t done anything in two days--so why start now, right?

Heh. Yeah, I’m in trouble.

There has got to be something I can do to get this under control, right? It doesn’t seem like anything is totally under my control lately: my boyfriend is leaving me (breaking up with me) to go be Mr. Adventure because a) it “doesn’t seem fair” to him for me to wait around and b) he is not sure he will still want to be with me when he gets back. And its horrible, terrible awful because I loved him before but now I am all hyped on his unavailability on top of everything else and so angry that he is doing this to me: that he can’t see any other future for us than breaking up, that he can’t love me enough to try and make a long distance relationship work for the time he is gone when I am having trouble figuring out what a future without him is going to look like. I feel helpless and tragic and hate it. But I can’t seem to hate him, which is a bad thing. Since he is in the process of getting ready to leave me--cut me out of his life, replace me with something and someone new and all that jazz. Bastard.

And somehow I keep trying to find the funny--find some other stuff to hold my attention and help me deal and instead I keep coming back to this: I can’t understand why he doesn’t love me. What is wrong with me? It’s a horrible place to be and I can’t seem to get out of it.

Friday, November 2, 2007

down down down into the cake of eternal glory

Doorways archways, openings. These things give an idea of movement, of natural forward progression that I can almost feel. I will move beyond this: I will get out of this room safely and easily and move into the light space outside that opening.

Only not today. There is a drag on my movement today, a mental pause that precludes movement and may in fact make it impossible.

I don’t want to see anyone, talk to anyone, be with anyone.

I don’t want to have to explain.

I feel so unlovable, so bereft, so alone. You would think I had been abandoned already, only it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it is the worse for all that: to see and to know that there is a person who claims to love you, only not enough. Not enough to stay, not enough to even make an attempt at keeping in touch at backing up what he says: if he loves me then how can he just be leaving? He can’t prove he loves me because he doesn’t. it’s the only conclusion I can come to. The only way it makes sense.

How do I prove so unworthy? How can I still be alive and be so unloved? What did I do wrong?

I want to cultivate a broad sense of the ridiculous, if only to attempt to keep a flame of humor alive in my skull. The darkness is blinding, isolating. I don’t want to know or speak to anyone. But maybe I can look, maybe image can sustain me.

There is a man outside striding around in the parking lot wearing a tall chef’s hat. It’s a peculiar thing to see, and he looks quite proud, I imagine him listing his credentials in his head as he walks, shoulders squared to some imagined chef’s convention or get together at 10am on a Friday morning.
And this makes me smile. I personally would love to have the nickname “Tripsy McStumble” for my very own some days.

I am, sadly, coming to the realization that I am rather accident prone. I’ve gone decades without knowing this, but it seems that lately whatever it is that can happen in a bad-news-bears fashion, it happens to me: a broken wrist, a fender-bender, a slip on the stairs, a fractured heart and ego, a spilt bowl of batter for cake or banana bread or pancakes. I don’t know how it happens, or why, but it just seems to keep happening to me.

I’m trying not to dwell on it, I really am, but it keeps coming up.

Despair just keeps finding me--I am trying to see the good, the absurd the life around me, but my mind just wants to go back to bed and listen to Tool for the rest of the day.

I really thought I could be more upbeat than this. This is not really turning out the way I had planned at all.

Such is life, as my father would say

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I guess it can't all be fun and games, but why does that part have to come first?

Day one. Start at the beginning.

There is no beginning. This is an obvious middle, or even potentially an ending, for some things. But it’s the first day of a new month. That is new, that is beginning-like. So that’s where we are.

I want to get up early but I can’t seem to actually do it. I have this idea that waking early is a morally responsible thing to do, that it is the kind of thing that will eventually turn me into a good person.

I want to be a good person.

But I can’t seem to get up early. My alarm goes off three times and then I lay there and think about how much sick time I have, or think about how much financial responsibility it will take to put me into the independently wealthy category of life.

It is going to take a very long time, and is a depressing thing to think about first thing in the morning.

These are my personal roadblocks. I seem to be totally unmotivated from the get go, from the beginning. This beginning, this first day.

Add to this a need and craving for human comfort and you have someone ready to slide into sloth, to climb under the covers of cozy mediocrity and rest on the laurels of work already done and hide her head in the pillow of self aggrandizement until late afternoon or middle life.

But there is a seed of me, a piece of me, that rebels. That begs for difference, for change, for progress. For writing. And getting up early in the morning.

So I set my alarms, all three, require wakefulness even if I cannot require uprightness first thing in the morning, and I hope that it will engender other things, other changes, other pieces of potential motivation.

I can only hope.

Its November first, and things haven’t changed very much so far. I was late for work this morning, I did not get up early and write or run first thing like I had hoped to do last night, but I am writing now, and I’m out at the desk which is a new something as well.

Little changes, baby steps. Maybe tomorrow I will make it in on time. Maybe tonight I’ll go running.

He’s still coming over tonight. He’s still leaving me in December. He’s still going down to Boston to visit an ex (roommate of mine, old fling of his. She is married. They are friends. We are friends. This should be fine. Why isn’t it fine?) tomorrow. Too much of me is still emotionally tied to him. Too much of what he does still matters, still hurts. I had a fond few minutes the other day, when I had partially gotten over my anger at his sudden need to see her, where I daydreamed that he was going down to see her so they could go ring shopping. So he could say “surprise! I am not really leaving you to go adventuring, instead I have decided I do really care about you and want to spend my life with you!” this is sad and delusional I know, and also is not happening. I do not live in a romantic comedy. Sometimes I may wish I did, but I do not. The best I can hope for is that the movie of my life isn’t a tragedy, as much as I don’t want to get out of bed some days.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Well, its worth a try

I've been half-assing it for years, saying I want to write and not actually doing anything to change the fact that I'm not. So the plan for right now is to try and write 500 words a day (any words at all--preferably sensicle but not necessarily all-linked-together) for the month of November (Its like my own WriMo --which I need, because I've tried that before and its too huge a jump for me at this point: I just need to get a baseline and then I can think about upping the output into something novel-istic). I'd like to punctuate it by submitting things to various online writing communities: hopefully once a week I will submit something to either , 365tales
, Writer's Beat or Writing Gather so that I am actively putting stuff out there and interacting as well as doing that type-type-type into cyberspace that is what I understand blogging basically is.
So yeah, happy Halloween and here goes nothing. I wish Blogger had a word-count feature.