Friday, May 16, 2008

how not to make a plan

Sorry! Its been awhile!
I haven't been excessively busy or anything, just giving in to springtime premenstrual malaise.
Oh, and also freaking out about money, but what else is new, right?
I had a minor car emergency: the 'ol dear decided to need a new exhaust system (among other things) in order to pass state inspection. So I had to fork over just over $2000.00 to make things right.
It was really painful for me. I had the money--I have been saving pretty aggressively-- toward the goal of purchasing a new-to-me vehicle sometime early next year--so I had about $5000.00 in an account called "the transportation fund". I did a big pro-con list and toyed with the idea of giving up on my car and trying to sell it for parts instead of fixing it and just getting by with a bike until weather gets bad again(I tried this last summer--gave my car to my youngest sister and took the bus / biked / walked everywhere until a car cut me off on my way home one day and I broke my wrist falling off my bike, so in theory this is doable, but it makes me slightly nervous given past events). My sister pushed for immediate car shopping and using the money I had as a down payment on something new-er, pointing out that the $600 + a month I had been putting aside would be less than a car payment on most things (also, she likes to go car shopping). And then I talked to the mechanic and voiced all of my concerns and he told me that the car looks to be in really good shape (other than the exhaust) and should make it to 300,000 miles with ease(it is currently at 220,000, so this is maybe two years away). So I took $2000.00 out of my transportation fund and had it fixed. And then when it came to $2300.00 I gritted my teeth and put the rest of it on a credit card.
This was an exercize in re-working goals. I have this tendency to get really driven toward a particular goal and to lose site of other stuff, and having to go in and evaluate where I was putting my money made me realize that my $500.oo emergency fund is inadequate, and that as much as I might want a newer car, putting nearly all of my savings into one goal / fund isn't the smartest way to make it happen. Because I do get really rigid about what the money is supposed to be for, and then have trouble with re-allocation and not thinking of it as a failure. So I've restructured my savings a bit: dropped contributions to the transportation fund back to 10% of my net income and increased contributions to my emergency fund to 10% as well. I'm also putting 10% into a "house" fund (that will be way more long-term: I don't even know what town I want to live in yet!) and 10% into a sort of "undeclared" (meaning I have not stated a specific purpose for it, not that I am hiding it from the government or something) playing-with-stocks fund (through Sharebuilder, divided among 5 different index funds) that, theoretically, I can to wherever I most need the money later on . Barring sudden crashes of the economy and my own ridiculousness regarding money.
I haven't changed my pre-tax savings at all; I am still contributing 15% (which still, sadly, does not get me close to the cap of $15,500/year) of my gross every paycheck to the company 403c (but they upped their match from 7% to 8%!! so there will be slightly more money going in there after June 1). This is money I never count, although when I get the biannual report it is always nice to see those numbers and think "someday this could be mine" Haha.
I feel better about it, though I am sad when looking at the considerably lower balance in my transportation fund especially when I think about how I only paid $500.00 for the car I just fixed for $2300.00!! My hope is that it will be money well spent though, and that I will have the car for another two years at least.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

They found a lot of things in the attic that day

Back from California!
It was really all in all a very good trip. I got a notice from my credit card company today that I had gone over my pre-set spending limit (bound to happen when they charged the hostel room surely). but that is okay since I actually have the money to cover that mostly in hand already (payday, handily enough, is also today). The wedding I went to attend was fantastic and beautiful and an all-around good time, there was dancing and alcoholic refreshment (though not too much, just enough for a bit of bubbly fellow feeling and exchanging hats with near strangers) and delicious food and lots and lots of sunshine (because it was Santa Barbara, heretofore know as the sunshine capital of the universe--man was it bright out!). I obtained a new set of grandparents --we're supposed to have lunch in mid-May and they have demanded that I call them "Meme and Pepe" (thats French for grandma and grandpa, by the by), met another knitter who lives in the same city I live in (how strange to meet on the opposite coast!) and some all around gorgeous humans (is it that California attracts them in droves, or is it just that they're more likely to be wearing very little clothing due to the heat, so you're more likely to notice?) who pronounced me and the other East-coast wedding attendees "so 'real', you know?" which never failed to crack me up (is 'real' California code for "out-of-shape" or "pale" or both?). And I ran somewhere in the vicinity of 14 miles beach side. I had a great time. And I'm not even quite broke yet! Woo!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

sofa king

So I took two days off from running this weekend, sort of accidentally--I just didn't have time! I went to a friend's impromptu birthday party, which was full of margaritas and whiffle ball(excellent combination, by the way, though it did end with getting the whiffle ball somehow stuck in a tree), and then the next day got talked into going to my sister's best friend from college's baby shower(no margaritas but there was that punch with the sherbet floating in it? and a tour of their new house, which was mega super cool--a really well kept 1880s farm house they've inherited). All of this would have been no problem if these people were not spread out over several hours of driving in different directions. But it was fun anyway! In between (on the way down to my friend's birthday party, and then on the way up to my sister's friend's baby shower) I picked up the last few things that I needed for my trip, so that now I should be all set (well, I still need new running shoes) to just pack and go on Wednesday.
The upshot of this was that yesterday's seven miler felt amazing. It was like my body was having a sort of revelation, saying "damn! I missed this!" and feeling really well rested --the end of last week I definitely felt like I was proceeding more slowly than usual, but I felt speedy as they come yesterday! Downside is I've sort of broken my streak, and I have this wish to keep my mileage above 20 for the week, which translates into a couple of long "insurance" runs before I leave--I have a tendency to run short (and slow) when I don't know an area well. I like to look at houses.
Financially, the next couple of weeks are going to be a bit of a stretch. I've been keeping the spending pretty tightly in check, most weeks getting by without spending too much more than $100 (pretty much gas+ food) and this week is going to be different, to say the least. I've got a "fun fund" to tap into for this, but you know how it goes--you have some money sitting in a fund and it becomes a sort of comforting cushion--I've been looking at that $500 as my sort of "pre-emergency emergency fund" and now I am really hesitant about spending it. This is of course ridiculous and entirely a psychological problem of my own, but that doesn't make it easier to get around.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Happy Tax Day Uncle Sam

Its gloriously sunny outside today, still chilly enough to need a jacket (and scarf...and mittens) but the sunshine makes it feel refreshing rather than frigid.
Yesterday afternoon I went running in my cardigan sweater after work. That was a little ridiculous, but it was cold enough to need a coat (and I hadn't brought one appropriate for running) so I figured that my sweater might work--and it did, though it is certainly as dirty as it is ever likely to get(when its cold out my nose runs harder than I do).
I've been running most days for the past three weeks or so--I'm trying to make a habit of it, and so far the easiest way to do that is to run before I leave work for the day (even if I do it after the actual work day, I don't go home and then go running, I go running and then go home). Something about coming home at the end of the day seems to prevent me from getting a run done--this hasn't always been the case, when I was living by myself I think I was sort of in a routine of running before I did anything else for the evening, but living with roommates (several of whom are about as inactive as you can get) there seems to be a certain amount of inertia contained within the building.
I've read a couple of things on your friends and acquaintances impact on your health and size
and I understand the idea, I think: a lot of it has to do with the social norms you create as a group--whether or not seconds or thirds or extra poundage are accepted creates a way of eating and living that either is or is not conducive to weight gain. Its all about being creatures of habit. Which certainly we all are at least to some extent.
So I am trying to create in myself a habit of daily running--I've never been successful at it before--in the past when I've been training for specific events I have hurt myself every time I've tried to make the sessions daily rather than having a "light" day in between, but right now I'm not actively training for anything--and so some of my running days are very "light", but they're still days I run. I'm liking it a lot so far. I'm generally pumped to go out and do it, even if "it" is only three miles, I love that my weekly mileage is creeping up and my hips are disappearing (the more mileage I log, the smaller my hips seem to get, everything certainly tightens as a matter of course, but my hips specifically seem to shrink away-- I have no idea of exactly why, other than it is perhaps where I carry excess weight). I have more energy and am sleeping better. Its great! I suppose we'll see how long it takes me to hurt myself this time--I always seem to find a way!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Someone stole all the earplugs!

Happy Friday!
Friday seems to be one of people's favorite days around here. In fact, my boss generally refers to Thursdays as "Friday eve" Which is kind of funny. But really only the first time you hear it. But anyway.
One Friday a month are staff meetings, which mean food and talking via video conference equipment with people we don't generally see but do talk to a lot via email, so it has a certain novel appeal.
As does moving office furniture. So thats what I'm going to go do now.
Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Now you're singing from your socks!

It has been amazingly spring-like here for the last week or so, and in celebration I've been running almost every day for the last week and a half. I'm not usually a daily runner--I think I have more of a tendency to injure myself when I run everyday, but last week when there were two sunny mid-40s days in a row (with a possibility of snow& sleet(that didn't ultimately happen) on the 3rd day) I thought "I can't pass this up! What if it snows again!" and I've been sort of playing it by ear ever since: so far no new aches or pains, and my hips (which have been my problem spot--bursitis is a horrible thing, let me tell you) have been awesome lately! Yeah!
In other news-that-isn't-but-is-to-me:
I hosted a clothing swap at my house on Saturday: If you are craving spring new clothes but dreading the price of such things, I would have to say this type of event comes highly recommended by me: it was awesome! It totally fulfilled my springtime urge for new clothing and was a good way to get together with friends I haven't seen in awhile. I told about 15 people about it and only about 7 showed up, but that was plenty. I made some food, people brought wine and it was all the fun of shopping with a group of friends ("oh my god you've got to try that on!" "oh that color! what were you thinking?!", enormous amounts of giggling, et cetera) without the price tag! I spent about $40 on food (which will also last me the rest of this week, I made more than people were willing to eat while also trying on clothing) and came away with several new-ish pairs of pants and spring-ier shirts and light sweaters. When I invited one particular friend she said "Oh! a "naked lady" party!" and I thought that sounded sort of strange (and lewd) but once boyfriends and other males left there was indeed a fair amount of pants-less-ness going on in my living room as people decided to just try things on where they lay :) so now it does make some sense.
Also in money saving modes: My days of paying for rentals may be about over! hulu might be all I need: Generally when I do the netflix thing it is for the old tv shows or new-er movies, a lot of which seem to be on hulu--and since I already have internet access and don't mind watching on a computer screen (actually right now we don't have a working dvd player anyway so thats the only option in the house). So with the addition of some red box codes I might be able to stretch the "entertainment" part of my budget further than ever before! I am pretty excited about this, any ways I can find to trim a little $ means I don't have to worry quite so much about gas prices going through the roof before it is warm enough to start riding my bike in to work again.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

the handbook of misinterpreted activities

Its very Gray here and hard to remember that it is officially spring.
They've boarded up the windows in my office so even the gray doesn't penetrate--my whole world is brick-and-beige. If it weren't for the doorway (and sobriety) it would feel like a Poe story.
Its for progress that they've gone and bricked up my view, but it doesn't make me very happy. My understanding is that this is a temporary situation, but that doesn't really make it suck less.
I've been thinking about that, the temporary: Mostly my time lines for things in a "Your money or your life" way: I want to be living it not working for it, you know?
Sometimes I could kick myself for going to graduate school the way I did. If I hadn't, I would still have had school debt, but on a much smaller scale. I would also, however not have had the work opportunities that I've had with the extra degree. But maybe that would have made me get off my ass and get writing, something I tell myself I would like to do more of but rarely manage to do more of.
And I really like my job. I do. When I first started it, I wondered several times the first month if I hadn't actually hallucinated it: its that good. But (as my father always has said) there is still a reason they pay you to go there: right now that reason is that I can't see the outside world or any natural light at all from my desk: I'm pretty much in a packing crate. This is really sad given that I used to have a great view of the river.
So: how long am I here for anyway? Is this what I want to do with my life? What could be next?
Always the questions, huh?
I know I would like to try my hand at self-sufficiancy. Living off the land as much as possible. I've read a lot on the topic and it is exciting and also scary to me: mostly in that big-bad-world/woman-alone way. So (don't laugh please) I've been doing some weight training and taking a karate class. damned if I will be a girl in distress if I can help it. There is a school of traditional building an hour or so north of here that does timber framing workshops a couple of times a year(and once you take a class they'll let you host a workshop on your property--i.e. lend their help to put up your house, which is quite appealing), or there are always Yurts--which as they are lightweight might actually be a better option for a girl to think about putting up on her own. These are not exactly low-cost things though, The timber framing course is around $800 and a Yurt can run close to $10,000 (that was for a used one with some sort of deluxe snow package, which this year might have come in handy here). So I've got a little ways to go. But I do think (well, obviously) that that is the direction I'm headed in: I'd like to pay down as much of my school loan as possible and build myself a fat little efund and also buy a little piece of the planet to call my own and live as close to it as possible. At the rate I'm going, I think I'm looking at 5-8 years. Is 5-8 years in a packing crate worth it? Hard to say, and who knows, maybe I will have changed my mind by then anyway.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

into the lab again once more

The weekend away was great! Raleigh was a very cool (fairly inexpensive) place to go for a weekend. There were even daffodils! It was still pretty much sweat-shirt weather, but I did wear my flip flops the whole time without ill effect.
It was really great to re-connect with my friend from gradschool too, and totally fascinating to me how different our lives and backgrounds are--this has always fascinated me about this particular friend, but I kind of forgot until we were talking and comparing our career paths and also to a certain extent our finances. I was bowled over by how different our paths have been.
Without giving too much away, let me explain: I had written something fairly long and detailed about our particular paths and current places, but it seemed to just come off as though I was bad-mouthing her decisions. I don't want to do that. Everyone makes their own choices and has to live with them, and I don't want to be the sort of person who casts aspersions and questions the abilities of others or even be a person who sounds like they are by comparing themselves to another. Suffice it to say, I had a really good time, but there were several times over the course of the weekend where my inner cheapskates' eyes popped at some of the things that we differ on budget-wise. I thought it was really interesting that people who are so similar in some ways can be so completely different in other ways. My major memories and experiences with this person are all attached to a time in our lives where we felt we were broke, at least temporarily, and though I have sort of stayed in that mind-set (or budget, I guess) she has moved beyond that and is finding herself frustrated by the limitations of her income.
But aren't we all frustrated by the limitations of our income? I know I am always hoping I can spend a little less and save a little more--even when I go and do things like take a weekend trip. And I did manage to keep my spending to cash and spend less than $100 over the course of the weekend on food and drink and a birthday present for my dad, so I am pretty happy about that!

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Okay, so re-reading the posts I linked to yesterday, I feel I should say. Ultra-ready I am not. I am most likely much too laid back to ever actually commit to that sort of distance (though I have trained for marathons and run them in the past). Ultra is different. I have a feeling it would shred my hip joints.

I'm going away for a weekend, to visit a friend from grad school. Its pretty exciting (to me)--I haven't been doing much in the way of traveling lately. I've been a crazy little saver lately instead, which makes me nervous about this trip: for awhile after I bought the plane ticket I was regretting having spent the money ($158 round trip) --it could have gone so many other places! But I've never been to North Carolina (where my friend is currently living) and I haven't seen her since I finished up my program (I got a job pretty quick and was living too far away to go back for graduation).
I've already committed to going to a wedding in California in April, it will be an expensive (and tight) couple of months. I am waiting to hear back from a friend who might come out to California with me--it would be great to have someone to split the hotel room with, but I am not sure if she is about to bail on me (I called her yesterday to say I was ready to buy the tickets and book the hotel room and she asked me to wait until today...dun-dun-duhhn). She just had a baby, and as far as I know it doesn't have any sort of job at the moment, so I can understand her reasons if she decides she can't go. (yeah, we're supposed to take the baby too--traveling with a 6 month old will be a new experience for me).
Its a hard thing: I have all of these savings goals and a massive percentage of my income (I think I'm at about 55% ? its not a huge amount of money, sadly, but it is kind of cool--totally only do-able because my living costs are so low right now--having 4 roommates has a definite upside!) being direct deposited into various accounts and holdings, and I don't want to stop any of it--which I can (conceivably) get away with if most all of my discretionary money gets put toward travel expenses...which will be hard given the price of gas and necessity of food. But I have been saying I wanted to loose some weight...Not that starvation for budgetary reasons is really a good diet plan to follow. I just get nervous when it looks like the numbers are going to be close--if I have any sort of snafu like my double-deposit nightmare I could be in some trouble real quick.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

In it for the T-shirt

I keep reading on various PF (personal finance--I love these!!) blogs about connections between running and PF/ frugality, and similarities between running and professional careers(okay, both of those are talking running as in Ultra running--which I have yet to catapult into. I've done my 26.2 and at the moment I will probably be staying well away from any Ultra events--I've only just gotten my hip to stop screaming at me on a daily basis!). Its interesting to me because I am/ have been a runner for awhile, and I am sort of paranoid about money if not totally frugal.
I don't run much with groups--I am thinking that that might change, there is a local track club that has a meeting once a week about a quarter mile from my house, I would be an idiot to not take advantage of that, but for the time being, I usually just run by myself, occasionally with one or two other people (my little sister and I have been known to buddy up for training runs: where she kicks my ass, and sometimes she will stick with me through the beginning of a race). For me, running isn't necessarily a social activity, but I wonder if I would do it more if it were?
I'm not really uber-social, I like a good book or long weekend totally to myself every now and again, but sometimes having people around can be good(like at the end of that long weekend where you find yourself talking to your cats).
Running appeals to me because it is something you can do alone, and because it is something you can do with very little equipment (sneakers, and if you're a girl, a good bra) and very little training (really, once you learn to walk you're on your way). So the initial costs are very low. Sure, you can buy some really spiffy stuff (that ipod that has the shoe attachment and tells you your mileage) but you really don't need it. So I think that might go a ways toward explaining the PF-running connection, but the professions? The two I've seen mentioned were teaching and programming. Anecdotally, when I was helping with course clean up after my last race, I was doing it with an electrical engineer and a programmer (I'm in education myself). So I guess that could be a pretty true-to-life equation. But I have family members who are runners and belong to other professions (and doing a poll of my extended family the largest running group are those in the medical professions) I think it is maybe a little closer to the truth to say that people who tend to be overachievers/perfectionists/totally and ridiculously passionately involved in their careers are more likely to find running appealing. My youngest sister (@med school currently) has said it best I think: "there is nothing else that makes you feel like you're working quite as hard". Its all about the push I think.
And on that note: I'm hoping to do a timed 5k on my own tonight in preparation for a race I'm running with work folks next week. I want to kick some ass at that one.

Monday, March 3, 2008

tripping on the alarm bell

Why isn't daylight more of an intoxicant? Don't you just wish sometimes that the mere act of respiration could infuse your soul with glee--that some sort of genial hallucinogenic powder could have accidentally been spread on your office chair?
I am having a sort of longing for college lately. But not the class part (and in general I enjoyed the class part) more the alleged extra-curricular illegal substances part. It was never a huge part of my life, but it was certainly an interesting sideline.
Yesterday afternoon was sort of pleasant that way, only with alcohol and live Celtic music at some bar downtown. It was nice. I got very full (nothing goes with Sunday like Guinness) so after the second one I called it quits and had a pleasant little glow to go with the fading afternoon light. Very nice indeed.
My finances were a little out of control at the end of February--that whole double-withdrawal thing really freaked me out, and so with the start of this new month I am still feeling some hesitation and worry in the financial sector of my life. I am hoping it doesn't happen again, and also worried that it could--that my finances could be totally out of my own control for the foreseeable future. That would be a very bad thing. Some of the worry comes, I think, from waiting for money (seemingly endlessly--I got my federal tax return back in the mail late last week: I forgot to sign it! so I don't know when I will actually get the refund I am supposed to have coming to me). I have a roommate who hasn't been doing so well financially (a post for another day: diet and finance: the mind-money-health connection)--she just started a new job, so things should be better. She's owed me money for utilities for about a month now, and when she got her paycheck on Friday she sent me a happy payday email letting me know she was going to pay me...but she still hasn't. She has been out to dinner with friends every night this weekend though, and did a (from the looks of the fridge anyway) huge grocery shopping as well, so I'm a little nervous that her good intentions may have been subverted by her stomach. Which, well, I don't feel like I can complain about honestly: you need to eat. I totally get that. I am not going to deny someone food so that I can get my money. On the other hand, its kind of inconveniencing me (not to the extent of starvation, but to the hey-can-I-really-afford-another-beer?-nope-not-really point). I don't want to have to hound her for the money, I know (the text message) that she knows she owes now I'm just waiting for the check. And waiting. And waiting

Thursday, February 28, 2008

what happens if the world is your oyster and you're allergic to shell fish?

Today the world is doing this thing where it is very slowly snowing: those big fat lazy kind of flakes that swirl and dance as they come down, and don't ever seem to amount to much on the ground. Its beautiful and romantic and causes me to gaze longingly out my window rather than doing things like real work or even fake work (hello blog).
I think I am at heart a lazy sort of a creature. Although my laziness is punctuated by periods of actual productivity. Today, however, would appear to be one of the lazier days.
Yeah, not much productivity in sight. But the snow sure is pretty.
Everyone around me seems to have made it a point to grouse about the snow at least a little bit. But come on people--isn't this what you expect of a proper winter? I think people who aren't directly related to snow industries tend to forget that historically March is the biggest snow month here (I dated a guy in college who did ski business--yes it was a real program. and he lived like he had a trust fund coming to him (he didn't, he just liked to pretend) and spent most of his time on a snowboard. --so I know a bit more than I ever wanted to about the back end of such things--but I also got to go to some World Cup events --and see Wu Tang for free once (honestly, if it wasn't free I would have missed that one) --and Vail for a couple of weeks one year. It certainly wasn't all bad:) ) so we should be expecting more of the same, whether we want it or not.
I've always been a fan of snow. I'm not really excited about driving in it all the time (when things go wrong they can go scarily wrong. I have done my share of accidental 360s) but I don't generally mind (driving chant: slow-n-steady-slow-n-steady). On the whole, though I do like having it around. The winter I lived in England I really missed the snow (England's winters are very very damp plenty of rain and mist, only once while I was there did it "snow" --for all of about 20 minutes) although I did run a lot more that winter than any winter lately. When I was in high school I always traded my sneakers in for skis (nordic) for the winter, but lately I don't feel like I have the cash or time to make that kind of trade--I still have my high school race skis, I just don't have all the assorted upkeep-equipment: the wax and scrapers and iron and klister (eeewe klister-- I worked at an XC place one winter that called their snack bar the Klister Kitchen. Klister is extremely sticky gooey stuff that, if someone brought it into your kitchen, you would probably boil them alive for resulting mess--I always thought that was rather ridiculous. Oh the powers of alliteration)--all that good stuff. Which is another way of saying: I am way too lazy to gather all of this miscellaneous equipment that would probably cost me less than $40 to acquire.
Hah. I have just written yet another post about how lame I am. I guess thats sort of what they always boil down too. I should probably change the title up there to "The Lame Adventures of Cait the Mundane" or something. actually I kind of like how that sounds.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

edit to the last post

Well, this is a first.
I totally forgot about halfway through typing that last bit that I was going somewhere with that first paragraph that I never quite got to(You're not surprised, are you? Of course not. We're talking about the girl who licked a paper towel) . So anyway, where was I?
Okay: so the ranty mcranty rant that I went off on earlier: That whole entitlement thing really makes me queasy, but I totally do it too (doesn't everyone?) about stupid stuff like making my lunch every day for a week (I get to order Thai takeout!) and running over fifteen miles in a given week (automatic ice cream!) and sticking to my savings/ debt repayment goals (trips--next month NC here I come!).
And is there anything that makes you think you've "earned" something like being broke for a week? I wrote earlier about how I screwed up and double-withdrew from my checking its taken until today for things to finally reverse and all to be good again in the Checking World, and so all week I've been making little lists in my head of what I was going to do/have/buy when I got that money back because I have been "broke" all week.
(on a side note: I dated a guy in college who once, between jobs, went (with me in tow) on a CD purchasing binge because, he said "nothing makes me want to buy things quite like being broke" he obviously had some problems with personal finance, but isn't it just the truth sometimes?)
So the money is back in my account, and I don't think I am going to do much of anything with it except put gas in my car and pay back my "utoh"fund for the gas bill. Which sort of makes it a savings extravaganza (sort of) ...kind of makes me want to go out and splurge on something.
Okay, now I think I'm done here.

s'not funny

Sometimes I wish the world owed me something. Most of the time I loathe the people who operate that way though--you know the ones? The folks who give in to introspective selfishness and indulge themselves at every given opportunity because they've "earned it" when in reality, or at least from the outside, it doesn't really look like all that much has happened / been earned / is deserved at all.
Privilege. Its one of those things that raises my hackles. Partly because of the class-awareness/ classlessness of the American system , at least in the time I grew up in (the mid-to-late '80s preppie fascination with upper-class stylings; the late '80s-'90s grunge-itude and punk resurgence when the "wrong side of the tracks" was the right one). Partly, I guess, just because .
I think part of the problem we are finding ourselves in today, as a country (hello mortgage crisis, hello credit card debt and negative savings rate, hello corporate scavenging by CEOs CFOs and COOs) is because somewhere in the American Dream propaganda, and the life-will-be-better jargon is this idea that you've earned it--the bigger house (that you can't quite afford)--the flashy flat screen (no cash? put it on the credit card!) --the two cars and daily Starbucks coffee(car payment or savings account? car payment!) --the multi-million dollar bonus even though you have to cut 30,000 jobs to make a profit (this one really gets me--(class warfare!) "competitive benefits" my ass).
Yeah, we work pretty hard. But that doesn't automatically entitle anyone to anything, does it?
I guess it should entitle you to what you've earned: your paycheck. Decent benefits, a modicum of security that your job will be there next quarter or year or decade, or at least a heed-able warning that bad times are coming.
That is certainly not to say that the stereotype I've just drawn is all that wide reaching --I mean, its a caricature if its anything, obviously--but it is also a feeling I get, sometimes, talking to people. My friends from college believing in the Great White Dream (mr. shining armor coming to take their credit card debt and dead end jobs away) the few hospital administrators and insurance types I talk to with any sort of regularity (insurance ethics? now theres a joke), the other kids, like me, a few years out of college or graduate school trying to put things together and making a place for "whats in it for me?" (I work sixty hour weeks. The least I can give myself is a daily mocha latte. And a gym membership. And a monthly pedicure. And a night out with the guys. et cetera et cetera). Its like the whole world is on a treadmill these days: we're not going anywhere, but we're still afraid we might fall off.

Monday, February 25, 2008

smile when they ask you too and you'll get them expecting things

Happy Monday.
I did a stupid thing last week. Or actually, somehow I managed to do a stupid thing a couple of weeks ago, but because it was a stupid thing having to do with automatic transfers of funds, it didn't kick in until last week.
I have set up automatic transfers of money into various accounts, to coincide with my pay dates. Its really nice, an easy way to save money and stay on-budget or close to it. When I first set it up (sometime last year) I was really fanatical about checking every time I had a transfer set to go, to see what the balance was in each account, see when it had gone through, see how much was left in my "spending money" account, that sort of thing. But then I got used to it, and used to just having a certain amount left over after all was said and done with the transfers.
I got a notice from Sharebuilder (who I've been using for a couple of years now, but who I've only been automatically saving with for maybe five months) recommending that I check my account and "re-balance" to make sure I'm meeting my savings goals et cetera. I'm totally invested in Index funds through Sharebuilder, so there isn't really too much to do as far as "balancing", but the stock market is kind of tanking, and it has come to my attention that I am going to need to be investing in a new(-er, it will still be used, rest assured, but it will be a new-to-me) car in the near-er rather than farther future. So I decided to about halve my contributions to Sharebuilder and funnel the other monies into a "car fund". I thought I had gone about doing this correctly, but apparently I never canceled the original transfer-of-funds order for Sharebuilder, I just added another that was half as much. At the same time I set up a transfer into an ING account for half as much. So I got screwed on this one when I tried to withdraw the same money twice basically. I feel like such a doofus. I'm really lucky it didn't screw anything else up, but now I am waiting two more days for that money to get re-deposited into my spending money account so I can buy groceries.
Its always something, isn't it?

Friday, February 22, 2008

how very unexpected

So its snowing here, which was expected. Only I thought for sure it wasn't going to start until later on. So now I'm kind of screwed because I didn't go running this morning.
So instead I am admiring the construction worker outside my window. There is just something about carharts, you know? Man.
Anyway I guess the east coast is supposed to get slammed. Its like a gigantic conspiracy by the internet to make me fat and lazy. And damn is it working well.
Oh universe, why are you against me?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Whats the crisis compadre?

So the mid-life-crisis our fathers had has turned into a quarter-life or first-third-of-life or third-decade-of-life -crisis for our generation.
So many folks I know who are on the eve of their third decade seem to be taking a break or breaking things off or trying to change some huge thing about their lives right now--like where they live, or the industry they work in, or the company they keep. Its really kind of fascinating.
Myself, I don't know. My roommate and I were talking last night about making a list of things we want to do before we turn thirty (its kind of a big number, and if you're in your mid-twenties anyway, it has begun to feel land-mark-ish and like it is approaching rather quickly).
Maybe this comes from what they were saying in Time and People and other singular-word-named-publications when I was in high school: that we, as a generation, were growing up faster than our parents had (even with the drugs sex and rock'n'roll of their time)--we're all revved on group supervised activities created to improve our marketable skills and computers in our bedrooms, all jaded and promiscuous because of the easy availability of condoms and ecstasy since our early teens.
And maybe now we're just hitting the wall: we've been out of college for a decent handful of years and what has any of us accomplished? I know a lot of girls who have gotten married (and at least one who has subsequently gotten divorced) some are pregnant with their first child, others have dropped a sprog already (sorry, that sounds cruder than I meant it to). But are we where we want to be?
Is anyone ever where they want to be?
Has anyone even figured out where they want to be yet? I sure haven't. And that is certainly worrying. Shouldn't I know by now? If I don't know now, will I ever?
I have several female friends who each, singularly, have a fantasy of a male savior. Of some guy sweeping in and taking care of their life, marrying them, taking them away from the work-a-day world and up into something infinitely preferable: marriage and being a stay-at-home-mom seems to be the general way this particular fantasy ends. I can't really stomach that one, myself. Its just too fatalistic. Too little control of your own destiny is disgusting, as far as I can see. But for these friends its not really the end (hazy-misted and far away as it is) that matters, its the idea that something else might exist within reach, that gets them through a dead-end day at a dead-end job. Keeps the crisis at bay.
And what keeps my own personal crisis at bay? Well, I'm trying to see life as a work in progress and not freak out too much about level-setting and goalposts. I think its important to remember that the ultimate goal of this particular journey is a graveyard somewhere (oh I'm just so happy. What pleasant imagery, huh?). But seriously: thats what we get to at the end, no matter what sort of crisis we have or avert today. So you might as well enjoy it while you've got it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

bitter orange

So, contrary to popular opinion, losing weight and skinny pants are apparently not correlated in my life.
I stepped on the scale yesterday to discover that I had gained about 4 pounds. This is depressing because I wanted to lose about 10 before this incident, so now I want to lose about 15. Man. Isn't that just always the way?
I haven't been doing a whole lot of running lately, in the winter its always a little harder to talk myself into getting out and doing it--it becomes more of a "get it over with" kind of thing, rather than a "yeah! lets do this!" kind of thing, and I am just not dedicated enough to "get it over with" more than once or twice a week I guess.
Well, unless you bring weight into it. Stepping on the scale and seeing the numbers go up rather than down is always something that will make me rethink my commitment level (which obviously isn't all that high). So I know I need to do more.
Weird thing is:
This morning I was pretty much totally out of pants. I haven't done laundry in over a week, so I've managed to make most all of them slightly too grimy for work. I pull out the dreaded skinny pants--which usually fit if I'm running 15+ miles a week or so (my hips shrink, I swear) and give them a look, knowing that the scale has said they shouldn't fit right now. But I try them on anyway, because I'm desperate for pants. And they do fit. Weird. I mean, I did have to do a little shimmy to get them over my hips to begin with, but they button fine and are not saran-wrap tight or anything. its very strange.
Whats bad is what this particular information could do to that revised commitment level. Yeah. I'll try not to let the pants go to my head, but its going to be hard. I mean, they're the skinny pants!
I am so going running this afternoon. I so am.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

now in tasty snack size

So this is just a post to remember that I like to post. Type type type. oh how fun.
Things are not too bad, not to spectacular, not too too--you know?
nothing very exciting has happened in awhile. so I am not ignoring this thing or anything, I just don't have too much going on right now. and I can't seem to come up with a rich inner life to fill in the gaps either.
Maybe next week will be better.

Friday, February 15, 2008

measured in verticle inches

Do you ever have those mornings where once you get out of bed nothing else is easy? Not having trouble getting out of bed, but upon leaving your bedroom being suddenly sapped for energy and ready to return and stay? I'm currently having one of those. Oh yeah.
So easily distracted and uninterested in it all.
Oh and did I mention theboy called from NZ? Do I even have to mention? It was really good to talk to him blah blah blah but then after that I didn't even have to get drunk to feel like I have a hangover/got hit by a truck in my sleep last night.
well, I'm a dipshit, what can I say. And also this is officially the world's weirdest "breakup" (yes it deserves quotes. it is not all in my head. I swear. I hope) I mean. why does every conversation end with "I love you"? whats up with that? I keep making ultimatums to myself about moving on or (how stupid is this?!) what to say to him when he comes back (oh yeah. in a year? or more. I'm such an ass)
Do you ever do that (I say that like other people read this thing. I have some ego today, let me tell you) ? I mean, plan a conversation, or plan responses to imaginary questions? Sort of get your story straight or provide your own imaginary witty banter as you get ready for your day (imagine: putting on your socks and having this conversation "what? oh these socks, hah, my mother made them. they are very fuzzy but quite warm. yes yes so funny" as if anyone is ever going to ask you who made your socks--but if you, too have stupid imaginary dialog, you too should try blogging!)
But anyway, yeah. I have this list of things I want to do, and indicators that I am generally an ass when it comes to making decisions that relate to men (case in point: mr.goodbye-i-don't-owe-you-anything, whose cell phone I paid for for three months after our breakup, who I loaned money to so he could break our lease (losing me the security deposit, which of course I had paid in full for us both) and who owes me money to this day--I try to forget about that one most days, but he certainly was a series of lessons learned).
I don't even know if any of the plans are worth it--am I just trying vainly to make myself worthwhile? How lame is that? I wish a dinosaur would eat me.
But the conversation I like to pretend I would have with Theboy goes a little like this
(him): I missed you! I want you back!
(me, all calm-cool-collected): oh i don't know, I've grown so accustomed to not having you around.
(him, obviously frantic and repentant): oh no! please take me back!
(me, kind and sad): well you see, there are things i would like to do before i get seriously involved with someone again. i need time for myself.
(him, dropping to the ground in despair): is there anything i can do?
...yeah, i know. fantastic isn't it? my imagination is rather trite today. maybe after that last bit he should get eaten by a dinosaur. put him out of his misery.
too bad i am too vengeful to be "kind and sad" like the script calls for up there.
also i've never been referred to as "calm cool and collected" either, save for in my little fantasy- mind-scripts. I'm more likely to attack someone with a spoon or cry uncontrollably. oh well.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Who doesn't love a strange word?
Apparently there are a lot of people who don't. I always find it quite amazing that some people seem so totally uninspired by the language--how can you go about your daily business without at least noticing (if not pausing to ponder) the wonder that is modern language structure?
I have particular words that I am fond of, even particular letters that are favorites and not-so-favorites of mine (I have never liked the letter k. And I can really give you no good reason, other than the fact that probably someone in my formative years attempted to spell "cait" with a "k" and I hated on that change the way children often do). You know the ones that keep you up at night / get you up in the morning: anathema, indefatigable, leachate, orangutan, cake, wobbly, muffin, pants, lobby, existential, lupine, prosaic, libertine, dilettante, mouse, pancake.
so I was very greatly pleased to discover this . A very neat thing indeed (and probably the perfect place to put that list right there too, huh?) total swoon.
In other news: one of the bars downtown had dollar drafts last night. Yet another beautiful thing. Sad that it was so frickin freezing that I drove to the bar and had exactly $1 worth of beer. But it was tasty nonetheless. I am hoping against hope for warmer weather next monday so that I might manage several more dollars worth and have a leisurely stagger home.
I'm all about the responsibility or rather the un-shouldering of it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Shallow Cup

Sorry for being so lame about this thing lately.
Haven't really been very good at motivating myself lately. I need to find a way around that, but so far its a lot easier to just wallow in it. I kind of wish I was a fatalist lately. That I could just sort of give it up and wait for something to happen to me. But I've never been much for that. Fatalism is for floaters. I don't want to float, I want to swim run bike whatever the terrain requires. I'm leaving under my own power.
Its just one of those things. I'm a girl, and I'm small and I have a total lack of upper-body strength and I haven't ever wanted to give in just because of any of that. I am going to do it on my own, even if I can't actually do it at all. I've never been good at asking for help (with pretty much anything: heavy objects, a total lack of paycheck, whatever, I am much better at giving help than receiving it. I'm always too ashamed--I feel like its cheating, and like other people probably need that help more anyway).
But yeah, so I'm in sort of a funk. The kind of funk where I don't really feel much like doing much of anything at all. Writing included. But I am trying to move past that by just ignoring the whiny pansy-ass part of my mind that is crying "Noooooooo!" every time I get out of bed and just going on with things as though it weren't there at all.
This morning I pretended that my cat needed me to get out of bed, that she was my sidekick in a wacky comedy series and she was sick (cough, cough) and I had to go to work to get her medicine and so I had to get up otherwise the tv audience watching at home would know that I was a lazy sack and stop tuning in every week for our outrageous adventures, and then we would have to get real jobs again and poor sick sidekick kitten would never be able to hold down a real job so we might end up out on the street. She totally played along by getting up even more slowly than I did (loaf--kitty) and then getting all mouthy and following me into the bathroom to perch on the sink and serenade (berate) me while I showered.
I know its rather more involved than it ought to be probably, but providing a zany and improbable backstory to my morning makes it at least slightly better.
I was going to go running yesterday but I couldn't hack it and now the temperature has dropped and its about 10 degrees out and man am I going to feel lame if I can't talk myself into a mid-afternoon run. Perhaps it is some sort of challenge? Maybe I need to rescue a group of retired clowns who are on a hijacked school bus headed toward the ocean. ..yeah, I don't know about that one either.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

we're gonna gonna

Sometimes life is easy to forget about. Sometimes you just sort of roll with it and things go along fine and you don’t even need to look deeper or think that maybe you ought to be finding a reason or drive or need to push you onward outward forward.

But then things get slow, there is nothing on television (or you don’t have one) and your boyfriend is out of town (or he left you) or you read all the books from the library already (or the ones you bought from Amazon still haven’t arrived) and then you start to wonder. What in the hell should I be doing with myself anyway? Shouldn’t there be something: a driving desire to write and have the writing be readable / be read by someone, or a craving for entrepreneurial enterprises: to go out on your own and start a dynasty, a hegemony, an institution of a small business? Shouldn’t I need something like that? Surely it would be a hell of a lot easier to get up in the morning if I could just picture something that concrete.

I think often in novels the main character has such a drive, such a need to succeed and re-create themselves in such an image of success. But I am not sure if that isn’t just a plot device rather than a common life plan. Damn it.

Well, I guess at least that means that I shouldn’t feel so bad for taking so long to figure mine out.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I hear reminiscence can kill you

Its a bad idea to re-read your own stuff. It just reminds you how enduringly pathetic you are.
And obviously I don't need reminding.
One of the holes the construction workers outside my window dug last week filled with water over the weekend and they have spent all morning pumping it out. Its about 18 degrees outside today so I can look at them and be really really greatful that it was never my life's ambition to be a construction worker, because it looks like today would be the kind of day that would kill an ambition like that.
And nobody really wants to live through the day their life's ambition is killed, do they? I don't anyway.
I have this half hearted ambition to aspire to thinness. I have never really experienced thinness personally, and from an outsider's standpoint, it looks like it could be nice. Those skinny girls always look so happy eating their nachos and batting their eyelashes at the big wide world that would appear to be theirs for the taking.
So I aspire. But really only half-assedly. Its sad really. But most anything approached with a lack of conviction are eventually sad.
I go along for most of a day (we're talking the awake part, obviously, so we can say between 12 and 14 hours in a stretch) thinking that I will be good and control my intake of calories and then put forth some effort in the form of exercize to narrow myself even further and I will win this battle and be able to stand beside someone sideways and disappear. Delightful idea, right? There are all sorts of pop culture images that recommend this approach on perusal. Who among us doesn't look at Angelina and think even as the headlines scream above her that she is wasting away that she looks damn good in that black dress? Yeah, I know. Its totally anti-woman and anti-strength and anti-feminist to believe so but I still wish I had a little more conviction. But I don't, as displayed by the following:
@ I crave chocolate almost constantly. Its horrible and it won't go away and I want to eat Milk Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips every day for a month.
@ I give in an annoying amount of the time. Sometimes I can go two or three days without having any, and then it gets a little easier, but most of the time I can reason myself into a small bowl of chocolate chips or something similar with embarrassing ease.
@ yesterday I bypassed the chocolate chips at the grocery store and resolved to stay strong, but last night as I was taking out the garbage I convinced myself I could go for it and bought some Chubby Hubby at the convenience store down the street and ate the whole pint
@ I can't seem to make myself puke it up either. I am that lame. I thought about it and didn't go through with it. I have no shame and I lack commitment.
@ I didn't even go running yesterday, because it was snowing. I might go today, or I might just continue to suck at life

So yeah, I pretty much suck. Its one of those you-know-better-but-you-just-can't-help-it sort of things: I have read enough stupid books on the topic that I should be attempting to change the bad behaviors and yet I continue the cycle, keep banging my head against that wall, and am frustrated with my lack of results. How ridiculous is that?
Completely. I know.

Friday, January 25, 2008

in a post-fanatic haze

What is it about winter? I feel sluggish and hungry and lazy. I don't really want to go out and do anything at all. I have no real interest in exercize. I want to watch movies and read books and wear blankets over all my clothes.
It is cold here, around 9 degrees this morning, and I have to go running today. I am going to try and do it during the work day (this is one of those occasionally negotiable things: sometimes my boss will go down to the gym instead of taking a lunch break, sometimes I do the same) because I am hoping that I can be out during the highest temperatures of the day rather than trying to squeeze in six miles between the end of work and the fall of darkness (and with it the falling temperatures). I thought about waiting and trying to do it tomorrow (Saturday) but the weather is supposed to just get colder from here, so best bet would appear to be this afternoon.
Running in the winter can be a hard sell for me. I know I should do it and I will feel better once I have done it, but it isn't quite as pleasurable as it might be . The boy (the one who left, who I've heard from every day since he left--odd huh?) used to say that it was never a bad idea, and that was the main thing to keep in mind: that you might regret not having gone, but you wouldn't regret going, once you got started. I think that is generally true for shorter runs (3-4 miles). I haven't ever regretted a short run that I can remember. Longer stuff is another pot of soup all together. Were I to dole out advise on running (not that I am necessarily qualified: everything I know I learned by trial-and-error--mostly error) I would not recommend anything over 8 miles if you don't know:
1) how hydrated you are ( : did you drink too much last night? then just don't try it, trust me) 2) the temperature outside ( :does the air sting your face and make your eyes water? maybe you should invest in a thermometer before you layer up and go)
3) that you have enough time to not make yourself crazy ( : do you need to be at work in three hours? then trying to run 9 miles and shower is a stupid idea and you know it.)
I have plenty of anecdotal tales I could tell where any one of these things has made me regret a run. The worst is the first: hydration is so important in anything in the middle distances! I think you could probably get away with 6 miles with a hang over and not hurt yourself too badly, but 9 miles? or worse 11 or 12? You're going to want to die if you haven't been drinking enough water and if you aren't either carrying water or stashing it along your route.
The first time I did an 11 mile training run with a bad hang over I ended up just giving up and laying on the side of the road for about a half hour after my second water stop (--somewhere after mile 7 I think--I do bottle drops usually--I don't really like carrying things while I run). It was awful. I thought I was never going to make it back. With a really bad hangover and altitude sickness (getting drunk in Vail first night there and then running the next morning--a bad, bad idea) I even regretted a kicky little 4-miler (Oh that was so terrible--8950 is no joke my friend, it catches you quickly! Especially if there is vodka involved!).
But, doing 6 miles today, during the day, when I at least know there will be some sort of temperature break (though I will be closer to the ocean here than at home) is something I won't regret. At least I don't think so right now.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

audio but no video

What is it about pickup trucks?
The seem to be everywhere. I parked in between two of them today, and there are three visible from my office window.
With gas prices the way they are you would think you'd see fewer trucks rather than more. But I guess that isn't necessarily the way the American mindset works. We don't necessarily see prices rising and decide its time to economize, do we?
Listening to the news this morning I heard someone explaining the current finance crunch in terms something like "health care costs and fuel prices have risen sharply and the median income in America has dropped by $1000 in the last year" I don't know who that is from, but I think it was during Marketplace . It made me think about the things I've been reading about financially for over a year now--about how the US has a negative savings rate and the middle class is relying on credit cards to make ends meet these days. Its kind of totally terrifying that our system is so broken (and we're so broke--and not just financially either, some might say morally and culturally bankrupt as well). But even more horrifying than that? The proposed solution is to give every wage earner in the country $300. Sweet dude that should totally fix things, right? (Please note the very heavy sarcasm).
What are you going to do with your $300?
Oh the American Dream.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

whipped up

Okay, hi there, sorry.
Its been a long little while. I have been lazy and introspective and reading too much shameful genre fiction. But I get like that sometimes. Some weird combination of sudden (long-planned) abandonment and the cold of winter are making me want to hibernate, huddle under covers and not move much, possibly for a month or more.
However, I am trying to resist the urge. Besides all the delectable genre fiction I've been reading (and ordering from amazon and waiting with baited breath for) I have also signed up for a new activity (Karate) and gone to dinner at a friend of a friends house (generally when offers like this come my way I say "no" with very little pause, but I figured I really ought to make some sort of effort not to hermit myself forever). So I think I'm doing alright, thank you very much. And so far Karate is very cool. I have almost no skill whatsoever, but I am going back tonight in the hopes of learning more. Soon I will be kickass. Or something.
On the missing/ leaving frontier, he left and I miss him--but it has been suddenly nice to see / know that he is going to miss me too, and that he was ultimately sad to go (there was a whole lot more crying than I expected at that final farewell--not all of it mine, for a change). I've actually gotten several updates from him since, which I hadn't really expected--I mean, the lack of communication was one of his reasons for not wanting to be together during all of his travels, and yet he hasn't been gone a week yet and I've already gotten both a phone call and email from him. Its nice. But we're still "broken up" or whatever, so its not that nice I guess.
Why can't things be less complex? I don't want to be the wait around girl who is all faithful in the manner of a puppy dog until he gets his crap together and comes back. But I don't really want to not either. Grrr.
Enough about the boy--all I can really worry about right now is me.
I have this problem, you see, with being insanely early for things.
I get out of work at 4. I have Karate at 6 about 1/2 way home. So it doesn't really make sense to drive by it and go all the way home for the scant hour I would actually have there before I had to leave again to go back, right? But it doesn't really make any sense to get there an hour early either. I'm still working on how this one will work out. I think I might go to the gym on this campus before I leave today--only I took the bus in from a satellite lot, so I need to first figure out how late that bus runs so I don't have to walk the five miles to the parking lot in freezing weather. I guess the walk would definitely ensure I wasn't super ridiculously early any way.

Friday, January 11, 2008

i wanna wanna be a dilettante

well, its friday, and it was a crazy friday, and i thought i felt like writing something sad, something morose about the death of love or being the left behind. but i don't really, i keep going over it in my head, how sorry for myself i am or have been, how i wish i had some recourse, but i feel sort of done with that part. sort of.
i crave forward movement. i feel a need for something more something fulfilling something that might better me and distance me and keep me from continuing to feel so badly for myself. self pity is no fun to be around, especially for the person feeling sorry for themselves.
well, maybe some other time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

snack attack

I'm feeling more like myself today, and less like a ball of mucus. I'm not totally better, but I am a hell of a lot better than yesterday.
I keep hearing how Hillary Clinton's win in New Hampshire is because she "proved she was human" and grating my teeth. What in the hell is that even supposed to mean? People do not seriously doubt her humanity--AI intelligence hasn't come that far yet, they doubt her authenticity maybe, but not her actual physiological being. And I generally think of politicians using the word "human" in phrases like "I'm only human" (i.e. "even I screw up a good bit") So what in the hell? Really?
Also, let it be known that at the moment I rather despise humanity.
With me this is a pretty cyclical thing, both the reason I want to live alone and the reason I have a feeling living alone would be a bad idea (hello modern day hermit). But in all seriousness--my roommates reprogrammed the thermostat while I was at work the other day, a full 10-15 degrees warmer at every preset time period across the board. And I'm the girl who handles the gas bill and still hasn't been paid their parts of it for June-through the present. And I've heard endless variations on how very broke they will be until their respective refund checks come in at the end of the month (they're both students) and when I got home last night they were just coming back from a little old navy shopping fest with a bunch of useless crap that was on "supersale". And I don't want it warm, for several reasons, the first being finance (oil prices are skyrocketing and my checking account balance has plummeted--I have to wait for my next paycheck to cover the next gas bill--which again they will need to reimburse me for eventually) and the second being health-- we do not need the interior of our house to reach 70 degrees in January, no sir no way cool air is better for sleeping and better for plant growth and better for human health as well.
And of course I am being a major cranky-pants and passive-aggressive as all get out (yes thats right this morning when I discovered the re-program I went back in and changed things back again to the way they'd been). I actually thought about leaving a note on the thermostat saying something like "if you plan to turn up the heat please pay your part of the heating costs first thanks bye" but then I rethought that. Instead I may just go to town on them with a frying pan. That, at least, wouldn't be at all passive aggressive of me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

When the architects ask are you supposed to act happy? Well, too late.

I have something of an affinity for toast.
It used to be more of an obsession: something I needed to have at least once a day and often fell back to if things were difficult or uncertainty presented itself.
Mmmm toast. Warm crispy bread with a nice layer of buttery goodness (often Earth Balance--a vegan butter alternative that is still quite buttery enough in flavor) followed by a layer of fresh ground natural peanut butter or raspberry preserves. Oh yeah.
Makes a great breakfast, makes a great lunch. An excellent snack and even a decent dinner if you add a cup of tea to it.
Also, in some circumstances well-steeped black tea and burnt toast are used as an antidote to poison.
So you know they're good for you.
Only sometimes enough is too much, and I've laid off the toast for awhile now. But this cold, with its attendant misery has made me want toast--I was aiming to have it for dinner last night, but instead had a bit of the too-peppery eggs my sister and her boyfriend made (everything my sister makes has too much pepper in it for me I think--she has a spice allergy and likes things spicy so she compensates with weird things like over-peppering everything instead of just her own meal) . I woke up late for work this morning and though I thought about toast the whole way down the stairs, I forgot about it when I got to the kitchen and realized what time it was.
So maybe later, since obviously I'm obsessed.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Can I get a bottle of that to go?

At the moment I am totally and completely filled with mucus and wondering how it is that this year I just keep getting sick: typically I am fairly healthy on a regular basis, but it seems that more often than not lately I have some sort of malady or malaise. What gives? I am tempted to blame it on numerology (this is a bad year--have I mentioned that?) only thing is, although my personal age/ year is inauspicious, the turning of the calendar has brought us into a better and potentially fortuitous set of numbers, so I would hope that things are going to improve. Only, obviously, that can't start right away, otherwise I wouldn't be feeling so down in the pits. Possibly it has something to do with my mood and mindset; I can see that that would certainly have some bearing on my physical well being (and, aside from a particular fondness for the number 8, I don't really hold too much with numerology generally) --I can understand if a general funk were to turn into a particular ailment I think. And of course I've had my heart bruised, ever so slightly, again (he would be willing to stick around for the right job--isn't that great? he won't stay for me or with me, but employment might be enough for him to at least post pone his ticket. He sure does know how to make a girl feel special). But I am brushing it off. Or at least ignoring it. Which is easy to do in the midst of a river of snot. A big downside, however, is that I can't really go running, and I really need to: I've got two races in February that I don't want to look like a complete tool in. I did a nice 9 miler right before the onset of this cloud of grossness but I should have done at least three miles today and instead I've stayed glued to my couch. Major bummer, really: starting the week in the dumps and in a hole as far as mileage goes. Hope it all gets better quick-like!

Friday, January 4, 2008

and the tea cozy pulls ahead at the last turn

Several days ago we had a decently sized snowfall--a wet warm sort of snow that is great for building snowmen in and has a tendency to coat the branches of trees with several inches of whiteness, and then it got very cold very quickly, creating what the ski industry calls a "bulletproof" snowpack. The dense wet snow has frozen as hard as concrete and its not going anywhere. While this might be unpleasant in some circumstances (say, shoveling my back stairs) it has had the effect of turning the whole world into a white-rimmed fairy-land: there is a 4 or 5 inch coating of snow on anything big enough to hold it: the branches of trees, fence tops and exterior molding on buildings--its really very beautiful. Its a little cold at the moment (hovering around 6 degrees above zero fahrenheit) so I haven't really been out to enjoy it, but just driving my car to and from work its been quite uplifting to look at.
I've been on my own all week--all of the people I live with are off on various holiday and family type visits and so it has been very quiet and I find I'm enjoying it and at the same time wondering what I would do with myself if I lived on my own all the time. I've rented movies and re-arranged all of my furniture, created detailed point lists of things I want to get done and hung out with my cats. I long for bargain basement genre fiction to fill my time with but have yet to go and purchase any (hasn't stopped me from looking at amazon longingly though). Perhaps tonight will be the night--I have a single semi-firm plan for the weekend which leaves me with plenty of time between now and Saturday at 6:30 so perhaps the siren call will finally be answered.
Or maybe I'll just hang out with my cats some more and read one of the many fine nonfiction books I was given for christmas.
Its not that they are not wonderful--I love good information and I got a lot of it, on several subjects that are of interest to me--its just that sometimes a girl wants a little fantastical adventure in her life, a little peculiar happening and out-of-the-ordinary excitement, and at the same time to snuggle under covers and stay in one spot with tea and a kitten. You know what I mean? I hope someone does.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

pieces of pie

A lot of hype about new year's resolutions goes on at this time of year. There are lots of deals to be had at gyms and the anti-smoking hot line has increased its staff in the hopes of a flood of callers hoping to kick a habit in the new year.
I enjoy writing lists, generally, so of course I make a list of goals / wishes / plans / hopes for the coming year: Things I want to do or stop doing generally, and sometimes it isn't bounded by the calendar year. I like three year plans and five year plans as much as I like plans for the new year.
In general my goals tend to be pretty basic I think: the growth of my net worth, the shrinking of my debts, dropping 10 or 15 pounds (I have managed, once, to do this, but it didn't last long my body is pretty set in its weight, and as I'm not technically overweight I don't tend to worry about it: I'm at the high-middle of my BMI range, and I'd like to get to the low end and stay there for awhile, if it were possible), getting ahead career-wise and taking up some new extracurriculars (sewing, and possibly a martial art of some sort).
As far as plans, I'm going to run a couple of ten-milers in February, possibly a half marathon in April, a 10k in August and possibly part of a marathon (as a relay team member) in October.
I've got a wedding to go to in April, in California, which is why the 1st half is a maybe, and hopefully plans to go visit a good friend I haven't seen in a while in Raleigh this winter, which is still very up in the air. The over-arching point of all the planning is not to dwell on the boy who is leaving me at the end of the month. That part sucks, but I am looking forward at this point to having the time to myself. I'm trying to look at it as an opportunity rather than a loss. I'm hoping that will make things easier. This isn't really much like a list, but it is what I want my year to look like: filled with activities I like and activity in general. You won't find me sitting still, no siree.
And thats the way I like it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

One more in the coconut

Happy Happy--everything really; new year, new month, new snow, same old pretty much everything else.
It was a pleasant snow storm last night though, and looks like it is quite a pleasantly sunny day. Due to my own forgetfulness I am going to leave work early today to go pick up some veggies (I have a usual Wednesday pick up because on a usual Wednesday I work in the evening) and I might just skip out on the rest of the day after that, but I probably shouldn't. There is a lot of stuff going on and I can always just go to the second location (much closer to where I actually live) rather than driving the whole way back here again.
I had a quiet languid occasionally alcohol soaked little break. It was pleasant and fairly laid back. I went to visit family and while playing cards managed to drink most of a bottle of wine and then spent the next day wandering around an art museum (a favorite hang over day occupation of mine). On the way home we had to race a snow storm which provided a nice little slice of drama and urgency to my mother's generally erratic driving. Then I came home and went to a friend's house for a new year's eve bash that lasted until around 3 in the morning. On that particular occasion I was able to remember and stick to an alternating 1-glass-of-water 1-glass-of-alcohol / rum ball rotation that left me feeling much better in the morning than several other overnight guests. I love it when I remember to do something right.
I need to collect my various scraps of paper and thought and put together a list of goals for the year and coming months. Hopefully I will have that done before the end of the month (theres a goal I can stick to! Hopefully!).
Watch the steps, they're slick!