28 February 2015


I managed to go to bed at a normal hour last night (namely, before 11 pm. on a Friday.) and so I actually got a real night of sleep for the first time in a month. 

I still set an alarm. I cannot afford to get off track with my sleeping.

A couple of friends met me downtown, where we went to a boutique sale and ate brunch and ran some errands. 

This afternoon, I was supposed to take a walk, but instead I pulled most of the unused boxes out of my closet. I've been hoarding them in case I have to move again, but that needs to stop. I live here now. 

Also I want my second closet to be something other than a pit of boxes. 

It was strangely emotional to break down the boxes. Some of them have my name and phone number written in my mom's handwriting from when she was here in Gone West 13 months ago, helping me pack up my things to move. Move where, I wasn't sure. Maybe the Mitten, or maybe nowhere. Some of them are still labeled from my Universe City - Gone West move.

Now they are just a stack of cardboard waiting to be put in the recycling bin. (I couldn't put them out there this weekend because the downstairs neighbors are moving, and they filled the bin to overflowing. Our kitchen trash is sitting out ready to be taken down Monday, too.)

27 February 2015


I am so tired that just now when I tried to get off the stool where I sat to eat my dinner, I reeled drunkenly in a circle despite having consumed no alcohol. 

It isn't that my new job is stressful. Sometimes people suggest that it might be stressful, in a commiserating sort of manner, and I am forced to say (or sometimes just think), "Have you ever had a [Major Work Event]? Because those are stressful, and this is not."

Also, I don't work weekends. 

I need to stop and soak that in again. 

I don't work weekends.

Do you know how long it's been since I had a weekend where I didn't at least think, "I should be doing something related to my job" even if I didn't go in to work for a couple of hours or days?

Four and a half years. 

The weekdays are long, though. I get up at 5:30 am and I don't get home until almost 7 pm. I have just enough time to eat dinner before I start getting ready for bed.

That is fine, as long as I acknowledge that I cannot do anything but work and eat and sleep. The problem comes when, as this week, I start to try to do things like feng shui my room (Monday), and then re-feng shui my room because where I put the bed didn't work (Tuesday) and then stay late at work and get lost on my way to stop at C0stC0 (Wednesday) and then stop at three stores to get four items because the first one didn't have the right stuff (Thursday). 

I just have to stop doing anything in the evening except maybe stopping to pick up milk. 

26 February 2015

real times

I usually carpool with the same 2-4 people, but yesterday I was supposed to carpool with a different friend whose cubicle is next to mine. 

I warned her last week that I have to be in very early - by 8 am - and that she might not want to carpool with me as a result, because I know that she sometimes doesn't get there until 9. She said 8 was fine, so we arranged that I would park at her house and she would drive the hour to work.

The night before, she texted to ask what time I would be by.

"7:55," I said.

It wasn't until 6:45, on my way over to her apartment, that I realized my mistake.

"I meant 6:55!" I texted. "On my way!"

Needless to say, she wasn't ready when I got there.

I have a brain block about times before 7 am. I know, logically, that I get up at 5:30 and I meet my carpool at 6:45. But are those real times? I'm not sure they are. I only know that the alarm goes off when it goes off (my phone is set to M-F), and when the big hand gets to a certain point on the clock, I need to leave the house. 

The fact that I get up before 6 am? The fact that I am in someone else's car before 7 am? 

That is impossible, because those aren't real times. The real times that are really morning start with the number 7 or later.

22 February 2015


Things that three single women talk about while walking along the water in the sunshine, in approximate order (it's not just what you think):

Spending money
Managing people
The kind of yoga/running pants that have a skirt attached
How long a pair of running shoes lasts
Hotel rooms
Program managing a social life
Whether it's safe for two women (them) to let the third (me) go back to my car alone past all the homeless people camped under the bridge (I said it was, and I went).


Things that two old friends (man/woman) talk about when they are in the same town, in approximate order:

Buying a house
Whether rooibos chai is good with milk
Why one person is making herself two cups of tea at once (one was for drinking cold tomorrow morning)
The filth of the kitchen (I didn't clean)
People we know who've had babies recently
What mutual friends are doing
Dating and its ups and downs
Theories of life and love
Feng shui

Then we started moving things around in my apartment to improve the feng shui. Now I'm obsessed and, four hours later, I still want to keep arranging things rather than go to bed.

21 February 2015

old and new

One of the reasons why I was able to survive on so little money last year is because I already had a lot of the things that one needs to look presentable and take on the world: good coats, for example, and suit jackets and boots. 

I had functional things that allowed me to work: a car, a computer, a bar card. 

I even had bits and pieces that make life a little better: a full box of q-tips, extra tubes of toothpaste, a happy light.

I didn't need much, because I'd already acquired most of the things one needs to be relatively comfortable in the world.

Now that I have a new job - albeit one that is temporary and does not pay much - everything is falling apart. 

My computer was a little ahead of schedule - it died right as I got a check for the Major Work Event last year. 

My car is making a noise when it goes over bumps, and it probably needs some strut or something replaced. Also it is about due for a timing belt.

My q-tips and toothpaste have or soon will run out. 

My long wool coat is missing a button and the lining is falling out.

And now my boots, my beloved boots, are starting to give out on me. 

My favorite grey pair started leaking, and when I looked closely, the leather has started cracking and tearing away from the molded sole. I don't think it can be fixed without molding a whole new sole. This is very bad news in a place where it rains from October to June. Feet cold and wet, all day long.

I wore one of my black pairs last weekend, only to discover when I took them off that one of the soles has cracked completely in half. 

Another black pair is starting to look beaten and misshapen.

I have one black pair that still holds together. 

I cannot wear the same pair of boots every day. (It is really bad for the leather and shortens the lifespan of the boot.) I can fix the black pair with the broken sole, but those boots are a little too much like combat boots to wear to work most days. They only work with certain outfits without looking like I am dangerous.

Today I wore the grey pair (it wasn't raining), and when I took them off at the end of the day, I saw that the sole on those is also starting to split open.

i really did expect better from a $150 pair of boots. This is only their third winter. (Note: I did not pay $150 for them. They were on clearance.)

Apparently I am now going to have to start fixing and replacing all the things that lasted so well while I didn't have a real job. 

Here is the real dilemma: with what do I replace them? The car parts are easy, as are the q-tips and toothpaste. The vital question, though: should replacement boots be the cheap kind (downsides: must be replaced practically yearly, uncomfortable; upsides: cheap right now, possibly own more pairs) or the expensive kind (downside: expensive, probably only one new pair; upside: possibly last forever if made right)?

15 February 2015

making home

For a long time, I've always been looking toward the next thing. 

While I was living in Universe City, I lived in a house full of someone else's decor, and I was always hoping to get back to Gone West.

While I was working crazy hours in Gone West, living in a house that didn't feel like home, I was planning a move to the Mitten.

When I came back to Gone West after trying to move to the Mitten (a year ago this week), I was homeless and un(der)employed.

Now, for the first time in almost five years, I have a place that feels like home and a job that I love. 

I am here, and I do not intend to leave. (Except maybe to move across town to be closer to the road that starts my commute. But not any time soon.)

It's time to start decorating.

I've never really decorated before, and I don't have much in the way of money (thank you, 2014, year of brokeness out from which I am still digging myself), but I had to do something. Something had to change. I've had the same duvet cover since 2006 (red, with white vines and flowers). I couldn't take it anymore. I was so bored with it that my eyes wanted to fall out of my skull.

Friday or possibly yesterday, I've already forgotten, I picked up a set of teal sheets on clearance. I washed them this morning, and put them on my bed. 

They are so pretty that it seemed a shame to put the same boring red duvet cover back on, so I went for the cheapest possible replacement for the duvet cover: a navy cotton bedspread from 1ke@. Between the teal and the navy and some olive in the form of a couple of pillowcases and an old throw I have, things are looking totally different in here. I love it. I love it, love it, love it.

(I miiiiiiiight also have picked up a teal rug that was on clearance. But I will assert my right against self-incrimination under the 5th amendment if pressed on that.)

14 February 2015

most special

I spent the afternoon meandering around the waterfront with a friend. 

First, though, first I opened my Valentine's Day present from my mom and dad, which was possibly my favorite present I've ever gotten. I mean, you can try, but it's unlikely that you will ever get me a present that is as special as the one I got today. (I used the word special on purpose there, Momma.)

My Valentine's Day present from my parents was a tile of my Oma's family crest. 

My mom had gotten it in the mail from her distant cousin in the Netherlands after they had them made for a family reunion last summer (to which we were invited but could not go, because it was on a different continent and all). Momma had it on the wall in their house when I was home for Christmas, and I wanted one desperately. 

My mom reminded me that what I actually said over Christmas when I asked her to check if her cousin had any more of them was, "because A. will get that one when you die." 

Okay, so there was a reason for that, which is that I don't want to fight about any of the stuff when we have to do that awful divvying up some day. The stuff doesn't matter, and I don't want it to start mattering just because I have wanted that tile forever.

But also, my sister has my Oma's name and so, somehow, I think I feel like she has more of a right to it. 

My mom sent me the one she had, and her cousin sent her another one that just arrived. So now I have my own, hanging on the wall in my living room, and it is the most special present.