27 July 2010


I decided a while ago that this would be the summer of the dress. I like dresses, but my enjoyment of them is a new thing. As of a week before my law school graduation three years ago, I owned exactly zero of them. I had to go shopping for them all whirl-windy so that I would have something to wear for graduation.

(Then, on graduation day, while I was wearing my new dress, we went out to a bar with S. and her family - it was the first and only time I have done shots with my father - and afterward, as I was walking up Seventh Avenue, I walked over a subway grate just as the train blew past underneath, and my skirt flew up over my head, exposing my bare, er, toosh. (Yes, I was wearing underw3@r, and no, there was not that much too it. What? I didn't want lines!) Fortunately, there were neither cars nor people anywhere near us, and even my parents didn't notice.)

After I moved to Gone West, I started buying dresses. Well, first I started actually wearing the two graduation dresses. Then I bought two more that fit me better at my post-Sudan weight (Yes, there was food in Sudan, and no, I did not eat much of it. I had an amoeba, remember? Plus plain rice for every meal gets tedious.). I've been adding to my dress collection ever since.

When my momma came to visit, the first thing we did, after hanging out with the K.s, of course, was go shopping. We went directly to the sale rack, as cheap Dutch-Americans are wont to do, and happened upon the world's most perfect-for-me dress. It was black, and cotton, and comfy, and work-appropriate due to little capped sleeves. I wanted it and wanted it, but money was lacking, so my momma (and my dad, but he wasn't here) bought it for my birthday. Which is... two and a half months from now. Whatever. We are flexible. I heart this dress. It is my new go-to for everything.

THEN, we went to a store closing sale, and I ended up with a slightly-too-big party dress that had a collar falling off. It was originally $448 and I got it for $17.89 plus $1.75 for a spool of thread and a whole lot of my mom's effort. She spent the rest of her vacation pinning and basting and making me try it on and re-pinning and re-basting and generally working instead of relaxing. (Take note, people: come visit me at your own peril. Last year my dad fixed my chairs. This year my mom whipped me up a dress, practically.)

Summary: dresses. Hearts. Flowers. I wear them everywhere these days. I have work dresses and flouncy I-should-be-doing-traditional-Mexican-dances dresses and cute little party dresses and this new one, which is going to be my wear-to-weddings dress. If I can find any weddings in close proximity to which to wear it (I cannot afford to travel). Anyone want to get married here in Gone West? I have a great dress to wear to your wedding.

At least, I will have a great dress to wear to your wedding. After my mom actually sews it, in Michigan, and gives it back to me.

16 July 2010

i'm not as dumb as i look

I wrote the letter to my building and printed it, and hit save, and panicked.

I used another letter as a template for this one. That other letter was one I need on Monday. And in one click of the little diskette in the corner of the screen, it was gone. I had a hard copy, but retyping the whole thing leaves a lot of room for error.

I panicked. I googled. I searched. I panicked. I gave up.

I only gave up because I had to make it home to my building in time to deliver the notice of vacating premises letter.

As I was unlocking my bike to ride home, I remembered that just before I called up that letter to edit it into an "I'm leaving" letter, I had emailed it to myself.

Sweet, sweet relief.

here, there, everywhere

My momma is arriving tomorrow afternoon, to spend a week with me, and I have not done one single thing to get ready. My apartment is mired in filth, I neglected to arrange that bike I was (am) going to borrow for her, and I hope she likes grocery stores, because we are going to have to visit one.

Also, I think I killed my mint plant. Again. I hate how you have to remember to water plants over and over. It's so tedious.

At some point, I am going to drag myself off this couch and clean. Well, first I am going to go for a jog, because I'm trying (again) to be a jogger, and then I'm going to clean. Probably. I might leave it for the morning, because what gets an apartment clean faster than the pressure of knowing that you only have two hours before you have to go to the airport to pick up your momma?

It isn't that my momma is particularly picky about cleanliness. It's more that no one should be expected to live in this level of someone else's filth, even if they changed that person's diapers 30 years ago. (Side note: ew.)

I also need to start packing up this apartment, because I intend to move. So I said, anyway, in the letter that I raced home to give to the apartment office before it closed at 6. Blah, blah, effective August 15, blah.

Delivering that letter to the office has been immediately followed by that "oh, crap" feeling so common to having set in motion things you cannot stop. Will not stop, I suppose, is more accurate, because I suspect that the building manager will be offering me such inducements as waiving the month-to-month fee. I will not stop it, though, even though I hate moving. I just cannot save enough, living here, paying this rent, to make a down payment somewhere else.

Somewhere else is, of course, the key. Where else? Here, there, everywhere. My entire life feels suspended right now.

13 July 2010


There was a girl walking down the street as I came out of work. She was looking straight ahead, but there were tears on her cheeks, and her eyes were red. I wanted to walk up to her and put my arm around her and say, "Oh, honey, I know. I've been there, fighting tears in the most awkward place. It's going to be okay," but I was fighting to get my bike out onto the street, and she was trying hard not to be noticed.

It's lonely, there. A stranger's words might help.

10 July 2010

in which i ramble for a while

I was seriously tempted to label the week just past the Worst Week Ever, but then I realized that I should probably save that label for a week when actual bad things happen instead of just too little sleep and several annoying incidents and lots of emotional turmoil. I will say this, though: it takes quite a bit to make me snap at people, but I did it this Friday. Thrice. One person I snapped at twice, and he deserved it for not doing the job he knew he was supposed to do and thereby making my job harder. He knew that he deserved it, both times, and he apologized and all was well. The other person... well, I think he's scared of me now. He was new, and I snapped at him for an institutional problem over which he had no power, so I feel bad about that. Sorry, person.

Fortunately, there are weekends in which I can catch up on my sleep.

One of my first friends in Gone West left today. She moved to Other PNW City. We went over to her apartment early this morning to pack up the U-Haul, and she was astonishingly ready. I don't think I've ever moved someone who was quite that prepared. Everything was packed and organized and five of us carried everything out to the truck in an hour flat. Including coffee breaks. There was none of that familiar throwing of the clothes still on the hangers on top of everything else. There was none of that familiar tossing of last minute items into laundry baskets.

After everything was in the truck, we stood around talking, the four of us who first met in the bar study class, and I wondered if I will be the next to move. Which is more important to me, I keep asking myself, the type of job or the location of the job? I am beginning to think that the type of job is more important than the location.

I'm not going to lie: the fact that this city is trying to kill me via allergies might have something to do with my sudden willingness to move. I am now using eye drops twice a day, the neti pot twice a day, a nasal spray once a day, zyrtec (okay, wal-zyr) once a day, real sud@fed as needed if I can stand it, and excessive quantities of ibuprofen in between. It's ridiculous. I actually have to set my alarm earlier to deal with the allergy-prevention regimen. And it's not helping. I still have the headaches and the total exhaustion. It gets a little better when the sun stays out, though, leading me to my newest conclusion: my problem is not the pollen, it's the mold. To get away from it, I'm going to have to get away from the rain. I knew there was a logical reason why I love the sunshine so excessively much. Suddenly the far side of the mountains doesn't look so bad, even with the snow and lack of big cities.

Real sud@fed, by the way, is incredibly (this is not going to surprise anyone) drying. Um, yes, that would be the point. It is so drying that it makes me cough, painfully. It does help with my allergies, but I can hardly ever stand to take it. I seriously do not understand people who do meth, if meth maintains the drying properties of sud@fed. (It does, right? That's why methy people get the little sores, from dry skin? And the bad teeth, from dry mouth? Since I started the job I do now, I have become very good at recognizing the methy people. I see so many of them.)

Now I am going to bed, to sleep some more, even though I took a nap after coming back from the moving. I have to be rested for the World Cup final tomorrow. My people are playing.

Go Orange!

05 July 2010


In the morning, we met S.'s dad, D., on a suspiciously subdivision-looking street in their little town. He was the first one there, other than one kid in a motorized kid-car and an Army Humvee with some associated soldiers in desert fatigues. We festooned* the old fire truck with garland and balloons and ribbon while wearing plastic tiaras, and kids gathered in front of us on bikes and wagons and carts pulled behind lawn mowers.

When the parade started moving, the kids went first, in one messy, chaotic mass, and the dozen or so cars and floats trailed along behind. S. threw candy in big scoops until halfway down the eight-block parade route she had thrown it all and just had to stand on the back, waving. I turned the crank for the siren, gleefully watching the faces of the parade goers as they figured out that the siren was actually turned by hand. As we pulled into the parking lot at the end, a new fire truck was heading out. "Need some help?" D. asked the driver cheerfully, but the driver didn't get it. "Uh, no," he said flatly, and we laughed fit to bust.

The fire truck took 2nd place in the cars category, second only to the Army Humvee, which won out of pure patriotic duty. We should have gotten first. We were robbed.

Back at the house, kids ran around and through the grownups. I made lifelong friends with T. and D. by handing them each a SunChip as I passed. After eating, everyone sat around wishing it was warm enough to swim in the pool, but I felt myself nodding, and I crept off to nap on the couch.

Story from S. concerning the period after I fell asleep: "Why is she lying down?" H. asked S.

"She's tired. She wants to take a nap." S. said.

H. looked at me in confusion. It was clear on her face that this adult concept of napping for fun does not yet make sense to her.

End story.

We exclaimed, "Beyoooutiiful!" at the fireworks in honor of some guy who sat behind us last year and said that about every single flare, and all around the valley around and behind us the smaller fireworks popped up in competition with the big show.

At the end of the day, after the fireworks, we did as any patriotic 'Merkins would do: we got out the shotgun and shot at the sky above the hay field across the road. "I think I got a bat," D. said.

That sucker has quite a kick. My shoulder is bruised right along the nerve that leads to my golf elbow problem. "I don't think," I said, raising my arm experimentally on the drive home, "that I'm going to be able to move my arm tomorrow."


* I might possibly have written this entire post solely for the opportunity to use the word "festooned." It's been floating through my head ever since we, you know, festooned the fire truck.