27 January 2015


It's January, which should be the hibernation time of the year, but I have all this energy. I have energy to do the things that I've been putting off for months. 

Yesterday I dropped off a bunch of binders of documents that have been in my trunk since the Major Work Event in October (which will probably result in an improvement of about 4 miles per gallon in gas mileage, what with the reduced load in the trunk). When I got home, I took all the unopened mail and assorted receipts that had been thrown into the trunk between February and December, and I opened nearly all of it. Indeed, I sorted it.

That's not like me. I haaaaaate all the mail that one gets. I haaaaaaate filing it. Random statements from my student loan companies? I pay those loans. They have been the millstone around my neck for 8 years. I KNOW HOW MUCH THEY ARE. I don't need to be reminded over and over like that, sheesh. And sometimes they send one per loan, and somehow I managed to take out, I have no idea how, about eight little loans from one company throughout law school. I think we can all agree that eight letters from one company in one month is at least seven too many, if not eight too many. Also I have four student loan companies.

It's pretty much looks like it's been raining envelopes here every month. I can't keep up. So taking care of the stack of envelopes in my car was quite a victory. (We just won't mention all the envelopes in a bag in the closet and the ones on the bench by the door. I have a long way to go.) 

Today I took all the random shoes out of my trunk that I've been storing in there since the summer. Things now fit into my trunk again.

I just want my space to reflect my interior happiness, you know? Free of clutter. 

That also means it's a struggle not to buy new sheets in the new color I want to use for my bedroom, and a duvet cover to replace the one I've had for, not kidding, almost a decade, and with which I am bored almost beyond bearing. But I refrain. I have to wait at least a paycheck or two.

25 January 2015


Last Sunday at ping pong, the music seemed to get louder and louder, and it was awful. I like most kinds of music, but this was some sort of terrible atonal horribleness. It made my ears hurt. We couldn't have a normal conversation.

My friend J. finally went to the front room and asked the bar to turn it down, which they did.

A few minutes later, a guy came over from the group using the shuffleboard table and asked if we would mind if they turned the music back up.

"We asked them to turn it down because it's really bad," J. said. 

"Well... we paid for it," he said, motioning to the jukebox.


IT WAS SO BAD YOU GUYS. I like just about every kind of music, but this was somehow missing a melody and the sounds clashed and it hurt my ears. I'm not even that sensitive to sounds. It still hurt my ears. Or maybe it was hurting my brain behind my ears.

I am reminded of this because the people in the apartment below mine play similar kinds of music. Not so loud that my ears hurt, but dimly off in the distance right now I can hear the electric guitar being tortured. (If my neighbors ever read this: hearts to you for not ever doing this at times when I need to sleep. I love that you love music. We just happen to like different kinds of music, k?)

We settled on a medium range for the music at ping pong. Loud enough to be grating, soft enough that we could talk.

21 January 2015


Safety, etc., I know, but I love walking through the neighborhoods of this city at night. 

I love walking through them in daylight, too. That's what summer evenings are for. Summer evenings are friendly and communal, with people out walking their dogs and mowing their lawns. 

Winter evenings are for wandering in the quiet dark, feeling like the world is mine alone. I used to feel lonely sometimes, seeing people move behind their lighted windows. Now I feel self-contained. I am enough.

I was talking on the phone to a friend today as I walked, and I mentioned something I copied down a couple of months ago, from an interview with Reese Witherspoon in which she talked about playing Cheryl Strayed in the movie Wild.

"We save ourselves," she said. "Every woman knows it. Every man knows it. You look up. Nobody's coming to the rescue. It's a universal story. But it's revolutionary in the way that a woman is allowed to tell it." (No More Ms. Nice Gal, New York Times, 10/29/14)

That's what this last year has been for me, and that's why I am happy to walk alone in the dark. 

20 January 2015

mixed up sleep

I screwed up my sleep schedule but good this weekend. 

First there was the fact that I had to bring my roommate to the airport at 7 am on Saturday. No problem, right? I just went to bed around 11:30, got up at 7, brought him to the airport, tossed and turned for an hour or so, and slept until, uh, 12:15. Ish. Maybe 12:16. 

So then on Saturday night I closed down a karaoke bar, which I haven't done since I don't know when. (The closing down a bar part, not the karaoke part, because karaoke is something I have never done, and did not do on Saturday. I did sing along to Blank Space, but not with a microphone, so I'm good.) I went to bed around 3:45 am. I had to get up at 8:30 to bring my visiting friends back to their car, and then I went back to bed again until noon. I set an alarm for noon. I knew that getting back on the week's schedule would be disastrous otherwise.

But good news! Monday was a holiday. I got up at 9, which is perfectly respectable, and I almost got to be on time last night. Sleep disturbance: almost cured.

And I don't have a commute tomorrow, so my recovery may soon be complete.

If only I didn't have an ear that has closed itself off. It's from the cold still, I think, a month on. I am taking bets on whether this is just 1. a closed off ear from a cold with some pain from cracked eczema skin, or 2. an ear infection that I am going to ignore until I am sobbing in pain.* I guess 3. could be a mild ear infection that cures itself. Guesses, anyone?

* The funniest part about the fact that all of my minor ailments get written up here is that they never actually stop me from working. I haven't taken a real I-am-so-sick-I-can't-get-up sick day since I can't remember when. Maybe when I had strep throat in law school? Except I think I went to class anyway. I maybe would have taken one over Christmas break the day that my mom and sister and I all skipped the family party. That was a not-good day, for any of us.

18 January 2015


I keep checking the weather, hoping that the 100% chance of rain every hour for the next twelve hours will change. It doesn't. The good news is that it has changed for Monday, making my hopes of a little hike more possible.

I have some friends coming into town from Universe City today. This makes me happy. Sometimes I forget that I have friends all over this country - and the world, really - because I am caught up in the daily business of getting up and going to work, and it's fun to realize that the people you leave behind - or who leave you behind - aren't really gone. 

I was walking to work in [new work city - I haven't come up with a name yet] the other day and suddenly someone screeched to a halt across the street and jumped out to hug me. It was one of the same friends I am meeting tonight. She just happened to have something going on in my new work city. 

As my friend said long ago in South Sudan: the world is small and round, and people always meet.

I like that about it.

15 January 2015

rainy laundry

For some reason, it is always raining when I do laundry. It rains a lot here, yes, but it seems like it is always raining extra-hard when I do laundry. I don't know why this is. 

Yesterday, no rain. I didn't have time for laundry. 

Today, rain. Warnings about heavy rain, even.

This wouldn't matter if my laundry machine was in my apartment, because then the rain would be merely a pleasant backdrop to the hum of the machine, but no, my laundry machine is down the stairs and out the door and around the corner and down another set of stairs and through a door. 

There are obstacles: the downspout is right on the corner and water from it cascades everywhere, soaking me and my clothes if I do not remember to step aside in time.

The stairs to the basement are very steep and dark and concrete. There is a motion-sensor light that comes on, unless it's been accidentally turned off. 

The key sticks in the door, while I try to get it open with a basket of clothes balanced on one hip.

I have to turn the light on, blind, because it is always dark in the basement.

All of this would be much more convenient in dry weather. 

It would further be convenient so that the top clothes fresh from the dryer in the laundry basket were still warm and dry rather than cold and damp by the time I get back to my apartment. 

I am not complaining. I deeply value free laundry. It is a convenience that I cherish in my life.

It's just [shaking fist at rain clouds] that I would appreciate it if the rain would hold off while I do my laundry. Is that too much to ask?

14 January 2015


There are two checks in envelopes ready to be mailed tomorrow, one to the 1RS and one to State of Happiness. I am paying over 1/3 of the money my business made after expenses last year in taxes (it would be less, but loan repayment assistance program, etc.) 

I have never been prouder of any checks I've ever written. 

I didn't make much last year (I barely broke even until the fourth quarter) and dealing with the accounting for my own law firm nearly killed me, but I made that money myself, and I lived on the small amounts of it that I got to use, and now I am contributing to the roads and schools and social services of my state and country. 

I did that.

(I did not, however, manage to make either of my goals for this evening. They were so simple: 1. do laundry, and 2. get to bed on time. 

0 for 2.)

12 January 2015


This morning I got up at 5:20 am. Which might explain why it is 7:55 pm and I have already showered and I am sitting in my bed with my pajamas on ready to apply my evening potions to my skin. 

I do have a pyrex of pomegranate seeds next to me, so I'm not going to sleep just yet. And I have Hart of Dixie on Netflix.

I used to be all, "I don't watch tv!" and then my roommate turned out to have Netflix and shared the password with me and what do you know? Now I watch tv. It's happening. 

Yesterday I went to an artisanal ice cream shop and tried the seasonal flavors. I used to get the salted caramel all the time, but the seasonal flavors intrigue me. I tried a lemon meringue and a black mole. (I have just literally no idea how to put the accent mark on the e in mole. Imagine it there.)

I ate a scoop of the black mole (with imagined accent mark), that actually looked like a dark purple. It was almost not sweet enough to count as ice cream, but it was filled with spices and nuts (nuts: good in ice cream, unacceptable in baked goods). 

Then I went directly to meet some friends for ping pong, and I had to put on colored lip balm before I walked in because my mouth was blue from the mole (with imagined accent mark). I looked like a kid who'd just finished the wrong color popsicle. 

09 January 2015


Four and a half years ago, I left a job that I loved and a city that I loved, and I moved to Universe City for a real lawyer job. I thought it was a dream job. It was the job I wanted to do, anyway. I didn't want to move to Universe City - when I moved to Gone West, it was because I was weary of moving - but I wanted that job, so I started over again. 

When I wasn't happy in Universe City, at first I blamed the town. Then I blamed a breakup. 

But three years later, back in Gone West, I still wasn't happy, so I quit my job and tried to move to the Mitten.

Back in Gone West for Round 2.5, I went back to the same work I'd been doing for almost four years. I wanted that work back. I didn't want to run a business, but it was the only way I could find on short notice to do that work and (try to) pay my bills. 

2014 was the worst year yet. I started to think that I was just not intended to be happy in this life.

It wasn't until the Major Work Event in October that I realized, walking through an unfamiliar suburb to the building where the Major Work Event was taking place, that I was done with that job. I had a very clear moment, in the cold sunshine, in which I almost heard the words aloud: "This is my last [Major Work Event]," I thought, and I knew that it was true.

I just didn't know how to make it true. 

A couple of weeks later, I met with a coworker of a friend of a friend (follow that chain, ha!) who was doing something that I had off-handedly mentioned to the friend of a friend that I might want to do, and by the time I left that networking meeting, I was determined to do what I am now doing. It took six weeks and a flurry of meetings and interviews (one week I had interviews three days in a row, and then I collapsed with exhaustion), but I found exactly what I was looking for. 

After my second day of this job, I came home beaming with happiness. 

I had forgotten that it was possible to be so effortlessly happy.

08 January 2015


I keep not writing because I want to gush about my new job, only I can't, because jobs are not blog fodder. 

I have a commute now. A commute that is not the usual stumble-half-asleep-out-to-the-bus-stop half an hour before I have to be in and ready for a meeting. Now I have a commute that can be fully an hour and a half each way when traffic is bad. 

That would be utter misery if there were not some alleviating factors, like everyone understanding that the commute is bad and working around it via things like leaving early in both directions. 

Which, if you know me at all, tells you something about how much the rush-hour commute is to be avoided: I despise getting up early. Despise.

It also tells you something about how much I like this job: I am willing to get up early and handle the commute in exchange for doing a job that is pretty fantastic.

Now I must go to bed. Morning shows up early.

04 January 2015


I do not resolve. There is nothing I want to resolve, really, except to continue to think things through as they happen so that I understand others and myself better. Which is not a resolution so much as a way of living one's life.

I could resolve to blog more, but I won't. I don't want to. I mean, I'd be happy if I blogged more, but I don't want to resolve it. 

Apparently I just hate the idea of making resolutions. I especially hate the idea of making resolutions on demand at the beginning of the year. This is the worst possible time to resolve anything. It is cold. It is damp. The days are short. One just wants to hibernate, not do things. 

Most years, I don't think the changing from one year to another means much. We arbitrarily made up a calendar (albeit based on some physical phenomena) and chose a day to change things over. It doesn't actually mean anything except, as D. reminded me, that we have circled the sun once since the last time we proclaimed a new year. This year, though I need the symbolism of the change. I need something to tell me that 2014 is over. It is finally, finally over. Finally.

So, no resolutions. Instead, I am just going to LIVE. I really hope that 2015 will be better than 2014 - if it is worse, I give up now - and I want to enjoy it. Now that I know that things can be as awful as they were in 2014, I have a whole new appreciation for not-2014. 

We'll see how it goes, starting tomorrow, when I head off to my new job. (New job! I am so excited!)

03 January 2015


I arrived back in Gone West late on the 30th. As the plane taxied on the tarmac at the airport, there was a baby up in the front of the plane crying inconsolably. I was so deliriously tired that I sat there listening to the baby cry that exhausted cry for which there is no solution, and all I could think was, "I feel like crying like that."

The next morning, though, I woke up feeling relatively rested (much more rested than I expected), so I drove up to Other Pacific Northwest City. My friend D. lives in a suburb, and we drove into town for Eritrean food and then further into town for a molten lava cake. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home - D. was hoping they would have firewood, but we struck out on that - and the clock clicked over to 2015 while we were in the car driving home.

I didn't mind the lack of excitement over the changing of the year. All I wanted was to put 2014 behind me. 

D. and I made tea, and we sat and talked until I started dozing off sitting up.

New Year's Day was bright and cold, and I drove into the city to meet a friend from law school who was in town. There was drinking of tea in a sunny tea shop and browsing of books in an independent bookstore. The year started right, in other words. 

02 January 2015

what ended up happening

What ended up happening is that A. got sicker and sicker until we had to take her to urgent care, where they discovered that her sodium was low, gave her a liter of IV fluids and some anti-nausea medication, and told us it was probably a virus. Then I got on a plane back to Gone West.

It's a longer story than that, of course. Our parents brought her to the airport early on Monday, where she had to be wheeled to the plane and the gate agent finally rebooked her flight when she realized that A. would be flying alone (rather than with the accompaniment of the airport staff who pushed her through security). Our mom and I brought her to the airport early on Tuesday, where she ended up laying on the ground next to a trash can while the desk agent changed her flight, and then when the airport staff wanted to call medics, we put her back in the car. And apparently our parents brought her to the airport again this morning, where she was still too weak sit up long enough to get on the plane.

It's scary that you can be a healthy adult one day and then five days later be so weak that you can't sit up in a wheelchair. It's given me a whole new perspective on ebola, and how losing fluids can end so badly so quickly.

Meanwhile, my cold got better until I stayed up for almost 24 hours between waking at 4:45 am Mitten time to drive A. to the airport, spending the day at urgent care, and flying to Gone West. Now it is dramatically worse, again, at least in the throat region (my throat is my weak spot) and I talk with a croak. 

More tea, please.