Friday, November 30, 2007

Last days

Is: 7:40 pm.

Number of drinks have had:
1 double gin and tonic
1 stoli's and rootbeer
1 irish car bomb
1 shot whiskey
1 irish car bomb

Number of co-workers have outdrunk:
4. Could be 6 or 7, but double vision makes it hard to tell who might be figment of drunk-ass imagination.

Number of times have said "I'll miss you":
Oh god, do not ask.

Minutes until I will severely regret past 3.5 hours:
Five, maybe 10. Depends on how much water I can chug. Considering that ceiling already spins like a record baby, could be very soon. Then again, did manage to order pizza. With vegetables. I think. Maybe called Fred Meyer's instead. Not sure yet.

General assessment of evening:
Fun. And oh, shit. Do not remind me of existence of Irish Car Bombs, as response is to say: "Shit, yes!" and chug, willingly, repeatedly.

Going back to floor now. Fuuuuuuck.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Edward Abbey knows my soul

One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast... a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.

Many thanks to Bryce for posting this quote. I've been struggling for the last year with some serious environmental burnout while my fellow Udallers do amazing things without me. I think the tide of apathy is finally turning for me. Tonight, I needed this quote.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Oh, hi!

Oh my god. It has been 12 days since my last post.

TWELVE! I have become one of those awful bloggers whose page you refresh and refresh and refresh until your key seizes up and you delete the whole thing from your RSS feed in disgust.

Forgive me, dear readers. It's going to be a long month. Oh, shit. Month is basically over. It's going to be a long...quarter?

I was going to blog yesterday, but then I got stuck in holiday traffic south of Olympia. This was particularly irritating because THERE IS NOT ONE GODDAMN THING SOUTH OF OLYMPIA. There is an asinine billboard run by a right-wing conservative. There is a perfect example of why people with money should not be allowed to spend it without some form of oversight. There is a small town whose location I can identify only because it is directly south of the two smashed-to-bits freight truck cabs that have been perched atop a 20' pole for as long as I can remember. I think it is an advertisement for a junkyard. Or maybe a memorial to drivers who went insane after navigating this long, unforgivably boring stretch of highway week after week. Last night, I could not reflect upon the meaning of the trucks, because I was sharing the car with a cat who does not understand congestion. He'd behaved very well until traffic slowed -- probably because I sprayed Feliway in his carrier until he hallucinated -- but we were doomed as soon as the tail lights lit up.

Want to know what cats think of highway backups and air pollution? It goes like this:

"Meow. Meow. MEOW. MEOOOW. Meow. Meow. MEOW. MEOOOW."

A little tip? Do not attempt to soothe a road raging cat. It may clamp down on your finger and continue its monologue thusly: "Mrmph...mprhwo...ooooow."

After four hours, I wondered whether I should pull over and find somewhere to stay for the night. You see, my cat also has a few gastrointestinal delicacies, fancy talk for: he's prone to farting whenever he's excited. Or pissed, apparently. Just as I reached the point where I was willing to stay in a room next to a giant Veggie Tales outlet (you so wish I was kidding right now -- welcome to the parts of Washington State we don't talk about in polite company), traffic cleared. And then I drove like the proverbial bat from hell except I can see so I didn't have to use the sonar which was good because I think bats would have trouble navigating at 80 mph+.

Did I mention this week is the week from hell? No? Well, it is. So this semicoherent post may be all you get from me until Saturday, because in between now and then I must:

1. Work until 10 p.m. tomorrow, because nothing says, "I'm a short-timer!" like a 14-hour day
2. Take the cat to the vet to have a lump examined Wednesday. This involves putting him in the carrier, which he didn't used to mind until we started going on 3 hour excursions. On Sunday, he almost took down a lampshade in his attempt to escape the plastic jaws of doom, and that was when I had someone else to help me. This should be fun.
3. Work a full day Thursday, go to physical therapy (oh, crap, you don't know about that yet) and then drive to Seattle because
4. I have an interview at 9:30 Friday morning (and I have lovely pre-interview questions I have to think about and write beforehand because, you know, you really need to go through the wringer for a 15-hour per week job) and then
5. I have to drive back to Portland by 1:00 to finish my workday. Because they hate me.
6. Did I mention I need to pack all weekend?
7. And CB comes into SeaTac on Monday? Which involves (yes) another drive to Seattle (nonononono).

It is now past my bedtime and I am going to take a bath because, damnit, at this point sleep deprivation might be a good thing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fact not fiction

Twenty-six years ago, my mother sat waiting for a bus near San Francisco's Russian Hill. She was in her third trimester and her body hummed with anticipation and anxiety. This was her first child. What sort of future lay in store for it? She waited and daydreamed.

When she looked up, Dianne Feinstein was sitting next to her. Mom wasn't a shy person, and soon she and the young politician were engaged in an animated conversation. Before they parted, Dianne patted my Mom's belly and told her she'd be a great mother. I know how much that moment meant to my mom because every time she tells it, she glows a little, like she's still in her 30s and turning to a fresh chapter, like someone's just reached out again and let her know that everything is going to be new and different and good.

Maybe growing up with that story explains why I am so sad about this, why I won't even ask my Mom if she's heard the news -- in case she hasn't -- even though I've never met Senator Feinstein myself. I don't understand her decisions lately, especially to back the cowardly Mukasey, but I don't have the same level of distaste for Feinstein that I might feel for anyone else in her position. I just keep thinking of those two young women, both in the midst of extraordinary lives, sharing a moment of joy and hope together in a world where the two can be hard to find.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Just give me something to hold onto

Dear readers,

It feels a little contrived to write the letter that every other blogger's written, but I don't care. Your thoughtful notes and encouragement have helped me realize something: I am brave, and it's okay to feel good about this decision. I love you all. :)


I've killed two hours tonight sitting in front of the computer trying not to think about the awesomeness ahead of me. Damn, I know that having a quarter life crisis is about as original as writing blog love letters, but it doesn't make it any easier.

I'll write a lot about this in the months ahead, because it seems like it's the unspoken truth we all face after college, or high school, or whenever your time arrives. Whatever we thought we would be doing after we finished school? So not even close to reality. Whatever we thought we'd want to do? Probably doesn't exist, or if it exists, it's not what we expect.

I'm not sure what I should do now. Career counseling seems expensive and possibly unhelpful. Banging my head against a wall, while therapeutic, isn't doing much, either. There are only so many times I can email my mentors with a "Hey there, guess who's confused again!"

Sometimes, I just want to curl up and cry. I'm afraid I'll disappoint my brilliant husband, frustrate my friends, let myself down. I'm terrified of becoming That Girl Who Had Such Potential. And it's stupid. It's all painfully, obviously stupid...but I still feel that way.

Yet, I know this was the right thing to do. This morning, I sat in my cubicle listening to a co-worker talk about how she won't go home for Thanksgiving this fall, because it's too far away and there's too much work to do. She's right: we have a four hour evening meeting for the community and our project advisers immediately after the holiday weekend, a meeting so arduous that everyone has been talking about it for months. The other person in the conversation sighed and said that he guessed that was how it had to be these days, the challenge of having a successful career outweighing the desire to keep your loved ones close.

I don't believe that's how it has to be -- but, if I'm wrong, I think it's time for me to start letting the career mean less than the life it supports. It's hard, you know? When you want fulfilling work, challenging work, a job that makes you think. When you wind up instead with a stack of 45 telescoping easels and a large bag that has to hold them all. (No, really, that's how I spent the better part of my day at one point.) I don't want to complain because I know there are many people who would kill for the crappy job I'm leaving, and I'd actually stay with my company if it weren't for the LDR-related stress getting to the point where it's a productive night if I remember to eat and do the laundry. I hate feeling like an entitled whiner; I hope that's not what I am. Still, I can't believe it isn't worth searching for a job that makes the time I put in worthwhile. I don't have to love it, but I'd be so happy to like it.

I'm rambling. I'm sorry. There's much on my mind, and it came to a head recently, when I spent the better part of an evening on the phone to my mother, anxiety beating against my ribs like a trapped bird on a windowpane, walking block after frigid block of my neighborhood because I had to keep moving before it all caught up with me. (Have I mentioned how much I love my mom?) Anyway, things are better now. I can recommend treating mounting career woes and personal crises with the following four-step program:

1. Get thee to a video store. Rent the crappiest, stupidest romcom you can find on the shelves, paired with a legitimately funny film like Office Space. (Which hits so much closer to home now -- I don't know if I would have found it so funny the first time, had I known how accurate it would prove to be.)
2. Purchase vat of favorite ice cream.
3. Purchase six pack of beer. Or whatever. Something that makes you giddy.
4. Watch films, eat ice cream with teaspoon because it seems like you're consuming less that way, and drink until you establish a good beer buzz. Ideally, you should perform this step wrapped in a comforter and sporting really ugly, super-comfortable pajamas. It helps to have a bewildered cat on hand who just wants to know why the hell you aren't in bed yet.

I'm going to be pretty up and down on this blog for a bit. Well, until I move to the new blog (meet the new blog, same as the old...oh, god, I need to maybe get more beer before I actually think I'm funny). You're welcome along for the ride -- at least I can promise interesting commentary.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Any TypePad lurkers out there?

For I am an idiot who cannot figure out how to map my newly purchased domain to my new TypePad account. It appears to be mapping in reverse, thereby pointing users to an annoying domain host site full of frightening cartoon people with bad haircuts.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The camera makes you thinner

Well, isn't somebody famous?

That's my boy, mugging for the camera. Head on over to and say hi. Seriously, it's a great site -- although, if you're like me, it's hard to resist adopting every damned animal they feature.

Now he's just going to expect more treats. These 15 minutes of fame will do me no good.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Oh yeah, about the furball

Kristy of Eats, Shoots & Leaves! rightly noted that I forgot the most important part of the move. Marlowe is coming, and he will arrive in style at my parents' sometime in early December. No, seriously. They've filled the entire house with cat toys and scratching posts. There are litter boxes in the pristine hallways where show-wearing deviants cannot tread, and my mom bought freaking catnip bubbles. Honestly, I think he's the reason why they're letting me move home.

He made his first trip to Seattle last week and did quite well, then celebrated his excellent car manners by throwing up on my rug once we returned to Portland.

Monday, November 05, 2007

and now it's time for you to go

This is it. I'm sitting here in my office (yes, blogging in my office, but on my own laptop), and there is a three-paragraph resignation letter face down beside my potted fern.

I've talked to so many advisers, mentors and friends this month that I can barely think for myself anymore. The fact that this isn't going to work makes me incredibly sad, because it really could if I just had something or someone to balance the crazy hours, the miserable supervisors, and the soul-sucking tasks. No, really: life beyond job would make the job tolerable. But 3 hours north, there are friends and family and all of the reasons I came home from England. As frightened as I am right now (and if you've talked to me lately, you know I'm terrified -- my confidence and trust in my own abilities are as low I can remember them being) much as my stomach feels like it's taking an acid bath, I also think this is something I need to do. I want to believe that my life is more than the job I do. Here, it's literally all I have besides a cat who barely sees me and an apartment I love but really can't afford.

If I had time for friends? To make friends? I would stay. But I am tired of feeling like I need more excuses, so here are the bare, dry bones bleaching in the sun:

I am lonely as hell;
The LDR is survivable when I have people nearby to help me forget it;
I work too many hours to go home;
I can barely stand my job, and I think I'd be fine with that for the short-term if it weren't for the rest of the ribcage above this;
For whatever reasons, professional and personal, I need to go home;
and I am finally okay with admitting it.

I have a reference here, and I'm leaving in the best circumstances I can. They're getting almost six weeks' notice. Really, I think it's a better deal for them than me. But I can't hold onto something just because it's safe. I can't ignore all of the signs -- and there are many -- that I'm not doing so well right now.

It doesn't make sense to some of you, I know. I wish I could explain it, but all I can say is that I've learned a lot, and maybe that's enough for me to take away from it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

What you do to me

He arrived late Saturday night, and I spotted him first, separated by a pane of glass, his back to me, short hair ruffled from hours on the plane. Within those first minutes, after I burst through the revolving door and caught him by surprise, we'd returned to a life together as if we'd never left off, conversations flowing together like tides, unimpeded by time or distance.

He left on a frost-tinged Thursday evening, and this time I actually thought I wouldn't cry. I watched him wave from the security line, and then I turned and walked back through the empty airport to my car. After a few of these long, silent passages, I've learned never to make eye contact with anyone until I'm out of the airport, because I will cry at the sight of a stranger with a suitcase. I made it out to the car, cursed my battery-drained Ipod, and started back to Seattle, for I am spending the weekend here while I decide what comes next.

Halfway across the Viaduct, as I passed the ferry terminal and caught a glimpse of the Yakima floating across blackwater, a song came on the radio, a song I've adopted as one of "ours". And I fucking sobbed, as hard as I ever have, for everything we've been through and for everything yet to come. It doesn't get any easier, and yet, I am so proud of us. We are at the halfway point, and we've made it through moments that I thought could be the beginning of the end. Our relationship is stronger now than I'd ever believed possible, and when I look at him these days, when we happen to be in the same room on the same continent, the conviction that we are right for each other sits like a lighthouse in the middle of uncharted waters. It is the only thing I believe right now, and the strength with which I believe it is almost inconceivable. I never knew I could feel this particular way about anyone, even though I would not have married him if I hadn't thought we were meant for each other...but it's one thing to think it, and another to go through enough that you know it, beyond doubt, beyond everything this world can throw at you.