Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 in Review


My company moves to a new building. My office with a door is replaced with an open cubicle. My co-workers and I collectively mourn our loss of privacy. However we rejoice in the perfect little gym across the courtyard that includes towel service and individual showers.

Due to icy weather conditions, my director can't make it to the casting of my play. I do it myself. I sit through two days of auditions and call-backs to select the cast.

I endure pre-LASIK evaluations and figure out my medical bills.

Mid-January, I call the cops on the landlord's son -- I don't know it is his son at the time. Sounds like people are arguing, physically fighting, and abusing a dog.

See k.d. lang in concert.

Jer and I finally hike to Inspiration Point.

I am interviewed -- along with the other ten-minute playwrights in our set -- by the local paper and a photographer takes our picture.


LASIK. I sleep in goggles for a week. Listen to Lenny Bruce and eat Lean Cuisine pizzas. Use many types of eye drops, have my tear ducts plugged with wax, and have a tiny scare where my right eye doesn't heal fast enough.

Attend lots of rehearsals in dirty classrooms at the university, run-throughs, dress rehearsals, a tech rehearsal, opening night downtown, and the entire run of my play. Friends fly in from out of town, drive down the coast, lots of excitement and surprise.

Arthur Miller dies.

My interview appears in the local paper. It is mostly positive.

I see Lily Tomlin perform.

Our group of playwrights is panned in both local papers. My play isn't panned as bad as the others, but my name is spelled wrong.

I start playing World of Warcraft.


Chiana is spayed and injected with a HomeAgain ID chip.

I play lots and lots of Warcraft.

Playwriting workshop starts again.

Start buying stuff for our upcoming Yosemite trip. Read Bill Buford's "Among the Thugs." See a couple of plays.

I buy a Nikon D70, my dream camera. Sell my F100 on ebay. Buy a hard drive enclosure so I can store photographs on the road.

Infect my computer with spyware from


Decorate a fan with heavy metal clippings and stickers for a co-worker's last day. Drink my first Bloody Mary.

Read "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Write a play. Watch "Sin City." Discover Regina Spektor.

Jer and I visit the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes County Park and Nojoqui Falls so I can practice my picture taking.

Jer and I celebrate our five-year anniversary.

More Warcraft.


Ultrasound on my throat. Some minor medical drama.

Jury duty. AKA big waste of time.

Buy a Coach purse on ebay. Figure out how to make an eyecup for the D70.

Jer and I leave for Yosemite.


Yosemite... Rent bikes and ride around the valley, eat a fancy dinner at the Yosemite Mountain Lodge, hike to the top of Sentinel Dome in the snow, stay at Curry Village in a tent cabin, see a bear.

Visit the Ventura County Greek Festival. Eat too much.

On June 16, hear the first rumor that I may lose my job, along with everyone else at our site.

Most of the month is spent wondering and worrying about work and making budget plans in the event I'm actually laid off. I maintain the hope that I'll be offered relocation, and there is lots of whispering and grasping at the latest gossip. It is a poor way to live.

I find a new lipstick color and take a break from Warcraft after a fight with the guild ruins my Saturday.


My team at work all receive iPods for finishing an earlier release.

I lose my job. My dream job. I am not offered relocation, but I do receive three weeks of pay as severance. Jer and I discuss our options, and begin to draw up plans to move.

I reduce cable and cut back in a bunch of places to save money.

Visit my family, my sister is there too. Badly sunburned on my arm while driving. Five months later, you can still see the tan lines.

Jer goes to interviews at the university. Our move plans are put on semi-hold as we wait for the outcome. Except not really, because I start to look at apartments on the web in the Seattle area.

Renew my driver's license, eat dinner with the neighbors.

Start selling my CDs on ebay to raise money.

I have my one-year anniversary at work. My co-workers take me to get a Bento Box at the Japanese restaurant next door. On the same day, a job placement service takes over our office to teach us resume writing skills.

I sell my camera flash on ebay.

Attend a party with my co-workers at someone's home in the hills. It is a beautiful evening and sunset and margarita machine... My high heels sink into the dirt between flagstones and I eat fly-trodden sushi, making small talk. Mosquitoes devour the tops of my feet, biting through my nylons. I am itchy for weeks after.

After creating a timeline complete with milestones, Seattle begins to feel like a real possibility. Jer and I submit resumes to places of business in Seattle, but no luck.


I start to do the legwork, in case we move to Seattle. At first it's more that we're going through the motions without committing, but that changes soon enough. I reserve a moving van, find out who to talk to about obtaining permits to park the van on our street, buy plane tickets for our Hawaii trip, reserve boarding for the cats while we're in Hawaii (the cat boarding place is in Seattle), order moving boxes, and go to a Greek festival.

I continue to sell DVDs and CDs to make money for either the move or imminent unemployment, and polish my resume.

Miss my high school reunion to attend a wedding. In truth, I'm not at all sad to miss the reunion.

Go to fiesta with co-workers and drink too much. Hungover and stupid.

Notify the landlord when we're moving out. Book tickets to fly up to Seattle to find an apartment. Start selling bigger items like book shelves, Jer's desk, cabinets, the big screen tv, and washer/dryer.

I turn 28. I get the permit to park the moving van, there's a big product release, and I make some appointments to see rental units while we're in Seattle for 3 days.

We fly to Seattle, we see about five places, we spend a lot of time being anxious and a lot of time enjoying the in-car navigation system. The last place we see on the last day as a last resort, we decide to rent. The place is perfect and has an incredible view. We sign the papers and pay our deposit and fly back. All in 3 days.

After the product release goes out, there's not much to do at work. I spend most of my time preparing for the move.

We pack and clean. Constantly. There is much moving related stress and anxiety.

Jer's family comes into town to see the dog show. Both of our parents' computers blue screen at the same time in different cities.

Have my tires rotated and aligned and open a bank account for Seattle.


Dear God it is a lot of work to move, that is the theme for September.

More of our big items disappear. We buy equipment for the move, like a dolly, tarps, furniture blankets... Drop off donations, pack up my cubicle at work, set up new renters/auto insurance policy for the new state.

I work my last day. I turn in my laptop and keys.

Attend a going away party for a co-worker (and I guess, technically, myself). Jer can't make it because he is packing but our friends don't believe me and are nasty about his absence. That still makes me angry, because there were something like 8 of them to help 1 guy move his ten boxes into a truck and only 1 of them volunteered to help Jer and I move our gazillion boxes and furniture into the truck. Not that I wanted their help, but I sure as hell didn't want their attitude either.

We give away our bikes and my roller blades. I post "No Parking" signs on the street to reserve a space for the moving van -- a condition of my permit.

We pack the moving van. It is painful and difficult, but we get it done. The permit saves us a ticket from the meter maid on street sweeping day.

The moving van leaves. We have a final walk-through with our landlord, spend three hours on Saturday morning loading our cars with computers and cats, and drive to Redding. Stay overnight and leave the next day for Seattle. Cats never stop crying. My rear turn signal goes out.

We get the keys to our place and sleep on the floor for a week. Rent a U-Haul, drive to ABF, unload, drive back, unload again, exhausted and tired, return the truck and collapse.

The next week, drop the cats off at the boarding place, and leave for Hawaii.

Spend the last week of September, first week of October, in Kauai and Maui.


Hawaii highlights: kayaking down a brackish river, hiking to a waterfall. Red dirt. Snorkeling in the ocean. Shooting sunrises and sunsets, camera lens fogging in the humidity. Rainbows. Polihale, Waimea Canyon, flat tire on the Road to Hana, $10 coconut water at a roadside stand, swimming at Sprecklesville Beach, the Spouting Horn, Haleakala Caldera, koi, sea turtles, Kilauea Point...

Return to Seattle, pick up cats from boarding house, finish unpacking, apply for jobs. Walk along the water, watch television, edit Hawaii photos, and write out my stories. Jer works. I go on one interview, and do a bad phone interview.

Lots of trips to Fry's, Ikea, Best Buy, Target, and Costco. We're in awe of having these stores at our fingertips. I mourn the loss of a local Kohl's.

We meet a friend and his girlfriend for drinks and Thai food. It's the first time it drizzles while we're here... besides when we were unloading the U-Haul truck.


Watch a lot of television. Try to write. Start to slip into a funk.

I send away for free movie passes to see "The Squid and the Whale." I pick Jer up after work and we find the theater in the rain.

I make a calendar with the Hawaii photos. I sell three of them, two to my friend Lily and one to myself. I make $5.90.

I am hired at a company mid-month. In the middle of the interview, there is a fire drill. I take off my high heels so I can run down four flights of stairs.

Jer is unhappy at his new job, but sticks it out. We meet for lunch downtown. I commute by bus.

We buy a new television.

I slowly explore downtown. Cook fried chicken for Thanksgiving.


December 1, it snows. I'd never seen snow fall from the sky before. Christmas shopping on the internet. Lily visits to celebrate her birthday and we eat too much: Salty's, Cheesecake Factory, Claim Jumper and then a trip to see the new Harry Potter.

Jer works a lot of overtime. His company lays off one-third of their employees.

We try the tavern down the street and start eating at the "Shack" by the pier. Excellent burgers and fries.

Office holiday party. I win the grand prize and give it back because I cheated. Attend the after-party where I nearly sing karaoke.

I participate in the giving tree at work and buy a kid some shoes.

Spend Christmas Eve at a co-worker's dinner party.

End of December, massive internet problems leaving us offline too often. A friend from SB visits to celebrate the New Year. I decide on a personal theme for next year. My goal for 2006 is to publish a short story.

From December 26:

I'm listening to the "Chess" soundtrack. I'd almost forgotten how much I like it. I used to borrow soundtracks on cassette tape from the library, and listen to them over and over. This is one of those I never owned, but with a little nudging I can sing every lyric. Badly. It's actually best for everyone if I stick with lip-synching into a hair brush. In the library stacks I also discovered Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, and Patti LuPone's/Mandy Patinkin's Evita. These were the gateway drugs to Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard, and the Stephen Sondheim catalogue. Mmm, Assassins.

The music in "Chess" is a little dated, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying the hell out of it. I mean, come on, it's a musical... about chess. With a Cold War sub-plot!

I'm not sure why, but my fellow high school students never shared this exuberant passion for musicals.


"You and I
We've seen it all
Chasing our hearts' desire
But we go on pretending
Stories like ours
Have happy endings."
- Chess - You and I

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Secure the Perimeter

There was a manhunt last night, outside our living room window. Dozens of police cars, lights flashing, pulled into all kinds of crazy angles on the street, a team of four officers trotting behind a police dog swinging wide beams of light at the bushes, a Coast Guard boat in the bay scanning the dark and placid water... Jer and I were watching "Mythbusters" when the commotion started and we saw the first of many flashing lights. And finally, the helicopter with its infrared capability, circling above our complex.

Jer and I sat by the balcony, trying to figure out what was happening. We overheard an officer ask, "Have you seen anybody run through here? Long hair, tattoos, handcuffs?"

The news at 10 didn't have much more information. An unsteady, blurry shot of the scene and a voiceover that police were searching for a man who'd stolen a police car while wearing handcuffs. The search was still going strong when I went to bed at 10:30. I guess it wasn't much later that they caught the guy.

Here's the official story: Man, arrested for stealing a car, steals police car

Still no internet at home, but now we've ruled out the cable modem. We have a second appointment to have our connection looked at on Saturday. And I bought a steam cleaner! And I need to buy thank you cards! We are falling so behind without our daily entries! Will we ever truly catch up again?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Internet has been down for about a week now. I have a few entries stored on my home computer that I'll post as soon as I can.

I hope everyone had an excellent holiday weekend. Merry New Year.

Also, my home phone is VoIP, so if you've tried calling, I'm probably not getting your messages in a timely manner. This lack of internet access has brought home productivity to its knees.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Quick note to say that internet's been down at home. We've got a service appointment tomorrow, but if they can't figure it out I may be without internet access for the next few days.

Merry Christmas, if you celebrate. Otherwise enjoy your holiday weekend.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I got home last night to a FedEx slip. Ugh, I thought, now we’ve got to go stand in line. And find a new place in the dark and the rain. And the wet.

I called Jer, since it was his package, to make sure he wasn’t working late. He wasn’t. We deduced that we had a narrow window, 45 minutes, from the time we were allowed to visit the FedEx factory to the time it closed. So when Jer got home (I was watching the last twenty minutes of Gilmore Girls), he printed off directions from Google Maps and then we embarked upon our adventure. Neither of us had any idea what type of present could possibly require the FedEx touch, but we were willing to investigate.

At the FedEx factory, we were greeted by a super uber mega line. A line that had devolved into a blob shape, not really a line any longer because a line implies order. A kind soul directed us to check-in at the desk and then step back to wait for Imminent Package Retrieval. Meanwhile the place was packed, elbow to elbow, and more people pushed through the automatic sliding door all the time. Oh, it was anarchy.

Twenty-five minutes later we’d befriended a guy who was picking up an iPod. We mocked stuff together.

And then, the magical moment! Jer’s name was called and we pushed our way to the front, through stacks of bodies. The box was no help. Jer carried it to the car, set it in the trunk, and sliced an end open. Lo and behold, there sat bundled a DVD player, in all its glory.

And so we watched “Whale Rider.” And stayed up many hours past my bedtime so that I could see it a second time.

I am drinking coffee in a fancy travel mug because of my wickedness. But it is delicious wickedness.

Jer has worked late nearly every night for 2 weeks, and has been on call during the weekends. But I think it’ll slow down since his company just laid off one-third of their employees. Happy holidays. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. He’s a contract worker so we didn’t expect he’d be there forever. If the axe does fall or the company locks its doors without letting anyone know, we’re not too worried. We have money saved and he’d enjoy the break. Plus it’ll be a good experience for him to see how a company dies.

Good times.

Friday, December 16, 2005

This has been an ... interesting ... week.

I drafted two different proposals in committee. It involved working with a group and coming to a consensus. One of the groups is still debating my brilliance, while the other has accepted the terms whole-heartedly. Mostly I’m just tired now. I’ve said all I can say on these subjects, and I need to recharge. TGIF.

I’m feeling smug and self-satisfied because I bought a 12-year old boy a new pair of Adidas. It’s part of the giving tree at work. Only instead of real wrapping paper, I accidentally bought cellophane. So in order to conceal the shoe box, I lined the red cellophane with white printer paper and then secured it nicely with tape and ribbons. This is how you make lemonade.

I also won the big gambling prize after our holiday party. A trip to Nevada. But then I gave it back because I cheated. Okay, I didn’t cheat, but I didn’t deserve it either. Somehow I managed to win the most chips and by win I mean, other people gave me their chips because they took pity on me, and apparently that was enough to win. I exchanged the grand prize for a card shuffler. Now I can shuffle all the cards, as long as there are only two decks, and you are patient.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

We Are So Helpful

Today was exhausting. People and their drama are exhausting. I will now surround myself in a no-drama-zone bubble that is unbreachable. Leave me to my mocha and cookie crumbs. I am not dealing with it anymore.

In other news... nope, still tired. Why won’t that coffee kick in?

I’m reading “Minority Report” by Philip K. Dick. I hardly notice the bus ride these days. This makes me a perfect target for pick-pockets and unsavory characters. Don’t be like me: always be aware of your surroundings. I know there’s a sports bar downstairs. Maybe I should just go visit the sports bar. That would be one positive step in making me notice my surroundings.

It was Jer’s birthday yesterday. We went to Red Robin and the wire in my bra may or may not have escaped and stabbed me repeatedly in the armpit. TMI? Hahahaha. If you could promise me no more drama, I could promise you a modicum of tact. But you can’t, can you? No. You don’t that power and I don’t have the restraint.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I'll Drink to That

The good thing about an open bar at the office holiday party is that you can drink as much as you like. The bad thing about an open bar is the next morning, when you remember everything you said and did under the influence, as you decide whether or not it's appropriate to die of shame.

And was that me in the overcrowded bar at the after party, screaming Bon Jovi lyrics while I threw myself around the dance floor? Yes, yes it was. And was that me suggesting, nay insisting, to the HR manager that we force everybody to play name bingo for prizes?

Oh dear God, it was.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Social Event of December

The plan for today is to get a haircut and to that end, I've made an appointment at a local hair salon and day spa. Normally the multi-purposeness of this establishment would inspire dread, but now the nervousness is balanced by a desperate desire to shear the excess mane of hair I've accrued. Seriously, it is everywhere. And the pricy blonde highlights need to be stripped out of my mane because they have been strangled by the roots.

Meanwhile, my cats are killing lady bugs. We've got ourselves an infestation.

Wearing makeup properly is a lot of work, but I'm willing to put forth the effort on special occasions. Tonight is the office holiday party. It's at a swanky place. So I guess I'll wear foundation.

On the way to the bus stop I made a side-trip to Rite-Aid and bought nylons, Band-Aids, and Scholl's Inserts for Her (open toe and sandal style.) Are your illusions shattered to bits? I do not have good luck with high heels.

I believe that my black dress will be accented by a necklace I haven't bought yet, but I'll know it when I see it. I'm thinking red beads, two semi-circular and staggered layers. And that's the extent of my planning. Jer is supposed to work today, so hopefully that won't interfere with his attendance. I'd hate to muddle through one of these things on the conversation strength of my anticipatory foot needs (as I've done here).

If I falter in the girlie factor, I'll just pretend I'm dressing up for Halloween. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

All Wrapped Up and Nowhere to Go

Please don't look at me. I know my eyelids are unnaturally thick today, but there's a perfectly good explanation. You see they swelled in the night, so that my normally beady eyes are now hidden in folds of lid flesh. And the reason for the flesh puff is that we finished watching all of Farscape last night. It's over. Go home, people. There was death and there was birth and how could you not think it's one of the best shows on television? The writing, the acting, the frenetic plot pace and the characters...

It's true. I sobbed into my enchiladas.

And now it's over.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

An Hilarious Mash Up of Nonsensical and Highly Unreliable Affectation

For lunch I ate a tasty falafel plate. One of the tastiest ever. I ruined it by eating too much and now my belly is feeling hurt and betrayed. It wants do-overs, but it’d settle for left-overs.

It cracks me right up that I can walk down the street and pick a restaurant. And that I can sit outside of the restaurant at a little plastic table in the cold, next to a Tea & Crumpets shop, across from an x-rated adult store. (Bring on the Google hits!) It’s a funny world when you can satisfy your tea fetish and your foot fetish on the same corner.

In not so wonderful news, my medical benefits suck. Every month I buy two prescriptions and for many moons it’s been $15 for both. With my new benefits, it’s $55 for both. One of the two prescriptions is generic, and with insurance I now get a three dollar discount. What’s that about? It’s not like I enjoy taking pills everyday. It’s not like I can stop taking the stupid generic thyroid medication. Well, I guess I *could* stop but then my pulse rate would double and apparently that’s not a good thing. I can’t wait to find out how much it’ll cost to actually see an endocrinologist. To be on the safe side, I better start saving now. Maybe I’ll open a CD just for co-payments.

Thanks to the convenience of Amazon wishlists and itchy trigger fingers, I’m nearly done with my holiday shopping. There’s really only one problem spot left. My Marine brother-in-law is in Iraq and I’ve still got to gather together and send him a care package. He likes chili. I’ve done everything I can think of to avoid the post office, but it looks like I’m stuck. And really, I know, it’s the least I can do. I wonder if Amazon will ship him chili if I put it on a wishlist. A girl can dream.

Speaking of dreams, all I want to do is sit down and finish “Dream Park.” The book is in my purse, within reach, tormenting me. I think this is why I don’t read as much as I used to. Whenever I’m involved in a story, everything else is a shadow, an echo of that other reality. And I want to get back to it in the worst way. Reality is not an adequate substitute.

Ever stare at your hands and wonder how they got so big? I remember as a child, sitting half-naked in the living room, examining my arms. I remember wondering how it would feel when they finally stretched out and grew long. Would it hurt? Back then I could entertain myself for hours by flexing my fingers and wiggling them around, watching the tendon flicker in my wrist, trying to pinpoint the trigger that made them move. How did I tell my hands to do that? How did they know? If they just move like magic, could it ever stop working? If it’s just thought that makes them move, how would you fix them if they’re broken?

Hair cut scheduled for Saturday. If I can’t wear priceless butterfly gowns, I can at least slay my static strands of fly-away hair and irascible split ends.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I'd Like to Thank...

There’s an office holiday party this weekend. I’ve got a short black dress I plan to wear, but everyday on the bus I pass the most wonderful dress shop with the most stunning window displays. I don’t generally gape at clothing, but these are so beautiful and artful, it makes me want to engage in credit card frenzy. Last week there was a dress where the skirt was designed to resemble a monarch butterfly. This week the dresses are a deep dark red and they hang, they drape, perfectly on the mannequins. It’s maybe the first time I’ve seen and understood how clothing is meant to soften and flatter the figure, even when that figure is a rigid piece of plastic without a head.

In the back of my mind I think, someday. Someday I’ll wear a dress like that. There will be an occasion that’s worthy enough, that’s special enough, that I can justify the expense of such a “frivolous” purchase. The logical conclusion then is to start gunning for some prestigious award with a large cash prize, and once I’m nominated and invited to the awards show, I can buy whatever frelling dress I want. Clearly that’s my only option.

Well then, I better get off my ass and do something award-worthy. Or I’ll never be a pretty, pretty princess.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

If Books are the Food of the Soul, then my Brain is Fat

Can't ... move ... too ... full ...

Lily came to visit for her birthday and we ate, and we ate, and then for a change, we ate some more. We also saw Harry Potter 4: The Revenge, and watched a lot of television. Whenever there was a lull, we ate. You get the picture.

I finished the first round of gift shopping today via the internets, and threw in a few DVDs for me while I was at it. I bought the first two seasons of Farscape -- already have seasons 3 and 4 -- and the Northern Exposure Parka Pack from Costco. My Amazon wishlist is here, if you'd like to see what other materialistic indulgences float my boat.

It's been a fun but tiring couple of days. On the way back from dropping Lily at the airport, we stopped at a used bookstore and I bought a few more Harlan Ellison books, and some older Poppy Z. Brite. I was just introduced to an author, Thomas Ligotti, who I like very much and I'm currently reading "Dream Park," by Larry Niven. Now you're all caught up. A pop quiz is forthcoming.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Alone in my Head

My work is kind of lonely. If I wanted, I could probably go the whole day without speaking a complete sentence to another human being. Muttering at my monitor doesn’t count. I spend so much time figuring out the best way to write something and puzzling together the right selection of words that I’m afraid I’m forgetting how to speak.

When someone asks me a question, my eyes lose focus. I feel the wheels turn and I stammer out a response. My fingers twitch in the air, because you know, they want input too. There’s a disconnect between my fingers and my mouth and it doesn’t help that Fingers don’t want Mouth speaking for them and that’s all Mouth does.

No matter how strong your brain muscle, there’s only so much deep concentration a person should have to undertake in one day. My eyes are tired, my poor, surgically enhanced orbs of goo... There’s still too much time left on this casual Friday, and I’m waiting for my second wind. Come on, second wind, see me through the five o’clock joyride. Don’t let me down, Paul Simon.

I dreamed I was almost branded. I stopped it right before the hot metal touched my skin. It would’ve been on my shoulder, about the size of a quarter. And I was letting it happen because I’d been tricked. But I figured it out. Just in time. And then I woke up.

Wherever I go, peoples’ voices sound the same. I think I keep meeting the same set of people over and over. I’m afraid I’ll accidentally call somebody by their old name instead of their new name.

This is why I have trouble articulating myself verbally: I’ve got no point. Maybe I should create a structured outline for all potential conversations. Yessir, then I'd have loads of stuff to say and people would come from miles around to hear me pontificate and we would live in champagne houses made of caviar beams...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Christy's First Snow

Snow is falling from the sky. Right now, outside the window. Everywhere. I walked in it and man, is it ever cold. I’m going to need a scarf and maybe a knit hat of some kind. My water resistant jacket just doesn’t hold up to this kind of strain.

I should mention that I’ve never before seen snow falling from the sky. I’ve seen man made snow, and snow after it’s landed, but never like this. I’ve seen hail, dime sized chunks of ice hit the pavement and shatter, but this is different. This is graceful. This is like stepping inside a snow globe. This is lots of little points of white, like static on a tv screen, in an organized and frenzied dance and the music is gravity.

I’m many floors above the ground, looking out over the city and I see umbrellas and winter coats and Christmas lights. I see a little boy without his gloves grabbing at the sky. I see the sports bars and the dress shops and the workers in the other office buildings at their desks, staring back at me. It’s wild, this.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Happy Holidays

Jer and I are the proud owners of a new television set. It's a spiffy 26" flat screen Panasonic. We managed to fit it in the back of Jer's convertible with a top-down, load-in, top-up maneuver and it's now plugged in and functioning (splendidly) in the living room.

It's amazing what you can fit in the back of a convertible when you don't mind your knees stuck under your chin. I think our crowning achievement remains the cat condo/skyscraper. That baby was strapped down, wedged in, and a source of much amusement among the other drivers on the freeway. That's a nice way of saying people laughed at us. And pointed. Pointed with their fingers of mockitude.

Tomorrow, our dear friend and former roommate, Lily, flies out to spend her birthday with us and it looks as if "The Cheesecake Factory" will figure prominently in the festivities. Sheets are washed, towels are in the dryer, and the remaining unpacked boxes have been straightened. We're set for company. Whee!

And now I can sleep. Because otherwise I predict a sixty-two percent chance of crankiness.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sweet Dreams of Rhythm and Dancing

Apparently I'm a hick. I showed my hick-ness at a Washington Mutual ATM this fine afternoon while attempting to find a deposit envelope, which didn't exist. No, sir. They exist when you tell the machine thingy you wish to make a deposit, and then the machine auto-magically secretes the envelopes from a hidden slot like a ... like a ... thing that secretes stuff.

I held up the line. People were unhappy with me.

Then I ate sushi!

And I wore long underwear under my black slacks today. Because I am a rebel who likes to be warm. It didn't snow, but it was cold. The weather people say that it might snow later and that we should all continue to live in fear of ice patches. Especially if you have to drive on a bridge because then when you're driving you could go tumbling to your death at any moment. And then the article, to which I refer, ends with the phrase: take public transit! Cuz public transit is like kryptonite to snow. Apparently.

I finally gave COBRA the boot. Goodbye, COBRA. And I got paid for the first time at my new job. Hello, paycheck. Meet Mr. Savings Account. You will be the best of friends!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Ice Queen

There was frost on the ground this morning. It took me a minute to notice. Standing at the bus stop, I was more interested in the way my breath turned to smoke and curled away from my face. And then I saw the grass across the street. Sometime in the night, it turned white. The puddles in the street had a crust on them, the mailbox was shrouded in a thin sheet of ice. I could feel the cold in my knees, and I bounced on the balls of my feet, hands deep in my gloves.

They say it might snow tonight.

I wonder how my cats are dealing with the cold. Vash has started sleeping under the comforter until about noon. I don’t know how he breathes, there doesn’t seem to be any air, but he’s perfectly content to curl up in the middle of the bed and sleep for hours. Chiana lies back in the burgundy recliner, propped up by black pillows, yawning and blinking whenever Jer or I walk by. And by the time we get home, they’re all slept out and ready to play and we’re ready to sleep. They amuse themselves by chasing each other down the long hallways and skidding to stop on the kitchen floor.

At lunch I found a shopping mall and ordered a gyro. It was tasty, but the back of my throat feels rough now, like I’m about to catch something that I don’t want to catch. Bring on the vitamin C and the fluids. I can’t afford to get sick.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Home is where the Equity is

I remember a conversation with my best friend in high school. We sat in my parents' living room in our impractical thrift store dresses, gossiping. My friend waved her arm around, emcompassing the room, my family, everything in a gesture. "This isn't what I want," she said. "It's not for me."


"I can't do it," she said. "Two point five kids, a dog, a house in the suburbs. It's horrible. Don't you think it's horrible?"

She waited for me to agree and I mumbled something agreement-like, but I never really understood her. Even then I wanted a nice big home to call my own. I always figured I'd have children. And it sounded fine to have a partner, someone to share it with. I never believed that the state of suburbia could define me as a person, and I guess that's why I wasn't afraid of it.

This is on my mind because I've been looking at classified ads to get a grip on the housing market. We're saving for a down payment, and will probably be saving for a long time, but it's nice to think that someday, I may not have neighbors stomping on the floor above my head. I might be able to properly fix things that are broken without going through a middleman. I could have a piece of land that's mine, just mine, and the only people with a key are people I know, not the landlord's son or daughter or cousin twice-removed.

It surprised me to learn that my best friend resented my lifestyle. That we could enjoy the comfort of my parents' living room while she sneered and held herself to a higher ideal. It made me wonder what she considered acceptable, and what exactly she thought she was running from because I never saw my future as a trap.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Aftermath of Gluttony

The fried chicken turned out wonderfully, and I tossed the rest of the brie and roasted garlic in with the mashed potatoes, giving them a really nice flavor. I continue to be full many hours later. But it is an exquisite pain.

Cooking is exponentially easier when there's a dishwasher on hand. I am thankful for dishwashers. I am also thankful for being laid off, LASIK surgery, iPods, my friends and family, the view from my living room, books, no credit card debt, and my line of work. This year has been full of high highs and low lows, but I never expected it to turn out as it did. I guess I'm thankful for chaos.

The rain is back. I'm not in a shopping mood so I think I'll avoid Black Friday. I should go for a walk after all that food yesterday. I can test how my rain gear and iPod work together. Yes, that's the main reason I should walk, definitely not to work off the summer sausage and chocolate silk pie.

Or maybe I shouldn't leave the house at all. I reek of post-holiday garlic excess.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Time for Gluttony

Turkey, I can take or leave. Fried chicken's where it's at.

It's just me and Jer this Thanksgiving, so I'm making what I want. We've got fried chicken, homemade hummus, roasted garlic and brie, devilled eggs if I'm feeling frisky, and two frozen pies. Also garlic mashed potatoes, 2 bottles of wine, three-bean salad, and the rest of the "Celebration Cake" I made for the work potluck. It's a very tasty cake full of mandarin orange segments, pineapple, yellow cake, and Cool Whip. Unexpectedly delicious.

So I'm sitting here making myself super hungry and it's not even 7am yet. Maybe I'll have cake for breakfast. I mean, it's got fruit in it and fruit's healthy. And you can barely tell the Cool Whip is fat free because the grocery store was all out of the good stuff, but it's mixed with sugar free vanilla pudding anyway so it doesn't really matter.

Maybe I'll eat cake, and then take a nap. It's too early to be up and about on my holiday.

Just had a thought. Each holiday should represent one of the seven deadly sins. This one can be gluttony and Christmas can be greed. Valentine's Day is lust, Independence Day is pride, Envy is Halloween on account of the trick or treating, Labor Day is sloth, and I guess Easter has to be wrath. Not sure about the last one, but I'm sure you could set up a pretty nice debate on the subject.

Carry on.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Mark of Pollyanna

One week down. I'm still in the honeymoon phase. When I leave the office at dusk and see the white Christmas lights wrapped around the leave-less trees and the suits racing to beat the light, the neon signs for chain stores, the cars inching forward from parking garages, the buses grinding to a halt, the birds chirping impossibly loud above, the construction workers hauling sheets of glass and steel on cables so high I can't see the top, the click clack of slick heeled shoes, peeking into bar windows and salons, avoiding metal grates and wrapping my coat tight... when I leave the office and see these things I am so glad that I'm there and nowhere else. It's not like anything. It feels like I'm caught in a greater, larger, overarching purpose, and within this space there is infinite possibility.

And then I get on the bus to go home, and see those same lights from across the bay. And I know what it's like to walk on those streets and look up. I know that perspective. I can zoom in or out at will. I've got that power.

On Friday, I walked the six blocks to Jer's office and we went for drinks with his co-worker. Drinks and garlic fries and hummus in a dark booth with lots of deep red lighting, and music that made me want to bounce. It's such a luxury to walk to happy hour.

Yes, there's a lot to learn. Yes, there's a lot of catching up to do. But I've got a good feeling. There are the usual political landmines to pick through and office alliances to navigate, but it seems manageable. It requires only a tiny diagram to keep it straight.

Now to get back into writing again and I'll be where I want to be.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I said once before that honest work makes me tired, and that's still true.

There are new terms to learn and configurations to puzzle through. There's a new company culture to figure out. No more free soda to get used to... Orientation today and again all day tomorrow. I've got three books to read and some proving of myself to do. But now I have to go pick out my clothes and snuggle deep down in the comfy bed and sleep until approximately five am when the alarm goes off the first time and the cats stir.

My brain is mush-esque, as in the style of mush. There is an awful lot of information I'm attempting to retain. Perhaps it's best to sleep on it.

For lunch I had an organic wild salmon half sandwich and a meatloaf half sandwich for $8. Plus bottled water. Isn't it a wonderful world? And in orientation I got free highlighters with the company logo on them. Yes, I am easily pleased. Why do you ask?

Monday, November 14, 2005


Blogger is going down in five minutes, so making this fast. First day, good. Very nice people, cute, little office. Spilled mustard on my shirt. Pointy shoes hurt. Kicks ass to work downtown. Bus is also good and fast, and so far, noticeably lacking in stress.

And my dear friend, Lily, informs me by proxy that she is coming to visit. Yippee!

Thursday, November 10, 2005


I got a job! And it's a very nice job! It's full-time and in downtown Seattle. It's exactly what I wanted and pictured in my head. I am about to enter the rat race again and boy is it ever exciting!

I applied a month ago and hadn't heard anything so I wasn't thinking about it when the recruiter called Monday. An hour later I had an interview with HR, and then yesterday I went in to interview with three more people. In the middle of it all, there was a fire drill and I removed my shoes so I wouldn't fall down the five flights of stairs. Maybe that showed them I was a go-get-em type, or maybe it proved I didn't have any foot fungus and wasn't afraid to get my knee-highs dirty.

Tra-la-la! I start Monday, which means, I need to go shopping.

It all happened fast, and I didn't want to talk about it here because I didn't want to jinx it. But here we are. I'm employed! Time to cancel COBRA and invest in an extended bus pass because baby, I'm employed! I can buy useless crap again with a clear conscience!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

An Itty Bitty Rant

I found a lovely waterproof jacket and pants at Costco for cheap, so now I can leave the apartment again, walk, and not worry about flooding the iPod. Although because all the really nice waterproof weather wear were for men, it fits strange and snug around the hips, but I can live with that when it means freedom. Terrible, terrible freedom. In addition, I bought a pair of fleece gloves. It seems I am a delicate flower who shivers for five minutes when leaving a warm interior for a cold exterior. This is new to me, this cold feeling. I must take arms against it.

In truth I'd prefer to play Warcraft right now, but the servers are down for maintenance -- like they are every Tuesday morning -- until 11am. I guess I'll have to face reality for a little while longer...

The good news is that it's raining. I get to test out my rainwear and make that $30 work for me!

You know Cingular is sneaky. When they gobbled up AT&T, they made it sound like you'd be able to keep the same services for the same prices and that there wouldn't be too many changes. When I moved here they did a national transfer on my phone number so I could keep the same account and have a local number, but a side effect was that I lost all my AT&T perks, like long distance. Don't you think that's strange? I sure did. Especially when that wasn't made clear and I had to pay $18 for an hour phone call to my mother in California during the unlimited night/weekend time slot, which I retained, but with no long distance who needs unlimited night/weekend? They said that because I moved out of my initial calling area, all those things they promised me before were null and void. I accepted it.

So to switch over to Cingular -- I was technically an AT&T customer even though they were strongarming me out of my contract -- I had to buy a new phone. My old phone said AT&T on it. I guess that affects billing or something. Also, they no longer offer the $29.99/month plan. The lowest starts at $39.99/month for individuals and that's too damn much to carry a hunk of plastic around.

Luckily I'd done a little research and went to the Cingular store armed...with knowledge. After two trips, and them only showing me more expensive plans and phones, I signed up for a family plan with Jer and got a free phone that's almost exactly the same as the one I'd been using, only with crummier graphics. It's $69.99/month for the both us, so we save a tiny bit.

And the kicker was that after doing the national transfer, my snazzy new local phone number was associated with someone else's name. They couldn't pull me up on their computers. I didn't exist. Although the bill comes fine to my house every month. I don't even know how that could have happened... but everytime I deal with Cingular they spend five minutes trying to interpret the information on their computer screens because it never jives with reality. There's something funky about the way they integrated the AT&T databases and only some stores have access to the AT&T information and other stores just throw up their hands and sigh.

It should all be straightened out now, but then, it took half of our Sunday we'll never get back. The end.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Half of an Ass

Money was spent, feet were worn, Warcraft was played, and quesadillas were made. That's the last two days in a nutshell.

It rained a lot yesterday and I accidently drove my car on the center divider, but so far the tire hasn't flattened and I guess I'm okay. After a random power outage, I got a little paranoid and lit an apple candle and passed out on the couch. I lost some writing, not enough to truly fret, but enough where I was irritated. Outside and beneath the living room window were a fire truck and a police truck and another city vehicle flashing lights until the wee hours of the morning, shining a spot on a telephone pole. It looked like there were sparks coming off the pole, but it was hard to see on account of the rain. Before I fell asleep, I turned off our halogen lamp and watched them in the darkness. Though they weren't particularly interesting, mostly they just sat against the back of the fire truck and looked bored and cold. I was toasty warm with the electric heater on, and a soft green blanket artfully placed about my person.

Yeah, so. I've got an interview on Friday and I need to get some writing samples together. That sounds like an excellent project for Monday.

Man, I am the opposite of motivated to finish this entry. Thank you, sincerely, for muddling through it.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Attention, Everyone. Your Attention, Please.

I think I will make soup today.

Reflections on the Night Before

It's official. I'm a certifiable shut-in.

I drove downtown to find Jer as it was getting dark and the rain was coming down, and my wipers were performing at less than their maximum efficiency. I was a gigantic ball of stress in the slow lane, peering through the headlights at the street signs, hoping that I didn't have a huge blind spot at my side, and praying I wouldn't hit anybody. For the record, I'm not that dismal a driver, I just wasn't handling the traffic well. Or the leaving of the apartment.

After a few mis-turns, I found the vicinity of Jer and made him come to me. We navigated our way through the hilly streets and I only spun my tires out a few times. After a few more windy, hilly, back streets, we found a pay lot, dropped off the car, walked back to the theater and got in line an hour early. Jer went back to the car to get the umbrella, because by now it was coming down pretty good.

The rain finally stopped and I'd remembered gloves so I warmed up some. We found decent seats and they had adequate facilities inside, and overall it was a cute theater, a good experience.

The movie, "The Squid and the Whale," was okay. It was pretty quirky, which I'm all for, and it was effective in that I cared about what happened to the characters and didn't look at my watch once. However, I have a couple of comments. First, the women in the story were not developed at all. The mother was practically a broken record of adulterous behavior. The one chance she had to explain herself to her eldest son, she chose to tell him about yet another affair. It's too bad because Laura Linney is a terrific actress and she didn't get any meaty lines at all. Mostly she gets to stand around and look concerned and say things like, "Honeys..." or half-cry/laugh and look defeated.

The younger brother storyline didn't hold any interest for me. Yeah I get it. Both kids are screwed up in their perceptions of sexuality. Whatever.

And the Dad's storyline reminded me of Wonder Boys. I kept forgetting that Anna Paquin was not supposed to be Katie Holmes.

All that said, the movie kept me entertained for its hour and a half. I'm not going to rush out and see it again, but there were enough good points to recommend it. Also it was fun to see Jeff Daniels in a role that I didn't automatically hate. In short, the whole thing had a "Royal Tanenbaums" vibe, so if you dislike that style, you'll hate this movie. I however, am a sucker for that style.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

"Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream..."

I had a hard time waking up this morning. I had little interest in the cold that waited outside my warm comforter. So the cat and I stayed in bed, and listened to the neighbors shower and start their day. I dreamed about the Gilmore Girls and all was good.

We've got free tickets to see a preview of "The Squid and the Whale" tonight, assuming I can find the theater and that there are seats left. They overbook the theater to guarantee a full house, which makes me nervous, but then what doesn't make me nervous. Don't answer that. I dressed up a little, no jeans today, to feel like a functional member of society and once my head stops pounding, I expect great things.

I need to replace the wiper blades on my car. Remember that.

I also need to find the state run liquor store. I bookmarked the nearest one, but have yet to map it. The trip requires some forethought because the store isn't open on Sunday, which I don't understand. I mean, beer and wine are available everywhere, but the hard stuff is tucked away from prying eyes. It's not like you can't get just as drunk with beer and wine. I guess it's just one of those things I'll have to get used to... like paying a $200 monorail tax to register my car.

Oh Seattle, let's not fight. I love you just the way you are.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


In case anyone was wondering, the fire alarm does indeed work in our building. I know this because they have been testing it for the last forty-five minutes.

I think you've proven it works, faceless administrators!

It Might Just Be Naptime

For me, writing is like trying to grab a trickle of water. It's pretty to look at and seems sturdy enough, but when you put your hands on it, it all falls apart. So I'm sitting here, forcing myself to stay seated, trying not to sleep sitting up, ignoring thirst, hunger, and other distracting urges, and there's that damn trickle of water.

I'm keeping track today. It's been forty-two minutes. I've written 700 words and most of them are unusable. Most of them are just me prodding myself to keep going.

I haven't left the house except to go grocery shopping in the last few days (maybe a week?) It's nice not having to be anywhere. I signed up for COBRA, so I'll have health care again. Hooray for overpriced medical care.

Tangent: I think that if a doctor can't cure you or makes you sicker there should be some recourse. It's a service they're providing, and why should I get price gouged for a $110 office visit if they can't figure out what's wrong with me. As far as I can tell, medicine is a best-guess science. We can observe the workings of the body, but until we know WHY or HOW, we might as well go back to leeches. Doctors prescribe pills, sometimes based on kickbacks or what's fashionable, and then they monitor the results like we're guinea pigs. And then the pills we really need over the counter, like the morning after pill, are regulated by faith based pharmacists in their war against immorality.

"Did I say that out loud?" says the girl whose thyroid doctors would like to irradiate.

Mental note for the future: Halloween is not the opportune time to go grocery shopping. It is a busy busy day at the market.

Monday, October 31, 2005

This Entry is Haunted

Happy Halloween!

You can't see me, but I assure you I am very dressed up. I'm a witch. Long black hair, green face, bulky nose, and a dark, silky frock. Add to that, red fishnet leggings, purple kitten heel slingbacks, and an ancient, yet remarkably efficient broom. I am the perfect picture of pagan eccentricity!

Or maybe I'm in my pajamas, unwashed. You don't know. Such is the power of the internet.

I've got no plans to do anything except spend as little money as possible. I guess I could still go crazy with the makeup and light some candles and turn up the scary sounds CD... maybe that's what I need to snap myself out of apathy, a silent commune with Mars and the ghosts on the balcony.

There probably won't be trick-or-treaters here, but I bought a bag of Snickers just in case. Ever since the year I gave out individually packaged Fig Newtons because Halloween caught me unprepared, I don't take chances. Though when you consider that I only had a moment to choose between Fig Newtons and Taco Bell salsa, figure the kids got lucky.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Much Ado

The scuba divers are out and about, scurrying around in their tight black suits and air tanks, unloading their cars and huddling beside their space heaters. It's fascinating to see them at seven in the morning, so dedicated, even when the forecast threatens rain and the rest of us are snuggled deep in our warm jackets. I've never had that urge. Especially when there's no tropical wonderland waiting just below the surface, no brightly colored fish or endangered monk seal to buoy their spirits. And yet there they are, weekend after weekend, braving the cold waters of Elliott Bay.

I applied for a few more jobs, rummaged through cookbooks, napped excessively. The cats need to be schooled in the time change consequences, meaning that it's not all right to wake me at six and stand on my face to demand chow. Other than that, the day is a blank slate. As soon as I bust out of this mini-funk I am going to take the world by storm. Or at least shower.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

In Stitches

Something about the weather getting colder, makes me want to cross-stitch. It also makes me want to knit a scarf, crochet a blanket, and sew my own pillow cases! I have an urge to grab a needle and thread the hell out of some lucky piece of fabric. But I won't. Mostly because I haven't sewed since Girl Scouts and I don't know how to knit. I can however cross-stitch like the damned!

Here are some lovely cross-stitch patterns for your enjoyment. I'm partial to "FUCK CANCER."

On my walk today, bundled in a sweatshirt, jacket, and jeans, I came upon a peculiar sight. Three young women, bikini-clad under a grey sky, struck a pose on the rocky shore. Meanwhile a photographer snapped picture after picture of them clinging to one another, narrowing their bedroom eyes to sexy slits. I shook my head, tsk-tsk-ed like an old lady, and walked on.

I'm two pages short of finishing my ten-minute play. It's more serious than I usually write and a bit more personal, but maybe it'll strike a chord somewhere. No title yet, though I was thinking of titling it: A Man Said to the Universe. With apologies to Stephen Crane, of course.

And finally, I will now share with you a secret pleasure. The Gilmore Girls. After a hiatus of several years, I am back to being hooked. Carry on.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Seven Posers Posing

I'm not looking for an answer, not really. But why is writing so hard? How come when I'm not writing, it's the only thing I want to do? But when I sit down to do it, it's a struggle to keep typing, to stay at my desk? Maybe there's not enough pressure. Maybe I need firmer deadlines. Maybe I'm just a big baby who likes to make excuses.

I'm working on another ten-minute play now, in the hope that if I tackle smaller projects and finish them, I'll stay motivated.

Lots and lots of books have been written on this subject. Mostly by authors who procrastinate writing their own great work by getting bogged down in writing limbo and then telling us all about it. Similar to what I'm doing here, but I'm not charging you for the pleasure. So basically, I shouldn't feel bad because these feelings are common, but I shouldn't let it hold me back. And if I really want sympathy, I can pull one of those many motivational tomes off my shelf -- that I purchased in weaker moments -- and have a pity party, table for one.

Or I could start drinking at eight in the morning. Bloody Marys appear to be an appropriate breakfast cocktail.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Fog

I am a fool for egg salad, which I am eating for breakfast in sandwich form, along with a Diet Dr. Pepper. It's the best part of waking up.

It's been foggy, and occasionally drizzly, but nothing too terrible. I went for a walk along the water yesterday, and about two blocks down, the clouds completely cut off the view of the city. There were lots of horn blasts from passing ships, and the sounds of fishermen chatting. It struck me that the water was clearer than the sky. I could see each pebble on the bottom, but the city was a mystery.

No writing yesterday. I applied for a couple of jobs, made brownies and egg salad, watched too much TV, and finally cracked Star 7 in Katamari Damacy. That's been a long time coming. I also surfed the web and thought about writing. But that doesn't count, right? I also thought about participating in NaNoWriMo, but then I got distracted. The jury's still out on whether or not I'm going to punish myself again with unreasonable deadlines and wishful thinking. Although, if I don't have a job by then, there's really no excuse.

At some point I'm going to have to leave my beautiful cocoon to purchase a waterproof jacket and kitty litter. Or maybe just kitty litter. I can make do with a trash bag until the money starts rolling in.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Hacking Away

I submitted the five-minute play tonight. It took three days to get it together. I never used to rewrite my stuff, but once I finally started I couldn't stop. Maybe before I trusted my instincts too much... maybe I didn't care what the audience thought. Now, I'm on the verge of knowing what I want to communicate, but I struggle with the best way to translate these mental pictures into the right string of words. I want the pieces to fit together snugly, and I want to do it economically. And, if possible, I don't want to sound like a pompous ass while doing it.

Seems to me I want an awful lot.


Friday, October 21, 2005

A Night Out

Tonight Jer and I drove to the University district, saw "MirrorMask," ate dinner at Chipotle, and browsed the aisles of a used bookstore. It's not something we can make a habit of doing these days, but it was good. I bought two paperbacks, a Harlan Ellison and a Philip K. Dick.

I'd recommend "MirrorMask," but it did have flaws. Without giving anything away, I thought the pacing was slow and the plot could be tighter. Overall it's a beautiful film, but I wanted it to make more sense. I wanted it to work within the structure of its own reality, and by that I mean, I wanted scenes to relate with purpose, and not just be metaphor for the sake of metaphor -- even if the metaphors are artfully done.

I wrote more today. I'm working on a five-minute play and a short story, each for different contests. They're very different in form and content, and if I get bored with one, I switch to the other. And when I'm not doing that, I watch TLC's "What Not to Wear." It's an obsession.

I am so lucky to live here. Sometimes it doesn't seem real. I keep expecting to wake up.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

If you have any interest in wildlife or nature photography, check out the work of Manuel Presti. It's awe inspiring.

Rosarito Beach, Mexico, September 21, 2002

To Our Robot Masters

I've spent most of the day staring at my photographs, trying to pick a couple to enter into another contest. I've done this enough now where it just feels futile. Part of me wants to cut out the six months of judging, the mental notes to check back, the high highs and the low lows and just go back to bed. But I know I can't do that, and I'm not looking for sympathy. If it were easy, more people would be persistent.

Sometimes I think that if were a robot, I'd get a lot more done. Robots don't second guess themselves or indulge in vice. Robots get the job done or they short circuit. It's a fact. That is, unless they decide to rebel against their flesh and blood masters. Then they'd probably be too busy to do art.

I guess I'd settle for a switch that turned on "work mode." Once the switch was flipped I wouldn't get distracted or twitch in my seat. I'd be a good little robot then. Somebody please invent a switch for me and I will shower you in presents.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It's time to celebrate minor victories. I just mailed the chapbook and collected another rejection (unrelated activities).

The day is slipping and I'm losing it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Update to the January 24 Entry

I'm trying something new. I'm putting together a chapbook. In the January 24 entry I wrote about how everyone in the world had a chapbook but me, and that I couldn't live for the envy.

Fast forward to now. I present to you a little something called, "Christy's First Chapbook." At least, that's its name in my private thoughts. In public, the name is infinitely snazzier.

The only problem is that I don't know what I'm doing, but I won't let a little thing like competence stop me. So now I've found a contest that'll accept my 23 page effort for a modest and acceptable fee. I've got a deadline of tomorrow, two title pages, and a whole lot of red pen edits to input.

Also, because I've been reading and rereading the same 23 pages for a week straight, I've lost the ability to judge anything reliably. It all sounds like the same shade of crap. But I'm doing it, and I'm doing the best I can, and history will have to live with that because I'm done. Finito.

Earlier today I went on my first interview. (A day of firsts!) It was with a technical recruiter to submit my resume into a data bank for such-and-such and so-and-so, doing what I love, or at least what someone might pay me wads of cash for doing. In other words, it went okay. I'm happy. And now I'm drinking coffee with Bailey's and listening to Barenaked Ladies. Because I can.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Lazy Nights

Along with a renewed interest in White Russians, comes a renewed interest in lip synching to Leonard Cohen and William Shatner and editing a series of short short stories that hold absolutely no commercial appeal but make me happy. Also, it means staring at a napping cat whose got legs splayed in every direction and conveys a general air of ennui.

It's raining and the city sparkles. I wish I had a laptop so I could sit in front of it all the time. But that's just another excuse, another in a long line of excuses for not doing the thing I should be doing. I can make excuses all day. Maybe that's my special skill. If only someone would pay me to make excuses, and pet cats. In that field I would excel.

I love that we have an icemaker and a dishwasher. It's luxury, I tell you. Pure luxury.

Lazy Days

I just reread the full length play I stopped writing six months ago. At least, I read the 32 pages I completed before I got distracted by shiny objects. It's got potential, but it needs a lot of work, and an ending.

We bought Jer a desk. I submitted one of my photos to a magazine editor. I did some other photo related work, and thought a lot about going back to sleep. Man, I love staying home, but I'm not so crazy about the lack of regular paychecks or health insurance. A girl needs the freedom to get sick now and again.

If I could finish this play by December 1, I know where I'd submit it. Although... it's going to require a lot of coffee and some serious headphone time. And maybe even a renewed interested in White Russians.

Or maybe I'll just play World of Warcraft until my eyes fall out.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Photo Finish

Well the first recruiter apparently was psychic, because I got dumped by email. But then another recruiter called and scheduled an interview for Monday. I was able to form complete sentences this time and inject some witty banter, so I'm no longer feeling like a social deviant. Although maybe social deviant isn't an appropriate synonym for tongue-tied loser...

It's contract work, but it's work. Hopefully I'll impress the pants off 'em or at least the money out of their wallet.

Let's see. I finished uploading photos for the Hawaii trip. You can see the lot here. And yes, there are a lot, but it's my best haul yet.

Now that it's lunch I think it's time for breakfast.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Ocean Center on Maui, October 2005.

Wake Up Call

Important Lesson of the Day: When a recruiter calls for a job you really want, try not to sound like a dumbass. Honest, the recruiter can't see you through the phone and doesn't know you're still in your pajamas at 3pm, and that you've been watching "America's Next Top Model" for the last two hours. No, the recruiter is not psychic. So calm the fuck down.

"Thank you for being a friend..."

It's a dangerous morning; I watched "The Golden Girls."

The last time I was unemployed I watched a lot of "Golden Girls." I even had a schedule. Wake up late and watch tv, take a break to eat, watch more tv, maybe sit in front of a computer and hammer out some crap... pretend I had writer's block... heat up a tv dinner and stare out the window. Oh, and apply for work, if I felt like it. Faced with all the free time, I wasn't prepared for the constant low-grade depression. I knew I was in a rut and that I needed to get out of the rut, but I just didn't care. That's where "The Golden Girls" came in.

I have two of their autographs: Betty White and Estelle Getty. The others never wrote me back. It's something I did in elementary school, send out a lot of autograph requests to sitcom stars. I got a signed Carol Burnett photo and an 8x10 of Jim Henson surrounded by muppets. And then there was the Mr. Belvedere. His was a postcard signed in thick blank ink. It smeared in transit and you could barely read it, but it was nice of his assistant to send it.

Anyway, I need to fight the Golden Girls. That's the lesson.

Yesterday was crisp. Visibility was good, the air was chilly, no rain, clear. The leaves are changing. It feels like fall. We've been searching for an affordable wireless bridge, but so far no luck.

Yesterday I applied for another job, filled prescriptions (no insurance, ouch), went grocery shopping, picked up the held mail, paid bills, stopped by the library for Register to Vote forms, called my mom... I'm doing okay. Things are happening. No reason to let Lifetime get me down. I'm probably just experiencing caffeine deprivation. Stay busy, Christy. It'll pass.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The surface of the Haleakala Caldera is reminiscent of the surface of Mars. On this day, clouds covered most of the crater, but would occasionally pass and allow for clear viewing of the valley.

On the Other Side of Planning

My eyes are blurry from editing photos all morning. I also applied for a couple of jobs and watched a Doris Day / James Garner movie on AMC. It was a comedy about bigamy. I couldn't look away.

It's so nice to not be on vacation. My cats survived the cattery, although they're thicker about the middle, and nobody tried to escape. I'm drinking good coffee and enjoying not having to be anywhere or see anything or take any pictures. Don't get me wrong, it was a good trip. I just felt rushed all the time, and after two months of constant planning and action to get through the move and the layoff and prepare for the trip, the last thing I wanted to do was race across a tropical island. Or even two tropical islands.

But we're finally here. On the other side of planning. Now all that's left is to find a job and maybe buy Jer a desk. It's an exciting time.

One of my favorite moments of the trip happened 10,000 feet above sea level, standing in the Haleakala Caldera. As I snapped picture after picture, waiting for the clouds to pass and show the valley, Jer's family hiked down the red dirt trail and disappeared behind a wall of white. I stood there, framing and snapping, listening to wind and silence overlap. The guidebook said we were in a sacred space, and I wanted to stay longer, but I knew the group was losing patience with me and my camera and so I turned and hurried down the trail. By then, the others were reduced to dark and distant shapes moving through the fog.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Kilauea Lighthouse, Kauai, September 2005.

Sunrise in Poipu, Kauai, September 2005.

What I Did For My Summer Vacation

I spent the last two weeks in Kauai and Maui with Jer and his family. We saw lots of pretty things. We saw things that fly and things that swim. On a boat in the ocean, we saw manta rays and dolphins and big green sea turtles.

I got sun burned bad on my shoulders and the tops of my feet. The skin blistered and peeled off. I also got a big bruise on my thigh. It swelled up and turned purple.

On Maui, we hiked into the Haleakala Caldera. A caldera is a volcanic crater. The last time the volcano erupted was in the late 1700s. It was cold and I was thirsty. It didn’t take long to hike down, but it took a long time to hike back up. We saw horses. People rode them up the trail. There were clouds everywhere and they blew across the trail until Jer’s family disappeared. Then the wind shifted and the entire crater opened up and I saw the walls which were lined with red and brown and gray rock.

On Kauai, we kayaked in a river and hiked to a hidden waterfall. I was in the front of a kayak with Jer in the back. I never kayaked before. I held the paddle shoulder-width apart and then alternated each arm. It hurt my wrists. We tied the kayak to tree roots sticking out of a muddy hill and jumped into the water. I handed the dry sack to Jer. I had to take off my flip flops because they got sucked into the mud. I changed into sneakers so I could walk in the jungle. The waterfall was pretty. There were lots of other people there too. We ate sandwiches that I made and watched Jer’s dad sit under the waterfall. The water hurt his head because it came down so hard.

We almost died on the Road to Hana. We saw a black sand beach and we hiked to the top of the Fagan Memorial and saw all of Hana from very high. I got blisters and had coconut milk ice cream in a cone. I never eat cones, but I did there because it tasted good. We saw Charles Lindbergh’s grave. He flew planes. He went to Maui to die because he thought it was pretty.

On the way back from Hana, a tour bus came close to our van. We were on a one lane road. On the left of us was a wall, and on the right was a cliff. Our tires hit the small rock ledge and made a big noise. The tour bus inched past us, so close we couldn’t open our doors. I looked down and there was nothing because the ground was far below. Our driver edged forward and the car made another big noise. When the tour bus passed, the van didn’t work right. It had a flat tire. We were four and a half hours from our hotel on twisty jungle roads. There were no bathrooms or restaurants and the traffic had to stop. It was scary. The tour bus driver showed us a turnout and we parked. Everybody stared at us. Some people got out of their cars to see what happened. I sat on a rock and watched the others look for a spare tire. It was hot and I was sunburned. A park ranger drove by and asked if we needed help. I said yes. He helped us put on the tire because he was nice. Then we were able to drive to the car rental place and ask for another van. I got hives on the backs of my hands because I was so nervous.

One day on Maui we found a pretty beach. It had white sand and red lava rock and turquoise water. It was fun to swim there. The water was warm, but it was always windy. We went to another beach and there was a sign that said there were sharks there so we left.

Every morning I shot the sunrise. At least the first week I did. The second week I took photos of the sunset because of where our hotel was located on the island.

On Kauai, I saw a lighthouse. The sky was dark blue and so was the water. A bird, a booby, attacked Jer’s mom and she fell on her knee. It bled. We went in a cave and I took a picture.

One night we watched TLC on the television. We saw, “101 Things Removed From the Human Body,” and “I Am My Own Twin.”

On Maui the windows had shutters on them. Big brown shutters and not all of the windows closed. It was because of the trade winds. The wind made my hair tangled. Once it even took my hat and I had to chase it down the road. Somebody laughed at me.

We saw rainbows. They were very bright.

I went snorkeling in the ocean off Ni’ihau. It’s called the Forbidden Island. I’ve never been snorkeling before. The deckhand said I had big feet and gave me fins to use. They soaked the mask in baby oil so it wouldn’t fog. I jumped in the water and looked down. There were lots of fish, all colors, and the coral reef went down just like a cliff. I felt weird looking down like that and breathing through my mouth piece. I liked the black fish with the white stripe. And then I saw a Hawaiian monk seal. They’re endangered, which means you can’t touch them. It came close but I didn’t touch it.

There is a fruit called the noni which is used to cure lots of things. It is ugly. It looks like a fat squished caterpillar.

There are lots of chickens on Kauai because there aren’t any mongooses. I saw mongoose on Maui. They look like squirrels. I ate a papaya. I didn’t really like it. I had a local platter at McDonald’s. It had rice, eggs, spam, and Portuguese sausage. It was okay.

I liked the aquarium on Maui. It was fun. I thought it was better than Sea World’s Shark Encounter. My favorite part was the sea turtle tank. They poked their head out of the water at us. There were Hammerheads too, but I took too long and didn’t get to see them.

On Kauai we drove five miles down a dirt road to a beach called Polihale. The sand was white and behind it was the Na Pali Coast. I took lots of photos of the waves. The water was warm on my legs and I got wet.

The Fern Grotto was nice. We went out on a boat like the Disney Jungle Cruise and then saw a place with lots of ferns. They grew out of the rocks all along a natural alcove. People get married there. There are good acoustics.

My swimsuit said life guard. My black board shorts turned brown because of the chlorine in the hotel pool.

There was other stuff too, but I’m sleepy and it’s time for bed. Sweet dreams.


I'm home and boy, do I ever have a metric shit ton of pictures!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Taken September 22, 2005. 10pm.

Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite

Not much to say. The cats are at the boarding house. I'm all packed and showered. We're meeting the airport shuttle at 4am and that's that. I don't expect I'll be able to update for awhile, probably two weeks, unless I do and then I will.

I submitted a ten-minute play today. And the moon is beautiful outside our living room window. I am happy here.

Hello Hawaii.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

And the Red Tape Falls Away

I have a Washington driver's license! And a license plate!

There are separate offices for licensing and registration. The licensing office was painted all white inside, with white chairs. The chairs were in neat rows and faced the counter like an audience. Inside the door was a big sign, "Start Here." Under the sign was a machine that dispensed numbers. We selected our reason for visiting, then pressed a button and took numbers. Finally, Jer and I sat in the white chairs and waited a half hour for our number to be called. They don't take appointments.

After studying the driver's guide for several weeks we discovered that it wasn't necessary. We didn't have to take a written test, just pay the fee and get a photo taken. I was a little disappointed after worrying about it so much. I guess they just changed the rules last July.

Next, at the registration office, we paid a lot of money and walked away with our license plates. I had no idea it cost that much to pay the monorail tax. Over $200 in Jer's case. Seems excessive.

I'm waiting for FedEx to deliver my Packet8 phone adapter. Although I don't know how they can actually deliver it, since the doors to the building require a key and the buzzer is labelled incorrectly. The management people haven't added our name to the roster, so we don't exist yet. I am a hallucination. Nothing to see here. I hope they at least leave a note and I can pick it up in person. That'd be okay too.

Tomorrow we drop off the cats at the boarding place. W00T.

Monday, September 19, 2005

All that Matters

Hello world. I was productive today. I made garlic meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I wrote a ten-minute play and it makes me laugh. I went grocery shopping and studied more of the driver's guide. Maybe tomorrow I will take my knowlege test for a new license. Then I took night photos from the balcony, because I could. The end. And sweet dreams to you. Oh and I am going to submit my play to the annual contest that has a November 1 deadline. Now the end for real. I am tired and reek of garlic so I should just go to bed. G'night. Sweet dreams again. Don't let anything bite you on the ass. Can I please have a glass of water? I can't wait for tomorrow to reread my play and see if it's as good as I think it is. But then right away I always get excited and think my work is brilliant until I sleep on it, and then I see it's always broken. Maybe tomorrow will be different. Okay. The end again.

Night photo from my balcony.

Night photo from my balcony of the stadium and shipping area.

The Particulars

I sold the last of the job stock options. My last official day is September 23, so after that I'll get my final paycheck. Worst case and no unanticipated expenses (knock on wood), we can be safely out of work until the new year. Of course that's not ideal because it wipes out the savings, but it's nice to have a little net.

I guess it's all right if I go ahead and enjoy my vacation after all.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Life of the Party

I went for a walk along the water and then I called home. There's not much else. We've been eating microwaveable foods and slowly unpacking. Productivity greatly decreased once the television was hooked up.

Tonight Jer set up the coffee maker and I rummaged through cookbooks, looking for easy, tasty recipes. I've been craving meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Okay I've been craving lots of things because we've been living off Lean Cuisine compartment meals and Costco's finest teriyaki bowls. But now I'm about ready to go grocery shopping with an actual list.

I should be writing but I'm not. Instead I'm fluffing up the nest.

I've also got to keep reminding myself that next week, we'll be in Hawaii. It's not real yet. I put in a stop order for mail, but I need to do all the other boring organizational stuff: laundry, pack, check in with the cat boarding place... Man, I'm looking forward to this trip but I also want it to be over. Once it's over I can look for a job and not feel guilty about being unemployed. Sure, when I'm there I'll get over myself, but for now I've got the mean reds swirling above my head and making me all kinds of crabby. Yeah, I know. Poor me. It'll be different when I'm there.

I finished "Geek Love" yesterday and that made me sad. It always brings me down to finish a great book and sever ties with the characters that've latched on to the inside of my skull.

I wish I wrote like that.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Yo quiero Taco Bell.

Damn. I just had the worst Mexican food I've ever had in my life. On our way home Jer said, "I want to vomit so I can say I never ate there."

They have these things called Mexi-Fries, which are actually just your standard issue tater tots. The tater tots were the best part. I got the Mexi-Meal, which had a crappy taco, a flauta (called a crisp burrito), a pile of shredded lettuce with ranch on top, and a scoop of refried beans. Also, I think I found chicken in the beans. It was all bland and nasty, and I didn't even eat it all, despite knowing it cost $15. And the place was popular too! The drive through line was long and there were several other people inside. Jer said, "Is it possible all these people never ate here before?"

I suggested reporting them to the BBB for false advertising. I mean, come on. The taco consisted of a layer of boiled chicken, a layer of shredded yellow cheese, shredded lettuce, and a fat tomato slice. No beans, rice, sour cream, olives, fanfare. Ugh. And the salsa? It tasted faintly of iced tea and came shooting out of a ketchup dispenser.

In other news, we returned the U-Haul, the plastic carpet protectors are safely stored away, and all of our belongings are in the apartment. Now we just have to unpack, which is easier said than done. But I think we can finally relax. The worst part of the move is over.

I'm going to have to learn how to cook so I can eat proper Mexican food. Double damn. I tell you what though, this place today made Taco Bell's menu look authentic.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A Herculean Labor

There is pain. There is hair sticking out wild and smelly clothing. There were many hours of dollies and lifting and stacking. One more load and we'll have all our crap in the new apartment. The load is sitting on the street. In a U-Haul. Secured by a six dollar lock. And my pinky finger hurts when it touches the keys.

I could tell you how we got reprimanded for using the carpet rolls instead of the plastic protectors, which didn't exist where they were supposed to exist and we figured they meant carpet rolls anyway because they were in the same place. Plus our landlady pointed to the carpet rolls and said, "Use those." And it's really very simple and we should have known to go through three locked doors into the neighboring building to find the plastic protectors in a cardboard box. I don't know why it didn't occur to us sooner.

In the end we met many nice neighbors and some that were only sorta nice. We were told by the mailman that we were awfully young to be living here, "You'll see what I mean..." And last night, a neighbor brought us chocolate chip cookies. She is very nice.

But it's true. We are much younger than everybody else. Much much younger. And so far my strategy is to be super polite and hope they don't try to evict us for living in sin. Cuz we cohabitate, yo. And some of them have been eyeing our ring fingers with a special kind of fascination. One neighbor said, "And you're, uh, you two are, uh..." and the other neighbor turned to her and said loudly, "They're a couple."

I need to lie down now. I totally deserve it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

This shot was taken an hour ago from our new balcony. When I look out my living room window, this is what I see. It distracts me from the fact that we've got no furniture.

From the old apartment, Vash and Chiana sleep in camp chairs while I pack and clean.

Internet Alert

We have internet access officially now, but our landlady misinformed us about the cable. I wish we could get straight answers and not have to keep guessing, but then this experience wouldn't be nearly as much fun. It's incredibly frustrating to not know how to proceed except to fumble forwards and hope you're doing things right. Again, fun.

Today we found the Costco and Target. I bought a shower liner and then went and got my rear tail light replaced. Now I can legally turn left.

I'm supposed to be studying the drivers' guide, but instead I'm reading "Geek Love" by Katherine Dunn. It's fantastic -- a shockingly good read.

A side note: we've met a lot of nice people who inevitably ask us about our jobs. I have a hard time answering the question. I feel myself becoming defensive and have to stop before I say something stupid like, "It's none of your damn business." Or, "Got contacts?" Instead I make a joke about going to Hawaii first and sorting it out later.

I reserved the U-Haul truck for Thursday. It looks like we can pick up our stuff from the moving company then. And last night I wrote a short story which I think is called "Black Lake." The end.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Hold Music

Met with the landlady today and received our list of rules. They're mostly reasonable and common sense type stuff. No swimming naked or intoxicated. Move your stuff in through the side doors. Don't smell up the hallways with your nasty cooking...

The lights are just coming on in the city. I wish you could see it.

After many hours I think we've placed an order for internet service. It required a lot of patience on Jer's part and a lot of unhelpful customer service people on their part, but I think we're on the right track. When we tried calling, the automated recording kept hanging up on us. So we tried getting to their website through the neighbors' unsecured wireless and that sort of worked, but then should you really have to sign up for internet via the internet? That seems inefficient. Anyway, I'm boring myself.

My other accomplishment is getting a local cell phone number. It required forty minutes of hold time with a major carrier service provider, but I did it, so IN YOUR FACE!

My arms are tired because I have to type high in the air to keep connected to the internet. Trust me it sucks donkey wang. Speaking of donkey wang, I'm famished.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Seal of Approval

We set up the air mattress in the living room so we can see the skyline at night. I didn't fill it all the way because the electric blower was so noisy and I've probably broken enough rules tonight already. It seems like there's a rule for everything, which would be fine, if only someonewould give us a comprehensive list.

The drive today stretched from 7:30am to 5:30pm, with a few stops to answer nature's call. I faced my fear in Oregon and stopped for gas. I'm just not comfortable with someone else pumping gas for me, when my two hands are perfectly fine. Especially when the person overfills my tank by quite a lot and I know that's not a good thing. I'm sure there are reasons that you can't pump your own gas in Oregon, but I don't know what they are and it seems silly when I just did it myself the previous 5,462 times (give or take).

So, we're here. We've got the bare minimum and the cats' eyes are all puffy from the sedatives which should come with the warning: Does not make your cat sleepy so don't even try. Poor Jer listened to them cry all day. I listened to Bill Bryson audio books and ate caviar. Or chocolate frosted donettes.

I'm a little slap happy from the not sleeping. And the ten hours of driving. And all the crap road food I ate. But I'm happy to be here and possess keys and the most fantastic view ever. When we're not borrowing the neighbor's unsecured wireless, I'll post a few photos to prove that I'm not lying. But now it is time for all good men to sleep.

PS I can hear a seal barking. Make that two seals.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


We made it to Redding. The La Quinta Inn has free wireless access, so here I am. It took us nine hours to get here and now we're watching something vaguely anime related on Cartoon Network. We tried to leave and buy dinner, but Vash mewed too loudly so Jer had to stay. Luckily, Subway is across the street and -- although a delicate flower -- it seems I'm able to carry two large sodas and subs all by myself.

I listened to almost all of Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods." It made the drive seem faster and made me miss hiking. Tomorrow I'm in unknown territory. I've never driven farther north than Redding, and I expect some fantastic scenery based on our previous train trip. Unfortunately my left blinker quit working, so now I look like the asshole who changes lanes without warning. I hope it's not indicative of a bigger problem. Cross your wood or knock your fingers or whatever.

So yeah. We're enjoying not sleeping on the floor and watching television and checking email, like real civilized employed members of society. The cats did not like the drive at all, and the sedative wasn't effective. Tomorrow we double the dose.

We've been up since five. It took three hours to get ready and pack the car. I can't believe it all fit. -- Okay, the cartoon just used the words "sexy jitsu." I'm guessing on the spelling. And then the boy character who said it turned into an ugly, chunky woman. Uhh... -- I'm pretty excited, but I can't wait to sit in my new living room with my old stuff, put my feet up and have a beer. A beer sounds nice.

In other news, Vash is attacking the mirror after falling off the television. This could be a long night.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Nightmare on my Street

I'm sitting on the floor of the office with a keyboard in my lap. The rooms all have a strange echo-y quality now that the furniture is gone and most of the cat hair is in a vacuum bag.

I ran little errands yesterday -- donated five pairs of eyeglasses, recycled batteries and plastic bags, closed a Santa Saver account, called the new landlady to check in, returned the cable box, traded in a stack of CDs and DVDs, and dropped off the giveaways to Jer's work, where his co-workers swarmed the pile and picked it clean to its bones.

I'm doing a walk-through with the landlord before the day is out, so it's my last chance to make the place presentable. It's mostly done. There's only the shower and refrigerator left. Both things I hate to clean. You'd think the toilet would fall into the same category, but no. It's the mean acts of contortionism my body must perform when cleaning the shower and refrigerator that make me loathe them so. I can say with the confidence of experience that I will clean the messiest, grimiest grit as long as I don't have to go all yoga in the process. For proof, I refer you to my years as a janitor.

Tomorrow is the big day. I plan to be on the road by 7am. We'll end the night at a hotel in Redding, CA, after a day of Bill Bryson audio books. We don't have internet for the new place yet, so I'm not sure how long I'll be off-line. Until then I'll make updates locally and upload whenever I've got a chance. Stay tuned for more fabulous photos of the Seattle skyline!

Vash is clawing at the outlets. I guess that's Cat for "Feed me or die."

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Loose Ends

Sportmart sells a $35 Coleman air mattress. For those of us who like raw numbers, it is precisely 1 billion times better than sleeping on the floor.

Without TV or comfortable chairs, I fall asleep at 8pm because there's nothing else to do. Although I am a big fan of reading, I've never mastered the art of reading on my back. My arms get tired and it makes me irritated.

Jer borrowed a steam cleaner/vacuum, and it is my happy task to figure it out. That's what I get for taking vacation...

My parents took us to dinner at Harry's Bar and Restaurant. I had the Cajun Meatloaf and their version of a Bloody Mary, followed by a Hot Fudge Sundae and coffee. I'm still full. We're supposed to meet for breakfast in a couple hours, but I'm afraid there won't be enough room for the good stuff. But then I'm also afraid of encountering a Komodo Dragon or other prehistoric death lizard in a dark alley, island, or miscellaneous untamed wilderness. So take that with a grain of salt.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I blew my nose and dust came out.

The trailer is almost packed, which is good, since they're picking it up today. Apparently it's a shitload of work to stack items nine feet in the air. Now that I've slept on the structural integrity problems, I have high hopes for magically filling in the gaps.

And then we slept on the floor. I was out when my head hit the sleeping bag.

So it's happening, and we both hurt, and we've got more to do. But there you go.


It's noon, about four hours after I started this entry. The trailer is packed and waiting to be picked up. I've got a final doctor's appointment at 2pm that I have to stay awake for, and my parents are coming to town to get their computer. Also, the permit worked perfectly. I didn't have any trouble with parking enforcement on street sweeping day. So now I'm sore and tired and thinking of places where I can buy a decent, cheap air mattress because goddamn. I mean, goddamn. Sleeping on the floor is uncomfortable. Like, no fun whatsoever.

My muscles are mad at me..

P.S. The washer and dryer are gone. This time it was a white pickup truck that hauled our appliances away. And that's the last of the big items.

Monday, September 05, 2005

The Last Stand

There are still so many things to pack, and the cats aren't any help at all. I thought they'd at least be good for a box or two, but no. It's all, "Feed me this," and "Pet me that," and "Aren't I so cute snuggled next to the bird cage?"

Which reminds me... Anybody want a bird?

The washer and dryer are being picked up tomorrow. A parking space is blocked off for the van, still. And the toaster oven defies all of our boxes and must be carried delicately in the trunk of my car. It is a pretty pretty princess.

Today we bought a ladder and bolt cutters. After having my bike unusable for the last two years, it was very satisfactory to snap the chain. Now there is no guilt when we hand it over to the neighbor. It could have easily gone another way:

Neighbor: About the bike...
Me: Yes?
N: It's very nice, only --
Me: Only what?
N: Do you notice anything, odd about the front tire?
Me: Hmm. It looks all right to me. Maybe it's low. Shall I pump it up for you?
N: There's plenty of air. It's just that, well. Do you see how the spokes are shackled to the frame there?
Me: Ah, yes. The theft deterrent device.
N: Can I have the combination?
Me: I'm afraid that's quite impossible.
N: Um, can you undo it for me then?
Me: Didn't I tell you the bike was "as is?"
N: Well, yes.
Me: And didn't I give it to you free?
N: I suppose so.
Me: Then it's settled.
N: But I can't ride it.
Me: Yes, but you touched it last. It's yours.
And then ME runs away, giggling maniacally.

The End.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Mobile Menace

I stayed longer at the party than I thought I would. The spinach dip wasn't a big success, but it did get nibbled.

Jer offered our bikes to the neighbors and they accepted. What he didn't mention is that I've forgotten my lock combination and someone has to either smash or cut the chain to free it from its bonds. I once saw a video of a bike thief using a hacksaw, but I don't have that kind of patience or skill. I don't even know if we have a hacksaw. This is why for two years my bike lived on the side yard and I lived the pretense that bikes make better spiders' nests than a means for transportation.

I also gave away my roller blades, because hey, I'm not fooling anybody. I never figured out how to stop. Sure, I can go really fast and sometimes I can even go in the direction I intended, but my usual means of stopping is to sit down and tear a hole in the butt of my pants. Although a successful and creative solution, it requires an infinite supply of fresh pants (and buns of steel). I've got neither.

Roller blading reminds me of my attempts to ski. It turns out that I am not very good at either sport, because to be good you have to have control. Mostly I just scream and flail my arms and have little heart attacks each time I slam into bigger, less flexible objects. This is not the way to earn respect from your peers, or even nine-year olds who skid next to your fallen, mangled body, lean close and say, "It's not safe for you to lie here." As if it were my choice and not gravity that forced my legs behind my head.

In the interests and safety of mobile athletes everywhere, I relinquish the bike, the roller blades, and add ski goggles and bib pants to the donation pile. You may now breathe a collective sigh of relief. There is one less mobile menace in your way.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

2 1/2 Days Until the Moving Van

I'm supposed to go to a party tonight, but I don't plan to do more than make an appearance and provide spinach dip. As I am surrounded by boxes, dust, and cat hair, it's not the best time to make myself pretty and forget all my troubles. Maybe I'll go like I am now, in black sweats, a ten-year old t-shirt, and sleep lines on my face. Glamour thy name is me.

We posted the No Parking signs out front and cleared it with the neighbors. The moving trailer should have enough space when it arrives Tuesday. Or rather, it better have enough space because it's too damned late to do anything about it now.

My stomach is in constant flip flop mode.

I got all my prescriptions filled for the road. Still have to make it to U-Haul for some last minute specialty items. And we found a cheap, but durable corkscrew at Costco for $13. On Tuesday night, once the trailer is loaded and our limbs are wet with sweat and limp as noodles, we'll drink what's left of the wine. 'Course the glasses will be packed, so if anyone looks through our living room windows they'll see two feral, dirty creatures, propped against a wall, and drinking straight from the bottle.

I'm being guilted into packing again. There's nowhere to hide in this stupid apartment.

P.S. The green bookshelf is gone. All that's left is the washer and dryer.