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.