Tuesday, March 31, 2009

no rest for the wicked

11 1/2 hour day.

Jer replaced the fuse in the TV again and now it works. The downside to this is that if a temptation is present and immediate I have a very hard time not indulging. So I find myself on the couch, flipping mindlessly through bad television, that really hasn't changed at all since I quit watching last September.

I just pulled myself away for a glass of milk and a load of laundry. These are the best of times.

The sun was out at lunch today when I went to buy my sandwich from Jimmy Johns. That was a nice surprise.

Someday I will be able to focus on what it means to be in the present again. For now though it feels like there's a cottony wall between me and reality. I can't run in place fast enough.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

housing update

I contacted a mortgage loan originator about a week ago and we've had some back and forth since then. I've provided our initial financial info and she's been amazingly helpful and responsive.

The extent of the rest of our search has been Jer idly looking at Redfin. We still don't have a preferred region or details -- it has all been very informal so far. We are most likely aiming to move in the next 3-6 months, assuming my 12 hour workdays subside soon.

I am actively avoiding looking because I'm afraid I'll find something I can't live without, and I can't spare the mental energy until work calms down.

So there ya go. Even though I spend most of my time bellyaching about other things, the housing stuff is still on the radar. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Happy 5 year anniversary!

This blog turned five today and I almost didn't notice.

Here's the first entry. I remember writing it thinking, this should really be a better first entry. (I'd already gone through 2 other blogs at that point. Started in 1996 on geocities technically, but that feels a little sad to admit.)

Five years ago I was working as a Ticket Office Assistant Manager at a California university. I sat at a desk in a bungalow that vacillated between extreme high and low temperatures. I answered phones and counted the sales everyday. Jeremy and I had been together for 4 years. I was writing plays then and not thinking about photography at all, as I was just starting to dig myself out of photography school debt. Three months later I would get my first job as a Technical Writer for a software company. A couple of months after that we got Chiana.

And now I'm here... Happy Saturday.

For self

Dear Me,

Yesterday was a 12 hour workday. 8am to 8pm. Then I woke up this morning and logged in again. I can't think logically about it yet. My head is full of stuffing.

Stuffing sounds very tasty.

I can't turn my head from side to side without pain. I guess it's stress or sleeping weird. I don't know.

This is not to say that I am looking for sympathy, because I'm not. I just think it will be historically relevant to myself a year from now, especially if I am doing the same job. This deadline happens annually, and I would hate to sugarcoat this experience in hindsight. To me in the future: Don't even think about taking vacation during this time. Maybe don't schedule any festivals. No matter how much you prepare, they will change something at the last minute. It's not a reflection on your inability to be flexible, it's them being difficult.

You can only do so much, me. Just do your best and the rest will sort itself out.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

sums it up

I was at work from 8am to 11pm yesterday and I got 3 hours of sleep. As I left the dentist's office for this morning's cleaning, a homeless woman asked me for money. Mid-way through her request, she stopped and looked at me.

"You look tired. Looks like we both could use a little help."

I left work at 2pm and came home and slept.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

brains over EZ

I might have a problem. I just spent a lot of hours in front of my computer watching The Guild. Too much computer today.

I woke up this morning at 6am and my husband wasn't home. That was weird. He worked through to the next shift due to a bunch of people calling in sick. I work a long day tomorrow, supposedly until 11pm. Normally being a grown-up is awesome, but lately not so much. Also, right now, the square words are not fitting in the round holes.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

New post at photo blog

There's a new photo up at the photoblog from our San Francisco trip.


Most days lately I can tune out the whispers, the bubbling up of tempting snippets that make me turn my head and say, what, say that again, i didn't quite catch... the words that make their home in cracks between Goals and Future and Planning, the serendipitous and perverse.

But there are days when I inadvertently let my guard down, when I wonder, what if, for just a blink. Since I've had LASIK, there are occasional moments when everything I see is crisper, more colorful, more real, than I ever remember it being. I stop what I'm doing and I just look around, because I know the switch will turn off in a second. The whispers are like that. They are the anti-rut and they demand what they demand.

Why aren't you writing? they say. Why aren't you traveling? Why aren't you taking pictures? This is what you call life? Do you have anything to show for it? These whispers battle with other whispers, about money and responsibility and time. To the point where I throw up my hands and say, Why do you always have to be so damn serious... it's just a big joke anyway. Figure out the punchline and move on.

In other news, I finally completed our taxes. Let's give it up for TurboTax.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

where'd they go?

I went to a big university. I spent a lot of time in fields that were predominantly women. My high school, well one of them, had a couple thousand people in it. So for all those years I saw females who were my age everyday.

When I took my first few jobs, I was always the youngest, but the gender balance was pretty even. Up until recently, and with only two exceptions, I've continued to be the youngest. Let's see, working for 15 years, and in each job I find myself the youngest person there. Usually by at least five years or more. That seems weird.

And lately, yeah, now I work with one person younger than me, but I've been noticing that all of the women my age have disappeared. Not just at my job. But on the streets at lunchtime -- sometimes I catch glimpses at Starbucks or on the bus -- but it's just me and a bunch of guys, trying not to make eye contact.

I'm not actually complaining, but I find myself very curious. What happened to them all? Even if we all spread out across the country, wouldn't other women spread out too to even the gaps? Are they working in drastically different sectors? Did they all marry rich? Win the lottery? Are they housewives? Stay at home moms?

Lately I just can't help thinking: Shouldn't there be more of us?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

the short straw

I left work early to avoid the traffic snarls downtown. It's 5pm and I am seriously contemplating going to sleep, though I am also tempted to thumb through my newest Amazon purchase: Pharmacy and the U.S. Health Care System.

It's how I cut loose, yo.

So in case you know me in real life and I have been absent, it's because there is this whole big deadline thing that's my job to manage. I am almost to the part where I can breathe again and stop turning down happy hour invites. I promise. Please don't give up on me.

It's day 2 of the days I should be in New Orleans. I should probaby let that go...

I finished watching "True Blood" last night. I am tempted to buy the books now, but first I have to make it through this exciting third edition of pharmacy magic. Or maybe take a detour to dreamland.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

grade A sucker

I am no expert, but I suspect sleep might be a good idea.

In unrelated news, here is my list of things that are awesome: True Blood. Here is my list of things that are not awesome: working 11 hours in a row. Also, not being in New Orleans. I could be eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a gilded hotel lobby right now, but instead I am depriving myself of dreamtime.

If you think any of this is metaphor, you would be wrong.

Monday, March 16, 2009

and the infinite sadness...

That's weird. I was just sitting here, as I do, when I was suddenly struck by intense feelings of loneliness. Isolation. Despair. I literally feel as if I'm being pulled down to the carpet by hooks of melancholy.

This must be my body's way of saying it needs more coffee.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

How was your weekend?

Friday night Jer picked me up from work and we had Greek food at Kokoras Grill in West Seattle. Saturday involved a haircut and lots of movie watching, "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," "Charlie Bartlett," "Children of Men," and the first three episodes of "True Blood." Tonight I went to work for 4 hours, made a brief trip to to the grocery store, did a load of laundry, and now I'm about to go to sleep.

While I was at work I watched a live stream of the shuttle launch. It was actually pretty exciting... the first launch I've watched all the way through since third grade when the Challenger blew up. For whatever reason, that put me off it for awhile, but watching this, well it was awesome. The future is an amazing place.

It's nice to be at work when there is no one else around. I still have a lot on my to do list, but it goes much faster when there's no interruptions.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

i am ready for it to be time for wine

We are waiting for the landlady to drop by and chat with us about our future. I am feeling resentful because it means I had to clean, and apparently I am too good for that. Well, to be fair, there is other stuff going on and I should really be working or at the very least popping Advil and taking a nap. But alas, my hands are raw from Soft Scrub and the sounds of a vacuum are ringing in my ears.

I don't know how people keep their homes clean while working full-time. I get home between 6 and 7 and fall asleep around 9 or so. Cleaning is the last thing I want to do. I don't even bother watching TV anymore. I read or play with the cats, make myself some dinner, go to sleep. I guess along those same lines, I don't have any idea how you'd have a family with this schedule. I think it would kill me.

Two good things happened this week. On Friday, for the first time since October 1, 2008, I was paid something more appropriate for my job description. Almost 6 months after taking the position. Second, I received a check for the class action lawsuit against my photography school. I was entitled to receive up to $1000; the amount I actually received was closer to $180. But hey, closure.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

thursday already?

I wore a dress again today. When will the madness end?

In advising me on how to act in an important meeting someone suggested I "dial down the Christy." Is it sad I had a pretty good idea what they meant? Is it sad that you probably do too?

For the record, it went fine. Nylons help me pretend I'm a proper grownup.

I realized about 3pm that all I'd eaten was a donut and a reduced fat breakfast sandwich from Starbucks. Apparently my body is still living off all the junk I ate last week. Mmm. Junk.

Work has actually been improving lately -- well, I'm still crazy busy and subject to all sorts of stress and not getting to spend as much quality time at home, but things are better than they've been. I'll take it.

Monday, March 09, 2009

"Angry Little Girls"

Jer and I were wandering through Japan Center in San Francisco when we came across a comic called "Angry Little Girls!," which I loved instantly. One store sold little coin purses that said, "D is for Disenchanted," and I just checked the online store and found a wallet that says, "I can't live without you." "Then why aren't you dead yet?"


Earlier when I was trying to return focus on what passes for important these days, I wrote:

One of the scariest things to do on vacation is to get yourself lost. Wander somewhere new and find your way back again. In a parking structure after seeing "Watchmen," we opened a series of unlabeled doors in an attempt to find our car. To open those doors and not know what's on the other side, that is something. And who needs all those doors that don't go anywhere? Why was the one we really needed locked, making it necessary to be led through a nearly defunct Circuit City by an employee who could see the end; it was in sight. Boxes of fake guitar accessories from Guitar Hero stacked against a wall, neoprene Nano arm bands, slashed down 80%. Fixtures for sale.

I might love San Francisco if the parking weren't so terrible, but I could never forgive a city that pretended cars were optional. Yes, buses are fine, but SF, your public transit is limited. BART only goes so far and runs so often. You make me miss Tokyo and its cool efficiency of concrete and steel.


I fell asleep at 8pm and woke again at 11pm. I don't know where sleep went but if you see him, tell him I'm looking for him. We have unfinished business.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Back in Seattle

We just got in about a half hour ago. Thank you, Courtney, for watching the cats. Thank you, George, for the food suggestions -- we went to Mijita and Ella's. Delicious. And congratulations to Karen, the new bride.

I am willing my laundry to tumble faster so I can pass out. I predict tomorrow is going to be long, but the trip was fun. Jer and I hung out with our college pal and his girlfriend and ate/drank obscene amounts. The weather was perfect. Blue skies and sun, it did not disappoint. Our hotel was in a great spot and the parking gods smiled upon us.

There will be pictures. But not now. Now is the time on Sprockets when we sleep.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

not sure where i was going with this

I should really be packing, but Thursday seems very far away and I don't want to acknowledge Wednesday will be 92% blur. My nice work clothes are laid out, along with my stockings and a pair of shiny black wedges. I contemplated the dark red heels, but they are not broken in and I may wear them Friday. And frankly I will be more impressive if I don't fall over... Decisions, decisions.

Fortunately I remembered to reserve a space on the airport shuttle, so that's helpful. I haven't done any planning for this trip yet and my brain is not speaking to me right now. It's such a diva. Something about being sick of hearing the words "prior authorization."

Thank goodness for George's suggestions in the last entry. (Thanks, George.) He did my food research for me. Now if I can just find a way to eat for 2 days straight my itinerary will write itself.

My cats are very clingy. It's like they know we're leaving.

Hmm. Speaking of cats, note to self in a public forum, I should check in with Courtney.

And I'm out.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

San Francisco recommendations?

I will have a couple of days free to explore San Francisco, so I am asking all of you smart and opinionated people if you have any suggestions on food, sights, bars, events, entertainment?

I have already been to Alcatraz and I know the Fisherman's Wharf area pretty well. I went on a bus tour around the city with a college friend, Colin, many years ago and am familiar with the city layout and the Golden Gate Bridge. We'll be sticking to the city so no day trips to Yosemite or Monterey or Livermore or Napa. Also, we'll be staying in Japantown and we'll have a car.

The only thing I would really like to do for sure is see the Camera Obscura again, and possibly Muir Woods. I will also be looking for photo opportunities, but that's not a surprise.

Hit me with it!

Risk averse or risk tolerant? Ask me again in a year

Since December 2007 I've been keeping track of my net worth at networthiq.com. As you might expect, at first this was very motivating, but as the following graph shows -- numbers removed -- my experiences in these markets have been pretty typical (up up up DOWN slowwww up SLIDINNNNG DOWN...)

After saving and investing a good chunk of our paychecks every month, we are now in exactly the same place we were one year ago. My retirement savings is also approximately half of what it was, but at least I have time to weather that. It's sort of mind boggling, and I've done my best to ignore it because otherwise it's a crazy making activity.

I've stuck with dollar cost averaging into the markets and saving in an FDIC insured account, so it could be worse. I acknowledge Jer and I have been incredibly fortunate... and yet, I think it's safe to say that doing everything right and having nothing to show for it (or less to show for it) sucks.

I will just have to concentrate on being grateful for what we have and not to dwell on the rest. But that's, as always, easier said than done.