Life is Busting out ALL Over!

Archive for May 2009

Internets, this is the first weekend I’ve had in about three weeks ALL TO MYSELF. I cannot tell you how much I was looking forward to this weekend, plus a 3 day weekend to boot. Seems that I probably jinxed myself somewhere along the way.

The weekend started off great, I continued great email banter with the Date on Friday, participated in a gratifying graduation ceremony seeing my students off into the wild blue jobless yonder but still really great, had a two hour power sesh with my best friend over the phone which felt like I was right there in her apartment like we used to do.

Saturday, I woke up to FLEAS. I’m not kidding and I’m not getting into specifics because it’s horrible and disgusting and I seriously have not eaten in the last two days due to the horror of it all. The culprit are my cats. Indoor cats so don’t ask me how they got there but they did. And they are treated and have been retreated. Problem is… I didn’t catch it in enough time for them to just stay on the cats, which means I have spent all day Saturday and today basically scouring, vaccumming, or washing anything that is not nailed down in my apartment. I fogged it yesterday after crazy cat lady (who is also a suspect in the flea caper of 2009 but I forgive her because she scrubbed down both cats for me with flea shampoo) agreed to take them for me so they’d be out and safe while I fogged the hell out of it. Things appear much better today but there’s still work to be done.

This is the most helpless feeling I’ve ever had and I’m trying to keep perspective; it’s not cockroaches (thank god!) or anything but still I feel like after everything I do, I have to start all over again. I have not had more than two minutes of time to rest while I’ve been in this place this weekend. I realize that there are people who have it a lot worse in other areas of their lives than fleas in an apartment and would willingly trade places with me but I can’t think of anything worse, for me, than not feeling comfortable in my own home.

If things still don’t work tomorrow, I’m calling an exterminator. Ugh. I should have done this in the first place but at least I know now. Lesson learned: when trying to solve your own problem particularly of the insect variety, do NOT search for answers on the internet as you will just find stuff out that you never really wanted to know and will become paranoid. I hate ignorance but man, it’s fucking BLISS for a reason.

Okay, so the highlight of my weekend was that Date and I decided to meet up for coffee Sunday. Date and I met on an online dating site. I normally would never have joined but I thought it might be a good way to meet people and maybe see parts of Austin, I would not normally maybe do by myself and two, I do trust this particular site as two of my friends are getting married to people they met on there. Also I wanted to get a sense of the kind of guys here and since I don’t have a huge network of friends yet nor am I hitting the bar scene, I thought this might be the best way. (I have since realize that this idea is like trying to figure out what kinds of sickness people get by looking at sick people – this doesn’t not make any sense, I realize but hey I’m hungry and I’m exhausted because I have fucking FLEAS, remember? Make it work in your head.)

Moving on, I am not necessarily looking for a serious relationship right now but I figured that by keeping my feet wet in the dating pool it might make me more willing to not have issues about it when it eventually happens. (HA! Don’t you love my rationalizations??!) ANYWAY, Date (if this continues I will give Date a name) and I have been having some decent email conversations. Thanks to my last relationship or the lack of things I needed in my last relationship, I really appreciate the things Date has been doing and showed while we were out.

He chose a coffee shop halfway between us, one that was ‘very Austin’ in it’s decor, attitude and clientele. ‘Very Austin’ is hard to describe unless you’ve been here but it served for tremendous people watching. He had earlier asked for some book recommendations, and I brought some of my collection along for him to peruse. I had offered to loan him a book, partly because it seemed natural but partly to see if it would lead to seeing him again as he’d have to return it.

When I pulled up to the coffee shop, I was really nervous mostly because it was so crowded and we hadn’t really gone through the specifics of meeting up once we got there. I was sitting in my car putting stuff in my purse when I caught a guy walking towards the general parking area out of the corner of my eye. Turns out it was Date. He was faking going to his car, which ironically was parked right next to mine. We hugged and he asked if I had any trouble getting here. Later when I checked my phone, I realized he left me a voicemail right at the time I arrived letting me know he was there and if I needed any help finding it. (This was the first time I had been in that neighborhood).

It was a little awkward at first but he gave me recommendations on the house favorites, since he used to go there a lot during grad school and after. He took my order and picked up the coffees, while managing to hold the door open for me as we went outside to sit. Once we were settled, across from each other, the conversation started to flow. He’s really easy to talk to, he wanted to know much more about me (turns out the only other person he knows from IL is from the suburb I grew up in, ironic) and my thoughts on Austin. He asked follow up questions that I want people to ask me (sounds confusing but it’s because about a specific quality of mine that most people don’t pick up on and he did) and is a good listener. Typically getting to know you conversations like that have ended up with the guy interrupting to say his opinion or turning it back to be all about him. He opened up about himself, but not too much too fast, but just enough to keep me thinking of other things I wanted to ask him or discuss once I left.

He has the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen, a real bright light blue that are gorgeous and kind. That’s the only thing I can think of when I see them. Kind. He was most curious about how I felt about Austin, if I was homesick and all the things he loved about Austin and places and happenings that go on here that I didn’t know about. I had had the sense that maybe he was sort of over Austin, since he’s been here for years, prior to meeting up so it was kind of cute to me that he wanted to make sure that I like living here.

We laughed a lot and got another round of the house specialties and we spent about two and half hours sitting there before a threat of a thunderstorm finally forced us to leave. He walked me to my car, opened the door for me after I unlocked it and hugged me goodbye. No kiss but that’s okay. In fact, now I want to kiss him so that was probably a smart move on his part. Miles and miles away from the traditional first dates I’ve had in my life, which usually involved copious amounts of alcohol and resulting bad decisions.

This was different. Different good. Different in that it was a confidence booster for me. Different in that it helps me start to really see my life here. Probably not with him, which is fine, it wasn’t the point. I’ve heard from him already thanking me for the good time he had and when I left he said he’d call so who knows? But this summer is starting to make me smile. Fleas and all.

Hello. I am about to  bust out onto a glorious 85 degree day and holiday weekend and well, I can’t possible concentrate on work.

  • It is graduation time!! I went to one this morning, and gosh darnit, they are really long but I fricking love it. I just walked down a hallway passing about 6 professors in full regalia and for a second, I thought I was at Hogwarts.
  • The date is still happening. Details not firm but there has been continous follow thru from his end, to make sure it’s happening. Also I’m trying not to put much into it, but I have to say this:  It is so nice when someone is considerate, recalls things you’ve said previously, wants your opinion, and has a sincere desire to get to know you. Men in their early to mid thirties rule. I almost feel bad for neglecting them before.
  • I just found out that Simon & Garfunkel wrote and sang Hazy Shade of Winter. I am floored. How did I not know this?? I mean, I guess I knew The Bangles couldn’t have written it but still, Simon & Garfunkel?? I would never have guessed.
  • I am seriously hating my hair. I got a FAB cut almost three weeks ago but I just can’t do anything with it. Then yesterday,  it occured to me that my hair cut resembles ‘The Rachel’ cut on a simpler scale and now I can’t get it out of my head. Everytime I look in the mirror I see the ‘The Rachel’. My new stylist is great and I know if I went back she’d be fine with it and hopefully fix it. I have SO MUCH hair but it’s really fine which limits the styles apparently, so this cut I currently have is the cut I always end up with no matter who I go or what age I am. Eventually it all grows out and I keep it long and then get it cut and go back to square 1. Part of me doesn’t want to be that wimp that goes back to the salon so I think I might go buy some product and perhaps a curling iron to see if I can at least get it into some style I can live with.
  • But back to the date, this will be the first first date I’ve had since 2004. The last first date started a almost 4 year relationship. But still I feel too young to have my last first date be 5 years ago. It’s probably no surprise that I’m flashing back to then as a guidepost. Thinking of things for reference. Uh yeah, that was like 20 lbs ago and I relied on getting stupid drunk to get me through. So those things aren’t going to work. But I know what I’m going to wear! Bonus!(?)

Anyway, it’s time for me to get the hell up on outta here (thought I’d pepper in some Texan for ya).  Have a lovely Memorial Day weekend!!

on a DATE. Friday.

Which, is perfect because I’m getting sick and/or it’s allergies. I’m willing my glands to stay shrunk to prevent any wicked double chin action.

We are going for coffee – at this point I’m plotting how to spike it with some Bailey’s to take my edge off.

In the meantime, I’ll be trying to be too excited to forget the fact that I’m FREAKING OUT.

Good talk.

Flirting is the most fun thing ever. Flirting by banter, even better.

Most exciting, is that I’m realllly good at it so I just get excited, never nervous. Apparently I’m a flirt, according to my friends, because they see flirting when I see it as just a discussion.

Whatever it is, it’s awesome. Austin better mind themselves, because it appears I’m back.

3336432680_22c0a185d92Another Austin Sunset from Pennypacker Bridge – photo credit

The week before last I hit a wall. My breaking point, if you will. After almost exactly 4 months in a new city in a new state (which feels like the other side of the world), in a new job in a new environment and going from corporate to a government employee (in the crudest sense of the word, but it’s so evident in how different things operate not to mention s–l–o–w), my brain went on strike. All the new information, the new faces and names, my brain had reached it’s capacity.

This week, the semester is over, save for finals but as far as I’m concerned, my semester ended for me when I hit the wall. It was as if all the information I had consciously and unconsciously absorbed since 2009 started was swirling around at such a fast pace that there simply wasn’t enough room for anything else. The effect on me, was one I felt deeply, as I desperately wanted something, anything to find a tether and bring it back down to settle, at the very least so I could get used to it.

It was also during these past few weeks that I have longed for Chicago. I think missing is too soft of a word. I would have typed ‘desperately missing’ but I’m trying to keep my use of desperate to once a post – lest I need to create a category for it (but there’s 3 so far, bygones). It’s not a new feeling, I have missed it greatly since I’ve left and tried to push it away.  But as my lifeline to the world, others call Facebook, kept commenting how great the weather has been, I could feel my heartstrings pull north.

The weather is great in Texas as well… for August as I know it to be. It has been no less than 95 degrees with such humidity I have to check with others that Houston in fact has it worse, so I can be grateful for something. I don’t hate the heat but fall has always been my favorite season. It’s really not the heat (and I know I shouldn’t complain) it’s the lack of build up to the heat that has thrown me and made me homesick. I loved this time of year in Chicago, when the weather, for however many glimpses, allowed us to shake off the hibernation and start to venture outside for walks on the lakefront or gather together for grilling out, when the sun shone just long enough to bring out the skirts and if it was too cold by the end of the day leaving work, it didn’t matter because we knew of what was to come. And it’s why I loved living in the city. The heartbeat that maintained a steady pulse throughout the winter months so that the build up of energy could explode in the summer.

I suppose that the winter months in Austin could represent the same thing but having experienced for the first time, my natural biorhythms were not used to it yet. The strangest thing has happened, though, since I’ve hit that wall. I’ve really started to enjoy myself, and enjoy Austin tremendously.

I’ve forged a strong friendship with a co-worker in which has taken me to the most beautiful spot to watch a sunset in Austin, a long night of talking and sharing and relating even though we are in two very different stages of our lives, and I’d never thought I’d say it: a fantastic old school Texan honkytonk. A great bond with her daughter, the cutest 3.5 year old on the planet, who shares my love for belting out The Sound of Music, who runs to me for hugs, was the first one to notice my new hair cut and who won’t leave me alone, when she comes to see her mom after day care, until I promise once again that “Yes, I promise to watch Bolt with you.”

I have made amends with a relationship that was very hard to let go, endured an ongoing saga with the one who let me down only for him  to realize that I was indeed that One, something I had known in my heart all along but could never trust that feeling enough. I somehow found the strength that words were just words and follow through was just more important and all of it was no longer what I, the one who had waited to hear it, wanted. I finally realized that letting him go was the best thing I could do for me, even if it meant hurting him, something I did not want to be responsible for after he had had a lifetime of hurt. But not being honest with him would have cut his scarred wounds even deeper. I knew I loved him enough to let him go and when I finally saw through the smoke that he didn’t love me enough to do the same, I closed the chapter. I am someone who can find a way to make anything work , and on the eve on what would have been our 5th anniversary, I forgave myself for exerting so much energy on something that would not, or was not meant to, work. Months of not knowing which was the right thing to do, showed itself when all I felt was relief once it was all said and done for good.

I have found a new hair stylist, in the cutest little yellow house in South Austin, who is honest and promises on what she delivers and whose cut does not stop receiving compliments. I bought tickets to a music festival I can NOT wait for, even though I might have to tolerate more heat than I want for October and still am trying to figure out how to get there without driving. I think 5 months is enough time to figure it out.

I hosted my mom for Mother’s Day this past weekend on her very first trip to Austin. I dragged the poor woman through hikes and outdoors in blazing heat and she still couldn’t find relief in my car which holds the little air condition that really could not hold up (fingers crossed for the summer!). With all the tours and the restaurants I’ve been dying to try but had not yet, I realized how great this part of the country I live in really is. And how lucky I am to be here. When I hugged her goodbye at the airport, I realized that the only thing I wanted to do was get back in my extraordinarily hot car, now blowing hot air instead of A/C, and get on to work and at the end of the day, back home, yes home, to my apartment. I smiled the whole way.

I ended my first semester with more relief than I thought I’d feel. I received thank you notes from students for whom I only did what I could, just trying to get by on my first outing. I became a mentor for some, and found mentors in others. Even if their phones are fancier than mine and they are on the brink of I life I wouldn’t choose for myself, I have learned far more from them than I had hoped to give to them. I have had little signs along the way that wink at me letting me know I’m headed in the right direction.

I am happy. I think I was afraid to be happy here, where my connections are few and my roots are struggling to break through the thick, thick Texan limestone. But they will. And I’m ready to be present through every experience that those roots’ struggles and eventual successes might bring.

That wall, the one that I hit where I threw up my hands in frustration, broke me. But it also broke my expectations of how I should feel and through it I found a way to climb over the wall and now can see over the other side.


Synopsis

musings and panic attacks of a Chicago girl embarking on a new life in Texas. Only it's not always June and it's not in song.

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