Life is Busting out ALL Over!

Archive for the ‘It’s all about ME! (also: why I have a blog, duh!)’ Category

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.


Last night, in attempt to get the recommended amount of sleep, I got into bed at 9:30pm. Honestly, this wasn’t an exercise to go to bed earlier as it was to force myself to make some headway on my Book Club’s book I have to finish by next week.

However, I did fall asleep much earlier than normal. Considering yesterday’s  sabotage waking up, I was actually excited drifting off to sleep. I knew I would have no problem getting up.

Until I woke back up about 4am (note: I had not quite 6 hours of sleep by this point, which is my usual – horrible, I know- so I’m now wondering if maybe my body just wants 5.75 hours of sleep?!). It was a wide awake type of deal. I was pissed. Here I am, trying to be responsible, FORCING myself to go to bed early so I can get more sleep, and I lie awake as can be at 4am. My cat was thrilled, by the way, I think she spends half the night watching me just waiting for me to wake up.

No, I’m getting 8 hours of sleep, if it kills me. That was my attitude. So I lie back down and close my eyes and try to think of nothingness so I can fall back asleep.

Which would have worked PERFECTLY except my brain? My brain’s idea of “okay, let’s relax and calm down and think of nothing until you drift off…. zzzzz” is actually to start a constant refrain of Eddie Murphy’s hit and only and HORRIBLE single Party All the Time on a loop in my head. For an HOUR.

It was horrifying.

And I only have myself to blame. Because I love sentence fragments and Vh1 commentary shows like the one I watched for a bit this weekend, Black to the Future. In which they spent a great deal of time making fun of Eddie Murphy’s Party All the Time. And I laughed a lot.

Guess Dr. Dolittle’s got the last laugh now.

Not only did he steal an extra hour, which I normally don’t realize is important and therefore have never really cared missed (as opposed to hours wasted in long horrible movies, months in a stupid dumb ass relationship, or years worshipping a superficial ideal –  I get how those are wasted, but one hour, puhlease, I waste time in one hour increments constantly!!) but I think he stole my cheery deposition, my regal looks and definitely my affinity for being awake during the day (not even peppermints – nature’s own caffeine!! – are working).

He may have also stole the electricity to my alarm clock therefore not waking me at my agreed upon time but rather when Daylight Savings Time fricking felt like it!!!! Which is also the same time I have to LEAVE for work.

I mean, really. What do you want from me, DST??

To be super famous and anthromorphized like these guys:


Sorry, DST. I quit the ad biz awhile back. If you’d come around more than once a year and not skip the time I lived in Indiana, you’d know that.

I mean, it’s got to be your vendetta against me, there’s no way I could have possibly have forgotten to turn on my alarm last night, even after I shuddered thinking, Man, that would so SUCK if I woke up at 7:30, and double checked it??! I mean, I think I double checked my alarm? Nope. Everyone else says it’s you, Daylight Savings, so I’m going with it. Because I am nothing, if not  a sucker for lame excuses, a follower, an absolute “with-it” and “together” person, having a sh**ty Monday.

On my drive into work this morning, I was noticing the time, and that I was running really late. It occurred to me that it would probably the latest I have arrived at work yet.

First, this started to worry me. Periodically in my life, I have been a tardy person. Professionally, this tends to happen when I’m unhappy or I’ve already checked out of a job. Many a time I would get to work by9:30 when I should have been there by 9 and I didn’t care because in my eyes, I always worked until 7 or 8pm at night and I felt I gave enough of my day to the job as it is.

My first thought this morning, at 7:54, was “Crap, is it happening again? Am I a unhappy at work AGAIN? After all I’ve been through??” I start work at 8am and was a good 20 minutes from parking, not to mention the 10 minute walk to my office.

Then I stopped myself and looked around. I was in a Starbucks drive thru with about 10 other cars who decided to give themselves a Friday treat (like me) or just were doing their usual routine (I wish). As I felt the guilt sort of creep in for purposely being late so I could have a mocha, I decided that I would not feel guilty.

I decided to enjoy the fact that it was a Friday morning and I deserved to have my coffee treat. That I would not freak out when the parking garage I’m assigned to would be over crowded due to some Texas state girls swimming meet (or something. I have not quite been able to decipher the temporary spirit paint on the mini-vans) and therefore would take me longer than usual to find a spot and walk to work. I decided that I would put the earbuds of my iPod in and enjoy the 10 minute walk to my office and feel the humid air (in March! wtf.) and maybe I’d even put a little bounce in my step when a silly song came on and I’d smile when another one brought back memories of the ridiculous amount of fun I’ve had in my life.

I’ve never taken time to appreciate the small things in life, mostly because I think I’ve been so preoccupied with the big stuff (What is going to be my CAREER!!??! Money! LOVE!! Am I happy?!) that the small stuff seemed to waste my time.

Years ago I was dating a boy for only about a month, we were both travelling consultants so we only had spent  hours together, kind of like The Bachelor only not at all, and while we had called and emailed each other as we each crossed the country, we really didn’t know each other. One day I got a package in the mail, it was a book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. The boy had included a note in the front of the book that said “I saw this the other day and thought of you”.

My reaction was of excitement and sweetness rather than “Holy crap, this kid barely knows me and the only thing he really has picked up on is that I’m a basketcase and a total control freak and maybe this book will help me ‘get it’??”

I never read the book. I tried but I wasn’t even remotely in the place to be able to understand it, which seems strange because it ‘s so simple, but at the time I think my reaction was: This is Lame. And then we broke up. Ironic, isn’t it?

Anyway, I get it now. It was 8:45 by the time I turned on my computer this morning. My mocha was delightful. And in the words of JT, as I twirled around in an empty alley: Go ahead Beat, Go with it.

So I write/edit/publish a newsletter at work. One that will be sent to thousands of college students. I am surprised at how much I enjoy the process, given my non-natural talent for anything writing related, not to mention my issues being concise.

I preview and re-edit the newsletter about 10 times before I hit the “Send” button, which is the point of no return. I am almost manic in my anxiety that there aren’t any mistakes, given my boss and all my colleagues and pretty much everyone reads it. Except the college students, even though it’s written FOR them. (If it’s not a text, or can’t come across very well on their iPhones, they delete it or just don’t read it. Their first job is going to be a harsh reality).

ANYWAY,  one of my editing steps is to send it through Spell Check on Microsoft Word.  If you are familiar with Word, you know that if it checks for misspellings (red squiggles under the word), grammatical errors (green squiggles) and now apparently INAPPROPRIATE WORDS THAT WHILE STILL A WORD, IS NOT, I REPEAT NOT, THE WORD YOU WANT, may we suggest another? (blue squiggles)

Now, I don’t know this to be a fact but I have to think  when I’ve spent a whole paragraph talking about a scholarship for public service and public policy, that when there is a blue squiggle under the word pubic, as in pubic service, then I’m pretty sure that’s what the blue squiggle means. THANK GOD I caught it in time – but I almost just wanted to bronze the damn electronic newsletter, if I could.  What’s on my mind today – heyoooooo!??!

And yes, as I freshman in high school, I made the same mistake with Punic Wars. Outloud. In a Class. Awesome.

P.S. Have you ever had a song that meant a lot to you romantically that you couldn’t listen to for a long time, and now when you listen to it, it just gives you Perma-Smile because it’s so awesome and better than you remembered?? Ani DeFranco’s As Is is doing that for me today. God, it’s a good song. Also see: Holy F, I’ve grown up since then.

– So The Bachelor. I just finished tonight’s emotional shitshow of an episode and I have to say I’m impressed. Usually, on the first episode you can see which women are going to lose it or take a turn on the unrealistic “I want to marry a virtual stranger NOW” train. This season it was relatively calm, I mean no handing the Bach dirty underwear or anything like that. But I think that calm was just waiting to explode and tonight it did. I mean, everyone, EVERYONE cried. I can’t believe it took this long for some of this to come out and I can’t believe the intensity. Holy crow.

We get it – it’s tough to watch the man you love (as much as you can love someone after spending an average of 45 minutes alone time by this point, except for Molly who got some loving in the tent) have connections with other women. But I don’t know, maybe you should have thought of that before you went on THE BACHELOR, a show that’s been around for 8 years. You know the drill, ladies.

I totally think Molly is going to win, only because I like the pick the winner early and I think she’s going to be it. But please, were the making out + sounds really necessary? I also had to fast forward through most of the episode between the women singing original songs, the makeout sounds and the pretending to be on a soap opera, my “embarrassment for other people” meter was at an all time high. I tried to not FF, and ended up just looking at my cat instead.

– I can’t spell February,  of course now I can. But I couldn’t for shit today as evidenced in the first newsletter I wrote/edited and sent out today. Fortunately I caught it before it really got sent out, but not before I sent to my coworkers TWICE. Oops.

– The weather here is fantastic – I’m dreading the summer daily but for right now I’m taking the 60 degrees anyway I can get it. I’ve known for awhile that I’m going to get a friend for my cat/roommate. She’s been displaying signs of loneliness and I play and snuggle with her as much as I can when I’m home but let’s face it I can’t do it all day, I mean I moved here for a job. So I’ve had it in my mind that I’d get a second cat. I know the cat thing now and it’d be a relatively easy transition from one to two. I grew up with dogs and hope that one day I’d be able to adopt one, preferably once I got a yard.

Except I moved to the dog capital of the world. I’m not kidding. Austin makes it seem like only a select few people in Chicago have dogs. They are out everywhere. People running with dogs, in my apartment complex, around Town Lake, in the cafes, walking up and down the busy streets. EVERYWHERE. Which is awesome. The animal shelters are out in full force too. On the weekends, the grocery store where I shop has lots of green space (all the parking lots do, there are laws against cutting down trees here. The Wal-Mart has a flipping park bench on it’s burm between the trees and the cars). So on the weekends – because it’s nice out – the shelters put up tents and pens and bring out dogs to adopt.

This has not gone unnoticed by me. In fact I’d estimate that I probably spend more time with the dogs than I do shopping. And suddenly the little voice that was “I want a dog” gets louder and louder. I am really rational about it. I tell myself that I need to wait to make sure I really know my budget and do well with it months after the move (not weeks) and be consistent before I take that on. I tell myself that 700 sq ft is no place for a dog. I tell myself that I work too  long and it would be unfair to the dog to be cooped up for 10 hours a day. I’ve gotten the names of the shelters so that I can volunteer and learn more about dogs since it’s been awhile since I’ve taken care of one.  I know that I’m probably not responsible enough for a dog but dammit if those big eyes (I’m talking to you, Baxter) do not bore through my cold, cold heart. I’m going to have to do my shopping after work otherwise one of these days I’m going to go to the store for milk and come back with a canine.

– I think I’m going to get a haircut and get bangs. But the thing is that I grew out my bangs 13 years ago and am kind of scared. I do have a large forehead so it wouldn’t look bad, I keep telling myself. As a child I was a victim of a cruel cowlick that would never stay in place, no matter how much mousse I put in (and wrong because no 8 year old should ever be charge of mousse… “It feels so fun in my hands!”). So there is big part of me that wants to get bangs just to see if that sucker would come back or if I’ve finally beaten it once and for all.

Probably not the smartest reason to cut your hair, but I suppose there has been worse.

You think she looks cute, but she's watching and what she really means is "I NEED MY ORDER NOW! CUSTOMERS ARE WAITING! MY GOD WOMAN!!"

You think she looks cute, but she's watching and what she really means is "I NEED MY ORDER NOW! CUSTOMERS ARE WAITING! MY GOD WOMAN!!"

Uh, pardon the mess. eep.

One of the mental switches I’ve made in this new year is how I think about my life. Upon reflection, I view my life as pre-life and post life. This really doesn’t make much sense because I’m actively living what I reference as “post-life” but I like balance so I guess the terminology works.

My pre-life refers to basically my twenties, after college up until grad school. (Grad school I really struggled personally, although I was empowered in so many ways, because it truly felt like my life was on pause while I got my degree and awaited the changes it would bring – for someone that needs to know what’s going to happen next, it was almost torture). Much of my pre-life was very fast paced. I was young but never felt  like I was aging, even as I got on in my twenties. I lived with roommates in Chicago, I worked in account management at an ad-ish agency, which the nature of that job moves you at a fast and furious pace all the time, not to mention that most of your day (12 hours at least) is spent at the job so it’s just move, move, move for the majority of your day. My down time moved similarly only it’s pace was drink, drink, drink. It was great fun and I enjoyed every second of it except when I didn’t and then quickly moved on to the drinking portion of my day.

The only problem with it was that because I was so career driven, and the agency world forces you to make it your life because the hours can be very long, I never really paid attention to myself. Those years felt like college, in the respect that I never felt accountable as I should have at ages 23 – 27, only that I had a paycheck. After I moved to a different company and got out of that rat race, I had more hours outside of work, but I also was in a serious relationship so you can see what I replaced with what.

Needless to say, during my year long + “pause” I had a lot of time to reflect on what had led me to my “do over”, the career change. I battled a ton of regrets, like what if I only had the self-awareness when I was younger… then I would have gone to grad school earlier and I wouldn’t be starting my career out at 30 and would be well on my way already. Then the relationship fell apart and there were even more regrets.

What I realized is that everything else in my life took priority over me. I never took the time to really mature if I’m going to be honest, I never took the time to find out my likes and dislikes, I never took the time to be quiet with my soul, to listen to my own heart’s desires.

So, the “pause” I took, if for nothing else, helped me realize that I needed to put myself first. That I needed to truly learn to live with myself, to accept myself for what I can bring to the table and to forgive myself for what I can’t and also for any missteps along the way.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions because Jan 1 is my birthday and well, it feels depressing to make some sort of deadline on my birthday that I won’t end up keeping and honestly I’m just thinking of other things. However, given that my move to Texas was the week of my birthday and that I spent New Year’s Eve alone (well, with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin but they couldn’t talk back) and was so overwhelmed with all that I had wanted to happen actually did, it made me really reflective. Soon after midnight, when a new year was ushered in as well as another year in my life started, I promised myself that I would put myself first and with not having friends (yet) or family (at least the ones who I feel an obligation to) here, I knew there wasn’t room for any excuses.

In my pre-life I always ate breakfast at the office. This was due to either rising early to hit the gym before work (it was near my office so it was just like going to work but way too early) or I snoozed to the last possible minute that it left no time. I’d bring a packet of oatmeal and heat it up in some communal mug and eat it at my desk as I started my work day. I thought it worked well. No time was wasted and I still got a meal in.

Now, in my post-life (or current one, I suppose), I eat my breakfast before I shower and dress in the morning. I didn’t do this with intention other than on Monday, which was my first day of work, I didn’t think I’d have time to eat breakfast with all the hoopla (and man, was there hoopla!) and getting settled with the new gig. The other issue is that since I’m following a gluten-free diet to make my tummy feel better, I’ve started eating eggs (the kind of oatmeal I used has gluten in it and the non-kind would require me to boil water, which I wasn’t going to do in the break room). While I have these special Ziploc bags I can throw all the eggs and fixins in and heat up in the microwave so it turns into an omelet, that just seemed too much to do on that first day, and at work in general but I thought it would be an option. After my first day, I learned my hours are much earlier than what I worked in my pre-life (and also this Austin isn’t Chicago but the traffic sure is. Jeesh!) but also that since I meet one-on-one with students, I wasn’t going to have much time to check my email, let alone try to eat breakfast before I’d have an appointment.

The rest of the week I followed suit and fixed my omelet before I showered and ate at home. And you know what? It’s kind of amazing, how one little thing can really improve my attitude. I don’t eat for very long, maybe 10 minutes tops, but sitting down and catching the news and just to fricking think for that time makes me happier. I feel purposeful, and as silly as it might sound coming from a 31 year old, I actually feel like an adult. Maybe it’s that protein that nourishes me better than breakfasts of the past, but it’s something. I feel like maybe it’s really just about the small things we do for ourselves that make a difference.

So I’ve altered my New Year’s promise to myself: I’m taking time to do the small things.


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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