Monday, April 20, 2009

Tree heaven

I know you were mourning the cruel murder of Edgar, my beloved front yard tree.

But his spirit went on to a better place, and as a result...

My rose plant is having a baby!See those little green stalks? They showed up last week!


I'm choosing to find the lighter things in life these days. I'm tired of hearing myself talk about bad stuff, or complain. Therefore, I give you a list of the things for which I am thankful.

  1. My family. Mom, KT, Kelsey. And Dad.
  2. My friends. here, there, and everywhere.
  3. My car.
  4. My free education. A high school diploma, a BFA, and an MFA...all FREE.
  5. My past, with all it's pitfalls and awkwardness. It's what brought me to this moment.
  6. My citizenship. Complain all you want. We have it a lot better than most.
  7. Music.
  8. Art.
  9. Theatre...and my path in it.
  10. My health.
  11. A love story. It may have ended, but I'm thankful I had it.
  1. Coffee.
  2. The internet: gmail, facebook, and pandora. Someday, i'll go back to avoiding facebook, but right now I just can't help myself.
  3. Apples.
  4. Cool whip. Say what you brightens any day.
  5. Frozen Reese cups.
  6. Laundromats, specifically Bubbleland. Five loads, wash and dry for $7, in 90 minutes.
  7. My plants.
  8. Naps.
  9. Netflix.
  10. Barack Obama. I live with a socialist now who ever so gently reminds me that Obama is just part of a system in which we have no power. My new roommate is very nice and positive. And he believes that the only way to create the kind of change we all hope for is through true revolution that returns power to the people. I understand where he's coming from, but right now, I need Barack Obama to be awesome. I need to believe in him. And I do. For better or worse.
  11. The joy of my new socialist roommate. He bought flowers! They smell nice too!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Man on the Train

Last Wednesday I had an interview for another temp agency. I had planned the trip, I was ready to go, and just before I left I wanted to check the address one last time. I was good on time, giving myself over an hour to get there. When I opened the email, I noticed the part about "please fill out this online application prior to your interview." crap. Needless to say, I tried to get it done, but then when it wouldn't load on our less-than-fantastic internet, I gave up and started to leave.

Only, then I was forgetting my resumes...
then my references...
then my phone...
then my cta card...

and so on, running around my house, getting more and more frantic, until finally, I left the house with only EXACTLY enough time to get there. Of course I berated myself all the way to the station for being so unorganized...glaring at the heavens, cursing the universe for my dumb luck. These days, emotions, especially the crappy ones, are not hard to find.

When I got on the train, I sat down next to a cubs fan who was intent on taking up the whole two seats. This would drive me nuts, except that I do it too. I would have stood, but I was mad and decided I deserved a seat. I sat and listened to some inane story about his friend having a gun, and how funny it was, and the cops and blah blah blahtime to put in my headphones. At Wrigleyville, he got off, meaning I had the whole seat. I sat, looking out the window, about to cry, certain my life would always be a mediocre struggle (my brain gets melodramatic pretty quickly)...when another cubs fan sat down. I looked over at the myriad of open seats around me, but of course, this guy had to sit next to me.

I'm wallowing, listening to my sad-bastard music, when I get a tap on the arm.

CUBS MAN: disnmslatishniorpnciioshsyttiiosnisf???
ME: (pulling the earphone out) what? (looking thoroughly annoyed, i'm sure)
CUBS MAN: didjuknuow theytuk mia pick chu? (gesturing across the aisle to his friends)
ME: what?
CUBS MAN: thye stuskc ah pikchurr.
ME: you want me to take your picture?
AISLE FRIENDS: No, we just took a picture and you were in it.
ME: ah. ok.
CUBS: Yeah...You got pretty eyes.
ME: oh, thanks.
CUBS: Whatchu doin'? You goin' to work?
ME: no, an interview.
CUBS: Oh, for what?
ME: a temp agency.
CUBS: oh, you lookin' for work?
ME: yeah, i'm unemployed.
CUBS: yeah, it's hard out there. I know how it is. it's hard out there. You should go down to the federal building. They're hiring part-time people to work with kids.
ME: oh, ok. thanks!
CUBS: yeah, I know. It's hard out there. but don't get down on yourself. You can't get down on yourself. You gotta just keep at it. It's hard, but don't get down. You got a pretty smile. what's your name? I bet you're smart and you work real hard. just don't get down on yourself. It's hard and if they say you can't do something, you just go and you DO IT. and you don't get down on yourself. You can do anything, you just gotta keep trying. i know it's hard out there. It's hard to get a job...

and so on...all the way downtown. At some point he asked me if he could call me sometime as a friend and I said "no" and then later he asked me what I was doing on Thursday. He knows lots of people and he would meet me at the McDonald's near the ball park with a list of all the people he knows who run restaurants and he could introduce me and we could find me a job. Later it comes out that the people he knows are managers at McDonalds'. If I could meet him, fine, if not, no hard feelings. He wished me luck and reminded me to not get down on myself.

'Cause it's hard out there.

I didn't go meet him. By the time I woke up Thursday morning, I decided that the cosmic nature of the whole interaction didn't involve meeting this random dude at McDonald's.

The one thing that keeps me sane is believing that there is an order to all of this madness. That the universe has a plan for me, and that it does involve a little wallowing and waiting but ultimately, at the end of this chapter, when the universe reveals the magical path meant for me, it'll all make sense.

But every now and then, when I get REALLY down, the universe sends me an Ambassador of Faith...decked out in a full Cubs Uniform. And I have to believe that this is how it happens. This is my story. Life is not sensical and ordinary. Life happens at the weirdest times, with the weirdest people.

In my house made of hope...I'll take what I can get to keep me warm. :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

a strained hero has fallen

I don't really like the apartment I live in.

I take that back. I like the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen(sort of). If I could transfer those rooms to a different street, further south, with a bigger bedroom, a nicer bathroom and free parking, i'd be in heaven. As it stands now, though, I don't like the current combination of things. I suppose I'd like it more if I wasn't here so much...but I am right now so small things seem big.

That said, in this time of staying home alone, I have become friends with the plant life around me. I have two plants in the kitchen, and then there's the sad, half-naked tree(let's call him Edgar the Evergreen) in the front yard. My landlord's treatment of this tree really upsets me...he's taken off all the lower branches. I don't voice my feelings for this tree very often. Only recently did I even mention it, and that was only here. This tree is the beacon for my house, the signpost that tells me where my house is as I walk down the sidewalk.

Friends, today is a sad day. As I type this, my friend Edgar is being CHOPPED DOWN by a chainsaw as my landlord watches with arms crossed. Oh, the horror! It plays in my head like some weird clip from torture-porn movie or something.*shudder*..I do not like my landlord, either.

Goodbye, Edgar the Evergreen. You were loved, secretly, by me. I'm sorry I never voiced it. I hope your roots reach deep in Tree Heaven. You'll be happier there. More sun, less noise. I'll miss you.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Today's headlines from the couch

-GIRL GETS DRUNK:I woke up with the worst hangover I've had in years. BUT, it came to the tune of free drinks and a rockin' karaoke filled evening. DUDE NIGHT!
-NEW ROOMMATE SEEMS NICE:Then, i had a brief chat with the dude who will be moving in on Sunday. New roommates, well, new people in general give me vague anxiety. This guy, though, seems nice and peaceful. good energy, hopefully, in strange space.
-A NEW HOPE: I had an appointment with an agent today. After a brief audition that felt so good it reminded me of what I was born to do, i am officially on their roster. YEAH!
-STAFFING AGENCIES ARE DUMB: not news, of course, but i submitted my stuff to this one agency earlier this week, and their window for getting back to you is from 9-4. OF COURSE i planned to call them this afternoon...and OF COURSE my audition thingy ran long...meaning, i have to wait another week to even talk to them. I called and they told me to call back next Thursday. *sigh* Also, if you're not getting enough jobs to send me out right away, don't call me in and sign me up. false hope ain't fun.
-OFFICE BANNED: After getting caught up on the past 4 seasons of The Office in a mere 4 weeks, I am done. I know, there is a fifth season happening right now...and i'm only on the first disc of season 4...but I can't do it. I don't laugh very much, i just feel sad. These losers get paid to do nothing, clearly incompetent. I, however, have lots of competence and don't get paid to do anything. so, until further notice, i hereby have a ban on The Office, thereby updating my current ban list:
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Jim Carrey Movies
Working at Reverence
The Office
Buying clothes I can't wear to work

I also have some probationary bans, things that i'm trying to ban, but are just too difficult:

Late night eating
unnecessary grocery store trips

I know...that last one especially deserves some explanation. I'm trying to not think about it or worry about it. I think that particular pastime has the tendency to become consuming, and to feel in itself like a job. I don't want that. Nor do I think that the online dating thing is really up my alley. It also helps to ban something when you just aren't interested.

It's inspired, a little bit, by a number of conversations I've had with myself and the lovely Autumn, about how you have to not think about it before it'll ever happen. Sorta like last night while I waited for the bus, I was singing to myself to prepare for the agent meeting today...and I busted out some of the best singing I've ever EVER done. and LOVED doing it. and I wasn't thinking about it because it didn't matter. But in the end, it DID matter because I found something I loved.

I would like to put a ban on unemployment talk, but i've never met a topic so all-consuming. There's just no way around it. I know you're tired of hearing about it, world. But I just don't know what to do...but talk about it...that doesn't cost money, right? I'll try to cut back, i promise.

Best part of my day: Newman's Own Sweet Onion and Garlic Pasta Sauce. DAMN good.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

good things

Rather than whining about the duldrums of unemployment and food stamps, I'm choosing to celebrate the best part of my day today.

I got a haircut. A good one. For FREE.

Now, I know this isn't the first free haircut I've ever gotten. I've been known to get my mane managed in a friend's kitchen with a pair of craft scissors, a fork, and a basting brush. I've never cut it myself, but I have cut corners in the past when it has come to cutting my hair.

How'd I do it? Friends, may I present
It's like craigslist for salons. Everyone who posts on here has completed a cosmetology program, and they're just completing an apprenticeship before getting their license. My guy actually has his license in Florida, but is waiting for it to transfer to Chicago, so he's giving out free haircuts in the meantime. I tipped him $10. I feel so good.
Moment to ponder: it's weird how connected my energy is to my hair. If my hair sucks, it takes a bit to overcome it. But when my hair gets itself together, it's just amazing.

Also, last night I completed something from my list. The stick thing for the wall I had on my list? Done. A little background:

I have a deep soft spot in my heart for all things tree. I like trees and plants and leaves and branches. For some reason for quite some time I've had this image of branches in my mind. It might, or might not have something to do with the very sad tree situation out our front window.

Poor naked's branches below the waist have been sadly shorn off making it look like it's not wearing any pants. I feel so bad for this tree and its the only tree on our front lawn.

I finally gathered the branches a few weeks ago when visiting the lake, and last night I put them together. Now the thing hangs proudly in our living room. It makes me happy, even if it is simple, and held together with green yarn.

Imagine that wall without those sticks and it might mean more. Also, the sticks protrude from the wall a bit, which is neat when you're sitting on the couch.

Regardless, I got something done today!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Structuring the Glide Path...huh?

Ok. It's time to talk about what happened on Thursday.

I was called in for a one-day temp job to "work the mic for a Q&A" at a conference. I was supposed to be there at 6:45 am and would be done at 6:30 pm, just in time for the show. And I was to wear a suit. That much I knew going in.

I was so nervous about not being late I barely slept the night before. But when I rolled out of bed at 4:30 that morning, it wasn't too hard since I was never really asleep! I even arrived 15 minutes early!

Here's where I was headed, to the 134 seat boardroom...if the music doesn't get you goin', I don't know what will.

I still didn't know what exactly this event was. Some sort of conference I guess. The first job they gave me was to distribute one green piece of paper and one pink piece of paper on each chair, and one white piece of paper at each place at the tables. I had a feeling this job was going to be simple, I had no idea how simple exactly, though. When they handed me the papers it was as though I was going into surgery, that there was something serious at stake, and it needed to be done ASAP.

Guess what? I did it with flying colors. whoopdeedoo. The best part of the whole process was that while I was doing it, this woman in her fancy suit was preparing her notes and reading over the conference program, "wow! it's like showbiz!" oh man.

THEN, I arranged sponsor materials and packets into neat displays on the tables. At this point I still have no idea what the conference was about. I knew, at the very least, it had something to do with investments. And man, the materials I was organizing were just line graphs and folders and handouts. ONE company was giving out pens. That was it. Don't these people know it's all about the free samples?

Then came the microphone training. My job, the job I was hired to do based on my "performance background", the job that they had to hire two people to do, was this:

When someone raises their hand, you hand them a microphone.

that's it. Thank you, UVA, thank you, NKU, for those 8 years of higher education, preparing me for this magical moment. if they only knew...

So, for the rest of the day, I sat in the back of the conference room. It was around 9 am, that I finally sat down and thought I would learn about what I was attending:

The 2009 Custom Target Date Summit
brought to you by Pensions & Investments.


No, seriously, what does that even mean?

Suffice it to say, by 9:30, I almost fell out of my chair from boredom. Imagine my glee when I learned we got free coffee and pastries from the reception table. I drank no less than 4 cups of coffee and two bagels that morning. ah, free I heart you.

Yes, I handed out the microphone with the style and grace you might anticipate. I even ran across the room at certain points to make sure no one got their powersuit in a bunch. I am now an expert at microphone control, swiftly navigating the sea of grey blazers and blackberries.

At the end of the day, and even as I type this, I still have no idea what was going on in that room. What I do know is that these people are benefitting from this recession. They manage investments and give advice to the scared rich people. The worse the economy gets, the more necessary these people are. hmmm...

By the end of the day, I had drank 10 cups of coffee, eaten a free lunch, and three cookies and had a massive tension headache. I wandered my way over to the theatre and as I sat on the bus to the theater, I was stuck with such eagerness to do the show. As soon as I walked in, I felt the spring in my step, the joy in my heart, and the pride in my path. I was in the right field...and I was wrong about before. The worse the economy gets, the more necessary artists are. Because otherwise we'd all drown in all the financial douchebagery.

nothin' but a sea of grey blazers and blackberries...with my little optimistic sailboat riding the wave...I'm so thankful for this day.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Organized Chaos

I started blogging about my day yesterday...but it's too soon. I need more time to recover.

In the meantime, here's this

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A list

These are the things I'm going to do with my time. Some of them are overdue half-completed projects. Others are new things that I have all the resources for. I post this for myself and to keep me focused on how to stay driven. There's more to life.

-The long awaited meghan and phlip xmas presents. They're done, i think, i just need to mail them...
-my stick wall thing. This is hard to explain but when it's done, i'll post a picture. then you'll understand.
-clearing away all the junk in the studio/office place.
-altering clothes i have but don't wear into clothes I want to wear.
-some postcards and correspondences i need to mail.
-making more yogurt.
-baking my own crackers
-teaching myself to run( I was doing this for a while but I got busy with the show and was never able to stick to it 4 days a week. we're trying again)
-Paper crafts with contact paper.

Things to read:
Long Days Journey
lots of shakespeare
The brief wondrous life of oscar wao
all the pinter on the bookshelf
A long and fatal love chase
finish Pride and Predjudice

I don't expect this list to make a lot of sense. i get it. now just hold me to it.

life as a statistic

I found a bunch of emails in the back of my inbox today from 3 years ago. I read through them and there was a time, similar to this one where I was just as unemployed as i am now. Well, back then I was probably only half as unemployed as I am now. I'm three months in...creepin' up on a fourth.

I never would have imagined unemployed life this way. I get up, make my breakfast, and then spend the day on my computer applying for jobs, networking, seeking options. Thank God for Netflix. Thank God for books and This American Life and peanut butter. Sometimes I go to the gym, or on an interview or get fed up with the lack of possibilities and go to the grocery store and buy more celery. I eat a lot of celery because it combats all the sodium in all the popcorn i eat because it's cheap and low-fat and filling. it's an endless cycle, the popcorn vs. the celery. like this job hunt.

I find myself unmotivated sometimes. I still apply for jobs, but I've stopped applying for EVERYTHING. I know how to spot what will and will not pan out. I'm getting really good at bugging all the staffing agencies. Because, I mean, at this point i'm in the waiting place. where i just have to bide my time. and move as little as possible because when you're unclear on the possibility of your future, you don't want to misstep and accidentally spend money or hurt yourself.

I know all the different criticisms one might hand out to my situation: get a survival job, volunteer, accomplish all those fun crafting projects you always wanted to get done! All those things sound dandy. But when you use every ounce of motivation you have to just stay awake all day, it becomes a task to leave the house. and that there are NO survival jobs. everyone is in a hiring freeze. It doesn't help, of course, that the bulk of this unemployment has been in the middle of the crappy Chicago winter where everything is gray, but not super cold, but not warm enough to go outside and no snow.

Allow me to point out that I'm not complaining. I own my situation. I'm in it. I'll get out of it. I just need time and the stars to align in just the right way. The only real resource is hope. and love from friends and family.

which brings me to the people with whom i'm most pissed:

I don't know enough about US government or laws or politics to have the specifics, but when it comes right down to it, i feel fucked by the system. A system I've paid into with my heart and my wallet. I know i'm not alone. but I also feel so forgotten. There's a weird margin of us that don't have work that are TOTALLY qualified but can't catch a break because we're in the margins. We're not poor enough, we're not old enough, we're not young enough to get any special treatment. We're not rich enough to forget all our cares. We're powerless, somehow, even though we're the future.


I trust that this, too, shall pass. i know that there will be a happier time and perhaps(God forbid) a more desperate time than this. But maybe I bring all this up because I hope we don't forget. I hope we remember how gray this time was and how much responsibility we have on our shoulders now to make sure it never happens again. I hope we are aware and we are learning and we are prepared to create a change just as soon as we start gaining momentum once again.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Waiting for the phone to ring

It's been awhile, I know.  I haven't abandoned the art of the blog.  I'm sorry, blogger.  I neglected you.  I'll try to be better in the future.

I'm sitting here, in the final moments of a job process, waiting for the phone to ring to find out if I got the job i so desperately need and want.  I have made the final transfer from the savings account.  I'm broke, in more ways than one.

I keep praying the end is in sight.  I keep hoping that the universe is tired of this game, and ready for a new one.  I keep hoping I've been fortified enough from this experience to be allowed to move on.  But then I get scared that, no, actually, the road is so much longer than I thought.

I know I should enjoy this expanse of free time.  I know I should catch up on all sorts of projects.  But I'm better when I'm busy.  Those that have doubted this fact need only witness the past few months and note my increasing inability to leave my bed in the morning.  I'm not good at  giving myself deadlines and schedules when they only matter to me.  I can put anything off if I'm the only one it matters to.  Thus, I'm a good group-member.  I'll do anything for the group.

I sit here, in my pajamas, having gotten up "early" so as not to be totally lethargic all day, and wonder if change comes after I change, or if the change will change me.  I know what the answer to that is, but I'm running out of steam, and options.  I feel like I've been backed into a corner, and i hate that feeling.  I'm in the corner of a very big empty room, it feels.  

Today, I'll be going to the lake, I think.  I'll sit, and write, and ponder and perhaps take some pictures.  I wager that the biggest, most self-discovering stuff will happen now, when I'm completely empty and I have to find the true mettle, at the bottom of my tired, tired self.  

I know, the next step is to just start running toward something, anything at all. 
I wonder when my luck will change.   I still hope the phone will ring and I'll get the news I'm hoping for.  I guess i'm just tired.  Dunno.  Maybe should just sit and read and find perspective.  Or just go back to applying for more jobs.  

How did I get here?  What is going on?  

just good stories, right?

Friday, January 2, 2009


2009 2009 , oh 2009, why did you take so damn long to get here, 2009?

I can't think of a new year's in recent history that so many people have looked forward to...but 2009 is now here, so let's get all our hoopin' and hollerin' on...because the new year, new canvas, new beginning, new chapter, new here.

2008 tried really hard to be a banner year. maybe that's what the problem was: it was just trying too hard. maybe it felt like it was supposed to be an important year because so many important things were happening in it. but 2009 is a year with no expectations, at least from me. In my new post graduate life, i'm sorta at a shortage of exciting deadlines. i have very few dates on the calendar as I look it means the year is wide open, full of possibility and unknown. and while that is somewhat nervewracking...some would say its exciting, too.

i'm a little distracted at the moment. humor me for one paragraph: ATTENTION ALL COFFEE SERVICE WORKERS, I.E. PEOPLE WHO POUR COFFEE INTO TO-GO CUPS FOR A LARGE SOURCE OF YOUR INCOME: please please please make sure the lid is on properly before handing the cup to the consumer. As you are the one putting the beverage together it is your job to make sure that the lid a)does not leak b)does not come flying off for no reason in my mom's car thus spilling my foofy scalding hot soy latte all over me, my legs, my mom's car, and my new spanish made simple book. It really messes up a person's mojo. and, girl at coffee stand, it's ALL YOUR DAMN FAULT. my leg is burnt. i never expected my leg to be burnt, but it is.

thanks for your time. i just needed to get that out of my system. don't know why its upset me so, but it has and now we're moving on.

i am moving forward into the year with a few goals in mind. i would like to find a new place to live. 1341 thorndale just ain't cutting it. i think we moved into some bad its time to move out...or at least, we'll move out in june.

i also think my job situation is leaving me a little drained. i have a list of changes to make and if they don't hold, i'll be looking elsewhere for employment, which is not something i'm really looking forward to in this particular economic climate, but i need some peace. i need space. i need to spend those 40 hours a week in a place that doesn't stress me out so much.

i'm still pissed about the coffee. sorry.

i don't really want to go back to chicago right now as i type this. i realize that's where home is right now and that's where all my stuff is but i feel like i'm bouncing off the city. its like chicago is wearing a repelllant. it's been treated so that i don't soak in. granted, i never expected to spend the rest of my life in chicago, but i at least expected to gel a little more with the city. don't know how to rectify it. i can already hear people telling me that the first step is to stop thinking of all the places you'd rather be but that's the thing, i can't think of anywhere where i'd rather be. i think more about all the things i wish were where i am. i miss friends and comfort and routine and rhythm and a norm.

Leaving chicago on this holiday break has illuminated a number of things, not the least of which being what i want to do with my trajectory. the bigger things i want to accomplish. its nice to have that clarity but i'm not sure how to make them happen beyond believing that if i just keep praying and planning, eventually they'll happen. i know more of what i want to do and what i don't want to do...

right now, i gotta eat...and hang out...and maybe drink some wine...who knows what this evening in eugene holds?