Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Kitty Toes! and News!

First things first -- I present to you Kitty Toes:

Aren't they scrumptious?? Ok, now down to business.

I have been inordinately busy so far this week because I FINALLY got a call from CO --and I have been summoned to Denver for an interview!!! YAY!!!! I fluctuate between being really excited to totally freaking out. It's a roller coaster, and it doesn't help that starting this Friday, it's going to be Go Go Go for the next 2 weeks...

First, let me just say I had the longest weekend in the history of my life, or so it seemed. And not in a good "long weekend" way. I was pretty much reclusive and despondent, wondering and worrying about why I hadn't heard anything yet about the interview. Then yesterday, at 3pm, after I'd pretty much written it off with only a minimum of hysterical sobbing, THEY CALLED! And I'm going! And they're sending me up the weekend prior so I can visit my sistah!

So here's my schedule for the next two weeks, since I know everyone is dying to know:

Friday, June 30 - Wednesday, July 5 -- In D.C. with my parents and my sister for my dad's annual VHPA (Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association) reunion. Never mind that it's flooding in D.C. right now, we're talking about thousands of grizzled old helicopter pilots and it takes more than a river of rain to phase them. There's a PARADE on the 4th, even, Lord help us all.

Saturday, July 8 - Tuesday, July 11 -- In Denver for weekend w/my sistah and my 2-day job interview -- woo-hoo!!!

Yeah, so my upcoming schedule is a stark contrast to the last couple months of my life. Guess that's how it works, and that's okay with me -- I'm ready to move on to the next phase...

I am planning on having my laptop w/me on these trips, so I can still stay connected to the Internets.

Thank you all for your continued support! I could feel the good vibes...

Friday, June 23, 2006


The following is the first in a series of writing exercises I'm going to be working on. I got this book with ideas of how to inspire yourself to get started, to get your juices flowing, so to speak, and this is the first thing that came bubbling out of my psyche.

The summer of my discontent began innocently enough, although annoyingly. Summer actually started back in spring, the first time it hit 90. As the temperatures rose, so did the tension and stress levels, it seemed. People at work were edgier, wound tighter, less likely to go out to eat than to huddle at their desk and furtively read blogs while “working” through lunch. It seemed the world became more sluggish, as the burning sun sapped the strength and energy out of everything. Work even slowed down, at such an alarming rate that layoffs were necessary, and yours truly was one of the casualties. Spending so much energy trying not to take it personally is exhausting. Takes the fire right out of you.

Unemployment is a lonely affair. Suddenly, the people who have been part of your daily life for years are ...not. It is like on top of losing one’s self respect and dignity, one also lose a family of sorts. One day you’re “in”, the next day you’re “out” -- with zero time to absorb the transition. And it's somewhat awkward when you do meet up with your work friends; is it okay for them to talk about work? Do you really want to hear that they're sooooo busy right now, that the company that laid you off because business was slow is now doing fabulously? or would you rather hear that the company is tanking? It's all so complicated, and you don't even know yourself.

Those close to you assume that being unemployed means you have tons of free time to skip and play and stay out till all hours of the night; to go to the park all day long, writing lazily on a laptop while floating down the river on a raft. They imagine all the time they’d have to work out, to really get in shape, or to learn to cook or get organized; they ponder all the wine they would drink. Even better, all the unlimited time to travel, unfettered by deadlines for once in their life. Oh, the possibilities seem so limitless and unattainable, to those who have never been laid off.

But they’re missing a huge chunk squarely from the center of the puzzle. They’re not seeing the part of you that is wounded, the gap where your heart was, your soul, whatever that part was that believed in your worth and motivated you to get up every morning and do something productive. Being laid off is like being forced to open the door to a burning room – the unbearable heat sucks you in, singing your pride and killing your sense of humor. And it is a slow, painful death. How long one can pretend is a personal matter. I started tanking after a couple of months, gradually withdrawing into my own little bland, colorless world. Who in their right mind would want to join me here? Here sucks right now.

Here's the thing. Traveling costs money; wine costs money; partying costs money. And writing on your laptop at a funky coffee house all afternoon? Costs money. Basically, leaving the house AT ALL costs you something. Your social life is slowly disintegrating because, think about it – when was the last time you had a friendly gathering and didn’t drink wine? Or order pizza? Or make margaritas? See a movie? Everything. Costs. Money. And it’s awkward for those who have it as well as those who don’t.

What this summer has become is hours of fitful sleep, at all the wrong times. A constant knawing in the pit of my stomach, worrying about the next job lead – or lack thereof. While job searching, you lose your ability to trust pretty quickly. Positive feedback or even promises are empty until the ink is dry – and it's pretty fucking humid in Texas. The process will always take much longer than they tell you it will. In the meantime, you burrow further into your cocoon.

Only this time, way deep inside my fuzzy cocoon, I’m doing something: I’m writing.


Still no definitive job news. Trust me, I'll shout it from the rooftops when and if I hear something fabulous.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ok, ok! Sheesh...

Sorry about the cliffhanger. Always a sucker for drama, that's me. Here's the deal: I had a long phone interview with the dreamy company in CO yesterday, and today I am literally sitting on pins and needles clicking "check incoming mail" every 4 seconds waiting to see if they're flying me up tomorrow or Monday for the face-to-face interview. YIPPPPEEEEEEEE! Although I've been completely nauseous and unable to eat, this is VERY good news! I didn't want to say anything until it was all lined up, but I decided to put a little hopeful karma out there...

So with any luck, this time tomorrow I'll be somewhere where it's 20 degrees cooler.


Monday, June 19, 2006

and the Universe listened...

...more to come soon...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Stick a fork in me...

...because I am DONE.

I’m calling "mercy" to the Universe.

Do you hear me, UNIVERSE??? Let's have a little MERCY!!!

I am so fucking fed up with where I am. And where exactly am I? I am in TEXAS where it feels like 90 degrees outside right at this moment, which is nearing 1:00 a.m., I might add. Where it is so humid I could swim out there, if only I knew how. I am done with piles of teetering boxes in my garage and trying to eek myself around my big dirty car out there without getting dirt on my clothes. I am finished with stupid car warranties that ended exactly one month ago and one thousand miles ago, though my car is messed up today, not ONE MONTH AGO. I am sick of jobs that solicit resumes and kiss-ass cover letters only to never respond at all. You can shove your “you should hear something next week”’s where the Texas sun don’t shine. That’s NOWHERE, for those of you non-natives.

I am finished. Finito. I think I am going to put all my shit in storage and get the hell outta Dodge before I kick Dodge’s ass beyond all recognition*.

So consider me halfway out the door, people. Right after I pay out the ass to get my car fixed, finish the lame contract I’m working on, and fire off a couple more “just checking in” emails.

Then I’m sooooo calling the Pod people.

*Because you know, I’d like Dodge to still be around later if I should ever change my mind. A girl's gotta have options.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Plain vanilla.

I ventured forth today in the more than 100-degree heat, on a pilgrimage for ice cream. And tampons and lunchmeat and other stuff. But most importantly, the ice cream. I ventured to the Giant Walmart that has been built less than a mile from my house. I am not a fan, I much prefer Target. However, Walmart was closer and I was hot.

Ok, not too crowded in the middle of the afternoon, good to know, good to know. I even found a parking space within a quarter mile of the door -- woo hoo! But something happened to me as I entered the Behemoth Discount Nightmare (BDN). As I often do when I'm overwhelmed, I got flustered and committed several no-nos. I forgot the tampons. I accidentally bought a flowerpot I thought was $10, but turned out to be $20. And worst of all, I f***ed up the ice cream.

Yes, even though I spent a good five minutes peering into the cooler, reading labels, determining that my favorite flavor was out of stock (brownie batter -- mmmmm), deciding to try the new cream and chocolate cookie flavor -- it was all for naught. Because when I was checking out, I realized I'd accidentally grabbed Ben & Jerry's Vanilla. Plain vanilla. And not just ANY plain vanilla, but ORGANIC plain vanilla. Which, gross on all counts. As an ice cream snob, I only like vanilla ice cream if it's swirled with fudge and candy and marshmallows and caramel and...anything but nuts, basically. And to buy the Cadillac of ice cream, B&Js, and get PLAIN VANILLA, well that's just...nuts, basically.

But did I put it back? Nooooo. I'd waited in line for 10 minutes and everything was melting and I suppose I thought maybe I'd use it to lure Tamara back over to my house soon. So.........Tam?

I can't help but wonder, why do I detest plain vanilla? Why do I have to have fancy ice cream? Could it be the same reason I have trouble accepting things that are obvious to other people? Why I never believe it could be "that simple"? Do I crave drama? Do I need to complicate my life to make it interesting, and ice cream is simply a metaphor for life???

um, no. I just prefer chocolate.
But not just any chocolate; THIS chocolate...

Monday, June 12, 2006

My struggle with cabin fever

Sometimes there’s just not enough stuff on the Internet. I am trying to procrastinate, dammit, and I can’t find anything I haven’t already surfed 10 times – I even looked up and downloaded that song from the Liberty Mutual commercial. The main problem is that anything really entertaining costs money. I haven’t left the house in 2 days because I’m trying not to spend money. (Well, also, i'm completely nocturnal now). And it’s almost impossible to leave the house and not spend anything. It’s also really hard to surf the Internet with no money to spend. Ok, I’ll admit it – I love spending money. It’s like a high for me – and before you go calling me a shopping addict, let me just point out that obviously I’m not, or I’d be out shopping right now – because Lord knows I could use a high.

I’m getting bored and antsy. Yes I’m still looking for jobs, of course I am, but there’s nothing going on right now. I have an eensy bit of freelance work that is also boring (thus the procrastination). As anyone who has had a prolonged job hunt knows, these things take time – it’s basically a waiting game, and it’s only “cool” to “check in” with people once a week or so. So in the meantime, I’m stuck organizing my iTunes, watching a lot of TV, and looking up commercials on the Internet.

In 2 weeks I go on the DC trip with my family, but that won’t exactly be a vacation; it promises to be busy and action-packed, with lots of scheduled activities – not my favorite format, but it is what it is. It will be fun to hang out with my family, especially my sis, but I kinda wish we were going on, say, an Alaskan Cruise instead… that’s actually not a bad idea; wonder if somehow I could plant the seed for next year…

Here it is mid-June somehow. Did I mention how antsy I am??? Also, I’m ready to get out of this house, like for good. But orchestrating that is impossible until I have a job. And know where I’m going to be living. Like, in what state. So there’s this underlying tension that the summer is halfway over and my house isn’t on the market yet, and there’s nothing I can do except keep packing boxes.

Happy happy Monday. At least it’s over.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

SnakeWatch 2006: Mission Complete

I had seen no sign of the snake since the initial sighting yesterday. Every time I've seen a cat since then, I've looked into their eyes and told them "Get the snake." Well finally they must've listened, because just now I walked through my kitchen and there was the snake again, coiled up just the same as yesterday, again in the middle of the tile. This time I wasted no time in sweeping him into a dustpan. He really didn't move that much, except to raise his head and stick his slithery snake tongue out at me. I was pretty fascinated now that I had The Power again. I even touched it, and it just sort of shrunk away from me. HomeSnake has been through some trauma, maybe he was in shock, who knows. But he was alive and I finally caught him. I just finished setting him loose on the other side of my fence, the part that backs up to the greenbelt and the pond -- he should have no trouble finding his way far far away from my yard. So: The Reign of the Snake is Over.

I'm glad he's gone, although it wasn't bothering me THAT much -- I figured he would eventually turn up, what with two cats running around and all. Let me be clear though, I am no Badass. I simply have a different phobia. I've been telling people that if it was a Tarantula or other large arachnid loose in my house? I would not be staying here. Hell, I'd probably be in CO by now. We all have our little quirks...

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Oh yeah, we're a regular reptile house over here. So you know my cats like to capture/maul lizards. I'd say I rescue 2-3 a week. From INSIDE my house. But I've always kinda liked lizards, so it's not a crisis (well, at least not for me -- I suppose it is for the hapless lizard...).

However. This morning I stumbled into my kitchen, all barefoot and pajama'd and vulnerable and shit, and just looky at what I found in the Middle. of. My. Kitchen. Floor.

Oh yeah. Now i'm not phobic about snakes like I am about spiders, but still, a dead snake. Ewww. So what do I do? Well first, I snap photos. Duh. Then I decide to be a drama queen and consult a couple of friends before acting. We chat and horrify and postulate and gross out for about 20 minutes. In a somewhat better mood, I saunter back into the kitchen to somehow get the snake out, and...wait for it......keep waiting...... IT'S GONE.

The snake. It is not dead.

The snake, the one I put my face right up to as I inspected it, that snake? Alive and well. Mobile, in fact. Upon reflection, I thought it looked kinda juicy for a dead snake, but what do I know? Lesson learned: Trust your instincts, people.

Of course the first thing I had to do was call my friends back and shriek that the Snake, It Is ALIVE!!

Finally, I was alone with my LOSER cats and a fugitive reptile. It could be anywhere in my house. It could die under my fridge, right as I put my house on the market. Not good.

However, I think I may have a pretty good idea where it is hiding for now...

Updates to come. Believe me.

Oh, and the cats? They are sooooo grounded.

Friday, June 09, 2006

You know you're an insomniac when...

1. You are always awake for the emergency broadcasting system test -- it always interrupts NYPD Blue.
2. You don't even consider sleeping until about 3am.
3. It feels perfectly normal to do laundry and clean at 1am.
4. You eat lunch at 4pm and dinner at 11pm.
5. You are a leeetle too excited when you find another friend awake and on IM at 3am. And you chat online for an hour. About how you can't sleep.
6. You can now adeptly hop around on the TV and find something to watch all the way until dawn. With no lulls.
7. The cats go down for the night way before you do. And they get annoyed when you come to bed later and bother them.
8. Your cat nudges you awake at noon to refill his food bowl. And you're pissed at him.
9. You've done some of your best organizing after midnight.
10. You're averaging 3-4 books a week. But if someone asks what a book is about, you can't really remember.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

round = jess

This posting is about cat eyeballs. My cat eyeballs, I mean. I mean, not MY cat eyeballs, because I'm not a cat, obviously, but ..... never mind. It's late.

Everyone who has ever met Jess has commented that he's more like a dog than a cat. Which, cool. He's low maintenance and calm like a cat but attentive, affectionate and loyal, like a dog. The second thing people comment on are his strikingly round eyes. Most cats, I don't know if you've noticed, but most cats don't have circle eyeballs. But Jess has beautiful round eyes, and he likes to make google-eye faces at the camera. He's very handsome and googly. He never flinches at a flash, either. Observe:

Oh, wait.

Anyway, he loves the camera and especially likes being in my ebay photos. And he's always...somehow...round...

and also

Yeah. Cat not included in sale.

The point is, everything about Jess is round. So I guess you could say he's a well-rounded cat.

(did i mention it's late? I mean, look at the time stamp, for cryin' out loud...)

My theory is proven once more

And my theory is this: If you want something to happen, a phone call to come, an email, whatever, you must Not. Be. Home. You can sit in your house day after day and compulsively check your email a hundred times an hour, but until you get dressed and get the hell out of dodge, that email ain't comin'.

So. I went to "work" today. I usually try to do the work at home, but I hired some window-cleaning people to come clean my windows inside and out (more "getting the house ready to show" stuff) and I didn't want to be here. I was gone for all of 4 hours, but that's longer than I usually spend at "the office." So I come home, eat, watch tv, and eventually walk into my office where my phone light is urgently blinking on and off, on and off as if to say 'You have a message, dumbass.' This is all notable because usually the first thing I do when I get home is check email and voicemail, but for some reason today I just...didn't. Imagine my delight when it was the Mystery Job in Denver calling to update me on the job status and forewarn of upcoming freelance work?? I was so happy that I immediately called the woman back without even swallowing apparently, because when she said "hello" all that came out of my mouth was a croak. Classsy. Anyway, it was all good. Basically, still no definites on when a FT position will be open, but they have me in their sights for when it happens. So before I get crazy and accept one of the hundreds of job offers pouring in daily right here in Austin, I am supposed to let her know so maybe she can "light a fire" under the right people. Ok, cool. I am picking up a few freelance gigs right now anyway, so I can go with the flow for a while. And my old boss, who would be my new boss at the Mystery Job in Denver, is getting projects ready to hand off to me. So, yay!!

After that peak, I just cruised for the rest of the day, alternately reading a book for hours on end and filling out "sell your house" paperwork from the realtor.

Oh, and when i finally got around to checking my email, the Mystery Job in Denver had also sent me an email imploring me to call them. Like, they really really wanted to get in touch with me. And none of this would have happened had I "worked from home" today. So, yay for leaving the house!

that is all.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Good fortune

I got this in my fortune cookie tonight:
You will soon be receiving some good written news.

That works for me -- even though i'm mystified by the "written" part -- does anyone use paper anymore??

I hope so. hee.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Why Colorado?

It occurred to me that the 80 frillion strangers faithfully reading my blog every day might not know why I'm so drawn to Colorado. Obviously, my nephews are there, but me and Colorado go way back. Me and Colorado are old friends.

It all started back in the late 70s, when my family went to Spring Canyon for our summer vacation. Spring Canyon was/is a retreat-type place run by OCF -- Officer's Christian Fellowship. It was/is a beautiful, rustic, friendly and affordable vacation spot for those in the military and their families. For two summers, we went there, and I fell in love. Those two weeks, one each summer, affected me greatly and I truly believe that's where my wanderlust began. Being an army brat anyway, I already wasn't afraid of living in different places, but CO might be somewhere I would choose to go on my own someday. Tucked into the Rocky Mountains and neighboring a small town appropriately called Buena Vista, Spring Canyon was the most beautiful place I had ever seen. I also made several friends I would connect with again in later years.

Here's the deal: Spring Canyon is kept clean and orderly by a volunteer staff of teenagers from all over the world. In exchange for free room and board, they would rotate several groups of 16-20 teens throughout the summer, teens who got the "camp" experience without the yucky tents and stuff :) The food was home-cooked, and part of the support staff's job was to help in the kitchen and serve meals. We had a few hours of downtime each day where we could do our own thing, and even one day off a week where we didn't have to work at all.

Ok, I already gave it away with the "we" -- as soon as I was old enough, 15, I applied and was accepted as a staff member during the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of high school. Knowing I had this to look forward to helped me make it through some rough boyfriend moments that year in school. I couldn't wait to go and experience my first real bout with independence in a "safe" venue. As expected,I loved it. I was there for a 5-week stint, which was the longest I'd ever been away from family. I missed them, but also discovered how good it is to miss something sometimes, so you appreciate it more when you return. I made lifelong friends that summer and even had a mini (very mini) romance with one of the guests. This was against the rules and scandalous, but hey -- what did they expect with a bunch of teenagers and pretty mountains? It was very innocent, but it was enough to make my boyfriend back home jealous and actually shape up for a month or so before deteriorating back to asshole-status. But I digress.

The second summer I went was for 6 weeks. I was 16, a little older and wiser, and embraced the whole experience with joy and no fear of the unknown. This was the summer I truly came into my own. I found I wasn't that "shy" after all -- the label I'd always had in school was not true, much to my surprise. I felt popular for the first time in my post-elementary-school life, but we were such a close-knit group that there were no "outsiders", unlike "real life". Spring Canyon was an amazing, life-altering escape from reality, which was something I really needed. It was a little pocket in time where I could laugh til I cried and be myself and feel spiritual, stuff I was too tied in knots to do at home during the rest of the year. And the second summer, I had a summer romance. His name was Marshall and he was the first soccer player I would be involved with (in an ongoing stream of soccer players...heh). We were 16, beautiful, filled with the magic of the place, surrounded by people we liked and respected, and we fell in love. I still had my boyfriend back home, but what a difference it made to finally have a comparison. Marshall made Chris's faults all the more hideous, and I came back that summer not quite as susceptible to his bullshit. Marshall and I wrote tons of letters that year and called each other once a week, taking turns. He lived in North Carolina. We finnagled and prayed and crossed our fingers and toes, and somehow ended up on the same staff for our third summer.

The third summer. I was gone a full 7 weeks this time, because I went up early and stayed late with my friend Kelly at her home in Co. Springs. In between was the joy, the drama, the heartbreak, the strength, and more dear friends. Every year it was harder to go home to my blah life in San Antonio and my disappointing boyfriend. Things in Texas just weren't as shiny as in Colorado. My friends in CO "got" me. I didn't think most of my friends in TX "got" me. Of course Marshall and I had a disastrous and dramatic breakup within our first couple days together, but I learned how to concede with grace that summer. It was painful, yes, but my heart had already been ripped into bloody shreds by my h.s. sweetheart, so it was not unbearable. Even when Marshall paired off with another girl on staff, Becky, I couldn't be mad at her because she was so awesome and I loved her so much. Plus, I knew they didn't have the same spark we had the previous summer. The point is, I didn't freak out and it didn't ruin my trip, like it might have two years prior. I had grown, as a person and as a friend. I left my third summer at Spring Canyon to return to TX for my senior year, which is a whole novel in itself.

Every summer in CO, I became more convinced that I felt more myself there, that I felt more at home, more comfy, more at peace. I could hear myself think there. And the mountains made me feel closer to all that is good in the world. I continued flirting with Colorado during college, when I would go home with my friend Kelly for Spring Breaks. Yes, the one from Spring Canyon, who lived in Co. Springs. She ended up being my roommate in college for a couple of years.

When I met who would become my husband (then ex-husband), I was very clear with him that I had no intention of staying in TX forever. That I was biding my time until I could move back to CO. He would laugh and roll his eyes and pat me on the head, like "silly lisa, whatever you say..." It wasn't until we were married that I realized he had no intention of ever leaving Texas.

In fact, I had a job opportunity AT Spring Canyon right after I graduated from college -- but I chose to stay in Texas because my ex and I were supposed to get engaged. I chose him over my true love. Live and learn.

When my sis and her family moved to Denver last summer, it was bittersweet. I was sad they wouldn't be nearby anymore, but at the same time, I was excited they'd be in one of my favorite places on earth. And in the back of my mind, I was thinking "hmmm....." I would tell people "well if something were to happen with my job, who knows...". Well, people, that something happened and I have a promising job lead in Denver -- and THAT'S Why Colorado.

As afraid as I am to uproot the life I've built here in Austin, all my dear friends, my career contacts, my sense of "home", I am just as excited to start fresh somewhere else. And not just any somewhere...but Colorado.

So. We shall see.