Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Weekend in Maryland

Things I do emotionally: eat, run, change my hair, and travel.

My brain started to feel a little fuzzed lately. Got some shtuff on my brains that kind of gets to me now and again. So about a month ago, I took a look at my Southwest points and thought, "I could go somewhere. I should go somewhere."

And so I picked a somewhere, and I went! The somewhere I chose was, as you probably know, Washington D.C.! I went there once before -- right after graduating from college 5 years ago. It's the first big place I've done a "repeat trip" to since I started traveling as an adult. My old roommate Rebecca (who I once wrote about here), who was my roommate after graduating from college (and who I moved in with about a week after that first D.C. trip, funny enough!) lives in Maryland these days. So with airplane points to burn and a free place to stay and a Rebecca-friend I really missed and hadn't seen in like 3 years, the trip was booked....and a few short weeks later, away I went!

Reasons I love Rebecca/Reebs, as told by the quotes I wrote down that came from her mouth this weekend:

"I woke up with chocolate on my legs."
"I choose housing options by their proximity to specific restaurants."
"Someone taught me a trick for putting a duvet cover on...but I don't know it anymore."
"The blanket is kind of damp. Eh, it'll dry on our bodies."
"I did! I went clubbing! My cardigan saw some good times."
"That business model doesn't sound sustainable. I'll get hooked on it and then it'll be gone, because they hired too many cheese tasters." (On why she can't shop at Wegmans)
"I can probably trace any issue back to why we need the Common Core standards."

I needed this trip so, so much.

It really was the perfect weekend. I played, I relaxed, I explored, I got to ride public transit (I love trains and people watching), I took a tour of the Capitol, I got to set foot in the Library of Congress again (which I'm convinced is one of the most beautiful buildings in existence), I had many heart-to-heart chats with Rebecca (as well as a rendezvous with another friend, Savannah, who just spoke to my soul in so many ways), watched a crappy Hallmark Christmas movie and laughed heartily....and, oh man, I can't even tell you how much FOOD I ate this weekend, I got to see the Theory of Everything (a movie I'd been much anticipating for many moons, and, it did not disappoint), met up with another friend at the greatest coffee shop with magical mismatched couches....the whole thing really was heaven for me. And while I was flying back home and pondering life again (while listening to calming Christmas tunes in my headphones, o'course), my head just felt.....clear. And I felt good and brave and settled. I just wish I could relive this exact weekend over and over every now and again, because it really was perfect. (But don't worry -- no plans to move out there. Too freezing and I'm too emotionally attached to California.)

And now you get pictures. Enjoy!

p.s. The trip ended on a real high note when a man at the airport curb asked me, "Are you Jason?" I mean, I thought my hair and outfit looked decent that day but....guess I'm glad we're being open-minded :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

8 (More) Glories of SkyMall

Oh hey there.

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know (i.e. couldn't escape the fact if you tried, sorry not sorry) that I spent this weekend on the East Coast! Pictures and tales and rambling to come soon, but for now......YOU GET SKYMALL!!!

You might remember this summer when I shared the 10 Glories of SkyMall and it was....well, glorious.

So, here's 8 more! Enjoy.

1. Towering Inflatable Christmas Tree
Problem: Anything that resembles a fruit rollup should never be towering, unless I can actually eat said towering fruit rollup. Which would be a great party theme, actually. Also, inflatable lawn decorations are pretty much my sworn enemy. (And are those giant m&m's as embellishments? Can it be true?)

2. Holiday Yeti Ornament
My beef with this one is that, as I suspected, the regular yeti is still being offered just a few pages later. I feel like *someone* over at SkyMall is repurposing unsold merchandise. I admire your thriftiness and ingenuity but I'm so on to you.

3. Psychedelic Cat Lounge
Am I required to also fork over money for cat drugs so they can properly enjoy the acid-trip ambience? I mean, what exactly is expected of me if I start with this? Am I signing up for a life of servitude and crime? Is the cat in charge, then? Am I in charge? Are the drugs in charge? Do I even have a cat? Who am I?

4. Adult Plush Balls
Because those three words should never go together.....ever. And secondly, because the description promises that you can "race friends and family" if you own one of these, and, full disclosure, this feels more like a replacement for real friends than a way of actually attracting them. (Unless you pick the unicorn.....then, maybe.)

5. World's Best Travel Blanket
Because please note the "privacy hood."

6. Sleeper Scarf
Suddenly entirely embarrassed that my own scarf doesn't inflate. My accessories are so last year. And what if I ever fall in a river while wearing an un-inflatable scarf? It might just be my ultimate demise. Is there a fanny pack version?

7. Enchilada Baby Wrap
Who doesn't want their baby to look like Mexican food? (Does it come with free sauce and what kind and how spicy?)

8. StarBelt
Will it beam me to outer space. WILL IT BEAM ME TO OUTER SPACE.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

In the balance.

My Sunday started with an early-morning coastal drive through fog and farmland.

It's like I'm in a Jane Austen novel, right? Except....one with cars. Idk. After said early-morning drive, my day consisted of work, resisting a nap, finally watching Good Will Hunting (thanks for coming through, Netflix!), more work, takeout for dinner (because when your job feeds you on weekdays, you often fail at having food in your cupboards on the weekends), then wrapping up the rest of work so my Monday morning can look less chaotic.

I never want to come across as someone who complains about working long hours, for a few reasons: I'm grateful to have a job, I need/don't mind the overtime money, I enjoy my work, I feel valuable to my team (and that is a HUGE motivator to me), and I still get to do plenty of fun/relaxing things. Plus, my hours are nowhere near what I'm pretty sure some of my fellow Silicon Valley dwellers are pulling -- and let's not even talk about Manhattan. I hear those people don't even sleep. I am definitely busy, but it's definitely manageable. And my workplace is a huge champion of work-life balance, I just need to make sure I'm deliberate about taking advantage of that -- scheduling off-time on my calendar for concerts and dinner out with friends, etc. Boundaries, you know! I'm working on finding a good zen/flow/whatever you want to call it.

Here's the things I did this week that didn't involve work: watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine with some friends for our weekly Monday TV night (oh, I'm already over Grey's Anatomy, by the way -- decided 11 seasons was too much to bite off when I'm pretty sure everyone dies off at some point anyway #aintnobodygottimeforthat), went to dinner with a new friend (and ran into another friend who ended up joining us, and that was a fabulous bonus) (and discovered the new friend is a basketball fan so NBA GAMES HERE WE COME), went to the Penny & Sparrow concert (have no words for how much I love their music -- and I got to meet them! And I got a shirt! And it is a soft shirt! May have worn it twice already since then),  spied on the Suns games scores on my phone all week (I probably need to subscribe to some way of watching the games online so I can actually WATCH them this season instead of just refreshing the score on my phone), saw Interstellar (I love outer space so much!! I desperately want to go to there!! You should all see it, and fair warning, it's more sci-fi and less Armageddon-action-type, just so you know what to expect going in)........I think those are the highlights.

On Friday at 5pm, I signed off.

There was still work to do (hence the cleanup today), but I shut 'er down for a good 36 hours. Turned off my work email/chat on my phone, closed my laptop, and got the H out of dodge. No really, I packed a bag and ran away to the northern California coast to stay in an oceanside cottage with 3 friends, 2 rambunctious dogs, plenty o' food, zero Internet/cell service, and mucho deep conversation that feeds the soul. It was everything I needed, and wrapped up nicely this morning with that foggy farmland drive. Mmmmyes

I feel good and ready to start my Monday. And now you all feel good and ready to look at all my pictures from the weekend....enjoy! (And tell me what fun things you did this week/weekend too.)

Monday, November 3, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like....

....November! And that means....almost Christmas! Christmas month eve! The holidays! Go time!

Yes, I realize my last post was about Halloween so it might feel like things escalated a bit quickly. I can't help it and....I don't care. CHRISTMAS! I let my mind wander at work for a bit today and -- other than the usual daydreams about bearded men and getting a puppy -- my thoughts turned to trees, tinsel and something-else-alliterative-and-festive-that-starts-with-a-T. (Tiny Tim? Umm tequila? No?)

I know haters gonna hate (hate hate hate hate - T. Swift), but I like my Christmas season to be good and long. It's such a delicious time of year -- why try and confine it? Gotta let that happy shiz spread its wings and fly.

Calendars fill up fast for Christmas season.

Mine included. I'm already planning several excellent things, including a tree probably like this one, all sparse-branched and elegant and packed with tinsel. (Remember Bruce Spruceteen from last year? and Doug Funny before that?) I'm already planning and looking forward to decorating the tree with sparkly things, reading A Christmas Carol for book club, wearing scarves and gloves as often as California weather permits, heading to Union Square in the city for some ice skating, attending The Nutcracker at the San Francisco Ballet (did you know the SF Ballet hosted the U.S. premiere of The Nutcracker in 1944? It's historic!), listening to Christmas music non-stop and....taking sugar cookies to my neighbors who I mostly haven't met? But what bonds people like sugar cookies and Christmas, right?? Yeah!

Side Note: If you are a decent human being and share a laundry room with your apartment complex, one thing you must never ever do is hang a wet suit up to dry in said laundry room, especially when it is dimly lit in the evening hours, because that wet suit might look like a person lurking in the corner and scare the bajeebies out of your Katie-neighbor. (I mean, do you want sugar cookies or not??) End side note.

The point is, Christmas is officially under my skin. I've been bitten.

("I'm in love, I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!") Last year I wrote a post about wanting a simple Christmas. I reread it today and it still just feels like a lot of truth to me: "Mostly, I just hope I never need an article in a magazine to teach me how to 'stay sane' and 'survive' such a precious, simple, sacred season." Yes. Because even with all the stuff I listed above, I still want my season to be happy, calm and chaos-free. Just simple. Service, love, good food and my people. (And plenty of Mariah Carey, you know!)

Three weeks until tree-getting time! Until then it'll just be me and my tinsel daydreams over here, planning and scheming and...gleaming and......comet and cupid and donner and blitzen!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Halloweekend Recap

Hey boys and ghouls! Happy Halloweekend! (I just made that word a thing.) (This will be my moneymaker.)

Real question: Can something be your moneymaker if you can't shake it? Ummm here, look -- I dressed up! (Did you?)

This weekend was REAL good. Other than the fact that the Suns just lost to the Jazz a few minutes ago after starting the season 2-0 over the Lakers and the Spurs, which, way to make me fall in love again and then really kick me to the curb, you know? (It's OK Suns, I still love you xoxoxo) (But the JAZZ??) (I'll go now)

Things I did in the last 24 hours: Enjoyed the (FINALLY) rainy weather, ate pizza with friends, went to a dance party (at which I danced briefly and then was done with that) (took about 15-20 min?), attempted to have a good experience by going to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show (You guys what WAS that? We ended up walking out -- I've never done that in a movie theatre before. Just...never. Neverrrrr go see that movie.) ....back to my list: went to the rainy park this morning to play football but that turned into just going to eat brunch (which turned into awkwardly crawling into my friend Michelle's BMW which turned into this picture), vacuumed my car out, cleaned stuff at home and did laundry, attended a dance-ation exercise class and shook my tail feather (and my moneymaker?), started watching Grey's Anatomy (what's a girl to do with no more Parks & Rec for now???? trying out something new), ate some curly fries that my tummy now regrets, talked to my Papanwa on the phone for a good long while......yeah, it's been a real good weekend! Now I'm chillin' in sweatpants with freshly painted nails (finally!), and the night is young and includes many important options like reading, writing in my journal, eating snacks, watching more Grey's, or potentially painting my toenails also. My apartment is my oyster. (Shhh just go with it)

I feel very much like myself lately.

Rather than hit you with awkward vagueness, I'll just say there's some medicines (see: birth control) in my system now that's doing REAL good things for my body and hormones....and it just feels good to have that ironed out. I have spent the last few weeks feeling really alert, awake, friendly, sociable, hyper....I mean, a lot of things I used to be a lot more of back in college, that I haven't been so much in awhile (mostly for awhile I have just perpetually wanted naps) (I do still love naps). I think I was attributing it to getting older and adult-onset introversion, but....hormones are a b*tch, is maybe the real answer. (Does it count as a censor if I only * one letter? Is * a verb? Shrug.) Anyway, the point is, I feel like I've come out of a fog I didn't quite know I was in for awhile.....and these are a lot of intimate details of my life (my fingernails are purple, by the way, just so we've put EVERYTHING out there), but I just want to share that I am feeling good, and very clear-headed, and very much like myself. Rock on, medical science! (insert high five emoji) (and a middle-finger emoji for those crazy-A hormones)

So....yeah! The weather is still rainy and delicious over here in the bay. So I'm gonna get back to my chill Saturday evening. I hope you're all doing something excellent as well. Feel free to tell me what you did this weekend and what you dressed up as for Halloween and what color your fingernails are and how much you love the Suns too. xoxox

Also, look what I can do:

(hashtag hardcore parkour)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On Moving Past It

The title is kind of ironic because this post is actually about the....not moving....and the trying to move...and.... Let me 'splain.

First, you should all know that I just went out on my first OkCupid date. I was so nervous before I thought I might ralph in the bushes before arriving at the designated coffee shop. Seriously, Elise and I discussed if Pre-Date Anxiety is a real thing....we're convinced it is. The good news is, although I'm a chronic victim of PDA (which should mean pre-date anxiety but sounds like something else entirely so I will henceforth not abbreviate it ever ever ever again), I actually handle myself pretty well once I actually get ON the date. It's just the pre-game that gives me anxious nausea, apparently. It could be worse.

The point is, I did it! I chatted with someone online and I went through with meeting in real life. I still think I prefer dating in ways that are more comfortable for me, but what is this year of my life if not a heaping pile of anti-comfort-zoning? Like that time when I bought a car I didn't know how to drive and learned some lessons about challenging yourself to do hard things in the name of life. And, you guys, June Cooper and I are still very much in love.

And on the note of OkCupid, I've enjoyed the responses I've gotten to that really honest and long profile I wrote for myself. It's been kind of awesome to see the personalized responses I've gotten from it -- so much more encouraging than the generic stuff you get from a generic profile. What I'm saying is that all you single peeps can now pay me $$$$ to write your profiles for you. JK, JK. (Except, I actually would give you input if you wanted. Not because I'm an expert at dating -- but because I am pretty good at writing personal essays and/or paragraphs. So, you know how to reach me.) 

What was this blog post? Oh yeah...moving slash not moving past stuff.

This week I wondered, again again again, if it ever stops hurting to find out that an ex-lover is engaged or married to someone else. The likely answer is that it probably depends on the person, and how it all ended, and if there's still unresolved feelings there, etc. I honestly do pretty well, most of the time, when I find out that an ex has put a ring on someone else's finger. And then there's the ones that just get me right in the tummy, you know? I had one of those experiences this week. I think maybe I didn't even know I was still holding on to some residual hope, in this particular case, until I saw the upcoming wedding proof in writing and had a lump in my throat that kind of made me want to cry in the bathroom at work. But, I didn't. (I won't say I haven't before, though. There is something particularly challenging about trying to grin and be professional when something in your personal life is really undermining you at the same time, am I right? There should be emotional "get out of jail free" cards we're allowed to just hold up at certain points during work days and be allowed to go home without anyone asking questions. This should be a thing.)

I'm not sure where I'm going with this post, other than to say that....sometimes it's hard to move past stuff. There's a couple sore spots on my heart with certain people's names on them that I'm not quite sure will EVER heal themselves away. But, I have said that in the past about a couple that did eventually turn into just a faded scar, with pain that I could finally let go of one day. I never quite know what my little heart is capable of, both in terms of healing AND in terms of refusal to do so. Just full of surprises in the chestal region, you know? (That came out super weird. I don't really want to describe my chest as surprising ever again.) (OK look, I won't rule it out.)

It's also those sore spots that make me feel super sensitive to thoughtless comments about being single, making marriage a priority, etc. When people say shiz like that, sometimes I want to just bluntly tell them a couple rough stories and thank them for carelessly hurting me and my other single friends, and then inquire what long-term difficulties of theirs we can flippantly discuss. But, you know, why start arguments? That's why I have cathartic music and chips. I don't know why I chose chips, in this moment, as the correct comfort food, but....I do love chips. And salsa. Mmmm

It's been a good week for a Taylor Swift album to come out. She always seems to write a song or two that makes the healing feel a little more possible, and the hurting feel a little more raw right when I just need to be validated. She and Sara Bareilles, together, have done a lot for me in that department. Shout out to my angsty girl music, I guess! The rest is filled in with emo Dashboard and playing "Teenage Dirtbag" on repeat. We all have our ways.

And now back to work....because when you have an emotional week, sometimes it's hard to focus during the day and you end up finalllllyyy finding your concentration zone at 11pm. So, let's do this, work queue!

(yes, I drove to Target to buy that album before work on Monday morning....she's my not-guilty guilty pleasure, ok? ok.)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Great OkCupid Dating Experiment

OK, it's not really an "experiment" (because that makes me feel like I'm treating men like lab rats) and the "great" is potentially debatable, but, it made for a good blog title, right?

I've blogged a few times in the past about my dabblings (is that a noun) with online dating. I don't know what it is about me and online dating, but we don't totally mix. Why is that?? Essentially it's the same idea as being set up, but you actually have *more* control over it. It should, in theory, be an appealing avenue. And, I know so many people who do it successfully! I've tried Tinder (meh) and one religious-based dating site in the past (no -- just no) to no avail. I always fail at being brave enough to actually meet up with people, or I do, and then feel anxious/unsure about the whole deal. So, it's me.

I decided that maybe the problem with Tinder, for me, is that it's not personal enough. Too little info to go on. And since I'm not in the position to (nor interested in) spending money on one such as eHarmony (pretty sure I had like 3 friends get married from that site in one summer alone), I've currently turned my attentions to OkCupid (it's free, holla). And I don't know, I've heard pretty good things from friends who use it.

So here's where the "experiment" element comes in.

In the past I've mostly used quick, snappy blurbs about myself to make up the entire profile. It seemed right for an online presence. But then I wondered -- what if I wrote MORE? What if I went for honesty and transparency and just put it all out there? What if I seriously just wrote an essay about myself and used that as my dating profile to see how well it works, and what different kinds of people it attracts? (I mean, if anyone actually takes the time to read the whole thing...which remains to be seen.)

And if it's an intriguing idea that involves writing, you can bet I'm on board.

So, here it is. Just for kicks. My long-form, personal-essay dating profile for OkCupid. Heaven help me.

Short version:

Writer. Reader. Frisbee-er. My spirit animals: street tacos, frisbee, beards, Spotify (and all live music), the Phoenix Suns, plaid shirts & the color gray. I excel at being a good, supportive friend while still stealthing out of parties early so I can watch Netflix and read. It's a fine line. In college I had a pet pig that I won because I tackled him at a rodeo -- his name was Wilbur.

Less short version (because like I said, I'm a writer, and maybe you're bored/intrigued enough to read it):

I like eating cereal at midnight. My food life is a continual cycle of forcing myself to eat kale sometimes and letting myself eat sugar other times, and also I have a deep, intense love for street tacos.

I'm sorry (but also not sorry) that I started this small essay by talking about food. (But on that note, I *might* suck at cooking, but maybe that's because my job feeds me so I never practice. I know I can make lasagna? End note.)

I believe in being nice. I believe in compassion and "live and let live." I'm also attracted to passion. I'll like it if you love what you do -- be it your career, your hobbies, your people or what-have-you. I want to see that sparkle in your eye when you talk about something that just totally undoes you and makes your world go round.

I love sports. Take me to an NBA or MLB game (but maybe just from the 5th inning on -- bonus points if there's fireworks after the game) and I'll be a happy clam. I play ultimate frisbee, and while it's definitely not a deal breaker if you don't pick up a disc now and again, it's a definite bonus if you do. It's part of my world -- it's fun to share it with someone.

Another big part of my world: concerts. Live music feeds my soul. I go to more concerts than the average joe, and I actually skip out on many I'd like to go to because I don't like going by myself and I'm not always sure who to take with me. (I do like going to movies by myself though. There's something deliciously anonymous about it.) I enjoy meeting people who like to spontaneously go to concerts on the weekends (or school nights) with me.

I'm messy. Cluttered, whatever. It's my way. And yet, I'm obsessed with calendaring. So I guess some things about me are organized. I use a real, hand-written day planner. It has a cat on it, but not because I'm obsessed with cats -- it was $2 at Walgreens. I want to adopt a spaniel puppy someday. Also, I love stories. I'll cap every day of your life off with 5-10 stories from my day....just ask any roommate I've ever had.

I have a lot of close friends. Apologies in advance that you'll hear a lot about a lot of people, and apology accepted that you'll never be able to keep them straight. That's OK. I've been a bridesmaid 14 times. I tend to hang on to people pretty tight, but not in a codependent way. I love my independence and alone time. (In fact, one ex-boyfriend told me I didn't "need" him enough. He was right -- kind of. Turns out it just takes me a little while to get comfortable showing it. I'll get it right one of these times, you know?)

I love libraries. Really pretty ones make me borderline emotional, as do most pretty buildings (which is why I must travel the world and see all of them). I almost always carry a book in my backpack or purse. I like backpacks more than purses. You want to really get me? Show me something awe-inspiring that involves books, outer space, Harry Potter, Steve Nash, the Olympics or the nonprofit world. (And then give me a minute to Instagram it.) (Hint: Even really simple things, like a snail on a sidewalk, can be awe-inspiring and charming to me. Maybe that's why I have so many stories to share at the end of every day.) (And maybe why I Instagram so much.)

I don't wear fancy shoes. No, that's a lie. I do sometimes, but I hate them after 5 minutes if they hurt my feet. I hope crappy old moccasins and well-loved sandals with glitter on them are OK, because....I ain't changin' my ways. My wardrobe ranges from "babe in pleather pants and red lipstick" to "girl next door in a baseball hat" to "trendy something-or-other" to "I love sweatpants and look 15 years old today." Fair warning: I'll probably occasionally talk about wanting a tattoo or two. I honestly can't tell you how serious I am about that, because I'm never quite sure if I am, though I probably am. Maybe.

Also, I'm sorry in advance that sometimes I drink out of the carton and talk/laugh in my sleep. Does it make you feel better if I say I feel at least a little bit guilty about the carton thing? (Not the sleep thing -- I have zero control over that so let's let it go, even if the laughing part might be borderline creepy.) I also hate wearing pants when I'm at home, because pants feel like punishment. And now I'm probably going to match with the wrong kinds of guys because I wrote that part about not wearing pants. Oops?

Other small sections they had in the profile:

Books: To Kill a Mockingbird. Harry Potter. The Book Thief. Where the Red Fern Grows.

Movies: Back to the Future. Karate Kid. The Sandlot. Meet Joe Black. Forrest Gump. Rudy (...rudy, rudy, rudy....) I love movies and I like going to see them at old, decrepit, uncrowded theatres.

Shows: Boy Meets World. Friday Night Lights. Parks & Rec.

Music: This could go on forever. Just know that I love it, I like a broad range, and I'm listening to it pretttty much all day.

Food: Tacos and french fries, but not at the same time. Perpetually on a quest to eat more vegetables and not hate them. #frenemies

What I'm doing with my life: Professionally: former full-time writer and nonprofit junky exploring a career switch to HR at a job that gives me free food. Non-professionally: I might have a future in ambitious etch-a-sketching or paint-by-numbering. So, things with hyphens.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...