Monday, August 25, 2014

The Things I Do


There are multiple times every day when I stop and think about the random little habits I have, or my shopping/hygiene routines, or a funny story that happens, and I think "I should blog about that." And then I inevitably forget to. So today I thought, maybe I will just ramble whatever things I can think about, all at once.

So I made a list. And it is in lowercase letters (vintage throwback! I think I did all-lowercase for a good 2/6 of my blogging years) and I'm not sure why but it just is.

Oh, btdubs, I found out why I've had a "pulled groin" for the last six weeks....because it isn't a pulled groin! It's Iliopsoas Bursitis. (In plain terms: the bursa (little water-balloon-like sac of fluid) in my iliopsoas (groin/hip muscle) has bursitis (swelling/inflammation/tenderness/general badness).) Translation: Girl can't run (or play frisbee, wahhhhhahhhh) for awhile, and if it doesn't get better I'll be turning to acupuncture or steroids. Bother! But at least I have an answer.

OK now the aforementioned lowercase list. I do....

  • wash my hair only twice a week. sometimes three, if something like ocean-sand or extra-sweat happens to it. i've been letting my hair run its own show lately...and the show is wavy/frizzy/semi-wild with a middle part. i'm not making the decisions here anymore, and my life is easier for it! shrugggzzz.
  • put coconut oil....on everything. does it itch/hurt/seem slightly abnormal? put coconut oil on it. it is to me what windex is to My Big Fat Greek Wedding. ...and if coconut oil won't get the job done, baking soda will.
  • sleep with a white noise maker on. it's the only way to drown out the elephant birds and noisy neighbors. also that one bird that clicks? he needs to go.
  • put two pillowcases on my pillows always, always, always (can't handle one end just hanging open. it doesn't feel right.)
  • sit in my car in parking lots/in my parking space behind my apartment/wherever for longer than one needs to sit in a car, just listening to music or reading stuff on my phone. i did this even before i got a new car, so the new car isn't the appeal....i just like sitting in the warm car, putting off whatever i'm going to do next.
  • buy a good chunk of my clothes on ebay. ("where'd you get that shirt?" "well, it's j.crew/anthro/etc. ....but i got it on ebay.")
  • regularly clean out my closet and donate piles of things to goodwill. frequently convince myself that i can someday achieve "minimalism."
  • wear glitter eyeliner errrrryfrigginday
  • look at puppies on local rescue websites a few times a week and send my roommate emails with the ones i know we absolutely need to have (i'm partial to king charles cavelier spaniels, mini australian shepherds and various poodle mixes)
  • listen to my favorite songs on incessant repeat (sorry not sorry to everyone who follows me on spotify)
  • already plan/dream/ponder what type of Christmas tree i want. it's coming up!!!!
  • absentmindedly leave my keys hanging from our front door knob now and then (luckily there's a screen to hide them, but still, i gotta get a grip on that)
  • browse Tinder late at night for seriously no reason at all. i never meet up with anyone on there. but i do like it when i find someone i actually know in real life and then i can send them flirtatious messages and text them a fake critique of their Tinder profile. so this is my dating life? it counts? yes? i should put coconut oil on it?
  • play hard. concerts, beaching, picnics, camping, kayaking....i'm tan, worn out in a good way, messy-haired (as previously mentioned) and oh-so-happy-and-light.
  • watch a lot of netflix in my downtime, but never make it through a whole season of anything before getting bored. i need a new show to love unconditionally and commit to! stat!
  • daydream a whoooole lot about where i'm going to travel next (the iceland high has worn off! time for new shenanigans!!)
  • perpetually attempt to eat more vegetables and hate it all the time. still trying. uggghhh

So there you go! There's some of the things I do.

Ummmmm amen, now here's some photos from lately!
Note: The sea lion's name is Barnaby Wigglesworth










Friday, August 15, 2014

Job. Job. JOB. JOBBBBB

Celebratory chair spins, because....I'm not going to be unemployed in September!

Two weeks shy of my current contract ending, I'm **more** than happy to report that I accepted a new 12-month contract as a recruiting coordinator via my staffing agency (Adecco)....I'm staying at the Googz!

I am.....relieved.....tired....happy...and...slightly sweaty, probably. Always that last one, you know? It's summer. I wear too many layers. OK let's move on.

A flood of potential job things came at me these last few days, riiiiight when I was pretty sure I was going to lose it if I had to write one more cover letter or face unemployment again in September. I'm fairly the last year of  my career life has given me some serious stress ulcers.

So.....recruiting. What about writing?

So here's my thoughts on this. I spent the last year either freelance writing, or trying to find a full-time writing job. And, if we're being honest, I realized pretty quickly that there are really very few things I want to write about for 40+ hours a week. And, working a creative job full-time can really juice your brain to squishy little pieces.

So when the opportunity came a few months ago to try out my current role in HR, I was like, sure! Mostly because it was at Google, but also because HR has always intrigued me....I just never had the background to get into it, as far as I could tell.

I also had this identity complex about the whole writing thing. When you meet new people, they always ask you your name....and then what you do. And I had a hard time not saying, "I'm Katie, I'm a writer." I felt like I had sold out, and I was worried I'd always feel that way a little bit.

But here I am, 5 months into it, and......I like it a whole lot. I really do. I worried that doing more administrative things all day would bore me after being a full-time writer, but it turned out that I actually loved the straightforward, task-oriented work. And, then I could save my writing for the things I really WANTED to be writing, whether that was freelancing or blogging on this ol' blog, etc.

Also, there's the obvious fact that all my own interviewing and job hunting this past year has given me some valuable empathy that I will gladly use when interacting with job candidates as a recruiter. I think it will feel really good to help people going through everything I just went through.

These reasons are really just bonuses to the fact that I feel legitimately good about trying out this career switch, somewhere down in the part of my gut where the good decisions are made. (So, probably not the part of my gut that told me to eat a bunch of raw tuna at lunch today and follow it up with fruit snacks. Errmmmm.) (OK, that tuna was DELICIOUS.)

So here I go! Who knows what will happen in 12 months? Or after that? You never know. But that's what my adventurous little life is for.......risk and uncertainty, right? Right.

My name is Katie. I work in recruiting. (And....I'm a writer ;)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Our Sacred Little Infinities

"There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There's .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities."
- The Fault in Our Stars


I'm fascinated by -- and a believer in -- the idea that sometimes it's the smallest portions of our lives that end up making the biggest impact. Take relationships, for example....we tend to try and measure them by length.

"We broke up."
"Oh....how long were you together?"

...like you can always measure the bad by the # of days the good occupied. Sometimes true, but not always.

But gosh, this post isn't about dating. It's actually about a weird little apartment in south Scottsdale, Arizona. The one near the zoo and across the street from the strip club.

There is a condo in south Scottsdale that I lived in for three years. It's the last place I lived before leaving for California, and it's seen a lot.....A LOT....of my important life moments and relationships come and go.

But this post isn't about that condo, or those three years. It's about the six months before those three years, just up the street, in a weird little apartment.

It was the first place I moved after college, other than a brief stay at my parents' house right after graduation (during which time I looked for jobs and ate my mom's food.....and watched four or five seasons of Lost on DVD).

This weird little apartment came about randomly one day.

My friend Rebecca (Reebs) called me and said, "Let's go visit Scottsdale." Which turned into....looking at apartments in Scottsdale. Which turned into....signing a lease the next day for an apartment in Scottsdale. What just happened? (I kind of have a thing for making big life decisions with spur-of-the-moment housing decisions. No complaints yet.)

This apartment was overpriced for what we were getting. It had loud neighbors and smelled like cigarette smoke. Things we did not have in this apartment: a microwave, a washer/dryer, a TV, Internet (and neither of us had smart phones at the time, holla 2009).....and also one time there was a naked woman in the hot tub late at night, and a terrifying man lurking in the laundry room.

And I honestly rank this as one of the happiest times of my life.

Those six months were full of much laughter, many late-night chats and In 'n Out french fry runs, endless episodes of Gilmore Girls on a small laptop screen, the one time Reebs locked me outside with my cell phone until I called a boy and asked him out (gosh, I sweat just thinking about that), many random first dates, dancing in the living room at 7am on my birthday to "You Make My Dreams Come True," finally cleaning the entire apartment (let's just say we weren't the cleanest gals around) to 70s disco music, and mannnyyy long discussions about the woeful state of both of our recently graduated, no-idea-what-we-were-doing-with-our-careers-or-anything life situations.

We only lived there for 6 months, before I moved up the street into the aforementioned condo and Reebs ran off to almost-Boston but actually back-to-Gilbert-AZ and then got herself married and ultimately ended up in Washington D.C.

When I think back on this little phase of life, I feel this....REVERENCE...for it. It actually wasn't so much WHAT happened during that angsty time period, but more of what was ABOUT to happen. Because what was about to happen was....everything. My whole life was still ahead of me, none of it had been written yet, and the world was my starry-eyed oyster.

So when I think about that part of my life, I don't really think about the loud neighbors or the lack of Internet and microwave. I mostly just feel like my heart is going to swell out of my chest with nostalgia.

So yeah, it was a small infinity. But also a big one.

Do you have any sacred little life spaces like this one?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Blessed to Worry, Grateful to Know

If you've asked me about my life lately, I might have any number of joys and complaints to share.


On the complaints front, there's the ever-ongoing job hunt (3.5 weeks to unemployment as my Google temp contract dwindles and the dark circles under my eyes grow in tandem with the calendar date), the stifling temperatures of my AC-less apartment on warmer CA nights, the yapping seagulls and elephant birds that wake me up before the sun every.single.morning., the pulled groin that has ailed me for 3+ weeks....and so on.

I never want to be the type of person who belittles "first-world problems" with anecdotes about sex trafficking in Cambodia and starving children in Ethiopia. Or starving children and sex trafficking in my own city, also. Problems are problems and troubles are troubles, in whatever sphere and scope you experience them.

But, I always appreciate a solid reminder to keep my problems in perspective.

This is probably why I've frequently been accused of reading "depressing literature."

I like the stuff that really tears my heart open and turns my stomach over. I want to read about prison camps during WWII, human trafficking and female genital mutilation happening right now in our modern world, kids in my own area who don't have anything to eat besides the free lunch they get at school. I want to know the real stuff. I want to keep my whining in check. I'm not really into the "pretend it isn't happening" pattern of thought, because it doesn't ultimately make me feel better. So I guess, allowing myself to feel the worst stuff opens me up to feeling better, in the long run, because it lessens my own worry and displaces my personal concern into a more widespread compassion.

I won't pretend to understand the entirety of the conflict happening overseas right now.

I could read all day and still not know which side is right or wrong or what-have-you. It's not my culture, not my conflict, not my history -- so I doubt I can understand it all, identify the right side or draw the correct conclusions, no matter how many articles I read online.

And truthfully, part of me suspects there is no correct conclusion or right side when it comes to wars like these. Because no matter how you slice it, lives are being lost and innocent civilians are bearing the burdens of things they have little control over.

I loved this article I read this morning: Eight Days in Gaza: A Wartime Diary

I don't even know where to start with explaining which parts of it affected me the most. I think what I like best, overall, is how well it humanizes and personalizes what too easily feels like a foreign issue with nameless/faceless people. These are just parents with kids who want to play with their iPads....people in relationships....holidays about to be celebrated....grandmothers obsessively watering houseplants...........who all periodically go without electricity, and sleep in stairwells or local shelters, waking up every day to news about neighbors and family members whose lives and bodies have been bombed to shreds.

It's one of those articles that appropriately turns my stomach over and puts my own life into perspective again. Reading it doesn't make my problems go away -- I still have to find a job, I still have to pay rent, I still have to figure out why in the hell I got a letter from Arizona this week about a traffic ticket when I haven't lived there in more than a year, I still worry about running 14 miles at a Ragnar Relay in a month when I can't seem to kick this stupid pulled groin. I still have to deal with my "first world problems."

But it is a good reminder that I am blessed to worry about things besides the high odds that my family won't be alive in the morning, or that my street will be bombed to oblivion overnight.

And it makes me really, really wish there was something I could do to help. Because foreign compassion always seems to run into a wall at some point, where I'm not sure how to fix anything or make a difference. So yeah, I guess it might be easier to stay unaware rather than become informed only to stew over my ultimate helplessness.

But I'd rather know it than not know it. I'd rather have a heavy heart for people I don't know, and probably can't help, than live flippantly with ignorant blinders on.

I guess I like to think that when I see those people on the other side someday, that even if they understand that I couldn't do much to help, that they'll still be grateful that I at least cared to know their stories.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Firmoo & The Big Red Sunglasses

That title sounds like a children's book, am I right?

Maybe someday I'll write a children's book all bout something involving big red sunglasses. I'll avoid googling it to inevitably find out it's already been written.....

Anyway.


I got these red gems via Firmoo, which I picked out mostly because the models looked so cheerful while wearing them. But then I got them and put them on and thought, "Wait, am I bold enough for these?" So at first I just wore them in secret now and again while driving June Cooper.

And then, I started looking forward to seeing them cradled in the space between my seat and the passenger seat. They were like happy, red....lollipops....for my face.....no, that got weird. The point is, these red shades quickly became a favorite. And although driving June Cooper is always a party anyway, the big red sunglasses managed to up the ante even more!

I think these sunglasses are made for adventure.


I've even taken to making passengers in my car put them on their face, just to force them to experience the thrill. Because I'm a good friend.

And after my Iceland trip, I feel pretty sure that these glasses need to go somewhere exotic with me the next time I leave the country. I'm thinking tropical. Stay tuned for that. For now, I'll just keep wearing them to and from work and pretend that's exotic enough on its own. It's California, so, everything goes.

Do you wear glasses? Sun or regular type? Good news: Firmoo is offering a first pair free deal right now, when you pay for the lenses and shipping. They have some seriously fun frames, so check that biz out!


Disclaimer: I have been compensated for this post, but the words and thoughts and opinions are my own because y'all know I wouldn't do you wrong or ever bother blogging about something I don't actually like. #duh


Powered By Firmoo

Friday, July 25, 2014

Believing in Each Other


I'm always creating analogies between various areas of my life.

Running is like job hunting. No....job hunting is like dating. No, dating is like....a food crawl....in which you're not sure how much to eat now or save for later? Wait....what?

Well, usually the analogies work pretty well.

Anyway, last night I was chatting with someone about job world, and the value of companies investing in their employees. Having been a temp/contractor/freelancer for the last year (and an intern 3x during college), I know how it feels to be "temporary." And, companies have still usually treated me well during those phases, with a couple ornery exceptions. But....BUT....regardless of how great a company is, there is still something to be said for being a "real" employee.

Because it's more than just the job security and job title change and probably bigger paycheck.....it's a sense of ownership, and also a feeling of belonging. That full-time role says, "Hey, we value you. We want you as long as you'll have us. We think you're going to do a good job. Let's commit to each other."

Later, my mind started doing that whole analogy thing about this topic. And I thought, this applies to our interpersonal relationships as well.

When you treat someone like they're on trial in your life, they know it. They can feel it. Whether it's dating, friendship, marriage, neighbors, etc., people have a way of picking up when they are constantly being evaluated. And there's a huge amount of insecurity that comes with that -- with not knowing if you've fully been accepted or approved for the long run.

And, there's insecurity in never knowing if you're measuring up to someone else's standards. Do we trust our friends to pick us up at the airport on time without nagging them about their habit of being late? Do we let our kids load the dishwasher without reorganizing it afterward so it looks neat and orderly? (Gosh I've never even mastered that, and I'm an adult.) Do we grab the crying baby from the husband every time because we just know how to handle it better?

When we do things like that, what we're really saying to that person is that they're not good enough. When really, we never gave them a chance to figure it out or succeed.

I once had a teacher who gave our class a few pieces of life advice, and one thing he said was, "Plant a tree." 

By that he meant, put down roots. When you move into a new neighborhood, invest in it long-term. Put down those seeds that say, "I'm going to be around for awhile because I'm committed to this."

We need to believe in each other more.

We need to commit, champion, promote, invest......in the people around us. We need to stand on the emotional lawns between our little hearts and plant some long-term trees. Rather than keeping each other on trial or temporary assignments, we should say and do things that say, "I'm here for you now.....and tomorrow....and the next day. I'm your friend, and your fan, and I'm not going anywhere. And, because I believe in you, I'm going to let you do things your way and cheer you on while you do it."

Because that's when people thrive, and that's when people feel secure -- when we believe they will win, and then continually act like we believe it.

Just a couple cents of thought!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's a Helluva Life

Life is real good.

I stole that title from a country song. But, he likely stole the phrase from someone else so....sharing is caring. Anyway, here's some stuff about my little ol' life....

It's the midst of summer, and since I live in paradise (summer anywhere outside my normal AZ roots feels like paradise, but northern CA is particularly paradise-y) I just want to be outside all the time. Luckily, I work somewhere that lets me wander outside with my laptop if I want. And, I want. So, I do. Often.

Speaking of work. Ah, work! Google is an incredible place in so many ways. I think the free food is causing me to feed myself better since.......well probably since I lived at home in high school and ate my mom's food. I'm doing my body goooood.

My temp contract ends in 2 months. Two months! How'd that sneak up so fast? The hunt is on hardcore to figure out what my next step is. Maybe I can stay? Maybe I will go elsewhere? It's back to the drawing board for me.....again. And that kind of bummed me out for a few days last week.

The idea of job boards and cover letters and interviews was noooot putting me in a happy mood because.....this feels like a perma-trial. I know, a lot of people deal with employment issues for a lot longer than I have. But a year's worth of uncertainty, short-term contracts and ups and downs sure feels like a long time. And trust me, I am so grateful....SO grateful....for all those little contracts and gigs (seasonal Anthropologie job at minimum wage, hollllla!) along the way that helped me survive all of it. It's been a lot easier the last few months than it was for the first few months. I guess I'm just uncertain if I'll end up unemployed in September again or not, and that puts a little knot in my tummy. But, if there's one thing I know how to do....it's job hunting like a boss. So.....boss mode. Let's do this!

But like I said, my life is really good.

Anytime anyone asks me if I wish I had never left Arizona, I don't even hesitate about my answer. I have zero regrets about that crazy decision last summer. I do miss my family and a few friends from back home, but....it's hard to miss that desert (beautiful as I do think it is) when it's July and that beautiful desert is a broiling oven. I think I prefer spending the majority of my day not covered in sweat, thank youuuu.

I have the greatest friends in California. And, in general.

I feel like I could write a whole post dedicated to the amazing people in my life here in The Golden State, and elsewhere. Sometimes it feels like the only things that have been sure in my life this past year have been the incredible people in my life. I have a wonderful roommate, and I've slowly been gaining more and more excellent friends. Friends mean a lot to me. I need my people. And it feels good to have people again, after starting from scratch and collecting them a bit at a time over the last year. It feels good to feel needed, which is something I used to naively think I didn't need in my life.....being needed, or needing people. But I do. I need the needing. I need to feel like an anchor in other people's lives, and I need them to be my steady ground when my own knees are jello. I've got friends scattered all over CA, AZ, UT and beyond....and I couldn't feel more blessed for it.

I feel like there's a lot of turmoil in the world these days.

And, all days. But particularly lately with the shootings and wars and plane crashes and so on. And I wish I could just.....fix all of it. I wish I could just pick the whole world up and hug it until it calms down. But, I can't, so, the crazy goes on. And I try to stay informed.....which keeps my own problems in perspective, makes me wonder how I got so lucky to have such a blessed life, and also fills me with an immense longing to give back and make the world as good as I can help make it be. Maybe I'll figure that magic world peace cure out someday? Gosh, I'll keep you posted. That whole thought vein is a post for another day!

Now here's a few pictures from my life lately. As I said earlier, it's a helluva life...
Featuring: 4th of July cabin trip, a day at the race track, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, and one of my weekly frisbee games that included party hats for a friend's bday.
















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