August 24, 2013

Blog migration....

It's been a fun four years, but I've started a new blog and all future posts will be made over there. If you'd care to come along for the ride, follow me, follow me, as I trip the darkness....

June 6, 2013

Tips for job-seekers....

Some may have caught on to the fact that I've been cross-training a bit in HR lately. Yes, we are hiring. And I'm helping screen resumes. And I've already learned what I don't like (and my supervisors don't either). Here are some tips, presented in what is hopefully a somewhat humorous manner. But really I'm just kind of having a rant.

Tip #1 - Do not, under any circumstances, misspell the title of the job you're applying for in the subject line of the e-mail containing your resume. Or anywhere else in your resume or cover letter, for that matter. But really, if the subject line of your e-mail is "proerty assistant", it sort of makes me not even want to read your resume.

Tip #2 - Proofread, proofread, proofread. And if you can't proofread, get someone else to do it for you. Especially if you think the position you're applying for might involve any sort of written communication at all. (Hint: Office work involves written communication. There is no getting around it.)

Tip #3 - Unless my business is a bakery, please do not send me an e-mail telling me how happy you would be to work in my bakery. (Hint: my business is not a bakery.)

Tip #4 - Do not tell me you have "years of property management experience" unless there's something on your resume to back that statement up. It kinda looks fishy when your cover letter tells me you have "years of property management experience" and your resume tells me you have years of healthcare experience. I'm just saying...

Tip #5 - If your "objective" is to obtain a career in computer science/healthcare/some other field that isn't the field you're applying for, I'm going to think twice about wasting my time interviewing you. Because seriously, if you're just going to leave in a year to work in healthcare, why did we bother taking the time to train you in property management?

Tip #6 - Don't! Use! Exclamation! Points! We were scowling today at a resume that was riddled with excessive exclamation points.

Tip #7 - Do not apply for a position listed as being "full time permanent" when you are planning to return to school in the fall. I actually phone interviewed someone today who, when I gave my usual spiel about it being a full time permanent position (which is stated in the ad), said, "Well, I can work full time until September, but then I'm going back to school." Just to humor her, I said, "Oh, you're in college?" She replied, "No, I'm going to be a senior."

Rant over... for now. Happy job-hunting, kids!

March 29, 2013

Vintage Rantings...

This post is actually a post I've had saved as a document on my hard drive for well over a year now titled "Meagan's Rant II" (the post explains what happened to my first rant, so keep going). It's mostly about Facebook (a.k.a. CaraLibro or Feisbuk), and is slightly antiquated as good ol' FB has done away with being a "fan" of anything and is now on a strictly like-based system. However, I feel most of my points are no less valid than they were however long ago it was I originally wrote this.

With enough poular demand, I might even let my first rant see the light of day... but without further ado:

Meagan’s Rant TWO

It’s been a while since I had a rant. The last one was triggered by having to wake up and go to work, and a half-awake daydream I had about me running the world.  Nobody really read that one because I never posted it. I might go back and post it at some point because it’s horribly out of date now. But now I have a completely new subject to rant about – Facebook.
Some friends of mine convinced me to sign up for Facebook about a year and a half ago. On the plus side, it is a good way to keep up with friends who live far away. On the minus side, your friends who live ten minutes away sometimes post the minutiae of their daily lives, such as “I’m going to go take a shower now!”, “Breakfast time!”… you get the idea.
It has come to my attention that some types of people on Facebook really need to be removed. Here they are in no particular order. Enjoy.

TYPE 1 – The Drama/Attention Whore
These people are pretty darn easy to spot. They’re the ones who change their status from “in a relationship” to “single”, then make five or six other posts over the course of the next hour hinting about that change but never actually just SAYING, “Frank  and I broke up, and I’m upset about it.” It’s like they want you to notice and ask them about it, but if nobody notices their world will fall apart so they have to make SURE someone notices.
Another variation on this type is the person who posts something like, “OMG I AM SO UGLY!!!” or “I hate myself and I want to die…” just so all their friends will comfort them with a flood of reassuring comments. These people need to die. Or at least get off Facebook and get a therapist.

TYPE 2 – The Vaguebooker
The Vaguebooker is a close cousin to the Drama/Attention Whore, and in fact some Vaguebookers ARE Drama/Attention Whores in disguise. The M.O. of the Vaguebooker is to post a status update just open-ended and vague enough to get people to ask a bunch of questions about what was meant. Such as “…is starting to get really excited about something special”  or  “How can it itch that much?”  or even just “Ugh”.

TYPE 3 – The Multi-Profiler
Multi-Profilers are usually women. I say this, because one of the primary habits of the Multi-Profiler is to make profiles on Facebook for their children who are too young to read “so Suzie can play the games.” The real reason, however, is more like, “so Suzie’s mom can have control of several profiles, with which to get more points on Farmville/Mafia Wars/Petville/whatever the game du jour is.”
Multi-Profilers need to be banned from Facebook, and they need jobs and lives. And probably a therapist.

TYPE 4 – The Ego-Centrist
The Ego-Centrist is that annoying person on your friends list who responds to your every posting as though it were intended for them alone. The Ego-Centrist is not conscious of the fact that you have 85 OTHER  friends on your Facebook. The Ego-Centrist does not believe in their existence. If you post something about how “some people really get on your nerves sometimes”, the Ego-Centrist will assume that you mean that they are getting on your nerves, they will get offended, and they will ask why you didn’t just SAY something to them.
A short time later you will remove the Ego-Centrist from your friends list.

TYPE 5 – The Moron
I really couldn’t think of a better name for this type. They are the much dumber cousin of the Ego-Centrist. They make the same mistake of taking your updates much too literally, but not as personally. For example, someone I know who has been married for upwards of 15 years just finally got around to changing her status to “married” on her Facebook profile the other day. A shocking number of Morons cropped up on her friends list and in her comments, congratulating her, asking her if they were going on honeymoon, and expressing their shock that she and her spouse had not been married all this time. Morons…
Admittedly some people, myself included, like to comment on these updates jokingly. I did in fact comment congratulating her on her “recent” marriage, but with wording and emoticons that made it clear I was joking. Many of her comment-leavers were clearly not joking. These people need to be wiped off the face of Facebook.

TYPE 6 – The Social Activist/Rabid Fan
I was originally going to separate these two, but I’ve decided to lump them together under this heading because it’s a variation on the same problem. Facebook allows you to become a “fan” of just about anything someone makes a page for… from TV shows, to books, to cities, to “making squares on the desktop by clicking and dragging the mouse pointer.” (Seriously, you can become a fan of that.)
The Rabid Fan is a fan of every trivial thing you can think of and many things that never would have occurred to you. He/she is a fan of “Why can’t my shampoo and conditioner run out at the same time?!”, “The uncontrollable laughter you get when you’re overly tired”, “Changing a word because you can’t spell the word you wanted to use,” and even, ironically, “Become a fan if becoming a fan is addictive.”
The Social Activist is a cousin of the Rabid Fan. The Social Activist seems to believe that if a large number of people become Facebook fans of the same cause/idea, it can change the world. These people think, for example, that if they can find 1,000,000 fans for “Repeal Obamacare!” on Facebook, it might actually get repealed. In actual fact, if they can find 1,000,000 fans for “Repeal Obamacare!” on Facebook, they will have found 1,000,000 people who are spending way too much time on their computer to actually effect any change in the world at all. You think Obama/Congress cares if you can get 1,000,000 people to fan “Repeal Obamacare!”? No they do not. Especially since 1,000,000 is kind of a drop in the bucket when you consider that an estimated 308,971,000 people live in the United States of America.  Sure, become a fan of your social activism cause of choice, but then get off your computer and go DO something about it. Sheesh.

TYPE 7 – The Witty Wannabe
This is a fairly recent development on Facebook, but people have now discovered that when you can’t think of something witty and/or profound to put in your Facebook status, you can now get a random status generator to do it for you! This kinda makes me throw up in my mouth a little. The fact that you’re spending that much time worrying about having a witty/profound status update indicates that you’re spending WAY too much time on Facebook, which is probably why you haven’t got anything witty/profound to say… you haven’t DONE anything recently except be on Facebook, and updating your status with “…is on Facebook” would just be admitting to the world how lame you have become. Please go get a life. But don’t come back and post status updates about it, ‘kay?

March 19, 2013

Functional relationships are cool!

For whatever reason, it seems that it has taken being in a healthy, functional relationship for the first time in my life to really realize how profoundly messed up all the others were. Sure, they were varying degrees of messed up (with my actual marriage being the most messed up by a landslide), but none of them have been what you'd call "functional" or even "stable" until now. So yes, this blog is going to consist of me getting a little more mushy than usual on the subject of the Old Curmudgeon, as he is known in the blogosphere. Deal with it.

As you may or may not have gathered, the Old Curmudgeon and I were friends in elementary school. I would go so far as to say he was my best friend, though I'm not sure that was mutual at the time. I'll forgive him for that. I think this is actually a key factor in our functionality. Not only are we friends now, but we were friends when we were 10. And 9. And 8. We have history. History going back to September of 1990. And I think we work now in part because we worked then. Also in part because neither of us has changed all that much since July of 1993, which was the last time we saw each other prior to June of 2012. We still both giggle at fart jokes and explosions. We both would still rather watch a show with some educational content in it as opposed to, say, Jersey Shore. We're still both nerdier than standard on the subject of geography. And yes, we have our differences. Some of them are pretty major. Yet, from what I've seen so far, our differences seem to balance each other out for the most part. We are able to use our different strengths and work together for a common goal, be it something relatively minor like cleaning the house from top to bottom in under two hours (which we did Sunday) or something bigger like planning and executing a three day trip to attend someone's wedding (which we did in August when we were still fairly new at this).

I think another very good thing in our relationship is mutual respect. I read his resume not long after we started hanging out again because he asked me to edit it for him. I was totally blown away by what he had accomplished in the 19 or so years since I last saw him. To me, his competence is not in question, which I guess is kind of a big deal because I question everyone's competence. My resume doesn't look as good as his (not even close, really), but it seems he can respect my accomplishments in other areas besides work. So on those occasions when we do not agree (and believe me, it happens), thus far we have been able to discuss logically, and so far these discussions have ended with one person or the other conceding that the other is correct. Yes, we can both admit when we've been wrong. And we both have been wrong on occasion.

Another cool thing (and maybe the best thing) is that I feel supported by a partner for the first time in ever. I don't have to do absolutely everything anymore. If I get off work late for reasons beyond my control, the Old Curmudgeon is totally okay with taking the Chamaco to karate class. Sometimes  dinner is already cooking when I get home from work. Sometimes we do stuff together, all three of us, and it feels like a family. That may actually be the coolest thing... Some guys I've dated in the last decade have not wanted anything to do with the Chamaco. Needless to say, those dates were isolated one-time occurrences. The Old Curmudgeon, however, has bravely stepped into a parenting role that nothing in his experience prepared him for. He has no children of his own and didn't have what you'd call a fantastic relationship with his own father, but he's giving it a go anyway. And sometimes I think he stresses way more about parenting than I do, but he's new... he'll relax into it. I just appreciate that he's willing to do it. Without me even asking. That's a real man right there... I once read a quote to the effect of, "Any idiot male can make a baby, but it takes a MAN to be a father." Yeah, that's it.

The bottom line, really, is this: at this time last year I didn't know if he was even still alive or remembered me at all. Now I can't imagine a day without him.

March 13, 2013

Why I hate being on call....

As most of you are probably aware by now, I manage apartments. Probably the single thing I hate most about it is the company cell phone that I have to carry at all times. I am also supposed to answer it any time it rings, day or night. The primary reason is because it's the number residents can call 24/7 for maintenance emergencies. I don't mind that so much... those are few and far between, and I can see that as a necessary evil.

What I mind, however, is the fact that the same phone number is the number that people who view our Craigslist ad are directed to call for more information. So when the phone rings, it could be a resident calling with a maintenance emergency, but more often it's someone wanting to know how much it is for a two bedroom apartment. One of these groups of people I can safely ignore for the hour I'm in church, the other I can't. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing which it is unless I answer the phone. I don't know whose idea this setup was, but I don't like it, and occasions like this morning are why.

This morning I decided to dye my hair, which I've been trying to find a chunk of time to do since I bought the dye a couple of weeks ago. This says something about my life... I can't find an uninterrupted hour in which to put goo on my head and wash it out. But I digress... my point is that I decided I was going to do it this morning, come hell or high water. So I was busily pouring black goo on my head when I hear the company cell phone ringing in on my bed where I left it.

ME: (inside my head) Crap... it's probably a sales call. I'll just ignore it and call them back if they leave a message.

And I go about my business, and I hear the missed call beep. Less than a minute later, it rings again. This usually means one of two things: 1) it's a resident with a maintenance emergency and they're mad that I didn't answer the phone, or 2) it's a sales caller who refuses to accept that the property might not be open for business at 8 AM.  It was also possible that it could have been two separate callers. So I sighed, took off the gloves, and started racing down the hall to get the phone, splattering blue-black hair dye on the bathroom wall in the process. I missed the call, and when I looked at the missed calls it was the same number twice. And it wasn't one I recognized, but that doesn't mean it's not a resident... just means it's not a resident who calls often.

So I started carrying the phone back toward the bathroom and dialed the call I missed. Here's the entire course of the conversation:

ME: Hi, this is Meagan from ___________ Apartments. I just missed a call from this number.
HIM: Oh, yeah. I was looking at your ad on Craigslist for 2 bedroom 1 bathroom apartments and I had a question. What school district are you in?
ME: Centennial.
HIM: Okay, thanks ma'am. (hangs up)

Well, crap. Now to deal with the hair dye on the bathroom wall. At my old apartment in Molalla I had dealt with this before. Spray with Awesome, wipe, done. This is when I discovered that my employer apparently uses cheap paint... it took the paint right off the wall.

I guess it's fortunate that I'm the manager and have keys to the paint room. Is it Friday yet?

February 8, 2013


Our kitten is pretty advanced for being only around 10 weeks old. Even at that tender young age, she already has a stalker.

She hasn't quite ID'ed it yet. Every now and then she catches a glimpse of the stalker out of the corner of her eye and whips around only to find that it has disappeared. Every now and then it's a little slower to escape and she almost manages to get a claw into it.

Perhaps most startling is that, every now and then, she'll be curled up on the back of the couch and something will twitch directly in front of her nose and she realizes that the stalker is RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF HER!!! OH MY KITTY GOODNESS!!! She immediately leaps forward from her sitting position only to find that the stalker dodges off to the side and backward. She twists in the air and attempts to follow, only to find herself tumbling down the back of the couch, or - even worse - falling into the floor.

I think that so far all she has managed to reasonably determine about this character is that it's suspiciously fuzzy. One might even call it furry. And it apparently never sleeps, because whenever she's awake the fuzzy interloper is there... lurking... (See startled expression below.)

Yes, okay, I tend to dramatize silly things when I haven't had enough sleep. For some reason this blog post occurred to me around 5:45 this morning when the cat was frolicking on my bed trying to catch her tail.

February 7, 2013


That was the first word out of my son's mouth when I picked him up from school on Monday. The conversation went like this.

ME: Hey you. How was school?
HIM: KITTEN!!!! (pause) Oh, yeah, hi mom.... KITTEN!!!!

See what he's on about is the fact that Sunday afternoon we finally brought home the kitten we've been planning to adopt pretty much since she was born in late November. The Chamaco was utterly thrilled to finally, finally have a cat again after 3 years of living in a no pets allowed apartment and then another seven months or so of me not wanting to get one because we didn't really have enough space. Moving to Milwaukie fixed that last problem, and then it just happened that a cat belonging to one of my coworkers produced exactly one kitten. Even before kitten was born we were discussing the possibility getting one of the kittens. Then it turned out there was only one to get, so we sort of got dibs.

This is Squeak when we first met her. We went over to visit her a day or two after she figured out the walking thing. It's always good to meet potential pets before you bring them home... you know, to make sure you don't hate them or vice versa. Though you just can't hate a month old kitten, really. Squeak, by the way, is so named because she doesn't really meow in the traditional sense (at least not yet). She makes more of a squeaking noise. Particularly at 4:15 AM, which she seems to think is a great time to wake up and jump on faces.

Anyway, as I said, we brought Squeak home on Sunday afternoon (or, more accurately, we had her delivered to our house). She spent most of Sunday afternoon hiding in small spaces, which I thought was a pretty natural reaction for a tiny kitten used to a small apartment with a few other cats who has suddenly become the only cat in a rather large apartment. She seemed to favor the top of my scanner under the computer desk (which, incidentally, is where she is now). Oh, and by the way, she's a little bigger now.

It's been kind of fun to watch her adjust. She spent Sunday night in bed with me, which is how I learned that she likes to wake up at 4:15 AM and chew on fingers and attack faces. Monday night the Chamaco begged to have Squeak sleep in his room. I said fine, but he had to leave the door open so she could get out if she wanted, and if she left he couldn't go get her and bring her back. She didn't leave. And she woke up at 4:15 AM and wanted to chew on his fingers and attack his face. He told me after I got up that morning that he thought maybe he didn't want her sleeping in his room anymore for a while. But Squeak doesn't like to be alone much, you see, so Tuesday night she was back in bed with me. At least when I went to sleep. When I woke up at 6:45 she was gone. I figured she couldn't have gone too far, though, so I got up and got dressed and went about my business. And when I went in to get the Chamaco up for school I found her. On his pillow. Curled up peacefully and not chewing on his face. I thought that was progress, but the Chamaco said last night that he still didn't want her in his room while he was sleeping, so I told him he was going to have to actually close the door if he didn't want her in there. He didn't love that idea... he has never, ever slept with the door closed in his entire life. I think, though, that he saw the inescapability of my logic and he let me close the door.

I took Squeak with me when I went to bed last night. She fell asleep on my head, and I had a vague recollection that at some point during the night she had been purring (which I hadn't yet been able to get her to do), but I thought maybe I dreamed that part. I guess, however, that during the night she also wandered over to visit the Old Curmudgeon, and he reported to me this morning that he also had her purring, so it seems maybe I didn't dream that part. I guess she's just decided she likes sleeping on our heads. And she didn't start chewing on my fingers and attacking my face until about 6 today, so she's adjusting.

Really I've missed having a cat. I had forgotten how much having a kitten is like having a toddler, though, in the sense that they wake up really early and want to play, and they sometimes get so wrapped up in play that they don't realize they have to pee until it's too late to make it to the potty. Oh, and the whole needing constant attention thing. 

Oh, and Squeak has a Hitler mustache. I'll try to get a decent pic of her face one of these days.

Song o' the Day: "Kitty" by The Presidents of the United States of America

January 31, 2013

Dumber than advertised...

And with that title, I am of course referring to... myself.

Every now and then, life has a way of teaching you that you're not as smart as you thought you were.

We got a new stackable washer/dryer unit in December (after our last one croaked on day 31 of the 30 day warranty). After examining it extensively, the Old Curmudgeon and I came to the conclusion that new dryer did not have a lint trap. It seemed odd to both of us... don't they have to have those? But no, we (two former TAG kids, mind you) could not find it, thus it did not have one.

Over the last few weeks of steadily decreasing dryer performance, today I resolved to look up the user guide on the internet. Sure enough, there's a lint trap. Right there in the back of the dryer. Old Curmudgeon and I had looked right at it and passed over it, not realizing that those two little holes there were intended to stick fingers in for the purpose of removing said lint trap from the rest of the dryer. I guess we thought they were just vent holes.

Anyway, I cleaned out the trap and this is what I turned up:

The larger chunk of lint on the left, by the way, is almost two inches thick, about nine inches long, four inches wide and fairly solid. That's what was in the trap itself. The rest I cleaned off of around where the trap is supposed to go. It is an absolute miracle that we morons have not burned the place down around ourselves in the last month of not cleaning out the lint trap because we didn't believe it existed.

I submit this experience as proof that something you don't think exists can still affect you. Or even kill you.

Oh, and for those that care, we're slowly feeling better. I made it through a whole two hours at work yesterday... gonna shoot for three today. ;-)

Song o' the Day: "Rain Over Me" - Pitbull featuring Marc Anthony. Why, you ask? Because Zumba class has gotten it stuck in my head, that's why.

UPDATE, 11:50 AM 1/31/13: The next load of clothes I put in the dryer after cleaning the lint trap got dry on the first go. The dryer wasn't malfunctioning after all... we're just morons.

January 30, 2013

Mongolian Death Flu...

My household has been suffering the Mongolian Death Flu for almost two weeks now. (Please note, "Mongolian Death Flu" is just a name I made up and is not the name of an actual epidemic as far as I am aware. Please do not panic and/or call the CDC.) We're being a good family and taking turns with it, but at least one of us has been sick at all times since January 18th. It's a lovely virus that starts with fever/chills and lack of appetite/energy and then transitions seamlessly into coughing up various internal organs while not being able to breathe or speak. It's also a deceptive little virus, as we've recently learned, because just when we thought we were shaking it off, we all relapsed back to square one (fever/chills, etc.).

I'm planning on going to work today for the first time this week, and honestly I have no idea how good of an idea that is. I'm feeling about 60% of normal capacity today, which is the highest I've been since Friday evening (today is Wednesday, by the way). Sunday I was at about 10-15%. What that means is that I slept all night Saturday night, slept almost all of the day Sunday (I was awake maybe 5-6 hours total, but not all at once... my longest stretch of consciousness was 3 hours between 8 and 11 PM), and then slept all night Sunday night. I texted the Old Curmudgeon this morning to see how he's doing, and he told me he had given up on work today and was going home. Already. At 8:30 AM. Not encouraging.

So if anyone has been wondering why you haven't seen us out and about for the last couple of weeks, this is why. We're all over here trying not to die, with varying degrees of success. The Chamaco has been going to school, albeit with a bad cough, and he's doing the best so far. I'm going to leave and have a go at the going to work thing in about ten minutes here, so wish me luck...

Song o' the Day: "Sick" by Evanescence (relevant in title only, given that it's not actually about disease)

January 19, 2013

Yesterday... (a reflection on 2012 inspired by my boss)

(Today all songs included in the blog post will be by Lacuna Coil in honor of 1.19.)

(Swamped - Lacuna Coil) Yesterday I got one of those lovely visits from my boss at work. Something about my office sliding down the hill thanks to TriMet. (Ramon jokes that I should tie a rope around my waist and tie it to something in the main office just in case... such a kidder!) This has happened before, mind you. (My boss visiting me, not my office sliding down the hill.) Usually it's an unremarkable occasion... she usually finds at least one or two things she wants done this week, I write it down, and done... she goes back to the corporate office. I made two mistakes yesterday, though. I did my hair and wore makeup.

First she wanted to look at me, which involved staring pretty intently at my general head area for a long moment, then she had to feel my hair, comment on my new haircut (thanks Adrianne!), comment on my new highlights (thanks me!), and then commence the gushing.

"You're just a knockout! A knockout! You've just blossomed since you've been working here!"

"Well yeah," I said. "That's because I had to get an entirely new wardrobe after I started working here. This time last year I was auditioning for rock bands and most of the clothes I had were more suitable for that than this."

"WHAT?! You never told me about that before! What do you play?" (Senzafine - Lacuna Coil)

"Actually I was auditioning to be the vocalist."

"WHAT?! (If you knew my boss, you would recognize this noise, BTW.) You can sing??"

I shrugged. "Well, I'm not 'operatically trained' like Christine but I do what I do pretty well."

"But that's a totally different thing!"

And just when I was beginning to think she might make me sing something one of the machines outside my office window started violently shaking the office and she got distracted and apparently forgot all about me ever being anything but her employee. Fair enough. But it was enough to get me thinking about it.

A year ago Monday I did something I'd always wanted to do but had always been too scared to do... I auditioned to be the vocalist in a rock band. Some of you may remember my post about that (or you can go back and find it if you want). (Cirle - Lacuna Coil) I'd actually made the appointment to do it sometime in late December and actually managed to forget about it for nearly a month, then about two days before I remembered and commenced to freak out. I almost thought I was still too scared to do it, but I did it anyway.

For those of you who don't remember, it was one of the best experiences of my life. Even though I wasn't chosen, I had done something I'd always been too chicken to do even though I really wanted to do it, and the outcome had been pretty positive. One of the guys in the band told me that I definitely had talent and even if they decided to go with someone else I should "definitely keep doing what I'm doing". And they gave me a bunch of the band's stickers and a demo CD and a t-shirt for the Chamaco (this was a band that had actually been offered a record deal before with their previous vocalist, who I think is actually back with the band now after the band had a brief run with the guy who got picked over me). (Aeon - Lacuna Coil) Overall, though, it was a really positive experience for me and got me thinking... if I can do this thing that scared the crap out of me and have it turn out so well, what else that scares me might I be able to do?

I was pretty much feeling invincible after that, and I remember trying to explain the feeling to my mom on the phone. And it was that feeling of power following that experience that led me to audition for a couple more bands and start throwing out job applications left and right, for once sure that someone would give me a chance to prove that I could be something more than I was currently being. (I Don't Believe in Tomorrow - Lacuna Coil)

One of those applications led to me to be hired as an apartment manager, which caused me to leave behind all that had been familiar for the past 19 years. So if you think about it, really, much of what I am and what I have today can be directly linked to the fact that at this time last year, I auditioned for a rock band. (My Spirit - Lacuna Coil) So I still have a special place in my heart (and my iTunes) for Still Measure, even though my only connection with the band now is that I'm friends with the lead guitarist on Facebook.

These thoughts have led me to think about where I was a year ago. I was still working for Head Start, still living in a HUD subsidized apartment in Molalla, still living paycheck to paycheck, had just about given up on men entirely (except as potential bandmates, naturally) and was spending more time in the stories I was writing than in my real life because the stories were way more interesting. Fast forward to now... I have a totally different career, am living in the second new apartment I've had within the last 12 months, I generally have $300-400 still left in my bank account when I get my next paycheck (this is unheard of... I used to be vigilantly trying not to overdraw my account), (Comalies - Lacuna Coil) I have a boyfriend who I'm pretty sure will be around long-term because he was/is my best friend, and I don't have time to write anymore! (Aside from the occasional blog post, of course.)

Do I think I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing now forever? No. But I definitely will keep doing it until the next better thing comes along. I think actually Lacuna Coil is saying it best in the song that just came on:

Today I'm gonna fly
There's nothing that can keep me on the ground
Touch the sky
I'm free inside

I'm free to do what I like, I'm celebrating my life
I'm free to be what I like, I'm celebrating my life
I'm gonna get what I like, I'm celebrating my life
(I Like It - Lacuna Coil)

And for those that wonder, Lacuna Coil has a song from one of their earlier albums called "1.19". Why on earth it's called that I don't know (I'm sure the story is out there if you care enough to dig for it, but I don't), but now 1.19 (January 19th) is Lacuna Coil day. : )

Song o' the Day: I Like It by Lacuna Coil. See/hear it here. It's a pretty funny video, actually. Watch it.

January 12, 2013

Panda Epiphany....

I had an epiphany last night. At the Panda Express on McLoughlin. And yes, it was slightly painful. But let me explain first how I wound up at Panda having epiphanies in the first place.

See, Friday night is usually date night for me and the Old Curmudgeon (which is my new blog name for my significant other... he'd get a kick out of that, trust me. Also "Mr. Cranky-Pants", which is what I usually call him to his face, is harder to type for some reason). The reason date night is on Friday is that the Chamaco generally spends Friday nights at my mom's house, and it's cheaper to eat out when there are only two of us as opposed to three. Yes, we are jerks like that, thank you.

Anyway, the Old Curmudgeon had a burning desire to go to Panda. Something about Shanghai steak. Me, I can take or leave steak, and I was sort of "meh" about the idea of going to Panda, but I didn't have a strong inclination to go much of anywhere else either so I figured I'd humor him and went along. This is called "keeping the peace", and I don't think I had much of a knack for that a decade or so ago when I was last in a serious relationship. Of course, I was 19/20 then as opposed to 29/30 too.

So anyway, back to Panda with a minimum of side trips now. (Hopefully.) I got the 2 entree platter, and I had fried rice, mandarin chicken, and honey-walnut shrimp. Anyone who has been to Panda ever can now probably picture exactly what was on my plate. On a whim, I got 3 potstickers as well. (Usually I get the chow mein instead of the fried rice, but I was feeling a little weird last night anyway, which maybe should have been a warning about the epiphany.) We filled up our drinks, sat down at a table, and started eating.

I compartmentalize, and tend to eat one food at a time for some reason. So I polished off the mandarin chicken and was probably about halfway through the honey-walnut shrimp when I had the epiphany. I felt a slight nudging in my cerebral cortex (or somewhere in my brain anyway) and looked around to see what was going on. My digestive system timidly raised its hand and cleared its throat. "Excuse me, Lord Brain," it said hesitantly. "We're... we're all full down here. We actually sort of don't need to eat the rest of that."

I paused in my eating to listen in on the conversation as my brain sputtered about in surprise for a moment, took a quick peep out through the eyeballs to survey the contents of the plate, then bellowed, "Nonsense! The shrimp isn't gone yet! That stuff costs an extra dollar, you know!"

"But... but... there's... no more room in the stomach!" my digestive system stammered. Clearly it was terrified of incurring my brain's wrath but for once had decided to stand up for itself.

"We haven't even touched the potstickers yet! And the shrimp's not gone!" the brain said firmly. And it ruthlessly shoved my digestive system's voice back to wherever it had come from. And just to spite the little upstart for daring to speak out of turn,we finished the shrimp. And the potstickers. And the fried rice. Because we are a fat slob, that's why. And no, we didn't feel too great about it afterward.

I bet you're wondering where the epiphany was in that. Well, I don't know if conversation was just sparse since the Old Curmudgeon was busy filling his face with Shanghai steak or what, but this was the first time I'd actually heard that conversation take place between my brain and my digestive system. And yes, I dramatized it, but that's what they would have been saying had they been speaking with words. I assume this conversation happens pretty much every time I eat a meal and I never do hear that voice, which is why I'm as big as I am. It wasn't until I was lying in bed last night reviewing the day's events in my mind that I thought, "You know, if I paid more attention to that voice, I might not be as fat as I am." (This was ephiphany #2.) And I resolved to start trying to listen for that voice.

So this morning after I climbed out of bed around 10:00 (hey, it's Saturday and I don't have to work until 1, so there), I took a bath (again, Saturday, don't judge) and wandered out into the kitchen to find foodstuffs. I am not real fond of breakfast foods in general, and I tend to have either fruit or something more lunchy for breakfast. Today it was the latter, as I settled upon a can of Campbells vegetable soup. Maybe you will all think I'm a disgusting fatso after reading this, but I generally have no trouble putting away an entire can by myself. With cheese and crackers. Today I heated up the soup, put some crackers in it (decided to skip cheese) and headed for the table.

I was eating in rather contemplative silence (Chamaco is at my mom's, remember?) and sure enough, just about halfway through the bowl of soup I get a weird sensation in my stomach and a little nudge in my brain again. "Hey... we're done down here. No more!"

I took one more bite, which I chewed very thoughtfully for longer than was probably necessary, and looked down into the bowl and contemplated the soup. No, I decided, it actually didn't look as appetizing as it had ten minutes ago. And if I really thought about it, it didn't quite taste as good either. I have read before that these are both signs that you're done with the eating thing, so I put the bowl off to the side and reached for my laptop.

And this is where I sit right now. At my kitchen table, half-eaten bowl of soup to my left, laptop directly in front, and glass of water to my right. (Glass of water, by the way, was refilled 3 times during the course of eating half a bowl of soup, for some reason. Am I dehydrated as well?) And I don't quite know what to do with said half-bowl of soup. No one else is around to offer it to. Throwing it out seems kind of wasteful, but I know that if I cover it and put it in the fridge, it will probably just grow mold and no one will eat it, and then I will throw it away. (The Chamaco, for whatever reason, does not like to eat leftover anything.) However, I do not really want to eat it just so it doesn't go to waste, because my stomach told me pretty clearly that it didn't want anything else. (Traitor.)

So maybe I've stumbled upon a breakthrough in my lifelong (and by "lifelong" I mean, "since I was about six") struggle with food and weight. Maybe I've just got to listen for the little voice that tells me, "Hey! No more of that, jerkface!"

The Old Curmudgeon and I have been spending some evenings lately watching a British TV show called Supersize vs. Superskinny. Basically the premise of the show is that they get one hugely obese person (usually close to 400 lbs. if we calculate out how many stone that is, because they do weight funny in Britain) and one underweight person (usually 110 lbs or less... lowest I've seen so far was 85), and they put them in a house together for five days. During those five days, the fat person can only eat everything the underweight person would normally eat (which is sometimes nothing at all for some meals), and the underweight person has to eat everything that the fat person normally eats at every meal (or give it their best go, anyway). It's sort of a mutual learning thing... usually by the end of the 5 days the fat person has learned that they can get hungry and they don't actually die, and they have learned by watching the skinny person attempt to choke down their meals that they have been eating WAY too much. The skinny person, meanwhile, usually learns to try new foods (the skinnies tend to have extremely limited diets like only fruit, or even in one case only chocolate... generally there is at least one food group they've eliminated completely) and eat somewhat larger portions. It's sort of weirdly fascinating, even though having watched most of two seasons now I'm sort of getting to the point where I want to see someone fail... come back after the 12 weeks of following the doctor's eating plan and not be fatter/skinnier than they were before and glowing with good health. Of course, I'm a jerk like that.

I'm also doing karate classes with my son on Tuesday nights and have finally found a Zumba class that mostly works within my schedule (I have to go there directly from work, but I can do it). I've already got the exercise piece falling into place nicely, so maybe if I can figure out the stupid food part, I might start seeing some changes. Who knows?

Song o' the Day: "End of Time" by Lacuna Coil. The video for which (viewable by clicking on the song title over there) was cleverly released right before December 21st, 2012. Not on the 21st, of course, because if the world had actually ended nobody would have seen it. Can't take that chance! This is a slower song for Lacuna, and definitely not their most exciting video, but I still like the song.