Just Kidding!

Ruth has NOT left the building. I repeat...

Ruth has NOT left the building. I repeat…


So I flew out to CA a couple weeks back to meet the gang at my new job before taking the next step of moving out there some time this summer. Got a chance to check out the digs, get to know the neighborhood a little, and meet the awesome peeps from the other end of all those Skype sessions. Woot!

The place was great, the people I’d be working with rocked, the job itself was fun and totally different from anything I’d done in the past, I’d been able to re-home the ferrets in prep for the move, I had a potential buyer for most of my furniture, and I’d have friends to stay with in Pasadena until I found a place out there of my own. Success!!

Cue: Changes to the position wherein a move is no longer required.

Cue: No longer moving to California.

Ha ha.


This is, uh, pretty much all I have to say about this.

As you were.

I’m Moving!


Meanwhile in California...

Meanwhile in California…

A few weeks ago I got a call from a friend in LA about an opening for a Social Media Something-Or-Other position at a company he works with. Two phone interviews and a few screen-shares later, and here I am packing to move and start my new gig as Ruth Arnell: Something-Or-Other.

The company is located in Ontario, California, which, near as I can tell, is the West Coast’s answer to Cudahy. They’re just south of Rancho Cucamonga, which I learned last week is an actual place, and about 35 miles north-east of Disneyland.

Now — I haven’t looked into it too much yet, but I’m fairly certain their proximity to The Mouse obligates me to “work from Disneyland” at least once, while spending the entire day Tweeting about how hard it is to type with my fingers covered in churro sugar.

Ain’t even sorry.

Oh man. Now that I just announced my plans publicly I’m panicking that Something-Or-Other HQ is gonna call me up tomorrow and be like “Yeeeeah heeeeey. About packing for that move. Maybe… don’t bother?”

Luckily there’s not a whole awful lot for me to do with them remotely right now, so I figure I’m safe for the time being from them discovering what they’re in for and changing their minds.

Ruth Trio

Namely: Child sacrifice, Snoods, and Citrus Hulk.

And if they did change their minds and I stayed in Milwaukee, it’d just mean I’d get to keep on keepin’ on with all y’all fine folks around here, and that’d be alright by me too!

I don’t have much in the way of a long-term plan beyond:

  1. Move to California with whatever fits in my car.
  2. Learn everything I can about my new job and be awesome at it.
  3. Be a Ghostfacer with Sarah at ComicCon. Or maybe just around the apartment.
  4. Find an apartment.

I do know, however, that I shall miss my family and friends here in the Midwest just terribly, and that I am not above using guilt trips to coerce them into flying out for a visit. So you know – get ready for that. And bring cheese curds.

I’ll be traveling for most of June (stay tuned for Virginia Road Trip pics of my mom and Mimi cementing their spots as The Coolest People Ever!), but will return to the Milwaukee area on the 22nd (exhausted and probably broke). I don’t have a set date for when I’ll be moving, but I’m eager to dive into this new gig. All that to say: My remaining time in Wisconsin is probably somewhat limited.

Want to keep in touch while I’m away, or follow along with my travels? I’ll be blogging about everything from here as usual, as well as posting more frequent updates via Twitter and Instagram. I love reading all of your comments and replies so keep ’em coming!!

Crash Course: Living Room

So far the most fun part of moving has been setting up my new “living room.” There’s just something about getting a fresh start with organizing my bookshelves that leaves me feeling all giggly and excited!

If we’ve been friends for any significant amount of time you are most likely already familiar with my love of organizing and list-making. If we haven’t known each other long, or we have but you were too distracted by my ferrets to notice, no worries; consider this your crash course.

Living Room, View 1: Desk

Click to embiggen

Colored Boxes

  • Red: Philosophy
  • Pink: Education
  • Orange: Writing
  • Yellow: Crossword Puzzles
  • Green: Journals, notebooks, stationary
  • Dark Blue: Dream dictionaries and theory
  • Light Blue: Dictionaries
  • Dark Purple: Language, style guides
  • Light Purple: Grammar textbooks, poetry/ prose collections/ reviews

White Circles (L to R)

  • A picture of Jenny K. and me after a performance of The Actor’s Nightmare at Carroll University. We played Sarah and Ellen, though Lord knows I can’t remember who was who any more.
  • A ceramic piggy bank I got at an Irish fair with my high school boyfriend; Susan, the talking Aflac duck I got from one of their reps peddling their wares at a former job. I got her for answering a question correctly. When I answered a second question correctly the rep offered me a larger duck. *pfft* As if I could part with Susan!
  • A seashell my friend Sarah M. brought back for me in high school from her family’s vacation to Florida, during which her appendix burst. Whoops!
  • The Orrefors candle holders my great-grandma Ruth brought over with her from Sweden. My parents passed them down to me last Christmas.
  • A picture of the ladies of The Actor’s Nightmare: Jenny K. (Sarah? Ellen?), Mariya G. (director), Kate G. (Meg), me.
  • A flower-covered woven thing I wore on my head for the Ophelia costume I wore to a party at Corey R.’s house in high school.

Living Room, View 2: Bookshelves

Click to embiggen

Colored Boxes

  • Red: Fiction, literature study
  • Pink: Poets and poetry
  • Orange: Sociology, miscellaneous non-fiction, politics
  • Yellow: Gender studies; CDs
  • Dark Green: Remodeling, house styles, interior decorating; a gigantic dictionary
  • Light Green: DVDs
  • Dark Blue: Fiction
  • Light Blue: Arty things
  • Purple: Videos (The rest are inside the cabinet below.)

White Circles (L to R)

  • Votive candle holders I got from my Uncle Steve years ago. He also gave me a decorative bag of scented, orange votives to go with them, which I’ve hesitated to burn since he passed away last December. I know they’re just candles, but it feels strange to think of using up something that cannot be replaced.
  • A baby walrus on its mother’s back. This ceramic beauty has been in my collection for over twenty years now. It set me back a whole buck at the local dollar store on a shopping trip with my Mimi when I was about seven years old. I don’t know what prompted me to buy it, though the interest I would later develop in The Beatles certainly made room for it.
  • A long dead lighting instrument I grabbed (with Scott B.’s permission!) from the upper storage space at Carroll University during a work day. I have two of them, actually. I like to think about all the exciting moments they lit up, all the stories that are never retold the same way twice, all the effort and laughter and tears. I won’t keep them forever, but I’ll keep them for now. They’ve seen so much. More than you or I ever will.
  • A stuffed pig my mom received from a student ten or so years ago. Somehow I ended up with it.
  • My senior year of high school our theatre department attended a theatre workshop at Wisconsin Lutheran College. One of the available sessions dealt with mask-making and masked performance. I hadn’t planned to take that class, so my attendance turned out to be one of those “happy accidents.” I believe Deborah Solomon-Phillips led that session. Every part of the exercise taught me something. I settle the mask onto my face every couple of years to see if it still fits. It does, but only on the outside.
  • A light saber from a friend and former employer, Jennifer C. Yes, everyone at work had one. Yes, we had battles with them when we were done having Koosh wars and playing hide and seek.

Living Room, View 3: Couches

Click to embiggen

Colored Boxes

  • Red: Miscellaneous books
  • Pink: Photo albums
  • Orange: Records

White Circles (L to R)

  • A picture of Jenny K. and I at the Carroll Players’ annual Theatre Banquet her junior and my senior year. She has always been just the cutest stinkin’ thing. Love that girl.
  • Somehow I ended up with two of Jennifer’s light sabers…
  • A wire basket of dried flowers from Donna D. Ah, but from which show, which show…
  • Stitch.
  • A purple Ao Po’i table runner I bought with Christie H. at a shop in Itauguá (though it may’ve been elsewhere; those last few days are a bit of a blur!) during my trip to Paraguay this past January.
  • Joey.
  • A picture of Amanda H., Brent J., and me at the Blood Center  on September 11, 2001. Everyone wanted to do something helpful, something positive, something proactive… but what? The lines at the center were long. We were put on a waiting list and told to come back hours later, which we did. They couldn’t tap my first elbow, so they bandaged it up and moved on to the other one. After drawing a pint of my spaghetti sauce blood they bandaged up that elbow, too, leaving me unable to bend my arms. You can’t see it in this zoomed out image, but in the picture Amanda is holding up my juice for me so I can drink from the straw.
  • A turtle candle Jessica C. gave me for my birthday some time during high school; a Speech Meet trophy for first place in Humorous Interpretation.

Is there anything one can possibly do on a computer that feels more mentally fulfilling than completing a detailed list?! Ahh… Refreshing as an ice-cold lemonade after a summertime lawn mowing!


I, uh– I haven’t ever actually mowed an entire lawn…

The bedroom still looks like it was attacked by sea monsters despondent over their banishment to land. But never fear, Nerdfighters: Further bookshelf pictures will make their way up here as soon as I’m done hanging up all my clothes and sorting my non-fiction!

Hacia la glorieta

Llama, my neighbor’s dolly. I paid C.O.D. for it– Cookies On Drop-off. Best lease agreement ever.

If you’ve tried getting in touch with me over the past couple weeks via email, texts, Facebook messages, voice mail, game requests, or showing up and banging on my door, there’s a fair chance I’ve pushed your patience to the limit with my lengthy reply times.

Sorry about that. See the thing is: I was busy moving.

Back into my parents’ house.

I wasn’t working, things were tight, and it was downright painful watching one carefully saved dollar after another get sucked up into rent payments. I gave my landlord my notice and spent the next two weeks in manic “cleaning/ packing/ hauling/ unloading/ dragging upstairs/ taking the empty boxes back to my apartment/ repacking them” mode, day in and day out until by the end I was ready to set up a dumpster under my balcony and shovel everything into it just to be done.

When you’re limited to a set number of packable containers and the back of a Toyota Matrix, moving can be a bit of a slow process. But thanks to the help of the fam and my boyfriend (who brought along a rental truck for my furniture; aww baby you get me the nicest things!) I was able to get everything moved out, and moved in, in the span of about ten days.

Dad and Aaron spent an entire Saturday being AMAZING HUMAN BEINGS! But don’t tell ’em I said that or I’ll owe those chuckle heads forever.

Mom even helped with the post-packing clean-up.

Get out of the way, vacuum. You are impinging on mom’s nap space.

And wouldn’t you know this is the sight that greeted us as she and I drove the absolute last carload of stuff to the house:

“Sunshine, cedar shakes, and rainbows! Everything that’s wonderful is sure to come my way…”

I have to say I’m pretty happy about the whole thing. My folks and I get along well so that’s not an issue, and I can’t even finish the sentence “Don’t wait up” without them interrupting to remind me they don’t care and to have a nice time.


I’ve moved my bedroom and half my books into my old bedroom in their upstairs, and my living room and the other half of my books into my brother’s old bedroom next door, while the upstairs bathroom now houses the 47,000 bottles of shampoos, lotions, creams, and solutions I’m currently working my way through. I get a spot in the garage, a dog to nap on my stuff, a yard to run around in, a patio to read on in the sun, a kitchen that fits more than one grown adult at a time, my parents’ company (I like ’em, what can I say?), a sizable living space in the basement for the ferrets, and a decided lack of drunk people passing out just inside the front door.


While I certainly miss the feeling of autonomy that accompanied having my own place, and while I am more than just a little broken up about not having the ferrets thieving their way in and out of our shared personal space throughout the day any more, I have to say this move seems to have been a GREAT thing for me to do right now and I’m really happy about it.

There’s been plenty more keeping me busy now that I’m moved in and mostly unpacked, but that’s best left for another post as it’s already almost midnight and something about living here makes me ready for bed at awkwardly early hours. (Case in point: I paused to yawn at least five times while writing that sentence.) I’m even taking naps again. It’s like my body realizes my brain feels safe and is ready to get healthy. And I like that.

I like it all.

Paraguay Blog #8: Maybe it’s something in the (ice) water

Paging Dr. Freud. Paging Dr. Freud. Your assistance is requested in the F Wing…

Last night I dreamed I was watching a football game on TV.

Good grief…

© Jeff Zelevansky, Getty Images North America

So anyway, I was watching this football game being played in Wisconsin during the dead of winter, so I suppose it would be safe to assume it was a Packer game. The field was covered in ice and several feet of packing snow, and was surrounded by tens of thousands of spectators filling the stands while two balding announcers  in outdated neckties commented on every last detail from their overhead vantage point in their special booth.

I was ready to “change channels” on this waste of a dream when the announcers began shouting excitedly about a football player who, upon being run out of bounds during a play, had fallen into a frozen pit at the edge of the field. Overhead cameras zoomed in, filming straight down into the abyss. The pit went down a good thirty feet before curving slightly, keeping the floor of the hole just out of view. There was a flimsy red, metal ladder hanging down into the hole, but it only reached down ten feet or so. Beyond that, anyone in that hole would be on their own.

Cheers erupted suddenly from the crowd as the football player, using nothing but adrenaline and pure strength, climbed up out of the pit and ran right back into the game. That is a person who knows the terrain. That is a person who belongs there. That, friends, is a hero we can count on.

Cue the National Anthem.

Click the image to read about a group of scientists who climbed into ice pits ON PURPOSE.

I had begun wondering what the point of this dream was when the announcers started snickering into their lapel mics, laughing and joking as the crowd pointed and hooted, rolling their eyes. It seems another man, a man working in some capacity along the sidelines, a man whose other job was as some sort of art teacher, had also slipped into the pit of snow and ice after being told by one of his superiors to jump across it.

“He’ll never get out of there!” The first announcer’s tone was shocked but gleeful.

“You’ve got that right,” responded the second. “So ah- what would you say those temperatures are like down in the pit there?”

“Oh I’d say it’s gotta be at least below zero, eh?”

“Oh you betcha. At least below zero. Maybe even less than that, eh?”

“Oh yeah. Yeah, at least. Or more. Yeah?”

“Yeah. Probably more. I just hope he can get out in time!”

More chuckling.

“Yeah, I hope so too. ‘Cause there’s no way they can get a rescue crew down there fast enough to save him before he dies from that cold. He’ll die down there in that ice pit, wouldn’cha say?”

“Oh yeah. Definitely. He’ll definitely die if he stays down in that snow too long. And all that ice? Yeah. I’d say he’ll probably be trapped down there too long and there’ll be no saving him.”

I wanted to wake up. It was all too uncomfortable and my brain was getting all squirmy. But I couldn’t. Not yet. I had to know if the man would ever escape the ice pit, so I carried on dreaming, refusing to let things go lucid and shuttering my conscious mind from whatever my subconscious mind was trying to work through.

Though God only knows that by this point I was pretty sure I had a lock on that “great mystery”…

The crew of the Endurance playing football out on the ice (© Frank Hurley)

The crowd was beginning to give up on the man in the ice pit, the man who was a mind finding its way in a world of muscle in an attempt to make ends meet, trapped in ice and snow so foreign and so lethal that it was already taken as a given he would not- could not- survive. The cameras were zooming out, and retreating. The players were lining back up to resume the game. The announcers were laughing their way back to more interesting banter about subjects like how far someone had thrown a thing, or how someone else had failed to catch it.

And then we saw him. Me, the crowd, the announcers– we saw an arm from the man in the pit as it clawed its way into view before the last camera finished moving away. The crowd held its breath. The man’s other arm inched higher up the wall of the narrow pit. He swung a leg out as he gained on the narrowest part of the pit near the top, pushing his back against one side and his feet against the other. Rescuers could have helped him at that point, but they didn’t even try. He had been as good as dead in their eyes. All this was just a bonus, just something to watch, his struggle mere filler before a commercial break during which he would be forgotten.

His hand flew up over the top of the pit, ice melting under his fingers before refreezing to his skin. Another moment’s struggle and he was free. Above ground. Safe.

But the crowd did not respond.

I wanted to tell the man to run, to get away from the pit, from the field, from that world where he did not belong, but of course I couldn’t. I was just a spectator myself, as guiltily silent as the tens of thousands watching these events take place in person. Maybe the people in the stands were holding back because they, too, felt powerless in their position as spectators? Or was it because for them it was all simply something unexpected they were only casually trying to figure out?

Whatever the reason it soon didn’t matter, because just as I reached that moment of wanting to warn the man to leave, someone on the sidelines pushed him back into the pit. The announcers resumed their babbling. The crowd returned their attention to the field. The players locked their eyes back on the ball.

He would be forgotten.

But not by me. Not even after I woke up.


Incidentally, when Googling the phrase “ice pit” the first result was for a place in Wisconsin where one can intentionally climb ice