Work

Just Kidding!


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

Ruth has NOT left the building. I repeat…

Surprise.

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.

Ha.

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

As you were.

I’m Moving!


Surprise.

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!!

Of Exercises and Escape Dreams


 

I was looking for a book at the library. I found it, but the cover art and dust jacket description totally turned me off so I took home the book next to it instead; I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was, by Barbara Sher. Don’t feel badly, Other Book; it happens.

I Could Do Anything… description from Amazon:

A life without direction is a life without passion. The dynamic follow-up to the phenomenal best-seller WishcraftI Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was (the New York Times Bestseller) guides you, not to another unsatisfying job, but to a richly rewarding career rooted in your heart’s desire. And in a work of true emancipation, this life-changing sourcebook reveals how you can recapture “long lost” goals, overcome the blocks that inhibit your success, decide what you want to be, and live your dreams forever!

As many of you know I’ve been looking for a new job of late. There is always more than one reason to conduct such a search, and most of the time those reasons are uninteresting unless you’re a) the one experiencing them, or b) the one asking about them in a job interview, so I’ll spare you, Gentle Reader, by leaving them out. You’re welcome.

With my job search in mind I performed a few of the exercises in Sher’s book, then decided to go out on a limb- breaking every goal attainment rule in the process- and share my responses. I’m doing this because goodness knows I process information best when it’s weighed and measured in thoughtful discussion (I’m counting on you, Nerdfighters!), but also because I’m eager to read how youwould answer the following questions and can hardly ask you to share your responses unless I’m willing to share my own first. Right? Right.

Ready? Let’s go!

***************************

Chapter 3: Resistance, or What’s Stopping You, Anyway?

© Sam Brown

Exercise #1: Meaningful Work
Here Sher asks readers to write down what the world considers “meaningful work.” She goes on to say “…in the back of your mind is the thought that somehow you have to make a contribution to something, be acknowledged, do something that matters–or you’re just fooling around.” I wrote down what I consider “meaningful work” since, frankly, the idea of pursuing a path simply because the world considers it meaningful sounds exhausting and a little silly.

For work to be meaningful to me

  • It must involve creating something new, which will hopefully be acknowledged by its intended audience as 1) truly different from its alternatives, and 2) helpful.
  • It must involve working with people, either in person or through the written word, to help them understand something better, or appreciate and be enriched by something they hadn’t previously given much thought.

Exercise #2 Part A: The Job from Heaven
Sher instructs readers to include what the job entails, where it would be performed, and who it would be performed with, and not to “limit [themselves] with reality or practicality, because this is Fantasy Time.”

What…

  • Blogging about every day life
  • Travel writing on back road gems, Americana road trip culture, and introducing readers to towns that barely make it to the map
  • Publishing interviews/mini-biographies on “folks” I meet along the way. Not the rich, not the famous, just the folks.
  • Reading to kids at the library, homeschool groups, churches, etc.

Where…

  • On my laptop at the table in my ground floor hotel room with the curtains open no matter how drab the parking lot outside
  • In a notepad during walking tours
  • On my laptop at a large, clean desk in a home office. A home office with a door that locks, plenty of natural light, a love seat, a coffee table, an electric tea kettle, and lots of green and wood and overflowing bookshelves and a giant map of the U.S. painted onto one of the walls. A home office outside the big city, on the edge of a small town– maybe even just outside of it– but with easy access to the city, the library, the theatre, and maybe a local museum or two.

With Whom…

  • When writing I need to be alone, but when traveling I prefer the buddy system

I think I may have missed the point ever so slightly because “Fantasy Time” this ain’t. Is it too late to tack on something like “…and spend every other week riding horses in India and make $80 gajillion dollars a year”? Or should I just be glad that my dream job is more realistically attainable than, say Ballerina or Astronaut?

Exercise #2 Part B: The Job from Hell

What…

  • Processing bills. AP, AR, doesn’t matter. If I had my druthers I wouldn’t process payments.
  • Scheduling international travel itineraries
  • Customer service (for past-due payment collection) over the phone
  • Answering a multi-line phone
  • Being the final decision maker on things involving big costs and make-it-or-break-it deadlines
  • Business professional dress code
  • Long hours on weekdays, with lots of weekend shifts and mandatory overtime to top it off
  • Working for a company which creates goods or provides services I care nothing about, or which I actively dislike

Where…

  • In a cube farm surrounded by windowless gray or institution-green walls
  • In a large metropolitan area
  • In a building with more than four stories, or with a configuration that necessitates taking an elevator to my floor
  • In a room that’s always extremely loud or always silent
  • More than a half hour commute in bumper to bumper traffic

With Whom…

  • Intense, high pressure coworkers who start the day stressed out
  • Coworkers who are cool and stand-offish and who don’t want to sit with me at lunch or show me the ropes when I’m learning my job
  • Coworkers who are perpetually  dramatic, narcissistic, jealous, who harbor cruel opinions, and who are more mouth than eyes and ears
  • Screaming customers upset about issues I have no power to correct or change
  • So many coworkers I can never hope to know all their names
  • Supervisors who make politics part of the job, with the understanding that agreement is the first step to advancement

Two things struck me about the second part of this activity: 1) I was surprised (and slightly embarrassed!) at how much easier it was to come up with the things I don’t want, and 2) the “professional” skill set I’ve spent the last nine years developing lends itself to the kinds of jobs that fit this bill. Uh-oh…

Chapter 4: The Sure Thing

Exercise #1: What Are Your Escape Dreams?
Per Sher, “…make sure they’re true fantasies, and not practical in any way… Escape dream[s hold] a powerful clue to something you really need. It’s like a photo film negative of your life. Whatever in your life is missing, wherever a blank spot exists, it shows up in this fantasy. …[W]e should do something about what’s missing. Because if you don’t use that information to improve your life, you’re using escape dreams to help you avoid life.

Yeah, I can see that.

  • My escape dream involves having enough money in the bank that my needs are met; enough that I can afford to travel simply on a regular basis (road trips, trips to other countries where I could stay in friends’ homes or mid-range hotels); and enough to give generously to support charities and friends’ projects and dreams; all while being able to help family members in need and to put funds aside into a retirement account and into college funds for my kids.
  • In this dream I write, I read to kids, I act in plays, I road trip, I help community theatres in out-of-the-way towns to organize themselves and reach out to their communities, and travel throughout Latin America.
  • I live with my husband, kids, dogs, ferrets, and home library in a ranch house somewhere out West (not the coastal west; the north/central West) where the outside of my office door is painted to look like the TARDIS, and where we own acres and acres of land that will one day go to the kids. It’s land with hills and woods and open fields and creeks and animals you don’t want to run into at night, and there’s a fenced in area and a barn where I house transient livestock rescues for the local animal shelter, and a special room to house all my ferrets, and a tree which for some reason is always filled with crows.

My constantly recurring themes? Family, Security, and Writing. Okay you three, you’ve made your point.

Chapter 6: I Want Too Many Things; I’m All Over the Map

Exercise #1: Time Management for the Person Who Loves to Do Too Many Things
This exercise is geared toward people Sher refers to as “Scanners.” These are folks who “want to taste everything. … Because our culture values… specialization and determination, we too often think of scanners as people who simply won’t get down to work. This is a foolish cultural oversight. … We’re trained to believe that we only get one choice in our lives. But to scanners, one choice sounds like someone’s saying, ‘You can have a coloring book or you can have crayons, but you can’t have both,’ and they’re onto something. Scanners know that life is not stingy. If anything, life is too generous. The choices are dizzying. But there’s a way to manage the riches.”

Part 1. If you were ten people, what would each of you do with your life?

  1. Writer
  2. Teacher/Instructor/Guide
  3. Traveler
  4. Historian
  5. Actress
  6. Physicist
  7. Documentary Filmmaker
  8. Zoologist
  9. Wife and mother
  10. Something with independent ministry projects, focusing on providing education and technical training for children and young adults

Part 2. Quickly answer each of the following questions with one of your ten lives.

  • Which life can you devote yourself to this coming year?
  • Which life can you do when the first one is completed?
  • Which activities can you do for twenty minutes or less each day?
  • Which ones can you do on a weekend?
  • Which ones can you do once in a while?

Naturally I was able to match up bits and pieces- or sometimes even whole “lives”- to each of those questions. And that’s the trick, isn’t it? Being faced with the fact that if you really want to do something you can probably find- or make- time to pursue it? Given that I don’t have much of a natural inclination toward the sciences, and that some of these pursuits can take years just to get the degrees necessary to engage in them for profit and to create the necessary relationships and contacts to make them fulfilling, it’s clearly unlikely that I could pursue each of the above “lives” to its fullest professional extent. But that’s okay too, because if I achieved some of them on a professional level I’d have to spend a great deal of my time doing *mostly* those things, and that wouldn’t satisfy my inner scanner either!

***************************

The book is 322 pages long and I’m only up to page 187, so I can’t speak for the whole thing. What I’ve read so far, though, has provided a thoroughly worthwhile reading experience filled with useful advice and approachable anecdotal support for the author’s opinions. It’s a charming, simple enough read, and I’m looking forward to working my way through a few more of the exercises, particularly those in Chapter 13: A Rage Against the Ordinary, and Chapter 14: The Red Herring, or Trying Hard to Love Something You Don’t Really Want.

I’d love to hear your answers to one, a few, or better still to all of the above exercises. If you’re up to playing along you can leave your responses in the comments, or provide a link in the comments to wherever you’ve answered them elsewhere. I can’t wait to read what you have to say!

March Err


When did I get to be such a Lazy Lou about posting regular updates? *tsk tsk* Lest ye think all I’ve done the past couple months was befriend the sad and the sleepy, a March highlight reel…

These are my parents:

Zen and the Art of Taking Mom For A Ride On Dad’s Motorcycle

Aren’t they cute? I love them. I mean: I really, really love them. A lot. They’re a wonderful example of a happy marriage, they’ve been great about encouraging me in my interests and pursuits without pushing anything on me, they give terrific advice, and they both know their way around a birthday cake. And look at how happy my mom looks! I’m hoping we’re able to go on another road trip together some time this Summer.

The other week they invited Aaron and I over for chili cheese dogs. There is always time for a chili cheese dog.

Cue Drool Faucet

There is always time for any kind of dog, really.

That Patches sure likes her some Aaron.

Things there is always time for: Chili dogs, any kind of dogs, books, and ferrets. Or to save time: booksandferrets.

Wesley picking out a bedtime story.

It hasn’t been all high-fat lunches, weasel story-hours, and motorcycle rides, though. I did manage to find time to work (a little) every now and again.

“Hey Ruth! Look over here!” “What? Oh.” *smile* “Okay. Back to work.”

I’ve never owned steel-toe boots and a hard hat before. Had I known sooner how awesome I look in them I wouldn’t have waited ’til I was 30 to start wearing them. Ah the oversights of youth. I’m also really digging the quality and fit of these Carhartt pants, though it’s harder to find appropriate occasions to fit them into my social wardrobe than, say, the hard hat or the safety vest.

I’ve also been working- unofficially, for now- on making my way through all of Family Ties on Netflix. I’m a few episodes into Season 3 at the moment and am absolutely loving every minute of it. (Speaking of social wardrobes, I’d take Elyse Keaton’s in a heartbeat.) And just to prove I’m taking this job seriously:

“Nah. I don’t think anybody’ll notice ’em.”

See? I’m paying attention.

In conclusion: Yesterday I met a baby duck.

It was 3 days old and its wings were just little nubs of fluff! I was nearly overcome by cuteness!!

Happy trails.

Paraguay Blog #1: Whys and Wherefores


Even Brodie’s feet are punky.

“THAT IS UNWELCOME BEHAVIOR!” I yelled, extricating myself from my blanket nest on the couch.

This was my eighth such leap from comfort to stop my punkier ferret, Brodie, from trying to burrow through my zipped luggage. I scooped him up and flipped him onto his back on the carpet, looking him square in the eye. “You’ll rip the bag and my stuff will fall out and all the other passengers will laugh at me,” I explained. He responded by sticking his tongue up my nostril.

Ah motherhood.

The luggage in question is a wheeled orange and gray duffel bag, and it is about to travel 10,000 miles. As am I.

That’s right, folks; I am finally making a trip back to Paraguay, where I will spend four weeks staying with this gal, her husband, and their two awesome daughters.

I’ve been asked more times than I can count on 14 fingers why I’m taking this trip. Shrugging has yet to pass as an adequate response, which is too bad since it’s so much easier than fumbling around with words (inadequate) to explain (impossible) why I want (need) to go. I will still attempt the shrug response, but for those for whom that will not suffice, words:

The Simple Reason: It’s time for a refresher course

The family’s “missionary picture.”

It’s been 19 years since my family moved back to the States after living in Paraguay for two and a half years while my parents were missionaries there, and I’ve wanted to go back ever since. I just need to see it again, you know? I need to see the city and our old homes, to walk the streets we used to walk, to eat the food, to hear the accent, to smell the trees, to see the poverty, to see the wealth, to see the litter, to see the art, to hear the music, the buses, the kids, the street vendors. I want to see it again, but this time through adult eyes.

I’m also looking forward to hearing Paraguayan Spanish again. The majority of the Spanish speaking population in my area is Mexican and their accents are so different from what I grew up with that I’m often unsure if I’m hearing a new word, or just an old word in which all the letters are actually being pronounced. My Spanish has gotten pretty lousy from twenty years of only occasional use; I’m hoping being around it for four weeks will kick my brain-o back into el gear-o.

Plus: Have you ever been to Wisconsin in January? It’s bloody cold here! Time to get me the heck outta Dodge.

(… she said, as the temperature dropped to (an unseasonably balmy) 20° F while the wind howled through the iced branches of the barren trees outside her window, skeletal reminders that death by hypothermia is kept at bay only by a few inches of uncaring drywall and saggy insulation.)

The Complicated Reason: I– Yes.

Things are about to get a little stream-of-consciousness here. Bear with me.

I’m treading water. I’m uncertain. I’m faltering. I’m fading. I’m creating expectations for myself, assigning their creation to other people, and then chastising myself for failing to meet those expectations. I’m digging a pit, filling it with icy hose water, and treading, treading, treading…

I need to see something else. I want to see something else, but I also need to see something else. Someplace else. To immerse myself in places and things I once knew well and loved deeply, those places and things that once brought comfort but which were taken away before I was ready, before any of us expected them to go. Is it like that theory that kids who suck their thumbs do so because they were weened too soon? I look for substitutes and create false goals to make up for having lost prematurely those things I might have set as goals anyway.

I also need to see Christianity against the backdrop of another culture. I need to see what it looks like when big “A” America is stripped away and replaced by little “a” american-culture-in-the-form-of-Facebook-and-hipster-hair-as-owned-by-developing-nations. I need to see what we consider “church” here that also shows up in vastly-different-elsewheres. Is there something to be salvaged in whatever it is we’re all concluding is worth keeping? Are there conclusions we’re all drawing, all of us all over the world, about God, regardless of the cultural templates we lay over our daily lives?

Whatever that is, whatever that is that sticks across cultures, I need to spend some time with that, and in a place where I am forced to pay better attention, a place where I can dig into a little intentional listening. I am seeking a balm. More than a balm- a poultice, in the hope it will encourage my heart that it is possible to draw out the infection of fear and self-centeredness I have nurtured in myself the past several years.

How It Came About

A couple years ago I worked in claims reimbursement for a phase 1 durable medical equipment provider that specialized in continuous passive motion devices.

Yep.

The products were good ones, my coworkers were great, and I loved being able to clock out at the same time every day, a luxury I’d rarely been afforded up ’til then as I’d been working for small businesses for years. But the benefits of the job ended there as the work itself was almost unendurable. Not the actual bill calculation or information gathering, but dealing with the reactionary aggression of the people expected to pay those bills.

The ultimate black hat in claims processing: Continuous Passive Aggressive Motion (© Revolution Studios)

Here’s the thing:

The dark side of humanity isn’t reserved solely for bad guys in black hats.

It’s also found in 50-somethings SCREAMING into the phone that you- yes you, the cubicle monkey on the other end of the line– are the reason the health care industry is going down in flames. That you- yes you– are personally trying to rob them, are abusing the system, are stealing food from the mouths of their children, are depleting their kids’ college funds, are emptying their retirement accounts by allowing them months on end to pay the $20 in coinsurance they owe for a $16,000 equipment rental for which my employer will receive $200 total payment when all is said and done. They wrote down your name at the start of this phone call, smart-ass. They’re going to call your manager, know-it-all. They’re going to alert the Better Business Bureau, you lying ageist. They’re going to see to it that you’re fired, and that your employer is shut down, and that none of you people ever work again because you are thieves and evil and everything that is wrong with this country.

It was a nightmare. But it was a nightmare with a paycheck in an uncertain economy, so I willed myself to stay asleep.

My only escape during the work day was on my lunch break. I’d scarf down my Diet Mt. Dew and pb&j on my fifteen minute break in the morning, then spend my half hour lunch at my desk reading blogs from people who lived in Paraguay. I took such pleasure in seeing their pictures and reading their stories, especially missionaries’ blogs because their tales felt particularly familiar.

During one such lunch break I came across a blog from a woman living as a missionary in Paraguay with her husband and their two daughters. Over the next several months I plumbed her archives and read every single post, following this family’s adventure as it took them from the US to Peru to Paraguay. I left them comments, I shared their blog links, I even dropped a penny or two in the pot, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that what I really wanted to do, needed to do, was to meet these characters. (And boy are they characters!) I didn’t know how that could ever happen since there I was, nailed to a headset with screaming humanity shouting at me from the other end, but just in case: I started saving my money.

Me (far right) with a few of my co-workers after the “pack your desks and leave” announcement.

Fast forward to a sunny morning in April of 2010. A Thursday. My coworkers and I were called together and read a letter explaining that most of us were being let go, effective immediately. And so, after a year and a half, I was out of work once again.

Out of work, laden with free time, and coddling a growing desire to book a flight southward.

Since then I’ve picked up the odd job here and there being in commercials, helping my dad with roofing projects, and working for several months as a temp in an office with a fridge full of Diet Dr. Pepper. (Win!) A few bucks at a time I’ve added to what I squirreled away during my claim processing days, until I finally reached the point where I had both the time and the money to take this trip. One round-trip ticket purchase later and I’m on my way to meet a family of quasi-strangers 5,000 miles from home, eat an unhealthy number of empanadas, and sweat like it’s my job.

I’m probably causing permanent nerve damage to my smiley face-parts with how excited I am about this trip. I can’t wait to share the adventure with you here!

******************

P.S. Yes I have made arrangements for the ferrets, and yes I will have folks stopping by my apartment to check the mail and make sure no crazy people have tried to break in and steal any of my… laundry? second-hand hardcover 1970s fiction? poop scoopers?

See Change


When I told friends 2010 was going to bring changes into my life I had no idea how true that prediction would turn out to be. Now I kind of wish I’d thrown some specifics into that prediction, like “On May 1st I’ll help a 98 year old lady cross the street and she’ll thank me by making me the sole benefactor of her gazillionty dollar estate.”

Ah well. Next time.

Aaron and me at The Great Milwaukee Race

As it stands, I’m now a couple months in to seeing the fourth fellow down from the top, and am currently jobless after my employer outsourced my department to Missouri. You know what? It happens. I’ve also been attending church every week for several months now, and have begun a slow return to a lost love: reading for pleasure. I haven’t quite reached “Rachel Fox” levels of literary consumption, but I’ve still managed to work my way through a healthy (for me) stack of libros over the past couple of months. Feels good, folks. Real good. The final change so far is that I’ll be spending a few weeks this August in Honduras with Mimi. Don’t know what all we’ll be doing there yet; I’ll update y’all when I know for sure.

See? Change.

Speaking of all that book readin’, I stopped by Half Price Books today to take advantage of their store-wide 20% off Memorial Day sale. As promised, the rundown on my awesome finds:

For me:

  • Night by Elie Wiesel ($2.00): I know only that his work is powerful and that I should read more of it, so I’m reading this.
  • Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin ($3.00): I feel like I keep hearing about this book. Was it you? Were you talking about it to me? Anyway- I found it today for $3 so I picked it up. The guy who wrote it sounds pretty incredible. I’ll let y’all know if it’s as good a read as it seems like it’ll be.

4 books for 12.59. Yay!

Mimi in Honduras

For the Honduras trip:

  • Aprende a Escribir Letras ($0.25 a piece): I picked up 8 copies of this book at $0.25 each, which came to $1.60 with the current 20% discount. Woohoo! They’re 25 pages each on heavy, glossy paper so kids can trace the practice letters with crayon, then wipe the pages clean for re-use. They’re spiral bound, which I love because it keeps the books laying flat on the table while kids are using them. A super find!
  • ¿Dónde está el Jorobado de Notre Dame? ($0.50): This book is basically a Disney version of “Where’s Waldo” where you’re asked to locate various characters from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in the midst of bustling street scenes. I was hoping to find a good picture book to take along, so this is fantastic because what little writing there is here is in Spanish, and it’s good for a broader age range than some of the other things I found.
  • Enciclopedia de Oro: Tomos 1 (Apicultura a Bancos) y 2 (Ábaco a Apéndice) ($0.50 a piece): These short hardcovers are the first two books in an old encyclopedia series. I’m not too thrilled with the dated images (entirely illustrated, no photographs), but I like that the entries are about general stuff (King Arthur, astrolabes, the geography of Australia, etc.) so the information itself doesn’t appear to be dated. Still– I will probably end up leaving these two here.
  • Mi primer diccionario by Betty Root ($6.98): This one’s a hardcover book featuring a wonderful word selection with simple, helpful definitions accompanied by a sentence using the word in question. The accompanying illustrations are bright, cheery. Very nice little book.
  • Mi primer libro de números ($2.98): A paperback– finally! Packed with color color COLOR this book teaches numbers, shapes, colors, comparisons (bigger than, shorter than, etc.) with bright, simple illustrations.

13 children’s books for $11.31! Awesome.

Love, Sweet Potato

It has been– wow. Just such a day. Such a beautiful, beautiful– I am so blessed! So blessed. And I’m glad I’m in a place, in a state of mind, to be able to really soak it up, really enjoy every moment of it.

And today? Today was a Day to absorb through every sleepy, sunny, summery pore. The sun was shining in through all my wide open windows, the birds nesting in the tree outside my balcony were singing, the ferrets were bounding (and pooping) happily around the apartment, I found some great deals at an awesome book sale, then walked a mile and back into downtown Waukesha with Aaron for sandwiches at People’s Park. I am in an incomparably wonderful mood!

And now it’s time for s’mores and an episode of Father Ted before heading home.

See? Improvement. ;)

I kind of hate to see this day end, yet I can’t help but look forward to whatever kind of day tomorrow turns out to be. I figure tomorrow will be whatever tomorrow was always supposed to be, I’m just lucky to have had a day like today to precede it.

And I’m smiling.

A gift for my darling Freudians: A dream


The Gift: Wherein Ruth shares a dream she had last night which is instantly quite telling, and even more so with a brief overview of a few threads weaving themselves together in her waking life.

Keturah! Ben! Becca! Mandy! Help!

The Backstory: Work

About a month and a half ago I was asked to test up to the next level at work. If I didn’t pass: no harm no foul. Things would stay as they are, and I am happy with things as they are. I get to learn why most Medicaids deserve to be cursed into the ground, and to make friends with 20-somethings in Mumbai. What’s not to love? And if I did pass I’d get a small promotion and the work would only change ever so slightly. Ah, but there’s the rub: the changes would be ever so slight but ever so stressful given the mental requirements of some of the other things I’m working on.

So I didn’t take the test. It just wasn’t the time to run the risk of success.

The Backstory: Money

DSC02234

Joy's Broken Nose

For the past several months I’ve been going to extra lengths to save money. Not denying myself the nice shampoo from Walmart, nor the $1 novels and videos from Half Price Books, but still: I’m saving. I’m pocketing. I’m adding financial caution to the agenda. And my efforts have actually proven themselves somewhat effective, all things considered. And once my car is paid off in December (HALLELUJAH!!) I’ll be able to put even more money away every month.

But what am I saving for? I know there doesn’t need to be a specific *something* at the end of the Savings Rainbow for guarded spending to be a good idea, but it sure does help to have something to work toward. But what do people my age save for? Houses? Better cars? DJ Hero? I’unno. I’m not really looking to put down the kind of roots right now that owning a house would entail, nor do I have any desire to replace Joy, especially not now that after 5 long years of forking over buckets of cash to Toyota every month she’s almost mine outright. And DJ Hero? Please. I top out with Solitaire. This leaves me with two savings goals that actually mean something to me: Furthering my Education (which I just misspelled… twice…) and Travel.

The Backstory: Here it comes…

The education thing? That’s a topic for a different entry. Maybe one I’ll write in a few months. Or not. It’s a bit dull, so perhaps never.

The travel thing? I know where I want to go, but I don’t want to go alone. It’s just not how I operate. I know what I want to do, but I don’t think I’m useful enough to even bring it up. At least- not useful in the right ways. But I do want to go, write, take pictures, blog, help, maybe entertain a brief brush with malaria. I want to hop on a plane and enjoy lengthy layover after lengthy layover in Texas, Costa Rica, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina on my way to Paraguay where I will finally get to laugh when I see how short the walk really was from home to school.

But I continue to not make plans to go there because I am afraid it’s a stupid thing to make such plans. A silly thing. A silly thing to want so much to visit a place I lived so long ago and probably wouldn’t recognize, full of people I don’t know and who wouldn’t remember me. I was so young, you understand. Wider eyes have never graced a 10 year old. I feel like I haven’t earned the right to deserve a visit. Like I am only cool enough to be the one Yankee on the tour bus to know you don’t stir with the bombilla or you’ll get a mouth full of leaves.

Kids_mom_in_the_pool

In the backyard pool

And it was such a long time ago. Before Wasmosy, even. (But post-Stroessner, which with the hindsight of a 27 year old is rather fortunate I now realize.) So very, very long. Not as long ago as the white house on Linder Avenue in Midlothian, IL. Ah, but I want to see that again too. To knock on the side door by the kitchen and tell the new owners I dropped and broke a jar of spaghetti sauce right there on that very step. To show them where I sat by the heating vent watching operas and televangelists on our wood box TV set. To show them where my yellow desk used to sit in the pink bedroom. To show them where I wrote articles for the newspaper, solving all their crimes, peaceably calming all the grown-ups’ arguments. To show them the tree I climbed in the side yard; the one with dials carved into its branches; the one that was an airplane that flew me over the jungle.

One day I finally did fly over the jungle, but by that time I was no longer piloting myself in a summer of popsicles and cicadas. By that time I was being flown, listening to tapes on my very own Walkman, reading any and all chapter books having to do with horses. I hadn’t forgotten how to fly, I just didn’t need to do it for myself any more. Flight was now my reality, so my make-believe time could be spent on even wilder impossibilities, like seeing snow, or eating a pizza from Barraco’s.

Paraguay was where I learned I love to move. And somehow moving from Midlothian to Milwaukee wasn’t the same as moving from Chicago to Loma Pyta. Even Waukesha, WI to Canyon Country, CA wasn’t enough of a jump. It’s where I learned buying milk can be its own adventure. It’s where I learned heat and mosquito bites are survivable. It’s where I learned even the most passionate stubbornness cannot keep a sponge from absorbing.

Today my most passionate stubbornness cannot lead me to water. And I’m so thirsty.

The Dream:

In my dream last night I was at work when the phone rang at my desk. I put on my headset and clicked “Answer,” but before I could say anything I saw through my mind’s eye the two other people in the call: S, one of my coworkers, and D, a woman who works at the school I attended in Asuncion.

The thing you must know about S is that she’s charming. Friendly. A quick learner. Totally unpretentious, even in heels. A mother of two who, according to her Facebook “About Me”s loves all the right books, all the right movies, all the right music, and writing. She looks like she belongs on Mad Men. You wish she worked with you; she’s that cool.

The thing you must know about D is… is… Well now see: I don’t rightly know what you must know about her. She was never my teacher in grade school; we left before I ever had her. She knew my mother; my mother who also taught at that school and is so adorable in her classroom pictures you wish she was your mother; she’s that cute. I know D in that new “internet way” you know people these days as we’re now friends on Facebook. I look at her pictures, read her posts, and find myself liking the person she is, and the person she must’ve been then, and kind of wishing I could take her and my mother out for pumpkin spice frappuccinos to hear them talk about what I blindly, nostalgically, ignorantly dream of as “the good old days.”

I’m just rotten with nostalgia, kids. Absolutely over-flowing with the stuff.

But back to the dream. To the phone call. To the phone call I knew had only been intended for S, so why had my phone rung too? And why was I able to hear them and they were unable to hear me? I wanted to hang up, but it was such an odd pairing of people, of worlds, I couldn’t disconnect. I had to know what had brought them together.

And then I knew. And I didn’t know how to respond.

teachers in truck

Driving to the camp

D had called to offer S a job at the school as a teacher. S didn’t want to teach, and hadn’t applied for a job there, but she was being offered a job there just the same. A job and a chance to see things I wanted to see. A job and a chance to blog about things I wanted to blog about. A job and a chance to eat things I wanted to eat. They talked, they laughed, S turned down the position, they talked, they laughed. Listening in I laughed too. It was just such a pleasant conversation, even just to overhear.

Should I have felt jealous? I didn’t think so. I didn’t want any such job, any such contract. I didn’t even know if I wanted to be away for so long. I’d be alone, you understand, with no family or ferrets to comfort me. So I didn’t feel jealous.

Should I have felt excited? I didn’t think so. This new connection wouldn’t necessarily have any bearing on me or my activities. And I couldn’t be excited for S because she hadn’t wanted this in the first place. So I didn’t feel excited.

Should I have felt… wasteful? Maybe. Or something like it. Maybe that was it. I felt like there was some opportunity I’d misused. Some chance that had come up, perhaps once, perhaps repeatedly, which I’d ignored because it was easier.

Maybe the dream centered around work because it was there I had so recently, and so willingly, given up an opportunity for advancement in the name of ease and comfort during a stressful season. But isn’t life always stressful? Don’t you run the risk of missing out on everything if you wait for smooth sailing to make your next move?

Maybe the dream centered around my old school because it was there a switch was flipped inside me that taught me to love writing and acting, two things I have consciously built into my life ever since. Maybe it represents things I can still go after if I really want them, but which are not going to come calling me up and offering themselves to me on silver platters, and the roads to which will be neither easy to navigate nor cheap to travel.

I have this beautiful family that I love. The best, most beautiful, most lasting gift I’ve ever been given. I live in a friendly town, curiously navigable and relatively clean. I have a job that teaches me new things, pays the bills, introduces me to new people. I have ferrets that are playful, ridiculous, and soothing. I’m surrounded by more books than I’ll ever read, more CDs than I should’ve ever owned, and access to every piece of information- from grand to asinine- through my home internet connection. These things are enough, but I know the world is bigger than Waukesha and I’ve only got 60 years left to learn it. And yet I won’t explore Oconomowoc just for the heck of it on an empty Sunday afternoon.

But isn’t that always the way? Always something more you long for? Hope for? Dream about on restless Sunday nights? I dream of heat that makes me nauseated, diesel fumes that trigger my brain into thinking it’s lunch time, swimming with fish too dark to see, and empanadas.

I do not dream of Oconomowoc.

In Conclusion: Ferrets

Questions to Make You Rethink Your Blah Blah Blah


These questions have no right or wrong answers. Because sometimes asking the right questions is the answer.”

*dun dun duhhhh*

Okay, so hokiness aside? Some of the questions from the above linked page really are worth thinking about. Or blabbing on about in one’s blog. And some are so cliche one would be doing one’s readers a favor to remove them from said list o’ blabbing. There were 50 to begin with. Now there are 11.You’re welcome. They’re all a bit Facebook meme-y, but I don’t generally get this personal here on WordPress so I figured I’d go for it. Change of pace. Keeps you on your toes. Spices things up.

Etc.

My siblings and me in... '96?

My siblings and me, '96(?)

1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?

I falter for a split second whenever I’m asked my age. My instinct is to say 29. I’m actually 27. When I was 26 my instinct was to say 28. Eventually I say 27. But I feel 23. I think I’d go with 23. 23 was a good year. A fun year. An easy, beautiful, freeing year full of love and friends and living. I’d do it again. Not many years I’d say that about, but 23? 23 I’d do again.

6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

Something where I could help people. Something where I could set things up, get things running, bring people and information and resources together to improve living conditions, go new places, write about my experiences, hold people when they’re lonely, share joy with people when they’re happy. What’s that job called? Are they hiring? Would they want me? I could get better. I could be better.

7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

*pffffft* No. I believe in helping people, so in a very roundabout way I’m glad I’m getting their insurance claims processed, but wow is it a stretch to say I “believe in” processing medical claims. I believe in learning new skills, trying new things, meeting new people, acclimating myself to new environments, so in those respects I suppose I’d find fulfillment in just about anything I was doing provided I was actively doing it. But I think that’s what’s got me so unsettled these days- the fact that I don’t feel like I’m actively doing anything.

10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

I’m more concerned with doing things right, and because I can never do everything right I end up taking failure very personally because it means I’m not achieving what I’m after; namely: doing things right. Every shortcoming is magnified by 1000 as I watch my best attempts crumble in my foundation of inevitable mediocrity. I know I should concern myself with “doing the right things,” but I feel like I’m more likely to be judged by peers and strangers alike for the former than the latter that I let the “right things” slide far too often.

Mom and her babies, '90

Mom and her babies, '90

17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What’s holding you back?

Travel. I’m waiting until I don’t have to do it alone.

19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?

If I had to move to another state, I’d probably pick Washington, maybe South Carolina. Both are geographically quite beautiful, and the feel is a lot different from that of the Milwaukee area. If I had to move to another country… That’s a little harder. What’s Argentina like? I think I could do that. As for “why”: I don’t rightly know why. Just to try something new I suppose.

23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?

Ha! No. I’m petty, judgmental, self-centered, forgetful, passive aggressive, whiny, insecure, lazy, bossy, jealous, undependable, cloying, predictable, immature, stubborn. I could go on, but that list kinda stung. :S I have some good traits working for me too, but if I’m totally honest: I don’t think I’d have the patience to look past those particular negative traits in order to enjoy the positive ones if I was contemplating a friendship with someone just like me.

I’m grateful for my friends but am not at all surprised the number of people I’d call “close” is such an awfully low one, and getting lower every year. I’m kind of a jerk in a lot of ways and I think the fact I have so few close friends is a testament to that fact. Doesn’t that usually seem to be the way? The things we suffer from the most socially, emotionally, and in relationships are a result of things we’ve brought on ourselves? The truly frustrating part is I think I’m actually less abrasive than I used to be, but the damage appears to have already been done. I’m trying to do better from here on out, but I’m aggravatingly human so it’s an uphill battle most days. Sorry guys.

30. What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?

Stepping off the plane at ASU. I was so excited to land that in my haste I tripped on the gangway in front of two armed guards. They chuckled. I didn’t care, I just kept running. Couldn’t wait to get outside, touch the ground. I was on an adventure with my family whom I loved and it couldn’t get rolling soon enough.

Becca and Me, '06

Becca and Me, '06

37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?

I’d give my two weeks’ notice at 8:35 tomorrow morning after I got CRM running, checked my Outlook, and refilled my Nalgene bottle. Gotta do it the right way, y’know. Gotta keep your hiring promises if you can, million dollars or no.

39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?

Yes. 160 times before, to be exact.

50. Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?

Is it possible to come up with an honest answer to this that isn’t painful and perhaps a bit too humbling for public consumption? I’m just going to mull this one over. You do the same. Promise you will? Promise?

For Ms. Rea: A Dream


Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bumblebee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening

Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bumblebee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening

I dreamt last night that all of my ex-boyfriends’ girlfriends, fiances, and wives were named Amy. I understood this was so I would be so confused about who was who that I would ultimately have to  ignore them rather than continue to fret over the fact so many have so perfectly filled the gaps created by my absence.

And I do think about that. Not all the time, but more than I should. On a scale of 1 to eternity it’s really pretty inconsequential, no? But just the same: Once upon a time I thought I’d’ve found or been found by now. Or at least had someone to help pay for the groceries.

Thank you mom, dad, Mimi, Becca, James, Matthew, Debi and Ben for helping pay for the groceries last summer. I’ll never forget that. And I’ll never slip and call you Amy.

I dreamt last night that I was going to write in my blog about this odd dream I was having. I went into the dining room of a house I don’t know and sat down at a computer that wasn’t mine in an attempt to dump as many details as possible before I forgot them all. No sooner had I begun typing than Teller (of Penn & Teller) ran up behind me and began laughing in my  ear while running his left hand over the keys, adding extraneous letters to jumble my words. Lots of “m”s, “j”s and “h”s. I tried pushing him away so I could finish writing before I forgot everything, but he very kindly told me to let it go, that I shouldn’t be so worried about not being wanted right now.

I knew he was right, but I was so frustrated at not being able to capture the dream’s details on paper that I walked away, leaving behind a dining room now filled with people I didn’t know and to whom I bore no ties.

Miss Susie had a tugboat, the tugboat had a bell. Miss Susie went to heaven...

Miss Susie had a tugboat, the tugboat had a bell...

I then dreamt I was on an old tug boat anchored in a small harbor in Door County, WI. The boat was made entirely of rotting, unpainted wood that had gone black with age. The chains holding it to the bottom of the lake were so strong, and so tightly fixed, that the vessel barely moved as the clear, gray lake lapped at its decaying hull. The dock surrounding it came up so close on all sides that I asked of no one in particular how it was even possible to turn the ship back out onto open water.

This boat doesn’t go out into open water anymore.

So what am I doing here?

This is your new office, Ruth. A false floor will be laid over the deck to keep out the chill when winter comes, though it will still be icy cold through your shoes, but that’s part of the adventure, isn’t it? There will be a desk for you to work at, and a tall, brown, leather chair for you to sit in, and it will be comfortable just for you since you can never disembark.

But I don’t think I want this dying boat to be my office, especially not this far north when winter comes, especially not forever.

You’ll come to enjoy it.

Not everyone gets a boat, you know.

A Coke Classic Girl in a Pepsi One World


The Difference Between Movies and Movola

Wow! vs. How?

Wow! vs. How?

Somehow I allowed Monster to sneak to the top of my Blockbuster queue last week. Whoops. Just not in a lesbian serial killer kinda mood these days, y’know?

I’m amazed at how unlike herself Theron was in it. It’s not just the weight or the hair or any of that. It’s not just “play ugly” or “play disabled” and “you’re guaranteed to win an Oscar” in this case I don’t think. It’s the way she carried herself, the way she spoke, the look in her eyes. She was just so totally other in this. The Oscar was deserved.

And I couldn’t finish it.

That’s right– turned it off. Excellent work but I turned it off. Got to the point where she gets into the second car with the fella wearing glasses and a combover and before anything went anywhere I hit “stop” and called it a night. I exchanged it for The Secret Life of Bees. *sigh* Straight downhill, ain’a hey? But it was that, Twilight, or Step Brothers, and my hopes for either of the other two being any better as promising additions to my evening were fairly low.

As it stands, however, I haven’t been able to bring myself to pop TSLoB into the dvd player and am instead plowing through Season 7 ofMurder, She Wrote. I *heart* me some Angela Lansbury. If anybody knows how to put me in touch with her for lunch someplace that serves outdoors and offers fresh squeezed juice, I’m all ears.

All the World’s A Big Flat Space Full of Loud-mouthed Narcissists

D. Daniels, C. Peterson, S. Fudali, R. Arnell

D. Daniels, C. Peterson, S. Fudali, R. Arnell

“Don’t Dress for Dinner” closed this past weekend at Waukesha Civic Theatre. A heck of a lot of great houses on this one. Just one loud, appreciative, gloriously supportive group of folks after another. That’s the kind of thing that makes any show better than it is, and boy did we get a lot out of mileage out of that fact. Good times, good times. :)

Good pictures, too. You can always count on a farce for show pics that are, at the very least, interesting.

I have to say the best part of being in this show was meeting Chelsey Peterson and Donna Daniels. Just genuinely good, quality people you can’t help but be grateful to know. The kind of people that make you say “They’re in my life?! SWEET!” I sincerely hope to work with both of them again as soon as possible. Amazing people.

They’ve both got shows coming up. First there’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” with the Lakeland Players (Chelsey) and “Social Security” at Sunset Playhouse (Donna; also featuring Susan Loveridge and Bonnie Krah). Anybody want to join me to take in either show?? Gonna be a lot of fun! :D

P.O. Box Send-Ruth-Stuff

"Hungry Bird"

"Hungry Bird"

Came home to a thin, square package waiting for me in the front lobby this afternoon. My copy of Clem Snide‘s “Hungry Bird” on vinyl. Wahoo! And actually– there were two copies in the box, along with four cds: 2 singles and 2 groovy, smoothie, relaxy albums. How cool is that?

Package #2: A box on my doorstep from ThinkGeek.com. That can only mean good things. In this case? A good fun thing: An orange Tetris ice cube tray. Thank you to James, who bought me the tray for my birthday, for providing fun ice cubes for beverages at parties he will not be able to attend. Bwahahahaha!

Cool Ranch Doritos

Oh man could I go for some right now.

Well That Was Weird…

At 2:30 pm today the power went out in the entire neighborhood. So there we all are just working away at our desks when *fwoop!*– off go the lights, off go the computers, off go the phones.

It was great!

Well- except for the people who were right in the middle of complicated tasks when everything shut down so they ended up losing their last hour or so’s work. It was pretty fly for the rest of us, though. We sat in the semi-darkness talking until the lights came back on around 3:30, and then continued to twiddle our thumbs until 4:00 when IT had a chance to get everything up and running again.

It was still great!

So we’re back to doing our thing when one of the girls at a desk near me goes over to sit down by our team leader, AK’s, desk. With a muffled voice and almost child-like word choices she told AK she didn’t feel so good. Suddenly she slumps over in the chair and stops speaking. Not a word, not a movement- nothing. She’s only like 6 feet away so I run over to where she’s sitting so she doesn’t fall to the floor and homegirl is GONE. Her face is gray, her lips are blue, her eyes are open, but boy there is just NOBODY home.

So I’m kneeling there on the floor pushing her hair back, brushing her cheeks, holding her hands– trying to wake her up, you know? And this goes on for like a minute and still there’s just NOTHING from this girl. The woman at the desk on the other side of me comes over and we each put one hand under the girl’s armpits and knees and pick her up and lay her down on the floor and man there is still just NOTHING happening behind those eyes. Weirdest. Thing. Ever.

After a minute of laying on the floor she starts talking and asking what happened, while AK tells 911 how to get to our office. Turns out she donated during the blood drive a few hours before, drank her juice, ate her cookies… but apparently she must’ve donated ALL of her blood, a situation I don’t imagine agrees with most people, her included. Whoops!

Eventually she came around and was a lot better, and her folks were on their way to drive her home so she didn’t have to get behind the wheel after such an iffy afternoon. But man– what a way to start a week! Poor girl. :S

Burr Eat Toes

Patches napping on Alfred

Patches napping on Alfred

At my folks’ place doing laundry and watching some TV. Nothing I care to see, really, but it’s a nice change of pace from night after night of “Murder, She Wrote” and watching cable shows online. Still- I don’t think I’ll be making a habit out of watching “Dancing With The Stars.” Couldn’t bring myself to care a lick; just not my kind of entertainment. And how long has this show been running? Wow.

Dad’s homemade burritos were another nice switch after the usual pb&j/ reheated spaghetti/ Lean Cuisine buffet of my own kitchen.

And the warm, friendly dog that is currently napping between my ankles? Oh just– icing on the cake! Love it!

Things to Mention


So much to update you on, dawgs. Where to begin?!

Thing to Mention #1: Ferret Stuff

Me with my friends Jessie and Nicky's ferret Brodie

Me with my friends Jessie and Nicky’s ferret Brodie

Had a ferret dream last night. In it I lived in an apartment someplace out east. A two story brick number. One of those 6 unit type deals. I believe I lived on the ground floor because somehow my ferret- a big, white male with patches of gray in his fur- escaped through a low, open window. I ran outside after him, absolutely panicked that I’d never find him again because that’s usually what happens when these guys get loose outside- you never find them. But boy bigger carnivores sure do…

As I rounded a corner of my building one of the groundskeepers (who looked strikingly like my real life next door neighbor) saw me and said he’d help me find my lost ferret. We ran across the yard together toward another apartment building, at which time the groundskeeper saw the ferret run behind a bush. The guy scrambled on his belly through dirt and leaves to reach my freaked out little animal, emerging triumphantly from the brush with this adorable, panting, frightened weasel in his grip. I can’t tell you how excited and grateful I was. In fact I’m *still* grateful and neither the animal nor the guy are even real!

I love ferret dreams. :)

Thing to Mention #2: Work Stuff

In the parking lot at work today I saw a vehicle I’ve seen around town before and have *actively* made fun of. Not the actual vehicle itself, of course, just the ridiculous bumper stickers on it which, in truth, probably aren’t really ridiculous enough to merit my ribbing. But then I guess we all know by now I’m kind of a jerk like that.

I won’t quote the stickers because who knows who’ll read this, but as a point of reference they were the type women put on their cars when they feel like they have something to prove in terms of their “toughness.” I have no idea who actually drives the vehicle, how they act, what they look like, but– man some bumper stickers just imply an awful lot on your behalf and it ain’t always what you intend… And to be fair and even things out, I’ve been flipped off for my Israel one, so I’m not really knockin’ anybody for anything I haven’t done myself.

Other work stuff? Um… Well I’m on my fourth week there and haven’t screwed anything up too majorly yet, so that’s pretty cool. I’m learning a lot and am fortunate enough to actually like everyone I work with so far. Given more time I’m sure things won’t remain so rosy because there’s people ‘n’ data involved and both can be unwieldy, but so far so good. PTL.

One of the nicest things thus far is that my immediate supervisor NEVER makes me feel like the questions I’m asking are stupid, or like there’s something wrong with me for not already knowing by heart how to do some thing or another. I like that. I need that. I feel bad asking questions after I’ve been taught how to do something, no matter what that something is. I feel like I’m just bothering people, or like I’m not worth the time it took to teach me the task in the first place if I can’t remember how to do it now that I’m on my own. That’s all ridiculous of course, but that’s sure how it feels in the moment. Thank God for AK, though. Man…

Thing to Mention #3: Family Stuff

Dad measuring the cake before adding more chocolate shavings

Dad measuring the cake before adding more chocolate shavings

My birthday was last Thursday. Welcome, Late 20s. Good times.

Spent Saturday with my family, my Mimi, and my brother’s girlfriend RAM. Dad and Bekah challenged my mom to a bake-off so there were two birthday cakes this weekend. Now that’s my kinda throw-down.

Mom made an enormous ice cream mud pie with a fudge brownie crust and chocolate mocha frosting, and Dad and Bekah made a three layer (7.5″ tall) atomic cake with pudding, bananas, strawberries, and chocolate shavings in between the layers of vanilla, chocolate, and banana cakes. Both cakes were so gorgeous and delicious it wasn’t until we were all lazing about digesting an hour later that I realized we hadn’t done the whole lighting-candles-and-singing-Happy-Birthday thing. Whoops.

I got some lovely (and oh so welcome!) gift cards for Speedway and Kohl’s from Mim and the ‘rents, pretty girly smelly stuff from Bath and Body from my sis, and a bag of Starbucks coffee and a bag of chocolate covered espresso beans from the bro and his gf. Naturally out of all these beautiful gifts I focused the longest on the birthday card RAM made me which featured a sable ferret on the front. *sigh* I’m getting weird about it- I know. I just kept thinking how I could use the card as a bookmark in one of my other birthday presents: “Ferrets for Dummies.”

The only person missing from the fun was Bek’s bf Andrew, though I’m sure there was still PLENTY of cake left by the time he arrived… We’re lookin’ out for ya’ dude. No worries.

Thing to Mention #4: Theatre Stuff

Mark Neufang and me getting saucy...

Mark Neufang and me getting saucy in “Don’t Dress for Dinner”

Don’t Dress for Dinner” had an awesome opening weekend. Every audience was loud and appreciative and let me tell ya’: That Felt Good. Friday night’s show was a good 10 minutes longer than usual for all the added laugh time. Sweet! Even Sunday’s 2 pm matinee was pretty noisy, and that one was an outright shocker. The Sunday afternoon crowd at any community theatre tends to be filled mostly with kindly local folks just north of 70. And those folks can enjoy the crap out of the show and still hardly utter a peep the entire time. Not this crowd though. As loud as many much younger Saturday night audiences I’ve played to. A delightful surprise. :)

If you’re thinking of coming out to see it, there’s a Pay-What-You-Can performance on Saturday, March 28th at 2 pm. I think the suggested donation is $10 bucks, but who’s not broke these days? C’mon down, drop $5 bucks, have a few laughs. It’s a good time.

I auditioned for another show Saturday the 7th, but the honest truth of it is I’m just too tired to keep going for now so I’ll leave that for another entry. I can only talk so much theatre at 11:43 pm on a work night. :S

But before I go: Sauce Velouté

I’m 27 now.


Me and Rachel, a 7 year old's best bff

Me and Rachel Williams, the best bff a 7 year old could ever have.

I’m officially in my late 20s.

Now what?

Does the acne go away?

Does the metabolism?

And the wrinkles under my eyes that catch my dripping eyeliner and then fade by morning, do they stop fading?

Do I stop having jobs and start having a career?

Am I suddenly married and the proud owner of a 2BR ranch with a yard and a dog fence?

How the heck is this supposed to work?