Sunday, September 12, 2010

Gratuitous product placement

I'm addicted to Siggi's skyr (Icelandic style yogurt). I first saw it at the grocery store and was interested because I'd heard good things about skyr and I'm also interested in almost anything Icelandic. But it is expensive for yogurt: $3 for a 6 oz container. I decided to try it after realizing that I was okay buying a yogurt parfait at Starbuck's which cost nearly $5 but I wasn't willing to spend $3 to try skyr? (Why does the healthy stuff cost more than the freaking pastries? I could sort of understand it if the pastries had a long shelf life and the healthy stuff didn't, but it's the opposite.)

I bought a container of Pomegranite & Passionfruit flavored skyr. And I am hooked. Skyr is really, really thick; so thick that a spoon can stand up in it. But it's fat-free, but here's the best part: there are no stabilizers or thickeners in it. Usually, the less fat yogurt has, the more liquid it is. The liquid is strained out of the skyr, and that's the reason it costs more. It's essentially concentrated.

And oh so freaking good. At the grocery store yesterday, the checker asked me if "it was good yogurt". Woman, I am buying seven 6 oz. containers at a cost of $3 each. Would I spend $24 on yogurt if I didn't think it was f*cking sublime?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Not for the indecisive

I have been meaning to post that photo for a long time. Yes, it's a real sign, taken by me. It's at the Target store here in Tacoma (and quite possibly can be found at a Target store near you). The sign actually makes sense in context--these doors are opened manually and swing both ways but these particular doors are designated as the entrances to the store. For absolute accuracy, the sign should read "Do not Exit; Enter Only" but it is more amusing this way.

In other life news, things are not so good. I feel bad about complaining because I know that things could be so.much.worse but I am a selfish beast and all I can focus on is my own pain. I really don't like my job and I can barely drag myself in most days. It doesn't help that I often sleep through my alarm. My alarm clock is far from arm's reach so that I have to physically get up and shut the thing off. But either I often sleep through it or shut it off and lay down again without really being conscious of it (I say this because sometimes I wake up on the couch even though I fall asleep in the bedroom). Regardless of the reason, whether physical, psychosomatic, or psychotic, the end result is the same. I'm often late for work (often really late) because I don't naturally wake up early (and can sleep soundly even with the sun shining on my face) and my boss is out of patience with me. On one hand, I can't blame her but on the other hand, I can't really bring myself to care all that much because I am so irritated and fed up with management at that place. I'm dreading my upcoming review because I am pretty sure I am going to be eviscerated (and will be my first ever non-good review). My boss had a talk with me about my attendance and then said "this month will be a fresh start" by which I have come to realize doesn't mean that I was meant to improve but meant that I was never supposed to screw up again.

I'd like to get another job but there's a hiring freeze at the agency and there just aren't many positions open, even for transfers. I'd even be willing to step down a pay grade if I could find something interesting.

I have since come to the conclusion that I am Depressed. I'm on medication for it but it doesn't seem to be working or at least not as well as I'd like it to work. I've even started going to talk therapy because perhaps all my behavior really is just psychological and if I could figure out why my nightmares are running my life instead of my dreams, then things will get better.

Or maybe I am just a lazy b*tch and need a hard kick in the ass.

This is probably not a really good time to start dating, either. Yes, it's true. About a month ago, I decided that I should start dating and signed up for both the Stranger's Lovelab (my profile is here) as well as eHarmony (not linked because you have to sign up to see it). I decided to try this dating thing since I knew it would take awhile to find someone and I thought it would be good to start while I wasn't feeling lonely or desperate. I have gone on more "dates" over the past six weeks than I have in my life (mostly because I never did the traditional dating when I was younger) and there are a few things I have learned.

1. Dating is exhausting.
2. Dating is expensive.
3. Dating really isn't all that fun.

The LoveLab is more a personal ad site than a matching service. It provides the hosting service and private communication (so you don't have to give out email address, phone number, etc) but all the other work is up to the participants. It's up to you to search, communicate, "flirt", etc. It's a lot of work and time which has yielded very few results--by which I mean just actually meeting someone. Of the 26 emails I sent, I received four responses. Of these four responses, there were three meetups. The first one was a jerk who insulted me as soon as he found out where I worked, the second one went well (I thought) but didn't hear back from the guy for several weeks (when he mentioned he was dating someone else), the third guy either didn't show or we missed each other. The fourth guy never made it to a meetup because after a few emails, he told me he'd started dating someone else so it made no sense to meet. I did appreciate that the guys who told me they were dating someone else (even if it weren't true).

I admit that I have higher expectations for eHarmony but so far it's been a disappointment because this is actually set up as a matching service. eHarmony has a "guided communication" service which I admit is useful. After setting up your profile (which is what your matches see) and filling out your match criteria (which is surprisingly comprehensive), you are sent matches. You can immediately skip the guided communication if you both agree to it; otherwise, the process is this:

Stage 1: send five questions (selected from a long list) which have multiple choice answers. For example. "where would you rather go on a date?" and the responses are a) symphony/ballet/a lecture that appeals to you both, b) sporting event, c) movie, d) nightclub to go dancing, or e) fill-in with your own answer. All of the multiple choice questions have the fill-in option.

Stage 2: send your list of 10 must-haves/10 can't stands, which are selected from a fairly exhaustive list. (It's hard to select just 10.) This list covers issues of sexuality, romance, free-time, personal-space, hygiene, religion, intellectual matters, attitudes toward money, and gender roles.

Stage 3: After that, it's three questions that are answered in your own words. You can select from a list of questions or choose your own.

Stage 4: Direct communication, either through email or phone via the eHarmony site.

At any time, either one of you can "close match", which is essentially a way to tell a person you aren't interested without having to go through the "it's not you, it's me" speech.

I have to admit I've been more disappointed with eHarmony if only because I expected more from the service. I get several matches a day, which is great, except that about 90% of the matches never respond to my initial communication. (I can't remember if there has been anyone who has contacted me first.) Currently, I have 67 matches (in which there has been no communication from either person), 70 in communication phase (most in stage 1), and 76 in the archived tab (in which the match has been closed by either one of us).

Out of a total of 213 matches, I have reached Stage 4 communication with exactly two, and one of them closed the match afterward (to my disappointment because I thought things were going well). I've reached stage 3 with four others, two of whom I've responded to and two others I haven't.

One of my friends says not to get discouraged because I just haven't had enough dating experience yet. A few other friends who have gone through eHarmony said that it does take awhile. And my self-confidence has taken a beating, and I think this is making me more depressed. Part of me thinks I should keep at it because it's a way of working through a problem and part of me says to give it up already until I can at least get a point where my other emotional crap is under control.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ok life, what's next?

Last Wednesday, the Big Project was finalized. All four signatories signed off. And Thursday, there was a freaking awesome cake from Gelatiamo. (Yes, Gelatiamo has great gelato but I can highly, highly recommend their baked goods as well.)

Thursday morning, I had a job interview for Office Engineer in a construction office. Lack of construction experience is my biggest hole, I think, in my engineering experience. Office Engineer is an office job (as opposed to being out in the field) and the main part of the position is overseeing Materials Documentation and Change Orders (which are changes to the approved design based on various conditions--error in the plans, changed conditions in the field, what have you). This particular construction office is doing the Really Big Project work so it would be exciting to experience the construction half. I also know that it would be a busy position, which is good. And it pays overtime, which is really the reason I applied for it, as it is a step down from my current position. I've put in so many hours of uncompensated OT this past year that I am sick of it. However, I don't feel that I aced the interview. I know of four people who are interviewing, and I think I'd be the 3rd or 4th choice. AFAIK, the people who are likely first and second choices don't really want the position. The likely first choice only applied because the Exec. Mgr overseeing construction told him to, and he didn't know how to say no. The likely second choice will probably not take it because the position is not located in downtown Seattle. (there are two physical offices associated with this project. One is located in downtown, right near the job site but it only has space for the actual field crew. The other office is located in South Seattle, in an area that's very difficult to get to by bus.)

If I am offered the position, I do think I will take it. I'll find out soon. They had to make a decision last Friday, so people will likely be notified by Monday.

There are only two downsides to this position: its location in South Seattle and the fact that I'd be managing a fairly large staff. My personnel management skill is limited and this is quite a large team.

As for its location, I can deal with it. I have three commuting options: drive myself from home, join the vanpool which commutes from the Tukwila train station, or take the bus from Tacoma to Seattle but get off at Spokane Street and ride my bike the remaining two miles.

Believe it or not, the bus/bike combo is the most attractive to me. Here's why: I hate driving, and I don't want the increased costs of driving 30 miles each way to work through one of the most congested traffic routes in the country. The train/vanpool option isn't very attractive either because that would require me to work a 4 day/10 hour shift, which would suck for me because the shift starts at 6am, which means I'd have to catch the 5am train from Tacoma, which means getting up at 4am. Also, that schedule means that I wouldn't get any OT unless I either worked more than 10 hours (and thereby stranding myself at the office) or came in on my day off.

So the bike/bus combo. Y'all know about my lists and one of the items on the "Summer 2010" list is to start biking more. When I lived in the Netherlands, I commuted everywhere by bicycle and in all kinds of weather (although I would prefer never to have to bike again during a hailstorm), so I know I can do this. I've found a route that should be fairly bike friendly; it's a city street but paved and low traffic volumes. I even bought some warm weather, brightly colored gear to wear (no, I do not like coral orange nor lime green but these color choices were not made for fashion but for visibility). Even if I don't get the job, I figure I'd still wear these clothes during my summer 2010 bike rides.

All that's really left is to tune up my bike. It needs a bit of work since I haven't ridden it in, well, ages. Not since grad school, actually.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

in an effort to make things better...

It's very easy for me to sit around and do nothing, so in An Effort To Get My Crap Together, I made four lists of goals. And because I really need to see things for them to remain in my consciousness, I went to the office supply store and bought the giant set of post-it notes of sheets that are 18" x 24" to hang on my living room wall so that I would always see them. (As it turned out, I didn't have to spend $30 on the giant sticky notes, since they won't stick to my textured plaster walls. I had to hang everything up with masking tape.)

Anyway, these lists are a mix of chores, personal self-improvement, and fun stuff. The first list is things I want to get done in May 2010, and I am happy to note that I have been able to cross off seven of the nine items. These items ranged from the fun (going to the Mima Mounds) to fitness (take dogs on 45 minute walks 3x week), to the onerous (get all the useless stuff out of backyard--the carpet and pad I ripped out of the living room, the old furniture that had been left in the house when we moved in, and random bits of debris). All I have left is to clean out the office and to plant the herb garden.

The next list are goals for summer 2010. Again, these range from the fun (day trip to Portland to go to the Japanese garden there) to the onerous (fix back fence). I also need to repaint the trim of the house. The house was repainted about nine years ago by a volunteer group called Paint Tacoma Beautiful. It's a great idea but it's not professional quality work. The trim is peeling away in several spots and really needs to be redone. I had the bright idea that I didn't have to repaint it the same boring dark brown it is now; I can choose a different color! Now that I've realized that, I'm actually kind of excited about this chore. I'm going to choose a warm orange. The house is white/cream, so any color would work. One of the nice thing about having a small house is that I can do this myself. And since the days are so long now, I can do this in the evenings. I actually like painting. I find the rhythmic pace of the work very soothing.

The "Stuff to do by end of 2010" list is much shorter: pass the Professional Engineering exam in October, and paint the living room and kitchen. I'd also like to rejoin the YMCA so that I can go swimming again but that depends on whether I've met some financial goals and whether I stay at my job in downtown Seattle.

The final list is the longest and represent stuff that costs money, so all these are pipe dreams until I rebuild my emergency savings (so slow to rebuild, so quick to deplete). This list includes getting a tankless water heater (which may move to another list if the current one goes out), learn to ride a motorcycle, learn to fly a helicopter, get the front yard professionally landscaped, remodel the bathroom, remodel the kitchen.

It feels good to have the lists there. It feels even better to mark something off. It makes me feel less apathetic.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

the stomach continues to churn...

So, this has been an extraordinarily sh*tty time at work. At the Program (identity hidden to protect, well, everything so don't leave any specific info if you comment), several people have commented on my constant cheerful nature and that I "am always smiling". I've learned to let a lot of things slide over me and choke down the other, shall we say "less positive", feelings. I've never been a big fan of people who are very dramatic at work, and I'm rather aloof by nature anyway. But things hit the boiling point and yesterday I lost my temper.

Here's what's started it...the big item I'm working on is one of the items that needs to be done and go through FOUR levels of approval (all the way up to the national level) in order for the really big contract to be released to bidders. Last Tuesday was our deadline and we were doing really well, until...

Let me put my literary education to some use and craft an analogy for you. Imagine that your academic Advisor told you that there were two topics you could choose from for your Really Big Thesis (Senior or Master's--whatever will consume approximately three intense months of your time). Both Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte are options. He's not going to tell you which one to choose, but directs you to focus on Charlotte Bronte in your thesis. Keep in mind that this is "not a decision but a direction". Lots of work, lots of effort, many, many revisions and insipid comments later, your thesis is done and you are quite satisfied with what you've been able to produce and all that needs to be done is to present it and get final approval. All the pieces have been reviewed and approved separately, so the final approval is really just a spot check. However, the day before your project is due, you find out that your Advisor has pulled a bait and switch. Although you were directed to do your thesis on Charlotte Bronte, he now wants your thesis to be on Jane Austen. Except he doesn't actually tell you. He tells others, and you find out when you ask someone to do a last minute quick check on your thesis and he says he can't because he's really busy pulling together some information about Jane Austen. And when you go to him to verify what you've heard, and even though you've spent the last three months working full time plus on this thesis, he graciously gives you a week extension.

Oh, I wish I were joking about this, but I'm not all that creative. I can't make this stuff up. (Wait, I can be creative; I'm just not cruel.) I still have this naive notion that if you treat your colleagues with respect, they will actually work with you to get your project done (or at least not sabotage you). Okay, I still believe this. Apparently executive management has a different strategy.

I only wish I could say that this is an unusual experience, but it's happened many times on the Program. But this is the first time that such a Decision has affected me personally, so therefore, it is the most tragic experience of all of them. (Okay, that's irony, all right? I'm trying for that some of that cheerfulness that people have associated with me.)

It goes on. Believe me, there's more. This bit that I just told you isn't even the bit that caused me to lose my temper, but that's all I want to write about at the moment. The fire of rage has dampened a bit. Instead, I'm consumed by guilt. There's a HUGE, EXPENSIVE contract that's about to be released to bidders and the release date will be delayed because I won't have my stuff done in time. One of the biggest contracts in the North American Continent won't get released on time because I can't be counted on to do my job. IT WILL BE ALL MY FAULT!!!

And a lot of it is my fault. Although I said in a previous paragraph that I hate workplace drama, I have allowed my own personal drama to affect my work. Although Le Divorce is going along okay, emotionally I've been a real wreck. I convinced myself to stay in a marriage that clearly wasn't working because I didn't want to "be divorced". It's not that I had any problem with being single, or any problem with divorce in general. I am not anti-divorce. Instead, I've spent most of my adulthood trying not to recreate my mother's life. From my perspective, she had a very fairy tale view of marriage. If there was ever a problem, she would spirit herself away in a big dramatic gesture and wait for the Prince to experience the emotional fallout and realize that yes, he just could NOT live without her, and would show up later, and humbly beg her forgiveness and admit that he just wasn't a man without her. (I am not joking about this.)

I have tried to be more practical. Marriage is many things. One of my friends married very young (I think she was 19) and her husband was in the military. I inferred that the first few years of their marriage were rather tough; romantic love was there, but the reality of trying to make a life together when the husband is forced to relocate from his wife and infant is a tough situation even for those who are older and wiser. But 25+ years later and they are still together. Why? "We were going to do whatever was necessary to make this marriage work." A very practical attitude.

But it's the old story. There were problems, and I saw myself adapting and changing but didn't notice any effort on his part. And one day, I finally had it. Despite a constant lowering of expectations, and consistent-giving-up-a-lot of what I wanted out of the relationship, and even holding to my ideal of "everyone deserves another chance", I just couldn't take it any more. In the movies, a single action is depicted as the cause of the breakup. Very dramatic. In my case, it was just a war of attrition. No one thing was really big; just a lot of little actions. Intellectually, I know I should have cut and run a long time ago. But emotionally, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I just didn't want to become my mother. (My mother was married and divorced three times; my father five. Twice to each other. The first marriage was annulled because my dad wasn't yet divorced from his first wife when he married my mom. She did not learn of this until later. When I asked her why she remarried him after this incredible breach of trust, she said simply "I was in love with him.")

The sad thing is that I truly feel that my-soon-to-be-ex can be the incredible man that I know he can be. For some reason, he just can't be that man with me around. I don't know if it's because I'm always taking up the slack, so he felt he didn't have to put out the effort, or if I am the stereotypical "ball-buster" who emasculates her man. Maybe I am a bullbuster. I don't know. I don't think I am; I have many male friends and none of them seem weak to me. I guess it doesn't matter at this point.

I don't know what exactly I am trying to say. I guess it's that I was willing to compromise up to a point, and one day, I finally passed that point. I guess another thing I am trying to say is that I broke what I always considered a fundamental rule for myself: "if you work hard enough, any marriage can be successful." But I'd gotten to the point where I was starting to strip away from the core points of my own being. I couldn't compromise any further without fundamentally changing me, my soul, my sense of self-actualization, whatever phrase you want to use. I have worked really hard to get to a point where I actually believed that I was confident, intelligent, worthy, and even likable. I wasn't willing to give that up.

That's the personal baggage I've been dealing with for the past several months. Try as I might, the angst just doesn't go away. And my usual method of just stuffing those feelings down only works to a point. I guess it's really no coincidence that my sleep patterns--always erratic--have really gotten bad. It's not that I have insomnia; it's that I can't wake up. Yes, I do tend to fall asleep late; I am a night-owl, and always have been. But over the past several months, once I do fall asleep, I sleep like the dead and can't wake up. I have three--THREEE--separate alarms, and sometimes I sleep through all three of them. (And the dam* dogs and cats would apparently either bust a gut or starve than try to wake me up. I know dogs are pretty laid back but cats tend to be pretty insistent on getting their kibble on time. But then, maybe they do try to wake me up and I don't even notice.) So many times over the past several months, I find myself waking up at 10 or 11. When I say "several", I mean "at least once a week". It is truly embarrassing showing up to work, oh say, four or five hours late. Shaming, even. And my boss, my poor boss, entrusting me with such responsibility. I don't know whether I should feel ashamed about being such a piss poor employee, or offer prayers of thanks to her kindness and mercy to me during such a painful period of my life, or be amazed at myself that DESPITE such crap-ass decisions from executive management and my own personal weirdness over the past few months, that I have even managed to produce anything of quality at all.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Neighborhood 1; Luneray 0

Ok neighbors. You win. I hired someone to mow my frakkin' lawn so it will be all very tidy from now on and hopefully you will stop thinking of me as trash. Believe it or not, "dear" neighbors, some people do not think that a frequently-mowed lawn is cornerstone of a good citizenship.

Oh, and by the way, you were wondering why I have so many butterflies in my yard? I don't spray my plants with pesticides every week to kill off the "nasty flies and creepy spiders". This is quite likely the reason that you never see any butterflies nor bees in your yard, but you may blame cellphones all you wish.

In happier news, I went down to the Mima Mounds yesterday, which is one of my favorite places in the state. It's a small nature reserve tucked between some horse ranches about a 45 minute drive from my house. The wildflowers have begun to bloom, and right now the most abundant flowers are blue camas and yellow buttercup. The whole prarie was blue, liberally streaked with yellow. It was gorgeous. The mounds look particularly amazing in the late spring/early summer when more wildflowers are blooming because it's more obvious that each mound has a unique ecosystem. What's growing on one mound may not be on the next, even though there's only a foot or two between the base of one mounds from the others surrounding it. This last year has been so spectacularly crappy in my life, and for a few hours I felt so truly happy for the first time in ages that I really wished that all my friends were with me to share the moment. So I texted them. :) Yes, the mounds may be remote, but the cellphone reception was great. :)

Friday, April 02, 2010


Let me start of by saying that today has not been a good day. Some days are better than others, and today is just one of those days when ordinary stuff is just intensely irritating. Like oversleeping, then just missing a bus to work, then having to stand all the way on the bus this morning (one hour trip), then finding out that the lunch container I thought was filled with chicken teriyaki and rice turned out to be filled with radishes. And to top it off, I’ve been almost non-productive in the office because no one is in to answer any of my questions. Honestly, I could have stayed home.

It’s also really, really windy today, and I can hear my work building creak in the wind. Intellectually, I know...well, I am reasonably sure…that nothing is going to happen but I am on the 23rd floor, so the gloomy, disaster-fixated part of my brain is dreaming up tragic scenarios. The good thing is that I do work around a lot of structural engineers and none of them are acting worried.

Ok…focus on the positive…several good things did happen this week. Last Sunday, I went to a pipe organ concert held at a local church. A friend of mine is an organist and I’ve learned a lot about pipe organs this past week. And I say that in a good way. I’ve always enjoyed pipe organ music but I’ve never understood how the instrument itself was played. It’s fabulously complex but it’s this complexity that allows the musician a wide range of expression. (I also found out that there are such things as “organ shoes” that organists can wear for playing the foot pedals.)

Also a good thing this week…I got a full night’s sleep, and woke up feeling fabulous. To celebrate, I bought some music. I listen to Classic KING radio (Motto: “Our music will lift your soul but our ads will remind you of this mortal coil.”) and the station has its playlist up on the website. I often hear something that makes me stop in my tracks and just listen, and then I have to find out what it is. The playlist links to ArchivMusic, listing the CD featuring the piece selected. This site has a “wish list” feature so I have a steadily growing list of items. (Sadly, only a few items are available at the Seattle Public Library.) Well, that morning, I felt good, and another “drop everything” piece came on the radio so I bought it, as well as two other items off the wish list. One was a CD that SPL did actually carry but I loved each and every selection on it, and have been listening to it at work endlessly, so I decided to buy it. (“Divenire” by Ludovico Einaudi, if you are curious.) All of my limited spending money has gone toward music recently. My only regret is that $50 per pay period doesn’t go as far as I’d like. I received the first part of my order yesterday and the good thing about being at work today is that I have been able to listen to it all day, and happily, the entire album is good (The Winged Lion by the Palladian Ensemble. The CD is devoted to Venetian music of the 17th and 18th centuries and the musicians played on period instruments. I bought it for the selection “Le scatola da gli agghi” by Marco Uccellini (1603-1680). No, I don’t know that the title means.)

Hey, I’m feeling better already. I’ve gotten so out of practice writing on this blog that I admit that I’m rather rusty, and actually erased a few posts that I’d planned on putting up earlier this week. Ok, blog writing is public, and I don’t read blogs looking for high literary style, but I do admit that my favorites tend to be really well-written (e.g. Crazy Aunt Purl, Yarn Harlot, Accidental Hedonist. It’s probably no surprise that each on these bloggers got book deals because of the popularity of their blogs.) Although my own approach to my blog is informal and serves the purpose of a personal journal, I don’t want to post insipid crap. Nor do I always want to spend a lot of time word-smithing something. In those cases, I just don’t post. But I had forgotten how cathartic writing can be, even if the topics are so mundane and perhaps aren’t even interesting to anyone else. Maybe I just feel better because of the Venetian Baroque music I’m currently listening to. :D

Later...good moods are fragile and can be easily shattered by an asshat on the bus. The bus was full and I asked him to move his backpack so that I could sit down. He gave me this wounded look and rolled his eyes, and I glared at him. It must have worked because he moved his backpack--oh, the tragedy, to have to sit with your backpack on your lap! Hell, I already had to stand on the morning commute.** At least he wasn't yakking the phone the entire way.

Another good thing is that my other two CDs arrived today. I'm currently listening to Glass Reflections by the Cello Octet Conjunto Iberico (conducted by Elias Arizcuren). This is Philip Glass music arranged for eight cellos. I'd heard Facades and it was stunning. I don't really consider myself a Philip Glass fan but this music does work wonderfully played on cello. I love the cello, so I think that perhaps has biased me? :D

**the particularly irritating thing about the morning is that I gave up my seat for a woman on crutches who was standing in line and asking the driver if there were any available seats. I told the driver she could have my seat (because none of the people in the seats reserved for people with mobility issues were budging), and got up and moved toward the corridor in the back to make room for the others still coming on. By the time we got to Seattle, and some passengers had gotten off, I'd found out that the woman on crutches had elected not to take the bus and the seat I'd vacated was being warmed by the butt of a perfectly able bodied person. I held on to the handle on the back of her/my seat, which ended up jostling her seat every time the bus hit a bumpy spot on the road. (Another irritating thing about having to stand is that the buses at this time of the morning are cruise buses, and not transit buses. There's only one door, the aisle is only about one foot wide, and there are no rails for standing passengers to hold onto. The only handles are on the seats, and they are really meant to aid the seated passengers out of their seats). I truly wasn't trying to irritate her, but was glad anyway. She turned around and gave me the look each time her seat jostled so I finally shot her a look back. "Hey, you're sitting, I'm standing. Want to switch?" My friend Katze has a real spine; she'd have told the woman off instead of giving her a look. Ah, Pacific Northwest passive-aggressiveness. In any case, my glare must have worked because at least she didn't look at me anymore.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Last night, I actually slept. I fell asleep at a regular time and woke up without any trouble. (Actually, Sheba woke me up because she wanted under the covers. I let her under and settled back in to go back to sleep and then I heard my alarm start to go off. (Bummer.) My triple alarm system wasn’t even necessary this morning, even though I did lay in bed for several minutes, grumbling, until I couldn’t stand the noise anymore and got up to shut the alarm off. (No, the animals are not part of the alarm system. I’d thought for sure that they’d prevent me from really oversleeping because they’d pester me if they wanted to go outside or have their breakfast. Well, the dogs would rather bust their guts than get off the bed or eat breakfast. I guess I’m not too surprised about that, but I was really sure that one of the cats would wake me up for breakfast. Nope.)

Up until last week, I had only a dual alarm system, and one more than one occasion was not successful at overcoming my hibernation. The first alarm is a really loud and obnoxious one that is set outside the bedroom so that I have to physically get up and shut it off. (Another benefit of having a small house.) The second alarm is a friend who calls me between 6:30 and 6:45. And the third is one set up on the coffee table for 7am. I set it up there because several times, I woke up on the couch despite having fallen asleep in my bed. So, I am either 1) sleepwalking or 2) shutting off the primary alarm and then lying down on the couch with no memory of getting up. I certainly hope it’s 2) because sleepwalking is really not something I want to have to deal with at the moment. (Or ever, for that matter.) Well, the system did work because the other day, I woke up from a dream in which I was locked in a small room full of alarm clocks. All of the alarms were going off, but I couldn’t shut any of them off. I started yanking the plugs from the outlets, and then I woke up and saw that it was 7:55. That buzzer had been going off two feet from my ear for fifty-five minutes before it cut through my slumber. Yeah, I was late to work but I made it in, so I count that as a victory.

Monday, March 22, 2010

the mind/body split

I am writing this post at 1:35 a.m. on Sunday night/Monday morning. I am wide-awake. Why? Because my body decided it needed to hibernate all day and entered another sleep marathon. There was actually something I wanted to do this morning, and even though I set the obnoxious alarm, I don't remember shutting it off. I woke up all cramped up on the couch despite falling asleep last night in my bed. I was all cramped because managed to squeeze onto the couch with me.

I admit that I am really touched by their devotion to their human and quite impressed with their contortionist abilities.

It was raining today, so I had no desire to be outside. I puttered around the house a bit, finished reading Home is Where the Wine Is by Laurie Perry, and finished up a pair of socks (Gansey Socks from Socks from the Toe Up, knit out of STR lightweight, Pond Scum colorway).

Deeply exhausted by such strenuous activities as reading and knitting, I fell asleep again. I woke up much less cramped and deeply rested. It was also 9pm.

My mind is having no luck at convincing my body that while yes, sleep is necessary, and while hibernation-style sleeping is one way of coping with the current crop of life's stresses, sleeping through the alarm on a work day is only going to yield more problems. Catch up on weekends if necessary. Not weekdays!! So I don't dare try to lay down at all right now because I'm terrified that I will sleep through the triple defense system that I've got set up right now (two alarms, set to go off one hour apart, plus a friend who calls me at around 6:30 a.m.)

I never thought I'd yearn for insomnia but at least that's is a slightly more socially acceptable sleep disorder, since at least if you are awake, you can make it into work.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

time to dust off the old blog...

Hello all. Yes, it's been ages, and I don't know if anyone actually still swings by this hole in cyberspace anymore.

Anyway, there are two main reasons why I stopped blogging a few months ago.

1. Work was very, very stressful and took up about half my mental energy. Blogging about work can also get me fired, so I couldn't use this as an outlet.

2. My marriage was going down the tubes, and I didn't want to use the blog as an outlet because a) it didn't give Oscar the chance to defend himself and b) prose from the fingers of an angry wife is hardly the most unbiased source of information, no?

So work and marriage took up all my mental energy and I didn't want to blog about either topic.

Let me try to sum up what's been going on during the past few months:
1. Oscar moved out in late December. Unwillingly. I had to threaten to throw his belongings out in the front yard and change the locks if he didn't leave by end of December. Don't feel sorry for him, as he a) hated living in Tacoma and was not quiet about it, b) had never, ever paid one cent towards the house payment and c) had several months to move out but decided not to do anything until threatened.

2. Work is still stressful but I've either become numb to it or it's just easier to bear since I don't have to deal with Oscar on a daily basis.

3. Although the breakup was my idea, it has been much, much harder than I would have anticipated. I've been in a deep funk for several months, which is both surprising and irritating. My sleep has been completely affected, not by insomnia but by its opposite. I can't wake up. I've become a human dormouse. Seriously; several days I've slept for a straight 19 hours. I'd have thought the dogs would have woken me up but it turns out that they would rather bust their gut than get off the couch. (Beasts after my own heart.) No, I am not drinking. No, I am not taking any drugs beyond what the doctor prescribed. (In fact, my doctor even gave me a lecture because I admitted to taking NyQuil when I had a cold. Her: "It has alcohol and alcohol increases depression." Me: "It's 10% alcohol in a 10mL dose. Is one mL of alcohol really going to affect me that much?" Her: "Avoid all alcohol. Take DayQuil next time you have a cold." Okay, but whatev.)

4. I have not made it to work for an entire week since the beginning of the year. I've always been a firm believer of not bringing personal drama into the workplace, and every morning (assuming that I don't sleep through my alarm or fall back asleep) is a big mental rehearsal for "how well can we fake it today?" Actually, if I can wake up, I can make it in. Some days, I've found myself waking up on the couch or living room chair which means that I got out of bed and then sat down and fell asleep again, without even remembering that I woke up.

5. Two things are saving my butt. The first is that I am still producing the work that I need to. The second is that I have an extremely sympathetic supervisor, although part of me thinks I'm unwittingly taking advantage of her sympathy.

(Actually, all the people I work with are great. Seriously, the cream of the crop.)

What is the good news? Well, all the animals seem happy and healthy. (They are all piled on the couch, sound asleep, as I type this. Yes, I am sitting on the floor.)

My big brother visited last week, and it was wonderful to see him. I needed some moral support and he gave generously. He also did all those minor home improvement things that I never get around to (his choice, I didn't give him a list).

Anyway, enough for now. I feel like I should be doing something productive...