Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The promotion

I got a promotion. I honestly didn't expect it to ever appear. I was certain that it was just a carrot on a stick in front of me and I was the fool for not realizing it. My superiors would probably say "how could you have doubted us??" But things that are promised don't always come to fruition. Remember when I was on the brink of booking my plane tickets and putting my cat in quarantine so that I could head to Singapore for a year or two? It took me a long time to stop wondering who put the kibosh on that. I finally realized that it matters not in the least.

But this is real. An email went out explaining my new role (senior editor, social media) and the congratulatory emails began rolling in. That was the best part: all those coworkers, many of whom I barely know, telling me how well deserved this promotion is. If I could just bottle that up now…

It is so funny how these things turn out. Last week I was miserable all week. I worked late every night and still had so much unfinished work. I felt like everything I did was wrong. And then on Friday I got word of my promotion. I admit: I burst into tears. (I was working at home.) I suppose my unhappiness all week was related to how much effort I'd been putting into my new role even before I officially had it. I was told in the fall to do the job I want to have to prove I can do it. As much as I hate sports analogies, I think that's "be the ball" or some shit, right?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My years as a young mole

I get a little sad when I remember my grade school as it was when I went there since it's nothing like that now. The school is still standing at least, but it's nothing like it was in the 1980s.

A lot of the school was dank and dark. Lots of my grade school memories are lit only by weak light bulbs. In my memory the whole school was in a basement. Is it possible that much of it was only a single story and all my classes were underground? That seems strange so perhaps I just don't remember those well-lit upper stories.

The lunchroom was in a semi basement, halfway under ground, with windows near the low ceiling. Even as a kid those ceilings were low. I only have a couple fragments from that cafeteria.

1) We could buy ice cream treats for a pittance. My favorite (and still is when it comes to those sorts if treats) was the chocolate cookie crumble covered vanilla one on a stick.

2) In that cafeteria in the 2nd grade, Amy R. quizzed me on who my favorite band was. I didn't have a favorite band. My only source of music at that time was a stuffed dog with a little radio in its belly.

3) In the back of the cafeteria was the lounge for the upper schoolers. I think we were allowed in there to use the vending machines but I'm not sure. The older girls would use it as their smoking lounge.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Oh now you tell me

I caught a glimpse of the top of my head in the harsh light of the work bathroom and realized I have several obviously grey hairs. I've gotten pretty damn far without any noticeable greys and now here we are. Every dark brown haired woman I know who's my age has been covering up her greys for years. I always thought silently, "sucks to be you! I guess I'll never go grey." (Denial is one of my abilities.)

When I went for a haircut a few weeks ago, my hairstylist said, "Damn girl, you need to keep up with your highlights! Unless you're going for the ombré look." I made an appointment to get them done and then I cancelled because I had to work late and I was thinking, you know, maybe I'll just grow them out. And it takes sooo looong to get them done.

But that was before I saw the greys. I've had way longer than most to figure out my stance on going grey but I never came to a decision. I could easily say well them's the breaks and go natural if it weren't for the fact that I get them for free in exchange for doing the salon website. So really I'm just whining about not wanting to sit through it.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

City pride!

After almost 7 years living in this apartment I finally compiled a list of all the places we go to, pick up from or order from for dinner. This way when it comes time to choose, it won't be the usual dance of what do you want I don't know what do you want well do you want Italian I don't know what about Chinese I guess you decide. Enough of that!

It's comforting to see the same people over and over on the PATH train platform. There's the woman who has the blue purse I like but now she's switched to a brown one with fringe that I don't like. There's the woman who's always reading a first gen Kindle. There's the woman with the long skinny braid who carries the same water bottle I do.

I recently passed the Kindle woman while out running. I felt like giving her a high five as I jogged by or even just a wave. I wound up smiling and she looked right through me. I suppose it's possible that seeing one's fellow commuters out and about town is not as comforting to everyone else.

I also find it comforting to see progress on new storefronts in my town. Progress! Our town is getting even better by the day! Sometimes I question whether living here is worth it and then I see a sign for a grand opening of an indie bookstore and even though if I buy books, I buy them on Amazon, my heart swells with city affection. I resolve to buy books from the store when I can and to definitely patronize their cafe instead of Starbucks even if they don't serve those gigantic cups of iced tea that I love. City pride trumps caffeination! Right?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I would so move if only I could move

After thinking about it a bit I realized that maybe I was doing the morning pages wrong. Maybe they're not supposed to be a journal. Maybe you're not supposed to make sense. I don't know. Whatever. It's not for me. Anyway there's not a lot to just pop into your head first thing in the morning besides dreams and concerns of the day.

Everyone in our building moved out this year. We all decided this is the year to move. Even though we had decided it months ago, of course we're the last ones to go. It takes us longer than most to get our act together. Partly this is because Jeff is working so hard lately and I defer to laziness when not pushed by an outside force. There is the realtor* calling me almost every week to see what out progress is (none) and there are friends and family asking what our progress is (none). I bullshit through a wishy-washy answer that I'm sure everyone sees right through. I say we're packing up our storage space (haven't taken anything there in weeks) and we're rearranging the apartment to make it more appealing to potential buyers (outright lie aside from the one time my mom came up two months ago to help us rearrange our living room).

I know I have to take the lead on this since Jeff is too busy to think about it. I come home from work exhausted and I don't want to pack anything up so I eat leftovers and sit in front of the tv while idly looking at Facebook on my phone instead of packing anything up. And then I berate myself for that.
Our upstairs neighbors moved to the west side of town on Friday. I went to their place on Monday to pick up boxes they has used. They had unpacked them all. Let me repeat: ALL the boxes were unpacked. How is this humanly possible?! Anyway their place is a huuuge 3 bedroom enabling each of them to have a cave of their own. This business of men needing a man cave is ridiculous. Women need them just as much if not more.

I was all set to be horrified with where they had chosen to live but it's actually pretty nice. The apartment is beautiful (and huge and relatively cheap) and the building has Art Deco character and it's a 10-minute walk to the train. There's not a lot around them, though, even though they said they have a great grocery store.
It doesn't matter anyway. Jeff would never agree to live outside of downtown. And he's right. We love where we live. Why would we want to move to the less nice side of town when we love how much downtown has grown into such a great community?

(*Why does my computer want me to capitalize Realtor? That's weird, right?)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The artist's way is not my way

I started reading a book called The Artist's Way that prescribed doing “morning pages” every morning upon waking. At first it seemed like a good way to get back to writing, but it's not this kind of writing that I have trouble with. I could write in a journal all day long. There's always more to blather on about. 

I attempted to do the pages for a couple weeks (not very successfully) and then came to the conclusion that I really despise writing longhand and that forcing myself to journal upon waking is pointless.

I thought that book would be the key to getting back into working on my novel. But since it's not specifically for writers, I don't think it would. I have three books on writing coming soon. Maybe one of those will get me going. I submitted some random pages to my online critique group over a month ago, got great feedback, and then didn't write a single new word. I wish I could figure out why I did that. I guess positive reinforcement doesn't spur me on? But negative reinforcement doesn't either... 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Buenos Aires impressions

The dogs are very friendly, both rhe strays and ones with owners, many of which walk off the leash. The strays are smart about crossing streets, even busy ones. We watched one dog pace at the side of a busy street and finally go when there was a break in traffic. Apparently there are no rules about picking up the poop, or else they're not enforced. We both stepped in piles.

The sidewalks are universally in bad shape, a mishmash of different types of tiles and concrete, much of which is coming apart. I'm certainly glad I didn't bother bringing anything besides comfy walking shoes. It would be very slow going in heels.

My Mary Jane flats are more than sufficient anyway, even at night. We had heard that due to the European influence, Buenos Aires is a city where one dresses a bit nicer for dinner. The first night I wore a dress with leggings and was massively over dressed. Jeans and a nice top is ideal.

They eat crazy late here. Many restaurants here open at 8pm and going before 9 is like going at 6 at home. 11pm is when a place would be jumping. Clubs open at 1am or later. A friend who has lived here a while told us that when he used to go clubbing they'd arrive at 2 and wonder if the place was going to be dead all night long. Eventually around 3 people would start showing up. Where they would be before that is a mystery to me. One bar had a sign that happy hour is from 8-9pm.

The street art is amazing. Unfortunately, much of it that I'm seeing is from a speeding taxi.

Empanadas are delicious, as long as they are not bought from a woman selling them cold out of a basket on the street. Choripan is a sort of chorizo on bread and it's yummy. Fernet is an herby, spicy bitter that Jeff tried on a dare knowing full well it would be disgusting. (It was.) Coke and Pepsi not made with high fructose corn syrup are so good! Although I'm glad we can't get it at home since that makes it easier for me to avoid. Dulce de leche is of course popular. We've had it in filled cookies and pastries, as a condiment with bread at breakfast, as an ice cream flavor and as an ice cream topping. There were 5 varieties of dulce de leche flavors at an ice cream stand but we couldn't make out the differences.

A bottle of Argentinian wine costs less than two glasses of macro brewed beers.

There are no stop signs, only lights at some corners and speed bumps at the rest. The cars manage to artfully ease into the intersection and not hit each other and a couple cars from one direction go and then the other.

No one wears bicycle helmets. Traffic lanes are a mere suggestion. A street named Thames is pronounced Thomas.

Domestic flights are quite expensive, so a slew of bus companies offer luxury overnight trips with fully reclining seats. Without very good knowledge of Spanish, the gargantuan Buenos Aires bus terminal can be a nightmare. Our bus was delayed and no info about it was displayed on the monitor. We spent a harrowing 15 minutes running around trying to find people to ask who would actually know what was going on.

We spent the first two days seeking Yerba Mate, the local caffeine-free tea. We'd see people drinking it out of the traditional gourds as they strolled, but none for sale to sample. On the evening of our second night we met up with a friend of a friend who initiated us in the ways of mate. We liked it a lot so we bought a bag of the loose tea and two gourds (one traditional and one modern). We only need one since the way it's drunk is shared between people, but apparently locals collect different cups for it anyway.

We are tired of steak.