Friday, March 29, 2013

Important News in the Land of the Unemployed

It became clear to me today as I was reading about J.Lo's demands that what my job search is missing is a rider! In addition to my fears of ending up in the poorhouse (Edgefield, clear out a room, I'm movin' in!), one of the things that bums me out about losing my job is that there is a good chance my telecommuting days will be over. To make this more fun, I've decided that I have demands that will need to be met before I perform any permanent duties for The Man:
  • If the talent (that's me!) must work in a cubicle, a mini-bar will be required. If a full office is provided, a regular bar is acceptable.
  • The talent will not take part in Casual Friday, but will instead observe Formal Friday. On this day, she will wear a gown and tiara and fully expects to be addressed as Her Serene Highness (Note: Tiara is optional for other work days)
  • The talent will not be subjected to wearing a uniform, but is open to and encouraging of interesting headgear (fascinators, headdresses, hats, butterfly henins etc. Also see above note regarding tiara).
  • If in the performance of duties the talent is required to terminate another employee, the news will be delivered in the form of song (Bye, Bye Mein Lieber Herr, from Cabaret)
Of course, this is just a start and I need to get all the legalese worked out, but I feel really good about my rider so far. I think number four in particular will really help me make the move I've been contemplating into Human Resources. I'm glad I spent my evening coming up with the beginnings of my rider instead of wasting valuable time perfecting my resume or applying for more jobs to report to unemployment to prove that I have been actively seeking employment and therefore entitled to some government cheese.

Speaking of government cheese, it looks like I will have to wait a little longer for mine. It is (for now, anyway) only temporary, but I am back working for my former company until our assets are sold. That's right, I have unlocked the disco file cabinet (sadly, I don't have a picture handy, but it is sparkly blue and sparkles just a little brighter whenever I sing "Fernando" while waiting on hold!) and am back in business. If the right party wins the bid, there is a chance it would mean that I could stay working in my little home office wonderland indefinitely. While the part of me that shuns change and enjoys wearing my dia de los muertos sugar skull pajama bottoms to work finds great relief in this idea, I am not counting on it. Instead, I am resisting the urge to get too comfortable with the familiarity and am trying to treat this project like any other temp job. If this work out, that will be great (even ideal!), but in case it doesn't, I have to stay open to other opportunities. Sadly, my former boss (who was in my head and a few of my issue logs known as all comes full circle!) has already moved on, so I am no longer working with him, but my new J.Gro seems pretty nice as well.

Until next time, here is some Wham Rap! It would have adopted it as my unemployment anthem, if only I were livin' in a gangsta's paradise like 1980's George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. Some of us just aren't street like they were!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Unemploy This (Now with swearing!)

Waiting for my waiting week for unemployment benefits to be over is driving me crazy. This whole process really tests my need to know NOW. I think I can probably deal with just about anything, once I know what it is, but I just hate the uncertainty of not knowing what happens next, how long it will take, when I should start worrying. The attitude of some of the staff at the Oregon Unemployment Office doesn't exactly help either.

While the employment counselor I talked to yesterday during the in person part of the intake interview was absolutely lovely, the person I talked to on the phone as I was seeking help checking my claim status online this morning had a voice as grey as her personality, which was better suited to guarding a bridge somewhere than being a frontline "helper" for a process that would be confusing even if one weren't dealing with the emotional baggage of a mass layoff. Normally, I prefer to take care of this sort of thing online, but since online was giving me error messages, I was forced to call and speak to what in the eyes of the unemployment office passes for a human. She had absolutely no phone manners or grace whatsoever and clearly thought I was a complete f*cktard. I don't expect a parade in my honor, but as a professional who has been gainfully employed for the last 20 years (and pays taxes to help fund civil service positions like hers!), I do expect to be treated with just a modicum of respect and not like some kind of lazy half-wit just because I do not (after a week) know Oregon State Unemployment Code inside and out. This is the first time in my adult life that I have ever been without a job or sought unemployment benefits of any kind. I am not exactly a drain on the system. It is bad enough being in a position to have to ask for help. They could at least leave a person just a little bit of dignity.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Miscellaney

For someone who intended to ignore her birthday this year, I sure have celebrated it a lot. Not only was the actual day a lovely mix of movies, music, food and friends, but I had invitations to visit with friends for birthday meals on Friday and Sunday. I've eaten so much this weekend, I am about to burst. There was ice cream with homemade fudge sauce, Tunisian flatbread sandwiches (so good I could live on them!) and an insanely huge Mexican feast featuring fresh sopes (my favorite!), beans, rice, enchiladas and strawberry cake. While I feel right now like I never want to eat again, I probably will. I am fickle that way.

All the visiting with friends this weekend been a nice break from stressing out over unemployment, finding a new job, getting my taxes done, and worrying about any number of things ranging from jury duty to renewing my driver's license (oh, man, I cannot believe I am going to be saddled with that picture for the next eight years. There's an ID card that is just begging to get "lost"!) to helping my mom find her paperwork, so she can renew her  ID card.

This whole unemployment thing still has me feeling unsettled. While I have plenty of interests to keep myself busy, I find myself feeling guilty if I spend too much free time not actively looking for work. Thinking back to my childhood, both of my parents worked very hard. There were plenty of times when I remember my dad working two jobs. My mom used to tell stories about my grandfather and how he always told them "I don't care what job you choose, but you will work". The whole "you have to have a job to be productive thing" is pretty ingrained in me. I think it's a big part of what stopped me from pursuing something in the arts when I was younger.

At the same time, there is part of me that sees how unbalanced my life had become. Before the corporate bankruptcy, I hardly ever made time to write or play music. The last thing I remember writing and finishing was a poem six months ago, and even taking the time to do that was an anomaly. I think some of it is that my work used such a different part of my brain that it's sometimes difficult to shift gears at the end of the day. I have no idea what will happen, but I have to believe wherever I end up professionally, there has to be time to do both.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

This wasn't what I meant..


When I asked for my birthday off, perhaps I should have been specific. I didn't need all the extra eternity afterwards. Also, did I mention the day I got laid off was my deceased father's birthday? (Thanks Mr. Burns. My dad's birthday and mine will now be forever linked to your business feud and the first time I lost a job. Way to go! You can now go home, rub your hands together with a well earned"EX-celllll-ent.")

Given the events of last week, I wasn't really in much of a celebratory mood. The only thing that would have made me feel even more old and loserish would have been if I had been fired instead of laid off. Sadly, my inner hermit comes out at the times when it would be most healthy to be around people, so I was completely ready to just skip the birthday revelry altogether this year. My big plans for the day included trying not to worry about job search stuff, wearing an ass groove in the couch while watching movies (hopefully in my pajamas), and possibly eating Chinese food.

In the end, the day turned out much different when my mom convinced me to at least go to a matinee with her. Since I was already going out, I invited my friends Jen and Leslie, who are also flexible of schedule to go see Oz the Great and Powerful. It was the perfect getaway movie, not least of which because the denizens of Oz are a well dressed bunch (great costumes!) and the irrefutable fact that James Franco's crinkly-eyed smile is ADORABLE. I'm already looking forward to the sequels you know Disney will make, if this does well.

Later in the day, there was dinner at Tapalaya, which involved live jazz and amazing oyster po' boys with sweet potato fries and a mixed drink whose name I keep forgetting, but that was basically a lemondrop, if lemondrops were made with delicious strawberry lemonade. Next time, I am definitely trying the julep, for I love mint and would marry it if the church sanctioned human-herb weddings (but please don't tell chili, since I promised to marry it last week). I knew when I saw their logo was a craw de lys that Tapalaya and I would be friends, because how can anyone not appreciate a crawdad/fleur de lys hybrid? More than that, though, the oysters were PERFECT (crispy on the outside and well cooked inside without being rubbery) and I am not just saying that because I have personal knowledge that the chef is awesome either!

And, finally, because I know how to party, I capped off the evening with a haircut. It involved cutting about 4-5" off my hair and dying it bright auburn, but it was somehow liberating to have control over one drastic change at this point in my life. Once I stop scaring myself when I pass by a mirror (who IS that woman with the ridiculously cute chin length, garnet bob? Oh, it's ME!), I think it will be great. If I have to start over, I'd might as well do it right.

Here's to a good new year!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Yesterday was a good day. I had a great informational interview with the COO of a fundraising company. Unfortunately, they have no administrative or operational openings right now, but he promised to keep me on his short list if anything does open up. He also offered to help me in any way he could, so it was a good contact and good practice for future interviews.

I learned how much I will get via unemployment. It's considerably less than I was making, but it is comforting to know that I can get by on it until I find something suitable. I've decided that the scariest part of being unemployed truly is the unknown. If it weren't for that, I could just relax and enjoy this respite. Even if I didn't have plenty to do looking for a new job, I have enough interests and curiosity that I could fill my days reading, writing, taking pictures, puttering around in the kitchen, playing violin, researching things, messing about learning to make horrifically bad paintings, exploring any number of heretofore undiscovered hobbies. It's the not knowing if it will take me seven days or seven months to find a new situation that freaks me out. While I am truly happy for those co-workers (mostly in sales) who have transitioned quickly into new jobs, every time I hear about another one I get a little pang of "What's wrong with me? Am I too slow finding something new? What if I don't ever find anything?" The fact that this is totally unrealistic thinking or that I haven't even been unemployed long enough for my unemployment benefits to kick in doesn't stop me from going down that road when I'm in the right mood. I'm just not used to not having something to do.

The truth is that it's generally not so bad during the day. I am around people then and even when I'm not, I'm busy looking for job leads, tweaking my resume, trying to think about potential directions. There is some part of me that sees this as a kick in the pants to find something that is more of a calling than a job. That is the exciting part. The part of me that was told when I took Strengthsfinder testing that I am "great to have around at the beginning of a project" loves this infinite possibility stuff. That part is excited to know future me and find out what she is doing.

It's the worry wart part of my personality that makes this such a pendulous experience. Today, for example, I was doing great. I spent the morning looking for leads, then spent some time talking to a friend online about my plans for tomorrow, which is my birthday, and it suddenly hit me how very much this is NOT how I wanted to start my plenty-ninth year. Next thing I knew, I was crying and feeling totally overwhelmed by the fact that I don't have this amazing savings to fall back on and pretty ticked off at myself for not having better planned for the eventuality that I could lose my job.

The dumb thing is that I really am not that bad off. I have a home. I'm in no danger of losing the core things that make my life good. And I guess that's the lesson of this experience. BREATHE. Keep things in perspective. Things WILL be okay.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Of 8 year olds and days off

Today for the first time since Monty Burns decided to liquidate my place of employment, I managed to take a day off. It all started when my friend Mexican Jenny called to extend her birthday wishes in the form of song. It was all so loud and delightfully off key that I just couldn't stop her to say that my birthday isn't until Wednesday, so I waited until the end to tease her about it.

We talked for a while about her new grandson, my employment situation and her eight year old son's worry that I had lost my job. Somehow by the end of our conversation, I had inherited a very concerned 8 year old for the day. You know a child is eager to see you when, after just returning from early mass, he decides to come visit even though it means going to church a second time, since were just about on the way out the door when they called. It was not his first visit there, but I wonder sometimes whether my very progressive church with its lesbian reverend and rainbow of straight, gay and transgender membership confuses this little Catholic boy. If he is aware on these visits that he is not in Kansas anymore, he doesn't show it. While I am straight, one of the things I really love about the church we go to is that it is so open and affirming to anyone who shows up, so it makes me happy to see that my adopted nephew is growing up to be someone who sees past labels and just sees people.

I think he had fun. Once he learned about St. Patrick's day and green, he adopted pinch first, look later approach to the day. He wasn't accepting any shades of pseudo green either. I had already been pinched before he conceded that the little bits of lime color in the print on my dress were indeed green and that only after a friend of mine convinced him I was an Irish princess and could curse him. Having him around for the day really helped put things in perspective. In the most heartbreakingly sweet moment ever, he informed me that instead of presents for my birthday, he will be giving me money. Of course, he also suggested later in the day that when he gives me said money, I could use it to buy him a Transformer. Still, in that initial moment of sweetness, I am confident that he and his solemn brown eyes really meant it.

Having him around helped me forget my worries for a few hours. We pinched, we played Mario Brothers on the Wii, we dined on Happy Meals, we perused paint chips to determine the best shade for my bedroom wall (he will be helping me paint during spring break next week!), and made plans for the many picnics we will have this summer. And, most of all, he reminded me that my job is not me, my job is not my life.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Vacation, all I ever wanted

Today has felt really strange. Four days ago, I was worried about how to get everything done, so I wouldn't have to look at work during my week off. Now I suddenly have all the time I want and maybe even more.
My resume still needs some work, but I've done all the things (I think) you're supposed to do in this unfamiliar situation. I've filed an unemployment claim, I've gone through my monthly expenses to see which can be reduced or cut, I've come up with two options for paying of my credit card debt (neither of which, I am proud to say, involve selling my body or learning how to cook meth!), and I'm shopping around for health insurance. I, the consummate sucky networker, even have an information gathering call with the co-founder of a company here in Portland on Monday.

Already, I've learned some things:
  • Losing a job is a little like the lite version of losing a loved one: As corny as it might sound, there are stages of grief. Day one was pretty much the Day of Shock and Denial. I think it took until around lunch time for me to become convinced that I wasn't just having a bad dream. By day three, I was a freshly naturalized citizen of The Land of Pissed-off People (aka LOPP). I haven't experienced much in the way of guilt or bargaining, but that is because I know that I did absolutely nothing wrong and that sending out resumes is going to be more effective than any bargaining. I do, however, become overwhelmed and a bit weepy from time to time, but that seems to be lessening as each day passes and I do have enough perspective, even now, to recognize that it was a job not an arm or a loved one or a pet (which I guess is a little redundant, since pets fall under loved ones too!)
  • I have great friends and family: OK, I already knew this one, but, boy is adversity a good reminder! Suddenly, I find myself with a collection of advice, encouraging words, invitations for outings, (heartbreaking) offers from eight year olds to share their allowance, and "keep your chin up, you're awesome!" emails. My friends are also willing to tell me when I am wrong, like on Tuesday, when I briefly thought that watching all four seasons of Breaking Bad on Netflix could count as a career retraining program. Someone quickly stepped into remind me that perhaps need a little more guidance. After all, I get squirrely and start looking over my shoulder when I have an overdue library book and am probably not cut out for a life of crime. It's like having my own personal cheer leading squad without the annoying chirpiness, haireography, and stupid outfits.
  • Rrecommendations are a great self-esteem booster: Back in the old day (aka three days ago) when I was still employed, I used to keep a "Martina is awesome" file in my email. Any time someone said something about my work that made me glow with pride, it got dumped in there. If I was ever feeling beleaguered and needed a pick me up, I'd read a couple. Recommendations are a little like that. It's easy to get depressed and fretful about what happens next, but knowing people think highly of you and your professionalism somehow helps calm the panic and replace it with Marleyesque feelings of "Every little thing is gonna be alright!" 
  • Having no health insurance is scary: When I had health insurance, I rarely used it. Now that I don't have any, every headache becomes a possible brain tumor. Thankfully, I think I have narrowed down the major contenders, so that will now longer be a huge concern after tomorrow.
  • You'd be surprised how many expenses you have that can be cut (p.s. Cellphone companies are bastards): The first few days of my transition, I was almost obsessively "as God is my witness, I'll never eat out again!" And, I probably won't eat out as much, but I am trying to remember it's okay to be kind to myself. Being unemployed doesn't mean I have to give up everything, but it is a good opportunity to pare down. So far, I have talked to my phone/Internet provider and reduced out monthly bill, switched my Netflix subscription to streaming only, started planning a vegetable garden and come to the conclusion that my Verizon phone service costs way too much. Credo will buy out my plan and charge me about $25 less a month, while making donations to progressive causes. Ting will only charge me for what I use, but sadly won't buy out my plan, because I farted around too long and missed out on their buyout promotion by a day or two. That means paying $260 to break my contract, if I go with them, but even that would be a savings in the long run. The stupid things is that I probably should have done this a long time ago, because who needs to be wasting money when you can get the same thing for less?
  • When you're use to working, relaxing is HARD: Every day, I wake up and tell myself "Today, I will relax!" I have been through a shock. I deserve it, right? Then, every time I sit down to read a book or watch a movie, I soon find myself obsessively checking linked in, email, resume sites, the status of my unemployment claim, pretty much e anything that could lead to a job or strategies to tide me over until I find one.
  • In the midst of all the angst, there is some hope: The one exciting thing right now is the potential for a fresh, new path. I have a graduate degree in German literature. Before moving into operations and administration, then sales compensation, I taught, I worked as a translator, I did layout and proofing for a newspaper. Despite my sometimes tendency to sell myself short, I have marketable skills. it's just a matter of which direction I want to take them (and finding someone to pay me for it, but that is the kind of angst-ridden talk that has no place in a hopeful, anti-angst bullet, so shut it, angsty-me!)
  • And so, my project for the weekend is to learn how to relax, think about where this new path will lead me, and to remember in those anxious moments to just breathe and keep perspective, because everything really is going to be alright.

    Thursday, March 14, 2013

    The first day of the rest of my life

    Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I applied for unemployment. As I begin to get my affairs in order, the shock and paralysis of yesterday has started to wear off. I am a bundle of nervous energy that I direct at making to do lists, updating my linked in profile (which still needs some more work), and cancelling any unnecessary expenses (3 disks a month plus streaming, Netflix? I don't think so!). There are moments when I feel calm and even optimistic. Then there are the other moments where I swear I can feel my blood pounding and I almost feel light headed.

    Thankfully, a friend who went through a similar situation a few years back has told me she intends to kidnap me at precisely 11 am to treat me to lunch and other "you are good enough, you are smart enough, and the world is your oyster, because people like you" type revelry.

    We end up going to a cute little restaurant in Southeast where she lets me jabber on and on and on and on and assures me it's not the end of the world and that I'll do okay on unemployment for as long as I need to. She is full of sage advice like "Right now you are so full of nervous energy, you could probably shoot electricity out your finger tips." This is great news, because I can think of a couple of equity partners I'd want to electrocute right now, if I weren't such a staunch pacifist. She goes on to advise that I will never feel this energized to get this much done and that she recommends parlaying my new found energy into completing some projects. (Paint the house! Make a quilt! Learn to macrame and build a macrame room!) We've been friends for twenty-five years and are so much alike. It is a relief to talk to someone who really gets it and gets it from my anxious, creative spirit who would be completely happy puttering with words, ideas and music all day, but has to find a real job perspective.

    Luckily, for me, I balance my internal loopiness with the ability to be analytical, disciplined and focused on doing things that are not in my natural comfort zone. When I started working on sales compensation, I had taught myself to be a whiz at excel, but had absolutely no finance experience. I generally learn quickly and find fun in the challenge of learning something new and becoming good at it. It's helped me become a Jill of all administrative and operational trades, but a big piece of my heart will always belong to writing, making music and finding ways for my introverted self to express itself through creative endeavor.

    This is one of the the things Jen convinces me will be good about this respite. I can focus on where I want my life to go next and reclaim some of those pieces of myself. Over the years, I'd allowed them to drift further and further out of my sphere. They may never be part of my professional life, but I need them to be part of what makes my soul grow.

    My new found freedom is still too new to be a willing one. I am still grieving. In an odd way, the stages here are starting to feel a little bit like a death - shock, disbelief, denial, anger, etc. I won't lie. There were times when I hated my job and when it gave me headaches. While most of the people I dealt with were awesome on multiple levels, there are always going to be a couple who make you feel like if they were on fire and you put them out, they'd complain about the water temperature. Mostly, though, I have loved it for the past few years. After eleven years, you get to know people. People get to know you. People come to trust you and know, even when there is a problem, that you will do everything in your power to help them. It's a nice feeling, knowing you have a good reputation and a daunting one to think about having to start over to build one from scratch.

    But, I will. Tomorrow is a new day and maybe tomorrow I'll start to believe that when one door closes another opens.

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013

    Adventures in Unemployment

    When I woke up Tuesday morning, it seemed like just another day. Like I do every morning, I groggily turned off my alarm at 7:10, fired up my laptop, padded off to the bathroom to brush my teeth and then to the kitchen to get a morning beverage before checking my mail and setting my work priorities for the day. On my way back from the refrigerator, I notice the message light on my living room phone was blinking. "So that was the phone ringing that briefly woke me up around 6:00 am," I think. I stop briefly to check what kind of message could be so important that the caller couldn't wait until a decent hour to call. What my groggy ears hear goes something like this:

    Hello, Martina, this is H. from You're Now Fucked, Inc. I assume you were on the call this morning. I'm calling to officially notify you that we did file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. You were employed through March 11. You will be receiving a warning letter in the mail. Please contact me with any questions [despite the fact that I have left you absolutely no contact information whatsoever].

    Excuse me? WTF? What call? I know I was employed yesterday. What does that mean? That I'm not employed today? Hell yes, I want the "repeat message" option, automated answering machine voice guy.

    Again, I listen and he says same thing.

    And again, the third time I listen.

    Still stunned, I go to my laptop. I take a deep breath, trying to keep the panic out of my voice and try to call my boss. In the end, the effort is for naught, since he doesn't pick up anyway. While I am waiting through what feels like an eternity of rings, two coworkers IM me. I hang up. It's true. The company I have worked at for eleven years has filed for bankruptcy. Shit...

    A moment later, an email pops up. A second conference call is taking place for remote employees like myself. Our CEO sounds numb as she tells us we will be paid through yesterday. There will be no more work, no more benefits, no more job, no more anything effective immediately. She repeats over and over that we should call the trustee if we have questions.

    In some ways, I have it good compared to the employees at our headquarters. I get to go through my disbelief, shock and grief in the privacy of my own home. They, on the other hand, showed up for work like they would any other Tuesday morning, only to be told to pack up their things and go home.

    I am stunned. I feel sick to my stomach, like someone just punched me in the gut. Maybe I'm still asleep and having a bad dream. Did I really just hear that a company that has been in business for 50 years has overnight ceased to exist.

    And do you know why? It wasn't really because we were struggling (though we had been). It ended because we got caught in the crossfire of a dispute between the owners of the our parent company. Two billionaires locked in a greed feuled feud and now a couple hundred people are out of work with no notice, no insurance, no nothing. Two hundred people many of whom, like me, worked weekends and when we were sick to meet deadlines and ensure our respective pieces of the organization ran smoothly. Two hundred people who would have been better off jumping ship when the going got tough, but stayed, because they believed in the company's mission. Two hundred people who came to work yesterday only to be told to pack their things, say their goodbyes and go home with no warning, no benefits, no severance, no thank you for sticking it out when many people would have left.

    I am filled with such a sense of sadness for myself and my coworkers. Even though somewhere inside I do know that I will get through this setback, I am terrified. Since I started working as a teenager, I have never been let go from a job. Never. I know NOTHING about unemployment. I haven't had to look for a job for eleven years. I have always left on my own time and my own terms.

    And, yet, here I am. I counted on my pay check each month, even if it was nothing more than bubble gum money for our Forbes list owners. I will have enough to eat. I am (thankfully) in a good enough position that I will not lose my home, but what about all of my work friends who aren't as lucky as I am? What about the millions of people in this country who have lost everything in this economy of greed we have cultivated in this country?

    When our owners acquired my company, the had they unmitigated gall to brag about the "Midwestern values" they were bringing to our organization. They sounded like a couple of billionaire evangelists come to teach us what it means to have real values. I wonder where those values were as they were decimating the livelihood of hundreds of loyal employees. Did they think only of sticking it to each other or was there a moment when they thought about what it would mean for the lives of their employees and their families? Do they think about what it is like for a parent to have to tell their child there won't be money for braces or tuition? Do they think about what it is like for those of us struggling to figure out how we're going to pay our mortgages? Our creditors? Our car payments? I am sure they are both so out of touch that they have no idea what it's like worry about such things, but many of us do.

    The one silver lining in any of this is that, at least while I'm looking for a new job, I will again have energy to do some of the creative stuff that had slowly drifted out of my life as I've focused on the analytical parts of my profession. I apparently have some time for blogging, writing and creating again. So, for now, I am off to sing "I will survive" while I wait on hold with the bank to find out how to release my 401k and pay off some bills. I may have lost my job, but I still have my soul. I'm not as certain my former parent company can say that about itself or its "Midwestern values".

    Saturday, March 02, 2013

    Silver Linings

    For weeks, I have been wanting to go to the movies, I have a decent sized list of things I want to see (Les Miserables, Life of Pi, etc.), but every time I try something else comes up (sun, shopping, indecision, apathy, etc.). Then, today, I spent most of the day moping around, feeling alternately sad or annoyed by nothing. I really hate those moods. There is such a short window to pull oneself out of them before they start to become drowning. So, I decided the finally drag my mom (who, being the only other person present, bore the brunt of my crazy) to see a movie with me.

    Of course, none of the things I really wanted to see were playing at a good time, so we went to see Silver Linings Playbook instead. I'd heard it was really good (you don't get Oscar nominations for nothing, right?), but somehow wasn't as drawn to it as some of the other things that are out. I went to the movie knowing it was about a man dealing with mental illness, but really not knowing what to expect.

    As it turned out, it was a really sweet movie with a vibe that left me feeling like I'd just watched an old classic. Good writing, snappy dialogue, good blend of drama and lighter moments without turning it into "ha ha, madness is so HILARIOUS!). And, most of all, for two hours it made me forget all the things that have been driving me to melancholia that day. By the end, I wasn't even upset that I'd all but had to mortgage the house for popcorn ( but, seriously, Century,$9 for a small popcorn and a diet soda??? It's a wonder more people don't sneak in food like the lady next to me who spent the movie slurping canned soda and crackling her giant bag of M&Ms).

    Friday, March 01, 2013

    Shoema Lives

    The little black dog in the foreground is Gizmo. Like his brother Teddy below, he is just over a year old. The fun thing about having two dogs just barely past puppyhood in the house is that they get up to all sorts of hilarious mischief. Sometimes it seems like they see me less as a human owner than as "that weird looking hairless puppy we play with".

    They romp, they roughhouse, they cuddle, they shower their friends (dog, cat, human alike) with sweet kisses. They approach life with a sweet exuberance. And sometimes they steal things. Yesterday, I made the mistake of leaving Gizmo and my favorite shoes locked in a room together with no supervision. Apparently they were his favorite shoes too. While I liked them because they were comfortable (like walking on pillows) without looking matronly or like I should be washing down a granola bar with a glass of hemp milk, he liked them because they were delicious and smelled like feet.
    Instead of getting mad (well, not for long, anyway), I decided to celebrate by my advance on old age by using my DSW birthday coupon to treat myself to some new maryjanes and a pair of Keen sandals now. Since the maryjanes are the exact kind and color as the eaten ones (I loved them that much!), I decided to do something new and pick some sandals outside of my usual color palette. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut. I know they are just shoes, but sometimes one small choice can open our mind to other new choices too. There is so much more to life than brands or material possessions, but sometimes getting new stuff just feels good. Sometimes new, whether it's shoes, puppies, experiences or attitudes, just feels good.
    And in other old new shoe news, here is a video of Paolo Nutini's New Shoes: