Hi!

Apr. 27th, 2017 11:03 am
LJ is dead to almost everyone I care to keep up with. So here I am. Not sure how often I'll post, but I will continue to tinker and see if I can figure out how to do this porting thing that some other people I know have managed.

Hello

Mar. 31st, 2016 10:39 am
I haven't written anything here in too long. And I miss it.

Just wanted to say that. Might come back later for more.
Just a quick drive-by to share some news that has me feeling a bit more energized about my creative writing aspirations:

I'm in a book!


http://www.amazon.com/Working-Stiff-Anthology-Professional-Literature/dp/1519478895/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1450719800&sr=8-2&keywords=working+stiff+anthology

Granted, the piece is something that's been collecting dust on my hard drive for a few years, and it's only one page of this anthology, but I am happy to share ink with some pretty incredible authors and I'm hoping that holding this collection in my hands will be the motivation I need to get more disciplined about getting back to my very neglected novel manuscript.

So yeah, yay for me! Please spread the word to anyone who might be interested in reading!
Only two more full days of living in Chicago. And I still have a bit to do before blast-off, but since I've boxed up almost all of the stuff that is still here, I decided to stop and take a breath this evening.

I still find it hard to believe that I've been able to maintain the breakneck pace needed to handle all of the logistics of this move and Chicago wrap-up tasks for pretty much a solid month. Even more unbelievable is the fact that soon it will all be over, and I'll be settling in to a completely new life.

For the most part, things have gone smoothly. I did go through some heartbreak yesterday though, after having to surrender my cat to the shelter where I adopted him (they will care for him until he finds a new home, since they do not euthanize their animals except in cases of grave illness). I had every intention of bringing him with me, but there were a couple of behavioral incidents, particularly this week, that forced me to confront the full extent of his special needs, and admit that it would not be in his best interest to join me in a place where I do not have friends I can call on to assist me with him. I've been reassured by many that I've done the right thing in this, but I know that I will grieve his absence for a while, and I don't think I'll be adopting another animal for quite some time.

But on a more positive note, I found an apartment that I really like, even though it will require a bit of a commute to get to work. I have some new furniture from Ikea being delivered the day after I arrive so that my place won't be completely barren while I await the arrival of the furniture I'm having shipped. And I got permission from my new boss to go ahead with the short vacation that I had scheduled (a trip to FL with a couple of my aunts from my dad's side of the family) long before I knew I was going to be changing jobs, which means I will get a few days to recover from all I've been managing.

The last real obstacle is securing a tenant for my condo, but since my mortgage is paid for the month of July, I'm going to try my best not to worry about that until after I get back from my FL trip on the 21st. I have a realtor who is going to serve as my property manager, and she's been excellent help to a friend, so I'm hoping she can find me a quality person or couple who will take good care of my place until I'm in a better position to sell.

Somehow, some way, this huge shift in my universe is working out, and soon I will be living a dream!
I've been saying for years that I'd never consider living in the Bay Area, at least, not as a single person, because the high cost of living made it seem impossible.

I also said I'd never consider (or maybe not never, but only under dire circumstances) taking on a tenant in my current condo, because having someone unknown occupying my living space, and being responsible for paying me enough to cover my mortgage and related expenses, was too nerve-wracking.

Welp.........

I accepted a job at UC Berkeley and will be moving somewhere within the East Bay within about 4 weeks.

And....as a result I have a realtor screening prospective tenants since a sale of my property is not viable at the moment without taking a big financial hit, thanks to the tanked market in my area.

The Universe likes to fuck with me, so it seems!
No romance for me today, but there was a moment worth sharing:

I was at the gym this afternoon, making circles around the track, when I passed a baby-faced 20-something boy who acknowledged me with a nod and a shy smile. I figured it was nothing more than the look often exchanged between fellow runners and kept going at my slow, steady pace.

When I came around again he was waiting for me at the break in the track. His hands were flapping in a way that I've observed in others with autism, and though his lips weren't moving, his expression suggested the concentration of someone rehearsing something difficult to say. When I reached him, he stammered, "Excuse me, I'd like to challenge you to a race."

I could tell that getting this out had been a challenge for him, and I figured there was no harm in indulging him, so I said sure, and off we went. He put on a burst of speed that I could not compete with, and though I pushed myself as hard as I could, he blew way ahead of me, and was stopped waiting by the time I completed my lap.

I congratulated him on his win, to which he mumbled an apology. "It's okay, I said. "Speed is not my strong suit. But you got me to go faster, so thank you."

He nodded and seemed to understand that I was not upset about my loss. I slowed back to my normal pace, while he reverted to walking, and seemed to retreat back into himself.

Initially, I wondered if this was an attempt at flirting. Now I'm not so sure, but regardless, I admire the boy for working up the courage to communicate, whatever his intentions were, since it didn't seem to come easily to him.
I know it's all subjective, but the timing of this message is just too uncanny!



Too much work and the resulting pressure over the past few days may have you feeling a bit too tired to do anything more, JENNY, although your optimism and enthusiasm are still intact. Don't be too hard on yourself if you find yourself dragging a little toward the end of the day. You'll be able to recharge your batteries before tomorrow. In the evening: Relax at home with a good book.

Tada!

Jan. 4th, 2015 05:05 pm
After a spotty record of output in 2014, I am committing to putting more energy and focus into my novel this year.

To that end, today sees me skipping a Neil Gaiman talk about David Bowie that I had pre-paid for (it was only $10 so no biggie, and also it's snowing and quite windy out) and having just finished a 90-minute writing session, the longest one I've attempted in months!

I felt rusty, but I have to push through that until I have a more disciplined habit going.

Time to apply the lessons learned from last year's running endeavors to my more sedentary pursuits!
Just popping in to say that this month has left me pooped!!!!

More 10K training. (And a rehearsal race in Oak Park that was a lot easier to finish than I expected.)

My first wrestling outing in over a year with my nephew. We spent a full day at a Shimmer taping in Berwyn, and I was so thrilled that he had the stamina to sit through just about 8 hours of a show exclusively featuring women competitors.

A gala dinner related to work, which resulted in my having the opportunity to write remarks for a U.S. senator. And eat a really delicious meal! ;)

A really kick-ass Gaslight Anthem/Against Me! show at the Aragon.

An unexpected invite to a free PAWS event featuring Jackson Galaxy, the man behind Animal Planet's My Cat From Hell. He was super nice, BTW, and when he was signing my book and I was a dork and said what a fan I was he thanked me and commented on how he noticed I was paying close attention while he was speaking.

More library-related meetings.

My first experience of Forest Park's annual Casket Race event.

A day trip out to Joliet for my best friend's oldest son's fifth birthday party.

And a Halloween-themed Tamale Hut show, complete with decorations and candy and costumes. It went long, even without a featured guest, but the caliber of the open mic stories was pretty solid.

As you can see, all positive activities, but a lot to juggle in a short period. And of course, this is all on me for overbooking myself, as I tend to do, but I think I'm feeling the aftermath more than usual because I haven't slotted in enough recharge time in between all of these things.

Gonna try to make November and December a lot more quiet if I can help it. Though these may be famous last words, since I like to make the most of my birth month (November). And I've been feeling the onset of a pretty strong non-business related travel itch.......


So we'll see.......
This horoscope was in my Inbox this morning:

An opportunity to travel, perhaps in the company of friends or colleagues, could come your way today, JENNY. This might involve education in some way. What you learn on this trip is likely to alter your life in some way, as it could in come way open new doors for you. New friends and valuable contacts could also come on the scene. Don't hesitate - go for it! Another opportunity like this might not come around for a while.

I don't want to say right now why this seemed especially apropos, but I feel like I need to preserve this so that it will make more sense after I do some s'plainin next week.

That's all. :)

Hello

Sep. 23rd, 2014 09:16 pm
This month has been non-stop, or so it seems.

Social obligations
Riot Fest (which, btw, was exhausting, but AMAZING!)
Getting back into a run habit, to train for not one, but 2 10Ks (yes I am nuts).
The AFSP Walk - (I exceeded my personal fundraising goal! Huzzah!)
Writing - not much, but more than I've done all summer. And a short essay in addition to the novel, which is being considered for possible publication, but which I probably won't have news on for a while.

Also exploring the possibility of making a pretty big life change, but I won't be ready to expound upon that for another couple weeks. Sorry if that's cryptic. I just don't want to jinx anything.

Suffice to say, I am welcoming tomorrow's day of working offsite, even though it will involve a full day of instruction on Excel. I like when I can decompress but also feel like I'm doing something productive!
May I humbly request a moratorium on any further home repairs for at least a year?

I think I've spent at least as much, but more likely more, on fix-ups to this place in the last two months as I have the entire time I've lived here. And the bulk of that was planned for, but any more surprises might bring me to my breaking point.

Or at the very least....no more runny toilet problems. That noise takes a big bite of my sanity every time it resurrects itself.

K, thnx.

Blergh

Jul. 17th, 2014 02:02 pm
I have to replace my water heater today.

Not tragic in the grand scheme of things, but I have a feeling I'm going to want to crawl under a rock and hide for a few days after this work and the new tank is paid for.

Someone buy my place, please! I am over owning property.
So yesterday was PAWS Chicago 8K day! I spent most of Friday night tossing and turning from pre-race jitters, but somehow still managed to feel awake enough to function when my alarm clock went off at 6 yesterday morning. The run start time wasn't until 9, and I picked up my race packet at the official PetCo site beforehand to avoid long registration lines, but I still wanted to allow myself plenty of time to get situated at Montrose Beach, because I wasn't sure if I'd be delayed by summertime road construction, and I haven't navigated that area by car that often (I rented a car for the weekend to avoid being at the mercy of the CTA at an off-peak hour), so I didn't know if there'd be prolonged quest for parking.

I left the house by about quarter to 7, and was parked in one of the designated lots and walking to the race area by 7:30, so my worries were for naught, but no matter....I'm always more comfortable with a wait due to obsessive punctuality than suffering the anxiety I feel when I'm rushed to reach a destination.

And anyway, the extra time allowed me to get familiar with the various tents (gear check, the rewards table, merch, snacks/drinks etc.) and to admire the multitude of dogs on hand for the 4K walk and Guinness World Record attempt. They were aiming to break the record for most costumed dogs in one setting, so there's was a TON of adorableness on display....doggie duos as Superman and Batman dogs as hula dancers, dogs as shrubbery (yes, this was a thing).....you get the idea. The weather was perfect for running purposes - cool and slightly foggy, a little damp but warm enough at around 60 degrees.

So I had a banana and wandered around, snapping pics and eavesdropping on random running-related conversations while I waited for them to announce that it was time to line up in the start corral. The jitters I'd felt the night before were pretty much gone once I arrived, and an encouraging text from a co-worker who also runs was helpful as well, so mostly I was just impatient to get on with things. I knew there was no question that I'd finish, but I also knew I would not be setting any speed records, but that's okay, because I know I'm not built for that, and that's not my reason for running to begin with.

I stretched a bit. I readied my running App to track my course. And for the first time, I popped in earbuds and plugged them into my iPod shuffle. I hadn't ever run with music before (aside from what gets played at the gym) mostly because while training, I need to be able to hear the App lady tell me when to change pace, and most of the other races I've run have been too messy to risk gadgetry, or done with company that I'd rather be present enough to speak to.

But running alone, at a distance longer than any I've ever done, I figured it couldn't hurt to have a soundtrack to help push me forward, and to keep my self-doubt inner monologue at bay.

As it turns out, I was right. The bell went off, and the whole herd of us started moving, and I pressed play to kick things off with Arcade Fire's "We Used To Wait." It was the perfect starter, for that period of the race when you're just finding your rhythm and feeling out the course, and you can't go all that fast to begin with because you're hemmed in until the pack breaks open a bit more.

It's funny how the Shuffle playlist seemed to know exactly which songs I needed at any given time throughout the course.

"I Was A Teenage Anarchist," by Against Me! worked well in the second mile for some speed bursts. I actually repeated that one a few times because it made me feel faster.

"California (Hustle and Flow)" by Social Distortion during the return portion of the course. If only for the lyric, "Life gets hard, and then it gets....goooooood," to keep me pushing as I felt myself losing steam.

"The Final Countdown" by Europe. Because who doesn't need a little ridiculous humor in the midst of physical challenge?

"Indestructible" by Rancid. Another one I repeated a couple times, both for the speed bursts spurred by the fast guitars and Tim Armstrong's raspy encouragement.

All of these tunes collaborated in getting me to within half a mile from the finish line, which was when the magnitude of what I was doing started to take hold, and my body didn't feel so happy or efficient. I could tell I was slowing down, but "Rusty Cage" by Soundgarden ensured at least a steady pace over some slight inclines that made it very tempting to slow to a fast walk.

I swear it felt like the longest half mile ever, but then I reached the final bend in the course, where a teenage volunteer (who would've been cute if he wasn't so young) helpfully told me, "Just round that corner and you'll be done!"

So I kept going, just as "Enjoy Punk Rock" a super fast, super peppy track by a Japanese band called Nicotine came on. As one of my go-to happy songs, it was perfect for digging deep and finding one last burst to power across the finish line.

I barely heard the cheering well-wishers. I mean, I noticed, and definitely appreciated them. But there was this sense of overload, and a huge swelling of several emotions - pride, relief, exhaustion, amazement - that choked me up as I slowed to a walk and accepted a much-needed bottle of water from one of the volunteers. I didn't full-on cry, but I think if I had plopped in the grass to stretch there would've been a messy floodgate.

I remember a similar feeling after my Run For Your Lives zombie race, and my first normal 5K, but this was a bit more intense, maybe because I was alone? At the former race I had a friend waiting at the finish line, and the latter was done with a friend who finished a bit ahead of me and waited so we could share in the post-race celebration.

Regardless, I mostly held it together, and sent a mission accomplished text to my co-worker before making my way to the VIP food area (anyone who raised over $86 was allowed access) for some pizza, fruit, and fancy pretzels. I tried drinking the free beer, but I'm not a huge fan to begin with, and I'm learning that when I'm dehydrated the only way I can get beer down is if it's ice cold and kind of watery. Miller Lite I can do. Or High Life. But the one I chose was a really hoppy IPA, and I was done after a few sips. So I left it, and collected my VIP souvenir, a PAWS race-branded mason jar glass, and ended my solo celebration.

I headed out not long after that, since the people who were supposed to post official race times didn't show. I still don't know what my recorded finish is, and I'm not sure when that info becomes available, but my App logged me at 1:00:55, and that includes the time it took me to pull my phone off my arm to stop and save. Which means I MIGHT have accomplished my goal of finishing in 60 minutes or less. Even if not, I came REALLY close!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my long-winded recap. Next step - first 10K in November! That extra 1.24 miles is gonna be hard fought, I can tell.
Once again, I have a functional shower!!!!!!!

No more getting up an hour early to catch the bus to the gym! No more lugging my gym bag back and forth with me to work, since I typically had to ride the bus from the gym straight to the train once I was done cleaning up!

I recognize that I was only inconvenienced for two weeks, which, in the grand scheme of things, is nothing.

But still........


JOY! JOY! JOY! JOY! :)
This has been kind of a crazy month.

Mostly just busy with work. Our fiscal year ends June 30, and typically, between now and then is when our biggest supporters tend to make their contributions, so there's been a lot of related writing and document prep centering around that. I've also been planning a reception for our major gift givers, which happens tomorrow evening, and that's mostly set though I know I'll still feel some nerves until things start and there's nothing left for me to second-guess.

What else? I've ramped up my running practice. I'm doing my first-ever 8K race on June 21st, in support of a no-kill animal shelter (PAWS Chicago) that does really outstanding work. Having done a handful of 5Ks over the last two years made me feel like I was ready to step up to a new distance challenge, and so I've been training with an App that's supposed to get you fit for up to 10K, made by the same people who created Couch to 5K. And oh yeah, I did my first 5K of 2014 (Run or Dye) the weekend before last with my nephew - though it was a fun run, so it wasn't timed. He loved it, and I enjoyed spending a morning with him.

My library board volunteer work has kept me pretty busy as well, since this is the time of year when they set and approve their budget, and prepare all the stuff that gets them ready to apply for the tax funding that keeps them afloat. Luckily there's only a couple more meetings, and then that commitment will go into sleep mode for a while, save for the regular monthly board meetings.

The novel writing hasn't been that productive, though I did recently finish a new chapter that I read at the last Tamale Hut! And I liked the way it left things - I just need to make the time to start figuring out the consequences of the conflict that's been created, since it carries over into the next chapter.

And my biggest source of anxiety - I'm getting work done on my bathtub starting tomorrow. It was a project I initiated after it looked like a building-wide plumbing repair was going to require breaking through my bathtub wall, something I agreed to because I've been wanting to re-tile and get rid of the awful tub liner the previous owners installed for several years. As it turns out, the wall breaking was not necessary, but since I'd already gone to the trouble of pulling funds for wall and tile repair from a small retirement account from a previous employer, and since I figured it can only benefit me to make some improvements to my place if I aim to ultimately sell it and move west, I scheduled the project anyway. It shouldn't be a big deal, but I'm a bit fearful of what they're going to find underneath the liner -- my contractor reassured me that it might be dirty, but should be fine, and easy to refinish - however, if it turns out the original tub is cracked or damaged, then this job is gonna get a lot more complicated and expensive than I care for it to be. And unfortunately there's no way to know until they get in there and have a look. I suppose if it is messed up it's better to just get it sorted and not let it sit where further water damage or damage can fester, right? Regardless, my moment of truth comes tomorrow, so at least I'll know either way in less than 24 hours.....

Somewhere along the line I have become an adult, I think! I'm sorry I don't have anything more exciting to update you on! I'll try to be more interesting after I recover from the financial pain of my bathroom construction!

Victories

May. 6th, 2014 09:23 am
I am wearing leggings today to make my semi-short dress work appropriate.

This is not a huge deal. But it makes me think back to my early teenage years, when I longed to be “fashionable” in leggings under oversized, loud print button-down tops. There were loud arguments about this with my mother, who refused to allow me out in public “looking like I was in my underwear.”

It makes me a little smug to finally have reached a place where I can own my own style. And though today’s outfit is nothing like the outfits I was denied, it still feels like victory.
I went to a comic book/pop culture convention called C2E2 yesterday.

One of my main objectives for doing this was to attend a panel featuring a few actors from the movie The Crow. It's one of my all-time favorites, and I thought it would be cool to hear them look back at the movie, 20 years after the fact. The panelists were Ernie Hudson, Tony Todd, and Michael Massee, who played the role of Fun Boy, and who also had the great misfortune of being the one involved in Brandon Lee's accidental shooting.

Massee's presence was a little concerning for me, because I know convention culture all too well from my years of participation, and I know there are A LOT of fucking awkward people (men and women both) who attend these things, people with poor filters and a strong sense of entitlement. The combo seemed like it could possibly lead to some really insensitive questions during the Q&A portion of the session.

As it turns out, I wasn't the only one anticipating the worst. The moderator, who was an awesome guy, got on the mic before the actors were brought in, mostly to hype the crowd for their arrival, but also to go over some ground rules. One of those being, "Don't ask a dickhead question." And for those not familiar, he provided context, explaining that Massee was NOT responsible for what had happened, and shouldn't be subjected to stuff like, "What's it feel like to kill someone?"

I was glad this was addressed, that everyone remained respectful. Once things started, it ended up being a really fun discussion (Tony Todd, by the way, is HILARIOUS!). But I was also really saddened by the fact that the moderator needed to lecture the room on this kind of thing in the first place. It speaks to one of the things I despise about most geek culture, the fact that it's known for being chock full of people lacking common courtesy and common sense.

It makes me embarrassed to identify with this world you know? Which is troubling, because at the same time fandom is something that defines a big part of who I am.

So it's like, where do I fit in, you know?
I just returned from a trip that marked the fifth anniversary of my first trip to Seattle in 2009, as well as the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide.

Four out of the five women who were on that trip returned (and the missing woman only skipped because she's about to give birth), and we added a new person, someone I'd met before but had never traveled with.

I don't think this visit was as life-changing as that first trip, but it was amazing and beautiful in and of itself. I'm too tired to delve into detail after my long day of flying home, but I can say there's something instructive about trips that allow you to reflect on who you were and where your life was at a certain point in time, and compare that to the person you've become in the present day.

2014 Jenny is not drastically different from 2009 Jenny, but she's still come a long way!

I hope to come back and share more on this, but in the meantime, I'll post a few highlight pics:

DSCF2748
DSCF2766
DSCF2764
Lest I catch myself tempted to come on here and complain about the things that I am lacking, I just wanted to record a most triumphant experience, so I have something positive to refer back to.

I was part of a gala event put on by my work last night.

Not only was I trusted to write the overall program script for the event speakers, but I got to meet one of them at the end of the night, and he praised me for the quality of my writing.

The speaker's name?

Bill Kurtis!!!!!!


Those of you who know me know what a big dork I am for him. So to hear him reading my words, and saying them exactly as written aside from a few well-placed ad libs?

OMFG it was amazing!!!

Okay, I'm done. Just had to gush.
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