Friday, August 31, 2012

Tulip my poplar

Last day of August. It felt like the last day of summer. Cloudless blue sky. 80-something degrees. Open highway. Perfection.

I've been reading books/articles about relationships. On book said a long-term relationship working/not working comes down to personalities and common values. The book also said we all like things that come in a pretty package, so work out and wear make up.
I think men wrote that book. I don't endorse telling women that they need to wear make-up to be attractive. At some point, he will see you without it. The point of the pretty package line must be that once he sees you without it, you'll have already got him.  Whatever 'got him' means; it's all relative. I've never been much of a make-up girl, but at the beginning of this year, I started wearing eyeliner/mascara most of the time. I stopped post-break up, but started again in the past 2 weeks. I don't know if it makes me prettier, but it makes me feel prettier. At this point, I think whatever I can do to feel prettier is good.  Break ups do a number on self-esteem, especially after all the positive reinforcement a girl gets from a guy who wants to sleep with her. Since I learned how to dress my body well in 2009/2010, I always dress well.  Makeup was the next step?

Anyway, today I met up with AMF (actual male friend, the gay one), who came on a surprise visit from NY. He called in the morning to ask me to lunch, telling me he had to meet with Bud about work stuff before that.  Anyway, later, when AMF and I hung out, Bud came up. I don't think I was sad. I tried not to be down about it. We eventually said goodbye. I drove home in time to change and go for a run. On the way to the park, I heard this song:
It's Breakeven by The Script. I've always liked them, and this song in particular before it got played out on the radio. But never before has this song described an aspect of me - although I'm nowhere near as creeper as the guy in this video. So of course tears ensued on the drive to the park. Remember those surveys that people used to post on their Facebook or MySpace, the ones that ask who you kissed last, what color underwear you have on, the last person to text you. They also ask, When was the last time you cried? These days, my answer is always today, or yesterday. I'm tired of it. Feeling tired doesn't do anything.

On my run, I explored a trail I'd never run before. Rocks and foot bridges, mud, horse hoof prints, elm, white maple, shagbark hickory, American beech, sassafras. I love naming the trees. Tulip poplars are my favorites.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Things I used to want

I'm only 20-something, but somewhere between high school and college graduation my body decided to give me knee problems. Nothing major, just pain if I run on pavement on a regular basis. I know God gave us aspirin, but I refuse to take on the burden of keeping the pharmaceutical industry in business. So I run on trails. This goes on until my knees hurt anyway, while doing such things as walking down inclines, down stairs, down everything. To fix this, I rested for a few days and then I stopped running downhill. This works so far. But even though my distance is longer than a 5K, I get too many breaks. How far am I actually running? Yesterday, I tested my endurance by adding a loop (about a mile) and hoping I got 5K of actual running in.  I don't want to suffer on 9/23, now dubbed 5K race day.  If I do move out in the near future, let it be to some place near a park full of mostly flat unpaved trails. Then I'll see how far I can go.

Good news on the job front - I got a phone interview! Relief - I was starting to get all despair-y. I said the other day that I have mood swings, not emotions lately, and that's largely because of the uncertainty. Life is wide open right now; no particular location to move to, no reason to stay or leave, no particular job that I want, no clothes I want. I didn't even really want the smartphone; I was fine with my old phone. So that's the trouble - I don't have a thing to want.  I mean, I want to stay fit, so I'm running.  I want to lose 5lbs, but I'm working out and eating well so there's nothing more I can do there. Things are best to want, because they are achievable, like degrees for instance. Maybe I was so upset about Bud because he distracted me from this realization. There's nothing I can do about it. I can't tell myself how to feel.

Things I used to want:
to run a fashion blog
to have a boyfriend
the perfect white t-shirt
the perfect chambray shirt
to publish a best-selling novel

Okay, I still want the perfect white t-shirt, but the other things I don't want anymore. I want a relationship, not a boyfriend. I figured out which clothes look good on me, so I'm not obsessed with fashion. I found my chambray shirt last March. I don't care if my novel is best-selling (or even published), just that I wrote it; and it doesn't even have to be a novel anymore.
I think I need to stop reading such melancholy books.  They influence my mood. Why are the  good ones so sad?
I was asked, would I rather, for the rest of my life, have every song I hear be by Nickelback, or have the lead actor in every movie be replaced by Nicolas Cage?

I chose Nicolas Cage. For me music > movies. What an evil choice to make. I hope it never comes to this.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Up and Down

It feels like it's the first day of school everywhere (Everywhere?  Everywhere.). A bunch of my relatives started new programs or are finishing up current ones. One is going for a Ph.D., or a phid, as I say in my head. There's also a college freshman, a sophomore, and a senior. The high school cousins.  And I probably have more cousins going to school who I've never even met. Let's not even talk about all the friends who are back in school. I must run with an educated crowd. And here I used to think my relationship with education would be over when I was 21.

This morning I got stuck behind an elementary school bus for about 8 stops. I saw the families standing in their driveways, putting smartly dressed little girls and boys onto the school bus for the first time, waving as the bus pulled away. It was just like on 90s television. I don't remember my own first day of school, but I've seen the pictures. Downside is I'm feeling like a slacker because I'm not starting anything. My father pointed out that slackers don't ever feel like slackers. Comforting, but I'm still left with this feeling. I admit that a part of this feeling is a stupid competition with Bud over who doesn't need the other one more. As far as I know, this takes place only in my head. That's why I called it stupid.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Technology to my rescue

Ah so the materialistic part of me has risen to the surface.  I normally try to suppress it, but what's the harm in letting it run the show?  In other words, I got a smartphone and have spent the past 24 hours fiddling with it, which has effectively distracted me from basically everything else.  Totally the opposite of last Saturday, which I spent interacting with real live people.  Before I got the new phone, I was well and truly set on an emotional path to depression (thanks to last Saturday); my self-worth had plummeted so far that I moaned to my sister that I didn't need to go to the phone store because I didn't deserve a new phone. Oh the look she gave me. Disdain. Nothing like a sister to immediately illuminate out how stupid you are, both to yourself and to everyone else.  It's a natural gift.

Still drowning myself in fiction, but this time in short story collections.  Since about 2010, I have been fed up with the short story.  I needed the commitment of a novel. I don't know what suddenly changed, but now I'm reading short story collections that revolve around the same type of character. Some beautiful writing has been published. I should have known Bud wasn't the one for me when he said that David Foster Wallace was a genius who'd wasted his genius on writing fiction. Talk about a warning sign.

When did phones become computers?  My eyes are tired.  I predict an increased number of eyestrain cases in the US in the next 10 years.  I should buy stock in vision correction.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Considering consideration

I like to think of myself as considerate. School's about to start again, and even though I graduated this summer (oh yeah baby), I still live near campus.  So people are coming back into town, and they're all asking me:
Hey, *wink *attempted-sexy-face, how are you and Bud?
I say, we broke up.
They say something like, wow I thought you two would have a really strong relationship by now. What happened?
Do they ask Bud these questions when I'm not around?
Then I say we broke up, it was mutual.
They wait for more information.
Then I somehow wind up briefly blaming myself, before I shut up out of loyalty to Bud.  I won't talk more about it b/c some of these people will be his co-workers, and whatever I say will get around.  I'm human, so I need to talk about it, but only with people who have never and will never meet him.
Did you ever notice how everyone has a gossip face?
Cliques, classmates, coworkers, families - why do groups of people who are stuck together in some way always talk about each other? At that job, we talked about each other in front of each other and shared stories (about each other, lol).  To date, it was actually my best work environment yet, probably b/c the workplace philosophy emphasized being open to the quirks and differences of any person who walked through the door. "Safe space" is literally the slogan. I have a few friends who are stuck in a bad workplace environment, due to their coworkers.  These friends aren't mean people.  They aren't inconsiderate. Their stories made me grateful to work there. So anyway, what I'm saying is I don't want to mess that great environment up for Bud, or hurt his feelings, or take away any of the respect that people already have for him by giving away details or even main ideas about why our relationship ended. I still feel like I've been talking too much.

Do men ask each other what happened after their friend goes through a break up?  :-/

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Lighthouse Scenario

I was both optimistic and correct about seeing Bud again.  I loved spending a few hours with 4 friends I hadn't seen in too long, especially since we used to see each other all the time.  There hadn't been a more beautiful day in weeks, and we got to spend much of it at a rooftop restaurant.  But I did feel awkward.  I had trouble making eye contact with Bud, especially at first.  I had to force a smile some of the time.  Now that all's said and done, I don't think Bud was fooled, but hey, I did the best I could to act as if we were always just friends. Then I drove home, cried not nearly as long as I did last month, and drowned myself in fiction. Said fiction was a Korean drama called Rooftop Prince that's available online with no commercials.  If you have something you really should be doing, don't start watching Korean dramas, b/c they're addicting (5+ years for me). I swore off them for 5 months to write my thesis, but this break up brought them back into my life. Escapism.
Escaping to a lighthouse would be ideal. Novels have romanticized them so much for me.  I'd be thrilled to get to go inside one.

Truths realized yesterday: 
I must've cared about Bud more than I thought, if all I wanted by the end was to give him what he wanted. 
If I ever fool myself into thinking I'm capable of casual dating again, shame on me.  
I am a weaker person than I would like to be. 
If I stay generally sad much longer, I think I could become an actress b/c I am now capable of crying on command those tears that well and then gently fall straight from my eyelid to the desk, or if my head's tilted, they skim down my cheek and pool at my chin. In other words, pretty tears.  If I had the slightest interest in acting, I'd start going for auditions.

I let myself wallow today, but I'll get back to job-applying tomorrow.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Everything's Big in Texas

The endings are hitting me all at once.  Yesterday, I passed on the torch at my (now old) internship.  I hugged the one coworker who's still left good-bye.  I said "see ya" to one of the top 5 security guards I've ever known.  Then I went to school, where I picked up my USB from the beautiful department secretary with the Texas accent and hugged her goodbye.  I walked out of the hall where I had almost all of my classes, where I sat outside on the lawn with friends for hours, watching the girls and the boys walk by in all their variations - neon sunglasses, red skinny jeans, purple lace tights, preppy, geek chic, boho, gym rats, slouchy-casual-glam (my favorite).  Campus was quiet, was beautiful in the way of abandoned places.  Walking back to my car, I thought of the people I'd met over the past 2 years, the ones who'd moved on, the ones who'd be back for fall semester.  There's nothing like going to school.  I don't think anyone realizes until they're done.

Endorphins report - I inherited bum knees from my father.  I should go swimming instead of running, but hey, no gym membership.  And I just like to run.  But lately my knees hurt (a lot, and for days afterward) if I run downhill.  Alas, this state is both the definition and the embodiment of rolling hills.  So I only run uphill or on flat land.  I increased the distance to make up for it - to about 4.5miles.  I bet at least 1.5miles is me walking though.  I can't think of an alternative.

Been working on my push-ups.  After my run/walk/jog, I did 20 today.  The first 15 were easy.  Let's not talk about the last 3.  I feel like I have guns now.  I should kiss them.
Rosie the riveter is always relevant.
Tomorrow, I'm going to see Bud for the first time in a month, and probably for the last time.  Maybe ever.  I'm in trepidation.  I've been feeling better lately; I don't want to go back.  I'm only going because it's a group setting - a group of friends.  This is what I tell myself: I'm going to wear a casual dress and have fun with some casual friends (except for AMF; our friendship is actual and is the only reason why I'm going. More than casual friendships are so few).  Wish me luck - I don't want to be a pie.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Some things just won't die.  My thesis may be one of them.  Sunshine for days and days, but this morning had a decidedly monsoon-ish cast.  Bright and early (okay, overcast and not-so-early), I stopped at school to print my thesis at the department.  Parking lot to department journey = lucky I wasn't swept away in the rivers they call sidewalks.  I wore flats and jeans and whined out loud to myself the whole time as I got wetter and wetter.  By the time I made it to my department, I'd accepted the wet and cold.  At least my thesis paper was dry.  And then the beautiful wonderful department secretary told me the copier was down.  I didn't even flinch.  With all the setbacks, having the thesis printed and turned into the binding people all in one morning had seemed an impossible feat anyway.  The beautiful wonderful department secretary told me to leave everything with her, and when the copier was fixed, she'd make my 4 copies and hand them into the binding people.  I showered her with thanks: literal, figurative, and wordy.  She emailed me a couple hours later - it's done.  It's done. It's really done. Well, except for the fact that I'm converting it into a scientific article to publish.  But this means I'm going to have a second master's.  In the words of Kanye:

You keep it going man, you keep those books rolling,
You pick up those books, you're going to read
And not remember, and you roll man.
You get that associates degree, okay,
Then you get your bachelors, then you get your master's
Then you get your master's master's,
Then you get your doctorate,
You go man, then when everybody says quit
You show them those degrees man, when 
Everybody says hey, you're not working,
You're not making any money,
You say look at my degrees and you look at my life,
Yeah I'm 52, so what, hate all you want,
But I'm smart, I'm so smart, and I'm in school,
And these guys are out here making
Money all these ways, and I'm spending mine to be smart.
You know why?
Because when I die, buddy, you know
What's gonna keep me warm?
That's right, those degrees.
This is the only Kanye West song I really like.  My siblings quote it to me whenever I graduate from something or mention anything about school or do something that implies I have too much book learning (ex. fail to know the latest slang, calculate the price of a 40% off flower print blouse).

In other news, my one and only actual male friend (he's gay), now dubbed AMF, is coming into town this weekend.  AMF's also friends with Bud, but we've known each other a whole year longer.  So AMF loves me better.  Not that it's a contest or anything.  Scoff. Scoff.  Despite what I write and how I obsess, I really don't dislike Bud. I'm just not very adult about this.  Be mature, self.  Be mature.  I know it's better this way.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Inertia, but I grew up a little

Silly confession.  I thought that when all the topcoat on my fingernails wore away, it(meaning my latest relationship or meaning all emotion related to Bud) would be over. I looked down at my nails today and the last shining patch on my index finger had faded away.  Turns out it was over long before, but I'm stuck with the memories. They say don't remember the good times, or you'll never move on.  My problem is I can't stop rehashing whatever it was I did wrong.  But it was not enough time, not my fault.  But if only I'd been able to read his mind.  Ha!  This is the way I think.  Pathetic.  God, we really are hardest on ourselves.  I wouldn't call anyone else pathetic.  I'd tell them there's nothing to do but wait, pray, keep moving.

Today I put all the books I'm never going to read again into the back of my car to donate to the Goodwill.  I went through the stacks of scrap paper accumulated over my 2 years of M.A. earning, and I put them in the back of the car to recycle.  I put the suitcase I took with me to Cali into storage in the shed.  My summer's over - the trees are yellowing.  My friend's wedding is over.  School's over.  Friendships are over.  Heck, even the Olympics are over.  What am I doing wrong?  Why am I still unemployed?  That vacation was the highlight of my summer.  I was happy every minute of it.  I was far away, I was staring at another ocean altogether.  My problems were literally too distant to be dealt with, so I didn't even think about them.  Plus, everything was new.  I love to live in new places.  I discover short-cuts and quirks of place and meet more people; I learn the way things work in different regions.  I won't live in the same state the rest of my life.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

a good person & a point opportunity

How helpful people are when they might need you.  And yet, they're also helpful when they can help you. I read a magazine article which reported that most people, even people who wrong others, want to feel like they are a "good" person.  Really? Even the bigots and the elitists and the chauvinists and the spoiled ones and the selfish ones and the ones who have no illusion about looking out for #1?  Even them?  It's comforting, that everyone just wants to be able to live with themselves.
If you can't hug yourself, who will?

Today I stayed inside and applied to a few jobs.  I spent the day in a pretty dress and sky high heels to make myself feel better about being stuck in front of the computer for hours.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Totally Adult Moves

In a totally adult move, I networked with the man next to me on the flight home.  By that I mean, he was a friendly people-person, we got to talking, and it turned out his CA small business also dealt with sustainability issues.  Anyway, in the end I got an offer to write for his blog.  Unpaid, but exposure!  I so need something good to pop up when my name is googled.

If You Were to Google Me <--a miserable failure of a link right now

Plus, I loved the voice of the man from the plane.  And he told me I will change the world.  I have an old man crush now.

Totally adult move #2, I finally reached the point where I could text Bud to wish him well on this thing he's been worried about since May and right now actually doing.  It's also finally the last part of his schedule that I know.  So YAY! :-) to the commencement of the period of my life where I have no clue what he's doing AKA the rest of my life.  And my friendly just-friends text also tells Bud that we're cool and it won't be weird if we run into each other.  I felt angst and self-doubt only during the period before he texted me back.
This tree was alive when Jesus was born.  Let your brain process that.
Above is a photo I took while with my girls at a redwoods park in CA.  I had fun almost every single minute of that vacation.  I love you, friends!  How did I get so lucky?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Travelling Solo on National Friendship Day

Airports are lonely places when you're flying solo.  Over the past 5 days, I flew from PHL to SFO and back again (fyi, SFO > PHL).  This occasion marked the first time in my life that I've flown since I was 3, and the first time I've ever flown alone.  Another milestone, er 3,000-milestone.  About flying, I loved looking out the window at the cloud formations, but that was about it.  I dislike taking off and landing.  Still, all the ear popping was worth it to be able to spend time with my friends for a few days: having adventures, hugging trees, getting lost, eating delicious food...
Chicken and waffles from this place in Oakland, CA.  Also the best macaroni and cheese I've ever tasted.
One nice thing about having friends that love you is that they hate all your ex-boyfriends on principle.  And of course I also hate all their ex-boyfriends.  I forgot about this aspect of true friendship, because I had too many mutual friends/acquaintances with the recent Bud.  I can't talk to them about Bud - that would be the opposite of moving on.

It's National Friendship Day (according to Cosmopolitan), so I told my real friends:
1) I love them 
2) I'm thankful that they exist in my world
3) I wish I could hug them in person
4) They're fabulous
The first message I got when I turned on my phone after deplane-ing.