April 30, 2013

the orchestra librarian mafia strikes again

and I am still too tired to tell you about it. it was good. I miss them. I feel like camp is over for the summer and now I have to go back to my life.

April 21, 2013

a sunday

in my dream I look for you everywhere but cannot find you. in my dream I say to you, "I don't know how to say goodbye to you," but you aren't there. I am running barefoot in the rain to get to you. I can't go fast enough. you drive by and I know it's the last time I will ever see you; you are doing something insipid like returning a movie and you are not alone. I don't care but even so I can't find you, don't catch you. I stand there, barefoot in the mud, my clothes soaked through, bereft.

in one moment of the dream you are there with me. I know you are going, will soon be gone, and everything inside me is frantic. every time I see anything beautiful, I tell you, I think of you. everything I am made of screams: please don't go. if there is a place farther from me, I beg you do not go.

I wake and am alone, my head pounding, the hair at the nape of my neck damp and hot. there is one extremely loud bird outside. I spent much of yesterday walking around with a guy and his little hound, ellie. I spent the rest of it on my bike. now I am alone in my bed at dawn and for all that matters, it might as well all be the dream. I still don't know how to say goodbye to you. I still think of you whenever I encounter anything beautiful. I would run whatever lengths necessary, barefoot in the rain, everything on me soaked and ruined, if it would bring me to you. this is the only secret about myself I have been keeping. except from you. forgive me. I couldn't help but tell you.

wherever you are in the world, I miss you more than I can say, even in dreams. still, and, I fear, always.

April 17, 2013

lately

boston <3
boston. what else can I say?



otherwise:
+ impromptu tap dancing classes in the rehearsal studio
+ creme eggs (I am hoarding them like they are gold)
+ zero tolerance for bullshit
+ 7 AM bike rides
+ lilacs ♥
+ pedaling through the burgerville drive-thru at 7:15 AM on my bike (it was free breakfast sandwich day)
+ definitely NOT quietly stressing about managing the softball team
+ mild but worrisome achilles pain
+ fancy face potions from lush
+ riding my bike brakes like a nervous nelly
+ a practical study of the differences between a current-generation mars staedler eraser (my eraser of choice) and an older model (older one lasts longer, sheds smaller shavings, but doesn't erase as efficiently)

I may not have any money, but at least my apartment is full of flowers.



p.s. my photo above, which I submitted in response to a call for photos from folks who wore race shirts yesterday, seems to have, in a small way, become the face of portland runners on our local news station. I'll take it.

April 15, 2013

back of the pack

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mud.

race #2 in our xdog season pass: the dirty du & dash. (my librarian friend joy and I both have passes; that photo -- and foot -- are hers) we opted not to do the duathlon because we weren't too confident in our mountain biking skills. I wasn't even sure I was going to run the race, because my calf had been acting squirrelly -- kind of out of nowhere -- and the last thing on earth I need is to hurt myself now that I am almost exclusively self-propelled.

we got to hagg lake at 10:26 for a 10:30 start. I was in the bathroom when the horn blew; joy was putting a parking pass on her car. we probably started 3 minutes after everybody else. xdog events are awesome because they are so chill that neither of us really gave a shit about this.

turns out running in the back of the pack is the way I can get away with racing without, well, racing. nobody was really around to compete with. I walked as much as I needed to. I was all alone in the woods. my only regret is that I LOVE trail running and it was a beautiful trail and there is nothing better than opening up and flying through the woods like a deer.

I came in fifth from last. a little sorry I wasn't just straight up dead last. joy, on the other hand, passed about 75 people and won her age group. badass.

otherwise, the weekend consisted of homemade pizza (made entirely because I have about 10 pounds of chard growing in the garden and ... I don't like chard? I don't know why I do these things to myself), netflix, coffee, a phone call with my BFF, a crazy freak hailstorm?!, lady date. lady date is where I got the lilacs, which is what my whole place smells like now and all I want is lilacs forever. they are my very favorite flower.

in an unbelievable turn of events, I am so far ahead at work that I began working on the SECOND show of next season today. I keep wondering what gigantic thing I've forgotten to do. as our orchestra manager once sagely said, "we won't know until they yell at us."

52 more days of work until furlough. two weeks until I present at the MOLA conference. a month until my sister comes for a visit. and I only have one more real weekend until the end of may. batten down the hatches, sailors.

April 13, 2013

austerity measures

so, since around the first of the year, I've been on what most people would consider a shoestring grocery budget -- around $30 a week. every time I get paid -- every two weeks -- I go to the ATM and get $80 and that has to be food & restaurant/going out/coffee money until the next time I get paid.

the reason for this is that in november I called a budget counseling service, one available to me through my credit union, and got enrolled in a debt consolidation program. all last year I was totally emotionally overwhelmed by my credit card debt, too shy and ashamed to call the credit card companies and talk to them about how to not have my minimum payment be (in one case) $150 a month -- an insanely high minimum that got that high precisely because for awhile I was throwing extra money at it. did you know this is a thing they can do? they can reset your minimum to the average amount you've been paying. so I accidentally screwed myself in the end.

so I finally got fed up of being terrified about money all the time and enrolled myself in the debt management plan, wherein I made an appointment for a very kind person to go over my budget with me over the phone, and then help me figure out how much I could reasonably throw towards my debt. and then that person would contact all my debtors and work out an agreement where they would hopefully waive late fees and reduce my APR and possibly reduce what I owe by a small fraction. in return, I agree to: a) close all my credit card accounts; b) not take on any new debt; c) pay a set fee every month to the debt management company, which they disperse to my creditors. so that's what I did.

the monthly payment is steep, but is set specifically to be a certain percentage of my income. it's a lot, but it's doable. but if I miss a payment, boom. they drop me and I'm on my own with the credit card companies again. and I will be on this plan for five years.

by the way, I am telling you all this in no small part because I think it's bullshit that money is a thing we are ashamed of, like not having any makes you a bad person by default. it doesn't.

anyway.

a vast majority of my expenses are fixed. rent, board for cookie, car insurance, phone bill, student loan (which is not rolled in to my plan because the interest on it is already hilariously low). fixed, fixed, fixed. some can go higher (car insurance, phone) but most of them can't go lower. (phone is the only one left of those that can, and this is a spoiled thing to say but I really don't want to give up having a smartphone.)

what's left to cut back on? food, gas. and of course things like clothes and running things and all those miscellaneous things we buy ourselves. I don't spend money on any of those either.

so, I set my food budget at the experimental rate of $80/pay period, and it worked, so I kept it there. but the end result of looking at my budget in this way is that when unexpected expenses come up -- like Cookie's $300 vet bill last month -- the first thing that pops into my head is, "well, I guess I'll have to eat less."

fast forward to this past week. my car has been making a noise, which I've been attributing to a belt that needed tightening or something similar. the check engine light has been intermittently going on and off, but it's been doing that every winter for SIX YEARS. I had been putting off taking it to the shop, because -- well, because of everything above -- but I finally got it in this week. I had to take it in two days in a row because on day one they couldn't make it make the noise, which of course changed the minute I got into the car.

so wednesday afternoon, cindy, the lady who works the desk at my mechanic (and I'm pretty sure the whole shop is two mechanics and cindy), calls and says, "hi honey. well, we have some bad news." that squeaky belt that I thought was going to be a minor fix is going to cost me somewhere between $550 and $1000. in addition, my coolant temperature sensor is bad, to the tune of $330. awesome.

I drive the same car I had in college. the car is 11 years old. it has 130,000 miles on it. it's a base model ford escort, no power locks, no power windows. it has a tape deck. I have known for some time that I might be staring down the barrel at losing my car, but I thought I had a little more time than this. I walked back to the mechanic and called my mom. "I mean, it doesn't seem like it's even worth fixing, mama," I said. "what if I throw $1300 into it and next month some other huge thing breaks? that's $1300 I could have put toward a car."

I got to the shop and they chatted at length with me, explaining that because my car is the only one of its model they get in (they primarily work on european cars), they had never actually seen this particular problem before, so not only were they not totally certain that replacing the broken thing would fix my car, they also weren't sure what would happen when the thing actually broke the rest of the way. "my guess is that the car would just slowly come to a stop," the mechanic said, "but I don't know for sure."

so in addition to having a hefty car repair bill, in the meantime the car might either just inconveniently break down on the side of the road, or it might kill me. okay!

so I took the key and gingerly got into the car and hesitantly turned the key and drove home feeling like I was in a death trap. (but not before I nearly asked out the mechanic, who is cute and, google tells me, the same age as me.) I called my mom back and she called an old family friend, a ford mechanic who my stepdad used to work with, and he told my mom that I should take it to the dealership (BARF), that it would not kill me if it broke, and that I should fix it.

so. that is what I will do.

in the meantime, I am driving it as little as possible, in part because I don't want it to break the rest of the way, and in part because gas is the only other variable line item in my budget and every goddamn dollar counts. so, now I am suddenly a full-time bike commuter! thank god I bought a bike last year! thank god this is not my first time ever commuting in traffic!

on the down side, there is no way to get to the barn without a car. no public transit goes close, and if I took the closest bus route and then biked the rest of the way, the trip would take me THREE HOURS. three hours one way.

so once again I am trying to find somebody to share my horse with me.

the funny thing about these austerity measures is that, surprisingly, I haven't once felt this year like I'm deprived. there's something about trying to live on a very paltry food budget that feels like a game. some weeks I manage to spend something like $18 on groceries. when my best friend said, 'how???', I replied, 'I simultaneously want to tell you that it's really not that hard and that I have no fucking idea.' or, like I jokingly told my mom, 'well, I have been wanting to get back down to race weight.'

April 9, 2013

scars, part 2

excerpts from a sent letter, for a change:

I am just as bad at all of this as you are. I know it might seem like, on this particular front -- the front of 'facing one's fears' or whatever -- I really have it together. but actually, it is the thing I struggle most with. like, it is head and shoulders above any other flaw I might have. my flaw list would say BURIES HEAD IN SAND in bold and then there would be a big space and under it in small print it would probably say 'doesn't keep in touch with friends' and then 'doesn't floss' or something. (and then probably 'bad at brevity'). I've been thinking about this to the exclusion of all other things today because I am having an absolute anxiety attack about a bunch of work-related shit that I have categorically refused to look in the eye until it blew up. I create a lot of my own terrible anxiety by never 'eating the toad,' as they say: instead of doing the hard, scary thing first so that it's over, I save it and save it and save it, even though I know it won't go away.

I could have written much of what I wrote to you this weekend as a letter to myself.

I'm not sure if my intimate personal knowledge of the difficulty of 'doing the hardest thing' makes me the best-placed person to give you advice, or if it makes me a total fucking hypocrite. I guess it's probably both. I really do know exactly how hard it is because I struggle with it, and with myself, every goddamn day. when it gets really bad for me -- like today -- I basically have to go on an anxiety-laden spree of cleaning everything up, all the while being kind of close to tears about how much I fuck shit up. I solemnly stare at myself in the bathroom mirror and say, "you really fucked this up," and then I take a shower and take a deep breath and go buy a giant coffee and sit up in the office until 3 AM cleaning everything up and hoping nobody will know how close I came to really REALLY fucking it all up. that's how I don't know if I'm a good music librarian or not, and why I doubt myself even when everybody else has a lot of faith in me. there's a lot of 'fake it till you make it' in my life.

your presence in my life has made me so much better, and continues to make me so much better. I really don't want you to ever know how much I fuck shit up because in that regard you are so much better than me, and my example to live up to.

I'm going to go stare solemnly in the mirror for awhile and then take a shower and go to acupuncture (!) and then go clean up my mess of a life and try not to cry and hopefully nobody will notice. I'll swear I'll be better next time but it'll probably happen again, because getting better at life is a thing we all have to try and fail at a hundred bajillion times before we actually get any better.

I've been thinking about you all weekend, nonstop. I hope you're OK. I hope you're finding some place of peace, somewhere, in all of this. I wish I could give you a hug. and a beer. and a shoulder. and an ear. and frankly the rest of me too, if you'd have it. I love you completely. I desperately want you to be happy. mended. whole.

love j

the dent in my thigh will be there for the rest of my life. the line down my chest, the spot on my ankle, the pockmark on my eyebrow. the old scrape on my knee. and this.

they all could have been avoided. but would I have? would I give back the feeling of the river on my feet? would I put on sensible shoes before hitting the dance floor? would I erase what there was between us, knowing what would come?

no. I would not. not now, and not ever.

April 6, 2013

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I know it's a week after easter but anyway on easter I made a batch of hot cross buns and wore my easter apron and talked out the window to my upstairs neighbor when he came back from his bike ride. I wasn't sure if my mom was going to send me an easter basket this year because I guess I'm a grown-up? and then when the mail came saturday and I didn't see the mail lady put a package on my doorstep, I got a little disappointed. but it turned out the package fit perfectly in my mailbox so suddenly it was a big surprise again! my mom is the cutest. in the basket: a running shirt, the easter candy she knows I like, a gift card, and an article from the local paper about major renovations to the high school.

in case you're wondering if I made my horse stand next to a flaming rubbish pile -- yes, I did. I rode while it was burning and cookie was, surprisngly, scared of it but mostly well-behaved. but since we're trying to expose ourselves to new sights and sounds so that we become confident that we aren't going to die, I got through riding and marched her right over there and we stood and looked at it and then she got to eat grass. after the intial OH GOD FIRE moment, she was way more interested in the grass.

I got my hair cut. it's the first time in four years that I've left a salon liking my hair. normally it takes a few days. she flat-ironed it so for a day or two I get to pretend I have stick straight hair. I texted a photo to my best friend and she immediately said, "somebody is going to give you their number because you are adorable," and then I went to watch the SU/Michigan game with the local syracuse alumni club and a dude came over and gave me his number and told me I was adorable. HUH.

I am officially a softball manager/coach now. our managers' meeting was monday night. I bought all the balls we need for the season (home team provides a new male and a female ball for each game) and now I have all these rule books and scorebooks and a lanyard and oh god what am I doing

I went on a date friday night. and that is all you get to hear about that, INTERNET.


April 3, 2013

scars

right eyebrow, eyelid: age 11, chicken pox

right inside ankle bone: age 11, on vacation with my aunt, uncle and cousins; slipping on the concrete embankment on a section of the james river in jamestown, va, while illicitly trying to dip my feet into the water. nearly required stitches

right index fingertip: age 28, cut open a day before moving out of my apartment while making an egg & cheese sandwich. required 3 stitches

10 inches from top of right breast running diagonally and ending below left breast: age 29, hay-related accident, cut open by being slammed into, and then dangling upside down from, the corner of the bed of the barn's utility vehicle. included an epic hematoma

left knee, thigh side: age 4, pinched in my mother's chain-link watch

lower lip, inside: age 12-16, slowly but irreparably damaged by the pressure of clarinet mouthpiece against mouth against bottom braces

left knee, shin side: age 31, fell while clipped into bike pedals

right thigh, lateral side, visible and palpable dent in the quadricep muscle: age 29, hay-related accident, impaled on the lip of the barn's utility vehicle

lower achilles, both legs: age 31, sustained while wearing new shoes and dancing at cristina's wedding

also of note:

age 3: right hand grabbed and held onto my mother's hot curling iron. bandaged for weeks. no scar.

age 5: while running down the street with my jacket unzipped, which slipped down my arms and kept me from being able to catch myself, fell straight on my face. nose very injured for two weeks; was made fun of at preschool. no scar.