Tag Archives: blogging

A Prison of My Own Device

20 Apr
hamster

Jess Bradley – Hamster Prison (check out her flickr for some great little cartoons)

Let me just bring you up to date real quick here on how my last few weeks have gone since I started to post again.

Week 1: Jackie announces that she hasn’t posted for a long time because there’s been this difficulty in reconciling cartoon-like Jackie from blogland with real-life Jackie from actual-job-I-like land now that her personal and digital circles have intertwined. She declares it a challenge and commits to post every single week in spite of it to see if it kicks it back up.

Week 2: Jackie posts a recent and deeply embarrassing chronicle of how her inability to find the bathroom in a local restaurant lead her on a journey of the spirit (she edited out the part where she shame cried). The same day, her workplace announces on social media that she has been promoted. A surprising amount of people read it and are supportive. They come to her personal page. They see her blog. They wonder how someone who cannot find a public restroom is responsible for running an organization. They make this joke to her in person. She is deeply uncomfortable.

Week 3:

That’s where we are. We’re on week three: deeply uncomfortable. As in, I announced why this was weird now, I wrote a post to follow that up anyway, and it immediately became extra weird.

awkward giraffe

This is how I feel inside when someone mentions the blog. If you look closely, you can really see the struggle. (photo: Thomas Hawk on flickr)

But I mean, it would be SUPER awkward if I stopped writing now because a few posts ago I was all “Challenge Jackie to the charge!” and three weeks later I’d be like “nah, jk it’s hard and stuff.”

I wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t make those sections on Lollipop Tuesdays and 365 and 30 Day Challenges all over the page.

Dammit.

So here we are, friends. I’m stuck in a prison of my own device, and you’re watching it because Netflix and HBO have taught you that you can actually watch a lot of truly disturbing things and still be kind of okay on the inside. So, welcome to whatever panic train this is all about to be. Thank you for your fascination. ♣ 

This post was brought to you by Halo Top Ice Cream. Perhaps I’ll begin to allow the foods that drive my posts to publish phase to underwrite my blog. Is that how I can get free snacks? Snack sponsors. Yes. For my sorrows. Halo Top Ice Cream: more expensive than Ben & Jerry’s for half the creamy taste and one fifth the post-pint guilt.

I’ll probably have to give a better endorsement than that if I want free snacks, huh?

Half Birthed Brain Sludge

29 Mar

You know, the pressure of not posting for a long time never gets easier. And every time I write a post after there’s been a lull, I wonder if I need to recognize my time away or if that just leads to a series of posts that highlight my absence and make it worse (it does).

*breathes into a paper bag*

Okay listen. I’m going to get real here. I’m writing right now because for some inexplicable reason, people keep subscribing to this blog in spite of it only featuring a new post every 6 months or so with a half-realized promise to get back to it. Today, I checked my dusty old internet folder labeled ‘blog’ to find another handful of new hopefuls, and was reminded again that today could be the day I actually publish something. And hey: I’m on my second bowl of dinner Cocoa Puffs and feeling feisty, so here I am. I’m not going to think about whether I want to post this or not when I’m done. I’m just going to agree right here that no matter what half-birthed sludge pushes out of my brain, I’m going to publish it. Just like those good old days of the first 365 when I would write about my emergency underwear collection because I just didn’t have anything else to work with and I needed to post. We’re going old school.

brains color

Illustration by John Michnya 

The fact is that I’ve written oodles of posts in the past several months, ducklings. Oodles of them. They’re all sitting on my desktop with various file names like “blogpost,” “newblogpost.” “forrealsiespost,” and “postthisyoumoron.” I’ve even done Lollipop Tuesdays that I’ve never posted about. Lots of them. Oh yes. I took a spinning class in one of those uber hip Crossfitty sorts of places with a full screen projection of a fake road and trees. And you better believe that when there was already sweat on the seat just from me sitting on it for the instructor to adjust it at the start of class – presumably my ass sweat from just existing – I thought about how much I wanted to tell you. I even GOT ON A PLANE THAT WENT ACROSS AN OCEAN. And that One Good Thing challenge I started for myself? It actually worked. I may have only posted three total times in the entirety of 2016, but I made some serious tweaks to my daily habits and I’m now a person who wakes up before work and actually cleans herself, does yoga, and reads things (whuuuuuut?) My life has been full of conquerings alongside anxiety-inducing wickedness and I’ve been keeping all the drafts of the proof on my desktop because, well, for some reason I’ve become weird about the blog.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the blog. The blog is the thing that has remedied a great many of my serious and deep human flaws. I still depend on the possibility of being able to post about terrifying and awkward experiences in order to get through said terrifying and awkward experiences. 

But there has been a marked shift in my frequency of posting that aligns with my real life career.

Back when I started all this business, some of you oldest and wisest ducklings will recall that I was an overworked, overtired executive assistant who posted about a variety of work-related oddities I encountered in the corporate jungle, like work holiday parties and elevator moments. I had to wear professional, uptight clothes and do very big girl things, and having a blog to talk about how ridiculous all of that was really helped me survive those difficult years when I reported to a Gorgon. The beautiful thing about it all was that people at work didn’t know about the blog. In fact, very few people in my real life circle did. It made it really easy to get on here and blab about whatever and be my authentic, hyperbolic, anxiety-ridden self whilst maintaining a regular life and relationship with the people I actually had to encounter.

Then people started finding out. Like, real life people. Not you digital ducklings.

I used to have a very strict rule about not being friends with people I worked with on Facebook. I kept my digital life and my real life quite separate and that helped to distinguish a safe place to let the monsters in my head waddle around. That’s where I kept them: away from a real life place where I might have to talk about the blog or account for the things I’ve written in it to actual, real life people. But then I got out of the corporate jungle and started doing something I actually love: working in the arts. And I had friends in the arts. Like, lots of them. So I automatically was friends with and shared a digital presence with an enormous amount of people who were going to interact with me in my work life. Then I had to start helping with social media platforms at work, and friending people who it’s usually wise to keep some sense of decorum with. And suddenly I found myself with a hoard of posts that I would have published if only I didn’t have this filter that wondered if someone who I actually knew would read it. And if they would try to talk to me about it. Or maybe not talk to me about it and just judge me a whole lot for it and talk to other people about it. And if I would maybe defecate in my pants as a result.

I mean, I don’t really want to be running a board meeting and have a board member around the table who follows my blog so that even though I’m churning out some impressive year-over-year financial data analysis and I sound pretty confident, they know that the moment the meeting is over, I’m going to get lost trying to find the bathroom in the building and that the adventure could take thirty minutes if I get confused and anxious enough and that eventually I’ll have a blog post about it…which they will read.

There are two Jackies at war behind the scenes here. One is the Jackie who needs this blog to live a real, human life where she goes places and does things and has a place to talk about it – who needs it as her defense system against her natural, hermity, video-game-addicted state. The other is a Jackie who is hyper-aware of all the actual people with real faces that she’s seen who will read it and think about it and maybe ask her about it or have a different opinion of her for it and who can’t separate the difference between an online persona and a real life person. One of those Jackies has written a whole lotta posts and one of them never pushes publish.

So anyway, that’s what’s going on, friends. And because my brain is now wired in this MUST DEVOUR EVERY FEAR blogosphere persona, it’s simply impossible for me to hang on to these admissions too long without staring them in the face and figuring out how to beat them into submission. Since I’ve always brought you along for those sorts of rides, I thought I’d go head and continue that trend. At least I know that if I’m in a big important meeting and some big scary professional character makes mention of my little blog, I can come back to you guys and tell you all about how I soiled myself in public from anxiety. I mean, that’s what you’re here for. That’s why we’re here.

So I’m going to get over this hump, and in classic JackieBlog fashion, I’m going to create a challenge for myself to force it and pledge to post every single week for the rest of the year.

The shriveled up creative force in me wonders how I’ll possibly have anything to post about every single week, and the Jackiepants on me remind me that this whole damn thing was founded on writing without something specific to say. And hey, if I feel like I need material, I can just go hunt down a big juicy Lollipop Tuesday

If you’re a writer of any kind and you’ve got your own slump to get through, why don’t you hop on board with me and pledge to write and share something every week? Challenges are my favorite. 

Talk soon, ducklings. Thanks for sticking around. ♣

Please Don’t Make Me, It Hurts

31 Aug

It has been one great rotation of the earth since I have posted.  Where in the holy hellballs did I go?

No, really. The last time I posted was last September,  wherein I said I was “back,” whatever that meant. Apparently it meant that I had sincere plans to dive nose-deep into the pale, sweaty armpits of the Internether and perhaps never return.

I’ve come ever so briefly out of my little dark whole with the cockroaches and video games – out from the muck and the mire and all off the rolls of fat and shame that have accumulated since my last post. I’ve brought new toons as penance. Once, many moons ago, I asked Sir John Michnya to draw some for me hoping that by the time they were finished, the desire to update would stick my finger into the part of my brain that publicizes my thoughts and pull something gooey out.  Four months later, here it is.

The reality, my friends, is that life has been hard. Like, real hard. Like, “hey, I heard 2014 was pretty nice for you and got you a nice job and appreciation for family and stuff so HEY LET’S THROW DEATH AND CANCER AND HEARTACHE AND AWFUL IN YOUR FACE TO MAKE UP FOR THOSE GLORIOUS GIFTS ISN’T LIFE SO FUNNY!”

It’s all about balance. Seems fair.

All is well enough in Jackieland, have no fear. As well as it can be, given that I haven’t yet been transported to live my real, true life as a night elf in Azeroth. Someday, ducklings. …Someday. In the meantime I need something to make me feel like I don’t suck as much.  So I picked a half marathon.

You may recall that in 2013, my 365 challenge was to work out every day and culminated in a 10K. You may also recall my near-death in that experience, the amount of increase in my tendency to cuss, and a beneficial thinning of my thighs coupled with a promise that I would never, ever put my genetically underdeveloped body in that position again.

But I have a good friend who did the 10K with me and was happy to shame me into running an ungodly amount of miles, despite it being over twice what nearly killed me. The texts he sent me thereafter helped me to envision a dull, dark world where I had walked away from a challenge. They were almost Shakespearean.

This talk of half marathon is not an empty promise, friends. I’m in week nineteen of half marathon training. I can slowly jog more than eight miles in an ugly and haggard fashion.  I have my motivation board up and active, I have enlisted a personal shamer, a personal coach, and a personal cheerleader. The trifecta is in place.

The truth is I don’t really know what else to do. I don’t want to stop trying new things, I don’t want to have a tumbleweed blog, and I don’t want to have space in my brain for all the awful that this year has brought so far. So a really long and painful run is all I’ve got.

I sucked. Life is ebbs and flows of suck.  But what else can be done with it but to put it out there and look it in the face. It just gets bigger and fatter the longer I wait.

The older I get, the more I think that we’re all just flailing in suckery. The good eggs try to correct course. The bad eggs, for some reason that will forever dog them, don’t try. The glory is in the trying, I think.

Here’s to the good eggs. 

Shout out to a fan from the nether who greased up the ol’ contact form and told me to get back at it so that she could have a brief respite from her soul-sucking state job. I’d tell you her name but then the government would assign her a drone. Thanks for turning on the skillet.

The Myth of Balance

4 Sep

You might be wondering how my vegan adventure went and you might be wondering what has brought me to the surface. The answer to the former is that it was easier than I thought and the answer to the latter is that things are pretty bad and this is a cry for help.

I fell off the wagon a bit after the vegan thing. During it I was grand. I had an abundance of friends with diet restrictions and advice to share and an enthusiastic housemate who was so supportive that he actually got excited about Vegenaise. (Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like.)

The biggest problem I faced with veganism began when I exchanged my penchant for junk food for a penchant with beer, which was one of my only remaining legal vices. Unfortunately after I finished the veganism, I decided to celebrate with my favorite non-veganism indulgences and didn’t drop the penchant for beer. From the time I set out to be vegan, did an bang-up job, wrapped it up, and returned to unvegan, I gained 15 pounds – a feat that genuinely surprises me.

I felt pretty bad about myself and tried to jump start things with a ride-my-bike-to-work-every-day challenge. It lasted zero days.

Ouch.

I started to revert to pre-blog Jackie. Do you remember pre-blog Jackie? She was a hermity old coot who got winded on the way to the bus stop, left every social engagement early and miserable, and who hated going clothes shopping because she stressed too much over all the unknowns associated with dressing room processes. We were pathetically fond of her for a time but we don’t miss her.

…Do we?

Today's illustration is brought to you by the Dave.

Today’s illustration is brought to you by the Dave.

At times like this it feels like I’m always just trying to get away from that default setting of being out of control. I’m not sure what balance is; when you strip away all the aphorisms we hang around our house and pinterest boards, it appears to mean being fit, seeing people you love often enough, being financially stable, knowing generally where you’re going, having something you’re looking forward to, getting plenty of sleep, and staying well educated and adaptable while somehow also finding time to do absolutely nothing.

You know: that’s all.

I thought the whole thing about balance was that there was a point when it happened – when the energy of a thing transcends its individual parts and achieves a central harmony. There is a certain ease and weightlessness in balance. Grace.

I’ve never once even felt close to this. Has anyone? Is there really someone who feels like there was a time when you were spending exactly enough time doing everything there was to do? Why does it even feel like this magical land of bull hockey should exist? What in the holy hellballs are we thinking?  

Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by all these things that I become tired and a little scared and have to muster up the musteriness to keep on. Honestly, it’s just a lot easier and more natural for me to sit on the couch, keep to myself, and try to be occasionally clever. I can do that.That sounds doable and the longer I do it the easier it is to maintain.

This all started to feel familiar. Surely I’ve been here before.  I went hunting through my archives because I thought I remembered a time akin to this where I felt like I was slowly losing control of things in my life. Alas, I unearthed “The Great Filth Festering,” a post in two parts.

An excerpt from Jackie Blog Historical Histories:

“I’ve deteriorated again. I kind of have gotten into the habit of building a domicile of stench and humiliation. I guess that’s just how I operate lately. I’m busy and I’ve determined that one of the first things that can go is my sense of cleanliness and dignity.
 
I was swimming in my stench pool of an apartment this past weekend when I reached a new low in the land of Jackie: I invested in my first roll of fly tape. I almost felt bad about dooming the fools to a sticky, static death by goo but I was trying to take a nap between shifts the other day and they proceeded to swirl and flit and then procreate on me. 
 
You heard me correctly. I was attempting to nap on my couch and was frequently woken by the slight itch that accompanies two flies landing on your kneecap and fornicating. If you ever need a confirmation that your life is spiraling out of control and you need to get your act together, let flies bumping uglies on you in the festering filth of your stench cocoon seal the deal.”

I don’t know why it soothes me to read of similar moments of my failure. Perhaps it’s because my apartment is relatively clean right now so it highlights an area where I’m performing well at the moment. Perhaps it’s because I can say with certainty that I got past this particular scenario and it inspires hope. Perhaps it’s just because we don’t talk about it enough and it’s kind of liberating to just admit that I have a hard time keeping up with everything and having clean underwear at the same time.

I kind of wish we would all do it more.

Anyway, here I am. I would like to believe that a status update is the next step in propelling me back into the ring.

So humor me: in celebration of my exodus from the cocoon and in the name of the holy hellballs conjured earlier in this post, tell me a fond moment of failure. What’s your fly tape moment? Hook a sister up with some fellow failures.

You’re all swell. It’s nice to see you up here on the surface. Let me just clear some of the boxes of Cheez Its out of the way for us. 

Come to the Cool Kids Lunch Table

16 Jan

Look: I made buttons. They’re over there on the right. Remember how last time I said something about how if I was a nice person I might put all this motivational nonsense into one convenient location so that I can use my posts to talk about my unwillingness to do laundry in a timely fashion and my discomfort with everyday life situations and keep all my other stuff where I try to be a moderately better person over there in faraway land? Well there they are. Over there in faraway land. 

Now I need to put some things there and I want you to be the things. For now those fancy homemade buttons I fashioned with my own paint program and a google search lead curious ducklings to a previous post I’ve written regarding Lollipop Tuesdays, The Gaunlet, and 365 Projects. In an ideal world where my blog is cosmically awesome and you’re all supportive, those links will change to pages that instruct you how to start a challenge and links to people who have completed them and lived to tell the tale. So If you’ve successfully completed a 30 Day Challenge, a 365 Project, or a Lollipop Tuesday, and have documented the experience in any way, I’d like to tell people that you’re cool.

You, yes you could put yourself through a serious challenge of discomfort in social situations, a dedication to completing one daily task that you struggle with, or to repeating the same small achievement every day for 365 days. And in return, I will grant you a link on my website, which statistics have shown could perhaps have some sort of percentage of my readership click on if they are absolutely without anything else in the world to do at the time.

So there we go: I’m made little image linky things over there on the right for you. And kind of for me. Mostly for me. But a little more for you, and I think that’s worth something.

And I had my dad draw my cats for you.

cats

© 2014 Jackie’s Dad

Aren’t they precious? I love them so. Lola is the frazzled one and Hobbes is the one who is grumpy because his cake is gone. They’re very accurate. I’ve begun to harass my artist father to doodle things so I can steal the doodles and design my blog after them. That’s right: change is coming. Lots of uncomfortable change. 

See? I have new buttons and I’ve gifted you cartoon cats. Join my page of cool people and let me link to you.

Seriously, if you’ve completed a 365 Project of any kind, successfully completed a 30 Day Challenge, or tried a genuine Lollipop Tuesday and have written, virtual proof of it, I’d love to invite you to the cool kids lunch table. I was never really invited myself, so I thought I’d start my own and invite everyone.

Read about the things on the buttons, do the things the buttons say, get added to the buttons. For those of you who want to be added, hit me in the face with a link. For those who’ve thought about starting a challenge, may the half-promise of perhaps-fame embolden you.

Do it for cake-starved Hobbes. 

Pressed and Pegged and Oh-So-Flattahed

19 Jun

Hello ducklings old and new, and Happy Wednesday. It’s time for a post.

The coveted badge. notice Peg's fantastic skills in the application, "Paint". It's part of her appeal.

The coveted badge. notice Peg’s fantastic skills in the application, “Paint”. It’s part of her appeal.

There are a few honors in the blogging world that are super exciting for writers. Like when you get a batch of new subscribers or get a spike in hits or, you know, anything that reminds you that actual human beings can hear you talking to yourself online.

My first blog-related pants pee was the first time I was Freshly Pressed. For those of you unawares, Freshly Pressed is when WordPress wizards, the people who happen to host my blog, round up some of what they consider to be good material and promote them on their homepage. It brings in a lot of traffic, and back in the day when featured posts lingered several days before turning over (now it’s several hours), it meant the holy blog gates had been opened and traffic would rush to your doorstep.

My first time Freshly Pressed was a stroke of luck, really. I wrote about Regis Philbin and he just happened to announce his retirement the next day. I wrote about how memorizing trivia in case I get the chance to get on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire minimized my mental storage capacity for the rest of my life.

Since then I’ve received the honor a few more times and have discovered a slew of great writers by reading other featured posts. One such writer is Peg over at pegoleg.com. She’s been Freshly Pressed a bajillion times, like for this one and this one and this one, to name a few. Now a seasoned Freshly Pressed Expert, Peg has started her own curating process and dubbed it Freshly Pegged. She invites hand-picked bloggers to select a post that should have been Freshly Pressed but was not. She refers to herself as a digital superhero, handing out honors to posts that have been robbed of their rightful glory.

She recently trudged through the muck and mire of my brain bits to ask me to shake the dust off of a former post and slap a Freshly Pegged badge on it and so I am oh so very flattahed to be featured today. Check it out here.

I highly recommend latching on to Peg’s musings of the mind featured above – particularly her condemnation of her sister for ruining the economy by deciding to diet at Christmas.

Thank you all for reading. I think you’re just the bestest. Here’s a picture of a unicorn.

by LadyAlora - click to visit her at Deviant Art

by LadyAlora – click to visit her at Deviant Art

You’re Gonna Miss the Train

3 Apr
This is the awesome train. It's leaving soon.

This is the awesome train. It’s leaving soon.

I’m sure that you thought since we’ve passed April 1, I’m going to leave you alone about the whole Gauntlet thing.

But I’m not.

This is my last chance to convince you that in 30 days you could be better at something you suck at, proud of your progress, and filled with hope for a future full of sunshine and unicorns.

You know this. You’ve heard this. And there’s something already on your mind that you might try but you’ve filled your head with excuses, tried to talk yourself out of it, and generally been a big, sucky baby. Haven’t you? You big, sucky baby.

I was a big sucky baby once. Actually, I still am. It’s why every once in a while I still get out for a good old fashioned Lollipop Tuesday. In fact, I have something incredibly embarrassing and pee-inducing coming up this week.  And then after that I have to run a 5K. And then after that I have to run a 10K.

These things are not easy for me. They’re not easy for lots of people. Everyone is working, not getting enough sleep, needs more time to relax, and all those other things that get in the way of taking care of your own needs and desires. Let me assure you that even though I’m in the midst of a fitness-related 365, every day is a challenge. The good news is that all you have to do is 30. And even though the intrinsic rewards should be plenty to make you feel like it was worth your time, I’m throwing in the chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card just for participating. 

Today’s shout out for joining The Gauntlet goes to Georgia’s Bath Products, who has decided to spend a little bit of time every day for 30 days doing something to improve her small business. That’s pretty fantastic. You can follow her journey here. Or you can just drop by and tell her how awesome she is.

In addition to Georgia, I’ve had people contact me to share stories of their challenges and the ways they’re going to get involved. They include:

  • Reading every single day to help conquer a pile of books that have accumulated on the wish list but have never gotten lovin’
  • Writing of all shapes and sizes – novels, paragraphs, blogs, poems… Did you know April is National Poem Writing Month, also known as NaPoWriMo? How perfectly aligned this all is. 
  • Fitness, fitness, fitness. This comes in a variety of forms – yoga, stress relieving activities, doses of sunshine – people everywhere are using The Gauntlet as a good excuse to take care of themselves and see what sticks after one month.
  • Job hunting.  What a great idea, right? If you’re unhappy with your current money-making situation, why not do one thing every day to better it? People are vowing to browse job boards every day, apply for jobs and internships, and work on projects that will better their positions in the workplace.

So what’s the thing nagging you? Is it a house that needs spring cleaning? Is it a project that’s sat in the corner of your room forever? Is it something you’ve been all-talk and no-walk about for an embarrassingly long time?

The Gauntlet was set up so that you could easily start April 1st and end April 30th, with over a week to spare to contact me to tell me you completed it. But you can start any time. And you can start up until April 9th and still be on board for the $100 Visa gift card and a host of other folks supporting your endeavor out there in the blogosphere.

So comment below or click that link on the top of the page or on the right sidebar that lead to the rules and deadlines for The Gauntlet. Drop a line about what you’re going to commit to, or find your favorite form of social media and tell me there. Use #TheGauntlet for me to find you on the Twitter Machine.

This is my last push for The Gauntlet – next week I won’t be trying to convince you of anything. I’ll be talking about my cats or something. And hopefully you’ll be 1/4 of the way toward being infinitely more awesome.

By the way, once upon a time I was a big fat whiny baby with a lot of excuses who ate a lot of pizza and didn’t get any physical activity aside from walking from my front door to my car. And then I logged into Sparkpeople yesterday and was greeted by this:

sparkpeople update

 

You know, just saying. Progress can only happen if you start. 

Peace out, kids. I hope to hear from you. And thanks for all your cheerleading thus far. 

I Fought the Law and the Law Didn’t Win

6 Mar

Happy Lollipop Tuesday, my dearest dearies. I so adore you all that I’ve decided to go to a gig with Dave, whip open my laptop, and tell you about a time that scared me out of my wits instead of socializing with humanity. Because right now I’m having trouble with a big girl decision I recently made. I decided to try to do something very difficult and it’s scary and adult and since those sort of things make me want to curl up in a ball with a block of cheese and a bucket of hot fudge, I thought I’d instead open up this laptop and be reminded that I am the creator of Lollipop Tuesdays and I shall not be daunted by the great open plain of adulthood. After all, I have gone to a pole-dancing class and reenacted The Battle of Manassas and competed in the World Pinball Championship. I shall remind myself that even though I’m scared to death to go outside every single day, I do it because by golly, my resume reads like an adventurous person and I do therefore I am, dammit.

So let’s talk about the time I decided to represent myself in court.

Oh! Happy Lollipop Tuesday ladies and gentlemen.

Once upon a time I worked at a fudge factory. I know that sounds ridiculous but it’s true. I was the office manager and I signed sheets for people that read “fudge packer” because that was literally their job and I tried every day to be mature about the whole thing. But then they kind of lost some money and had to lay people off and I was one of them. So I claimed unemployment for 5 weeks and then began working for the woman who wears fashion capes to work and I felt like Anne Hathaway before she quit to pursue a writing career.

That’s where you all come in. Right there with that Jackie who is an executive assistant and blogs about being the Jane Goodall of the corporate jungle.

Anyway, here I am three years later being all zen with my recent decision to go to grad school for two masters degrees at the same time, and unemployment sends me a random piece of paper in the mail that states that I was not laid off three years ago, that they were taking the money back they gave me from insurance, and that if I didn’t agree with the charges of fraud, I had the right to hire an attorney.

Let me tell you, that’s some seriously adult stuff right there. I miss being a kid when I get a letter like that in the mail.

pigs in space

This is what my friend drew at the bar while I sat on my laptop and wrote a blog post instead of talking to her. Let”s call her Navi. All hail Navi.

As it turns out, I couldn’t afford a lawyer and hiring one would have been the same amount that they were going to take away from me so no matter what I was screwed unless I could 1) represent myself and 2) win. But I was scared and the paperwork was confusing and I wanted to play video games instead. So I told myself to make it a Lollipop Tuesday, told everyone I was going to do it so I couldn’t back out, and did the dang thing.

Let me tell you: it wasn’t fun. There’s a lot of really complicatedly simple and stupid paperwork to do and then you have to ask people who know you to go to court and be like “yeah, she was laid off. we all were” and then go to court and swear to tell the truth and sit in a tiny room in a tiny place with a tiny man who is very stern and records you and asks you the same questions over and over and then decides if you’re lying and mails you a letter to tell you so.

I put myself on autopilot so I can’t remember much except when I was waiting in the lobby to review my file (that’s a real thing. It’s pretty much like it is on the movies, don’t worry. You just act like you’re demi moore in a few good men). There were a bunch of lawyers there with briefcases looking very serious and I realized that all I was doing was staring around the enormous room like an idiot so I tried to look busy and got out my phone and contorted my face very seriously and played Hay Day.

It’s like Farmville. I’m embarrassed that I play it but I do. I’m sorry. I’m trying to quit.

So I planted digital corn and milked digital cows very seriously and when I was let in with my witness, we told him all about the day I was laid off 3 years ago and he was all stiff and grumpy and we finally made it through to the end. He tells us we’ll get a letter in the mail and ends the recording and hits the gavel and we’re done.

And then something amazing happened; he began to tell us his life story.

I kid you not – the moment that gavel landed, he suddenly lit up, and began to tell us about the first time he went to court and about how it’s a procedure people used to know and now no one does anymore and how he got his pilot license and how one day he got pulled over by the police for speeding and got out of the ticket and a bunch of other things I really couldn’t hear because I was thinking about the cost for parking in the garage next door while I listened.

But I listened. Because this guy was about to send me a piece of paper in the mail telling me if he liked me or not and I didn’t know what else to do.

And then two weeks later I got a piece of paper that said he believed I did get laid off from and I could go about my life in peace.

I fought the law and the law didn’t win.

That’s the moral of the story I suppose: I can do anything. Anyone can do anything. We just tell ourselves that we can’t and if there are people out there who can climb Mt. Everest and stand up for social injustice and be social workers and make products that change the entire world, I can suck it up and go to court.

So tomorrow I will embark on my new journey. Because it’s an incredibly small thing to do in comparison to all the things people are doing everywhere else. And someday I think that’s how you become one of those people: by being bold.

Please excuse the sincerity of this post. And the fact that I’m ending it with a quote. Just pretend it didn’t happen and go read one about how I can’t stand being trapped in an elevator.

Every day I’m hustlin’.

Ooooh, Shiny.

6 Feb

It has been quite some time since I’ve done any housecleaning or upkeep around here.  Last year I was all “let’s add a custom header” and “yay widgets!” and this year I’m, well, lazy.

Enough of that.  So I’m starting small with a shiny, new widget on the right hand side labeled “Down the Rabbit Hole”.  There, you can click to go out to a random post somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain of yore.  Don’t get too excited, but I might even add a picture there eventually.

Today, I shall encourage you to use it for your weekly fix. 

And I’m still working out, by the way. In case you were curious, I have not yet suffocated under a pile of Ranch Doritos in front of my computer, scrolling the Health and Fitness category of Pinterest, wishing I could be doing the things in the picture instead of shoving my fat face.

Operation Fat Ass 365 is still a go. 

Fat Ass, out. 

Fievel Goes North

9 Jan

 

I made a frenemy. 

That is, he believes he’s my friend, and I am most certain he is my enemy.  Well, I suppose “it” is more appropriate than “he”. 

…He’s a gnat.  I named him Fievel.

Like most things that leak out of my brain and onto my computer keyboard, this is going to sound a little strange, but bear with me: I’m quite certain Fievel is following me.

It all started on my couch, when I noticed his faint black pencil-dot of a body swimming around my head.  I fancy myself a fly-swatting monk so naturally I whipped out my skills, only to find that he evaded them.  Again and again and again and again and again.

Since being a monk is all about patience and self-control, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that it was a simple gnat and it had only a few months to live and that if it chose to carry out its days by buzzing around my general vicinity then I should grant it that small pathetic desire. After all, he’s a gnat and I’m a human.  I must be quite a startling thing to behold.

I was eventually able to tune him out of my sensory experience, though I knew full well that the black speck whizzing in front of me from time to time was Fievel the Frenemy. I didn’t think much of it until the next day when I sat at my very favorite spot on the couch again only to find him still buzzing and flitting around my skull.

In a moment of weakness several moments of weakness, I must admit that I attempted his murder again but failed. Apparently monk-like capabilities matter not when your monk-like fingers are awkward sausages with plenty of nooks for death-dodging.

Image

An artistic rendering of the criminal. Since he doesn’t have wings I guess we’ll assume he can flap those arms real fast.

Fievel lived on

This repeated for a third and fourth day. I began to think that perhaps he was like the Who from Horton Hears a Who and that he had some sort of message to bring me, but I quieted everyone and everything around me only to remain unenlightened.  Then I thought it possible that he was the culmination of some sort of curse or witchcraft and that if I could just figure out his name, his power over me would be released.  But I found his name and his name was Fievel and it made no difference whatsoever to him or to the powers that be that I knew it.

I slowly started to become aware of my own teetering insanity and decided to think nothing  particularly extraordinary about Fievel and simply wait for him to die.  I thought the best remedy would be getting out of the house before the furniture started to speak to me, so I went to a gig with Dave this week to hear him play and as I sat, was greeted by none other than Mr. Fievel.  

Son of a.

Friends and acquaintances who spoke with me throughout the evening made side comments about him as if he was just some nuisance at the bar, but I insisted he was my nuisance and that I brought him from home, which, in retrospect, is probably one of several reasons no one sat at my table and is a small piece of a very grand pie chart explaining why my social life is strained.

I again attempted his murder, they attempted his murder – it was the whole bar against Fievel and Fievel prevailed.  He’s like the terminator of the gnat world. 

Fastforward to yesterday, same couch, same situation.  After his grand display at the bar the night before, I was feeling pretty aggressive and wanted him out of my life for good.  It had been days of his whizzing and buzzing and flittering nonsense and I had enough it.  So I proceeded to waste the next 15 minutes of my life trying once again to eradicate him.  I had made up my mind to not stop until he was brought to justice. Fueled by anger and humiliation and the apparent slipping of my monk abilities, I swatted and clapped and made a mess of myself until red-faced and sweaty, I finally opened my hand to reveal little Fievel, hiding in a crevice between my sausage links.

Whereupon he swiftly flew up my left nostril.

I suppose it’s the ultimate win for him.  I can’t very well harm him while he’s swirling around the gooey insides of my brain and he can live out his apparent dream to stay by my side until he dies.  And when he does his tiny gnat corpse will get tangled up somewhere in the regions of my brain and get caught in the neurons and synapses and such.  He will become part of me forevermore. At least I hope so.  Because if instead he was actually on a mission from the land of the gnats to infiltrate a human and to take command of their brain, well, he’s succeeded.  And I’ve just become the downfall of the human race.

Maybe they’ll make a movie about me. In case it’s posthumous and any of my readers survive, tell them I want Amy Adams to play me, okay?

Thanks.  I knew I could count on you guys.  You’re the swellest.

So I guess that’s that.  Either I have a gnat corpse in my brain juices or my body will soon be a mere vessel for a bug, a la Men in Black.

Wait.  That’s a movie.  They’ve already made a movie about this.  I’ve been commandeered by a gnat that will lead to the eventual downfall of the human race and I’m too late to even have a movie made about  me.

Son of a. 

P.S. It has recently come to my attention that several of my readers mistook my announcement last week that I would be embarking on a 365 this year to mean that I would be blogging 365 days a week about said experience as well.  This is a falsehood. I am committed to working out every single day and to running a 10K this year.  Isn’t that enough for you people?! Just kidding.  But seriously, I can see the confusion. And honestly, I could use the accountability.  So if you’d like updates about my Project Fat Ass 365, as explained in last week’s post, go to the top right side of this page and click the big button to follow me on Twitter, where I will Tweet my way to a 10K. I think it a fine compromise. Feel free to follow and harass me.
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