Friday, January 30, 2009

the plot thickens... (wait, what? there was a plot?)

I have weird luck. You may have heard my ongoing saga of my love-hate relationship with my apartment. I finally gave up and signed the damn renewal and called it a day...

... so naturally about two weeks later, in chatting with one of my friends from work, she tells me that the apartment above her is opening up. She lives in what is essentially a two-apartment-duplex-type-house-building that is conveniently superclose to where we work... and while this particular apartment doesn't have its own washer and dryer, SHE does - and I am welcome to it any time (unless she is using it, of course). It's a one bedroom, but she said there was a lot of storage space. I was intrigued... and then I thought about it more... and the more I liked the thought of it. It would be so fun to have neighbors that I both (a) knew and (b) liked. Here's the kicker... it's about $200 a month cheaper than my current apartment. And in the twisted little world of everyone-knows-everyone in central Iowa, the landlord is actually one of my clients. One of my cool clients. (I mean, ALL my clients are cool... in their own special ways... oh hell, what do I care, none of them read this. I don't actively dislike any of my clients, but I do have my favorites. So this was a happy little connection.) He also happens to be the brother-in-law of my Pampered Chef consultant. SMALL WORLD OMG.

I decided to go ahead and take a look at the apartment, but basically I'd made up my mind that if it was able to hold all my crap, I wanted it. It's such a cute little place. The entryway is this half-room type space, where I could put my computer desk and other such technological accessories, BAM, instant office. The living room is, well, a living room... it has a nice hardwood floor and is just the right size (and, since I'm a nerd, I sized it up to see where I could hang all the things I currently have hanging). It has a nice random closet-room-apparatus that would be perfect for holding all the junk that I have not unpacked in either of my moves... the bedroom is a good size as well, closet is of acceptable size... the kitchen is spacious - it does have less storage space than I currently have, but if I get creative, I'm sure I can figure it out. The bathroom is bigger than my current one, and has a perfect little nook in the corner with which to put kitty's litterbox so it's in the room it technically belongs in (NOT next to my computer desk). In retrospect, it admittedly doesn't have much of a dining room, but since I never actually EAT in my dining room, I figure that will be ok. Not keen on the yellow walls in the bedroom but those can be painted... the bathroom has kind of a limey-green wall, which may or may not work with my pink theme - I'm trying to figure that one out too. Still, it's the perfect size for me by myself, and I would be sooooo relieved to not be scraping for money at the end of the month. And I would have cool neighbors. This is important. (Also, it works out for my friend's husband, because he likes cats but she is super allergic... so he can come visit mine).

Aaaaand the catch. Like I said previously, I had just renewed my lease. Which means technically I am obligated to this apartment until July of 2010. I went to see what my options were and they wouldn't break the lease, because, well, it's a contract, and I fully understand that. What I CAN do, though, is sublease it... and they were actually quite helpful with explaining that to me and pointing things out that I could do to my advantage. For starters, the lease would start in August - aka, back to school time. And since I was given a rent concession when I renewed, my rent is $40 under the market rate for that apartment - and it already includes the pet rent. I had already gotten $50 off my August rent by signing early (hey, if I was going to stay, I was going to get myself a deal), and I got to spin their little prize wheel thing and won ANOTHER $50 off my August rent. Which means I have $100 to offer them off of their first month. Plus, since my security deposit carries over with the lease, I can negotiate that with whoever rents it, because they will have to pay it to me directly. I happened to get a break on the deposit when I signed my lease, but then I did pay the pet deposit, so if I charge them the full security deposit, I'll break even. Or, I could use it as a bargaining chip and eat my losses, but for the savings I am getting in the new apartment, I'm kind of okay with that.

So yes. If you know anyone who wants a nice, 2BR, 1B apartment for a good deal (free internet! free cable! free gym membership! swimming pool in your effing backyard! cheaper rent!), send them my way. I would very much like to relocate to this other apartment.

Monday, January 26, 2009

An Inconvenient Room

I've been struggling with my laundry room lately. As in, there are no machines open when I want them, or I have no quarters when they are open. Also, the fact that I have a laundry room, and not my own washer and dryer... this bothers me too. I've accumulated a mass of laundry and I finally cashed in $20 for some laundry bling over lunch today, and much to my utmost glee, BOTH machines were open when I got home. I naturally swooped in, laughed evilly, had bad thoughts about my machine-hogging neighbors, and decided that I AM TAKING OVER THE LAUNDRY ROOM. For As Long As it Takes. Well, the fun of doing laundry only lasts so long, so I'm really only going to wash the stuff I wear regularly, and the rest can wait for my next visit home. Besides, four loads and $10 later, I'm ready to call it a night.

In the wake of my triumph, my friend Christina sent me this. And it is quite possibly the most awesome thing ever.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

word purge

Oh, Good God. If I was a runner (don't even think about trying to talk me into it, it's not my thing) I would just pick up and go for a super long run right now. I've got so much pent up energy right now that I feel like I'm going to burst. Perhaps it's the gloriously warm weather we are having today (40ยบ! Yeah!), perhaps it's just that I've been working on the same project on and off all day, or maybe it's because my head is prone to wandering off into its own little world and making me all stupid. I need to get my shit together.

Anyway. I'm not quite sure I want to get into any sort of detail yet because I'm not sure there's really anything worth detailing, but it's frustrating that I can't snap myself back into reality. I should know better than to let myself randomly space off all the time like this - it's just asking for an inevitable disappointment, because nothing works out as well in real life as it does in my head. Still, I can't quite seem to stop myself, which leads me to believe that I might just have to suck it up and do something about it.

If that wasn't cryptic and vague, then I don't know what is. But, again, that is my specialty...

Also, I forgot what I was actually going to say because I got distracted by the enormous amount of time it is taking to print things today. Our server needs to get its shit together, too.

Oh, hell. I never hit post. Which meaaaaaaaaaaans I am going to just keep randomly rambling as things pop into my head. This is going to be a giant clusterfuck of subjects when all is said and done, I'm sure.

So, I'm feeling very fat today. Mostly because the pants I am wearing, apparently do not fit well anymore. Either that or my thighs have grown significantly overnight. Either way, my self-esteem continues to drop. I feel the worst I have since I've come to college - I'm about 30 lbs heavier than I probably should be, but I'm not sure how to fix it. I just feel gross. I feel like I look gross. It's quite depressing. It's probably my own damn fault because I've been lazy and unmotivated, but for those of you that have never regularly dealt with depression, it's pretty fucking hard to motivate yourself. It's really quite a vicious cycle that's hard to get out of.

Also, I am super exhausted. I don't know why. I've slept great the last few nights - as in, I didn't periodically wake up in the middle of the night. I just stayed passed out until about 6 or so, about the time when my brain thinks I should wake up, but about an hour earlier than my body actually wants to get up. Oh well. I think I'm going to go to bed early tonight, though.

You know what? I think it's this weather. It's just draining me. Or maybe I'm just PMSing. I don't know.

The following letters on my keyboard have been rubbed off their keys: E, S, D, F, C, N. Ironically, not the K or the L, which I'm pretty sure I use the most, since, y'know, they are prominent figures in my name. (The E makes sense - it's a common vowel. The N? Sure, it's in the company name and a pretty popular consonant. It's also weird that they're all in the same little cluster. Must be something with my left hand. Minus the N. Oh, fuck, I don't know. I have no theories. I kind of think it would be fun if all the letters were gone and people were all "omg you can type on a keyboard with no letters? You are AWESOME!").

Also, this blog is complete and total bullshit because I never say what I want to say because I know people read it... and at the same time, the people that I know read it, I don't care if they read what I say, because they already know too much about me anyway (ha). I don't know. I just hae a hard time pouring my heart out to the masses... Even if the "masses" translates to a small handful of people I've pretty much grown to trust with the sordid details of my life. I make no sense, even to myself. Heh.

Clearly, I have issues. One of them is that it is after 5 and I am still at my desk. I AM GOING HOME.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Every. Single. Time.

CAT: MEOW! Pet me, human!
KELLY: (reaches to pet kitty)
CAT: (evasive maneuver) HAHAHAHAA

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Effff Winter

So... it's been cold lately. Ridiculously cold. Record-temps-setting cold. So cold, in fact, that my trusty car did not start on Thursday. Or Friday. I attributed this to the bone-chilling negative numbers that we were experiencing, at least this is what I hoped for. Yesterday I ran outside to give it a quick check and it started perfectly. Today... not so much. I called AAA and they sent someone to jump start it, and he advised I invest in a new battery. I let the car run a bit, then moved it into a new space, aka, I backed into a space that is more conducive to future jump-starting, if need be. It may or may not start tomorrow. If it does, I need to get my ass to a car parts store and get me a new battery. If it doesn't, well, at least I have a ride lined up for work.

Still, verdict is that it's probably going to cost me $80+ to replace. There goes any money that I conceivably had. My two possible means of gaining quick cash are: e-file my taxes and get my refund, and to donate plasma. I can't file yet because I don't have any of my W-2's, so that's out. I'd be sitting much better if my dad and uncle hadn't planned a random day trip down here yesterday... I mean, they took me out to lunch and it was fun to see them, but they arrived sooner than they said they were going to and I had to cancel my plasma appointment, costing me $45. Bummer. Still, two donations this week and I should almost be able to pay for it, plus Friday is pay day, so... I'll live. It still sucks.

On the bright side, I had an interesting night last night. I shall elaborate on that more further when I've had time to overthink it and decide what I am going to take away from it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Involunarily Introspective

To this point, this blog has not been exceptionally personal. It's been stupid e-fluff and I acknowledge that. It's not really what I intended, but the knowledge that People That I Know are reading it and silently passing judgment, well, ok, I've been holding back from actually discussing anything personal.

Today, however, I want to just ramble and vent and I don't really care and it's my blog and I'll do whatever the hell I want.

Anyway. I'm not sure what really triggered all this all of a sudden, but I'm having one of those days, and I'm not even sure what the hell my deal is. I'm here, I'm still me, though the concept of "me" is rapidly becoming a fluid and intangible concept. I feel like I am turning into a shell of a person that really only exists through various social media outlets (ok, ok, Twitter is the only one I really seem to spend time on anymore) and I'm just passing the time until... until what? I don't know. I got a notice today about renewing my lease. I probably will. I've been half heartedly searching for other apartments, something with more of the amenities I want, with the same amount of space and in a happy perfect world, the same price range. I'm also coming to the conclusion that unless I get a ginormous raise in the immediate future, it probably won't happen unless I get a roommate. Which I don't really want. I mean, I have nothing against roommates. It would be nice to have someone to hang out with, and, even better, to make it worth my while to actually cook things (although I'm getting pretty damn good at guessing how much spaghetti to cook for a single serving). And, of course, to split the rent and utilities. On the downside, I would have to share my space. And frankly, I don't have a lot of excess space right now. I need to economize my life and just toss out all this shit that I have that I never use or look at it, but the truth is, I probably never will. I've got stupid sentimental ties to a lot of it, and the rest I hang on to in the illusion that someday it might prove useful. Anyway. I hate moving more than I can possibly describe, and they're kicking fifty bucks off my monthly rent if I renew (technically my rent will go up, since I got a special deal when I initially signed my lease, but if I stay, it will only go up about $40/month which isn't bad at all), and I'm already settled, and... it's just exhausting to think about. I think I will stay another year. For shits and giggles, I am looking at one of their other properties tomorrow, the kind with the washer & dryer and the garage and the more townhome-esque nature, however, my worries here are that my cat will get out since there's no hallway to serve as a barrier. Also, it's the same neighborhood where two people were killed dead a couple months ago. Still, I'd get $100 off my August rent for transferring. Also, I would be homeless overnight during that stupid July 31-August 1 property turnover. NOT a fan. If I move, I'd love to be able to do it gradually, one room at a time, and then just move all the big stuff and be done with it. It's less overwhelming that way. Anyway, I'm just going to look. It's just across the street so it's not that big of a deal. But, I will probably stay. Even though I have to wait for d-bags to clear the washing machines of their wet clothes and some days like today get so cold that my car won't start at all (true story). Oh well. You can't have everything.

Really, the point of me beginning this ramble was NOT to wax poetic on the pros and cons about staying in my current apartment. I'm just saying. That's pretty much ALL that's going on in my life right now. What shoes should I wear today? What apartment should I live in? Should I watch the Daily Show rerun, or pop in the movie that came from Netflix? It's so... I don't know... devoid of meaning. Get up, shower (or not), go to work, go to tae kwon do or give plasma (depending on the day), or come home. Check my mail. Eat something edible. Waste a few hours on the Internet. Go to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat. I don't know what else I'm expecting.... I mean, it's a perfectly fine existence, I know in the grand scheme of the world, I'm pretty lucky. I have a job. I have a place to live. I'm healthy. I'm young. I'm probably jinxing myself by saying all this. Whatever. I have NO room to bitch or complain about anything. Still... I'm also lonely, and severely in debt, and perpetually medicated. Things aren't always as rosy as they seem. I'm still not going to complain.

I was lying in bed the other night and for some reason, waves of memories just started in on me and nearly drowned me. Mostly from college. I fit in there. In the dorms, in my extracurriculars. I was somebody. It was probably a fake somebody, but it was enough to make me feel like I was a part of something. The routine of classes and living in the dorms... I miss that life. I miss who I WAS in that life. I've gotten old and boring and my spirit is dying and my creativity is dying and all my ambitions are - are what? I love my job. I do. I feel like it was one of those lucky twists of fate that I found it and it found me. Still - it wasn't quite what I'd imagined myself doing. The problem is, I could never really imagine myself doing anything - I was leaving it entirely up to where life took me. Which is fine, I suppose. But there are no next steps. No more goals to achieve - not any big ones. I like where I am and am content to stay here a while. Unlike most of my peers, I really don't have a desire to bail out of Iowa. Sure, the weather sucks and other things suck, but as long as I have this job, I am not going anywhere. Where I would go if I lost it, I'm not sure. Probably up to the Cities. I have enough friends up there now that I would be ok up there, I think. But I'm digressing again. I miss the sheer vitality that my life had back then, how urgent and hopeful life was, how passionate and dedicated I was to things. I had a Plan. Not a long-term plan, but I knew what I wanted out of each academic year as it came, and I hit them all. It's hard to fully connect with my friends that are still in school, because they don't appreciate what they have - they are all so anxious to leave. That part of my life was ripped away from me when I was unceremoniously booted out with a piece of paper that certified me as employable. I am grateful for that, I will always be grateful of the opportunity I had for a great education and the fact that I was able to graduate from a university, which is something my parents were unable to do. But I lived and breathed ISU and when the cord was severed, I was lost.

I thought about the friendships I had then and the ones I have now. Sure, I had a lot more "friends" back then (or facebook would indicate), but they were shallow and more of acquiantances than anyone else - I mean, if you tell me a name on my facebook repoirte I will be able to tell you exactly how I knew them and what common connection we had... but it was a much more social time. I'm settling into a more defined set of friends, which, to be honest, is what I've always wanted. A close group of friends that I could really talk to and share life with... only it's not quite true, because I don't open up worth a shit. Still, it's not their fault. I thought about my friend Michelle, who was so unfairly taken away, and the dream I had that she appeared in to say goodbye. I honestly believe it wasn't just a dream - that that was our opportunity to say our farewells, because we were never afforded that in real life. And every time I bitch about something trivial, I remember her, and the big picture comes back into focus, and I feel like a complete ass for being so presumptuous as to assume that my insignificant issues are at all important. It left a scar that never healed properly because I never dealt with it like I should have, but by that same token, time has mended what it could, as best it could.

I had a hard time falling asleep that night, I had to take one of my anti-anxiety pills that piggyback on my normal antidepressants when things get to be too much. It helped, enough, I guess, I was able to sleep, but it doesn't solve the problems. It just makes them a little bit easier to deal with. Sometimes.

Fast forward, to today. This week has just generally sucked. It's one of those weeks where nothing technically goes horribly, chaotically wrong, but nothing is going spectacularly right, either. It's just... off. And I didn't care, because it's minor and it will go away and time will circle back around, and next week is bound to be ok. I fell back into my usual routine and all was well. I hopped on the Internet and made some of my rounds and got held up when I started reading some things written by a couple of my really good friends, kind of split between blogs and our own private little forum. I had nothing to contribute. I couldn't speak to them on their sorrows and their dilemmas and their loves and their losses... I had nothing to say. I couldn't relate anymore, because I've been alone in my little world so long, that I don't remember. All this while, I thought I was the better off for it. Well, there's no one here, which means there's no one to demolish my heart and break me into pieces. I don't need anyone. I am a self-sufficient, independent person and I am ok with that. But then I started thinking. And for all the ups and downs and heartbreak and joy that go hand in hand with a deeper relationship of any sort, there are emotions there that just make you feel alive. And I can remember those. Faintly, but still, they are there. And it occurs to me, then, that maybe that is what this void is, that is what is missing... not a person, per se, but just that feeling of being alive and real and open. It's not something I really know how to get back, or sure that I can get back, not easily.

I won't lose sleep over it, most likely, I haven't in quite some time. But still, thinking about it... it makes me sad. No matter how many defenses I put up or how aloof and nonchalant I am, that I don't care, I don't need anyone, I am fine... I'm not fine. I have a hole. A hole that I can't fill because I won't fill it because all those heartwrenching emotions that come with the whole picture, well, all I remember are the ones that hurt. I've never been in love, or been loved, which I suppose is a tragedy all of its own, but for the good there is the bad, and all I know is the bad, and the pain... so on some level, I avoid it. Despite knowing that with the bad, must also come some good. I am choosing nothing over everything... but is it really a choice I've made, or just the way fate has chosen to play itself out? That's not for me to answer. I'm just throwing it into the void.

I'm a mess. A rather tidy mess, swept up into a presentable package, but inside I know that if I were to let my guard down, I would be my own worst enemy because I would just fucking Fall Apart. And WHY?! That is my question. There is nothing inherently wrong with my life, I've got quite a nice life if I do say so myself, I've always thought so, even when I was much younger and kids aren't supposed to be all existential and grateful about what they have or who they are, but that's neither here nor there. I have no right to complain and yet I do. It's not the end of the world to be a numbed up cold hearted bitch, but I do wish things could be differently. I don't know. I've not managed to make sense of what's bothering me in the last fifty pages of ramble that I've just produced, so it's not likely that any answers will be coming anytime soon.

Whatever. I'm going to bed where I will freeze my ass off despite having every single blanket and comforter I own on my bed and my heat turned up as much is appropriate, because Mother Nature hates the Midwest. And then I will sleep poorly and drag my ass out of bed for one more day this week and pray to God that I can get through it. Well... strike that. It's not the getting through it that's the hard part. It's the getting started. If I can get out my front door, it's all rainbows and kittens from there.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Not to go all emo or anything, but...

I was browsing around Petfinder today to help my friend find kitties and I decided to take a peek at the listings for the shelter where I'd adopted MY kitty, to see what they had. This is when I discovered that my kitty's poor mommy is STILL there. Which means she's been there almost a full year - the kittens were born in March and she was pregnant when they found her. This just breaks my heart, that poor cat still doesn't have a home. I'd adopt her myself, but I'm really not sure if they would remember each other, and my cat is officially Queen of the Apartment now, and would flip out like the total spazzoid she is if there was Another Cat all up in HER space. The mama cat is really quite cute - she has the same face as my kitty and is built the same way - except she's gray and white instead of calico. Also, the shelter is about an hour away and it's not a drive I'd be happy to make this time of year. And the adoption fees AND the vet bills... I just can't afford it. If she was closer and came free, I'd be rethinking it... Instead, all I can do is just sit here and be extremely sad.

Mama Cat "Tips" - named because one of her ears got frostbitten off. 
She has the same face as my kitty - you can see the family resemblance.

Can you pick out which one is my kitty? 
Hint: It's the one right in the middle.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Crackberry Snow-Bitch

1. It snowed again. This displeases me. Especially since the snowbank next to my car was up to my calf. And I had to trudge through it to unbury my windshield. Gross.

2. I got a Blackberry today. Current sentiment is that I'm not in love with it and it feels kind of like a waste of money. We'll see how I feel when I actually TAKE it somewhere though. Perhaps it will be glorious to have the Internet at my fingertips. Perhaps it's more than I really need out of a phone. I have 30 days to decide if I want to keep it or not, so that's good, I guess.

3. I have a recurring tendency to write an entry, and then subsequently fail to post it. So, belated blogginess for your enjoyment:

There's this boy from back in my ISU days that I know has had a thing for me almost the entire time I've known him. Fortunately, I was able to pretend I didn't know and he was too shy to do anything about it. After graduation he went back to his home state and I didn't figure I'd ever see him again, and I didn't really give the matter much thought.

But, he's been back a few times and he's confessed that he likes me but hasn't attempted to act on the matter, which spares me the awkwardness of having to come up with a response. I mean - what's the worst that could happen? I cave, we go out, it tanks, big deal? or, the corollary, nothing happens because I'm a stubborn bitch and the awkwardness just continues to grow. I don't know. He's a nice kid, I've never really thought we were compatible, but I could do worse, I suppose.

Anyway. I get a text from him last Friday night about midnightish asking if I wanted to go with him to a wedding on Saturday (hooray for scraping up the balls at the last minute. I'm sure booze was involved. Being drunk was/is the only time he gets up the nerve to actually talk to me). My mom was coming to town on Saturday so my afternoon was already spoken for, and it's not like he gave me any advance notice (warning?), but still. I feel like a cold heartless bitch. What would I have done/said if she hadn't been coming to town? Who knows. I may have ignored the text. I may have made something up. I may have even said yes. It doesn't matter.

What does matter is the realization that I'm losing my right to be a haughty, whiny bitch about how there are no guys out there and blah blah blah, when I blow off the few who DO show interest. It's not like I'm passing over the nice guys for the bad boys... I'm passing over the nice guys for... what? The possibility of an even nicer guy, I guess. I'm choosing solitarity (?) and so I have no right to complain, I suppose. Although I also suppose I'm entitled to hold out for that guy who completely knocks me off my feet - as unlikely as it may be. A girl can dream, right?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Resolutions Slash Goals Slash Stuff I Wanna Do This Year

Well. I suppose they don't count if I don't actually state them. I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions... however, I am a big fan of goals. I have lots of them, small ones, mostly. Still, a small goal is better than no goal, and a goal is much harder to reach if you don't constantly have people on your ass about them. It's hard to ignore them when you've shared them.

So, here we go! The top five...

1. Stop Binge Eating (FAIL date: 1/2. Well, I got that far...)

2. Lose 25 lbs. by the time I'm 25.  (Maybe I can get back to my old size and I can salvage my jeans and stop hating myself and... well it's a reasonable goal and a reasonable time span.)

3. Finish unpacking my apartment. (one more room! Four more boxes! ... nine months after I've moved in. Frick.)

4. Give my cat a proper name. (Not that "kitty" isn't a nice one...)

5. Take a real vacation - no computers allowed. (This will be tricky, since I'm planning on getting a Blackberry soon... heh.)

Other things I'd like to do are to eat healthy... ok, healthIER, advance another belt or two in tae kwon do, start looking for a new place to live with a washer and dryer all to myself, though I'm in no mood to move for a while. I'd like to get back into art, I don't care what the fuck I do, but I feel my creativity dying and this is a depressing-as-hell revelation. It's also about damn time to break my cursed dry spell... take that for how you will. Cook more, eat out less. Stop drinking soda. Read a new book every month. Get rid of all the useless junk that I've been hoarding for years. Go out on the weekends. Be in bed by 10pm every night. Keep in better touch with my friends. Clean out my car. Start thinking real hard again about finally getting that damn tattoo. Go somewhere new (this kind of ties to #5). Watch some of the movies I own but have never seen... Shit, watch some of the movies I own but have seen - I've got way too many and they are collecting dust. ROI, dammit. I spent the money on them, I may as well enjoy them.

There are more, I'm sure. Little ones that are in my head that I know that I've been doing but haven't had the conscious thought to list out. 

Anyway. With any luck, I'll start taking stock of these once a month and see how far on-track or off-track I am. No pass/fail, no "omgisuckatnewyearsresolutionswhywhywhy", no excuses. If I fail miserably at something (most things) on my list - it's not so much an epic fail so much as something I need to work on a little bit harder.

Nothing big... but most days, it's the little victories that get us through, anyway. They add up.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Year In Review

It seems to be a requirement in the blogosphere that you write a summary of the previous year... And, since I am generally right at the epitome of trendy, I must obey such rules.

2008 was an interesting year - all in all, pretty damn lucky in the absence of any major tragedy or misfortune, though I won't say it was perfect by any means. Despite graduating the year before, I feel like this was the first year I was really able to stand on my own two feet and proclaim myself an independent, quasi-responsible adult.

I rang in the New Year of 2008 asleep in my bed, having worked a closing shift at Target and having an early shift the next morning. Hey, those new releases don't just put themselves out on the shelves. It was about this time that I started to scrape rock bottom financially and was granted forbearance on my student loans, and made a solemn vow to either have a new job by May, or be enrolled in grad school for the fall. Something had to change.

Mildly uneventful - February doesn't tend to be an exciting month. I did manage to go see the Foo Fighters in concert, which was probably one of the single greatest shows I've ever been to in my life. I would marry Dave Grohl tomorrow if he would have me. Sigh. My concert attendance has been low this year, mostly because of financial restrictions, but also because the lack of shows coming to this area that I *HAVE* to see. 2006-2007 was my year for concerts - I lost track of how many I saw. Nowadays it's more quality than quantity, apparently. ;)

(Contented sigh goes here)

Festivities for my sister's wedding kick off with the first and only bridal shower I've ever thrown. It was fun, but I'd rather be an attendee than a host. Also, I interviewed and 2nd interviewed for a new job up in Ames that I was careful not to get my hopes up on. In what I consider a divine intervention in my life, I was offered a job as an internal project manager at a creative services agency/printing company, which I didn't think twice about accepting. I cannot tell you how incredibly ecstatic I was.

It was kind of sad to leave Target, in the sense that the people I worked with were very cool and I'd had a good run there. I'd kicked ass and even been Employee of the Month back in October '07, but it wasn't a career path I wanted, and the pay sucked. I didn't quit entirely, though. I stayed on for the occasional weekend for some extra dough and guaranteed health insurance until about September or so... then it became apparent that it was time to pack it in and let go.

Cheesy photo we took for something-or-other this summer.
I started my new job and moved to a new apartment... this was the most significant event of the year, by far. To date, I love my job and I dare say I'm getting pretty damn good at it. I don't love my apartment, but I don't hate it. All it really needs is an in-unit washer and dryer and I would probably never move again. But, alas, it doesn't, and all its redeeming qualities are lost on the lack of laundry capabilities. Someday, someday.

I also helped out with my second Freeman concert as the resident designer and advertising guru, despite having graduated the year prior. My 2007 artwork got accepted to be published in American Corporate Identity 24, making it three years straight that I won entry into the book. Not a bad streak for someone who doesn't consider themselves worth a cent in design. (Unfortunately, I did not enter this year - who knows what could have happened. I almost entered my 2008 artwork, because I actually liked it better than '07 - but, it was not to be.) I also got to be a band host, which meant additional schmoozing with the musicians, who were all very cool people. And my main job that day was just to wander and take pictures, so it was fabulous. The Freeman Spring Concert has been my favorite day of the year the last few years, start to finish, despite what a long day it usually is.

The 2008 Freeman Spring Concert Organizers

My moment of rockstardom:
Patrick from Poison Control Center ambushed me with his guitar
and I strummed the last note to the song. I was a natural.

April was also freakishly cold and we had a snowy VEISHEA for the first time since I'd moved down to the area. Still, I didn't miss it for anything. I was in the parade for my new company and tossed out tshirts to the adoring masses. I also managed to get my signature cherry pie, and then bailed back to Des Moines to finish packing. It still counts.

Concert this month was Paramore & Jimmy Eat World, which was extremely awesome because I was able to check two bands off my list in one night. It was really good, despite the throngs of middle school girls who had suddenly discovered Paramore and showed it. (I was years ahead of you, bitches.)

Also, I cut my hair off for the first time in years. It was time.

May was a busy, busy month. Bridal showers and bachelorette parties abounded... On the 24th, my good friend Meredith got married (and subsequently moved to Texas - boo). A week later, my little sister got married to her high school sweetheart. Her wedding went off without a hitch (well, minus the fact that the rental place gave her the wrong punch fountain... which I'm pretty sure no one noticed). It was a load of fun, largely because they'd been together so long and everyone knew each other so well that it was just one giant party without awkwardness or tension like you'd probably see with some families. She had to have everything just-so, which means it was all perfect. Which also means that if I ever get married, I can't top it, so I may as well elope. Also, I was the chubby and pasty-pale bridesmaid, which kickstarted a whole new wave of self-esteem issues and makes me want to cry when I look at her wedding photos, and also makes me very grateful that I actually didn't end up in too terribly many of them.

Also, I got a baby kitten. Finally.

Meredith & Cory gettin' hitched

Me, my sister, and our cousin. Photo by Jenni Merrill.

My sister & brother-in-law. Photo by Jenni Merrill.

My favorite shot of the wedding party. Mostly 'cause you can't tell how
bad the seamstress screwed up on my dress. And I look thin. Ish.

Photo by Jenni Merrill.

Baby kitty on her first day home

June & July
Maybe it's just me - but the summer months tend to just blend together. Outside of work, I assistant-coached a softball team for Ames Park & Rec again for the third year. This year I had 6th-8th graders, which was fun... A couple of the girls had been on my team last year, and one of them has been on my team the last three years - it's fun to see them year after year and get better and grow up and all that jazz. Our team ended the season with only one loss, and actually took first place in the end-of-season tournament, which was pretty awesome. (Ironically, they were playing the one team they had lost to, to heighten the drama a little).

My softball girls! (Yes, most of them are as tall as me.)

In July I helped out with the first-ever 80/35 Festival in Des Moines - an attempt to get a large music festival kickstarted in our area. Named for the crossing of two major interstates (I-80 and I-35, respectively) that meet up in Des Moines, where almost all musicians and bands cross on their way to somewhere else, the goal is to get them to actually STOP here. The weather was amazing - hot, but not rainy like it had been. I volunteered which gave me not only a free 2-day pass, but I could pretty much wander wherever I wanted. Not backstage or anything, but everywhere else. The headliner was the Flaming Lips which I'll admit I knew nothing about, but they put on a hell of a show. Overall, it was awesome, and a huge success, and fun to be a part of... even if the volunteer system was a bit of a clusterfuck. Hey, it was the first year. Something had to be a mess.

Ingrid Michaelson at 80-35

The Flaming Lips take the stage at 80-35

Speaking of rainy, we had ridiculous flooding action all across the state this summer. Ames really only got hit once, in May, which I barely escaped to head up to my sister's wedding (flooding or no, there would have been hell to pay if I was late for the rehearsal), but Des Moines got it a month later, and Cedar Rapids is STILL recovering from it. It was unbelievable and hopefully never happens again.

Cedar Rapids Flooding - Photo by Molly Nagel, my personal eastern-Iowa correspondent

I also enrolled in a debt management program to get my damn credit cards taken care of. I'll be debt free in three years, but that also means I'm not allowed to use credit cards until then. It's a fair trade, I suppose, to knock off late fees and have new rates negotiated for me, but if anything major happens where I suddenly need money, I'm pretty much screwed (well, not that I could really do much anyway since my cards were maxed out...) Still - it's been six months and I'm finally starting to make a dent and that's a great feeling, too.

In August I had my 5-year high school reunion... which should be enough said. I nearly didn't go, but my sister, who had married into my class, pretty much insisted, so I did. I got, erm, pleasantly inebriated (sidebar: this is especially significant because it was the first time in my life I have actually been able to acquire free drinks), I actually had fun, and, best of all, I no longer felt inferior or intimidated by all the people that had given me so many complexes in my formative years. I don't particularly care what they think of me - I know that I'm better off than most of them, who are still hanging around the same old town, doing the same old thing.. and I'm on my way to bigger and brighter things. Still, like someone said - we're kind of family, in the sense that you can never really rid yourself of the others, for better or worse. We grew up together and we're kind of all tied together because of it.

RSH Class of '03... Five Years Later

I turned 24 this year. It was not particularly exciting - I'm still young enough to go out and live it up, but old enough that I'm annoyed by the damn kids on my lawn. Or the damn kids next door that crank up their music when I'm trying to sleep. Whatever. It's a good age, I suppose. I like where I am. I'm young and single and have a good job and a nice apartment and a running car and dammit I'm happy. And next year, my car insurance rates go down. Woohoo!

The inaugural birthday of the traveling tiara

Nothing really significant in MY life this month... my friend Calee ran a marathon which is something I would never ever in a million years be able to do. My sister and I threw a surprise 50th birthday party for my dad which went off without a hitch and was a lot of fun.

Well, we had a little bitty election here in the US this year, which was amazing to be a part of. I had to wait in the poll lines for over an hour to get to a damn ballot, but it was worth it. We finally ousted the narrow-minded, misinformed, civil-rights-stomping regime that's been sucking the soul of this country dry for the last eight years. Mr. Barack Obama will take office in mere weeks, and I can't wait to see what the future brings.

Yes we can.

I saw Matt Nathanson this month, and it was AMAZING. I might even dump Dave Grohl for him. He's one of those artists I randomly found about five years ago and kept as one of my secret finds, although he's busted out on the mainstream radio stations lately. His show was awesome - he's incredibly talented, his songs are amazing, and his between-song banter was hilarious. The 80's covers randomly interspersed into his own songs was pretty spectacular, too. And he's just kind of adorable. I got his new CD for Christmas and it's pretty much the only thing I've been listening to lately. Soooo good. Le sigh.

Matt, I love you.

I also started taking tae kwon do... I'm not entirely sure what motivated this decision, other than the opportunity arose and I took it. My dad was always big into it - he was a black belt, back in his day. It was always one of those things that I kind of wanted to do, but never really had time or motivation. At this point, I figured why the hell not. It gets me out of my apartment, with any luck it will help get me into shape, and it's always good to know how to defend yourself, especially with all the whack jobs running around these days.

It seems weird to recap this since it all JUST HAPPENED, but then again, I've been sucking it up at blogging lately, so I guess it's worth a quick run-down. December continued on like most of the rest of the year. We got hammered by snow and ice, the city of Ames still hasn't learned how to plow properly, and I finally figured out what my driver's ed teacher meant by "steer into it!" I continue to maintain an irrational fear of driving in snow, but at least now I feel mildly better that I have the knowledge somewhere in my head that I might be able to do it properly.

I took my first vacation in ages, all the way up yonder to Minneapolis, where I met up with some friends from ISU and had my very first visit to IKEA. Once the weather gets better (and warmer) I'll probably venture up more often - it was a lot of fun and there's so much more to do up there. The drive isn't too bad, either... just over 3 hours. About my maximum distance for being in a car without bitching heavily about it later.

I had my first belt testing and was awarded an Orange Belt-Decided, which means that I did fairly awesome (the other option would have been Orange Belt-Recommended... where you "pass", so to speak, but you didn't do quite as well to get there, if that makes sense. At any rate, I have my orange belt now.) Granted, we were testing with the yellow belt form, which means that even if I'd screwed up, I was still doing stuff that was harder than the level I was at, so it shouldn't have really been that hard to pass. But, I did, and now things are getting more focused and a little tougher, which means I'm getting a better workout, which means maybe I'll get in shape after all. Score!

Christmas came and went, it was great to take a few days off, go up and visit the family and chillax for a few days. It would have been better, of course, had we not gotten beat over the head with more snow right around that time, but the roads were good when I needed them to be, so I'm not complaining too much. My sister and brother-in-law got two new cats (the old cat, the one we've had for FOREVER growing up, had a stroke a couple weeks ago and couldn't function anymore so they had to put her down... I mean, this cat had had a good long life, something like 20 years or so, but it was really hard on my sister because she'd always been really attached) so I got to play with them - they are so cute. It almost makes me wish I'd gotten a second cat for my kittycat to play with, but that would have been an added expense when I couldn't afford it, and, besides, do I REALLY need to start building my cat collection just yet? No. Still... they're more fun when they have a playmate. (Speaking of cats... and Christmas... I dressed mine up in a Santa suit for my cards... she was impressively compliant... Possibly plotting her revenge, but she humored me all the same)

A day or two after Christmas, I got word that my friend had had her baby boy (compounding to my "OMG WE'RE ADULTS NOW WHAT?!?!" phobia that tends to come and go with each new marriage/baby that crops up)... I haven't seen any pictures yet, but I'm willing to bet that he's adorable.

Other than that... the year ended on a warm and cozy note, all is well in the world for now, and I'm hoping that continues into 2009. With less snow, of course. Brrr.

Meowy Christmas to all...

...And, because it would be against all I stand for to NOT post a picture of my posse all decked out for our fabulous 80liscious New Year's Eve Party, here it is! I will post the rest on facebook (for real, I promise, I mean, it's not like I've got months and months of pictures queued up that I keep promising people I will post and then never have).

Partying like it's 1985.