I Just Threw Up a Little…

Last week I took a risk.  I saw an advertisement via Twitter for “Adventure!” and I took the bait.  I sent in the requested contact information and even BEGGED to be accepted via a postscript tacked to the end of my very brief email.

I was promised the need for a passport and a machete.  Instead, I got to choose my own adventure.  My adventure does NOT involve the need for a machete – but the machete seems like a MUCH safer option now that I’ve submitted my own risk IN WRITING to the Adventure! staff.

In the few days since I received my acceptance email and invitation to the secret Facebook group I have looked closely at the life I’ve created.  I notice now that while I thought I’ve been dreaming and scheming for the future that really I’ve been marking time.

I haven’t even been marking time as the freaking Drum Major; Large and IN CHARGE.  Nope – I’m Flute #5 buried somewhere in the middle of the block where I can mark my position from both sides and stay safely hidden.  I’ve made a few peeps – but otherwise have worked to stay in-line and invisible.

I have set a goal.  I think this is the first real goal I’ve set for myself in a really long time.  I’ve put myself out there to *strangers*.  And, these nice people who know only that I share their desire for Adventure! share words of encouragement even as my brain is screaming “Stranger Danger!  Stranger Danger!” and begging me to flee into the shadows.

I realize now that fear has paralyzed me for nearly 20 years.

Fear is a Dick.

In the next 24 days I’m going to re-teach myself to dream *through* the fear.  I’ve made a commitment.  Now I need to plan and then follow through with the whole shebang.

I’ve let myself become a person I don’t really like.  I’ve let myself lose hope.  I lost control of my direction.  I’ve let myself become a victim – and I’m NOT okay with that.

I’m done with the shenanigans.  Fear needs to start fearing ME.

I’d Rather Be Doing Something Else

It’s one of those days.  The kind of day that regardless of the task in front of me – I’d rather be doing anything else.  Right now I should be compiling a spreadsheet that will create the basis of ANOTHER spreadsheet that will then create a pile of invoices.

That’s right folks – exciting times are HERE!

So, instead of just getting this little chore over and done with I’ve made myself not very useful.  So far today I have: futzed with the color on my workstation monitor, caught up on blog reading via smartphone, chatted with a friend via Facebook, chatted with a different friend via Messenger, and stared at my growing pile of work while daydreaming of doing ANYTHING else.

I know my procrastination tactics have reached epic proportions when I start to dream of housecleaning.  I sit here in my little cubby dreaming of what I could be doing at home if only I was *there* instead of *here*.  If I didn’t have to be *here* my house would sparkle!

(Yeah…. Right.)

But, I think we all know that isn’t going to happen.  Let’s be honest – I’ve had years of practice.  I can push off anything to tomorrow, regardless of plans made when I was busy not doing something else.  Home is where things like television and cats live, which are both best enjoyed together, with a boozy drink.  Housecleaning just can’t live up to that trifecta of awesomeness.

(I realize those last sentences read like I’m a crazy alcoholic cat lady.  I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.  But, it is the truth – so it stays.)

So, I sit here in my ill fitting desk chair with my legs falling asleep and check my Facebook wall, Twitter stream, Messenger window and cellphone screen in an endless rotation of distraction – hoping that something fun will arrive. 

I’m just going to have to figure out a way to make that spreadsheet entertaining.  It would certainly be easier with booze and cats.

Just sayin’.

ID Box

I believe Americans partially identify themselves by the work they do.  Asking what someone does for a living is usually in the first group of questions you ask someone after being introduced.  It makes sense.  We work hard and are driven to suceed as a culture.

We are the country of Yankee Ingenuity – where if at first you don’t succeed you try again.  And, when THAT doesn’t work, you dig your nails into your goal until you’re finally able to bring it down like a bobcat on a hiker on a suburban trail.*

Graphic?  Why, yes.  Yes it is.

But, while we live in the gracefully shaded land of Instagram and beautifuly photographed blog posts – all while sitting alone in our cubicle at work eating a brown bag lunch – it often becomes apparent that what we want and what we have aren’t exactly in line with each other.

(I realize that both the mediums above can be carefully staged – but Pinterest wouldn’t be the hotbed of activity if we all didn’t want these beautiful creations to be our lives.)

Growing up I had BIG PLANS.

BIG.

I had my eyes on a PhD in physics.  I realize now this was rediculous.  (I am not good at math.  At all.)

Then I moved on to geology.  (This was far more realistic and reasonable.)

Then, I got sent home from college in the midst of a psychotic break.

Oopsie.

(Change. In. Plans.)

Suddenly my career dreams disappeared and I spent all my time an energy focusing on keeping my life together (aka, staying alive and outside the padded white room).

Enter “the Job”.  I needed one – and am thankful for my family for providing the ultimatim that I GET one.

The job I got was administrative in nature and paid the bills.  This was my “hold over” job until “I started my career”, and therefore my life.

The only thing is, I’m still in my hold over job 12+ years later.  And, I have a hard time reconciling that job with the dreams I identified myself with.  Secretary vs. Scientist, kinda different in nature.

I’m lucky that my closest friends are in the science field – so I get to live vicariously through their experiences of reading (and understanding) journal articles, lab notebook grading and answering the same series of questions over and over and over again with each new semester.

I realize now that I don’t want to be a scientist in reality – although I wouldn’t mind playing one on TV.

(What I COULD deal without is the shocked look co-workers give me when I explain the most basic of scientific facts.  Hello people – I’m not a moron.  I have highly educated friends who share their knowledge.  Why is this so suprising?)

My wise-beyond-his-years brother shared something with me via a Facebook post late last night. He told me to focus less on my job and more on my passions.  Then he told me he loved me.

Damn kid made me cry at 4am before I even had my coffee.

Clearly he could see what I’ve stopped looking at: I’m NOT my job.  My job has a fantastic purpose: it allows me to eat, live somewhere I love, pay my bills, support my smartphone addiction, etc.  These are all good things.

But, they are not ME.

It got me to thinking: who am I really?  What would I want to define ME?

I came up with:

Kind.

Giving.

Slightly nutty – but funny.

Crafty (In the artistic sense, not the maniacal genius one.)

I’d been realizing lately that my job does not have to identify me to the world if I don’t want it to.  I’m currently chosing not.  The job is a job.  I don’t have to let the repetitive invoice processing, contract issuing and office politics define me any more.

Those self-imposed bonds can suck it hard.

I’m FREE.

*(If you’re interested: If I’m the bobcat – a Mary Kay pink Cadillac is totally my suburban hiker.)

Orange Juice

Lots of times you hear about how “when life give you lemons, make lemonade”.

However, to me that just focuses on the sour parts of life.  What about the bitter?

(Yeah, I bet you thought I was going to say sweet.  Gotcha!)

Years ago when traveling I saw what I considered to be the coolest machine ever.  They were at walk-up food restaurants everywhere – and they squeezed oranges into fresh juice as the customer waitied.

This sounded wonderful to me.  Sweet, fresh orange juice for $4 a tiny glass (or some other outrageous sum).

Then, I shelled out for the juice and was startled by the flavor.

Sweet?  Not much.

Sour?  Kinda.

Bitter?  Oh, yeah.  Lots and lots of bitter.

Bitter has it’s purpose.  However, when life gives you OJ it can turn you into a bitch if you don’t watch yourself.

I’ve got my share of bitter going on these days.  My life isn’t where I thought it would be when I was dreaming of the future in high school.

Heck – last month I thought THIS month would be different too.  Keeping my head in a positive place is turning into a full-time job.

I’m fighting against turning into a full-on bitch who focuses on the regrets of life and relationships both past and present.  I really don’t want to be that person.

I guess awareness is the first step toward changing what you don’t like.

I think I’m there.

Operation “Not Orange Juice” has commenced.

Here’s to “more sweet and less bitter”.

 

Google Navigation Hates Me (aka Adventures Driving to The City)

The combination of me behind the wheel and driving to San Francisco has yet to work out well.

History:

Long, long ago when I first learned to drive (I was 21 at the time – please don’t judge) I dated someone who lived in Oakland.  As this was long, long, ago I had to do things like rely on verbal directions scribbled on a scrap of paper, a map and my “sense of direction” (the quotes are totally appropriate here) to get me anywhere.  I was given directions to get to this gentleman’s home that I now know to be CRAP.

(I was given the commemorative names  of the freeways I was to take instead of just saying “take 580”.) 

So, instead of ending up in the cute neighborhood where this guy lived (that had NO parking, might I add) I ended up very, very, very lost.

Long story short, my drive to meet a guy for a date included:

–  The refusal of a gas station clerk to provide directions ANYWHERE

–  Directions from a random person in the gas station parking lot

–  A trip over the Bay Bridge using the bus lane in the toll plaza (oopsie) using said directions from random person in the parking lot

–  A sweat soaked trip through the Embarcadero and BACK over the Bay Bridge

–  Getting lost in a VERY bad neighborhood trying to find my way to safety (fail on that one)

–  Finding a pay phone and getting propositioned by guys in a low rider, “Heeeeey Baby!  How YOU doin’?”

–  Finally being rescued by my date after being told to “Get back in the car. LOCK the doors.  Don’t move. I’ll come get you.”

Great way to start the date.  I should have had a clue and just drove home and passed on the entire experience of our “relationship”.

But, I digress…

This was my history with me driving to San Francisco.  I have not driven in a car I’ve been responsible for manouvering in San Francisco since.  I drive a stick shift with passable skill.  PASSABLE.  That does not include crazy San Francisco-style hill hell.  Therefore, if I’m going to San Francisco I will either make someone else drive or take public transit.

But, in current day, I now have a friend who lives in San Francisco.  She lives in the flat part (as long as you get off of the freeway in the correct spot and don’t have to double-back).  I also have technology on my side with Google Navigation on my awesome smartphone.  I convinced myself that a drive to the city was not only possible but would be easy and enjoyable.

Oh, how wrong I was.

See, I didn’t account for the evil sense of humor from those pesky Google employees.  (I should know better; after all, these are the people who will give you directions from New York to Paris that include swimming across the Atlantic.)

Things were going well – outside of the INSANE traffic on a Saturday morning in the MacArthur Maze.  (I could not do that commute each day.  40 minutes = 1 mile is not okay.)  I had my directions chirping at me from my phone.  I glanced at the map and the written directions.  I “had it under control”.

I made it through the maze and into the correct lane in the bridge toll plaza…

I didn’t get run out of my lane at the metering lights….

I was enjoying the scenery of the new bridge construction and gearing up for my big slow down at the “S” curve-of death near Yerba Buena Island.

Then, all the shit came off the rails.

I just didn’t know it yet.

I drove through the tunnel and onto the suspension portion of the bridge into San Francisco.  I was in the center lane, as I wasn’t sure if my exit was on the right or left of the road.  But, it was okay, because I knew which exit I needed: 1C.  Then, Ms. Navigation informed me that no – I needed Exit 2B. Exit on Left.  NOW!

So, off the freeway I go.  Then, I’m informed to make the first left.  Then, another left…

BACK ONTO THE BRIDGE – only this time I’m going back to Oakland.

WTF just happened here?

I’m informed to stay on the bridge and then exit at Treasure Island.  I look at my map – it wants me to take the Treasure Island exit – TOUR the freaking island – and then get BACK onto the bridge going BACK to San Francisco and take….

Wait for it….

Exit 1C.

Now, the on ramp from Treasure Island back onto the Bay Bridge is a death trap.  There is no actual ramp, but a small space of road with a stop sign immediately after the Yerba Buena tunnel.  The entrance is blind, and everyone is driving through the tunnel like Satan is at their heels in recoup for needing to drive 35mph through the S-curve-of-death immediately prior.

I made the decision to drive back to Oakland and try again.

Then Google Navigation asked me to make a U-Turn.

(For those of you not in the know – the Bay Bridge has two levels, each going their own direction.  The only result of a U-Turn is death.)

My mini-tour of the Oakland dock area immediately after the Bay Bridge where I turned around included snippets like “take a slight right” being repeated over and over – when the only thing to my right was railroad tracks…

I got to my friend’s house after ignoring the change in directions (which happened again – RIGHT after the tunnel – what the heck Google?????) and continuing on to my correct exit.  I was a full hour late, damp with flop sweat (ewwww) and speaking in that manic voice that clearly says I just experinenced a near death experience.

I kinda had.  Google hates me and is clearly in cahoots with the Bay Bridge to get me.

Next time I’m taking BART.

I Should Be Embarrassed – But I’m Not

In the not-so-recent past I had a day out on the town with my loving sister, E.  The plan was to go shopping at consignment stores in the nearby ritzy suburban oasis with a large outdoor shopping district.

We started the day by following this plan – but things quickly came off the rails.

We DID visit the consigment stores – and some others – and immediately collected armloads of loot to try on in the dressing rooms.

Hilarity ensued.  Things we learned:

1 – NEITHER of us are a Size 0.

(The dress *looked* like it would fit E – who weighs about 15 pounds due to her cardio “addiction”.  Granted, she looked like some sort of cheerleader porn princess in it – and it took us both a lot of work to get it off of her.  We were really lucky we didn’t have to cut the thing off  – considering it was $80.  While pictures were attempted they really weren’t appropriate for public viewing – by anyone – and I was laughing too hard to hold the camara steady.)

2 – Any dress that is both shiny and gold is fun to try on.  Bonus points if it’s made from spandex.

(When the “outfit” is so bad it makes you laugh so hard you nearly lose control of your bladder AND cry and the same time it was most certainly worth the time it took to wiggle into it.)

3 – Small dressing rooms are more fun.

Trying on crazy clothes is just better when two people are crammed into the same tiny, curtained dressing room.  (Yes, curtained AND small.  I’m confident my granny-pantied booty was sticking out for the world to see at one point.  I felt a breeze.)  The added bonus is that you don’t have to open a door for OTHER people to see your shame when the dress that on the hanger looks like something a society lady would wear to a luncheon makes you look like a sausage/ street walker/ tranny.

4 – Neiman Marcus was not made for the likes of The Crazy Suburbanite.

(Prolific profanity was used.  We got the stink eye from more than one sales clerk – either from excessivly fondling the clothes or perhaps from the potty mouths.  I saw an Alexander McQueen clutch that included the likes of a pimp ring as the handle.  I even loudly blurted out “Oh. My. God.  That purse has a PIMP RING AS A HANDLE!!!” right before a girl dressed in an outfit that cost far more than it was worth than a monthly mortgage payment walked by.  I mentioned that she was trying too hard a little loud – since originally I though I had only said that IN MY HEAD – and E thought I said something about her having a pimp…  We also tried on all the shoes in the “discount” sale section acting all the while like we would consider paying $700+ for pair of shoes.  There was much giggling and commenting on how tall we were in said shoes.  Look at me!  I’m so tall!)

5 – The architect and interior designer for Neiman Marcus are crazy awesome.

Who knew that 70’s syle art glass would be back in vogue and ready to rock the entire facade of a building?  Oh, that would be these awesome people.  Sharp angles, bright white, contrasting yellow: Oh. My.

6 – When the kid taking your coffee order gives you a blank stare that does NOT mean he wants to hear about your day.

(Yes, this was us. Apparently we’re old and need hot, delicious coffee at 5pm on an afternoon of “shopping” in 80+ degree heat.  We thought we were being splendidly witty in our banter with the barrista.  Seems that was only in our heads.  The blank stare was because he didn’t care.  NOTED.)

6.  E can justify me buying anything.

Case in point:  The $175 shoes, clearly used and from a consignment store. I’m only trying them on because, “Um, they’re MANOLO’S AND purple AND they feel like butter.”  I’m only trying them on so I can say I have.  This is our conversation:

CS: Wow. These are high.  Cute – and MANOLO’S – but I don’t think I can walk in them.

E:  Sure you can – and they’re ONLY $175.  You should totally buy them.

CS:  The dress I need shoes for only cost $30.

E:  You’re saving SO MUCH MONEY!  How much do new ones cost?

CS:  Nope.  Too high.  And, I’d like to EAT on my vacation.

E:  They’re PURPLE!!!!!!

(I did not buy the shoes.)

7 – Bundt cake is delicious – especially if it’s free because they cut the samples in giant pieces.

(We checked for a shift change to get more – because we have SOME shame – but were thwarted.)

Overall, a fun day with minimal damage to the pocketbook.  I ended up with no clothes from the consigment stores – because apparently I enjoy trying on party dresses – and I have no use in real life for this type of clothing. But, I did buy some shirts and a purse at Ross.  E had a similar type of haul.  Win for us!

Sister time is the best.

Oops. That was my Bad Attitude talking.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk.

Because of this the majority of my past posts have been heavy on the “woe is me” and “whine/bitch/whine” themes.  Sorry about that.

I’m not sure if this is because I’ve over committed my life and I feel poorly over my lack of success at completing everything on my plate or if I’m just in a low spot.  (Or perhaps it’s hormonal – that’s always an option.)

Anyway – I’m sorry.  That’s all.

I’d like to re-turn over the leaf I flipped back in February 2011.  (Does that sentence even make sense?)

I want to go back to the excited, positive-thinking, “Just Say NO to Negativity!” lady I was then.

I apparently need to “effort” that.

Summer days are here – and they are fleeting.  I’m not going to spend a glorious summer with a dark-as-night mood.  Summers are for fun!  Summers are for relaxation!  Summers are for trying something new and re-inventing yourself!

(Can you tell what I did each and every summer from kindergarden up until I was tossed out of college for being crazy?)

So – starting RIGHT NOW I’m going to start looking for joy in my surroundings.

I need a pretty/inspiring/motivating picture-ish item for my desk.  I need to take a walk in the sunshine.  I need to actually TAKE the breaks I’m provided by our government when at work, and use that time to appreciate the beauty and humor around me.

I need to bring my phone/camara with me to record items RIGHT THEN so I don’t get sucked back into the negative vortex of procrastination.  (Example: I need to take another walk and get a pic of that random-ness later so I can blog/chat about it – which then doesn’t happen.  And, the spiral begins anew.)

I’ve said it before – and I’m sure I’ll say it again – but I have to start (insert title/name of newest grand scheme here), and it may as well be now.

Today the Grand Scheme is Be Positive.

Let’s go.  🙂