Monday, February 22, 2010

Ho Hum

Nothing too much to report here - just your average Monday. 

A recent article in the NY Times, Keeping the Plates Spinning by Michael Winerip, did grab my attention, though... I'll share why tomorrow, but here are a few choice bits:
IN February 2007, Nina Lentini became the editor of Marketing Daily, a five-day-a week online trade newsletter that covers the advertising and marketing industries.
...In 18 months, Ms. Lentini went from editing one daily newsletter to still editing that one, as well as the 10 weeklies that generated new ad revenue at no extra cost to her company. Of course, there was a cost: her free time. “It’s, ‘How many plates can I keep going?’ ” she said. “You’re giddy with hysteria.”...“I understand everybody works like this now,” Ms. Lentini said. “I don’t feel I have mean bosses. I like my bosses — people care about each other at this company. This is just the new reality.”
That’s the problem for boomers: They remember the old reality...“I worked 10 to 7,” she recalled. “We took long lunches, they were nice days. When you went home, that was the end of it, you didn’t think about work. Didn’t worry about it. You had another separate life that didn’t include work. I don’t think young people could imagine it today. You got two or three weeks’ vacation — real vacation. Sick leave. We never worked on weekends.” 
...Ms. Lentini does not beat herself up over these things. “We’re doing the best we can with the resources we have,” she said. But like a lot of us, she worries for journalism’s future. “I wonder, when the economy improves and everyone has more money, do we go back to the way it was? Or are they going to say: ‘Why hire more people? You did it yourself.’ That’s what I’d say if I were the boss.

Friday, February 19, 2010

My Granny Squares

Is it wrong to be so excited about a Friday night in? I am nearly giddy with the thought. I'm going to watch the office, drink tea, and finish crocheting a blanket I started over five years ago. If that is Old Biddy Depressing, well, hell yeah I'll take it.

Am I growing up, growing old, or just growing different? So many things have changed in the past two years. So many things have changed in the past one. It's enough to tucker any girl out.

No wonder this blanket, this DVD, this cup of tea look so good...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happy Lent

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday - and today is Day 39 of my new lifestyle. 

Interesting the way timing works, every now and then...

Marshy Sawgrass

A new game was invented on the trip to the Everglades. This game was not actually played aloud, or, honestly, even suggested, but it was still invented. Here's how it goes:

First, you get in a rented cherry-red Chrysler. Then you drive from Fort Lauderdale forever and ever to a tiny old fisherman village founded in the 1820s. Then you don't sleep very much and you spend many minutes plotting stealthy pajama-clad runs to the shared bathrooms after midnight because the air travel turned your ankles into innertubes and your bladder to a pea. But you have a very good time and dream about pirate musicals and wake up early and eat only french fries all day long because Floridians do not value the vegan lifestyle unless it means you eat fried seafood.

Fried seafood is, in fact, vegan in any and all costal states south of our nation's capitol.

But this is not the game. This is the preamble that allows the game to really start. The game really starts when you eat your breakfast french fries, pile back into the cherry-red Chrysler, head over to Shark Valley, and start reading the road signs.

The name of the game is: Fictional Archetype or Indigenous Species?

Round one: Marshy Sawgrass

Round two: Skunk Ape

Round three: Cotton Mouth

Yes - these are all technically the latter (indigenous species) but can you imagine the plot lines these names could propel?

"The Sheriff walked into the bar. The music stopped. The cards dropped. But the showgirl's leg stayed lifted high, petticoat pulled back, in mid-air. Across the sawdust floor, the dark stetson hid a face crosshatched with lies. Marshy Sawgrass. The Sheriff walked toward the black hat, straight into a cloud of penny whiskey and smoke."

And who ever said there's nothing to do in the Everglades??

Friday, February 12, 2010

Before the Everglades

What a day of self-doubt. Yipes. But I will get through it and then forget it was this pervasive. Circle of something something.

Tomorrow I leave for Florida to tour the Everglades with Dad. I've never been, and I hope it's the kind of thing we can just breeze into. I don't have a ton of pre-planning energy in me right now, so let's all just keep our fingers crossed.

I was rejected from University of Wisconsin - Madison this morning. That didn't feel great. Then again, I didn't expect to get in everywhere. Just somewhere would be nice. Again - more finger crossing please.

Also, a lot of mad women are trying to burn down my attic. This is a metaphor, thank goodness, but it still feels vitally threatening. I'm keeping it to a dull smolder, but reconciling the past with the present is making me want to install extinguishers on every floor. There is more than one way to feel smoke coming out of one's ears.

Thank goodness for therapy, weekends, my family, and the wild wilderness ahead.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Palm Amish

I just got my first smart-phone and, hot damn, am I confused. I almost snapped a chunk off of it trying to figure out where to put the charger; it keeps doing the mariachi shake everytime I get a Facebook message; it lists everyone I have ever sent a press release to in my contacts (this is sheer divine payback for sloppy publicity tricks, I know it); it keeps blinking little lights of bewilderment every time I give it yet another fey misguided swipe.

In other words, I think this is the begining of a beautiful friendship.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day

Snow snow snow. It's nearing tundra level out there. I do not want to leave this apartment - and I don't think I will.

Hurray for self-employment.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Consider My Kidneys

Interesting day today - and I'm feeling grateful for my current situation. I'm able to support myself working freelance, which is amazing and, at times, nearly unbelievable. I'm able to maintain sobriety, which is amazing and, at times, wholly unbelievable. I'm able to work for a cause I believe in and look ahead to a future I'm actually very excited for. Hopefully all will continue to be sunshine and lollipops.

I was just on the phone with a colleague who was explaining why he can't take effective cold medicine even though he's sick: it's because he donated his kidney to his father, and his body can't process most antibiotics or anti-histamines now that it's gone. After the donation and transplant, his father got cancer and his body rejected the kidney. The father is now in and out of the hospital, and my co-worker, the son, is floored by the flu.

But - here's the kicker - this co-worker has the best attitude in the world.

I've been told you have to take life on life's terms. Not that you have to accept everything horrible, but that, at a certain point, you want to take the measure of a moment and see what you can do. Sometimes the best you can do is breathe and continue.

A woman I once met said she was so sick of "cussin and fussin" at the universe. I don't think blanket tolerance is the answer to the world's many injustices, but neither is internalizing struggle. Hating a situation doesn't change it. Action sometimes can, depending on the situation. But sometimes, like with the kidney, serenity and support supply world's more good than "cussin and fussin" ever could.

Today I nearly had a tantrum when my Gmail froze and my browser wouldn't Force Quit. I was about ready to throw my poor iBook across the room... speaking of an internalized struggle not helping anything.

But then the Gmail started working again and I realized I have both my kidneys. I have my father. I can take Benadryl and, even better, I currently don't need to. I hear so many stories of how bad things can get - but I get to hear these stories from people who have finally found peace. That's an amazing thing. And so I am grateful.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Good and Lazy

I am having a serious couch potato moment. Maybe it's because I've already been to the gym, done a day's work, seen the Tim Burton exhibit at MOMA, shopped at three bodegas (9 times), and eaten a heaping tablespoon of creamy peanut butter. Yes, maybe that is partly to do with it. But somehow, the only real reason I come up with is: I AM LAZY & NO GOOD.

Why are we all so damn hard on ourselves?

The more time I spend sober, the more aware I am of the constant stream of self-criticism I harbor. Christ. In some ways, the critique's consistency should be freeing - I don't think the inner-chatter could possibly escalate, so I have nothing more to fear. I could commit a million crimes and the volume level would be the same - Spinal Tap's deafening 11.


Things are good. I am good. Life is good. The elliptical machine, Tim Burton, creamy peanut butter, and bodegas are good. Couch potato is good. Even lazy can be good.



Friday, February 5, 2010


How funny Fridays are when you are not employed full-time. Even if I were still drinking, I don't think I would relish the five pm drink the same way as when I was slogging through sixty-hour weeks. This is not a bad thing.

We're all waiting for the snow to start here in New York. I've received countless e-newsletters playing with the threat of upcoming precipitation. Antici-precipitation. I have decent provisions, should it come to that, but really, my NY1 forecast predicted four inches. I think we'll live.

(I say this now...)

My college's alumni magazine arrived this morning. I was expecting, as I opened it, to end up feeling deflated, left-in-the-dust, outshone. While there's a whole lot of merit and reward in those pages, however, I don't feel envy. People seem to be making their way, but I didn't find any miracle-suckers in there. No one wheezed on the juice of good fortune.

I'm finally feeling pro-anthropic. I like people. I like being a person. We are all just trying to figure it out, and, if nothing else, we have that in common. We are working on it. And that it is us. And that is just fine with me. I feel this is the moment we all hold hands and sing things to the soon-to-fall snowflakes. Dah-who dar-aze... Who knew New York would be my Whoville today?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hey Universe

Today has been a good day. I asked the universe for it, and the universe delivered. Awesome. I will certainly try that more often.

Today I tackled the gym, the therapist, the raw vegan burrito store, my non-profit work, old invoices, transcript requests, my checking account and Best Buy - and it all worked out. I even got a brand new Canon Elph to show for it, so yes, today has been a good day.

I feel my thoughts aren't incredibly deep lately. I've been going a day at a time, trusting the world to figure itself out and then, hopefully, to take me aside and let me in on the secret. I'm not struggling right this second, which is an odd feeling. I suppose it'd be a good feeling, but it's so damn odd I can't even give it a thumbs up or down yet.

Today is the 25th day I've survived without eating animals or drinking alcohol. I so would have thought I'd be dead by this point, but no. Instead, my skin's a little clearer, I feel a hell of a lot better, and I'm probably a whole heaping dose happier than I was before. Interesting.

My life so revolved around eating and drinking - and not even in a I'm-Drunk-Every-Night kind of way, but more in the "Hi, I'm Cait, I'm a bar reviewer" kind of way. Now that's not who I am. So who am I?

I don't know.

Apparently someone who likes surviving gym, therapy, raw vegan burritos, non-profit work, invoices, transcripts, checking accounts and Best Buy. But obviously more than that too...

But what?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mmmm & Zzzz

So tired & sated from delicious toothsome hockey puck chickpea cutlet dinner, courtesy of Uncle Mike n' Auntie MolMol.

Any more meaningful updates will just have to wait.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


This is not the life I expected. Februaries are always that way, though.

A year ago this month, I had given notice at my madcap Publicity-Events-Branding-AnythingUnderTheSun job to try working for a big national consumer-corporate PR firm. It was incredibly stressful, those final two weeks, working for a woman who was one of my closest friends, both of us knowing full-well that, after three years of insane workplace intimacy, I would be leaving in a handful of days.

Two years ago this month, I was about to take off for Mexico with my boyfriend at the time. The relationship was rocky, in large part because I continually put my job and my relationship up against each other. I pretended acting promiscuous was a job requirement. It wasn't. I thought being employed and in a relationship freed me up from any honest self-inquiry. Oh well.

Three years ago this month, I broke up with my first New York boyfriend. I was a year into my PR career and it was going pretty well. He had been a freelancer at the tiny boutique firm. He had always wondered when I would quit. Who knew it would take another two years?

Four years ago this month, I had just quit at my job at ABC News Radio. I was living in Williamsburg and I had nothing much to do but interview at temp agencies, hear how vastly overqualified I was (Really? With just 6 months work experience ever?), and wait for the plane ticket home. I had no idea what I was doing with myself. I waited to hear back from MFA programs and watched too much Oprah.

Five years ago this month, I was a senior in college. I was working on a series of form poems about location, and another chapbook about the orbits we throw ourselves into when we fall in and out of love. I was curious what I would do after May, but not afraid. Life would fall into place, I just knew it.

And it does. It did. It falls into place again and again just like those little orbits I was writing about five years ago. The planets shift and we realign, but soon we're settled back into our circles. Until the next time.

This is not the life I expected.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Back to the daily blogging routine - and damn happy about it too! My stint as a temp freelancer for the For-Profit Man has come to a close, at least for the moment, as so I'll finally have a little time back to do all the things I wanted to do when I left my full-time job in the first place. Happy day!

Thank goodness, too, as I've been reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and I don't think I've ever felt such an urge to just put pen to paper and go. She suggests starting small and irrelevant, writing about school lunches and what they meant. Why not? You can tell a life by a lunch box's progression - from bread and butter sandwiches to mayo-heavy tunafish on Thin Sandwich Wonderbread to Boar's Head Roast Beef to a stint of cold Gelson's Chicken Fingers or Cajun Shrimp Pasta to a gourmet piling of mixed greens, turkey breast, avocado, tomato, cream cheese and dijon on rosemary bread. Each of those has a reason and reflect a chapter of childhood. And the foodie in me is sated.

So here's to more time for stories; semi-employment certainly has its perks.