Friday, August 31, 2007

Some thoughts on the south

My week here in t-storm riddled Alabama is coming to a close. As I sipped on my world-famous bushwhacker last night I contemplated what I'd learned about the South in my short stay, and here's what I came up with.

1) People are nice here. Even the graffiti is nice here. We went to the monstrous Flora-Bama last night and the place is more or less decorated with magic marker and people's personal tags: "I heart Joe S. 4-ever!" and "Katie and Brian on their honeymoon, 7-2-03." I kid you not, the entire bathroom, the tables, the walls, even portions of the ceiling - full of this stuff and all of it NICE. Quaint memories or odes to friendship and young love - I even found this on the stall I chose to frequent in the ladies room, "Don't worry, the perfect man is out there. Be patient - good things await!" Who, after a tub of beers and margaritas retreats to the restroom and writes that? If we were in California the ink would go something like this, "Cheryl S. is a CUNT." or "Bobby isn't a good lay, he's GAY."

2) When a band is playing in a noisy bar, people listen. There was an amazing blues band last night and a full bar - and everyone listened. In Cali, everyone would just let the band be background noise as they got progressively drunk, noisy and inappropriate.

3) People like to make friends here. A couple that was sitting to our right was approached by a guy who appeared to be a close friend. I couldn't hear what they were saying (I was too busy listening to the band) but they seemed to be catching up, having a nice visit. When he walked away, however, he extended his hand to introduce himself to the two of them - so clearly they'd just met. It just gives me a nice, warm feeling inside to see people be friendly like this.

(Please note the awesomeness of a shirt that says, "Your mom was here.")


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Google Talk Dooced Me

Ok, I dooced myself. FORK!!!! I managed to i.m. my boss about some travel plans this fall thinking he was my friend with the same name. DUMB. He is now convinced I am all about mixing business with pleasure (and he was already upset because he'd forgotten I'd be in Alabama this week) and my future is rather uncertain (not that anything has been certain with this job since I took it!). I feel Lame with a CAPITAL L.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

When it rains, it poors (pun intended)

Oh how different this summer has been than what I thought it would be. I knew that I would have some down time coming back from Africa - how can you do something that's been at the forefront of your mind and planning for months and not falter a little bit when suddenly it is over? This has simply laid the framework for a whole other round in the proverbial "what the hell am I doing with myself" saga I can't seem to get out of - no matter what I do. Let me add a disclaimer - I know this feeling is fleeting. I might get an email regarding a job or an organization I'm interested in tomorrow, and suddenly I will be back to flying high and knowing I'm on the right track. What I struggle with is having opened myself up to the options by quitting my job, following through on my trip and moving etc. etc. - I haven't yet freed myself from the fear of throwing it all away. I haven't yet managed to gain the unwaivering confidence that this too shall pass - even when I willingly go into a new situation and label it temporary. I confront over and over and over the same insecurities, the same selfish desires, the same. old. shit.

I wouldn't do it any differently. But I guess sometimes growing catches up with you - you take a first step thinking you're launching yourself into a whole new arena, when in fact its the first little step of many (too many to count) and you've no way to track how far it took you, and how far you've left to go.

On this front - please keep the job ideas/feedback coming (SarahLeigh - I need your email!) and bear with me as I continue to flounder about a bit and try and land in something other than a job that staves off the bills but not the boredom.


Monday, August 27, 2007

A challenge

Ok - I have a challenge for my handful of devoted readers and favorite bloggers. My path towards finding a rewarding and manageable career continues to twist and turn. When I get down I lose the perspective I need to keep an open mind towards what I might do to support myself (and eventually, a family). While I have some long-term steps in place (grad school late next year), I am still searching for the job or tasks themselves that will make me feel like I'm doing what I am here to do, or at the very least using my skills and not wanting to shoot myself multiple times throughout the work day.

So, what do you think? What are your ideas? What jobs are out there? What sounds interesting to you? What balances wanting to help the world, but needing to live comfortably (and pay your bills!)? Any and all suggestions and insight welcome - I trust you guys!

Ok wait - I suppose I should throw some things out there to keep in mind:

1) I can't stand the site of blood (I'd be all over nursing if I could!)
2) I need to work with people in some way - working by myself drives me insane (or worse, to nap).
3) I want to feel some sort of international tie-in to my work if at all possible.
4) I'd love a flexible schedule - I fear spending your standard 8-9 hours a day at an office, sitting at a desk, just doesn't work for me.
5) I have a creative side that is just DYING to get out.

Let me know if I should throw some additional parameters out there - I don't want to be too limiting, but I am looking for my dream job afterall!


Thursday, August 23, 2007

5 days in Foley

So far the perks of having a darling French boyfriend have not yet included romantic strolls through the renowned city de l'amour. Nope, next stop for us is not Paris, but Foley. Alabama. That's right, the Southern Coast. A veritable dream for a Cali girl like myself...

I suppose I should withhold judgement until I go, perhaps I'm just starting to be swayed by the look of worry on every ones face when they have to ask me where I will be seeing Richard next, and Foley is my response. I don't think anyone has anything against the South, per se, but there does seem to be some concern regarding visiting the South in the summer. Or, as my mom pointed out, in the middle of hurricane season.

It won't be the first time I plan a trip to a weather-challenged local - I spent the fall of 2002 in Costa Rica during the four rainiest months of the year. That said, there were few, if any, hurricane warnings while I was there.

While we're living it up in Foley (I should explain - Richard will be there for work, I will be there for Richard, but working from the hotel for the week), we hope to find a theater showing Julie Delpy's new movie, "2 Days in Paris." I admit, I'm a bit nervous - both to see a movie that shoves the challenges of a cross cultural (and in our case, cross-continental) relationship in our face, as well as to partake in the reality of said movie later this year when my non-French speaking ass makes her way to Paris.

Wish me luck, dear readers, that I make it through the hurricanes, through the movie and eventually onto a plane that is headed to France to discover for myself what it's like to be in love in such a city. Until then, I'll think of you while I'm toasting my more immediate love reunion in the deep South:

"Enjoy sighting and photographing the many species of native wildlife. With an estuary nearby, you may spot a flycatcher, a hummingbird, a plover, or butterflies such as the Gulf Fritillary, Monarch, or Spicebush Swallowtail. This area earns its title as the “Golf” Coast with more than a dozen professionally designed golf courses." Ah...Foley.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cuz I'm just a girl (blogger)

If I had to classify myself in the blog world, I'd say I am on paper what I am in life - adventurous at heart but cautious in practice, a bit of a flirt, a very small amount rebel, sincere, sometimes witty, de vez en cuando boring (self criticism is so much easier in another language) and always, always looking for something I can't quite put my finger on. Many of the blogs I'm drawn to, and those by women especially, are the much the same (with added humor and/or insight!). I think it's the sincerity that is most important to me - both in my writing and in the blogs I read.

I bring this up because for a blogger like myself, there are an array of topics that are almost sure to be broached: love, heartbreak, family, frustrations at work, the importance of friends, what challenges us, and babies. Babies you say? But of course! What gal who is closer to thirty than she is to twenty doesn't have to address this at some point or another - whether she wants to or not?

As I read the horror stories of other single and/or childless women I tend to thank my lucky stars that I have been spared most of them. I have very few, if any, people in my life who greet me with such gems as, "Still haven't found Mr. Right?" Thanks to siblings who have blessed my parents with ten grand kids, there's no pressure from them to introduce more kidlets to the world. Enough of my friends are still childless that I don't face parties in which I'm the only one that's there for the cocktails and not Bongo the Clown. Still, baby talk does creep in in the scariest of ways from time to time. Social pressure might be bad, but biological pressure is a hell of a lot worse.

I was reminded today that regardless of whether I have found Mr. Right or not, my body may not accommodate starting a family once I finally get to a point where that's wanted or logical in any way. As much as I'd like to shout, "ya right! My mom was 37 when she had me!" it's true: your body makes this decision for you. Some women can get pregnant easily at any age, some women can't get pregnant at all, and some have a hell of a lot more chance in their twenties than they do in their thirties.

Which of the above categories do I fit into? Which do I want to fit into? In honesty, I haven't a clue. But as my future plans now include a grad program that has me graduating and ready to embark on an entirely new career at 30 - I suppose as reluctant as I am to start thinking about this, I probably should. It seems pretty premature given my naked ring finger, but it's harder and harder to ignore that whether I'm ready or not for what lays ahead, if I want to be prepared, I need to start planning. Ugh.

*Do yourself a favor and google images for "babies" - it's kind of terrifying what comes up. Also - I think the image that I chose will only be funny to people who know me in real life.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The playboy next door

The room I'm staying in in my parents houses is right next to my dad's office. Each room has a door that enters our middle bathroom and are catty corner to each other, and there's another (albeit out of use) door right next to the bathroom connecting the two rooms. The multitude of doors, combined with the age of the house (50+ years) means there is very little soundproofing, and I frequently overhear my dad while he's in his office. Recent snippets have included:

"Because God knows, if things were different, I'd love to spend my life with you."


"I never did get to see you naked all those years ago."

I admit, the first couple times I overheard such things I was a bit alarmed. But in truth, it's nothing to be worried about. My dad is actually writing a book, and being of poor eyesight and even poorer typing skills, he's using a software that lets him "talk" his book, rather than type it. It's entertaining, to say the least, and I admire his commitment to his writing and the process he's going through to pursue his ideas. When it comes right down to it, he's doing a much better job than I am, at the moment, of getting my ideas out there.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Today's pick-me-up

It's like the classical/motown version of 'Flight of the Choncords' - do be a sport and watch until the end:


Monday, August 13, 2007

Back to Hippyland

After a gorgeous week at the cabin during which only 9 of 13 of us got the stomach flu, I spent the day watching my nephew Dexter. I was called on to babysit so my brother and his wife could spend the morning at Highland hospital getting her Rabies' vaccination started. This is funny/terrifying for all sorts of reasons - the first being she was straight up bum rushed by a raccoon. Picture this - she's walking her dog, the dog corners a nearly grown baby raccoon and out of nowhere mama raccoon appears in mid-air propelling herself towards and eventually attaching herself to my sister-in-law's thigh. Interestingly enough, this did not happen at our mountain retreat (apparently the raccoons in that are have been "de-populated" by Fish and Game), but in their neighbor's front yard in Oakland. The scariest part is that though rabies is extremely unlikely, if you do get it you pretty much foam at the mouth a little, go stark raving mad and die - so the decision was made not to take any chances. For these reasons they ended up at Highland Hospital on Saturday morning - the Bay Area hospital notorious for it's (life)support over the years to the victims and perpetrators of gang warfare in East Oakland. Let's just count our blessings they didn't have to go in on a Friday or Saturday night.

After babysitting I met up with a few friends to brave the raccoon-infested streets and grab a drink nearby. We ended up at a Cato's Alehouse after my 28 year-old friend was turned away from the first place we stopped because he'd lost his ID. At Cato's we ordered cocktails - our first party foul given we were at a bar that specializes in beer, only to find out (but not really process until we tasted our drinks) that this bar uses Soju in lieu of hard liquor. With only a beer and wine license they've only recently found a way around serving hard liquor by offering Soju cocktails instead. My brother thinks this is allowed thanks to the petitions of Korean Immigrants who have ensured Soju's availability even without a liquor license for culturally relevant purposes. For the record, I support any cultural activities that result in a buzz, but I could do without the fiery hiccups this stuff gave me.

The highlight of the evening came in catching yet another bizarro snippet of conversation from a guy seated behind us. As our table reached a momentary lull in our conversation I heard his voice break the brief silence and say, "The meat always stays fresh because I know how to use a condom." Um...?