Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Q&A

I read once (I wish I remember where) that as you get older, the highs and lows become less and less dramatic – age, in effect, is like lithium.

This has not been the case for me. This past year has been a flipping rollercoaster. While I am exceptionally fortunate in so many ways, life has not been without difficulties, especially this past year.

This survey by Rachel is a great way to capture my 2010:

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Got married. Performed standup comedy. Went to Greece. Got laid off from a job. Patched drywall. Got ordained and wrote and performed a wedding ceremony that made people cry.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I had a 30 Before 30 list. I didn't manage to achieve all of my goals, but I accomplished some of them. I have different ideas for next year.

3. What countries did you visit?

USA, Greece (during the riots), and London, UK (for one rainy, somewhat dreary night)

4. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

More hours in the day? Better organization skills?

I don’t think I lacked anything in 2010. I’d like to do a lot of things differently in life, but I feel like I’m really lucky overall. We’re moving into a house in 2011, so I’d like that to go well. I’d like to find good renters for the condo, and I’d like for the condo market in Austin to improve enough for us to be able to sell the condo.

Abe is starting the police academy, so I hope that goes well and that he stays safe. I’d like to start my own business someday – if inspiration strikes in 2011, I’ll be extremely pleased.

I’d like to have a baby, but Abe isn’t quite ready for that.

5. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory?

March 26th – our wedding.

Runners up:
March 29th – my first standup comedy performance
May 4th – watching the news in our hotel room in Athens and realizing that people had died in riots just a few blocks from our hotel.
June 14th – I got laid off from my job.
October 30th – I performed the wedding ceremony for two of my friends.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year??

I faced some of my biggest fears – commitment, public speaking, job loss – and I think I came through stronger on the other side.

7. What was your biggest failure?

I failed to complete my half marathon training, and I haven’t stayed active at all in the past few months. I have not focused on my health.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had some knee problems that started after I became inactive.

9. What was the best thing you bought?

Abe replaced his unreliable gass-guzzling F150 with a slightly less gass-guzzling (and much less polluting) small SUV. Eventually I’ll get him into a hybrid or electric car.

For myself, I bought several pieces of (inexpensive) mother-of-pearl jewelry that I wear almost every day.

10. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Abe. He’s really more wonderful than I deserve. My friends and family – they are also more wonderful and supportive than I deserve.

11. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I don’t know about “appalled,” but I was absolutely terrified after the riots in Athens. I just wanted to go home, honeymoon be damned. Police, government officials, taxi drivers – everyone seemed to be on edge and ANGRY. But the kind and wonderful people we met eventually outweighed the scary and stressed out people.

12. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I get really, really, really excited about a lot of things. Our wedding was amazingly fun. Performing standup was a blast. Searching for jobs ended up being an experience that taught me a lot about myself.

Small things make me really excited too: my niece started walking, jumping, dancing, talking. I’ve become one of her favorite people, and I absolutely adore spending time with her. I loved making handmade Christmas and birthday gifts this year.

I’m excited about moving, but I don’t know if I’d say I’m “really, really, really” excited about it.

13. What song will always remind you of 2010?

Two songs will always remind me of our wedding – “Question” by the Old 97’s (we practiced the dance so flipping much) and “Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night” by the Black Eyed Peas. They’re not 2010 songs, but they’ll always remind me of the wedding.

As far as the song that will always remind me of 2010? Probably “F—K you” by Cee Lo Green.

14. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

Happier. (I think I said that last year too. High five for happy stretches!)

15. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Laughing. Dancing. Forgiving people right away. Writing. Smiling. Singing silly songs. Making gifts. Drawing. Cooking. Exercising. Traveling. Calling my parents just to tell them I love them.

16. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying. Biting my nails. Procrastinating.

17. How will you be spending Christmas?

Spent it with family (and painting the new house).

18. Did you fall in love in 2010?

I fell in love all over again with Abe, my family, my niece and nephew, my friends, my fellow bloggers. I am surrounded by some of the most wonderful people in the world.

19. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hmmm… Hate is a pretty strong word. I’m not overly fond of a few people, but active hatred takes an awful lot of energy. I’m pretty lazy, so hatred is mostly a flash-in-the-pan sort of emotion for me.

20. What was the best book you read?

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

21. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I discovered an entire new genre (funk/soul) that makes me feel (ooooooh!) so brand new.

22. What did you want and get?

Married! A new job. A sewing machine. GPS for my car.

23. What did you want and not get?

A new career.

24. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 30. I thought it would be a Big Deal, but my coworkers forgot, my friends were all out of town, and Abe and my family used up all of their inspiration on Christmas gifts.

Not having a big celebration was actually kind of awesome. In my head, turning 30 was this Dramatic Event, but it turned out to be no big deal. The world carried on spinning. Who knew?

25. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I was going to say winning the lottery, but honestly, I’m not sure I could handle another stressful event this year.

So… nothing? Wow.

26. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

I wore cute dresses just about every day this summer (it’s too hot for pants!). My new boss even asked if I wore dresses for religious reasons.

Then it became winter and I got cold and lazy and started wearing what my sister called “fat lady clothes.” Whatever.

27. What kept you sane?

Friends, family, Netflix, Reddit, Google Reader.

28. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Hmmm… Oddly I think I tended to fancy manlier men than I’ve ever liked before. Matt Damon (LOVE HIM IN COMEDY XOXO)… David Boreanaz (dirty cheater that he is).

29. Who was the best new person you met?

Frank, Sam, Karen and the rest of the people I met doing comedy are awesome. The new peeps at my new job were pretty cool for the most part. I met a few new interesting people traveling, but no one I kept in touch with.

30. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010?

Life’s not about what you accomplish. It’s about how you get there, and who holds your hand (or your hair back) along the way.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

13 Before 31

It is better to fail at your own life than to succeed at someone else's.

-André Gide

The past few years, I've made lists of very specific goals that I wanted to achieve before my next birthday. 30 before 30, 29 before 29, etc.

For the most part, the list-making has been pretty successful. I've tried things I wouldn't have otherwise attempted, and overall, I've had fun.

This past year, though, I got a little burned out on the whole process. It all started to remind me of the annual review process I've gone through every year at every job I've ever had since I was 16:
  1. Write a list of goals (don't make too many!)
  2. Make sure they are SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Tangible!
  3. Answer the "W" questions - Who will help me achieve these goals? When will I achieve them? etc.
  4. Revisit these goals frequently to measure your progress!
  5. ...
  6. ???
  7. I am sure there's more, but I'm already bored out of my skull. (Business jargon. Blah!)
Aside from the "don't set too many goals!" thing, I followed this process obsessively. Why? Because it's what "experts" suggest works best.

This year, I say screw the experts. I'm not just crossing things off some Outlook Life Tasks Lists until I clock out of my time on earth. I am out for fun, evolution, and irreverence. I want to squeeze as much learning, creativity, inspiration and laughter out of life as I can, even if that means I sometimes end up doing things my own way.

So without further ado, I present to you my non-specific, difficult-to-measure, perhaps unattainable and unrealistic, completely intangible list of goals for my 31st year:
  1. Win a contest of some kind
  2. Do something, preferably regularly (weakly? hardy har...), that makes me feel stronger or healthier
  3. Solve some sort of mystery
  4. Do something, or several things, to help relocate my mojo
  5. Overcome some type of challenge, obstacle, or fear
  6. Don’t act my age every once in a while
  7. Question the truth behind truisms - think critically
  8. Have a brush with greatness
  9. Live out the lyrics of a song
  10. Go on an adventure
  11. Cut someone some slack
  12. Be honest about something when it would be easier to keep my mouth shut
  13. Replace something (or several things) on this list with other (open-ended) (or not!) goals as I see fit
What do you think, Internets? Do you think I'm dooming myself to failure, or do you think I'm on to something? Do you have any goals (specific or vague) that you want to achieve in the new year or before your next birthday?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sometimes I read books

When I'm not reading the edit history and/or talk pages of various Conspiracy Theory wikis, I occasionally read books. (On paper even. With my eyeballs!)

A coworker decided this meant I should join Goodreads. So I did. (Peer pressure woo!)

Anyhoo, if you have a account Internets, we should be friends!

(Did my peer pressure work? If so, please do not judge me for my terrible to mediocre taste in literature.)

I'm pretty lazy when it comes to social networking (my Twitter is sadly neglected, I willfully ignore Facebook, and my blog commenting is sporadic at best), so I don't know if I'll be a very good Goodreader. But I'll try my best.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Movie Poster Christmas Gift

I was supposed to post pictures of the Secret Santa gift I made for my friend Lo last week, but things have been kind of nuts in the Distractible household lately. We've been working on the house every day after work and all day on weekends. Time passes quickly when you measure it in coats of paint and patches of drywall.

Anyhoo, enough excuses. On to the gift.

This is Lo.

She loves old movies, cocktail parties, and being fabulous. She hates also loves being Rickrolled.

These are my friends who took part in the gift exchange.

photo by Melanie Dodds

At some point a year or so ago, we realized that we could use the first letters of our last names to spell out "BABAAM!" (With the exception of me, no one is particularly nerdy, but we all appreciated the Batman onomatopoeia.)

When it was time to open gifts, I handed Lo a gift bag. Inside was this shirt:


(I know no one is Rickrolling people anymore except me, but it never gets old.)

After I finished laughing, I gave Lo her real gift to unwrap.

The gift was originally supposed to be entirely movie-themed (there was a snafu due to my inability to read - don't ask), so I made the gift box look like a clapperboard. I forgot to take pictures, but it looked something like this:

The clapperboard clapper thingy actually worked! (Take that random coworker who said it would be too complicated and I should just put the gift in a popcorn bucket!)

Inside were a couple of small pug-related gifts inside to replace the movie gifts that didn't work out, and a couple of gifts from her wishlist.

I also gave her three framed pictures of drawings I made:

The third picture was Lo and her two sisters on a "How To Marry a Millionaire" poster. (I forgot to upload it.)

Since I had the frames, paper, and mats on hand, I was able to buy from her wishlist and give Lo a personalized gift without going over the spending limit.

Overall, I think the gift was a hit.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Painting, drawing, musing

We spent the weekend painting the living room and making repairs at my grandma's house. Abe's parents helped us. (I still get a little nervous around Abe's parents, even though they are probably the nicest in-laws I could have asked for. Social awkwardness FTW!) I should have probably taken before/during/after pictures, but I'm a little lazy and forgetful about that sort of thing. There's still a lot of work that needs to be done, so there will be plenty of opportunities for pictures of the rest of the house.


Tonight my friends and I are getting together for our annual gift exchange. I had a really awesome gift planned for the friend whose name I drew, but the entire gift creation/shopping process was a comedy of errors, and almost nothing worked out the way I originally planned. I'll post pictures of the part of the gift I made tonight (just in case she secretly reads this blog). The gift turned out OK, but not as perfectly as I had originally planned. C'est la vie.


I have been a little frustrated by the semi-anonymity of my blog lately. Mostly only friends and family know about my blog (and I'm a pretty open book as far as they're concerned), but nagging doubts in the back of my head that a stray boss or frenemy might secretly be reading sometimes keep me from being completely open.

I guess I should just remember this:

Internet VS Privacy - A Helpful Venn Diagram

...and continue to keep my secrets to myself until they are ready to be shared with the world.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

And now for something completely different...

  • Turning 30 was not so bad after all. As I told Kim on Twitter, it really just means that my next major birthday is 33 (when I celebrate the end of Prohibition). The actual celebration was very low-key: my friends all left town, my coworkers forgot (they normally decorate cubicles for office birthdays), and Abe and my parents decided my birthday was too close to Christmas and Thanksgiving to think of creative gift ideas. It was kind of perfect.
  • My main job life in general is making me insane in the membrane. It seems like every time I think I finish a project or goal, said project/goal sprouts two more heads. (Too bad it was Hercules, not Achilles, who slayed the Hydra. Hardy har.)
  • I have an unhealthy obsession with Raising Hope. Watching the show is usually the high point of my week. Abe loves it too. I don't think we've had this much mutual appreciation for a TV show since Arrested Development (or maybe earlier seasons of The Office).
  • Speaking of television, for the past two weeks, almost every TV show I watch (I only watch comedies/dramedies for the most part) has made me cry. Is that normal?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

On my doorstep this morning...

Pink peonies, tulips, and Gerbera daisies... I really do have awesome friends.

(Abe was the one who found the flowers. He said he was tempted to throw away the card and say they were from him. I'm pretty sure he knows these are my three favorite flowers, but finding them out of season in my favorite color? I think I would have figured out that my friend Lyndee had something to do with it.)

It's time for me to start looking on the bright side again, Internets. Here's to the next three decades!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Countdown to 30

I'm turning 30 this week. I don't really wan't to talk about it.

Don't get me wrong - I don't think 30 is old, or that life is passing me by. (Helpful note to any young person who happens to read this: when you turn 25, you are not "getting SO old." However, you do make anyone older than you feel sort of matronly/spinsterly when you complain about how terrified you are to turn 27.) There's nothing I really can't do anymore at 30, except maybe be a high-dollar hooker. And to be honest, I don't know enough about the career path to know whether that particular door has closed or not.

I am in a funk, though. I don't know if it's my birthday, our upcoming move, the holidays, or just my old friend Depression rearing its ugly head, but I can't seem to clear the fog. I've disabled as many birthday auto-reminders as I can so that friends and acquaintances will forget to say anything. I'm just not in a mood to celebrate myself.

It's about time for me to post my list of "30 Things I'm Proud to Have Accomplished," for my 30 Before 30 list. I made a list of accomplishments, but I feel like posting it would be dishonest. It's not time for my greatest hits; I'm still in my sophomore slump.

I don't mean to be a downer. Soon enough, life will be all baby chickens and new beginnings, and I'll barely remember feeling so worried and discouraged.

I'm just not quite there yet.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm not a chicken; you're all turkeys

Dear Internets,

To my American readers: happy Thanksgiving! Don't eat too much turkey (or tofurkey, if that's what floats your gravy boat).

To everyone: thank you for all of the joy, thoughtful discussion, love, positivity, and humor you have brought into my life. Here's to many more years of sharing stories.

DistractibleJane (aka Sandra)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On my mind, pt. 2

A few days ago, some coworkers were joking about why there was a low response rate to an important email that had been sent out at work.

"It's because 29-year-olds are too focused on 'American Idol,'" one 40-ish coworker said.

"And 'Dancing With the Stars,'" another chimed in.

I was pretty sure they were wrong (Cheesy reality TV? That's all 29-year-olds obsess over?), but I kept my mouth shut.

It suddenly occurred to me that although I am 29 (for another week, at least), I really have no clue what 29-year-olds like.

I always thought it was Conan, Facebook, and complaining about student loans.

Monday, November 22, 2010

On my mind, pt. 1

Achilles (I think I'm just going to start calling him Abe from now on) and I are moving in a month or two.

We're going to live in my grandmother's house because it shouldn't sit empty; because it has a huge backyard for Bailey; because it's cheaper and closer to work.

We can't sell the condo right now, so we'll rent it out. I'm not sure that I want to be a landlord, but I think the move will be a good thing. Abe, Bailey and I aren't exactly cramped in the condo, but we'll definitely enjoy a little more room to breathe. It'll be nice to have curb-side recycling and a garden that isn't planted in pots. I'll have a compost bin, and my dad said he'll help me get started raising a few chickens.

Still, it breaks my heart a little to leave my condo. Sure, I joked that ghosts broke every appliance in my first year of home ownership, but I love the high ceilings, the natural light, the safe neighborhood, and the friendly neighbors who tell me over and over how much they adore Bailey.

My grandma's house is older, and a bit dreary. Our new neighbors have emphasized that they are not dog fans, and that they expect that Bailey will not bark. The neighborhood... is a little sketchy, sometimes.

Most likely, things will turn out fine. Most likely, we won't end up with tenants from hell who destroy the condo. We'll clean and paint my grandma's house, and it will feel just as bright and happy as our condo did. Most likely, we'll get along with our neighbors. Maybe they'll even learn to like Bailey, or at least to get along with him.

Most likely, it'll be a good step.

I'm just a little scared to pick up my foot.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Brain freeze

I've been busy with endless deadlines and emergency requests at work. I was so tired today that I thought to myself, "I can't remember if the city in Turkey is called Istanbul or Constantinople." Three minutes later, this song came on the radio. It was surreal... for so many reasons.


In other news, I love Gweneth Paltrow. This week's episode of Glee was the first one I've enjoyed this season.


After spending A LOT of time with extreme extroverts lately, I realized that two qualities I really value in others are the ability to think carefully and the ability to listen thoughtfully. I know a lot of people who regularly think things through, and several good listeners, but only two or three people who regularly do both. I really treasure their friendship. I am not always the world's greatest listener myself (the thinking takes over sometimes and I start going off on tangents), so I'm grateful that they put up with me. Introverts FTW!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Random question

Is anyone else so afraid of X-rays that you'd rather disrobe completely at the airport than go through one of the full-body scanners? When you read articles that compare the level of radiation exposure to the amount of radiation you'd be exposed to on the plane, do you decide that maybe travel doesn't sound so fun after all?

Just me? Sigh.

I realize I'm in the minority, but I'm not afraid of plane crashes or terrorists - I'm afraid of radiation poisoning and cancer. (I sort of blame one of my aunts for my phobia; when I was about five or six she told me that using microwave ovens and electric blankets would cause all my hair to fall out.)

For the record, I'm not just afraid of radiation exposure at airplanes and airports. I'm also afraid of granite countertops, cell phones, faulty medical equipment, and radioactive soil. I'm highly suspicious of the massive power grid near my condo, my car, my computer, and my household appliances.

However, even though I'm a paranoid weirdo, I'm also a realist. I will continue to talk on my cell phone and use my appliances (although I don't microwave any plastic). If it's a choice between being a part of modern society and being a hermit in the woods, I vote for facing my fears. I never liked camping that much anyway. (I'll save my discussion of my fear of tree roaches for another post.)

I still refuse to use an electric blanket, though. Old habits die hard.

Friday, November 5, 2010

5 Thoughts Friday

I've had a few topics swirling around in my head this week, competing against each other to become full-fledged blog posts.

Usually when I get more than one idea at a time, they end up engaging in a death match in my brain that no one wins (especially me). None of the topics ever get written about and I just give up and post a love letter to bananas or something. But since I can't eat bananas anymore (sigh), I figured I might as well write previews of the posts that (let's face it) will probably remain unfinished.
1. Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Cupcakes
I made these cupcakes a couple of weeks ago. They were my first attempt at any sort of cheesecake, and they were *amazing*.

I took pictures and everything, ready to tell you all about the cupcakes, and to document my plans for mini cupcakes. Then my camera battery died and I couldn't find my charger, and the hard drive on my home computer filled up and I had to get a new backup drive, and... well, let's face it. I don't really need excuses to procrastinate. When the universe actually provides me with excuses? I can't help myself.
2. "Sorry I haven't posted"
I may have changed my mind about "Sorry I haven't posted" posts after following a link to this site. Holy moly!

Then again, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy reading a whole bunch of "first posts," or "I'm pregnant" posts, or even "I won the lottery!" posts in aggregate either (well, unless the lottery winners were like these folks).
3. The political party I have decided to found
This one was inspired by watching a combination of too much South Park (I know) and political coverage (I know).

I have decided to create a new political party. I will call it the Hindsight Party.

We won't actually have a political platform or say anything specific about what we actually plan to do. Oh no. "Doing things" can get you into trouble. We'll just run a lot of political ads that showcase what the other political parties did wrong.

I figure we'll be able to make a strong run in about 10 years. I already have our slogan:

"Hindsight 2020!"
4. Internet mobs
I've been following this story, mostly because it seems to be following what I've decided to call The Typical Pattern of Internets Drama. (Some perpetual grad student somewhere should totally do a case study...)

The mob starts out relatively harmless: build up of dismay/outrage as the story spreads; various celebrities weigh in; servers temporarily crash; Facebook fan page overrun with angry comments that evolve (devolve?) into a (rather funny) meme; etc.

However, at a certain point in the life cycle of every internet mob, the REAL crazy people jump in. (You recognize them by their valid-sounding threats to do things that could probably land them in jail.) Watching their antics on Facebook and elsewhere can get a little bit frightening.

Still. I can't look away.
5. The kitteh
Someone dumped a kitten in our parking lot on election night. It was one of the first cold nights of the year, and it was scared, cold, and crying as loudly as it could.

I wanted to help the kitten, but there were several problems. First, Bailey is pretty sure that kittens are a delicacy of which we have been depriving him for his entire life. (It is part of his "they save all the *good* food for themselves" conspiracy theory.) I didn't want to tempt fate (or Bailey) too much by bringing a helpless kitten into the house.

Second, I'm super allergic to cats. The last time I stayed the night in a house with a cat, I had to spend the next day hooked up to a breathing machine in my doctor's office, listening to a lecture about otherwise healthy people who have died from asthma because they didn't get to a hospital in time. Again, I figured it was best not to tempt fate.

Lastly, it was 2:00 a.m., too late to call any of my cat rescue-y friends. (I did attempt a couple of texts. I hope karmic retribution won't be too bad.)

I filled a box with blankets and hot water bottles, put out some food and water, told my neighbor I'd deal with the kitten in the morning if she'd just please stop chasing it away with a broom for one night, and tucked the kitten in on our front porch.

(Spoiler alert: one of my friends adopted the kitten the next morning. Kitten and family are doing well.)

***THE END***

P.S. My brain feels better. Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thoughts on diction

I just saw a sign at a bank that said "Servicing Austin for over 14 years!"

I guess that's technically correct, but I would have gone with "serving Austin" myself. I don't really want to think about my bank "servicing" me. Maybe my mind is in the gutter, but the wording made me immediately think of things I don't want my bank doing to me. [I encourage banking-related puns in the comments.]

The wording on the sign reminded me of a customer service promotion at the grocery store that drove me absolutely bonkers:
Managers: We want you to provide OUTRAGEOUS customer service!"
Jane: Really. Outrageous. You're sure about that?
Managers: Absolutely! We want our customers to TALK about the service they get here.
Jane: Um, I think customers not talking about us at all would be better than having them call our customer service "outrageous."
Managers: Silly girl.
Jane: Oh whatever.
As tempted as I was to actually provide "outrageous" customer service, I was too much of a chicken. Oh well.

P.S. On a tangentially related note, is 14 years really a long time? Am I just getting old?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I was at a dinner party the other night, and I overheard a woman say this:

"Expectations are premeditated disappointment."

I asked her to elaborate, because I wasn't sure I agreed.

Her point was this: you should have standards for others (i.e. they treat you with respect) and goals for yourself (i.e. she wants to become a CEO of a non-profit someday), but not the expectation that you can rely on anyone but yourself.

If you expect your boyfriend to throw you a big surprise party for your birthday and instead he takes you to a quiet dinner, you will be disappointed. If you expect to be promoted through the ranks at your job, you may not only end up being overlooked for promotions, you may miss out on other opportunities. You have to take the reins and take charge of your own destiny: throw your own parties, make your own path in life.

I decided that I agreed with her, but several of my friends had different opinions.

One of my friends said it's impossible for her to distinguish between expectations and wants. "I want, no I EXPECT my fiance to throw me a damn surprise birthday party at least once before we have kids!" she insisted. We laughed.

Another woman said that while she never expects things from others - for example, that they abide by the Golden Rule - it's important to realize that there's a reason that truisms become cliche: they're often valid. You can't expect your own positive (or negative) energy to be reflected back to you, but in most cases, it will.

My friend Annie was the main voice of dissent: "Life is all about expectations!" she said. "I have them about everybody, everything, every new person I meet or every day at work. Yes I'm disappointed, all the time, in lots of ways, but to me dealing with disappointment is life, that's what makes it real, not like a movie or fairy tale. And every once in awhile something unexpected happens, something better than I expected, and I love those moments the best."

What do you think, Internets? Are expectations premeditated disappointment? How can there be so many ways to see the glass half full?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Goals update

"If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans."
-Woody Allen

Last year, I made a list of 30 things I wanted to accomplish before my 30th birthday.

I've crossed several of my goals off the list so far, and I'm on my way to crossing off several more. However, at some point this year, I realized I was, perchance, a *tad* ambitious in making my list.

Sure, it's probably possible to plan a wedding, travel abroad, start a business, learn a new language, regularly do yoga, train for a half marathon, learn to sew, perform stand up comedy, purge your house of unnecessary items, learn to play a musical instrument, work a second job, be a good friend, sister, wife, daughter, and aunt, take care of your house, dog, houseplants, and self, and do all the other things you enjoy doing, all while (oh yeah!) looking for (and then starting) a new job because you've just been unexpectedly laid off.

It's just not possible for me.

For one thing, I'm not addicted to crystal meth. For another, I'm a very easily distracted person. (Sure, performing stand up once is exciting. You know what's better? Finding out that it's one of the most incredibly fun things you've ever done and deciding to make it a permanent hobby.) Flexibility is one of my core values.

With that in mind, I decided to update the remaining items 30 before 30 list. I decided to give up on some of the goals for now (does "postpone" sound better?). Honestly, I'm already a little sad about turning 30; I don't need to create an additional list of regrets for myself on my birthday.

Here are the items I'm giving up on (for now):

7. launch an Etsy shop I thought about trying to sell little birds/dogs/etc, but I don't know if I'd really be adding unique items to the Etsy universe. I also created some 3D cookie cutters (unicornz! they sit on ur coffee cups!), but again, I wasn't sure they were unique enough to justify opening an Etsy shop.
14. learn to sew I just didn't have time.
22. go to the dentist (twice) This isn't going to happen, unless I go in the next couple of weeks and have to go back immediately to have extra work done. I'm a terrible person. I have no excuse.
25. learn to play 30 songs on the ukulele I found a guitar school that gives ukulele lessons; I may take lessons next year.
26. learn to drive a stick shift Achilles drives a stick shift, but his truck is on its last legs. I don't want to be responsible for dealing the truck its death blow.
27. attend 30 yoga classes I love yoga, but this goal was stressing me out (ahh, irony)
28. complete savings vs. lottery experiment I couldn't keep up with winning lottery tickets long enough to cash them, so I decided the experiment was a failure and ended it early. (Actually... maybe I could mark this one "complete"...)

So that I end on a positive note, here's my list of goals that I've either accomplished since my last update or that I'm still going to work on (even though I might modify them somewhat):

1. meet 30 new people DONE! Amazing how a new hobby and a new job will take care of this sort of thing for you.
2. read 30 (non-self help) books Thanks to joining a book club at my new job and a reusable grocery bag full of mystery novels from my mom (whatever... beach reads totally count - I love you, Stephanie Plum!), I think I'll finish this one up this month.
3. watch 30 of the IMDB Top 250 films DONE this summer! Thank you Netflix instant streaming and summertime under-employment! (I will post a list of my favorites at some point if people seem interested.)
6. run a half marathon I may have to give up the "run" on this one, but I think I can still run/walk the half marathon I'm registered for and finish in the required time.
8. try 30 new foods DONE! I finished this a while back. When I actually started tracking new foods I tried, I realized I'm actually a pretty adventurous eater. I'll even try unusual meats (gator, snake, other weird game). I think the confusion about my so-called "picky eating" was a result of my inability to eat habanero peppers. (For the record, I have decided that the rule is that you're picky if you refuse to *try* new foods, not if you try them and don't like them.)
9. save $5000 DONE! When I found out I was going to be laid off at the end of the summer, I went into Big Saver mode and knocked this goal out (and then some).
10. volunteer at least 30 hours of my time I don't think I'm going to make this. Still, I have a couple months, and since this is a worthwhile goal, I want to make as much progress as possible.
11. every 3 months, donate 30 items to Goodwill or Salvation Army Still trucking... An acquaintance who saw my list of goals commented that I must have "a lot of stuff." He was a single guy who had never moved in with another person, been given a bunch of duplicate (non-returnable) wedding gifts, or stayed up too late watching a Hoarders marathon. It's easier to accumulate stuff than he thinks.
12. sell 30 items on Craigslist or Ebay Despite accidentally leaving my account on "vacation mode" since the wedding, I've sold over 20 items. I'll get there, if I'm aggressive.
16. be able to do 30 military style push-ups I'm going to start to work seriously on this, I think, if only because having a deadline may make this one more fun. But I don't think it's going to happen.
19. go on a road trip DONE! I did this two days before I got laid off. I never got around to posting about it (wonder why), but we took a road trip to Dublin, TX.
20. win a contest of some kind I can't think of any contests I've won this year. I suppose I could say I won the "most likely to be laid off" contest at my last job... Still, this is so open-ended, I can't give up on it yet.
24. learn to make a daisy chain
29. make a list of the top 30 things I'm most happy to have already crossed off my bucket list
30 skip at least one item on this list DONE! In fact, I knocked this one out of the park!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Halloween costume rant 2010.1

I thought Sesame Street was the *least* sexy street in America, but what do I know?

Must stop thinking about this before I start making Sesame Street-walker puns.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

And then I cried for like 15 minutes...

My most recent stand up video:

The crowd was small, and I'm not sure I made the best possible wardrobe decisions, but overall I'm happy with my performance. I'll keep working on it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


It's surreal to see pictures of dogs searching a building for a gunman and think, "I used to have a French lab in that building."

My thoughts are with my friends, current and former coworkers, and everyone else around UT campus this morning. Be safe.


Monday, September 27, 2010


I really love the covers of pop songs that Johnny Cash did late in his career (U2, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, etc).

I know it's probably sort of wrong to say this, but I really wish he'd lived long enough to do a cover of Poker Face.


My show last Monday was so much fun. I'm going to post a recap soon. I'm doing the same set tonight (and videotaping it) - I should have the video up next week.


I performed at my first open mic last week. It was way less scary than I imagined. Well, except that I did a joke about green dye being toxic, and there was a guy in the front row who had tattooed his entire body (including his face and scalp) green. But whatever. Irony is funny, right?


One more weekend of job #2, then ACL weekend (and a house-full of house-guests), and I'll finally (FINALLY!) have a weekend off again. I'm so excited.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I'm performing stand up tonight. This time, instead of performing at a show for beginners, I'm performing at an all-female show. I'm so nervous.


NPR was playing Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry when I was getting ready for work this morning. Um, thanks NPR. That's exactly the type of music I wanted to have running through my head all day. I turn on NPR every morning hoping to get crappy pop songs stuck in my head.


My mom told me my sister's family spent yesterday at my nephew's soccer game. They actually went out to the lake to play on jet skis. I'm not entirely sure why my mom lied; it disturbs me that she thinks I would care at all, yet I also find it hilarious.


Achilles has most of this week off work for no real reason. I'm so jealous.


My weekend was too short.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Things that are currently making me pull out my hair (Volume 1):
  • It has been a while since Austin has been in the direct path of a tropical storm or hurricane. When Hermine blew through last week, we saw a lot of flooding. Unfortunately, by "we," I mean Achilles and me. Our condo was leaking water upstairs, downstairs, and on one side. We still aren't exactly sure whether we're responsible for the repairs or whether the COA is responsible (we think the roof was leaking).
  • ACL Fest is in about three weeks. Three of Achilles friends are coming to stay with us. (In our condo. That needs a lot of work. Gah. I can't take time off from either job to prepare.)
  • I have two stand up performances in the next two weeks. I really don't feel ready. I've been so busy with my new job, I haven't written a lot of new material. I know a lot of comics re-use the same jokes over and over, but I get sort of bored with my jokes. (P.S. If you will be in the area and would like to come to a performance, I'd still love to see you. Just let me know if you're interested.)
  • My new job pretty much involves me constantly asking my supervisor questions. He encourages the questions, is a very nice guy, and told me from the first day to expect that I'd be in his office asking questions at least 80% of the time at first. Still, every time I have to go in there, I find myself thinking, "If they have to fire someone, this is why they'll pick me." The more nervouse I get, the more mistakes I make. It's all very vicious cycle/circle-y.
  • I still don't have my teaching application completed. (It's not due for two months, but I hate having it hanging over my head.)
  • Achilles injured himself somehow training for the half marathon. He has to recover in time for the police academy (which is a whole other ball of anxiety I can't even begin to talk about) so I'm stuck training for the half marathon by myself.

I'll survive all this, of course. All I have to do is remember to breathe and maybe keep a few extra towels on hand. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Breaking rules

I read on a "big" blog once that it's obnoxious to apologize for infrequent blogging. "No one cares!" the blogger said. "You're not special! Most people likely didn't even notice you were gone."

Her diatribe sort of hurt my feelings, as I've definitely been guilty of the near-criminal act of mentioning an extended blogging absence. I never thought of it as being self-important; I just figured it was my only way of letting my internet friends know I was still thinking about them while I was away, even if I didn't have time to leave comments or send long emails in response to their posts.

Still, her comment got to me. Who was I, really, to think that my absence from the internet (or anywhere else) mattered?

Then I realized - who was she to tell me it didn't? I don't blog for approval or attention or to feel important. I blog to connect to the twenty or so readers who feel like old friends. I've cooed over baby pictures, cried over losses, and (facetiously) threatened to cut brake lines when a fellow blogger has been crossed. (All jokes aside, Internets - my wimpy little arms and I totally have your back.) I don't need some self-appointed blogging Emily Post to tell me the rules of internet correspondence; I'll make up my own as I go, based on what feels right to me.

And what feels right to me is to apologize for being absent for the past month or so. Yes, I've been busy settling into my new job, running, spending time with Achilles, writing jokes, and doing a million other things, but there are no good excuses for being a crappy friend.

So, I'm sorry Internets. I can't promise I will magically find a way to balance my new responsibilities with everything else and immediately morph back into the comment-happy Jane you know and love, but I promise to do better.

Because nobody puts the Internets in a corner.

Or something.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book clubs... and that's about it

I joined a book club at my new job.

And... Sadly, that's about the most exciting thing that has happened in my life lately. I know it sounds terrible (and terribly boring) to say that I've been too busy to do anything interesting lately, but it's the truth.


Yesterday I was walking through a building on campus when a news reporter from a local radio station stopped me.

"You just look so nice," she said. "Would you mind giving me a quote for a story I'm doing about a local business that's closing?"

I talked to her a while about the business, but couldn't help but wonder, What did she mean about me "looking nice"? Was she trying to tell me I have a face for radio?


One of my new coworkers asked me if I had religious reasons for wearing skirts and dresses all the time.

"Nope," I said. "It's just that the heat index is 110 degrees right now, and I can't stand the thought of ironing pants, let alone wearing them all day. If I were a guy, I'd probably wear a kilt."

Ask me a personal question, you'll get an honest answer.


I may be performing stand up again sooner than I'd intended. I was volunteered for a weekly open mic night, signed up for a performance that's happening in about a month, and added to a list of potential comics for an all-female show. I'm not sure I have enough material for any of this, let alone the cajones. But we'll see.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Working for the weekend (eventually)

Oh Internets... I am so ready to be done with working a bazillion (OK, 55 or so) hours a week. It's exhausting!

On the other hand, both of my jobs are going really well right now. My current students at my part time job are some of the best I've ever had. One of them even brought me an energy drink this evening (which suggests that even my students think I'm crazy for teaching in the evenings after work.)(This is probably why my brain is wide awake after midnight despite my body's desire to sleep. Darn you, caffeine!)

I really like my new main job so far. Of course, it's hard to say whether my enthusiasm will last. I am fairly distractible, and the newness of anything wears off after a while. (I have a friend who is fond of saying that the best two days of any job are the first day and the last. After all, sooner or later you'll realize that your boss is crazy and/or that some coworker really is going to drink a tuna fish smoothie for lunch.)(Right by your desk.)(Every single day.) But so far, I really enjoy my coworkers and the stuff I've been doing. I actually talk with people regularly throughout the day rather than once or twice a week. It's great.

The downside to all of this working is that I haven't had much time for anything else - Achilles, friends, commenting on blogs, my Netflix queue. Of course, this situation is very temporary, and I mostly feel incredibly lucky to be overemployed after my recent sticky job situation. In a couple of weeks, I'll be back to writing stand up, making boring condo repairs, expanding my knowledge of Japanese film, and beating metaphors to death on this blog and in your comments sections. In the meantime, I'm doing the best I can to enjoy the hustle and bustle while it lasts. As for Achilles - don't worry; he and I commute, run, and eat dinner together most nights. Secretly, I think he's enjoying the opportunity to play a few extra video games while I'm at work.

Anyway, this is all beginning to sound very disjointed. (My brain is ready for sleep. My body is ready for sleep. Now I just need my heart rate to get ready for sleep. No more energy drinks, even to be polite!) I'll be back in full force soon. In the meantime, take care of the Internets and yourself.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Things that have happened

Employment bullet points!

  • I got a job. I started Tuesday. I think I like it. So far, I'm just very busy. Also, since I had picked up a lot of hours at job #2 in anticipation of not having a primary job, I'll be even a little busier than normal for the next few weeks. But hopefully I'll survive.
  • In related news, my new coworkers discovered my comedy video. The (pretty much) highest-ranking person I've ever talked to at my job sent me an email that said
    "I'm glad I finally know someone who can help me find things at Home Depot."
  • I quickly ruined my good-ish first impression by accidentally breaking a security system.
  • Fortunately, my new direct supervisor-type bosses imediately decided that it wasn't my fault.
  • Either I got really spoiled by partial telecommuting and an easy project schedule at my last job, or I'm getting old. Eight (and sometimes eleven) hour work days seem ridiculously long. And traffic..? Ugh.
  • Achilles and I were offered a really good deal on a rental house that is significantly closer to both of our jobs and cheaper than our condo. However, we'd have to try to sell our condo (likely for a loss) if we decided to move. We're not sure what to do.
  • My niece says my name now, and cries when I leave. She has me wrapped around her little finger. I'm looking into buying her a pony.
  • I have to go run now. Literally. Blah. Training for a half marathon seemed like a good idea when I wasn't going to have anything else to do. Next time I get bored, I'm just going to convince Achilles we should have a baby.
  • Just kidding.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Small Uninteresting Post

Dear Internets,

I've been avoiding my blog this week, because I felt this weird internal pressure to write a Big Interesting Post.

I'm not sure why I feel this pressing need to say something important here; I'm sure I could make something up from [what I remember from] Psych 101 about my lack of certainty about my job situation, or my tendency to avoid certain problems by focusing on other less important problems. But really, that just sounds boring and exhausting for both you and me. Instead, I think I'll go old school and get back into posting with a bullet points-y letter to the Internets.

  • I just got this email:
    Tomorrow is [redacted]'s last day! We are "honoring" him with cake at the coffee bar at 3:45. Come join us!!
    Hmmm... Sounds fishy. I don't know if I trust that what they are "honoring" him with is actually "cake." I think I'll pass.
  • Kim, who I have decided is my sister from another mister, is nearing her 500th post. I am in awe of her tenacity. I was looking through the list of blogs I follow (which I haven't really updated much since I started blogging)(I should do that) and I'd say at least 80% of those bloggers are no longer blogging. Getting up to 500 posts pretty much makes Kim one of the rulers of the Internets.
  • Two of my favorite non-U.S. bloggers are coming to visit the U.S. in August, and even though the U.S. is like, really big, and they are both coming here to visit family and friends and you know, not me, it reminds me how much I would like to meet most of the Internets in real life. (We would definitely need margaritas, though, because although I may seem relaxed and funny-ish onstage, I'm actually really socially awkward in person.)
  • I am not going to BlogHer. Poor little me.
  • My half marathon training is (dare I say it?) sort of... fun so far. I think it helps that I've been super stressed by both my employment situation and the extra work I've picked up at my second job. Exercising really does help me feel less stressed. (Less tired/grumpy/irritable? Not so much...)

I think that's all my brain has room for today. Love your face, Internets!


Monday, July 26, 2010


Random bullet points from the past week that likely won't make it into their own blog posts:

  • Achilles cut his thumb on the mandoline. I didn't say I told you so, but I did suggest that we start referring to it as the cornballer.
  • I may (or may not) have found a job. It was supposed to be a sure thing, but I was supposed to hear something about this so-called "sure thing" today. So who knows.
  • I have seven half-written blog posts that I can't muster the energy to finish. It is amazing how quickly I become apathetic when I spend most of my time with my Netflix queue.

I've been enjoying my time between jobs, but I'm beginning to realize that I really need a little more structure (or structured procrastination) in my days if I'm going to stay productive, at least when it comes to blogging.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Awkward conversations, pt. 12

Scene: the CVS near my office. I am on a five minute break at work. There are about four customers and two cashiers.

I place my Chex Mix and Coke Zero on the counter.

Cashier: Hello. I'll go ahead and take what you have in your pockets, too.

I stare at the guy for a minute. He smiles at me weirdly. I take my car keys from my pocket and hand them to the cashier. He pretends to scan them, then rings up my other items.

Cashier: That'll be $4.50 please.

I pay. The cashier hands me my items and my keys. I say "Thank you," and leave.

---End scene---

Am I wrong in thinking that interaction was totally bizarre? Did the cashier really think I was shoplifting, or was he just trying to make conversation? Who did the better job one-upping the other person? Me, for actually emptying my pockets, or the cashier, for pretending to scan the contents? (I am afraid, Internets, that the winner in that contest may have been the cashier. After all, I wasn't really being intentionally ironic when I handed him the keys - I was mostly just horrified that he thought I might be a shoplifter.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Part the deux

So I performed stand up for the second time last week. I think I did a little better the first time, but I still had fun. At any rate, here's the video of my performance:

I plan to address the whole "Why the heck did you even decide to try this?" issue in an upcoming post. If there's anything else you're curious about, feel free to ask me questions in the comments and I'll try to answer those questions in the same post.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I did it (again)

My second stand up performance went OK. The crowd was older and smaller, but I still got some laughs. My friends and family assure me that I did fine. (I'm sure they're not biased at all.) I'll get the video in about a week - I'll post it so that you guys can judge for yourselves.

I'm not sure what my next step will be. I could check out an open mike or something, but they all seem so intimidating and male. I will probably try to get my job and life situations straightened out before I really decide on anything.

In other news, Achilles and I started training for a half marathon on Sunday. Wish us luck!

Monday, July 12, 2010



I'm performing stand up again in less than 12 hours. I'm so much more nervous this time than last time. I guess that's the price I have to pay for not scheduling a wedding a few days before this performance to keep my mind occupied.

My department manager took me out for coffee this morning to discuss a potential job. Hopefully the caffeine and adrenaline currently coursing through my veins as a result of that meeting will dissipate before tonight.

I'll let you know how it goes, and (barring disaster) post the video in a week or so.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Kim tagged me for a meme earlier this week. This was AWESOME because I have been super grouchy all week. I really don't like to write grouchy blog posts, but I get even grouchier when I don't write. Her timing couldn't have been better.

1. When was the last time you played air guitar? Come on, I’m not asking you to admit you still listen to Def Leppard.

I really don't know. I am more of an impromptu interpretive dancer than an air guitar player. I come up with interpretive dances almost daily. They usually also involve re-working the lyrics to TV theme songs so that they incorporate Bailey. Bailey enjoys dancing along.

[To the tune of the "FAME" theme song]
He's gonna dance in the kitchen...
He's gonna shed on the floor...
We really neeeed to vacuum...
But that is kind of a chore...
Plus Bales is scared of the vacuum...
He'll probably bark 'til he's sore...

Both Achilles and Bailey really enjoy this. I promise.

2. What’s the oldest thing in your fridge?

Probably some sort of condiment that Achilles bought at some point. I am not a huge fan of crazy soy sauces or fancy BBQ sauces (unless they are homemade), so I tend to ignore those. I should probably check some of the expiration dates.

3. Vampires, zombies or please make it stop?

Hmmm... If you had asked me a few months ago, I probably would have said zombies. Now I'm just sick of it all. GIANT YAWN.

I do still think someone needs to find a way to make zombies sexy, because that would be hilarious. I mean, vampires are undead blood drinkers and people are all over that. If I have to hear about the undead all the time, I should at least get to hear things that are amusing and weird.

4. If you had to change your current profession, and could be anything, what would you do?

I'd be a teacher, at least for the next several years. I fully intend to change careers several more times in my lifetime, though. (So far, I've spent a few years each as a bookkeeper, a banker, a manager, and a programmer-type person. I'm so boring!)

5. Undergarment of choice?

I like undershirts a lot. I think they're underrated. Hardy har...

6. What is the tackiest thing you own?

I try to be pretty ruthless and donate my tacky things to Goodwill so that people can turn them into Halloween costumes. I do have a pair of bright purple cargo pants that I'm reluctant to get rid of. They make me happy.

7. Summer with no air conditioning or winter with no heat?

Easy peasy - winter with no heat. I live in Texas, sillies. I barely turn my heat on in the winter anyway.

8. Desert island time: Wow, there is a band that will play whenever you snap your fingers and OMG, it’s your favorite! Who is it?

The Old 97's. I heart them big.

I'm feeling a little too shy to tag anyone today, but please feel free to consider yourself tagged if you would like to do this.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Oopsie pt. 784

I took down my last post... I reread it and it sounded like I was saying bad things about my soon-to-be-previous employer. Honestly, I understand their decisions, and really don't harbor any bad feelings. I do feel a little overwhelmed and sad sometimes when I think of all the people whose are facing job loss and/or unemployment right now. However, that does not give me an excuse to say things without thinking.

Anyhoo... I'm going back to my promise not to talk about the whole job situation for a while.


P.S. Thank you for the thoughtful comments on the post I took down. I definitely appreciated them. You guys are awesome.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Biting the bullets

Yes, it is that time again. I have let myself get so discombobulated (love that word) through lack of blog posting that my only hope for ever moving forward is to attempt to re-combobulate myself through the use of bullet points and bad pun blog titles.

This is the current status of various aspects of my life:
  • Job situation - If you are annoying even yourself with your self-absorption, chances are, you're probably beginning to alienate some of your readers. At any rate, I don't want to turn this into an unemployment blog, so after this update, I'm going to put a lid on this subject for a while. Since my last post, I took a test to see if I qualify for a teaching program, interviewed for a job, and signed up for a mandatory "transitions workshop" for the group of people who were laid off by my employer. The test went pretty well (I think). I thought the interview went badly. It reminded me of getting dressed up for a date with a guy that you're not that interested in, and then getting rejected because the guy is still hung up on his ex-girlfriend. (Oddly, that made me more interested in the job than I initially thought I was. Old habits?) I am sure the transitions workshop will be magical.
  • Achilles - He is still nice. I don't know why he puts up with me. Perhaps it is because I don't complain when he heads to the video store to pick up a movie we both agreed on and instead returns with something he thinks we might like better. (I sent him this article and went upstairs to reread my Anastasia books.)
  • Stand up - I'm performing again on July 11th. Email me if you'll be in the Austin area and would like tickets.
  • Hurricane Alex - I am normally not a fan of hurricanes, but I am enjoying the rain and cooler weather Alex has brought to Austin. I hope this doesn't cause too much trouble in the Gulf, though. (Side note - how is it possible that we've never had a hurricane Alex before? Isn't Alex a really common name?)
  • Birthdays - My niece and my sister's birthday was yesterday. In some ways, I can't believe little Ellie is already a year old. In others, I can't believe how much has happened in the past year. My nephew's fourth birthday is in two weeks. I definitely can't believe how much has happened in the past four years.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend Internets!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Freaky Friday (accepting applications)

Sometimes I think I should not be allowed to live my own life. Ugh. There are times I wouldn't mind trading places with someone else for a while, just until I got the tricky parts straightened out.

I am having the hardest time making life decisions lately. I am a fickle nickel. (Or a fickle pickle? Does that sound better? I can't make up my mind about anything!) I think that's part of why it's so easy for people to get stuck in jobs or situations that don't make them happy; making decisions that actually change things in your life can be scary and confusing. But that is another post for another day.

I want to thank you all again for how great you've been in the past couple of weeks. I feel like I've been super needy lately (which is so weird for me), but you guys have been amazingly supportive. It's great to have a place to go when my family and friends get sick of listening to me. (My family and friends have been great, too, of course. But they have their own lives, and oddly, they don't find my navel nearly as fascinating as I do.)

I had some really great comments on my last post. Rachel's, in particular, made me smile, because she said "I think you know, deep down, what the answer is. So listen to yourself!"

For some reason, that reminded me of Kung Fu. I spent the next several minutes imagining us in the roles of student and teacher:
Master Rachel: Close your eyes, Jane. What do you see?
Jane: I think I see the inside of my eyelids.
Master Rachel: You have much to learn, Grasshopper.
(FYI: We spent the rest of my daydream sequence avenging past wrongs and fighting for the underdog. We totally kicked butt.)

D's comment (reproduced below) probably made me think the hardest.

The change, for me, was ceasing to define who I am by what I do to make money.

I like the job because it is interesting enough, pays well enough, has good benefits, and lets me have a life (my real life) outside of it. Plenty of time for you to pursue your hobby.

I haven't found someone, yet, who loves to go to work. Doesn't matter what the job is. So, sure, change your job. Do it. Just be realistic about how green the grass is.

I've actually been ruminating about whether I'll always think the grass is always greener for quite some time (maybe even my whole life). Just so you know I never meant to suggest that I think (especially my lovely blog readers) are defined by their jobs, or that their 8-to-5 jobs are where people are living their real lives.

However, we do spend most of our waking hours at work, commuting, or getting ready for work. Yes, we work to live, but it does invade our personal lives to a rather large degree. (I'll have more to say about this particular after I post my next stand up video. Don't want to spoil the jokes, yo. xoxo)

Sure, many people would rather watch Law & Order reruns on the couch than drive to work in traffic five days a week, but there's a huge difference between a job that leaves you feeling drained and a job that leaves you feeling good about yourself. At my current (soon-to-be former) job, I sit alone all day with computer code. I interact with other human beings at work once or twice a week, if I'm lucky. I usually leave work each day completely drained. Could I be happy at a job doing the same thing if I were in a more social environment? Absolutely, and it's worth looking into.

But contrast this with how I feel when I leave my part time job teaching and tutoring. Even when I have to go in to work after leaving my 8-to-5 job, I almost always leave after my shift with an extra spring in my step. Sure, there are times I'd rather spend my extra free time doing something else, but there's a reason I've kept my second job for so long - I like the work.

At any rate, discussing which side of the fence has greener grass is kind of a moot point right now. There is no grass on my side of the fence anymore, or there won't be after the end of August. I can apply for better-sounding jobs in my field, but there's no guarantee that I'll get one. Part of my last post was really about exploring all the pastures out there so that I reduce my chances of starving to death this winter.

(And THAT, my friends, is how you beat a metaphor to death. You are welcome.)

All of this is a rambling, mostly nonsensical way of saying that I still don't have a clue what I'm going to do with my life.

I am applying for the teaching program, for sure. That has been my "someday" plan for at least three years, since I got my part time job teaching and tutoring (and probably before that, if I'm being completely honest with myself). I had been planning to do it long before I found out I was getting laid off. The job loss just raises the stakes for getting into the program a little higher. But if I don't make it this year, I'll try again. I don't know if I'm meant to be a teacher forever (who can ever know something like that), but I do think it is something I'm meant to do. And if it comes do it and I have to give up some of my free time or hobbies to pursue teaching, I will.

The next year is the fuzzy part. I have an interview for a job next week. We'll see how it goes. (I'm half afraid that they'll offer me the job and I'll say yes, not so much because I want the job but because I'm incapable of telling people no.)

I don't think I have any really terrible options, which is part of what is driving me so crazy. I'm sure it'll all work out. It always does, right? Still... if anyone is interested in switching places for a while, you know where to reach me.

Side note: It is amazing to feel like I can be completely honest about work stuff on here... I guess that's one unexpected benefit to being laid off - I don't have to worry about being Dooced.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The claw end of a hammer

I feel like I'm in the midst of a battle. I need advice.

When I was young, I was a head-in-the-clouds daydreamer with imaginary friends. I read fiction constantly and sculpted tiny animals out of clay. I delighted in anyone who was smart or weird or funny or talkative or thoughtful. By the time I got to high school, I was social butterfly. I joined clubs, made friends, and won awards for graphic design. I cried; I made best friends; I worked on a farm. I was Sensitive, and I was going to make the world a better place.

And yet.

I was also a straight-A student with a strong aptitude for math. When I was in elementary school, I saved most of my allowance for college and (I wish I were joking) retirement. In high school, my realistic and grounded side wrote and pushed through new bylaws for the National Honor Society. I did extremely well academically (despite my propensity for constantly losing important papers and forgetting homework assignments).

The older I got, the more I've felt like two people in one body.

My no-nonsense side got me into excellent colleges (with scholarships). It got me out of bed in the morning and to work on time day after day, year after year, and convinced me follow the rules for setting up IRAs and emergency funds and 401(k)s. It is the reason I have a great resume with upward progression and a decent amount of savings in the bank. My practical side has kept my feet nailed to the floor when my flighty side would have long ago filled me up with helium and carried me off into the clouds in search of something shiny and new.

I've never really trusted my flighty side. In my early and mid twenties, it had a habit of chasing bad boys and butterflies. But while my flighty side has perhaps been what has led me to periods of disorganization and depression, it has always also known what will make me happiest. It never let me get away with saying, "Hey, I know my boss is sort of a sociopath, but a few more months at this job will look great on my resume." Even after some truly awful dates (and, come to think of it, boyfriends) it never let me give up on the idea that one day I would meet a nice guy. It has always been the part of me that has said "Why not just try stand up comedy/horseback riding/making tiny birds for the top of your wedding cupcakes?" My flaky side, especially after a couple of beers, is a lot of fun. Heck, for the most part, Flaky writes this blog.

I was shaken last week when I found out that my position would be eliminated at the beginning of September. I am, after all, a person who plans, who makes lists, who wants to know what is going to happen next. However, I am also a person who enjoys - even thrives on - change. I felt trapped in my old job; it paid well, but I didn't enjoy the work. I spent most of my time alone with computer code that I found neither interesting nor inspiring. I lived for evenings, weekends, and vacations. As upset as I was last week, this week I'm beginning to realize that this job loss may be one of the best things to happen to me this year.

I have several options right now. Older, wiser people and many of my friends have suggested I get a job, in my current field, as soon as possible. Of course, they say, I may have to take a pay cut, but the important thing is to not have any gaps in my resume. My logical, reasonable side thinks they're right. My rational side, has, in fact, already talked me into applying for two jobs that seem somewhat interesting (although I did draw the line at applying for an opening at the organization where my stalker ex-boyfriend works).

Oh, but my flaky side... My flaky side dreams of finding a part time job at a coffee shop to keep me busy and cover my (admittedly low) expenses while I go back to school. (My flaky side, of course, found a perfect part time teaching program I'd planned to apply to long before I'd even caught wind of the layoffs.) Flaky reasons that I can get on Achilles' health insurance plan and count Job #2 as continuous employment, so I won't have to worry that much about a gap in my resume anyway.

Flaky is being awfully darn persuasive. To complicate matters, I got some potentially really exciting (but very tenuous) news about a hobby taking off. At this point, I am afraid to even dream that it might ever be more than a hobby, but right now, I love this hobby. I want to have time for it, and not only for it, but for Achilles, my friends, my nephew and niece, and the myriad other things that keep me sane by pulling me in a million directions. I am, after all, Distractible. I'm afraid that two jobs and school will lead me down the path where dreams go to die.

On one hand, I know that people gain wisdom through experience. The advice I'm receiving about getting a job NOW isn't being given lightly, or because people don't know or care about what's best for me. In fact, a lot of these people have probably spent time chasing dreams that didn't work out. On the other hand, though, I feel like I've been given a fantastic opportunity, and I'm afraid to let it pass me by.

Above all else, I'm tempted to shake myself and tell myself I'm too old to have my gaze so firmly fixed on my navel.

What do you think, Internets?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I can't tell anyone I have news anymore without hearing "OHMYGOD, YOU'RE PREGNANT!"

(Yes, and I decided to tell you over margaritas.)

(No, I'm not pregnant.)

Apparently, Unemployed Jane can nap for five hours and still go to bed at her normal bedtime. Score!

I am at once very superstitious about sharing good news before it actually comes to pass, and completely unable to keep a secret. I am an (oxy)moron.

I don't actually have good news. I have lots of potentially good news that I'm terrified of jinxing. Therefore, I shall shut myself up.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I love you and stuff

Thank you all for the outpouring of support. After the initial shock of losing my job wore off (I admit, I cried into a beer while wondering if my life had turned into a country song), I realized that I will make it through this transition just fine.

I liked my job just fine (I was essentially a computer programmer - I'm shocked that my passion for all things non-people/non-animal/non-art related didn't shine through on this blog), but my job definitely didn't define me. If I had to pick from a list of Bad Things, losing my job is probably what I'd go with. Especially now, when I can essentially say, "Well, my position was eliminated due to the economy. I was the least senior member on the team and was working on systems that were due to be retired anyway."

Heck, the experience has already given me a page or so of pretty decent stand up material.

I'll be fine, I promise. But your outpouring of support? Means a lot. Thank you.

Serious question: do you think I could get hired to go help clean oil off of baby sea turtles in the Gulf? I think that might be my calling.

Monday, June 14, 2010

And then Reality came along and punched me in the stomach

I got laid off this afternoon. At the end of August, I'll be out of a job.

And it's goodbye to A&M?

I know that few of my readers share my obsession with college football, so I'll try to avoid talking about this too much, but I'm surprisingly emotional about the possibility that Texas and Texas A&M could end up in different conferences at the end of this Big XII shakeup.

Both my parents grew up in Texas and attended UT Austin. When I came along, they made sure I understood where to place my alliances: the very first joke I ever learned as a little girl was an Aggie joke, and I was dressed in burnt orange and taught to root against A&M practically from birth.

I can't imagine a football season in which Texas and A&M don't play each other. It would be like eating chips without queso or barbecue without sauce. The Texas/Texas A&M football rivalry is the third longest-running in the nation, and by far the oldest in Texas. Heck, Texas and A&M mention each other in our fight songs, for heaven's sake.

The thing is, A&M and Texas are like brothers: you want to beat up your brother, but you don't want anyone else to beat up your brother. You definitely don't want to stand around and watch it happen.

I have a feeling A&M would get a little bit beaten up in the SEC. Can't we just convince Arkansas to come back to the Big 12?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Be careful this weekend

I cut off a big piece of my thumb last night using the mandoline we got as a wedding gift. Because of course I did. I am a person who can't be trusted around anything that is remotely sharp, bumpy, or otherwise unwieldy.

I still maintain it was partially Achilles' fault, because he told me to "Be careful!" just as I was finishing up my slicing activities. I think there's some variant of Murphy's Law that says you never tell someone to "Be careful!" when they're using a sharp object (unless you secretly want them to cut themselves), because if you do, they will inevitably cut themselves.

I don't have the energy to Google this, but if one of you happens to know whether this law exists, and if so, what it is called, I will buy you a beer if I ever meet you in real life. (Or, if I already know you, I will buy you a beer the next time I see you.)(Unless you are pregnant, in which case, we will have to work something else out, because I am becoming a bit overly parenthetical.) Until I hear otherwise, I'm going to call the you-don't-tell-someone-wielding-a-sharp-object-to-be-careful-unless-you-secretly-want-them-to-cut-themselves rule Biscuit's Law (because my nickname in elementary school was Biscuit, and that was probably the first time I accidentally cut myself because someone else wasn't minding their own business).

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Internets. If you happen to be in Dublin, Texas, I'll be there running, drinking Dr Pepper made with real sugar, nursing my wound, and contemplating personal responsibility.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Head case

I'm sorry I've been AWOL for the past... oh... several weeks. My explanation is boring, but I guess I should go ahead and give it to you. It's all I can really think about a lot of the time anyway. (Sorry in advance to the Y-chromosome type people who read this blog. You are not going to find this very interesting at all, and should possibly stop reading now.)

As of December of last, I'd had three migraines in my entire life. They'd been terrible - room spinning, head throbbing, nausea-inducing - just awful. But a migraine every nine years or so I could deal with.

In December and January each, I had two migraines. After consulting Google, I figured it was wedding stress or two much caffeine and nothing to worry too much about. I did start taking notes, though, to see if I could determine what was triggering the headaches. And per the Internet's instructions, I tried to avoid taking painkillers as much as possible to avoid rebound headaches.

In February, I had two migraines again. Each lasted longer than a day. At this point, I realized there was a pattern to when I was getting the headaches: I'd get one each month the first day I took the first pill in my birth control pack, and again on the second day of placebo pills.

[Again, I consulted Google. It turns out, while there hasn't been much research to support their claims, a lot of women complain that their migraines started after they began taking birth control pills, or even specific brands of birth control pills. Drug companies and doctors say hormones affect everyone differently and there's no way of knowing whether birth control pills could cause women to get migraines because young women have these hormones in their bodies anyway. It's a conundrum! In my case, I noticed that I stopped growing hair on my arms and legs when I switched to the brand of pills I was taking when I started getting migraines. While that seemed like a positive side effect at the time, I probably should have realized that there was a chance they were putting a few too many lady hormones into my body.]

I didn't really want to change my birth control around right before the wedding, as messing with my birth control has a history of making me a bit of a cray-cray emotional, and I didn't want to risk it. So I decided to wait until after the wedding and honeymoon to be safe.

By the time we got back from Greece, I was getting three migraines a week. When I had a headache, it usually lasted for 12-24 hours. I could smell my computer from across the room. Looking at the monitor to edit vacation photos or write posts (bright light!) was out of the question. I was worried I wouldn't be able to do my job.

Two weeks ago, I went to see my doctor. Up until this point, I had been listing my migraine triggers in hopes that I could avoid taking medication. I showed her my list:

-drops in barometric pressure
-sleeping too much
-sleeping too little
-eating too much
-eating too little
-too much caffeine
-no caffeine
-red wine

"With the exception of red wine and bananas, how do you think you're going to really be able to control any of this for the rest of your life?" she asked.

I left with two scary-sounding prescriptions and sense of cautious optimism.

Two weeks later, I've had one (very mild) migraine, and I feel like a new woman. I've had some mild side effects, but I mostly just feel better. And even though I do generally avoid taking anything, I'm feeling a lot less defensive about taking medication. (Sure, I did have one episode where I got very stabby when someone suggested I just try using Aleve and Vick's Vapor Rub to treat my migraines, but progress is progress, right?)

Hopefully I'll be back to my old Posty McPosty self soon. Thanks for your patience, Internets!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Because I'm starting to miss college football


"What color team do we root for, Daddy?"

"The ones in burnt orange. They're the ones that are winning right now."

"What color is burnt orange?"

"It's like regular orange, only prettier."

"Shouldn't we root for the other ones? The ones in red? Because they're losing?"

"No Sandy, that's not really how it works."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

#23 crossed off the list!

I paid off my student loans today (WHEE!) so I figured it was a good time to do a quick 30 Before 30 update:
  1. meet 30 new people I think I'm at about 20
  2. read 30 (non-self help) books I'm at 10. This needs work.
  3. watch 30 of the IMDB Top 250 films I haven't even looked at this. Whoops.
  4. get married DONE!
  5. travel outside the country DONE! Now I just need to upload the photos...
  6. run a half marathon I've started training, but this one is pretty iffy at this point.
  7. launch an Etsy shop I'm still brainstorming.
  8. try 30 new foods If you count recipes, I'm probably close to done. If you only count ingredients, this one needs some work. I did try gator, though. That should count for at least 20 of the 30, right?
  9. save $5000 (after IRA and retirement contributions) I'm pretty close, but I don't feel like I can cross this off until my actual birthday in case I get spendy.
  10. volunteer at least 30 hours of my time I'm at about 2 hours. I really need to focus on this.
  11. every 3 months, donate 30 items to Goodwill or Salvation Army So far, so good.
  12. sell 30 items on Craigslist or Ebay I think we've sold about 10-12 items.
  13. take a language class Does Greek count? I vote yes.
  14. learn to sew
  15. redo floors in living room DONE!
  16. be able to do 30 military style push-ups
  17. take a stand-up or improv class and perform in front of an audience DONE! I may do this one again.
  18. try 30 new recipes If you count green smoothie recipes that I made up based on what I had in my refrigerator, I probably already tried 30 recipes. If you don't count those, I'm probably at around 10 or 15
  19. go on a road trip
  20. win a contest of some kind
  21. take a dance class DONE!
  22. go to the dentist (twice) I really need to work on this...
  23. pay off student loans DONE!!!
  24. learn to make a daisy chain Lyndee (who did our wedding flowers) says she can teach me.
  25. learn to play 30 songs on the ukulele I'm still hovering at 10 or so.
  26. learn to drive a stick shift
  27. attend 30 yoga classes
  28. complete savings vs. lottery experiment
  29. make a list of the top 30 things I'm most happy to have already crossed off my bucket list
  30. skip at least one item on this list I don't think this one will be a problem.