Monday, April 21, 2014

Westward Ho

It was this time last year I was going in for my last wedding dress fitting. Driving home from Peoria I was giddy peppered with periods of eerie calm. That's all I remember from that day.

Today is similar. Hell, every day since March 12th is similar to that day. I'm like a Lab puppy; flurries of activity interrupted only by the need for a hug or a snack. The eerily calm moments, moments like now, I sit and ponder. I cherish these moments because they will get me through.

As of May 5th I will have a new job. It's the job I've been doing on a trial basis since December, but the official title and paycheck will be mine in May.

I'm moving to Arizona. I've been there twice; once my sophomore year of high school and again my senior year. The red mountains that slap you in the face when you first get on the freeway are incredible. The sun is strong and domineering but the heat subsides to point that you need a coat at night. The Grand Canyon is awe inspiring, the plants are fascinating, and there's no daylight savings time.

I was meant for the West. I was born there, I have yearned for it since I was small, I have been back to visit. I had a shelf of books about the Oregon trail growing up. Every last one was read to shreds.  Stories of people who packed everything and left what they knew behind for the chance at a better life, a fresh start, an adventure, resonate with me on a deeply personal level. Pioneers did it, my mother did it. Now it's my turn.

It's not just the change in location that excites me so much, it's the moving forward. This is the year Jason and I will forge forward, truly on our own. It's the next step in a long line of steps.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Part Time Yogi

I think I'm in love with yoga.

I know, I've been in love before; Zumba was a saucy and tantalizing way to shake my butt and be proud. But that only ended in heartbreak (and plantar facitia from all the damn jumping in sub par shoes).

But this...ahhhhh. It's like slipping into a warm bath full of Pop Rocks. Warm and comforting and makes my blood buzz after a nice deep Half Pigeon or Reclining Hero.

Around Thanksgiving I realized that it was getting harder to touch my toes. Normally, any aging adult would be like "Well, yeah. Makes sense."

Not me. I was not happy. Being fat and able to touch my toes has been a point of silent pride as I watched smaller but somehow less limber girls flap about trying to get purchase on their piggies. I would regain my flexibility one way or another.

This isn't the first time I've visited yoga. But with my anxiety at an 11 for most of my adolescent life sitting or standing for any amount of time with my whirlwind of thoughts was far too daunting to do very often or with any conviction. Now as an adult with medication coursing through my veins and brain I can sit with my thoughts and not freak the absolute fuck out. 

I Googled Beginners Yoga and found a 10 minute video made by a lovely Dutch woman. It was simple, a bit challenging, and satisfying. I did it every morning for a week. By Christmas I was bored with my 10 minute morning stretch. I hit Google, Pintrest, the App Store and Tumblr looking for more poses, more inspiration. I found it in spades. Not just new routines but body positive yoga blogs featuring women who had bodies like mine who could touch their feet to their heads and do effortless backbends. Kiss My Big Asana, Fuck Yeah Yoga, Big Gal Yoga, Yoga Journal, Yoga Studio App; the list of awesome and bendy chicks who don't make me feel like a whale is endless. I bought a yoga mat and a strap to help hold my legs when my hands can't reach them.

He thinks he's helping. 

Traditionally, you do yoga so you can successfully meditate. You can't be enlightened when your back aches, distracting you from the divine. For me, it's the opposite. Mediation makes my mind flexible so I can separate from my body, whether it's balancing in Tree or just having a bad day at work. I've often snuck up to the 4th floor stair well on my break to sit in silence and breathe the bullshit away. Or when my brain can't find anything else better to do then get on its hamster wheel and sprint, I take a deep breath and close my eyes for a few minutes. The lack of stimulation knocks the hamster off the wheel and I feel calm again. 

Yoga and meditation are making it easier for me to just be. I can walk in the house to a dusty coffee table and splotchy stove and not hyperventilate over when I should clean up. Any more I just walk right past the offending grime, my head more concerned about taking my bra off than putting rubber gloves on.
It could be said that yoga is making me lazy, but I prefer the term zen.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Saturday the Terrible

Pops breakfast cereal has less sugar than granola cereal and more fiber than raisin bran. Not an advertisement, but an investigation at the work snack shop since I didn't have time for breakfast at home this morning. Work breakfast came to a grand total of $5. For cereal.

My outfit says "UC Berkeley student goes to the vegan coffee shop". If my hair were curly it would add "To organize a PETA protest."

I did a double take, not going to lie.

Dude should have just taken the middle chapter and wrote the entire book about Somni-494. Because that's really the only interesting part. And it's taken me nearly a month to muddle through to this point.

Jeniece (11:53 AM): Once located, do you see blue links below the heading or a gray gear symbol next to the heading?
Customer (11:54 AM): yes

I swear to god this happened. 

Use your imagination for that one. Just know that is was gross.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Nerd Sins and Star Wars.

My name is Jeniece and I have never seen the original Star Wars Trilogy.
I was able to hide this from my loved ones for years, even tricking my husband into an engagement without him knowing.
I am a nerd hipster; I watched Episodes I-III, all the Family Guy remakes, and the fucking STAR WARS CHRISTMAS SPECIAL before I ever saw A New Hope from beginning to end.

Ever dreamt of a 15 minute scene spoken entirely in Wookie? George Lucas delivers, then denies, this gift to the masses.

Why? Because I didn't need to see it. Star Wars is so ubiquitous to our culture that you don't need to watch the series to tell the story. You don't need to see Luke almost take out his own eye to know what a light saber is. You don't need to know that Han shot first to know that he's a badass. But my reasons for not seeing it were growing thin, I was out of Christmas ideas, and Jason was denying me access to his portion of procreation until I saw it.

Bringing marital rape to a whole new, weird, nerdy level.

I broke down and bought the trilogy on blu ray, wrapped it, and when Jason opened it Christmas morning, gritted my teeth and told him I would watch it with him on my next day off.

And we did.
These are my notes.

Why do all the guys wear robes but Aunt Beru wears a denim work shirt over orange paisley like every other 70's mom?

Ewan McGregor does not grow up to be Obi Wan Kenobi. Also, what type of disguise name is Ben Kenobi? At the very least that sounds like a cousin or other distant relation. Not very wily or cunning.

"Sorry Ben. I was too busy playing with this glowy stick thing to listen to you ramble about the forcey thingy"- Luke Skywalker. Thus making it all the more confusing when getting on Han Solos ass about not believing. Child! You don't know shit yet. Reserve judgement until Yoda shows up.

Luke drives his space ship thing like he's British. Which means that Tatooine is a British colony. Long live the queen.

Scene in the cantina; I wonder if Bea Arthur is working tonight (watch the Christmas Special!)

Did that robot just scream?!?

No, I haven't heard of the Millennium Fawl-con . I've of the Millennium Falcon, though.

Why is Han pronounced Hawn but the movie says Han (rhymes with Hand). Is this the Gif vs Jif of the 70s?
I do like how the Millennium Fawl-con has a breakfast nook.

"What are those little black boxes, babe?"
"I think they transmit messages or are roombas." Not even nerds have all the answers.

Apparently George Lucas didn't believe in space bras. Hi Carrie Fishers nipples from 40 years ago!

There are a whole lot of bowl cuts in the rebel alliance.

Fucking hell just shoot already!

Side wipe to me on the couch, looking into Jasons watery, emotional eyes....
Can I go to bed now?

Stay tuned for notes on The Empire Strikes Back. Which will happen when I'm restocked on whiskey.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013; Noteworthy, But Not Batshit Crazy.

The end of the year approach-eth.

Lets break 2013 down.

1) I had a sinus infection and mono. Gross. But I discovered that the NetiPot is better than sex whether you're sick or not.

2) Jason started a job he likes and makes him look like a coal miner. It does nothing for me.

3) He also legally changed his name, putting us on the path to continuing my family tree.

4) We got a new pope who is literally the coolest pope in the world.

5) I got married. In secret. It was teeny tiny and absolutely perfect.

6) I got to see my personal mecca; where children sing Seasons of Love at day camp and there's a dog on every corner. Berkeley CA. My home, my Pittsburgh, my Shangri La. If I could click my heels together 3 times and be there I would.

7) I broke up with my family. First by getting married in secret, then writing them a letter why. Maybe one day I'll post it for all to see. We'll see if I'm invited to my cousins wedding first.

8) I bought my first car! But I changed her name to Tina. Because this is how she acts...

Anxious over the littlest of things. Like taking corners too sharply or extra weight in the back seat sets off the traction control in July and turns on the check engine light. But I love her.

9) I seriously considered getting pregnant, then, to my deep and abject sadness, decided against it. Trying to enjoy being childless by staying up late and cursing but my hearts not in it.

10) Kirby had surgery and Jasons mothering instinct kicked in. Do they have sick days for dogs, like kids do? If not, too bad, he took one.

11) Jason and I made it to 4 years. So far so good.

12) I interviewed for a job in Colorado. Didn't get it. Then got another interview for the same job. Also in Colorado. Turned it down because I got a new job here! Whiplash? You know it.

13) I turned 25. And I'm relieved to not be as young as I was. I may be the only person to think I have a handle on this life thing. Probably because I have such low standards.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Silver, Not Grey

I have silver hair. Just a few scattered so deep within the canopy of my head that you can't see them unless I pull the layers back and point them out. Which happens rarely considering I have at least 3 bobby pins holding my style together at any given moment and disrupting that would be madness.

Just one of a few. This is Yvonne.

When I see people around me (most of them younger) show trace amounts of uncertainty and fear when it comes to their ripening age, I laugh. Then I look them in the eye and say, "I love getting older."

Thats right; I don't hate aging. If anything, getting to 25 feels like I've won a race to not be a child. With arms raised above my head, in 6 days I will be an adult with a long A sound.

I've never understood people who are afraid of their birthdays. You made it through another year unscathed and thats a reason to be happy. Each year I stand a little taller, speak a little more clearly, and the shape my life is taking becomes less blob like and more defined.

But what about my YOUTH? you scream into the night over the strains of the Beatles Birthday Song.

What about it? Here are all the reasons why getter old rocks and being young is for suckers.

1. You don't have to designate a driver when you go out. You can pay for a cab now.

2.  Every year you put between you and the embarrassing stuff you did in your youth means its less likely to shame you. Also, you have had time to acquire embarrassing shit about OTHERS, thus leveling the playing field.

3. Your angst has pretty much resolved itself. So much so that any extra Hot Topic makeup can only be used at Halloween.

4. You no longer give a shit about what anyone thinks about your habits, dress, or job. What's more, others don't have time to give you shit about your shit. Because adults have THINGS to do.

5. The THINGS you have to do are not that scary; paying bills and budgeting is simple math. All other adult responsibilities add an extra 2 hours tops to your existing schedule. But they're a great excuse to not go out to "da club" and sit in your pj's drinking and watching True Blood.

6. Also...

So quit your whining, do a shot and live another day!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The C Word

Tis the season for helping your fellow man, giving to those in need, collecting donations, etc etc.
At work I'm helping organize a Giving Tree for a local animal shelter; my dog was a rescue so my bleeding heart leaks a little more for animals without a home.
We also have a Giving Tree for needy kids set up by another organization through my work; I took two ornaments and fully intend to get each girl everything on it.
A town an hour away was flattened by a tornado and donation boxes are popping up for that; I can part with some toilet paper and shampoo my husband will never use.
A clothing drive is being held at my old junior high school; I'll be diving into my closet this weekend and scavenging clothes from the "maybe one day, someday" section behind the hoodies.

This is exhausting. And it's making me angry.
Angry that baby North West has an entire wing of Gucci baby clothes and others are struggling to keep their kids in hand me downs.
Angry at every Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes I see in the parking deck when kids who miss the bus are walking 4 hours to school without coats or breakfast.
Angry that organizations that do collect money for good causes also funding causes that piss me off; causes like banning gay marriage and adoption rights for gays. Which means I don't give to them and neither do others, ultimately hurting some wonderful causes.
I'm angry that I bought a $60 Wicked hoodie on a trip to see the show. I'm angry that when ever my husband spends even $20 I give him a glare, because I could have used that for something stupid I wanted. I'm angry that I'm no better than anyone else.
I'm angry that I'm so stressed out over something as good as clothing a child or feeding dogs and cats. It's supposed make me happy to make others a little warmer, a little fuller after dinner, or a little less worried.

But no; I cram a years worth of caring and giving into 6 weeks and call myself a humanist. We as a culture have been taught that charity is seasonal. Shelters and soup kitchins are turning volunteers away because they are over staffed. They are asking that people come back after the new year when there is more demand for helpers. The majority do not and the cycle continues. The world seems to rest on the shoulders of every person to make December as magical for others as possible on top of the regular responsibilities of every day life. And I think that's part of why the winter months are so stressful. Winter is treated like a marathon; giving presents, money, cookies, hugs and time until you drop. What we do (or don't do) to contribute and help those not as lucky as some is shoved right in our faces along with all the advertisements for the newest tablets and shiniest baubles. The contrast is striking, so we pour out more and more, usually to our own circle of people who already have enough. We don't ever want the people we love to want for anything. What about those people who are loved by others? We typically take a couple of cans to the food drive or shove our change in a kettle and call it a day. By the New Year I am sick of everything and everyone and just want to sit in my expensive hoodie and frown on the couch. I recuperate from Christmas and giving with the icepack of Doctor Who marathons and stale cookies. I feel relieved that the season is over and I don't have to care for at least another six months. the pangs of guilt set in sometime in July and I start to plan my Christmas season charity. I don't act in the moment and I am ashamed of myself.

There's just so much to do in the world. So many things are wrong and I feel responsible. but I don't take responsibility until the temperature drops and shrug it as soon as I take up the mantle. We all WANT to change the world, but how many are doing anything on a regular basis?

I want to be better at  keeping the giving spirit in me all the year; a notion we sing and read about next to the pretty lights and under the tree but don't actually do. Helping should not have the excitement of novelty followed by ambivalence. the thought of "this is my one chance to do something" is what i tell myself but I know that's not true. there are chances to donate to food drives, clean out my bookshelves for the library, buy diapers for shelters while I fantasize about my own future children in the baby section of Target. I can do with less because I have enough clothes, too much food, and a roof over my head. Most of us do.

I watched an iTunesU lecture featuring a rabbi explaining why miracles don't happen anymore. His theory is that there are stages of miracles; stage one is big obvious shouting from the sky, stage two is silent and small miracles, and stage three is human driven miracles. Science is a miracle with its vaccines and medications. Buildings large enough to house a towns population of people is a miracle. Food grown year round and available on every corner is a miracle. We have the ability to make sure that every man, woman, and child has food, shelter, and clothing. So let's all be miracles each and every month; not just when we remember.