Urban Fantasy

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Who's on top now, Billy?! Who's on top now?!?!

It is now 4:24 on December 30.

How many of my New Year's resolutions have I broken in the last 48 hours?



Let's just say that in 2005, I will have a lot of room to improve.


But in the good news department, my little sister doesn't have oral herpes!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Stalling v. bad

Have work to do. Don't entirely know how to do work. Already did some work today (despite earlier blogging). Therefore, will put off rest of work until later (I mean come on, even RB has been watching TV all day, riveted to tragic yet gory tsunami news). Will instead post list of possible NY Resolutions, at very least a to-do list for immediate and not-too-distant future.

I WILL:

*Proprly iron, fold and put away my laundry once it is done, instead of balling it up at the end of my bed planning to take care of it later, only to have it hopelessly intermingle with dirty laundry so that I can no longer distinguish what is decent and must rewash entire pile.*

*Find a job that even if challenging and difficult, proves to be both occasionally interesting and not supervised by sadist who enjoys abusing his/her/its minions.*

*Send out all thank-you notes, birthday/holiday/wedding cards and gifts in timely manner.*

*Finally finish Vanity Fair (Thackeray novel, not magazine)(can easily finish magazine).*

*Close my bank account at College Bank and move all assets to Grownup Bank. Oh yes, and start brokerage account so can take control of own assets. Heeehee, almost wrote "asses" there. Oh God, who am I kidding thinking I can handle my own money?*

*Attempt to apply Ma Ingalls' maxim that there is no great loss without some small gain to the minicatastrophes that make up life.*

*Have realistic expectations about men and relationships, while keeping eyes open for something extraordinary.*

*Write. Write when I'm deliriously happy, drowning in despair, whether it's cliched and hackneyed or original and inspired, but document what I think, feel and observe. Write from other people's points of view, for the benefit of others as well as myself, write to profess uncomfortable truths and sighs of relief. Whether it's for money, for posterity, or for shame, write.*


I WILL NOT:

*Keep buying books (even used in Eastern Market) when have entire shelves of books have never read.*

*Keep buying magazines at supermarket counter only to have them pile up in glossy, expensive stacks under futon/coffee table/bed/bathroom cabinet.*

*Bitch about friends behind backs. That is for junior high. Grownups work through their problems in a functional manner or remove the offending individual from their lives.*

*Listen to X when she promises me that a movie (ahem, Surviving Christmas) will be good. Or at very least, will make damn sure we go in the afternoon as to pay less.*

*Drunk dial anyone, but most certianly not parents or exes.*

*Stop defending microwave popcorn and chardonnay as a reasonable dinner. I know this is not the case, and so do those around me.*

*Exaggerate in any way, but simply not tell a story if I don't think the details are interesting.*



Oh yes, and not procrastinate anymore. Ah well, these are for New Year's, anyways.


Back to reality

Rawr. Back at "work," "working." At least have spent chunk of morning setting up interviews with potential candidates to replace self. Must... get... out... now!

Hellish place ride last night into Dulles, culminating with my luggage making aimless circles around the tarmac for an hour while my fellow passengers and I patiently rotted at baggage claim. Didn't get home until 2 am. Am never flying Independence again.

So it's December 28, which means Friday is New Year's Eve. Another year come and gone. Crazy to think of how much has changed. We say that every year, but this one saw some doozies. And with that in mind (and because I'm hella bored at work) I bring you a nostalgic trip down Memory Lane in the form of an emailed time-waster questionaire. Perhaps next year I will be blogging from my loft while my Sex God with Conversational Skills makes me a cocktail and I lovingly smile at the silly girl who once filled out a survey with her silly little life. Ah, me!

1. Your name spelled backwards: Puh-leeze. Like you're going to get that. Fine: JE
2. Where were your parents born? Colorado and Massachusets
3. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer? State of Michigan Court of Appeals Johnson v. University of Michigan Regents et al. Because I know how to rawk out.
4. What's your favorite restaurant? Hrm... embarassing, but I'd have to say Gordon Beirsch. Yes, it's cheesy and touristy, but they have the yummiest dumplings ever.
5. Last time you swam in a pool? August? All I know is that there was sun poisoning involved. Again, with the rawking out.
6. Have you ever been in a school play? Urm, it was only my entire identity.
7. How many kids do you want? Oh god. First my family over Christmas, now a survey. Number is nowhere near so important as having them be smart, polite yet feisty little beings.
8. Type of music you dislike most? Inspirational Latin crossover pop. Oh, you know what I'm talking about, Marc Anthony.
9. Are you registered to vote? Of course.
10. Do you have cable? Digital and Tivo, like the good yuppie scum that I am : )
11. Have you ever ridden on a moped? No. Though I consider them far superior to scooters. That was an unfortunate trend.
12. Ever prank call anybody? Raven Nutterducket. I mean, how could you not?
13. Ever get a parking ticket? Was I a theatre nerd in high school?
14. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving? Done the bungee jumping. Don't know if my balls are big enough for the skydiving.
15. Farthest place you ever traveled? The British Isles. Oh, and the far corners of my mind, or some deep shit like that.
16. Do you have a garden? Yes, but it is currently holding our the possessions of our friendly neighborhood bum, so I don't tend to it that frequently.
17. What's your favorite comic strip? Calvin and Hobbes
18. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem? Only the alto part.
19. Bath or Shower, morning or night? Shower, morning... though I would rather sleep for an extra 15 minutes, in all brutal honesty.
20. Best movie you've seen in the past month? Closer. I have this strange love for movies in which men and women are really awful to each other yet use rich and somewhat pretentious dialogue. See "Rules of Attraction" and "The Shape of Things" for more information.
21. Favorite pizza topping? Pepperoni.
22. Chips or popcorn? I'm so excited for my new air popper! Thank you Santa.
23. What color lipstick do you usually wear? Red gloss. Seriously! I just wear it with sweats.
24. Have you ever smoked peanut shells? Am I too old and uncool to know what this means? What is it with kids today?
25. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant? No, but have certainly watched "Drop Dead Gorgeous" enough.
26. Orange Juice or apple? Cranberry
27. Who was the last person you went out to dinner with and where did you dine? Hrm... B and Pizzeria Paradiso. Much garlic was involved : )
28. Favorite type of chocolate bar? Hershey's Cookies and Cream
29. When was the last time you voted at the polls? Urm... never... but by absentee!
30. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato? Am bad Midwesterner. Never.
31. Have you ever won a trophy? Vegas Slot Queen 2004. Won, bought in a tacky store downtown... potato, potah-toe.
32. Are you a good cook? My Pain-in-the-Ass Chicken is world-renowned.
33. Do you know how to pump your own gas? It frightens me that some don't.
34. Ever order an article from an infomercial? No, but I do own a George Foreman that was innocently purchased in a Linens'n'Things.
35. Sprite or 7-up? Yech. Diet Coke.
36. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to work? Yes, and I was damn cute in the knee socks and shorts. Knickers, however, were another story.
37. Last thing you bought at a pharmacy? Wrapping paper.
38. Ever throw up in public? I'm pretty good about making it home... though there was the unfortunate holiday party in 2001 when I only made it to the bushes outside my dorm. Class all the way here at Urban Fantasy.
39. Would you prefer being a millionaire or find true love? My first entry is about my desire to be a freelance writer. What do you think?
40. Do you believe in love at first sight? No, but I do believe in spark.
41. Ever call a 1-900 number? Not intentionally.
42. Can ex's be friends? Can, yes. Should, whole other question.
43. Who was the last person you visited in a hospital? K, during the Series of Unfortunate Events.
44. Did you have a lot of hair when you were a baby? I had adorable bown ringlets until I was two. Then my mother took my to the salon and chopped them all off, never to return. This is why I blame her for my unfortunate perm years, and why there are no existing pictures of me from 1992-1995.
45. What message is on your answering machine? V. boring and grownup now. Wistfully recall days of Marvin Gaye crooning followed by my voice: "This is EJ. Get it on after the beep." I'm such a cheeseball.
46. What's your all time favorite Saturday Night Live Character? Ooh, tough one. I will rephrase the question to ask for favorite sketch comedy character of all time, in which case we have a tie between Stuart and Barry/Levon.
47. What was the name of your first pet? Despite the ocean of fished we had throughout childhood, I will cite Sammy, the Failure-To-Thrive Feral Cat we foolishly thought to call our own for a whole week when I was 10.
48. What is in your wallet? Cash, old Metro cards, some crumply receipts.
49. Favorite thing to do before bedtime? (REMOVED BY CENSOR BOARD)
50. What is one thing you are grateful for today? That I am leaving this job within a month.

Yee-haw.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Ugh, I just read back over that entry. And many other previous ones.

Why is it that in this blog I sound like a wannabe Stepford wife? I'm actually pretty independent, goofy and irreverent. Really must work on not sounding like tragic CosmoGirl. People will start to think this is my frickin' diary or something.

Okay, here's one: I have homework! Got a callback of sorts from new magazine applied for, and they are having me to a writing sample! Will be groundbreaking, hardhitting journalist. Huzzah!

Oh yes, also must work on not sounding like Bridget Jones Clone. Nobody likes that writer. Must think of own catchphrase. Suggestions?

All I Want for Christmas Is ???

The Urban Fantasy is taking a bit of a break from reality to become the Rural, Isolated, Snowed-In Fantasy. Tidings of comfort and joy, indeed!

Very nearly got stuck on Washington for Christmas, after the evil souls at Independence Air declared me 30 seconds too late to board my flight home. Fortunately, the charming soul at the Northwest counter was able to sell me the last seat on the last flight from Dulles to anywhere in the state of Michigan for the day. Love the lovely Northwestern transgender attendent. He/she even put me in a bulkhead seat : )

The Father, The Sister and I plowed through to arrive Up North at 2 AM Thursday morning, begetting a lovely holiday with just the four of us. Highlights include: being utterly ignored by RB (this was legit concern; she had called previous employee last Xmas Eve to make sure had cancelled newspaper delivery); cheerfully tromping through the two feet of snow and subzero temps; and mercifully discontinuing our very disturbing tradition of giving sexually explicit holiday presents (previous years have seen vibrators, lingerie and an extremely innappropriate book with a chapter entitled "Your Clitoris as Disneyland"). The Sister has also come into her own as a holiday giftgiver-- I feel that the DVD of Superfly now in my collection pretty much sums up our family at Yuletide. We do seem to establish a new holiday tradition every year, and this years' would doubtless be The Mother and her Cinnamon Rolls of Destiny ("We were up until three AM making these! We slaved over these! Mmm, aren't these yummy?!?! You will acknowledge the superiority of these cinnamon rolls!)

In a totally unexpected development, I found myself getting highly emotional at Christmas Eve service. After the hellish week of finding out I was about to be fired and summarily quitting, I went to church for the first time in a long time. It woke up something in me that I had begun to feel I was needing, but couldn't articulate. There are a lot of components going on there that I have yet to really figure out, but a lot of what I'm feeling has more to do with community than with God or religion. When I was growing up, our church was a place full of adults I had utterly charmed and who thought I was the best kid. They were parental and safe, and were constant figures that were absent from judgement because they'd been present for as long as I could remember. Having just gone through a major professional challenge right out of the gate, it was extremely comforting to be in an environment that was all about acceptance, warmth and community; where just being a young person present there made you special and good in the eyes of the assembled adults. So much of my identity is either fucking up and scrambling for a nugget of approval at work, or being the sassy, cynical and sharp one when I'm out and about. It was incredibly comforting to not have to feel "on" but still be conscious, questioning, functioning and interacting. I may not ever have the God part sorted out for myself, but the craving for community and adult approval is coming through loud and clear.

All that was a component of what I was feeling on Christmas Eve. What really got me, though, was the pangs I kept feeling about The Ex. There were so many times during the dinner, the ride there, and the service, where I wished that I... I don't know what I wished for, but it involved him being there. I don't want to be with him, and I know he isn't the right person for me, but I once spent so much time imagining how I was going to tell him about Christmas, and how we celebrate it, and what the parts of the service mean... introducing him to all of our traditions and to our family. Should have had him here last year when he and I were hopelessly in love and all was well with the world.

It was the first time in a long time that I've really thought about him, and about what life without a partner really means. Suppose that am lucky that my family (for the most part) does not treat me like a second-class citizen because I'm alone. Of course, I really could have done without The Mother announcing that her Christmas Wish was that I find a Nice Jewish Boy so that we'll come home for every Christmas. It's mostly that I wish I was with someone most of the time, and it's compounded at the holidays. It's freaking me out a bit that I'm so actively trying to find something-- it totally contradicts that which I've always trumpeted, that A Woman Doesn't Need A Man, that Being Alone Is Just Fine. And yes, there are parts of it that are definetely superior to coupled life.

That said, I suppose that my Christmas Wish is to Find Someone. Who is not Completely Screwed Up.

Thank you, Santa!

Your Friend,

EJ

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I have tasted my own medicine, and it is tedious

Of all the things that I anticipate the most in a post-ThisJob life, being able to include identifying details in this blog may be one of them. There was a fascinating NYT article on bloggers who use identifying details, full names and specifics even when they know it will be a detriment to them. Clearly, I would never be so brazen as to trot out the last names of various peoples. However, I remain endlessly paranoid that even first names will be enough to both offend and identify me to Those Who Must Not Know Mine Identity (ahem, RB).

When am brutally honest with myself, though, is it really that RB will find out about my bitchings should I choose to use my housemates' first names? True, there is little tangible benefit to actually busting out the identifying details (gasp!). Nonetheless, it's inhibiting my writing to constantly have this Washingtonienne-inspired horror that someone will link my bitchings to RB, and I hate the constant feeling of censoring myself. Suppose that if I really was smart, would still be writing on anonymous site away from the all-seeing eye of Google and links to various friends. Alas, the curse of the writer's ego will not allow for such modest behavior. We work in solitude, in silence, and usually face only criticism when we dare reveal our work, but By Golly, we will be Acknowledged!

I do this every time, though. Imagine that just around the corner is some golden, hazy dream of a lifestyle where I can indulge in all my whims whilst being a good citizen, friend and daughter once the impediment of geography/work/significant other/bank account is alleviated.

But it's nice to dream, isn't it?

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Christmastime is upon us once again. Note the use of "Christmas" as opposed to religion-neutral alternatives such as "wintertime," or "the holiday season." Christmas is simply bigger, louder and matters more to me than Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan or any other end of the year religious occasion, no matter how many menorahs are given prominent space on the Ellipse.

Many developments at workplace, most shocking of which is that I am doing a bang-up job and have not gotten horrid criticism/yelling from RB since gave notice. Not sure if this is result of me actually being better at job, campaign season being over, or just not giving a damn anymore.. probably some combination of the above, plus other factors. Am also having more luck than I'd anticipated getting interviews for new job-- two next week alone, in the week of Christmas! Part of me is concerned that will be lucky enough to get one of these great jobs, but RB will not like any of the assistant candidates and I will be screwed. Should that situation arise, I will have every rational, legal, practical and decent reason to leave (probably the earliest I'll be leaving can be January 15, which is SIX BLOODY WEEKS after giving notice). However, if I leave without a competent, trained assistant in my place, she will screw me over. Big Time.

That unpleasantness aside, there is much other drama. Living with someone as stubborn as you are leads to all sorts of... interesting... challenges. The Someone I thought I Met... yeah, whatever. Great spark, but circumstances keep on intervening. Is a little difficult to start something when potential Someone brings Another to a party your friends are throwing, only to have that Another walk in on your friends having the sex. Totally hypothetical situation, of course, no basis in reality.

This is ridiculous non-writing. Will blog when have something to blog about unrelated to WB-esque drama and unlikely work scenarios.


Oh, but I did recite an obscure Robert Frost poem in my favorite used bookstore today! Oh hush, it's fabulous and Urban Fantasy, and you know it.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

BOOYAH

God, has it seriously been that long since I've blogged?? Tho in all fairness to self, a lot has happened in interim.

Have quit job!!!


And let's just say, BOO-YAH! RB totally knew it was coming. The Mom theorized that RB meant for me to find horrid email, and I'm thinking she was right.

Urgh, details of last few days don't even warrant blogging. Reading over the archives of this page, am realizing that am sick and tired of letting RB rule my life even when not in workplace. Is not that I mind having to work crazy hours for little money-- after all am young Democrat-- but mind not having work/coworkers justifying experience. Therefore, FYRB!

Went to lovely Chrismukkah party at work friend L's house tonight, and think I might have Met Someone... more details to follow when is not 2 AM and have not has 6 cocktails.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

There's gotta be something better than this

Played Risk with J and B tonight, and though I survived three hours as a neophyte (OK, OK, have played before but not since 1995 that I recall), was systematically destroy by evil, competitive B and her wily rolls of the dice. Am v. pissy right now. However, am somewhat mollified by the fact that B thought any matching pair of rolled dice was called "snake eyes." How did the girl survive our spring break in Vegas???? I told her during the game that matching pairs of rolled dice were actually referred to as "socks," since socks match and all. She actually believed me, until she tried to confirm with X and I collapsed on our linty rug, convulsing with glee at my own wit.

In other X related news, girl had better spend all December studying at our house and ace her finals. I am desperate to throw a Turtleneck and Sweater Holiday Extravaganza, but am not doing so because of her finals schedule. OK, and my own trip to New York that coincides with the weekend that would be slightly better for her. However, if she goes home to study the weekend of the 18th, after all her protestation, I will Be Pissed and Let Her Know It.

Am excited for New York weekend with The Mom, although RB is not at all thrilled by my absence. Never mind that I requested this day off a month ago, nor that there is nothing at all to do at work beyond the paying of bills and addressing of Christmas cards (oops, holiday cards... must not flaunt WASP heritage or make assumptions of Winter Holiday Affiliation for any involved... am Good Democrat). Never mind that I have taken ONE personal day and ONE sick day in almost seven months of employment. All completely irrelevant. But whatever. Taking extra Thanksgiving time, whatever trauma it caused me in the short term, was crucial in restoring my sanity and prepping for the emotional haul that is December. However, it appears now that I will be unable to leave my job at the New Year, which had been the plan ever since my request for time off at Thanksgiving was met with "We'll discuss your future here after I get back from vacation." RB is finally getting serious about having major (and necessary) surgery, which would be completely incapaciting for several weeks and inconvenient for months.

I want to ache for RB and all the things happening in RB's life. They are awful, and no one, no matter how awful they are to their poor assistant, deserves the multitudes of shit that are being heaped upon my poor boss at this time. My decent, solid Midwestern upbringing always at least tries to trump the cynical girl it lives within. I want nothing more than to cry out "I'm on your side! All I want to do is make your life easier! Help me help you!" I don't believe for a moment that my best interests and RB's best interests clash... because no matter how cruel and hypocritical RB is, the things happening right now are never deserved, and especially not deserved in this case. At the same time, I have a life of my own to tend to, including a family that I rarely get to see and personal maintenance that I have been forsaking for my job. I haven't been to a doctor since I started working there, to say nothing of getting a DC driver's license or even closing my college bank account. These are things that I have simply not done because my attention and presence were absolutely needed elsewhere, and I am so goddamn tired of counting my own life, and the things that will matter in the long run in my life, as the lesser priorities.

I spent much of Thanksgiving weekend (almost typed "break"... have got to stop thinking am still in college) reading David Brooks' On Paradise Road, which I take umbrage with on many points. It is a bit of a cliche for a liberal to find Brooks to be The Tolerable Conservative, but I enjoy his books, if for no other reason than he shamelessly panders to people of my background and education. However, I found myself both identifying with and resenting his musings on contemporary students and what guides them. Brooks takes young people to task for being hopelessly efficient about everything from their politics to their sex lives, decrying the ruthlessness with which we pursue attainable goals and neglect the Big Ideas of How One Should Live Life.

What else could you possibly expect? When you were busy shuttling us from Elementary Russian lessons to Ethical Soccer practice, did you really expect our generation to grapple with what makes a Moral Person? Boomers raised their children to be achievers and obtainers. We were innocent subjects to our parents' rueful musings abou what they would do if they had it to do over: "I'd take advantage of every opportunity in college...", "I'd have worked harder so I could retire younger...", "I'd have respected my parents now that I understand what they went through...". This is why Boomers drive me insane: they are eternally internalized, only able to relate those around them to their own accomplishments and shortcomings of a generation. They hold themselves up as examples when it is convenient (demonstrating the power of a passionate generation) and when they come up short, the onus is on their offspring for not surpassing them.

To change the subject completely, I found myself still reeling from the idea that Prom Date is engaged. It's beyond silly. I haven't spoken to the guy in over 4 years (his loss; I had a huge crush on him and he ignored it), but the idea of someone like that getting married throws me for such a loop. I have friend who are married or enagaged, but so far they have been friends who were deeply religious (or came to college for their MRS) or were older than me. This is someone who is brilliant (can't write it off as the life fulfillment of PWT) (oh God, I am a bad person; and I have relative in Tennessee, who am I kidding?), and someone I remember as a 14-year-old. I tried to explain this to the sister, who just didn't get it. Getting married isn't like dealing with a landlord, or finding a job, or paying bills, or other such adult endeavors. Those are all things a person has to do when they grow up. Getting married is a conscious choice that someone makes for the entirety of his or her life, saying "this is it, I will never find anyone better for me than you." I can't even get someone to think "I won't find anyone better for me for the rest of the night." It goes deeper than jealousy, and really it exists in a whole separate category. Because even if you're not sure you want to be needed in that way, your isolation feels emphasized. You become very conscious of not being needed, and even though it may, as Brooks emphasizes, be more efficient to diversify one's resources, you just want to be someone's bottom line. The thing they can't bear to lose.