Wednesday, January 31, 2007

To Be Added to 'The List'...except, maybe not Everclear

Tuesday night after work, I ventured off by myself to the House of Blues to enjoy some live tunnage (with free tickets in hand!). My honey-man met up with me after he'd finished working, sometime before 9:30 pm, with only the last one of THREE opener bands left to play before the headliner, Everclear, was to perform...

[Possibly Needed SIDE NOTE to explain 'TUNNAGE' as follows, in case it isn't obvious: This word is to be pronounced as "tune" + an ending that sounds similar to that of 'fuselage' or 'cabbage,' or more simply, "tune" + "edge."]

So yeah, my honey-man made it well in time for the 'big' band's performance, and we thought we were doin' pretty good in that way!

Well, when the curtain parted to reveal the 'big' band, we immediately knew something was very wrong, before a single note was sung. First of all, the drummer was off in a corner, as if almost banished, and the keyboardist was partly shrouded behind a curtain. And center stage beheld nothing but a very tired looking lead singer. And half-way through the first verse of their first song, we looked at each other in utter disbelief...

"Ahhh, maybe they'll fix the sound before their 2nd song..."

As their 2nd song, they sang their more popular "Father of Mine," but did so just as poorly as their first, unfortunately.

By their 3rd song, "Humpht. They're simply terrible," yet we gave 'em another chance and another...

We left after their 5th song, I think, along with 1/2 of the audience... and as people were existing out and up the stairs, we passed one of the H.O.B. managers, who looked a bit perturbed. On our way out to valet, we recognized several different couples and groups, who'd we'd seen earlier, inside the H.O.B., who were now leaving as we were. Waiting together for my car, a couple girls were overheard, expounding further upon Everclear's lousy performance, but what they said? um, it can't be repeated here.

The openers though? 1) Neon Culpa (so dang cute! -although I don't think that's the kind of compliment they're going for), and 2) God or Julie, and lastly, 3) Jonny Lives, were all purty good = I had been impressed with them all... except Everclear; they were just soooo unbelievably bad! So bad, that we felt badly for them.

The next morning, I did a quickie internet search for recent Everclear performance reviews... What I found, I think they've been having a run of bad luck for a few years now. It's too bad... too bad to stay!!!

Monday, January 29, 2007

2007 ~ A Bannered Benchmark Year, already!

It just dawned on me that it's my ex-husband's birthday, today, and it's Mihow's too (go cheer her up!), and also my old roommies' birthdays, both Sherri and Heather... But for some reason, today being my ex-hub's b-day, thinking a bit about the past, it all hit me...

This year it will have been 15 years since I had first met the man I came to marry, and it'll be 10 years since I was first married to him. Although I know it's not true, I don't feel like I've accomplished much since 1997 - - don't feel like I'm where I'd thought I'd be by now. Then again, I never thought I'd ever get a divorce and high tail it to Las Vegas, did I? Also in 2007, come this March, it will be 20 years since my mother died... 20 years gone.

I hope those aren't the only two benchmarks to be reached this year. I'm tired of feeling acted upon.

Noooo, no one needs to tell me that I've a got a helluva crappy attitude. I know it. I'm chiding myself this very second.

I absolutely know that I have many a thing -countless things- to be grateful for in my life and I should be friggin' HAPPY, but I think my goof ball standards need a serious beating down. I guess my expectations are too high...

Sleeping Ain't Much Cause for Comfort

So, if anyone hasn't gathered this by now from my most recent posts, I'm a tad stressed out. It's purty ridiculous, yes, in that none of it is life threatening, but I feel pretty crappy, nonetheless. And as things go when I'm stressed, I tend to clench my lower jaw at night and have nightmares...

My most recent horrific dream was that while the angel boy-O was off playing where he shouldn't be (as children often do), in Yellowstone Park, staying in our newly acquired A-frame cabin (that exists only in this dream) in which we were painting the interior walls, I heard screaming outside, and I looked and saw the angel boy-O coming out from the trees, several yards away, with a big grizzly bear running after him... I came out from the loft's sliding doors and I jumped off the loft deck, down into the bed of our truck (also doesn't exist) and ran frantically towards the bear, yelling and screaming to serve as a distraction from its focus on the boy-O. I ran right in front of it, just when it was about to chomp on the boy-O's head, and instead, it bashed into me, knocking me clear off my feet and unconscious against a tree...

Meanwhile, my honey-man had come outside, having heard all the screaming, and he grabbed the boy-O as he reached the cabin out of breath, and then my honey-man scooped up our 2 yr. old (doesn't exist either), and they all jumped into some car that was parked nearby, while out from the trees came 2 baby bear cubs, toddling on up the path to meet up with mommie bear, and then?

They all proceeded to chew on me and I had to have my left leg amputated.

Yeah. Wonder what Freud would say about that one, eh?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sanity found via L.O.T.R. Triology

My new part-timer job hasn't begun yet, as I'm still waiting for my orientation date. Until then, I'm madly running errands, and scrambling to make my best effort to tie up as many loose ends as I can. It's actually helped that my 'roommate' has been out of town for the last 10 days, to the Sundance Film Festival in UT. Meanwhile, in his absence, over the last 3 days, I've turned his rather large TV room into my own personal sorting space. Everything I've collected over the last 7-8 months, in terms of paperwork and what not, and everything I've had with me since moving out of my apt. in May '06, I've been going through it all. I've managed to spread my stuff all over the whole of a 17' x 22' sized room - no joke.

While 'sorting' through all this stuff, since last Friday night, I've also managed to play the extended version of The Lord of the Rings, "The Return of the King" nearly twice through, and its TWO appendices, both 5 and 6, each in their entirety = that's about THIRTEEN hours of L.O.T.R. in 3 nights!?! Remarkably, this does not mean I've been holed up in the house all weekend. No, really, it doesn't! I went out 3 different times yesterday, and twice today, so far... and I'll go out again in a couple hours, to pick my sister up from the airport. What this does mean, however, is that I haven't gotten much sleep, as the majority of my L.O.T.R. and 'sorting' marathon has taken place in the evenings, working and watching late into the night - - and it also means I'm a big, fat NERD!

Watching Return of the King for the 2nd time, it's just about to end. I think I may run upstairs to grab "The Two Towers" next, going backward in the trilogy... I can easily get in 2 hours of that before heading to the airport, I bet.

I love Lord of the Rings... and Legolas is so hot. (See? BIG NERD, me.)

I chose to play the The Fellowship of the Ring instead.

Friday, January 26, 2007

To My Heart's Content

After we finished dinner last night, my honey-man posed a good challenge:

"I'm going to want something for dessert, I think," he said, or something like that...
Well, I'm not home much these days, and the food in my fridge is mainly there for him to consume, but there ain't a whole lot of variety... And my pantry goods aren't as plentiful as usual, but I've got a few basics on hand... eggs, flour, sugar, baking cocoa... and a package of chocolate chips, kept in the freezer as ALWAYS! [Note to Remember: my Mormon upbringing always comes out to play when there's food involved.]

Sooo, I banished my honey-man from the kitchen, telling him I had a perfect surprise in mind and that he absolutely could not peek... I just needed 1 hour.

And viola!
(Correction: "VOILA" = NOT a stringed musical instrument!)
Looks a bit impressive, eh?
And it was SUPER EASY! ~ And it was SOOOO GUHHOOOD!

This was my practice attempt for Valentine's Day (although I intend to make either a fresh fruit tart or a genoise using my heart shaped pan - shhh! ~ mah honey-man don't know that!): I used a simple chewy brownie recipe made for a 8" x 8" x 2"-sized pan (I'm sure you could use a store bought mix), baked it in my Kitchen Aid heart-shaped silicone baking dish (my first use!), and once cooled enough to remove from the pan, I topped it with 3 sliced 'nanas and whip cream swirlies made from a can (the 'real' kind though; nothing w/ coconut oils), and some chocolate syrup for drizzle. [SEMI-RELATED TANGENT: My honey-man could hear the sound of the whip cream can going when I was making the swirlies around the top, and he yelled from where he was that it sounded as if I was cooking with a really angry kitty cat as my kitchen helper. END OF TANGENT.]

Now the only problem is this: Mah honey-man returns to L.A. tonight and there's leftovers!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Joys of Good Friends & American Idol

Home from work last night, still feeling as though I'd been crapped on, I changed outta my stuffy work clothes, into something muy, muy more comfortable, before we were to go visit wonderful friends for dinner. Minutes later, we were driving up the road on our way, and while tearing up, I told my honey-man that I wasn't ready for the evening, and that I didn't want to go; that I didn't want to have to put on a happy face and fake it and that I didn't think I could.

And I was right, I couldn't do it - - BUHHHT, turns out, I didn't have to.

We walked in the door and they were all so happy to see us, and the baby boys were soooo dang disgustingly cute, and my honey-man was so dang disgustingly cute, sitting on the floor with the baby boys, and the wine was poured, and the conversations were rolling, and the bruschetta was scrumptious (it really was, Kim!) and the dinner, it was soooo delicious (it really was, Kim!)... GOOD FRIENDS ARE PRICELESS!

But then...?

"Oh, it's time for American Idol," says Kimmy, as she hops right up from the table, then and there, and immediately leads the way out of the dinning room... right now!

BACKGROUND INFO: My honey-man had never before watched American Idol.

So we all moved into the TV room and we sat down and got all comfy with our cups of decaf and nummy caramel walnut tart. And then the show? I swear, my honey-man was as entertaining as the show, itself! His pained expressions and the groaning agony, his knee jerk reactions and his roaring laughter, through tears of horror and shared embarrassment and twisted bemusement... watching my honey-man squirm like that? I have to admit, in a kind of semi-guilty way, it was a blast! ~ He was just so cute! [A VERY GUILTY ADMISSION: Um, ahhhh, yeah - I'm admitting that I basically enjoyed his discomfort at the time = I'm a terrible person.] Yet by 9:30 pm, seeing the emotional exhaustion on my honey-man's face, I had a certain suspicion, which I planned to test out later once the show was well over and he'd had the chance to recover a bit.

On the way back 'home,' I asked my honey-man if he 'd want to watch American Idol next week...

His answer was given in an exaggerated and deliberately slow and emphatic manner, clearly communicating that the matter was not up for discussion: "Nooooo." And I knew exactly why not.

There's supposed to be a screening process for all American Idol auditions. And we should all recognize producers let the less-blessed vocals through that final audition door, knowing these people don't have a chance in hell for makin' Hollywood... also knowing the U.S. public enjoys a good freak show! Some of those apparently deluded people, who make through to the final audition room, despite a total lack of vocal talent, are clearly out of touch with reality in many different ways, but once the audition is over, the pain of rejection that they feel is very really = those tears are real.

I knew my honey-man wouldn't be able to sit and watch all that and enjoy it. He'll happily watch Scarface, yes, but real people, crying real tears? Nope. And I don't think that most people actually enjoy that aspect of the show much either, but my honey-man, he just can't take it and he won't not ever again, and I know it.

Me though? If I remember to, I'll be watching at least one more auditions broadcast.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Keep Throwin 'em While I'm Down - UPDATED

Originally written, 01/24/2007, UPDATE FURTHER BELOW:

Man... last Friday, we decide to buy a house, and thereafter, the wind's taken from my sails, lickety split!

Well, so here's the latest "it gets worse" news... and I'm so embarrassed about it, I contemplated letting it go by, without us telling anyone, but if I hold it in?

What you let out, it can save you... what you hold inside, it can destroy you.

We took my 2005 Matrix to the car dealership to have a couple things looked at, expecting the warranties to cover any needed repairs. Upon closer inspection, initially minor clues made now more evident by a recent LA driver having rammed into my car's front bumper from a parallel parking spot, looking where the paint has cracked from the impact, we can now see glaring evidence of an over-paint body and paint job = Yes, a prior accident, poorly repaired and never reported. So, that clean CARFAX report we paid for was apparently worthless...

After taxes and fees paid and what not, we spent $15K in cash on a car that may be worth only $8K, if we're lucky, and with all auto warranties, now completely NULL and VOID. Yeah, I was going to get an auto loan on this car from my credit union for maybe $10K of it's worth, to return some of that $15K to the bank, but now? I'm not going to pay interest on a car that's not even worth it's loan amount... Losing $5K outright, and owning a car that will look like absolute shit in a couple years, and feeling like a royal idiot's ass is bad enough, thanks.

We so got conned.

UPDATE, as of 3/05/07: Turns out it's not as bad as we'd thought!!! Although the paint job is, indeed, total shit, etc. etc., the car's mechanics are entirely sound and this aspect of the car is still under warranty, thus, the car is worth $13K!!! Yes, we'd bought it believing we were getting a screaming deal on a Matrix normally listed for $17K, if bought from a dealership, BUHHT, $13K is a helluvahlot better than $8K!?! No, I don't think this means we'll now take a loan out on the car... not having a car payment has been rather nice, I must say! Plus, the thought of paying interest on a car not worth its originally expected value kinda irks the hell outta me, frankly! = I just don't wanna do that!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I Just Knew It! - Premature Celebrations... My "I Hit a Cow" Story continues on...

Well, we found out that no matter what my own car insurance has determined in terms of car accident liability, the owner of the cow, Dennis Hunzeker, has denied there was any gap in his fencing, despite several photographs (one of which shows a 60 foot-long gap - ?!?), and so, naturally, his insurance company is refusing liability, and thus, won't be paying any of our medical bills...

And it gets worse...

Why I Love Mah Honey-Man ~ Reasons 5, 6 and 7

Because of his so uber intense, very cute "I'm thinkin' here" face,
when we're playing Scrabble together.

And because he's sooo proud -in a very quiet, humble manner- of the mega word clusters he can come up with, by adding only 2 or 3 letters to form 3 new words, thereby scoring some major mega points -see 2 of the circled spots in the photo?

And because he was so thrilled to have made the word 'trinity,' although it was only worth 10 points...

NOTE: When playing Scrabble, we always try for a minimum of 10 points per word/play. SIDE NOTE: And yes, you're not mistaken; we're a couple of a Scrabble lovin' geeks! ...or just a couple geeks in general.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The NEW Plan ~ Putting My Moolah to Work

Seeing that I'm stuck in Vegas for the next few months, having to hold down the fort at work, unable to take much time off to visit L.A. or anywhere (No, this is NOT another total downer of a post like the last couple or so, I promise!), I've decided to seek a part-time job. Not only will I make some extra dough, it will keep my evenings occupied, plus, there's a couple ulterior motives here...

Already today, I applied for something kind of unexpectedly... I was walking towards the store front and their "Now Hiring" sign looked as though it were neon and flashing, just for my approach. So, in my jeans and a Pink Floyd T-shirt, I went inside and filled out an application, not expecting any kind of interview. [SEMI-RELATED TANGENT:
At the library today, I had 4 middle-aged men compliment my T-shirt - and a guy at the car wash too!]. Even still, despite my attire, upon handing over my app, right then and there, the interview process began. Nonetheless, I progressed through 3 interview stages, in my finest way-too-casual duds. The shift manager for the position was not present to confirm, but I was told, if my available hours prove sufficient, I'll be starting next week! And oh boy, goody-goody ~ I'll get to take a drug test on Monday ~ woo-hoo! Haven't had one of those since 2000!

Ulterior Motive #1: The place I chose to apply to, not only do I love them, I will greatly enjoy the employee discount! But furthermore, and most importantly, they're located EVERYWHERE in the U.S., and this could provide me possible employment ANYWHERE in the U.S., via a job transfer... so no matter what, leaving my main job here in L.V., for no new main job in L.A., I'd still have a job.

Ulterior Motive #2: I figure that if I work an average of 20 extra hrs/wk, beyond my current full-time job, I'll make at least an extra $800 month in savings. This means that over the next next 4 months or so, I can beef up my cash savings by at least an extra $5000, so that I'll have just a bit more for (...a growing in intensity drum roll please...) a down on a house!

Yup. It's time to buy, whether I were to stay in Vegas or not. Once I leave, we'll just rent it out to pay the mortgage, and keep the place as an investment until the Vegas market bounces back in 2010 or whenever. And as for property management, I have plenty of property management friends in town, plus my sister, 2 uncles and an aunt, who could all help keep an eye on the place for us.

We're hoping to buy something in either the east or south areas of the valley, wanting a minimum of 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, absolutely no less than 1,500 sq. ft, somewhere in the $250,000 price range or less. With 10% down, I'm aiming for a mortgage around $1,300/month.

This new and improved plan improves our future financial outlook considerably ~
And it will certainly give me a 'project' to focus my energy upon in the time being, eh?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Why I Love Mah Honey-Man ~ Reason 4

Because he'll roll over in his sleep to spoon me in the middle of the night.

Absolutely Ludicris - and I ain't singing!

BEWARE: This is yet another ugly post. (I'm in a bad place, sorry folks!)

In an effort to plan ahead and better examine our future options, I did an online search for real estate listings in Cali, priced for no more than $250,000 in the general L.A. area... even though I know the median home price in L.A. is $600,000 - - I tried anyhow, out of damnable curiosity (and because I'm a glutton for punishment?). And look! Just look at what one can buy for $250,000 in L.A.! What a beauty! [Yes, that was extremely angry sarcasm, most heavily applied.]

Built in 1924, on a lot size that's smaller than the interior square footage of my parents' 3-car garage, one can buy this lovely run down home in a super scary-ass part of L.A. for only $249,000, and enjoy 660 oh-so spacious square feet at the cost of only $377 per foot!?! OH and the qualifying down payment requirement for such a fabulous find? = $49,000, minimum!

And for Burbank, our ultimate destination, located just on the outskirts of the Burbank city limits (which wouldn't get your kids into the Burbank School District), you can expect to pay $400,000 for a 980 sq. ft. home. And to live and own your home within the Burbank School District boundary limits? Well, for 998 sprawling sq. ft., in a home over 40 years old, you'll pay a mere $675,000. Well, you may ask, "How much to buy a cheaper and easier to manage condo in Burbank?" For a 16 year old condo with underground parking, 2 bedrooms and one bath, and no more 920 square feet, try $546,000. Yeah.

Will someone please tell me how any of this makes any sense?

For a non-L.A./ non- California home (and no, it doesn't matter where - I'm interested in pointing out the vast financial disparity here), you can buy something that's less than 5 years old for the same $249,000, and in turn, relish 2,000 sq. feet... that's nearly 4 times larger than the $249,000 L.A. option, and this one's not only more for your dollar, it's in a decent area where you could actually raise your children, who could enjoy some adult-free playtime in a separate playroom or a real backyard, independent of poorly insufficient school recess breaks or the confines of a solitary bedroom.

Now using several apartment rental online search engines to find Burbank apt. listings...

Using the parameters of the angel boy-O's school zone boundaries, the best price I found
for a non-cracker box apt. was $1900/month... for a ONE bedroom!?! For a 2-bedroom apt. with 1,000 sq. ft., located in an apt. complex within his school zone, we'll still pay over $1900/month. Now if that's the cheapest we can get, and we want to add a couple costly kids to the loot over the next 2-4 years' time? We'll eventually have THREE kids crammed in one bedroom?!? And we'll both be required to work full-time in order to afford any of it... oh, and with the two of us working full-time? That means full-time daycare until the ages of 5 or 6.

The real scenario:
Baby #1 shows up and 3 months later, off goes Baby #1 to full-time daycare... Two or so years later, give or take, we have Baby #2 in full-time daycare... and I'll lose my mind. Not kidding.

Burbank Community Life provides a listing of 50 different certified, local child care centers in Burbank. Of those 50 listings, only one openly advertises the admission of children of 18 months of age and no younger... All others, the minimum age listed for admission is 2 years old. I don't know how this can be, but wow!

Back in 2000, the average CA childcare costs for a school age child was nearly $6K/9 months, not including the summer months in which a child may need be enrolled in daycare full-time. How much is it now? I can't find any new numbers...

And it's funny, most available CA state info. regarding average child care costs, they're primarily relative to state welfare child care research reports, and then one 1999 LA Times survey, and a lengthy article
titled, Child Care Price Dynamics in California, written in 2003 by the California Public Policy Institute, and um, that's it. Oh, and there are many citations to be found regarding the 10% increase in child care costs experienced in CA between 1998 and 2000. I can't imagine how's it's changed since then... One report stated a family can expect to spend $16,000/year for 'above average' childcare in CA, also stating CA families spend an average of 25% of their income to put just ONE child in daycare... Try 2 kids in full-time daycare and do the math: that's potentially 50% of my income to pay for childcare??? What about 2 babies in full-time daycare = that'd be at least $30,000 per year?!? And I saw one report list $18K/year for infant care in CA...

This isn't the first time I've looked into this stuff. I did some homework in the year I met my honey-man, but I shut it all down, telling myself that I was jumping the gun a bit... also fearing I'd call it all off, otherwise. It's in my nature to plan ahead, rather than tell myself I'll deal with it when the time comes... The real truth is this: The time is coming, nearly upon us within a few months. If we hope to marry later this year, within the next year, we'll be enlarging our family = pregnancy.

Looking even closer at the costs of L.A. living, I've found myself actually trying to talk myself out of wanting any children, telling myself that kids will only complicate things (which is undeniably true) and that kids are costly (which is also undeniably true) and that the financial strain will ultimately strain our relationships with EVERYONE in L.A. (which is absolutely true) - - but this ridiculous effort to change my own mind? It's insane, especially when I've tried it before already, when I was a fresh divorcee and totally burnt out, but it flat out didn't work back then and it's not working now.

We want kids -me, my own; him, some more and with me- but we don't want our kids, which includes the angel boy-O, all living in a tiny 2-bedroom apt., where we'll never know the joy of a backyard or a playroom, or general playtime without the required, direct presence of an adult at all times, unless we pay more than $2400/month to lease a tini-tiny house...?!? That's not the answer. Once we've raised our kids, we'd like to be sure we'll have a roof over our heads too, ya know?

I'm 32 and my honey-man will be 42 soon. Do we even have time for this? - oh, especially when I can't seem to get a *explitives* mere job in L.A., without giving up our only security?

Yah, still depressed.

P.S. If this post seems rather angry, it is.
I couldn't be more frustrated right now.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"Can I Help ya Unpack?"

In order to preserve what lil' sanity remains, seeing I have no L.A. job, nor any offers, and I'm still in L.V., living in a tiny rented room with all my things stashed in storage still, with my current job situation in a state of duress (by my definition), having racked my brain and sobbed my eyes out, having still not found any logical, reasonable, rational, immediate solutions (and I have vented/complained enough already, don't you think?), I'm gunna focus on other things for the time being... Like the adorable glory of my uber CUTE furry (very missed) kitty cats!!! ~ Enjoy some pics taken last month, while I was unpacking xmas decorations, turning my honey-man's place all festive-like!

Owen, having found my box of xmas song lyrics and sheet music...
...decided it made for a purrfect cuddle spot!
(click on images for the larger -even cuter- version)

Here's my Otis, lying in a box of pine cones - ?!?
How can that be comfy? - - well, he'll cuddle down anywhere!

Here's my Owen, cuddled beneath a crazy knit winter scarf:
"Blush tones complement my lil' nosey, don't you think?
...I'm ready now for my glamour shot..."

Friday, January 12, 2007

Trapped in the Amber of the Moment

My old boss came by my office today, and having not yet heard that I'm losing my assistant in a couple weeks, he asked me why I only answered that I was doing just 'okay.' I told him the news and he stepped backward and began to tip from his heels, as if he were falling over...

"What are you going to do now? How can you leave now?
You won't leave us now, will you? "

Without explaining away, as to not burst into blubbering tears, I told him no, not right now and repeatedly shrugged my shoulders.

Then, in an effort to make me laugh and lighten the day for me [SIDE NOTE: We both love quotes - - and he loves it that I love the ones that he can recall], he spoke the words of Kurt Vonnegut (who I also love - I read everything of his that I could while I was in H.S.):

"Things are going to get worse
and worse
and never better again."

Yeah... um, not exactly what I was looking for, BUHHT it helps keep things in perspective, eh?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Mo what?!?

"Mo Bettah Buttah" - -

Taken from the spoof on "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" spread, shown on the TV show In Living Color.

Bless you, Kashmir.
I really needed that.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Searching Desperately for Inspiration

BE FOREWARNED: This one is absolutely ZERO fun = proceed with a great deal of caution.

I began writing this around 1pm, over my non-existent lunch break: Having welcomed the New Year -despite how the rest of this may sound quite contrary to the concept of 'welcoming'- there's been a lot of soul searching goin' on and it's tough stuff, I tell ya - - *sigh*

Reflecting on 2006 and the general past [SERIOUS NOTE TO SELF: I'm sure I do the latter far, far too much than is healthy and I should consider toning it down in 2007 and thereafter.], I've been considering the future of 2007 and beyond...
And I haven't been blogging all that much in the last few weeks because I haven't been so sure I can come up with anything real chipper to write about, as though any effort would be a false one, and it's only gotten worse since this past New Year's Eve day... I've found myself operating in a gloomy fog of painful recollection and the contemplation of several potential life scenarios, often wallowing in a kind of aching uncertainty caused by the consideration of unknown consequences ahead; a general practice that can overshadow any one's life in an extremely negative way.

Don't get me wrong:
I know life -my life- is good - - just the past week, we had the angel boy-O skiing with us in Keystone with my Iowa clan, and it was the boy-O's first ski trip evah and he did soooo well!?! And it was such a fantastic time! as was my birthday! AND it was the first time we had the boy-O on my birthday! And I love mah honey-man and I love the angel boy-O, and I have a fantastic family and fabulous friends, and I enjoy so much good fortune in my life; I know all this, but there were times in the past few weeks when I could not muster even a strained smile. Nope, it's not depression... more possibly an unhealthy fixation, but not depression. Unfortunately, it's simply reality based, which makes it more difficult to overcome.

It got worse when... We were at Sunday brunch the morning of the 31st, enjoying some limited, yet precious time with a few of my father's family, including my father's parents. My cell phone rang and I saw on the caller ID that it was one of my mum's sisters. Immediately, I expected some New Year's enthusiasm and best-wishes, but instead, within a couple minutes, I felt all the warmth retreating from my limbs and my eyes welled up with fat tears. No one at the brunch table knew yet what I'd been told, but the angel boy-O knew something was terribly wrong and did his best -
bless his sweet lil' loving spirit!- and seeing me cry, he leaned into me and drew his lil' arms around me and hugged and hugged and hugged me some more, and continued to do so even after I got off the phone.

My cousin Emmett's sweet step-mum died unexpectedly of kidney and liver failure after battling breast cancer for 5 years. The last I had known though, Denise was happily floating along in remission - -
I hadn't heard that earlier in the year, a series of tests had shown severe results. Many of us had not realized she was so sick, as she hadn't wanted to make a big deal of it...

After ending the call and then having to explain the dreadful news to a large table of concerned family members, our food arrived, the conversation topic quickly shifted, changed and changed again and again, and for the rest of the day, going from one visit stop to another, I found myself spacing off here and there. I kept visualizing an unpleasant image in my mind that wouldn't leave me... It was a tallied count of our families' tragedies - -

Losses to Cancer: FIVE
My mum, age 33
Both of my step-mum's own parents, age 49 and age 60
Uncle B, age 61
and now my cousin's step-mum, age 56

Auto Fatalities: TWO
My father's youngest brother, age 18
My step-mum's oldest lil' brother, age 21

ON THE FLIPSIDE ~ Of course, I've since realized there's another kind of family tally to consider; the one to better focus upon, if I'm to focus at all upon any such a list:

Cancer Survivors: TWO
My cousin Emmett's own father
Aunt Peggy

Auto Accident Survivors in just the last 3 months of 2006: EIGHT!!!
My Gpa Billy, rear-ended 2 different times, the 2nd time caused by a drunk driver;
My unca Glen, stopped alongside the hwy shoulder, clipped by a inattentive speeding semi-truck;
My cousin Lara's hubby, Adam, lost control driving on black ice;
My aunt Hayley, multiple car accident;
Myself, my Grams, my cousin Tyler's wife, Brianna and their 2 yr old son, hitting a cow!

Total-Loss Auto Accident Survivors before 2006: FIFTEEN!!!
Uncle Randall
Aunt Radeane, more than once
Aunt Brenda, more than once
Gpa Billy, Unca Jamey and my Aunt Sarah
Cousin Jason
Cousin Emmett

7 different Jacobson cousins

And I'm sure there are some other severe car accidents of the past that I've either missed or forgotten...

Soooo many what if's: We've had a lot of close calls in my family -close encounters of all kinds- beyond cancer and car accidents, and overall, we've been super lucky, considering all the number of times we could have met the very worst. What the hell is my point here?
I guess the point is this: I know from direct experience that bad things happen and that one strike doesn't take anyone off the hit list, so to speak, and that's the truth - - once is never 'enough' and there is no safe list. And so now what? Yeah, I've known all this stuff already for some time now - why revisit this issue now? Why dwell on it at all? You can't tip toe through life, watching and waiting for something to go wrong, right?

I feel so unprepared, if we were to receive another heavy blow.

More rambling about chance tragedy: This past Saturday, we were headed home from Keystone, and had come to a point where we were traveling on a fairly twisty portion of hwy 70 in southern Utah, only a few miles before hitting the southbound I-15. The sun was nearly down and I was the one driving. We had passed several stretches of open range territory earlier in the day, where cattle -and black cows- could be seen grazing near fence lines running parallel to the road. Proud of myself, I had remained perfectly calm and unaffected until night fell... It was then that I began to stress out, even though we were well beyond any open range area. I found myself watching for retinal reflections to be seen anywhere in my range of vision, either to the right or
left, or straight ahead, even far, far ahead... I was watching the road for deer and doing so like an absolute paranoid. Yet sure enough, once it was dark, we came upon eight fully grown elk standing alongside the road!?! ELK! And we did NOT see them until it could have been too late... Nothing happened though. Nothing happened at all. Some turned their heads as we drove right past them, but that was all, and although relieved, I felt as though I was going to throw up... All one can do is try to stay alert behind the wheel and drive safely... and hope we're lucky.

Leaving the subject of accidents: Life is so damn uncertain. We think we know. Yes, we think we have control over our own lives, enough that we make plans, believing we can make things happen the way we want them to turn out. Indeed, sometimes we really can make things happen and invoke real change, but sometimes life just doesn't meet our expectations; some things never go according to plan.

Our starting point for 2007: Right now I'm trying to make heads or tails of the fact that I'm still in Las Vegas, and not only have I not been offered an L.A. job of any kind whatsoever, I haven't even been invited for a job interview since last summer!?! I'm also now renting a room from a friend of ours... My 21st move since 1993. Sure, it's much better than nuthin' but I'm not terribly thrilled (understatement of massive proportions). Meanwhile, hoping to regain not only some free time, but also relieve some of the stress caused by his after-work commute with the angel boy-O, my honey-man has been trying for several months to land a 'semi-affordable' 2-bedroom apt. in Burbank (that'd be a minimum of $1500/month, folks), closer to the boy-O's school... Note the words 'trying' and 'several' in relation to the word 'months.'

Why can't we make this stuff happen? Why has it gotta be so frickin' difficult? Why can't anyone give us a chance? Why don't these employers want me? Would finding a job be just as difficult elsewhere?

Writing again after 5pm: I've done a count and I'm absolutely baffled. In 7 months' time, I've applied to over 92 different jobs and that does not at all count any of the jobs I've merely sent my resume and semi-general cover letters to via or Yahoo Hot Jobs. Keep in mind that each formal application averages 2-3 hours to complete = I'll do the math here... I've spent at least 192 hours completing job applications, and more likely, it's really been about 250 hours = That's equivalent to 6 work weeks!!!

And that doesn't include any of the
countless hours I've spent just

to apply for!!!

I've had my resume looked over, up and down, by my mentors, professionals, professors and my fellow colleagues.
What am I doing wrong?!?

Writing again after 8pm: And in my current job? [Disclaimer: According to Dooce, no one should ever blog about work, but I won't be dissing anyone here.] So yeah, my current job... Because I'm out of town, way from work so frequently, going back and forth from Vegas to L.A., I'm always playing catch up. And I've just found out this evening that I'll be understaffed by not just one (who's on maternity leave, unsure she'll return after her 3 months of leave is up, which I totally understand), but now 2 full-time employees, the 2nd one being my own assistant. Now seeing that I'm still trying to leave for new employment myself and I'm the one in charge here, finding my replacement will be stressful enough... but now? How do I leave my job now? How?

In the last couple months, considering my COMPLETE and TOTAL LACK OF SUCCESS with MY L.A. JOB SEARCH, post-graduate school, coupled with the fact that the only consistent feedback I'm ever given is, "Sorry, but call us when you're already in L.A," we had been considering a "just bite the bullet and move anyhow to L.A. without a job lined up" kind of action, once the holiday chaos had subsided. And I was considering such a move seriously, even after spending ALL my "gunna move on over to L.A." money on a replacement vehicle last month, and without first replenishing that once cushy cash pillow... I was going to move because I. want. to. be. with. my. Cali. boys! [IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: Here's my temperament = Never have I ever l
eft a job without another job immediately lined up, ready and waiting for me = Not when I was a teenager, nor ever while in college as an undergrad, not even post-divorce; not ever! I've said it before and my feelings haven't truly changed: The idea of quitting my job with no other security in order is entirely TERRIFYING!] With my office soon to be in disarray, for me to try leaving for L.A. now and with no new job to go to? I won't go into detail to explain my circumstances at work, but I just can't leave now; NO ONE will know how to do my job, and honestly, I'm not comfortable screwing over good and honest people I've worked with and cared for, who've treated me so very well.

I feel like the cosmos are conspiring against me. I know things could ALWAYS be worse, but man... I haven't even made it to L.A. yet, and already, I feel tapped out.

I was wrong; I am depressed.

Monday, January 08, 2007

21 Moves & 38 Roomies and counting!

Originally written 6/26/05, Updated 1/09/07.

Since graduating from high school in 1993, let's count how many times I've moved and how many roommates I've had. . .

Dorm Apt, #5 in Rexburg, ID - 10 months with 5 roommates; Mikal of TX, Sherri of IL, Natalie of MD, Minet of OR and Tiffany M. of CA. Since then, I'm told, we held the top recorded number of 'Golden Plunger' awards. This means we girls kept a very, very clean apt. dorm and as a result, were given the honor to don our front window sill, month after month, with a very small, gold metallic paint sprayed toilet plunger. I had fun at Ricks College because that's what I do -I have fun DESPITE the situation- but if you read my journal from that time of my life or asked those who knew me at the time for a testimonial, one would have thought I was dying of severe depression... Funny thing is now, f I had to pick a 'best year' for my time spent as an undergrad? It'd probably be my frosh year. It was the first time in my life in which my problems really became my own.
Went back 'home' to Iowa for two and a half months to help my parents with their new brittany spaniel puppy, Genevieve. She's gettin' old now - and she still eats her poop!
Harmony House Apt #203 in Rexburg, ID - 10 months with 8 different roommates; Rachel of GA, Heather of Calgary, Megan of somewheres in Canada, Patty -also Canadian, Jodi of Edmonton - also Canadian, Heather of San Diego (and her twin, Elisa too, as she was around so often!), Marilee of UT, and Suzanne of UT. Also had fun that year, but my first sophomore semester, I felt terribly tortured, depressed, and most of the time, painfully inferior to my pretty roomies. My roommates were all kinda katty (except Suzanne) and gorgeous social butterflies
(including Suzanne), and guys were over all the time, chasing one or more of my roomies at all times. The estrogen levels were super high ~ we all became in synch with one another and it became soooo 'ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK' for about a solid week each month and the guys learned when to stay away... and me, being more of a cryer than a bitchy-bith, I I would hide in my room from my scary roommates. This also was the group which enjoyed obsessive-compulsive Tetris play for hours and hours. My second semester of my soph year was much better, although I did almost get kicked out of Ricks (mind you, it doesn't take much - it's not an exciting story really).
Aunt's house in Bountiful, UT - 1+ month with 2 aunts, an uncle and 2 teenage cousins. Can you say WHO HAS MY JEANS NOW? The laundry was insane. That was when I became a true believer of Amish Friendship CAKE.
Chateau Apres in Park City, UT - 2 months with my best girlfriend, Suzanne and 130+ midwestern geology field camp students from universities in IL, MI, MN, IA, and MO = A TOTAL BLAST = possibly the best time of my life as a twenty-something.
An attic in Provo, UT - 1 month with great uncle Reid and aunt Marjorie and Cinnamon, the 23 year old cat. I lost 10 lbs that month! eating various kinds of squash I'd never known existed -and that says a lot, since I am an avid enjoyer of squashy things. There were also many chlorophyl drinks, tons of tofu, brown rice and broiled fish. There were no dairy products to speak of (except the Ben & Jerry's pint of 'Coffee Heath Bar Crunch'' I had secretly stashed in the freezer behind the frozen bulk container of wheat germ). It was truly an .educational experience.
Raintree Apartments aka 'the local Meat Market off Freedom Blvd and Bulldog' in Provo, UT - 11 months with 6 different roommates; Jeanette of Delta, Kelly of Delta, Michelle of Delta (at the time, SNL had the "Delta Delta Delta" sorority skits goin' strong, so just imagine...) Melissa Jo of NY, Tiffany S. of CA and Melissa Lyn of UT. That was my beat-myself-up-emotionally year. I HATED BYU - still do in many ways. Of course, I had fun -cuz that's what I do DESPITE the situation- but I could have happily done without, thanks.
Centennial Apartments in Provo, UT - 1 year with 8 different roommates; Jenny of TX, Julie of TX, Kristy of ID, Summer of LA (that's Louisiana, not Los Angeles), Susie of ???, Lesa of OR, Celeste of WA and Stacy of CA...craziness and more craziness. Did I mention I hate BYU?
600 No. in Provo, UT - 1 year with husband and the best little calico kitty ever, Sweet Pea (NOT my name choice, but so freakin' cute!)... The strangest place I ever lived in - it was absolute comical. That's a whole 'nother post for the future.
100 No. in Provo, UT - 9 more months with husband and the lil' Sweet Pea kitty-cat. I honestly think that had it not been for Sweet Pea, I would have left sooner.
Orem, UT - 1 month while separated from husband, living with 1 roommate, Heidi and her oh-so ahdorabul son, Harrison (no, I'm not counting him in the roomie tally).
420 No. in Provo, UT - 2 months while separated from husband, with 5 roommates; Katie, Erlyn, Amy, Christine and Raychell - two of them were in the midst of wedding plans. I volunteered my well-established credit so we could all enjoy a free long distance plan. Instead, one well-wishing, yet clueless roomie authorized a service switch without telling me, and I wound up with a $1,500 phone bill, all from a collection of hundredes of frenzied last-minute calls regarding wedding plans in one month's time. I moved out of the house and 4 months later, the bill was eventually paid by the parents of the brides. I have no recollection as to from where any of these girls came from - I was too fixated on my own problems at the time and was often anti-social, often seen as the very defunct, soon-to-be-divorced one in the house, and also "old." My own room-roommate was 17 and I was 24 - she was especially freaked out by me and my pending divorce. It was a bad match. One time, I made them a batch of dark, rich brownies, for speedy consumpution by all, including my roomies' fiances and boyfriends... the brownies had phelene blue in them = Everyone was peeing greenish-blue throughout the week.
Adcox in Henderson, NV - 8 months with an uncle, intended only for a post-divorce recoup.
Mohawk in Henderson, NV - 5 months house-sitting for my uber busy real estate aunt and uncle, who were living in Reno, NV for the summer - It just me, the swimming pool, the snapdragons, and the little green yard cameleons.
Hacienda in Las Vegas, NV - 1 month pet/house-sitting for a boyfriend's sister with 1 very needy, allergy ridden doggie, Blaze and 2 sweet kitties - the birdie-like chirping Bailey and the oh-so-fat, rolly-poly Harley.
Triple Crown in Henderson, NV - moved in with Helen, age 83 when we met - Octber 2000 - my best digs ever! $350/mon for the master bedroom w/ adjoined master bath and double sliding door access to a backyard with roses in bloom, and full access to the rest of the house including the garage. I was free to come and go - she didn't need me for any kind of care. My rent merely supplemented her preference for Wheel of Fortune nickel-slots and frequent gambling runs to the "Magic Star" with her sister, Martha, one year older than Helen. My uncle calls them the GGs - gambling grannies.
African Eagle in Henderson, NV - still with Helen ~ Downsizing from over 2K sq. ft., we moved into a brand new house together until she turned around and sold it in October 2003, in order to move in with her sister, Martha.
And where I'm at RIGHT NOW. . . I've been here 1 year and 9 months (WOO-HOO! - the longest I've stayed at any one address in the past 12 years) and only 2 roomies so far (compared to the 6 or 8 at one time, in the past): the first was a horrible roommate, Amanda, with her 2 pit bulls over for 4 months' time, and now the wonderful Seorin for 1 year and 4 months... and my Otis and Owen for two years come November this year.

Problem is this: Seorin just told me a couple weeks ago that she'll be moving to Texas in August! Soooo the search for ANOTHER roommate begins. My lease will be up in October and I hope to stay only month to month until December, to then move out and stay with either my aunt or my uncle, to save money for ANOTHER move come Spring 2006 - and where to will I be goin' to then? CALIFORNIA. By Spring 2006, I will have moved 20 times and will have had at least 37 roommates.

So, yeah. that's THIRTY-SIX roomies, NOT counting any relatives, nor does that include one ex-husband.

It's now the year 2007. My 37th roomie was Kanako, from Japan - a total sweetheart and fellow lover of Otis & Owen, as was Seorin. I'm still in Vegas, engaged now, but unable to score a job in L.A., despite 7 months of trying. I moved out of my oh-so-sorely-missed apt. in mid-May of '06 to move in with my aunt in June '06, and then moved out the last week of Nov '06. I now rent a room from my honey-man's best man-friend... I'm on my 21st move and 38th roommate, again, not counting any relatives or one ex-hub.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Last Day as a 31 Year Old...

This was taken today...
My last day as a 31 year old, about to complete 32 years of life...

I'll spend my birthday on the slopes tomorrow -
(that'll be the sound I'll make, flyin' down the mountain!)