Sunday, January 22, 2006

Do or do not. There is no try.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Genetic Mutations

Because I work with a bunch of geek scientists (and I've jumped on the bandwagon), we have this "Wall of Genetic Mutations" in my department. I'll miss the wall. It's been a source of both education and amusement for me. My latest contribution has been a picture of Tony Robbins.

Cy, the one-eyed kitty, is real. And, plainly put...EEWW.
A goal, a love and a dream give you total control
over your body and your life.

~ John Wayne Schlatter

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

And I wasn't even paid to advertise for her.

Her mom was a rocket scientist; her dad was an alcoholic traveling trailer salesman. Cool writer. Atlanta chick. Funny as hell.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.
Helen Keller

Tamales and Adulthood

I took a job the other day, and then I got a second offer. That never happens to me. So, I did what any anal-retentive, commitment-phobic girl would do. I made about a thousand lists. Pros and cons, blah blah blah. I decided on the one with the more pros. Also the one with more responsibility, more of a commute, more of a leadership role. It’s official. I’m now an adult. Next thing you know, I’ll be purchasing cookware. God help me.

When you decide to move and give your two weeks’ notice at a job, you start to notice more. I notice the people I work with more in the past week than I have for 10 months. My coworker John, the ultimate scientist-former-hippie who speaks of the old days when he wore a "Disco Sucks t-shirt with a big-ass pot leaf on it." My younger female coworker, who is an MIT grad and wicked-smart, but still asks me for dating advice on a daily basis (why she does that, I have NO clue). My boss, the always-made-up Louisiana woman who understands my cravings for Waffle House omelets and our shared past culture of southern sorority life. I’ll miss the people here, for sure.

I’m noticing the dogs I see everyday on my walk to my car. I’ve learned a lot of their names and have memorized their fuzzy faces. I’m noticing the sound of sirens throughout the city – something I’ve gotten so used to and have completely tuned out until now. Everything here in Chicago tastes better this week, like the fresh tamales at Tony’s Burrito that I will crave like crack-cocaine upon my departure. I’ll miss having a Starbucks on every single corner...and that’s no exaggeration in this city. I’ll miss Foster Beach and running on Lake Michigan. I’ll miss the Tap, our local pub. The Tap is our Cheers...

This weekend, I ran my errands as usual, then got into my car and did something I haven’t done since I moved here. I tried to get lost. I just drove with direction abandon, and took wrong turns to get lost on purpose. Much to my dismay, though, I could NOT GET LOST IN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO! I couldn’t believe it. I know my way around this city as much as any other city I’d lived in for years. I guess it really IS time to leave...

It’ll be a week of remembrance while I pack boxes and stack them neatly in my new storage-space bedroom. It’ll be a week of putting things behind me once and for all as I throw away old, sorted memories from years past. Case in point: I pitched my wedding album in our alley trash yesterday. So very liberating, indeed.

I think it was even better than the tamales...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
~Sydney J. Harris

Friday, January 06, 2006

Bohemian Beginnings

From City to Cornfield

I was a hyper kid. Always into something. My parents have pictures of me and my sister when we were really little, and she always looked so perfect. She had that Marlo Thomas, "That Girl" perfectly coifed hair. My hair was cut short from day one. There are a few pictures where I had pigtails, but that was short lived. I think my parents figured that keeping my hair short far outweighed the hassle of constantly cutting gum out of it. Looking at old pictures, I notice a continuous, distinct layer of drool on the front of my shirts, too. It was lovely. I looked like a little boy. A damn cute little boy, but a boy, nonetheless. In fact, my mother has told me that during the first year and a half of my life, so many people mistaked me for a boy that she just played along after a while. Even with the scotch-taped bows stuck on my bald head.

I suppose I’ve always had a bit of a bohemian spirit, despite my Virgoan tendency to be organized and anal-retentive. I spent my 20s married and somewhat caged, my 30s have been nomadic thus far, but now I’m realizing that I’m almost in my mid-30s, on that downhill slope to 40 (well, in 8 months, anyway). I now have the urge to do things like buy a couch and a frying pan. There’s the school of thought that living footloose and fancy-free is the fun way to go. I’ve had several married and tied-down friends tell me to continue on my nomadic path..."Have don’t have kids, you don’t have any responsibilities...just you." Then there is the conservative viewpoint, the ones from people like my father, who say, "You need a five-year need to start saving...settling...laying down roots."

Someone told me once that life isn't about geography; it's about the people within your geography.

So, I’ve decided to compromise. I’m moving back to the cornfield. I like the cornfield. It boasts acres of corn, beans, and blue-collar people with a Saks just a mere 35-minute drive away. It’s a family-oriented place. A pleasant place. It’s my home, or the closest thing to it that I’ve ever had. I believe a nice, cozy couch will be in my not-so-distant future, along with a one-woman bachelorette pad. I will live on my own, sans roommates and roommate’s furniture. I will establish semi-roots with a smaller state sales tax. But I will remain a contractor, keeping my fear of professional commitment at bay. And, I will still eat my take-out dinners standing up over the kitchen sink. Ovens be damned. I have to draw the line somewhere.

I’m leaving my beautiful, adopted city in a short week. The price I pay for the freedom I fought for. The price I pay as a contractor. I go where the work is. I go where I feel the most loved. Bohemian thinking, for sure. But so far, it’s worked well enough for me.

I told myself I’d live in the big city for a year, and I did just that (maybe a month shy). I took subways and adopted alley bums and became one with the rats on my walks home from the local Whole Foods. I gained a thicker skin and observed. I did a hell of a lot of observing. It’s an alive place. It’s truly technicolor. It’s fabulous, and I will miss it. But I won’t cry until I drive away next week, and I’ll only allow myself a 45-minute window to do so. Only until I hit the state line. :-)