Putting the ‘Y’ in Gym

In seventh grade, I had this insane urge to join the lacrosse team. My sister had done it years prior, and my friends were joining. The thing I didn’t realize was that they all had natural athletic abilities, and I did not. I run like Peggy Bundy and get nauseous after the first two minutes. I never got the ball, let alone scored a goal (or whatever they call it in lacrosse). But during the last game of the season, I had a chance to shine. It was a total inspirational sports movie ending, all in my hands. Last couple minutes, down a point against the rival school, I was at the goal… totally open. My teammate tosses/throws/lobs (?) the ball to me and I watch it breeze right by my head in slow motion. No sports glory for me. To this day, when my nephew throws me a ball I flinch as if I’m about to get a Marsha Brady nose job.

I’m terrible at sports. All sports. It’s just not my aptitude, I don’t even look good in a hat. In elementary school I managed to stretch my required ‘run’ of the mile to a stealthy twenty-six minutes, so after the mile I didn’t have to also play basketball. And when I did attempt to put some effort into it I broke my wrist during the shuttle run (you know the one with the erasers?), followed by a nice old vomiting session. So I went back to my old ways, doing everything I could to do exert the least amount of effort in gym class. There was no reason to hurt myself for nothing, I wasn’t going to become an Olympic athlete. So I worked on entertaining myself by seeing how long I could sit in the locker room before being called for, how loud I could yell ‘get the fucking ball!’ to someone before I got detention, and wishing for mono so I could have a couple of weeks off. Those things worked, most of the time. That is until a high school gym teacher forced me to run the time, with her, while she sang girl scout songs. I didn’t think gym class could get any worse.

Today, I know my place. I won’t play football in the park with you, I can’t go ride bikes with you (those things terrify me), and as much as I love it for some reason, I don’t think you want me playing tennis. I’m happy in my natural habitat, the couch, with a beer, watching General Hospital or a Hoarders marathon.

And for exercise? I walk. Just walk. Because I know how to do that pretty well… most of the time.

-xo

*This short post brought to you by the fact that it’s my birthday! So back to enjoying the day, my way.

Oh (S)no(w) You Didn’t!

Yet another crazy day outside my window

 

OK! Whoa there Mother Nature. Settle down tiger. Don’t get all ahead of yourself. It’s only October and you’re thunder-snowing, sleeting and freezing all over the gosh-darn place. What did we do to piss you off, huh? …Besides all that pollution, over population and global warming stuff. I just hope this isn’t a foreshadowing of things to come because:

One snow storm = Yay for a snow day!
Two snow storms = An inevitable acceptance that it is, in fact, wintertime.
Three snow storms = Come on, it’s getting a little out of hand.
Anymore than that, and you’re just a total bitch.

Three strikes and I’m moving to the equator. (Maybe.)

Apparently this kind of pre-Halloween snow made an appearance in 2002, but I just don’t remember. Not one bit. But I’ll tell you one thing: It better not become a habit, missy!

I understand that a lot of people actually enjoy the snow, so you have to turn over that little salt shaker every-once-in-a-while. But I don’t get it one bit. This particular event isn’t going to produce anything worth ‘playing’ in, so what’s the point? Though for me, the threat of snow only gives me the impetus to curl up in bed with some good/bad TV (but, admittedly, it doesn’t take much for me to want to do that anyway).

Maybe I’d feel differently about your ‘frosted flakes’ if the pretty powder didn’t turn into black mush within hours of finding their final resting place. It’s no longer a peaceful stroll when you have to trudge past waist-high mountains of muck just to cross the street. And once it does start to melt, the threat of wading ankle-deep in Coke-colored Slushie-like puddles looms at every cross walk. How fun is that, really?

Now, to reiterate. It’s only freaking October, lady. I want to be walking around in a hoodie on a crisp, sunny day, not piling on layers so I can fit into my goloshes that are one-size too big. I’m just not quite ready for all of this, like a surprise pregnancy or a rogue, airborne beer bottle finding its way across the crowd right to your head. (The latter has actually happened to me.)

But if you’re doing this to get it out of your system, oh (hopefully) benevolent Mother Nature, have at it and go nuts. It would be nice to have a mild winter this year, one where I can actually leave the house without tears streaming down my face from the bitter cold. Though I’m not optimistic.

So, what’s it going to be? I don’t think I can bear this sight much more. It’s not even daylight savings yet for Frosty’s sake!

The date says October, but I want to guess January

What’s your least favorite part about winter?

-xo

Occupy Bar Stools

 

Yet another month has passed without a peep from me. I’m starting to sound like a broken record, so I’m not going to say it again. You know how I feel about this.

 

I go through these phases where I’m completely gung-ho about everything. Motivated about both the conceiving process and the execution, lately I’ve only really been able to think. I can be out all day getting things done and have millions of ideas swarming around in my head but as soon as I get home I’m a total brainless idiot. I don’t remember what I wanted to write about, nor do I have the energy to figure it out. I think the problem has been that every morning I spend my first couple hours looking for and applying to as many jobs as I can. Writing five different, personal cover letters a day is enough to cause intense bouts of insanity and zombie-ism. By the time I’m finished with those, the last thing I can think about is being clever and entertaining. So, for the sake of my sanity (or even just this blog) please keep your fingers crossed that I get a job soon.

 

I have a couple things I have wanted to talk about here but I’m going to attempt to be topical today and discuss Occupy Wall Street, because I happened to be amongst many of the protesters last night, if only for a little.

 

Now, I’m not a very political woman. I care about our country and our future, but I have never been one to be motivated by it. I vote for president, but don’t get involved in any other elections. When I was younger, the only reason I knew when Election Day was was because it sometimes landed on my birthday. In the elections I’ve participated in, I absentee voted because I wasn’t in the state or country. I’ve never had to pull a lever, poke a chad or whatever you do, which actually kind of strikes a little fear into my heart for the upcoming election next year. I realize that Occupy Wall Street isn’t about ‘voting‘, but honestly, I’m not entirely sure what it’s all about. I know they are targeting corporate greed and asking for many of the CEO’s of the big banks to be held accountable, but I’m sure there’s more to it.

 

I have a friend, M, who is very interested in being involved and has been to the protests multiple times. She’s one of the sane ones though, because she goes home. I hate crowds. I mean, I really hate crowds. I don’t like being in the middle of a bunch of people where I feel I can’t get away. At concerts I like to stay to the side or in the back (it‘s easier to get to the bar that way too), I don’t need to be up front getting sweat on. I almost got killed by a crowd of weepy, wussy teenagers at a freaking Morrissey concert, so I prefer to keep my distance. Friday night, M and I hung out and she mentioned that Saturday afternoon she was going to one of the marches with a friend. I wished her luck. At one point in the afternoon on Saturday, I saw some pictures she had posted to Facebook and was comforted knowing she was still alive. Later that night, I got a text from her asking if I wanted to get a drink. I had just finished babysitting and figured I deserved a couple cold ones after a tough four hours of babysitting, two-and-a-half of them watching TV while they slept. She suggested we meet at Washington Square Park where some of the protesters had moved to for an ‘after party’. I was a little hesitant about getting in the middle of all this but she assured me we didn’t have to stay, and knowing drinks were in my future made it much easier. Her phone was dying so we agreed to just meet near the famous arch at 11:30pm.

 

So, how hard is it to locate a petite girl who typically chooses to wear dark colors amid a sea of cops, protesters, and bums at midnight? Fucking hard, dude. First off, there were just as many cops as protesters and they made you walk all around them. And once in the park it was hard to get your bearings because there were so many people milling around. There were people with signs, people standing around talking, one guy in the dog park with his two dogs, dudes sleeping in the corners, people picking up trash, people bringing pizzas, masses fist-pumping for change (you get the picture). And the arch was the epicenter of the rallying, so screw that. I stayed on the outskirts and called her hoping her phone wasn’t dead. Success!

 

Me: OK, I’m here. Where are you?

 

M: I’m by W 4th St.

 

Me: So am I. I’m standing on a bench, can you see me?

 

M: No, are you by the arch?

 

Me: Yeah. I’m looking right at it, but away from the people. I’m between the huge crowd around the arch and a huge pack of cops by the street, on a bench, by a tree.

 

This went on for a long time with no luck. I stayed on the bench so I could see a little better (it’s hard to be 5’4”), making sure not to trip on the dude sleeping on his book bag next to me. Nothing. I was beginning to believe this was going to be a failed attempt. Her phone was probably dead and there was no way we were going to find each other, and there was no way I was going to stick around for shit to go down.

 

I tried to call her again. We went through the whole landmark thing again, hoping we could make sense of our surroundings. Finally this human centipede ‘sculpture/puppet’ went parading around the crowd a la Chinese New Year dragon, M was right where it had just passed and I booked it over to her. I heard a ‘Ca’caw’, turned around and the search was over.

 

She told me about the march, showed me the phone number of a public defender that was written on her arm in case she got arrested, and told me about the cops on horses that were using force on the protesters so they stayed in line. It all seemed totally nuts to me, and we agreed to leave to get a drink. We walked through a group of people yelling obscenities at cops (sounding more like they were at a ‘skateboarding is not a crime’ rally rather than a part of a worldwide movement) and watched another brigade of mounted policemen make their way to the park It felt good heading in the opposite direction.

 

And that’s how I spent about fifteen minutes with Occupy Wall Street.

 

Desperately Seeking Substance

I’ve been intensely bored lately.

Having no job seems like it’s all fun and games. You have all this time to do whatever you want, the world is your oyster! … As long as it doesn’t cost any money.

This summer has been both awesome and lame. I’ve gotten to do a lot of things with family that I may have not been able to do on a 9 – 5 schedule. I’ve gotten to go away for a weekend and decide to turn it into a week at the last-minute, which fits right into my hatred-of-all-things-planned kind of lifestyle. But what to do with all the other times when there isn’t anything to do? The random Thursdays where everyone else is at work and you’re stuck in the house trying to decide if you should go for yet another walk or just find a new bench to read that next chapter. And by the time you figure out which one sounds less monotonous today, you’ve spent the whole afternoon on Facebook.

Oh yes, my life is so glamorous.

And you’re probably like, ‘hey dumbass! You live in New York-fucking-City! There are thousands of things to do!’ True. Although, just about all of those things cost money. Surely I can go to a museum and skip paying the ‘suggested’ donation price, but then I’ll just feel like an enormous dick the whole time I’m trying to enjoy beautiful art. Plus, how many pictures can you really stare at before your eyes go goofy? I get bored easily, especially when alone. And don’t get me wrong! I love being alone. I cherish my solitude more than most, but after spending much of my time flying solo I would prefer to enjoy my art-gazing with a side of conversation. I”m just kooky that way.

So, what else is there? Shopping? No. Trying a new restaurant? Nope. Head for the gym? Can’t afford it. Get my nails done? Even if I had the money, I wouldn’t waste it on that. And so on.. you get the drift. Therefore, I try to get creative. I crochet, try to learn new things, I’ve even picked up cooking. Nice, low-budget hobbies that can keep me entertained (and productive) in the hours that I’m taking a break from the job search. But the problem today is that I’m still dog-sitting, which means I’m not at my own house. No yarn, because I chose not to lug my two current projects (already in full blanket mode) across the city and I don’t really enjoy cooking in someone else’s house, I can get messy. So, I’ve taken to walking with and without the dog. Walking at least five miles a day, up and down the city.

I realize this all seems very trivial. Most people would kill to have so much time on their hands and when I do finally get a job I’ll look back at these times with envious fondness. But the problem is that I’m bored with freedom.

That’s a huge problem.

I’m so bored that the Lisa who started looking for jobs with such a huge amount of dread and loathing for the working world doesn’t really exist anymore. She has turned into someone who would be willing to take just about anything just to have a purpose, and that’s not a good place to be. I don’t want to settle. I don’t have time to settle. I’m thirty-years-old and have to pick my next career carefully because chances are it will be the last one I’ll have. It’s a scary thought that has left me paralyzed with fear many nights. I didn’t go to college with dreams of falling into a position that didn’t leave me fulfilled at the end of the day. I don’t want to end up being the one who cheesily exclaims ‘I’ve got a case of the Monday’s’ after each weekend, dammit!

I suppose I’m still naive about it all. Chances are I’ll become the same blurry-eyed, office zombie that most people are because I have to make a living. It’s a realization that I’m slowly starting to slip into, though will never wear happily.

Now I will answer the question that everyone probably has on their minds, especially my parents’: Why are you still unemployed, I’m sure there’s something you can do?
I shall reply with two simple answers:

  1. I said it above, I’m scared. I’m scared to become a corporate drone just going through the motions in a beige, lifeless office. I can’t imagine spending the next thirty years of my life waiting for five o’clock to slink along. Contrary to popular belief, I kinda like being busy!
  2. (And this is the kicker). Out of all the applications I’ve sent in, I still haven’t heard back from one person that wants to meet with me. This fact, of course, throws me down further into the lack-of-a-job death-spiral. Maybe I’m not as creative as I thought, maybe I’m not capable of having the kind of job I’m hoping for, maybe I’ve been totally wrong about myself all these years. Maybe I’m just not destined to write. These aren’t thoughts I like to entertain, but they are hard to ignore at times. Then I grab some vodka and drown my sorrows. Just kidding! …?

In the end, it all swirls around in this vicious cycle that is very hard to break out of. It renders me useless at times and ferociously determined at others, but the result, so far, has remained the same. But I know one day it’s all going to change and I’ll be lamenting the horrors of my working life too. Because apparently, I’m never happy. But let me make this clear; I am happy, but I also know there is more out there for me and I want to know what it is. I’m ready to leave limbo behind.

So! Whose got a job for me?

-xo

Should I Add Professional Part Time Dog-Sitter to My Resume?

Oh, hey! I’m still alive, just completely neglecting things that I find important. I suppose it’s natural to go through these phases, especially in the summertime. I guess we never veer far from our lazy, out-of-school childhood selves once June hits. And still being out of a job, that laziness creeps up on me like nobody’s business if I don’t keep it at bay.

I lose that battle more than I’d like to admit.

BUT! I’ve recently deposited some money into the bank thanks to a job that still has allowed me to maintain my level of summertime sloth, in the form of dog-sitting. And not even for my parent’s dog this time!

... Or maybe dog-lazing

This is Churro. A three-year old blond, long-haired dachshund. I’ve known him since he was a puppy and I love him lots.

He belongs to the family I nannied for for eight years of my life. We tightly bonded during our year in Hong Kong together, and since moving back nearly two years ago and not being needed by a teenage boy as often, I barely get to see this cute little mug. Now, most of last week and again for a week starting tomorrow, I have him all to myself.

As a puppy he was, of course, super hyper-active as well as an excited/nervous pee-er. The boy I watched quite enjoyed getting Churro riled up while on my lap… resulting in many instances of damp jeans. But, as an intense animal lover, it barely bothered me. He also suffered through some abandonment issues, probably stemming from the family’s very busy, very active lifestyle. The issue was exacerbated even further with our move to Hong Kong six months after being brought home for the first time. He traveled separately from us via a pet-handling service, making an over night stop in an Amsterdam pet hotel where he picked up fleas which freaked him out even more. He was a neurotic mess most of his puppy life.

Our first day in Hong Kong

My heart went out to this little tortured soul so I hoped to create a more stable living environment. It also helped me have an easier time dealing with missing the hell out of my cat, who was with my parents on the other side of the world. So maybe my taking on of this new task wasn’t completely selfless. But, being the hired help that I was (though was rarely made to feel that way), I took on Churro as my second charge being responsible for a good deal of his daily care-giving, as well as occasional nighttime snuggle partner.

My favorite thing to do was take him out for long walks most days for exercise. But it was also in hopes of tiring him out so he wouldn’t bark all day when we left the house.

Scratching his belly on the pavement

The walks never worked in terms of the barking, but it did manage to keep my beer belly to a minimum. Those crazy Hong Kong people can party, another year there might have killed me!

Now that the boy is too old for a nanny (you don’t know how many times I tried to figure out how to keep him a kid forever so I wouldn’t have to go look for another, less awesome job), I don’t get to see little Churro much so I was excited to receive an email requesting my fantastic sitting services. (It also meant I would be staying in an apartment with a working air conditioner!) We’ve resumed our long walks, this time enjoying the sights of Central Park rather than the views of the part of the city Hong Kong calls Central.

Looking over the reservoir to the westside in Central Park. NY.

The view of Central over to Kowloon I got to see every time we went for a walk. Hong Kong.

Not too shabby as far as eye entertainment, if you ask me. I’ll take either one any day of the week.

I’m going to miss Churro after this week because I have no idea when I’ll get to spend this much time with him again. But at least when I get back to my cat he’ll have all new smells to inspect when I walk in the door.

-xo

Walking In Sunshine

I’m exhausted. I’m way out of practice when it comes to this whole wondering-around-the-city-for-the-afternoon thing. I suppose I’ll just have to do it more! It’s a rough life. Today I decided to show spring how much I appreciated him/her (?) dropping by (totally read my letter) so I headed over to one of my favorite spots in the city for a stroll.

In the 80′s on the Upper East Side there is a huge public space along the East River that offers a park, playground, dog parks, basketball courts, about a million benches and a huge path to walk along. I enjoy it so much because sometimes it’s easy to forget that Manhattan is, in fact, surrounded by water (unless you’re stuck in traffic in the Lincoln Tunnel having a panic attack wondering just how sturdy those walls are). It also gives you great, unobstructed views of the sky (none of those pesky skyscrapers)!

Is that what a blue sky looks like?

I walk up and down the river watching the boats go by and enjoying the cool breeze. It’s amazing how quickly you can be transported to a completely serene part of the city in a matter of minutes. The river almost looks like more than just a dumping ground for dead bodies fitted with cement shoes.

Some trash enjoying a little swim

Then I check out the dog parks. There is one for small dogs and one for large dogs. I once saw a great dane at the park and couldn’t help but imagine this poor dog crunched in some tiny Manhattan closet apartment. Poor thing. Once I’ve had my fill of dangly doggy testicles I move on to the small dog park to watch those yippy little guys at play.

Hes had enough

I hung out at the river for only about an hour because in my attempt to not carry a purse I filled my pockets with my phone, camera, iPod and money (I looked like a had extra wide birthing hips). I totally forgot that I might want a book once I got to my destination (I’m a dumbass). I can only sit on a bench staring at the sky for so long.

Hey view, youre totally beautiful but Im way too ADD to sit there and stare at you for more than a couple minutes

So, I slowly make my way back the way I came totally tired from my first real big aimless stroll of spring. (I remember when I was younger walking about 90 blocks in an afternoon and only suffering from blisters and a little too much sweat). I’m getting old. Do they have training sessions for random springtime walks? Because I need it.

Back in the concrete jungle a nice little sign of the season catches my eye.

You look so lonely! I hope your buddies join you soon.

It’s happening guys! The season of long walks in the sun, eating outside, drinks on the deck, sunglasses and pit stains. Enjoy it while it lasts!

-xo