Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Priorities

I have three priorities this summer. Get in shape (girl!), get a tan, and get a job. It seems like a good balance of needs - health and employment - and wants - sunkissed skin. So far, I'm at two out of three and I'm working hard to confirm the last element. Crossing my fingers over here...wish me luck.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Back to Life...Back to Reality

Has it really been a month since my last post?! much has happened since then. I celebrated a birthday, refinished my deck (be on the lookout for that thrilling, upcoming post), and just returned from a week long road trip. I'm still job hunting and have had some great leads and even a few promising interviews. Keep your fingers crossed.
While I adjust back to real life, go ahead and read the post below. It's all about my road trip (mis)adventures and the characters I love.

1,073 Miles - Notes from the Road

This is a rare time in my life that I've had the liberty to take a weeklong roadtrip, so after an invitation to Baltimore, I decided to do a tour de university friends. I started from Cleveland---->Harrisburg for a night----->Spent two nights in Baltimore---->headed northeast to NYC for three nights---->8 hour drive back to Cleveland = 1,073 miles. Here are a few notes/observations from the road.

  • In NYC, with a population of more than 8 million people, what are the chances that I'd run into people I know on the street? Pretty good, it happened twice.

  • This one woman wolf pack loves to travel alone. I keep myself thoroughly entertained though admittedly, a ipod would have been nice. Ok, insert joke [here] about how I need to join the 21st century.
  • A painted watermelon makes a great get well gift.

  • Marry a nice man. My friend and her husband had at least 10 people and three dogs sleeping in their house. Not only is he patient and kind, but he put up with our crass humor and kept everyone fed.

  • Be grateful for the smoking ban.

  • When in New York, I like to do 1-2 small touristy things. This time, it was a stroll through Grand Central and a visit to Magnolia Bakery. Banana chocolate muffin....mmm.

  • Who needs a gallbladder anyways? Not my girl, Erin!

  • In the most remote areas, there's always a pop music station playing Lady Gaga.

  • In the most remote areas, Ryan Seacrest is on-air.

  • The Poconos are lovely this time of year.

  • My parents are awesome. I'd thank them on here but they don't read this.

  • It's impossible to drive through New Jersey and not think about Garden State and Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, especially the hilariously high Neil Patrick Harris.

  • I love my friends. I got carnivorous in Harrisburg, danced in Baltimore, and wandered around New York. Thanks, my urban family, for being such gracious hosts during my adventure.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

On Dating like a Dude.

A few years ago, I dealt with a horrible break up. Afterward, being that emotionally close to someone again was unfathomable, so instead, I began to a man. And I dated a lot. I enjoyed the company, but I was noncommittal. When I was done dating someone, I just stopped calling. I told one guy to, "Call me when his period was over." Although I was a bit hardened, frankly, it was kinda fun.

There were a few guys I dated with whom I attempted to build something more, but for some reason or another, they weren't right for me. This continued until last fall when *gasp* I opened up and started to really feel again. Long story short, the feelings weren't mutual and that's why I'm back to dating like a dude.

There's something oddly comforting about dating this way. It creates a shield that protects me from the pain of a break up by not letting anyone really affect me. I'm strong and a staunch defender of myself. I know what I will and will not put up with, and I'm vocal about it, whether it's right, wrong, positive or negative.

This doesn't mean that I'm a cold, calculating bitch. One of the nicest compliments a boyfriend gave me was that I was one of the most affectionate people he knew. I'm loving...I just might not fall in love with you. For now, that's not bad. It's not what I ultimately want in my life but until I'm ready to open up again, and this time, with the right person, my shield is up.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Love/hate Relationship with my Cat.

Although this blog is mainly about my misadventures of being single and passing the time while job hunting, today's post is about my love/hate relationship with my cat...and she seemingly feels the same.

From the very beginning, Miss Cleo was a handful. She was a stray and at her first vet appointment, they told me A) he was a she B) she was pregnant C) she had tapeworms and fleas. Ew. She went in for a kitty abortion (yes, I'm terrible but I didn't want to witness the miracle of cat birth and then have 5 kittens to take care of), but it turned out she wasn't pregnant. She had a terrible infection and the procedure saved her little kitty life.

So the way I see it, she should be eternally grateful, and for the most part, she's a great cat. She's talkative and oddly cute. We snuggle when she lets me. She plays games - like flicking up a single piece of food, batting it around and then devouring it like she finally captured her prey. She runs around with a toy mouse in her mouth. An elastic hair band provides hours of entertainment. She's well taken care of, healthy and safe.

But occasionally, this happy home life gets rocky. She LOVED hanging out in the dirty attic with fallen insulation everywhere. At first, I put a few heavy books in front of the door thinking she couldn't move them. But then I'd come home, the door would be wide open and Miss Cleo was nowhere to be found. The spray bottle was ineffective because I couldn't quite catch her in the act. My only option was to install a lock to keep her out. I'm sure it was a sad day when she realized she could no longer hangout in the cobwebs and insulation.

Miss Cleo is shedding terribly but hates to be brushed, so I decided she was no longer allowed to sit and shed on the couch. I reinforced this new rule by squirting her with a water bottle. She let me know how uncool this was by pooping in the dining room.

I took a trip to Arizona and returned to find one shoe completely drenched in pee.

Most of you are probably thinking, "Oh cats! That's just what they do," so I'm keeping that in mind, but her random acting out has to stop. I've started a system of positive reinforcement where she receives cat treats after I do something "mean" like try to brush her or give her medicine. And since I'm home more, I've been spending a lot of quality time snuggling with her. I'm hoping we struggle less with the love/hate and just love. That is, until the next time I find one of her little surprises.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Unemployment is So Uncool - Entry #1

Bills, bills, bills. Some monthly and some unexpected but they all require money I don't have. Thank you, Ohio for giving me unemployment. I truly appreciate it. But when 1/2 a month of benefits almost pay my mortgage, which is very reasonable, it will be interesting to see which bills get paid and which bills will be pushed back a month or two. Now I'm cursing my need for technology at my finger tips and real-time Facebook updates. Damn you, data package.

Unexpected a $1000 brake job today. My god, did that hurt. But you can't drive around for much longer with completely obsolete back brakes. Yup. 100% non functioning.

Oh tax return, tax return where art thou? Combined with unemployment, you will be expected to help me fund some minor home projects, purchase patio furniture AND float me for a few months while I'm looking for a new job. It will be a frugal summer full of value time hot dogs and Miller Lite.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Zen in 10!

Every year, my friend and I come up with a motto for the new year. There was "Great in 08" and then "Fine in 09." This year, she came up with "Zen in 10" while I half jokingly came up with "No Men in 10." I was dating someone so my motto was invalid, just talk, so I tried to follow her mantra of "Zen in 10."

In theory, "Zen in 10" sounds great. Yay for enlightenment and tranquility! But so far, 2010 has been a tough year for me. I've caught myself thinking in yoga, "Fuck off, that's impossible," when the instructor has soothingly suggested letting go of stress. Side note: Sorry. I heart yoga and the strength and comfort I draw from it. Obviously, I was not happy.

I was feeling pretty bad. The kind of bad where you neglect your priorities, drink a little too much red wine, have a hard time smiling, and bed is the most comfortable place to be. People had started commenting about my bad mood. That behavior is far from my norm. So taking a trip to Arizona to visit my best friend could not have come at a better time. Aside from the immense amounts of Vitamin D I would absorb from the sunshine, I was looking forward to spending time with my friend, whose positive energy and inner strength have been inspiring to me.

We road tripped with friends in a beat up convertible to the Grand Canyon. And other than a run in with a tree that left me with a black eye and a scar, hiking around and seeing the Grand Canyon was incredible. Pictures show you what it looks like, but you cannot appreciate it's vast beauty until you see it with your own eyes. We moved onto Sedona where we spent the night and hiked near Cathedral Rock the following day. We picnicked, we built our own rock formations and we laughed, but most importantly, we shared a great experience. The following days were great too. We laid poolside, had a few margaritas, went out to eat and explored the picturesque area. A fitness hike up Pinnacle Peak left me winded but I kept thinking, "Thank god for being in shape and able to appreciate this."

I feel SO MUCH BETTER. Sometimes things happen for a reason - things fall into place when and why they're supposed to. Like purchasing my tickets back when I was employed. Had I not purchased them then, I would not have gone on the trip. And also the timing of the trip was perfect. I needed to feel warm. I needed my best friend. I needed an adventure. I needed to clear my head, zen out in the desert and refocus my life.

So now I'm back in Cleveland, working on finding a job and tackling the "Zen in 10" AND "No Men in 10" mantras. But truth be told, "Zen in 10" is probably more feasible because this makeout bandit can't be sidelined for too long.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Unemployment Perk #3 - Gettin' it done, son.

I'm a procrastinator. It's a well known fact about me. I once was given the Procrastination Award by my swim team. In my defense, I was 18, rarely showed up for practice, and they only needed me for my fabulous breaststroke. But enough about my glory days in the Strongsville Swim League...back to the point of this post.

I bought a house in November and when people ask me what have I done so far to it, I answer somewhat embarrassed, "Oh the house was move-in ready, but I'm planning to do some projects to make the place more of my own." Well now it's spring, I have plenty of time on my hands, and these projects need to get moving.

Today I made a trip to Home Depot, a store where I feel completely out of my element. Usually, I grab the first person I see wearing an orange apron and follow them around like a teenager with a crush. But this time, I wandered on my own. I priced out lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, grills and patio furniture. All by myself! I even purchased sample paint for my bedroom. Those bright periwinkle walls have got to go.

The immediate projects that I can handle on my own (or with a little help, hint, hint) are: paint my bedroom, clean the gutters, finish the bathroom project that's been in the works since before I moved in, and refinish my gigantic party deck. Projects a little down the line include painting the kitchen and living room, painting my office so it no longer looks like a little sailor's room, replacing the kitchen ceiling fan with pendant lights, and installing a new ceiling fan in the bedroom. Goodbye 70's fan.

I'm sure this post will have a part II, aka when I actually do these projects. Right now, they're all dreams and patches of paint samples.

Bedroom color palette: Spring bedding, courtesy of a Christmas present I no longer have to give; Accent pillow for the spring bedding; Ambient lighting; Winter bedding; Wall color options - darker shade for the accent wall, lighter for the rest of the room (See the periwinkle? Eww.);In the center, the wood color and wavy design of all the furniture.

Projects: My big huge deck; 70's ceiling fan; The bathroom project I've neglected to finish. One of these days...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wanted: A Distraction

I'm taking submissions for a distraction. I need a break from my head and heart. Applicants must be male, between 25-35 years of age and f'ing hot. They must be willing to stroke my hair, tell me I'm pretty and lie convincingly that everything will be ok. Tom Ford look alikes apply now!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring, Spring, Spring!

This bout of warm weather has been wonderful, hasn't it? Though we all know there's a pretty good chance we'll have one more wintry blast. There, I said it. Does that make me a pessimist or a realist?

A few days ago, I met my mom at Crocker Park for lunch on Brio's patio. Half of Cleveland had the same idea and the patio was packed, so we were relegated to the open air bar. A decent lunch and a glass of Prosecco was a fitting way to start off spring. After lunch we walked around Crocker and got used to this unfamiliar thing called warmth.

I invited a handful of people over for an afternoon deck party the next day. One very cool feature about my new house is a huge, over sized deck. And when I say over sized, I mean this thing could have been 1/2 the size and it would have still been decent. I don't have any deck furniture yet, so I pulled out a hodgepodge of chairs and we made a circle. Our food table was a chair in the center. Luckily my friends are laid back and had fun, appropriate deck furniture or none. Next time I have a party though, I promise to have furniture and a hot grill. I even managed to get a little sun. See?

But the fun didn't end there. I opted out of a huge group bike ride because I needed a chill evening with my girls. Sitting on a front porch in Ohio City, watching people on their way to Momocho and Mangos made me excited for the upcoming months. Tan lines, margaritas, patios, Whiskey Island, bike rides, art walks and festivals, random sports, boating, BBQs, fresh fruit, pool parties, trips to Dairy Delight, outdoor shows...this is what summer in Cleveland is all about. And I'm so ready.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Government $$$

It's April Fool's Day and I filled for unemployment. Not exactly a HA HA funny prank...more like a cruel joke, but it is what it is, to use that overused, redundant cliche.

Maybe if times get really tough, I'll go this route -

I see some artisanal cheese and organic chocolates in my near future.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Two Songs

I'm often caught off guard by music's ability to draw out raw emotion within me, whether it's the dancing in the rain kind of joy, or the fighting back tears kind of sadness, or that soothing kind of reassurance we all need occasionally. A few days ago, the song "So Far Away" came on and the lyrics resonated within me. "So far away, Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore. It would be so fine to see your face at my door..." I thought, "Damn Carole King, you got that right!"

But a few songs later, a moment of inspiration. "Ooh child things are gonna get easier, Ooh child things'll get brighter. Someday yeah, we'll put it together and we'll get it undone, Someday when your head is much lighter." I took a deep breath and slowly let it out...thing are gonna get easier. Things are gonna get brighter.

Can you tell I'm an avid Magic 105.7 listener?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Unemployment Perk #2 - CIFF

Thankfully, my schedule easily filled up last week. Happy hour on Monday, a lunch date, hot yoga one evening, Lost night, a late night dance party/push up contest, a dentist appointment, etc. I also happily took advantage of the great timing of The Cleveland International Film Festival and the VIP passes I had access to.

Monday I caught two films - North and Van Diemen's Land. North was a Norwegian film about a pill popping, boozing loser (my kind of guy) who had no other option than to hit the frigid wilderness to find his long-lost love and child. Van Diemen's Land was set in the 1800s and was about eight convicts struggling to survive the Tasmanian wilderness after escaping from a work-til-your-death camp. Cannibalism ensued. The theme for Monday night's movies: depression.

Upbeat films was the theme for Tuesday afternoon. I saw The Happiest Girl in the World (she wasn't) and Hipsters. The latter was a beautifully shot, big production musical from Russia. Hipsters, like today, didn't exactly carry a positive connotation. They were young adults who loved everything American during dreary 1950's Russia, but being pro-western was a strike against Communism. Colorful costumes, a love story and a cheeky surprise made me nod wholeheartedly when my friend said, "Loved it."

I saw two more films on Friday that lifted my spirit and reminded me that positive energy can come from due time. Spending the past week with wonderful friends and watching stories of great pain and great joy really helped me fully grasp the message of this year's CIFF intro; the ability of film to transport you to a different place, a different time, a different culture, even if for only 90 minutes. And that was exactly what I needed.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Unemployment Perk #1 - Day Drinking

A little over a week ago, I was laid off from my job. I had a great job at a small, liberal ad agency where I could wear jeans and drink wine on Fridays. And aside from being under stimulated and underutilized at the end, it was an ideal situation. Add my new found unemployment with ending a relationship earlier in the week, and week was pretty terrible.

That Friday was one of those rare March days when it didn't snow 6". It was sunny and 65 degrees...a freaking heatwave in Cleveland. I wanted sunshine on my tear streaked face and a cocktail in my hand. Two friends joined me at Southside but the sun was behind the building, and as most of us Clevelanders know, spring shade anywhere near the lake is pretty chilly. My friend was wearing parka as we sat next to the fireplace on the patio. One cold cocktail in and we decided to call it a bust.

I did sit on my porch and drink a Stella, but the excitement of being able to day drink was lost. I'm going to work on it. I'm not known to be a quitter and I'm not going to start now.