I need a sign or a signal, I’ve overthought everything I can think of

Magellan!

Hi. How was your Thanksgiving? I had my first Seattle Thanksgiving. My friend Jenelle’s parents hosted us and it was pretty nice. They have a wonderful little home in West Seattle. At some point Jenelle decided to give me dating advice regarding a friend I may or may not be interested it… She said “Touch their leg and make sexy eye contact.” I’m giggling out loud thinking of that conversation.

Oh, I have another embarrassing tidbit. Last Wednesday, my roommate was determined to do a little pre Black Friday shopping, so after a work happy hour she frantically hit all the stores downtown. Basically, that means with a two-beer buzz she managed to purchase 5 PAIRS OF NEARLY THE SAME SWEATPANTS. I’m not even kidding. I wish I was. To help her out, I purchased one pair off her with the cash I had in my wallet and I have to tell you, she is on to something! Now, these are total hipster/skinny leg lux sweatpants, but I’m telling you. They are. The. Shit. Today, since I haven’t done any of the work that pays me in almost a week I let myself wear them IN PUBLIC TO THE COFFEE SHOP. WHY AM I SINGLE??? (Sweatpants in public, two cats, other weird personality quirks- that’s why). My favorite baristas were working today and they asked how my day was going and I retorted with “Well, I managed to leave the house but not in proper pants,” and they chuckled and then I asked “How are you?” and the one replied “Jealous of your sweet pants.” Swoon. I can’t even make this stuff up.

Roomz and I had a fun morning on Thanksgiving morning. (This is before she revealed that she had purchased 5 of the same sweatpants). We both had gone out on dates the previous night and were in silly spirits. I made coffee that was entirely too strong and made our hearts race, but she managed to pull off some delicious pumpkin pancakes and we opened one of our Asian pearsauces that we made over the summer when we had the pear-splosion out back. (Seriously, pears for days). I love this human that I get to live with. We found a Christmas tree in our attic and brought it down and set it up. The stand was missing, so I think we were gonna rig something out of a coffee can but then we found an old deck umbrella holder outside and lugged it in. It works perfectly! The tree, however did not. It was one of those pre-lit ones, and the top portion doesn’t light up even though we replaced the fuses and checked every individual light. I, being clever grabbed some of the lights from the mantle and wrapped it around the top. It wasn’t perfect and is pretty much a cat-death trap but hey, it’s cute.

Instead of Black Friday the friend-gang decided to #OptOutside. We went and hiked up Little Si. My friends are dog sitting, so there were 5 of us and 3 dogs. It was an enjoyable time, as much as I think that hiking is just a lot of walking around in the woods. We have decided that the Rogue brewery (Issaquah Brewhouse) in Issaquah is our new favorite place to stop so now we’ve stopped there two weekends in a row and will probably be back next weekend. They have this chocotopolus hazelnut stout goodness that I could definitely drink at least once a week. Then we went and sat in one of the dog’s owner’s house’s hot tubs so all and all, a pretty good day.

I’m a little freaked out at the moment. It appears the bulk of my freelance lists have reached their ends and it’s likely that until new year budgets are in place I won’t have a ton of work. I have about 10 hours a week of reoccurring social media work but it’s getting a little too snug for my liking. I’m still waiting on one of my job leads but who knows. That one is out of my hands now. HANDMADE CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FOR EVERYONE. Who am I kidding, they were all going to get handmade presents anyways. But still, stressed the heck out. I kind of wish I would have tried harder to look for a seasonal gig. I know a lot of places aren’t going to look for new employees until after the holidays anyway… Eeek! At least I have the most amazing house outfit to wear. (No, I haven’t yet worn my house sweater in public. While I’ve nearly given up on meeting someone I do have a tiny, tiny shred of optimism left).

On a last note, I watched all of Gilmore Girls yesterday (the new special, not the whole series) and I identified with Rory just a little too much. Until her last confession. Not worried about that one. It’s hard to be an under-employed writer just trying to find yourself in the world! There was even the “30-something gang” which while I have never once moved home to my parents is a terrifyingly real possibility for me.

Alright. Back to work. Hope you are doing great! Prague looks super cool. I had some good runs this week, though nothing like those crazy miles you are putting in. I’ll keep you posted if I can figure out the job stuffs. I’ll also keep you posted if I can’t but just know- either way I’ll be wearing some sweet sweat pants (and doing that leg-touching sexy-eye contact).

Yours,

N.

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If I could bottle up the sea breeze I would take it over to your house and pour it loose through your garden

Heya Stranger,

When I was a kid, my father would come home after a particularly grueling day and exclaim, “What-a-day.” When he didn’t state that while walking in through the door (yet looking very much tired and overworked) I would ask if he had a whataday. I just had a whataweek.

When it rains it pours and I just had two tough days of interviews and helped pull off a fairly successful event (we had over 75 people show up and I got our Twitter followers to 107- and I stood up in front of the entire crowd and introduced a speaker AND talked about myself, so… go me!). I’m drained.

Do you ever do that thing where you can’t think of the right thing to say so you don’t really say much of anything only to have all the perfect responses at the tip of your tongue at a time when they won’t do you any good? This is how I feel about this past week. Did you watch Lost? I had a total John Locke moment where someone told me they didn’t know if I could do the job and I wanted to tell them “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.”

I feel like my entire life has been spent proving to other people that not only can I do things, I can do them the best and with the most spunk and the highest sincerity. In kindergarten, Tammy Bitton was so god damned good at coloring inside the lines. I was more curious about how the wax and pigments blended from different colored crayons, but her neat, controlled drawing style was the preferred result so I learned to stay in the lines and went on to win “Artist of the Year” awards in school and later, scholarships in college. In third grade, Jessica Caywood got accolades for being the best at math and by the end of fifth grade I was one of the top students in the accelerated math class. In fourth grade I learned “Ode to Joy” on the recorder. My brother is an amazing pianist and was already playing entire pieces by Brahms and Chopin, but I taught myself to play the Beethoven staple in each key on the piano.  In fifth grade, Mr. Erikson said something to another girl about her  being a natural on the flute, but by the end of middle school I was first chair and frequently soloing at concerts.

In high school, I was on cross-country. My freshman and sophomore year, we ran races that were around two miles. When they increased the distance  to three miles my junior year, not only did I spend the entire summer conditioning to compensate for the additional milage, but my times were at least 5 minutes faster total. In undergrad, I took a 300/500 level art history course, and when no one else could answer an obvious question, I finally put my hand up in the air and with hesitation, the professor called on me. To his chagrin, I answered the question eloquently and with succinct wording clearly supplying the comprehension that the graduate level students could not.

I’ve never been the best at anything initially, but I’ve learned how to work harder than everyone else. I don’t know if I have any natural talents other than the fact that I will not give up, and if you challenge me I will rise to the occasion. Every. Single. Time. I will try so hard that you and your mom will be rooting for me.

I’m still examining the bits, trying to find glimpses and flashes of the luxury in the delay. I went for a run in the rain today. October and November have been especially difficult in logging miles. At best, there were a few weeks where I could barely make it around Green Lake, when after a spring and summer of running eight to 12 miles a day transitioned into just wondering “what’s the point?” I have found the pinnacle of resistance that was bogging me down throughout these fall runs. There is a point at about 4.2 miles where I just want to stop. It happens at the exact same incline, every time. What’s the point. But you know what, I want to beat this. I want to log at least 6 miles, because that is the optimum to physically feel my best. I have to push through because if a little uphill stopping point will get in my way, what else?

I’ve never for one moment expected anything to get handed to me. I am so thankful that I’ve had to work so hard, even in those times where I might as well be one of those Jesus footprints on the beach pieces, complete with the impressions of what has to be a giant log.

So can I do this challenge? You bet your sweet cheeks I can. Do you know why I was able to solo or sit first chair? I practiced, took lessons and accepted coaching. Do you know why my three mile time was faster than my two mile? Every day I put all I had into improving myself. Do you know why I taught myself “Ode to Joy” in every key (and can still play it to this day)? Because that is a fucking cool song and I wanted to prove to myself that I could, and can do it.

Maybe I’ll get the chance, maybe I’ll have to look for the next opportunity. I’ve started speaking at public things, so maybe I will be speaking at conferences in 5 years after all. Step after step, at least I believe in myself. So now on this Sunday evening I brace myself for another whataweek. I’m going to up my miles this week. I’m going to write more concise tweets and more articulate articles. I’m going to take my own advice and Be Better.

Again, all over the place. I’m loving the Snaps so keep sending them my way. Sorrynotsorry for all the cat videos from my bed. They are just little fuzzy potato muffins and hell, against all odds I’ve kept them alive for 12 years.

Yours,

N.

When all is quiet and on your own

Mr. Mags,

How’s it going now? This is like, three weekends I’ve managed to not write you on Sunday… Sorry about that. I just didn’t feel like looking at my computer yesterday. Sometimes your soul needs a little break.

I have a pretty heavy week coming up. I have interviews Tuesday and Wednesday, and I’m putting on an event on Thursday. Also, I’m apparently also now on a board for an organization that helps to bring healthcare to the homeless. I don’t really know much about it except a friend asked if I wanted to be the Secretary and I replied, “Sure, I know how to take minutes like a boss.”

Truth be told I’m pretty nervous for these interviews. I have been trying to think of how to thoughtfully answer all the questions they are bound to ask me. I think the hardest one, ironically will be the “tell me about yourself” question. I just don’t know where to start or even worse, where to stop. I think it’s important to be true to myself but that’s challenging when you are trying to present your best face to a group of people (and right now my best face is breaking out worse than it did when I was a teenager). I think my story of how I moved out here is pretty cool, but is that who I am? Do I tell people about moving out here with 2 cats in one carrier and a suitcase full of plants? Do I mention I had no job and no friends and just took an incredible leap of faith? Does that make me look too risky? How am I in my 30s and still trying to figure so much out? Blerg!

Our event has nearly 200 people signed up(!), but since it is a free event it is likely that only half will show up. With that said, I get to speak in front of another group. Quite frankly, I tend to black out if I speak to a group of more than six people but goshdarnit I’m going to keep tackling these little public speaking opportunities.(Future Ted talk here I come- this one’s for you!). For the event, my real success will be be measured if I can get about half the people to follow us on Twitter- I think we are up to about 90 people at this point. It would be sweet to get up to 150. Goals!

This is the first set of holidays I am missing out on hanging with my family. I’ve missed Thanksgiving before but never Christmas. I’m a little bummed but what can you do. My friend Jenelle is from West Seattle and her mom wants to have the friend group over so we are going to go. I am actually pretty excited for a few reasons. The first- I have no idea what to expect when you meet people’s parents. Nine out of 10 times they are nothing like what you picture in your head. The second- I am thankful to have such a solid group of friends. Fifth wheel or not, it’s cool to be a part of something.

Ooh, I have this theory I’m working on. Have you ever noticed that when you are out running you won’t see any one for miles but then the moment you encounter someone running towards you there are also other obstacles? For example- you are running around Green Lake on the outer path, and you are all alone but the moment someone else is running in the opposite circulation as you and your paths are destined to meet there also happens to be a couple with a dog in the middle of the path. And a light pole or a tree. It’s like the universe wants to force us all together for an instant. Think about this though. Nearly every time I encounter someone while running there are also other people and objects and it’s like some force is drawing us all into a space at the same time in the same place. Do you think that the universe is trying to tell us something? Proximity of gravity theory. (Ok, help me name this one!). Like a Honda Element, now that I’ve pointed this out to you you will see it each time and it will be everywhere. The Element Theorem.

Ok Magellan, gotta get writing and preparing. Need to squeeze in a run and maybe test out my theory. Wish me luck! This week is gonna be a doozy, but hopefully a good one. I’m up for the challenge.

Yours,

N.

Be more than words, be more than strength and kind, be love and blind

Megellan,

WTF just happened.

With that said, I have decided to adopt a new life philosophy. I am going to #BeBetter. From now until the end of my time here on this mound of dirt, rock and water I am going to choose to be better. I have a friend Eddy who always said, “Don’t be sorry, be better.” Now, like never before is the time for everyone to be better.

With each situation that presents itself to me, I am going to choose the action of love. I am going to willingly love each human that crosses my path. I will look at each and every opportunity and interaction as a chance to learn just a tiny nugget about this incredible universe. I am going to smile at strangers. I am going to be better and keep looking for the good in all people.

I’m going to be better to myself. I will be more critical of what I put into my body. I will water myself more frequently. I will be better about taking time for myself, to exercise and to dream. To create and to share.

I’m going to be better for my friends. Beyond listening I’ve never been a caregiver but I will be better at helping the ones I love through their struggles.  I will be better because I will help the ones I love be better too.

I’m going to be better for my art. I’m going to stop making excuses and just make.

I’m going to be better for my brother. It’s quite possible that things may get very unsafe for him and others in the near future and now, more than ever we need to show our support for people of all communities, genders, orientations, and backgrounds.

I’m going to be better for my community, whatever that looks like. In my immediate community I will engage with my fellow neighbors to make the place we call home safe, friendly and habitable. With my larger communities, I will stand up- and when the time calls for it vocalize for the rights all women deserve. I will give my time and skills to causes that are good for all humans. I will be better for my community.

If we all try to be better, even just a tiny bit perhaps we can help love and kindness shine through.

Yours,

N.

Your heart felt good it was drippin’ pitch and made of wood

Magellan,

I missed my Sunday letter again, so I’m writing you this one on Monday. I can’t believe that tomorrow is the election. What’s it like over there? Are people paying attention? Are they laughing at us? It’s so repulsing to me that he who shouldn’t be named has made it this far.

I honestly just don’t get it. I want to make a flow chart to tell people how to vote. It would look like this:

Have you ever met a woman? > yes> don’t vote for Trump

> no > DO YOU LIVE ON FUCKING MARS?

 

Very simple. I just don’t get how someone can have so much hate in their heart. I have friends and family of all different shapes, sizes, colors, and gender identities and orientations. Some of the kindest, most giving people that I know who actively share their time, talents and money with their communities are Syrian and Mexican immigrants. I’ve lived in cities that are beautiful, diverse places. I’ve gone to Planned Parenthood for a routine check-up. Even when my shit was smeared on rock bottom I paid my taxes. It’s just gross. How can we as a nation of people have worked so hard towards equality across all boundaries only to let that man get even close to the position that represents us to the world?

On another note, this weekend was my roommate’s birthday. On Friday we went to the UW symphony. I really miss playing music. I don’t have many regrets, but one might be choosing to play the flute back in fifth grade. I wanted to play the drums! (I did manage to be first chair, so, brag). My roommate is an interesting soul. Sometimes I think we are genuine friends, like she would be one of the people in my wedding if I were ever so lucky to find the right partner but then sometimes I don’t know. I know she is struggling with a lot of the same things I am at the moment, and I suppose we all deal with things in our own ways.

I got some very good news at the end of last week. One of the jobs I’m most excited for the potential of is still interested in me, and is bringing me in next week for a five-hour interrogation. Obviously, I’m going to spend the week prepping and thinking of the most eloquent ways to answer the types of questions that they are likely to ask. I’m nervous/excited/terrified because this is the first job I’ve found that actually feels like it could be an incredible step towards a career I actually want. I feel like I could learn so much and push myself to be the best version of myself that I have ever been. I don’t want to get my hopes up, but I just felt like when I read the job description that the position was meant for me. I hope I connect with the team and the feeling is mutual, and I can do something that excites and inspires me from the moment I wake up until my head hits one of the six pillows on my bed.

On yet another note, I have decided to give up internet dating for the time being. I’m just not connecting with the people I meet. I’ve also started doing more things, and truth be told I like how full my life is starting to feel. I have friends who make me laugh. I have places to give my time. I have projects to stir my creative juices. I just have to believe if I keep doing these things that make me feel whole, someone else who is filling their life with good things will get to cross my path. As much as I feel the twinges of jealousy because it seems like everyone else is getting to those other life stages, I need to repeat my mantra of the grass isn’t always greener. It’s pretty damn green over here right now, and I should go walk around barefoot in it.

God, I’m terrified right now. These are some strange times. I am optimistic for so many things right now also… I hope you’re having an incredible time out there.

Yours,

N.