Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Viva la Punk Rock!

In my late arrival to the CO last night, I missed out on the punk show I had intended to attend. Lucky me though, I called an old high school acquaintance, Miss R, to make some plans. She is a punk rocker herself and is dating the guitarist in the band Larry and his Flask. They had a 'goodbye' show tonight before they leave to go on tour for two months. I agreed to come and the results were good.

Before I begin the storytelling, here is a nice tangent. I associate different types of music with different places I have lived. Redmond = Punk Rock. Salem = Hip Hop. Juneau = Bluegrass and Folk. Portland (though I haven't lived there) = Indie and Alternative. Germany = Club and Pop. I think maybe this is why I didn't really feel it when I saw the Bastards play at the Alaskan, not that I don't like some Punk, but I don't really associate it with the Juneau scene. Maybe that's why I couldn't follow through with seeing a Bluegrass band play in Central Oregon - it's Juneau's thing.

Anyway, the punk show: It took place at the house, a big house that at one time may have had some traditional charm, but is now a regular concert hall. Band posters and stickers cover most of the walls, a stage was built in the living room, and the place is littered with PBR cans and cigarette butts. I used to long to be a punk rocker in high school, I would have done anything but dye my hair, get piercings, tattoos, or wear too much eyeliner... okay, so maybe I wouldn't have done anything. When I ran into one of the old neighbors he stated that he didn't think I was into this kind of scene. My response was that I like the music, but I'm not as hardcore as any of the kids there. He interpreted this as more a jab at the intricate costume of the punk rock scene, but I was thinking more about how I stood on the sidelines rather than risking damage to my Seychelles flats or my Hobo purse. Either way, I stood out to an extent to both old friends and strangers - luckily, the people I like there are pretty forgiving when it comes to apparel and moshing. I have moshed in the past, but I was better equiped with my Chuck Taylors and some more disposable clothing. The welcome I received was interesting - there were people who remembered me and were happy to see me, hear what I was up to, share some of their lives, etc. Then there were people who didn't remember me or maybe thought I looked familiar - I got a 'hey' from the bassist of LAHF and some interested glances from some others. Then there were the people who didn't know me at all, I got mixed reactions; from attempts to get me 'more into the music' to not attention at all to being asked for my number and being told I was gorgeous.

Regarding the music and the show itself - I was there for three bands, N.F.F.U. from Boise, Larry and his Flask, and Grim's Beard - Grim's was a metal band, actually. The show, as all good punk shows are, was a bit wild, full of boisterous punk rockers and metalheads. Most of the living room was a pit, with those choosing to be less involved (read less bruised and bloody) lining the walls, filling the tiny kitchen, and lurking outside with cigarettes. I managed to frequent all three less involved locations at different times. I took some pictures of the show, which will be posted in tribute once I am back in Juneau and have my USB cable. Punk shows tend to get pretty rowdy, but if you haven't been around it much, you may not know that there is a punk rock etiquette. In the pit, you push, you shove, you jump and you get crazy, but if a punk rocker goes down, you help him or her right back up. People will get bruised, people will occasionally get bloody, but if you adhere to the code all is well. Some people did not adhere to the code and this resulted in at least one person getting kicked out and also one bottle being broken over one guy's head. Miss R was involved in breaking up a fight. The guy who got kicked out was said to have been a Nazi - cheers to kicking him out. The other guy was getting belligerent and apparently knocked around some guy's "lady" causing another guy to defend her. The musicians and the majority of the crowd were opposed to violence and though the bands may have joked about hating everyone, they expressed their love for the crowd very sincerely. Another amusing aspect of the night was that the mother of two of LAHF's band members showed up and requested to hear a song. Usually you don't think of anarchy loving punk rockers having wonderful relationships with their parents, but this was one of those tender moments that you can't help but appreciate. I was very impressed with the energy put forth by the musicians - they were all so into the music and they put on one of the most lively shows I've ever seen. There was something very primal about it, yet at the same time - they were playing good music. Perhaps one of the truest signs of good musicianship is if you can play good music while drunk and lurching around with passion for the music. I'd like to see an entire orchestra drunk and lurching - ha!

After the last band performed, most people convened outside for cigarettes and conversation. I am sure we were all speaking more loudly than usual because of the post-noise haze over everyone's head. My ears are still ringing. I ended up talking to some old friends outside and feeling a lot better about Redmond and its inhabitants. Mr. M invited me to go frisbee golfing on Saturday. Mr. D requested that I write him a letter in German - he doesn't speak German but we had a really good conversation about the role of language and foreign language specifically in American culture. This one kid who was drunk and waxing poetic about the effects of punk rock on one's soul (he even quoted an Eels song without knowing who he was quoting) introduced himself to me, repeatedly forgot my name, but told me in at least a handful of different ways how beautiful I am. I am always grateful for such compliments, but when he asked if I had a phone number I tried to gracefully avoid any such exchange. I told him I wasn't from here, that I lived in Alaska. His response? That he could move to Alaska... I told him I didn't have a number for him. I told him that I was kind of seeing someone (which may be kind of true, but I am unsure myself). Eventually I made my exit, saying goodbye to my friends and driving home to eventually let sleep catch up with me.

The photo to look forward to: The bassist for LAHF playing harmonica while another musically gifted sort reached from behind him to play his bass.

Viva la Punk Rock!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Good morning, Sunshine.

Basically, I haven't seen the sun in about 11 months... until Saturday, that is. Saturday was Wulapalooza, an art and music festival my alma mater puts on every year. It has always been one of my favorite events, made all the better by a nice sunny day. Unfortunately, living under cloud cover for 11 months negates the use of sunblock and left me with a sunburn on my back. Ouch. This is just further proof that I belong in someplace cold and rainy and miserable like Juneau, Alaska. If you think about Darwin's theories regarding survival of the fittest, you would notice that I have the right complexion and insulated build for those cold northern climes. Were I meant for sunshine and hot weather, I'd be thin and tan.

That being said, it isn't always sunny in Oregon, quite the contrary: the Willamette Valley is known for being rainy most of the time. That day of sunshine was a gift to the hippie kids who wanted to laze about or dance in the sun to the music being performed. I went to Portland on Sunday and became once again enamored with the city. SE Portland is this magical land of hipsters. On every corner you can see some plastic framed glasses wearing, canvas bag toting, obscure music loving, indie kid. I don't know if I'm hip enough to join the ranks, but I can long for it either way.

So, sorry, once again I organize my writing based on random ideas like sunshine rather than chronological order, which may be more effective for story-telling purposes.

Friday I went shopping with my sister and my grandma. We first went to this store called Blue. My sister, who wears sizes like S or XS and 3's or some such nonsense found a plethora of cute things to wear. I found nothing. I couldn't get most things over my butt or my chest and when I did manage, it only accentuated the anti-stick nature of my body. Oh well. We went next door though, where I found a nice cotton dress by Velvet (one of my favorite brands) on the sale rack. I've always been a good bargain shopper. After that we went and had bubble tea at Townshend's and I was delighted with my Rooibos-Vanilla-Tapioca Pearl combo. After that we all went home and my sister and I spent a long time getting ready to go to Eugene and then while she was still getting ready I watched Ugly Betty (it's back!) and tapped my toe impatiently. We weren't even driving together, and as I would soon find out, we were not even going to be driving the same route, as she drives about 90 mph and knows where she's going, and I drive about 70mph and missed a turn. I added about 45 minutes to my trip by having to go through Albany. Boo.

Once I finally arrived in Eugene, I went to Miss M's house where we met with her bubbly friend Miss S. We had some breadsticks and some port while we figured out where to go. We went to Taylor's, where I met up with Miss A, and where I was able to recall how cheap drinks are outsid of Juneau. Whoa. We were there for a bit, then decided to go to Indigo, some dance club. I saw some guy I knew from WU and talked to him for a moment, but we had/have basically nothing in common, so it was just confirmation for me that I did recognize this person. Some drunk guy offered to buy Miss M, Miss S, and I all drinks, then he apparently forgot and drank some more himself. A friend of Miss M's did buy us drinks though, so we were not empty-handed. After chatting and checking out "the scene" we went to the dance floor and danced a bit. Miss M2 joined us eventually and some guy danced with us a bit, but when we didn't throw ourselves at him he got bored. We left before bar close, which is earlier than in Juneau (I had forgotten) and I finally got to meet Miss M's boyfriend of nearly a year and a half.

Saturday I drove from Eugene all the way to Portland and then back to Salem with some precious cargo: Miss N. Miss N is my best friend and has been for some time. We met the very first day of our freshman year of college and if I were ever going to believe in fate, that would be why. All incoming students were involved with Opening Days, we had OD leaders and they sent postcards to us during the summer. It was either fate or chance that put Miss N and I in the same group, but I am either really lucky or fate had it that we were sent matching postcards, which placed us as partners for the first icebreaker activity. We've been friends since. Anyway, we went to Wulapalooza, met up with Miss J and Miss L and Mr. J, and went to enjoy some music, some sunshine, some bread, cheese, and wine, and some fantastic company. I also got to see my sorority little sister, some of my close friends from the days in the greek system, and various other people I had missed. At 5pm there was Alumni happy hour, during which we were treated to free snacks and drinks. We, being the recent grads that we are, made the most of a host bar and managed between 3 and 5 free drinks each. We stayed at the beer garden for much of the evening, with stops at the house of Miss L and Miss J and the field below. Miss J got drunker than I had ever seen her (she wasn't a big drinker in the past) and as she was running toward me she slipped on a muddy patch and in an attempt to save herself from falling managed to claw my neck. Ouch. On top of the sunburn I had achieved, I am in a mild bit of pain. We, being old grads, didn't know of any hip parties and ended up going back to L&J's place, drinking some beers, and eventually dozing off. Sunshine, alcohol, and activity apparently put people to sleep fairly early.

Sunday we all went to brunch at Shari's, where we ordered food and gorged to fend off potential hangovers. We had a jolly old time and then went our separate ways. Miss N and I headed back to Portland where we chatted for a bit before I visited Stumptown Comics Fest, possibly the nerdiest but also one of the cooler things I've done recently. I saw some great art, met some talented people, got to look at the author of Perry Bible Fellowship (but the crowd of ladies was too much), and was mildly disappointed that Craig Thompson, who wrote Blankets - the first graphic novel I ever read - had only been there on Saturday. Boo. I bought some graphic novels and one little comic zine about a girl living in Alaska, got some inspiration, and then headed back to Miss N's. I finally met Mr. A, the famous boyfriend, the one who had tamed the wild heart of Miss N. I brought him a little mini comic zine which had some collaborative works by Craig Thompson and another artist whose name is too hard to spell off the top of my head. His character is an elf though. Miss N and I got some food from the market and made some Mexican food, while Mr. A played guitar and we all had dinner and chatted and I had such a wonderful time talking with them that I didn't leave until 8pm. Mr. A and Miss N are now both trying to convince me to move to Portland, which is greatly tempting...

The drive from Portland to Redmond was rough. I started out by missing an exit and taking the beautiful and scenic but wrong route along the Columbia River. I called my sister for the correct exit and had to turn around. By the time I was on the right track it was very dark and I was upset with myself for choosing to drive, thinking I'd make it in time to go to that punk show, rather than staying overnight and driving in the morning with some sunlight. As it worked out, I was stressed during the drive, since the lines were faded and the trees blocked out even the moonlight, I was annoyed when what I thought may have been Madras was only Warm Springs, then annoyed when I finally made it to Madras, then so exhausted when I finally made it to Redmond and then my Grandma's condo at 11:30pm that a concert was certainly out of the question. I went to bed immediately and slept until about 9:30. It was glorious.

Now I am plotting my plans for the afternoon, which may include going somewhere for a nice scenic hike or something like that.

I recently did a nostalgic stroll around the property and will likely do a photo journal entry which will likely provide all sorts of biographical insights regarding life on the homestead.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

That girl needs therapy...

Being home is always interesting. By interesting, I of course mean... ummm... something that is probably insulting. Not every fight that starts at the dinner table (or pre-dinner or whenever) ends with a musical number - most in fact contain lots of yelling between those involved, lots of eye rolling, awkward silence, and exasperation on the part of those not so involved. Lucky for me, I have a home away from home in the form of the condo my grandma is renting. Not only did she pay for my plane ticket, not only is she taking me shopping for an early birthday present on top of that, she is also letting me have full access to her condo timeshare with it's multiple bedrooms - one for me with a queen bed - and hot tub! I have so far used the hot tub three times, a couple times late at night before bed and once this afternoon after watching Casanova and lounging about in sweet, sweet silence. While in the hot tub this afternoon I decided to admire the view of the Deschutes River from the deck, only to see not just the lovely river, but also a herd of deer! Being in Alaska as I have been these past 11 months, you'd think I'd see my share of wildlife, but dead porcupines and the occasional bear sighting still left me wondering where the more graceful creatures were lurking... still back in Oregon, I guess.

I am consistently driven crazy while at home, so I do need some form of therapy - my form of therapy? At least while "down South": Retail therapy. Hello Banana Republic, Gap, Vanilla, and assorted other stores, I had missed you. Definitely hit up some great shops and all the clearance racks. I know I dress well, but I'm not rich (it saddens me too). I also got a sweet pair of cowboy boots at goodwill in Bend for $5. I didn't try them on in store because I didn't have socks, but as fate would have it - they fit. I discovered one minor problem, uncomfortable on the heels, but that was about a $5 fix in the form of gel inserts, making these sweet boots a $10 investment. Holler!

I had every intention of checking out the band, Blue Turtle Seduction, on Wednesday night, but I didn't... I did have drinks with fellow sorority and university alumna Miss W. We had never been what some might call "BFF" but we had a really good time catching up before she heads off to Madagascar in the Peace Corps. I told her about how callous my recruiter had seemed and how it turned me off of finishing my application. I may be starting it up again as I did not get the job with the legislature. Another case of somebody having more experience... Miss W and I spent a bit of time ranting about the "experience" thing in finding a job. Good, great, hire someone with more relevant experience, ignore my enthusiasm and motivation, crush my dreams... how am I supposed to get anywhere if I get stuck working completely irrelevant jobs my whole young life? What this really means is that I am still unemployed when I get back to Alaska in May, that I'll have to go back to writing more cover letters (which I hate), and going to more interviews (which maybe I should start hating instead of cover letters, since those cover letters don't seem to be the problem...). Thanks, Bush for the stimulus check I'll be receiving, it'll be like unemployment. Thanks US Gov, for taking so much of my money, so that tax refund will also be like unemployment. Thanks 401k for being pitiful and under $1000 so I can cash you out minus tax and treat that as unemployment as well. At least I can probably survive a whole month without even busting out the credit card... Not that I'll go that long - I'm totally hire-able. So, off that tangent. The reason I didn't check out that band was this thought process: What if the band isn't as good as The Great Alaska Bluegrass Band formerly known as Bluegrass 101? What if the audience is a bunch of toothless yokels instead of the awesome audience of which I am so fond in Juneau? What if by the time Miss W and I get there, the band plays only one more song? Why am I paying to see a bluegrass band when I can do it for free in Juneau? Etc. Around 11:30 Miss W mentioned that one of her co-workers had said that the Blue Turtle Seduction was good, so maybe I should have tried... a delightful Mojito at the Astro Lounge was a pretty good way to spend a Wednesday night anyway.

Honestly, we didn't stay out that late, since Miss W had an appointment in the morning. It was probably good for me too since I had stayed out until 3am the night before. I went to dinner with a friend from middle school and high school and her toddler daughter. I had sort of been avoiding doing so in years past because, frankly, what do we have in common anymore anyway? I am a single, unattached, often misbehaved 20-something while she is a married, post-military, mothering 20-something. We had a great time though, dinner was great, catching up was great, her daughter is great... we stayed up until 2:30am talking and reminiscing before I decided to head home so I could be up in time for my morning hair appointment (with another old high school and 4-H acquaintance). Her daughter likes me a lot more than my toddler twin cousins... Baby A gave me a nickname - boobaw or something like that. A boobaw is a weird alien children's television character. As creepy as they are, since Baby A likes them, I'll take it as a compliment. How can one possibly be offended by an adorable toddler pleading, "Boobaaaw, hol' my hand!" Exactly - you can't be offended.

This coming Sunday I am going to a punk show at a local bar, it should be interesting because I'll be there with Miss S, the mom of Baby A, Miss R, one of the first people I met when I moved to Oregon, and I'm sure to see plenty of other old familiar faces. Miss W and I were discussing seeing old high school friends, acquaintances, or just people who never even spoke to you. We concluded that once you get out of high school, those boundaries don't really exist anymore. We know this to be true because of the number of "cool kids" who have been friendly and interested in our lives. Not that we really adore small talk, because we don't, but it is kind of interesting to be considered on the same level finally. Or then there are the former popular sports superstars who somehow managed to become overweight stoners with no lives... while that should have provided me with some Schadenfreude considering my pretty low social ranking back in high school, it actually just made me a little sad. To be fair, I wasn't a freak or a geek in high school, I was a pretty well adjusted and well liked kid, I just didn't stand out to people like that.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Family Tradition

Apparently my almost 9 year old sister is a huge fan of Hank Williams Jr's song "Family Tradition" in which Hank sings about drinking and smoking dope. Awesome. Actually, I really will talk about some family traditions, the type that only truly dysfunctional families have:

My dad was bugging my sisters about cleaning their rooms, including my 20 year old sister who recently moved back into the family home when her roommate betrayed her and caused her first serious break-up and heartbreak. I kept her company while she emptied the plastic garbage bags holding her clothes, folded everything, and put them all back into the dressers we had our entire childhood. That must have felt weird. We had Grey's Anatomy playing in the background and I became engrossed in the drama. Once her room was cleaned up we went to VS where I bought about 10 new pairs of undies - I know that it is possible to find and buy underwear in Alaska, but seriously, I was so used to VS that I had to just wait and stock up while back in "civilization" since I already know what I like and what size to get and I know it won't fall apart. I also went to Target, which I had missed a lot. I wanted to get a chi straightener but they were all gone, the employee I asked looked at me incredulously and prodded me about paying $130 for a hair styling tool, and I just admitted to being ridiculous. Obviously other people are ridiculous too, as the straighteners were all gone... The sister and I went to Trader Joe's and bought some stuff, all sorts of hippie foods that my parents used to think were bizarre - they are slowly but surely becoming more open to such things, while simultaneously maintaining their old-school republican ways. Is there a term for this phenomenon? Eating organic products while still supporting Bush? On the way back we stopped at my aunt and uncle's house where I played with the 2 year old twins and got to see the pigs my little cousin is raising.

Finally, Schwesterlein and I got home in time for dinner, which started out pretty well. In my family we have an awful habit of getting into huge arguments. I think we've come up with the best way EVER to end such arguments though.

Okay, so a brief history of my family at dinner time:

When I was really young I used to hate zucchini, so much so, in fact, that I would gag. I am pretty sure I even puked up zucchini when I was younger. We always had to have at least a serving of everything, including whatever awful vegetable my mom was serving (once there were brussel's sprouts resembling gremlins combined with water - you've seen the movie, you know what's up). I used to beg and plead to be spared from eating the zucchini, to no avail. I would then take a bite and start gagging immediately at the horror that was zucchini and my dad would yell at me for gagging. As it was something I couldn't control, I would get really upset and I'd start crying, then my dad would make this awful wailing sound (supposedly resembling my crying) which would make me cry harder. The soundtrack to dinner in my younger years was a medley of gagging, real crying, and theatrical wailing with the occasional loud scolding. Beautiful.

As we got older, the problems became less inane and more dramatic. Sometime during my college years I declared to my mother that I wasn't a good Christian girl because I didn't believe in God - I was, in fact, an atheist. My mom didn't hold this against me, surprisingly enough, but my confidence in her would later prove detrimental. My family started saying prayers around the onset of this lovely war in Iraq - to bless the troops, you know? Apparently they were closet Christians all along and I just never received any of that spiritual guidance in my formative years. The summer before my junior year of college, before leaving for Germany, I was living in an apartment in Salem with a friend of mine. I was at home visiting the family right before my sister was to go on vacation to Germany after her high school graduation. At dinner my dad insisted I say the prayer but I was resistant. My mom (probably wine-drunk) cries out that I am an atheist and that I don't want to say the prayer, inciting the wrath (of God through) my dad. What starts out as an attack related to my rejection of my supposedly Christian upbringing turns into this all out attack on every single trait I possess, every habit, every belief, and apparently my complete lack of maturity at the ripe old age of 19. I maintained complete calm during this episode, even when my dad kicked me out of the house (good thing I didn't live there anymore), even when my mom and all my sisters were bawling hysterically, I just sat there, un-moved. I drove the entire 2.5 hour trip with clenched fists in the middle of the night.

So, fast forward to tonight. We are having normal conversation, which inevitably will piss off someone. I said something which started to get my dad riled up, so I jokingly said I hadn't meant to start WWIII over whatever was said. Somehow, this conversation led to the recitation of some Queen lyrics which somehow led to our entire family, all the children, all the parents included, singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" in full force, using spoons as microphones, and with air guitar solos. Somehow, Queen is the best way to diffuse a potentially awful situation. With the 8 year old doing an interpretive dance in the living room, my mom gathering utencils for use as microphones, and the other sisters and I doing headbangers, shaking our hips, and belting out the lyrics, all was peaceful in the household.

We almost ruined things with Garth Brooks - apparently one Garth Brooks song is enough to cause great contension in this household, but Freddy Mercury may be the savior of our family life. Thank you, Freddy Mercury. Thank you.

In other wonderful news, I watched Juno for the first time tonight and I adored it. I thought it was a lovely movie and it made me get all tender and wish for true love with some awkward but caring boy. Maybe I already know him...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Back on the homestead...

Well, I write now from the family home in Redmond, Oregon. It's about a bazillion degrees in the house because of the woodstove being located at one end and needing to heat the other end. My mom and much taller than before sisters got me at the airport this evening. Most everything went off without a hitch, as this morning I forced myself to get off the couch and out of the warmth created by two blankets and the other house guest (I'm a guest now and there was a minor natural disaster which is supposedly increasing the electricity prices by 500%). I got ready, got my stuff together, though I forgot my book, and Miss L and Mr. CG escorted me to the airport and kept me company while I waited to check in.

Most of the day was uneventful because I was sitting on my ass in a plane for the bulk of it. I was on a stupid milk run again, which makes the trip hours longer than it should be, then my initial flight to Redmond from Seattle was cancelled so that added on another 20ish minutes, meaning I was in a plane or airport from about 9:15am until around 7:50 or 8pm. Best way to spend a day, right? I didn't even leave my own coast. Anyway, the highlights of my travels included reading vanity fair, not dying in a horrible crash, and seeing a really attractive guy with a cheek piercing. Weird? Yes. Hot? Actually, it kind of was. Anyway, I made all of my flights and though my back is kind of killing me (probably a combination of sleeping two to a couch and then spending an obscene number of hours in airplane seats) I still feel like it was a pretty successful day of travel.

Since being in Redmond I have:

Hugged everyone in the family, handed out the Christmas presents I was too cheap to ship, drank two lemon drops, had a fairly uneventful family dinner (uneventful is good in my family), and been amazed at the height of my two youngest sisters.

On the plane I saw a guy who I thought looked like Mr. A from my vantage point, not that I even care anymore, I've decided. That's right, I shall force myself to be done thinking of him. Maybe.

Speaking of being done - I ran into his friend that he is so frequently with, Mr. AC, and we got to chatting. I offered to help out with planning some event he was working on, not realizing until after the fact that this would mean working with Mr. A as well. Hmmmm.

For my "going away party" I didn't really do much. I went out with Mr. L, Mr. CG, and some of Mr. L's co-workers. We went to the Alaskan where this band reminiscent of 311 was playing. It was pretty good, but not really my thing at the same time. Mr. K and I managed to be artistic and then Mr. CG and I ditched the noisy Alaskan and went to the quiet Rendezvous where we chatted about some stuff and I started to realize a little more what a great guy he is. We had a drink apiece there and then walked home and discussed the sleeping arrangements, since I am technically not living there anymore. Mr. L was pretty drunk when he got home a bit later and woke up Miss L, but all was well in the end.

Chronological order? Pish posh. I'd rather just tell stories as they come to mind.

About that natural disaster, apparently an avalanche cut off the hydro-electric power so Juneau is running on diesel, rates are projected to go up 500%, which would mean a $200 bill would be $1000 - not pretty. I hear that the city is looking for alternatives, so cross your fingers or there will be more bed-sharing.

Bed-sharing happened Thursday night too, when Miss P and I came back we convinced Mr. L that we should all sleep in the big bed, rather than sleeping individually in small cold beds. It was quite efficient. Heatwise. Also, I'm pretty sure Mr. L was fulfilling some male fantasy by having two females in his bed with him.

Thursday was good though - went to cha cha lessons with Mr. D were great, we did really well and it was a lot of fun. I then went to the bars with Miss L and Miss P, we had some nice drinks and did some dancing. Mr. BH gave us a ride home when we were ready, which was nice because of the ice and snow still lying around.

I keep staring at my phone, hoping that I'll get a congratulatory and welcoming phone call regarding this job that I want... Blargh! I want it!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hi Winter, I missed you, glad you could come back so soon...

I didn't actually miss winter, but apparently Juneau did. Between the time I got home yesterday afternoon and the time I went out again for my meeting there was at least an inch of snow on the ground - weird, since I had thought it was Spring... When I left my Rotaract meeting, the snow was mostly melted. I then went to see Miss L at the Bergmann (with Mr. BH, for a bit Miss R, and later Mr. JC), and when I left there, it was snowing again. This morning, there is about 5 or 6 inches from my vantage point. Good thing I didn't pack away my snow boots to Miss J's yet.

Rotaract was not exciting last night, it is becoming more and more the club of the mid to late twenties crowd with an emphasis on being boring and adult. I guess that's what most people wanted? I was also getting really annoyed with our one male adviser because he is so outspoken and in such a rude way sometimes. He makes me feel like he wishes I had quit the club when I stepped down as president. Well, guess what, buddy - I'm not quitting! I'm just that stubborn?

Miss L was tending bar at the Bergmann last night, I rang the bell for the first time, but as there were only a few of us there and one was sick and one was Miss L, I ended up buying only two drinks. Ringing the bell is kind of awesome, especially when it doesn't break the bank.

I went to the Alaskan after that, where I ran into Mr. K, Miss LS, Mr. E, and some other people I know. I started out hanging out with Mr. K but wound up spending more time with Mr. E during that night. He bought me a couple drinks and I smoked a cigarette outside while he was smoking a cigar. We talked a bit about stuff regarding the legislature and old college memories. At bar close I got a ride home with Mr. K, Mr. JC, and Miss LS. Once at home, Mr. L was up despite being sick, and Miss L had just gotten home too, so we sat in the dining room and talked and snacked before going to our respective beds (or in my case the couch).

Now Miss L and I are trying to decipher a phone number on a voice message and failing miserably. She's called a couple invalid numbers again. I think we've finally got it. Yeah, team work.

Apparently everyone is having second thoughts about my move - except for me... It feels pretty good to know that your friends think you are awesome enough to second guess the separation decision. I know it'll be best though, so I am not concerned. We'll still hang out as friends and then we won't have to worry about living together issues.

Yesterday Miss P asked me what some things were that couples may have to deal with in an ever more serious relationship and one of the first things that popped into my head was: FARTING. Tee hee. Seriously though, I've lived with guys now and the weirdest thing for me was definitely the flatulence. I already heard about leaving the seat up, I will survive as long as I remember to check the seat. You have no control over whether they fart at random though - I don't do this. Most girls don't do this... I guess it is silly, but I think farting is kind of gross and I make it a point to do it away from people, while I've started to get used to the random flatulence of the males in my life, it still hasn't completely settled with me. Especially when it stinks. Mostly I just laugh it off, but it does ruin any fairy tale notions one may have had.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thinking is getting in the way of living...

I just spent long enough debating whether to go to the gym between the time I started thinking about it and an upcoming meeting that I've run out of time to go. I guess the debate is over...

Arguments for going to the gym:
1) I pay good money for a gym membership
2) I need to work out
3) I ate an entire Dagoba chocolate bar this afternoon
4) I could be happier with my body

Arguments against going to the gym:
1) I have a meeting soon
2) I hate having to do hair and makeup twice in a day
3) I did a lot of cleaning and walking which is active, right?
4) I just spent so long thinking about it that I don't have time anymore.

Sorry, gym, see you tomorrow morning - assuming I can get my lazy bum up.

The trial run with the legislator went well. I was very zealous in the task required of me and wound up with too much information, so it needed some paring down. I suppose too much is better than too little, but when we had to cross out half the things on the list, the amount of money spent on the school budget here in Juneau looked rather pitiful. I felt a little awkward about having included so much irrelevant information, but the request made of me was fairly vague, so I don't think that is held against me. I sent in my references this afternoon, and hopefully I'll get a positive callback for this one!

In my excitement over possibly getting a job in the legislature (like I said, a long time dream) I forgot to ask important questions like: How much will I be paid? What are my benefits? What is my exact job description? When asked if I had questions about what I would be doing, I laughed it off and said that if they listed everything I was sure it would take hours, so I would settle at finding out as I went along. I'm so silly.

Girl talk: I am going to buy a Chi straightening iron when I am down in Oregon - I'm sick and tired of my $16 straightener from Fred Meyer... having tried Miss E's straightener, I'm pretty much sold on the magic of the Chi. I already have a nice blow-dryer, why not have a nice straightener as well? I told Miss L that I'd show her how much better it would work on her hair when I got back. She's got quite the mane, let me tell you. Today was the last day for straightening her hair as a resident of this household. I bet anything I'll have an open invitation to come over to get ready for going out any day of the week...

I am also considering getting my hair done again while I am there, I had a pretty decent stylist while I was there before, I still have her card, and I kind of need a change. I'm considering playing with color a bit too, since I am not poor currently. Up-keep is the worst part about coloring - not that I know from personal experience, having nigh virginal hair, but from friends' experience, I know how much effort (and money) it can take.

Tomorrow I'll be moving all of my stuff to Miss J's in one fell swoop, I hope. I imagine getting the bulk of my stuff too her place in "the red slut," aka a red ford explorer with red upholstery, will be no problem at all. I've always bragged of the ability to transport all of my necessary belongings in one car trip (and that was with the breeze).

I must now buy a plane ticket to Anchorage, pay for my spot at the Democratic Convention, and figure out the best way to pay for a place to stay in Palmer... I wonder if people are carpooling from the airport?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What causes me constant sorrow:

Okay, I've gone through yet another day of listening to nothing but bluegrass. Some may call this unhealthy, some may wonder if it is some psychological issue related to a redneck past (maybe), but I call it enjoyable... whoever would have thought?

So, really, what causes me sorrow is stringent cleaning products drying out my hands and then getting in my eye so I have to pour a stream of saline solution into it while fearing that my eye will be eaten away entirely, leaving me blinder than I already am. Brilliant. I suppose this all could have been avoided had I used the gloves I had bought with the rest of the cleaning supplies, all those months ago. I'll tell you what else could have left me without these problems: Not cleaning the bathroom. Miss L would most likely have hated me a bit had I not.

Today I had an interview with a state legislator! I hope I came across as intelligent ( I swear I am) and I hope I can prove to have good work ethics tomorrow when I go in for a "trial run" or a "one day internship to determine eligibility for employment" or whatever it should be called. What is it actually? Working for an afternoon to see if said legislator sees fit to hire me. I'm crossing my fingers that she does see fit. I've been wanting to work in this field ever since I became Redmond High School's largest politics and law nerd during my senior year. Back in those days I was (gasp) conservative, but now I'm pretty active in the democratic party. All who read and care, please cross your fingers or do whatever it is you do for luck (drück die Daumen).

I also packed for moving/vacationing. Initially I thought it would be really efficient to do both at once, but then I was stuck with making a lot of decisions about what to send to Miss J's (my future home), what to keep at Miss L's (my current home), what to take to Oregon (my former home). Then I have to worry about how I'll probably have to do one more load of laundry before I go because my favorite jeans will undoubtedly be worn before I leave. Then there is the task of trying to decide which shoes not to take, because I really can't help but take at least 5 or 6 pairs of shoes. It is pathetic. Yes. I have packed my largest suitcase with the Christmas presents I was to cheap to mail my family, some sorority tees that Miss L wanted to donate to our sorority, and a small bit of clothing. My plan is to go there and empty out my suitcases enough that I can bring things back with me, since shopping is fairly limited here. I think I'll wind up spending most of my days shopping, spending all of the remainder of my paycheck (I've already paid bills), and then maybe a bit going out for martinis with Miss W in the CO, the Spur with the ladies in Salem, and various other events and drinking establishments. Luckily, I've already got my rent and deposit set aside in my savings account where I won't be touching it, and I've got a reasonable amount aside from that, which I could dip into if I were really in need. Time off work + Sunshine + Extreme retail therapy + Reunions = amazing time. I'll try to ignore the fact that family drama is inevitable.

What a tangent that was... Anyway, I've got my two suitcases almost packed, my carry-on still empty, my boxes full of books and clothes and shoes (I've accumulated some stuff in 10 months) are all inconspicuously located behind a desk in the living room. I am not thrilled about sleeping on the couch until I leave, but I don't really have any other good options and this is a pretty nice couch. In packing everything, I left my former room empty, I vacuumed, made the bed, and even folded and put away some of Mr. L's clothes. I felt so domestic...

Regarding my bass playing dreams, I am suddenly concerned that I may have a harder time getting one than I though. I have found some decent deals on ebay for something to start out at least, but after IKEA refused my order due to shipping circumstances, I started to worry that nobody would ship an upright bass to Alaska. Statism, I say! Does ordering from Canada make things any easier? Oh - right. Probably not since you can only reach Juneau via air or water anyway... Every now and then I wonder why I moved to such an isolated place. Then I just have to wait for a sunny day and I my resolve to stay here until I move to Denmark is reconfirmed.

Update on Mr. A. He didn't call when he said he would. I gave in and sent a pretty concise (yet somehow emo) text message. It was almost an ultimatum about communicating and spending time together. In responding as he did, he has indicated that he isn't completely uninterested in getting to know me better and spending time with me, yet at the same time he is still going to be a lazy ass about it and make excuses. Please, someone, provide me with some miracle cure for forgetting about guys who are obviously not good for me!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Maybe I lied.

People who are over people don't think about them for hours and then text them at 12:45am to initiate a coffee date with ulterior motives. The goal is to demand a bit of time, maybe have a talk, figure out if I must move on or not... He said he'd call tomorrow.

I also searched ebay for 'upright bass' and I think I may buy one and learn to play. Then I can play in folk fest. Miss T, Miss P, and I can have our own folk/bluegrass band. Well, we still need a banjo, but we've got fiddle, mandolin, and if all works out an upright bassist.

I read a wiki-how article about reading music - I need someone to teach me - just reading it was a bit abstract and overwhelming.

I've been listening to bluegrass for hours on end, I think. I should totally be in a bluegrass band. Juneau needs another, right?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Folkin' A!

Folk Fest in Juneau is an interesting and amazing time. I don't think I've found myself so busy and having so much fun in a while. Well, I'm frequently busy and frequently having fun, but this is a case in which everyone seems to come out to play!

Friday found me running some more errands and taking care of more business, including finally going to the gym again. In the evening Miss P and I went out to Folk Fest and then the Rendezvous and the Alaskan where I shared another dance with my first Juneau crush (whom Miss HG once had a crush on, she told me - I avoided telling her that we have the same taste in men because that would be verbalizing the fact that I have a little crush on her boyfriend). I drank lots of tequila on this night, too much, and after bar close my memory is vague but luckily fortified with the knowledge Miss L provided. I know now that Mr. JK walked me home and that nothing happened between us, which is good, because kissing drunk girls is not the most honorable thing ever. I puked. Ewww. It happens now and then, that I get a little out of control and that I find myself forgetting everything and occasionally puking. It keeps me on better behavior for sometime after.

Saturday found me waking up at the time I was supposed to be at work. Oops. I only worked for about two hours, since I had a rather awful hangover and Ms. A is very understanding, having been there herself before. I went home afterward and lounged in my room, reading, watching episodes of Nip/Tuck, and contemplating whether to go out or stay in. Mr. L almost had me convinced that I should stay in and watch movies, but Miss P called and I guess she trumps Mr. L. I met her at Folk Fest and we danced out little hearts out to some sweet Cajun sounds. Once we had our fill of the Cajun music, we headed downtown to the Alaskan and the Rendezvous where more dancing was done. I danced with Mr. E and Mr. W early in the evening, and a very drunk Mr. N at the end of the evening. Mr. N tagged along with me to the Hotel Party after bar close. But not before I waited outside with future roommate Miss J and Miss T. While waiting out there, Mr. A and Mr. AC walked by and Mr. A paid less attention to me than I would have liked, leaving with Mr. AC and saying very little of import. Meanwhile, at the after party, Mr. JC had set up a nice little sound system and was rocking the second floor with some sweet beats and throat singing. My new bff Miss LS was playing her little violin and there was a guy with an accordion and another girl with a fiddle. It was fantastic. Mr. N was beat boxing as well, and some guy finally convinced him to go out and contribute. At this point I hadn't been drinking at all, but when Mr. BH offered a Black Butte Porter, I couldn't resist. I had one or two and was perfectly fine, enjoying good music and good company. I met up with Mr. A again and I want to think, right now, that I am over him. I believe that I deserve better, that I can do better, and that with this realization I can distance myself from him and our empty relationship. He seems wonderful, as this intelligent, passionate, funny, and (in my opinion) handsome guy, but if he hasn't seen fit to give more of himself to me yet, I doubt he ever will. Time to move on!

I worked today for a few hours and it was busy, which was really nice. On slow days I get really bored and wish I were anywhere else, but today was much better. The rain dripped down my coat and soaked my dress this morning. Ms. A handed me a sweater to wear, but I felt a bit like a circus tent, so when she left I put it back, only then noticing the weird line that formed at the border between the wet and dry. I put on a dress from the rack and wore it the rest of the day, selling one, and seeing Miss E wearing it as well.

What adventure does tonight hold? Who knows! Maybe none (might be refreshing) or maybe some more Folk Fest? Look for more adventures in the drama filled life of Melissa in the near future.

Oh - good news is that I have two promising interviews/meet-and-greets tomorrow. Wish me luck! I'm on to bigger and better things!

Friday, April 11, 2008

I've got to admit, it's getting better...

It's getting better all the time.

Have you ever really listened to the lyrics? Yes, Beatles, it is getting better now that you are not beating me anymore! Kind of funny. In a rather uncomfortable sort of way since there isn't really anything funny about domestic violence...

Oh, but really. I am pulling it together.

Yesterday I was very productive - running errands and whatnot. I also took a very long and much needed nap. Went to Cha Cha lessons with Mr. D, which was a lot of fun, and it was my workout for the day, since I napped instead of going to the gym. After that we went to dinner (thanks!) and then folk fest. I cut out a little early with Miss P to go see Miss B playing her set at the 'Vous. I was having a grand time, seeing my friends, chatting, dancing, enjoying some fine beverages. I felt so much lighter and I am really looking forward to potentially having an interview with a legislator and definitely having an interview with one of Juneau's eating/drinking establishments. I think I'll run off to the gym after I grab something nourishing. Then I shall shower, dress for interviews, and run more errands. Good plan? Yes.

This weekend will be full of debauchery though. Oh my.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

While I am at my worst, humanity is at its best...

So, I've had a rather miserable few days here. I've had a lot of cumulative stress and drama and I've cried at least four or five separate times over the course of three days. Perhaps these cries coincide with certain hormonal highs but it's still got a lot to do with the general goings on of my life.

Luckily, when I am at my worst, everyone around me somehow manages to collaborate on this greater plan to make me feel a whole lot better. People manage to walk a different way, go to lunch at a different place, or do things that are slightly different so that we cross paths and I get a much needed hug or conversation. People manage to plot out a way for me to salvage my sanity while maintaining financial security. People, even those who had no need to do so, have saved me from sinking into that deep dark sorrow that sometimes overcomes a person.

I have bitched and moaned for some time about my job and how I despise it. That's my fault. I hate my job because I chose the wrong job for me. I have had a great weight lifted and I have developed even more respect than ever before for the people I worked with. Today, the VP Ops was here and she pulled me aside first thing (I did cry for the fifth time in three days - but for relief perhaps) and she told me that I was released from my duties - not fired - released, that I would be leaving in good standing. I know that people must have discussed it, what to do with the girl who is an emotional wreck, and they chose to do one of the nicest and most thoughtful things anyone has done, they were honestly looking out for my best interests and they are honestly taking care of me at a time of need. Wow.

I feel (aside from a minor headache) wonderful. Okay. That's a lie. I still don't feel wonderful; I feel slightly guilty (maybe I should be Catholic), exhausted, anxious, and a bit sad, but also lighter and more empowered. Now, suddenly, I have more time to take control of my situation in life, to contemplate the issues at hand and really make some changes and fix things. The lightness I feel is comparatively wonderful.

I've got a theory here, and I think it may be correct: Hugs make you feel better. I don't think I hug or get hugged often enough. An embrace is a really powerful thing - it is a physical manifestation of any number of emotions or thoughts or concepts, including: love, affection, caring, gratitude, commiseration, friendship, and so many other things. It can be so much more powerful than words at times. That being said, I got a lot of hugs in the past few days and it was really nice. I got hugs from established friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and even a very caring customer (not at work). They made me feel better.

So, just a brief run-down of the past few days:

I have worked. I have gone to Folk Fest. I have gone to a doctor's appointment. I have cried five times. I have watched a movie. I have consoled my broken-hearted sister. I have received many hugs. I have made a new friend. I have had my faith in humanity renewed. I have given up. I have made mistakes. I have fixed things. I have tried. I have failed. I have succeeded. It's been a pretty crazy few days.

Highlights of the days include: Miss K's birthday, sexual innuendo with Miss B, friends who are willing to pick up the pieces, employers who are willing to pick up the pieces, and the upcoming job interviews.

Speaking of interviews: My first cry of the past few days happened in the doorway of an office at a staffing agency. Brilliant. I was meant to have an interview on that day, but through miscommunication the woman who was to interview me had rescheduled and I was never informed. I had been having a terrible morning and this just pushed me over the edge, causing me to burst into tears in the doorway. The woman who was to interview me (at another time) asked frantically if there was anything she could do for me, and when I responded "find me another job..." she sat me down, handed me some tissue, and pulled up my resume to figure something out. Wow. I don't recommend crying at an interview, but I guess it did me a bit of good. This lady was wonderful and I think I'll have an interview coming up soon.

I also have an interview coming up on Friday for a restaurant/bar here in town. I've never worked as a server or bartender before, but I will be hopeful. This sort of job is terribly lucrative in a tourist town like Juneau - I've heard good things about people bringing in lots of money. I also think that having a skill like serving or bar tending is really useful, as it is a skill that is necessary all over the world.

Barely over a week before I go home to Oregon. I am most looking forward to seeing my sister (I have more than one, but one of them is one of my best friends), my other sisters, my mom, my grandma, my best friends, and Wulapalooza. It should be a much needed vacation, despite the drama that inevitably exists in my home.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Do as I say, not as I do...

When I was in high school I used to train middle school and older elementary school kids on decision making skills. I would talk to them about how to weigh out the possibilities, how to weigh out the consequences, and what sorts of decisions were sure to be bad, and which sorts were better. Even during my freshman year of college I did a bit of this sort of community outreach. I have found though, in the past few years, that making the correct decision can be really difficult. That's all I'll say on the matter.

I felt really unproductive all week at work - I said I'd quit if I ever got to that point in a job, but it's hard to quit when you haven't got anything else and, after all, they did ask me to stay when I put in my two weeks notice. I am doing them a favor as much as they are doing me a favor by allowing me to stay on when my hearts not in it.

I stayed in mostly, which is a bit of a change for this party girl. I had decided that I would be a hermit, that instead of going out I would go to the gym or do something productive. So far that hasn't really been the case, though I did manage to spend less money (maybe).

Friday night I was going to stay in, but I wound up going out and I am pretty glad I did. First I went to dinner with Miss L and Mr. C2 at the Island pub. Mr. C2 and I shared a pizza and wound up teasing Miss L about stuff. Sometimes I tease a lot, sometimes it gets to some people... I told her that we were douchebags by nature - the red hair maybe... We went to see the play Brother after that, written by a local, it was about Tlingit culture in the modern age. We picked up one of the actors and Miss P and went back to our place for a prefunk before we went to the Rendezvous and the Alaskan, both of which had live music. Some highlights of that night include seeing the play, of course, having a nice conversation with Mr. A, and dancing with my first Juneau crush. Miss L told me that we looked cute dancing and reminded me of his availability but I reminded her that I had already convinced myself that it would never happen. Mr. A headed home early-ish that night and implied that I was welcome to come over, but I was still having fun hanging out and I, at that time, was still waiting for my dance with JC1. An hour later, I was considering calling Mr. A, but it was late and I just walked home. On my way I ran into Mr. C2 and we walked home together since he was staying at our place.

Saturday, Miss L, Mr. L, Mr. C2 and I went to breakfast at the Sandpiper, which was really nice. We went home and were just hanging out a bit and Miss L decided that we should all go see a movie. The Ruins. The worst movie I've seen in ages and I even tend to enjoy bad horror movies. Mr. L walked out after about 10 minutes while the rest of us stuck it out. Once we got home we were hanging out a little more until Miss L and Mr. L had to go to work. Mr. C2 and I were hanging out a little longer until he caught his bus. After he left, I went to take a nap, continued my long distance counseling and support of my sister who is dealing with her first real heartbreak (I had just mentioned how well they were doing too!), and talked on the phone with a couple people. Miss B came over at around 11 for a few minutes on her way downtown, she tried to convince me to go out but I felt like a bum and had decided that I needed to avoid Mr. A that night because if I did go out and I did see him I might just continue in the pattern we had developed, when I still need more.

I slept for many hours and then went to work. I am late for this job almost every time, regardless of when I wake up. If I wake up late I am late, if I wake up early I think I have plenty of time and waste it and show up late. It's never really that late, usually about five minutes. Anyway, I worked for a few hours and then got a ride home. I was on my way to check out my new potential residence to check it out but then wound up walking right back to the current residence because my potential future roommate wasn't there. I had dinner with Miss L and managed to make tentative plans with a few people and am instead sitting here not doing anything.

I'm really excited about my upcoming trip to Oregon and I think I may take this month to pay only the minimum on my credit cards so that I can spend money while I am in in Salem and Portland. Good planning? No. Fun? Yes.

I'm also looking forward to my tax returns and that stimulus check because they should be going directly toward paying these credit cards off. Soon I will be debt free and I will be happy and I will be all set to go to Denmark! To travel! To do whatever I please! I can't wait.