Random and disconnected updates:
- We have an apartment! We're cutting down on space (since our current apartment has too much to spare), which means that for the same amount of rent, we're downtown within walking distance of my work and Alex's classes, plus we get a dishwasher, fitness room, pool (tiny, but indoors), and jacuzzi. Between the convenience (cutting down my commute time from 1 1/2 hours round-trip to 10 minutes each way), the additional exercise (walking to and from work, plus the fitness room in the building which I'll hopefully actually use), and the dishwasher (it's been TOO long!), I'm quite pleased. Now we've just got to manage the packing-- ugh.
(I could go on at great length about the implications of this impending move, and my departure for Evanston; but I've decided this has got to be a just-the-facts entry tonight, so that'll have to wait for another day.)
- The U2 concerts were a lot of fun. The only sad part is that I built my expectations so high, so that even though they were among the best concerts I've ever been to, there's still a bit of a lingering let-down. There are a number of reasons for that, including: a) cheap nosebleed seats so far away from the intensity around the stage; b) almost exactly the same setlist the two nights in a row, which is understandable but a little disappointing; and c) the fact that I think I watched the ZooTV DVD a few too many times, and so despite the fact that I knew what to expect from this tour, deep down I was hoping for a bit more glamour, showmanship, and, well, MacPhisto. That being said, though, they were amazing nonetheless. I put the first night up there with my other two favorite shows ever, Simon & Garfunkel and Travis. (It's funny to think about how all three were wonderful in such very different ways.) And I'm going to try to go to another concert when they're back in Chicago in September, and see if I can get close to the stage, although unfortunately I think my options for that are paying astronomical amounts of money and/or the general admission section (which is a pretty risky choice for me, both because if I don't end up really close I won't be able to see a thing because of my height, and because, for some reason probably having to do with bad posture, standing for extended periods of time makes my legs and body ache miserably, and this would probably require 6 hours or so).
- So I recently learned about something called co-housing, and I'm really excited. See, it's only logical that the first home I purchase is going to be a condo, both for space and cost reasons. But I've always been kind of freaked out by the idea, specifically about condo associations and all the horror stories I've heard about them. (For those of you who don't know much about condos: basically, it's just a big apartment building except that people buy and own the individual apartments. They elect a condo association, which charges condo fees to maintain the common areas of the building, and sets all sorts of rules to maintain the integrity and basically the property value of the building.) Anyway, co-housing is similar, except that it's based on principles of building community, participatory democracy, and non-hierarchical consensus-based decision-making. Everyone's involved in the decisions, and there's a conscious intention to consider values beyond merely financial-- for example, many co-housing communities have cutting-edge environmentally friendly technology. There aren't many of these co-housing communities (they're not all condo buildings, sometimes they're a community of townhomes or single-family homes), but there's a half-dozen or so in the DC area, which is currently the most likely bet for my first foray into homeownership. I think it would just be wonderful to end up in a place like that.
- I was up in Madison, Wisconsin, this past weekend, visiting Alex's family. On Saturday, we went to this very strange thing called BratFest. It's a bratwurst festival (apparently bratwurst is very popular up in Wisconsin; there was also some at the family picnic on Sunday, and the sports bar we went to was called State Street Brats). Basically the only food there is bratwurst, and they sell them for $1 each with the proceeds for charity, and try to set a new world record (which seems to involve breaking their previous year's record). This year they're going for 200,000 sold over the 4-day festival. They also had vegetarian bratwursts, so I went ahead and had one. It was very tasty; I've had vegetarian hotdogs before many times-- I have some in my fridge right now-- but this had a different and interesting flavor. (But everyone asks me if it tasted like real bratwurst, and I don't know, because I've never had one made out of meat!)
- And last, but not least, is my adventure this evening. After a nearly five-hour-long odyssey (bus to O'Hare, airport monorail, bus to Evanston), I finally made my way back to my own front porch this evening at around 7. As I dug through my pockets for my key, a sinking sensation began to hit me, and I was suddenly sure that I hadn't taken my key when I left early Saturday morning. Since Alex wasn't planning to return until the following night, this posed a problem. After a brief moment of panic ("Where am I going to get a key? Who do I even call? Who'll be in on Memorial Day? What do I do?") I decided to explore all possible avenues. I pushed at the back door and jiggled the handle of the front door for 5 minutes, to no avail. I attempted to use a credit card to pick the lock on the front door. Then it was time for the windows. There are two that are relatively large and close to the ground (i.e., about 4 feet up), but as much as I tried, their storm windows were solidly in place and would not budge from the outside.
That left me with the tiny window over the sink in the kitchen-- maybe 6 or 7 feet high, and only about a foot wide. But after climbing on a lawn-chair the neighbors had left out, I discovered it had one key advantage-- the outside screen had some sort of wooden frame secured by nails, and with much shoving and jiggling, I managed to get it up a few inches, enough that I figured I might be able to squeeze through. But the opening was still above my shoulders. So I went to grab another chair and stick it on top. That worked better, and soon I was through to my armpits, my hand grasping the sink's faucet. But my upper-body strength is terrible, and after several earnest efforts, I was making no progress. So I scrounged around the yard once again, and added yet another item to my tower, a chair fragment this time. It was all rather precarious, but it worked, and I managed to wriggle through a hole about 3 inches high and a foot wide, across the sink, and into the kitchen. I don't think I'm going to forget my keys again anytime soon.
I'm not sure how it's been a month since I've written in here-- I'm not sure how it's been a month since early April, really. The time seems to have flown.
Work has been a challenge lately. I feel more behind and lost now than I did 3 months ago or 6 months ago. I guess it's just that I and those around me feel like after more than a year, I'm not new anymore, so maybe the expectations are higher. But I realize that there is so much more to the working world than I imagined before I started, and sometimes I feel like I'm wandering through a minefield without a map. Okay, maybe that's a little overdramatic. But there is so much to get the hang of, and often I find myself thinking, "I wish I wasn't at my first job anymore!" (Not that I want to leave my job itself-- I like it a lot-- but I'm just tired of not having any context or basis of comparison for things.)
I've had a bit more social interaction than usual, lately, which is certainly good. Last weekend I hung out over at Kyle's
with him and Peter and Sharlyn. And then tonight I spent a couple hours at Cafe Mud with Sharlyn and Rebecca. Both times, it was fun and nice and casual-- the kind of things that make me wonder why the hell it doesn't happen more often.
I guess part of it's just coming to terms with the fact that I need to push myself into these situations. Even if I'm quite comfortable with the people themselves, like Kyle and Peter and Sharlyn and Rebecca, I'm still not really comfortable with initiating-- I want to be sought out, or else I'll feel like I'm forcing myself in. But honestly, that approach just doesn't make sense for my life. What I have is casual friends who'd be glad to hang out with me but aren't going to go out of their way to seek me out, and so waiting to be asked is a recipe for social isolation. I've let that go on for too long, and I need to go ahead and take more initiative, which I've been attempting lately.
There was this odd moment a couple weeks ago, walking back from SEJ with Kyle, where we stood for a few long minutes at the corner where we usually part ways, and I more or less pleaded for him to find somewhere to pencil me into his always-busy schedule. Afterwards, when I was walking away, I had this odd sort of frustrated depressed feeling. I'm so very uncomfortable being in that position, where I feel like I'm practically begging. And with Kyle, it seems it's always that way. He always says very earnestly that we should get together sometime but he's very busy right now, and I say okay and wait for him to get back to me, and in the almost two years I've known him I think we've only spent time together one-on-one once or twice (aside from our little five-minute walks back from SEJ). I've always had this sense that Kyle and I had the potential to be really good friends, but I never know where I stand with him, and it seems like almost a parallel-universe scenario. I dunno. I just wish things were different, but I don't know if they ever will be.
Well, I ought to get some sleep. I intended to get a lot more cleaning done tonight, in advance of my sister coming into town this week. And U2 concerts, Monday and
Tuesday! (Not that the cleaning has anything to do with those. But go with me here.) Take care, y'all.