Saturday, December 29, 2012

Why happiness is a cat giving the stink eye

It's that time of year, when bloggers everywhere tally up the score from the last twelve months. Travelers list all the places they've traveled (I seethe and rage), readers list books they've read (I take mental note of recommendations), the rest contentedly check off all the goals they managed to reach in 2012. But not me! Nary a resolution will you find in these annals--I'm stubborn that way, "why set yourself up for failure?" being my personal philosophy. Also, what am I, an oracle? It turns out I'm much better at predicting the past. 

I've been feeling particularly dour lately regarding my state of affairs, maybe due to all the end-of-the-year reflection hoopla inside and outside of the blogosphere, much as I like to think myself immune to such things. Maybe it's the result of my introspective nature and the fact that I'm 32 and nowhere close to living the life I'd like to be, or maybe I'm just at the peak of a hormonal cycle, but either way, it's been even harder than usual to find a bright side, lately. And even harder to drum up any smidgen of enthusiasm for a bright! shiny! new! year! and all its myriad "possibilities."

Which is why it positively pains me to do this, but in looking back on the year, I have to admit that I did make a few incremental net gains in 2012. Certain small steps toward a happier, healthier me. For instance, it took me half of 2012 (and a portion of 2011), but I finally found a job that is at least 50% less bad than my previous one. Granted, I still go to work every morning wondering what the hell I'm doing with my life, BUT I can now do so in an environment that is approximately 50% less horrible than before. Yay?

Also, if I had made any resolutions last year, at the top of the list would probably have been something along the lines of, "Start going to yoga again. Then go, a lot. Don't stop going." And, I'm proud to report that since I introduced the Yoga (Almost) Every Day project back in July, I have done just that. For the last five months, and with only a few exceptions, I've been going to yoga an average of 3-5 times per week. I will NOT think about the fact that I have not made nearly as much progress in this time as I had hoped, that my noodle arms are still weak and noodly, that my tight hips might as well be made of steel for as flexible as they aren't. I will instead focus on the fact that I go because I enjoy it, it keeps me sane, and it livens up the occasional dinner party.

Speaking of sane, 2012 was the year that I finally dragged this mess to a therapist. It's been a couple months or so now, and do I hate it? Yes, I do. Do I think it's helping? Not particularly, no. Do I dread going with every fiber of my being? Yes. Wait, where was I going with this again? Oh, right. Something about conquering fears. I think. I'm not sure where my expectations of therapy came from, but it was almost certainly from tv. The real life version goes, hey, newsflash! Talking about bad stuff feels bad! I'm still working this one out, as you can see. Moving on...

On a brighter note, 2012 was also the year of dinner parties and becoming friends with some of my neighbors and their friends, and for them I'm so, so grateful. (And ha! Look at that, there IS a New Year's resolution at the end of that post. And I think I kept it, too!) 

And last but not least, longtime readers of the Diary will perhaps know that I have wanted a pet for a loooooong time. For so many years it seemed like one of those unattainable ideas, on par with, "Buy a house!" "Travel the world!" "Find your dream job!" "Just write a book!" Like a really nice idea in theory, but ultimately, given my circumstances, not something I could actually do quite yet. 

And then there was Ellie. 
"What are YOU looking at?"
And we all know how I feel about her. (Annoyed, mostly. But also very happy.)

What made you happy in 2012?  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Why I hate small talk

At lunch out with the office today, my coworker (in her fifties, divorced, with a college aged daughter) turned to me and asked what I was doing for Christmas. I told her I would be spending it with my family at my aunt and uncle's house. "Are you married?" she asked. I have worked in the office for six months now, and there are only nine of us there, but I suppose some things can get overlooked. 

"Nope!" I replied cheerfully.

"No kids?" she persisted.

"Nope!" I replied pleasantly.

A small cloud passed. A brief knitting together of eyebrows. "How old...?" she said, and then stopped herself. "No, that's alright," she murmured.

"Excuse me?"

"That's alright," she said. I nodded. We both reached for our ice water and turned away to join other conversations.

It's December, but it never feels like Christmas, anymore.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Why there's more than one way to skin love a cat

Now that the Festivus season is upon us, I'd like to take this opportunity for an Airing of Grievances, specifically in regards to the worst roommate I have ever had. And I have had some doozies! Remember the guy whose parents would regularly swing by for six-week visits? Whose girlfriend seemed to be an aspiring opera singer (say it like a fortune cookie, now) in bed? Yup. This one? Worse.

My new roommate...where to start. My new roommate expects to be waited on hand and foot. I have to serve all her meals. And is she grateful? Well, I have never once heard a thank you. I wouldn't mind so much if she would just be respectful. But she's not, she's...well, she's a loud talker, for one. And she's always talking. She'll go into another room and just yell. For no reason! It's kind of psychotic, honestly. I have asked her nicely to knock it off but she acts like she can't even hear me. But I know she can! And...this is a delicate subject, but, well...when she goes to the bathroom the entire apartment smells. It's like...worse than you can possibly imagine. This happens at least twice a day. Plus, she has no boundaries. She insists on sleeping with me at night (I know, I know), and when I oblige, how does she repay me? With a 5 a.m. wakeup call every day. Serenity now!

Ok, you got me. I'm sure you figured out that I'm talking about Ellie the Cat. When I posted this video of her coming home, I had really, sincerely hoped that her meowing/yowling/crying would be limited to brief moments of displeasure, and not, like, running on a constant loop. I'll leave you to guess how that worked out. It's sort of like having a colicky baby in the house, only the baby never grows up. 

I had a bit of a venting session about it with a friend over gchat the other day:
Me: She is a bad bad kitty. I love her but she's awful.
Friend: Awwwww.
Me: She yells constantly. All the time. My neighbors probably hate me. 
Friend: She just wants to tell you what's on her mind.
Me: Sometimes it sounds like she's being murdered. Like someone's stabbing her with a knife. She's just awful. If I could send her back to where she came from...
Me: I wouldn't! I just love her so much! Damn her! And her adorable soft wittle head.
So that's about where we stand 'round these here parts. I resign myself to constant, futile cat-shushing and never getting a full night's sleep again, and in return I get the loveliest little lap lump.  

Don't be fooled by this innocent face.

I guess it's not so bad.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Why I am sure you are interesting in many positions

One more installment of too-good-to-pass-up tidbits from the Great New Hire Search 2012. Because it tickles me. Click for parts one and two.
I am interesting in the [redacted] position.
 Are you?
I have a Bachelorette Degree in Architecture.
Do you?
II am interested in applying for the Engineering Assistant III position that was recently posted on craigslist.
Uh...that's nice. Good luck to you. That's not the position we posted.
I am confident that I can effectively, professionally, and decisively perform all task and requirements of this position, and most of all I don't need this job. I want it, which is the most critical attribute that I have. I sure you have worked with people that don’t have another choice and wish they weren’t in their position, and I’m sure you’ve worked with people that love their job, there’s quite a difference in performance and morale. You should hire me, you should hire me because I am the most intelligent, versatile, and well versed/exposed candidate you have for this position. You can hire the person that has more experience, the person that's use to the routine of the environment; but, you will be hiring a robot, a person that is perpetual and not at all creative. In hiring me you will be hiring a creative person, a person that is always thinking, open to new techniques, and a person that drives toward success. If you want to hire a robot that needs this job by all means do so, but if you want to invigorate your company with a shot of fresh air, with a bright thinker open to sharing and accepting techniques and correction, who wants to be there, there is no other choice.
Uh...I pick the robot?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Why your body is your business

Fun with Craigslist just doesn't end, folks. Think of this as an addendum to yesterday's post, wherein I put up snippets of particularly baffling responses to a job posting. This is the first sentence of one very hopeful man's cover letter:
Dear Human Resource Professional:

The Company is an outstanding corporation of considerate admiration to me due to the sustainable, renovation and master planning practices in the field.
I just read that three times and I still have no idea.

Then we have the guy with the redundant name. Let's say it's either Pete Peter, Rob Robert, or Dan Daniel. Not enough to disqualify someone in itself, but it does make me question his parents' choices and wonder if perhaps he might have a middle name he would prefer to go by. Pete Peter/Rob Robert/Dan Daniel says:
I know I’m perhaps a bit ‘over’ qualified but I’m willing to work for [way more than this position actually pays] considering our current economic situation.

I’m available to show you my body anytime of the week after 2:30pm to show you my work if you find my skillsets of interest.
Wait, "I'm available to show you my body?" Dude, it's...not that kind of job.

I think he means "body of work?" But honestly, I'm just not sure. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why must you make me mock you?

My boss had me write a Craigslist ad for a new hire and screen the responses and oh, what an unexpected pleasure this is turning out to be.

This one is killing me:
I am a Loyal employee who is Dependable and Responsible period. My Time is very Valuable to me, which is to say that I am usually Early, if not On Time. I Learn Quick in order to deal with the situation at hand as to Adapt to the environment I'm in, when taught well I do well. I take Pride in whatever it is that I do, and tend to perfect it to its highest degree whenever possible. I work to obtain my goals, because reaching them is how you Measure Success. What you need to know about me is simple, I Take Care of Business and Listening is the First Rule. I tend to Write well and keeping things Organized seems to come Naturally to me.
I call him The Natural.

Then there's this:
The last year I spent on active duty and the three following years working in an architect's office were spent full time developing design and construction documents.
So in the future?

Then there's "this isn't my first choice but...":
I would like to start my career doing Landscape Design since I hold the MLA, but considering the economy and how most architecture was stalled out, I'd really like an opprotunity to [redacted] more!
Go figure that his "objective" is to:
secure employment in the Washington DC or Northern Virginia area and apply myself in a professional manner utilizing my education and skills to benefit the organization I work for.
Specific! And personal!

Let this be a lesson to you, job seekers! But now, I have a question. (Any HR managers in the house?) I have always written thoughtful and detailed cover letters, tailored to the position I was applying for, 3-5 paragraphs in a Word document and attached to the e-mail. I have a dozen or so applications here already, and of those who bothered with a cover letter at all, they are all just a brief few lines in the body of the e-mail. Have I been doing it wrong? Have I been burdening hiring managers with the inconvenience of having to click to open another document, and then read through a full page of text? Please advise. 

I received my first cover letter as an attachment! With great trepidation I opened it to read...
Dear Sir/Madam,

Enclosed is my resume for the “[redacted]” position.

I would like to thank you in advance for your time and consideration in reviewing my credentials.  I look forward to discussing with you any opportunities for possible employment.

[not a wordy person]

I just...I don't get it.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Why I love Mates of State

If anyone was wondering if the Mates of State still gaze at each other adoringly when they play music, the answer is yes. And it was awesome.

They didn't play this song last night but I'm posting the video because it's adorable.

Such a fun show. Shout out goes to P for not bailing! Woooo!