scrumptious monkey

so much more than an amp -- and yet, not.


First Day Jitters

I should be asleep. Really.

But I've laid down and gotten up three times already.
My mind won't unwind...

First day, new job -- and I have to be there bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6am.
for the next four days in a row.
(I just heard Rob shudder and groan. oh yeah -- Ms. "I am SO Not A Morning Person.")
Anything can be conquered in small enough increments.
It's a day at a time.

I'll feel better after the first day is over.
The training session went well... the worst part was the drive home (still took be a freeking HOUR to navigate from I-35 to Anderson. Like it isn't confusing enough in the daylight! Sheesh.

I really need to fall asleep and get some rest, it's a 6am to 2:30pm shift.

Nice Cake, huh? Simple royal icing violets, smooth base with elegant dots.
Nothing like what I'll be doing, but what the hell.
Let's have a slice...


Getting Around

My favorite computer game ever is MapQuest.

See, you enter an address you want to go to, and the address you're starting from. Directions and an actual map pop up on the screen. Then -- and here's the fun part -- you get to play out the game in real time, by actually following the directions to get to your destination.

It's exciting, ever stimulating, and has that edge of reality people crave nowadays.

Today, I got in the truck and headed out in the opposite direction of what I am somewhat familiar with -- this time down to Spicewood Springs Road, which turns into Anderson Lane East, hooking a slight right onto I-35 North.. and ending up at 6*** NI H 35.

according to MapQuest, it was a 4.98 mile trip, one direction.
Guess how lost I got.

Ok Ok I am getting better at figuring out the one way traffic web, and with practice I am slightly bolder in deciding to carefully turn around and retrace my route.

Heck, it only took me a half hour and one phone call to find what I set out to find...
and er... an hour to get back.

all that one way traffic stuff... geez.
Still, I found a lot of good things I didn't know were so close to my area.
Look for, the silver lining...
I am such a driving dweeb.


Complicated Relations

There's a joke.

Guy's away in Europe, and he leaves his beloved cat with his brother, who's sort of a cut and dried, no nonsense type. When the Guy calls home and asks how his cat is, the brother says, "It's dead." Understandably the Guy is stunned.

"You can't just tell a person something like that! Jeez, you have no tact at all, do you? Couldn't you have broken it to me in stages? What happened, how'd she die?.." The brother apologises rather absently, and tells the Guy the cat had been up on the roof, fell off and that was the end of the cat. Still shaken, the Guy reproaches his brother with, "See, you could have told me she was on the roof, and had a bad fall, and then, that there was nothing that could be done, and she was gone. Have a little sensitivity, why dontcha." Taking a deep breath and letting out a sigh, the Guy asks, "How's Mom?"

The brother says quietly, "She's up on the roof..."

It's hard to break the news of a family member's passing. There's no GOOD way to do it, and it's a bitch of a thing to get stuck being the bearer of possibly emotionally volatile news to another family member 2,000 miles away. Not only do you have to suffer the news again, you have to be braced for that person's emotional storm... or the lack of a reaction.

My Mother passed away Saturday morning in St Vincent's Hospital (Bridgeport CT). She'd been very ill; was suffering from a system wide massive infection, and had (over the months leading up to the end) lost practically all physical capacity to exist as a human being... except for lucidity. That was the one element that came and went -- she had a relatively clear visit with my younger sister Thursday night, there were family members with her on Friday... and then this morning she passed: peacefully, quietly.

Mother and I had a complicated relationship. My Mother was a complex personality. I am not a ho-hum person either.

I stopped caring about her opinion and general view of things when I was in High school. I moved out shortly afterward; then a few years later moved back in to take care of her after her first hip replacement surgery.

You know the Miranda Rights? "Anything you say can and will be used against you.." If she'd had any personal ambition other than managing her children's lives, she'd have made a ruthless prosecuting attorney.

People would have begged for the mercy of a bullet in the brain rather than endure the cold merciless prosecution of Lucille. Not that she was Evil. Noooo; she was cold, sarcastic, contrary, and delighted in the miseries of others, but she didn't take an active role in making lives miserable... Except by talking to you about things in a way engineered to make you feel as small, stupid, and insignificant as possible.

The only way to deal with someone like that is to tell them nothing, and mask your emotions. I would be pleasantly unattached to the flow of conversation when I had to be In The Presence: Fully suited up in emotional Kevlar armor when dealing with her.

She drove other family members with her controlling minutae: I dismissed it all as inconsequential. This she considered a challenge; and in a twisted way she respected me for not caving from her incessant emotional tortures.

She was different with each of us, fine tuned to the others weaknesses and fears; and she pushed the buttons she could find just to get reactions and watch how people jumped when she did so.

And yes, I still maintain she was not evil for doing so. She was a product of the horrible woman who raised her; and compaired to Grandma, Mom was Snow White.

Mom counted coup at family gatherings on Holidays (which were really obligatory examinations of the over view of everyone's lives; exact measurements were made based on who came, how long they stayed, how much they did...) all the while looking for chinks in the armor.

It must sound as if I hated her. I'm afraid it's worse than that -- I felt nothing for her, and even now -- I feel nothing. I'm happy to be in Austin, and I have no intention of going back to Connecticut if I can help it. And I plan to work hard at avoiding Connecticut and the Northeast just on principle.

She was my Mother: Fairly larger than life, unhappy with everything she surveyed, fearful of what other people thought of her... because she herself had nothing nice to say about anyone. She was my Mother -- and I strive every day of my life not to be like her in dealing with others.

I hope she's finally happy.


I am a tower of jello...

Today, I burst into tears when I finally got a human being on the phone after chasing my local branch office bank voice mail around for 15 minutes (including getting hung up on twice). All I wanted to know was what I needed to bring with me to open an individual checking account in Austin. I had no idea the concept and the implementation was so emotionally volatile.

It has been a day.

A friend of mine is outright furious with me and "going off" on me for having the bad form to tell him he's over-reacting. I knew I'd draw his scorn and ire, but this really seemed... well, frightening. Things have settled down a bit, but good grief I don't like the feeling of waiting for the other shoe to kick me in the behind. I had enough of living on that edge for 44 years, and I thought I could give it up, down here.

The good news is, as far as I know he doesn't have my address or phone number.

S.M. left for his trip overseas to Israel and Germany yesterday... and I miss him. I'm getting around Austin (as I need to) and taking care of myself -- but I just miss him. He's a Good Person. He's kind, encouraging, has a sense of humor, listens well, and doesn't shock at all. Best of all -- he's trustworthy, in a true blue, what-you-see-is-what-you-get presentation of personal ethics and integrity.
He is, simply "A Mensch".

I wish I was the sort of girl he's looking for, to hold up the other end of the 2 x 4.
Sadly, I don't think that's going to happen.
But I do want him to find happiness with his better half, whoever she is.

Enough feeling sorry for myself. I should get some supper, take my meds, and plan my Saturday.


Let Them Eat Cake.

No, I'm not going to give up on a bookstore job -- or a library gig, for that matter. I don't mind volunteering for the library... as soon as I find one of 'em! I can be mild mannered cake decorating Lilly by day, and Smarty-Pants-Know-It-All Librarian Lilly ... on alternating days.

I would like a bookstore gig. Maybe I should bring over some goodies for the BookPeople folks. Like a cake with the Cat in the Hat on it:

hmmm might seem too threatening. I want to get hired, not arrested.

I'm thinking about Dr Seuss because it was his birthday recently (March 2) and I used to make 3 Cat In The Hat Cakes every year (special order for a grade school teacher) to celebrate the day. I think she had a cake for the morning session, a cake for the afternoon session -- and a cake for the teacher's lounge. Now there's an educator.

On the subject of getting the gig with this grocery chain -- they have a mandatory pre-hire drug test, and criminal background search. Now... the most illegal thing I've ever done is cheat on my diet, and the only drugs in my system (at a-certain-time-of-the-month) are Excedrin or Midol.

I have nothing to hide, and I had no problem complying.
Does that make me a tool?

I'd rather be an employed tool than "worrying about what I'm going to write on my cardboard sign". hmmmm..

Speaking of EJ -- I missed his appearance as part of The Barbwire Project at the Chris Whitley tribute this past Saturday. Much as I would have liked to go -- I just crashed from Saturday 6pm to Sunday afternoon.
I was beginning to stress mightly, and I needed to recover.
I'm so dull and boring -- Stressing over the "small thing" of employment. That's not even a blink of interest on the Jerry Springer scale.

off to find the nearest branch of the Austin Public Library.
Ye, I say verily, Yeeha.


Got some Interviews today...

it's a good sign that they're willing to meet with me on a Saturday, right? lol.

I'll take it as a good sign.
I'm asking for Good Vibes sent my way -- Generally and specifically!

And I am soooo getting a cup of coffee. Right now.
Just one. (muahahahaha... it always starts with "just one taste.")

Busy busy busy...


well, whaddya know... I've been hired.

Ok, so it's cake decorating, not retail books: but it's a 40 hour work week, at a decent starting wage. (10 bucks an hour.)
I'm so relieved, I believe I am going to try to get some sleep, now.


Job Application..

hmmmm think I could get away with being this funny?..
This is an actual job application that a 17-year-old boy submitted to McDonald's in Florida and they hired him because he was so honest and funny!

Name: Greg Bulmash.

Sex: Not yet. Still waiting for the right person.

Desired Position: Company's President or Vice President. But seriously, whatever's available. If I was in a position to be picky, I wouldn't be applying here in the first place.

Desired Salary: $185,000 a year, plus stock options and a Michael Ovitz style severance package. If that's not possible, make an offer and we can haggle.

Education: Yes.

Last position held: Target for middle management hostility.

Salary: Less than I'm worth.

Most Notable Achievement: My incredible collection of stolen pens and post-it notes.

Reason for Leaving: It sucked.

Hours Available to Work: Any.

Preferred Hours: 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

Do You Have Any Special Skills? Yes, but they're better suited to a more intimate environment.

May We Contact Your Current Employer? If I had one, would I be here?

Do You Have Any Physical Conditions That Would Prohibit You From Lifting Up To 50 lbs? Of what?

Do You Have a Car? I think the more appropriate question here would be "Do you have a car that runs"?

Have You Received Any Special Awards Or Recognition? I may already be a winner of the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes.

What Would You Like To Be Doing In Five Years? Living in the Bahamas with a fabulously wealthy blonde super model who thinks I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread. Actually, I'd like to be doing that now.

Do You Certify That the Above is True and Complete to the Best of Your Knowledge? Yes. Absolutely.

Sign Here: Aries.


no Internet... until now.

I'm in Austin... and it sort of struck me that it's the daily life of somebody *just living* in Mecca?
It isn't all guitar gods and nightclubs, in other words.

it's like that Zen saying:

Before Enlightenment:
chop wood, carry water.

After Enlightenment:
chop wood, carry water.

The rat race is everywhere, but you can choose where you put it aside and what you pick up when you aren't being a rat.
On your wheel. In your cube farm cage.
For which I envy you all right now.

Right now I'm filling out those online applications, and finding out where to pick up applications for places that aren't online.
I put off driving without a guide for a week... ye gods, it's a big city.

I'm an observer -- this interactive / proactive stuff is not my thing.

I'm also off line for a few days unless I can get a hook up at the library...
Still have that out-of-state license, though.


It's been over 24 hours without an Internet connection, and I have been a very good girl. I've been coping.

I just hope it gets hooked up in the morning and I don't have to get through another day WITHOUT!

I'm in my apartment, and getting adjusted to being able to talk out loud to myself all the time. I have always used "a talking cure" for myself (talking out loud and working things out) but usually, I did it when no one's around to wonder.."hmmmm maybe that's certifiable".

I'm a writer. I can create several characters to have discussions; I run dialog through my mind constantly. And it's with people who exist, whether wholly fabricated or existing in their own reality somewhere else.

Not so crazy, the idea that it could come across as certifiably cra-zee.

It's rather.. weird: I've recently begun to think of myself "As A Writer". I suppose that's a "duuuuh-UH!" thing for folks who read this blog.
There are a lot of things I'm getting from Being in Austin; this is one of them. Self-image.

I had my hair cut Thursday -- the two-tone brown ends silver roots look is gone. Now... I'm just "going blond gradually" hehehe.
I thought of dying it ketchup red or ... and where that MIGHT work to get a job at BookPeople ("I pierced my nose for you! And other places -- am I chic enough to work here yet?!" -- I was told if I sent a video tape AUDITION / mini-movie I'd have a better than average chance at getting my application looked at. Hullo, wait -- do you want to employ filmmakers, or people who love books? sheesh. Seems they have to turn away wanna-bes in droves. Narf.) I kinda like getting silver haired. I've earned it, and by yimminy -- I'm gonna enjoy it!


I had a dream I was playing cosmic bocce ball and my last ball went... ummm... really off; it held me between the dream and waking trying to track where it went.


Yes I'm back online -- I was offline for a few days. Hellish. I can get along without TV, but I need the Internet.

So now I'm in my apartment, which is small, but wonderful. Evidently the guy who lived here previously was half wild boar and half party animal -- everything was repainted, new carpet was rolled in, new countertops were applied -- there are some ... "interesting" dents on the frige but nothing serious. All the appliances work. The one weird thing is the shower pipe was installed at 5 feet. This is wonderful for taking a shower and not washing my hair, if a little awkward for shampooing. But hey -- I bend!

I just had the first of "knocks on the door" from someone looking for the previous tenant. I was a little concerned that the sort of lifeform that would come looking for the critter who used to live here would be... um.. frightening. Fortunately -- quelle surprise! -- it looked and sounded like a college student, was very apologetic; and from the shocked expression on his face, he was thinking his Mom was suddenly in residence where one of the pack animals used to be.

The hunt for employment continues...