About Me

Musings of a hopeful wanderer.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Small updates

Oh wow, I haven't written here in a while.  I can chalk that up to being fairly uninspired, busy with packing/worrying about jobs/applying for jobs/writing to-do lists/cleaning, etc.  I'm keeping a "things we need to do before leaving the state" list on our fridge and every time I cross something off, I find out something else to add!  I'm ready to get this show on the road, I tell you what.

My car's check engine light is on AGAIN.  Normally I wouldn't worry about it, it often turns on because I need a new gas cap and whenever the current gas cap gets too loose the light comes on.  But because I'm about to drive across the country, I want to get it checked out.  I called around to a few places and they all charge a crazy amount to get the damn light turned off (like $75!) so I'm waiting for Ed's friend to get back from Chicago, a friend who has a car scanner diagnostic thingy.  He can't turn the light off, but he can tell me if there's something wrong.  Whew!

I'm getting discouraged about jobs and, of course, worried we won't be able to pay rent.  I know, I know. It'll be easier when I get there and can follow-up with people in person and all that.  But my thought is, "what if it's not?"  We'll find something, we always do. (Except that one time when Ed was unemployed for like 4 months and I dipped WAY TOO MUCH into savings to support the both of us and I know that neither one of us will be able to do that again, at least until we re-pad our savings.  But I digress.)

Yesterday was a nice summer day where we didn't worry about jobs or money or lists (also: I often say "we" when I just mean "me".  Ed doesn't worry about things too much, he's more of a proactive, "what does worrying accomplish" kind of guy.  But I don't feel so crazy when I pretend like we're in it together!).  We took the pup downtown and wandered around seeing the sights that are so familiar but are almost only memories.  Then we got drinks at our favorite on-campus coffee shop and all the passerby swooned over the Gus Puppy.  We got home and watched THREE movies in a row.

Today is the start of my last week of work.  A week that because of a special annual conference we hold for select former clients, is going to be crazy and way more than 40 hours.  However, Ed and I have started a little call-and-response wherein he asks, "Hey Rebecca, do you work next Tuesday?" and I shout "No work on Tuesday!" and he says "How 'bout on Wednesday?" and I shout "No work on Wednesday" and he goes "Oh, so you must work on Monday, then?" and I shout "No work on Monday!" and so on.  Most days I think that if Gus can understand us, he thinks we're crazy.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday morning observations

I never realized how big a problem acne is for this generation.  Mind you, my skin tends to be on the dry side and I very rarely wear any make-up, so I never had too many skin troubles growing up.  But seriously, there are like 15 acne product commericals an hour.  This problem has invaded my household, too; just last night Ed asked me if I had any facewash he could use.

Acne!  Who knew??

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Product of my generation

I don't know what it is, but there's something about returning from grocery shopping to find my boyfriend slouched on the couch playing video games--the exact position I left him in--just so sexy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Letter to my 16 year-old self*

Dear 16 year-old Rebecca (though I believe at this time you are mostly called "Becca"),

First, let me start off with a few thank yous:
Thank you for having no documentation that could one day jeopardize a run for public office.  No matter how sweet the drink deal was.

Thank for you ruining your taste for tequila for your early-twenty-year-old self.  Nothing good ever happens from a night with tequila.

Thank you for reading and challening yourself to think critically about the world around you.

Thank you for the way you dress, the music you listen to, the movies you watch, the books you read, and your creative writing.  I know you already know it, but you're a pretty cool kid!

Now, heed some words of advice, from your much older and wiser 20-something self:
It wouldn't kill you to turn off the Radiohead and have a conversation with your parents once in a while that didn't end in eye rolling and crying. 

I know it's easy for you to walk away from challenging friendships and to hold on to unhealthy relationships.  This should be the other way around.

You are not responsible for everyone's short-comings (not even some of your own).  Take a deep breath and put things in perspective.

This one is really going to kill you, but: this too will pass.  Just hang on to the moment and ride it out.  You'll be alright, kid.

Future Rebecca

*This letter is inpsired by a "Letter to your 20-year-old self" but since that's kind of, like, now, I kicked the age down a bit.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Things to work on before auditioning for Jeopardy

1. Geography
2. Classic literature
3. History before the 1950s.

The more episodes I watch, the higher it gets on my "Things to do before I'm 40" list.  Trebek, I'm coming for you.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Live better

I now understand that I can't watch documentaries too close to bedtime.

For the past two nights, I've watched two different documentaries that basically ask the same question: how do we live better?  The first, No Impact Man, chronicles a man and his family who decide to live their lives for an entire year with as close to no impact on the environment as possible.  In many stages, they phase out mass-produced food, meat, anything new, anything that comes with disposable packaging, any transportation that emits emissions (including public transportation), disposable diapers, electricity, even toilet paper.  It was really an inspirational story about a family that discovers just how much of our culture is "throw-a-way", from cereal boxes to disposable razors to expired food, and how much they're willing to sacrifice to live a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle.  Some of their experiments failed (they eventually had to install a solar panel on the top of their high-rise Manhattan apartment to generate electricity for a refrigeration unit) and some they'll continue (like only buying fresh, local produce).  But really, the message was: we don't know how hard something is to give up unless we try.  We all know we should eat less meat, eat more local produce, buy less stuff, reuse and conserve much more but we all have the idea that it will be too hard, somehow interfere with our lives on too big of a scale.  So they tried it all and it wasn't that bad.  They became better parents, improved their health, strengthened their relationships.  Living more simply, more sustainably, improved their lives in unexpected ways.  I want that.  What am I, what are you, willing to do to be a happier, more wholesome individual?

(Of course, the movie wasn't without problems.  For example, they constantly had cameras around them, so a large amount of energy was used to produce the film.  Secondly, they really failed to underscore just how small an impact personal consumption is in the overall scheme of consumption.  Some statistics point to personal consumption only being 10% of the country's energy use, the vast majority being used, of course, by industry and corporations.  We should absolutely take responsibility for our role and the way we shop and spend money, but we shouldn't kid ourselves into thinking that by doing so, we will single-handedly stop global warming.  Most of the power always has, and most probably always will, be with industry. (And don't tell me that we are industry and they only produce what we buy. Until we can have viable, realistic alternatives to unsustainably produced products, we are always going to be stuck with choosing between the lesser of two evils.  Any social scientists knows that structures are more than the sum of its parts and that the capitalist economy is much, much bigger than those who are (forced) to participate in it.))

The second film, The Examined Life, is a series of 10-minutes monologues from contemporary theorists and philosophers who try to answer the question: what is a meaningful life?  Unfortunately, this movie only provided more questions than answers, questions much bigger than my brain can handle but that I will nevertheless try to dilenate here (now my real dorkiness is showing, isn't it?):
What is our relationship to each other and the world, particularly as we become more and more entrenched of the biazarre paradox of the millennial age wherein we are more isolate in our daily lives but are connected through technology in incomprehensible ways?  What is our responsibility as agents in global structures?  I really believe that it's not enough to just do good in our own lives, we must on a fundamentally moral level, prevent as much harm as possible.  So then the question becomes: how do we decide what is morally permissible?  Is it enough that I find industrial farming to be unethical and reprehensible when, in a pinch, I'll eat fast food?  How do we live our lives to reflect our moral compasses in systems that allow few choices?  What would a revolution mean and look like in a world with nearly 7-billion people?  Is that the goal?  How can I revolutionize my own world, my own life?  I deeply believe in Audre Lorde's dictum that the master's tools can never dismantle the master's house, but what other tools are available?

As I enter adulthood I've become intent on redefining what adulthood is.  I don't want to become too comfortable and live my life like so many others because I'm too bored or scared or apathetic to be different.  I don't want to just go through the motions because it's easier that way.  I want to live my life in tune with my values while at the same time trying to figure out what my responsibility is in all this and what my choices are.  I want to live better.

How are you living better?