Friday, July 20, 2012

Because Life Goes On

As I pack up the part of the apartment that isn't mine, I reflect on the day I've had.  A friend invited me to go backpacking in the Tetons, I almost finished updating my cute little truck, I have delicious home brewed beer to sip, the guy I loved isn't an asshole, just a realist (granted reality struck a little late in the game), and most importantly (yes today, this is the most important thing), friends invited me to dinner.  We all cooked and laughed around the table.  Two Americans, a Brazilian, and two lovely people from Kosovo sat down to break bread.  We talked about politics, family, global wars, discussed trips we've been on, and talked about our futures, because life keeps happening.  Every single day!  A fact that has eluded me as of late.

We are work partners, classmates, each others' sounding board for those wacky ideas after one too many beers, and most importantly a port in the storm.  While I may be processing my personal life online, for all to see, I know it's my friends who will read it and draw out the conversation later.  They wait for the quiet moment and pounce, they even throw in a "Well, it's time to buck the f*ck up).  Which is usually necessary in times of wallowing.  As Jane Austin said "Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love."  Right on lady!

The friends we make in this life are the most important investment we will make in ourselves and in creating a better society.  If not for friends, there would be no one to call at all hours, no one to share your family stories with, no one to call you on something when you get a little too high on that soapbox, and no one to scrape you off the floor (however you managed to get down there).  Most importantly, there would be much less compassion, less forgiveness, and no fun in general.  (I can only hang out with a corgi and my truck for so long :)  These are all things I've learned from the very important people in my life.

Different sunsets for different people.  Getting excited to follow a different one for now and make some new friends along the way.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Break-Up Story

What is one to do when her boyfriend dumps her, AND finds he has immediately shacked up again?  So much for recovery time.  That's about the fastest I've seen Rocky move on anything, ever.  "Sigh".  Well if you're anything like me, you would have a good cry, wave goodbye to all sense of trust and dignity, call your best friends who will always be there to scrape you off the floor.....and then go buy a truck.

Two weeks ago Rocky and I began the process of amicably parting ways and divvying up the life we had built together for 3 years.  Sad, yes but hey, he was so consoling I figured he was hurting just the same as me.  I mean, I just had 6 more months to go before graduating and was ready to move our collective life along in a beautiful place to perpetuate the tradition of porch coffee.

But it was not to be.  Alaska is cold and a close friend's body heat is absolutely necessary right?  Never mind that we had made a go of it for years and the light of graduation was at the end of the tunnel.  Once that bit of knowledge was dropped, I couldn't get the checkbook out fast enough to separate myself from all dependencies.  Thanks for the lesson Rocky, duly noted.  And you better thank your stars that I didn't just load up the Subaru and park it on the side of the highway :)

And for me?  Friends are vital and moms are rockstars.  I'm allowed to be snarky and sad for a spell, but I'll enjoy being snarky a whole lot more in my truck.  

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Smart Phone Stroke

A self-indulgent, rant of a post.  You have been warned.

I bought a smartphone.  This decision was not an easy one as my poor sales-guy at the shop can tell you.  Perhaps it was the two-year commitment Verizon straps you into, maybe it was the fact that an iphone (my eventual decision) packs more processing power in your palm than what the original space shuttle used, or that it costs more to replace than a couple months of rent.  OR maybe it was the feeling of crossing the phone chasm I knew had been looming around the bend for some time now.  Is there really no going back after going "smart"?  This vicious cycle of a thought pattern was entering my mind at all hours, making me re-evaluate my priorities.  What the hell was wrong with me?  Fairly certain that I was blogging last June about halibut and hiking; a far cry from gigabytes and dual-core processors.  Of course societal pressure is always great to push you right over the edge and conform.  "You're an MBA student with a dumb phone?" or "Wow, a paper day planner huh?  So vintage."  

While researching phones, plans, carriers, and speculating on where I'll be and what I'll be doing until this contract is up, I drove myself and everyone around me nuts for the last few months.  I even started counting and recording the times I was out and about and would have used a smartphone, just to see if I really could use one or if it was a childish "I NEEEEEEEED it" feeling.   God help anyone around me who whipped out their little hand cannon of a computer to make a call or check their daily schedule.  "Excuse me, sir?  Do you like that phone? What carrier are you with?  Oh family plan...I see.  Well are you happy with it?  What would you have done differently?   And so it went.  While I coveted these little shiny blocks of wonder and efficiency, I had to stop and think: If these things indeed make you more productive on the go, do I even want to be that person who Instagrams everything in a sexy sepia tone or madly swings her phone around trying to "calibrate" so I can get a perfect read on the constellations?  I know, I know... privileged person problems.  See the following for another example of this condition so you understand that I understand I'm ridiculous...

Ireland - $2500
Malta - $1500
Australia - $2000
I don’t have $6000.

With all of this mind-numbing knowledge, I decided that it is ok to make the jump.  Because maybe...just maybe, if I finally made this decision, I could stop obsessing about it and move on.  So, game day.  I plotted my week out on my paper calendar and realized that I could indeed upgrade on the same day Verizon launched their new plan, the share everything.

Entered the store with shaky legs and nearly yelled my name to the nice guy at the door que-ing up people ready to take the plunge as well.  Actually, they were all on their  4th or so smartphone and looked at me like I had the plague...probably due to my red faced, sweaty demeanor.  I was about to sign a contract for another TWO YEARS!!!!!!  Does anyone else freak out when they sign a contract? You SHOULD!  Think about all that has happened in the last two years, it is a very long time!  

Salesman spoke slowly and walked me around the store in a few circles to let me touch all the pretty screens.  Salesman then started talking plans and I kept up, inserting my needs and pre-determined criteria when necessary.  Not sure why I hinged my decision on coverage in Alaska.  I don't work there at present and visits are a few weeks max at a time.  But I think this is a gene passed from my Dear Mother, the woman who, when purchasing a camp stove made sure it would run on all sorts of combustibles, including jet fuel.  Just in case the zombie apocalypse does happen and we have to hole up in an Air Force base and MUST boil water for survival with no other materials to burn.....

So, I stuck with the iPhone 4s, 3g coverage is JUST FINE.  Since it's my first one, it's magical anyways and works in way more areas than the 4g territory.  Yes I know other phones switch back and forth but the deal breaker for me was design.  I am still a slave to Apple.  They may not give a damn about customer freedom and continue to reign supreme over the land of unnecessary new product roll-outs, but their style just screams at me.  Actually, it's more a subtle whisper, Apple is too cool to scream.  "Buy me, I'll solve alllll your problems."  "Come on, you know you want to swipe my screen just one more time to see if you've gotten a text in the last 15-seconds."  "Apps? Oh yes, I rule the app game.  Sibley's bird guide has never looked better"  And so I caved.  

My shaky credit card signature must have looked like I was in the middle of having a stroke.  As Salesman was piling the counter high with accessories..."Sir, do I really need the pack of 7 screen protectors?"  "Well yes, otherwise you won't get the (minuscule) discount on your allegedly bomb-proof case that is absolutely essential to your phone's survival"  At this point I was so glazed over I just needed to get out of the money-sucking store.  "Bag it up and get me out of here, Salesman."  Walked through the doors and immediately took a solid 90-seconds to figure out how to call my mom.  "Well now what are we going to talk about?" 

Today I am headed out to touch my tomato plants and attend a clam bake.  Friends and food, what it's really about...and probably an Instagram pic or two....