Monday, June 29, 2009

of walking, layoffs and tribes

needless to say, since this is Doom Week, i woke up a little stressed this morning.


i put on my work out clothes and took my first morning walk in a month. (hellacious work schedule and spending the night at M-'s place on sunday nights has put a crimp in my routine.) but now that DOOM is impending i can't afford to slouch into my naturally inactive default position. so i walked this morning.

i walked and i thought about the meaning of my current employment upheaval; i thought about M-, saturday night and sunday morning (heh); i thought about how nice it is not to sweat; i thought about hating humidity; i thought about the proper way to align ones posture when exercise/walking; i thought about how having a dude in your life translates into extra hours of grooming; i thought about how big my butt is in my Nike pants but how cute my Puma shoes are; i thought about how i've survived two other layoffs. and then i thought about the pint of ice cream i should not have eaten all in one sitting yesterday.

and i walked harder.
planning for the fall of civilization, saturday night, at an old guy bar with M- and his friend D-:

M-: so if society collapsed like in Mad Max, you know what I'd do?
Ding: what would you do?
M-: D- would get his family on the south side, he'd meet me on the north side and we'd swing by to get you and get the hell out.

Ding: what if i have my own escape route?
M-: like how?
Ding: my girls! after 9/11, we planned to leave the city and head north to minnesota

M-: well, i'm heading south. underground.
Ding: underground?
D-: like the Morlocks.

Ding: uh, i like going north better. why don't we swing by and pick you up and head north.
M-: (stubborn) i'm coming to get you.
Ding: (just as stubborn) i have my own escape route. being in minnesota seems cleaner than living like mole people.

so, if civilization collapses, i anticipate spending some time arguing about which route to take - north with my friends, or south to the tunnels.

(on the other hand, it was sort of endearing. he included me in his post-apocalyptic tribe!)
saturday night, in a bad yuppie bar:

M-: so i got you something.
Ding: yeah?
M-: dealer passes to Wizard. both days.

Ding: (gasp) really??
M-: you said you wanted to go, so i got a couple of passes. you and Roomie can go right in.
Ding: really?? it wasn't a problem, was it?
M-: nah. i just said to the guys my girl wanted to go and i was going to use the passes.

Ding: and how often does one of the guys ask for dealer passes to Wizard for 'his girl'?
M-: never.

(this is Wizard.)

Friday, June 26, 2009

asshats: the Illinois legislature

1. our state legislature is a collection of ignorant, do-nothing boobs who'd rather protect their election prospects than actually get some work done. unfair characterization? perhaps. but when you have a budget crisis and only spend ONE frakking day during an emergency session at the capitol and you STILL haven't come to a resolution, then you're frakking useless and incompetent.

(i'm looking at y'all, governor quinn, speaker madigan, leaders cullerton, cross and radogno! swear to god, they all deserve a flaming bag of poo.)

2. when they're tired, elected officials can be alarmingly candid. from a GOP legislator: 'every organization in the state could call us but it still wouldn't matter. people who work in social services vote Democrat; people who use their services tend to vote Democrat. what's in it for us to go your way?' niiiiice. frakking useless.

3. the women i work with are awesome. for a month, i've been holed up in our 'situation' room, hammering out implementation strategies to save our agency with two other women who are, frankly, awesome. they're smart, feisty, no bullshit and when we disagree we always find a workable compromise. (i'm more for the 'scorched earth' strategy and they're more for the 'let's work this out' strategy.) we swing wildly from hope that all this work will bear fruit and we will successfully lobby our legislators to get off their asses to do the right thing to despair that everything we're doing still isn't enough to counteract the massive amount of apathy and partisan bullshit in Springfield. we are not pros at grassroots organizing but i find it amusing to see us suddenly adopting some of its practices.

our COO worked on the Obama campaign and she comes into the situation room at least a couple of times a day to give us some coaching, some encouragement and tell us stories from the campaign to inspire us - and it works. she rocks. i've already told her, 'when i lose my job, i will need your advice on what to do next and how to get in someone's office.'

she said, 'when folks hear you're on the market, you won't need my help.'

if we're all laid off in the next week or so, we've all promised to convene regularly as Ladies of the Day - slightly bitter, exhausted, depressed, over-educated women who kick ass while being momentarily at loose ends.

4. the people who inhabit our political process are the worst things about it. this isn't some fake cynicism i'm trying to display here. this is what i've honestly seen during the past few months. i used to love watching politics; i loved the drama, the snark, the 'gotcha'-ness. but it's only when you connect the dots, and see that what happens in the political arena actually trickles down and materially impacts a life (or hundreds of thousands of lives,) that you realize the people we have elected have cheapened the whole process.

it's a wonderful thing when a farmer downstate can walk into his state rep's office and say his piece and that aide or rep will listen to him. this is the beauty of our state political machine. it really is that down home. (by the way, how many of y'all have visited the district office of your local rep?)

but there's another side to it that infuriates me. in Illinois, at issue is a now $9.2 billion deficit budget that the general assembly has chosen not to address. instead, at the end of the regular session it ignored its responsibility and chose to send a 50% lump sum budget to the governor that basically decimated all of human services. the budget solves nothing, except to put the governor in the uncomfortable position of signing a budget that will turn Illinois into Mississippi.

here's the infuriating part: they know that.

they know the 50% lump sum budget is a bad idea. they know it doesn't solve the deficit; they know that without revenue, the deficit gets worse, they know the impact of a decimated human services sector on their districts. they know there are structural problems that need to be fixed in this budget and still no one is making a move. for some reason, they think the veto session will bring a magical Resolution Fairy and then they'll find the money to solve the problem.

what they're really doing is keeping their eyes on the 2010 elections and hoping to do nothing that will endanger their seats.

ask each side what they're going to do about this crisis and they shrug and say the same thing. 'We have ideas,' they say. 'But the other guys don't want to hear them.'

they know the human collateral this budget will cause and they look at you without blinking and say, 'there's nothing i can do. you all will have to call my colleagues and convince them.'

at which point someone grabs my wrist and i clamp down on my tongue so i don't scream, 'Swinging your colleagues is YOUR FUCKING JOB! WHY CAN'T YOU DO YOUR FUCKING JOB?!'

this is an abdication of responsibility that is unacceptable. and i'm not talking about the GOP here, either. it's the Dems, too. they act like giving a Yes vote was the height of their duty. like voting Yes was a shining gift to the people of Illinois.

cynthia soto, my rep, was in a budget briefing last week the governor's office had invited us to and she stood up and said, 'I voted yes to raise revenue! I did my part! Now do your homework - it's your turn to make those calls to the No votes and get this thing turned around!'

i turned to the woman standing next to me and whispered, 'this is bullshit. what the fuck does she think we've been doing for the past month? when is she going to get off her ass and do her fucking job?'

the woman whispered, 'unbelievable, isn't it?'

you wanna give us a gift, elected officials of Illinois?
we, the people of Illinois, would love to see you take your jobs seriously and work as hard as we do. really. we would. earn your paycheck, you apathetic motherfuckers.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

wrap up: the wedding

note to self - starting off the day at 9.30 am with a glass of champagne may seem like a good idea (and it is so '4 Weddings') but then it just opens a gate for more drinking until, by 2 pm, you are plastered, hot, and just a bit queasy.

(and, when you go home to rest before the reception/party, you're not really laying down for a nap. you are passing out.)

so this was the foundation that was laid saturday evening before M- arrived at the party. throw in some heat and humidity and you have a Ding who was wrung out. basically, by the time M- arrived, i was mentally done.

M- tenaciously hung out with my friends, congratulated the married couple, and hung on until the party wound down and we took it to a friend's back porch where we had more beer, chatted more and i floated in and out of coherence. somewhere in the vicinity of 2 am, my brain had turned off. (but after a shower and some rolling around, a second wind was gained. funny how that works.)

perhaps i should have been more 'on' to keep M- entertained, but he seemed to entertain himself. eventually, i'll become more comfortable with having my worlds blend; but getting rid of the compartments i used to separate my friends from my lovers is going to take time.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

it's DateNight with M- tonight.
(see how's he's graduated from being NewGuy to just having a simple initial?)

a little bit later, i'll give all 8 of my readers the scoop on the weekend wedding, the epiphane experienced during vampire date night on sunday and why politics is the purview of the mentally infirm.

oh, and on receiving 60 days' notice at my organization.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

pillow talk, 2

(after dinner, two bottles of wine, talking all night on the front stoop and other activities)

Ding: you are quite possibly the nicest guy i've ever gone out with.
NewGuy: ok, you are drunk.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

pillow talk

NewGuy: so what's your week looking like? like last week?
Ding: god, no. there's nothing planned but i don't know what could happen.
NG: mine has slowed down. i'm open.
Ding: (drowsy) that's great.

NG: X wanted to hang out but I'm putting him off and then Y wanted to do something. but naah. i'm all yours.
Ding: i don't want to take you away from your life. you have friends and stuff. you can hang out with them, you know.

NG: (giving slight annoyed look) going almost two weeks not seeing each other sucked. when you're going out with someone you should see them more than once a week. otherwise, what's the point??
Ding: uh, yeah. what's the point?

(note to future self: the mere suggestion of 'space' might have some negative blowback.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

i'm liquid, baby. kinda.

Talking to my FinanceGuy at Large National Conservative Finance Company:

FinanceGuy: Yeah, Ding. So sorry to hear about your situation.

Ding: So what are my options? I need to know how much I can float while I look for a job without becoming homeless over the next few months.
FG: What do you have?
Ding: That Rollover ROTH, the money market acct, some savings and unemployment. That might give me about....X dollars.

FG: (tapping on a calculator) Hm. If your expenses are as small as they were the last time we talked, then you could probably last a year.
Ding: Shut up. A year??
FG: Yeah. But you'd have to pay yourself a very small amount each month.
Ding: How small?
FG: (giving incredibly small number)
Ding: Shut up!!

FG: It's doable. If you cut out all extras and really stick to the budget, you could last. Definitely through the summer.
Ding: (imagining a summer of ramen and cigs, just like grad school) Dude.
FG: Don't worry about taxes for early withdrawals; we can worry about that later. Or your accountant can.
Ding: Yeah, my accountant named HR Block.
FG: (laughing) You are so funny.
Ding: Uh-huh. Well, thanks, FG. I know I'm not one of your big clients who can really liquidate things and actually live on it, but I appreciate your time.
FG: Well, I know that things are tough all over. I've actually been buying lottery tickets.

Ding: Uh, does your firm know you're telling clients you're playing the lotto?
FG: (laughing) I can barely understand how to buy one.
Ding: Me, too!! I think we're too bougie for lotto tickets. It takes some special knowledge to know how to buy them.
FG: Then your only hope is to marry for it.
Ding: Dammit.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

guess where i am?

i know you're tired of hearing it (or reading my Tweets about it,) but i'm at WORK right now.

one would get the impression, reading this blog, that my career is very important to me and that i am a Career Woman. one would be partially correct. i actually enjoy earning my keep and i love doing something at which i excel and which contributes to the general Good.

but i do not like having stomach aches, stress headaches, heart palpitations and general feelings of free-floating panic and fear.
i also do not like having to deal with the prospect of updating my resume and finding another job at which i excel, will pay me enough to cover expenses, allow contributions to my savings, and which would also contributes to Goodness - all in an economic environment in which barista jobs have become highly coveted.

you know??
(not that there's anything wrong with being a barista - i'm just not that service oriented and, in general, am not made for jobs that require touching food or money.)

i also do not like not having seen NewGuy for more than two days in the past 2.5 weeks and this is...different. LTF could've incinerated himself in his own apartment and i wouldn't have noticed for weeks.
(i'm sure these comparisons between NewGuy and LTF are boring but it's an interesting exercise for me.)
this week was so bad at work i'd wake up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding and stomach cramps. the only way i could get to sleep was to, uh, imagine NG was hogging the comforter and snoring next to me.
huh. i just made myself uncomfortable admitting that.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

i suppose i should try and care about what's happening in the world of politics, reproductive justice and feminism but i'm fighting for the survival of my agency, my job and my sector.

and trying to fit in some NewGuy time.
(he's been incredibly laid back and empathetic, listening to me freak out for the past three weeks. we have a movie date planned for tonight and i said that it felt like forever since we saw each other last. he said, 'you are going through the worst possible time ever at your office. it would be really selfish to demand more of your time while this is happening.')

so talk amongst yourselves.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

so last night, after walking all the way to humboldt park from my east village 'hood, and ending up at the Black Beetle for beer and wings, we walk back to my place and...crash.

that's it.
change into jammies, mumble goodnight and hit the sack.
no rolling around, no frolicking, not even cozy making out. just heads hitting pillows and, isntantly, snoring. (him, not me!)

a month in and already the sex disappears?!

grumble grumble grumble.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

ding overthinks things

work was hell last week. this is not an exaggeration. it was def-con 5, Red alert bad. i was not feeling in the best mood for couple-hood, so i dropped out of sight.

i compartmentalized things pretty quickly. work, here; NewGuy, just below that. he seemed cool about it ('I figured things were rough and you'd call when you were able,' he said) but i am crap when it comes to reading any guy's moods.

we made up for it by having the longest date ever on saturday (note to self: staying out until 3 am is just not physically possible anymore) but this is another big/crappy week and how the hell am i supposed to juggle all this?

(this - as if i'm juggling the weight of the world here. it's only one guy and one stressful job.)

he's cooking dinner for me at his place tomorrow night and i could only thank the gods that i'm working from home the next morning so i don't have to rush home, change and stumble into the office looking slightly frazzled and undone. yes, that's my first thought instead of getting all dewy and thinking 'aww, romantic dinner for two at his place.'
clearly, i'm having a slightly rough time adjusting to the idea of being One of Two. i can't compute it in my head. i am One. not Two.

the shift to thinking in Twos is not happening smoothly. i forget what we were talking about last night but he said something that stuck with me and that i automatically protested (in my head.) i think it was about the memorial day cookout and how there were only 3 couples - us included.

that startled me. i am One, not Two!, i said in my head.

if i was still seeing Dr. C- she would ask me why it's so important for me to see myself as One and i'd tell her, 'because it's easier being responsible for only One, not Two. and habit. and i like being One.'

though, there are things i like about being Two, too.

we were walking to dinner saturday night and as we were crossing the street, i said (in the interest of honesty and putting things out there), 'you know how hard it is for me to think of myself being in a couple? my brain just doesn't go there.'

he said, 'i know. we'll take things slow.'

but are we really? taking things slow. i think NewGuy is already facing in one direction, his feet planted solidly on I Am SO In A Relationship Road and i'm dawdling back on I Guess He's My Boyfriend? Yes. Maybe. Yes? Lane. i have this vague feeling that there are plans being spun in NewGuy's head - far reaching, future-sounding plans - and i want to reel him in and say, 'let's just see if we still like each other on Friday. or tomorrow.'

we were talking about tomorrow night's dinner (he's big on planning and logistics) and i was mumbling something about what time to leave the next morning, which train to catch, etc. and he said, 'well, if you're working from home, maybe you can sleep in. i'll leave you a key.'

and my eyes bugged out a little. a key?? to your house?

to my credit, i did not have a panic attack, something which would have happened a while ago if some other dude said that to me. i merely noted it and tucked it away for later thinking. (like now!)

it's like gender roles have been reversed between us, which isn't all together too bad. i'm wary and non-commital and he's already handing me keys and making room for my shampoo on his shower stall. i'm just hyper-conscious of it, that's all.

so yeah. this is what i'm thinking about this morning.

maybe i should be thinking about batshit crazy doctor killers and the deep ideological divide between social conservatives who want to control women's lives and bodies and those of us who don't. maybe i should be thinking about the predictable and repetitive contours of white supremacy in this country and the laws and statutes in place that have historically worked to keep asian immigrants and early generations of asian americans away from citizenship and assets.

(y'all really should read The Color of Wealth. it will make you so very very angry.)

instead, i'm thinking about this stupid, girly crap.