September 29, 2009

I Hope She Likes Yellow Crocs

I haven't been taking the same bus to work every morning the past week. I can't seem to get my morning routine down so I keep missing buses I think I can catch. It's not too troublesome because I live on a corner that has four different bus lines that I can take and I live a few blocks from another bus line that is free and a few more blocks from yet another bus line that is free (my grad school ID is good for something.) I've taken whichever bus I happen to catch when it shows up or when I plan better, I take the free one a few blocks away.

When I regularly catch the free one it's the same cast of characters at each stop. I wonder if I'll make any friends- my ride is short enough that I don't think I will, but a girl can dream- it's that regular. The other day I notice a woman who, to my recent knowledge, hadn't taken this bus before. She's in nursing scrubs and seems a little flustered because she almost missed the bus. No bother, that's been me before. When the bus gets downtown we each get off at the same stop. When I missed the regular free bus the next morning I decided to wait for the next free bus at a stop with a seat, a long block farther away from my regular stop. A few moments after I sit down the nurse shows up. Okay. She obviously lives in my neighborhood and works downtown. A mere coincidence. The third morning I take a bus I don't usually take that picks me up on my corner. The bus moves along its usual route and the woman gets on the bus at a stop between the usual pick-up spot and drop-off. Where does this woman live? It occurs to me that three unusual days in a row, this woman and I have found ourselves on three different buses.

This can only mean one thing. She's stalking me. I mean, why wouldn't she? I am so interesting looking with my iPod headset, PBS bag and cool glasses. She must be intrigued by my lunch box but can't muster the nerve to ask me about it. Maybe she wants to be my friend and thinks that creating a wacky situation where we keep taking the same different bus, I'll say something like, "we can't keep meeting like this" and give her my number. Then she'll call me, we'll get tea, she'll buy me my own scrubs for Christmas- wacky scrubs with Santas and reindeer on it, I'll buy her Crocs- they're so comfortable when you're on your feet all day, and we'll be instant besties. None of which would have happened if she didn't stalk my every bus move to give us the perfect meet-cute. What an effort! And just for me. How sweet.

September 23, 2009

Closure

The Albany police have some suspects in custody concerning the shooting that happened on my block last October. I can't believe that they arrested anyone at all considering there was nothing to go on after the crime. There was some speculation that the crime had connections to the victim's dad being a New York City police officer and then there was speculation that the crime was senseless. If the police have the right suspects my worst fear is realized- it was a robbery gone wrong.

The police aren't saying what brought them to these suspects. I almost don't care. They found and arrested three young men who tried to rob a man, shot him in the head, left him for dead and then went off and robbed someone else. You read about these things and watch them on Dateline- not expecting them to happen within earshot.

I thought that when they found someone I would feel relief or elation. I really don't feel anything. Well, I'm grateful for the hard work and I'm happy for the parents of the victim who can now have some closure. But I don't feel any safer. The arrested young men are accused of just riding around on their bikes when they decided to commit this awful crime. There is nothing to prevent something like that.

Banks and liquor stores get robbed all the time. It doesn't stop me from going into them to conduct business. Last October I was really scared to even walk home from a bus stop. I'm not scared anymore. I'm as diligent as I was before the crime. That's all we can really do.

September 18, 2009

Is a Name Just a Name?

When talk of the wedding comes up it is inevitable that someone will ask me if I'm taking Michael's last name. It's a fair question to ask. I appreciate people asking. It's funny their response when I tell them I don't know yet. It's still a hotly debated issue with us. He wants me to take his name. I want to keep the name I have. That's what one calls a little bit of a disconnect.

We've discussed me taking his name, we've discussed me keeping my name, we've discussed hyphenation, we've discussed both of us hyphenating (ok- I discussed it.) Why shouldn't I keep my name? It's the name I was given and it's the name I've had for 28 years. Why should I change it simply because I am making my relationship a legal bond and not just an emotional bond? Michael and I are married in almost every sense. We have a joint checking account, we live together, know each other in the biblical sense and I clean his shit. No one expects me to change my name in these circumstances. If we stayed unmarried but had children, owned property together or were able to put one on the other's health insurance then no one would expect me to change my name. Why? Simply because we wouldn't be married.

Michael feels that in order for a family to be a family, for the children to feel that their parents are a unit, the wife needs to take the name of the husband. He argues that our children wouldn't understand that I'm part of their family if I don't have the same name. Family is such an easy concept my cat understands it. I seriously doubt my children will be unable to grasp the concept my self-licking cat can grasp. Is a family defined by name? By marriage? Are unmarried people who live as a family unit less of a family than married people? No. So why would married people with different names be any different?

Taking the husband's name comes from the same patriarchal traditions as the father "giving away" the daughter at the ceremony. The daughter/wife-to-be used to be considered property and the marriage ceremony was the cementation of the transfer of property from one family to the next. It was a way for rich people to keep everything with-in the rich people. The tradition that women are no longer property is a recent development. And only in Western cultures.

Though I have very strong feelings about this I really don't give a shit about women who change their names. It's their prerogatives. But I don't understand why I'm the one who needs to give up my identity. Why I'm the one who has to make the massive shift. It's fucked up and I'm apparently the only soon to be married or recently married person in my immediate vicinity who feels like this. I guess I'm just old school feminist. And I'm feeling pretty lonely right now.

September 10, 2009

To Downsize or Not to Downsize

Mike and I are thinking of taking our relationship to the next level. We may become a one car family. At least we're pretty sure we want to be one. I already exist like we have one car. I walk, take the bus, ride my bike, ride with friends and we coordinate who takes my car. His car is a pain in the ass. He drives it far more than I drive mine and he bought it with many miles already on it therefore it costs so much to maintain. I feel like if we eliminate one car with maintenance and payments then we can focus our money on keeping my PAID OFF car in tip top shape and save up for another car should we find that we need one.

Though I am super enthusiastic about this endeavor I do have some hang-ups. Though his car in annoying it's also almost paid off like my PAID OFF car. If anything happened to my car we'd have another paid-off car to move over to and keep care of. Another reason I'm hesitant is because what if I have a professional opportunity that requires a commute? I don't want not having a car or the financial means to buy another the reason I can't professionally advance. (Not like it's been a problem since I moved to Albany. There's not much to advance to.) I also don't want to fight over who gets the car.

There is a long list of pros and cons. I know we're going to make the best decision for ourselves financially and personally. I just wish I could get rid of my hang-ups and take the plunge. People have done it before. With kids. Surely we can do it the two of us... Let's find out! Or not. Ugh.

September 9, 2009

Some New Jams

I've been streaming an "indie" radio station on my iTunes at work and I've found these delightful gems I'd like to share.

This is White Rabbits with "Percussion Gun:"


And here we have Peaches with "Lose You:"


Okay. I lied. The second one I found on Mike's sister's Facebook page. But just because I didn't hear it on the "radio" doesn't diminish the Awesome.

September 8, 2009

First World Problems

Things have been better than I thought they could be since I'm no longer at my old job. I don't fight with Mike nearly as frequently as I used to, I don't need to decompress from work by withdrawing emotionally, I poop painlessly every day and I enjoy the time with my friends and family more fully. I am far, far happier overall. I didn't know the old job was affecting me so negatively until I left it.

Quality of life going up aside, making considerably less is stressful. I do not live extravagantly by any means(I already share plates at restaurants, buy things almost exclusively on sale, bring lunch to work and other things of that nature) but I feel like I can no longer do anything that costs money. Like, anything. I no longer have one large expense and Mike and I are contributing according to our salaries so the pay cut isn't as terrible as it could be. In this first month of adjustment I had some car expenses that I didn't budget for, I went a little nuts on sale items at our co-op and I'm so excited to be working in a new place with new restaurants that I bought lunch more frequently than I ever have before- all things that made this transition a little more jarring. I'm sure once October rolls around I will have a grip on how much I'm bringing in, and things will get much smoother. Until then I find juggling payments an interesting act thanks to a different pay schedule.

I didn't take this job for the money. I took it because it's putting me in a position to go where I want in my career (being fired aside.) It's the start of my career for crying out loud. And I understand that my choice in career comes with monetary constraint. I can make this work. I've crunched the numbers. Starving and homelessness isn't a looming threat and I can support myself. I have a full time job and a part time job. I am still very much one of the lucky ones. Coming to terms with a few things tied into the cut is proving to be a little more difficult than I anticipated. But at the end of the day, I'd rather this stress than the other.

September 4, 2009

A Great Way to End the Season

The last triathlon of the season, I can say with total confidence, was a success. I shaved five minutes off my time from last year! ! Four of those minutes were from my swim and the other minute was a combination of the other bits. I can't believe I shaved any time off since the race was so miserable. It rained the whole time, the hardest when I was on the bike. But I didn't let that get me down. No sirree. I beat my greatest adversary- myself.

I was so nervous this year. (I almost cried out of fear until I saw the fattest baby holding a cowbell. That shook me out of it.) I lost my goggles and usual ear and nose plugs at the Y but didn't notice until the night before. That discovery at 10pm was an awesome way to relax. Luckily there is a 24-hour Walmart on the way to the race so I was able to pick up a pair of goggles. (I have extra nose and ear plugs everywhere. I am a very delicate water baby.) The water was warmer than the air so there was an eerie mist that hung over the lake. It was neat to look at and not a problem to swim in but it made spotting difficult. The first wave swam far too left and almost got on the wrong side of the buoys. When my wave got in the water the MC told us to keep a boathouse directly in front of us but as a chorus of women told him, we couldn't see it. It didn't prove to be too much of an issue for me because I kept up with people in my heat just fine. I didn't have to do much spotting as long as I could swim with the mass of bubbles in front of me.

As I got out of the water I spotted my friends (yay!) and got into my biking gear. It may have been wet but it wasn't too cold. I chose to put on long sleeves just to be safe. The wind can be mean. I was joking with my friend Lyndy before the race that I hoped the hills were an exaggerated memory a la Tim Burton and at first it felt like that would be the case. However, once I got to the turn around point I realized my nightmares were a true representation of the reality. I didn't shave more than mere seconds off of my bike time from last year. But I did it in less pain!! My friend Karen let me borrow her road bike for the race. It is more kind to my back than my hybrid because I'm not as upright and there were foot straps so I could pull on the pedals as well as push.

When I got off the bike the DJ was playing David Bowie and I was rejuvenated. The fact that my thighs weren't numb was a fantastic feeling. I had soaking wet feet and ran the three miles with undone shoelaces. If I stopped to tie them I wouldn't have been able to start again. I'm just so glad for the tables of water and the traffic people who were there to remind me. The run is always so lonely since I take so long on the bike and they help me feel like I'm not alone. On the upside the quiet makes the run very zen. When I got to the finish line I was soaking from head to toe and couldn't tell if my body wanted to dry heave or just cough. All that matters is I didn't puke. And I enjoyed my post race banana.

Though I shaved whole minutes from my race I'm a little bummed they all came from swimming. I know I'm a strong swimmer and I'm happy to improve anywhere but it would be nice if I could figure out how to improve at all on the bike. I just can't seem to get it to click in my head. That's going to be my goal over these next seven months. Any tips?

Now that tri season is over I'm shifting my focus to the half-marathon in five weeks. I'm still keeping up my swimming for the team race I have with Mike and his brother in two weeks. I'm excited to swim in a new, bigger and more challenging lake and I'm thrilled to do it as part of a team. The cherry on top of my excitement cake is the fact that my father, mother and sister will be there to watch me do it. They've never seen me swim competitively before. It's going to be so great!

September 2, 2009

Reverie

It's strange what makes my heart ache. The triggers vary but the effect is the same.