Thursday, May 10, 2007


As is fairly obvious, I'm taking a small break from my blog for a handful of reasons. Most people who read this know me personally and can email me anytime. For any who don't know me, I have an email address listed somewhere on my blogger profile/contact page here; feel free to use it.

Someday soon, I'll be back with updates and new posts.

Take care!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

my trip west

I've been in Santa Fe for about three days and am loving it. The drive was amazing, and I have to pronounce my navigational and travelling genius here, as I had planned that 4-day, cross-country trip with an estimated arrival set at Thursday between 4 and 5. So of course, I exited the interstate into Santa Fe at exactly 4:30 on Thursday. I will soon go into more detail about life these past few days, including my new job, but first I'm going to talk about the drive here, which as I've said, was one awesome experience. Since I'm lazy and running late for some plans, I'm going to copy and paste an email I sent to a friend from a hotel in Oklahoma City, as is says exactly what I'd write here anyway.

This talks about my trip (briefly, with much summary) from West Palm to Oklahoma City:

I write this from my home for the night, a hotel in Oklahoma City. This is the end of day three on the road, and by this time tomorrow, I will be in Santa Fe, getting acquainted with my new roommates! It's been a fabulous drive, with drastically changing scenery from moment to moment. I can't say which has been my favorite day yet, as they have all been exciting for their own reasons. Driving along the Gulf Coast, from Pensacola through Mobile, Biloxi, and Baton Rouge, and then up through the marshy farms of Louisiana yesterday was great fun, especially as it allowed me to indulge my romanticized notion of the deep south, which I've inherited from my love of the region's literary tradition. I loved today as well, because I got to see east Texas--gorgeous rolling hills and lush vegetation (not what I expected for some reason) then pass through Dallas (enormous city!) and head up into southern Oklahoma state. Southern Oklahoma was surprisingly pretty. Several times, I stopped along the side of the highway so I could stare without running the risk of crashing my car. The land is so pristine, so untouched and natural! Enormous skies with endless green beneath. I once read where an author described the northern plains as looking like the sky yawned and forgot to close its mouth. This isn't the northern plains, but I can't stop making that same comparison. Though, the further north I got and the closer to Oklahoma City I drove, the more the landscape already started to change: slightly higher elevation, less moisture, etc. I turn west tomorrow, heading west on I-40 straight across western OK, across the Texas panhandle, and into northern New Mexico, so I anticipate even more drastic changes in the vegetation and topography. I can't wait! It's so exciting that one can sit in a car for mere hours and see such variety! And as ever, my Murphy is the world's greatest traveling companion. As far as pets go. He enjoys the trip quietly from the backseat, napping often, and periodically resting his chin on the left side of my seat so he can feel the breeze on his face from my open window. I love him.

And then this is about the subsequent part of the drive, from OK City to Santa Fe:

My night in OK City was relaxing, though I can't understand why they consider themselves to be a southwestern city. They are sorta south and then right in the central part of the country. I felt like I was back in the midwest, which I must admit, was nice for the day. But moving on the next morning was exciting. The drive across western Oklahoma was just as scenic as the drive north through the southern part of the state...refreshing and open and beautiful. The landscape continued to become more dry and higher in elevation, with slightly less green the further west I drove. I stopped in Clinton, OK, to see the Route 66 Museum, which was SO COOL! Took lots of pics there and then like a hypocrite, exited Route 66 and got back on the interstate. (Hey, if I'd had the time and money to stretch this into a multi-week trip, I'd have taken the old highway the entire route, but ...). I crossed back into Texas at the panhandle and almost wept the entire leg of that drive. I never expected the beauty I encountered there, and it probably ended up taking twice as long as it should have because I stopped at several rest stops and scenic overlooks, so I could gasp and take pictures and memorize the views. And I almost wept again when I crossed the New Mexico state line. Ok, not really. But I was super excited and was cheering myself on (much to Murphy's confusion). That last day from OKC to Santa Fe was almost constant uphill driving. Santa Fe is at 7,000 feet, so I was on a slight but steady incline all day. And now that I'm here, I'm surrounded by mountains and high desert.

Well, that's the drive in a tiny little nutshell. But I have more details and tons of pics to post, as well as some rambling about the whirlwind that has been these past few days here. But I'm meeting a new friend for lunch in a minute. More later...

Monday, April 09, 2007

time to go

Today I leave Florida. Everything is packed into my car, Murphy is nervous, my mom is crying, and my sister is just barely holding it together herself. I'm excited as hell, but right now I'm anxious because I hate how sad the people around me look--even though they too are happy for me. Also, just to add another touch of anxiety to my moving day, I have to stop at the dentist on my way out of town so he can check how I'm healing after the big procedure last week.

Then I'm on my way.

It's weird to see my room all emptied out of my belongings. The furniture is still here, but my own things aren't. It looks blank and I guess it's not my room anymore.

Ok, not enough time to write more now. I have to get myself ready to go--shower, etc. And the final goodbyes are about to happen. Probably won't have internet access until Friday, but by then I'll be in my new home with four days of travelling to talk about.

Friday, April 06, 2007

no more free coffee

I failed to mention in my post earlier that today was my last day at Starbucks. I have the luxury of falling asleep tonight, with no alarm set to wake me up pre-dawn so I can go open up the store at 5:30. And I can actually make dinner plans for tomorrow night because I won't have work until 2am to close the store.

I'm going to miss a bunch of people I've been fortunate enough to work with this past year, though if they don't keep in touch as they promised, I will come back to town and order dozens of frappuccinos on a busy saturday afternoon when they are running low on frap mix and whip cream. I will pay with a $100 bill and swear that I don't have anything smaller. And then I will spill a couple of drinks in the cafe and use all the napkins in a half-hearted attempt to clean up after myself, but I'll just end up leaving a disgusting pile of napkins half-soaked on a mound of runny mocha frappuccino.

So they had better send me those emails they all promised. Truly, I love the people I worked with at Starbucks.

More packing to do now, but I'll try to write another update over the weekend before I leave town on Monday.


ouch, part 2

Now that I'm feeling a little better, it's time to go into more detail about that horrible dental procedure. Ok, for starters, the dentist himself and all his assistants were actually awesome. I sort of have a phobia regarding dental work, which is why I was in the position to need a tooth pulled; I hadn't been to a dentist in years. I had a root canal done on one of my molars years ago when I was a kid, and about a year and a half ago, the crown fell off. I didn't do anything about it then, because it didn't hurt, so I thought, "Why bother?" Here's why I should have bothered: about two weeks ago, the gums around that tooth started to hurt a tiny bit. And then a week ago, it hurt a lot. To the point that I was up all night last Wednesday night, unable to sleep from the pain. It sucked. Made an appointment, went in last Monday, and was told the root canal tooth needed to go. I just wanted the damn thing to stop hurting, so getting it pulled sounded good to me.

Until two days later, when I had to go have it done.

He pumped so much novocaine into my mouth, and I honestly didn't feel anything but movement and pressure. However, the tooth just wouldn't come out, despite the fact that he repeatedly wrapped his arm around my head for leverage and was just pulling with all his might. And when he knelt on the edge of my chair to get a different angle, it still wouldn't come out. Then, he put down his tools, leaned back in his own chair, and stretched his arms, letting out a long sigh. That's when I heard him say something to his assistant about getting "the high-speed." I thought, "that can't be good." It wasn't. It was a little dental electric saw he used to cut the tooth into tiny sections. Isn't that considered an effective form of torture in most places? For the next stretch of time, he would saw a little, pull a little, saw a little, pull a little. Meanwhile, the assistant was on my other side with the water and suction things in my mouth. At one point, a little jet of water ricocheted off something in my mouth (by then, it could have been anything from a tooth, to the dentist's watch, to a bulldozer) and smacked me in the face. The dentist stopped for a second and said, "Oh, I'm so sorry the water got you. Didn't mean to bother you like that." I thought, "Yeah, it's not the water that's bothering me. It's the damned power tool you're using to section my tooth! You're sawing my tooth into sand, and you apologize for splashing me with some water?" But of course, with four hands and a toolbox in my mouth, I didn't actually speak.

And yet. As a testament to their reassuring and calm demeanor, as well as to the power of novocaine, I still managed to laugh a couple times. There is a tv in each room, which was a fabulous method of distraction for me. It was on a panel connected to the chair and within arm's reach, so I could theoretically change the channel or adjust the volume to cover up the sounds coming from the tools hitting my teeth. However, I had the arms of the chair in some kind of death grip and didn't let go the whole time, so I left the tv on Comedy Central, on a re-run of the show Scrubs, to be exact. I tried to focus on the show for diversion, and actually laughed at some of the lines. But then, so did the dentist. I tried not to be concerned that he was paying attention to tv while pulling my tooth.

In the end, it took almost an hour and a half to get that tooth out. Ninety minutes to yank out one tooth.

After my mouth finally gave up the tooth, they stuck a bunch of gauze in my mouth, gave me a ton extra to take home with me, and then he loaded me up with prescriptions and instructions. He actually said to me, "You're going to be in pain for a while after the numbness wears off." Since in my experience, dentists lie about the level of pain to expect, minimizing it, I was shocked to hear him be to blunt. But damn, he was right. Fortunately, among other things, he prescribed a big bottle of vicodin. Nice. I slept well that night.

I'm still in some pain, and the gap in the back of my mouth feels foreign to me, and I suppose it will take a while to get used to it. But at least it's done. Despite the fact that if I think too hard about what he had to do in order to get that tooth out I want to faint, this was the least horrific dental experience I've ever had, simply because of the friendliness of the entire staff there. Seriously, they were fantastic, while I was a basket case. On the other hand, the dentist looked just like Bobby Lee from Mad TV, and when I watched part of an old episode a little while ago and saw him, I had some sort of pavlovian response to his face that made me want to hold my mouth closed and cringe in fear.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I had a molar pulled today. Just a couple hours ago. It didn't hurt then, but now that the novocaine is wearing off, it hurts like hell. My face is swollen, my mouth is full of gauze, and I want to curl up in the fetal position, cry and then pass out, which is actually what I'm going to do in a little bit here, after I take the vicodin the dentist prescribed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

take or toss

My room--the spare room in my parents' house--which has been my home for almost a year now needs to be packed up and somehow shoved into my tiny car for a four-day drive. Since the physics of this don't work out, I'm forced to do some streamlining. I moved down here with only what I could fit inside my car and still leave room for Murphy and me. I'd like to streamline even more and let Murphy actually have the entire backseat this time, rather than just half of it (a box of books and my violin were on the other half, along with bags of clothes accross the floor on both sides). And of course, as I've explained before, most of my larger belongings are in storage in St. Louis. They're staying there for now.

Today was my last off day at Starbucks. Starting tomorrow, I work straight through to Friday the 6th, which is my last day there. I don't leave town til the following Monday, which means I have that weekend to also get ready, but I'm pretty sure I'll also be doing a lot of running around saying goodbye to people that weekend. would think I was smart enough to spend today wisely, to get at least half the shit in my room here organized, sorted into piles of "keep" versus piles of "toss."

What did I really do?

I slept late. Took a nap on the couch with the dogs. Watched an hour of 101 Favorite Stars Way Back When, on E (and learned that Morgan Freeman used to be on The Electric Company). Had a sandwich for lunch. Walked the dogs. Talked to Kathy on the phone as she drove frantically through rush hour traffic to arrive late for a haircut. That's about it.

So here I sit in my room, which is still overflowing with the small collection of belongings I moved here with, plus all the stuff I've accumulated over the past year. When I do get around to sorting and packing, I'm going to employ the 'If-I-haven't-used-it-in-the-past-two-weeks-then-I-don't-need-it' approach and be merciless in getting rid of stuff. I tend to be a packrat as it is, so this type of cleansing is good for me on occasion; it forces me to let go of useless crap that in my mind has been built up as sentimental or potentially reusable. Instead all my crap just takes up a lot of room and creates clutter, something I hate. Strangely, I'm both a packrat and one who hates clutter. And my room is messy. None of this adds up, and I think it's the packrat part of my personality that must change its ways.

I've had a headache for about a week now, and I can only imagine it's a combination of changing weather and stress. As excited as I am about this move, it's a major decision and a huge task, and because of this every moment of my life right now is consumed by the various details. When I'm at work, I'm actually just thinking about my new job. When I'm at home, I'm going over my route and double checking my hotel reservations along the way...again and again. And again. And when I'm asleep, I'm dreaming that something is wrong with my car or that I'm missing some other detail to the move itself. Or worse yet, that I'll get there and be miserable, which I know won't happen, but fear of the unknown still haunts me. I'm so tired right now, just from making these plans. Part of me is nervous about getting on the road, but for the most part, I can't wait to get on the highway and just get going on this move.

I always have a copy of Rand McNally's road atlas, though I'm partial to a particular one. It's the notebook-sized spiral-bound that is revised each year. Because of my own obsessive-compulsive ways, it has to be this specific atlas, and when it gets too old and used up to read anymore, I replace it with the latest edition of the same atlas. This is for two reasons: 1) I'm a geek who loves maps. I've been known to stare at a map for hours. 2) I love to travel and I especially like road trips, so a good atlas is always necessary. This atlas is the perfect size for flipping through in the car, and it fits into my backpack. Various editions of this atlas have accompanied me since college, and of course while planning this move, my current copy has been next to me the whole time. While staring at my route for the millionth time the other night, my eyes traced the highway up through Oklahoma City, which is one of my overnight stops and which is also where the spiral of the book is located. The spine of this atlas cuts the state of Oklahoma--as well as Kansas, Texas, and a few others--right in half. So I folded the book back and flipped it over so I was only seeing the western half of the country. That's when I realized that for the first time ever, I'd be living west of the spiral, the left side of the country's two-page spread in my atlas.

Obviously, I knew before then that I was moving west, but seeing it in terms of my little atlas for some reason jolted me a bit. At once, I smiled and felt giddy, while my headache tightened a little more. This dichotomy of emotions right now is exhausting and yet propels me forward with this move; the excitement inspires me and my nerves keep me alert.

In the meantime, I can't go anywhere until I get this room organized and packed, which is what I should be doing now, instead of rambling here.