Friday, February 05, 2010

Finding Old Stuff You Love > Buying New Stuff

With all of this being jobless and sort of trying to get myself to be productive but mostly failing at it, all the while watching my bank account dwindle to approximately $0.03, I have pretty much put a moratorium on the purchasing of goods. (Aside from the DS, that is, which I got with my Christmas/babysitting money and which, along with providing a great deal of entertainment, has also made it even more difficult to lift myself into the realm of productivity.)

I kind of miss the thrill of purchasing. You know, that little rush you get after you go into a store stuffed full of things that you might need but mostly want and you find that one thing that you've never seen before but you're absolutely convinced you'd love and you pick it up and carry it to the cashier and hand over your cash or card and get the item in exchange. Then you feel that little thrill of ownership, that sense that, no matter what the world takes from you, it can't take away this...ceramic unicorn, or Star Wars coloring book, or digital camera case. Because it's yours. Forever. Or at least until you break/lose it while moving to Minnesota.

But I digress.

It feels pretty great. For about an afternoon. And it usually feels better when the purchase is relatively small and you don't have the sense that you've just spent about 100 hours of your working life on something you kind of didn't want anyway.

Sadly, I have had to live without that new-ownership feeling for what seems like a long time. Unless, of course, you count the purchase of prescription medication, a cup of hot chocolate (paid for entirely with coins) at a local Barnes & Noble, or that secret stash of peanut butter M&Ms I bought on the sly.

But I've discovered something better, something that makes my acquisitional nature flutter with happiness. I've found that rediscovering old treasures is even better than getting new ones.

Because I've had most of my things packed away in boxes for almost eight months, many of my possessions are currently tucked away inside cardboard, all but inaccessible in their stacks in the corners of my parents' basement (inaccessible unless you have scissors, of course, and a sense of adventure and determination and a strong defiance against the fear of dust). The other day, though, I found that I needed some article that was still unpacked, and I hadn't made note of which box contained it. So, I found myself crouched in a storage room, lit by a single naked bulb, hovering over boxes with my tiny craft scissors shimmering in the half-light. Oh, it was an epic experience.

I sliced into the boxes and dragged forth their contents into the light, and as I did so, I began to recognize things. There was that geode with the pewter dragon glued inside! And my jewelry box, full of tacky, sentimental things that I hardly dared wear but loved to look at. And the bookends with ships on them, and the Chinese dragon I bought in New York, and the tapestry pillows and my gloves and the stuffed bean-frog with the little crown on its head. And. Well, in fact pretty much all of it was tacky. But I loved it.

And I got that fluttery, just-having-bought-something-great feeling. That sense of fond ownership, of familiarity, of things that reminded me not only of people I loved, but of myself as I was a year ago, or a decade.

And you know what? I wouldn't trade it. Not even for a nice, new bag of peanut butter M&Ms.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

There has been a slight change.

You know those times when you've been growing your hair out for awhile? So that now it reaches about to your lower back? And undulates in sort of half-fraying curls? And you decide, sort of on a whim, but not really, that you're going to get your hair cut? Really, really short? In fact, shorter than any previous cut that you can remember? Except for maybe that time when you were five and your sister was playing with your Mom's scissors and basically cut your bangs completely off? And you go to get your hair cut with your Mom and find a style that's pretty short, and is pretty much what you're looking for, but you're not quite sure if it'll work with your decidedly less sculpted face? And you get the cut anyway?

And it all turns out to be one big horrible mistake, and you cry all the way home and for the rest of the day?

Yeah. Today is SO NOT one of those days. (Well, everything up to the 'horrible mistake' part is pretty much 100% true. But not after.)

I have a new haircut. And it's short. And I likes it. Sorry I couldn't seem to get a decent picture of it, but the above at least shows you that it's short. Which is what I wanted. Because, for some reason, the hippie look just wasn't working for me anymore. Time to get with the 21st century. And time to start looking my age.

And time, frankly, to feel just a little bit more awesome.

Friday, January 01, 2010

A Lizardbreathian Year in Review

So, I only have about 33 minutes left of 2009 as I type these words. By the time I actually send my post out to rest on the thin strands of the interwebs, it will likely be deep (aka minutes) into 2010, and this year will be behind me.

So I feel like I owe you all, my tender and devoted readers (Hi, Jill in Romania!) a kind of recap of what this year has been like for me.

And I will do it with a list. Because. I feel like it.

  1. Unemployment - So...the economy has been a little low lately. Although it's showing signs of perking, kind of like the plant you thought would be okay for the three weeks of vacation you took in the heat of midsummer with all the air conditioning turned off in your house, and you come back and it's basically a vaguely green puddle collapsed around its pot and you pour about a gallon of water over it just so you can tell yourself that you did all you could to save it, and so water seeps out the bottom and gets your tabletop all wet and after about a week one of the leaves starts lifting itself up just a little, as though the force of gravity was almost too much for it to bear. Yeah. The economy's been like that. And, unfortunately, although they're being used more than ever, libraries currently seem to be on the list of non-essentials when the funding pie is getting dished up, leaving the hefty slices to go to crazy things like fire departments and schools and stuff. (Ahaha. Of course I know that these services are essential. Pleasedonotsendmehatemail.) And the library gets that piece of burnt crust that's left over in the pan after all the other pieces are taken out. So, they're naturally not able to hire new librarians, so the recently graduated librarians (aka me) still remain jobless. Sigh.
  2. Job Hunting - This has been my task for the past many months. Although, I have liberally sprinkled the in-between-hunts bits (and the avoiding filling in yet another lengthy and unnecessary application bits) with watching all five seasons of Lost and doing some freelance writing for my bro-in-law, who is a fantabulous foot doctor and is being way kind enough to pay me for it.
  3. Whining about being unemployed and having to spend my time job hunting - This is an activity I engage in whenever people ask me how I'm doing. I'll kind of make a wry little grimace and then proceed to harangue them with anecdotes about libraries that are closing all around the U.S. and about how there are on average 2.5 billion applicants for every library position and that the human resources department are now using resumes as an alternative fuel source to save on heating bills. So, sorry folks. You know. If I've ranted at you for awhile. You're forgiven for clamping your ears shut and running away.
  4. NaNoWriMo - I completed this for only the second time (although it was my second attempt as well, so I've won every time I've attempted it--yay me!) and I was, to put it frankly, totally proud of myself. Of course, I haven't touched the novel since. It's currently sitting at the point just after what I consider to be the most exciting scene I've written so far. So it's been kind of scratching at my brain, trying to get me to write it. And I'll probably give in. In January.
  5. Family - Despite being jobless, and despite getting bouts of severe anxiety every time I remember that I have to pay over $500 a month now for the next ten years to repay my student loans (all this without a job...hmm...), I actually really, really love being here. I do get twinges of missing Boston now and then, particularly the awesome folks I hung with out there (shoutouts to school, work and church buddies!), but I'm loving life in the West. And I'm loving catching up on Gilmore Girls with my mom. And seeing an entirely adorable baby niece get progressively chubbier cheeks. In short, I may complain, but life's pretty darn good. So, I guess I can say 2009 was pretty darn good, too.