Friday, May 29, 2009

Notes from the road.
















I'm on day three of my four-day drive across the country. As you can see from the pictures, it hasn't been overly remarkable. I've been pacing my drive by only going 9-10 hours a day--I definitely don't fall into the "road warrior" or "long-haul trucker" categories. The truth is, I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to sitting for long amounts of time, so I won't be able to share any stories with you about a 20-hour stretch that I put in, fueled entirely by Red Bull and Fritos. The reality is, I stop every few hours, stretch my legs, and munch on hummus and bread that I have stored in my cooler.






So far, this has been my progression:



Day 1: Greensboro to Jackson, TN.


Day 2: Jackson, TN to Clinton, OK.


Day 3: Clinton, OK to Winslow, AZ.



The thought of sitting right now makes me feel slightly nauseated. My ass seriously, seriously hurts. And I haven't had any epiphanies, or road-trip breakthroughs, in case you're wondering. My many hours of solace have been filled with my stereo blasting out a shuffle selection from my iPod. If anything, I'll probably lose a few IQ points when this trip is all said and done.




Mae has been an awesome companion, as you can see in the photos. She sleeps most of the time. Today, for the first time, her road trip resolve cracked, just a bit, when she didn't want to get back in the car at a rest stop. I had to pick her up and stuff her back in.



Leaving NC was very difficult. I walked away from a relationship with a man whom I truly loved. Unfortunately, we both have very strong ideas about where we want to live, and I don't see either of us changing our minds. I don't want to be in the South, and he doesn't want to be on the West Coast, so we had to end a perfectly good fulfilling friendship and relationship. I think we'll both carry around bruised hearts for some time.





I kept thinking that I would write a long post about my time in NC--kind of wrap it all up, you know? But I realized this blog has been my NC journal; I started it right after I moved there, and it contains far too much to cover with a Cliff Notes-type summary. But I will say this: I'm so glad I moved out there. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know a soul there, and I didn't know if I would stay indefinitely or go straight back to California. I think I grew up a lot out there. It was, above all, an adventure.





And now, I'm getting ready to start the next chapter.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Miller Lite Invitational

Abran and Jimmy.
Me and Kelly.

The whole crew.



The Cooper brothers.


Hit the ball a bit too hard.




I couldn't leave NC without one last Extreme Croquet tournament. Kelly and John hosted, and once again, Mae the Dog f*&#$^ with people by stealing their croquet balls and making them chase her down. One of my teammates smashed our ball so hard it split wide open, so we had to play with a duct taped ball. We didn't win. The Miller Lite Invitational champions? The Cooper brothers. A disclaimer to their win: I wasn't the only one who noticed there was some not-s0-subtle wicket manipulation by the brothers. A little tilt here, a little tilt there, and wow! The ball went through.




I made some great friends here, and I'll miss them dearly.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hello couch. Let's bond.

Today, me and Mister Couch are getting super cozy. Borderline flirtatious. After yesterday's mt. bike race in HUMID South Carolina, I'm not super motivated to do anything else but park my ass in the same spot. All day.

The race was actually super fun. It was a combination of singletrack, gravel, dirt, and road. I saw some very rural parts of the South, and perched atop my bike, in lycra, I wasn't entirely sure a helmet was going to protect me. I think a shotgun may have been more appropriate. But there was some beautiful scenery (if you could get past the fact that rebel flags were flying proudly on every other driveway), and I was impressed with the trail system.

For the first time EVER, I finished a race ahead of Cullen.* I got 2nd for the women, earning me an engraved glass and an extremely sore ass, thanks to the wrong choice of a bike seat. Most impressive, though, I drank two full camelback bladders--140 ounces of fluid, and I didn't even have to pee at the end! That's some humidity, folks.

* He flatted three times and took a digger on a super-hazardous bridge. Oh, and he rode it on his cyclocross bike. I think he also got lost once. So when I say I beat him, there may have been other factors involved ...

Friday, May 15, 2009

The things I get signed up for.

I don't know how this happens, but I find myself registered for races that can best be described as "masochistic." I don't sign myself up. C will call me, typically in the middle of the day, while he's Internet searching "the world's most masochistic races" and "ways to permanently alter your endocrine system" during his video conferences, and in a chipper voice, announce, "Guess what race I just registered us for!"I think this caused me to genuinely hate him when we were in our trail running race phase, but now that we're back to a domain I enjoy much more, cycling, he doesn't suck quite as bad. But he definitely doesn't occupy my top spot after these phone calls.

Tonight, we're driving to South Carolina for a 100k mt. bike race. FTW? That's what I said. 100k is a supercrazylongtime to be perched atop a heavy bike with suspension.

I think maybe this is a tactic to get me to stay a few more weeks: He figures if I permanently disfigure my ass and ability to sit comfortably, I won't be as inclined to jump in my car and drive across the country next week.

He doesn't know me very well.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Packing up and heading out

I’m a victim of the economy, people. I got laid off. THE RECESSION IS HERE FOR REALS. I say that all in half-jest. I don’t really feel like a “victim,” per se. I work in the advertising industry, which is basically another word for a revolving door of employees. Business is doing poorly. People are cutting marketing budgets. Marketers are losing their jobs.

I’ve never been laid off before. It feels a bit like being broken up with, but in this case, I was already checking out some fresh meat, so it wasn’t a horrible blow. But rejection, in whatever form, is never pleasant, and it is a harsh reminder that I have an ego, albeit one that is now a bit bruised.

I had been exploring a job prospect in California, so when I got the news that I had lost my job, I reassured myself that I was at least up-to-date on my interviewing skills. My second thought, after my surprise conversation with my boss? At least I won’t have to sacrifice my bodily fluids in the North Cackilacky humidity one more summer. Electrolyte retention is really that important.

So fast-forward a few weeks: My apartment is completely packed. For the first time in my life, I put my clothes in real boxes, instead of the standard garbage bags. I have real movers moving my stuff. I don’t have to bribe friends that moving is fun! And I’ll give them free meals and a lifelong promise of my undying friendship and fidelity. I don’t have to hang onto a man I don’t really like any more for just a few more weeks because he may be part of my moving crew. (Not my current situation, but it’s definitely occurred before.)

I’ve been crashing at my ex’s/pseudo boyfriend’s house during my packing/what-the-hell-has-my-life-come-to/I’m-about-to-move-back-in-with-my-parents-again ordeal. And I’ve got to admit, Internet: It’s not such a bad lifestyle. I cook nice meals for us every night. I ride my bike or run whenever I want. I’ve packed my belongings at a leisurely pace. I do errands and hang out with my dog all day. It’s fun because it’s temporary. If this was my life for reals, I’d be on some serious psychiatric meds. I miss business and work and purpose.

I decided, pretty much immediately, that trying to find a job again here would be futile and silly, since I so clearly want to be back in California. IT’S A SIGN FROM THE HEAVENS. That’s what it is. So until I find said job, I’ll have to stay with my most generous parents, who probably aren’t super stoked that I’m hitting their doorstep with a house-full of belongings in tow. And a dog. But they’ll adapt. Because whether they like it or not, there's a very clear clause in their parental contract that states they must love me unconditionally.

I’m heading out sometime around Memorial Day weekend. The movers are picking up my stuff next Wednesday. I’m not super worried about my exact departure date because I have a nice place to stay in the meantime, and I’m sharing the space with one of my most favorite friends.

I’ve driven across the country before, and because I’m not in the most adventurous mood at the moment, and I have this secret fear that my car is going to explode, I’m just going to take the very same route I came out here on: The Forty. 1-40. Through Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and finally, California. I might pause to see the Grand Canyon this time. Last time I blew right by.

Part of me thinks, EMBRACE THIS! I’m free for the moment. I should hit Colorado and do some serious mt. biking. I should drive through new states. I should get a tattoo or hide out in a foreign country for a while.

But I’m too boring right now. I’m going to be conventional and just point my car westward on 40, for four solid days. I’ll try to blog* and take some pictures during my drive. I’ll most assuredly bore you with tales of getting hit-on at truck stops, the endless Oklahoma plains, and with complaints of how my iPod doesn’t hold enough of my music collection.

If you don’t hate me by the time I reach California, don’t worry: my dog and trusty- trip companion surely will.

*What also might appear on this blog is a late-night nostalgic look back at my almost three years in NC. Take it with a grain of salt. If I get around to writing it, a bottle(s) of wine will assist me. I'm saying here, RIGHT NOW, I'm not holding myself responsible for any editing/grammar issues, if such a blog appears. You'll have to cut me some slack and forget for a moment that I was once employed as a copy editor.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mom

It's Mother's Day, and my mom is across the country in Oregon, visiting my sister and her family. It's been years since I actually saw my mom on this "holiday." I'm glad she's able to spend it with at least one of her children this year.

My mom, a.k.a., Domestic Godess, can do it all: Sew curtains, tile a bathroom, grow perfect roses and tomatoes, cook delicious food, and keep her house in perfect order. I'm basically a domestic flop, so I'm a little in awe of her skills.

She's always been the one to keep things organized, on-task, and together. She worries about the details and repairs the frayed ends. She puts back together what I manage to break and undo and still loves me at the end of the day.

Happy Mother's, Day, Mom. Maybe next year I'll get to spend this holiday with you.