Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sunsets, Donkies and Strategic Pooping

When I was in high school I used to sit on my parents front step and watch the sunsets. I'd usually go out at night after dinner, just before the mosquitoes started to get really bad. It was quiet and peaceful out there and I could hear myself think. I sat in a nice rocking chair we had given my dad one father's day and I could watch the sky turn pink and and pale peach through the haze of Ohio humidity. It was wonderful.

It's been a really long time since I've done that, but tonight after my walk I found myself sitting on our front stoop watching the sky turn colors again. At the end of our subdivision there is a little farm that hasn't sold out yet. Just about every night, without fail, the donkey who watches over the sheep and chickens will scream out his distinctive call. The first time he did it I nearly jumped off the ground from fright, but now it just seems soothing in a weird way. Within a few minutes of sitting down he shouted out his messy declaration that the day was done. His formality was a comfort.

So I sat there watching the sunset and just thought for a while. I could hear myself think and breath and I was relieved to have the space to do it in. There are five people, one dog and one cat living in this house these days. It's crowded to say the least. I like my space and my solitude. It's not that I'm anti-social, it's just that down time is important in my little world and there hasn't been much of it lately. Not that this is a bad thing. Jason and I have been enjoying the summer with lots of trips, bbq's and parties. It's been good. But if I'm not with him, then I'm at work. It doesn't leave a whole lot of time for curling up with a book and Fatty Cat, which is how I used to unwind in my single days.

And speaking of Roscoe, a.k.a, Fatty, Roo, Rooster and, most recently, Roscoski, he has settled into life in Montana just fine. He just occasionally takes issue with the dog. Oh yes--the dog. Leila is a small, three-pound, Pomeranian Jason adopted. She's sweet with tiny little marble eyes and a delicate, somewhat petite personality. Roscoe, on the other hand, is 20 pounds of opinionated, bossy, hungry fur. The two create quite a contrast. However, he has been a good cat since getting here regardless of the ill-founded accusation from one of my roommates that he pooped in his room. I maintain that it was Leila (the cat and dog poop looks similar--not that I'm looking that close...). But I will say that if that particular roommate ticked Roscoe off enough for him to poop on the carpet, (something that he has never done once in his five years of life) then whatever he did was probably bad enough to deserve that and more. In his day Roscoe has chewed on shoes, knocked breakables off the counters, unpotted/mauled/eaten house plants, attacked various pieces of furniture and drank out of the toilet bowl, but he has never once pooped out of spite. He has drug his butt across an ex-boyfriends pillow, but that is as close as he has come to using poop as a weapon. So again, I sincerely doubt that Roscoe was the culprit. If he could, I'm sure he'd sue for libel...

So there I was, on the step, thinking about cat vs. dog poop and the motives behind it. I watched the birds, listened to the Canadian geese and contemplated how nice it would be to befriend the pleasant lesbian couple across the street (they have two Subarus, a Smart Car, a cat that they walk on a leash and beautifully maintained flower beds--why not?). I also thought about the garden which was pummeled to a bloody green pulp by that awful hail storm the other night (the lettuce and corn was all that survived) and the pock marks on my car from said hail storm and the nauseating fact that it will cost a few hundred bucks to fix. I contemplated all that work that is waiting for me tomorrow at my desk and did my best to try to calculate how much I could get done before the week was out. I thought about taking a second job again to have a little bit more money in my bank account. And on the topic of money my brain wondered down the path of assessing my not so strong assets and wondering if I will ever really get ahead. And then my eye caught a glimpse of the lovely rock I took with me from Sinks Canyon, Wyoming as a souvenir of my time in the mountains. I picked it up and turned it over and over in my palm until my mind started spinning around the man who disappeared last fall. I helped with that search and it a was major effort, but they couldn't find him before winter hit. They found him last month at the base of cliff. And then, of course, I started thinking about people I miss and also some people I don't. And then I started going through that list in my head of all the people I need to meet at the trade show next month. I was ticking through the appointment list and making mental notes of what I need to do to prepare until I inevitably switched to the "what to wear" category of worry that comes with being a woman and before I knew it I was mentally packing my suitcase.

Me? Oh just fine. Really. Fine and freaking dandy.

So I sat there, stared at that gorgeous, gentle sunset and did my best to breath. And then I thought, "I am an adult, this is life, and every single person in these lovely craftsman style homes has worries similar or even worse than mine. Nicki, put on your big girl panties and get over it."

And then a blue heron flew across the sky. For whatever reason, these creatures have always seemed like guardians to me. Tall, handsome and so full of grace without a hint of smugness they are a mark of calm elegance. He was alive, high above it all, gliding through all that ethereal pink.

Down the street the donkey cried out again. He's a persistent bastard, I'll give him that, but he's right: The day is over and it's time to give it up and go to bed.


Song of the day: Apologies by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Maybe Montana

Hello All,

I have a bit of announcement to make. It's been a long time coming, but being a fairly un-trusting individual (a couple years in corporate sales will do that to a person) I wasn't willing to post about it right away. But now, after oh, a whole freaking month, I feel it's high time I made it official: I, Nicole HAVE A REAL JOB. Yes, it's true--a legitimate, paying, health insurance included gig. No longer am I trapped in intern-hood at the age of 26. I am now employed. I know, I was shocked, too. But here I am: Employed, coupled, and living in Montana. And, if you can believe it, the craziest thing of all is that I AM HAPPY.

I believe the phrase you're searching for is "holy shit".

So here it is: the end of a year. I started on June 17, 2007 driving like a mad woman out of Oregon headed toward Wyoming to start a new life. I wanted freedom, anonymity, a fresh start and a new career. I wanted a better, healthier and happier life and frankly, I didn't care what I was giving up in the fabled, mythical land called Eugene, Oregon. Quite suddenly I went from being an employed pre-adult working in corporate sales to being a publications intern/cocktail waitress/dog and house sitter in Wyoming. say the least.

Then I headed north, against better judgement (that judgement being to go back to Oregon for grad school instead of yet another internship) and found myself in the painfully frozen town of Bozeman, MT. And if there was a theme to go with my first six months in Montana, it would have been "rough starts". My internship, finding a second job, getting health and car insurance, finding a social life (never did quite get that one off the ground), my living situations and even my relationship with Jason, were all bumpy and painful or unpleasant to begin with. By February 15th I decided to throw in the towel and planned to leave on March 15th. But life happened and I ended up in Ohio helping to take care of my Mom and Dad and I completely forgot about plans to leave. I came back to Bozeman on the 14th exhausted, but somehow rejuvenated by gratitude. On the 15th, the day that I was supposed to be leaving Bozeman in a trail of frozen dust and neurotic cynicism, I started dating Jason. It's funny how life stepped in front of me the way it did. Sort of like a train hitting a brick wall... Anyway, after coming back from Ohio I wasn't going anywhere. And then in June the magazine I was interning with offered me a job and suddenly, I was living and working Bozeman, MT.

The day after meeting with my bosses over coffee and cheesecake I woke up with the strange sensation that I had been given a second chance. I was happy. HAPPY. Me, the girl who has been hopping from one fit of melancholy to the next since infancy, was content. Sure, I still had my daily freak outs and ranting fits (just ask Robin), but all and all, I was good. When I had left Oregon I had gone with the desire to land a job at an outdoor magazine. I wanted to be in a town that wasn't too big or too small; that had art, culture, entertainment and the outdoors spilling out its seems. I wanted to be in a place filled with natural beauty and surrounded by trails. I wanted to find a guy and fall in love. And much to my surprise, I found it.

That's not to say that I've reached some sort of pinnacle in life and that I'm done building and changing who I am. There are new goals that I'm working toward now. It will be interesting to see where I end up, but if I can come this far in a year I'm fairly hopeful for where I will be another twelve months.

So here I am. I live in Bozeman and work as the advertising/publications sales manager for an outdoor magazine. I also do some writing and editing for them so I'm not completely out of the literary industry. I have a desk in front of a window and co-workers that I not only like, but enjoy working with. I like going to work in the morning, but I also like coming home at night. It's great to finally have that balance.

So now what? I used to post to this blog every day (it's easy to do when you don't have a social life and it's disgustingly cold outside) but life got busy and then it got weird. I needed some time off to reevaluate who I am, where I am and just what this blog is about. And now that I've done that I think I have a better grasp on it and on me. I'm not the same person I used to be, but I'm not that different either. Life is just altered and new.

Lucky me.