A little from all over

Remember that time that I had so many partial entries written that I just put them all up here? It’s that time again. I’ve got so many sitting in my blog-writing Word document that aren’t going anywhere. I figure it’s time for a mostly-clean slate.

Nothing’s all too interesting, but here are the partial entries that never quite made it into full-on postings.

It’s no secret that I rule by the head. If I need a decision made, a list of the pros and cons is written, the items are weighted by priority, and everything’s added up or subtracted, resulting in a nice and tidy showing of what just makes sense.

When matters involve the heart, I’m as much of an idiot as everyone else. In those instances, I have to let the head do the thinking, accepting that how things fall are as they should be.

Heart-thumping decisions don’t just involve boys. They also involve family, friends, and my future happiness. In the case of what was written in my past entry, I know that the pros are equally long in each list. I’m just going to have to employ a good amount of patience and see where my cards fall.

Just today, one of the items was knocked off the list: I will definitely not be heading to the Marshall Islands next autumn to teach high school English. Seeing that I do not possess a teaching certification nor have plans of obtaining one, that made the decision for me.

I like when decisions are easy. This is a good thing.

My very dear parents spent the weekend at my new place in Houston. Among other tasks, they patched and painted walls that needed some work to make the unit rental-ready. Being friendly people who befriend cats and talk with strangers, they even found me a likely candidate for moving into the place once it’s ready to go.

I’m amazed by how my parents have taken over that part of my business. Unasked and without wanting anything in return, they stepped in to help shape this part of my dream. It goes to show what parents will do to help their children, and I can’t help but join the bandwagon they’re pulling and also be proud of what we’re doing here. This really is a joint effort, and I can’t wait to share more with them.

And by more, I mean the rewards… Not the painting!

In the next year, no matter where I live, I have to ramp up the money-making. I’m working with the county’s tax assessor to get into sheriff’s sales. This means that I can bid to pay off someone’s delinquent taxes, take possession of the house, and then hold onto it until the payment expiration date passes. Nine times out of 10 the person doesn’t redeem the house, so it is permanently added to my collection. Seeing that this county runs along the water in a desirable Texas vacationing spot, I’m sure I can pick up a few places that will bring in some monthly income.

Clothing malfunctions — eek!

Yesterday SheBoss leaned over and whispered, “Your black thong is showing.”

Color me embarrassed.

For one, enough of my undies were showing that it was evident that I was wearing a thong. That means that my pants drooped to crack-flash level. That’s never a good thing.

Second, there was something oddly poignant about being told that my black thong was showing. I don’t know why it struck me as more embarrassing than if she had just said that my thong was showing; but I guess it’s that added acknowledgment that a bunch of what little there is of those undies was showing.

The thing with this is that those pants are from my skinny pants collection. With all of the working out, they’re back in high rotation. However, with my waistline shrinking and my tush staying the same, there’s a bit of a gap in the back.

Hence the unintentional black thong showing.

For the rest of the day I was aware of any possible thong-age, keeping my shirt fully pulled down in the back.

Today I wore another pair of pants from my skinny collection. This pair differs from the previous pair, in that it’s from the even-skinnier collection. This means that they fit a-okay with no possible thong-showing.

However, today the pants aren’t the problem. Instead of my thong on display, today’s shirt is showing off too much of my cream-colored bra. Both the straps and the top of the cup are coming out of what is usually decently hidden. I can’t think of any type of working out that would make my bra show, so I’m baffled that today’s undergarments are making a show of things.

Years back the Hollywood tartlets made a mockery of decency and flashed their thongs around. Those six inches of silk and lace hanging out the back were 10x tacky. Most Americans recognized the ick factor and avoided this showing.

However, once the weather climbs above 80, I’ve seen too many women forgoing that whole “underwear are supposed to be under your clothing” thing, apparently thinking that one’s bra does not constitute as underwear.

Those clear, plastic straps aren’t fooling anybody. Wearing a halter, racer-back, or spaghetti-strapped tank with a regular bra is also giving a show. No one but Carrie Bradshaw can pull off the black-bra under a white-shirt thing, and even she did it trashy.

Working and working out don’t make for good blog entries

So, yeah. I’ve been quiet for a bit. Chicago’s in that turn of Spring where it gives a day of glorious weather and then follows it up with a nasty smackdown. Two days ago, it was sunny and warm-ish, allowing me to ride my new-to-me bike along the lakefront path while I skipped work. Yesterday was 15 degrees cooler with this nasty mix of snow, ice, and rain. I’m ready to jump off my balcony.

I supposed this is Mother Nature’s way of returning the punch to the face that Hummer drivers give her.

Thanks a lot, jerks.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, I bought myself a bike two days ago. I’ve been looking online for a for-real road bike, but I’m unwilling to spend more than $400 on it. This guy I was seeing at the beginning of the year kept sending me links to bikes, and I’d have to repeat, “Hon, $800 is not $400.” If he wasn’t so pretty, I wouldn’t have been so patient with the bike links.

Anyway, knowing that all I want to do at this point is go up and down the lakefront path when I’m bored and should be getting sunshine, I have also been looking for an absolute beater of a bike.

Those bikes at KMart? Bingo!

The $75 price tag for something I know I won’t be taking to Texas with me? No thanks.

The other day I got this hunch that told me to get onto Craig’s List while at work. This is usually a complete no-no on my self-imposed site monitoring, but I went anyway. Lo and behold, there was a mountain bike of the KMart variety for $35. The lady confirmed that it was good for short people, and I made arrangements to be there after work to pick it up.

Now, this bike isn’t much to look at… But it works, and it isn’t too big for me. The end.

And even though it’s been a good 20 years since I recall riding a bike, it didn’t take too long before I felt balanced. By the end of the few miles home, I took to the streets and resisted the urge to ride like a jackass as so many other bikers do.

In a final all-out hippie moment, I locked up my bike and bought some organic stuff at Trader Joe’s.

[Note: This bike since broke. I have an even-better bike now.]

I’ve alternated between being so friggin’ busy and doing absolutely nothing lately. On the days where winter hasn’t beaten my motivation to levels of nothingness, I’m non-stop. From 9 in the morning until about 4 the next morning, I’m working my day job, crunching numbers for real estate, and reading as much as possible. I have a huge to-do list that’s keeping me really busy.

Replacing the hibiscus flower

How I earned the bottle of good rum — Joel, six weeks, didn’t hear once about wife or daughter, workout/dinner/drinks, kept the rum as my reward

There’s a man in my office who smells like hot dogs. I’m not at all grossed out; I’m just hungry.

Age 25.5 blurb: Baby girl was in love. In that so-much-it-hurts-your-soul, shout-it-from-the-rooftop, absolute-awestruck-pride-feelin’ l-o-v-e love. But he’s a turd, so that was that. It turned into so-much-it-hurts-everything, weep-and-wail-from-the-rooftop, absolute-emptiness-feelin’ p-a-i-n pain. So Jo made some friends, drank a lot, ate amazing food, went on a bunch of vacations, and did whatever she damn well pleased. She got a glimpse of extreme-like from an unusual source, went wide-eyed with shock, and ran at just the right time to avoid any unpleasantness.

Age 23 blurb: Freshly to Chicago. Loves the train. Interests involve rollerblading, talking with strangers, and dancing at the Hangge Uppe. Just started drinking beer. Doesn’t think it’s *that* cold.

Age 20.5 blurb: Wants to get married! Have babies! Spends time thinking about hyphenating my last name, out-right taking his, or seeing if he’ll take mine because it’s 10x more awesome than his. What? No, I don’t have a ring? But that’ll come.

Age 18 blurb: First new apartment. College cheerleader. TA for English classes. Short stint as a shot girl. Adept in Texas rental laws and threatens to sue apartment complexes in her spare time. Hopes to make $30,000 per year upon graduation.

I’ve been thinking lately about my upcoming move, and there’s a mix of both anxiety and excitement.

Professionally, things are going to be a lot different. When you’re no longer 9-to-5-ing it, there is an immense gain in freedom and a complete loss in social contact and structure. Believe me when I say I’ll take the freedom over all of it, but the social aspects are definitely something I didn’t previously consider.

Let’s face it: I won’t have friends. Although my semi-spontaneous move to Chicago started with no friends or job prospect, Houston will be different since I have the security of my family nearby. With my parents 15 miles away, my brother likely moving into my house one dirty sock at a time, and being able to spend the weekends hosting my sister and her kids, will the convenience of having them around sap any motivation to find people my own age?

I adore my family more than I ever have before, so I’m excited about getting to spend time with them; however, there’s something about people who are about your age and go through the same daily toils that will make me miss having those sorts of people around.

Highly recommended product: Ped Egg

What you give, you get in return

Ever since the Law and Order rerun channel picked up early episodes of My Name is Earl, I’ve seen a lot of commercials for the show. For those who haven’t ever seen the show, the premise is that Earl is a small-time criminal and neighborhood bad guy who learns about karma and decides to turn his life around. He makes a list of all the bad things he’s done in his life of crime, and he’s going around to apologize and make up for each bad act.

It’s well-written and out-right hilarious, yet it’s also a family-friendly show with a positive message. There really aren’t too many of those out there. And although I give it five stars and two thumbs up, that’s not the point of this posting. This one’s all about karma.

I remember learning about the concept in my later college years. This whole idea of a universal give and take intrigued me. I’m too logical to agree that there’s an exact running tab, but my boyfriend at the time (also ever the skeptic) summed it up nicely:

If you’re nice, people are inclined to do nice things for you. If you’re a jerk, they’re not.

I’ve since adopted his oversimplified version of this cosmic push toward equilibrium.

It’s no secret that there’s a lot I want to accomplish this year. I’ve done a lot of planning and work (every night after my 9-5 is another few hours), and I’m finally up for action galore. Things are moving along nicely, but Earl’s put the thought of the not-so-simplified karma in my head.

Although I’m putting in the work to get what I want out of it, I wonder how my being-a-good-person meter is doing. I’m asking for a lot lately, and it can’t hurt to make sure I’m spreading a fair amount of good will out there.

Last night as I sifted through my 2007 tax information to ready it for sending to my accountant, I came across my donation receipts. I never really stacked them up before, but putting them into the binder really opened my eyes to what I’ve given out this year. I’m not exactly tutoring orphans in my nonexistant spare time, and going to the gym doesn’t count as giving back to the community, but this was an impressive line-up of charities that I helped out.

Epilepsy. General cancer. Breast cancer. Lung cancer. College support programs. The local children’s hospital. ALS. After-school programs. Autism.

All of these are causes my friends care about, and I’m proud that I can provide some monetary support to what’s important to the people important to me. As my business grows, I look forward to being able to increase the resources I give to these programs.

[11:03] Joanna: hmm
[11:03] Joanna: I’m thinking about it
[11:03] Joanna: and in Law and Order, which side is Law, and which is Order
[11:03] Joanna: it’s kinda ambiguous
[11:04] Joanna: you’d think that Law would def be the lawyer part
[11:04] Joanna: but the police enforce the laws
[11:04] Joanna: and if Law is the lawyer part, think about the Order part
[11:04] Joanna: The police enforce the laws, and that results in Order
[11:04] Joanna: but the lawyers bring about justice, which ensures order
[11:04] Joanna: points to ponder

Two days ago I managed to break the fuck out of my home computer. Due to paranoia about this sort of thing, I’m pretty careful about what I look at with my computer. No naked pictures. No downloading music or videos. No watching archived TV shows. No nothing! But I go to the comment section of a site I go to regularly, and things start popping up.

Yes, I’ve run all of the virus and malware scans available. They clear things out quite nicely before that little line of code where the crap is stored regenerates the bug and I get Windows-looking pop-ups littered with grammar errors that offer to clean off my machine for $39.99.

Seriously, now. How is there not a pending suit against these companies? They intentionally infect your computer and then make it so you either have to wipe your machine clean or pay their ransom. If individuals are fined heavily for unintentionally releasing email worms, how can a company be allowed to exist that preys on this? Any of you lawyer-y friends of mine know who to contact about action on this?

It’s not about compensation for my time and frustration; this is about something being WRONG. Were I not technically savvy enough to get hold of an operating system disc, have all of my stuff backed up, and load everything onto a wiped-out system, what would my options be?

I’ll add that to my list of things to do during my upcoming semi-retirement.

Man, I have so many things that I want to do. I have three web sites to start/run, a list of oddball jobs I want to explore, and three books to write. Having time to do them all is something I’m 10x excited about.

He was the closest I’d come to marrying someone. With sparks flying and passion galore, our time together was this excited anticipation for whatever came next. After an amount of time I’m embarrassed to admit to in a public arena, we agreed that this was something we could do for the rest of our lives.

I never believed in love at first sight or the notion of an actual soulmate before, but he made me question my doubt in both.

A mere few weeks into it, he told me that he was untruthful about something very important.

That was that.

Every six weeks I’d get a call to check in and see if I was still holding him at bay. I held my ground firmly. A betrayal like that — especially so early on — was unforgivable. Add to it that the situation he misinformed me about was complicated and drama-filled, and it was like trying to get a cat into a bath. He could hold my arms to my side with hopes that I’d get wet; but as the hypothetical water approached, I’d flail until I held myself over the tub with all fours locked at the joints.

As the years passed, the calls came more and more infrequently. Three months would pass before the next. Then six. Then it moved onto mutual acquaintances feigning interest in my life while dropping a line that he mentioned me the other day.

The last bit of contact was about a year ago. A stranger wrote me a MySpace message and said that if I wanted to know how the guy I once considered loving for the rest of my days was doing, he’d let me know. I didn’t fully bite the bait, instead writing back to say that I was positive my former love was doing well since he’s the type of man who makes things happen.


One response to “A little from all over

  1. When you clean house you REALLY clean house.

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