New City, New Job

Pop quiz: How long has it been since I’ve updated this blog?

The correct answer is, “Too Long.”

Moving is hard, you know? You’re in a new place, and you have to establish new routines and fight twice as hard to do all the things you had only just figured out how to do at the place you left behind. I also have a new job, and that’s been really taking it out of me. Eventually it will be a three-day-a-week job, but they’ve been giving me almost forty hours these past few weeks while I’m training. It’s been two years since I last worked forty hours a week, so that alone is exhausting. Worse, I have to wake up at 4:30 in the morning  to get to work on time, and I’ve never had to do that before. Also, the job itself is really overwhelming right now. It’s a lot of fun and I love meeting people and driving around the city and I’m determined to learn how to do it as best as I can—but finding my way around Portland (Maine!) is really tough right now. I don’t have the most sophisticated sense of direction to begin with (understatement alert) and, besides a few well-worn routes, the city is entirely new to me. I’ve borrowed my parents’ GPS, and that will get me where I need to go, but it doesn’t know anything about which side of the street you need to be on to pull the bus up to the curb, or which streets you should never drive down when you’re on a schedule because of all the stoplights. Also, did I mention the bus is huge? Eventually, when I get my own route, I think I’ll be driving a minivan, but I’m training on one of the small buses and backing that thing up is terrifying. I’m getting better, but still. At this point, because navigation is such an issue, I pretty much need to spend one to two hours the night before studying my route on google maps. That’s right, folks: I landed a day-job with homework.

Heh, this blog post went the way all my conversations have gone over the past week or so. It’s just, the job is all I’ve been doing, so it’s all I really have to talk about. And even though it’s tiring and stressful and overwhelming right now, I am so grateful to have a job, and I’m so grateful it’s this one. Everything’s a little harder at the beginning, is all. And it is challenging. Of the five of us who were hired at the same time, one already dropped out because he didn’t like the job. Out of the eight hired a month or so before us, only five stayed beyond the first few weeks. So I think if I just stick with it, and put as much time into learning my routes and studying the roads as possible, I’ll (eventually) be all set. And in the meantime, I’m really grateful for weekends.

Maine hit the nineties yesterday. It was glorious. I went for a four mile run in the absolute hottest part of the day, after guzzling some coffee and making some headway on Wanderlust book II. What I NEED to be doing are the illustrations for Wanderlust I, but progress on something is better than no progress at all. I went to the library, and started reading a middle-grade book called Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr. It’s really good so far, and the illustrations are excellent. Then I went to the beach with Lady Anne, which was marvelous and will hopefully be a much-repeated experience over the course of the summer. I went for an equally lengthy run this morning, found a church with music I really liked, and then cooked fried plantains for lunch. I’m sitting at my desk now, about to [make a valiant attempt to] spend some time with those Wanderlust illustrations before I devote the rest of my evening to studying and making lunches for the week. Preferred bedtime is 8 O’clock, but if I make it there by 9:30 I’ll call it a win.

So that’s what I’ve been doing, in case anyone missed me. As my routine settles down a little, or as I get a little more accustomed to it, I hope to be able to spend more time with this blog. I’ve missed you too.

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More on the Move

I moved to Portland last week! Monday’s was a real quick post, so here are more details on a few things.

The roommates:

I live with Brackett and Nevada. Remember Brackett? He’s a very old friend. He was also Brother’s college roommate for five years—and for part of those five years, Nevada rented the third bedroom in their apartment. She’s been living with with Brackett in Portland for the last year or so. The whole reason I was able to start thinking about moving was that, about a month ago, Brackett posted on Facebook that their third roommate had bailed, and they needed a new roommate for the beginning of May. Huh, thought I. I always liked Brackett’s apartment. Brackett and Nevada are awesome. I don’t really want to stay in this small town for another summer, and I’ve been looking for an out. This looks like an out. So I decided to move to Portland. It’s hard to find a place without a job, or a job without a place, but now that I had a place all set and decided upon, I could put all my energies toward job hunting.

The job:

Yes, I have one. Hurrah! It’s a part time gig driving a van around Portland and giving people rides to where they need to go, serving mostly the elderly and disabled. I can’t tell you much more about it yet because my first day of training isn’t until this Wednesday, on the 15th. I will say that, even though it’s part time, it has enough hours and good enough pay to get by on, although I may still be looking for some other very part time work on the side. Also it’s driving, which is fun, and I’ll be providing a worthwhile service to the city and probably meeting interesting people. I’m excited.

The haircut:

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The desk:

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First Week in Portland

So I’ve moved to the city. To the Big Town, if you will. It is not the biggest of big towns, but it is the biggest town in Maine, and it’s a whole lot bigger than both my college town and my tiny hometown. So far, I like it a lot.

My little room is great, my roommates are great, and I’m excited to start my new job. I got a free haircut today by volunteering as a hair-model for someone learning how to cut hair, and she did a great job! I even went for a really great run this morning. And, perhaps most importantly, I have a really wonderful desk. We found it at a yard sale yesterday, and my dad helped me move it in this morning. It takes up half the room, but that’s okay. I want my creative endeavors to occupy the most important place in my life, so my desk should be the most prominent thing in my bedroom. It’s symbolic in all the right ways.

And actually, I’m going to keep this blog post short because I just want to get to work. I’m also going to eat dinner, but mainly the getting to work thing. Ciao!

Twenty-Six Things

1.) Sometimes, writing blogs and communicating with people is really hard.

2.) As more time passes [without a blog post, an email, a tweet, a wordpress comment], it only gets harder.

3.) I haven’t gone running for two weeks.

4.) I’ve also had a cold for the last two weeks.

5.) I haven’t drawn much for the last two weeks either.

6.) I have been writing… in a way. Wanderlust II is fermenting, and coming together in bits and pieces. I’ve also been doing some brainstorming on an older project.

7.) I feel terrible that I haven’t finished the Race to the 8th bonus prizes yet. Absolutely terrible.

8.) The title Race to the 8th, in the context of a silly little contest on my silly little blog, sounds insensitive and unimportant after yesterday. My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the tragedy at the Boston Marathon.

9.) Now, talking about anything else feels insensitive.

10.) But there are a few more things on my list.

11.) For instance, I am moving to Portland at the end of the month.

12.) Portland: Maine, that is.

13.) I’m looking for a job.

14.) But not hard enough—see things 3, 4, and 5. It’s been a lazy couple weeks.

15.) I’ll fill out more applications tomorrow.

16.) I read this quote somewhere yesterday:  “Tomorrow is always the busiest day of the week.”

17.) Perhaps I should fill out more applications today.

18.) Today is Brother’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Brother! He was up this weekend, and we had a party on Saturday. It was fun.

19.) The ice cream from the party is still in my freezer. I have over-indulged.

2o.) In fact, I suspect I am sabotaging myself and my energies with bad food, and I suspect I am doing it maliciously.

21.) I want to take a nap.

22.) Leftenant Weatherby finished reading Wanderlust! He sent me a positive, one might even say glowing, review.

23.) I finished reading The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, and I gave it five stars on Goodreads.

24.) It’s a pretty heavy book. Don’t read it if you’re sensitive—I would have found it really disturbing six or seven years ago.

25.) I’m going to try to draw something tonight.

26.) Thank you for reading. I hope I can provide you with more content soon.

Girl Talk

This is a poem I wrote to my best friend, Lady Higg, in Sebtember of 2011. The poem was also written to fulfill an exercise in iambic pentameter, which explains the form and the few syllables I’ve left out of words. I’m posting it now because THIS WEEK, Lady Higg and her worthy consort, Dr. Longbottom, are in the process of moving to a new town. Here’s hoping everything goes well for both of them in their new digs!

Girl Talk

So here’s to coffee in the morning. Here’s

to vodka drained at night. Here’s to all

the useless chatter that surrounds and feeds

and bleeds our damn dry souls. It’s not real life,

we said, while sipping tea and laughing in

a morning-after fog. And then, today,

“They found a body in a garbage bag,

a minute from my house.” Say what?

You may have trumped my three a.m., just talk-

ing, walking, and then, you know, my Saturday:

the car on third, the buildings and the bush

we hid behind and waited for the drama

to unwind. “Never fall in love

with Katie Couric,” sang your myst’ry creep

at four. A light was on, and I was prob’ly

losing hope already for a day

without a headache. Well, and that’s just how

it goes. But still. They found a body in

a garbage bag a minute from your house.

So yeah.

I hope you find a new apartment soon.