August 17, 2011


I woke up early yesterday morning and headed out to the suburbs to tell Bobby in person that I got the job and to try and figure out what to do next.

We spent the morning walking in the prairie, holding hands, looking at the trees and wildflowers, and stopping to steal kisses in every little patch of shade we found en route.

The details will have to wait, though.

What is right isn't always what is easy; today, I'm leaving Chicago.

Next update will be from California, though I'm not entirely sure when - we'll likely get there Friday or Saturday and then move me into my new place. As soon as I get settled and everything is mostly straightened out, there will be some serious catching up to do.

As a neurotic planner, I think the fact that this is all happening so fast is kind of a blessing in disguise. I don't have time to freak out and panic about how big and scary this all is. To be honest, it really hasn't fully hit me yet. Three days in a pickup truck will help with that, I'm sure.

The road trip is functional, not a vacation, so I'll be entirely on plan. First, because I don't want to be stuck in a car feeling weighed down with bad food choices. But also, because I won't be able to exercise en route. The first run after all that driving will be glorious, I can tell you that much.

Enjoy the rest of your week, everyone. Make the best choices possible, in all areas of life.

August 16, 2011


Last night, I was walking to the library - to blow off a little nervous steam, but also, to pick up a DVD I had requested ... one of my favorites, "The Purple Rose of Cairo." It's an unsurprisingly predictable favorite - a light comedy, full of intellectual romance and a pair of main characters (one a daydreamer, one hopelessly optimistic) in whom I can recognize parts of myself all too often.
Tom: I guess I have to get a job.

Cecilia: That's not gonna be so easy either - right now the whole country's out of work.

Tom: Well, then, we'll live on love. We'll have to make some concessions, but so what? We'll have each other.

Cecilia: That's movie talk.
Around 6 p.m., walking down the sidewalk in Little Italy, I checked my email on my phone, and there it was.

I got offered the full-time position.

It's undeniably great news. The excitement and nerves lasted approximately an hour, until I got home.

Great news. But.

I already signed my contract for the part-time teaching job here in Chicago. And according to the reply from an urgent email I sent my director in Chicago last night, "Theoretically, once you sign a contract you need to stand by it."
Jason: I'm bored with sitting around. I'm a dramatic character - I need forward motion!
I'm not sure what the next step is.

And also -

I spent Sunday night at a train station, crying into a boy's shoulder as he quietly dabbed at his own tears. It's new, but it feels real and serious. I'm in the city and he's in the suburbs and it's tough when you want to spend every waking moment with someone. Now, that distance could be thousands of miles.

It feels a little like a movie, you know? Nothing seems to be going right for the main character, then a series of separately wonderful things come together, only to become a source of conflict shortly thereafter. You can't have it all - it's one or the other. I spent all summer applying for jobs but not getting answers and dating a boy who didn't love me back and who hurt me; within the past week, though, I have grown very close to an amazing boy *and* got an interview for a totally perfect job. Except - the boy is in the Chicago suburbs, and the job is in central California.

This boy isn't like the others. He didn't mistreat me like quite a few did when I was big. He didn't hit me like Jon did. He didn't cheat on me like Matt did. But I still might have to leave him. And I'm surprisingly heartbroken, given how briefly we've been together. I haven't slept with him. His kisses are mostly on the cheek - the first was on my hand. But being with him feels unlike anything else. There's a strong attraction, a chemistry I've never felt before. It's beyond anything I've known.

I'm trying to trust the universe and accept that everything that happens does so for a reason. If I don't take the full-time job, I have work guaranteed here for at least a semester, and I can move forward with the boy. But the job is an amazing opportunity that I absolutely cannot refuse - but with it comes the sacrifice of what feels like an incredible relationship. I'd be starting over completely from scratch - working at a new job and living in a new apartment, in a new town, in a new state, in a new time zone. And I'd be profoundly alone as I nursed yet another heartache.

This is crazy. But by the time this post goes live, I'll be headed to the suburbs on the commuter train. We both spent yesterday nervous wrecks; today, we're going to make some decisions. We're going to have a plan. We will figure this out.
Tom: It's so impulsive, but - I'll come. Why not? What's life without a little risk taking?
Of course, there may be nothing to figure out. I may be stuck in Chicago because of a stupid piece of paper I signed quickly before they decided to take it away a second time.

Or I may be on the road in 24 hours.

I really don't like uncertainty.

August 15, 2011

BTH: Week Seven

My positive picture for the week:

From last Thursday's trip out to the suburbs for my second second date - walking along the river in his hometown.

Lots of handholding and quietly stolen cheek kisses in covered bridges. Everything about that day was perfect.

What have you done to help you achieve your goals?

This week, I worked on goal #6 - start getting rid of the crap. Stanier's explanation of this is as follows:
Think of all that stuff that's weighing you down and getting in the way - not just the things, but also the habits, the memories, the attitudes, the people. Get rid of that clutter.
I've been decluttering all summer - lots of material things, but also, trying to let go of the people who hurt me and don't support my goals. I've also made incredible progress on improving my habits and attitude, I think - not perfected, that's for sure. But I feel emotionally less heavy than I did a few months ago, and that has to count for something.

What have you done to make you feel fabulous?

I ran nine miles yesterday! It's a little silly maybe, but it made me feel fabulous and fantastic and light as a feather. I ran it without music, and it rained a little on miles 5 and 6, and I just kept going. It was great.

If your house was on fire, and you could grab ONE thing (outside of people and your computer/laptop, they are all out) what would it be?

The red cardboard box in my closet. It has all my handwritten journals in it - four 5-subject notebooks, filled.

Tell us about your blog. Treat it like a book, what's happened so far?

It's a story about a girl on a quest. She started off wandering through the woods, following a path and getting further away from the life she knew. Right now, she's still on the path, wondering where it ends up. But characters keep popping into the story and she's having some interesting side adventures. She's still carrying on, but the story is getting richer and more detailed.

Tell an embarrassing story about yourself. No dodging.

The first time I went to Paris, I tried to order canard (duck) and mispronounced, ordering connard (a**hole) instead. I tell that story to students every semester so they know that pronunciation is very important and that everyone makes mistakes. It's better to make mistakes in a classroom than at a fancy French restaurant like I did!

August 14, 2011

White bean spinach burgers

Yesterday was exhausting - lots of researching, phone calls, running around. Today I'm attempting a long run, reviewing the interview packet I have put together for myself, then hanging out with the boy I went out with a couple of times last week. More details about him are somewhat contingent on what I hear on Tuesday, I suppose - I'll write about the situation later this week, once some bigger decisions are finalized. *sigh*

I made a great new recipe this week: white bean burgers with spinach, dill, and garlic.

Like most bean burgers, they're not much to look at. Trust me, though - they were oh my goodness gracious amazing. BUT! You'll have to head over to The Intrepid Chefs and find it later this week! Our first challenge ingredient was spinach and there was a terrific variety of recipes, which will be posted at regular intervals throughout the week.

For today, you can head over to the site and read a little bit about spinach. You can also find out the next week's ingredient in case you'd like to participate! You don't have to submit something every week, just whenever the week's challenge inspires you.

What about you? What's something new you cooked this week? (Or something tried-and-true but still good?)