Friday, April 25, 2008

Much, much better

So it's been more than two weeks since I posted my little anxiety-freak-out entry below, and I feel worlds better now. My roommate and I did not have another strange visitor, and eventually I started to feel less tense about sleeping in my apartment. Also, my mom and my best friend both pointed out that I probably wasn't going to be able to just chill out and "find peace" as I thought I should, what with the whole slew of life changes -- leaving my job, moving across the country, moving in with my fiance, planning a wedding -- I was tackling ALL AT ONCE. So, congratulations to me for doing all of that.

And now... now I can relax. Oh god, I can relax! I'm in California now, I'm unemployed, and it feels great.

Now, please go read about my California discoveries on my shiny new JillInSanDiego blog.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Last night around 9:45, I was in the kitchen reading a magazine, and L had just gotten home from a concert. She got a drink in the kitchen, and then she was standing in the dining room when she turned to me and said “I just saw someone on our fire escape, at our door.”

“What?” I said. Unless they know us, nobody comes up to the secluded door on our fire escape, which is the only entrance to our place. And nobody ever just drops by.

“I saw someone standing at the door – I saw jeans, and then they turned around and left when I saw them. Then I heard the fire escape shake on their way down,” L explained.

My first thought was something along the lines of “How strange. Oh well.” But then I started to think about it. And L was freaked out, which fed my tendency to freak out. My legs started to shake.

Why would someone come up to our door and not knock? To our door, mind you. Not to the top of the stairs, only to realize they’d made a mistake, were looking for someone else’s back-alley up-a-fire-escape apartment. No note. Nothing.

And L had just gotten home. Had someone followed her? Why?

And why would someone come all the way up to the top of the fire escape at 9:45 at night when all the lights were on? Surely someone with nefarious purposes would wait until the middle of the night. But that’s a cold comfort. Were they casing the joint? Just curious? Maybe someone with no awareness of social boundaries, wondering what the apartment in the back looked like?

L and I cautiously went downstairs to our neighbor’s place and asked him if maybe one of his friends mistakenly came to our place instead. He said no, he and his girlfriend were the only ones home.

Despite the rickety entrance to our apartment, we’ve always felt secure there because it was so hidden. Nobody knows we’re back there unless we tell them. At least, that’s what we thought.

We barricaded entrances last night before bed. I actually booby-trapped my bedroom door. Slept with a blunt object within reach under my pillow. Overreaction? Probably. But goddamn it, I was freaked out. I didn’t sleep very well.

Why did someone come to our door last night and not make their presence known? What would they have done if they hadn’t seen L’s shadow through the window? Who the fuck are they?

I have a lot to do in the next week. Four stories to write for work, a temp to train, many items to pack. I need my brain to be fully functioning. But right now it’s incredibly fuzzy from lack of sleep, and I am so prone to anxiety that I don’t think I will be able to relax in my apartment between now and Moving Day. I don’t really know what to do.

I’m beyond on-edge. I hear people come into my office and I’m alert like a cat. Wondering what they want. What is it in my brain that thinks everyone is out to get me? I make eye contact with someone on my street and wonder if they’ve been watching L and me. Is it the lack of sleep that is making me extra-paranoid?

I would just like to relax. I would like peace in my heart. I would like not to think that I have lung cancer just because I get wheezy after a jog. I would like not to assume that the mole on my stomach is on its way to basal cell carcinoma. I didn’t used to get paranoid about sickness – why is my anxiety manifesting itself there now? Have I exhausted all other options?

L didn’t imagine someone on our fire escape, though. Do I finally have something real to be anxious about? That’s a little terrifying. What do I do?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It begins...

I have a new obsession. I kind of like it, and I also kind of want it to go away for just a little while. It is occupying most of my waking thoughts, it’s the last thing I think about before going to sleep, and it has started cropping up in my dreams.

Yes, friends, the wedding obsessing has begun.

I really had no idea how much there was to think about when T and I first got engaged on the last day of September. I started looking at dresses immediately – because, duh, why wouldn’t I? – and I idly browsed a few websites of possible reception spaces. But I didn’t start seriously thinking about ceremony and reception sites until two weeks ago, when T and I realized we’d have to push up our planned May 2009 date. We discussed October 2008 (mutually deciding something along the lines of “Gah! Too soon!”), December 2008 (T’s main complaint: “Too cold.”), New Year’s Eve (Jill’s main complaint: “Too fancy and expensive.”), and finally settled on just one month earlier than our original date. So we’re thinking April 25, 2009. (Right, T?) And now that it’s March 18 and I’m realizing how incredibly far in advance sites and photographers get booked, I’m consumed with finding the perfect spot for us.

It’s extremely difficult to do this when we can’t look at sites together. Sure, I can send T photos and prices and thoughts via e-mail, and we can spend more time than T would like discussing it on the phone, but it’s no match for being able to physically visit these places together.

I’m moving to California on April 21, which means I should probably spend more time getting all my day job work done and packing at home than surfing a thousand different photographers’ websites trying to catch a good glimpse of the reception sites we’re considering. But – I think you can guess how I’ve been spending my time.

(Short psychoanalysis aside: perhaps I am such a procrastinator that instead of focusing on the things that will have more of a direct effect on my future – looking for a job in San Diego, packing up my apartment before the middle of April, writing the four stories I have on my plate at work – I am immersing myself in party-planning. This could be true.)

But it is important to find and book a wedding site! It would seem that there are approximately 1 million brides in my next-to-the-middle-of-nowhere town, all vying for a warm spring Saturday at a charming reception location, and I am but one of this flock. I want to make a decision and a deposit before I move.

So for the sake of my overheating brain, I will describe the options, but without specifics, because I feel like being vague:

1. Historical Museum – A living history farm and village with plenty of PA Dutch history. Has an awesome yellow barn on the property with pretty, twinkly lights strung from the rafters. Rental of the barn comes with grassy courtyard out back, ideal for an outdoor ceremony and/or cocktail hour. Cons: Less-than-elegant bathrooms, potentially dirty brick floor in barn (I would have to train myself not to fuss over the hem of my wedding dress.)

2. Historical Estate – The home of a general of yore. Big, rambling old farmhouse with pretty grounds. Reception would be in a big, rambling old red barn. Cons: I have no information on it yet. Don’t think there’s a plan B for a ceremony if it rains.

3. Art Gallery in town – What used to be a turn-of-the-century bakery, this gallery has several wood-floored rooms, exposed beams, twinkly lights, and off-white painted brick walls. Really, really cool-looking inside. Cons: Located a block away from Sketchy-ville, urban landscape includes ugly chain-link fence. No outdoor option.

4. Renovated Farmhouse-turned-Wedding Factory – Gorgeous old farmhouse/manor near the banks of the little local river, pretty trees and sprawling green lawns. Extra-gorgeous reception space inside with sleek wooden floors and wooden beams arching along the high ceiling. Lovely separate bride and groom quarters for getting ready before ceremony. Very convenient to hotels for guests. Cons: Driveway leading up to manor is lined with ugly-ass industry; manor is a random bright spot in a rather desolate section of L-town. Also, it’s a wedding factory. Those million brides in my area that I mentioned before? 80% of them will get married here.

5. Chapel at Private Girls’ School/Ballroom at Local Inn in Groom’s Hometown – A convenient choice: We could have the wedding ceremony at the chapel and then enjoy a short walk down the street to the inn. Cons: I haven’t been inside either space. Don’t know what food/service/accommodations are like at the inn. Kind of a far drive for my parents, who will do a lot of planning/decorating.

6. Small Bed and Breakfast, Rural Location – Pretty working farm with an earthy appearance. Located near-ish parents’ house. Have heard good things about the owners. Cons: Can’t accommodate more than 100 guests without a tent. I haven’t seen it in person yet and don’t know too much about it, other than other people’s good opinions. Not particularly convenient to hotels.

Sort of 7. T’s mom suggested this lovely little historic chapel, which is a short drive from a reputable ballroom. I don’t know what the ballroom looks like yet, and it’s quite a hike for my parents. I’m not totally ruling this option out, but it’s not as prominent in my thoughts as the other sites I listed.

So, have I spoken with the site coordinator of any of these places? Of course not. I suppose that will make it easier to narrow down – facts and figures and all that – but what I’d really like is for some great, obvious sign to accompany each place so that I can easily rule it out. Like, I visit Option 2 and find a family of rabid opossums in the barn, hush-hushed by the owners. Then I visit Option 5 and the ballroom smells like shepherd’s pie, which, for some people, might be delightful. But as for me, I think shepherd’s pie is an abomination. Or I visit Option 3 and really, really can’t get over the aesthetic un-appeal of the chain-link fence outside. Or I decide that I just can’t be another notch in Option 4’s bedpost. And so on.

However, I know that we’re just going to have to make a damn decision and be at peace with it. “I’m not the one dithering!” is what T will eventually say, while I pore over my lists of pros and cons and fret like a neurotic little woodland creature. You’d think that being aware of my indecisive tendencies would be the first step in overcoming them, but I assure you, it’s not. It is, however, an excellent source of self-deprecating humor.

So, to sum up:

Friday, February 08, 2008

Really, really annoyed!

I need to go back to bed. I need to go back to bed RIGHT NOW! I am so utterly exhausted, thanks to my goddamn hacking cough keeping me up until 1:30 a.m., when I took a hearty swig of NyQuil, which I can congratulate for giving me one hell of a Benadryl hangover. EVERYTHING IS IRRITATING ME. My pants have stretched out and just look sloppy. My coffee is not strong enough – and it's already lukewarm! – and also leaves a nasty aftertaste in my mouth. The coffee shop where I bought the crappy coffee was practically on fire with bacon smoke, so now my jacket, scarf and hair all smell like I was born and raised in a goddamn smokehouse. Also, I’m still filled with a dry, hacking cough that makes my chest feel so tight it’s like someone just reached their grubby little hands into my chest and pulled my lungs taut. Germs, I’m looking at you. And I don’t know what the fuck is up with this, but when I swallow my cereal, it feels like it’s getting stuck halfway down my esophagus. Oh, and I spilled coffee all over myself on my way into the building this morning.


Plus, I need to rally myself enough to write two stories about the business department, which I must make interesting. Do I know enough about business and stocks and bonds to write comprehensively? Only time will tell, but my guess is probably not.

I don’t even know what would make me feel better, other than just going back to bed for a couple of days, which may, in fact, be my smartest option. I wish this cough would go away.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Not Single

I have been teased by my betrothed for calling myself "single" in my last entry. For T, I will issue a correction. I am *not* single, but when my fiancé lives in California and my roommate isn't home, I live alone, and I am reminded of my single summer in Philadelphia, when I pretty much survived on tuna salad sandwiches, scrambled eggs, and Ben & Jerry's.

Would I choke down several chocolate-iced cupcakes in quick succession in T's presence? Probably. But I'd feel a little more chagrined than I do when there's nobody but the cats to witness my poor eating habits.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Young and Hungry, Lacks Desire to Cook a Proper Meal

Ah, there are times when I simply treasure being young, single, and in possession of a still-fast metabolism. Tonight after work, slumped on the floor in a heap of shivering, listless depression, I told my roommate, "I really just want to eat a whole chocolate cake." She, being a woman and also hating this cold, dark week, agreed. I imagined having a gooey, double-layer chocolate confection, the kind with icing so sweet and thin that it soaks into the fluffy cake, which is really just there to be a vehicle for the icing. In my fantasy, it was just me, a fork, the cake, and maybe Amelie.

So I made a chocolate cake. Okay, actually, I made cupcakes. They're more portable, I told myself, so I can take a few to work instead of eating the lion's share. Whatever. While they baked, I snacked on some baby carrots and some blue-corn tortilla chips and fresh salsa. Then I had several tablespoons of icing and three frosted cupcakes, and some ice cream, and a glass of milk.

I know. It sounds like a disgusting sequence. But... mmmmmm....

Someday, I really won't be able to eat chocolate cake for dinner. And I probably won't want to -- even now, I generally prefer balanced meals and good, fresh food. I'm gonna feel pretty crappy in about an hour, when I lie down for bed and my stomach reminds me that it doesn't digest baked goods without a fight. But you know what? I don't give a damn tonight. It's been an overwhelming week, and it's 17 degrees outside, and it was just me, the cake, and some Friends reruns. Reality is all right. Chocolate cake is pretty good. Tomorrow I will have some spinach.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Bye Bye 2007

I feel a sense of obligation to post on this blog one more time in the year 2007. I used to feel like I had to post at least once every month, but obviously I've loosened up. Or just gotten lazy. Or busy. You pick.

Regardless, I'm considering making a resolution to post more often in the coming months. God knows I have enough clouding my mind and making me feel a little crazy. (Giant move, worrying about getting a job and having a place to live, missing my special gentleman friend so much it feels like my heart is always a little raw, feeling inadequate as a "strong woman" when I get all anxious and unhappy when I can't talk to T any time I want.) But I've never been particularly good at sticking to my resolutions -- I stopped making them years ago, in fact -- so who knows how long my determination to blog more frequently will last.

But while we're on the subject of resolutions, I am resolving to read less celebrity gossip. I've wasted an embarrassing amount of time at work turning my brain to pudding reading crap about celebrities' lives. So that must stop. I'm also going to stop biting the inside of my cheeks. And I'm going to try to stop biting my fingernails. And if I fail at these things, I'll try it some other time, because when you get down to it, tomorrow is just another day.