Life at an Intersection

Chicago Phoenix, indemnity bonds, journaling, really really really want a zigazig ah, travel, books, travel books, relationships, values. It is hard to pinpoint precisely, but I'd say about 82% of what you read here is true. The rest is fictional nonfiction.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

These Days

I'm going with the (moral) bank (hole in the wall). {I'll buy lunch to the first person to name the source of that quote - Googling is strictly not allowed.} The manager at the credit union sounded really sad when I called and explained my conundrum and told her that I decided to stick with my original decision. She said they've been looking to fill their position for 6 months, and that they had 25 interviews last week. She said, "You just don't get many good interviews these days." Sounds to me like they are screening applicants for the International Space Station, not a silly bank job.

In other snide observations, I love it when people in their twenties or thirties say, "these days," as if they have lived a long, hard life and known other highly preferable days. "It sure is hard to find a good barber/church/movie/nail polish these days." If you are forty-five or older, of course, I give you a pass. "These days, the kids just don't respect their elders like we used to." True.

Currently Listening:
"The Collection" by Alanis Morrisette

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Just So Typically Me...

I've had two interviews in the last six weeks.

Interview #1 - Regular teller position at kind corporate bank "W," most likely an easy, phone-it-in type job, with decent starting wages and located in a nice (read: not rent affordable) neighborhood. While I probably can't afford to live right around the corner, the northside of Chicago is where I want to live, and this is a great place in the general area. It's a job with a large corporation, but they are maybe like the bank equivalent of Whole Foods Market or something (you know, "Best Companies to Work For," give employees time off and pay for volunteer work - slightly oxymoronic, but cool - a kinder/gentler/funner corporate world, etc). They offered me the position last week; I told them that I would let them know today because just days before I had...

Interview #2 - A small, Illinois-only credit union, "CU2," this branch located on the campus of the UIC (so convenient for taking classes after work!). It is a supervisory position with wages that come to $4,000 more per year than Bank W, but is located south of the city in an area that wouldn't be a fun place to live and would make for a very undesirable daily commute. That is actually a pretty big factor for me; I can't imagine being happy spending 2 hours on the bus every day.

To sum it up, after interviewing I wasn't completely sold on either job, there are plenty more pros and cons for each position. But Bank W did offer me work last week, and I did buy myself some time to hear from CU2 or score another interview from the billions of kilobytes of resumes that I've spread throughout Chicagoland. Well, my time was up today, so I called Bank W this afternoon at 3 o'clock and accepted the position.

CU2, naturally, called me at 4:30 to offer me the job with them.

While I wouldn't feel bad for more than, say, a week about flaking on Bank W and going with the better money (let's be realistic, neither job is actually offering to pay me a sustainable, adult wage), there are a lot of reasons to stick with the first offer and say that hour and a half means something, it was like, destiny, man. If they had called me this morning, well, who knows! (I do actually, it would be the same dillema but on a different timeline.)

Big boy that I am, I called my mother immediately and began to whine about how my life is so rotten and difficult. Not really, but it is kind of hilarious how I couldn't get hired to kill myself for almost two months, and then I have two viable options with two long lists of pros and cons assault me in the same afternoon.


Currently Listening:
"Cassadega" by Bright Eyes

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Dear Matthew,

I just put my computer on the kitchen table, got the container of strawberries out of the fridge, and sat down to write you this email. Radiohead playing on random, but the right song came up anyway. The one with the simple, perfect lyrics that always make me think of your words and your timing. The strawberries are drowning in their juices; today may be the day they lose the battle. It smells that way. I've been trying to write at least one solid, meaningful email every day for the past week. It lifts my spirits to attempt contact with sympathetic old friend-souls and try to reestablish communication.

Last night I went to a dinner, a party, and I only knew three out of the eleven people there. Yes, I counted. It seemed important. But scary stuff! I loosened my (social inhibitions/conversation noose) ahead of time by imbibing a little caffeine, truth be told. When I got there, I dove right in, and I think that I did okay! You'd have been proud. It ended up being a really fun night, actually. But I'm hoping that I don't ever see any of the people that I met there again, because I don't really remember anyone's name. Oops.

Yeah, I'm still looking for that ever-elusive job. I actually had an offer from the first bank that I applied and interviewed with. I need to let them know by tomorrow if I want to assume the position. It would be a compromise to take it: lower wages, inconvenient location, not ideal in several ways. But then there's that whole bird-in-the-hand thing, and it would be great to have some income sooner rather than later. I could tell them that I want to start work in a couple of weeks, and then if something better comes along in that time, bolt. That sounds skeezy, and I know that you always encouraged me to be patient and hold out for the right set of circumstances. But, honestly, at some point, one gets a little panicky. Anyway, if I had always followed your advice I would probably still be an undergrad, in my fourth or fifth major by now. :)

How's everything with you? It sounds nice and warm there, at least compared to here. How is everything with Melanie now? I can't really imagine how awful and difficult that whole situation must have been for y'all. Last time I heard from you, they had just caught the guy and locked him up. Have they started to prosecute him yet, the cogs of justice turning and all that? He must be some kind of sicko; just the idea of stalking such a young girl is so completely unimaginable and twisted. It baffles the mind. Anway, more happily, I enjoyed the picture that you sent of the two of you at her homecoming dance. It is really fantastic (surprising?) that she was cool with her dad being a chaperone, don't you think? Well, I thought it was cool anyway.

So send me an update on all things Counselor Davis whenever you can. I miss talking with you, your sage, calm, and reasonable advice, and the really awful coffee from your office that always made me nauseous. Don't tell Doreen that I said that, please. Take care; talk to you again soon.

Your favorite advisee,


Currently Listening:
"Kid A" by Radiohead

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hole in My Head

Yesterday I deleted my MySpace account. I was a little sentimental about it actually; it is a site that I visited almost daily for the last three and a half years, and it was a lot of fun back in the day and while it lasted. Lately nothing much was happening except for updates from people that I don't really want or need to be updated about; I guess the focus for people has really shifted to Facebook. And I'm not going there. That decision was reaffirmed for me today when my mother told me that her sister has joined there and was looking for me. Love my aunt, but yikes! That's weird.

Today's some kind of freakish spring day outside. The temperature hit 50 degrees this afternoon; it isn't supposed to be above freezing here in mid-February. The sidewalks of people too inconsiderate to shovel are melting, though, so that is nice.

One reason to vote for Barack Obama that I think is continually undervalued: The United States has a long way to go in making reparations to the world for the damage that George W. Bush hath wrought in the last eight years. I mean that in a physical sense, war damage and all that, but more fully in a spiritual and emotional one. Electing a kind, empathic, inspiring leader, a multiracial but fully American man who better reflects the values and identity of our country than the 42 white men who came before him could help shift perceptions of America abroad alot. Hearts and minds, what? Many conservatives balk at the idea of doing anything to court the favor or impress the natives of other continents and nations, and would never even allow that as consideration in an election like this. But those seem to be the same people that have no qualms about moving unilaterally in foreign policy and defense; hubris and arrogance are terms unknown to them. They would, like their beloved President Bush, succeed only in isolating our country further.

I haven't, I hope, been very secretive about my admiration and support for Barack Obama in this election. I haven't written about it too much, though, because I find that some of my reasons for supporting him are difficult to explain or overly simplistic. And also because I didn't get to vote for him in the primary here. Not that it mattered too much; he won Illinois two to one over Mrs. Clinton.

I hope that you have a Trader Joe's store. The food from there is so good! Last night we had their green curry tuna with rice, and it tasted just like perfect Thai curry! I was amazed. We got some frozen naan bread, too, and it was excellent. According to the packages, the curry was actually from Thailand, and the naan was actually made in India, so I'm sure that makes a difference in the quality. Some of the food at Trader Joe's is a bit steep in price, but last night's meal was a bargain at about $5 total for the two of us. As a chronic penny-pincher, I have to give credit to Kevin for showing me that spending a little more on groceries can make for a drastic improvement in quality and healthfulness, too.

Currently Listening:
"Wincing the Night Away" by The Shins

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

enV Snaps

Snow Bean


Madeleine Albright at Borders


Liza sniffing her arm


I stumbled upon O's place the other day...


Uncle Kevin and his new niece Cora Elizabeth


Ice skating in the White City


Readers on the train


Beef noodle soup at Chicago's only Taiwanese restaurant


They are better when they are bigger, but I can't really get them to fit on the page then. Hrmphh.

Currently Listening:
"Dimelo" by Enrique Iglesias

Make Our Dreams Come True

It is snowing again, big flakes, but the really light kind that just seem to hang in the air for a little longer than they should. I don't think I've seen the ground here on more than a couple of occasions in the last five weeks. It has been a true winter.

I've kind of resolved myself to the idea of working for a bank again, mostly due to the dearth of my other options. I had an interview at a credit union yesterday, actually only the second interview that I've managed to get in the month plus that I've been job hunting in earnest. I send out new applications and resumes every day and rarely get a response, but I know that my case isn't unique; everyone knows what unemployment is like. I'll just keep chugging along.

I watched High School Musical this weekend. Don't roll your eyes. Have you seen it? It is really fun, the songs are catchy, and I am always a sucker for a good musical anyway. Wholesome family entertainment. I know it isn't cool or edgy to watch G-rated movies or things that are popular with the Hannah Montana/Disney Channel crowd, but there has to be something in this: I don't feel bad or sad or used or slightly dirty when I'm finished watching it. Maybe you know what I mean. Take a movie like The Departed - it was really interesting and good and surprising and all, but there was so much violence and everyone was so awful to each other that at the end I just kind of felt glad that it was over and wanted it out of my head. Maybe this just says something about the place where I'm at right now: I want to feel happy and not dwell on the darker side of life.

A few nights ago I dreamed that Barack Obama was at my family's house for dinner. It was a good dream.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

My Library, My Life

I stumbled on this little ditty at today, the personal library rules of some guy. To be clear, the operative two-word phrase to focus on here is "personal library," not "library rules."

This dude is quite adamant about not having books that he hasn't read on his living room bookshelves. I have to say in all honesty that I have yet to read at least half of the books on my shelves. Sometimes I'm almost more of a book collector than a reader. (That's not strictly true, because I'm a big fan of public libraries, too.) When I get a crush on a place, time period, or new-to-me author, I start picking up whatever I can from that setting, era, woman or man.

Examples: I have at least four unread Roddy Doyle books (Irish author of the wonderful Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha); a couple of Michael Chabon novels, several C.S. Lewis and other nonfiction Christian works that I never finished for my book club in college, five Thomas Hardy novels that I collected after I was smitten with Tess and Jude, and stacks of classic anthologies, poetry, and fiction gathering dust. Some of these infatuations I'm not sure I'll ever revisit, but I haven't yet been able to make a break with the past either.


I'm home alone for the long weekend. Kevin's sister had a baby yesterday, so he has gone home to be with his family and enjoy his new niece and his new title. They should have some fun days together!

I should try to get out of the house more in the next few days, but it has just been too easy to stay inside during the short-with-winter, long-with-unemployment days since we've been back in Chicago. It has been just over a month now, and I'm glad to be home. I'll be even gladder when I get a job, a place to put all of my stuff, and a little income. And a little sunshine!

Currently Reading:
Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold
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Words That I'm Living By - 5/2/2010

Time, as I've known it
Doesn't take much time to pass by me
Minutes into days, turn into months
Turn into years, they hurry by me
But still I love to see the sun go down
And the world go around

Dreams full of promises
Hopes for the future, I've had many
Dreams I can't remember now
Hopes that I've forgotten,
faded memories
But still I love to see the sun go down
And the world go around

And I love to see the morning
as it steals across the sky
I love to remember and
I love to wonder why
And I hope that I'm around
so I can be there when I die
When I'm gone

I hope that you will think of me
In moments when you're happy and you're smiling
That the thought will comfort you
On cold and cloudy days
if you are crying
And that you'll love to see
the sun go down
And the world go around
And around and around

"Around and Around" by Mark Kozelek

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