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More travel, more whining

Yikes! I have had so much travel in the last few weeks it is not even funny. I was so excited to go at the beginning of this trip, and now I'm completely excited to be home, drinking Boise tap water and not tracking all my receipts.

I went to New York to meet our CEO and it was a great trip. We had dinner one night and then the other few nights I just went out and did my own thing and met a few guys. It was a blast and it was just a lot of fun going out and meeting everyone and seeing how the company is run on the other side of the country. I haven't been to NY since I was a kid, and I've never stayed in Manhattan proper before. It was so weird and fun walking to the Empire State and to Times Square.

After NY I had to go into Canada to meet some clients. I've been to Vancouver and Calgary and everything, but never anywhere out east and I loved Montreal and Toronto. Montreal was great. Everyone spoke English (which is great, I haven't spoken French in six years), and it was really interesting meeting everyone. In Toronto I rented a car and it was a bitch driving everywhere, but all the clients were really, really nice and we had some nice meals. I've already met my sales target for the month.

Ottawa was okay. There were a lot of homeless people. I was staying right in downtown, though. It was okay. It was just a little weird, because I always think of Canada as very... Canadian. I just don't think that a country with free health care would have homeless people.

My last stop was Thunder Bay. I thought I would hate it, but I had a lot of fun in Thunder Bay. I met a couple guys at the bar and they invitied me to some house parties. I probably made the worst impression ever on my clients the next day, but I had a lot of fun and it was worth it. It was hot, though. Not as bad as Texas, but still pretty awful.

I don't know if I'd like taking over Quebec as a territory. I felt really out of touch when they were telling me about their problems. I guess it would make me brush up on my French, but I think I just don't get what's going on with them. However, I loved Ontario. I really, really hope I get Toronto at least.

The heat is draining me

I'm afraid that this journal is going the way of all my journals so far. I get caught up in actually doing things and I forget to write it down so I can reminise later.

It's been a busy summer. It has been very, very hot for the entire month, and it's made doing things outside during the day difficult. I whined about it for the first two weeks, but I've been promoted to a sales position in the company, and my territory is the Southwest and Texas. After a grueling week in Dallas and Austin I am never going to complain about the temperature here again.

Austin was fabulous. I only had a few evenings to myself, but I want to go back and just spend a few weeks hanging out and visiting all the music venues and the restaurants and just soaking up the whole culture. Texas is a world unto itself, and it was much more fun than I ever remember it being. Dallas was kind of intimidating. I spent part of a day meeting with clients in a very wealthy, weird kind of suburb where everyone who walked by was virtually mummified in Chanel and Versace and the surgery apparent was just horrific. I guess it's because I'm still young, but I can't imagine mutilating myself in the name of tighter skin or no crow's feet. If anything, Dallas made me look forward to aging with grace and dignity and some wrinkles around my eyes.

I don't know what to do about this promotion. On the one hand, I'm grateful for the extra money, and it's a perfect opportunity to move up in the company, but I'm also looking forward to going back to school and really getting the type of academic education that I missed out on due to my own foolishness. Right now I'm just thinking about saving money and not getting too used to living comfortably. A year from now I should be back to ramen three days a week and far too many cans of garbanzo beans.

Moving things

Moving is almost done! We set my bed up today and I am finally sleeping in a home where the majority of the possessions are not in boxes. Most of my possessions are in boxes, but that's irrelevant. I'm doing a bit more moving tomorrow and then I'm done. I have to hand over some things to the company and then I finally have a place with a yard. Very exciting.

Solstice!

The last few weeks have been intense.

Solstice was fabulous. We went to a drumming circle and met up with people of all sorts of different paths. There were many different types of Pagans, Wiccans, Gypsies, as well as people from more recognized religions, a few Christians, some Jews, and a few Hindis. It was really fun and everyone was just so sweet and engaging. It was really a fun gathering, like a real holiday where there's real life celebration as well as spiritual celebration.

I met a guy there, and we exchanged numbers, but more on that later.

After the drumming circle, we went back to Josh's house and did a quiet circle in his backyard. It was pretty late by that point, but we wanted to really make sure that we were cleansed and ready for a new part of the cycle. The drumming circle was wonderful and engaging, but part of our ritual is really about shutting everything out and shedding the negative aspects of the last cycle. It wasn't as quick as we thought it would be, but it was really intense and felt very heavy. It felt like it does when it's just about to rain-that very heavy, choking humid feeling. It was strange but kind of fun.

On Friday I had the girls over to have a girly girl night and really frou frou out before I move in with Josh and his roommate. We watched Alice in Wonderland and I did a sort of Alice in Wonderland themed night with little bottles of liquor labelled "drink me" and a few big bottles of wine and vodka, and I got Leila to bring over all the pitchers she could find so I wouldn't have to serve club soda and diet coke out of plastic bottles. We had a great meal of seared tuna with wasabi crust on mixed greens. I thought it was a relatively girly meal, but I don't really know what savory foods would be classified as girly. It was fun and we wound up staying up late watching Can't Hardly Wait and Reena ran home at 1 in the morning to get Drive Me Crazy. It was like middle school all over again.

On Saturday I cleaned up and finished most of my packing until Joel called. I met him at the drumming circle and we exchanged numbers. He's a Pagan-I don't know the technical name-who incorporates Jewish tradition into his ritual. He brought a bell to the circle and it had "Jerusalem" inscribed on it. He wanted to do something and we wound up going for a walk around my neighborhood and down to the park and the river. We stopped on the way back and got a bottle of Fox Creek Vixen Sparkling Red. I didn't want to unpack my champagne glasses, so we bought tacky ones at the dollar store and went to my house to order pizza. It was a nice date. We wound up just lounging around with all the boxes I haven't moved to Josh's yet, and drinking astoundingly good wine-I've never had a sparkling red that didn't gross me out, but this was amazing-and just chatting. We sat out on my balcony and watched the sun go down. I'm so excited about this.

Today I packed up the rest of my stuff. A lot of my furniture is just going straight into Josh's house. My furniture is mostly crap that I picked up when I started college, and Josh's roommate took a lot of his stuff with him. So I'm glad to have a place to put the furniture, because I intend on applying for schools this winter and would have to figure out a place to sell it next year anyway. If we can ditch it on frat row, I'm happy with that.

My cooking wear is another matter. I'll use it for the next year, but the first time someone burns one of my pots, they will have to answer to the smacking end of my spatula.

What a great Solstice! I love how all my changes have been coinciding with the holidays lately. I guess it shows that, if anything, the holidays have inspired me to take a good look at how I'm choosing to live my life.

June 13

It's been a strange day. I don't even know how to explain what's been going on.

When I woke up this morning, the entire apartment building was strangely silent. It was raining like mad outside and when I looked out back I could see someone sitting sort of slumped over in the gazebo. I figured it was a homeless person seeking shelter from the rain and forgot about it.

I decided to take the bus because it was raining so heavily and I waited over half an hour. The streets just seemed completely empty. Two cars passed me during the entire time, and they were both speeding like mad. After half an hour, I decided to walk, and a third car passed me and the guy driving veered toward me! I jumped out of the way and totalled my umbrella. I took my phone out to call work and tell them I'd be late but I couldn't get a signal.

That was when I found my first body. I was walking to work when I literally fell over it. It was mostly gone, just a husk of a person. There was blood running down the sidewalk, so dilute by the rain that it was light pink. I didn't do anything for a few moments, just stared at the body in horror. I tried my cell phone again and there was no signal. So I ran up to the house the body was in front of and pounded on the door. No one answered and I tried the door knob. It opened and I yelled into the house. No one answered. I walked into the living room, hoping I wouldn't interupt anyone.

I didn't. The living room was smeared with blood. At least two more bodies were there. They all looked partially... eaten.

I ran home. Inside the apartment building, I was fumbling with my keys at the door, when this... person grabbed me. I screamed and tried to struggle away and it leaned in and tried to bite me. It got a mouthful of my shirt as I punched it away and stabbed it with my keys. While it was stunned I ran inside and ran up the stairs to my apartment. When I got there, I tried the phone again. Nothing. I pushed the coffee table up against the door and then changed my clothes. I finally turned my computer on and logged into instant messanger. My wireless was still working at least.

I caught Josh.

Stasy?
Josh?
Where are you?
Home.
Do you know what's happening?
No.
Me either. It's something bad.
Where are you?
Home. But I'm coming to get you.
Don't. This... thing attacked me.
We need to be together. I have to tell you something. I can't tell you this way.
I'm not going back out there. That thing is in the foyer.
I'll catch you, jump off your balcony.
No.
You're only on the second floor. Or else I'll come up there.
Please don't, stay where you are.
Take your choice.
Catch me.

I took my computer with me and a small overnight bag. The overnight bag is mashed into a ball of mud and tissue on the ground. Josh was helping me down when another thing appeared. I grabbed onto the edge of my balcony and hung there while Josh fought it off. My computer was slung across my body, the bag I let fall. The thing is dead, Josh managed to snap its neck. We drove to his house and Vince and Gavin were there.

Leila is dead. They got her. Gavin was bitten in the fight. We don't know how these things spread. Josh, Vince and I have decided that if he shows even one sign of abnormality we'll have to... We don't know with what.

The electricity is holding for now, but it keeps flickering in and out. I'm not sure how long it will hold. We're putting together provisions. We're driving out to my parents' cottage in Washington. It's isolated and has a generator so at least we'll last... for a little while longer. We don't know if this is happening anywhere else.

I guess this is it for awhile. Maybe for a long while. I'll try to stay in contact, if only because I need to know what's going on.

What's happened lately

I went to my parents this weekend, helped my dad plan the garden and talked about what's going to happen with my grandmother. She wants to stay in Maine, and her health is still good enough that she can stay in the house. We've hired someone to take care of the yard, and wanted to get a housekeeper but she refused.

I'm getting more at peace with my grandfather's death. When I think about it, he had a good life. He travelled all over the world as a young man, met my grandmother in Indonesia, and they had a good life together. Having known people who have had strokes, I know my grandfather would have been completely frustrated and angry about having his body turn on it like it did after the stroke. He was healthy up until the last two weeks of his life, and he lived an amazing life. I've been talking with my grandmother more regularly, and she's been telling me about him. I'm glad that I can at least get his story and get to know him that way.

On queen_lily_rose's advice, I wrote him a letter and went down to the beach to burn it and scattered the ashes in the water. I would have preferred to have done it on the beach in Biddeford, but I made do.
I can't sleep. I feel guilty because I never got to know my grandfather. Every night I was in Biddeford we would sit down and have drinks and talk about him. I had nothing to share and I feel so guilty. I call my mother's parent's every week. I talk to my dad's parents on major holidays. My grandfather had an amazing life. He did so many things that I'll never know about. I'm really disappointed in myself right now.

I've recently started taking yoga classes, and at the final relaxation at the end of the class, my instructor always asks us, when we have a negative thought, to acknowledge it and set it free. I've been thinking about this on and off, since there have been bigger issues, but that's what this journal has really become for me. It's let me acknowledge things and then set them free into cyberspace. Looking at where I was when I started this to where I am now, I'm astounded.

I still feel guilty, though.

I haven't been around

It's been a rough few weeks. My grandfather had a stroke two weeks ago and we went out to see him. He seemed to be stabilizing, but he died on Saturday. We had the funeral yesterday. It was a nightmare. I love my mother, but she really doesn't understand that my father was a convert to Paganism and both his parents were Catholic. She wanted to incorporate some Pagan traditions into the ceremony and my grandmother had a meltdown over it. I spent Memorial Day trying to mediate between my mother shrieking in Italian and my grandmother shrieking in Indonesian. It was stressful.

My grandmother is wondering what to do with herself now. She lives in Maine and is just so far away from anyone else in the family. Dad has a brother in Toronto and a sister in Texas. My aunt didn't even show up for the funeral. My parents are talking about having my grandmother move west, but I'm afraid that will just make everything worse for her. It was really touching seeing all her friends show up at the house with cassoroles and roasts, and I think the hardest thing on her right now would be cutting her off from her day to day support system. If she moves to Newport, she'd have my parents. And they don't even live in town, so she wouldn't even have a neighbour to talk to over the fence.

I didn't really know my grandfather all that well. I don't think we've ever really seen each other all that much since I was a kid. I wish that I would have been able to know him well enough to worry about him the way I'm worrying about my grandmother right now.

The city is too pretty for the internet

Spring is here and I haven't been on the computer in ages. I just posted about this in one of my communities, but there's nothing like watching a city turn green to make you fall in love with it. It's been gorgeous here lately, and wonderfully hot. My plants are growing wonderfully, I have finally had basil last longer than a week in my clutches.

Caitlyn is packing up to move, and even she said that she'd miss the city and her first words coming in the door on most days is "I fucking hate this city!" The coven has become completely slovenly. We spent the weekend lazing around Josh's backyard instead of going hiking or doing anything meaningful. And it was wonderful just doing nothing.

I had lunch today with my manager at Grape Escape, a wine bar that I always have wanted to go to but haven't because I can't justify spending as much on a glass of wine as I normally do on a bottle. But work payed for this and it was a good meal. I've been offered a new and better job in the company as one of our sales people quit. It would involve a bit of travel, and I'd definitely have to work on my people skills, but the money would be better, and this would really help me out when I go back to school.

My parents were really angry when I dropped out, and now I really understand their frustration, but it's getting to the point where I can't wait to go back. I love learning, I love the learning environment, and I really do want to have that piece of paper to hang on my wall. Leila is always talking about how useless it will be because she'll just work at her dad's company, but my first year of college was invaluable because I learned so much about myself while there. College just seems to foster that learning in a way that a job and the real world never could.

In the mean time, I've signed up for an Indian cooking course. It's not exactly Proust, but it's at least easing me back into a class schedule.
I got home today and made the best dinner. Yesterday I made a spinach cream sauce and served it over chicken and risotto; it was a much better dinner than I would have bothered with if I had gone biking. It was really easy, I started by roasting a head of garlic and some red peppers while we were watching TV, and then made my mom's alfredo sauce and stirred in the roast bulbs of garlic, thinly sliced the peppers, and some thawed spinach. I got Caitlyn to stir the risotto and add the broth, and then we enjoyed it with some Alianca Vinho Verde. It was borderline between inexpensive and cheap, and I had some reservations, but it was one of the nicer wines I've had in awhile.

Today I boiled some linguini and steamed some clams. I bought so many clams for Beltane, plus I bought some more for me to use on my own, so I've been eating a lot of clams lately. I heated the leftover sauce up and tossed it with the pasta then topped it with the sauce. I sat out on the deck and had it with with the rest of the Alianco. It was very, very good.

I've been thinking that I'm going to move after Caitlyn moves out. We've both been talking and she wants to be closer to campus next year, and I really don't want to have to worry about renting her room again. A room is opening up at Josh's, and we both think it would be easier if I was closer to everyone else in the coven, especially because I don't have a car. I'd be saving an extra $200 in rent a month and some of my utilities if I did that, and I would have a bigger room as well as a yard. His other roommate is a nice guy, but he has a basement suite, so other than sharing an entrance, we wouldn't really know he's there. It's a better location than I'm in. My neighbourhood is sort of trendy, but I don't like coming home alone at night.

Josh's roommate is moving out around the 20th. My lease is done at the end of June. It's kind of serendipitous.