intentions for 2022

Not going out tonight, or tomorrow. It kills me not to, since there are a few really cool events going on, including a 22-hour rave starting tomorrow at 7am. Can you imagine? If you stay all 22 hours you get in free to all events at that venue, the rest of the year. Madness. Wonderful, wonderful madness. Not to mention Jeff Ozmits is playing. Fucking pandemic. I know I'd just be distracted the whole time, thinking about Covid. Gotta be patient. 

At most I will walk over to see the fireworks show at midnight. Okay fine, at most most I will take some shrooms and then walk over to see the fireworks show at midnight. It runs from the Navy Pier along the river to Wolf Point. We'll see.

Yesterday I discovered that below 35 degrees is apparently a threshold for my poor little fingers, which start to lose feeling in that temperature zone, despite the fortune I have spent on shearling lined gloves. When I came home from Millennial Park yesterday, it took 20 minutes for my fingertips to wake up and get feeling back. Super frustrating because no other part of me is uncomfortably cold. It's like, Come on, hands. Don't be the weakest link, you little bitches. But after some experimenting I'm seeing that having those little Hot Hands satchels in my pocket and holding them with my bare hands is actually better than gloves. Probably still going to scoop some heated gloves, anyway. Christ I am turning into such a frail little thing. Sigh

Setting some intentions for the next year, as you do. I've got a pretty good lock on my healthy habits, so I'm thinking a little bit bigger.

1. Match efforts. Effort reflects interest, and that is a fact I have been in denial of, oh, pretty much my entire life. So, absolutely no chasing people anymore. I don't care how long I've known you or how much of a pedestal I've put you on previously. If you can't answer texts, if you can't respond to invitations, if you can't pick up the phone and show basic consideration in terms of communication -- I will match that zero effort. I'm no longer rewarding lazy, intermittent communication. I'm no longer accepting it. Especially in cases where I have gone above and beyond to do things for people, to express care or help them out.

2. Appreciate the big picture. I am exceptionally good at appreciating small and even tiny things. I will sigh with delight over colors, or be blissfully present in a moment of quietude at the lake. But especially lately, I have been doing a shit job of taking in the magnitude of my life. I'm trying to do it right now. I keep reminding myself not to skate past this moment, to just stop and stay here in it as long as possible. I am healthy, happier than I've ever been, and equipped with the resources and skills to only level up my life. It's an incredible time, and I don't want to move past it without celebration. 

3. Chill out, a little bit. As I knew it would be, and as I very much want, moving is an opportunity to recalibrate. I'm ready to slow down a little bit. I can do with a bit less partying. A few less nights out. I was really starting to feel it, the last few festivals. I'm not saying I'll never go again (Group Therapy Weekender is reaaaaaally tempting, and if ODESZA tours with the new album, I will definitely want to see them), but I am more than content to put my dancing shoes up on a less accessible shelf. I'm ready to return to other pleasures and pursue adventures of another kind; in a word: literature. 

4. Get closer to who I really am. When I was a kid, I was wildly athletic. A total tomboy. All I wanted to do was play soccer, or go rollerblading, or jump into whatever game my brother and his friends were playing. When I was a teenager, I was an absolute bookworm. I read a book almost every night throughout high school, a habit that has been more formative of my character, values, and interests than any other. A habit I more or less dropped, when the combination of smart phones and social media started to burn down the wick of my attention span shorter and shorter, until now a few scrolls' worth of Twitter has me feeling saturated. What I want for myself this year: less treadmill, more outdoor play. Less screen tapping and more page turning. More of the me I used to be.

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Whatever you're doing to ring in 2022, I hope you feel full of positivity and optimism, peace and grace. Happy New Year, friends.

this year

This year I lived in downtown Los Angeles for the fifth and final time. I rented a loft that was bigger and better than anything I could afford before, and every cent of it I earned on my own. 

This year I walked hundreds of thousands of steps a month, from January through March, until I was vaccinated and could take the bus again. I walked to and from work in West Hollywood every single day, some three and a half hours of walking, five days a week. This year I memorized every magnificent house and manicured lawn I passed on my daily treks through Hancock Park, marveling at the beauty but wishing none of the excess for myself. I spent the best of these hours in grateful reflection, and the worst of them in agonizing rumination. 

This year I saw that last year, I had pinned my happiness to someone who barely felt the needle's prick. It took me most of this year to see my mistake and finally come face to face with my own codependency. This year I found the resources and tools to crack open dark parts of me that desperately needed sunshine, understanding, and a lot of consideration. 

This year I learned how to be my own best friend. I learned what a massive and important role that is, and that it's about much more than taking myself to music festivals. This year I shed poor self-esteem like an old skin, and found peace, safety, and relief in boundaries for the first time in my life. 

This year I wrote over 140 blog posts, including some of my new favorite creative pieces, painful as they were to bring forth. This year I started using Instagram Stories, and fell in love with it. 

This year I went to Houston and San Diego, to spend weekends with two of my best friends. This year I laughed as hard as I ever have and felt as loved as I ever have, in their company. This year I took less MDMA than I ever have. This year I had fewer than ten drinks. This year I was gifted so much psilocybin I'm not sure I'll ever get through it. 

This year I turned on my TV maybe three or four times, not including the nights I ran a fireplace reel on YouTube. 

This year I learned new strategies for managing the difficult parts of me. I learned to accept good enough in place of perfect. I came to understand that while life will continually throw pain and misfortune at you, your suffering comes not from the events themselves, but from the meaning you attach to them. This year I discovered the Symptoms of Inner Peace and began using them as checkpoints and signposts on my way to a better me. This year I magically, wondrously lost the ability to worry.  This year I flexed my natural cheerfulness and good humor even more, using them to catapult me past stress and anxiety more often than I succumbed to them. 

This year I learned to say "Who cares?" about things I once cared way, way too much about. This year I learned that conflict is never, ever, ever, ever worth the disruption to my inner peace. I learned to keep my opinions and feelings to myself, form my judgments silently, then disengage and move on.

This year I turned off comments, likes, and replies on my social media wherever possible. This year I cut the mics of dozens of internet strangers who had spent years making inappropriate, overly familiar comments on my photos. This year I instituted a zero tolerance policy on my social media, immediately and with finality unfollowing, blocking, or removing anyone I want, for any reason I wish, without explanation. 

This year I threw off the training wheels of external validation and binned my people pleasing tendencies once and for all. This year I printed up and laminated a sign that says I'm sorry, but no to remind me that it's okay to put myself first. 

This year most of the men I interacted with bored the fuck out of me. This year I decided I will reserve all of my energy, attention, and magic for someone amazing, available, and a solid match for all that I bring to the table. This year I realized I am willing to wait as long as that takes. 

This year I got the promotion I rather aggressively pursued, then another one almost immediately. This year I was moved to a salary so high I secretly thought my boss was a fool. This year I lost my job when my company folded, but decided I was done with restaurants, anyway.

This year I completely changed the course of my life. I marshaled every bit of courage and devoted myself to finding work in a new industry, dreaming of the day a year or two down the road when I could leave LA on that new footing. This year my wildest dreams came true when I was offered a position in a new industry, in the exact city where I wanted to move. 

This year I made two of my own dreams come true.

This year I started to understand what I'm capable of. 

This year I started to see what I'm worth.

first snow

My building has a community terrace on the top floor, open to everyone at all times. Wifi, the whole bit. It has an enclosed section plus an outdoor area. Here's the view of -- and from -- it, yesterday, during the first snow:





















It actually has another section with couches, but someone was sitting there and I didn't want to photograph them. 

My first snow day hit me about how I expected. I was giddy, then I was emotional. Then I was giddy again. Then emotional. Absolutely blissed out on the whole. Really, the two selfies I snapped in the park across the street say it all.




I've spent most of the past two days holed up just being cozy. Reading, doing words, cooking home fries, making soup. It's fucking glorious. When I was in LA, there was always a sort of hot wire of tension in my body, like a feeling I needed to be out and doing something. I don't know why I had so much trouble just chilling at home when I lived there. But here it's the best thing ever. I have hours and hours every evening that I know is my time -- really my time, and I feel so much more relaxed. 

But then when I do have errands to do, I love that too. I love just getting bundled up, being out in the fresh air, doing my little Whole Foods runs for fresh produce every other day. It's just a simple, peaceful routine that is, for lack of a better word, enough

That being said, I am working on my bucket lists of sights to see and things to do and learn here. I've got a pretty massive assignment list from Costa, and then my own personal one. A pilgrimage to White Castle, for one thing. A drive to my home town -- though I will probably wait until spring for that.

Too much unstructured time is bad for me, though, so I still do my dailies. It's a thing I implemented during the month I was unemployed. I call it my Daily. It's just a typed up to do list, very simple. Day of the week, then a numbered list encompassing every last thing I need to do, large or small. I include important habits, too, all the things that keep me on track and help me manage anxiety / depression. So "eat a healthy lunch" is on there, every single day. It helps galvanize the habit when I see it in writing, seven days a week. Then there are always a few small household tasks. Plus reading, working on words, and working out. All the things that have proven to be reliably powerful tools to keep me emotionally balanced. 

Something on today's Daily was "make a list of upcoming posts". So I've got about four or five in the mental barrel, mostly reflective pieces about this past year, and what I'm looking forward to in the year ahead. And I really need to get some creative juices flowing again. Haven't written much creative in far too long.

Just wanted to get these photos up of my first snow in about twelve years. I know my face says it all, but I'll say it anyway: I am really, really happy to be here.

the opposite of locationism

Merry merry, happy happy. 

I spent my holiday sleeping in, then organizing, then walking along the lake and checking out the Christmas hustle bustle of Michigan Avenue. On my way home I stopped for cookies and hot chocolate, had a call with a friend as I walked back, then cozied up on my couch to enjoy the first real night of being fully unpacked and settled in my new home.

For a minute there, I was afraid my place was going to be intolerably tiny. But it's not, it's perfectly fine and plenty of room for me. It's just that with a small space, every moving box takes up precious square footage. Everything needs a home in a small apartment, in order for it to be livable. And now that everything is put away, my Elfa closets up, my pictures, lamps, ceramics, and all my other earthly treasures in their place, I am relaxed and peaceful once more. 

Here is a glimpse of my view from the desk, kitchen to my left, window straight ahead. 



Everything behind me (bedroom, hallway, bathroom) is still under development. 

I didn't get out much this past week. After my things came Monday, I exhausted myself spending every spare minute aggressively nesting. Sometimes being me is the worst thing ever. A normal person would content themselves doing a little bit every day, then stopping at a reasonable point to continue tomorrow. Not me. I stayed up until one, two am all week. Multiple trips in a day to Target, The Container Store, all that jazz. I'm just too single-minded about some things, and too linear in my thinking. Sometimes this is a good thing. It's helped me accomplish a lot, including getting to Chicago and getting into a new line of work. Sometimes it's a handicap.

This is the very linear list I have been working through:

1. Get my place together. 

2. Get back on the self-care train.

3. Expand the perimeter of exploring and start getting out into further neighborhoods / get my feet wet with Chicago's public transportation. 

4. Embark on some kind of socialization campaign. (I have a few ideas.)

Today I got back on the self-care train. I worked out and ate something green for the first time in two weeks. Feeling so, so much better after doing this. It's such a win having an incredible gym right in my building. It's so spacious and empty and inviting.

I am incredibly happy here. It's enough for me to just be out in the beautiful city, with the fresh cold air on my face, enjoying the sights. It's kind of incredible how enough it is for me. Gratitude really is a superpower. And I have so much gratitude for every last small thing. So much awe and wonder. I never realized how much picking me up and putting me down in the right place would fill my heart. I mean, I guess I must have known on some level.

I saw a School of Life video once that talks about how to know if you should leave a relationship. It said you should leave if that relationship is the one source of unhappiness or stress in your life. If everything else is great and you are otherwise content, but your partner brings you down - leave.

I thought about that a lot when I was living in LA. I knew this guy Peter, a customer at one of the stores. He used to warn me against moving away, when I told him I wanted to. "That's locationism," he used to say. "That's thinking that running away to a new city is going to fix your problems."

But here's the thing. I didn't have any problems. I wasn't running away from anything - other than LA itself. At long last, over the past year, I have learned how to really take care of myself. How to set boundaries, respect my limits, and self soothe. I could have found a great job in LA. I could have gotten out of restaurants in LA. Locationism is using geography to try and escape your problems, when the problem quite frankly is you. 

But I just hated LA. That's it. That was my one, sole source of unhappiness. Living in city that didn't suit me. So leaving was exactly the solution to level up my life. 

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My building is incredibly quiet. It kind of blows my mind. The walls are so soundproof, I can never hear a thing. One morning I could barely, barely make out the whining of a puppy, which I've since realized is literally next door. That's how great the walls are here. Which is another amazing win, since I can play my music loud without worrying. (My speaker is against the window, anyway.)

It's also so warm. It is much, much warmer than my LA apartment. Particularly the floors. In fact I can't wear my slippers here; I get too hot. And I still haven't turned the heat on. I actually open the window at least once a day, because I love how bracing and fresh the air outside is. 

I have been wearing less and less as I go outside. The first ten days I was here I wouldn't leave without thermals on, that's how paranoid I was about the cold. But it's just like I remember from chilly nights in the desert: as long as 75% of my body is warm, I actually like having my legs be a little cold, or my head uncovered. If I am swaddled head to toe I get overheated and cranky real fast. I'm also very glad I invested in Moon Boots. Not only do I love how they look, they're warm AF and let me wear less on my legs because my feet are so toasty. Worth every penny.

And now, more photos!










of toast, loafers, and icicles

I stayed close to home this weekend, no big adventuring. I needed to unpack the boxes I shipped and get organized ahead of my movers coming in the morning. And even if I wanted to go further out, I couldn't have, thanks to toast and loafers.

On Tuesday, my boss and I got Pot Belly for lunch. It's a local sandwich place, super popular. It was my first time having it; I didn't know they toast all the sandwiches by default. No big deal, but I despise toasted sandwiches. If I wanted hot food I'd get fucking lasagne. Don't make assumptions about what normally comes room temperature, restaurant chains.

Anyway, I didn't notice at the time, but it cut the living shit out of the roof of my mouth. (I was probably nervous and eating fast because I was with my boss and it was my first day.) And when something fucks up the roof of my mouth--cereal, sour candy, whatever--that's it. I'm gastronomically benched for a week. My mouth takes forever to heal. I haven't been able to eat anything other than room temperature soup or ice cream since Tuesday.

But I have no pots. I have no can opener. So the soup to ice cream ratio has been about 10/90. Yesterday I broke down and got myself an $8 8oz cup of lobster bisque from Whole Foods, but mostly I am starving all day until I can't take it anymore and get some ice cream lest I pass out from starvation. So it's not exactly an ideal time to be across town somewhere, hungry, and not be able to eat. Or have to eat, but have it be murderously painful. Because I can't eat any real food whatsoever yet. (Believe me, I have wished death upon the Pot Belly decision makers several times over the last week.)

On top of that, on Wednesday I wore new loafers to work. Totally not broken in. They destroyed my heels. Straight bleeding cuts, both of them. I had to wear my super worn out and loose GG dupes to work the rest of the week, and even then I was limping around for days. They're starting to heal now, and thank god my favorite comfy boots arrived. But I'm totally out of commission physically here. Toast and loafers took me out

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But here's a fun win: the gym at my building.

There are two gyms; one regular and one CrossFit. I got very lucky because the regular one is in my tower, and the CrossFit one is in the other (my building has two towers). That means I can go straight downstairs in my gym clothes and don't have to go outside to cross over in the cold.

And the gym itself is amazing. There are five damn treadmills, they're touchscreen and bluetooth, and you can create an ID to log your workouts. (My new thing is watching running trail simulators on YouTube while I listen to a podcast.) It's open until midnight and so far it's been empty every time I've gone. Even the bathrooms are impressive. 








There's lots more amenities, like an incredible top level terrace with great views--but I want to wait to post pics of that until I can catch a sunset.

But here are some other shots from yesterday. These are from my short sojourns to two of the shopping areas near me. To get to one, I get to cross the river and train tracks. Mind blowing. So cool.






This last shot is the view out my front door. That's the intersection I live on. And that's an enclosed dog park right there, that grass.

The colors of this city absolute enchant me. Everything in the grey cloudy day catches the sun coming through, and it's all blues and shimmery silvers reflecting on the high rises. I just stare at it, as I'm walking around doing my errands. I sigh happily, like I'm in a cartoon. I can feel the way so much tension has left my body, just being in the right climate, the right part of the country. A truly walkable, city lifestyle at last. I've said before that I'm really sensitive to my environment, and in LA I was constantly, actively suppressing a dislike of my surroundings. The sun always in my face. The heat, even in December. The overcrowding. The lack of trees and green spaces. Cars cars cars cars everywhere. No one walking, because you really couldn't. The dismal, hot, glinting, dirty feel of it all. 

It's like a bad dream now. Like I walked out of one life and into another. I honestly hope winter goes on forever. I feel like it's freezing my time in LA into an icicle that I could just break off. Toss into the snow, or even smash if I want.

I don't want to smash it. But it feels good to keep it where it is.

work wins and general surprises

Well, I made it through the first week. Training is finished; my boss went back home to the east coast halfway through the day yesterday. I've been walked through various processes, left with volumes of instruction manuals and how-to's, and that's it. She's my ship to sink now.

I have plenty to keep me busy next week; lots of projects to get started on or carry through, lots of organization and planning to do. All the shit I love. In fact the job really is the perfect mix of totally in my wheelhouse, will crush and definitely not my comfort zone, time to grow. Mainly the stuff that is not in my comfort zone is tech stuff. Lots of very high level tech stuff. But next week I'm going to do test runs of all the equipment and make myself (and the client) simplified one-sheets with step by step instructions. 

It's all top of the line and cutting edge, and is therefore designed to be as plug and play and intuitive as possible. I've already done some previewing by watching YouTube videos and if these videos aren't lying to me, it really will be Ellie proof easy. And I've been familiarizing myself with the various systems and hardware, so that when I get to the inevitable calls with my IT team, I will surprise them by knowing the exact name of the thing we're talking about. This is less a desire to impress than one to avoid embarrassment by having to say something like "the black shiny panel thing that lights up green". 

Aside from my actual responsibilities, there are some aspects to the job which I still cannot get over, because they are so awesome. 

1. It's a fifteen minute walk from where I live. And 15 is Google's estimate; I can get there in 10-12 if I want.  On the way I pass my bank, an Eintein's Bagels, and an awesome local coffee shop. It's right in the heart of the financial district, just down one street then across another. Everyone walking to work alongside me is chill, focused, and professional. No DTLA madness of screaming homeless, blaring stereos, trashy or troubled people just hanging out on the sidewalks looking to start shit and bringing the community down.  

2. I'm home by 5:15pm. My last job? Sometimes I wasn't home until past 11pm.

3. I'm off weekends. You just have no idea what that means to me. Unless you do, in which case: holy shit. Holy shit. 

4. I am the only employee at my workspace. It's just me. I am the only employee of the company in the entire state. So if one of my coworkers wants to call out or roll in late, it doesn't affect me. Because they're in another state. I have no employees working under me, that I am desperately, nervously counting on to show up to get us through another day of serving the hungry people of West Hollywood. None of that nonsense anymore. I don't have to depend on anyone but myself. You have no idea how much stress that takes out of my daily life.

5. My work is warm. It's so warm and cozy. I was super scared that a cold workplace would be the thing to do me in. My apartment is plenty warm, I'm totally good outside--but I had no idea if I would be cold at work, especially because the space is so huge. But in fact, it's so warm that a sweater is almost too much to wear. Which means I can start wearing regular shirts and pants and not have to be crazy overdressed neck to toe in wool. I am very happy about this. 

6. So far, the employees I've met from the client company are absolutely awesome. I've met the CEO, the founder, the assistant to the CEO, the head of sales, and the head engineer. Basically the top execs have been coming into the space to start getting ready for the rest of the company to roll in after the new year. And they are the nicest, most down to earth people ever. In fact tonight the founder and some of the others had a holiday zoom and they invited me down to have a drink with them and meet some of their team over the call. (I did not drink, and only popped down for a minute.) They're the kind of people who if you're just real and authentic and have a good personality, they will embrace you right away. That being said, my boss let me know that they are one of the top two accounts for all of the company, across all locations in the US. I cannot fuck this up.

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There have been some other general surprises about Chicago:

1. I promise I'll shut up about it after this post, but I absolutely cannot believe how clean it is here. I keep joking to myself that the wind must blow all the trash away--but that's not it. It's just a very clean city. I don't know what I expected. LA was decimated by the pandemic and many neighborhoods that were of average cleanliness are virtually unlivable now. I guess I expected more or less the same here. But no. I've yet to see stretches of boarded up shop fronts, or piss-and-filth covered sidewalks. In fact it's the opposite. The shops are packed and the sidewalks get sprayed down nightly. I know because last night I got accidentally sprayed--and I welcomed it! 

2. I wasn't expecting how Dickensian it feels here. The pretty architecture, the bridges, the street lamps and decked out trees. It reminds me of everything I admired about New York the past 20 years when I visited there. I didn't know Chicago would feel so cool and sophisticated and bustling, the way NYC always has to me.

3. The jaywalking! You can't jaywalk in LA. It isn't even a matter of the tickets; there's just too much traffic, always. Here (at least where I am), you don't even have to hit crossing buttons. Most streets don't even have them. The light changes quickly, and even before it does, everyone jaywalks when it's clear. And despite it being a metropolis, the flow of traffic seems well managed, like the city planners know what they're doing. I know at this point I sound like I'm romanticizing, but I can't help it. I'm in love.

4. I'm not nearly as cold as I thought I would be. I haven't even turned the heat on at my apartment. It's probably because I'm at the almost top floor of my 14-story building, and I'm sandwiched in on three sides with just the one window. But my LA place was much, much colder during the winter due to how spacious it was and how big the windows were. It is straight cozytown in my place, and I love it.

5. There. Are. No. Scooters. I don't know if it's just where I am, or if they're further out--but there are none anywhere around me. And oh god it's the best thing ever, not to see the dozens and dozens of them that cluttered up all of LA's sidewalks. Busted, dirty, bent, half of them kicked over on the ground. It's divine not to have to look at fucking scooters anymore. 

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My things are coming Monday! I can't believe all told I'll only have waited 9 days for my stuff to come. I really was hunkering down for a month+. 

All of what I FedExed to myself is here; the last five boxes came tonight. So I already have a bunch of unpacking to do, which I should get to, like, now. 

new job! breakdown + first impressions

Day 2 of work now on the books, and it was a good one. Day 1 nearly destroyed me; I had a terrible night's sleep going into it, and I stayed almost 11 hours. That's a very long time to be learning all new things in an all new environment. I was oversaturated and exhausted and the final three hours of the night were a ride.

Today my boss made a point to mention he hadn't realized how late he'd kept me last night. We had gotten stuck on a technical problem and he's very clearly the kind of person that will focus completely on something, to the point of losing himself in a task, and not realize how much time has passed. Today we wrapped at 6, though once we're done with the whopping 2.5 days worth of training I'm gonna get, I'll be out of there by 5pm every day. My boss told me he's cool with me doing 9 to 5 every day, but when we reviewed our contract with the client, it says they want someone onsite from 8-5 every day. Boss says he really doesn't care if I leave early, as long as the client is happy and has everything they need. I will play that by ear, and I know as I get to know the company I'll be working with, we'll all fall into a routine and the 9am thing might be feasible. Literally all the lights can be turned on remotely and pre-programmed, so there's that. Either way I'll be done by 5pm every day, and off every Saturday and Sunday.

Let me just repeat that glorious thought: I will be finished with work every day by 5pm, and off every Saturday and Sunday. Oh god that is the best thing ever to say and to know. 

I go back and forth with myself about whether or not to share the exact kind of work I'm doing. And that is 100% a personal security issue, unfortunately. There are a few absolute nut jobs out there that I don't trust to not go out of their way to try and ruin my life in one way or another. And I just don't want to risk anything. Suffice to say I work, obviously, in a professional office environment. I will probably throw a few photos up on my story, because the space is absolutely gorgeous and I want share, but that's it. Honestly if you pay attention and read into my clues, I'm sure you'll be able to figure it out anyway. 

The thing that is going to be challenging about my work is that the client I'll be working with hasn't come into the space yet. They won't be there for a couple more weeks, and even then it will likely be a slow trickle until all 200 or so employees are there.

And there's no amount of training that is going to prepare me for what will happen, once they start rolling in. I can learn and review procedures, but there are dozens and dozens of variables in this setting and environment, and I'm just going to have to learn on the job. I will have tons of questions. I will make mistakes. Things will absolutely, certainly go wrong. It will be frustrating. But the only way out is through. And one of the great things about my company is the incredible support system they have built. 

So let me talk a bit in general terms about my impressions so far. 

The actual space I get to work in is a dream. Thirty thousand square feet, it encompasses two low floors in a historic building right downtown, and was completely gutted then built out to spec for this business. The entire middle section of the space is open, though, with stadium seating orientated around a viewing area with a projector. So it feels incredibly grand, open, and airy. Two sides of the lower level face out onto the street, so you have amazing views of the heart of East Loop. Clean streets bustling with professionals, lined with those beautiful street lamps and (right now) trees done up with holiday lights. I have some photos on my story, and I'll move them to my Homecoming highlight soon. 

The business end of things is ultra modern and high tech, and all of the equipment, devices, etc are as cutting edge and intuitive as can be. Touchscreen, plug and play, app-operated, and all with remote access. So if anything comes up after hours, say I need to unlock a door or turn on some lights or check something on a camera, I can do it from home. 

I have a lot of new apps. 

All of this super high tech is housed in the most beautiful space I could imagine working in. The company retained as much as possible of the building's original interior as it could. Epic, 10-foot by 10-foot chandeliers that must be almost 100 years old. Ornately carved elevator doors. Old-fashioned mail chutes, still in the walls. What's new has a very classic contemporary, very Restoration Hardware look. Crown moulding, panel moulding, baseboards. Spiral staircases with turned leg railings and balustrades. The furniture is modern and plush and plentiful, and there's a wide range of lighting (every single bit of it on dimmers) from floor lamps to Edison bulb overheads to canned lights on the ceiling. Everything is neutral greys, greiges, black, and bright white tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. Chic and modern and immaculate. Every inch of it brand new and unused. 

And oh god, the kitchen area. Ultra modern, massive dual refrigerators, soft touch close drawers, dishwasher. Rich grey wood cabinetry with black pulls and handles. There's a cold brew tap and a second tap as yet undecided. Top of the line appliances. It's so lovely. 

And because it's in a historic building, everything is taken care of. The building is extremely restrictive about access, so all of the cleaning and maintenance is handled by them. Literally every night a cleaning crew comes through and dusts, sweeps, empties trashes, cleans the bathrooms -- all of it. So every morning when I come in, it's like little elves have come through and magically reset the space to sparkling and new. 

If you have ever worked in a restaurant, you know how incredible that would be. And it is so fucking incredible, and a thing I would have taken for granted had I not worked in kitchens for the past five years. As it is, I am endlessly thankful for this aspect of the job; I recognize how huge a blessing it is, particularly since most of the other spaces in my company do not get this perk. Most of the other employees doing my same job in other cities have to contract a cleaning service, and likely handle a lot of small things, like trash removal, themselves. Whereas if we get a bunch of deliveries and I have a ton of empty cardboard boxes, I can just gather them into a pile somewhere out of the way, put a bright orange sticker on them that says "this is trash, please remove" in like five languages, and poof, they're gone in the morning. 

If something breaks, I put in an online request with the building, which is manned and serviced 24/7. Things get fixed immediately, because it is 38-story, historical building and tenants pay dearly to be there. No more stressing about $$$$ industrial refrigeration units breaking down on me, or the AC going out, or worrying about break-ins. All of that is taken care of. There is security every hour of the day, every day of the year. 

As to our own IT, of which there is a ton, I have an actual department to turn to if there are issues. Our main IT guys are Cali-based, but the companies we use for our A/V, lighting, and communications equipment are all based out here. If something doesn't work, I summon someone from those teams to come figure it out. Yes I will need to troubleshoot myself and get walked through the process via phone first--but as my boss said tonight, "You're not on an island out here."

I do not doubt things will go wrong. They already have, and my boss has already hit his own walls and needed to call for support. I fully expect issues will arise. But one day at a time. And after my boss is gone, I'm going to mess with stuff using my own laptop to practice as much as I can before the client comes in, after the new year.

Which reminds me. I'm off December 24th through January 2nd. What the fuck. WHAT THE FUCK. An entire week off, paid. Coming from restaurants where I had to work both Christmas Eve and NYE and all the days in between (except for Christmas itself), this is mind blowing. MIND BLOWING. These hours and benefits are why I dragged myself out of bed every morning of November, scared as shit, to tackle the cause of getting out of restaurant management and into managing anything else. All those hours spent retooling my resume, my LinkedIn, painstakingly tweaking my cover letters for each application. Days and days of preparing for interviews, writing out questions and answers, printing up one sheets and memorizing key points. And every time I wanted to stop, reminding myself over and over and over that I had to get this right if I wanted to get out of the food service industry. And now it is paying off. 

So yeah, I get to explore Chicago the entire week of Christmas to New Years. That is my life. That is a real thing that is happening. Cameron very sweetly invited me down to Houston but are you kidding me? A whole week to tool around my new city, all by myself, during the most festive time of the year. I can't believe I get that. I can't believe it's happening.

Oh, benefits. 

It's all the usual stuff, and turns out that despite them recently upgrading their health care, the company is absorbing the additional cost rather than passing it on to employees. But there's also other rad stuff. I got a brand new Microsoft Surface Laptop. Touchscreen, detaches and transforms into a tablet. Also, my cell phone is being paid for. Also, they do a wellness plan, where your gym membership is paid, if you want one. My building's gym is incredible, so I don't need that, but I might ask if instead they'll pay for a fun fitness class of some kind.

What else. Today there was an all hands Zoom, and I got to see most of the other people who do my same job, but in other cities. My company has a presence in California, Washington state, Washington DC, SLC, Texas, and Minnesota. So, pretty spread out. But the corporate structure is very slim, and today I learned that some locations haven't seen their boss's (or their boss's boss's) face, in person, in several months. Which is good and bad. There is clearly zero micromanaging in this company; there can't be. It's clearly sink or swim in many cases, since they're opening so many new spots at once. I will be literally the only employee of the company here in Chicago; all of my support will be handled remotely, and once weekly Zooms with my boss--plus Slack all day, with the whole company more or less--will be it for interacting with my coworkers.

That's definitely a little intimidating, especially since every single thing about what I'm doing is brand new--but I am used to running things solo, too. I really do get to make this space my own, and work closely with the client to cultivate culture and make it a second home for all of us. 

I can't think of anything else to share in terms of my work, at least not yet. 

Next post, I will show you some of my apartment building, in particular the amenities, which are truly unreal.

Time to unpack some clothes that came, yay!

day 2 night vibes

Didn't get out to explore until after dark today; was held hostage by the UPS guy who was bringing my birthy certy. But it came, thankfully, so now I'm solid and ready to start work tomorrow. Literally the only thing I am anxious about is the fact that I have such limited clothing to begin with, and I don't really love my first day outfit. It's not ideal, but I have to suck it up until my FedEx's start arriving Wednesday.

Other than that, zero nerves. Just positive anticipation. Ready to learn and kick ass.

Found my Target (15 minute walk) and Container Store (9 minute walk), and got a couple of survival essentials. Then it was out to wander the sparkly city streets and see what the nighttime vibe is like in my new neighborhood. Saw the Riverwalk for the first time, and it was just now, in the evening. So freaking pretty, reflecting all the lights. Photos below, but the best shots are in my story. I'll add them to my Homecoming highlights too. 

---

I'm starting to visualize the way my place will look when my things come; the only issue is going to be closet space, because I was spoiled by my last place and expanded to fill it, like a goldfish in a big tank. I'm also on the fence about whether or not to stick with my king or downsize to a queen. I am soooo attached to having a king, but it would be pretty ridiculous here. 

And my gorgeous ivory velvet curtains are a no go here. The roller blinds are installed between the walls, not against. There's no way to get curtain rods up. Which is just as well, since with the space being so tiny it really needs as much light as it can get. No curtains will keep it really open feeling. 

I can't really see anything else I'll need to get for the space, or any major changes to my stuff I'll need to make. Just anxiously awaiting word that it's on its way. Could be as much as a month.

---

I had the best call with Costa earlier, and one of the things we talked about was the cold. Because to be honest, while I appreciate everyone's concern, the whole OMG ELLIE THE COLD!!!! ARE YOU GONNA BE OKAY IN THE COLD YOU KNOW IT'S COLD IN CHICAGO RIGHT??! HOW YA HANDLING THAT COLD HAHA!!! has gotten real old, real quick. 

Today I found myself again overheated while I was out, because everyone's fear mongering about the damn cold had me so tripped out that I haven't dared the leave the house unless I'm swaddled head to toe like baby Jesus. So unnecessary. I've been conditioned by all these comments and questions to be scared, to the point that it kind of undercut my joy in moving a little, because I had this needling fear of What if they're right?? What if I can't handle the cold, and I'm too old and frail and I'm making a terrible mistake??

Well, I should have ignored the negativity and trusted my instincts. Not only am I fine in the cold, I fucking love it. I find it bracing and refreshing and purifying. After three decades of being always hot, living in the wrong climate, I'm grateful for every chilly breath. 

I also have a theory that I shared with Costa, which is that peoples' reaction to the weather is based largely on the kind of clothing they like to wear. If you don't like to be bundled up, if you don't like heavy sweaters and scarves and hats, if you find all that fuss annoying, then yeah you're going to resent the cold. And of course you're going to hate the cold if you're not dressed warmly enough. And I feel like a lot of people just don't want to put that much clothing on. Maybe especially sexy young people, who want to wear less and show off their bodies? IDK. I get it. I certainly think that's why so many Californians love California--they get to dress for it.

Meanwhile I'm over here having the time of my life putting on my hat and gloves, feeling Christmasy as fuck and loving how festive and cozy it all is. 

Anyway, I vented to Costa big time about it. And he gets it. He's from damn Nebraska. Imagine that kind of cold, nothing but the icy wind coming off the plains, right at your face, all winter long. 

I may change my tune as it dips even lower or drags on for months, and I don't yet know what it'll be like at my work, but so far at home and out and about, I'm doing fine. 

And now, pics!





whole again

Today was a great day. Slept in until eleven, which I desperately needed. Straightened up a bit then headed to the lake. I'll get to what it was like to set eyes on Lake Michigan for the first time in thirty-six years in a moment. But let me set the moment up, because it was a big one. 

I've been talking to Costa a lot the past few days; he lived in Chicago for a while so he's got plenty of tips for me, plus he's getting a fat dose of nostalgia living vicariously through my discoveries. All my friends are happy for me, but right now Costa is the go to, because he gets it better than anyone. We lived very close to one another in LA, worked together for a couple of years, and spent a lot of time hanging out around LA. He gets my LA hate, even though I don't think he quite hates it himself. He's an entertainer at heart, so LA will always hold charm for him.

But he knows its ugliness, and he knows what an entirely different world Southern California is from the Midwest. So right now he's kind of inexhaustible when it comes to my excitement. As I walked through downtown today on the way to the water, I kept waiting for the penny to drop. I kept waiting to come into the uglier parts. The dirtier areas, where there would be trash and filth like in LA. I kept texting Costa in amazement. "This place is just so beautiful. So grand." "It's a Chicago thing," he said. "The trash is kept in the alleys. People complain about it," he said. Well, I walked by a lot of alleys. I saw dumpsters, sure, but nothing around them. 

On the one hand, I don't want to be unfairly negative about LA. I don't want to paint an unrealistic or exaggerated picture of what it's like there. On the other hand, I feel that after the eleven years I lived there, I've earned the right to speak about it however I want. For now I'll just say that I truly feel like I escaped. Especially DTLA, which is now unrecognizable after the pandemic. That place was decimated, and even now that it's starting to come back, it's trash. The community is trash, the physical environment is trash, the people are trash. It's unsafe and utterly disgusting. I was embarrassed to live there. 

So just imagine what it's like for me to come here and see what I'm seeing. The cleanliness. The clear, clean, wide streets lined with trees wound in twinkling lights. Doors trimmed with boughs for the holidays. The old fashioned street lamps alone are killing me. I get to walk around under old fashioned street lamps, glowing gold in the winter night. It's like I walked onto a movie set. When I walked back in from the lake and came to Michigan Avenue, I almost lost it. It's like New York, to which I've been more recently--but obviously, much more affordable. Bustling and beautiful, a mixture of old buildings and new, crowds of bundled up shoppers and tourists and locals out for their evening walks. And it's on a damn lake. Anytime I want to, I can just walk out to the water and run or just amble along the trail. Far removed from cars. Nothing but the lapping waves on one side and the skyline running beside me. And it's just right there. 

Today my GPS kept confusing me when I was trying to get to the lake. I kept missing the turn it wanted me to take, because the turn was actually into the park. I had been looking for a street, but no. Chicago has, like, parks. And paths. And so when I realized Ohhhh, I have to cut through the park to get to the lake, my head about exploded. I then was guided through the trails and tunnels and grass on the east side of Michigan Avenue, because that's what exists here. Walking trails. Grass. Green space. And it's clean. It's so fucking clean and pretty. It is fucking amazing.

And because I lived in LA for so long, I'm coming to all of it with so much gratitude and wonder. And I love that for me.

Anyway, I finally made it to Lake Michigan.

So, you have to understand why this was such a powerful moment for me. This is gonna get heavy.

In my mind, my parents ripped my brother and I out of Michigan, to move to Arizona. It's not a word I use lightly. That's what it felt like. Small town Michigan. Right on the lake. Grew up playing on dunes, running around in the wooded area behind our house. Trees and green space and nature. Snow and seasons and the smell of dry smoke on Halloween. Wagons full of cherries and plums, picked from our own front yard. Piles of leaves to play in. Sledding. Lightning bugs and outdoor barbecues in summer, the sound of frogs and owls at dusk. A wonderland for a sensitive, imaginative child.

But for whatever reasons, my parents decided Scottsdale, Arizona was the move. We moved to a new community, still largely under construction. Stucco and adobe houses on confusing, curving suburban streets, interrupted by ugly, dusty vacant lots not yet purchased. Arid. Unbearably, soul-crushingly hot for a child having to walk home in every day. No trees. No forest to explore. No green spaces, other than the patchy playgrounds at school that were closed at 4pm anyway. No sand dunes, no waterfront. And no seasons. Nothing to mark fall other than a slight drop in temperature. No falling leaves, no chill in the air. No snowmen, no snowball fights. Just strip malls and air conditioning. 

I wouldn't have been ready to come back here any earlier, that's the thing. Even just six months earlier would have been too soon. For one thing, it was only getting laid off and having the nudge to move out of the food service industry that made this possible. But much more to the point, all the growth that I have been going through the past two years, sped up especially this year, and exponentially the past six months--the person I am now is the person who is ready to receive and appreciate the blessing that is this change. The person walking the waterfront today in amazement at her new life knows she deserves this

When I got to the lake today, it was like a very big, very painful, very unnecessary wrong being made right. I have been returned to the place I never should have left. I am a Midwesterner at heart. At the very least, I am a cold weather person. I am a seasons person. So walking up to Lake Michigan, looking out directly east where if I had superpower vision, I could literally see the beach I grew up playing on--just imagine what that was like for me. I'm back, and I'm back on my terms. I made it happen for myself. I hated Arizona. I hated it with every fiber of my being, but I never found a way to leave. I never made that happen for myself. And while California gave me so much to be grateful for in my friendships, it was never the place for me, either. I was always a fish out of water there, and with climate change, it became scarier and more desperate feeling every year. 

Then there is the matter of coming back to my homeland, when I very much do come from a home of trauma. Things didn't get bad until we left Michigan, but if you know my story, you know I come from a severely dysfunctional family. Addiction, anger, abuse. They're all gone. All of them. I am free, and I have been free for a long time. Still, there is something deeply healing about coming back to where it all started--and being healthy. Being okay. It's like picking up something precious that fell off the mantel and shattered, and setting it down gently back in its place, miraculously fixed. It's fixed. You still have to be careful with it. It's still fragile and you can see the seams where it broke into a thousand pieces--but it's whole again, and back in its place.



on a note of wonder

Hello from Chicago, where I already have internet, because every unit in my building comes with a modem already set up, in the coat closet, installed into a cutaway in the wall. And all you have to do is call a very nice guy named Patrick who flips a switch remotely and boom, you're up and running instantly. My building also has a door person at the front desk 24/7, and two gyms. One has regular equipment including a kinetic treadmill and a dedicated yoga/mediation room with a huge touchscreen monitor on the wall where you can select from different programs to follow. The other is just CrossFit equipment, including some kind of terrifying swing thing that I will not be touching. 

There's also an enclosed rooftop terrace with sofas and lounge chairs, a rec/game room with a TV that must be eight feet wide and six feet high, foosball, a pool table, a giant wall-mounted scrabble board, and a wet bar so you can host parties. There's a coworking space with a printer and scanner, a two-room mailroom where packages are sorted by floor and tenants have 24/7 access to retrieve their things, and some other stuff I can't remember because because I'm on 3 hours sleep. And it was plane sleep, which means it was more like 1.5 hours sleep.

Oh that's right - the trash chute. There's one for trash and one for recycling. There's a recycling chute in my building. 

The past 24 hours have been unreal. Just before my flight last night I realized that the only way I can describe it is as an out of body experience. It's the closest I've come to having one, and now I think I have some vague idea of what that must be like. From the time I was finally done with everything and ready to go to the airport, I started shaking like a leaf. I don't even know why. But I had to leave. I couldn't just sit there, even though my flight was still hours off. When it was finally wheels up and I saw LA's glittering lights below me, slowly moving behind me, I can't explain the feeling I had. It just felt like one of the biggest moments of my life, if not the biggest. So big that I couldn't process it, so I just had to watch it happening to me, rather than fully experience it myself.

You have to understand how much of my life happened in LA. Divorce. My mom dying. My dad dying. My brother dying. Chaucer dying. Going broke, then coming into a lot of money--repeatedly. The absolutely fucking epic friendships born there. The roller coasters that were my romantic relationships. 11 years of incredibly high highs and devastating lows, all through which I more or less stumbled. More or less just existed. But now, for the first time in my life, I am making deliberate, strong choices about what I want. The work I want to do. The climate I want to live in. Last night when I set foot on the plane, it was me setting the terms of my life, with a sense of freedom so pure it's like a drug. 

It is intoxicating.

Had a quick layover in Charlotte, which was worth it just for the incredible sunrise I saw breaking over the horizon (in my IG story). Then wheels down in Chicago around 11am. 

My place is about what I expected. Maybe a little smaller. But I am literally right downtown, a fifteen minute walk to my work and the heart of the city. It's truly a walker's paradise. After I toured the property and collected my packages, I headed out to wander a bit while there was still light. My phone was on half battery, so I gave myself until either I hit 20% or lost the light entirely before I headed home. Come to it, I could always duck in a Starbucks and charge my phone, but I didn't want to mess with getting turned around in the dark and the cold, with no battery to navigate home, on 3 hours sleep. 

I only had an hour, so I just walked the tiniest section of the city. But it's even better than I imagined. It's been decades since I set foot in Chicago. To my ten year old self, it was huge and bustling and intimidating. Now it is perfectly sized, bustling, and just so beautiful. 

If I had to live anywhere in LA, downtown was where I wanted to be. Born in a small town, big cities are magical and exciting to me; they've never lost their charm and character. And so I thought it was pretty cool to get to regularly walk the historical streets of DTLA, see those amazing buildings. But Chicago is a whole other level. It's immaculate compared to LA. Just immaculate. And there's so much more to see, so many more incredible structures. It's jaw-droppingly cool. The el blows my mind. It's all just so pretty and romantic I can barely handle it. I can't believe I get to live and work here. I kept thinking that over and over. I can't believe I get to be here.

Everyone has been so worried about how the cold was going to hit me. I think there's been a lot of projection with that; people who themselves wouldn't want or like the cold projecting onto me how they'd feel. Well, I fucking love it. The minute it hit me when I walked out of the airport, a huge smile crossed my face. You have to remember: I have three decades worth of hatred for Arizona and California fueling my desire to escape the heat and sun. And I know January and February will be even colder, but I was perfectly fine today. I'm not dumb, I know how to dress for the weather. Uniqlo thermals are a lifesaver. And it was such a joy to actually get to wear a parka today. 

My cheeks and ears were a little icy because I went exploring without a hat or scarf, but my body was fine under my layers. And while yes I know LA happens to be having a cold snap right now, the norm is that Thanksgiving and even Christmas are always ridiculously warm. I was just straight grinning today, as I wandered around. It's cold here. It's December and it's cold here. It was snowing (slightly) when I landed. That is how it is supposed to be. And I love it. I am a fish in water, finally

I did learn very quickly that fingerless gloves are not going to cut it here, at least not right now. So I dipped into Nordstrom Rack and bought some shearling ones. Problem solved. 

My apartment itself is totally comfortable. I haven't touched the thermostat yet. I don't know if it's that I'm so high up, or it's a really well insulated building, or that the building across blocks the wind--but I was sure my apartment was going to be frigid. And it may be so later, but right now it doesn't feel any different than my LA place. 

Looking forward to walking to the lake tomorrow. Will probably get pretty emotional staring out directly east, to the town in Michigan where I was born. Sometime I want to rent a car and go see my childhood streets. It's only an hour away.

That's all I've got for now. I can barely keep my eyes open. My wee mattress and blankets were here waiting for me, and I packed my little personal heater in case I get chilly, so I'm going to be snug as a bug in a rug when I pass out here soon. I told someone earlier that it really hasn't even hit me yet, because I'm so exhausted. It's like my happiness is in a waiting room for the moment until I get some rest and stabilize. Then I'll get to really experience it.

And so to bed, ending Day 1 on a note of wonder and very, very sleepy gratitude. 






baaahhfirmation

Using my last remaining hours of internet to get out some thoughts. 

It's been a day. There was major fuckery with the moving company and after that I spent most of the afternoon boxing clothes to FedEx myself. Multiple bus trips to do that. I also had to scramble to deal (again) with the birth certificate issue for my work, and part of that entailed calling the county clerk's office of the tiny town I grew up in. Steve helped me with that, which was lifesaving. And now it should finally be settled.  

Then I stopped by my shoe place to scoop my boots, said goodbye to my buddy John there, and came back to my empty apartment for a bit to chill before heading over to Kenny's for dinner and to say a very emotional goodbye. I'm staying at my place tonight after all.

So here I am alone at last with my feelings and thoughts, examining them, seeing what needs to be dealt with so I can go to bed feeling peaceful and calm and ready for tomorrow. Checking in with myself has grown to be my strongest form of self care.

---

Everyone keeps asking if I'm nervous about starting a new job and or sad to leave LA, or telling me, unsolicited, not to be nervous and or sad about those things. And for some reason it's been really hard for me to just politely, diplomatically express gratitude for the support, and not tell them that I'm not. I'm neither of those things. 

I'm not at all nervous or anxious about my job. I'm looking forward to it, and can't wait to get in there and just start learning everything. Start building relationships. But I'm not scared about that at all, despite it being a totally new industry. My confidence is at a full 100% with that part of this whole adventure, and I feel just as relaxed and ready as I did when I was interviewing. I know it's the right work for me, so I don't have anything to feel uncomfortable about, as I did when I was moving up in restaurant management. Then it was a constant inner battle of What are you doing, Ellie? You don't give a fuck about restaurants or even, really, food. You're a fraud and they'll all see you don't belong.

Not so with this. I have already decided I belong and that the client (a company of 200) is going to love me. My boss is going to love me. I'm not worried about the job at all.

And I'm not sad to be leaving LA, other than to leave Kenny. But tonight even that was made okay. I saw something between him and Alfie tonight that made me so joyful, so peaceful about leaving them to one another's love and care--that tonight I could let go, in a way I'd been struggling with until that moment.

And there is literally not one other damn thing about this city that hurts me to leave. I will grow nostalgic over time I'm sure. But all of my best memories here are of my experiences with friends; and those experiences are all coming with me.

And I'm not remotely scared about being in a new city. I give 100% of the credit for that to my being a public transportation wizard, totally unafraid of trains and buses--and the fact that I'm moving to a place with a train system. I cannot wait. So what if I get lost? I'll get off and use my phone to navigate my way home. Or grab a Lyft and try again next time. Not anxious about finding things or being in an unfamiliar town at all. I'm going to be walking around smiling like an idiot telling anyone who'll listen that I'm new, and to give me all their local tips. 

But yeah there has been some anxiety up in my head, so I sat down to work out what it is. And it's so basic. It's so nothing, comparatively. I'm just anxious about living in disorganized, uncomfortable chaos for a month, because I won't have my shit. I'll have clothes and a bed and enough kitchen stuff to fix a very simple meal, and that's it. 

And I am such a creature of my environment. I'm so sensitive to my space, to having a home for everything. I need organization the way the rest of the world needs oxygen. Exaggeration but not by much. So the thought of having to make do with a bit of a mess for a month is the thing that's stressing me out. And that's it.

And holy shit, how awesome is that, when you think about it? If this move and change was happening even just a couple of years ago, I'd be beside myself with anxiety over every aspect of it. I'd be calling my friends for reassurance that everything was gonna be okay, every five minutes. Which must be why everyone keeps checking in, with the wrong idea of what I must be feeling. And I'm grateful, for sure. But I'm so much better than I realized, when I sat down to think about it.

It's gonna be hectic to the end. Right now there are two piles on my floor: absolutely have to have it immediately, and can make do without it for a week. Tomorrow as soon as I wake up I need to see exactly what I can take on the plane and then box up the rest for one final trip to FedEx. I quite ambitiously have one last brow appointment, then an inspection from my building, then I can get ready and go to the airport. Everyone is pitying my red eye but I'm so glad to have the whole long day to get everything done.

When I was applying for jobs, I had an affirmation that I was using to battle through feelings of inadequacy that were creeping up. "I am competent and accomplished, and people value what I have to offer." I know, I know. So Stuart Smalley. That character did so much damage to affirmations, which is a shame because they fucking work. Clearly. I just need to come up with one for the next month, to steady me when the stress of disorganized living gets to me. 

Gonna go to sleep and invite little affirmation sheep to come jump over me, give me some ideas.