Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2. finish my zen organizing project

We all remember what my living room used to look like, right?
Oh man. Looking at that makes me feel kind of dizzy and queasy. I can't BELIEVE how I used to live. And if you are thinking that perhaps I purposely took a photo of my living room when it was at its PEAK of messiness, you are sadly mistaken. That was just a regular day in the life of 2009 Julia. Cleaning and organizing were very far down on my list of priorities. Very far, indeed.

This is what my living room looked like post-zenning:

And, over one year later, here is what my living room looks like TODAY:

May I take this opportunity to recommend a book to you?

One Year to an Organized Life by Regina Leeds (I had a link here but I couldn't get it to work for some reason. It was affiliate, though, so I guess you can buy it with the knowledge that I won't see ANY kickbacks from it. So if that's what was holding you back from buying it then you're in the clear now).

That BOOK! It changed my life. Seriously.

The book encourages you to make your home into a sanctuary, a haven, a place of comfort, style, function, and happiness. Your home is where you spend most of your time, right? So why not make it somewhere WORTH spending most of your time?

I took that philosophy and ran with it. Let's turn back time a little and have a look at the transformation, shall we?

My kitchen counter, before:

My kitchen counter, post-zenning:

My kitchen counter, TODAY:

My bedroom shelfy area, before:

My bedroom shelfy area, post-zenning:

My bedroom shelfy area, TODAY:

My closet before:

My closet post-zenning:

My closet TODAY:


Okay okay. I do recognize that while this book worked wonders for me it may or may not do the same for you. Approximately one year and six months ago I found myself with an exceptionally messy apartment and a lot of mental energy that I needed to focus on not having a nervous breakdown and dropping out of school because The Crazy Ex was harassing/stalking/threatening me. My sister sent me the book, I opened it to "January" even though it was October, and I started organizing my kitchen. It was the perfect combination of planning, shopping, therapeutic self-care, and Getting Things Done.

And the book worked its magic on me. As you can see, I didn't used to mind clutter or chaos or, OMG, LIVING OUT OF BOXES. The book helped me clean up my act by not only telling my HOW to be more organized, but by changing my PERSPECTIVE.

I lived in the same home from birth to age 17. That house was my HOME. And I think that I felt like my college/grad school/etc. years' homes were "just temporary." Which, I mean, they were. I bounced around from various apartments to rooms-in-a-house to more apartments. And I felt like none of these places were really my homes, at least not compared to my childhood home. I guess I thought that my HOME home would come after I had a career/family/[whatever nebulous other things I wanted]. I suppose I figured that I shouldn't bother making some temporary apartment HOMEY because I wasn't going to live there forever. Which, well, now sounds pretty ridiculous. I feel like I need to clarify that this wasn't a CONSCIOUS thought-process. This is the reasoning that I came up with right now to justify my previous slovenly behavior.

Anyhow! I think the book helped me realize that it doesn't matter that the apartment in which I am living now will not be my home forever. I may have to move soon after I graduate, depending on where and when I find a job (assuming I do find a job). So I'm inevitably going to have to pack and unpack and weed through and reorganize alllll my stuff again. But that doesn't MATTER.
Just because I will have to put everything away again in some new apartment eventually does not excuse me from putting my stuff away in my CURRENT apartment. Eureka!

So. I'm crossing this item off my life list because I realized something the other day: ZEN IS A LIFESTYLE. I don't think I'm ever going to be FINISHED organizing my home. I'll always be getting rid of stuff and accumulating stuff and trying to fit things better and playing around with shelves and boxes. I'll keep working on making my house nicer and prettier and homier and better. The difference is that now I ENJOY cleaning and organizing.
I enjoy cleaning and organizing.
You win, Universe.

Now when I have an afternoon free, I want to spend it by gathering things to drop off at the Goodwill or organizing my important papers into a binder.

Or finding a new function for the little wooden basketty thing I got at the flea market.

Just yesterday I had a few hours to myself (I say that like I don't live by myself and don't have plenty of time by myself, but what I mean here is that I had free time. Which... I guess I could have just said in the first place) and I decided to hit up TJ Maxx. I bought some boxes for my bathroom shelfy thing, and then I came home and organized it.
I actually find it soothing to work on little organizey projects.
I did not used to be like this.

ZEN IS A LIFESTYLE. A lifestyle I am totally on board with now. A lifestyle I will share with you with crazy-eyed enthusiasm.

Friday, April 15, 2011


I often find myself having to spell out my email address. Super. Julesy, I'll say, ess you pee ee are jay you el ee ess why. I have come up with an anagram, inspired by Avitable. But a lot less... dirty. Here it is:

S as in Snark.

U as in Unicorn.

P as in Pie.

E as in Enthusiastic Anti-Douchebag Activist.

R as in Rump.

J as in Jazz Hands, of the sarcastic variety.

U as in, again, Unicorn.


E as in Emotions. I haz them.

S as in Sparkles!

Y as in Yesterday was Thursday Thursday, today it is Friday Friday. We we we so excited. We so excited. We gonna have a ball today.

Easy, right? YOU'RE WELCOME.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Me, to S, my neurobiologist friend: My brain seems to have turned to mush. Is there a technical diagnosis for this?

S: I believe they refer to it as jello encephalitis.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fresh from the Faucet

This is apparently what happens when two people have been spending most of their time doing stressful, boring things like homework, study work, housework, work work, and OMG GIANT PAPER DUE IN SIX DAYS GIANT PAPER work.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


i told them not to wait for me, i wouldn't return for years
packed a compass and my father's watch, ignored my mother's tears
climbed aboard my masterpiece with a bag of just-hatched newts
hung them over the starboard side, donned my anti-salmon boots

six miles off the coast and drifting, wishing for a change in tides
my prison of hammered and painted wood, water grabbing at its sides
i'm ready with my funnelscope to find singing red-horn whales
-- i built myself a sailboat, but i forgot to bring the sails

(Some people were talking about not liking poetry on Twitter this morn so I thought I'd post this. It's from a magical realism-ish collection I wrote it back in 2004 for the final project in one of my classes. I was a Creative Writing major, dammit.)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Oh baby.

The other night I dreamed that I had a baby.
The main focus of the beginning of the dream was logistical. I was worried- how will I squeeze in going to the hospital go have my baby when I've got all these meetings and other things to do? There was a big chunk of time (dream time, that is) in which I dithered about and tried to figure out my schedule.
And then the baby was there. It was a girl. She was really really cute, you know, as babies are wont to be. She had dark hair and big blue eyes and little pink cheeks. She was pretty interactive, so I suspect she was more of the movie-age newborn rather than an actual newborn-age newborn. I named her Fi0na.
The rest of the dream involved me taking her home and realizing, huh, it's not easy to carry all my school books and this here baby at the same time and maybe I'll just put her here on the couch and gaze at her for a little while.

When I woke up I felt kind of disappointed and sad about my baby's name. Not because Fi0na isn't a lovely name but because it is an off-limits (already been chosen by someone close to me) name.
So I lay there feeling bad about that for a moment but then I rationalized that I could change her first name but keep Fi0na as her MIDDLE name. Handy solution! Especially since I had really just been calling her 'Baby' because this whole situation was rather new to me.

And then I realized it had been a dream and that there was actually NO BABY AT ALL and so I got to feel disappointed all over again.

The following sentence may or may not sound completely insane, depending on your feelings about babies in general and dream babies specifically:
I kind of miss her.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Crunch Time. With Lists.

Currently and for the next couple of weeks my life is going to look a lot like this.
Oh yeah. You're jealous.
Big Giant Don't-Pass-and-You-Don't-Graduate Paper is due in just a couple short weeks (!!!!) and in an obnoxious turn of events I have to pause my frantic work on that and focus on class tomorrow. Because I am leading it. In the interest of full disclosure, I did volunteer for this. Because! Everyone has to lead class once this quarter and I picked tomorrow for the following reasons:
1. I definitely don't want to lead class next week, when my Giant Paper due date is even CLOSER.
2. I DEFINITELY don't want to lead class the week after that, when my Giant Paper is due.
3. I definitely don't want to lead class the week after that, when my Giant Paper has been turned in and I'm mentally checked out.
4. It will be nice to get it over with.
5. I feel like sometimes things like this are a little less structured and intense when you go first...?

I am slightly nervous since I emailed the professor asking her several questions about how tomorrow will go and what exactly I am supposed to do to prepare and I haven't heard back from her. So. I guess I'll be making it up. I'm not TOO nervous since my class is full of my friends-- gals I've known for 2 years now,  most of us in our final quarter of the program.
Well my class is full of my friends, except for this one lady about whom I have a bad attitude because the first day I met her she cornered me and gave me a list of reasons why my specialty shouldn't exist. MY SPECIALTY. Geriatrics. Shouldn't exist! I stood there, mouth hanging open confusedly as she explained that it would be better if I were an Adult Nurse Practitioner because then I'd be able to treat more people. I was so taken aback and confounded that I wasn't able to articulate an eloquent response, let alone ANYTHING AT ALL. I basically said "Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man" and walked away and have since vented my rage at anyone who will listen. Because?
1. Hey! Shut up!
2. My specialty shouldn't exist? How about YOUR specialty shouldn't exist? HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT?
3. Seriously! Shut up!
4. The population is aging. Yes, I do indeed think that Ger0nt0logical Nurse Practiti0ners are necessary. Step off.
5. WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY CLASS? My class full of Ger0 specialty students. Explain yourself or get out.
6. Better yet, explain yourself AND get out.

Anyhow. I hope you enjoyed this disjointed, vaguely insane rant of stress and misplaced anger. I think it paints a rather accurate picture of my current status.

Friday, April 1, 2011


I am currently:
- wearing my GREEN SHIRT.
- fine with the fact that my hair is a bit mussed. I'm not flat ironing it on such a beautiful day.
- not sure why the weather being nice influences my decision to style my hair BUT IT DOES.
- about to leave for a meeting with my advisor about my Giant Paper Thing that is due in a couple weeks.
- nervous about said Giant Paper Thing.
- looking forward to being done with said Giant Paper Thing but at the same not feeling good about the approaching deadline.
- drinking a real sugar Pepsi.
- attempting to summarize and critique an article for my Giant Paper Thing.
- enjoying the fact that some of the authors names include: Lautenschlager, Cox, Flicker, Greenop, and Bockxmeer.
- thinking I could really go for some Lautenschlager right now. That's a drink, right?
- apparently procrastinating.
- wishing I hadn't tripped and fallen the other day resulting in a huge bruise on my knee, nicely coinciding with the gorgeous skirt-wearing weather.

What are you doing?


I have this shirt.
I like this shirt. I like many things about it. It is a pretty color, it fits like a dream, and it is very soft.
I would like to buy this shirt in EVERY COLOR but the problem is that I don't have any idea where it came from. I got it a couple years ago at a clothing exchange party in the East Bay that was hosted by a friend of a friend. Even if I could track down the hostess I'm not sure she would remember which clothing exchange I attended (since apparently she is an avid clothing exchanger) or who was there and even if she could miraculously figure out who brought the shirt there is no guarantee that the previous owner would remember where she got it. The previous owner obviously didn't care for the shirt like I do or else it wouldn't have ended up in her clothing exchange bag. Which, I mean, I'm glad it did so I can't really shake my finger at the person for not appreciating THIS AWESOME SHIRT.

My only clue is this label.
No brand. No size, even. Just a... heart besweatered girl weeping? My internet search results for THAT were interesting. And unsuccessful.
So I'm pretty much SOL. Unless one of you out there can tell me where my shirt originated?