Key Lost Key Found

•November 18, 2019 • Leave a Comment

“Where the hell are my keys?”

This is my perennial thought every time I visit the Costco Gas station on Sepulveda Boulevard, day or night. I’ll stand beside the car, staring out into space, waiting for the gallons to fill up and my cash to drain out and think about keys. My keys. Specifically, the set of keys that I lost, without a trace, at this exact Costco Gas station eighteen months ago.

It was one of life’s little mysteries. I’d had the keys when I left the house: which I knew because I remembered locking up. And I still had half the keys when I left the Costco Gas station, which I knew because the car still started. But by the time I made it to my office- back at my old job at which it was necessary to have a bathroom key, somehow I no longer had one.

How does one lose half their keys?

I’d searched the car. I’d searched the parking garage. I’d asked at the building office if anyone had turned anything in. I’d called the landlady to make sure I hadn’t somehow dropped them in the driveway. I’d gone back to the Costco to check in the lost and found.

Nothing. Nada. Not a trace. The keys were gone.

It bothered me. Every time I went back to the gas station I thought about it, and every time I came away mystified. But somehow it felt… appropriate. The day I lost my keys was the day my life took a jog into unexpected territory: new friends, new interests, adventures in therapy, profound depression… it felt like a hex. It felt like my keys had been stolen by eldritch fae bent on inflicting misfortune on my life. Whom, I wondered, had I insulted to deserve this?

At any rate, they came back today.

In a twist of poetic symmetry, I had stopped at the Costco Gas today on the way to work, and I had wondered, as usual, where my keys had gone. It wasn’t that I needed them: I’d replaced them ages ago, but the fact that they were missing still bothered me.

“Maybe it was just meant to be.” I decided, as I usually do, and I went along my way.

I made it to work and sat in the parking lot to put on some makeup before walking onto the lot. I fished out the stub of an eyebrow pencil: by now, little more than the length of my thumb, and fumbled it. It fell… beside me somewhere: I didn’t see where. I hadn’t heard it hit the seat or the center console, but if Murphy’s Law had any influence, it was almost certainly somewhere down beside the drivers side seat. I couldn’t see it, but I could see something that glinted silver in the morning light. Reaching a hand down, I could feel something. I thought it would probably be too difficult to get ahold of it, but I managed to pinch it between two fingers and it came out easily. A set of keys. Two house keys. A key to an office bathroom. A mystery key I no longer recognized.

The missing keys were back.

I couldn’t help but feel like it was a sign. Of what? I didn’t know. It felt portentous that the keys had come to me on today of all days. That they had appeared on a day when I’d gone to the same gas station where I’d lost them. Maybe a sign that it was time to turn the key to open up a new chapter of my life. Maybe it was a sign that it was time to turn the key to close an old one. Maybe it is a sign that the questions that have mystified me for months will finally start producing some answers: answers that, in spite of all my searching, may have been within arm’s reach this whole time.

I could be happy with that.

Looking back

•November 8, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Some years it do be like that.

My mom sent an email out asking for updates on our year to be included in the annual Christmas letter. Thus caused me to have two realizations: first that it’s getting to be That Time Of Year and I’m going to need to start thinking about all the things I want to wrap up before the holidays, and two, that this has been a fairly eventful year for travel and benchmarks.

This time last year I found myself looking back only to discover that I didn’t have anything to share. It was both freeing (it meant I could be forgiven for not sending a newsletter) and discouraging (as it meant that a year of my life was going by without anything remarkable to snow for it). So it feels good to have news to share this year: like I’ve turned a corner. Like I’ve taken a step forward.

Looking back over the year also meant looking back over the year’s photos in search of a good picture to include. We’d attended several weddings, so I hoped to find something that I could use without needing to put in a lot of effort to take one. It was a complicated year for photos: on one hand I felt pretty good about my looks thanks to some new hair styling and weight change, but in the other hand is spent so much of the year under such a dark cloud of depression that there were a lot of pictures in which I just couldn’t bring myself to smile. I was relieved to discover that I still had quite a few good options to choose from: maybe, in spite of my volatile mood, I actually had something to show for myself.

At any rate, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that looking back over the lady year was not quite the chore I feared it would be. Maybe it is a Sign of good things to come.


•November 7, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Clearly, I shouldn’t be allowed to stay up past my bed time. I stayed up reassembling my manuscript last night in order to send it off to an agent who had requested it: and I succeeded in doing so- the story is now back in one piece- but I am DRAGGING today. Partly I’m blaming the weather: it is damp and threatening rain so my whole body feels heavy and achy. Nothing seems quite able to shake it: coffee, energy shot, power napping, exercise… I’m just going to have to muddle through.

My mood continues to be pretty good: if I make it through today it will be five days in a row of good humor. I’m making an effort to appreciate it as much as I can while it lasts. The only dark cloud at the moment is worry about the cat who has gotten quite thin lately. She’s getting on in years, and hasn’t been eating much lately so I always worry it is a Sign of something. I made an appointment to take her to the V-E-T on Saturday for an annual checkup, but worry about how bony she has become. Her energy seems low, but her affection and appetite seem high. We’ve gotten into the (probably bad) habit of letting her have little table scraps of meat and butter in the hopes of giving her a little padding, but it doesn’t seem to have helped. It’s possible that the dry cat food has been making her constipated, but we’re out of it at the moment so I’ve been giving her little dollops of canned tuna. Unsurprisingly, she is loving it and keeps licking the plate clean. So, I might have created a monster, but at least she’s eating something.

Anyway, that’s my life right now. What I wouldn’t give for a nap…

First Request!

•November 6, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I got my very first request from an agent willing to read the full manuscript of my novel! This was a thrilling way to start the day, followed abruptly by a sudden surge of panic as I realized that the whole middle section of the book is currently “under construction” after my most recent round of cuts. My saving grace is thefact that I won’t be able to send the manuscript until this evening when I get back home. This buys me most of a day to smooth over the rough edges and put everything back into its place. And having a deadline is extremely motivating- which is very helpful in forcing me to make decisions. I can always tinker with them later.

So, the news is good, but it still doesn’t feel real. A request for a manuscript isn’t the same thing as an offer, but it’s definitely a big step forward. Just getting a literary professional to say they’re willing to read my work is a Big Deal to me. With luck, this reader will be able to point me in the right direction on how to proceed from here: now that I’m getting into unfamiliar territory. I don’t really know how the path is supposed to go from here- up until now my whole goal was “finish writing my novel” followed by “get published” as if there were simple tasks on a to do list.

One thing is for sure: I have my work cut out for me!

Technical Difficulties

•November 5, 2019 • 1 Comment

The I.T. guy wanted to borrow my work computer to try to resolve an issue that I was having while trying to save files in Photoshop. The program would let me Save As just fine, but every time I tried to make changes and then Save I would receive a message saying that I didn’t have write access to the drive.

“It sounds just take an hour.” He said. Four hours ago.

I’ve received several updated by phone: all to the effect of “we haven’t figured out the problem yet”. This is pretty consistent with my experience of technical issues: they are either simple fixes that can be resolved in five minutes with a simple reboot, or it is Stump The Staff level difficult. This, evidently, fell into the latter category.

I’d handed over my computer at lunch hour, hoping that the time that I would spend out of commission would be minimally disruptive, but Murphy’s Law being what it is, I spent most of the afternoon looking for other ways I could make myself useful that didn’t require internet, server connection, or the ability to type.

It was not my most productive afternoon. Luckily for me it was not an afternoon that I needed to sit in on any meetings or editing sessions to take notes, so all things considered it was probably as good of a time as any.

Art any rate, I’m up and running now: and the issue may even be fixed (I’m afraid to speak too soon). All’s well that ends well.

Change Time

•November 4, 2019 • Leave a Comment

The clocks went back over the weekend. Somehow it feels like my mood has been reset too: in a good way. Yesterday, I went for a run during the evening (the same time on the day before would have still been considered afternoon) and afterwards I was standing out in the front yard watering the roses and I realized that I felt Good. Like, actually Good. Not just ‘Not-Bad’. Not just ‘Steady’. Not just ‘Too-Tired-To-Feel’.

It was nice.

I tried to remember the last time I’d actually felt good like that. My memory took me back to a day trip that we’d taken down to San Diego for a day at the beach.

Last September.

More than a year ago.

Not a great track record, but that’s depression for you.

It was an incredible feeling of relief to feel good: I was pleased to discover that I still had the capacity to experience it. And it was reassuring: like armor- all the dark thoughts that usually dragged me down seemed to be small and far away. Periodically they would brush up against me during the evening and I was able to dismiss them without a second thought. They just slipped off my mind without ever sinking in. I could breathe easily. The future felt inevitably positive: I didn’t have to worry about it, it was all going to be just fine. More than fine: fantastic. All my wildest dreams and more.

I can’t say where this newfound essence of certainty came from, but I’m certainly glad it is here, and I hope to enjoy it for as long as I can. The sense of relief and optimism has persisted so far through today. I feel a little bit unfocused, but in a pleasant, meditive way. It’s been difficult to focus on my writing, but that’s temporary: I just need to give my brain a chance to rewire itself. And if I have to sacrifice a bit of creative momentum in order to free myself from all this angst, it will be Time Well Spent.

Anyway, for the moment things are good and I’m hoping that I can keep the trend going for a while.

Dressed Up

•October 31, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed in the costume game here at the office today. I was under the impression that everyone was quite enthusiastic about dressing up- the photos from last year certainly reinforced this impression considering that three people were decked out in full dinosaur suits. I worried that I would look like a stick-in-the-mud if I didn’t put in at least a token effort.

I didn’t really have much plan: I decided I could make do by affecting a 1920s aesthetic out of some Goodwill clothes I’d collected throughout the year: a long black dress, a drapey gray shal shawl, a fur stole… I figured I could pin up my hair and maybe hide it under a scarf or a turban… It would be festive, but functional enough to work in.

I was the only person dressed up on the bus. I tried to not let this bother me, but I felt self conscious. I was the only person dressed up on the train. I was the only person dressed up in Hollywood, it seemed. I worried, irrationally, that I’d somehow gotten the date wrong.

Ok, so it’s early- most people aren’t thinking about costumes yet.” I told myself. “Don’t worry: once you get to work you’ll fit right in.”

I did not fit right in. Apparently it was a half-hearted costume year. Only a handful of people dressed up: me included.


I suppose I could’ve just gotten rid of parts of the costume: shed the stole, take down my hair, lighten up on the makeup. But I’m committed now. I’m going to stick it out.

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