Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Wild

A short story, written by moi, whilst at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Enjoy.

Winters are fierce in this part of the world and few can tolerate them, but for those who can the rewards of spring are many. Charlene was born here and her mother taught her how to survive the harsh winters.  She taught her how to hunt and track animals, which berries and plants could be eaten, and how to avoid predators. Charlene had exceptional instincts as well which kept her alive when others would have perished. Charlene could not imagine living anywhere else and she looked forward to the rebirth she experienced each spring when the earth softened and the plants began to push their way through its crust, reaching for the warmth of the sun.
Spring did not come without sacrifice, however. Shedding the long, heavy, coat of winter also required relinquishing something back to the earth that was now providing for her again. This, too, Charlene learned at her mother’s knee. Some years it would be something small, like a rabbit, or a fox. After a particularly hard winter it would be something larger. This year was different though. Winter was mild and spring came slowly, unfolding one leaf at a time, without urgency. The sky and land were bathed in watercolors and she did not feel rushed to start anew.
The lover Charlene took the summer before was languishing next to her in bed and she didn’t mind. Most years her lovers were gone by this time. They always seemed surprised when it ended but that was their own fault. The signs were there, if only they’d paid attention. Charlene breathed in Jack’s scent as she watched him sleep. He opened his dark eyes and met her gaze.
“Coffee?” he asked.
He rose, naked and strong, and went to the kitchen. He moved in long, graceful strides. She curled into the warm spot he’d left and dozed.
“Charlie, coffee.” Jack called. She normally did not tolerate pet names given by men, but she didn’t mind with Jack. His voice carried affection and she enjoyed being in his favor.
She rose slowly and stretched her long limbs. She wrapped his flannel shirt around her, not bothering to button it, and joined him in the den. They spent last winter in this den, curled on the soft rug in front of the fire, entangled, feeding off one another’s warmth. Jack had her coffee waiting and they sat together on the couch and drank in silence, watching the sun rise. Charlene’s skin was smooth and her long black hair was streaked with gray, belying her age.
Jack stood and took her cup after she’d drained it, spilling the last bit on her hand. She licked it off.  She watched him cross the room and disappear into the kitchen. Charlene’s mother told her, when Charlene was a child, a man would come for her one day.
“The Winter will be mild,” her mother said, as she braided Charlene’s thick hair, “and he will be strong, stronger than even you, and you will submit to him. He will find you when it is your time. He will provide you with offspring and you will provide him faithful companionship. This is the promise the man makes to us, and we to him.”
Charlene waited each winter for the man her mother spoke of to arrive, growing lonely in the years since her mother passed and her sisters scattered with the wind. She took a man each summer, hoping he would be the one, but in the end they were weak and served only to keep her amused during the long cold season. She was always happy to see them gone in spring.
 Now she found herself wanting this man to stay through the spring and into summer, through the harsh winters she knew would come again. She felt a visceral pang below her belly when she thought of him leaving. Jack came from the kitchen but stopped short of the den, standing instead in the dining area, feet planted.
“I know about you.”
Charlene paused, but only briefly. Her pulse quickened.
“What do you know about me, Jack?” She turned on the couch, her steely blue eyes narrowing and locking on his dark face, reading it. He looked different now, dominating. The veins in his neck pulsed. His shoulders were drawn back and the skin on his broad chest was taut. The hair on her neck rose.
“I have heard about your…”
“My what, Jack?” she cut in. “My lovers?” She stood now and moved slowly toward him, dropping his shirt to the floor so they both stood naked. She wanted to be closer, in case her instincts had somehow failed her, and he wasn’t the man her mother spoke of.
“Your appetite.”
“Oh really?” Charlene licked her lips and began to circle the table, moving closer to him. “You have heard the old wives tales of wild women who devour their men, is that it? Who howl at the moon and run with the wolves?” She was inches from him now, her hot breath against his neck, her lips drawn back in a snarl. He stood firm and she did not smell fear.
“Stories run wild here, Jack, that’s what runs wild.” She wrapped her long arms around him and pressed her body against his. She still did not know. “And do you believe those stories, Jack?” she whispered into his ear.
Jack reached up quickly and put his hands around her throat, pushing her away from him, restricting her air. His eyes were black now, his face contorted.
“Yes, I do. That is why I’m here.”
Charlene dug her long nails into the flesh on his arms and dropped to her knees.
“To kill the beast?” Her strangled voice held contempt.  She started to faint and as shadows seeped into the corners of her vision, she wondered why she hadn’t sensed this. Suspicious by nature, how had she allowed herself to be captured, and now killed? She thrashed and let out a low, throttled howl as he pressed harder on her narrow throat.
“No,” Jack released his grip on her and she dropped to all fours, gasping for air, “to tame her.” She hung her head, her long, dark hair dusting the floor as she rocked back and forth, chest heaving. He sat on the chair nearest her and reached down, gently stroking the back of her head until she caught her breath. Jack lifted her chin and stared into her wild, beautiful face. He was the man she had waited for. Charlene felt a rush of relief, and arousal.
“Next winter will be long, and cold.” She nuzzled against Jack’s leg.
“I know.”
“We will have to be…prepared.”
“I know.” Jack petted her softly. Charlene rose to her feet and they walked, pressed close together, to the bedroom.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tree House

A tree fell on my house last week. Two trees, actually. Here is what happened, to the best of my recollection...

It was a dark and stormy night, the rain came down in sheets of silver and the wind blew ferociously, howling, urgent and mournful. Suddenly, a tree fell on my house. Then another. The End.

Okay, there was slightly more to it than that. My son had crawled into bed earlier that night because of the foul weather and so I was sleeping light to begin with (he dreams at full tilt). Around 4:30 AM I heard a loud creaking sound, followed by an ever louder CRACK, which I assumed to be thunder. Then I heard the tornado sirens go off and noticed the wind was blowing rain in the bedroom window. I got up to close the east-facing window and during a split second flash of lightening, I saw a mammoth tree branch brushing up against my window. That branch had no business being up against my window. I was startled, of course, but had always figured the massive maple in my back yard would eventually lose a branch or two in a storm like this one. Not knowing the extent of the damage, I decided it would be best to move into the living room in case more branches came down. The tree was, after all, likely to fall directly on my bedroom should it come down altogether.

I woke my son from his undoubtedly heroic adventure and gently told him there was a storm and a tree branch had fallen so we should sleep in the living room. I leaned in to close the other open bedroom window, a south-facing window, and saw there were tree branches hanging from the roof over that window as well. That caught me off-guard, but didn't scare me. It made sense that a large branch could have been blown there as well. Another flash of lightning revealed more massive branches in the backyard, against the play house and as far down as the shed. Now I started to panic a little. It was very disorienting in the dark with no power, the wind blowing, rain coming in the windows, and a house that now must look like something out of Little Shop of Horrors. I hurriedly closed the window, picked up my son (no small feat) and moved to the living room, which is an east-facing room. That was the last straw. I looked out the front picture window and saw tree branches hanging down from the roof there as well. Keep in mind this meant my entire house was covered with...well, tree. I was sufficiently scared now that I had figured out the ENTIRE tree must have fallen on my roof. The tree was at least sixty feet tall and probably as wide. It was a monster that had shaded my entire house, my deck, and at least half of my back yard. It was, I thought, my friend.

By now my son was feeling my panic and so he started to panic. That actually forced me to calm down. "It's okay, honey, we will just sleep in the basement, that tree won't get us down there," I reassured him. We scrambled around for a flashlight (cell phones are pretty good substitutes) and made our way to the basement. I picked the spot that seemed least likely to crumble under two tons of tree (yes, it weighed that much, at least) and we huddled there together, under a blanket, talking about what an adventure we were having! Once the sun came up we made our way outside to survey the damage. Yep, the tree had completely uprooted, crushing the deck and landing squarely on top of the bedroom where we slept. I think the deck is likely what kept the tree from actually coming through the roof. It absorbed a great deal of the massive weight of the trunk and slowed down the fall. Another tree, an older, scraggly pine, had also uprooted and fallen aross my power and cable lines and landed on the roof of the garage. This was less spectacular yet still had an element of danger due to the proximity of the power lines.

Now the neighbors were out. The fire department was out. The opportunistic tree removal and roofing companies were out. We all stood around a for a bit, slack jawed and gaping, wiping sleep from our eyes and marveling at Mother Nature's wrath. Then, I did what I always do in crisis situations - I made some phone calls and took care of it. I had both trees removed, by crane no less, by five o'clock that day. I had a roofer out to patch the few holes to keep further rain damage from occuring, and I made my claim with my insurance agent. I also managed to get my hands on a soy latte, make a trip to the Metro State library, do a load of laundry, and have a couple friends over for dinner (they were still without power). In the end, all that mattered was that we were unharmed. Insurance will handle the damage, I will plant another tree. The adventure continues...

-Jenny, Undecided

Saturday, June 16, 2012


It is here! We are halfway into June and I'm already afraid of how fast it is going to go. South Dakota in late June, Iowa for a week in July, Michigan for a week in August, camping weekends, and now another class at St. Kate's I am interested in - Jump Starting Your Memoir Writing Business. ACK! I think my son put it best when he said, "Mom, I don't want summer to go really fast." I agreed and told him to help slow it down we needed to just enjoy every day as it came along. I am trying to take my own advice but it is difficult when I'm so EXCITED about everything that is going on!

I went to a book reading by Ann Bauer ( on Thursday night at Common Good Books on Snelling (excellent bookstore, you should shop there). Ann is teaching the courses in Iowa that I am taking and a mutual friend introduced us (Dorie LaValle author Mary DesJarlais, It was inspiring to hear a published author talk about the writing process, the roadblocks, the nitty gritty of just WRITING IT DOWN. I bought her book and am looking forward to reading it, but I had to hide it from myself until I am done with my two finals this week and the novel I have to read for my Intro to Creative Writing class.

I'm starting to fret a little bit about going back to work in the Fall. Not about finding work, but about actually having to go to it. Ugh. Temping is still an option but the money sucks and it is usually painfully boring. On the up side though I would probably have plenty of on-the-clock time to write and usually meet more than a few interesting characters. I could find another permanent office management type job that pays better and I could squirrel away some more cash, but...that really sounds exhausting and I know I would just want to quit again next summer so, not really fair to the company. On the other hand, nine months of outstanding contribution should be worth something to them, right?? Anyways...undecided. I have an informational-type interview next Friday with an advertising agency so maybe something part-time or flexible will come from that. And, there is still more school. I am registered for Fall classes already, eight credits, and that will be harder if I am working. BOO to working!!

Haven't heard back from that attorney yet. Will probably follow up next week. It probably is a good idea to get it all straightened out, lest I really do commit some crime later in life and have this thing lurking around in the FBI database. Will keep y'all posted. Enjoy your summer, one day at a time.

The adventure continues...

-Jenny, undecided

Thursday, June 7, 2012


That was the charge that appears on my fingerprint record that came back from the FBI. For those of you not familiar with the penal code system, ADW stands for Assault with a Deadly Weapon. To be more precise, the charge was "ADW other than a firearm." So, you will be happy to know, I assaulted someone with something deadly that was NOT a firearm. I'm trying to remember now what that weapon was though... A knife? No, too bloody. A hammer? Ick. Could it have been that time I tried to run one of my ex's over with my car? I don't remember being arrested for that. I know. It was my smokin' hot cleavage that was so deadly. I must have clobbered some clown with my C cups (shit, back then I was so skinny they were probably only A's!) and got pinched for it.

Seriously, people. I did not ADW anyone. I may have forgotten which years Carter was in office, the name of my first ex-husband's third wife, and that really good guac recipe I used to know, but I did NOT forget ADW-ing someone and getting arrested for it. Now, that is not to say I never got arrested. I just didn't get arrested for THAT. So I did what anyone would do in a situation like this. I got on the Google-machine and e-mailed the first local attorney who came up under the search results for "expungement attorney." I e-mailed him a brief and, I like to think, witty synopsis of my ordeal. I assumed he would be dying to meet someone such as myself; you know, someone with such mad e-mail writing skills and such a sordid past. Wrong. I never heard from him and, instead of moving on to the next Google result, I called him up and inquired (again) over the telephone if he could help clear up this, ahem, little misunderstanding.

When I got him on the phone he claimed to have received my e-mail and claimed to have instructed what I imagined to be some lackey summer intern underling to get on it. The shock in his voice when I said I had not heard from anyone was, well, it was imperceptible, but I can really read people over the phone that way. And the slur in his voice may have disguised it. My own personal Frank Galvin (The Verdict, 1982, for those of you who do not worship Paul Newman like I do) was on the case! I PDF'd the FBI report to him as soon as we hung up and...well, that was about two weeks ago and I haven't heard jack from him. But what do I know? Maybe cases of false allegations against under-aged girls using aliases in California twenty-five years ago take more than two weeks to straighten out.

In the meantime, I will forge ahead with my plans to, well, pretty much do nothing. Oh, and I am actually enjoying drawing class so you know, just disregard that last post. I got an A+ one one of my assignments so I shelled out $200 to have it framed. What? I'm totally worth it. If I can figure out how to get the picture from my phone to my computer to this blog, I will post it. We both know you are dying to see it.

The adventure continues...

-Jenny, undecided

Monday, May 21, 2012


Drawing is fucking hard and I suck at it and I hate it. I used to really enjoy it, you know, when I was a kid and could just let my mind wander and scribble my visions on paper and people would pat me on the head and say things like, "Oh! What a good little artist you are!" and, "What a lovely horse you drew! That is a horse, is it not?" and other positive, encouraging shit like that. Oh the halcyon days of childhood lies. Not now. Now it is all about SEARCHING LINES, and TECHNIQUE, and PERSPECTIVE, and DEPTH, and a whole load of other crap that I know nothing about and clearly am incapable of creating.

I had to sign up for an additional four credits to be eligible for student aid so I thought signing up for Intro to Drawing would be a fun, no-brainer, easy summer class. I mean, remember, this is something I thought I was GOOD at. Something I thought I ENJOYED. Who knew how wrong I could be?? In a mere two weeks I've learned to hate it and now I'm mad that I've been poisoned against it. I will never again be able to look lovingly at my chicken scrawls and feel the warm pride I once did. I'm relegated now to seeing only what isn't there. The LACK of persepctive, the futile search for the SEARCHING LINES that aren't there, the incompetent COMPOSITION.

On the upside, it is only drawing, and unlike say, brain surgery, you get credit just for showing up and trying, even if you have absolutely no talent and your work sucks (like mine does). And it is a condensed summer course so it is only six weeks long, the first of which I missed, and we are now halfway into (read: over) it. It will be a short, brutal reminder of my shortcomings, which is fine, it is good to know I don't have to decide whether or not to write AND illustrate my books. The writing, or should I say drawing, is on the wall. Thank God I'm witty.

-Jenny, Undecided

Thursday, May 17, 2012

my advice

my advice

my first husband, he was a boxer
who liked to bring his work
home with him.
my advice is
not to marry
a man who brings his work
home with him.

my second husband, he was a bartender
who wanted to be a weatherman
who wanted to be an actuary
who settled
for being an operations manager.
my advice is
not to marry
a man who just settles
for what comes his way.

my third husband, he was a ditch digger
who didn’t really like to work at all
but would rather play videogames
and drink beer
and be handsome
and be charming (because
oh! that he was)
my advice is
not to marry
a man who doesn’t like
to work. (no, no. no matter how charming, no
matter how handsome.)

my boyfriend, he is a CPA
who makes sure that things balance.
my advice is
get a boyfriend.

-Jenny, Undecided

Friday, May 11, 2012


Oops, I did it again...I guess I'm not even sure what it WAS that Brittney was mistakenly getting herself into, but my transgression was quitting another job. Frankly, once you walk away from the best paying job you may ever have, walking away from the shitty ones is a breeze. I had too, it was quite literally killing me. The boredom I guess I could have dealt with. I could kill some time writing and doing homework, taking long lunches, surfing the web. The usual things Dilberts do make the days bearable. But by two o'clock every day I felt as if the mighty Thor himself were trying to pound his way into my head with his hammer, and my spine was curving inward on itself, like one of those cruncy little brown worms you find in your basement at the end of the winter.

I called the woman at the temp agency and told her. She sounded suspicious, but I don't really give a shit. What do they expect when they put you in a hyperbaric chamber and pump in leftover CO2 from every mouth-breather in the building? Not to mention the cube where I sat was designed for someone who was at least six foot nine. I sat there with my arms over my head, pecking at the keyboard like a fucking pyteradactyl. The accountraments included a chair from The National Museum of Crappy Office Furniture, a monitor that was slightly smaller than a 3x5 index card, and a keyboard made out of a shoebox, some twine, and a few tic-tacs. And I'm sure they spared NO expense on the mousepad, which had been cut in half with a scissors. News to temp services: we are human beings, not lab rats. Save experimentation for the day laborers.

So, back to square one. Or two. Not sure which square I was on. Still waiting to hear from my friends at the Feds. I think I will just give up on working for now and focus on school and spending Obama's money. One of the guys in my INFS class is from Norway. He said the government, his government, not ours, has thus far given him 43,000 USD and he gets a stipend of 3,500 USD per month for his living expenses. Maybe I should defect. He said, and I quote, "Actually I will probably get so much student loan that I will never pay it all back."  I like his style. I guess this is why Norway is not an economic powerhouse; I bet they crank out some really educated drifters, though. The adventure continues...

-Jenny, Undecided

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Two Stops on the Train

A short story for you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Two Stops on the Train, by Jennifer Cannon
He stood up and headed for the exit as the train rolled slowly to a stop. As the door slid open he turned and looked directly at me, the slightest hint of a smile on his lips, acknowledging what I, what we both, had felt. I lowered my eyes, coyly, and smiled to myself.  I had boarded the train two stops earlier and plopped myself down next to him. I hadn’t chosen him specifically, it was the only open seat, but as I sat down I accidently brushed against his leg and that is when I felt it. The energy. The chemical reaction that exists between two people. That moment where everything is possible. That moment that people who have affairs chase after, endlessly, like greyhounds chasing that fake little rabbit they will never catch. The moment of lust and intrigue when your heart races a bit and you want to jump in with both feet, with abandon.
We didn’t exchange glances or words. We just sat quietly next to one another, the train humming along, our energy bouncing around the train car with every turn of the track. He was young, much too young for me (and I’m partial to younger men). He was somewhere in his mid-twenties; to me almost still boyish, yet obviously so much a man. I’m sure the only thing we had in common was we were both sporting black, Converse tennis shoes and bike messenger bags. He smelled good. Not like Axe or Old Spice or that expensive soccer player cologne. He smelled clean, like Soap-On-A-Rope. I could see from the corner of my eye the dark hair that curled around the back of his ear was still damp. It was summer and his arms and legs were bare and tan, as were mine. His muscles were well-formed and I took him for an outdoorsy, hiker-biker-rock climber-type. I could picture him with a backpack slung loosely over one shoulder, tilting his head back to take a drink from his REI water bottle as he gazed off into the distance from the top of some mountain he’d just climbed. His masculinity permeated the air and I breathed it in.
I closed my eyes and reveled in it. I love men. I love everything about men. (The irony of which is I often get mistaken for being a lesbian due to my shaved head and choice of comfortable footwear.) I love their deep, mellow voices and their five o’clock shadows. The way their white Hanes t-shirts strain against the muscles in their chests and biceps. The way they wear their jeans, loose and comfortable, and the fact that they balk when they are asked to wear anything else. I love them for being strong and reliable and simple. Not simple minded, I like their brains as much as their brawn, but simple in their needs. Hot meal, cold beer, soft woman. Those were needs I could meet. I like that they are capable of killing things if they have to; I am not. I love the way they make me feel like a woman.
I opened my eyes and glanced around. Not at him, that would have been awkward, and unnecessary. Eye contact is overrated in these encounters. Besides, I was in a relationship with someone I loved very much.  As much as I love men, one-at-a-time was always enough for me. Loving a man didn’t make me appreciate other men less though, why should it? Everything I love about all men was condensed and available to me in this one, singular man that was available to me. A few more people got on at the next stop and the train lurched on. More Dilberts, like me, headed to their office jobs. A few odds-n-ends type people I could never peg. People who didn’t look like they were headed to an office job, yet were on the 7:40 AM train, headed downtown. They didn’t look like they wanted to be up at that time of the day, given the choice. Maybe they were going to court. Or to the hospital for a test of some sort. Maybe to the welfare office, or to pick up a misguided son or daughter from juvie. They looked disenfranchised and sad, or angry, or both. A friend once said to me the reason he hated public transportation so much was, well, the public. It was mean, but it made me laugh all the same.
At the next stop he got off. The glance, the smile, then he was gone. As I savored the moment, the moment of energy and attraction and mystery, a mammoth of a man, a great, hairy beast with troll-like features, heaved his massive bulk down where my never-lover had been just a tick of the clock ago. He settled himself in with a loud grunt, shoving me halfway out of my seat and into the aisle, then let out a long, exasperated sigh, garlic and stale coffee now permeating the air. I sighed. Maybe he would get off at the next stop.

The adventure continues.
-Jenny, Undecided

Friday, May 4, 2012


The sub-basement where I work now smelled like a urinal all week. The entire floor. It was strongest in the ladies room (maybe in the mens as well, but I didn't venture in there) and it slowly made its way throughout the floor via the HVAC recycling program they have going. We don't actually get any fresh air down there, the stale air from the floor just gets pushed from cube to cube. I'm sure I will also be catching whatever cold it is that my other two cellmates have had. By Wednesday I was pretty sure I was going to break-out of the joint and never look back.

I think the only thing that saved me that day was an even-paced post-work run in the sun with The CPA*. We don't usually talk much when we run but I couldn't shut up that afternoon. After that we grabbed our his-n-hers mowers and tackled the lawn; I didn't want to stop moving or go inside until the sun dropped out of the sky. We capped it all off with a hot, co-ed shower and a nice lasagna dinner with a goblet of vino. By Thursday morning I had pretty much decided I would return to the vault, put in a solid 26-32 hours per week until school is out, and then I would give notice and stay home this summer. There are just too many things I want to do and for whatever reason, I feel like I really need to do them NOW. I want to spend a week in South Dakota with my sister and her husband and their two boys. I want to visit my brother and sister-in-law and their two little boys in Michigan. I want to attend one, or more, of the Writers' Workshops down at the University of Iowa. I want to spend time playing outside with my kid and driving around in Big Betty (have I introduced Big Betty yet? She is my 1992 Four Winds RV. Love. Her.) looking for neat places to stay. I want to devote time to developing a habit of writing every day. See? Too busy for a job.

I told you I'd update you on my fingerprint debacle but, alas, no news from the Fibbies yet. I also haven't heard from my friend about the job I was originally supposed to start back in March (seems like such a long time ago now!) which is what prompted my hasty, at yet still long over due, exit from the hedge fund. Her company has had a recent reorg so now I'm wondering if that position has vanished "like a fart in the wind." (Love me some Shawshank Redemption. LOVE.) I'm sure I will hear from her soon but in the meantime, my imagination runs wild with possibilities. The adventure continues...

-Jenny, Undecided

*The CPA recently read my blog for the first time. He liked it but suggested perhaps I should be mentioning him more.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


I think I need a reset button. Not to go back in time and change shit, (that would a time machine, duh) but to just get a fresh start starting today. (Ooh, speaking of which, if you get a chance to watch the movie Repeaters, you should. It's on Netflix.) A reset button would just sort of put a hard stop to everything that is going on so you can take a fresh look and see if things are going the way you want them to. For example, if I hit my Reset Button today, I would NOT be going back to the Pink Cubicles of Boredom tomorrow. I would be back to staying home and thinking about going back to work again. I want a do-over, okay? There has got to be another way to do this, besides schlepping away in the sub-basement of a bank listening to my cubemate talk about what she had for dinner over and over and over ("prime rib with a loaded baked potato AND loaded sweet baked potato." You'd think it was the last supper.).

My boyfriend, The CPA, has a genius idea. We (which means I) should write a book on retiring before you are ready. I asked him how we would support ourselves in this before-we-are-ready-retirement and he said that was the genius part - I would write the book and we'd live off the money from that. Now I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure he is missing something in his plan. Like content. He said we could just make stuff up. I am going to major in CREATIVE writing after all, right? It's not a bad idea. I've read tons of books and blogs and articles on retiring early. It isn't so much that I want to retire though, it is just that I want work that is meaningful, pays the bills, and doesn't take more than 20 hours a week of my time. Oh, and I want to do it from home. What? I refuse to believe it is out of the realm of possibility.

Everyone has a different vision of retirement anyways so you really have to define it for yourself before you can go about trying to achieve it and live it. I don't see myself jetsetting around living the high life. I would just like to be able to choose on a day-to-day basis what I am going to do that day. Am I going to work? Am I going to mow my lawn? Am I going to volunteer? Am I going to drink a bottle (okay, box) of wine and watch a Walking Dead marathon? I want choices, that's all. I don't feel like I'm really asking all that much. I want out of the rat race, not he human race. I just have to figure out how to make it happen. And I will. I always land on my feet (or my back). The adventure continues...

-Jenny, Undecided

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Really? I have spent the last two and a half days quite literally staring at the back wall of the Pink Cubicle of Boredom. Oh, wait, there was that TWO AND HALF HOUR process mapping meeting this morning that punctuated the nothingness of my new temp gig. Were it not for my fabulous imagination and doodling skills, I may have stabbed someone through the heart with my Bic. In addition to having a cube with no network connection, I also do not have a log-in ID yet. So, even if I DID have connectivity, I would still be without ability to connect. Again I say, really? Is it any wonder people wake up on Monday mornings and kill themselves? (We all know Monday has the highest suicide rate of all the days, right?)

At any rate, I knew it would suck, I had just forgetten how much it would suck. I just focused on making little to-do lists for myself, doodling, and reading all the books and magazines I had with me. (By the way, The Postmortal is AWESOME. Read it.) I felt a smidge guilty for sitting around reading and doodling on their dime, but I actually felt more angry at them that they didn't have shit for me to do. How can it take more than 24 hours to set up a log-in ID? Their IT people should be hanged and quartered. I need to stop ranting. Sorry.

At any rate... :) I will stick it out for awhile. I got turned down for unemployment, no shock there. I believe the letter from the Department said something along the lines of, "Any reasonable person would not have quit this job." I can't really argue with that. It is completely unreasonable to expect a bunch of moronic, greedy, evil sheep fuckers to present me with fulfilling and challenging work and reward me accordingly. That is kooky talk. I will forage my own path. I may appeal the unemployment thing just to annoy the hedge-fuckers, but that takes energy and I would like to focus my positive vibes on on what is in front of me, not what is behind me. I can be a vindictive bitch if I want to though so, we'll see.

Back to the Pink Cubicles of Boredom tomorrow. I will be heavily armed with text books, novels, and fresh doodling pens. The adventure continues...

-Jenny, Undecided

Monday, April 23, 2012

back at it

Back to the trenches today. I got the temp gig at the bank, working in the Pink Cubicles of Boredom. I guess my passive-aggressive negative energy wasn't strong enough, which is probably fine because I have become attached to my home and my child and my wiener dog and would like to be able to keep all three. Fortunately I have an 11:30 start time today - they are easing me into it I guess, like I'm coming off a maternity leave. They say you should do that, "ease" back into a job you detest after you have a baby. I say maternity leave is a good way to ease on OUT of a job you hate. If you loved what you did, you would be chomping at the bit to go back, you wouldn't have to ease yourself into it, right?

I do sort of feel like I've had another baby though. Me. The new and improved more creative and adventurous me. Perhaps I should rename myself, or start drinking breast milk again to celebrate. (Wait, is that weird?) I was out doing yard work yesterday and my across-the-street neighbor wished me a happy Earth Day (Who knew? Not me even though I try to live green and love my Mother Earth) and we got to talking. Apparently SHE quit corporate America last year and started her own videography company! Must be something in the water over here. So I'm going to hook up with her and her group of creative peeps and see what comes of it. If nothing else, it will be nice to get to know my across-the-street neighbors whom I have lived across the street from for eleven years now.

Now that I think about it, I guess this rebirth sort of makes geographical sense. When I bought my house eleven years ago I was literally surrounded by the aged. Immediately next door was a couple who were in their late 80's; two doors down a woman in her late 70's; across the street was a woman who was in her late 90's (she lived to be 101 and was still weeding her yard!), and across my other side street were THREE people in their 90's, a woman, her sister, and her brother-in-law. One by one they either moved to assisted living, moved to a nursing home, or died - or some combination of the three. I guess it was the old me's turn to pass on to the next phase too. Fortunately, for me and you and my kid and my wiener dog, I'm doing it symbolically and not "for reals." The adventure continues...

-Jenny, Undecided

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Whew! Back from the Florida girls weekend. What fun! Lots of lounging and laughing was had. A few things came to my attention while I was there, they are as follows, and in no particular order of relevance:

1) I will never, ever make it on the Karoke circuit. I'm really awful.
2) I am a damn good tambourine player. Put that in the potential future jobs bucket.
3) Real estate might be a good career for me. I will put it on my list of things to be undecided about.
4) Some people just don't like to have fun and are always angry. Even in a bar. Even in Florida.

Anyways, here I am, back in the real world of the undecided again. I had an interview yesterday for a temp position in DT Minneapolis and am waiting to hear if I got it. I'm secretly hoping I didn't, as it sounds painfully dull AND is located in the SUB-basement of a building. Really? All summer in the Pink Cubicles of Boredom in a sub-basement? Ugh. I do need the money but not that bad and not quite yet. The upside is I would be DT and could lunch with my girlfriends now and then, but I can do that now, without having to work. I told the staffing agency I needed 10 days off this summer and they got all bent out of shape. They said that was an "excessive" amount of time for such a short assginment. The assignment goes through the end of the YEAR. Really? It is SUMMER. In MINNESOTA. Do they think just because people do work temp gigs they don't ALSO take vacation? Is it just me? It isn't like I was demanding to get paid for it. I don't get it. Anyways, they were all pissy about it so, that is why I'm thinking I may not get it. I have sent out sufficiently negative vibes on it so we will see what happens. (This is what is known as passive-aggressive job hunting.)

In addition, since I've been back, I called Metro State and have re-entered the world of part-time, non-traditional, working adult (in theory) student. I'm getting out of the College of Management though, finally, and moving to the College of Arts and Science to get a BA in Creative Writing. They assured me I don't have to take College Algebra so I may just get through the program. It is no wonder I have been enrolled for EIGHTEEN years and don't have a degree yet - I hate business! Who knew?? So I am really excited about that, and of course the mountains of debt I am sure to incur. Oh well, the mini-me and I can both repay our student loans on the same timeline. I have to wonder, again, how anyone has time to work when there is so much life to live?? The adventure continues...

- Jenny, Undecided

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

plan b

It as come to my attention that I need a Plan B. I will likely need a Plan C as well, the way my plans seem to be going these days. My first Plan B was to work temp at a place DT St. Paul, which I have done in the past, until I could clear up this Fingerprint Issue. Well it seems they don't have anything for me right now. Hmmm. Okay. So then I applied for Unemployment Insurance (UI), yes, in spite of the fact that I quit. People told me to! I really didn't want to though. I have ego issues, okay? Yes, pride goeth before the foreclosure, I know, but I didn't want to give The Turds the satisfaction of declining my request. We'll see what happens. Maybe they will approve just to avoid having to deal with me. I would.

So no temp work DT St. Paul, probably no UI. Fine, so I looked on-line for some other temp gigs and sent my resume in to a few. This morning I get an e-mail from one place. They have an opportunity in Oakdale. Great, that isn't that far from my house. But get this, at the end of the e-mail, in BIG, BOLD LETTERS, it says you must have a clean background - no felonies! no misdemeanors!! THIS MEANS YOU! So now I'm just paranoid. If I apply will they DO a background check, or are they just trying to flush out the scardey cats? And will anything actually come up? I had one done before working at The Hedge Fund and nothing came up there. Is this Fingerprint Issue just a pillar to keep me from re-entering normalcy??All the signposts seem to pointing me AWAY from getting a job. Seriously. Like ANY job. I mean, who knew it would be so hard to find a job with just a GED and a criminal record? Not me.

So, okay, since apparently the UNIVERSE doesn't want me to work, is Plan C just taking my life savings and buying a bunch of lottery tickets? Do I sell my house and all my possessions and live in my RV? Do I start knocking over liquor stores?? Do I (God forbid) move in with my mother? None of these seem like viable options.Well, except the RV, which I would totally do if I didn't have a kid to think about. He would think it was fun until his friends started asking him why his mother was homeless. I know I have to start thinking more creatively about generating streams of income, rather that just finding a "job", but I have been working at "jobs" for the last 25 years so it is slow to come. I should probably recruit a bunch of actors and have a focus group. I bet I could get a gig waiting tables, they don't usually do background checks, do they?

I'm leaving for Cape Coral tomorrow morning with my posse. They are all intelligent, creative, awesome women, maybe between fruity drinks and reading trashy mags we can come up with a Plan D. The adventure continues...

-Jenny, Undecided

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I did it

I did it. I quit my day job. I had something else lined up, but there’s been a, uh, glitch. So, here I sit, unemployed for eight weeks. No unemployment (I quit). Some savings (maybe 4 months). I should be worried but for some inexplicable reason, I’m really not. It felt right to quit and it feels right not to be worried. It feels like an adventure.
My day job sucked. I worked at a hedge fund rife with assholes. I didn’t mind the work so much as the people. And not even most of the people, just the few flaming farts at the top of the dung heap. At the end they had me doing work in accounting and I am not an accountant so, that part was a drag. I mean, yes, I get that the numbers need to be all matchy-matchy, but what if they aren’t? I didn’t know enough about any of it to solve my own problems, which for me really is key. I’m a problem solver, which is why I am such a kick-ass office manager.
So, one day, (Why, yes, yes it was a Monday, how did you know?) I just picked up my purse and coat, went to lunch, and never came back. I e-mailed my boss and told her what a turd she and my manager both were. Trust me, they were colossal turds. I’ll go into more of that later. Maybe. I’m sort of over it now though. Eight weeks to overcome the PTSD-induced rage feels about right. So now I’m faced with the delicious dilemma of What To Do Next?
Oh, right, so I did have this job lined up, which is part of the reason I felt so footloose and fancy free as to just walk out on my old job. However, this NEW job required a background check, fingerprints and all, and that was the aforementioned glitch. Apparently, (who knew?) I have some sort of criminal thingy on my record from like 25 years ago when I was running fast and loose in the lovely City of Angels. But it is tied to someone else’s name. Yeah, seems messy. So, I need to look into that. I promise, more on that later for sure.
In the meantime though I DO need to figure something out. I do need some positive cash flow. I mean, I have a mortgage, a kid, and pudgy wiener dog to support. Not to mention my own hobbies and habits that need care and feeding. I did do a pretty good job of eliminating the excess right off the bat though. I sold my newish car and bought my mom’s older-ish car (no interest financing, thanks mom!), I dropped my gym membership since my kid declared he was done with swimming lessons (“Mom, I just want to make it through the holidays,” he wailed. Really? Because…it is April...??? He makes me laugh.), I actually started LOOKING at the prices in the grocery store (crazy, I know), and I explained very gently to my son, “Mommy doesn’t have a job. No more toys. Go outside and play with a stick.”
So as you can see, I have my expenses totally under control. Other than that though, things are pretty Undecided. The adventure continues…
-Jenny, Undecided