31 December 2014

En honor del año pasado, cuando empecé el año nuevo en Argentina. 😘

via Instagram http://ift.tt/1zyGhGf

Life Kept Happening

Being unemployed didn't change much of my day to day life - especially since I plan my events pretty far in advance.

2 May 2014

I went to happy hour with Cate & the crew. It's something we used to do more of when Jason lived here. My friends and I have built this fantastic network of convenient friends. Essentially, people who have (on at least one occasion) had the same availability. "Oh, you should come with me, because my friend is having a thing at [time]." Separate strong friendships have formed from these random meetings. And I'm happy to have facilitated them.

In a #ClassicDanie move, I had to leave happy hour to head to the airport.
In which I realize how much weight I've gained.

Tab was due for a baby shower. That's right, while I was dipping my toes in the pool of uncertainty, my friends just went on with their significant life moments. For that, I was thankful. I like to be able to keep things in perspective. Tab & Mike's excitement and encouragement were grounding. Also, I love babies! Tab and I scuttled about, getting massages and discussing nursery decorations. Our trio ate Chinese and discovered the beauty that is Sex Sent Me to the ER. We ate at the Cheesecake Factory and went to see Spiderman. Aside from Peter Parker, I'd say it was good baby showering.

Life kept happening. I boxed. I explored leads on jobs. I went to see OAR with Andy, Jesse & Yrama.

I've known Andy almost as long as I've lived in the Bay Area. I consider myself the sister he never knew he wanted. We've had similar profound life experiences. We have good notes to compare.

With Andy @ The Independent 05.09.14
I kept thinking I would find the place to re-introduce Jesse. But we're already in May and I haven't. Jesse and I started being regular normal friends maybe two years ago. As is typical with us, it was a weird process. Boundaries had to be drawn and respected. But we're in a really good place now and I'm honestly happy everything worked out the way it did. I had to think about typing that, because 2010 Danie would beat me for even thinking that. But 2014 Danie stands by her words.

Basically forcing me to commit to painting.

I decided to paint my living room. It was an idea I'd been exploring since South America, and suddenly I had the time. It must be noted that deciding to paint is not the same thing as actually painting. I had already painted that room once, and it was annoying. I was eager for it to be done. But I was not at all eager to do it. I happily let life get in the way of that.
There was a heat wave.
I found myself on the beach on a Wednesday.
West Coast. Best Coast. 05.14.14
It's Paula! Bay to Breakers 05.18.14
Trivia 05.19.14
Nitin Cate Ron Me Christine & Andy
Comstock Saloon 05.23.14
If ever I needed two pictures to bring me joy, one would show my family, and the other would be this one. These are THE people. This is my trusted circle. These are the smiles that give me the deepest and warmest warm and fuzzies. These are my best Bay Area friends. Together, we're a Benetton ad adorable!

It's also really hard to get us all in one place, so kudos on that. Seriously - this meeting hasn't happened since.

Game Changer

For a month that changed my life, April 2014 began with the deceptively mundane.

Lisa's cupcakes.
She never received them,
because she skipped her last night of trivia.
Lisa moved to New York. I was sad that she wouldn't be so close physically, but otherwise not really phased. Lisa loves New York. She used to live there, then moved here to meet me. Part of me knew she would go back, just like all of me knows she'll move back here. When I said goodbye to my friends after graduating college, we sobbed as if the world were ending. I've lived in three states and two time zones since then. Social media means I know more about my friends now than when I saw them every day. Goodbyes just don't hold the weight they used to hold.

I admitted a thing (to a boy) that I had been afraid to admit. But almost as soon as the words were out of my mouth, I realized they were wrong... or at least not as accurate as I thought. Long story short, I saw what I wanted and ignored what I didn't. The bottom line (as is usually the case) can be summarized in a song lyric; "some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers."

Paula and I continued our boxing lessons - with shopping and / or eating to follow. I should talk more about Paula. We worked together a while ago. I like to make friends wherever I work, but there are only certain friends who make the effort once you don't see each other four or five days a week. Paula is one of those friends. Also, she's genuine and hilarious. A solid "win" in the friend category. Trust me.

In an excessively Bay Area move, I started learning to code. I was frustrated at not knowing the lingo or the acronyms. Yes, I recognize there are a lot of things I don't know. But I'm not around those things on a daily basis. I'm sure if economics were constantly in my periphery, I'd take an interest. Instead, I was, at points) surrounded by coding. So I decided to dig deeper.

On our way!
I went to Coachella. Remember John from Argentina? He had this crazy idea that we should camp out at a music festival in the dessert - basically the most un-Danie thing to be suggested in the history of Danie.
"A festival? In the desert? Oh my. Haven't you seen the horror movies? Is that something we do, as a people?" - One of my parents re: my going to Coachella
"And there's nowhere to wash is there? Or do you take a cowabunga leap off a rope with a tire on it and splash into a lake like in the horror shows?" - The other parent re: my going to Coachella
In a word, "yes." It was great. Yes, we overdid it in terms of supplies. I'd travel a lot lighter if I went again. For me, the experience was in deciding to go, planning the trip and executing it. It was mostly a success - I slept too much, packed my travel schedule too tightly and really had way too much stuff.

Too much?
Tent borrowed from Jesse.
Dead stowaway frog removed by John.
The site.

Jarad & Cate were there too!
Ellie G.

We made friends.
I came back from Coachella refreshed. (I really did get a lot of sleep.) And the next chapter of my life had started without me. As a rule, I don't write about work. I did once and I'll describe the result as a fantastic learning experience. In this instance however, writing about work can't be helped. I left for Coachella with a great job that I really really really liked. When I got back from Coachella it was gone. I don't want to write "I lost my job," because that's not what happened. I didn't misplace it. It was not taken from me and given to someone else. My job - the whole company actually - disappeared. It didn't happen overnight and it was a risk that I understood when I took the role. Still, it was surprising and I found myself in the position of being unemployed for the first time since I was 17. It did not compute at first.
"I think everyone should be unemployed at some point in their lives." 
An employed friend said that to an unemployed friend last year and it stuck with me. The employed friend had been unemployed before - so it's not that he didn't understand. He just thought it built character or experience or something. When faced with my own unemployment, I was at a loss for positives.
"Go back to the station."
This well meaning phrase would - over the following months - turn me into a lunatic. I get the intent. I liked news well enough. I was good at it. I could easily get a job doing the same thing and my life wouldn't have to miss a beat. Suggesting I return to my professional roots was logical to everyone who suggested it. Still, the idea of it reduced me to a frothing, ranting mess.
"Do you remember when I was in news? Do you remember when I was miserable? There are other things that I can do, other things that I can be good at. Do you think I can only be good at one thing? I'm too young to be professionally complacent. Why don't you care about what I want to do? Why don't you think I can succeed in another industry? Why should my goal be to work for a paycheck? I know what it's like to find your work satisfying and I will NOT GO BACK!" [insert panting]
When you don't have a job, people invite you to things.
Because really, you don't have anywhere else to be.
I mean I didn't start out like that, but it didn't take long for me to get there. In my defense, I wasn't soliciting advice or lamenting my situation. I did have fears that I would be forced backward professionally and when (again) well-meaning people suggested I regress voluntarily, I took it as a lack of faith in my abilities. I stopped sharing job prospects. I stopped giving updates. I stopped hanging out with people who couldn't talk about anything other than my employment. I retreated, because I needed to focus on me and I needed to be unwavering in that focus. I was thankful for everyone who had been unemployed, because they understood. They knew the right amount of conversation to have, the right tone to take and the right actions to suggest. As always, people allowed me to make the best of a "bad" situation.

Danie goes to Boston

28 March 2014

I went to Boston. I had no choice. We were having a bachelorette party - and I never miss a party.

Abby was the reason for the season - really the only reason that brings both Tab and me to the East Coast at the same time. The actual trip was uneventful and pretty soon, Ab, Tab and I were bustling about making foods, cleaning things and (for me at least) saying the things that are only said when you're at complete comfort.
"You've got to ease her back into you. You can go "Full Danie" on the first day." - Tabitha
But what is Danie if not honest?
And what are friends if not forgiving? 

Abby's bachelorette was the first time we'd all been together in a while. It's one thing to check in via e-mail and it's another to see your friends in their new natural environments. It's like when you visit your parents and they look you over. They know what they should expect, but they look to make sure it's really there. As we were in Boston, we looked at Abby's life. Personally, I worry she takes on too much at the expense taking care of herself. There are people who would say the same thing about me but - at this moment - those people are irrelevant. I was in Boston to study celebrate Abby and part of that involved making sure she remembered her own importance. 

So we got our nails done. It's really the only way to get Abby to sit still. It's even better if you get her to go first. Then she has to sit there (purse on and keys out) while your nails dry. It's the most polite torture I can imagine. 

We ran errands and did some amazing shopping. We discussed secret friend things and we made promises that I'm pretty sure we haven't kept. It wasn't the relaxing deep breath I had imagined we would have. But it was apparently the flurry of activity that we needed. 

Abby's parents and aunt came that night. Tab and I bonded with Abby's dad in the age old tradition of making a liquor store run. We assembled bridal shower favors, ate nachos and feasted on homemade guacamole. It was perfect. 

29 March 2014

No really. We had to take it down.
More friends arrived and we moved the party to a hotel downtown. It was time for Abby to hang out with the group and for Tab and me to do the little extra things that organizers do. For example, we decorated until hotel security confronted us with its "rules." We chilled champagne and set up the games before getting ready. 

The bachelorette party had all the best elements, including a loud, delicious dinner. We introduced Abby's mom and aunt to Tinder. We wore tiaras and danced in a circle to songs no one else wanted to hear. I had a blast, and so did Abby. 

We packed up the next day and headed to the hotel lobby for a bridal shower brunch. We said our goodbyes afterward and the weekend wrapped without the usual sadness of "who knows when I'll see you again."  

And I think that's the best part of a bachelorette parties. Knowing you're going to see all the same fun people for the wedding makes leaving seem less like "goodbye," and more like "I'll see you on the dance floor at the reception." 

09 December 2014

More Booze. More Laughs.

It's possible to find a select few people who will tell you that I am too nice. This is not something I feel about myself, but it is something I've been told whilst complaining about a decision already made.
8 March 2014
The cat stalks the dog.

In early March 2014, I found myself both cat and dog sitting when I should have been enjoying a quiet weekend with +Netflix. The dog was Cooper, child of Cate. The cat was Whisky, child of the girlfriend of a guy who sometimes comes to trivia. (I'm starting to realize trivia is more trouble than it's worth.)

I like animals, and I like these animals. I had no delusions they would like each other. They're both shy. They're both curious. They're both used to being the four-legged star of their respective shows. They both like to cuddle.

Whisky chased Cooper until he made it clear he was not to be creeped upon. They slept on either side of my body and I only woke up to two territory disputes. I don't know what to tell you. That cat is a creeper.

15 March 2015

Melissa the Producer came to town for dinner in mid-March. I don't know where she was when we last saw her, but she's no longer a producer (but still keeps the same tag) and she lives in California with me. By "with me" I mean up north and not in San Francisco. Also, Melissa isn't just "Melissa" anymore. She's now "Melissa and Trevor." They have a long tale that includes two first dates but I don't judge.

The visited. I guided them to a neighborhood with available street parking and we ate dinner without having to wait in line. It was the most un-San Francisco of experiences.

We later ended up at a bar that was having a cachaça promotion. Cachaça is the main ingredient in caipirinhas - the official drink of Brazil. As I had recently become a huge cachaça fan, I was excited. And then I was bummed. Because South America.

20 March 2014

A few days after that, I had what was simply called a March Party. It was going to become a thing - a homemade happy hour where I could catch up with friends and host - because I do love to host. 

This particular party had somewhat of a motive and I'm reminded some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. (See what I did there?) 

Although now that I see this picture so close to a similar picture from the previous month, I realize I need another way to say "many people consumed much wine." I'll work on that.

23 March 2014

Before the end of March and (yes,) another trip, I found myself belting Britney Spears for a group of strangers.

I'm not going to say I love karaoke as much as I love trivia. But I do love karaoke. Lisa also love karaoke. And I can safely say she loves it more than trivia.

We have pretty good karaoke game here in the city. Sometimes I'll schedule an event where unattached groups of my friends get together in private rooms and bond over ballads. There are also lounges where you can come in, merge with a microphone and be on your way. Diversity is the spice of life.

All in all, March was a good month - meaning one full of friends and laughter and minimal frustrations. Then it got even better.

05 December 2014

Finding a Balance. Feeling the Love.

The fallout from my family's drama intensified as February continued. We established new rules where my parents talked to each other, my brother and I talked to each other and I talked to my parents. My parents & brother had no direct contact, despite living on the same coast and in the same time zone. Any messaging was passed through me and boiled down to just the content. For me, it was both the easiest and most inconvenient solution. Yes, there were messages nearly every day, mostly coordinating child care. There was a lot of "I'll check, let me call you back." My call history was page after page of alternating calls. And I preferred that over simultaneous incoming calls, with two or more people racing to share their side of the argument. There weren't any arguments at all, but all the negative or passive aggressive statements stayed with me.

It was exhausting, and there were times when I just did not want to answer my phone. I know it wasn't fair to me, but I didn't trust anyone else to find a reasonable solution. My brother needed childcare. My parents and little sister needed to see my niece and nephew. I was able to coordinate all of the positive and eliminate the negative. It was good and it was terrible and I would do it all again.

My parents and my brother needed that separation. He had to learn to take care of his family on his own and my parents needed to let him. Derek had never been fully independent before and the price of that dependence was a lot of parents telling him what do unsolicited advice. They needed a clean break and they got one, so that's a plus. Also, talking nearly every day brought me and Derek a lot closer. Double plus.

All of that happened while I was still living my life. It was an embarrassing situation to explain, but sometimes the timing made explaining unavoidable. I did not get a week to get my family sorted while my already full life was place on hold. I had things to do and I continued to do them.

22 February 2014

I went back to Vegas.

Melissa the Reporter (who was Melissa the Small Business Owner at this point) had a baby shower. I hadn't been to Vegas in a while and I was really excited to have a non touristy reason to visit. Plus, the occasion meant we were getting a large part of the gang back together.

Pregnant + adorable = Melissa

Everyone can & should be this afraid to play the "measure the belly" game.
We should ban on this.

Go home animals. You're drunk.
Totally unnecessary.

04 December 2014

The Family I Have. The Family I Choose.

Every adult I think has a moment when they realize their parents are just people. They don't have founts of secret knowledge. They can't make everything better. Parents are just people like us -  trying to do the best they can with the resources they've accrued. There is no "right time" to make this realization.

Everyone recognizes their parents' mortality at different points in time and as the result of different circumstances. The realization can come in a moment. Or it can have a slow reveal extended over a series of events.

My parents' mortality - their ordinary human weakness - became clear to me in February 2014.

February 2014 

01 February 2014

My first order of business in February was to take a quick trip to the east coast to "straighten out some things." I have a large family. It's grown significantly over the last few years. But for an even longer time we were just four: my parents, me and Derek. We have existed as our own unit despite everyone who has come and gone. We worked in a beautifully complex way, until we didn't.

I'm the peacekeeper. I think it's a role I was literally born into my family to play. I'm practical. I'm level-headed. I hear the hurt the others are too prideful to admit and I address it. I'm a good peacekeeper. And when my brother and my parents had problems in late 2013, I kept the peace from the other side of the country. I told my parents I'd visit as soon as I could, and I did. But it wasn't soon enough.

Words spoken in anger are still words. And words are forever. Their impact is far reaching and long-lasting. I've seen this enough time to believe it absolute. My parents are a different story. They've conditioned each other to the point of delusion. They had a volatile relationship that reinforced the idea that at the end of the day, everything would always be forgiven. It's possible watching them repeat the same mistakes with each other taught me the opposite. I don't think it's okay to allow anyone to continue causing hurt. Because fool me once and all that. 

The attention I'd get if I were an iPad.
My parents feel very strongly about family, and in the ability of family to forgive. My brother and I feel differently. Push us away and we will not come back for more.

My parents and my brother had what I'll call strong differences of opinion. They all said things that are unforgivable. Three wrongs do not make a right. And there are some things not even the best peacekeeper can repair. I feel as though - while they struggled to hit with the sharpest barbs - they pierced, punctured and basically popped my family balloon. I went home in February to gather the stretched and wilted rubbery remnants. It was exhausting.   

09 February 2014

When I got back to SF, I needed to relax. So I started boxing. And when I say I "started boxing," I mean I got a Groupon for a gym and took some beginner classes with Paula. Though the effort was strong, the intensity was lacking. The sad truth is that my peak fighting days are far, far behind me.

I also needed love. So I had a dinner party with some of my favorite people. It's amazing how restorative laughter can be. We didn't cover any new ground, or solve any problems, but we were present and loving.

I had an allergic reaction to something that caused me to accuse my pals of trying to kill me my face to swell. But it passed in time for dessert.

10 February 2014

Important thing about me: I religiously partake in pub trivia. We first went sometime last fall and since then it's become a ritual. The trivia team members have changed but here you see league founder Lisa. Isn't she darling?

I enjoy trivia because it's like a dinner party where no one has to cook. You find out a lot about what people know and how they know it. You learn to appreciate things that you previously thought unimpressive. I assure you Lisa's love of art history was never more highly valued than it was around the trivia table. We have another friend who has intimate knowledge of the periodic table of elements. It's proven invaluable.

16 February 2014

I'd like to use this very unglamorous picture to introduce you to two of my most important SF friends. Cate the Reporter and Xtine. We keep each other sane and keep everything else in perspective. We brunch. We have conversations consisting of emojis & memes. We dance. We wear tights.

The night before this picture was taken, we had successfully thrown a surprise party for Cate's BF Jarad. It had been a team effort and we owned it.

It took me years in SF to make these two friends and obviously they were worth the wait. I mean just look how well we throw together a brunch. We're amazing.

17 February 2014
Trivia League Finals

02 December 2014

Back to Reality

I pride myself on being good at staying in touch. So far, I've done a poor job of that in 2014. This year has been significantly less fabulous than years past. I'm not one to glamorize the unglamorous. Nor am I one to seek support during my challenges. It's not that I suffer alone - I simply do not suffer. No matter what happens, I know my problems are temporary and that at some point, everything will work itself out.

Still, I'm preparing for an upswing and you won't be able to appreciate it if you don't know where I've been. And I really want you to appreciate it. So standby a high level recapitulation of the year thus far.

January 2014

I returned from South America with questions. Mainly, why was my Fitbit not working? Where was my mail? What did staffing changes at work mean for me? How much was that trip really going to cost after the final tally? When was I going to have time to get my hair done?

As I look back at what really mattered to me in January, I'm jealous. I'd love to go back to being able to apply the formula of "problem + resources = solution" without anyone else's input. 'Twas a simpler time.  

18 January 2014
I love my hair. I love that it's bouncy and curly and that I know what it needs in order to grow and be healthy. I also love to play in my hair, which never helps and only hurts.

So I've been keeping it twisted for the last two years. It's been great for my hair's health and for my personal convenience. Still, I love my real hair, and I play with it every chance I get. When I got back from South America, I left it out for a few days - but eventually I had to put it away.

24 January 2014
A good friend and neighbor moved away in January. It reminded me of the nature of the news business. There was a time when I was accustomed to people moving away every year. We were in smaller markets looking for bigger opportunities. Moving was inevitable. But even after, we kept tabs on each other through social media or just general gossip. After a while, it stopped being sad... until Jason up and went to SoCal.

When I moved to San Francisco and decided that I wanted to stay here, I assumed everyone else felt the same. But circumstances change and new opportunities are still shiny. On a positive note, parties are fantastic.

25 January 2014
It took more than a week for me to get my accumulated mail - which included my new debit card. I was not pleased.

25 January 2014
+Fitbit Heard my pleas and replaced my busted Fitbit. I had only had it for a few months and I did not realize how attached to it I was until I didn't have. My little wrist felt naked without it and I admit to wearing it whilst knowing it was dead - just in case it started working. #DreamBig

Overall, January was good. I learned lessons about travel (try to bring just two bags, research places you might not want to visit, add PINs to your credit cards) and about friendships. Even though Ang and I stressed each other, nothing changed for us. At the same time, someone I had considered a friend showed me otherwise. Basically, it's important to value the people who value me.

There were changes at work that were scary in an exciting way. I was primed for possibility, which seemed to be right on schedule. January is my favorite month because of my birthday it symbolizes a crisp freshness. It's over before most people think to appreciate it, and that's okay. It just makes January all the more mine for the savoring.

01 December 2014

The Best, Last Day

13 January 2014

I don't remember if we ever had a plan for our last day in South America. We might have planned to spend the day at the pool or souvenir shopping. When the day finally came, our mission was clear: see our Argentine friends. It turned out to be pretty easy. Lisandro and Juan met us at our hotel. Once we stored our luggage with the concierge, we were off.

Our foursome walked the streets of Rio in beach attire - much like everyone else. I had a moment when I thought I would buy stamps and send postcards, but it passed quickly. We ended up having lunch at the restaurant where Ang & I ate during our first full day in Rio. It felt nice to come full circle. It felt even nicer to be meeting friends in Rio.

We spent the rest of our time together on the beach. I bought a hat. Lisandro showed he's part dolphin. I tried to explain that, in "let's dance the last dance," "let's" and "last" are not the same word. It was by all account a heart warming and fabulous end to our vacation.

By then, Ang and I were expert travelers. We boarded a bus on our own and with full knowledge of where we were going.

Final transportation note: please notice the sign on this bus window. People are to yield their seats to the obese, pregnant, baby-carrying and elderly. I had never seen such a public acceptance of obesity as a disease. Obviously, I thought it remarkable.

As we were on the bus, I started romanticizing Rio. I started thinking that it wasn't the danger zone that I had been led to believe, that it was more stable than Argentina and that the dangerous reputation was unfounded. Then I took off my rose colored glasses and looked out the window.

There are bars in front of every apartment building and gates for every business. They're friendly looking and blend into the overall aesthetic, but they are there, protecting courtyards and restricting access. Whatever happened to make bars so commonplace must be serious. And even though I never saw it, it would be naive to pretend otherwise.

As we awaited our taxi for the airport, we were in less than ideal traveling shape. Our phones were close to dead. We had limited funds and we were getting hungry again. We planned to get ourselves properly sorted and charged at the airport, because we were planning to arrive with at least two hours before departure.

The airport was insane. It seemed as though there were a lot of closed check-in areas, leading to a lot of long check in lines. I think it took close to a half hour for us to even see our check-in area. Shortly after we did, the airport lost power.

I've never seen anything like it. One second you have a bustling international airport, and the next, everything is dark. My first thought was "of course I don't even have a charged phone." My next thought was "how long can thousands of people stay calm in a powerless airport?" It was the perfect environment for an epic mass meltdown.

The lights came on long enough for the boards and monitors to reset, but it went off just as suddenly. The airport power cycled four or five times before we were able to check in to our flight. Once we got to the terminal, there was no way to determine how delayed our flight was. There was one eatery open and it was mobbed. Still, I stood in line because some rations are better than no rations. Ang gave me the last of her reales to buy a sandwich and get some change so she could get a Coke from the vending machine.

Eventually, our plane started boarding. But I didn't have my food or Ang's change. So I waited. I honestly thought boarding would take a lot longer. I did get my sandwich - and it cost exactly all the reales Ang had given me. I was the last person to board the flight and had nothing to show for it except for a chicken & cheese sandwich and an orange Fanta. We giggled our way back to America.