December 30, 2007
I've looked everywhere around the tree, under my couch, under my chair, in corners and even in Oscar's litter box. I can't find him. I tried interrogating Oscar, but it didn't seem to phase him. So I ask you, what would Jesus do?
December 26, 2007
Oscar had plenty of time to think, as well. With six mostly-unsupervised days in my apartment (I did have friends check on him), Oscar took his time thinking about how he could dismantle my Christmas tree. And then he did.
No, notice the carnage:
And who's the culprit? None other than my little beast.
I'm not even certain I'll be able to find all my ornaments. They were strewn across my apartment. I could see him dragging some under my bed to his little hidden lair, so I'm counting on finding some in Oscar's litter box in a few days. Some could be under my couch. Some could be half way to Michigan. I really don't know. What I do know is that Oscar gets mad when I leave him. And I learned I need to do my best to curb the number of things he can destroy in my absence. Because something tells me he'd do it all again if he had the chance.
December 16, 2007
He travels to dilapidated structures - landmarks in their day - and photographs them. His work is beautiful even though the places he photographs are not. I found his photos especially interesting because two sections of the portfolio are dedicated to Detroit (near where I grew up) and Chicago (where I live now) structures.
It has always angered me to see buildings that have a history left to their own ruin. I find his work beautiful and sad and compelling and inspiring all at the same time. His work inspired me so much that I felt the need to write him - not something I do often. I wanted him to know that I consider his photos to be both artistic and noble. I described it to him as hauntingly beautiful. And being the compassionate artist he is, he wrote me back:
"Thank you very much for the compliments. I'm glad that so many find these connections to the buildings. Hauntingly Beautiful is a perfect phrase to describe the photos. Here's hope that one day these landmarks will be saved for future generations and that one day they can tell narratives about us and our time here on earth."
I share his hope.
December 11, 2007
December 10, 2007
When I was hired at the firm in the summer of 2006, my recruiter informed me that the firm’s salaries are not top of the pay scale, but it tends to make up the difference come bonus time. Last year, I had only worked for the firm about six months when bonus day rolled around. I did not expect much. What I received was a little less than five grand (before taxes). Needless to say, I was floored. I have not heard anything about the firm being stingy this year, so I’m planning to receive a sizable chunk of change in about four days.
Money has concerned me for as long as I can remember. I moved to Chicago on a journalist’s salary and less than three months in found myself with mounting debt and a job that would never allow me to make ends meet. Last year, when I finally began making what I consider to be a livable wage, I vowed that I would not allow my influx of cash to be spent on venti lattes and bags of shoes. This is not to say I didn’t buy the occasional latte or pricy shoe, because I did. But I also did get very serious about getting my finances under control. I paid off my credit card, put a decent chunk of money in savings and started contributing 10 percent of my paycheck to a 401K. I am in better financial shape right now than I have ever been, and to me that’s worth more than all the venti lattes in Chicago.
As I said, I was surprised by first bonus. I could have justified splurging on a few needless, pricy items for myself since most of my bonus was money I had not banked on. Instead, I started my fiscal year right. Half of my bonus went to my credit card balance and the other half I used to open a high-interest savings account.
Since I have an idea of what I can expect to receive this year, I’m planning. And as a pat on the back to myself, I’m happy to say about half of my 2007 bonus will be spent on a spring trip to Morocco. A smaller portion will be used to pay off the few odds and ends on my credit card and an even smaller portion will be going toward my savings to round it up to nice even number. After Christmas presents and repairing my violin, I’m planning to still have a couple hundred extra for whatever. I already have a feeling a portion of that whatever is left (ok, most of it) may be spent on shoes… and at least one venti latte.