Sorry Everyone, I Suck

Hi everyone,

It’s been too long since I posted, so consider this an update of sorts. Since my last post, I’ve probably written 5 posts I didn’t feel were good enough to publish, so I’m just going to wing this and get something out to you. So, a few of you know that I took part in the world’s longest layoff, which began well over a year ago when I suspected my position would be nixed. The end of last month was my final month at my former company, which was after receiving several extensions. My original end-date was supposed to be December 2012, so it’s been a long road. I can’t really complain; it’s the nature of the business – the bigger company took over our little company, saw redundancy and eliminated all of us. I worked hard up to the end and got a decent severance, so…I guess that’s fine.

Here are 5 random things I’ve observed about the process of being laid off over a period of a year:

1. Brain feels mushy. Not having a career goal for a year is not good for anyone who is goal-oriented.

2. It really sucks laying people off who you’ve known for years, knowing they have families to support and are also damn good at what they do.

3. Spending the last 5 months working remotely as a person marked for layoff is bad for creative writing. While my officemate is awesome (in particular because she’s furry and likes having me around), I feel like an isolated pariah and don’t really have a whole lot to write about at the moment. It’s weird. As part of my severance, I am working with a “career transition” place which has helped me leave my cave and go back into the wild to some degree.

4. Despite having no job this month, I’ve been really active? How did that happen? I’ve done a shit ton of hiking this month (I’m averaging somewhere around 30 miles a week), I’ve been taking lots of online classes…and I’ve been writing a lot of music – more on that in a minute.

Before I move on to the fifth observation, I have to point out that the Old Spice “lizards eating your legs” commercial just came on. That is fantastic. I love that their commercials are so WTF that you have to go back and rewind them because your subconscious is like, “wait…what?” Well played, Old Spice. Well played. Ok…. 5th observation:

5. While my regular writing has suffered, this layoff has been great for my songwriting. I seriously think I’ve written some of my best stuff ever over the past year. It’s different and it’s exciting. I believe in it. Now my ability to record the songs? That’s a different story. I’ve been in a recording hell over the past couple of weeks – my gear is outdated, and every time you put a mic in front of me I suddenly get a stuffy nose, a tickle in my throat, or my neighbors decide to break the concrete in their backyard with a jackhammer. I want to create something magical, and I know it’s in me – I’m struggling to get it out. But I’m determined to publish my songs on here. I have to. Enough of my procrastination and self-doubt. Before the year is out, I want to share at least 4 of my songs with you. So send good recording vibes my way, because I need them. I can’t explain it, but the job loss has made this aspect of my life very, very important.

Anyhoo, that’s what’s going on. I’ll try and post more often, but unfortunately, I can’t guarantee I’ll be awesome. In the meantime, if you want to see what I’m up to in small doses, check me out on various social media:

- I post a LOT on Instagram (@TheMenacingKitten)

- I post sometimes on Twitter, (@MenacingKitten), but 90% of my posts are Instagram posts. If you want to chat, I always respond to tweets, though. There isn’t enough conversation on Twitter, and I love chatting with people.

- I also still have my Facebook Page, which you can like. I’ll try and post a little more often on there to make up for my lack of posting on this site. As with Twitter, if you post on my page, I’ll definitely respond :)

I hope all is well for all of you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the support you’ve given me, and I feel kind of like a shit for not posting more often. I really hope you stick around and I can share my music with you.

Take care,

Anne-Marie

As Romeo Void Once Said…

No, I don’t think I’d like you better if we slept together, but that’s actually more of a compliment because I really like you in a completely platonic way. If you don’t know the song, this post will take an immediate turn for the awkward and I’ll feel incredibly old. No, Romeo Void once said…

Never Say Never.

After living in Arizona for nearly half my life, it is time to hitch the ponies to the wagon and start a new journey.

You’ll never guess where I’m going.

Oh, wait, there is a ginormous, obvious picture accompanying this post hinting at it.

That’s right, we are moving to sunny San Francisco! Okay, we’re  actually looking at the suburban bedroom community of Alameda Island, where the speed limit never exceeds 25mph, but that doesn’t photograph as well and no one knows where Alameda is.

My husband will be a director for an up-and-coming software company located in the SOMA district of San Francisco, and I am incredibly proud of him and excited for this new opportunity and OMG WE’RE MOVING!

Here’s the funny thing – I lived in southern California for two years of my life, and while I enjoyed my time there, I never thought I would return to California.  Compared to Arizona it was super-expensive, and the area I lived in was all chain stores and few mom-and-pops.  I really loved Arizona, and despite the fact that my politics is opposite than a good chunk of the state, I still love Arizona.  As you can tell from Le Nom and many other posts, we love our friends here.  Arizona residents are mostly friendly, there are a lot of fun things to do, it’s affordable, and from November to April, you can’t beat the weather.  I didn’t think I’d ever leave or ever want to leave.

I certainly never thought I’d move to the Bay area.  When I vacationed there, I would always think, “San Francisco is one of the great American cities; too bad it’s so expensive.”  Of course, we won’t be living in San Fran because of the 1) lack of dog-friendly places 2) cost 3) recent purchase of a nice car that shouldn’t be parked on streets known for car theft and vandalism. Alameda is an inexpensive option in comparison, and it is very pedestrian and biker-friendly.  It is a 20 minute ferry commute to San Francisco, dropping my husband off just two blocks from his work.  They actually serve alcohol on the afternoon ferries – how many places can you say your daily commute involves watching the sun set over the water while drinking a beer or a glass of wine?

These “nevers” we create – I guess they really do create barriers to seeing opportunity.  Once that’s lifted, amazing things can happen.

I’m getting a little ahead of myself – my husband will be commuting up there starting some time in October, and I’m staying put in Arizona for the next several months for a host of reasons. But the wheels are in motion – this is happening.  Never say never.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Seeking Guest Bloggers for the Kitten!

I am very excited to announce that The Menacing Kitten is now accepting submissions for guest bloggers!

You may have noticed that I have been posting a little less frequently as of late – unfortunately, my real-life job (the one that actually puts food on my table) is taking up quite a bit of time and energy due to a big database project.  As a result, I am struggling to write quality pieces on a regular basis.  This may very well create a “Virgin to Life” entry on its own, but if there is one thing I’ve learned since starting this blog, I’ve learned I don’t have to do it all on my own. Not only that, it provides me with a wonderful opportunity to promote great writers and other blogs.
Are you interested in sharing something for the kitten? Do you know anyone who is looking for a little extra exposure?  Here are my guidelines:

Required:
Please send all submissions to submissions@themenacingkitten.com with the subject line starting with the word “SUBMISSION:” followed by your article topic or title.  This will help me separate spam from actual content.
Please paste your article in the body of your email OR provide a one paragraph summary with a link to the article.
Provide me with how you want your author credit to read (your name/handle/”Anonymous”), and if you have a blog and/or social media account (Twitter, Facebook fan page, etc.) you wish to promote.

Topic Suggestions / What I am looking for:
If you know my site, you’ll generally know what I enjoy posting here.  If you are looking for ideas, I am particularly interested in the following areas:

Op-Eds: Is there a news event in your area that has national implications? Is there a trend you want to comment on, or a story that has no clear answer? Do you have an insight or belief you don’t feel is adequately discussed in a civil matter in the media? (see Celebrity Deaths, When Republican Isn’t ConservativeThe Fine Line Between Self-Defense and Manslaughter)
Virgin to Life stories: Are you a good storyteller and want to share an event that changed your life? (see The Lying Liar, The Boob Tube, A Ghost in the Corporate Machine)
Food & Wine:  Do you want to celebrate regional cuisines or local vineyards, or provide wine tasting tutorials?
Entertainment: Do you have any personal top 5 or top 10 lists? (see Dig if U Will, Gimme Some Lovin’ ) Do you want to promote an up-and-coming band? Are you a musician or artist who has a unique and creative way to promote your work?
Humor: Do you have something funny to say about work or relationships? Or anything else for that matter? (see Learning How to Sleep with Someone, Does He Like You? A Junior High Guide, Email Hell)

I am truly excited about this, because there are subjects you can write about that I cannot.  There are stories in your life that are worth sharing with others, and I hope to help you do that.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Got any questions? Post below!

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Building Off a Dream

[Note: If you don’t want to read all of this and you have an RSS feed, please skip down to the 4th paragraph that starts with the word “Finally”]

Over the past few nights, I’ve been having recurring dreams about packing.  After consulting with one of my favorite sites on the interwebs, packing suggests moving on and getting ready for a change of scenery.  I don’t plan on changing jobs any time soon – I actually really like my current employer, but maybe I am dreaming about this because of the simultaneous insanity going on in my life.  My employer has changed hands more often than a student loan, and all the while I’m enjoying this side thing as a blogger.  As I was packing away my things in the most recent dream, I knew more than anything else I had to keep my music stuff and my flash drive.  What does that mean? Well, all creative things are kept on my flash drive – all music files and writings that I have done.  I’ve interpreted this dream as meaning whatever changes occur in my life, my creations are closest to my heart and need to travel with me no matter what journey I take.  They are the piece of me that will never change hands.  This dream made me wonder if my creations are the key to a future bigger than I have ever imagined.

With this in mind, I’ve felt particularly ambitious in getting my writing out there.  I want to build my online portfolio and more actively grow my audience.  On Tuesday, I signed up for Salon’s online community, Open Salon.  It looks like a pretty cool service, and might get my name out there a little more.  Plus, you can make money – yay! I suspect I won’t make anything, but it doesn’t cost anything to try.  If I like the format and the viewership, I will likely post my politically-themed writings over there and keep them separate from this blog.  In the meantime, I will be cross-posting.  So, please check it out: they have a rating system and a number of ways to promote my writings through social media – far more options than I have over here.  If you like my writing and want to support what I do, please like, Digg, recommend, rate, or whatever Salon offers that you are capable of doing.  You all have been great, and I appreciate all the support I’ve received so far!

Speaking of support and help – I need your recommendations.  I want to find sites that are open to contributions and guest posts.  You all know my style – I’m not exactly New York Times material! Do you know of a site or blog that is open to guest posting that would be a good fit with my writing style? If so, comment below, on Facebook, or email me via my contact link.

Finally, I have some exciting news for everyone.  I am going to be moving the blog into a much, much more friendly and familiar format and will be converting to a WordPress front end very soon.  Assuming I or the Menacing Kitten Tech Support Team don’t run into any real-life work responsibilities this weekend, we will begin migrating data to a brand new, sexilicious format.   If we are able to begin moving are archives over this weekend, there may be a delay with my next post.  This scares me a little, as I don’t want to lose you, my beloved ninjas, so I’ll do my best to not have a significant delay.  If you subscribe to my RSS, there are two things that could happen and I apologize for both up front: 

  1. When we are moving the archives over, my archives may show up as new posts to you.  If this happens, I am really, really sorry.  There are 76 posts on The Menacing Kitten, so, yeah.  On the plus side, we can call this a Menacing Kitten Marathon?? Maybe?
  2. The RSS subscription is lost.  If this is the case, I kindly ask that you check in to the web page by Tuesday evening if you haven’t received a new post from me.  Menacing Tech Support did some crazy work in the back end to make the multiple themes work via RSS, and I’m not sure how well that will convert over.  I apologize in advance if you have to re-subscribe.

I hope neither of these things happen, but again, if they do, I’m sorry!  I’m pretty sure you’ll like the new design.  If we don’t migrate the data over this weekend, I’ll put out another warning post when we are ready to go.

Once again, thank you for reading this blog.  I appreciate the support, and all the warm comments I have received over the past several months motivate me to make this blog better and better.  Hopefully, I will see you soon on the other side of this conversion.  Cross your fingers for me, because, while Menacing Tech Support knows what he is doing, I have no f-ing clue.

 

Love you all,

-A-M