OAK/SFO: The Packing List

Dear Internet,

In April, I took a whirlwind three day trip to Oakland, CA for a job interview. It was pretty brutal as I had to leave early on a Sunday, arrive mid-day California time. Spent all day Monday (about eight hours) in the interview, and then flew back out ungodly early on Tuesday morning. Though I got home at a reasonable hour on that Tuesday, I went almost immediately to bed and slept nearly 10 hours before waking up at 6AM the following day to get ready for work.

I typically take a day off when I’m doing so much travelling between time zones but as I could not afford to the time off, my early to bed helped a lot with the jet lag (mental note: Pick up melatonin). I ended up getting sick a few weeks later from all the travelling and weather changes, so small victories!

This trip was pretty light since I only needed clothes for two solid days, plus my travel clothes, and the available accountermonts. I was able to over pack with ease this time since my needs were so small, and I wanted options for my interview outfit. The gods were smiling on me as I was able to put together five complete outfits, and accountermonts, with room to spare.

OAK: Before
OAK: Before
OAK: After
OAK: After

The Gear / Gadgets / Geegaws

Tom Bihn bag:

  • 1 Brown dress boots
  • 1 (2) Tieks (pink and navy)
  • Make up bag
  • Loofah
  • Ice pack
  • Umbrella
  • 1 (2) Bra
  • 1 Spanx
  • 2 tights
  • 1 cardigan
  • (1) Spring coat
  • 1 leggings
  • 3 dresses
  • (1) jeans
  • (1) belt
  • 1 (2) camisoles
  • 3 (4) tshirts
  • 1 yoga shorts
  • Toothbrush
  • Toiletries bag
  • 1 pair of glasses
  • 3 (4) underwear
Rickshaw bag:

  • iPad, including the Kensington KB case
  • Cables
  • Journal
  • Quart bag
  • Fountain pens
  • Pencil case
  • Clutch with money
  • Portable recharger brick
  • Pouch with miscellany
  • 3 magazines

As people seem to really enjoy the packing list posts, in addition the list of geegaws and gadgets of the stuff I use, you may be interested in also the following sites I use for inspiration:

  • StyleBook – iOS app that allows you to catalog your closet and put together outfits.
  • Outfit Posts – The blog and Pinterest boards of this site is amazing! MK puts together incredibly diverse “one suitcase” infographics that blow my mind away. Not only are the clothes from her own closet, but she also breaks them down by season.
  • INTO MIND – A very, very minimalistic guide to overall living, the concentration is on quality over quantity. She also has a complete series on wardrobe diagnostics (which I haven’t used yet, but I want to) and other wonderful guides to being chic without spending a fortune. There is also the accompanying Pinterest.
  • Here is a tag of all One Suitcase Outfits  on Pinterest


This day in Lisa-Universe: 2013

Taking A Gap Year To Write A Book

Dear Internet,

A few weeks ago, I teased there was a big announcement coming, and I am finally in a position to make that announcement:

I’m taking a gap year to write a (fiction) book(s).

Come July 1, 2014, I will officially have the new status of “writer in residence at Throbbing Manor/Cabin.”

Many of you, hell most of the population probably already knows this since I’ve had to tell people privately for a variety of reasons over the last couple of months, but I wanted something official and concrete on paper. I was holding out until I got the official rejection from the job I interviewed for in April1. I was also holding out until I could get in touch with a few close friends so they knew before it became a Facebook status update. I was able to make that last final personal connection on Friday, so here we are!

Here are some of the big questions I’ve been asked: How did I get here, what am I writing, and what is happening with library land?

How did I get here
This is all TheHusband’s idea.


He’s known me forever (nearly two decades) and he knows the ultimate goal in my life was to write books. While he’s pretty supportive of my ideas, he also knows me well enough to know I can only handle one big thing at a time; whether that thing is a job, writing, or getting a degree. I’ve conceded long ago I’m not someone who can multitask big projects easily. Before I left my job at UUNet in 2002 to go back to university full time, I had signed up, attended classes, and either dropped or failed out of three colleges. If I wanted my undergrad degree, it had to be THE ONLY thing — I could not work full time and go to class. Once I made it the only thing, then I sailed through it with a breeze (while amping up my GPA from 1.7 to 3.3).

But you know, life happens. It always happens. I had an opportunity to write full time in between degrees, but choose not to because I wanted cash in the pocket,as I was tired of being broke, more than my dream. I had a second opportunity after I graduated from library school and I was on that dreadful job hunt where I applied for 114 jobs over 8 months before landing at GRCC. TheHusband bargained if I could not get a job within 100 applications, I could write full time. I pushed on to 114 as we had just moved to Grand Rapids and boom! Job at GRCC.

“I’ll write part-time,” I said. (Look how well that turned out.)

For the last year, I’ve been in big debate about whether or not to accept the contract when it came up for renewal. Six months ago, I found out they were not renewing my contract and if I wanted to keep my job, I had to reapply just like everyone else on the open market. In January, I knew for sure I was not going to reapply for the position. After making that decision, I started the arduous task of the job hunt version 2.0.

Even during mania, I would get crushed under the soul sucking weight of job hunting and with each opportunity came along, I did not feel elated — I felt like I was being ripped apart. TheHusband and I sat down and ran budget simulations, figures, and possible outcomes across a wide variety of scenarios. Right after I phone interviewed with the California institution, TheHusband came to me and said, “Why not take a year off to write?” His reasoning was it would be much cheaper for us to stay put while I wrote, where we could maintain our current lifestyle (with some heavy regulation), without putting us in massive debt. I lept at the chance. And mentally felt like I lost a massive weight on my soul.

Since we made this decision two days before I was scheduled to fly out for my second interview, we decided if they offered me the job and it was beyond fantastic, I’d take it. Anything else, we would not accept or if I was passed on the position then I would go forth and write.

What am I writing

I’ve got numerous projects already lined up:

  • I’ll be co-editing a non-fiction book on lib/tech/gender issues that is slated to come out next year #fingerscrossed
  • In the fiction realm (which is why I’m taking the time off), I’ve got two books in process (one of them my edwardian series I’ve been keen on for the last three years to finish), and one, possibly two, anthology of short stories based on two different cycles
  • Graphic novel
  • Other projects / ideas
  • Freelance work

TheHusband and I spent some considerable time putting together a business plan (not a typo) on how create, manage, and also make passive income while I’m writing. I still need to work out a schedule, and we’re thinking of getting space at a local a co-working joint. There is a lot of back end work that needs to be done in conjunction while I write.

What is happening with library land

Or more to the point, “What happens if you fail miserably and everyone hates your books?” Easy: I’ll go back into librarianship. TheHusband and I have not defined what it means to be successful yet, but the low bar is any kind of income I can generate from writing. Then who knows.

I’m still very much want to be on the pulse of the profession, so for many of you, it will be like I’ve never left. I’m keeping my memberships and plan to still be active. I’ve got a few projects that I will be working on, but as for the day to day stuff, I won’t be there.

This is already getting far lengthier than I had anticipated, so expect more tidbits and updates on this to continue.

But I just want to say, to those whom I’ve already told and whose support was not even a teeny bit wavering on this new path: THANK YOU! Seriously, I am floored by how supportive people have been. I love you all!


This Day in Lisa-Universe:

1. I met my competitor at a conference prior to our interviews and we were in simultaneous shock when we discovered we were both being flown out to do the second round. After my interview, I was told it would be 1-2 weeks for the decision. I found out within that period, from my competitor, they had offered him the job, he had already negotiated his salary, and was in the final throes of finalizing details. I had YET to hear from the institution, so I waited. Three weeks after the interview, I emailed my contact a polite follow up request and it was nearly another week before they got back to me. So we’re a month plus past my interview and I’ve already known via the Internet I didn’t get the job for nearly three weeks of that time.

attending shenanigans


Dear Internet,

It’s spring and along with it being the prime for allergies, it’s also cold drink season. Years ago I was introduced to the Toddy Cold Brew system via Kate and have been hooked on it ever since. Since I’ve been (more or less) caffeine free since January 1, and my recent exposure to caffeine did not end the world, I decided to mix 60% decaf and 40% caf coffees together for my first cold brew batch of 2014. The reason for the mix was that I did not quite have enough decaf for the brew and had extra caffeinated hanging around, so why not?

Big mistake.

The standard serving measurement is 1/4 cup of the concentrate per 8oz of milk or water. On Saturday, after brewing the coffee for about 24 hours, I mixed 1/4 cup concentrate, ice, and about 12oz of vanilla almond milk for consumption.

I was high all of Saturday and far into Sunday. I was so manic I opined the following on Facebook:

J. seriously considered throttling me in stores.
Case in point: Looking for shorts to wear to play tennis tomorrow, thought it bright idea to try them on outside regular clothes mid-aisle.
Subtitle: Keeping it classy since 1972.

I was so manic that even though I took one Klonopin that night to knock me out, that wasn’t quite enough to knock me back into the netherworld I so desperately needed, which lead into more mania into Sunday.

On Monday, because I hate throwing away waste and rather enjoy the brain mixing, I tempered down to 1/8th cup of concentrate, ice, milk and the mania was still on fire. Not as bad as over the weekend, but still pretty awful. A Klonopin was produced.

Tuesday, I took it down to a tablespoon of concentrate, then mixed in the ice/milk and we seem to have a winner. I can still get coffee taste without wasting what I had already produced AND most importantly, without enflaming the mania.  I’ve been doing this combination, mixed with 1/8th cup of water to help the dilution, all week and so far its been working.

It will take me a very long time to go through this batch.

As the cycle of the mania continues its elliptical path, when I was feeling so calm a few weeks prior, I wasn’t too surprised I started crashing Thursday morning. I’ve noticed my agitation on certain things escalates when I’m peaking during the mania, right before the downward dog starts occurring.

One thing I’m super impressed with myself on is my new superhero power of pulling in the crazy before all hell breaks loose. I found myself in a variety of stressful situations this week where I could have done some real damage. I swallowed hard the impulse, which seemed to sap a lot of my strength, but I’m just puffed I was able to keep it together. To be sure, there some difficult situations I had to address, even if I tried to escape from them, so I settled on brusque politeness to get the job done. That seemed to have done the trick.

Sometime this week, I found out it was National Mental Health Month, which lead me to my twice yearly search for a national foundation for people with bipolar in the United States. The United Kingdom has one, why don’t we?

After much digging around the Internet, I finally found a nationwide organization that supports both depression and bipolar, what has a local chapter here in Grand Rapids. I got in touch with the leader and they do indeed meet 2x a month, so I’m going to be checking this out.

I am suspicious of such things, as I am always suspicious of these matters. The last group meetings I did was about a decade ago for Borderline Personality Disorder which freaked me out more than helped. People obviously much sicker than me, barely able to cope with their daily lives, that I felt like an imposter within their midst. I wasn’t REALLY sick, because I was functioning far more in day to day lives then they were. The doctor amped them up on drugs for control, she pulled me off of mine and kept telling me how lucky I was to be so well adjusted despite my maladies.

Right now I feel like I’m grasping at straws. Drugs don’t work, thus I need  better coping mechanisms. After awhile, you get tired of crying in your car as you head home because you’re too manic to cook bacon, because  you know if you do you may accidentally set something on fire. You’ve done it before and you know you will do it again. Your whole life is a chain reaction against a single action, inflamed by this disease.

I wonder if any therapist ever gets that we want more than to “function”? We want the normalcy that we envy in others. We want to do more than just be able to hold down a job or attend school or keep a house. We want to live.


This day in Lisa-Universe: 2013