Monthly Archives: January 2011

Blog Note

My computer’s dying and like 1% free space on the hard drive.  Which means I have to remove some picture editing programs, stop drawing pictures that there’s no room for on my computer…

Hopefully, when I get the new laptop, it will be easier and faster for me to draw pictures and put up blog posts a little more frequently.  It takes FOREVER to draw pictures now on my clunky laptop with 20 GB hard drive (no, I did not forget a zero.  It’s actually only 20 GB).

Until then, peeps.

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Worst First Date

So I did some online dating a few years ago.  Right before I swore off it (and actually, the reason I was swearing off of it), I went out with a guy let’s call….. Derek.  That’s not his real name.  

So I had this free profile posted in our local, hipster-friendly newspaper.  Derek (a pretty hot masseuse) sent me a message.  Now, I’m not really big on emailing for weeks and then meeting each other.  It’s way easier to lie about yourself in an email than in person.  So I arranged to meet him for an afternoon coffee at a local (but not so local as to be too near my apartment) coffee shop.  I set up my safe call with a friend, let a couple people know where I was going to be (if you’re reading this, Mom, you can see I was totally responsible and smart!).  

I got there early, so I could pick a table that was within sight of the counter and other patrons, got my own coffee, and settled in with my book about Chaos Theory (that’s how I told him, and the couple others I saw, to find me.  Again, it’s shocking I’m still single, right?).

Derek showed up pretty much right on time and we started in with the typical blind/online date questions.

I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let me give you the info in Derek’s profile:
Age: 38 (I was 26.  It was kind of a big age difference at the time, but I didn’t see this being a long-term thing… I just figured a couple dates couldn’t be too bad)
Neighborhood: Bucktown
Profession: Masseuse (I’ll admit that this factored into me agreeing to meet him)
Status: Single

The easiest way to do this is to just put the pertinent parts of the conversation in here.  Let me emphasise that I am not exaggerating here.  These are actual things he said.  Italics are what I was thinking at the time, not current interjections.

Derek:  I should probably tell you that I fudged on my age
Mairin:  Really? [shit]  How old are you?
Derek:  I’m 39.  But I just turned 39 and I just don’t feel that old.  So I changed my birthday in the profile so it would still say 38.
Mairin:  Huh. [what a stupid thing to lie about. not a good sign. i wonder what else he’s lied about?]
Derek:  Oh, and I should probably mention that I’m divorced.
Mairin:  Wait, but your profile said you were single. [being divorced isn’t an issue.  it happens.  not too keen on all the lying though]
Derek:  Yeah, well, technically I’m single though, right?  It was a long time ago.
Mairin:  There’s a reason that “single” is an option and “divorced” is an option.
Derek:  Does that bother you?
Mairin:  Lying bothers me.
Derek:  Well, then I should probably tell you that I don’t really live in Bucktown.
Mairin:  Wait, but that’s what you listed as your neighborhood!
Derek:  Well, yeah, I don’t actually live in Chicago.  I live in [name of town about 2 hours from Chicago, let’s call it Loserville in Derek’s honor].  But when I did live in Chicago, 10+ years ago, I lived in Bucktown.  And that’s where I’d like to live if I moved back.  But yeah, I live in Loserville with my mom and older brother.
Mairin:  (rapidly drinking coffee so as to end date) So they live in that town too?
Derek:  We all live in the same house.  I had to borrow my brother’s car to get here today.

[WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!]

Mairin:  [let’s change the subject to something less loser-y.  this guy has to have at least one redeeming quality] So how long have you been a masseuse?
Derek:  Oh, only about 6 months
Mairin:  Really?  What did you do before that?
Derek:  Well, before that is when I was living in Detroit.  Mostly I grew and sold massive quantities of high-quality marijuana.
Mairin: … [shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit]
Derek:  It’s the perfect place to do something like that, because police there really have bigger issues to worry about than busting people like me.
Mairin:  … [is he really trying to use, “i was never busted for my illegal activity” as a positive quality?!?]
Derek:  And it’s not like I was selling to kids or anything.  I only sold to dealers.
Mairin:  [oh, well in that case…. ]  Well, I had really better be going.  I’ve got this protest that I’m going to with my friend.  The one who called.  The one who knows where I am and who I’m with.
Derek:  Oh, some friends of mine wanted me to meet them at the protest, what a coincidence.
Mairin:  Haha, how strange.  Well, have a good time, I’ve really got to get going.

Never saw him again.  He actually emailed about 8 months later.  I was happy to tell him I was otherwise occupied.  Besides, it’s hard to go out with someone when you don’t know when he’s going to be able to borrow his big brother’s car.

Got a bad first date story?  Please, help me feel better about myself and share it in the comments 🙂

Getting Serious for a Moment

A little background on this blog:  I started a blog a while back that was going to be my musings on social justice, theology, human rights, etc.  I wrote a couple posts and decided I sounded forced… and obnoxious.  And I decided I took myself entirely too seriously.  That’s when Grown-Up Livin’ started… as an antidote to my self-righteousness – a way to remind myself that I am occasionally (or frequently) ridiculous and that I should stop taking myself so seriously.

That said, I actually do have something serious to talk about today.  And I thought about reviving the old blog (it still exists, I just don’t write in it) to talk about it, but no one reads that one so it would kind of defeat the purpose.

Some of you know me personally.  Some of you don’t.  For over 8 years, I have worked in various areas social services: mental health, housing/homelessness, HIV/AIDS.  I love this work, and it is the intersection of mental health and homelessness that I love the most.

In order to receive federal HUD (Housing and Urban Development) funding for supportive housing services for people who are/were homeless, every city/county must have what is called a Continuum of Care – to oversee the processes and applications that go along with procuring that funding. 

Every two years, as required by HUD, continuums are required to conduct a Point-In-Time Homeless Count.  This is essentially a census of every person in the continuum who is living in a shelter or on the street.  In Chicago (I can’t say for sure about other continuums), the city is divided into sections and hundreds of volunteers are recruited to walk/drive up and down every street to count and survey all people who have no other place to sleep that night.  It is done in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter (warmer climes may do the Count in the summer – the goal is to pick a time when as many people as possible will be in the shelters).

This is important not only to receive federal funding for services, but to inform the kind of services that are needed.  And because every human being deserves to be counted.

If you are in Chicago, check here for info:
http://www.facebook.com/notes/100000-homes-campaign-chicago/2011-chicago-homeless-count-volunteers-needed/178285328871559

(If you would like info on the Chicago 2009 PIT Count, check here: http://www.thechicagoalliance.org/documents/2009%20PIT%20Count%20Executive%20Summary.pdf

If you are in Suburban Cook County, you can volunteer here:
http://www.homelesscount.org

If you live anywhere else, you can go here to look up the contact person for your local Continuum of Care:
http://www.hudhre.info/index.cfm?do=viewCocContacts

I urge you to consider this; Continuums NEED volunteers.  I have done this since 2007 and will be participating again this year.  You will receive training; you will be paired up with an experienced outreach worker. 

SOmeone asked me last week why I liked working in this field.  I gave a generic answer (“I like working with people”), which he called me out on.  This is my real answer:  Every person deserves to be treated like a person.  Like a human being.  I want a job where my role is treat people with the respect and dignity they deserve and, so frequently, do not receive. 

Please consider volunteering for the 2011 Point-In-Time Homeless Count.  People need you.