Category Archives: kansas city

trader joe’s in kc: it’s about dang time

trader joe’s is finally coming to kansas city, with two stores having their grand openings tomorrow. i’m as excited as everyone else is about this. there will once again be an alternative to whole paycheck, um, i mean whole foods (which was lost when whole foods bought up wild oats), with cheaper prices and of course the infamous ‘two-buck chuck’. i won’t be there this weekend because i’m sure the crowds will be *crazy*, but i plan to make my first of probably many visits sometime in the next couple of weeks.

as happy as i am about them being here, i have to say that although they may have for sale many organic and additive-free food items, they are still a part of the problem as far as the standard american diet (SAD) goes, and not a part of any real solution. just because something is organic doesn’t automatically mean it’s good for you. you can get organic potato chips at trader joe’s.  however, a potato chip is still a potato chip with all its attendant starches and toxins, whether it’s deep fried in soybean oil or canola oil or whatever conventional wisdom says is currently the healthiest oil. organic whole grain flour is still made from wheat, and whole grain or not, wheat is a prime contributor to the ‘diseases of civilization’, plus the gluten in wheat affects people more than we realize. organic packaged and processed foods, while appearing to be a ‘healthy’ alternative to conventional food options, are just a band-aid that doesn’t even begin to solve what’s wrong with the SAD.

what would begin to solve the problem? eating a diet consisting primarily of vegetables and fruits (found in the produce section of the store, not in the canned food aisles or the freezer section – or better yet, start growing your own or at least buy from local farmer’s markets and CSAs), grass-fed (if financially possible) meats, free-range poultry, good fats (such as lard and butter and coconut oil), and fruits. (in other words, a paleo/primal/WAPF based diet.) and obviously these items can be found at tj’s, but most people who shop there are probably going for the packaged goods, because of cost and convenience.

still, those points being said, tj’s in kc is a step in the right direction. i will check it out, and probably shop there regularly myself. but even when shopping in a regular grocery store (like cosentino’s downtown market, where one of the employees once told me they consider whole foods their competition – mmmkay), i usually stick with the produce and meat sections, venturing into other sections from time to time, but really not buying many packaged and processed foods. i do buy some things in glass jars though, like my coconut oil, but have no problem reusing those jars to store spices and other things. anyway, i’m looking forward to being one of many new tj’s customers.

however, if a place like this ever comes to town, i’ll camp out on the sidewalk the night before their grand opening. unpackaged looks like my dream grocery store, at least for buying spices and other staples in bulk.

same shit different year?

what a difference a year makes, right? 52 weeks ago today i moved out of what had been a cute little house i had shared with someone who at one time had been one of my best friends. i was moving into a temporary situation where i was to sleep on my sister’s couch, with my cat who didn’t like other cats (of which my sister had three), working 15-20 hours a week at the b&n with the possibility of a second job on the horizon, but not certain. even if the second job came to pass (which it did), it was only seasonal work, and i had no idea what was going to happen once the season was over. my plan for spring/summer 2010 was to find a room rental that was month-to-month and would allow me to keep my cat. at the end of the season, if i didn’t have a ‘real’ job, i’d pack everything and go to new orleans and see what happened. fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how one looks at it), in a relatively short amount of time i got a ‘real’ job (with benefits and everything! please note the sarcasm attached…) with the state of kansas and was able to move back to kansas city.

so things have gone relatively well since my return to the city. i have a decent job in a medical academic library, and my current living situation i couldn’t have planned better if i tried. (actually, during a reading with my psychic last year shortly after my move, she told me that i had ‘created’ this ideal situation in my head, and made it happen, something she said i have a real ability to do. hmmm.)

on the surface, it all seems pretty sweet. i basically could work this current job until retirement (20-25 years!), after which i’d have a nice pension, and in the meantime, i could buy a cute little house in the volker neighborhood, and live happily ever after, maybe as part of a happy couple, maybe as a single old maid librarian-ish person with a bunch of plants and cats. point is, most people would look at my current situation and tell me i’m set. hell, if i were a normal person, i’d think i was set.

last weekend, talking on the phone with one of my best friends, i told her that i was thinking of doing all that, buying a house and settling down. her initial response was, ‘you want to spend the rest of your life in kansas city?’ when she put it that way, well, um, no. and that question and answer have been gnawing at me all this past week. i mean, it even kinda had before, but i had pushed my doubts under the rug. i figured i could buy a house here, and ‘bloom where i’m planted’, literally and figuratively. a cute little fixer-upper with a decent sized backyard would provide me with the space to do the urban farming thing, and i could work full-time to keep the roof over my head. never mind that i have hated the past two winters here, swearing that i needed to live somewhere warmer (new orleans?). never mind that while i do have friends here, finding freedom-loving sustainability-minded integrally-informed people with decent taste in music (no lady gaga allowed!) here in the nation’s breadbasket hasn’t been easy. never mind the fact that even though i have a good job, it has its pitfalls, namely that there are days where maybe i do 2 hours’ worth of work in an 8 hour day, and those two hours (or four or seven, but never eight) consist basically of my moving bytes of information from one computer to another. and i tell myself that i’m helping out society by giving current and future medical professionals the information they need to help people get healthy, but most of the information i’m moving about is nothing more than folks with a bunch of letters behind their names spouting conventional wisdom, and you can look in any doctor’s office waiting room, or even just take a look at people walking down the street, and you will see how far conventional wisdom has taken us. but i digress…

a couple of weekends ago, my roommate had a birthday party at which one of the guests included a professional psychic. after most of the guests had left, he gave readings for the few of us that remained. in my reading, i got several major arcana cards, which are the cards that indicate major life changes. (the 56 card tarot deck contains 22 major arcana cards. i drew six of them out of the ten cards contained in the celtic cross spread.) the cards i drew included the wheel of fortune, which the psychic told me indicated that something very good was about to ‘fall into my lap’; the magician, which he said indicated that my powers of manifesting were very strong, and i was good at getting what i wished for (which kinda backs up what my regular psychic said last year); justice, which he said indicated that i needed to take advantage of this upcoming opportunity because i passed it by in a previous lifetime; also, the hermit, the hierophant, and the lovers (reversed, which is just my luck) were pulled.

so, what does it all mean? even though i’m more settled down and things seem more stable this year, is it a case of same shit different year? maybe this current job is a temporary situation designed to get my feet firmly planted on the ground before making the next move. but what is that next move? i still want the little homestead where i’m raising veggies and chickens and making my own soap and knitting in front of the fireplace in the winter (some place where it’s not snowing every other day), and if i *must* work a regular job, it’s only for 20 hours a week, preferably in a library setting; otherwise i also make a little money writing about whatever it is i’m doing. i think some really bad shit is about to go down over the next few years, on a planetary scale, and there’s no reason to believe that the united states will be spared any of what might happen.  i don’t want to get all doom-and-gloom, but i think the ‘little homestead’, whether urban or rural, will be the best way to protect myself and whoever happens to be around it with me (because another piece of this puzzle is that i don’t want to do this alone). really, i’m not doing this for that reason, i genuinely love the idea of raising my own food and taking care of my own needs (whether by growing it myself or through barter/trade/etc. with others), and being more in tune with nature’s cycles, and more in tune with other people, and with reality. but there are definitely practical reasons why i’m interested in all this too. so we shall see. as i try to do with all matters, i put all this in the universe’s hands, and wait to see what happens next…

when you find a fork in the road, take it

today i understand clearly, perhaps for the first time, that i will likely never again hold the type of job that is coveted by most job-seekers: the full-time position with medical benefits, paid vacay, paid sick days, and all those other little perks that come along with being a wage slave. it just isn’t going to happen for me. part of that is simply a function of the current economic climate. there are people in my town with masters and doctoral degrees competing with one another for retail and service-oriented jobs. (my degrees are in art and religious studies; seriously, other than teaching, what other job would i qualify for but retail?) to even get an interview at the local university is considered to be a major coup (a coup that i managed to achieve once but didn’t make it past the interview). so it seems that i have no choice in the matter.

yet, because of the lifestyle i ultimately want to live, it is a choice i’m making, a choice to end the futility but also a choice to consciously live a life more aligned with my values. and yeah, it’s obviously also a choice born of necessity. if i still held my last position at kcpl, i would hold onto it indefinitely, especially knowing what i know now, but you know what they say about hindsight. still, as i planned for library school and my eventual career as a professional librarian, part of the plan was that i’d also do this urban farm woman thing. i’d work a few years as a full-time librarian in an academic library to save up for a little fixer-upper bungalow. once i got the homestead into decent shape, i’d slip into part-time work (in this fantasy, i’m not alone; i have a significant other) and raise veggies and chickens and knit and preserve food and teach other people about these things and live happily ever after. well, i think we’re gonna have to skip over the full-time librarian part. therefore it’s gonna take a little longer than planned for the fixer-upper bungalow, but that’s okay for now. i don’t necessarily need to own a place to start growing veggies, etc. i just need the will and a few seeds and some dirt and a windowsill, and i’m in business.

what i do need immediately is a place to keep myself warm, dry, and fed, and yesterday i may have gotten some good news toward that end. i don’t want to jinx it so i won’t go into details just yet. however, if it works out i should be able to afford to volunteer at the integral theory conference in late july, plus save up enough money for a fresh start in the fall. i’ll either go back to kc, or who knows, i could end up in the big easy. meanwhile, this summer i’ll work my ass off and will work towards getting a freelance writing/editing gig set up via elance.com.

for the first time in days, i see a light at the end of the tunnel. i just hope that light isn’t a train coming at me!

is there anyone out there?

yeah i know i’ve been away for awhile. it seems that ever since i left kc, things have gone downhill. things haven’t turned out like i planned and nothing is as i thought it was. right now i’m working 20 hours a week at barnes & noble (although for the next couple of weeks my hours have been cut to 15 a week because of low sales), while continuing to look for employment, either something full-time to replace b&n or part-time as a supplement. there is nothing here in columbia, so i expanded the search to sedalia and back to kc, and that’s not working out so well either. or maybe it would work out better if i were paying attention to what i’m doing: going through my voicemail today, i discovered a message that had been left by an employer in kc wanting to schedule an interview. that voicemail was dated march 1. i called the number back, and of course, that ship has sailed.

and, i have to move out of my current place of residence by the end of the month. the lease is up and my roommate is getting a place by herself, which is just as well. her dog and my cat do not get along at all, to the point where the cat’s home base is my bedroom, with a baby gate at the door to keep them separated. the thing is that i don’t really have the money to get a new place here in town, nor the inclination to sign a lease, since i’m trying to leave, but i have nowhere to go because i have no secure job offers, or even leads really. so i have to find a room to rent, or someplace to stay, someplace that will allow miss sofia to come along. i had planned to give her away, but really, she has been one of the rare rays of sunshine for me over the last few months. i would like to bring her along wherever life happens to take me.

i really feel helpless and alone these days. i don’t feel as though there is anyone i can really talk to, because everyone is involved in their own lives, which i suppose is as it should be. but really, i don’t even feel as though i can talk to my supposed closest friends, which is why i’m typing this out to you, dear anonymous reader. i thought my roommate was one of my best friends, and maybe in our own way we are still close, but she doesn’t have time for me. i’m not a past or potential piece of ass for her. if we do spend time together, i’m either invited along with her other friends, or she invites them along, or she asks me to do something with her and then doesn’t tell me she changed her mind because she found someone better to do. another person i thought was one of my best friends, i haven’t heard from him in months. he never forgets a date, but this year did not even call to wish me a happy birthday, so i guess that ship has also sailed. another close friend, well, there was some sort of farmville snafu on facebook, and she basically dropped me as a fb friend with no warning because i joined some anti-farmville group, as a joke. after being friends more than 20 years, it seems she took her relationship with her fellow gamers more seriously than our friendship. i don’t know. i don’t think i’m a clingy, needy person, and most of the time i keep things to myself, but i’m feeling let down right now. i just need someone i can really sit down and pour my heart out to, without them being on a schedule, without them being paid to listen to me (because i don’t have the money to pay regardless), without judgment or even telling me what they think i should do, but just listen. but that is a luxury i apparently don’t have these days.

so, things will get done eventually. i’ll find another library job that i actually care about in a place i care about and am cared about and it’ll all be fine. but, in the meantime, i have slept like 3 hours in the last two days and i have to get up in 2-1/2 hours to go back to that b&n hellhole (who would have ever thought i would hate working in a bookstore?!). my mind is racing; i can’t even form coherent sentences in my thoughts (which is one reason i’m writing this out, to help with that). i can’t pray and even if i could, i wouldn’t know what to ask for. so hopefully one of you out there reading this (if there is anyone), you can pray for me, pray that whatever i need will be provided for me. funny, because my needs have always been provided for and probably will continue to be taken care of. but right now, i’m not sure how that’s gonna happen.

happy august

yeah, um, i know it’s been several months since i’ve been here. but hey, i’ve been somewhat distracted. this is just a brief update to let you know that i’m still alive and typing.

i’m still in kc, for the time being, although i’m planning to move back to columbia sometime in the next few months. i’ve made an executive decision and this time it will stick (fingers crossed). i’m currently studying for the gre, with the intention of beginning library school at mizzou this coming january. i’ve toyed with the idea of staying here and working full time while going to school part-time. however, i’ve decided that it would be best for me to go full-time and blast through it in three semesters or so. this way i’m not dragging it out for years and can move on with my life, which i still would like to include coursework from the california institute of integral studies. but first things first.

actually, i should already be packing to move to columbia. about three weeks ago, i turned in a letter of resignation at the library, with the full intention of moving to columbia at the end of this month. however, you know what they say about the best laid plans… while visiting my sister, i got up in the middle of the night to pee and didn’t turn on the hall light to go down the stairs. i was watching where i was going, as i didn’t want to step on any kittens, but the last two steps blended into one in the dark, and BLAM! – i was on my ass with a busted foot. it turned out to be a hairline fracture, coupled with a sprain, and as a result, i’ve been somewhat gimpy over the last couple of weeks. however, it is getting better and this week i’ve been walking without my attractive star wars storm trooper boot. i’m hoping the limping will be over by this time next week. anyway…. because of this accident, and the fact that i currently have really good health insurance, i’ve decided to stay around a little while longer. the fact is that i really do like my job at kcpl, a lot, but it’s the main thing keeping me in kc these days. i fell for a reason, and i’m sure i’ll find out what that reason is, but, while it has delayed my plans somewhat, at this point i still plan to go hang out in columbia for a couple of years.

slight change of plans

y’all will have to forgive me (which i know you will). i know you’ve read in past posts how certain i’ve been about my decision to move to cali in january and how i just know that signposts have been pointing me in that direction, blah blah blah. and trust me, i still want to do this with all my heart and plan to eventually, barring some great disaster. and i know the universe helps out those who decide upon direction and firmly believe matthew 6:33 from the new testament, which (paraphrased) says to seek first the kingdom of god and whatever you desire will be given to you. nevertheless, maybe it’s a fear of a ‘great disaster’ that has actually caused me to postpone my dream for a bit.

this whole wall street thing has me more than a little concerned. the way things are going it will be nearly impossible to get student loans, which would be my lifeblood if i went this path right now. also, the idea of moving across the country to a place with an astronomical cost of living with the very real possibility of a major economic collapse on the horizon… i just don’t think it would be very smart at this moment. without all this avoidable (and i believe both major political parties share the blame for this) economic b.s. looming, i would still be planning to make the move early next year sometime. i mean, i keep hearing the words ‘great depression’ mentioned with this current situation. and, as much as i dislike the president, i believe that the fact that he is so involved in trying to resolve this situation when he has nothing to lose and no real stake in what happens is proof enough that we are in the midst of a genuine crisis. therefore, not having any real support system in place in cali at this point, wisdom tells me that maybe i should stay put for awhile. besides, i’m not a multi-billion dollar corporation who can depend on the federal government to bail me out should i screw up on my own out there (not that i would want the government to bail me out).

i have a decent job that i’m happy with most of the time, and there is still the option of library school, with tuition being a lot cheaper (plus i can get financial assistance from my employer). i’m not in love with kansas city, but there are things here i like a lot. i’ve made some good friends here and i am close to family and friends back in columbia. i can do this situation a couple more years, then case out the situation then as far as moving to the west coast to pursue my doctorate at ciis.

california dreaming, part 3: love

the trip last week to the bay area was my first since 1997. back then my world was a much different place. my mother was still alive, as was a favorite cousin who lived in fairfield, located in the east bay. that last trip i also made with the man i still thought i was in love with at the time, and i was hanging onto any little shred of hope that he might not be gay. we had made the trek to the city the previous two summers, having gone through a lot as our relationship morphed from friendship into a romance into some sort of fresh hell. the previous year we had voluntarily gotten bumped from our flight, which allowed us the tickets we used the following year. i had wanted to go to alaska, but he wanted to visit san francisco one more time (perhaps this should have been my clue that he was irrevocably gay :). if this had happened in 2008, i would have just said fuck it and booked the next flight to anchorage by myself. however, this was in the mid to late 90s and i had no sense of self and even less self esteem. so here i was in the city once again, because i didn’t know what else to do. fortunately i loved the city, but still because of personal circumstances, it was a strained nine days.
my trip last week was so very different from that last visit, or the two visits before that. i wonder if i could have made this most recent trip if i hadn’t made the previous trips, which gave me a vague familiarity with san francisco. maybe, but i don’t know. yes, i’ve traveled alone before, but with this particular trip, there was something different in the air, something that was – i hate to say this because it sounds rather cheesy, but it was paradigm shifting for me. i feel like a different person upon returning home, more so than from any other trip i’ve ever taken. i’m not sure if i can pinpoint why this is, other than, first of all, attending the integral theory conference, which in itself could be considered paradigm changing. and then doing the informational interviews, which i had an inkling beforehand that they would likely result in my making monumental changes in my life, and now i’m seeing the ongoing results: i am in fact making plans to make a huge transition in my life over the next few months.
also, and this is not to diss kansas city, but when i compare the two cities, there is no comparison. the trips in the 90s, when i returned home to columbia, well, columbia is a college town that knows it’s a college town. i didn’t compare the two places, because what would be the point? i was happy to return to a slower, sleepier pace. however, kc would like to think it is a big city. it’s a medium-size city that has some big city amenities, but it ain’t big (the sprawl notwithstanding – kc is the 36th largest city population-wise but the 13th largest when it comes to square mileage.). i compare the hustle and bustle of san francisco to kc, and i feel like i’m in a one-horse town now. apparently i’ve turned into a city girl at some point. 🙂 i love kansas city for what it is, and i’ve certainly grown by leaps and bounds having been here. however, i feel like i’ve accomplished what i came here to do, and my trip out west confirms that for me.
san francisco and i have a history, and this trip was also about revisiting that history and then moving on, whether that possibly involved my living in kc indefinitely, or actually relocating to the bay area, or something altogether different (i’m also in the midst of a love affair with new orleans). a couple of years before my mother’s death i was able to bring her along on one of our trips to san francisco, something i am so very happy now that i was able to do back then. i remember her saying that she was thrilled that she was getting to see things she never thought she’d ever see, such as viewing the golden gate bridge from the vantage point of being on the bridge itself. so, on this recent trip, while i never even got a glimpse of the bridge’s orange towers, i did make a point of visiting at least a couple of the spots we had seen together during the 96 trip.
one of those spots was ocean beach, pictured above now in august 2008 and also as it was in august 1996, with my mother trying to keep her pant legs dry. what was really odd for me was when i first stepped onto the beach this time, and looked down to my right toward seal rock and the cliff house. it felt so familiar, like i’d been there all along, and yet it was a bit of a shock, like “am i really seeing this?” it made me really happy though, walking along the beach, my thoughts being drowned out by the waves, but still being able to replay memories of my mother, and my older cousins who lived in the area but are no longer living, and the relationship that first brought me to this place.
upon my return, i told a friend of mine that this particular trip was like visiting a friend that you had lost contact with over the years, but now you were reunited and after a few awkward moments (such as my noticing that there were police everywhere, something i had not noticed in previous trips), it’s like no time at all has passed. that’s exactly how it was for me. i fell in love with the city all over again. and i don’t know what’s going to happen with us this time. i mean, i am planning to work towards a doctoral degree there, meaning i’ll likely be there at least 3-4 years, but what will happen after that? new orleans, perhaps? ultimately the answer to that doesn’t really matter because i’m just going to let the universe play this all out while i watch. however, i’m going to do my part, and not let san francisco slip from my grasp this time. i’m running towards it, and fully believe that it is going to meet me more than halfway, and then some.