Thursday, November 2

counting my victories

On Wednesday, I decided to treat myself to a cheap and delicious veggie burrito at Taco Time (substitute black beans, hold the sour cream). As I took my first bite into the dry, wheat tortilla and glanced around at my mall rat surroundings, I felt myself squeezed in the arms of unwelcome familiarity.

Nearly three years ago, Gateway's Taco Time was my go-to break haven when I was stuck in the middle of an eight-hour shift, cash-strapped and doing my best to get other people to buy all the things I wanted so badly at Anthropologie but personally couldn't afford. Here I was again. I take two step forward; I take two steps back.

Earlier that day, I had come to the office, only to find that my first-ever story was published in the Tribune--even teased on the home page. Victory at last! This is what I had been waiting (and doing grunt work) for. Right?

Well, the irony of it all came down to a three-dollar meal with hard rice and bad salsa: Shouldn't I have upgraded to Z Tejas or The Dodo by now? There I was, three years after my sartorial selling career: degree under belt, internships carried out, full-time editor position completed, bylines in five local publications --a dream come true!--but still pulling down the same can-only-afford Taco Time wages. And Anthropologie? Let's not even go there. I had even given up my killer discount. The getting-there cycle of a would-be writer is vicious. Talk about some mean deja vu.

It is in times like these that one fully gives in to dwelling on "cons"--also called counting your losses. It took some serious effort to turn my attention to the forward-moving strides I've made. Like I said, I have, in fact, graduated, secured a position in a practically impossible field, and found that some local editors think I'm pretty OK at what I do. Yes, I am patting myself on the back but that's what I need right now.

As such, the pros and cons have weighed in, and here is the loss/win report for the week of Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 2006:


  • Made one batch of terrible pumpkin cookies, after going back to the store to get crucial pumpkin ingredient only to upset stressed-out, tired, starving husband when hadn't even started making dinner and wouldn't go out.
  • House is (still) under construction.
  • Beloved free wireless connection became security-enabled, thus making it difficult to complete work, respond to e-mails and update blog which....
  • After opening on Mom's computer, discovered was PEACH-themed rather than the cute, '80s-inspired, PINK-on-gray look desired; actually more suited to Nan Sibbett.
  • Discovered two favorite bad shows, "The OC" and "Grey's Anatomy," play on the same night at the same time.


  • Made one batch of really good pumpkin cookies. (Mom helped with the frosting, this time, but they came from the same batter. Go figure.)
  • Took broken iPod in only to have it replaced with a brand-new one.
  • As aformentioned, had first story printed in pretty big newspaper.
  • Am gaining ground with other bylines in said newspaper.
  • Made perfect white chicken chili on Halloween and enjoyed watching "Halloween Resurrection."
  • Zack just called to say he hooked us up with a sweet wireless connection.
  • Discovered two favorite bad shows, "The OC" and "Grey's Anatomy" play on the same night, and DVR allows you to record two shows at once.

The outcome: The victories always win. They have to.


Brad K. said...

I too watched Halloween Resurrection but I counted that a loss for me. Dangertainment? I think not.

Brad K. said...

But I'm real proud of you though.

laceyJ said...

Congratulations, Ali! Another Win: You went to Pilates and were able to do that Swan(?) move that was down-right impossible for me.

You keep up the good work!

(PS. I too eat at Taco Time. Nothing wrong with saving a pretty penny!)

Kim said...

Don't worry Ali I eat that exact same thing at Taco Time. And actually I too used to go to the gateway Taco Time but now I have to go to that overwhelming one on State Street.
Did you change your font color because now it is definitely pink?
Congratulations on your story! That's really exciting. I think you should be very proud.
And dito Lacey on the swan dive, that was amazing.

ali said...

And a little embarrassing. :)

Lorilee said...

Ali your posts are so fun to read. ---Especially when it involves good news. Congrats on the story. Utah's best kept secret is now being discovered. Sad I couldn't make it to pilates!

Marta said...

ali, you are adorable! congrats on the story (and the pumpkin cookies). you rule. thanks for letting us crawl into your pretty little mind once in awhile. your words bring a good smile for the day.

sarah marie said...

i love the new look of your blog ali.

Lorilee said...

good work Ali... looks like it's (the blog) coming right along. I did saw the landscape photo yesterday with the grass---it looked sweet too. YOu are definately becoming a pro.