Growing up is hard to do

September 10th, 2010 | Tags: ,

Some days I see myself as a mostly accomplished adult. Other days I still feel like a ninteen year old struggling to find myself in the omgBigWorld. I one of those “blessed” people (if you want to call it that) who look much younger than their driver’s license says. So for a long time I felt as young as people thought I was. I related more with younger people and their care-free attitudes. I made many adult-like choices in my younger years that afforded me with the freedoms of today.

I chose not to get married young.
I chose not to have children young.
I chose not to have “those kinds” of responsibilities.

These weren’t always easy choices. I wanted the security of knowing someone would be there when I got home. Someone to cuddle on bad days. Someone’s leg to sleep on while on the couch watching movies or television. The usual Hollywood-type home life which doesn’t really exist. I know this, though it doesn’t stop me from hoping for that type of companionship someday. I still hold onto that hope even now that I’m in my 30’s.

The thing is, it always seemed to work out that I didn’t have to worry about actually growing up. I always found jobs in which I could wear jeans. There’s the usual “appropriate for work” aspect sure. No tank tops. No open-toed shoes. For the most part I’ve been lucky in that regard. Few places required that I be forced to dress up for the job, which is something I fear and loathe all at the same time. Nevermind that I absolutely abhor wearing those types of clothes no matter “how good it makes someone look” because that’s all arbitrary anyway. I don’t feel comfortable. I actually feel a bit like a doll on display. Nothing ever fits me appropriately. So it’s much more like being a Cabbage Patch Doll wearing Barbie’s clothes. It just doesn’t work. I’m bigger all in different areas that clothes are truly not tailored to fit me correctly. So things are short in the front, too long at the ankles and my underwear shows no matter how daintily I try to pick something up.

The fact remains that being able to wear jeans and t-shirts to a job has helped spoil me of sorts. I haven’t actually had to do any actual growing up. I mean, I have a helluva lot of school loan debt which will need to be paid off soon. I have credit card debt and my cell phone bill every month. Insurance for my car. Car repairs (which seem to happen a whole lot more now that I’m trying to pay for all this stuff myself and not call Daddy every time something seemingly catastrophic (it’s usually minor) happens).  Those things I’m trying to handle on my own, and I haven’t been too horrible at. It means I have to learn how to juggle priorities and make sure that I don’t forget or negate other responsibilities just because I had to fork over all that money for yet another car repair (I’m looking at you $129 diagnostic fee for a check engine light).

In the midst of all of this grown-upy stuff that’s going on there’s the other side. That part of me that would love to live with my dad and not have to worry about stuff. I could have a job and a room full of yarn and it won’t matter to anyone but me. I can sit there and knit all day, get a job where I only have to work 3 days of the week and screw off the rest of the time. Dividing my time between WoW and knitting/crocheting. It would be a fabulous life.

And then I remember I’m 32.

Every now and again it hits me, that number. It reminds me that I’m not a kid anymore. That the option to live with my father is no longer an option. That I can’t opt out of being a grown up. There’s no check box to choose not to be an adult. I’m an adult, like it or not. Some days, it doesn’t seem very fair.

Don’t get me wrong. I can’t go back to being a teenager. All that angst and woe-is-me bullshit is too much. I can’t handle feeling like everything is the end of the world. Intelligent people, even mildly intelligent people, suffer from this. There’s something going on in there and the world can’t touch us, but it can kill the ever living shit out of us and make us cry and I’m going to call every single friend in my phone just to tell them about how the world is out to get me and omfgWHY!!?

See what I mean? That stuff there, I don’t miss. I remember feeling exactly like that though. I remember feeling as though I were this altruistic saint of a human, but really I was selfish and wanted everything my way. I still kind of think this way, I’m just better about actually being altruistic instead of just pretending to be that way.

Every now and again I’m struck with the reality of being an actual living breathing adult. When I look at the terrible state of my teeth and fear that I won’t have any of my own if I put it off much longer, kills me. Makes me cry sometimes. Who has the money to fix that kind of damage?! And why the fuck didn’t I listen to the dentist more when I was younger? Oh wait, I did. I brushed, flossed some, used mouth wash, etc. I did almost all of the things I was supposed to do. Oh right, genetics. Damn. Came to bite me in the ass did it? And so I weep over my teeth because that’s a bill no one but me can fess up to. I can’t blame my dad for my shitty teeth. He didn’t not brush them for me. I didn’t brush them. I didn’t take care of them. I didn’t pay attention all these years as they were rotting in my skull. And now, they have to be pulled and I’m faced with the growing reality that it’s not anyone’s fault but my own. I’d like nothing more than to blame someone else for it, like a teenager. It can be someone else’s fault, right?? I can blame, that guy, or that guy over there… and the people will smile and nod and think that I’m losing my mind.

Then there are those even more odd moments when I hear football games at the local high school (because it is right outside the window, and I wish that were an exaggeration) and I’m transported back to a time when I enjoyed going to those things. It was never about the sports, but about the socializing. I’ve grown so anti-social over the years and it seems to be getting worse as times goes on. As I get older the more and more I want to hide away and not look or talk to another human being. I see the high school kids walking down the street and there’s a pang of jealousy at their youth. A part of me that thinks about my tattoos and reflects on the reasons behind getting them. Did I get them for the attention? Do I want people to look at me and think “Oh, she must be cool” because of some deep-rooted desire to make up for all those years when I was just a face and no name in high school? It’s hard for me to know the answers to these questions. But they are fleeting thoughts that pass through my head. I wonder if people see me in the car and think if I’m a poser, or an idiot, or a retard, or question my age, or think I’m just some “kid”. Then I’m reminded of my adulthood once again while pushing the cart up and down the aisle of the grocery store making better food choices and those passing thoughts don’t matter again.

Until the next time.

I see my anime collection and I never get the urge to watch a single bit of it. I look at the files on my computer or at the VHS tapes and even some DVDs in my collection and there was a point when that stuff was very important to me. I know nothing about Naruto, and could care less about Dragonball Z. I didn’t pick up a love for Pokemon until well into my adulthood. I wonder if I’m clinging to some tiny portion of my youth. I don’t find the new animes worth my attention or time. I have no energy to be bothered by the anime and cartoons I once enjoyed. Is this me growing up? I kind of miss being young.

I’m reminded, constantly and unintentionally, of my age. I see people around me have baby after baby, or plan for weddings. Things that I didn’t want 13 years ago, but do sorta want now. I’m the oddball of the bunch. Friend’s have to plan days and nights around their children. Finding a babysitter is important. Making events that might not necessarily be kid-friendly, be kid-friendly because it’s that or don’t socialize at all. The priorities have shifted and I missed the train. I’m still 20-years old with no real responsibilities stuck in this 32-year old body wishing for someone else who’s like me. Some exist, just no where near where I live. Friends who love and play video games as much as me. Who, even if they don’t like or play WoW, don’t fault me for the quantity of time spend playing it. Or the importance of it to me.

I have those friends, who are close-ish in age. Just not a single one of them live near me.

So I’m reminded of my age, time and time again. It’s a hard reality to swallow, when the thing you want most is just to find someone with whom you share an interest in. I don’t mean a soul mate, but a friend. I have many, online, but few within driving distance of me. It makes me sad some days. Other days I have the strength to shrug it off as me being emotional and “girlie”, but the truth remains.

This isn’t what I expected out of adulthood. Too bad there’s no turning back.

Internet Trolls

July 27th, 2010 | Tags: , , , ,

Normally I take a pretty passive approach to internet trolls. I mean there are the really creepy type of internet troll who take video games far too seriously. Then there are just the general forum douche bags who try to start flame wars with people all the time. I get a slew of weirdos in the comments and they seem to be screened pretty well. Occasionally a loan offer, or gold Rolex offer will slip through, but they’re pretty easy to spot, the spam I mean. So they get marked as spam and sent to the spam folder of comments.

It’s the real life trolls that seem to be a problem. I don’t often write here, but when I do it’s usually just some silly diatribe about whatever was on my mind at the time. I write about Doctor Who a fair bit, and recently it’s been about not using shampoo and trying to find a day to change my sleep schedule. There’s a decent amount of writing about my crafting, from knitting to dyeing yarn. All in all it’s a pretty standard personal online weblog. No big deal.

Note: All of the screenshots can be clicked on for full image and they should open in a new window.

But then you get people like this:

My initial reaction was to question who the hell would say something like that about that post. I then realized that the poster was hiding. Hiding behind a fake website address and a fake email address. I was ready and willing to just shrug this off as some random commenter that thinks they know me. Apparently they’re my friend, so it had to be true, right? Wrong. At first I thought this was an old friend, who often stops by to read but rarely comments. There is the occasional comment, but it’s not normally something so negative. It’s okay, she could be pissed at me. It happens. The part that I take the most offense to is the fact that they claim this post is “so full of lies” as though they know intimate details about my life. How does one write a personal blog entry such as this one and it be something that is purely lies? I mean, I could fully understand if I were writing about someone else’s life and got all of the information incorrect. Except that I’m writing about my own high school experiences. I’m writing about what I went through. The post is told in a very quick, short sentence way because that’s how it was back then. Everything was in spurts. I didn’t realize that my experiences could be trivialized and turned into a fact or fiction type situation. I didn’t make any of this up. This is the way I felt when I was younger. No question. Unless there’s something I’m missing here and someone else lived that portion of my life for me. Could be, I suppose. You never know.

Then to turn around and claim that I’m “trolling up sympathy and made up drama.” Um, wow. I wasn’t trolling for sympathy. I was sharing my experience. Which, according to the other two commentors, seem to mirror their own experiences with themselves and family members.

“Get up off your ass and do something with your life. That is the entire problem.” You’re assuming I don’t do anything with my life. You’re assuming that I don’t have anything else to do with my time. I wasn’t speaking about current depression or problems, but it seems that basic reading comprehension levels aren’t needed before posting asshole-y comments on people’s blogs. No big deal. I’ll “get up off my ass” and figure out who the fuck this person is.

Oh, and this definitely gets better.

I have the IP addresses there in the comments. So I followed them back to the website that does my analytics for me. I then looked back and found the most recent comment and IP address from July 10th.

Wow. 6 actions. And you came from a direct link. Interesting. I then clicked on the IP address link you see there and this is what it gave me.

Excellent. I now know that the commenter is from Southern California. Their IP address shows Sherman Oaks, California. I also see they’re running a Mac, and google chrome at a pretty decent screen resolution. Must have a Macbook Pro. Nice. Oh look at all of that activity linked to this person! They seem to read a lot, even if they don’t always comment. Also looks like the other IP address matches the first comment. Funny how that works. Let’s click on that ARIN link up there towards the top and find out who this IP address belongs to.

Hmmm… interesting. Brandissimo Inc. I wonder what a google search would yield for “Brandissimo”. Let’s find out what shows up for me! I imagine if you did your own google search you’d find something similar.

Huh, lookit that! It’s a name I somewhat, if not vaguely recognize. Not who I thought it was at first, but alright. Let’s see what their site shows or says. Maybe there’s someone else who things I should “get off my ass and do something with my life.” Maybe I pissed someone off in the passed. Let’s look. Going to the Brandissimo! website gives you some weird flash thing embedded into the page. I click on the people link to see who all works here.

I cut all of the rest of the junk from the surrounding area and captured this bit. Now, there are 4 other faces you see there. And this company could very well have an army of employees underneath them, one of which is using company time to troll my website and be a complete dickhead. But I don’t know this, nor will I bother to get too far into it. For now I see that the only person who’s name is even remotely familiar is one David Gagne.

Apparently me and David were once really good friends (I hardly knew him at all). We apparently went to high school together (Um, nope) and ran with the same people. It seems we were so close that he knows without a doubt that all of my depression talk was fake (Again… nope) and made up to garner sympathy from the internet masses. All 5 of you who read… when I’ve posted a link to tell you to read.

Let’s see what the truth really is. David Gagne came across as an arrogant computer guy way back in the day when I still worked for Healthcare Recoveries Inc. I truly cannot remember a single personal conversation we ever had, and well, I don’t even remember the professional conversations we may or may not have had. This isn’t really a story about why I stopped working there, but I was let go. I think officially on the paperwork it said “Improper employee conduct” but really they found I was writing on Opendiary, printed out a handful of my entries and fired me for them. Whatever. I hated that job and only stayed for the money. They did me a favor. I haven’t looked back. I had some rough patches in life and still do, but there is something very important that I learned from working there and getting let go… I never EVER wanted to work in the computer industry as a professional. Ever.

Now mind you, this isn’t about starting a shitstorm, although I imagine the link backs might do that. Also putting up all of the screen captures and what not. This isn’t about Brandissimo, which I know absolutely nothing about. Let’s face it, I don’t even know anything about David himself. I hardly knew anything about him back then, so why would I care to know anything about him now. Here’s the thing, between the various social networks, there’s a whole lot of stuff I really don’t give a shit about. I don’t care about the dumb games people play on Facebook, so when I see someone post something on their wall, I block the app. I don’t care about the quizzes, so I block those too. I don’t, however, go to the people’s FB pages and tell them that they’re lying and saying stuff (taking quizzes, playing games) to garner sympathy. I just ignore it.

So here’s my plea to you, David. Go away. Leave me alone. Follow the golden rule we were all taught when we were little kids and just keep your comments to yourself. We were never friends. You knew me some 9 years ago back when I was interested in doing database administration work and the employer we both shared was willing to give me a shot. I got in trouble for blogging stuff on the internet and lost my job. Who cares. Is your only measure of success to have a lucrative career in the IT world? Cause it’s not for me. I’m not interested and I don’t care. My life took a huge turn in a different direction the day I walked out of those doors. I never looked back, and maybe you should do the same. I can’t even fathom what your interest in my life is, and why you feel the need to comment so harshly about things you know nothing about. You have no idea who I am today or in the past. We were never friends. Do you understand this? I don’t know what planet you’ve been living on or why you believe we were ever friends, but outside of your blog I know nothing about you, and truthfully, don’t care.

So stop reading. It’ll spare you the need to write nasty little snide remarks about the validity of my personal experiences, and it will keep me from having to spend a couple hours of my life sharing how I figured out who it was with the world.

The Doctor, Vincent and Myself

Depression is a sticky situation. People often assume that it affects women. That it involves a lot of sleeping and apathetic behaviors. Or suicidal thoughts. The public is allowed to eat up whatever the media feeds them, but the reality is that depression is far more than just over-sleeping and threats to kill yourself.

I remember back in high school, the earlier years and possibly even starting in Junior High, having many terrible, suicidal thoughts. This wasn’t just the run-of-the-mill a-boy-doesn’t-like-me type of upset. I was saddened by who I was and the idea that I would never be better than I was at that moment. I had few friends and even fewer with whom I held close enough to know any different. My mother spent many years telling me that I was fat and made ugly devil faces when I was angry, high school only compounded on this horrible self-image that she helped create.

I had a best friend whom I spent most of my time with. I had people I was close-ish too. I had others I hung out with. I was social. But I always felt as though no one really understood me. No one “got me” in the way my best friend did. So when we’d fight, I’d hide. I didn’t want to answer the questions about why we, normally inseparable, weren’t eating lunch together. Why we weren’t running around spouting off lines from Shakespeare at each other as though we were somehow transported in time. Coupled with the lack of boy attentions, the fact that I didn’t like my boobs and a discomfort in my body, and the voice of my mother telling me how fat I was all the time, depression quickly set in.

I spent some time self-mutilating. I wrote initials on my ankles and wrists. I used needles and razor blades. I covered it up. I hid the scars. Today, almost all of it is gone and insignificant. I’m definitely grateful for small favors, including the one where I had no idea how far down I needed to go to make things permanent. I also had thoughts of suicide. Many of them. That I was tired of the laughing and the pointing, and the snickering behind my back. The way people talked about me, or the way I perceived them talking about me. The rumors that were spread. The general cattiness amongst the girls. The genuine need to destroy any and all things good in each other’s lives. It was far too much for this girl to handle most days.

I wrote letters. I hid them in the wall. I doubt my dad ever knew that I made that little hole in the closet to hide those things. I wrote many letters explaining why I was willing to do what I thought I wanted to do. I thought about it all the time. Planned different ways. There was even this particularly bad curve off of one of the major highways, and along the curve was this huge billboard in the middle of lots of underbrush. I often considered how fast I would have to crash into that billboard in order to make sure that it “worked.” No sticking around for the hurt and pain and endless sympathy and stares later. I knew that if I was going to do it, it was going to be for real.

I obviously didn’t do it. I’m here today writing this. The thoughts are there super rarely and often following something catastrophic like people at work treating me shittily and me being threatened to kiss some ass or I’ll be fired. But y’know, no job is worth that much stress. Pretty much ever. And if I were let go, it might be better for everyone at that point. I digress.

Last week’s Doctor Who, er, actually, two Saturday’s ago, was Vincent and the Doctor (this is the British airing date, as I’m fairly certain the U.S. is about 2 weeks behind, though I don’t know because I see them as they come out and am thus on U.K. airing time with the Doctor Who episodes). The episode itself is about Vincent van Gogh and the imaginary things he sees, but the deeper bit of the episode was the personal demons that Vincent was struggling with.

I’ll spare the details, for those in the U.S. who have yet to see the episode, but I cried. A lot. I watched the episode again last night, and again, I cried. There is something so touching and real about the end of the episode. The fact that depression often takes hold and doesn’t let go. That Vincent suffered deeply and still gave to the world so much beauty and art that there are few words to express this. Even as the authors of the episode try, the truth is, he can’t have known. Vincent that is. I can’t imagine what his life was like. I can’t imagine the pain, or the torment… or the suffering. But I can empathize. And wish for a Doctor like my Doctor to go and show him.

If there is ever a moment in your life when you’re faced with someone who suffers from depression, watch this episode. On it’s own compared to the rest of the season (or past seasons) it wasn’t the best. But stand-alone, it was touching and real. There are many of us who can related to any of the three of them (Vincent, the Doctor or Amy).

Now let’s move forward a little bit more. Sunday’s Postsecret was a particularly good one. I’ve reached the point where I don’t often read Postsecret anymore. It’s blown up and it’s no longer about secrets, at least not in the same way it used to be. But there was a Golden Gate Bridge secret. Then photos of people asking the poster not to jump. Then an email about someone who, upon taking their first walk across the bridge, saw “ribbons and messages along the way”. It was touching and to someone the person who sat on the bridge, it was very real. All of it was. It happens all the time. Someone, somewhere, has taken their own life, and it’s devastating and sad.

I could have been one of them.

For those in the U.K. needing help, not just for people who have depression but for family members and friends, check out BBC’s Headroom to learn more about depression and resources available to you.

For those in the U.S. check out Hopeline or  Call 1(800)SUICIDE [1-800-784-2433] for help, day or night.

No ‘Poo has gone viral… almost

April 15th, 2010 | Tags: , ,

Part One

The other day, while on Facebook, a friend of mine linked an article about how to clean your hair without shampoo. I read through the article, and then decided to read through a handful of other articles (there are 5 different links in there, if you’re curious about what I’ve been reading) before making a decision about this process. When I turned around and shared the link with my own friends… I won’t lie, I was surprised by the amount of interest from so many others. At least 3 other people relinked the same article and there were TONS of comments on everyone else’s posts as well as my own (and by ton I meant more than 4).

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m internally a hippy, even if on the outside I refuse to wear patchouli or burn incense ALL the time. I don’t smell like sage, and I don’t own a single skirt that goes to my ankles. But I am interested in decreasing my own personal carbon footprint (to be PC about it) as well as decreasing the quantity of junk I put in my body as well as what I put on my body. There are a hundred different reasons for a thousand different people, but mostly it’s because I’m tired of having weird unexplainable crap happen to my body. It’s time to make my body a place of zen… again… like when I was a little kid. It’s my own little personal biosphere, really, when you think about it. Why not make it a happy place instead of an always conspiring against you place. And yes, my body is constantly conspiring against me.

Going No 'Poo!!In almost all of the pictures I’ve seen about what people’s hair looks like, the styles all seem to be of a short nature. I have absolutely nothing against short hairstyles, but I do not have one of those. My hair, at the longest point, goes to the middle of my back. I believe this poses an entirely different set of rules and processes while going No ‘Poo. Like my hair did not feel “de-greased” when I used the baking soda mixture. I used it, rinsed, used it, rinsed, then finally broke down and used a teeny bit of shampoo to actually degrease my hair, used the baking soda again.

Now here’s where my crazed yarn love and small stint in dying comes into play. When you dye natural fibers (like wool and silk), you need to make sure the dye is acidic. It is also suggested that you use similar ingredients as the ones mentioned for the “conditioner” portion of all of this. To balance the pH of your hair and bring it back to normal. So instead of using apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (which is hard to find sans sugar and other junk in it), I have citric acid crystals (or powder). You need a lot less of this in your conditioner mixture, but it accomplishes the same thing as the vinegar and lemon juice. It also has no scent or color what-so-ever.

I noticed a definite difference in the texture of my hair when I put the “conditioner” in my hair and let it sit for about 15 seconds or so. After rinsing it out I finished my shower like any other. The real interesting stuff seemed to be things I noticed after I was dressed and dealing with my hair outside of the shower setting.

Even with shampoo and conditioner, when brushing my hair (yes while wet… yeah yeah, I know the warnings and I don’t care) I often had tangles. With the baking soda/citric acid combo, I had not even one tangle. This may have been a fluke since it really is only the first day and I have nothing else to compare it to, but if this is a trend that will continue, my hair and head will be happy for the change.

On a typical shampoo day, it takes somewhere between a half hour and an hour to deal with my tresses. That includes putting some sort of shiny-fier if I’m going out and want extra shiny hair, blow drying and flat ironing for lack of fly-aways and style. Half hour is pretty generous for short timing, as it’s usually much longer. My hair always seemed to hold gallons of water even after I had towel-dried and even somewhat air-dried my hair. However, with the No ‘Poo process I had none of this. My hair started to have the dry-flippy bits within minutes of towel-drying. Also, blow drying AND flat ironing took half the amount of time it normally does. Half. This is mind blowing. I decided on a hair style that requires me to actually DO something with it all the time. It was a poor choice, but a cute hairstyle. What’s a girl to do?! Apparently, ditch the shampoo and you are blessed with you time being yours again.

Another thing to note is that I have dry scalp. It flakes like dandruff, but isn’t dandruff. But I have super oily hair. It’s really quite the conundrum. It doesn’t even make sense!! Until I read through so many things regarding the detergents in shampoo. I understand the biosciences of the body and know that my scalp is working overtime to adjust, but I’m stripping everything with shampoo. Got it. While my scalp is still noticeably dry along the hairline, there was no flaking. No flaking while blow drying my hair. No flaking when brushing AFTER it was dry. No flaking the next morning (aka this morning).

Again I point out that this is all stuff that stuck out for me. Things I definitely noticed without realizing that there might be a difference. I know there’s a detox period of about 2 weeks in which my scalp still produces the same quantity of oil as it was when using shampoo. So I might find that I’m “shampooing” every other day for the first couple of weeks while I try to keep my hair from turning into a fire hazard.

I will keep you posted on the progress and changes. I figure there will be complaints at some point about the process, and I will gladly document those too.

There was a long pause…

February 13th, 2010 | Tags: , , , ,

It was more like an abated breath. At least that’s what I’m going for.

Life has decided to dish out the dirties to me this year. New Year’s weekend I got stuck with that cold/flu thing that basically sucks. Anyone notice that all of the cold/flu things going around lately pretty much suck? That it seems there’s no end in sight and your friends and family members decide that sharing is caring? Yeah, well, I’ve about had it with getting that gunk.

In other news, I have found myself in the possession of a nook. I only received it today, but already I’ve plowed through half of a book. Alright, it doesn’t really count as a book since it’s a tiny little thing. I imagine the physical copy is a quick read and that I could have just sat down in a bookstore and read through it, but I’m sure I’ll find the information invaluable as time goes on. I have yet to put any of my own content on there (PDFs or otherwise) so we’ll see how that turns out after I get to that point. I need to find my other microSD card… one is in the camera and the other is… well, I’ll find it eventually.

The nook was quite sluggish at first, which I expected from all of the reviews. I also knew that there was an update that helped with this little problem. It has and it did. I’ve never played with a Kindle, so I have no point of comparison, but I love it already. I’m enjoying how easy it is to read on. I like that I was able to take it to the gym, prop it up on the little shelf in front of me, set the font to the biggest it goes and read while running/walking on the treadmill. This in and of itself satisfies my multi-tasking ADD self. Okay, I don’t really have ADD, but it really does help. Makes me feel like I’m getting to do something WHILE at the gym. And reading books are on the agenda of “Things to do More Often”.

I’m happy with the purchase, even if my car decided to take a digger and cost me $700 to repair. I don’t regret the nook. I do, however, need to set myself a budget so I don’t over spend on books. Like $20/pay period or something. Or only buy a book after I’ve read one. Who knows what I’m going to do. I do have a ton of them on my computer to upload, so we’ll see how that goes.

In other news, I’ve decided to take my ever growing ass to the gym. I keep gaining weight, which makes me more depressed about being overweight, which causes me to stop at Chipotle, In & Out, and McDonald’s far too often. I need to limit this to once a week or less. I need to make hitting the grocery store a bigger deal.

Spring is starting to make it’s way here, and losing my car yesterday and being stranded meant that I walked to the gym and walked back. I also walked the mile or two to pick up my car. It was good for me and I needed it. I didn’t, however, need the honks and catcalls. I mean really people, grow the hell up already.

In other crafty news, I’ve started working on a pair of socks from Wendy‘s older book, Socks from the Toe-up. I have been wanting to make socks from this book for a very long time, but I’m such a self-striping/hand-painted yarn whore that I never picked up any skeins of sock yarn that were less… variegated. I have picked up some wool yarn from KnitPicks as well, so that I may start on some new amigurumi projects.

I’ve had bad luck with patterns, and I think I’m going to start working on my own patterns before I invest the time in another ami doll. There’s just too many variables that don’t seem to fit. Numbers that are off, stitch counts that don’t match when having to put pieces together. Ah well. Photos of the new doll are after the cut. They’re kind of fuzzy. 🙁

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A Year in Review: 2009

December 31st, 2009 | Tags: , ,

So much has happened this year that it makes you wonder what might happen in 2010. The sentiment that seems to be the majority amongst friends and family is that 2009 sucked really bad and 2010 has GOT to be better.

Let’s see what 2009 had in store for me.

Good:
I graduated college.
Visited Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, and Vancouver, BC, Canada with my best friend.
I got an Xbox 360 from someone who must really love me.
I got to visit England.
My kitty is healthy and continues to be spoiled.
Continued to be a non-smoker.
The generosity of strangers, friends and family is astounding!

Bads:
My car kept breaking, and my windshield needed to be replaced.
I needed to talk to a counselor to make it through a semester of school.
I had a friend lose her husband.
I spent 8 months looking for a job with no luck.
I got a $0.27 raise for my 4th year of employment.
I spent too much of my time being pissed, angry, and altogether face-stabby.
Spent too much of the year  taking birth control pills that threatened to give me major heart problems before it was detected.
Student loans started to go into repayment when there is no additional money (nor jobs).
California has really poor management skills and pissed all of the tax payer money away. *sigh*

So needless to say, I’m one on board for the Eff Off 2009!! boat.

Everyone has resolutions of some type, even if they don’t call them resolutions. Here is my semi-predictable, and hopefully possible list.

Goals for 2010
Read more books.
Go to the gym regularly.
Eat better, but never deprive myself of my personal food joys (just in moderation).
Eliminate all of my credit card debt (this one I’ve been working on, but I want the only debt I have to be the student loans before the end of the year).
Work on projects that I’ve been thinking about but keep putting them off.
Dye more yarn.

That’s about it. What about you guys? What are your hopes for the new year??

The REAL Holiday Spirit

December 4th, 2009 | Tags: , ,

So people often ask me why I don’t like Xmas and all of the holiday hooplah. I generally take the easiest way out and just say I hate crowds. Most people accept this answer as they fully and completely understand. Really, there are a handful of reasons.

Tiny History Lesson
Christmas (which will from here on be referred to as Xmas) was originally a Christian holiday as a means to celebrate the birth of Jesus. According to wiki (which I know is not the best source of information), the term “Christmas” is actually a mashing of Christ’s Mass, and totally makes sense. There’s actually a lot of interesting information on Wikipedia on Xmas.

Current Day
That being said, my dislike of the holiday has nothing to do with my lack of religious beliefs. Taking away from what the point of Xmas was originally, it has become a bigger and bigger cash cow for retailers. The list could go on and on about all of the scams, or even the downright rip-offs, of price inflation for the appearance of sale prices. Blah blah blah.

It’s more than that. This time of year boasts having “goodwill toward men”. It’s supposed to be about acting better towards your fellow man, and being more nice. Except, this is the time of year when we see people’s real colors come through. The pushing and the fighting in the aisles of stores. The fights and arrests of those who stepped over the line. The mad dash to get “the best parking spot” and nearly running folks over to get it. It’s about driving more angrily. The expectation to be treated with respect is higher, but the willingness to do the same in return is greatly diminished.

This is the time of year in which I avoid public places. I avoid having to drive unnecessarily anywhere, if I can avoid it. I don’t like other people’s disrespect and disregard to be made abundantly clear to me.

This isn’t about people acting as I would want them to act. This is about people who act better the remainder of the year, and from Black Friday on do they forget their manners and resort to overtly childish behaviors. Even saying that is putting children down because many are taught to treat others the way they would like to be treated. What kind of example are these people painting for children? Even if they aren’t acting in this way for their own children, they’re showing others that it’s okay to be that way. And it’s not.

The current state of the economy across the nation isn’t so fantastic. I’m probably on the “lucky” list for still having a job and a roof over my head. California is hit even harder than most with the decline of its own state government, its debt and an ever growing unemployment rate. These are desperate times. To keep their own families happy, they’re resorting to whatever means necessary. In my town, it’s even worse. 4th on the National Unemployment list isn’t something to scoff at, by any means. It means there’s less jobs, less money, and more desperation.

This is exactly the time of year in which we should show each other some respect. Many don’t. This is the time when those who can give a little, does. If you’re child is already going to have a ridiculous TON of presents under the tree, let someone else have the “last one on the shelf.” There’s no way of knowing if that’s going to be the only gift, or among many. It’s not a matter of knowing another person’s situation, but owning your own. Setting limits of what you’re willing to dish out by means of terrible behaviors.

I’m not exempt from acting badly during the holidays. This time of year puts me on edge knowing what’s to come. I avoid going out not because I hate crowds, but because I know myself. I know I have a terrible temper and a BIG mouth. When people are acting a fool toward me I don’t hesitate to spread the filth and make it be known to all how dumb someone is acting. It’s terrible and I know it. I don’t go out because it’s not for me to spread the hate during a time of year when we’re supposed to be kind to each other. Kind. Not loving. Not even accepting. Just kind. So staying in is my attempt at doing my part of keeping my bad attitude and Xmas hate contained within the walls of my apartment.

For those who go out and have to brave the wilds of malls, Wal-marts and shopping centers, remember that you don’t know how little or how much that other person has… so just be kind to each other. Be in the spirit of xmas, the way it was intended.

And I’m going to work on being less bitchy.

Alright, how about some NanoFail instead

November 9th, 2009 | Tags: , , ,

I set my sights pretty high this year for nanowrimo. I wanted to actually write a story this year. I had to put it off in 2007 (even though I started) because of school. Last year (the year of hell) was just far too full of classes and homework and projects and boyfriend and drama (etc) that I didn’t even considering writing Nano. This year was supposed to be different though. I have all this free time now that I’m school-free. I had a handful of projects to finish (for xmas, if you must know) and since the projects I wanted done are now officially done, I figured why not, y’know?

I had an idea. It was a pretty good idea, if you must know. I was mostly excited about my idea. It just happened to be a fail idea, though. Works well in the movies-ish type of way, but no way could it coherently be told in story form. Not to mention that I haven’t actually read a good book in so long that I feared I might resort to using sparkling and beautiful ad nauseam until I hit the 50k word mark. I suppose it is a possibility.

In the end, I was putting off things like hanging out with the boyfriend, or going out at all, to pretend like I was going to do some writing. I wasn’t writing. I was catching up on Greek (on Hulu.com) and knitting. Watching Greek and knitting was way more fun than trying to figure out how to move a story along that was so obviously being forced (which, trust me, is the point of Nanowrimo, but doesn’t mean it has to be that hard).

I debated for a couple of days over whether or not I should keep trying. Just plug along and eventually I would get over the “hump” and the story would flesh out and viola! I’d have another novel on my hands. I just wasn’t feeling it. It just didn’t feel right. I’ve written plenty a nano novel without any plotting, or research, or the like. I’ve also had difficult points where I had to nearly force myself to be bothered to care, let alone to write it out. There are many chapters in my previous nano novels that are “tough” to read (imagine having to be the one to write it!). This year was simply different.

The process of Nanowrimo has changed. What it means to me has changed. It used to be this fun event that I toughed out along with so many of my other friends from across the world. It was a learning and growing experience. It was ridiculous and unnerving. We joked about adding flying ninja monkeys, or killing people off, and it was reasonable. It happened. It wasn’t about the story, it was about the process.

For me, once Nanowrimo became what it is today, people have lost sight of what it used to be like. It used to be about growing as a writer, now it’s about the race to word count. It used to be about telling a story, now it’s only about “having the word count to brag about.” Notice a trend? It’s not a personal journey anymore. It’s definitely not fun anymore. It causes me stress. A large portion of that is because I want to believe myself to be a writer at heart, but really it’s a craft I have yet to perfect (if there is such a thing). Not to mention a craft that I have pushed to the wayside. It’s not something I do all the time. It’s not something I do daily, that’s for sure. So how can I write a novel telling a story about characters I don’t even care about. I don’t even know who my characters are!

I said it before though, I haven’t really been doing much reading either. It’s not that I think I should mirror my writing style towards anyone in particular, but you have to keep your brain primed for the kind of stuff you want to write about. I haven’t read any fiction all the way through in so long I’ve forgotten the last novel I’ve read (within the same year!). I have this pile of books (yes, a large pile) that I’ve picked up over the last couple of years, and they haven’t been shelved appropriately… well, because I don’t want them stashed. I want them where I can see that they’re asking to be read. They’re needing me to look at them and be curious what story is between the covers.

So late Saturday night I grabbed The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. Not the first on my list of must-reads, but it’s on there. I picked this one mostly because it’s about one of my favorite hobbies… knitting (of course).

Maybe if I can open up the reading repertoire it will also open myself up to the better writing I’d like to do. As easy as it is for me to explain why passive-voice writing is BAD to other people, I’m falling prey to it far too much… and it’s annoying.

So this year nano takes a backseat to other things in my life. Including reading, knitting and going to the gym.

Putting Life Back Together

November 3rd, 2009 | Tags: ,

Now that the big decision of “to move or not to move” had been dealt with I’m faced with the reality that I’ve let a fair bit of life slip by the last couple of months. At times I think it’s because I wanted someone else to fix it for me. That going away was going to magically make it all better. Really, it wasn’t. It was a night thought though.

Up until a few days ago life was stuck in limbo. I wasn’t sure what was going on, or where I was going to be. I was wondering daily whether I had made the right decision, or contemplating the severity of… well… all of it. Once the final decision was made (and it wasn’t mine to make, mind you) it felt as though this huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I didn’t have to wonder anymore. I didn’t have to weight the pros and cons. It just was.

Over the course of the last few weeks I’ve been slowly reading through all of Laurie’s blog entries. There’s a funny connection that you can make to a total stranger when they put their entire life on the internet for you to read. It’s so very personal and real. I feel like I know her and that we’ve been friends forever. I’m not delusional, but it just feels like that.

Over many of the months in 2008, and even in 2007, she had yard sales. She decluttered and got rid of things. She stopped buying excessively. She put an end to all things clutter in the home. I know this feeling. This desire to have some semblance of control over the mass quantities of things is one I’ve felt for a long time.

Part of coming to the realization that you may move to the other side of the planet is the idea that you will not have to pack all of your belongings and decide if it stays or goes. And of those belongings, what is worth keeping and what is worth giving away, throwing away or selling in a yard sale. This is completely overwhelming. Completely. The first time I thought about it, I nearly cried. I think I did at some point, but not the first time. The first time made me gasp.

Since I’m not going anywhere and I’m staying right where I am in my tiny little apartment I’m going to have to seriously reconsider the quantity of stuff I have. I tend to keep things because there’s a memory attached to it. I want to remember who gave it to me, the moment in which I received it and all that nonsense. Except, when I really think about it, do I need to keep holding onto stuff that I never use? Stuff that I only occasionally look at and think, “Ahhh, I remember that day” until it goes back into yet another box and is forgotten for another year?

I don’t think so.

I made some progress last night. I went grocery shopping. Not just for tons of food (which I bought) but for stuff that I will actually eat. Another great thing I picked up from Laurie is the “No Dieting” concept. I’m not going to diet, per se, but I’m going to keep as much junk food out of my home as possible (so as not to be tempted) and I’m going to keep stuff I like and is healthy. Even if I eat mostly the same thing every day. So I bought a lot of frozen stuff that’s not filled with mass quantities of sodium and fats. I bought stuff that’s slightly better for me and will keep in the freezer for awhile. These ready-made meals are not for taking to work. They’re for those days when I’m holed up in my apartment and instead of ordering pizza, I’ll grab one of those. I mean, I really need to cut back on the pizza ordering. I actually got irritated that the online ordering system wasn’t working and I had to *gasp* call them!

And so I start the process of reorganizing, and removing a lot of the stuff I’ve been carrying around with me for years. I don’t need most of it. I don’t need much of it at all. It’s time to say good-bye to all those boxes and label the boxes I do have so that I can read them and find what I’m looking for more easily. I want to rearrange my apartment and find a much happier medium between computer, television, yarn and cat.

It’ll be a long process (since I just read that for Laurie it took many months and even years), but it’s going to happen.

And all of this while trying to knit Xmas gifts and write a NaNoWriMo novel. November is proving to be very interesting already.

Harbor of Learning

October 28th, 2009 | Tags: , ,

Working here at the Small Town Hospital, like many other hospitals, the staff have to take these little quizzes to make sure we remember and know about things like airborne or bloodborne icky goo stuff, how to handle fires (electrical and chemical), and a handful of other things. Since I am not part of the licensed/Doctorly/patient-take-carey staff, my quizzes consist of only a handful.

It’s lucrative business. I’m not sure how the whole thing works, or even how well it actually gauges knowledge of anything, but it’s really rather silly. Each employee has to take them yearly.

I can honestly say that I don’t even think they change any of the questions. You have to pass each quiz (which is anywhere between 5 and 8 questions) with an 80% or higher to move onto the next one. At the end of each quiz it tells you which answers you got correct and which you got incorrect. Jot these down, cause you’ll use them later. Now comes the tricky part. Take the quiz again and change the wrong answers (usually they’re True/False questions) and resubmit.

Again I say, I don’t know how accurate it is at actually gauging anyone’s knowledge or understanding of the material. I personally don’t even believe that the questions change over the years.

There is one question, though, that I get wrong every time. Not because I’m an idiot, but because it is genuinely wrong. Taking into consideration that the quizzes and the questions were created many many years ago. And the questions have been slightly modified to reflect the current standards of the healthcare world, some need to be updated.

The question is a True/False. It simply says: The customer is always right. I answer false. False. False. False. Every time. False. The answer to get 100% on the quiz is True. But alas, that is not, realistically, the correct answer.

Working in retail and food service, I remember this mantra being pounded into my head from long ago. As time passed and lawsuits increased, this mentality has changed. The customer is NOT always right. A lot of times they’re not even close to being right. They’re in the “wrong” ballpark and they’re batting a 1000.

All of my schooling has taught me a lot because the field of Psychology is ever changing. It’s so hard to point your finger and say “yes” and be absolutely positive that that is the answer. There’s this grey area. Especially because the majority of Psychology involves the ever-flawed human. Things change within a person and their thought processes daily, hourly, etc. Let alone attempting to take into consideration the vast differences between each of us. We can find like-minded people to befriend, but there is no other person who thinks and feels exactly the same as I do. Or you.

So the “customer is always right” is inherently flawed in it’s very nature.

Consider each person’s level of knowledge. We can all have gone to the same schools, got the same grades and been taught all of the same information, but each of us will remember and retain different bits and parts. Nothing wrong with that. Until it comes down to who is “right” and who is “wrong”. Especially if those are the ONLY two choices. When you put something as black and white as right and wrong into the mix, you throw the proverbial monkey wrench into the mix.

Customer is complaining that they were treated unfairly by staff. Okay. That is their perception. If looking at exactly what Staff Person did, and how they talked and treated the Customer nothing on paper is wrong, does that mean that Customer was truly wronged? Yes, but only in that it is their perception and who are we to judge and decide how a person thinks and feels outside of ourselves. If, however, Customer said, “Staff Person called me an asshole” is Customer then right? If legitimately Staff Person did not call Customer an asshole, this mantra and belief that ‘the customer is always right’ puts Staff Person at fault 100% of the time. Without question. Without investigation. Without fail.

Let’s say for arguments sake that Staff Person did call Customer an asshole. Does it immediately put Staff Person at fault and should then be punished? No. There is always a story. There are also always 2 sides to a story such as this one. What if Customer called Staff Person’s mom a whore? What if Customer threw something at Staff Person’s head while they were trying to walk away from the otherwise heated situation? What if Staff Person had just had enough with Customer’s bad attitude and it was just bad timing? What if Staff Person has now worked two doubles (being on the floor doing patient care for a total of 24-hours) and snapped at a normally regular situation? Staff Person is still human, after all.

As human’s we’re expected to act professional at all times, especially in a service industry such as medical care. The problem is, the customer is not always right. Over the years I have had to curb and tone down my initial instinct to fly off the handle, declare unfailing stupidity, and scream my fool head off. I still have little to no patience for stupidity, but I also have to keep myself in check with regard to these declarations.

And when I am the customer wanting my wrong to be righted, I will gladly accept that I am not entirely right and often working on limited knowledge of what I’m wanting fixed. This does not make me infallible. Nor does it make any of you.