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.

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.

The Epic Search for a Digital Camera

March 16th, 2010 | Tags: , , ,

Over the last however many years digital cameras have existed, I’ve owned my fair share. My first was a really old, super bulky, Sony CyberShot. I love the hell out of that thing and while it didn’t exactly die, it just became a nuisance to carry. Digital cameras have been shrinking in size and portability, but expanding on their capabilities. Removing DSLRs from the mix, the Point-and-Shoot cameras have gotten so good that it’s nearly impossible to figure out which ones will be the best choice for my application.

The criteria for what I was looking for:

Point-and-Shoot (P&S): It had to be portable. Maybe not necessarily pocketable, but I didn’t want something bulky. As portable as possible, that’s for sure. I understand that DSLRs take the best true macro shots, it’s simply not in the cards for this gal.

Price: The price of the camera needed to be in the $350 and below range. I wasn’t looking to spend my rent money on a camera. The cheaper the better sure, but there’s an understanding that inexpensive cameras aren’t always very good cameras. Thus why I set the price range a tad higher than what I would truly rather spend (about $200). The name brand models fall in the more expensive range, but the technology that these cameras offer also tend to be better. It’s a cost/benefit analysis in the end.

Macro: This is a must. I needs to do macro/close-up shots. It doesn’t have to do them fantastically or like I said to a friend “I don’t need National Geographic quality pics.” And the statement can’t be more true. I’m less likely going to use the camera for things like bugs, flower, dew drops and the like and more for other macro type shots. Because of this, I don’t need perfection. I just need good. Damn good is ideal, but I’ll settle for good and able.

In searching for a digital camera that had these three qualities I ran into many opinions and articles. David Pogue’s over at the NY Times was the first article I read, many weeks ago. It was an interesting insight into the various feature sets of each individual camera and I looked closely at all of the three he mentioned as the top 3. However, no where could I find that any of them had the macro/close-up setting. I was terribly disappointed.

Next came the google searches on various word combinations in hopes that I night score with finding a nice comparison piece on macro enabled P&S cameras. Yeah, as you can imagine, I found an awful lot of junk and very little of anything that was fruitful. After much frustration, I gave up the search.

Until today.

And then I went on yet another search for macro-abled P&S cameras. A kind friend pointed me towards Steve’s DigiCams. Rather than hoping I find something I went straight for the Best Cameras link. For anyone curious about digital cameras, this site gives you an excellent quick look and separates all the cameras into nice little categories. However, no “does it do macro?” category. /doublesigh

After much searching and some additional frustration I stumbled across Engadget Labs article on the best point-and-shoot cameras under $400. So, first of all, thank you guys at Engadget for giving me the exact kind of comparisons (in shots, quality, gripes and goodies of each, etc) I needed to see and read. After looking at the photos and reading what was said about their first choice camera (of the small number they looked at, mind you), I think I’m going to go with their choice for the Samsung SL820. Now when I have a couple hundred dollars, I’ll be picking this up (and keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t disappoint).

Moral of the story from this entire many month long experience?? Read a lot of tech magazines. Look at the related links. And wait until the expensive camera comes down in price.

A little bit of an introvert

February 17th, 2010 | Tags: , ,

I have these moments, when I really really can use some company. It’s few and far between. I used to believe that there was something terribly wrong with me because I didn’t want to leave my house. There’s a part of me that is truly strange and obsessive. I can watch the same TV show over and over again (see Doctor Who and Torchwood). I can listen to the same album over and over again. I can also do the same things over and over again. It’s a vicious cycle.

When I was younger, living in Los Angeles, I found it so much easier to fill my life with all of these random outings. I planned events and invited people. I made day trips and weekend trips. I flew up north and drove to Mexico on a whim. I went to strip clubs and dive bars on the weekends. I went to Reggae dance clubs on Thursday nights and hung out on rooftops on the weekends. It is only because of these experiences that I have so many stories to tell. I have so many experiences that seem out of this world, and I would never trade a single moment of it for anything.

During this period of my life I found myself up in arms with drama. It never left me. I felt great anxiety and tension. I started smoking at 22 because of the stresses of my life. It never once occurred to me that I might be programmed differently, that maybe my social calendar was to blame. At least, not until fairly recently. I was reading Laurie’s blog on Valentine’s day, and her entry really touched home with me in many ways.

I don’t venture out for long stretches at a time. I don’t socialize in the same ways that I used to. Even as recently as a year ago I was found outside of my home more than I was home. Something changed though. School truly became one of the most important things for me. I set a goal. I wanted all A’s. The only way to achieve this goal was to make sacrifices and dedicate the time and energy needed to get this. I didn’t get all A+’s, but I did get all A’s. This feat is one that I have not been able to cherish in a very long time (3rd grade).

When I cut out cable, I also found that I had a lot more time available to get my homework done, preemptively get my reading done before the quiz/exam/final/paper was due. And now that I’m no longer in school, having recently graduated, I have all of this free time to do as I please.

The choices I made growing up has given me the perfect, and often selfish, opportunity to do whatever I want with my time. I can spend 6 hours playing Bioshock if I so desire. I can go to the gym. I can knit. I can play WoW. I find that as long as I’m willing to give myself the chance to do the things I like (and trust me, I have a billion and one hobbies to divide my time with) and love, and not feel guilty.

I still go out, occasionally. I still find time to socialize and be a part of the rest of the world (outside of the work environment). My tendency now is to limit this to a small number of people rather than large gatherings. I’d much rather have a good 1 on 1, instead of yelling over bar noise. This doesn’t mean that the bar is a bad place to hang out, it just means it’s not my place to hang out.

And so, I quote Laurie, because really, I couldn’t have said it any better myself. It truly is exactly how I feel.

“Listen: I’m thrilled for those who meet someone that sets their heart on fire and makes their life colorful and full. And I’m relieved to see not everyone has to follow my path to be happy. There are so many roads to personal fulfillment, even ones I never expected. I’m happy for all of us, those who fit the bill and those of us who wandered a bit. We create a new happy each day, each in our own way. The woman who chooses to be a single parent. The woman who chooses to divorce and live with her partner without a contract. The woman who marries another woman. The man who proposes to his boyfriend. The woman who falls in love at 63 and meets THE ONE and he’s only 57. Or the woman in Los Angeles who has three cats and a room of yarn and is astonished to discover she is happy all alone, for once in her life she has the say on everything and it makes her heart sing. She feels generous because she now has just enough.”

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??

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.

Oh the rain…

October 13th, 2009 | Tags: ,

The thing is, I actually LOVE the rain! Especially the first rain! Oh the smell of rain and this weird feeling of everything getting clean. Including my car (which has not been washed in far longer than I care to admit).

But if there is one thing that can throw an entire population off kilter it’s introducing some weather to the daily routine. The thing that cracks me up is the fact that we were WARNED about this. The weatherman has been telling us for days that the storm was coming (and no I’m not referring to Colbert’s homostorm and I’d like to the absolutely hilarious parody video he did, but I’m blogging from my phone… And google is your friend) and that it was going to be a bit of a doozie! High winds, torrential rain, flash flood warnings, you name it, we got it.

Every year we go through this here in Hell, California. Every. single. year. It’s really not different than any previous year, except the day apocolypse begins. And every year it’s truly the end of the world for folks. They just can’t remember what it was like less than a year ago when it was, you know, raining last.

See, people in California act like they’ve never seen rain before. It’s a day-ruiner. They frantically drive so close to the back of your car that I could tell you the dood’s hair color, from looking out my rear-view mirror… In the rain… And through the gook of not having washed my car in something close to forever (dark brown, btw, guy who rode my ass all the way into work).

And it’s not just the rain or the weather change that seems to throw people off, but the severity of the change. It was over 100 degrees not that many days ago (couple weeks) and thus some folks are still stuck in that mode. We here in Hell, California don’t actually get the transitionary bit in between weather changes.

I have yet to figure out what the deal is, but I welcome the rain. It helps taper off the allergies and the horrific smoke-filled air (which should be illegal to EVERYONE thankyouveryfuckingmuch). It’s a nice refresh after such a harsh summer.

But really, in case of road issues, stay off the ass of the car in front of you! Cause I’m going to have just as much time to stop as you, only you’re going to use me to help soften the blow… And I’d really rather you didn’t.

Lasted about a week

October 12th, 2009 | Tags: ,

So the blogging thing seemed to last about a week before I found out all these other things that needed to be done. I’ve been gaming a lot, which isn’t too surprising. Been distracted even more. One of these days I’ll actually not feel guilty about not going to the gym and answer the phone when Narilka calls… since, well, I asked that she would.

There’s a lot of stuff going on in my life these days. So much so that I don’t get to spend much time thinking about it. Or too much time thinking about it. Depends on who you are I suppose.

The days when I want to talk to someone it seems everyone’s busy. And the days when I find myself busy, everyone wants to talk. It’s kind of funny how that all works out. Or not surprising. Who knows.

There’s something about a day off when everyone else you know is stuck having to work that just makes the day off even better. I can’t really explain it. Government people and banks have today off. Most everyone else doesn’t. I asked for today off because the boyfriend had it off. The big plan was to go to the pumpkin patch where they would find pumpkins for Halloween and I would stuff my face with cakes, pies, and ciders made of apples and anything else related to the fall.

Alas, the boyfriend’s son came down with the flu, thus quarantining his house. I stayed one night, but didn’t want to test my luck with the plague. With everything going on, this was one of the last things I would ever have expected, but it happens when you go to a public school. It’s far too easy for some parents to write their children’s sickness off and send them to school where they are able to spread their plague to any and everyone else. When really, the best thing would have been to Stay. Home.

I digress.

And I don’t do the things I should do. And I forget to blog. And I forget to read blogs. *sigh*