078 - Travel Tips

First things first -- I've been blogged about! My friend Dave wrote a nice blog about my website (and me). That is so cool... it's like a little taste of fame. If you're travelling to Ireland, I highly recommend having him show you around. He is a treasure trove of knowledge, and a wonderful man as well. If you can count him among your friends, then you can count yourself lucky. Click here to visit his website.

Okay, so today's blog... have you guessed yet? Nice try, but I bet you cheated and read the title... yes, it's about travel tips. Mind you, I'm no Rick Steves... I've only been to Europe twice and this will be my third trip, but I have learned a few things along the way:

1) Space in a suitcase is precious. I wear my jeans 2-3 times on a trip so that I only need to carry two pair in my suitcase at any given moment. An easy way to keep them smelling fresh is to toss a couple of dryer sheets into your suitcase. (I guess this tells you that I don't go on many tropical vacations -- it's easier to keep clothes fresh if you don't sweat!)

2) After you wear your socks and undies, there's no need to throw them away (it baffles me that people do that). To segregate them from your clean clothes once they've been worn, store them in those plastic produce baggies you find at the grocery store.

3) If you're bringing an extra pair of shoes, you can store those in plastic produce baggies, too. That way you don't get your clothes dirty, especially if your shoes have mud on them.

4) If you don't want to take a large group tour (which is restrictive) and you don't trust yourself to drive (and in most cases, you shouldn't because you don't know where you're going and you miss out on the gorgeous panorama of scenery around you), I strongly urge you to consider hiring a driver. My experiences have been wonderful. Both Dave (Ireland) and Craig (Scotland) are great guys, they know where they're going, and they will share places with you that you otherwise might not find (Corcomroe Abbey, for instance). It may seem like a splurge, but it is sooooooooooooooo worth it -- you truly don't understand the value until you experience it for yourself. In some places you can take a bus or a train, but you may not have a place to stow your luggage, and you are bound to their schedule -- which isn't always regular in smaller towns. This allows you the flexibility to see what you want to see, and it gives you a true taste of the culture you came to experience.

5) Make a list of things you need so that you don't forget something. I always used to forget q-tips and tweezers, but I have that covered now. My cousin cracked me up today when she said this after I shared my list with her: "You're amazing. Seriously. Totally...if there was a condition called EXTREME organization with a case of the "I GOT THIS SH!T COVERED," you'd be diagnosed with it. You're everything I'm not! And everything I want to be! You COMPLETE me!" I told her she had me at 'hello', lol.

6) Remember that if you are taking hairdryers, curling irons, battery chargers, cell phone chargers, iPod chargers... anything that plugs into a wall, you need to make sure that you check the voltage requirements of the country you're visiting. At a minimum you'll need an adapter so that you can actually plug the cord into the wall. On top of that you may also need a converter. And for god's sake, if you smell a funny odor coming from the appliance, UNPLUG IT... (and no Brian -- it wasn't me).

7) Check your itinerary. I caught some serious snafus early on because I started checking the itineraries. At one point my cousin was supposed to magically transport herself back in time to catch her connecting flight... which left 30 minutes before her first flight was supposed to land. Hmmm... And the second snafu had two people who were originally on the same plane, on two different planes. It's important to check. I've never had problems before, but this time the airlines are doing some serious shuffling.

Aside from other general knowledge trippy things, like taking Benadryl to help you sleep if you're flying overnight, and staying up the next day to adjust your body's clock, that's the best I have to offer. Maybe it's useful, maybe it's just me rambling as I am wont to do... eh.


077 - Thoughts on blogging

This afternoon I passed by the big kahuna's office and saw a guy bent over the conference table. You don't usually see that kind of thing at work (at least where I work) so I did a double-take... In reality he was probably just leaning across the table to point out a statistic, but my mind immediately went somewhere else, and in my scenario the boss said, "Bob... your project is late again... bend over..." Yeah, I have a warped mind.

I've subscribed to quite a few blogs now. I enjoy sitting and reading through them each night, sort of like browsing through a magazine. Last night I ran across something in the Blogger help section that expanded my reading selection even more. A guy named Liam posted that he needed some good blogs to read and sent a call for people to submit their blogs... tons of us did, and I got a new 'follower' out of it (yea! welcome!). Anyway, one thing I saw quite a few times was the comment that people were getting negative reactions to their blogs. Kandee Johnson, for instance, is admittedly quirky, but sooooo much fun, and you can't help but smile as you watch her videos and read her blogs (and she works miracles with makeup, go check out her Halloween series - wow!). I've seen it for myself, she gets some pretty nasty comments from people. It puzzles me why people do it... are we supposed to judge other people's blogs?

The way I see it, if you don't like it, don't read it (or in the case of YouTube, watch it). What you're reading is free, you didn't pay a dime, so you've lost nothing. No one sat you down and forced you to read a blog. Blogs are personal -- they can be whatever the author wants them to be. If you want to talk about how much you hate your neighbor's dog, that's your perogative. If you're interested in the geothermal properties of things that have geothermal properties, great. Blog about it. There's someone out there who will read it. If I have no interest in geothermal properties (and I have to admit that I don't), I see no reason to belittle you for it. I don't really have the right.

People blog to share their passions, they blog to share their trials and tribulations, they blog to connect with people who share similar interests, they blog to promote something... there are a billion different reasons to blog, each of them unique to the person writing the blog. In my case, I moved my blog to blogspot because I hope to connect with more writers. Since I can follow other people's blogs, it helps me learn and grow, because there are tons of useful writing blogs out there (unfortunately, this ain't one of 'em) and I see when they're updated (see sidebar). If you're not a writer, that doesn't mean I won't follow your blog, I'm interested in tons of things, this is like a goldmine for me. (I love parentheses!)

I remember meeting a girl a few years back, when blogging was in its infancy, and she told me I should blog. After she explained the concept to me, I just rolled my eyes at her. Then one day I got reeled into joining Myspace, and I began to blog... not every day, just every now and then. It was scary at first. I was paranoid, then that wore off, and I worried that people would read what I wrote and roll their eyes. I stopped caring so much. On days when I didn't have anyone to talk to, but I had something I needed to say, I would sit at my computer and blog. Slowly but surely some of my family members joined, and it became a way to keep in touch with them. Eventually it evolved into something of a journal, but one that I shared with other people. Occassionally someone new would come along who enjoyed reading my blog, a friend of a friend, or someone who searched on a word that came up in my blog, and it was flattering. It made me feel good that people could relate to what I had to say, and whenever I was down, someone was always there with an uplifting comment. I'm probably jinxing myself, but I have never gotten a mean spirited comment.

Abruptly switching topics... it is SUCH a beautiful day outside. I love this time of year when it's not too hot or (sorry Sarah) too cold. It perks me up and makes me want to get out there and paint the house or pull some weeds or plant a garden. If I had the extra funds I would build another raised planter or two and dedicate it to growing vegetables. I didn't grow anything this year...

Spoke to a co-worker about Habitat for Humanity and he said he and his wife might do it with me. Awesome! Then, as usual, I started thinking about a bigger picture, potentially complicating something that started out as simple... I was thinking of maybe sending out an email at work, letting people know when we're doing it so that we can get a group together. Our company did it once, but I think when it gets to the level of an entire company being involved, I start to feel overwhelmed. If it was a smaller group I'm more likely to join in. I don't know. Is that selfish? Plus, I was browsing the website and it said that if there was a large group they were usually expected (expected) to bring lunch, not only for themselves, but for whoever else is on the crew. Okay now... I can volunteer time and skills, but I can't afford to feed 20-30 people, that isn't what I intended to sign up for... I assume they mean when companies and churches organize and sponsor this activity... So I'll probably just ask a couple of friends and leave the work thing alone so I don't have to talk to HR about sponsoring an event.

Shoot! I never did get around to reading Liam's blog... I got so caught up in everyone else's... Hope I can find it again...

Hope this isn't an omen... I watched a show about home invasions... I had a nightmare about a violent attack... and last night a friend said he was worried that I hadn't returned his calls, he thought maybe there'd been a 'home invasion'... Seriously - when does someone use those very words instead of robbery or something similar... I'll be sleeping with my boyfriends close tonight... Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson... they're a cocky couple of pistols (I couldn't stop myself...)

And MY BACK ITCHES!!! I've had sunburns before... never this bad... but holy cow! I peeled all the dead skin off, and it frickin' itches! I'm like a dog rubbing up against everything so I can make it go away... pitiful...


076 - Real Estate

Today, on a lark, I went onto a real estate website to see if the price on the house next door had been reduced yet. It's not getting much action that I can tell and I think the price is ridiculous for the size of the house. Instead, I noticed that houses in my neighborhood seem to have gone up in value since I looked a couple of weeks ago. That's never bad news.

I decided to look for houses similar to mine, to see what my house might be worth. It's always good to know such things.

During my research I saw a house that was adorable, and inexpensive. It's more of a rustic looking home, in an older neighborhood. Not that they're anything alike, but it reminded me a little of a house I'd fallen in love with in Scotland -- it had a great yard... lots of big trees... green grass... a brick bbq pit... it had built in bookshelves, so I would still have the library that I love so much, and overall, it was cute (though it seems incongruous to call it cute when it's about 200 sq ft bigger than my current house).  It has window units and wall heaters instead of central air and heat... not ideal, but honestly the window units could work, especially since the lot was shaded; I have no experience with wall heaters to know. No garage, but the carport was built onto the house with brick; it's not a crummy carport that will blow away in a strong wind. It's certainly not perfect, but the price was good enough for me to consider all of this, and good enough that I could afford to do some remodeling to correct what I didn't like. I figured I would probably stay in a house like that for two years while I made my financial recovery, and then move on.

I started to crunch the numbers... If I sold my house for x-amount of money, paid y-amount in commission and closing costs, I would have approximately z-amount of equity that I could put toward this house. I could put 20% down and still have money to go toward my credit card bills. Happy-Happy, Joy-Joy!!! And my mortgage payment would go down, too -- not to mention my taxes and insurance. It was golden.

But what was wrong with it?... The ad (literally) screamed, "A GREAT VALUE FOR ''DO IT YOUR SELF BUYERS''.... ITS NOT PERFECT BUT THAT IS WHY YOU CAN BUY THIS 3 BEDROOM HOME FOR ONLY (price redacted)" That raised a flag, but I'm willing to put a little work into a house... just depends on how much... and I have to know that it's worth it.

I emailed the real estate agent to ask. She told me there was some rotten wood and the downstairs bathroom didn't work. She urged me to come look at the house.

Not so fast lady.

I wanted to know more about the house first. I asked her if the rotten wood was just on the facade or if it was structural. I asked if it was due to termite damage and if so, was there an active infestation. I asked if the toilet flushed to a septic tank or to the city wastewater system. I asked what the home would be worth if it didn't need repairs. And finally, I asked if homes in the neighborhood sold fairly well (under normal market conditions). I refrained from asking more detailed questions about the bathroom because I figured she's not a plumber.

Were these questions unreasonable? Were they difficult to answer? I didn't think so. But apparently I was wrong.

She said she "would not know the condition of this home" and urged me to make an offer and have it inspected.

Um.... no. That didn't sound nearly as logical to me as it did to her.

As the real estate agent who is trying to sell this house... seems like you oughta know these things. Or at least be willing to find them out. You might not know if there are termites, but if someone has told you there's rotten wood, or you have seen the rotten wood for yourself, you should be able to tell me if it's easily fixed by putting siding on the house (6k), or if the damn floor is rotted through. You should DEFINITELY be able to give me market information for the area. If this house is only worth 10k more than I'm buying it for, it ain't worth it. However, if it's worth 40k more, that might work for me. And the septic tank question is pretty fucking basic... like knowing if a stove is gas or electric. Seems to me that you aren't hungry enough.

If you were my agent, and the house wasn't your baby, I'd be more forgiving-- then again, any agent I retained would be expected to get answers to my damn questions.

I emailed her back and told her I would pass on the viewing, but thanked her for her time. I should have added that it must be incredibly precious if she is so stingey with it, but I restrained myself (and put it in my blog instead).


075 - Ssssssssssssssnake

I can relate to snakes. I'm peeling and it's nasty. It's not that soft skin that comes off in sheets, it's dry and flaky. Sexy, no?

So here's my shameful admission... I get hooked on the most idiotic, pointless shows out there. First I see a commercial for the show and I scoff at it... 'ha! no way in hell you're gonna catch me watching that show...' Then I get curious... 'how bad could it be?' Then I tune in, because there's always a time when there's nothing else on, and I have a weak moment. And just like that, I'm invested. I have to know how it turns out. Such is the case with My Antonio. I'll admit it, a large part of what keeps me interested is that I like to watch the hot guy with the cute dimples. The reason I'm admitting this to you is that today, they ziplined in Hawaii and it reminded me to add that to my bucket list. I want to zipline. That looks hella fun.

Today after lunch, me and the folks went to the farmer's market, and then to Home Depot. Dad needed something, and it was serendipitous because I needed to get some soffit vent covers, the thingamabob for my toilet, and some blinds. I got the vent covers and the thingamabob for the toilet. They didn't have any blinds I wanted so I'll have to look elsewhere. Phoeey. Got home and the toilet thingamabob didn't work. I actually wrote the model number down and asked, and I think the guy gave me the wrong part because once I flushed, it never came back down... the water just kept going down the tube... very disappointing. The situation went from bad to worse. Then I couldn't get it off to put the other one back on... grrr... I finally got it off (without breaking it -- but I was willing to go there if I had to). I rinsed the old one off and put it back in. Maybe that's all it needed, I didn't see any cracks in it, but there was some slime on it and maybe that was enough to keep it from sealing up tight. Fingers crossed.

So tonight, I get to watch new episodes of two of my favorite shows: Extreme Makeover, and Desperate Housewives. I love EM, the stories are sad, but it's so uplifting to watch people come together to help each other. It reminds me that I want to get out there and volunteer with Habitat for Humanity or an organization similar to it. I like to get out and work with my hands, I just... don't do it. I don't know what keeps me from it... shyness... laziness... fear that I'll be more of a hindrance than a help. I need to find a friend who wants to do this and get out there and do it. I've dabbled a little, I helped dad tear down my grandma's old pump house (where the pump for the well and the well itself were hidden away), and I helped build a couple of fences, plus the things I've done around the house. I like doing it, and when I do it for other people, it makes me feel good.

That is all. Shoo now... shoo...


074 - Lies our marketers told us, a rant

Tried to order a pay-per-view movie this afternoon, because this month there is a rent one movie, get one free promotion. But oh - smack! It ends tomorrow... I already ordered one, better take advatage of that second movie since it's free. Yea!

So I think I'll order Coraline... nope, can't order Coraline until Monday and I can't dowload it to my DVR until Monday either. Hmmm... what else... can't order Ghosts of Girlfriends Past because that's something mom and dad might want to watch on Sunday. Obsessed? I'd watch it for free... nope, can't order that until tomorrow and I'd kinda like something to watch tonight (and the promotion ends tomorrow). Smurf. Confessions of a Shopaholic... not that excited about it but... well shit, that's not playing tonight either. What the hell is playing tonight? The Unborn? Nope. 17 Again? Nope. The Uninvited? Nope. I Love You Man? BINGO! I found one!

I order it. I am pleased. It says I can watch it anytime between 5 am this morning and 5 am tomorrow morning. I feel a little gypped because that's not exactly an 'all day ticket' since it's after noon, but I plan to watch it about 8'ish, so all is well. I go to the channel. It's not playing until 1 am. What the hell?...

Thus begins my odessey with customer service. I hate automated attendants. I am annoyed that I have to listen to their commercial urging me to order fights I have no interest in. I become irritated when I say 'customer service' and then they want to know why I'm calling because I've played this game, unsuccessfully, before... if I say 'pay-per-view' it's going to think I want to order a movie and it's going to either send me to the automated ordering system or to an agent to order a movie... I already ordered the damn movie. I want to know why I can't watch it until one in the morning.

I'm on hold for five minutes before it hangs up on me. I call back. Pissed. Once again I have to endure the commercial. I say 'customer service,' I ignore the voice that asks me what my beef is. The voice is insistent. Then the voice thinks I can't speak so it still demands to know why but now I have to use my keypad. I give up and press the number that corresponds with pay-per-view. It asks if I'd like to order my movie through the automated system for the 'reduced fee' of $1.50 (how generous) or speak with an agent for $5.00. I say (or perhaps I scream), 'give me a fucking agent' and it seems to understand that response. I hold for another ten minutes.

By the time I speak to the poor guy I'm livid... but polite... then he can't help me so he transfers me to another department. I take the opportunity to ask questions. Apparently this 'all day ticket' thing is a little misleading. You watch the movie whenever it's on, it just rotates between channels. It doesn't wait for you, if it starts at 8 and you don't tune in until 8:30, you've missed 30 minutes of the movie and would have to find it on another channel to see what you missed. So I ask about the 'download to receiver' option. Does it download when you order it or does it download when the movie starts playing on PPV? She said it's just like pressing the record button on my remote. That wasn't my question. My question was, if I choose that instead or the 'order now' option, does it download right this second... for me to watch NOW, or does it wait until the next PPV rotation and then it starts to record. Same answer. I gave up. It was crucial if I am to keep what little is left of my sanity.

I guess what this tells me is that only under extreme circumstances will I ever order another PPV movie. It's a pain in the ass and it's not worth it. It's less stressful for me to get in my car and fight traffic than to sit in the comfort of my own home and order it off the internet. Actually - I can rent it from iTunes for a dollar less, I just have to watch it on my computer (or figure out how to hook my computer to my tv, which I know is possible... I've just never taken the time to look into it before).

Moving on.

I went shopping today... I got a newspaper so I can clip coupons, got gas, and then I went to Target where I bought two pairs of jeans in a smaller size (and they FIT), a couple of cute tops and some pajama bottoms to lounge around the house in when the weather starts getting colder, which is any day now... just any day... And I bought groceries. I feel accomplished except that I never made it to Home Depot to get blinds, soffit vent covers and a toilet thingamajig. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Last night on the Tyra Banks show they profiled people who did plastic surgery on themselves... That is some sad, sad stuff. But some good came out of it. I learned that if you eat nuts and berries (minds out of the gutter, pervs) four times a day, it's supposed to reduce belly fat. Her guest explained the science behind it... I've forgotten that. All I retained was that I have permission to eat almonds and blueberries.

And you can use used dryer sheets to rub antiperspirant off your clothes. That's pretty valuable info, too.

In other good news, my website seems to be picking up steam. I'm getting more referrals from other sites, and my average views have been increasing. Yea! That makes me happy... now if I can just get some Followers... LET ME AMUSE YOU!!!! Please?

Okay... well... I have to go watch the clock to make sure I don't miss my movie... hope everyone is having a great weekend. ;)


073 - Randomnosity

Stealing this from Janet Reid's blog because I think it's funny as hell (and so well done!). It's from a book called Bent Objects... or not really, because apparently this one didn't make it into the book. Click here for a trailer about the book (imagine... people make trailers for books now... holy smurf!):

My God it amuses me. They're eating his brain!

From zombie peanuts to cannibalistic cereal... a friend shared this with me earlier today, and it made me laugh pretty hard, too:

Sometime near the end of the day I was thinking I should go shopping on the way home from work. I wanted to find a cute top, and buy the pants I so desperately need for Halloween (and life in general). I think I'm finally at a point where I can buy the next size down, and in any case I'm getting tired of washing the same two pairs of pants over and over again. It's becoming critical...

So here's where I'm going with this... people accuse me of thinking too much. It's not exactly an accurate portrayal of what's going on in my noggin though -- I'm not thinking 'too much,' per se. What happens is five or six thoughts hit me simultaneously, and they're (apparently) a little different than the thoughts other people have. In about two seconds, here's what went down. I thought:

I should go shopping... yeah, that'd be fun. (picturing myself trying on a cute top with magical properties that makes me appear svelte). Hmmm... all day long I've been scratching my back and coming away with pieces of skin on my fingers (my sunburn is peeling)... yuck. I bet some of it's stuck to the inside of my shirt right now... so it would probably stick to a shirt I tried on in the dressing room, too... and if I try a shirt on... and I don't buy the shirt... then someone else might try the shirt on... and what if some of my skin sticks to them... and what if they killed someone - or someone killed them... and pieces of my skin were stuck to their skin, or it flaked off at the crime scene... I could end up in jail, and all I did was try on a damn shirt! I should NOT go shopping today...

I shared that with a friend and he said I watch too much CSI...


072 - Mmmm-Mmmm Good

Nothing much to blog about today, you may go if you wish.

A few months ago I bought a cookbook that took regular recipes and substituted healthier options to create a dish that would hopefully satisfy your cravings and help you lose weight without feeling like you were missing out on your favorites. I thought it would be filled with yummy recipes and I would love it so much that I would cook, cook, cook... and lose, lose, lose... I found one recipe that I liked. I made about five all told, and four of them sucked. One of them actually turned my stomach. If you would like to buy my cookbook from me, drop me a line.

One recipe, in particular, intrigued me and I really wanted to like it, but I knew that the combination of spinach and sweet potato just wasn't going to be a palate pleaser. I took some of their ideas though, and turned them into something that works for me:

1 russett potato, baked
1 slice of turkey bacon, fried and crumbled
1" slice of a reduced fat cream cheese bar
1" slice of sharp cheddar, grated
1/4 red onion, sliced thin and caramelized

I use real butter when I caramelize the onion. I figure I'm saving calories with the turkey bacon, and the cream cheese (which replaces sour cream and butter), and I like using real butter because it tastes better. The onion gives the potato a really nice flavor and it's very, very tasty (and kind of pretty, too).

I bought one of those big bags of potatoes, so I've been eating them a couple of times a week. The rest of the week I eat a Greek salad for dinner. It's partly for weight loss, partly because it just tastes really good and it's easy to make. My overall weight loss is about 13 lbs, but I really want to push it for the next few weeks. I'm facing a camera deadline with the trip... I want to look good in the damn pictures. And I want to be healthy. I've realized that I'm at an age where it's becoming more difficult to lose weight, so if I don't do it now, it's only going to get harder.

I can't believe the trip is only 30+ days away now. I started planning over a year ago and it seemed like it would never get here. I can't wait to get back. I'm sure people get tired of hearing me talk about it, but people who have been there understand... I'm smiling just thinking about it. =)


071 - Smurf THAT

Today's blog is about how to use "smurf" as a curse word. It can (very handily) be used in place of the F-bomb. For example:

Smurf you!
Smurf off!
Smurf that!
What the smurf are you talking about?

But it's also versatile enought to substitute for other curse words:

Look at that smurf!
Hey smurf-hole -- why don't you look where the smurf you're going?!?!?
(or the expletive-laden) Smurf you, you smurfin' smurf-hole!

Very handy in public places where cursing is a bad idea. Like church. (just kidding) Try it... you'll like it...

So I feel like an idiot. I bought some contacts online, just some decorative grey ones for Halloween... and some purple ones because I'm indecisive. They were shipped to me in these cute little bottles, innocuous looking little buggers... misleading, almost innocent. I let them sit on the counter for a while because I didn't want to invest in saline solution, but last night I decided to see if I liked the grey ones or the purple ones better so I decided to open them and try them on. I began to unscrew the top... it wasn't a screw top. I tried to pop the top off... it wouldn't pop. SMURF! I was literally outsmarted by an inanimate object and had to go online to figure out how to open the damn things (http://www.circlelens2u.com/article_20.html if you're curious). So I follow the directions... push up with my thumb? I don't think so... my thumb was inadequate. I pried it up with a nail file.

There are baby spiders on my window screen. There was a little strip of spider eggs, and then all of a sudden there were baby spiders... about 20. I don't know what kind. They look like fish eggs with legs, sort of an amber color, sticky looking. I tried to take a picture but it didn't come out well, even on the special setting for taking close up pictures. Too many things in the background for the camera to focus on, I think. I'm no camera expert. That should go on my bucket list though... learn to operate real camera.

My back feels like leather. Painful leather. I showed it to a friend and she gasped, so as scary as it looks in the mirror, it seems that in real life it's even more frightening.

Writing update: I failed to do anything to my manuscript last night. But I did have lunch with a friend who writes, and she gave me some things to think about, so I'll see if I have better luck tonight.

And this is something to think about, from Janet Reid... she reads your blogs people! She reads your blogs! (which I think is cool actually, whether she reps my book or not, I've learned a lot about writing from reading her blogs -- she's awesome). This is why you should be careful what you write.


070 - RAIN!

Dear Nymphogirl69:

Thank you for letting me know that you posted new pictures again today. My but you are prolific -- in fact, if the messages in my spam folder are any indication, it seems like you add more every single day. I appreciate your willingness to share your photos with a complete stranger, but I feel like I've been leading you on by ignoring your emails -- so here it is -- I'm sorry but I'm just not interested.

Take heart though, opinions in this world are subjective, so keep taking those pictures! I hope that you find the validation that you are looking for, and thank you for thinking of me!

P.S. If you have a brother, give him my email address  ;)

cc:/ Male "enhancement" products

...sigh... don't you just love spam? It's a virtual treasure trove of shit. But sometimes the subject lines can be amusing.

Since I had to wear a bra today, my sunburn was very much on my mind. I took an Advil and it helped, but I'm ready for the pain to subside... Even though I've been putting lotion on my skin (we're all hearing it in our heads so I'll just be the one to say it and get it out of the way -- it puts the lotion on its skin... I said it... moment over), it's been sort of tightening up. That worries me. I hope it doesn't blister... that's the last thing I need. From now on I'll be good. I promise. Or I'll try to be good.

Only 34 days, 19 hours and 18 more minutes until Scotland! And the weather today has been really making me eager... it's been dreary and raining all day and the temperature is probably in the mid-70's... ah heaven -- thy name is rainy day... My cousin has her Samhein costume pretty much put together. Mine needs pants. Or a skirt. Or something. And I need to get down to it and figure out what to do with my eye makeup. I don't want to be over the top, I just want to be alluring... and intriguing... and HOT dammit, I want to be HOT!

Making progress with the edits on the book, still hard to get back into the groove but then again, I was a little obsessive before and it's probably good to not quite go back to that extreme. And speaking of... gonna go get some work done. Toodles! (who else watched Gidget? c'mon don't be embarassed... you know you did...)


069 Part 2 - Fish and ships

Here's my fishie... wait for it, that's just the bobber... By the way, this was early in the day, so my back wasn't burnt yet.

Look at me holding that rod -- I totally caught this fish! No... that's not the bobber, that's my fishie! Isn't he adorable? He shrunk when he hit the surface... he was probably 20 times larger under the water... seriously... (I should have sucked my stomach in...). He was kind enough not to eat the shrimp, so shrimpie got to go back into the water for more, as did fishie.

And hey - I caught a ship, too! (this is the one that looked like a friggin' skyscraper and had the huge wake that would have knocked our boat over if we had been on the other side of that wall of rocks)

So that's the pictoral version of my day. Thank you for watching. You may now go back to what you were doing.

069 - Procrastinating

The agony continues... I took an oatmeal bath last night and that did seem to help... for as long as I was in the water. Once I got out my nerve endings began to scream again... Lying on my back is virtual agony, but I guess in all honesty, on a scale of one to ten, one being a mild headache, and ten being pain beyond anything I've ever experienced, this is anywhere from a four to a six. It's mostly annoying (four) until something touches my back in the wrong place and then MOMMY (six)! I just popped an ibuprofen, so maybe that'll help (by the way, you wanna be really careful about your vowels and consonants in a word like 'popped'... or 'vowels' for that matter).

My back itches, but I'm not going to scratch it... no way, no how...

I have a new sentence that begs a story: "I'm never intentionally rude to people -- but that bitch deserved it." Random sentences like that pop into my head and when I can't get rid of them, I write them down. It's not much to work with, but sometimes those are the ones that surprise you.

I thought I was going to have great blog fodder this morning... one of my cats likes to start her day by hopping up onto arm of the loveseat and sinking her claws into the cushion to sharpen them. It sounds like she's going to rip the damn thing apart; me yelling at her in my gravelly morning voice does little to deter it. So last night I decided to play a trick on her to get her to stop. I put aluminum foil on top of the sofa arm. I chuckled at my brilliance as I imagined her hopping, unsuspecting, onto the arm, hearing the resulting noise, and jumping ten feet in the air just before she tore ass across the house to get away from the loveseat... never to touch it again...

What really happened is that she hopped into bed with me and lay there purr-snoring next to my leg, and she never even approached the sofa. So much for my brilliant plan. Ah well. Just imagining it cracks me up and I guess that's enough for now. I'll try again tomorrow.

I finally started re-reading my story last night... oy. I'm making changes. Some of what sounded so brilliant when I wrote and re-read it over and over for three months straight, now sounds amateurish. I want to keep the tone of it, but with a little wordsmithing I could make some vast improvements. I realize now that I jumped the gun. I was so excited that I actually finished something that I wanted to get it out there. NOW. And I probably shot myself in the foot by sending out queries before my story was ready. Live and learn.

I'm watching Posse, because it has Billy Zane in it. Yesterday I made it most of the way through Alien Agent... because it also had Billy Zane in it. I love me some Billy. Oh noooooo... Mario just killed Billy! Well... he was the bad guy. Oh no! He killed him again! He's like a Terminator! Hmph, the building blew up and he was on fire... unless he turns into liquid metal and reforms, or unless he was part Phoenix, I'm sure he's really dead this time. Movie over.

I'm going to attempt to watch Last House on the Left. It's my cousin's fault (again). I made it through Haunting in Connecticut, but that wasn't very gory and it was a supernatural force. I've made my peace with supernatural forces. I haven't made my peace with sadistic, crazy people. I don't know how far they're going to take the violence, but to be as safe as I can be, I'm watching the theatrical verison and not the unrated one. Probably still a bad idea... on imdb.com there are plot keywords like 'dismemberment', 'graphic violence', 'garbage disposal'... not looking forward to that... and oddly... 'mismatched bra and panties' -- really? People look for this? I think if I only watch 14 minutes of the movie, I don't get charged... so maybe I can feel it out and get an idea before I end up paying. Or maybe I'm going to sleep with one eye open for a few days.... last night I watched I Survived and there was this woman who actually had a guy living in her attic for a few days. She didn't know it until she got out of the shower one day and there he was, dressed like a ninja with a meat cleaver in his hand. Long story short, it wasn't pretty, and the whole person-living-in-your-attic thing is horrifying. I wanted to think that could only happen in movies. And this is why me watching this movie is a bad, bad, bad idea, because as far-fetched as it may seem, there are bound to be some elements of truth in it, and it's going to freak me out.

Pray for me.


068 - Owee

Ouch. I think even my eyelids are sunburnt. So much for sunscreen -- I even reapplied it a couple of times! SPF 50 for chrissakes! I'm just really, really white and I need to come to terms with the fact that I'm going to burn no matter what I do, and instead of wearing shorts and a tank top I should jjust wear more clothes. And a hat.

Sunburn aside, I had a blast on the boat. We went slow, we went fast, we fished, we talked and laughed and danced and ate. I caught two catfish (or one catfish twice... it seriously looked like the same exact fish)... and then we threw them back. I guess I have to admit that I didn't understand that part so much... why catch them if you're not going to keep them? You sacrified a shrimp, you hooked the fish (and having a pierced nose, I can relate to how that feels) and then you don't even keep it? Well... they were kinda small. So anyway, between us we caught four catfish, a flounder and a lady fish.

I found that fishing is a little like gambling... it's addictive... each time you cast the line you think "This is going to be the one - this time I'm going to catch a fish - not just any fish but the biggest, baddest fish in the whole ship channel!" It's not as relaxing for me as I would have thought, because of that voice that, constantly there, telling me that I had to catch something. I get competitive sometimes. Not in-your-face competitive but internally competitive. (play cards with me though, and I'll talk some smack)

Man there are some big boats out there.... barges as long as a city street... ships so high they look like skyscrapers (and watch out for that wake, holy cow -- thank God there was a little manmade rock island between us or we would have gone on quite a ride). I know it would probably get boring on a ship after a while, but at first glance, being on the water all day, every day definitely has its appeal. Then I thought about pirates, and being so far from home, and being out there on the ocean with no one around you, and storms with giant waves... I love being on the water, but maybe only recreationally.

Sunburns really take it out of you... I came home and I was completely wiped out. This morning I got out of bed and I've been walking around the house like an old woman ever since... gingerly leaning back against the back of the sofa... and I'm really dreading the shower this morning. My back is about the color of the red part of a Pepsi can, so are parts of my face and some areas behind my knees. Mom and dad cancelled lunch, and I have to say... it didn't upset me... I am content to wallow alone with my own misery.

It was fun, but I definitely paid a price! When are we gonna do it again???  =)


067 - You can roll a Rolo to your pal

This is a neat idea:

For $2, Green Beans Coffee lets you send a cup of coffee, and a note of encouragement, to a deployed soldier. A couple of my co-workers were made active recently, they left a couple of weeks ago and will be gone for thirteen months. I always worry about them when they go to the middle east (and my friend Mike -- who actually posted the link in the first place -- he's a civvi but he's overseas supporting the troops). I know that any connection to home is bound to make their day a little brighter, even if it's from a stranger -- maybe even especially if it's from a stranger. So if you have the inclination, check it out.

So after yesterday's high, comes the low... I posted a revision of my query letter and waited for comments... Eventually the moment came -- there it was... a comment -- the comment I had been waiting all day for -- bestill my heart! I could barely contain myself after all the nice things that were said the day before. Would there be more helpful suggestions? Would they say it was much improved? Would I find pretty words of encouragement?

Nopety-nope-nope-nope. Naivete strikes again.

I don't mind criticism, in fact I think I've responded to it well up to this point. But it was the tone that got to me. There is a statement urging you to be polite and respectful just above the box where you enter your comments... but the comments were full of condescension. I almost wanted to apologize for offending this person with my query letter. Worse, I found myself wanting to defend my book, to respond to their rhetorical questions, to explain myself. From a friend I might have had a chuckle and played along with it, but from a stranger it cut me to the quick. This person has no right to belittle my work with their sarcasm. Even if my query letter was as bad as all that, I don't deserve their derisive commentary.

To carry this one step further, that kind of response is one of the things that scares me about getting published. This is just one person, one stranger, who said something that I perceived as nasty -- a published author has to deal with much more of the same. I mean, imagine Stephen King telling everyone that you can't write your way out of a paper bag. Happened to Stephenie Meyer. She is wildly popular, people seem to like her as a person almost as much as they like her books, yet she's not immune to verbal barbs -- even from other professionals (and whether it's true or not, what's his beef anyway?). On top of that, the criticism authors face isn't just in the form of words, book sales are also a form of criticism, maybe an even more painful one.

I need to develop a thicker skin.

Ironically, this little episode ties in with a conversation I had at work today. So as unfortunate as it was, it was also timely.

A co-worker and I have something of a bet to see who can keep their positive attitude the longest... this only applies at work, of course, so that previous paragraph doesn't count. =) We're both prone to bouts of whining... it's usually entertaining because he's extremely clever, but overall it's probably not good for our careers to be so negative. I admit it, I often see the cons before I see the pros -- something that became all too clear when I moved my blog over from Weebly last night (http://kristyhutchison.weebly.com/ if you haven't been there). As I copied my blogs I added labels... I found that quite a few of my blogs fell into the 'bitchin' category.

I don't remember when I became so cynical. For a while I thought of myself like Darlene from the Roseanne show... clever and sarcastic but admittedly slightly mean-spirited about it. Then things got better and I felt more like Lorelai Gilmore... quick witted and clever in a more upbeat way but I still had an edge. Now I'm Eyore. Maybe it's time to watch The Secret one more time. Whether you believe in what they're saying or not, and I admit that I toggle between wanting to believe and thinking it's hooey, I can honestly say that I feel more optimistic after I watch it. Hopeful even.

Good moods, and bad, are infectious. There was an episode of Touched by an Angel where one of the angels is in a bad mood, and she snaps at someone, and it sets off a whole chain of events... that person snaps at someone and that person snaps at someone until finally someone who is at the end of their rope takes it one step further and there's a catastrophe. It's just harder to start the positive chain, and even more difficult to keep it going, when you run into someone who is part of the negative chain. I try to tell myself that when someone says or does something hurtful, they're just having a bad day, and I shouldn't take it personally. Sometimes I listen.

That reminds me, I need to work on my dream page again. For a while I had one hanging on my refrigerator, but I took it down because I was a little embarassed for people to see what I wanted out of life. Okay, more specifically there was a guy coming over and I didn't want to freak him out by letting him see that I had a picture of an engagement ring on my refrigerator (one little picture in the middle of thirty - but I bet he would have noticed). That kind of thing gets stuck in a guy's head and they begin thinking you're looking to get married NOW, which makes them nervous and they run away. Stupid boys. Anyway... I had gone on the web and pulled pictures of my credit card statements and stamped PAID across them, found a BMW roadster and pasted onto the page, found a gorgeous burgundy wedding gown, pictures of people gathered around a grill, a picture of a scale with my goal weight, a picture of a boat, pictures of Scotland and other places I wanted to visit, and yeah, a picture of a book with my name on it... all these things that appeal to me, things I want, and I kept it on my refrigerator so that I could remember what I was aiming for. It made me happy to look at it and think that someday I might accomplish those goals, and it kept me on track because it acted as a reminder.

Yep. I need to do that again.

Tomorrow I get to go on a boat ride with friends. I love being on the water, it relaxes me. It's the same feeling I get after a Static-X concert... complete peace, no tension anywhere in my body. It's been months since I've been on a boat, but more importantly this is a great group of people, so I'm really, really, really looking forward to it!


066 - Life is a penalty box

Or at least maybe it should be. I was joking with a friend this afternoon and I told him he was a bad person for something he did. He said he goes into the box for two minutes, full of guilt, but when he comes out life goes on. That's the way it should be. Too many of us let guilt eat at us forever, feeling bad about things we did years ago... other people let it go... we should let it go. He probably didn't know it was profound, but it kinda was.

I posted my query letter at The Public Query Slushpile yesterday. It's a really neat site where they do peer to peer review like they do on Absolute Write, but it's smaller, more personal, and not so overwhelming. I didn't realize I'd gotten any comments on it until I got a message that another query had been posted. When I clicked the link my own query came up and I had nine really great comments. I've only been on it since yesterday, but I feel like maybe this is the writing community I have been looking for. The people seem nice. I made a deal with another author, she's going to beta read my novel, and I get to read hers when she finishes her current draft. I'm looking forward to it, the book sounds really good... for one thing it's got dragons in it, but just overall the story sounds right up my alley.

The whole experience re-energized me. The comments were so positive that they pulled me out of my funk, they gave me back my belief in my story, and I plan to spend part of my weekend making sure that I get my snail mail queries into the mail. I haven't touched the book in over a month, so tonight I'm going to revisit it with a fresh eye.

I was talking to another friend about self-esteem and self-confidence. I told him that I think musicians, artists and writers grapple with them more because we create things and then we put them out there to be judged. The things we create are personal, so we're exposing ourselves more than other people might. We're our own worst critics and we're sensitive dammit. I wish I was a more positive person, but I'm fairly cynical. I do, however, cheer my friends on. I think they're the bees knees. We have a mutual admiration society. They keep me going.

And am I the only one who finds that Gillette Venus commercial offensive? With the woman walking by, and the foliage in the background changing shape to match the way she trims her personal area... it's borderline lewd. I know it's old by now, but it's always bugged me.


065 - She's all over the damn place

Sometimes when I read other people's blogs, it drives home the fact that my own blogs are pretty fluffy. And that's okay. I'm not seeking to change the world, I'm not here to discuss my political views, I don't consider myself an expert on the subject of anything but myself (and possibly spreadsheets... and sarcasm). If someone does read my blog, I hope they find something they can relate to and enjoy, and that's all. If my book ever gets published, and if people buy it, and if that purchase leads them here to this website... they may very well be disappointed... unless they're looking for the person behind the book. What I want is to be relatable... I'm willing to share my own foibles with the world.

(Okay, what's the deal with all the helicopters flying over head? Go away already, you're loud and you're throwing off my groove! The Emperor's New Groove is an awesome movie by the way - LLAMA!)

I'm sure that (eventually) someone will make their way to my site thinking it's a site dedicated to the art of writing. Because - I can almost say it without choking now - I'm a(n unpublished) writer, and that's what I advertise on the home page. But nope. This blog is just me talking about whatever the heck amuses me at the moment (and as you may have noticed, I'm all over the map... EVERYTHING amuses me). If what you want is writing advice, check out my Writing Biz page, any time I find something interesting I put it there -- and I updated it again today.

Today I am going to talk a little about writing... nothing so lofty as craft, just the way it works for me. People have asked, so I assume it's interesting to someone out there. I'm pretty sure my method won't work for most people. Until recently I preferred to write by hand, now I prefer to use the computer, but I digress... sort of:

Location and setting: Very informal. No desk. I sit indian-style on my love seat, in front of the television with the volume down so low that it's barely audible - yet loud enough that I'm not struggling to hear because that would distract me - I have my laptop cradled in my lap (as I do now)... and I type. Obsessively. When I've got the creative juices flowing, hours of my life disappear and I only realize time has passed when I have to stop and turn the lamp on in order to see.

When I finally force myself to break away from the computer to take a bath and wind down for the evening, I take my notebook with me so I can write down whatever pops into my head, because God has cursed me such that most of my best ideas come to me when I'm in the bathroom... and I wish I were making that up. Afterward, I may go back to the computer, or I might carry my notebook to bed with me, because God has also cursed me such that the rest of my best ideas come right as I'm about to fall asleep... and if I don't write them down I get into a long (mostly internal) debate about whether I can remember this nugget until the morning, or whether I should write it down immediately -- trust me, if you have this dilemna, write it down immediately and save yourself the heartache of a lost idea, or the tragedy of insomnia.

Process: I write, then the next day I re-read (usually out loud, to make sure dialogue sounds realistic), and add to, what I previously wrote. Anything that was handwritten in the notebook gets transcribed onto the computer. Then I build on what I wrote. I didn't use an outline initially, although once I got into this story I did sort of draw a skeleton to keep things sorted out.

I don't know how many edits I did because I edit as I go along. As I mentioned, I am always re-reading what I wrote before... George Lucas says don't do it... write until the whole story is out there and then go back and edit... but what does George Lucas know? (I jest) I save at least one new file each day, with the date and word count, and if I make a major story change I also save a new file with 'story change' in the title. Not only does this make life easier if the idea doesn't work out, it also helps me feel secure that I can - without a doubt - prove that I am the author of the story should it ever become necessary. If 120 or so files don't prove anything, I don't know what will!

Whenever I get what I consider to be a brilliant idea that will further the story, I skip several lines so there's an obvious break, and I type it out so that I can revisit it in the future and see what I can do with it. Anything I delete from the story goes into a scrap file in case I can use it somewhere else (not a word or two, but good sentences and paragraphs).

Where do I begin: I start with a line, something that I can't get out of my head. In this case it was "I moved here from a place where the sunlight was abrasive and cruel; where it not only beat down on you, it also beat you down." Then I add to it. In this story I wanted the first paragraph to set a mood that was almost palpable, so I challenged myself to be as descriptive as possible.

I ask myself questions... how would someone accomplish this... how would I feel if this happened... how the hell is she going to get out of this mess... and see what answers I can come up with. I may get ideas from conversations I have, songs I hear, movies I watch, books I read, random internet tidbits, dreams. Wherever the inspiration comes from, I make sure to tweak the idea until it's mine. I do sometimes draw from my own life experiences, and apparently it shows, more than one person accused me of being Grace... and okay... we are similar, but we're also different. Thankfully, they also felt that my other characters had a different voice.

I also did a lot of research. I researched wolves, morthouses, skeet shooting, castles, cailleachs, wildcats, gardens, lime-based paint... all kinds of things. Many times that research led to more ideas.

I don't know if that's helpful to anyone. That's just how I did it. There's no one method that works for everyone, that's for sure. If you're a writer, stick to whatever works for you, and good luck!


064 - Sad Day

R.I.P. to someone who made me smile and entertained me many times:

Patrick Swayze Lived His Life For The Moment

063 - Faith in humanity restored (somewhat)

I know it's a silly little awards show, and frankly, I didn't even watch it... but I heard about what Kanye West did to Taylor Swift. It shocked me that someone could be such a selfish idiot, but it didn't completely surprise me - it fits with what little I know of his character. What he did was rude, and even though she got a second chance, her moment was ruined... she will never get that moment back.

Beyonce, on the other hand, showed class and she saved the day, as much as it could be saved. Good for her. It also fits with what I know of her character.

That's all I have to say about that.

I love, love, love this weather. My windows are open and it feels nice and cool, and that puts me in a good mood. Part of the reason I want to move away from here is that hot weather affects my mood so adversely... I get depressed easily, I feel lethargic and I have no motivation.

The first cold day of the year always puts me in the mood to do some Christmas shopping... I have no frickin' idea what to get people this year. Especially my parents. I think we may have finally come to an impasse... all three of us have pretty much everything we want and/or need. I think the biggest problem is that if we want something, we tbuy it then and there, if we can't afford it then it stands to reason it's too big for the Christmas list as well... so that makes it incredibly difficult to find something.

In the past I've been able to latch on to at least one thing that mom mentions during the year, something she ends up forgetting, but something she really wants. Then I hunt it down. It's not easy to surprise her... One year it was a partner to her Precious Moments baby boy Christmas decoration, another year it was a bottle of a favorite perfume that wasn't produced anymore, last year I got her a gorgeous opal ring (thank you eBay!). For her birthday last year I gambled and got her a boxed set of a Hallmark movie series I thought she'd like - thank god she and dad both loved it. So I will keep my eyes open for more opportunities like that... it'll be harder now that they have cable, too.

Dad is always difficult. I end up giving him money and one or two odds and ends, like a war movie or an action movie. Then I give them both gift cards for places they like to shop.

I keep telling myself that one year we should exchange one gift, or give each other money so we can take advantage of the after Christmas sales. Maybe this is the year. Or maybe instead of gifts we should take a vacation. We'll see. Maybe I'll get inspired by something soon.


062 - Wow.

Someone saw this movie plot, they chose it out of the slush pile, they financed it, they cast it with someone I've actually heard of, it got made... and then a distributor picked it up:

"A man must save his town from a monster that hides in lightning."

Really? It hides in lightning? Okay, here's my next plot -- a woman must save her town from a monster that hides in air. Cut and print. You may write me a big fat check and move me into a mansion. Ugh.

So right on schedule, I'm going to be cooking for other people, so my allergies have started acting up. I don't understand why I can be perfectly fine one day and then in misery the next.In that vein, I'm sooooooooooooooo looking forward to my steak today... Yee-haw! Oddly though, it's imagining sinking my teeth into those biscuits that's really making me salivate - they look like a bigger version of sausage balls without the sausage... all gooey and bacon-y and warm. Yummmmm - please don't disappoint me biscuits... I'm really liking the concept of flavored biscuits. I'd never had anything other than a plain jane biscuit before, and in truth, I wasn't fond... dry, crumbly, a little sour... and then when I started going through all the recipes I collected over the years, deciding which ones to write in my notebook, I came across orange-rosemary biscuits (yummy) and lemon-chive biscuits (even yummier). And now these bacon-cheddar biscuits. Color me pleased.

The whole 'one soda a day' thing is getting easier now. I actually look forward to the water when I'm at home because I get to choose different flavorings (several different Crystal Light packets or True Lime). Sometimes I even crave it plain. For some reason I want the soda when I'm at work, but it's pretty easy to stick to because I only bring one soda with me, and I never carry cash, so I can't go downstairs and get one from the machine.

I'm still losing weight, but it's not dropping off as fast as I'd like, more like a pound, or less, a week. It's disheartening. A friend told me that since I'm working out, I'm building muscle, it weighs more... yada yada yada. I've told myself the same story a thousand times; I'm not sure I believe it anymore. I wonder if there's really something to mind over matter, like I'm not losing weight because I don't believe I can lose weight. But that would be silly, right?


061 - Dust bunnies

Gracie having asthma put me into cleaning mode (and okay, my allergies have been acting up lately, too, so I did it for both of us). I did the normal dusting routine, but I also decided to go one step further and do the one task I dread most... taking all the leaves off the fake ficus and wiping them down with a cloth. It needed to be done... it was nasty. I tried the shortcut of putting them in a bag with salt and shaking it all around... but it didn't work very well, even in small batches... maybe it was supposed to be rice instead of salt... I dunno. So I just finished putting my tree back together. It looks a lot better now.

The pet piller worked just as well the second time as it did the first. I'm in love with that thing. And Gracie only coughed once today so the medicine seems to be doing its thing. Or maybe it's because I vacuumed behind the bed, and under the bedside table, where she hides. In any case, I'm a happy camper. I love my kitty insanely and don't like her to be sick.

Tomorrow I'm cooking for mom and dad, and maybe their neighbor, who is a cool guy that is pretty much a part of the family. When my parents eventually retire, and if they end up relocating, I half expect them to all end up in the same place. It would almost seem weird if they didn't. Anyway, my parents usually treat when we go to lunch on Sundays, so every once in a while I cook lunch for them because they won't let me treat otherwise, and it's my way of showing my appreciation (and sometimes expanding their culinary horizons). So today I went to the grocery store to buy steaks and shrimp, and I feel like I got a great deal - I bought a multi-pack of about 6 steaks, and my discount card saved me around $23. *smile* I'm going to cook some of Pioneer Woman's recipes: bacon cheddar biscuits, grilled steaks with bleu cheese sauce, and potato bundles. They all look soooooo yummy. And mom is bringing a cobbler for dessert. Oh lordy... I already feel miserable, lol.

Spent a couple of hours clipping coupons and watching werewolf movies on SyFy (the new bloody UPN) but spent most of the day cleaning and doing chores... one of those weekends. It was raining most of the day and I had the windows open with a candle lit, it was really nice.

I need to get my eBay clothes, patterns, and fabric out so I can photograph them to sell. It's ridiculous that I bought all that crap and now it's just sitting in my closet taking up space. I know now that I'm not going to sew on a regular basis, certainly not enough to attempt some of the amazing patterns I had to have. And the fabric I bought... very little of it is anything I can use. Problem is that I don't know what kind of fabric it is, so I'm going to have to put together bundles of color I think. The clothes? Some of them don't fit me because they're too big, or I just never wore them for one reason or another. I could donate them, but I need the money (and I'm sure some of it will still end up being donated).

I procrastinate a lot. If I get started I'm almost obsessive about completing a task, but until then... I don't even know why it is. Sometimes my excuse is that it's a workday and I won't have enough time, which is bullshit. There's plenty of time left in the day when I get home. I've somehow latched onto the idea that I can't do anything on a weekday. I need to get over that.

My electric bill has delayed my foray into lotion making because it was outrageous this month... I don't know how I can have new energy efficient windows, a new A/C, new appliances, and end up with a HIGHER electric bill. It just doesn't compute. And the days of having your meter checked for free are over, I think my provider said it would be $65 if I wanted them to check it. That's another reason I enjoyed today... I didn't run the A/C at all.

Oh well.


060 - Birds of a feather

Looked out my window this afternoon at work and saw feathers floating down from the sky. Hope that wasn't a bad omen.

My cat may have asthma. She was hacking like she was trying to cough up a fur ball, but nothing came up, and it continued on for a few days, so I took her to the vet. He gave me some pills... steroids... to give her. Ever tried to give a cat a pill? HA! I called to see if there was a liquid version I could just shoot into her mouth, but they said it would be expensive and recommended a syringe-like gadget that I can use to put the pill down her throat. Go figure, there's a gadget for everything. I haven't tried it out yet, but it looks promising.

As I was pulling out of the vet's office I waited for traffic to pass by so I could pull out (going right), resigned to the fact that I'd be waiting until the light changed... whenever that might be. Then a car turned and there was a pretty large opening in traffic, so I pulled out. I had plenty of time to get up to speed before the van got there... it wasn't the lane I wanted, but I could work my way over once I got going. As soon as I got into the street I heard a honk. At first I thought I had accidentally put a tire into the next lane as I was turning or something, then I look into my rearview to see a blue sedan on my ass, and a woman flipping me off.

I had no idea how she got there.

I felt really, really bad, because (for some reason) my first assumption is always that I'm at fault... I mouthed 'I'm sorry' as she whipped into the next lane, screaming and flipping me off again. And then... the initial adrenaline rush passed and I replayed the scenario in my head, trying to figure out how I didn't see her... I looked before I pulled out... I looked hard, because I love my car and don't want impressions of other people's bumpers in the door... the next vehicle coming was a van... she wasn't in that lane when I pulled out. That leaves two options, neither of which make me feel repentent, in fact, she can rot in hell and I take back my apology because she almost got us killed:

Either she was in the other lane and decided to pull over without her blinker on - because I do watch for blinkers - or she came out of the driveway next door. As far as I know there was no one in the driveway next to me when I pulled out, but if she was approaching the road and saw the gap in traffic she probably pulled straight out, which means she was trying to cut me off, and she has no right to be pissed off at me in the first place. At least in the blinker scenario I can kinda see how she might have a right to be pissed... although if she didn't have her blinker on, it's a failure to signal, and our accident would have been her fault.

I actually think the second scenario is more likely, because I didn't hear any tires squealing and when I looked back she wasn't positioned like she'd been thrown forward. Her honk actually slowed me down, because I first assumed I was encroaching on the next lane. And no one else shot me dirty looks or acted like I was a crazy driver (you know how people start to shy away from cars that appear to have unstable drivers? that didn't happen).

I hate the drivers around here... absolutely loathe them. I drove on the busiest freeways in California and never encountered assholes like the ones in my moderately-sized suburban town. They're on your ass, they cut you off, they barely pass you before they whip in front of you, if you have your blinker on they won't let you over, they squeeze by you with very little leeway so they can get to a turn lane, they go through lights when traffic is backed up and block the road when the light changes, they block driveways when they see you sitting there trying to get out, they turn from the wrong lane, they pass you in medians, they don't give a crap about schoolzones, they don't slow down when you're turning into a driveway, they get in the inside lane of two lanes that turn and try to come over on you, if they were going slow and you look like you're going around them they speed up, they zip up to the front of a long line of cars who have been waiting and try to cut in, they race to get in front of you and then slow down, they pull out in front of you when there's not enough time for them to get up to speed - which is especially irritating when the lane next to you is empty or there's no one behind you, they cut across four lanes of traffic so they won't miss a fucking exit instead of taking the next one and making a U-turn... I could go on but I'm going to stop bitching and finish watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button because I'm getting all worked up again...

Hope everyone has a great weekend, it looks like it might rain tonight - YEA!!! I've got all my windows open and it feels great... I think fall is coming!

Oh - and a great article from The Simple Dollar.

Update: I just used the 'pet piller' that my vet recommended... oh my goodness... I LOVE it. I'm not even sure Gracie noticed that I shoved a pill down her throat. She didn't run away from me afterward, she even let me pet her. AWESOME!


059 - Upward and Outward

Someday I want to move away from here. I always say it, but I never do it. I wonder if I'll ever have the courage... I just don't like living where I live. Too hot. Too humid. Too many hurricanes. Too much pollution. Too few seasons. Too little nature. In some ways it's a really great place, but it's not where I want to be.

According to a silly little quiz I took last night, I should live in Atlanta. I think I should live in Washington or Colorado... or Scotland. If I knew I could support myself I'd move to a more rural area with lots of moss covered trees... a smaller town near a body of water. I don't really get out much, so it's not like I'd miss the conveniences of a big city.

My biggest stumbling block is fear. I'm afraid to venture out of my comfort zone. Afraid to pick and up move to a place where I don't know anyone. Afraid to find a new job because I no longer know what it is that I do. Afraid that there are no jobs even if I did know.

I wish I were more adventurous sometimes, more carefree. I need stability though. I'm very much a creature of habit.

One thing I can do, when I get back on my feet, is travel more. See what's out there so I know where I want to end up. There are so many places that I haven't been yet. Who knows, maybe life will take an unexpected turn for the better, and I can travel a lot more.

Until then I can surf the web and dream of greener pastures.


058 - Tra-la-la

Well I'll be darned -- Pioneer Woman is coming out with a cookbook! I've already pre-ordered it. If you checked out my Random Stuff page you would know about her already, if you haven't... well I'm disappointed in all 5 of you... Anyhoo, I love her website because there's a lot of interesting stuff to see - I want to be her - but mostly I love it because when she posts a recipe she takes pictures of all the steps and makes little comments which crack me up. You can get to her website here, and this is the Barnes and Noble page where you can check out the book.

The company who administers my 401k plan sends a newsletter out, and since I'm a nerd, I skim through it to see if there's anything interesting in there. Well today there was - two volunteer ideas that would be cool for families with older kids (who, admittedly, might turn their noses up at hangin' with the folks), or singles who like to do outdoorsy things, or couples who like to spend time together, or just human beings (and some animals) in general. I'll add them to my RS page, but here they are, for your perusal:



So I watched a little Rachel Zoe as I wound down for the night last night, and even through my Benadryl-induced daze I found that I felt a little stressed out because she's always stressed out. I can't relate to that level of anxiety when it's about... clothes... (except in her case where they cost so bloody much). I just don't care that much (and I'm sure it shows). She's great at what she does, I guess... to be honest, I really don't know. Would these people look any better if they picked out their own clothes or is she really the magic behind it all? I mean, really... if I made an effort I could be stylish, I just don't put in the time. Eh. She's made a business out of it, I applaud her, I just don't understand it.


057 - This proves my point

My allergies are killing me and I am sitting on the couch with a stuffy, yet runny nose... feeling like crap.

Since I feel like doing nothing, I scanned the web and I bring you the most interesting, yet disturbing, articles I have come across thus far:

Latvians Mortgage Their Souls

DIY Plastic Surgery: This is Not a Hoax

Making Lightbulbs Out of 2-Liter Bottles (not disturbing, just interesting)

Canned Vampire Herring

And a disturbing money saving tip... hopefully borne of desperation and not mere frugality: using cloth diapers as toilet paper, collecting them in a garbage can that can be closed up, and washing them to reuse... Ew. I get the concept, but ew.


056 - Just call me little Ms. Spontaneity

Eeeee! I mixed my own eyeshadow color for the first time tonight! So cool!

Was a little disappointed to find that my pretty "plum passion" eyeshadow was merely the distributor's purple in a smaller package with a heftier price tag. If I was going to sell it I would at least mix it with something else so that it would be unique... Ah well... live and learn. I noticed that there were a couple of sellers who had taken the colors and merely repackaged them in smaller sizes. I suppose I shouldn't judge, that's what resellers do... it's pretty universal. So the moral of the story is... good thing I love the color... I have shitloads of it now. The sample baggies I bought are pretty huge when you think about how much you actually use... infinite possibilities.

OKC fell through for a second time, at least for that particular weekend. Maybe we can get a group together and go another weekend. It just wasn't meant to be.

I've got jerk chicken marinating in the fridge (or as I like to call it "ex-boyfriend chicken"). I ran across an awesome recipe. It's pretty easy, especially tomorrow when all I have to do is toss it onto the grill, and the flavor is amazing... I've made it a few times now, and everyone loves it. I'm having people over, it was a last minute decision - but the amazing part is that I don't think anyone turned me down - on a holiday weekend no less! Wow! So I'm looking forward to hanging out and having fun tomorrow. Yea for fun! Screw painting trim... I can do that on Monday. =)


055 - I'm not wearing any pants

If you want to get someone's attention, try telling them you're not wearing any pants.

I wore a skirt to work today, and it was the first time in a loooooong time. Some people thought there was a guy involved (wrong), others thought I was going on an interview (also wrong), a lot of people just didn't know what to think. It was sort of a social experiment to stir the pot, and it worked. I like to do that from time to time. I did get a lot of compliments, and it wasn't a horrible experience, so I might do it again in the future. Maybe.

About midday I realized that I wasn't wearing any pants... it was true... but it's all a matter of perspective. It's fun to see people's faces when they take it at face value, before they realize that you're not wearing pants... you're wearing a skirt... people turn really pretty shades of red. And then there are the pervs who hear something completely different... boo...

So this morning I started up the car, and there was a new, unfamiliar light on the dashboard, and a bell. I was a little freaked because I thought maybe it was the oil. I needed to stop and get gas anyway, so I pulled in and consulted the owner's manual... tire pressure monitoring system... sigh... So I drove slowish and called in the reinforcements to air up my tires. Luckily they didn't require much air so there's probably not a hole in my tire... they weren't flat by any means. It was just scary, because I'm tired of all the shit that keeps going wrong with my house, and didn't need my car to start falling apart, too. I already have to get my visor replaced next time I take it in. This will be the second visor I've had, and I don't abuse them, they're just cheap plastic and that's why they disintegrate so quickly. Easy peasy, except that it's floppy and is hanging by an electrical wire.

It's a holiday weekend... good time to paint the vinyl trim around my windows and put up soffit vent covers... if the weather's nice. If there's anything better going on, then I'll gladly sidetrack those projects. I should probably pick up my novel and have another pass, but I haven't felt like it. Not good. I haven't been writing. Also not good, even though I know where book 2 is headed, I still need to be writing that down. Bottom line is that I've gotten discouraged and I have to figure out how to overcome that. Maybe next week's a good time to have lunch with Rachel and get hyped back up, talking to another writer will probably help...


054 - Much better.

Today was much better, felt like I accomplished a lot, and no one insinuated that I lacked compassion. Only thing that sucked was the two rejections I got, one of which was from an agent I was really hoping to snag. I'm telling myself that everything happens for a reason.

At the end of the workday, on a whim, I went to happy hour. I don't normally like Wednesday night happy hours, because it screws with my head and I think the next day should be a Saturday. And I can't stay out all night and get crazy. Of course I had a blast. A good friend of mine is in town and I always enjoy hanging out with her (as well as the rest of our gang). I think of her as sunshine incarnate, she just makes you feel good. I've missed her. But the good news is, work brings her to town from time to time, so we can still hang out, and when I go to see the shuttle launch, I'll see her again for sure.

And more good news, I might still go to OKC. My friend said he would be willing to drive, and that significantly cuts down on the cost, so I can afford to do it. Now I just have to talk to my boss and make sure I can work some comp time so that I can have a Friday off. I need all the current vacation time I have to go to Scotland... but I am dying to do this. I think it's going to be so much fun... I'm trying to talk a couple more people into doing it.

So now.... I'm winding down for the night. Tomorrow I promised someone that I was going to wear a skirt, so I'm a little flustered about that... I know it's probably going to cause a stir, because I never wear them. Then again, maybe no one will notice... and even if they do, I kind of like causing a stir sometimes, as long as it's a good one.


053 - Day from hell

I came home, ate, and fell asleep for two hours, so now I'm groggy. In addition to that, my allergies have been acting up all day. I just want to go back to bed and sleep until it's time to go to on vacation.

It's been one of the crappiest days I've ever had the misfortune to be a part of and I would tell you all about it except that the person I'm bitching about could very well be you... and then you'd just be that much more disappointed in me -- which is unfortunate, because if you had listened to what I had to say, you might have understood where I was coming from. Instead, you'd already made your assumptions, so you talked over me. You weren't the least bit interested in hearing my side of the story because yours made you feel so high and mighty.

Please don't be offended, if after everything you said to disparage my character, I'm no more than cordial to you. I apologize that I will no longer be able to rush to your defense when people point out your ineptitude. Just rest assured that I'm probably not talking about you, and if you think I am, you should listen to this song by Carly Simon... she's probably talking about you, too. To put it in legal terms -- the characters and events portrayed in this blog are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

I'm going to pour myself a glass of wine, run a hot bubble bath and forget about everything else.